punk phd / feminism / motherhood

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cervical Cancer Screening

The government yesterday announced its decision not to lower the screening age for cervical cancer to 20 in England (which it is elsewhere) as it would do "more harm than good". Yes, you did read that right. More harm to who exactly? More harm for the women involved or more harm to the government's pockets?

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Excerpts from the forthcoming 'Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism'

The You Magazine today (supplement in the Sunday Mail) has snippets from the forthcoming The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism by Ellie Levenson. The book itself is released 1st July but you can pre-order it from Amazon. Personally I wasn't sure what to expect but judging from the excerpts I saw today I have a horrible feeling I'm not going to be that impressed. Awful of me to say I know!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Song lyrics I'm currently hating...

...and keep on having to hear on the radio

and the best is no one knows who you are
just another girl alone at the bar

don't trust a hoe never trust a hoe wont trust a hoe wont trust me

shush girl shut your lips do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips
i said shush girl shut your lips do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips

From 'Don't Trust Me' by 303

I know how I read into this and it's not good! What about you?

x-posted to Subtext

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Edwina Currie on the pay gap...

As evil as the lure of procrasination might be, it did mean I stumbled across a gem of an interview with Edwina Currie on The One Show concerning the continuing pay gap between women and men. Such discrepencies don't seem to cause any alarm in Currie; her responses implying that this is the way it is and even, this is the way it should be. The justification behind this? The matter of choice. Edwina Currie talks about the choices women make during their careers, choices involving children (think taking a 'break' in employment when you decide to start a family*). Of course, we women make such choices so it is only right that women's pay reflects such...la di da da. The point at which Currie starts throwing around this buzzword of choice I am reminded of Catherine Hakim and her Preference Theory (basically the notion that patterns in women's employment reflect the lifestyle preferences of women rather than patriarchal structures in society). Do we see the problem here? We can talk about 'choice' and 'preference' and doll this situation up as women being active decision makers of their life, their roles, their careers because that's the easiest option isn't? It's just merely an attempt to mask the fact that despite equal pay legislation and work by the women's movement, our society, to put it simply, still sucks on this. Why pretend that this is what women want because clearly it really isn't. And of course Edwina will talk about 'choice' because it can, to an extent, be a matter of choice for women like her because of their background affording them more opportunities than perhaps the rest of us.

And all of this from day-time tv.


*Feeling the sarcasm?...

Disclaimer: I don't particularly like The One Show and I feel the fact I found myself watching this episode on demand this morning was purely a reflection of my avoiding work...

(x-posted over at Subtext)

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lady GaGa..Postmodern Feminist?

So yes, firstly I do find it strange that a new 'out-there' female singer enters the fold and we're clambering over their stance, if any, on feminism - but hey, I'm guilty as the rest of us. Lady GaGa...the epitome of post-modern feminism? Some articles suggest that LGG isn't a feminist (and in one she is quoted as saying this) yet she states her music is about "sexually empowering women" and:

I think it's great to be a sexy, beautiful woman who can f--- her man after she makes him dinner...There's a stigma around feminism that's a little bit man-hating. And I don't promote hatred, ever. That's not to say that I don't appreciate women who feel that way.


Young women equate feminism with man hating and not embracing any tradition as a woman, and I think it’s okay to embrace tradition. Look after your man and take care of your father; be good to your mom and dad; cook sometimes at home.

Perhaps LGG herself suffers from the "I'm not a feminist but..." syndrome or, on the other hand, this is all part of a post-modern identity creation - defying definitions of concepts such as 'feminist, feminism' or even 'woman' which the gender-bending aspects of some songs might suggest. Perhaps this is just all part of the performance.

Some bloggers' thoughts below:

Another Resolution: Lady GaGa is not a feminist
Rosemary Mac Cabe: this video makes me want to...
Feminist Music Geek: Lady Gaga - not buying it
We Are the Wave: Lady Gaga

x-posted at Subtext Magazine

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Fay Weldon - The F Word

The July issue of Easy Living Magazine features The F Word: an introduction by Fay Weldon. Whilst Weldon acknowledges a New Feminism which isn't anti-man or anti-sex; the fact our feminist actions need not focus merely on our experiences as Western women and the persisting negative connotation of the term 'feminism', there is one thing which troubled me very early in the piece:

"But then feminists committed the worst sin of all - they became boring. They will go on being seen as boring, I fear, until they acknowledge what everyone accepts except them - that men and women are different, physiologically and psychologically, and that sex is important. It's a Freud thing".

Coming from a sociology, rather than psychology, background I just can't get my head around this assertion. I also cannot envision that this is the key issue 'holding back feminism' or that it is what has made us "boring" (though I can't even imagine us being accused of being boring!). Why is sex important? What if sex itself is a construction? (and there are those who would argue just that!) How can we completely disregard the differences society creates of us in favor of such apparent innate ones*?

Aside from this niggling bit for me, the article was an enjoyable read; particularly Fay Weldon's brief charting of the feminist movement with tidbits from her own life. Has anyone else had the chance to see this? Or does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

*strangely enough I picked up a book from Waterstones today about gender and schooling/careers which actually speaks from a psychological, rather than sociological, perspective. Expect thoughts also on that to follow!

(x-posted at Subtext)

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