Fate is Chance. Destiny is Choice.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Good News...

So, there's been some good news of late - I got accepted to do an MA in Women's Studies at York Uni, so I'll hopefully be off to study in October, funding permitting (MA funding is a really awkward issue, as there's lots of competition). So I'm really happy about that!

And also, I was reading the F-Word blog on Monday (link on the feminist links) - and this is what's happened to the sales figures of lad's mags:

"Sales of lads’ mags fell a whopping 14.4% in 2006, according to reports in the Media Guardian (registration required).

FHM’s circulation fell nearly 26%, and Arena 30%, but I take most pleasure from the falling sales of the vile Zoo magazine, down 21.5% to just over 200,000 copies. The equally unpleasant Nuts magazine also saw its circulation decline 3.8%.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the magazine buying public have been put off by the actual contents of the magazine. Instead, the business has been going online:

"A clue to the reason for the collapse in the market could be the rise in digital publishing. In the ABC Electronic figures, the digital men’s magazine Monkey, the first of its kind, recorded a debut audit of 209,612 for January. The results for Monkey, launched in November by Dennis, are not directly comparable to the measurement for print editions, but Dennis said the ABC result was twice its original target of 100,000 and meant the magazine had a rapidly growing audience of 18- to 30-year-old males. " "

*From The F-Word Blog 19th February by Jess McCabe*

So, although it looks like good news from the outset (yay hopefully the evil mags will be phased out over time?) - we will be still have men reading them online, yuk. Incidentally, I was in Edinburgh this weekend and checked out WHSmith at the station - the Lad's Mags shelves are in full view of anyone who happens to glance their way, and are definitely not 1.2 metres above the ground. I think it's just lip-service to 'appease' the scary feminists ;-)

Had a great weekend with my partner - went to see Happy Feet with subtitles and had a chinese meal to celeb Chinese New Year (cliched I know). Also bought Volver, Little Miss Sunshine and Blade Runner. Volver was fantastic, definitely deals with some feminist issues (abuse and women's relationships with each other) and so did Little Miss Sunshine with a highly dysfunctional family on a road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine contest that the daughter wants to take part in. Thought the grandfather was rather a dirty old man though.

I'm a bit annoyed at this film I've been wanting to see for ages - Brick - but it hasn't got subtitles. In fact, it's just been re-issued again without subtitles!! I had a similiar situation a few years ago when Donnie Darko came out on DVD without subtitles and has only recently come out with subtitles. I think it has to do with the companies that release films - and particularly this tends to happen with indie films or non-blockbuster films (which is the genre I find more interesting!).

One of the reasons I like non-english speaking films is that there are always english subtitles (but also World Cinema tends to be more refreshing and original!). So I'm frustrated because Brick got some great reviews, and I just want to see it as it looks interesting. Maybe someone can let me know that's its actually really bad and to not bother seeing it? :-D

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Friday, February 16, 2007

My Complaint re. 'Lad's Mags' in WHSmiths

I complained the other day to WHSmith's about Lad's Mags because they refuse to acknowledge the motion Claire Curtis Thomas (MP) and Object put forward about the displaying of the magazine's on the top shelf, away from children and also with their fronts covered so as to just show the title.

They are the least responsible retailer ever when it comes to this issue - sometimes, pretty much most weeks, they have lads mags right at the front of the shop as they are 'magazine of the week' or some other such flimsy excuse for putting them right at the front of the shop. I find it demoralising to walk into any of their shops and be confronted with racks and racks of objectifying covers and degrading blurbs and captions. Charliegrrl has loads of information about contact details and her own activism (very inspiring stuff, puts fire in the belly!).

So I decided to complain to WHSmith's with this email:

To Whom it may concern,

I am concerned at WHSmiths inability to understand that ‘Lads Magazines’ and so called ‘men’s lifestyle’ magazines are degrading and objectifying to women. You refuse to implement the changes that explain (Object and Claire Curtis Thomas) that magazines with pornographic content should be, at the very least, on the top shelf. Magazines such as Zoo, Loaded, FHM and Nuts should be on the top shelf. Apart from being degrading and objectifying for women such as myself, my younger sister and my friends (which could be your sister, daughter, mother or female friends), young men and male children will believe that the view of women in these magazines is acceptable.

I have been in many of your shops around the country as I regularly travel through London and through to Edinburgh and York. All of your shops display these magazines within easy reach of young children, and within full view of any woman, young or old that happens to be passing your shops and shelves. I find it despicable that your shops do not listen to the complaints that I and many other women have been making over the past year or so. Women are half of the population – listen to them. It’s understandable that you don’t want to push down your sale figures but at the same time, its not likely to push down your sales figures by moving magazines to the top shelf – people can still access them. Be a responsible retailer for once.

Yours sincerely,


And I got this reply:

Dear Elizabeth

Thank you for your email, sharing with us your concerns about the way in which we display certain magazines in our stores.

Whilst I appreciate your views, I can confirm that the particular magazines you refer to are part of our Men's Lifestyle range. We reviewed our policy of displaying this range last year, ensuring that all these titles are positioned above 1.2 metres and are not displayed near products aimed at children.

We do follow strict guidelines about the displaying of these titles and work closely with our publishers. As a retailer, we aim to strike the right balance in meeting the needs of all of our customers, which sometimes inevitably means a compromise.

I'm sorry for the continued frustration my response will undoubtedly cause you, however, we do not currently have any plans to change the way we display these titles. Please be assured that we will continue to monitor any similar feedback we receive about this particular matter and if I can help you further, please feel welcome to contact me.

Kind regards

Sam* last name concealed.

Customer Service Coordinator

I dunno...I'm definitely very frustrated. She didn't even acknowledge any of the comments I had made about objectification and degradation of women's bodies.

Okay, so yes, the children part of it is important, but it's also about women feeling respected and not feeling threatened by just walking into a shop. Every single WHSmith I've been to displays lad's mags in an irresponsible way. It's not the only company and newsagent's that displays lads mags like this though, but it's definitely one of the worst.

If you want to complain by email, here is the address (which I got from Charliegrrl's blog):


Let them know that this is not acceptable and makes women feel disempowered.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Flossie Lady

Just because....

"Why are you all up in my face with that thing? Leave now."

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Day To Blog For The Women Who Support Us

Bea has suggested that today, 7th February be the day when we write about a woman or a few women who have supported us and played a part in the direction that our lives have taken.

I know this may be cliched, but I would have to blog about my Mum, first and foremost. She has supported me throughout times of happiness, sadness and disappointment. She has coped with my horrendous temper tantrums (which I am ashamed to say I still throw from time to time) and my big and little mistakes, and yet hasn't been judgemental about them.

My Mum has had an interesting life - she and my Dad were very cool people back then (and mostly still are...) and they have brought the gift of a love of music, the arts and travel into my life. I doubt that I would love music so much without my parent's constant discovery of new music and bringing out the old records (my Dad is presently into the Zutons and The Killers!). Mum has been to many concerts over her lifetime - she was there for a few Beatles concerts! I always find it interesting asking about her life.

Both my parents have supported me and my sister through our difficult times due to our deafness - mostly due to other people's ignorance and the frustration we have felt at people not understanding us. My Mum has always made me feel like being Deaf is not a hindrance or a 'disability' and I think I wouldn't be so positive about being deaf without her (and my Dad's) support.

She has never been negative or pessimistic about my sister and I (although it must have been very hard to realise your daughters are deaf when first finding out) being Deaf. I worry about parents that feel that deafness is a negative thing that means children will miss out on everything - people develop their own ways of coping and often pick up their attitude about deafness from parents - so if negative, this is likely to be a bad thing for a child. So I feel lucky that my Mum and Dad have been optimistic and positive about deafness.

And I feel that now, being 22, I can begin to give something more substantial back to her with my support. I feel stronger because I know that my Mum will be there for me when I need her, and that she knows that I and my sister are there when she needs us to be. I think it's important to give back to the people that support us. I just hope my Mum knows how much I appreciate her support and encouragement over the years!

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Long Goodbye...

Alyx - just to say goodbye and to wish you all the best in whatever you do. It's been wonderful reading your blog :) You will be missed! I couldn't find your email address so I hope this will do. You've inspired me a lot over the past year with your fabby writing and your kick ass attitude. Enjoy what life has to offer and I hope you still keep that kick ass 'tude we all know and love.

With Love and best wishes,

Liz xxx

*ps. I'm ill with the Flu at the moment but I will commence writing again soon!