Losing My Religion…

I’m not much of a believer but I do believe in the sanctity of single sex spaces. Based on my own experience, there are times in some women’s lives, and moments in all women’s lives, where they must be with other women, and only women.

I know men find this threatening.

It’s ironic, given that safety is the primary reason why women choose to congregate alone or seek out a provider of single sex services. When we’ve been attacked in our own homes, for example, and we have to flee, we want to flee to a space where there are no other men. Even though there are good men, who have never hurt us, we don’t care. We want a ‘No Man Zone’ to recover from the damage of the last man.

And the law gets it. Or it used to.

There was always those disgruntled about single sex spaces and women meeting without the men. Mostly men. This is understandable when we consider that men have been in charge of everything, forever, and are used to going anywhere they want, anytime they want, unrestricted.

But such men were out of touch with a changing world. Men’s Right’s Activists – MRAS, seeking to repeal rape laws and revoke women’s rights outside the home, never really took off…with women.

Just like you can’t convince a turkey to vote for Christmas, MRAS couldn’t get large numbers of women to campaign for polices that would see them disadvantaged.

What to do?

As the MRAS couldn’t change their demands, the only option available to them was to change their request. And the world’s most successful advertising campaign was born.

Enter stage left – Transgenderism.

Transgenderism is the belief in a gendered soul. It is the whacky, off the wall idea that people can be born in the wrong bodies, and therefore need surgery and life long medication to align with their true selves.

Except when they don’t.

Sometimes the condition is severe and requires medical intervention. This seems to be particularly true of young women, who move from binders to double mastectomy to infertility, before they have time to mature and consider the enormous ramifications of choices they are not old enough to make. Other times, the condition needs no medical intervention and can be alleviated with a marks and spencers bra and a pound shop lip-stick. This seems especially true of middle aged and older men, who seek to be perceived and legally recognised as women, but don’t want to be castrated for the cause.

What has any of this to do with Women’s Rights?

There’s been batshit crazy religions – suggesting women are sub-ordinate to men- in existence, forever. Spare Rib, anyone?

Why has this one, suggesting that the noun ‘woman’ isn’t a materially valid description of a type of human being, namely ‘women’,  gained such mainstream appeal? Other than the fact that it’s profoundly woman hating, and woman hating never went out of style.

It is because there is no separation of church and state on this issue. It is because the left, famous for their atheist approach to politics, has fallen into a black hole called trans ideology where new age buzz words meet biblical belief systems.  They never figured out it was a religion because it was posed as ignorant to even ask.

And here we are, with a kooky set of beliefs being sold as absolute truths to a gullible Western audience, made dim by authoritarian artists and ill informed celebrities, and politicians who will not do their jobs, for fear of criticism from a religion that does not bear scrutiny, which is why the logo ‘No Debate’ is No Accident.

 

 

 

Some Feminist Thoughts on Policing Pronoun Piss Taking

Are you one of those women taking the piss out of Sam Smith’s pronouns?  If you are, you should know that it’s not just Sam Smith’s pro-nouns you’re taking the piss out of, but all the Sam Smiths. Sam Smith, in this context, means all the closeted and non closeted non binaries he represents, not everybody in the universe with the first name Sam and the last name Smith, which would probably cover a lot of non non binary types of both sexes, who are unlikely to take offence at satire and political commentary directed at non binary types and the identity politics their views embody.

If you are one of those women taking the piss out of Sam Smith’s pronouns – Have you asked yourself why? All Sam Smith is asking, very politely, is that you try and remember that he is now a they? How hard is that to do?

Sam Smith perceives himself as neither man nor woman, existing instead in the increasingly blurred lines between those two nouns. All Sam Smith wants is for society to acknowledge the blur, and the new nouns that have emerged from the haze. Before there were men and women. Now there are men and women, and men who think they are women, and women who think they are men, and non binary types who think they are neither men nor women.

All Sam Smith wants you to do is live and let live, and subvert your objective opinion of Sam Smith’s biological reality, in favour of Sam’s Smith’s subjective opinion of said reality. Is that such a big ask? It’s more about kindness than anything else, isn’t it? Why would you risk hurting Sam Smith’s feelings, or the feelings of any non binary type, when all that is required of you is to deny your own reality and undermine the basic framework through which you view the world?

See, Sam Smith is smashing through the gender binary by rigidly adhering to its stereotypes. He is breaking new ground by suggesting that his perceived lack of manliness is actually because he is not fully a man. He may sound like a gay basher from the eighties, but that’s pure coincidence. Where’s the harm in it? All Sam Smith seeks of you is to narrow your version of what a man and woman is, so that the Sam Smiths of this world can live in the chasm, in-between. This abyss that’s been created for the inbetweeners grows ever wider and can only continue to expand, as emotional rhetoric and name calling replaces reasoned debate and sound research.

All Sam Smith wants to do is live a life that best reflects his inner perception of himself. Where’s the cost to you,  in a world that is reshaping itself round perceptions of sex, rather than actual sex, anyway? Why wouldn’t you want to help this party along? All Sam Smith wants from you, is a broadening of your vocabulary to reflect the dissemination of your boundaries and the colonisation of your sex class.

It would be downright unladylike to refuse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard Headed Woman

The jihadi bride story has got right under my skin.  In spite of my best attempts to ignore the media’s best attempts to manipulate a human interest story into a level 1 threat to our national security, I have been manipulated.  I care about the fate of this random nineteen year old kid.

In my defense, I’ve always been prone to a hard luck story and losing two babies seems like the hardest of luck.  Speaking of hard, I’ve seen the live Time’s interview and she comes across as harder than Grant Mitchell after someone’s insulted his Mother.  She’s all like ‘severed heads in bins don’t faze me’, which by any measure of normal thinking is deviant in the extreme.

Still, I can’t help thinking that the circumstances she finds herself in are extra-ordinary and difficult to view from a rational lens.  Take her teenage rebellion.  She didn’t drink herself into a near coma and make poor choices about intimate relationships, as is the British rite of passage.  Instead, she headed off to a foreign land and joined this century’s most notorious terrorist organisation.

I have no idea why she would do this when she could have smoked weed at the back of the school sheds.  Maybe all the grass dealers in the optimistically named Bethnal Green were rubbish, or deeply moral and didn’t want to sell to a fifteen year old?  Fifteen.  It’s terribly young, which is why we don’t let children this young drink, vote or have sex. Hell!  We don’t even let them join the army.  In fact, we wouldn’t have let Shamima Begum run away, if we could have stopped her.

That’s her name, by the way – Shamima Begum.  She wasn’t always a jihadi bride.  She was once just a fool hearty kid who bought into a seriously deranged ideology.

But, I’m probably missing the point.  Whatever she was then, she is now unrepentant. She wants to come back and she’s not even sorry.  There could be many reasons for this, the most obvious being – she’s completely f***ing nuts.  In the few years since she left home, she’s had two babies die.  Her third pregnancy is the motivating factor in her desire to return to Britain.  Between all the bairn’s deaths and her husband’s arrest and the bombing of her close friend and travelling companion, maybe she was too mentally and emotionally weak to de-radicalise herself and sound sane?  Maybe the papers who have shamelessly exploited her grief and fear weren’t too hung up on the ethics of their journalism?  Desperate for a sound bite, they were careful not to fill in too many blanks or to paint too much context.  And the woman with a casual indifference to severed heads becomes front page news.

And now, she’s no longer British, and that will teach her not to join the most high profile terrorist organisation of the twenty first century.  And still, I can’t help thinking that losing two babies will have taught her a lot and the chance to love this new born will teach her more.  Perhaps if we could get her home and de-radicalise her, she could even teach us something…

 

 

There ain’t no cis in sisters.

I’m not really sure what a cis woman is, which seems unfortunate given I am one, allegedly. I am sure what allegedly means, it’s an unproven claim. I know that word well because every time a woman is raped or sexually assaulted, the media gets that word in. Because it might not have happened. The woman might be making it up. Women do. Cis women, I mean.

Cis women have no real expectation of justice. This is reflected in the fact that only 15% of rapes are reported to police. So, those crimes you read about every day, that allegedly happen to cis women, are actually the tip of the iceberg.

Well over a million cis women will experience domestic abuse in the England and Wales this year, if last year’s statistics are an indicator.  20% of these women will see their perpetrators face criminal proceedings. That means the vast majority of these women victims will never see a man punished for his crimes against them. By inference, many of these perpetrators will go on to abuse, beat and maim other cis women. Two cis women will be killed this week by their male partner or ex partner. It’s almost as if putting the word cis before the word woman makes her no more lightly to to gain any measure of fair treatment.

Cis hasn’t really taken off in the real world, but is huge in feminist circles. Yeah, you read that right. The average woman on the street will give two fingers to the idea that she has to put a three lettered word before her sex, but self declared feminists are queuing up for a more complex way to describe their sex than plain old woman.

The fact that it is linguistically impossible to be cis and feminist seems to have gone over these women’s heads. Cis, in this context, means to be aligned with the gender that was determined at birth. No feminist ever aligned themselves with their birth gender. Whatever individual event, or series of them, took them to the door of feminism, their core motivation is always the same. An inability to accept the limitations placed on them by gender roles they were assigned, after their sex was determined. The very act of becoming feminist and standing up for women’s rights is a slap in the face to the gender expectation of women to be submissive. See?

Women are a class of people that are oppressed by another class of people (called men) under a system of oppression called the patriarchy. The patriarchy maintains its stronghold through violence and resource control. An obvious example of this is the universal obsession with birth control which leave women’s most basic health in the precarious hands of various religions and ideologies that value the seed she carries over her right to life.

Men don’t fear dying in child birth or being forced to carry a fetus they don’t want because men can’t get pregnant. There! I said it. We all know this, of course, ‘coz anyone old enough to read this started life the same way. We all had to serve our time in a woman’s womb, and whether pushed out of her vagina, or cut from her belly, we all had to sever that umbilical cord, before we took our first breath. So, lets hear it for all women everywhere, who have made the writing and the reading of this blog possible.

The cisters won’t like me now. What with the cis feminist is a paradox and men can’t get periods admissions. The cisters hate it when you talk sense. It confuses them, profoundly. This is evidenced by the censorship their ideology demands. Disagree, and we will call you TERF or SWERF  (These are real acronyms, I’m not making them up). Disagree louder, and we and we will demand your exclusion from our conversations, in the interests of inclusion, obviously. Disagree loud enough and we will get you fired, or at the very least, make sure you are never safe to speak publicly again.

In the past month, Linda Bellos has been no platformed, Julie Bindel has been harrased whilst promoting her new book and Helen Steel was surrounded by a mob at the anarchist book fair. Yeah, you read that right too.

As feminists, and as women, we need to ask ourselves what is progressive in telling women to STFU? As feminists we need to fight for all women to be heard. Even…cis ones.

 

Spoiler Alert – The Dr Foster ending is s***! (also lots of other spoilers!)

I’ve never been a huge fan of the B.B.C. What with the pedophilia, and the sexism, and the bias reporting and the licence. I object to the idea of paying a fee to watch the B.B.C., because the quality of material they produce does not amount to a fair return on investment.

If I wasn’t politically opposed to paying a licence, I would have bought one to watch Dr Foster. I’m a big fan, or I was, until today, when I watched last night’s episode. Now, I’m no longer a fan. I hate it.

If you haven’t seen it, don’t watch it. If you have, you’ll know why this advice is so pertinent. They took a beautiful and very rare thing, an intelligent, vengeful woman, with the ability to carry out a master plan to military precision, and they made her pay.

For loving her child, she paid. For hating her philandering, violent, gold-digging husband, she paid. For protecting herself, she paid. For protecting his new wife, she paid. For protecting her son, she paid. For facing the truth, and refusing to lie, she paid with her’s son life.

Not death, but the fate worse than that, the runaway child, who ain’t ever coming home. Because of her, see? She was a bad Mother, obviously, that’s why her kid is roaming the streets of some British city, alone, and utterly unprepared for what must surely now lie in store for him.

Only I thought she rocked. She could raise me any time. She put food on the table, and clothes on his back, and she was always kissing him, and asking him if he was okay. Sure, she f***ed over his Dad, but only in so far as he drew first. And in this series, she was a ball of re-action. There was nothing she could do from week to week, except respond to his ever increasing megalomania and his inability to take any responsibility for any facet of his existence.

The five week drama took an unexpected up-turn, last week, when the eponymous doctor ran her violent ex down…or so we thought. This week we learn, she swerved. He lived and contemplated suicide, including a few convincing attempts. By then, she’s compelled to talk him out of it, aware the son has internalised every s*** action he’s committed. Whilst saving her violent ex from himself, her self hating son flees.

The moral of the story is a Mother most never exact any level of righteous retribution on her ex.  To do so will so damage her children beyond all repair, they will abandon her and she will be left alone, with a bad hair-cut, to contemplate her moral and maternal failings for all eternity.

My first novel Nailing Jess was published by Cranachan in June this year.

 

 

 

TRIGGER WARNING HAPPY Trigger Warning: This blog contains no trigger warnings

The ‘Trigger Warning’ is having a moment. Much like after the bankers f***ed up the economy and ‘austerity’ went from being a word mostly found in Dickensian era literature to common usage overnight. In fact, it’s only very recently that ‘austerity’ has fallen out of favour as the blanket explanation for all the profit focused policies that have post dated it.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think ‘Trigger Warning’ is even a decade old. It is certainly very new to find it everywhere, all the time. Perhaps, it’s just the circles I frequent. The feminist ones, especially. They are just wall to ceiling ‘Trigger Warning’. Many make you agree to adding a ‘Trigger Warning’ to everything you post. Think about that, for a moment. Feminists sites that ask you to designate your feminist content potentially harmful to other feminists.

Perhaps I sound flippant? Like, I have missed the point. Trigger warnings are there to protect people, who may be experiencing P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from being triggered by other people’s stories or even opinions. So far, so sensitive. But, ultimately, not sensitive enough, because here’s the type of content that might make a traumatised individual feel unsafe. F***ing anything!

Such is the nature of unresolved trauma that a smell, a sound, a taste, or a picture may resonate with some part of our deep sub conscious – where all the bad s*** lurks – and make us feel vulnerable, alone, sad. Such is the real dark stuff that happens to people in a patriarchy, that many spent their entire life’s a bit or a lot broken. Trigger Warnings won’t resolve their conflict. Truth and affirmative action is much more plausible.

When did feminists become so f***ing sensitive to the needs of everyone, all the time, whilst so simultaneously desensitised to the needs of women? Seriously, what is that about?

It’s all part of a wider conspiracy to make feminism so dull that only suburban house-wife’s and aspirational career types need apply. All the thinkers, all the truth seekers, all the herstorians – nope, it’s not a typo – will be either dead, or living in some underground compound in UTAH waiting for a post apocalyptic future with a less bleak outlook.

Can we stop censoring women? Can we stop patronising women? Can we recognise that talking about trauma is not inherently traumatic? It is not even as traumatic as not talking about it. Can we stop boring each other’s pants off with long, convoluted explanations of what feminism is? Can we narrow down the definition of feminism to more realistic aims? Can we make sure the draft includes stuff about women and their oppression under a patriarchy?

So, in summary, feminism is not an ideological version of a health spa. If you want to feel good about yourself, you need to see a life coach, or an emotional freedom therapist, or even a good old fashioned shrink. If you want to fight for the rights of women you need to find yourself some like minded women who call themselves feminists, but are also interested in such matters. And that, in this current climate of schizophrenic women;s rights, is a pretty hard find.

My debut novel Nailing Jess is available now from amazon and all good bookstores.

 

Everyday Feminism – I’ll take mine to go…

So, now that I’ve launched my book, I need to get back to blogging regularly. Blogging’s hard. You have to think up stuff to write about and then write about it. You have to have an opinion and be sure where you stand on something and the older I get, the less certain I become about where I stand on anything. Take feminism, for example. I used to be so sure of what feminism was. Then I discovered twitter. Some time later, I came to realise that my own understanding of what feminism was, which had come largely from the academic writings of the second wave feminists, was no longer relevant. Feminism had morphed into something entirely different. It had been re branded so that it might appeal to a broader section of society. And in theory, that’s a good thing, surely?

Everybody knows you’ve got to de-radicalise to maintain viewing figures. Remember New Labour? But, at what point, do you lose all credibility? At what point are you looking from the misogynist to the feminist, and then from the feminist to the misogynist and scratching your head? ‘Course it could be simply that the movement has evolved too fast for me, and I’m stuck in the rigid thinking of a by-gone era when feminism was all about fighting for women’s rights. Most especially, their right to control of their womb. Their right to live free from male perpetrated sexual and physical violence. Their right to protect their children from male perpetrated sexual and physical violence. Their right to an education. Their right to be self defined autonomous individuals, with control of their own destinies. Their right to live free of oppression and fear. It was a very rights based time.

And these sisters got shit done! Between all the toking and the dancing around naked and hairy in the gardens, coz body hair is a very political thing, they achieved practical, massive stuff. They got us divorce and abortion and contraception and women’s refuges. They got us better pay and working conditions and opportunities. They radically changed our lives. Then, as far as I can tell, they packed up and moved back to suburbia, in time for rush hour at the fertility clinic. There endeth the second wave. Now, we’re in the third wave, I think, it’s hard to keep up. Some even talk of a fourth, so it could be like a tsunami soon. Only, that’s not the feeling I get. This third wave seems very sketchy to me. I’m not even convinced it’s a wave, more of a series of ripples. Okay, enough with the ocean metaphor! But you get my point. Feminism is having a moment.

Everybody’s feminist right now. It’s not just Emma Watson. Teresa May is a feminist, she literally bought the t-shirt and that Canadian prime minister bloke, and of course Obama and also Ryan Gosling, though that could be an irony thing. There’s even talk that Kim Kardashian is a feminist. They are f**king everywhere! So, here’s the thing? How is it that the patriarchy can withstand the force of their numbers? ‘Coz latest update on the patriarchy is, it’s still standing strong, holding its own, making gains in many areas. Globally and locally it continues to win a war many feminists on the ground will tell you no longer exists. So, what’s up with that?

If I was a conspiracy theorist, which I’m not, I’d say that patriarchal thinking had infiltrated the feminist movement to such an effective degree as to render it neutral. The movement is now so lacking in threat that it is allowed to grow, wild and without nurture, in the corners of the most feeble brains.

Feminism is an ever evolving concept, we are told. There is no need to know its history before you sign up. Only, there is, and it’s there in those very words. His Story. And he owned the words. And as long as he didn’t educate her, she might always believe he was smarter than her. ‘Course these days she’s educated, in some countries, and in many she can get her hands on the internet. And how must he play her now?

It calls to mind a recent article published in the Gaurdian about a feminist that attacked a life size statue of Trump during its unveiling ceremony in Madrid.  She was one of that femen crowd, so she was topless. Femen, you may remember, was the topless women’s rights movement, set up by a bloke. And yes, origins matter, as anyone who is familiar with the tale of Adam and Eve, can validate. What I want to know is why?

I know that makes me a philistine, ‘coz art, especially performance protest art speaks for itself. And also, to be fair to her, she was very clear. She wrapped her fist around Trumps plastic, clothed crotch and painted ‘grab patriarchy by the balls’ on her naked back. I still want to know why? To what effect? For what purpose has she stripped and risked arrest? Greater purpose that is, than five minutes of twitter notoriety and a story to bore her dinner guests with in a decades time. And, when you break it down, what was her real, exposed body, groping a plasic effigy actually saying? Her slogan echos very hallow against the stark portrayal of her powerlessness. And, I don’t think that was the look she was going for.

I’d like to compare the lone wolf femen agitator for social change with the more logical, considered and ultimately liberating Irish feminists, who in 1971, took a train from Belfast, carrying contraceptives where they were restricted but legal, to Dublin where they continued to be completely illegal for another eight years. In fact, it wasn’t until 1993 that condoms became freely available. Picture that, folks! A world without johnies! This huge publicity stunt co-existed with the underground provision of contraception, thus the grassroots and the political, working together, created meaningful social change. And he quaked in his boots, ‘coz she created laws to stop him kicking her.

And that takes us the full circle back to what is feminism for? Take this Everyday Feminism, and after a quick scan of their vision, I’d rather leave it. Wtf are they selling? Seriously, it reads like a cross between a brahma kumaris leaflet and an early draft of some HR speech on political correctness for octogenarians still in the workplace. See, I like my feminism a bit more feminist, you know? I mean, its all well and good to save the dolphins and recognize the rights of indigenous people to self identify, but what are you doing about the rapists and perverts and the paedos? What’s your plan to keep the refuges open? When they close, more women have to remain living with violent men, and it’s really hard to find your zen when you’re not sure if you or your kids will make it though the night without a beating. How’s the fight for reproductive control going? ‘Coz if we lose that, on top of the refuges, and the legal aid, well then it’s going to take a lot more than a spot of yoga to redress the balance, don’t you think?

So, to summarise, yoga is great if you want to detox and re energise, but has proved singularly ineffective when used as a weapon of war, as the exiled Tibetan monks would surely testify. Feminism is a movement to agitate for the rights of women. When working properly it can change laws, create new laws, allow women autonomy over their own bodies, generate finances and power, facilitate education, free women’s minds and empower them to self realize beyond the confines of their patriarchal jailers. When defunct, it can’t do much, except spit out mindless art or intellectually warped philosophy and distract. And oh, how he laughs, but these oh so clever people, they don’t get the joke….

My debut novel Nailing Jess, published by Cranachan, is available for download for 99p on Amazon for the month of July.

Indyref2: A Resident’s Perspective

So, I don’t usually write about conventional political stuff like elections for a number of reasons, the most compelling being that I don’t know very much about such things and I don’t want to sound stupid. In recent years catastrophic national and global events like the failure of the Scottish Independence campaign, the failure to campaign of the U.K’s Remain in the E.U. campaign, and the mind-blowing headf***  that resulted in Donald Trump becoming president of the United States have made me somewhat less hesitant to voice my opinions. If I say something dumb, who might notice?

If the mainstream media are to be believed there are two major losers of this election, namely Theresa May and Scotland’s chances of holding a second referendum on Independence.  The immediate and constant conflating of these two separate issues serves to make all put the most ardent ‘Yes’ supporter (of which there are many) head for the Brexit highway and accept their fate. You could be forgiven for thinking the impending independence referendum had already been held and resoundingly lost.

As someone living in Scotland it’s left me feeling a bit confused. On the one hand, the mainstream media are selling Scottish Independence as dead. On the other hand, I speak to activists on the ground and they laugh at the arrogant suggestion that the fate of Scotland has been decided by a Westminster government.

They have a point. Whilst the SNP sustained losses, including the formidable Alex Salmond, they are unquestionably still in the game. Whilst a Tory revival is never a happy event, it is the predictable consolidation of the ‘No to independence’ vote behind the party least likely to ever lose a square mile of the once great, but now simply British, empire.

The message of these activists appears to be ‘Game On.’

So who to believe?

Is it possible that they could both be telling a truth?

‘Independence is Dead’ shouts the mainstream media and these very cries inflict blows on the cause.

‘Independence is Alive’ responds the ‘Yes’ movement of Scotland, and you have to believe them, because their actions breathe life into their campaign.

I wish I cared.

I did care. Last time around. The 2014 drive for Scottish Independence was so vibrant and infused with promise, expectation and possibility (much like the Corbyn movement) that I caught the bug and became one of those people that believed change was possible. I put a ‘Yes’ poster in my living room window, and pinned a ‘Yes’ badge on my handbag, and reveled in the comradeship on the street. Once awkward silences in the supermarket queue had morphed into animated conversations about our future autonomy and all the fun we would have and all the social justice we would create. I have since read a number of articles from ‘No’ supporters who campaigned under the now hallow ‘Better Together’ slogan portraying a time of deep division and bitter conflict, and I don’t recognise their descriptions. It was actually a blast to be living in Scotland in the run up to the last referendum.  There was as much hope as you will ever find in a people not noted for their cheery disposition.

Then we lost. It was a dark day. All those prospects of a bright future eclipsed by the power of the status quo. I was very sad. Many people were very sad.

But not the core activists. Strangely enough, they claimed their loss as a victory. Much like Corbyn’s team are doing right now. And the subsequent elections every year since have, more or less, validated their position. The S.N.P. are the biggest party in Hollyrood. The S.N.P. are the biggest Scottish party in Westminster. However you spin it, enough people in Scotland continue to support them to make the possibility of another referendum on Independence a valid option.

This may seem like a political broadcast on behalf of Scottish Nationalism but it isn’t. It’s an observation of how things actually are in Scottish politics, at this point in time. I’m not even sure how I’ll vote, when or if there is another vote on Independence. I do know that there are far greater threats to global security, and even British security, than the Scots flying solo.

My debut novel Nailing Jess is being released by Cranachan Publishing on June 26th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriarchal Rumours

I’ve decided to splash out on some professional photos to aid with my metamorphosis from unknown writer to global brand.  I got them done yesterday, it only took about half an hour. That was the camera stuff, obviously. The pre shoot hair and make up took an awful lot longer. It’s not, I must say because I’m in particularly bad nick for my age. In fact given that I’ve never been a mistress of what theses days we call ‘clean living’, I reckon time’s been quite kind to me. It’s just I do look my age and that in our youth and image obsessed times is utterly unforgivable because I’m a woman. If I was a man, it would be absolutely fine because everybody knows men age.

Given that I’ve written a book where feminism is a major theme, then my look becomes even more important. Yes, I do hear the irony but with the rise of ironic sexism, feminism needs to catch up. Of course eventually we will reach a point where everything is ironic and the word irony shall cease to have meaning but people say we’re not there yet.

As a writer I spend a lot of my time in comfortable clothes, face bare, hair in scunchy, chipped nails pressing keys on a computer and I have to say, it’s a good look. Without getting too biblical it’s how God intended me to be, and given we have so little common ground, I want to give him this one. It’s not even that I’m a natural slob, it’s just that life is short and netflix is vast and there feels like so many more meaningful ways to spend my time than in front of a mirror painting out hard earned living. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m low maintenance, itself a sexist phrase but only when not used in an ironic context.

I worry that my attitude to my image will prove a barrier to global domination, but I can’t see me changing much at this stage in life. See, I know they say women can have it all only I’ve never been convinced. I’m not even sure who they are and where they came by their definition of ‘it all’.  It obviously wasn’t in a dictionary. Because of the elusive nature of ‘it all’ and in the interests of only producing, quality, researched blog material I typed ‘what does the ‘it all’ in the phrase ‘women can have it all’ mean?’into google and I have to say I didn’t find a lot of consensus. The general theme for ‘it all’ seems to be striking some kind of harmonious balance between professional and family life, and I feel compelled to point out that as a definition of ‘it all’, it falls far short of even a very broad one.  There are many more things in life that belong under the umbrella term of ‘it all’. What about stella artois? What about scented candles? What about pirated copies of the award winning ABC network show ‘How to get away with murder?’ What about the search for existentialist truth and the core connectivity of all living things and all inanimate matter?

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get at the phrase ‘women can have it all’. Bet I know where it comes from to, it’ll be one of those patriarchal rumours. Think about it – The sum of a woman’s desires reduced to working,nurturing and fucking, it’s got to be the patriarchy. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘patriarchal rumour’ – It’s a rumour, spread by the patriarchy, that is completely at odds with all scientific data and known information about the same subject. Other well worn examples include ‘Hell hath no fury greater than a woman scorned’ or ‘The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.’ Even the scantest amount of thought employed very quickly reaches the conclusion that the above statements like the aforementioned ‘have it all’ theory have no basis in fact whatsoever. Put simply, they are all utter bollox. I must say I’ve had it up to here with misinformation spawned by the patriarchy passing as truth. In fact, I think I’m going to drop them a line and tell them just that. If anyone is inspired by my bold move and wishes to follow suit then I shall provide an address for the patriarchy at the end of the post.

Dear Patriarchy,

Re: ‘Women can have it all’ rumour.

I don’t believe you and furthermore I, and I’m willing to wager, many women don’t want ‘it all’. In fact, were there to exist greater awareness that the sum of ‘it all’ equates to not very much at all, then I’m willing to further wager, even more women wouldn’t want it. Can you please desist from clogging up consciousness with ill conceived  gender generalizations and perhaps instead spend your time redressing the gender imbalance within the hierarchical structure of the workplace and the institutionalized misogyny in the legal system that leaves us struggling to get our hands on close to half of it. In layman’s terms – Stop stealing all the good stuff and most of the all right stuff and leaving us with all the shit stuff, when you leave us anything at all, and then maybe you wouldn’t have to make it up to us with empty promises and past their sell by date roses from a twenty four hour Tesco garage.

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter.

Sincerely,

Triona Scully

Address for the patriarchy : The Patriarchy, F***ing Everywhere.

My debut novel Nailing Jess is released by Cranachan Publishing on June 26th.

Marketing to marijuana smokers.

I spent yesterday at the magic meadows festival and had the chance to hand out some flyers advertising my debut novel Nailing Jess, being released by Cranachan publishing on June 26th. It was fun but ultimately fraught, as I spent much of my time trying to size up who among the festival crowd was most likely to smoke marijuana. For two reasons.

Firstly, I like to tell tokers about my book, coz my main protagonist D.I. Jane Wayne is partial to a joint or seven. Secondly, I wanted to make sure as few of them as possible take home my flyers. It is a sad truth that no matter how much enthusiasm a smoker may appear to have about your artistic idea your flyer will be taken home and placed by a window sill or on the kitchen table, where at some future point it will be torn into strips and used as roachs for cannabis spliffs. Of course, this is the long term fate of all Edinburgh flyers that don’t wind up in re-cycling bins, but if you are actively handing your publicity material to known or suspected weed smokers, then it is likely you will accelerate this process considerably.

It’s not an easy task to weed out the smokers in any crowd of people. In fact, it’s almost impossible. The young and those with a point to prove may blow it in your face, but in general most people who partake of illegal substances don’t advertise it. They don’t want to get in trouble.

It’s bewildering why dope remains illegal in a time when you can inject your own ass into your face. A 2011 call for a review of the U.K. drugs legislation by The Global Commission on Drugs Policy was rejected by the then prime minister, David Cameron. “We have no intention of liberalising our drugs laws. Drugs (sic) are illegal because they are harmful — they destroy lives and cause untold misery to families and communities.” It’s an interesting viewpoint, but doesn’t actually answer the question – Why is marijuana illegal?  Especially when you couple it with the knowledge that alcohol is legal in the U.K.

The Oxford dictionary definition of drug is as follows: Drug – Noun – ‘A medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.’ Re-read this definition, if you will, and recognise that this statement applies to most of what we eat or drink.

But, there will no serious talk of criminalising pie eating any time soon. Or introducing some kind of fine system for caffeine abuse, modeled perhaps on parking tickets, with the requirement that all coffee users be subject to random piss tests.

And as for prohibiting the sale of alcohol…

I’ve never got my head round the hypocrisy of a society that pretends alcohol is safer than weed. It’s such a mind numbingly ill informed opinion, and is completely unsupported by any evidence based or anecdotal data.  Think about it, how often is exclusive marijuana use a mitigating factor in a crime?  How many football hooligans tear up the centre of foreign cities, after having a few tokes at the back of the stands? How many rounds of a bong, before a group of stoners turn native and kick f*** out of each other?

The phenomena of drexting is a wonderful example of the universally held truth – that people do really stupid things when they consume alcohol to excess. Drexting, as defined by techopedia – ‘Texting friends, family, coworkers and significant others while intoxicated.’ I would add texting exs, people you hate, and people you cyber stalk to the endless list of individuals that may find themselves a victim of a drexter’s ill advised 4 a.m. rant.  The word stexting does not exist in Techopedia. That’s because stoned people don’t lose inhibition and reason to the the point where contacting someone that they haven’t seen since 2006 seems like a good idea.

All this talk of the idiocy of our drug laws has distracted me from the purpose of this piece. How to minimise the number of Nailing Jess postcards that will wind up in badly rolled 4 a.m. joints. The absolute truth is I can’t. And, thinking it over, I’m not sure it matters. Yeah, sure, they’re postcards of my book and I think they’re a work of art, a collectors item even. But many smokers turn joint rolling into an art form, so it’s actually a form of up-cycling. All I ask is that you put Nailing Jess to the back of the pile and smoke all the Vote Tory stuff first.