Monday, July 31, 2006


This site shows ads since the 50s in Japan, of various psychiatric drugs. Unfortunately the American site, which this one was apparently based on, is down.

Amongst (many) other things, I take this:

As advertisements go, it doesn't really fill me with confidence about this drug making me feel any better. It looks thoroughly menacing. I hope it was at least a 'before' picture!

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Watch Out.

Oh yes watch out, we're everywhere. You may never know if the woman giving you filthy looks as you peruse the top shelves in the newsagent is one. Or the woman who slaps you when you grope her in a club. Or the woman you live with. Or the woman opposite you in the office. Or the women you pass in the street, the library, the pub, the park or the gym.

Feminists are everywhere, so beware, misogynists. Watch out!

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Good Advice.

“She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it)”.
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Imagine a Woman, by Patricia Lynn Reilly

Imagine a woman
who believes it is right and good she is woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman
who believes she is good.
A woman who trusts and respects herself.
Who listens to her needs and desires and meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman
who has acknowledged the past's influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman
who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and to her wisest voice.

Imagine a woman
who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs her own spirituality and allows it to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman
in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates her body and its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman
who honors the face of the Goddess in her changing face.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her precious life energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman
who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

((Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself: Embracing Your Wisdom and Wholeness))

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Best, Worst, Funniest...

Did I ever mention having a ridiculous number of letter-related disagreements with my MP? It is for that reason that the front page of today's local paper is featuring in this entry. Ha!

In less gloating news, I am currently reading:
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Fabric Art Journals: Making, Sewing, and Embellishing Journals from Cloth and Fibers.

Currently listening to:
We Are Shampoo
Hits: the Very Best of Erasure
Hole: Celebrity Skin

Amazing blog of the week: Women's Space / The Margins.

Bizarrest search result leading to hippie blog: result number 3 for 'Lambrini and Weight Loss'.

Currently feeling: exhausted, inspired, irritated.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Keep your Jesus off my Penis, and keep your Penis off anyone who doesn't want it.

ReSISTERance blog shares details of research which shows the extent of unwanted teenage sexual experiences.

Her information, taken from the NSPCC site, details that, amongst other things:

  • "Nearly half (45%) of teenage girls in an NSPCC/Sugar magazine survey have had their bottom or breasts groped against their wishes.
  • Fifty-six per cent* of unwanted early sexual experiences occurred for the first time when girls were aged under 14.
  • 51% of unwanted sexual experiences happened more than once and left the girls feeling dirty (47%), ashamed/guilty (39%), worried/insecure (36%), angry (34%) powerless (30%) and frightened (27%).

Chris Cloke, NSPCC head of child protection awareness said: "Sugar readers are revealing early sexual experiences that disregard the need for consent, with young girls threatened or bribed into submitting before they are emotionally or physically ready."

    Of those girls who had been pushed into doing something they didn't want:
  • nearly half (44%) had been made to feel guilty for initially saying 'no'
  • over a quarter (29%) cited simply being told by the person pushing them that it was the right thing to do
  • 1 in eight were given drink or drugs
  • 1 in nine were concerned that rumours would be spread about them
  • 1 in ten were threatened physically
  • 1 in ten were actually hurt physically
  • 1 in ten were bribed with presents or money

In all, 43% of girls questioned said the person responsible for the unwanted experience was a boy they knew or were friends with; one in three cited a boyfriend around their age. Fourteen per cent held a family member or family friend responsible, 13% 'a group of lads', 10% a boyfriend more than five years older than them, and 4% a teacher

A large majority (91%) of the NSPCC/Sugar survey respondents judged it 'never acceptable' for someone to push a girl into a sexual experience against her wishes. Over half (55%+) still believed that their own unwanted early sexual experiences had been at least partly their fault.

Girls' perception of what is sexual abuse varied depending on the age of the perpetrator. Nine out of ten (88%) girls labelled being pushed into a sexual experience against their wishes by an adult over 18 as 'sexual abuse'. Fifty-three per cent described the same experience at the hands of someone their own age as 'pressure sex'.

The NSPCC and Sugar have joined forces to encourage young people to speak out about any concerns they have about sex. Readers can get help and support from the July issue of the magazine and by visiting a new NSPCC website which provides a confidential and anonymous space to learn what sex abuse is and how to stop it. They can also call the NSPCC's freephone 24/7 ChildLine service on 0800 1111.

One of the hardest things for me, about studying this information, was that I was not in the least surprised. The statistics, the ages, the percentages, the details were all frighteningly predictable and very reminiscent of my own teenage years. And those of so, so many girls I knew.

The NSPCC website which is referred to, Don't Hide It Any More, is, unfortunately, predictably skewed in the wrong direction.

While they do provide information to children about what sexual abuse is, and how it can manifest itself, this is limited and does not appear to mention what is abundantly clear from the statistics above: i.e. that the boys in their school can abuse them sexually and force them into sexual activity they do not want. The NSPCC site focuses almost exclusively on adults as perpetrators.

Of course, adults make up a huge percentage of sexual abusers, but denying that teenage boys and young adults are committing these crimes, and maybe believing it is ok to do so, is not okay.

In addition, on the site, all of the impetus for stopping the abuse is on the child, usually the girl, being abused. She must tell someone, and they do suggest possible outlets.

What is not approached at all is that the person who can and should actually stop the abuse is the abuser. We cannot put the responsibility for stopping sexual abuse on the girls being abused. This is impossible, dangerous and puts a false sense of control in the hands of the girl who invariably has virtually no control over this situation. This leads to much more guilt on her part, regarding how she 'should have' been able to stop it happening.

The fact is she couldn't. Had she been able to, she would have. There are a multitude of reasons why she can't make him stop. It is him who has control over abusing her and, who has control of stopping the abuse. We must stop convincing girls that it would never have happened if only she hadn't (worn that skirt, smiled at him, taken the food, been lonely, this list can go on and on).

How can we stop childhood sexual abuse? Well, the abusers need to stop abusing children. Ok?

On a lighter note, thank the Goddess, this Not At All Safe For Work link brought a shocked smirk to my face! Keep your Jesus off my Penis

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Cleaning vegetable detritus from sheep fleeces

I love obscure words with very specific meanings. From this week's World Wide Words, I learned:
Weird Words: Sabrage
The act of opening a bottle with a sabre.

Imagine opening a bottle with great ceremony by striking off its
neck with one sweep of a blade. Traditionally the bottle contains
champagne and the implement is always a sabre.

You might think the result will be lots of broken glass and mess,
but the skill of sabrage lies in hitting the bottle hard just at
the bottom edge of the annulus, the glass ring at the top of the
neck. The blow breaks the neck off cleanly, complete with cork.
Experts advise you chill the bottle very well and avoid shaking it,
remove the foil and wire cage, hold it away from you at an angle of
about 40 degrees and strike with the bottle seam uppermost. Do not
try this at home, kiddies. In truth, a sabre is optional: almost
any hard object with an edge will do it.

At least one organisation, the Confrérie du Sabre d'Or, maintains
this tradition at its champagne parties. But otherwise, both it and
the term are rarely encountered. Stories hold that it dates from
Napoleonic times and was invented by cavalry who found it difficult
to open champagne bottles while on horseback, but did have usefully
heavy sabres handy. You may celebrate the ingenuity of this story
with a small glass of something bubbly if you wish.

Its language origin is definitely the French "sabrer", to hit with
a sabre. It's a close relative of "sabreur", one who fights with a
sabre, best known in "beau sabreur", a fine soldier or dashing
adventurer. But the modern French "sabrage" mundanely refers to
cleaning vegetable detritus from sheep fleeces.

Who knew?!

PS To the bastard who found hippie blog by googling where to buy a trafficed woman cost yesterday, fuck off. I hope your penis falls off.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Women Fight Back.

Yesterday, on the Jerk List blog, I posted about Steven Green, and four other US soldiers who raped a young woman then killed her whole family. It is horrifying. At Women's Space / The Margins, there are three articulate and terrifying posts looking at the issues of rape as a weapon of war, and how this is not a 'one-off' event, but inherent to how the US & Allies are fighting the war.

Trigger warnings are most certainly relevant, especially for post two which has graphic and disturbing photographs. With that warning, the three posts from Women's Space / The Margins, are here:
Post 1 - The Rape of Iraq: Deep Sexing the News
Post 2 - The Rape of Iraq, part 2
Post 3 - The Rape of the Hadji Girl Part 3.

Women are fighting back in Birmingham, against the growing commodification of women's bodies in the form of ever increasing numbers of lap dancing clubs in the area.

They say,
For those old enough to remember the women's protest group of the 70's and 80's, 'Women Fight Back' are back!

The increasing emergence of lap dancing clubs in the city was enough to make a group of local women and girls take up the challenge of fighting back against the exploitation of women's bodies for men's profit and enjoyment. The exploitation of women's bodies seems to be becoming a more and more acceptable medium for advertising and entertainment. What was once deemed politically incorrect 20 years ago is now deemed as being okay, It would seem that with all the Equal Opportunities policies we now have in society, women's equality is now considered guaranteed and safe from threat. Policies have actually resulted in women' issues being put on the back burner, the fight is over, so anyone discriminating against us in the workplace etc will be taken to court. However what we are actually left with is a green light to sexism, there is no resistance to exploitation of our bodies anymore, there doesn't need to be because there is a policy that does that for us!

Lap Dancing clubs are emerging everywhere, Birmingham has been described as the 'lap dancing capital of the country'. Adverts for Spearmint Rhino appear on billboards along the city’s major roads. Wherever you drive around the city, the image of a sexily clothed woman lying back under text that says, 'The Negotiator', is inviting men along to clubs to negotiate their price for her.

Women Fight Back are serious in their intention to rid the city of these centres of sexual exploitation and of the harm that they cause to women, children and society as a whole. Campaigning will take on many forms, there will be something for all women to get involved with, age is no problem, as long as you are female you can get involved. Email the link below for more info or get involved.

I am so, so pleased that these women in Birmingham are doing this. Working together as women and girls, with a clear and vivid political and feminist understanding of the meaning of women's bodies being bought and sold, the messages this gives out to men and women, girls and boys, and the inherent exploitation and danger in these types of men's clubs.

On the front page of today's Sheffield Star newspaper is a story about a 16 year old Kenyan-born girl, who was pregnant after being forced into prostitution by men who bought and sold her.
She was held captive in a flat, possibly in London, after being shipped to the UK by men who told her she would be working as a house lady.

Her captors regularly beat and raped her and forced her to sleep with 10 men a day for nine months.

She eventually became pregnant by one of her captors but was forced to continue sleeping with clients.

She was driven to Sheffield and dumped when she became too pregnant to work.

That women and girls are being literally bought and sold, kept captive, used as prostitutes, raped and tortured, is not a surprise to me, but is always a shock. It is positive that the local paper was duly outraged and publicised the issue, but unfortunately this girl's situation is not that unusual. This particular girl is now apparently being 'looked after', and I really hope she is. The police are looking for the pimps / traffickers / kidnappers / rapists and I bloody hope they catch them. But we, and they, need to do more.

We need a world where no women are commodities to be exploited and sexualised and objectified and beatn and raped. Where this modern-day slavery is unheard of.

These three stories, blogged today, are immensely depressing yet there is also some encouragement, that being that we can see clearly that there are women who speak out, women who ask for help, women who join together to campaign, women who will not hide the truth and who will not tell lies about what happens to women.

Women Fight Back That's a statement of fact, and a plea.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Eyes as the Window to the Soul.

I have got conjunctivitis and blephitis. It's not nice, and it's certainly not pretty, and I'm surprised by just how ill I feel.

It's Dubya's 60th birthday. I do hope he announces his retirement shortly.

Things to read:

Zoe Williams: I Have, I'm Not Ashamed

One In Seven

Call for Investigation into Murder of Guatemalan Women

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