The Real World

It’s not something that features heavily on this site, or rather, my real world, my personal world, doesn’t.
For a start, not many people want to know about it.
And also, I don’t really want to tell about it.

But hey, things are happening, and although they’re not really A Second Thought related, giving a quick overview does at least explain why I’m not having so many second thoughts right now. As it were. So, on my agenda at the moment:

  1. My appraisal at work. I have to fill in a form, then we talk about it. Apparently it is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that a nice, pretty, typed-up account of the meeting makes its way to me. But as I am the administrator, I’ll most likely be typing it myself.
  2. My UCAS application. This – hopefully – takes me to university. I want to be one of those elusive beasts, a woman who can both communicate and count. A person who can communicate and count is like finding a dog that can speak – very rare. A woman who will admit to being able to count is like finding a dog that can speak Norwegian – even rarer. (To bastardise yet another wonderful Blackadder quote!)
  3. My forthcoming interview in a Good Northern Uni. In a little over a month’s time, I have to be in the position I was when I was actually studying for my A-levels. In other words, I have maths revision to do.
  4. My ever-increasing dress size. (And why, why is it still a ‘dress’ size? I don’t wear dresses. Grrr.) I wholeheartedly advocate Health At Every Size. But when a) your trousers split, b) you begin to wonder if you could be pregnant and c) you work out you’re not actually moving very much, I’d say that’s a good time to join a gym and start swimming. (I’m not pregnant, by the way. I checked.)
  5. Three new books, because I found a book voucher. One about Anne Boleyn, because I love my historical novels, and especially about that period, another about a woman’s experience of life in post-invasion Afghanistan, because it was all about Teh Wimmynz and we’ve gotta love that, and one called The Abstinence Teacher, about the Christian Right in America. Strangely enough, that little collection just about sums me up. But I should think more about that another time.

If I do happen to have any second thoughts, rest assured I will blog, because I really don’t want to become one of the many sad blogs now on “hiatus” – for the last two years! In the meantime, though, mundane things like my washing machine are beckoning to me, in a rather disturbing join us… kind of a way!


We like Todger Talk

Because men talk about sex like normal people. Yay!

However, isn’t there something a little odd about this quote:

you can be a masculine man and still respect women. You can still take the lead, love sex and be able to kick the shit out of a mugger and treat your woman as an equal.“[emphasis mine]

Whilst admiring the sentiment behind it, which is good, I find myself a little irritated by the last bit.

Because, surely, saying “your woman” implies ownership. Which does not sound much like equality to me.

Also, it reminds me of Cosmopolitan, in which every peice of advice was aimed at a you, as a straight woman, for the benefit of “your man”.

Grr.

But generally, we love Todger Talk. Go and read them, for they are funny.


WOOF!

If I were going to be a full-time “Leftist Gender Warrior“, I’d look like THIS:


Ooooh yeah!

Since I’m only in it part-time at the moment, I look like THIS:


I get complaints from J every time I mention the words [“cut” “all” “hair” “off” “dye” “red”] you see. *sigh*
And in real life, I’m not meant to set fire to the floor.

But the cat SO has wings.

We call her Cat. I think she appreciates this. In any case, she is definitely evil enough to become my panther companion/minion when I upgrade to full-time!

Make your own here.
And then cackle.


Oops, and it’s Blog For Choice day apparently…

… Which I’d totally forgotten about, then remembered but wasn’t going to do because I’ve already posted twice this evening, but then I found this:

I’m a FEMALE male chavinist – and, if I’m not mistaken, a complete fucking psycho.

Care of the Daily Mail, of course – who else would print this bollocks?

I actually shouted, “you’re having a fucking laugh”. At my laptop.

On Blog For Choice Day, I read the following: “I wanted the key decisions about my unborn children to be in male hands.”

WHAT?!!! Seriously – WHAT?!!!!

Fucking hell – I just – I have no words for this woman.

No, actually, I do have words. Not for her, though. Fucking moron.

I want key decisions about MY unborn children to be in MY hands.
I will be blogging for choice and fighting for choice and talking for choice all the way, because what we’re talking about are the rights of women to control what happens to the parasitic bundle of cells that happens to have taken root in her uterus.

Not, “the rights of the unborn child”.

“Unborn child” my arse.
You can’t BE “unborn”. You can be “born”. You can be “alive”. You can be “dead”. That’s about it.
And the thing inside you ISN’T a child. For fucks’ sake. So, what, it lurks inside you as a child, but once it comes out, it has to revert to being a baby for a couple of years? ‘Cause THAT makes sense.

(Like you can’t be a “born-again virgin”. You’ve already HAD sex, you fool. You can’t un-have-sex, either.)

I want to drown things.


Just Quickly

Dammit, why didn’t I think of this?!

From Sparkle*Matrix, via Feminist Law Professors.

Thank you!!!


The God Squad

Seemingly disconnected from the title of the post, I now get a 15 minute breakfast break at work. This is my reward for turning up at 8 rather than 8:30 (I successfully argued that I couldn’t physically function if I had to eat at 6:30 and then wait over 7 hours before eating again).

What this means, however, is that I end up watching Sky News, which is projected onto the wall of the staff restaurant.

And what this means is that I have a whole new source of irritation to disturb my day. And sometimes some real news.

So, in the news today? Something about the precarious state of the stock market – apparently it’s the fault of the Americans, who have such a big country they can afford to bring down their interest rate by 1%, whereas we on our tiny little island have no such option. Or something. It seemed strangely linked to virility and manliness and, you know, size, but maybe that’s just me being a cock-obsessed slutwhore. You never know.

Anyway, that story obviously doesn’t link to God. Unless God is secretly also cock-obsessed. But let’s assume that that would be a bit silly, and then I can talk about what I actually wanted to.

The story that irritated me was the startling news that political-extremist types “recruit” at universities.

No! You think?!

As my mother once said, “at the University of East Anglia there was nothing to do, except become radical.”

Of course politics becomes big at uni. Lots of young people are away from home, sometimes for the first time, trying to work out who they are and who they want to be, and you think politics isn’t going to make an appearance?! For goodness’ sake, it’s people of university age who’ve just got the vote!

But this wasn’t the most irritating bit. The really, really irritating bit was the sadly innevitable mention of Teh Muslim Extremists. You’d think they held a monopoly on extremism, if you believed the media. But that can’t be right, because before that, the extreme group was Teh Communists (also known, amusingly, as “The Reds Under The Bed”). And I saw the Socialist Workers’ Party just the other day. So they do all still exist. That must be quite irritating for them, actually. The communists, I mean. Because now nobody talks about them.
Presumably, atheism isn’t as bad as believing in the ‘wrong’ God.

Basically, the soundbites were saying that “Muslim extremists” were “luring” or “recruiting” “young Muslim women”. That the “extremists” were saying that the society of the West was a bit shite, really, and that Islam would be better for them.

And I did what I’ve been doing quite a lot recently, and thinking that actually I sympathised with the people who were being demonised.

Western society is a bit shite, really. There are a lot of problems with it. And when you look at the model that Islam wants to provide:

Islam instead maintains that both types of roles are equally deserving of pursuit and respect and that when accompanied by the equity demanded by the religion, a division of labor along sex lines is generally beneficial to all members of the society.

This might be regarded by the feminist as opening the door to discrimination, but as Muslims we regard Islamic traditions as standing clearly and unequivocally for the support of male-female equity. In the Quran, no difference whatever is made between the sexes in relation to God. “For men who submit [to God] and for women who submit [to God], for believing men and believing women, for devout men and devout women, for truthful men and truthful women, for steadfast men and steadfast women, for humble men and humble women, for charitable men and charitable women, for men who fast and women who fast, for men
who guard their chastity and women who guard, for men who remember God much and for women who remember – for them God has prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward” (33:35). “Whoever performs good deeds, whether male or female and is a believer, We shall surely make him live a good life and We will certainly reward them for the best of what they did” (16:97).

Well, doesn’t it make you wonder what a society like that would be like? It doesn’t sound too bad, to me. I mean, from the religious point of view, can you imagine the Bible saying anything so rooted in equality? I can’t.

So, I might have a quibble with the way work should be divided along gender lines – I can’t think of many jobs that can be performed well by only one gender – but I think they have a point when they say that “both types of roles [typically male vs. typically female] are equally deserving of pursuit and respect”.

Strangely enough, it reminds me of something Bitchy Jones once wrote:

“Way back in the past when they invented misogyny they decided that women were lower status and thus had the low status role in sex. He had the mighty phallus – she had the dirty needy hole. You can see how femdom later thought, hey, lets flip this shit. Let’s make the guy be called slut for wanting and be filled. But those things aren’t really submissive. Having something pushed into your body that feels amazing is only submissive because someone decided that the female role in sex was a submissive one.”

For once, let’s ignore the sex. Yes, I know it’s hard. Er, difficult. But seriously, the point I’m getting at is that things associated with women – traditional roles, be it in the bedroom or in the workplace – only seem “less good” for the reason that Bitchy says so well – “when they invented misogyny they decided that women were lower status”. [emphasis mine].

Damn, I just made a link between Islam and Femdom. That’s got to be a first, surely.

So, and back to Islam, isn’t it great that it’s saying both roles are equally deserving of respect?

Because they are. They are just as good as each other. And this is something that Western society has failed in teaching us, rather drastically.

So, to be honest, it’s not such a silly – or radical! – idea, to say that Islam can offer young women something that Western society can’t. Whether it actually lives up to this idea, I don’t know.

Anyway, so the whole ‘news’ story irritated me.
And it infuriated me that a middle-aged male professor could be talking so confidently about the perils of Teh Extremists to young Muslim women, without justifying it. Either without thinking about the points I put forward above, or simply without mentioning them.
I suspect he simply hasn’t thought about it. Like many of the men I know in real life wouldn’t think about it.

And it felt like, once again, Muslims were being tarred with the “heathen unbeliever” brush. You know, the one that says, “oh, well, it’s jolly good to go to Church, dontcherknow, and even just staying at home on a Sunday, that’s not so bad, eh… but praying to Allah – well, it’s just not done, dear boy! Not, er, not British, old chap, what!”

It would seem that for all my relief that at least the British public don’t let their politicians get too devout, or claim that God tells them to go on crusades, they are still easily swayed by religion.

The God Squad, you see, is still insiduously there. Because it still seems terribly bad form to think that a religion involving the “wrong” deity could be a reasonable religion.


Abortion Rights

Anybody who actually waded through my rant about sex will have seen that I was planning on going to a public meeting on abortion rights.

For once, I actually did what I said I was going to, and, even better, I found my Mum a birthday present beforehand. Which was useful, as I’d kind of forgotten that her birthday was this month.

Anyway, so I went to the Houses of Parliament – and you know, for somebody that identifies as a Londoner, I’m really not very good. I seriously had no idea how close together everything all was, and, what’s worse, I was genuinely surprised to walk past Downing Street on the way.
Obviously I’m living more on Planet Rachel than in London at the moment.

However. I got there, I queued, I watched the Met. (London’s very own police force, aren’t we lucky?!) get progressively more and more uneasy with the number of women coming to infiltrate the Houses of Parliament, and I wandered around gawping at statues, like a tourist.

We got moved from one room to another because too many of us turned up, and then we kept coming so they started putting people back into the room we’d just left, and in the end, we had two meetings, in two different rooms, with the same speakers at the same time.
Because feminism is nothing if not logical, dammit!

The crowd was excellent, too. A handful of men – mostly young, and nobody over 40, I’d say – trying not to look frightened, or inadvertantly hold posters with the strapline “keep your laws off my body”. And women of all shapes, sizes, ages and colours. Which was nice.

We had the crazy women who sat in the corner muttering, because you always get a couple of crazies at any big event. We had the typical “Chelsea girls”, very fashionable and with very irritating voices (I try not to hold it against people, but when they’re standing right next to me…!). We had a hell of a lot of studenty types. We had the Socialist Workers Party people, selling newspapers as always (I do wonder whether they care what they attend, sometimes). We had women who’d protested about the same thing way back in ’78. We had the radical protesters with mohicans and dyed red hair. Dammit, I want red hair! We had businesswoman types, amusing me greatly when they got fired up. And we had me.

It was wonderful that it didn’t seem to be exclusive. It wasn’t all middle class, or all white, or all old, or anything. It was just women. All different types.

And it was great.

I heard phrases like “the patriarchy” used casually as though we’d all know what it meant.
So I was happy.

I heard that the pro-choice movement had cross-party support, which made me even happier, especially when one of the speakers said “it’s a particular pleasure to have thinking conservatives”. It made me chuckle.

Possibly most amusingly, I was in the same room as a man whose first words after being introduced were,

“I’m not normally known as ‘Dr. Evan Harris’ – I’m normally known by the Daily Mail as ‘Doctor Death’“.*

*Disclaimer: Do not visit that link if you want any sensible information. In fact, the article is so amusingly bad, I may break it down at some point, in order to scoff.

Personally, I found him to be intelligent, articulate and sensible. But hey – I’m a crazy, hairy-legged feminist – what do I know?!

Rather embarressingly, I’ve forgotten the full name of the woman whose speech I enjoyed most. I think she was called Dianne, but evidently I should have written this down!

Her points were beautifully put, and she was fantastic.

Her main point was this: That it is those same people who so loudly and vehemently protest about “the rights of the unborn child”, who want nothing to do with that child once it is born. You will never see them voting for a universal childcare system, or extra child benefits, or anything else that would benefit real, living children. And therefore, since their actions show where their words do not that they do not care about the rights of any child or foetus, one is left to conclude that their attack on abortion is aimed at the only other party – women. Not anything to do with children at all.

She got a very, very loud round of applause for that, as you can imagine.

Anyway. I went to this to get more information, which I have. I feel I have more of an understanding of what is happening, and this pleases me. And I have websites to visit:

* Abortion Rights has a model letter that you can download to send to your MP, if you live in the UK. The MPs that were present at the meeting say that personal letters really do make a difference, and can help stiffen resolve, so please, if you can do this, do.
Also, it will help to counteract the lovely, intelligent, adult tactics used by the anti-abortion crowd, who last time round sent every single MP a plastic foetus in the post. Nice.

There are going to be rallies, lobbies, general shouty things. If I can possibly get involved, this meeting has shown me how important it is.

And then it’s just one small step before we take over the world!!!!!