Tag Archives: gender

Ban Prostitution and it will Go Away. Easy!

This week a Scottish Labour politician, Rhonda Grant, has been trying to push through an outright ban on prostitution in Scotland.

It is difficult to believe that someone who has the power to influence legislative decisions about the issue may try to fast track a law without a real, solid, lengthy, inclusive public debate.

At the moment buying or selling sex is not illegal in the UK, but things like street soliciting, loitering and kerb crawling are.

Grant wants the purchase of sex to become illegal but MSPs have knocked back her request to fast track the bill, saying they will consider it through the proper channels over the coming months.

On Tuesday Grant said “My proposal will make the purchase of sex illegal in Scotland, with the aim of reducing the demand for prostitution”.

Will this decrease prostitution, sex trafficking? Is there evidence to suggest this? If so is Grant going to let us in on the facts that she has based her proposal on?

Most sex workers’ support groups have reacted by saying an outright ban will only serve to divide and marginalize sex workers, force the issue even further underground and increase the vulnerability of those involved.

A ban is not necessarily the answer. Certainly not without also putting support systems in place such as increased education, public awareness campaigns, free health checks, support for substance abusers, dealing with social exclusion and money earning bias relating to gender, help with poverty and social mobility etc.

All vice increases during hard times, and women often suffer

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Women cause Earthquakes! Oh wait, no they don’t..

Brilliant! Women are being blamed for earthquakes. Misogyny never ceases to amaze me. If this weren’t real it would be pretty funny – it’s like an episode of Brass Eye or piece in The Onion
Click here to read: The Guardian – Iranian cleric blames women for earthquakes.

Femmo Walking Tour 2010 – A Big Success

FWT2010, photo by Siobhan with thanks

To celebrate International Women’s Day last week (March 8th) myself (with my Lash Back crew) and some other collectives (including Choice Ireland and RAG) organised the third annual Feminist Walking Tour of Dublin city.

It was such a fantastic day. A friend has put some images up on her brilliant Dublin Bird Watching blog, so I thought I’d link in case any of you would like a look. And here’s a report on Indy Media Ireland about it, with some audio clips.

I also want to personally thank everyone who came along, and helped to make it happen.

Hope to see you all at the FWT 2011!

End FGM Day – Feb 6th 2010

**FEBRUARY 6th is INTERNATIONAL END FGM DAY**
(WARNING- this post may have a triggering effect if you are sensitive to the issue of FGM or such abuse, as it contains a few graphic references)

Ending Female Genital Mutilation (also known as Female Genital Cutting, Female Circumcision or FGM/C) is a very important cause, and at the moment the Irish Government have not specifically legislated against this barbaric procedure. Please support END FGM Day this year! Read on if you’d like to know more about it… Continue reading

Film review: Happy Go Lucky

Title: Happy Go Lucky
Released: 2008
Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough

Happy Go Lucky is yet another beautifully realised film from Academy-award nominated, BAFTA-winning OBE Mike Leigh. He is undoubtedly a thoughtful film-maker. His movies are imbued with a sense of reality. Yet through the grit, cigarettes and cursing there are always unmistakably soft and feminine tones and themes. Leigh is also is a true auteur, writing most of his own screenplays. His amazing 2004 portrait of a sympathetic illegal abortionist, Vera Drake, is incredibly touching and beautifully portrayed, while retaining a strong sense of social commentary. In 1996’s Secrets and Lies, Leigh explores the shame felt by a working-class woman who had to give her mixed-ethnicity daughter up for adoption, in a less socially just time gone by. And in his pinnacle 1993 film, Naked, he wades through the ultimate in urban grit and grime to tell us stories from the perspective of a paranoid intellectual rapist, a nasty yuppie, and a couple of women fighting the patriarchial system by which they are surrounded. Continue reading

Ooooooh Missus

Why is no-one raising hell about the fact that women are still asked to define their marital status on loads of forms, on ID, websites, bills, etc etc…? I’m talking about the incredible use of Mrs. and Miss. Can we not just all agree to use Ms. from now on and be done with this crap?

Ok, I’m not exactly a traditionalist when it comes to this stuff. I’m not married and I don’t ever particularly want to become a nuclear family. If I ever do get married there is no way I’m ‘taking’ my husbands name, or letting a man ‘give me away’ to another man (gee, thanks), or feeling the need to do anything under the eyes of a god who only recognises the union of people of the opposite sex. Yuck. Puke. Piss. That’s not the god I know.

I can’t expect everyone to feel this way about traditional marriage, and I do respect people who get married, for believing in love so unconditionally. I hope my cynical mind is still as open and enthused about real love. I think it probably is deep down. But I reckon the fact that no-one blinks at the aforementioned female prefix is just plain weird. Why does someone need to know if you’re married or not? What can it do? It can surely only serve to divide or restrict women more, or to tell you something about (what you perceive to be) their social position, their age, their status…? Continue reading

Why is Feminism such a Dirty Word?

Feminism should be a strong, vivacious powerhouse of a movement, crashing through the barricades of inequality. Yet in reality, and particularly in modern Ireland, feminism seems to be creeping along in silent apathy. Why earth don’t young Irish woman care about feminism? There are some new collectives cropping up, and there is now an Irish Feminist’s forum, which is really great to see. But in the mainstream collective consciousness feminism is still a dirty word.

In ‘developed’ countries, like Ireland, women work a lot more than their
male counterparts but earn quite a bit less (especially taking domestic work
into account; most women work two jobs but are only paid for one). We are
hugely out-numbered by men in every sphere of government, politics, industry
and elected representation. Most single-parent households are headed by women and yet we’re shunned for things like breast-feeding in
public or talking about inherently female topics, and so we try to prove
ourselves- socially and professionally- through patriarchal standards.
And we’re the lucky ones. In ‘developing’ counties women are the victims of
violence, institutionalised rape and extreme social exclusion/ pressure.
They are usually the gender forced to turn to prostitution in tough times,
and often the ones left responsible for children. Most people with literacy problems, globally, are women, who have less automatic rights and access to education. And literacy and education are two things which keep people in the grips of long term poverty.

So the fight is not over, yet we seem to have given up. When I tell them I’m
a feminist the response of other young Irish women is usually one of mild
disdain and vaguely cloaked shock. As if part of them would like to say
‘good on you’ and part of them is thinking ‘who does this militant
man-hating femi-nazi think she is? Continue reading