Archive for the 'I Bitch Therefore I Am' Category

Fuck You Friday: World leader edition

NS March 26th, 2010

Fuck you, oh pointy-hatted one, for covering up the abuse of hundreds of boys (and cod knows what else) for the past several decades, in the name of your bigoted, small-minded, patriarchal institution of power-hungry lie-spreading based on ancient (if not totally make-believe) stories.

Fuck you, Barack Obama, for throwing American women under the health care reform bus. I’m sure that since you’re the one driving the bus you didn’t even notice as you rolled right over us, but believe me; we’re being crushed by the weight of your cowardly decision and the poorest and most vulnerable of us will pay the heaviest price. Champion of the people, my ass. You ‘did what you had to do’ but it was to acquiesce to those hateful, spiteful bullies that convinced you that restricting women’s access to a perfectly legal procedure in an acceptable and merely ‘unfortunate’ side effect of The Bigger Picture. Well guess what, Pres? It doesn’t get any Bigger Picture for us than the right to control our motherfucking bodies and decide when and if we will grow, bear, raise and be responsible for y’all menfolk’s babies. Seriously, fuck you for that. You completely ruined the little joy I may have gotten from the watered-down, pansy-ass bill and what it might mean for my family and friends currently residing in the USofA. You just convinced me to stay here in merry ol’ socialist England for at least another six years. In fact, where’d I put that application to become an official subject of the Queen? This week, I’d much rather my passport was red than blue.

Finally, a big fuck you to Gordon Brown for being too stubborn or stupid to see that he is likely going to lose Labour this election. Fuck you, Gordy, for making even the thought of (hypothetically) voting for David Cameron and the Conservatives cross my mind. I’ll be sending you the bill for my numerous showers and brain bleaching. Fucking douchebag.

Bad mood blogging

NS March 21st, 2010

Me, actually

I’m in a bad mood with blogging.

I have too many unread blogs in my reader, am tiring of Twitter and also, frankly, I’m sick of ‘mummy blogging’. I’m not trying to make money off of this blog, or get freebies. I don’t want to do reviews or giveaways or try to move up the league table of parent blogging. I’m sick and tired of email after email from PR agencies who want me to help them sell their shitty ideas and products, for nothing in return. I’m tired of feeling stretched thin, taken advantage of and still unheard.

I don’t really fit in with the typical mummy blog prototype but I’m too ‘mummy blog’ to those not interested in reading about parenting at all. I’m a square peg stuck halfway between two round holes. Neither fit. And I’m starting to get creeping feelings that I may be done with this blog, that it may have run its course. It’s been five years. FIVE YEARS. Most people have been at it for one, maybe two or three. But five years? I sometimes wonder if I have anything left to say that I haven’t already. I sometimes wonder, what’s the point? Why am I spending so much time and effort on this tiny, tiny little piece of cyberspace when I have no grand plans for it, am not interested in heavily promoting or monetizing it? Do I really think some publishing agent is going to read it and offer me the book deal I yearn for? Maybe if I didn’t spend so much time blogging I would actually have the time to write the damn thing and stop treating it as some obscure pipe dream that will either never happen or just materialize and fall into my lap.

I’m so upset that I’ve just reverted to American spellings. See? After seven years here I realize that even my spelling is a facade. Do I mask my true self in order to meld with my surroundings? Is that what this blog (and my Anglicised spelling) is all about — fitting in? Is that the real me?

My hands, the ones that type word after word after word — would they be better off being used, really used, to create change? Because I’m sick of being all talk and no action. I’m sick of feeling powerless in the face of so many -isms and injustices in the world. I’m frustrated by my inability to walk the walk I fucking talk. But what I’m most frustrated with? The people who are so blind or complacent with the status quo that they don’t even want change; they don’t understand why I don’t just smile and get on with it and try to think happy thoughts because that’s just the way the world works and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I don’t want the world to work this way. It’s naive and idealistic and unrealistic, I know, but I can’t help it. The thought that I should just give up on trying to make this world a better place for my children, for those less fortunate than me and, hell, even for myself makes me feel sick to my stomach. If I gave up on that I’d be giving up on who I am and what drives me and that, in the end, would not make me happy. It would make me incredibly fucking miserable.

I’m not looking for affirmation or pity. I’m not looking for answers. But for the first time, I’m going to let myself wallow in this bad mood blogging instead of trying to fight it and soldier on. If I don’t feel like blogging for 13 days, so be it. If I want to write three posts in a row about something inane and unlikely to garner comment, with lots of cursing and no fluffy bunnies, I will. No more thinking of this space as window dressing, where only the fully-dressed and accessorized mannequins are shown after careful styling. I need to get back to the bare-bones, haphazard, behind-the-scenes blogging that made me start writing in the first place.

And if I can’t get there? I hope I’ll have the good grace to hang up my hat before it hangs me out to dry.

Don’t come around here no more

NS March 10th, 2010

Hey, PR people! Yes, you over there, and there; the ones who email me every day, multiple times a day, with varying ‘offers’ or ‘opportunities’ for me to help you peddle your crap, for nothing in return but a warm, fuzzy, virtual hug from you — the middleman, the pusher, as it were — of said crap.

If you cannot be bothered to read through my blog (and by read, I mean past my last two posts) and discover that I, a raging feminist, socialist-verging-on-communist and mother who subscribes to the benign neglect mode of parenting, would probably NOT be interested in helping you sell ‘sexy’ lingerie, or formula made by a notorious WHO code violator, or what I believe to be [added so as to protect myself from libel] a ridiculous, unnecessary, wasteful and overpriced item like this one, aimed at pregnant women and with marketing designed to prey on new parents’ insecurities, I reserve my right to roll my eyes and delete your email, at best. If you catch me on a bad day, you may get a civil but curt reply instead of a deletion.

If you ask me to put a promotional link on my website and I send back my (tongue-in-cheek) fee schedule and an outline of my terms and conditions, I won’t expect to hear from you again, if previous experience is anything to go by. If you then forget you emailed me about it already and re- send the original ask again, with the same form letter, I reserve the right to not only reply a little rudely but also to request that you remove me from your list of potential suckers bloggers who will promote your item or company for little to nothing in return.

And if you send me something which, if you’d actually taken the time to have  a nose through my archives, even just from the past week, you’d know that there’s no way in HELL I would help you promote a blog for a site that has to ‘dumb it down’ for the ladies by making the new blog, like, all fabulous and pink and written only by women in the company (plus one dude, of course, because women can’t operate without at least ONE man in charge somewhere). Here is the press release they thought would win me over (bolding mine):

F-Secure, the leading Internet security company, is launching a new blog geared towards everyday computer users called ‘Safe and Savvy’. This blog is for anyone interested in staying safe online, practicing smarter social networking and protecting irreplaceable content. The bloggers are ladies who play crucial roles throughout the company.

Since its launch in the beginning of 2004, F-Secure’s first blog, ‘News from the Lab’ has garnered a loyal following of information security experts. It is now the go-to source for news and analysis from the world of cyber crime and security.

The new ‘Safe and Savvy’ blog aims to be less technical, more practical and conversational, offering computer users easy-to-digest information on how to stay safe while surfing the web. The posts will include useful tips and advice for social media, shopping or banking online, and protecting valuable content such as digital photos.

Therese Cedercreutz, director of direct business and marketing explains: “Cyber security is often discussed in very technical terms. At F-Secure we have a number of savvy ladies who are well versed in how to keep your content, yourself and your loved ones safe in the online world, and who can talk about it in an easy-to-understand, non-technical way. On Safe and Savvy we hope to give helpful tips and have discussions with our readers so they can steer clear of the pitfalls and enjoy their time on the web.”

The bloggers on Safe and Savvy are F-Secure employees from all parts of the company. Each blogger has a different skill set and expertise, ranging from detailed technical knowledge through to a solid understanding of security issues. However, all are passionate to share their knowledge on online safety, based on both personal and professional experience. And all of the bloggers are women (except for Jason).

K, Imma break it down for you, F-Secure. Let me tell you, since you obviously have no idea (or do you?), of how insultingly this reads, to this woman at least.

If this blog is for ‘anyone’ then why all the constant references to the “ladies?” Can you honestly tell me that with your approach to the mummy blogger market, your pretty pink website and constant references to the all-female staff making everything simpler for us that you were also targeting men (who are presumed to be less likely in need of ‘explaining’ and more able to keep up with the ‘other’ blog which is all techy)? If you can say yes with a straight face then more power to you, ’cause I couldn’t. In fact, I think both my eye and my lip twitched.

I find it incredibly telling that you chose an all-female staff to be responsible for writing this ‘easier to understand, simpler’ blog. If you truly wanted to create a more consumer-friendly site, for all of your users, why go to all the trouble of assembling “the ladies” from your company? If the other, techy blog is (presumably) written by all men, or a mixture of men and women, then why not just have the same people write the simpler blog too? Is it because they are too busy and important to waste time explaining things to the thick-o clients who don’t know all the latest online security lingo and technology? Or is it just that women are better ‘communicators’ and so you thought leaving them to soothe the idiots’ fears would be best? It’s an insult to not only your customers but your employees as well. Cherry-picking a bunch of vaginas (no pun intended — well, maybe a little) from around the office, regardless of their expertise, to run the There Is No Simpler Way To Explain This Shit To You blog is not really making me all warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t inherently trust or understand something more just because it was written by a woman and looks like a flamingo threw up on it.

This disparity was perfectly illustrated when I clicked through to Safe and Savvy (much to my chagrin) and saw this gem:

“Even though we work for some very serious security experts [with a link here to a picture of an office full of what appear to be men at computers], we promise not to get too techy on you.”

Um, excuse me but

Don’t even get me started on the need for ‘Jason’ to be trotted out as the lone male, the one reassurance for those doubtful that a collection of ovaries could talk about technology shit without getting it all wrong. And the thing is, I bet he’s chided and congratulated at the office for being ‘brave’ enough to work with all that oestrogen, oohed and aahed over for his authoritative presence on the boobie blog. Odds are 5-1 that he is a mansplainer of the highest degree, or at least his boss is.

So, PR agency for F-Secure, you wanted to know if I’d mention Safe and Savvy on my blog? I just did.

Photo credit

Doing nothing says everything

NS January 21st, 2010

Did you know that the Metropolitan Police sent a message to every woman in the UK yesterday?

What, you didn’t get yours? Well, it didn’t come on paper and through the letterbox, admittedly (that would contravene its environmental policy and administration budget, you see), but we can all understand —  loud and clear and in no uncertain terms — what that message was. It went something like this:

Dear Birds Women of the UK,

We are sorry we were caught regret the honest mistakes systemic failures and staggering inactions on our part which led to what seemed like a nice guy serial sexual predator John Worboys (aka the Black Cab Rapist) carrying out countless attacks over a period of years on drunk slappers numerous victims, none of whom we believed when they came forward.

While we take allegations of sexual assault not at all seriously, the investigations stemming from these female fairy tales allegations were completely inadequate not quite up to our usual piss-poor high standards. For this we are totally unrepentant sorry and have resolved to get the media off our backs make changes at no all levels of the department, including a new unit specialising in regret sex sexual offences committed against whiny feminist bitches women. At all times At this time, we do not feel that any further disciplinary action against the officers in charge of the utterly failed mismanaged investigations is deserved needed.

Fuck Thank you very much,

The Boys Met

I’ll just pause while you refocus your eyes after all that reading between the lines (ahem).

Obviously, that wasn’t the exact wording, but you get the drift. If you are of a more exacting nature and wish to read the nauseating excuses comments from deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) Deborah Glass on why the body decided to only issue the officers with written warnings, see below.

“I think on the evidence available the written warnings outcome was right,” she said. “They are a serious sanction requiring officers to accept they have breached the police code of conduct and have failed in some way. People will say, if you cannot sack them what’s the point? But there is still a point, there are important points around learning here. It is not about slamming the Metropolitan police. This is their wake-up call.” She acknowledged that had the police officers at the centre of the inquiry not committed “serious errors of judgment” and “missed crucial investigative opportunities” when Worboys could have been stopped before he went on to assault more women. “There’s certainly a likelihood that if they had followed up lines of inquiry he would have been in custody much earlier,” she said.

Whew! And here I thought that written warnings were just a weak, one-digit tap on the wrist: not even akin to a slap! Thankfully we have Deborah to explain that, actually, writing the words ‘You were naughty…but carry on as you were” in an officer’s file (perhaps alongside a frowny-face doodled in the margins) is an adequate reprimand for “serious errors of judgment” and other perfectly understandable breaches of professional misconduct like laughing at the victims, failing to follow up crucial leads or interview any potential witnesses, failing to fully investigate Worboys or obtain a warrant to search his home and, most of all, failing to believe that anything could or even should be done about it.

For the Met and the IPCC to act like this was some kind of shocking revelation and that the individual officers in question conducted themselves (and the investigations) in an unusual, non-sanctioned manner is absolute and utter bullshit. For as long as they have been reporting sex crimes (a long time) and for as long as they have been police officers themselves (not such a long time), women have been belittledharassed, bullied and disbelieved by the boys in blue. Those meant to protect the people and uphold the law have often been accused of protecting one another from criticism and even from criminal charges, despite compelling evidence to the contrary. They have botched other serial rape cases. The rape conviction rate in this country is the lowest in Europe, a measly 6%.

This is not a recent phenomenon.

Why, just as recently as 2003, a Met rugby team put together a magazine for its players with sparkling sexist gems such as: “Why did God invent lesbians? So feminists wouldn’t breed,” and “Women: can’t live with them, can’t force them into slavery,” not to mention “How do you know when your wife may be dead? When the sex is the same but the washing starts to pile up in the sink.”

But hey, I need to lighten up, right? It’s all just a bit of harmless fun and in no way influences the way these men think, behave or do their jobs, yeah? Tell me it doesn’t contribute to rape culture or the belief that a woman who reports a sexual assault is to be shooed away, fobbed off or altogether discredited unless she has irrefutable proof, has been battered to within an inch of her life and/or is a ‘respectable’ white woman who hadn’t been drinking, wearing revealing clothing or flirting before she was violated.

If you believe that I’d also like to talk to you about tropical jungles in Siberia and ocean-view property in Nebraska. Call me.

Hell, even the Guardian reporter from whom this information comes in today’s paper (and who, on the surface, seems quite repulsed by it) subtitled his article, “Boys will be boys. But shouldn’t the boys in blue know better?” suggesting that men naturally feel and think these things about women (by the way, it’s called m-i-s-o-g-y-n-y) but that, as police officers, these guys should have hidden it better.

So thanks, Met police, for the fucking pathetic half-hearted attempt at making yourselves blameless accountable, but your words, I’m afraid, hold no value. Your actions speak louder and ring truer than any statement you could ever make.

The downturn economy done turned on me

NS December 16th, 2009

fuck money

Though I know all about the recession and that unemployment is scarily high (7.9% in the UK and 10% in the US), I’ve been lucky in that no one close to me has lost their job or their house or anything like that. Sure, everyone is downsizing and being careful and cutting back and worrying, but it hadn’t had a personal, possibly profound effect on me until Monday. Because two days ago, while I ran between my bedroom and bathroom in the midst of a violent and unforgiving stomach virus, The Noble Husband (who had the same virus, on the same day) came to inform me that his boss had just called and told him that his role had been terminated at the company he is contracted out to and that after Christmas he is to report back to his employer’s offices where they will “try to find him something but there are no guarantees.”

No guarantees. In January, the worst month of the year for lay-offs, in what is the worst time for jobs in the UK in 13 years. And we are told this while being violently ill and 11 days before Christmas. The timing was impeccable, let me tell you.

I rolled around in bed, writhing in pain from the hot knife of pain in my stomach, while hot tears rolled down my face. I would’ve sobbed if I hadn’t thought it would only make me sick again. I wouln’t have ordered that last set of gifts from Amazon, only hours earlier, if I had known this was going to happen. I wouldn’t have had my hair cut and highlighted, wouldn’t have gone for lunch with my friend on Saturday, wouldn’t have stopped into Costa for all those lattes. Couldawouldashoulda, as they say. What’s done is done.

As I lay in bed that night, drained and exhausted in more ways than one, I began calculating in my head. Even if TNH’s employers were able to keep him on at their offices, he would go back to his base salary and there would be no overtime. Without overtime we only barely (and I mean barely) make it from paycheque to paycheque. The little amount of money I earn each month (a couple hundred quid, at best) pays for our cleaner and childcare, only recently-begun endeavours that were supposed to free up some of my time so I could write, and have some time away from the children to be myself again. It was a luxury, I know, but I felt that after years of living bare bones I deserved it. I deserved a shot at a career too, didn’t I? I deserved a few hours a week without the kids hanging off my legs, whining and crying and with snot crusting onto my trousers, right? And at the time, I really convinced myself that I did. I thought I could write my book proposal, set up a new website to go along with it and kickstart a freelance career, all with the 11 hours a week I had to myself.

Who the hell was I kidding?

Don’t I know that this is the stuff of delusional, pampered houswives with no control over their own financial destinies? Isn’t this exactly the kind of head-in-the-clouds, puffed up thing a writer thinks of herself, especially one with no other discernible way to support herself or her family if crunch time came? I mean, sure, I could go out and get an admin job in some office somewhere, like the one I was in before I left to have my first child and to which I never returned, but it wouldn’t pay the bills. It wouldn’t even come close to paying the bills, let alone food or clothes or anything like that.

Because the reality is that writing this blog doesn’t earn me a single goddamn penny (nor do I want it to) and I’m  sinking my pay into childcare and for someone else to do my cleaning  so I could pursue some half-arsed pipe dream that couldn’t buy us a loaf of bread at the moment.

But while a part of me feels that I was just kidding myself that this good thing could last and that I’d be able to do all I’ve ever aspired to do, another part of me is so incredibly angry and sad. If (and it’s a very likely ‘if’) my husband doesn’t find another job that pays more in the next couple months, we’ll be back to living hand to mouth again and I will have to use every scrap of whatever we’ve got to buy necessities, not niceties. So goodbye childcare, cleaners and coffees…it was nice for the whole two months that it lasted. And I know that sounds so incredibly fucking privileged and middle class and entitled, but god damn it, I had waited for it and worked for it and longed for it and I’m afraid that if I go back to absolutely no time to myself, no time to write, no time just being me, that I may seriously lose the plot. I was only hanging on by a very thin thread as it was — now that thread feels like it’s being wound round my neck and pulled tight.

To make me feel even more like a whiny little princess, when I asked my neighbour this morning if there’s any way I could dry one load of towels in her tumble dryer because we’d all been sick and I had laundry coming out of my ears and my sister arriving tomorrow for her three week stay, she looked at me uneasily and said “Sure, if you can hook it up to your electricity.”

I looked at her, puzzled and said “Sorry, what do you mean?”

She nodded her head towards her husband, who had just gone inside the house, and said “Well he’s not been working in ages, has he? We’re skint. It costs too much money to run the tumble dyer so we stopped using it. Maybe try the launderette up the road?”

I  apologised profusely and told her I hadn’t even thought of the cost of electricity to her and wanted the ground to swallow me whole. I went inside, shut the door and had to fight back tears. Right before Christmas and people can’t pay their electricity bills and others are losing jobs or have been out of jobs for months, like my neighbour. And here I am worrying about having to go back to caring for my children full time and having to scrub my own toilet again and staying up late to write instead of doing it during the day. Boo fuckin’ hoo.

I’ve got my ticket, waiting to see if it will be stamped; waiting to see if we’ll climb aboard the Unemployment Train or merely have to downgrade to Economy Class. Lots of people are already on the train, it will be crowded. People who have lost their homes, their cars, their possessions, their dreams — they’ll all be there. Those of us who haven’t lost anything but stand in limbo with fingers crossed will be there too. But whereas before I didn’t think I’d ever have a reason to ride, I now know that all of us, any of us, could be called aboard at any time.

Welcome to the recession, bitches. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

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