Tag Archives: feminism

Dear Women who don’t call themselves feminists. Think about it…


Dear Women who don’t call themselves feminists,

I used to be one of you. In fact I only started calling myself a feminist in the last two years. I “came out” as a feminist right here, and here,  here and erm finally here on this very blog. In fact I had to break this blog out from its rather extended hiatus (sorry I’ve been terrifyingly busy but will update more in the new year) just to write this post.

So there has been a bit of an upset about Mumsnet Blogfest and reactions to a panel including two real life friends of mine @Glosswitch & @SarahDitum who have written simply incredible responses here and here.  I’m not going to ramble on about that so much as I wasn’t there (but have watched the videos) and it all seems to have been woefully misconstrued by people with their own issues, and hats off to Glosswitch and Sarah who have handled it beautifully. Me I would have been weeping in the corner at all the unnecessary vitriol directed at me but then I’m always someone who likes things happy and easy and just wants everyone to like me……….

…….which is probably almost definitely why I never called myself a feminist until recently.

Feminism is hard work and once your eyes are opened to it, and I mean truly opened, to the extent of male violence and all the inequalities that women and girls will face just for being female, then erm its hard and its scary. Its terrifying to challenge things, to be that difficult person at playgroup or school trying to explain why X Y or Z actually isn’t okay.

I’ll hold my hands up and say I was blinkered. I didn’t want to hear, I didn’t want to see, I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want it to make me angry or sad.

Back then I didn’t think my gender had affected me from achieving anything. Basically I was being selfish, “women’s issues” hadn’t really affected me, so I didn’t care, but then I started to think, think about my body image, gender roles in marriage, sex, makeup, abortion consent and my daughters growing up loads and loads of other stuff, and I finally truly really got it.

I had my lightbulb moment.

I even used to get upset at women who got angry at women who didn’t want to call themselves feminists. I didn’t call myself a feminist, and how dare anyone judge me for that?

But now I understand, & now  I have come full circle. I have read a lot of responses to this event with women declaring themselves not to be feminists, and showing a woeful misunderstanding of some of the issues at stake, and I want to tear the blinkers from their eyes (in a gentle non-angry way obviously!) and make them see, make them understand, make them listen.  I get why women were angry at me not calling myself a feminist. I am angry at the old me too.

That isn’t to say that it is okay to be verbally abusive at someone because they hold different opinions to you, because it most definitely isn’t. What I am asking is for you to think about it. Think about why feminism exists and what it means and what it needs, think about how your gender will have affected your life, really think deep down why you don’t want to call yourself a feminist. (Glosswitch once pointed out  to me that some women might not call themselves feminists so they don’t appear threatening to men and that  resonated with me. Maybe it will with you too. Why do women always need to be liked, to seek approval, to not shout, to not be aggressive…..?)

All I am asking is for you to just think*

Lots of Thinking Love

LadyFormerlyNonDefiningFeministNowOut&ProudFeministCurd.

*P.S With an added caveat about  “and not responding aggressively to the person just asking you to think.”

*ducks back down below the parapet*.

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Dear Barbie


Dear Barbie,

I just read your gripping debut novel:
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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:

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Lots of love

LadyNeverAllowedABarbieCurd

Dear Feminism3- my lightbulb is on


Dear Feminism3,

Okay time to put my hands on my heart and fess up. I’m feeling a complete twazzock now for writing Dear Feminism1, Dear Feminism2, Feminism Lite I’ve come so far in my feminist thinking that I can’t imagine ever not thinking it is important to be a feminist. In my defence though human rights have always been massively important to me, with women’s rights an important part of that but I never really specifically focused much of my attention or energy on them, having other battles to fight, but then I realised part of my other battles would be so much more sucessful if included feminism in my armoury which will probably only make sense if you know me personally so I will leave that bit there for now.

There is often talk in feminism about a lightbulb moment, and whilst my light has been flickering for a while now its only recently that it got properly switched on and is burning bright.  I’m not sure why it took me so long, maybe it’s because as a white middle class well educated cis-female who has not really experienced a glass ceiling to her career, and being 30 I grew up as part of the generation that thought that the woman’s liberation battle had been fought and won, and therefore wasn’t as important? I know now I was naive, even as a teenager and in my early twenties when I experienced sexual violence and I brushed it off as just “something that happened to girls”, one boyfriend even strangled 14year old me until I told him I loved him. How did I not know this was wrong, why did I not shout and scream about how wrong it was?!

But yes the lightbulb is well and truly switched on now and I am angry, no I am RAGING that my daughters are growing up to be disadvantaged in jobs, by the maternity policies which need to be so much better,to have constantly have to fight to not be taken less seriously because of their gender, To suffer self esteem/body image issues because of the continual objectification of women. To be likely experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. I’m furious that there are renewed attempts to reduce my daughters rights to abortion if they need one, that their friends may experience female genital mutilation and this country is seen as not doing anything about it, that if they experience sexual violence it is unlikely that the perpetrator will be bought to justice and some people will think it was their fault for getting assaulted, for being drunk or dressed provocatively.

So fuck the badge and the jute bag I wanted in Feminism1– pass me a placard a balaclava and the chains and padlocks. This woman is getting angry strident and serious about her feminism.

For my daughters. For me. For Females.

Bring it on.

ROAR.

LadyANGRYFEMINISTCurd

P.S and I’m really sorry it took me this long to really and truly properly get it. Will be ensuring I bring my girls (and any future boys) up to understand how important feminism is, so they reach this page before 30!

Dear Modern Man Versus the Feminist “Housewife”


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

LadyAgonyAuntieCurd

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 Feminism Lite


Dear Feminism Lite,

I have a close friend who is a lesbian, if you were to apply an offensive “lesbian stereotype” checklist between me and her (as if such an thing existed), then I am WAY WAY more “lesbian” than she is I mean apart from the crucial fact I’m not one, but details details. This led us to joking that she is um Lesbian Lite. As she honestly does not fit any stereotype at all, which is fab as I love a stereotype challenger, she’s an amazing role model methinks.

Anyhow this friend is also a passionate feminist. She leads groups and protests and devotes hours of her time to it, she is a proper inspiration. She is so passionate about feminism she has even changed her surname from her father’s surname to an adaptation of her grandmother’s so her surname wasn’t of a patriachal lineage.

So I was chatting to her yesterday and in classic LadyCurd “not thinking before I speak” fashion, I pointed out that she maybe “lesbian lite” but she is most definitely a full fat feminist*. Thankfully she laughed (and she isn’t fat at all btw!)

But um anyhow I guess what I am trying to say is I suppose there is a Feminism Lite movement too, and I guess I’m currently pondering which version I will “plump” for (pun intended). I’m definitely getting angrier and less Lite anyhow. Plus the Lite versions always taste crap and are disappointing in comparison.

Check me out- going from being a bit sheepish about my feminism to a bit strident about it! Tis a journey innit.

Whoop!
Love
LadyEmbracingFeminismsCurvesCurd

P.S does this mean I have to go read “Fat is a Feminist Issue now?”

*in the unlikely event someone really doesn’t get this letter at all and I get shouted at for calling Feminists fat or something- to clarify the opposite of Lite or Diet fizzy drinks are generally termed “Full Fat Versions” (which is daft as they don’t have any fat in them at all but half a ton of sugar).

Dear Slut


Dear Slut,

This letter was inspired by the lovely @kaygeeuk who, when #thatswhatslutsdo was trending, tweeted

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

LadySlutCurd

Dear Makeup


Dear Makeup,

Firstly I need to start by saying I virtually never wear you. I think the last time was when 7months preggers and I was on the telly (I mean you probably should then right? I mean millions* of people might have been watching) . I probably literally only wear you once or twice a year. I just find putting you on too much of a faff and can totally cope with my bare face being seen in public. This is mainly because I’m too much of a lazy fucker to spend the required time making my face up of a morning, only to realise by midday my efforts have assumed a rather panda like look and no-body has told me, and I never look in mirrors unless washing my hands after going to the loo, so it will have often been like that for hours until I will notice. Sigh. I can’t even be bothered to wear contacts so I wear huge heavy rimmed glasses – (the bonus being they hide the dark shadows under my eyes quite nicely- who needs Touche Éclat?) Brushing my hair and teeth everyday is about as far as my beauty regime goes.

Anyhow my mum was and is exactly the same- virtually never ever wears you, but still as a kid I remember playing about with her makeup kit loads and then between 12-19 I probably wore you most days (I was a Goth so it could take a while!) until I reached my twenties and was less bothered by it all. So I was interested to read this article where PinkStinks are calling for a ban on the sale of makeup toys to the under 8’s, as I am genuinely not sure how I feel about it.

Firstly kids (boys or girls) mucking about with make-up is just something kids do. I may not have older kids but I know toddlers love it. I know Oddler was enthralled when a friend of ours came round to ours to get ready for a wedding and she got to play a bit with the make-up. TBH I felt a little bit weird about it as the friend was more putting make-up on her than anything else (but then again you wouldn’t let a 2 year old completely loose on your Chanel and other uber expensive brand make-up!) and I didn’t want my daughter “made up” as I feel that is wrong- I don’t want my girls to ever feel like they need to wear make-up in order to be attractive, because I want them to feel beautiful without it, and I worried slightly this might sow some seeds into Oddlers mind about that. But the flipside is -Is Oddler missing out by having a mummy who doesn’t have a makeup bag to cause carnage in? Well I do, but I keep it ontop of the wardrobe (shows how often I use it!) and TBH I am pondering whether I do let her play with it at some point? To me my rather redundant makeup bag is no different than buying her a set of face paints (but without the effort of buying the face paints- see I told you I was lazy). I know she will end up looking like a complete makeup monstrosity and it would be hilarious.

There is NOTHING “sexualised” about a kid of either gender daubing their face in coloured substances. Oddler adores to draw all over herself in felt tip pen! The thing is its the fucked up adults in society who are projecting onto the kids. Some women wear make up, some wear a lot of make up and little girls want to be like their mummies, and they want to do what their mummies do, they aren’t doing it to be perceived as attractive or sexy like their mothers might be, they are just doing it because its what their idol does. So it’s a bit fucked up to freak out so much about kids playing with makeup, when actually what we should maybe be freaking out about is why so many adult women are so not comfortable in their own skins that they have to cover themselves in these make up masks in order to be perceived as beautiful, and then pass on those insecurities to their kids? (As an aside it amuses me how in many bird species it is the male who is expected to be the beautiful one putting on the displays, for the dowdy brown female one to choose the best of the bunch- just look at Peacocks and Peahens for the classic example!).

Don’t get me wrong I do think kids being properly made up to look like adults is wrong (Toddler beauty queens make me shudder), and I dislike the notion of “toy makeup” so personally I wouldn’t ever buy it for the girls, but might buy them proper makeup for secondary school. I think that is the responsibility of the parents bringing up the children to be aware of some of the issues about allowing or even forcing a kid to grow up too soon, and discussing with the children what some of these issues are, and to try to bring their children up as best they can in this very strange world we now live in. I don’t think banning make up kit sales in under 8’s is really going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things, but supporting parents to develop resilience and good self esteem in their children especially the girls might?

I expect (and hope) Oddler and Omble will ultimately end up rather like me. Go a bit mad with experimenting with you as a teen and then ultimately not be that faffed because they realise you are mostly unnecessary but can be nice for the odd special occasion. If they do, I reckon I’ve done my job as a mother ok.

Lots of madeup love

Lady I Do Own Touche Éclat But I Got It In Duty Free For My Wedding Day And It’s Gone Off And Stinks Curd

P.S In case you were wondering, yes I am a total minger without makeup, but I can live with that. 😉

*by millions I probably mean my mum. Hi mum!