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Women Lifestyle «TheGuardian»

Wed, 18 Jul 2018 15:00:18 GMT
I treat women badly in my sex life but still think I’m a feminist. Is that hypocritical?

In this series Poppy Noor discusses an issue concerning how we can build happy, well-run communities. But what do you think? Send us your thoughts and responses

I am a guy in my late 20s. I’m writing because a recent incident made me reflect on my thought process and how my behaviour reflects my values. Recently a new girl in our friendship group – a self-proclaimed feminist – called me out, saying that I treat women badly, and that I’m not a feminist. She was referring to the fact that I have one night stands; that I sleep with multiple women and lie to them about it, and that I often lead women on, making them think I like them more than I do.

I know these things are bad, but I never saw them as having anything to do with my broader views about women. I know that I have held women to different standards than I hold myself – for example, I once shouted at my ex because she slept with someone we knew, even though I’d done the same – but honestly, I knew it was bad, I just couldn’t control it. I know I’m disingenuous, but I have never before considered this to be sexist; I thought I was just being selfish, and I don’t think I treat women badly in other walks of life. To be honest, I was quite outraged by this woman’s comments, and initially I was very defensive. In my group of friends – who are your typical group of laddish guys who go to Ibiza – I’ve always been the one who takes feminism seriously while they dismiss it. I don’t think I objectify women, I think I treat them well. I always try to talk to women and men on the same level, I try to confront sexism in the office, and not to use sexually demeaning words about women. I don’t have an issue with consent or coming on too strong. Women have never called me pushy or aggressive. I don’t even tell sexist jokes.

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 10:00:04 GMT
Watch out white, liberal ladies – Reductress has got you in its sights

The feminist website is known for its searing satire of women’s media. Now, with a TV show in the works, the site’s founders reveal their new target

A little over a decade ago, the writer Christopher Hitchens wrote a column for Vanity Fair entitled Why Women Aren’t Funny. It caused a bit of a stir. To imagine it being published today, however, is to blanch at the thought of Hitchens being dragged all the way across cyberspace by feminist Twitter.

Among its more salient lines was one in which the writer conceded the existence of female comedians: “Most of them, though … are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three,” he wrote. It was the kind of thing that would have been fodder for the satirical feminist website Reductress, lampooner of media for and about women. In 2015, in fact, the site addressed this “tiresome debate” with the story: If Women Aren’t Funny, Then Why Did I Just Leave a Huge Poop on Ryan’s Desk?

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Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:59:40 GMT
Men hold the top 14 positions in Theresa May’s cabinet. Proof she’s replicating Thatcher
How depressing, in this centenary year of the suffragette movement, that the prime minister’s inner circle is as male as John Major’s

Theresa May’s emergency cabinet reshuffle promoted more men called Jeremy than it did women in general, MP Nicky Morgan has pointed out, which means that after the prime minister, the top 14 places in the cabinet are now occupied by men. Morgan’s statement should have been stark, yet has been made so often and more amusingly (in 2014, Cameron had more dinners with people called David than he did women) that the only surprise is the curious dominance of the name Jeremy. Yet Morgan’s coda – how depressing is this, in the centenary year of the suffragette movement? – did hit home. Commemoration forces questions about the arc of history and whether it tends, after all, towards justice. If May has effectively replicated the unsisterly dynamic of Thatcher – who never knowingly promoted a woman to cabinet, other than the unelected Lady Janet Young, where a man was available – then what, frankly, was the point of Blair’s babes and Gordon Brown’s window dressing, of David Cameron’s desperate scrambling to look “modern”?

Why bother at all if May’s cabinet in 2018 can look indistinguishable from John Major’s, a ridiculous herd of suits broken up by two splashes of colour, Virginia Bottomley and Gillian Shephard, grinning like two polyester fig leaves. His original cabinet was entirely male, and nobody even noticed until they saw the photos. Will anything ever change, if the political culture at its highest echelons reverts so easily to its patriarchal norm?

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Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:15:22 GMT
Don’t pay a cosmetic surgeon for the ‘natural look’. Just grow out your monobrow
Cosmetic surgeons have noticed a decline in requests for buttock implants. This follows a general trend for the natural look – but now the beauty industry is commodifying that, too

Oh, the irony. Apparently, the new ideal of beauty is – wait for it – the “natural look”. Natural face, natural eyebrows, natural skin and, one assumes, a natural glow at having achieved all this … naturally. In beauty doublespeak, this means spending huge amounts of cash.

According to cosmetic surgeons, (the yardstick by which all standards of beauty should, ahem, be measured) the modern ideal of female beauty is fading fast. And what would that ideal be? For those no-nonsense folk who assume it is whatever you want it to be (in practice, this usually means a T-shirt and jeans with the knees knocked out from crawling after children/pets/dirt/your whole thankless life) let me womansplain it to you.

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Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:09:57 GMT
Charlotte Church and Katie Price to guest edit Woman's Hour

Singer to discuss creative failings of UK schools, while Price will tackle online trolling

The TV personality Katie Price and the singer-songwriter Charlotte Church will be among the next guest editors of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

The pair join the ranks of women including the author JK Rowling, the actor Angelina Jolie, the food writer Mary Berry and the Paralympics gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who have all previously edited the show, which has been on air since 1946.

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 13:22:57 GMT
How advert showing women shaving actual body hair broke taboos – video

Ever wonder why women shown shaving on TV adverts are already completely hairless? Breaking with decades of tradition, Billie, a US razor company, depicts women actually removing their body hair. Perhaps a sign of brands responding to calls for more realistic portrayals of femininity, say experts

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Wed, 18 Jul 2018 14:06:36 GMT
Women in top jobs not a priority for shareholders, MPs told

Investors more interested in green issues than gender equality, companies say

Shareholders are more concerned about environmental issues than promoting women to senior positions in boardrooms and some are not convinced that businesses need more women in top jobs, company executives have told MPs.

At a hearing on women in executive management, the House of Commons’ women and equalities committee quizzed representatives from the water company Severn Trent, packaging company Smurfit Kappa, car parts and bike retailer Halfords, the infrastructure firm Stobart Group and housebuilder Persimmon.

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Wed, 18 Jul 2018 11:44:43 GMT
UK spy agencies criticised for lack of black leaders

MI6 and MI5 had no one from minority ethnic background in a top post, MPs find

The UK’s intelligence agencies suffer from a lack of black and Asian staff in top posts, according to a report from the parliamentary intelligence and security committee published on Wednesday.

Neither MI6, which deals with overseas intelligence-gathering, nor MI5 had any people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background in the top posts in 2016-17. The surveillance agency GCHQ was the only agency listed as having any staff at a senior level from a BAME background.

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 10:13:46 GMT
Tory MP who blocked upskirting bill objects to women's conference

Ministers intervene as Christopher Chope is derided for opposing use of Commons as venue

Ministers have stepped in to ensure a global women’s conference can be held in the Commons after the Conservative MP Christopher Chope used parliamentary procedure to obstruct the plan, weeks after he achieved notoriety for blocking a bill to tackle upskirting.

There were shouts of “shame” after the veteran MP for Christchurch objected to the motion, read out in the Commons late on Monday, which would have allowed the chamber to be used in the autumn for the Women MPs of the World conference.

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Mon, 16 Jul 2018 13:12:57 GMT
'The right to sit': Indian law change allows female workers to rest

Mainly female workforce in shops not allowed to sit, lean against a wall or use a lift

Cybil Wilson has worked in one of Kerala’s big, shiny, brightly-lit sari shops for 10 years.

Her salary at the shop, in Trivandrum, has been consistently low but it is the pain and swelling in her legs that troubles her the most. Her employer forbids Wilson, and the other 120 female sales assistants working across the four floors, from sitting down during a 12-14 hour shift.

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Wed, 18 Jul 2018 10:00:12 GMT
For working parents, summer is about anything but vacation | Amy Westervelt

For many American families – including mine – summer is about survival, not relaxation

Before my oldest child started school this past year, I saw kindergarten as something of a finish line. At last, I could cross that childcare line off my list of fixed monthly costs – or at least cut it in half (I still have a couple of years to go with his younger brother). It’s a meaningful amount of money; so much so that I even entertained thoughts of (gasp!) working slightly less and thus needing less childcare for my younger son too, maybe even spending some time with both kids in which I am not panicked by an impending financial crisis.

Related: US mothers don't just need new policies – they need a cultural shift | Amy Westervelt

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Wed, 18 Jul 2018 07:00:28 GMT
What does childbirth feel like? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Nell Frizzell

Every day millions of people ask Google life’s most difficult questions. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries

Twenty-four hours into my labour I could be found wearing a pair of XXL hi-vis trousers – the kind worn by overweight construction workers as they repave motorways – walking up and down a small, rat-scuttled stretch of the River Lea, rubbing my nipples like kindling and muttering to my partner in the steady, driving rain.

Related: Why don’t we care about new mothers’ suffering? | Charlotte Naughton

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Sun, 15 Jul 2018 04:59:00 GMT
Flirting and you’ll be called a rapist? Oh please grow up, Superman | Barbara Ellen

Henry Cavill and his ilk know what is – and isn’t – acceptable behaviour. They just don’t want to admit it

Superman actor Henry Cavill has been criticised for remarks he made about the #MeToo movement. Cavill said: “There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman… I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned.” Cavill worried that talking to women or wooing them meant he’d be labelled a rapist or risk going to jail. He said: “If I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen?”

I have wonderful news – nothing would happen if Cavill flirted with women, nothing at all. Similarly, for any men out there worried about being labelled rapists – as the law stands, if you don’t rape anybody, you’ll be fine. (I know, it’s amazing, isn’t it?) Likewise, chasing may be mildly jarring imagery to use these days, but it wouldn’t lead to actual time in jail. Nor would wooing or anything else that Cavill is planning – perchance his Superman cloak laid across a puddle for the little lady to daintily step upon?

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Sat, 14 Jul 2018 12:00:38 GMT
Most US mass shootings are domestic violence – and don't make major news

A tragic incident in Alabama this week reminds me that women have long been canaries in the coal mine of male violence

The Week in Patriarchy is a weekly roundup of what’s happening in the world of feminism and sexism. If you’re not already receiving it by email, make sure to subscribe.

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Fri, 13 Jul 2018 09:00:08 GMT
Incredibles 2 boosts working mothers – at the expense of stay-home dads | Hanna Flint
If films dropped the stereotypes, maybe that would help dispel the stigma that stops men looking after their children

In a world oversaturated with superhero movies, The Incredibles has long stood out for its sheer relatability. Yes, the Parr family – the digitally created heroes of the Pixar film – have varying degrees of superhuman abilities, but they still have to deal with the rigmarole of everyday life, as we all do: work, school and the seemingly never-ending mundanity of domesticity.

However, in returning to their world in the sequel, released this week in the UK, there has been a role reversal with Bob, Helen and the kids. In a bid to get the superhero ban lifted Elastigirl is made the face of the campaign – to Mr Incredible’s absolute disdain – which means Bob’s job is to look after their children while Helen’s out at work.

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Mon, 18 Jun 2018 07:26:56 GMT
‘Women must be safe everywhere’: Turnbull pays tribute to Eurydice Dixon – video

The Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, pays tribute to 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon, who was murdered while walking home through an inner-city park in Melbourne on Tuesday night. Turnbull called for cultural change to ensure respect for women and to make public spaces safe. 'Women must be safe everywhere. On the street, walking though a park, in their homes, at work', he told parliament

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Fri, 15 Jun 2018 09:27:11 GMT
Upskirting happened to me and now I'm fighting to change the law – video

Gina Martin was at a festival when a man took a photograph up her skirt and shared it with his friends. When the police told her they could not do anything because upskirting was not a crime, she started a campaign. This is how a 26-year-old woman with no legal or political experience is trying to change the law

Update: Since we published this video MP Christopher Chope objected to the upskirting bill meaning that it won’t be passed into law on 15 June. Gina Martin has vowed to keep campaigning

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Wed, 23 May 2018 12:28:33 GMT
My budget flight to get an abortion: the story no one in Ireland wants to tell – video

At 20 weeks pregnant, Siobhan Donohue knew her foetus wasn't going to survive, but the eighth amendment in Ireland's constitution meant getting an abortion was impossible. Before this week's historic referendum on whether to repeal the law, she describes a heartbreaking journey to UK to get a termination

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Mon, 09 Apr 2018 05:00:50 GMT
Terrified of public speaking? Start with what you really want to say

Most of us are afraid of oratory – and women’s voices are judged particularly harshly. Could I conquer my fears with the help of a voice coach?

“I want you to stick two fingers between your teeth vertically, then say a line from a nursery rhyme.”

Biting my hand while trying to talk is less comfortable than lying on my back huffing out breaths to a count of 10, which is what I have been doing for the past half an hour, but I do as I am told. I can’t remember a single nursery rhyme. “The moon is made of green cheese,” I mumble. “Louder,” instructs Kate Lee, a former actor whose voice is vibrant yet relaxed. I try again. And again. It is hard to talk when you are gagged. “Now take out your fingers and repeat the phrase. Listen to the difference.”

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Fri, 30 Mar 2018 15:28:45 GMT
What’s in a name, women ask | Letters
Readers reflect on Joanna Moorhead’s article ‘Don’t dare call me Mrs’

I share Joanna Moorhead’s joy at John Bercow’s calling out of Boris Johnson for his sexist remarks to Emily Thornberry (Don’t dare call me Mrs. I kept my name for a reason, 29 March) as I have long been struck by one other example of this same “everyday sexism”. Can anybody explain why, in this day and age, women are still asked on almost every form they fill in whether they are married or not? This is the only information that is gathered by asking women to opt for one of the “Mrs”, “Miss” or “Ms” options. In which scenario is this at all relevant? The absurdity of the outmoded requirement to ask for one’s title in this way affects both sexes and is obviously completely superfluous as offering “Priestess” or any other randomly chosen “title” has no effect with online forms other than to allow their completion. It is time that all such outdated thinking is challenged, so well done to John Bercow for not letting this pass.
Angela Barker
Weybridge, Surrey

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Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:00:07 GMT
Diane Abbott on feminism in the 1980s: ‘It was so exciting being in a hall full of black women’

The rise of black feminist politics was of particular importance in a decade that saw inspiring council leaders ensure a voice for radical feminism and real change in the mainstream

In the 1980s there was a belief in sisterhood, and we saw real change. Feminist politics took place in the context of what was happening more generally on the left. We had the 1984-85 miners’ strike, and the Women Against Pit Closures movement, which was really important for women in what are now post-industrial areas. They were the wives and daughters of the miners and organised, raised money and built support for the strike. It was important for focusing people on what women were doing.

I vividly remember going to one of the first black feminist conferences. It was so exciting to be in a hall full of black women who shared my beliefs. Black feminist politics was one of the highlights of the decade for me. I did a lot of work on Scrap Sus – a campaign against stop and search and abuses of policing. The mums got involved because of the experiences of their children and their friends’ children.

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Wed, 31 Jan 2018 06:00:20 GMT
‘Women’s equality still doesn’t centre on women of colour – and it needs to’

In the 2010s, the internet changed the way we campaign, and helped me create the gal-dem community. But there are still massive gaps – feminism needs to be more inclusive

More: Afua Hirsch on the 1990s | Frances Ryan on the 2000s

I was only 16 at the start of this decade, so the easiest way for me to map the changes in opportunities for women is to look generationally. When I talk to my grandmother, who came to this country from Guyana in 1961, about gal-dem – a publication I founded, dedicated to supporting the creative work of women of colour and the things I am doing, she probably thinks: “Bloody hell – when I was growing up, there were signs that said ‘No blacks, no dogs’.” My mum says that, in her lifetime, there has not been a better time to live as a black woman.

But there are still huge gaps. When you look at the dominant narrative of women’s equality now, it is not one that centres on women of colour. The racism and discrimination we face now is more covert. Think about things such as the representation of women of colour in academia – in that space, things are similar to how they were when my mum was my age. We need to start by trying to empower the women with the biggest number of intersections, rather than white, middle-class women, who probably have the fewest gaps when it comes to their opportunities versus those of white men. We need to do better when it comes to the inclusion of trans women’s experiences and those of women who are not cis and able-bodied.

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Fri, 01 Jul 2016 07:06:01 GMT
A day in the life of an executive coach

‘My job is helping people become aware of their strengths and the mindsets that sabotage them.’


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Thu, 30 Jun 2016 06:00:04 GMT
Obama on feminism and other lessons from the first United State of Women summit

There are more people fighting for gender equality than ever before. We need to harness this power while there’s still time

“Wow, that’s a lot of women.” Those were the first words my taxi driver uttered since we left my Washington DC hotel and embarked on our journey to the White House-convened United State of Women (USOW) summit. As I opened the car door, I couldn’t help but blurt out “and now I am one of them”.

Normally, I am not comfortable in a mass of people. Yet, there I was, one of many and all I could think was: I found my people. The people around me, mostly women and a few good men, were invited to the summit because of their work in elevating the state of women around the globe.

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Wed, 29 Jun 2016 11:47:52 GMT
Women's talk: why language matters to female entrepreneurs

When Sue Stockdale set out to find women business-owners with fast-growth companies she found the language we use to offer opportunities to women is key

“Wanted – successful women entrepreneurs running fast-growing companies”. You would think that an advert like this would have hordes of women making contact wouldn’t you? Well, that’s not the case.

A few years ago I was involved in an initiative whose target market was women entrepreneurs running fast-growth companies. My role was to find these businesses to see how they could be supported in raising capital, and gaining access to mentors to help them during their growth journey. However, the problem was that we could not find many women who identified with this description. The traditional advertising routes were not working, so I set out to check if the lack of interest meant that they actually didn’t exist.

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Mon, 27 Jun 2016 06:57:09 GMT
Three simple steps to better employee engagement

With nearly a quarter of UK employees feeling as though they are ‘coasting’ at work, how do managers create a workplace where staff actually want to work?

A recent study from Aon Hewitt revealed that among 250 international organizations, those that reported the highest levels of employee engagement demonstrated a 58% higher return for shareholders. With results like this, employee engagement seems to be the key to a successful company.

However, a similar report by the Hay Group revealed that low employee engagement is costing the UK


Thu, 16 Jun 2016 06:24:29 GMT
'If diversity means giving white men more work writing about black women, we've failed'

Black women need to be in control of their own stories says screenwriter Misan Sagay – and that means hiring more black talent across all aspects of film and tv

Screenwriter Misan Sagay doesn’t identify with the “sassy black women” portrayed in films and on television.

“I have never met a black woman who behaves like that. I wouldn’t know how to be sassy,” says the Anglo-Nigerian, a former A&E doctor. “The way black women are portrayed in film has never been in the hands of black women – until really very recently – and so there are certain stereotypes people are comfortable with.”

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