How to Filter Out The Fools

When asked what societies you’ve joined over freshers’ week, tell them that you’ve joined the feminists and the LGBT soc.


Then procede as appropriate:

a) If they give you funny looks, run away, or start their next sentence with “…. I joined the Christian Union…” you may as well filter them now.

b) If they say “oh, are you a lesbian/ feminist then?” or “well, that’s not really my thing, but each to their own…” treat them with extreme caution; they will most likely say something you don’t like later on, or be boring as fuck.

c) If they look interested, or start their next sentence with “wow, cool” you’re probably ok. For now.

I’m going cautious generally anyway, mainly on the grounds that everybody I speak to seems to be of the opinion that the people you make friends with in your first term are usually the ones you spend the rest of the year avoiding.

Also, on a completely different note, I’ve found HellOnHairyLegs.
She is awesome. I’ve been going through her archives (as one does…!) and I just found this. Can’t only be me that goes “YEAH! What she said!! I would have written that myself, if only I could’ve been so articulate!!”

I’d trade the power of SEXAAY for respect.

I’d trade the ability to wear skirts AND pants for the ability to feel safe while wearing them. I’d like to feel safe in just one place, whether it be school, the street or at home.

I’d trade your payment for my meal for the right to my own uterus. I’d like the right to control my reproductive health, no matter where I happen to live.

I’d trade.


Shockingly, it turns out that it’s really easy (and cheap!!!) to make your own pizza dough.*

I feel cool 🙂

Unfortunately, I forgot to buy mozzarella. And I was making mushroom and spinach calzone (vegetarian society approved, no less)… so it basically turned into a giant pasty.

But still, it was edible and filling and probably cost about £1 to make.
And the dough is freezable.
And now I can make dough balls! Hurrah!

*it is however very messy. But it’s constructive mess, so we can let it off. As long as I do my creative mess when nobody else wants to use the kitchen.

… And Another Thing

Is it me, or would it a bit laughable to refer to my surname as a “maiden” name?

You know, in the sense that “maiden” equated to “virgin” and is, therefore, entirely innaccurate.

And given that I’ve had my surname as an “un-maiden” name (as it were) for the last two years without being married, would it not be a bit silly to change it on marriage?

News From Sheffield

1) I mainly like my new doctors’ surgery.
For one thing, they’ve moved with the times and you can book an appointment at any time of day or night online or on their automated phone system, unlike my old surgery, who would only give appointments to people who rang on the day, at 8:40 AM, and kept ringing until they got an answer.
The new people have lots of nice leaflets, a pharmacy right next door and are generally shiny and wonderful. Even the doctor I saw was a very nice woman. And she gave me my pills with no fuss at all.
On the other hand, she also looked me up and down before saying “and it looks like you’re taking good care of yourself”. I slightly let her off because she was checking my blood pressure at the time so she might possibly have been referring to that. But then again she might have been referring to the fact that, due to my genes, I’ve escaped the Obesity Crisis TM. So I’m a little cross about that, because as we all know, there is no known way to make slim people fat.
(Thanks to Shapely Prose, by the way.)

2) I’ve found the Sheffield Fems!!!
This is a good thing and means I might get to meet Laura Woodhouse, who to me (being a baby blogger and all) seems almost like a celebrity. Except cooler.
Also, they meet in an old-man pub. I’m not sure why I like this, other than the fact that I might actually be able to hear them.

3) I’m feeling generally rather more aware of being feminist.
Partly because of (2) and partly because I keep getting flyers for things like “Sk00l Disco!!!“.

This is not a good thing as it means I then stomp around the flat, muttering darkly about flashing my breasts for free drinks.
Oh, and the boys on the ground floor have put up a “hot or not” wall. I was not impressed.
And people keep refering to female students as “girls”. We’re all over 18, dammit! Call us ladies if you have to refer to us like that, or otherwise STFU.

4) During Fresher’s Fair, I got a few bazillion leaflets about Teh Sex. I even got a couple of condoms. But despite talking to the lovely people at the LGBT stall, I have found no dental dams.
In fact, the only place I’ve even found them for sale (in real life) is Amora in London.
Maybe it’s because they’re seen as a thing that only lesbians need use, or maybe they’re just not seen at all. But really, even if you’re in a heterosexual relationship, you might feel the need for them. Perhaps we all need to be better educated?
On a somewhat related note, in one of the many packets of freebies, I was presented with a condom and a packet of ketchup. I am now hoping like crazy that nobody gets drunk and mistakes the ketchup for lube. Because that could be painful.

Anyway, but in general I’m settling in and am fairly cheerful. And I’m actually quite enjoying the challenge of cooking with one small saucepan and a wok. My flatmates are getting used to me chatting about feminist things, and have taken my crazy metal side in their stride (there’s an indie/ metal night on every Thursday, and they were initially a bit surprised to see me demonstrate the finer points of Gothic Dancing. My personal favourite is the move called Kick The Evil Hobbit, which involves holding both arms out at about waist-level, the better to hold on to the Hobbit’s ears, and kicking!)

Oh, and I’ve found a new saying. Sheffield being so hilly, I’ve heard many, many variations of
“I walked 5 miles to school and back, uphill both ways“!

Freshers’ Week Means Free Time…

… In which to find and regurgitate posts like this from the infinite reaches of the blogosphere.

I have a sad feeling that the blog is no longer active, as they haven’t posted much (and not at all since February of this year) so I’m going to do something I don’t ususally do, and copy the whole thing here.
Just in case the blog disappears. Which happens sometimes.

“The comments upon self-identified feminist blogs tend to follow a typical pattern. In fact, any blog post that identifies the routine sexism of Western civilization seems likely to generate the same pattern of responses.

As a public service, the Irony Mine has extracted nuggets of raw ore, refined them, and molded them into this, The Universal Feminist Blog Comment Template (version 1.0):

Attention Blogger:

  1. I am female. Your post describes my experience also. Thanks.
  2. I am male. I feel threatened by your words.
  3. I am male. I feel extremely threatened by your words.
  4. I am male. I don’t get it.
  5. I am male. I don’t get it, but I do feel threatened.
  6. I am male. Won’t you please say something nice about men?
  7. I am male. I command you to say something nice about men.
  8. I am male. If you don’t say something nice about men, I may stop reading your blog.
  9. I am male. If you don’t say something nice about men, I may stop reading your blog. I really mean it!
  10. I am male. If you don’t say something nice about men, I definitely will stop reading your blog. Ha! So there! See if I don’t!
  11. I am male. Have you acknowledged my superior intellect yet?
  12. How about now?
  13. I wish to debate with you about something you’ve written.
  14. I wish to debate with you about something I assume you’ve written.
  15. I wish to debate with you about something I assume you believe.
  16. I wish to debate with you about something I believe.
  17. I wish to debate with you about how smart I am. Feel my rhetorical wrath!
  18. I wish to debate with you about … anything! I just like to debate. Call me Mr. Devil’s Advocate.
  19. Spam, spam, spam, spam

My Very First Lecture

My lecturer* has already annoyed me, with one simple sentence:

“I’m a typical woman – I’m not good with spacial awareness, so I’ve drawn this graph. You can throw things at me now.”

Tempting though it is to dissect this, I’ve decided to restrain myself to saying merely this: that it should not be “typically female” to create a graph (of something that can be very easily illustrated in this way, I might add) that is for the purposes of better teaching your students. It should be common sense to keep things easy to understand.

Also, as it happens, it was indeed very tempting to throw things at her. I didn’t, because I don’t want to be kicked off the course and she has overall control of my year group.

*as may be obvious from this, I have finally arrived at university. I did all of my formal registration today, then went straight to a lecture and an “introduction to the computer system”-style workshop. Now my head hurts, but I have eaten soup, so my hunger levels are better.

A Quick Comment on Marriage

Sometimes, when I think about all of those girls I used to know at school – you know, the “I’m-going-to-marry-a-rich-husband-and-arse-around-all-day” girls – I wonder what happened to them. Whether they did marry, whether they will marry, and whether they’d be freaked out by the thought of me being engaged.

And sometimes I wonder whether they ever realised that the rich husband they wanted would be able to make big important medical decisions if they were half-dead and incapable of making their own.

Well…. It’d be ok if you married a doctor, I suppose!

A Thought About The Wage Gap

From time to time, when I can commandeer J’s cool, brilliant-for-playing-violent-games PC, I hop online to play World of Warcraft.
WoW is a multi-player, role-playing, first person shooting kind of a game. So I get the pleasure of knowing that whilst I’m running around in my little virtual world, shooting at virtual boars with a (really shiny) virtual crossbow, about 4 million other people are doing the same thing (and, quite often, killing the last boar, which was the one I needed to finish that quest, dammit!)

Anyway, I was chatting to J about things I wanted to do to really drive home to people what it can mean to be a woman.
And it struck me that you can choose, in WoW, whether the character that you play will be male or female.

So here’s a suggestion:

Let’s give anybody who creates a female character on average 75% of the rewards you get for doing quests. You know, just like how in the real world, women in the UK earn about 75% of what men do. Just because they’re ladies. With simple lady minds.

And then let’s see how long it takes the WoW gamers to figure out what’s going on.

And how long it takes them to change it.

I personally think that this idea is truly fucking brilliant, so please – if you want to use it – quote me, okay?!

On Being An Anglo…

I am, as I may have mentioned before, of extremely mixed heritage. Some of that heritage, through my maternal grandfather, is Anglo-Indian (a distinct group made up of the children of European fathers and Indian mothers, back when India was up for grabs, based on the cunning use of flags).

My mother and I went to see my grandfather today, as he is in a respite care home for a couple of weeks – he has Alzheimer’s and my grandmother, his primary carer, is going to Ireland to visit her family for a break. And, to liven up the day a little, Mum found some magazines specifically aimed at Anglo-Indians…. like you do!
Anyway, this evening, after we’d got back, she wandered in to my room, magazine in hand….

Mum: Congratulations! You’re an Anglo-Indian!
Me: Oh good. Why?
Mum: You’re the child of an Anglo-Indian.
Me: Cool. So my kids can be Anglos too then..
Mum: Yes. Now, do you want to marry a nice Anglo boy?
Me: No.
Mum: Because I could put an advert in this magazine.
Me: What?!
Mum: Here, listen to this one — “Alliance invited for 30-year old spinster, B.Sc, 5’3″, 75kgs. Interested Roman Catholic/ Protestant bachelors from India may reply with personal details/ family background” — [laughs] — see, you thought our family was weird – we’re really on the normal end of the scale…