Tag Archives: women

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!

 

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.