10 January 2008


This is one of my favourite dinners!

1 red pepper
1 aubergine
1 onion
2 courgettes
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp mixed herbs

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the courgette and red peppers. Cook until slightly softened, and the onion is translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes, aubergine, tomato puree and mixed herbs. Put in the oven at a medium temperature for about an hour.

You could serve this with couscous, pasta, potatoes, bulgar wheat, rice. The possibilities are endless! I like a bit of grated cheese on mine too.

Review: Sex...with Mum and Dad

I know, I know, the title is horrendous. But actually I think that this programme on BBC3 is worth giving a chance, particularly for teenagers and their parents (who the show is primarily aimed at). The basic premise is that the relationship between the teenager and their parent(s) has broken down. They go to visit Maria Schopman, who is a Dutch "sexologist" and family therapist helps families to talk about sex and their experiences of it, and attitudes towards it.

As a family, they have to involve themselves with various tasks which involve a great deal of nervous giggling and red faces. Some of the tasks have included making clay penises, putting dolls into a variety of sexual positions, and drawing stick people of the number of sexual partners that you have had. But, despite the initial embarrassment that these tasks of course cause, they seem to work. Teenagers and their parents use these exercises as a way of opening up a dialogue about sex which has been missing previously.

One of the most positive things about this programme is that fundamentally it accepts that teenagers are sexual beings, and that that is OK. Whilst teenagers in the last show (who were using casual sexual relationships as a way of trying to seek intimacy) are encouraged to moderate their behaviour, I actually don't have a problem with this. Once they had been able to be honest with themselves and their parents about sex, then they actually made the decision for themselves that they did not necessarily want to engage in that particular behaviour any more. They were not pressured into making this decision, and Maria Schopman appears to be entirely unshockable and unjudgmental.

I think that not talking to children and teenagers about sex, relationships, STDs, pregnancy, and a wealth of other issues relating to sex means that they can feel lost. They engage in risky behaviour because they are not aware of safe sex. As Maria Schopman points out, in the Netherlands, teenage pregnancy and the rate of STD infection is significantly lower, and she believes that this is because they discuss these issues with their children in depth, giving them the tools to go and and enjoy sexual relationships safely, and knowing that they have the support of their parents. We should be doing this in the UK too, as this programme aptly demonstrates.

09 January 2008

Spanish abortion clinics to go on strike

Now, whilst I support wholeheartedly the aims of the Spanish doctors involved in this, I am not sure that further limiting women's access to abortion is really the way to do it. The BBC reports that over 2000 women could be affected by these strikes. Some of the women will no doubt be able to get the procedure once the strikes are over, but they will still have had to endure being pregnant against their will for longer than they should. Unfortunately for other women, who are up against the time limit for abortion, they will be forced into childbirth. This is not a happy situation for anyone.

Spain: sort out your laws so that women can access abortions quickly, safely and legally, and doctors can perform them without fear of criminalisation.

But what about teh menz?????

I'm a bit late on this one, but it is just too important to pass by. The LA Times published an article about "post-abortion syndrome" in men. Lets just take a moment to remember that this is not a proven illness in women, so it is totally bizarre to be referring to this "illness" in regard to men.
(Just to warn you, if you don't like swearing, don't read on!)
So, to the article;
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy -- his son -- with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile.
Interesting to note that it is a boy that Jason Baier imagines. Clearly, this would be his preference, as everyone knows that women/girls are only half-human anyway. Why would he be bothered if his fiancee had aborted a daughter?

Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: "How can I miss something I never even held?"

These days, he channels the grief into activism in a burgeoning movement of "post-abortive men." Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman's issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement -- both political and deeply personal in nature -- contends that the pronoun is all wrong.
Yeah, because abortion definitely affects men more than women. How could we have been getting it so badly wrong for so long?

Last spring, the Supreme Court cited these accounts as one reason to ban the late-term procedure that opponents call "partial-birth" abortion. The majority opinion suggested that the ban would protect women from a decision they might later regret.

Women's testimony was also used to justify a sweeping abortion ban passed in 2006 in South Dakota. (Voters overturned the ban before it could take effect.)
Now, I don't want to be unfair here. Women can also act like assholes about abortion. Just because you regret your abortion love, doesn't mean that you should be able to restrict the access of other women to the same procedure. We are sentient adult human beings. Sometimes we will make choices that we will later regret. That is up to us. It is part of life. We do not need to be "protected" from procedures which we decide that we need to have.

Therapist Vincent M. Rue, who helped develop the concept of post-abortion trauma, runs an online study that asks men to check off symptoms (such as irritability, insomnia and impotence) that they feel they have suffered as a result of an abortion. When men are widely recognized as victims, Rue said, "that will change society."
Interesting. More proof here that women are clearly less human and less important than men. Yeah, sure women have been moaning on for years about abortion and how they feel about things. But we can't take them seriously, after all, everyone knows that women are irrational emotional creatures. But teh menz? They are so different. If they are sad, we must all take notice! Because they are so strong and manly, their tears are really important. Almost as important as the sacred sperm.

But the activists leading the men's movement make clear they're not relying on statistics to make their case. They're counting on the power of men's tears.
God, yeah, statistics and shit are so dull and irrelevant. Lets just get some men to cry on telly, and then women won't be able to kill teh baybeez without our sayso anymore!

Even abortion rights supporters acknowledge that men may benefit from counseling when they and their partners face an unwanted pregnancy. Sociologist Arthur Shostak has interviewed thousands of men waiting in abortion clinics; though they tried to project strength to help their lovers through the ordeal, many told him that they felt powerless, anxious and alone. Some dreamed about the children they would never know.
Now, I am not denying that abortion can be a difficult experience for everyone involved. All medical procedures are stressful, not just for the person receiving the treatment, but for anyone who loves them too. I am sure that men do experience regret after their partner has had an abortion, but that does not give them the right to limit other women's access to the procedure.

Chris Aubert, a Houston lawyer, felt only indifference in 1985 when a girlfriend told him she was pregnant and planned on an abortion. When she asked if he wanted to come to the clinic, he said he couldn't; he played softball on Saturdays. He stuck a check for $200 in her door and never talked to her again.

Aubert, 50, was equally untroubled when another girlfriend had an abortion in 1991. "It was a complete irrelevancy," he said. But years later, Aubert felt a rising sense of unease. He and his wife were cooing at an ultrasound of their first baby when it struck him -- "from the depths of my belly," he said -- that abortion was wrong.

Aubert has since converted to Catholicism. He and his wife have five children, and they sometimes protest in front of abortion clinics. Every now and then, though, Aubert wonders: What if his first girlfriend had not aborted? How would his life look different?

He might have endured a loveless marriage and, perhaps, a sad divorce. He might have been saddled with child support as he tried to build his legal practice. He might never have met his wife. Their children -- Christine, Kyle, Roch, Paul, Vance -- might not exist.

"I wouldn't have the blessings I have now," Aubert said. So in a way, he said, the two abortions may have cleared his path to future happiness.

"That's an intellectual debate I have with myself," he said. "I struggle with it."

In the end, Aubert says his moral objection to abortion always wins. If he could go back in time, he would try to save the babies.

But would his long-ago girlfriends agree? Or might they also consider the abortions a choice that set them on a better path?

Aubert looks startled. "I never really thought about it for the woman," he says slowly.

I think we can all agree that this guy is a complete wanker. Instead of feeling bad that he went to play softball instead of going with his partner of the time to support her, he only wishes that he could get "the baby" back. It is interesting that when it was most convenient for him for his girlfriend to have an abortion, so that he could continue with law school etc, "it was a complete irrelevancy." When he benefitted from the abortion, it was fine. Now, he has the insulation of many years. He is married. He is never going to be in a position where a baby could ruin his chances. Now is when he decides that abortion is wrong. Strange that isn't it?

Also, he would rather go back and "save the babies" from his two failed relationships, rather than enjoy the children he has now, with a woman that he (presumably) loves? I think that goes to show how shallow and hypothetical the whole anti-choice argument is. He is able to say these things because he never has to act on them. He is able to oppose abortion now, having benefitted from it in the past, because he never has to face an unwanted pregnancy. He is able to have the best of both worlds, because now he can moralise about the effects of abortion, and say "it wasn't my fault", so that he doesn't have to be responsible for the choices that he made when he was younger.

The final comment, "I never really thought about it for the woman", says it all to me. He doesn't consider women to be anything more than fuckholes and incubators, who unfortunately have brains and mouths attached, which inconveniently mean that they blather on about their "rights" and their "ambitions". God, why don't they just shut the fuck up and let him fuck them and father children without having to worry about any of the consequences? Jesus, life is just so unfair, he is so discriminated against.

My heart bleeds, fuckwit.

07 January 2008

Idiot of the day: Pervez Musharraf

Oh, I get it, Benazir Bhutto was the only person to blame for her own assassination, not the person who pulled the trigger. Silly, silly me. Thank you for telling us the truth President Musharraf.

via Feministing


My exams are over! So I'm hoping to get back into a bit more of a routine with my blogging.

In more important news today, Which? has conducted a survey of cosmetic surgery providers, and found that many of them do not fully explain the risks, and do not give people long enough to decide.

I'm not a massive fan of cosmetic surgery anyway, and this just convinces me further of how convenient it is that we make women feel so shit about the way that they look, so they spend literally thousands of pounds on makeup, anti-ageing products, weightloss remedies, magazines offering miracle cures, etc etc, and when that fails, and they still get older, they resort to cosmetic surgery. What a moneypot!

05 January 2008

Britney blogging

I try to stay away from 'celebrity gossip' and things of that nature. A little while ago I realised that both women's magazines and the gossip rags just make me feel shitty, and so I made a decision to no longer read them. I have not regretted it yet.

But it is impossible to avoid the Britney Spears media circus. I find the whole thing really depressing, because whilst some people may argue that she put herself in the public eye, so she must live with it, I just don't think its as simple as that. Just because someone is famous doesn't mean that they are no longer a person who has a right to privacy. What I particularly despise about the way that Britney is portrayed in the media, is the obvious glee which every mistake or incidence of poor judgment is met with. I'm not claiming that Britney Spears is a saint, but she is clearly going through a difficult period in her life. The glare of the world's media is not going to aid her recovery, and at the moment, we are voyeuristically watching a young woman on what seems to be a journey of self-destruction. How is that entertainment?

04 January 2008

Walking home from the Tube

Yesterday, when I was walking home from the Tube, a man decided to follow me about 3/4 of the way home making animal noises at me. Although on the face of it, this was not necessarily intimidating behaviour, it was intimidating for me. I think it is important for women to talk about these everyday experiences, to demonstrate how frequent they are, and how normalised they are by our society.

Idiot of the day: Andy Dolan of the Daily Mail

Entitled, Beware of the Office Piranha: Male bosses warned of man-eating women who are preying on them, the article goes on to outline the shocking risks which men face from women every day when they go out to work. Women are seducing poor defenceless men who are, it seems, unable to say no. Some of these men who end up having sex even have wives, but they can't help it, its not their fault. In fact, I'm surprised that the author of this article, Andy Dolan, has not set up a charity to help the poor victims of these evil man-eating women. One of the worst crimes these women commit is that if they become pregnant, they actually expect the fathers - these poor preyed upon creatures - to pay child support! Outrageous! What has happened to the days when a man could bang his secretary with impunity, and then go home to his wife? What is the world coming to?!?


via Shakesville

Obama and Huckabee lead after Iowa

I don't know yet how I feel about Barack Obama. I desperately want America to diversify their political profile, and so, from that point of view, I would like to see either Clinton or Obama become the Democratic candidate. However, they both have problems, and I don't want to support them simply because they either have a vagina or have black skin.

I'd like to see more of them, and of John Edwards too, before I decide who my personal preference would be.

On the GOP front, I am not surprised that Huckabee is leading, he has seemed the most popular in polls for a while. In some respects, perhaps he isn't that bad a candidate if the world has to endure another Republican as US President. But, if you are in the majority of the population by being either a woman, or gay, he is bad news.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday.

03 January 2008

Something I love...

Coming in from the cold, putting on thick socks and a big jumper, and looking outside. I love the feeling of snugness!

Iowa caucus day

I just wanted to share an interesting article I found about Mike Huckabee on the Guardian website. Huckabee is one of the leading Republican candidates, and looks set to do well in the Caucus today. However, his record on women's rights is diabolical, as Kira Cochrane describes. She points out that whilst his refusal to be drawn on whether or not women should act as ministers is not in itself a big issue, it reveals a great deal about his unwillingness to discuss issues of equality.

One of the things which worries feminists the most though, is his release of rapist Wayne Dumond, nearly 25 years early, despite having received letters from Dumond's victims begging him not to release him. Dumond went on to rape several other women and murder at least one. He died whilst awaiting trial for these crimes.

In general, I don't feel that incarcerating people for great lengths of time is necessarily an answer to anything. I genuinely believe that even the worst criminals can be rehabilitated to the extent that they are able to enjoy a relatively free life. However, what I'd really like to call Huckabee out on here is his hypocrisy. He is a man who supports jail as a punishment for wrongdoing. He is a man that supports the death penalty. Why, then, go against all of your supposed beliefs to release a man who has committed serious and violent crimes, and is likely to commit them again?

But most concerning of all is Huckabee's complete disregard for women's reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. I can't really say it better than Cochrane here;

Staunchly opposed to abortion (which he has compared to the Holocaust), one of Huckabee's first acts as governor was to block Medicaid, the health scheme for people on low incomes, from funding an abortion for a 15-year-old with learning disabilities who had been raped by her stepfather. This went directly against federal law, which requires states to fund abortions in cases of rape.

It is the sheer, unbridled cruelty of this decision that gives the lie to Huckabee's claims that he cares for the vulnerable. If there is anyone more vulnerable than a disabled teenage rape victim, I certainly can't think who it might be. Who hearts Huckabee? Only fools or misogynists.
Cochrane is right in her description of this decision as cruel. Clearly, Huckabee is unable to empathise with anyone who has a uterus. Fingers crossed that Huckabee is not the next American President!

02 January 2008

3 bean chili

I love this on jacket potatoes, even though this is totally non-authentic!

1 tsp olive oil
1 red/green/yellow pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 chili, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tin baked beans (I like the Whole Earth ones, but any will do)
1 tin kidney beans
1 tin other type of beans
12 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar

Fry the onion, pepper, and chili together. Then add the cumin and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the beans, with the juice from the baked beans as well. Add the cherry tomatoes, tomato puree, and sugar. Cook for about 30 mins, until slightly sticky in consistency.

Season to taste. I like to serve this on jacket potatoes, but it would be equally good on rice or in burritos or on tortilla chips. Serve with a good dollop of natural yogurt or sour cream.

Councils face £2.8bn fine in backdated pay for women.

The Guardian today reported that following a Local Government Employers study, councils in England have been discriminating against women significantly and consistently. This is bad enough, but the biased way that this serious issue has been reported reveals a great deal about the attitude of the mainstream media towards women. The Guardian is supposedly a thoughtful, left-leaning broadsheet, but this report reads more like it has been written by one of the rags.

Curtis criticises women for resorting to no-win no-fee lawyers in order to try to seek justice:

Council leaders and trade unions today warn the bill could escalate because local deals being thrashed out are under threat from firms of no-win no-fee lawyers. The lawyers, who pick out individual cases, say they are simply fighting for women to get the full six years in back pay they may claim, but the local deals typically reach smaller settlements to ensure all women, systematically, receive some money without making deep cuts in services.
However, later in the article, she cites an example of a woman who was offered a pitiful and insulting sum to 'repay' her for the discrimination which she has suffered.

Rosaline Wilson, 60, from Guisborough, near Middlesbrough, earned £6.50 an hour managing a team of 13 care workers for Redcar and Cleveland council. She was offered £5,000 to settle out of court but won £32,000 with a no-win no-fee lawyer.
We should assume that Polly Curtis thinks the stupid bitches should just shut the fuck up and stop creating such a big, expensive mess.

Why shouldn't women claim the money that they are owed? They have worked just as hard as the men at the same jobs, and whilst I understand that it is a problem if the money to repay these women is coming out of the budget for other areas of the council's work, the question of how this bill is to be financed is really not their problem. Women shouldn't have been discriminated against in the first place, and if the councils don't like it, then there is a simple and effective solution to make sure that this does not happen again: Do not discriminate against anyone.

Law exam hell

I am currently in law exam hell so my posting may be a bit sporadic for the next few days.

But, in the meantime, here is an interview the BBC did with Julia Roberts, supposedly about how she balances motherhood and her career. However, despite quoting Roberts, who said that the emphasis placed on appearance in Hollywood has a detrimental effect on acting - they then go on to spend over half the article describing Robert's appearance. They describe her clothing at the interview and then mention that she stripped "down
to a floral fuchsia bikini for her role as a wealthy Texas socialite in Charlie Wilson's War."

They only briefly quote Roberts on motherhood right at the end of the piece.

It is a tough trick to pull off, as any working parent knows.

Still, if you are Julia Roberts you are in with a chance.

"I have a really great husband, who's also a great father. I have great girlfriends and I'm in a position where I can have somebody help me with my kids when I need that - I'm not doing it by myself."

Well done BBC on another sparkling example of journalistic integrity, incisive articles and intelligent discourse.

01 January 2008

Belated post: Idiot of the day: Norman Wells

Apparently, the reason that the teenage pregnancy rate is not dropping as quickly as the government hoped when it set its targets for 2010 is because schools are relying on sex education and contraception too much;

Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, told the Sunday Telegraph that the government had allowed the "systematic removal of every restraint that used to act as a disincentive to under-age sex".

"The problems associated with teenage pregnancy will never be solved so long as the government persists with its reliance on yet more contraception and sex education," he said.

Yeah, because abstinence only education has such a great history of success in the states! And we really aren't making young people feel bad enough about their sexual choices. I think single mothers are getting a particularly easy ride. Norman Wells, thank you for enlightening us.

Happy 2008!

My plans for 2008 include:

Finish my law course
Find a job for when I finish law school (in 2009)
Continue to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with negative emotions
Go to Fiji to see my Grandmother
Go to India
Continue to blog regularly

and probably a million other things too!

Tom the Dancing Bug

I love this cartoon!

From salon.com