Long day. Will explain later.
Long day. Will explain later.
In one week the kid will be on the operating table.
In one week, everything changes.
YouTubers Sophie Danze and ‘JilianLovesTheBiebs’ have a fight over whether 1 Direction band member Harry Styles is gay.
Everyone is made more stupid by the fight.
Two stately British actors recreate the fight.
Everyone is made more awesome by it.
So on Parentdish, Keith Kendrick is angry. So angry he wrote an open letter to a celebrity. What celebrity raised his ire? What is Chris Brown, and his violence towards women? Was it the newest viral sex tape star? Was it Rupert Murdoch and his page 3 ladies? No, it was multiple Olympian Rebecca Adlington. And what did Rebecca do to get an open letter on a national parenting forum like Parentdish? Did she drive drunk? Hit a puppy? Dope up for a competition? No. She dared to feel insecure about her looks.
Let’s go through his letter step by step shall we?
Dear Rebecca Adlington,
I’ve just watched you on ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and felt the need to give you a metaphorical slap. And then a hug, along with a few words of wisdom.
What the ever loving fuck. Let’s start with the fact that he’d (metaphorically) SLAP an Olympian for the crime of being human, and having insecurities. But don’t worry, he’ll follow it up with a hug, so it’s all good!
You were crying, see. Tears of self-pity, I think (unless a creepy-crawly squirted you in the eye). Because of the way you look, and the way model and Miss Universe Amy Willerton makes you feel insecure about your body.
You said you’ve had to put up with abusive comments about your looks for years, saying: “It’s making me very, very insecure that I have to look [a certain way]. For me, I was an athlete.
“I wasn’t trying to be a model, but pretty much every single week on Twitter I get somebody commenting on the way I look.”
And as you cried, it made me angry – because I need you to be strong for my 11-year-old stepdaughter and girls like her. Because girls like them need women like you to inspire them, to rise above all the bullsh*t about looks and body shape. To rise above all that pathetic, juvenile, trolling tw*ttishness on Twitter.
So Rebecca can only be a role model to your kids when she is perfectly what you need her to be. She can’t be human, she can’t have insecurities, she needs to be “Olympic Barbie” to you to be an inspiration. God forbid your children see a multi-dimensional human being, someone who is both strong and delicate at the same time. If she’s not 1000% perfect, then you’d have to have actual conversations with your kids about the world at large, and how it’s a messy place, where people can achieve much but still be real people underneath.
Who cares what anybody says about you: they’re pathetic, they’re jealous – because you won two Olympic gold medals. But all that effort, all that work, all that ambition, all that achievement dissolved in the tears pouring down your face last night. Because you seemed to accept that looks are everything. It didn’t matter that you are a blonde Goddess, with a body to die for.
All you cared about was what some morons thought about you. And that somehow, because you’re not as pretty as 21-year-old Miss Universe (well, who is? It’s called Miss Universe for a reason) that you were somehow a lesser person.
That is not what this housedad wants to hear, as I strive to instil a healthy work ethic into my growing stepdaughter.
Hands up: What does having insecurities have to do with a healthy work ethic? (Trick question, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW YOU WORK. THIS WOMAN IS INSECURE ABOUT ONE SMALL FACET OF HER SELF AND HAS STILL DONE MORE BY AGE 20 THAN MOST DO IN THEIR LIVES.) Also, tears now apparently ‘dissolve’ accomplishments. UGH.
Let me tell you about her. Last night, at 7 O’clock, she strode into the living room, her hair scraped back, her face glowing, her brow steaming with sweat, and dropped her sports bags on the carpet. And then she collapsed on the settee before declaring: “I’m starving. What’s for dinner?”
A few minutes later, she was wolfing down a plate of chicken tikka masala and rice and telling me about her day.
“It was amazing. We totally trashed the opposition. I scored four. We were AWESOME.”
I looked at her and smiled: “I presume you’re talking about the hockey match?”
“No, football,” she replied. “Hockey was last night. Durrr!”
She lives for sport, my stepdaughter. Hockey, football, gymnastics, swimming – the same sport you, Rebecca, excelled in. She doesn’t give a monkeys about make-up and boys and pop bands. Oh, I know all that will come, but for now, she’s obsessed with sport. Competitive sport. Trouncing the opposition.
Even though she is lithe and leggy, she is utterly unselfconscious about what she looks like. And utterly oblivious to what other girls look like. She’s just living in the moment, unaffected by Facebook, and Twitter, and Snapchat, and the threat of cyber-bullying that comes with so much social media.
She doesn’t care what anybody thinks about her because she doesn’t know what anybody thinks of her. She just exists in a glowing bubble of sporty endeavour. And sometimes, her mum and I wish that bubble were aspic.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure if she becomes successful enough in sports and dares to be less than a cardboard cutout of perfection, she can expect a host of concern trolls out there to ‘slap’ her.
For out there, in the big wide world of growing up reality, there is a whole fest of bitchiness waiting to pour its poison onto her, attempting to erode her confidence and make her doubt all the aspects of herself that she doesn’t even think about.
Is her hair perfect? Is her nose too big/small? Is she too fat/thin? Is she pretty enough? All part of growing up, they say, but wouldn’t it be great if girls like my stepdaughter had role models that made them realise that such stuff is nonsense? That what you do and how you live your life is more important than how you look and how you preen?
I mean, for God’s sakes, girls are now eating COTTON WOOL BALLS soaked in orange juice to make them feel full rather than eat real food because it might, you know, put a bit of meat on their skinny bones. It’s just horrific.
Yes, Rebecca. Because you dared to show your humanity, more girls will eat cotton wool. Everything is your fault. No pressure.
Looks aren’t everything, Rebecca. You’re 24, only young, and when you get to my age (and my wife’s) you’ll realise that all those carbon-copy clones with their super-teased hair and pipe-cleaner bodies will just be baggy sacks of bones, with flappy jowls and Grand Canyon wrinkles, who will only have photos of their former pretty sleves to look back on – whereas you will have two Olympic gold medals. Wow!
Bonus points for your ‘when you get to my age’ mansplaining…she’s seen the world, literally, she understands beauty and youth, and SHE IS STILL ALLOWED TO HAVE MOMENTS OF INSECURITY. Double bonus points for claiming looks aren’t important, and then degrading the women currently considered ‘beautiful’ by claiming they’ll be ugly when they’re older, as if it’s a sort of punishment. Yeah, you’re not about looks at all, are you…
So dry your eyes, pet, and take a leaf out of that other great Olympian, Dame Kelly Holmes, who said at the Women of the Future Awards 2013 this week: “The Olympics showed girls that you can be whatever type of woman you’d like to be and still have sport as an outlet.
Did you just call a grown woman ‘Pet’? Are you fucking kidding me?
“They also showed how sport should be used as a health and fitness tool, and that’s inspired young females to think differently about their appearance rather than how skinny or fat they are.”
That’s inspirational, Rebecca. Bawling about morons’ opinions of your looks isn’t.
Remember, ladies, you aren’t inspirational if you aren’t a walking sound bite!
But he is right with this comment: “For out there, in the big wide world of growing up reality, there is a whole fest of bitchiness waiting to pour its poison onto her, attempting to erode her confidence and make her doubt all the aspects of herself that she doesn’t even think about.”. He’s a prime example of this for his daughters, as he just went to a national parenting site to call out a woman he’s never met because she didn’t fit his perfect mold of what a perfect female should be. If that isn’t bitchiness and poison, I don’t know what is.
We can go into the debate over celebrity and sports hero worship, and how that impacts parenting, but this wasn’t explaining to little Billie or Kimmy that their sports hero is going to jail for drug use, or for violence, this is being mad at a woman who has fought very very hard to be the best she can be, and who dared to show a moment of personal struggle. This is bullshit, plain and simple, and lazy parenting at that.
I know this type of ‘enlightened’ dad is just trying to show how supportive he is, but he’s worse than any Frankie Boyle, as his misogyny comes from a place of faux concern. He’s literally angry at a woman he’s never met for showing that she’s human, and that is utterly disgusting. Parentdish, I expected better.
PS: It appears the ‘slap’ portion has been edited out. Good first start, now work on the rest…
Kid, *bugging to grab my glass* WAAA-TAAAH? WAAAA-TAAAH (water)?
Me: You have your own water, it’s right there, drink your water.
Me: Fine. Have some of my ‘water’.
Kid: *Greedily sips my glass of Indian Tonic water*
Me: And that’s what you get for being greedy.
Also, the kid was the b-o-m-b today at picture day for nursery. No tears, didn’t need me to hold him, we got the shot in two frames, he marched out of there LIKE A BOSS. Recognize.
We’re watching the Globe’s version of Henry IV. The kid loves Falstaff’s speeches.
Clearly doing Shakespeare monologues with him as a baby was a good idea.
Us, watching the BAFTA video game awards.
Me: That host looks like John Henson.
Him: Who’s John Henson?
Me: He’s the color commentator for the US version of Wipeout.
Him: You mean he’s black?
Him: I thought you were being a bit racist there.
Me: *Explains what a color commentator is in sports, etc*
Him: We don’t have that here. We have ex-footballers talk about the game…
Me: Yes, that’s color commentary. I have watched football matches here, that potato man does color commentary.
Me: That potato man, that man that dances around in the potato chip adverts.
Him: Gary Lineker?
Me: Sure, why not…
I didn’t attend Mumsnet’s #Blogfest this past weekend, but kept tabs on it via the hashtags. All was well until the last session, when..well, search Twitter for #blogfest + feminism. Yikes. Apparently bad mics, poor jokes, and an incendiary panel title created quite a stir. Here’s a round-up of all the posts I could find about the subject:
New Mum Online
Not Another Mummy Blog
We Mixed Our Drinks
Happiness in Learning
Salt and Caramel
My Elegant Gathering of White Snows
From Fun to Mum
Mummy from the Heart
Seasider in the City
Crazy With Twins
Stickers Stars and Smiles
New Statesman – Sarah Ditum
Sarah Ditum – personal blog
Making it Up
A Baby On Board
Now I understand you may not have time to fully read through each one, but at least click each one and do a Ctrl+F search for the phrase ‘feminism is’, and see all the different definitions of feminism. It’s about choice, it’s not about choice, it’s about hard decisions, it’s about doing what makes you happy, it’s about jam, it’s not about jam, it’s about being a mother, it’s about being something other than a mother…and this is what I don’t call myself a feminist – I have no idea what the word means.
I’ve written about this before, concerning the Marginalized and the curse of the Ouroboros. Essentially, while the marginalized are squabbling among themselves, the oppressors are getting on with..well, the oppression.
Think about how easy racists/sexists/misogynists/misandrists/trans-haters/religious intolerant/etc have it. Their rallies have to be so damn simple -
“WHO DO WE HATE?”
“WHY DO WE HATE THEM?”
Damn, that is simple. Now, let’s take feminism for an example:
“WHAT DO WE WANT?”
“HOW DO WE GET IT?”
“BY BREAKING DOWN SEXUAL MORAYS THROUGH SEX POSITIVE PORN AND STRIPPING/BY BREAKING DOWN THE SEXUAL MORAYS THROUGH ANTI-PORNOGRAPHY INITIATIVES/BY RAILING AGAINST THE OVER-SEXUALIZATION OF WOMEN THROUGH MODEST OR RELIGIOUS WEAR/BY RAILING AGAINST THE OVER-SEXUALIZATION OF WOMEN THROUGH FETISH WEAR/BY HATING MEN/BY LOVING WOMEN/BY NEVER SAYING THE WORD CUNT/BY ALWAYS SAYING THE WORD CUNT/BY SAYING FEMINISM IS ALL ABOUT CHOICE/BY SAYING FEMINISM IS NOT ABOUT CHOICE…”
I think you see where I’m going. There appears to be no codification of what the word actually means, and the whole thing ends up looking like a bad comedy sketch.
If people could get together and create a platform, that would be grand – like a political party, decide what they are for EXACTLY, and how they intend to achieve it EXACTLY, then people could decide without ambiguity what they are, and who to support. But as it’s more of a ‘Well everyone falls under this big umbrella, where many won’t agree like at all with others, but that’s cool because…something’, a lot of confusion gets created.
Me personally, I’m a personist. I think people can make individual decisions without having to serve as proxy for an entire group. I think people should make the same money for doing the same job, have their vote count the same as everyone else, and I think if someone is doing what makes them happy and isn’t directly hurting someone (without their consent) in the process, then good on them (added the consent because you could be a Dom, and hurting people literally your job). I think all kids should be taught what marketing is, and how to avoid it, and that no toy, color, style of dress, or mannerisms belongs to any one group (eg pink doesn’t mean girl, a football doesn’t mean boy).
Sure these are simpistic, but that’s the point – we can’t seem to get the simple shit figured out, and while it’s happening, the assholes of the world are actively oppressing. We’re eating our tail, and they are fucking us over.
I’d love to expand on this, but we’re potty training right now, and I’ve got 3 more chapters of my corporate strategy to read and annotate by tonight, and it looks as though an piece I wrote for Time to Change just went live, so I’ll keep up on the comments for that. I’m a mum, and a grad student, and a wife, and an activist, and writer, and whatever else I feel like being that day. And that’s good enough for me.
Kid, playing with train set.
Kid: *quietly picks up track piece*
Me: What are you doing…
Kid: *raises above his head, lets out massive roar*
Me: You are NOT a Viking.
Kid: *Pouts, puts piece back*