Comments from October 2006

From Sue

Dear Lucy, I’m responding to your article on Women Are Not in Fashion. Bravo to you! Your piece articulated my rage and frustration at the shallow representation of women in society. What worries me still is the fact that as we age, women are no longer represented in media and we became faceless, unsexual beings or the other extreme, the old, evil witch. Again, Bravo to you!

From Elizabeth Howard

Women Are Not In Fashion: If the catwalk shows featured animals as proportionally underweight as the human models there would be a national outcry and prosecutions for cruelty and abuse. Do we value our children less than our pets? Is the skinny teenage model a sucessful career woman or a victim of child abuse?

From Neesa

Re: Hardcore. I am in the video “Schoolgirls # 3” with max hardcore.He raped,tortured,and abused me.I am proud to say I made a police report against him,and his partner in crime.I dont need to get into it.I am a strong lady and even stronger since then.I urge you not to support him.Please do not purchase his videos or become a member on his site.He was obviously abused as a child and has mommy issues..And is taking it out on other women.He’s also mad that god gave him a small pee pee.He’s very unattractive and has a hairlip.Women never liked him,so he wants revenge.I have helped many woemn in this situation since it happened to me.I have been quite the activist.I am not scared of him.I have had video stores take his films off the shelves because of me.Good things come to those who wait.Never early always late..I do believe in GOD.And GOD doesnt allow people to do bad things and get away with it.Would you buy one of his videos if your daughter,mother,or sister was abused in it? Please do not support him.He calls us the victim,he is the victim,that’s why he does what he does..

From A normal

So you are just all a bunch of lesbians then?

From Kirsty

Re: Kerrang!

Excellent, excellent article! I am writing an essay of the same ilk to it but not focusing solely on Kerrang! I feel so happy that someone else has noticed the lack of females in the music industy. I too have mentioned Hayley Williams from paramore as she is the only woman who Kerrang has interviewed in a longish time. She is a real girl who is not just about stupid costumes and being there for the boys! I have so much respect for her. I love Kerrang magazine and am subscribed to it. I live for the wednesdays when I come home from school and find it on my doorstep. All the new bands to discover!!

However, I particularly cannot stand the Pandora strip each week. I think it is a waste of space as it is not funny or clever. Mostly it just takes the piss out of whatever person who was in the magazine the previous week. Ray Zell should find himself a new job. Finally well done on the fab essay and its good to hear that the lack of women in music has not went unnoticed!

From Blood Sundae bassist

In response to the article on Kerrang! I stopped reading those kind of magazines a long time ago, despite my love of rock/metal as they are pretty clearly aimed at teenaged boys. It’s true that female musicians don’t get much coverage, and when they do their looks always get a mention. How often do you see a female lead singer who isn’t attractive? This should not be a pre-requisite for success as a female metal musician. Metal is supposed to the genre where you do not have to conform. There need to be more role models out there for women as musicians in metal, and I’m not just talking about being the singer and letting the boys play the instruments. More girls need to be picking up guitars and drumsticks and making music themselves. The more female bands there are out there, the harder we will be to ignore (especially when the music kicks ass)- and then the female metal musician will no longer be a novelty – in a rock mag or on stage.

From Ylva

Kerrang! have teamed up with Zoo magazine in lauching a competition where the prize is a virgin. The winner gets to ‘pop her cherry’.

From Rosemary Hill

In response to Paper Dolls: Searching for Women within Kerrang Magazine. I wholeheartedly agree with Collette. It was only in the last couple of years that a few pages of Nuts magazine appeared stapled within Kerrang! to promote the lads mag. I was appalled and so were other people: the following week a very angry letter in Kerrang!’s letters page stated that ‘women love rock too!’. But it seems Kerrang! still hasn’t got the message. Frustrated by exactly the same things as Collette I have given up buying Kerrang! unless it is check that they are still promoting the idea of rock as a man’s game. I desperately feel the void of having no decent music magazine to read that champions women making rock music and treats Girlschool and Vixen as the Metal Heroines that they really are, instead of just a novelty act. If Kerrang! ever learns its lesson I will buy it again. Possibly a takeover bid by some very clever feminist rock fans would do the trick…

From Rob

Paper Dolls: Searching for Women within Kerrang Magazine maybe unwittingly hits the nail on the head when the writer describes pouring over the pages, eyeing up the male band members, etc. These days Kerrang is pretty close to what Smash Hits was in the 1980’s – a smarter weekly teenpop magazine that spreads beyond teenpop culture itself. The last few years has seen the readership become majority female and at the same time younger. And a big part of that’s due to the coverage of male bands who are simultaneously friendlier to the eye (Panic at the Disco, My Chemical Romance, Avenged Sevenfold, etc.), while at the same time a lot poppier than yer average Trivium track. Those bands, despite being easily as misogynstic than anything from ‘the bad old days of rock’ (albeit in a more passive-agressive, ‘sensitive’ way), all have fanbases that are at least 50 female, something not traditionally common in the punk/metal world at all. It’s that, along with the mainstreaming of metal culture that’s opened up the mag, and punk/metal itself to the kind of people who read Kerrang these days.

At a guess, it’s not what the writers themselves are into but until a new wave of bands or a new subgenre comes along and catches on, they have no choice but to go along with it, lest they lose their readership to someone else. Personally, although it isn’t Kerrang fare, I’d like to see more about riot grrl bands in the press meself, and more Distillers (er, except they’ve broken up). But then again, I stopped reading Kerrang properly years ago, and I’m not about to start reading the NME.

From Collette Bridget Byrne

In reference to ‘Paper Dolls – Searching for women in Kerrang magazine’ article. Bloody good on ya girl! I used to buy ‘Kerrang’ in my late teens and early twenties. Now that I am a little wiser and just entered the ’27 club’ along with Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison, et al, I refuse point blank to buy publications such as this. Not only does it belittle women, but it blatantly ignores serious female musicians in favour of portraying any women that do grace the cover as nothing more that eye candy. Another repeat offender of

this heinous crime is ‘Bizarre’ magazine. I remember a time when this particular publication actually used to do exactly what it said on the tin, by this I mean it sought out the genuinely strange and intriguing. These days it would seem what passes for bizarre is some page three type with her norks out in some psydo alternative get up whilst beneath the covers lurks a veritable wankathon of phone sex numbers and girly pics. It goes without saying that I wiped my arse on the last copy that I bought. I’d like to stay and chat ladies, but i really need to puke…. Keep up the good work.

From Sarah

I sent an email to Kerrang! after they featured a poll of ‘top’ rock stars and the only women they featured were Amy Lee, Brody Dahl (with her best points described as her washboard stomach or something equally irrelevant to her musical capabilities!) and Gwen Stefani. Because I am a helpful kind of person and thought perhaps they had made a genuine mistake in overlooking many of my favourites such as Tairrie B of My Ruin, Agneta Kirkevaarg of Madder Mortem, Katie Jane Garside of Queen Adreena, Aimie Echo of Human Waste Project and The Start, Sharon del Adel of Within Temptation, Jessicka of Jack off Jill, Hanin Elias and Nic Endo of Atari Teenage Riot and many more, but they never printed my letter and perhaps objected to my observation that the only ladies in their top were the ‘pretty’ ones.

I’m sure Tairrie’d have something to say about that!I haven’t bought Kerrang! for ages, especially as in an interview with Avenged Sevenfold they seemed to find it amusing that after a groupie gave one of them a blow job they thought it was acceptable for the other band mates to urinate on her! Haha! Very funny! (I do believe the girl in question had not consented to this and was also not amused!) Oh how mature!

From Tiffy B.

Re: Kerrang!. Being a British female guitarist in my own rocking band called ‘TWO’ I find it refreshing that women out there are wanting more from their music, other then the male dominated scene. Women need to realise that feminintiy needent be a boundry to anything, and start picking up and guitar or drum sticks- and the industry needs to start writing articles and championing female musicians.

One of the main comments I get from people who watch me live is: “you don’t play like a girl, you’re amazing”. Or, “I didn’t know girls could actually play lead guitar like that.” Now isn’t that sad that the image of a great, kick-butt female guitarist is so rare that people actually verbalise these sorts of things to me? Come on women- let’s unite and take over and get rocking! Check out my playing:

From Kimberley

I just want to thank you, Collette, for your article ‘Paper Dolls: Searching for Women within Kerrang Magazine’, as a big rock music – and just about all music – fan myself, this is an issue that has concerned me over and over again. I generally buy a rock music magazine only if i notice one of my favourite bands on the cover, which doesn’t seem to occur very often right now. I get especially annoyed with the advertisements in these magazines, one of which you mentioned, for mobile phone pornographic movies and images, and again as you mentioned, often seem to imply violent sexual acts.

For a while now though, I have flat out refused to buy Kerrang for any reason, not wishing my money to be sent to them (the company owning Kerrang also owns FHM and Zoo and many others, by the way) after learning about what goes on with their radio station via the website (I think it’s changed now as I cannot find the example for you). It seemed that every other show they did on there involved sexual objectification of females by looking at their site. They had a competition mirroring one that was held in a lad’s mag (i forget which, maybe Zoo or FHM) that involved finding the ‘sexiest virgin’ or something along those lines, a competition only open to girls and seemingly with no age limit, and various other similar features.

Oh, I’ve just been searching the site, and I’ve found this comment before entering a page: “This area of the site contains explicit content – mainly a bit of partial nudity and items of questionable taste – but nothing that you couldn’t see in a copy of ZOO or FHM. If you are easily offended, we suggest not clicking any further and maybe browsing the website of our sister radio station Magic.” Hmm, perhaps this says it all. A rock radio station obviously needs lads mag style photographs to survive (?!). All this says to me is: #1 Images in FHM and Zoo are played down tremendously, #2 Sexual objectification of females is perfectly normal, I’m just someone who’s easilly offended.

Anyway, I appear to have gone away from the point of thanking Collette for raising the issue on here though, I appreciate being able to see I’m not the only female rock music fan who believes all is not right here.

From Chris

This is just to comment on your review of X-Men III. Thank you, British feminists! I am from Montréal (Canada) but I really felt the exact betrayal you did, watching the third installment of what had been (before that) my favorite movie series for a long time.

I just wanted to add, since I made the same comments about the female characters to all my friends, that even Storm is ‘put in her proper place’ at the end of the movie: she becomes a mum! She’s at the head of the school now, but she looks and act very different from Professor Xavier: all cuddly and nice and so NOT the figure of authority she should have been. I hope someone saves this franchise before I start hating the X-Men, i have been reading those for 20 years!

From victoria owens

Re: Shelly Reeses’s X Men The Last Stand. I read this article with much interest as the third X Men movie was the only one I truly enjoyed. I can undersatand every arguement put forward in this article but I feel it does a disservice to Brett Ratner to look at the treatment of female characters in this movie and have issues and not to see the blatant disregard shown by Brian Singer for the female characters in the first two movies. Where is the rage at the fact that Storm is no longer a strong, wise woman and is instead a shadow of her powerful self portrayed by the lacklustre Halle Berry, Jean Grey is the typical woman torn between clinging to her existing life and man and exploring her powers and her sexuality and as for Rogue she is a runaway looking for a home. These three characters, while each of them are developed and have their own storylines in the comic books on which the movies are based, have little or nothing to do in the universe that Brian Singer has created. It has been explained to me at length that Rogue does not receive her full powers, flight and indestructibility until she touches Marvel Girl, but if Singer does not adhere strictly to continuity in all matters why does he in this instance. In the movies Rogue can indeed absorb the powers of the mutants around her for a short while after touching them, but beyond this she has nothing, is it not possible that she was craving physical contact, that as she matures in the relationship she has with Bobby she would want a sexual relationship, find me a woman in love who does not want to kiss, hold and fondle the object of her affection. In the comics you can see what she has to lose, the joy of flight, her confidence in her strength, these things compensate for the loneliness that is an integral part of her character. She falls in love but is trapped inside a body that damages everyone she touches. How pro feminist of Singer to show Rogues first sexual experience end with her sucking the life out of her boyfriend, female sexual desire equals death. I wasn’t happy that Rogue took the cure but I can empathise with her desire for physical contact.

Jean Grey, in the habit of some fictional characters, dies a lot. In this instance Wolverine has to kill her, he must destroy the only thing he loves. Wolverine is the guy in the centre of things in the X Men universe, he is the first character I remember hearing about and I still love reading about him. His is the story arc that is to be followed in the movies, he is our way into this world and we follow him, yes it is an ensemble piece about the politics of difference and fear but the journey of Wolverine, the mystery of his past, are integral parts of the story. In the 2nd movie Jean sacrifices herslf to save the day, she makes this decision and controls the events that lead to her death. Jean is good, she loves Scott and will die for him and everyone else, the classic self sacrificing woman. Phoenix is not Jean Grey, Phoenix is power beyond belief and it is only the power of Jeans mind that can control it and keep her from physically flying apart. Think of it you have the power of a hundred nuclear explosions under your skin and you have to concentrate all the time to stop yourself from destroying the world, you have become the ultimate weapon, you are no longer a woman you are chaos incarnate. Ultimate power might be seductive for a while but living with consequences must be difficult.

Every now and then Jean Grey emerges from the Phoenix and when she does she realises what this power inhabiting her body has done, she has murdered her husband and killed her mentor, she wants this possession of herself to end but this time she needs help. Wloverine understands her desperation, this is a man, experimented on because like Jean his body had the power to survive the process by which he was made in to a living weapon. He knows what it is like to live with the knowledge that you have been manipulated in to killing by a force that is beyond your control. It is trite and reactionary to see Jean Greys death at Wolverines hands as some kind of metaphor for rape. It would actual be easier ascribe this metaphor to Rogues character as rape is less about the penetrative act and more about taking someones power and that is what she does on a regular basis. Wolverine kills Jean because he knows how she feels, she cannot control this thing that has taken possesion of her, she is not Phoenix, Phoenix has invaded her body and she wants it out. So he kills her, yes with his claws because they are both his blessing and his curse. How else should he have done it, torn her apart, cut off her head? He is devastaded but he trusts that Jean can make this decision and he will do this for her, she is still in control of her destiny but this time she needed help.

I can’t even begin to talk about the continuing disappointment that has been the depiction of Storm in the movies, in Singers and Berrys hands she is simply boring, at least with Ratner she gets to kick a little ass. Yes she says that Phoenix should be destroyed, is this cold, yes, is it a betrayal of the sisterhood, I don’t think so. She is a leader in this movie, she has to make the tough decisions, she is responsible for all the mutants entrusted to her care by Professor X, is she betraying Jean or protecting her charges by any means necessary? If you are talking about the women in this move why not mention Kitty Pride, she moves through walls, saves the kid and manages to hold her own against Jugggernaut. Kitty has one moment of softness when she misses her home but other that that she is a strong confident character. I do agree with you about Mystique, that was a horrible betrayal of an interesting character.

All these women, all these characters have intricate histories going back decades, many people have been writing stories for them, developing them over course of hundreds of comics in myriad realities. To get a full picture of these women you would have to do a lot of reading. Neither director has done much to make these extraordinary female characters very compelling but I did feel more empathy for Jean in this movie and was moved by her death in Ratners movie in a way that i wasn’t by Singer, in an odd way they were all a little more human and understandable.

From Gemma Watson

I really enjoyed Abby O reily’s article Declaration of Independence. The points made I had felt for a long time, only didn’t know how to word. And as an 18 year old it’s been helpful to read. The part about his and her bath robes I found funny as well.

From Cassandra Roelands

I really enjoyed your article Declaration of Independence. I’m a 24 yo successful graphic designer, enjoying my single life. However I’m constantly scrutinised, particularly by family as to why I remain single. Thank god someone else out there more eloquent than myself has managed to describe this issue so perfectly – I’ll be giving them this article to read next time they decide to harass me!

From Carrie Elizabeth

Re: Declaration of Independence. For years I have had people ask me on meeting for the first time if I am “happy being single” (the relationship status thing always comes up). It is amusing as it would sound odd (not to mention rude) to matter-of-factly ask someone you have just met “are you happy being married/part of a couple?” Go on – try it – smile sweetly and say it politely as if it is normal small talk. The responses can be immensely revealing. It brings home to them what an intrusive question it is, or they refuse to speak to you again, you rude person!

From Danielle

Re: Declaration of Independence. I suppose I have all that social pressure to look forward to. I’m 19 and have just ended my one and only long-term relationship. I have to say, I have been quite looking forward to the return to single life. I’m sure some people will never understand why I gave all that up just to return to “the shelf”, but that’s why I will be happy in my relationships and they won’t. I refuse to compromise.

From Tori Lawson

In response to the Declaration of Independence article: How refreshing, yet so true! I live out in the sticks where gossiping can get the better of people. It’s so frustrating when society around you, try to ‘figure you out’. People do fail in understanding a cultivation in the art of resilence – and the enjoyment that goes with it. Being single, is certainly less hassle. Men don’t have any problems with it. Do they? Oh, and I absolutely hate cats.

From Emma Hadfield

The article Declaration of Independence by Abby O’Reilly was so close to my own life that I had to write a response. At the age of 27, I no longer get the constant questionning from my family as to whether I am ‘courting’ or when I’m going to have children, because they have now decided there is obviously something very wrong with me to be unmarried and childless at such an age that they dare not question me any more. Whether they think I am a lesbian or that I turn into a green ogre after dark, I do not know, nor do I care. I thought the days of women having to be married to gain acceptance were long gone, but I was wrong. I recently completed an English degree at university and on starting out 3 years ago at the age of 24 I expected the pressure to be off being surrounded by young clued up 19-21 year olds, but I was wrong. Many still have the assumption that you need to have a boyfriend to be accepted and once again I heard the usual phrase when announcing I was single ‘never mind I’m sure you’ll find someone’ as if being single was some kind of illness. This article made a refreshing read and it has cheered me up no end. Many Thanks!

From Marc Purtell

Hi, I will give you $30 to place a small banner ad on this page: [Teenagers and Cosmetic Surgery] The ad would be for my client [a plastic surgery website]. Please let me know if you are interested.

Catherine, editor of The F-Word, replies

Needless to say this generous offer was not taken up!!!

From Michelle

Very interesting article I thought this book [He’s Not That Into You] was outrageous with the premise that men arent that complicated, they certainly are! Did you add The Rules to your list of books not to read?

From Eric

Munich follows, very closely, the book it is based on. YOUr argument that the woman was punished because she crossed some sort of gender line doesn’t hold water. i don’t remember if the men used zip guns in the book, but you might just as easily say all guns are phallic, an argument some people, of course this leads down the road of all receptive seeming things being linked with a vagina, is this equally true? the fact is that the woman in the movie and the novel, did use her sex as a weapon to kill one of the agents…….personally, i think the book itself is of questionalble authenticity,

From Michelle

I watched this film [Munich] at the weekend I found both of those scenes really distasteful e.g. scene at end Avner having ‘sex’ with his wife and when the woman was shot it felt abusive.

The Descent: mmmmm interesting I just enjoyed watching a film where there didnt appear to be any preconceptions about women. Its funny though how a lot of men are put off looking at films with all female casts or similarly reading books that they regard as “womens books” why is that? e.g. Orlando by Virginia Woolf etc

From Tina

It is Grazia‘s acception of the tibbits of modern life, with include those discussions of topics as cosmetic surgery and of motherhood and of consumerism that have enabled it to be so successful. Under no circumstances can the newspaper be accused of ‘forcing’ its view upon people. To be honest Grazia is fulfilling the requests of women of certain ideals and aspirations of which the topics dealt with have great sigificance. It needs debate, and under no circumstances can a 21 yr old (I am 19) be so easily weak in spirit that she could be so easily swayed by using botox at such a young age. The magazine, it’s opinions and topics need to taken with a pinch of salt, it is a ‘fashion’ magazine, not as such one of topical debate. In furthering the meaning and expression of feminism in the UK, it could be said that it speaks to a certain sector of women. Perhaps it is too early to align true feminism, as the writer describes, with fashion as such.

From Sandra

Grazia: I think this article is a bit too cynical. The author’s conclusions are not based on any statistcs and she seems to describe what she wants to see. A more objective view would be interesting, as the author is basically typing up the cut and dried opinions that everyone has.

From Grace

This news article, as those on oppression of the press always do, interested me, so had a look – is it right that the insult is simply that he once dressed as a woman?

If so, this is yet another thing in a trend I have noticed that being called a woman is the most insulting thing that could happen – Thierry Henry towards the Barcelona players after the European Cup final, Dr Cox continually in Scrubs, people in general – because it’s so degrading for a man to be called a woman. AARGHHHH. If not, please ignore this. But this is disturbing…

From Sue

HI, I was reading the article about phthalates and sex toys and I thought I’d send you a link to our store- we have grave concern about the use of phthalates in toys and have been returning our jelly toys to their distributors. we hope to be 100 hthalate free within the next week.

From Stephen Marshall-Rees

Re: The Ethics of Sexs Toys

I’m not a woman, but a male product designer. I have been trying for about 5 years to get someome to listern to me about the sex toy industry and the poor quality lack of research and pornagraphic and tacky way the products are presented and marketed. There are no BSI standards for sex toys and are therefore tested under BSI standards for childrens toys. I believe the manufacture who does the correct R&D and marketing for sex toys will do well. There also needs to be more women designers. I was quoted a figure that 80 % of female products are designed by men. And this figure is far higher for things like sex toys. To rap it up simply, the sex toy industry needs to clean up its act and have a greater respect for women and be more sensitve to their sexual needs.

From James Colton

Self-deception is a technique used mainly by women. Since the Big Bang men have been the only species on this planet to have advance forwards. Yes bloody at times and with a genetic attitude of violence, it is no surprise man’s inhumanity to man is still at the forefront of our lives.

In the recent documentary by the BBC looked at the top 10 most famous Britains, the list had one women, Princess Diana. How one compares her with Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Professor Stephen Hawking etc still remains a mystery. In todays PC world, men and women are the same. In reality this is far from true.

This is good. Keep on telling women they are “victims” and a life full of hate. This is good. Look around every thing you see is man made. This is bad. I would like to see all men made to stop working and women take over. This is good. I would like to see a regiment of women to fight the evils of the world. This is good. I would like to see all men made to watch all the good women can do, just give them a chance. I would like to see all male scientists made redundant and only women to discover new drugs, new treatments. This is good. I would like to see women only space exploration. This is good. Keep up the good work and bless you!

From Kandis Grant

Re: Don’t Cha Wish Pop Was More Empowering? Hi my name is Kandis and I just wanted to write and say thank you for bringing light onto this matter. I am a 20 year old certified medical assistant. I am a member of the Arizona Army National Guard and am very proud to be a STRONG woman! I too believe that women should be empowered and sexy at the same time…in a tasteful manner. I feel that I am a sexy woman but because I am smart, motivated, and I respect myself. I agree that the woman today in music are very much contradictory with the lyrics and manner in which they carry themselves on television. There needs to be more women like the spice girls for the next generation. Thank you for your article.

From juz

Re: Don’t Cha Wish Pop Was More Empowering? have you heard the latest one from the dolls they reckon now that “they dont need a man” i think they do,they possibly dont have any female friends, they also need more substatial clothing,i have sent them each a pair of wooly tights

From Maggie May

That article about Beonce and the PCD [Don’t Cha Wish Pop Was More Empowering?] is perfectly worded. I love it. I loved the Spice Girls, they really were the best female role models of my time. I have had issues with female pop artist and their videos since Britney put on that red cat suit in Oops. Alot of it is so contradicting. Singing about independence while bumping and grinding with Nelly isn’t showing “Girl Power.” Selling out is what it’s showing. Pink is my favorite female artist and that’s why, because she doens’t conform to the “Britney Mold.” Like Pink says: “Tired of being compared / To damn Britney Spears / She’s so pretty / That just ain’t me”

From Kerilyn C.

Re: Pretty Vacant: I think this is an excellent message, but I’d like to consider *what* exactly makes certain clothing seem to be attractive on the separate sexes. To wear a skirt especially in locations populated by men in tidy suits, is to contrast yourself with the independance and confidence exuded by the stately male frame outlined by the well tailored suit. Bare feminine legs to the straight-leg trousers of the men, only serves to show that women are less serious and less business-minded than the male. I wear skirts and dresses all the time, but not in atmospheres where it would be inappropriate for a male to wear shorts.

From Bob

I read the artical about taxi girls and western men in Cambodia [Why Men Suck… And the Women Who Have To]. I am a Western man lived in China. I was warned by my wife before i went of what went on regarding “taxi” girls. I’m ashamed to say that after about 6 months I to behaved as the men you refer to in your article (so ashamed I will not give you my name). In trying to justify this to myself I noticed that both my wife and I enjoyed the maid who lived with us and did all the housework for $150/month, we bought counterfit stuff, we didn’t leave tips at resturants, and in general we acted with the arrogance of people who have more money thanthose around them. I wonder if you also enjoyed some of these other things that my wife did? I’m glad to say my wife stayed with me, and seems to have forgiven me, I still feel the shame for paying a “taxi” girl, and also for having a maid, not tipping, etc. etc. etc..

Your concern is real and it is bigger than just the sex trade. Going to a foriegn country will really make you question your values and principles.

From Brad Johnson

In the article men that suck [Why Men Suck… And the Women Who Have To] you did not seem to comprehend that given an opportunity men would do the same thing in their home country. Additionally, women were given equality they have not earned equality. To earn equality you must defeat men.

From Rebecca Lewis

I agree with many of the points that Emma raises in her article Why Not Feminism?, particularly the objectification of women and the falsehood of female “empowerment” in the media. It’s refreshing – and something of a relief – to hear the opinions I share being expressed in public, which would suggest that I also share Emma’s view that feminism has become something to which most young women won’t admit, but I can’t quite agree here. I know many women who readily voice their feminist principles, and I rarely feel the need to dampen down my own view point amongst my friends.

I admit, though, that there are situations – usually in “polite” company – in which I do feel the need to reign in my opinions, and perhaps that will always be the ultimate test of acceptance; my sense, however, is that the problem is more one of isolation and powerlessness. There are so many issues that my friends and I face in the future(we are 25): the huge cost of childcare, the difficulties of combining work with a family, the workplace’s refusal to treat mothers and fathers equally, but I can see no way to change them. For those of us interested in exacting real, positive improvements for women, where are the platforms?

From Michelle Abrahall

I think there were some very good points made in that article Why Not Feminism?. There is a lot of confusion over what constitutes a good role model for young girls and women. Even if a woman has a strong image and isnt ashamed of her sexuality, is there some part of her that is doing it for the ‘wrong’ reasons ie: societal pressure to conform and attract a mate etc..? A lot of the women who I see as independant and strong have used their image and sexuality in a way I’m not sure I would be comfortable with (Madonna, Brody Dalle, Courtney Love, even though their images are not neccessarily mainstream)

From Lyndsey McLean

I wholeheartedly agree with Emma Cosh’s article Why Not Feminism? – my own friends consider me weird for proclaiming my feminism – although we all agree on a woman’s right to live the life she chooses, and on equality between the sexes. And in a recent conversation with my mother she was horrified at the suggestion she might br a feminist- despite her refusing to give my sisters and I toy kitchen’s to play with and always assuring us that we could do anything we put our minds to – so thorough ws her indoctrination of us that my sister and I are the only women I know who proudly call ourselves feminists.

From Sophie Flowers

In response to Emma Cosh’s article, Why Not Feminism?, I too am always searching for reasons why my contemporaries (women in their twenties) shy away from the term feminism. I am proud to be feminist and declared as much when I was a contenstant on the Weakest Link recently, but why is it a dirty word? I’m not a lesbian, have a boyfriend and wear skirts and make-up. Because of this my ‘friends’ ask how can I be a feminist? Why don’t people get it? I want equality for women and any woman who thinks that this has alreay been achieved should take a look at page 3 of the Sun today, or tomorrow, or the day after, because we’ve still got a long way to go.

From Chris

I’m writing in response to Why Not Feminism?, I’d like to tell you, Emma Cosh, it’s safe to come out of the feminist closet. I was afraid to at one point, once your out you feel this sense of freedom. But I admit music is a big influence. Just read the lyrics to this one song. (Anti-Product–Modern Day F Word) “the modern day f-word rejected and thrown aside but who the fuck is doing the defining? this term was given by our mothers and our sisters as a gift in which the name of injustices laid down by the patriarchy a lauguage in which to call them on their shit to recognize our gender opression to recognize of our strenth and power to question and fight against it, Feminism “the radical notion that women are people” and now they want us to believe that this language, this gift is a burdern bringing us down that as a woman you are a “bitch” if you have found your inner strengh and fight for liberation “bitch” oh you mean RADICAL and what the fuck is wrong with being a radical anyways?

someone has to wake up this blinded, droning, society and what the fuck is wrong with being angry anyways? Anger is just an inherant reaction to the pain that we have suffered, oh i forget theres no inequality anymore its the 90s now “you’ve come a long way baby” well im not your baby and the fight is not over yet, i still cant walk alone at night without the fear of being attacked and the brainless objectified bodies of women still dangle in the media and the bruises of the power hungry fists have not left her face yet, some say the label feminist confines women in its limited boundaries its not feminism which confines women its the system that labels our gender as inferior. If you dont choose a label believe me there going to choose one for you so i would rather accept this label, this GIFT given by our mothers and our sisters and run with it fly with it push its boundaries and expand its meaning so that it fits me you us.”

Remember is something that women before us fought hard for, it would be so sad to throw it all away. It is scary to be different, but it is more terrifying to be exactly the same. Women have to break free from gender rolse and realize we all need a change. And it has to start at home. “Hasta La Victoria Siempre!”

From Eluned

Hey Emma, I just read your article on why feminism isn’t cool [Why Not Feminism?]. I have been assigned an essay “Has feminism gone too far?” in one of my classes. I agree with what you say, and it’s good to see my views written down, I often get that feeling of knowing how I feel but can’t find the words. Thanks :)

From Rachel

I read this article [Why Not Feminism?] nodding sadly. So many of my female friends have in the past uttered the terrible ‘I’m not a feminist… but…’. The only way I disagree with Cosh’s view, however, is that stigma attached to the movement is not only counter productive and endemic, it is horrifyingly insidious, and must be stopped.

How have we allowed the name of our flagship, our revolution, to be so besmirched? How have we allowed the definition of feminism to become a byword for ugliness, hairyness, unsexiness; the refuge of the woman who cannot ‘get a man’? Naomi Wolf (among others) complained about this years ago in The Beauty Myth, and it is still a very, very disturbing sentiment that creeps out of far too many women’s mouths, and lurks like a virus in their social consciousness.

I challenge you to tell your friends, your mothers, your relations, co-workers – hell, complete strangers – to proclaim proudly that they are feminists! To realise the suffering, the struggle, that so many women went through we have to collectively state our purpose, commemorate their battles, and go on fighting for the cause.

Feminism is on the path to ending the biggest and longest running oppression in the history of the world. That’s something no man, marketing campaign, or social pressure will ever make me ashamed of. Whether I choose to shave or not.

From Roisin

Congratulations on this article! [Why Not Feminism?] I consider being female and a feminist to be the defining characteristics of my identity. It disappoints me so much when I hear people scoff at any mention of “the f word” and when I see female columnists write that feminism is dead and no longer necessary, as the battles have been won. This in a world where domestic violence rates are exploding and the rape conviction rate is frighteningly low. It just serves to highlight the need for a website such as this… Keep on going ladies – you’re a lifeline for some of us lonely feminists out here!

From Beth

Bad Mothers: Oh my God, I have never read such a ridiculous article in my life. Claire is quite obviously trying to shock and thinks her writing is very clever. Sorry love but you fail. Not only are your comments not very original but they are mostly childish claptrap. Most Mums I know are very fulfilled and happy. Ofcourse we have bad days but who doesn’t? I used to have a stressfull well paid job that I excelled in, but I am perfectly happy looking after my children. I don’t need to dress in Evans as i can still quite easily fit into top shop clothes. Next time you try and be so transparantley contraversial pick a subject you actually know about.

From Melanie Newman

I wondered what the F-Word had to say about this question, which according to Oxbridge Applications is asked of applicants hoping to read PPE at Oxford. Q If there were three beautiful, naked women standing in front of you, which one would you pick? Does this have any relevance to economics? (PPE, Oxford)

From Reyna Adams

This is in response to Jennifer Drew’s great article on Women’s Sexual Dysfunction [Dysfunctional? Moi?]. AS a female myself, I enjoy sexual intercourse (the act of penetration). I am soft spoken, but I know my place in this universe and if I sense something is not right I will voice my opinion. My first time of sex was humiliating with my boyfriend at the time who finished quickly and did not even wait for me to have an orgasm. I was shocked and I vowed never ever again to be cheated by that. Women feel guilty because we do think men have this sexual right and if we do not keep, then too bad for us…we feel the need to pleasure the man first. I don’t feel this way at all after my first experience. God put man and women on this planet only so that we would spend years and years trying to figure one another out…and only to discover in the end we are both the same.

Sex is not about a dominant male and a submissive female. It is about 2 people who come together through love and deep awareness of one another. Sex is a learning experience. We learn our partners body, what pleases them and how to make them climax. There is no right and wrong with it…everyone will be different. So, some people may need foreplay, some people may need stimulation..whatever it is…it is all correct and all part of the plan to make us learn about one another. My fiance is wonderful. He will always let me know when he is ready to climax and if I am not ready, then he will hold it, wait…or whatever until I catch up. I prefer intercourse to foreplay actually, but that is because I was on a mission after my first sex experience to discover my body and figure out how different men and women really are. We are the same…and wonderfully different as individuals as well.

I will not have sex with any man unless he is very clear on the fact that my pleasure is just as important as his. I am not into pleasing a man, but if he is willing and wanting to please me, then of course I feel the same way. I have discovered that if most women knew how to climax, they probably would love intercourse, but because their partners have no patience and pleasure themselves first and expect that women just naturally do not have orgasms, women seem to resent having sex. And, can you blame them? Can you imagine if a woman had a big orgasm and then hoped off her almost there male partner?!! He would complain of the tension, the pain, the frustration. All of us…men and women feel tension if we are brought close, but never able to finish climaxing. I have learned that the best way for a female to achieve orgasm is to ride the male first…experiment with friction and as you slide up and down on the penis, press down on your clitoris until you feel stimulation. If this works for you, then bring yourself to orgasm. If you like to be on the bottom…use this on top position first and then switch to the bottom position, but still press down on your clitoris to climax. You can grab on to your partners buttox to make it happen sooner. Experiment with this technique and it will definitely make you orgasm. If you want to be on the bottom from the beginning, then do the same thing…press down on the clitoris and figure out how to keep the friction there.

If you are worried about your partner climaxing before you, learn to tell when he is about to orgasm. If you know he is getting close, but you are not…slow things down a little or ask him to wait…most men can hold for awhile. Or, you can also get close to orgasm and if he does it first…just ask him to keep gently thrusting and the fact that he has ejaculated inside you and you still have your fingers pressed on your clitoris, will help you come very fast. In fact, I orgasm very well when he has ejaculated inside because it gives the vagina a full feeling and with my fingers pressed on my clitoris and my continued gentle rocking gets me to orgasm quickly. Sometimes I orgasm before my partner and I keep going until he comes as well. Just try it and experiment with it…and you will see how great it really works. Sex, foreplay…it is both for men and women and if you need to be stimulated in a certain way, then that is totally okay. A loving partner will understand this and after all…if you are willing to please your partner so much, they should be willing to do just the same for you because as individuals we have different styles and different ways of operating. If your male partner is frustrated with you or impatient…then he is not worth the time and effort.

Men and women have been raised so differently in social and cultural ways that it is about time that little boys, men and women alike need to know that there is nothing derogatory about the feminine and it is every bit as valid as the masculine and just as powerful in its own right. And, in order for humans, earth and the universe to function properly the male and female need to be expressed as equally valid and powerful and in balance. Hope this makes sense…and great article.

From lozlor

Re: Women Sing About Money Yeah – you wanna “pure love”… I don’t see this on streets, especially blondie girls who says “get lost” with a lot of cash… -.-‘ They like young forties man with cash Cash rule your life, don’t lie! PWND!

From Daniel

Deconstructing Masculinity: Great Article! As man I totally agree with your comments on a need of redefine what masculinity is, some of us ask ourselves at some point of our lives about this, and we really struggle to find an awnser, there is not a cultural patern for this, I don’t fell identified with the “typical man with a gun” or the big-muscled, beer-drinker, senseless guy. Thanks for your article, to be honest I always though about feminist like a menace or something like that, but after having been reading on this site I changed some of my ideas.

From babymook

Re: Smelling of Roses? I am really glad I found this site. Now I don’t have to wonder if it is just me who is shocked and at times appauled by some things in the “mainstream”. I want women to resist the pressure to put more and more chemicals in our bodies to control, supress and “be clean and fresh”. All natural, unbleached tampons can be bougtht from any natural health shop.

From Julia

Re; Smelling of Roses? I agree. Tampons and sanitary towels are also bad for the environment. Therefore, I use a mooncup.

From Chloe

What a great article [Reclassifying Rape]. I wish someone would read it to Sheikh Taj Aldin AlHilali, an important Muslim cleric in Australia, who has recently likened women who get raped to uncovered meet in a sermon delivered to some 500 of the faithful about the responsibility of women in preventing men from raping them, or from adulterating. Unfortunately, ideas which are now largely condemned amongst more secular and feminist communities are still very present and still absolutely disgusting among some who call themselves Muslims.

From cat

The questions were not burning by any means [25 Burning Questions].Boring,yes…burning it killed me. Who was this man? Sex and ego’s with in men are not that simple minded. Or are they? Try a drunk guy at a bar with a recorder…maybe you can get less bs under those circumstances. Anyway,why can’t men be open with thier feelings. Why do they allways have thier defenses up? It really hurts that they can’t be emotionally open.

From Paul

Hi. Ok I am a bloke. But have to say really impressed with your self defence PDF, I am a full time trainer of self defence and this is one of the best condensed sources of information I have seen. If you do ever revise it can I suggest you include a little bit of info on consent and date rape drugs? Best Wishes.

From Leonard Clarke

why all the taboo against a fantastic word i think the word cunt is beautiful. i have used this word to describe the most wonderful part on a womans body

From Reyna Adams

I just wanted to make a general comment about a male who posted a comment that when women ask him for help he gets irritated because if women wnat to be feminist and treated equal, then they should accpet the fact that they need to do things without a man’s help. Equality is not based on the idea that in order to be equal we have to be identical. If Bill Gates asks Arnold Schwarteneggar for lift a pile of books that are way too heavy for him, does that make Bill Gates unequal to Arnold? Under these circumstances, men would say they are still equal despite Bill Gate’s lack of muscle power.

We need to get rid of the male and female divisions and categories and just see each person as an individual. Are we not supposed to do that with race as well? You might be green with pink polka dots, but you are still a human nonetheless. I might have reproductive organs that allow me to carry a baby, but I am still human nonetheless. I play wicked soccer…probably better then most men, but I am lacking the physical mass to play American football. SO what?!!! Bill Gates would not be able to play American Football either. So, if men classify women as the weaker sex and therefore unequal, then Bill Gates must be a woman?

I sometimes ask my very big and muscular fiance to help me lift something, but he has never considered me unequal…because there are many things I can do…that he needs my help on as well! Ok…and so some of you men might argue about females as firewomen….or policewomen. I believe in giving a job to the best person capable. If it happens to be a male so be it, but strength doe not always equal the best possible person for the job. What happens if you have a strong male, but he is always off task or afraid to make decisions…so at a fire he is too slow at getting to the people inside a burning building and then he cannot decide who to save…a cat or a dog and both end up dying based on his indecision.

What if a woman…quite strong, but not as strong as that man goes to a fire. She is very brave…quick…full of stamina and can stay focused and on task and make quick decisions to save everyone in the building? Even women’s bodies…yes, we are designed to carry a baby, but someone has to do it!!! And, we are not forced to carry babies, we have a choice to get pregnant or not in our bodies…and since I am a Mother I can tell you that there is nothing wimpy about being a Mother…it is a very important, prestigious job of being appointed as the givers of life on this planet Earth. We hold that power…and God must have a lot of respect for women and trust us as being capable to give us the literal job of creating life and bringing it forth into this world…incredible.

Anyway, I am feminine and like to dress up and look nice, but I also love to wear joggers on somedays and go fishing. To be fair, I think both men and women are discriminated against…and I think men have it just as bad because they are taught that they are not male if they do not drool over women, they are not men if they cannot play sports, they are not men if they have feelings or are emotional. To be called a girl is the worst insult to a male…and in my opinion, we need to stop putting this pressure on men. We need to educate people that the feminine is a great thing…and men are lucky to possess both the masculine and feminine within themselves. We need to let people be individuals and accept them for all of their traits.

From letigre

I think the Dove advert involving a woman having a makeover and being technologically altered is a bit disingenuous. The woman in the advert is not a catwalk model or supermodel or anything like that. Both before and after, she looks like the girl-next-door.

The truth is that the most famous models that appear in magazines – Lily Cole, Kate et al – actually look better in real life than on the catwalk or in adverts. Those two in particular look virtually supernatural. We won’t boost anybody’s self-esteem by pretending that those kinds of women are plain janes that only look extraordinary after make-overs and the way their photos are enhanced because that is simply bullshit.

We’d be better off asking on a more fundamental and deep-seated level why so many women and girls do not like themselves or their looks, and address the wider social, cultural, emotional and psychological issues entailed.

From zak jane keir

As the Great Veil Debate rumbles on, is it really only me noticing a great big point that’s been missed? My starting point is one of equal disdain for all superstitions, be they Christian, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, animist or… just insert the name of your own favourite one here and assume I have the same disinclination to take it seriously. What anyone does in their own time that doesn’t involve violence against unconsenting others or indeed making a thumping pest of themselves in public places is up to them. However, why is it that, of those who are trying to articulate some degree of anxiety about the existence of individuals whose belief systems might lead them to plant bombs somewhere, absolutely no one has mentioned the possibility that, when a young male abandons his jeans and trainers for flowing robes and chucks his razor in the bin, this might hint at the adoption of a viewpoint which is possibly starting him on a journey towards religiously-motivated violence? Is it really just that only women’s dress and appearance matters?

From Paul Brown

I am slightly concerned, and somewhat surprised, that the f-word appeared to tentatively come down on the side of Timothy Garton Ash, Catherine Bennet et al, on the issue of the niqab. Women in the Muslim community, and the Muslim world, are in need of the support and solidarity of those of us that are free to express ourselves and choose our own lifestyles. Feminists should therefore take inspiration from women such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maryam Namazie, who have fled Islamism, and do what we can to support girls’ and women’s freedom and independence, be it relating to the veil, arranged/forced marriage, and the limiting of women’s options in life within the Muslim communuities.

Although I recognise that the f-word wasn’t adopting a specific line on this issue, i do not agree that it is a difficult or thorny question. It is quite clear-cut that the niqab is a symbol of patriarchy and misoginy. Let’s just say so and not tip-toe on egg shells around religious minorities.

From Janis

In the 3rd of October post ‘European Court undermines effort to close wage gap’, in the quote from the Court ruling, the ruling refers to the non-specific as he, ‘his duties’, ‘enabling him’. Language is important, it controls thinking, and if the court is already prejudiced at this level and passing that on because people are reading it and absorbing this message sometimes without realising it, we’re not even off the starting blocks.