A few years ago I wrote a thesis on Drag Kings. I wrote about music hall and the advent of women on stage. And I wrote about Drag Queens. I have written before about how my feminism has changed dramatically over the years. Because most people's gateway feminism is Greer I think many cis white feminist women will tell you that they went through a period of...hmm not dislike but maybe a belief that drag queens were taking the piss out of womanhood. And anyone who lives to be The Whole Woman will no doubt feel a scepticism about trans (I am not saying drag and trans are by any means the same incidentally - but I note often reasons for hostility are weirdly similar). That is putting it lightly. It is put lightly because transphobia is not properly recognised yet. A dinner party won't suddenly fall into an uncomfortable silence because someone uttered a transphobic slur in jest. But it's time we moved on from Greer's chapter on "Pantomime Dames" and recognise that we are seeing a threat in the wrong places.
You can try to ignore it, say you don't celebrate it, make sure you have to work come the day â telling everyone you don't mind, because New Years Eve is more your thing. But Christmas approaches and with it various articles full of gift ideas. Which you might briefly skim. Gosh I bet you're tired of it all. Wouldn't you rather read about who isn't getting what this year? How aboutRebecca Atkinson's daughter, who will not be getting her yearned for gift this year.
Atkinson's 4 year old daughter wants to bring a monster from her mother's own childhood into the family home. "Now I'm a parent and my four-year-old daughter is counting down the days until Christmas. "What are you hoping for?" I asked her. "A Barbie," she said. Like the school friend who pops up on Facebook after 30 years, Barbie is banging on the door to come back into my life. Only this time, I'm not so sure I want her."
A study by Superdrug has been released that tells us on average women wait 4 weeks and one day before revealing their bare face to their new partner/casual lover/on again off again beau. Of the 2000 women, aged between 18 and 55, surveyed most said that being seen without make-up made them feel vulnerable, less confident and less attractive. Superdrug's head of beauty Sarah Sharp commented that: "The research indicates that for many women wearing make-up isn't just a way of looking attractive, it's much more than that, it's a way to be confident and project an image... Many women consider going au natural in front of a new partner quite a serious step, they are exposing themselves completely..."
My relationship with my hair has shaped my life.
I'm guessing that's not a particularly unusual statement. But I don't mean because I was the only redhead in my family and at my school. Or because of the styles I've chosen. I mean because I started pulling it out when I was a kid, and almost 20 years later it's a habit that still engulfs me.
I can't remember the first time I pulled out my hair. Or any of the early times really. I remember reading, and looking down and the pages of the book being covered with strands. I remember my mum brushing out my long hair and noticing the parting was wider. I vaguely remember how hotly embarrassed I was at the doctors, listening to my mum tell the GP I was pulling my own hair out. But not how it all began.
Annie Leibovitz for M&S
Ah, Marks & Spencer. Marks & Sparks. Markie Parkie's (I've heard that used once. When I was 7). M&S. It's been in the midst of an image change for some time. It is no longer the go to place for bras, Primark and Bravissimo providing that support to many now. There are a few rival places for Simply Food, when you're looking to pass slightly pappy microwaved food off as your own or have a classy picnic. Few women will do a twirl and announce "M&S!" when complimented on their outfit. They might feign wide-eyed surprise and say "M&S!" in a disbelieving tone. But in my friendship group M&S is usually only the answer to questions regarding bum-lifting tights ("your bum's looking very pert today" "M&S!") and Bureau de Change ("your exchange rate's very good" "M&S!").
Trawling the web to see what's what in the world I noticed that now it is April and the sun has shone for enough consecutive days for everyone to stop tweeting about there being a large alien yellow ball in the sky (seriously, if you tweeted something along those lines I am surprised at you) it's time for women to be told to ditch the opaques.
Opaques is fancy newspaper fashion talk for black tights. You will rarely see black tights in a fashion shoot, in fashion pages land tanned Caucasian women waft about their open plan offices pairing their smart/casual skirt suits with bare legs, their feet never chafing against the unforgiving p/leather of their high heels in pinky beige (also known, off-puttingly and bafflingly, as flesh tone). Nobody wants to see their designs and stylings paired with black tights, which is a shame for they are glorious and everybody knows it.
Lady in red Jessica Rabbit Image: Sylvar
You know, a little while back BBC show Woman's Hour, (32.20 minutes in) which is sadly not airing today, had a feature on wearing red. We weren't aware but apparently it's a notoriously tough colour to wear. According to the British Heart Foundation (which you can donate to here) a third of women "secretly wish they had the confidence to wear red." They worry it draws too much attention to them.
This, dear reader, is silly. Red is a wonderful colour that doesn't even say 'look at me' - here's lesson 1 about wearing colours, colours say nothing. Only the wearer gets to make utterances or statements, if people let their clothes speak for them nothing would get done. Or said.
Anyway, as it's midweek and Wednesday is always a wash out, we thought a How-to was in order. If you are still standing in front of your wardrobe (and probably incredibly late for work) wondering what to wear we are here to help zhoosh up your outfit with red...
I read, I think in a Greer book, probably The Female Eunuch or The Whole Woman (recommended to our year 12 English Literature and Language class by our teacher Barry who was a big fan of Greer's handbag = outer womb theory) that because so many women have been on the pill for so long before proper investigation in to female body chemistry (plus it's all in the water, allegedly, so next time you're feeling cheap at a restaurant order up a tall glass of tap oestrogen - it'll make you feel classier) we have no idea about how a cis woman's hormones might roll if left to their own devices. Naturally this implies that eating hormone infested meat and swallowing contraception is maybe not a good idea (especially if it's a prophylactic) but also - it's too late now!
Coming to get you... Image: Sebastian Dooris
The Real Women debate is something I have written about previously. It's not a subject I like, in fact I would go as far as to say it irritates me. Perhaps this is because I am not a real woman, or I am simply not clear on how you can define what a real woman is. The most recent 'hurrah look at those real women!' meme has been an image of some lingerie shop mannequins in Sweden. The photo was taken in 2010 but for some reason it's taken 3 years for it to blow our puny minds.
The mannequins in question are bigger and more plausibly shaped than those seen in UK shops. They are apparently a closer reflection of the average shopper than the usual 5'10 size 10 plastic fantastics in the window. While the 'real woman' mannequins photographed are more voluptuous they are also white, well proportioned and more toned than the average size 16 woman.
Image: Mish Sukharev
After then Christmas break Sue's back, battling 50 Shades of Grey parodies that don't live up to their horticulture promise and recording machines. At least she's got the tranquillity of the university library to seek solace in. Or does she?
Happy New Year one and all. Somewhat late I realise (it will be Easter soon), but nonetheless sincere. I am up to my neck in assessments and class essays, and so have slipped rather with my Squeamish entries. Anyway, a brief recap … during the Christmas break, to get into the Christmas Spirit, my pal Fern and I decided to meet in town to visit the Christmas market.