On My List of Men To Avoid

David Cox. Rape Apologist Extrodinaire.

You stupid, stupid man.
I don’t expect this kind of article from the Guardian. The Daily Mail, yes. But that is why I call them drivel-purveyors to the masses. I don’t want to include the Guardian in this, but….

Their columnist, the aforementioned man, has infuriated me to the point that I feel forced to counter him with an entire post, which, as he is on my List, is more than he deserves.

Nobody would “ask for” rape.

Indeed, you cannot ask for rape, because the idea of rape rests on the premise that the contact was unwanted.
By asking for something, you want it. You cannot want something that it is impossible to want.

Why does logic elude so many people?
And this simple statement of fact negatives many of the myths around rape, because so many of them hinge on the fallacy that women “ask for it”. But that’s impossible. So shut the fuck up.

And so, with that cleared up, I’d like to point out that the analagy of rape as property theft (“We fit locks to our doors and windows. We keep our valuables out of sight”) is also incredibly foolish.

No woman walks around in public proudly displaying her vagina to the world. This is what we would have to do to make that comparison logical.
She may show some thigh, or some breast, or even (*gasp*) have her nipples visible through her top, but none of these things equate to having “our valuables” in plain sight.

Society needs an overhaul. This man, and many others, both male and female, need their brains rearranged.

And lastly, he mentions the risks of women getting “into a drunken stupor in the company of a frisky male”. Well, yes. At the moment this is a risk.

It should not be a risk. Just as a man getting into a drunken stupor in the company of a “frisky” female is not at present considered risky.

What would his reaction be, I wonder, if a man, finding himself very drunk with a woman that he knows as a casual acquaintance, were to be coerced back to said woman’s house, where said woman proceded to insert a large dildo into one or more of his orifices without his consent, or in any way inappropriately touched his genitals?

Would he say of this man, “he should have been aware of the risks”?
I rather doubt it.
And that is where the problem lies.

I love my sister

Today is a proud day for me.

Today I witnessed my sister describing somebody as “socially inept”.

It made me cackle.

In The Run Up To Christmas

Oh, yes, because it’s now September, and therefore, as far as retail is aware, it is Christmas. Some brave souls (no pun intended) may encompass Halloween, and a few shops will, in the UK, latch on to Bonfire Night (5 November; Guido Fawkes failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament on this day many years ago, possibly making him the best-known failure in the UK!) but really, that’s just a side-show.

We’re all told, aren’t we, that Christmas is a time for giving, for forgiving and for for forgiving… er… well, maybe not the last one, but, in general, we’re just meant to be nicer at Christmas.
But, because that’s quite difficult, we’ve unnofficially added the proviso — we’ll be nicer, but only to our families and friends, and, to make up for this unnecessary expense of emotional energy, we’ll be total bastards to everyone else.

So here is my plea. It’s not feminist, as such. It’s just being nice.

This Christmas, be nice to the people who serve you.
In the pub, in the shops, in restaurents, in hotels, wherever.
Just be nice to them.
So, specially for the twelve days of Christmas, here are the twelve things to remember when shopping:

  1. ” just because I work in retail doesn’t mean I have an IQ of a small glass of stagnant water” — cheers, Sam!
  2. It is not a good idea to antagonise the people you want to serve you; if you piss us off, we will refuse to serve you at all.
  3. Being on the “paying” side of the counter doesn’t make you right.
  4. No, you do not pay my wage.
  5. Actually, we probably do know more than you about what we’re selling.
  6. You are not entitled to any discount simply because you’re a customer.
  7. If you are asking us to do something illegal (serve you medicines, alcohol, out of date food, after six pm on a Sunday) don’t be surprised – or angry – when we say no. We could lose our jobs. And we wouldn’t be taking crap from you unless we needed the money.
  8. Being a whinging git will not improve the speed or quality of service you recieve. And we may spit in your coffee.
  9. We are aware how long you’ve been queueing. No, you haven’t been there “half an hour”. You’ve been there five minutes. Shut the fuck up.
  10. We don’t give a shit who you are. Michael Caine, I’m talking to you. You might have a famous name, but guess what? You still have to pay!
  11. If something goes wrong, it’s probably not the counter monkeys’ fault. They have no authority. If they did, they would be managers.
  12. And, for that real Christmassy feeling – if you wait until Christmas eve before buying presents/ food etc. you are not entitled to complain in any way, shape or form. It’s your own fault!

It’s because people can’t remember these things that I’m desperately trying to avoid going back into retail before January……

Shocking News: Sex Sells*

* Well, heterosexual, male, voyeuristic sex sells, anyway….!

Although I’ve been trying to scale down the number of labels I use for my posts, I may have to create another, specifically for my most-hated publications.
I propose to call it Drivel-Purveyors […to the Masses].

I’m grumbling now about The Sun. Normally this particular publication flies under my radar, simply because it’s that stupid. However, it has managed to force itself into my consciousness, through a high-profile advertising campaign. Apparently, it is now only 20p.
Sadly, it feels the need to promote this fact through the cunning use of breasts.

As though I needed yet another skinny, yet curiously busty blonde smiling vacuously at me wherever I go. They’re on the sides of my buses now.
I’m not best pleased.

Now I know that advertising is all about appealing to your target audience, and, to be fair, the stereotypical Sun reader probably will be very pleased to discover that he (yes, he) is now only two ten-pence peices away from yet another pair of computer-enhanced nipples, but, well…. I don’t like it.

I don’t like it that the default for “sexy” is white, and female, and blonde, and skinny, and big-breasted, and pouting, and nude.
I don’t like it that breasts are always a symbol of sex, so much so that breast-feeding mothers are vilified for – gasp! – baring their breasts. It kinda goes with the territory, people!
I don’t like it that the only way to sell anything – holidays, insurance, watches, deodorant… – is to put a “sexy” woman in your advert.
And I don’t like it that I’ve become so apathetic about the use of breasts to sell things. I used to be so much more angry, dammit – and rightly so, I feel. I don’t like it that I feel I won’t make a difference to this. I have to believe that I will. Otherwise, what is there?

Apart from breasts on buses, obviously!

What Are Teenage Girls Really Thinking?

I’m a little late with this article, from the Guardian, but hey, I had other things on my mind.

And that, it seems, is precisely the point. I had other things on my mind. I’m not cruel enough to inform you of everything that goes on in my head, because frankly, a lot of it is quite scary. Having said that, the following may give you some idea of where I’ve been (mentally) for the last little while….

  • My upcoming job interview.
  • Whether I could do without pockets in my trousers (I couldn’t).
  • Food, and whether I could be arsed to actually cook (I couldn’t).
  • The Pill, and how it annoys me.
  • Conversely, sex, and how much nicer it is for me being on the pill.
  • Online application forms, and how much they annoy me.
  • My friends currently at Uni, or preparing for it.
  • Where that fiver in my pocket had got to.
  • Whether I felt like embarking on a painting project (I didn’t)
  • A Constant Princess, by Philippa Gregory
  • Commander Keen, a very old DOS game. You kill slugs, and blue things.
  • More food. I still couldn’t be arsed to cook.
  • The Carnival of Feminists, and whether I should get distracted (I shouldn’t, but did).

I did not, however, think about any of the following things, as the Daily Mail thinks I should:

  • Make up (I’m allergic. It bores me.)
  • Cellulite (if you’re close enough to see my naked arse, do you really care?!)
  • Chick Lit (though I did throw a wobbly in Waterstones the other day, pleading for a book that wasn’t packaged in pink, or about love)
  • The hairiness of my body (see cellulite; plus, male bodily hair has never put me off…!)
  • My horoscope (um, no thanks – I’d almost rather have organised religion)
  • Vogue, or any other “stupid drivel-purveyors to the masses” as I like to know them as*

Well, what can we conclude?
Perhaps I am being a little unfair to the Guardian, since it does seem to be focussed on the mid-teen age range, and I am indeed a little past the age of reading Bliss.
However, it is with a due sense of sadness and reluctance that I decide that the Mail has, once again, both failed miserably in its assessment of women and its capacity to write interesting and informative articles.**

*I include the Mail in this objectionable category
** And, of course, I’m not really sad or reluctant to label the Mail like this. I rather enjoy villifying it, if only because I believe it sums up everything that has conspired to make my Gran a nervous wreck, terrified of the entire world, which, according to the the Mail, is out to get her.


Ok, I have an answer.
Remember that fly in the ointment of society, Creepy Guy?
Well, I found a really, really entertaining way of dealing with him…..

Two days ago: Me in a bad mood, life is grumpy-making. Many things have made me irritable. I wander off towards the library, killing some time (it is too late in the day to go jobhunting and in any case it would probably not be a good plan with my current frame of mind) when….

Young Creepy Guy: [directed at me] He-e-e-ey, SEXY!

So, I stop walking. I don’t slow, I don’t speed up, I just stop dead about five feet away from him. And then I turn back. And I walk very deliberately.

YCG: [looking disconcerted] I was just saying you were sexy….
Me: [Coldly] You know most girls don’t like you doing that, don’t you?
YCG: [hopefully] Do…. you like it?
Me: [disbelieving] No. I hate it. Don’t do it again.

And I turn my back on him, and walk away. Nothing more is said whilst I am within earshot.

Ok, I have to say, there are good reasons why this worked.

  1. My body language implied aggression and power.
  2. He wasn’t expecting it.
  3. He looked about seventeen, and was probably therefore still somebody’s little boy, or pupil.
  4. I looked older than I was. I was dressed for job hunting, (to impress) and there is nothing that screams “authority” than your favourite ‘smart’ clothes!
  5. I used a tone of voice that also screamed “authority”. It was the voice that a teacher or parent would use to signify “you are in the wrong and I am now reprimanding you”.
  6. Taking into account 2, 3 and 4, his instinct would be to defer to me, woman or no.

So I’m not sure what an older man’s reaction would be if I did the same thing.
But I think it has to be tried, at least if the opportunity arises in a time and place that I’m comfortable with.

I shall of course post any results I come up with.

And lest anybody misinterpret me, I am not advocating this as a fail-safe solution. I merely want to test the theory. I would also say that it could do with refining. Presenting it as a question could have backfired on me, and I think saying something along the lines of “That makes me uncomfortable. Don’t do it” may work better. Any suggestions for the ultimate one line put-down to the usual address, please!

….. Again, On Marriage

But this one is different.
Go and read this. “Why I want a wife” is scary. Rather like the way that some entries under the “humour and satire” header of Literotica are actually more erotic than many others, since they are at least well written, this is scary because it seems like it could be true.

But I don’t want a “wife”.
For one thing, I practice “kitchen fascism” — to coin a phrase of my mother’s, used to describe the way everything must be in its proper place, or else.
I don’t think I would get along very well with the “wife” this article describes.
Also, I prefer to sort out my own bodily maintainance. I’d find it weird if somebody else told me one afternoon “I’ve made you a dentist appointment for [whenever], ok?”

Well, I could be scared at so much of this, but really, I think I only need say one thing:

The wife depicted in this article is not acting as a wife, but as a mother, to her husband. (Apart from the sex bits, of course, at which point she is acting as his prostitute.)

And I should think, if you’re old enough to get married, you’re old enough to not need a woman to mother you.

It’s no wonder I feel so repulsed by this mythical “wife”. I don’t get much mothering from my Mum, let alone anyone else!

For We Are All Creatures Of Habit

If I’m travelling alone, I sit at the front of the bus, on the top deck. Unless there is nobody else on the bus, in which case it feels a little silly.
Most buses are arranged so that there’s only one seat in front of the stairs, so I sit there and feel marginally safer in the knowledge that, while people could come up behind me, they’d break their neck the next time the bus turns a corner/ starts/ stops suddenly. It’s something I’ve done ever since I was about twelve, when I chose a seat in the middle of a train and got surrounded by boys I didn’t know or like. I also sit in the corner on trains, where I can, strangely enough!

And I read, too, which, when combined with the seating arrangement, seems to radiate a big Fuck Off Now sign above my head. This is a good thing, as most bully-types are scared of it and do indeed Fuck Off Now.

Sadly, there is still one group of people that ignore the blatant Fuck Off signals. Hello, Creepy Guy in the corner, I’m now talking about you. Feel those ears burn!

And, most recently, not only have they been Creepy, they’ve also been Persistant God-Botherers.
So the last one sat down next to me, clutching his bible, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether he was more likely to try to save my eternal soul, or lure me into a den of sin and vice. Tough call. Actually, he didn’t seem to know either. Though he attempted to give me his number regardless. It got torn up and thrown away at Waterloo.
I mean, really. How do you give someone the brush-off when you can’t be sure if the correct response is “Ah, I have seen the light. Obviously my poor misguided soul is in need of redemption, and your God is the perfect solution. Goodbye”, “I’m Buddhist, my soul will be reincarnated, Fuck Off”, “Frankly, I don’t give a shit about my soul”…. OR “No, I don’t fancy you/ want to go out with you/ want a boyfriend/ want a girlfriend……”

Somebody in the comment thread over here suggested reading such books as Cunt*, which seemed to scare people away.
It’s tempting, but I have a feeling that they’d then either assume my immortal soul was in even graver danger, or that I was a brazen hussy just dying to jump into their arms/ bed. Hmm.**

The problem is, the only people who dare approach me these days are the nutcases that don’t respond to simple social signals. I doubt they’d respond to a book cover, sadly.

That said, I may start reading Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water For Chocolate), and answer them only in Spanish. Now, what’s the Spanish for “Fuck off, you weirdo”…? Tee hee!

*I have actually read this, which is another reason not to bring it with me. And it was pretty good, except for the bits about Goddesses and moon-worshipping and stuff.

** When I was actually reading in public, it seemed to attract men, rather than repel them. I had a whole tube carriage talking to me at one point. This is unheard of, which is why I didn’t mind, but it wasn’t the best thing if you actually wanted to read the damn book. I’d reached the Goddess stuff by then though, so I wasn’t overly bothered!

Thinking of Breasts

More specifically, breasts at festivals.

Picture the scene:
You are in a very, very big crowd waiting for a big-name group to make their appearance; they will be late, because, let’s face it, the headliners always are, so you’ve got maybe half an hour, forty minutes to kill before they turn up. Nobody really wants to move in case they end up right at the back, unable to see anything.
So, how do they while away the time?
The cameras pan the crowd, looking for women sitting on (usually) mens’ shoulders. Those women who are there and realise that the cameras are trained on them are expected to lift their tops and flash their breasts before the camera moves on. If they do, the crowd cheers, and the camera moves on. If they don’t, the crowd boos, and the cameras may either stay trained on the woman until she gives in, or return to her later, to see if she’ll give in this time…..

Look, I’ll admit it. I’m confused.

The women who were up there clearly knew what would be expected of them. It is unlikely that they would be sitting on those mens’ shoulders a good half an hour before the next act started for any other reason – it’s hardly worth it to watch an empty stage, is it?!
And the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed at festivals – at least at the one I’m thinking of. Nobody seems to care what you wear or don’t wear, although I never saw any full nudity.

I suppose it’s not the breasts I have a problem with in themselves. Personally, I’d love to walk around, if not completely topless, then at least more literally topless – ie, wearing only a bra and jeans – in public, in the summer. (They’d bounce rather painfully if I didn’t wear a bra, sadly.)

It’s just that that’s your entertainment. Breasts. Nothing else. And, to be honest, I see them all the time. I’d rather have seen a huge mexican wave, or something.

Or, the one part of the breast-fest that I loved wholeheartedly…..

A topless brunette sits on the shoulders of a man in the crowd, faced away from the cameras…. The pair notice that the cameras are now pointed in their direction, and the brunette turns to face them, wearing a massive grin and nipple tassels, and whips off the wig to reveal a man……

He proceded to massage his nipples enthusiastically, and got the biggest cheer of the day….

…. On Marriage

Yes, I know, it’s a bit of a jump from one post to the next, but ho hum.

Once again the Carnival of Feminists has come up with some fascinating things, not least a post about some very, very strange people. The comment thread is definitely worth a read, although at points I was torn between giggling, despairing and wanting to throw bricks at people.

Anyway, so the post itself was talking about a group of “Marriage Defense” bloggers — basically, as I see it, bloggers who want to “defend” marriage from Teh Evilz “Homosexualists” (this last, a word that they actually use — you can see why I wanted to giggle!)

I may be wrong. If I am, they are of course perfectly welcome to come and tell me so, assuming they know where to find me. But I don’t think I am. Presumably this is all very American, as we do now have some inclining in the UK that equality might just be a good thing.

I digress.

On a rather silly forwarded email I was once sent, I found the following definition of marriage:

MARRIAGE : Union which allows two individuals to withstand problems they would not have incurred had they remained single.

Ok, it is a bit silly. It’s lighthearted mockery. But it’s kind of true.

Simply because in that definition, there is no mention of gender or sexual orientation.

Marriage isn’t neccessarily about sex. Or children. It could just be companionship. It could be as a religious ceremony. It could be that the pair simply want to formalise ‘a union to the exclusion of all others’. It could be for tax benefits, or any number of other reasons. See the following for some reasons why a couple may wish to marry or register a civil partnership as opposed to cohabiting.

And the above statements being the case, I don’t think the genders or orientations of the two individuals matter.

Quite frankly, I don’t see what business it is of anybody else if I want to give a woman I love the same rights (or at least most of them) that she would have were she a man.
And yes, you could tell me to ‘just make a will’ — but that’s a lot of effort, really, considering that if she were a man and I married her, she’d automatically be assumed to hold those rights and I wouldn’t have to bother making a will.
And no, I don’t think saying “but…. but….. it just is like this because it’s always been like this and we couldn’t possibly change because it’s always been like this….” is any kind of argument.
Things change. Get over it.

So yeah. Marriage. And very strange people. Woop. I’m glad I live in the UK.