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This just in from The F-Word:

In Argentina, journalists have adopted a ten point list of commandments for reporting on sexual violence. It’s something the UK could do with adopting too, here’s the list:

  1. The following terms are correct usage: violence against women, gender-based violence and sexist violence.
  2. Gender-based violence is a crime insofar as it is illegal behavior that must be prevented and punished, a social problem, an assault on the right to life, dignity, and physical and psychological integrity of women, and an issue that concerns the defense of human rights.
  3. We will uproot from our work the term “crime of passion” to refer to murders of women who are victims of gender violence. Crimes of passion do not exist.
  4. It is of the utmost importance to protect the identity of the victim, rather than that of the aggressor. Make it clear who is the aggressor and who is the victim, and indicate what attitudes and situations may put women in violent relationships at risk, to help raise their awareness about their situation.
  5. Some information can harm the victims and their families. It is not always a good idea to identify the victim. It is offensive to refer to victims by diminutives, short forms of proper names, nicknames, and so on.
  6. We will never look for justifications or “motives” (alcohol, drugs, arguments, jealousy, a couple’s separation, infidelity, and so on) that only distract attention from the central issue: violence. The cause of gender-based violence is the control and domination that certain men exercise over women.
  7. It is essential to check the facts, especially from official sources.
  8. Keep the subject on the agenda by denouncing violence in all its forms: psychological, economic, and emotional, without waiting for women to be killed. Tell the story taking into account the uniqueness of each event, but also the elements that each has in common with other cases. This will help us avoid the use of expressions like “once again” or “yet another case of,” and prevent a dulling of sensitivities.
  9. Be particularly careful with the photographs and images illustrating the article. Respect the victims and their families, and avoid sexism, sensationalism and obscenity. Never steal images or audio material from a victim. When using a musical background, do not select motifs that inspire terror, or lyrics that talk about “love-sickness” or jealousy.
  10. Our articles will always include a free telephone helpline number for victims, and any other information that may be useful for them.

The post it’s from has some other interesting bits and pieces from the news – check it out!


So many great blogs to choose from…hmm…

  • Feministe has an interesting blog on Christian Bale and the accusations against him

  • Unapologetically Female asks: does advertising show us men want breasts, or not?

  • And posts this awesome video:

  • Brownfemipower looks at the plans for a new Disney film

  • Courtney Martin assesses the idea of marriage

  • Today’s Big Thing has a video of some women kicking the girls-are-bad-at-sports stereotype where it hurts

  • And feministing has made my life complete by introducing me to this wonderful, wonderful woman:

  • I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite bits of one of my favourite books, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It’s amazing and you should all read it…the poetry in her writing is fantastic. Anyway yes, this is one of my favourite extracts:

    Sir Perceval, the youngest of Arthur’s knights, at last set forth from Camelot. The king had begged him not to go; he knew this was no ordinary quest. Since the visit of the Holy Grail one feast day, the mood had changed. They were brothers, they laughed at Sir Gawain and his exploits in the land of the green knight, they were brave, all brave, and their loyalty was to the king…Had been to the king. The Round Table and the high-walled castle were almost symbols now. Once they were meat and drink. But for Launcelot and Bors, betrayal is in the future as well as in the past. Launcelot is gone, driven mad by heavy things. Somewhere he is searching too; reports reach the king; garbled, incoherent, ragged like the men who bring them. The hall is empty. Soon the enemy will come. There was a stone that held a bright sword and no one could pull the sword because their minds were fixed on the stone.

    Arthur sits on the wide steps. The Round Table is decorated with every plant that grows growing circular-wise like a target. Near the centre is a sundial and at the centre a thorny crown. Dusty now, but all things turn to dust.

    Arthur thinks of before, when there were lights and smiles.

    There was a woman, he remembers her. But oh, Sir Perceval, come and turn cartwheels again.

    makes me sick. But it’s always there, and complaining about it gets so darn tiresome. And ruins the breaks between perfectly decent, non-sexist programmes (cos there actually are a few…)

    This one has really got me riled, and I didn’t even see it on TV, but on The F-Word

    It is very distressing that this has been shown on tv. It’s like, we have a society that is supposedly gradually moving forwards, we have laws against things like sexism and yet advertising is allowed to ignore them and appeal to everyone’s sexist, prejudiced sides. If only there were more of us who don’t have them!

    Oh goodness. I just found this and I feel really, really unwell now. I simply can’t understand why people would want to do something like this:

    and this is ridiculous (the oh-so-rare-but-still-so-wrong objectification of men…) :

    and perleeeeese, this is so stupid:

    On a brighter (kinda) note, in America tomorrow they are doing something marvellous – a Day of Silence “to highlight the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students, and their supporters”, something which has apparently been going on since 1996. If I’d only known earlier I’d have tried to organise something – as it is, all I can do is say props to those who are doing it in America, I think it’s wonderful and I wonder why England hasn’t followed suit. I only wish that such a day weren’t necessary in the first place.

    See more in this vid, which is amazing and has my favourite actor from Grey’s Anatomy in it (he plays George :D)

    And on that note – Adieu!

    …or at least, that is what one is led to believe by the promise of many new ‘Hooters‘ bars cropping up all over England. Hoorah, another way of normalising the objectification and degradation of women.

    I’ll link you up to the criticisms on The F-Word, and the relevant Facebook group and petition, but first have a look at what Hooters have to say for themselves:

    The element of female sex appeal is prevalent in the restaurants, and the company believes the Hooters Girl is as socially acceptable as a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, or a Radio City Rockette. The Hooters system employs over 25,000 people – over 15,000 of which are Hooters Girls. The “nearly world famous” Hooters Girls are the cornerstone of the Hooters concept, and as part of their job, these all-American cheerleaders make promotional and charitable appearances in their respective communities. Hooters hires women who best fit the image of a Hooters Girl to work in this capacity. The chain hires both males and females to work in management and host, staff, service bar, and kitchen positions. The Hooters Girl uniform consists of orange shorts and a white tank top, short-sleeve or long-sleeve T-shirt. Pantyhose and bras are required.

    Claims that Hooters exploits attractive women are as ridiculous as saying the NFL exploits men who are big and fast. Hooters Girls have the same right to use their natural female sex appeal to earn a living as do super models Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. To Hooters, the women’s rights movement is important because it guarantees women have the right to choose their own careers, be it a Supreme Court Justice or Hooters Girl.

    Women occupy management positions all the way from Assistant Manager to Vice President of Training and Development, Kat Cole, who started her career at Hooters as a Hooters Girl.

    The chain acknowledges that many consider “Hooters” a slang term for a portion of the female anatomy. Hooters does have an owl inside its logo and uses an owl theme sufficiently to allow debate to occur over the meaning’s intent. The chain enjoys and benefits from this debate. In the end, we hope Hooters means a great place to eat.

    Hooters characterizes itself as a neighborhood place, not a typical family restaurant. Sixty-eight percent of customers are male, most between the ages of 25-54. Hooters does not market itself to families, but they do patronize the restaurants. Ten percent of the parties we serve have children in them. Hooters is in the hospitality business and provides the best possible service to anyone coming through the door. For this reason, the chain offers a children’s menu.

    Oh I could continue quoting, but you might as well read the page if it interests you. I’ll just add this one bit:

    Sex appeal is legal and it sells. Newspapers, magazines, daytime talk shows, and local television affiliates consistently emphasize a variety of sexual topics to boost sales. Hooters marketing, emphasizing the Hooters Girl and her sex appeal, along with its commitment to quality operations continues to build and contributes to the chain’s success. Hooters’ business motto sums it up, “You can sell the sizzle, but you have to deliver the steak.”

    Lovely. It’s one of those ‘the majority is always right, therefore the perceived majority is always right, therefore the media is always right and therefore we are’ decisions. Pretty questionable if you ask me. What they don’t seem to understand is that their company reduces women to mere ‘sex appeal’, and normalises the view of women as constantly sexually available, as there for male pleasure and as subservient. As Laura Woodhouse from The F-Word puts it,

    Some women may have no problems working there or dealing with the customers. But some women choosing to work there doesn’t mean that the Hooters’ view of women is OK. As long as women are primarily valued and viewed as sex objects for male pleasure/entertainment, all women suffer, because that status allows us to be discriminated against and “justifies” male sexual harassment of women, the myths about rape (she asked for it because she had her breasts out, she wanted it really etc etc), paying us less or barring our access to certain jobs. We will not be seen or treated as equals with equal rights as long as the culture of which Hooters is a part insists that our greatest asset is our breasts, and that these exist for men to look at and make money out of.

    Other women have to take any job going, and they shouldn’t have to put up with the Hooters uniform and sexual harassment in order to make a living. Callers on the show last night who claimed that no one has to do a job they don’t like are naive. You think people CHOOSE to empty bins or clean toilets day in, day out for years on end? People have to make ends meet, and they should not have to put up with the Hooters environment in order to do so. I don’t think the women who choose to work there should have to, either.

    Here are the anti-hooters links: Both blogs at The F-Word , Facebook group, PETITION, Guardian article.

    And here’s the agreement that all of the ‘girls’ have to sign – read paras 2 and 3.

    I’d be intrigued to know what you think about this. Personally, as you may have gathered, I’m astonished that this should even be suggested, let alone accepted, as a new branch of restaurants, pleasantly titled ‘breastaurants’ by one of the lawyers for Hooters (which, really, says it all), in England.

    Goodness, that’s a bit of a long sentence, sorry. I hope that there is some way of stopping them, really I do. The fact that they are celebrating their 25th Birthday in America is depressing enough, let’s hope they never get to celebrate their first one here.

    [Edit: It would appear that actually they have been successful in getting permission for a Hooters in Southend on Sea. Damn damn damn damn. But that does not mean (obviously) that we just give up and accept their existence in our country. Or indeed anywhere. Keep fighting the good fight, my friends. And on that note, as ever, adieu.]

    …so today, well tonight, I will relish my last moments of holiday, of escape. I’ve given up on things lately – work mostly, depression about the state of the world (made easier by trying to avoid the news and any research), people. Keeping my room tidy. Reading what I’m supposed to read.

    It was only for a few days. And now I know that My Life As It Really Is must resume soon – tomorrow, in fact. Those three essays I’ve ignored need to be done. That presentation on my project about women in science? Yeah, gotta do that. The revision for my History and English exams? Ought to dig into that at some point. What’s that? I have to see friends and family and walk around and breathe as well? Great.

    As a final flourish of the Free Flag, then, I will provide you with some lovely things that have managed to distract me for a few hours. Enjoy. After this it’ll no doubt get gritty again.

    Oh and by the way – some of these things are weird 🙂

    A movie in a minute …yes, I just said movie. That’s what they’ve called them. I’m on holiday, I can’t complain 🙂

    They do books too

    Hello Boys and Girls, today we’re going to make music…count and play your rhythm sticks, if you have them 😀 This site just has loadsa sound bytes. These are my favourites so far!

    Bullet + Crayons = fun

    These two have whole books. On teh internetz! 😀

    The Mockery of the Bible. Worth it for the foolery section alone. Obviously there are issues with all of it – but today is holiday day and I’m not going into them.

    You know the words you can put on your fridge? The magnetic ones of joy? There’s a huge fridge in cyberspace all for you…and everyone else in the world…YAY 😀

    A title generator (for stories, poems, you name it 🙂 )

    This is what my house will look like when I’m all growed up.

    Scrap that. My house will be all of these. Combined.

    But if you really want something disheartening, as that is what this blog usually seems to bring to your attention, try this. It’s pathetic. Have something that’s depressing in a cheery way to make up for it : *smiles*

    Back in the dream world – ooh, an online typewriter thing 🙂

    Some of these photos are incredible – I love the 5th one the most =]

    A pac man game with SCOUTING FOR GIRLS! Hoorah, all of my dreams have come true 😛

    Bible Google! Hahahaha wow. I’m happy.

    Story in a sentence. Kinda like postsecret in a way. But nowhere near as good. Some interesting ones though 🙂

    The Beatles make me happy. Bit of a weird link tho.

    I. Love. Words.

    And I love this

    Sarcasm. Society. Need I say more?

    In fact, no. I think I’ve said enough. I fear I must now resign myself to sleep, fully aware that when I wake the work will descend and there will seem to be no end. There we go, that’s life.

    And on that note – adieu!

    Cos we’ve never heard that one before.

    THIS isn’t, apparently, a touchy-feely, “women are more emotional in the workplace” kind of argument.

    No, instead it’s a ‘men are just emotionally incapable and LIKE to see others fail, while women make a good judgement not to get involved with aspects of business that require more commitment time-wise’

    . . . .

    Male performance is boosted simply by having to compete, while female performance is automatically lowered by competition, according to studies that tested fourth-grade schoolchildren under different running scenarios in gym class.

    Because, of course, fourth-grade schoolchildren are perfect examples of working women and men. And anyway, why o why o why the generalisation?! Some women perform better when they have to compete (I sure as hell do), and some don’t. The same goes for men.

    “More women than men think they’ll do poorly, even when they perform very well,” Dr. Pinker says in the book. “In the competitive sphere this can look like discrimination, when in fact women may be withdrawing from the race of their own accord, based on their faulty self-assessments.”

    This, of course, is natural. Women expect to do badly. This couldn’t possibly be a learnt personality trait, could it?

    Oh no, let’s not even suggest that. That’s crazy talk. Women just think like that, ok?

    To be fair, I’m judging from the article rather than reading the actual book. But really, Dr. Pinker, shouldn’t we have learnt by now that all people behave/think/process information differently? What can we possibly gain from such ‘research’ other than a confirmation of this, which has been gendered? Surely the only thing that this book does, then, is promote the idea that it’s ok for there to be so few women in the higher jobs in business because some women don’t want it, and that men are incapable of real emotion/compassion?

    Thus, the power of patriarchy is yet again affirmed – we’ve even got women saying that it’s natural for women to not want to be promoted/paid more! And while we’re at it, let’s confirm that idea of the RealMan – he’s masculine, he’s strong, he likes to compete and WIN, oh yeah, and he just doesn’t do any of that girly compassion bull.

    Perleeease. Give me a break.

    This is for Andy and the others who were in creative writing today. And actually, for anyone who happens to be interested…

    Today we had a discussion in Creative Writing about rape/the safety of women in England now. I’ve found some links that I think are relevant:

    “While they conclude there was some evidence of poor investigation and lack of understanding of the law, the main problem was the culture of scepticism among both the police and prosecutors.” (Second source above)

    • The rape conviction rate for the last couple of years has proven much more difficult to find than I anticipated. I think we may be wrong in saying that it is as low as 2%, I think it is actually more likely that it has remained at 5 or 6%. (This, from 2007, says 5%…) This is still shocking, as the rate has dropped. By 31.4%.
    • This, from 2007, covers a great deal of the issues and inbuilt stereotypes in society RE rape, and discusses both the issues and solutions.

    “Judgements about the credibility of charges of rape are often influenced by impressions of the woman’s attractiveness, demeanour, dress and alcohol consumption which are in fact irrelevant to the real issue of consent and the perpetrator’s culpability.”

    “Prevalent public attitudes about rape also have a clear influence on the investigation and prosecution of rape cases and at court, and contribute to the low rape conviction rate. Police, prosecutors, judges and, perhaps most importantly, jurors are as likely as any other members of the public to internalise common attitudes about rape, and misconceptions about who are ‘real’ rapists and victims.”

    • Responses to the question ‘Why are rape conviction rates so low?’, this January.
    • An incredible performance poet, speaking about rape (in fact, check out her site cos she really is amazing)
    • And finally (as I think I’ll have to continue this another time because I’m getting so tired and depressed), this – it shouldn’t still need to be said, hell it should never have needed to be said, but it is still relevant and a pretty powerful post. Also the source of my title – see the comments.

    On a completely unrelated (and yet, as ever, related in some way) point: this guy’s poem is really powerful.

    And on that note – adieu.


    and the generations before


    and before that


    and even before that. Nothing seems to change.


    Read an interesting article in the Woman section of the G2, deeply depressing but interesting nonetheless. Especially as the number of ‘gentleman’s’ clubs in Brighton seems to be increasing, which is insane. They should not exist in the first place, but to build more? New ones? It pains me greatly to think that this is seen as acceptable. This, also relevant but from last year, is fascinating but so sad. Ditto with this timewise – it just confirms what is said in both other sites I’ve referenced – that young women are being sexualised.


    On a lighter note, this is promising.


    And, to counter it, as for every piece of good news there is ALWAYS at least 10 pieces of bad news, try this.

    Ok, so I was going to link to this article on Feministing about a guy whose brother raped his wife by pretending to be the husband. Disgusting, especially considering the response from the agony aunt who was written to about it. But as I went to pick up the link, I saw something new. The link I have actually given you makes me feel physically sick. Truly, to the bottom of my stomach.

    In fact, being the over-emotional-hysterical woman that I am, it makes me cry. That other women can ridicule a woman who has been mutilated…it begs belief. I just have no words to even begin to explain how foul it is to mock a woman for her abuse.

    In a supposedly ‘developed’ country, why is it we are faced every day with such disgraceful disregard for women?

    . .

    It makes me wonder what the point is, really. As I said before – I’m talking bout my generation, but it’s the same for so many generations gone by that one begins to wonder if it’s possible to progress at all.

    Perhaps progress is in fact a myth, and all we get is veiled digression. Nothing seems to change.


    And on that note – adieu.


    (But for those who want to depress themselves further about the reality of this shithole we call Earth, here‘s the brother-rape story. And if you want to see whether the earlier link was a one off from, try this. I weep. Especially as sometimes she seems to have something decent to say, too.)

    …is the name of this article. It was written by Alex Gibson, a modern history student at Magdalen College, Oxford. Apparently, “He is very proud to add feminism to a list of ‘isms’ he cares passionately about, and is quite fond of making his friends uncomfortable in the pub by talking about it”. Go him – I’m glad that there are men out there that identify with feminism. But while I’m happy for him that he can add feminism to his impressive list, I had a few issues with his article.

    In essence, it was fair enough. Men have to face gender stereotypes and that sucks for them. Poor things. But right from the title, I was perplexed. “Why Men Should Care About Gender Stereotypes”…well, why should they? The message is clear – because it affects them, too. In fact, some stereotypes about men are “allowed to flourish in – dare I say it – a much more brazen way than the stereotypes about women”. Of course, if it only affected women then, one is led to assume, men shouldn’t care about gender stereotypes.

    While I agree with him over several of his points, this overall principle, that the reason men should care is because it affects them too, marred my opinion of the whole article. Not only this, but also his attitude to feminism as though it were purely for advancing women. While there is a clear focus upon women within feminism, as it is, more often than not, about equality and women being treated equally to men, his article seemed to suggest that feminism only rejects the ludicrous ideas held about women and that, indeed, there is nothing that addresses the issue of supposed ‘masculinity’.

    The problem is, while women are encouraged to reject the ludicrous ideas that are held about them, men are supposed to embrace them.

    The idea of all women rejecting gender stereotypes is a wonderful one. What bliss, when all women are raised by feminists who ensure that they shed gender stereotypes and consider themselves as individuals. But that is not reality. When so many women and men are brought up in the clutches of gender stereotypes, it is not right to say that women reject gender stereotypes while men are expected to embrace them. Both ‘genders’ are expected to conform to the stereotypes that are rife in modern society, but I would never go so far as to say that stereotypes about men are allowed to flourish more than those about women. When the ‘worst’ swear word in England, cunt, describes the female anatomy, when women are portrayed on tv, in programmes and adverts and films and in books, cartoons, and games as conforming to ‘stereotypes’, when there are still ‘girls mags‘ which expect women to only care about make-up, clothes, shoes, and, of course, men, when feminism comes under ‘life & style‘ if acknowledged at all in national papers, when to ignore the advances of other men makes you a ‘slut’, how can you say that stereotypes about men flourish more?

    I’d love to know.

    Yes, Alex isn’t an anti-feminist. And he wouldn’t want to undermine the wrongs done to women – I appreciate this. However the way that he has approached the issue is deplorable, as he not only sees it as an issue for men just because they are also victims of it, but also seems to think that men have a harder time than women when it comes to gender stereotypes

    I would never dare to suggest that men have a harder time than women in general society, because that’s just patently untrue, but in terms of stereotypes we fail utterly.

    Yes, he has some good points. The main one, of course, is that men also suffer from patriarchy.

    Men are often characterised as spoiled, helpless brats utterly unable to perform simple household tasks, too stupid to remember anniversaries and appointments and completely unable to understand these strange female creatures and their hysterical emotions. We’re base brutes ruled by our overactive sex drives who simply can’t help being crass and immature, because that is the way God made us. Basically, we are mentally deficient lumps who require a female carer to function in society.

    But to then say that

    This is precisely the kind of ridiculous stereotype that, if applied to women, would be torn to shreds in intelligent debate.

    seems rather naive. Yes, in intelligent debate it would be. But so would ridiculous stereotypes about men. However, more often than not we aren’t dealing with intelligent debate. We’re dealing with one-sided views, we’re dealing with people who have grown up being told what girls do and what boys do, so have been socialised into accepting these stereotypes. We’re dealing with anti-feminists who believe the stereotypes that they have been fed with.

    Also, to assume that the stereotype of men as ‘mentally deficient lumps’ is the prevalent one could also be misguided. There are a great deal of stereotypes that say that men are more intelligent, more capable of achieving, better at academic studies while women are supposed to flourish creatively. However, Alex clearly hasn’t experienced these as he believes that male academics aren’t celebrated.

    Let’s stop putting sports stars on a pedestal and start celebrating poets, writers, scientists and artists.

    Actually, male poets, writers, scientists and artists are celebrated widely. Hell, the new freebee with the Guardian is ‘Great Poets of the 20th Century’ and guess how many women poets were great?


    Out of seven.

    Of course, Plath was amazing. But anyone would believe she’s the only woman that’s ever written decent poetry.

    Anyway, I feel that I have dwelled on this for too long. Basically, I agree that gender stereotypes are wrong, both logically and morally. But to suggest that male stereotypes are almost worse than female? I have an issue with that. Also, to suggest that the only reason men should care is because they are affected by it is ridiculous.

    I’d be interested to hear what y’all think of the article, and, to balance it, look at this un:


    She talks about supposedly ‘sexist’ feminism, and about the ideas put forward by Alex about male stereotypes. And there are some good links to male ‘movements’ at the end 🙂

    And on that note – Adieu!

    Flickr Photos