Well, I'll go to the foot of my stairs...

Often startled, frequently amused, sometimes scared; rarely speechless. Can be found at witchywoo22@yahoo.co.uk

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For Witchy-woo's Wedneday Wow this week...

...I am just loving this.

No comment or opinion - I'm just loving it.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The wonder of modern science...

...means that we're well on the way to being able to produce sperm (don't you just love that dinky little diagram?) with little or no physiological involvement from men.

The current journalistic angle seems to favour the 'breakthrough for infertile couples' approach - which is fine - anything that helps has got to be good. But, I have to say, that wasn't my first thought. My first thought was "yay! real choice for women at last!" I mean, you decide to have a baby, you get inseminated with the artificial sperm and you have your child. No need to bother with men at all! No 'getting to know you' anxieties. No messy stuff. No false promises to share the childcare so you can still have some semblance of a life. None of the pain of 'staying together for the sake of the children' when it all goes horribly wrong and no vicious and costly residence and contact battles with some bloke whose only motivation is to 'make you pay' for 'trapping' him into this situation in the first place by using the fragile sensibilities of your offspring.

How fab is that?

If women had independent access to a procedure like this - if it became the norm - then even miserable old sods like Michael Buerk wouldn't be able to moan about men just being "sperm doners" because men really would be largely irelevant. It'd have a huge impact on the dynamics of gender relations - can you imagine it? How free would women be... free enough to be whole, human people. Free enough to be taken seriously. Imagine that.

Men, on the other hand, would probably experience a huge deepening of their current identity crisis. I mean, crikey, what's the point of having all this privilege if it actually gets them diddly squat in the great scheme of things? Gods. They might even have to start recognising and dealing with their bogus entitlement in ways that really go against the grain if they're to carve out a role for themselves in a world where women have real control of their own fertility. No more of that ridiculous idea of 'ownership' of women, no more laying down the law about what we can and can't do with our own selves, no more bullying 'boss-man' behaviour.

Women would have increased control of their own lives and men would lose control of women's lives. I do hope it catches on.

*Disclaimer* It's very, very hot here tonight (still 24 degrees at 10.00pm) and today, though Thursday, is my Friday so I'm feeling fanciful. This post is somewhat tongue in cheek and I am not a scientist.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

There was a programme...

...on BBC1 last night called 'Angry Wimmin'. It was about the rise and fall of radical feminism in the UK in the 1970's and a kind of 'where are you now?' for the leading figures in the movement at the time. It did my heart good to see all the old footage and all the old faces - literally old; those women are in their 50's and 60's now.

Back in the day, when they were young, they broke away from the political Left where, as feminists, their arguments for the liberation of women were brushed aside with words to the effect of "Yes, yes, yes. We'll deal with all that when the real battle's been won" by the men who, of course, were in charge and organising the agenda. The women were expected to make the tea and sandwiches, mind the children and be sexually available to the men. Socialist feminism didn't appear to further their liberation at all while men were in charge.

Having identified that the main oppression faced by women didn't originate with capitalism but with patriarchy and men, they formed their own movement and a large part of the programme focused on the radical separatists. Some women tried to erradicate males from their lives altogether. They set up women only houses where even boy children weren't allowed. One woman explained how her brother (whom she loved very much) came to visit her with his girlfriend and he had to sit outside in the car while his sister and his girlfriend were indoors chatting. Another woman explained how she left her children with their father to join an all women house. She had both a girl child and a boy child but couldn't separate them by taking only her daughter with her so she left them both; such was the strength of her conviction that women only spaces were the key to the liberation of all women that she left her children in order to achieve her aim.

And they wore comfy clothes, these women. And shoes they could run in. Gone were the strict diktats of the fashion industry. Gone were any notions of having to buy beauty products in order to try to make oneself attractive to men. Nope, there was none of that for them. They were trying to find out who they could be as just themselves without the negative and negating influence patriarchy and men have on women and their lives. They were exploring their potential as women.

But it was all pretty fair. If you couldn't have a boy child in an all women house, nor could you have a male cat. This movement was totally female oriented. Totally.

The programme lingered a while with political lesbianism but not in a lascivious way - nor did it examine the issues of political lesbianism too closely. I guess that's for another programme... But the feeling was clear - all women for women: and men are the enemy. Male violence against women was identified as the major tool of patriarchal oppression - domestic violence, sexual violence, prostitution and pornography - male violence, or the threat of violence, against women was (is?) the major tool that curtails our lives, keeps us frightened of and dependent upon men; keeps us powerless. Action soon followed. Women marched against rape in the streets, set fire to sex shops, protested in numbers against the various ways men blatantly oppress women. They were loud and they were angry, they were strong and they were united. They were a force to be reckoned with.

Someone from WAVAW (Women Against Violence Against Women) in London said about how they'd have a meeting on Wednesday nights where they'd bring stuff they'd seen that week - a new strip club or sex shop, some sexist advertising maybe - and by Friday they had an action ready and would go along to wherever it was and cause mayhem. They were protesting against patriarchy's appraisal of 'women's place' and how that impacted on all women, everywhere. Nowhere at all did any of them blame another woman for her 'complicity' in the oppression of women. Academic radical feminist analysis at the time placed responsibility for the oppression of women fairly and squarely on patriarchial systems of oppression. It still does. Radical feminists did not - and still don't - point the finger at other women.

The programme showed lots of the old feminist slogans and almost all of them still ring true today but the one that gets me every time is "NO MAN HAS THE RIGHT".

You can see how the patriarchal establishment became worried. These women were seriously challenging the status quo and 'ordinary' women were agreeing with them! 'Ordinary' women were becoming politicised, starting to question things, objecting to the way they were marginalised by society, struggling out of the boxes they'd been forced into as girls by the expectations of men. 'Ordinary' women were recognising their own oppression and that of women everywhere. There was a potential uprising happening and, such was the rising level of feminist consciousness - sisterhood, if you like - the establishment was unsure which way to turn but, obviously, this whole movement had to be squashed somehow.

Unfortunately, the establishment didn't have to lift a finger. Feminism ate itself. Passionate (compassionate?) feminism was splintered by identity feminism. Where those women had been fighting for the generic liberation of women the movement was splintered when issues other than common genitalia were introduced.

Maybe the initial movement was too small. It didn't take into account the particular oppressions faced by disabled women, black women, ethnic minority women, lesbian disabled black women, vegetarian women, vegan women, women against the bomb, etc. But I don't think it could have. I believe those women who marched and torched and ripped and shouted and yelled and left their children and their families etc. were fighting for the basic liberation of all women and, as a result, were unable to specify the particular interests of those who felt marginalised by the fight. I think they were fighting for the liberation of women as a Class and I think that, without the rise of identity feminism, they'd have achieved more for women than they were able to at the time. The establishment, after all, was running scared.

The GLC (Greater London Council) under the leadership of Ken Livingstone (bless his heart, I'm absolutely sure his intentions were honourable) set up a Women's Committee as a direct result of the actions of WAVAW and Angry Wimmin and they did lots of good work. For example; it was discovered that women travelling on London Transport did feel scared and vulnerable when faced with endless adverts that depicted their physiology as sexually titillating and available to men so a Code of Practice was introduced that went some way to eliminate sexist advertising on the buses and tube in London. The Women's Committee had a funding budget for women's projects - most of which went into supporting childcare schemes but, even so, this free'd many women from 24 hour childcare duties and enabled them to become participating members of society.

Some of these ideas caught on to some extent. National Government has a Minister for Women (albeit a shared post these days). My local (Labour) council had a Women's Officer in the 80's while they were in power. 'Women's issues' were taken more seriously as a result of those angry wimmin. But when the funding for 'women's issues' was withdrawn the avenue for any political change was closed.

But they helped, those angry wimmin. We have Refuges for women escaping domestic violence and sexual trafficking and we have Rape Crisis Centres for women who have experienced sexual violence. Both hugely under-funded but at least we now have a network of organisations to mop up the damage done after male violence against women. Progress, of sorts.

I think there are lessons to be learned from those Angry Wimmin and what happened to their passion. They just cared about women and the shit that happens to us - they didn't give a flying fuck about what the establishment thought about them, they just wanted the patriarchal oppression of women to end - but their movement was destroyed by the blinkeredness of factions. It made me think. It made me think, in particular about how and why women as a Class are so easily separated from one another when we're ostensibly fighting for one another. It made me wonder whether we're still caught in the faction motivated but media driven backlash of identity feminism. Oh yes, the media quickly caught on to the political divisions within feminism - and they still wheel them out as 'news', even now.

It even made me wonder about 'feminist' as a label. 'Feminist', for me, is about fighting for women's freedom from patriarchal oppression. For me, the freedom for an individual woman to lapdance for some bloke comes way after the freedom of all women from the after effects of that action. I'm not an identity feminist, in spite of all my 'ism's', and I'm aware that what I do impacts on the lives of other women. Women as a Class matter to me so it's women as a Class first, for me. I can't be pro-pornography or pro-prostitution because i) I recognise the harm often (usually?) done to the individual and ii) I recognise the harm done to women as a Class by both pornography and prostitution. As a result, I can't defend them - at all. Ever. I have no feminist tools that enable me to say "this is good for women as a Class". Is there a 'women as a Class centred pro-pornsitution' person out there who can argue this with me?

I just really hope that support for 'performing' sex for male gratification doesn't bring down the fragile women's movement now the way that the passion of those Angry Wimmin was decimated by the self-obsessed factions in the 70's.

We all just want better lives for women, right?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

To all pro-pornstitution 'feminists' out there...

...The best way to stop the global scourge of sexual slavery of women and girls is not to reduce men's slavering for warm, wet fuck holes but to offer oneself to the task.

How does that feel....thinking about that? Would you?

Would you choose that as a way to feed your kids, pay your bills, keep your particular wolf from the door?


Why not?

So how come you kind of 'elect' and hide behind those women/girls who don't have the same level of choice that you do? Poor women, women of colour, drug/alcohol addicted women, girl children, teenage runaways, sexually abused in childhood women, etc. Women and girls whose humanity you should actually be fighting for - as feminists.

Instead, it seems to me, you're saying it's ok that these women/girls are in sexual slavery because it's somehow their choice. They're somehow 'living their dream'....or is it your dream? The phallic dream? I don't know. Whatever.

All I know is that you're not fighting for them. You're complicit in their destruction. You're colluding with patriarchy in dividing women into 'them' and 'us'.


I want to see every pro-pornstitution 'feminist' put her money where her mouth is (hah) and do a six month stint in the job (or send her daughter in if she's 'too old') before she tells me that it's 'ok' for any other woman/girl to go through it. And I want a report about how great it is to command such power and how it's touched and released her innate sexuality and re-formed her as a woman and made her feel sooooo good about herself she does talks about it to girls in junior schools.

Actually, I don't want any woman on this Earth to go through it but, hey, seems to me that some women need to properly understand exactly what feminism means.

If you're pro-pornography or pro-prostitution you are NOT a feminist. These institutions are the props of patriarchy and have nothing to do with women's self determination, ergo they are NOT feminist.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Witchy-Woo's Wednesday Wow...

...it's here at last!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


...is an amazing post on an amazing blog.

However you think about women and weight, Christi Nielsen's message is poignant and powerful.

Everything she posts is so graphic. She posts it graphically. We are what we look like and if what we look like doesn't happen to comply with the accepted, patriarchial, 'attractive' norm - well then, we're fucked, basically. And that's how we feel - fucked.

I'm interested in female body image. I believe it affects how we relate to our world.

Without being intrusive, I'd like anyone who sees this post to take a look through Christi's blog, have a think about what they see and let me have their thoughts and comments. I'll be responding on this one.
Ha ha! OMG! 'Bloke Coke'...

...is as mad as 'irons for men'.

Is patriarchy eating itself?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Witchy-Woo's Wednesday Wow...

...is another one from Alyx at Mad Sheila's Musings.

In her post The Performing Sex, Alyx examines "the sexist co-option of female sexuality" and "how female [sexual] desire has increasingly become a performance of desire".

It's an excellent piece delivered in Alyx's own, inimitable style.

A taster:

Faking desire and feeling desire are two separate but easily confusable things. The reason the former is promoted as Female Sexual Expression Du Jour is because it’s good for patriarchal business, and the reason the latter elicits sneers from the penis gallery is because it threatens to send that business bankrupt.

Go read.
I watched the BBC1 6 o'clock news tonight...

...and there was a comparison report on India and China - both potential big league players in Western economies, apparently. (I looked for a link to the report but all I could find was this)

There was footage from India...tapping in to Western 'needs' with individuals making a personal fortune from the cheap production of goods for consumption in the Western market. And then there was footage of people from China tapping in to the more costly production of goods for the upper end of the same market.

Or was it the other way round?

I don't know. I don't remember. I don't remember because the one thing that struck me in the whole report was the almost total absence of women. The only women that figured in the whole item were semi-clothed actresses gyrating in a Bollywood movie that some male, entrepreneur in India was filmed watching. Women were obviously relegated to entertainment value only.

Of all the hoards of 'money-makers' filmed getting off trains, doing lunch, going about their work-a-day business - not one of them was a woman. Not one.

If it's true that money = power (and, currently, I have no reason to dispute that) my observation of developing countries from tonight's news is a perfect illustration of Class Woman's global powerlessness.

Apart from the fact that this so totally sucks in more ways than one, it's provoked thoughts and ideas for me that - once they're more concrete - I want to write about. So I'm posting this as a reminder to myself but I'd also like to hear everyone elses thoughts and ideas about women and monetary power, about women's place as movers and shakers in the global market place, about the money = power thing, about some reasons why there were no women at all in that report (other than the semi-naked ones).

What are your thoughts?