Sorry Dapper Laughs, we’ve heard it all before

Dapper Laughs - thinking the word Boob

I’m sorry Mr. Dapper Laughs but I’m here to inform you that your comedy has already been done. The punchline has already been punched – just like a woman! HAHA! You see what I just did there? I made a joke about domestic violence and it was funny (presumably) because 2 women a week die in the UK from such abuse. I bet you wish you had thought it up! And this is what I mean, all jokes about women have already been done.

The patriarchy has been in effect for the last 200,000 years, assuming that homo sapiens idaltu were as sexist as you. Even if they weren’t, it’s fair to say that men have been dominating the jokesphere for most of civilisation. I mean, female acts still only account for 17% of all entertainment at The Edinburgh Fringe (keep in mind this is the highest percentage in the history of the Fringe and that we live in 2015). So I think it’s safe to say, that all jokes at the expense of women have been done.

They’re over.

It’s all been said.

After thousands of years the arse in which these jokes have been pulled from has run out of gas.

But just in case, Dapper Laughs, you have been living in a bubble for most of your life and do genuinely believe that your sex offender-esque humour is something new, I have compiled a list of all women-based jokes that have been told through history.

Because we’ve all heard the one about:

How women can’t drive
Can’t play sport
Can’t understand sport
Can’t manage money
Spend too much money
Shop too much
Clean too much
Don’t clean enough
Should clean more
Should make sandwiches
Should only be making sandwiches
Should give blow-jobs
Are great at blow-jobs
Are shit at blow-jobs
Should be doing more blow-jobs
Be having more sex
Be having less sex
Stop looking like sluts
Look more like sluts
Only care about babies
Want more babies
Can only talk about babies
Talk too much
Talk too much about men
Talk too much about other women
Are not funny
Are total bitches
Are total whores
Are total prudes
Are all liars
Are all lying about getting raped
Are all lying about getting punched
Deserved to get raped
Deserved to get punch
Need a ‘right seeing to’
Need a man
Need a husband
Need to be quiet
Need to be grateful

And finally, need to stop hearing terrible jokes about women from men.

There you go Dapper Laughs. All the women jokes. So now that you know your services aren’t needed, you can go back into the primordial ooze from which you came.

Let’s Talk About #TwitterSilence

In a way this post is long overdue. In the time it’s taken me to get settled into my new house, online feminism has been having a relative shit storm.  You probably know this storm by its brand name – Twitter.

Oh Twitter…. In the realm of social media, twitter has always held a special place in my heart. I love twitter. Unlike Facebook, it’s not considered a social insult to abstain from following people you know in real life. In fact, it’s almost weird to solely follow those people you went to high school with but no longer talk to. You don’t have to listen to the inane statuses that tell you about their latest new born, or how their latest gym session went. You can follow proper people, people you want to listen to like journalists, writers and certain celebrities (you know, the non-crazy ones).

Of course, you can follow the crazy ones. You can follow Stacy from down the road and read tweets from Britney Spears’ press team that tell you she’s having a ‘great time’ in whatever part of the world her tour takes her. You can do all of that, or you cannot. Twitter can be what you want it to be.

Twitter can also offer a great sense of community. You build up a small group of people that you enjoy engaging with online. You reply to each other’s tweets, you share links you think they will like and you can even engage in thought provoking discussions. It can be like a little online family.

But having discussions is very problematic online. You see the internet isn’t really made for calm, intellectual discussions. The whole anonymity of the internet brings out the worst in people. Suddenly the calm turns to rage. Suddenly people don’t think they have to listen to another person, it becomes all about their thoughts, their opinions and their feelings. Face to face you have to listen, you have to at least try to understand, otherwise you risk getting a fist put in your face or you might actually see the tears in the other persons face as you tell them to ‘shut up you dumb cunt’.

But on the internet, these visual consequences that pull on our moral fibres are hidden away. And this can be strangely liberating. I imagine the feeling is similar to that feeling you get when you take a wee in the shower, or walk around naked when your house is empty. Trolls probably reveal a lot about human nature, I bet there’s a whole field of psychological research dedicated to their existence.

However, lately this trolling behaviour has been in the headlines for reasons outside of science. Death threats, threats to rape, to gang rape, to bomb – the women of twitter have been bombarded with abuse. Caroline Criado-Perez has been the face of these twitter abuse stories. You may remember her from her victory over the Bank of England. There have also been other women involved such as Mary Beard, Helen Lewis, Grace Dent and the controversial figure of Suzanne Moore.

Before many of these women left, Caitlin Moran set about trying to tackle this mess with her campaign #TwitterSilence. The premise was simple – a boycott of twitter for one whole day.

Now I have to admit, the idea of a twitter silence had me torn. On the one hand, I like the idea of people being able to easily band together and stick it to the man. It was an easy protest to show support, just loads of people abstaining from twitter for one day. Yet on the other hand, the idea of silence being the weapon of choice against bullies seemed… well, wrong. You don’t tell victims to stay silent.

These sentiments many other people shared and Moran made it very clear that it was okay. In fact, she encouraged it. She didn’t believe hers was the one and only way of fighting the abuse. If people wanted to spend the day shouting back at the abusers – GREAT! In the end, I believe Moran just wanted to get people talking about the issue at hand and to try and inspire some camaraderie. This I liked, so when Sunday rolled around I was torn about what form of protest I should take.

However, twitter quickly made my mind up for me. Logging onto twitter on #twittersilence was like entering a warzone. From my point of view, the people who claimed to be team ‘shouting back’ weren’t actually shouting back to the trolls who had been abusing the likes of Caroline, but were focusing all their energy on attacking Caitlin Moran.

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Some of the tweets that were abusing Moran were understandable, and by that I mean they came from the kind of people who were probably in the troll camp which Moran was fighting against. Yet the ones that really angered me came from the online feminist camp. Apparently Moran wasn’t doing feminism the right way and this therefore justified a day of mocking her for her perceived feminist failures.

At this point, can I just point out that there is no definite ‘right’ way to be a feminist? There are many different camps of the feminist sphere, not all of these camps have the same ideas, but I would think support of one another wouldn’t be too hard a task. Sure, you don’t like twitter silence but it was undertaken with good intentions. Instead of spending your time denouncing it, why not come up with your own way of showing support for the cause?

In the end I tweeted #TwitterSilence and left the site because of fatigue. It was tiring to watch feminism tear itself apart and argue with people who were supposed to be allies. Was that the right reason to join twitter silence? Probably not, but I really wanted to show that sometimes we can pull together and unite under one banner. Of course, twitter silence was a massive failure, with or without my participation it would have been doomed. In the end, rather than get rid of the trolls, twitter silence just made trolls of the feminist movement. It made some people look as bad as the people everyone was against.

And even now, I wonder if my silence was the right thing. Did I join to support or to deny what I was seeing? Should I have shouted back against the trolls or the feminists? Who was in the right and who was in the wrong? Ironically, trying to answer these questions has left me speechless.

I’ve Moved to London & Some Online Feminism

Well I’ve done it internet, I’ve made the plunge and rented an over-priced flat in the most expensive UK city – LONDON! Or should I say LAAAAN-DAAAAN! This move has resulted in many life changes, some good and some bad. The worst has to be that I am now living in a world without internet. People who have moved into new places know all about this dilemma, of that agonizing first few weeks, where you wait, going mildly insane, eating up your mobile phone data, as you wait for the internet man to come and hook you up. I am currently  camped out in a Cafe Nero, huddled in the corner and pilfering their internet to write this message.

Obviously, while Carrie Bradshaw and all those other cafe-shop writers make it seem effortless to write in public, I find spilling my emotions out on a blog a little tricky when a fake Italian barista is staring at me. Meaning you’ll all have to wait until August 7th for this blog to return to its former glory (it did have a glory, right? Remember all those posts about film star’s penises?). To keep you internet dwellers wanting more, here is some interesting internet things to keep you going until my majestic return. Said return will almost definitely be defined by virtual fireworks, scotch and naked go-go dancers. Or maybe just some pictures of my new place and some feminists rants about oogling on the tube. You decide which is more realistic.

Until then, enjoy these internet treats that have been mostly harvested from the mysterious place called Reddit.

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My Hero: Lisa Simpson

When you’re asked about your childhood heroes, you want to come across as fairly cultural in your admittance on who made the cut. If you tell people your ten year old self looked up to Hilary Clinton, then you’re giving the impression of being a pretty brainy kid. Likewise, if you say Joan Jett, your cool points will go through the roof.

However, admitting that you looked up to a shaded yellow cartoon character, with hair that’s reminiscent of a pineapple, makes it a lot harder for anyone to picture you as a ‘cool kid’. But loving Lisa Simpson is something I’ll never deny. From her academic know how, to her passionate activism, and even the way she puts up with her family – hands down, Lisa Simpson is my gurl.

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Now, right off the bat, I have to admit that I haven’t been as much of a Simpson’s fanatic as I was as a child. When I talk about The Simpsons, I’m talking about post-the-three-eyed-crow-opening, the old school Simpsons that had obscure literary references, sexual innuendos and morally thematic episodes. It was in these early years that I first fell in love with Lisa Lionheart, the girl who never backed down from a fight.

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Lisa’s main asset has always been her intelligence, and it’s one of the reasons why so many people in the ‘nerd’ community identify with her. It is mentioned that Lisa has an IQ of 159 and, at only eight, she’s a high ranking member of Mensa Springfield. With these big brains, Lisa could have easily become one dimensional, but with big brains came an overwhelming desire to achieve. When she’s unable to attend school due to a teachers’ strike, Lisa goes out of her way to get ‘graded’, forcing Marge to give her an A just to shut her up. She also creates a perpetual motion machine in order to impress Homer, but he chastises her, saying one of my all time favourite lines – “In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”

It’s this need to please that any high achiever can sympathise with. Even now I cringe when I think about my early school days, and how I would power through math problems just so I go put my hand up first to say I’d finished before everyone else. Not everyone can be part of Mensa, but being a grade brat, now that’s something I can relate to.

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But even though Lisa values her grades so much, she never lets them come between her and her integrity. She wants to earn her rewards. During a The Wind in the Willows test, Lisa cheats and gets her highest grade – A+++. This not only gets her all sorts of praise, but it also lands the school with some extra funding. However, rather than accepting the fruits of her (fake) labour, Lisa confesses her crime in front of everyone! No way would I have had the balls to do that. Sure it got Lisa in trouble at the time, but haven’t we all had moments when we’ve done something a bit shady and then felt guilty for never coming clean? It’s so easy just to accept that you’ve gotten away with something than actually accepting your guilt and getting the weight off your chest.

In fact, this strong moral centre is just want makes Lisa my hero. When I was younger, I had a brief phase of wanting to be a vegetarian. I told my Mum but then the next day the first thing she served me was meat… and I ate it. Because, if I’m honest, I just wasn’t that committed to my own belief system.

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Lisa, on the other hand, stays true to what she believes. She gives up meat despite her carnivorous family. She becomes a Buddha despite living in a predominantly Christian town (although she might want to have a closer look at Buddhism’s treatment of women). And she continues to rock out on her saxophone, even after she’s told her ‘stubby fingers’ will hold her back from greatness.

And don’t even get me started on her feminism! In season five, Lisa is shown going to head to head against the toy giants behind Malibu Stacey after she comes to the conclusion that the doll is presenting a bad role model for young girls. It’s a powerful episode that shows a lot of the faults present in our own worship of character’s like Barbie. The fact that Lisa’s attempts to create a positive female icon fail, highlights a deep, misogynistic flaw in our culture. One that Lisa is not willing to stand for.

This badass attitude to go against the norm has also resulted in some of Lisa’s more rebellious behaviour. For instance, remember when she pretended to be a college student? Or the time she became a ‘bad girl’? Or a ‘goth’?

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She also has a taste for the bad boys. Sure, there are the future episodes that show her married to Milhouse (I don’t buy it), but we all know that Lisa’s real love is Nelson Muntz, AKA the school bully. In one episode, Lisa confesses her crush and tries to change Nelson into a nice boy. This doesn’t work out, but throughout the show, the pair seems to reunite again and again, hinting that maybe Nelson will one day change for the better and Lisa can heal his broken-childhood.  Of course, trying to change a boy into something he’s not isn’t cool, but it’s nice that Lisa is capable of these love slip ups just like the rest of us.

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And that’s the great thing about Lisa; even though she’s super smart, super talented, and is obviously going to be the first straight, white, female president, she still has the flaws of any girl her age. She’s whiny, self-righteous, a snob, and sometimes has terrible taste in men. She longs to be cool and her attempts at ‘fitting in’ and making friends can often make us cringe. But at the end of the day, no matter what mistakes she makes, she always tries to put things right and make those around her happy; which makes her a great character for any young woman to look up to.

Even when they’re twenty-one.

 

 

All these images are the property of FOX and where discovered through this tumblr tag

In The Bank: A List of Women That Could be the Face of British Currency

It has recently been announced by the Bank of England that Winston Churchill will replace Elizabeth Fry as the face of £5 notes. Elizabeth Fry, in her time, was a social reformer and the ONLY woman to appear on English currency. With her removal, Britain is once again faced with a sausage fest of legal tender.

Of course, some of you are probably screaming at your laptop screens ‘WHAT ABOUT TEH QUEEN!’

teh queen

Yes, the Queen is a woman and yes, she is a feature on our national currency – but is she there for achievement or for her birthright? The Queen will always be on there, no matter what she did or didn’t achieve. Unlike the famous faces of Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Matthew Boulton or James Watt, she has not been selected on merit. She was simply born at the right time and into the right family.

That’s not to poo-poo old Elizabeth; it just would be nice to see women being recognised on a level playing field as men. After all, there have been plenty of trail blazing women who have carved themselves a place in history while also going against the ever dominating patriarchy. Shouldn’t these women get recognised alongside their male counterparts?

By excluding women from this prestigious form of recognition, Britain is ultimately sending a message that says – well there was that ONE woman who did something, but on the whole, ladies, you just haven’t done that much.

And this message is coming from a country that has pork-swords controlling the major majority of parliament, the British media, and even has meat wands acting as director in all but 16.7% of directorial positions in the business world.

I mean, if poor old Elizabeth Fry was still around I think she would be pretty pissed that our patriarchal society has chosen to keep old Darwin instead of herself, despite his face being the oldest note by two years.

There is currently a petition going around that asks the Bank of England to reconsider its decision to ditch Fry, which I wholeheartedly urge you to sign. However, in the event that Fry is still scrapped, I’ve compiled a list of other famous female faces that might step up to the plate. Just in case Mervyn King is unaware of the amazing women British history has to brag about and needs a little bit of reminding.

I mean, hasn’t Darwin had his day?

Caroline Norton (1808 – 1877)


Coming from an impoverished family with a good name, she was forced into an unhappy marriage under the pressure of the well-being of her family. Her relationship with George Norton involved regular beatings and ended in 1836 when she packed her bags. Shortly after, Norton claimed Caroline to be having an affair with Melbourne and tried to sue the pair – this lawsuit ultimately failed but left Caroline’s reputation in tatters. Norton refused Caroline access to her children but she protested – HARD! Her example of defiance against her ex-husband became instrumental in the passing of the Infant Custody Bill of 1839.

She later carried on her activism by campaigning for and influencing the passing of the Marriage and Divorce Act of 1859. Furthermore, she also published several verses against child labour.  Activism FTW!

Fanny Kemble (1809 – 1893)

Fanny was a successful Victorian actress who caught the eye of an American plantation owner called Pierce Mease Butler. The two married and in 1838 the pair travelled back to America to start their life of passion, commitment, hugs, cuddles, and slaves – wait, what?

Kemble on arrival at Butler’s cotton farm quickly realised ‘holy fuck, this guy uses and abuses a lot of slaves’ which quickly killed the romance factor for Fanny. She spent the winter at Butler’s cotton, tobacco, and rice plantations for one year where her marriage slowly fell apart as she documented the extreme cases of abuse she witnessed. Despite Butler threatening her never to publish said journal, Fanny was quick to flip him the bird and bugger off back to England as soon as she could.

Fifteen years later, when the Civil War broke out, she published her anti-slavery Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839 and it became very well known in the United States. In her lifetime she continued to be outspoken against slavery and often donated money (gathered from her public readings) to charities.

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928)

The Godmother to angry feminism, Pankhurst is famous for her work as a suffragette and for the many times she was arrested for the cause.

Born in 1858 in Manchester, she married a lovely man called Richard Pankhurst who authored the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870 and 1882. In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women’s Franchise League and fought for married women and their rights to vote. Later on, in 1903, she forms the more aggressive union WSPU, whose members were the first to be dubbed suffragettes. The WSPU fought hard for women’s rights, especially their right to vote. Window smashing, arson and hunger strikes were all prevalent in the group’s campaigns and Pankhurst became synonymous with the governments ‘Cat and Mouse’ act.

Yet despite her dedication to women’s rights, when war broke out Emmeline instantly refocused her efforts to supporting Britain’s campaign. In 1918, she saw women over 30 given the rights to vote and in 1928 Emmeline passed away having just witnessed women being given equal voting rights to men.

Frances Buss (1827 – 1894)

A headmistress and a pioneer of women’s education, Buss demonstrated that hey, bitches can learn stuff too.

Early on in her life she helped run and teach in her family’s private school. North London Collegiate became a model for girls’ education, with over 200 female students. However, as a privatised school, Buss was unhappy that only the privileged women of society were able to benefit from her schooling. So in 1871 she set up Camden School for Girls, with the aim of providing more affordable education for young women.

In her lifetime she constantly pushed campaigns for the endowment of girls’ schools, and for women, to be allowed to sit public exams and to enter university. She also became the first woman Fellow of the College of Preceptors, which was the only form of public recognition she received.

Octavia Hill (1838 – 1912)

Thanks to the financial failings of her father, Hill grew up in strained circumstances that left her with no formal education. Nevertheless, Hill started work at 14 years old and did so for the welfare of the working classes.

Hill slowly became a social campaigner with a capital S. She was besties with John Rushkin, and he helped invest in some of her welfare theories. One theory being that those in charge should have some personal contact with their tenants and enable said tenants to become self-reliant. She pushed her colleagues to engage with the lower classes, and strongly opposed policies that silenced the workers voices, such as the municipal provision of housing.

If you ever find yourself admiring the pastoral splendour of London’s Hampstead Heath, then you also have Hill to thank for that. Her dedication for providing open spaces for people from a disadvantaged background meant she helped save a lot of suburban woodlands – Hampstead Heath being just one example and Parliament Hill Fields another.

Later in life, she became one of the three founders of the National Trust, which to this day still helps preserve natural beauty and sites of historical interest for future generations. She was also a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws in 1905 and a founding member of the Charity Organisation Society, now referred to as Family Action.

In short, if someone like Hill can’t get on a bank note, then who can?