30 Sep 2009
One of the two professional costumiers that supplies dresses to Strictly is DanceSport International in Croydon. DSI hires the dresses to the BBC, and then sells them to anyone who could possibly want a half-dress made of fringing and feathers in some eye-burningly luminous shade. Twenty-five dresses worn on Strictly are being shown on the DSI website as I write, prices on application. Every dress is based on a leotard; some of the celebs choose to wear something under the leotard, others don't. Even the virtual nudity that features in so many of the Latin routines is fake, although the grotesque bump and grind is real enough.
I know. Anyone would have thought I had written that, but it was in fact Germaine Greer.
Read the rest of her article in which she whole heartedly agrees with moi here.
Great minds think alike.
29 Sep 2009
You may remember Hollins for the sexist remarks he made last year to innocent news present Sian Williams. I of course stepped up to the challenge and made my thoughts known to the BBC (aka the Basically for Boys Corporation), but they refused to meet my requests and Hollins is still allowed to run wild of licence fee payers televisions insulting the female race.
And now he's managed to worm his way into Strictly Come Dancing! I can't believe he's been allowed to set foot on the set for this 'family' show. Bruce Forsyth presents it for god's sake, although I'm sure even his hands are not clean from the putrid stains of chauvinism.
Look at this video of him yapping on about himself:
Quote: "I can't wait for the tight outfits..."
We all know ballroom dancing is pretty misogynistic anyway. Those gaudy dresses are terribly revealing and remind me of that awful debutant's ball I was forced to attend during my late teens. I of course spent most of the night alone in the toilets writing poetry, a pass time more worthy of my creative talents. Apologies, I digress. But what's more even shocking is my concurrence with the Daily Male when they criticised the skimpy 'dish cloth' dresses for 'cheapening the show'. I was of course one of the angry viewers who called in and made my thoughts KNOWN to the BBC. You just can't get away with skirts that short before the watershed. I refer you to said article. And then of course there was the sexist ageism evident in the dismissal of the lovely old biddy Arlene-what's-her-name.
And just when you thought it couldn't get anymore sexist... Chris Hollins is a contestant!
<"TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF HER!": sexual harrassment on live telly.
Lady readers, I would urge you not to vote at all, but if you must know that I am officially endorsing Natalie Cassidy (aka Sonia from Eastenders). I admire her courage for appearing to national television despite being extremely overweight. Her winning might set a positive example to other young fat girls.
We fight on and we fight to win! Toodles!
22 Sep 2009
I finished my first opera Thebes, A Virgin’s Tale: Parts 1-9 by aged eight, then began to experiment with higher artistic forms including drama, mime and philosophic dialogues. One of my most precocious works from this period with which you may be familiar, Persephone: Pythagorean Musings of a Woman in Perpetual Despair, won Little Miss Brain Award, Hampshire in 1993 - past winners include Philippa Gregory, Marie Curie and Diana,Princess of Wales.
Having exhausted the genre of Socratic Discourse at the ripe old age of twelve I turned my talents to poetry, fiction and historical writing. You may be familiar the historical biography Eleanor of Aquitane: A Life in Haiku and my later work The Tears of the Wood Nymph which won the Marianne Keyes prize for Creative Writing. And now let me treat you to Greek Tragedy I composed on a holiday to the Lake District aged 11 in the style of Handel's Aces and Galatea.
Thebes: A Virgin’s Tale
ACT 1 Scene 1
The Temple of Apollo, Thebes. A CHORUS of Humming Birds stand centre right.
Chorus: The Oracle The Oracle The Oracle!
A Virgin steps down from the Temple of Apollo in Thebes. She is followed by a host of wild animals, including finches, mice and rabbits. She holds a basket of wild oats which she begins to symbolically sprinkle on the ground.
The Virgin: Hail! I hear a new morn dawn in Thebes
What can it mean? What can it be?
The Rabbit: This is a new context.
The Finch: I feel like I’ve been pecked.
The Mouse: Oh an Oedipal effect.
Chorus: The Oracle The Oracle The Oracle!
The Virgin: Philomena I am called and my tragic tale applaud
For now I share with thee how cruel the world can be!
I was born alone
Chorus: Alone Alone Alone!
The Virgin: The mother was a whore
Chorus: Whore Whore Whore!
The Virgin: To the temple I did come.
The Army of Zeus enters stage left. Step forward ZEUS disguised as an attractive athlete.
Zeus: I have come to Thebes to find a Vir-------gin!
Chorus: Hap Hap Happy!
Zeus: What’s this?
A little girl to pillage.
Best looking in the village!
Chorus: Run Run Philomena!
Zeus: To make her mine
Will be no crime
Cause she’s so fine!
Chorus: Rape Rape and Death!
Virgin: Nay I shall not relent
My will cannot be bent
Although a maid of humble offing
I shall not be pushed into boffing!
Chorus: Apollo Apollo save her save her
Virgin: I am scared as Laius
When screwed up and cursed us
Poor me like Antigone
To an underground home shall flee
Chorus: Zeus Zeus is in your house!
Virgin: Ay me so I see
But he shall not steal my chastity!
Zeus: To pluck her virgin’s tooth
I’ll have to use a hoof
Disguised as a fine horse
My plan shall surely take its course.
ZEUS and THE ARMY OF ZEUS Exit.
Chorus: Yes we’ll make a killing for there’s no chance of Zeus wining!
The Rabbit: Poor Philomena!
Chorus: Zeus will surely woo her!
The Finch: She’d love to ride a pony!
The Chorus: And Zeus is just a phoney!
The Mouse: Nay she cannot fail!
The Chorus: For it is called a Virgin’s Tale, a Virgin’s Tale!
Oh Oh Oh it is!
The Oracle The Oracle The Oracle!
14 Sep 2009
13 Sep 2009
Lady readers, we all know that women make far superior campaigners because:
a) women have and still shoulder the burden of man's prejudice: "we are the Jews for all seasons" as my Aunt Lilly used to say. As a result we are forced to take to arms in order to defend our lot and thus demonstrate our skills.
b) women represent the future of humanity.
c) (the obvious) women are better than men.
d) the media trust women more than men, mainly (and this is scientific fact) because we have longer hair.
e) most women are too stupid to understand anything, rendering them incapable of activating against anything compesmentus. As a result any female initiative seems more impressive than in really is. In fact sustained female efforts to effectively act in unison in the name of politics is extremely rare when you consider the woman:political cause ratio. Of course many women have attempted to master the group dynamic but often land up lost in large out of town supermarkets, or in cat fights over what colour paint to use on thier activist posters. Some can't even open their own front doors.
I personally am dead set against violence - "the pen is zen, the sword is fraud,'' as my Aunt Lilly used to say. You'll be able to see from my letter writing campaigns against the very sexist Ricky Gervais and the bigot sports presenter Chris (I can't even remember your surname) something from the BBC, that these campaigns have indeed proved most effective and will no doubt go on to change the course of humanity itself.
In the mean time I have a lovely afternoon planned making a courgette tart. Melody is coming over later and we're going to play scrabble. Toodles xx
9 Sep 2009
Why Women are Really Afraid of Sexist Spiders
Psychologist Dr David Rakison from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University tested 10 girls and 10 boys, all aged 11-months, with pictures of spiders to see how they reacted. He showed them images of a spider next to a fearful cartoon face and a spider next to a happy face. Dr Rakison's report, published in the New Scientist, states that the girls looked at the picture containing a happy face for longer than the scared one. However, the boys looked at both images for an equal amount of time.
He concluded that the girls found the happy face puzzling as they were expecting to see the spider paired with a frightened face.The psychologist said these tests show that girls have a genetic predispostion to fear the arachnids in contrast with boys who do not ... He linked the difference in results to our hunter-gatherer ancestry when he says women had to be wary of dangerous animals to protect their children, whereas men used more risky behaviour in order to be successful hunters.
Let's ignore the obvious - that 20 individuals tested is not representative of ANYTHING - and have a little look that Dr. Rakison's conclusions.
Firstly, I must ask, why didn't they monitor the amount of time the girls looked at the image of the spider? I had to delete the tarantula image from the article just to write this blogpost! There's every chance that they just enjoyed looking at the happy face. People are cute like that.
Or perhaps the girls, by the age of four, have learnt that spiders are often frightening, and were intrigued by the mixed messages being sent by scientists. This would have nothing to do with their innate predisposition for fear, more to do with their enhanced sensitivity to social mores in the abstract, which the silly (or 'indifferent') boys lack.
Another technical problem with the research is that Rakison doesn't seem to have used a control. In this case, I imagine an image of something innocuous like a circle or triangle next to a happy then scared face would demonstrate whether the amount of time the children looked at the image had anything to do with their enjoyment of the expressions thereon, or sheer confusion of the object and expression being put together.
Rakison's 'social' conclusions don't make sense either. I'm sure any mother would willingly mash a spider or fling a snake out the cave door to save her precious little ones. Otherwise she'd have to stand on a boulder or something squealing until a Manny Man came home, by which time the kids would all be dead.
More convincingly, maybe women in this day and age are allowed to indulge their fears more in infancy, and are encouraged to take delight in the attention of others (a nasty tarantula on my pretty pink dress, eek!) whereas men are encouraged to overcome them in shows of bravado. Social construction of gender anyone? Oh nevermind.
Anyway, none of these musings on the sexism of spiders matter anyway because
TWENTY INDIVIDUALS TESTED IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANYTHING.
7 Sep 2009
As a feminist bride, I'd thought long and hard about what to wear, critical as it is to uphold one's political principles while doing justice to one's admirable waist (cf. the Suffragettes with their great hats). Having decided that my virginity, soul, modesty and so forth were decidedly un-'white', in the bridal symbolic spectrum, I decided to opt for a revolutionary black. Obviously it had to be vast and puffy, and cinch the waist to the vanishing point. I mean I was bloody well getting married. You can't tell from this picture but I also wore an enormous boat shaped black hat based on a Elizabethan design after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. This represented feminism's defeat of patriarchy (and my love of QE1).
Anyway, knowing me just a little bit (enough to be my wife) I thought Ann would have picked up on my fierce, yet feminine, yet feminist, yet fashionable, tendencies, and swapped her frock for a frock coat, top-hat and little cane like the gorgeous Marlene Dietrich. How else would we achieve the desirable and chic gender-bending irono-androgene feminist-couplage I've always dreamed of? Sort of like...
The desire to flout gender conventions through revolutionary dress was clearly the last thing on Ann's mind. From nowhere, hundreds of bunches of white lilies had appeared and filled the house (symbolic of death, surely? Poor stupid Ann, she should've paid attention at the Waterhouse exhibition). White bows decked the staircase, sugared almonds in grotesque pink were boxed up and patterned with love hearts. LOVE HEARTS. There were love hearts everywhere, all over my potato stamped (U+26A2) symbol recycled crepe paper table cloths, filling up my mooncup shaped vases, and all the dead roses I'd put out in ironic reminiscence of the Miss Haversham bits from Great Expectation were destroyed. Ann thought they were depressing.
And her dress.
I don't know how to explain it, I don't have the words, or the stomach. I've looked all day for a picture that approximates its horror. This is the closest one I've found.That really finished it off. I couldn't marry Ann. Ann was clearly a maniac. I mean, what's the point of marrying a feminist if you're going to wear a dress like that? Getting rid of Ann was harder than deciding not to marry her. At first she didn't understand, then she didn't believe me, then she wanted to kill me. As she came at me wielding the phallus shaped pinata I'd planned to destroy during our vows, I had little choice but to let Emmeline pounce. She's always very defensive of her mistress. There was blood everywhere, like in Carrie.
After the attack, I ordered Ann a cab. I was feeling generous and pretty guilty about everything, so I got it to take her to the National Express depot, not Megabus, which is pretty awful. I only hope she could afford the fare. She doesn't know London very well.
And what have I learnt? Perhaps that relationships, either with women, or men, are not my strong point. Perhaps, as Emmeline often advises me, I need to pursue the solitary course, concentrate on my writing, develop my many undeveloped talents. A woman's way is hard, but only alone can she enjoy the self-expanding freedoms of solitude.
And Ann, this is for you. Though you are uncultured, this may help you formulate your grief. I'm so so sorry!
Frankly I wish I were dead
a great deal; she said to me,
I said, "Go, and be happy
"If you forget me, think
"all the violet tiaras, braided rosebuds, dill and
"myrrh poured on your head
"while no voices chanted
5 Sep 2009
Now that's a horrible term, I know, and I wouldn't dream of using it normally. The Riders, as I have mentioned, have a long socialist history - my Great Aunt Geraldine famously donated all but one of her five country estates to the National Trust (she kept Scotland, it was the biggest). I have read widely in Marx and really identified with Tess of the D'Urbevilles, poor duck. But Tess didn't have a Sony XBox. Or a Lacoste sleep suit. Or cold sores. And she probably knew what risotto was (Ann thought it was rice pudding).
I don't mean to complain, it's just the weekend's not going how I thought it was going to at all. Ann "wasn't hungry" this morning when I produced my celebrated Eggs Posie (Eggs Benedict but with garlic mayonnaise instead of Hollandaise - yum!). She wolfed down a Bloody Mary only to sick a little in her hand and scream at me for 'feeding her ketchup', and wasn't calmed until I made her a Nesquik from an old packet I once accidentally bought for Emmeline. And she was palpably uncomfortable at the J. W. Waterhouse exhibition I took her to this afternoon. She didn't even find all the little nymphs pretty - I'm worried we don't have anything in common!
What shall I do? She's busy playing Street Fighter now but she'll have finished this level soon (oh god, I can tell by the music, what's happening to me?) and will be coming out to see if her risotto-replacement pizza is ready. The wedding's tomorrow. Oh god...what if Melody was right?
4 Sep 2009
I've managed to steal away to my (non-pink, yet feminine) laptop to write this while Ann plays on her Sony X-box. She brought it with her, all the way down from the north on the Megabus via the M4. Not my chosen mode of transport, but the Riders have been noted for their socialist tendencies in the past so I shall not gripe.
3 Sep 2009
However in spite of some irregular, whimsical journeys back into the 'ward of my mind', I have been experiencing withdrawal symptons: I'm missing those soft lined walls, the smell of surgical spirit, my slightly damp mauve pillows, and the lavender soap Aunt Lily used to send me. So cue my old dear friend Sarah Kane and her prolific work of the stage: 4.48 Psychosis. It transports me right back in the mental turmoil of insanity as fast as you can say 'sectioned'! Why it's a modern master(ess)piece.
Sarah was an inspiration to us all. RIP. We once met briefly at a Jackie Kay poetry reading in Waterstones in the mid 90s, but she was from Essex and failed to see things from my point of view. I was in the haberdashery department of Peter Jones when I found out she'd killed herself. I made a vow right there and then, in front of the fuchsia pink wool I had selected for Aunt Lilly's winter scarf, to never do to the same. It's the responsibility of lady writers, such as myself, to preserve our prolific talent to enlighten ignorant women across the world. Poor Sarah. (However, one has to remember that she was AWFULLY sad at the 'end')
This adaptation might be of particular interest to you readers. It's an incredibly profound adaption by those budding young TV film makers at Lincoln University. It really brings back all the pain and confusion I felt last summer.... but NO MORE! Ann in coming to stay this afternoon and I have laundered my cath kithson sheets and even bought us matching floral dresses!
2 Sep 2009
Melody reacted badly. She claims that I'm not taking my lesbianism seriously and that its just a 'phase' I'm going through. She obviously doesn't care about my feelings because actually, as it happens, Posie is very much in love and wounded to the core! Ann is coming down to stay with me this weekend and I'm insisting that Melody button up and be civil. I'm going to have a supper party to celebrate our engagement on Saturday, I'm going to make Raclette, and be happy and be a lesbian forever!
1 Sep 2009
"The first feminist thing about our wedding was the nature of the proposal. I do not believe that men have to propose to women, but neither did I feel comfortable proposing myself. If he had said yes, how would I ever have believed he wanted it as much as me, rather than saying yes to keep me quiet? After many conversations about whether we would get married, and, in fact, after we had provisionally booked our venue, I insisted on a proposal. He duly went away and planned my nonsurprise, popping the question on a hill overlooking our beloved London, followed by a fancy dinner."
So you basically bullied your man into marrying you? You need a 'fancy' dinner when there are people dying in the world, when there are people even dying in London??
"Asking my dad for my hand in marriage was not going to happen either. My dad, whom I get on with brilliantly, advises me on many aspects of my life, but I am a grown woman and he does not give me permission to do anything, just as I do not give him permission to do the things he wants to do."
Well my Dad's dead you silly bitch (both he and my mother were killed in an unfortunate punting accident when I was a wee sprite). How insensitive.
"Nor did my fiancé and I spend the night apart before the wedding. We already lived together, so, as we were about to make a big public statement, who would be more comforting to be around than each other? We went out for another fancy dinner, walked along the Thames and congratulated ourselves on being so clever. The next morning we got a cab to the register office; we walked into the marriage room along with all our guests and took our seats at the front."
Another 'fancy dinner' hey? Smug bitch. And what if one's a raving Catholic and doesn't want to use the registry office? I'm not a crate of bananas entering the country you know. And worst of all she remains convinced that she's not a Fumbie:
"Fumbies are those women who forget about their feminist ideals the minute they get a ring on their finger and become a simpering bride, given away, obedient and letting men speak for them. Of course, no wedding can be truly feminist. In our own feminist wedding, did my husband and I check that it wasn’t only women making the food, or cleaning up the venue? No, we didn’t. Symbolically, at least, we felt our wedding was as feminist as it could be."
Well of course it's not! You can't marry a man and call yourself a feminist! I was furious. And then I realised, marrying a woman, well THAT would be a real feminist wedding, wouldn't it? And if I went through with it well maybe I'd be published in the Times too?
I'm still pondering the dilemma over a cup of mint tea and a platter of home made flapjacks. The pigeon only arrived a few hours ago and Emmeline Pankhurst (my cat) soon had its eyes out. The little minx even hugged the ring, which I had to exchange with her for the latest copy of The Economist.