Comments from January 2011

Comments on the latest features and reviews

Punk women write back, by Cazz Blase

From Claire Napier

I have loved the women in punk articles. Thanks so much!

Burlesque: stripped of authenticity?, a review by Taraneh Ghajar Jerven

From lee ann cafferata

This is a perceptive analysis of a film that is deceptively simple on the surface; yet whose plot, portrayal of women, and exploration of an

entertainment genre open to door to a deeper and broader look at how women have molded identity and autonomy over time throughout history. Brava.

Comments on earlier features and reviews

Are you feminist enough?, by Annika Spalding

From Charlotte

I’m responding to the article ‘are you feminist enough?’

In a nutshell, my boss took a grievance out against me accusing me,

amongst other things, of being a feminist and therefore unsuitable to work with vulnerable young people. My employers don’t hear why I object to that being an accepted and upheld statement. I have many issues with the messy details of this can of worms but that aspect in particular is what twists the knife in my back. I have no problem with being called a feminist, I hasten to add. I do have a problem with the term being used pejoratively, and especially within employment (we work empowering young people).

From Jan

An excellent article, which I strongly identified with and doubtless

countless others will as well. Annika was in fact describing the exact

fish-out-of-water situation I frequently find myself in, situations where

I find myself without words, not because I don’t think people won’t care,

but more because the differences in the contexts of the two worlds

sometimes amaze me to despair and speechlessness. It is only in recent

years that I have had an exposure to feminist settings and companions,

where I have had a chance to realise that my experiences and feelings are just as valid despite the world at large giving me a contradictory picture. And ever since I have had that exposure, I find that in some of my older settings, where earlier I had only a twinge of discomfort, I fear I am extremely uncomfortable now. Like Annika, I do not want to be labelled as the “crazy feminist”, though that doesn’t always stop me from saying things or wearing my “being different” on my sleeve. What I’m trying to say is that I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one!

Dark angels, by Roxanne Bibizadeh

From PJ McNally

You raise some good points – but i have a particular concern about the chalor and similar garments –

How does one take exercise? I like to cycle to work or to the shops, and to go for a run a couple of times a week, to stay fit and burn off some stress. I couldn’t do this dressed like that. And I’d go nuts – no

exercise, a sedentary lifestyle – the chalor seems to encourage this.

Finding feminism, by Josh Hadley

From Miss Dobbie

It’s interesting what you, in a sense went through, from seeing yourself as an outsider to feeling sort of accepted in a sense. I agree Feminism can help men too, both genders need to work together to create a better society.

Honeymoon cystitis? , by Hannah Fearn

From Anonymous

I just had to write and comment on this article on recurrent cystitis by Hannah Fearn. I can’t tell you how good it feels to finally read from

someone who voices everything I have gone through myself over the last nearly 20 years. I began suffering from cystitis as soon as I became

sexually active at 15 and have suffered from repeated episodes ever since – the only times I haven’t are during periods of not being in a relationship.

As Hannah so accurately said, not only are the physical symptoms

unbearable, the emotional fallout is devastating: sex is hard to relax and

enjoy when you know you’re going to suffer terrible pain afterwards. I have also experienced exactly the same reaction from all the doctors I’ve seen over the years. Repeated prescripions of antibiotics (some of which now do not work for me) and the advice of “drink cranberry juice”. As much as cranberry supplements may help, it’s hard to take seriously when the pain is so great from this illness. I’d be very interested to hear from any other women who have suffered from repeat “honeymoon” cystitis and how they manage the illness on a day to day basis.

Women in punk: the disappearing years, by Cazz Blase

From Emma Goldman

I came across these articles last week and have just finished the series. I was compelled to write as i found the series really interesting and informative. In part 4 it is mentioned that the scene was waining in terms of girls in punk ‘Feminism, as well as punk, was pronounced dead. But are things ever that simple?’ I can only talk about the scene which i know and that is the alternative punk scene in London right now. London is awash with bands where female members rule. Pettybone are an example of girls going it alone. Pettybone are how i would imagine Bikini Kill to be like, girls, shouting out feminist lyrics, with a fuck you, that no one would even dare to question them. Point is, things are happening in London and Pettybone are one of a few but passionate, political female indie punk bands, we have a great scene here and it should be recognised as such.

Cazz Blase, author of the article, replies

Emma, thank you for your comments on the punk women series. I’m pleased you found the series informative and interesting. In terms of the line you are referring to, this was written to line up the issues I intended to discuss in part five, namely that a number of women involved with the 1970s UK punk scene went quiet in the ’80s, and many ceased to make music, but that despite both punk and feminism being declared dead by the early ’90s, grunge and riot grrrl came along, and a number of the ’70s punk women were able to use either or both scenes as a way back into making music or writing about punk.

I’m pleased the London scene is so healthy, I suspect that the girl punk scenes in a number of other UK towns and cities are also equally healthy. It’s always nice to have this confirmed, but please don’t think that I was suggesting that there were no punk girls after, say, 1981 – I know there were, I know there are. That’s why I discussed riot grrrl, Ladyfest and grunge. I didn’t do as much on the last 10 years, musically, because I felt that much of it was a continuation of what had happened in the previous 10 years: Ladyfest, Girls Rock Camp and many of the bands involved with them being the legacy of riot grrrl. If I’d been writing about riot grrrl exclusively, and it’s legacy, then I would have been writing a lot more about the scene you discuss, but that was never the intention of the series. The intention was to focus on women from the ’70s punk scene, to show that a) they did exist b) that what they were doing at the time was important c) that it continues to be important d) that they are back doing stuff now e) that that is important too. I’m sorry if that wasn’t the series you wanted to read.

I have written about riot grrrl before, and it’s legacy, and I am aware that this year is the 20th anniversery of its birth, and that last year was the 10 year anniversary of Ladyfest. I do intend to write about the 20 year anniversary, but in the meantime, please feel free to read the first of what I hope will be many pieces on the subject.

I would also add that, personally, I’m eagerly awaiting the next wave of post-punk, post-riot grrrl, post-Ladyfest action. I’m waiting for someone to do something new to take it to the next level. Maybe it will be the band you mentioned, maybe it will be a new writer, or a new film maker, or a new activist campaign, or a website, or a magazine… I don’t know. Maybe it will be you.

So please don’t feel discouraged – I do write about and acknowledge girls in punk today, it’s just that this wasn’t the kind of series where that was the focus.

Painful vagina? Your poor husband!, by S

From Lily

I just wanted to send my support and empathy to the sufferer of vulvar vestibulitis. I’ve got the same condition myself and while the medical practitioners I’ve seen have been very kind and at least taken me seriously, unlike the horrible experiences of the writer here – which is

just disgusting and inexcusable, I was truly horrified for her – I have no

real hope of any sort of resolution (I also have the dilators which don’t

do a lot except squish my organs around and burn) so I understand the

frustration and guilt that the writer feels. I wish her the very best and

am glad she has a loving man who is ‘man’ enough to love her for who she is and not just for penetrative sex. I didn’t know that this affects as many as 15% of women – I wish more women had a place to talk about it since one of the worst things is feeling so alone with it.

Please send the writer my thanks in posting the article too – it helped me feel less afraid and lonely. I wish her continued courage and empathy with her very real and horrible condition.

On kickboxing, women’s aggression and self-defence, by Jessica Burton

From Todd Olsen

I teach a Kickboxing for Practical Self Defense class in Seattle, WA. All of my students are women and they love it! Thanks for your thought

provoking, informative article! Todd

Abortion: still a feminist issue, by Irina Lester

From briona

I Love you sooooooooo much…. i’ve been searching the web for some really strong arguments for abortion because it seems everyone is against it. You have just helped me sooo much. Im writing a paper on the affects of the roe vs wade desicion on the women’s right movement, thank you so much!!!

The media has failed women’s football, by Carrie Dunn

From Ben Murgatroyd

In response to “the media has failed women’s football”:

The question needs to be asked, why does the media not cover women’s football? The answer is because it’s not going to get the viewers. These are highlights from the women’s FA cup 1998:


This is supposed to be the biggest game in english football and that’s the standard of play? it’s like asking why does the media put league 2 football matches on tv? because people are interested in the best standard i.e. the top of the men’s game. I’m not being sexist, i just wouldn’t enjoy watching a poor standard football match, whether it were men or women playing. This is why men’s football and the top level stuff gets so much coverage. The media are not to blame in the slightest.

‘Honey! Your vagina needs a mint’, by Samara Ginsberg

From Thomas Mallory

I love all vaginas, hairy ,loose, large labias, really doesnt matter to me they all all beautiful. The author of this article is great and hilarious ,in exposing this ridiculous organization that is feeding readers a load of BS. WOMEN BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU HAVE. Anyone who wants what this organization is promoting, go find the perfect vagina , I wish you lots of luck.

Home Economics: Vintage Advice and Practical Science for the 21st Century Household, a review by Victoria Dutchman-Smith

From Warren Cella

The article writen about home economics is rife with sexism, bigotry, and heterophobia. My assumption of the author is a lesbian (she made a reference living in a no-mans land in the description part about said author), not that it matters, but if I (white, hetero male-I guess evil incarnate) was to critique, analyse and ridicule lesbian relationsips i’d be branded a homophobe. Good to see feminists are such hypocrites. Good day.

Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies

Included really for chuckles and as a demonstration that, yes, we do still receive offensive comments such as this even if we don’t publish them.

Blue is for boys?, a review by Jessica Smith

From DE

A rugby strip to warm the heart of Feminists ? Cardiff Blues away shirt – as pink as you’d like it.

C’mon Scarlets !

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies advocates cosmetic labiaplasty, a review by Bellavita

From anon

Are you a doctor? If her labia was causing her distress, why should she be made to live with it because of your stupid views? She obviously wasn’t happy and they helped her and now shes probably living a better life! So what makes you so special to judge people! get your head out your arse!

Jess McCabe, editor of The F-Word, replies

The notion that a review on The F-Word forces anyone to do anything is rather comic to be honest.

The circle of expectations, a review by George Mason

From Kat

I loved your article George, as an actress myself I am all too aware of these stereotypes you have so very well highlighted. It seems a lot of

these roles come from melodrama… one scene comes to mind where a man is deciding whether to reurn to his wife and children, the wife in a fit of hysterics at the front foor of his mistresses house. The ‘vamp’ appears at the top of the stairs in her nightdress and attempts to luer him back to her. In his melodramatic stuggle to make up his mind between the two women he falls down the stairs….

It even took me a second to question why on earth I was feeling sorry for the guy. I had instinctively related to the protagonist as an audience member. Because we follow his struggle and understand his dilemma, and the woman is clearly villianised- plus we feel little sympathy for the crying women incapable of standing up for herself- we fall on the side of the man.

Even though he’s been cheating on his wife….

The ethics of sex toys – part one, a review by Ms Razorblade

From Rachel Ilan

I just wanted to thank Ms. Razorblade for her excellent review and

discussion of sex toys. I’m an Industrial Design student working on a sex

toy design, and her statement that good research is hard to find is quite

right. This was a wonderful and comprehensive article.

General comments

From Jennah Jones

I just thought I would bring your attention to this disgusting Daily Mail article.–time-went-diet.html

How can they get away with this kind of story – ‘perhaps it’s time to go on a diet’ – since when were they the experts on body image?? It’s just article after article of women in bikinis – the skinny ones aren’t

condemned it those that ‘fill out’ that are subject to the hatred of the

Daily Mail – and yet this article will be allowed to run – and most likely

– there will be more just like it tomorrow – where girls will stare at that

picture and think ‘My god – if they think she should go on a diet – at THAT weight – then why on earth aren’t I?’

I apologise but this article is so in your face, blatant sexism and body fascism that I don’t understand why it’s allowed to be there! Why are these messages never aimed at men??

Also, notice how now the Daily Mail – in such ‘controversial’ articles,

does not disclose the name of the journalist and instead favours the ‘DAILY MAIL REPORTER’ method – so whoever writes the article will not be subject to the consequences of their writings. This is pathetic and shows that the Daily Mail IS VERY AWARE of the hatred they spill out to women daily!! We deserve to know WHO is WRITING what – but they favour the cowards way as patriarchy always seems to do – take the easy route in to attacking women – looks, weight, clothes, age. Ridiculous.

I went on the Daily Mail website in the hope of some good, unbiased, balanced pieces of journalism and instead of getting some information on the world around me (like most women are concerned with – not in fact their weight) I was bombarded with half naked women, skinny socialites and people who the Daily Mail thought it was time to ‘go on a diet’ – being the expert on such matters and all.

What can we do to stop this kind of hatred being published about women? How can I protect younger, perhaps more sensitive women than me who won’t respond to these images so defensively and instead will be pulled in to the DM’s warped version of reality??

From Kaitlyn Cole

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! “12 Terrific TED Talks Every Young Woman Should Watch”

( would be an interesting story for your readers to check out and discuss on your blog.

Either way, I hope you continue putting out great content through your

blog. It has been a sincere pleasure to read.