Category: Feminism

Slutty Ho Bags!!

The following was posted on my Facebook feed yesterday morning by one of my male Facebook “friends.”

For all you ladies getting ready to dress like slutty hoe bags for Halloween then post the pics of yourself on facebook! Remember we have to see you and your children in public, while at your kids soccer game, or at school or at any other function! Have a little respect for your children please!

Slutty hoe bags.

Slutty hoe bags.

Let me say that again, my friends.

Slutty. Hoe. Bags.  (And he mis-spelled “hoe”, but I digress.)

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This particular Facebook friend is one who brings delightful entertainment with his ignorant political rants as well as his formatting (he puts exclamation points after each sentence! to add excitement! because he has important things to say!). I can’t bring myself to delete him as a friend because his train wreck comments and status updates punctuates my Facebook experience with chuckles and chortles.

But this particular update didn’t bring on the chuckles. It made me fucking groan.

He had accrued a handful of responses to his update (mostly supportive) until I came to the last response by a female friend of his (who I’ll call Feminist #1) — which was this:

Umm I think YOU should “have a little respect” for women, please! What is this? 1903? “Slutty hoe bags”? Really? Just because a woman is confident enough with her body to possibly choose a costume that shows a little more skin on Halloween, doesn’t mean she is sexually promiscuous, nor does it make her a slut, a whore, or a “hoe bag”. Posts like this make a person seem like they have a very negative perception of women.

Of course as I read her response, I nodded my head and mumbled, “Right on.” I then proceeded to “like” her response. I then logged off Facebook and got my ass ready for work.

Toward the end of my work day, I checked Facebook and saw that I was tagged in a post. Please note that the following spelling errors and over-use of exclamation points are strictly those of said Facebook friend.

Male FB Friend:

[Name redacted] You obviously miss read the post or you don’t know who I am! I love and resect women! With that being said act like a woman when you have children that can see your Facebook! Or your child has friends who can see your parents Facebook! The offense you took from the post does have me wondering about your character and Sonja Essen For liking your post! I like a intelligent woman who does need to shop for a man with her boobs or ass! Rather her intelligence, demeanor, and being classy is enough to stop a man and make a stay a life time!

For realz. Dude is gonna judge my character because I like a post that voiced dissent.

Why do I care?

Well I don’t give a shit what he thinks about me, my life or my opinions. I’m just sick and mother fucking tired of this shit. You know — BLATANT SEXISM.

So I respond to male Facebook friend (MFBF):

 … because somebody questions your post, doesn’t mean that they have bad character. Far from it. It’s called a difference of opinion. I believe [feminist #1] was saying that a woman should be able to dress up how she wants to on halloween without being labeled a “slutty hoe bag.” I agree that some costumes are distasteful, but that’s my opinion — far be it from me to label other women for what they wear on Halloween or any other day for that fact. But I suppose you can question my character if you want — if that’s what you need to do. Happy Halloween!

In addition — I’m curious to know where myself and Feminist #1 stated that women “need to shop for a man with her boobs and ass!”

This was also my first and last comment. I was busy and checked in occasionally to see how it played out.  After a few more back and forth’s, MFBF responded again with this precious little gem.

The very fact your arguing about you doing! You didn’t clearly read my post nor did Sonja! So your type casting my post as a way of thinking and making it seem as if I am a quote on quote “male pig”! You obviously have been abused in some way and I am sorry about that! However, if a woman dresses like a slutty hoe bag and her son or daughter witnesses all of the men making lewd remarks and drooling over said mom! That kid now grows up to understand that a women is to be treated in such way and it is acceptable! My post was to be used as a instrument of how to be a good parent! I certainly will never tolerate my three boys treating women like shit!

I bolded the above statement. And let me just say that shit hit the fan after his beyond ignorant, and frankly dumb-ass comment. Feminist #1 took great issue with the judgement that she had been abused. I mean, the only reason for her disagreement is because she was “abused in some way”?

What a nice way to belittle a woman with an opinion.

In addition, he’s blaming women for their poor treatment. So he’s not holding men responsible for their lewd behavior? It’s the woman’s fault because she “dresses like a slutty hoe bag”? Alrighty then.

He continues:

What will be definitely will be! I never labeled anyone or a particular group of humans! I used a terminology to educate people! Your tangent only made you look vulnerable and hurt by the comment! Your further argument is only building a case against your intelligence! Leaving you suspect to the viewers of the world! I am happy you do have a opinion! You do know what they say about opinions! They are just like assholes! Everyone has one!

Used a terminology to educate people. So wait. He’s trying to educate me by referring to women as “slutty hoe bags.” Got it. And dude. Enough with the exclamation points.

And yes. There’s more.

I prefer to education my kids a manner of respect and love! Seeing women using a holiday to dress like skanks for attention is not what I want my kids to see at their school or on facebook! People forget the entire world can see your facebook! No matter how much you have your privacy setting set!

I’ll just leave the above quote for you to absorb. Try not to chuckle too much.

So this guy’s views were not particularly shocking. These views pervade our media, our society — our lives.

But the real damaging part is what follows.

A woman responds:

Ok I will give you that but maybe it’s because I was raised to not care what other people’s opinions were of me…I work in a male dominated profession an get called every name in the book but I just don’t care. Words don’t offend me. And I truly believe that women who dress provocatively know what they are getting themselves into, NOT meaning abuse or sexual assault but the name calling…

She continues to say:

Once again, someone calls you a whore or slut…WHO CARES!!! Go shed a tear and get over it! People are so sensitive!!!!

A woman who perpetuates misogyny — who accepts it — is the worst kind of misogyny. THIS is a reason of monolithic proportions why we cannot advance feminism. Because the very people that the feminist movement is trying to help is in fact deflecting it. These women are fearful of anything but the status quo.

Why does she think it’s okay to be called a slut or a whore? These are not just words. These are weapons. And she’s tolerating a slew of misogyny grenades because she believes they’re harmless. Really? She feels perfectly fine being called a whore? I find that very difficult to believe.

Here is another example of a female response:

Oh…my word! What a thread! U are right on target [name redacted]! I enjoy using the term -” dirty ho bag” as loosely as possible. There is even a few songs about it .

Oh! Well okay then!

But MFBF continues to dig deeper. He’s really reaching this time.

Us males are subject to a variety of derogatory mannerisms! such as Douche bag, male whore, male, piece of shit, loser, dork,

You’re KILLING me, MFBF. Seriously. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much is wrong with this statement. And I couldn’t help but snort at the words “dork” and “loser”. As if those names are exclusive to men.

In response, another female makes a comment:

Couldn’t one argue that your interpretation of the phrase WHORE whether meant male or female is indeed YOU’RE OWN interpretation? Arguing that the term “male whore” has a less negative connection in society than “female whore” is just dumb!

Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.

This is where Feminist #1 responds again:

All of those terms are not isolated just to this topic, save for maybe “male whore”, but even that does not have nearly as negative connotation to the masses as the female equivalent.

Obvs, right?

Okay, so this exchange went on for nearly 140 comments. Most comments were extremely frustrating. But as I was searching the internets this morning, I came across this post titled You’re Not A Feminist If You Call Halloween Costumes “Slutty”, by Chloe Angyal of Thought Catalog.

So I leave you with a quote from Angyal’s piece.

Sometimes the arguments against “sexy” costumes are blatantly regressive and puritanical: women and girls are precious flowers who ought to be protected from the roaming eyes and hands of men and boys who just can’t stop themselves from groping and raping. But even when well-intentioned people couch their arguments about sexualization in concern for girls and women, in claims about gender equality, there are some girls and women they straight up hate: “whores,” more respectfully known as sex workers. For these people, these noble defenders of trick-or-treating girls and women, the act of “dressing up like a whore” is an act of degradation. It’s so sexist, they cry, that in our culture, our good innocent (and, it’s implied, white, and middle- or upper middle- class) young ladies feel pressured to dress up as filthy prostitutes! The hypocrisy, the shortsightedness, the ability to preach gender equality while blithely casting around gendered, marginalizing slurs, is breathtaking.

Now go out and rock those fishnets!

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The Alpha Parent Shows Me The Error Of My Ways

I wanted to bestow upon you this image that I came across on thealphaparent.com.

It’s a gem.

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It’s pretty amazing, huh?

Amazingly fucked up.

First of all, the image is not original or creative. It’s one of the lactivists most frequent comparisons: Formula as fast food.  Formula as junk food. Formula, essentially, as poison.

I haven’t read very much of The Alpha Parent blog. It’s pretty hard to stomach — my pregnancy is making me nauseated enough.

But I did come across this gem from 2011 titled: Why the way you feed your baby is MY business.  I know, right? A typical, blatant, mean-girl title that’s meant to garner as much attention as possible.

Well unfortunately, this title caught my attention.

I will summarize her blog post for you. Because it’ll be fun.

The way you feed your baby is HER business BECAUSE:

1. If you use formula, you’re saying YES to dead babies in developing countries. Because these evil formula companies (and I acknowledge that they’re not very ethical — they ARE big business after-all) force their food on the poor, illiterate women who end up mis-using the formula. Tragic and awful? YES. Is it prevalent enough for me to go through even more agony so I can provide breast milk that only has marginal benefits compared to formula? NO.

And if this is a major concern for you, research your formula companies. Or go for local formula companies such as Vermont Organics infant formula.

2. She finds the way I feed my baby offensive because she cares about all the diseases/illnesses/bacteria he will acquire from such junk food.

As I don’t use formula you may wonder why I’m troubled by this. However just because I did not give birth to the children suffering or put at risk because of formula feeding, this does not prevent me from feeling compassion for them. I find it short-sighted and self-centred that people expect me to care only for children to whom I have a genetic link.

Essentially — she cares about my children more than I do.  Because I put them at risk by formula feeding. By the way, I’m still waiting for my almost three year old to get an ear-infection from all the formula I gave him.

Yeah, still waiting.

Waiting.

Oh, nothing yet? Okay, well now I’ll wait for another (insert horrible disease here.) In the mean time, I’ll cry myself to sleep every night because she cares about my children more than I do.

3. Formula feeding mothers are ruining the environment. I’m honestly just too tired to deal with this one. That must mean I don’t care about the environment. I hate myself!

4. If you use formula, you’re not a feminist.

Excuse me while I have a laughing fit.

Okay, I’m done.

Consider her far-reaching reasoning:

Furthermore, a common conception of formula is that it aids a woman’s economic mobility through strengthening her role in the workplace. She is no longer tied to a dependant infant and can instead pass a bottle of formula to grandma and return to being economically active. However this perceived benefit is negated by the fact that formula fed children are significantly more likely to fall ill, and numerous studies have shown that a child’s illness commonly results in the mother rather than the father taking time off work (Journal of Early ChildhoodWeimer.JNursery WorldMother and Baby;Working Mums Magazine). Thus when a woman is taking more time off work she is seen as a burden by her employer. This does not strengthen the role of women in the workplace. Consequently women of childbaring age are viewed as liabilities. This is not to mention the strain on employers caused by their employees sick children results in lower incomes for working families, thus reducing income tax revenues which pay for government programs and services that benefit everyone.

So I’m trying to understand what she’s saying here. Is she saying women should just stay home and nurse their babies to further the women’s lib movement? Or we should be chained to breast-pumps to mitigate any illnesses that MIGHT happen? I have an interesting piece of anecdotal evidence (yes I know this is not considered “real” evidence), but my two breastfed children had far more illnesses than my formula fed child. My daughter who was exclusively breastfed, had numerous ear infections as an infant and toddler.

Dear Alpha Parent — perhaps just the act of bearing children is considered a liability — not HOW they’re fed.

So, in essence, you must feed your babies through your bleeding, cracked nipples to prove that you’re not a slave to formula companies. This makes you a strong, independent woman!

Thanks for your concern, Alpha Parent!

5. By formula feeding my child, the Alpha Parent is concerned that I’m contributing to the puritanical idea that breasts are strictly sexual and not for breastfeeding — that breastfeeding women shouldn’t nurse in public. I’m kind of flattered that she thinks that I’m contributing to all these problems — and to my country’s distorted view of breasts. I think Alpha Parent needs to take a deep look at herself and wonder if maybe — just maybe — part of this backlash of nursing in public is related to the lactivists smug, self-congratulatory, mean-girl status — and their scathing judgement on those who don’t breastfeed.

By the way, I think nursing in public is awesome and should be done more often.

6.  She’s concerned about my child’s intelligence. She’s worried he’ll be stupid or some such shit.

The following quote is pretty hysterical:

But why do I care about the IQ of other people’s children? As formula feeding lowers the IQ of the population, this means less scientific advancements. We’re talking about cures for cancers and other diseases, new amenities, new technologies, strategies to combat global warming, and so on.

Ah yes, the Baby Boomer generation produced nothing but dunces — no scientists, literary geniuses, lawyers, politicians, mathematicians, doctors, etc, came out of that generation — all because most of them were formula fed.

7. I’m more likely to abuse my child because I use formula. Apparently. Or something like that. You know, because I don’t care about my child.

But Alpha Parent cares. She cares more than me.

8. My formula feeding choice effects Alpha Parent because I’m producing the spawn of satan. Essentially — my child will be the next Charles Manson — or something along those lines.

9.  My baby is going to get her baby sick. And she cares about that because it effects other children as well. Pretty soon my baby will be getting everybody sick. It’s gonna be like that movie Contagion up in here, folks!

10. She cares that my child will be getting colds and the flu or some such shit. Because breast-fed babies don’t ever get sick, remember?

11. Giving my children formula means that I’m uneducated and will continue to have babies, perpetuating the cycle of poverty in this country. Maybe she’s right! I AM having my fourth child after all.

12. She’s concerned that formula fed babies are going to take all the doctors away from her children.

13. Apparently she thinks I’m anti-breastfeeding, and that I’m hurting other women’s chance at breastfeeding successfully. I won’t dignify this accusation with a response.

14. My child is a drain on the medical community.

And hilariously, Alpha Parent concludes with this:

Just to clarify, I fully defend a woman’s right to chose how she feeds her baby IF that choice is fully informed, free from bias and backed up with adequate support…

I find this statement laughable after she lambasted all formula feeding mothers for being uneducated, selfish, and anti-feminist.

Sigh.

But, whatever.

Excuse me while I tend to my suffering, wasteful, unintelligent, abused, juvenile delinquent, germ-infested, medical doctor hogging offspring. I have a lot of work ahead of me to “fix” my children so they can be contributing members of society.

Thanks, Alpha Parent, for showing me the error of my ways.

How To Give Up Breastfeeding And Not Feel Guilty About It: Part 2

Mother Feeding Baby

If you read my previous post on breastfeeding, you’ll know that I was very successful with nursing my first two babies. Just to do a quick recap — I breastfed my first two for over a year — almost to the 18 month mark. I had basically zero issues except for some minor pain in the beginning. My babies latched perfectly.

Perfectly.

So when I became pregnant for the third time, I expected the same ease — the same loveliness and warmth with breastfeeding that I had with my first two.

It never occurred to me that I might have problems. There was just no question in my mind.

I kept thinking: I’m a good, educated Mom. Of course I’ll breastfeed.

Before you hate me for my smugness, let me tell you my breastfeeding story.

Breastfeeding my third baby was pure fucking hell.

In the hospital, the lactation consultant figured I knew how to breastfeed since I was successful with my first two. She basically came in, looked at me, and said, I see you’re experienced. Everything looks fine! And then she walked out of the room. She didn’t even look at my baby’s latch.

And he was latched all wrong. I could feel it. And no matter how I tried, he just wouldn’t open his tiny little mouth wide enough. He would just take in the very tip of my nipple. And this became excruciating.

Excruciating.

By day four postpartum, my breasts were hard as rocks and on fire. I remember looking down at my left breast and thinking, Huh. That’s weird. What’s that big huge red streak doing there? By evening I had a fever of 103 — and full blown mastitis. My mom and my aunt were experienced nursers and encouraged me to continue nursing through it. Every article I read said to continue nursing to relieve the clogs in the glands.

So I did.

And I cannot even BEGIN to tell you how much it hurt. I would throw my head back and wail in pain as my mom and my aunt helped him latch to my bleeding nipples. My precious newborn was literally sucking the life and blood out of me.

Let’s just put it this way. My nipples looked like ground beef. Yes. I want you to visualize that so you can see what women go through to give their baby the “very best.” And of course, since mastitis is an infection, I had to go on antibiotics. And this was when I discovered that I was allergic to Penicillin.

I broke out into an itchy, painful body rash. It was on my face, neck, arms, tummy, legs — you name it. So there I was with bleeding nipples, a horrid infection, a full blown body rash and raging postpartum depression — not to mention, I was recovering from my third C-Section. After a week, I was able to get out of bed, but the rash was still there. After two weeks the mastitis was back again full force. I had to go on another antibiotic and I soon discovered that I was allergic to Cephalosporins. Yes. I broke out into ANOTHER full blown body rash.

All through this, I kept nursing and pumping. Pumping and nursing. Waking up every two to three hours to pump because my breasts were so engorged — and because I wanted to keep my supply up.

I didn’t want my husband to see my breasts because they were so mangled — like open wounds.

By week number three I had to go to the dermatologist to get something for my rash. She prescribed a steroid and told me that I could never take Penicillins or Cephalosporins again — because I could die from an allergic reaction. She basically said that the rashes were my body’s way of warning me to stop taking them.

Nice.

After the appointment, I got into my car — and cried. Sobbed. Wept.

I was exhausted. I couldn’t enjoy my baby. I couldn’t enjoy my children. Plus I was still recovering from a C-section.

And I thought —I’m done. I’m so fucking done.

So I called my husband, and through my crying hiccups and snot and tears — I told him to buy some formula.

And I felt like a piece of shit. A failure. Yes, folks. After all that pure fucking hell, I was still being hard on myself — like it was my fault that I couldn’t breastfeed.

But you know what?

When it comes down to it, I didn’t WANT to breastfeed anymore. I could’ve kept going. Could’ve kept pumping to keep my supply up — but at this point, my baby was just nursing out of my right breast because my left breast was so painful. He wouldn’t even latch on to my left breast — would just straight up refuse it. And he was probably refusing because I would stiffen up every time he tried to latch. He could feel my anxiety.

So my husband bought some formula. I continued to nurse my boy out of my right breast for an additional three months, but we supplemented heavily with formula. Then one day, he didn’t want the breast anymore. He was done. I tucked my right breast away — this time for good.

And he became strictly a bottle baby.

When I made that decision to start giving formula — I grieved for a week. Yes, dramatic. But I did. I cried my heart out. I thought I failed my boy. I was giving him something “second rate.” I was reading blogs that compared formula to fast-food.

I was made to feel that what I was doing was equivalent to child-abuse or neglect.

But you know what happened? Because I didn’t need to pump, I started getting more sleep. My son became a good sleeper (and yes, I know the lactivists say this is a negative thing,) and my breasts healed. I became healthy and happy again — and wouldn’t you know it — my son was healthy too.

He’s two and has been sick twice in his life. I know this is purely anecdotal evidence — but fuck. The breastfeeding movement needlessly scares the shit out of mothers.

Oh, and he’s not “less intelligent.” He’s barely two and recognizes all his letters and knows their sounds. He knows all his colors and shapes. He counts to ten and sometimes beyond. In addition, my first born — who was breastfed for 18 months — has severe learning disabilities and ADHD.

I’m not saying there are no benefits to breastfeeding. What I’m saying is — there are no guarantees either way you slice it. Whether you choose breast or bottle, there are other factors that play a more significant role in how your child develops.

During my grieving phase, I found a website that made me smile again. The Fearless Formula Feeder was my go-to blog for awhile — because posts like this made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It made me feel normal — like a mother who just wants the best for her baby regardless of how he’s fed.

Because anguishing over breast milk vs. formula should NOT be on our to-do list as new mothers. We have other shit to worry about — especially if there are older children to take care of.

Especially because — as women — we need to take care of ourselves.

Moonlighting and Menstruation

courtesy of lipmag.com

courtesy of lipmag.com

Caitlin Moran has a whole chapter about periods in her book, How To Be a Woman.

It’s brilliant shit. Her honesty is refreshing, if not at times blush-worthy — and well — kinda gross. But I like her for that. Jess DC of Lost Girls wrote a recent blogpost about it and made a telling statement.

It is unfortunate that so many of us grow up not in wonder and excitement about turning into women, but horrified at all the changes and taught to hide them (out of shame) as much as possible.

Jess is so right. And this is why I love Caitlin Moran. She’s honest. She’s open. And that honesty and openness makes puberty seem “doable.” Scary — but doable. And comforting in the knowledge the we ALL as women will bleed out of our vaginas and get boobies, among many other things. If only this book were appropriate for adolescent girls.

I was lucky that my mom was very open with me. When I was 8 years old, I picked up a copy of Time Magazine with a picture of a teen mom on the cover. This confused me immensely as I was taught that only married women had babies. Yes, I had it in my sweet little 8 year old brain that when you got married you magically became pregnant whenever you wanted. So my sister and I went to my mother and asked THE question. Or rather, questions.

How are babies made?

How does the baby get IN THERE?

How can she be pregnant without being MARRIED?

My mom looked at us in her motherly way and sighed.

“Well, girls,” she said. “After dinner tonight I think we need to have a lady talk.”

Oooooh. This sounded enticing. Special. Secretive.

After dinner my mom gathered us into our bedroom. She had a chalk board. And the woman launched into the story of sex. The details. How babies are really made. And she drew pictures. This was the craziest shit I’d ever heard… or seen.

And then.

The news.

We would eventually have periods. Yes. We would, in fact, bleed out of our vaginas once a month for about three or four decades of our life.

Holy shit. This was some big mother fucking news right here.

But my mom made everything okay. She reassured us. And even made it sound special. Having a parent who is matter-of-fact with the details and supportive is so essential for any girl approaching puberty.

And Moran obviously had the opposite experience.

My mother never told us about them [periods] –“I thought you’d picked it all up from Moonlighting,” she said vaguely.

Which is funny, of course. But the lack of information is what probably made the idea of menstruation all the more terrifying for Moran. But either way. Puberty sucks. It just does. And I love the following Moran quote.

Sex hormones are a bitch that have turned me from a blithe child into a bleeding, weeping, fainting washerwoman. These hormones do not make me feel feminine: every night, I lie in bed feeling wretched, and the bulge of my sanitary napkin in my knickers looks like a cock.

Yeah. Periods. They DO suck. But they’re doable. And having a period is kinda nice — especially when you don’t want to be pregnant.

Kamikaze Girls And Patriarchal Bullshit

I figured it was time for me to read a book about being a woman — about feminism — about vagina-having humans.

Thus I picked up How To Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran.

Impressed yet? Oh, you’re not? Well you should be. Because this is a good book (so far at least.)  And being a woman means I gave birth (and yes, I know there are many women who  choose not to do the baby thing) to three babies, and now I support those babies by working full-time, which means I don’t have much time to do a whole lot, so it’s pretty impressive that I can actually pick up a book and read it, much less write about it.

Now are you impressed?

Yeah, anyway.

So How To Be a Woman is Caitlin Moran’s book about well — being a woman — and feminism. In the prologue she laments about how feminism is becoming extinct — that feminism comes in waves — so many waves, in fact, that it’s now become an irrelevant “incoming tide.”  Moran is not saying that feminism is irrelevant — only that it has become irrelevant in the eyes of society.

She opens with talking about her 13th birthday. Her changing body. Her reluctance to enter into that unknown terrain of womanhood.

…there is no crueler or more inappropriate present to give a child than estrogen and a big pair of tits.

And so it began. That foray into becoming a woman.

Then there are girls who do all they can to prevent womanhood from happening. Those who fly into denial.

There are those who try to stop it, of course: the teenage girls who try to buy themselves time by aggressively regressing back to their five-year old selves and becoming obsessed with “girliness,” and pink. Filling their beds with teddies, to make it clear there’s no room for sex. Talking in baby talk, so they aren’t asked adult questions. At school, I could see some of my contemporaries were choosing not to be active women — out there, making their own fate — but to be princesses, just waiting to be “found” and married, instead.

Then there are girls who physically try to stop their body from changing.

And at the most dysfunctional end, of course, there are the kamikaze girls who wade into war with their pituitary — trying to starve it or confuse it into defeat, with anorexia, or bulimia.

My god. She explains things so well. This battle with womanhood that we all as women confront at one point or another. The tragic part is that teenage girls are so busy battling it, that they don’t see that being a woman — as challenging and frustrating as it can be — is such an amazing, lovely, crazy experience.

But the problem with battling yourself is that even if you win, you lose. At some point — scarred and exhausted — you either accept that you must become a woman — that you are a woman — or you die. This is the brutal, root truth of adolescence — that it is often a long, painful campaign of attrition. Those self-harming girls, with the latticework of razor cuts on their arms and thighs, are just reminding themselves that their body is a battlefield.

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But Moran goes on to say, that even those notable women who got it right — those women who mastered the battle cry — they themselves ended up being conquered and beat down by a society who abhors strong, leading women.

Show a pioneering hero — Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc — and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed. Your hard-won triumphs can be wholly negated if you live in a climate where your victories are seen as threatening, incorrect, distasteful, or — most crucially of all, for a teenage girl — simply uncool. Few girls would choose to be right — right, down into their clever, brilliant bones — but lonely.

It sounds so hopeless for a girl approaching teenager-dom — that cliff where you’re forced to jump full-force into that gravity pulling pit of womanhood.

This all sounds so bad. So negative. But I promise you it’s not. It’s just the prologue — the introduction. But here’s why being a woman can be so terrifying. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg:

…we live in a climate where female pubic hair is considered distasteful, or famous and powerful women are constantly pilloried for being too fat or too thin, or badly dressed, then, eventually, people start breaking into women, and lighting fires in them.

And this my friends, is the broken windows theory of feminism. One neglected broken window on a house will eventually lead to trespassers, burglars and squatters.  And according to Moran, that’s precisely what’s happening to feminism.

I’m done for now, because I’ve only read the prologue and I would like to read some more. But I leave with you this Caitlin Moran quote for you to ponder.

When the subject turns to abortion, cosmetic intervention, birth, motherhood, sex, love, work, misogyny, fear, or just how you feel in your own skin, women still won’t often tell the truth to each other unless they are very, very drunk.

So we must have a zero-tolerance policy on the squatters climbing into our broken windows — “a zero tolerance policy on ‘All the Patriarchal Bullshit.'”