Category Archives: being a chick

“There are no tears, just pity and fear”

What the hell, South Africa?

Seriously, can somebody please give me a positive association for this country?  If it’s not car-jackings in Jo’burg, it’s growing up amidst the global embargoes in place because of apartheid.  Not to mention what the accent does to my brain – it really is like tinfoil on a filling sometimes.

Is patriarchal society really an excuse for 1 in 4 men committing rape?  We’re not talking about in the midst of civil war either (and I don’t think rape as a weapon is ever, ever excusable. But hey, it’s cheaper than bullets, right?)

It’s rare in this over-exposed, media-junkie life of mine that a news item can make me feel sick to the stomach.  This managed it from the headline and it only got worse.  I struggle with the blanket ideologies of feminism, but one thing I really feel we still have to fight for is better and more effective prosecution of rape.

I’m lucky to have the life that I do, working in a ‘man’s job’ with nary a comment being passed.  I honestly thought equality was within our grasp and in so many ways it could be.

As long as men can inflict this on women, we’ll never be equal.  That’s as wrong as it is terrifying, and I never thought I’d be in a place to admit that.


“Everywhere tradition draws circles to define”

Unsurprisingly, the world and its commentators have jumped on Sarah Palin like starving dogs on a hunk of sirloin.   It’s sexist, and I’m hardly the bra-burning feminist type who thinks every jibe at a female figure in the public eye is sexist.  I’ve said it before about some of the attacks on Hillary, and I think the McCain campaign was at least smart in grabbing the headlines by appointing her to the ticket.

Some would argue that it’s a cynical attempt to secure the PUMAs, those disillusioned women voters who thought the day had finally come when a woman could seriously run for President.  While there’s an element of that in play, it’s a worthwhile reminder to the Obama campaign that they don’t just inherit another candidate’s voters by default.  In a perfect world maybe that would be the case, but the level of personal investment in the primaries this time around makes it unlikely.  Joe Biden also has to be pretty damn careful in the VP debate, because patronising Palin the way many think Hillary was patronised will only irritate smart women even more.  I think that aside from the bounce-deflating headlines (seriously, doesn’t Denver seem a lot longer ago than last week?) the best part of having Palin on the ticket is the vital mobilisation of the Republican base.

Let’s be clear, I wouldn’t vote for Sarah Palin because our politics are pretty much polar opposites, but to the gun-totin’, baby-sparin’, God-pimpin’ redneck wing of the GOP she’s pretty much the best thing since sliced bread – especially since the top of their own ticket has made a career out of shunning the base in a particularly ‘maverick’ way.  As we saw with Bush and perhaps with Reagan and Bush Sr, winning swing voters and undecideds pales in comparison to getting your base fired up and out to the polls en masse.  There are just such a lot of rank and file Republicans waiting to be inspired to the voting booths, something that never seems to be quite so strongly the case with Democrats (something the primaries have been stark evidence of).

I just wish that for once, a female candidate could run in the same race as the guys get to take part in. If Obama’s child had a genetic disease, or John McCain had a grandchild being born out of wedlock, would their fathering skills be impugned with the not-so-subtle undertone of ‘what can you expect when a woman’s too busy with her job’?  I think not.  Whether Palin changes the race or not, she’s certainly made it more interesting.  I for one practically dozed off at the ‘old white guy’ announcement of Biden on the Dems’ ticket – so much for not having business as usual eh?  I think the Obama campaign set themselves up by not seriously considering Hillary, and I’d almost enjoy seeing them pay for that if it didn’t mean the risk of another 4 years of Republicans in the White House. Oh, and one last thought, the Obama supporters carping on about her lack of experience?  At least being a governor is an actual executive position.  Not to mention that she actually tried the job out for five minutes before hitting the Presidential campaign trail.  People in glass houses and all that, eh?

“I kissed a girl, and I liked it”

People, we are living in some rather dykey times.  Just when you thought people had forgotten about lezzbians, we’re suddenly in every corner of the media.  Used to be you had the occasional big splash: Ellen coming out, Madonna snogging Britney, or um, that-Brookside-storyline-I-hate-having-to-reference.  Now we’ve got the sensational, but fairly well-received Lindsay Lohan being all loved up with Sam Ronson and Jodie Foster outing herself at last in an acceptance speech.

Really, it’s all just one big elbow in the ribs for me to get out and make some comment as the Grand High Lesbo that I am.  Let’s turn our attentions to the issues of the day, or whatever I just clicked on from the Guardian homepage as the case may be. 

Since I tolerate commercial radio during my driving lessons, I got the super-catchy “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry stuck in my head.  Not being able to absorb lyrics until I hear them through my earphones, I made a quick iTunes purchase when getting ready for work tonight.  As soon as I got the jist, I couldn’t help but smile.  It’s funny, it’s feelgood and it references cherry chapstick.  Sure, it’s all ‘oops, don’t tell my boyfriend’, but the ultimate message is kissing girls = a very good thing.  How can I disagree with that?  And yet, as soon as the iPod shuffled on to the next track, I mulled over the possibility that a percentage of the gay community would be up in arms over this trivialising lesbian relationships.  Predictably, today’s Guardian has this.  No doubt we’ll be hearing about a Stonewall boycott before long, and while I didn’t know about her previous single which is a little bit more pejorative about the homos, I just can’t bring myself to get worked up over a little bit of name-calling.  With all the honest to God oppression still going on in this world, can we really devote so much time and energy to reclaiming the word gay?  It’s the same as this stop bullying campaign which only deals with kids being bullied for homosexual tendencies.  Guess what?  Kids get bullied.  Not ideal, but why should the gays be exempt?  Maybe I’m just sheltered because I didn’t ‘realise’ until out of the pressure-cooker school environment, but it just doesn’t feel like a priority. 

I should preface my next item by pointing out that I haven’t actually read The Well of Loneliness.  Sure, it’s sitting on my bookcase, somewhere near the bottom of my haphazard ‘to read’ pile; there was never any doubting my access to it, given that I live with a double-Masters expert in books and queerness.  I struggled through Oranges are Not The Only Fruit out of a misplaced sense of obligation, and generally resist any recommendations about books that are formed purely from them being about the lezzbians.  Reading this article I’m tempted to conclude the label is in fact defunct.  Mostly I used to feel a little self-conscious about hitting the Gay/Lesbian section in Waterstones Piccadilly, but more because I thought people would assume I was looking for p0rn than because I was ashamed of my sexuality.  Surely though, the whole essence of a good story is that it ‘transcends genre’ as my bezzer expressed it (with her customary eye-roll) last week.  Some of the greatest books I’ve ever read have had, on the surface, so very little in common with my own life. A skilled author, however, can take anything from the life of a magician’s assistant, a homeless man, or a teenage terrorist and make it resonate with me.  While the historical breakthrough is something we ought to be grateful for, since acceptance in the arts can go a long way to acceptance in society, I think doing away with the label of ‘lesbian’ fiction can only further that progess.  Think of the close-minded sorts who might never pick up something like that, but who could stumble across it and gain just a little bit more tolerance from a story well told, something that can humanise the abstract idea they held a prejudice against.

To round off a busy few days, it seems the Archbishop of Canterbury no longer bemoans our very existence.  So long as we don’t shag around obviously, but then churches are that uptight about the heteroes as well.  Maybe he mellowed because there just aren’t that many lesbians on TV these days.  Maybe there would be more if the L Word wasn’t so utterly rubbish.  Thank God the torture is almost over, and as long as I avoid the constant late-night repeats on cable, I won’t accidentally sully my brain with any more of it’s unrealistic nonsense.  To think what a vehicle it could have been for the lesbian community, and instead we get poorly-acted soft p0rn with no basis in reality. 

With that, I’m off to stare at the latest promo pics from House, because a girl needs some eye candy after thinking all these serious thoughts about her lifestyle.

“this may be God’s country, but this is my country too”

Now, I generally know better than to wade into the whole Northern Ireland thing.  Sure, I resent its impact on life in the West of Scotland where I grew up, but whichever side you take, you piss off 50% of the people  around you. 

That said, I view Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom because um, it is.  Whether it should be is a matter to be debated by more qualified people than little old me.  The fact remains that legally, it is part of our less-than-perfect Union.

Except in one particular regard that bothers me, that the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.  Whether this is a concession to abortion  in the Republic, or simply one more battle the British government of the time didn’t feel they could take on, I’m unsure.  What is shocking that for all the trouble this annexation has caused through the centuries, the residents don’t even get the full benefits and access to healthcare that citizens are entitled to.  Ridiculous.  Let’s hope Diane Abbott and co. can get this sorted once and for all in the autumn.