“He lives in a world where the highest compliment you can give a woman — even your own daughter — is that you would sleep with her.” Alexandra Petri, Washington Post

The usual news and politics interest took a back seat this past fortnight, as I had other things on my mind. Since my mother died two weeks ago, I’m having trouble understanding how everyone is still going about their business. I stop and stare at people catching trains, buying grapefruits or commenting on news, wondering how they can just carry on.

But today, and her behalf, I have to re-engage. Because I am raging.

I am a feminist. So was my mother. She taught me my body and mind are my own, and no one takes advantage of either. She taught me to respect other people’s views, religions, cultures and sexuality, but most of all to respect myself.

Perhaps because my friends and loved ones are of the same opinion and my selective news sources reflect my own views, I got complacent. I assumed the sexism thing was on the way out.


Mum and her grandaughter, Ellie.

Scenario A:

Well-known friend and I attend an awards ceremony. Two magazine editors approach and ask if my friend would do a centrefold for their magazine.

She: “Sorry, not my kind of thing.”

He: “Why not? Seriously? Because I’d do you. Really, I would.”

Scenario B:

I interview a writer I admire. I share a clip with my writers’ forum.

Female #1: Good interview! I think he fancied you.

Male: Course he did. She’s well fit.

Female #2: (Quotes male) Nice!

Male: (To Female #2) Oh, you’re well fit too.

Scenario C:

Friend posts on Facebook:

95% of women have intelligent DNA in them. Unfortunately most of them spit it out.

Three points:

  1. Trump’s comments about ‘grabbing pussy’ and ‘do whatever you want’ are not an archaeological find from 1975. It’s typical of a certain kind of contemporary discourse which MAKES WOMEN’S LIVES SHITTIER. Including those of the daughters and wives quoted above.
  2. Not all men talk and think this way.  See Jackson Katz. Many men are angered and offended by this casual demeaning of half the population, who call out this kind of attitude and reject ‘easy’ sexism.
  3. Trump should be allowed to make a total arse of himself. Exposure works two ways and some volunteer personal embarrassment daily. Go right ahead, Donald the Dickhead.

Trump and his ilk want us to go backwards – knuckle-dragging, hair-pulling, tribal-warring, meaningless grunting – so I’m sticking my not-very-high heels in on behalf of my mother and all my sisters and saying NO.

The women (and men) in my family, my friends and associates are all brilliant, talented, funny, capable, nurturing, articulate, powerful, self-defining, imaginative, strong, sensitive and a million other things. The last thing on our minds is whether Trump and his locker-room boys consider us fuckable.

Not in a million years, Donald.

So you and the lads can lock yourselves in and fuck off.

PS: Sorry for swearing, Cooty, but I think you’d understand.






We haven’t come a long way, we’ve come a short way.  If we hadn’t come a short way, no one would be calling us baby.  ~Elizabeth Janeway

Maybe it’s because I’m poorly, but I’m having a ‘What’s the point?’ day today.

A couple of months ago, amid some good-natured disagreement about the lyrics of Eminem, I asked if some kind of time slip had occurred and the 80s had never happened.

That feeling is back.

I recall fighting sexism and wearing the feminist tag with pride in 1985. Back then I thought that if we hadn’t exactly won the battle, we’d claimed some decent territory. And in the words of Yazz, The Only Way Is Up.

I may have erred on the optimistic side. In 2011, I have the distinct impression that sexism is IN again. Much like wearing fur. (Oooh, don’t get me started.) What next? Is slavery set for a comeback?

Didn’t we achieve something in the last twenty-five years in the field of gender equality? Or am I, like Bobby Ewing, emerging dripping and confused from a particularly colourful dream?

Firstly, this.


One of Catherine Hakim’s outlandish assertions, and they are legion, is that women have been prevented from “capitalising on their erotic potential” by Christianity, feminists and patriarchs. Now there’s a conspiracy theory I’d not heard before.

I came away with the reassuring message that if only I starve myself, get a manicure, whiten my teeth, maintain a fake tan and cut my tops as low as is decent, I too can marry a footballer.

Part of the problem is the acceptability of casual sexism disguised as irony. http://www.periscopepost.com/2011/09/topman-pulls-nice-new-girlfriend-what-breed-is-she-t-shirt-after-twitter-outrage/

Yes, Sir Philip Green will be doing without my hard-earned quids from now on (I can hear him sobbing all the way from Monaco), but the worst element is that his design team thinks this will appeal to today’s young Top Man. And I’ll bet they’ve done their research. My little sister, who now works with women escaping domestic violence, will be thrilled.

Finally (by which I mean this is the last link I’m going to share, a thousandfold more instances await the half-arsed surfer), a shining example of how to sell a woman’s book. (Women’s book, book by woman, book about being a woman – what’s the difference, guys?)


Even the author thought it typical of the shallow, frivolous covers of most “commercialwomensfiction” which is publisher-speak for chick-lit. The awful irony is that Courtney’s book attempts to expose the reduction of women to sexual caricatures and culture of misogny prevalent in ‘lads’ magazines. No wonder she’s saying Ta-ta to Rupert Murdoch and going back to self-publishing.

I have to go now. I need to apply some fake tan and find my Wonderbra.