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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Funerals and Words.

Where's my banner gone?!

Z and I went to Helen's funeral this morning. It was pretty harrowing, and the minister talking of new hope in God, and of Helen's demons was really not, NOT, appropriate for me. I actually wanted to shout at him several times, but of course didn't.

It wasn't just him, of course, that made it awful. The fact that we were at the funeral of such a good friend was the worst thing. She was too young, too kind, too funny, too... And she's gone. There's nothing like a coffin to bring that home with a punch to the stomach.

A few cans of Stella, too many cigarettes and a film have helped me through the evening. I just want the day to end now really.

In other news, according to Gender Genie, my Le Pen blog entry is female, my entry about Helen is female, my entry about Charliegrrl and bullying is male, and my sexual violence is terrorism entry is male. My entry about the Park Hill murder is male, my letter to John O is male, Sheffield women, avoid this man! is female, and Visit from Auntie Flo was male (obviously! Complaining about his period pain!).

It's all about the words you use in your writing, and whether those words are more likely to be written by men or women. My results are clearly ambiguous, to say the least!

I think what this tells us is that their algorithm isn't quite up to scratch, that longer entries tend to be written by men, and that women aren't allowed to be angry. I'm so often angry! And I'm most certainly a woman.

Potentially interesting experiment there at gender genie, just a bit flawed in practice.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dieu Merci!

Le Pen came in fourth. There were worries he'd be in the top two, but Sarkozy got 30%, Segolene Royal 25%, and Le Pen dragging with 11.5%. While it is horrifying that 11% of French people voted for him (and on the news earlier this week, it was said that 8% of Muslims were going to vote for him! Argh!), it is very very good that he's nowhere near the top two who will be going to the next stage.

Incredibly high turnout too, which I hope was because people realised Le Pen might have a chance if they didn't turn out.

I do see that voting sometimes doesn't result in a hugely democratic process, but I do think that with evil bastards like him standing, sometimes it's vital to be tactical.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You Know It's Not Good When...

your GP gives you antibiotics for sinusitis, and the instructions say,
Take two on the first day, then OD.

Friday, April 13, 2007



One of my best friends has died. She was found on Monday and probably killed herself some time last week or at the weekend.

I am devastated and stunned. Don't know what to do with myself.

I found out on Wednesday, after much detective work by me and others, when we were really worried at not having been able to contact her for a while.

Rest in peace, Helen. I hope where you are now is better than where you were then.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bullies Defending the Patriarchy.

Charliegrrl has been getting a lot of abuse online after voicing her opposition to a workshop at the upcoming Ladyfest Leeds, which is to be based around
criticising the recent legislation to criminalise the possession of extreme violent porn, and considering if this contributes towards women’s liberation or women’s repression..?


A thread at a pro-BDSM forum has been set up to 'encourage' people to respond to Charliegrrl's views and actions, and I read most of the posts on this thread. It's nothing new, it's nothing we haven't heard a million times before, and it made my eyes glaze over.

I *know* the pro-BDSM arguments and they are very loaded, and are packaged in a way to make it look really bad to oppose them. If you oppose them you are censoring people, or oppressing valid alternative sexualities, or anti-sex (that good old!), or anti-free will! There is also lots of talk about allowing women to choose to work in the empowering sex industry.

This informed consent message board thread also serves another purpose which is blatantly a personalised attack against Charliegrrl. In fact, in one of Verte's posts, she writes,
I have changed the title of the thread so it's the first item that comes up in google when you type 'charliegrrl'.


Charliegrrl has been widely criticised on these forums for 'censorship', in that she is refusing to allow pro-SM / pro-BDSM / pro-porn / anti-Charliegrrl comments to be published on her blog. Charliegrrl is more than entitled to choose what does and doesn't go on her website!

She is absolutely within her rights to keep her blog as a safe space for radical feminist women, and women survivors. Why should the pro-BDSM peeps be able to hijack her own safe space on the web with their arguments and criticisms of her, personally?

Charliegrrl is being blatantly bullied, singled out and humiliated in a way which is entirely unacceptable. I hate to see women doing this to women, yet I guess it fits the pattern, in some ways. If it's ok to hurt women if it turns them on, then is it ok just to hurt women? If it turns you on perhaps?

There are many arguments and statements on amazing feminist blogs, around this discussion. See my 'GRRRLS' section in my 'Blogs I Like' section to the right for some amazingly good feminist reading. I am not currently up for writing these arguments out myself, because I know what I'd say, I know what pro-porners would say in response, and I'm sick and tired of having the same discussions and rows, which lead nowhere and frustrate me intensely. My energy is needed elsewhere!

However, as a brilliant sum-up of a lot of the issues involved in BDSM sex, 'rape play', pornography, prostitution, lesbian S&M and abusive sex, I must send you on to read, How Orgasm Politics has Hijacked the Women's Movement" by Sheila Jeffreys.

Summary:
Just because it makes you have an orgasm, doesn't make it ok.
Think about *why* you might have an orgasm that way.
Put it in a political and gendered context. Think.

Go read it now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sexual Violence is Terrorism.

Blog Against Sexual Violence logo

2 women a week are murdered in Britain by their male partner, or ex-partner. The most dangerous time for a woman who has experienced domestic violence is when she leaves, or tries to leave.

The police in Britain receive 500,000 calls a year from women who suffer domestic violence.

Domestic violence is the major cause of death for women under the age of 44 - more than cancer.

Women are assaulted an average of 35 times by their partner before calling the police, according to the Home Office.

On average, the police in Britain receive a call every minute of every day regarding domestic violence.

And what are we doing with this information? This is a national crisis! An international crisis indeed, because it's not like this doesn't happen outside the UK.

You want to talk about terrorism? THIS is terrorism. The terror that millions of women are facing in their homes, from men they live with who control and bully and batter and rape and kill them.

Being raped in your home by the man who will do it again the next night, and the next night, and the next night, along with being punched, kicked, scratched, abused and humiliated, is the situation for too, too many women. Think about it, the most conservative statistics state that 1 in 7 women experience domestic violence in their lives. One out of every SEVEN women forced to live with this. Why isn't there an outcry? Where are the banners, the protests, the emergency legislation, the national and international committees resolving to sort this problem by the end of the year?

Why is this not being taken as seriously as it needs to be? It couldn't be anything to do with the victims being women, could it?

Read those statistics at the start of the post again. And again. Until you have begun to really absorb them.

You might wish you hadn't, or that you could bury your head in the sand because the reality is terrifying. You might have nightmares. You might realise you can't pretend you don't hear what goes on in your neighbour's house any more. Or that ignoring those bruises on your sister's arms is no longer an option.

Or that you can't see a way out of your own situation. If that is the case, call 0808 2000 247, which is a 24 hour helpline from women's aid. They can actually help. If you're in Yorkshire, here is a list of organisations that can help.

Violence against women is terrorism, do all you can to make it stop.

Teal Heart Award logo


Blog against sexual violence day.