This week we realised we must start pretending like we are prepared for Christmas and how better to prepare than to look at the true meaning of Christmas. No, not presents, office parties, eggnog, fancy decorations or turkey. The Nativity scene. When our Lord gave us Christmas and kindly shared his birthday with all of us so we all get presents come the 25th December. Hurrah. Many a school Nativity play will be commencing at this time so we decided to cast our own Nativity play featuring the people we'd most like to hear drone the dirge of a carol Away in a Manger...
It's not really news that women and girls feel as though they are being constantly judged on their looks. Either from others or from highly critical self appraisals every time they pass a mirror or catch their reflection in a shop window. The majority of women who speak up for fripperies such as rights or equality have probably been informed their point is invalidated by their physical appearance. Curiously not an obstacle members of theThatcher cabinet came up against. Because a woman's status apparently rests on her looks, youth and size many people genuinely believe that to respond to any argument made by her on any subject can be dismissed, nay crushed, with the response that she is ugly.
Our Sue might be a mature student at Warwick University but that doesn't mean she is surrounded by maturity at university. Still, she can still have a mature reaction to the shenanigans that is uni life even though this is not your average 'bare'..
I was pleased to see our lecturer not bat an eyelid when she was interrupted mid sentence by a crowd who burst (politely) into our lecture hall to enquire if we had an Andreas in our midst.
You might have noticed we mentioned the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 yesterday. You also might have noticed that Squeamish Louise is not totally down with them because (and we quote) "these regulations will mean pornography will focus even more on traditional gender roles and male fantasy." As a site with feminist leanings and enthusiasm towards consenting adults being able to safely express themselves (like Madonna told you to) we think these regulations might need a rethink. However we do understand that once you're on a regulating rampage that regulating itch must be scratched. So we have come up with some other things we'd like to see nixed in porn...
In case you've missed all of the coverage so far, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that on Tuesday, the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 was brought in, censoring pornography by banning the depictions of a list of acts. It's not illegal to watch porn featuring these acts if it was made abroad, but none of them can be depicted on video on demand services made in the UK. The list includes spanking, caning, restraint, watersports and strangulation. So maybe you're thinking that if you're not into kinky sex this doesn't affect you. But that's not all: face sitting and female ejaculation are all also on the list.
Term is coming to an end. Which means literature reviews, rewrites and essay plans are due. All this on top of organising Christmas for the entire family. But don't worry, Sue has a plan...
My dissertation supervisor is keen. She said if I send her some draft ideas she will look at them, and I did in fact manage to get a draft literature review done in the end, which she has already looked at and returned comment. I sent it to her to meet the deadline and buy myself some time, not for a moment imagining she would leap on it as soon as she opened her inbox.
'Tis rapidly approaching the season for overblown consumerism and trying to work out what to buy to communicate that you like someone, but not enough to see them on such a regular basis that you know exactly what they want. Of course, it's all a bit easier when you're thinking about kids. There are so many cool and interesting toys out there. It's just a bit sad that their makers so often decree that they can only be played with by kids of a particular gender. First Kinder Egg broke our hearts by taking one of the best things in the world (chocolate and toys! Together!) and deciding toruin them. And then who knew that superheroes, or alarm clocks, were something only boys like? We reckon Lego had it right in the 70s, although maybe not so much now... But it's all got us reminiscing. What were the Squeamish team's favourite toys?
To be a successful and valid woman you might think that you simply have to believe yourself to be three things: adult, human and female (whether or not you were assigned female at birth). But it appears this is not enough. To be a woman you have to age gracefully - though nobody is quite sure what this entails but it seems to be finding the balance between not ageing too visibly and stepping aside whilst acknowledging your career is over once you hit 35/40. You must also wear a different outfit everyday. You must also stoically remain silent when it comes to any bad behaviour from your husband (if you are heterosexual) - unless you can arrange a doe-eyed interview in which you appeal to your public, please see Princess Diana's Panorama interview for tips. You must toe this line or your dignity and womanhood will be brought into question and you will be told you are making a scene/lot of fuss about nothing. It often seems, reading the Daily Mail and other media, that to be a woman is to get what you're given.
Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Why do we have such a day? Well duh, because women and girls are suffering violence. Violence on such a scale across the globe that we have to raise awareness. Allow me to furnish you with some statistics. 35% of women and girls experience some form of physical or sexual violence - in some countries this statistic goes up to seven in ten women suffering abuse. It's been estimated that as many as 30 million girls under 15 are at risk from FGM/C and over 130 million girls have undergone the procedure. What else can I tell you, 700 million of women alive today, today, were married as children and 250 million before they reached 15. Girls who marry under 18 are less likely to finish their education and more at risk of domestic violence and complications in childbirth.
This isn't the first time I have found myself vaguely (or enthusiastically) defending Barbie. Or rather having faith in the imagination of children, but I find myself discussing a small doll again. Last week a new doll was released with the intention of treading on Barbie's tiny toes (which would be unfortunate because Barbie needs those to stand on) called Lammily. Lammily is a similar size and age to Barbie, she is not a baby doll, she is in fact designed to depict a 19 year old woman in a more realistic fashion. The creation of digital artist and designer Nickolay Lamm, Lammily is supposed to help those who play with Barbies realise that her body type is not the only kind to aspire to. Lamm told Huffpost that he "wanted to show that average is beautiful and that we shouldn't compare ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards. And I feel Barbie kind of symbolizes that."