It could be, in the not so distant future, that something disappears from shop magazine shelves. Magazines quite possibly. Hopefully, one day - if we're good, the division of Men's Interest and Women's Interest. But first up it is the lad mags that might be removed from the shelves, lest our lady esteem take more battering. Squeamish Louise wrote about how she'd rather see a push for diversity in these magazines, Squeamish Kate wants lad mags to addresstheir language. The Object/UK Feminista petition going around the net and making the media hum to the tune of one type of feminism regarding shops ditching, nay, banning lad mags from their shelves has got us thinking. What would we like to ban from shops...
Are you tired of arguing about pictures of 'sexy' women yet? What about pornography? I'm not sure why so many feminist organisations think that these are the big battles we should be fighting right now, in the midst of an economic downturn and cuts that are devastating people's lives.
Maybe it's because I just can't get my head around the idea that sexual acts on film or in images are, in and of themselves, immoral or degrading. If that is that case, then surely sex and masturbation are in and of themselves wrong? Or is it only the act of watching that causes degradation? Are sex clubs always dens of iniquity? Dogging? Simulated sex in arthouse movies? Topless photographs?
More than a selfie. Image: dbrekke
In the spirit of being real, like Dove ad campaigns, JLo* and TV talent competitions the Huffington Post has dredged up some science son. In April you will probably remember Dove launched an ad campaign that fed both our hunger for CSI style plots and esteem issues. Some totally ordinary women were lured into a loft, made to talk to strangers and then describe themselves to a forensic artist.
The women, when describing themselves, I suspect were briefed to describe some sort of mythical sea monster "oh, very deep set red eyes, gargantuan uni-brow, protruding gills..." to the artist who drew faces of varying plausibility. A stranger who had been introduced to the first woman would then describe her to the artist with descriptions such as 'kind eyes' oh kind eyes I will get right on to drawing those.
Which are more sexist? Image: weatherill-hunt
A little while ago I wrote on XOJane and completely alienated myself from, y'know, general feminism by saying I wasn't planning on signing the petition asking Dominic Mohan to take the bare boobs out of The Sun. Not because I like Page 3, I don't even read The Sun. I struggle to see how a smiling busty young woman is more damaging than the porn star poses on the cover of the Daily Sport. There's more nuance to it than that of course - I wish it was all as simple as Object et al make feminism out to be. Cover up and patriarchy will be smashed.
Spot the fruit. Image:Bearseye
You know that meme, the one citing a few characters in fairy tales such as Cinderella who broke her fairy godmother SPECIFIC curfew, Pinocchio lying and drinking until he almost turned into an ass* Snow White shacking up with 7 men blablabla the punch line being how do you expect us to be good children filling our heads with such bad examples of behaviour. I'm sure many a parent has considered the example set by Hansel and Gretel's step-mother.
The same could possibly be said regarding a good relationship with food. Morrisons and Netmums (ah Netmums. We meet again) have teamed up to survey mums and how they feed/fret about feeding their children. Sordid tales of hidden vegetables, lies "it is cooked in lard darling - mummy promises", and bargaining. Which I think is code for bribery. It's unlikely peculiar acts such as veggie smuggling (I mean, like, under a splodge of Smash. Oh you are sick. SICK) foster much of a healthy food - child relationship.
While Kate Gallaway is gallivanting around the towns in old lady prosthetics warning young women to get up the duff and quick - don't you know your ovaries are over? Curiously, recently New Girl also covered the subject of leaving it too late to be impregnated. We guess that's the zeitgeist. Pregnancy at a suitable age. But really, what are some other more pressing, less personal things campaigns should be getting behind and urging us not to leave too late? We had a think, some of us had a laugh leaving their entry to the very last minute. They're not laughing now.
The peculiar skirmishes and pronounced discomfort from people who live in straight relationships, or aim to, over equal marriage brings to mind a Louis CK quote: "It doesn't have any effect on your life. What do you care?! People try to talk about it like it's a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say 'How am I supposed to explain to my child that two men are getting married?' I dunno, it's your shitty kid, you fucking tell them. Why is that anyone else's problem? Two guys are in LOVE but they can't get married because you don't want to talk to your ugly child for fucking five minutes?"
It also brings to mind how vital a good sex education is for young people to become sensible, well informed adults. Legal marriage or not, the question of homosexuality is going to come up. Inevitably. A person might live in comfortable ignorance of polyamory, pansexuality because they never meet someone who is out and we never see such lives in the media right now, perhaps one day we will. Perhaps a comprehensive sex education in the home and school would help bring more visibility.
If there are any typos or if this piece lacks in clarity you can blame me. I am trying to type my thoughts through the deafening sound of my fertility alarm bells. Hang on, I'm just going to blithely hit the snooze button. SHH BIOLOGY!
Of course 15 or so years from now I will be feeling quite the silly one. Not getting pregnant by boy or baster now, whilst my ovaries are bountiful, my uterus plush, life unstable and bank balance empty. Presenter and now official face of Regret-filled Older Mothers Kate Garraway knows this feeling all too well.
I want to share this news story with you, because I only know about it due to a few people on my Twitter feed flagging it up, and I can only find one English language report online. I'm really not sure why that is - it's a horrific story and I'm surprised not to have seen more outrage about it.
Trigger Warning: graphic descriptions of rape and sexual assault.
So, last week a court in Sweden cleared three men of rape. Nothing unusual in that you might think - sadly, it happens every day. (and while I'm slightly hesitant to point this out I'm going to anyway, just for the avoidance of any doubt, obviously this is saddening and sickening because of the incredibly low conviction rate in rape cases. Not because it's sad that loads of false allegations end up in court - that's much rarer than rapists managing to escape conviction.)
Oh Disney, Disney, Disney. When Brave came out it was rather exciting to see the first kickass heroine since Mulan beating the boys at their own game. Merida was that rare thing, a proper Disney tomboy, not beautiful but bookish like uh, Beauty in Beauty and the Beast or dying to be trussed up like a sparkly turkey like Cinderella, being kept on her toes by a handsome prince who - like a Strictly Come Dancing judge - was swept away by her dance moves. She didn't slyly seduce royalty by feigning a coma. We don't know who came up with that one first Snow White or Sleeping Beauty but ladies, it's peculiar behaviour.
No, we were over all that weren't we Disney? Sigh, apparently not. Concerned little children wouldn't waste their pester power on a proper-as-seen-on-the-silver-screen Merida Disney have modified her. Nipping in her waist, combing her gorgeous hair and soppifying her expression until she is no longer Merida but Mewida, Pwincess of Scotland. I bet she even pronounces Edinburgh 'Edinboro'. In response (because we're reactive like that) we have suggested some make overs for the male Disney characters to make them more appealing.