One of my favourite moments in the Jennifer Saunders sitcom Absolutely Fabulous is when they go to France and get drunk at a wine tasting. But there's also a great little scene where Gran mistakes Saffy's purchase of female condoms for fingerless washing up gloves "They don't put fingers on these gloves..." I think when that episode aired many viewers thought that by 2014 we wouldn't be so shocked or flummoxed by femidoms (or femdoms, which I originally typoed) and other forms of female contraception. If pressed I think we'd have guessed the male pill would be causing a new sexual revolution in which responsibility was a buzzword. Instead we're flinging around pseudo science about women, hormones and the pill.
People often appear to be under the impression that feminism is but a question of who opens the door. And who gets to grow a moustache. But mostly door opening and holding. Nobody questions the odd omission of any BAN ALL DOORS or CAMPAIGN FOR REVOLVING DOORS IN ALL BUILDINGS from any feminist projects or slogans. Which is perhaps indicative of how much thought people who think feminism is about misandry have given to the subject. The death of chivalry is regularly mourned and/or celebrated by male and female columnists depending on what publication they are writing for. Why the decline in chivalry? Apparently it's never a question of people being increasingly selfish or thoughtless and therefore bad mannered. It's feminism.
Hey everybody, this is a feminism party and everybody's invited! Accept you. Oh and it appears feminism is holding this party all wrong. First of all everybody knows feminists don't have parties - unless it's political party, which probably explains the lack of paper cups round here. Second of all it looks like you feminists are concentrating on all the wrong things. You should be only concerning yourselves with one thing at a time - your pretty little heads are only able to hold one cause at a time, so let's prioritise and see what Michael White says Barbara Castle would do (I'm getting WMWSBCWD on a wristband so's I can always remember and I suggest you do the same) because you are all getting over excited and hysterical. No more pop for you feminists.
You might think it's just your parents, wistfully looking in the Mothercare window whilst just letting you know that an old school acquaintance you weren't all that friendly with has had a baby, that are on womb-watch. Or maybe you think it is only newlyweds who have to bat away impatient and inappropriate comments about when they will hear the patter of tiny feet. But if you're a woman and you're childfree then the media has something to say to you and science has reminded them they've got science to back their concern about when you're going to have a baby.
Lord Rennard is refusing to offer up the apology it has been suggested he might like to make over allegations of sexual harassment of women activists. Well look, what kind of suggestive business suits have Lib Dem ladies been wearing? Has anybody asked that? Were they compiling sexy expense claims for the taxpayers to cover? Or simply doing that thing infuriating thing cis-women tend to do and walk around with genitals and secondary sex characteristics like boobs under their clothing? Unreasonable. Unreasonable! And wait, get this, these ladies want their complaints regarding who says what to them to get a proper response.
Recently Public Health England released figures to the Daily Mail concerning children under the age of consent and STIs. Over 5000 children under 16 were diagnosed with STIs in 2012. This number has more than doubled since 2003, with cases being reported of under 16s being treated for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, warts and other STIs. Is this hysteria over a minority? Meh, perhaps perhaps. In fact looking at the recorded numbers... why, yes. But how long do you wait before you react?
It isn't about if you react or not so much as how you react. Firstly in the reporting of these figures the Daily Mail vaguely mention that "Charities said easy access to online porn meant thousands of schoolchildren barely into their teenage years are getting their sex education online."
We recently learned that it has been confirmed (confirmed!) that the male and female brain are totes different. Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, commented that the findings support stereotypes such as the idea (now fact) that the male brain is made up of slugs, snails and puppy dog tails and the female brain is sugar and spice and multitasking. "If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking. So if there's a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better...Women are better at intuitive thinking. Women are better at remembering things. When you talk, women are more emotionally involved - they will listen more."
I'm a word person. I like words and therefore I like definitions. I don't like it when words change their meaning. I understand that the English language is something that develops and changes (see I picked those words rather than 'evolves') because it is alive. Which is why sometimes things are done for prosperity, or people will earnestly announce that pacifically speaking the grocer's apostrophe doesn't matter. Sometimes I can just groan a little and sometimes these things annoy the hell out of me. Usually it is the latter.
It's Halloween today and for every person who is planning on pulling on some beige coloured underwear, tying their hair into two top knots and sticking their tongue out Miley style, you can bet your Halloween Haribo there will be someone donning a black wig and kicking it Bettie Page style.
When the Bettie Page biopic The Notorious Bettie Page came out in 2005 I remember being surprised at just how innocent Bettie was portrayed as being. While it was plausible to think of a sheltered Christian girl from Tennessee being rather naïve about sex and what might be considered – even now – deviant behaviour, it seems slightly less plausible to think she would happily pose in thigh high boots and a whip no questions asked. Lalala.
I read an interview with Russell Brand a couple of years ago in which he railed against current politics, then admitted he didn't vote. Since then he's come up with a reason why. Perhaps in preparation for this stint editing the New Statesman, probably because no one would face Jeremy Paxman without thinking up a couple of excuses/plausible explanations/escape routes. Mainly I imagine because it makes for a good routine and paints him as the reclining revolutionary. I got sent a press release that was simply the Paxman interview on YouTube.
When Paxman asked, increduously, if it was true Brand had never voted Brand - like a school child who has forgotten his homework so many times now the stories come naturally though not plausibly - answered in a slight frenzy. Oh those politics, they're on the kitchen table where he left them, in his minds eye he can see them.