19 June 2008

"Why women really do love self-obsessed psychopaths"

I expected better from the Independent, and particularly from its "science editor"! (for full article click on the headline above)

"Women might claim they want caring, thoughtful types but scientists have discovered what they really want – self-obsessed, lying psychopaths.

A study has found that men with the "dark triad" of traits – narcissism, thrill- seeking and deceitfulness – are likely to have a larger number of sexual affairs.

Peter Jonason, of New Mexico University in Las Cruces, believes that these traits may have an innate, genetic component that explains why some men seem unable to stop themselves behaving badly."

Even when we ignore the dodgy "science" (Mr Jonason has foolishly failed to patent this "dirty rotten scoundrel" gene which he claims exists), the claim is simply that men with psychopathic tendencies are more likely to go out looking for affairs, which to my mind simply makes it more statistically likely that such men have affairs, (as the other chaps are at home with their families or are happy going about their business and not trying to seduce women left, right and centre).

Clearly, there is no evidence at all that "women" (which implies of course, "all women"...we are a homogenous group, after all) seek out these men. And of course it is not even considered that the women with whom these men have affairs may also be self-obsessed, lying psychopaths, which would explain how the men's "strategy" appears to be so successful in the first place...

01 May 2008

The most fun I ever had without laughing

An interesting furore has apparently arisen from Johnny Vegas' incorporation of lighthearted sexual molestation into his stand-up.

(See the link in the header for the Guardian Blogger article).

However, by far the most revealing comment on this matter must be the one which appears on the "Chortle" comedy website:

http://snipurl.com/26m6h (snipped for ease of posting)

" This was the most enjoyable night of comedy I have ever experienced...The discomfort in the predominately middle class section of the audience I was sitting was palpable during Vegas's set! During the bit where Vegas was sexually molesting a librarian whilst singing Shakespeare Sister's Stay With Me Baby I overheard a lady behind mutter under her breath 'this is hideous!'. The scene was horrifying yet hilarious and Vegas was relentless until Simon Munnery covered the spectacle with his jacket! I will be laughing about this evening for a very long time!"

There's a whole PhD to be written on deconstructing that really.

12 April 2008

Porn and feminism

A really refreshing look at porn and feminism (link in title) where the writer talks to various non-exploitative film-makers and discusses with them what they think is important about making porn films, and how porn can be reconciled with feminism. Kudos for the expression ' po-mo homo porno'.

Feminist book club - part 1

So, it's my unilateral decision this time - democracy can come later - and I'm suggesting two books, to read over two months, as that gives us all a bit more flexibility, especially those of us with finals in May...Books one and two are The female eunuch by Germaine Greer and The dialectic of sex by Shulamith Firestone. Anyone interested in reading along is very welcome to, and eventually we'll have a drink and discuss the books. Men are very welcome to join in!

19 March 2008

Feminist book club

I wrote about this on my books blog: I'm planning on reading a few feminist classics over the next year. I mentioned this at the meeting last Saturday and a few people were keen to join in (in addition to the meetings every three months, we might get together in between and discuss what we're reading). Books that I've thought of/others have suggested so far (some classics, some more recent) are:
  • Simone de Beauvoir: The second sex
  • Germaine Greer: The female eunuch
  • Shulamith Firestone: The dialiectic of sex
  • Mary Wollstonecraft: A vindication of the rights of woman
  • Betty Friedan: The feminine mystique
  • Kate Millett: Sexual politics
  • Virginia Woolf: Three guineas
  • Sheila Rowbotham: Woman's consciousness, man's world
  • Elisabeth Badinter: XY, de l'identit√© masculine (not sure whether this is available in English translation)
  • Susan Faludi: The terror dream
  • Deborah Siegel: Sisterhood, interrupted

Suggestions welcome, and anyone who wants to read along, that would be great.

13 March 2008

Sylvia Plath, by Margaret Drabble

I love this article by Margaret Drabble on Sylvia Plath: I think this is what's so important about Palth, not her suicide: the fact that she started writing about the difficulties of the female experience before the feminist second wave, the frustrations of being a wife as well as childbirth and breatfeeding.

11 March 2008

Feministing Meetup Alliance

Feministing have started a meet-up alliance for local feminist groups (link in title), so I have added our group to it.

Clinton v Obama

A couple of interesting articles, via Feministing, reponding to the media's attempts to portray supporting Clinton as a feminist act, or the 'only' feminist choice, or whether it's unfeminist to support Obama: Deborah Siegel and Courtney E Martin in the Washington Post, and Jessica Valenti writing in the Nation about a split in feminism between older, more establishment feminists, and younger ones.

27 February 2008

Some thoughts for the next meeting - women and sex

I've been thinking about sexuality in preparation for the next meeting so here are a few links and articles I've come across.

The wikipedia article on sex-positive feminism is interesting - not perfect, but it raises some of the issues at hand.

Annie Sprinkle has a website in which you can find some of her writings and articles - possibly a little bit NSFW but some interesting stuff on there.

Another sex-positive feminist, Susie Bright, has a really excellent blog in which she discusses all manner of political and feminist current issues.

The f-word has some interesting articles (in their sex and relationships section)and a podcast of a discussion about porn.

Lynne Segal has an interesting article about some problems of feminism and (hetero) sex - I didn't agree with some of this but it's pretty interesting anyway.

21 January 2008

Pankhurst turns in her grave

Link in title. Really, I just don't know where to start with this. Wannabe WAG Nicola McClean - star of 'Help, My Wife's High-Maintanence', to be shown soon on Channel 5 - says that she never lets her husband see her without make-up, even getting out of bed early in the morning to apply a fresh layer before he wakes up.

"Even when I was in labour I had my full face on, hair straightened and perfect nails. I'm so proud of that," she boasts.

Boasts? Really, it's like the 20th century didn't happen. Nicola then goes on to bemoan the state of modern womanhood: "Letting yourself go is a sign of a lazy slob who doesn't care about herself or her man. No wonder one in three marriages fail."

Not content with pinning increasing divorce rates on women getting ideas above their station and 'letting themselves go', Nicola then moves on to the subject of parenthood:
"I had my boobs increased from a 32C to a 32G so I didn't feed my baby because they'd go saggy and lose their sexiness. I wanted to keep my boobs for my boyfriend, know what I mean?"

Nicola later moves on to her frankly retarded views on the domestic division of labour:

The couple's flashy Bucks home may look perfect, but that's no thanks to Nicola - she never lifts a perfectly-manicured finger round the house. She refuses to change a lightbulb and proudly says she has never done so in her life. "That's Tommy's job," she sniffs. "Me? Use a screwdriver? With these nails? No way."

Given the choice of sitting in the dark or flicking a switch on if the fuses went in the house, Nicola curls a glossy lip at the thought of doing anything for herself. "I'd rather sit in the dark - or go to a neighbour for help," she says... Relinquishing the right to choose her own food, she even lets Tommy order for her in restaurants. She adds: "If my glass was empty and I wanted another one, I wouldn't ask the waiter. I'd say to Tommy, 'Babe? Catch someone's eye, please,' and he'd do it for me. It's not for me to do a job like that."

Her motivation, it seems, is that her hubby keeps her in designer handbags and shoes: "her pampered tootsies only feel comfortable in the £300 Gina shoes Tommy buys her to add to the 30 pairs already lined up in her walk-in wardrobe".

Which raises a rather difficult point - if, as appears to be the case here, a woman's primary motivation is money, or at least luxury goods, just where do you draw the line between trophy wife and prostitute? (WAG or slag, you could say...).

In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft told us that women, "confined in cages like the feathered race...have nothing to do but to plume themselves, and stalk with mock majesty from perch to perch". We've moved on a lot since then, but Nicola isn't deterred by 216 years of feminist progress:

She exfoliates her entire body and shaves her upper and lower legs, underarms and bikini line every day. The very thought of a missing out on her daily regime shocks Nicola to the very core of her fake-tanned body. She exclaims: "Let my minnie grow a millimetre too long? Never!"

Finally, young Nicola tells us the secret of her happy marriage:

"I hate those girls that let themselves go, let their boyfriends see them without make-up and don't put an effort in for their men. It's laziness to look so ugly. I have higher standards, and that's one reason why Tommy loves me."

18 January 2008

Random acts of feminism

Link in title. I love Wendy Roby's suggestion of random acts of feminism: sticking post-it notes on Nuts magazine that read 'I am someone's sister' or 'Real men read BOOKS'...

07 January 2008

Man takes woman's surname, shock, horror

I suppose it is some sort of step forward. How depressing that one man taking one woman's name warrants a column, though...