Friday, 23 December 2011


I think I like the idea of this project more than I like my execution of it. If anyone wants to take the idea, I'd love to see the result. Seriously. 

Maybe I'll give it another go myself at some point in the future when I have more time. Ho, ho, ho. :)

Sexist Breakfast Summary

It's time to end this little project. In a month, I've gone from the steaming mountain of sexist bullshit that is the lack of women's voices in Egypt to the small cowpat of tissue box design. It's been interesting. But, curiosity notwithstanding, this has been the least enjoyable blog I've written. Consequently, it didn't take me long to get from, "oh, for fuck's sake!" to "ah, fuck it."

Usually, I'd just roll my eyes at the sexist thing and get on with my life. But this project has forced me to think about each instance. Mainly, it's underlined again how small things are linked into networks of shittyness.

This wasn't ever going to be a well-balanced blog, apportioning equal time to all facets of feminism. But consuming the news as much as I do on an empty stomach means, I repeat their skew, over and above the one in my head, while I'm actually trying to stay well-informed. So disabled women are more likely to be left out, transgender women, etc.

So news is the one that worries me the most, out of this project. Although the word "children" jumps out of the tag cloud too. I've worked with children and hate these sexist messages are aimed at them, making their lives  unnecessarily difficult.

On the upside, this project has made me more aware of positive things. A photo accompanying an article about programming in schools, that just happens to have three girls and one boy in it. A boy who choses to sometimes play with "girly" toys and is supported in that. And yeah, that old Lego ad from 1981 of a proud girl with her beautiful construction.

I'm choosing to be hopeful. Thank you all for reading and for the conversations. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Loos, Loos

Time: 11:45

The loos in the Blackett Lab at Imperial are reasonably easy to find, right next to the elevator. Unless you're a female visitor, in which case you have to go down two floors and hunt some more.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Life Expectancy of the Homeless

Time: 7:47am

Today's Thought For the Day on Radio 4 was inspired by yesterday's news on the life expectancy of homeless people in the UK: 47 years, about 30 years less than the rest of the population.

What I hadn't realised until the Rev Lucy Winkett led with it this morning is that there's a gender gap. It's homeless men that have a life expectancy of 47 years; homeless women have a life expectancy of 43 years. Both the poor statistics and the poor reporting piss me off.

Monday, 19 December 2011

That's Not My Name

Time: 11:45am

I'm not Kimberley HISNAME.

(I'll forgive hyphenation because, hey, it's Christmas. ;-) But mostly because I think it's just Dutch people taking a shortcut rather than them thinking we've actually settled on a cacophony of compromise.)

Friday, 16 December 2011

So I Listen To The Radio

Time: sometime before lunch

Pinguin Radio's slogan is "No bullshit, great music!" Unfortunately, their definition of great music doesn't seem to include a whole lot of women. I could listen for an hour and not hear any. And that's bullshit. 

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pink & Blue: Are We Bored Yet?

Time: 7:45am

I don't know where this came from, but it was in my kitchen this morning.

Girl figure: pink shirt with a heart. Boy figure: blue with a worm hanging out of his pocket.

In the interests of fairness, I thought I should open it because the inside might more balanced.

In the interests of thinking, I should feed my brain breakfast before making it work...

The inside of the folder: where there was only a single Lego figure next to an item, it was male. I think the only exception was the house which had a female figure. On the odd occasion where there were two or more figures, the female was passive half the time while the male was generally doing something active.

I'm sure I remember when Lego used to be cool for everyone. :(

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Even The Queen

Time: 11:30

My Queen has disappointed me.

@Queen_UK: Very disappointed that Hamleys have removed their "toys for girls" signs. How is one going to find a Christmas present for Ed Miliband now?

Your Majesty, surely you can insult politicians without pandering to the idea that women are the weaker sex. And that goes for everyone else who feminises men in order to mock them as well (I'm a republican at heart, after all).

Monday, 12 December 2011


Okay, okay, slow swears not good enough for you picky people, here's a bonus spit-it-out-fast swear. Calling a baby boy a studmuffin and the two girls next to him in the photo his harem? Just fucking don't.

Time: 11pm


Sock On

Time: 21:00

A slow-burning swear, this one. I was shopping for some household items and came across some packs of socks. One lot were advertised as kids' warm cotton/wool mix socks, in the colours, white, light blue and dark blue. The lot next to it was advertised as girls' socks, pure cotton, in the colours, white, pink and dove grey. Why?!

This time, I'm not whinging about sorting genders by colour so they can be conveniently put in the washing machine. What jumped out at me is that the girls socks are thinner and less practical, which is often the case with girls' clothing. Although it's generally advertised as boys vs girls.

(With thanks to Ailbhe and other parents of girls for making me aware of this issue.)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Finally, An Ad

Time: 10:08pm

Bwahahahah, I just edited the post of last night's bullshit to add a tag and was served this ad:

What Men Don't Want
9 Ugly Mistakes Women Make That Men 
Find Totally Unattractive

Ok, I might've changed that website address slightly.

Quite Interesting

Time: sometime last night, post-party

We decided to chill out in front of some of this season's QI and I was immediately reminded of why I'd stopped watching in the first place. Stephen Fry introduced the evening's guests one by one and, one by one, they all turned out to be men. Which is par for the course for it and other panel shows.

It's a damn shame because Quite Interesting is definitely more interesting when there's women panellists. Though I should perhaps say woman panellist, since I've only seen one at a time. Unless we're counting ventriloquist Nina Conti and her female dummy as two...

Friday, 9 December 2011

Abortion and Mental Health

Time: 7:55

One of BBC Today's topics is the big review which found that abortion doesn't increase risk to women's mental health. After a couple of minutes of discussion an anti person is introduced to add "balance".

Not gender balance, obviously. Why include women? Especially in a discussion that pertains to their health and bodily autonomy. I must be light-headed from not having had breakfast yet...

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Games Children Play

Time: 18:40

Man speaks thusly on the radio: Boys are for getting us through the higher levels on games. Etc.

Presumably that's straight from The Book of Girls Don't Play Computer Games, Chapter 3, Verse 1,000,001.

(Actually, it's from Heresy, a BBC Radio 4 discussion programme which "challenges established ideas and questions received wisdom.")

Monday, 5 December 2011

Boys Are Better

Time: 12:30

If today's conversation in the library is to be believed, boys are intrinsically straightforward and adventurous, and girls are catty. This being near the children's section, they were also in earshot, though I'm not sure they were old enough to understand what was being said.

Oh, shhhhh--

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Who Knows Breast?

Time: 12:30

A conversation about breastfeeding. Older Woman advises Younger Woman that she'll have to stop feeding her baby soon because her husband would want his breasts back and would get jealous otherwise.

That breasts can multi-task didn't enter into it. But in any case, it was clear that the breasts under discussion belonged either to the baby or the father and not to the woman they were actually attached to.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Breakfast Reflection #1

Something that's surprised me about recording the first sexist bullshit of the day is how much shit I let slide.

For example, the Vince Cable interview that inspired this project was preceded by a discussion about Caesareans, which inevitably featured patronising views on women's ability to make decisions about their own bodies. This absolutely qualified as sexist bullshit but for some reason I didn't react too strongly. Obviously, my brain has to protect itself from dissolving into a pile of sweary plasma, but why notice one thing and not the other? Something to think about.

In any case, the swear jar is going hungry today.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Labour's Leadership Contest

Time: 7.20am

Labour is having a leadership contest after being trounced in last week's election.  The candidates are all men except for Nanaia Mahuta, who is David Cunliffe's proposed deputy.

Over to the sadly predictable ex-Labour MP John Tamihere, who says she was only chosen because she's a woman and Maori. He wasn't even first in the queue…

"The only thing she's lacking is she doesn't have a limp. Then he would have got the disabled [vote] too."

I haven't spotted any comment from him about leadership contender, and fellow Maori, Shane Jones.

But it's Nanaia Mahuta's turn,

"John's comments show male parochialism is alive and well in Maoridom... If John Tamihere thinks that Maori women should be in the home cooking kai, then he's wrong.

I would advise him to stick to his knitting. He's a failed politician who is never making it back in, and it's a bit rich for him to advise Labour on its leadership team."

Nothing to add to that!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Teach The Little Children

Time: 7:42am

"Mothers in society are the first lamas, or gurus, of compassion; our spiritual lamas come later in life. Our mothers teach us the power and value of compassion right from birth."

Fathers don't have an equally important role in teaching compassion, such fluffy feelings are for the mummies, as usual. Thank you, Facebook and the Dalai Lama.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Strike Out

Time: 9:29am

Today, 2 million public sector workers in the UK have gone on strike to protest cuts to their pensions. These cuts, like others, will have a disproportionate effect on women.

What had me cursing? The fact that the Sure Start Children's Centre down the road still opened its doors today. It can do this because the majority of its staff are so-called temporary workers. Part-time, low paid, inevitably almost all women.

Sure Start Children's Centres have suffered big cuts all over the country. These particular women are the staff left over from a sudden cull at Easter. So even if they were unionised, they're not likely to protest any shitty treatment while in such a precarious position.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A Sporting Chance

The last post received a comment that it didn't really qualify as a "for fuck's sake" moment. Fair enough. So here, a bonus before dinner, swearing at the radio more in anger than in sadness, moment.

Today, the ten finalists for BBC Sports Personality of the Year were named. None of them are women.

The man on BBC Radio 4 explained to me that 27 publications had been asked to nominate lists and ten of them only choose men. He read out the list of those ten. I admit I wasn't paying 100% attention but two names fairly leapt out at me: Nuts and Zoo.

Yes, the BBC actually invited two lads mags to participate and then stood around looking surprised when they didn't appreciate women's personalities...

(Not that I'm letting the others off the hook, you suck too.)

Stalin's Daughter Has Died

Said the radio.

Her name was Lana Peters, also known as Svetlana Alliluyeva.

Would she have had more freedom from her father if she'd been a man?

Time: 8:30am

Monday, 28 November 2011

St Nick & Co

Time: 11:30am

Rummaging in the cupboards, I found myself staring at the illustrations on the St Nicholas treats which Wingnut's mum had sent from The Netherlands. Why is it all men? St Nicholas, Black Peter(s), even the horse is male.

Which leads me to Santa and his elves. And the reindeer. All male. The only woman is Mrs Mary "Afterthought" Christmas.

(The Easter Bunny. Shut up brain, enough.)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Clothes Maketh The Baby

Time: 11:45am

Someone behind me is holding a baby wearing a red hoody and green trousers. The receptionist persistently refers to the baby as "he" even though the mum has told him its a "she".

The hoody comes off to reveal a pink and purple striped top. A woman keeps calling the baby "that boy".

Yes, it's an oldie but a goodie, colour-coding infants by gender. Here in England, babies wearing bright colours and/or stripes are presumed to be boys. Heaven knows Ailbhe has had to remind me about this more than once. And she says it's gotten worse in recent years. But seriously, red, it's practically pink, right? I give up.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Face It

Time: 4am, grumpy.

A 3 News story about the Electoral Commission's guidelines on what's allowed to be said on election day. The humorous examples of social media do's and don'ts included:

Yes: "Lady at the voting booth is apparently doing Movember."
No: [Female candidate] is apparently doing Movember."

Female facial hair, so unfeminine and wrong.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Doth The Lady Protest?

Time: 1pm? The hourly news, anyway.

An item about Tahrir Square, something about an anti-government protest and how the march organisers didn't get the million men they'd hoped for.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Big Tissue

Time: 2.30pm, or, the first time I left the house today.

I need tissues. What I do not need are Mansized Tissues with Mansized Capitals. Where are my delicate little lady tissues to catch my delicate little lady boogers?

On the back of the box we're exhorted to look out for the Kleenex Mansize Compact Box. But don't worry, the Tissues, like the Capitals, are still Manly.

It also seems they hold a Royal Warrant. Yes, Her Maj is Manly, too.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Vince Cable and Pregnant Women

Time: just after 8.30am

I wasn't listening too closely to Radio 4's Today program but the topic was proposed changes to employment law. The interviewer asked something about protected conversations and what would happen if employers gave out about pregnant women taking lots of time off. Vince Cable reckoned that was an extreme example.

Because women being fired due to pregnancy is such a rare problem.

A Short Project

This is to record the first instance of sexist bullshit I come across on any given day. Will I make it past breakfast? It's possible. How about lunch? Will I be in hibernation by dinner?

If I have time it will be a daily bull-etin (thanks, Simes). If not, then not.

Thank you everyone who suggested titles, this is all your fault.