Comments from November 2005

Comments received from readers.

, 5 November 2005

From Joel

Every awful horror in Rachel Bell’s account (Subvert the Dominant Pimpiarchy) would be eliminated if

prostitution were recognized as a rightful, peaceful, and legal activity. She

offers no real solution to getting rid of pimps. Legalization, in contrast,

would make prostitution voluntary, easy, and legal for buyer and seller alike,

with market prices set by supply and demand, forcing all those pimps to find

other illegal pursuits or get real jobs.

From D

All is good and well with living together and not

choosing to get married – but let me warn you. I was happy with my 12 year

commitment to my psuedo husband we “pretended to be married” in every respect

– insurance through his work, bank, friends, taxes – until he cheated on me

and now I have 2 children and zero money in the bank, no insurance, tax fraud

and no means of spousal support. So I caution anyone who thinks they don’t

need the piece of paper to say they are married. If you want to CYA yes you

do. I never thought this would happen to me but it did.

From Stephanie

Victoria Dutchman-Smith’s article Are you

married, if not why not? I so enjoyed reading the article. I feel under so

much social pressure to get married. My partner has no desires to and sees it

as an out dated pointless event. I feel the same deep down, but have a friend

who is in the process of planning a wedding and makes me feel so inadequate

for not being engaged! Anyway what a great article to read, and be inspired

by. Thank you!

From Tony

I am responding to the holly combe’s article about chivalry. I really really enjoyed reading this – especially

the part about the fact that men standing up before a woman comes into the

room shows chivelry in its naked absurdity, not clothed by some practical

function. Something like opening a door seems a trivial point to argue about

but it never is. Just like when a person makes a racist joke in a pub – if you

argue with them they might call you over sensitive or ask you why you cant

take a joke – you are at fault – and the nasty underlying racism has been

smuggled in. The article shows quite clearly the mood and tradition which

stands behind chivilry – i thank the author for that.

From Ann

I just read your article [Are You

Married? If Not, Why Not?] and have to say that I feel the same way, I

just got married but really after all is said and done, don’t really think it

is necessary. If two people want to be together they will be with or without

marriage, and assuming that people will take the union more seriously is

erroneous thinking because marriage is so easy. So what’s all the fuss about.

I really think that it is to a large extent outdated thinking and rules (man

made). I was asked so many times am I Mrs. so & so now, and had to proclaim

assertively that I did not change my name because I like my name. Some people

even had the nerve to ask me why! I really think there are a lot of people

with tunnel vision out there, who don’t realize the inequality between man and

women that they unwittingly support. All the best.

From Ernie

Re: The

Incredibles. No disrespect to you or your opinions but why should the

world conform just to make a few people happy. I am all for gay, lesbian and

womens rights but these people are here to make money. They provide

entertainment to the masses not to the few. You can look at the woman bashing

in two ways. A macho man beating up a helpless woman or a super hero beating

up a super villian. (I am taking this from your writing as I have not seen the

movie) When I watch movies, I usually watch movies for entertainment value and

not necessarily for thought provoking philosophical pieces of weird art. For

that, I watch French Movies. Start taking lwhat life has to offer a little

lighter. Life is too short to take everything so seriously.

From angry teenage weirdo

I have to agree with everything that was written in the article about the

not so incredible film The Incredibles. That film made me furious as soon as I saw

the trailer. The message that it is sending out to young girls. You know the

one – ‘You can have as many feminist ideas as you like until you are ready to

get married and push out a few kids while your husband is out doing something

important’- is completely ridiculous.

They could have made the plot a little more original. Why does the (

obviously anorexic) Violet sigh over the pretty boy at school? Why doesnt she

fancy her female gym teacher instead? Why does she, when he finally sidles up

to her, simpering like a proper little girly? I would have karate chopped him

in the balls. (Why does she have to wait for him to ask her out?That is a bit

dated isnt it?).

I am currently studying the position of women in the household in my

Sociology class. Elastigirl may well be suffering from depression and

alienation and a feeling of inaddequecy when compared to her ‘successful’

husband. Why is that not explored? In short, I hated this film, its characters

and the plot. Cheers for publishing that article. I’m going to show it to my

friends at school, then we will see if they think the film is ‘incredible’.

From Jennifer

I just wanted to give a huge one-person round of applause to the author of

Feminists Are

Sexist“. Today the campus women’s group I belong to left our weekly

meeting to find “sexists pigs” written across the door to our women-only room.

We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry- the sheer ignorance of the statement

blew me away. Anyway, this article articulated all the feelings that were

welling up inside me from that incident. I am not the only one who refuses to

constantly apologize for being a feminist.

From Asha Broome

Responding to “Feminists Are Sexist“. BRAVO!!!!! Simply Excellent. It’s

great to see people write something good about feminism! Feels so

enlightening! Well done!

From Dave Stanbrook

Who does Katherine Redfearn think she is? In “Feminists are

sexist” she treats those men who had the adacity to comment on her article

as if they are idiots. Example “he sneeringly replied” ? How can someone sneer

in an email ? What is most distasteful to most men who can be bothered to see

it is that the Feminist/left wing like Redfearn seem so hostile to anything

that might be in disagreement with their holy grail views. The ‘censure of

debate’ tactics used by the new left absolutely stink. And so does Redfearn.

Go on, bang your head on the table. Do us all a favour.

From Orla

Catherine Redfern’s “Feminists Are Sexist“: Im only 16yrs old and i feel exactly

the same as you. i would say that im a feminist but when men attack me with

the idea that feminists are sexist i get so angry that i cant verbalise my

feelings. I wish that i could express myself as well as you do. You rock!

From michelle nicholosn

Catherine Redfern’s Feminists are Sexist, is an article that has saved my

sanity. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou. I’m a social work educator and have been

feeling ground down by the frustration of attempting to turn myself inside out

explaining (over and over) to anti-feminist students that feminism benefits

men too and that – ‘no – despite the fact that feminism makes you feel like

shit’ and is therefore ‘oppressive to men,’ this can not possibly be the case.

I am sick to death of challenging men to think about the illogic of their

arguments against feminism and it makes me want to scream when I have to

listen to the “it’s not fair” statements. No matter how we explain in (ie: do

you bitch at people who actively work to support heart disease and charge them

with being unfair because on the grounds that they don’t talk about and

actively work at supporting campaigns against liver disease? – of course not –

that would be stupid wouldn’t it?).

From Steve

Commenting on your article on hairy women .i live in the U.S. and the shaving craze is

way out of control as women here are even starting to shave their forearms!

From Noa

Re: GrrlActivistas: just wanted to say that i’ve dedicated the

last few years researching rape and sexual violence and its representation in

film and found that though some try, most films are soarly lacking in the

emotional violence that is attached to rape. and i’m hoping to rectify this in

the near future… thank you

From Charlotte

I agree with the essential thrust of the article [Reclassifying

Rape], that rape needs to be re-evaluated in the eyes of the law and trial

proceedings needs to be more easily arrived at than they are currently. On the

other hand, women are not the only victims of rape and I do not believe it is

always a crime caused by a hatred of women. Men too, are victims of rape, and

my understanding of statistics relating to those prosecutions are even more

depressing. I was also profoundly annoyed however, when in read in an

interview with Camille Paglia recently where she opines that a woman who goes

back to a man’s home is offering sex. Having been raped twice on such

occasions (incidentally the first two times I had sex and was rather naive and

drinking excessively), I can honestly say there was a desire for sex, but

surely that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have it on my terms? Perhaps my definition

of rape is wrong, but I thought until then it was enough to say ‘no’.

Obviously Ms Paglia and the anti-‘date-rape’-concept-debate know better than

me what rape is, or else have ‘proffered’ themselves so many times in this way

that they rationalise it only happens in wars and down dark alleys. To be

honest, I don’t feel myself to be a victim of anything but alcohol and a

couple of very tragic men who will probably continue to treat women in this

way and ’emancipate’ our sex further in the pursuance of obtaining a sexually

submissive ideal. I think there is probably also that ideal present is

homosexuals who wish to dominate their partner entirely. And maybe even

lesbians. I think rape is essentially a way people who feel powerless make

themselves feel powerful – it’s not about hate so much as possession.

From Mr Wonder

Comments on Refusing to Be a Man. Wow this is a loaded topic! The

problem affects both sexes equally and it seems to me that both sexes are

conditioned completely into the “correct expectations” from the opposite sex

without even realising it. From personal experience, one area which causes a

lot of unpleasantness from both sexes and I must say equally so is the

societal notion of what men and women should wear.

A number of years ago, I bought myself a wonderful white satin shirt. They

were popular at the time and I loved it. I wore it out a number of times only

to be harrassed by both men and women. Frequently you’d hear comments of

“queer, fag, mummy’s boy” etc from the men and comments such as “hmm,

wonderful blouse darling or do you want to borrow my skirt” from the women.

Women were for some reason equally offended I wore this shirt! Why? I asked a

few female friends and they suggested that it was not a material that they

“expected” a man to wear. It looked feminine or worse still “girly”. Satin was

essentially a woman’s material. No-one knew why or how this judgement

happened. They just knew it was not expected. Some women though were not at

all bothered and some even complimented me on my shirt. Why?

Such a deep rooted sentiment has wide ranging effects. It then touches on

issues as what women are expected to wear and what men cannot possibly wear.

Why can’t a man wear a skirt? Why is it finally acceptable for women to wear

trousers, though it still has a degrading implication.

Before we even realised, which this article touches on, is that we are

conditioned to sex response in such an unhealthy extent that it causes outrage

at even the clothes we wear. If that is so, what about the more important

issues? What are anybody elses responses to my experiences? I’d love to know

your take on them.

From Sarah

Hey, when’s the Review of Kill Bill 2 coming along…? I can’t find it. I

loved the first review, can’t eait to see what the next review makes of


From Ms Razorblade

Driving near York today, I noticed that Nestle have sponsored the “York In

Bloom” project, and that several roundabouts are consequently sporting little

placards bearing the Yorkie bar logo with the last two letters removed

(geddit?!), complete with the crossed-out woman symbol.

My first response was amusement, because the purpose of “York In Bloom” is

to create floral displays in York, so I had a good laugh at the thought of a

set of misogynist gadgies barring women from the church hall in order to coo

over each other’s flower arrangements.

Once the giggles had passed, however, I felt mostly embarrassed that female

tourists approaching the area will be greeted by signs implying that women are

not welcome in York.

From Sara A

Laura Carr, Thankyou for your article about the sex trade in Cambodia. It’s reassuring to know that I am

not the only person appalled by the state of prostitution at home and abroad.

I spent the summer in Central America, and countless times I saw US soldiers

consorting with prostitutes. There women are only valued for their looks, as

if they serve no other purpose. In England I know so many boys that use

prostitutes and their attitudes to women are disgusting- they see women only

as sex objects. A few of the boys were taken to prostitutes by their fathers

in Greece, they still do that!The scale of prostitution further propagates the

idea that women are sex objects put on earth to gratify mens’ every whim.


From LL

Pretty Vacant

– Skirts or trousers the age old question. I agree that skirts in themselves

do not demean or undermine, but the real issue with women’s clothing it seems

to me is their impracticalness. This forever leaves us vulnerable to the

elements, lugging a bag through lack of pockets, unable to run as the feet are

crippled by poorly designed footwear, let alone looking more decorative than

business like and therefore having our credibility shot to shreds. Until we

address the looks are more important than what you do, or even how you do it,

situation we will not be equal.

From Helen Browne

I agree with Samantha Lyster’s comments in ‘A perfect

delusion‘. I expect most women have felt under a certain amount of

pressure to emulate either appearances or behaviours that their male partners

have read about in magazines or newspapers, or seen on the screen. Whether

it’s asking their girlfriend to dress in stereotypically sexy underwear, or

persuading them to have breast implants as he’s a “breast man” and hers just

don’t do it for him like Jordan’s do, it’s all down to manipulation and

control. And it’s not only men that continue this pressure on women’s

appearance and behaviour, but other women! Women’s magazines are nearly as bad

as men’s at stereotyping women, with a staggereing amount of their pages

devoted to how they can attract men, how to please men, and how to change

themselves. The majority of men are programmed to procreate, so if all the

women of the world decided to take off their make-up, re-grow their bodily

hair and dress in binliners, men would, after the initial shock, still fancy

them! For years, women have strived to change themselves to attract men, and

it’s about time women took back their identity and felt able to be feminine

without shame. I think Germaine Greer said that many modern women are

“man-made”- isn’t it time we changed that to “natural” again. It is a shame

that men are now also experiencing the pressures of “body image”, but perhaps

they will as a result, have more empathy towards women who want to take back

control of their bodies.

From jim kitchingman

A Prefect

Delusion: The author of this article is quite correct in her analysis. The

fantasies contained within men’s magazines just get in the way of satisfactory

adult relationships. The most damaging delusion is that you have to conform to

some stereotype of celebrety looks to have a satisfactory sex life. Anyone who

believes this be they male female celebrety or nonentity is doomed to a never

ending cycle of disappointment and failure.

From B

Re: A Prefect

Delusion: Whilst I accept that there are men in this world who are

delusional they are not in my experience the norm, men do have the capacity to

look beyond the image of women that is portrayed by the Ad Men and Women.

These images are used solely to sell products as you mentioned in your

article, men do not always seek the perfect women because,despite what others

may assume we do have a sense of reality, we do know that these women are not

walking around ASDA and Tesco on a daily basis, and the women in our lives are

normal women with normal shapes and sizes and we do accept them for what they

are just as women accept men for what we are. In a recent womens magazine I

was asked to answer the questions stated in the magazine regarding what men

like do not like about women, almost all questions were answered in a positive

way by the men who responded, as were my answers, a typical question was

“would you object if your partner had cellulite” my and a high percentage of

the poll replied “NO” the magazine was HEAT i believe, a female colleague of

mine asked me to answer the questions honestly and I did, in essence myself

and a lot of men I know are dissatisfied with thin stick like women and we

want women to be women, which means exactly that, of the curves are there fine

if not then that is fine also. If they have a big bum then love them for that,

in reference to your comments on Pornography I can agree to a certain extent

on what you say however only those men who have issues will not be able to

seperate fantasy from reality and there are women who fail in this aspect too,

in essence FHM and Loaded etc appeal to an audience becasue men realise that

it is fantasy and a picture of “whoever” merely appeals to their visual brain,

ie they like what they see just like you may like to look at Da Vinci’s “Mona

Lisa” after seeing pictures of sexy women men do not go home and ask there

partners to look like that, as they do not go home and ask there partners to

be more “intriguing” after seeing the mona lisa.

I will accept that there are men out there who are quite simply delusional

and also stupid, the only way to combat these men is for women to be stronger

and not accept behaviour of the kind you mentioned, if a man gives a women a

diet book for Christams then he should be given the boot, unfortunately he

will not be and the woman will go on the diet, quite wrong in my view, if all

women decided to be women where will that guy go to get the “stick insect he

so desire” nowhere becasue women will not stand for it, and rightly so,

acceptance of who we are is the key irrespective of the sex.

An interesting article though and may be you should post the results of

that survey on your web site so more women know that men do not all want thin,

women is what men want in all their glorious shapes and sizes. Thanks for


From Izzie

Re: Men In

Feminism. Some very good food for thought! I have just finished writing my

MA thesis on representations of female sexuality in myth and how these have

been carried through to contemporary society. I am pleased to tell you though,

that all my male tutors at uni were complete feminists, it was they that

sparked off my interest! Well done, great article x

From Suki Rocks


Just Not That Into You: Amazing! Looking at the titles of some of the

books to avoid, I was torn between laughter and tears. Do we really need to be

told how to ‘catch’ a man? The last time I looked this was the 21st century. I

think I’m going to write a book called ‘ Save your money for something

better’; how to avoid being lured into buying patronising and overly

condescending self help relationship books. Maybe instead of obsessing about

whether he’s into you or not, women should be obsessing about creating equal

relationships between each other. How will a relationship work when one person

has been offically ‘put in charge’ and the other is playing seconds, or not

playing at all?

From Catriona Gallacher

In response to the article He’s Just

Not That Into You: I laugh out loud when I read titles of these rediculous

dating books, I remember seeing the pair that wrote Men are from Mars Women

are from Venus on GMtv or something along the lines of poor day time TV and

they infuriated me so much with their this is what men do.. this is what women

do..bollocks. The idea that anyone should be commenting on the way I as a

woman should be conducting myself is just another way of trying to make women

feel they should only fit into certain roles and ultimately be submissive to

men. I know that if I hadn’t made the first move to get me and my boyfriend

together he’s so shy that he probably wouldn’t have told me for several months

that he was interested. I know so many really nice guys who don’t have the

confidence to approach women so books like this not only try to confine women

to certain actions to find a relationship, they also stop men from approaching

women as they think its their responsibility and are too scared to do so. I

actively encourage single girls I know to approach men if they like them

rather than stare at them across a room hoping that a subtle smile will

somehow draw them in rather than actually starting a conversation with them. I

have never had any qualms in showing a bloke whether I like him or not and am

proud that I can’t be bothered with the Victorian values of dating and have

never had a bad response from going up to a guy seeing what he is like. Lets

wait for the book ‘How to ask her father for her hand in marriage and other

outdated relationship advice’.

From Paul Brown

RE: He’s just not that into you: I agree wholeheartedly with

your response to this type of book, but what most disturbs me about these

dating game pop psychology books is the constant implication that men and

women are inherently different and that they occupy separate social spaces.

There is a constant assumption in our society and our culture that not only

are the sexes innately very different but that we do not mix very often and

eye each other suspiciously as alien species. I have not been in male-only

company once since I was about 15. Nobody I know spends their time only with

people of their own sex, nor defines themselves by their gender. Now, i

realise that I and my social circle are not representative of society, but we

really have to progress beyond these simplifications of “men are like this,

women are like that”.

Advertising is particularly guilty of this, and it is bolstered by TV

programmes such as Sex And The City, which even some feminists regarded as

progressive. There is actually very little difference between the women of

Jane Austen’s novels sitting around waiting for appropriate marriage proposals

and the women of Sex And The City who occupy a bizarre universe of sex

apartheid and spend most of their lives thinking about and talking about men,

defining themselves in relation to men, and waiting for the right man to come


In response to books like He’s Just Not That Into You, what we have to do

is promote the idea that beyond obvious physical differences there are

essentially no real differences between the sexes and that we do not want to

be defined by our gender.

From Susan

Re: “he’s just not that into you”… the fact that the writers

of “Sex and the City” are giving out relationship advice like this doesn’t

surprise me one bit. The title is taken from one episode of the show, which

itself masquerades as something racy and different but simply replays female

stereotypes we’re all familiar with: Miranda the Frump, Charlotte the Prude,

Samantha the Skank, and Carrie the Nice Girl. It is extremely illuminating

that by the time the series wrapped all the characters had found their

respective Princes Charming and were riding the Sunset Subway to Happy Ever


Moreover, the show managed to celebrate women who were reluctant to leave

their familiar environment, and who couldn’t be bothered to learn about other

cultures or regions of the country, serving up as “sophisticated” heroines a

bunch of urban provincial boobs who couldn’t bear to travel beyond city

limits. (The episode where Carrie screams in fright every time she happens on

a lowly squirrel at her boyfriend’s rural cabin was priceless–are there no

squirrels in New York City?–as was the later episode in which Carrie

hesitates endlessly about traveling from New York to PARIS as if she’s been

asked to move to the Moon.)

When writers serve up this kind of claptrap as “leading edge”

entertainment, it’s no surprise to find that they really do think this way in

their off-hours.

From Lisa Knight

Ailsa… I completely agree with what you’re saying, and would take the issue further

by saying that a lot of ‘lesbian’ magazines forget that we are women, they

bypass gender-specific interests, and think our identities are shaped by JUST

our sexuality, perpetuating stereotypes. The ‘mainstream’ press is hard enough

to stomach! I’ve just launched the online edition of a magazine that amongst a

million other things is an attempt to challenge this notion… . best wishes,

From Chris Gorst

Re: Women Who

Wrock: I’ve had a look at your article, what do I think? Well you’ve got a

point. But what is needed are more female particularly independent or unsigned

artists on mainstream UK radio. I’d like to know if you’ve ever got anything

from BBC Radio 6 or maybe Virgin on their play list policy. They won’t talk to

me!. CD Baby are doing a very good job. You might want to try MVY as an

alternative station just a thought.

From Samantha A

Re: Taboo for

Who? Whilst I would never describe myself as a radical feminist, I am a

woman living in the 21st Century and, although no “man-hater”, I certainly

stick up for women’s rights and equality. Last night I had an extremely long

conversation with my boyfriend regarding the word “cunt”. Personally, I have

never found this word offensive. Certainly the way and context in which it is

delivered/communicated can potentially be so but then surely that’s no

different to calling someone a “dick-head” or a “wanker”. What I do find

offensive, however, is when men (and they usually are men) come out with

expressions like “the C word” or, alternatively use the word “cunt” and

immediately apologise.

I am very curious as to why this word – and it is just a word – has

developed throughout the years into such a taboo word. Who decided that it was

the ultimate in offensiveness? My Google search today brought up mainly porn

sites apart from your article. I totally agree with your author’s comments.

From Carrie

Just a thought in response to ‘Whose

Slut?‘. I’m sure this type of contrast has been suggested previously but I

thought I’d share this as it seems a particularly vivid way of looking at the

sexualisation of women in the media. Imagine opening The Sun, turning to page

3 and being confronted with an image of a naked man, wearing only pants and

provocatively cupping his bollocks so they just peep out in to view! Bloody


From Cami

Re: Sin City: i

couldnt agree more with this article! I was disgusted with Sin City and its

portrayl of violence which made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Asides from

the mysoginistic portrayl of women i was upset by the farm/dead women/fed to

dog/canibal scene givin that less than a year ago here in canada a man by the

name of Robert Pickton was charged with the murder of 22 sex workers from the

downtown eastside of vancouver, canada. He lured them to his farm, brutally

murdered them, kept certain parts as trophys and fed the rest to his

pigs….see any similarities? I dont understand how people can make

entertainment of things that happen in real life…maybe not everyday for

everyone…but 22 womens lives were lost and not investigated for almost 10

years because they were sex workers. If you want more info on this here is a

link to my blog Liliths Den If you dont mind

I would like to post a link to this article there as well for canadian women

to read. Keep up the good work! a fellow feminist in solidarity,

From Christina Evans

Response to Sin

City: I was quite irritated at your review about Sin City as their was

several inaccuracies in it. Only two of the characters expose their breasts-

Lucille in the bedroom scene and Goldie in the opening scene. Count them. Two.

The rest of the female cast, whilst may be wearing skimpy or revealing

clothing are in fact wearing clothes.

Basin City is set in a desert town, California or Nevada or the likes, and

as such it is supposed to be hot. So that’s one valid excuse for wearing

minimal clothing, I know I don’t want to be going out in a jumper on a hot

day. The other excuse for wearing minimal clothing in the film is that the

majority of characters we do see in the film are either prostitutes or Saloon

workers. They are paid to be sexy, they are paid to attract men and what

attracts men, sad as it is, is flesh. Also Lucille is Marv’s Parole officer,

not police woman.

And if you left the cinema half an hour before the end then you must have

missed Hartigan’s story which portrays Nancy as a strong character. She’s

smart and she’s beautiful and she’s strong. Miho isn’t a prostitute. And that

is very important. Miho despises the word and the fact that she gets

misinterpreted for one, or for a frail little woman. Miho is a MUTE, yes that

word is Mute, assassin who works out of Old Town.

It’s only your opinion, yes, but it is a highly disrespectful, biased and

unresarched review. Even though I’m a huge fan of the series and know a lot of

this information off heart, I could easily find it on the internet. Wikipedia.

The fact you didn’t, to me, shows that you want to shove your message down

others throats. Sin City has powerful female characters, but I’m sorry to say

your narrowminded thinking stopped you from seeing them.

((And for the record- I come from a feminist upbringing and am female

myself. Just in case you were wondering))

From xian

Hello I wanted to commend Laura Woodhouse on her review of Sin City. I found the

movie deeply troubling in the misogynist way all of the women were cast. At

first I felt rage, and then when I saw the “Making of” portion of the DVD, I

felt sad–here were these three brilliant, immature little boys who really

weren’t capable of conceiving the idea of a powerful woman whose power wasn’t

solely focused in her sexuality or ability to kill people based on a racial

stereotype. Well, Woodhouse puts it much better than me. The women are

“objects to be possessed”.

I was curious why Woodhouse did not choose to address the ethnic/gender

component of the film. After all, it was clear that the white male were the

good guys who “earned” possession of the women, the few men of color were

asexually, agencyless evil accessories and the women of color were most

desirable women to be possessed.

It never ceases to amaze me that a director can have a brilliant, powerful

woman like Rosario Dawson and choose to only utilize the fact that she looks

great in PVC. I mean, they might as well use me–I can’t act, but I sure look

great in PVC…

From C

Re: Hardcore: I

couldn’t agree with you more. My boyfriend has tried to choke me during sex,

hit me, spit on me, pee on me, have me throw up on his dick…and I know why.

He is addicted to porn. He watches it all the time, and because of this, he

thinks that all women are whores and we want to be abused and fucked in the

ass because that’s how it is on porn. What he doesn’t know is those girls

don’t want it either, they want the money becuase they are broke. Money


From Shelley Lubben

Hi. I read your piece called Hardcore and I could relate. I am a former porn actress who

has been totally rehabilitated after 8 hard years of healing and now am

speaking out about the truth about what really goes on in the porn industry

and the sex entertainment industry. If you ever need a resource, I’m here. You

might be interested in an article I recently wrote called The Truth Behind the

Fantasy of Porn at and also visit the rest

of my web site at and read my amazing story. Thanks so


From Lottie

Re: Attention

Seeker: I think that’s disgusting that Sara Cox is telling the world that

that sort of behaviour is acceptable when it really is not, I hate it when men

whistle or leer or make comments, it’s embarassing and doesn’t imply any kind

of respect or admiration or desire, so how can she want it? Does she really

have that little confidence that she needs reassurance from strange men *who

incidentally will treat anybody/thing even vaguely female in such a way

regardless of attractiveness* to make her feel good about herself?

From M

I think the article Attention Seeker may have slightly missed the point of Sara

Cox’s piece in the Guardian. Particularly, Cox’s likening of men’s refusal to

ogle her when accompanied with child to mourners lamenting her lost sexual

allure doesn’t seem to me to imply any identification of her self with her

sexuality. The fact that she is happy to pick her nose to put off unwanted

admirers is the mark of a woman who does not derive her self worth from men’s

attitudes towards her.

Rather it is a wry comment upon the the old madonna/whore dichotomy, still

alive today. For these men a young women is fair game, an acceptable object of

lust right up until the moment she conceives, when she becomes untouchable,

inviolable. Cox identifies the arbitrary nature of female attractiveness in

the eyes of men, and cheerfully subverts the model: batting her mascara’d

eyelashes at men while in the car, sniggering to herself at how different

their reactions would be if they knew she was pregnant.

I can’t really see an objection to the article on feminist grounds.

Certainly it describes rather unfeminist sentiments, but Cox’s lighthearted

disclaimer at the beginning of the article which acknowledges, as Rosa rightly

points out without remorse, the shallowness, even patheticness of this stance,

makes it clear that this is a documentation of a particular mindset, and not

an endorsement of it. Cox eloquently describes a common feeling, that a woman

can feel a boost from an expression of approval towards her appearence, even

if this is crude and unsolicited, despite intellectual objections to that sort

of thing.

This is a peculiarly modern phenomenon in an age where society and the

media on the one hand tell women that they ought to be valued by themselves

and others for their minds, but one the other all too often judge them solely

upon their bodies.

It’s a paradox that confronts all young women today, and yet the unusuability

of articles like this shows society’s reluctance to address the issue. Women

must keep up the pretence that they care nothing for others’ reactions to

their physical appearence, but at the same time always do their best to

conform to society’s picture of how a woman should look. This article shows

refreshing honesty, and is particularly welcome as Cox makes it clear from her

cheerful style that she feels no guilt and offers no apologies for this way of


Rosa seems indignant at what she perceives as Cox’s pride at her own

shallowness. This pride is a thousand times more desireable than the

alternative: shame in deviating from society’s model of how a women should

think and behave. Cox’s appreciation of unsolicited male attention is

unpolitically correct, even shallow, but she, and women like her, should not

be made to feel inadequate for it. It is a morally complex area, but Cox

should be applauded for not shying away from the issue rather than berrated

for mentioning the taboo.

From Kirsty


Seeker: Well said! I hope this article has been sent to complaints at

Radio 1 (since her radio show projects the same attitude), and Sara herself! I

fully support this view.

From Jacinta Nandi

Hi, I’m responding to the (really well-written) article by Rosa on Sara Cox

saying she misses men whistling at her [Attention

Seeker]. Well, I get what Rosa is saying, and she says it really well, it

is totally unacceptable for men to sexually humilate and verbally abuse women

as they do practically every day all across Britain. It is disgusting.

However, by accepting it and trivialiizing it Sara Cox is only trying to cope,

you know? She is trying to take the power back, I know, it’s bollocks

basically, but it is a tempting path to take – how do we reach these


From Lynda

Re: Every Girl Wants a Stalker: Years ago, Sting said that he

was amazed that women especially saw “Every Breath You Take” as romantic;

clearly, he saw it as kind of creepy. Of course, the music and his voice were

so lush that OF COURSE it wasn’t seen as a song about a psychotic vowing not

to let a woman go. I think one reason we have so many romantic movie plots of

the man incessantly pursuing the woman is it provides physical action

necessary to movies. With traditional roles nearly destroyed, with our busy

lives, and with our emphasis on psychology (all good things, generally) I

think a lot of women are extremely insecure about men, more so than in the

past. In the ’40’s most men who wanted to have sex got married. Now, they go

to the bars–and elsewhere. In the 40’s, because the social norms were that

good girls (and to a much lesser extent) good boys were “chaste,” it took a

lot of effort for the man to have sex outside of marriage. Now, generally,

that’s not true, so it is appealing to women that men have to really, really

declare and “prove” their love. It is no coincidence that a staple of vampire

romance novels, so popular now, is the dangerous man (to people, demons,

vampires who deserve it, but NEVER, EVER women) who must find his “one true

love,” and that search usually takes centuries.

As to why we assume that any woman who goes all out to pursue a man is

pathetic, ugly, and often deranged, I think that reflects discomfort in true

feminine equality. Until the last 50 years or so, women in NO culture were

free to pursue the man she wanted. In most parts of the world, she is still

not free. If you cannot support yourself–because of social norms, a poor

economy, or unavailable education–how do you even have the opportunity to

meet or to pursue a man? Even in our society, where a woman is the pursuer,

such an imbalance of power makes her feel insecure, even if she “gets” the

man. However, I think it makes the man feel as if he’s won her, won the

contest and makes him value her more. I know this sounds 19th Century, but I

think it’s true. And even today when married men still have a disproportionate

amount of power (look at the depressing statistics about men and housework),

when the wife has pursued the man, she has even less.

From Wendy

Hi! I’m glad to have found you! I am an American drowning in a society of

ignorance and exploitation of women. Thanks for your site: I’m so glad someone

is fighting the good fight. (And with a great name!) Here I feel that I am not

an alien. :)

From Gloria K

I’m 15, going on 16 and I have to say, it’s very refreshing to find out

that there are others like me out there- feminist. So many people are just so

ignorant or so blindly arrogant of their views and choices that they can’t

logically see that gender roles are still yet among us, and constantly being

reinforced. Their gender views are so internalised it makes me absolutely

frustrated to debate with a Republican WASP about these issues.

Thanks for the inspiration. I was feeling pretty depressed for being a

freethinker. ;) I’ve met some feminists, but they are so few and far between.

God bless.

From Carole

I would simply like to align myself and agree with everything Louise

Whittle wrote about in her recent article Left Behind, and only

wish to add this tasty tidbit of an anecdote. During the early seventies I was

closely invoved in action by Health Service workers in the face of Barbara

Castle’s determination to undermine the principles of the service. Bet that

surprises some of you! Long story short – we (International Marxists,

Socialist Workers, various trade unionists and allied groups) organised the

first ever mass protest through London of more than 70,000 healh workers

including several thousand nurses. I attended several planning meetings in my

capacity as NUPE nursing Shop Steward and was urged by the comrades to

encourage as many nurses as possible to attend, because ‘ some crumpet in

nurses uniforms will be such a treat for the others…’ Few might actually

speak like that but I know the same sentiments are alive and well to this day.

Louise is to be congratulated for opening this debate.

From Sofie B

In response to Louise Whittle’s article on the revolutionary left

(which I wholeheartedly agree with, although I think the term is

over-generalised; i’m revolutionary left and not SWP/CPGB who I regard as

jokes) I’d like to point her towards the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty

( who have produced some excellent pamphlets on the

crucial link between feminism and socialism, and are currently working on

building a new socialist feminist movement.

From Lana Wool

Being a Canadian in Britain I must say that Grazia like a good

fishing lure, does seem to do all the right things (except for the price) a

good glossy does, but I too was aware of the inconsistencies you have bought

up. I could say the problems created for women are the same with any glossy

women’s magazine anywhere and is perhaps more insidious given it’s strong and

frequent circulation. Personally, I don’t consider myself in danger of having

surgery, or going into debt for the `must-have’ of the week, but thank you for

your insight which is a reminder to me, and should be, if only more could see

it, other women out there.

From Lord Playboy

I see that the Femi-Nazi’s are all alive and well back in the West. Thank

god I live in Cambodia now, where you psychos are in the minority.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Tough Luck, buddy.

From Heidi Sinderman

In response to “Natural Deodorants” article. Just wanted to let Katey know

that I also read that using tea tree oil is good for reducing/controlling pit

odor. I’ve been using tea tree for the last year or so and have found that it

works ok but I think I’m going to switch to something that keeps odor away for

a longer time, like a crystal. Thanks for the helpful article!

From Elizabeth Hall

Hi. I stumbled onto your site by accident and now I’m addicted! What an

intelligent, comprehensive forum for the f-word! I am impressed. However, I am

disappointed in the lack of coverage on the PHYSICAL potential of women. For a

good, sobering look at how women have been hindered from achieving their full

physical capabilities, I recommend Colette Dowling’s The Frailty Myth. It has

forever changed the way I perceive the so-called “strength gap” between men

and women. According to Ms. Dowling, that “strength gap” is beginning to

close, and it’s making the male-dominated sports world very,very nervous. The

discrimination against female athletes –and physically strong women, for that

matter — is still incredibly prevalent, and I do wish someone would cover

this in more detail. For women to achieve true freedom, we must overcome our

exaggerated fear of men’s strength and get MOVING!

From Anon

Regarding ‘how every day it is‘- I thought what the author experienced

was awful, but I find the term ‘sexual violence’ rather misrepresentative.

There is a difference between sexUAL behaviour and sexIST behaviour, and

assuming someone’s viewpoint or thought process may be sexist, doesn’t make it


I also disagree that such behaviour is any more commonly aimed at women

than men. Having spent many years working in bars and pubs, I can honestly say

I have seen just as much inappropriate behaviour aimed at men as women, and

from both sexes too. I don’t mean to demean the fact that leery behaviour

affects people, it always bothers me, but I have lost count of the number of

times that male colleagues have been grabbed, kissed, or groped by drunk

women, or started on by drunk men. It makes it no less inappropriate just

because it doesn’t seem to bother men as much, but for me it call into

question whether assumptions that ‘women are soft targets’ is valid. Such

beaviour is humiliating, intimidating and wrong, but just because it seems

women feel more shaken by it, doesn’t make the motive therefore any more

sinister, nor does it imply a special disrespect for women.

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