She wears it well…

So. The weather is getting better. Spring is here, the sun’s out, we can put our bobble hats away for another few months and choose our footwear based on what we like, instead of what is least likely to make us fall over on our arses in the ice. Run free, all of you, I’ll see you back here in October.

Oh wait, hang on a minute. You’re not a woman are you? You are? In that case there are a few little rules you need to consider.

Look online and there are countless articles telling women what they shouldn’t be wearing, whether they’re over 20, 30 or 40. But especially after the age of 50, because apparently that lot are all over the place and despite the fact that a lot of them have made actual people in their own bodies and have fantastic careers and are generally sorted in almost every other area of their lives, they just can’t be trusted to choose the right thing to wear.

I did a little bit of research before I started writing this and found pages and pages of ‘rules’. It was hard to work out what age these particular ‘rules’ are aimed at, but I think we can safely assume that if you have a vagina, you’re wearing the wrong thing. If you’re not covering up too much, you’re showing too much of yourself off (asking for it! Whatever ‘it’ is, although usually ‘it’ means any bad behaviour men don’t want to take responsibility for). It’s a very fine line but you must get it right as that’s what you’re for, silly, to look right.

So then, what shouldn’t you be wearing? You might want to jot these down.

It seems to be mainly leather, leopard print, mini skirts, horizontal stripes, shorts, berets and black eyeliner, for starters.

I’m amazed I’m still walking free. I have all of these things and sometimes, in the case of my leopard print beret, leather jacket, stripy top and black eyeliner, wear quite a few of them combined. How do I even sleep at night?

Also, don’t wear black. What do you mean, you like it? Are you not listening to me? It drains you, you imbecile and apparently it washes you out, whatever that means. If you must wear black then add a pop of colour by wearing a brightly coloured scarf at a jaunty angle. Which is a sentence I actually read in a grown up, serious woman’s magazine.

It’s worth remembering that you should be wearing a scarf anyway, to cover your baggy old neck and your wrinkly décolletage. I’m not entirely sure I know what a décolletage is, or where mine is. I’m pretty certain I have one though, I think it’s somewhere between my ribs and my neck. Ah, I expect it’s so wrinkly I’ve probably mistakenly tucked it away under an armpit or something. Next!

Don’t show your bare arms. I can’t believe I’m even having to tell you this. Bare arms might be a little bit wobbly and as you know, society doesn’t do wobbly so stop it. Wobbly is like wrinkly, it reminds people that age is just waiting around the corner and they don’t like it, so cover them up now, damn you.

Right, where were we? Oh yes, don’t wear black sleeveless tops with low necks. What next?

There’s a whole section on how to wear jeans. Yes, that’s right, how to wear them. Apparently this procedure is a whole lot more complicated than just putting them on. I know, you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life! Idiot.

Don’t wear blue and green, don’t show your toes, don’t get a tattoo as one day your skin might go wrinkly and the world will END,

There’s a whole list of sub-sections about what you should and shouldn’t wear if you’re a fat woman, or a thin one, or a fat old woman or a woman who’s older than 30 yet younger than 40 who’s a bit thin at the top and then a bit fat further down. And you don’t stand a chance if you’re a pregnant woman because jeez, you might as well just stay inside for 9 months as you’re never going to get it right. It’s fine though, because being pregnant means that everyone has free reign to make comments about, as well as actually touch, your body so I’m sure someone will give you a piece of helpful advice.

Women are judged by what they wear in a way men never are. There are no articles about what men over 40 should and shouldn’t be wearing, apart from a few half-hearted attempts that mention skinny jeans and sandals with socks. But the clothing rules for men seem to consist of buy stuff, put that stuff on, go out in aforementioned stuff, forget about it until you need to take the stuff off again, or the stuff falls apart. Sorted. What’s for lunch?

We’re told what we should and shouldn’t wear by the media, by society, by each other. We police each other, saying things like ‘Look at you with your legs out! You’re brave!’

I was told I was brave last summer, for daring to wear a sleeveless top. (Which reminds me, we need to have a word about being brave. Oh, people say, you’re so brave writing that/sharing that/wearing that. I hear it thrown around so often. Brave is running into a burning house to rescue a child, or surviving a war, or standing up to a bully. Brave is not wearing a top with no sleeves. Stop throwing it around willy nilly, you’re watering it down).

There’s always something else to worry about. You get one thing sorted and another pops up, one minute we’re supposed to be worried about our knees, the next our elbows or our ankles. We’re either too hairy, too white, too tanned, too fat, too thin. It’s a minefield.

Why do we care?

Even though I think society has made us care, women don’t help each other. They judge and sneer and whisper, commenting on the height of necklines and hems, forced into a competitiveness they never wanted in the first place. It’s exhausting.

So here’s my advice.

Wear what the hell you want, when you want to. Nobody actually cares, and if they do they need to stop and will only do that if everyone just does what they want to and breaks these ‘rules’.


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Jeez, I want a cape.

Harrison Ford, Robert de Niro, Alan Rickman, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford.

What do they all have in common? They are all sex symbols. They have been sex symbols throughout their careers and continue to be so even though they’re all over 50, quite a bit over fifty in some cases, (I’m looking at you, Redford). It seems the older they get, the more we like them, with their crinkly eyes and inappropriate flirting on chat shows. They can do no wrong as they continue to be wheeled out, looking increasingly dazed and confused but hey, they are silver foxes, they are foxy over-fifty’s, they just get better with age. It’s like they’ve never even heard of saga holidays and Shackleton high seat chairs.

Look at Tom Jones for example, who seems to have turned into some kind of demi-god. He sits there grunting at young women, but bless him, that’s allowed, he’s from a different era when it was considered normal to leer at young women, they should be honoured! Or even Cliff Richard, who despite allegations of child sex abuse, still has millions of loyal female fans. But never mind all that stuff, just look at how good he looks! What an inspiration! Yeah, sure they have a few liver spots now and not much hair but that rugged look is so sexy, right?

Meanwhile, some woman, Madonna or somebody, seems she thinks she can still be in the public eye, being all successful and talented, even though she’s passed the cut-off point of 40. What was she thinking? Hasn’t she even read the rule book?

I think the thing with Madonna is that she probably did read the rule book, saw it for the nonsense it so clearly is and ripped it to shreds on the points of her shiny, metal bra.

She’s never behaved how she’s supposed to. She’s always lived by her own rules. From the minute she appeared in a music video wearing a slutty wedding dress and singing about being a virgin accompanied by the sound of my dad tutting, I knew she was someone different. She’s always done what she wanted, and looked great doing it. And when she got to the age that women are normally expected to disappear, she kept on going, still pushing boundaries, still making dads tut, constantly reinventing herself.

I watched the clip of her falling over at the Brit awards through my fingers. I didn’t like it, it looked hurty. Now if it this had happened to me I’d have run off crying, my default reaction to hurting myself. I’d probably have flounced my cape a bit on the way out. But she barely missed a beat, she got up and carried on singing, like nothing had happened.

The media reaction was horrible. It was like You’ve Been Framed on steroids. We saw the clip of it from every angle and with every possible pun and you couldn’t post a retweet of a puppy on a skateboard on Twitter for all the hilarious jokes about how Grandma could have broken her hip. Suddenly, Woman Falls Over was big news, but in actual fact I read it more as Woman Dares to Behave Inappropriately for her Age, because we were constantly reminded that she is 56. Like it matters.

But it does. She is constantly criticised for being outspoken, (even about sex! Sex! Imagine!) and bossy (Women, know your place!). And whereas ambition in a man is seen as a positive trait; a sexy, powerful trait even, an ambitious woman is seen as ugly. It’s not natural for a woman to be ambitious. What does she need ambition for? Her only ambition should be to serve her man and produce children, and then once she has done her duty and her ovaries have retired and settled back with their Werthers originals and their knitting, she should quietly fade into the background, away from the public eye. I need to check that rule book again because ageism seems to be allowed, while most of the other isms aren’t. It’s so hard to keep up.

So I refuse to be part of the sheer glee that people felt at her finally getting her comeuppance. I don’t want to be one of those women who are manipulated into sneering at other women because I hope Madonna continues to be a badass until she’s in her 90s.

Meanwhile, the vlogger, Zoella, was photographed a gabillion times this week because she dared to leave her house without make-up. She was virtually unrecognisable apparently. Not that this is a big deal, the papers hastened to add, but hey, here’s another close-up anyway.

These women are going wild, if they’re not flouncing around in capes being fabulous and successful and independent, they’re actually showing impressionable young girls that you don’t need to plaster your face in make-up all the time. It’s anarchy. Save yourselves.


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Feminist in Not Hating 50 Shades Shocker – Part Two (with added pubic hair).

So this afternoon I went to see the damn thing. After all, I can’t be writing blog posts and Facebook comments defending it without having seen it. (Although that doesn’t seem to have stopped most of the people who are telling me not to see it.)

My verdict? It was a good film. When I heard that it had been given a 12 certificate in France and Germany I was quite shocked, but now I’ve seen it I can see why. It’s pretty tame, you don’t actually see much sex. I don’t think I’d be too worried about my 14yr old seeing it.

I went into it with an open mind. I tried not to think of all the things I’d read about it, although it’s hard not to take all that into a film with you, as some of it has been pretty strong. For example, letters from psychiatrists advising all women to stay away from it come across as pretty heavy, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting my feminist shackles to be hauled up at some point.

But actually? It was pretty tame. It seems to me to be just a typical romance story, but with some whips. Yes it’s a bit silly sometimes, and some of the lines they come out with make you giggle, but that happens in most so-called romance films, doesn’t it? I was annoyed by the kind of things that always annoy me in films. For example, nobody ever says goodbye when they’re on the phone, everyone finds a car parking space straight away and nobody ever seems to need a wee. But as hard as I looked, I couldn’t see anything that suggested an abusive relationship, and yes, I’m fully aware of all the different kinds of abusive relationships there can be, thank you, it’s just that this isn’t one of them. In fact, the only slightly manipulative relationship I noticed in the book is the one between Anastasia and her best friend, who talks down to her and treats her like an idiot. But I suppose that’s fine as it’s a woman doing it.

My main impression was that she comes across as the one in charge and I liked her character, she laughed at some of the sex stuff, like most of us would. And as lovely as Jamie Dornan is, (and, after seeing him in The Fall recently, I kept expecting Gillian Anderson to jump out in one of her nice silk blouses, which might have spiced it up a little bit) he does come across as a bit of an idiot; he’s annoying and his idea of relationships is screwed up. But then normal, well-balanced relationships and situations don’t make great films.

I find it quite hard to believe that any woman would come out of this film thinking that it portrays a normal, healthy relationship, and we all know that relationships that start out with one person trying to change the other, just don’t work. I find it very patronising to be told that I shouldn’t like, or even watch this film because of what it’s apparently about, based on what someone heard someone else say about a film based on a book that they haven’t even read. I’m perfectly capable of distinguishing between reality and fantasy; I know, for example, that when I go and watch Shaun the Sheep, which I will inevitably be forced to do, that sheep don’t actually wear jumpers or drive cars, so give me some credit.

I came away feeling much more disturbed by the trailers that were shown before the film. The usual action films showing mindless violence and scantily clad women who serve no purpose except to look good; so-called romance films that portray women as manipulative and emotionally shallow. It seems that manipulation in a film is fine, if it’s a woman manipulating a man. Equality indeed.

On a lighter note, whoever decided to show an ad for a lubricant just before an ad for an erectile dysfunction helpline, deserves a medal.

And I will end on the best bit of the film. While you mainly just see some nipples and a bare bottom, you do get a flash of pubic hair, and I can happily report that it is all there, proud and bushy. It seems that grown women actually do have body hair after all, who knew? I bet you don’t get that with Shaun the Sheep. Not that I’d want to, of course, that would be weird.

So I promise never to mention this film again. Until the sequel comes out.


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Feminist in Not Hating 50 Shades Shocker!!

Unless you’ve been wearing a blindfold while living in a sex dungeon for the past few weeks you may have noticed that the 50 Shades film is coming out soon.

Is there any book that has been analysed to the extent that this book has? I just read someone’s blog where they listed 50 things in it that indicate what a wicked book it is. Jeez, for a book you absolutely hate with a passion (passion, get it?) you’re spending a lot of time in it. And the irony is that considering most of the complaints are about how manipulative and abusive it is, its haters are being pretty manipulative and abusive about, and towards, people who stick up for it. So we’re swapping one set of manipulation for another, and that winds me up and brings out my stubborn side. Because what I hate more than ever is being told what I should and shouldn’t think about something.

I read the books, mainly out of curiosity, but then I carried on because I actually did want to know what happened in the end. It wasn’t too bad. I actually ended up flicking through the sex scenes, which hasn’t happened with me and a book since…well since never. And no, I’m not a ‘bored, frustrated housewife’ as someone very offensively described its readers but you know, even if I was, what’s it to you anyway? Why shouldn’t a bored, frustrated woman read something like that? A bit of pure escapism. Bored, frustrated men get away with all kinds of things. It’s not as socially acceptable for women to talk or read about their sexuality so if this is what it takes to give someone a taste of erotic fiction, what’s the problem? A lot of women like that kind of story, the ‘plain, shy girl meets a glamorous man and turns into a beautiful swan’ type thing. And in the end it’s the main female character who manipulates him in to doing exactly what she wants.

There’s a lot of talk about the BDSM aspect. Some BDSM fans have complained, others haven’t, there’s no surprise there, not all BDSM fans think exactly the same. Like not all feminists think the same, (not that I’m comparing being a feminist to being into BDSM although jeez, sometimes you might as well have a ball gag in for all the notice people take of you) and actually, not all people think the same.

I witnessed a very smug discussion amongst women who should know better in which they were saying that if you need to tie someone up to have sex then you’re not doing it right, which completely misses the point of it. Sexual snobbery, like genre snobbery, is still snobbery and it should stop. It made me feel uncomfortable, like those conversations where women complain about their husbands wanting sex, ‘oh I’d rather have a cup of tea and a biscuit’ they chortle as they perpetuate the ‘sex is for men’ myth that we’re trying so hard to lose. You can never anticipate what might turn someone else on, so if the tampon scene in 50 Shades isn’t your thing, don’t dismiss it as weird, just accept it and move on.

I’ve been told I’m not a ‘proper’ feminist if I stick up for this book but seriously, it’s a story, someone’s fantasy and as I’ve ranted about before, who are we to tell someone else what they can and can’t fantasise about. And unless you’re really into it I don’t think there’s any way that the consent issues surrounding BDSM can be explained logically to someone who’s not, so if it’s not for you, don’t read it. Put it down, walk away and find another book, there are quite a few out there, some much worse than this one in terms of quality of writing and the depiction of spanking. But actually a lot of women have read this book, and will go and see the film, so it’s obviously doing something for quite a lot of people.

50 shades was in no way the best book I’ve ever read but it definitely wasn’t the worst. There are many more books out there that describe male domination over women in a much more subtle way, but nobody complains about those. Is it really the sex people have a problem with? A lot of the discussions about this book have been by women who seem to be sneering at the kind of women who might read it, it all feels a bit misogynistic to me and misogyny by other women makes me sad.

The things that happen in 50 Shades happen in films and books that are released every week, each with their own cunning marketing ploys, the difference is that this doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is. There’s no chance of anyone wandering into this film and being surprised. If you’re not comfortable with seeing it, you don’t have to. That’s much simpler than going to see an everyday popular film only to find that yet again the main character is male and the female character is dumbed down and sexualised. Look at all the fuss Frozen caused because for the first time ever there was a female lead character who was saved by another female. It was like Beauty and the Beast never happened, with its story of a shy, innocent girl being abused by a powerful older man. Oh wait…that sounds familiar.

So here’s a tip. If you want to go and see it, go and see it and ignore the sneery comments. And if you don’t, then don’t.


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Tits! Again! It’s like I’m obsessed.

So, today feminism had a victory. We can all give up and go home now. We can pack away our dungarees, shave our legs and start liking men again. We’ve won. Page 3 is no more. Or rather, the nipples on page 3 are no more. Obviously you can still see a woman in a skimpy bikini and there are actual bare nipples on the online version of the paper, but there’s no longer any chance that an unsuspecting man, in search of some decent Ukipper news to read, might suddenly be accosted by the sight of a stray nipple in his newspaper. Because nipples remind men of piano legs. Or something…

But of course, while the nipples have gone the sexualisation of women is still everywhere; the judgemental photos of female celebrities in bikinis, the opinions of women shot down with discussions about how ugly they are. The disregard of talented female actresses as we say, never mind her role in the film, what was she wearing and could we see her tits?

There’s still a huge gap between how men and women are portrayed.

A man appears on a talent show and mentions that he didn’t pursue his singing career because of his young daughter. The audience, mostly women, goes wild and roars out ‘Aww!’ as one. They are practically wetting themselves with excitement, he is a walking, talking Athena poster. Meanwhile, a billion women behind him sigh and get on with the housework. They too gave up their dreams to look after a child, and often a husband, and do a crappy job that they hate because it’s not quite as good as the one they had before, but they have no choice because they disappeared once they gave birth and they’re just grateful that their boss doesn’t complain to much when they have to leave early to take their kid to the doctors, so they can’t complain too much or make a fuss and nobody cheers them. The most we can do is tell them they look like shit, can’t cook and are bad mothers.

And our daughters starve themselves and get rid of their pubic hair and try to look like some model in a magazine who doesn’t even look like that herself so yes, this is a triumph, of sorts, but it feels like an empty one.

It’s not that I’m offended by naked breasts, or even topless models. If that’s what they want to do then get them out, spray some cold water on those nipples and smile. But there’s a place for that kind of thing and that place isn’t in a newspaper. Because what does offend me is how normal it has become to see scantily clad women in amongst news items and car ads. I’m not against nudity, we need more normal, un-photoshopped naked bodies around, but I am against the overall portrayal of women in the media.

One of the things I hated most about Page 3 was the text next to the photographs. For example, ‘Bunty, 23 from Cheshire says that she lives her life according to the teachings of Carl Jung’. The joke being, of course, that an attractive woman would never in a million years have heard of Jung, never mind know what his philosophy was. Imagine! Oh how we laugh as we battle yet another stereotype.

And I don’t think for one minute that Mr. Murdoch did this because he suddenly realised that he was adding to the general degradation of women, in the same way that I don’t think any of the football clubs who backed away from a deal with Ched Evans did so because he raped an unconscious woman and then lied about it. It’s all about money, and the fear of advertisers and sponsors pulling out, nothing else.

So yes, it’s great, and look at what we did! But don’t forget to look at all the other stuff we still need to do.


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Reasons I’m angry.

This is my last blog post of the year. I should be banging on about New Years resolutions that remind you that you’re not good enough/thin enough/sober enough/productive enough. But we all know that’s just nonsense and you should give yourself a break.

So instead I’m going to answer a question that a couple of people have asked after reading my blog, which is – ‘why are you so angry?’

I don’t really think of myself as angry, more wearily accepting of it all. I’ve written about the importance of feminism before, here and explained that while I feel strongly, I’m not about to throw myself under a horse any time soon.

But if I am angry, there are plenty of reasons why. Here are just a few.

  • Because nothing seems to have changed, we take one step forwards and two steps back.

  • Because even on the eve of 2015 women who don’t want children are patronised and seen as unnatural, they make us nervous and constantly have to explain themselves in a way men who don’t want children don’t. But then conversely, women who do have children are seen as mindless. They don’t contribute to society in a way that anyone can understand or measure, so they disappear for a while until there is a point to them again. Women who go back to work have to explain themselves, as do women who want to stay at home with their kids. The really sad thing is that most of this explaining is to other women.

  • Because it still seems that women are either attractive or clever and people still express surprise when they are both. There’s an idea that women who like things like make-up are shallow, as if every bit of make up you wear burns another brain cell. Surely there’s not enough room in the female brain to hold information about eye-liner AND politics? So be pretty at all times, but not too pretty, or too fat. Or too thin either actually as either way you’ll be picked on. Please keep up. *Disclaimer: Society reserves the right to change these rules randomly, and with no logic.

  • Because everyone tells you to breastfeed but then expects you to do it out of sight. It’s exhausting. One minute we’re being told to get them out, then we have to put them away again because we didn’t get them out in the right way, or we got them out too much or they didn’t look right or Nigel Farage was tired and feeling a bit offended by breasts. Jeez, it’s like you women think they belong to you or something.

  • Because women are still blamed for ‘getting themselves’ raped. We can send a space probe to Mars and grow a human ear on a rat’s back, but when a man rapes an unconscious woman the emphasis is still on what SHE did. Male instincts and impulses are still used as a defence and it’s the woman’s job to make sure she doesn’t provoke these by adjusting her behaviour, preferably by wearing more and drinking less and just generally being less noticeable. There are all kinds of guidelines out there about how to avoid being raped, they even have ads on the back of buses. It’s maybe time to have a few guidelines out there for men to help them avoid raping in the first place, but what do I know.

  • Because women are still separated into stereotypes. They either talk about fluff and nonsense, or are planning their dungaree-clad revenge on poor, unsuspecting men who are only trying to hold the damn door open! They are witches or sluts or nags or virgins and women still feel they should laugh along at this shit in case they come across as a man-hating, vagina-studying killjoy who can’t take a joke.

  • Because we’re still having to apologise for our sexuality. If we want sex we’re sluts and if we don’t we’re frigid. Society wants to sexualise women at every opportunity but only on certain terms, the minute women try to take control of their own sexuality it has to be legislated against to remind them that they still need men. It’s fine to want sex, as long as it’s the right kind of sex and at the right time.

  • Because I was recently told (by a man from a privileged, male-dominated background) that women ‘haven’t had it too bad really’, and that the reason there aren’t as many classic writers/artists etc is because women just aren’t as good at that kind of thing. Also, the pay gap is a myth and the reason a woman earns three-quarters of a man’s salary in a comparable job is because the lazy cow is hardly at work because of all her kids and periods and ripping her tights or having a bad hair day or something.

  • Because on more than one occasion, I have had to explain to my daughters why an unknown man in the street asked to look at Mummy’s tits.

  • Because apparently there are men out there who will pay good money to be taught how to get a woman into bed. Presumably there is nothing more erotic than having sex with a partner who had to be tricked into bed with you. Phwoarr, where do I sign up?

  • Because in films and on TV they still have ditsy, blonde characters and strong female leads are in the minority. There’ll be the odd one here and there but she’ll probably have issues with drink or sex. There’ll be some major flaw, something to reassure us and explain why she’s not at home ironing her husband’s shirts like a normal woman. They are never just there on their own merit, these freaks of nature. And she wont have big breasts, because the big breasted women are just that, the big-breasted woman. Their enormous bosoms literally fill the screen, leaving no room for anything like a personality. If they do manage to hoist a big breasted woman on screen using heavy-duty pulleys and a wheelbarrow then she’ll be the one killed off first.

  • Because our daughters are singing along to songs by men telling them that even though you’re saying no, they know you mean yes.

  • Because when a woman, particularly one in the public eye, makes a mistake or has an affair, or takes a naked photo of herself, she is a slut, a whore, a bad mother, a bad person. A man makes a mistake, has an affair, takes a naked photo of himself, he is a loveable rogue, he is just a good person who made a bad decision and was probably forced to act that way by a woman flaunting her wares without consideration for his natural, manly urges. He’s just being a man, something that has an edge of pride, while acting like a woman is an insult.

These are just a few things and I don’t expect you to feel the same, or even agree with me. Everyone has their own stuff, whether it’s politics or the arts or fashion or human rights or teapots or donkeys, just as long as there are things out there that make you feel something, anything. So if you are out there wondering why I’m so angry, maybe stop a minute and ask yourself why you are not.

And with that jolly little piece I’ll wish you all a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading.


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If a woman sits in a corner breastfeeding and then ejaculates in a forest…or something.

Ah women. What messes have you been getting yourselves into now? I turn my back for a couple of weeks and there you go, flaunting yourselves shamelessly, ostentatiously even, all over the place. Feeding your babies like it’s the most natural thing in the world, in a public place! Put them away! Don’t be fooled by all those ads everywhere that show breasts; those are different breasts, silly, different rules. Please keep up. We want to see your boobs whenever we can, just as long as there’s some kind of sexual angle to them that we can use to sell stuff, anything else makes us nervous. All that mysterious female stuff that suggests you’re not just here for a man’s sexual pleasure is not on, so stop it.

It seems that some people actually get offended by seeing a breastfeeding woman, but hey, who can blame them? We’ve all seen them, sitting with their cappuccinos, tops off, tits out, wearing party hats and sparkly comedy specs, shouting ‘hey everyone, get a load of these bad boys!’ at the top of their voices while squirting milk into their babies mouths from across the room, shouting ‘Bullseye!’ when it hits the target. No? What do you mean every breastfeeding woman you’ve ever seen (and all the ones you haven’t seen because you haven’t even noticed them) has just been sat quietly with a baby tucked under her top? Where’s the fun in that?

Those babies are all me, me, me demanding to be fed, just like a real person. Wont somebody think of poor Nigel Farage!

I read some of the comments in one of the many articles about this and one man compared feeding a baby in public to a couple having sex in public. Having breastfed two babies without showing anyone my vagina, I can only assume I was doing it wrong.

Talking about sex in public and double standards I really need to talk about porn this week. But don’t panic, it’ll be fine, my dad doesn’t read my blog anyway and even if he did he would have stopped reading this last year when I wrote about swearing and made everyone say the C-word out loud.

Whatever your feelings about porn, it’s here to stay and this week it was subjected to some new restrictions about what can and can’t be shown in online porn. Just remember, this is for our own good.

These things include the use of power tools (don’t ask, and for the love of God, don’t google that), caning, water sports and face sitting among many other things that are perfectly normal to be into.

I don’t like any kind of censorship, it’s a slippery slope, if we let this happen, what’s next?

But also, it worries me that a lot of the things in this list are things that depict female pleasure. It seems that anything goes, as long as it’s a women being dominated or degraded and not a man.

Female ejaculation can’t be shown, partly because it’s dangerous (it could be wee! Wee I tell you, and we all know how risky that stuff is) and there is some uncertainty about whether it even exists. There is no proof, no proper scientific proof done by a proper scientific man, so it must be nonsense. It sounds like a case of ‘if a woman ejaculates in a forest but there is no man there to understand it, did it really happen?’ but hey what do I know. Just out of interest though, it is perfectly acceptable to show a man, or indeed many men, ejaculating over a woman, or to show a woman having a big penis shoved down her throat until she gags, but god forbid we should see anything that suggests a woman is enjoying herself.

You could argue that this is a good thing because porn is degrading to women, but if that’s the case change the industry itself, not the actual content. And whatever you do, don’t tell us what we can and can’t fantasise about, especially not under the guise of protecting us. There’s no point pretending to be on our side when at the same time you’d need a blindfold not to have seen all the trailers around for the 50 Shades of Grey film, and all the other films and TV programmes out there that regularly depict women being dominated or degraded either sexually or emotionally.

The message here is that female sexuality, like female ejaculation and breasts, is an unknown thing and needs to be controlled.

And one last thing. In football a woman scored a goal, a really good goal. Did everybody see it? Yes? Good. Now can we please shut up about it or we run the risk of being more offensive than we’re trying so hard not to be.


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I like big butts and I cannot lie…

So there I was, doing my usual morning perusal of the internet; finding out if anyone famous had died so that I could post a tweet claiming to be more upset than anyone else, seeing if any more wombats had been photographed sitting in teacups, when there was a flash of light. There in front of me, looking like two bald men fighting their way out of a bin liner, was some woman’s arse.

I don’t know much about Kim Kardashian, but as it looks like I am to be intimately acquainted with her backside, (something that usually only happens when that person has at least taken me out for dinner or something) I feel that I am qualified to talk about it.

Firstly, wowsers. Photo shopped and injected with silicone or not, that is one amazing arse. Once you see it you can’t un-see it. It follows you around the room. You shut your eyes and it’s there, like when you look at the sun. It’s so damn shiny I almost want to touch it. (And then scrub my hands with antibacterial handwash, obvs). But obviously, it makes me a little bit cross.

The reason it makes me cross is that it highlights the unspoken rules we are required to live by. It forces us to judge women by their appearance alone and starts yet another conversation about women’s bodies, as well as women’s choices. We are told that this kind of thing should make us feel liberated. But I don’t feel liberated, or empowered looking at this, (I mainly needed some soothing balm for my burnt-out retinas), it just makes me feel exhausted, like we make one step forward only to be pushed back again. It’s all being done quite subtly and in a way that lets us think that anything goes when it comes to our bodies, and anything does go, just as long as it fits into The Rules.

Look, they say, big is beautiful, and then go on to show us photographs of size 14 women.

A recent number one song, called All About That Bass is hailed as a song celebrating body positivity, but if you actually listen to the words it’s basically saying that it’s fine to be big, because believe it or not there are some men out there who actually like big women. I know, right? It sounds crazy but yes tubbs, there might even be someone who has a thing for a chubster like you, so it’s all fine. As long as it can be validated by men then you go ahead let yourself go, love. Have a big old arse. Just make sure it’s not any big old arse, we don’t want any droop or flab. And reign it in a bit when you get to a size 14. And don’t forget to slag off those skinny bitches on the way. Brilliant, have another pie.

These are all misguided assurances. Said to our faces while behind our backs they’re laughing at how yet again they’re getting away with making us feel shit. Shine that arse up as much as you want, this is still publishing exploitative photos of women, it’s just got a different title. It doesn’t really matter how they get there, how liberating they tell us it is, the end result is just the same. We’ve still ended up slagging off a woman, judging her for her appearance and her decisions in a way that a man’s body/life choices would never be scrutinised. We’re always seeing photos of David Beckham in his kecks, but not once have I heard anyone discussing whether or not this makes him a bad father, or whether it means that he must sleep around and is a bad person, yet Kim Kardashian has been called a whore and a bitch, as well as a bad mother.

We constantly see naked or topless women in the media, it’s all part of advertising and I’ve talked about the mixed messages and contradictions of breasts before, here. We are all allowed to look at Kim Kardashian’s alarmingly shiny bum as much as we like, but if someone posts a picture on facebook of themselves breastfeeding their baby, it’s instantly removed. It’s all about control. This year some celebrities were hacked and some naked pictures were leaked. There was outrage. Not at the fact that they were hacked, but the fact that they had taken the photographs in the first place. Sluts, the lot of them, they deserved everything they got. How dare they take control of their own bodies?! It seems it’s a case of get your tits out for the lads, but wait, only when the lads say so, right? Can’t have you getting any ideas about your own body now, can we.

Keira Knightley took a stand against photoshopping and published some un-photoshopped pics of her boobs earlier this year. Which was great, it’s refreshing to see things like that. But she was still pouting seductively, she still had make up on, her hair was wet like she’d just stepped out of a bukkake party and in the accompanying text the emphasis was on it being a raunchy photo shoot. Don’t panic lads, it’s OK, let ’em think they’re running the show but don’t worry it’s still all about whether or not we’d still shag her despite her having such tiny tits.

It just emphasises how yet again women are just doing it wrong, reminding us that we can have all the PhDs we want but we will still mainly be judged by the size of our tits, or, in this case, our incredibly shiny arses. And yes, I know I’ve mentioned the shinyness of it a lot, but jeez, that is one shiny bottom.


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Renee, Robbie, Sluts and Sportsmen

This week certain news stories have made me cross, mainly because of the messages they’re giving out about how we view certain men and women. And yes, I am still going on about this.

Last week, a famous paralympian was sentenced to five years for killing his girlfriend, although actually he may only serve 10 months of that. 10 months. That means he’ll miss this Christmas but will be home with plenty of time to plan his next one. How nice for him. I’m sure the family of the woman he shot, four times, will be thrilled that he gets a second chance.

Apparently he’s a broken man, his life and career are ruined. The paralympic committee have been talking about all the great work he’s done, desperately trying to separate his private life from his professional life. Except he mixed them both up in one big, bloody mess the night he shot his girlfriend. Four times.

Unfortunately, her life actually is broken beyond repair, she wont get any second chances. We need to remember that this isn’t something that happened to him, he did this all by himself. He picked up the gun, he pulled the trigger. Four times. He apparently reacted on impulse. Four times. Did I mention that he shot her four times? Good. Poor lamb. Easily done. Who hasn’t heard a noise in the middle of the night and headed off with heavy-duty gun to shoot someone four times through a door without checking/noticing where their partner is?

Meanwhile in the UK a footballer was released after serving half his sentence for raping a young woman. He’s all over the newspapers asking for forgiveness from his victim. Sorry, my mistake, I don’t mean victim, I mean girlfriend, because to ask for forgiveness from his victim would imply that he has some responsibility for what he did, and he doesn’t.

There are photos of him sat with his girlfriend, in that classic ‘woman-silently-standing-by-her-man’ pose that nobody really gets and he keeps talking about his infidelity. Like that’s the worst part of this. But it serves a purpose. It dilutes the original case, shifting the focus onto what the victim did, not what he did.

At the time she was called a slut. We all love a bit of slut-shaming and if there’s a choice between criticising a man and criticising a woman, the woman gets it every time, probably because she was asking for it. Because the message here is that she was responsible for what happened. She was drunk. She probably had high heels on, and lipstick. She ended up in a hotel room with two men and whatever you may think about that she did not give her consent to sex. But what’s a poor man to do who only has his impulses to rely on? Well apparently, what he has to do is take advantage of her and force himself inside her even though she’s unconscious.

The message in both of these cases seems to be that a man’s impulsive, aggressive response to a situation is totally acceptable and should not be the focus of the resulting court case. It’s human nature, innit.

While I don’t want the footballer to stay in prison for the rest of his life, he absolutely should accept responsibility and turn it around. He’s a role model for lots of young boys. He could use that fame and money to show how wrong his behaviour was, and to encourage respect for women. That aggressiveness, which is a vital part of his skill at football, needs to be channelled in the right way.

But anyway, never mind all that. There were other, more important things to get worked up about last week because, for the love of God, what has Renee Zellweger done to her face!!? Forget your murderers and rapists, bless them, they were only acting on impulse and it wasn’t their fault, but a woman getting older? In public? How dare she, does she not know the rules?

(I actually wish someone would write out the rules for me and laminate them or something because it’s hard to keep up. I think we’re supposed to make ourselves look pretty at all times, but not TOO pretty, silly, because then some poor man might accidentally, impulsively, end up inside us, ruining his life in the process).

I personally couldn’t care less if she’s had surgery, it doesn’t impact on my life in any way. But if she has then it’s partly the repsonsibility of the very media outlets that are mocking her now. We’re bombarded with before and after pictures of these poor women. If I want to see some woman with fluctuating weight and the occasional (OK, regular) bad choice of outfit, I’ll look through my own facebook photos, thank you very much.

But as I said in my last blog post, women of a certain age in the public eye are a bit of a grey area (no pun intended). Once they’ve passed the age where it’s socially acceptable to be sexually attractive, there’s a brief holding period where they may possibly be called a MILF if they’re really lucky (what an honour! I’m SO flattered that you think we deserve a special name for still being vaguely shaggable even though we’re so obviously over the hill), or they might get to play a cougar so that we can all laugh at the thought of them still wanting to have sex, poor, deluded, sad cow. But after that forget it. There is no 50-year old woman-shaped box out there.

During this ‘awkward’ stage I think they’re supposed to go off to the part of society that’s like one of those big sanatoriums in Switzerland. Where they can sit around with blankets on their knees, drinking tea laced with bromide and evening primrose oil, waiting to be released again when it’s more obvious what their role should be, that of a Grandmother. Phewsers. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone knows where they are now, there’s no funny business. Everyone knows what to expect from a 70 year old woman. Their osteoporosis makes them nice and bendy so they fit quite nicely into the Granny/Character actress box (apart from those leopard-print clad rebels, but if we laugh at them they might go away).

So what we seem to be saying this week is that men get away with stuff because that’s how they are, but women can get away with absolutely nothing and are scrutinised at every step so they have a duty to make sure they look great while doing it.

Which leads me to my final little rant. Robbie Williams has had a baby. Well, obviously, he hasn’t actually had the baby, it was his wife but he still managed to make it all about him. He filmed the whole thing to show us how great his wife looked through labour. Because it’s a little known fact that women are generally lazy cows who use any old excuse to let themselves go. I don’t care if your pelvis IS splitting in two and you can feel your actual flesh actually tearing, put some lippy on and smile, damn you. And try not to punch your rubber-faced idiot of a husband as he sings to you while a man you don’t know puts his whole arm inside your vagina and tells you you’re not pushing hard enough.

I’m not sure where to go after that last sentence, so I’ll just leave it there and run away.


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We bleed, we get old. Deal with it.

I haven’t got a television. Not for any high and mighty ‘I’m so much better than you and will further my mind without the aid of popular culture’ reasons, but because our television broke a few years ago when we moved house and we never got around to fixing it.

We do still watch things on the laptop but most of what we watch is something that we’ve particularly chosen to watch, it’s never just on. That makes a huge difference.

One of the good things about this is that we never have to sit through adverts, but this weekend we watched something with ads in and I must have a low tolerance after not seeing any for so long, because I was ranting after the first two.

Ads don’t seem to have changed much They’re still telling us how rubbish we are, that we need to be younger, thinner and smell nicer. That our hair is awful and our skin is bad.

But the ads that are aimed at just women really worry me.

First of all it was the sanitary towel ad. Brilliant, I thought, let’s see if we’ve moved on from the ‘woman in tight, white hot pants on a skateboard’ scenario that we know and love…

Nope, they’re still doing the thing with the white trousers. The ad showed women sailing, bungee jumping, the lot, while in the background there was a recording of some period advice from the 1950s, telling girls that they shouldn’t draw attention to themselves, the idea being that the women on the screen who were flinging themselves out of planes and pogoing around nightclubs were a positive contrast to the old advice.

I get the thinking behind these ads but it feels like just another thing we need to be feeling inadequate about. Of course periods shouldn’t stop us doing what we want to do, but while I don’t think we should go back to the days of bulky sanitary belts and being told that you shouldn’t wash your hair during your period, I also don’t think we should be in total denial about periods.

Got stomach ache and no energy? Get up you lazy cow, grab those white jeans and roller skates and show your ovaries who’s boss.

Got a migraine and a desire to watch back-to-back Downton, weeping into a bucket of tea? Stop whining and go and throw yourself off a tall building, using tampon strings as a bungee cord. Slacker.

Next up was an ad for vitamin supplements for the older woman. The ad shows a woman in her office (what do you mean you don’t have your own office? What have you being doing all this time? Stop bleeding and go and do a parachute jump, damn you), with her highlights and white trousers. (White trousers seem to be the ad world symbol of freedom, ah…the irony as the only way I could ever keep a pair of white anything clean is if you wheel me around in a glass box like David Blaine.) She’s standing behind her desk, talking about how age doesn’t matter. They don’t even let her sit down, poor cow, that’s how much age doesn’t matter. She smiles at the camera and says “I don’t want to sleep much, in case I miss anything.” Jeez, really?

She looks knackered. She’s been travelling and has just got back from Ibiza, where she danced ALL night. Did she mention how age doesn’t matter? Good, because it doesn’t. I think she must have a couple of pints of red bull mixed with cocaine behind that big desk of hers because even watching this is making me want a lie down.

Next, her young male assistant comes over, all doe-eyed, to ask her opinion about a magazine cover. Of course, the magazine cover in question has a young woman on it because we all know that bloody age does bloody matter and women with baggy necks do not sell magazines, however many nights they spend dancing in Ibiza.

She flicks her brittle hair at the young man and grins, the message being that if she can dance all night and not sleep and have young men flirt with her, despite her being so clearly over the hill and not worthy of any man’s attention, then so can you, stop making excuses.

So not only are we not allowed to give in to those pesky periods, we’re not allowed to age either.

Tsk, women, stop being so crap with your inconvenient periods and your ageing, you want the same chances as men? Here you are, neck a few pills, stuff a chemically laden pad between your legs and off you go. Then maybe you can stop making men feel so uncomfortable with your weirdo bodies.

Imagine that same ad but with a 50 something man instead, leering down at his 25 yr old female assistant, talking about how he never sleeps and spends all night dancing. No? But there’s a supplement for men too, so why aren’t they pushing that? Because men don’t give a shit. Ageing men aren’t under the same pressure from society. They can carry on reading the news, presenting TV shows, having kids for as long as they like. There is no best before date for men, even when they start to smell funny.

Women are being hidden away after 40 because in society’s eyes they no longer fill their role as a sexual being, they confuse everyone with their confidence and couldn’t-care-less attitude. It’s like society doesn’t really know what to do with them.

Where does the assumption come from that these women are desperate to get their youth back? Because the women I see are perfectly happy with who they are. They have freedom. The freedom to walk down the street, for example, without being leered at because those men who used to leer are far too busy ruining the day of that 25yr old girl over there who left the house this morning feeling pretty OK until some idiot told her she had nice tits, and now she’s wondering if she made that happen because she wore ‘that’ top, because society tells us, and often even other women tell us, that it’s women who control these things, who take responsibility, not the men who say them. You don’t like it? Stay inside.

We’re constantly being bombarded with a kind of Stepford wife scenario where we’re told we can have it all. We can have babies and a full time career and a pelvic floor made of pure steel, and a bikini line that is just the right side of porn and we can make cupcakes while wearing high heels and having a multiple orgasm, hanging off the end of a bungee cord. Tired yet?

PS. I know men don’t have it easy either, although their pressures are different. Men are portrayed in ads as either some alpha male-James Bond type with a gold watch and a sports car, white shirt open at the neck, or as a football-mad imbecile who can’t be trusted to empty the dishwasher. Not in white trousers anyway.

*Disclaimer: No white trousers were harmed in the writing of this blog post.


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