What does a woman look like?

Excellent blog post by Michelle

Source: What does a woman look like?

What is it with women arbitrarily defining other women? How does someone wake up in the morning and decide they are the gender police, taking up Gandalf’s role and his line of “you shall not pass”? Goodness knows I can barely manage to remember to put my own glasses on in the morning (probably because my eyes aren’t open). No way in hell am I ready to start judging others.

Trans women are women: simple as that!



I’m in full agreement. Let’s get rid of ‘ette’ altogether. Urg!

language: a feminist guide

Boy: hey dude!
Girl: I’m not a dude, I’m a girl.
Boy: OK, dudETTE!

The feminine suffix –ette is alive and well in the 21st century. It has several entries on Urban Dictionary (I’ve quoted one of them above), and I keep stumbling across it in unexpected places. Like the online magazine Gadgette,  ‘the smart woman’s guide to tech, style and life’. (‘Have you ever been talked down to about tech?’ the editors ask. ‘Offered the pink version of a laptop, or asked to flash your breasts to try a new smartwatch? We have’.) Or Stemettes, an organization dedicated to ‘showing the next generation that girls do Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths too’.

These are both feminist enterprises (though only Gadgette actually uses the f-word), and both deserve credit for tackling the problem of sexism in science and technology. But what are they doing with these twee, girly…

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Yep! Words matter a lot

In Others' Words...

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.

Maya Angelou

Someone posted a link to this article on Facebook this morning, and it caught my eye.  As many of you know, I lost my brother in law to suicide almost two and a half years ago.  The article dealt with the manner in which we talk about suicide.  Specifically, it focused on the expression “committing suicide.”  I imagine most of us have used that expression many times, and never thought about its origin.  The reason that “committed” is part of the expression, is that until fairly recently (the last fifty years or so) suicide was a crime.  As in, committed murder, committed armed robbery.

I will not dwell on the sheer jackassery of suicide being an illegal act, as though the notion of a jail sentence would deter someone who is…

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What’s yours called?

My teen and I have often lamented that there are no decent, non-clinical terms for female genitalia.

language: a feminist guide

Content warning: this post contains offensive language of a sexual nature. As does the real world.

Ignorance and prejudice about women’s sexuality has a long and depressing history.  When I was at school in the early 1970s, we were sure women didn’t have testicles*, but we weren’t entirely clear on what they did have. What passed for sex education in those days should really have been called ‘reproduction education’: it was all about wombs, ovaries, and the fateful encounter between the egg and the sperm. The parts of our bodies we could actually see and touch were either passed over in silence or shrouded in euphemism.

But that was 45 years ago: it’s a different story for girls growing up today, right? Well, maybe not. In a survey of a thousand British women carried out in 2014 , half of the under-35s could not locate the vagina on a…

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Why women talk less

We have some way to go before things change.

language: a feminist guide

This week on Newsnight, Evan Davis talked to three women about all-male panels—a subject made topical by the recent popularity of a tumblr set up to name and shame them. Why, he asked, are women so often un- or under-represented in public forums? Are they reluctant to put themselves forward? Are they deterred by the adversarial nature of the proceedings?

The women offered some alternative suggestions. Women don’t get asked, or if they do it’s assumed you only need one. Women aren’t seen as experts, unless the subject is a ‘women’s issue’. The age-old prejudice against women speaking in public means that any woman who dares to voice her opinions can expect to be deluged with abuse and threats.

But while all-male panels are obviously a problem, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Just ensuring that women are represented on a panel does not guarantee their voices will…

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Breastfeeding – It’s Perfectly Natural – Get Over It

I was reading a controversial Facebook post the other day (always designed to increase one’s blood pressure!) about women being told to ‘cover up’ when they are breastfeeding outdoors. The reasons people, well mostly other women, gave for this necessity ranged from sad to laughable to quite outrageous.

  • It’s unnecessary
  • It’s immodest
  • Women are doing it for attention and should just stop
  • It could cause any man who sees breast tissue to go on a hormone fuelled rampage of raping and pillaging (okay I am paraphrasing here!)
  • It is damaging and/or distressing for children to see

I’d like to address each of these points separately:

Breastfeeding in public is unnecessary and immodest

Having breastfed both my children, including publicly, I feel adequately qualified to address this point. In the early months especially, babies feed a lot. An awful lot! Sometimes it seems like they are permanently attached to your breast, so unless you wish to become a prisoner in your own home you have to go out sometimes and when you are out the baby may get hungry or just want the comfort of feeding.

Now people suggested covering the baby’s head with a cloth or even expressing milk to feed from a bottle. Some even said use formula. Seriously! I have nothing against women using formula if that suits her family but that is just a slap in the face to a woman who enjoys breastfeeding and may have struggled with pain and lack of sleep to get it right. How dare someone say such as thing because they are uncomfortable with the fact that nurturing a newborn naturally involves the breast.

As to the covering up – breastfeeding is a skill and a mother needs to see what she is doing initially to get the baby latched correctly. For those who have never done it, a badly attached baby is incredibly painful for the mum and results in poor milk flow for the hungry baby. Besides which, mothers and babies like to look at each other and some babies hate having their heads covered. Additionally, once the baby is attached, the breast is hidden by the baby’s head so I can only conclude that those who complain are actually uncomfortable with the mere though of breastfeeding rather than the supposed flesh on view.

Lastly expressing milk – My firstborn was ill just after birth and I had to express milk. It is not a task for the feint-hearted especially when you factor in all the other stresses of a newborn such as lack of sleep, feeding etc. but the most disheartening thing was that my baby WOULD NOT drink from a  bottle. At all! Ever! I would have loved it since it would have enabled my partner to do some of the night-time feeding so I could get some sleep. Or even to go out for a few hours with friends, without the baby – but NO – babe had different ideas.

So to those who think it is unnecessary to breastfeed in public, you could be consigning some women to house arrest.

Breastfeeding in public

This is a picture of me breastfeeding my second child while the older one is far more interested in ice cream. There is absolutely no bare skin showing to anyone except me, and the baby. England in March is far too cold for flashing your boobs 🙂

Women are doing it for attention

OMG! This is just not worth even addressing except to say that yes I realise some women have had mass breastfeeding protests but other than that – Seriously – Get over yourself!

Men Can’t Cope

I was paraphrasing when I wrote: It could cause any man who sees breast tissue to go on a hormone fuelled rampage of raping and pillaging but that was the gist of some of the comments (mostly from women, sadly!).

Good grief – I’m quite speechless really! All I can say is that if this is the case, which I highly doubt, then MEN need to control themselves better. As with rape, this is not the woman’s problem.

While breasts have been sexualised they are not sexual objects – they are designed to nurture infants. I find it sad that people can view with disgust what to me, and many others, is a beautiful sight. Something is deeply wrong with such a society. The UK and the US need to take a leaf out of the book of the Europeans who have a far healthier attitude to nudity, breastfeeding and sex.

But Think of the Children!

How many time is this old chestnut going to be trotted out?

Yes let’s think of the children shall we:

  • The little boys in adult bodies who snigger and giggle at the mention of breasts and feel jealous and resentful of their children.
  • Or the girls who grow up ashamed of their bodies and struggling to feed their babies because they’ve never seen any one else do it and feel inhibited and judged. In the past children grew up watching others breastfeeding and no doubt listening to tips about latching, positioning etc but these skills are being lost.

Children who grow up seeing breastfeeding see it as perfectly normal and some quickly lose all interest. Others sit next to you feeding their doll or teddy while chatting. All quite delightful and no cause for alarm.

It’s a Public Health Issue

If you don’t care about any of the above maybe an appeal to your wallet may work?

Ask yourself how much money your government spends on treating gastroenteritis in infants because of badly sterilised feeding equipment. We could cut that cost if more women felt comfortable breastfeeding.

Finally – It’s Called Breastfeeding!

One last thing – please stop using the euphemism: Nursing. Nursing means caring for the elderly. If we can’t even say the word breast what hope is there!

woman to woman: we need to talk

I’m not sure, I ever saw other girls as competition, but I was certainly dismissive of them as a teenager.

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

bullshit memeI didn’t have very many female friends as a young teenager. I didn’t have many male friends either, I have to say. A combination of moving around a lot and being pretty socially awkward and (with hindsight) not finding it easy to recognise people meant I found it hard to form close friendships. Or even casual ones. I was quite late into my teens before I found a group of friends (mainly thanks to Sir Terry Pratchett.)

When I DID meet this group of friends, it was largely boys from other schools (I went to an all girls school) with a smaller group of girls. When I went to university, again I struggled to make friends, and ended up hanging out mainly with a bunch of stoner dudes who thought it was hilarious to try and  get me to swear as I rarely used swear words (I blame them for…

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#IDAHO and #HAHABT: Stop the bigotry! (No, I mean YOU)

Yes, indeed! My teen has sadly soaked quite a few of my T-shirts crying in my arms over feeling unnacepted by both sides for being bisexual 😦

Anastasia Vitsky

Welcome to the Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia!

Last year, I posted a discussion on bullying and same-sex domestic violence rebutting the myth that women can’t abuse each other. Same-sex domestic violence is serious and deserves as much consideration as all types of domestic violence.

This year, I have a message for everyone who is part of the LGBTTQQIA (or whatever letters you prefer) community, including straight allies:

Stop being a bigot.

Yes, you.

I can hear gasps in the background. “I’m not a bigot! I’m open to everyone. If people are nice to me, I’m nice to them.”

If that’s our goal, why do we need HAHAT and IDAHO? Just be nice to the people who are nice to us…right? Problem solved.

No. As people who have experienced marginalization, discrimination, and perhaps even violence, the bar is set higher for us. Too often, we see one marginalized…

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Queer SciFi and Fantasy: The Forgotten L in LGBT!

So someone recently questioned the availability of F/F (female-female) books in the Queer SciFi facebook group I am a member of. Seriously! In a queer group?

Now admittedly, there is not as much as M/F or even M/M but it is out there. According to my Goodreads account I have personally read 160 F/F books in the last year, not all scifi and fantasy admittedly, but even so. Here is the list of the 30 or so that were:


Pitfall: A Jurassic Romantic Adventure by Kelli Jae Baeli
The Hystery App by V.T. Davy
The Lost Girls (Dark Earth) by Jason Halstead
Hellcat’s Bounty by Renae Jones
Hand of Prophecy by Severna Park
Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau
Becoming Clissine by Anastasia Vitsky
Shadows of Aggar (Amazons of Aggar, #1) by Chris Anne Wolfe
Fires of Aggar (Amazons of Aggar, #2) by Chris Anne Wolfe


Everlasting by Mavis Applewater
My Lady King by Kayla Bashe
The General’s Choice (The Sangrian Tiger’s Tale Book 2) by Stardawn Cabot
A Knight to Remember (The Knight Legends, #1) by Bridget Essex
We Will Hunt Together by J. Hepburn
The Heralds of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey
Doira’Liim (The Beautiful Whisper of the Goddess Saga, #1) by Krystal Orr
Failira, the Tahlet Vahllah (The Beautiful Whisper of the Goddess Saga, #2) by Krystal Orr
Lesbia Chronicles: Over Witch’s Knee by Ther Renard
Taliasman by Anastasia Vitsky


Ylva the She Wolf by Elle Anor
A Wolf for the Holidays by Bridget Essex
Iron & Velvet (Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator, #1) by Alexis Hall
Keepers of the Cave by Gerri Hill
Weeping Walls by Gerri Hill
Second Nature by Jae
Ambereye (Garoul, #2) by Gill McKnight
Fallen Elements by Heather McVea
Under the Midnight Cloak by S.Y. Thompson
The Witches Of Wolverton by Emma Wulfstan

If anyone knows of any other scifi/fantasy books with F/F pairings or just strong female protagonists with no romance then let me know.

Consent: Not actually that complicated – Animated!

I wonder if people who profess not to understand this actually understand it perfectly well but just choose to ignore it since it would result in them not getting what they want.

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess


A bonus blog day for a Friday, partly because I am away this weekend and don’t know if I’ll be able to have blogday as usual this weekend, and partly because I have been sent this awesome animation by Blue Seat Studios of my blog about tea and consent.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

I absolutely love how simple the animation is, and that they kept it gender neutral.

There’s a common rhetoric that suggests that it’s always men making the tea and women drinking it, which is hugely harmful to people’s sexuality and to notions of consent within same sex relationships. It buys into a narrative which denies male rape – by both men and women. It buys into a myth that women aren’t sexual beings. It buys into the myth that men always want sex, or that an erection is consent…

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