the thing my mother taught me about love

at 16:06

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Regular readers will know that my mother and I are incredibly close. We talk about everything, from politics to my choices concerning contraceptives. The one thing we've never really talked about, and no doubt will never really talk about is what it is to be in love. She doesn't feel qualified. Now she'll tell me that she and Grumpy (my wonderful step-father, the man whose name I wear with boundless pride) knew within the second time they met that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together but she never described it as "falling in love". In fact she has only ever spoken about falling in love once.

We were in the car years ago, long before she and Grumpy met, on the drive to school and a song came on the radio. She said that this is what falling in love should feel like and there were tears in her eyes when she said it because she'd never had it. That same song came on to my ipod just now, and there were tears in my eyes this time because now she really does. I thought you might like it if I shared the song with you, it's by the Mamas and Papas:

Once I believed that when love came to me
It would come with rockets, bells and poetry
But with me and you it just started quietly and grew
And believe it or not
Now there's something groovy and good
Bout whatever we got
And it's getting better
Growing stronger warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday
I don't feel all turned on and starry eyed
I just feel a sweet contentment deep inside
Holding you at night just seems kind of natural and right
And it's not hard to see
That it isn't half of what it's going to turn out to be
Cause it's getting better
Growing stronger, warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday
And just like a flower that takes time to bloom
This love of ours is taking time to grow
Ba da da da da da da da da da da da
And I don't mind waitin', don't mind waitin'
Cause no matter how long it takes
The two of us know
That it's getting better
Growing stronger, warm and wilder
Getting better everyday, better everyday
I think I have to say that I think she was right.

on retalliation

at 10:34

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Just a quick post this piece on Jezebel made me think a little. I'm fierce about my personal space when out in public, quite frighteningly so sometimes, and I do seem to have a little bit of a rep amongst my male friends as being fairly scary. I don't think I am, I'm only 5'3" and I look about fourteen but apparently this has to come from somewhere (I think it's cause I look like I might bite if poked at).

Anyways, because of my "if you talk to me I will make you wish you had never been born" death glare (took years to perfect, totally worth it) and "Fuck off I'm taken" vibes I very, very rarely get hassled in bars. On the few occasions I have been groped though I have a very clear course of action

1. Politely request that the groper stop groping me.
2. Tell the groper that their continued groping of me despite my very kind request is making me uncomfortable and ask again for them to stop.
3. Inform the groper that I have now asked them twice to cease their inappropriate behaviour.
4. Put my heel through the groper's foot.

I have done this in clubs, (the first time I was actually wearing my favourite pair of stiletto boots, that had to be re heeled so many times that eventually I just said "fuck it, we'll go with the metal tips", this happened after that) and although it is probably not very nice and violence is bad mkay it is a) incredibly satisfying and b) not like I didn't give the guy ample warning.

On the street is another matter however. I am of the "make an absolutely huge fuss" school of thinking, I don't lash out unless I feel really threatened but I'm going to make damned sure that every single other person around me knows what's going on, even if they completely ignore me. One example of this is the time I was standing minding my own business entirely and waiting for a bus on a crowded street a guy in his sixties walked up to me from behind and actually wrapped his arms around me. Needless to say I was freaked. My response was to kick backwards, wrench myself forwards and question at the top of my lungs just what the fuck he thought he was doing. I continued berating him even as he slunk off, mainly because when my brain shuts down my mouth tends to run on its own steam. It was not a nice experience but shit like that happens all the time in London. One of my best friends, S, once had a guy sit next to her on an empty bus, pinning her in against the window and start jacking off while looking straight at her and grinning.

And that's when I really falter: when men expose themselves. I'm not quite sure what to do then. For some reason when it's someone directly assaulting my sense of personal space I can handle it but if it's not aimed directly at me I'm at a loss. And even if it is aimed at me I'm not able to handle it, I just tend to try and move away as quickly as possible - which is weird for a usually gobby cow such as myself.

Thoughts? Stories? Comments? Suggestions on how to deal with this kind of thing?

WaPo... you disappoint me.

at 15:58

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

So I got a very lovely email from Megbon, a Pajibite and apparent Ink&Apples reader (I got a tip! I feel so unameteurish!) about an op ed piece in the Washington Post, on my very favourite subject.

Aaaah yes. The article is predictably one sided, narrow minded and poorly researched. I wonder where we've seen that before?

Instead of going through the article and ranting (essentially copying and pasting my post I linked to above) I thought today we'd play a little game of bingo with my Write Your Own Tattoo Themed "News" Story post.

Here's how it works (we all know how much I love inventing rules)

The categories are as follows:

Title - Worth one point
Photo - Worth one point
Text - in terms of topics 1-3 = one point, 4-6 = two points, 7-9 = three points, all ten = a whopping five points
Factfile - one point for either
Comments - 1-4 = two points, 5-8 = five points

Bonus points: Article not provoked by a relevant item in the news (not counting "trend pieces") - two points.

This gives a maximum score of 10 for articles without comments, 15 for articles with them.

Let's see how Richard Cohen fares

Title: "Ink-Stained Wretchedness"? Hell yes, that's worth a point
Photo: Sadly none for the online edition. Nil points.
Text: I count five, which is understandable - the fun and unbalanced articles don't need to give you information about the actual process or artform! Two points
Factfile: None. Nil Points.
Comments: Oh god, this hurt. This really really hurt.

Although I would like to nominate the following for BEST COMMENT EVAR!!!!11 award

Soloman proposed in the Proverbs, some 3000 years ago, that understanding, character and sincerity contribute to wisdom. Wisdom and purity of spirit, he said, were the noblest goals of mankind.

American womankind, in our own peculiar days of ignorance, however, has her own ideas and ambitions. She is desecrating her body with a single-minded ugliness, both in body fat and in written body language, that emanates from the wellsprings of personal disaffection.

In time a mirror will reveal to her the kinship of her body and her soul. For knowledge is a mirror, for us to see ourselves as what we are, and what we would hope to be. What we would hope to be is surely what our children, and their children would wish us to be. They are our mirrors.

Seriously? That's amazing. A piece of art one might say, truly. I stand in awe.

Anyway! I had to stop reading on page three, partly because I'd already reached the threshold for maximum points by the middle of the second page and partly because I think I was about to burst a few blood vessels and I think I probably need them

Needless to say - five points.

Bonus points: Oh hell yes, two points for you Mr Cohen! I think one of the commenters says it best:
Wow, nice job staying relevant, Washington Post. I'm sure people are going to keep paying for your increasingly crappy newspaper with gems like this!


So how did he do?

10 out of a possible 15 points! But don't despair you have to say at least one positive thing to even be eligible for a perfect score.

(for those interested Simon Mills scored a whopping 9 out of 10 points, managing to make even the articulate quotes have a negative spin on them. There were no comments on the piece but I think he deserves special mention for mentioning five out of a possible eight commenter opinions within the text of the article itself.

Stay classy, Simon. Stay classy.)

finally, the food post

at 21:24

Thursday, 17 July 2008

A note on this post: I've made references to my eating disorder on this blog before but never really explained it. I was reading Shapely Prose today (it was in my head, yet again. God damn I love that blog), namely this post about calories. I was going to explain how I often find myself looking at the calorie content of foods and why that bothered me. And I started trying to explain why I should be loving food now and enjoying it - possibly even more so than most people - and to do so I added some parenthesis to explain. The following is what was in those parenthesis, I've never written about it before and aside from the occasional comment about my "problem with food" I don't really talk about it. My family treat it mostly as a rather awkward joke, now that I'm safely out of the other side and very few of even my closest friends understand much more than "[I] used to be fussy". Take it as you will.

I've had long and torturous struggles with food all my life, it started when I was three years old and continued right into adulthood. I got slightly better at sixteen, around the time I started eating meat but the problem wasn't cured. I just had a slightly wider array of set meals to cycle through. Then, in May of last year, I started eating. Really eating. Not just forcing food down my throat because I had to, or gorging myself on junk because sweets were the only thing that really tasted good but really, truly eating.

I used to have a food phobia, to the extent where if I didn't know, and like, every single ingredient within a dish I would not touch it. That wasn't as simple as it sounds either. The following is a small sample of the foods I did not like

Avocados, any kind of fish, bananas, mushrooms, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, beans, pears, broccoli, lentils, chick peas, sweetcorn, aubergines, courgettes, milk, eggs, brown bread, seafood, cheese that wasn't cheddar, seafood of all varieties, coconut, cherries, coffee, spinach, honey, marrow, melon, squash, leeks, cabbage, yoghurt... That's just the tip of the iceberg and oh yeah, and I was a vegetarian. The presence of any of these items even NEAR something I was meant to be eating rendered it completely untouchable.

But it was more than just that:

I wouldn't eat anything with a texture that wasn't as it should be. Cereal is meant to be crunchy therefore any sogginess whatsoever made it inedible, if I was persuaded to try yoghurt even one lump would make me retch, likewise custard. I couldn't eat icecream if it was even slightly melted and anything with "powdery" texture made me gag - I once didn't eat chips (my staple foodstuff) for two whole months because one had a slightly weird taste.

Even foods I liked weren't safe. A slight bruise on a strawberry would make me feel queasy, once a slice of apple browned it was no good to me (I once sat for nine hours - literally nine, it got dark and everything - at a picnic table while on holiday in France because I refused to eat the last bite of my cheese and apple baguette because the apple in it had browned. Good one Dad, if I wasn't going to eat it then I sure as hell wasn't going to eat it after it had been sitting in front of me for nine fucking hours). Slight charring on anything? Not a chance. It had to be just right, if a meal I loved wasn't served exactly how I was used to it I couldn't eat it. I cannot stress enough here how I'm not talking about wouldn't, I'm talking about actually, physically couldn't.

As you may have guessed forcing me to eat anything I didn't want to lead to me throwing up.

I latched on to any food I liked and would eat it two or three times per day, sometimes for several months, sometimes for a week, until I inexplicably "went off it". There was no rhyme or reason to me "going off" food I just did and nothing, upon nothing could change my mind. My mother, my ever loving long suffering Mother indulged me in this. We ate separate meals anyway (she lived off steamed fish and vegetables for most of my childhood - apparently problems with food run in the family) and it was much easier for her to cook me one of the four (or very occasionally five) meals that I would eat than to battle it out with me. I could happily go without food and an excuse to not eat supper would have actually been welcomed. For several months she baked an uber gooey chocolate fudge cake every single week - complete with fondant icing - because it was the only thing she could get me to eat for breakfast. I was fifteen.

And I got a little better in uni, I could pick bits I didn't like out of my food - or more accurately: pick out the few bits that I did. I developed a few staple dishes for restaurants so that I could always be sure to find something I could order. I hid it well, I managed it.

Food still sucked.

And then a year ago something snapped. It wasn't a gradual change but a sudden switch. I woke up hungover and dazed in the most inappropriate person's home that I possibly could have done. I was at the end of a massive spiral of bad behaviour and self sabotage. I dragged myself into the kitchen and numbly stared at the mug of coffee in front of me, coffee which I did not drink. As he placed the plate of food he'd made in front of me I was faced with my worst nightmare, scrambled eggs, burnt sausages, bacon with the fat left on, brown bread - toasted and charred at the edges and a heap of fried mushrooms glistening with oil. In that moment I had a single thought running through my mind and that thought was "fuck it".

From that day, from that moment I ate everything. I took bites out of things without even looking at them first (while I was digging into a Mediterranean salad in Pizza Express one day last summer my Mother cautiously asked what was on my fork. "I don't know" I replied taking a bite. "It's tasty though." This response brought her to tears), I learnt to cook (which, incidentally I rock at in the most amazing way), I thoroughly enjoy my food.

Which is why I went from a skinny size 8 (US size 4) in college to buying my first pair of size 14 (US 10) jeans last week. And I struggle with it sometimes, longtime readers may remember that at the beginning of this year I went on "a bit of a diet and exercise kick" (read: torture regime), and yeah I lost about working out for over two hours per day and eating less than 1200 calories. I get obsessive about it - Last November I dropped down to about 800 calories a day. My period stopped, I spent a good two months convinced that I was pregnant and no amount of pregnancy tests could convince me otherwise. My body is not meant to do that. The women in my family are soft, we have curves and round faces and really truly terrible arms. We have boobs and hips and look sodding awful in T shirts. I've started to accept this and, while finding someone who seems to think I'm gorgeous no matter how much I weigh or what I look like in skinny jeans does help, I'm still working on it.

Which is why I get upset with myself when I look at the calorie information on the side of the cheesecake I pick up in the shop, it's why I get pissed with my idiocy when the deciding factor between the duck wrap and the fajita chicken is because the duck has fewer grams of fat (no mayo you see), it's why I hate myself for feeling proud when I wasn't hungry all day. Because my problems with food never, ever, EVER stemmed from my wanting to be thin. Because I had issues and I got over them and now that I can finally enjoy the pleasure I spent almost two decades denying myself I find myself faltering. It's why I read Shapely Prose, and why my copy of The Beauty Myth is dog eared and underlined. I'm still trying to come to terms with all the baggage surrounding the issue but I think, I hope, I'm almost there.

Still, at times like today when I chose the duck wrap, when I considered skipping Naan bread because "I [didn't] really need it", when I feel guilty for having more than one slice of cheesecake because I felt like it I realise just how far I have to go.

so much awesome

at 22:07

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Go watch. Go on. I'll wait.

I know, right? So awesome I'm having trouble breathing.

fucking shove it

at 11:45

You know what, Simon Mills, why don't you crawl right back in to the hole you came from. Oh and take some journalism courses while you're in there. I hear the University of Phoenix offers some excellent distance learning programs, and you seem ideally suited to them. On said course you might like to learn a little something called fact checking and research! It's this super fun concept where when you write a bullshit opinion piece for the Telegraph (to be published in the oh so prestigious fashion section) you don't just pull the contents out of your arse!

Sounds great, huh?

I was angry reading your article, I really was. Phrases such as

"It is hard to argue that any of these irrefutably beautiful women has been anything but blighted - rather than enhanced - by her rash decision to become graffitied"
(So full of assumptions! So very patronising! So incredibly subjective!) and:
Most tattoos are the cheap plumage of the attention-seeker, visual ice breakers for last-chance barflies and aspiring reality TV show contestants. They certainly aren't scary or alternative any more. Now that they have been co-opted by the masses - the squares, the mortgaged, the Volvo drivers, the wusses and the girls - we have come to accept their fairground aesthetic in much the same way we have decided to allow Gordon Ramsay's pointless swearing.
(Oh no! Women get them, they are no longer valid! Also: Making sweeping generalisations about a sizable proportion of the population is fun and not at all hackish!) made me want to spit venom. But then I realised that essentially you are another irritating little man with an axe to grind, who for some reason takes offense at what people with no connection to you whatsoever do with their own bodies. Imagine that!

So now I kind of just feel bad for you. I'd still like you to go find that hole though.



ps. you know it is possible Pharrell Williams is having removal work done so that he can improve the tattoos he has, this is actually an incredibly common reason for laser treatment as people evolve and change and wish their artwork to do so too. (You might want to factor that in to the statistics you're so fond of.) But it's cool though, if you want to keep making assumptions about the motivations of people you've never met I won't stop you.

pps. Spur of the moment flash ripped from the wall is a leeeeetle different from custom designed artwork requiring hours of work and lashings of skill

ppps. So glad you enjoyed my article enough to really take it to heart and follow the advice within it. Maybe next week you could write a piece about how maligned the White Middle Aged Male is, I hear that's pretty topical right now.

Update: apparently I wasn't the only person the Telegraph pissed off today.

on tattoos, beauty and perception

at 12:16

Saturday, 12 July 2008

The Boy says:
so welche blog was dem crappy comment?
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
on mine
The Boy says:
ink and apples?
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
And I quote:
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
"I gotta say it. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman's bare back, and there are millions of men who may fall in love with you but will find your artwork revolting. It's a done deal now, but it's a little heartbreaking."
The Boy says:
did u delete it?
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
No, it's on an old post
The Boy says:
from way back when? why did it upset u then?
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
Just cause, it's an issue I've dealt with before. I've been told by male friends that my tattoos pretty much make me hideous
The Boy says:
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
and it's never nice when someone searches out an old post and leaves a comment to say how sad it is that I've ruined myself
The Boy says:
if someone cannot be arsed to go beyond that then their loss
The Boy says:
heck one day you may get a tattoo I dislike or find aesthetically displeasing but it wont make you hideous ugly or likely to murder babies
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
The Boy says:
tho that last point may become necessary to curb the gene pool
The Boy says:
of utter stupidness
The Boy says:
so get a tattoo like that, yeah I like
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
I was going to say: cause baby murdering totally sounds like something I would do
The Boy says:
but tbh, if you get a tattoo that isnt amazing or that doesnt "work" then.... well it's your choice and peoples ideas of you shouldnt change
The Fabulous Miss Odd says:
The Boy says:
if someone loses a limb (other END of the scale, i know) does that make them hideous? i doubt it

women and tattoos

at 09:50

Friday, 11 July 2008

A couple of articles were published today on the subject of women and tattoos. The first is, predictably, completely fucking dreadful. But I'm going to cut it some slack because it sounds like the kind of thing a junior researcher wrote at three am while wired up on coffee and under the instruction to "make it sexy" (because seriously there's no other explanation: Women like butterflies! And hearts! Dolphins are meaningful! Stars are cute! That splintering noise you can hear is my teeth grinding by the way).

The second article, from my favourite newspaper, is actually much better. Despite a false start ("Once seen as a macho world of bikers and seedy basement parlours" which I'm convinced they actually have to put in articles on tattoos in order to get them published) the piece focuses on some of the awesome female tattoo artists working today. Of course, the first artist they have to mention is Kat Von D I mean, fair enough, she's incredibly high profile but the woman irritates the hell out of me. And I've never even seen an episode of her reality show. I think it's something to do with irresponsible and poor quality tattooing under the guise of breaking a world record or possibly having a makeup range at Sephora (because, seriously?) but whatever.

More importantly the article also talks about Saira Hunjan, a woman whose work actually makes me drool. And even more importantly than that the artist I want for my eventual full left leg tattoo based primarily on this lovely lady's description.

I suggest you go and read the whole thing. It's worth a look.

In other tattoo related news: Want. The Boy (unoriginal moniker I know, but it's how I refer to him in my head anyways) has been talking about wanting a new set of tarot cards for ages, and I'm thinking of adding to my collection. I may have to buy a couple of sets next month when I have some cash because: wow. Pretty.

the intersection of feminism and kink

at 21:52

Monday, 7 July 2008

You'll have to forgive me now dear readers (all two of you left - I abandoned you! I'm sorry! I blame this place and the very nice young gentleman who bullied me into playing with him there. It's sucking up my time and energy in the most awesome way imaginable) while I talk about two of my very favourite things: Sex and gender politics.

Those of a nervous/prudish/overly excitable disposition may want to look away now.

A recent feature on kink published on The F Word (a superb UK based Feminist blog that I highly recommend you check out) and the presence of a new(ish) man in my life* (who I am pretending is not reading this so that I can make my point) have led to me feeling the need to articulate an opinion. Stay with me on this, I have a point. Honest.

So here's the thing: I've always been kind of a natural submissive. I think this is partially to do with being an absolute control freak in every other area of my life but mainly it's because I'm just really, really lazy. The way I saw it as a younger woman was thusly: if you're being restrained you're not doing any of the work and really, what could be nicer?

Then I got a older and a little wiser and realised that it was slightly more complex than that and loss of control was probably a major factor. And then I got older and a lot wiser and realised that serious levels of trust (and some strict ground rules) were the only thing that made that loss of control work on any kind of non-horrendous level.

Then I started learning more about Feminism and things got more complicated. Because on an academic level I know that female submission is highly fetishised by society (for an incredibly decent summary of why this is the Sex chapter in The Beauty Myth is an absolute must read) and that while deeply personal my own kinks could be treading into dodgy political territory. Because I spent so long completely ignoring my own internal and political belief systems it's very important to me at the moment that I figure out how everything fits in with my world view. Now, I'm aware that not everything fits together but somehow understanding why it is that certain elements of my personality do or do not gel with one another gives me a much better explanation of who I am as a whole. So the submission thing bothered me a great deal, I fully believe in political, social and economical equality so the fact that I could believe in what seemed to me, at the time, to be sexual inequality was a very disturbing thought. Although, it never felt unequal to me, which may have made my upset over the matter worse.

And that's why the article I mentioned struck such a cord with me. I've read Feminist discussions on sex before and always found that while enlightening they're also very, very confusing. Which is why I found Kit Roskelly's piece so affecting. Especially the following section, which is something I've thought in the past but been unable to articulate:

The power exchange is carefully negotiated and considered beforehand. It is paradoxically true that the submissive is more in control of any scene played than the dominant partner. Dom/mes take on a controlling role because they are interested in the sub enjoying the scene. They may also get an erotic thrill out of the scene they are performing, but the submissive controls the direction of the scene through negotiation and holds the ultimate veto, the safe-word, if the scene does not work out. The power-play is illusory.

Her point about the power of the dominant partner being an illusion is a good one as without the express permission of the other participant they wouldn't have that power in the beginning. The submissive in effect hands the power over to the dominant partner. It is a gift and one which can easily be revoked. I find that dichotomy alone endlessly fascinating, even without the other factors involved.

The point above also went quite a long way to helping me figure out why I have, in the past, been in certain situations that in theory I would have enjoyed but found myself, well "hating" may be too strong a term but... yeah, I'm going to go for "hating" actually. Which was an interesting revelation to receive so long after the fact.

So yes. That's my musing for the evening. Opinions? Comments? You know what to do.

*I am, incidentally, taking suggestions for how to refer to him in blog land as the moniker Mr TheOdd has been taken and soiled by the dreaded (and still apparently psychic) ex. Obviously I can't just use his initial as that's actually what I call him and hence wrong. So yes: answers on a postcard (or, you know, in the comments section.)

the thing about normality

at 14:37

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

So here's how it works. Some people are just resolutely normal. Vanilla, regular, decent, straight edged: however you want to put it they move in the same direction as the rest of society.

And I'm not saying that's a bad thing.

It's just that sometimes these people, these lovely ordinary folks don't quite understand what it's like to be, well, Odd.

My flatmates are two such people. I love them to death, I really truly do, they are the closest thing I have to family here in London and my life would be an utterly worse place without them - G makes me sandwiches every single morning, worries about me when I'm out late and makes sure I eat when I'm home in the evenings. B and I share bottles of wine and cheesecake while we watch stand up comedy and catch each other up on our lives (we live together but only spend time actually together once every month or so, out lives don't cross paths for more than half an hour at the time). They are my best friends, my caretakers and my confidantes.

And yet.

They don't understand what it is to be weird.

They are both incredibly good looking people, they wear clothes that are cool but not overly fashionable. They go to work during the week, at weekends they go out with friends and they visit family. They love sports and blockbuster movies. They spend sunny Sundays at the park, they go on holidays abroad twice a year. She reads popular fiction, he goes running, they watch TV if it's on and occasionally they buy a series on DVD. She straightens her hair before a night out, he lifts weights to keep in shape.

They are normal.

They don't understand what it is to be weird. 99% of the men that B meets in her day to day life will understand her interests, they understand that she likes to go shopping occasionally and loves romantic comedies and that sometimes she goes out with the girls for an evening. The same goes for G, girls will always understand that he wants to go to the park to play football, that he wants to go to the pub to watch rugby with the boys. These things are expected.

So they don't understand what it's like for me when I find someone else who has read the collected work of Tad Williams, or Girl Genius or Runaways. Who knows what it is for the self doubt to stop only when the words are flowing onto the screen. Who gets that sometimes it doesn't matter if it's sunny outside, all you want to do is hole up and play video games for nine hours straight. That spending all day in bed with a new book isn't a waste of a Sunday. That living in a made up universe might actually be healthy. That rush of connection when I meet a new person who is just like me.

They don't understand how I can feel close to people I've never met, purely because they love the same movies as me. How I can instantly fall in love with someone because they don't think my keeping a journal is weird and overindulgent. How I can know someone I've never even spoken to because I read their blog and it touches me.

They don't understand how it makes me feel when someone tells me how much they love my tattoos. They don't understand because they just have skin like everyone else, they may have hangups and insecurities but nothing about them inspires a visceral reaction in others, nothing about them has the power to repulse on sight.

For them it's easy. You find someone attractive, you get to know them and provided you match on the big things, raising kids, religion, politics, the details all just work themselves out.

They don't understand that for me it's the other way around. The details come first. I fall in love with the words, with the ideas, with the mutual acceptance. After that part, everything else is easy.

the backlash against feminism

at 11:11

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

There's a fantastic article in the Guardian today, written by Kira Cochrane who is one of my ever present girl crushes. The article is huge in scope and covers a massive variety of frightening topics including rape conviction rates, inequalities in the work place, the shocking lack of funding for women's charities (I've read the statistic a million times but it still enrages me that sick donkeys get more money than battered women on this isle of mine), the increasing prevelance of the sex trade and my own pet subject:

In gossip magazines, women's bodies are pored over - a pound gained provoking headlines that they're fat, a pound lost leading to headlines that they're too thin. Circles are drawn around a spot on their ankle where they've failed to apply fake tan, around a bitten nail or a tiny, incipient wrinkle beside their eye - which could just be a stray lash. What is implicit but unsaid is that there is no objective standard of beauty, no level of perfection that a woman could reach at which her body would be perceived as acceptable and in control. In the eyes of these magazines, a healthy body mass index could be considered seriously plump. A woman deemed too fat in one magazine could, on the basis of exactly the same picture, be deemed too thin by another magazine. The constant message is that women's bodies are not our own. They belong to everyone but us, and are there to be picked apart. Women can try to curry favour, come up to snuff, spend hours like, say, Madonna, working out, perfecting themselves. But there's then every chance that they will be derided for the veins on their hands. There's something essentially depressing about women being derided for their veins

I suggest you go and read the whole thing, I'm already trying to work out a way of forcing everyone I come into contact with into reading and understanding it. Maybe that would make my day to day interactions bearable.

UPDATE: Apparently the ladies over at Jezebel agree with me.