Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The point they are trying to make is that the hiring standards for female newscasters seem to be based less on a resume bursting with relevant experience and more on looks. And since we're talking Fox News you can be sure a complete lack of understanding of business news is key to the role. You might also argue that if some of the porn "stars" aren't so wildly attractive maybe that backs up points we've all been making for years about porn being about power more than attraction.
But of course what it does highlight is that if you're a woman in the public eye, it doesn't matter if you talk about business or suck men off, you will be judged first and foremost on your appearance.
*Porn "stars"? I don't really like that term since we know that a great many such women work under duress in fear so porn "victims" seems like a more fitting term.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
What isn't covered but would be interesting is what happens in India and China in another generation's time - when there is a massive shortage of women and men are finding it impossible to marry. People have talked a lot about how it might lead to increased criminality among young males without the calming influence of a wife. But another aspect is that with fewer women to go round the women might suddenly have the power to be a little more demanding in their relationships. Women might have the freedom to insist they only want to marry guys who don't expect dowry, are happy for them to maintain a career or use contraception, have less children or make other demands that suit them. Of course that doesn't stop the current situation being totally tragic but it offers a little hope for the future, if we can teach these women to value themselves and their own opinions - not easy in a culture that would rather kill them than raise them.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Now I'm a bit confused, I mean how disabled would a guy have to be to qualify for the proposed scheme? Would there be a government register of who is and isn't allowed to pay for sex? Maybe a points system? Lost one leg? Sorry you can still get the other one over. Lost both legs? OK but hand-jobs only. And if you've lost both legs and are deaf and blind? Presumably Gordon Brown will come round himself and personally suck you off.
Personally I don't believe anybody has a RIGHT to get laid. If anything, you have the right to go out and TRY to get laid. But I also think that the article isn't really about a right to get laid, it's about a right for a man to get laid with a gorgeous young fit woman. And they definitely don't have that. One thing they don't address is whether there might be women out there who - for whatever reason - are just as lonely, who might be interested in these guys - if of course they didn't sound like such unpleasant individuals.
And this leads to the bigger issue: what about the disabled WOMEN? Have they not sexual desires too? And if all the disabled guys are off visiting brothels there'll be fewer guys to go round...
Anyway if you'd like to hear a lot more about disabilities and sex I can only recommend you come along and see the fabulous Liz Carr (pictured) performing with me at Soho Comedy Club on Monday (8pm Roundtable Pub, St Martin's Court, nr Leicester Square, London, £5)
Friday, October 19, 2007
*Brag points for the Cru-blog: some super right-wing idiot site reacted to my post linked above with a feature on me entitled "Portrait of a Complete Moron". They think I have been "brainwashed by Al Gore". Guess the Nobel Prize committee were too then? They must all be "complete morons" too. Mmmm.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Years ago before I met Mr Cru I went on a few of these sites and dated a few guys. I think my batting record was:
1 I didn't fancy and didn't meet up with again.
1 I slept with and dated again but it petered out shortly.
3 I didn't fancy but became friends with (and still am).
So there's certainly a positive side to these sites, I met some cool people (then I went out and picked Mr Cru up in a late night bar. Ha!), but there are risks too. Now of course I'm not trying to write some patronising "women warned about dangers on online dating " piece. I neither think women should stay home nor that the Internet has mystical powers to corrupt your soul (from the woman who blogs ten times a day!). My point is that there are different ways to meet guys and the risks are different:
Through trusted friends is always the safest - because at very least they know it's going to get back to them if they don't respect you.
While out with friends is safer - because your friends are there to make sure you're ok.
On a late night two-person date after randomly meeting on a dating website is riskier, where possible better to meet in the daytime, or meet with a few others. Also better to meet for a meal/cinema/theatre trip rather than straight on to the alcoholic drinks.
Also safer to meet in a country where the police take rape victims seriously and attempt to prosecute cases wherever possible, and where public attitudes towards rape have left the middle ages, i.e. not here.
Maybe match.com and co. could introduce a "see other users ratings" section to their site so you could give jerks no stars!
1) The police officer in charge of the operation cried in court. Which proves very little, except perhaps that he doesn't want to get in trouble for following orders from irresponsible seniors who are smart enough to cover the own backs and finger him when the shit hits the proverbial fan.
2) The same report tried to claim Menezes had taken cocaine, which caused him to act suspiciously. Take a look at these pictures and tell me who you think is acting oddly...
3) There have been claims that he was past end of his visa. Not, as far as I know, a crime punishable with seven bullets to the head. But again the claim is that this caused him to run away from police. The photos clearly show however (a) the police behaving weirdly - leaping barriers and running about with guns and (b) everybody else on the underground running away too.
4) Most ridiculous of all we're told that De Menezes looks similar to Hussein Osman - a 21st July suspect. Photos above (from The Age) for comparison and I can just about tell the difference. Anyone else? One of those guys is black! Considering how racist the police are reputed to be you'd think they would notice.
Thing is what are they going to do if they do find the police are totally in the wrong? Fine them money which only comes out of the national budget in the first place? Sack a few people and replace them with the sycophants next down the line?
What is needed of course is the whole "terrorist search" called off. They basically haven't found any, every time they claim to have "foiled another plot" it emerges three weeks later that actually the people involved were totally innocent and they're released without charge. And in the process they've caused untold anguish for individuals and incited rage from Muslim groups who feel they are being, well, shot at for no reason.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
They want to let us know that having your eggs frozen doesn't "guarantee" that women will be able to conceive with those eggs. Which is probably why only 185 women in the UK have had eggs frozen - many of them cancer patients eager to avoid the mess Natalie Evans got into by being unfortunate enough to be dating a complete wanker at the time she contracted cancer. Out of a UK female population of child-bearing age (15 to 44, I'm counting, assuming that a cancer-suffering 15-year-old might consider egg freezing and that by the age of 45 you're not likely to be freezing new eggs) of around 12million, that's tiny. So I can't help thinking it would be easier to ring the 185 personally than to insist on publishing your story in a national news source. I'm sure the 185 all know this and have had the risks explained to them.
So what is the story really about? Women's "lifestyles". Or in other words how us silly girlies have got it all wrong and should be sat home embroidering doilies and pinging out sprogs as soon as we're old enough to menstruate.
Firstly the BBC says quite matter-of-factly, this is not a quote from anybody, "An increasing number of women are choosing to freeze their eggs for social reasons in the hope they will be able to have a child when they are older." So by "an increasing number" the BBC means less than two thousandths of a percent? For any individual woman, a 0.000015 probability. And that's only if we are allowed to include being diagnosed with cancer as a social reason. When you take those women off the list, the number will be even lower, not to say negligible.
Secondly - still the BBC's words "Critics argue they are delaying motherhood for the wrong motives, such as climbing the career ladder or until they have more money." Sorry - who decides what the right and wrong motives for delaying motherhood are? If a woman decides she doesn't want to have children until she can afford to send them to a good school and raise them in a comfortable home who is the BBC to describe those as the "wrong motives"? And is it even true? A small survey on the Mothers 35-plus website gives the number one reason for delaying motherhood as "Lack of suitable partner".
In fact the evidence doesn't even suggest that women are delaying motherhood really. This chart of data from Scotland shows that older mothers are having slightly fewer children than they did in the 1950s and 60s. The difference is that younger mothers are having significantly less children.
And now some patronising advice from Comment On Reproductive Ethics: "The best solution to lifestyle problems is to change one's lifestyle. Have babies naturally at the time nature intended..." Got that ladies? Magically make the right bloke/financial security/feeling of broodiness come along at your fertility peak.
Now the second worst thing about the article is that it totally focuses on WHEN in their lives women SHOULD have babies. It doesn't say anything about the option of NOT HAVING BABIES! Globally we really don't need extra babies. And a very real alternative for older women who regret not starting a family earlier is adopting an older child in need, there are plenty out there desperate for help. And besides, if you don't want kids at 25, maybe you won't want kids at 35 either, as the chart shows the main trend is that women are really choosing to have less children, not the same number later in life.
But the very worst thing about the article is that it addresses itself 100% to women. What about men? Should we be warning men that if they want kids they should settle down with their woman before she hits 32? I have several women friends who are keen to start a family but are waiting until their partner feels ready too. It takes two to make babies.
And if there's any truth in the idea that women delay motherhood because they feel they can't have a career and a family while they're young then we should be warning employers that they're breaking the law by discriminating against pregnant women and working mothers and failing to offer flexible working hours to those with young children!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
That is not Mr Cru pictured by the way. You can go congratulate him on the good news here.
Monday, October 15, 2007
They also obtain views from three men and one woman, which gives me a chilling feeling. Why are men involved in the decision over what happens to women's bodies?
Meanwhile for a reminder of the "big success" that anti-abortion activists are aiming for - look at Nicaragua - where abortion is now illegal even if for instance, like Raquel in this article, you've been raped by your own uncle at the age of eleven...
The thing is if you really believe abortion is a sin or whatever, the way to cut the number of abortions is to back efforts to provide contraception to women, support benefits and assistance to single mothers and campaign against the lax prosecution of rape cases. But no-ones doing THAT of course.
Let me add the following: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Oh and this: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
What exactly are they proposing Bush would win it for? Services to reduce global warming by killing off hundreds of thousands of CO2-producing poor people in the Middle East? Services to global peace from using up all the dangerous weapons before anybody else can get their hands on them? Services to citizens of aggressive dictatorships for showing them that the promise of modern democracy isn't really worth fighting for?
That said of course Kissinger won it once so I guess they do issue it ironically from time to time...
Sunday, October 14, 2007
But here's the real rub. The Fox News people, the right wing bloggers, the Exxon-sponsored think tanks, Stewart Dimmock, all the other global warming nay-sayers have one thing in common:
None of them actually think global warming isn't happening.
Some think it's happening slower than it is. Some think it's happening but that it's not yet 100% clear that it's our fault. The court case argued that some of the evident effects of global warming might also be explainable by other means.
It's like being in a car speeding towards a cliff and going "I think the cliff's only 100 foot high, not 300 foot...", "well I think some of our speed might be down to the angle of the road, not our acceleration". You're still going off the cliff, the rest doesn't matter and the time spent arguing is wasted time that puts people's lives at risk. Time that needs to be spent stopping the car or turning it round.
No-one thinks global warming isn't going to destroy the planet eventually. The focus therefore needs to be on what we can do to cut emissions and recapture carbon. And the focus needs to be on doing those things NOW!
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Guerrilla News Network has done the leg-work on this one. What I can't seem to find out though are which of the mega-polluters are paying for his campaign. Anyone got any idea? Both funding groups - Scientific Alliance and Straight Teaching say they accept corporate donations but they don't list major donors. I'd like to know who exactly is paying to set the agenda our kids are taught, and I bet we'd be horrified if we knew.
Speaking of Al Gore though I really hope he gets the Nobel Prize and then decides he will run for US president after all. I suspect the world may genuinely end quite soon if he doesn't...
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Now I suppose you could argue we should be grateful that they haven't just gone for Lily Cole lying in a puddle with an axe in her head, which as we all know is what really sells moisturiser. "Treat your corpse to softer, suppler, younger-looking skin ... before rigor mortis sets in." Media recruitment agencies need not call.
But I just refuse to participate in the "campaign for real beauty". I'm rather preoccupied with the campaign-for-women-not-to-be
-judged-on-their-appearances-in-the-first-place. The campaign
-for-the-public-unimportance-of-unattractiveness-in-women. The campaign-for -appreciation-of -women's-intellect,-strength
Secondly the whole "talk to your daughter" - and tell her what? "Listen sweetie, there is a massive multi-billion pound global industry out there trying to tell you that you're unattractive and trying to sell you products on that basis, but you don't need to buy face cream cos Mummy loves you anyway..." That'll make all the difference. Wouldn't we be better off if Mummy didn't have to tell her kids that, if instead the beauty industry just backed off a bit, now it's impact is starting to be so frighteningly obvious? And how is a quick chat with (uncool) Mum going to balance against the hundreds of negative images kids see every day?
Anyhow their images of "real" beauty might include a nominal amount of slightly larger, slightly older and (shock-horror) non-caucasian women but actually they show mostly really very attractive women. OK, they're not models but they're not over 300lbs, there's no-one with a disfiguring disability, and I don't see anyone who looks over about 60. They're a lot better looking than if you went out in the street and just stopped the first women you saw.
The website itself doesn't seem to be much help. On the kids (girls, of course) page it suggests inviting your friends round and holding a fashion show - because only your best friends will tell you those white boots might be "mod" but they're just not "you". Yes have your friends come round and criticise your dress sense! Then you get to print out the self-esteem certificate... Seriously!
A beauty product company - and one which in the past has offered such "confidence boosting" products as “Intensive Firming Gel-Cream: for specific problem areas like thighs" - simply isn't the one to be telling us all how to manage our self-esteem issues. If they believe a word of what they say they would close down and re-open as a women-only go-karting and dry-slope skiing centre. In any case Dove is simply one of hundreds of products made by Unilever. How many of the following Unilever-owned brands have signed up for the "campaign for real beauty":
Slim Fast (yes, the fast-diet milkshake crap)
Lynx (spray more, get more nubile semi-naked bikini-clad models chasing after you)
Sunsilk (website quote: Want hair like Paris Hilton, Nicole Kidman or Posh Spice? )
Pond's (website quote: If you're worried that your face isn't as firm as it used to be, then you don't have to just grin and bear it)
Timotei (advertised by gorgeous super-thin young-looking models in white dresses wandering about a meadow)
Sure (advertised by super-athletic muscular semi-naked models)
Lux (website quote: We all like to look gorgeous and enjoy that confidence which makes us feel like anything’s possible)
Axe (Men's body spray, website boast: Our award-winning ads and marketing are equally adventurous. In Colombia, for instance, a female Axe Patrol visits bars and clubs, frisking guys and applying body spray ... How good will I feel about my "real beauty" while my boyfriend is being frisked by glamorous models in a Columbian nightclub?)
And Unilever are so keen for you to celebrate your naturally beautiful body that here's what they want you to rub on it (this is the Extra-Sensitive Cream Bar):
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Aqua (that's water btw), Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Oxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, CI 77891.
Mmmm, mmmm, just reading that's making me feel beautiful already huh? Some of those are just posh words for products derived from palm oil and coconut, others are a little more sinister like: Tetrasodium EDTA - Synthetic preservative - can be irritating to the eyes/mucous membranes. And Cocamidopropyl Betaine which has been claimed to cause allergic reactions in some users.
The truth is advertisers don't give a stuff about little girl's self-esteem or older women's real beauty. They care about getting products off the shelf. Here's what Unilever's website says about Dove:
Paragraph one: "Dove is committed to widening the definition of beauty for women because we believe real beauty comes in all ages, shapes and sizes. To help you enjoy your own brand of beauty, Dove provides an extensive range of cleansing and personal care products that make a genuine difference to the condition and feel of your skin and hair."
Paragraph two: "Dove is now the UK’s top cleansing brand with an amazing 35% of the population having bought a Dove product in 2004. And it doesn’t end there: 7.2 million women use Dove every week in the UK."Are we all really THAT stupid?
(The image up top by the way is not the Dove advert - it's a copy-cat by Bigmoves - a larger dance troupe appearing near you - if that's New York, Boston, Montreal or San Francisco - soon...)
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
"She tells of a time early on in her abuse when she was with one customer who had asked for two girls.
The other girl was showing her what to do but Anna started to cry when she saw the customer lying on the bed - it was the first time she had seen a naked man."
So a man went in to visit a brothel and one of the girls started crying, and yet evidently he didn't go to the police or report the incident, or if he did the police did nothing. Is that the kind of society we live in now? Of course the treatment from the pimps themselves is the most horrific:
"she was forced to have sex and faced ice-cold baths, starvation and beatings if she did not do as she was told"
So when at long long last she was rescued from this horrific life, from a life of being raped by different men up 15 to 20 times a day (oh and up to 30 around Christmas - cos all those devoutly religious people know the best way to celebrate the birth of the Lord is with a trip to a cheap brothel...), and frequent violent abuse too, how does Britain respond? We lock her up in Yarl's Wood detention centre.She was 12 when she was trafficked out of Albania. She's 20 years old now. She fears she'll be forced back in to prostitution if she goes back to Albania. So we're deporting her straight back there.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Trying to arrange travel and accommodation was a little less fun. I may well post later on the horrors of National Express and Hotels.com, I'll wait until they reply (if they do) to my complaints. In the meantime I discovered yet another reason why privatising the rail service was an unforgivable error.
The two most popular flight destinations from London are Manchester and Paris. It should be easy to cut CO2 emissions by converting those flights into train journeys. With airports being out of town and the time required to check in, it is easier to do either of those journeys city centre to city centre by rail in 2hrs (Manchester) and 3hrs (Paris).
Except on a Sunday when the Virgin-run trains to Manchester don't take two hours - they take 4 hours. That's because they send all the trains via Birmingham, not direct, to pick up extra passengers and make them more profitable. Really. So people who want to save the planet have to waste an extra two hours of their lives. And of course the tickets aren't any cheaper for the extra two hours of inconvenience. Isn't it obvious we should tax airline fuel and make it a condition of the rail contract that full-speed trains run every day?