You probably heard over the celebrations and publicity of International Women's Day a question: "When's International Men's Day?" Over Pride you will perhaps hear people make the stunning observation that there is no Straight Pride festival. During Black History month the dearth of White History month is questioned. This is because every day is straight pride day, white history reigns the school curriculum and International Men's Day is in November, with no bars stopping you from celebrating it or holding an event and, in spite of the passion displayed when regarding the lack International Men's Day you might be surprised to learn you have missed 13 IMDs. I am guilty of making a sweeping statement but it is often the most conspicuous straight white man on the street who asks such questions and yearns for a festival, a day, a month on which he can fly some kind of flag. They are in crisis mode. Vice Magazine has christened them Douchebags and think they have taken over modern Britain.
We've all heard them. In the playground, in the PSHE classroom, in the Daily Mail. Contraception myths. A study recently found that no, free contraception does not turn people into sex-crazed beasts. They just have more responsible sex. Ah, where would we be without contraception myths? They can vary from the mildly plausible to the outrageous. They'd be hilarious if for every sex educator offering free contraception there weren't more people who believe these myths. OK some of them are hilarious. Which is why we have shared some of the best ones we've heard...
I don't think any ideology argues over what they can and can't worry about - or is told what concerns they should have more than feminism. When it comes to life, the university of, you might be informed by those graduating (I mean dying â or those who have made it onto Desert Island Discs and are always encouraged to impart a life lesson whilst introducing Direstraits) not to sweat the small stuff. That's probably a good lesson to live by. By small stuff I think people usually mean fretting over how your behind looks, what people might think of you if you try to achieve your faintly ridiculous ambition, and what people might say if you kick up a fuss about something you think is unfair. Don't sweat the small stuff doesn't actually mean ignore it. It means do something about it. Whether that is deciding not to fret about your appearance or deciding to take action.
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.
We all remember the cool girls at school. Unless you went to a boys school. In which case you had a group of cool boys. There was nothing particularly remarkable about these people. In fact it seemed it was their unremarkableness was their strength. The only time they spoke up was to put others down it seemed, making them hard to analyse and infiltrate. Cool is a weird thing. As is bitchiness. Do you remember when a trend overtook Jezebel commenters and it became funny to remark that something made you want to "cut a bitch". Truth be told I can see why this is an awful thing to say but - this truth being told - I have to say the first time I read the phrase "Makes me want to cut a bitch" as a bored intern looking for feminist writing online I had to stifle my laughter. I laughed at a joke in which someone feels an urge to draw blood from a woman. I think if I saw someone witty crack it out again I might smirk a little. Does that make me cool?
Sex sells. It's one of the truisms of marketing and capitalism - we use images of sex to sell everything from deodorant to cheeseburgers, cars and shaving foam. So why do so many people who embrace capitalism decry the actual selling of sex? Why can we suggest that, hey, wear this tie and you'll get a blowjob, but saying hand over some money and get a blowjob is beyond the line? Why are marketers and advertising agencies held up as creative geniuses for using sexual imagery to sell products that might seem unrelated to sex, while women and men who sell sex directly are seen as disgusting or damaged or both?
International Women's Day, on the 8th of March, has expanded into a weekend. This week many International Women's Day events have got started to celebrate the 8th and women. So we are jumping on the bandwagon in anticipation of Saturday. This Friday we are talking about the women who inspire us and deserve to be celebrated on International Women's Day...
Babies are boring. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Boring AND demanding, that's like the worst combination ever. It's up (or down) there with racist and jolly or drunk and deep. Oh I know some of them look cute and they will ALL totally let you draw eyebrows and a moustache on them then photograph them and post the photos online. But deciding to adopt or make a baby is a massive undertaking that requires a lot of patience, support and unconditional love because while you might always want and love a baby I'm pretty convinced you aren't always going to like it. And that's fine. That's useful to know and acknowledge that they aren't always going to be a joy, which is a good reason why motherhood is often so highly lauded. It's also probably why many people think it must be a full time occupation (I am not using that to mean 'job'). If you've given birth and are parenting the child then obviously you are a full time mother.
Cancer is a strong word. It is so strong that there are only some cancers we feel able to bring up and talk about. Others still only qualify for a whisper. It's unsurprising that the cancer the Sun newspaper has chosen to alert its readers to is breast cancer. Not just because breasts are the Sun's spirit animal, but because it is an acceptable cancer to discuss. Breast cancer campaigns have successfully pushed their message to the forefront of charities we are aware of. Just as we know the red ribbon signifies support for HIV and AIDS charities we know that the pink ribbon. In support of the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel the Sun has moved Page 3 to the front page to highlight their battle against cancer in Page 3 V Breast Cancer and features a Page 3 model checking her breasts. Or, y'know, giving them a quick feel. In the name of breast cancer awareness and it's Check 'em Tuesday you understand, not titillation.
As it has been noted by many a blogger, columnist and person-on-the-street that feminism is hard. It is hard. As with all major movements and ideologies there is division. Which is annoying but can be used properly as a discussion or debate point, not an arguing block. Many columnists like to use their larger and better recognised platform to snark about the lowly bloggers who do nothing but point things out holes in their argument. Because you know what's harder than feminism? Engaging. When a celebrity announces an interest in feminism all that matters so a certain section of feminists seems to be 'that is all well and good but have I ever seen your pants because if so DENIED'.