Women’s Sports are Boring


If I had 50c for every time I heard someone say that men’s sports are just more interesting that women’s? I’d have the world’s fanciest pair of custom skates, a wall of wheels for every occasion, and a whole new wardrobe full of that fancy workout gear made of space-age fabrics with go-faster stripes. And maybe even a pony.

Women’s sports aren’t interesting? Y’know, whenever I hear someone say that a sport is less interesting to watch when women play it, I mentally file them away as someone who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about athleticism, skill, teamwork or dedication and who’s just into sports as a way to… damn, now I’m trying to think of a non-ciscentric way to say “wave their dicks around” and I’ve got nothin. (Anyone wanna help me out there?)

Sports are interesting or they’re not, and different types of bodies playing the same sport makes it MORE interesting, not less. Because sports are all about the combination of skill, knowledge, aggression and physicality, and different kinds of bodies bring different approaches to doing just about anything on a field or a track or a rink or a pool or a slope or a pitch.

Women’s sports tend to be less well-funded than men’s. We tend to have a lower profile. We don’t get tens of thousands of people watching us play. We rarely get the fancy sponsorship. We rarely get to play as a profession- we fit our training around our day jobs instead.

And we play, even though we don’t get paid, and even though we don’t get acknowledged or taken seriously. When you watch women’s sports, you’re not watching people who are in it for the adulation and the glory. You’re watching people who live and breathe their game, who love it and dedicate themselves to it despite the fact that hardly anyone outside their circles gives a rat’s ass about what they’re doing.

But, y’know, if you’d rather watch a bunch of overpaid guys run around the place.. be my guest.

Oh, and if for a second you think that men’s sports have a monopoly on mindblowing feats of skill or flat-out aggression? Watch and weep:

Edges are Important and Hauss the Boss is EPIC: credit rdjunkies

Credit Masochistic Eventuality. THAT is Fuck You Get Past Me derby.women

But that’s just my favourite sport. What’s yours? Who’re the amazing women playing it? Who do you love watching play, and how does she blow your mind every time?

Gender Recognition, Feminism, Intolerance, and Food Poverty. Linkspam!


A few things I think everyone should be reading today:

Why society still needs feminism

Just in case you were wondering:

Because to men, a key is a device to open something. For women, it’s a weapon we hold between our fingers when we’re walking alone at night.

..Because a girl was roofied last semester at a local campus bar, and I heard someone say they think she should have been more careful. Being drugged is her fault, not the fault of the person who put drugs in her drink?

..Because out of 7 billion people on the planet, more than 1 billion women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes. Women and girls have their clitorises cut out, acid thrown on them and broken bottles shoved up them as an act of war. Every second of every day. Every corner of the Earth.

And also, yeah, nobody burns their bras. Not on purpose, anyhow.

Poor little rich girl… Without the rich bit.

If you’re not reading Jack Monroe, you should be. I came for the cheap&tasty recipes, and stayed for the social commentary. And the recipes.

There’s a queer sort of juxtaposition that comes with Being Ms Jack Monroe at the moment.

I spent this afternoon emailing Councillors and other people regarding the recent decision to suspend my Housing Benefit claim based on the (incorrect) assumption that I am sitting on a £25k cheque from my publisher (I’m not) and am sitting on a pile of cheques from newspaper interview and TV appearances (I’m not).

But I was doing that, on the 1414 train from Southend Central to Fenchurch Street, as I’d just been invited to a fundraising dinner by a friend with a spare ticket, via the Soho Food Feast in Soho Square.

But it’s a queer kind of juxtaposition, when you have a beautiful dress to wear to dinner tonight, but on quick inspection of the shoe collection, decide that the soft chiffon dipped hem just won’t go with the shoes you were issued in the Fire Service, your brogues, or your one pair of trainers, so you hang it back in the wardrobe and decide you can’t justify buying a pair of shoes. Not even in the sale at Primark.

Transgender people seek State recognition to escape gender ‘limbo’

Orla Tinsley (who is excellent, by the way, and you should go follow her on Twitter immediately) has managed to do the impossible: write an article about trans* issues in a major national publication that isn’t going to get you a line, never mind a full house, on a trans* discussion bingo card.

Nineteen-year-old student Tyron (he wants to be identified only by his first name) says it is easier to be young and transgender today but the lack of legislation does enable discrimination. “It’s easier than it was and it’s becoming a more known term,” says theNUI Maynooth student, who is currently looking for a job to pay his way through college.

“In interviews I only bring up my gender identity if they want to contact a previous employer,” he says. “Of the last three job interviews, only one was willing to hire a transgender person. The other two said it was not suitable for their working environment.”

It is also extremely important that you click that link in order to admire the extremely stylish tie which Ben borrowed off me for the photo. Yeah, I know, it’s a serious topic. But that’s my tie in the Irish Times!

Is intolerance prevalent in Ireland?

Aileen Donegan- another person with an excellent blog and twitter to follow- in TheJournal. Bet you guess the answer before you click. This, by the way, is a brilliant example of why we need to Shut Up And Listen when we’re privileged. Because otherwise we just don’t see whats going on.

As recently as April I asked a friend ‘Is racism big in Ireland?’ We were attending the same training course on hate speech. I guess my innocent question caught him off guard: ’Yes Aileen, racism is a hugeproblem in Ireland,’ he said with a tone of awe and surprise that offended me. Though Ireland, my home, has never seemed intolerant to me, the last week in news has given me some much-needed insight into Irish attitudes.

…The ECRI quote a disturbing statistic from the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study, which states that 7.6 per cent of Traveller families have no access to running water. Resistance from local residents, and the “lack of political will” of local authorities are cited as reasons why Traveller accommodation is difficult to attain in Irish society. This is hardly surprising. Remember when local residents set fire to a house that Travellers were set to live in?

(By the way? Don’t Read The Comments.)

Disabled man refused entry to nightclub after Scottish Charity Awards

Didja hear the one about the guy who had the police called on him for the crime of trying to get into a nightclub while disabled?

Actor Robert Softley Gale, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, attempted to enter the Polo Lounge in Glasgow with his husband Nathan Gale after attending the Scottish Charity Awards with the Equality Network.

They claim that the bouncers informed them that they could not enter because the nightclub didn’t have disabled facilities.

Despite the couple explaining that they wanted to enter the popular gay nightclub anyway, they say staff continued to refuse to allow them to enter.

“The manager came and said that they didn’t have disabled facilities so they weren’t letting us in,” Nathan told TFN. “We said, you can’t not let us in just because we’re disabled, that’s a violation of the Equality Act, but he still wouldn’t let us in.”

Charming. Oh, and Robert Softley Gale is yet another person to follow on Twitter. You guys, it’s all about the Twitter today. And speaking of disability and ableism, have something from Captain Awkward:

#487: I use a wheelchair, and people are condescending as fuck.

Dear Captain Awkward:

I’m woman in my late 30s who uses a power wheelchair due to a medical condition that causes severe physical fatigue.

Often, strangers – retail staff, waitstaff, members of the general public – assume that because I use a power wheelchair, I have an intellectual disability. I don’t. I have a university degree and I read widely.

How should I respond to people:

- talking loudly to me;
– talking to me in a sing-song voice;
– being condescending/patronizing;
– calling me love/sweetie;
– telling me that I remind them of their 12 year old daughter with Down syndrome;
– praising me for putting rubbish in a rubbish bin as though I’ve won a gold medal at the Olympics;
– telling me that you eat cupcakes?

Signed,

Smart Crip Girl

You know that you want to hear what the Captain has to say.

A Racist B&B?

Speaking of intolerance, Tara Flynn’s husband got an unpleasant reminder that Ireland isn’t above blatant racism lately. Here’s what happened then:

On a recent trip home, I got a reminder that Ireland Of The Welcomes can be conditional.  By now very familiar with Kinsale, my husband offered to take the dog out for his last walk of the night. I sat chatting with my mum. 20 minutes later, my husband returned. He looked angry. “Well,” he said, “I haven’t been called those names in a while.” A group of young people standing outside a bar in the centre of town had shouted racist epithets at him. Some of those epithets have made it into my clip but we’ve decided to cover them with sound effects. They’re just too vile. They are shocking in the abstract and absolutely horrifying when applied to someone I love. In my hometown. In 2013.

My husband is a tolerant person. He just stared the namecallers down and they – like most cowards – shut up when faced with this silent challenge. He tried to laugh it off in the re-telling, saying it wasn’t his first time and that he’d heard worse. But that’s not the point.  I was mortified. Stunned. Fuming.

So I wrote a sketch about it.

 

One more thing

That’s all the links I’ve got for ya, but one more little thinglet before I go. Nominations have just opened for 2013’s Irish Blog Awards! Now, I’m not saying that you should immediately go and nominate me- I’m far too Irish for that sort of carry-on. Although I’ll admit that I do like getting the chance to dress up fancy and eat free canapes and photobomb legit fancy people. But shure have a think about who your favourite Irish bloggers are- I’m lookin’ at you, Geoff’s Shorts- and give a nomination to the people who deserve a bit of recognition. Remember: attention is to bloggers what money is to everyone else.

Empowering Women Through Secularism Conference: Help me get to it!


Hey, Readers!

You know I love yas, right? And you know how I do my absolute best to come up with interesting things for you to read? And you know all the conversations we have here about feminism and social justice and secularism and all of that  really juicy, interesting stuff? I’ve got something you’ll be interested in. And I’ve got a favour to ask.

Empowering Women Through Secularism

From atheist.ie

This June, Atheist Ireland will be hosting the country’s first ever Empowering Women Through Secularism conference. They’ve got a fascinating lineup of speakers both from ’round these parts and internationally. From Ireland, we’re talking people like:

And they’ll be bringing in the likes of this lot from overseas:

From the conference page, here’s the kind of topics that’ll be discussed:

Topics will include

  • How religions discriminate against women
  • How religiously-influenced laws discriminate against women
  • The history of women in atheist and secular activism
  • Healthcare, sexuality and reproductive rights
  • Education, careers, and social policy
  • Combatting violence against women
  • Political strategies, media and building coalitions
  • The future of women in atheist and secular activism
  • Declaration on Empowering Women Through Secularism

If you’re in Dublin and have any interest in feminism and secularism from a gloriously international perspective? You gotta sign up for this.

Help me get there!

Here’s the bit where I ask you a favour. As some of you know, I’m not exactly Scrooge McDucking my way through my vault of eurodollarpounds. I am, in fact, a broke-ass intern. Registration for the conference is still going at an early bird price of just €100 for the weekend, but even that is beyond my means right now. I would really, really love to get to this conference, but I can’t do it on my own.

This is where my readers come in. Help me raise the €£$ to get to the conference, and I’ll blog my little heart out at it. Have a speaker you’ve always wanted to ask a burning question to? I’ll ask them! I’ll livetweet sessions. I’ll barely sleep for the weekend and actually make it to the early morning talks and panels and I’ll recap every damn thing I go to. If you won’t be able to make it to Dublin that weekend, this is your chance to get real-time info ‘n’ updates on what promises to be one hell of a fascinating conference.

I would really love to get to this. I can’t make it on my own. Give a brokeass blogger a hand?

Patricia Hill Collins? On MY internet? Today?


Patricia Hill Collins is brilliant. Seriously. She gave a lecture in UCD on Wednesday night. I spent the hour frantically scribbling notes, trying to keep composed and look like a Sensible Adult. Inside my head, though?

It turns out, though, that the lecture theater couldn’t actually hold the entire population of Dublin, never mind Ireland. Or Europe, or everywhere. But guess what? The lovely folks at West Dublin Access Radio are interviewing her! Today! At 3.30pm GMT! And if you miss it, it’ll be repeated at the same time Monday! Tune in here! Or, y’know, click in, or whatever we’re calling it these days.

I mean, unless you don’t like listening to one of the people who originally articulated intersectionality as a lens for analysing and interacting with multiple systems of oppression and marginalisation. Or, I guess, if you have to work or sleep or something. I hear people do those things.

But if you get the chance, she’s well worth a listen.

Oh, and as I’m fangirling? GPOY TIME!

Internalisation: A story of a double bind


Sometimes it sucks to live in a world that insists that if you do not look a certain way you are not only unkempt but unworthy, repulsive, unacceptable. But if you let this affect your visible actions in the slightest, you are weak, shallow, unacceptable.

(Yes, I have had serious hat/helmet hair all week. Yes, this bothers me. Yes, it bothers me that it bothers me. Yes, that does too. Sometimes this stuff is exhausting.)

The Feministiest Feminist That Ever Feministed


From the comments on Julie Burchill, the brilliant Pennyposh (whose blog you should absolutely go read immediately) had this to say and it bears repeating. Over and over and over again:

The point is not to be the feministiest feminist that ever feministed. The point is compassion for our fellow human beings. It’s about the freedom to be, the freedom to express ourselves in whatever way we feel fits us best. It’s about freedom from prejudice and hatred and bile, freedom from arbitrary societal expectations. It’s about the basic human right to simply exist as you are. It is the right to simply be oneself, free from the hatred of others.

Any time you are not fighting for that right, you are not fighting for feminism.
If you fancy seeing more of that Penny has to say, she’s expanded on the topic today with Feminism is a Human Rights Movement. You could do a lot worse than having a click of it, I’d say. She’s only been blogging there a month or so but she has oodles of brilliant stuff up already. 

Feminsm est mort! | gaelick


Check out my latest post over at Gaelick- this one on Carla Bruni’s baffling assertion that we no longer need feminism:

Y’know what’s strange? Carla Bruni seems to think that, well, feminism is outdated and unnecessary. Despite having been pilloried for years-old sexy pictures when she moved on to a more ‘respectable’ career path. Despite having been branded with sexualised, misogynistic insults when she defended a woman sentences to death for adultery. Despite working with women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. Despite all of that, Bruni ain’t a feminist. And she doesn’t see why any of us are either.

What?

Read the rest at Feminsm est mort! | gaelick.

And as you’re there, why not check out some of the other things Gaelickers have been writing about this week?

Butt it’s sexy:

 

Dudes, there is an elephant in the room, and I think it’s time we talked about it. Not enough people are talking about this elephant, and by elephant I of course mean your butt. Nobody is talking about your butt. The Saddest Story.

Anal sex is one of the hardest things to talk about, because most of society thinks butts are kind of gross. Wrong! I bet most of you guys have very lovely bottoms, bottoms you want to share with equally lovely tops, but how to broach this incredibly awkward subject?? It’s a tough one.

Being a Gay Teacher:

Monday morning. I have mixed feelings. I’m looking forward to work and I’m slightly dreading it. I can’t wait to see the children again, the smile on their faces when they come into the classroom, I have a cool art lesson planned, and I got new toys over the weekend that I know they’re going to love. I get to school, the morning goes well. We all have fun. I have one of those great moments where you can see progress in a particular child and you know your hard work is paying off. Our nursery rhyme this week is Incy Wincy Spider, they all laugh and clap at my impression of Incy Wincy falling down in the rain, I’m here ’till Friday kids!

Bell goes. It’s lunchtime. Staffroom is calling. Now for your typical Monday morning conversation. I have a few scenarios where I employ different techniques to avoid anyone finding out I’m gay.

BeLonG To Blueprint for Protecting LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees:

Speaking about their experiences, a young gay refugee from Southern Africa said: “This is the truth: I don’t think I’d be here right now if it wasn’t for BeLonG To. I really wanted to kill myself, I just really wanted to die and get away from this. But then after talking to people from this service, encouraging me and constantly telling me that everything would be ok, and still giving me room to express myself all the time… They have helped me a lot, I have grown, and I have learned how to accept myself.”

Álainn or Appallin’: Janet Mock:

Former people.com editor Janet Mock never intended to be an icon but that is exactly what she is.  Coming out as a transgender woman in May 2011 Mock did an interview with Marie Claire entitled I Was Born a Boy.  The open and frank account of her life was, and still is, deeply moving and lead her on the path to become an amazing advocate for our community.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Janet was educated in the University of Hawaii as well as doing graduate work with the school of journalism, NYU.  She is both a writer and an activist, working out of Harvey Milk High School NY as part of the Hetrick-Martin Institute where she is involved in the education of LGBT youth, specifically creating transgender-specific programs.

And loads and loads more!

You Don’t Own Me


Thing the first:

this is brilliant.

“You Don’t Own Me” PSA from You Don’t Own Me on Vimeo.

Thing the Second:

Want to get involved in making an Irish version? Y’know you do! Pop an email over to prochoicedublin at gmail dawt com, grab a webcam and a bunch of uppity women/uterus-havers/combination-of-above and get singing, karaoke-style! Doooo iiiiiit.

March for Choice roundup!


Here’s where I’m posting any links to blog posts, articles, video and pictures of the March for Choice last Saturday.

Articles and Posts

Rebecca, who I met in real life the day of the march, has a post up on her blog.

TheJournal.ie had a great article with a wee bit of context on the Irish situation, as well as tons of pics.

Broadsheet.ie have a photoset live from the march, as well as an article questioning varying reports of the numbers of people who showed up.

Forty Days for Choice’s writeup:

Yesterday in Dublin was a beautiful day: a 24-hour, sunshine-filled break from the rains which had been pouring down on us all the rest of the week. More importantly, it was a truly historic occasion; it was the first time people in their thousands had gathered together in our capital city to celebrate being pro-choice together, and to call for the provision of safe, legal and accessible abortion to be made available to people living on the island of Ireland in their own countries.

Here’s a photoset by Michael Stamp, and one from Paula Geraghty.

CorkFeminista have a press release on the march itself, as well as an interesting post on the history of abortion (lack of) rights in Ireland. Would be interesting for all you non-Irish people if you’d like to find out more about the background here.

Metro Herald’s  article.

Sophie from Lesbilicious was at work in O’Connell Street when she saw the march going past.

Campus.ie talk about the march, the impending report, and Ireland’s many abortion-related referenda.

And, of course, can’t leave out my own review over at Feminist Ire with my experiences and pics.

Videos 

Choice Ireland spokesperson Sinead Ahern speaks for Generation X and gives a background on how Irish women have been successively failed by our state:

TD Clare Daly speaking after the march:

The march passing by Stephen’s Green.

My AMAZING BFF and bromiga extraordinaire Ariel speaking about the LGBTQ and pro-choice movements, how queer women need to speak up about abortion, and recognition of the fact that it ain’t just women who need abortions:

Mara Clarke, the “American who lives in London and helps women in Ireland and Northern Ireland get abortions”, talking about the Abortion Support Network.

Trade Union TV’s excellent report:

Anyone have anything I’ve missed? I’m updating this post as I find more, so do check back.

But before you go, and if you click on nothing else, go to the Abortion Support Network and do what you can to donate or let others know about them! What they do is so important and makes lifelong differences to Irish women.

Greetings and Salutations


I am in the process of buying a thing online. I get to the page where I am asked to enter my details. One of the required fields is ‘Salutation’.

The available salutations are as follows: “Mr, Miss, Mrs, Dr”.

This, gentle readers, is what we call a Conundrum. I go by Ms. Always have. Unless I get myself a PhD, I always will. I have no desire whatsoever for utter strangers to call me by a name which demonstrates, primarily, whether or not I am considered by polite society to be available to fuck.

This leaves out Miss and Mrs. My marital status is none of your goddamned business unless you want to marry me. In which case you hopefully know me well enough to know my marital status already.

The only other two are Dr and Mr. Given that I identify pretty strongly as female and have (so far) an MA as opposed to a PhD, neither of these is entirely honest, either. However, I am currently in a situation where I have no choice but to pick one.

The question, therefore, is this: Do I have more respect for the institutions of education and academia, or for those of arbitrarily-defined gender?

Mister it is, then.