On Vice and “honest” expressions of misogyny and disgust

When I was growing up, my dad had one of those family in-jokes – a “dad joke” – that went on for years and years. Whenever I entered a room, he’d put on a ridiculous gameshow host voice and announce “It’s the Fat And Ugly Show! Starrrrriiinng Victoria!”

Obviously I knew this was meant to be a joke and that therefore it was impermissible to show any displeasure (beyond the requisite withering “da-a-ad!” protest). I knew my dad didn’t literally think I was fat and ugly. Nonetheless, whereas ugliness may be a subjective quality, I was measurably overweight, so the “joke” was based in a sort-of truth. My brother was overweight, too, but he never got the Fat And Ugly Show treatment. It was therefore made clear, through the medium of dad humour, that fatness and ugliness were particularly underdesirable qualities in girls.

As I’ve got older I’ve realised that there are many ways in which men express their prescriptions for and/or distaste of the female form. The fact that now few do so directly – that few would write religious tracts comparing the vagina to the gates of Hell – does not mean that many do not find more subtle ways to express their views. One way is humour – the I was only joking, why is she so touchy? approach to making women feel ashamed of their flesh. Another is the I’m only being honest tactic, in which men “bravely” confess to their discomfort with various aspects of women’s bodies, as though to do so is taboo and therefore a courageous act. Continue reading


My feminist perspective? You don’t need to read this crap

I am a feminist. I don’t have a qualification in women’s studies. I’ve never been the spokesperson for any pressure group. I’m not tremendously well-read in anything other than German Romantic literature (an area which is not, I fear, particularly pro-enthusiastic consent). I’m still a feminist. So there.

I read feminist literature when I have the time and the energy, which isn’t very often. I like Backlash and The Women’s Room. The New Feminism drove me up the wall, The Myth Of Mars And Venus is ace and I found How To Be A Woman hilarious but tremendously ego-driven. And that’s about all I’ve looked at <guilty face>. Oh, and some Julia Kristeva, which I don’t really count as feminist, just annoyingly vague (guess that’s the semiotic chora for you). And then there’s also a tiny bit of Naomi Wolf – that bit in The Beauty Myth where she discusses anorexia. I used to read that section whenever I popped into WH Smiths (I never actually bought the bloody book). When you have anorexia, as I did, even supposedly feminist diatribes against the beauty industry can serve as a bit of much-needed thinspo. “It is dead easy to become anorexic” – isn’t that what she claimed? Good work, Naomi! Continue reading

Total cunt avoidance: We have the technology!

Hey everyone! Been doin’ a bit more blue sky thinkin’ and I’ve come up with an idea I think you’ll like: let’s outlaw all vaginal births!

There, I’ve said it: vaginal. A word that could get you banned from addressing the Michigan House of Representatives, and with good reason, too. After all, it’s disgusting. I was going to phrase it differently and say “let’s make caesarean births mandatory”, but that might sound a bit weird, like I don’t still wholeheartedly condemn all those who are too posh to push. On the contrary, I’m quite prepared to condemn all childbearers under my proposed system. I’m just thinking of the children here.

Both practically and symbolically, being born is of great significance. It amazes me that for so long we’ve put up with the involvement of the vagina upon such a momentous occasion. Let’s just consider it for a moment. You probably celebrate your own birthday. But do you think about where you were and what you were doing on that very first day? It’s totally obscene. If you’re a member of the GOP, it must make your skin crawl.

Vaginas – stinking, fetid vaginas – are all around us. There’s probably one mere feet away from you right this minute. There might be one that’s even part of you. Urgh! That’s just nasty. We need to do something about this straight away.

While in the US women are being banned from debates for even saying the dreaded v-word, over here in the UK Femfresh have been doing their damnedest to try and clean up “down below”.* Intimate wipes and washes offer “expert care for down there”, all marketed under the empowering slogan “woo hoo for my froo froo” (translated into English: “Hooray! My fanny no longer smells like a fanny!”). But let’s be honest, none of this is enough. Not when we still have to touch the filthy things. Not when they’re still, like, there.

By allowing all children to be born by caesarean – or to use Shakespeare’s words, to no longer be “of woman born” – we could at least offer half of them a start in life away from the vaginal taint. In theory, male babies could go on to live full, healthy lives without ever having to come into contact with the v-thing. After all, sex and reproduction are still possible without such unholy contact. As far as I am aware, the word “arse” has never been banned from any US political debate. And turkey basters are cheap and highly effective when it comes to making babies (after all, it worked first time for Jacqui Dixon on Brookside, and she’s not what you’d think of as prime stock).

Of course, there are some men who will still manage to overcome what should become a natural aversion to vaginas. They might still film or watch disembodied versions in hardcore porn, or even sticks their cocks into real ones, regardless of whether or not the owner gives consent. We should pity these men, but we should also salute them for their lack of prejudice. People have all sorts of absurd fetishes. We shouldn’t judge them for this. But we should judge women for having vaginas.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do about this last thing. If we were to try to stop women having vaginas, that would be a bit like committing female genital mutilation. And that’s a thing weird foreigners do. Foreigners who live in backward countries where women are considered inferior. We’re nothing like that. And besides, we don’t want to do anything which might impinge on our right to judge the funny foreigners.

Anyhow, all of this is just a suggestion. I realise it will take a while to make the cultural shift. In the meantime, vaginas are here to stay. Looking on the bright side, though, it’s still possible to take action to avoid all cunts. For instance, just don’t make any trips to Michigan any time soon.

* http://www.girlonthenet.com wrote a wonderful post on Femfresh, only I can’t link to it directly as my computer says it’s too rude. Moreover, I am at my in-laws at the moment, so I’m not going to take any risks by trying to override this, especially as they think I’m still working on German grammar.