Comments from January 2007

Comments from lovely readers received in January.

, 10 February 2007

From Liz Olle

Mind Your Language by Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams.

Thank you, oh thank you Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams. What a fabulous breath

of fresh air. I wholly concur with your contemporary analysis of the way

language is continuously reinvented to ensure women remain in their/our

cultural shackles.

I am also really impressed by the way you managed to maintain your own

linguistic composure in your dissertation. I always find it hard to address

this issue without resorting to far less sophisticated expressions of my


Keep the pressure on. You are not alone.

From Dennis the Menace

I enjoyed Sarah Louisa Pynthian-Adams’ article Mind Your Language. I do

however feel the need to make one or two points. When speaking of single

mothers and attempting to switch the ‘blame’ to absent fathers I was reminded

of a statistic of a couple of years ago: That the majority of divorces are

instigated by women. A feminist argument could be that wives no longer put up

with a husbands bad behaviour but, in my own little world of mostly male

friends of thirty-five , I see women kicking husbands out for no better reason

than sheer boredom. True, there will be some worthless men who are to blame

but why would a woman choose them to sire their children? A nurse told me

recently that she’s handed condoms round to teenage girls (I see most

teenagers as children, girls and boys) on abortion wards and then the same

girls are back months later. There are some worthless men out there but

there’s not a lot the decent majority of men can do about it if these girls

want to get drunk and shag the worthless ones every other week. In ignoring

these arguments then surely Pynthian-Adams is trying her own form of NLP. Now

then, Ms as opposed to Miss: Accuse me of the need to ‘get a life’ if you

like, but…Miss has a vowel in it and Ms doesn’t which means Ms should be

pronounced emms (like the end of prisms). Mr is an abbreviation of Mister,

simple as that. If you want to be called Ms then at least do it properly and

spell it Mez or Miz. Now onto MTV/Chris Moyles: I would say, simply, to follow

the money- that’s all it boils down to. The American/black/pimp/ho/rap

culture, as we all know, is bad and therefore cool to the young money-spending

public/listeners and buyers. I don’t like it either, nor people like Moyles

who panders to what he sees as his listeners. The BBC should be ashamed of


From Catherine Hooper

Mind Your Language: Good article Sarah. I completely agree with you.

Even my liberal minded and emancipated female friends would rather set

themselves on fire than ask to be called Ms, rather than Miss or Mrs, let

alone refer to themselves as feminists.

and as for Chris Moyles, what a c–t !!!

From Janis Hindman

Mind Your Language: I simply want to say a great big Thank-you for this article and its depth. I

truly believe that the way we use language affects the way we think. And the

lead in to the article is so right, I feel almost afraid to make comment

sometimes, but it is always right to do so.

From Paul Brown

Mind Your Language: I disagree with Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams that the word ‘girl’ is an insult.

I calculate that Sarah Louisa is about the same age as me, in which case she

will remember the Riot Girl (or ‘Grrrl’) movement very well, a time when young

feminists reclaimed the word and took pride in using the word to describe

themselves and their sisters. This can still be seen in some of our music and

fashion subcultures, for example the use of the word by Le Tigre and Chicks on


I think it is the intention behind the word that matters. It implies youth,

being unmarried and childless, and a certain amount of freedom. These are not

bad things. I do not think it is patronising of me to use the word liberally

to describe my friends and peers, and my best friend, for example, absolutely

insists on being referred to as a girl.

I think it would be regressive of feminists to return to the use of the word

woman to describe every adult female, and it would be forcing a word on

thousands if not millions of young women that simply do not feel comfortable

with it.

As a male, I found that turning 30 means that people start referring to you as

a ‘man’ constantly, so that I now savour the word ‘boy’ any time i am lucky

enough to be described as such, something that unfortunately happens less and

less all the time.

From Izzy Dickson

I thought Mind Your Language raises some vitally important points. I

recently finished my MA in social & cultural studies and concentrated on the

representation of women in language. The continual use of sexist degrading

language aimed at women makes me angry at the world but it’s comforting to

know that I am not the only person that this offends!

From Naomi

In response to the article concerning the Observer women’s supplement.

Fantasitc article and couldn’t agree more…Perhaps she should set up her own

magazine. :-)

Thanks again for wonderful articles F word!

From Sandra F

I would like to agree with Dawn that the Observer disappointing.

There is the occasional interesting article but mostly it’s all shoes, clothes

and relationships.

I am one of the demographic mentioned – white, hetero, thirty and middle class

and it annoys me that even in the more liberal women’s magazine it’s assumed

that shoes fascinate me like a magpie to shiny things.

From Liz Ely

Hiya – just writing to comment on your disappointment with the observer woman


I agree with your article in general – observer woman is nothing more really

than a slightly more left wing rehashing of the same old women crap. However I

think what you fail to recognise is the fact that there is really little need

for the magazine at all.Why should there be a woman specific magazine – there

isn’t a men specific one – and I think the observer do well to make the music

monthly magazine fairly gender neutral ( I don’t know about sport – not a

sport fan)

The Observer already produces a magazine every week which does combine

politics and the domestic – and in my veiw already serves some of the

functions you were possibly expecting from Observer Woman.

Politics is in the newspaper – and again there are plenty of women included in

the comment ( zoe williams. Poly Toynbee etc) and surely we can read that to

read about politics – rather than needing ‘politics lite’ in a glossy form.

Obviously it would be nice if Observer Woman was basically a feminist

magazine…. But unfortunately I think we are a few steps away from that – and

I think in general the guardian and observer do a good job of putting across a

feminist perspective – even if it is unfortunately a particularly upper middle

class london one.

* I am not complaining about the lack of male orientated reading material, nor

am I saying there is no worth in material soley aimed at women – it is just

the very fact of the existance of a ‘woman’ magazine supports the deviance of

the female – men are normative and women get a magazine just for them. In my

veiw it’s a redundant part of the newspaper.

From Liat

I just wanted to thank you for your article on the book Girl with a one track

mind, it was (like the book) very readable and balanced. I have read the book

and found it fun and respectful, i also enjoyed seeing that lots of other

women have high sex drives. Thanks again, this website is my daily boost of

feminism its lovely to have a source of like minded people xxx

From Bea

Girl With a One Track Mind: Sex always affects people emotionally. I feel every time I have played the

liberated woman and been promiscuous I have come out bruised from an emotional

perspective. The more I enjoy the physical experience, the more conflictual my

feelings are afterwards. Rationalising that is all harmless fun will not do

the job once emotions start flowing. From what female friends tell me, I have

concluded through the years that, bar rare exceptions, no-strings sex does

seem to carry more “consequences” for women. I think the experiences described

by the author of the book are not representative of the majority of women as

they live sex in a big, urban setting -London in our case. It can feel quite

cold out there however positive one may try to make it. I would agree men in

most cases of casual sex will come across as very nice, agreable creatures –

they are trying to make a good impression, after all, in a very limited time

span, or allocated “slot”. A different thing would be daily life…?

From Myke

I am a H-male, avid reader of “Girl with a one track mind“. What is wrong

with Abby thinking constantly about sex? What is refreshing is that she

admits she does; men get erect about every 90 minutes and you can bet they are

NOT thinking about their commute. I don’t like the type of men sites you

mention because they are boring, humorless, and pathetic. I will definitely

add your site to my bookmarks. I find intelligence and humor a definite turn

on. Rock on, pardner.

From Alexandra Turner

Re Emma Cosh’s article on young women deserting feminism [Why Not Feminism?], there is a small

collective called the Angry Young Women (of whom your contributor Claire

McGowan is one). We are feminists in our 20s and have a page on myspace at She can have a look at what we write and

contribute something if she wants. You’re not alone!

From Jennifer King

Just mistakingly happened upon your article on todays t-shirts [Not My Cup of T] and agree

completely. I certainly hate seeing smart young women apparently pimping

themselves out with those derogatory shirts, especially with all the steps

we’ve taken in the last couple of decades to become included and accepted in

what 50 years ago-was a ‘man’s world’. Is it the consumers fault for making

the purchases? Or the fashion manufacturers’ fault for producing them? On the

flip side, I was just in the process of getting aggravated with every site I

could google, looking for t-shirts, jewelry, etc… for female firefighters.

I’ve been a lady firefighter/paramedic for years and years and am still

surprised that all I ever see are t-shirts stating” I’m a firefighters wife” ”

my husbands a firefighter” etc… Do these companies not realize just how many

women are in careers that decades ago were considered ‘men only’ jobs? In my

fire department alone, out of 260 professional firefighters-16 are women

including the Fire Chief! Wake up people! Ok, thanks for letting me vent a bit.

From Rebecca Holbourn

In the article ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix‘, I have noticed

that Cedric’s name has been spelt wrong. You have in your article said his

name is ‘Diggle’ but infact his name is ‘Diggory’.

However despite the spelling mistakes, it is an interesting article and must

have taken you quite a while to write it. Well done and Thank you.

From Helen Shaw

Re: Pink Christmas: Very well said, i was discussing this subject with my partner at Christmas. We

also noted, that a number of high street shops that sell childrens clothing

also seem to be working along the same lines, with Pink for girls, and Blue

red and darker colours for boys. a sad reflection on society in my opinion.

From Sarah Smith

Re, Dreaming of a pink Christmas.

I just feel the need to point out that little boys will play with weapons

regardless, it could be a stick or a spatula, but as a mother of two boys and

by watching my 5 year old with his friends, little boys have a tendancy to

play fight, so the purchase of a ninja sword is not an issue imo.

From vic

Re: Dreaming of a Pink Christmas: My nephew and neice have dolls and dresses, saws and hammers to share, yet my

nephew wants to stay inside, wave sticks, wearing his dress while my neice is

an adventurous, pink-wearing reader of books who likes getting dirty They’re

very different and I’m amazed because they generally display the ‘traditional’

roles while having the choice not to. It makes me think there’s something

other than parenting thet determines their likes and dislikes. I am an outoor

instructor, having grown up in the countryside, hopefully giving them an

alternative perspective on ‘femininity’, but I do think there are some gender

differences none of us can escape. We don’t have to buy them gender specific

toys though.. he got a doll for christmas because she won’t share!

From Liat

I just wanted to express my feelings on Abby O’Reilly’s article Declaration of

Independence, despite only being 19 i feel the pressure constantly to have a

boyfriend. It happens so frequently that relatives ask if i have a boyfriend

even friends ask after not seeing me for a while how my love life is. From

magazines to family i am constantly fed this message that without a ‘man’ im

incomplete.I hate these stereotypes that Abby mentioned of the single woman

listening to Alanis Morisette and eating her weight in chocolate. Do people

ever stop to think these are all choices, that sounds like the perfect evening

in to me. I must admit that this constant pressure from the media and

elsewhere is very powerful i have even felt depressed about being perpetually

single and even asked ‘what is wrong with me’. This article made me realise i

love being single beacuse i can do what i want, leave dirty underwear (granny

pants) lying around my room along with pringles cans etc. I can look at my

coupled friends and see them fuss over not shaving their legs or wearing

matching underwear and breath deeply and freely. I love being single and i am

proud to say i am a feminist. Thanks so much for this website, everytime i

read an article it reminds me to fight the pressures to be who i want to

be..someone not defined by cup size or a dress size.

From Ted Solis

Re: “Hollywood Women,” by Lorrraine Smith.

Lamenting lack of women directors in Hollywood:

My thoughts: “Director, Schmector”:

How about women in ANY primary creative capacity in Hollywood:

How about women (1) writers; (2) cinematographers; (3)composers? Plenty women

casting directors and associate or assistant producers, etc. WHY do people

stand for this?

From Sam

I think Jessica Bateman’s analysis of Suicide Girls [A Real Alternative?] doesn’t break any new

ground is just reiterates the same go-nowhere discussion feminists have been

having around pornography for years. I was hoping for more insightful feminist

analysis from The F Word than the trite “people like sex, sex is good, nudity

is sexy, therefore Suicide Girls is sexy goodness.” It rings of the dismissive

phrase that pornography is “just people fucking”, and any feminist being

honest with herself knows pornography is a whole lot more than “just sex”

presented as a consumable video product.

Some of the quotes from ex-Suicide Girls quoted in the link I’ll post shortly

would certainly be eye-openers for most feminist readers of your site and

those women deserve to have their explioted, unpaid voices heard.

For some of these shocking quotes and more perceptive insights about alt-porn

than are found in this surface-only article, here’s some words from genuinely

alternative activists in Suicide Girl’s hometown of Portland, Oregon from the

Portland Indymedia site:

(Don’t mind the split “discussion” section; like Pornland, Oregon itself, the

moderators of the site are very, VERY pro-pornography and consign the best,

most educational debates on all aspects of the prostitution industry to the

“discussion ghetto” few people scroll down far enough to know even exists.)

ps: If I never hear the stupid line “pornography will always exist” again I

will die a happy woman. “Asian Whores Suck Black Gagmaster Cocks #11” was not

drawn on caves in France and in a truly “sex positive” society it would cease

to exist once more.

Catherine, editor of The F-Word, replies

I think you are unfairly characterising the article when you say “I was hoping for more insightful feminist analysis from The F Word than the trite ‘people like sex, sex is good, nudity

is sexy, therefore Suicide Girls is sexy goodness.'” The article stated that it would look at some possible negative and positive aspects of “alternative porn”, and that is what it did in a considered, detailed way. It was certainly not 100% positive about these websites, as you seem to suggest. To stereotype the piece as a simplistic “yay, all pornography is great!” piece is very unfair.

We also included links to the anti Suicide Girls sites so people can read about it from that perspective too.

With regards to the last point, if you interpret the statement as “depictions of sexual activity will always exist” then I think that might be more of what the author was meaning. Whether making these depictions “better” for women and less exploitative can be achieved through alternative porn, or not, is the issue that the article was trying to address.

From Ellie

I really enjoyed your article on alt-porn [A Real Alternative?]. Having had many battles with myself

about the politics of porn, it was great to read a much more coherent

deconstruction and reconstruction of the porn (alt or not) than I can ever do!

I think Jessica is right, eroticism and voyeurism are part of sexuality, but

how to createa safe and respectful version is another thing.

From Vincent

In response to Jessica Bateman’s article on alt-porn [A Real Alternative?], particularly to this

sentence in it: “And of course, many feminists will have an issue with the fact that the site

is called ‘;Suicide GIRLS’.”

It’s the “girl” part we should have problem’s with? I am rather more troubled

by the “Suicide” part.

Perhaps the best way to understand this part of the name would be to see it as

the ultimate vindication of Dworkin’s understanding of pornography as

violence, in this case self directed violence. Rather like lambs going

willingly to the slaughterhouse, the “girls” are trotting off to spread

themselves beneath the pornographers gaze as if to a slightly risque party.

Everyone’s friends here, right?

But make no mistake, it doesnt matter if the person holding the camera (or

posing for it) is a nice vegan woman with green hair, these images, as soon as

they hit the public sphere, are torn from the context of the precarious

“alt-porn” political correctness of their production and become just more

porn. More porn to reinforce the idea that all women, even those green haired

vegans, are asking for it, begging for it. It, of course, being whatever the

man watching wants it to be.

How this can be construed as a token of progress rather escapes me. Unless, of

course, you are a pornographer. After all, I am sure a butcher would just love

the idea of “Suicide Lambs”.

From Anon

Your article on pornography and “lads mags” [Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche] should be compulsory reading in

every school. Even if people do not agree with it, it should be pointed out to

every young male, and infact female, the damages it causes to society. It

should be an openly discussed topic. At school I never once heard anyone talk

about sexism, but racism was a daily topic. I find it hard to believe so many

peoples attitude to porn. If there is one reason I read these articles by

feminists is hope. I just hope there are people out there that care, and I

hope that the number of those people is rising. Thank you so much for giving

me hope when everything else is failing.

From Doug Potter

Brilliant article on self defence.

From Cris

I like this article [The Food of Love], just figured id drop you a note on why *I* like to pay for meals.

I have recently started a relationship with a wonderful woman and have had few

dates as yet, when i next see her (we live many many hours away fromeach

other) i pla on taking her to an eatery of some sort, the reason is thus :

Previously when i have gone down she has cooked meals, i have attempted to

cook them ( i am actually very good at it) but she refuses to let me, besides,

i feel weird cooking in someone elses house using their food and utensils..


But yes, back to my point, the reason i plan on taking her out and paying for

the dinner is that so far she has cooked for me and provided for me, i want to

show her that i CAN.. Or perhaps i’ll just take some cake and picnic down.

I dont want her to get the idea that i cant/wont do anything.

theres more but i think i have rambled on incoherently enough for now.

From Jade

[The Food of Love] This article is wonderfully written; very clever!

From Elizabeth Howard

Re: The Food of Love. Sometimes it is possible to over analyse things looking for hidden motives

that may, or may not, be there. Many people have been brought up with the

convention that if you issue an invitation then the bill is your

responsibility. You wouldn’t invite a friend to dinner and expect them to

bring their own food.

From Helen Thompson

TABOO FOR WHO? By Kate Allen was a fascinating article. I have always enjoyed

using the word cunt and find it difficult to understand why it is seen as such

a disgusting word. When I was at secondary school a girl I was friends with

actually cried when I said the word cunt matter of factly! The article raised

some really interesting points.

From Nuala

I read Cathryn Dagger’s article [The New Breastfeeding Taboo] saddened at the bad luck and bad advice she

received but glad she and her baby are now thriving. However, I am worried by

the one sided-ness of both the article and the responses printed.

It’s this quote that especially bothers me: “What if secretly all women who have kids know that breastfeeding is not what it is made out to be?”

She goes on to say that no one has ever contradicted this theory of hers and

indeed none of the comments posted do either. So, in the interest of balance,

I do. My daughter is now 6 months old and while the first week was tough, I

have always enjoyed breastfeeding. It has a learning curve like any physical

skill (no one expects to be perfect at sports the first time they try) but I,

despite my many fears before the birth, found myself and the baby took to it

amazingly quickly. I say this not to attack or criticise Ms Dagger but because

in my experience, health professionals aside, liking breastfeeding and not

seeing it as a chore one can’t wait to give up is the taboo stance. I’m in no

rush to stop breastfeeding my daughter. So, at the very least, here is one

voice against Ms Dagger’s theory.

From Inga Gregory

Thank you so much for printing Cathryn Dagger’s article redressing the balance

on breastfeeding. As a Mum to a 19-week old, who I have just about put

exclusively on formula, it is refreshing to read something which redresses the

balance. Like Cathryn, I too wished to breastfeed for a minimum of 6 months,

I thought it would all be plain sailing and couldn’t understand why you

wouldn’t do it – I was bombarded with literature and information about why

breast is best and the benefits of breastfeeding and I do believe all of it

still. However, I think that there has to be some understanding and

compassion for mothers who for one reason or another choose not to or cannot

breastfeed their baby. At 11 weeks, my son had only put on 2lbs 2ozs on his

birthweight. Everyone told me he was latching on correctly and he and I both

found the actual feeding pleasant – I thought I had it cracked and that

couldn’t be the cause of the problem. But he vomited after every feed and

constantly wanted feeding. He writhed in pain and discomfort and it was

heartbreaking. I thought that it couldn’t be my milk and was really against

the thought of introducing formula, but that was the last option given us

before he would be taken back into hospital – he put on 1lb 2ozs in a week. I

gave him minimal formula top ups but he always guzzled them. Finally at 16

weeks, I did a test of only giving formula for 2 days (while I pumped) – he

was a transformed baby. So why did I perservere for 3 weeks after that with

breastfeeding? The guilt. This article has come at just the right time for

me – I am in tears reading it, but it is the reassurance I need that I am not

a failure as a mother because I have to feed my baby with formula! Thanks!

From Katharine Edgar

Re. Cathryn Dagger’s breastfeeding article [The New Breastfeeding Taboo]: Congratulations on a very good article. It is currently getting slagged off a bit by some very pro-breastfeeding

people on Mumsnet which I think proves the truth of some of the points you

were making – it appears questioning the joy of breastfeeding is still taboo.

Commiserations on your miserable experience with breastfeeding. I did want to

say though – don’t feel that just because you have had a dreadful experience

the first time it will automatically be like that if you try to do it again.

Babies are very different. I was lucky enough to have a first baby who fed

very straightforwardly, so that as far as I was concerned the pros of

breastfeeding outweighed the cons (and there are cons, despite what the

midwives etc say!). My second, however, fed like a piranha and gave me

bleeding nipples by the end of the first week – fortunately though, because he

was my second, I already had my head round what the strategies were to lessen

the pain and allow them to heal (in my case, nipple shields and a breast pump,

both of which hospitals tend to veto….) so I was able to continue. If you

don’t have access to something to lessen the pain, giving up seems to me

entirely sensible – a friend of mine stuck with it through severely bleeding

nipples and I am quite sure it was a contributory factor to her postnatal

depression – very probably not worth the price she paid. I have no doubt you

made the right decision.

Anyway, thank you for airing these issues, and fingers crossed that any

subsequent babies will pop out more easily and be prepared to feed more

gently, should you want to risk giving it another go! Best wishes

From Linda Kelly

Re the article The New Breastfeeding Taboo. I am sorry that the writer has to

quite rightly vent her spleen at the NHS. It is true that breastfeeding is

presented by many, but not all, professionals as the only way. Not too long

ago, the vast majority of women in the UK fed their babies this way. It is a

skill that has been sadly lost. It is a pity though, that the NHS does not

put its money where its mouth is. Less of the posters your writer talks about

and more practical advice from breastfeeding counsellors on maternity wards

and at home. It is a sad but true fact that many midwives are not

breastfeeding experts and no surprise that many women fail to properly

establish breastfeeding. Your writer says she hated it – the truth is, she

never got started because like a lot of women she wasn’t given a chance. One

final though, if formula is just as good, why do the NHS bother promoting

breastfeeding at all…..?

From kath lee

What a shame your article on the taboo of breastfeeding was so negative.

ALthough claiming to offer a balance to government messages it severely lacked

balance itself. Anyone with no knowledge of breastfeeding support would be

none the wiser that several charities, with dedicated expert counsellors,

exist to address and prevent the sort of problems the writer experienced. I

had a terrible time establishing breastfeeding too, but with the help of the

Breastfeeding Network was able to overcome these and am happily feeding my son

20 months on. I do believe that there is a terrible lack of support in the

NHS and that some advice is unrealistic. But your article has done nothing to

address that and just reads as a self-pitying justification to address the

author’s guilt.

From Jacinta

I found myself put under HUGE pressure to breastfeed – from both the midwife

and my husband, who both seemed to believe that formula was akin to poison.

At first I thought breastfeeding wasn’t gonna work: my baby just, like,

literally cried all the time. In the end, we got it sorted, though, and I did

my necessary six months… and I was glad I did in the end.

BUT: I don’t think it was necessary, or worth it. Not really. I’ve read that

all the benefits the baby gets from the breast they get within the first six

weeks – all the nutritional benefits, that is. After six weeks, all the

benefits are pyschological ones: from the bonding that ensues during

mother/baby contact. Hmmmmn. I just wonder how beneficial these benefits

actually are – what good is a perfect relationship between the mother and

child if the mother is, in herself, feeling half-dead?

I think the pressure put on middle-class women by healthcare professionals and

their husbands is a bit sick, to be honest. It reminds me of all that crap

they give you about giving birth without drugs – I’m not falling for it, to be

honest. In every other aspect of modern-day existence we are happy to use the

convenience of technolgoy to make our lives easier, better and more bearable.

We drive cars, brush our teeth, wear tampons, have teeth out under anasthetic

and all the rest of it. But mothers are expected, out of their unconditional

love for their offspring, to give up on any help technology can offer them.

Bollocks. This romanticification and glorification of the role of the mother

is just misogyny in disguise.

And breastfeeding ruins your breasts, too. It is probably not very feminist

to care – but I do, I must admit. If I had known what breastfeeding would do

to them maybe I wouldn’t be so bothered – but I believed all the midwife’s

lies regarding “Wear a supporting bra and your breasts will return to normal –

eventually.” I gave up breastfeeding in Summer 2005 and my breasts are a lot

of things but normal’s not one of them.

What gets me is the pressure. What gets me is the control. What gets me is

hearing about all the women in Africa who all manage to breastfeed. Women in

Africa don’t have washing machines or kettles for Christ’s sake, give me a


All I am saying is this: if men breastfed, formula would be available on


Oh, yeah: and everyone’s so eager for you to breastfeed, but petrified of

catching glimpse of a nipple? AAARGH!

Great article, by the way!

From Jean Molloy

The article I am responding to is the one about breastfeeding being a taboo. There is so much to say about this article and this subject, that I don’t

really know where to start. So I thought the most helpful thing I can do, is

to link to a parenting website ( where the issues the writer

raised were discussed in some detail, by people who are very familiar with the

subject matter and have very strong opinions on either side of the debate.

I hope this is of interest and perhaps help to the writer of the article.

From Emma Quinton

The New Breastfeeding Taboo: Sorry the writer had a bad time, but really, the article is so blooming self

pitying. She could have breast and bottle fed whilst the taking the medicine

and then breastfed once the milk tasted nice again. She makes so many

assumptions about her treatment . I have have no sympathy for her argument.

From Kartikey

Why Men Suck: And the Women Who Have To: A very interesting and well-written article. Evoked images.

From Jennifer Brom

Why Men Suck: And the Women Who Have To: Oh honey – here in America women just get sleezier and sleezier. Thanks to

the likes of Madonna and Britney Spears – the standard dress and IQ level of

young American women has fallen to new lows. Its a truly sad time to live

here. Men are especially predatory and rude as well.

From Jarno V

Hello! I’ve been browsing the articles on your site after stumbling upon it

during a Google search on that most baffling oddity of contemporary Western

society, female leg/pit shaving. I was glad to find that I’m not alone in

being angered by the strong normative aspect this practice seems to possess,

but I was disappointed by some of the articles on (related, but) different

topics. A Perfect Delusion and Body Image, for example, are correct in

criticizing magazines and television programmes for expressing a very

particular body image as the norm. Despite their criticism, though, they still

attach a positive value judgment to this popular body image, the author of the

latter article even going as far as saying she “would love to have longer

legs”. (Does she have trouble walking?) This comes across as rejecting the

beauty ideal projected by these publications, yet silently wishing it could be

attained (thus acknowledging it as a goal to be strived for). This is

hypocritical, and complete bunk in the first place. Not only is the

contemporary beauty ideal an artificial construction, not in accordance with

nature, by whichever definition, but the entire concept of body image is

impractical. Be neutral. Teach yourself not to glance constantly at the mirror

and stop wasting time and money on purely cosmetic products. It is not even a

matter of consciously accepting your body, since this process is made obsolete

by apathy. Humans have spent the past handful of millennia (a fraction of the

life of our species) constructing a more and more constricting illusion, with

the exclusively human quirk of self esteem playing a vital part. I don’t think

women can be truly liberated from social norms until they realise this, and

simply rejecting popular publications doesn’t get you there, however noble and

important in today’s plastic world.

From Sarah

[Not For Girls?] this article is so damn weird wot u tryna say? have u got such a desprate mind

that u have 2 make this article sexual? ewwwwwwwwwwww

From anon

He’s Just Not That Into You:

this book is the thuth i did not take it to heart

when i had a chance and now im paying for

in tears all i had to do was face it he did was not giving me what i was worth

and will never feel i am worth it so i can get what i need from sombody the

wants to give it to me

From Bridget Orr

Re: ‘A headline writer with an empty brain?’ Interesting idea about the idea of how the constant reinforcement of gender

roles in society have clouded the understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome in

women, almost creating this naive assumption that it is to do with notions of

‘maleness’. It irked me a little when Cowansage had to reinforce the ‘fact’

that Kiriana was pretty, in an attempt to reinforce her femininity.

My own experiences of having Asperger’s Syndrome have only made me too aware

of the nuances of social skills, and inadvertently making me critical of my

own Aspergeresque ‘traits’. I have this worry that any interest bordering on

an ‘obsession’ would set me apart from most ‘neurotypical’ ‘females’, and I

suppose that these worries have been brought on by the constant synonymity of

both ‘masculinity’ and Asperger’s Syndrome. There is a jokingness of seeing

men as slightly Asperger’s, but is more worrying for women.

Thank you Jess for this blog entry. I expect to see more articles about

feminist issues and how they affect ‘disabled’ women in particular.

From Louise

I thought the blog comment about the article entitled “The Girl with a Boy’s

Brain” very accurate. It was an excellent article spoiled by the use of an

insensitive title, something which particularly annoyed me since I’ve just

been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome myself, albeit in a milder form. I

don’t consider myself to have a “boy’s brain”; I know plenty of chatty,

sociable men and intellectual, independent women. To assign traits like these

to specific genders is a sad simplification of the true variety to be found in

human nature.

From Jacinta

About Oh Mr. Darcy: was Mr. Darcy such a bad guy????? i thought Wickham was

the bad guy! Darcy was decent, deep down – just a bit arrogant! XX

From Amanda Chafin

Oh Mr. Darcy: I am afraid you must have mistaken Mr. Darcy for his foil, Mr. Wickham, who is

the actual embodiment of most of the evils you attribute to Mr. Darcy. Please

reread and reconsider.

Furthermore, I think you may need to reconsider the following: “that we are in

fact turning our Mr Darcys into more sensitive, giving creatures who are

capable of being in touch with their feminine sides.” In this passage, you

describe Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bingley and Jane are presented as the couple

representing the “sentimental” novels common in Austen’s day. Mr. Wickham and

Lydia represent the rakish and stupid main characters of earlier depictions of

couples in the British novel. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth represent a middle

ground that is more realstic, and therefore more popular. Modern audiences

cling to this couple because they can relate to it more than they can to

either of the aforementioned archetypes. I suggest that you read Samuel

Richardson for the Wickham archetype, Fanny Burney for the Bingley archetype,

and stick to Jane Austen for more complex characters.

Basically, I suggest that you take a course on the 18th century British novel

so that you can understand Jane Austen’s literary heritage and the climate in

which she was writing at the beginning of the 19th century.

From John

Hairy Women: Actually, hair traps in odors. So removing underarm and pubic hair will

mitigate lingering odor significantly. You are correct about it increasing

perspiration though.

From Jalilidalili

Re: Hardcore: I must say, as a man, who’s occasionally enjoying some Porn I have some of Max Hardcore’s work and it is discusting. Remember something involving him, two

girls and a horse… also some whips and stuff…

I must say I’m (unfortunately) not surprised at what I read in your article.

It’s a very easy logic to follow, a big industry with thousands of flicks made

on daily bases, but with only a few known names. The rest are just surpluses

that the industry is abusing (usually it’s women, but there are probably men

as well – there are some weird fetish movies out there).

If it’s degrading? YES. If it should be stopped? YES. But the real problem

isn’t there. If people go into porn industry they could at least have a rough

idea of what it will be about. The same things (abuse) also happens in some

other places with horney people wh(o place themselves above law and moral) in


Still when you said things about being radical for being against porn. I think

there a whole other dimension of porn nobody even mentioned yet!

Porn gives wrong kind of messages out to the world. Unfortunately there are

hundreds of thousands of teenagers who learn sexuality by watching porn. And

the scary part is – they know movies and movie violence isn’t for real, but

they think that porn is. So they think the stuff they see is really the

perfect sex. So guys expect girls to drop on knees and blow them and they’ll

(after a while) shove it in the ass. The girl should naturally pretend to

enjoy it all the time. And once that becomes the model teenagers have of sex –

isn’t then every single sexual encounter on the very verge of rape?!

Call me radical if you will, but there should be a stop put to this – or at

least some real limits. First off – internet should be under control! Next the

new high tech cell phones should be kept in check (I mean I’ve seen 14 year

olds bringing porn on their cell phones to school). It is going too far and no

matter how backward anybody thinks I am (which I’m not really, but hey, you’ve

only got my word for it) – THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR!!!

From Wez Laka

With reference to a sweeping conclusion on:

Hardcore I’m not totally blind to the fact that this site is run, read & visited by

people under what will often be emotional & heart-felt states.

So there is likely to be a bias towards some kinds of views at the expense of

a more balanced perception.

I also personally believe that for all the errors you may make (we are only

human so I don’t expect to see accuracy throughout always), I think you are

sincerely aiming to do good & will help overall. I would not have taken the

time to reply if I perceived you to be irrelevant. However I think it goes too far & taints any valuable points as shoddy, when you take a work on its cover only.

I am not an avid follower of Mr Cocker, I am not a defender or apologist for

pornographic works either.

Owning a copy of the album I have to point out that to include the album

called ‘This is hardcore’ by Pulp, in the list of things which give the

measure where some of societies degeneration lies, is akin to saying that a

sexual health manual must be ‘dirty’ because it contains images of genetalia

on the cover.

I am aware that it is an inevitability of our modern existance that alot of

marketing & sales relies on emotive techniques. Why does it? Because people

do not make a decision to buy based on dispassioned argument, they buy on

emotion. Ask any marketer worth his salt & they will stop waiting to see what

your point is, for this is as pedestrian a fact to them as the fact that you

cannot swim in the sky.

The cover of the album was not selected by Jarvis – though the title possibly

was. I presume the title of the song which named the album was.

This is hardcore was not paean to porn. It was merely a lament, raw &

corruscating against the cardboard fallacies of modernity & how they all so

easily fall over. How every sinlge one is painted so bright so promising & yet

delivers so little.

A bit like porn.

Hence ‘This is hardcore’, is the concept which ties together all the

sentiments of the album.

Note that this album features the track: Help The Aged.

This is Pulps most blatant socially conscious & honest album. For Pulp that

is saying something.

I think that in retrospect the marketing department at the label ruined the

place that this sincere album should have by taking the blatant, literal angle

suggested by the title.

The title was meant in a sardonic bitter way.

From Aideen Johnston

Just wanted to say, Holly Combe is a genius.

From Aimee

Diet Grrrl: Why is it that over-weight teenagers are treated with sympathy and skinny

girls are then labelled as ‘anorexic’ or devoted conformists to the ridiculous

image of ‘perfection’ that the media, Hollywood and Fashion enhance and fuel

in todays society? I can safely say even though I am a size 6 I have a healthy

appetite. I DO NOT have an eatting disorder!I was bullied because apparently,

I was starving myself for the sake of beign fashionable! It is infuriating how

the media hypmotise their audience into ignorantly believeing just because

someone is thin or “skinny” they are victims ofthe disgusting “size 00”

phnomennon featuring portruding ribs, and imaciated childlike skeletons. The

torture I suffered at school led me to binge eat – a desperation to gain

weight, to the point I was physically ill, not to mention the effect it had on

me phsycologically, yet still I did not put on any weight. Admittingly I love

fashion but I have never felt pressured to conform to the unrealistic

impression forced on today’s ‘impressionable’ youth. Just because we are not

yet allowed to vote or drive even… certianly does not mean we are so

visionally impaired that as teenagers we cannot see beyond fashion, sex, guy’s

or celebrity gossip. How can you justify talking about weight issues when you

complain about soceity’s infatuation with body image, yet they feature highly

in your articles! You are hypocritically pushing forward the importance of

beauty… i expected very different!

From Jenna

Contraception and Control: Teenage Rights. I found that article really interesting. My mum is constantly telling me I

shouldnt have sex with my boyfriend even though im 16 and in a happy long

relationship with him. We have already slept together and I feel really bad

not been able to share my life and my expieriences with my mum but it does

feel like most of the time she interferes. This article made me realise that

im not the only girl out there.

thankyou x

From Grace

I have been unkeen to watch Ugly Betty due to many of the stereotypes and

politics I feel are associated with it. However, before it arrived here,

about a year ago I was discussing with a (Bolivian-born) friend in the States

regarding the number of high visibility Latinas there are on tv at all, and

those who are not ridiculously stereotyped in what they do.

Disappointingly, we (and my friend) could not come up with one who wasn’t a

maid or a nurse. I’m not kidding. Scrubs, My Name is Earl… nurse and maid.

Ugly Betty has minority, particularly Latina, women doing jobs other than

these traditionally portrayed roles. For that we should cheer. Even if it is

for being an assistant or a megabitch – at least she has the control and power

that other tv shows don’t allow Latinas.

From Kay

The comment by ‘;Joel’ in response to “Subvert the Dominant Pimpiarchy” seems to be a joke, but in case it isn’t, I would like

to mention that prostitution is a violation of Human Rights; that ‘consensual’

or ‘;voluntary’ prostitution in the West is usually the result of drug

addiction or childhood sexual abuse and in the East/South it is usually a

result of extreme poverty. It can therefore not be considered voluntary. Old

fashioned ways of legalisation make life easier for pimps and johns, but not

for the majority of prostituted women. The solution for getting rid of pimps

is the fight against the social injustices that cause prostitution, as well as

better general education on gender issues, which will encourage boys to grow

into men who respect women and not into johns. For more information on

solutions, take a look at CATW – Coalition against Trafficking in Women.

From Rockbitch

Review of ‘This is Rockbitch’ doco by Norman Hull.

How ironic that in a idle moment several years after the fact I’ve stumbled

across this review of my band! If only I’d seen it at the time it would have

given a happy boost to all of us in the commune.

To have had a reasoned, intelligent response, let alone a feminist response

to our efforts was rare from Britain, although responses from womens groups in

Holland and Denmark were very good.


From Maria

Recently,in the secret family courts, fathers have been considered as more

important than the ordinary,good mothers and dads have been getting custody

even of the tiniest of children leaving the moms devastated, on

anti-depressants…Child bereavement for a woman who bears those children is

the most dreadful thing that can happen to her and women are not given teh

right to know, before they get married, what can happen to them. I think that

this is the most extreme form of chauvinism (many child experts…are

instructed to follow certain “fashion” of mom or dad more important phase in

court) and women are tricked into surrogacy.

From majella biernat

Surfs Up: In Praise of the Second Wave: Finn, you do sound very angry. I am studying and currently researching issues

which effect women the world over. I do not believe anger will help any woman,

but I realise that is just my perspective. I hope we can both make an impact

for women’s rights in our own way.

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