Banknotes, Boycotts and Backlash

Oh, Sheldon. I finally understand what you were feeling when you uttered my favourite line in The Big Bang Theory. “There isn’t enough chamomile tea in the world to quell the rage in my heart.” I feel the same way, but with Mini Milks.

It seems like every time the feminist movement takes a small step forward (in this case, Jane Austen replacing Charles Darwin on the £10 note), it takes two steps back. I won’t go into my personal feelings about Austen replacing Darwin in this blog as I feel another post would be necessary. That’s not the problem, it’s the tirades of abuse the leader of this campaign has received on Twitter over the past few days along with the reaction of some people I’ve been made aware of.

Since the success of her petition, Caroline Criado-Perez has been the target of frankly horrifying abuse. No woman should ever be the target of rape threats and yet the users responsible for her abuse still have accounts on the site. Criado-Perez reported the abuse she was getting to the manager of journalism and media on Twitter. His response? To protect his account. Clearly to Mark S. Luckie, a problem ignored is a problem solved. For those interested, there has been a petition started to draw those in charge of Twitter to action here.

Upon learning of this earlier this morning, my feed lit up with journalists being horrified and sympathetic to Criado-Perez’s plight. These women are often the subject of abuse (from inside the feminist movement also) and are tired of having their opinions on twitter silenced.

Not being one to back out of a confrontation myself, I’ve been told I’m “too ugly to rape” among other things, for daring to comment that criticising a Wimbledon champion on her looks is not appropriate. This cannot be tolerated.

These journalists, namely Caitlin Moran, Helen Lewis and Suzanne Moore, have proposed an idea. That women who do not want to stand for this abuse and being silenced on social media silence their accounts for one day, to show what the social media site would be like if instead of standing up, women just left. It’s not the greatest idea ever, but what else is there to do if the site itself isn’t acting?

I’ve said it before, the most detrimental thing about feminism today is the constant in-fighting between the women (and men) involved. When this idea was proposed, it was met with the usual suspects who automatically decry anything Moran or her journalist allies say saying it’s a terrible idea. Fine, but do you have anything better to suggest?

Instead of providing something positive, it always appears to be much easier to just shit all over someone else’s idea. Would Moran’s cause have more merit if she was just out on the streets of Crouch End bawling at random strangers to fuck the patriarchy? At least these more high-profile feminists are trying to do something, instead of sitting at home criticising others’ attempts.

And so it rumbles on, my frustration reaching a fever pitch that not even Mini Milks can calm down. Sheldon, I really do feel your pain, though perhaps another one wouldn’t hurt.

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The Power of Female Anger

And no, this isn’t going to be some Suzanne Moore-esque breakdown where I insult minorities and react terribly to it.

I have spent a few days wondering whether it’s a good idea to post this or not, but this is actually going to give me gastric ulcers if I don’t get this out one way or another.

As I have already explained in another post, I don’t react kindly to being openly insulted. What I didn’t post about is that I react to being patronised even worse. A condescending pat on the head would be enough to send me into a fit of splenetic rage, and I feel in this case it is actually warranted.

At what age does ones opinion begin to be taken seriously? I’m genuinely curious to garner opinion about this as I found out that at 21, I’m still young enough that someone will condescend to me and “go easy” when I engage them in a debate.

If it wasn’t 12:48am I would add more about this engagement with someone proclaiming to be erudite, yet completely misunderstanding and disregarding feminism, but I am tired and would like to finish this chapter of The Psychopath Test before I go to sleep.

 

Out of the Swing of Things

I need to start getting back into the swing of writing on here again. Since I posted about the potential risk to a woman’s right to choose which took more than a month to prepare, I am totally stumped with what to write about. I am now no longer working (proof that hard work is no guarantee of a permanent position in Christmas temp work) and have more time on my hands – so where are my ideas?

Over the last couple of days, when I have had access to the laptop I am writing this on, I’ve written four drafts, all of which have been defeated. This blog was meant to be for me getting out what I need to, and I’m not managing to get that done because it’s not engaging or entertaining enough. It’s not like many people read this, let alone comment.

I have been exploring wordpress over the last few days, engaging with people who have been writing on topics I have already dealt with and don’t really want to rehash. But it has been interesting, hearing another person’s viewpoint. Why do people not connect with me here? Is this my hidden corner of cyberspace with over 40 followers who’re meant to be reading little pieces of literary brilliance from myself?

Can someone in the news not just be an arsehole so I can get angry again? It would really make getting back in the habit easier.

Theresa May – The Ex-Equalities Minister Who Doesn’t Believe in Equality for Women

Oh, Theresa May. How you were ever named the equalities minister is beyond me, given you don’t believe in there being equality between men and women. This is shocking for a woman so far ahead in UK politics to do something so anti-feminist. I felt I had to write to her.

Theresa May, the UK home secretary, has come out in support of Jeremy Hunt limiting the time period abortions would be available. In my post from just a few minutes ago, you can see the email I sent which is mentioned fairly often in this email.

Dear Ms. May,

As a fellow woman I find myself rather disconcerted that someone in a position of power such as yours does not appear to stand for women’s rights at all. When you colleague Mr Hunt came out to say he believes the time period in which a woman can have an abortion, you should have come out in defence of your gender. A man who does not have to make the decision about going through with a pregnancy should not be making decisions on behalf of women.
I have already emailed Mr Hunt’s office and the Department of Health this morning about this issue, but frankly, your position in support of him is more worrying than anything. Your personal religious views may make you unable to support abortion – this however does not mean that you should be restricting the rights of the rest of the women in this country. To say otherwise is just wrong, given we’re supposed to now live in a Britain which has thrived due to the separation of church and state.

I outlined in my email to Mr Hunt the time period of twelve weeks is impossibly short, given by the time the most regular woman in the world would be four weeks along by the time she missed her first period (that’s already a third of the window away).
What of the women who don’t have regular menstrual cycles, and assume the missed period is due to it just being another irregularity? If women like this missed the window, it would not be their own fault, there’s simply no way of telling.
Some women have regular menstrual periods throughout the entirety of their pregnancy (including one nursing student I know personally, who didn’t know she was pregnant until she went into labour in her own flat). What of those women?

To come out in support of Mr Hunt is anti-feminist. And I mean feminist in the purest sense in the world. You (despite being inexplicably named the equalities minister) clearly do not believe in equality between men and women. It’s honestly shocking to see someone in your position come out in support of something so restrictive towards your own gender.

I believe it’s my body, so the choices about what to do with it should belong to me. It’s obvious you don’t feel the same.

Yours,
Hannah Welsh.

Kindles and Reading Challenges

 

Kindle Touch

Kindle Touch (Photo credit: kun530)

I love my kindle, and am so, so so grateful to Chris for giving it to me for my birthday. I actually have no excuse to put off reading something I’ve been meaning to read for months, or maybe years. I spend so much time on the bus, and that makes for so much potential reading time, that I should have stopped making excuses months ago. I wasn’t sure about how I would feel about reading without being able to feel a book in my hands, and having the physical movement of turning the crisp pages, but I really enjoy reading my kindle. It’s one of the most special presents I’ve ever had (I know how long Chris had to save up for it, and knowing he’d cut back just to get me that means so much). If you travel a lot, I’d definitely say it’s worth it.

 

Woman reading

Woman reading (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

The kindle store has so much choice, books I read when I was much younger, books I’d never heard of, books I’ve always wanted to try reading and books I’d never read in a million years. Actually, seeing Fifty Shades of Grey sitting at the top of the bestseller list filled me with so much rage. When the Fifty Shades fever (which I wrote about, wishing it would go away) took off, I started getting looks as I was reading “Broadmoor Revealed”, quietly passing judgement as they assumed I was reading that heap of crap. So thank you, EL James, you’ve created a whole new kind of literary stigma.

 

Broadmoor Revealed was the first book I read on the kindle, and I was surprised as to how easy it was to read. I very quickly got used to turning the pages, and the screen was surprisingly easy to read. It helps that the first book I read was so very interesting, telling stories of Victorian criminals who were placed into Broadmoor hospital because they were mentally ill. I’ve always read a lot of non-fiction, and most of that was about serial murder. In the past I’ve found books on certain serial killers terrifying (I must confess to hiding a book about BTK under a pile of laundry so it wouldn’t get me when I was sleeping), but on the whole I find them utterly fascinating.

 

I then moved on to downloading books termed as classics, not just because they were deemed as books everyone should read, but because they were free and I’m on a limited budget. I decided upon the next book I read – The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’d only heard of it through the film Easy A out of my complete ignorance. I’ve never seen the movie version mentioned in Easy A either, where Demi Moore takes a lot of baths. I wasn’t quite aware of what I was letting myself in for.

 

Have you ever had a book, which you know is written in your native language, but you’re not quite sure it really was? I’ve never been more thankful for something to have a built-in dictionary. I found the archaeic language almost completely impenetrable, and the slow progression I was making was frustrating me. I’m far from a slow reader, and the kindle uses percentages as opposed to page numbers. Seeing the numbers creeping up so slowly was disheartening, but I strengthened my resolve to get through it. I’m a person of the “I’ve started now, so I won’t stop” mentality, and I hate not finishing things. It was difficult, but it wasn’t going to defeat me. So I persevered.

English: Hester Prynne & Pearl before the stocks

English: Hester Prynne & Pearl before the stocks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over time, I got used to the fact it was going to take me a long time to get through. I stopped feeling like I was swimming through mud and began truly appreciating the complexity of Hawthorne’s writing. He is a great lover of metaphor, which is something I really appreciate (I love being able to picture my own image of what the world characters are living in). The symbolism of Hester’s scarlet letter shifting from a symbol of her sin to that of her own identity, eventually coming to stand for “Able” was also very interesting, it shows how society can place one idea on the scarlet letter, but owing to Hester’s actions, society became able to move past that idea, and the A could eventually come to symbolise “Acceptance”.

 

I found myself coming to care about Hester’s happiness, instead of wondering why I was reading a book which I found so inaccessable. I wanted her to be with Rev. Dimmesdale, for them to come out in public and be happy together. I was upset when Rev. Dimmesdale died, because after all Hester had been through, I just wanted her to be happy. She deserved it after having borne the ire of the people around her for so long by herself, and never implicated the Reverend.

 

My new reading challenge, as suggested to me by Chris, is Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham has started out in much the same way as The Scarlet Letter, though this time I feel my progress is even slower and the book is lacking the archaeic language. When Phillip was young, I felt very sorry for him, and I felt the pages drag in much the same as his days did. Where I am at in the novel just now, he is happy and I’m finding it a much easier (though still slow) read. I’m starting to see the subtleties in Maugham’s writing now too. I just needed to give it time.

 

Up next, is something totally new, and totally different. Whenever I finish Of Human Bondage, I’ll be reading Caitlin Moran‘s How to be a Woman – the first book I’ve paid for to read on the kindle.

 

 

You Can’t Just Ignore Evidence When it Doesn’t Suit Your Point.

On the whole, I’ve found that a lot of people can’t debate. We try and keep a debate going on the forum, more often than not it goes round in circles or fails completely. Other times, it melts down into complete chaos (usually over abortion and other such inflammatory topics). But today, I’m actually not talking about the forum.

I’ve encountered a new type of person – the person who holds odious views other than one good viewpoint. My last post has quite a lot to do with this. I started following a new person on twitter, who posted a link about debunking an animal rights activists’ unsourced points on facebook. I usually avoid facebook like the plague, but I felt intrigued enough to read. I’m now wishing I didn’t, though not for the reason you may think.

A man debating the pro-testing corner began insulting anti-vivisectionists, calling them “P.C. do-gooders”. Why it had to result into petty name-calling, I really don’t know. Perhaps it struck a nerve with him, but we’ll see. This genius then ventured the point

Don’t get me wrong, if I had my way, we wouldn’t test on animals we’d test on pedophiles etc

You’re kidding me on, right? To take a person’s human rights away purely for the fact they committed a crime is ridiculous. A person who winds up in prison is not suddenly sub-human. And to make things worse – anti-vivisectionists started agreeing with him! So these people are now arguing the point that criminals are worth less than animals. The mind truly boggles. People who want to be tested on, that’s great, but you can’t force that onto prisoners. The only thing they should be losing is their right to liberty (given that’s what prison is for).

This genius then came back to me, proclaiming

Since when have convicted pedophiles earned the right to be called a human being? A person should forfeit their human rights when they fail to recognise some 1 else’s human rights. Especially that of a defenceless young kid. U r the kinda PC waster that I was referring to. Let’s all hug a criminal!!!!!

I don’t respond well to being called a waster, let’s say from this point my back is up. People like this are the reason the death penalty still exists in the US. Western justice has failed, it’s easy to see and source facts for. Look at Scandinavian countries, who see the person, not the crime and do not see them as sub-human. Their focus on rehabilitation has been proven to work. Their recidivism rates are among the lowest in the world, and why? Because their prison does not build the criminal culture which exists in prisons in other countries in the Western world. You can’t just lock people up at the state’s expense and leave them. That’s no good for anyone.

This man believes in animal testing. He quotes facts from the Speaking of Research page, quotes sources and then conveniently forgets his love of evidence when it came to discussing rehabilitation of offenders. He then took to trying to utterly insult me, which truly, I laughed and fumed at in equal measure.

I’m not talking about rehabilitation… I wouldn’t waste time and tax payers money trying to! Pedophiles and murderers convicted beyond reasonable doubt deserve only to be put out of their misery!!! It really is twats like u that would wana send a “rehabilitated” pedophile back out into society to destroy another persons life all over again. Would u have a “rehabilitated” pedophile as ur neighbour? Would u have 1 teaching YOUR young family members? Would u be cool with 1 running a sweet shop? No u wouldn’t! This is where I disprove ur faith in “Rehabilitation” and show u for just another P.C hypocrite do-gooder…. And if ur answer to my above questions are YES, then I truly hope u never have the responsibility of any minor in ur hands. Would u trust a convicted rehabilitated pedophile alone with ur child???

Bad spelling and grammar aside, I wanted to facepalm on his behalf. It’s easy to see that rehabilitation is not a waste of money or time. People (aside from those who’re fighting to be euthanised) do not deserve to be “put out of their misery”. Committing a crime does not take away a person’s right to a life. Then, the truth becomes a figment of his memory, forgetting fact altogether! Anyone convicted of a sexual offence against a minor would not be given a job in a school (surely that would just be common sense). So, because I believe in rehabilitation of offenders of any sort, I’m not safe to have children?

For the record, if someone convicted of a sexual offence with a child involved has been proven to be rehabilitated – why should they be treated with distrust for the rest of their lives? Marginalising people isn’t going to keep them from re-offending.

For a bit of shameless promotion, the latest post on diaryofafailedhuman basically backs up my point. If you’re going to debate facts and then forget them, you’re really not worth bothering with. I’m tolerant to a fault, but if you insult me, prepare to feel the wrath of my tongue.

It Appears I May Be Turning This Blog…

…onto what appears to be Feminist Highway. This wasn’t always the intention of mine, though recently, the men who’ve come to my attention in the past few days appear to have all lost their minds, and I couldn’t keep from writing about them.

It’s actually infuriating.

On certain nights on channel 4, they show a little five minute segment after the national news which is supposed to be informative and current. Last night was somewhat different. At just prior to 8pm last night, Reverend George Curry appeared on screen to ask whether showing skin is a sin. As he said “My naked body is for my wife to see, and her naked body is for me to see”, which seems like a reasonable enough statement to make (if he had stopped talking immediately after that). However, Rev. Curry went on to talk about how immoral it was for a woman to go out showing skin “baring skin is a sin”.

I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on that.

As I posted on twitter during this man’s railing against women wearing skirts (OH MY GOD), I bet that Rev. Curry goes out without a shirt when it’s hot outside and shows off his burger nipples to the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to walk around topless (I actually quite happen to like wearing pretty underwear and nice clothes, they make me feel more attractive, and thus I think I come across more confidently), but if women are expected to walk around covered from head-to-toe all the time, shouldn’t men? If it’s hot outside, I’m going to wear short shorts and floaty skirts because I like it and it keeps me cool. I’m not trying to attract a man or make him think about “impure” things. If I go out at the weekend with my female friends (albeit, not that often at the moment), we all go out dressed nicely, in short skirts, shorts, dresses and high heels. None of us are “inviting rape”, contrary to the opinions of several men who’ve crossed my twitter feed/TV screen/wordpress timeline have said. I honestly can’t believe the culture of rape apologists, “slut” shaming and victim blaming.

As I have said in my previous blogs, and in my letter to Missouri senate candidate Representative Todd Akin, no woman ever deserves to be raped. It’s nothing about the clothes she wears, it’s not about a woman flirting and giving the wrong impression. Guys can give the wrong impression too, you know? “I’ll call you”. Does that sound familiar, men of the one night stand game? Is the woman right to force herself onto you? No, right. So why the fuck can it possibly be a woman’s fault that you’ve taken advantage of her because she’s not strong enough to fight you off?

I think, with the weather taking a nice turn to sunshine for the first time since May, I’ll be taking full advantage of being able to show off my milky white flesh. Fuck you, Reverend George Curry, I’ll be wearing what I want.