Dear FHM

Dear FHM,

I get it. I really get it. You’re useless fart-huffing dicknozzles. I know this. You really don’t need to prove this by normalising violence against women.

In your “What Not To Wear” feature, you decided to be very funny by advising your readership not to wear women’s socks. Might I just point out that you’re really missing out here, as women’s socks tend to be a little softer than men’s socks, and if you buy the over-the-knee ones, your legs will be toasty all winter?

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Sorry, I wandered off the point, there. Where was I? Oh yes, you are shitmunching chancres.

See, at the end of the little slot, you advise your readers not to wear their “girlfriend/mother/victim’s socks”. You might think this is a light-hearted little joke, a friendly bit of fun. Banter, if you will.

If that’s the case, you’re wrong in the way only the true arsenugget can be wrong. Have you thought at all about what a “victim” is, other than the butt of your edgy humour? Did you know that one in twenty of your readers might have raped–maybe more than once–and shared a wry smile upon reading your little joke, while resolving not to steal the socks off of anyone he rapes in the future? Or that one in five of your readers are likely to think it’s all right to hit a woman, and you’ve just made that a little bit more acceptable?

Or maybe you think your little joke is much funnier because all this happens. Perhaps you’re trying to market yourselves to that all-important “perpetrator” demographic by laughing with them?

If so, please catch on fire. I am asking you as politely as possible. Please catch on fire.

Furiously,

Stavvers (no hugs, kisses, and I’m not letting you near my socks)

__

Picture courtesy of @Seja75

 

Dear @mehdirhasan

Dear Mehdi Hasan,

I literally don’t know where to begin with the torrent of how wrong you were in your piece about being anti-choice and left-wing. I say anti-choice, because I noticed you said you didn’t like the labels pro-choice and pro-life, and anti-choice reflects better what you really are.

I guess we’ll start with the piece. Now, I really think the first thing you should do is read this from Vagina Dentata who explains eloquently why you’re completely and utterly wrong about how it’s possible to be a lefty and anti-choice. Make sure you read the whole thing, but this is the crux of the matter:

So no, you cannot be left-wing and pro-life. You cannot be left wing and “progressive” if you think half of the world’s population can hang-on or sacrifice or just stop being so bourgeois for demanding that they are treated as equals. To fight for equality is at the very least, to acknowledge the biological difference that keeps women oppressed and fight to overcome that. Women’s sexual and reproductive rights are part of our struggle for survival and will not be trivialised or ignored by men who claim to fight for equality.

A few more points on your piece. I’m very disappointed in you, seeing you repeating the anti-choice porky pie that France and Germany have a 12-week limit, so the UK should too. What these countries actually have is a law which allows abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, i.e. you go up to a doctor, say “I’d like an abortion”, then you have your abortion. After the 12 weeks, the legal situation resembles that of the UK: you have to jump through hoops, provide reasons, see more than one doctor.

The rest of your argument, I’m afraid to say, is a hot mess of appeals to authority. You’ve just listed the few people who agree with you who aren’t thoroughly objectionable, many of whom died centuries ago. I’m also rather baffled by the fact that you’re not ashamed to agree with Jeremy Hunt, a man who has what I like to call the Copro-Midas Touch. Literally everything that man touches turns to shit. Are you genuinely comfortable with agreeing with a man who hides in trees to avoid being seen by journalists?

You’re also repeating the tiresome “it’s a baby” myth. Again, I’m going to refer you to one of my sisters, because pretty much everyone’s already said what I want to say, but please read this heartbreaking post from Fearlessknits about life at 25 weeks gestation.

I’m also rather concerned about you believing bodily autonomy to be “selfish and individualistic”. Mehdi, I hate to say it, but you’re really edging into fascist rhetoric here, constructing reproduction as some sort of common good. There’s good arguments in favour of the anti-choice position itself being inherently fascist, and I find your appeal to collectivism as an excuse to invade women’s bodies rather a good example of this.

Now let’s talk about your reaction to the whole thing, Mehdi. Now, I’ve noticed you’ve been whinging rather a lot about being called sexist for your views. The short answer is, that’s because you are being very sexist, Mehdi. Appallingly so. Once again, I’m going to refer you to a sister for this, as Reni Eddo-Lodge has explained beautifully why you’re a sexist.

Here’s why Hasan’s piece is anti-woman. He attempts to reframe the debate on his terms, snatching it out of the hands of people who can get pregnant, insisting on the premise of ‘ethics’ rather than women’s rights, and consequentially betraying his male privilege and over inflated sense of entitlement.

When he ponders which member of our society needs a voice more than the mute baby in the womb, he takes women out of the equation, completely; women’s thoughts, our hopes, our dreams, our aims and our goals—which may or may not include children.

You see, Mehdi, you’re silencing women. You’re telling us our rights don’t matter, our views don’t matter. Don’t think we haven’t noticed that the vast majority of supportive tweets you retweeted were from men. Don’t think we haven’t noticed you playing the time-honoured dog-whistle “reverse sexism” card. Your views are sexist, no matter how much you love your wife and daughters.

I will give you a bit of praise, for coming up with one of the most risible defences of sexist views I have ever seen. I’ll admit I laughed long and hard, because I’ve never seen anything quite so silly. You said:

This is indeed a “women’s issue”, yes, but is it ONLY a women’s issue? No wider ethical implications? (Oh, and no male foetuses??)

Mehdi, what about that meatsock incubator that’s holding the male foetus? That meatsock incubator is almost always a woman (sometimes it is a man, and these men can get a say about abortion too, as they’re affected by it). Ultimately, people with uteruses don’t like to be thought of as meatsock incubators, but your view constructs us as such.

Of course, you might dismiss my views as I’m a woman, and therefore, in your book, a selfish and individualistic babykiller. So just in case, here’s a really good piece by a man, Jonnie Marbles. Make sure you digest every word of this.

Anyway, I’ve spent rather a long time engaging with your arguments, and this is because what you’re saying is fucking dangerous and terrifying, an attempt to shift the Overton window further into our uteruses. However, a part of me thinks you were given the platform to espouse those worrying views, poorly argued, because the New Statesman are trolling for links. It works so well for the Daily Mail, and I can thoroughly understand why the NS might want a slice of the linkbait pie. That’s why I never linked your article, Mehdi. I don’t want to encourage anyone to continue publishing articles like yours.

Hope you’ve learned something from this, and will keep your opinions out of our wombs in future.

Stavvers xoxo

Dear George Galloway

Trigger warning: This post links to descriptions of rape

Dear George Galloway,

Let me start by saying I admire your unending capacity to be a premium-grade tosser. Whether it’s getting snuggly with all-round fuckbags like Saddam Hussein and Assad, or whether it’s you claiming that gay people executed in Iran have committed “sex crimes”, I am perpetually impressed by your ability to fart around like an arseweasel and not have found yourself with an icepick lodged firmly in your occipital lobes.

Anyway, given your previous track record, I can’t say I was surprised when I noticed you defending Julian Assange. You’re both egomaniacal wankers in a similar manner, and you’d probably be well placed to form a comedy duo in a sitcom. By sitcom, of course I mean “gulag”.

The thing is, Gorgeous George, you seem to have got some facts twisted in chumming up to St Julian. You said “if the allegations made by these two women were true, 100 per cent true, and even if a camera in the room captured them, they don’t constitute rape.” Now, while I fully appreciate your right to defend anyone you like and forge links with Ecuador’s future propaganda minister, there’s a few minor factual inaccuracies in what you’re saying.

Let’s start with the small stuff, that you’re coming across of something of a shitbadger by repeating tired old toss about this magical way of “verifying” rape allegations with some sort of “objective proof”. That isn’t how it works, and it’s kind of creepy that you think people should film their sexual encounters all the time. I mean, I know you don’t mind arsing around in a leotard pretending to be a cat, but really, George, exhibitionism isn’t for everyone. The fact of the matter is, decent people know there’s no such thing as this mythical “objective proof”.

And that’s precisely because of things people like you are saying, George. See, the allegations definitely do constitute rape. Let’s have a little look at what your pal Julian is accused of:

  • On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm. Assange, by using violence. forced the injured party to endure his restricting her freedom of movement. The violence consisted in a firm hold of the injured party’s arms and a forceful spreading of her legs whilst lying on top of her and with his body weight preventing her from moving or shifting.
  • On 13-14 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity. Assange, who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her without her knowledge.
  • On 18 August 2010 or on any of the days before or after that date, in the home of the injured party [AA] in Stockholm, Assange deliberately molested the injured party by acting in a manner designed to violate her sexual integrity i.e. lying next to her and pressing his naked, erect penis to her body.
  • On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep. was in a helpless state.
  • It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange. who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used. still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.”

So, the first point outlines pinning a woman down in order to force her into sexual activity. The second is tricking a woman into sexual activity to which she had not consented. The third is non-consensual–albeit non-penetrative–sexual activity. The fourth is having sex with a woman who is completely unable to consent. The fifth is exactly the same as the second.

You’ll notice, George, that the recurring theme throughout all of this is that the women were not consenting. There’s a word for sex without consent. Rape.

I find it rather concerning that you dismiss this as merely, as you put it, “bad sexual etiquette”. Bad sexual etiquette is not saying “thank you” before leaving. What Julian Assange is accused of is far more than that. It’s rape, George. It’s rape.

And it’s precisely due to arse-gargling ballfarters like you that this imaginary “objective proof” can’t work. Because there’s always scum like you who refuses to call a rape a rape. You’ll cloud the issues with rancid squid-ink because… actually, I have no idea how this state of affairs could possibly benefit you unless you’re a rapist. Would you explain to me why you so fervently pretend that none of this is rape?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

With contempt,

Stavvers xoxo

P.S. Apologies for the quality of my profanity. It tends towards the surreal when I’m furious.

P.P.S. I retract my remark towards the end of my letter comparing you to a squid. I like squids.

Dear Unilad, reloaded: an application

Unilad are advertising for new writers. I couldn’t resist…

Dear Uniladmag,

I notice you are looking for new writers who are–as you put it ‘banterous’. I should very much like to apply for this position.

I have several qualities which I feel would be of vital significance in my contribution to your publication, and which your current and former writing team appeared to lack.

Firstly, I have a good command of the English language, and do not make up stupid words like ‘banterous’. Indeed, my command of English is so comprehensive that, unlike your former and current writing team, I actually understand the meaning of the word. Your present gang of witless wankrags appear to lack the basic intellect to construct a good joke and are amused by, frankly, very worrying things.

This brings me on to my next point, Unilad. With me on the writing team, you’ll never fall prey to the dreaded Twitterstorm, as you will sort out all the shit in your backyard. I will not have you lot belching out guffaws of K Cider laughter at the notion of violent crimes, and develop a higher calibre of discussion than ‘Ooh, boobies’.

With my help, Unilad, you could cease to be the furtive wank-material of a Lynx-reeking fuckstain.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Stavvers xoxoxo

Update: Unilad replied! It looks like they just can’t take the banter:

Thank you for your application. We regretfully decline.

As it looks like they are going to continue to be a festering pit of misogyny and grunting tedium, I wish all the best to my fellow applicants Chris Coltrane, who wrote a satirical application so good they may just fall for it, and Chris Nicholson who put it gloriously succinctly. I have now decided to apply to compile cryptic crosswords for them.

Dear Unilad: An open letter to @Uniladmag (because their enquiries email mysteriously stopped working)

Dear Unilad,

What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously, I wanted to start of this open letter eloquently, but all I can do is wonder what is so wrong with you that you repeatedly promote rape.

You appeared on my radar last week when you posted an article advocating rape. I suspect the author of the piece thought he was being ever so funny by suggesting that the number of unreported rapes could play to a man’s advantage. Obviously you probably experienced quite a degree of backlash to this, because you quietly took it down. It’s still screencapped though, Unilad. People know what you did.

Then there’s this T-shirt, which manages to simultaneously advocate rape while implying that the wearer of the T-shirt suffers from premature ejaculation. Again, you quietly took it down, but forgot to remove it from your Facebook page. So we know what you did.

Your attitude to being called out on your behaviour is appalling. Tweeter @sazza_jay pointed out that what you were doing is wrong, and received misogynistic and homophobic abuse. Following your characteristic pattern, you then quietly took down the tweet, but we all saw it. It’s screencapped, Unilad. These days, nothing just disappears.

Your reaction to the controversy suggests that deep down you have some semblance of a clue that what you are doing is wrong, and here’s why: what you are doing is reinforcing a culture which facilitates rape. Your professed “banter” is dangerous: you are repeating rape myths which are often subscribed to by rapists. On university campuses, the area your laughable attempt at a “magazine” attempts to cater to, as many as one in four women will be raped.

Do you find this funny? Is it somehow amusing that up to a quarter of the women you might encounter (admittedly, most women will run a mile from any dickhead wearing your T-shirts) could be victims of a horrific crime?

If you don’t, it’s time to own up to your mistakes and apologise. Not some mealy-mouthed “sorry you got offended”, but a proper owning of your mistakes. You owe your followers an explanation, and help in participating in building a world without rape.

You are at a crossroads right now. Will you continue to be part of the problem, part of the culture which allows women to be raped while dribbling fools belch stale lager laughter over violations? Or will you apologise?

Here’s hoping you choose the right path.

Update: Unilad have issued an apology, but it fails on several fronts: (1) It has a “sorry you were offended” tone. (2) It’s only posted on Twitpic, not their main site. (3) It fails to show any understanding of why their behaviour is wrong. As I said, Unilad need to explain what is so wrong about rape jokes and work to challenging rape culture, not reinforcing it.

Update 2: A second semi-apology from Unilad, over on their Facebook page. They still haven’t explained why what they did was wrong. There are also an awful lot of vile, triggering comments making light of rape and threatening violence against those who got offended. While Unilad have apologised for those comments from their “fans”, such comments will continue to happen. This is exactly why rape culture needs challenging and why a site like Unilad needs to explain to its readers exactly why it will no longer be participating in a climate of violence: Unilad is trying to absolve itself of responsibility, when it is in fact responsible for these views. I screencapped the apology (and the first four ghastly comments) because I’m now wise to Unilad’s habit of taking things down

Update 3: Unilad’s website is now down, with the same semi-apology as on the Facebook group. Honestly. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to own their mistakes? A cynic might think they’re trying to cover their tracks and remove all traces of what they have done. When they relaunch, I’ll be watching…

Dear Nadine Dorries

Dear Nadine Dorries,

I get the feeling you’re quite interested in other women’s uteruses, so I thought I’d tell you a bit about mine.

Today is the first day of my period and at the moment, it’s almost like a golden discharge. By the evening, it will be at its peak and a great red tide will flow from uterus to cunt, punctuated by small black blobs, like some sort of poorly-made anarcho-syndicalist flag. It will then tail off slowly, from red to rusty to brown, to nothing. By Saturday morning, it will be as though my womb were tranquil as the Dead Sea and it had never decided to eject its lining.

I’m telling you about my periods because that’s probably the most interesting thing my uterus has ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever been pregnant, but there was this one time when I missed a pill and my period was a bit more painful and lumpier than usual. So maybe I was a bit pregnant then and it fell out.

I hope, Nadine, that what my uterus does has been of interest to you. I hope that other women might like to tell you a little bit about what their womb have been up to lately. Perhaps that will satisfy your curious fascination with uteruses and provide you with a healthy outlet for your hobby, rather than letting you declare war on women’s choice.

I know you won’t stop at decreasing choice, using patronising faux-concern to protect the poor silly women from the big bad experts in crisis pregnancy. You’ve tried to reduce the abortion time limit several times, using lies and misleading information. You want control over our wombs. You’re obsessed with our wombs.

And that’s why I exercised my right to choose and told you about mine. I hope it makes you feel happy.

Yours, with insincere good wishes,
Stavvers

Update: I’ve decided to make this A Thing and sent this letter to Dorries. I strongly recommend you join me in this endeavour