Wonder

Hello! Hello! Crawling out from under a pile of stuff to do a little rant, and then I’ll go away and be run over by a giant steam train of ‘stuff and things’ again.

Just. Argh. Just. OHMYFUCKINGGODARGH.

That’s a bit better.

I need to talk about women again. Feminism if you will. I prefer to call it equality. I know, I know. I keep banging on. I keep banging on because the limits of people’s utter stupidity seems to know no actual bounds and 2016 seems to have given people more licence to broadcast that stupidity as solid gold, you can take it to the bank, FACTS. Or MADE UP OPINIONS THAT MEAN I DON’T HAVE TO ACTUALLY THINK as I like to call them.

There is so much stuff people. I mean so much. It’s like a deluge of crap that keeps raining down.

Yesterday I read an article about how the United Nations have cancelled their scheme to make Wonder Woman a representative of modern women for all women and girls around the globe. I was delighted. When I read about it initially it made me want to repeatedly run myself over, or fling myself into an abyss or something. It was brilliant to see that despite the fact that they said the project had run its course, it clearly hadn’t and they were just having to wipe egg off their faces as gracefully as possible. Then people started talking about it.

According to many people it was a crying shame, because if people knew more about graphic novels they’d know what a terrific role model Wonder Woman really is. Apart from the gigantic tits (these have been modified in recent years apparently. Yay for progress), and the fact that she has a penchant for BDSM kinkiness. We can just skip over those things and the fact that she was originally drawn to basically pander to her originator’s sexual fantasies. We must remember how lovely Linda Carter was in the Seventies, and how she could always find an alleyway or a phone box that didn’t smell of piss and old tramps to twirl about in. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a role model who has tits that large, only wears a corset and can run like a mother fucker, subduing criminals with only bracelets and the world’s shittiest golden lasso?  Also, never a hair out of place.  Fair play. Wonder Woman power and all that.

And actually, I don’t have a problem with comic book heroines or heroes as role models. There was an amazing story on Twitter the other day about how a gay comic book character helped a really confused teenage girl figure out her sexuality and how she broke down in a comic shop because she told the sales woman that it was the first time she’d ever been able to identify with a character who represented her. That’s amazing. That’s literally wonderful.

What really depressed the hell out of me about the Wonder Woman situation was that women, actual, real, life, physical women represent about 52% of the population. They do all kinds of amazing things, women. I don’t know if you know it, but they’re apparently as capable as men? Astonishing isn’t it? They work in the military, as astronauts, at the cutting edge of scientific research, as surgeons, consultants, artists, writers, inventors, musicians, in technology, in sport, in charity, at the front line of humanitarian relief. One of them discovered the double helix before the men who got the Nobel prize for it. Yep. One woman discovered what it took two men to steal a fucking prize for. And yet. And yet. The best role model they could come up with was Wonder Fucking Woman?

And I have no idea who they’re going to replace Wonder Woman with. The way this year’s going it will probably be Donald Trump.

Give me a break.

Except no. Don’t do that 2016. Keep piling on the shit.

Because after that edifying article I read about how the FA in the UK have been puzzling their manly brains as to how they could address the problem that not enough women and girls are taking up football. They did a survey apparently (who with, I’m not sure to be honest), and came up with some of the following ideas. Pink gear, making football bibs smell of roses and giving women more breaks to check their phones.

Dear, sweet, baby Jesus. Really? I mean actually really?

It was no surprise to find that many people, when I clicked on the comments box thought this was actually a parody news item. Some kind of December Fool’s Day thing or other. But no. This is serious ‘research.’

I posted a comment along the lines of the fact that when Tilly was in middle school, she actually joined a girl’s football team, but left after a few weeks, not because she didn’t like it, but because the girls got the arse end of everything the boys didn’t want. Teaching, access to kit, time on the pitch etc. It didn’t so much smack of tokenism as reek of it, and she got fed up of being supposed to be happy to make do with leftovers.  As a woman who had a teenage daughter put off football by people’s cavalier attitude to it, and a woman who has a ten year old son who doesn’t really enjoy football and would rather be (and in fact is) in the netball team, I feel that rather than giving two shits about pink bibs and accessories, allowing all children equal access to all sporting opportunities is the way forward.

But apparently I am wrong. A woman called Margaret (with no friends and a suspiciously blank avatar/twitter egg, who I think was probably a man called Steve) announced to me that football could not possibly be given over to the women because it was the last bastion of hope for men in a society in which feminism has ‘ruined’ men. It is the fault of feminism that females dominate men in every other area of life.  Football must be left to them, because it is the only thing stopping them from unleashing their inner violent thuggishness and something needs to be given to the poor, oppressed men of the world to tip the balance back towards the patriarchy, which according to Margaret is on its knees.

Gosh.

I pointed out that equality of opportunity is not the same as either feminism or indeed oppression. I suggested that some men might not want to play football (madness, but there you are) and might welcome the opportunity to do other things just like girls might like the opportunity to do football. I pointed out that given that football has been a male dominated sport for pretty much ever, it wasn’t doing very well at preserving male utopia, stopping violence or indeed what is increasingly looking like about forty years of incessant paedophilia in footballing communities up and down the land, and perhaps it might be a good thing if football were opened up to everyone.

Wrong again. More men are committing suicide because women oppress them, and if only women would get off their backs and leave them alone, everything would be great, because apparently everything that is wrong in a man’s world could be solved if women were just tidied away so that men could get on with things. Apparently men are very vulnerable and liable to break and don’t cope well with female oppression.

I asked ‘Margaret’ to think about the fact that a hundred and fifty years ago, women in this country were counted as objects that belonged to men and were not allowed to own their own property. I asked ‘Margaret’ to think about the fact that a hundred years ago women were still fighting for the right to vote in a country that could dictate every aspect of their lives without actually asking them if they were happy with that. I asked ‘Margaret’ to reflect on the fact that in my life time, my mother had to provide a letter to her bank from my father giving permission when she wanted to change her bank account. I suggested she ponder the fact that at the current rate of change, there will still be no pay parity for women in my lifetime, despite the fact that this has been legislated for since the mid Seventies. I asked her to think about the one woman every three  days killed in domestic violence incidents by men they are supposed to trust to look after them.

Then I suggested that she might want to think hard about her definition of ‘oppression’ and I don’t know, fuck off or something?

25 responses to “Wonder

  1. Oh man (just an expression), Katy, this had me in stitches, the way you can make a serious topic so dripping with hilarious sarcasm :-D.

  2. Yeah, I grew up loving Wonder Woman (the graphic novel version of her!) But I admit to being wildly confused by the whole UN thing. There are some very prominent and well known REAL women they could have appointed if they wanted someone that young girls and women will know rather than a woman who is brilliant but maybe less prominent socially.
    As for the football thing that is absolute nonsense. Back in the 90’s when I was a teenager. I switched with one of the boys in my year. He hated football, I loved it. So he went and played hockey with the girls, I played football with the boys. I ended up joining the football team, as with anything it’s about equality and treating the girls the same as the boys. I know one thing I would have run a mile from anything pink!!!

    • Yep. Pink was troubling for me as a girl. I hated all sports, but never understood why sports were split along the lines of sex, given that we didn’t play anything with penises and vaginas – otherwise I’d have probably been a lot more interested, to be honest!

  3. I must admit my reaction to both of those stories was to mutter “oh fuck it! Here we go again! Stupid men!” followed by this weary sensation of deja-vu. I was a card-carrying reader of Spare Rib back in the day, and I thought we’d fought all these stupid battles once and for all, only to find that we haven’t. I’m not sure I’ve got the energy to do it all over again and am inclined to sulk and blame the following generation of young women, the ones who went around loudly declaring “I’m not a feminist”, thus making me want to demand in response “Why the hell not?!” And now I’m ranting. I’m also convinced you are a much kinder woman than I am because if I’d had to deal with “Margaret” I’d likely have cut straight to the “Fuck off!” stage without bothering with the rest.

    • I’m trying to step out of my ‘bubble’ as they call it now, and reach out to those who don’t think like me. Mostly it makes me murderous with rage mind you! So I don’t think it will last long! It seems like we’re going backwards doesn’t it, although I have to hold my hand up to say I was one of the ‘I’m not a feminist’ brigade when I was in my teens, early twenties, but at that stage I’d never really encountered what they were talking about, so I didn’t get it at all. I think I must have lived a really blessed existence, looking back. Once stuff started to happen to me, I got it, and now I’m mostly on a low boil on a permanent basis, rage wise, but then. Not a clue. Thankfully my children, girls and boy, are all much more savvy than I was. x

  4. Fantastic post! I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t find a woman for the UN post either!
    Don’t know if you’ve heard of the Island Games or not? Basically it’s a mini version of the Olympics for island communities. It was held over here in Jersey last year and our local women’s football team won the women’s trophy, beating the men’s team by a long shot. I was at the final and it was brilliant to see them playing and winning.

  5. Nice one katyboo1. Always worth reading. As the father of 3 daughters I’ve always supported and encouraged them with whatever they wanted to do or try. With the youngest I’ve rock climbed, ice climbed, sea kayaked. She and her partner have recently had a new bathroom fitted, but the door was sticking. When I went to see the bathroom, she had bought a plane, taken the door off, planed the hinge side down, recut the hinge mountings and refitted the door! As far as a job – she manages a Mental Health Crisis team.

    • That’s fantastic. It’s so brilliant that girls and boys get encouraged to do and be whatever they want, regardless. Oscar wanted to be a fashion photographer for a while and was really interested in glossy magazines and dresses. Now he wants to own a sweetshop. We don’t care what they do, as long as they’re independent, capable and happy.

  6. Thank you! This is very timely, and I know a few people I need to send this to, whom I have been having similar conversations with (the “I’m not a feminist, but…” brigade). I get so frustrated when I hear young women talk about feminism as if it’s a dirty word. One woman even told me she was definitely a feminist but wanted a different label for it, one that didn’t have so many connotations. (!?) In a carefully worded but probably very strident way, I basically told her to get over it, and said that once women had achieved true equality, the label would not be necessary anymore. I don’t think I have convinced anyone, other than my children, who are now in the very odd position of being just like me, when in Year 6, our very hip (male) teacher asked the class who was for Women’s Lib, and I was the only one who raised my hand.

  7. Never got into footy or cricket or rugby or any of those so called manly pursuits. Much prefer competition rifle shooting; much more genteel and relaxing pursuit. Closest thing to meditation I’ve found.

  8. …..and breathe! xx

  9. As both a girl, and a woman, I’ve never like sports, though I loved swimming and gymnastics, but I would have killed for the opportunity for my fellow schoolgirls to have the chance to play football if they’d wanted to, especially as I was at loggerheads with the teachers already, as I wanted to learn woodwork at school, but was told that I couldn’t as it was a ‘boy’ thing!
    I’m 55 now, and still get screaming mad at the way girls and women are either portrayed as bimboes, or as second class to men in the every field although, in politics, I think women, like Thatcher, and now May, are real traitors to their sex, especially where wages are concerned!
    But it truly sickens me to find out that it’s men who decided what woman would be used as a representative to the UN {ffs! Wonderwoman?)
    Mind you, I become enraged when it’s men who decide anything to do with work for women, or the welfare of women!
    I guess our children’s children’s children might just see some real equality between men and women – if things can be changed from now on forwards – though I won’t hold my breath waiting 😦

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