Tuesday, June 28, 2011


After nearly 6 years of blogging, I felt it was time the old blog had a bit of a revamp. Please accept my apologies for any weirdness while works are taking place. Hope to understand HTML a little better soon too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When the Personal becomes Apolitical

Thanks to Woodscolt for sending me this vapid and annoying contribution to 21st century feminist theory from Caitlin Moran (no, not the cute children's book character, that's Katie. This is the Times columnist who changed her name from Catherine in homage to the feisty Irish teen rebel in Jilly Cooper's 'Rivals'. [Note: surely this is not really true? Query sources])
The evolution of the women's movement: which one would you choose?
Firstly, I find it difficult to believe that modern women are so confused about whether they are feminists or not that they would turn to a question-and-answer column in The Stylist, London's most overtly sexist free magazine, to find out. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this morning, the females of the metropolis breathed a collective sigh of relief as they finally learned The Truth about themselves and the world.
1.) Can they like Lady Gaga and still be feminists?
2.) Can they wear high heels without Emmeline Pankhurst rolling uneasily in her tomb?
3.) Can they read trashy magazines without metaphorically spitting in their collective sisters' eye? 
At last, these burning questions are solved by Moran, in How To Be A Woman, the twenty-first century's answer to The Second Sex.  (I'm not sure if she answered my own burning question, which was 4.) Do I Even Want To Be A Woman Or A Feminist If That's All There Is To It?)

Reposted from Elsewhere: Review

I felt a self-referential phase coming on, so it may be useful for readers who give a flying fuck to read this old review of Ellie Levenson's 2009 seminal work on feminism in the 21st century, previously published only in a magazine so small and inconsequential that I don't believe I even got hold of a copy myself. 

Nice to see how I have mellowed since then, and no longer feel obliged to constantly pour out my wrath against my journalist sisters, who are after all guilty only of poor writing and of wanting to make a very fast buck.

Review: ‘The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism’ (from October 2009)

Friday, June 10, 2011

On free education and the ideal university

A reaction to today's People's Panel in the Guardian, questions of excellence in education and this whole ridiculous NCH fiasco.

At 19, I stayed in London doing bum jobs for low pay while my friends left for the exciting new challenge of University. This I envisioned as a wonderful free space where wild, uninhibited thinking took the place of manual labour (I was a chambermaid). I imagined my contemporaries sitting in with their lecturers in dark smoky cafés, discussing Sartre and drinking espressos.

Small wonder then that when I went to visit my best pal in Oxford, I was horrified. These people talked rugby incessantly, and had their rooms cleaned for them by middle-aged women! The parties were just like London parties, only with crisper accents and smarter clothes. And coming home from the pub, we met a trio of battered, bloodied, white-tied young men. They had got into a fight, it seemed, with some ‘townies’. These ‘chavs’ had set upon them for ‘no reason’. One of the men was still clutching a champagne bottle.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Inclusivity and SlutWalk

So do many of us, it seems.
SlutWalk is still interesting. Why? Because it represents a crossroads between different kinds of feminism: radical, liberal, all kinds of left-wing, and what we sometimes fall into the trap of calling The Rest of the World. For example, my Tory friend, who I shamelessly abuse as a barometer of opinions outside of my East London, middle class, left-wing world, responded with ‘Perhaps for the first time ever, I agree. You are completely right.’ when I reposted the SlutWalk Toronto page on Facebook. It’s refreshing to be thinking about a march that appeals to a wide range of people, from different walks of life, if only because feminism in London is awfully divided, claustrophobic, and even cliquey.

All kinds of people want to see action taken against rape, and everyone (I hope so anyway) agrees that blaming women for rape has got to end. I can’t wait to see if this translates into a mixed, exciting march, and even a wider forum for debate on women’s bodies, women’s right to consent to sex, and how sexual violence fits into a wider framework of repression and institutionalised violence.

Urban Garden, May 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Claims and Counter-claims [a guest post by Elvis Presley]

I have been thinking a lot about 'reclaiming' words. The only conclusion I have come to is that the 'reclaiming' of "nigger" and "queer" are totally different phenomena which were only linked afterwards. Now they are reinterpreted as having been consciously 'reclaimed' but this did not happen. There was also a change of meaning in both cases is not the case with other conscious attempts at 'reclaiming', where there is often no change in meaning. Which is maybe why they don't work.

I think that 'nigger' was first used by gangsta hiphop and others not to have a diferent meaning from its white racist meaning (which itself had followed its original, neutral meaning which simply meant 'black'/'slave' interchangeably). As used in gangsta hiphop, 'nigger' was a black person, but within a context that completely acknowledged a racist society. Hence why it could not be used by anyone white or with a stake in that racist society. Using the word means that the speaker is not in denial about the racist nature of society.
Why do I call myself a nigger they ask me/Cause everywhere I go police wanna harass me...Why do I call myself a nigger they ask me/Guess it's just the way shit has to be. NWA - Niggaz for life