Pretty quiet this month – I guess everyone is on holiday. From J Just wanted to say thanks for your book review [Taking Charge of Your Fertility] last month – I bought the book and have shared its insights with several people already! I couldn’t believe I was already in my mother’s body (well, in egg form) when she was still in my grandmother’s body. It gives me goose-bumps just thinking about it, and it gives you a sense of continuity with the matriarchal line and really is oddly empowering. Not to mention the possibility of freedom from condoms on offer! It was really, really helpful. Although charting has raised unimagined complexities that I won’t go into here…it is certainly not for the squeamish! From Lbda I recently spent six days working for Oxfam at Glastonbury festival. Despite living in muddy waterproofs, sleep deprivation due to the cold, hard sloping ground and constant noise, I have never felt so chilled out in my life. I put this down to various factors (not just the spliffs and booze). 1) Due to the high level of security I felt able to walk about alone (if one could be alone at Glastonbury) day or night. Unlike a city or town centre of a weekend night, I never felt threatened or unsafe and considering the huge number of stoned and pissed up punters I come across, I thought this was amazing. 2) I wore no make-up, shapeless waterproofs and boots – I wasn’t out to impress or attract anyone 3) I went alone. This gave me total freedom to do whatever and whenever I wanted to do it. 4) I wore no watch and listened to my body – ate when I was hungry, etc. Something inside me shone. I felt sensual and sexual but this was not due to society telling me what I should look like or behave. For six days I worked my shifts, got drunk, high, danced, sat around talking and chatted up a lot. I was amazed how inner confidence is so much more attractive to others than any glossy cover ups-wether it be clothes or make-up. But the Glastonbury experience is just that-short lived and not real life (although some will argue it is just that). How can I feel safe walking through a city centre at night and how can I shut out the constant pressures to behave and look like what? Not a real woman that’s for sure. For the record I am a 43 year old mature student (married with kids) who previously had never put up a tent-never mind camped alone. From Joanna Re: Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery I wanted to say thank you. This article expresses the feelings I have often had of make up and cosmetic surgery being on the same scale, and its enlightening for me to see them expressed so well. I also felt a connection with the statement ‘I’m torn every day between my feminist ideals and the impulse to just – well, lighten up’. I couldn’t have put it better myself. Thanks again for a brilliant article. From Lorraine Smith I hadn’t looked at Natasha Forrest’s review of the Frank Oz remake of The Stepford Wives before going to see the film, but on reading it now I just wanted to say that she has pretty much echoed the thoughts that went through my mind when sat in the cinema. I cringed at the opening minutes with Kidman struggling to inject a bit of comedy into her character, Joanna Eberhart, who has been updated to resemble a rather grim characature of a female executive. The characterisation was poor, the plot weak and the ending disappointing. I think I’m going to take Rachel’s advice and check out the original film instead. It’s a shame I didn’t read this review first as it would have saved me some money!