Friday, January 05, 2007

The Incredible Vanishing Woman..and other tales of misogyny.

Aaaah, Weightwatchers. Haven't we all at some time dallied with the idea of joining? Some of us have gone so far as to part with money and not a little dignity and made it to an actual session. Well, I decided long ago that WW is a con. It is a tool of the patriarchy, designed to humiliate and control women by shrinking them and eventually convincing them to shrivel away to nothing at all. A bit like the "star" of the new advert for said company.

So, the new ad goes a little like this: Middle-aged,paunchy man pushes so-so baby on swing, says how happy his wife is now that she is not fat. Caption "The Husband". Ageing woman sits at dining table and says how happy her daughter is now that she is not fat. Caption "Mum". Beautician (!!) explains that waxing ex-fat woman's legs takes half the time now that woman is not fat. Can't remember caption, probably "beautician". Man and woman sit at table and man says how much better other woman looks now that she is not fat. Apologises to woman at table: "sorry love". Caption "neighbour". Viewer is then invited to tell own story by going to WW meeting, shelling out around seven quid and being shamed into eating less and feeling utterly inadequate as a human being. End of advert.

At no point does the woman in question even appear on screen! WW have done what the patriarchy has been attempting to do for centuries: they have rendered woman invisible. This once bloated, hideous crone has slimmed down so amazingly that she is no longer a physical entity! The only clues to her existence are the approving comments from her gormless husband, her mother, a beaufuckingtician and her objectifying and frankly, lecherous male neighbour,....there may even be a child passing comment in there somewhere...The whole advert is staggering under the weight of its own misogyny. It would be funny if it weren't so mind-warpingly, stomach-emptyingly vile. As yet, I do not know how I will make it through my anger and out to the other side without my brain bursting. I am going to write to WW, telling them of my horror at this appalling advert. I urge you all to do the same. And if you EVER feel tempted to join in and throw away your hard-earned money and self-esteem, remember that WW is a COMPANY. They EXIST to make money. From you. Fuckers.

I Found Library Thing!!

I know I said I would spend less and do more etc. but I can't help thinking that Library Thing's twenty five dollar lifetime membership, for which I can load up as many books as I have and am not limited to just 200, is an absolute bargain and a Necessity. If only for insurance purposes? Yes, I know that's feeble... but I'm joining. I've added a link at the bottom on the right, go and have a look and then join and pretend that you absolutely can't live without it...I am doing just that. I'm convinced. I am. Really.

Charlie, I will come along to the next meeting that you all have, I'm not so shy! Just tell me when and where...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More trans politics

I have been reading around trans lit and theory, as well as Radfem theory and responses to Transactivism. I stand by what I wrote in the previous post. I also find that there are some wonderfully well expressed answers to both Yaeli's comment and the second anon. comment on that post. So, because I can't yet do this amazing and complex topic justice, I shall point you all in the direction of a collection of folks who can:
Questioning Transgender is a website dedicated to exploring the politics of transgender. I particularly recommend the articles about identity politics and womyn-born-womyn spaces. Well, I would!

I also read an excellent essay at reSISTERance but wanted comment that Ian Harvie/Harvey identifies as FTX, that is Female born. Not MTF. I'm not sure that V was clear about that! If You read this V, and you did know, I'm sorry that I misunderstood!

So, Yaeli and anonymous, I hope you read around a little, because I find at the moment, that what I am saying about trans politics is being so much better expressed by others. I hope to learn how to do the same as I go along.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Oh alright, since none of you asked...

I have been swept along in the recent blogwars concerning MTF transgendered people. I haven't weighed in with my two penn'orth but I will now. Just here, on my own blog space I will dispense with caution and express the basics of what I feel about transgendered people and women-only space.

I support the rights of trans men and women. I use my pronouns correctly, according to the wishes of the person I am speaking to/about. Trans rights are important and should not be dismissed casually, regardless of one's understanding of gender/patriarchy/social conditioning etc. It's not as simple as arguing that gender is culturally and socially defined. However uncomfortable I am personally with the idea of MTF transgendering and the attendant RadFem theoretical problems surrounding gender and femininity/femaleness it points to, it's not yet the perfect world where gender only matters if we want it to...

Having said that, I absolutely can't feel comfortable accepting MTFs into women-only spaces. I cannot get behind the idea that excluding MTF trans people is bad for feminism. I can hope that MTFs understand and respect how women-born-women feel about this topic. I can ask for a peaceful discussion regarding the need for women-born-women spaces.

While I'm at it, I would like to clarify my stance on the Dead Men Don't Rape blog-wrangle... I support Bea's use of this dramatic and assertive title for her blog. I was stupefied by some people's response to it and did some really scientific research* of my own. I asked the men I love and trust (there are two of them) how they felt about the title and I was not surprised at the response that I got. They both were entirely unfazed by it. They were instantly able to see what the intention was and expressed interest in exploring the blog further. But these are sort of feminist men...they get it. I knew they would.

So that's my first post of 2007. I am sorry it wasn't a Happy Monday, but I really felt that I needed to be open about how I feel about these two issues.

* i.e. not at all scientific and a bit crappy really.