My favourite scene in Am I Normal Yet? is when the girls have a Spinster Club meeting about the ridiculousness of period shame, blue blood in adverts, and paying tax on tampons. So I was very excited when I came across these two videos. A Taylor Swift spoof, and emmablackery rollerskating in blood-splattered cream trousers? I LOVE THE INTERNET!
You’d be forgiven for thinking the internet is just a massive steaming turd of patriarchy, where any girl on it with an opinion is told she’s ugly and deserves to get sexually assaulted … … While that is true to some degree – the interweb is also hosting all sorts of incredible grassroots feminism movements. From the campaign to get women on our banknotes, to the EveryDay Sexism project, there’s a whole lot of very good feminism happening online. Here are my favourite websites to surf when The Man (literally) is getting me down.
The two girls who started this blog – Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett – literally have no fear. And they’re so much the more hysterically funny for it. The Vagenda started out by taking the piss out of the ridiculous expectations shoved upon us from women’s mags, and has grown from there. They are not afraid to call SEXIST BULLSH*T the moment something…umm…sexist and bullsh*tty…crops up. Their most recent wins were encouraging girls to deface those gruesome Are You Beach Body Ready? adverts, and making the #DistractinglySexy hashtag trend in response to a sexist comment about women in Science. The fact that I ever-so-occasionally write for them is, does, of course, have nothing to do with why I love it so.
Ever been cat-called or sexually-harassed while out walking and come away from it feeling: A) Angry? b) scared? c) Confused? d) Ashamed of what you were wearing? e) Angry at yourself for not saying anything? f) Alone…? g) All of the above?
Then Hollaback is the online hug you’ve been looking for! Women can mark where they were harassed on a map and then share their story of what happened to them. Other women can then click a button to let you know they ‘have your back’. You instantly feel less isolated, and the website is also an incredible piece of ongoing research into how out-of-control street harassment is.
Literally the best piece of women’s mag satire I’ve ever come across. And the most detailed. And the most hilarious. At first glance you think it’s just another girly lifestyle website…then you realise they’re completely playing you in the darkest, most brilliant way possible. I have to regularly sit on my hands to stop myself re-tweeting every single article they publish.
WHAT?! I hear you warble. Have you not SEEN the comments section of every single YouTube video ever? It’s like rape comments BRED with death-threats to make SUPER-TERRIFYING-WE-ALL-HATE-WOMEN threats – a bit like that scene in Lord of The Rings when Saruman breeds super-orcs.
But, among the terrifying misogyny, there are some totally kick-ass vloggers, using their channels and reach to make some totally kick-ass points about feminism. And totally owning it.
Unfortunately, my beloved book industry, is just as sexist as all the other places out there. Books written by women are still seen as ‘fluffy’ or ‘frivolous’ compared to male-authored works. Most texts in the English Literature curriculum are written by men. And, even books ABOUT women don’t’ fare much better. The Pulitzer Prize, the top literature award ever, hasn’t had a winning book that’s about a woman since 2000. For Book’s Sake exists to counter-balance this – to help get women’s book taken more seriously. I’m so grateful it exists!