Tag Archives: feminism

On women: Farting Feminists

It was 1983. I was thirteen and on a school trip to the theatre to watch the unfortunately titled play ‘When the wind blows’. It was about the aftermath of a nuclear war. The first half of the play sees an elderly couple trying to prepare for what cannot be prepared for; building a nuclear shelter out of an upturned kitchen table and a couple of blankets. The tension builds. The stage is plunged into absolute darkness. There is a breath holding silence.

PHWWAAARRP!

A giggle rippled out like shockwaves. Exaggerated gagging ensued. Immediately I felt the weight of what I had done as acutely as if I had pressed the big red button.  I wanted to cry, melt, die, disappear.  My name reverberated around the theatre like aftershocks. I would never get a boyfriend now. My life may as well be over. I held back scolding tears and fervently hoped a real bomb would explode right there and then. Gorbachev did not oblige me. The play ended. The lights came up. The coach journey was what I imagined hell to be like. The teasing continued for months. I left school and buried the terrible memory, but the shame of it never left me.

Roll forward thirty years. Accidently letting one go in front of my husband and daughter, I laughed it off and said if our son were here, I would’ve blamed their dad. My daughter was astounded by her ‘feminist’ mother, who is forever pointing out examples of the patriarchy ad nauseam, pretending she doesn’t fart in order to uphold an unrealistic vision of femininity.

It was only then, chastened by my feisty, independent daughter my thirty year shame turned to rightful anger. If I had been a boy, I would have got a pat on the back for my apposite release. For dropping the F bomb. I would have been a legend. Instead I was made to feel as if, in one unguarded moment of flatulence, I had sullied the reputation of mothers, grandmothers, girlfriends and sisters everywhere.

So I know I am stating the obvious, but I feel like I need to remind women that farting is natural, the sign of a healthy gut. Everyone farts. Even the Queen.

I fart.

You fart.

We fart.

If a boy finishes with you because you let one go on the first date, you’ve had a lucky escape.

Of course, we should all try not to fart in confined spaces like lifts and trains, but to be honest there is little we can really do about it if it happens.

Nothing illustrates the patriarchy more clearly than our need to categorise natural human behaviours as either male or female. Women don’t fart. Men don’t cry.

For me the acrid test of sexual equality will be when women can fart without shame.  Fart with pride, with their heads held high and, if they feel so inclined, even light the odd one or two.

And thirty years later, I can finally laugh at my brilliantly timed fart 😉

Legend, I am!

 

Animal collection: Loose Leaves poetry anthology – winner 2010

The second post of my winning writing, loosely based on an animal theme.

This piece is a feminist reworking of a popular nursery rhyme in response to the way women, who report date rape, are portrayed in the press. Not for the easily offended.

Blah, blah wig sheep 

The wooden rail is cold –

And my fingers seem to stick

Like the words under my tongue

And the sperm you made me lick.

The Jury does not smile

As the judge reads out your plea,

And the Jury does not cry

At what you did to me.

Blah_Sheep

My words are diced

Chopped and fried.

Your lies are spliced

Cut and dried.

So, said wig sheep

She was on the pull?

Yes sir, yes sir

Consent was full

Yay! when I asked her,

But ‘no’ when I came.

And here I am a good boy

Caught in this harlot’s game.

On Women: Why don’t men wear dresses?

One thing that angers me more than anything else is when I hear people claim that nowadays women have equality with men – I also wonder what planet they live on because it can’t be earth.

men are from mars

This viewpoint isn’t confined to just men, if anything I think women are the worse culprits. However, if the record sales of ‘Fifty shades of Grey’ are anything to go by, it seems women deep down don’t want equality at all – and that is even scarier.

But two stories in the news over Christmas, firmly place women’s issues back into the spotlight. That of the Pakistani teenager shot in the head for speaking out about the right to an education, and the tragic case of the 23 year old woman raped in Delhi and left to die on the roadside, while passersby ignored her friend’s pleas for help and the police argued for thirty minutes about whose responsibility she was.

These stories are shocking, but that is not why they have made the headlines. How many women are raped each day, week, year in India, but whose stories don’t make the news because they are poor, or to ashamed to report it (and lack the confidence a university education gives)? How many girls are denied an education, through violence (who weren’t writing a blog for the BBC)?

It would be nice to think that at least we women in the UK are equal – but the recent allegations that have come to light at the BBC reveal that women are still regarded as second class, a bit of eye candy and not to be taken seriously. Wage inequality persists, despite the fact women are now graduating university with better degrees than men, and

‘the sanction detection rate* for violence against the person was 44.5%, and for rape 29.9%, the 2010/2011 Home Office statistics show.’

Any woman who makes a stand against this inequality is either assumed to be a lesbian, or frigid, and any woman that, despite the feministhurdles of upbringing and expectation, excels in a given field, is accused of being a man in drag. To be feminine, one must be obedient and non competitive – says who?

How can it be that 50% of the world’s population are still treated as second class citizens? What are we teaching our daughters that they think the way to happiness is snagging a rich husband? Why do I hear women say, I could never work for a female boss, as if sex was a deciding factor in our leadership skills.

blue eyesImagine for a moment, if we divided the world population by eye colour and all those with blue eyes were told they were better than everybody else – what would the impact of that be on those without blue eyes? Would the non blue-eyed people accept they were less clever, important, rational etc than the blue-eyed people, or would they rightly assert that eye colour has nothing to do with how good someone is at driving, or map reading, or cooking, or managing others.

Being male or female (or somewhere between) is a biological difference, like eye colour. Unfortunately we have attached to this thegender stereotypes concept of gender. Gender is a set of expectations about how we must conduct ourselves, based on whether we are born girl or boy. Gender stereotypes limit both males and females. Have you seen how boring the menswear section is?

To claim feminism is ‘so last century’ – is at best short sighted and at worse, a sinister way of keeping 50% of the world beholden to the other 50%.

“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.” Hillary Clinton

Blue eyes or brown eyes – what does it matter?

What do you think? Are women less than men? Is feminism dead? Is the UK equal? All comments, as long as they are not abusive, will be published. The floor is yours.

*These are defined as the percentage of crimes for which someone is charged, summonsed, and receives a caution or other formal sanction.

Lap dancing clubs, tiger mothers and Lord John Shayler

Pole dancing classes, Fifty shades of grey – it seems stitched-up middle-class middle-England, might be, at last, coming undone. Not so, if the furore over a lap dancing club set to open in ‘posh’ ‘leafy Georgian town, Ampthill, is anything to go by.

As a resident of said town (actually it’s ‘chav’ neighbour, Flitwick), I have been following the story with a mild sense of amusement and a large dose of feminist angst. However, after being accosted in Waitrose car park to sign a petition against its opening, I began to realise the real victim in this is not the self styled Walt Disney,  Lord John Shayler (the proprietor of the council approved lap dancing club), nor the tiger mothers of the ‘innocent’  Ampthill children.

“We’ll gather outside the strip club as a community with our children to switch on the Christmas lights; to sing carols; to sit outside eating our snacks waiting for the next ballet class down the road.”  An Ampthill resident.

No. The real victim of this grudge fueled proposal, is the misrepresentation of sex.

Beautiful, glorious, life affirming SEX!

Sex is an innate drive, like thirst and hunger. Who you have sex with and at what age, has largely been determined by cultural norms and values, a bit like why we eat cereal for breakfast rather than roast beef. But sex in itself is not a bad or dirty thing.

However, exploitation of women is. While every woman knows she uses sex as a bargaining tool in her relationship armourey, even if this is subconscious, there is difference between that and others making profit from the exchange. Many women working in the sexual entertainment industry will argue they choose to work in clubs such as this, but what do we mean by choice, or in other words; what is free-will?

As women, we a brought up to use our femininity as a commodity. Sex sells everything from alcohol to zucchinis, but I wonder how many Ampthill parents would applaud their A-level student daughter, getting a Saturday job at the local lap dancing club, to save up for university.

I am not against a lap dancing club in Ampthill, I am against all forms of entertainment that exploit (for profit) the private sexual rituals between men and women. So, I do understand the objections raised by some Ampthill residents. This blog in particular, attempts to be measured and not fall into the trap of small minded bigotry, unlike some of the comments on this thread. But, this is a wider issue than a club opening in Ampthill. This is a deeper and broader issue that begins from when our daughters are born. It is about the messages they receive concerning who they are and what we value about them.

That’s what the Ampthillians need to be fighting against, the debasement of women, the world over. Sex is not the enemy here, sexist attitudes are. But just as Lord John Shayler is clearly not a feminist, then neither are the tiger mothers, leaping into action in Waitrose car park, who like the three wise monkeys, believe sex should be neither seen, heard, or spoken of.

Trying to shield our children from sex, is like trying to shutdown the internet. They are surrounded by sexual imagery, online; on TV; in music; magazines; newspapers.  A lap dancing club in the centre of town is unlikely to have a catastrophic impact on their sexual identity, already, shaped and moulded by their multi-media existence. Lap dancing clubs are not, as far as I am aware, the gates of hell, from which you will never escape. They are bars where men can watch a woman dance and take her clothes of, or for an extra price, have her do the dance, dangling over his lap. Not something I would pay for, but hardly, Beelzebub running amok in the local primary school.

Instead of shielding our children from sex, we should be talking to them (age appropriate of course) about the rights to their own body. How they don’t have to touch, kiss or be cuddled by anyone they don’t want to be. How sexual feelings are normal and masturbation won’t make them blind. How having sex is a big step and one that most of us wish we had done differently. How sex is a wonderful and beautiful thing, when we do it with someone we really want to, and have feelings for.

Having a lap dancing club on the doorstep could prove advantageous. A daytime visit as part of the PSHE sex education programme would provoke discussion about the uneasy role women and their bodies occupy in this product driven age. Young people want to talk about sex, relationships, and how they will negotiate their sexual identities. The recent sex education show at Redborne, was proof if any is needed that our teenagers are not ‘innocent’, if anything they are confused, unable to separate fact from myth. They need adult guidance.

Instead the naysayers condemn, sex, wonderful, incredible sex, with prudish indignation (confusing consensual acts such as swinging and bondage, with exploitative practices). Of course, the louder they protest, the closer Lord John Shayler gets towards making his rather childish insult a reality.

Maybe if there was more sex, not less – sex given freely, without profit, because its fun and perfectly natural– then clubs like this wouldn’t have customers in the first place.

Sex is not the enemy here, we would all do well to remember that.