I used to love you

I grew up with Harley Quinn as an icon. As a bit of a feminist, this doesn’t for too well as she was (is) the ultimate bunny boiler.

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Intelligent woman tries being all independent, but ultimately loses her mind over a man (who fair enough did get her to kill him for messed up reasons). Then, like she had no chance at self esteem, falls in love with self obsessed, manipulative and abusive make up wearing man. That’s the joker btw.

I’m not entirely sure why she was my hero growing up when you put it like that. Oh yeah…. She’s hot, and slightly unhinged.

I present also exhibit B.

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My taste in women is questionable at best.

So, somehow I was miffed to find Mr Geek salivating at DC’s latest incarnation of Miss Quinn. It took me a bit of head churning to work out the two themes of why I’m not keen on this one.

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1. She’s not even pretending to be the proper Harley Quinn overtly tits in your face sexy with the severely mentally unhinged facade hiding the fatal Freudian flaw of requiring the Joker’s approval of her actions. The HQ of my comic years kicked ass, and spoke to my inner teenage girl, whereas this one appears to wiggle her ass in a girly, slightly unnervingly underagey way whilst kicking nothing but her cute shoes  (they are good shoes).

2. She’s hot. Mr Geek is right. And right now, I’m about as sexy as a vasectomy. Performed by Dr Zoidberg.
 

I’m a bit jealous…. and probably out to stick with Deadpool. He’s far more my style.

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I’m Unlikely to Be Making Anyone a Sammich

Over the past few weeks I’ve been following a story relating to the continued threats made to Anita Sarkeesian. These have ranged from the standard troll comments to detailed death and rape threats, and now to a threat against a university if they allowed her to speak. (Link here)

This woman must be about to unleash some awfully sensitive or dangerous information… oh. Hold on. No. She made a series of videos and blogs about feminism in gaming.

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I don’t particularly agree with some of the things she says. Having played games on various devices since I was tiny, I don’t think the games industry is trying to put women off. Those games that have become more and more misogynistic… I don’t buy them. Nor would I buy them for my kids.

I am a massive advocate for parents actually clueing themselves up on what a PEGI rating is and why buying an 18 rated game for a 10 year old is basically damaging.

I’ve gone off on a tangent…

My point is that I spend a large percentage of my life trying to show young people that anyone can enjoy tech, that being a geek is awesome (just try telling my kids that cryptography is boring – they have been getting encrypted messages from Dr X all week :p ), that girls can code just as well as boys, and developer creative hissy fits are a well recognised phenomenon.

Then I read the news.

Then I dwell on the dark corners of the world I’m encouraging these kids into.

With every living breath I try to pass on the absolute love I feel for Computer Science. But there’s that nagging doubt that it’s going to be tough for the outspoken.

What do I do? I keep going of course. If a pair of breasts close to a keyboard is such a threat, then that is not the fault of the breast-owner. That suggests some deep Freudian insecurity on the parts of these keyboard warriors.

Tim Berners-Lee created the internet to be a vast network of shared thoughts and ideas. By trying to silence one woman, they made her message go global in the national news. It seems the internet bit them back.

Too young to be a feminist?

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So, we’re sitting in the car driving back from taking the girls to their Kung fu lesson and I flick on the radio. The girls and I like a bit of Radio 4 comedy hour and I see no reason why they shouldn’t be exposed to more intellectual comedy than Peppa Pig (not knocking the muddy puddle queen – we still love you).

Or rather, I saw no reason. One may say I should’ve learnt my lesson after the Women’s Hour fiasco when I had a rather awkward discussion with my then 7 year old about why women might want a doctor to make her girl bits smaller (labia that is). That spawned the unforgettable conversation, “no darling, not many ladies do handstands with no knickers on, but some ladies worry that it doesn’t look very neat….. No I haven’t……. No I don’t want to….. I’ve never really thought about it…. I know you’ve got crinkle scissors. Ooh look a squirrel!”.

Well, today I’d forgotten that lesson, and with beanpole (now 8) and TinyPants (now 7) loaded up in the back alongside their various very feminine weaponry we clicked on Bridget Christie Minds The Gap. To my thirty three year old bitter sense of humour, this was a funny and painfully true representation of feminism. In my infinite wisdom, I totally forgot that every word would be soaked up by my little sponges who spent most of the time asking questions (more of this sort of thing!). Questions like:

  • “Mummy, what’s a mysoginist?”
  • “Mummy, why is she a witch?…… And why is it funny if she’s a lesbian?”
  • “Mummy, who’s Virginia Wolfe? Is she like a lady big bad wolf?”
  • “why didn’t the lady in the bookshop just look on the shelf? She could read Ruby Redford – that’s about girls!”
  • “is a feminist someone who only likes girls then?”

These and many other questions that I had to answer on the fly. I’m rather proud that they took such an interest and sort of get women’s rights (thank you Horrible Histories), but I’m just not sure they’re ready for The Female Eunuch. I’m not sure I am! For now, they seem happy with my explanation that feminism is about the right for ladies to wear enormous knickers which are much more comfortable instead of silly lacy ones, and mummy having a job that she enjoys and being able to read whatever you want and eat Yorkie bars even if they do say it’s not for girls.

Women! Know Your Limits!

I know I should’ve probably been offended, but I’m now used to the ‘but you’re a girl’ line with people when it comes to me being a woman in a technical field. Here’s today’s scenario for your amusement (because I found it funny. There is nothing like breaking a stereotype for a giggle!)

Salesman in Maplins to LSH : “don’t worry, I won’t keep you she probably wants to get on” (indicating to me)
LSH *winces*
Me: “Actually the Makey Makey is for me. I’m a Computer Science Teacher, so yes, I would be interested in the gadgets.”
Salesman in Maplins: “oh! Oh! ” cue furious back peddling and apologising.

#feministwin

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Not a good week to be the owner of breasts

This week has not been a great victory for feminists. Or more specifically me as a feminist. And I am, in my own way.

I’m not into ranting about children’s toys, or the plight of stay at home mums (I admire them, but would frankly suck at being at home. As I royally prove after most school holidays). I don’t dress my children in non-gender specific clothes. I certainly don’t hate men.

I do believe that women have a right to live, be educated, and work as much as men and with due respect for their individual talents. Just as not all men are born construction workers, not all women are born domestic goddesses.

It started with my earlier post in response to an Internet article claiming women shouldn’t be educated (we’re done here, no more ranting).

Then today I was running off on a tangent in class explaining about how programming came into existence and asked my group of year 12s if they knew who the first ever programmer was. The answer given: ‘Er.. Some girl?’
Forgive me young man while I visibly twitch. Some girl? SOME GIRL?! OR an accomplished mathematician in her own right who worked alongside Charles Babbage (that would be Ada Lovelace). Some bloody girl.

Later when watching the news, I caught the tail end of a new report on a statement made by UKIP MEP, Godfrey Bloom. At a party conference which was designed to encourage women MPs he suggested that they were “sluts” for not cleaning behind their friedges (apparently this was a joke). In an interview, he suggested women were more suited to “finding mustard in the pantry” than driving cars. He also called 20th century feminists “shrill, bored, middle class women of a certain physical genre”.

And he’s surprised he’s been fired?

So please do excuse my shrill rant which was written on my blog out of boredom while I tucked in my middle class children. I quite clearly don’t deserve an opinion this week because I may be mildly overweight and own a pair of breasts. I also own a brain.

note – I will attempt to keep future posts to a ranty minimum. I have some much chirpier subjects to blog about!

The Good Book

So, recently on Facebook I was sent a link to a blog post which has taken me a full 24 hours to digest and reel from.

This post was entitled ‘Six (+2) Reasons NOT To Send Your Daughter To College

This was never going to sit well with me was it? Really? But I read it, hoping that it may just be a positive post about things you can do with a vocational qualification. Oh how wrong I was. And this post offended me on multiple levels.

Disclaimer – the following is just my rather ranty opinion.

Firstly, the owner of this site claims to be Catholic (and yes, with a big C). No right minded Catholic would propagate the ‘women are just baby making machines’ tripe. Women are equal and by holding a job, we do not devalue our wombs. There is absolutely no Catholic dogma that prevents women from working, unless it’s as a priest or the Pope.

Secondly, as you might’ve guessed, it offends me as a woman. The sections in the bible that are quoted are referencing the family dynamic from the Middle East TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO. It was the norm for women to run the household, and they did so through their extended family. It was also the norm to bake unleavened bread over an open fire and live in tents which were regularly moved around – should we do that now? I have a mind, and I’m not afraid to use it! Try telling Ada Lovelace that women can’t contribute to the male dominated environment (guys, without her you wouldn’t even have the Internet to spread your unpleasant message on).

Thirdly, it offends me as a wife. I am in an equal partnership with my husband and as such do not need to be subservient to him. Frankly, if I was, we’d have a lot more gadgets in the house and a lot less food! That also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t work hard to provide for his family. In a society where financially we both need to work, we are a team.

Finally (ok, not finally, but I need to stop ranting eventually), it offends me as a mother. I have two beautiful, intelligent daughters who will go to any educational establishment of their choosing and I trust that our parenting will set them up to make rational choices about the relationships that they get into whilst they are there. Girls can absolutely make rational choices (this hormonal lynx effect that you speak of is just a guise for bad choices without placing the responsibility firmly in the hands of the participants) and if they mess up, then we’ll be there to help them pick up the pieces. That’s called parenting. Hiding your child away at home away from the world in case they meet someone you don’t approve of is no different from the enforced wearing of a veil. If anything more so – how will these sheltered children grow up to be self-sufficient? Or is that the plan? If you place trust in your child, mostly, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

So, having ranted in full, I have decided to answer this blog post with a song. This is not Catholicism, your post is terrifying Bible Belt America claptrap which is fueling the world’s fear of the mental health of Americans in general. (Sadly, this type of thing is creating a stereotype which is not true of many).