Feminism

Rhiannon Lucy’s a bit girly for The Guardian these days, isn’t she?

I’m all locked down with nowhere to go – but that hasn’t killed my lust for fashion
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Modern feminism, eh?

100 years ago men said that women were only interested in fripperies like fashion. 50 years ago women proclaimed that they were strong, independent and interested in the important things in life, not the fripperies. Today the self-proclaimed feminist is back to the 1920s and flappers talking about hemlines.

It’s as with that thing about periods over the same time. Can’t employ women old boy, they go mad once a month! The Dworkins and others pointed out that this was bullshit because of course women have been dealing with life while menstruating for as long as the species has existed. Today the demand is that extra days off must be granted in order to have periods.

Can’t help thinking there’s a certain regression going on here.

Spinsters

The word ‘spinster’ is still freighted with pity and misogyny, yet the number of women living this way is growing. Emma John says it’s time to reconsider what it means to be ‘never-married’

It’s been fairly common historically…..so the question becomes, growing from what number to which?

Isn’t this just a damning condemnation of the patriarchy?

Equity found that 72% of female performers felt pressured to “look a particular way” in order to get work in comparison with 28% of male performers,

People who play dress up get judged on their looks. Differently across genders in a sexually dimorphic species.

Gosh.

The report flags up the underrepresentation of women on the Cultural Renewal Taskforce, which is responsible for supporting the culture sector in the pandemic. “Zero leadership positions are occupied by women, with only three women on the taskforce as a whole,” it states.

And isn’t that disgusting?

Parrish, the artistic director of Sphinx, called the taskforce’s gender imbalance “disgraceful”.

This is, of course, most feminine

If you were to draw a Venn diagram showing the makeup of the mob – the neo-Nazis, the anti-vaxxers, the anti-semites, the racists and the guys who just want to break stuff – transphobia is where the circles overlap. And the same applies to their cheerleaders in the media, the pundits who’ll spend the coming days and weeks telling you that violent armed mobs are less dangerous than my pronouns. They will ask you to try and understand the angry mob and urge you to listen to their “legitimate concerns”.

We already understand them, because we’ve been listening to them for years. The far right and its enablers always target marginalised groups first. Those groups have spent years trying to tell you about the violent rhetoric, the science denial, the conspiracy theories, the misinformation, disinformation and radicalisation, the rage. We should all be horrified by what happened at the Capitol. But nobody should be surprised.

Storming the legislature is not just the same as it’s actually caused by your mispronouning me.

I’m lonely so society must change

I first started properly thinking about all this around the summer of 2017. I had recently come out of a 12-year relationship and, not unrelatedly, had moved to Ireland to work on my PhD, that most solitary of endeavours. After years of coupled domesticity, I was living alone. Solitude is not the same as loneliness, of course – as Nelson puts it, “loneliness is solitude with a problem” – and some of this was OK: I read, I walked, I wrote, I went out and made new friends. But my isolation, coupled with the rawness of a recent heartbreak, frequently was a problem.

OK.

For me, as somebody living alone, lockdown has meant dealing with a relentless and often grinding solitude and so I’ve returned to the alternative living arrangements I pondered back in 2017 with a new seriousness. At the age of 41 I have decided that I no longer want to live alone, but what do I do about this?

Well, why not not live alone then?

Loneliness, then, is partly produced by the way we organise the world – and to address it we need to seriously rethink how we approach our public spaces, housing arrangements and relationships. This includes questioning our dependency on certain forms of relationship – the couple and the nuclear family – as units of social organisation.

Oh, it’s everyone else that must change, not you alone then, is it?

How very male, eh?

James Graham exclusive interview: ‘When I was younger, I was attracted to risk and everything that came with it’

Attitudes – on average of course – to risk being one of those differences across the genders in our sexually dimorphic species. We can indeed be equal but we’re never going to be the same.

Tangled logic spotted at British university

Selected University trans policy extracts
University of Leeds:

“Think of people as being the gender that they self-identify as.”
“A person should be addressed and referred to using the pronouns which make them feel comfortable. This could be he, she, they, per, hir or other pronouns. If you are uncertain, either listen to what pronoun others are using or politely ask what they prefer, for example “Hi, I’m xxx and I use the pronouns he and him. What about you?” Encourage others to use these pronouns too and if the wrong pronoun is used, apologise quickly and move on.”

To ask that I address Gary as she is fine. I may and may not, depends upon how polite I wish to be to Gary at that time and place. But the request is that I use certain pronouns, not that Gary does.

When Gary uses a pronoun to refer to the self the ones used are I and me. Just like everyone else. Therefore the “I use pronouns she and her” is not correct. That is the request that others use said pronouns, not that Gary uses them.

And yes, requests of others do indeed come with the possibility that those others say “Bugger off mate”. Whether that be asking them to buy you a pint, fondle your genitals or use a specific mode of address.

Err, yes? And?

Women in their 60s are paid 25 per cent less than men, a report has suggested, amid claims they suffer “double discrimination” of age and gender.

The median annual salary for females in full-time work within this age bracket was £26,230 compared with £34,325 for men, according to Rest Less, a company which offers help and advice to those in later life.

For those aged in their 50s the difference is 23 per cent, the analysis claims.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said the findings indicate that older women are suffering double-pronged discimination, with their age as well as their gender working against them.

It’s double nowt you stupid publicity seeking hound.

The cause of the gender pay gap is the having of, and caring for, children. This being something that women in their 20s – by and large you understand – have not done as yet and something that – by and large you understand – women in their 50s have done. There’s nothing double about it that is.

So, the Tavistock is to close then, eh?

Mermaids to be shut down?

This is beautiful. Over 370 religious leaders from 35 countries have signed a declaration demanding a worldwide end to the dangerous practice of conversion therapy for LGBT+ people.

So no one is to be encouraged, enabled, guided through, conversion?

Oh well, if the religious folks tell us that then why not?

We call for all attempts to change, suppress or erase a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression – commonly known as “conversion therapy” – to end, and for these harmful practices to be banned.

They really do say no to changing someone’s gender expression. Thus “trans” becomes something that cannot be done, right?

It’s an odd world, isn’t it?

Warning that stereotyping persists in parenting, education and the commercial sector – notably toys, books and fashion – the commission is calling on the government to “take meaningful steps” to better support teachers and parents and challenge simplisic “pink and blue” labelling in the corporate sector.

The commission urges the Department for Education to make challenging gender stereotypes a priority all the way through teaching and childcare – from initial training, to the curriculum, to inspection frameworks. It also wants toy companies to drop separate categories in their advertising and product design, designers to end stereotypical imagery and slogans on clothes, and the representation of female characters improved in books, TV and online content.

On the one hand we must abolish these stereotypical assumptions. On the other hand any atypical child is urged to have its gonads ripped out.

Well, yes, suppose so

Before the pandemic hit, 2020 was going to be the year Melissa* went back to work. “I had taken four years off to raise two children and I was itching to use my brain again,” she says. “There are only so many nursery rhymes one can remember and only so many tantrums one can lovingly endure.”

Melissa was lucky. Despite soaring unemployment, she was offered a job. But the disruption caused by the pandemic meant her local nurseries closed and she was unable to arrange childcare in time to take up her new position. When she was offered a second full-time job, she asked if it would be possible to discuss flexible working and explained that she might need a little time to find childcare. The company responded with a one-line email retracting the job offer. It wasn’t until she was finally offered a role at a non-profit with an all-female team (and an understanding of her caring responsibilities), that she was able to begin work.

Even now, Melissa is under enormous pressure. “I work every second that I don’t have the kids. That means zero downtime for myself. I work until 10pm and wake an hour before everyone else in the house to ensure I can keep up with the chores. My husband is a wonderful man, but he has had to make zero sacrifices… He gets his downtime [after] the kids’ bedtime.”

The difference between their situations, as Melissa puts it, is “stark”.

She isn’t alone. While we have all been impacted in different and complicated ways by the unprecedented events of this year, reports coming in thick and fast from women to my Everyday Sexism Project, and other organisations and charities, suggest that the impact on gender equality has been massive.

A sexual division of labour in a sexually dimorphic species is such a shock, isn’t it?

Further, quite how much is it an advance in sexual equality if one set of women are paid to look after other women’s kids? Sure, it might be economic – perhaps one paid woman can look after more than one woman’s kids – and all that but how much of it is actually an advance in gender differences?

People are weird

Mridul Wadhwa, a male transgender activist who self-identifies as a woman, is one of many who has shared the letter, which he referred to as not “just a call out but a call for action.” Mr Wadhwa, who has no Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), was recently selected as an SNP candidate for next year’s all-women election shortlist. The practice of all-women lists was started to guarantee women a voice in politics, but recent years have seen a rise in men taking seats once set aside for women. Mr Wadhwa secured the position of manager at Forth Valley and Stirling Rape Crisis Centre by concealing his biological sex.

The danger of political fashion

A damning report into baby deaths and appalling treatment of mothers at a Midlands maternity unit has condemned an obsession with ‘natural births’ which led it to refuse women cesarean sections.

This idea of natural childbirth being better is indeed a political fashion. And so babies die.

Celts and Vikings, Celts and Vikings

Women in the North of England or Wales are up to seven times more likely to be jailed than those in the South, amid concerns that the number of women jailed could increase by more than 30 per cent in the next five years.

That’s why sensible people stay east of Offa’s Dyke and south of Watford Gap.

There is an alternative explanation which is that Celts and Vikings are less tolerant of termagants but how likely is that, eh?

Perhaps start a little earlier?

Or be less selective?

Saturday mornings are the worst. Claudia, a teacher, wakes up alone in bed in her London flatshare. The weekend stretches out before her, an interminable expanse to be filled as best she can – with walks, and TV, and more walks. Sometimes, she finds it hard to summon the motivation to get out of bed. “It sounds dramatic,” Claudia says, “but I’ll lie there, thinking: ‘What’s the point of getting up?’”

She goes over the arithmetic that has tortured her all year long. She will be 34 next month, single, no closer to finding a partner to have kids with. Even if she did meet someone next year, say, would they be ready to start conceiving within a year? Probably not. That could mean she will be 36 before she even starts trying – if she meets someone next year. And there’s the rub – because the Covid-19 restrictions have made dating nearly impossible. “My friends are either pregnant or looking after small children,” Claudia says, “and I struggle to even get men to talk to me online. It feels hopeless.”

Or be a strong and independent woman who lives with her choices?

Cat, pigeons

Britain’s only NHS gender clinic for children has suspended referrals for hormone therapy after a ruling on the experimental use of puberty blockers.

Judges at the High Court found it was “highly unlikely” that 13-year-olds, and “doubtful” that anyone aged 14 or 15, would understand the full implications of the hormone treatments, and therefore could not give informed consent.

Has Twitter exploded yet?

Well, yes

Jane Fonda has previously said that “ageism is alive and well” in Hollywood, with men allowed to age because they “become more desirable by being powerful,”

“With women it’s all about how we look. Men are very visual, they want young women,” she said.

“So, for us, it’s all about trying to stay young.”

The flip side of this being some rather large number of juicy young things getting roles at ages where blokes are still considered spotty young oiks.

Differential evaluations of desirability in a sexually dimorphic species being such a surprise, eh?

Seriously Joan, seriously

Imagine a man hitting his partner. The picture that comes to mind probably involves a scruffy individual, his hand raised and his face contorted with fury. We can all condemn that, can’t we? But what if the angry face is familiar, seen thousands of times in a very different context? If it belongs, say, to the world’s most famous and admired footballer, Diego Maradona?

Judging by the outpouring of grief that followed his death, at the age of 60, it seems too big an ask to admit that our heroes, especially our sporting heroes, have been credibly accused of domestic violence. Maradona’s face just doesn’t fit in that unpleasant picture – unless you’ve seen the video.

Gaaah! The entire world has been treated to endless repetitions of the fact that he was an entirely God Awful man who happened to have one, singular, immense talent.

Or haven’t you been paying attention?

Weird, just weird

Stonewall about trans:

FACING DISCRIMINATION AND ABUSE

OK, no doubt it happens. We’d like less of it. This is, from their placing it on hte same page, clearly one of their examples of discrimination and abuse:

I was raped. Police kept referring to me as ‘she’ and ‘female’ and
using my birth name. The doctor they brought to examine me, made
me uncomfortable and continued calling me female.
Angus, 24 (Scotland)

Note that it’s not the rape itself which is being claimed as the discrimination and abuse. Yes, rape upon males is indeed possible and does happen. But again, that’s not, I think, what is being talked about here.

Someone vaginally raped is claiming abuse as the doctor referred to them as female.

Seriously?