In praise of East European girlfriends

So, Italian TV show offers this list:

‘1. They are all mums, but after giving birth they regain their figure
2. They are always sexy. No tracksuits or pyjamas
3. They forgive cheating
4. They are willing to let their man rule
5. They are perfect housewives. They learn all house works at young age
6. They don’t whine or get clingy, and they never hold a grudge.’

The show was thus cancelled.

Sure, Patriarchy Rulz and all that. But might not young western European women take it to be a little bit of advice into what the blokes in their lives might actually want? Sure, they’re not going to get it (the list isn’t true, obviously) but understanding the aspirations might help, nu?

Eating their own

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian novelist and feminist, has condemned a “language orthodoxy” on the political left after she endured a vitriolic backlash over comments about transgender women.

The author of Half of a Yellow Sun plunged into a row about identity politics when she suggested in an interview last week that the experiences of transgender women, who she said are born with the privileges the world accords to men, are distinct from those of women born female. She was criticised for implying that trans women are not “real women”.

Leave them to it…..

I’m sorry but I really do not believe these people

Smith said: “Teenagers and young girls are being forced to wrap or stuff toilet paper down their knickers, to prevent them from bleeding all over themselves while at schools. The cost of sanitary products are just too much for some girls and their families, and it’s leading to missing school and it’s putting their health at risk.”

“It’s absolutely despicable in the 21st century that girls are being forced to comprise their education simply because an absolute necessity is unavailable and not affordable.”

I am absolutely certain that there are parts of the world where £1 or £2 a month is a large amount, one that might well be spent elsewhere.

I do not believe this of modern Britain. Sorry, I simply do not.

I do not believe these people

I woke up this week to the news that we were being urged to buy tampons for a worthy cause again. According to the charity Freedom4Girls, a school in Leeds has reported that girls are missing school because they can’t afford to buy menstrual products. In response, individuals and charities are donating disposable menstrual products, and calling for them to be provided free in all schools.

Sorry, in modern Britain £1 a month is not the sort of sum which people cannot afford. OK, call it £2 a month if you wish. But this as evidence of poverty is the purest bollocks.

And look at the wondrous elision here:

In a letter published in the British Medical Journal in 2010, Dr Daniel Hindley noted that in a Bolton NHS foundation trust study, “menstruation problems” was listed as the fifth most common school absence reason among 251 primary and secondary pupils referred to the trust.

And as a “Lass war” protester, I need to be clear that this doesn’t just happen in the north of England. And it doesn’t just happen just in the global south. Please don’t come back to me in five years’ time with a news story about someone in the home counties skipping school because of periods. That’s certainly already happening.

We start with young birds not being able to afford tampons, that bollocks. We get to menstruation problems meaning school absences – something that we’re all sure does happen. But menstruation problems and not being able to afford tampons are not the same thing, are they?

Buying tampons for people only lasts for a certain period. It doesn’t address the taboos or end poverty – it feeds right into the rampant capitalism and disposable culture that got us here in the first place.

Yep, it’s all about class war really.

It’s important that these things get punished

Among missteps by the prosecution was the suppression of evidence that Bishop previously filed a false police report accusing another man of rape, according to court papers filed by Mitchell and other attorneys with Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent.

For non-prosecution of a false rape claim could lead to other claims being made, also potentially false:

Andrew Wilson, a broad smile on his face and no bitterness in his heart, clasped hands with his family on his first day of freedom on Thursday after spending 32 years in prison for a murder he denied committing.

She pointed particularly to a weeks-long delay before police began canvassing for suspects with Hanson’s girlfriend, Saladena Bishop, who was 17 at the time. Bishop was the prosecution’s only eyewitness.

Over to the feminists here.

Perhaps still an excess of testosterone remaining here

A champion fell-runner has been sentenced to 18 years in jail for the attempted murder of a UK Athletics official at a stadium in Birmingham.

Lauren Jeska, 42, from Machynlleth in Powys, pleaded guilty to trying to kill Ralph Knibbs, who is head of human resources and welfare at the sport’s British governing body as well as a former professional rugby player.

In what was described as a “cold, calculated attack”, the transgender athlete stabbed Knibbs multiple times in the head and neck after a dispute over whether she should be able to compete in women’s races.

Interestingly confusing

Woman, 26, appears in court charged with raping man twice.’ I thought this was a traffic-stopper of a news story, too. How did that work, I wondered.

Under English law, which is what applies here, rape is defined as penetration with the penis without consent or a reasonable belief that consent had been given.

Women do not generally have penii so it’s not an offence that women can generally commit.

There can of course be those who are genetically male, or perhaps even genetically female but physically express as male, who thus have a penis but declare that they identify as female.

Which is what is the explanation here. Bloke in a dress, one who hasn’t had the tackle done, allegedly raped someone twice.

At which point I shall reveal myself to be terribly old fashioned. As in with PJ O’Rourke upon this sort of thing, there are times when such differences make no difference at all. If Miss is how you wish to be addressed (or Xe or any other variant) then those who can trouble themselves to be polite to you should do as you wish. When deciding upon other matters, like whether you’ve just raped someone through forcible buggery we’ll have a look at the more basic attributes thank you very much.

At which point the fun question here. So, if convicted, should Xe rapist serve in a women’s or men’s prison? He does self identify as female so therefore in a women’s presumably. But then there’s that penis issue which would seem to militate against that. Or should we, given the evidence that she is more interested in men as a sexual object stick Xe in the women’s anyway?

So, who noticed?

American women go on strike to highlight their clout

That clout was how much? GDP dipped? The electricity went off? Sammiches were not made?

Of course, if consumer spending dropped that would be serious but anyone think that consumption was part of their strike instead of production?

About 1,000 people gathered


Germany’s Lufthansa airline had six all-female crews flying from several cities in the country to Berlin. Sweden’s women’s football team replaced the names on the backs of their jerseys with tweets from Swedish women. Finland announced a new $160,000 International Gender Equality Prize. Women also held rallies in Tokyo and Madrid.

Mmmhm, hmmm

Actress Anne Hathaway spoke during 2017 International Women’s Day at United Nations Headquarters.

Pointy elbows.

This is a surprise in what manner?

A new report revealed hundreds of Marines are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Defense for sharing explicit photos of their female colleagues in a lewd Facebook group.

The group titled ‘Marines United’ had hundreds, possibly thousands of photos of unsuspecting servicewomen, some who were on active duty.

There were 30,000 followers of the secret Facebook group and many members made sexually aggressive comments about the victims. Some suggested in the 2,500 photo comments that the servicemen perform sexual acts with the women and film it for the other members.

Take 182,000 young people, male and female.

Get them as fit as you can.

Marvel when sex breaks out.

No, I don’t advocate gawking over nuddie pics of co-workers either but why the fuck is anyone surprised?

There’s a reason 50 Shades sold so well love

The Dilemma I am a woman in my early 20s, about to graduate from university and consider myself very independent with a healthy, normal, happy life. About two years ago I started watching porn. I didn’t even know what to look for, then I began to develop my own tastes and searched for specific things. What worries me is that my searches are for simulations of abuse – something that doesn’t reflect at all what I feel about the subject. I hate patriarchy and rape culture. Another issue that worries me is that now, when having sex with my boyfriend, I invent abuse stories and play them in my head in order to reach orgasm. I don’t like to role play any of those fantasies, I like to feel loved when having sex. I feel like none of this is healthy nor nurturing for my self development. Is it really that worthy of preoccupation?

What you think you know about the world isn’t quite what you do know about the world perhaps?

A couple of weeks is an era now, eh?

‘Something’s happening …’ How the Women’s March inspired a new era of resistance
Since Trump’s inauguration, women in the US and around the world have been organising, protesting and preparing to run for office – and the wave is growing every day

It’ll last until there’s a new nail polish available. Oooh! Shiny!

And there is one little thing that ever so slightly grates. Why is it that the most privileged generation of women in the entire history of our species is whining so much?

These stories just never do add up, do they?

So, woman has child with possibly brutal bloke, leaves, goes from homeless shelter to small apartment, welfare keeps her going. Night classes, now she’s a writer.

Excellent, well done. And of course the story is that those welfare programs must exist for the next person to be able to come through. OK, fine with me.

But there’s always something in these stories which doesn’t quite gel, isn’t there?

I didn’t have a family who could financially or even emotionally support me. My daughter’s father still tried to cut me down every chance he could. I worked my way through school, but I couldn’t have done that if I hadn’t had help meeting basic living standards. Food stamps, rental assistance, and tax credits were the things that kept us afloat. I received utility assistance, and sometimes a voucher for gas so I could get to work. I used WIC (Women, Infants and Children) coupons for milk, bread, eggs, and peanut butter, which became the staples of our diet.

A month after I graduated college, I gave birth to a second little girl. Eventually we were able to move into safe and secure housing I could afford, and it meant I could focus on my chosen career as a writer.

Second baby just appeared, did it?


A Polish nationalist member of the European Parliament may be punished after he said women “must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent”.
The parliament’s president is investigating whether Janusz Korwin-Mikke broke the body’s rules with his remarks to fellow MEPs.
The rules ban defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behaviour.

Saying that the little darlin’s are weaker and smaller is true, on average, and a claim of less intelligence is not defamatory, racist nor xenophobic.

So what they mean is that we don’t like him saying that so we’ll have to find some excuse to punish him.


At least fifteen wedding guests were injured when a Holiday Inn staircase collapsed as they posed for photographs.
Andrew Hughes, 29, and bride Amy-Lenna Bryce, 26, were celebrating their vows at the Hemel Hempstead hotel when the steps crashed down.

My word, how did that happen?

Sexism at Uber

After the first couple of weeks of training, I chose to join the team that worked on my area of expertise, and this is where things started getting weird. On my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy time finding new partners but he wasn’t. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said, but he couldn’t help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.

Uber was a pretty good-sized company at that time, and I had pretty standard expectations of how they would handle situations like this. I expected that I would report him to HR, they would handle the situation appropriately, and then life would go on – unfortunately, things played out quite a bit differently. When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man’s first offense, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to. Upper management told me that he “was a high performer” (i.e. had stellar performance reviews from his superiors) and they wouldn’t feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just an innocent mistake on his part.

I was then told that I had to make a choice: (i) I could either go and find another team and then never have to interact with this man again, or (ii) I could stay on the team, but I would have to understand that he would most likely give me a poor performance review when review time came around, and there was nothing they could do about that. I remarked that this didn’t seem like much of a choice, and that I wanted to stay on the team because I had significant expertise in the exact project that the team was struggling to complete (it was genuinely in the company’s best interest to have me on that team), but they told me the same thing again and again. One HR rep even explicitly told me that it wouldn’t be retaliation if I received a negative review later because I had been “given an option”. I tried to escalate the situation but got nowhere with either HR or with my own management chain (who continued to insist that they had given him a stern-talking to and didn’t want to ruin his career over his “first offense”).

So I left that team, and took quite a few weeks learning about other teams before landing anywhere (I desperately wanted to not have to interact with HR ever again). I ended up joining a brand-new SRE team that gave me a lot of autonomy, and I found ways to be happy and do amazing work. In fact, the work I did on this team turned into the production-readiness process which I wrote about in my bestselling (!!!) book Production-Ready Microservices.

Umm, this is sexism?

It’s a number of things, sure, including most undesirable that management should be propositioning those who work for them, but sexism?

The other stuff about organisational chaos and bureaucratic backstabbing seems like every large organisation everywhere everywhen.


She may be known as the Queen of the Aga saga, but Joanna Trollope claims that the moniker is sexist and “damaging” to her literary career.

The author, whose tales of rural intrigue have made her into a household name, said that the Aga saga tag had been applied to her novels as a result of gender discrimination within the literary establishment.

Then again, in a world where some seriously claim that standing while peeing is sexist what is there that cannot be claimed as sexism?

All seems sensible

Judges are labouring under antiquated notions of chivalry in awarding women maintenance payments which extend years into the future, despite the fact many divorcees go on to earn good salaries on their own, says a leading female peer.

A Bill tabled by Baroness Deech calling for a three year cap to be placed on most maintenance payments is now set to go to the Committee stage after passing its second reading in the House of Lords.

The cross bench peer says this would reflect the situation in Scotland, the rest of Europe and North America, where a short time limit is set on maintenance payments in divorce cases. Baroness Deech says that far from doing women a favour the law as it stands in England is both patronising and stops them being treated seriously in the workplace.

“If there is one thing that stops women getting back on their feet and being treated seriously and equally at work it is the assumption throughout the legal system that once a woman is married she is somehow disabled and incapable ever of managing on her own for the rest of her life. It is a very serious impediment to equality.”

It’s entirely possible to design a reasonable sort of contract here. Money from before the marriage is personal, not part of the marriage. Anything earned in the marriage is 50/50 and the richer of the two offers a few year subsidy to allow the other to readjust upon divorce.

After that it’s just child maintenance to deal with.

The interesting question is why the law isn’t that way – I believe it is in part in Scotland.

Shrinking snowflakes

Midwives have been told to use the word “partner” during antenatal classes after a lesbian couple complained about a nurse using the term “fella”.

The duo told hospital bosses they are too uncomfortable to return to the sessions and were given one-to-one sessions following the incident.

Diddums, eh, the nasty words hurt me.

It’s really not that difficult for “fella” to mean the one who doesn’t have a baby’s head popping through their cervix, is it? A little tad of mental translation there would save all some bother.

You know, given that in what, 99.5%? 99./9%? of cases “fella” will be the correct word anyway?