Newt In A Tea Cup











{March 24, 2007}   Do I look bovvered?

Okay, seriously, who the hell does searches for “elderly granny porn“?

Conversation I had today whilst walking back from work and nibbling on my chicken drumsticks (my lunch, you tossers.)

Idiot1&2: Yo gorgeous! Is it good? Baby- come here!
Me: Ooh- does that make you feel like a big strong man, you little sweethearts?
Idiot 3 (running after me): Hey, just ignore them. Ignore them. Can I talk to you?
Me: (eyebrow goes up in what I shall label dubious/sarcastic/withering stare or DSWS for short)
Idiot 3: You really are a very beautiful woman. (add various flirtatious noises)
Me: Thankyou. I already know that. (DSWS working overtime)
Idiot 3: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Not interested.

Just a note: I’d only had five hours sleep the night before and looked it. My hair was what, if one squinted, cocked head and looked towards sun, one would call stylishly dishevelled (i.e: not brushed). If my lips were red it was because they were so chapped they were bleeding. Now, I know I’m a gorgeous women, thank you very much 😛 , but those twasocks seem to be completely blind in their search for a two legged female target. Because at that moment in time I was hardly flashing my “come hither” eyes. Idiots.

Oh, and if you’re mates are complete idiots you’ve already blown your chances. Refraining from yelling “nice arse” does not prince charming make anyway. Idiots.



{March 2, 2007}   Friday Word Blogging

Beautiful, beautiful poetry that talks about how gendered discrimination hurts men too, how this hurts women and all of our capability’s to relate with each other; the hypocrisy of the war on terror when there is plenty of terror in our own homes.

Def Poetry – Mark Gonsalez – As With Most Men

Check it out.



{February 16, 2007}   On Breaking Up (Friday’s word?)

The other day a friend told me that she’ apparently a “slut, a cunt and a whore”.

She just broke up with her boyfriend. He’s the one who threw out those words. She’s said it’s taken him about two weeks to calm down. Now, what kind of guy (whom I previously thought was nice) is able to regurgitate such things so easily?

She’s not the only one who has gone through that. Instead of calling her something else like “spoiled”, “boring” or any number of insults to do with personality, guys tend to fall back on gender as a defence mechanism. There is no thought; only the default put down implied by the “other-ness” of the subject. I haven’t been bloging long but I’ve already been called a bitch, a hag and told to abort myself (I’m still trying to figure out the logistics of that one). The fact is that every single one of those insults defers to biology in some way and suggests an inferiority of biology.

Instead of calling up what the real issue is with her, the ex resorted to insulting who she is on a gender level. The trolls insulting me have a specific problem with my biology so I guess that’s natural.

Secondly- why on earth is it that guys can’t take any rejection? Why do they go so psycho?

To be honest I feel sorry for them. It must be hard to be brought up with the belief of superiority and the importance of macho-ness only to see that all of logic and practical life shows that it’s not true. Reality must create a lot of insecurity shown the way they are so undermined by women being equal in the way they act.

What do I mean? Like I said to her “How dare he call you a whore? You didn’t do anything he didn’t do too!”

The double standard isn’t realistic but people cling to it. It’s okay for me, but not for you…

Oh and girls- anyone who thinks “cunt” is something to be offended by needs a slap. Go ahead, I’ve got your back.

(and I’m working on the second part of the slut series- RL just keeps interfering)



{February 13, 2007}   Slut part 1

Slut.

You dirty slut. Filthy slut. Shut your trap slut. Stupid, bloody slut.

Slut.

Sounds familiar?

Sluts are bad, we are told. Sluts are women who have strayed and don’t follow the laws of the way things should be. Or they follow the wrong laws or they follow them in the wrong way. Either way, sluts are out of line. Uncontrollable. Wild.

Men hate sluts.

And yet, they are still largely attracted to them, for the simple reason that they have a parasitic relationship, where they want to take something (sex) that they believe a proper woman, a Madonna, would not give.

Men want sluts. And they hate them because of that very reason.

Misogyny is a form of selfishness. In a relationship there is give and take but in the world of the patriarch all they have to do is take. Sex is important to them, because it is raw human emotion and physicality at its peak. It is the ultimate release. Controlling someone’s sexuality is a form of controlling their innermost emotional being.

A Madonna does not enjoy sex unless there are conditions. Marriage (meaning financial and domestic dependence here) seems to be the main one. Sex has grave consequences for these women, and it is that unequal share of responsibility that helps keep men at the top.

Sluts don’t follow that rule. They give a quick fix but they are also receiving something for themselves. They are aware that both people are using the other for something. It is a mutual and equal transfer.

The patriarch doesn’t like being equal to a woman. And he certainly doesn’t like feeling that women have something that he wants. He doesn’t want to be dependant in any way, shape or form on a woman.

A slut throws everything out of kilter for him.

She has the agency to give or refuse him sex because of her own desires. She is sexually independent from him and isn’t hung up only on him and his ego.

He has a sneaking suspicion that she is just like him in many ways. She is usurping his manly role, rejecting the virtuous female role and therefore threateningly emasculating.

Sluts are bad for that reason.

And yet, I’m not quite sure what the word entails.

We’ve got the definition as

a. A person, especially a woman, considered sexually promiscuous.
b. A woman prostitute.
2. A slovenly woman; a slattern.

Okay. Who exactly is a slut?

Sexually promiscuous women, prostitutes and slovenly women. That is still too vague for me.

Let’s focus this part on definition b.

The Prostitute

So we’ve got the entire female population.

Remove every single woman who has been involved in the sex industry.

Those are all sluts.

The problem with prostitutes is that men aren’t happy with just the body. They want the woman to be desperate for him. It’s about power. There is a power trip in knowing that she is dependant on you for her food, that she is desperate for you. But that trip is compromised when it is revealed to be a short term dependence (once the fee is paid that it) and that she can always find someone else to pay that fee. The power and control isn’t exclusive and therefore the notion that a woman in the industry is “tainted goods” comes in.

You may be a porn star and have all the so-called power that entails but you are still a slut at the end of the day.

But wait; here is the hypocrisy. Don’t men use prostitutes? Don’t they watch porn?

If a woman sells her body she is a slut. If a man buys it he is a… what? He is just a man. A real man. Possibly a “john” but he casts off that title the second the purchase is over. A woman cannot cast off “slut”. Once she is a sex worker she will always be viewed in that capacity.

Observe the obituaries of Anna Nicole Smith. Here is a woman who made a living off her looks and her body. It does not take long at all for the papers to mention this. However if a man dies and is known to have used these services time and again, this is not mentioned unless it is to say “he loved women”.

Or perhaps let us contemplate when the Ipswich women were murdered. Or perhaps “vice girls” and “prostitutes” first of all as it was reported. Many men are equally murdered but the attention seems to be drawn first of all to the crime not their status or sexual history.

Women’s involvement in the sex industry makes them sluts. Men’s involvement doesn’t really define them. You see they have personalities.

(Hugh Grant has bounced back pretty well, hasn’t he?)

Men aren’t labelled – they don’t even have the chance to be labelled

There are after all 220 English terms for a “promiscuous female” and only 20 for a male. (Stanley 1973). There exists 350 terms in the English language to say “prostitute”.

That sounds slightly excessive to me and also like an unhealthy fascination with labelling (therefore passing judgement and controlling) women’s sexuality.

To adopt and invent that many terms means that this is a big topic expanding a lot of energy. Who is it who controls our language? Historically that has been men. Women’s words have been lost since no one bothered to write them down or educate women so we could write them down ourselves. We are still emerging from that, believe it or not, and in many parts of the world that is still the case (two thirds of the worlds illiterates are women). So women have always been defined by men. And what aspect of women have men chosen to focus on?

That’s right.

Sluts.

So to sum up; women in the sex industry are sluts and therefore beneath contempt but they are also something that men in a patriarchy can’t seem to do without.

This leads to self-hatred. Self-hatred leads to hatred of the scapegoat.

The cycle continues.



May I just say how much I love Ever After? Drew Barrymore is such a fantastic model for young girls in that film and doesn’t get saved by anyone once (except maybe, the bit where Da Vinci opens a door for her but let’s not quibble over something so small). I love that she stands up for herself and those she loves from beginning to end and doesn’t compromise her beliefs. Yeah, it’s really cheesy and somewhat over acted but it hits the spot. And both my parents were enjoying it at the end.

I need a pick me up. I figured out the other day that sexism is a key theme of all my classes and rape is discussed in near all classes. It seems to be one of the most common of all themes in literary or film (and least understood or misrepresented). Watching the rape scene from A Clockwork Orange in our course on Shocking Cinema made me feel so very ill. Having people claim that some elements were humorous scared me even more. I found it completely terrifying and nauseating. But then what does that matter? I’m sick of all our classes dealing with rape cases and yet refusing to call them for what they are – Measure for Measure by Shakespeare, Phantom of Liberty by Bunuel both feature a scene where a woman is coerced for sex against her desire. That’s called rape.

Thank God for the progressive stuff out there. Thank God I’m not blind to all that.

So here’s for the Friday Word- I’ve decided to put a poem I like:

Against Coupling by Fleur Adcock

I write in praise of the solitary act:
of not feeling a trespassing tongue
forced into one’s mouth, one’s breath
smothered, nipples crushed against the
rib-cage, and that metallic tingling
in the chin set off by a certain odd nerve:

unpleasure. Just to avoid those eyes would help-
such eyes as a young girl draws life from,
listening to the vegetal
rustle within her, as his gaze
stirs polypal fronds in the obscure
sea-bed of her body, and her own eyes blur

. There is much to be said for abandoning
this no longer novel exercise-
for now ‘participating in
a total experience’-when
one feels like the lady in Leeds who
had seen The Sound Of Music eighty-six times;

or more, perhaps, like the school drama mistress
producing A Midsummer Night’s Dream
for the seventh year running, with
yet another cast from 5B.
Pyramus and Thisbe are dead, but
the hole in the wall can still be troublesome.

I advise you, then, to embrace it without
encumberance. No need to set the scene,
dress up (or undress), make speeches.
Five minutes of solitude are
enough-in the bath, or to fill
that gap between the Sunday papers and lunch.



{January 12, 2007}   Friday Word Blogging

New feature!

I’ve got loads I want to write, and have been learning a lot of very interesting stuff I want to share but…

Turns out I think I’ve been studying too much. I finiched reading Nabokov’s Lolita yesterday, started Madame Bovary today (it is my goal to read notorious books that have been up for banning in the past) and this is obviously having an adverse impact on me.

After all who else announces the beggining of their period by quoting Shakespeare – “the multidunious incarnadine seas” are staining my panties, I said much to my mother’s general confusion.

So I think I need to bring things down a bit before I write a whole entry on Plato, as I threatened to do last night. So thus we have The Friday Word!

Here’s one unfortunate latinate word that never survived the Renaisance –

Obstestateto bear witness.
It comes from the old idea and practice of men holding their testicles to show sincerity.

Obviously macho posturing has a long, rich and varied history.

And I love how women are excluded from being sincere or a suitable witness because they can’t grab some odd-looking-dangly-bits-between-the-legs.

I’m sure you want me to subsecive (spare) on the details, so I’ll commit an arreption (a sudden removal) of my person to go abstergity (cleanse) my poor mind.

Thanky’all very much.



{December 21, 2006}   Mom calls out sexism!

My mom just called my dad chauvinistic!

My conservative, women’s-place-is-at-home, mom!

She said- “You’re such a chauvinist. When you pray for a couple you only ever mention the husband as if he completely over-rules the wife.”

She picked up on that which I hadn’t noticed (despite my “fem-dar”) and I believe little details are important because our society and our lives our innevitably successions of little details.

She said “I’ve been fighting him on that since we first got married”.

And this shows something else I think. We all have our daily acts of feminism. We all notice things and agree with things that are feminist- whether it is concern at the size zero trend or feeling annoyed at someone cat-calling in the street.

The difference and the real revolution is in the language.

Labbeling chauvinistic and sexist actions as such is where the empowerment lies because until we understand what the actions are and are born from we cannot change them.

It is being able to articulate what we have always suspected by using the right terminology. So many young women I see believe completely in feminist principles and ideas. The problem is that they don’t understand that they are saying feminist words and therefore the solidarity is weakened because we are without common identity. The importance of the word “feminist” is that it claims that despite all personal differences we are working together for a society that values women and treats genders equally and justly. It is a banner. Without that banner we speak but we do not recognise our allies and we feel alone.

The words “chauvinism”, “misogyny” and “sexism” have a similar purpose. They serve to identify and unite the problems we have so we see a more coherent whole. If we are to destroy a social construct we need to see the entire social construct not just a few individual building blocks. We need to see how it all holds together, where the keystone is, where the foundations lie. We need to see what holds it together and without the knowledge and recognition of what that is (patriarchy) we cannot successfully dismantle or rebuild.

The process of labelling can be incredibly detrimental or positive depending on how and what. In the case of institutions and social constructs this is a step forward. It is recognition.

At the beginning of my mother’s marriage I doubt she would have labelled that as chauvinistic. And therefore it is lessened to a “quirk” that bothers her and can be safely carried on- a small personal habit. But now that she can turn and say “This is what your behaviour actually is and it isn’t a personal quirk but a sign of something bad that we need to change” she has gained a lot of power- even if it is said with a smile and a laugh.

Terrible things are allowed to happen through the power of anonymity and lack of knowledge. Words hold knowledge but also the ability to dispel anonymity; Using these words to point out the world we live in is yielding power in defining and challenging perceptions.

It doesn’t seem like much at all and in fact it’s just a small gesture. But small gestures add up to create the way we live and the way we live create societies.

I’m very proud of my mom right now. 🙂



{December 15, 2006}   “Vice Girls” or “Women”?

I believe that the presentation of women in the press and the recent spate of murders are linked. Let’s look at what we’ve got now.

We’ve got a scourge of papers talking about “Vice Girls”. The wording is very important there – look.

“Vice”. The connotations of that are tricky. Vice is bad, for sure but we aren’t sure whose vice we’re talking about now- the johns or the prostitutes? The fact is, it’s not made clear at all. We take what we will. Men, and us women to an extent, see vice as something regrettable but not really all avoidable or too tragic. There is a connotation of accommodation here – the “girls” are accommodating something for the men. In this case a sex transaction. They are receptacles for the overflowing vice that inevitably comes out. Of course.

And yet this is problematic for us cultured and civilised patriarchy loving citizens.
After all patriarchy teaches men to value ownership and women to value being owned; hence expressions like “my girl”, “my woman”- the possessive always in front of the subject to make clear what is important in the relationship. But we don’t like the object (the woman) to be simply lending her body- she has to be fully owned. That is a large part of the constant virgin fetish.

A woman must at the very least be completely besotted by the man and heartbroken when he leaves. If one is familiar with ancient myths and legends she will hopefully consider herself void and null once the transaction is terminated and commit suicide. We, as a culture, love the scorned woman who can’t get over her One True Love. (Meanwhile the One True Love is spilling his seed somewhere else.)

And whilst there is a transaction and the prostitute’s body is owned for a time bought, once that is over she moves on. She stops belonging to him and she’s really not torn up about never seeing him again. Another day’s work. And that, to many men, is inexcusable.

The problem with prostitution, to them, isn’t that it’s badly regulated, dangerous and physically and mentally very often degrading work. It’s that the woman doesn’t massage his ego all the time. That he knows she’s being paid for it and that he knows that she’ll do it to someone else. He has ownership but it’s not in full.

That is one of the reasons why women who work as prostitutes are often considered the lowest- they don’t work by the rules of relationships that men feel entitled to (maybe they expect them to be there in the morning cooking breakfast- Goodness knows!)

A woman who takes part in “Vice” is obviously a very, very bad woman.

Let’s look at the second part. “Girls”.

None of the women murdered were under 18. They are “women” not “girls”. Why is this important? Because a girl is young. A girl is naive. A girl needs taking care of. Or maybe a slap on the wrist. Girls don’t know how to think for themselves. People need to look out for girls but don’t need to take them seriously.

Whilst there’s something about girls that we like to think of as sweet- there is nothing “sweet” about prostitution. That is a perversion of girl and by combining the two there is a manifold effect. The nefarious effect of prostitution on those women is lessened to make the men seem less seedy and at the same time, the women are portrayed as disobeying and incapable. Stupid.
No one takes a “girl” seriously.

And these girls did something bad; Maybe the worst thing in the patriarchy (apart from being completely independent). So they deserve a punishment. Since they are only girls – and passive bad “vice girl” receptacles at that- it stands to reason that they are terminated for it.
And look- a “Ripper” did it. A divine dispenser of justice. Not a man. Not an entitled arsehole. A “Ripper”. How archaic. How quaint and full of Victoriana. A kind of cultural heritage. Aren’t we proud of it?

Personally I’m not.

But it stands to reason that following the completely twisted logic of the system the news reports are not sympathetic. The “girls” had it coming after all. So there is much tongue wagging but not much empathy. After all us “real women” play by the rules they decided. We make mature decisions that they approve of. We’re complete tools but we are “women” because they decide we are and we obey them. We are respectable.

More importantly we don’t want to imagine that we could have anything in common with those who are considered fair game for men’s violence. Not even our gender.

If you don’t think this is a gendered distinction replace “girl” with “boy” in the headlines. It just doesn’t seem to work or be seen much does it?

So they are neutered girls. Not women. A woman is your Mother. Your sister, your teacher. You respect women. But girls are things that you should have control over and should discipline.
We call them vice girls so they are treated like it, and they refer to it like that when they report it in the papers. It continues. Until these are no longer girls but women in their full proud stature and authority, men will continue believing they are allowed to “discipline”. Whether that discipline is a slap, a word or a murder.

This growth needs to continue in not only lexis but attitude. The two define each other.
It’s difficult to take a “Vice Girl” seriously.

But we are Women. They are Women. And this is something we are dead serious about. Because if we aren’t we’re just dead.



{December 11, 2006}   The Default

Reading the newspaper is something I love doing. Obsessively. I am, it seems, a bit of a paper junkie. I read ‘The Times’, ‘The Guardian’, sometimes ‘The Independent’ and, of course, the free papers that are handed to me on my morning commute – ‘The Argus Lite’ and ‘The Metro’. And this is where it gets interesting. Both are, forgive my judgement, sound-bite papers and only a couple of steps above ‘The Sun’ in terms of quality, mainly because they don’t have Page 3 girls (yet).

They are basically the paper of the journalist who doesn’t bother with deep research and whose longest article is not even half a page, despite the large print and even larger title. They are also brimming with subtle, but oh-so-there sexism.

Look – the paper of the uneducated, of those floating on the jetsam of what society feeds us, of those not looking for any mental improvement, lies in a sexist gutter.

NOTE: When I say uneducated I mean those who do not think for themselves and do not study around issues. I do not wish to base an argument on classism, please!

We can take from this what we will – a lazy life, a self-centred life (as advocated by lad’s mags) and a default life in our society is embedded with little instances of sexism on every page. Since this is the journalism that comes without thinking (and not saying that other newspapers don’t have their problems) this shows us what the default attitude is. Not a conclusive scientific study but it is no coincidence that those who prize intellectual ignorance tend to also advocate sexism.

Because sexism, along with racism, is the sociological, historical and still, though to a lesser degree, economic base of our society, the default fabric of our society is defective. To rise above this default it requires a conscious effort.

Notions of equality are something that our society squashes out of children through object lessons whilst preaching the end of prejudice at the same time. As a result we believe that the injustice is the herald that we have truly arrived and are better off (may I point to ladette culture and the rise of stripping?).

If we do not think, if we do not educate ourselves, we do not stay at the level our grandmothers have fought to achieve; we quickly snap back like a rubber-band to the default position.

The fight isn’t over until equality is the default.

Look around.

We’ve got a long way to go.



et cetera