unblurring some lines

This is a picture of Miley Cyrus being liberated by Robin Thicke.
This is a picture of Miley Cyrus being liberated by Robin Thicke.

Right, Internet.  You have driven me to it. I am going to write a post about Miley Cyrus and I have no idea how I got here.

First off: I have literally zero fucking interest in Miley Cyrus. For a long time I did not realise that Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus were the same person, then I watched most of a Hannah Montana movie once when I was drunk. I think the screaming goat version of Party in the USA is comedy gold and there is a Miley Cyrus reference in an Amanda Palmer song I like and that was literally the extent of my knowledge of her until twenty four hours ago, when I became aware that I had missed the memo on her transformation from teeny-bopping American sweetheart into the gyrating mess of latex and lolling tongue that was jamming up my newsfeed yesterday morning.


As a piece of theatre, stripped of all social and cultural context, Miley Cyrus’s appearance at the 2013 VMA’s was abysmal. Her movements looked uncomfortable and uncoordinated, her costumes did not fit her properly, her voice sounded strained, the choreography was sloppy (I am generously assuming there was choreography involved.) Then Robin Thicke made his listless entrance and the whole thing was catapulted into the realm of the truly surreal as Miley’s cavorting became even more frantic and the presence of a much older man made her look even more like a toddler doing wobbly burlesque in Mummy’s heels and lipstick. It was awful. Nobody had a good time.

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girls don’t play real games

Thankfully the obscene number of hours I’ve racked up on Don’t Starve don’t count, because it’s not a real game
Thankfully the obscene number of hours I have racked up on Don’t Starve don’t count, because it’s not a real game

Three times in as many months, I have had some variation on the following conversation with three different dudes.

Me: Blah blah blah so misogyny in games is obviously a thing blah blah…
Dude: But girls don’t even play videogames!
Me: Actually, they do. Recent surveys show that around 45 per cent of gamers are women and this number grows every year. Also, overall, the number of female gamers is significantly higher than the number of teenage male gamers, who are commonly considered to be the primary target market for videogames.
Dude: … yeah, but girls don’t play real games.

You know, they only play Sims 3 or Angry Birds or whatever. They’re not serious gamers. Serious gamers play, you know, real games.

Inevitably, after a little bit of probing, the definition of “real games” turns out to be “Xbox first-person shooters.”

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link farm #4

Hello! Here’s some stuff I’ve been enjoying on the Internet this week. Firstly, watch Friend Zone by Dylan Garity. Slam poetry at its finest and a cutting summation of why the concept of the “Friend Zone” is bullshit and also vaguely misogynistic.

And then!

New videogame “The Novelist” doesn’t involve guns – Despite the somewhat redundant title of this article (a videogame without guns? Unheard of!), this game looks like exactly the kind of slow-paced story-driven offering I love. The concept is intriguing and the plot looks like the sort of thing that might make me cry.

Man creates very first Website for Women ever – AT LAST. A man who understands me and the fact my online media consumption needs are directly dictated by my vagina. Hair tips and worldwide news coverage on the SAME website? Inspired!

Hookup culture is officially not a thing – Good news! A proper study has officially proved that the young folk of today are not fornicating at a particularly alarming rate compared to previous generations! Well, good news if you’re not the sort of person who enjoys wringing their hands over the sex choices of strangers and something something moral degradation blah blah something.

I hate Strong Female Characters “The Strong Female Character has something to prove. She’s on the defensive before she even starts. She’s George from The Famous Five all grown up and still bleating with the same desperate lack of conviction that she’s “Every Bit As Good as a Boy”.”

Mikki Kendall and Flavia Dzodan on the Hairpin – The debate around #solidarityisforwhitewomen continues, and this interview with Mikki Kendall (who started the hashtag) and Flavia Dzodan of Tiger Beatdown expands on a lot of the key issues and what is needed from white feminists going forward.

How To Talk To Your Daughter About Her Body – Short, sweet, beautifully solid advice from skoppelkam on Hope Avenue.

Hilda, America's forgotten and beautifully buxom pin-up girl
Hilda the forgotten and beautifully buxom pin-up girl.

The Problem with Male Feminists –  “The “retirement” of Hugo Schwyzer from his self-appointed position as “Professor Feminism” highlights some of the issues men have with feminism.” And consequently, according to Jem Bloomfield, some of the issues women have with men who have issues with feminism. Come on, get involved.

America’s Forgotten Pin-Up Girl – “Meet Hilda, the creation of illustrator Duane Bryers and pin-up art’s best kept secret. Voluptuous in all the right places, a little clumsy but not at all shy about her figure, Hilda was one of the only atypical plus-sized pin-up queens to grace the pages of American calendars from the 1950s up until the early 1980s…

anger, diversity and solidarity

When I was an undergraduate, I took a module on postcolonial theatre under the tutelage of a Nigerian director called Bisi. In one of our practical classes, I was handed a monologue to read. The character was a Somali woman who had lost two sons and her husband to war and conflict. After I finished, Bisi asked me how I felt about reading it. I said I had found it really difficult, because this woman’s experiences were so distant from my own and I had never experienced anything remotely approaching that level of trauma or oppression. I said I did not know how to read it with authenticity.

Bisi told me, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world, that I must use my experiences of being oppressed as a woman and bring them to bear on the piece.

I was shocked. I think I spluttered a bit. I was barely twenty years old and I knew everything (obviously.) I wasn’t oppressed, I told him. Women in Ireland have equal rights to men. Being a woman has never prevented me from doing anything I wanted to do. He smiled and asked me if I honestly though that – “as a woman, in this country” – I was free from any sort of oppression? Yes, of course, I said stubbornly. He laughed at me and moved on with the class.

I felt patronised. I felt embarrassed. I felt that Bisi was endlessly wrong and I was right. I was furious.

I also promise I’m going somewhere with this.

If you haven’t been on the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag on Twitter yet, you should really go and do that. Especially if you’re a white woman. There is a lot of anger on there and it is not going to be easy to read.

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we need to talk about trolls

Welcome to Twitter. Now get back in the kitchen. Bitch.
Welcome to Twitter. Now get back in the kitchen. Bitch.

Or rather, we need to stop talking about them. But let me explain.

Back in the early days of the Internet, when I was desperately waiting to turn thirteen so I could join Elfwood, the word “troll” meant something specific. It meant an anonymous person who deliberately posts false, inflammatory or outright stupid things for the sake of getting a reaction.

This traditional form of trolling is not harmless. As this article on the figure of the troll points out, trolls usually rely on being as abusive or offensive as possible. However, trolling used to come with a layer of self-awareness at the very least, and functioned as a powerful form of disruptive satire at its best. The troll made an art out of being as infuriating as possible while remaining believable. Their goal was to make people angry, mostly for perverse personal amusement but also sometimes to challenge entrenched views within a certain community. And so the prevalent wisdom was not to “feed the trolls” because that’s exactly what the trolls want.

Nowadays, troll seems to mean literally any asshole with an Internet connection and trolling means any incident of online abuse. The goal of Twitter users who are frequently branded as trolls may be to make people angry but it is also in a large part intended to shut people up and specifically to shut women up, which is why the brief #twittersilence response to events of the past weeks was somewhat misguided.

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woman’s hour

woman's hourI have an exciting announcement! This coming Wednesday August 7th, I will be giving a short interview on Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 about my sex ed post.

The focus of the interview is going to be why I wrote my wishlist and what kind of responses I’ve had. Woman’s Hour will be tweeting and inviting live listener response. I will also undoubtedly be having a bit of a tweet, so do follow me @tinyorc if you want to yell at me directly!

You can tune in from 10am on Wednesday on 92-95 FM or 103-105 FM (with some local variations apparently)  or you can listen on BBC Radio 4 iPlayer. For more information on your various listening options, go to Radio 4’s helpful help page.

Also, if you are busy at 10am on Wednesday (as many people frequently are), you can always listen to it later on the Woman’s Hour page.

I am (understandably) madly excited that someone liked my opinions enough to invite me to come and talk about them on a national platform, and even more so that the someone is the BBC and Woman’s Hour. Sex ed is a subject that literally everyone seems to have opinions about, so I’d love it if you guys could tune in and get involved in the conversation. Plus, those of you who have never met me get to hear what I sound like!

Hope to hear from you all on Wednesday!