Comments from June 2005

Comments, views, and random thoughts from readers. Let's start with the most laughable first, shall we?

, 30 May 2005

From Nick Barnard

why are you doing this? you would not exist if there were no male human

beings. i love my wife and family and have always put them first-you make me


Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Is there some part of my website I’m not aware of or something? – Ed

From Bobby

Recently I watched one of the best and worst movies of the 21st century.

Phone Booth. The plot line is serperb the suspence will keep you on the edge

of your seat and the emotional factor is “throught the roof”! Now the bad

news, the f word was spouted 127 times thats right 127 times. Who in their

right mind would write such garbege. I am a big movie buff I watch every award

show read reviews. I love a good move but this is stupid. I think that the f

word should be baned

From Betty Swallocks

Re: Nuts /

Zoo Weekly: get a life u dyke there iis no need to criticise something

like that. fair enough u dont like it but dont jude the people that do who r u

2, a femininst gay more like well done nuts and zoo good effort!!!!!!!

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Here endeth this month’s stupid emails. On with the rest! – Ed

From Hannah

I just read your blog post [School system is failing our young men… and the rest of the

system is failing our young women] on the annual fuss that the school

system fails young men, and would like to point out that it doesn’t.

Everything in school is catered towards engaging boys and every attempt is

made to avoid ‘girly’ topics in case it alienates the boys. The simple reason

girls outperform boys is that girls work hard and make the teachers job

reasonably possible and boys go out of their way to do the opposite – this is

in my experience anyway (I’m 16 and still at school).

From Clare H

Hi, With regard to your blog post on men’s magazines [Reach for the Mags, Lads], I

once temped for the company that promotes and distributes Zoo. They were

actually very concerned about supermarkets in particular putting their

magazines on higher shelves/turning them spine out. When this happened, their

sales dropped considerably, Zoo being less of a positive choice and more of an

impulse buy. While I do take your point about it not deterring everyone, and

even encouraging sales in some cases, it is a strategy that magazines are very

worried about. I’m just glad that I no longer have to do my work in front of a

wall of Kelly Brook’s breasts!

From Dorothy King

Re: the blog post PhDiva not

one for female solidarity: I agree with your article – mostly. I am trying

to help, but I don’t think moaning is the way to do it. A previous generation

made huge leaps forward for women, and we should build on those. If my

cleavage can raise the money to build a new hospital, then that has to be my

contribution. My way is different, but equality is not about all being the

same, but rather about embracing our differences.

One female academic I know complains about lack of money. I offered her

some contacts in TV, so she could supplement her income commenting on current

events shows. Each appearance could have paid for a holiday she had just told

me she couldn?t afford. She said no, she wouldn’t demean herself that way.

Fine, she’s allowed her own views and I agree in a way – I too would rather

not be on TV.

Then she complained about her lecturing post, she hated lecturing, and said

she would rather be back at Oxford lecturing there. I said apply for a job.

She said there were no teaching jobs there. I pointed out there were research

posts, which if she hated lecturing might suit her better. She said she hated

doing research as it was boring. Turned out she had never published


Another female academic spent TWO hours in the bathroom getting ready for a

conference we were going to – that included shower, washing hair and doing

make-up but did not include choosing her clothes …. ! I went from bed to

coffee, washing and dressing in 17 minutes. And I was the one presenting the

paper. A man paid her a compliment on her looks, and she flew off the handle –

he was insulting her as a woman, etc … She then proceeded to insult me as a

woman, by making a really bitchy comment about me being ?barren? because I had

just lost my son.

These are just two examples from the past month. The honest truth is that I

have no idea what to say to women like that, and if you can tell me what my

response should have been, I would be grateful. Woman A ? to me she seemed

lazy, wanting rewards without working for them. Woman B ? I wonder what the

right response from the man was meant to be ? I genuinely think that he was

trying to be friendly not insulting. I had been trying to help her by

introducing her to various people, but when she makes those sorts of personal

comments, it?s difficult to deal with her.

The two friends I wrote about in the article are brilliant and beautiful.

I?ve always thought I was a bit funny looking, with a crooked face. The reason

they are beautiful is less to do with their facial features, than because they

are always talking and laughing, and they have a twinkle in their eyes. They

are beautiful because they are bright and love their careers so much, so they

enjoy life.

Playboy ? I cannot be held responsible for photos teenage boys fake on

their computers. I wrote about it to contrast the idea of male whatever, with

the line about a bad smear test. There is an awful lot of disinformation out

there about smear tests and cervical cancer. For some reason most people think

that it goes: have sex, catch STD called HPV, get punished for promiscuity by

developing CIN and then possibly cervical cancer. Many GPs still promote this

line of thought. Because of that, there is a stigma involved, and most women

will not talk about smear tests. I do, and I did so publicly.

That was a first shot in an attempt to de-stigmatise cervical problems. Not

all CIN is caused by HPV. And only two types of HPV are STDs, and those are

not the types that lead to cancer. There are 100 plus types of HPV and

research shows they can be passed in the womb, through breast-feeding,

kissing, and in many non-sexual ways.

Maybe it is my background, but I do find the way women adopt men?s views

shocking. I know very few women who will fight for their views over a dinner

table, let alone in public. I expressed my views, and others are welcome to

reciprocate by expressing their views of me ? that?s the game of life. I was

the one who stuck my neck out, and you?re all welcome to chop away at it.

The one thing I do ask is that you think about one line I wrote, and go get

smear tests. They take minutes, and even if something is found it can usually

be dealt with very quickly, if caught early. If you don?t like your GP ? and

many GPs do not do them properly anyway ? then ring your local hospital and

make an appointment at the G-U clinic.

My children won?t be feminists from what I?ve read, so we have to count on

you lot to produce the next generation to fight for women ! Best wishes,

From suzanne warren

attagirl, rachel [Subvert the Dominant Pimpiarchy]! i thought that no young

women were paying attention to what is going on with the whole pimp and porn

culture. i’m not remotely religious or prudish either but i have a daughter

and even i can see how it negatively impacts on all women. young girls,

desperate to appear sexy and ‘cool’, try to claim porn for themselves (wearing

playboy logos and visiting strip clubs) in the same way african americans

claimed the N word. a well known porn baron once defined good porn as ‘getting

the most beautiful girls you can find to do the most degrading things they

will do’. real porn is about degradation. that’s what separates it from

erotica and no matter how hard women try to convince themselves it’s somehow

empowering, they are fooling themselves.

From asherah

Comment on the article : Subvert the Dominant Pimpiarchy. Yes Rachel, you definetely

made your point! I totally agree with you!

From katie

[Re: The

Eminem Defence] i think eminem is free to speak his mind and he can say

what he likes.

From you can call me red

I have read the book [Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason] and seen the moive and I

think you have hit the nail on the head. You thoughts echo my own. Thanks for

voicing them.

From TJ

I’ve just read the piece on Are you married or not [Are You

Married? If Not, Why Not?]. Although I found it interesting, and the

author was giving a personal testimony, it would have been good to include the

fact that some prep needs to be done if you are going to live as unmarried


She talked of marriage being homophobic but soon gay and lesbians will have

the right to undetake civil unions. They will thus be recognised as married by

the state. This will mean that as with hetrosexual spouses they are entitled

to certain rights. Unless cohabiting couples look to the law and set their

affairs in order – wills; joint accounts; joint names on housing contracts;

pension arrangements; parental responsibilty papers; a document ( like a

living will) stating that your partner should be involved in any treatment

decisions etc. The list is endless. Women will once more be disenfranchised

and poor. I would say used and abused. Men also suffer in this case.

Should civil unions be extended to cohabitation ? Well logically they can’t

can they ? because it would be a form of marriage. After all for those with

religious objections they can marry in halls; registry offices; gardens etc.

already. We live in a society in which people are able to choose but I would

say please make informed choices. Find out before you make big life choices

like this. There is no such thing as a common law wife. Cohabitees do not have

the same rights as married people or civil union same sex partnerships.

From Dominic

I was very interested to read your Ethics of

Sex Toys article and while I don’t agree with many of the points that have

been made, warmly welcome the general thrust of the article. As a manufacturer

and distributor of sex toys (under the Mantric brand), I would very much like

to talk some more about the points raised and consider how we might take a

more ethical approach.

From Scott

Megan. I loved your article on teenage rights for teenage girls. Even though im no

femenist I still think it was good. And I do believe that the adults think we

have a miniscule brain copasity and knowledge on how to make decisions. So

they decide to make decisions for us. Like a dictatorship! And it has to stop.

Well im gonna go now.

From Kent

I read an article about Michael Jackson wich came from here [The Michael Jackson Interview]. Allthough it stresses on

many important issues, it also projects some false information. The

information I am referring to is Michaels face. Yes he has had plastic

surgery, but his skin colour has nothing to do with that. You should really

look into the facts before you write any views on it. Michael has a skin

disorder called Vitiligo, wich destroys the pigmentation of the skin. This

illnsess is very embarrasing and can be potentially dangerous. Michael has to

protect his skin from the sun everyday, hense the umbrellas he has, sunglasses

and surgical masks.

Some go to the extent in saying he lies, and that there is no such thing as

Vitiligo. But these are ignorant people who did not learn to pick up a book

and read. There is several medical books about the illness, web-sites, and it

is even listed in all encyclopedias. Michael has it very hard because of this

illness, and because he is a public figure, he has to wear makeup to cover the

nasty blotches on his skin. Thats why he never takes of his makeup infront of

people. I am very angry for the treatment he is getting from the media, but

what angers me the most is the lies and the ignorance. Not to be to harsh with

you, but linking his plastic surgery to his white skin is wrong, and is simply

not the truth.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

What I actually wrote was: “Jackson is often alleged to have made himself

‘look white'”. Alleged! – Ed

From Kerrie

Re: Stepford Wives in Training. Thank you for that insight into

life at Trinity College. It sounds very similar to my university experience. I

realise now how lucky I was to find a pocket of like-minded feminists.

From Alex Hill

I read with interest and empathy Stepford

Wives in Training. I’m at Oxford university and encounter similar

attitudes. We too have a surplus of over-confident, ‘macho’ men, and in turn

the women are predominantly deferential and approval-seeking. Despite

obviously being their intellectual equals, women blatantly and constantly play

down their own intelligence, in co-ed tutorials the girls are practically

silent, allowing the guys to dominate. We too have an exclusive dining

society, run by and for men, with only the very prettiest girls being invited.

We also have men only drinking societies- they sometimes throw parties to

which everyone is invited and i have been ridiculed for my boycott of their

events. I am told to relax, get over it. Members of said society have even

told me its just a bit of fun, that they’re ‘being ironic’. The ‘old-boys

club’ atmosphere that pervades my college and whole university completely

disgusts me, not least because it is welcomed and upheld by my female as well

as male peers.

From Sian

Re: Stepford Wives in Training. While I love my degree and my

life in my Oxford College, i also find the lack of anything approximating

feminism among the majority of my fellow female undergraduates most upsetting.

One girl, doing a degree in chemistry, told me she planned to work for a few

years, then marry a rich man and give up. this attitude has been echoed by

more than a few other girls. Mentioning that i am a feminist draws down

reactions like “you can’t be, you’ve had a boyfriend.” to “you can’t be, you

wear skirts” or even “aren’t you afraid of being alone?’ Sexually active girls

are mocked by blokes who, nevertheless, willingly sleep with the same girl etc

etc. Even my female tutor who happens to be young and in her twenties was not

immune from this. behind her back, my whole class were joking about how they’d

like to shag her for a power trip and how they believed her to be fantasizing

about them. the lawyers have a running joke about it not being rape if you

shout “surprise” first, while I have been told by my fellow and male students

to be more quiet in tutes. My (male) tutor, however, hasn’t complained. This

is not to say that the vast majority of the time I don’t love oxford and the

life in my college but the attitudes and even the jokes that surround me are

extremely worrying. Especially when most of the girls here allow to pass by or

actively collude in sexist jokes. And that’s not even touching the issue of

the males here who think an extremely drunk female they’ve never met before is

capable of giving consent and is fair game…. The worst thing is that these

girls are among the brightest and best, yet they are scared of feminism,

scared of asserting themselves and depressingly insecure and nothing seems to

make any difference.

From Katy

thanks to Shaira Kadir for her article “Stepford

Wives in Training?”. it was fantastic! I found exactly the same thing

whilst studying in Oxford (in a college that even has a female head and a

near-equal gender balance amongst undergraduates) – the attitudes of the

majority of male and female students, and staff, were really worrying. I

graduated a couple of years ago, but when I returned recently for a visit it

just seemed like things were getting worse, especially amongst the younger

female students – at dinner it was really noticeable that a huge number of

them (with the exception of a couple at the end of a table referred to as “the

dykes”) had dressed up as though they were going clubbing – (mini-skirts etc.)

whislt most of the men turned up in sports gear, I even heard a group of women

ask someone else who I was and receive the response “she’s that


From P

In response to article about gender inequality in Trinity college Cambridge

[Stepford Wives in Training?]: I simply cannot believe this.

As a sixth form student, considering going to Cambridge in a few years, I am

torn as to what college to choose. On the one hand, I’d want to avoid Trinity

and all that follow this horrendous trend, but then on the other hand, I

wouldn’t mind going there and putting them in their place! How dare they?! Oh,

I’m all fired up now! It’s depressing to know that if I wanted to go to a top

university, I may have to suffer not only the snobbery of the upper-classes

(coming from a modest background) but also gender inequality.

From Luke

I’ve read your article “get mad” and a had a look at the website in question. I

think there are some valid issues raised on the “discrimination” page, because

men do face varying forms of discrimination. I don’t think there is anything

to especially get mad about.

From Peter

Responding to Tales of a Librarian – Tori Amos. Although I wouldnt

describe myself as either a feminist or a woman, im becoming familiar with

feminist pages across the net. The separate subjects of feminism and Tori Amos

have become so entwined that search engines cant tell the two apart anymore. I

was pleased to read that you didnt waste your time trying to convince your

cynical peers regarding Tori’s considerable talents. Tori describes her own

method of communication as passive penetration, whatever the hell it is, it

works so bloody well that its frightening. You remember your first time with

Tori and you know that something very special has entered your life. Far be it

from me to attempt to passively penetrate where Tori has failed.

I enjoyed your article although I dont agree on a few minor points

regarding the meaning of the lyrics. The things which are tucked inside of

every nice girl are no longer under lock and key. Your site appears to be a

fine outlet for whatever’s pent up. Too often, a demonised subject of “mens

expectations of women” is allowed to take the blame for insecurities which are

clearly more deep rooted. You touched on this subject whilst summerizing the

brilliant Crucify. Tori’s angels and demons were clearly at war when she wrote

that song. The battle was personal and spiritual and Tori bared her soul to

music without even the slightest hint that mens expectations were to blame for

the inner conflict. The inclusion of (men) in brackets and their expectations

(damn them all) left me feeling like you may be trying too hard to feel

persecuted by men. Nobody asked my expectations, not even in passing, so to

see them assumed and misrepresented within the womens pages is both annoying

and puzzling, and all too often, the accusing finger is pointed by those

screaming “intollerence”.

After my first brush with feminism, Im only a little bruised. Im pleased

that Tori Amos is well recieved and that her words and music give strength to

so many people. She’s a tribute to the world that you cant keep a good woman

down. Im often saddened that life keeps dealing her cruel blows. However much

life takes away, she gives and keeps giving, and somehow manages to do so

without bitterness. Each song is its own intimate experience, another

beautiful gift from Tori to men and women alike. Maybe their meanings are

unclear because Tori never claims to have the conclusions to lifes turmoils

and conflicts. She just asks all the right questions and leaves the answers to

the listener. I can see why womens groups and forums have claimed Tori as

unofficial spokesperson, and why so many women aspire to her. Perhaps the

reason that the word Feminism and the name Tori Amos sit so comfortably

together, is that one represents the other perfectly. In a word, Womanhood.

But that dont make her yours. She’s my angel too (except I dont change her

lyrics to suit) in brackets. Stay Positive.

From S

I am commenting on the article i have just read on ‘hollywood women‘,

i thought this a very interesting and well written article, like many i have

read on this website- which i have only stumbled on by accident today! But

with all the well written feminist theory entered into this article, there was

a sweeping mention of the phrase ‘chick flicks’, i would be really interested

to know what someone else’s view is on this saying. In my opinion this label

is branded to films which are tacky,badly made and acted. why then should this

be forced upon women? the whole phrase seems sexist. Why should women be

stereotyped as having bad-taste when it comes to films, and are interested in

anything with a good-looking lead man and a love story where it all ends

happily? I dont know how articulatly I am putting forward my point,probably

not at all! But i was interested whether someone agree’s with me, and whether

it was an interesting feature to bring up. thank you for taking time to read


From Lucy Williams

Re: Mooncup: I have

to say i totally agree. i hate pads and have always used tampons but they give

me such bad cramps. every woman MUST try a mooncup, it really has changed the

way i think about my periods now. so much control. can go out and not worry

about filling my bag with products, and if you stay over night at a friends

house u need not sneak off to the toliet with products, all u do is empty. its

so much healthier and better for environment too. not to mention your pocket.

one off payment.

From Charlotte

Mooncup: just to say

that I’ve been using mine for 2 cycles and it’s fantastic. It’s totally

reliable, perfectly comfy, and ace. I only have to empty it about very 6 to 10

hours. I’ve never slept better “on”. It is fiddly to learn how to put in and

especially to take out (this takes me a couple of minutes still), but it’s

like not having your period whilst still having it. You can enjoy this natural

part of your life with it. I liked the review of reusable sanitary products. I’ve also use dayzee pads which

are washable. It’s revolutionised it for me. My poor fella is sick of hearing

about it. :)

Just wanted to get some feminist ish things off my chest. Reading wedding

magazines and books I am fed up of them. They are all fashion based and lead

you to feel you have to have it like this, or it’s done this way. Rubbish! On

such an important day, you have to do things your way. It’s fine to get ideas

of different ways of doing things, but if you went along with it all and got

sucked into the “what you should have”s you’d end up with a ?50k bill!

Question everything (is there a cheaper or free way?) and don’t get sucked

into feeling you have to have a ?300 to be happy! It’s the marriage that’s

important, and also it’s probably important that you feel ace and have friends

and family around that day. Enjoy the day! I know I will, with my brother as

the wedding car, Mum making the cake, reception at the local pub, Aunty’s

wedding ring, ?150 dress, homegrown flowers, homemade table decorations,


(2) As a female motorcyclist I’m sick of being called a “Biker Chick”.

Other lasses will know what I mean – it goes “you’ve got a motorbike?” “yes”

“ooh, Biker Chick”. Nobody ever expects you to have anything other than a 50cc

hairdryer either. lol.. It’s works well for us chicks though, cos if only you

can get the confidence to do it, if you do a track day as I used to, you can

overtake blokes with pink bobbles in your hair just so they know it was a girl

that overtook them. :) It was great and taught me that anyone can do anything.

I hope we see more women in motorsports.

(3) General – in my daily life, when my Mum worries about me doing things

and so on, I often imagine myself as a lad, the same age, same house etc. and

think “what would I be doing?” “would I do this or that without a second

thought?” and then i do it! Like DIY, driving long journeys, being in a band,

etc. etc. Think what lads just seem to get on and do, then do exactly that. or


From Francine Hoenderkamp

Re: Take

Back the Streets: Does anyone think that hooting, wolf whistling,

hollaring, slowing down of cars etc. when a woman is walking down the streets

should be made illegal. I walked through Ladbroke Grove last night on my own

and was petrified. 9 out of 10 men I walked past did either one of the

aforementioned jestures. I felt violated and absolutely petrified. Men should

respect that women get extremely scared by this. This also happens in my local

town in Essex too but not quite so often. It’s frightening. Something should

be done about it.

From Richard L

In your article “Take Back the Streets” you ask: “What century are we living

in when a women (sic.) walking in a public place is seen as a fair target for

abuse purely because she is female?”

I was walking through Duthie Park in Aberdeen last week, and was asked by a

group of early teenage girls: “Do you have a big c*ck?”. On a previous

occasion my friends and I had to cross the road to avoid an abusive group of

women who had emerged from a pub and who were directing their abuse at us. I

think one answer to your question is: “The same century in which a man walking

in a public place is seen as a fair target for abuse purely because he is

male.” Interestingly, my view is that these were nasty people, not nasty


There are nasty people. The barrier to equality which I think your site

contributes to is to selectively strip out parts of reality in order to

continue the fiction that one gender has a monopoly on nastiness.

I don’t know what you hope to achieve by doing that. A much better question

would be: “What century are we living in when a person walking in a public

place is seen as a fair target for abuse”, and then think of ways together we

can promote a civil society. As it is, I find no ground upon which to engage

with you in that task.

(Irrespective of your views, I think your site is beautifully designed.

Well done.) Respectfully,

From Kate Simons

Re: Take

Back the Streets: Like the women whose comments I have read in this

article, I too have experienced verbal harassment on an almost daily

occurrence. In the workplace, on the train, on tv, in the street. Everywhere.

Verbal insults and harassment are one thing, certainly more prevalent than

physical harassment in my experience, but I have experienced both just walking

down the street. On one occasion I was spat at because I wouldn’t reply to a

gang of pre-teen boys demanding blow-jobs, who then went on to call me a

‘dyke’ and a ‘fat slag’. I am a 19 year old student, tall and curvy and by

appearances, an adult, and on another occasion while walking home from the

theatre with my mother – so, that’s two adult women – we were confronted by

two 10-12 year old boys, who made sexist jibes and comments, and the younger

one hit me on the bum as we walked past, they then ran off laughing.

I shouted at them, furious and appalled, but ultimately helpless. I wanted

to pursue them, hold them down and force them to see how disgusting their

attitudes were, ask them how they would feel if someone treated their mother

or sister in that way? But what could I have done? I wasn’t physically hurt,

so what good would going to the police do? If I had pursued them, who’s to say

they wouldn’t have had a knife, a gun, or attacked me.

The only place I haven’t (yet) experienced sexism, racism or bigotry of any

kind, is in university. I do agree that education is the key to teach boys and

men that women cannot be treated in this way, but the fact remains that in

experiences like mine physical retaliation seems the only way to reprimand

such acts. I would also like to point out to other young women that we should

educate others, our friends, partners and our children. Feminism isn’t

outdated, it isn’t just for women, it isn’t for ‘wronged’ ‘victims’. There is

no post-feminist era, because we are still suffering from the misogynistic

attitudes of some people. The frightening thing is how very young some of

these people are.

From Andrew B?

Re: Take

Back The Streets. It is perhaps an over simplification to assume that only

men perceive a woman attractive when passing them on the street equally as it

would be naive to assume that women do not men. However, it seems to me more a

matter of society having shifted to operating without any sort of moral map –

generation upon generation of males exposed to any sort of message that say

that lecherous behaviour is plainly unacceptable. Again, as seems always to be

my premise, we are addressing the symptoms and not necessarily the cause.

There is not one aspect of the article I would disagree with other than

perhaps the danger of propositioning an argument which merely eludes to

statically evidence, something which becomes annulled when considering the

probability of an event caused by factors operating in any situation /

incident. For instance, although proportionally rape may occur where the

rapist knows their victim this does not remove the percent that do not and the

probability that factors that will result in this, something which is almost

an infinite uncertainty. This is not to suggest that any female, nor a male,

should be house-bound purely because of this risks but that to unwisely engage

in confrontation can result is something more profound than making a stand.

Conversely, it is a stand which is needed to be taken to break this fetid

status quo.

I do not pretend to offer any solution to this but I feel the absence of

acknowledging the logistics of risk invalidates the premise of making any sort

of argument for change. I just wish more males would use Debretts are the

basis of their conduct.

From Catriona

In response to your article on street harrassment [Take Back The

Streets]: I have many friends who are blokes and when I express my disgust

of men beeping horns, whistling and generally making comments at you walking

down the street, men defend it saying, its only a bit of fun or some women

like it or even its flattering. It is none of these! It is pure and simple

harrassment. I never ignore comments I always have a go back which to a

certain extent is a highly stupid thing to do but on the other hand highly

satisfying when you say something that makes them feel an idiot. I have also

not just been verbally harrassed but also physically, woe betide the man that

thinks its acceptable to pinch or slap my backside in a club or pub, they will

get more than they were bargaining for as a torrrent of abuse will be hurled

at them. I was on the tube a couple of months ago and an man probably aged

about 65 grabbed my arse and tried to pass it off as the tube being crowded, I

always make a fuss to draw attention to what is happening saying in a very

loud voice ‘don’t you dare think about grabbing my arse again you dirty old

man’ everyone on a crowded tube train staring at them like a perv does the job

nicely. The other one I particularly enjoyed was a builder saying to me ‘nice

tits’ and me promptly replying ‘yes you too mate’ to which his face just fell

and his colleagues laughed. Its nice to make them feel how we feel every so

often. If men could actually recognise the daily abuse that women receive then

maybe it would stop.

From Ericcil

wow. I cant believe you can read so much into a simple movie [The Incredibles].

I’ll admit, it’s a rather dark movie for children, but they’re growing up.

People do die in the movie, super and normal people, but they aren’t implying

that if someone important/better is killed that it’s an absolute atrocity.

People die daily, as sad as it sounds, but we do pay attention to them. If the

whole world were supposed to know everyone who dies daily, we wouldn’t really

be doing anything other than lamenting every single loss. As far as I’m

concerned, you don’t listen to what the characters have to say. Frozone does

NOT say women are for sex, or imply that for the matter. He IS stating,

however, that women do find a little supperiority in knowing celebrities and

such. The women beating as you put it is highly exaggerated. He’s Mr.

Incredible, he can lift enormous objects, so he is able to just pick up mirage

with one hand easily. This scene would be different if there was a normal man

there, though it would have been a lot worse for children because he would

excersize more force than needed. Anyway, I hope you’re happy, because you’ve

degraded a perfectly fine film.

From Rosa

In response the review of The Incredibles: A very insightful review! I must admit

that there were many things in this review about the film that I did not

notice (although I WAS disconcerted by fact that Elastigirl didn’t have a life

of her own.) It would have been an alright film if it was funny, and I did

have high expectations of its comical content, but it was nowhere near as

funny as expected. A true dissapointment. This review, on the other hand, is

the first on this website that I’ve read, but will not be the last.


From Joolz

I was so relieved to read your ‘Incredibles‘ review! My eldest daughter (nearly 5) is

obsessed with Violet (happily, solely with her superpower aspects, but, of

course, all sorts of subliminal stuff is going in…) and I have sat through

the DVD of the film several times now. All the local kids are really into it,

and I have tentatively raised the subject of what a sexist pile of stereotyped

twaddle the movie is with several of my acquired-since-childbirth friends.

Would you believe it, not ONE of them gets it? These women, depressingly, are

bright, caring, educated, intelligent people with kids the same age as my own

(4 & 2), living in London. They says ‘Oh but I thought you’d really like it,

being a feminist, because Violet & Helen are superheroes.’ or ‘It’s just a

film, you shouldn’t take it so seriously.’ Argh.

I have also had the delight of being present at several Incredibles

parties. The official merchandise tableware is decorated as follows: plastic

cups – Dash; paper plates – Dash & Mr I; napkins – Violet, Dash & JackJack;

birthday cake 1 – the whole family; birthday cake 2 – Mr I; Reusable sports

cups – Dash & Mr I. It makes me so sick I could… be sick?

Thanks. You make me feel a little saner.

From Mads

Have you ever thought that you may be over-reacting – just a tiny bit? The

reason that Violet is stick thin is that none of their characters are normal,

they are all overblown. Edna Mode, the tiny fashion designer, Mr Incredible, a

huge superhero. Maybe you should try watching a film, just for the film.

From Nathaniel

in repsonse to a short bit of your article on The Incredibles: mainly i’m

concerned with the blasting of the poor director on the soul basis you thought

his movie propagated a family unit you feel is out-dated. i’m not by any-means

a feminist, at least not by the terms your author seems to view feminism. i

simply stumbled across your article and found it horrific. a few points are

dead on, a few points are not, and i would love to have a discussion about

this with an educated person, so please email me back in response.

specifically tho, your opinion of mister incredible being a general asshole

on the terms that he choked mirage seems unjustified. i think it’s just as

sexist to not abuse someone on the basis of their sex as it is to abuse

someone on the same terms. the fact that mirage got choked had nothing to do

with anything except for the fact mr. incredible was under the impression he

was going to recieve more hurt, and so prior to that hurt, he inflicted some,

posing the inquiry as to what else they could take from him. not just what

she, mirage, could take, it had nothing to do with her, she was merely the

reciever. had the roles been switched, and she been the evil-doer, and billy

the cronie, billy would have been choked, and everything fine. i’m just afraid

that had that been the case, your arguement would have still lay in the fact

that mr. incredible was a woman hater, since the woman would have to die in

the end.

i donno tho, this is simply the impression i get from this article, not one

of equality, but of sexism, just sexism from the other perspective

From Unknown

Just read The

Incredibles review article and thoroughly disagree. Here’s why:

The article writer attacks the stereotypes and generalisations utilised in

the film but still uses them herself. A childless twenty-something doesn’t

like cartoons apparantly. I do! I was thoroughly looking forward to this film

and accepted a certain amount of stereotypes to filter through into the plot.

At times I was gagging at the lines (ElastaGirl’s anti-men saving the world

speech) or feeling uncomfortable (Mirage gets strangled) but at other times I

was pleasantly suprised (ElastaGirl punches Mirage – what do you expect her to

do in such a situation? The reaction certainly wasn’t stereotypical for a film

aimed primarily at children).

I’m not sure of the point the writer has tried to make with the violence

against women issue – its not been made to seem as if this behaviour is

advocated in the film, or if it has, its at the same level as the issue of

violence against people in general.

Violet was dangerously thin yes, but what of Mr Incredible? Won’t the

enteral image of a super strong muscle-bound giant be making young boys feel

bad about themselves? Maybe, but probably not. I’d be less likely to be

worried by Violet’s body shape then be happy that she gets to kick some butt

and protect her family (again, something you don’t see enough of in films).

“It is still quite acceptable to show children a film in which the ideal

man is one who beats up women, and the ideal woman a stay-at-home housewife.”

Mr Incredible was [understandably] vengeful when he attacked Mirage. And

ElastaGirl is the most unconventional housewife I’ve ever seen. I loved her

determination and courage, it was so refreshing to watch. Who said anything

about them being ideal anyway?

I’m not attacking the article because the author has read too much into a

cartoon (afterall, it was aimed at adults as well as their children). I just

don’t feel that she was watching the same film as me. Although I saw its minor

flaws The Incredibles had enough energy and fun about it to carry it off.

Comments welcome. :)

From Emily-Magdalene

Re: “Why Irma Kurtz is Wrong About Rape.” I would like to thank

you for this article. There is a girl in one of my classes. A few days ago,

she was wearing a skirt, and a rather short one, at that. One of my friends

commented, “She’s just *begging* to get raped,” and I scoffed. If a woman asks

for rape, why doesn’t she get equal treatment in the eyes of the law, LIKE SHE

ASKS FOR? It’s articles like yours that are really defining rape, in a way

that is fair and sensitive. Thank you.

From Victoria Culley

I thoroughly appreciated Rachel E’s article, “Every Girl

Wants a Stalker” I have always puzzled over the Hollywood fantasy of the

unwelcome but persistent suiter who eventually wins over the object of his

desire. The technique may work in sales but not in romance. In the first

place, the stalker dude is usually not someone I would turn down (e.g., Robert

Downey or some other Hollywood hunk). So here I’m already thinking the leading

lady is crazy for not wanting this guy. I am therefore unable to suspend

disbelief in the plot. Second, no man I have not been interested in has EVER

been able to wear me down or change my mind about him. The chemistry is either

there or it isn’t . So the theme itself is pure arrogance coming from a man’s

point of view, and films like this send a dangerous and unrealistic message of

false hope to would-be “stalkers,” and perhaps even rapists (“aww, come on

honey, you know you want it.”) When, indeed, does “no” mean “no?” Also note

the double standard of films like Fatal Attraction when the male is on the

receiving end of the stalking. If I see one more of these trite and

predictable films I’m going to demand my money back. It’s time for Hollywood

to grow up.

From Lisa Qiu

I’m respoding to “Everyone Wants a Stalker“. I have to say it was hilarious.

Someone should write a movie script about a woman persuing the man of her

dreams. There was this one movie about a man that was psycho stalking that was

“Mr. Wrong” starring Ellen Degeneres. I love that film, he pours LSD in her

drink to get her to marry him. Anyways, that was one of the most entertaining

articles on your site.

From John

Hi. One of my colleagues is a twenty-three year-old woman. She is

intelligent, training to be a chemistry teacher, and enjoys herself. Today it

transpired that she didn’t know the meaning of the titular “Ms”. She thought

that women perhaps used it when they got divorced or widowed. To put it mildly

I was stunned by this.

I’m fifty years-old and have strong recollections of the battles that raged

in the 1970s over the real meaning of words. I was amazed that a bright,

feisty young woman would have NO knowledge of such a commonplace compromise. I

suppose it’s not relevant nowadays {sigh} – I must be getting old! Regards,

From Simon

i read Louise Livesey’s article [How Everyday It

Is] with great interest. But is there a moral to this story? What saddens

me is that the barman who acted on her behalf will no doubt think twice before

coming to the defence of another person (woman or man) again. The problem here

isn’t sexism – a similar outcome would have occurred had a man (with or

without crutches) been the target of the ice cubes – it’s the fact that people

(in this case the ice cube thrower) who act stupidly are no longer called to

account for their actions, and worse, that drunkeness is seen as a mitigating

factor in these incidents, rather than a contributing one. regards

From Lynne McLean-Brown

Re: How

Everyday It Is: having worked in a pub for 3 years i am very familiar with

the attitude that being female and in a place where alchohol is served means

you msut accept. i was often criticsed for not finding such behaviour funny. i

was often percieved as “needing to lighten up” or “having PMT” well done on a

interesting article

From LF

I just read the article on the movie King Arthur, and was impressed. If the balanced view and

openness expressed in this article is typical of the modern feminist movement,

as a male I may have to review my attitude. Many feminists seem to take a

hardline rampant ‘anti male’ stance, which I am glad to see this article does

not. I’m all for equality and mutual respect, but believe the genders ARE

different and no amount of political correctness by either one will change

that (and I’m NOT suggesting ‘inferior’ by ‘different’ ).

The comments about Keira Knightley’s role were particularly interesting.

While, as a natural condition of being male, I’m all for scantily clad nasties

running around with swords, I found Guenevere in war guise as portrayed by

Keira Knightley to be more frightening than sexy, and that is exactly what a

fighting woman in that setting would have to be, in order to gain any respect

or credibility (just like any other warrior, for that matter). If I was a

brutal pillaging Saxon invader, I’d think twice before getting in her way.

I confess my interest in the article was from a search on warrior women

through history, a pet interest of mine. Celtic women in particular seem to

have a reputation for being aggressive or warlike in this sense, and history

is full of references to females fighting men even during the most oppressive

and patriarchal of times. It is a shame that many of the world’s mythologies

contain war queens, goddesses and line soldiers, and yet we have so little

written or other sound evidence to back up what seems to be a common thread in

most civilisations.

There are numerous web resources from searches of ‘warrior women’, and

similar keywords which will lead to a plethora of websites which are (if

perhaps tangentially) related to this film review and some of the issues both

the movie and the review touched upon.

For what it’s worth, I thought the film in question was the best Arthurian

show made to date, although “Excalibur” probably remains the truest to the

mediaeval romances (as opposed to the film discussed in the review being

probably the truest to the historical Dark Ages).

A gentleman by the name of David Ford has done extensive work on

correlating myths, history, genealogies and other related information on the

internet. Alas I don’t have the link(s) handy, but if the reviewer or anyone

else at the site has further interest in Dark Age Britain, his resources would

be highly recommended. They were of the greatest use when I researched the

post-Roman British Isles for a miniatures wargaming campaign some years


From Joe

just thought i’d say what an absolutely fabulous website you have, i’ve

just stumbled across it whilst doing my history coursework. then again maybe

its just the pro-plus affecting my judgement! anyway, brilliant site, will be

added to favourites!

From Mercedes

responding to the reviews of $pread magazine: hey! respectfully to Ms. Razorblade, i

understand your critiques of $pread, but as the working Art Director, i just

wanted to respond to your negative comment about our poor type-setting: i’m a

stripper/ photographer, not a graphic designer, and learning as i go. i

learned in design while laying out issue #1. i am not a designer.

hope you’ll find issue #2 more pleasing. hope your valid criticisms can

bend more towards our content. we’re listening. (and learning how to put

together a magazine. none of us have ever done this before.)

From Toni

i realy stumbeled across this websit because im doing a report for my

school on teen and sexuality and how society influences us. i started to read

and resurch this sight and was amazed on how such amazing woman like your

selfs from opposite ends of the world can come together ang relaty to noe

another! from what i have read u women are stong and independent. we need more

of that in the world to day . we need to stop haveing are men calling us

bitches and ho’s because its degrateing and mosy of us don’t seem to mind, but

more inportant we need to stop doing it to each othe . it makes it seem like

it ok for somebody else to do it when r4eally it’s just makeing more girl

dramma and unnessisary problems in are schools. work places & ever personal

lifes. even though i just turned 16 today i still have know how visiouse woman

can be when they are not listened to or understood . the fact is is tyhat we

all need to be there for each other and just get along or at least stop


From Iona

I have just read your review [Kill Bill] and am shocked to see that your only 16 ! That

has made me smile and will continue to for the rest of the day. Keep writing

gurl, you know what ur talking about ! So intelligent and insightful and I

totally agree with what you said.

From John

Hi Lindsay…what a lovely fresh article about the lovelyness of womens body hair i

adore lady body hair the more the better especially below the belly button and

down the legs its been a life times love for me how wonderfle to hear a lovely

lady who feels the same…xxx

From Holly Barnes-Thomas

I have just read Whose Slut, followed by all the comments and can I just say

Arrrrrgh! Did no one have a positive comment? Personally I thought; finally an

honest perspective on female sexuality in today’s society. I am a straight

woman and can happily say that I find images of women in reality, in the media

and in porn can turn me on. I find the suggestion that this makes me a lesbian

in denial quite ridiculous, I come from a very liberal background where

homosexuality has never been a taboo -if I was a lesbian I would have no

reason to deny it! I completely agree with Forrest and am sick to death of

feeling like some kind of traitor to feminism just because I enjoy being a

sexual woman. I like looking sexy, it makes me feel good. I like dressing up

in a sexy outfit and shaking my ass on stage at my favourite club, I find it a

sexual release. I love to see women (of all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnic

backgrounds) looking confident and sexy ?enjoying their sexuality. What I

don?t like is the seething hate which emanates from others, mostly women when

I do choose to express my sexuality (by god!) in public (worse yet!) with my

body. I am not objectifying myself! I am enjoying my body and I am exercising

my right to be a sexual woman! I do get wound up by the extent to which women

are objectified in the media. It truly sucks that they are presented as the

must have accessory for every male hip hop star and it is horrifying how

narrow the acceptable body image is. But what needs to change is this narrow

image of what a sexy woman is and the attitude that a sexual woman is a bad

woman who should be publicly vilified from all corners ?including the feminist


From Francine Hoenderkamp

Can anyone tell me why we have Bono and many many other celebrities

fighting World Poverty, Elton John and many many other celebrties fighting

AIDS. They ALL come out to fight against War but we appear to have not one

female or male celebrity fighting Anorexia and Bulimia? WHY?

From Tom Valentine

Am I being too cynical in suggesting that the Yorkie no-go campaign is designed to provoke women into

buying the product, as in “You’re not telling me I can’t buy this….”

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