Tag Archives: feminism

Liebster

2 Jun

Thank you to Kastiyos and Liz Terry for nominating me this week for a Liebster and Very Inspiring Blogger Award respectively. I am very honoured.

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At first, I wondered whether or not to take part. The Awards involve sharing facts and answering questions about oneself. Whilst this suits perfectly blogs written in a diary format, and, as the 60s feminists said, the personal is political, I wondered if readers of this blog would appreciate it, given my usual style of sarcastic articles and angry letters. I would therefore like to thank Louise Mensch for inspiring my rethink.

Mensch, in her tirade against British feminism in Friday’s Guardian, claims that UK feminists are too busy in-fighting to get anything done, and that we frighten away male would-be feminists with our tiring, over-complicating attention to giving a platform to the voices of feminists who are not rich, white, heterosexual, able-bodied and capitalist.

Since joining the “online feminist community” around a year ago, I have found the vast majority of dialogues with other feminists educational and inspiring. By connecting with other bloggers who share similar feminist values, I have gained confidence and ambition in my campaigning through their support and encouragement. Therefore, in line with the requirements of the Liebster Award* and to counteract Mensch’s assertion that online feminism is vicious, divisive and disconnected from “reality”, I will nominate some blogs that I enjoy and – I hope – that others may find enriching, relevant and “real”.

The 11 blogs I nominate:

11 facts about myself:

  • When I grow up, I want to star in the British sketch show Smack the Pony
  • I drink too much and I never stand straight
  • The older I get, the more content I am in my own skin
  • My enjoyment of Have I Got News For You is severely tarnished when there are no women panelists
  • I cannot understand why Made in Chelsea has not yet sparked a proletariat revolution
  • I find apathy unnerving
  • The Coop aside, I hate the big supermarket chains, and hate myself even more for being too disorganised and lazy to boycott them
  • I have never been waxed. Yet I have inadvertently used the sticky side of a sanitary towel to remove pubic hair
  • I once trimmed my eyebrows with nail scissors
  • On the rare occasion that I make it through a woman’s magazine without defacing or burning it, (by “woman’s magazine” I mean the likes of Grazia, Cosmo etc.) I feel my self-confidence ebb away at the same speed as my urge to buy useless crap grows
  • I hope to have a child or plural one day. If I have a daughter, I will not be following a Conservative government “info-pamphlet”  in order to bring her up.

Below are the answers to the questions put to me by my nominator Kastiyos:

1. What is your favorite part about blogging?

I am sick of BBC-Braindead. There is an alternative to the mainstream media. We are the media.

2. If you could change anything about blogging, what would it be?

The most marginalized people are also those least likely to have access to blogging as a tool for making their voices heard.

3. If you could have any animal as a pet, which one would you choose?

Boris Johnson

4. List three words to describe yourself?

I’m happy today

5. If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

Peace, happiness, equality.

6. Name someone you truly admire and why?

Aminatou Haidar for her relentless courage and determination

7. What would you do if you were to win the lottery today?

Shamefully spend on ridiculous excesses (including a house and traveling the world), get bored, then invest in a non-charitable foundation providing funding for advocacy-focused, social justice activities.

8. If you were to participate in a talent show, what would your talent be?

Sadly I have no “show-talents” so to speak, but I can twist my hand 360° around my wrist.

9. What is your dream car?

I’m a terrible driver and have little interest in cars. Ideally, I would have a car that ran on human waste.

10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A free and independent Western Sahara

11. If you could invent anything you want, what would it be?

A full-proof mechanism for achieving the answers to question 5.

My questions for my nominees:

1)   What do you want to be when you grow up?

2)   What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

3)   Are you a feminist? Why (not)?

4)   What’s the most humbling experience you’ve had in your life?

5)   Which woman do you most admire?

6)   Why did you start blogging?

7)   Do any of your favourite films pass the Bechdel Test?

8)   Please recommend some comedians

9)   Which sexist, racist, ableist or otherwise bigoted aspect of popular culture would you most like to see mocked?

10) In your opinion, which beauty product is the most useless?

11)  In your opinion, which current governmental policy in your country is even more useless than your answer to point 10, and what can we do about it?

*Since the Liebster and Very Inspiring Blogger Award rules are very similar, it seems futile to do both. I have picked Liebster since I received this one first. The rules: answer 11 questions posed to you by your nominator; state 11 facts about yourself; nominate 11 other blogs, and; create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

In response to Sun’s request for a naked photoshoot

10 May

Dear Matthew,

I am writing to you in response to the request that popped up in my inbox earlier this afternoon. I have also copied in Charity Comms, which deemed your request as relevant to charities that fall into the “women’s group”, “children” or “family welfare” categories. I do hope that you receive several replies from “women’s groups” and that said “women’s groups” tell you exactly what they think of you.

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Let me recount for you a memory from my childhood. I recall a day out with my father in which we passed a man on a bench staring fixatedly at the highly sexualised image of a bare-breasted young woman in a newspaper. I remember how this sight provoked a feeling of surprise, disgust and anger but, given my young age, I could not articulate why. When my father and I returned home, I found my mother breastfeeding my younger sister. My immediate reaction was to fetch a tea towel to cover her bare chest, lest a stranger should ogle at her body in the style of that same repulsive man in the street. I think that is the day that I became a feminist. I wanted my mother, my sister and indeed women and girls in general to be seen by all as more than objects, mere pieces of meat, for men’s sexual gratification. Your newspaper, filled with men in clothes doing “useful” things, a single giant image of a girl in her pants, and, apparently, as of Tuesday, naked Real Women TM in “nude thongs” who can only “get happier” when men rate their bodies favourably, is, therefore, not one of my favourite publications. Just so you know.

Your request implies that women have psychological problems and that we are “overly negative” on ourselves when we “needn’t be.” I completely agree that many women have a much lower sense of self-worth than they should have. We are plagued by body dismorphia, eating disorders, shame and crippling insecurities. However, I would argue that having men publicly rate the sexual attractiveness of naked women does little to improve women’s self-confidence and self-worth. Rather, it does the exact opposite. Why do women, generally speaking, have such low body confidence? Because we are taught, you might even say brainwashed, from birth by the mainstream media, fairytales, toys, films, advertisements, adults, peers and so on that our worth is inextricably tied-up with male approval and that male approval is dependant on being beautiful, attractive and sexually available. We can escape this, not by having Sun Readers, Gok Wan, Dove or Boots tell us that we possess Real Beauty TM, but by severing the ties between our self-worth and our perceived sexual attractiveness. The “health feature” you plan for Tuesday’s edition of The Sun, on the other hand, reaffirms for many women that their very happiness and psychological wellbeing should be based on male perceptions of their naked bodies.

I would like to end my letter in a civilised fashion. However, I’ve had a long day at work, which was made longer by my outrage at receiving your shitty request. So, I’m just going to bid you farewell immaturely and, in a petty fashion, wish that someone who is more technically savvy than me photoshops a picture of you (and perhaps also Rupert Murdoch and your other misogynist colleagues) so that you appear naked but for a “nude thong”, ready to be rated by millions. I wonder if a Sun psychologist will tell you that this is an empowering experience and that you will “get happier” as a result. I think not.

Joanna