Source: Cover Reveal for Nailing Jess
To titillate or not to titillate, that appears to be the question. Can a mainstream feminist strike a very provocative pose in a mainstream magazine and still hang on to her feminist credentials? Julia Hartley-Brewer doesn’t think so, but lets be clear, Julia Hartley-Brewer is not of life’s big thinkers.
I’m a bit indifferent to it, to be honest. In the overall scheme of pressing concerns within the feminist movement I kind of feel that it’s not making anybodies top ten. It is however grabbing peoples attention and keeps coming up in my media feed so I’ve decided to explore it.
Watson has hit back at critics saying that feminism is all about choice and other feel good awe inducing nouns. ‘I don’t know what my tits have to do with it.’ And it’s a fair point, except for the tits part. Not Emma’s tits specifically. Tits as subject matter are absolutely central to many strands of feminist thought. Let’s rephrase the answer so that it might say, because it does imply, that Emma doesn’t know what tits have to do with feminism. Tits, Emma seems to be suggesting, like candles and lawnmowers, are just nouns.
Tits are a bit more than that though. Tits or breasts, as they are sometimes referred to by people not as hip as Emma, are a central part of the female anatomy. Without them and a womb and a vagina, and few more spare parts, we’d be the same as men. When lactating the tits become a vital source of food for the baby, and the baby’s survival can depend on their proximity to tits. The owner of the tits’ options are often severely limited by this basic human need, and by a patriarchal structure that constrains their childcare and career choices, and pits them against their own tits.
Tits and ass are the two most common body parts a woman’s anatomy, and at times her entirety is reduced to. Mainstream media pitches airbrushed images of already excessively preened individuals who conform to industry standards of weight, height and beauty as the norm, thereby forcing all women to up their game, or face the shame of looking average, like blokes do anyway. The porn industry erodes female identify further, as the camera zooms in on her intimate orifices, and the viewer is invited to leave their humanity at the door.
These industries have in turn lined the pockets of the cosmetic surgeons, who ply their wares to those with tits that don’t conform. To avoid confusion, let’s recognise that their is no one pair of actual tits that we all aspire to have. There’s a few. Bigger ones are definitely sought after. Even ones are better than odd. Pert ones always get the thumbs up. Pert can’t last and the physical act of carrying a child alters, usually permanently, the shape and structure of a pair of tits, never for the better if pert is the better. That’s why so many new mothers, and young mothers have breast implants. ‘Course it doesn’t explain why so many non mothers subject themselves to dangerous, invasive surgery, except to be more pert or bigger or, we can definitely surmise, to have different shaped tits than those that nature handed out. It’s very demoralising, all this hacking away of perfectly normal tits, and all the money it costs, and the weeks spent healing from surgery that never needed to happen.
To conclude tits are very political. Tits are to feminism what money is to socialism, a central tenet of why it exists. I’m struggling to work out what the f**k Gloria Steinem and Watson have been talking about all these years, if tits have never once come up. I know there’s so much more to feminism than the female anatomy and I am not suggesting otherwise, however we should it remember that were it not for the female anatomy, and how the patriarchy pits that anatomy against us, at every turn, then their would be no need for feminism. See, I really don’t care what Watson wears, I just wish her feminism was a bit more informed.
‘The idea that somehow I would invent it – why would I?’ asked Harriet Harman, when she was accused of lying about an encounter with a sexual predator whilst at university.
There are several answers to that question. Harriet may have made it up to sell more copies of her autobiography, because a career spanning over three decades as a serving M.P. would be of little interest, were it not for a sex scandal. Harriet may have made it up to further her feminist agenda, not in an immediate policy on the table sort of way, but in a more vague spitting on the good name of the male dominated culture way. Harriet may have made it up because she knew she could, the tutor in question is dead, and therefore not in a position to defend himself. Harriet may have made it up, ‘coz she f***ing hates men. Any of one of these motives impacts on Harriet’s credibility, and who could blame a cynical public for calling her out as a liar? Also his ex wife, though not actually present during the alleged encounter, says she’s sure he wouldn’t have done that.
So, to summarise, if you are going to accuse a man of sexually deviant behavior, you must not do so in an auto biographical form, you must not so if you are a feminist, you must not do so if he is no longer breathing and you must not do so if he has a living relative or ex relative who can testify to his soundness of character.
This kind of reminds me of when Amber Heard accused Johnny Depp of assaulting her.
There were compelling reasons to disbelieve her too. The most obvious being that he was Johnny Depp and Johnny Depp is not the type of guy that goes round hitting women. There was the issue of alimony, though Heard has since pledged to donate the seven figure sum to charity (if he ever actually pays her), that shouldn’t detract from the fact that alimony was on the table and therefore goes to credibility. Heard had previously been in a relationship with a woman, I’m not entirely sure how this impacted on her integrity, but it appeared to. Heard was arrested, though never prosecuted, for domestic abuse and there you have it boom! Loads of reasons to call her a liar. Also, Johnny’s ex, the lovely Vanessa Paradis, hand wrote a note calling the suggestion that Johnny was violent ‘outrageous’.
To review if you are going to accuse a man of domestic violence it must not be Johnny Depp. You should not also be seeking alimony from him. You should not now be, or ever have been bi-sexual. You should not ever have been suspected of committing domestic abuse and you should be confident that none of your ex’s lovers like him even a little, or that they have any strong ties, like for example children, with him.
It’s a very similar story to when Woody Allen’s biological daughter Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter accusing him of child abuse, and accusing Hollywood the machine of being complicit in maintaining the hero status of a pervert.
To give this story context, it wasn’t the first time that Allen had been accused of this crime. Dylan’s mother, Mia Farrow, had made the same allegation over twenty years previous during what is described as ‘a bitter custody battle’, like there’s any other kind. So on these grounds alone we can dismiss the validity of Dylan Farrow’s accusations. We don’t have to call her an outright liar, ‘coz that seems somehow crass after an allegation of pedophilia, we can see simply note that she’s delusional, a victim of a fury so great that hell cannot contain it.
To put it succinctly, if you are going to accuse your father of child abuse, you must first make sure he is not involved in any form of legal battle with your Mother. It’s a bit of a catch 22 really ‘coz one imagines allegations of child abuse have prompted the break up of many a marriage.
So, to conclude, accusing men of stuff is a dangerous business, though not as dangerous admittedly, as the stuff they are being accused of. In order to maximise the chances of being believed, women should carefully vet all aspects of their lifes, all the time, on the statistically probable chance, that at some point they will fall prey to a dangerous or deviant man. It’s a tough call, to ask an entire sex to maintain a permanent state of self policing, and downright implausible two hours past happy on a Friday night, but what’s the alternative? That we start to believe them?
So my new years resolution is to blog more regularly and so far that hasn’t exactly gone to plan. 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 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?
Yesterday the Gaurdian ran a story 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 johniees! 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….
(Please note: all screenshots were taken with the other person’s permission)
These days, everyone’s after new ways of advertising and promoting. More importantly, everyone’s after free ways of advertising and promoting. My publisher, Cranachan, asked me to think of as many creative ways to publicise Mary’s the Name as I could. Having used Tinder (not very successfully) before, I knew what a large amount of people could be reached with just a few swipes. So I figured, why not re-download (as everyone eventually does) but this time, I’ll make Tinder work for me!
The rules I set myself were:
- Always stay on message (e.g. Ah, you’re a horse doctor? You know, that reminds me of MY BOOK.)
- Swipe right on everyone, even girls I know in real life. This was the only fair way, I thought. Fair to say, some swipes were nerve wracking stuff..
- Don’t message…
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The irony of protesting the Ocean 11 remake, on the grounds of it being an all female line up, cannot be lost on anyone who thought thought the last remake was shit. Seriously, if you’re going to protest something, why not protest that? Hollywood’s pathological fear of the original, untested idea, #MakeNewStuff.
Instead #FeministAMovie sprang up round the Warner Bros press release. In a nutshell, angry men, with large egos and low self esteem, venting their spleen, because that’s like, the second major movie to be female led this year. I think it’s important to clarify that Ghostbusters ,the other one, has been released and Ocean’s 8 is in pre-production, so there hasn’t been and won’t be a whole two female driven, major Hollywood movies this year. But such absence of imagination is ever prevalent in the twitter mens’ rights warrior, otherwise known as the troll.
There’s a very good reason for this. What the f**k do they actually have to complain about?
See, men’s rights is actually an oxymoron. It’s also clumsy English with the additional, unnecessary word ‘men’s’ in the term. There is no elusive set of men’s rights that need to be fought for, over and above the rights they already have, which form the blueprint for the rights all oppressed groups, including women seek to obtain.
Let’s briefly review a small but telling amount of the evidence. Women still do more, women still earn less, women still own less, they are still underrepresented in all positions of power and over-represented in all domestic fields. Women are still being harassed, assaulted, abused, raped and murdered, and not just by the Hollywood stable of the stranger at the door, but by members of their own families. In the overall scheme of stuff that actually merits complaining about, women still have the absolute monopoly.
No-where is this fact more self evident than in Twitter.
I’m not known for my love of product endorsement, but given that I’m an unknown writer, I feel I can keep my integrity intact and inform my readers of the best invention ever. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Blitz Original by Regina. It is currently on special offer at my local Scotmid for the implausibly low price of £1.34 per 100 sheets, making the cost of an individual sheet a little over one penny. But, even when they put it back to its original price, I’ll still be buying it, because not since John the Hoover ( a little known relative of Henry, sold by John Lewis for £99), has a product so altered the course of my existence. There are some among you who will no doubt sneer at such mediocre merchandise having a spiritual dimension, but you who sneer betray your own sloth, and unmask yourselves as the one in the house who doesn’t clean shit! Anyone who is tasked with the relentless responsibility of having to keep shit clean will know that household appliances and effective paper towels are the gateway to personal freedom. If you don’t believe me turn your hot water and electricity off and go clean your house, come back in four days and we can talk about how right I am.
With this in mind, I can’t help but feel that Leadsom missed a trick, when making her recent, highly controversial remarks on Motherhood and leadership. By saying that she had children and those children’s children kept her directly invested in the future, she sent twitter into meltdown, and her own insanely fast tracked career into reverse. Motherhood, it would appear, should never give one an edge politically.
Personally, I don’t see why not. My own life divides neatly into pre Motherhood, when I knew fuck all and could do very little, and post Motherhood, when I learned most of the stuff I know, including the limitless resources of any woman when she is compelled to care for a new life. Such knowledge may be difficult, even impossible to quantify, but there isn’t a sane Mother alive that could deny its existence.
Of all that I have learned and every new skill I have mastered, there are none so great as my ability to keep shit clean. Before they let you take a baby home, they give you a few basic tips on keeping said infant alive, and right up there with feeding it, and keeping it warm, is keeping its surrounding environment sterile. The new baby, not yet acclimatized to germs and dirt may become very ill and even die, if exposed to them. There’s nothing like the threat of inadvertent infanticide to make even the most committed slob change her ways and so, just as new life is born, so too is a lifelong obsession with hygiene. By the time the babies immunity system has devolved, so too has their ability to move, and with every stage in their growth cycle comes new and exiting ways they can create mess, and you, the carer, evolve into a an ever more efficient cleaning machine.
I wonder, if Leadsom had offered this spin on Motherhood, might the outcome have been different. Had she simply said ‘Unlike Teresa, I’m a Mum and know how to clean shit up’, would there have been the same public outcry? She could then have gone further with the metaphor, explaining what a horrible mess the boys have made of everything, how toxic an environment they have created, and how it needs someone with years of practical experience in basic hygiene management to clear up the debris. All this fuss over her actual C.V., when her Motherhood C.V. alone showed she has the perfect qualifications for the job in hand!
Actually, I don’t wonder, I know, twitter would not have taken such a quote lying down. There would have been equal, possibly greater indignation, had Leadsom reduced the benefits of Mother as Leader to ‘have experience, will clean’, than there was to her suggestion that those with children have a greater stake in the future. Only, I’m not quite sure why. It is a statement of absolute fact that Motherhood creates a greater awareness of dirt and understanding of how to keep shit clean, which takes me right back to the origin of this train of thought, the ultra absorbency and uncanny durability (you must remember it’s paper!) of Blitz Original. If you are in Scotland this week and pass by a Scotmid, I urge you up pick up half a dozen. You will be so blown away by the effectiveness of this product that you may find yourself knocking shit over, just to watch the power of Blitz Original as it soaks it up.