Archive for womens rights

Free Women?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2011 by AF

I’ve vacillated almost endlessly, unable to decide whether to post this, or not. I suspect some people I respect will misunderstand me or my intentions. In the end, though, I’ve decided that I should stop being a coward and say it, right or wrong, so here goes…

For once I want to be serious. Jeez! I know! It doesn’t happen very often, does it? Look out for a blue moon tonight and watch out for the odd flying pig too.

However, to my mind, the question mark in my title does say a great deal about the subject of this post. Are women free, or liberated these days? Well, particularly in some cultures, just as was true thousands of years ago, some plainly are. Also, it’s perhaps a far greater proportion now than it once was during recent centuries – in the West at least. But I have to admit that I don’t think that most are all that free at all.

Then again, some would argue that relatively few people of either gender are free in any real sense of the word, but I suppose the question most women would really be asking is: are women today at least as free as their equivalent men of today? I suspect the answer to that question when asked in general terms is still a resounding NO.

Before I attempt to explain why, I ask you to please take a good look at a great article from a clever and talented lady. It makes some entirely valid and well argued points. It’s also something with which I entirely agree in principle at least. Conversely, I almost totally disagree with it as well, on a very different level.

I know – that’s as clear as mud, isn’t it? I guess I’d better pause here whilst you go for a quick read of the excellent article right here

Done? Okay then. Now, if you’ve looked at the post in the link, then I hope you’ll understand when I say that I can’t disagree in the slightest with the sentiments at least and that I think all the behaviour and phrases quoted are clearly of an unpleasant nature (certainly when used publicly) and not a way in which I hope I would ever regard or behave towards any woman. Nevertheless, the comment quoted as being from Charlie Sheen (for instance) only serves to demonstrate that he apparently knows practically nothing about real women and very little about sex either, but then some people have extremely limited imaginations. In any event, he’s only playing up to the role he’s picked for himself (or that has been picked for him) in the eyes of his ‘fans’.

Equally, I should point out that it’s not all one-sided and I don’t much like the way some women refer to men and stereotype them either, but (as the rather graphic saying goes) shit happens and I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, or dignify people like that by giving a damn about them – they are what they are – usually rather stupid and pretty ignorant, in my opinion.

The simple and absolute fact is that some men hate women and some women hate men. No one can change that truth by legislating, or complaining, or anything else (unless you’re prepared to shoot them of course), because they think what they think and every time you highlight their behaviour, you simply increase their importance. Most people are not that pathetic, so why would you care about a stupid minority of insignificant jerks? Marginalise them and they and their ilk will eventually become almost invisible.

There are women’s issues that desperately need to be addressed, such as equal pay for equal work and real equality of opportunity regardless of gender, though childbirth is a factor to be considered in some cases, whether anyone likes it or not. This post is not the place or occasion to discuss the subject in detail, but these days and for most women, the decision to bear children is just that – a choice. I can see no reason whatsoever why an employer should be forced to manipulate reality in order to try to ensure that such a choice does not affect the career prospects of the individual. I believe that positive discrimination is just as evil as negative discrimination.

All that said, although I write fiction, there is a recurring theme in much of what I produce, particularly in my sci-fi stories and it’s that most women of the future are strong and liberated. In my tales, whatever their individual hang-ups and insecurities, future women have largely achieved equality and even superiority at times by one simple means – as a gender, they DON’T GIVE A DAMN what any man thinks! Of course, I’m not talking about personal relationships, those are always excepted, private and should be what suits and is developed by the individuals involved for themselves. Outside of that, I’m a passionate believer in the equality of women, but I’m also sure that they’ll never achieve it if they remain dependent on men being nice to them, frequently not saying what they think and allowing it to occur because it’s some kind of decent thing to do. It simply won’t happen!

Men don’t care much what women (as a whole gender, rather than as individuals) think of them, but women on the other hand are all too often demanding that men in general should view them differently from the way they do. That is not only unrealistic and doomed to failure, it’s a dreadful weakness and they will not succeed in achieving their goals until they manage to move on from that and cast off the shackles of such limiting ideas.

So, there you go. I say again, I think the article in the link is superb, but I do think it also highlights a weakness in the female cause. That, for what it’s worth, is my opinion. Still, no one ever took much notice of my views in the past, so I can’t imagine that anything will change significantly on this occasion.


For Once I Should Be Serious

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by AF

It’s a serious matter and that makes me very wary of saying anything at all about it in public, but then it’s something that I abhor and feel very strongly about, so here goes…

The subject is rape.

In truth, it’s something I don’t really understand from a male point of view, because I have never really wanted to do anything to, or with, a woman that she didn’t want too – that to me is part (a very big part) of the magic of sex. I might on occasions have wished that a beautiful woman felt differently (or even bloody well noticed me, if I’m honest), but that’s light years from what we’re talking about here. Heck, we wish for all sorts of things – I wish I was George Clooney, but life can be such a bitch and so I’m not.

However, recently, there has been considerable anger and debate in the UK over a statement made by our Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, that some kinds of rape are worse than others, or words to that effect at least. I’m not even a fan of Ken Clarke as a politician and I certainly don’t believe in a justice system that worries more about the “human rights” of criminals and terrorists than those of their victims, or even of ordinary people. In my opinion the current trends have been utterly stupid political correctness gone absolutely loopy.

All that said, I do think Mr. Clarke has a point of sorts in this instance, if I’ve understood what he’s saying correctly. Rape, like burglary, mugging, domestic violence, murder and all the rest, is a fact of life – part of the human condition – whether most of us wish it were not so, or not. I do, though, understand (I think, at some level at least) how a woman can view all rape as equally awful and that any man who rapes should be castrated and left to rot in a hole somewhere – that is only natural. It’s exactly the same as a parent must feel about the driver of a car that kills their child – he (she) deserves all they get and much more. It’s murder! There should be no forgiveness! Right?

Looked at dispassionately, though, there are so many variables involved in any crime that we cannot make sweeping statements and lump all drivers who speed, or robbers, or even rapists together. All crimes of a broadly similar nature are not the same. A woman who goes out on a date and perhaps likes and finds her partner for the evening attractive, but he misunderstands all her signals and fails to uphold the most basic of rules – “no” means “NO!” – will (in the short term at least), be just as horrified, hurt, disgusted, even traumatised, by this man’s abhorrent behaviour (of which he will hopefully be utterly ashamed in the cold light of dawn and increased sobriety), as any other rape victim.

Yet that situation simply cannot, in my opinion, be regarded in exactly the same way as the evil, twisted bastard who stalks a woman (or grabs her randomly off the street) and then subjects her to a litany of brutal and degrading physical, sexual and mental humiliation usually designed specifically to satisfy his hatred of women and to sadistically break and demean her and probably traumatise her for life. Such acts actually have little to do with sex at all (and more to do with inadequacies of the male involved) and there is a viciousness about such perpetrators that is surely disgusting to all decent people of both sexes and who I, frankly, believe deserve no mercy at all. To talk of human rights for such people as that is an affront to the rest of humanity and to the term “human” itself – they certainly should be thrown in a hole to rot along with paedophiles, mass murderers, youths who beat up old ladies for a few pounds and similar scum!

But a guy who gets too impassioned and looses his sense of judgement? No. He should be punished of course, because there’s no excuse and he needs a lesson that will remind him to be more respectful the next time, but to compare the two situations, or even all the variations in between those extremes is just plain foolish and (I think) does nothing to advance the cause of women at all.

Putting unequal crimes against women into one huge category is just as demeaning to all men as the male attitude that sometimes says all women are the same in bed in the dark – it’s not only wrong, it debases the decent people in society, who are, incidentally, in the vast majority, whatever some victims might have us all believe.

So… Go on, then – tell me why I’m wrong…  😦

You Might Have Noticed

Posted in Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2011 by AF

…or you might not, of course. However, the thing to which I am referring is the fact that, unlike some bloggers, I’m more than happy to get into a discussion with commenters. That, if I’m to be honest, is probably why I tend at times – all right then, often – to be somewhat “controversial”, if not downright outrageous! I like a debate. Heck! I love a debate!

That, I presume, is the main reason why I always try to reply to individual comments. There is too the angle that it’s my view of politeness that if someone takes the trouble to read something I write and comment on it, then I think it deserves my time to reply if I can (though I don’t hold it against others if they take a different view), but the truth is I love to debate – so much so that I’ll take any stance you want me to in most arguments and I’m quite happy to be wrong in the end too – if you can prove it!

There are, naturally, some subjects that I regard as really important (such as women’s rights and the whole equality issue, for instance) and, though you may not always (ever?) agree with my take on the subject, I do honestly believe at least the bones of what I say about such things.

Other times, though, I’ll say something just for effect – just to start an argument. Hopefully that’ll be a reasonably polite argument, but an argument nevertheless. There are very few situations where I bear a grudge. I can have a blazing row with someone and then shake hands and go round the pub for a drink with them. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll back down easily, so you’ve gotta push your point home!

Whatever the outcome, it’s good to talk, don’t you think? As someone famous said: “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war” – well, a lot of times it is, although “verbal war” between lovers can sometimes be so wounding that it is just as fatal for the participants as the real thing, or to their relationship at least.

Still that’s probably best left for another post…


Is It Just Me?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2011 by AF

I’ve wondered at many things over the years (too many years that is), but I was today reminded of something that is a recurring mystery to me. It started when Twitter (well, rather it was one of the interesting people I follow on Twitter) pointed me to an excellent article by a clever and witty woman who, me not being American, I don’t know.

Anyway, it was a good article highlighting the ridiculousness of discrimination – most particularly sex discrimination, but also on the basis of race, etc. It’s well worth reading, so why not take a good long peek here. I really enjoyed reading it and I thought it was funny, insightful and probably very accurate as well as important – and then, to me, at the very end comes this quote that brought my confusion flooding back… “As American social critic Elizabeth Janeway responded, “We haven’t come a long way; we’ve come a short way. If we hadn’t come a short way no one would be calling us ‘baby.'”

WTF is that about? Maybe it’s me (there’d be nothing new in that), but I’ve never understood why women would mind that – it’s like me getting all pissed off because some woman calls me “Honey,” or “Mister,” or even “Hey you.” Why would I care? It’s a whole lot better than “Sir” or (in the case of women) “Madam”, which authority endlessly seems to use in order to be offensive because it’s overly polite and yet we can’t prove that and so argue with it.

I mean – what is their problem? To me (as in this case) I read an excellent article that is very well written and, more importantly, tells it like it is and then the thing I’m left with is the feeling that women (in this case) can be so damned pompous. I know the disappointment is my fault because I have this rosy view of women and their fight for equality as worthy and in fact vital for all of us – men too – but still…

Perhaps someone can enlighten me, because I just don’t see this at all. Is it perhaps that there is some hidden difference between the UK and the US of which I’m not aware? I know we’re traditionally “divided by a common language” and maybe there is hidden meaning in this, but in my view, this is petty and just plain silly. Worse, it’s counterproductive.

Gonnakillhim on Twitter has explained that it may be that it somehow puts the user in a superior position over the receiver and I genuinely thank her for that explanation. I guess that’s probably right, but in my opinion that’s only in the mind of the person hearing it. If it is true (and it may well be, at least in America), then it raises another question for me – how the heck did people manage to get themselves into such a stupid situation? I mean, to me, women are great, definitely equal and the average women (whether she likes it or not) is better at some things than the average man and vice versa – what the hell’s wrong with that?

Why would it be some kind of a put down if I called a woman I was in conversation with “Honey,” or “Baby,” (which to me is just being friendly) instead of “Madam”, which I would only personally say if I really meant “…and f*ck you!” but wanted to avoid actually using the words.

Hey ho – sigh – rant over. But I would like to really understand – seriously!

You Need An Ego

Posted in Miscellaneous, Writing and Things Literary with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2011 by AF

It’s a fact that many quite good writers find it very hard to find a publisher for their work. What they create may be at the very least as good as many of the less famous novelists, scriptwriters and so on, but it’s easy to become famous, if you’re already famous, or infamous… if you see what I mean.

Creative people are often not at all good at selling – particularly themselves. Add to that, an author’s latest work is a sort of “Frankenstein’s monster” that they conceived and bore all on their own in a quite “unnatural” manner and they (probably subconsciously and quite naturally) want to protect it from the critical eyes of the world. Additionally, we also often tend to hide ourselves behind our characters and plots. But the truth is that we need to put ourselves and our work “out there” in order to have any chance of success. It’s a bit like going into a relationship – if we want it to succeed and last, we have to be prepared to be vulnerable.

However, I’m not just waffling as usual and there is a point to this post…

A while back, I wrote an item on women’s bios. If you’re interested (and I think if you’re a woman, you should be) take a look at it here

I’ve noticed that many women, in particular, who are serious about writing do seem to have a very different type of bio compared with those who are solely bloggers for the sake of it – not that I’m criticising that in any way – I’m just pointing out a difference. These women have much more of a “male” style of bio. They are (for example) a writer, scriptwriter, novelist, blogger, wife and mother, etc. So, there is a clear difference in the way in which they perceive themselves – they are first and foremost (to themselves) whatever their particular artistic talent is and someone else’s wife, or mother second.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that that makes them any less of a wife or mother, or that they don’t work extremely hard at their relationships, but their perception of “self” is (probably necessarily) different from other people and that makes them altogether more self possessed than others and, to my mind, they’re perhaps more liberated and that’s good, isn’t it?

In short, such women have an ego and they are prepared to let is be on show. Of course, I dare say they have their hang-ups just like the rest of us, but they just seem more able to rise above them.

It seems that, if you really want to write, you need an EGO (of some sort at least)…


So You Want Him To Be Different

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by AF

I do find the apparent attitudes of many on both sides of the sexual divide quite disturbing at times. Men and women both always seem to be whining about the other. What the heck do you people expect? People are the way they are – if you don’t like it, pick another who’s more like what you want…

It appears to me that there is, these days, often a male aggressiveness towards women that is more common than it used to be. There have, of course, always been men from all walks of life who have behaved brutishly to women and, whilst I personally abhor that, I’ve always regarded it as frequently resulting from an underlying inadequacy in the men themselves – an inferiority complex that they cover-up with violence. There are too, the control freaks, who exhibit a similar belligerence, but mostly on a psychological level. Yet that too, I believe, has its roots in a feeling of inadequacy within them. On top of that, of course, some men are just thugs!

Equally, though, many women want men to be what they call “more sensitive”, or more caring – more considerate. On the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with that, although women too, in both the physical and psychological sense have generally become much more antagonistic themselves and tend to be anything but the well behaved and even demure types they once were. That too is fine, but many take that to extremes and are often strident and exhibit personality traits that would be unpleasant in a man, but are (to me) downright ugly in a woman. Don’t get me wrong here, I love confident, strong and self sufficient women. I adore that they feel empowered and able to be themselves, but there’s empowered and there’s needlessly downright spiteful – the two are not the same and spitefulness too, to me, usually comes from underlying feelings of one’s own inadequacy.

However, all that said and in my opinion, it’s a feature of modern life that people – men and women – seem to have forgotten how to behave decently. I’m not using the word in its sexual sense – I’m all in favour of women in particular being as indecent as they like – please! But I do mean having consideration for another’s feelings and wellbeing. In other words (although I’m not religious) I think that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, as we are instructed in the Bible, is a very good maxim by which to live. I know I’m probably paraphrasing, but then, as I said, I’m not religious.

The fact is that men and women do usually have entirely different priorities and concerns in their lives. Women don’t seem to me (as a generalisation) to want to believe that, but it is largely just a fact of evolution and I can’t see a damned thing wrong with it! For instance: some women will complain, “He doesn’t do his share of the housework.” That’s probably true of those who are not “new men” (thank heavens there are still some that aren’t), but then who is it decides what constitutes “the housework” that needs to be done? Right! Usually the “her” who’s bitching. If you go into an average single guy’s apartment, it’ll often likely be a mess. He just doesn’t “see” what most women will see, so what the complainant in this example is really saying is, “He doesn’t take his share of what I want done!” and that is something very different.

So, girls… we are different (thank heavens once again) and I have no problem with you wanting things to be your way, that’s your right and good for you – but, if that’s the case and your partner doesn’t feel the same, do it yourself! Stop complaining just because the whole world doesn’t see things your way, or else you’ll have to wait until your guy gets around to it (if ever), or go and find another male who’s a bit more timid.

Of course, if you’re wise, instead of bitching, you’ll deal: you want a sparkling house and help with that (or whatever else it is that’s all important to you and your guy doesn’t care much about) – fine, but he wants what he sees as a hot piece of ass – and that’s about it, usually! What’re you gonna do about that, honey?

Now… who’s going to be first in line to tell me how that’s all rubbish?


A Difficult Subject

Posted in The Blog Spy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2011 by AF

Wearing my Blog Spy hat, I’ve come across something that I feel is both difficult to deal with and important – well, it’s not just something that I feel is important, it is important – it’s bloody vital in fact.

This, apparently, is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the USA. I suppose that the very worst aspect of this is that it’s sufficiently widespread that there appears to be a need for such a movement at all – what is it with humanity that it can be so damned awful?

Sorry, I digress somewhat… Anyway, I came across this site and I was struck by this realistic and apparently honest post by a victim of childhood sexual abuse – I said this was a difficult subject, didn’t I? It’s also much more serious than I tend to be on this site. However, the post is not particularly ugly, or graphic, but in my opinion it does go a long way towards explaining many of the failures and difficulties of our current approach to this whole matter. If you feel inclined (and I hope you do) please take a few moments to go and read this quite long, but well written article on the subject of one young girl’s experiences and the views it has left her with. The blog is called “Sociology of Sheena” and is full of interesting material on all sorts of subjects. The writer is Sheena LaShay and, in spite of her childhood experiences, she appears to be a well balanced and exciting young woman with artistic flair.

The piece in question, to my mind, quite clearly indicates what I have long thought is silly – the daft idea that we should “protect” children from knowledge about sex, rather than discussing it openly as “just another topic”. Of course, one needs to keep what our young ones hear, see and experience within the bounds of what they can understand at their particular age, but attempting to keep children ignorant of reality and what is euphemistically called “innocent” is, I think, not only utter tripe, but inherently dangerous for the kids themselves. Knowledge is power and ignorance equals increased risk. In the case of children, they are instinctively more aware of sex (at its most basic level) than most adults appear to realise and trying to pretend otherwise is just plain ridiculous as well as doing the children themselves a huge disservice.

What we are often foisting onto our children is a composite of our own hang-ups, insecurities and embarrassments about a subject that is vital to both us and future generations. If you don’t try very hard to be open and honest with your children on this vital subject, then it’s not doing them any good. They have to know about sex, whether you wish that was so or not. Heck, they have a right to know about sex and the best way you can teach them is by being easy, confident and unflustered by the subject, answering any questions they may have in a sensible and appropriate way. When a young child first asks the dreaded “where did I come from” question, a simple “mummy”, or “mummy’s tummy” is sufficient – when it’s not enough, they’ll ask again.

In spite of its apparent prevalence if we listen to the media, serious sexual abuse of children (particularly deliberate abuse by paedophiles) is much rarer than many think it is and, in any event, an informed child is a forewarned child – just be aware that making them scared of the world, sex and strangers is not a good idea unless they can get the danger into perspective (and if you can’t, they won’t). Most sexual abuse involves someone the child knows and only becomes really serious because the child cannot spot it for what it is and talk about it to understanding adults who will not become horrified and make the child feel dirty, guilty or at fault – especially if, at a basic level, that child experiences some physical pleasure, whilst at the same time being emotionally distraught and/or confused – that is just nature.

Once again – please take the time to read the full article here.

Sex is never a bad thing, it’s a beautiful thing, but there are those who misuse it and abuse trust placed in them.