Old women’s bodies: On Germaine Greer, ageism and misogyny

Sometime during the late 1990s, we stopped having bodies. After thousands of years of sickness, pain and death, we’d finally found a way to think ourselves beyond all that. It is, we told ourselves, a construct. None of it is really “real.” And from then on we no longer had to wait for any Afterlife to become pure spirit. Paradise, in which the individual mind defines and redefines itself on its own terms, is with us now. Thank you, Judith Butler, and all who preach the gospel of the postmodern, transcendent self.

Of course, there were some people who carried on believing in bodies that leaked and bled and bred. Bodies that produced other bodies, then had to care for them, feeding them with their breasts, mopping up their waste. Bodies that creased and sagged and weakened. Bodies that took their place in a hierarchy of bodies that gave and bodies that took.

Some people still believe in all that crap. Idiots. Essentialists. TERFs. Continue reading

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From the sexual deficit to nematode worms, why are we so keen to justify male sexual entitlement?

As a feminist, I’d like to take a stand and say something in defence of men: I do not believe that they are worms.

That may sound uncontroversial, but you’d be surprised. A study of male and hermaphrodite worms conducted by researchers at UCL and Albert Einstein College of Medicine has shown that if you teach a male worm to associate salt with sex, he’ll seek out salt in future. This is the case even if he’s also learned to associate it with starvation. The same is not true for hermaphrodite worms (who are “essentially modified females that carry their own sperm and do not need sex in order to reproduce” – you go, girls!). The hermaphrodites would much rather be eating chocolate or whatever it is modified ladyworms eat than risk going hungry in search of a mate.

Researchers had originally planned on testing relative worm preferences for football and shoe shopping but unfortunately this fell through on account of the worms not having feet. Only kidding. This is serious research, with findings that can help increase understanding of the nature and function of glial cells. It’s just that you wouldn’t get that impression from the way in which it’s been reported in the mainstream press. To look at the headlines, you’d think it was all about justifying A Man’s Sacred Right To Have Sex: Continue reading