Tag Archives: letters

Be the mum you’ve always wanted to be: lose weight.

26 Oct

Dear Morpeth Slimming World Consultant,

I am writing to thank you for the leaflet you kindly posted through my door this morning along with all the takeaway spam and Lidl adverts. It reminded me of a key quality that all mothers should strive to possess if they truly want the best for their children: the desire to be thinner.

Occasionally I think about having children in the future, if I am able to. I wonder if I would make a good mother. Will I be patient, selfless, caring enough? Can I be strict, or will I spoil my offspring horribly? Will I suffer from post-natal depression? What if something happens to my children due to my own lack of shrewdness? Will they be born healthy? What if looking after my baby doesn’t come naturally to me? As you will have noted, “will I be slim enough?” had, up until now, yet to feature in my list of future motherhood anxieties. Should I have children in the future, I will add “need to lose weight” to the catalogue of guilt that will no doubt be plaguing me.

Of course, it would be wrong of me to fail to acknowledge that your leaflet is not the sole mother-shaming instrument out there. Women’s magazines and several newspapers are full of weight-loss and fitness tips from celebrity mothers who have succeeded in their “quests” to lose baby bumps, which implies that all new mothers should be striving for this goal. But the honesty of your leaflet made it stand out from the crowd: slimming is simply a must-have quality for any woman who wants to be an amazing mum. The message is clear.

Forgive me, however, for there is something which I do not understand. What is it, exactly, that makes slimming mums better than ones that aren’t on a diet or weight-loss exercise regime? Can they play better? Do they care and love more? Are they better at discipline? Are they better equipped to pass body-guilt on to their own children, thereby reproducing a market necessary for the survival of the capitalist weight-loss industry? Do share.

Yours faithfully,

Natural Woman

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If you slim down, you could be the mum you’ve always wanted to be

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#deardave

23 Aug

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your patronising note to Sarah.

Reading your email to her, I had assumed that Sarah was a 9-year-old girl guide who had sent you a postcard from the Costa del Sol. Then I read her open letter to you, and realised she was a campaigns professional inviting you to a meeting. She wasn’t on holiday. She was at a conference.

I would imagine that Sarah, her colleagues and their supporters do not see their twitter activism as “enjoyable banter.” This is because they have to live with the consequences of the constant sexual objectification of women in the media every day. Your extremely condescending and rather Victorian response to Sarah – addressing her as if she were a small child and dismissing her questions entirely – illustrates the intrinsically sexist way in which you view women.

I’m sorry that the pillar of your “newspaper” is the image of a topless teenager dolled-up and presented for the male gaze (alongside fully-clothed men doing useful activities). But then again, your whole “newspaper” is a pillar for misogynism, racism and homophobia.

I hope you will get rid of page 3, but I’d rather your whole “newspaper” just disappeared. Until then, I will continue to judge people who buy it when I pass them in WHSmith 🙂

Regards

Joanna

From http://nomorepage3.org/news/letters-to-the-editor-part-1/:

“20 August 2013

Hi Sarah

Thanks for your note. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for holidays here! I’m glad you had a good weekend. I am a fan of the Guides – I was a Scout myself. To save you any further effort, I won’t be changing my stance on Page 3. It is a pillar of the paper, the readers (both male and female) like it and I do not for one moment believe it is the basis of all evil. There are, I believe, many much more worthy targets you could be turning your admirable attentions to. I will continue to enjoy the Twitter banter. Regards David. david.dinsmore@news.co.uk

From http://nomorepage3.org/news/dear-dave-an-open-letter-to-dave-dinsmore-about-girl-guidinggirl-scouting/:

“20 August 2013

Dear Dave

I wanted to write to fill you in on the amazing experience that I have had at the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) European Conference. I was there on behalf of No More Page 3 as one of the key note speakers. That’s right; it’s not just Girl Guiding UK that is showing an interest in our campaign, it’s the whole European organisation. The reason that we were invited is because they are an organisation that works hard to create a safe space for young women and girls to be themselves, to grow and develop in a wonderful bubble of support and respect. They talk a lot about their members becoming “change agents” who work to improve the world around them. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that they feel very strongly that the pressure on girls these days to look or be a certain way is having a negative impact on their ability to become the powerful young women they ought to be.

I was planning on giving you all the details of my presentation and what the media is doing to make the lives of young women and girls so much harder. But you know what, I’m not going waste your time with that when really all I want to know is, will you meet with a couple of the Guiding UK Advocates and listen to their stories? I want you to sit opposite some of these incredible young women and hear how Page 3 impacts them and the lives of the girls and young women they represent.

After listening to them, do you think that you would be able to look them in the eye and tell them that it’s just about money? That the damage done to young women’s body image and perception in society as sexualised, ultra perfect beings is less important than selling newspapers?

Can you even prove that your sales would drop? Have you asked your readers? What happened when your predecessor dropped Page 3 in favour of Help for Heroes t-shirts? Did the sales tailspin into single figures because people didn’t know where to turn for their boobs?

Your argument is disingenuous and unproven. Talk to some Guides Dave, be a change agent yourself and make this world a little bit better for all of us.

Kind regards,

Sarah
No More Page 3”

Letter to Robin Thicke

21 Aug

Dear Mr Thicke,

I am writing to you out of a very real concern for your health. Following, via the media, your behaviour of late, I have reason to believe that you suffer from the relatively rare condition of Thickism. Please see the excerpt below from my Oxford Handbook of Medicine for more information on the ailment.

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There are a few recent incidents in particular that have alerted me to the possibility that you may have contracted Thickism:

1) You publicly acknowledged that your song, Blurred Lines, sounds and feels a lot like Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give it Up. You then, earlier this week, began proceedings to sue the Gaye estate in order to force them to announce that you did not, in fact, copy elements of their deceased relative’s work. This behaviour shows typical Thickist elements: your actions in raising the lawsuit are antithetical to the assertion made in your previous public statement. They also display misplaced arrogance (your song, undoubtedly, could not have been so catchy without the Marvin Gaye hooks, yet you decide to sue his family).

2) You announced in a media interview “what a pleasure it (was) to degrade women” in the video and lyrics of your misogynistic rape song Blurred Lines. Then, when called out globally for promoting rape and violence against women, you, antithetically to your first statement, announced that the song was “actually a feminist movement within itself.” This assertion, or mansplaination, shows Thickist levels of delusion.

Robin. Lets make this clear. Your song and video are not “a feminist movement.”

Blurred Lines: a song in which you and your buddies attempt to “liberate” a “good girl” by telling her that she wants “crazy, wild sex.” However, she is not asking for this. You repeat the lyrics “I know you want it” and “do it like it hurt” whilst your musical partner occasionally mentions “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two.”

Then we come to the video. Three young, naked women prancing in an infantilised manner around three older, fully-clothed, predatory-looking men, who tail, bite, pull the hair of, and blow smoke in the faces of said women. Just a bit of “degrading”, “fun” (your words not mine). Violence against, and sexual objectification of, women. Is this any different to all the other examples of sexist portrayal of women we see in the media every day? No. Does that make it OK? No.

Your song lyrics– about a man in a bar who “knows” a young girl really wants “crazy, wild” sex with him but won’t say so – puts the all too common occurrence of men claiming that they thought no meant yes (the so-called but non-existent blurred lines of consent) as their excuse for raping someone. Sorry Robin. Such men are not feminists. They are rapists.

It’s not that I can’t take a sexist joke (actually I can’t), but your sexist bit of fun is damaging. Your idea that sexual consent is a blurred concept is, unfortunately, deeply ingrained in the way our society treats sexual assault. As Elizabeth Plank points out, the concept is what drives many to doubt the veracity of rape allegations. It’s why most victims never report their rape. It’s, as she says, the reason why 97% of rapists will never see a day in prison.

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Robin Thicke: feminisn’t

On another note, your sense of entitlement to the “hottest bitch in this place” (whatever the place is) shows elements of Thickist misplaced arrogance. You are not hot. Your creepy half-smirk, dark sunglasses and sinister tailing of naked young girls whilst in your full suit make you look like a perverted pantomime villain stroke sex pest. Maybe just go and put a modesty bag over your head.

Your retort to those who say your song is sexist is also a sign of Thickest arrogance and mansplaination. You say that we can’t deal with nudity and hate the human body. Please don’t patronise me Robin. My problem is not with the nude female form but with sexual objectification and songs misconstruing the meaning of sexual consent, both of which contribute to Rape Culture.

3) You directed the young naked girls in your Blurred Lines video to hold balloons carrying the slogan Robin Thicke Has A Massive Dick. My experience tells me that men who feel the need to announce in public that their manhood is sizable usually do so due to psychological complexes caused by their small penises. Again, announcing the opposite of the truth is a clear sign of Thickism. If you do have a small penis, which I strongly suspect you do, it is almost sure that you are suffering from the aforementioned condition and I suggest you seek medical help immediately.

As a form of treatment, I suggest you read The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir and perhaps donate some of the money you made from your song to your local rape crisis centre.

Sincerely,

Your feminist GP

Response to letter regarding Sun’s request

13 May

I was grateful to receive a response from Charity Comms this morning to my letter (https://yourdaughterswillbenext.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/in-response-to-suns-request-for-a-naked-photoshoot/) regarding a request from a The Sun journalist, which was circulated by the Charity Comms service on Friday. I promised to publish any responses, so please find the message below:

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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

Letter to CNN’s rape apologists

21 Mar

Dear Ms Crowley and Ms Harlow,

After a few days away from the Anglophone media, I was this morning alerted to your news report, date 17th March, on the trial of the Steubenville rapists: the high school boys who kidnapped a 16 year old girl who was vomiting at the roadside and fell unconscious, then drove her – over a period of several hours – from party to party where they repeatedly gang raped and urinated on her. They and their delighted, laughing pals filmed the attacks whilst shouting comments such as “she is so raped,” “they raped her quicker than Mike Tyson!”, “they raped her more than the Duke lacrosse team!”; and she was “deader than Trayvon Martin” and then shared videos and photographs via social media, which, incidentally, went viral. Laurie Penny has compared these images to the photographs taken between the 1880’s and 1930’s, which show white Americans grinning beneath the naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree. The lynching photographs were souvenirs of a collective action whose participants felt perfectly justified in what they had done, just as those Steubenville boys did. And you reinforce their sense of justification.

As you are no doubt aware, when the girl (commonly known in the media as Jane Doe) and her family reported the crime to the police, she began to receive death threats as inhabitants of the town of Steubenville, Ohio, united in an attempted mass cover up of the rapes, in order to protect the implicated young boys, who happened to be the town’s star football players.

You could say that Jane Doe has been raped many times: firstly by the boys that invaded her unconscious body; secondly by the party-goers who watched and did nothing; thirdly by the people that delighted in sharing and mocking pictures of her ordeal via social media; and now by the great masses of rape apologists who rally behind her rapists rather than her (you may count yourselves in this final category).

Pardon the digression. Back to your news report. To jog your memories, here is a link to your report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cvUCDjLDIk. I have also enclosed a transcript of your dialogue in case your internet connection is too slow for you to watch the video comfortably (see below).

In your report, the two of you, plus your “expert”, Paul Callan, express incredible levels of sadness, sympathy and regret for those poor rapists who will spend over a year in a detention centre for their crimes. You feel, I quote, “incredibly emotional” at the sight of these boys crying in court as “their lives fell apart”. Indeed, Ms Harlow, in terms of the compassion you feel for the two boys, you say that you’ve “never experienced anything like it.” All three of you lament that these boys will now be labeled as sex offenders for their whole lives, despite being “good students.”

It’s so very sad when rapists get caught, especially when they are good students. I feel your pain… I really do (I don’t) … and so I have developed a few tips to help you help other defenceless young boys in potential danger of having their lives ruined with custodial sentences and appearances on the sex offenders register:

1) Don’t commit a sex offence*

I can’t think of any more tips.

Yours sincerely,

Joanna Allan

* Kidnapping someone, repeatedly raping them, urinating on them and filming it constitutes a sex offence.

P.S. Will CNN be televising a public apology for this appalling piece of journalism?

P.P.S Your report on this trial breaks my heart. I have never been more amazed and disgusted by anything I have read or heard from a journalist.

TRANSCRIPT FROM CNN NEWS REPORT ON STEUBENVILLE VERDICT

CROWLEY: “Again, this case was played out in juvenile court, that is why there was a judge, no jury. He decided on the verdict, as well as, you heard there, talking about the sentence.

We want to go now to CNN’s Poppy Harlow. She is in Steubenville, and has been covering this trial.

I cannot imagine having just watched this on the feed coming in. How emotional that must have been sitting in the courtroom.”

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: “I’ve never experienced anything like it, Candy. It was incredibly emotional — incredibly difficult even for an outsider like me to watch what happened as these two young men that had such promising futures, star football players, very good students, literally watched as they believe their life fell apart.

One of — one of the young men, Ma’lik Richmond, when that sentence came down, he collapsed. He collapsed in the arms of his attorney, Walter Madison. He said to me, “My life is over. No one is going to want me now.”

Very serious crime here. Both found guilty of raping this 16- year-old girl at a series of parties back in August, alcohol-fueled parties. Alcohol is a huge part in this.

But Trent Mays was also found guilty on a second count and that is of felony illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material because he took a photograph of the victim laying naked on the floor that night. Trent Mays will serve two years in a juvenile detention facility. Ma’lik Richmond will serve one year on that one count that he was found guilty for.

I want to let our viewers listen because for the first time in this entire trial we have now heard from the two young men. Trent Mays stood up, apologizing to the victim’s family in court. After him, Ma’lik Richmond.”

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRENT MAYS, FOUND GUILTY OF RAPING IN JUVENILE COURT: “I would really like to apologize to (INAUDIBLE), her family, my family and community. No pictures should have been sent out or should be taken. That’s all. Thank you.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Anything you’d like to say, Ma’lik?”

MA’LIK RICHMOND, FOUND GUILTY OF RAPE IN JUVENILE COURT:” I would like to apologize. I had no intention to do anything like that and I’m sorry to put you guys through this. (INAUDIBLE) I’m sorry.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW:” I was sitting about three feet from Ma’lik when he gave that statement. It was very difficult to watch.

You know, something that came up throughout this sentencing. Ma’lik’s father had gotten up and spoke. Ma’lik has been living with guardians. His father, a former alcoholic, gotten to a lot of trouble with the law, been in prison before.

And his father stood up and he told the court, ‘I feel responsible for this. I feel like I wasn’t there for my son.’ And before that, he came over to the bench where his son was sitting. He approached him, he hugged him and whispered in his ear.

And Ma’lik’s attorney said to us in a courtroom, I have never heard Ma’lik’s father before say, I love you. He’s never told his son that. But he just did today.

This was an incredibly emotional day. These two juveniles being carried out and they will be committed today, Candy.”

I want to bring in Paul Callan, our CNN legal contributor.

You know, Paul, a 16-year-old now just sobbing in court, regardless of what big football players they are, still sound like 16 year olds. The other one, 17. A 16-year-old victim.

The thing is, when you listen to it and you realize that they could stay until they’re 21, they are going to get credit for time served. What’s the lasting effect, though, on two young men being found guilty in juvenile court of rape, essentially?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, Candy, we’ve seen here a courtroom drenched in tears and tragedy and, you know, Poppy’s description, I think, you know, sums it all up. But across America scenes like this happen all the time.

I know as a prosecutor and defense attorney, when that verdict is handed down, usually it’s just the family and families of the defendants and the victims, there’s always that moment of just lives are destroyed. And lives have already been destroyed by the crime. And we got a chance to see that.

But in terms of what happens now, yes, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law and, by the way, the laws in most other states now require such a designation in the face of such a serious crime.

That will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Employers, when looking up their background, will see they’re registered sex offender. When they move into a new neighborhood and somebody goes on the Internet where these things are posted. Neighbors will know they’re a registered sex offender.

It’s really something that will have a lasting impact. Much more of a lasting impact than going to a juvenile facility for one or two years.

Letter to John Pilger from an Assange Hater

22 Feb

Dear John,

I am writing to you as someone who had long admired you, just as I had admired Ken Loach and Noam Chomsky who join you in their unwavering Assange support, in your pursuit for “justice, freedom and truth” against imperialism. As my close friends will know, I had especially admired the three of you (that is, yourself, Loach and Chomsky) for your devotion for the largely forgotten Western Sahara cause. Yet, as Shakespeare said, lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds, and my deep admiration has turned to deeper disappointment.

In your V-Day (the international day of the global campaign to end violence against women) piece in The Guardian, you described Julian Assange’s “allies” as devoted to “an epic struggle for justice, truth and freedom.” Sadly, this piece disappoints me so much that I cannot even find it in myself to respond sarcastically, which is my normal reaction to opinions that displease me. I consider myself as anti-imperialist, pro-transparency and generally devoted to “justice, freedom and truth.” However, within my commitment to “justice, freedom and truth” I tend to include “justice, freedom and truth” for women.

Right now, in the UK and elsewhere in the world, the singular issue where “justice, freedom and truth” is most lacking, in my opinion, for women, is that of rape, or “sexual misconduct”, as you might put it. I find that, in my daily life, I am constantly preoccupied by the threat of rape, of Schrödinger’s Rapist (the stranger, who takes it upon himself to approach me, for example by cat-calling, in public, and who may or may not turn out to be my future rapist), and by the weighty “rape culture” in which a number of my actions may, in future, be considered to be “asking for” my own rape.

You claim that the allegations against Assange of “sexual misconduct” (is that a softer way for you to say “rape”?) are “falsehoods”, and imply that, since the women that accuse him had previously consented to sex with Assange, their accusations of rape are dismissible. As a woman, I find this offensive. The idea that any man with whom I have previously consented to sex can come and hump me at will – with or without a condom and certainly without my express consent – does not sit well with my idea of “justice, freedom and truth.” This idea does, however, sit well with the wider rape culture that permeates our society, in which women are expected to follow rape prevention tips if they wish to avoid being blamed for “causing” sexual assault.

I will fight for Western Sahara’s self-determination to the end, yet I will denounce the hushing-up of claims made by Saharawi women of rape by their compatriots (not that this is any worse than the lack of justice for rape survivors anywhere else, the UK included), just as I support the cause of the Palestinian people whilst simultaneously being disgusted by the placing of women’s rights in second place to those of the Palestinian nation as a whole, (which, to me, implies that the Palestinian nation is only for men). Likewise, I support efforts, such as those of wikileaks, to call out government and corporate corruption, but am equally committed to calling out Julian Assange for his lack of respect for women.

I cannot think of a situation where I would not feel hatred towards a rapist. I hate Assange for disrespecting women’s autonomy over their bodies. Therefore, I am a member of the, what you call in your article, “Julian Assange Hate Cult”. Yet, I am not a US government ally “out to crush someone who has revealed its dirty secrets.” Not everything is black and white, a dichotomy of goodies and badies. You can be an anti-imperialist and a rapist. You can be an investigative, leftie journalist and a misogynist.

Yours sincerely,

Assange Hater.

An Open Letter to the Editor of the Sunday Times’ Style Magazine: to encourage one’s child daughter to become a sexual, fasting object, or not?

18 Jan

Dear Ms Long,

Whilst waiting for my tea to brew in the kitchen at work yesterday, I came across an abandoned issue of the Sunday Times Style magazine (dated 13 January 2013). I often turn to publications such as your own in order to learn how to be a proper woman. As such, conflicting messages about how women should behave are very distressing to me. It is with a recent highly confusing experience in mind, in which one article contradicted the messages given by the rest of the magazine, that I write to you.

Let us first analyse the article that jars with the rest of your publication’s content, Freedom to Choose. This piece intelligently highlights the damage the mainstream media causes to young girls. It argues that the media teaches young girls that they are sexual objects, causes insecurity amongst girls by making “how they look, and their “hotness”… an obsession”, and that they are “products” whose worth is determined by how others evaluate theirs looks.

The piece describes how very young girls are constantly: “hammered by the media by the need to be sexy” and taught, above all else, that “(their) looks are the most important things about (them).”

The article helpfully highlights for the reader how to avoid the sexualisation of their young daughters, and how to help girls to have their own space and security to become women at their own pace. To jog your mind, here are three top strategies and tips that your article recommends:

1) “Because (the sexualisation) starts very young … we can choose which magazines and other media to buy”;

2) “Girls’ magazines generally do more harm than good”; and

3) “shared meals at fixed times, where everyone is at the table” can help.

My confusion lies in the juxtaposition of these sensible messages with the general philosophy offered by your publication. Pray, why does the rest of your magazine blatantly contradict all three of these messages?

For the benefit of my blog readers who may not have a copy of your magazine to hand (I will post this letter on my blog), let me now give a brief overview of the contents of your publication:

  • Cover: Photo of a skinny woman who is posing as if she is expecting to be penetrated from behind, penetrated orally and penetrated in her visible cleavage, and who, implicitly, is presently on “the fasting diet”
  • Inner cover: advert for make-up that gives a “face lift” effect
  • p.1: contents
  • p.2: advert for low-fat ready meal
  • p.3: editor’s update featuring JLO’s dressing habits
  • p.4: perfume advert with skinny model posing as if she is about to perform fellatio
  • p.5: photos of expensive clothes and jewellery to buy (prices range from £70 to £775)
  • p.6: advert for low-fat ready meal
  • p.7: photos of kids clothes, furniture and cooking utensils to buy
  • pp. 8-9: car advert
  • pp. 10-14: article and photos entitled, West End Girl: She’s Bisexual, Boho and Brilliant
  • p. 15-18: article about a model and her naked photo shoot, featuring photo in which the female model appears to be being raped (note distressed facial expression) by the male model
  • p. 19: competition featuring ticket to catwalk show as prize
  • p. 20: tips on what you should wear
  • pp. 21-25: photos of skinny models who appear to be about to perform fellatio
  • pp. 26-27: 4 tips on how to make your face look better
  • pp.28-36: your cover story: the fasting diet and why it is brilliant
  • p. 37: advert for a car whose seats mimic the curves of an attractive woman
  • p. 38: dilemmas page
  • pp.39 -43: article on what furniture one should buy
  • pp. 44-45: article on restaurants that sell low fat food
  • p. 46: advertisement for the Sunday Times
  • p. 47: star signs
  • p. 48: problem page
  • Inside cover: competition to win a makeover
  • Back cover: advert for anti-ageing cream

Your eight-page-long cover story, entitled The Fasting Diet deserves special attention, I believe. It advocates the new intermittent fasting diet, in which participants should starve themselves for two 24-hour periods per week. The piece disperses text with photos of the skinny, scantily clad cover model in various sexually suggestive poses.  Without boring you further with the content of an article of which you are already, no doubt, familiar, let me enlighten my blog readers with a few choice quotes from the piece:

  • “Fasting teaches you what it means to be hungry”
  • on “feed days”, “be very careful about measuring exactly what you eat. Don’t guess.”
  • “you must learn not to be afraid of hunger”
  • “what you need to do is set up a system of immediate rewards. For example, if I get through the next two fast days, I can buy a new lipstick… obviously do not use food as a reward. (Buy) a pack of gold stars and put a …reward chart up on the wall”
  • “I know nutritionists bang on about the importance of breakfast… but why wake up Annie Appetite before you need to?”
  • “If you’re feeling faint, 70 calories of low-fat yoghurt takes the edge off”
  • “There is something addictive about waking up feeling hungry”
  • “Last Sunday… I had a slice of chocolate and walnut cake. But it was fine, because I knew I was fasting the next day”
  • “(when fasting), people tend… to raise their intake of tea and coffee, though obviously if you add milk, you’ll have to keep a close eye on that.”

I think my blog readers will get the idea.

Let me summarise the problem for you. If I pay attention to the three tips from the Freedom to Choose article, I would NEVER, EVER GO ANYWHERE NEAR STYLE MAGAZINE, given its use of highly sexualised images of women, tips on how to look better and younger, and strategies on how to cope with daily life when you are starving yourself for aesthetic reasons (as, you imply, all proper women should).

I therefore ask, Ms Long, was the anomaly of an article on how to empower young girls by promoting healthy eating habits and encouraging them to realise that their looks are not their only source of self-worth published in your magazine by mistake? Am I right to judge the rest of your magazine as a pile of worthless, sexist hypocrisy that makes women feel insecure and inadequate, and which I should probably shove up my objectified, fasting, and perpetually-ready-for-sex bottom?

Please advise.

In anticipation,

Joanna Allan

Bring back stoning

12 Dec

Today I have taken it upon myself to email the new head of the Church of England, Archbishop Oilwellby, ahem, Welby, with a few recommendations. I sincerely hope he raises these with our national leader, Call Me Dave. I share my email below, in case you too can be inspired to send your own ideas for the Archbishop’s coming reign:

Dear Archbishop Welby,

I am writing to express my delight at the announcement today that same sex marriage will be illegal across the Church of England (and the Church of Wales). Really, it is twice the delight, since it comes just a few short weeks after the Synod’s decision to ensure that no woman can be ordained in your House of God. These are two great milestones for Christianity, since God loves everyone apart from gays and ambitious women.[1] Although critics claim that enforcing a glass ceiling for women in the church and discriminating against non-heterosexuals is against UK law, we all know that it is best to ignore such trivialities and proceed with institutionalised bigotry because the bible says so. I am glad then, that everyone in the UK must abide by UK law, apart from the Church of England.

However, if we are to maintain customs that were popular in 500AD in spite of centuries of progress towards greater equality for women and non-heteros because the bible says so, then surely this legal concession for the Church does not go far enough. As Andrew Selous, parliamentary private secretary to the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, points out, “this legislation will mark a significant moment as this country will be passing a law that is directly contrary to what Jesus said about marriage in Mark chapter 10 and Matthew chapter 19.” These are sad times indeed for the country. I would therefore urge you, in your position as Archbishop, to persuade David Cameron and his parliamentary chums to bring back a few other biblical laws, so that we can fully do what the bible says and not limit our maintenance of centuries-old traditions to those that apply to gays and women (because that really would be discriminatory!). Here are my favourite three ideas to get you started:

1)      Bring back the stoning of children (see Psalm 137), and then we can properly punish our offspring when they misbehave

2)      Bring back slaves (see 1 Peter 2:18), so they can help us all to lead good lives with less work and economic resources. Actually, slavery is already widespread across the UK, so we will merely have to legislate so that slave-drivers can no longer be punished.

3)      Bring back genocide against Israel’s neighbours (see 1 Samuel 15:3). Ah, again, it appears we already support this one. Apologies – no action by the coalition needed.

In anticipation of your response,

Natural, silent, woman, for whom my husband is my master.


[1] and a few other choice exceptions such as non-believers and worshippers of other Gods (such as Muslims), who will burn in hell

Crispello, “a little treat for you”

3 Oct

Here is the text of an email that I have today sent to Mr Toby Smart, Brand Manager of Cadbury at Kraft Foods, in praise of the new Crispello woman-only chocolate bar:

Dear Mr Smart,

I was very excited to read in Yahoo News today of your new, slim-line, woman-only chocolate bar elegantly named Crispello, which, I hear, “will be the perfect little treat for women” since “it contains only 165 calories” (a most attractive format for women according to your spokesman).  Apparently, it will “also appeal to women because it is in three separate portions so they can consume a little at a time rather than in one go” and will include re-sealable packaging for the same reason. I was also interested to read your very own views in The Grocer’s article, in which you claim that other chocolate bars can be “quite intimidating to women” since it is harder to break them into smaller pieces. Crispello, you say, will give women “control”.  I do love empowering chocolate. Who needs feminism when you’ve got Cadbury’s?

As you are no doubt aware, a large proportion of British women suffer from body insecurities and low self-image. How entrepreneurial of Cadbury to use this lamentable fact to your advantage. You re-affirm our body insecurities and encourage more and more women to convert to a calorie-counting way of life with your low-calorie bar and its £7m publicity campaign. Like other stars of the slimming and beauty industries, you make your own market by providing a “solution” to a problem that you yourselves create (low body self-esteem).

Of course, as an ultra-feminine woman, I approve. Women should worry about their weight. Indeed, it is naughty for women to eat chocolate, yet from time to time we do so and afterwards, we invariably become wracked with guilt (I’m glad, therefore, that I can feel less guilty after gorging on the Crispello). If you want my opinion, you should contact the Church and see about making high calorie chocolate an official sin for women. You see, rather like our fore-mother Eve, modern women tend to become overwhelmed with temptation for wretched foodstuffs and we are therefore liable to causing the downfall of humanity if we are not watched over carefully.

It’s so considerate of you to deliver Crispello in a re-sealable pack so that women can enjoy it in small portions over an extended period of time. Previously, when faced with large, chunky chocolate bars such as just-for-men Yorkie, I’ve become upset because the portion size was just too much for my slight, feminine frame to manage in one go. Incidentally, not just Yorkie bars but big, hard, manly things in general have always scared me and I certainly wouldn’t want to chomp on one.

That is all.

Yours sincerely,

Joanna

P.S.  Finally, a question for you. I have assumed the name choice for your product was designed to evoke the sophisticated elegance of a slim Latin woman. With Latin gender pronouns in mind, why Crispello and not Crispella?

P.P.S. Can I use Crispello as a tampon?