Comments from November 2010

Comments on this month’s features and reviews

A modest reminder, by David Standen

From Denise

I loved this piece. Absolutely brilliant, fascinating and very touching.

Thank you, thank you.

More like this, please!

From Gill Saville

I learnt a historical fact I was unaware of – a very interesting article

about Emily Davison by Dave Standen. I liked the quirky beginning, as it enticed one to read on.

From Ian Tester

Thanks for the informative piece on Emily Davison – in case you’re

interested, here’s a link to our blog which shows the records in more

detail. We were delighted to find it. And a thousand times more delighted when Tony Benn rang to thanks us for solving the mystery!

Cuts? Women will take them on the chin, by Fionnuala Murphy

From LonerGrrrl

Brilliant article, Fionnaula & I share many of your concerns.

The first of those is the impact of the ‘hidden’ local govt cuts you

mention, which have yet to take effect. I work in local govt & it really

concerns me the extent of the cuts being proposed. And unfortunately

services and resources aimed at specific groups i.e. women, BME

communities, seem to be the first ones to get the chop or have their

funding reduced. In my city, councillors have brushed aside calls to

support the local rape crisis centre which is in real need of funding, but

have no qualms stumping up millions of pounds to support new shopping

centres and multiplex cinemas. They’re seemingly more concerned with their public image than with using their position to help those living within the communities they’re supposed to represent.

Which is probably why you’re getting evasive letters back from the

councillors you’ve written to – with my job, I see people’s letters to

councillors come in & they’re just passed on to the senior manager in the

relevant department to deal with – they don’t want to get their hands

dirty, and aren’t privy to all the info.

Fortunately though, unlike London, my local council is intending on doing an EIA on the cuts, & it’ll be interesting to see the results.

I also agree that we need to be leading this battle ourselves – men &

women in suits largely don’t have the interests of the average working

woman/mother at the forefront of their concerns – as I said above, a lot of them are in it for their own gain.

We really do need a heartier feminist, women-centred response to these cuts, but because, as you point out, it’s going to be low-paid female workers & single working mums most affected, they are also the ones with the least time & resources at their disposal to demonstrate in the traditional (male-dominated) way. I imagine any protest movement we do have would need to take a more community-centred approach, so woman can take action & express their views close to home, & perhaps those of us who identify as feminists could have a role spear-heading that sort of consciousness-raising & campaigning in our towns & cities, & co-ordinating it to create more of a national response?

In the meantime, hopefully article’s like yours will get more of us

thinking about this issue & what we can actually start doing about it.

From B T O’Donnell

Excellent article

From andieberry

I concur with your comment about the hidden cuts.I volunteer for a women’s charity that has had funding cut. As a low income single mum i relied on a small nursery that understood that cashflow was a problem and would hang on until i had the cash for payment, a very rare thing.

Since then I learned that this nursery also participated in a programme which took kids for for a couple of hours a day from struggling families , giving well needed head space for parents and socialisation for young children , funding provided by the council, which has now been cut. The refurbishment of the a small garden space for the kids to play in (a meagre £200 grant) was also cut. I raised this at a council meeting and basically got the shrugged shoulder treatment. A little means a lot to low-income working class women.

Blue is for boys?, a review by Jessica Smith

From Charlotte Revely

Will definitely buy this book as I think these pervasive messages are

getting much stronger. Models get thinner, everything is pink, cupcakes and domesticity back on the agenda, a proliferation of lap dancing clubs and the pornification of the music industry. This is going to sound incredibly trite, and I realise will not constitute empirical evidence, but the truth of Kat’s book is apparent for me when I observe my two kittens playing. One male and one female – both fight and play in exactly the same way. I think the testosterone kicks in for adult males but pre-adolescent there seems to be no difference. We could learn a lot from cats!

From cycleboy

Having long been very suspicious of the ‘hard-wired’ brain theory, I

bought this book as soon as I heard about it, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The only problem I now have is that I still do not have a pithy retort to throw at those people who continue to believe the blue/pink dichotomy. I want to tell them to read the book but know, because of their preconceptions, they’ll never do it. Never let facts get in the way of a heart-felt prejudice.

Jessica Smith, author of the article, replies

Hi cycleboy,

Thanks for your comment. I know exactly what you mean. I too really struggle with how to respond to this kind of comment.

I have tried a few different options in response to the one that I hear most commonly at the moment: “he’s such a boy/boys are so rough/girls aren’t like this”, or some variation on that. I have tried a lighthearted “Oh I don’t know, my daughter can be just the same”, to a “don’t you think they are just following by example/responding to what we teach them”, right through to a more forceful “I don’t think boys are born to be rougher than girls – we just teach girls it’s not acceptable to be rough at an earlier age”.

I have found that in general the lighthearted response does not get any reaction, and it doesn’t really make me feel any better. However, on occasions when I have used a more questioning style with friends they have actually engaged in the discussion, and I have perhaps been able to highlight to them how each little thing we say or do impacts on how our little ones behave. However, I am far from having the courage to do this each time I hear these kind of statements. I am currently picking and choosing my battles. So I would encourage you to think of the comments you hear most often, and figure out a polite but yet questioning form of response and try it out. You never know – you might get a few people who would like to read the book!!

Eat Pray Love: consumerism is not empowerment, by Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

From carolyn

But on the positive side, the lead character raises money to build a home for another divorced woman and her child in Bali – solidarity! and on a lighter note, there were no car chases, visits to strip clubs, or invasions of alien planets

From Kristin

I read ‘Eat Pray Love’ a couple of months back, but don’t think I’ll be

bothering with the film. I found the book entertaining and well written,

but the girl meets boy and her troubles are over ending did suck. And no, we don’t all have the funds to spend months in Rome and Bali. Having said that, I don’t see what is wrong with learning a language ‘for pure pleasure’, or trying to find yourself through yoga and meditation. In the book, Gilbert’s character spends a lot of time talking about meditation and enlightenment and life in general, not shopping. I don’t remember her interfering to say an arranged marriage would be okay, but obviously Hollywood thought that would make big drama!

I thought the book was mostly funny and entertaining. It’s not the

greatest thing I’ve ever read, but it was okay. And the part where Gilbert

goes to a football match to hear some good ol’ Italian swearing, the kind

you won’t learn in class, is hilarious. There was a discussion about the film on Newsnight Review a few weeks back, which I thought was incredibly vitriolic. Not least because I couldn’t help but think ‘sour grapes!’ the way the other authors/critics kept going on about all the millions of copies the book had sold – which their far superior works clearly haven’t! For something they thought so unimportant, they were paying that book a LOT of attention. And if Hollywood then makes a movie with all the attendant publicity etc, can you blame Elizabeth Gilbert personally for that? I don’t think so. The book has touched a nerve with millions of women worldwide – which in turn seems to

be touching a lot of misogynistic nerves. The most misogynistic of all

being that a woman should do something ‘for pure pleasure’. The very idea!

Taraneh Ghajar Jerven, author of the article, replies

It’s best to start by saying I have read the book and enjoyed parts of it. Gilbert is a skilled writer. I chose to review the film and not the book because the two products are quite dissimilar. There were many instances where the film not only over simplified the book’s plot, but also skewed the book’s themes.

To follow up on Gilbert’s role in marketing the film, I hold living authors personally responsible for their decision to sell film rights to Hollywood. That being said, Gilbert also marketed the book as self-help during both her appearances on Oprah. The film exponentially exacerbated the existing Gilbert commercial self-help trend.

Regarding the undeniable vitriol expressed toward Gilbert from critics, I don’t share their views. I begrudge no-one the pleasure of indulging in a quest for selfhood, food, travel, or a successful writing career. The review noted that critics find life crises amusing when they happen to men, and intolerable from women. If only Gilbert’s mass-marketed solution to a female mid-life crisis had more ingenuity than simply scooping up a new man.

From Mitra

I was interested to read Taraneh Ghajar Jerven’s article about Eat, Pray Love, but found that her comments were based on the film rather than the book. So, when Jerven critiques the value of Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘quest for enlightenment’, I found this unbalanced as it was a response to the saccharine film adaptation and its subsequent marketing, rather than the original source: a real story of a woman’s emotional journey.

Although by no means a piece of highbrow literature, I found the book an honest and entertaining account of a woman’s emotional and spiritual path. To dismiss her experience or methods, which Jerven seems to do, because she was a privileged woman seems distasteful – surely we should have progressed past judging women based on their place in society? Just because she had means behind her, does this make her experience less valuable? Looking to others for guidance, for example, is a common and admirable part of any quest for improvement, and I feel is criticised only because of her privilege.

Perhaps I make these points because the book tells a more balanced storyof a more likable character, acknowledging of her advantage, on a genuine personal spiritual journey – where as Jerven may have felt the film showedan over-privileged woman having faux-spiritual experiences – and I agree this is an un-engaging proposition!

One more thing – I found the comments on the different ways women and men’s mid life crises are depicted was spot on. I had never thought of this double standard before – but how true!

Taraneh Ghajar Jerven, author of the article, replies

You are not the first reader to leap to Gilbert’s defense based on a positive experience with the book. As someone who also enjoyed the book, I know where you’re coming from. But I diverge from sharing your thoughts when it comes to assigning responsibility for the “saccharine” state of the film, as you put it. Gilbert, as a savvy and successful professional, knows how films are marketed and diluted. Yet she still chose that route for her work. She made a choice. She profited from her choice. The film exists because of Gilbert’s human agency.

In the midst of the backlash of a global credit crisis, it strikes me that portraying privilege now in cinema is a controversial topic. I agree with you that being privileged is not grounds for discrediting an individual. My comments make a distinction between sharing an extraordinary personal experience and marketing an extraordinary personal experience. To me, Gilbert’s role in the film promotion as well as Gilbert’s appearances on Oprah promoting the book, which I did not reference in the film review, transformed her unique travel experience into a self-help product.

Comments on earlier features and reviews

Putting survivors back in the centre of the anti-violence movement, by Sophie Taylor and Davina James-Hanman

From tom hulley

This is an much needed article because it reminds of the importance of listening to experience. It is also vital that people with experience of

any kind of disadvantage are included in building positive responses. Some years ago, I was involved in an organisation run by parents of children who were disabled (by social expectations and arrangements). Our motto was: ‘professionals on tap not on top’.

Someone told me that a child involved in the early days of Childline by speaking out about her experience, later retracted. She said that she

should have stayed silent. Her reason was that the father went to prison

and the family was broken up. This story is not only tragic because she

blamed herself for the consequences of violence against her but also

because the responses were not what she expected. She spoke out so violence could be ended. The professional response, from her view, ended the family.

I have heard many times from survivors of violence how they wanted violence to end rather than wanting any kind of vengeance or punishment for the perpetrators. Often, by the time it stops, they have already experienced too much. Against Violence and Abuse seems to be an organisation that can draw from the experience of survivors in a way that can help policy-makers and practitioners work out how to respond more effectively.

Maybe there are limits to the usefulness of doing things for people and limits to what survivors can or want to achieve by themselves.

Collaboration seems to be the key so long as it is informed by the

expectations of survivors more than the assumptions of professionals.

Thanks Sophie and Davina for explaining the work of AVA in such a timely and helpful way. I hope that I have listened properly and you will respond if not.

‘It’s not RAPE rape’, by Amity Reed

From prettychickpea

Just read the article about birth rape. This really struck a chord. It

really was like rape. Glad I’m not the only one and that someone out there is voicing it.

From BrokeHarvardGrad

Just wanted you to know that I have stories of scores of women who have been raped by doctors or medical practitioners, in every sense of the word, and I appreciate the fact that this spot is dedicated to speaking out. Here is my most recent post link:

From Sue

In response to article about birth rape,I completely agree that it is very much an infringement and an assault of women.

I definitely think women would have a more positive experience of

childbirth if they had more one on one attention .

If I ever became pregnant I would certainly consider an elective

caesarean,although I know that that too carries risks.

From Victoria

I had a medical procedure performed on me where I felt deeply humiliated, violated, afraid, and in a great deal of pain. My doctor told me I made a huge fuss for being a woman. Even though this didn’t happen while trying to give birth, I do believe it was a kind of sexual assault. I tried to say this after, but no one believed me.

Honeymoon cystitis?, by Hannah Fearn

From Mary Edwards

Hannah Fearn’s article on cystitis was welcome to my ears. As an

occasional sufferer of kidney and bladder infections, like many women, I

would argue that the frequency and commonality of the condition seems, like menstrual pain and stress, to work against it. Rather than being recognised as the painful, debilitating condition it can be, it is just another aspect of the vagina and female internal organs which men profess not to understand, nor want to, for fear it would disenchant the mystical feminine region they penetrate. It is still embarrassing to have to phone a male manager and explain why a bad bout of cystitis has stopped you attending work- I worry they either think I’m admitting to having frenetic sex all hours of the night, then simply feeling a bit sore in the morning (cue banter, banter) or that I’m a work-shy whiner milking something akin to a mild cold. Therefore, I must try to explain the causes and symptoms to someone who would much rather you didn’t talk about ‘that kind of stuff’. Unless they happen to have a girlfriend or partner that has suffered with it, I find few men have any real idea what it is, and, though it is not always or only sex that causes or exacerbates it, might associate it with women’s sexual pleasure being somehow seedy and punishable.

I agree with Hannah in that if it affected the penis and male urethra (it does exist, but is nowhere near as common, and more often an STI: NSU, or non-specific urethritis, which causes similar effects) as easily as it does the female, more medical research beyond antibiotics and shrugging of shoulders would be done. Men, not enjoying sex? Developing a fear of pain as the twin of sexual arousal? Missing work because they have a burning at the base of their penis and the need to pee painfully, continually, for it to have a chance to pass? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I imagine the physical symptoms would, at least at a social level, be treated more seriously for a man than a woman experiencing the same, regularly, throughout her life. I suspect this is because it’s not seen as much of a big deal for women not to enjoy sex, or to have abdominal pain, and also how boring it must get, us complaining all the time! Much better just shut up and get on with it, and if it gets that bad, just quit your job and have babies instead of trying to maintain a decent attendance record and reputation for a good ‘work ethic’.

I might add that this applies to other medical problems common in women and related to the urinary and reproductive organs. The embarrassment women feel discussing, for example, how polycystic ovaries affect their life beyond family and close friends should belong to an era that, we hoped, had long since passed. The problem is that while I don’t profess to know much about the prostate beyond where it is in the male body, I don’t feel uncomfortable talking about it, and I don’t say, with a grin and shudder, ‘men’s bits’ as if it were a whole other world of complicated tubes and tides too bizarre and powerful to understand. Cystitis and similar aspects of women’s health which, while comparatively minor, can be painful, stressful and sex-ruining, should be taken seriously. I think we all have to start getting nonchalant in the face of the cringe or shrug, and make it clear that it shouldn’t be a quiet inevitability.

From Katie

My goodness, I thought it was only me! Ive been having on and off bouts of cystitis for two years. I have been asked by doctors if I know how to clean myself properly and if I eat too much asparagus!? These questions have kept cropping up for the whole of these two years and my condition generally gets fobbed off or I get some anit-biotics. Im only 22 now and I dont want to be taking these so often, but no one really knows what to do?

Like yourself I have been careful with washing (obviously…) and drinking the right fluids. It has completely ruined days for me, as

I’ve been in unbelievable pain for hours on end. Its made me worry in my relationship, as its not exactly the most sexy thing, though I do have a wonderful and understanding boyfriend.

What makes it worse, which is something that hasnt been mentioned in the article, is the sense of social stigma too. I have only ever had the one boyfriend, yet now when I talk about it I often feel like a bit of a slut or people wonder if I sleep around a bit….lovely.

Thanks for a refreshing article on the matter, I dont feel so alone now!

A woman… and a geek?, by Wisrutta Atthakor

From Ethel Small

Let me preface this by saying I’m not a feminist at all my sister

forwarded me this article as I’m a gamer. I honestly don’t see what the big deal is, I love playing my xbox, shooting bad guys, zombies etc I also love comic books and sci fi, this undoubtedly makes me a geek but I’m proud of this. Not only do I not get any form of stigma what so ever, but in fact men adore the fact I’m into games and comics (not that that is the reason why I am) any time I go into a game store I might get extra attention but only in a good way. Gamer girls are now in fact sexed up and seen as a rare commodity, not sure if that’s a good thing in your eyes either but it’s widely recognised that there is in fact a large market out there of female gamers, that’s why Game crush exists, something you will no doubt object to, where people (mostly men) pay to play with female gamers. You could earn some pocket money :p

Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies

You would be right, GameCrush sounds a bit objectionable.

Painful vagina? Your poor husband!, by S

From christine

I just wanted to thank you for this post. I have been researching vulvar pain for almost 10 years — as an anthropologist — and I don’t think that I’ve come across anything so far that so frankly addressed the “penetrative imperative” in the way that you have here. Thank you so much for your candor and your willingness to share what I know is an unbelievably uphill battle.

Bring the herstory of riot grrrl back into the present, by Heather McIntosh

From rachele

I really enjoyed your article. I have been performing as a punk muscians for the last two years. I would say one main issue for female muscians is at a grassroots level. I started off playing open mic nights, and still do today and have to say out of all the places to play these are usually the most hostile to women, Other male muscians have a ‘pat on the bacc’ thing going with other male muscians but hardly ever towards women performers at these events-regardless of how shit they were. Open mic nights are a place where artists build up confidence- where they stop being a bedroom artist and start being a real performer but its hard when they are so hostile to women. Only at an open mic night have i had criticism so bad from a guywhich has made me cry- i always think if i were a bloke they wouldn’t have said it as they would have got a punch in the face. At the sametime, women arnt taking the initiative to get involved with music- they are happier being in the audience. BUt i have seen a new angsty form of girl music develop especially in London and Cambridge- were there are really in your face girls doing some really interesting political stuff but dealiened with feminism as they wouldnt automatically themselves feminist. Ironically, the boys in the music scene seem to be getting soppier! Having recently moved to manchester i was shocked at the lack of ‘inbetween’ level gigs- there are lots of open mics and big gigs but few small ones- in contrast to london or brighton where i have played alot. To this cause me and a group of girls are setting up a night called ‘MOFO’ or music of female origin which is to support and promote female musicians, djs and performers. Its been weird as I had an idea for this for a while, but couldnt put my finger on what it was until i read your article- there are still lots of girls who are influenced by girl riot but there is no ‘fixed’ scene where they can come together anymore. Anyway sorry for the essay- my main point was I enjoyed the article! Please write some more : O x

Feminism and the vampire novel, by Caitlin Brown

From Emma

Feminism and the the vampire novel- Hey I came across your article and liked it. Two of my obsessions right now vampire/ supernatural novels and feminism.

I haven’t read Twighlight, but the girl sounds to be portrayed as very

weak unless the male provides her with such power.

I’m reading Anita Blake at the moment and she can kick ass, which I always like to see in the heroine and she relies on her own stregnth and power opposed to being protected by the male character.

Violence is always eroticised in these type of books, thus the women are portrayed as sexually deviant when first sleeping with someone who is dead and enjoy being bitten when having sex.

Which portrays that with a herione who is strong and powerful she must be an abnormal women on another level. Thus no average women can be powerful.

Thanks for the article

Turn your back on Page 3, by Francine Hoenderkamp

From Pauline Radley

I support your campaign because there seem to be increasing numbers of men who think they can make suggestive remarks to women who are complete strangers and I think page 3 is part of the ‘normalising’ of women as objects

Feminist progress: undermined by the media?, by Anna-Kate

From bimal

the article is excellent and it reveals what is happening today in our


Why men should care about gender stereotypes, by Alex Gibson

From Donna Kleinsmith

Articles written by males regarding feminism and the fact that men allow themselves to be pushed into the “he-man” role give me hope for the future. Kudos to Alex and the f-word!!!!

How the word ‘slut’ oppresses women, by Jennifer Drew

From Artemis Rhodes

“Men not women are always supposed to initiate and control a heterosexual encounter and it is the man who decides what sexual acts will take place. Boys also learn men, because of their biological maleness, have the right and entitlement of sexual access to any woman or girl. Male heterosexual relations with women are not about mutual pleasure, reciprocity or respect but rather conquest of a woman’s body so that the man can prove his ‘manhood’ to other men.”

This is the opposite of my experience. Either Jennifer has never slept with a man, or with a series of utter rotters!

‘Who… me? I’m just a housewife’, by Samantha Jay

From Debra

After reading your “Who me? I’m just a housewife” article, I felt a bit better about myself. I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and social anxiety some time ago, and the way you describe yourself is how I see myself. My doctors have all said I am high-functioning, but there are many things I cannot do without a breakdown- such as work. I last maybe a few days and then all hell breaks loose inside my head and I end up walking out or get fired. Reading your story though, I am more hopefully. Your life has found an even place where you can survive the day to day, and you have someone who loves and cares for you through all of it. I have also found that someone, though I’m still working out the kinks in other places.

From Leighann Kern

Hello! I just stumbled upon your article and it made me very happy! I’m a 20 yr old girl from the U.S. and I find myself in a peculiarly similar

situation. This year I not only got engaged to the most wonderful man I’ve ever met, but I’ve also put a name to the issue that’s been giving me hell for year- Bipolar. I LOVE being a student, and I am almost always taking a full semester of 4 or 5 courses, and working part time. However I always find myself having a huge burnout by the middle or the semester engaging in crying spells, wearing the same outfits for days, staying up all night panicking or just plain feeling miserable. My fiance not only works full time and takes 2 classes, he comes home to comfort me, give me backrubs, hold me, and give me all the sweetness, patience, and love he can muster. So what do I do? When I can, I stay home and clean up, I cook meals, fold his laundry, make him flash cards for his class, leave him little love notes and candies on his pillow, just to remind him of how wonderful and supportive he is and how much I enjoy being around him. As much as I dread saying it; I am also destined to be a feminist housewife. I have ALWAYS considered myself a feminist though none of my friends have accepted the title and my mother finds me somewhat unladylike for it. Many feminists at the liberal arts school I went to made me feel bad for actually liking men, and wanting to be a housewife/ support system and mother. They would lecture me on how I was misguided and needed to focus on a career. It’s never been up my alley, but you know what? I will continue to read my blogs, listen to my music, read my literature, study women’s issues and fully consider myself a feminist. I LOVE your article! Thank you for


From Helen Parsons

I can totally engage with what Samantha Jay is saying. I have been a happy housewife and mother for over 20 years and I don’t “want it all”. I just graduated, which I did for myself, and find I am unemployable (probably my age – 53) but, although we really need the money, am happy to continue staying at home.

World Cup WAGs, by Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams

From Eve

I’m writing here after reading the article “World Cup WAGs” by Sarah Louisa Phythian-Adams, written in 2006, and I just had a thought: instead of always focusing on what women don’t have and that men have, take a step back and see what women have and men don’t, for example, beauty competitions: men’s beauty competitions do not reach the elaborateness of women’s (though one may argue that beauty competitions exist for men’s viewing pleasure).

By comparing women to men, aren’t you only reinforcing the male

superiority complex? I believe women are fundamentally different from men (biologically, psychologically etc) and so it may not be viable for women to want the same things as men have. Women should be evaluated on our own terms.

Re-classifying rape, by Ilona Jasiewicz

From Jake Carroll

Recently I have been doing a lot of research into rape culture out of, of course, anger that it exists and shear curiosity. Being a well-read

feminist I am very aware of issues related to gender and sex, and the

oppression that comes with them. While contemplating these issues in the shower (because that’s where I do most of my thinking — I’m a little

weird, but that’s okay), it donned on me that I thought rape should be

categorized as a hate crime. I dried off and hopped on my computer to do further looking into that concept, and I came across an article here, as well as many others throughout the internet. I must say, I loved the

article, but there was tiny part that bothered me about it. In the second

paragraph, the phrasing “sexual preference,” was used and I was thrown off by that. Of course, the author meant the best, and while she may not

personally believe this, when “sexual preference” is used, it gives the

connotation that whomever one is attracted to is a choice when it isn’t.

Aside from that little bit, though, the article and your site is


‘Feminists are Sexist’, by Catherine Redfern

From Henry G.

I stopped reading after the 2 emails sent a valid argument. Instead of giving an intellectual counter argument, you went ahead and acted childlike and nonstop bitching. Someone should take your position as the writer, someone more professional. Sounds like it should be “the B word-

contemporary UK feminism”

B as in bitch, btw.

Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies

B as in Bitch? That’s a massive compliment, thanks.

Men in feminism, by Lizzie Garcha

From Chris Green

Cool tp have a mention of white ribbon campaign in recent article on Men and Feminism.

Quite appropriate too as our work on violence will only be succesful if we

engage in developing new models of masculinity, and engage in all aspects of equality- which we are trying to do

Looking For Leonora, a review by Susan Gilbert

From Anna

In your sub-header, you state that no public gallery exhibits any work by Leonora Carrington. I previously worked at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich and can confirm that this free, public gallery does indeed hold three of her pieces.

Having said this, I do feel that she is undervalued, and unknown in this country which is a shame.

Susan Gilbert, author of the article, replies

Anna, it’s great to know that the Sainsbury Centre has some of Leonora’s work! Presumably this is one reason that the Surreal Friends exhibition transferred from Chichester to Norwich.

Thanks for correcting my ignorance, I’m very happy to find out anything that I didn’t previously know about the women artists I’m researching.

Grease, a review by Raine Stretford

From Brooke Hall

Oh my fish! This is exactly how I feel about Grease! I watched it all the time when I was young, but when I got hooked on it again last year, I was like, crap this is raunchy!! I guess I never realized how sexual it was. I watched a documentary on the making (admittedly this is slighty,

obsessively, dorky) and the director said that they thought they were

throwing a few in here and there, but on review of the final project,

realized just how inappropriate it ended up being. Fortunately, they

decided it would be easier to handle the criticism than change it. :) I’m

still completely obsessed and know it word for word.

General comments

From Harinder Birring

I use Twitter occasionally and yesterday Hardeep Singh Kohil ([at]misterhsk) posted a tweet asking “Why (in 2010) do papers like the Guardian think it’s ok to splash a massive picture of a pretty girl (emma watson) on the front page”. I replied for the same reason trashy mags and tabloids do and – that Feminism is a dirty word these days. [at]misterhsk was surprised or disbelieves the last statement. He did say that it’s like Feminism never happened. It is sad that Feminism is seen as a thing of the past and a step parent to teen girls I can tell you, they don’t give a hoot. I don’t believe that it is as simple as the Guardian wanting to encourage sales of its paper to emma watson fans. My girlfriends agree. Anyway, just wanted to share that as the discussion prompted a debate and we googled and found this brilliant website!

From Lola

I’m a 25 year old Spanish girl. I’ve just found this website and I can’t -literally take my eyes off it! I think you are doing an amazing job, the articles I have read so far are not only witty and true, they are also necessary. Nowadays it seems that feminism is some kind of outfashioned trend that actually marks feminists as hysterical. Does it ring a bell? Exactly, just like intelligent, independent women were seen in the 19th and I must say 20th centuries.

I just wanted to thank you the great, useful job you all are doing and I want you to know that I will make sure all my feminist friends who can speak English -actually not so many will be exposed to the F Word influence.