Obviously if you ask anyone if they like free stuff they will say yes. If you ask someone if they like subsidised stuff they will probably say yes but resent the discounted price they still have to pay. This is because free stuff is superior. You know it, we know it. Some stuff is subsidised, or free, because it makes sense for it to be so. It is a necessity, as it were. Recently Jessica Valenti pondered upon the subject of tampons and sanitary towels (some of us cannot master the mooncup OK? OK) and how, for many menstruating people out there, the cost of them makes them a luxury. Valenti ventured the idea that perhaps there was a case for free tampons, the response to this was a bizarre barrage of abuse. So, at the risk of incensing the masses...here's what else we think should be free.
Content warning: discusses suicide and suicidal ideation
How do you take in your news? Once upon a time I used to pick up two or three newspapers every morning and read the entire things on my way to work. My commute was far too long. But I also had an interest in what was going on around me that has shrunk as my personal world has grown. There are more distractions now in the form of partners, friends, work, volunteering, studying. And it's so much easier to access the odd news story here and there - read some headlines on my phone while I'm on the train; skim the front page of the beeb in between tasks at work; see what people are linking to from twitter on my lunch break - than it is to take one news source and digest the whole thing in one sitting. In my early twenties I worked briefly with (much older) a media consultant who was astonished to hear that I read the majority of my news online. I think today I would be more astonished to meet someone in that age group who doesn't.
Remember when we were introduced to the pink taser, for ladies to use on lady attackers? If the ladyfication of razors, deodorants and biros are anything to go by I imagine it was twice to price as the normal taser that you could not expect a lady to use to defend herself with her lady hands. The Hello Kitty taser of course bumps the weapon up another price bracket as it's endorsed. By a kitty. But if tasing isn't your thing there are other forms of defence. You can learn self defence of course, so if your attacker kindly agrees to move into the correct position for you to flip them (or move back so you can amaze and astound them with a roly poly), pop a pepper spray in your bag or go with the good old fashioned keys between the knuckles thing. OR you can now get a Defender.
Throughout my life I have consciously identified as all kinds of things, a leftie, a feminist, a shortarse. I have never had to question or announce that I am a woman. When I was born I was identified as female and I have just so happened to grow into a woman. I have experienced various biological and social happenings that are usually expected for those entering womanhood - though not all those who enter go through such things - I haven't experienced half of them. While I have never felt that glorious sensation of 'fitting in' I have never had the knowledge that this unsettled feeling is to do with my physical presentation and how it might cause people to read me incorrectly (apart from reading me as 'Awkward' and 'Not From Here'). If it was something I could change, it would seem obscene to me to ignore it.
When it comes to relationships on Squeamish Bikini we have covered polyamory, bi-visibility and singleness, but we have yet to cover the subject of affairs, until now...
I've always thought of myself as an intelligent, spirited woman, a decent judge of character with a finely-honed bullshit radar.
So imagine my surprise when I found myself shaking hands with the woman I had just been told was the fiancee of my boyfriend - or so I had thought - of three years.
We've all been there, walking slowly behind a group of tourists. In fact, we've probably all been that tourist. You know the kind. Obviously 'not from round here', referring to their guidebook and clogging up the pavement, pointing and laughing at some run of the mill shop name or monument that you suddenly feel unusually protective of, or asking you to take their photo please. We definitely want to share our fair city/town/village/hamlet with tourists and for them to enjoy their visit. But... oh, tourists you make us want to punch you in the back of the head sometimes. So, we will give you correct directions and be gracious if you promise to take a look at our tips...
Bisexual? Perhaps you're also polyamorous, or monogamous and with someone of another gender. Maybe you are asexual or misanthropic or promiscuous. Maybe you're not quite sure if you're a 'good enough' bisexual, or if you're not queer enough, or perhaps a little too stereotypical. Sound familiar?
I just got back from Bicon, and as always my mind is buzzing (What's a Bicon? Read this and find out). There must be so many different Bicons. All those different sessions to attend - you could pick a theme and dip in and out; try lots of entirely new things; or just sit around chatting to people and catching up with the friends you might not see for another year.
I probably date myself when I ask if any of you remember the Hello Boys Wonderbra advert. Before that advert hit the streets apparently drivers had never seen cleavage, leading to the urban myth (according to Wikipedia) that the billboard accounted for many a road accident caused by distracted male drivers.
The year was 1994 and I was yet to hit puberty but I already knew my very distant future breasts (not future in a fun rocket boots way, they don't transport me anywhere or shoot laser beams sadly, future in the time sense) were now expected to be hoiked up to around ear height. Now it's 2014 and we remain in wonder of the breast. And why not? They are a pretty interesting body part...
The subject of maths is not one I enjoy. I took my maths GCSE so many times you'd think by the time I did pass it would be with an A because I should have memorised it by then. But I scraped a C. Maths and I will never hang out. Who I would like to hang out with is computer scientist Dame Wendy Hall. Why? Well I don't really want to chat maths and computer science with her but Listening to Wendy onDesert Island Discs frankly discuss the sexism she has experienced I realised something that has crept in. Sexism denial. Women who manage to get to a certain point and then are afraid to call sexism out or discuss the sexism they did experience on their career climb. Everyday Sexism is one thing, providing a platform for Everyday Women to vent the harassment and sexism they encounter. But successful women seem to prefer to give the impression they live in a world without sexism.
We're not sure if you've noticed, but we have something of a soft spot for Courtney Love over at Squeamish HQ. She's a fierce rocker and we love her for it. It's a shame, according to some of the team, that she'll always be best known to some people as Kurt Cobain's ex-wife, when she should be known and celebrated in her own right. It doesn't look as if that's about to stop, either, with news that there's a new movie about Cobain's life in the works. The difference is, this one's being produced by Love. With all the rumours, gossip and nastiness that have swirled around their story, it makes some sort of sense that she would want to commit her side of things to film. It's a chance to tell the story her way. But who will play the main role? With Love looking for someone to cast, we thought we'd throw our suggestions into the ring...