Comments from January 2006

From Luna


Just Not That Into You: I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved

this article!!! You have so eloquently pin-pointed certain things out that I

have always felt in my life! I somehow felt that I was being ‘overly

judgemental’ or ‘feminist’ and sometimes used to feel giulty about having a

difference in opinions with most people esp. various authors. But it gives me

a great sense of satisfaction that I’m not the only one who feels so. Infact

its not wrong to think like that, but it certainly is wrong to suppress what I

feel is right! Thanks a ton for this wonderful article! I has touched me deep

down.. I think I can help untangle various tangled thought patterns of various

women with this insight now.. Again, I would like to acknowledge and

appreciate your initiative to broaden the outlook of various women and to

increase awareness in their ‘conditioned’ life and attitude. Bless you!

From Maria

Re: He’s Just Not That Into You: fabulous! it took me a bit to

realize that projecting my needs onto potential objects of desire is just as

dehumanizing as well… turning them into objects! as Eugenides?narrator in

Middlesex explains, hermaphorides are the future– why hold on to these roles?

why not get under, into, over them through hard looks, honesty, risk? “life is

a nest from which we are always falling” said Emily Dickinson– let?s be real,

fall and fly.

From DR





From Charlotte Revely

Re the images in advertising article [Ordinary

Ads, Everyday Images] which was a fascinating snap analysis of the

constant pressure on women to behave in a certain way and to look a certain

way. Another interesting exercise is to count the number of images of men to

women in newspapers and other publications. I have done this on random days

over the past few years and included by-line pics, adverts etc. Even if you

include demeaning images advertising chat lines and page 3 images you will

routinely find that the ratio of male to female images ranges between 80:20 to

60:40 with the only exceptions being porn mags and women’s mags. This is

before you even start to analyse the type of portrayal of women. This must

have an effect on people’s psyche in terms of who is important and what their

roles are. I don’t know what the answer is but I think portrayal has got to be

one of the ways we encourage girls and women to value themselves and claim

their real place in society.

From Laura I

I found the article “Ordinary

ads, everyday images” very interesting. I have one comment to add to the

observation of how East Asian women are portrayed. I am British but I live in

Japan with my Japanese husband. The way that women are presented here is even

more extreme and sexualised than in Britain. Young girls, and especially those

wearing school uniforms are fetishized here. The way woman are used to sell

products is quite shocking. I recall one ad for a flat screen TV which had a

woman made up as a cat on all fours in front of the product. I think that any

East Asian women living in Britain would probably feel the British ad industry

is very respectful in it’s portrayal of women compared to her own country!

From Rachel Bell

In response to the comment from Joel regarding my article, Subvert the Dominant Pimpiarchy, I do not address the

question of whether prostitution should be legalized because my chosen theme

was the glamourization of the ‘pimp’ in popular culture. If I were to address

the issue of prostitution, I would refer you to the writing of Julie Bindel,

who will explain to you why prostitution is a form of male violence against

women, how pimps merely operate legally under the name of ‘managers’ in places

such as Amsterdam, where prostitution is legal and the need for prostitutes to

be seen as what the majority are, victims of abuse who need rehabilitaion and

help to move out of a life in which coercion, beatings and contracting STDs

are daily hazards. Most prostitutes are children who have been trafficked,

crack and heroin addicts who need help and women who would not choose a ‘job’

that is so stigmatised and risky. They do not lead lives like Julia Roberts’

character in Pretty Woman. If you encounter one that does, she is far from


From Green Fairy

Just finished writing a similarly disappointed post about the Observer’s

new magazine for women when I came across yours. All that they could have done with such

a format and they’ve turned it into a watery version of Cosmopolitan.


From Stella Sims

In response to your blog about the Observer Women’s Monthly — you took the words out of my

mouth!! Well, out of my blog actually because I also happened to moan about it

on my blog (! What a disappointment it was!!

I really expected more from The Observer than shopping guides and a couple of

very irritating articles written by men who just seemed determined to wind us


From Kitty

In response to an article by Nicky Raynor, entitled ‘Sick of

Celebrity‘, I am delighted to say I whole-heartedly agree. The article is

well written, entertaining and witty – it certainly raised a chuckle. This

particular article put into words my exact sentiments about magazines such as

‘Hello’ and ‘OK’ – the typical women’s glossy. In a culture like ours, you

would have thought more women would find the standards of celebrity iconism

disgraceful. Instead, it is an accepted part of day-to-day life. How this is

possible I do not know, and I can faithfully say that this fantasic article

really inspired me!

From reformist muslim

Just wanted to say that Jess’ blog post on political correctness was very well written.

I’ve posted a similar comment on my own blog and have also looked at Anthony

Browne’s views on Islam which put his quest to establish ‘reason’ and ‘truth’

into context.

From Liz Sleaford

Re: The Ethics of Sex Toys: I’m not sure that I can describe

myself as a feminist, but as a straight sexually active woman, I got sick to

death of buying sex toys on web sites with women with their legs open and

products descriptions that were in no way honest and descriptive but lewd and

pointless. So in response to this I have set up my own web site. I product

test all my products so I can give an honest description on the quality of the

product and there are no open legged women. I also aim to sell much more than

sex toys, I have branched out into bath products and jewellery. It is my goal

to provide a one stop quality shop with products aimed at making women feel

good about themselves. It’s early days but I really believe I have something

to offer women like myself that want good quality products at good prices

without all the male dominated marketing that usually comes with it.

From Helen C

Thank you for such an inspiring website. I am so pleased that I have found

a British website that is as passionate about feminism as I am. This site is

so excellent! Thank you so much.

From Nanny

goodness me, it is only an advert. I myself think the “it’s not for girls” rather funny, even if I am a girl. Some

things in life are not there to be taken all that seriously. Where is your

sense of humour?

From Angela Church

In respect of women’s magazines [Diet Grrrl: Feminsm and Women’s Magazines] – personally I

think you missed the point. I’m a feminist from way back – I’m Canadian – from

Nova Scotia. I scored 100 on the Soc test at uni concerning gender studies –

and intend to complete my degree with a major in sociology. AND I happen to be

slim (like my dad) and I’m also very pretty. Some girls are like that – some

are not. It’s about accepting who you are – I’m not going to feel guilty about

my looks and you can’t make me!! Try focusing on the gossip crap in these

women’s magazines – perpetuating the myth that women can’t get along – the

cattiness and the putdowns – that’s what needs to be conquered. I find it

worse in English/Kiwi/Australian magazines to be honest – North American women

are much more enlightened in general. Do you find men complaining about good

looking men? Hell no. Leave the jealousy out of the equation. Can’t you see,

it’s a divide and conquer situation – working mom’s vs. stay at home mom, etc,

etc and stop the backstabbing, then move on.

From Alexandra Freeman

I found E Beeza’s article Lament For Sisterhood very helpful – I am leading a

discussion at a womens group this week about the subject of how women

denegrate each other in a way that men don’t, and I’ve been encouraged to find

someone that agrees with my instincts on this issue. Thanks.

From Jeff Jones

Catherine Redfern’s Feminists are Sexist is right on. And I would remind

Catherine that many if not most men find our culture of machismo and alpha

male domination extremely tiring. Male dominance is practiced by fewer people

than one might think. But they are invariably in positions of power, which

they exercise indiscriminately. Like bullies everywhere, these men exaggerate

the ‘threat” of equality with women (it can’t be done; it’s too complicated;

it would take away everything men have, etc, etc). And like bullies, they look

for the weakest example of a threat to their supremacy and try and squash it


Ordinary Ads, Everyday Images depicts the long term effects

of monopoly ownership of our media. Over the past 40 years, the concentration

of media ownership has become tighter and tighter. This permits advertisers

(who are the only “clients” of media) to have more and more control over what

images and messages are portrayed. If media outlets were owned by hundreds of

different owners, we would likely see much more diversity in these images and

messages. The corporate message however has become very static. Which is

materialistic and sexist. We are truly seeing the “dumbing down” of an entire

culture. Very distressing. Keep up the great writing!!!

From Lucy Wardf

I found the article on advertising and gender very interesting and it seemed to

confirm and distill all the ideas and anger I have about the adverts we are

presented with today. There is so much to address within the media; females as

weak, submissive, stereotypically attractive/sexy individuals are widespread

throughout television, magazines, newspapers, advertisements….. the list

goes on. Thankyou for such a great article.

I would also like to say that as a 17 year old girl, I hate that many girls

my age are scared of being branded ‘feminists’ if they speak out against

controversial issues in school. The will for equality is something to be proud

of, not shameful of.

From Simon Littlewood

re: Billboard stereotypes. Catherine isn’t gender fun? Are we

aiming for a world of homogeneity? By all means lets remove ugly billboards,

but why on earth would we want to treat everyone the same way regardless of

sex? Talk me through it.

re: Eminem’s homophobia [The Eminem Defence]: Have you considered that one effect of

politically correct language is that we lack a means to say what we actually

think? Excessive verbal sensitivity might be good manners but it might also be

hypocrisy. Artists like Eminem are using thoughts and words that are in

people’s heads everywhere – maybe changing the way people think can be better

accomplished by his reporting (ironic or not) than by mutilating language?

From Tara

i have been using washable pads for a while now. the best ones i have found

are from they areawesome. i tried using a diva cup, but i

found that it wasnt comfortable and if you dont “break the seal” before trying

to remove it, it really hurts.

From Denise

Re. Kate O’Beirne’s book [Blog post: Interview with an anti-feminist]: What is it

with women who slag off feminism? Do they have a deranged idea of what it’s

about (to my mind equal social, economic, educational, political etc rights?

Simple enough, surely!)? Another woman named Kathleen Parker is apparently

writing a book called “Save the Males”. How can anyone look at the way the

world is today, note the overwhelmingly male composition of governments,

international organisations, the professions, the statistics which prove

gender bias, the way women are still disadvantaged, if not persecuted, in so

many countries, and think it’s males who need to be saved?!

What enrages me most about Kate O’Beirne and her ilk is that they have no

respect. They owe their education, their careers, all the rights they so take

for granted – their very existence! – to feminism. If I’d been some feminist

at the start of the last century, fighting for the vote, going on demos,

risking assault by the police and force-feeding in prison and I’d known the

likes of Kate O’Beirne were going to happen, I think I’d have stopped

bothering and gone home. I regret to say that any sexism I’ve encountered in

my life has come from other women. Women who make the world worse are the

likes of Kate O’Beirne.

From Lepis

why females likes to do the sex more then the males? [comment apparently in

response to Dysfunctional Moi? The Myth of Female Sexual


From billy bunter

get your tits out for the lads!!!!!!!!!!!!! shut it you know u love cock

From Jen Miller

Enjoyed Laura Carr’s article, ‘Why Men Suck…And the Women Who Have To‘ but thought her

optimism for ‘western men’ was misguided. Men are more than happy to engage in

sexual practices that commodify and degrade women in good old Blighty,not just

Cambodia, just less obviously. I work with women engaged in prostitution and

the men (punters) I meet are from all walks of life, ranging from young male

students to the wealthy (one with a Rangerover full of pheasants shot that

day, presumably the girl adds to the catch) and not so wealthy older men. The

burgeoning of strip and pole dancing clubs as well as overtly sexist men’s

weeklies, ‘sexy girls for the cost of less than half a pint’ means that the

sexual exploitation of women has become normalised. Not only normalised but

done so without dissent.

From Caron

I was happily content with reading Grazia magazine,

taking some of the articles and advice with a pinch of salt. Indeed, looking

at fashion and interviews whittles away the time when my train is, as usual,

delayed. However, one article this week made my jaw drop with disbelief. Five

women on a ‘skinny jeans diet’. All felt that were too fat to wear skinny

jeans. All where a size 12 when they started. One was now a size 8 but felt

she should be a size 6 ?because Victoria Beckham is? (that?s a whole new

debate!). The magazine then gave information on how the women achieved their

new weights and invited readers to comment on what they thought of it. I am

horrified they would make women feel this way! Most women in the UK are a size

14 or over. I felt the underlying message from the mag was that they should

not wear some of the clothes they want without consideration / dieting first.

That even a size 12 is too ?fat? these days. I am size 12 and literally now

won’t wear my skinny jeans after this article. Where I previously felt fine I

now am very self-conscious and v confused. How dare a magazine which promotes

female independence make women feel this way?

From Lee

Re: Review of

Grazia Magazine: I love this peice, im currently studying media studies

and at the moment concentrating on magazine and gender issues and

representation. I totally agree with all the things covered and feel the same

way. It has also been a great help to me, thanks very much.

From pol ajenjo

Re: This Is

Rockbitch: I’ve just seen the documentary about Rockbitch in the tv, end I

entered in the web to find their page and try to contact them to tell them how

healthy and subversive their project seems to be, in this controlling and

cynical system we are living in. About the article, I must say that maybe the

subject is not “shocking” like Marylin Manson, but find something new in old

underground lines of the occidental culture that may be useful to return to

essential meanings. That’s, maybe, what you can “make of Rockbitch”

From Hayley Grant

Re: Are you married? If not, why not? I think most of those

points raised about getting married are awful. You are so far beyond ignorant

it is untrue! I am getting married, but I also know people that do not want to

get married. It doesn’t bother me that these people never want to get married,

its their choice, but I would expect the same respect from them about my

choice to get married. I don’t think I am better than the women who don’t, and

I don’t think my relationship is stronger because we are getting married. I do

however think that marriage has changed, I think you are wrong about it being

old fashioned, I will never obey my partner and I will never be owned by him,

I am an independant young woman, with my own life. I would never look down my

nose at unmarried couples, if they wish to remain unmarried then good for

them, but if people want to marry then good for them too! What gives you the

right to tell women what they should and shouldn’t do, we all have our own

minds and can decide for ourselves what we want to do in our lives. Personally

I can’t wait to get married, I am taking his name, there was never any

question about that, and when we have children they will have his surname! Its

not about him owning me!!!!!!!

From Phoebe

Re: Reclaim the night. Whilst I fully support it, I’m somewhat

disappointed that in the various reports I’ve read of the reclaim the night

marches, noone’s mentioned the attacks of trans women that have occurred on

the marches. I personally know 2 trans women (both survivors of violent

attacks by men) who had stones thrown at them and were challenged for joining

one of the reclaim the night marches. Whilst I absolutely support the aims of

reclaim the night, it seems a bit off for these issues to not have been

brought up anywhere.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word, replies

It’s awful if such things have happened in the past and my sympathies go

out to anyone who has been abused during a march. I do understand and

appreciate your suggestion. However, this article was specifically a report

about London’s 2005 march, as opposed to an article about the Reclaim the

Night phenomenon generally. If anyone wanted to submit an article along these

lines, I’d definitely consider it. Hope this makes sense. Editor

From Todd Richard

I would like to mention another natural

deodorant for your list at the end of “Natural Deodorants” by Kary

Saegart. It is called Crystal Rock. I have to mention as well, excellent

article, I found it informative and useful as a small part of my switch to an

organic lifestyle. There is just so much to be known and not enough


From Joanne Helperin

Re: Driven

to Distraction: Amen, sister! That’s why your colleagues in the U.S and

Australia are also working to dispell such idiodic preconceptions. Check out:,, and for like-minded women.

From Jason

Hi, Look I have read thru your articles, and being a man, I love women,

however I think you should already have realised that men are the way they are

because that is the way it is. Some men are better and worse than others ,

just as women are. Men like pornography on a whole, because we are more

visually responsive to stimuli. Men are more promiscuous because nature tells

them to compete for as many mates as possible, so that nature gets the

strongest offspring.

I am a Buddhist (non religous) so believe in the balance of nature, men and

women are different and complimentary (Yin and Yang). But in reality the only

thing men want from women is sex (to propigate the species) and the only thing

women want from men is money (to protect and support the offspring). Its

primordal and we are hard wired this way. its the basic driving force to


The problem that women have is you want to change the way men are hard

wired to think (not by society but by nature) and you are seeking to impose

your beliefs on others, same as religions, governments around the globe etc

all try to do. You cannot change peoples ideas. If for example I only saw

women as “Glod diggers”, if I blatantly refuse to change my stance what are

you going to do….kill me….there is nothing you can do, you can only

control your own destiny, belief and ideaology, not others?

As for prostitution, i cannot ever see that being eliminated. The main

reason women are against it is because it disempowers them. If a man can get a

hooker he does not need them, they are less attractive to them, too much

hassle etc. (note most men using prostitutes are already jilted, so they dont

seek a “normal” relationship…who the hell are you to tell someone else what

is normal or right for them). If we dont want u what are u all going to do, u

cannot rape us, we might all turn gay for the sexual companionship we require.

What then.

Basically I think you are fighting nature, DNA, instincts etc rather than

society. So u have no chance of winning that. I say Black u say White. How are

u gonna change my point of view. Myself I am happily married, and have been

for 17 years. My wife is Asian, I met her here in Australia, she is 14 years

OLDER than me. thats right OLDER, see so everyone is different, I guess I

break your styreo-typical view of interracial marriage. I am saying just be a

realist and a feminist, nothing wrong with being either, but be it for

yourself and not to others. Your way is only ever right for you and then only

for each instance in time. Thanks for your time anyway.