Dear Microsoft: absolutely not.

monica byrne

And it has nothing to do with your software. It has to do with your new ad campaign, which I happened to see while I was at the gym last week. Here’s the gist: brilliant young girls express their ambitions to cure cancer and explore outer space and play with the latest in virtual reality tech. Then—gotcha!—they’re shown a statistic that only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees. They look crushed. The tagline? “Change the world. Stay in STEM.”

Are you fucking kidding me?

Microsoft, where’s your ad campaign telling adult male scientists not to rape their colleagues in the field? Where’s the campaign telling them not to steal or take credit for women’s work? Or not to seriallysexuallyharasstheirstudents? Not to discriminate against them? Not to ignoredismiss, or fail to promote them at the same rate as men? Not to publish their work at a statistically…

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“Who are you bitch, new lunch? Ima ruin you cunt”

Siân Louise

We’ve reached a point in feminist discourse where the raw honesty of working class women who have been surrounded by “foul”, “vile”, “abusive” language our whole lives, as general chat, can’t speak in our own voices.

I know how to code switch. I don’t know a single working class woman who doesn’t. We have our home voice and we have our work voice. We all know how to enunciate yes sir, of course madam, let me get that for you. Is there a reason our sisters expect the same behaviour when these bitches ain’t even paying us?

Anti feminist slurs. Bitch. Twat. Even fuck off if directed at someone with a vagina. Fuck off is a special case though. It’s not abusive if a middle class woman is directing it at someone who has hurt her. She is angry, hurt and tone policing her shouldn’t even enter your head. It is…

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How Fascism came to Britain?

This is so important.

Feminist Philosophers

I’ve been struggling to write this post ever since last Friday. There are too many things to say. This morning, however, all I want to say is this. The Leave campaign was fought and won, largely on the back of fears about immigration. People worried about immigration come from all sections of British society – including those who are more recent immigrants to this isle themselves. Not all of these views deserve to be called racist or even xenophobic, although they are often summarily dismissed as such. People are worried that there are not enough jobs to go round, not enough houses, not sufficient capacity in the NHS and other services. The country is ‘full-up’. Sharp practices on the part of some employers have meant that it is sometimes true that British people have lost out to cheaper workers from elsewhere. Unions that could show both groups that they lose…

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The Feminist Jackboot Dug Deep in the Buzzer Round

Robinince's Blog

It is just like The Two Ronnies warned us in The Worm That Turned, the women are taking over. It is a putsch by those with a pair of XX chromosomes. By “taking over”, I mean, they will be represented.

I have only read a few snippets on the announcement that BBC television panel shows have been instructed to avoid being an all-male domain. I presume there will be a slew of columns on this feminist fascism and oppression of the penis possessing observationalists. (Personally, I don’t think turning it into a BBC PR announcement was the canniest thing though).

The filthy phrase “positive discrimination” will be bandied around. As a non-Guardian reading Guardianista, I am pro positive discrimination. Why wouldn’t I be, I have been the beneficiary of positive discrimination for most of my life. As a middle class, white, male, I have been brought up in a culture and…

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I believe her. Always.


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Edit: I see I have acquired some visitors from the Mens Rights subreddit. Hi there! Just so you know, this is my space. You can comment if you like (I see some of you have) be aware that I will authorise your coments or not, on my whim. No free speech here.


So, here we are again. Another ‘high profile’ rape case-and by ‘high profile’, I mean involving someone the media can get plenty of column inches out of. Another acquittal. Another round of calls for anonymity for men (and let’s be clear, the vast majority of cases involving sexual violence have men as the perpetrator) accused of rape. Another round of misogyny. More screams of ‘liar’ against the victims (although to be entirely fair to those who hate women so very much, they scream liar whether the defendant is found guilty, or is acquitted. You have to give it to them, they are consistent).

There has been a lot written about this case (and there will be a lot more), by more eloquent women than I. I am just adding my voice to the choir, or at least adding my howl of sorrow and rage at yet more women failed by the justice system.

What can I even say? I can point out that a not guilty verdict does not mean that he was found innocent. It means that the jury were unable to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. And a not guilty verdict does not mean that the victim lied.

I can offer my unconditional support and belief to all women who come forward to say they have been raped or abused. And I can offer the same to women who can’t come forward (and give the appalling conviction rates, who could blame them).

I can hope that one more voice of support and belief can act as a counterbalance to the appalling media coverage. One more voice of opposition to the sympathetic cries of ‘why was this poor pensioner dragged through the courts’ and discussion of ‘false claims like these’. If these are phrases that make my skin crawl and my throat hurt, then I can only imagine how the women in this case feel.

And I can ask, why is it that famous men are so rarely convicted of the rapes and abuses with which they are charged?
I suspect that the answer lies within their fame, and the crimes with which they are charged. Evidence for rape or sexual abuse (especially hisotrical offences) so often comes down to the testimony of the victims vs the testimony of the abuser. And the jury is to decide who they believe, who they trust.
Trust comes with familiarity. With a face you know. Who is the jury going to believe? Women they don’t know (against a background of a deeply misogynistic media which constantly spins them the story that women lie about sex, and they lie about rape), or a face that everyone knows?
Which story will they accept as true-the well written, well rehearsed, consistent script, or the painful, confused recollections of abuse, memories that shift like smoke.
It’s no wonder so many women have feared coming forward. It’s no wonder so many famous men can rape and abuse with apparent impunity.

So what’s the answer? I wish I had one to give. I’m starting to suspect that the jury system may not be the best one when it comes to judging the crimes of famous men. And the alternatives would only work if judges were given mandatory training in how to deal properly with cases of rape and abuse, to stop them spouting the same victim blaming garbage they are prone to.

In the mean time, all I can do is say the same thing: I believe her. I believe them. I believe you.

Why don’t women matter?


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This morning on the Today program I listened to a very interesting segment regarding deaths of children and young people in the criminal justic system. You can read more about it here:

The charity Inquest has worked with the Prison Reform Trust to produce a report
(called Fatally Flawed, can be found here:
regarding deaths in custody, specifically those of children and young people under the age of 24. They report that in the past ten years 163 children and young people have died in the care of the state, mostly as a result of suicide (although there are cases where the cause of death was a result of, for example, the types of restraint used against them). Of those who died, two thirds of those under 18 and almost a third of those between 18 and 24 were being actively monitored for self harm and/or suicidal behaviour. Today’s coverage is as we await an announcement from the prisons minister, Jeremy Wright as to whether he will acquiesce to the charities’ request to hold a full independent enquiry. He has previously refused such calls, but has agreed to look at the request again.

The BBC article states that the heart of the debate lies with the state’s obligation to protect life (Article 2 of the Human Rights Act), and quotes Deborah Coles (the co-director of Inquest),
“The relentless nature of these deaths is shocking enough but the recurrence of depressingly familiar failings year after year should give most cause for alarm.”

Let me be clear here. The preventable deaths of children and young people held in custody are awful, terrible things, and something needs to be done to address them. I agree wholeheartedly. Any death in custody is to be mourned as a waste.
But I wonder at the comparisons we can draw. 163 children or young persons (mostly young persons) died over a 10 year period. That’s 16.3 a year. There is media attention. There are calls for official public enquiries. There is condemnation and sorrow.
How can we compare? Let’s look at the Counting Dead Women campaign, started and run by Karen Ingala Smith. You can follow it on twitter @Countdeadwomen, and read about it here:

How many ways can we count dead women? It is estimated that 2 women a week are killed by current or former partners. But more than that. In 2013 140 women were murdered by men. 140. In a single year. And that only counts cases which were publicly available and acknowledged as being the deaths of women caused directly by men. Women murdered by male violence. That doesn’t include rates of suicide caused by male violence. Women fleeing domestic violence. It is estimated that approximately 3 women a week use suicide as their last resort, their only escape from a violent man. Women traumatised by rape. There are no definitive figures on this, but in the last week a British women ‘fell to her death’ following the acquittal of her rapist. The Counting Dead Women twitter reported another young woman who commited suicide after she was raped, because she feared what her father would say. We don’t know how many women commit suicide as a result of rape or sexual abuse. But we know that around 85,000 women are the victims of sexual violence of one form or another ever single year. How many of them do we lose?
Even if we only take officially recorded figures, almost 300 women a year killed by male violence. And that is in the UK alone.

Where is the media attention for these women? Where are the calls for a public enquiry into this epidemic of men murdering women? It leads you to suspect that women don’t matter. No one cares enough to connect the dots and see that it is men murdering women. There is no official record of male violence against women. The home office doesn’t keep those sorts of statistics. No one cares enough to look.

That last isn’t exactly fair. Karen Ingala Smith cares. She started a petition (found here: If you haven’t signed it already, I urge you to do so.)
Women’s charities care. Groups like Refuge and Women’s Aid work hard, not only to support women, but to raise awareness. The government doesn’t care. The government doesn’t count dead women. But it does (presumably) count the money it saves by cutting vital funding to women’s refuges.

I care. I care about our dead sisters. I care about the survivors of male violence who can’t go on any longer. And I know the problem. I can name it. So can you. Male violence against women.

Women matter.


Click to access Samaritans%20Suicide%20Statistics%20Report%202013.pdf

How can a Brand change his sexism?


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Yesterday afternoon, Russell Brand posted this tweet:

‘And finally, through the love of a good woman, teenage, sexist me was slain.’

( along with the picture you can see below:

Russell Brand NMP3

Entirely understandably, the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign leapt on this public display of support from a very public and outspoken figure. Why wouldn’t they. It’s practically a coup for them. He’s young (ish), male, popular, and a well known ‘ladies man’ (ew). What better way to distance themselves from all those feminists in the background.
(This may sound an awful lot like a critique of the campaign. It really isn’t. I fully understand that the proPage 3 lobby like to frame the campaign as being just about a bunch of prudish, out of touch feminists, relying on the public perception of feminists as being marginal and extremist in nature to carry the narrative for them. Much like the pro page 3 lot needing to have women on their ‘team’, the anti page 3 campaign needs men, if only from a public perception angle. In single issue activism, pragmatism is par for the course.)

But this picture and tweet follows on from what appears to be an attempt from Russell Brand to rebrand *ahem* himself as ‘not a massive sexist’. In a ‘Conversation with HuffPost’ in which he fielded questions from an (undoubtably adoring) audience, he said that whilst he didn’t think of himself as being sexist, that women would be in a better position to judge that than he would.

I’m a woman. So I will judge. And I hate to break it to him (that’s a blatant lie, I’d love to break it to him. But I doubt he would read this, so it hardly counts), but yeah, he has been incredibly sexist over the years. Some quick examples in case you need them:

When he was invited to guest edit the New Statesman recently, he wrote, “I said yes because it was a beautiful woman asking me”, as well as declaring “I bow to no one in my appreciation of female beauty”.
Objectification is so often couched as ‘appreciation’ or ‘a love for women’.

During an MSNBC morning show interview ( Brand commented on a presenter’s cleavage and made sexually suggestive comments about how she held a bottle of water.
Ah yes, women have breasts, let’s not let them forget that. And also make sure that we all think of your penis too.

His article on the death of Margaret Thatcher ( mostly revolved around what an unloving mother he thought she would have been.
Because women are supposed to be nurturing and kindly at all times! And to not be makes you a monster.

When hosting a radio show in 2008 he thought it would be hilarious to call Andrew Sachs and inform him that he had “fucked” his grand daughter.
Woman as sexual conquest. I think this one is almost the most telling. That is how he sees women.

So yeah, definitely a massive sexist. But he’s changed, so he declares! He has discovered that he suffered “from the ol’ sexism”, so is going to ‘check’ himself from now on. And why has he had this revelation? Ah yes, ‘the love of a good woman’. This ‘good woman’ has made him see the error of his ways, made him change. The trouble is, I don’t believe it. Oh I believe that he is trying. I believe that someone with whom he is currently in a relationship has told him uncomfortable truths, so he’s toning it down. But we all know men who can talk the ‘right on’ talk around women, if they think it will help them ‘get laid’. And I don’t think that he has changed in any fundamental way in himself. It is relatively easy to change outward behaviours (pointing out a woman’s cleavage for example), and a lot more difficult to change the thought processes that underpin them (woman as sexual objects, conquests first and foremost).

So what do we do with men like Brand that declare they have changed? I posit that we should treat them a little like unexploded fireworks: observe the current lack of sparks, but approach with extreme caution. Maybe he genuinely wants to change. Maybe. Maybe we should be encouraging change by acknowledgement, by praise (because men are like puppies? We really don’t want them to pee on the rug, so we cheer them when they pee elsewhere). Maybe. But what we shouldn’t do is act as though everything else he has done didn’t matter. One declaration that you don’t think naked women constitute news does not make you automatically not sexist.

So I am glad that Russell Brand has come out in favour of the No More Page 3 campaign (not least because I think that page 3 is awful). But I’m not putting out the bunting just yet.