Female viagra is another example of society trying to make women sexually “normal” on men’s terms



If we really want to “even the score”, as pro-flibanserin campaigners describe, we should respect each woman’s true desires instead of handing over their “dysfunction” to the forces of a market defined by male expectations. We should accept that a woman who does not want or enjoy sex is “normal”. Photo: Flickr/Day Donaldson A husband walks into a bedroom and hands…

How did dressing your baby become a political act?



Dress your baby in pink and people will see a temperamental prima donna. Dress him or her in blue and they will see a boisterous little chap with a fine set of lungs. Newborn babies, ready to meet our assumptions. Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images It’s a good job that newborn babies can’t talk. They have this way of looking at…

Why “mindful pregnancy” is just another way of turning women into compliant maternal putty



Andy Puddicombe’s book is just one of several that aim to teach the art of calmness and acceptance to the pregnant, in case women need any more unashamedly brain-numbing guidance. Mindful pregnancy seems to advocate a dulling of the senses. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images After some extensive reading and eight years’ hands-on experience, I’ve hit upon the ideal way of…

Will shared parental leave make for a more equal world?



To get to grips with the drawbacks and benefits of shared parental leave, we must look past the “maternal gatekeepers”, “commando dads” and other stereotypes that muddy the debate. The debate about shared parental leave can be exhausting. Photo: Getty “It’s really very complicated.” “Yes, it is.” “Besides, it looks like your partner isn’t eligible.” “Yes, so it does. Oh well.”…

Will shared parental leave make for a more equal world?



To get to grips with the drawbacks and benefits of shared parental leave, we must look past the “maternal gatekeepers”, “commando dads” and other stereotypes that muddy the debate. The debate about shared parental leave can be exhausting. Photo: Getty “It’s really very complicated.” “Yes, it is.” “Besides, it looks like your partner isn’t eligible.” “Yes, so it does. Oh well.”…

Sussex police’s victim-blaming anti-rape campaign: why is it victims, not rapists, that must change their behaviour?



Decades after the first Reclaim the Night march, we are still wondering: why is it always women who are told they have to modify their behaviour in order to stay safe? “Which one of your mates is most vulnerable on a night out?” asks the poster from Sussex police’s latest sexual violence prevention campaign. If you want an honest answer,…

The Tories’ nutty tax promises, how Fallon weaponised Trident, and a minor cricketing drama



Wrong-to-buy, socialist Monopoly - and a rather strange cricketing romance. A cricket ball. Photo: Wikimedia commons Why proposals to cut inheritance tax are so popular is one of the mysteries of the age. Even with house-price inflation, it would affect only one in 10 estates by 2020. But it is all a matter of words. Inheritance tax – originally introduced after…

How can a memoir convey the damage done by eating disorders, without passing it on?



Nancy Tucker’s eating disorder memoir, The Time In Between, tackles this problem head-on. Anorexia memoirs are not "safe" from triggering readers. Photo: Flickr/Benjamin Watson The back cover blurb of Nancy Tucker’s eating disorder memoir, The Time In Between, describes it as “a Wasted for the 21st century”. For the uninitiated, Marya Hornbacher’s Wasted, first published in 1998, sets the standard for…

Why you shouldn’t sell breast milk



In many ways we have come full circle, returning to a time when women were seen not as human beings, but as objects available for sale or exchange. Only now we call it choice. Containers with donated milk at the human milk bank in Lima, Peru. Photo: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images I can see the initial attraction of selling breast milk.…

Dolce and Gabbana’s comments on IVF highlight how often we ignore the surrogate mother



Amid the outrage over the fashion designers’ comments about “synthetic children”, the role of the gestational mother has yet again been completely erased. She just makes the picture too messy. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbano with Naomi Campbell in 2010. Photo: Tullio M Puglia/Getty Are babies a fashion accessory? They are if you’re Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who recently…

Why do we still see equality for pregnant women and mothers as “special treatment”?



Everyone benefits from so-called “women’s work”. Treating women in the workplace in the same way to heterosexual men is not equality. Photo: Getty According to the feminist and civil rights activist Florynce Kennedy, “if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament”. I think that she is right. If men got pregnant – not in some wild revision of…

“Mummies at war”: stop pitting mothers against each other in order to sell formula milk



The representation of mothers as shrill Mumzillas is hardly something new. Sadly, neither is exploiting these stereotypes to sell things. Mother and daughter go for a walk. Photo: Getty It has been reported that formula milk manufacturer Similac has scored “a big hit with one of the most honest ads ever about parenting”. Honest, that is, if you see parenting…

Why farting is a feminist issue



To exhibit any kind of bodily function in public – whether it’s pissing against a wall, spitting in the street, picking and flicking earwax while one waits in a queue – is still seen as a male thing to do. Men have the right to be revolting in public. Women don't. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images In news that has shocked…

Why farting is a feminist issue



To exhibit any kind of bodily function in public – whether it’s pissing against a wall, spitting in the street, picking and flicking earwax while one waits in a queue – is still seen as a male thing to do. Men have the right to be revolting in public. Women don't. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images In news that has shocked…

Secret santa sexism: why are we so keen to reinforce gender roles for adults at Christmas?



Some progress has been made in getting rid of toys marketed specifically at girls or boys, yet we’re still confronted with “For Him” and “For Her” in every Christmas catalogue that plops through the door. Ho, ho, ho. Not all men want beer-related gifts, you know. Photo: Pete Norton/Getty Images Gender! (huh, yeah) What is it good for? Absolutely nothing……