Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet Mr Cru

Some lovely people have made a documentary about my other half David and you can watch it here...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jean Kilbourne Yeah!

The Daily Misogyny

The Daily Mail is not well known for it's positive attitude towards women and feminism. They really seem to have outdone themselves today though with this "advice" column from Rowan Pelling (pictured).

The problem being dealt with is a woman who feels uncomfortable undressing in front of her boyfriend because she is self-conscious about her body. Her boyfriend is threatening to leave her over this.

So here's what you should really do in that circumstance: Tell your boyfriend to go fuck himself. Firstly if you feel self-conscious around him naked or otherwise, it sounds like he's not necessarily being the most supportive boyfriend. But more importantly if he's trying to use threats like leaving you to get you to do something sexual that you're not ready or willing to do he's an asshole and you should leave. Why does he want you to do something that makes you uncomfortable anyway? Doesn't sound like a very nice guy.

Not in Daily Mail land though... Pelling genuinely starts with this opening line:

"The biggest failing of modern feminism must be the fact women are so hard on themselves about their bodies."

Yeah exactly - see elsewhere on Cru-blog for my classic posts entitled "Your body - not good enough" and "Bigger than a size 6? Why not puke it up?". Feminists have been fighting against the way women are constantly judged on their appearances forever. We've written shelves full of books about it actually, things like The Beauty Myth and Fat is a Feminist Issue. Feminists are out there protesting beauty pagents and complaining about the unreasonable images of women shown in magazines and on TV. I don't remember seeing Ms Pelling on the front line!

So the alternative solution? Strip off and put up with it. She even suggests going to stripping classes to boost your body-confidence? Really.

Lets just hope it's not a real letter and a real person sat at home reading Pelling's noxious advice and taking it on board. You deserve better from both your boyfriend and your media.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Big Questions - Answered!

I was on TV this morning on BBC One show The Big Questions (hosted by Nicky Campbell, pictured) talking about the plans to allow abortion service providers to advertise on TV. You can watch the show again on BBC iPlayer. More information here (you've got 7 days to view it before they take it down I think - my part was in the third section of the show so fast forward to 40 minutes in if you don't want to see the whole thing!). The debate got quite heated largely due to the presence of "family campaigner"* Lynette Burrows. I've met her before and I recognised her instantly due to the faint smell of sulphur that wafts by as she enters the room.

Suffice as to say I thought it went very well. I managed to get a fair few important points across and also got to say live on air that abortion is available in Britain, on the NHS, for free and nothing to be ashamed about. And probably someone somewhere listening didn't realise that and will one day really need to know in a hurry. So in that sense it was definitely worth the early morning trip to Cambridge!

And if you are wondering how it ends - it turns out the answer to most of the big questions is (in the words of someone sat near me) "Shut up Lynette, you stupid bigot"!

* In inverted commas because I, like more or less everyone I know, am a member of a family and she certainly doesn't represent my views.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spot The Class-A Arsehole

It won't take long. In the second sentence he 'hilariously' jokes "calm down feminists..." and then a few paragraphs later we are reading "The second time I married, it was mainly to avoid AIDS.". Yes really - he wrote that and they printed it with the nonchalance of a light-hearted celebrity fluff piece. And now sports...

Internet Find Of The Day

Interesting post on murder, feminism and the internet...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cheers Ada

By the way interestingly today is Ada Lovelace Day - a day assigned to celebrate women in technology - i.e. bloggerettes like me! You can read about her achievements at the link above. She's pictured left interestingly in much the same outfit I like to wear while blogging.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dominic Lawson: Misogynist

Yesterday there was an incident involving The Independent and the World-Cup-winning England Women's Cricket team. They hinted with a cover photo and an article from Andy Burnham that they felt women's sport deserved greater coverage, then in their sports section - and on their website - totally buried the coverage of the women's cricket and had no coverage of any other women's sport. Today they appear to have explained their mixed-up messages with a full-page opinion piece, this time with a full-size front-of-website link, by Dominic Lawson lovingly titled "Well done our women cricketers. Just don't ask me to watch them."

In the piece he explains - or tries to - why no-one on earth actually wants to watch women's sport. His point - as far as I understand it - is that men's sport is the only sport we all want to watch because it represents the pinnacle of human achievement. The fastest runners, the highest jumpers and the longest throwers are all men. And this, he would have us believe, explains why no-one wants to see women's sports, or - for bonus uncool points - the special olympics.

This misses a few big points. Firstly it forgets that more than half of the population is women, maybe women are more interested in the greatest achievements of their own kind. And maybe for someone with a disability it's a little more inspiring to see what someone with a similar disability can achieve, rather than an able-bodied person.

Secondly if we are really only interested in the fastest, highest, furthest then no-one would go to second division football matches. Yet those matches get much better numbers than most women's games at every level. On top of this we would all watch only the wheelchair marathon. They finish way faster than the able-bodied men. Or for that matter - we'd just watch the motor racing, that is loads faster. Or if you want to insist on racing without mechanical intervention then why isn't there an Olympic competition for cheetahs? They can sure move. No matter how hard you train Dominic, the England Women's Cricket team could whoop your ass and the only way you could fail to be impressed by their speed, skill and teamwork is if you had already decided not to be in your miserable closed misogynist mind.

Thirdly you only need to wander along to see your local school sports day to see that our enjoyment of sports has a lot less to do with the pinnacle of human achievement than it does to do with cheering on those we perceive as "our team". The joy experienced by her family, neighbours and friends when little Jessica comes 19th out of 19 in the sack race far exceeds anything Dominic Lawson has felt watching men's cricket. If the media gave greater coverage to women's sport we would all feel more connected to the players and hence more invested in their victory. We'd maybe know that one of them was from our area. We'd have seen them on TV talking about their recent injury and recovery and we'd be rooting for them to be picked for the squad for the final.

Fourthly watching sport is something that people do for fun. Whether live or on TV it is the experience as a whole that is enjoyable. I've been to the Oval a couple of years ago to watch a (men's) match and I can report with some conviction that most people spent most of the time either eating or drinking. The fun of watching these sports is greatly enhanced by a bigger crowd, which means more atmosphere, more sense of being part of a community of fans and a better range of food and drink facilities. Again more media coverage would have a big impact.

Finally we might accept that Lawson is some sort of weird freaky intellectual anomaly for whom watching sport is a purely scientific intellectual activity where he derives pleasure purely from calibrating in his own mind the limits of the male able-bodied human condition. But then he says this...

"It was with the greatest difficulty that the world's strongest woman chess player, the Hungarian Judit Polgar, was able to persuade the sport's authorities that she should compete only against the men, rather than other women. Yet none of her fellow women players have followed her example, presumably judging that they have a better chance of becoming a "world champion" if they limit the competition to members of their own sex."

The fact that other women have not moved into men's chess might also be because when Judit Polgar did so it was, by your own admission idiot-boy, "with the greatest difficulty".

The world of sport is notoriously sexist, even women looking to become managers or officials or coaches fight a continuous uphill battle to be taken seriously in men's sport while men wanting to take those roles on in the women's game are welcomed with open arms. Those women who do prove themselves as talented as their male counterparts are routinely denied admission to men's teams, even when they could make substantially more money joining the men's team. Funding for women's sports at every level is woefully inadequate. While top-level male athletes earn thousands every week the women in the equivalent teams are likely to be working full time to make ends meet and trying to fit their training around that.

Lest we fear that Lawson's remarks should show him up as prejudiced against those with special needs (clearly it's a-OK if we think he's misogynist) he pulls this winner out of the bag "I too have a child with Down syndrome". Seriously. In next week's column "My hairdresser's gay, so I can't be a homophobe...". Anyway his point is that his daughter's school sports day (by inference an event of similar national importance to England's women winning the World Cup) shouldn't be given extensive media airing.

Given the level of misogyny holding women back at every level of every sport out there, I'm inclined to think - nor should Lawson's noxious remarks.

Like Nothing On (Google) Earth

The Guardian reports that there has been a run of "hilarious" penis drawings on roofs and playing fields for the benefit of Google earth cameras. There seems only one appropriate response - I shall take my paint pot and head sky-wards to see how the media react to a huge cunt on my roof! Will The Sun and The Guardian and the BBC be tripping over themselves to discuss my humorous prank or will they be horrified and disgusted at my inappropriate and un-lady-like behaviour? I think we all know.

Alternatively maybe I should revive an ancient tradition and daub my roof with a modern Sheela Na Gig!?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jade and Johann

Although I have already today been rather critical of the Independent I should mention that it does contain a totally brilliant piece about Jade Goody by Johann Hari and you should all ready that.

How Not To Be A Minister

Today's Independent carries on the cover a picture of England's Women's Cricket team who have just won the world cup. Now I am in general not a fan of over-sponsored, over-hyped professional sports. But then again the women on this team are not full-time professional sportspeople - they're students, shop workers, management consultants and charity workers. And that's largely because the government continues to allow sports funding from tax-free corporate sponsorship to be allocated more or less exclusively to men's sport.

Below the one-page feature on page 11 which explains who the team members are (one sentence each around a photograph) is a piece by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham in which he argues that women's sport deserves more coverage and that young women would be encouraged to participate in sport if they saw more role models in the media. He doesn't seem to have twigged that young women would also be encouraged to participate in sport if there was decent funding for it! And I should know - I pretty much gave up paying women's football a few years back because the lack of facilities and the lack of funding for the league meant there was a shortage of teams and far too many players at each one for most players to be getting a regular game. So I was splashing out a lot of money to train at inconvenient times in the middle of nowhere knowing I still wouldn't get a game at the end of it.

However despite being the one and only person in government with a direct remit to do so Burnham doesn't commit at any point in his piece to actually doing anything about the status of women's sport. Instead he suggests it is predominantly up to the media to sort it out. What is the point of being in government if you can see what the problem is but respond by leaving it up to the media to sort it out? Why not just vote Rupert Murdoch into power and be done with it?

And the media Burnham is urging into action? Well, while the main section of the Independent front-pages the victory and bewails the poor coverage elsewhere, no-one appears to have bothered to mention this to the rest of the paper...

The sports section has a front cover about men's football, with sidebars about men's rugby, men's cricket and men's motor racing. The world cup win for the women is on page 14 and consists of a single brief match report at the bottom of the page filling around a sixth of the total page area and squashed beside and below articles about men's cricket matches. There are no other articles in the 20-page supplement about women's sports.

The Independent website has more than 100 links on it's main page of which only one relates to the win. Demonstrating their deep belief in Burnham's claim that it is up to the media to encourage young women to participate in sport, they have put this one link in the scrolling, not-always visible "Editor's Choice" bar next to such heavyweight pieces as "The Ten Best Luxury Face Creams" and "Floral Patterns Are Back In Season"! Burnham's own piece is not linked from the front page...

Seriously Mr Burnham you are one of the few people in the country who can change things if you want to. But not by writing articles which even the paper you publish them in goes on to ignore. If you mean a word of what you say - get your finger out and pass a law on the subject. Because that's the point of your job...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Can You Imagine...

...anything less likely to turn a lesbian heterosexual than being raped by a man? Frightening report from ActionAid about the situation in South Africa where women are being subjected to "corrective" rape and in many cases murder because of their sexual orientation.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Women Will Survive The Recession

According to The Guardian, via The F-Word, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is about to recommend holding off on bringing in equal pay audits in the UK because the "economic climate is too fragile".

So great news for the women of Britain, we're expected to survive the economic crisis on 17% less than our male counterparts (20% for ethnic minority women, 36% for part time workers, 45% for part time workers in London)? How exactly is that reasonable? Every time I open the paper I read about single mothers and how they should be working, but how exactly are you supposed to raise three kids on 45% less than equivalent male pay in an recession while the CSA don't bother to pursue your ex-partner for support? Although some supposedly serious newspapers are suggesting you can beat the credit crunch by turning to prostitution!

So here's a better idea for all those in government blatantly unable to think of one. Let's criminalise men who pay for sex - punishable with a steep fine. And use the money to help follow up on measures to bring about equal pay for women and quality childcare available to all lone parents. How do I keep having these great ideas...?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dear The Guardian

Last week I wrote a short article which I wanted the Guardian to publish on their Comment Is Free website. It was a response (more concise than my lengthy rebuttal on here) to the Germaine Greer article they had published a few days earlier. First they seemed keen, then they lost my piece and forgot to get back to me. Then they published a rather light-weight rebuttal by another woman in the industry. Then they ignored me for a few more days as I chased up on whether or not they wanted it (took me 1 day to write it and them 5 days to get back to me in the end). Then they finally got back to me to say they'd been a bit busy and "sorry" and they didn't want it now. By this stage it was a bit late to go offering it round to all the other places I might have taken it (like the F-Word or Liberal Conspiracy - you guys will get first dibs next time...).

I wasn't exactly happy with the way my hard work was treated but there again these guys are a news organisation and there's a crisis in Pakistan right now, Darfur is a mess, war continues in Iraq and Afghanistan, human lives hang precipitously in the balance in Gaza and even closer to home in Northern Ireland problems are flaring up and people are dead. I can totally understand how a reaction to a few sexist remarks by a writer and occassional TV pundit managed to slip through the cracks. Then I discovered that during the same period they were too busy to get back to me, the Guardian team still had time to produce this video. Two giggling women trying to teach each other how to run around in expensive high-heeled shoes. You're a fucking news organisation for fuck's sake!! Do your fucking job!!

That Horrible Taxi Rapist Guy

Well you've no doubt seen the conviction of John Worboys - the black cab driver who may have drugged and raped as many as 200 women in the back of his taxi in London. The story is totally sickening - after all the efforts by the police to tell women not to ride in illegal mini-cabs (the clue is in the name - they're "illegal" - which means it is the job of the police to stop them, no?) - it emerges that a stream of women hailing a "safe" black cab were drugged and raped.

The really chilling thing is that the profile of the women he targeted was - me. Out late alone in central London (which my job dictates I am five or six nights a week), around my age and sometimes drunk. Not only do I shudder and think how easily it could have been me, a small part of my brain can't help the paranoia that maybe it's actually possible that one of his victims was me. Part of my brain is running vague memories of nights when I woke up in the morning not entirely sure how I got home, wondering where I left my scarf or how on earth I managed to spend all the money in my wallet. And I keep seeing his picture in all the papers and thinking "Does he look familiar? Have you seen that face before?". As well as the hundreds of women who probably are his victims, thousands more, like me, have had that sickening thought - Would I have remembered if it was me? - over the course of the story unraveling in the media.

And women have a right not to walk around in fear of rape, not to feel paranoid that any night they have a couple more drinks than they can really handle they are suddenly at risk from people like black cab drivers - the very people they trust to help them get home safely. But the fear persists and it does so because the police - whose job it is to keep us safe from these criminals - are helping the rapists more than the victims. By refusing to believe victims, advising victims to drop cases, losing evidence, refusing to run tests, accepting rapists stories as true and dismissing drunk and drugged women as unreliable witnesses they in fact discourage women from coming forward to report the crimes perpetrated against them, thus making it even harder to get these criminals off the street. Indeed one of Worboys' early victims dropped her case because the police investigation was taking too long. But looking at the scale of the rape epidemic in the UK rape should surely be a priority for the police - who instead are focussed as far as I can tell on arresting anyone with a beard, some chappati flour and a GCSE chemistry book.

There is a great article by Lisa Longstaff from Women Against Rape covering this in more depth here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All In The Family

I am not usually one for discussing my family on here - I am not very close to very many of them - mostly for reasons I have discussed at length. That said I thought I would share this article which has just came out about my Great-Uncle Tony and Great-Aunt Doreen. I can claim no credit since I have yet to meet either of them but I have been chatting to Doreen on Facebook recently, who sent me the link to the piece. If nothing else it should inspire you to get up and out and enjoy the rest of the afternoon!

Domestic Violence - Hit and Miss

I was delighted to see Sandra Holey from Refuge calling Jacqui Smith up on her and her government's failure to do anything real about the two women a week killed in the UK by partners or ex-partners. Sadly of course in spite of her brave stand, it still seems like a solution to this crisis is a long way off.

There is still talk of "telling women when they start a relationship with a man with a history of domestic violence" - which is so hypocritical it's not true. If these men have previous convictions and are a threat to women- they should have been locked away and not released back onto the streets until the prison authority believes they no longer represent a threat to the public. We already know that many victims of domestic violence blame themselves for the situation - how easy is it going to be to convince women not to blame themselves when they've persisted with a relationship against police advice?

And how utterly offensive to suggest this without talking about catching, prosecuting and jailing the perpetrators of domestic violence which is the obvious real solution to the problem. Plus of course tackling the culture in which we live - the culture in which one in seven people think it's ok for a man to hit his partner if she wears "sexy" clothes in public.

Meanwhile I just noticed this: a new pocket-sized body spray for men from Lynx - the people who brought you things like "Manwash" and "Spray More, Get More" and as I recall "We Have No Decent Ideas In Marketing So Lets Just Get A Bunch Of Girls In Bikinis". And what is the catchy men-appealing name for the new pocket-sized body spray? Bullet. Yes really - in their words "giving guys on-the-go pocket pulling power anytime, anywhere". Bullet.

The good news is at least that now rather than waiting for the police to get in touch women can tell by smell alone whether or not their date is the sort of asshole who responds to advertising like this. Spray More, Get None from now on...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Speaking To God

I was asked today to go on BBC Radio Leeds and talk about the Dutch artist who has set up an answerphone for God. Why they thought to get an atheist on the subject I am not entirely sure although listening to the people who called in, few were taking the exercise seriously.

So here's my message to God (and I am assuming we mean the Christian god, although many of my points would generalise):

"Err, listen mate, you're rubbish at this. Seriously - they're all out there killing each other and saying you told them to do it. Be a bit more clear about your messages next time. Spell it out in clouds whenever you think there's a misunderstanding. 'Stop killing each other, I don't want you to do this.'

"Now next up - about your organisation. Bit behind the times on promoting women aren't we? Can't help noticing that Playboy these days is run by a woman while your lot all report to a former Hitler Youth member who thinks that gay rights marches are an offense to Christian values. Believe me, people are going to stop subscribing to the whole benevolent deity thing as long as you're making Hugh Hefner look like he's working hard to promote equal opportunities.

"And I sense the beep is on it's way but I do have one more question. What were the dinosaurs for? Was that just a practical joke or did you screw up and make some giant lizards on an off day, realise if you let them lose they'd kill everything and figure if you buried them in tar pits we wouldn't notice?"

And hopefully that gave you a good laugh because, on the subject of the Pope, the next thing I'm going to share with you is probably going to make you really very angry.

A woman in Brazil discovered that her nine-year-old daughter was pregnant with twins following three years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. Fortunately though the law in Brazil is extremely restrictive on abortion, exceptions are made for rape and health risks to the mother. So the poor nine-year-old was treated and is now safe. Step in Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, head of the Catholic church in Brazil who has ex-communicated the mother and the doctor but not, importantly, the guy who started repeatedly raping a girl of six years old. Presumably he was told to say three Hail Marys and put a fiver in the collection box...?

The Vatican responded of course by ... backing up Archbishop Sobrinho
. The Pope's official representative for Latin America, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, said the twin foetuses have the "right to live". Really.

And the thing is me talking to God on the phone is just a bit of fun but the Vatican, whose only claim to legitimacy is that they have a "direct line" to God, are taken seriously by our political leaders. Two weeks ago Gordon Brown went to visit the Pope at the Vatican to have a chat about how to combat problems in the world. Surely the first problem to be addressed is why anyone is listening to this noxious group of people.

Independent Cru-blog

Julian Hall, writing on the Independent website, quotes my piece about Germaine Greer and says nice things about it. Thanks Julian!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Laura in Plymouth

This would be the most depressing article I've seen in ages except for the comment at the bottom from Laura in Plymouth, with really made me laugh. Thanks Laura, whoever you are!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Line-By-Line: Come On Germaine!

I love to see someone whose work as a feminist I have long respected adding to the steaming heap of bullshit that makes it harder to do my job every day. Thanks for this one Ms Greer. I'll give it the careful dissection it so blatantly doesn't deserve...

"I should probably not have said, in so few words on television recently, that women aren't as funny as men."

No you should not have, not unless you could really justify it, which we are about to see - you can't.

"Put so baldly, the observation sounds like deliberate provocation, as if I was baiting feminists, or looking for some kind of a knee-jerk response."

I remember when you WERE a feminist.

"I was actually trying to present an aspect of the psychopathology of everyday life that strikes me as interesting and important."

And yet you know as well as I do that 99% of people aren't going to read past the first line of what you say and are instead going to turn up at my place of work and regurgitate your words verbatim using them to deny my right to a fair shot at doing my job. So thanks.

"Women are at least as intelligent as men, and they have as vivid and ready a perception of the absurd; but they have not developed the arts of fooling, clowning, badinage, repartee, burlesque and innuendo into a semi-continuous performance as so many men have."

So women have failed to develop the art of burlesque as well as men? Yeah that's a real problem... But seriously which clubs do you go to?Look back to Hattie Jacques and Joyce Grenfell: women have always done great comedy and they still do.

"The phenomenon of men's dominance of the comedy realm is so conspicuous that all kinds of cod explanations have been given for it."

No - the phenomenon of men's dominance of comedy is a fiction invented very recently by lad mags. It has nothing to do with reality and should be rejected wholesale.

"According to one cracker-barrel psychologist, the pleasure generated by a response to a gag is patterned on the male orgasm rather than the female."

No - Andrew Watts wrote that on the Chortle website. He's a comic not a psychologist and by his own admission (I know him) the remark was intended as a silly analogy. If orgasm had anything to do with comedy men would only be able to tell one joke all night.

"Another wiseacre has convinced himself that making people laugh is exerting some kind of power over them."

Yeah well it is - it's the power to make people laugh - and women are just as good at it as men.

"In my version, the man who opts for the role of joker in the male group is not looking for power but for acceptance; the other roles in the group are not accessible to him, perhaps because he is weaker or poorer or less imposing than his peers."

This would make total sense if all comics were weak, skinny, ugly guys - but they're not, many are big tough guys and quite a lot are fucking funny women. And anyhow if comedy were about overcoming weakness, women would be tons better at it than men owing to our weedy arms!!

"His audience has, as it were, the power of life and death over him; if he fails to get his laugh, he "dies"."

Dying onstage as a comic is just a turn of phrase - in reality you have a good gig or a bad one and while everyone tries to learn from bad gigs, experienced comics know better than to let a rowdy inattentive audience get to them.

"Men's dominance of standup has even been attributed to the phallic character of the microphone, absurdly enough."

If the microphone is a dick then you'd expect straight women and gay men to be the ones with the best idea what to do with it.

"Though it might be comforting to believe that simple misogyny prevents women being given a fair go, even this will not wash."

Yeah there's no misogyny out there. That's why when I ring round for gigs I hear "We've already got a woman on the bill that night". That's my fair go, is it? In fact even your very article constitutes misogyny because it presumes that female comics are some sort of homogeneous group, that what applies to one, is true of them all. I don't care if you've seen fifty terrible female acts, you haven't seen me and I'm an individual who deserves to be judged on my own merits not on my gender.

"The juries who give prizes to comedians are usually composed of both sexes, and audiences certainly are; but still the female performers don't make it, don't get the prizes, don't get the audiences and don't make the money. "

And women (judges and audience) can't be sexist? Didn't you quite literally write the book on this? Anyway plenty of women comics have won awards: Jenny Eclair, Laura Solon, Nina Conti, Sarah Millican, Josie Long, Susan Calman...

"I have heard it said that women can't be really funny because they aren't willing to make themselves look ridiculous."

And you bothered to listen to this? Now to me that makes YOU look ridiculous Greer.

"The truth seems to be that female comics are only too willing to turn themselves into grotesques, and to base their comedy in a disparagement of their physical selves."

Could that be because women's bodies are considered such fair game in every form of media out there that women have found humour in rejecting ideals of beauty and taking delight in the earthy realities of the female form (quote Dory Dutton at my show at Soho Comedy Club tonight: "As I get older I'm not unhappy with the shape of my body ... it's the texture ...").

"Pamela Stephenson of Not the Nine O'Clock News briefly toured the working men's clubs of Britain with a courageous routine featuring menstruation jokes, which she probably got away with because she was blonde and gorgeous."

So the odds were totally stacked against her but she did well but so it must have been because she was attractive? Whereas Jo Brand has done well because of what?

"(Since she became a sex therapist, she has given up making jokes altogether.)"

She's a highly qualified psychotherapist who despite changing careers is still much in demand on TV and who also wrote a brilliant, very witty, book about her husband.

"Dawn French and Jo Brand have both made comic material out of obesity."

So does Johnny Vegas. He must be shit.

"French and Jennifer Saunders began their comic partnership as the Menopause Sisters, and used to do one routine with tampons in their ears."

And when guys (hundreds of them) get up on stage and do knob gags that's considered funny but tampons aren't allowed? This is from the woman who told women to taste their own menstrual blood to accept their own bodily functions. You would think she'd be cheering on the menopause and tampon jokes.

"Comments sent to a blog I came across bewail the tendency of female comics to work around the themes of "bras, periods, chocolate, WeightWatchers"."

Who needs research when you can read comments on a blog? I like the blogosphere but seriously, most comments I get are trying to sell me herbal viagra - it's not a reliable source of public opinion. I know few female acts whose sets cover these issues and if they did SO WHAT!? If you can be funny on those subjects - great - go for it!

"Whatever the problem is, it's not narcissism or vanity - rather the opposite."

I don't even understand logically what this comment means. The problem with female comedy is a lack of narcissism and vanity? Then remind me to see more female comedy, that sounds wildly refreshing.

"When they are not running themselves down, women comedians are often astonishingly vicious towards other women."

Whereas when male comics attack women - that's hilarious.

"Joan Rivers's attacks on Elizabeth Taylor are legendary. Zoe Lyons has a one-liner about Amy Winehouse self-harming: "She's so irritating, she must be able to find someone to do it for her", a joke that many women would find unfunny in the extreme."

I can think of rape jokes I've heard from male comics in the last week that I find a lot less funny.

"Every year produces a new crop of women standups who will take the world by storm, and when the froth subsides very few names persist: Jenny Eclair, Jo Brand, Victoria Wood."

Maybe the reason the media doesn't pick up on and promote more women comics is because attitudes like yours are all over the place. Well done though for mentioning Victoria Wood - she did win a public vote of "Britain's Favourite Comic" recently which rather seems to throw your whole theory out of the window doesn't it?

"Shazia Mirza has been heard to say that if only she could marry a rich man she would be off the circuit tomorrow, which suggests another reason why women don't mature in the comedy business."

Yeah Shazia says that. It's a joke. A joke about her conservative background.

"Comedy is learned; you get better as you go along."

So - you would think - is journalism but honestly Germaine, I preferred your early stuff.

"Men who emerge as professional comedians grow up within a dense masculine culture of joke-making and have been honing their skills ever since they started school. Girls have nothing similar of their own and are not invited to horn in on the guys' act."

Because girls don't sit in classrooms giggling amongst themselves? Have you ever been to a school?

"When men in the audience give women comedians a hard time, it is because the sharing of the joke is an important male bonding mechanism."

No it's because they're assholes. When some drunk idiot shouts 'Oi love, get your tits out' at me during a routine it's not his evolutionary destiny that has caused him to do that, it's the beer he's drunk and the crap he's read recently in FHM.

"We might also ask ourselves why the women in the audience cannot counterbalance male uneasiness with loyalty and enthusiasm for comedians of their own sex."

They can. Women in the audiences I perform to are thrilled when a female act gives the guys a taste of their own medicine. They whoop with delight to hear someone tell it like it is from a woman's perspective for once. And what is more they line up in droves to come to women-only comedy nights which are flourishing around the UK. I hosted another sold-out one myself as an Abortion Rights fundraiser on Friday, see also Funny Women, Laughing Cows et al.

"Can it be that women are programmed to laugh at men's jokes, as they are not to the jokes of their sisters?"

Yeah cos when you see two young sisters playing together, they never giggle.

"Comedian Arthur Smith once said, "Women don't get shags after gigs. Men do.""

I've often been chatted up after gigs. And I know lots of guys who complain they get into the industry hoping it will get them laid and it doesn't. Mark Steel talks about this in his book "It's Not a Runner Bean" which Ms Greer clearly failed to read in her extensive research process.

"This may be more revealing than Smith knows. Women comedians are probably not looking for shags in any case; if they were, they probably couldn't say so."

Of all the women I know the one and only group definitely not afraid to stand up and say out loud 'God, I need a shag' is the comediennes.

'The greater visibility of male comedians reflects a greater investment of intellectual energy by men of all walks of life in keeping each other amused.'

Or a greater investment of financial resources in promoting a few guys who the media has deemed appropriate for celebrity status.

"It is now a truism that men never talk to each other about things that matter."

But the best comedy is always about things that really do matter.

"Most of what takes place when men are together is phatic communication, intended to build fellowship rather than intimacy. This kind of communication is sometimes derided by women as meaningless, but it is actually functional, because it draws the group together. Men who drink, play and joke together are boon companions, who hang together for fun. He laughs loudest who laughs last; one joke kicks off another."

Whereas you never ever see groups of women out and about joking and laughing together, let alone mixed groups. Sorry Germaine but men do not have a monopoly on having a laugh.

"The man who cannot hold his own in repartee will even learn other men's jokes off by heart, so that he can fill a void in the general banter."

Yeah and stealing someone else's material is what makes a great comic...

"Women famously cannot learn jokes. If they try, they invariably bugger up the punchline."

Famously where? Did I miss a meeting?

"The male teller of jokes is driving towards his reward, the laughter of his mates. The woman who messes up the same joke does so because her concentration is not sharpened by that need. She is not less intelligent, simply less concerned."

The funniest people are the ones most desperately trying to get a laugh then? Not the ones who don't give a fuck and are telling it like it is? Maybe watch a show next time before you write this sort of rubbish huh?

"Given an opportunity to perform a finished comedy routine, a female comedian will make you laugh as hard as any man."

Despite her lack of ambition and failure to put her burlesque skills to proper use? You're contradicting yourself here.

"Put her in an improvisation situation along with male comedians, and she is likely to be left speechless."

Screw you Germaine. Come to one of my shows and I'll take any male comic you like and improvise the shit out of them.

"Quiz show Mock the Week usually invites one woman every other week or so, and every time I have been watching she has been eclipsed by the furiously competing six males who complete the cast of the show. Before she can get a word out, one or other of them will have snatched the microphone and gone riffing away on something he prepared earlier and has adjusted for the precise occasion."

So women are rubbish at improv because men interrupt them with prepared material? And this is women's fault? And you think a show with six guys and one woman is a fair forum from which to extrapolate to sweeping gender generalisations?

"There is, after all, an element of trainspotting, of one-track-mindism in comedy that is alien to women."

And an element of tangental thinking, of linking apparently wildly diverse subjects, that only someone who really knows how to multi-task could achieve. Or are we bored with reciting trite untrue stereotypes yet?

"At the heart of the judgment that women are not as funny as men is another far less inflammatory observation: that women are less competitive."

No - at the heart of your judgment that women are not as funny as men is a big heap of random misogynist lad mag-propagated bullshit that you really ought to know better than to buy in to.

"Competition drives men to more and more outrageous and bizarre mental acrobatics, to stay ahead of the game and have the last laugh. The greater the pressure, the faster the firing of neurons in the male brain."

Call the science press - where the hell does this come from? If this were true a simple piece of brain scanning apparatus combined with some sort of rapid-fire word-play quiz would have picked it up years ago. It's just piffle.

"You get your best results from women when you take the pressure off."

Again I haven't read this in the New Scientist yet so I'm gonna call it early as bullshit.

"Men do the inspired lunacy; women do droll."

This is your big conclusion? Comedy can be broken down into two sub-types: "inspired lunacy" and "droll"? And one type of comedy, the one that's not as good, is exclusively performed by people with vaginas? I don't understand how that even could be true.

Women are fighting an uphill battle in comedy against the rising tide of poorly argued baseless attitudes like this. And ironically I've read of lot of Ms Greer's work and she's pretty funny, I really think she could cut it in the clubs if she wanted to. Except mine of course where I would politely decline to put her on the bill since her words are undoubtedly going to cost me a bunch of bookings over the next year or two.