Monday, January 27, 2014

Look at this AMAZING and HILARIOUS advert!

"Bit of a mix up?" LOL "However carefully you plan, things can go wrong." I know the feeling!

As you can see this poor man's glad he bought flexicover (TM) travel insurance because he's been left with a PINK suitcase.

As we all know it cannot possibly be his. No man would ever own a PINK suitcase. Or borrow one off their wife. Or boyfriend. Or just buy one in the shops because it's a nice bright colour and he figures it will be easy to spot at the airport. That would NEVER happen because as we all know...


Ha ha ha. Who comes up with this stuff? HILARIOUS.

Note: Do not adjust your screen - it is still 2014.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Racism and abortion

I always enjoy being on The Big Questions and today was no exception (you can watch here: for the next seven days). As usual I spent the whole time with my hand in the air trying to deal with just a few of the obnoxious things people were expressing from all sides (don't even get me started on the man who thinks children can be possessed by the devil!).  There was one point I didn't get to respond to on air which I really really wanted to (unsurprisingly) ... the allegations that my views on sex-selective abortion are somehow racist  or culturally insensitive.

The claim (for those who missed the show) is that some women from certain cultural groups - India was mentioned - are under great pressure from their families to have boys and therefore we should ban doctors from telling women the sex of their foetus in order to make it harder for them to be forced into having abortions.  It was also claimed that women from these communities are at risk of domestic violence if they give birth to girls.  So...

1. As it happened both the Asian women on the show agreed with the claim. This doesn't mean all Asian women agree, nor does it mean that I shouldn't express my differing opinion out of "respect". In fact it would be disrespectful to (a) not represent the views of Asian women not included in the show's line up and (b) act as though these women are incapable of dealing with debate or holding their own. [And for note I have no idea in advance about who will be on the show and no control over it.]

2. A foetus is a part of a woman's body while it is growing. She should have the right to know any information she wants to about it. Or not if she doesn't. It's her body.

3. I would rather a woman have the freedom to get an abortion if she wants one than that she be put at risk of domestic violence. Obviously.

4. If a woman feels she wants to continue a pregnancy but knows she will be at risk of violence or other abuse if she does (for any reason) she should be offered a place in a refuge and support to rebuild her life away from the people who are threatening her. Also obviously.

5. The alternative is this. A white woman says "I wanted to be pregnant but now my partner's ill and I've just lost my job, I'd like an abortion." And I say "ok, that's your choice". A brown woman says "I wanted to have a baby but now I've discovered it's a female foetus and this could put me at risk of violence, I'd like an abortion". And I say "no, your choice is not valid". Guess what that would be? Racist.

In fact no-one has an abortion for a single reason. And no-one has an abortion purely because of the sex of the foetus. These cases (and in the UK, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, who perform a third of all abortions say they are not aware of any ethnic groups seeking sex-selective terminations) in fact are about women choosing abortion because of the combination of the sex of the foetus, the cultural norms of the community and family they live in and the alternative support options open to them.  We should be focussed on changing the cultural norms and giving these women a better and wider range of support options.

Otherwise we effectively turn to women who have been deprived of the understanding that girls can have successful careers, make money, achieve great things and make families very proud and tell them that since they're deprived of that knowledge we're going to deprive them of some other knowledge too. Welcome (back) to the dark ages!!

Of course we also have to consider the other likely consequences. If these families are so determined to force women to abort female foetuses what is to stop:

1. Dangerous, illegal backstreet scans and abortions?
2. Women being sent to other countries for scans and abortions (including places where maternal death rates are much higher and women's rights - for example to seek help if they experience violence - are not well enforced)?
3. Women claiming to have a family history of breast cancer or other gender-specific illness in order to create a medical reason for being told their foetus's sex?
4. These unwanted girls being cruelly mistreated?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Daily Fail vs Fat Thuts line-by-line

Did you make a new year's resolution? Maybe to quit smoking or make time to visit an elderly relative? The Daily Fail have resolved to keep finding more reasons for women to hate their bodies.  Perhaps you don't have cellulite (normal legs), skin blemishes (freckles), muffin top (not a problem for those of us who wear onesies all day), side boob (or is that a good one? I prefer mine on the front.), cankles (no idea but apparently Cheryl Cole's got one so probably anger management issues and a tendency to racism), crow's feet (these are considered very sexy on crows though), witch's hands (probably caused by choking journalists to death). Fear not, you too can hate your normal natural body thanks to the Daily Fail's pioneering efforts to rebrand your it as a source of shame and horror.

To which end may I present ladies and gentlemen: The THUT!!  Allow me to explain, one line at a time...

"Fitness experts have claimed that our sedentary lifestyles mean more women are losing the definition between their thighs and their butt than ever before."

Than ever before? Can someone show me the graph of this? How many women were losing butt-thigh definition in the 1860s? We need to know. That's probably why they all wore those big hoop skirts. Aha!!

"The ‘thut’ as it was coined  by, is when the muscles on the back of a woman’s legs are undeveloped – leading their butt and thigh to appear as a single piece of anatomy."

Yes ladies and remember your bodies must always be made up of separate anatomical items so you're nice and easy to objectify. For more info see our celebrity pages (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 in today's issue).

"According to experts, the issue is caused by a lack of targeted muscle tone and does not reflect the physical anatomy for a flat derrière."

Who are these "flat derriere experts"? How do you apply for that job? What is going on?

"‘It’s not the same thing,’ Cynthia Shipley, an instructor with True Pilates told MailOnline. ‘You have to look for definition, if the hamstrings are developed and if the buttocks is lifted.’"

How ironic for the Daily Fail to quote a woman from an organisation with "True" in the name. But she's not an expert, she's a gym teacher, with classes to sell. That's like saying the "nutrition experts" at Cadbury's think we should eat more Creme Eggs. Mind you, the Daily Mail would probably publish that story too.

"The thut's muscular origins are part of a postural support group that help dictate standing, lifting, and walking movements."

Yes the third year of a medical degree involves an in-depth study of the thut. You'll often have heard medical experts refer to Daily Mail journos as "a bloody great pain in the thut".

"The grouping's lack of development can be attributed to a shift in working culture, where many Americans sit in a desk chair all day rather than working in manual-labor-intensive occupations."

Is the Daily Mail an American paper now? But don't people in sedentary jobs also not exercise their legs and torsos much? Did the Daily Mail only just notice there was something between?

"Circles of online writers have thus begun referring to the issue as 'blogger butt'."

Could that be the word of 2014? And isn't the word "thut" enough? Do we need more made-up nonsense words? Or as I like to call them Turdinologies.

"Valerie Samulski, the Pilates coordinator for YogaWorks in New York further emphasized the thut’s muscle tone quotient. ‘It just makes it look like your but has dropped down into your leg, you lose that lift – it looks like mush and in fact it is,’ she said."

Sorry the "muscle tone quotient" - a quotient is the relationship between two numbers. Which two numbers are we talking about here? And no part of a woman's body is made of "mush", you might legitimately use the term as an analogy, but to describe it as "fact" is definitely nonsense.

"Ms Samulski says the thut ‘is not genetic – it’s really just a product of muscle tone and definition. It may be harder for someone to shape their muscles because of genetics, but mostly this is a problem of tone and proper use.’"

Body shape is a mixture of genetics and training? STOP PRESS!! Why has this never bee mentioned before?!

"While NYmag widely introduced thut terminology to the fitness-obsessed earlier this week with an instructional article, many fitness experts admitted to MailOnline that they had not yet heard of the word (though Ms Samulski admitted that, until now, she has referred to it as the butt-leg)."

No way - so a made-up word that was made up this week hasn't yet been adopted by everyone? And thank goodness! I wasn't happy with just the words "thut" and "blogger butt", I also need to use "butt leg" to insult myself.

"Research shows, however, that the thut has been included in fitness vernacular for at least the last three years."

Quit the etymology and get on with telling me how to hate myself already!

"Its mention began appearing in TRX-workout-centric articles circa 2011, and the first Urban Dictionary entry dedicated to the thut was created in 2007."

Commit this stuff to memory - you know it'll be on QI next week. (Also note that earlier in the same article they claim the word was "coined" by NYMag. BY their own admission, a lie.)

"In conversation, though, experts found the term superfluous and representative of 'another aesthetic obsession that people are latching on to because it is another way of judging if you are fit,' says Annie Mulgrew, the director of programming at City Row – New York City’s first-ever interval rowing studio, which opened just this week."

"Interestingly the Daily Mail journo googled "superfluous and judgemental" to come up with the idea for the article" says Kate Smurthwaite who is appearing at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley tomorrow.


Hang on - I only just got it. Let me enjoy it for a few minutes first ok?

"Om Factory's Michelle Velasquez says that practitioners should focus on ‘squats and lifting’ as a solution."

Practitioners of what? Self loathing?

"Annie Mulgrew of City Row pinpoints rowing as a feasible fix. The exercise has recently come to the fitness forefront for its ability to work the legs with minimal joint impact, ‘toning and lengthening them very quickly,’ she says."

Aha - the woman who runs the rowing gym thinks the best exercise is rowing. And now over to Jim at Squat-U-Like...

"And YogaWorks Pilates coordinator Valerie Samulski offered that any floor exercise ‘where the legs are behind the body and you are working at raising them in gravity,’ like the yoga poses dhanurasana and shalabhasana, will help."

Hello? Is that The Times? I've got a story for you, hold the front page. Yoga teacher reckons you should do yoga. Thank me later.

"But if a thut does create aesthetic-related anxiety, gravitational exercises involving leg lifts, squats, and isolated weight training can help alleviate the issue."

A thut doesn't create aesthetic-related anxiety. Articles in national papers telling me what's "wrong" with my body do that. Here's an exercise you can try. Bend at the waist and throw the paper in a dustbin.

"Ms Mulgrew says that ‘your legs muscles, your quads, hamstrings, calves, and your gluts can all be toned and in doing so you can absolutely create definition so that your butt appears lifted and firmed.’"

Muscles can be toned. Other things that will make your butt appear lifted and firmed include holding it with your hands, balancing it on a small ledge and having it photoshopped.

"She cautioned, though, that while thuts are fixable, ‘people have different body types and they have to respect that. Men and women also tone very differently.’"

My body type is "gets angry near patronising yoga teachers".

"Michelle Velasquez, a yoga instructor at Manhattan's Om Factory says that ‘when it comes to butt definition you can grow a butt. You won’t be a big booty chick, but you can grow muscle. You will get a little bump or something,’"

Scientists have been trying to grow a butt in the lab for years. I think maybe everyone involved in this article has already had a little bump. On the head.

"She was also careful to note that tight denim pants are likely the only article of clothing in which a thut would prominently appear."

I'm glad she was careful to note that, you wouldn't want her just flippantly saying any old nonsense. Otherwise she'd never make it as a yoga instructor - she'd be snapped up by the Daily Mail's editorial team.

"Thut or no thut, Ms Samulski says that the area’s overall health is important for its role in the postural support group: ‘It should be toned because it helps you stand properly.’"

Great advice. I remember only the other day seeing a man lying limply in the street and shouting "call a pilates instructor, quick!".

In next week's news: How can you lose your armbow? Can't wear min-skirts because of your knalf? Considering surgery for your heck? Why not have your unsightly brain removed and replaced with some expert-approved mush? It worked wonders for our house writers.