Tag Archives: TV sexism

Fight Father Time with the Cat Litter Facial

1 Feb

As posters from the recent Hollywood blockbuster “The Counsellor” remind us, scars, wrinkles and other signs of ageing are unacceptable in women and yet add character to men. Signs of aging make a man more distinguished, rugged if you like. His stray greys make him a silver fox. He seems more worldly and mysterious. Like a mature whiskey aged in a highland oak barrel, the older man is all the more delectable. On the other hand, a woman must avoid ageing as it will always make her less attractive. No one wants to date a haggard old spinster. Less still do they want to hear a mad old bat attempt to speak with authority. As women age, they become non-people. Their worth has an expiry date.  Older women become disposable, whilst older men are generally seen to have acquired wisdom, authority and experience through their years.

Of course, these sexist and ageist stereotypes are the foundation that holds up the $88 billion anti-ageing industry. Since women’s physical appearance is attached to their social, cultural and economic worth in a way that isn’t true for men, the former are encouraged to spend a sizeable portion of their budgets on looking younger not just by body-dismorphia-enducing advertising campaigns, but also by cultural bodies and the economy. That is why only 18% of TV presenters aged over 50 are women and why older women are the segment of the population hardest hit by the cuts.

Case in point. Anyone remember Arlene Phillips?

Case in point. Anyone remember Arlene Phillips?

So natural woman, if you want to remain a person with worth, you must disguise your humanity from the world and ensure you stay eternally youthful. But we are in crisis and anti-ageing treatments are so expensive. I can’t afford to launch war on Old Father Time and fight the natural changes of my hateful face. In Lenin’s words, what is to be done? Internet beauty bloggers (and the Daily Mail) have an answer: the Cat Litter facial! You, like I did, can try it at home…

Step 1) Learn to recognise that your ageing face is repugnant and needs immediate correction. Women’s mags or the telly can provide inspiration  (Heat magazine’s “Face Watch” column is particularly effective).

Step 2) Buy some cat litter from your local supermarket. Or, if you don’t want to fork out, just scoop up the remnants of your cat’s litter tray, making sure you scrape out any bits of poo before moving on to step 3.

Image

Image

Step 3) Grind down the pellets of litter in a pestle and mortar until they form a smooth texture. Mix with Evian-branded water. You’ll be impressed by the professional finish that this gives.

Image

Step 4) Cook your mask slowly in a bain marie. The bain marie ensures a gentle and uniform heat throughout the mask. Microwaving the mask risks too much heat: you don’t want scold your skin with hot shit.

Image

Step 5) Apply to the face and leave for 15 minutes. Make sure you don’t lie down near your cat. You might find, like I did, that the mask gives off a Gruyere cheese scent as it dries. Wash off cat litter.

IMG_4412

Step 6)  Admire your younger looking face. Voila! Check me out! Post cat-litter facial and my face is as smooth as a newly tarmacked road! Unfortunately, if it doesn’t work for you, it’s time to save up for a trip to the needle farm.

Image

P.S. Not everyone recommends the cat litter facial. Cosmopolitan magazine, for example, insists that it is not advisable and is probably dangerous. Cosmo bases this view on the advice of their expert, a representative of the American chain beauty salon Sine Qua Non, which happens to be one of the magazine’s numerous sponsors. The beauty rep advises the reader to stick to her salon’s own, much superior brand of “Hungarian-sourced” bentonite clay, which is definitely very different from the bentonite clay used in cat litter. What’s more, her salon will put this clay on your face and rub it in using a soothing motion for just $118! You could also try the bird poo facial for $215.

Is being female and poor romanticised?

4 Nov

By @sssukiii

Is the success of brands such as Cath Kidston, The Great British Bake off and Kirsty Allsopp promoting the idea that the comforts now available to modern women are likely to be domestic, retro and based in a shoe box sized kitchen?

Does the growing trend towards making do with second best embody a sustainable way of living, or is surviving closer to the poverty line being repackaged and sold back to us?

Living frugally is surely about being in control of the environment and its future. We should be grateful to have a roof over our heads, even if it’s a few metres squared. This is a reasonable idea, but not when statistics show that women are disproportionately affected by austerity measured compared to their male counterparts.

Female unemployment has reach record highs, paving the way for a plethora of profitable brands, tv programmes and marketing campaigns which romanticise being poor and female.

The Rachel Khoo phenomenon is at once entrepreneurial and miraculous and takes thriftiness to new heights of brilliance. In her television series, The Little Paris Kitchen, her ability to remain upbeat and sunny, despite having to wake up every morning and turn her futon into a sofa to welcome guests to her studio flat and restaurant for two, is disquieting as much as admirable.

Let’s entertain the idea that she may be donate some of the wealth created by the TV series to Shelter before she moves into a bigger home.

Kirsty Allsopp’s empire is built on the nation’s strange relationship with aprons, jam and county fairs. So why does this trend feel so forced? Maybe because it feels like a huge step backwards. A trend without a future, perhaps.

Similarly, retro clothes and homeware brand, Cath Kidston romanticises old-school thriftiness behind a cynically overpriced net curtain of nostaligia and domestic comfort. The brand capitalises on girly 50’s floral prints referring to a time when the glass ceiling faced by women in today’s board rooms, would have been replaced by a conservatory skylight perhaps.

Some may argue that the trend towards promoting female frugality is a refreshing alternative to the decadent shopping-focused lifestyle presented to women in recent decades.

On the other hand, does anyone recall seeing women on TV managing their finances effectively and planning their futures? Seeing people being sensible with money perhaps doesn’t make great TV, however I’m sure that quite a few of us aspire to more than living in a dolls house and spending our savings on shoes and cake ingredients. The very tangible trend towards female entrepreneurship is certainly evidence of this, whether our media channels will reflect this is another matter.

Feminazi witch-hunt of gentlemen with normal sexual preferences

13 Oct

When I was 8, I wrote to Jim’ll Fix It to request that my wish for long hair be granted (at 8, I realised that short hair was most un-princess-like and unfeminine and was rightfully pursuing actions that could rectify the situation). At the time, I was sad to receive no reply, but, since it turns out that the BBC was a 70s refuge for paedophiles, I am somewhat relieved.

Perhaps I am using the wrong terminology. According to the writer Tim Worstall, Jimmy was not a paedophile, since his “sexual preference” was for “mid-to-late adolescents” rather than children, and that Jimmy’s “attractions” are quite normal amongst males. Many commentators on Mr Worstall’s, ahem, surprising piece on male sexuality and indeed more widely, see the uproar around Jimmy’s systematic rape of girls as a necrophiliac lynching of feminist design.  They fear a wider “witch hunt” of other victims such as the late John Peel, who publicly boasted of his exploits with 13 year-olds and allegedly left a 15 year-old pregnant. Such a hunt is uncalled for, since, as music journalist David Hepworth and former BBC Director General Michael Grade helpfully pointed out on the Channel 4 news, such abuse and exploitation of minors was “just part of the showbiz mix” and was certainly not seen as “sinister”.  But, this “culture” is all behind us now. Such attitudes to the treatment of children became dead and buried when the 60s and 70s drew to a close. There is no need to spend huge sums of money investigating why the systematic sexual abuse of children was condoned at the BBC and Leeds General hospital when the country is in economic crisis. It’s all behind us now. What’s done is done and can’t be undone.

But is it done? Barnados estimates that the average age for entering prostitution in my home region of the North East is 13.  We aren’t in the 70s anymore so surely paying to use children for one’s sexual gratification shouldn’t be socially acceptable, but there are customers. Similarly, UK’s rape conviction rate stands at pitifully low 6.5% and it is estimated 95% of rapes aren’t reported in the first place. Perhaps, like Jimmy’s “sexual partners”, rape survivors fear they will not be believed. Why complain if you are likely to be dismissed or belittled (see Pilger or Chomsky on Assange’s complainants), accused of “provoking” your rapist (see rape prevention tips for reminders on how to avoid this), laughed at (I remember Leeds University men’s hockey time holding a hilarious rape victim themed fancy dress night in the Union bar back in 2004) or having your records falsified in order to bring an immediate end to your case without investigation? I would argue that the ever increasing and hugely disproportionate media attention to false allegations of rape adds to this culture of disbelieving survivors.  I would argue that this is the same culture that made Jimmy and his chums untouchable back in the 70s and continues to make other abusers untouchable today.

But not to worry! Sapphire, the Met police’s sex crime unit, has got a new strategy! Their new anti-rape campaign will “speak to women about reducing their vulnerability”. Says Mick Duthie, Detective Chief Superintendent of Sapphire, “we do need to educate people that if they go out and get hammered they are vulnerable – vulnerable to being assaulted – vulnerable to falling over and vulnerable to being raped… 80% of our victims have one form of vulnerability or another, a permanent or temporary vulnerability through drink, drugs, mental health, age. So there are things that we can do to prevent the offence happening in the first place.” It is also encouraging to hear of another vital prong of the Sapphire Strategy: convict rapists of unrelated crimes that are easier to prove. Says Duthie of rapists, “we don’t want them out there committing sexual offences so if they are disqualified from driving … this will help prevent rape.”

That’s right, victims – you have the power to stop the rape happening in the first place. Just don’t be vulnerable. Don’t fall over. Try to be mentally healthy. And the met police will help you by trying to make sure that rapists don’t have the right to drive.