Tag Archives: feminist

My Favourite Slam Poetry

19 Aug

I posted a while back about how much I love spoken word poetry, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite slam poets with you guys. I owe a lot to one particular feminist network on Facebook for introducing me to these — thanks ladies!

Most of these come with a trigger warning, so be aware of that.

Kai Davis is just phenomenal. When I watch this video I still get shivers every time. I just want to hug her and stroke her hair but at the same time I’m really scared of her and how twisted this poem sounds.

Kavindu “Kavi” Ade performing IT. Again, this piece is really moving.

Andrea Gibson performs ‘How It Ends’ in this one and it is just the cutest love poem ever. I mean can you just imagine if someone wrote this for you?

Emilie Zoey Baker’s poem ‘Fannyism’ made me a feminist when I was seventeen. This isn’t a great rendition though. You really have to go to her myspace music player and listen to it old school style, it’s a lot better.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21221916]

Kim Selling performs ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and everyone is blown away forever. Goodbye I am gone.

Kai Davis again and her friend made this little offering which they call ‘Dear Dirty Hipsters’ and it is an open letter to me and maybe you and it’s also really funny and we should stop being so terrible.

Is there something you think I need to see? Link me up in the comments!

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Book Porn: Armpits4August Edition

15 Aug

Day 14: Not a lot to see here.

If you haven’t noticed the trend of underarm follicles blossoming into fruition this month, I wouldn’t blame you. Despite Dove’s marketing campaign to try and sell us the ‘beautiful underarm’ as a thing, we just don’t spend a lot of time looking at each other’s pits! Unless you’re Amanda Palmer or Julia Roberts, the sad fact of life is that nobody will pay very much attention to your underarm tresses if you do grow hair under there, and if you’re bare under there you probably haven’t ever given much thought to why you shave in the first place. But for some women and trans* men with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the battle against body hair can be a complicated, emotional, and embarrassing experience.

A common symptom of PCOS is hirsutism (excessive hair growth). Inspired by this, Armpits4August began as a month long charity event in which participants grow underarm hair for one month and ask friends and family to sponsor them to raise money for Verity, the charity for people with PCOS. Armpits4August believes the shame a lot of people feel about their body hair is a consequence of living in a society which dictates that female-assigned bodies must conform to incredibly narrow beauty standards, and which upholds a rigid gender binary that deems body hair a ‘masculine’ trait.

These beautiful and bizarre book covers are my own contribution to the movement (as well as my participation in the event, of course). So without further ado, let’s take a look at the lovely limb locks! Continue reading

10 Manic Pixie Dream Girls From Film Adaptations of Novels

5 Jul
This post was inspired in part by Laurie Penny’s amazing article from the New Statesman earlier this week, and the equally thought-provoking response from Hazel of Freaky Trigger.

The MPDG is, by very definition, the girl of your dreams. She first became a trope thanks to Nathan Rabin’s review of Elizabethtown, in which he defined a Manic Pixie Dream Girl as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures” – but she has existed in one form or another long before he ever coined the phrase.

We saw her in the fifties, when she manifested herself as Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief, and Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot. In the sixties she was Jean Seberg in Breathless. As the decades roll on, see also: Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger than Fiction, Natalie Portman in Garden State, and every character Zooey Deschenal has ever played – ever. Kate Winslet’s character Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind acknowledges the archetype and kind of rejects the label (“Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours“) – but ultimately, she’s MPDG incarnate.

If you want a better definition of what exactly a Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s role is, this Feminist Frequency video sums it up pretty succinctly:

Continue reading

Should we bank on Jane Austen being the face of our £10 notes?

3 Jul
austen

If the (Fanny) Price is right…

When it was announced that Elizabeth Fry would be disappearing from our £5 notes, feminists (and pretty much everyone who thinks gender equality isn’t such a dumb idea) were up in arms. Without Ms Fry the UK currency would have no female faces. Except the Queen, obviously.

Charles Darwin will soon be leaving our £10 notes and Sir Mervyn King, the until very recently Governor of the Bank of England, announced that the novelist Jane Austen is hotly tipped to be replacing Mr. Darwin. This makes rather a lot of sense as the bicentenary of ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ (her most famous novel) is coming up. In February, the Royal Mail marked this by releasing some Jane Austen related stamps (whether this is a marker of success or not up to you…I once saw some Coldplay themed stamps). Continue reading

Hey You. Eat This Red Velvet Twat Cake

24 Aug

Everyone is always saying to me, “Baking is so hard. You have to be so precise. Your hair is amazing.” But I disagree. Putting the confused politics of cupcake-feminism aside, baking is a fucking piece of cake.

Cake is like sex. Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. You shouldn’t be afraid to mess up, you’re just basically mixing some eggs and flour together until they resemble something remotely delicious.

This recipe for red velvet cake is testament to the idea that you can tamper with the rules however you like. The original called for buttermilk and baking soda and a bunch of other crap I didn’t want to walk to the store to buy, so I tweaked it and it still came out like a beautiful red cheeseburger. Just look at it.

Ingredients.

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp red food dye
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vinegar

Method.

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease two cake tins.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt in one bowl. In another bowl, mix the butter (you might need to leave it out to soften first), sugar and vanilla until they are combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then mix in the food colouring.
  3. Add part flour, part milk bit by bit and mix until it’s all used up. Add the vinegar (I don’t know what this is for either).
  4. Put the mixture into your two cake tins. Bake for twenty-five minutes. Cool.
  5. Ice however you like. Mine looked like this:
Let them eat twat.

What is the real problem with prostitution?

7 Jul

Someone once told me to always open with a joke before getting to the heavy stuff, so here goes! “How do you make a hormone? Tell her a misogynistic joke.”

Basically, Amsterdam was amazing. It was full of canals, cyclists, and coffee shops selling cannabis (or ‘jazz cigarettes’ as my friend Dawn calls them, adorably). And it also boasts the infamous Red Light District, which is one of the main tourist attractions and puts a whole different spin on the idea of window shopping.

Prostitution has enjoyed a long tradition of tolerance in Amsterdam. Like marijuana, the Netherlands’ approach has been to legalise the trade and impose regulations. However, my feelings about the RLD are conflated. Even just putting the human body on par with a product (even cannabis…) is problematic.

In ‘Making Sex Work: A Failed Experiment in Legalized Prostitution,’ Sullivan asserts the liberal feminist stance that sex work has the capacity of reducing women’s bodies to a basic commodity, and unconsciously aids in the institutionalising of the rights of men as purchasers of these bodies. Its normalisation has the potential to gravely undermine the workplace equality many women have strived for, and I can totally see this.

On the other hand, I think we have had more than enough of society policing what women do with their bodies. Here in the UK, Nadine Dorries is pushing for abstinence education for girls only (ugh) in schools, and abortion rights are under attack yet again (there is a pro-choice demo this Saturday though). If you want to make prostitution your chosen career, I don’t see why the hell you shouldn’t.

It is all too common for the media to dehumanise and attack sex workers. Do we all remember that vile Richard Littlejohn piece from way back, on the murder of the five Ipswich women? He argued that in their field of work – their work as“disgusting, drug-addled street whores” – “death by strangulation is an occupational hazard” and “in the scheme of things the deaths of these five women is no great loss.”

That the lives of these women were so one-dimensionally dismissed disgusts me to this day, and it is disgusting, disturbed men like Littlejohn that are the real issue surrounding the sex trade. The problem comes from dehumanising and oppressive societal attitudes and the relentless focus on these women’s trade which dismantles their worth as human beings.

It’s a tricky issue, but Amsterdam and the RLD seem to have prostitution spot on if it’s going to be done at all. Sex workers have their own union, access to police protection, and there is a significantly reduced threat of violence and sexually transmitted diseases.

I don’t think I’ll ever reach a concrete conclusion myself, but Feministissues.com has created a handy chart to show the spectrum of feminist reaction to the sex trade. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts too.