I know you have your position to maintain as a patriarchal consumerist toy but I know this is the real book you would have written if you could have:
Lots of love
I know you have your position to maintain as a patriarchal consumerist toy but I know this is the real book you would have written if you could have:
Lots of love
As usual I am writing to the female anatomy. One might think I was obsessed or something (see here for Breasts, Vulva, Cervix, Uterus, Pelvic Floor as well as musings on gendered genital related insults).
On Friday a female politician was banned for saying “vagina” in an abortion bill debate, this has been dubbed #Vaginagate, so I suppose technically I should have called this letter #VaginaGate but the phrase has been making me giggle as I imagined a gate over the entrance to the vagina, preventing anyone from getting in or anything from getting out
(unless full term) although I suppose given the subject matter, this is strangely appropriate.
One of the Republican politicians present Mike Callton said he found the word “so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.” This is a
moron man holding a bachelors degree in biology- Eh!?
Since the news broke I have been reading some fabulous responses to it:
The simply brilliant Glosswitch wrote my favourite post ever on this whole affair- “Total Cunt Avoidance- we have the technology!“
SonyaCisco made me laugh out loud with A nice day at the Orifice
Naomi McAuliffe wrote that Vaginas aren’t dirty- even in Michigan
Sarah Ditum wrote Why right-wingers shouldn’t stop women saying “vagina”
So there isn’t much more for me to say other than-Dear Vagina -You are not a dirty word, you are not an offensive word, you are a lovely scientific word to describe the birth canal, you are often inappropriately used to describe the vulva, but I’m working on correcting that. I could wax lyrical for hours about the vagina but it’s getting late and LordCurd wants to go to bed so I need to get of the computer. So I shall end with Vaginas are completely amazing and wonderful and I am shortly going to be writing a very detailed informative letter to women about vaginal secretions (LadyCurd by name, LadyCurd by nature). So watch this space (oh and I will totally publish that next letter while you are eating your breakfast. Preferably yoghurt.)
Lots of muscular tubal love
P.S. If you read the gendered insults posts you will see I have a strong dislike of the word “Cunt” but I realised in those letters I did not make an important distinction, the word is absolutely foul and horrible as an insult, and I virtually never use it in such a way, because what it effectively says is “Cunts (ie. Vaginas) are disgusting scum of the earth, lowest of low, vilest of vile”. However I am also inclined to agree with the person the lovely @SarahDitum wrote about in this article “During sex I’ll accept ‘pussy’ but my preference is ‘cunt’.” I have no problem at all with actual vaginas being called cunts, after all “Vagina” doesn’t really “roll off the tongue” in the heat of the moment now does it.
Dear Intisar Sharif Abdallah,
I am in floods of tears reading about your current situation. I cannot believe that in this day and age there are still countries that treat men, women and children so despicably, barbarically, inhumanely. In fact those words don’t do your current situation justice at all. I am so upset that you have been imprisoned with your four month old baby and separated from your other two children.
I am so so sorry that your brother beat you into confessing to adultery (something which isn’t even a crime in my country). I am devastated that the courts saw fit to sentence you to death by stoning, based on this extremely flimsy “evidence” of your guilt. I abhor the very legislative existence of the death sentence, even for much more heinous crimes than yours (which I am not at all convinced at all you are actually guilty of), but that particular method of execution is the most disgusting, cruel and horrific.
I have sent an appeal on your behalf to President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, and I will do everything I can to raise awareness of your current plight, to fight that this sentence is not carried out and that you are reunited with your family.
You might wonder why I am doing this? Well it’s because I also have a baby not much older than yours and previously I might have found myself in situations that in your country could also lead me to the same sentence, but only by virtue of my birth and geography I would never find myself in your situation. This is not right.
I am thinking of you and fighting for you.
Stay strong for your children.
Dear Equal Marriage,
I want you to know that you in no way threaten my marriage or family life (what an utterly ridiculous notion!), and all those fools who think otherwise are the sorts of idiots who shouldn’t be allowed to get married or procreate and then we might end up with a world full of tolerant and respectful people who know that marriage should be between two people who love each other regardless of gender.
In fact Chief Justice Margaret Goodridge summarised it much better than me
From “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” by Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.”
Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
We had that reading at our own wedding it was awesome (and nicely subversive for the more “traditional”
homophobic relatives present as guests.)
Anyhow marriage equality is so important. Yes the UK has civil partnerships but they are bloody well marriages and should be called as such.
All’s left to say is “if you are against same sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex” (Wonda Sykes). Sorted.
Lot’s of love
P.S Please please please fill in the government consultation on equal marriage. You can do so here . Don’t let the bigots win this one!
Dear “Modern Man”/ “New Man”/ “SAHD”,
So I wrote to LordCurd describing him as a Modern Man yesterday, and I was chatting with @glosswitch who pointed out we do tend to exalt the “Modern Man”/ “New Man”/ SAHD”. Society seems to give them “a big pat on the back for doing something millions of women do every day just because you’re a man! Big sodding deal!”.
She has a very good point. Now I am not saying LordCurd is not awesome for currently doing slightly more than his fair share in the house. But say hypothetically we were equal in the house (which this week we totally are- I have done loads- just check the #twitterasskick hashtag!), it would still be Lord Curd who gets the adulation for being such a fantastic husband and father. If I load the dishwasher, that’s just me doing “my job”, not an example of me being a fantastic wife. If I change a nappy that’s just me being a mum not an example of me being a fantastic mum, yet if LordCurd changes a nappy he is so “hand’s on” and “I am so lucky for having a man like that”. Um isn’t that just called parenting? We both agreed to have kids, we both live in a house that needs “running”. The ONLY thing I do that LordCurd can’t, is breastfeeding- in the early days that is practically a full time job in itself.
Don’t get me wrong I know how lucky I am to be married to a man as lovely as Lord Curd, and I do promise to make sure there is a more equal balance to our family life from now on, but I reckon we are pretty much on a 58:42 dealio at mo so it’s not too severe thankfully (and if you count I parent throughout the night everynight then actually I do LOADS!). It will be really interesting to see how both our roles in the house develop as I go properly back to work two days a week and LordCurd becomes a SAHD for one day a week. Especially because LordCurd will be the MOST AMAZING DAD EVER for his one day whereas grumpy blue arsed fly SAHM me for 3days a week will just be, well grumpy and blue arsed flyey.
I have decided it is time to get cross about this. I am now going to loudly shout “SEXIST ARSEWIPE!“
mansized tissue?” at any bloke who thinks he is deserving of any extra special attention doing something mundane and dull just because he is a man and it’s normally “woman’s work”. Oh and I may come up with some choice phrase for women my mother in law who also do the same, (although then again SEXIST ARSEWIPE is thankfully not a gendered insult so can suit both). Thankfully LordCurd is not a sexist arsewipe at all, and doesn’t expect anything special for his roles in our family but obviously I show him my gratitude as he does me (because that’s just a nice human way to behave), but my gosh there are some people out there who really need to get a grip and stop revering the “Modern Man”/”New Man”/ “SAHD” JUST FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE FAMILY EQUALLY. Tis the equality within the running of the household that is the crucial thing after all. Mais non?
Or am I being unreasonable?
Lot’s of love
Dear Man Sized Tissues,
It has come to my attention that many women are unquestioning of your rather sexist existence considering men general have similar sized noses to women and similar amounts of snot production.
Man Flu being worse than Woman Flu does not explain this tissue sexual diamorphism, nor does the possibility that men cry more than women.
I was all set to start a new feminist campaign with my new feminist identity…..
…. Then I realised……
…..Men masturbate. Men ejaculate. Men need big tissues to clean up after them if a sock isn’t handy
and the mumsnetter who knitted her son a wank mitten NEEDS to do a guest post for Sex Positive Parenting.
So maybe it isn’t so sexist after all, as “wank tissues” may not be a selling point, and wanking women don’t usually need tissues. Thus it’s a name minefield in the battle for gender equality.
But calling yourself “Man-Sized” is actually an annoying euphemism for “spunk soaker upper” (although maybe “sopper upper” is better as semen doesn’t really soak up, or am I over-thinking again?)
Can you please think of a better name for yourself? Maybe “Wankerchiefs” or “Tossues”? Any others?
Lots of love
Dear Modern Man Versus the Feminist Housewife,
This is a letter to both of you. Firstly Modern Man, you often make your feminist “housewife” look bad as you do nearly all the cooking and more than your fair share of the cleaning and childcare as well as working fulltime. This means that Feminist “Housewife” is actually outed as the complete lazy arse she cleary is. Irritatingly you will also sometimes have both kids for the day and somehow manage to tidy the entire house so when Feminist “Housewife” returns to the family home she is greeted with a spotless house and gleaming children (who have also been baking/crafting/painting and other stimulating activities) and the “I don’t know why you find it so difficult!” F@*!?&@*. Also Modern Man- you are bloody lovely but you are a bit enabling as instead of discussing/negotiating what needs to be done, you often just get on and do it and this is letting Feminist “Housewife” get away with doing less than her fair share. She knows she is an adult and part of a team but she has also gotten very used to and comfortable in the status quo, so you probably need to shake that up a little and stop doing so much for her- even though she adores you very much for it. (She also knows her Mum is now completely lost without her Dad who also used to do so much for her, and sometimes that level of dependency can be dangerous if it means suddenly unexpectedly you are on your own and unable to cope)
Secondly Feminist “Housewife”- you really are not cut out to be a housewife, we all know this. You are desperate to get back to work and have been working sporadically part time since both your babies were tiny to “keep your hand in and your brain sane”, you even managed to recently achieve a MAHOOSIVE promotion in the work you do- unpaid but still awesome. You are proud that your children will witness non-stereotypical gender roles within your marriage however you are also aware they may cotton onto the fact that this isn’t necessarily actually because you are a feminist but it’s actually because you are very very lazy (at home anyway- at work you can be a completely passionate driven workaholic). You are counting down the days until going back to work in September for two days a week and Modern Man is hopefully going to go part time and do 1days childcare and 1day business development and hopefully you can afford just about afford the childcare. You adore your job and want to do well in it and think it is very important for your girls to see you working, passionate and fulfilled rather than at home, bored and a bit miserable. (You are in complete awe of SAHM’s who enjoy it, and whilst you do adore your children you personally do need the adult work environment to stay sane).
Now dear Feminist “Housewife” admittedly you are getting very little sleep bedsharing with a baby velcroed to your armpit and breastfeeding all night, and feeding her or trying to get her to sleep for much of the day, however you do have a cleaner, and your toddler is at nursery for 3days a week so would it really kill you to do a little bit more around the house? Personally I think part of your reluctance to do your share of the housework is because you are very reluctant to temporarily embrace a “housewife” identity as your very soul screams against it, but I also I reckon you are pontificating too much and really just don’t want to admit to being a lazy fucker when it comes to the housework.
Let’s face it NO-ONE LIKES HOUSEWORK, but you are also very aware that your marriage is unfairly weighted at the moment, because Modern Man does so much in the house, giving you far too much time to faff on the internet writing blogs and tweeting. This isn’t fair as you both deserve the same amount of “down time” and currently Modern Man gets a lot less than you. You are also aware that one of your best friend’s marriage recently ended for many reasons but ultimately it was due to the unfair balance of the relationship- you don’t want that to happen to your relationship.
So dear Feminist “Housewife” I have some suggestions for you. Firstly you are going to try #twitterasskick- 15minutes of bursts of activity where you say what you are going to do, go and do them and then report back, and some of your twitter friends may want to join you in this. Secondly you are going to limit the blogging to one letter a day unless really important for more. You may sometimes write more but you can schedule them for periods when you are too busy to write them. Thirdly you are going to do the dishwasher and a load of washing everyday. That’s it for now as I suggest you suddenly don’t try and turn into a Stepford Wife as it will fail miserably by day 2. You need little jobs to do every day to get into a habit and routine and create a more balanced equal relationship for you and Modern Man. In fact I may write back to you with more advice another time.
Lots of Love
P.S Modern Man has been very reasonable about all of this- this isn’t bourne out of a “shape up or ship out” argument thank heavens, more a comedy discussion in general about housewifery and what it means to be a “feminist housewife” as Feminist Housewife was trying to convince him it meant being on twitter all day. Apparently it doesn’t. So she’s trying to change!
Dear Not That Kind Of Girl,
So yesterday I claimed I wasn’t “that kind of girl” but the day before I was proclaiming I was a Slut, as there seems to be some incongruous value judgements going on there I think I need to unpick this further with you. I think you are the best person to ask. You not being that kind of girl and all.
So if I truly believe women should be able to love who they want, have sex with who they want, dress how they want, then I shouldn’t really be having “not that kind of girl” issues.
What do I mean by “That kind of girl”? I suppose I meant one who would have sex with a lorry driver in a service station, which then implies I am judging women for doing that. Which I am not. If a single woman wants to have consensual no strings attached sex with a lorry driver in a service station then she should absolutely fill her boots and I would probably be rather impressed and a bit in awe of her confidence (In fact my best friend – who is possibly “that kind of girl?” has enjoyed sneaky sex in a lorry at work a few times. Thus it turns out I know rather more than I should about the logistics of sex in a lorry having missed my own chance at it! ).
However I think I was directing my “not that kind of girl” comment at the lorry driver. He may have encountered women before who would willingly have sex with him in the services, but had I pulled into the services with him genuinely I would have been wanting a coffee and a getting to know you chat first, I’m shy like that
plus I hadn’t shaved my legs and was wearing a panty liner, this being back in the day I used to make an effort . The thing is I’m not sure that coffee and a chat was the deal on the table in that situation, and I fear that, had I pulled over but then not put out, I may have been in serious danger of being forced into doing something I didn’t want to. Obviously I am not trying to label all lorry drivers as potential rapists, however given that he turned agressive when I legged it after not pulling over, then I think my instincts in that particular situation were absolutely right not to pull over.
I appreciate flirting on the M6 is a very unusual situation and not one there are etiquette rules for, plus the added not being able to talk or swap phone numbers or do any of the usual “getting to know you type foreplay” meant you would have to have a certain level of confidence to enter into that situation to possibly have spontaneous sober sex with a complete stranger and deal with all the possible consequences. I’m not that confident kind of girl. Maybe that is what I meant by “that kind of girl”?
I also need to transpose the M6 story into another story along similar lines but where I did end up in a dangerous situation:
We are travelling in the same direction at the same time (though not a motorway- we were walking drunkenly home through the park), there is flirting and thanks to the drink, we end up skipping home holding hands. On my part I genuinely think I have made a new friend, I don’t particularly fancy him, he offers me to go back to his place for a drink, I am clear it is just a drink , he agrees, I go up to his place, have the drink. He keeps trying it on. I keep refusing. He starts playing mind games to try and get me to stay, I feel sorry for him, he keeps trying it on. I stay longer than I should, he keeps trying it on, I sober up and think “fuck this!”. I leave. He opens window and shouts “here’s that fucking drink” and throws a bottle at my head! Thankfully it missed.*
So M6 situation- rules were unclear because of the situation but I did what I needed to try and keep safe, but was still shown agression for not “following through”. Latter situation, rules were much clearer but he tried to break them, and at least I was able to stay safe. Thankfully the vast majority of times I have enjoyed a flirty exchange, there has been no heavy price to pay, (because most men are not rapist scum) but I also appreciate how lucky I have been given some situations I have ended up in.
So this brings me back to “not that kind of girl” and being a “slut“. I still want to bring my girls up to be free to wear what they want, fall in love with who they want and have sex with who they want. But that is assuming they are growing up in a society that isn’t full of these value judgements against such women, and is also full of men (and women) who have a complete understanding of the meaning of informed consent. And sadly we are not there. The recent need for slutwalks and Ched Evans Vitriol against the victim have shown us how far from there we are. Also If I am totally honest I would baulk and worry terribly at my daughters heading out in tiny miniskirts and fishnet stockings and suspenders just like my own parents did with me at the height of my gothic phase (what on earth was I thinking!? I wouldn’t even dress like that for a Halloween party now!). I’m terrified that my daughters will experience forms of sexual assault (I know I have been subjected to many an unwanted grope in my lifetime, so sadly it is likely), I know if they do end up being assaulted THEY WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT BE TO BLAME BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY WERE WEARING OR THEIR BEHAVIOUR, the fault, the blame, will be entirely the perpetrator’s -for BREAKING THE LAW and not understanding and respecting that how a woman dresses or acts does not mean she is “asking for it” at all. EVER. End of.
So it turns out dear “not that kind of girl”, you are absolutely my kind of girl after all. You be any kind of girl you want to be, so long as you are happy and not breaking any laws, or deliberately breaking any hearts (accidentally doesn’t count), and I will always try to support you as best I can and I will always believe you.
Lots of love
*P.S I reported the guy who threw a bottle at my head to the police and I was incredibly impressed with how seriously they took it. Turned out he possibly had form for that kind of behaviour and although ultimately no charges were brought, thank you Policewoman for pointing out that it shouldn’t matter how drunk I was or how stupid I was to go back to a strange bloke’s flat, it was his refusal to listen to me saying no that was actually the issue and could have led to criminal charges.
This letter was inspired by the lovely @kaygeeuk who, when #thatswhatslutsdo was trending, tweeted
Teach their daughters that they can wear what they want, love who they want, have sex with who they want without shame #thatswhatslutsdo
— soft kitty singer (@kaygeeuk) April 19, 2012
So um yeah I’m a slut, as I want to teach my girls EXACTLY that. This whole males can enjoy sex and have sex with as many people as they want (because they are studs, lotharios, etc etc) but if women do they same they are Sluts, Slags, Skanks, Bitches, Ho’s, Whores etc etc. really really winds me up.
I suppose women who are called sluts are called it for one of two main reasons:
A) they enjoy sex and aren’t ashamed about that fact, and this goes against the “social norm” therefore others (and it’s often women ) find this threatening and therefore try and bully and intimidate the “sluts” out of behaving this way. There is also a very weird paradigm in that women are expected to look and act “sexily” but if they actually go the step further and actually shag about then society gets all cross with them, and calls them sluts- seriously what’s all that about!?
B) because their behaviour is also causing hurt and upset of others. This one is more problematic as I personally feel it actually depends on the personal motivation to act in such a way, every individual is responsible for their own actions and so long as you are not deliberately setting out to hurt people and accepting the consequences to your actions, then I cannot and would not judge you or ever call you a “slut”. However if you are deliberately and maliciously setting out to hurt people, then maybe nasty names are justified but there are much better non gendered insults for such people: Douchebag being a particular favourite of mine (although I did have a debate on Twitter about whether this was a gendered insult as I suppose it would depend if it was an anal or a vaginal douche ;)).
This dichotomy between males and females and their acceptable sexual behaviour is taught from a young age- it’s okay- funny even, for boys to masturbate but girls are taught shame if they are caught doing same. We are more comfortable with the word penis than vulva, and heaven forbid we mention that most taboo part of the female body- the clitoris to a child or even teenager! A simple explanation being “It’s a part of the body- when you touch it it can feel nice, you should only touch it in private and never let anyone touch it without your consent” (having explained and modelled consent to them too)
I appreciate females biologically may have more at risk than males from a sexual encounter because of pregnancy, and that has maybe led to some of this “slut-shaming” to try and prevent women from paying a higher price than men for being sexually voracious, but seriously we now live in a world where so long as you use a condom/femidom (being the ONLY thing to protect you against STI’s) and also use a back up method of hormonal contraception with a very low failure rate, then the liklihood of falling accidentally pregnant (or getting an STI) is very slim indeed.
Sex is one of the most awesome things you can do with your body (as is breastfeeding which I also find utterly incredible but in an separate non sexy way obviously!), it should be enjoyed and celebrated and not treated with shame, disgust, or humour. And women have just as much right to enjoy it as men. The caveat to that being both women and men should never set out to deliberately hurt anybody just so they can get laid; trust, honesty and communication being central to any pleasureable mutually enjoyable sexual relationship.
So yes, I want my girls to be able to wear what they want, love who they want and have sex with who they want without shame. I hope my girls find someone as awesome as LordCurd as soon as they are ready to settle down,
and I really hope they don’t make some of the fricking horrific carcrash mistakes I have, but in the meantime once they are old and mature enough, and so long as they aren’t hurting anyone or hurting themselves, then I hope they will do whatever they want to, and its absolutely none of anybody’s business except their own, but woe betide anyone who calls them nasty names because of it.
Lot’s of loving
Dear ProChoice Mummy,
I had a bit of a silly little wobbly today about my abortion letters going next to my baby letters on my bloglist. There are reasons for this:
Two of the most horrific things said to me by pro-lifers about my pro-choice stance have gone too close to the bone.
“you support baby’s brains being cut out with scissors”
At the time of that one, I was in the height of PTSD from Oddler who was a forceps delivery with suspect brain damage, so understandably I was in absolute bits after that one. (However late term abortion (ie. when a foetus could be potentially viable outside of the womb and actually considered a baby) is LESS THAN 1% of ALL abortions, and usually only carried out in exceptional circumstances- more often than not when the foetus has a condition not compatible with life or a life without considerable suffering- and given a lack of doctors qualified in late term abortions in the UK, many late term abortions are now in fact inductions, therefore using such a horrific graphic statement as if it is FACT about ALL abortions is a deliberately vile tactic to try and silence people and scare people away from saying they are prochoice).
“Look your unborn baby in the eye once she is born and tell her you supported murdering of ones like her “
Said when I was 7months pregnant with Omble. This didn’t make me sad, this made me angry. Omble was incredibly wanted especially after I lost one of my fallopian tubes and thought I might never have another child. To use my beautiful wanted baby girl to try and silence me from supporting other women and their right to choose what to do in a crisis pregnancy, really pissed me off. My mummy hackles were raised and you know what? I will look my beautiful girls in the eye and tell them I am so proud of them and how wanted they were and how that no matter what they always have a choice if faced with a crisis pregnancy and I will always support them. So there.
Having things like that said to you can shake your pro-choice convictions to the core, especially if you have ever been pregnant or had a child (for some reason I am way way more sensitive post children than I ever was pre-children- the stupidest things can have me in tears). So I have worries about my stance as a Pro-Choice Mummy as I was pondering whether I need to keep my pro-choice activism separate from my baby and toddler obsessed life, because I don’t want to invite such foul and vitriolic comments towards my beautiful and very much wanted babies.
Thing is that is EXACTLY what the pro-life movement are banking on. They want to guilt mothers into not standing up for abortion rights, because if they are “good” mothers they shouldn’t be advocating “killing innocent children”. Arguments about when life begins aside, abortion is actually statistically safer for a woman than pregnancy and birth (link), and pregnancy and motherhood is the hardest and most difficult thing I have ever experienced, and I desperately wanted my kids- I would never in a million years want a woman to be forced to go through with that experience unwillingly. All that can create is desperately unhappy unwanted children/mothers or worse.
So I am writing to you dear Pro Choice Mummy to remind you to be proud in your pro-choice convictions. It has absolutely no bearing on you as a mother apart from maybe making you even more empathetic and compassionate. Stand up for what you believe and bring your bumps, babies and toddlers along with you on your pro-choice marches so they can learn about the importance of fighting for their rights from a young age (especially bring ones like Omble as she is the master of the dirty protest! ;)).
ProChoice Mama’s don’t be silent, stand up and shout!
Lot’s of love