Comments from March 2006

Feedback on articles, controversy, debates, brilliant comments and infuriating emails. It's all in a day's work.

, 2 March 2006

From Amy Lynn

Re: Sick of

Celebrity: I absolutely agree with you on the mirage of hollywood that is

personified by the illusion of perfection. Perfection is only supported by the

assistants that are paid to be at these celebrities beckon call. Another that

really atonishes me is that some celebrities are really lying about their

weight. I have many friends that are 5’4″ or 5’5″ and look like they weigh

less some celebrities. Some of these celebrities claim they weigh 110 lbs.

Give me a break. Most women will lie about age and weight at some point.

From Sophia

Re: Contraception and Control: Teenage Rights: although your

points are true i disagree with some parts i think u should have some privacy

but not too much of it . iam 12 and doing a speaking and listening test on

this matter so am just practising out so do not hesitate to email me with your

opinion to help me with my english scores.

From Judy Stephenson

Children, chilcare, families…. I’m sure there are a few feminists out

there who are involved in the above. As they will know, the ideal of

“equality” takes the hardest hit when you realise that chilcare in this

country is not tax deductable… and that you need to be earning a very large

salary indeed to be able to even start to juggle career, interests, and family

– as opposed to drop out of one altogether. Or that the job of looking after

children, as mother or carer is the most despised in our culture, of such low


These are the day to day realities of gender inequality. The ones that mean

real loss, heartache and sacrifice for ordinary women. Borne out of a system

that pays lipservice to equality, but would rather you were at home, unpaid

with the kids, but does nothing to prepare or educate you for that shocking


The great 20th century feminists went there. And were at their most

radical, and their most pragmatic and emotional when they did. Yet, on the

subject, here strangely silent… Is this a lifestage thing? Seen to be a tax

or finacial thing? Just not PC because it implies we’ve copped off with a

bloke anyway? I like your site. I’m just interested as to why the lack of

content on the above?


FOUND THIS SITE BY MISTAKE, hence drunken capitals, but made me think about

things I usually avoid thinking about drunk, high or sober. Will be coming

back when the latter.

From Sarah Bee

Re: Men Are Back: But Where Did They Go? Hi, wanted to say

thanks to Sheryl Plant for mentioning my Friday Thing piece about the ‘men are

back’ Peugeot ad – she went into it in more depth than I was able to and put

it better than I could! It’s interesting for me being the only female writer

at TFT – when I’m not writing about specific female issues I find readers who

write in often just default to ‘male mode’ and assume I’m one of the men. I

don’t think they even think about it, actually, it’s just like the neutral

gear, especially where satire is concerned – and I suppose given that there

are more male writers, it’s just more likely that any given piece was written

by a man.

We did discuss introducing bylines for individual articles (we don’t have

them either in the full newsletter or on the site, which shows about a third

of the content each week). I was one of the ones who resisted, because ashamed

as I am to say it, I enjoy the freedom of being able to write without any

gender assumptions, which is quite a rare thing although of course part of me

feels this is a cop-out on my part. But then I don’t want to make absolutely

everything I write about being female – I want my views to be taken as views

full stop, not ‘the female view’ in every case. It’s almost a taste, for me,

of what things might be like if we really did have equality. Still, I’m told

that I ‘write like a boy’ – it’s a bit like putting on doublet and hose to get

a job at court to support my ailing father, or something. What is ‘writing

like a boy’, anyway? Just an absence of girliness? It’s not much of a

compliment to me, but then it passes for one in a boys’ club.

I have mixed feelings about it, to say the least. On the one hand I feel

like I’m getting one over on people, but then if no one knows it, maybe I’m

not. At least there’s bound to be an article in all this! Anyway – great site,

keep it up.

From Jenny

Re. Men Are Back: But Where Did They Go? by Sheryl Plant: Thank

you for your interesting article , I have wondered about these ads and it was

very useful to see them deconstructed. I have forwarded your article to other


From Pam

What the person who wrote the Men

Are Back article failed to mention was the blatant backlash phenomena so

overwhelmingly shown in those 2 ads. Note the Peguot ad where, when the song

starts up singing ‘what a man!’, they happen to show PREGNANT women with the

penis symbol – the car – threading it’s way confidently thru the ‘sea’ of

heavily pregnant bodies.

From Laura Knight

I was thrilled to find the Men

Are Back: But Where Did They Go? article on this site – I am writing a

dissertation on the construction of gender stereotypes through music in

advertsing, and I’m actually looking at the “Men are back” ad. The article

reitterates alot of my thoughts and ideas, and also gave me some new ones. I

found it really interesting. Small observation though – I’ve watched the ad

alot and the blonde with a curious smile is actually a brunette! In fact there

are generally more brunettes than blondes in the ad which makes me wonder

whether men are prefering brunette to the blonde bimbo look?! Many thanks.

From Paul Brown

There is a very definite connection between two things that have had

coverage in the f word recently. The twisted sexual confusion of our popular

culture, as described by Ariel Levy in her book Female Chauvinist Pigs, and

the infamous rape case in LA involving an unconscious 16 year-old girl being

gang raped and tortured by three teenage boys. Much was made of the fact that

the girl had supposedly claimed she wanted to be a porn star, as well as

trivialities such as her dress, alleged promiscuity, and the fact that she

apparently shaved her pubic hair. I think that the mentality of the boys

involved is indicative of what is wrong with popular culture’s attitude

towards sex, where we have a craze for revealing clothing (for women); the

notion that pornography is postmodern and liberating; music video’s and the

like promoting the pimp/ho aesthetic (no surprise that the film of the attack

had a hip hop soundtrack); and yet at the same time the dominant culture of

the day is as prudish and conservative as it’s always been.

I am not blaming MTV, Playboy and gangsta for the assault – I blame the

perpetrators entirely – but there is a very definite connection between a

popular culture that tells girls to walk around scantily clad, playing dumb

and being sexually passive, while telling boys that Playboy and porn are cool,

and the fact that these young men appeared to have no notion of how serious

what they had done was. The misogyny of these boys, and their friends who

watched the tapes, including young women who apparently sympathised with the

perpetrators, is indicative of the culture we are surrounded by.

When I recently attempted to criticse Britain’s hopelessly low rate of

conviction for rapists on a nominally progressive website, I was shouted down

by nearly all other posters, who thought that I wanted to lock all men up

(despite the fact that I am one myself), and was told that women should take

cabs home instead of going home with men they don’t want to have sex with.

Even the acquital of the security guard who raped an unconscious student in

the hallway of her student halls was defended. I get the feeling that we have

barely moved beyond the 1950’s in our attitudes towards sex and gender. As the

character Kim asks in Sugar Rush, “Why is everybody so fucked up about


From Lisa

I would like to commend Rachel Bell on her article Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche. I recently made a

complaint to an Advertising Standards Board regarding a TV comercial that I

felt objectified women. My complaint was dismissed and I was told the ad was

only “tongue in cheek humour.” Reading this article has reasured me that I am

seeing these images as they really are – that is, degrading, dangerous and

irresponsible, and not being “overly sensitive.” Thanks!

From Emily

I just read Rachel Bell’s Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche article, which summed up

the obvious inequality women are still facing in our misogynistic media

culture, and the blatant, creepy way that objectification of women is shoved

in our faces without consent. I remember one day, quite a few years ago, my

younger brother and I were at the newsagent with our parents. My brother (who

was about 4 at the time) was reprimanded by the lady running the shop because

he had picked up a so-called ‘lad mag’, and was busy staring at a picture of

some half-naked woman. But how was he to know that he wasn’t supposed to be

looking at it? The magazine was within his reach, and like all curious young

children, he picked it up. It disgusts me that we allow children to be exposed

to this kind of sexist crap and then expect them to know right from wrong

without explanation. It certainly is a damaging way of introducing female

sexuality to new generations, and I often feel like nobody really gives a

damn. I am glad to have found this website, as I now realise there are people

out there who feel the same way as me. If only we had similar positive action

here in Western Australia…

From A Male

I’m a male, and wholly agree with Rachel’s basic points, esp regarding the

garbage mags aimed at men [Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche]. I was ‘trained’ when a

young student, by the ardent feminists who were my girlfriend, and my

fellow-students, to readjust my attitudes towards women. I’m not perfect, but

owe a real debt to them, as they helped me to undermine and kick out the prior

conditioning I’d had up until that point.

In today’s Guardian (23/3/06) we have an ex-journalist from the garbage Sun

newspaper (Kate Taylor) deprecating Rachel’s viewpoint, and I wholly disagree

with Taylor’s take on things. Whatever else, for as long as men are seeing

women and girls as merely ‘vessels for their lust’ then things are not going

to be good, either for girls and women, or the men themselves, nor for society

as a whole. And I am appalled at how things have slipped ever downwards in the

media, from the days when Claire Short (or Dawn Primarolo was it?) complained

about how the media were sexually selling women’s bodies all over the


All the trashy publications on sale, and on view, (TV and Internet)

nowadays just compound the view that women are here just for men’s pleasure.

This is a totally crap thing to be propounding and affects (and *infects*!!)

so much of our culture. I’m no prude, or religious fanatic, but really resent

what is going on. And I am heartened by Rachel’s viewpoint being expressed in

yr mag, as I think such a resurgent feminist stand is long overdue.

I personally will carry on doing what I can to try to get blokes to change

their daft heads in their attitudes towards womenfolk, and I hope you women

reading this will likewise carry on helping to get things, (read: *men*!) into

some better shape, or our societies will be suffering very ill effects for

many generations to come. Thankyou.

From Ariane S

Re: Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche: I live in the U.S. and

there is so much filth here too. I am so disgusted every time I go to the

supermarket or turn on the t.v. Women are gross as far as I’m concerned. I

don’t know why they allow themselves to be torn down the way they are.

Pornography should not be sold at all but if anywhere not in the check out

lane of a supermarket right at your childs level. I’m am a 24 year old mom of

3 and don’t want my children growing up thinking this is a normal way of life.

There are decent women out there who don’t deserve to be treated or looked at

as a sex object. I am extremely happy to hear there are others out there

trying to clean up this world. God bless your good work.

From Sniff

Rachel Bell’s Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche was an excellent article.

I get so fed up of the porn = sex charade, that porn is some normal and

natural expression of male sexuality, becuase “men and women are different”!

Porn = the production and consumption of inequality and it’s all about

backlash against what feminism has achieved. It’s about manhood being

threatened and on the offensive, retreating to the realms of sexuality and

defending itself there. It’s about desperate attempts to make “manhood” real.

And as Rachel points out, it’s no different than racism. Would the sale of

“Klu Klux Klan weekly” be permitted, depicting pictures of abused “niggers”

with the justification that those niggers chose to pose for the magazine and

were getting paid? Hmmm… I fail to see any difference. Freedom of speach, my


On another issue, it saddens me so much that articles such as Sheryl

Plant’s “Deconstructing masculinity” have to be written this far on

within feminism. The entire feminist focus should be on deconstructing

masculinity! If masculinity did not exist, we would not need feminism in the

first place. The whole gender issue revolves around this, and (most) feminists

waste their time by focusing on anything else. I’ve been pushing this logic

for the last 15 years, but am still regularly dismayed to meet feminists to

whom this is only a peripheral.

Femininity exists to shore up masculinity, and until we recognise that

manhood is not the norm to which everyone should aspire in order to achieve

equality, we are doomed. Well done to Sheryl for aticulating this, and for

mentioning my hero Jackson Katz. My favourite feminist writers are (nearly)

all male: Jackson Katz, John Stoltenberg, Michael Flood, Michael Kimmel. Do

read their stuff and shift your feminist focus to the big, underlying issue.

We have to tackle the cause, not just the symptoms.

From Lucy

Deconstructing Masculinity: hurrah, great article. I

totally agree – especially the part about the media making out binge-drinking

women are the scourge of society. I’ve worked in several London bars and it’s

very rarely the women who start the fights or vandalism.

From Matt

Sheryl Plant’s aritcle Deconstructing Masculinity raises important points about

the glorification of violence in male cultural circles. But by using terms

such as ‘deconstruction’ and by referring to men’s ‘constraining little gender

box’ she perhaps misses an important point. Masculinity is not absolutely

reducible to transient cultural forces. It holds characteristics that are the

products of tens of thousands of years of evolution, beginning perhaps with

the role of the hunter-gatherer. I feel it is maybe naive, then, to implore

men to simply step out of this ‘gender box’, which to some significant extent

is to ask men to rebel against some of their most primal and genetically

inalienable instincts.

From Skye Parker

Re: Deconstructing Masculinity: I could not agree more. I think

its terribly unfair for those men in our society who don’t feel they have to

live up to a superficial concept of maaculinity. Your srticle has helped me

with some research i’m doing at the moment on society’s views on stereotypes

etc. can it be argued then, that the men we see as ‘feminine’ aren’t actually

feminine at all? but just NOt stereotypes of what society think ‘real’ men


Re: Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images: I found your article really

insightful and interesting. Now that I’ve read it i feel a lot more aware of

media stereotypes that surround me and everyone else. I worry though that

there aren’t enough people who are aware of this. And is it a good thing or a

bad thing to have these kinds of stereotypes? I’m hoping to use this article

to help towards my research for a college assignment.

From Abby

Re: Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images: Thankyou for the very

interesting advertising article. It has reminded me to think critically and

deconstruct the texts of adverts I see when I commute in London every day, and

hopefully will help me to comment critically about the adverts with my young

son and daughter. Especially interesting was the comment that all Asian women

are portrayed as “geishas”. This has given me a lot to think about so


From Toby Clarke

Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images: This is very very funny and

I have indeed tried to be an alien looking at what I would think of men and

women If I were an alien. As well I have tried hard to not look at bill boards

etc but it can be quite dangerous walking around with you eyes closed. Thanks

a lot for that experiment too. As a man I am regullaly upset at what I can’t

be. I seem to contiunally find myself trying to act out a role that is alien

and my emotions just seem to get the better of me. I am however looking

forward to going on Holiday were thier are no men around but on second

thoughts I also like my male friends.

Advertisments aims are quite obvious. To sell products using women as sex

objects and as such seeing no problem with the objectification of women. I

might even go round my self tring to be a cup or something perhaps a pen or a


Just thought that you might be interested in the complaint below. I am a

man but still hate the promotion of these gender stereotypes which I think

denies so many men of so much of themselves. It is a comment on some of your

stuff on gender stereotypes to and I would be gratfull for any feedback.

Dear ASA,

I am making a complaint about the use of children to sell products and

particularly in this case of two children used to sell cars. The advertisement

features two children taking on the roles of adults and acting out these roles

for the purpose of selling cars.

It is my opinion that putting two male children in these stereotypes

fosters a particular culture, specifically a patriarchal culture, were viewers

are taught to value stereotypes of power. In addition to this the promotion of

children in adult roles were children are taught to take on roles of

masculinity, for the purpose of increased consumption, is not a healthy way to

learn. When a powerful industry pushes boys into roles that they wish for them

to take on it denies proper development and the promotion of choice in what

roles children wish to take. In particular in reduces young adults the ability

to value self determination. I would like these advertisements to stop that

the use of children used for advertising to stop and that gender roles are not

pushed on viewers for the purpose of consumption.

From Sarah

There is no

groom – I found this article great, I am glad I’m not the only one finding

it difficult to try and explain to friends and family why I’m doing things the

way I am, why I refuse to change my name or be given away. And why my fiance

would never have dreamed of asking my father’s permission. We are getting

married in 3 months, and have opted for a register office wedding, followed by

a humanist service that we are writing ourselves. I am struggling a bit to

find something to replace the “you may now kiss the bride” part, as obviously

I do not want this!! Any suggestions gratefully received. I too, am not having

the big white dress, and would turn up in my jeans, if I thought my fiance’s

gran would not faint away!!

From Crickett Hoffman


He’s Just Not That Into You: Oh you so don’t get it. I was a real man

chaser. Not necessarily to get married but to have someone around. (Did the

married thing…not my cup of tea.) Still, I had some pretty poisonous

relationships and it seemed I was exhausting myself running down men. It

actually made me physically ill. I took He’s Just Not That Into You to heart

and voila! I’ve got everything from 18 to 80 interested. Face it girls, men

can smell a woman on the hunt and they run. But be unavailable…and it’s like

when your female dog goes into heat. Everything shows up on the doorstep. Now,

for me, it’s just a case of pick and choose. The surfer? The artist? That

older gentleman I met at the museum? The barely legal young thing that chased

me down in the mall? (I’m probably older than his mother.) My

disinterestedness is sexy. He’s Just Not That Into You says relax, enjoy

life…and stop fretting about where he is…or isn’t. If he isn’t paying

close attention to you then go ahead, move on to the next interesting thing

that catches your attention…man or adventure. Stop putting your life on hold

for him. And if that ain’t empowering…well, then I question YOUR motives.

From Siobhan Fogarty

In response to the article “Pretending That Men Aren’t Grown-Ups,” I have several

concerns. First of all, rape *is* a fact of life, and pretending that it isn’t

is sheer fantasy. Of course, in an ideal society, rape would not occur.

Neither would assault, robbery, or even violence in general. However, people

can be nasty, violent, cruel, selfish and the rest. Accepting this and dealing

with it is not succumbing to the powers of patriarchy, it is simple common


No one in their right minds would suggest that women should take

responsibility for being raped – that would imply omnipotence. Rape victims do

not have the power over their attackers to prevent rape from happening.

However, taking responsibility for one’s own actions is only sensible – indeed

essential, as we assert our rights. Of course we have the right to remain

unmolested – or at least, we should have. But where is the shame in reducing

the risk to one’s person? Given the choice between upholding my principles and

walking down a darkened alley, head up and proud, or listening to the voice

inside that says “May we should take another way round” and remaining

unassaulted, I know which one I’d choose. Why should I be ashamed of my


I *am* afraid of being raped, and it’s that precise fear that means I don’t

behave in a way that is likely to mean that I will get raped. I’m sure that

many women will accuse me of suggesting that a women wearing a mini-skirt is

‘asking for it.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. No woman deserves to

be raped. No woman should take the blame for an act of violence committed

against her person. But she can and should take responsibility for her own

actions and behaviour, and it is a fact that engaging in certain behaviours

will make you more vulnerable. Why is there a problem in admitting this?

I love women. My mother is a woman, my sister is a woman, my best friend is

a woman, and the person I love most in the whole world (myself!) is a woman. I

have, therefore, a vested interest in making sure that women are not put in

unneccessary danger. And if this means retaining a vestige of control over my

actions, rather than putting my safety wholesale into someone else’s hands by

putting myself out of action, then I don’t see a problem with that. In fact, I

am actually offended by the author’s assertation that “The message to women

here seems to be: ‘you are weak, so take good care to protect yourself,

because it will be all your fault if someone stronger than you assaults you.

You can’t trust that men will control themselves.’ ” It’s not chauvinist

ideology to claim that women are, on the whole, not as strong as men. It’s

fact. And it’s not chauvinist ideology, either, to suggest that a woman takes

care of herself because she can’t always trust the people around.

Unfortunately, that’s just common sense, something which seems to be lacking

in this article. I would suggest that encouraging women to think of themselves

only as victims is entirely counter-productive. By acknowledging that there

may be something we can do to reduce our chances of being assaulted, we take

responsibility for ourselves and our choices, and we all know that there’s no

shame in that.

From Erica Wexler

Check out the video for I’M SO SICK OF MODELS! on The

search/submit is “so sick of models!” The videos great .It really empowers

women and dismantles the myth of the”model.” Your readers will love it.

From Stave Mason

Re: Hairy Women:

Sad Sad Sad ! To think in this day and age you so called femenists have to

bring into youre agenda female bodily hair to help raise the awareness to your

cause. Sad Sad Sad ! There are men out there who love women in any form

guise,style,I.Q., colour of hair, eyes, cufflinks or matching wraparound. Sad

Sad Sad !!!!!!!!!!!

From Colette

Re: Why it’s time for the battle of the sexes to end: A very

inspiring objective and diplomatic argument.

From E

‘Men in

Feminism’. I’m male, and agree with you Lizzie, we men really REALLY need

to change our heads in our attitudes towards women, or it corrupts the whole

of society for many generations to come. Keep up the good work, dear soul!

From Charles

King Arthur: I’m

sure you’ve been told already but Lancelot was not Orlando Bloom (not even in

the picture, ) it was Ioan Gryffud.

From Noel Eyres

Hi , I am a 59 yr old male . Experience of 3 women in my life , Sheltered

perhaps !. I agree with Irma’s comments [Why

Irma Kurtz is Wrong About Rape] . Considering the present and proposed

laws I am concerned . If a woman is raped there should be just punishments

,considering what women have to endure if they appear in court . Perhaps women

should take some of the blame for the latter though , because so many cases

have found to be a waste of time , ie;- they were lying . Because of this the

courts have to be so thorough .

From Rosa

Lament for

Sisterhood: This is a very inspiring article, and although it was dealing

with something negative (women being women’s worst enemy), it had a very

positive ending!

From Lizzie

I have recently been rather annoyed by the BBC one radio show I sent a

complaint regarding the song played on there called ‘beep’ by the pussycat

dolls it’s atrocious. One of the lines of the song being i know you’ve got a

brain but i’m looking at your beep beep but I have been completely dismissed

what can i do to get the point across this song encourages particularly young

girls and young boys to view themselves/ or someone else as nothing but a sex

object at five o clock in the evening! I am angry that the BBC don’t seem to

care that they are promoting this degradation of women could you give me any

advice on how to take this further!

From Lizzie Ward

Re: Under the

Knife: I would just like to say that I have been studying Gender and

Society at University (in my last year of Sociology at York) and I am

presently doing an assessment essay on Harmful Cultural Practices (versus

empowerment). Your article was extremely interesting – especially since I am

interested in the cosmetic surgery industry as a growing ‘norm’ in our

society. Most people often dismiss cosmetic surgery as a ‘choice’ that women

make and therefore it is not harmful. I find it shocking that the cosmetic

surgery has now expanded it’s repertoire to labiaplasty, hymen ‘restoral’ and

vaginoplasty. Isn’t this remininescent of cliterodectomy in the Victoria age??

I would say that women engaging in cosmetic surgery are not ‘cultural dopes’

but the pressures or unhappiness leading them to surgery are usually

patriarchal ones embedded in the cultural norms of our society. Thanks for

writing something so relevant and interesting!

From Kelly

Re: Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery: I think this article raises

some issues which are really valid. As part of my exam work I wish to argue

against plastic surgery as a form of altering our appearance. For one thing,

it really isn’t necessary and having a ‘quick fix’ does not ultimately deal

with issues of confidence or self-esteem; underneath you are still the same

and if you cannot accept that, then altering the outside will never have the

miracle effect wished for. But more to the point, why should we feel as though

we need to conform to some ridiculous image of being the perfect woman? It’s

not realistic and is unattainable and surely only the superficial would agree

that plastic surgery is way to create happiness.

From Rebecca

Thank goodness!! Finally, a place where we can discuss feminist matters

without the disaproving looks and eye – rolling smirks of friends and

acquaintences!! (or is that just in my experience?). “Whose Slut?” caused me

to roll my own eyes, as well as the odd raised eyebrow and the emmition of

slightly pissed off “hmph’s”. I’m sick and tired of hearing how we should or

shouldn’t be, how we should or shouldn’t dress, etc etc etc!! Enough already!

Why can’t I simply be me without men and women alike making some rash

assumptions about what I’m trying to gain from doing so?

I am a young woman working in the Prison Service – a very male orientated

environment. Every moment I spend walking around the prison, working with

prisoners, or indeed dealing with colleages, is spent constantly and

obsessively keeping my behaviour in check. Don’t touch my hair, smile too

invitingly, move the hips too much when I walk, for if you do these things,

not only are you seen as unprofessional but also as WANTING the attention.

I have found that the most effective way to get on in the “boys club” that

is my career, is to attempt to strip myself of all things feminine. I wear

minimal make-up, never have a neckline lower than my collarbone, hair neatly

tied back … Needless to say that I am labelled as either a lesbian or frigid

and cold. I am neither of these things. I am a woman who likes going out to a

bar and having a few drinks and a chat with my friends without having to slap

away the errant hands of strange men and having to pretend not to feel highly

uncomfortable and, dare I say, threatened by the blatant and leering stares of

males. Is the author of this article telling me that I should welcome this

attention and be glad of it because it is what makes me a woman? Not bloody


Working in an environment like I do(with Male Juveniles and Young

Offenders) being young and attractive is nothing but a hindrance. Example:

just 2 weeks ago I had to go to a Governer’s review concerning a 16 year old

boy who over the course of two days made lewd, disrespectful and disgusting

comments to me about how, where and when he wanted to “fuck” me. At this

review meeting I was asked to explain what had happened so a decision on

punishment could be made. Imagine my horror and disbelief when the panel of

governers (all male by the way) asked me what I had been wearing when this

took place.

I was sexualised and objectified tht day, not only by the little runt who

made the comments, but also by my colleages and bosses. My point is, telling

women to enjoy being sexualised is dangerous. How many times is a woman raped

and blamed due to the outfit she was wearing at the time? You tell women to

dress provocatively and flaunt what men want left right and centre and all

you’re doing is giving me the excuse to abuse and insult and disrespect. It

saddens me that I go to work everyday and deal with male children and young

men who think it’s perfectly acceptable to shout insults at the females that

are supposed to be their authority figures. We have a big enough problem with

women being treated like shit just becasue they lack a penis … we don’t need

to add to it by accepting it as something we deserve.

From Esther

I am writing in response to an article written by Ilona Jasiewicz called Re-classifying

Rape. I am a survivor of rape and I agree with this article. The justice

system downplays this crime so often. Sometimes, they don’t even seem to care

about the victim. I agree, rape laws need to be changed.

From Sarah New

In response to comments on my article Feminism

and popular culture, I appreciate the feedback I received, but disagree

with the comment that I did not research law statistics enough. I wrote about

these subjects in my A-level law exam and received an A grade (only 17 f

people in England got an A-grade the year I took my exam). However, law

becomes outdated very quickly and the situation may have changed since I wrote

the article. Regarding the comment that I was too bogged-down in the Yorkie

advertising, I basically wanted to incorporate as many subject areas i could,

such as law, personal experience, T.V., advertising, e.t.c. Moreover, if the

Yorkie was a white bar with “It’s not for *******”, and “not available in

black” printed on it etc then it would be banned (and rightly so). Also, I see

it as part of the new trend in sexism that is ingrained in every day life.

From Amanda

Re: Not For Girls: the Yorkie adverts: I think this article is

totally right. I mean men do always think it’s their world and that THEY are

stronger but they aren’t always! I think that it is a very sexist slogan and

that it should be banned, women are always judged about being weak and

innocent but we’re not! This is a wonderful article and that it should be


From Dan Portillo

Re: Hollywood

Women: I hate to say it, but the fact that you think progress was being

made from the early 40s (“Maltese Falcon”) to the early 50s (“All About Eve”)

with regards to the portrayal of women shows your simple lack of knowledge

about films in this era. If anything, the roles of women were being diminished

by the early 50s. The power of women in Hollywood was at its peak from the

early 30s, with films like “Miracle Woman” to the early 40s, with “”Lady Eve,”

largely thanks to the charisma of Barbara Stanwyck. By the early 50s, women

started to become more objectified with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and the

leggy Cyd Charisse. Even Barbara Stanwyck’s roles were dminishing by the 50s,

as she began to play tough, but limited, parts as more motherly characters. By

1993, women had films like “Rising Sun,” and the dignity of women on screen

was offically sapped. If you don’t believe me, look at Adam Sandler’s latest


From Joanne

Body Language Speaks Volumes: Just to say it was a thought

provoking read and I happened upon it accidentially. I was looking up body

language to work with some young people on assertiveness, this offers a new

slant on the subject. I will enlighten them with some of this information

(slightly more diluted!.) Thank you.

From Steve

If there was a structured organization that was a mens version of femanism,

lets call it mascanism, there would be a huge public out-cry and all hell

would break loose. Anyone with anything to do with it would be called

shovenist bastards and the list would go on. I don’t see why females can get

away with it. The majority of femanists have never lived in a society without

equal oppertunities, they should therefor have nothing to rebbel against, any

more than men. so whats the go? whats going on? can’t you all just get off

your high horses and learn to live with the population as a whole, including

men. In this day and age, we now have a lot bigger issues to put our energy

towards, you sholdn’t feel the need to keep femanism alive, it’s no longer

relevant to society. Get out and enjoi the world that woman before you worked

so hard to make.

From HP

Re: Maxine Carr and Other ‘Evil’ Women. I could never see why

there was such hatred of Myra Hindley over and above that for Ian Brady save

that she forebore to have a mental breakdown and, in fact, made more of her

life in prison than he did. Unlike Carr, about whom I know nothing, Myra was,

in fact, guilty of murder. However, I could never see the point of keeping her

locked up for the rest of her life when she was obviously no longer a danger

to herself or anyone else. But, being a woman, I suppose society had to vent

its spleen on such an ‘unmotherly’, ‘unnatural’ phenomenon, even at vast

expense to the public purse.

In a similar context, read, “She Must Have Known” by Brian Masters, who, in

essence, says that, whether guilty or innocent, the legality of Rosemary

West’s trial was a farce. But, again, being a woman she, too, has had be

demonized over and above Fred who, I suppose, at least had the decency to hang


How would society manage, I ask myself – before nipping off to add gin to

the baby’s milk – without all these appalling women to blame over and above

their male counterparts?

From Tatty

Great site! Enjoy it very much. Two notes: Pink’s video – I don’t

understand the offensiveness bit regarding the toothbrush scene. I had (and

sometimes still have) problems with an eating disorder and don’t find this

scene offensive whatsoever. Taking oneself (and the rest of society and its

so-called role-models) too seriously is what contributes, in my opinion, to

such disorders. The pay gap issue – do I really want to be ‘exploited’ rather

than ‘underexploited’????? So the pay gap has to be closed because women want

to be equally exploited for the sake of the UK economy? Well, that’s really

nice of us. I don’t want to be exploited at all, if I could help it. And I

even would go so far as to say that I don’t want men to be exploited either. I

think we still need the critique of Captialism. Or do we really think that

overall equality, respect etc will fall into place once we earn the same

amount of banknotes?

From Jules

I thought I was mistaken when I saw an article from the billion-dollar porn

industry profiteer-apologists $pread Magazine spoken of at your blog as if it

were a feminist source of information. If you had quoted Playboy or Hustler I

could not have been more affronted. It is in no way pro-woman for a few

extraordinarily privileged employees of a global sex trade to explicitly urge

other women to become prostitutes, to normalize prostitution as ‘women’s

work’, and to speak glowing defenses of pornographers and pimps while

shredding any feminist woman, like Levy, who details the physical, mental, and

social harms of accepting men’s right to prostitutes.

I hope never to see $pread Magazine referenced as a feminist text at your

website again, just as I hope you would not consider Playboy, Hustler,

Penthouse or other lad mags worthy sources of feminist dialogue since $pread

shares the same agenda with other pro-sex industry publications: increased

acceptance of prostitution and pornography as beneficial for poor women and

necessary by all men. That’s not feminist by any stretch of the


Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

The F Word recognises that some will disgaree with $pread’s approach, the

magazine itself, and its editors’ definition of feminism – but this site

cannot define what is or isn’t feminist. F Word readers can (and will!) drawn

their own conclusions. We carry a review of $pread magazine

here, or to form your own opinion, $pread’s official website is here. – Ed

From Naomi

i am writing a rewiew of my own at the moment on the incredibles for

gcse coursework and while everyone is trying to promote the film, i take your

views. i would just like to say thanks for inspiring me to make a individual

review and i just hope it has the same effect yours does and gets a good


From Lorna Gregory

I enjoyed your ‘25 Burning Questions men are too embarrassed to ask

article. I don’t think anything you said was negated by the article being

written by a woman and I’m not surprised it’s written by a woman [see previous comments received].

Men bashing of this sort seems very popular at the moment. Both sexes

propergated damaging gender stereotypes. Articles of this sort ‘Men:we can’t

help being a bit crap but you find it endearing.’ are incredibly harmful,

particularly for young men. Many of my male friend think of being male as a

bad thing exacty because of these negative stereotypes, this is very sad.

Thanks for writting the article. Keep up the good work!

From Natalie Zemmel

I agree with everything written about Grazia magazine and

thoroughly enjoyed reading the article. Although Grazia does promote the

stereotypical female “danger” areas like dieting, fashion, gossip – it does do

so with a sense of humour and irony lacking elsewhere in the women’s press.

From Laura

Re: Model

Behaviour: I understand what you are saying about this programme but these

girls choose to enter a show like this. Choosing to go in to the world of

modelling means you certainly will be judges on your appearance, it’s what

earns you the money. I bet there wouldn’t have been such a lengthy article

published on the horrid comments passed on peoples singing voices on Pop Idol.

It’s exactly the same situation, they’re just putting themselves up for being

judged on something else. Like when you go to a job interview, your skills and

experience are judged and evaluated in order to see if your good for the job.

Model’s skills are in their looks, so obviously this is what people will judge

about them when seeing if they’ll front a successful campaign.

From Emerald Dunne

Laura Woodhouse – I enjoyed your article on Sin City very much, and I

have to say that the film struck me as being very much as you described it. As

soon as I saw the billboards and beer mats that you described I knew it was

going to be a T&A bonanza with a few black eyes (female) thrown in for extra

titilation, all neatly packaged as ‘coooooool’.

Sin City was voted the most popular by patrons of my local (arthouse)

cinema this year, the Ritzy in Brixton. Most of the cinema’s customers seem to

be your common-or-garden left-of-centre Guardian readers, so perhaps they saw

some kind of intellectual irony in it. After all, this is what life on the

wrong side of the tracks is life, isn’t it? This cinema – which is one my

favourite things where I live, by the way – wouldn’t think twice about showing

a film that denigrated black people and was labelled ‘a cool film’. Neither

would Brixtonians flock to see it! Last year Ritzy customers’ favourite film

was ‘Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter’, a film about Buddhist monks. Who

knows what the semi-detatched of SW2 will favour next year…

To Rachel Eastwell – Rachel, what can I say about your article [Every Girl

Wants a Stalker] apart from it’s brilliant? And here was I being told I

was ‘desperate, needy and clinging’ – not to mention a slapper and probably a

stalker! – because I ask men out. Like you I cannot fathom why a woman would

not let a man she likes know she is interested, and asking him if he fancies

meeting up for a drink is much better than doing one of those confounded

hairflicks and hoping he’ll ‘get the message’. I figure that he can only say

no, which is something men have to hear day-in day-out. And, being a grown

woman, I don’t harrass the man if he’s not interested, as much as I may want

him to say yes.

And I’ve always thought it was the done thing to ask a guy you like out and

have been encouraged to do so by my father. His opinion is cool; although men

are usually the pursuers, thank God the rules do break down and what have you

got to lose? After all, what’s the point in looking back and wondering what

might have been?

I can think of two times in the recent past where I’ve asked men out or let

them know I’m interested. In the first case I got talking to an Italian lawyer

on holiday. We got on so well that I asked him if he fancied meeting up for a

coffee later. Hmmm… well, another Italian friend (male!) half-condemned me,

saying that I would have made the man feel unmasculine – but it turned out to

be not the case, and two years on this lawyer fellow is still in contact with

me. In the other case I asked a Brit man out and the result wasn’t so

positive; truth to tell he’s a bit of a playboy and probably a man who

pursues. Strangely enough, initially he’d been interested, so who knows what

happened there – but I haven’t stopped making the first move!

Ditto the good point you made about backing off when someone’s not

interested. One of the main reasons I ask men out is because I absolutely

ABHOR being asked myself, simply because it always seems to be by men whom I’m

not interested in and who get irrate when I graciously say no. I feel that I

can handle rejection a lot better than they can, hence I’d rather be the

rejectee. Well, you’ve touched on something I feel strongly about, so thank

you for that. And I agree – Bridget Jones is a total arse!

From William

I am responding to : Every Girl Wants a Stalker Every Girl Wants a Stalker. I

was looking for a film about a female stalker of which i had forgotten the

name and due to the similar words used in the search i came across said

article. As a man, notably a shy man, i found the article interesting and

moreover, truthful. Admittdly i am not the greatest fan of feminism but i do

however find the sentiment in the article true.

From Neil

I read Rachel Bell’s article (“Subvert the dominant Pimpiarchy”). She seems to have been

sold a dummy by Sam Deleany. The use of the verb “pimp” in “Pimp my ride”

refers to making something more appealing. Not to make it look like a pimp or

something belonging to a pimp. Hip-hop language evolves very fast, the nature

of the language is quick. I’ve heard people refer to soemthing as “pimped” up.

The meaning here being that the object was looking its best.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

I think Neil rather misses the point here. – Ed

From Fiona Bourke

re: Subvert the dominant Pimpiarchy. . I’m a linguistic student

and after 3 years of researching and discussing the idea of damaging

discourses, have been going half crazy feeling like I was the only person who

recognised the sickeningly unthinking use of ‘pimp’, particularly by those who

should know better (other linguistic students for instance, who apparantly

have been on a different course to me…). Thank you so much for quieting the

screaming in my head.

From Kiki

Review of Hardcore:

After seeing this documentary last week, i walked around with it in my head. I

never ever knew that this is the way to go in the pornindustry. It made me

sick, angry, sad but I can understand how the sick minds among us (men) can be

totally arroused by this. The poor girl was manipulated into this. First of

all the meeting without clothes, it is a total uneven situation there, you’re

vulnerable as it is. She repeatedly said she was terrified of him and that

only seemed to please him. The way he asked her to hold up her hand, sprayed

some lubricant in it, asked her to bend over and fuck her… Amazing. The way

he acted like a father (obviously knowing these girls can have big father

issues) upstairs and then turned against her… My thoughts exactly… what if

the crew weren’t there. Would she be abused (more then already)? Would he MADE

her do everything he wanted from her?

I started surfing the internet, looking up this mr hardcore (who looks like

a dumb hillbilly in his cowboyhead). As I got to his site I couldn’t help but

being curious. it is awful, it is plain abuse and people pay for it…

LEGALLY. How can we stop this???!!! Isn’t it possible for pornstars to get

their free castrated bodyguards (like you get ajourned an attorney, when you

win the att gets a percentage). It gave me sleepless nights. Amnesty

International, what are you going to do about it? (excuse my english i’m


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