One of the rather marvellous things about opinions is that they are individual and we can choose whether or not to share them. I have a lot of opinions and I choose to air them here alongside the views of others whose opinions tend to coincide with mine. One of the first rules Squeamish Louise and I came up with when creating Squeamish Bikini was a no snark rule. Which I tweaked when it looked like I was going to fall at the first hurdle and changed to a no snarking on the vulnerable rule. No snarking also covers a no sweeping statements rule. Now, fashion designer Stella McCartney does not have to adhere to SB house rules (it would be nice if everybody did though) but making statements regarding strong women and their lack of attractiveness seems a rather unwise snarky sweeping statement.
Squeamish Sue has been experiencing some revelations since enrolling at Warwick university. She's also been dragging her mother to all manner of raucous music events. We don't know when she gets any uni work done...
Reading an article in a recent Big Issue prompted me to recall an event during my second year in uni, where a situation I was describing in a seminar was interpreted entirely differently by my tutor; an interpretation I was initially quite offended by until we thrashed out the pros and cons and I became receptive to a different view point. This thrashing process is something I was once entirely unfamiliar with and consequently unskilled at, until going to university. Discussion in my household was usually interpreted at 'answering back' and consequently I struggled in latter life. I didn't know how to do assertiveness without aggression, but at uni you are expected to speak and I am fortunately gradually being cured of this affliction.
One of the main tricks to a good ad campaign is that you don't see the wheels turning. If you look at an advert campaign and imagine, not an aspirational image in which your life is improved by the subject of the advert, but a board meeting in which people deliver a slightly out of touch idea then it's failed. You see it in campaigns for yoghurt 'what concerns women the most?' 'Picking the kids up from school without looking bloated'. When I look at TfL's new #GetHomeSafeSelfie campaign urging women to be cabwise and not get into unbooked minicabs I do not see a surge in women getting home safe and recording the achievement. I see a TfL employee asking their senior if they have ever heard of selfies and the Twitter.
What's it all about? We bet that's what you're wondering this morning. Who doesn't start Friday with a bit of an existential crisis? No? Just us? Perhaps you've got it figured out, are supremely confident in the meaning of life, but feel like you'd just like some specific guidance, someone to tell you how to act. Or what to think. Luckily, there are plenty of people who will do that. The latest group are the British Humanist Association, who have bought a load of advertising space on the London underground in which they will share/promote some humanist beliefs. They should sit nicely alongside the posters reminding people that you'd really have to be frightfully rude to eat smelly food and the aspirational advertisements for holidays and designer watches. The thing is, we're not ones to avoid a bandwagon. And we have opinions. Plenty of them. So the Squeamish team have been racking their brains to decide what it is they would most like to tell their fellow (wo)men. What piece of advice would we emblazon on a poster in letters bigger than our own heads? Turns out we're a bit of a cynical bunch really...
What is it, to be a woman? There are plenty of factors (though not, I believe, the genitalia you were born with) that come together to create womanhood. A lot of them are good and one of them is that to be a woman is to at one point or another wonder if your body happens to protrude out so far that that man couldn't help but brush past it or...did you just get groped? Groping is a tough thing to talk about. Because the honking of a boob or slapping of a butt is often thought of as funny. As is the surprised 'ooh!' reaction it usually receives. As with many sexual assaults the embarrassment and shame is all put upon the victim.
Ah nostalgia. Remember when women were women and men were men and everyone was just bloody classy and lived in moderation but also smoked and drank cocktails from noon and lived in the countryside and left their doors open and the ladies were real ladies with curves and wore knickers, not that anyone would upskirt them. Gosh it all just sounds a bit lovely. Why did we ever start addressing things such as abuse and rape? It just rocks the lovely, lovely boat. Of course some people just can't shh and don't use the internet and media properly. The internet is for cats, memes comparing women's body shape fashions, sharing stolen images of nude women and unsolicited criticism. We know this, Emma Watson knows this. Or do we...
When it comes to forced segregation the modern consensus is that it is a bad idea. We have enough unspoken segregation thanks to money and class as it is, so when it comes to written rules such as the ban on women joining the Royal and Ancient Golf Club St Andrews. While other people were frivolously deciding on whether or not Scotland should break free and say yes to independence and Alex Salmond (and therefore no to David Cameron and Alistair Darling) 2400 male members of the golf club were deciding via postal vote whether or not women should be allowed to join the club.
For Books' Sake has launched a petition a petition called Balance The Books. For Books' Sake was surprised to learn that in spire of women reading, buying and selling more books than men the specifications for GCSE English Literature features a decline in representation of women. They decided to take action and balance the books, calling for the exam boards to commit to gender equality in their GCSE English Literature specifications, along with better diversity in terms of race, class and sexuality.
We have come up with some helpful suggestions for the exam boards to take into account when balancing up the books...
Ok, so we had The Fappening and I think we all learned a lesson from it. Or rather we were helpfully informed that we should all learn from this with informative tweets revolving around one theme: ladies, if you don't want strangers to post stolen naked pictures on your they found from getting into your private iCloud account then stop taking naked photos of yourself!
The subtext of the lesson was this - ladies, people on the internet cannot be trusted to make any kind of judgement that involves respecting your privacy, therefore when you send anyone a nude photo you relinquish all rights to privacy, kthxbye.
We hear a lot about motherhood. Women doing it wrong, women not being women until they are mothers, mothers ruining lives, dearly loved mothers, hugely resentful mothers, mothers who breastfeed, mothers who don't love their child enough to lactate, evil step-mothers, stay at home mums, working mums and momagers etc, etc. But you rarely hear about fatherhood. Not even to insult people, we say son of a bitch rather than son of a bastard or spawn of Satan. Discussions about fathers are often presented within the binaries of present and absent fathers. If a father is present then he is probably wonderful. If he is absent then he probably has his reasons.