This week Michael Gove stole some of Farage's pint drenched spotlight when the OCR exam board (which we all agree is our favourite exam board - though Squeamish Kate has a penchant for WJEC) implied that Gove had banned them from putting American classics To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men on their English GCSE syllabus in his new guidelines. Gove said he had done nothing of the sort and the intention of his new guidelines that appear to ban books was to broaden the books for young people to study at GCSE. Although rumour has it that Gove really, really hates the book Of Mice and Men. Like, really hates it. Anyway with our eye on broadening what books teenagers should be reading we have come up with our own book list for Gove and the OCR exam board to consider...
What About Teh Boyz?
It might be a little tiresome, occasionally unhelpful, often kind of amusing when feminists on twitter use the hashtag #WhatAboutTehMenz. It's usually employed when a feminist writes about an issue and how it impacts on women, in which they do not once state that the chosen issue doesn't affect men in anyway. A man (usually) will respond noting that this is not exclusive to women. Or point out something completely unrelated that involves male suffering. Here's the thing: we aren't dismissing male suffering, or refusing to recognise it - we don't literally exist in separate spheres. It's just there seems to be a lot of things that people don't appear to have noticed when it comes to living as a woman. As a woman one looming issue is that of victim blaming. Many attempts are being made to show that what's needed is not more modesty among ladykind, but more education for the boys.
The Stags Among the Hens
Now that the Kimye union is official we can all agree that Kanye West and the Kardashians have declared wedding season 2014 open. Rather than keep details of the day under wraps, risking tabloids being filled with fuzzy undercover images of the nuptials the couple appear to have encouraged friends and family to Instagram the heck out of their special day. The bride's hen do in Paris was photographed for all to see and not a single plastic penis was captured on camera. Though I get the feeling Kris is the kind of Cool Mom who would have been REALLY! AMUSED! by a plastic peen. HA! HAHA! 'Cos she's a Fun Mom. I'm not sure what went down at Kanye's stag but it appears he managed to steer clear of any questionable incidents with an flight attendant's bottom. Unlike another stag on a flight back from Spain.
Can We Embrace Body Positivity?
I frequently find myself writing about the same thing here. It might be shooting myself in the foot to reveal this to you. Obviously I'm always writing something that is vaguely linked to feminism - that's not the pattern. But what repeatedly comes up is body acceptance and how some companies (Dove) try to use it to create positive campaigns that peculiarly end up portraying women as kind of silly. Taryn Brumfitt posted a non traditional 'before and after' image of herself when she had a svelte body builder's figure (before) and of herself naked, with a less toned, softer physique (after) a year or so ago and apparently it took the world by storm - though this is the first time I have ever seen it. Since the worldwide reaction to her picture Brumfitt has decided to record a documentary on body image and her own struggle with self acceptance.
The Supreme Misogyny
The essay written and emailed to Elliot Rodger's therapist and parents reads like a sycophantic Who's Who entry, detailing the family's lineage and success: "Peter is of British descent, hailing from the prestigious Rodger family; a family that was once part of the wealthy upper classes before they lost all of their fortune during the Great Depression..." It goes on to describe a halcyon childhood that even the Pevensie children might read with a touch of cynicism: "I enjoyed life with innocent bliss. I can remember playing in the fields and going on long walks with Ah Mah to pick berries." They are not the works of a great autobiography in which a countryside childhood gives way to a miserable puberty over which the writer triumphs. Nor, however, are they the rantings of a mad man.
Yesterday was voting day. Did you vote? Did you go in knowing exactly where you were going to place your X? Did just hope you'd have the option of the Monster Raving Loony party to vote for? Or did you look at the list of parties ("Oh Nina, what a lot of parties") and candidates and spoil your ballot for want of someone to vote for? Well, this might finally be the Friday 5 for you. We have come up with a list of people (animal, vegetable, mineral) who we think should consider entering politics. Start an online petition if you agree.
Deaf Awareness Week Awareness
Around 15% of the British population - 10 million people - are deaf to some extent. According to Voscur this means that out of every 1,000 people, "one will be profoundly deaf and 100 will have some hearing loss (perhaps due to age, illness, accident or exposure to excessive noise)". And that figure is expected to rise to 14.5 million people by 2031. Which means everyone reading this will know someone who is deaf to some extent. But did you know that it's Deaf Awareness Week?
Ovary-Acting at the Office?
A few years ago I went through an odd phase of getting a nosebleed just before I left for work. I unscientifically linked it to the pressure of working two jobs for the price of one ("Kate, the administration director is leaving, do you want to take over their duties as well as continuing with your PR work for no extra pay?" "no" "So for all admin stuff, go to Kate") and once I left the nosebleeds stopped. Each time I thought "oh no, I'm going to have to call in nerd" but then my nosebleed would stop in time to catch the train and the misery could resume. Had the blood been menses and my job based in Taiwan I would have been able to call in menstrual. The Guardian is taking a poll asking if menstrual leave should be adopted over here.
Sex Education Scare
The notion of virginity has had a rocky journey, going from a necessary virtue to an embarrassing burden to a shiny accessory worn by Disney stars. Some people think it's real and others think it's a concept. Considering the hymen can be stretched (not broken. Unless you go for really vigorous horse rides) by any number of innocent activities there is little to no (go with no) physical evidence of virginity in men (who don't have a hymen - sorry you had to find out this way) or women. None of this takes away from the massive, massive importance and hand-wringing we place on virginity. This week school boy Phin Lyman, of the fancy Wellington College 'came out' as a virgin and wrote about his reasons for still being a virgin at the ripe old age of 18.
Bring Back MySpace
So, because it's Anecdote Monday (tomorrow's George Michael Tuesday) I'm going to tell you about my Friday night. I was on the train from London Bridge heading to East Croydon and even though public transport is a popular mode of getting around in London the train company chose only put four carriages on this particular service. Is this the patriarchy's fault? Oh I'm sure I can find a way to pin it on patriarchy, but let's say for now that it's not patriachy's fault but privatisation and you can make the links from there. Each carriage was filled to beyond capacity and, as it was Friday night, each carriage had a designated loud drunk person.