Comments from November and December 2005

From Whitney

In response to the ‘25 Burning Questions men are too embarrassed to ask‘, I

must say I found the answers to be rather cynical and were over-analyzing the

questions. other than that, a great article, but please tone it down next

time. feminism should promote equality – men are not idiots.

Holly Combe replies

One of the main reasons I wrote this article was that I objected to the

assumptions about men that frame the MSN piece. Their idea that these silly

questions are the kind that men are all “dying to ask” is actually extremely

patronising (i.e saying men are “not idiots” was part of my argument!).

I also thought the questions were rooted in some of the most tawdry gender

stereotypes and, of course, that’s why I chose to analyze them. Taking the

questions at face value would have defeated the whole point of the article.

Yes, feminism is about equality but, unfortunately, the MSN article just makes

both genders look equally idiotic. There is nothing cynical in my argument

that women and men are not the stupid caricatures the MSN piece implies them

to be. My belief that the stereotypes designed to control us don’t do us

justice is very genuine.

From CT Rock

One small problem with your comments on the article “25 Burning

Questions” – MSN didn’t even write the article. The article was in fact

written by a journalist on behalf of who are MSN’s dating partner,

and funnily enough, happened to be a woman.

From Ross

Regarding your 25 Burning Questions article written by Holly Combe it

might be worthwhile pointing out that the article was actually written on

behalf of a dating company who MSN’s dating partner and funnily

enough was written by a female journalist. Don’t let that get in the way of a

good story though…

From Rebecca Hill

Re: 25

Burning Questions: You realise, of course, that the original artical which

you have so conscientiously taken apart was written by….wait for it (the

suspense is delicious, you’ll doubtless agree) ….a WOMAN! Which

unfortunately negates any point that are trying so desperately to make. It may

of some solace to know that your article is the laughing stock of many online

forums, which are frequented by both sexes. Have a nice day!

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

The Editor Responds: Hi, Thanks all of you for taking the time to write

and point out that the “25 Burning Questions” article on MSN was written by a

female journalist. Unfortunately I don’t see why this has any bearing

whatsoever on the article or why it “negates any point that we are trying so

desperately to make”.

The point of responding to the 25 questions was to show up how ridiculous

it is to brand all men (and women) as identical, to assume that all men are

the same and have the same views about women and relationships. We like to

think of men as individual human beings with indivudual, different,

personalities, not as cookie cutter stereotypes. That’s why we took the mickey

out of the MSN piece.

As Holly points out clearly several times in the introduction to the

article, MSN put forward these questions as representing the views of

“everyman”, a “Mr Average stereotype”, “a reflection of the ideology men are

supposed to adopt”. Holly is poking fun at the “someone” who “has taken it

upon themselves to speak for all males and make them look like idiots in the

process”. As she says, she is responding to MSN’s “imaginary Everyman”.

The gender of the person who actually wrote the questions has absolutely no

bearing on whether we, as feminists, should poke fun at the piece. The article

on MSN promoted sexist stereotypes of men (and women), and as such, we think

it was worthy of satirising.

Are we supposed to think that women cannot have sexist views towards men?

That if its a woman who does it, it’s ok? That if a women spouts sexist crap

about men, we laugh along because it’s a woman saying it? Nah. We reserve the

right to poke fun at sexist attitudes, no matter who they spring from, whether

men or women.

If that makes us “a laughing stock”, as one of you said, then I guess I’d

rather be a laughing stock than a hypocrite. Feminism is not about agreeing

with everything women say. It’s about challenging sexism.

I hope this helps to explain a bit further what the point of the article

was. Thanks again for writing. If you have any other views on any other

articles, feel free to send them in! Happy New Year. – Catherine

From John Ross

Go, Ms. Razorblade! I loved your review of “The Incredibles.” I

just saw it on DVD recently and everything in the movie that I found to be

eerily conservative was easily dismissed by friends who called it “just a kids

movie.” Well, to me, that’s what makes it more disturbing. What annoyed me

most about the film was the daughter character. Of course she’s not allowed to

keep her goth sensibilities and has to learn to fit in to traditional norms of

“prettiness.” But what’s worse is that she, along with her brother, suddenly

doesn’t seem to have any ambitions outside of her supporting role in the

“family business.” Yuck. Please write more movie reviews. Thanks.

From Mark Headey

With reference to the film “The Incredibles“, I too was initially worried by the

apparent stereotypical picture of domesticity it presented. Then I thought

about it; our two adult superheroes were actually under a form of witness

protection scheme and anything out of the ordinary could blow their cover.

Therefore, they adopted the disguise of the typical “all American” family. As

to meekly accepting her subserviant role, at one stage Elastigirl states quite

firmly, “Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so.” borrows

a plane and flies to the rescue, avoiding ground to air missiles with

consumate skill. To quote the film, a simpering woman? I don’t think so.

From the drinking divas

Re: Taboo For

Who: Men don’t use the word cunt in a descriptive or loving fashion.

Whenever that word is used from a man to a woman, the only purpose for it’s

use is to humiliate and shut the woman down. However, just like the word

‘nigger’, it should be taken back by women and embraced as empowerment.

From Rod

Re: Taboo For

Who: The word cunt. Interesting how people are offended by it. I was told

some years ago by a person a doctor in fact who studied English language. He

told me that cunt like fuck etc was part of the old Saxon language and that

when the Norman-French conquered Saxon Britain in 1066 that the children of

the Normans were often brought up by Saxon nannies. The word Vagina was from

the Norman French and the nannies were told not to use the old Saxon wording

and to use words like fuck and cunt were basically outlawed. Vagina does sound

better than cunt I must admit but then again we are still taught cunt is wrong

and vagina is fine so we are brainwashed from an early age. So were the

children of the Normans, cunt was bad vagina is fine. So this trend continued.

The Saxons were quite happy with cunt, vagina was foreign to them. I suppose

the Normans looked down upon the Saxons as ignorant vulgar and base in their

language. Normans I suppose thought they were better taught and their early

French was more suitable and acceptable. Today the trend


From Yas

Reply to “Why men suck (and the women who have to)“: Hi… I’m not

sure what to say. I read your article about cambodia. And I really do think

that’s horrible… I was shocked… I think more women should be in control,

or men like me, who believe in gender equity. The world would be a much better

place, but alas unfortunately the men in charge are.. how should I put it?

Assholes. According to statistics United States is 9th in the world for rape

crimes, South Africa being the first. And I consider the sex trade industry to

be a form of rape. All those western men and locals you mentioned, their all

no better than rapists in my eyes. Also I wanted to add about the media.. I

agree completely about them. I’m in the process of writing an essay about

“Gender roles in society and how television affects gender images”.

From Joe

Re: Reply to “Why men suck (and the women who have to)“: I have worked

all over the world and i did like reading what larr said, its true it does

happen in poorer countrys, africa is rif with it . good artical thanks

From Barry

Re: blog comment on domestic violence case: A feminist website blog that

acknowledges men are human beings and can be subjected to domestic violence. A

bold attempt to move the issue forward without the usual entrenchment warfare,

their is hope yet for a better society.

From Rachel Healey

Re: Every Girl Wants a Stalker: I am in complete agreement. i

don’t understand why more people cant see it either. Every day there are a

million and one examples proving exactly what rachel wrote. the film stlker

scenario is just the tip of the ice berg. I have even lost friends over my

beliefs on such matters (to be honest most of them were chauvanistic pigs i

just didn’t clock soon enough). Its really good to be able to read that there

are so many others who share the same view. I may be an 18 year old female but

i feel that we are just as oppressed as anyone else and our views should also

be taken in to consideration. Thank you RACHEL for coming out and saying it

how it is. more people ahould do just that.

From Liz H

Re: Bloody

Disgrace: I think if the NHS were to provide anything for free it should

be something environmentally friendly like the Mooncup (I paid ?18 for mine)

rather than endlessly supplying tampons and towels. Having said that, why

shouldn’t we buy our own? Do you go to your GP for aspirin every time you have

a headache? Or do you just pop into the chemists and buy a packet yourself?

Unfortunately the NHS isn’t an endless pit of money, there is only so much to

go around and we are never going to live in a world where the defence budget

gets spent on tampons! There are things I don’t think the NHS should have to

pay for; nose jobs, breast enlargements, cosmetic dentistry and tattoo removal

and other such ‘vanity procedures’. If you argue that menstuation is a normal

part of female life so tampons should be free, then surely as eating is a

normal part of life too, then shouldn’t the government provide free food to

everyone. At the end of the day nothing on the NHS is ‘free’, it is all paid

for by someone – the tax payer. Guess what – women pay taxes too.

How to Create a Women’s Glossy in 5 Minutes. Fabulous

article. I loved it, it was funny and sharp. It’s given me the confidence to

go try writing one of my own – hooray!! (Actually it really did make me laugh

out loud.)

From Lucy Emele


to Create a Women’s Glossy in 5 Minutes: Your criticism is so accurate ,

that it makes me wonder why I read such dribble.

From Charlotte Parfitt

The article How to Create a Women’s Glossy in 5 Minutes is so true.

Most glossys are the same thing and yet we seem to buy them again and again

without realizing we are paying for the same articles carefully renamed and

sold to you anew. Since reading this I have decided to be more alert in what I

read and perhaps read something more intellectual.

From Sam Jones

Re: Under the

Knife. It has often been the way that women have been valued by their

physical appearence over any of their other attributes, whereas men have been

valued regardless of the way they look. However, the cosmetic industry is a

business after all, and already there is a filtering down of male cosmetic

surgery, and models into the media network. The problem is an overall

capitalist one, but it is women, as always who are made to feel it’s brunt. We

have higher numbers dying of annorexia, and suffering from body dismorphic

disorder. Before anyone considers going under the knife, I strongly recommend

that they read “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf.

From Martha

Re: Under the

Knife: One of the things that gets me about cosmetic surgery is it is just

another way that rich people can indulge themselves and create more of a

divide between their experiences and that of those with less money than them.

It has the potential to create a beauty hierarchy that merely reflects the

amount of money you have to your disposal. So much for the beautiful peasant

who married the prince and was okay forever because he had lots of cash. I am

vaguely aware that there was some issue about giving boob jobs on the NHS for

people who hadn’t had to undergo a mastectomy, which is just utterly

ridiculous. We shouldn’t accept the focussing of hysteria in this direction by

cultural attitudes in so many people’s minds as a somehow inevitable aspect of

womanhood that should be indulged instead of responded to in a more adult

manner. What a waste of silicone, surgical skills, time etc etc etc. The world

is a crazy place. So much for compassion and equality.

From Ariela Haro

Re: Under the

Knife. The fact that we see plastic surgery on women as ‘natural’ pisses

me off, and the fact that I feel very much pressured to do it. I can’t help

but think about Emile Durkheim’s essay on “what is a social fact?” extolling

his audience that a social facy is anything that is invisibly pressuring us to

do something. I feel like a cultural outsider most of the time, and feel like

I have to buy makeup. I’m a college student who doesn’t shave my legs, wear

makeup, and I have recently chopped off my hair. So yeah, I guess I feel like

I have to get liposuction, macrodermabrasion and wear a lot of makeup – and

just the right clothes.

Just today, I went to the grocery store and I felt like I was in the

trenches of the ‘beauty myth.’ Almost every magazine overwhelmingly had to

have some image of an extremely thin (mostly white) woman on the cover who

wore a lot of makeup and showed off her breasts. The fact that our society

shows women more undressed than men reminds me of the antebellum South, where

the white masters would make their black male servants walk around naked while

they serve them their food. So I don’t think showing women more naked than men

is ‘natural,’ it seems more political and social. But the fact that it is tied

to something that is so intimate with humans (sexuality) is incredibly

insidious, and to say the least, cruel. To put a politicized power-issue on

something so central to the human species is not only cruel to women, but

everybody in general.

From Charlotte Revely

I wholeheartedly endorse Michelle Wright’s article Under the Knife.

Claudia Schiffer says in one of the many vacuous adverts for wrinkle cream

“Let surgery wait!” as though having surgery at some point is a given, I find

this a really scary development. It is obscene for healthy women (and men) to

be having major surgery by choice, when children on the other side of the

world are dying for want of clean water or basic medicine. When I read “The

Beauty Myth” all those years ago I thought it could never happen in the UK to

the same extent and now it has only worse than Naomi Wolf ever could have

imagined. Also if you think 10 Years Younger is damaging you should see

Extreme Makeover UK – it makes the Stepford Wives look positively restrained

in their modifications. How we can challenge this and reclaim our self esteem

other than at an individual level is one of the big questions of our age.

From RF

Re Under the

Knife: For me the concept that cosmetic surgery is driven by a male-driven

idea of female beauty simply doesn’t ring true. Men are also increasingly

expected to live up to a certain physical ideal and the takeup of cosmetic

surgery is rising steadily among both sexes. As a woman I feel my appearance

is far more likely to be judged unfavourably by other women (the Trinny and

Susannah effect) than by men. I would say it is an image obsessed media

culture that is to blame, not gender politics. If anything, things are getting

more equal between the sexes, although not in a good way – now all of us are

held up in comparison to an airbrushed ideal.

From Nicola

Re: Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery: THE MESSAGE YOU ARE SENDING


From Emily Baeza

I found “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” by Lara McKinnnon so

relevant. Not just that its simialr to the views expressed in my article, but

that it articulates this sense of frustration that we will never be able to

reach the top of the bell curve; that we should be happy with “middling”

achievements and not strive for or expect the best. Increasingly I see

achievements and freedoms borne out of 70s feminism coming under renewed,

stealth attack. Look at the current debates on abortion, I suppose I had taken

for granted that this was a settled right of women, but here it is thrity

years on, up for discussion again. I think feminism is dead only if we are

prepared to accept such attacks and retrograde steps. Helena Kennedy said once

that liberties are never won, they are always constantly being fought over,

and I think we must accept that as an unfortunate truth, most especially with

regard to women’s rights.

From itala

Thank you for this article [It Ain’t

Over Till It’s Over]. it is refreshing to know that feminists are making

attempts to feminism. i am currently at college and am surrounded by 17 year

old boys AND girls that label feminists as bra burning lesbians. its worrying

to think that when people hear the ‘f-word’ they are immediatelyt put of by

the stigma attached and the lack of understanding about feminism and the

relative issues. they are unaware of the different aspects of feminism in art,

music, literature etc. instead they picture rioting angry women who apparantly

have issues with themselves. rather that supporting the women who represent

them and stood up for THEIR rights, people my age tend to condemn feminism

because they ARE afaraid, as are other people who are prejudice against things

they do not understand. i think that its important that people (especially my

generation) need to become aware of the importance and history of feminism.

society often ignores the importance of women in history and instead mock and

disregard them its time for a change, i completely agree with your article

From Rachel

I am responding to Lara McKinnon’s article “It Ain’t

Over Till It’s Over“: Yes!! Since coming to university I have noticed an

unbelievable lack of interest in feminism. The women around me look at me as

if I’m mad to suggest that feminism is still alive and well and needs to

continue to be so. They are after all ‘real girls’. We NEED to break down this

image of feminism and remind women and girls what it is we’re fighting for and

why. And that without feminism, where would we be?

From Lizzie

In response to Lament for Sisterhood, I have to say that it is more

expensive to hire a woman if that woman becomes pregnant and needs time off.

Small business do have smaller, tighter budgets, and part of the problem is

that men don’t get the same level of paternity leave, so they automatically

become cheaper to employ. I don’t think that this is fair, and I don’t think

that it’s right. If men had the same level of paternity leave, perhaps there

wouldn’t need to be discrimination, as the cost of hiring men and women would

become closer, if not equal.

From Alison Bray

Re: Lament

for Sisterhood : Like a lot of women I have been very angry at men for

years only to come to the conclusion that a lot of us are actually being let

down by other women. E Baeza has raised an interesting point but I believe

that fraternity is a myth these days and that many men succeed because they

are hugely competetive, single minded and have much more self belief then many

women and that there will never be such a thing as a sisterhood until women

believe that we are all of equal merit. I am in my late thirties and think

things have gone backwards in the last 10-20 years.I have encountered too many

(ostensibly intelligent) women who don’t seem to want the freedom feminism

offers, preferring to obsess over shoes, shows like “Sex and the frigging

City” and bitching about each other. I also know a lot of enlightened men who

I would describe as feminist who are confused and surprised to encounter women

like this. It breaks your heart to think of the struggles made by women in

this country in the past and the dreadful injustices currently suffered by

others in the developping world when all some women seem to want is the right

to lead as trivial an existence as possible.

From Maebe

Lament for

Sisterhood: Thank you for this excellent article. I was only reading today

in the Guardian about F! the feminist party in Sweden who have been pulled

apart by infighting. Has our self esteem been so destroyed by this patriarchal

society that we are unable to support other women? Only when we break the

cycle of women/women denigration can we expect to make an impact.

From Sophie S

This article [Lament for Sisterhood] is so true, its about time women

stopped fighting each other and banded together. I never felt any

discrimination until I had children and wanted to return to work. To my

surprise it was other women who seem to have the biggest problem with it not

men. It took me a long time to find a position and during interviews I was

even asked(by women not men) about my childcare arrangements and what would I

do if the carer or child was sick etc. I was also made to feel as though

spending one year out of the workforce had suddenly made all my skills and

knowledge from the previous 10 years somehow disappear and I couldn’t possibly

be capable of doing the same job I did just 12 mths ago now. When I did

finally find a position (with a good employer who didn’t seem to care that I

was mother) one of my female collegues commented to me that she had to make

sacrifices in order to have a career and all these working mothers should go

back to the kitchen where they belong and stop complaining about

discrimination etc as it was their choice to have children and that they don’t

deserve to have both children and a career and “we” shouldn’t have to make it

easy for them to have both. Especially as it means “we” have to work harder to

make up for all the time these “mums” take off from work and all the extra

hours “we” have to put in and they don’t because they have kids. I then told

her that I was a mother (she didn’t know this at the time), I asked her if she

had to work harder because of all the extra time off I get just for being a

mother – to which she answered no (as I hadn’t taken any extra time off). But

it just shows what other womens’s opinions are, and I am yet to have any such

similar comment voice to me by a male collegue.

From N. Modi

Re: Feminism and Popular Culture: Thank you so much. You’ve put

into words ideas and thoughts that have been pulsating in my head, dying to

get out! I’m so relieved, and saddened at the same time to see that other

people are seeing a pattern developing here. It’s bad enough that men do the

things they do to degrade women, but worse still when women turn the other


From Matthew Stone

A comment regarding Sarah New’ Feminism

and Popular Culture: In this article Ms Noviss correctly observes that the

general notion that criminal law is biased towards men. However, as a teacher

of criminal law I would point out that she has not sufficiently researched the

details. Specfically, provocation is not a defence only available to men. It

is indeed available to both genders. In fact, Ironically, it is one area of

the law that has been specially developed to cater for women’s needs, through

the recognition of ‘battered wives syndrome’. This turned provocation away

from a purely rigid masculine concept, towards a feminised complexified notion

that could account for the effect of long-term domestic violence. Ms Noviss

fails to mention any of this, despite it featuring heavily on the source she

cites! (Women for Justice). Hope this is of interest.

From Gaby

In response to Feminism and Popular Culture, I don’t think that Fathers

For Justice are seen as heroes, more as nuisances, jokers or at worst

criminals. They receive a lot of publicity for what they do but I feel they

are more often than not, highly ridiculed. I am a feminist myself, but I think

that this argument was skirting around some interesting points, but getting

bogged down in factless opinions. I also think that getting upset about a

yorkie advert is what gives feminists a reputation for being politically

correct to the point of losing all sense of humour.

From Michelle A

Re: Feminism and Popular Culture: I am a 19 year old student,

and I have recently found that my open-minded friends will mock me when I

point out a blatant sexist message in advertising or literature etc. I think

it has become unacceptable for a young woman of my age to be ‘feminist’, and I

get labelled in my seminar groups for speaking up. My friends think I am “too

PC” but I cannot see that, I am merely speaking up for what I think is right.

In a university environment I would expect different, and I will not keep my

mouth shut just because my male friends think they are openminded enough to

stop caring.

From LL

Re: Feminism and Popular Culture: Found this interesting

especially as its the conclusion the Fawcett Society has come to with its new

image. Fawcett closing the inequality gap wo (spaces with the words since

1866) men. The concept is that both genders will get the message and get on

board. Check out

From Amanda Kelly

Catherine Redfern’s piece ‘Ordinary

Ads, Everyday Images‘ was fascinating! I would be very interested to see

images from cities all over the world… how are western women pictured in

asian countries? I work in a museum in Canada which is currently showing an

exhibition on the historic and contemporary representation of girls & young

women in Canada and it addresses many of the same issues Catherine Redfern

touches on. ( Love the

site, keep up the great work!

From Paul Brown

While sympathetic towards some of the points made in the ‘Ordinary

Ads, Everyday Images‘ article, particularly in regard to some of the more

puerile adverts aimed at lowest common denominator men such as those for

Yorkie, Nuts, Zoo, and some package holiday ads, I have to say that i do not

object to the use of models in adverts, even if most people do not resemble


I fully understand why fashion companies, for example, choose to use models

like Kate Moss, Jodie Kidd and Vanessa Paradis in their campaigns. Designers

make their clothes with a specific type of look and image in mind; as creative

people, they are entitled to design their clothes for a specific size and

shape of person. I do not see any sexism, oppression or body fascism in


Genderads, which your article linked to, tries to push a Dworkin-style

radical feminist agenda that would have us believe the entire fashion industry

is a misogynist web of conspiracy, which it isn’t. This is part of the

knee-jerk reaction that attempts to hold Moss, Miller, Kidd et al responsible

for eating disorders and self-harm. This despite the fact that anorexia can be

traced back at least two centuries, and can even be found in tribal societies

in Papua New Guinea. They also single Diesel out as a particularly offensive

compnay for having highly sexualised ads. As Bill Hicks once said, “When did

sex become a bad thing? Did I miss a meeting?” Photographs of clothed women in

sexual poses, done in the way Diesel does them – usually slightly aggressive

women with Sid Vicious-type snarls – are not telling men that women are

passive or there to be abused. I think that many women would enjoy and

appreciate such images, as they speak of female sexuality without perpeutating

the idea of women as victims.

I don’t believe that the role of advertising is to fill our billboards and

magazines with images of everyday people leading everyday lives. There has to

be a place for glamour, style, sexuality and beauty, as aesthetics are an

important part of life.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Catherine responds: I accept that the issue about the appropriate use of

“glamour” / “beauty” / aspirational images in advertising is a slightly

different discussion, if we assume we come from a gender neutral standpoint.

My point was to highlight the different ways in which men and women are shown

in advertising. If men are portrayed in a much wider variety of ways with a

wider variety of roles open to them, but women are only portrayed in this

supposed “aspirational” or glamorous way then this is unfair. The other point

I would argue is that it is only one type of “beauty” that is put forward,

which doesn’t represent people’s individuality and the many different ways in

which people (men and women) are beautiful.

From D Bevan

Re: ‘Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images‘: I do not disagree with your

thesis or observations in the slightest, but would point out that the last of

your reclining women is a well-known art photo (not an advertising image) of

the transexual artist Candy Darling, quoted on the CD cover for Anthony & the

Johnsons’ ‘I am a Bird Now’. The fact that Anthony wears lip-gloss is the

least of his gender-subverting physical gestures, and his work deals with

multiple issues of gender/sexuality in a courageous, brilliant, moving and

musically thrilling way. Of course you may be perfectly well aware of this –

if not I urgently recommend the CD. On the other hand, maybe it re-inforces

your point that when artists ‘play’ with concepts of gender they employ the

same visual trope of the supine woman…

From Jo

Re: ‘Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images‘: Just thought I’d say what a

fascinating article that was. For every trend you highlighted I could think of

more examples of the same – like the one for the trust fund (Jupiter? can’t

remember) showing the new ‘stars’ of the comapny – three white,

thirty-something men. It makes me so angry sometimes, but people often tell me

I’m imagining things. Now, thanks to your excellent article, I’ll be able to

point them towards an articulate response to my worries! As the great Bill

Hicks said: Advertisers, just kill yourselves. Do the world a favour.

From Xbox

Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images‘: How about this… quit

complaining about everything? Please do us a favor and shut the hell up.

From Sarah Walker

Re: ‘Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images‘: Great article about the

imagery which surrounds us. Very interested that older wrinkled women are ok

if they are men in drag. This confirms what I feel every time I put on makeup

– that I’m going into drag – because every image I’ve ever seen in TV or films

of someone looking into a mirror to paint their lips its a man doing it.

From Dr Sasha Rakoff

Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images‘: Excellent article re women

and men on the tube. Writing as the director of OBJECT, an organisation that

has been campaigning for some time over the sexually objectifying manner in

which women are frequently portrayed on the tube and elsewhere, I would like

to say how lucky Catherine was not to see adverts that blatantly sexually

objectified women, on her day out.

Currently Selfridges is, like ‘pimp my lounge’ Virgin, ‘normalising the

pimp’ in their hip-hop emulation : clothed black man on throne, surrounded by

bikinied ‘sex toy’ women. Over the last few months we have seen:

Porn Cum Shot emulations, from the Teenage Cancer Trust, on bus shelters,

complete with 70’s pimp-look alike, ready to smear ‘sun cream’ over

cleavage-shot bikinied girls. The cinema ad (cert 12A) was far more blatant in

its pornographic references.

Lynx – barbie porn dolls twisted in pseudo lesbian gropes to form the words

‘spray more get more’ and Lynx – ‘lesbian’ groping Barbies spelling the words

“Two’s company, three’s better”

Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas bus and tube ads : violent, realistic video

game, with ‘cheats’ issued by the manufacturers allowing gamers to be serviced

by then kill a prostitute (complete with screams for help) and, its later

replacement, access to ‘lesbian’ porn reenactments

Madame Tussauds tube ads: ‘Give your dad an early midlife crisis come see

Britney pole dance’. This is despite Transport for London’s own guidelines

expressly disallowing adverts for pole dancing

All this is despite Transport for London (TFL) having admirably progressive

guidelines regarding the objectification of women and men. Yet TFL’s own staff

seem unaware of the very existence of these guildeines; that they mean TFL

actually pre vets all London Transport ads and has the power to remove them.

TFL’s staff do not seem unaware of their codes when it comes to the

objectification of men, however. Jerry Hall’s ad ‘Kept’, clothed (but sexily

dressed) Jerry holding boxer-shorted men on all fours on leashes. This ad was

pulled from the tube within hours by TFL management as ‘objectifying to


Object routinely challenges the objectifcation of women (as this seems to

escape the attention of TFL management, like seemingly all other decision

makers). Objectification which is increasingly directly aimed at teenagers

and, now, children. For more information, to get involved or to volunteer

contact us at [email protected] /

From william bartley morris

Women shouldn’t be allowed to wear shoes because they shouldn’t be allowed

to go out of the house. Women should cook for men and get beers while we’re

watching football. Women should not be allowed to vote or have any freedom

because they are an inferior race to men. Women are the weaker race and are

only good for being men’s slaves and making babies. FUCK WOMEN!!

From Dr Joan Boost

Re: Subvert the Dominant Pimpiarchy: I subscribe to your

disgust for that small minority of men who are going in for these depraved

sexual aberrations, but I do not exclude from that same disgust all those

mothers (see the trial in Angers in France, where 40 f the rapists and pimps

of their own children were women), grandmothers, sisters, aunties, in short:

women who are in the forefront of selling young girls into brothels and such.

And don’t forget: most brothel runners are women. And don’t forget that,

ibndeec, not all – maybe one third – of the prostitutes are forced into it.

For another third it is a lucrative profession, and the third lot are just

“part-timing” housewives. Don’t always just look to one side. It is that

sexist self-excusing as “professional victims” and the NAZI-like persecution

of all men that has taken away from THAT “feminis” a lot of credibility, and

has contributed to the bad name that the word now has become. True FEMINISM

[in proud and upright letters is not a “matriarchic misandry machine” but an

alliance of Women AND Men for the rescue of human relationship in a

dehumanized world. You, however, seem to have bought your tickets for a voyage

on icebergish self-destruction of womanhood, namely pure “blame everyone but

myself”. That is NOT FEMINISM.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Ah yes, the Nazi-like (oops sorry, “NAZI-like”) persecution of all men by

feminists (sorry, FEMINISTS). Riiiiiiight. Sorry, but anyone who comes out

with a statement like that is hardly worth seriously engaging with. May I

refer to you to Godwin’s Law? Now, I must get on running my patented

“matriarchic misandry machine [TM]”.

From Paul

You talk about feminism, which to me describes many differing causes. I

think you are indeed not a feminist, but an equal-opportunist. Feminism, as it

was originally is now unneeded and the move to equal-opportunism is required.

You talk about

how modern feminism benfits men, but there are some branches of feminism

in the world which would see men as second class citizens, perhaps to ‘make

up’ for the years of patriarchy that our grandparents and older relatives

lived under and as such, it is time to shed the label of fighting for one

particular group and gain the label of fighting for genuine equality to all


Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Dear Paul, It kinda goes without saying that I disagree with you – I am a

feminist and I know hundreds of feminists and I have never met a single one

who thinks that men should be “second class citizens”. If you have any

references or websites which actually promote this view as feminist I would be

very interesting in seeing them. Feminism is the movement against sexism and

against stereotyping people by gender. It is as simple as that. I hope if you

read a lot more of the articles on the website and on the blog this will

become obvious. – Editor

From Suhashini

In response to “Moon

Mammas: fleece menstrual pads“. In the article the author mentions that

Lunapads is a U.S. company. It is in fact a Canadian company.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

Many apologies for the error.

From Fee

Re: Why It’s Time For the Battle of the Sexes to End:

interesting stuff. reflecting on the role of female has changes over the

years. it can be seen directly in the roles men or (bloke culture) which has

changed also. in the medievil age men were civil and gentleman like to females

in corsettees. earning money for the family and home was vital. now females

are strideing out and blokes has some what lost there place as they do not

have nessasery demands concerning the incomeing wage. I think ‘bloke culture’

has wasted time sitting around scratching their balls and picking their nose,

no boundries have been pushed. and although im tired of the remarks the lads

in my class give me about the indirect ‘battle of the sexes’ i still see in

the future a battle brewing till the ‘lagar lads’ take their finger out their

nose, and really think weman are getting to big for their boots. yes the sexes

enjoy the battle of sexes, to which is the most superior and it is boring now.

but i think its down to the mentallity that devides us and no common ground

can be found to see simiralities. the one huge simirality is casual sex. weman

have a great control over birth, and when casual sex takes place it then can

be argued how is most domineering. and the term ‘slut’ can be erazed as birth

control opens the doors to free sex to a certain extent. its a joint agreement

to have a one nights stand, (most of the time.) just about anything goes in a

contempory life and concider anything is there to be experimented with.

From Richard Ford

Re: FHM Music

Channel: You miss the point as feminists so often do. Sex in the city ext

is very dull for men- but so what? That is why God invented the remote. I

would sugest you do the same with this.

From Mary

Re: Sick of

Celebrity: Nicky, i live in the U.S. and don’t know Katie Price. However I

looked her up. one word: TRASH. if she thinks that anyone would be jealous of

her blow up doll facade she is sadly mistaken. i too am tired of all the

attention celebrities garner. it’s exhausting. i refuse to buy fashion mags

anymore if there is a celebritiy gracing it’s cover. i have written countless

letters to vogue and w about this problem. i live in l.a. and honestly, who

gives a shit about these people!! boring. women are increasingly becoming

stepford types. they all look the same!! people like you and i who have

remained true to their god given bodies and faces will become godessess one

day! don’t you worry about. you rock!

From KM House

RE: Is Alcohol Really a Feminist Issue? by Victoria

Dutchman-Smith. Loved it!!. Thanks very much for an aricle in the wry and

factual tradition of British writing. Would that there were more like this in

the squishy world of American journalism.

From p.todd

just found your rolling stones article while googling for something else –

enjoyed it. Not sure if anyone else has pointed this out, but there IS a

version of Under My Thumb sung by a woman. Don’t know who the artist was but

it was sometime early 80s – I actually heard it before the Stones version (I

find the stones version more campy than offensive personally, maybe that’s

why). Great article anyway.

From Liz Howard

Re: Pictures are Not Everything by Ellery: This is a very

emotional subject, whether you’re pro- or anti-abortion. I believe that

abortion services should be easier to access but that the upper time limit

should be cut. Contraception and the morning after pill should be more widely

availble but like the author stated, everyone needs to be aware of the

consequences of their actions. Abortion shouldn’t be a quick fix alternative

because you forgot your condoms.

From nidhin raj

I am an indian by nationality and is 24 years old.I have read your comments

on “The harry potter and the order of the phoenix“. They were

good to read(not as much as harry potter books,anyway). Instead of singling

out charecters and situations from the book and reacting to them, appreciating

the whole fantasy world created JKR is much more easier(Though i tend to agree

with you in many occasions,the feminist thing i mean). I really feel your

prespective is a little narrow though we indians ,asians as a whole are

belived to have a strict and narrow perspective than you folks(westerners).To

put it in simple words “You are missing the forest for the trees”. NB:Congrats

and well wishes for your weeding.

From Nina

Re: Contraception and Control: Teenage Rights: Just to say ,

i’m another british teenager and i totally agree with u.

From Mary Dysko

Re: Contraception and Control: Teenage Rights: Women – teenage

or otherwise – deserve better than flooding their body with patented

artificial abortifacient hormones in order to be available to some guy who

would get them pregnant for his own pleasure. They wouldn’t do it to


From N. Modi

Re: Attention

Seeker: Took the words right out of my mouth.

From Adi Tantimedh

Regarding Jess McCabe’s insightful and astute review of THE DESCENT: I felt

Jess was a bit too lenient on the film. I didn’t find the film ambiguous or

ambivalent at all. In this “post-feminist” era when it’s well established that

women can be every bit as vicious and disloyal as men, I think the film is

pretty blatantly anti-feminist.

From Jo

Re: Page 3: Ban

It! i think pg 7 fella is a good idea bring it back!im currently a student

in my third year at uni (dissertation year) and my dissertation is about

feminism and society’s social hierarchy. I found the article interesting and


From Wendy

Did you see that a brothel for women is opening in Nevada? (I think near

Las Vegas.) I’m not a big fan of prostitution, but I’m glad at least one

exists, just for equality….

From Andrew B?

Re Smug Intentions: Richard and Judy on Chivalry: While I

readily concede to the notion of how dreary all these beer soaked delusions of

knightly chivalry can be it nevertheless would be needlessly crass to ignore

good manners, least of all over-reading the process of another opening a door

for you. Presumptions alter perceptions. This can create dangerous principles.

Because one male opens a door for a female does not presuppose they do not for

other males. However, dullish winking and molly coddling clearly does. Again

this is only assuming that there is no other medical condition present which

would account for this other than their penis.

I am reminded of the mantra that one should always grateful that a door has

been open for you rather than it being slammed in ones face. This principal

applies to both genders, literally and preverbal. I am also reminded that

having several doors slammed in my face over the years can be extremely

painful, though this is a more literal point than one with any real preverbal


To takes Holly?s premise to its not unreasonable conclusions then anyone

still subscribing to the governance of nonsense medieval principles in society

really should be ridiculed for being nothing less than repressively

antediluvian. However in doing so this regrettably creates a whole paradigm

about our equally ineffective medieval legal and politic systems. Although, it

is worth making mention that success in this respects has less to do with

doors opening and much more to do with greasy polls. In this instance the

greasy poll is a preverbal point rather than a literal one. Conversely

depending on where a person happens to have been schooled a greasy pole may

act as a chief factor towards ones own legal and political achievements.

Personally I shall continue to open doors – by whatever merit – for those

who need to have a door open for them, without malice or supposed superiority

of gender, neither with intention or condescendence. I shall also avoid at all

cost watching prime time shows to get annoyed by.

From Layla

Re: Not My Cup of T: Slogans on Women’s T-Shirts: Why would you

want T-shirts to be printed with the word ‘Bitch’? I don’t see how that would

be a good thing for someone to call you or for you to call yourself.

From Vicky

I enjoyed your article [Stand Up For Equality], I am a comic script writer, artist

(only in the eyes of my lecturers) and a musician. I am not trying to be

egotistical, I just wanted to say I have been very interested in doing stand

up for a while now but I didn’t have the guts. Then…I saw a terrible,

TERRIBLE woman at the comedy store, and oh did I gain my vehement guts. So if

you have any advice, or you know, material, please help! It’s going to be a

bumpy one. ps-You should do stand up, you’re funny…and I like you :)

From Jimbo Jones

you are a fool. the film [Sin City] is a based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller.

The costumes and characters are very close to those in the books. If you have

a problem do some research and complain about Miller not the filmmakers

From Jess

In response to the article about choosing not to get married [Are You

Married? If Not, Why Not?], it is incredibly difficult and takes a lot of

guts to resist the pressure. My partner and I have been together for over

eight years and his family in particular continually pester us about getting

married. It’s hard to answer without sounding rude, especially when it’s the

1000th time they’ve asked. It’s also difficult to go to the weddings of

friends whose relationships are much newer and less secure than ours, but who

consider themselves superior because they are married. Gritting your teeth

during the wedding service when the vicar talks about how marriage is

necessary for true love and how only married people are committed to each

other through thick and thin – very difficult to hear when you’re not married

but have been there for each other in sickness and in health, for richer, for

poorer. Sometimes I think it would just be easier to give in to the pressure

and have everyone stop bothering us – and I do worry about the legal

implications if one of us was to die or to become seriously ill. But then I

realise that in order for us to change the system, we must all resist the

pressure and show that some of the most committed, loving, and serious

relationships don’t need a piece of paper, or the permission of the state and

religious authorities, to prove their worth.