Scouse Bird Problems – Handbags at dawn – the feminism fall out

I posted a blog the other day about what feminism means to ME personally and in it I made light of what I consider to be the more trivial and ridiculous complaints of the feminist movement. I did this to highlight that by complaining about these unimportant matters such as men wolf whistling or trying to oust glamour models from their freely chosen and well paid professions, that they’re not helping their cause.  Just because a certain proportion of the female population personally don’t agree with lad mags or accepting compliments from men regarding their looks they try to force that upon society and now more and more women with, shall we say equilibrial views are rising up and saying ‘That’s not my feminism!’

That’s what I did and while the vast majority of comments (approx 50:1 I would estimate) were wholeheartedly in agreement with my blog, the aforementioned ‘uber’ feminists, which I’m sorry, I do NOT identify with were soon out in force, attacking me for daring to have a point of view that differs from theirs. Quite intimidating really…how ironic. They may argue that I attacked them in my previous blog with comments such as ‘shave your armpits’ etc but no, mine were irreverant comments poking fun at the stereotype their complaints had pigeon holed them into, NOT loaded with hate and bile such as the ones I received. For example; I belong in hell, I’m a disgrace to womankind, I cannot call myself a woman etc etc. Wow, as far as I’m concerned I’m a PERSON going out and achieving amazing things regardless of my gender. I will help anyone advance in the world if I can, man or woman because again I don’t think there should be barriers perpetuated between the sexes, I like to see people do well, not just women. I don’t consider being a woman to have hindered me or advanced me in any way and that’s what feminism is to me. If I had omitted the more flippant comments from the blog I don’t think there would have been much ground for a comeback as that seems to be what they’ve tacked onto – but that’s me, I say what I want because I can. Those sort of comments are what my writing style is all about but I’ll purposely avoid them here, just for you ‘feminists’ so you can’t discredit what I say on a technicality.

I found myself once again shaking my head this week when so called feminists were berating Beyonce as she’d worn a revealing outfit. Really? Years of her being a classy, independant, extremely successful, beautiful woman all discounted by one outfit. Woooowww. That’s some feminism you got there. To me, strong successful women doing whatever they want regardless of what people think such as Miley Cyrus, Beyonce and Rihanna ARE amazing feminists. How dare these women be sexually provocative!

Are you really all so arrogant that you think you speak for all women when you’re calling for banning topless models or eradicating men being able to express that they find women attractive? You don’t speak for me or anyone I know. I have many glamour models and women who write for lads mags following me and they find the movement to ban lads mags etc extremely offensive and I’m with them on that. How dare women or men for that matter tell anyone that how they earn a living is wrong. They’re not breaking any laws. (Also lets not bring page 3 into it because I never once referenced that. That’s a whole other kettle of fish to lads mags as Zoe Yak summarises beautifully further down. I, or any man, woman or child in this city wouldn’t touch The S*n with a shitty stick but for very different reasons). Also a wolf whistle is NOT harrassment, it’s an isolated incident. It would be different if it was the same person, repeatedly over a period of time and you’d asked them to stop, yes that’s definitely harrassment.

When I was 18 years old I had started a job in sales and the 35 yr old male manager locked me in the staff room and told me that he wanted to fuck me all over the shop. When I refused he tried to make life really difficult for me. That’s sexual harrassment. If I could turn back time I’d certainly tear him apart now but at 18 I wasn’t as assertive as I am now so at the time I just smashed all my sales targets in spite of him and got on with my life. The point is that even then I didn’t let his behaviour affect MY life and MY performance. I’m just going to add that the company in question was extremelty laddish and male orientated but that just wasn’t even a factor to me in how good I was at the job. You can’t control how people act towards you, only how you react to them. Do you like wolf whistles? Revel in it. Don’t like them? Say something to the perpetrator or ignore it not bitch about it all over social media, the whole ‘poor me I got paid a compliment’ thing doesn’t really drum up much sympathy with most people. I don’t appreciate being made to feel that I’m setting back womankind because I enjoy male attention.

There have been many times when it’s been suggested by men that it must be a man who runs the @scousebirdprobs twitter account as no woman is that funny. I’m not offended by that, broadly speaking there ARE more male comedians out there but I enjoy proving the doubters wrong rather than being offended. I’ll push the envelope on the lines of taste and decency with my tweets, perhaps too far sometimes but fuck it, male comedians like Frankie Boyle etc can do it so you can be damn sure I will too! It’s what keeps comedy edgy. I’ll talk about sex and objectify men because I’m not afraid to. (side note: I had a little look through a few of the women’s pictures who were slating me….all of them had at least one picture in their collection which was objectifying a man. Hmm)

Whatever your views on my blog are, whether you agree with me or missed the point and went off on one, I got you all talking. Raising the public consciousness on an issue is generally considered a good thing. I’ve had loads of e-mails from women expressing their points of view so I wanted to collate a few here so that you know it’s not just my voice.

First of all so that you can see I’m being fair and open here’s the Liverpool Uni Feminist Society’s response. They raise some good points on feminism, which I’ve never denied, I agree with the BIG issues just not the trivial ones (as mentioned above). A lot of women find them a huge turn off. Many of the points dismissing my blog have jumped to hysterical conclusions and totally missed the point of what I was saying for eg I apparently support rape now and also the banning topless models campaign isn’t about jealousy but page 3 girls are a huge cause of jealousy and inscurity amongst women (yeh I didn’t get that bit either), but you can make you own mind up

Georgia Lee says:

Feminism is a word that has began to lose its meaning. It is increasingly used by girls and women who fail to understand it’s true meaning, therefore weakening the word when used in valid arguments. Feminism arose as a result of women fighting for political, social and economic equality. I believe I am right in saying our ancestors achieved this? Certainly the women in my life have! The suffragettes fought, literally fought, for the right for women to be able to vote. Yes that’s right, to VOTE. Bringing in a casual wolf whistle or an admiring comment on our looks into this category is downright shameful. If you can’t hold your own and let somebody know you don’t like what they have said or done to you, be it a man or woman, then that is down to your own personality traits rather than it being a mans way of oppressing you! I am being honest when I say that every single woman in my life (and they are all fabulous) has at some point, commented on a mans looks and body as he walks past. The bolder and single of them have been known to comment loudly enough for them to hear. Is she guilty of putting him down and asserting her dominance over him? I think not. Life is what you make it. If you are convinced that men are still the ‘better sex’ then in your world, they will be. I have never and will never see men as better than me, mainly because I don’t think anyone is better than me. My dad always used to tell me that everyone can be as good as me, but nobody will ever be better than me, and it’s kind of stuck.

In this day and age women ARE free to be who we want, what we want and what we like. This includes the stay at home mum, the topless models and every woman in between. Let the little things go ladies, choose our battles wisely and realise your full potential. The only thing standing in your way is yourself.

Oh one more thing, SBP should be ashamed to call herself a woman? Well actually no, nobody should be. That’s the whole point of feminism, no? 
Also, when you resort to name calling in an argument, it’s an excellent way of letting everybody know you have lost control of said argument.

Zoe Yak (another writer) says:

I like to think of myself as an educated feminist* and I love that over the past few years ‘Feminism’ is no longer a dirty word associated with ‘men hating’ women who refuse to shave their armpits. Recently, however I’ve found myself despairing at some females who seem to think feminism is an exclusive club, just for certain women, and seem to think there’s only one way to be a feminist – cranks, I like to call them.

*(I read Caitlin Moran’s book once & I liked the whole ‘Girl Power’ thing with The Spice Girls as a kid – that’s more than enough credentials to be dubbing myself an ‘educated feminist’ I feel’.)

I had a quick scan of @scousebirdprobs and before I even finished the blog I thought, ‘She’s in for a world of abuse from the ‘Feminism Mafia’. I was correct. I’ve had it myself when @scousebirdprobs retweeted the tweet below a few months ago. 

That little tweet was enough for certain women to condemn me to hell. Girls, I’m one of you and hey, isn’t feminism all about choice? Instead of arguing with a fellow feminist over the internet, why don’t we focus more on the real issues – yano, the whole victim blaming culture regarding rape? Or the fact that there’s still a massive wage gap between men and women in the workplace?  

The “Ban Lads Mags” campaign is laughable and does us no favours. Glamour models are earning thousands of easy money because some pathetic men haven’t learnt how to go speak to a bird in the pub yet and have to spend their weekends wanking themselves into a coma in their ma’s spare room. And we’re not exactly innocent, eh girls – Heat’s Torso of the Week? Cosmo Centre Fold? I’ll tell you something, female targeted magazines are far worse for society and do more damage to womens view of their bodies.

(I’m all for banning page 3 though – NEWSpapers are gender neutral so not everyone wants to see a pair of tits on page 3 – there’s enough tits in newspapers with politicians faces plastered all over the pages.)

Lets not have double standards – I dread to think what men could include on their Everyday Sexism page; the maternity/paternity pay row, ‘Women only’ gym hours or business events, the fact that they’re always expected to pay on a first date….

The best thing about being a woman is being able to play to your strengths. When I worked behind a bar I always made sure I wore a low cut top and show off what God (and a good bra) blessed me with. Now, I wore low cut tops because I’m not a great fan of eye contact with customers but also because the tips would always be better. One sad act actually spent the night staring at my chest so much in the end I added a fiver onto his round for the pleasure – who’s exploiting who again? 

An innocent wolf whistle or a car beep is nothing to get your knickers in a twist about (faux feminists don’t wear thongs i reckon, too ‘misogynist’). And I’m sorry – has anyone every seen a Hen Do, drunk on cheap Rose wine in a pub? I feel for any poor young barman when a middle aged women, in a Pink Ladies outfit is in town. It makes me want to rip out my womb and renounce womanhood.

“Give us a suck, girl” is the entrance music to St John’s shopping centre, kindly provided by the scallies busy FTMing in their North Face. And you know what? I don’t mind it. If I’m feeling a bit rough I might even potter by for an ego boost. (On one particular bad hangover, I didn’t even get so much as a wolf whistle from them and very nearly said “Should I walk past again, eh lads? Cause I need my ego boosting!”) The only worrying thing about this ‘harassment’ is that the poor lads haven’t yet clocked that the success rate from asking for oral sex from girls you don’t know by yelling stands at 0%.

Over the past year I’ve started working in Sales & Marketing* which involves a lot of networking and liaising with business owners and I’m not going to lie, there’s still a bit of sexism in the 2014 business world. However, I’ve experienced more good than bad. My Managing Director is a woman who’s got this far in business through hard work and determination and is a great example to girls starting off in business. I’ve experienced no bitchiness at all and in fact, have been pretty impressed with the amount of women willing to help others along the way (@scousebirdprobs included, the little babe). 

I’ve got a confession to make here though. I once experienced a bit of harassment at a networking event once and when I got home I tweeted Everyday Sexism. Did it solve anything? No. What i should have done is trusted my instincts and given him a dressing down (not the kind of undressing he was after) – I’ve swilled customers in a pub for far less. 

Everyday Sexism is a great page as it’s highlighting some important issues but it’s not the only form of feminism to follow and those who sign up to it shouldn’t think that their view is the only acceptable view. Quite a lot of the tweets I see on that page now leave me thinking “Oh for fuck sake girls, lets pick our battles.”

It can be a tough world for women but it can also tough for the for the working classes, the disabled, ethnic minorities and so on. As women, lets learn to play to our strengths, work things to our advantages, pick the important cases of sexism to fight and ultimately, not be basic bitches.

* and while we’re on the subject, if any venues (Bars, Clubs, Offices etc) are reading this and want to get a quote for commercial cleaning, get in contact (See, always hustling!)

Caitlin, a glamour model, speaks of the intimidation she’s been subjected to by ‘feminists’:

The recent rise of attention on feminism has been very bitter sweet for me. I adore women and everything about female empowerment makes me smile. Which is why the attack on lads mags and ultimately the WOMEN who appear in them was extremely hard to take. I struggled to see what was so ‘pro women’ about putting down and belittling an entire group of women because of their chosen profession. Which BY THE WAY is what glamour modelling is, a profession. Now due to a large number of ill-advised naive young girls with camera phones people seem to think being a glamour model is prancing around with your tits out on twitter. Lets be clear here ladies, gents and feminists, it’s not. 
The girls who are lucky enough (myself included) to make it to the cover of national magazines are being paid to create an image and I guess if you think we are all sex crazed morons then we’ve nailed it. Some of my greatest friends (all smart, strong ladies) are or have been glamour models, and to sit and watch a bunch of ‘feminists’ make me feel ashamed of myself for something I was once proud of? It feels like ‘we love women women are great as long as you make yourselves look ugly and hate yourselves’ why are pretty or glamorous women not allowed to be feminists? Why is it ‘unfeminine’ to look feminine?! Now I know alot of them will read this and roll their eyes at the ‘silly dumb glamour model who thinks we’re all jealous of her’ but please give me reason to think otherwise? The ban lads mag movement to me was making it ok to call glamour models names and start a witch hunt on the ‘silly slags who love getting their boobs out and are ultimately ruining society’ I actually had to stay off twitter for a few days due to the torrent of fresh abuse being aimed at me and my friends every day. Fighting for equality but telling a group of women they aren’t equal because you don’t agree with their job seems kind of backwards no? Ultimately I still love feminism but I love it quietly in the corner where nobody can hear me because this group of ban lads mags women have made me feel i’m not allowed an opinion. Funny that? Also want to add that they made men think putting me down because of my job was ok. And also teaching people the female body is dirty and something to be ashamed of? Totally backwards. In the countries like India etc where females are oppressed and these publications don’t exist, the female body is so sordid that you have to cover top to toe to enable men to ‘control themselves’ is that what they want for england? To teach people legs and ass is something so taboo that if I wear a skirt in the summer I’m some kind of heathen?!

Caitlin I think you’re gorgeous and promote a healthy body image and I admire your confidence completely.

Primark Prinny says:

I mightn’t agree with everything you say, but you are going ahead in a style similar to what Madonna did for feminism. I think people have problems when they only see their version of what they consider feminism is the right one. I really do think that madonna got as far as she did because the radical feminists waged their war to pave the way for her to go out there and do her thing, which in turn freed other women to do theirs. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, even the manheads, when they realise the way forward is to respect each other, then we will get somewhere x what your blog exposed is the comments of some bitter women, but the fact that you’ve brought feminism as a subject into the arena is always welcome in my eyes.  Essay over!!

Vodkamademedoit says:

Feminism- being aware of your feminine charm and power, using it to your advantage, blending with traditional masculine traits and remaining in control of life’s situations. Using the strengths of both sexes (humanity- not segregated to us and them) to make your own position more secure and being in control of your own intentions.

I was sent this little blog about the differences between attention received in Liverpool and London which I found really interesting. There is certainly a difference between a car beeping you in broad daylight and someone making animal noises and staring at you on an empty tube carriage late at night – I agree!

There you go, there’s a wide range of people’s views on feminism. I received many more emails from people saying either that they loved the blog and a couple just outright attacking me, I didn’t include them as there wasn’t anything constructive about them. I’ll end by saying I love women AND men and I will never, EVER be ashamed to ‘be a woman’ and for speaking my mind. Sorry!

XOXO

Scouse Bird

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