Misogynistic Advertising Walk of Shame: The Victoria Secrets Barcode Puzzle Box

So, I’m way behind the times on these ads since they apparently date back to the summer of 2011. They have, however, just appeared in my FB news feed via Any-Body, who are an organisation well worth following. These ads are so disturbing that I’m not quite sure where to start. Victoria’s Secret having been pushing the boundaries of television and advertising for several years now making the sexualisation and objectification of women’s bodies mainstream in a way Hugh Hefner tried but didn’t quite get. They used to air the annual Victoria Secrets Fashion show on TV in the US; a program full of nearly nude women with angel wings conflating sexuality with religious iconography. I have no idea if they still do and I really don’t want to google it to find out. 

These interactive billboards bring Victoria Secret’s misogyny to a whole new level. Granted we all know that if you click on the bar code, the pictures of the model sent to your phone won’t actually be naked [although it won’t be long before the violent pornographers join in with this] but the idea itself is just horrific. It further reduces women’s bodies into parts for titillation. Its the 21st century version of the peep show on a bus stop for small children. That way we indoctrinate boys into believing women are nothing but fucktoys and teach girls they have no value except as fucktoys

The fact that women’s bodies are a game, a puzzle to be solved in the view of children demonstrates just how little value we have. 

The fact that these ads, which are pornographic, are in the view of children and children are invited to play the game shows how little respect we have for our children. Instead of allowing them to grow up and discover their sexuality safely, we have constructed and constrained sexuality. We have narrowed it to women as object; men as subject.

@Daniel Tosh: Perpetuating Rape Culture

Rape jokes are Patriarchal silencing techniques. People who laugh at rape jokes are those who haven’t thought about the consequences of their laughter on rape victims and rape culture and those who don’t think rape matters. Increasingly, I’m beginning to believe that its the second group who are the most numerous.

So, here’s a bit old hint: if you laugh at jokes about rape, you are perpetuating rape culture. You tell rapists that its okay to rape; that rape is nothing but a silly little thing that women whinge about. Every time you laugh at a rape joke, you tell a rape victim their trauma doesn’t count. With every snort, you tell women that they have no right to expect to bodily autonomy. With every snigger, you tell a woman its her fault she was raped. With every giggle, you tell women that their bodies are nothing more than disposable fucktoys for men.

Laughing at jokes about rape is women-hating behaviour. It reinforces and perpetuates rape culture which results in 1 in 4 women being raped. It reinforces sexual assault and sexual harassment. It creates a society where women don’t matter. It tells women not to bother reporting their rapes because no one will care.

There is a petition here to have Comedy Central stop airing programs by Daniel Tosh. Let’s start silencing the perpetrators of rape culture instead of the victims.

The text of the petition letter is as follows:

Take Daniel Tosh off the air

Daniel Tosh, offensive jokester extraordinaire, crossed the line a few days ago in a comedy club. During a skit in which he made jokes about rape, a young woman stood up in protest of the offensive jokes. In response, Daniel Tosh “joked” about how “funny” it would be if she were to be raped by “like five guys” right then. His jokes continued and the laughter in the club grew so loud that the young woman had to flee in fear.

This takes offensive joking to the next level. Tosh did not simply make jokes about rape, which is bad enough as it is, but he used his jokes in a threatening way that a young woman ran away to maintain her safety. He used his jokes to silence a person who was concerned with the nature of them.

This is not a man that deserves to be revered and aired daily. He is tasteless, offensive in nature, and proud of it. There should be no pride in humiliating and scaring other people. His fauxpology on Twitter was hardly sincere and only serves to show us how much he cares about himself, but not for other people. Bad things do happen, and yes, you CAN make jokes about them, but that doesn’t mean you should. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you get to decide if anyone should be offended by them.

This petition is to get Daniel Tosh and his show, Tosh.0, taken off the air permanently. No new episodes, no reruns, no comedy specials. Period.

Our petition has already reached over 8,000 signatures. Is that something you can ignore?

Misogynistic Advertising Walk of Shame: Sheba. You Know, The Cat Food.

First of all, Eva Longoria should NOT be dancing in a cat food commercial. She’s a talented actress and this is a pile of misogynistic pooh. But, seriously, who thought this up? She’s basically doing a strip tease for her cat. I mean, I love my cat but I don’t strip for her as a pre-dinner show. She’s a cat. She just wants to eat. At no point, did she sign up for a lap dance. But, hey, if we can’t objectify women’s bodies during a cat food commercial, when can we? 

Welcome to the Patriarchy: where even cats deserve the right to objectify and dehumanise the bodies of women. 

Look! More Offensive Clothing. This Time For Babies.

I love Twitter. Where else would I come across such examples of sartorial elegance for babies. Well, I didn’t find them. It was @OSLioness who found them on Amazon. 

Available here

Available Here
Now, I know Mumsnet has an undeserved reputation for judginess, but I’m going to have to hoick up my judgey-pants here. If you put your kid in one of these, I’m going to assume you’re a nincompoop. 

Dearest Vagina, Once Again I have Failed You.

Dearest Vagina,

Once again I have failed you. I have previous form for neglecting you. I neither shave you nor vajazzle you. I refused to purchase the completely bizarre “smoothethegroove” in order to make you look more fuckable to men who are stupid. Unfortunately, and I think this goes without saying, I will also not be buying the 18 Again cream which is supposed to make you “tighter” and resemble the vagina of a virgin. It doesn’t matter if the cream is made of the natural ingredients of “gold dust, aloe vera, almond and pomegranate”. You will not experience the pleasure of the cream anywhere near you. 

Weirdly, I like you just the way you are: having birthed two children. I don’t want to “feel like a virgin” either. I like being me: a woman whose body has changed and developed through age and experience. I know this means I will continue to fail the Patriarchal Fuckability Test. But, really, when have I actually passed the PFT? And, who really wants to have sex with a man who is only aroused by the anorexic body of an only-just-not-quite-a-teenager? An adult male who dates 18 year olds has some serious psycho-sexual issues they need to deal with. Who really wants to have sex with someone like that? Who wants to be with a man who only wants to marry a virgin?

So, you will remain unshaven and unvajazzled and without your own special wardrobe or creams. You will just have to remain you. After all, isn’t that the point of every Disney Princess movie ever? Or, something like that. I’m sure.


The One Where I Publicly Thank Jeremy Clarkson For Proving My Point

Who knew there’d actually be a day when I’d have to thank Jeremy Clarkson for anything? He is a misogynistic arsewipe of epic proportions whose “opinions” are merely abusive and arrogant twaddle. Why he’s given a public platform for anything is beyond me. Nor do I get the obsession with cars in general. Yes, they are useful for travelling with small children and assorted paraphernalia, moving furniture and lugging groceries. Other than that, they are pretty much environmentally destructive and, frequently, unnecessary status symbols; especially the penis replacement versions favoured by Clarkson.

But, Clarkson has proved useful in one area. He’s just withdrawn an injunction he took out against a former spouse preventing her from publishing statements about their marriage. Now, this is the self-aggrandising shite with which Clarkson came out as a “defence” for withdrawing the complaint: 

“I’ve overturned my own injunction – how cool is that? Injunctions don’t work, they’re completely pointless and unbelievably expensive. And due to a new interpretation of the law you might have to go to trial if you take an injunction out and that’s even more expensive.
“I thought ‘Just let her run about saying what she wants to say’ and people can say ‘I believe that or I don’t believe it’. Either way it makes no difference to me, it’s as simple as that. Frankly I’ve got more important things to worry about than a woman I was married to for five minutes 30 years ago. So now I have no stress of an injunction and I can look Ian Hislop in the eye.” 

The one thing Clarkson has never been and never will be is cool but I think I can let that particular delusion of his stand. But, let’s be honest here, he only withdrew it because social media has made injunctions and superinjunctions pointless. Whilst I am firmly on the right to privacy, I believe that injunctions [and confidentiality agreements] only protect those with power; usually that requires a penis. I don’t believe that we can expand the current laws on privacy and free speech  to protect women. We need to completely eradicate and rebuild the legal system so that those who aren’t white men are given equal protection without caveat or exclusion from the creation of the law rather than writing clauses to cover those excluded the first time round.

After all, does anyone really believe that Clarkson’s ex-wife would have been granted an injunction to prevent Clarkson speaking about her publicly? I sure don’t.

Normalising Rape Culture in Toddlers: The Lock Your Daughter Up T-Shirt

I regularly get told I’m over-thinking things. Hell, my mother just told me so at dinner when I was holding forth about superinjunctions and confidentiality agreements. I think they are nothing more than Patriarchal tools to permit rich, white men to sexually abuse women whilst giving those women no recourse in law. Apparently, this was over-thinking the issue. 

Anyway, we were at the St Johns Craft Fair. I may have mentally spent about £18 000 pounds. Just so much beautiful furniture, clothing, jewellery, and art; most of it made by women. There are so few spaces wherein women’s art has a chance to shine that being somewhere full of women’s art feels so incredibly special. The jewellery company Eclectic Shock was my favourite new find of the day. 

It was all extremely lovely right up until the point I found a t-shirt for a toddler with the ever-so-lovely maxim “Lock Up Your Daughters”. You know, because girls need to locked up and protected from would-be rapist toddlers. Erm, or instead of perpetuating rape culture in your baby sons, how about teaching them to respect themselves and women. How about teaching your sons that they are capable of acting like actual humans with empathy and kindness? How about teaching your sons that girls are humans too; that they are entitled to be treated with kindness and respect. 

The “Lock Up Your Daughters” t-shirt for toddlers is just the normalisation of rape culture. They aren’t funny or cute. They are just the same old misogynistic shite. Just this time using toddlers as advertising. I’ve never understood why people would dress their sons up like would-be rapists. I mean, what the hell else is that t-shirt supposed to mean? Seriously, someone tell it’s actually a silly reference to a TV show that I’ve never heard of or the name of some celebrities pet elephant or something.

Edinburgh International Book Festival: Still Reinforcing Cultural Femicide

I think its fairly self-evident that I love reading; certainly anyone who follows me on twitter is bombarded daily with my witterings on my favourite books. I also love the Edinburgh International Book Festival but, every year, I am disappointed by how white male-centric the festival is. This year is no different. I complained here about the official catalogue which made it pretty self-evident how few women would be speaking at the Festival; and, of that small number of women, how many were children’s authors. I love children’s literature but women don’t just write books for toddlers and teenagers. 

For a variety of reasons, yesterday was the first chance I’ve had to attend the Book Festival. I’d like to say I was surprised by the obvious display of cultural femicide but I wasn’t. The vast majority of pictures of authors on display were male. In the bookstores, the vast majority of books on the special displays and tables were by men; including the children’s bookstore. 

Now, I’m sure that the staff didn’t consciously make the decision to prioritise men’s writing but that’s how insidious cultural femicide is.  The privileging of men’s writing frequently happens at an unconscious level and is reinforced through the media and academia. The Book Festival’s choice to hang mostly photos of male authors may seem a small point but it’s the accumulation of such small decisions which harms women’s writing. It is just as problematic as literature departments in universities only using one or two novels by women a course so as not to alienate male students. It’s obviously not a problem to alienate the women students who, frequently, make up the majority of literature students in all languages.

The Festival’s continuing privileging of male writers just reinforces the notion that women’s writing is gender-specific and that fucks me off no end. As ever, I will fill in the comments box at the Festival [and the subsequent surveys] pointing out the erasure of women’s writing but I don’t expect things to change any time soon. After all, it would take someone seriously brave and radical to overhaul the Edinburgh Book Festival so it includes more than white men. I’m doing my part by only buying tickets to women writers and only buying books written by women.

These are the books I bought yesterday:

  • Lisa O’Donnell’s The Death of Bees
  • Monique Roffey’s With the Kisses of His Mouth: A Memoir
  • Pat Barker’s Union Street
  • Scarlett Thomas’ Popco
  • Scarlett Thomas’ The End of Mr Y
  • Lisa Cacho’s Slavery Inc. The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking
  • Catherine Rayner’s Sylvia and Bird
  • Catherine Rayner’s Ernest
  • Sue Hendra’s Barry the Fish With Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster
  • Kristina Stephenson’s Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Terrible Secret
The only author of adult books I’ve read before Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on The Green Bicycle which is a bloody brilliant book. We already own all of Kristina Stephenson’s Sir Charlie StinkySocks books and have seen her at the book festival in previous years. They are fab books.

Women Against Rape Seem To Have Forgotten We Are Supposed To Be Fighting The Patriarchy

Twitter Feminists are doing a very good job of dismantling the anti-woman rhetoric written by Women Against Rape in the Guardian today. The article is a pile of victim-blaming, rape excusing twaddle from two women who should know better: Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff. Any woman who writes this is victim-blaming:

It seems even clearer now, that the allegations against him are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction.

They are calling the two women liars. It doesn’t matter how much we want to pretend they aren’t, suggesting the charges are a “smokescreen” is calling two victims of sexualised violence liars. That is the territory of MRAs and their handmaidens. Not Feminists. Yeah, they try to minimise the impact by saying this without a trace of irony:

… the names of the women have been circulated on the internet; they have been trashed, accused of setting a “honey trap”, and seen their allegations dismissed as “not real rape”.

WAR are also calling the two women liars. They are suggesting it wasn’t real rape. By buying into Assange’s paranoid fantasies, they have effectively silenced two rape victims and trashed the reputation of their organisation. They are arguing precisely the same thing as MRAs. All for what, to line up to defend a whiny little tosser because they think he’s The Second Coming? Well, he isn’t. I know her and she’d kick the shit out of Assange.

Yeah, it might be true that Assange is being pursued with more vigour than most rapists are in the UK or in Sweden, but that’s hardly an excuse to dump the procedure against Assange. All rapists should be pursued this aggressively. Then, rape victims might actually get some justice. Instead, WAR have just made it a whole lot harder for women to get support. They have made it harder for other women to get convictions for rape.

 The whole article is a pile of paranoia and misinformation. WAR have just ensured that I won’t ever use them for support or refer friends to them. Anyone who writes that Wikileaks is more important than the bodily integrity of two women is no feminist. Wikileaks is more than one man and, frankly, it’s not like Assange’s reputation in Wikileaks is all that brilliant what with the whole dumping an Iranian leak into the shit without a backward glance.

Freedom of speech is meaningless if it only applies to rich white men’s rights to criticise governments. Supporting Assange at the expense of rape victims removes women’s right to bodily integrity. It removes our right to free speech. If that isn’t hypocrisy, then I don’t know what is.

Ode to the Doom Cats

This is written by lovely friend Philippa Molloy. It refers to a joke on Mumsnet many, many months ago; a joke which still makes me smile.

Ode to the Doom Cats

I am a doom cat of cognative dissonance

Fuck off, fuck off you awkward feminists
I see its my right to be marginalised or terrorised
Just cos my genitals don’t hang on the outside.
So what if I want to cook meals for my man
Ignoring the fact that if thats what I want
Feminism says I canI am a doom cat of cognative dissonance
Don’t make me feel awkward you nasty feminists.