Thursday, 30 December 2010

One of these things is not like the others...

It's rare that I find somebodies behaviour or attitude so irksome that I have to get it off of my chest as soon as possible in some form, just so I can vent my frustrations concerning it. It's particularly aggravating when this behaviour is so casual that they seem to find it perfectly acceptable and just carry on as if nothing has happened. The person in question is Jacques Peretti, a producer, director and writer who presented the recent documentary on Michael Jackson, 'Michael Jackson's Secret Hollywood' on Channel 4. My issue is not with the subject matter, the singer himself, but the brief side history he gave some of his class mates from Montclair College Preparatory School.

Peretti claims that the murder of the actress Sharon Tate had a 'profound effect' on certain members of Jackson's graduating class, such as Christian Brando, who became a convicted murderer, Danny Bonaduce, who became a drug addict and Chastity Bono, now known as Chaz Bono, who has undergone female-to-male gender transition.

At this point I refer you to my title, because one of these things is not like the others.

Jacques Peretti is trying to suggest that the fear and paranoia that these students experienced led to serious emotional issues in adulthood, which may be true, Peretti gives us no further evidence, however he is taking the idea of transgender identity and comparing it to murder or drug abuse. He is implying that Chaz Bono's transition is somehow connected to a deeper emotional issue or trauma, that it couldn't possibly be a natural or healthy behaviour pattern, which is what I found so disgraceful.

I was not aware of Peretti or his work before this documentary but from what I've gathered he can be a controversial but still informative filmmaker, however his skills in his profession aren't what concerns me. What concerns me is that this small section, of this particular documentary shines a spotlight onto the casual, thoughtless and ingrained transphobia of our society that still persists today and that neither Jacques Peretti or Channel 4 seemed to have confronted or even noticed it, this is what I find so frustrating and truly disrespectful.

See what you think for yourselves and whether you would agree or disagree,

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Blog for Choice Day 2010

'Blog for Choice Day 2010' is Friday, the 22nd of January. Since I'm going to be away from my computer tomorrow, I'm posting my answer to the question posed by NARAL Pro-Choice America today.

I have always believed that the decision to continue with a pregnancy or not should always be that of the woman's, she is the person who it will most affect and therefore she is the one with the most important opinion in the matter, no one else.

This year's Blog for Choice question is;
What does Trust Women mean to you?

To me, the words Trust Women conjures up a very clear concept in my mind, that we, as a whole society, need to learn to accept women as conscious and intelligent human beings, who are capable of considering the financial, social and emotional implications of terminating a pregnancy or carrying it to term, and as a result are able to make the right decisions that are best for them.

If you'd like to visit the NARAL Pro-Choice America website or be involved in Blog for Choice, please follow this link;

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Guiding Girls into the future

So, in a previous post, I've mentioned my involvement in the Girl Guides Association, and also briefly mentioned how I feel the Girl Guides had benefited me personally as a Leader and a person, and how I think it will be a useful experience for another generation of girls as they begin to grow into young women. Which is why when this article was handed to me during a meeting one night, I thought it would be a great idea to share it here, for anyone interested in the organisation to read;

It's an article by GMTV, on their website, that focuses on how being in Guides can, and has, helped many successful women in the UK achieve their goals. It maybe short, but it's informative and inspiring.

Also, more recently, this article on one of my favourite sites, The F-word, by Clare Burgess;

I found it particularly interesting to read, as it gave me an opportunity to see the honest reception of someone new to Guiding and whether or not they found it a positive influence on the girls. Although the writer does examine and bring to light some of the aspects that they were not completely convinced of, I think she also saw the many benefits the girls enjoy, just the same as I have, from an organisation that was made for women by women.

This Theatre Couple...

Okay. Question. Not linked with anything else I've written before, but here it is. I may not be an avid theatre goer but I have been enough times to notice something very odd. Almost every time I've gone, there's this couple, woman and a man, round about in their 60's, maybe 70's, and they're always dressed to the nines. He's there, in a fine tweed suit, hair usually combed or slicked back and a carnation in his button hole (which you have to admit, has a certain amount of class), and she's in a smart formal dress, matching blazer and, ordinarily, wears a string of pearls. And nearly every time, I've seen a couple who fit this description at the shows I've been to; The King and I, Cats, Blood Brothers - they were there. Even The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Honestly. This couple were two rows ahead of me, still in their smart, classy outfits, among the corsets and the fishnets. I kid you not.

I'm not criticising, far from it, I love seeing these two people when I go to the theatre. I'm just curious, has any one else noticed this couple too? Maybe they're hired by the theatres for shows, like elegant seat fillers... ...

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Feminist Translations

Here's something I've learnt (and very quickly as well), admitting your a feminist can be a mixed bag, at times you'll have a great and positive experience where you meet people who are very like minded or curious about what you have to say, even if they don't totally agree they still want to hear your opinions and will truly consider them and, if your lucky, you get the chance to do this as well with what the person your debating with is saying.

Other times people's attitude towards you totally changes, it's as if you just admitted to bashing in puppies heads in with a mallet cause it makes you horny... okay, yes I exaggerate a little bit there, but I can state from experience that, without specifying any of my actual politics, I have had friends and co-workers instantly trying to, pretty aggressively, challenge my point of view... without really knowing what it is.

This change of attitude was triggered simply by me letting people know that I'm a feminist. Now, I'm not going to be getting into the reasons behind this particular phenomenon (I'm saving that for another day) I'd rather focus on one of ways this attitude manifests itself, namely, Instant Feminist Translations, this is where no matter how we word something or how diplomatic we are when talking to someone who doesn't share our view point some of the things that we say, write or otherwise express go through this type of transition and we are misquoted, have our words construed or are even totally mistranslated, leaving our real meaning left somewhere by the wayside.

Is it simple ignorance of people who refuse to see another point of view besides their own? Is it because they don't understand feminism in the 21st century or how it relates to them? Or is it that these people who twist the words of feminists are actually afraid of what we're saying because they feel it really makes a lot of sense but that means it forces them to look more critically at the world?

I really do not know, I personally think it can be a bit of all of those things, but as I said, the point of the post isn't to find the rhymes or reasons. I'm posting this as a way to write down and present to you some of the most commonly mistranslated feminist quotes I've come across and, hopefully, give either a helpful rebuttal to anyone who tries to use these on you and attempts to put words in your mouth so you can actually get your point across or even give a small education to someone who would normally use these kinds of presumptuous and occasionally accusing translations.

These following four are the main ones I thought of from personal experience.


Statement: The rape conviction rate is terrible. It's somewhere between 5-6%.

What it really means: The rape conviction rate is so low that it couldn't possibly be providing the victims with proper justice.

Translation: All men are rapists!

Statement: I'm Pro-Choice.

What it really means: I feel a woman should have complete authority over all parts of her body, including the uterus.

Translation: I hate babies, kill them all.

Statement: I am a feminist and I am a lesbian.

What it really means: These are two aspects of my life and personality and I am very comfortable talking about them.

Translation: I hate men just that much...

Statement: There are not enough women in politics.

What it really means: Because of the 'Glass Ceiling' that has been internalized by our society and accepted for so many generations women find it harder to go further in male dominated sectors.

Translation: Women should rule the world!!!


Well, there you are, my four main 'Instant Feminist Translations', I've seen them used in ignorance, used to silence someone or even used as a rather ill thought out zinger to bring a feminist down a peg or two. But even if all you got from this post was entertainment at least we can take these sorts of attitudes, hold them up to a Patriarchal society and go, 'We're on to you, love!' (cause it can't just be me who does that... right?).

If you can think of any of your own Feminist Translations please use the comments section cause I would really love to hear them.

John Battle, MP at Guides

Last year my Guide troupe were able to have the Leeds MP, John Battle visit us to present two Baden Powell awards and have a Q + A session with the girls. I felt this was a good subject to blog about and particularly a feminist subject since Mr. Battle was one of the politicians who voted for shortening the time limit on abortions.

During the questions we got to find out why this was and the MP's plans and opinions on our area of West Leeds.

Everything I write here comes from the notes I made on the night, so this re-count is not word for word, however the questions and answers are still accurate to what was said on the night.


The questions started with one from a selection the girls had arranged the week before, which was, 'When are we getting brown bins?'. John Battle answered that he completely agrees with brown bins and will actually look into why we haven't received them and when this most likely be.

The nest question was from one of the younger girls which was, 'Why do people eat chocolate?'. Mr. Battle couldn't really answer this, but he said that he does like chocolate but tries to eat apples whenever he can. He did also confess he has a weakness for something called Fry's Chocolate Cream.

Then we discussed graffiti in the local area, focusing on a pub called The Golden Lion (which we mistakenly called The Crown). Mr. Battle told us about a team made specifically for cleaning graffiti. He stated if he didn't have it sorted in 2 weeks to contact him (that's 2 weeks from the 25th of September).

We also asked him why the glass outside one of the girls houses hadn't been cleaned up yet. He admitted the Council should be working on that and that he will look into it for her, he even took a note of her address to do so.

After that, one of the girls was quite forward with asking him about the Guiding funds for computers, which he did say wasn't easy, he gave a couple of suggestions such as fund raising . he also asked is we needed brand new computers and mentioned applying to colleges to get second hand ones. An idea that went down pretty well with our unit leader.

Next we asked 'Why are more women not in politics?', he started by stating that men won't get out of the way, he went on to tell us that when he went to Parliament in 1987 he was surprise that there were only Gentlemen toilets. Mr. Battle would also like to see a woman take his job after him. He also believes that women are the best leaders because they are more co-operative and peaceful. He even said his 'hero' is Helen Clark, the New Zealand politician and mentioned other countries that seem to have benefited from female leaders such as Argentina and Germany.

One of the girls asked about a bus stop in Pudsey which had been dumped with a large amount of rubbish on it. John battle took note and says he'll talk to the MP for Pudsey about it. (UPDATE: The girl who asked this question let me know that the rubbish was cleared away last month)

After this, one of the older girls asked Mr. Battle why he voted for limiting the abortion time limit. Mr. Battle was very confident and concise in his answer, he explained that science shows that children can live after a certain time in the womb and he doesn't want to put doctors and nurses in positions where they would have to kill people.

Afterwards the discussion moved to the issue of smoking and the sale of cigarettes. Mr. Battle says that he does hate them but also says that he can't and shouldn't take away people's free will to make their own decisions.

We ended the Q + A on the possibility of traffic lights being set up at the four way junction at the top of Armley Town Street, which I think would be a great idea and help prevent the accident that will inevitably happen up there some day, so watch this space, if this goes through I'll will certainly be updating on it.


After the discussion all the leaders, including myself, felt that it had been a really positive experience for the girls. It was the type of constructive and different activities that kept me continuing on with the Guide Association. But this evening , even though it was very interesting for the girls, did shed a bit more light on John Battle's views, particularly with women's issues.

I believe Mr. Battle is a politician who wants to do the best for the people he represents, that is the impression he gives me, he got involved in politics because he wants to help people and make a difference for his community.
However, there are parts of his answers that are very telling about his politics on Women's Rights. While he wishes to protect doctors and nurses from the possible moral issue they would face with an abortion and is even considerate of the potential life developing inside the womb he fails to even register the person who really will be the most affected and therefore, really the most important person involved, which is of course the living, conscious woman who wants the abortion in the first place.
And only a moment later says that he shouldn't take away people's free will.

If you would like to contact John Battle, MP, you can find his contact details on his website;

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Would you report your own rape?

Of course the answer should be yes, you want to pursue the justice you deserve... However, choose any random feminist blog (I always recommend The F word) and chances are you'll find statistics that show the rape conviction rate is on a heinously pathetic state, it is usually between 5 - 6%.

Not only that, but there's also the comparable Witch Trial that follows, not for the accused, for the victim.
Improper, uninvolved and almost suggestive questions about you, your sex life, previous relationships, even what you were wearing when the rape took place. All this just for possibility of maybe seeing your rapist convicted, and to me that is an inexcusable 'maybe'.

Taking this into consideration I genuinely ask anyone reading this; Would you report your own rape?

Because I don't believe I could.

Size zero and my Dad

A few weeks ago my dad raised an interesting point. The idea of size zero originally came from the world of the cat-walk model, with designers claiming that clothes look better on ultra thin models. This means that a model needs to diet and exercise to a dangerous extreme to increase their chances of landing a cat-walk modelling job. But doesn't that mean that these people who still design and make clothes intended for size zero models should be sued? Think on it for a moment, after all it is their choices that are forcing these models to put their health at risk for their job, surely that's some sort of infringement of Health and Safety laws?

Torchwood and the smoking ban

Idle thought, figured I'd throw it out there. If an employee of Torchwood Cardiff is a smoker and they fancy a cig between battling aliens and shagging the next thing that moves, do they have to go up and down that flipping lift every single time? Or do you reckon, cause they're above and beyond the law, there's some kind of Torchwood Smoking room?

Anyway, over to you Torchwood fans!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Another quote - why not?

(Originally posted Sunday, 11 February 2007 on Harder Hedda)

"Every time someone says 'I'm not a feminist but...' a misogynist gets it's wings."

*Shrugs* Don't know where that one came from.

All hail the great booze up (except the ladies)!

(Originally posted Monday, 1 January 2007 on Harder Hedda)

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a good time and in the wake of the baptism of booze we welcome the new year in with this, a new way to help keep women safe while drinking.

Young female drinkers can now take advantage of the latest fashion accessory - a trendy identity tag.

The tag, engraved with the contact details of the wearer's parent or a responsible friend, is worn on a bracelet decorated with silver beads and Swarovski crystals.

The tag can then be used by nightclub staff or emergency service workers if the wearer loses consciousness or is too drunk to remember her name.

The bracelets, which cost from £35 to £70, were designed by personal safety firm IdentifyMe, which began by making identity tags for young children who may wander away from parents.
Don Shenker, policy director of Alcohol Concern, said he feared the bracelets could lull young women into a false sense of security and send out the wrong message about binge drinking.
He said: "What concerns us is that young women may feel it is safe to drink alcohol to excess because they have their identity tag in case they lose consciousness or become incapable of speaking.

"We have heard anecdotal evidence, for example, of an aunt giving such a bracelet to her niece because the niece has a tendency to get drunk and lose consciousness. Giving a bracelet in those circumstances could be interpreted as an endorsement of that behaviour."

Nadine Lewis, Managing Director of IdentifyMe, denied encouraging binge drinking and said the bracelets could offer piece of mind to worried parents.

She said: "In no way are we encouraging young women to binge drink. However, we received a number of requests from customers for this type of product.

"It is a worrying sign that this sort of product is needed, but it seems that the trend for women to go out at the weekend and drink to excess is showing no sign of slowing down and we must do everything we can to keep them as safe as possible."

Could you excuse me for a moment, *bangs head on brick wall*, thank you.First I want to get slightly more shallow part over with, the bracelet is ugly. It's the sort of thing I'd see in Top Shop and dismiss because it's just unattractive, I'm not going to pay 35 to 70 pounds for it, if I'm not going to spend ten pounds in Top Shop I'm certainly not going to spend that much money for something where the purpose of it could be accomplished by writing your address or friend/family number on a piece of paper and putting into your jacket pocket. And while I'm on the subject, next month I turn 18 and I will be going out drinking with friends to celebrate and I simply don't have the money to spend on a little chain bracelet, I'm sure a lot of young female drinkers can't.

"It is a worrying sign that this sort of product is needed, but it seems that the trend for women to go out at the weekend and drink to excess is showing no sign of slowing down and we must do everything we can to keep them as safe as possible." Surely it's also needed for all the men who go out on the weekends and get completely legless? No? Just women then? I wonder why, oh of course, it's to keep them safe. Two questions here, why don't drunk men have to be protected in this manner? and, keep them safe from what... exactly?

*Update: 21/10/09* An issue that has been chewing away at me for so long, and I don't see a reason not to put it forward, is a woman considered to be so incapable of taking care of herself in certain situations that when she is little more vulnerable in her environment then normal (as alcohol does makes us all more vulnerable and unaware of our surroundings - and that means all of us) that she actually needs a 'if found, please return to owner' tag put on? You know, like people do... with their pets.

Binge drinking is nothing new in England, in keeping with the 'Othello' theme from the sub-heading*, here is an extract of two characters discussing the English.
IAGO I learned it in England, where, indeed, they are most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander--Drink, ho!--are nothing to your English.

CASSIOIs your Englishman so expert in his drinking?

IAGOWhy, he drinks you, with facility, your Dane deaddrunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain; he gives your Hollander a vomit, ere the next pottlecan be filled.

Othello was written some time in the late 1500's, England has always been a country of boozers, Shakespeare knew it 500 years ago.

Drinking only became unacceptable, un-couth when the girls started doing it.

*Harder Hedda had the extract from Othello by Emilia I used in my very first post on this blog.

Thank you Shakespeare

(Originally posted Tuesday, 5 December 2006 on Harder Hedda)

I just thought of this phrase today while leaving Eng Lit and I think it can be applied to any misogynistic man who tries to discredit a woman by using degrading names (e.g., bitch, slag, prossy, dyke etc.);

The gentleman doth project too much, methinks.

Mikey is in the stocks (anyone got any rotten tomatoes?)

(Originally posted Monday, 13 November 2006 on Harder Hedda)

Apologetic Newell faces Luton D-dayMon 13 Nov, 11:45 AMLuton have called an emergency board meeting for Monday to discuss Mike Newell's future, despite his apology for criticising female officials.The Hatters hierarchy are understood to be unhappy with their manager's remarks, which were made after Luton's 3-2 home defeat by QPR in the Championship on Saturday.A statement on the club's official website read: "An emergency board meeting of the directors of Luton Town has been called for 4pm today (Monday)."The meeting is to discuss the comments made by the manager, Mike Newell, at Saturday's post-match press conference."A formal statement will be made following the board meeting."Newell on Monday apologised for his outburst against women officials in professional football.Newell claimed after Saturday's home defeat by QPR that assistant referee Amy Rayner should not have been allowed to run the line in a Championship match.But the 41-year-old admitted his comments were "out of order" and revealed he has attempted to speak to Rayner to apologise in person.Newell said: "I want to apologise publicly to Amy Rayner and to anyone else I have offended."The comments I made were ill-timed and out of order. I wanted to apologise privately before I apologised publicly, but I could not get hold of Amy Rayner."I have not spoken to her, but I have left messages and I will continue to try to speak to her."Newell's contrition might not be sufficient to save his job.Newell claimed the club had gone backwards since chairman Bill Tomlins took over in 2004, but would not retract those comments.Asked whether he regretted those remarks, Newell said: "I very rarely say things I do not mean."I have not spoken to the chairman. They have called a meeting, and I am sure I will learn the outcome."Will I be the manager at the weekend? That is a question for the board, but I am not going to resign."

Mike Newell, after his football team's (Luton) defeat started a string of sexist comments not only directed towards the female referee, Amy Rayner, but at all female officials,

"She should not be here. I know that sounds sexist, but I am sexist, so I am not going to be anything other than that.
"We have a problem in this country with political correctness, and bringing women into the game is not the way to improve refereeing and officialdom.
"It is absolutely beyond belief. When do we reach a stage when all officials are women, because then we are in trouble?
"It is bad enough with the incapable referees and linesmen we have, but if you start bringing in women, you have big problems.
"This is Championship football. This is not park football, so what are women doing here? It is tokenism, for the politically-correct idiots.''

It seems Mr. Newell does not like the idea of having to face his own inadequacies as a manager, rather he would use Ms. Rayner as a scapegoat to cover it up. The match was on home ground and Luton lost 3-2 to QPR, however rather then apologise to the fans for his team's defeat, Newell has decided to place the blame on the shoulders on one of the few female referees. The consequences of his actions for himself and his own position are un-known as of yet however it is possible that his remarks towards women in football may have a lasting impression on any of the young women and girls interested in getting involved in the sport. If this is the case, it'll take more then a stern talking to and a slap on the wrists to rectify it ( I'm still waiting on those tomatoes). And, if my knowledge of football is at all correct, no manager is suppose to critique the ref's decision whether they are male or female, (I think the term we are all looking for is 'Stop digging, Mike!')

But one good thing is being shown from this, sexism won't be tolerated even in areas that are supposedly 'Men only'. Newell will have to face the music this evening and I'm sure you know what result I'm hoping for.

Rayner 1 - Newell 0.

Just Another Pebble

Hello and welcome to 'Just Another Pebble'! My newest blog, you may (or more likely, may not) have read my previous blog 'Harder Hedda' which I will now be taking down for one reason alone... didn't like the title, never did really.'Harder Hedda' never really meant anything to me or my own personal politics, I was just stuck for a title and that popped into my head.

But what the title 'Just Another Pebble' means to me is the way I can sometimes feel as a woman in our society, just a little pebble on a beach somewhere, perhaps catching the attention of a passerby at some point, never serving a further purpose, and just as soon as I've used my usefulness up, I'll be plopped back on to that beach and forgotten about. A depressing thought but as Emilia (Othello) says; 'They are all but stomachs, and we all but food; To eat us hungerly, and when they are full, They belch us.' And that is how living in this patriarchal society can leave me feeling.

And that is why I blog to challenge not only the injustice we experience and see everyday but to challenge myself, and revise and develop my opinions on women's, feminist, racial, social matters and anything else I feel a need to write on.
I'll actually be re-posting from Harder Hedda on to here, just so I can look at and see how I (personally and politically) have changed, and add to that the issues I've been considering for awhile.

So, to anyone reading this, I hope you enjoy the posts that are to come, and I'll see you later!