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Feminism

Dear Lord…
I’m sorry, but there are a lot of idiots in the world.

Like Thomas Pascoe who blogs for the Telegraph.

He wrote a post today called “Sweden’s insane anti-discrimination laws have created a generation of lost women” so I’m sure you can tell what kind of man he is… (*cough* sexist bastard *cough*) and in the post he gives us lovely lines such as:

the result of stripping women of their social roles as mothers has not been the development of a new balance in society which still respects women, but rather a sexual nihilism with which most women are instinctively uncomfortable

and

we see a rise of a tits-and-ass culture that emphasises the physical because there is nothing else left

and my personal favorite:

No boy grows up dreaming of being a princess. I find it hard to believe many little girls grow up wanting to shoot people.

And why, you ask, did he write this blogpost?

Because he’s upset that Toys R Us’ Christmas catalouge is gender-netural this year. In it, little boys occasionally push stollers and little girls play with toolkits. Gasp, sigh and the world is obviously ending.
Not only does Pascoe seem to lack any sort of analysis capabilities or abilities to look at broader social movements, he is also abysmally bad at statistics.

He claims, for example:

Women face the highest rate of rape in Europe and a high rate of domestic violence

But he doesn’t stop to think about what he’s actually saying. In fact,  Sweden has a much broader definition of rape than most countries, since a law change in 2005. Immediately afterwards, rape statistics increased.

He also seems unaware of the fact that 75-95% of rapes are not reported to the police, either due to fear of reprisal or because of shame. One reason that more rapes are reported in Sweden might simply be because of those “insane discrimination laws” making it easier for women to escape the social stigma of rape, and actually daring to report the rapist.

But apparently, women in Thomas Pascoe’s world are empty, meaningless shells because society has taken the mother role from them and little boys grow up wanting to shoot people.

I think I’ll stay in my world, thanks.

 

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There is no such thing as a hymen.

When a girl has sex for the first time, it hurts. She might even bleed a little. That’s because the hymen, the barrier blocking the vagina, breaks when she has sex. It can be broken earlier by tampons, or horseback riding or biking.
Right?

No. It’s a lie.

IT DOESN’T EXIST.

I hope that this is common knowledge today, but I’ve realized that maybe it isn’t. Time and again, I see books that have scenes with girl losing their virginity, and the hymen almost always features in some way. Pain, blood and so on.

The hymen was “created” as a way to control women’s sexuality. There’s no way to tell if a girl has had penetrative sex or not, just as there’s no way to tell if a guy has. If sex hurts the first time, it’s usually because the girl isn’t wet enough, or because you’re going too fast.

Please, please, don’t spread this lie to people anymore.

More information: In Swedish: Ungdomsmottagningarna, RFSU In English: ScarletTeen, Huffington Post

(Disclaimer: I don’t think I’ll write a lot about sex on this blog, simply because I’m a bit of a prude. But this is important enough that I don’t care about anyone’s sensibilities.)

When I became interested in feminism, one of the things I found hardest was that remarking on appearances is bad.

Of course, not everyone believes this, but still. It was a very novel thought and it’s still weird, to be honest.

Most people are sensible enough to not go around and insult other because of how they look. We might secretly laugh at an old lady with purple hair, but we wouldn’t ever say it to her face.

(Or most, wouldn’t, at least.)

Except for the magazines and newspapers and online forums.

“Lady Gaga’s fat!”

“What has Katie Holmes done with her hair?”

“The worst dressed at the Cannes Film festival!”

Why is that acceptable?

Remember that old proverb: “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

But compliments, nice things, they are a different matter, right?
But if I tell my friend “Oh your hair looks so nice today!” doesn’t that imply that her hair doesn’t look good? And basically, what I’m doing is passing judgement on someone else’s looks. I’m rating her.

What right do I really have to comment on how someone else looks? Don’t I value my friends for a lot of other things than how they look? In fact, that’s the least important thing in a friendship, right? But we so really give each others real compliments.

“Thank you for being such a good listener.”
“You know what, you’re great at PowerPoint presentations.”
“You write so well!”

Instead, we talk about looks, as if they were the essential thing. And it’s almost always aimed at women.
But it’s so ingrained and it’s so deeply, too. That the nicest thing you can tell a woman is that she’s beautiful.
It’s going a step beyond “everyone is beautiful no matter what they look like” and asking: “why is it important that everyone be beautiful?”

I read a lot.
Like, a lot, a lot.

And one of my absolute favorite genres is young adult literature.
It might seem silly. Shouldn’t I read  classics or something like that? But I adore the many excellent books in the YA sphere, and I follow quite a few wonderful bloggers/authors.

And YA lit that’s norm critical or feature a strong heroine and some darkness? Even better.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Tamora Pierce – I read her first book when I was twelve, and I’m still reading today. Historical fantasy with wonderful heroines, often struggling in a man’s profession (such as knight or police.) She’s an oldie but a goodie and just gets better for every book she writes. She isn’t afraid to put sex, violence and “real world” things in books for children/teenagers. Start with Song of the Lioness and move on to her other Tortall books.
    My favorites: Trickster’s Queen, and the Provost’s Dog series.
  • Vernoica Roth – Really young (my age, I’d guess) dystopian writer, with only two books published, but they are good. A lot of psychology and questions about nature vs nurture. Divergent is the first one, Insurgent the second.
    My favorite: Divergent
  • Lauren Oliver: Has written a very acclaimed series, starting with Delirium, about a dystopian future where love is a disease that must be cured.
    My favorite: Delirium
  • Kristen Cashore: Highly knowledgeable about YA and children’s lit. She’s written a fantasy triology about Gracelings, people born with very special skills. Katsa, the heroine in Graceling, has a gift for killing.
    My favorite: Bitterblue


These are just some of my favorites, and they’re all pretty well-known and worth a read. All these authors have blogs, which I’ve linked, just click their names. If you like books, women’s issues and writing, read them!

When I was 14 years old and at confirmation camp, I remember someone asking me if I was a feminist.
“Yes, I’m a feminist” I said, rather hesitantly. And he (who was a perfectly nice guy) laughed mockingly and said: “Well, that’s stupid.”

The general image of a feminist is someone who is loud, unfeminine, unshaven and manhating, basically wanting to get rid of all men and turn society into a colorless, unsexed blob.

And isn’t that just sad? There is so much more to be said about this, and so many who have said it better, but I’ll just say this:

Feminism for me is about everyone’s right be to whoever they want. And it’s about providing opportunity for everyone to be able to do exactly that.

It’s about a girl not being blamed and shamed because she was raped.
It’s about a man being able to cry without being called a fag.
It’s about homosexuals being able to marry.
It’s about not shaving your legs because you don’t want to.
It’s about being able to go outside the door without makeup and not have to excuse yourself.
It’s about equal pay for equal work.
It’s about being able to be friends with a girl or a guy and having that be ok.
It’s about daughters growing up to be all sorts of awesome and fierce and sons growing up to be gentle and kind.

About someone being able not just to say they’re a feminist, but for the norm to be a feminist, because how can you not be?
And so many other things.

But in the end, it’s about truly believing that all people, not matter what look like, how they act and who they love having the same rights.

Curious? Lady Dahmer for Swedes, Finally Feminism 101 for English speakers.

Hi!

My name’s Cicci.

I’m fat.

Really, I am.

Don’t pity me for it. There’s nothing innately bad about being fat. It’s as much a fact about me as my hair color or my eyes (even though my eye color is somewhere between green, grey and blue and thus rather hard to define.)

And you know what? Being fat doesn’t make me a worse person in any way. It doesn’t even make me less healthy. It’s true, I promise.

And while I still want to lose weight (working on not thinking that), no one has the right to respect me less even if I didn’t. No one has the right to comment, demean or belittle my body. I have the right to dress however I like, have sex (and enjoy it), exercise or not exercise, eat whatever I want and not be judged for it.

I’m fat, healthy and beautiful. And a host of other things not related to how I look that are even better.

 

 

Edit: Interested? Start by reading Kate Harding or The Rotund. Or Julia Skott, if you’re Swedish.