Surprise! We've come top in something! The great British lion roars again! And he's roaring: "Alright sweetheart, show us your tits!" UN special rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo has been on a 16 day fact finding mission, travelling across Britain to examine the state of violence against women. And hey! Rashida's been to Algeria, Bosnia, Italy, India, Croatia, Azerbaijan and more but we, us, the UK can lay claim to being the most sexist! FIST BUMP! It's not just how sexist the country is but how we parade it, Rashida says: "Have I seen this level of sexist cultures in other countries? It hasn't been so in-your-face". Are we surprised? Well, yeah. Even those who have experienced high levels of sexism, even avid readers of Everyday Sexism and Edwina Currie expressed surprise and even doubt.
We all have expectations thrust (thrust!) upon us. It's a way to make us keep up with the Joneses and buy stuff. Whether the media is warning women against'Dudeism' and telling men to be grossed out by lady stubble or telling them that Brazilian waxes are kind of D List now or the only way toflaunt your vulva or giving the pallid permission to be pale because a handful of celebrities are while in the same publication announcing it's time to crack out the fake tan, one thing's for sure... you have a stereotype and it's somehow your job to either conform to it or break away from it and whichever way you choose will probably be wrong and we'll all raise our eyebrows. Frankly it would be easier for us all if you'd be quiet, at least until we can come up with a good name for you and what you're doing. Especially if you're a mum. Who also works. Welcome, MUMPRENEUR.
Now, it might look like resident mature student Sue hasn't been doing much studying, more hot tubbing. But she assures us her research is all copy and pasted onto the clipboard...
I have a strange and incredibly irritating rash on my leg which at night drives me to distraction and back. How can something itch so much? And when I eventually succumb and scratch it, the relief is wonderful but sadly short lived. The whole process of "I won't scratch it" sounds loudly in my head; the whole spiral repeats itself in a continuous nightmare of cooling it with ice, wearing gloves, reciting the alphabet backwards as a distraction, until I can stand it no longer and give in to the inevitable once again.
Our attention was recently drawn to the Penis Festival (though Squeamish Kate is convinced she already knew about it. We don't know how or why and nor does she. Perhaps she sensed it). The Festival of the Penis is held once a year in Japan and to the untrained eye looks like a gigantic hen party but it is actually called Kanamara Matsuri, the Festival of the Steel Phallus. Crikey. And really why not? We have come up with some more festival ideas that you should get planning and celebrating...
Cameron has appointed not one person to replace Maria Miller, former Minister for Women and Equality and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport but two. Miller, who has announced her resignation conveniently before the Prime Minister had to go head to head with Ed Milliband (Which is a shame because I bet Ed had some great, great jokes up his sleeve. Real zingers about Miller's expenses. To be delivered with his excellent timing.) has had her post split between Nicky Morgan and Sajid Javid. New Culture Secretary Sajid Javid has acquired the post of Equalities Minister. This is because Morgan voted against the legalisation of same sex marriage. Or Downing Street made the decision in a champagne haze. We will NEVER KNOW.
During a break from her studies at Warwick University our resident mature student Squeamish Sue has been causing power outages with alcohol and a gazebo. She's also been on the radio - though not because of the gazebo incident, just a bit of work experience in case the degree doesn't come off.
This week the Student Beans website is offering me free driving test theory software and free condoms. An odd combination, though I guess it gives a whole new meaning to hazard perception.
I took time out from studies to visit mum midweek because she discovered a lump, and you so hold your breath in these circumstances don’t you? You think, but you don’t want to voice that niggle as you belt down the motorway at break neck speed.
I like a good portmanteau. Imagine how much poorer the world would be if we couldn't use our sporks to ward off wayward ligers. But sometimes a new word appears that just seems utterly baffling. This week, it's mangagement. As in "Johnny Depp has got engaged and is wearing a mangagement ring." Because man + engagement, you see? But I just kept reading it as management, as if it was a piece of metal put on someone to control and manage their behaviour. Oh no wait, we put engagement rings on women to show that they're taken and that other men should not flirt with them, right? This is one of those moments where I'm a bit baffled that everyone is baffled. Why should it be a big deal for a man to wear an engagement ring?
Hi everybody! After going to see Miranda Hart and her catchphrase-rich show we started wondering what our favourite catchphrases were. It's been a trip down memory lane. To the days when anybody could raise a laugh at school simply by uttering "Sweetie darling" or "hokey-cokey, pig in a pokey!" or wonder aloud whether or not someone was local. We also knew never to say "Smeg". No, no never that because that would betray your viewing habits as geeky. Some last and some fade away - even now it is apparently acceptable to announce "computer says no". So, what makes a catchphrase worthy and what are our favourite catchphrases?
Recently Jezebel writerLindy West wrote about discussing the concept of 'ugly' with her 12 year old step daughter. Having realised that it's incredibly useful to be aware of how arbitrary the qualifiers for 'ugly' can be, West hoped to convey this idea to her step daughter. But, as West points out, children are increasingly brought up by the media - you can't entirely stop the media's attitudes and standards creeping into your child's consciousness (or yours, for that matter) and we have a history of books, films and TV shows that use 'ugly' as a signifier of a person's status as 'baddy'. A pretty woman in a fairy tale is pretty because she's good. And maybe a little cloying. But that's okay. Know why? 'Cos she's pretty and if she wants to keep everyone thinking that she will know not to say anything. Pretty is doing as you're told.
Over the weekend many of those who are against same sex marriage have no doubt found their nightmare come true. They've had to explain that when two people love each other and want to spend their lives together and make it incredibly complicated and expensive to break up they can now get married. Even if they are two boys or two girls. Ew! Sounds horrifying right? The kids will never understand! That's going to take, like, a whole sentence to explain. On the other side of the coin many LGBTQ campaigners have the difficult task of explaining that this is not the end. This is a small triumph for those who want to marry, but itâs not quite the tip of the equal rights iceberg. Cis, straight and gay people we urge you not to wipe your hands and say done and done triumphantly. Those fighting for equality still have more work to do and those suffering from inequality are still suffering.