For sale: one woman, hardly used or abused

Blogging friend Makagutu mentioned the abolition of bride price in part of Uganda, ie you pay to buy a woman.

In our discussion, he asked how we could counter the view that even women approve of bride price. I glibly answered, by getting rid of patriarchal society.

We may not have bride price in the UK but women still retain the vestiges of being a chattel passed from one man (father) to another (husband), by changing their name and wearing a ring to signify the new ownership.

And just as women endorse bride price, women willingly change their names, and proudly flaunt engagement and wedding rings, and wear a white wedding dress to denote their unused status.

Back in Spain, I was reading a preview of a new book published this year by Laura Bates: Everyday Sexism.

Bates suddenly worked out, after a week of being grabbed/innuendo/verbal abuse that sexism, surprisingly, continues to be a problem in our advanced egalitarian society. (my sarcasm)

And so she started to collect tales of everyday sexism. As her project rocketed and, courtesy of the internet, became international, she was deluged with stories that ranged from sexist jokes and patronising put-downs to sexual assault, domestic violence and rape.

She makes the valid point that both men and women continue to perpetuate sexism, and that sexism has become both ingrained and acceptable. I’m guessing she is younger than me as a) she sounds more moderate and b) more patient in that she can actually be bothered to explain all of this in an extremely lucid and readable style.

While everyone, or rather most people, accept that domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape are illegal and morally unacceptable, they see nothing wrong with commenting on a woman’s appearance, or making jokes that treat women as sex objects, and that includes rape ‘jokes’. Bates tries to join the dots and show that sexism comes as a total package starting from indoctrination as children, through to the predatory prowling of young men on the streets to the lack of education in poor countries to the unequal number of women in powerful positions to the number of rapes – and significantly, the unreported rapes. And the continued reinforcement every day in both language and actions.

I’ve not read the whole book, because, um, I’ve been there and thought/spoken/written all that before.

A couple of the most powerful examples to me, are what might be termed minor ones, but I think they speak volumes.

One woman tweeted about her experience on a dating site. ‘I’d pay to ram you up the arse,’ wrote one man. When she argued with him, ‘Chill out love, it’s only banter.’ In her words, no it isn’t. And if you don’t understand why not, please leave your name below and I will attempt to explain.

Earlier this year (my example, not from Bates’ book), one very brave woman decided she’d had enough of being manipulated by sexual innuendo from a ‘popular’ blogger and went public with his sexually loaded comments, which again, were defended as being light-hearted chat. His blogs no longer exist although he may well have started again; new name, new place? I don’t know.

But calling sexism humour is a classic way to deny it. Another example from Bates was of a woman who wrote that she was told she had no sense of humour when comments were made about her breasts, vagina or behind. Seriously what gives men the right to make these comments and then make the excuse that they are funny, humorous, just ‘banter’? And that if women don’t accept it, they have no sense of humour.

Or how can Austin Mitchell (who I always loathed when he presented the Yorkshire TV programme Calendar – good to know my instincts were right) seriously be allowed to get away with telling Louise Mensche ‘A good wife doesn’t disagree with her master (ie her husband) in public…’ Master???!!! Is Mitchell lusting after BDSM perhaps? And then, in the ensuing fall-out, ‘Calm down, dears’? That, is sexism at its finest, putting women down every possible way but without making loaded sexual innuendo.

As Bates points out, sexism is unique in that it is acceptable to laugh at it, and anyone who objects is over-reacting. And lacks a sense of humour at these oh-so-witty remarks.

I see two key problems in tackling sexism. One, is that people don’t understand what constitutes sexism, and therefore don’t consider themselves sexist so continue to perpetuate sexist behaviour, and two, a total lack of interest in sexism. Sure, abuse of women as inferior beings is justified by the big three religions, and we can all happily criticise Judaism, Christianity and Islam for their discrimination against women. But what is denied by people is that the small nuances of everyday speech and behaviour reinforce the old stereotypical views that women are merely a commodity to be bought, sold or given away.

My father was unashamedly sexist. When I was young, I heard endless tirades about Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi and Sirimavo Bandaranaike. (Prime Ministers of Israel, India and Ceylon, as was before it became Sri Lanka). ‘Better a bad male prime minister than a good woman prime minister,’ was his favourite mantra. He later went on to vote for Margaret Thatcher. On the rare occasion we went to church – filling in time before the pubs opened at 7pm – he would audibly rant and rave if there was a woman giving the sermon. ‘I won’t have women telling me what to do.’ This was before the ordination of women. I had to smile when his funeral service was led by a woman vicar.

But time hasn’t moved on. My father’s views are still prevalent today. Bates cites some great examples of prominent people all saying women shouldn’t do the same job the men do, because, well basically, they are just women. So they are not up to it. Or they are just seen as sex objects so who could possibly take them seriously?

Boris Johnson says women only go to university to find men to marry. Because, you know, the only aspiration a woman has in life is to find a man… have 2.4 kids… wear a pinny and slippers and have his meal ready for when he comes in after a hard day at work. It was a joke. Really Boris? So why didn’t you say men only went to university to find a wife?

Forty odd years later and the same old crap, just disguised as ‘humour’ now. So you can’t possibly object or you have no sense of humour. A clever tactic eh?

Now, for those of you who think you are squeaky clean and not remotely sexist – which seems to be all my right-on readers, although I might possibly disagree – I would recommend you at least take a look at the free sample offered on the book sites eg iBooks, Amazon etc.

I should also like to point out, in the words of Carly Simon, ‘If you think this song post is about you…’ It’s not. It’s about everyone out there who is unconsciously sexist and thinks they aren’t. Or considers sexism humorous, clever and witty. Or conflates sexism with sex. Or who immediately trounces any objection with the ‘lack of humour’ card.

Are we looking our best? Will someone buy us?

121 comments on “For sale: one woman, hardly used or abused

    • Indeed, rejecting everything you are brought up with is difficult.

      When I was a kid a wolf whistle from a building site was traditional and desired and that is the key problem here. Women wanting to seek approval as sexually desirable objects.

      I can’t see how rape jokes are funny. Whether it is rape of a man or a woman.

      Another big problem that perpetuates the culture, is the ‘my wife, friend thought it was funny, why don’t you?’ Or, the women I know like to make themselves look desirable, have doors opened for them, be taken out and spent money on, etc etc. Just because some – unaware – women have that reaction doesn’t invalidate the point of us who think differently.

      Some time ago there was a story in the UK about some army talk involving calling someone a Paki. ‘Oh it’s OK, he doesn’t mind.’ Maybe he didn’t, or didn’t dare say if he did, but it does cause offence to other people. It’s not too difficult to find out what is offensive, especially in these internet days. A little consideration goes a long way.


      • That’s one thing I am always a bit wary of. I haven’t dated in years, and so I’m not up on basic dating and social etiquette (trying to learn and get lots of advice, though, from people i trust). But I sometimes wonder about how the “chivalry” has changed, especially the tradition of a guy paying for the date and the girl being taken out. I think the custom’s been changed in some/most men’s minds as “Since I paid for these dates, I should be able to say and do what I want with you.” That’s probably one of the reasons I didn’t want to date…and have a tough time trusting.


  1. It really is depressing that some people find it acceptable or don’t recognize sexism in today’s society. Many think it’s a simple joke and it may be among friends, but it still perpetuates a problem. I hadn’t heard that Boris said that about women and university. I’m shaking my head. But I should admit I met my partner at university. However, we didn’t date until six years later and my partner is a female so not sure I fit in with his assessment.


    • I think feminism, awareness of sexism just came to me. I could never understand my father’s criticism of female leaders. Where was the logic in saying a bad man was better than a good woman? I never realised it at the time bu I obviously questioned the irrational (for the same reason, I’m not religious).

      But I think to go deeper into feminism and sexism, one does need to study and read around. And possibly think. There are huge issues to be addressed, bride price is one, genital mutilation is another, lack of education and contraception are other critical issues. However, anyone deluding themselves that western women have ‘equality’ basically doesn’t understand the subject.

      I met my partner in a youth hostel in Sydney. But even the comment attributed to Boris is so stereotypical in itself. Not everyone gets married, not everyone has a heterosexual relationship. Sadly these so-called flippant comments DO matter and that was the point Bates was making.


  2. You look good in the black and white photo and no we are not buying.
    I know there are times am guilty of this offence sometimes. I remind myself whenever that happens that i shouldn’t be doing it given I want a better world.
    A change is long overdue.


    • Had to rescue this from spam. Probably because you said I looked good! But I appreciate you aren’t buying. We had a few friends who bought Thai or Filipino brides :(

      We all get it wrong, we all compromise, better to focus on the good we can do,


  3. I like the title of the post. Quite catchy.
    No we are not buying. She is beautiful though. I especially like the black and white picture.
    For some or a greater majority of people even the knowledge that their comments maybe sexist is lacking.


    • Thank you. It was, obviously, inspired by your story of bride price.

      I don’t think the woman in the header photo was happy with her photo being taken. I was having a ‘street photo’ session. I do like her expression though. No idea who the woman in the painting is. And as for me…

      Of course people don’t understand when their comments are sexist and that they are just perpetuating sexism through ‘humour’. It’s very hard to counteract. One needs to be assertive but subtle. I like the analogy with racism, people are far more aware of racism nowadays, but refuse to acknowledge sexism. Why?


      • Why?

        People don’t want to accept it is a reality. They dont want to deal with it or it has been made to look like it is normal to make such remarks and hide behind a mask to call them jokes.


        • I don’t think it is as simple as that. Men don’t want the status quo to change. Women in a successful relationship don’t care either way. People ie men and women don’t realise what sexism is. Misogyny maybe, but sexism is insidious.

          But my contrast with racism is that people can no longer hide behind jokes or discrimination, ok it still happens, but not as much as with sexism. Gender discrimination is very big. New bank in Gib, no women on the board. Ruling party, one woman in the government. When Zapatero was in power in Spain, he made a point of having an equally gender balanced cabinet. There is no equality between the sexes and anyone who thinks so is quite frankly, utterly stupid.

          And it doesn’t matter what I write, I still end up reading sexist comments on blogs I follow, day in, day out. That’s why it is perpetuated, because we accept it and let it go.


          • Talking of politics and public appointments, it is was so bad that it was included in the constitution that no one gender shall occupy more than 2/3rds of a public body. I don’t know how far this will go in changing the imbalance within the public sector.


          • Why 2/3 why not 50:50?

            I worked for the public sector at one point when there was an ethos of encouraging all boards to be 50:50.

            My chair at the time was a woman. We had four or five non-exec directors and four execs.

            ‘Surely it should be enough that I am a woman and I chair the board? We don’t need any other women do we?’

            Queen Bee syndrome par excellence.


          • I can’t recall te justification for the 2/3. Our parliament has always been majority men and as such anything that challenges that will be fought hard.
            Maybe someday we will not have such guidelines in the constitution because it will be a matter of course


          • But there is no rationality for 2/3, might as well be 9/10 or 1/5. Instead of fighting for equality, all 2/3 does is reinforce the masculine default.

            Oh, look let’s let in a few women.. but not too many, we don’t want to rock the boat.

            It won’t be in my day. Think about me if it happens in yours.


          • The last group of people I expect to be rational are politicians. In my books, they rank so low I don’t know who else to class them with.

            I am not sure it will happen in mine too. Maybe we will just leave a message that we hope it does happen sometime.


          • Interestingly my trade is not well respected (journalism). Yet I know people who have gone to prison for the sake of their ethics, ie refusing to reveal sources to the police. I admire that. I haven’t done it, but I suspect I would. So long as I could get a vegan diet…

            Politicians and used car sales people and estate agents?


          • And you will agree, dear friend, that most works produced by journalists these days is sub standard. I look at our dailies and it is disappointing. But I think it has always been the case. Nietzcshe writing just before the turn of the last century was so critical both of the education system and state of journalism in Germany of his time.

            I have often said I will fight for a cause I believe in but avoid the death. I could be wrong.

            Ah that is beginning to look like it. Church ministers are in the same category.


          • I do agree, and very sadly. Whether print or broadcast or internet media I see appalling errors and low standards.

            Ha! Didn’t know that one about Nietzsche, but, we all like to be critical. I just feel slightly more virtuous being able to criticise from the inside.

            My father was a big believer in defending the right to free speech however much he disagreed with it. But where are the barriers now? The borderlines? Racism? Sexism? Blasphemy? Should you really defend free speech that promotes hatred and violence? Nazi Germany being the obvious example.

            We live in complex times.

            I doubt the average person in the street would consider a church minister to be of dubious reputation. It is probably googlable.


          • In we philologists he is critical of the education system, in fact very critical. His criticism bears weight especially because he was for sometime a lecturer.

            I think blasphemy, unless you mean a different thing by it, should not appear in any statute book. I would not support violence if there are peaceful ways to solve the problem. With war only the stronger side wins most of the time. They may not be right or just.

            We live in complex times.

            The church minister lives off the honest labour of others and so is the politician.


          • Well, blasphemy was in statute when I studied law for journalism. As was racism.

            Basically, in lay terms, it’s saying or writing something that may incite hatred and violence. So, we can be penalised for insulting people of a different race or religion, but it’s ok to slag off women?

            So, to take it to extremes, I could be taken to court if I abused you because you are a black African, but if you wanted to return the abuse to me as a white western woman, I have no legal redress.


          • I was thinking of blasphemy with regards to opposing the priest. I think that has been the general meaning.

            In the sense you mean above then I have no problem with it.


          • Sorry Mak. I take things about literally with the law. We had to be very careful in journalism how we referred to things. I can look it up tomorrow, but too idle tonight. And next I want to,write about racism…


          • It is almost that time that I go to bed so tomorrow is fine.
            I like how this discussion has grown. Somehow racism is in a way a problem away from my doorstep. What annoys me is tribalism, nepotism and sychophancy.

            Do sleep well


  4. Julia often told me she couldn’t stand Austin Mitchell when she lived in Leeds. I never knew him to understand why at the time. I understand a lot more now.
    I can’t imagine why anyone would think a rape joke funny.
    Hugs xxx


    • He was awful :( typical vile Yorkshireman, and I come from there.

      I just couldn’t stand his superior condescending attitude, and that was when I was a kid. My mother didn’t like him either, I suspect my father did. I much preferred the quieter moderate presentation of Look North on the BBC.

      Can’t remember now whether it was in person or over the internet, but I have said, ‘that isn’t a joke, there is nothing funny about rape’.


  5. This is very much an issue of presumptive ‘reality’. Children aren’t taught to question but to accept diktats from adults. Not accepting those diktas translates to not fitting in, and depending on how far that’s taken it can mean generalized social marginalization.
    On top of that there’s the intelligence factor. Statistics in that regard are presented in a sort of happy, smiley, American way: “Most of society scores around 100” :)
    Absolute rubbish. Average IQ in a country like Pakistan is 80. Consider that 70 is the line we’d consider (in the EU and UK) intellectual disability/special needs. Ethiopia: 63. Sudan: 72. I could easily draw you a map showing how the lack of women’s rights overlaps with undereducation/low intelligence.
    These things together for a lethal marriage.


    • Absolutely. And I was taught that mummy and daddy were always right. Except some things didn’t ring true.

      I can totally endorse that one is marginalised for not agreeing with the norm, but seriously why? I mean, I am just not going to agree with illogical crap. Nor was I going to swoon over Jimmy Osmond or David Cassidy because my friends did. My dog was better looking.

      I have no idea what my IQ is. I’ve done various psychometric tests both for my MBA and job interviews and I usually come out in 80s or 90s. I peak on the KAI scale, but so what.

      I don’t need the map thanks (note, some small amount of intelligence here) I’m well aware of the dissonance between education and women’s rights.

      It’s ironic that the UK continually bleats that girls continue to outperform boys, poor victimised boys who are now being discriminated against because girls do better academically – at a certain age – yet men run the country and industry and finance, and, and, and.


  6. There is a very, very, very good reason why very, very, very few foreign women marry Brazilian men… and those that do, soon tend to regret it. Not always, but the balance is unhealthily in one direction.


  7. I watched an excellent TED video featuring Jackson Katz:. He pretty much said that things won’t change until men step up to the plate and call out other guys for their behavior. I agree. Women can try to bring awareness about this but as Katz said, it’s a men’s issue, and he’s right.

    He states that these behaviors are tied to definitions of manhood, and calls for both women and men (especially men) to call out unacceptable behavior and be leaders of change. Ultimately, it will be men who put an end to this, if they have the courage, individually and collectively, to be “uncool” and call out other men. I don’t blame men for this — I blame the cultures.

    As I mentioned to Noel (Makagutu), this Bride Price — marriage issue is a form of legalized prostitution. What many people may not realize was that the original marriage laws in the UK and US stated that woman had to give sex on demand to her husband in exchange for him providing housing. She was also required to give up her personhood and any property she owned now belonged to her husband.


    • Linky no worky :(

      But I still loves you Victoria. Your comments are absolutely spot on. I didn’t know about the marriage laws but it wouldn’t surprise me. I still don’t think marriage is anything other than legalised prostitution. From a personal point of view it’s been useful for tax and familial issues.

      I don’t blame men, or women either. It’s societal. Blame lays with people who stick their heads in the sand.


          • “Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy.

            Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the ‘bystander approach’ to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You’ve also seen him in the award winning documentary “MissRepresentation.” “


          • Right. I listened to it. Another great speaker and I so admire these people. I can NLT ever speak like that about journalism and writing, and, er prescribing/drugs.

            Now what was interesting, to me, was the way he talked about women, their rights etc, but couldn’t stop coming back to men. And their rights as boys and men. The more I listened, the more I went off him. He could have said women are abused, raped, attacked all the time. They are undereducated, which parallels lack of rights qv Pinks point above. They are under represented in all walks of life in influential positions. They are continually derided and made fun of and bought and treated as sexual objects and the biggest form of current day slavery is trafficking women for prostitution.

            Yeah, sure we should support women.


          • He had 20 minutes to share hours worth of data. He was out of breath trying to get as much info in as possible. But what you didn’t get in these 20 minutes, and I think he’s right to go back to boys and men, is that they are also in a culture that bullies guys for standing up to women. A culture that promotes hyper-masculinity. A culture that calls guys a pussy and other derogatory names if they dare counter this cultural norm. Just look at the comments. Here’s an article addressing this from guys perspective.

            >> The Selling of Masculinity

            Tony Porter also addresses this cultural conditioning in his TED video >> “A Call to Men”


          • Ok, I’ll check those out, might be tomorrow. I found his message mixed. One minute it was women, the next it was about boys and men and seemed to be more interested in them. Not denying the cultural impact but, it just left me feeling there was something lacking.


          • I will have to add, however, that while indoctrination is a complicit problem involving both men and women, the message is strong, very strong, that women are here for men.

            I rarely walk alone. It is not safe. I am not paranoid, but after being raped more than once, I know that this had nothing whats so ever to do with how my mother raised me.


          • Absolutely. I have no argument with that conclusion.

            That is horrific. Seriously so, I am so sorry to hear that. You aren’t the first feminist who has said that, but it still makes me think ‘that could be me’.

            And I do walk alone. At night. Ok maybe I have a dog with me, but I live in a relatively safe environment. It’s very much, women reclaim the streets, isn’t it? I will walk through the park in the dark, or go out at 3am, or whenever. Why shouldn’t i? We should be able to do that. That’s what we are fighting for.


          • Yes, and we should be able to do that. I read a blog from a woman who moved from America to Denmark. She said one of the things she first notice was that she felt safe walking alone, even at night. I’m not suggesting that it’s utopia there, but the country is definitely more women friendly, more evolved.

            Thank you for your words of empathy. I rarely share this but in some cases I think it’s necessary to bring the personal element into the discussion. My experiences played a major role diligently researching the core problems. We have templates, we have the tools, we have the knowledge, but change is slow, way to slow for humanities good.


          • If you would like me to delete or amend your comment I will, although I do think it adds a lot to the discussion.

            I feel safe in both Gib and Spain, but I don’t know. I’m not aware of rape in either place where I live. I do believe in the walking in the middle of the street assertively theory, but I walked assertively through the park as a student and had my arse groped. Hey, is my arse really your personal property to touch!


          • Such a thoughtful comment/offer. I generally have trepidations when sharing so personally. I don’t want to come across as a victim, or ‘woe is me’. I don’t consider myself a victim and neither do I feel sorry for myself. But this is far to common.

            In the last two years, my sister has been poisoned by date rape drugs, twice. She was out with friends, in a nice restaurant downtown, both times. One time she was fortunate and passed out before she got to the door. The other time, not so fortunate. It didn’t hit her until she got into the parking garage. It is what it is — a product of our society. Yes, walking assertively does not stave off those who think you are there for their pleasure.


          • NN, your two comments are some of the most powerful I have read. Emotive, sad, but meaningful. Up to you, the offer to delete or amend always stands.

            Date rape was after my time thank goodness. It is utterly sick.

            Sure, women have equality and men are victimised…

            Luckily I no longer go out drinking. Bastards. Seriously, fucking bastards.


          • Thank you, Kate. Age matters not. Although my sister is quite attractive, she was in her early 50’s when this happened. Attraction and age have little to do with it, or what women wear. It’s simply about how women are viewed in our society. I also think that our society tends to take issue with women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment is absolutely key for the well being and stability of society.

            I don’t go out drinking, either. It’s simply not good to be in an environment where people’s inhibitions are lowered.

            Note: Apologies for the typos. At least twice I wrote ‘to’ when I should have written ‘too’.


          • I’ve given up worrying about typos. I haven’t given up worrying about women’s rights or empathising. I can’t imagine date rape or any rape, but, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel for women who have suffered.

            Oddly, when I went to university, rape was one of my fears. But, why should women even have to fear?


  8. I guess I was fortunate in that my parents treated each other as more or less equals – no negative comments by my dad about my mom or women in general, and no negative comments about my dad or men in general by mom. Not a lot of open affection, but mutual respect and love. I remember that I never once saw my dad “check out” another woman, which, as I got older, struck me as a rather remarkable feat. They are both educated and also practical, and I think they realized early on that the example they set would be the ones their children emulated.

    I am staggered by the number of women who are willing to overlook a potential mate’s foibles simply because he can pony up a big engagement ring, and the fact that the bride-to-be’s parents are only too happy to lay out tens of thousands of dollars for a wedding, no matter the prospective groom’s shortcomings, to make their “little girl” happy. There’s no sense of perspective. In the US, and likely many other Western nations, too many women who should know better spend too many years thinking only of their wedding day, without giving a thought to the fact that, if all goes well, that’s the person they’ll be spending years and even decades with afterward. It’s as if they’ve happily applying the shackles to themselves. Very short-sighted and, often, sad, because, let’s face it, there are some guys who simply aren’t marriage material.


    • My dad could be verbally abusive :( but he never looked at other women. If he did it was well hidden.

      A wedding day is just one day out of your life. No more, no less. I enjoyed mine, just as I enjoyed my silver wedding a few years ago. But spending thousands on one day does not do it for me. And if I like someone sufficiently to spend my life with them, to be honest, the only person I am interested in celebrating that with is my partner.

      Expectations of glorious showy weddings are ridiculous, my father wanted it, but hell whose wedding was it? Mine. If it’s the bride’s big day then the bride gets to choose her wedding. I did. A register office with a scarlet frock. And as we are still together… who’s to say I was wrong?


  9. Sad to see such mentality whether price on brides in parts of Africa and rampant practice in India known as dowry. As you mentioned, change of names such a put off. Just wrote a similar pits on sexism faced by a film actress. Sad that there is no country for women facing discrimination at every end.


  10. To me Boris Johnson is a joke to politics and should not have the position he has [my opinion]..Does this point out any that is other than sexism etc against woman, which by the way I think something should be done about it, how to tackle it I dont know, does it cover sexism in what ever form against men as well. I am not sticking up for men, but I read about abuse ie women getting abused by men but there is a large percentage of men being abused which includes sexist topics as well. This topic is very large indeed and should be tackled, unfortunately I have no answers, well none that are legal. very thought provoking… ps got the book from your post,hope
    to read soon.


    • I really don’t know about Boris. Too long out of the UK so he means nothing to me.

      There is no way, that the amount of men being abused by women comes anywhere near the abuse women suffer. I’ll find you some stats should you not believe me. Society is sexist, patriarchal, male-dominated.

      The answer is for people to learn and understand what sexism is. It’s not difficult. People choose not to do it.


          • I know for fact two friends from my past, men that is were bullied abused whatever words one wishes to use, one was by his mother and another was by his wife. And it seemed with all the help and advice given them it continued. I do not know the end result. I know the percentages are very small compared to the women, but sure if one is to tackle one then the other should be also. My wife was abused as a child, so I fully for anything that may stamp this out. We can all listen to people but are they actually doing anything other than talk. One might say I was abused by my dad, mentally that is. so am I not entitled to be included in the aid that is given.


          • My father was hit by his mother, his older sister and his older brother. My mother was hit by her older brother. It goes without saying that I was hit as violence is perpetuated.

            I don’t feel like going into sexual abuse on this post, but that happened along with physical and mental abuse.

            Violence against us as children from people we trust is one thing, violence against us as adults, ie rape, is a whole different ball game.


  11. I’m fortunate in my own circumstances to not personally experience overt sexism in my everyday life, but despite even best efforts sexist attitudes do colour and direct it. Just a quick look at media web pages delivers far too many examples of news stories that confirm how very much attitudes of both men and women have to change before sexism is eradicated. That sexism and power-ism has derived from culture notwithstanding, by the nature of it culture should evolve. That you and others stand up and say so pushes along that change, and while it may be uncomfortable for some to have their attitudes, conscious or not, challenged, it’s necessary. Sometimes people have to be saved from themselves, and if they don’t want to be, well, bad luck because it may be a change slowly coming but it is inevitable. It’s as the saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. It starts with standing up for ourselves first, and then in any situation we encounter. The more we do it the better we’ll all be at doing it.


    • It’s very much about leading a horse to water though. If the horse is quite happy and not thirsty, it won’t drink. It may not be aware that it could be the last water for some time (for example) because that is outwith the horse’s knowledge.

      A refusal to admit to sexism, to accept it is an everyday occurrence isn’t necessarily wilful denial of the existence of sexism, it’s a reflection of ignorance about what the issues are. And, as with everything, nothing is black and white. Some feminists don’t agree with wearing rings and changing names, others don’t agree with marriage at all, while another cadre is happy to become Mrs Husband’s LastName. Yet others again argue that none of this is important and we should be doing more to improve health and education of poorer women in the world instead of being preoccupied with western privileged society. I happen to think it is all important. What I can do is small, but if it brings attention to some issues and makes people think and question what their ideas and beliefs are, then it’s better than doing nothing.


  12. Couldn’t agree more. A leading photographer themed a fashion shoot recently around gang rape! The public was outraged, but what convoluted mind comes up with such ideas? And yes, women themselves seem to tacitly support sexism.

    Strangely in India it is the men who are for sale, and yet women’s position in society is possibly worse! A pompous MCP once told me, in response to my anti-dowry rant, that women (in India) should be grateful that money can buy even the ‘ugliest’ girl a ‘good’ husband!!! The dowry, he went on to add is an outcome of ‘demand & supply’!!! Not surprising since the male:female ratio is deliberately skewed at birth by these monsters.


    • It’s about sensationalism isn’t it and getting publicity? Years ago we had a discussion in our press office about whether or not to use a topless model to promote hard hats on construction sites. We didn’t in the end, although mos people thought it was a good idea in theory. Loaded with stereotypical thinking, all construction workers are thick idiots who buy newspapers to look at womens’ breasts and it’s the only way to get a message to them.

      I didn’t get into dowrys (or is it dowries?). I thought bride price was bad enough. Either way, whether being bought or sold with a financial bribe, the outcome and perspective is the same. Consumable objects.


  13. In Louise Mensch’s former constituency, I feel consistent enough resenting her for taking on the job and then giving up after two years, even though I prefer her Labour successor. I did not remember the tweet. She went to join her husband in New York, and he suggested in print that she had resigned to avoid being trounced in 2015.

    Arguably, Mensch was the sexist stereotype, giving up her job to join her husband. She also wrote novels like “A kept woman”, Glamour, Passion, and Desire.


    • I don’t think Ms Mensch and I would get on in the slightest. I have no idea if Mitchell was being sarcastic given her privileged educated monied background, plus her ease of access up the political selection ladder. But regardless of that, his comments were still derogatory.

      For example is it OK to be racially abusive and insulting to black/Asian/Hispanic people if they are convicted of rape or murder? I think not.

      Mensch, from my limited knowledge, fits a lot of stereotypes. She meets what society requires. I’m not a fan of chick lit. I don’t even like the term. But there are two different issues, just because she complies with sexual stereotypes, shouldn’t give rise to an outpouring of sexist comments. The insults aren’t just against her, they are against all of us.


  14. Great post – wonderful discussions in comments.
    ” ‘Chill out love, it’s only banter.’ In her words, no it isn’t.” NO it isn’t and scoffing, laughing, making it “the woman with the lack of sense of humor’s problem” is so typical. And disturbing. This view seems to be reestablishing itself – again. Acceptable in marketing, TV, movies, heavily in music – celebrity mouthings – I’m constantly going “You’ve got the be kidding” or “In what universe is this OK”.
    I know it takes a long time for change to happen, but seriously – it’s looking like back sliding. Equally disturbing is how so many women giggle / prance along with it all…giving the mistreatment validity in young men’s eyes/brains and telling young girls this is all right.
    Oddly my dad was more of a supporter of women being strong, understand budgeting and money, and be capable of managing their own lives than my mom who felt it was important to give my brother anything that might give him an edge in life – like dermatologist visits as he became a teen ( totally not needed), braces, car, a big name brand college – all because “he was a man and would be the wage earner and have a family” where as I “would only be someone’s wife so none of that mattered” for the lesser creature. If I mentioned maybe I’d have a job and not marry, she got livid. Oddly she complained all her life that her brother got everything as they were growing up and the girls had to make do. Despite that she was determined to repeat the cycle. While my sister-in-law worked for a bit (and she’d be appalled if you pointed out how she’s handicapped her daughter by reinforcing the traditional concept of what girls/women do/like/should strive for in life) despite encouraging education (but in social related fields) she’s passed on the concept of big weddings, very expensive jewelry being to only worthy gift to prove how much you are loved and you can show it off…and that bawdy engagement ring as a goal with all the fluff and nonsense.
    It’s going to take a while for change…especially when so many are happy to be trinkets and accessories – and “he only did it because I was wrong…”
    (Oh, PS. IQ tests are pretty sketchy as predictors/indicators of intelligence – lots of variable that affect outcomes. 100 is not “average”…there is no average…maybe typical for a specified population or region, or maybe not. In education and justice system here, below 90 is usually considered not completely responsible for actions and needing adaptations for schooling. Above 120 is usually considered “above average” or bright. MENSA is more. People have what they have – education, vocabulary, enriched environment, background knowledge, healthy, diet, and test taking skills can change IQ to a degree. Like anything, just having brain capacity is useless if the person isn’t motivated to do anything with what they have. Many “not so smart” people achieve well above their native abilities, and the opposite is also true. IQ always a losing argument. But you already know that.)


    • See Victoria’s (neuronotes) link below if you haven’t already read the story. Here is a woman calling someone out for his verbal and physical behaviour, so he resorts to threatening her (preventing her getting work). And one reason women do go along with sexist behaviour is that it is easier to fit in and not rock the boat. Live within the status quo and make it work for you.

      Oddly our parents sound just the same. My father passed on the money ethos to me. While mother was cooking supper, my father and I counted the money, did the weekly takings in the books, went to the bank to pay in the money and then called for a pint together. Meanwhile mother still chained to kitchen stove.

      My mother complained that her mother preferred the thre boys to her. My mother was pulled out of school to help her mother with the housework. She said her mother didn’t like women, and yet she replicated that exact same behaviour, saying she much preferred the company of men. When I got married, she seemed more interested in him than me. She also wouldn’t speak to me for ages on the ‘phone because I got married in a register office on the other side of the world. Hell they could have got a flight if they wanted. Nope, they wanted the marquee on the lawn and the white church wedding. Yuk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps it was the era and how women were brought up. My mom railed her whole life about how she wasn’t given a chance to fulfill potential. Hated working with other women and disliked cooking and cleaning. Yet she did her best to force the same straightjacket on me. My brother (mom’s clone) totally bought into the concept – so of course I am the black sheep and obstinate one. Yeah, I’m sure I shot Mom’s dreams of a big show off party, too. They were married during depression at the courthouse and never had one herself…so of course….
        Will head over to read the link. I do know women who for their own sanity from too many children and their own personality needed to work outside the home – but husband and their religion did not allow it…so one in particular sunk into a dark hole of depression fought the urge to batter her children ( they did allow her to go to a shrink at that point…he told her she needed to get a job and get away from the kids and house …..she did and perked up, but they made her quit….she locked older kids in their room for hours of “rest periods” and actually tied the youngest to their beds…the church ladies showed her how they did it….what can I say)


        • Maybe a sign of the times. Or a sigh of the times. Mine thought her life’s desire would be marriage, children and looking after a home. But to do that, she had to chuck her preferred job (teaching) and she really missed the little kids. Before she died, she told me that working with the (Irish) immigrant kids was one of the things she most loved. I didn’t get the straitjacket, but the views were passed on. To this day, I still can’t bear stereotypical female chat about shopping, clothes, make-up, kids, blah utterly boring blah.

          My father was sent to his room when he was naughty (when he wasn’t being hit). He curled over and went to sleep. He wasn’t tied up though. Jesus! So to speak.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. You’re right–it’s not one bloody bit funny. Awkward and embarrassing is more like it. For those who differ and who have at least a shred of openness to the fact that they may be wrong, just try reversing the situation. How do you feel now? Here’s a sad fact, for good measure: those of us who try and monitor our ways in order to try and not be such jerks as we age still find ourselves making choices, and still doing things that are fundamentally sexist in nature. We often don’t notice it until someone is brave or principled enough to point it out.


    • But, it is regarded as humorous by many people, and it is used as a very insidious and nasty put-down. It’s a very difficult one to argue with successfully.

      I see sexism on some blogs, and I have mentioned it, thereby making myself Ms Unpopular, but should I ignore it when people who read my blogs know my opinions? To ignore it feels like condoning it. I haven’t noticed it on yours.

      But, even in the blog world we inhabit, the same patterns of behaviour persist. I see something and comment (only after some considerable thought). The author a) will of course deny their comment is sexist and I am wrong b) say that was not their intent anyway c) say they are not sexist, nor have they ever been and nor does every single woman in their life consider them sexist. The odd few say they watch their words more carefully. For a few weeks anyway. It’s a long haul.


    • That’s actually a very interesting story. Of course, my first thought wasn’t remotely related to sexism, was a two dollar tip not seen as enough? General rule of thumb in the UK was usually ten per cent, partly because if there were compulsory service charges, they were set at ten per cent (on food not drink).

      Onto the interesting bits. It’s exactly the point that Bates, and I, was making about sexism described as humorous. It’s really funny isn’t it to say, I want to take you, naked? Ha ha. It’s also not particularly original.

      But I wonder how many people will have read the story and thought she was making a fuss about nothing? Or that she should be flattered that someone working in investment banking groped her arse and insinuated he would have sex with her?

      I’d call that sexism not misogyny, but I’m happy to be corrected if definitions have changed. What it does show are the classics of rich male privilege seeing and using women as sex objects, merely put on earth for their pleasure. Everyday sexism no less.

      Onto him, I don’t think he came over very well at all! Denies he groped her, but he’s groped loads of other woman? What a piece of filth he is. Then he swears abusively about her and threatens to prevent her getting work? Harassment, victimisation, discrimination and sexism par excellence. Hope he gets a warning and a pay cut/no bonus for bringing the ban into disrepute but I doubt it.


        • In a way all comments are good. They are one person’s view, and to me, I appreciate the response.

          I had relatives who lived in Brazil (and learned Portuguese), later I visited Portugal and wanted to learn the language. So I did. Well, a little :D

          Now, I mostly read, or, write the odd few words. I would need to work again to start speaking though.


  16. I think a lot of women are keeping their own names these days. I know of a few, not related to me that do. Pat took my name, but her choice. Wouldn’t have bothered me either way, really. However, here’s one for you to consider and I feel strongly about this (don’t know why, just do)

    My ex. took my name, ok no problem with that. My children have my name, obviously. But after we divorced. She kept my name… what right does she have to do that? It didn’t bother me because I figured, she want to keep it for the sake of our boys having my name and being in school, I can see the stigma attached. (societal stigma that is) to their mother having a different name. So like I said, no problem.

    But… She gets remarried. Takes another’s name… all of a sudden all that about my son’s having one name and her another doesn’t matter any more. So, she’s moving on, getting on with her life… I’m ok with it.

    Now’s the rub… she divorces and assumes MY name again. What right does she have to do that? The argument about our boys having my name cannot stand… she gave up that argument when she remarried and changed her name again to something totally different. What right do she have to use My birth-name now?


    • You’re asking ME to comment about someone who keeps changing names and has been twice divorced? Now what on earth would I know about that?

      Easiest solution all round, don’t change names. Or just keep hyphenating or something. Spanish is interesting where the women take the men’s but keep theirs too. Except the kids end up taking the two patronymics from each parent, so still just as sexist.

      Maybe she now thinks you are the least worst alternative? Would be interesting if divorce could also enforce change of name. How can you be Mrs Cooper when you no longer legally aren’t?

      We’ve had some laughs about it, ‘phone calls asking to Mr Roughseas, even his VISA card was in my name (no scam on our part, their incompetence).

      Such a waste of time, space, money and effort changing names. Sorry I can’t give you any deeper insight. I’d be racked off if an ex took my name back as well!


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