Recent Articles

Women in power – what will it take?

by Cath Elliott     March 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

According to the most recent figures from Fawcett, men now outnumber women 4 to 1 in Westminster.

In fact only 22% of MPs are women, 22% of peers are women, and 17% (20 out of 119) of government ministers are women.

As far as the media goes, there are only 2 female editors of national newspapers in this country and, according to a recent piece of research carried out for the Guardian, 78% of newspaper articles are written by men; 72% of BBC Question Time contributors are men, and 84% of reporters and guests on Radio 4′s Today programme are men.
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Should the jury have been told about Tabak’s violent porn?

by Cath Elliott     October 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I’m relieved to see that justice prevailed yesterday, and that Vincent Tabak’s ‘defence’ or ‘explanation’ that he hadn’t intended to kill Joanna Yeates but had simply panicked when he ‘misread’ her signals, and put his hands around her throat to stop her screaming, was given the short shrift that it deserved.

I’m disappointed to hear it was a majority verdict of 10:2 rather than a unanimous verdict from the jury mind, but there you go.

What has really pissed me off though, is the news that Tabak had a particular liking for violent strangulation porn.
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Why it’s wrong to casually dismiss the allegations against Julian Assange

by Cath Elliott     December 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I’m happy to be among the first to admit on this site that I have no idea whether Julian Assange is or is not guilty of committing a sex crime during his recent visit to Sweden.

In fact I’ll go one further, and state for the record that I don’t know enough about Swedish law, and in particular Swedish sex crimes law, to even begin to speculate on the rights and wrongs, he said she saids, in this case.

No, my issue with John Band’s piece on this site the other day is not that I think Assange is a man and all men are rapists therefore Julian Assange must a rapist, or whatever other radical feminist straw-woman-thinking readers here might want to accuse me of.
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The attack on Child Benefit is an attack on women

by Cath Elliott     October 4, 2010 at 3:52 pm

George Osborne’s announcement today that from 2013 Child Benefit payments will be axed for any family with a parent earning enough to put them in the 40-50%  income tax bracket is neither “fair” nor “right” as some commentators would have us believe: it’s actually an attack on the basic principles of the welfare state, and it’s an attack on women.

Before I get into how and why that is this though I just want to make something clear.
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Is Cameron backtracking on rape trials anonymity?

by Cath Elliott     June 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I’ve just watched Cameron’s first Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, where he said, when challenged by Harriet Harman over the proposals to grant anonymity to those accused of rape, that he “believed there was a case for it between arrest and charge.”

While I still don’t agree with the ConDem’s proposal, Cameron’s response appears to be a step back from the original “We will extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants” statement that was made a couple of weeks ago.
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Election sexism watch (episode 1)

by Cath Elliott     April 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

Introducing a new, month-long series, where I’ll be keeping a watchful eye on the meeja* and picking out some of the sexist-shite coverage of the General Election campaign.

Episode 1
From Andrew Pierce in yesterday’s Daily Mail:

Ugly rumours may cost Cash the cutie dear

Joanne Cash, the Conservative Party Alister, has been tipped for Cabinet office if she wins the marginal seat of Westminster North.
Tatler magazine has named her as one of the ten Tories to watch and Vogue included her as one of the top 50 women of the age.
Small wonder, then, that Ms Cash is pre-eminent among the telegenic Cameron cuties whom the Tories will be hoping to wheel before the cameras in the weeks ahead.

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Nadine’s not a feminist, but….

by Cath Elliott     February 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I found myself in the unenviable position this week of actually agreeing with Nadine Dorries about something. But don’t worry, it was a short lived affair.

Now despite the fact that I appear to be one of the few lefties she hasn’t yet blocked on Twitter, I’m not renowned for holding Dorries in any high esteem (see here for example), so you can imagine my surprise when she tweeted this:

…and I found myself nodding along.

Yes she’s right, the political new media is dominated by men – in fact it’s something I’ve been intending to write about for a while now.
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Joking about rape isn’t funny

by Cath Elliott     January 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I disagreed with a whole heap of stuff in Ellie Levenson’s “The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism” when it came out last year (see my Mswoman comments under this CiF piece for specific examples).

But apart from her odious assertion that “we do women an injustice when we say that rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman. It is, after all, just a penis.” top of the list was her claim, repeated in the Independent, that in some contexts so-called rape ‘jokes’ can not only be deemed to be acceptable, but they can also in fact be funny.

Because they’re not. Ever. They never have been and they never will be. They’re not funny when Ricky Gervais tells them, and they’re not funny when a Tory Councillor tells them either.
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Let’s talk about sex

by Cath Elliott     November 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm

The Government has announced plans today to make sex education in schools compulsory for all pupils between the ages of 15 and 16. Under the new proposals, all schools will have to teach personal, social, health and economic education to pupils from the age of five, but until those pupils reach 15 their parents will retain the right to withdraw them from classes. Staggeringly, considering the age of consent in this country is actually 16, that right currently exists for parents right up until their children hit 19.

Predictably, a good proportion of the commenters over at the Daily Mail have got their knickers in a twist about all this, as has Norman Wells, the director of the Family Education Trust, a group which believes thatbehind the plausible-sounding arguments and innocuous-sounding words there is a specific agenda at work to undermine the role of parents and to tear down traditional moral standards” and that “Sex education is an ideological battlefield on which a war is being waged for the hearts and minds of our children.”

And equally as predictably, I wholeheartedly disagree. In fact I think sex education, or PSHE (or is it PSHEE now?) should be compulsory for all pupils, including those still at primary school.

That’s not to say that I think children as young as five should be learning about sex, but I do believe that even the very youngest children have a right to know some basics, like the correct terminology for parts of the human anatomy for instance, or the fact that it’s perfectly normal for both boys and girls to feel emotions and to cry. (I also believe it’s tantamount to neglect that in this day and age a girl of 16 can find herself pregnant because she “only did it the once and everyone told me I couldn’t get pregnant the first time,” as happened to a friend’s daughter.)

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But where will they send me?

by Cath Elliott     August 10, 2009 at 10:15 pm

As if it wasn’t bad enough that despite being a British citizen I’m apparently incapable of ever passing the British Citizenship test (numerous goes at the various online versions have ended in complete and humiliating failure), now it looks like the knuckledraggers who post on the white-nationalist-fascist-scum Stormfront forums want to have me deported.

During a recent discussion over there about the Norwich North by-election one of its more evolved members, that is, a Nazi who can not only use a keyboard to spout bile on the Internet but who can even add links and shit too, decided to post my piece about the lies the BNP had been printing in their election leaflets: The BNP’s lies in Norwich North. On top of that, said Nazi also decided to post a piccie of my good self to illustrate the article, one that he nabbed off my Facebook profile.

Now after a minor panic about how the hell he’d got hold of a photo I’ve only ever used on Facebook, and after taking some advice from friends about Internet security (cheers Sunny), I decided to remove my FB profile from public view.

I hadn’t actually realised that doing that would have a knock-on effect anywhere else, but I’m delighted and amused to report that this action has led to my photo on the Stormfront forum being replaced by a generic faceless avatar.
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