When J first moved in with me, there was a brief phase during which he would come to me to tell me – with some pride – about what he’d done that day. Like, for instance, loading the dishwasher.*
Nine months on, J comes to me to tell me – with a lot of pride** – about what he’s done during the day. Like, for instance, telling one of his (young, male) colleagues that he, J, thought that the sacking of Sky’s football presenter Andy Gray for his off-air sexist remarks was absolutely justified.
According to J, the subsequent discussion about equality involved him asking his colleague – who lives with his parents – whether he did any housework, and why (not)?
This, my friends, is what we call progress.
That, and the beautiful sound of Flatmate hanging up the washing.
*It didn’t take long for him to stop that. Especially when I came in from uni one day and walked into the kitchen with the words, “Hi J, guess what? I’ve just walked in and taken my shoes and coat off, and emptied the washing machine and hung up all the clothes, and then put another load of clothes in to wash, and now I’m saying hello to you, and oh, look, the dishwasher needs emptying so I’ll do that, and once I’ve done that maybe I’ll get round to putting the kettle on, and if you’re really, really lucky, I might even offer you a cup of tea. You can ask me about my day now.”
**He was so pround that he ended his account of the day with “…you could blog that. If you wanted.”
It’s no secret that I’m very firmly in favour of procreating at some point. (I went through a stage in my teenage years of being terrified at the mere idea of pregnancy, thanks to watching my mother go through her third pregnancy when I was 12, but that seems to have passed now.) Actually, for the last couple of months I’ve been broody to the point of wanting to change my contraception so that I can’t just “forget” to take my pill. But I got over that. Exam stress has a wonderful way of making you forget about hypothetical babies.
So, because I’m possibly too honest for my own good, I was talking to J about this odd broodiness, and that led quite neatly into The Baby Name Discussion. That’s always good for a laugh – J’s traditional father has inadvertantly ensured that my surname will be passed on to my children.* When we moved on to first names (there are remarkably few that work with my surname, but I’m damned if I’m giving it up!) J suggested that we call our first son, if we have one, by J’s fathers name. And then I threw a shit fit.
Firstly, because I can’t imagine anything worse than giving a child of mine a name that could only have been popular in the 50’s, and probably wasn’t even popular then.
Secondly, because I could imagine his reaction if I suggested we named our first daughter, if we have one, after my mother.
Thirdly, because – well, you should probably just read this post.
Eventually, I prevailed. This is because (a) I am more stubborn than J is, (b) it was a crap idea, and (c) my womb, my rules.
Pointing out that J has his father’s surname, and that therefore all of our children would have a link-by-name to their paternal grandfather, probably helped.
But mainly it was (a) and (c) that did it. As before, when a discussion has got grouchy, my strongly worded response was that if it mattered so much to J that he couldn’t compromise, then he should feel free to find somebody else to reproduce with. And yes, trolls of the internet: it matters enough to me that I would go and find somebody else to reproduce with. The moral of this story is that compromising is fantastic, as long as it’s not you that has to do it.
*We’d discussed hyphenating, which I hate, and discussed using one name as a middle name, which is what will happen. J’s dad, thinking that we were planning on hyphenating and presumably terrified that J’s surname would be less visible, insisted that J’s should go first. So it will. As the middle name. Mine will be the “real” surname. There’s a small, petty bit of me that is just waiting to see his face when he realises….
Dear readers (and I know you still exist, because WordPress tells me, so there!), have you seen Rose’s comment on my Sexuality and Gender Expression Bingo page? No? Well, here it is:
“This is awesome. Can you please do one for biphobia next?”
As I said there, I didn’t write any of those cards, I just transcribed them. But my search-engine skills are second to none, and I’ve actually found not just a Biphobic Bingo card, but a whole load of others, too! Hooray!
Bear with me as I tinker about behind the scenes to bring the new ones to your attention…
So, the inevitable has happened, and Shapely Prose is officially closed for business. The amazing Kate Harding is still alive and well and is leaving Shapely Prose up as an archive, which is lovely. She’s also blogging in a personal capacity here, but as you’ll see, she’s not wanting to deal with comments threads of doom, even nice ones, so this is my official “Thank You, Kate Harding” comment-turned-post.
Shapely Prose was feminism and fat acceptance, with a smattering of Health At Every Size and a fair few posts entitled “Why I Shouldn’t Breed”. I’m one of the lucky young women that avoided a teenage eating disorder, but I’d be lying if I said I’d never looked at myself and wished I was a different shape. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I’d never looked down at myself in the shower and thought to myself that I really looked quite like a supermarket chicken from that angle.
And Shapely Prose helped with that. Not with the looking-like-a-chicken thing, that’s just something that is, and actually it’s quite entertaining. A bit like the way watching the shower water drip off your breasts is entertaining. But it definitely helped with the wishing-I-were-a-different-shape thing. I suspect most of us have done it at some point – gone clothes shopping and come home empty-handed, with the feeling that our bodies must just be wrong, because nothing fits. But as Kirsten’s dad recently pointed out, and as the good folk at Shapely Prose said often, that just means that the clothes were wrong.
And you know, it’s actually helped me in my work. As I’ve mentioned, I’m working for a lingerie company. That means I get a hell of a lot of questions about sizing, shaping and so on, and if I hadn’t had the resources of Shapely Prose behind me, I don’t think I would’ve given the kind of customer service that I have. I also don’t think I would’ve been happy with taking the extra large size myself – but we make those sizes for a reason, and that reason is, some people are that size. And one of those people is me. What I’m trying to say is that Shapely Prose was all about being body-confident, or at least working towards it, and my job is a lot easier if I can absolutely believe that my body is awesome. (Guess what? My body is awesome!)
It’s also helped me deal with members of the medical profession. Had Shapely Prose’s BMI project not existed, and had they not devoted the time to ripping apart the concept of a BMI scale, the “news” that I’m officially “overweight” might’ve scared me. As it is, I couldn’t care less. And I’ll eat what I damned well want to. Because of Shapely Prose, I can recognise my own weight range, and if there’s ever any problem, I’ll be able to draw on that knowledge.
And lastly, Shapely Prose was nice. That’s what I liked. I even filched bits of their comments policy when I was moderating a group blog a while back – you know, the bit that said: “If you’re really worried because you don’t have any specific guidelines for not getting banned, try this: be good-natured and delightful.” Then, of course, Kirsten press-ganged me into writing with her instead, on a blog that’s all about niceness. We need more niceness in the world, and especially on the internet.
So, thank you, Kate Harding, for founding Shapely Prose, and for keeping it going for so long. With my baby flavoured doughnut, I salute you!
(Cross-posted at Teaspoon of Sugar.)
Once again, MSN has done itself proud:
“Is size 14 the perfect body shape for women?”*
I have only one thing to say to this.
“Join me again next week on this episode of ‘let’s make no fucking sense’, when I’ll be waxing an owl…”
*link here, but it’ll eat your sanity points.
OK. This story begins like this:
Rachel walked into a bar.
It’s kind of like a joke, except for how it quickly turns into a huge wall of WTF?!
She had a couple of drinks, and then went to find the toilets. Eventually, she found three doors.
The first door had a picture of a stick figure in a wheelchair on it, a standard sign that could have been bought from a wholesaler.
The second door had a picture of a toilet hanging on it, lovingly hand-painted with a blue background.
The third door had a picture of a toilet hanging on it, lovingly hand-painted with a pink background.
Because I was (a) a little tipsy and (b) not thinking so much about how much I like pink, it took me a good couple of minutes of staring at the doors in confusion before I realised which one I was meant to use.
This has been your daily dose o’ weird. Remember, don’t take more than your recommended dosage, as this can result in a permanent frown of confusion.
This article I present with almost no comment, because… WTF?! Pertinent quotes below:
“The Lancet said mothers-to-be should not be able to opt for [home births] if they put their babies at risk – under UK law women can override medical advice…
The editorial was written following the publication of a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology….
The relevance of the US study to the UK was questioned by medical bodies as midwives in the NHS are said to have better training in resuscitating babies in home birth situations.
The Lancet said: “Women have the right to chose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk.””
Except… we do, actually. It’s not illegal to drink, smoke or take drugs during pregnancy. Not that I’d be surprised if it became illegal in the near future. Anyway, I leave you with the last paragraph of the article, a quote from Mary Newburn from the National Childbirth Trust:
“Pregnant women have the same rights as other adults.”
You wouldn’t think so, sometimes, would you?