Monday, 22 August 2011

Women, eh?

Yesterday, I spent £15 at the corner shop - this is a record. We needed milk, butter and a few other essentials, but I didn't have any cash. The cash machine charges £1.59 for withdrawals, and Raj charges 40p for you to pay by  card (as long as you spend over £6). My skewed logic told me it was better to spend  £6+ on over-priced groceries than to spend £1.59 for the pleasure of taking MY money out of the bank. I bought The Times, because aside from the red-tops this was all that was left. We don't buy a Sunday paper every week because I like to see it trashed,  every single supplement creased, pored over and shuffled (but sometimes by Wednesday it is still pristine) . I go through phases with the Sunday paper, sometimes buying The Observer, The Independent, The Guardian or The Times -  and then never buying one because we're visiting OH's mum for a salty, grey Sunday lunch; boiled to unrecognisable proportions.

Raj, slightly more animated than usual on a Sunday morning following a sale which will ensure he can retire next year, said "thanks Lisa, I see you have a busy day ahead" (big paper, cleaning products, baking supplies...). Now, I've been a customer since I was 7, and Raj has only recently started to address me by name - shame it's not my name.
 "Lisa doesn't suit you at all" said Rob when I told him - but I can't bring myself to correct Raj, for some reason.  And Rob, sorry - but  I don't like 'partner' or 'OH'  and 'Mr Being of Sound Mind' or 'Mr BoSM' doesn't have a ring to it. I've outed you, again.

I spent the day making lunch, making wedding invites for a friend, paying frequent visits to the washing line (I have to stand and stare at the washing for a few moments once it's on the line, sad, but it's one of my favourite sights) and drinking tea and coffee. The boys spent the day entertaining themselves -  happily running in and out of the house, saying "bum" to each other and laughing hysterically.  Between cutting, sticking, basting and pegging, I read the odd article, flicked through the supplements and mainly rolled my eyes and tutted as I did so, even expressing the 'deep-in-thought' sound - hmmm

Rob read a little more of the paper than me, and ended up feeling quite angry about an article on a book about VNC (so called spying) software, which, as a user of the software, he felt was highly exaggerated and misleading (the book, that is).
I got slightly irate after reading yet another journalist using Katie Price as an example of the worst possible example of modern feminist values. Can't they think of anyone else? I see her as just a narcissist with a hint of body dysmorphia, like any number of other celebrities from the beginning of 'fame' to the present day.

The article was a damning critique of Sally Bercow, wife of the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow. Her decision to appear as a contestant on Big Brother reads like the crime of the century against the feminist movement. Nice article; run down two women, and then throw the word 'feminism' in to make it sound like you're on women's side. I'm not about to go off on a rant about feminism, it's too complex to tackle in a blog post -  this is about 'bitching'.  Spending the day cooking, cleaning and engaged in lightweight craft involving hearts and glitter would not stand me in good stead for the Feminist of the Year title, would it?

I'm a bitcher. Oh yes, I've slipped one in about the mum in law's cooking already. At the park earlier, I made several comments like "hasn't she got a full length mirror at home?"  when a lady in a black jumpsuit and white underwear went past. I've joined in with character-assassination style gossip sessions about colleagues. I've always been surrounded by women , never really worked with men; out of 90 students on my college course,- all but one was female. I've only had close friendships with women, I've had one reasonably close friendship with a guy - he was gay and  took bitching to a whole new level. Bitching in my life would have been difficult to escape. I do try not to get carried away with it though, and always have a soft spot for the under-dog, whoever they may be.

I read once that women get bitchier during ovulation, more competitive. Some women must be dropping eggs like a battery hen if that's the case. I carefully avoid all-female group situations, they scare me and I don't really know how to behave in such a setting. The staff room at work equalled mental torture for me, I liked 98% of my colleagues individually, put them together though, and I thought they were vile. All-female workplaces are very difficult, the competition is incredible, you'e always going to be 'too' something. 'Too' pretty (no such luck there) too ugly, too 'nice' too soft, too hard, two-faced...

Back to the article, Camilla Long writes - "For all his irritations, John Bercow seems like a nice man, evidenced by his repeated support of his wife..."  hmm, many a wife-beating rapist 'seems like a nice man' too, Camilla, and are you suggesting he's so nice she should have done what HE wanted, not what she wanted? Supporting your wife = a bad thing?
"...overwhelming current suspicion that she is no more than a fameseeker with arguably fewer feminist credentials than Jordan". Why compare Sally and Jordan, twice, Camilla? Is Jordan famous for having a famous husband and admitting to alcohol abuse? No.
How about comparing their passionate support of Autism-related issues, if you're going to compare them for something they share a common interest in?
Katie Price isn't afraid to admit she loves attention, it's hardly a secret.

Anyway, these articles are meant to get you annoyed, or just agreeing, because brash women are such easy targets for bitching about. The magazines were no different, Ruby Wax and her admission that she wasn't maternal and couldn't look after her 3 kids, but hey, she had a nice man to do that for her.

Another article had me very close to actually vomiting because I attempted to read it straight after my roast " MUMMY BLOGS HAVE MOVED ON FROM MATERNAL MARTYRDOM TO FOCUS ON FUN..."
I got as far as "Sharmadean Reid, owner of the so-hip-it hurts WAH Nails chain and mother of 6-month-old Roman, even carried on working during her 48 hour labour. "I still had things to communicate to my team" she says."
SO DID I, LOVE... "Is that chicken still in the fridge? It'll be gone off now, bin it. Ask your mother if she wants any more clean clothes for the toddler, bring me some clean knickers later, and some more pyjama bottoms. Don't forget to put the bins out. Please tell all my loyal internet chums that I'm a bit busy for now ROFL but I luv them loads and can't wait to get home and discuss my 5 day hospital ordeal at length, sore nipple woes, and how my 'ickle man has made me the proudest mummy in the world, "

Maybe it was hormones or something, but the papers got my blood boiling yesterday, despite several brilliant articles which made me glad I bought it. Next week I may get The Star and see if that manages to offend my contradictory feminist values quite as much. There'll probably far more to bitch about - "look at the state on her".

What do you reckon?


  1. Hahahaha! I loved this. I am a total and utter Guardian addict and even that has me ranting like a woman posessed every so often (especially avocating £500 Marc Jacobs dresses for wearing to a festival). Sally Bercow was in G2 on Saturday and I was thrilled to read that their cat is called "Order".
    Jon will always be known by his name, too. I hate OH (makes me sound like I've got a body part or two missing), boyfriend and partner just sound naff. x

  2. Like Vix I'm a Guardian reader but yep, even that has the occasional complete bilge article that is either a) so out of touch with reality my brain feels it will implode before I reach the end or b) completely unrealistic attitudes to anything remotely female-oriented.

    Frequently intimidated by women/girls I've got to confess - I feel very analysed and compartmentalised in an all women environment but at the same time they can be very supportive, positive environments at their best.

    Jem xXx

  3. There will always be articles in a newspaper that touch a nerve, suppose it's a big part of the appeal. The last Guardian article which wound me up was a mum 'going back to the 70's' and cooking meals for her son instead of going to cafes, going to church mum and toddler groups for free child entertainment and basically living MY week. Describing it as if it was hell really riled me, this 'I'm too intelligent to enjoy my children' is so over-done in papers like The Guardian and I think it does women no favours.

  4. hahahaha - you should be in my office - the toilets are red hot with bitching and back stabbing - i try to get in and out as quick as possible without getting pulled into the latest saga and dont get my started on the "what she is wearing" assassinations - its rife! I only hope i never catch a snippet of what they say about my thrown on at 6am outfits eek!

    I have a gay best friend and i must admit i do love a good old gossip session with him - he has the best cutting remarks!

    Scarlett x

  5. Lol! lisa!!!! I am NOT a Guardian reader even though I have a Masters in Social Work - I think you are expected to take some secret oath of alleigance to the G when you get accepted onto the course! The G was supposedly equal to the Bible amongst the lecturers and good students alike, I was a bad student!! It was always a little bit to 'chamapage socialist' for me. I used to be one of those dreaded Mail readers for my sins - not that they would for one minute approve of me! I no longer read any papers or mags and instead waste hours, days even surfing the net for things 'I will one day make', 'things to buy one day' etc - can you see a pattern emerging!

    Your post gave me a good few chuckles!

  6. Heh, since my daughter arrived, other than the occassional glance at the Guardian online I'm newspaper and television free. Too many much more real and interesting blogs and books to read and stuff to do. I cant believe I dont miss celeb gossip tho, I used to love those tacky mags and it was my pub quiz specialist subject. i'm going to have to work hard on a replacement topic!

  7. Damn, I wrote a far longer comment and then lost it. Grr. That article about 70s mums / my life would have wound me up a treat too! Otherwise, will just say that my aunt, whose name is Jan(et), has a now quite good friend who is under the impression her name is Jane. The time is long past for correcting her.

  8. Well thank you Lucy, I’m still working my way through the Sunday Times (online) and now I can skip some of it after your insightful comments. The ‘interests’ section on my full profile states that I find myself shouting out loud at sloppy journalism and editorship, and now you know why! On top of that, the headlines are often misleading and unnecessarily contrived. Worst of all is the fact that the paper feels the need to illustrate every article with a picture, often taken from ’Getty Images’ and again adding nothing at all to the content of the article. Having said all that I think it’s the best of the bunch and some of the opinion writers really do write witty and informative articles.

  9. I also have a corner shop owned by a man called Raj who can't get my name right. Maybe it's a chain and that's their brand. It's very odd.

    I have the dubious honour of having met Jordan. I have a picture of me with my arm around her (done in an ironic way, of course), but I won't post it as I look awful. She was surprisingly tiny and looked like a nine-year-old who'd stuffed mangoes in her jumper. She seems awful on the television, but in real life she came across as being much brighter.

    Articles about poncey people called Sharmadean with sons called Roman send my blood pressure up.

  10. i think it's good that your corner shop guy is giving your name a go. mine just calls me dear.... or lovely (which i like a that wrong?)


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