Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
"Why is it that in a society overrun by greedy fat cats - where the Sir Fred Goodwins of this world continue to outrage with their business brutality, unreasonable demands and outrageous bonuses - there is not a single woman’s name in the rogues’ gallery?"
Yes Amanda why IS that? Maybe women are less unreasonable, less brutal and less demanding. Still at least they're not in charge eh?
"Why is there not an equally hated Lady Freda Goodwin, Freda The Shred, riding roughshod over the poor workers, slashing costs and sacking staff? Because, ladies, we are not nasty enough. "
Oh trust me Amanda, I'm only two lines in and already I'm planning to be pretty nasty here. But if women aren't capable of being like Fred Goodwin shouldn't we hire MORE of them? Or are you the only person in Britain still rooting for Fred in this whole fiasco?
"Nor are we single-minded enough, nor focused, nor task driven, nor adept at that simple but essential boss task of giving orders."
No doubt this sort of offensive baseless sweeping generalisation will be backed up with hard cold facts.
"In short, our commercial DNA is not wired for corporate success."
So we're biologically incapable of running a business? Weird that so many of us do run businesses then. Perhaps someone should let Martha Lane-Fox know.
"And nowhere was that more graphically demonstrated than last week when the much-feted co-chairman of Gordon Brown’s Women’s Enterprise Task Force was successfully sued by one of her employees for bullying."
I'm waiting for the cold hard facts and I'm getting a single case study. Just as well you don't run a business Amanda - "I asked my cat and he doesn't want to buy football tickets so clearly there's no market for them..."
"Dr Glenda Stone runs a successful recruitment website, Aurora, with her husband. So even this colossus of female business success, the woman chosen to front such a highprofile government body, co-runs her business with her spouse.
Not much of a triumph for feminism after all, is it?"
She runs a business with her husband? But who cleans the bathroom and does the ironing. Daily Mail head overload alert!! But seriously as an official spokeswoman for feminism - we weren't claiming her as our key triumph this year. I was at Reclaim The Night and the Emma Humphrey Memorial Prizes went to Sandra McNeil and Object. Dr Stone was not nominated but I wish her the best of luck.
"And what’s more, by all accounts in the industrial tribunal, she was a terrible boss - overbearing, foulmouthed, petty, bullying, micromanaging-vindictive."
Foulmouthed, petty, bullying and vindictive? Well if the career doesn't work out she can always get a job as a columnist for the Mail hey Amanda?
"I know that type of female boss well, the Bully Boy Boss, who thinks they have to be nastier than the nastiest male boss to succeed. But more of them later."
Earlier on the problem was that we weren't hard-wired to give orders and nasty enough to run big corporates, now we're too nasty and handing out too many orders? It's almost as if women aren't actually all the same after all. Maybe we're diverse, like human beings...?
"Now, before the hate emails start pouring in from outraged feminists and female bosses, I have a special interest in this subject.
Not just because I’ve had the misfortune of having some of the most God-awful female bosses in the history of modern business, but because I was a boss myself, more than once."
So you're allowed to criticise me because you've got a vagina and a job too?
"I have edited two national newspapers, been the managing editor of one, the marketing director of two and the managing director of one national newspaper group.
As William Hague’s Press Secretary, I was boss to a team of press officers.
I have sat in the editor’s chair, the boardroom and the shadow cabinet. And while I can confidently say most of the people who worked for me liked me and respected me (I always thought of them working with me, but that’s such a girl thing), and, more importantly, worked well for me, I’m not sure I was always a good boss."
So this whole article is about how you're "not sure" you were "always" doing a good job. Who is? Everybody has hurdles at work, everybody tries and learns from experience. I've had male bosses who I AM SURE were ALWAYS doing a BAD JOB. Doesn't mean all men are bad bosses does it?
"Believe it or not, I wasn’t tough enough. I had that classic female trait of being able to get the most out of people - it’s called nurturing now - but I also wanted to be liked, a fatal flaw in a boss."
I mourn whatever you threw away to be liked Amanda because I really really don't like you.
"And like most women bosses, I took things too personally."
Yes that's why Fred Goodwin was so great - he didn't let the little stuff, like a balance sheet flimsier than a sheet of Tescos Value loo roll and bad debts piling up faster than dirty laundry in a student flatshare, get to him.
"I remember one particular incident when my woman boss, who was trying to get rid of me in that usual sneaky female way or undermining me at every point rather than honestly pointing out my shortcomings, called me into an ambush meeting. "
I'm not sure what "that usual sneaky female way" is but I'm pretty sure if such a thing exists it's because when women are direct about what they want they're criticised for being too aggressive and "acting like a man" by people like Amanda Platell.
"She’d assembled various company directors and preceded to humiliate me in a most personal way, for my accent, the school I went to, for not liking the theatre, for my university. Not for a moment that I was bad at my job."
You don't like theatre? What's wrong with you Amanda...
What I mean is: That's unfair and I'm sorry you were treated that way. To me that's discrimination against women, in this case you, and I'm fighting that. What I'm not doing is fighting that discrimination by writing national press articles about women making bad managers. [Although I think you mean proceeded, not preceded, any boss who could time travel would have seen this article coming and retrospectively not hired you in the first place]
"And to my eternal shame I took it personally. Men don’t do that."
No they don't. That's why Eddie Murphy didn't threaten to sue Mel B when she implied he wasn't the most caring father to her child. And Peter Andre didn't sue Katie Price when she said he wasn't the most faithful lover.
"I was a good manager of people, but a lousy risk-taker."
Compared to Fred Goodwin Amanda, I'd say you were a brilliant risk-taker.
"With our typical propensity for multi-tasking, I was more comfortable doing ten things at once and keeping all the balls in the air than what was really needed, to focus on one task and nail that ball in the back of the net."
Yes a good manager only focusses on one thing. Really? So the accounts are sorted but the sales strategy is screwed and the premises licenses have expired. Great management. Our hero Fred Goodwin of course only focussed on one thing - getting rich quick.
"Returning to Dr Glenda Stone for a moment, ironically her job on the quango was to teach businesswomen how to take risks, one of the key areas survey after survey finds women are pathologically incapable of doing."
What surveys? Really. I have never seen such a survey. I saw a survey that said men are bad at taking risk and that's why they make worse car drivers. Even if we could prove somehow that women are more risk-averse though: Firstly when I look at the credit crunch and it's impact on Britain the one thing I have never though is "If only our business leaders took more risks". And secondly it is discrimination to make recruitment and promotion decisions based on generalisations. If you want risk-takers, ask for risk-takers and ask applicants to take one of the many tests of willingness to take risk at interview - don't assume you know what someone is like based on their gender.
"Even in countries where positive discrimination is enforced by law, such as Norway, the underpinning beliefs are that women bring different mindsets and skills to business.
In that country, by law 40 per cent of all corporate positions are now held by women, but even they concede women are by nature more ‘risk-aware’. For which read ‘risk averse’, for which read useless to thrusting, high-risk, high-profit companies."
Yes I remember reading all those articles about how badly Norway had been hit by the credit crunch. Forget all-male-run Dubai, the biggest sufferers have been the Norwegians right? The PROBLEM with businesses right now is that they are "high-risk".
"Women do, however, make a difference to bankruptcy levels, says a study by Leeds University Business School. It surveyed 17,000 companies and found that having at least one female director on the board cuts a company’s chance of going bankrupt by about 20 per cent."
Right so seems like Norway was right all along. And for one this argument actually has a source, it's based on fact.
"Why? Because we’re more cautious. But a study of 2,000 companies in the U.S. found a correlation between companies with disproportionately more female board members and lower profitability and lower market value. "
What study? By who? If you don't give me the source I can go and see whether the methodology is valid can I? Looking back thought at the last ten years of business I think profits were pretty high but risks taken were too high.
"So it appears that companies made up of more women executives are good at keeping afloat, but not at motoring ahead.
We’re good at preventing bust but not at facilitating boom."
Haven't we been saying for a long time we want to get away from a boom-bust cycle and into a steady growth economy? Don't we want more bust-preventers and less boom-facilitators?
"These studies indicate why women bosses are so unrepresented in corporate life. We have different skill sets and the things we’re naturally good at don’t necessarily make companies rich."
I think in the long term "not going bust" is quite a key component of "getting rich".
"That may go some way to explaining why every time a list of overpaid bosses appears, it’s a case of Spot The Female."
Yes it's called a pay gap.
"When the list of 323 public service bosses was published last Friday, there was not a single woman in the top ten. The Royal Mail’s Adam Crozier, Channel 4’s Kevin Lygo, the BBC’s director general Mark Thompson - all household names. Still no women."
If Adam Crozier had been a bit less greedy maybe there wouldn't have been a huge mail strike. Are these examples of great managers? Are these guys SURE they are ALWAYS a good boss. Honestly Amanda I think you could have done better than most of them and there are very few women I can think of I wouldn't have offered the job to ahead of you.
"Women have railed against it for half a century, the Labour government has legislated against it for a decade, and yet we are still in a minority in the companies that dominate our country."
Oh well we had a little try - lets give up now. Did anyone ever say the battle for equality would be easy and over in a fortnight?
"And where women do score more highly, it’s in the caring, catering or fashion professions."
Oh so we do run some industries but apparently these aren't as important as the others? Caring for the needy, feeding people and providing them with clothes to wear - yes I think are the most trivial roles of industry too... Clearly running a TV station or a casino is more important.
"As Dr Stone demonstrated, women bosses tend to fall into two categories - too soft or too hard."
Earlier on we were all the same - now we're scattered at two ends of a (mythical) spectrum. Or could it be that any woman you can't write off as too soft you're writing of as too hard, creating a no-won situation because you have a problem with women.
"There are the Caring Collegiate Bosses you’ll find running shopping, retail, fashion and style companies and the middleranking public service sectors."
Well they seem to be good at what they do, don't they?
"Tesco, Sainsbury and M&S are three of the top 11 companies employing female directors."
And they're on the brink of going out of business right?
"The two great success stories running UK companies demonstrate this point - Marjorie Scardino at Pearson, the publisher dominated by female magazines, and Angela Ahrendts at Burberry."
What point? The point that some women have managed to break through the glass ceiling in publishing, food and fashion and are doing at least as good a job as the men they had to fight out of the way? Yes point well made...
"And then there are the Bully Boy Bosses, like Dr Stone, the women who think you have be tougher than any male to succeed in a man’s world. Yes they’re tough, but they’re also petty, small picture people lacking the risk-taking, taskdriven skills necessary for running a big, successful company."
Yes many women believe (rightly) that they have to be tougher than their male colleagues to succeed. The rest is just meaningless drivel right? Also note that this is the opposite type to the Marjorie Scardino type. She's not tough of course, she got where she is by smiling and agreeing with people.
"Successful bosses mono-task, women multi-task; men are dispassionate, we are naturally emotional; they take risks, we ensure against loss."
So bad female bosses are "petty, small picture people" but men are "mono-task"-ers. That is the same quality only gendered to be negative for women and positive for men. And again what is so dreadful about ensuring against loss?
"But women’s DNA is only part of the answer as to why there are still so few female bosses in corporate life."
Which gene is this in? Which report shows a genetic difference. Go look in your local Early Learning Centre at the pink cookery sets and the blue science kits ... even if we can determine a difference in business performance based on gender - to call it "DNA" is a big (and offensive) leap.
"Even in the U.S., where 60 per cent of all college students are female, less than 15 per cent of board seats are held by women.
In the UK, the picture is worse. While the number of women in the top 100 FTSE boardrooms has doubled since 2000, it is still only 12 per cent."
So why doesn't this dreadful DNA prevent women getting in to university? Surely universities want these risk-takers since there's really no "risk" at university. If student's experiment and fail they just get kicked out or get bad grades.
"That despite a decade of social engineering and an ethos of positive discrimination by this Labour government."
It's almost like there could be nasty forces trying to hold women back? One of them is call YOU Amanda.
"Women are their worst enemies in some ways, with the avalanche of eye-watering sexual discrimination compensation claims in corporate life. Only last week, we had the absurd sight of banker Haley Tansey suing HBOS for £600,000 for sexual harassment."
Yes, absurd, Fred Goodwin deserves millions for running a company into the ground but Haley Tansey shouldn't expect compensation for illegal and terrifying harassment.
"The £39,000-a-year businesswoman said it all began with a colleague tricking his way into her hotel room while she was asleep then appearing naked before her. An eight-year nightmare of appalling sexism followed, she claims."
Oh well as long as nothing BAD happened eh? That's appalling.
"Why didn’t she tackle this undeniably unacceptable behaviour head on, when it happened?"
Because she didn't want to lose her £39,000 a year job? Because she didn't want to go through a horrific dragged-out court case and have her private life splashed all over your newspaper columns?
"A man would have."
How many men are vicitimised by having a naked colleague come in their room in the middle of the night? I've never heard of that happening.
"Victims don’t rise to the top."
You imply Amanda that victimhood is something that people can choose. Not true. Regardless of when she had reported it Ms Tansey would still have been the victim of this incident. And actually many victims of all sorts of crimes do go on to be successful in their own lives.
"Cases like this put the frighteners on companies. I know female bosses who privately admit that it has made them wary of employing female bosses."
You would hope that cases like this made businesses scared of sending naked men into women's bedrooms at night. Sorry if you think Ms Tansey is making a big deal about it - I think she's very brave to come forward and deserves to be thoroughly compensated if her claims are well founded. I think companies need to be sent a clear message that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable.
"Add to that the Government's new generous paternity rights and it's a double whammy for women, especially as it’s still mainly women who take time off after having children."
Then the next thing we need to address is why men aren't more involved in child-raising. See your local Early Learning Centre for clues.
"So it’s not getting better for women, it's getting worse. In this recession, companies have become wary of employing women at their key career stage - in their 30s - when professional women are most likely to step up the corporate ladder but also likely to want to have children."
Do you know that companies are reimbursed 92% of what they spend on maternity pay? And more than 100% for small companies. In a recession a pregnant employee means you can cut your staff temporarily at almost zero cost and ramp back up to full power in a few months.
"Like many women born into the postfeminist generation, the high-fliers of the Eighties and Nineties, I was once surprised by the lack of success of women at corporate level after decades of equality."
How can you be "postfeminist" when I'm still "feminist"?
"Once, we could blame prejudice and sexism, now increasingly we have to look to ourselves. And it’s not just that women are lousy bosses of big companies because of our DNA, it’s also because of the choices we have made."
Of course looking at those women who make it to the top we find that they are in fact not women who have chosen to remain childless. Marjorie Scardino has three children. What holds women back is not choices - it's sexism, sexism that you are all too keen to excuse.
"For perfectly legitimate, complicated reasons of family or love or work-life balance, many of us have chosen to leave or never even enter the corporate jungle."
Lucky that men don't have relationships or families isn't it?
"But we can’t go on blaming it on men and an unfair system weighted against women."
We can - if that's what's really happening.
"You have to ask yourself why even in modern times there are few great female boss characters. There is not one female boss in Sex And The City, the single most iconic feminist TV series of a generation. When we do have successful women bosses, as in The Devil Wears Prada, they’re running fashion magazines, not blue chip companies."
Carrie's boss in Sex and The City is a woman. But I agree - we need more positive role models from TV and films. You do know Amanda, don't you, that those shows are not documentaries?
"Simon Cowell has The X Factor, in which Dannii and Cheryl are little more than pretty props. Even on shows such as Dragons’ Den, there is only one woman dragon."
No wonder our young women are not aiming higher and no wonder senior managers don't think to recruit women into top level positions.
"Can you imagine The Apprentice with a Lady Nicola Horlick at the helm, the ultimate female corporate Superwoman boss?"
Yes I can. I think I might actually watch it whereas Alan Sugar makes me puke my tea up and start grabbing for the remote.
"We’ll know the world has changed when the planned sequel to Wall Street has as its star not Gordon, but that mean mother of all bosses Greta Gekko."
If only Hollywood would lead the way and make a film about a woman who could lead a business. We could call it The Associate and have Whoopi Goldberg play the lead. Or we could make a retro-1980s film with Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda and call it Nine to Five. That'll never happen though will it? Did Platell miss a meeting?
As he famously said in Wall Street: ‘Read Sun-tzu, The Art Of War. Every battle is won before it is ever fought.’ And alas in the boardroom, that’s never been more true than it is today for women.
I'm still fighting. Your help Amanda is not appreciated.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Here are other things that increase a woman's likelihood of being raped:
1) Leaving her specially installed "safe room".
2) Having a vagina.
3) Saying "no".
Where is the police's advertising campaign to get women to stop doing these things?
On top of this the police claim their campaign aims to encourage rape victims to come forward. But with a 5.3% conviction rate and horror stories everywhere you turn, you have to think that what's stopping women coming forward it the fact that they have a genuine understanding of the treatment they really are likely to receive. No mention is made of the women being prosecuted for daring to accuse someone of rape without first collecting irrefutable evidence.
No doubt the police would point to the fact that a second part of the same campaign focusses on telling men that they could end up in prison if they rape someone. But that should really be the only point of the police advertising and of course where the story has been picked up in the press the headlines are all based on "warning" women not to drink too much. Sky News went with "Women Urged Not To Be Rapists' Prey This Xmas", the Metro preferred "Rape warning over festive drinks" with a subtitle that made it clear it was women on the receiving end of the warning.
And how are we supposed to believe that the attitude of the police towards rape victims is improving when even their advertising says the exact opposite?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Although the quotes from me are totally accurate and I have no problem with them or the way they are expressed - I did actually say a lot more than that to the journalist and (of course) she has chosen the bits that fit the feel of her article rather than quoting me in full. Still for the benefit of Cru-blog readers: here is the full interview I gave:
(The journalist asked) There was an article in the Daily Mail recently by Quentin Letts entitled: "The First Ladette: How Germaine Greer's legacy is an entire generation of loose-knickered lady louts". Would be great to get a response from you on your thoughts on equating feminism with a)rising violence towards women, b)rising teenage pregnancies c) women getting drunk and 'immodest'.
Also would you be able to comment on the Tory policy towards women and the family - more specifically de-incentivising teenage pregnancies and single parent families by taking away social support?
(And I responded) I was appalled by the Daily Mail article, it seemed to be totally missing the point. To blame feminism for rising violence against women makes no sense to me. Women have rights and if men's reaction to women exercising those rights is to respond violently then it is men who are in the wrong and those men responsible should have their rights taken away (by being imprisoned).
Teenage pregnancies are not a new phenomenon. In fact they have been around forever. The difference over the last fifty years the big change is that we can talk about these things - rather than keeping secrets. My grandmother found out on her wedding day that her aunt who she believed had raised her after her real mother died was actually her mother. The ramifications were traumatic for everyone involved. Every family in Britain has one of these skeletons in the closet if you dig hard enough. If the sexual revolution means we can now talk about the fact that many teenagers have sex then great - that means we can also talk to them about contraception, sexual health and issues surrounding pregnancy choices and then support them when they choose to keep and raise their children without adding an extra burden of shame to their worries.
Finally the notion of women being drunk and "immodest". Well I feel that if women want to get drunk then that's their choice and we should respect it. Women still drink considerably less than men and drunk men are responsible for much greater amount of crime and disorder than drunk women. So if we think society has a problem with alcohol abuse then we should start by cracking down on men. And the term "immodest" - well - by traditional Islamic standards what you are wearing right now (and since we're talking by email I can't even see what you're wearing) is definitely "immodest". But really "immodest" in this context probably means "in a way that stands out and is conspicuous" and if young women choose to stand out and be conspicuous then I am thrilled about that and support them fully.
I don't see Tory policies on removing benefits for single mothers and teenage mothers as "di-incentivising". I see these policies as purely punishing women for having sex. What would benefit single and teenage mothers is support to help them raise their children well. Of course we should also be chasing up absent fathers who fail to contribute financially to their children's well-being. Also addressing inequality in the workplace both in terms of the pay gap (we need gender pay, promotion and recruitment audits) and in terms of companies who fail to offer flexible working to carers and who discriminate against pregnant employees would make a big difference.
Overall I guess I am just horrifed at the notion that giving women rights can be seen as taking something away from women. I may have made some bad choices in my life which I regret, but I don't regret that I had the choice to make my own mistakes.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I have never written a biography of Sir John Betjeman. Somehow though I don't think that entirely invalidates my views on comedy.
A.N Wilson - who has written just such a biography - but who appears to have nothing else under his belt to recommend him to the world of comedy critiquing - is today complaining in the Daily Mail that sexists jokes are not, well, sexist.
Now first up he totally misses the point on the Jordan Wimmer case. As has been repeatedly stated throughout the case - no-one denies that Ms Wimmer complained about sexist jokes long before she decided to take legal action. If someone makes an error of judgement and genuinely apologises and stops the behaviour when it is pointed out, I'm all for giving them a break. However when someone persists in saying inappropriate things after they have had the fact pointed out to them - that is deliberate abuse.
Plus remember that Wimmer is also claiming that her former boss Mark Lowe brought an "escort" dressed in hotpants into meetings. Wilson says that Lowe "hotly denies" this. He would do though given he's in a court of law and looking like he's not got a leg to stand on.
But Wilson's point is really not about the rights and wrongs of the case - it's about comedy and how we all ought to lighten up about a little harmless racism. Yes really - that is his point.
"Making remarks or jokes which you know will be upsetting to another person in your hearing is obviously the mark of a bully and it cannot be defended"
Now firstly - that is exactly what Mark Lowe did - he make jokes about blonde women in hearing range of a blonde woman who had complained about such jokes previously. But secondly - no, it is not ok to tell sexist jokes when there aren't any women in earshot, nor racist jokes in an all-white group. The problem with such jokes is actually much less that individuals are offended but that they normalise attitudes of prejudice and stereotypes which lead to hatred.
"Some of Bernard Manning’s jokes were offensive. But some were really quite good jokes: “If you dial 999 in Bradford, you don’t get the police coming round – you get the Bengal Lancers.”"
That one sounds racist to me. Definitely racist.
"I think you would need to be an incredibly humourless Bangladeshi not to see that this reference to a regiment from the high days of the British Raj was quite a funny joke about immigrants."
And that's racist too - insisting that only Bangladeshis would "not get" the joke.
"Manning was not making a mockery of people from Bengal because they were from Bengal. He was making a joke about the fact that Bradford is very full of Asians.
And in so far as jokes depend upon an element of surprise, there is something picturesque about expecting the arrival of Z-cars and getting instead the Bengal Lancers on their horses, dressed in topis and turbans."
Seriously - could he dig himself any deeper? Is there anything more he could say at this point that would make it any worse?
Seems like sentencing those who commit violence against women is having a bad week in general. In Scotland a man was given 18 months probabtion for "having sex with" a 13-year-old (and when the BBC says "having sex" you will realise that what they mean is "raping" since 13-year-olds are not considered old enough to give meaningful consent under British law). Still no doubt being on probation for a few months will make him think twice about doing it again..?
By way of comparison if you accuse someone of rape but then turn out to be an "escort" (and check the double-speak here because aren't escorts supposed to be "high-class" prostitutes who are at liberty to pick and choose which of their clients they have sex with?) and therefore are presumed to have consented to any and all sex ... you get two years in prison.
My advice if you're planning on getting sexually assaulted this weekend (because of course it is women asking for it - not men perpetrating it, remember!) try to get your case heard in front of (a) Judge Paul Downes or (b) whoever sits at Preston Crown Court who seem to have a better grasp of how to deal with rapists.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Firstly Lawson says he doesn't know what "alternative comedy" means and how it differs from "not alternative" comedy. But surely Lawson is old enough to remember the days when comedy simply meant racism. Bernard Manning, Roy Chubby Brown and Jim Davidson? Club comedians who often all told the same jokes as each other, crude mother-in-law jokes and bawdy references to women, etc. So alternative comedy was originally conceived to counter that - as something that was progressive and often overtly political.
There is no denying that the line nowadays has somewhat blurred. Many of the acts perceived as the most "alternative" are doing jokes about rape and about women that Bernard Manning would be proud of. In fact Jimmy Carr once did a joke so suitable for Jim Davidson that the latter literally nicked it and had to later apologise.
Now apparently the antidote to this latest wave of offensiveness is Michael McIntyre, a very brilliant and very competent comic whose material is consistently about the minutae of day-to-day life and who flinches from politics and controversian subjects like a slug in a salt dish. And I don't mean that as a criticism - some people prefer their comedy funny and unchallenging. It's not my taste but even I have to admit that he's great at what he does.
There are two issues I have though...
Firstly I think when it comes to offensive comedy the media has got it all wrong. There's nothing offensive about doing a joke about rape. What is offensive is when the punchline to that joke is that the woman in question "deserved" it or "was asking for" it. If you write a joke about rape where the punchline is about the dreadfully low conviction rate or the poor attitude of the police then great.
Lawson mentions the incident with Andrew Sachs and Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross and seems to be offended that sex was discussed on air when what was offensive about that situation was this noxious idea that a woman's Grandfather is or should be the guardian of her chastity.
Jimmy Carr's joke about British soldiers forming a great Paralympic team for 2012 is a joke about the incompetence of government policy - it's one of the best lines I've heard from him. On the other hand I've seen him do jokes about rape and about Roma people which I found offensive.
The solution to offensive material not to demand that comedy focus only on topics which would make a good episode of The Tellytubbies but to seek out comedians using their art to express something meaningful and valid, breaking through prejudice rather than compounding it (Translation: Give me my own series!).
Secondly Lawson seems to be implying that McIntyre has been a victim of some sort of conspiracy to keep him off the airwaves because he's overtly middle class. He quotes McIntyre as saying "People used to come to my show and love it, and critics were coming and not seeing that...".Well sure but why should we believe that is specifically middle class hatred. I'm a political feminist comedienne and after six years I've yet to be reviewed on the biggest UK comedy website Chortle. And while I'd love to be reviewed by them, I don't see it as a conspiracy that I haven't been. And if I do get reviewed by someone who doesn't find me to their taste or is in a bad mood that day or catches me on an off night then I can make my case against the review but I can't imagine concluding that it's because I'm middle class. The vast majority of comics on TV are middle class as far as I can see.
But for another thing - the reviewers may have a good point. Sometimes I go to a comedy show and laugh more or less the whole way through but come away feeling empty and unsatisfied. Other times I might only laugh a few times but I also learn something new, understand something new and see the world in a new light and I come away feeling uplifted. So which is the better "comedy" show? For my money the latter. To measure comedy against a laughs-per-minute ratio seems to me a very clinical and limiting way of looking at it. If reviewers have seen past that, good for them.
And finally the notion that it's been so tough for McIntyre and that the odds have been so terribly stacked against him seems to have been countered recently by the fact that every DVD shop I go past has his grinning cardboard face looming out of the window above a legend about ideal Christmas presents for all the family. Whatever wrong the establishment did him on the way up - I think they're making up for it now.
But then that wouldn't exactly fit with the Daily Mail/Dominic Lawson vision of the poor hard-done-to straight white male. That sort of revolutionary talk would be better suited to .. erm .. The Independent... Oh shit.
In fact clearly what is happening here is I, your humble blogstress, should be writing for The Independent and instead they've gone ahead and hired a posh straight white bloke called Dominic Naffing Lawson!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Now I agree, travelling late at night alone is dangerous. I have to do it all the time so I should know how frightening and intimidating it can be, and of course we all know the statistics on how rape is dealt with by the police which are even more frightening. But at the same time I don't think the solution to that problem is to give MPs more expenses money - the solution needs to protect not just MPs but all women in the UK and involve a major overhaul of the law and policing policy.
Now first of all I've had problems with LBC before - a very misogynist station in general, they often have "debates" along the lines of "should women be allowed to do XYZ?" or "have women's rights gone too far?" which I just conceptually don't understand. Plus one time before I was on there and the presenter (one N. Ferrari) started screaming at me towards the end of the interview and kept changing the subject, so we went from "Should the current maternity pay scheme be extended?" to "Why should women get maternity pay at all?" to "Why should single Mums get benefits, why do we let them sponge of the state?" in less than a minute without my getting a real chance to answer any of those stupid questions.
But this morning really took the biscuit. Before I got to say a word he did a huge intorduction in which he criticised these MPs in the harshest possible terms for even raising the issue. He said things like "Women say they want equality but as soon as the going gets tough..." and "I'm not going to hold back, I'm going to name and shame the women who are doing this right now, right here on air..." and finished up with a tirade about how if they have this kind of attitude the country is better off without them.
I started to explain why I think that we do need real answers to the issues of rape and sexual violence against women but that the connection to MPs expenses was something of a red herring. Clearly unhappy he interrupts to say that I might not think so but other feminists support these MPs... Effectively by this stage he's arguing with himself and screaming at me that this shows that women in general are - well - generally wrong about everything (I'm paraphrasing here). I actually had to threaten to hang up just to get him to listen to me for a few seconds.
So I said "hold on this is only four MPs...". Now bearing in mind I only found out about the interview ten minutes before I was live on air, it came as little supririse to me to be informed that in fact it's five MPs in the group who have made this statement. I am happy to be corrected. Instead I get screamed at "GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT", "IF YOU'RE GOING TO COME ON HERE..."
And the stupid thing is this guy is the presenter! If it was me and some uber-right wing nutter with a presenter refereeing things to make sure we all got our say it would be a bit much but I would probably put up with it. What is the point of having a guest on so you can ignore what they say and harangue them about what you assume other people, not on your show, think? Seriously the whole interview was like "here's a feminist - I'm going to shout at her".
LBC call themselves "London's Biggest Conversation" but a conversation is where two of more people exchange opinions. When one person expressly invites another person to "discuss" something and then fabricates their opinion and screams over every word they say I think we're out of the realm of "conversation" and closer to the realm of "psychopath".
I may stop doing LBC interviews, they are fairly poorly paid and one of the researchers told me one time - you're the only feminist who ever agrees to go on air with us... so maybe it will leave them in the lurch.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Abortion rights campaigner and comedienne Kate Smurthwaite impersonated her way into Anthony Gormley’s exhibit One & Other on the vacant fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square Wedenesday, quite possibly becoming the world’s first living art forgery.
“So who am I really? I'm a stand-up comic and political campaigner,” Smurthwaite explained. “I met Goretti through my work with Abortion Rights — the UK-wide campaign for a woman's right to choose on abortion. I also write a blog called Cruella-blog: www.cruellablog.blogspot.com. And if you want to come see me perform I also list upcoming shows on there — it would be great to have you along!”
Notes for editors:
Friday, October 02, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Here's the transcript of victim's original statement (warning: not for the sensitive reader):
A. I was going 'No, I think I better go home', because I was afraid. So I just went and I sat down on the couch.
Q. What were you afraid of?
A. Him.... He sat down beside me and asked if I was OK. I said 'No'.
Q. What did he say?
A. He goes 'Well, you'll be better'. And I go, 'No I won't. I have to go home. He said 'I'll take you home soon'.
Q. Then what happened?
A. Then he went down and he started performing cuddliness... I was kind of dizzy, you know, like things were kind of blurry sometimes. I was having trouble with my coordination... I wasn't fighting really because I, you know, there was no one else there and I had no place to go."
Q. Did he ask you about being on the pill?
A. He asked, he goes, 'Are you on the pill?' and I went, 'No' and he goes 'When did you have your period?' and I said, 'I don't know. A week or two. I'm not sure'... He goes, 'Come on. You have to remember'. And I told him I didn't.... and right after I said I was not on the pill... and he goes... and then he put me – wait. Then he lifted my legs up farther and he went in through my anus.
Q. Did you resist at that time?
A. A little bit, but not really, because...
Q. Because what?
A. Because I was afraid of him."
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The footballer has also admitted for the first time that he cheated on Price during their stormy 18-month relationship, although he refused to give any details about the encounter."
'My reaction was immediate,' he said. 'There was no way we could have this baby. I told her, "Our relationship is too unstable. I don't think it's right".' "
He said the crowd came back 'steaming drunk' and made a terrible noise, despite the fact that little Harvey was asleep upstairs.
'I challenged her about this lifestyle. She'd desperately wanted our baby but was this her idea of motherhood?"
Friday, September 25, 2009
After the conference (and you don't have to go to the conference to come along) we are holding a fabulous feminist fun-packed cabaret show. It's downstairs at The Comedy Pub on Oxenden Street (between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square - SW1Y 4EE), doors open at 8pm and show at half eight, though you can arrive before that and buy tickets if there are any left have a drink in the main bar any time.
The line-up is still being tweaked but I have confirmed appearances from Eve Webster (the impressionist who shredded Ann Widdicombe at the recent Abortion Rights fundraiser) and fabulous headliners Chambers and Nettleton (pictured above).
[Update: added to the line-up: the British Bette Midler... Abi Roberts!]
[Update number two: also added to the line-up: amazing magician Katherine Rhodes!]
Tickets are £10 full price and £5 concessions. I'm not going to make any rule on who is and isn't a concession so if you can afford it, it is a fundraiser, please buy the full priced ticket but if money's an issue get a concession one and don't miss out on the fun.
Other info: The pub is over-18s only (sorry) and the venue is down a single flight of stairs. We will do whatever we can to help with accessibility so give me a shout if you need advice on that. Show will finish about 11pm and afterwards there'll be a DJ (over whom I have no control but it's usually cheery and dancy) and the venue will open up to the public until 2am.
You can buy tickets using the button below.
(Oh and by the way once you pay it will tell you to contact David at Soho Comedy Club for your ticket, but this is not necessary, I will just have a list including your name and email address on the door).