Thursday, May 31, 2007

Any Lawyers Out There?

I'm sadly not qualified myself but I still can't help thinking that it's probably against the law in the UK to threaten MPs. You know if for instance I started telling MPs that unless they voted in parliament the way I wanted them to, I was going to make life difficult for them. I think if I did that I would be on some pretty thin legal ice. And we have to remember that MPs are supposed to represent their constituents interests, not their own, so to treat their vote as a statement of their personal opinion and attempt retribution against that would be a grave mistake.

But of course that wouldn't be the sort of thing that would stop someone like Cardinal Keith O'Brien. Scotland's top Catholic (according to the pope that is, I'm sure the public would vote for Billy Connolly!) has announced that any MP who votes to defend the legal status of abortion will be thrown out of the church. This is very bad news if:

1) You are a catholic MP who believes that women have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies.
2) You are a catholic MP who follows church doctrine yourself but represents an area with a majority atheist/protestant/jewish/muslim/pagan/jedi pro-choice population.
3) You are an atheist MP from a Catholic background and thus viewed as a Catholic by Cardinal O'Brien and co and likely to cause upset in your family if you are suddenly very publically ex-communicated.

But it begs another, for me, bigger issue. Why all the fuss about abortion? The bible says NOTHING about abortion. If God meant the "no killing" rule to apply pre-birth, you would think He would mention it. And look at the miscarriage rate - for someone who disapproves of abortion God sure carries out a lot of them Himself. But also - why isn't there a big fuss about blasphemy. Blasphemy is actually in the 10 commandements - gets a whole commandement to itself in fact. People across the country commit blasphemy every day (God knows I do!) but I don't see politicians being threatened with ex-communication if they fail to vote for lengthy prison terms for those who take the Lord's name in vain.

The truth is that very few people are genuinely anti-abortion out of respect for the "life" of a gnat-sized cluster of cells. The anti-abortion movement should be re-named the "punish women for having sex" movement or just the "anti-women" movement. If they really wanted to cut abortions they would encourage birth control availability and support significant increases in the power of the Child Support Agency and the level of benefits available to make sure that single Mums have the means to raise their children if they want to.

And finally - why are we even thinking about taking advice on how to legislate a sex-related issue from a member of an organisation which has repeatedly suffered humiliation as case after case of child sex abuse has hit the courts? Why are we taking advice on legislating over women's bodies from an old unmarried man who has probably never even seen a woman's body? Why are we taking advice on morality issues from a man who eats what he genuinely believes to be human flesh at least once a week? And why are we giving any media coverage or prestige at all to a man who dresses like an extra from Harry Potter World?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Our Heros - The Movie They Didn't Make

A very interesting Alternet article looks at the recent Department of Justice study in the US which shows that ex-servicemen commit rape and sexual assault at much higher rates than those who have not served. Funny how the homecoming scenes in war movies always go for the spinning-the-faithful-girl-round-petting-the-puppy-cue-sunset-pan-out-... rather than the muffled screams and then her in tears in the local police station.

The information is all well and good but it raises more questions than it answers. Is it that the military "belittles" the enemy by feminising them? Is it that nasty potential rapists are drawn to join the military? Is it that rape and sexual assault are commonplace in the military and the culture stays with servicemen after they get home? Is it that life in the military means being away from women for long periods of time and so media messages about women are not counter-balanced by experiences of real women? Is it an expected result of big groups of men hanging out together? Is it that all the training boosts testosterone levels and sex drive? Is it that the military is so disorientating, and doing awful, awful things is taught as being "correct" to the point that judgement is permanently impaired?

The answer is clearly - some of those thing to varying degrees and some other things too.

And the solution is ... complicated. One thing that really would help though is if there were more women in the military. It would change the atmosphere in camps, it would leave male recruits training alongside women, it would result in military leaders being unable to "feminise" the enemy, since their own troops included many women. And - here's the biggie - it would massively cut rape and sexual assault in and out of the forces because women, in or out of uniform, commit those crimes at a tiny fraction the rate men do.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Women (Don't) Want

Imagine taking the very worst of those magazine's supposedly aimed at women and distilling it in a big vat of misogynist nonsense and then unloading it onto the web. Welcome to Jezebel, the new "women's" blog from Gawker.

I think the view Gawker has of women is very neatly summed up when they mention "Nebraska" and feel the need to add "(a state)"... I wish I was making this up.

So what is it that us women are interested in then? Mainly relationships - other peoples it seems, a good two-thirds of stories are about celebrity relationships. Personally I AM interested in celebrity relationships - I'm interested in how they're portrayed in the media and how they highlight gender issues that "ordinary" people may be experiencing.

For instance Anne Heche's divorce - we're told she's a poor cook while he looks up internet porn while he's meant to be looking after their child. Those are some really interesting issues. As a woman - what do you do if you discover your partner uses large amounts of pornography? How does it affect your relationship, how does it make you feel and how do you react if there's a risk of children finding it? And these days a lot of women and even more men have very limited kitchen skills. The wide availability of pre-prepared food may appear to be making life easier but if it creates a generation who are effectively unable to prepare fresh food from fresh ingredients, then that has serious implications for our health and wellbeing. (Discuss...)

Sadly that's not the Jezebel response. They've gone with "Sounds like a normal marriage to us!". Never mind that more men admit to poor culinary skills than do women. And remember ladies - all men look at porn, just get used to it.

As for the rest of it, try these extracts for size...

"Does this mean we can stop coloring our hair?" (When were we supposed to start? Did I miss a meeting?)
"Guess those fake breasts paid off!" (Since when was cosmetic surgery a business plan?)
"You can never be subtle enough when it comes to reminding a guy where his vagina is coming from" (Any sentence with the words 'his vagina' needs a re-think doesn't it?)
"Conventional wisdom holds that women's magazines aren't as good as men's magazines." (At what? And who writes half the cr*p in so-called women's magazines? Men! I don't think the author of this piece has subscribed to BUST yet...)
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon asks, 'What is wrong with women?'" (Speak for yourself thanks, I'm fabulous.)
"Males of the species: Now, sadly, even more irrelevant." (Again speak for yourselves, the men in my life are very relevant thanks. Of course the article is about fertility treatment. Because remember ladies - life is about baby-making!)
"We thought feminism was supposed to be straightforward" (Who told you that? It's as diverse as, erm, the women who definitely WON'T be reading your stupid website!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Money-making Scheme

Saw this one via Sparklematrix and Feministing - so a woman's in bed and her boyfriend comes in and they have sex and then it turns out that that wasn't the boyfriend - that was his brother, impersonating him. Is it rape? According to the Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court - no. apparently if you don't physically struggle, it ain't rape, even though it's done by deception.

So by this arguement... if a few of us dress up as Securicor/Securitas van drivers and walk into a bunch of local shops and banks, pick up the money from the till and drive off with it - is that theft? The shop-keepers didn't put up a fight? To be on the safe side - lets only rob shops in Massachusetts!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dodgy Diplomas

The BBC seems for reasons best kept to itself to be on a mission to get the much lauded diploma scheme back on track. I am not a fan of the idea. I think if GCSEs are getting easier it is because of the fragmentation of the exam boards and the fact that they are being run as independent financially competitive operations. Schools are able to shop around for the easiest exams which incentivises the boards to get easier and easier. What is needed is the return of a centralised independent moderation board who have the power to reject proposed courses and exams if they feel that the standard is dropping. Diplomas will do nothing to solve this problem.

Instead the plans will create other problems because they roll all of the existing GCSEs and A-levels into one qualification meaning:

1) Difficulties for those who prefer to study more slowly - such as those who dropped out of school and are catching up while working full or part time or those whose disabilities (physical, recovering from illness or surgery, dyslexia, etc) mean they can't study as fast as other students.

2) Brighter students are not able to take one or more subjects early.

3) Adult learners who study new subjects cannot incorporate the new skill into their existing diploma. Instead other qualifications will be needed to fill that gap. Hence an employer will be faced with e.g. an applicant with a diploma that includes some study of Spanish versus an applicant with a no-Spanish diploma and a seperate qualification in Spanish. Employers won't know how to compare the two, and may even have to start asking applicants to take a test as part of their application.

4) Students who fall out with an individual subject or teacher have their overall mark brought down rather than being able to show employers or universities that they have good marks across the board and that the problem has been in one area only.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


If you're easily offended - look away now. I am really fed up with hearing about Madeleine McCann. You know - the little girl who was abducted in Portugal recently. Before I get my account deleted, let me say - I am not pro-abduction. I am fed up with being told that I should help find this child.

I've now had six emails sent to me with photos of Madeleine on and details about her distinctive eye colouration so I can help look out for her. Despite the fact that she was abducted (or may have wandered off on her own and got into trouble) in the Algarve in southern Portugal, I am expected to hunt for her in North-East London...? Most parents and child-carers around here would have me arrested if I started trying to examine their children's eyes.

I am also expected to leave messages of support for her parents. I'm expected to pray for her safe return. I'm supposed to download and print out posters of her and post them up. And I'm being asked to contribute to a fund which will pay for the ongoing search and "bringing her abductors to justice" (although who exactly is going to decide who those abductors are and how to unload the power of all that money onto them remains to be seen).

And that's just me - pity John Terry, the Chelsea and England captain, who has had to make speeches on TV appealing for information, regardless of the fact that the McCann's are Everton fans (of course the media insist that Madeleine herself is both a Christian and an Everton fan without making the point that she's way too young to have those kinds of opinions, if she is found alive she may well grow up to be an atheist who doesn't like football). I'd like to know whether any crime EVER has been solved as a direct result of showing a brief video before kick-off in a football match? I strongly doubt it, and in this case clearly they should be showing it before football matches in Portugal, if anywhere.

If you have five minutes of your life to spare and want to do some real good in the world, go visit Cru-blog's favourite charity Wateraid - they have tons of volunteering positions open and need all sorts of help and of course fund-raising. And the thing about buildng clean water pipelines in the third world is: it DOES work, you WILL save lives.

Come Have A Laugh With Cru

I have lots of comedy gigs coming up in London, Windsor, Andover and even Dublin so if you live near one of those places please come along!

Tonight (Sat 19th) - Hampstead Comedy Club 8pm for 9pm, £9.50
Tomorrow (Sun 20th) - King and Castle in Windsor 8pm for 9pm, FREE!
Monday 21st - Soho Comedy Club, Roundtable Pub, St Martins Court 8pm for 8.30pm, £5 if you mention the Cru-blog (this is the place Mr Cru runs and I am resident compere)
Wednesday 23rd - Propaganda Music Canteen in Andover 8pm for 9pm, FREE!
Thursday 24th and Friday 25th - Bath House, Dean Street, 8pm for 8.30pm, £7
Saturday 26th - Samurai Comedy Club in Dublin, 7.30pm for 8.30pm, EUR10
Monday 28th - Soho Comedy Club as above.

A Glimmer Of Optimism

Seems there is no escaping Gordon Brown as the next leader of the country. I hope he'll do a better job than Blair but I'm not counting on it. The decision is still far from made however on who will be deputy leader alongside Brown. And of the six candidates with their cards on the table there is in fact one who I quite like.

Harriet Harman does care about womens issues and has actually been working to improve the lot of women (shock horror!). You can read more about it in Johann Hari's column.

Further she has come out and said she doesn't think there should be any more faith schools!

It's not that I agree with her on every issue. Jon Cruddas is the only contender who backs a full enquiry in to the Iraq war - but then we don't have the best recent track record on enquiries do we? Might be a waste of time and resources. But Harman's interests seem not only worthy but also (a) forward-looking and (b) achievable. So if you do happen to be a member of the Labour Party, that is my secularist feminist preference please...

Friday, May 18, 2007

You may not need this book ... but someone you know does!

I've been fortunate enough to be given a review copy of Jessica Valenti's book Full Frontal Feminism. And here is my review...

Jessica Valenti and I could probably argue all week about the finer points of feminism. I am rather less tolerant of the pornography industry and rather more tolerant of what she sees as the movement's slightly chequered past. And then we could spend a happy month agreeing with each other on reproductive rights, media representations of women and what it means to be a feminist. By the end of it along with a big stack of self-congratulatory "exactly" and "you are so right", we might find she had moved my views a little on a couple of issues and I might have talked her in to taking one ot two of my more left-field theories seriously (like putting a chapter on religion in to the next version of the book).

But that's not the point of this book. It's not to hone the movement or highlight details we could all agree to differ on. The point of this book is to wake women, especially young women, up to the idea of feminism, and turn them on to it. And that's something that is desperately needed and stands to benefit all of us dramatically.

What's great about this book is that it's to the point and easy to read. It makes a simple case and it makes it clearly, convincingly and in a way that doesn't seem stodgy, old-fashioned or plain frightening. Add to that that Valenti includes specific practical examples of how to get involved and list sources of further information alongside the kind of reading list that you might actually look at and you start to understand how it could make a difference.

If you're a regular on sites like this one, The F-Word and Valenti's blog then this book might provide a nice recap of things that we've all covered and continue to talk about. When you've finished reading it though is when this book will really come into it's own. Pass it on to young women you work or socialise with or family members (teenage upwards). Give it as present to someone you know who could use a bit of feminism in their life, someone with energy and resources who could be a catalyst for change, or if you're stuck for ideas - donate it to your local school library and wait for revolution.

Newspaper Pulp

(As posted on The F-Word) Those Cru-blog readers living in London will not have missed yesterday's copy of The London Paper which ran with the headline "'RAPE' GIRL GRATEFUL FOR SEX, SAYS LAWYER".

Yes I know... And the article goes on back up this argument by saying that the victim was overweight at the time of the attack. Evidently rapists are getting picky these days.

Now you sort-of can't really blame the lawyer because it is her job to get the guys (three of them in this case) off the hook, although personally I don't think I could live with myself if I said things like that in a court of law and a case like this. However what sort of a newspaper takes such ridiculous comments and reprints them as "news"?

Oh hang on - THIS sort of paper. Page 2 features Dita Von Teese in only a thong and a couple of pasties. Page 3 features entrants in the send-in-a-photo-of-yourself-in-swimwear contest. And by page 23 they are asking readers to phone in to a premium rate number and vote for which woman should receive the top prize of ... wait for it ... a modelling contract. And, for those of you who live outside London, this paper is distributed aggressively for free on all major train, bus and commuter routes, to the point where by 7pm my bus is literally carpetted with copies people have glanced through and dropped. Your free misogynist handout every day. If by any weird chance you don't think The London Paper is the best thing to happen to London in years, the good news is they would love to hear from you (apparently). Contact , be nice now!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How Do We Deal With FGM?

(Also posted on The F-Word) There is a rather shocking video out which you can download from IRIN News , the video is linked on the right hand sidebar. It shows how widespread the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) still is and how little is actually being done about it.

At the same time I have just read The Caged Virgin by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali is regarded as an extremist by many, principally those who think that religion somehow trumps human rights. Personally I agree with a great deal of what she says. She believes from her own experience as a translator in the Netherlands that FGM is still widely practiced in the western world behind closed doors, that many girls living in the west are taken abroad for FGM, and that something should be done about it. And she advocates screening girls from "at risk" communities on an annual basis and prosecuting parents who allow their daughters to be mutilated.

There's no doubt that such a screening process would be viewed as intrusive, and as singling out and stigmatising those communities defined as "at risk". I have an alternative solution:

Give all children an annual health check-up, by a same-sex specifically trained nurse, which includes checking the genitals.

This is clearly achievable - when I was a child we were all checked by the nit nurse for head lice and we all received certain innoculations - and would likely have the added benefit of identifing a significant number of children being sexually abused (I have recently read an autobiography of a victim of child abuse who suffered genital herpes in infancy), some children being physically abused, early signs of diabetes, unhealthy lifestyles and all kinds of other conditions that parents may not have noticed or may be deliberately keeping quiet about.

What we can do about the practice of FGM overseas is a tougher call. In the areas where it is most prevalent supported by the government. Most advocacy groups and charities oppose the practice but almost no-one has an actual program in place that specifically addresses the issue. However the one organisation that does at least collate information globally on the subject is in need of volunteers with computer access and skills and time to spare (maybe that's you...).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Some very important advice

Look both ways when crossing roads. Seriously. Mr Cru and I were out on Friday night and witnessed a horrific accident on our way home. A young guy styepped out to cross the road just as the lights had changed and a car hit him. There was an almighty bang and he was sent flying through the air. We called an ambulance and then waited around to give statements to the police (with the driver, who stopped).

I was on hold trying to get through to the ambulance service for several minutes (eeek) but fortunately a passer-by was a doctor and took control of the scene telling the guy not to move his head while we directed traffic around him. Finally the ambulance arrived and loaded the guy onto a stretcher amid shreiks of agony. One of the policemen said to me later as we were giving statements that he didn't really rate the guy's chances of making it based on what he'd seen. So that could be it - one minute you're walking down the street on a friday night, the next you're in agony staring at a bit of concrete while a paramedic asks your name and then you're dead.

Between three and four thousand people a year die in road accidents in the UK. Since Friday I've been crossing the road like it's no man's land and I've really noticed how many people wander out into the road chatting on their phone or to their friends, without really looking round at all. I think because we live around cars all the time, people blank out or forget how dangerous they are.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Hope You Find It!

I've jusy been checking the sitemeter data for referrals to this site (if you dont' know what this means don't worry, read on). Someone has gone onto google typed in the search term "clitoris" and ended up on the Cru-blog. Now I know men are alleged to have trouble locating the thing, but really guys, if you're looking for it by typing it into google you ARE doing it wrong!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pornographers Gone Wild

The latest far-from shocking news to hit the blog-o-sphere is that some of the women featured in the (otherwise extremely high really) show "Girls Gone Wild" were co-erced into participation. The more astute of us might have argued we could see this coming on at least three counts:

1) There is a long history of co-ersion in pornography. And an equally long history of a refusal to truly address the abuses in the mainstream media. And why should we be surprised by that? Guys who want to make porn films for a living were never going to be the most wholesome types were they? And these guys respect the women involved so much that while they make small fortunes out of the video sales, the women are usually given just a T-shirt or baseball hat...

2) We know about the methods used to collect the footage used on "Girls Gone Wild". For instance crews are offered a $1000 bonus for collecting footage of girls who have only just turned 18. Crews target bars and clubs where women may already be intoxicated and frame their efforts as a "competition" to see which group of women is "the most wild".

3) The videos are marketed under titles and slogans which suggest strongly that subterfuge has been used in obtaining the footage and that vulnerable women have been targetted. Seperate vidoes offer footage of "first timers" (as though every woman experiences a "first time" getting her tits out on camera...?).

The response has been focussed on what can be done to prevent this sort of thing happening in future and the most popular idea so far seems to be raising the age of consent for appearing in pornography to 21 or indeed 65 (that would work). In the UK you can still appear in porn from the age of 16 - no one tell Joe Francis please or he'll be hanging round sixth form colleges in a heartbeat. I think the UK age could well benefit from being raised to at least 18 and preferrably 21. I don't however believe that would completely solve the problem. I have an alternative suggestion which I think would go a bit further:

A pornography cooling-off period.

Think about it this way. If a guy knocks on your door and sells you something you have seven days to change your mind. If he asked you to change electricity or gas supplier you have fourteen days. If you buy travel insurance from him, you have fourteen days to change your mind. If the same guy finds you drunk in a local bar and asks to film you topless your decision is final. In both scenarios the guy is working on big bonuses, so one would imagine equally unscrupulous tactics of persuasion.

This would present pornographers (not that inconveniencing them would bother me much) with two options:

1) Invite women to sign up in advance if they wish to participate in filming.

2) Film women and issue them with consent withdrawal forms which can be returned if they decide within a reasonable period (say 14 days) that they regret their participation and wish to have the footage of themselves destroyed.

I think this approach would have the added benefit of opening up the debate on the subject of these nasty videos. Women might question why they are signing away rights to footage of themselves without being paid. Relatives, friends and tutors would be more likely to be aware of the situation and have a chance to influence people who they feel may not be making the best decision.

And having said all that there is one more point I want to make... A great deal of the fuss about the footage is centred on the idea that women who have participated in these shows will have the remainder of their lives haunted by the footage and find themselves ineligible for good jobs, frowned on by polite society, etc. Personally when I was a student groups of women, including me, often ran naked or semi-naked around the streets late at night. It was something we did as a dare, as a challenge to ourselves, to shock people, push boundaries, generate scandal and most importantly because it's fun! It was a part of growing up and finding out about ourselves. This does not make me unsuitable for government office, the armed forces or indeed lasting relationships. And the fact that when these young women did the same thing there was a f*ckwit on hand trying to film proceedings shouldn't affect our opinion of them later in life.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Blog-Roll Up!

I'm in the process (as you may see) of updating my links, which have been stagnating for some time now. So if you'd like to be included please let me know, ideally by commenting here. I'll mainly be taking submissions on the basis that they're really cool interesting sites, but in case of discrepancy I may be swayed by the news that you're a regular Cru-blog reader and/or you've linked to me. Ok...go!

Bank Holiday Blogging

Here's a cool quiz about modern family life to pass the bank holiday monday.


This is an interesting piece about the state of hip-hop and among other things the use of misogynist and other unpleasant lyrics - which I've talked about before on Cru-blog.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Comedy, and Mr Cru, as an Art Form!

I was off performing in Birmingham at the Glee Club yesterday having a very nice time. Meanwhile Mr Cru was at Bury St Edmunds doing a very interesting one-off show at the opening of a new exhibition at the local Art Gallery. The new exhibition is called Joking Aside and it's all about humour in art and so Mr Cru was performing in the gallery to the assembled art lovers to make the opening. He seemed to enjoy it as did 21st Century Mummy who has blogged a review of the event.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pass the Bucket...

This post has just gone up as part of my guest blogging on the F-Word. But it's a biggie and I think an important one so I'm double-posting it here. Also this is my 400th post since I started the Cru-blog and it seemed like a suitably gritty one to mark the quad-centenial(?) of the blog. Roll on the next 400! And pass the bucket...

...and not so I can put my £5 in it - so I can puke! Today's question is: Is Stripping Feminist? and today's answer is: No. Or possibly Oh Please - How Can We Still Be Having This "Debate"?

If you read to the end of the article you'll see that Sarah Katherine Lewis' conclusion is that stripping IS feminist, not because of the whole dancing about in your underwear bit. No - because you earn good money and so you can have more free time and more economic power to do feminist-y things.

Well if it's just about money I look forward to the follow-up articles: Is Drug-Dealing Feminist? Is Human Trafficking Feminist? Is Directing Snuff Movies Feminist? and of course Is Manufacturing Child Pornography Feminist?

So that leaves us with four questions to answer:

1) Is it easier to "be a feminist" when you're doing well financially? Definitely. For starters there is a poverty line below which idealism simply doesn't exist, there's a point where all a person cares about or can care about is how to get enough food, water, shelter and medicine to survive the next 24 hours. People below that line may be feminists but they certainly can't afford to be activists. By the same token you'd need to be above that line to be an activist for any cause - socialism, environmentalism or even the anti-women's movement. If you can't afford pens and paper, you can't write your manifesto.

2) Was it possible for Lewis to be financially capable of activist feminism without stripping? Yes, of course it was. She suggests repeatedly that her only options were stripping and waiting tables. Not so. Clearly others from her generation emerged as powerful voices without removing their clothes for money, so why can't she? Remember this woman was stripping in the mid-90s, not the 1800s. I was at college in the mid-90s too and I sold electric underfloor heating on commission in my holidays, I also ran a college tea-shop during term and later did a well-paid placement with an investment bank over the summer break. She was already at college when she started. This isn't about keeping her head above the poverty line - this is by her own admission about eating in nicer restaurants.

3) Is there something "wrong" with stripping? Yes. When I worked in finance, both in London and Tokyo, the company regularly entertained clients at strip clubs. I usually wasn't invited, this gave me less access to clients and very tangibly diminished my career prospects. In Tokyo, where the problem was more widespread, the spill-over into attitudes towards women was obvious, lewd remarks and women not being taken seriously as colleagues went hand in hand. When I complained to human resources, it turned out the guy assigned to discuss my complaint was one of the most regular visitors to these places. Creating an environment where women are unable to earn good money other than through stripping of course is unfair on those women who don't want to strip.

But it runs even deeper than that. Not all strippers are making money and not all strippers are doing the job of their own volition. This very interesting article starts off innocuously enough. By the end we're looking at women who appear to be underage being traffiked into the country, told they've run up debts and must strip and possibly have sex to get out of debt. The author is also underage when she enters the industry. The clubs encourage the myth that strippers make a lot of money, to get more women interested in the job. The real money is made by the clubs who are charging each woman $100 up to $300 and then charging customers exorbitant prices for drinks too. Feeding that industry, both by working in it when you have other options and by writing about it in such glowing terms, will lead to more traffiking, more women working under duress, more women being pushed over into prostitution against their will. In other words more RAPE.

4) Could the "good" achieved with the stripping money outweigh the damage done by participating in the industry? Well really depends how you measure "good". But let's try to figure it out by having a look at the great feminist and humanitarian works of our guide in these matters - Sarah Katherine Lewis...

...except there aren't any. She's written a book. It's called "Indecent, How I Make It And Fake It As A Girl For Hire". I read the intro and it reads like a hommage to sex work, prattling on about how exciting the idea of working as a whore is to little girls (really, I know...).

She also claims in the article that she writes feminist articles. I found a few online. They were ALL about how sex work IS actually feminist, and how all the feminists have got it wrong. That's all she does.

The strip clubs must be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of all the extra money coming in from young feminists lured into the industry by Lewis, not to mention guys convinced that maybe it's not such a bad thing after all arriving as customers.

I hope she gets commission from the clubs for writing rubbish like that. And I hope supposedly serious media outlets like Alternet (which I once respected) see the light and don't bother publishing such rubbish again...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The F-Word

I'm doing some guest blogging this month over on a feminist blog site called The F-Word. I'm not going to double post because it's boring for people who read both sites but so that Cru-blog readers don't miss out I will post up links. Here's my first piece for them. You also can't post comments easily over there so I figure you can do that here if you want to.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good to be Back

Mr Cru and I spent the last two nights (Mon and Tues) in Bury St Edmunds where he compered and I headlined the comedy proceedings going on as part of the Bury St Edmunds Fringe Festival. Top blogstress Ruby In Bury was present to record and review proceedings and she seemed to like it. Thanks to all those people who I haven't seen for years and years (and some I have seen) who showed up, was really fun!