scribbles tagged ‘female condition’

too froufrou for me

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 | tags: ,  |

Sanitary 'bags'Paper bags, Laura Ashley style print, in the women’s ‘restroom’ (UK toilet) cubicles. No bins in the cubicles.

“Serviettes” are removed and placed in these bags. For me it’s a process that leaves me feeling like lady Macbeth. Bloody handed. Not discreet at all. Especially when I have to carry the blood stained paper bag into the public wash area to reach the bin.

Not something I’ve had to do in the UK in the last 7 years living there, in shop toilets, in workplace toilets, in train station toilets, in friends homes. Nowhere.

I’m changing my sanitary protection to use try out a menstrual cup  process I used last time I lived here.  They lasted a whole day, meaning that I could remove and insert them in the comfort of my own bathroom, accompanied by a bath.

With BUBBLES! Hooray!

Not a froufrou rose in sight.

too froufrou for me
3 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

street walking

Monday, March 30th, 2015 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Deco sky scraper reflected in modern glass sky scraper


Forshay tower (circa 1927) seen from nearby street level

but where are the people? Where are the shops?  It looks deserted and there’s nowhere that looks like a place I’d want to stop and shop

Mum was a bit baffled by a drive through the heart of downtown Minneapolis, in December.

Downtown shoppers don’t walk on the streets, sidewalks. It’s too goddam cold! Why have a shop-front onto the street if there are no people to be lured into your store by that view? There are shop fronts. I’ve learned that you have to read the shop fronts in a different way. I’m not sure what I’ve learned, but I’ve learned something because I see more than mum.

Wandering, on foot, downtown in the warmer, above-freezing, temperatures of the Spring revealed some beautiful views of the city. Still no people on the streets.

The walk from my apartment to downtown passes a host of sex bars/shops, I counted 6 on one route…A depressing story that there is demand for this and women find it’s the best way available for them to earn a living. I wonder if mum noticed these places?

This area was clearly a seedy part of town, still is. The seeds of change are showing as restaurants, hairdressers, and other ‘local’ services start to emerge between the sex bars. Anyone for chargrilled Pizza?

Dreamgirls bar on the walk downtown from home

Dreamgirls bar on the walk downtown from home


Augies topless bar/nightclub seen on the walk downtown from home


SexWorld, 24hrs, seen on the walk downtown from home


street walking
3 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

The human stain. Phillip Roth

Friday, October 31st, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

ITV online allowed me to watch the film of Phillip Roth’s book. I was initially attracted by the powerful cast including some of my favourites. Anthony Hopkins, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris and Nicole Kidman.

4 smiles:)  :)  :)  :)   Ratings explained

This good rating is despite the film failing the Bechtel Test:

(1) are there  at least  2 women in  the film? (yes)

(2) Do two  women talk to each other (No)

(3) the conversational topic is not about a man (Not applicable, see 2)

As society progresses to make good films that include storylines that draw on the richness of life which includes women,  I’d like to add that the women in the film with  speaking parts have names.

I’ve rated this film so highly despite this prominent failure because the protagonists main storyline revolves around the challenge of living in a discriminatory, prejudiced culture. I recognised his challenges and could empathise with the difficulty and outcomes of the decisions he’d made.

Plot spoiler
The protagonist, Coleman Silk, is the son of African Americans, his skin is pale and he can pass as a white person if he chooses to do so. We see him treated as-if he is white, the position of privilege. To me this is analogous to a woman choosing a route where she highlights the characteristics associated with the male was as a technique to gain the benefits associated with a male privileged world. I wear a suit, I talk with the confidence associated with men. I’m confrontational in my discursive style. I recognise that these are not associated with the traditional female role.

When  Coleman has the choice of mixing in society as ‘black’, going to a college that is recognised as for blacks, joining the army and declaring his ethnicity, he chooses to not declare his status as a member of a disempowered group. At school I was teased for being like a boy, wearing my hair short, wearing trousers and flats shoes. All done for comfort and convenience. The teasing bothered and hurt me. But I chose to go with the values of physical comfort and convenience over conformity to avoid the aggressive, mean, teasing. Coleman doesn’t conform, he side-steps.

The film tracks significant events which lead to Colemans decision, through tragic and painfully ironic outcomes. Eventually,  he finds love and acceptance for who he is by closeness with a woman who’s been the victim of a broad range of typical outcomes of being a victim of male power. Unlike him, she never had the option of denying her ‘class’ as woman. In his senior years we see Coleman voluntarily walk into the type of prejudice and unstable life that he chose to avoid, with deception, in his youth.

A beautiful, painfully sad  film.

The human stain. Phillip Roth
5 votes rating 4.2

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too geeky to communicate effectively

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

This summer

Wendy: my cousin teaches gender studies at [name] University

Sister-in-law: gender studies? I don’t understand, what’s that?

Wendy: Sex is the biological determination lf you as a Female or Male. Gender is the social construction of behavioural expectations for people who are classified as Female or Male

Sister-in-law: what? I don’t understand, women are women

Her world view is so well defined and ingrained within her role as a woman that I decided to give up at this point. My brother is a classic white male pseudo liberal dude and she is a home building wife who puts much effort into conforming to prevailing stereotypes of girliness. She is extremely accomplished at this.

This autumn

Wendy: my cousin teaches gender studies at [name] University

Niece 1992: gender studies? I don’t understand, what’s that?

Wendy: Normally there are two genders on any form that you fill in, girl or boy, but real people identify with a really wide range of genders, it’s not a neat dichotomy. What if I’m a girl who likes to dress like a man because I feel it suits who I am. Am I a girl or a boy at a social level? Why do we even have to define a specific position. Facebook in the USA provides 51 different gender options. We are all different. Our sex is a biological determinant, our gender is how we, feel and express our identity.

Niece 1992: 51 genders, that’s just silly

Wendy: Yes, we should be people with no need to identify as a specific gender. Our sex may be relevant for things like medical treatments, but a gender assignment is often unnecessary and irrelevant, leads to discrimination and all sorts of unnecessary nastiness particularly for anyone who isn’t a heterosexual white boy.

Niece 1992: 51 genders, that’s just silly

Gosh. Failed to communicate.

As a fairly radical feminist this familial  lack of awareness of the meaning and hence value of understanding systematic discrimination of non conformity to socially constructed definitions of gender is quite overwhelming.

On the other hand, my cousins totally ROCK! Their father died before they reached puberty, which may not be significant. My brothers views are classic white male patriarchy.


too geeky to communicate effectively
2 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

Extremely creepy

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 | tags:  |

Darned English traffic, making a 35 mile journey as the crow flies take over 90mins as the car drives.

At least I’m not late, people are milling around two large coffee dispensing thermos flasks. This may be England, but the people in the room are from all over the world. Most ex colonies, most males. I see one excellent fellow that I haven’t seen for ages. He’s clearly pleased to see me, we hug and talk as I unpack.

Making my way to the coffee thermos involves several reunions and finally putting the body to the voices of some people I’ve only ever listened too. One loud boisterous voice announces my name. I recognise the loud volume and personality. He’s been a pain to work with.  He says one thing, then I point out an alternative he says ‘that’s what I said’. He’s a bluffer, a showman, a pain to work with, a waffler. He knows some great stuff so you just have to tolerate his waffling to get to those gems. Hearing him call my name, my heart dropped. He pushed through the crowd then grabbed my upper arm and pulled me towards a space.

I was speechless. I’m not used to being dragged around like a piece of meat. I have no idea what made him think he could do that rather than ask me to move to the edge of the group for a chat about our joint work.

I yanked my arm from his grip. I over-emphasized the action to make a point of it. His facial reaction clearly demonstrated that he’d noticed my action and was surprised. Then I walked to the edge of the group and asked what he wanted. I listened to his trivia for a while then found myself an empty seat, on the other side of the room from him.

lend a couple of handsLater that day he did the same thing and I responded on the same way. Surely by now he’s recognised the pattern and can see I don’t appreciate being touched by him. I wonder if he remembers the company ‘code of conduct’ training which states that you shouldn’t touch other employees except with extreme caution. By this time I’d noticed that he didn’t touch the men in the room. This imbalance was all the more noticeable because I was one of only 3 women in a group of 28.

As I drove home in the evening I reprimanded myself for not saying anything to him directly. I trusted him to understand my body language which would have been clear to anyone watching that I did not want him to touch me. I remember what I’d read about how unreported serial rapists work. The first clue is that they push the boundaries, they test how you react to workout whether you’ll move your boundaries and keep quiet. If you do, then you’re the perfect victim because they can coerce you and you’ll not report it because you feel complicit. By not having realised what is happening, by not assuming he’s a man with a plan you take blame for the consequences. Legal processes and society tend to blame the victim in these cases.

I’m not calling this guy a rapist but he was EXTREMELY CREEPY and behaving in a manner consistent with the behaviours of serial rapists.  I decided to forget about it all, except, if he touched me again, irrespective of the context, I would say calmly “stop touching me“.

After a small emergency with the car I arrived late the next day for a group work session.  The only girl in a room of 10 people. The only seat available was next to creepy guy. I suspect the other fellows find him annoying too. At one point he had a mini tantrum because no-one was listening to him. Saying out loud “well I’ll shut up then if no-one’s interested“. I was interested in the point he was making so asked him to continue and I took notes – which we later used. Afterwards he leaned over to me, grabbed my upper arm and pulled me toward him. Calmly and clearly, as planned, I said “Stop touching me“.

The room went silent and everyone looked at us, then the conversation continued. Job done. I probably looked like I overreacted but now I have witnesses to my asserting my boundaries with him. I hope I don’t need to tell him again. I’d rather not have to work with him, but unfortunately that’s not really an option. This is a diary of the event and I hope it’s a single entry. But who knows, he looked about 50, his behaviours are probably very ‘fixed’ and treating women as more touchable than men in the work place is probably very ingrained. If so, there could be some follow-up entries and I’ll use them as a record of my perspective should this escalate.

Extremely creepy
7 votes rating 4.29

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Need to know gender for buying a house energy certificate?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

No-one should need to classify my gender in the process lf my purchasing an energy certificate for my home. How annoying. I won’t be using this service

gender options for home emergy certificate

Need to know gender for buying a house energy certificate?
1 vote rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

female. car owner. Dr.

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

ParkedWhen I bought Thomas I completed all the documentation with my actual title, Dr. Wendy.

Wendy: I’d like to book my car in for a service

Service Engineer: What’s the registration number?

Wendy: (cited registration)

Service Engineer: Mr. House…

Wendy: I’ve not had a sex reassignment, to my knowledge

Service Engineer: It says here the owner is Mr. House

Wendy: When I bought the car from your dealership 5 years ago I was a Female and I still am

Service Engineer: Can I check the registration again?

Wendy: (recites the registration which like my sex, hasn’t changed)

Service Engineer: I’m sorry, I’ll get that changed

I wonder whether he’ll do the mundanely common thing of deciding to marry me off to someone when he changes the gender without having first asked what title to use. Applying another common stereotype in a prejudicial way.

female. car owner. Dr.
3 votes rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »


Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Reflecting on this unselfconscious body language, I suspect my wearing my kilt is a risky event for anyone in eyeshot
listening, talking, note-taking

2 votes rating 5

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girls’ friends are girls

Saturday, September 21st, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

French Speaking Montréal Native (FSMN): Do you know Montréal?

Wendy: I’ve never visited,  but a friend from there spoke of it fondly and frequently, I suspect it’s beautiful

FSMN: was she a French speaker

Wendy: He was born and lived in France for the first 12 years of his life, and spoke French as his first language

girls’ friends are girls
3 votes rating 3.67

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NO? You can’t be!

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Engineer?Engineering Manager: “if you don’t mind me asking, how old ARE you?”

Wendy: (proudly) “50 this year!”

I like these engineers who are curious and ask direct questions. The careful preface was also wise, as I’d only met the engineer 30 minutes ago, my reaction could have been very different given the socio-cultural norms in the UK suggest asking a woman her age is inappropriate…

NO? You can’t be!
4 votes rating 4.5

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creepy across years and continents

Sunday, August 18th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

While looking for a partner using internet dating in 2005, I tried out a couple of American guys who weren’t my normal type.  Try something a little different from my normal tastes. It might work.

So he’s not well read, he drives a BMW convertible and lacks any form or recognisable dress style. My reasoning went something like – he could still be a good person and I just can’t see it because of my prejudices. It’s possible. This kind of reasoning lead to a relationship that lasted a couple of weeks with a guy I found a bit weird. Weird is interesting. Weird is also very definitively not normal.

SR101 Tsunami Escape Route SignIt was a difficult relationship to get out of. I had to ask him to stop calling, emailing and contacting me. I told him in very clear, short sentences, that I didn’t want to see him or hear from him again. For a few months he respected the technical content of my request. He did get his 12 year old son to send me emails asking to meet-up with me.  How’s that for creatively bending the rules on my request?! He’d heard the words and aligned with them but not complied with the ethos of the actual message. I politely replied to his son, redirect him to his school friends and other appropriate adults. The emails stopped coming.

As the years rolled by he would occasionally forget that I’d asked him not to contact me. He sent emails which I ignored.

Now, 7 years later he’s asked to be my contact on LinkedIn, again. He leaves about 2 years between LinkedIn contact requests. He’s profoundly creepy and holds a senior position in a reputable company. I wonder how many other women endure his unwanted attention.

Some people can’t let go.

I’m glad I live on a different continent from this creep. I hope he reads this blog post.


creepy across years and continents
2 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

like my wife…

Friday, August 16th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

colleague: where are you from?

wendy: Reading town at the moment, originally from Bristol

colleague : yes, they’re very similar

wendy: NO! Bristol is beautiful!

colleague (and 2): my wife (girlfriend) is from Bristol, she sounds like you

In my new job I’m being compared to wives or girlfriends at least once a week, I suspect its intended to be flattering, it feels slightly creepy.

I’ve learned that I am not spontaneously told the wife/girlfriend’s name. The ‘wife/girlfriend’ stays defined by their relationship. She is theirs (‘my’) as opposed to belonging to someone-else (‘his’), or even being a free-agent that chooses them (I am ‘her’ lover). Lack of a name makes this person into a role rather than a person, it’s subtly dehumanising. Knowing that I’m rarely spontaneously told the name, I now always ask, to raise the wife/girlfriends status in our conversations to that of the unique and special person that she is:

wendy: what’s her name?

Being compared to sexual partner is creepy, but not quite as creepy as being told they wish their partner was more like me. I’m still new, that kind of comparison may yet come when they know me better.

like my wife…
1 vote rating 5

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Are we nearly there yet?

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

Album cover for 'Easter' by Patti SmithThe end of a warm spring in the mid 1970’s and my skinny little body emerges from an oversized cricket jumper that I’d knitted for myself. As a tall (5″2′) new teen I was rapidly outgrowing my clothes, I looked for clothes that I had some risk of growing into their fit. Mumsie would plan summer clothes shopping trips

mumsie: Darling, do you want a bra?

wendy: NO! I haven’t got anything to put in it

mumsie: I know dear, just asking

Every spring, when I stopped wearing woolly jumpers mum would ask me the same question and I’d give the same answer.

Virtually all of m girl friends at school were wearing Bra’s. In 1978 I tried-on some bras. I couldn’t even fill a 32’A underwired push-up bra. Mum bought me a training Bra.  Bra’s are expensive and a rather uncomfortable thing for small gals, even when properly fitted. It didn’t take long for me to convince myself that I didn’t need a bra, and in 1978 Patti Smith helped reinforce that belief.

Are we nearly there yet?
3 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

fat and stupid

Monday, May 20th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

SampoLife changing events aren’t always as easy to recognize as a birth or death. Here are two of many significant moments who’s significance I didn’t realise at the time:

  • Fat. Boyfriend told me that I shouldn’t order that peace of cheesecake because I was fat (5″6, 7 stone 6lbs). I was used to him calling me fat, I’d always assumed it was his wry sense of humour because I so clearly wasn’t fat. His best friend’s wife overheard his comment and treated it as if it was genuine. She passionately told him off for being irresponsible, called me borderline anorexic and that I should be encouraged to eat rather than starve myself. He squirmed, he didn’t claim to be joking. I realised that he actually meant it. From that moment onwards I questioned my interpretation of his humour and began to see that he was a rather mean spirited person. It was the beginning of the end of our relationship.
  • Stupid. I asked my ‘A’ level maths teacher for help interpreting an applied maths question. I showed him the diagram of forces acting on a ladder that I’d drawn to try and help. He pulled my workbook from me, held it up to the rest of the class (all male) and said “this is the type of diagram I’d expect from a female“. I was humiliated and really upset by this aggressive demeaning act from a teacher I’d asked for help. With unusual focus I said “If you make one more sexist remark I’m leaving because they’re not helping“. He replied with “Typical emotional outbust from a female“. I walked out of the class in tears. Later that evening my parents took me aside and told me that the headmaster had phoned them to tell them that I’d been upsetting my maths teacher and creating scenes. It was the moment that I realised that adult men in influential positions will construct situations to demean and disable women merely because they are women. Before then I’d been discriminated against but never in an overtly malicious manner. That no one stood-up to ask me what happened or defend me was also a big eye-opener. This one event lead to a series of follow-on significant events including my getting a grade A mathematics A level, and a science based PhD. Ironically it was my need to prove, to myself, that I wasn’t the stupid person that some influential people declared me to be.

Being called fat, and, or stupid doesn’t seem like a big deal. but it’s unhelpful and mean spirited.

Be helpful, not mean.

fat and stupid
6 votes rating 5

10 bits of fabulous banter »

speculation obscures evidence

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

After the interview I was invited to stay behind to talk to the interview panel. They asked me:

interviewer: we were curious about your references. One reference was 4 pages of detailed praise for your work. The other reference was one page which, while highlighting your strengths, seemed a bit odd. It made us suspicious about your referees motives. For example, were you sleeping with your first referee and then moved on to be sleeping with your second referee, that would explain the differences. We thought you should know about the differences

Gobsmacked silence as I take on board that I’ve been judged by presumptions, based on popular gender stereotypes, rather than the actual content in the references. A pair of good references couldn’t possibly be because I do good work, must be because of sexual relationships. Reference length differences couldn’t be attributed to differences in author’s writing styles .

wendy:  you should take the content of the references at face value, they are both genuine comments on my work and not my sex-life.

I was given 2nd refusal on the job, if the first (male) candidate rejected it. I decided not to accept it if offered.  Why would I want to work for an organisation where key people are more interested in speculating about my sex-life than actually seeing what’s in-front of their noses – my good work.

speculation obscures evidence
1 vote rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

questions are telling

Saturday, May 4th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

interviewer: what will you do if a 40yr old male Engineer says to you, that’s a load of rubbish, I don’t need that

wendy: I’d get some good evidence to demonstrate the value to him

interviewer: what would you do if he says he doesn’t listen to women

wendy: (pauses, a bit gobsmacked) I’d stay focussed on the work and what it could do to help him do a better job

interviewer: imagine he just ignores you

wendy: I’d calmly walk to the rest-rooms, SCREAM, then calm down and find my manager to strategize how we can deal with this idiot


I was offered the job

I didn’t take it

questions are telling
5 votes rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »


Friday, January 11th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Deep Wrinkles PlasterTriple action Filorga deed-fill plaster with blast those wrinkles away. Because it’s




(It’s not greased lightening, and mind you don’t get it in your eyes)

I need some plaster to deep fill my wrinkles but 10 ml won’t go far! It probably takes at least 24 hours to set too. The trouble is that I can only apply this by ‘Dabbing’ in the morning, no trowels allowed and no after lunch dabbing either.  Only touch-ups during the day. Got that?


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1 wonderful musing »

bargain basement girliness

Monday, January 7th, 2013 | tags: , , , ,  |

Living Social local email offersI’ve signed-up to receive offers from Living Social.

At first the offers were on a broad range of topics. The advertising photographs showed a people of different genders and ages demonstrating the product or service use.  Great diversity. I enjoyed looking at the possibilities and even purchased a few mixed gender, mixed ages, activity breaks.

More recently the offers that they send me show bigger discounts, but are on a more restricted range of topics. A lot of offers that are tailored to a stereotypical young female paranoid about how she, and her home, looks – make-up, hair, diets, cooking, manicures, vacuum cleaners etc. The pictures of people using the services are females that are almost exclusively young, curvaceous, with long hair, fully made-up, smooth skinned.

I feel hassled and oppressed by the algorithm they are using to select the offers that they email to me.

I’m progressively uninspired by the offers that they send me.

I’ve stopped using the offers – they’ve lost my custom.

I’ve written to Living Social to ask them to change the algorithm they are using to send me offers – to regain my custom.  I don’t think Living Social will be able to update their algorithm just for me. Maybe I should re-register with a boys name and see if I can regain the diversity and activity oriented offers that I saw before Living Social decided to push the popular female stereotype at me.

bargain basement girliness
2 votes rating 4

2 bits of fabulous banter »

cant be bovvered

Monday, November 19th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

4 pony-tails(superciliousness warning)

I’m one of the minority that voted in the Police commissioner elections. The Guardian reports the elections as having the worst turnout ever. It’s hardly surprising. Prior to normal local elections candidates will canvas voters, promote their positions  and encourage people to engage with the system.

In advance of this election I received an election card through the post. It didn’t contain any information about how to find out more about the candidates. What? I have to actually do my own research?!

Just providing the right type of information isn’t enough. A capitalistic society sells ideas, products, to its consumers. The candidates were not sold to the voters. This is totally counter to the expectations of the electorate.  How could anyone expect this system to work within a developed capitalist system? It’s hardly surprising there was such a low turn-out. It shouldn’t be news.

I’m very grateful for my ability, right, to vote. I will show my appreciation for this right by using it wisely. I did my research and found a succinct central information source that pointed to candidates own web pages, twitter feeds and provided a summary personal statement for each candidate. Really easy to find local candidates by entering my post-code. Excellent service. Research was easy and left me feeling adequately equipped to make an informed decision.

The low election turnout suggests that my belief in my social responsibility (to put thought and effort into exercising my vote) is not a common belief.

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7 bits of fabulous banter »

have some babies for windows 8

Friday, November 9th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Windows 8Several things make me think that Windows 8 is not for me.

The UK advertising campaign is my main source of thinking it’s not meant for me. For example, in an advertising email Microsoft appears to be suggesting that Windows 8 has been designed for either:

  1. young women who can afford to have kiddies who wear smart clothes indoors on the bed, or for
  2. people who want to have a young woman with a kiddie who wears smart clothes on a bed.

I am neither of these things – but I can afford a decent personal computer, unlike many of the young people who can’t afford to leave home let-alone have a kiddy.

The promotional picture of the UK Windows 8 upgrade website is equally excluding me from its focus. Below we see what looks like a young family, a beardyman wearing pink corduroy flares, a woman with a strappy dress and a child with a big smile. They are all bravely ignoring the wind storm that is about to take down the palm trees in the background. Is this the Windows 8 user-group or representing their aspirations. I am very far from being either of these. I wonder if it’s Microsoft’s imagination of what they aspire to have their users be like. Tush. I can see I’m a disappointment to them – too old with insufficient babies.

Windows 8 upgradeI’m a bit peeved at this persistent exclusion. When you see their TV adverts for the Surface, it gets worse. I’m not ready to go there yet.

Looks like my next computer will be the Nexus 7. Ironically, a friend who’s a recent mother is raving about how she can feed the baby with one arm while using the Nexus with the other….


have some babies for windows 8
2 votes rating 5

6 bits of fabulous banter »

anorak sick

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

Removing facebook adverts for weightlossI keep

  • telling facebook that I don’t need to diet, I’m not fat.
  • asking the adverts to stop harrassing me.

For years I’ve been asking, but Facebook ignores me.  Facebook is targeting advertising and I have set my gender to female so I must be in need of getting thinner because no type of thin is going to be thin-enough for an industry that feeds on the image of women as childlike (small and hairless) sexual objects.


It’s a good job I’m stubborn and opinionated otherwise I’d just cry and diet myself into an early grave because happiness cannot be found in a diet and the pressure to diet wont stop because I get thinner.

anorak sick
1 vote rating 5

7 bits of fabulous banter »

out of the closet

Monday, May 14th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Cricket Jumperwendy: I’ve recently realised that I’m a cross-dresser

Spottydog: (laughs) are you serious? I’ve known that for ages!

wendy: well obviously I suspected, what with all the trousers and buying mens jumpers.  But I bought the jumpers because they’re virtually the same as the womens jumpers except they’re cheaper.  I thought I was just buying cheaper versions of girls clothes. But I’m not sure anymore. I think I might be a transvestite. Is a transvestite the same thing as a cross dresser?

Spottydog: does it matter?

wendy: well, I’d like to know what to say to people when I come out of the closet

Spottydog: you’re not in the closet

wendy: oh yeah…  ….do you like my new cricket jumper?  It’s to go with my kilt…

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stranger in the night

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 | tags: ,  |

Wall ShadowsDark spring evening. Waiting for the zebra crossing lights to hold the commuter traffic on Kings road


It takes a few seconds to realise what’s actually happening. First thinking the touch is accidental, before I smell the beer and see the  sneer. Then wanting to thrust my fist into his nose. So easy to break his nose. To inflict pain and a public scar

Swallowing this thought – I step back, look him up and down, shake my head and sigh deeply – before turning and walking away

Nothing I could have said or done would improve this old man’s behaviour. My gut reaction would’ve increased his mysogeny. I suspect I was supposed to scream and run away

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family traits

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

KnucklesMy 90 year aunt rubs her distorted, arthritic, hands.  Despite this distortion I find her hands beautiful. Her gently winkled skin doesn’t betray her grand age

Knarled and dapper

Mumsie and her elder sister try to remember the names and professions of their long-past elderly relatives who were mainly females:

Even the married female relatives lived as-if they were unmarried – without their husbands, running thier own businesses:

  • a Milliner – HATS!!!
  • a sweetshop owner

family traits
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regular pain akin to breaking an arm is ‘probably ok’

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

The Consultant’s interpretation of my message during our meeting doesn’t match my understanding. This is what I recall telling him:

“I’ve broken my arm on 4 different occassions, the pain of breaking my arm was always less than the pain I experience during the first hour or so of my periods”

This is what the consultant wrote in the letter refering me back to my GP:

“She admits to having pain during period for an hour or even a day or two this is probably ok”

After reading this I’m no longer suprised that I had to ask him about ways of allieviating the pain – he thought this level of pain was ok. I’ve never thought that extreme pain was ok.  I tolerate it, often by being unconscious (fainting). Occassionally I’ve visited the GP to ask if there is any way of allieviating it because the fainting is a bit disconcerting for people around me and not very nice for myself either. I’d rather my body didn’t feel the need to switch my brain off. Luckily the shutdown is slow enough, like Windows 7, that I can make sure I’m safe before loosing total consciousness


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barred from barbers

Saturday, January 21st, 2012 | tags: ,  |

Barber's price listIt’s normally at least 4 times more expensive to get a haircut in a unisex salon compared to a barbers. Barbers tend to turn women away. Not because women’s hair is different, because they are women. This has happened to me on several occassions – I went in with a short ‘boyish’ cut and asked for them for a trim to my short back and sides with number 2 clipper. A cut they can easily do

After some negotiation one UK barber on the south coast took on regularly cutting my hair as long as I kept quiet so that the other customers wouldn’t be ‘disturbed’ by the presence of a woman. Seriously! This was in 1999

This clear discrimination for haircutting pricing and access rights has always struck me as being blatantly against the ethos of equality. It feels rather sad that the practice continues today and everyone tolerates it, complicitly accepts it. I use a Unisex Salon because I am welcomed and treated well – aswell as getting a good haircut – the extra price makes it worthwhile. But I resent being explicitly  excluded, treated badly because I am a woman and having to pay more because I am a woman. Hurumpppfff

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young girls like it long

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 | tags: ,  |

Mia Farrow’s Vidal Sassoon haircut in Roman Polanski’s  ‘Rosemary’s baby‘ influenced my teenage hairstyle choice – a short crop. Smart and easy to manage. Since then I’ve rarely bothered to grow my crop to reach my shoulders despite some misunderstandings this raised when I lived in the USA

Train passengersYoung UK based girls predominantly sport long hair. The trend seems more widespread now than any other time I can recall. An informal survey of ladies with lengthy locks uncovered factors that influence this choice:

  • Versatility – I can wear it down, in plaids, in pony tails and twists. What-ever suits my mood, the event, my outfit
  • Aesthetics – several women had tried short hair but didn’t like the way it affected their looks. Some thought that it made them look fatter – long hair emphasises vertical lines making them look taller and slimmer
  • Pleasing others –  my ‘significant other’ really likes it long, and I don’t have any strong feelings about the length so it might aswell be long
  • Cost – it’s cheaper than having a short haircut that has to be trimmed regularly to maintain its shortness and shape.  Some people trimmed their fringes (USA: bangs) themselves, others didn’t have a fringe. Most people with long hair would pay for a professional a trim two or 3 times in a year
  • Auto erotica – I like the way it feels on my neck, running my fingers through it, when the wind blows it around…

Old Ladies on Oxford RoadThere appears to be a shift in this preference for women over the age of 50. Just by looking at people on the street, more mature ladies appear to prefer shorter haircuts. It’s not clear if this is a

  • cohort effect – these ladies also preferred shorter hair when they were younger,  or
  • an age effect – as women get older their preferences shift to shorter haircuts


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fashionable femininity is abusive

Sunday, January 15th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Attempting to conform to current femininity fashions such as displaying large breasts is both

  • expensive – financially and emotionally
  • dangerous for your health – mentally and physically

The UK for-profit organisation that supplied most of the PIP breast enlargement implants (made from industrial grade silicon) does not have the resources to rectify it’s mistake by removing the 14,000 implants and ‘reconstructing’ the deformed breasts. The NHS will not remove implants until after they have malfunctioned. That means that they will wait until the woman is injured before they will take safety surgery – they will not repair, they will just remove the leaking implant.

The mainstream media covers this from a ‘faulty goods’ supplied perspective, acknowledging that the recipients of PIP implants are experiencing distress and pain and that PIP was naughty for breaking the law and not using medical grade silicon. None of the mainstream media I’ve found has dared to comment on the socio-cultural environment that first drove these women to choose the physical pain and risk of major surgery to change thier bodies. This is a critical causal precursor for the existence of an industry that makes money out of mutilating women, a critical part of the story. Removing this industry would remove the possibility of faulty goods in the first place  – remove the pain and the risk.

Meanwhile, the internet provides alternative news style stories, for example, The London Feminist refers to the illegal practices of the Harley Medical group and how they explicitly leverage (illegal) advertising to promote their for-profit services. It’s good to find intelligent, well researched, alternative news stories but sad that feminist perspectives rarely seep into mainstream media storylines

Today this tragedy, one of many perpetuated against women, leaves me feeling:

  • Sadness for, and anger on behalf of, the many women around the world who were given PIP implants in their attempt to conform with current fashion.
  • Relief that I chose to accept the lesser risk of ongoing abuse for not aspiring to conform to femininity fashions
  • Guilt that I am surviving without the fashion trappings of femininity when others are suffering more than I….


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I met a real GIRL

Friday, January 13th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

The flashing fairy lights above her head revealed a deep pink highlight to her long, gently curling, raven hair. Watching her unnatural colours in the flashing light had a fascinating quality like watching the flames in an open fire. Her dress was the uniform of the masses of young girls I see in the shopping centres – a hint of a skirt from which emerge thick black tights tucked into biege Ugg boots

She held the kitchen party’s conversational court. Either side stood a woman at least twice her age oriented towards her as-if basking in the glow from the jewels of pink light reflected from her hair. I resisted the temptation to curtsey as I moved forward to introduce myself to the group. Once introductions were finished she continued to chatter vivaciously

girl: In our new house we’ll need a small room that’s just for my clothes – a walk in wardrobe really. I’ve got 70 pairs of shoes

I AM a girl!

wendy (dumbstruck, then): in a whole year you only need wear the same pair of shoes 7 times, at that rate, they will last for years!

girl (proudly):  oh yes! I started work at a fashion house in London 2 months ago and I haven’t worn the same pair of shoes twice  yet

wendy (trying not to sound sarcastic): a fashion house? that does sounds stylish, what exactly do you do there?

girl: I’m an events coordinator, basically its about making a fuss, I make sure that the fuss happens at the right time and place

(group giggling)

wendy: are you looking for a place to store your shoe collection in London?

girl: yes, I went to cheltenham college. I just love cheltenham, but it’s too far away from London to commute

wendy: Is London an expensive place to live?

girl: Mummy’s buying the house, aren’t you mummy? so it’s quite cheap really

If she was any less sincere she’d be auditioning for a lead part in Absolutely Fabulous

I met a real GIRL
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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Vieno Tuulikki KolehmainenThis photograph of 2 boys and a girl was taken around 1910 give or take a decade in Viipuri, Finland

The relative lack of gender definition advertised by the childrens clothes is a pleasant suprise.  All 3 are wearing tunics that look like ‘dresses’ with dropped waistelines and high necklines, dark stockings, sturdy lace-up boots, large collars

These boots were probably purchased from the shoe store at 20 Torkkelinkatu, Viipuri, owned by the children’s father Alpo Kolehmainen or his later ‘factory’ at Mikkeli

The gender differences are also clear with the boys in larger white collars, and shorts below their tunics. The girl in paler coloured dress with elbow length sleeves and no obvious shorts

I suspect that this dress style is mainly specific to children, though drop waistlines became popular for adult female dresses in the 1920s

I wonder whether these dress style choices were specific to this family or part of a broader fashion?

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