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Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Frankie Says…

Quick edit to add a Trigger Warning to the comments section – the comments are amazing and I will continue to publish them, however please read with caution.

So, here I am again, strapping on my Feminist Armour™ and heading into battle. I may regret this, but this time I’m going to talk specifically to and about Frankie Boyle.

In case you missed it, and I know Twitter fell over earlier so you might have done, Frankie (probably bored and a bit starved of attention) posted this hilarious joke:

“I raped you and I took the rohypnol myself to forget about it” ttps://

There are much better people than me who will dissect the rights, wrongs and horrifically wrong wrongs of rape jokes. People who have an expertise in comedy can put a joke like that into comedy context for you.

But this is what I would really really like Frankie Boyle to think about:

FB currently has 810,165 followers (at time of writing)

Based on a sample of 100 followers, FB’s male to female ration is 75/25

So that’s around 202,541.25 females that received that tweet today

5% of women in the UK have been raped since the age of 16 (

So, of FB’s followers that’s 10,127 women (assuming they are all in the UK and/or that most Western countries have similar stats)

Just to repeat, more than TEN THOUSAND women who follow FB are statistically likely to have survived sexual violence

That’s the equivalent of the Echo Arena in Liverpool (where FB performed in 2010) full of women who have all been raped

And to those women (and all women and men who don’t find laughing about sexual violence funny) FB tweeted his joke about how hideous you were to rape

I imagine that feels like a bit of a punch to the stomach to those TEN THOUSAND women

So that’s the lady stat’s, now for the men

Based on my sample, FB has around 607,623.75 male followers

According to Lisak and Miller ( (which I’m using as the more conservative estimate) 6% of men admit to being rapists or attempted rapists

So, in the FB Team, that would be about around 36,500 admitted perpetrators of sexual violence

FB is due to play the Edinburgh Playhouse on 31st July; he would need to sell out for almost 12 consecutive nights to play to all his rapist/attempted rapist fans

There are apparently lots of studies that provide evidence which seems to prove that rapists believe all men are rapists ( for discussion)

So when they hear a rape joke, chances are they are doing a little internal high-five, maybe even an external one – certainly a lot of them will have retweeted FB’s joke just to prove their point

So Frankie, here’s my questions for you…

Who do you want to support?

Who do you want to feel ashamed?

Who do you want to feel victimised?

Who do you want your words to empower, the 10,000 rape survivors or the 36,500 violators who follow you?

Tube Tales

So yesterday I dressed myself (I know, high fives all round) in an outfit that I felt had answered all of my outfit selection questions; is it clean, do I feel comfortable, is it professional enough for a Friday at work etc. When I left the house for work I was feeling good, it was Batman day, it was Friday and my in-box wasn’t looking too painful. I didn’t even have to wait very long for a Tube. Happy days!

I don’t know if it was the case or just my perception of the case, but I felt like the only woman in my carriage – or at least the bit of my carriage that I felt part of. Instantly, without anyone saying anything, I became incredibly aware of the length of my skirt (about an inch maybe two above the knee). When I got a seat I felt the need to put a scarf across my knees to cover up a little bit more. Over the course of a 30 minute or so journey, I became increasingly self-conscious and uncomfortable. Frankly I felt hideously exposed. I just want to repeat, no one said anything (or at least not that I heard), there was no obvious harassment – not in the way that people talk about anyway.

What did I experience? Because I think I’m confident enough to have not felt that way without an external cause. Also, I’ve worn that skirt before and not felt anything other than fabulous.

So there must have been something else… Yes there was, there were looks and exchanged glances. Looks at me, looks at my legs, knowing looks at each other, raised eyebrows and smirks. Could I have been paranoid? Of course I could. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t after me… Because there is an assumption that women get dressed thinking “will I attract a man wearing this?” followed by “do I look fat?”. Therefore when I wear a skirt that shows a bit of leg it must have been because I want men to stare at my legs. So it’s fine for them to stare at my legs and have their little “nudge nudge wink wink” moments, after all that must be why I chose to wear that skirt in the first place.

But it wasn’t fine, it was horrible and degrading and I spent the rest of the day feeling self-conscious and kind of sad. Was I supposed to feel flattered? If so, it was a massive fail.

Now I just want to be clear about this, there are times when I choose to dress sexily and that’s because I’m feeling sexy. But first and foremost I choose what I wear because of how I’m feeling and what I want to look like that day. Just as some days I want to look hot, other days I want to look professional or scruffy or warm.

There was a time when I would have just accepted the looks; maybe I wouldn’t even have noticed them. Then I had my eyes opened to slut shaming and victim blaming and all the things that feminists are trying to tell you about the world out there. How I dress is not an invitation, it’s not a signal and it’s not an advert. It’s an expression of who I am, how I feel and also probably about the weather.

So here’s what I’m going to do every morning (well, afternoon if it’s a weekend), before I put any other clothes on, I am going to put on my feminist armour and then my outfit. That way, you can stare all you like, but I’ll have the secret power because I’ll know that it’s you who are wrong, not me and I’ll keep pointing out how wrong you are until maybe, just maybe, you’ll realise it too.

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