Comments from May 2006

From Neil Cahill

I have a comment concerning the article “why men suck – and the women who have to“. If it is true that western men exploit the situation in Cambodia by virtue of them having more money and therefore being a prime target of prostitutes, one way to combat that is to devalue the commodity of sex in the west. It seems to me that feminists should have an interest in sex being valuable. It means men are there offering their services. Some might use the argument that feminist opposition to prostitution is generally a selfish attempt to protect one’s sexual asset. On the other hand, men do have physiological assets, namely being generally taller and stronger than women. By devaluing woman’s prime asset, we might be grossly shortchanging them. So I do appreciate the attempt

that the author is making of setting a moral mandate for western men, but I don’t believe enough context was provided, and for me it came across as being one-sided. The context to this issue is that devaluing sex leaves women generally disadvantaged in society.

From tom klauus

Re: Why Men Suck: And the Women Who Have To: all very interesting, but REALLY is it news ?? this has been happening for centuries..humans will be humans..sad but true

From Eva

Re: Sex and the Married Girl: a girl is someone who is 12 years old. when you begin menstruation, i was always told, then you have become a “woman”. “Married Girls”? what is wrong with the author of this book? Afraid to use the word “woman” to describe what we are? Girls don’t get married. Grown up women do. Girls get married in play fantasy, with their barbie dolls, playing “house” with the neighbourhood

kids. the review of this book just brings to mind the fantasies of adolescent geeky “males” for the “perfect girl”…she likes porn, she has GRRRREATTT self-esteem, etc, etc, blah blah blah.

good website, Women!

From Jessy

Re: Sick of Celebrity: I’m 18 years old and I usually read and watch documentaries about celebrities, I accidently read this article and I thought it was quite interesting and decided to read it till the end, which was a greatr choice since it changed my mind about celebrities. They are not the greatest human beings and yet they are on every magazine and TV channels making their millions while there are plenty of people making a big difference to this world doing extraordinary things and yet they don’t get recognise by their good acts. I must say more people should start reading Nickys article.


Re: Diet Grrrl: An example: Yes, oh yes, they so needed to hear that! Thank you so so much to whoever wrote the complaint. I don’t read glossy mags bu recently studied 3 copies of more! for sociology coursework, and was amazed at the total lack of brains. I read New Scientist ^^ lol. Anyway, nice one! I think we should all have a go at writing in, personally.

From Nicholas

i am a 16 year old heterosexual male, but i don’t think that matters. Recently i have took great interest in the feminist movement, but because of my gender i don’t know how i could possibly get involved. I am passionately against prejudice of any kind, and as i prefer a more feminist outlook on life to the masculinity that loutishly rules, I have grown attached to wanting to take part in the feminist movement and was wandering whether i could do so. Across the country women are raped every day and as the law seems to do nothing to bring these people to justice, i feel i need to do something about the issue.

I myself knowing two close female friends having been raped, these were but children at the ages of 11 and 13, no justice was brought to them, and they still suffer psychologically from their ordeals. We live in an age where men see women as but sex objects and i see this as criminal, i want to change this.

From Helen Browne

Re: Helen Reves “Make me Perfect“. I agree with this wholeheartedly- I too was shocked by this shallowness,especially being validated by a psychotherapist, who should be ashamed to be connected with this false claim of perfection, in a world already too obsessed by looks. As a training psychotherapist, I would never advocate surgery to improve self esteem, which comes from inside, and is likely to continue to plague the person even after the transformation to apparent perfection. In my opinion, this could be far more damaging, as the person who has been “improved” will still have a lack of self esteem that has not been properly addressed, and may feel even more of a failure as they still won’t feel “perfect”. It’s time that programme makers were encouraged to become more socially responsible, and stopped such negative influences on their viewers.

In reponse to Rachel Bell’s Challenging the “Sex Sells” cliche. I am a member of Object, and urge those of you who are angered by things such as lads rags

but just tut and sigh, to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!It makes a difference, and it makes you feel so much better. I do not believe women will ever be treated as equals by men whilst we are still pictured as objects in our media, just as black people felt they were discriminated against and treated as second class- it took Government intervention to protect them from the influence of the media on public perceptions. Crimes against women and girls increase every year, as does the low self esteem of the female population in our culture. So please ladies (and those men who are confident enough to accept women as equal), DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Inactivity changes nothing- if you want things to change, write to your MP, complain in your local newsagents, supermarkets, petrol stations etc. If the government think we don’t really mind, then nothing will change, and the “pornification” of our society will continue unchallenged.

From Elizabeth

Re: Challenging the Sex Sells Cliche: I object to Lads magazines being on sale, as they undermine the integrity of females who sell them behind the counter. However, I cannot agree with some of the other points. I think that some women knowingly choose to conform to the sexual idealisation of women in so called Lads magazines. My wearing next to nothing when they go out at night, wearing short skirts and high heels, are these women not to be considered just as bad, as the men who choose to buy the lads magazines, as the women who choose to be photographed for such magazines. The sexual objectification of women is everywhere. But women can be just as responsible as certain men for encouraging this.

From Denise Ryan

Re: Review of the “Opal Mehta” novel. I think it is a pity that this book was reviewed at all, especially given the fact that the publishers have now withdrawn it from sale after the author was found guilty of plagiarism. The reviewer, amazingly, does not seem to be aware of this. No wonder she found the novel “unsatisfying”. Books which contain passages plundered from other authors works are usually exactly that!

From Sarah

I agreed with the general point of Sheryl Plant’s ‘Mr Darcy‘ article, but she shows a complete misunderstanding of the character. Contrary to Elizabeth Bennet’s (and the reader’s) inital view of him (prejudice!), Mr Darcy turns out to be a kind, compassionate, respectful man, who genuinely admires and appreciates her.

The character in Pride and Prejudice who is described as: “exercising power over women, using and controlling women to his (usually sexual) advantage. In all walks of life such men exist; he is usually the town womaniser or ‘badboy’, picking up and dropping women whenever he likes…” is in fact Mr Wickham, who Austen very clearly paints as the villain. Also there’s Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility, Henry Crawford from Mansfield Park etc. I love the idea of using examples from Austen’s novels to illustrate your point – in fact I do it all the time – but if you do it, please get it right!

From Pip

Re: Oh, Mr Darcy!: The whole point about the book is that Elizabeth Bennett is attarcted to Darcy because of his innate character, not because she likes the way he looks. Once she gets past her blind prejudice, she realises that he has many good qualities that she can appreciate and respect. She in no way chooses him because of a ‘passionate

attraction’ – the whole point about the novel is that is what Mr & Mrs Bennett do and what Lydia and Wickham do – and all are destined to be unhappy. She choose him because she sincerely loves him, over time. In turn, he loves her not because of her traditional ‘sex appeal’ (she is

generally agreed not to be classically pretty and is always doing ‘unfeminine’ things like tramping about in the mud) but because she talks back to him, challenges him and so he can respect her. Where is the evidence that he is a womaniser? Or violent? Or brutal? Or conquering? When Elizabeth rejects his proposal, he accepts her words, walks away and then reconsiders his whole self in the light of them. He is very rude, yes, but Elizabeth gives as good as she gets and proves him wrong by rationality.

As for your other examples – Rhett Buther: more power and class that Scarlett? Er, no certainly not at the beginning and arguably not when the marry. Seemingly unattainable? Hell no, he’s after Scarlett from the beginning. Not that I would say Rhett is a romantic ideal by any means, but it shows very poor research. There is a great article to be written here but by trying to twist the sources to suit your facts, you haven’t managed it. Wuthering Heights is a great

example of this trend – I have always been astonished to find people describing it as a ‘love story’ when it is a fascinating study of damaged people in abusive relationships. I usually love the f-word but this is one of the least accurate articles I have ever read.

From Elly B

Re: Lament For Sisterhood: You are right regarding the fact that there is no sisterhood for women. Sorry to use this example, but just look at Big Brother…the guys are all completely different, but have nevertheless bonded, but all the girls can ever do is compete with each other and bitch about each other. I think this is true of society in general.

From Greg

I am the type of guy that loves kindness and fairness to everybody. But I disagree with this article [Why Irma Kurtz is Wrong About Rape]. While Irma might have said things differently, the letter makes it pretty clear that this is far from what can be considered egregious rape. You mean to say that every time a girl is tired and doesn’t move the guy should KNOW instantly whether or not he is “raping” her by

entering her. (Actually, it would be much smarter to have foreplay first, so the guy’s an idiot if he thinks he is making the night “special”, but he is not guilty of rape.)

My point is, it would be going way too far to accuse a well-meaning guy of “rape” because his girlfriend was face down and motionless. Rape is when someone says no, indicates no, or is unable to do so because they are forced to be quiet without prior consent. Rape is not the absence of “yes”. That absence is just unfortunate stupidity on both sides. So I think the word

unfortunate is right.

Finally, I heard of a guy recently filing a rape case against a woman who gave him a “blow job” while he was asleep. Since he did not have the ability to say no, he alleged that was rape. You then would have to agree, it goes both ways.

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word replies

I disagree: sex without consent is rape. It is as simple as that, and it is obvious in this case that consent was not sought or obtained. It is both participants’ responsibilty to ensure that sex is consented to before going ahead. No partner should “assume” that comatose silence implies consent; it could also mean fear or several other things. Finally, on the example you give of a man who was apparently violated against his will, I don’t know how the legal definition of rape applies (e.g. whether the legal definition involves penetration) but in any case, I agree that if the woman did not have consent (or knew him well enough to know for certain that he would consent to the act) then it was wrong. I don’t see any hypocrisy here, which you seem to be suggesting. – Catherine


Re: Why Irma Kurtz is Wrong About Rape: hey catherine..that was it! really! u raised all the pertinent questions relating to the problems women have to face in society..its really sad that even women write stuff like that..while readin ur article i was just hopin that the writer is a man..u rarely find men who think this doin eng(hons) from delhi university..i would love to get in touch with u .. people

around me r totally different i.e. male chauvinist pigs..may be what we today is a small step but atleast its a step the end i jus want to say BRAVO!!.. take care… ciao

From Mariah VH

Re: Review of The Vagina Monologues: I think this is the dummest thing i have ever seen! A vagina monologue! What the heck! You people need to get a life!

From Andrew

Hi, Just want to say a big thank you for your article “Ordinary Ads, Everyday images” I am a mature photographic student and in my first year. I am righting

an essay on how gender is portrayed in everyday images. I have found your article really helpful. In fact I quirkily went around Hull were I live and took snaps of the images here and just analysing them at the moment with a semiotic analysis as well as more general but the finding are so similar to yours. I just hope I can learn from this and not fall into a trap with my own

work. The essay is dew in next week so better get back to it :-) just want to say Thanks and a web site I have bookmarked as its rise interested issues that I may not have taken on board before.

From Paula

Response to ‘Keeping It Real‘ and ‘Responses to Bloody Disgrace‘.

a: Quite right, missmogga theunpopular, I certainly won’t be holding my breath on the free tampons – and quite frankly, they can stick ’em…

b: …What we want is free Mooncups! And, of course, loads more info about them. I was converted just over a year ago, after more than 25 years of having to buy loads of the largest tampons I could find, nearly every month. IF ONLY I had discovered it earlier, I swear, it’s just fantastic, a total revolution for me.

As Laura V says, you don’t have to flaunt your clots to anyone who happens to be washing their hands at the time (or queues of already embarrassed women in work/ clubs/ airports, etc,) – just make sure you’ve got enough clean tissue with you to wipe the cup and your hands, and then wash everything properly once you get the chance. It’s the same as remember your tampons/ towels, your fags, your money, your phone – it’s not that complicated. Anyway, I’ve always had to wipe myself down quite a bit before I ventured out in to the wash-basin area, cos I always bleed so much. One thing, for others with heavy periods, it’s worth taking pads with you too – I do and always had to even when using tampons. Oh, and make sure you got the right size Mooncup, as there’s one for women who’ve not given birth, one for those who have.

Just do it.

From Nikki

In response to Keeping It Real – I just ordered my own DivaCup, and it’s my first try with alternative menstruation products. The package was so cute, and the little purple drawstring so adorable that I just had to show my husband. This grown man, whom I dearly love, reacted in disgust, “Don’t show me that!”My first initial response was to be ashamed of myself for sharing such a dirty, dirty secret. But after having read this article that very day, I thought about it, and responded with, “Well, I don’t complain when I lick your

hairy balls and you don’t find that disgusting. What’s wrong with a purple drawstring package?

It promptly shut him up. For further measure, I left it on the kitchen table, without one further complaint heard. I guess it goes to show how little we understand of the biases that we have

been brainwashed with that have no basis in reason. Thanks for giving me the inspiration and audacity to challenge them!

From Ben Marshall

Dear zoo, I am a yearly subscriber and have collected and kept all issues up to last week i love your magazine so much i have even protected issue 1 in the hope it will be worth something in the future. This evening i was horrified to find that my whole collection had been bagged up and recycled by my girlfriend i am turning to my trusty weekly magazine for help, can you?

From Cindy

Re: Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery: wow.. that was a really good article. I love the way you presented things, personally (i’m almost 17), as a young person, I don’t think that 16 year olds should be getting plastic surgery, and I think that plastic surgery is not the answer. The answer is women learning to accept their bodies. With celebrities, stereotypically the “beautiful people”, not being happy with their bodies, it puts more pressure on society to also want to look good. And thats another

problem in society, “looking good”, because everyone is beautiful, but no-one thinks they are, there is always something wrong in their minds. I think in future years it will grow to be a disease, a mental disease like depression.

From Kate

Hi. I know it’s annoying when German companies can translate ‘Frau’ as Mrs, but I think it might be a fault in translation rather than an assumption that a married title is the best form of address for all women. In Germany all women are now generally addresses as ‘Frau’, which traditionally suggested married status, but I think it’s worth considering that the German word for woman is also ‘Frau’. The word that corresponds to the English ‘Miss’, Fräulein, can seem rather insulting and patronising today as it is a diminutive form and is usually used only when referring to young girls.

From Lucy

Just wanted to see how much I loved the article on “creating a woman’s magazine in 5 minutes” – brilliant! I’ve been researching women’s magazines for a writing project and your article is deadly accurate and very, very funny. (Sounds like a “Letter to the Editor”, doen’t it?) I’d heard of this site before but this was my first visit – I’ll certainly be back.

From Jack Mitchell

I came across your article today and it caught my attention. Mainly because I’d never seen anything disliking Sin City before, then again, I’ve never really sought it out. I read your article and it was very well written, however I must say I don’t agree with the sentiment. You say you went to the cinema knowing that it was going to be film portrayal of a comic book, I’ve read the Frank Miller books and I can tell you there was only a fraction of T&A in the film than there was in the comics. They really toned it down. I don’t go to cinemas to look at women’s bodies, but it didn’t bother me because what I went to the cinema for was to see the comics I had read up on the big screen. And they were copied very faithfully. Miho is amazingly cool, whether or not she speaks, and I don’t think they were trying to put across the message that she was less of a woman because she didn’t talk. She was ice cold and if she was ever going to say something, you could bet your fishnet stockings it would be a powerful statement. Strong oriental women are very popular in todays media, she’s not the only one. She’s not a

unique phenominon, she’s in fact more like a worn cliche, but that doesn’t make her any less cool.

Lucille, not a police woman, a parole officer. Not quite as well prepared to tackle a raving cannibal as you may have previously assumed. Marv had his behind trounced by the spritely psycho too, so what chance did Lucille have?

Shelley was an abused woman, but she was resiliant because she didn’t let it get to her. She couldn’t do anything about it except stay strong, it’s not as if she could really take on Jackie Boy, I mean for one he’s a cop and he could make her life a lot worse, and two, he’s stronger than her and he’s armed. The only thing she could do was not let it destroy her, she fought back by not letting him walk all over her. And I think that takes guts.

Gail was powerful and is powerful. The relationship she has with Dwight is a power struggle of sorts that turns them both on. They love fighting with each other for dominance because they’re both very forceful people. In the comics she saved his life, she rescued him. And in this one, he rescued her. They share. He knows that she is her own woman, that’s why when he thinks to himself that she will be his he adds ‘always..and never’. Because she loves him, and he loves her, but she is fiercely and eternally independent.

He only took control because he had a good idea with what to do with the bodies, are men not allowed to have good ideas now? The prostitutes were freaking out about the concept of losing everything they’d managed to build up, Gail was too headstrong to try and think of a none violent way out of the situation because she IS a very strong woman. Dwight had to hit her because it was the only thing she understood, and of course it turned her on. People don’t stand up to Gail very often, it’s a novelty for her.

Nancy, dances in a bar. Shakes her T&A for all the world to see. But when the going gets tough she doesn’t shrink like a weak little flower, sure she’s scared, but she doesn’t give up. When the yellow man is beating her, she doesn’t scream, she stalls the car too to buy some time. Yes, a man rescues her, just like he did when she was eleven years old. But she loves him, who else was going to rescue her without it making the film weird? She was a very

strong woman.

The only woman in the film who isn’t strong, who is weak and disapointing, is Becky. The traitor. She was a coward and a fool. But not because she was a woman, a man could have been just as foolish and cowardly. The fact of the matter is, Sin City is filled with a variety of very

interesting characters, it’s not a mysogenistic female hate fest or anything along those lines, it’s a seedy city, a place where guns and sex and drugs are facts of life. Women use their bodies to get by, but it’s not the be all and end all of who they are. Lucille’s girlfriend doesn’t matter, Marv’s comment about her being a dyke when she could have any man she wanted is MARV, it’s what he does it’s how he thinks, it’s not the opinion of everyone, just Marv.

There are a lot of strong women in this film, each strong in their own way. And I think you should re-evaluate your opinion of this great movie and watch it again. It’s well worth it.

From Juliet Potter

Thanks for your article [Driven to Distraction]. I am glad we have some support and understanding in the UK re this issue – to think women can travel the world alone, start and run our own businesses, buy and sell our homes (all by ourselves!) but we still in the year 2006, don’t feel confident when we buy a car is TERRIBLE! We are talking THOUSANDS of dollars here and we are buying more cars nowadays then men are!! Please become a member of so we can help enpower other women in this area!

From SexistBastardBecauseIamMale

Re: Taming of the Shrew Review. At the end of the play, did the women on stage start singing “Solidarity”? Personally, I think Kate from that play is the original feminist, only she got lucky and found a guy to tame her. All you feminists need to be tamed. That is all.

From Kaitlyn

It was comforting to read your article [Smug Intentions]. I am an American who attends college at a small, conservative Christian institution. I have made the mistake that most people understand what are basic concepts to me, when, in reality, for some has never really been an issue. I agree with many of your points, and appreciate your article. Thank you.

From Reg

I read the article on the ‘myth of female sexual dysfunction’ [Dysfunctional, Moi?] and found it quite incisive in helping me understand our problems since my wife gave birth to our children. I completely agree that the pharma companies are medicalising what is probably, in the majority of cases, a failing of communication within a relationship or as you writer puts it ‘a phallocentric view’, but, being the

owner of a phallus and concerned about the mental and physical health of my partner I can’t help but feel that your writer does a disservice to those women who ARE suffering – not just a case of failure to enjoy intercourse (within the limited definition allowed by the article) but in not feeling (emotionally) anything remotely sexual. No amount of touching, stroking, massage, kissing, licking, sucking, or penetration (with or without a phallus) generates any feeling of desire – either alone or with her partner.

She can lubricate and orgasm in a variety of (phallic and non-phallic) ways but the intensity is not there, she does’nt fantasise or day dream about sex but she is still missing it. It is creating frustration and strain for both of us and we are getting no help from the medics.

I will take some of the message of the article and try to reassure her that she is not ‘at fault’ for not being able to ‘please me’ (I’m quoting the article) but surely your dismissal of the entire spectrum of low libido in women is as much a fallacy (no pun) as the myth of the vaginal orgasm?

From Justine Goldberg

Re: Bad Mothers by Clare Riley. Made me laugh so much, but it is spot on! I love my daughters dearly but giving birth is the pits and then the years of daily drudgery, and working too! We women are sooooo lucky! And it never stops! its been 15 years so far and no sign of a reprieve yet!

From Clare Huggett

I have just discovered your website, and I have read several of the articles on there with great interest. For some time, I have been coming to the conclusion that I am, shock horror, a feminist, but I didn’t know how to find out about action groups, or contemporary issues. I wasn’t even aware that there was still active feminism in this country. Your website has given me hope, and a new sense of purpose.

For the first time, I feel that I am not a ‘lone voice’ but that there are others out there who have the same concerns and feelings of frustration as me. I particularly enjoyed your article, ‘Feminists Are Sexist,’ and I intend to refer my friends who challenge feminism to it!Once again, thank you. You now have a new (very) dedicated reader and fan! All the best,

From Asa

Thank you for such a good article “feminists are sexists“. I find it quite scary that so many people have so negative thoughts about feminism. Since I moved from Sweden to UK I have witnessed a more traditional thinking about men and women . Some Swedish men I talked to who normally don’t care about feminism have been shocked by the sexism they’ve

seen in the working places. Still these Swedish men who have been shocked by sexism doesn’t really like the word feminism and could maybe even have written one of those e-mails you received. this is the strange thing. I believe it is changing things that is the hardest bit. As soon as improvements been made people seem to accept them as the common sense forgetting that the feminist organisations were the ones who actually made these things happen. We are all indoctrinated and it is extremely hard sometimes to change how we originally were taught to look at things. . In another way I can actually understand some

of these men as they sometimes are dealing with the same issues about women. ( as men can be abused also by women) and then they are angry about the fact that the word “feminism” indicates the female gender would be superior to the male. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to call it anti-sexism instead of feminism? So we don’t have to defend the word feminists again and again and forever. thanks

From Darren G

I agree with the article about laddism and the laddette culture [Why It’s Time for the Battle of the Sexes to End] – I recently left the police force and if you didn’t want to go to lapdancing clubs or get so drunk that u couldn’t walk they would think there was somthing wrong with you.

From Joshua Teixeira

Re: “The Incredibles” review by ‘Ms Razorblade’. Isn’t this review not so much about the film in question, as much as this woman’s fear of who people are?

The film WAS just a light-hearted, fun adventure movie. She’s reading into things that aren’t even there out of a fear of mothers. The house mom, the champion no one gives any credit to. In a deleted scene from the film (I have the DVD, and have darn near wore it out at this point), the Incredible’s are having a barbeque with the new neighborhood (after being put into hiding

thanks to the lawsuits). Helen Parr now holds the newly born Violet as she engages in conversation with another woman. The woman is disgusted that Helen would “waste” her potential on being a mom. Helen snaps. She explains that, in different words than my own, if people just had better mom’s and took responsibility to raise the next generation, the world would be a better place. She defends being a mom from people like you. I’m not saying that has

to be the route of everyone, and that women and men should be pigeon-holed. I doubt highly Bird feels that way, also. He is very humble. In essence, the film is about being flawed. About being mediocre.

Review the film again some time, and I’m sure if you look hard enough, you’ll see it. Bob Parr (Mr Incredible) can’t help but feel uncomfortable in his situation. He fears getting older and being less of a man to the people he loves. Violet is uncomfortable in her own skin, frightened to accept herself as she is, even though she’s a wonderful person once does. Dashiell is trying to be accepted for who he is, and wants to start with his parents. He doesn’t understand why

he has to hide himself in shame. From this, he causes trouble (at school) as an outlet. The message is, clearly, to be content with what you were given, and if you were given something truly unique, by all means, don’t be afraid to use it.

But overall, I got a good laugh out of the review, the frustrating points countered above. The rest were, as she even pointed out, her reading too far into a children’s movie. The “women beating” part was especially hilarious. Taking a father’s rage for his family, and turning it into a “Men aren’t supposed to touch a woman no matter what they’ve done to them” double standard. You scream “equality”, but you never want to give up your own, unique rights. You just want everything men get AND everything women get. There is no “and”. Chivalry is dead, you people like you, killed it.

I’m 17 years old and live in California, USA. I’m sensitive person who my girlfriend constantly comments how special I make her feel. (I’m very romantic, I cry when I watch “chick flicks”). After everything I’ve said, can you believe this last statement? Probably not. But it is the honest truth. Your way of thought is failing, and fast.

From Emily Baeza

In response to megan’s article on teenager’s reproductive rights, I would just like to correct one point. It would be wonderful if the law looked on the reproductive system of teengae sas their own, but it does not. Permission (of parents) to have an abortion, is still required in alot of instances (unlessjustified by the doctrine of necessity) for under 16 year old even where they are Gillick competent. And ultimately the final decision rests with the doctor as to whether a teenager can have an abortion or not.

Bizarrely our legal system sees no absurdity in the fact that a 17 year old could be married and would still (in theory) have to ask permission of her parents in order to gain an abortion. Mental!

From turtledov3

Yes porn degrades women, yes it is becoming mainstream. DO YOUR BIT. Simply go into your local WHSmith etc.. and turn the offending magazines around so the back cover is showing. It is so satisfying on a personal level. Try it.

From Janine Monaghan

Re: The Signs of Ageing: Thanks for this – I totally agree. Me too have gone on to reading good housekeeping and other magazines. I would like to see changes. I would like to write to magazines with the hope that they would consider being more inclusive. I feel like i’m invisible at times. If you do have any advice on making changes and representation I’d be interested to hear about it. Thanks. This is a great web!!!

From sarah

Re: Body Image: WOW! that article was amazing and it sums up how I feel about myself. I have

very low self esteam and I am unsure how to get it back again but this article was amazing and it has made me realise that there is women out there who I can relate to and have the same feelings as me!

From Sonia

Re: Ms Razorblade’s articles on the ethics of sex toys. Excellent! I have been unimpressed with most shops selling sex toys. I myself am allergice to latex and have not bought anything since my last vibrator fell to bits due to fear of what products might contain. I have been toying with starting my own online shop, using safer products, select

literature and movies and catering for all sexual preferences (my sister and her female partner have all sorts of trouble getting decent stuff). I am from a helath background and intend to include articles on product safety and sexual health in general. I was very pleased to come across this site and you article in doing my research.

One of things I dislike is that most of the online sites are owned by men and focus on the novelty aspect and joke aspect that you mention. Many of sites are very “samey” to which is deliberate – their is a company which sells ready made sex shop websites and supplies the wholesale products for £2 – £6 and recommend a quadruple mark-up. I shall being doing lots more research. Many thanks for 2 excellent articles.

From Metis Black

Hi Fword and the writter of the the ethics of sex toys. I just found you- wish I’d been able to assist you with your article. I know it seems difficult to get

information from the industry but I could have given you more current information and given you email addresses to so many of the women who are changing everything about the sex toy business.

Have faith- here in the US even the sticky floored dark stores are having to remodel and reinvent themselves. Over 70 f the sex toys sold are sold to women and couples now. Women demand more in terms of quality and they have buying power to make it happen. Even packaging is slowly evolving. Anyway I wanted to thank you for an article well written and appologize that we are sometimes not on the front pages of the google search. LOL.

Sincerely, President, Metis Black, Tantus Inc.

From Sarah Taylor

To Lynne Miles re: FIFA trafficking post.

Absolutely! Why does no one else point out the hypocrisy of football taking racism seriously while being the biggest obstacle to improved gender relations in civil society. It’s deliberately exclusionary towards women, so far as i can see. I resolve to call it Men’s Football from now on. Keep up the good work. cheers.

From Laura

I am responding to the article on Nuts and Zoo magasine. I support this comment 100% as I have a hatred towards them. I tried accepting them but I just couldn’t because they are for brainless readers. I have read lad mags out of curiousity and realise they are sexist, I recently went onto a Maxim website that had two disturbing articles, ‘how do you tell her she’s fat’ with girls giving advice and another saying ‘dump your girlfriend for this’ with picture of a scantly clad 22 year old artist who paints naked women. This is meant to be good advice, I feel sorry for men who buy this trash and for the women who embrace raunch culture, what a sad world, we need more men who support feminist view points not tell sexist jokes!

From Thomas Ryder

Having read the article about sexism in the Advertising Standards Agency, I can only say that I agree with all the examples of sexist adverts that were complained against. When I see an advert that depicts a sexist attitude against either gender, I am offended. The reasons that I am offended by an advert showing women acting sexually provocative or exploited, and ones where a man is ‘dominated’ by a woman, are the same. Because they are both stereotypical and do not apply to a greater

proportion of society.

My motto on the subject is this: “I have no time for feminism, nor any time for masculinism. I’m too busy waiting for Equality.” And my question is this. Number of complaints and personal opinion aside – Did you not feel that those adverts which were sexist against men could be

deemed offensive by most men? I respect and understand that you find the adverts sexist against women offesnive, but what about vice versa?

In addition, as I only just remembered, what is your take on the “Boys are…” line of clothing? Clothing marketed at teenage girls with slogans such as “Boys are Stupid, throw rocks at them”, “Boys are made in the Stupid Facrory”, “Boys tell lies, poke them in the eyes”?

Me? I find them not only offensive, but potentially dangerous. Especially in a school-environment, which is where many of them could be seen. Because in all fairness, if an item of clothing incited violence against girls – it would be summarily discontinued. And quite rightly so. Yours very sincerely,

Catherine Redfern, editor of The F-Word replies

I agree. Both sexes are portrayed in stereotypical, sexist ways and it is vitally important that more men realise that sexism affects them and is limiting to their freedom. Every stereotype about women implies the opposite stereotype about men and vice-versa. You might find this blog interesting as it looks specifically at sexist stereotypes affecting men: also you might be interested in for more discussion about these topics.

In response to your motto, I would say that simply waiting will not assist change to happen, and historically things have never improved without people raising the issues and making points and actually pressing for change. I’m not sure whether this was implied by the motto, but I feel the need to point out that feminism *is* about equality between men and women, and it is also about freedom for men and women to be indivudual human beings not stereotyped into one “box” or another.

Again, I completely agree with your comments on the t-shirt slogans. The trend to denigrate boys as “stupid”, and pretending that this is somehow feminist does feminism a diservice. These kind of attitudes are not being put foward by feminists.They fall into the hands of anti-feminists who want to paint men as ignorant brutes who are slaves to testosterone and who can’t make moral choices about their own actions. – Ed

From steve

i am repsonding to your article of the musci video stacey’s mum [FHM Music Channel] agree with your comments about rachel hunter getting topless but walking around in a bikini in summer or summer is thre anything wrong with that?? if u see a 13/14

year old girl wearing a strappy top and shortswould u say its sexualizing children, just coz thats what they want to wear, would u rather they wore a jumper and raincoat, what woulkd u wear while lounging around the pool ona hot day?? are u saying that they should have set the video somewhere else?? if you did not like the video then don’t watch it u are completely taking the whole point about what the video is all about> i wouldn’t condone the part at the end with the boy in the bathroom myself

From K

I think its vitally important that f-word arranges some sort of controlled debate between yourselves and anti feminist forum this

website is living proof that feminists have so far to go. I have been a member for a week and I have never recieved so much abuse in my entire life. help

From Joanne Chard

I was very interested and impressed by the article on Grazia magazine written by Sheryl Plant. I found her insight and understanding of how we are controlled and manipulated by the media very impressive. I wish I’d been more aware of it when i was her age ( 29 now) It is such a shame that we live in a culture where youth, slimness and beauty are so highly valued and our self worth is often judged on those things alone. It is fine to want to look good but i am so very aware that a lot of women especially are so obsessed by body image that they are actually making their lives miserable. I wish Sheryl every sucess with her studies.