Our Bodies, Our Crisis
I don't think anybody appreciates being tricked. I don't think anybody likes being manipulated and I don't think anybody thinks vulnerable people deserve to be emotionally abused when they seek help about a difficult and potentially life changing situation. Telegraph reporters recently investigated a crisis pregnancy centre and found that counsellors were spouting complete untruths designed to frighten people into continuing their pregnancy. You have probably heard some of these before, that abortion leaves you infertile or unable to carry a pregnancy to full term. That abortion will somehow give you breast cancer (I assume the science behind that is boobs have their own moral code and will turn on you) post termination. But had you heard that abortion can cause "an increased statistical likelihood of child abuse". Also if you have an abortion you will smell funny and are statistically more likely to touch dogs in odd ways.
Fatal Genre Titling
To my sheer undiluted joy, I joined Netflix this January. The month that calls for tightening of purse strings, Lidl shops and nae booze welcomed the free one month trial. I intended to spend all my dark and cold evenings in bed with my laptop on my, well lap. As the days turned into weeks I was beaming as I steaming streaming and adding a lot to the personal 'my list' scrolling bar. Then I ventured to the row below and it had a new very lengthy titled genre. 'Dark Films with Strong Women Leads' huh? I could hear the ghostly voice of Netflix whispering in my ear "It's all for you Nicola, it's chosen for yoooou!" Not really phased by the abstract nature of the idea of a dark film - Netflix didn't just mean horror, it was more the strong women part.
Cracking Up Women
Back in December the BBC Trust finally realised that panel show after panel show sausage fests a dull show makes. When your only variant from the BBC Comedy Old Guard is the latest Good-Looking-Boy-in-a-T-shirt-Noticing-Things or possibly, at a stretch, Sue Perkins it's time to consider shaking things up. The mind boggles to think that shaking things up in 2014 is to notice a woman can, on occasion, be quite amusing. Why, sometimes one finds oneself laughing with her! And so BBC executive Mark Linsey went on record as saying: "Comedy panel shows are always better for having a good mix of people and of course that must include women. I'm making it clear to production teams that there's just no excuse for delivering all male guest lists." You Beeb mavericks you.
Let it Bleed
Recently 4chan got all pranky and hashtag happy with an internet hoax about a new alarming feminist movement called Free Bleeding. Fortunately The Daily Dot got there just in time to point out it was a hoax before we all started forgoing sanitary products and unleashed the menses on an unsuspecting public: "How's 4chan's mission to dismantle modern-day feminism going? Terribly. That's to be expected when a group of teenage boys, with no understanding of the movement they're criticizing, launch a couple silly hashtag trends."
You might have spotted a blog called Modern Women Digest doing the rounds on your social media warning everyone of a "Disturbing New Feminist Trend: Free-Bleeding". In it the author describes the 'trend'.
Who wants to be, down by the sea? Well if you're in the UK this week then pretty much nobody, as the coast takes a battering and large parts of the country seem to be getting washed away by gigantic waves.
Squeamish HQ is in Brighton and we've watched as the iconic West Pier has become another
victim of the storms. It looks like what was once a beach-based landmark will be washed away within the year, as the trust who own it carry on with the plan to let the structure be reclaimed by nature. Alright, so it's not exactly as inconvenient as large sections of railway getting carried off in Dawlish, but it does mark the end of an era as something vanishes from the skyline that was the background to countless walks, swims, kisses and parties. There are structures and buildings all around the country that we'd like to preserve for our own reasons...
Ladies Love V Day
You guys! It's almost Valentine's Day! Guys? Are you excited? Have you thought of little else? If you're reading this and you're a GIRL I know for a FACT you will have been unable to concentrate on anything other than dropping hints about what kind of roses you like (red, natch. NOT yellow that means friendship) and leaving your work address lying around. Maybe talking about your mysterious craving for oysters and champagne as well as the importance of reserving tables at certain restaurants early. And you want the table in the window. So that everybody can share in your happiness, yeah? You can graciously wave to passers-by 'no take-away and a DVD for us, no sir, for we are too in love to stay inside'.
Don't Mention the Rhinoplasty
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons cosmetic surgery is on the rise. The number of people undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures went beyond 50,000. There was a 13% increase in the number of breast augmentations and the demand for liposuction went up by 41%. "every one of the cosmetic ops monitored individually also showed a double-digit rise across the board. Such a significant increase has not been seen since before 2008". 90% of the entire number of people undergoing such procedures was made up of women.
[Trigger Warning] There are frequent grumblings in the art community that art is not valued enough. Looking at school curriculum and funding it's possible that there is a strong case regarding our respect for art. Let's call that the red corner. In which accessible public art is on the brink of closing down, young new artists, writers and musicians aren't nurtured or supported and funding is a distant Arts Council led dream. I worry about art. But if there's a red corner, there must be a blue corner, if anyone will appreciate the necessity for symmetry it's the arts, right? In the blue corner we have the artistic establishment. By which I mean white men who have been lauded, called genius and to whom we must, in the style of cartoon ancient Greeks or Romans, sacrifice our young nubile girls (or boys, artist's choice) to. No questions asked, you don't choose your muse, yo. Rather they subtly seduce you and as a grown man with huge talent you are of course powerless.
The Metal Lady
Music, making music, producing music, promoting music, reviewing music, it's all seen as kind of a man's game. If a woman tells you what kind of music she likes you (I) tend to just think 'oh, she likes that kind of music as a vaguely interested fan'. Like the assumption that a dentist, doctor or mechanic will be male the music expert is traditionally male. Think about it. Yeah. Even as an ex music PR from a woman heavy office I think music, I think men.
But hey! Don't beat yourself up about this, so you maybe immediately picture a man when you think of music professionals or serious fans or experts, you know it's not really the case, particularly when it comes to experts and hardcore fans (we're talking genre enthusiasts, not 1 Direction fans, not to be snobby but to be particular) - there are loads of women and girls who could out mixtape any guy with a DJ night and a CD burner.