30 May 2009

Can men be feminists?

William Godwin, John Stewart Mill, John Lennon, the list of male feminists is endless(ish), but can men ever really be feministing when they lack that all powerful 'fe' suffix?
Posie Rider says "no". Men jumping on the band wagon of female endeavours has been going on for years. They have taken over cooking (Jamie stole the limelight from our Dehlia); clothes (Matthew Williamson); and makeup (transvestites and media types). And now Feminism too?
Well I say "no", you bastards. My ex said he was a feminist but he wasn't; he was a fucking liar! J. S. Mill travelled round the east end of London distributing 'contraception literature' to prostitutes because he believed in the sovereignty of free speech: he was doing it in the name of liberalism, not feminism.
Feminists have argued that liberalism even hinders the agenda. Although she is my idol, I had to take on board Dr Kapur's* comments about Catherine MacKinnon at a recent feminist networking lunch. Kapur argues that MacKinnon's discourse of liberalism (particularly neo-liberalism, which sporned the deathchild post-feminism and it's evil twin 'men can join in too') only works to 'victimize' women. Discussions of female rights have spiralled out of control, as Western values dictate the agenda and acquire the despotic qualities of patriarchy. Feminists like myself aspire to label the conditions of alternate cultures as good/bad; just/unjust, without having any concept of the complexities at hand. For instance, I only found out the other day that Egypt was in Africa. How could I have known that when I live on the other side of the world?
I can only conclude that if feminists must be cautious when conversing with our sisters from abroad, how are men expected to understand the problems of women? They 'Other' us because they must.
I DO like Martini Rosso though.
* Please see Kapur's wonderful book Erotic Justice

26 May 2009

Aphorisms for my ex - hot new poem in the Poesie Rider series!

Aphorisms for M.H.

Do you realise that I
am making the sound
of writing so that I can
look over your shoulder?

I am the cleft in the cold
recesses of your flesh. I
am like a flesh-jar.

Can you see me when you
Are looking the other way?
I am out the window.

Do you know that I read
your emails when you are
asleep? I think they are

You never introduced me to
your mother but I don’t think
she would have liked me.

I am working my fingers
into your scattered lines, I am
keeping myself busy now.

Today I called your house so
you would answer and so I
could check that you were in.
I hung up, like a serial killer.

I am prickled all over at the
thought of the moths in the blanket.

I am treating your smile like
an upturned dog. Restful.

I am the leaves settling on your
limbs and becoming damp.

I am the thrusting of green
shoots through soil. I am pacific.

I am waiting 40 seconds
between each ring now.

I am looking at pictures of your
ex wife once or twice a day now.
I think I am in love with her.

I cloy morosely. I cool myself
with spittle.

I cherish your admin. I retrieve
your deleted cookies.

I am elevating the ordinary
to an art form out of contempt.

I am devilling your eggs
(like a woman)

There is a peach famine and
I am employing sanctions.

You asked me how I was
doing and what I was up to.
I hate you, please die now.

15 May 2009

The Beauty Myth Exposed - embrace ugliness!

As I sat upon my porcelain loo this morning, I was amused to read a feature in G2 concerning women and that terrible word, make up. A fellow feminist, Julie Blindel, had written an article about whether make up, when applied to feminism, masked our hypocrisy like a burkini, or merely slipped off like so much water on oil. Should feminists be allowed to use make up? Should they refuse in principle? Is personal choice part of what feminism was about in the first place? The Guardian featured this story, and were so astonished at the various responses of their surprisingly literate readers (They used punctuation! They can spell!) that they thought they'd glorify them in print by publishing a selection of letters.

The range of opinions through up no surprises: Make-up-attracts-men=bad; make-up-express-self=good; I-have-a-rash-need-make-up-look-terrible etc. What fascinated me was the angle of argumentation concerning the 'beauty myth', and the pressures women are under to look good. See the excerpts below.

We all know the truth of this; most of us have experienced the different reactions when we're dressed up and when we slob out. No one has said that succumbing to the endless pressure to "look good" is a betrayal of feminism. However, I would say that we owe it to ourselves to be honest enough to acknowledge those pressures.

I think the personal choice argument [regarding makeup] doesn't entirely take account of the difficulties involved in not wearing it.

Now, I quite agree that young women are under pressure to look beautiful, and that unobtainable body shapes are thrust in our faces on a daily basis to such an extent that I really sometimes forget that I'm a woman at all. But this isn't the point, is it? The point is that women who go around without make up on are, allegedly, made to feel like pariahs. Perhaps this is the case, but as a woman who doesn't wear make up at all, ever, through sheer forgetfulness rather than to make a 'point', I really can't say I've noticed the slightest bit of difference in the way I am treated, compared to women who wear make up.

And I have yet to see the evidence to prove that this 'truth universally acknowledged', that women encounter 'difficulties' through not wearing make up, makes any difference as to how people actually dress. We may all hate ourselves for our rubbish hair and our un-made up faces, but we go out like that everyday just the same.

Honestly, I haven't seen a person who didn't look absolutely terrible for weeks. I must see one genuinely well dressed, well taken care of individual perhaps once a month, and that's not to say anything about their innate physical attractiveness to start with. Because whatever feminists say, and I say this as a feminist, there is no 'difficulty' concerned with personal appearance that cannot be overcome by simply not giving a sh*t. Now, it may sound drastic, but rather than take on a) the self-censoring media, b) cosmetic manufacturers; and c) global capitalism, worthy targets of our scorn though they may be, it really might be best just this once to accept that looking like crap really is the price you pay for choosing not to look good.

I say this as one of you, a badly dressed and blotchy faced woman, whose only accessory is a cigarette and who hasn't worn make-up since I got my face painted like a zebra at Lovebox. There is no way of getting round the fact that 9 times out of 10 your face will not look like it has make-up on it if it doesn't have make-up on it, just as there is no way of ignoring the fact that 9 times out 10 no one cares if you have make up or you don't.
If you're not that attractive to start with, putting some make-up on is not going to stop traffic, and leaving it off is not going to cause hoards of school children to follow you down the road screaming 'witch' until someone tosses you in a pond just to see if you float: everyone is used to seeing people looking haggard, exhausted and, well, a bit rubbish. One more make-upless face is just one more person to ignore in your meaningless flaneusette wandering around your alienating city in your empty life. Embrace it!

14 May 2009

Stuff the politics - I love the Queen!

Of course my heart is with Queen Elizabeth I, but what's not to love about our current sovereign? Purple jacket with yellow tights? What a legend!

And, if her incredible sartorial tastes aren't to your liking, check out this incredible quote, which I know for a fact she said to the Ambassador of the Duke of Wurtemberg.

"I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married."

Ha! Posie joke!

13 May 2009

Feminist Quote of the Day

"I became a feminist as an alternative to becoming a masochist."

- Sally Kempton, journalist

12 May 2009

Think! before you kill your husband by talking

Has anyone seen the new Think! advice advert? It's one of those helpful ads that warn us docile members of the general public not to do stupid things which might result in our own deaths. My FAVE new ad is this Think! ad that warns against the perils of using mobile phones in the car.

For those of you can't be bothered to watch the video below, here's the storyline:
The screen is split down the middle, with the man on the phone in his mancar at night on one side talking to the woman on phone in kitchen on the other. "How did it go?" she asks, "It went really well," he replies "Blah blah I'm a man, and I'm on my way back now. I'll tell you about it when I get home." "OK, well, the dinner's on and the kids are in bed," she says, just before he crashes the car, gets covered in blood and so on.

Tagline: You don't have to be in a car to cause a car crash. As soon as you know they're driving, kill the conversation. (Instead of them, geddit?)

Well, thanks Think! for pointing out that it was the woman's fault for blathering on while the poor man was driving. Who called who, huh? Before she killed him, he was probably just about to say something like "Don't you know it's dangerous to talk to me when I'm on the phone in my car? I have to go to abide by the law and good sense." To which she would reply "I'm so alone! Please, don't hang up." To which he would reply "I know that, as a woman, you have no faculty of Reason (cf. Kant) but can't you trust in my superior masculine understanding and concede to my judgement?" The subtext, no dammit, the hypertext of this advert clearly demonstrates that he's trying to get rid of her, and she's all "How did it go sweetie?" just enforces the unfortunate notions that women:

a) talk too much
b) have no common sense
c) are so homicidaly bored that they would rather risk the lives of their loved ones than put up with another moment's emptiness and silence between the last kid falling asleep and hubbie coming home with his tales from 'the outside'.

Mobile phones and cars are a fatal mix, of course, but please, there is such a thing as personal responsibility of the driver for switching the damned thing off or, my lord, not answering! I think we all know who the douchebag is in this infomercial, and I hope I'm not alone in being glad he ends up dead. Whoops!

11 May 2009

JS Mill (pwoarr!) and Harriet Taylor

Uplifting thought of the day:
In addition to their marriage contract, JS Mill undertook 'a solemn promise never in any case or under any circumstances to use [the legal powers of a husband]' against his misses. He and Harriet disapproved of the existing marriage law because it 'confers on one party to the contract, legal power and control over the person, property and freedom of action of the other party, independent of her own wishes and will'. Harriet retained 'in all respects whatever the same absolute freedom of action and freedom of disposal of herself and of all that does or may at any time belong to her, as if no marriage had taken place; and I absolutely disclaim and repudiate all pretension to have acquired any such rights whatever by virtue of such marriage'.

Not that difficult, is it boys?

10 May 2009

Direct Action - Better than a slap in the face with a cold bikini

How great is this? Feminist 'fundamentalists'(so due for a heat! style neologism, howasbout femdamentalists?) crash and SMASH their way through Miss University back in March. An oldie but a goodie, and tres apt to see us through another week when clearly nothing very great is going to happen for women...again.

And here's the science. The title of this video itself is appalling - Plain Jane Feminist vs Sexy Student - obviously chauvinists have learnt the arts of YouTube. Besides the fact that our feminist on the panel, Lizzie, is perfectly attractive enough to satisfy MY standards, what on earth has that got to do with her objections to the contest? Seeing as pretty 'Sonia' is training to be a law student, she makes a very unconvincing argument. And that's not because she also happens to be conventionally attractive: I've seen Legally Blonde - don't stop dreaming sisters!

6 May 2009

Poesie Rider - depression poem!

Sorry for the slack posting, I've been so busy recently post-break up. I'm trying out a new 'medication' and it's not sitting well with the booze - down to two glasses a day, but it's still too much! But rather than spending the cold hours looking at my nice new curtains, I've decided to sublimate my angst writing poetry. Like all poetry that issues from transient sadness, I think you'll agree, it's pretty damn affected.

Titles://Untold by Posie Rider

Piles of the unsullied window pane

Gasp at the eternal.

Leave a mug and its contents to turn

Heat up the offering

Reheat, offer again.

Distance is the point to point

Measurement betwixt the turning

O’ my head t’wards and y’rs

away. A kiss is not a contract

But I am repentant

So no tea for me, even?

Heretic adverse

Dopes of all your canting

Heroes and false

Piles of the inheritance

Duly at her lap

(Why compare us, you can’t

We’re not the same.

Did you hear that? Idiot woman

I know what she means though

Does she?)

I love the bed, the panes

I kissed the church

Bones of the inheritance

Wait by the shutters

Clear the panes


How can I not hear you

I’d rather not

Bones of the inheritance

A hope that dwells in

Letters on the mat

Where two names knot

No longer occupiers

Horror of that

Shutters for remembrance

Cold hands at breakfast

And saying something, how?

By touch?

Hardly, switch off on Tuesdays

Turn out the lights

Shutters on backwards

And where is this ‘Martin’?

How is anyone supposed to feel

If not told precisely.

Like this

Do me a favour

Who is this woman?

What is this, texting?

Be safe with me, I’ve done this before

How long? My goodness

What am I doing?

Saying something, always

Breakfast on Tuesdays

My god this is boring.

Leave me only with a sharp lock

If you must

And leave the shutters on backwards

For the opening

I’ll be doing plenty of that

Brush strokes on the fringe

Idiot woman, all a condolence

Suitcase on railings

Curtains in wrappings

This one, beyond comparison

Better than that

Worst is on Thursdays

Better I damage him

Breast strokes and tanning

Talking at plastic

Reader, I married him

Batter the manikin

Wainscoting canyons

And pleasure the gasman.

Like on Sundays

I kissed the church

Footsteps on the fringe

He ran, I can’t fear his grimaces

Holy water by the door

Canting at soup kitchens

Wedgwood and backstabbing

Listen, why can’t you?

Walking with children

I heart little envelopes

Look at this happening

Becoming less childish

Almighty, sanitary

Yeah listen, I’m talking

Less to be reckoned with

Like breakfasts on Sundays

Zero, very good.

3 May 2009

Dog Woman, or the Story of My Life

Hi gals, don;t you feel like this sometimes? The above is called Dog Woman, it's by one of my favourite artists Paul Rego. It really captures how I' feeling right now (summers coming, I'm alone, addicted to Martini Rosso, the filming of Me, Tim and My Quim has been put on hold).

It's part of a series of paintingsdepicting women posing as dogs. I often get in this position and cry.

1 May 2009

Daily Male, leave our children alone!

Check this out, if you dare.

What do you do if your daughter is obsessed with slimming at just SEVEN? asked one yummy mummy to Femail, the feminine face of the Daily Male, who are basically a harem of harpies gorging on the skins of young teenage Tesco workers somewhere in a bucket in Kent.

Rejoined Female: why not let us take photos of you in tea dresses while you accuse society of corrupting your slim cherub, then we can feature it as top story on our website while we simultaneously:

a) laugh at 'fat' actress Kirstie Alley
b) laugh at close up photos of Kirsty Gallacher's shoes
c) admire Anne Hathaway's shapely thighs
d) ogle some topless photos of Nazi prostitutes
e) ogle Kim Kardashian's shapely bottom
f) look at some supermodels
g) reveal Katy Perry's control pants
h) admire Liz Hurley's legs
i) reclaim 'ugly' Susanne Boyle by digging up pictures of her as an almost tolerable looking 20 year old
j) ogle 16 year old 'stunner' Miley Cyrus

With a mother who's willing to you into a splash eyebrow-furrowing feature as a feather in the 'worthy cap' of the riotously anti-female Femail, where else is a young gal to look but to the society of the spectacular blue eyeshadow for role models? Female - with friends like you, who needs frenemies?