small but significant piece of action

This is a small thing that I did today but to me it is quite significant. I guess i'm quite a timid person really so the idea of drawing attention to myself by trashing icons of misogyny feels me with dread, and it's something that I aspire to but am unfortunately a little way off from. So today when I was in Tesco I saw my opportunity to do something - hide something to be more accurate.

Under this Daily Telegraph is a Daily Star - you can no longer see the semi-naked women on the front...
And behind this Bike magazine is a ZOO...

And you can see there that there are plenty of Men's Health - one of which I stuck in front of a Maxim. I was hoping to hide the Stuff magazines because I have a personal hatred for that magazine but the rack was so full that there was no room to put something in front and I was trying to work quickly.

Not really a big deal but it's a start and it made me feel better.

And it just goes to show that there are plenty of magazines aimed at men that aren't about naked women - Bike and Men's Health being two of them (although admittedly I haven't seen inside these magazines so I could be wrong about that), and they're actually magazines related to men's interests as opposed to women's magazines which are yet to be related to any of my interests.

I really hate Stuff because it tries to pose as a tech magazine when it is just porn with gadgets. I wrote an essay on it for my Media Psychology module at Uni and I mostly found that men who bought Stuff would have preferred it without the women because it detracted from the gadgets and caused upset with the readers' female partners when they had just bought it for the technology (not sure how believable that is though!). Dee's mum bought him a Stuff when he was ill because it had iPods on it. And she said that she bought it because it had iPods on it but that he didn't need to look at that laydeeez because he had me!!!

Because if he'd been single and ill she would have bought it for the iPods AND the porn content to cheer up her poorly son. My blood was boiling to a level that she hadn't managed to create in the past...she'll never know though!


News that I really don't think is worthy of being called 'news'

  • The Blairs have gone to Robin Gibb's for Christmas

  • The plane the Blairs were on overshot the runway

  • Schwarzenegger broke a bone while skiing

Okay it's public interest, but it's not really worthy of so much air time. I also don't think it's of any consequence what Tony Blair personally thinks about the death penalty, it's not going to make any difference to the decision on Saddam Hussain's life and if he is for the death penalty personally but is sticking by the party's position against it I don't really see what the problem is, a little bit of cognitive dissonance?

Okay i'm not the most politically minded so i'm probably missing the point and it's all related to the mess that is cash for honors and the labour party in general but personally I think there are more news worthy things that are getting cut off to give us an update on how much turkey Tony put away on Monday...



Tribute to Tula

Tula, Dee's mom's dog, had to be put to sleep on Christmas morning so I wanted to make a little post in tribute.

Sometime last week she had to go to the vets because blood had pooled round her heart and she was really ill but they managed to drain the blood and she was okay. I saw her a bit on Saturday night and Sunday but we all thought she was going to be okay, but she took a turn for the worst on Monday morning while I was still in bed so Dee's dad called him out and told him they were taking her and she never came back. I never got to say goodbye.

She wasn't my dog but I lived there for 10 months and I really liked her, and she was always coming up to me for attention - which she got from everyone anyway!

So I just wanted to say here in the internet cosmos - goodbye Tula, blessing on your soul, you are in a better place where you can no longer suffer.

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cool yule everyone

[Picture copyrighted to Sandra Guzdek]

So in a few minutes i'll be winging my way to Norwich til boxing day for Christmas (if only winging meant flying, but alas I will be a passenger to Dee's confident motorway driver - i'm scared of motorway slip roads) so i just thought i'd leave a little post to say happy christmas hope you have fun another year over and a new one just begun (shameless half quoting of John Lennon, feeling basic), and have a pleasant yule.

I'll be back before New Year but I might not have anything too interesting to blog about - although I WILL be spending christmas with someone who doesn't try very hard to hide her negativity towards me so that'll be worth a post...

gracious wishes.



I am a snowman! woo!

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!
What Christmas Ornament Are You?

Woohoo! That's so cool! Blatantly the answers are all dependent on how you answer 1 question but never mind, it's fun! And what a cute snowman I am judging by the pic...

...snow woman?

...snow person?

...stop being so PC?


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John Littledick and other tales

Not feeling fantastic about humanity today after reading the full Richard Littlejohn article for the Daily Mail and all the supporting comments that went with it.

I'm not going to detail it here because both Sparkle*Matrix and Phonelesscord have done so very well, but I am deeply saddened by this.

- In other news -

- over the last two days I have been to a prison, facilitated a drug users group and gone to a shared priorities meeting (to talk about priority offenders in the area with other agencies) and all have been very useful and enlightening. Work feels good...but study feels bad. Got my first mark back which I was really pleased with but now I am totally behind on my next one which has to be in mid-jan, followed by the next one a week later and the next one 3 weeks after that...Grace is going to be very haggered by the end of feb.

- Also, due to the fact that i'm going to Norwich for christmas and coming back on boxing day I can't go to Ipswich for reclaim the night on that friday because I have to come back and write my assignment =( and I really wanted to go and show my support, especially as Dee has family there so I am wondering how this is making them feel as Ipswich residents.

- If there are any RTNs/demos going on in closer areas (i.e. ones that take only about 2 hours to travel to from Brum) I'd really like to get involved.

- I have my posters ready to go up in the Central Library in B'ham to hopefully start some interest in a West Mids feminist group - if you know anyone in the West Mids area, or who can easily travel to Birmingham who isn't closer to another group please tell them this email address: bham.fem@googlemail.com (not trollesque spam).

Right, better wrap some presents, and then go pick Dee up from band practice, and then go to my parents for a shower - HOT WATER STILL NOT FIXED!!


Edit: credit for John Littledick to be given to Stormcloud for starting the rearrangement of syllables and dick/john association point.
Also, how SMARMY is this bloke? Just LOOK at his picture on the article link (his name above)

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Loving the local Sainsburys

Tonight anyway.

I was just standing there waiting to get a £1 coin for the trolley and I noticed the top of FHM sticking out from being a blue piece of plastic - on obstructive piece of plastic - on the top shelf - in a slight alcove - away from the shelves on the side of the entrance into the main shop!

Oh yes! A little piece of victory for all the people out there who can't stand these mags being shoved in our faces. I spotted the tops of FHM, GQ and Zoo above car magazines before going into the shop and noticing on my way in that the 'Men's Interest' section had now be populated by things like Home&Garden!

The great thing is, they're out of the way, they're not above children's comics and magazines, they're only near other traditional mens interest magazines (cars, football, grrr manly), AND the only thing you can see of them is the top where the magazine logo is so you don't even have to look at some other woman's breasts on your way in to get your broccoli and pasta!

[As an unrelated aside: when trying to find out the real way to spell broccoli I found out that 'brocciflower' really exists - it's a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower - I thought they just made that up in ...California Dreams... or something!]

As 'Shaz' of Bridget Jones would say...

Well...fuck me...

Turns out Keeley has a last name. It's Hazell. I feel SO stupid *grace shuffles feet and looks at floor*

I thought she was of that generation of cocktail waitresses with no surnames that Meg Ryan's character talked about in 'You've Got Mail'.

Still can't stand her though. And I want to say that it's JUST that I can't stand all the patriarchy that has lead to her feeling forced into the page-3 industry ...but really, i'm just having a hard time liking her.

She's 20, she first got into the industry when she was 16/17 - she's been in this a mere 3/4 years and you should see her CV: (wikipedia page)

Cashback (2006) ... Naked Girl
FHM 100 Sexiest: The Singers (UK TV Special) (2006) ... Presenter

Polls and Honours

Winner of The Sun's Page 3 Idol 2004
#17 in Loaded's 100 Peachiest Celebrity Chests 2005
#1 in Zoo's Britain's 10 Sexiest Models
#1 in Zoo's 100 Sexiest Bodies 2005
#2 in The Sun's Favourite Page 3 Girls of All Time
Voted "Best Page 3 Girl" in the FHM Bloke Awards 2006
#2 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World 2006
Winner of The Sun Online's Reality Babe Cup
#1 in Zoo's 100 Sexiest Bodies 2006
Best Celeb Body 2006 (More readers' survey)


At 16, Hazell left school to work at a hairdresser. Her colleagues persuaded her to try her luck at modeling. At 17, she competed in The Daily Star's "Search for a Beach Babe" contest and won. She later quit hairdressing and enrolled at Lewisham College to start a City & Guilds in fashion, but was not there for very long. A friend told her about The Sun's Page 3 Idol competition. Despite some initial uncertainty about entering the contest, she submitted some photos. She was eventually chosen the winner in December 2004. She won £10,000 worth of "sexy clothes" and "a one-year membership of the Rex cinema and bar" ("All hail Keeley"). Also, three cast sculptures were made of her bust by sculptor Leigh Heppell. Two are in the Sun offices and one is in her house (Coan 78).
Also part of Hazell's Page 3 Idol win was a 1-year exclusivity contract with The Sun. She is currently being handled by Jon Fowler, who also manages Kelly Brook.
Hazell is regularly featured in Zoo and continues to appear in The Sun at least once every two weeks (boosting sales by 25,000 when she is on the front page ("Alternative Icons of the Year")). She has been on the cover of The Sun's 2006 and 2007 Page 3 calendars, in addition to her own 2006 and 2007 wall calendars, the latter of which sold 30,000 in its first days of release.
Hazell was offered a chance to be in Playboy, but declined because she was not comfortable doing a full nude shoot.
Hazell is the face of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Formula One 06 video game for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 3.


Just bolded a few points there...I was prompted to do this post by going onto Amazon.co.uk, innocent enough - then I saw it - "Get ready for 2007 and save up to 40% on Diaries, Calendars & Annuals, including the sexy Keeley Calendar 2007."

So I clicked on it. I've seen this calendar before in shops but never have I really looked - apparently her 32E chest is real and that's what all the fuss is about. Personally I think her legs look too thin for the rest of her body, but then it could just be the way she's straddling while doing up her frilly underwear.

Mostly I was (not) shocked by the comments - all of which I clicked as 'not helpful' :
1. "This is pretty much ronseal, you get exactly what it says on the tin. A pretty lady, with pretty much no clothes on. The only problem is that i already know what Feb through to Dec look like - can't they make one where we're forced to wait before flicking through? You know us boys, unless we're forced to we think foreplay is done at St Andrews."

I'm perplexed by this one - what does putting off that first monthly wank have to do with foreplay? And I really do love how some men assume that all women expect foreplay and it's just one of those troublesome things one has to put up with if you want to sleep with someone more than once.

2.Im sorry Keeley, but this aint a book! what is it doin in this list? Ok it's selling well but its still only a calendar!!! I've given it 5 stars for her, she's gorgeous, and i do think blokes should buy it but stop raving like its the best thing since sliced bread on a book review, it's ridiculous! Having said that, buy it! she's stunning!

This one started okay and then he just had to go for the obvious anyway didn't he?

3.I don't see how I can right a review on this without it getting teared to pieces. But, I do want to reccomend this a lot. She is very hot, the pictures are great, and there is a decent amount of space given away from the pictures to actually tell you the date and day.

Do NOT buy this if you have a family. This calendar is not just Keely in hot underwear, but it is rather more explicit than that. The calendar is great for any teenager, or young male.

Once again, not if you have a family, and if you are a christmas shopping mum do not buy this for young kids. The pictures are great, better than any of the other "girl" calendars, for anyone looking for a real hot calendar to spice up their bedroom and to show off to friends.


That's my favourite I think. "The calendar is great for any teenager, or young male" - but by that he means any teenage male as well surely? Not ANY teenager. The main point being though is the fact that they're saying 'give this to young men, make them look at this sexxxeeee laydeeee, they'll really appreciate you showing them the way to true manhood' . "...do not buy this for young kids" - DAMMIT! I just ordered two for my twin 9 year old cousins...cancel cancel cancel!

"...and to show off to friends" - look at MY wank-fodder, it's sooo much better than YOUR wank-fodder!

4.Keeley Hazell, voted second sexiest woman in the world in FHM this year, is ultimately unbelievably hot, and this year's calendar only boosts this statement. Every month of Keeley's calendar features a different and gorgeous image of the London goddess; 9/12 of which are topless. any man aged between 16 and 30 will adore this as a Christmas gift. The only negative to be said about this calendar is that, in comparison to the 2006 calendar the images seem rather disorganised, while the 2006 calendar featured a shoot on a single location which made it seem much more professional. However, do NOT be swayed by this!

To sum up, Keeley's #01

ANY MAN! Any hot blooded, sound-of-mind, misogynistic, male-chauvinist bastard will love this!

5.The photographs in this calender are so amazing - its unbelievable! Any red blooded male that doesn't fancy Keeley should be sent for an I.Q. test. She is the ultimate woman and this calender proves just that. Last years release from Keeley was great but this one is 10 times better and so much more sexy and sophisticated.

Keeley Hazell - WE SALUTE YOU!!!

Oops, wrong again, THAT'S my favourite - I'd like to challenge that really - perchance men with higher IQ's might be too busy/lofty/not interested in relationships? Or perhaps just men who don't like porn stars just don't fancy her, and maybe they have a high IQ and maybe they don't. Those tests only test your ability to do IQ tests though anyway (or was that 11+?)

6.keeley is absolutely gorgeous and this calendar shows off the 20 year olds curves and yummy bits perfectly.i have got mine ordered.I LOVE YOU KEELEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There were more !!!!! than that but I cut it down. Not sure what the real need was to point out her age there - curves AND yummy bits? Goodness me i'm bitterly jealous! Apparently in love with her after only seeing her bosom? Because let's face it none of these men are looking at her face. If the Keeley 2007 calender was just her face on the cover with her name in small print hidden behind the next row of calenders it probably wouldn't get sold!


I'm guessing if anything i'm going to get some 'you're just jealous, and obviously ugly and fat blah blah blah...stop being such a man hating feminist blah blah blah...you're so young and angry and you don't know what life is yet, you have no right blah blah blah...' - so you're considering one of those comments or anything telling me why keeley is god's gift, you can piss right off...thanks!

I'm sure she's a lovely person, who has just been completely misguided by the lure of fame and money, but I don't really like people who do things just for the money or the fame so she's not my kind of gal, alright?

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light relief (no actual pun, just some humour)

Dee drew my attention to this - on xkcd.com it's a site dedicated to stick-person comic strips, just thought it was amusing:-

XKCD is a Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math and Language

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Book tag

I have been book tagged by Sparkle of Sparkle*Matrix!

The instructions:
Find the nearest book.
Turn to page 123.
Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
Name the book and the author, and tag three more folks.

Right i'm going to do 2 because the nearest book to me right now is not the book i'm reading, but the book i'm reading will be very near to me when I go back to bed in about 10 minutes due to being off sick from work with lurgy!

Closest actual book: Barton, A. (2005) Fragile Moralities and Dangerous Sexualities: Two Centuries of Semi-Penal Institutionalisation for Women. Ashgate: Hampshire

(I picked it up at Bham Uni for an assignment and can you tell i've been writing references lately?)

"She attempted to communicate throughout her case that she would rather be in prison for a good reason." p.123

Book i'm reading right now: Niffenegger, A. (2004) The Time Traveller's Wife. Vintage: London

' "Okay then we'll go to the Orchard." I take her arm, and away we go.' p.123

Oh WOW that was worth it wasn't it! I realise that's technically 2 sentences but I don't care ha ha ha.

Hmmm who shall I tag...? Who would want to be tagged/wouldn't mind?

I'll tag Dom (who can distribute book tagging to the tech-blog masses), Sam (who will no doubt be reading something very interesting) and...Faith as I said I was going to link her and I haven't yet! But I will update my html presently!

the good fight

I feel like i've come across a bit harsh about the situation in Ipswich and what is being done about it so I thought i'd leave a little post here.

I am still annoyed about the things that have been in the media that are disrespectful to the victims, and that are potentially feeding the killer(s)'s ego(s) but I do want to stress that I think it is being handled well by the community and police force of Ipswich. There are police from surrounding counties helping and I think that's very important, as well as something like 5,500 calls and 1,000 email from the public with potentially useful information.

I think this involvement of the community is very important. Crimes like this affect the whole community - as people who knew the victims and their families and people who live in fear of it happening to them or someone they know, and I think it's good that they are trying to help.

Even though I know there is still so much potential for the police to get this wrong as they have in the past, i'm going to keep my mind open to the fact that they are doing everything that they can at present and that oversights don't seem to have happened so far. (great grammar...)

I was watching the Sky News reports that they have on Central Trains this morning and they have said that they are testing the victims for drugging as there seems to have been no sign of struggling which I think is a very important step. I also read in the Metro that one of the victims has been confirmed to have been strangled (I had heard the 'Suffolk Strangler' title but wasn't sure if that was as erroneous as 'Ipswich Ripper' which I still maintain is a misnomer given this revelation) - and while it is potentially dangerous to reveal too much about a case in case the killer changes their patterns, or in case copy-cat-killers surface, i think it's better than speculation and sensationalising.


Pole dancing in P.E.

In the Birmingham edition of the Metro today on pg 7 (no writer name so i'm guessing the Editor, whose name I also couldn't find) there was a story about pole dancing being used as physical education. The article is as follows:

"IT IS an activity usually associated with strip clubs.
But fitness instructor Laraine Riddell says pole dancing is 'good exercise' - for children as young as 11.
She wants to teach boys and girls to spin up and down on the poles, despite children's charity Kidscape branding her plan 'out of order'.
The 38-year-old, who also teaches adults to perform saucy pole dances, believes there is nothing sexual about children learning the moves.
These involve lifting and resistance work which builds youngsters' muscles, she explained.
' It has nothing to do with what you see in strip clubs,' said Ms Riddell. 'It is a way of getting fit and having fun.'
Kidscape director Michele Elliott said: 'Pole dancing is an activity where women on stage are given money which is stuck on their underwear. To teach 12-year-old girls pole dancing is out of order.
'I am sure pole dancing is good exercise-but so is stripping. Strippers have great bodies. By all means give the kids exercise, but just skip the poles.'
Classes begin next month at a gym in Choppington, Northumberland. "

Hmmm...hockey? gymnastics? athletics? What is wrong with these institutions of PE? Apart from being a bit boring, they worked, and this is primary school PE isn't it? Which was great as it was - hoops, hackey sacks, cones...poles? Nope.

How is this nothing to do with what you see in clubs? Just because they wont be doing it in their underwear or writhing sexually? They'll still be POLE DANCING!

And won't this just desensitise both the boys and the girls as to the real world truth about pole dancing and the exploitation of women in the industry? Boys might think 'oh it's all just a bit of fun, I did a bit of pole dancing when I was younger, if they're getting kids to do it it can't be anything bad' and girls might think it's a viable career move - they were trained for it at school!

"Prostitutes deserve as much sympathy as any murder victim"

...say the title of an article in the G2 supplement of yesterday's Guardian (p. 3 Joan Smith). It's a horrible truth that this notion has to even be pointed out isn't it?

I don't want to make a long post about this in my words as StormCloud and Sparkle*Matrix have both done very good jobs of detailing the awful killings of 5 women known to be prostitutes in Ipswich. But I've bought the Guardian the last few days (i'm a bit naive about newspapers but I generally think if there are no puns or semi-naked people on the front i can't go far wrong) and there are some notable thing in it that I wanted to post and comment on here.

From yesterday's front page story continuing onto page 2 by Paul Lewis:
'...Details of the missing women emerged as senior officers warned all women in the town not to go out at night alone. "We are coming up to the party season and up to Christmas," said assistant chief constable Jacqui Cheer. "There will be groups of women going out and I would say you have really got to look after each other, plan how you are going to get there and please, please come home together. Whatever happens on your night out, make sure you do not leave your friends alone." '

- I understand that it's really important for women to watch out for themselves and their friends as it as always been but where is the onus on men to watch out? No one's asking men to volunteer to walk girls home, if anything that would be inappropriate - but what's so wrong with asking men to keep an eye out? They don't need to watch women in bars etc (as if they don't anyway), they need to watch out for other men - potential attackers.

Also this killer is targeting prostitutes in the red-light district, and while it's important to be vigilant, stressing this to women in this way is more likely to create fear and hysteria than vigilance.

'Detectives are also urging women working as prostitutes not to tout for business while the killer is at large.'

- very easy for them to say isn't it? Are they going to be compensating prostitutes during the amnesty that they're proposing in order to help co-operation with the police? Of course not! People who work as prostitutes do just that - they work, it's their source of income, and income which is often used to fund a drug habit, feed children, or protect them from their pimps (I don't pretend to know a lot about the subject so please forgive my generalisations, they are fueled by print in the Guardian) - the news is on right now on Ch4 - both of the women most recently found dead were both heroin addicts and both had children.

Page 6-7 yesterday's Guardian - Karen McVeigh's account of the Psychologist's (Michael Berry) theories:
'The murderer is likely to be white because killers tend to select targets within their own racial group, he said'

- the killer IS likely to be white if he is from Ipswich because of the 117, 069 population of the city, 109,381 people are white. Also it is less likely that women of ethnic minorities would be working as prostitutes (as there are less ethnic minority people IN Ipswich) so the fact that the killer is targeting white prostitutes isn't really of any consequence. They're likely to be white because Ipswich is not an ethnically diverse community.

' "The chances are he won't have a big criminal history of sex offences, because he is comfortable with prostitutes and sex is unlikely to be a motivation..." '

- I know i'm not a criminal psychologist but what does not having any sex offences have to do with being comfortable with prostitutes? Does someone being convicted of a sex offence suddenly give them an aversion to sex-workers? The media and police haven't talked about exactly HOW these women have been killed but it is believed from what they've said that sex wasn't involved.

' "It may be that the police are keeping quiet about this, but you would expect the bodies to be battered or degraded. The fact that they were naked could be to degrade them or potentially not to leave DNA on them."

- that bit makes more sense and brings me to my next point:

back to the G2 article by Joan Smith:
'...it is an inflexible rule of popular journalism that men who kill sex workers are "Rippers" and their victims "vice girls", as yesterdays [11.12.06] headlines confirmed.
"Ripper cops find body of 3rd vice girl," declared the Sun, describing the earlier victims are "blonde Gemma" and "brunette Tanya" [sic].... The Daily Mirror lead with "Ripper:Body No 3 is found", while the Daily Express devoted an inside page to the hunt for the "Ipswich Ripper" ...'

Surprise surprise it's the Sun among others that starts this Ripper label. Way to feed the ego, and way to be erroneous - Oxford American Dictionaries define a 'ripper' as:''a murderer who mutilates victims' bodies'' - so unless the Sun knows something we don't, the label is wrong. These women have been found naked and dead, not mutilated. Peter Sutcliffe WAS a 'ripper'. He mutilated his victims in various ways and when he was found and finally arrested (the second time...? After being spotted in the red light district 60 times and being interviewed NINE times) for the crimes (after police caught him on the fact that he had fake license plates on his car) he was in his car with a prostitute and there were tools/weapons including a hammer in his boot. This killer has not been said to have done anything related to mutilation so it is not correct to refer to him in that way at this stage.

[I keep saying 'him' and I know it's not right to assume it's a man but it's most likely and the media keep saying 'him']

Another thing that really bugs me is that they keep just referring to these women by their first names (AND their hair colour THANK you Sun!) - a sense of decorum at least should mean that they call them by the full names or refer to them as Ms... they don't know these women, they never met them before. And now because they are dead and the authorities are working on their cases they can be so familiar.

There was an update about the further 2 murders today but it was more of the same and everything that has already been on the news this evening so I won't go on anymore.

I was in Nacton, Ipswich recently. It's terrifying to think that I was near there around that time.



I'm at it again...he he he...

Weekend events

On Saturday I went to Manchester to take part in the NW Feminist anti-rape demo - which went really well and it felt great to get involved. It was great to see so many young people taking us seriously and I only saw one flier on the ground! There was only one person who actually said "fuckin' feminists!" and he was drowned out by the drums! I met some really great people too =) thanks everyone for getting me involved and for the good tips about finding feminists in the West Midlands.

Before the demo I also went to the Society of Friends meeting place to listen to Dominga Vasquez talk about her work as the first female Indigenous Mayor of the Guatemalan city of Solola, and as an activist to promote the rights of women and indigenous people in Guatemala - see the Peace Brigade International website for more details.

It was so inspiring to listen to her (although i'm sure I would have gotten even more out of it if I could understand Spanish, the interpreter did a very good job). She talked about her work as a teacher and how she had to ask permission of the state to stop being a teacher to be Mayor. She also talked about Solola's economy, community rehabilitation of those who commit crimes, and their fight to stop massive corporations from taking over their resources and polluting their waterways.

A little down point of that day was having an argument with a woman on the train home. She went berserk at me because I very quickly used my mobile to call Dee just to let him know I was on my way home in the Quiet Zone of the train. The rest of the train was full of football fans, the train wasn't due to leave for 5 minutes and the zone was full of people talking loudly and also using their phones. I was only talking as loud as if I was talking to the person next to me but this women leaned over the man sitting next to her and was really horrible to me - you just don't talk to someone you don't know like that! She basically accused me of being an ignorant little teenager and she also said that no one of her generation owned a mobile phone! Given that she couldn't have been any older than 50 and I know people in their octogenarians with mobile phones, that was a bit stupid of her to say. I got her point. And if she'd reminded me politely that I shouldn't be using my phone and left it at that after I explained at apologised it would have been fine but she carried on even after I put my earphones in! I moved in the end and sat by some much more agreeable Liverpool fans from Oxford!

Anyway, despite the frustration that ensued, followed by a Sunday morning filled with the previous 2 posts and feeling bad about being compared to the BNP, the weekend was good! We put our christmas tree up - which gave me an idea...


Affarada said...

Hi Grace,

I see you define youself as a feminist. A lot of people do, but I've noticed they often have very different opinions as to what the word means. And that sort of leaves everyone to decide for themselves what it means to THEM. So my question is: What do YOU mean by feminist?

Maybe a bit difficult question to answer in few words, but still..

Thanks for this very good question Affarada. In answer:

For a while this year I had been feeling completely isolated. I was waiting for my job to start and I sat around reading and watching TV a lot, and seeing friends when I could. I had these feelings that no one else really shared my point of view. That my wish for sex and breasts not to shoved in my face both on TV and in shops was completely outdated. I found myself wishing that I lived in a time where 'sex sells' had not been invented yet, and Playboy consisted of what would now be considered very tasteful and demure pictures. Sure, i'd probably be oppressed but I probably wouldn't know better (THAT's how distorted my view got!).

And then I was watching Ani Difranco's TRUST DVD (again) and there were all these people in their 'this is what a feminist looks like' tshirts so I decided to google them - and I came upon The F-Word (linked in the link list). I felt like I smiled for the first time in months.

For me feminism is solidarity. Not just between women, but between all people who want sex and gender equality, and who want to put a stop to the atrocities committed against people all over the world because of their sex/gender. Its also about putting a stop to patriarchy (i.e. gender inequality where men are dominant) without wanting a matriarchy.

In terms of pornography and the objectification of women - I believe these things perpetuate gender inequality by putting women in subordinate positions and making them believe that they are empowered in doing this. A main hope for me is that we can raise awareness in younger generations before they become part of the perpetuation of inequality before they even realise it and never think to question it.

Of course this doesn't mean that other kinds of inequality are not important to me. Diversity is part of my life, part of my job and my personality.

[No more comments casting aspersions on my character, they won't be posted]

A few records to be set straight I think!

Wow, you go to Manchester for a day and don't check your blog and then the next you've got like 10+ comments to approve! Mind blowing really, as I wasn't expecting such a quick rise in interest.

Despite the very sound advice of fellow feminists out there, I have allowed all the comments for now because I feel I need to illustrate the very pressures and opinions that I am opposed to you. And also I feel that I have mis-represented myself to people who have just come to my blog having not seen me commenting on others for the last few months.

I do not hate men. I was angry when I wrote the 'grace getting angry...' post, hence the title. Everyone gets angry, and most bloggers, when angry, blog about it.

I have a boyfriend, and I love him, and I don't believe that he is some exception to the rule, I know lots of men who aren't misogynists and I have lots of male friends, always have done - i've always got on really well with men, usually better than women - I hate misogyny, and I hate misogynists.

I have basically been accused of being a racist which annoys me because I hate racism, and I hate discrimination. And I know a bunch of 'johns' will come back and say that i'm discriminating against them because their personality is one which loves to look at pornography etc., but that's like saying if I don't like a genre of music i'm discriminating against the musicians of that genre!

Anonymous said...

"Don't you think it's a bit sad that a man of your age is perusing the internet for pictures of women's genitalia" .. that is the nature of male sexuality, like dark skin is the nature of an Africans complexion.

Try "Don't you think it is a bit sad a man of your complexion ......" .... looks rather hateful like that, not to mention illegal.

If Britney and the other women agree to put out to a stranger three times every week, then maybe we will discuss removing the lads mags. If we can have what we really want then maybe we will stop merely looking at what we want.

You should consider carefully that you may be peddling hate of a similar nature and intellectual level to the BNP.

Firstly, Anonymous (this one as there were a few!) - looking at britney's crotch is NOT part of male sexuality! It is part of a direction of socialisation that has lead men to believe that to be manly mean to look at pornographic images and wank over them, and that to be feminine is to pose naked and feel empowered when men view them solely on their appearance.
Secondly, not ALL men even consider this to be part of their sexuality so that is completely different from the complexion of an African person. Plus skin colour is not an opinion - but you are likening the two and downplaying the importance of the identity of African people in order to prove your point that i'm discriminating against misogynists. The way you rephrased it WOULD be illegal and I would never say that because I respect the culture and diversity of all people, UNLESS it harms others (i.e. I do not respect acid being thrown in the faces of 'unfaithful' women in some cultures) - that doesn't make me a racist.

"If Britney and the other women agree to put out to strangers..." - I see so men who read lads-mags wish that celebrity women would just come round and have sex with them despite not knowing them? That's a lovely aspect of male sexuality isn't it? Which no doubt all men share (again, NOT my actual opinion, rather a sarcastic retort)

Well thanks for saying that I could incite intellectual hate and everything but that's not my aim, nor that of any other feminist - and thanks for likening us to white supremacists - who is tarring who with what brush now?

John Brissenden said...

Although a bit of gratuitous Google-bait never does one's traffic any harm, I think you might find many of your visitors today are lured by the link to your "Grace getting angry" post from Comment Is Free...

Wow i've been linked by a website! And it wasn't even a outwardly woman hating one either! I'm number 3 in Best of The Web! And nice that Mr John Brissenden just popped in to tell me about it and didn't say anything nasty about my job or non existent racist attitudes. Thanks John.

Anonymous said...

Boy you've a lot of anger Grace. That's very sad, and it seems to manifest itself in an aggressive manner which isn't healthy for you or the people around you...

This was a very long comment which you'll be able to see for the time being - and this is what i was talking about with the whole 'man hating' thing. I realise that the particularly angry post was fueled by personal opinion, but as I said above, most blogs are. I'm not generally an angry person, but when you're a young woman in this world and you look around you and realise that you'd probably be more respected if you said things like "If I had the body for it, i'd be a lap dancer" than "I have an opinion on society" it's frustrating!

"then change your life as there are some wonderful, kind, creative, strong (NB 'strong' is different from 'aggressive') men out there."

This is heartfelt now, not angry, so don't imbue with me with an aggressive tone, i'm speaking clearly with a slight plead in my voice: Again i know this, and I don't believe that aggression and strength are the same thing. I love art and music and poetry and literature and films created by men, I love the sound opinions of men, I love my dad and his love for me. I love men with STRENGTH of character and I know some extremely kind men who I hope I will know for the rest of my life - and when i'm with them I don't assume that they are misogynists. I don't assume that they love pornography and that they want to dominate women, I assume that they are my friends who respect my opinions as I respect theres.

I AM sorry that I came across as a man hater. This is me looking at my blog objectively. This is not an angry blog, you only have to look at my Mommy's Girl post to know that. I'm not pissed off and loving it.

Another Anonymous but who left his name at the end was 'Rory' and I would like to thank him for having a go at Dick Masterson about the way he spoke to me. Although the skeptic in me has a niggling feeling that Rory might have being sarcastic, I really hope that he wasn't. He talks about being a gentleman and I think that's good, I think many man of today forget how to be a gentleman and there's nothing wrong with it. It's just an early (if slightly archaic) version of treating women with respect.

On the 'Grace getting angry...' post:

Anonymous said...

A feminist complaining about lad mags. It's like Scientologists complaining about psychiatry; no-one cares.

Clearly, Anonymous, people do care.

On my first post:

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of this?

Thanks again to another Anonymous, but given that Action Heroes (the link) are a balanced, objective lot who aren't prone to emotional outbursts I guess I don't qualify! i don't know if you posted that to make a point about said outbursts or because you really thought I might fit the bill but thanks anyway.
I wish Anonymous posting didn't exist, as one my lecturers says - 'I don't mind criticism or comments but if you don't put your name with them I won't take notice of them' - basically because hiding behind anonymity is spineless. I do appreciate that if you're not a member of blogger and you're not using beta blogger then there is no option to put in another name, but please leave your name on the comments!


Britney Spears' Crotch Shots! Bloggers pay attention!

Ha ha tricked you! If you came to this site looking for a picture of Ms. Spears' pant area you've been fooled and outed!

Don't you think it's a bit sad that a man of your age is perusing the internet for pictures of women's genitalia? Are you at WORK doing this? That's pretty disrespectful don't you think? They don't pay for you to have internet access so you can get some fodder for your mid-morning *cough* 'coffee' break.

Are you just a spectator or are you dying for the chance to actually communicate with someone who would give in to your sick fantasies?


Thanks to Heart, via Stormcloud, via Sparkle*Matrix for this idea.

There are really some SICK fucks out there. I read Heart's post about the fake 'Craigs list' story linked from the Britney's crotch post and I really felt like throwing up. I guess I AM one of those women who wants to see the best in people and hopes for men to prove me wrong at every juncture but they usually end up opening my eyes even more to the sick depravity that they call their thought process...


Grace...getting...angry... rage...taking...over

Little bit of Mr Furious from Mystery Men there to illustrate some rage.

So i've just been tootling around the blogoshpere, clicking on links, watching Lucy Pinder on Richard and Judy on YouTube and reading the sick comments that went with it and i'm just...so...bloody...angry!

So for any lads-mag/porn/lapdancing fans out there, this is for you:
  • Nudity is not the same as pornography - we get that. The female body is beautiful, it is also individual to every woman, and in it's natural state can be very artistic* - but homogenising women into one package of airbrushed, artificial, submissive wank-fodder is NOT the same as nudity - lads mags ARE pornography - pornography in days gone by was tamer than lads-mags and for some reason society has rolled with the changes and become more 'liberal' - but as with all things in society there are people who don't agree, some feminists are these people and this is our opinion, get over it.
  • *i.e. has anyone been having a go about posing nude for art classes? No. Why? Because the artists are drawing their form and interpreting their body shape artistically, not looking at them as sex objects.
  • Feminists, and other women who don't call themselves feminists, are not against lads-mags because they aren't sexy enough themselves to pose naked, and are therefore jealous of glamour models; nor have they been told by some man that they aren't sexy and therefore feel bitter towards the models.
  • Lads-mags do NOT serve a NEED. There are lots of magazines in which to get information about football, cars and other 'mens' interests that don't include naked/semi naked women being draped around like tinsel. And a man does not NEED to look at naked women to masterbate, in fact lots of men don't masterbate at all (really, they're out there,and they're NOT lying) and surprisingly they don't explode or have fits of rage because they can't release their tension. Men who do that just LIKE THE WAY IT FEELS!
  • There is nothing wrong with feeling sexy and feeling attractive - but there is something wrong with feeling that the only part of you that is attractive, or that people find sexy, is how you look. This is why pornography/lads-mags/lap dancing is NOT empowering for women because it makes them believe that they SHOULD be judged on how they look, and that that's the best that they can offer the world.
  • Deep-seated patriarchy from generations ago has lead to many women feeling that by them CHOOSING what they do with their bodies they are automatically empowered. No one is calling me empowered because I choose to wear a bra are they? Or because I choose not to cram myself into skinny fit jeans for the sake of fashion? No one calls women who choose not to shave off their body hair empowered do they? In society I mean, because I would call those women empowered. I wouldn't call women who are so sure that they're empowered that they can't even see that they're still doing exactly what men and society want them to do, empowered at all.
  • Lads-mags and porn DO NOT REDUCE RAPE as one commenter said about a news article about people trying to ban lads-mags (well, he said that there would probably be more rape if the magazines were banned). If anything they perpetuate it because they show women as subordinate and there for men's pleasure, and promote going on holiday to countries where prostitution is legal so that they can find out what it's like without breaking any laws.
  • The big difference between the objectification of men vs women is that women are posed in submissive ways, whereas men are posed like burly, statuesque, gods, flexing their muscles - it's a strong image, and an image of protection and comfort for some women who like burly men. A big strong man means protection, but to a man, a strong woman means threat. They need someone they can dominant and take over and that's what they see in the homogenised woman - a generic breed of sexual objects who will submit to their every whim.
Specifically regarding the Richard and Judy video - most of the comments were from men saying things like 'Lucy Pinder is hot', 'why isn't Lucy Pinder getting naked?', 'I didn't hear any of it, I was looking at Lucy', 'I turned the sound down and just looked at Lucy' - and they're trying to say that men don't objectify women? That they don't make them 2D? That they do care about what they have to say? One commenter actually said she was talking too much - i.e. women should be seen and not heard.

Are there any man who don't actually read that smut who advocate it?

I know that i've just gone over a lot of things that other bloggers have said more accurately and with real quotes and more balance but i'm just expressing my rage!

Please don't comment if you're going to just say horrible things about me, as you don't know me (and i'll just not allow them anyway). My arguments here are built on annoyance but they are backed up by evidence and balanced information, which are objective and truthful. Assuming that i'm an abhorrent, ugly person because I like to be viewed as person not just a body is a reflection on you, not me.


mommy's girl

So I went to my parents' house last night because we still have no hot water after a month so we've been going there to have showers, and since they're on holiday i'm also checking the post etc.

Anyway, after my shower I was drying my hair in my mom's room and realised that a whole corner of her room is sort of dedicated to me. There's the photo of us from a couple of years ago when we went on holiday together which I put in a frame for her for mother's day (with the gold ribbon I had from an old present which I put on as a means of wrapping still on it), a photo of me sitting on her lap from when I was little and we were on holiday, two school photos including a bigger one on the wall, the cross-stitch card I made for her for mother's day this year, the little blue china statue I bought her when I went to Holland when I was 10, and also a teddy holding the word 'mum' which I got her for some recent occasion (great memory i've got!)

Then I looked in the basket which I knew had the thimbles that my Nan left to me in, and Mom had also kept all the cards people gave me for my first holy communion and some postcards I sent when I went to Wales with my Nan from 1992 and 1993.

This might not sound weird at all but to me it is a little bit because during the ages of 14 to 18 my mom and I had a pretty crappy relationship. Again, not weird given the age group, but we'd never been close anyway. I've never been able to tell my parents 'personal' stuff apart from medical things because my mom is a doctor's receptionist so she knows some stuff - at least when you need to go and get anti-biotics and when you can get something over the counter, but I never talked about my feelings or boys or relationships and only told her I was being bullied and that I was stressed about my grades when she forced it out of me and promised not to call the school...which she did anyway but it worked out okay.

But this is the woman who forced me to go on the Rosemary Connelly diet when I was 14 (in year 10) and do loads of random exercises every day and eat bran flakes and low fat (synthetic looking) salad cream on my sandwiches instead of margarine. This is the woman who told me that the reason I wanted to get Dr Martins instead of strappy sandals to wear to my friend's 16 birthday party was that I wanted to look fat and ugly and horrible (the only thing she ever apologised for saying...and then it was about a week later in the doctor's waiting room), and who accused me of being pregnant when she was watching my periods like a hawk when I was with my first boyfriend and I had to leave her a note to say the reason why the bin wasn't full of sanitary products was because i'd had to take the morning after pill after the protection broke (in actual fact, I was on anti-bios and the boyfriend coerced me into having sex under the assurance that I could get the MAP with no protection apart from the defunct pill because i'm allergic to latex and he was too cheap to buy special ones) - this before I went off to London for a gig and came back to see the note screwed up in the corner where she'd obviously thrown it in frustration.

I went to counselling at college because I couldn't handle the way she was with me and when my Nan got ill it was worse because she had all this aggression to get out and my primary source of solace was dying. During the time that I was at counselling (which she mostly didn't know about) she had to go into hospital for a sort of operation and I only found out because my dad mentioned it like I knew and when he asked her why she hadn't told me she said she thought I wouldn't care.

So, yes I was very surprised to see a little area dedicated to me in her room like that. Even though most of it WAS from before I got hormones and went all fat and evil!



Okay yes I am a bit obsessed with the music of Ani Difranco...although still not sure about the last album, I guess the Ani of and around my age speaks to me a little more - but still I wouldn't be who I am without her - particularly albums Dilate, Educated Guess, Little Plastic Castle and Evolve, which were the first ones I got and Ani Difranco (debut) which speaks to me as an aspiring musician (being aspiring for like 8 years but never mind). Anyway I wanted to post this section from 'Gratitude' and also link to her poems as posted on Poems with Grace (got to have some continuity):

"...we can sleep here like brother and sister,you said
but you changed the rules
in an hour or two
and i don't know what you

and your sisters do

but please don't

please stop

this is not my obligation

what does my body have to do

with my gratitude?"

from 'Not So Soft' (1991)

and a bit of 'coolest f word ever' poetry - Grand Canyon on PWG

and from a while ago some poetry in italian

I always work to Ani D on random on my ipod...speaking of which Orientation to the Criminal Justice System reading beckons...but I don't wanna go!

i wish my hair looked like that...


do not underestimate the sleaze of the Playboy bunny

Well, where do I start on this place?

You can see obviously the sign says 'Bunnys Club' and the playboy bunnies and the fact that this looks NOTHING like an actual club. It's in the middle of a terrace of buildings on a main road out of Birmingham, the windows upstairs are painted/boarded over and the front of the building is all tiled apart from the front door.

Hmmm what kind of 'club' could this be? If it could even be considered a club I'd guess table/pole/lap...but there's a reason why I don't think this is a club.

Until recently this establishment was 'Cuddles' a 'massage parlor'. You or may not have seen in the news but during the summer this year this place was raided and 19 illegally immigrated women from various countries were believed to have been trafficked. It transpired that this place was not a massage parlor at all - and these women were basically being held against their will:

From The Scotsman:
"The women, from seven different countries, had had their passports taken from them by the owners of Cuddles, in Bearwood, Birmingham, which was operating as a brothel...A sawn-off shotgun and three extendable batons were found on the premises, which has an electric fence at the rear...Police were looking into allegations that they were brought to this country after being promised jobs as nannies and waitresses, and said that immigration officers had been informed...Cuddles massage parlour was targeted as part of intelligence gathered through Operation Strikeout, which targets robberies and violent crime...There are more than 12 rooms in the building. The walls were lined with metallic sheeting from the ceiling to the floor and there were mattresses in the rooms."

Please read the rest of the post - those were just some important points that I felt the need to highlight.

See also the BBC News story
and the Birmingham Mail

The police raided Cuddles after a TWO MONTH surveillance operation - I have known that the place wasn't really a massage parlor for about as long as i've known it existed, i.e. about seven years.

This is an old building and it had 'more than 12 rooms' which means lots of walls - removing said walls would, in my opinion, make the place structurally unsound. So by any chance is this 'club' in fact a 'massage parlor' by another name? A massage parlor with metal walls and mattress floors?

And children and teenagers see this place on the bus on the way into town and then see t-shirts and stationary, and tops and notebooks are okay right? So Bunnys Club is okay?



I could never be a superhero

my job in a sense, from Jan, will be to help prevent further crime and re-offending and to help in rehabilitation.

I am an employee of the CJS and yet i'm too much of a fucking wimp to report what I saw last night. Why?

Well if you go to the police website to report it you have to know details about the victim - their telephone number for example, the only thing I know about the woman last night is that she was wearing a light blue dress and no tights.

There are only a few options and the one that fits closest is Hate Crimes/Incidents and then you can pick what kind of hate crime it was - who it was against - was it racial, homophobic, religious, anti-disabled...what it an incident physically against a woman and verbally against many more? yes. Is there an option for this? no.

If you go to Crimestoppers you have to call them, and i'm too scared of being laughed at to be honest and i'm also scared that I will feel like some kind of CJS employee failure.

i'm a big wimp...I hate me.

an event

My friend is trying to organise events in Birmingham - she's a budding entrepreneur (nearly spelt it right the first time) - and i've suggested an event for a women's charity where we'd play music by women (yeah yeah yeahs, distillers, tori etc) and give some of the proceeds to the charity (i'd like ALL of the proceeds to go but I think my friend, Cerys, would probably not agree to that as she's sort of hoping this will start her career) and hopefully get the bar to donate some as well.

The venue will likely be the Sunflower Lounge on Smallbrooke Queensway in Birmingham city centre (by New St station and the Bull-link fly over) as that is where we're holding our first event in Feb (NY themed perhaps), it's a small place - it'll be a small event but a fund raiser is a fund raiser.
The thing is i'm having a dilemma - which charity/organisation? I wanted to go for RTN as it's topical since it'll be an evening bar event but there is some controversy over the attendance of men at their events and most of the people I know who go to the sunflower are men (but it's not a male place if you get me) - anyone care to give me some suggestions?

The ones i've come up with so far are YWCA, Women's aid and Positively Women - but does anyone have any other ideas? It needs to be a UK charity really and Cerys would prefer it to be a midlands based one but I don't think there are any!

I want this to work well, I want to do something for the cause. I will keep the blog updated on the progress!

(is there a better RTN site than the above one? preferably not myspace as i'm not on board with that site...it gives me the creeps...)

I think i'll kick off with some misogynistic bastards I saw earlier...

So, a couple of hours ago we were driving home through town (Birmingham) after having a rather nice get together for my Dad's 50th birthday at a Chinese restaurant near their house, and we were going down Broad Street. For those of you who don't know B'ham, Broad Street is lined with bars and clubs and the odd genuinely nice place to spend an evening - and of course it's Friday night so men and women are out in their droves to have fun and typically to get so wasted that they don't remember most of the night - and for one woman I hope that that will be true (for the incident detailed below only!).

What I witnessed ruined my evening. We were behind the car above. White Nissan Micra, reg:M809 DVV - 3 young male passengers. Quite a lot of traffic on the road due to taxis and people crossing at any given point - including a group of 3 or so young women who were dressed in such a way to 'catch their death' on this bitter December night...and I was just about to remark on how she probably ought to have worn tights and a jacket because it's so frickin cold when a hand appeared from out the backseat window on the driver's side of the micra and
grabbed her buttock. Needless to say she jumped in shock and the traffic moved so I couldn't see any further reaction from her, but the guys in the car continued to jeer and shout at women all the way down the road until we turned.

There were police around - there always is on a weekend on Broad St - they would have heard the comments if they weren't too busy having a nice chat outside the 'gentlemans club'
rocket club but would they have done anything about it? Probably not. Don't want to hold up traffic just to tell off a few young men for doing what comes naturally after all!

bastards. in fact I think what I said at the time was 'bastardy fuckers' which given the lack of grammar shows how shocked I was. Dee was also vocally appalled, which is just as well because he should be! It was appalling!

Look out for this car, beware.

grace graciously introduces you to her new graceful blog

good evening...or morning as it's now past midnight...

well some of you will know me from the feminist blogosphere as a recent commenter, and i've finally decided to start my own blog.

it'll be a bit different - this is a blog about my life. my life as a newly realised feminist, a newly employed government (CJS) trainee, a bit of a new person really.

this blog has been brewing and gurgling in my mind and i've been encouraged and shocked into finally starting it.

wow what a very dull post! i hope it gets better and i promise that i will master the art of upper case, i just like the lower case of this font (i'm easily amused).

take care, thanks for looking.