Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2006

Sisterhood is for bitches

I tumbled across a this on FtM Doctor’s blog today, and have been choking on my reaction ever since.

The story is about a feminist music festival in Michigan which is explicitly for “womyn-born womyn” and explicitly excludes trans women. Presumably they also explicitly excludes trans men. In fact, it is not actually a story, it is a press release, explaining the organisers’ point of view.

The language is interesting, veering between the hate-filled and the overly emotive. At one point the organiser of the “womyn-born womyn” sends the following email to the leader of “camp trans”.

I deeply desire healing in our communities, and I can see and feel that you want that too. I would love for you and the other organizers of Camp Trans to find the place in your hearts and politics to support and honor space for womyn who have had the experience of being born and living their life as womyn. I ask that you respect that womon born womon is a valid and honorable gender identity. I also ask that you respect that womyn born womyn deeply need our space — as do all communities who create space to gather, whether that be womyn of color, trans womyn or trans men . . . I wish you well, I want healing, and I believe this is possible between our communities, but not at the expense of deeply needed space for womyn born womyn.

The self-righteous emotional manipulation of this is nauseating, with its talk of “deeply desire[ing] healing”, “respect” and “deeply needed space”s.

We strongly assert there is nothing transphobic with choosing to spend one week with womyn who were born as, and have lived their lives as, womyn. It is a powerful, uncommon experience that womyn enjoy during this one week of living in the company of other womyn-born womyn. There are many opportunities in the world to share space with the entire queer community, and other spaces that welcome all who define themselves as female.

Is it unkind of me to consider the spaces and places that I have spent with “womyn-born womyn” this past week, which include a women-only gym and the WI? It is not hard to find women-only groups, if that’s what you need for a while. I’ve been on women-only holidays and women-only retreats. I was educated in part at an all girls’ school.

Of course the gym, and the WI aren’t full of radical feminists or …

womyn who could be considered gender outlaws, either because of their sexual orientation (lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, etc.) or their gender presentation (butch, bearded, androgynous, femme – and everything in between). … gender variant womyn …. ” or women who ” … consider themselves differently gendered

… so far as I know.

I find myself wondering why the organisers exclude trans women if the spread of women at the festival is so broad, (yes, I know, the “deeply-needed space” thing) and also whether or not there are any straight married mothers there, or whether monogamous heterosexuals are not welcome either.

Rather than rant on and on about this, I will conclude with three final comments.

Firstly, it would be acceptable for the “womyn” of Michigan to create an activity exclusivly for “womyn-born women” if, on other occasions, they created events which were exclusively for other sub-sets of women, for example women who have been abused, or widowed, or who are lesbians, or indeed trans. But to exclude trans women and only trans women smacks of the “all men are rapists” school of separatist radical feminism which de-personalises half of the human race in a way which is as unjust and unacceptable as the de-personalising of women by men which went on for centuries before.

Secondly, I wonder if this is actually personal. If it isn’t about all trans women, but about one particular trans woman, if the organisers lacked the balls to exclude her and if they therefore decided to exclude them all. I find this theory rather compelling, given how petty, emotional and factional groups of women can become. See quotes above.

Finally, I put the press release through Gender Genie, and it scored 30% female and 70% male. Which made me snigger. Bitch that I am.

Shock news – I’m female

I am, apparently, female. But not very. Especially not when I am writing about my eggs.

Blog Female Percentage Male Percentage
There should be a special level of hell… 55% 45%
… a woman’s work is never done 52% 48%
Saved by a meme 53% 47%
Migraines II 62% 38%
Summer flowers, winter mornings 75% 25%
Sofa so good 42% 58%
Amazon, my river of shame 31% 69%
“Aphra Behn racism poems” 55% 45%
Exercise and the placebo feel good factor 55% 45%
Scrambled Eggs 47% 53%
Averages 53% 47%

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. The analysis of my writing style came from Gender Genie.

I feel peeved that my gender is so obvious in what I write, and also peeved that my femininity only just shows through.

There I go, wanting it both ways.


I’m looking forward to December when I don’t have to scrabble round for blog subjects, and I can think more and write less.

Laughter the best medicine – available on prescription only

Bloglily produced the rather chilling statistic the other day, that children laugh thousands of times a day, but adults manage to laugh only 14 times.

So, plagiarist that I am, I conducted my own laughter audit.

8.00-9.00 – driving to work, listening to Sir Terry et al on Radio 2 – several giggles but no laugh out loud guffaws.

9.00-10.30 – da nada.

10.30-10.45 – some general purpose wise-cracking at work – I can’t remember the details, but the mood was jovial. It took me three months to get that team to lighten up.

10.45-3.20 – da nada.

3.20-3.30 – more wise-cracking – I do like working with bright, sarcastic, clever peeps.

3.30-5.45 – da nada.

5.45-6.00 – my boss claims that someone else was “agressive” in a meeting. Think pot. Think kettle. Think Aphra saying so. Think boss looking sheepish. Not guffaws, but gentle ribbing.

6.00-6.30 – driving home listening to the news. No laughs there.

6.30-7.00 – driving back from work, listening to the evening “funny”on Radio 4 – one smiley moment, but no actual, you know, laughy stuff.

7.00-7.30 – talking to a girlfriend on the phone, lots of goss and giggles – she thought she’d pulled a tennis coach, so she booked herself in for a complete de-fuzz, but then the bugger stood her up. Or “sobered up” as her best friend put it.

7.30 – text from the one I like to get texts from – private but laugh out loud funny.

7.30-10.00 – Christmas cooking demo at the WI– do you know the scene in “Catch 22” where the entire hall of enlisted men starts moaning at the sight of the Colonel’s tottie? – well there was an unanimous moan of hungry appreciation from an entire hall of middle aged ladies as the demonstrator folded melted chocolate into whipped cream to make a torte, which gave me a private silent giggle. Chocolate and cream aside, (and that is a hard phrase to type), there were l moments of individual and shared laughter at the WI too.

10.00-10.05 – talking to friend who’s visiting tonight and tomorrow, including a couple of laughy moments about why he was late setting off (he was tarting around on IM, trying to pull – I’d put him in touch with the girlfriend from earlier in the evening, but she’s got her eye on the tennis coach’s second service) and the fact that he is doomed to get lost on the moors a la “American Werewolf”.

11.00-01.30 – with said friend, (I don’t ususally entertain this late, but I wasn’t going to stand up the WI, and he’s coming to the theatre with us tomorrow night). Lots of laughter. He’s a clever and witty bloke. Favourite anecdote was one he told about his mother’s hyper-flexive cat. He picked it up, folded it nose to tail and showed it to a friend who was mildly impressed and said, “Very good, can you make it into a bird”.

So no rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-my-ass off episodes, but not bad for a weekday. But it would be much duller without the sarcastic buggers I work with.

Half Way

A little NaBloPoEm

Apples be ripe
Nuts be brown
Quantity up
Quality down


There should be a special level of hell…

… for anyone who thinks velvet plush carpet is a good idea.

I think they should be made to clean it.


And do you know something?

Forever isn’t long enough to get the bloody stuff clean.

… a woman’s work is never done

I was not put on this world to do housework. Unfortunately the world does not know and appreciate this fact.

I spent fully half of Friday tidying my house, collating two bin bags of rubbish in the process, and it is a small house. Last night, I spent three hours cleaning my kitchen, with the promise of the same again tonight and tomorrow to clean the rest of the house. The kitchen looks much the same as it did before I cleaned it, but whiter and shinier.

I could get a cleaner of course, but I wouldn’t want to be exploitative. I’d want someone who enjoyed cleaning.

How morally wrong would it be to put a notice in the Post Office saying: “Cleaner wanted, 2 days a week, obsessive compulsives only need apply”?

Saved by a meme

Once again, Charlotte comes to my rescue: Saved by a meme indeed:

1. Explain what ended your last relationship

Ah. One of the unsolved mysteries of the universe that one. Wish I knew. In the words of Peter Green, “I could tell you about my life. It’d keep you amused, I’m sure”.

2. When was the last time you shaved?

Years ago. I wax, or I get other people to wax me.

3. What were you doing at 8am today?

Swimming. Length 28 or thereabouts.

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?

Cooking. Reading my emails. Looking at my blog stats. Making a cup of tea.

5. Are you any good at maths?


I also have an unfortunate penchent for creating mathmaticky jokes. Is it because i is imaginary?

6. Your prom night?

British. We don’t have prom nights.

7. Do you have any famous ancestors?

Not that I can think of. I do have one who was hanged in Edinburgh for stealing a sheep on a Sunday. Any other day of the week and we’d have all been Australians.

8. Did you have to take out a loan for university?

We had grants when I did my first degree. I have a loan for my Masters, which is oddly related to #1. But we don’t go there.

9. Do you know the words to the song on your Myspace profile?

I doubt it.

10. Last thing received in the mail?

National Trust Membership card.

11. What beverages have you had today?

Tea. Tea. Red Bull. Spiced Chai. Spiced Chai.

12. Do you leave messages on people’s answering machines.

Most of the time.

13. Whom did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?

The Eagles. Though I find that hard to believe.




It was Cliff Richard.

At the Albert Hall.

The shame.

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?

No. I photograph other peoples’ valentines.

Blackpool Valentine

15. What is the most painful dental procedure you have ever had?

None. I tend to pass time at the dentist in sexual fantasy. Not about the dentist, you understand. I discovered this when I had a dental appointment after an unexpected trotting-out the night before. In the words of Dr Hook: “The best ones are re-runs if you know what I mean”. Since then I associate dentistry with sexual reminiscences and huge bills.

16. What is out your back door?

I don’t actually have a back door.

17. Any plans for Friday night?

Seeing “Thatcher the Musical” with the one I see musicals with and with a long-term internet wierdo friend of mine.

18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?

Actually no. I have a sense of humour failure about things which put my hair out of condition.

19. Have you ever received one of those big tins with three different kinds of popcorn?

No. But my life has been rich and full in many ways, and I don’t feel deprived. Also, I know how to make popcorn.

20. Have you ever been to a planetarium?


21. Do you re-use towels after you shower?

Er…. yes.

22. Some things you are excited about

Ah well. Snowdrops. I get excited about snowdrops. And full moons. Particularly ones where I can drive on back roads without my lights on. And Waitrose’s lemon cheesecake. And unexpected cheques in the post. And pantomimes. I like pantomimes.

23. Your favourite Jello flavour

Not sure.

24. Describe your key chain

A 3″ Virgin branded biro, my house keys, my car keys, the keys to the house of the one I visit some weekends, the keys of my friend’s house “just in case”, a “Sentinel” numbered key fob, and a trolley-coin the size of a £1 bit for using in lockers and super-market troleys.

25. Where do you keep your change?

In my purse.

26. What winter coat do you own?

How long have you got?

A dark red velvet trench coat made in Nepal which I love but don’t wear very much

A dark blue wool trench coat I bought as an Investment Purchase 20 years ago, and a good investment it proved to be

A green wax jacket I bought over 20 years ago when I was temping at a clothing wholesaler

A black mid-thigh length dannimac jacket with a black furry collar

A black fleece marked “Outback Eclipse December 2002” from the Eclipse in Ceduna

A red mid-thigh length padded dannimac style jacket which needs dry cleaning

A blue suede jacket I bought in a farmers’ warehouse in Sweden

A – ahem – er – fur coat my ex husband bought for me, which has proven useful in sexual encounters and midnight trips to church

I can’t think of any others right now. When I buy coats, I tend to keep them.

27. What was the weather like on your graduation day?

Ah. Embarrassing this. I didn’t actually graduate. Good job it was before Student Loans, eh?

28. Do you sleep with your bedroom door open or closed?

Open. I have cats.

Migraines 3

You wouldn’t think lying in bed sleeping would be this exhausting.

I am not sure if it is the migraine itself, or if it is the triptane, which I took too late to be effective.

Either way, I have spent the last 36 hours dreaming great long complicated convoluted dreams, mostly about work. I guess it is a good sign that they are mostly about work, since it suggests that the rest of my ducks are in satisfactory rows. It’s odd when one dreams in Visiothough.

I wonder if Microsoft could sue me for running an unlicensed copy in my head?

Summer flowers, winter mornings

One summer’s day eighty, ninety, maybe a hundred years ago my grandmother’s sister filled a green bowl with poppies and cornflowers and great white peonies.

Every morning, the first thing I see when I wake is that green bowl of summer flowers which she painted all those years ago.

I like that.

Summer flowers

Sofa so good

Walking to my car the other morning, I saw this sofa under a streetlamp on the side of the road. I was glad I photographed it when I did, because it had gone in the evening when I came home. The quality isn’t great, but then it was almost dark, and I was using the camera on my phone. I have photoshopped it slightly to take out the noise and improve the colour balance.

Sofa so good