Kim Kardashian is Pregnant: Let the Slut-shaming Commence

Kim Kardashian has announced her pregnancy with Kanye West. As a general rule of thumb, I try to ignore celebrity pregnancies since they are none of my business, but then I tend to feel that way about most women who are pregnant; the obsession with the contents of other women’s uteruses is the hallmark of the patriarchal control of women. However, Kim Kardashian is the quintessential Circus Freak Show Act in our Reality TV obsessed culture. She is a frequent object of ridicule with every  minute detail of her life dissected in the media. Yes, she bears some responsibility for placing herself in the public eye but that does not negate our own behaviour in participating in this culture of bullying. I have no idea what Kim Kardashian has supposedly done to become such an object of ridicule; unless she’s a serial killer or funded the War on Women, I’m going to guess she doesn’t deserve it. 

And, personally, I doubt very much that Kardashian agreed to release her “sextape”. Like Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton before her, Kardashian knew all to well that she had no real legal recourse once the tape was leaked online. Once something is on the internet, there is no way to “unleak” it. Kardashian was a victim of sexual violence, just like Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and Kate Middleton. She may have settled her lawsuit with the distributor, but, let’s be honest here, she had no chance of actually winning the lawsuit. A woman’s sexual behaviour is always up for public speculation and insult. It is always for sale and, usually, without our consent.

Now Kardashian is pregnant, the slut-shaming will start again. Kanye West will receive congratulations but Kardashian will receive nothing but comments on her behaviour and her weight. Once she gives birth, Kardashian will be judged on her failure to lose weight immediately or on how fast she lost the weight. She will be judged for breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. She will be judged on her parenting skills. She will be judged for having the support of a night nurse or nanny or she will be judged for not having help. She will be labelled fat, selfish, and a bad mother and this is without acknowledging the issue of racism.

She will be judged.

She will be found lacking.

No matter what she does.

We all know that pregnancy is one of the most vulnerable times for women; even without the added risk of domestic violence. Our default position for *all* pregnant women should be one of support.

So, congratulations Kim Kardashian. 

And, shame on those who are already lining up to insult, denigrate and mock you. 

No one deserves the treatment you will receive over the next year.

After all, we’re all trying to survive in the Capitalist-Patriarchy the best we can.

My Favourite Books of 2012 (Some Spoilers)

I know that everyone does this and blah, blah, blah but I genuinely don’t care. I recommend books to everyone, even if they don’t actually read books [or pseudo-intellectualise by parroting reviews from the Times Literary Supplement which some men might want to remember is not only available on subscription to those middle aged white dudes with penises. The rest of us can read it too. Just saying].

So, these are my favourite books of 2012:

Lisa O’Donnell’s The Death of Bees: It is triggering since it covers the systemic violence against women, particularly against those young girls who aren’t considered “proper” victims but it is also beautiful, funny and full of hope.  It is the story of two sisters, Marnie and Nelly, struggling to survive in  a Glasgow housing estate without their parents, who they’ve just buried in a shallow grave in the backyard. They are victimised and revictimised in every manner possible and left to self-destruct by a welfare state that doesn’t give a shit about poor kids from the housing estates. After all, when school is only “a convenient way for all of us to congregate in one place”, it is obvious that these are the kids no one cares about (p.47). But, it’s more than a litany of abuse. It’s about surviving, friendships, the meaning of sisterhood and what really makes a family.

Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Axt of Esme Lennox : It’s about families and betrayal and the destruction of generations after one malicious act. It’s heart-breaking but beautiful. No redemption but the importance of hearing when someone speaks, even if it seems something innocuous like a nickname.

Julia Long’s Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Porn FeminismIt’s both a critical analysis of the representations of anti-porn feminism, pro-porn feminism and the pro-porn campaign within the media and culture; as well as a history of the anti-porn movement within Britain. Most importantly, it is a radical feminist critique of the debates surrounding pornography [and prostitution]. Far too often the “debates” on porn within the media focus on porn as an empowering tool for women [conveniently ignoring the fact that men are the ones getting rich from porn] and porn as an expression of human sexuality [and ignoring just how much porn dictates a hegemonic, heterosexual, racist sexuality which, in and of itself, is incredibly limited]. Long traces the feminist activism against pornography and illustrates some of the more successful feminist activist anti-porn campaign. Long has given a voice to both the survivors of the porn industries and the grassroots activists fighting against pornographication. She has contextualised the anti-porn feminist movement in the UK within diverse factions of feminism.

Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter
Esi Edugyan’s Half Blood Blues
Helena Kennedy’s Eve was Framed: Women and British Justice
Maya Angelou’s The Heart of a Woman

Maya Angelou’s A Song Flung up to Heaven
Maya Angelou’s All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes
Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou’s Gather Together in My Name
Maya Angelou’s Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Thing Around Your Neck
Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Half a Yellow Sun
Marilyn French’s A Woman’s Room 
Andrea Dworkin’s Intercourse
Joumana Haddad’s I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman 
Isabelle Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea
Ngoni Achebe’s Onaedo: The Blacksmith’s Daughter

Women’s Rights News: Missing the Point Completely

Women’s Rights News is possibly one of the most ironically named FB groups; almost on par with those pro-rape apologists at the Good Men Project. Firstly, they don’t actually post stories about news which is just a teensy bit odd for a group who use the soubriquet ‘news’.
I’m willing to overlook the attempt at intellectual pretentiousness, but, honestly, what does the above image have to do with women’s rights? It’s the image of a very thin, young, white woman posed to be sexually attractive and lacking a face. Hello, every image of women in the media. Ever. 

And, hello mother-blaming misogyny whilst Daddy-can-do-no-wrong twaddle. I read the quote and just wanted to bang my head repeatedly off my desk. How can anyone read that and think Feminism? 

But, then, they also posted this: 
Without a hint of irony. Or, you know, critical thinking skills. Disney does give women unrealistic expectations about men: it teaches women that the only way to deal with an abusive man is to love him harder [Beauty and the Beast]. Or, that it’s totally acceptable to give up a real gift for a man who doesn’t even know you [Little Mermaid] and that necrophilia is romantic [Snow White] and rape normal [Sleeping Beauty]. But, this isn’t really news. Andrea Dworkin, Angela Carter, and a hundred other feminist writers have covered this topic a million times and without resorting to asinine comments. 

And, the image below. Well, I just give up. 
I can’t tell if Women’s Rights News actually think they are a pro-woman group examining women’s rights.

Or, a bunch of MRAs having a laugh.  

Or, both.

I’m not actually sure that Women’s Rights News knows.

Isabel Ashdown’s Glasshopper and Hurry Up and Wait

I read Isabel Ashdown’s Hurry Up and Wait first. It was one of those multiple-narrator-exposing-a-secret books which I generally enjoy. I wasn’t very sure about this one though. I’m never very fond of books which use school reunions as a plot device. It’s too tired a plot device and, unfortunately, the secret far too obvious from the beginning. I wouldn’t have bothered reading her other books had I not been stuck in the car and Glasshopper was the only book downloaded on my kindle app. It was Glasshopper. Glasshopper was just wrong; in many ways.  Unlike Hurry Up and Wait, Glasshopper had a male protagonist and that made the problem with Ashdown’s books obvious.

Ashdown really doesn’t like the women characters in her books. All of the characters are flawed but Ashdown seems to blame the women for not being able to deal psychologically with their trauma whilst the men are forgiven. In Glasshopper’, male violence isn’t even considered a reason worthy of exploring when the real problem is male violence. I would have snarled and then ignored had I not come across this blurb for Hurry Up and Wait which appears on Ashdown’s website:

In her eagerly anticipated second novel Mail on Sunday Novel Competition winner Isabel Ashdown explores the treacherous territory of adolescent friendships, and traces across the decades the repercussions of a dangerous relationship.

There was no “dangerous relationship”.  A violent sexual predator targeting teenagers does not enter into a “relationship” with them. He was a rapist. He targeted young, vulnerable girls. And, he raped them. The moment people start using phrases like “dangerous relationships” is the moment we start obfuscating child rape. Ashdown has done for child rape what Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife did for domestic violence.

I would like back the 3 hours it took me to read both books and the 20 minutes I spent writing this. 

Femen Redux: I’m not even sure what to say anymore

It’s farking Femen. Again. This time they are protesting the very brutal gang-rape of a young woman in India who committed suicide rather than being pushed into marrying her rapist. This is the statement from the Facebook page to accompany the image above: 

FEMEN shares the world sorrow of 17-year-old Indian girl, victim of a brutal rape. According to the newspaper La Figaro, the victim took the fatal dose of poison, in response to demands by Indian police to withdraw his statement and to marry one of the rapists!
late on November 13 was raped by two men on their way to a religious festival in the city of Punjab. Within two weeks the police refused to accept the statement about rape.
Unfortunately, the facts of genocide against women in India have become known worldwide only after the case of brutal gang rape the girls in the New Daley on December 16, that shakes all India.
FEMEN has long pointed to the Indian authorities ‘ official policy-misogynistic, religious and caste wildness against women. FEMEN women’s movement demands immediate international intervention in the plight of Indian women, subjected to daily physical and mental abuse, suffering from some pointless authorities, corrupt policemen etc. .In February 2012, the activist of FEMEN dismantled the India flag from the roof of the Indian Embassy, protest against visa rule by chauvinist Indian authorities towards young women from Ukraine. For protection of the rights of Ukrainians before the official Daily on four participants of protest was filed 5 criminal cases, litigation that lasts to this day.

A little bit of self-reflection wouldn’t go amiss with these people. Honestly, do they not get the problem with their imperialist campaigns which alienate the very women they claim to be fighting for? 

I could rant for hours on their hypocrisy but I think Sara Salem’s article Femen’s Neocolonial Feminism: When Nudity Becomes Uniform says it much better than I can. 

At least, there are no Pandas: BBC’s Women Faces of the Year

The BBC has recovered slightly from last year’s gaffe in which they nominated a Giant Panda and Pippa Middleton’s ass as their ‘Faces of the Year in 2011’. Frankly, I’m not sure which one I find less convincing as a ‘Face of the year’. Or, more misogynistic. The inclusion of Sweetie the Panda at the expense of  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Lehmay Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman was, simply, unforgivable; you know, the three women who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year because of their achievements and not because a deeply misogynistic press decided to objectify the body of a woman whose only ‘crime’ was that her sister married The Patriarchal Prince. Obviously, the BBC came back with the excuse that they chose 12 ‘women’ who made the most headlines, which is a pile of nincompoopery of epic proportions. A Giant Panda did not choose to be moved half way across the planet and end up on the cover of every newspaper. Pippa Middleton did not chose to be the victim of global sexual harassment.  The BBC chose to run such asinine ‘stories’ as real news at the expense of covering actual news.

I wouldn’t get over-excited by this year’s ‘Women Faces of the Year‘, as ever a number of the women included are because of their relationship to men; others because they were made into public spectacles. 

These are the BBC ‘Women Faces of the Year’ for 2012:

Maria Colvin: An award-winning war correspondent killed in the Syrian Uprising.
Malala Yousafzai: A young girl shot by the Taliban as a punishment for her campaign for girls’ education.
Nicola Adams: The first woman to win gold in Olympic Boxing.
Claire Squires: A runner whose death during the London Marathon lead to people donating £1m to charity.
Laina Walker: A fangirl who made a creepy Youtube video of Justin Bieber to win a contest.
Samantha Brick: A journalist made an object of derision by the Daily Mail.
Marissa Mayer: A businesswoman who became CEO of Yahoo whilst 6 months pregnant.
Rachel Onasanwo: The Olympics “Happiest Volunteer”.
Pussy Riot: Russian punk feminists.
Gina Rinhart: The World’s ‘richest’ woman.
Lydia Callis: The New York mayor’s sign language interpreter.
Paula Broadwell: A woman who had sex with the head of the CIA.

Some of these women belong on this list and some are only on it because of patriarchal hypocrisy within the BBC. But, really, including Samantha Brick who was the target of a very successful smear campaign by the Daily Mail? Are we now including women whose claim to fame is their status as the quintessential Circus Freak Show? Paula Broadwell was included because she had sex with a man? And, why are we including a woman who made a creepy video about Justin Bieber? Are these really the best examples that the BBC could come up with? How are their ‘accomplishments’ on par with Malala Yousafzai and Maria Colvin?

Where’s Hillary Clinton? 

Or, Lauren Wolfe and Gloria Steinem who founded Women Under Siege?

Or, any number of the millions of women across the world who have incredible and inspiring things this year?

On the other hand, the BBC’s list of ‘Male Faces of the Year‘ includes a dog. 

Maybe, the BBC just gets confused and runs it’s April Fools joke on the wrong day. 

I can’t tell anymore.

Fairy Tale of Mumsnet

My awesome friend Keema wrote this.

She is the best poet ever

Fairy tale of –New York– Mumsnet

It was Christmas Eve babe
Here on mumsnet
A poster whinged to me
There’s mumsnet royalty
And then we posted stuff
Into A-I-B-U
I logged onto my phone
And trolled about poo.

So often I’m logged on
I may neglect my son
I’ve started to suspect
I’m not the only one
So Happy Christmas
I love you Mumsnet
I can see another year
When I hang out here…

They’ve got threads that take off
They’ve got threads that just fail
But the worst ones for fighting
Link to Daily Mail
When you first flamed my arse
In a mega bun-fight
You said I’d get mentioned
By damned Matthew Wright

We’re vipers
We’re swearers
You’d best all beware us
When the thread hit one-thousand
We started anew
In chat they got lairy
All the trolls were quite hairy
and sometimes its scary

And the Folk of the MNHQ choir
were begging “please behave”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day.

You’re a knob
You’re a grunt
You’re an atrocious cunt
Now its message deleted but you know I’m right
You credulous reader
You mad troll believer
Yes Its Christmas I know
But dear god you’re so PO

And the Folk of the MNHQ choir
were begging “please behave”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day.

I’m just a knackered Mum
I’m not the only one
I lost a chunk of me
When I gave birth you see
And though I love my child
That moment they first smiled
I like to spend a while
where I can swear without you.

And the Folk of the MNHQ choir
were begging “please behave”
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day.

"More Men Fake their own Deaths than Women Lie about Rape"

“More Men Fake Their Own Death than Women Lie about Rape.”

I remember reading this quote a few years ago. I can not for the life of me remember where I read it. I’m sure it comes from a FBI agent as part of speech given to other law enforcement officers but that’s literally all I remember, despite it being a really crucial statistic. I’m also fairly sure I read it in a book and not on a blog

Thankfully for my poor memory skills, there are some amazing feminists and feminist allies on my FB with much better google skills than I. A huge thank you to Cath Andrews and Cathy Brennan for helping me. And, another thank you to Martin Dufresne for finding the following links:

Mary’s be a Gooddog Blog: “The FBI indicate that 96-98% of rapes are real reports. like robberies. like muggings. like Home Invasions. How many people lie about getting Mugged? The FBI state that more people Fake-report their own DEATH than fake report rape. “

Erin McLelland: who attributes the quote to the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes

These arseholes also attribute it to the FBI.

If anyone knows which book I originally read it, I would be very grateful. 🙂

Playboy goes Artistic.

At least, that’s what they claim to be doing by having some “leading contemporary artists”,  a list which includes Tracey Emin, “explore the female body as a work of art”. Normally, I’d be willing discuss the issue of the female body as art and whether or not it could be anything other than the objectification of women’s bodies, but this is Playboy.


They aren’t interested in art. They are interested in making money by the sexual degradation and objectification of women’s bodies. This is just another desperate ploy to differentiate them from ‘bad’ pornographers. In many ways, Playboy’s mainstreaming of pornography has been far more detrimental to women’s rights than the more violent pornography now available online.

I would rant further but Exiled Stardust has deconstructed this far more eloquently here.

The Mumsnet Secret Santa: Thanking Those Women Who Have Changed Our Lives

The Mumsnet Secret Santa has been going for several years now. It was started by members as a way of thanking others who had helped them but also as a way helping others. Along with a Mile for Maude and the MN Woolly Hugs, it is the real side of Mumsnet: women supporting women. It is the real meaning of sisterhood. 

I was honoured this year by being nominated. It is such an incredible feeling to be nominated; to be thanked for helping someone else. It is a beautiful feeling. 
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of nominating other women who have supported me through my PND and my crisis of confidence following some rather misogynistic twaddle with my career. I am so lucky to be surrounded by some amazing women. 

We need to start telling each other how amazing we are.

We need to start doing so publicly and loudly. 

This year, my Secret Santa sent me an Amazon giftcard. I spent several happy hours downloading some amazing books onto my kindle. Obviously only books written by women:

Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
Carol Shield’s The Stone Diaries
Andrea Levy’s Fruit of the Lemon
Andrea Levy’s Never Far From Nowhere
Aminatta Forna’s The Ancestor Stones
Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows

Thank you My Secret Nominator. 

Thank you to my Secret Santa.

And, thank you to all the amazing women in my life. 🙂