Embarrassing sexism out of existence

It’s time for another feminism post. It seems that since my last stab at solving equality, basically NO ONE LISTENED, so I’m going in for another pop. Fingers crossed this time, I’m getting kind of tired of having to keep bringing this up.

Sexism exists. I know, I know. I’d literally rather sick up a chip than have to repeat that sentence, but there we have it. It’s like a really pungent fart on a train. No one wants to point out that they’re suffocating from it, we’re much too polite for that, and the fella that’s done it can’t even smell it- and even if he could, he’d be more outraged that you dared to call it out than accept any fault.

So, maybe it’s because I’ve been reading lots of Caitlin Moran lately, or maybe it’s because my best friend was told to “ask your dad” when questioning a cowboy plumber’s work, or perhaps it’s because there’s so much in the news right now on gang rape, rape apologists and victim blaming. Whatever the bubbling inspiration for this is, I’ve decided I want women to start calling out sexism. Routinely. Every time it happens. If you can’t beat them, beat it out of them (not literally, please.)

Calling out sexism is actually quite good fun. You feel a rush of self-respect, and are kind of satisfied that you’ve managed to embarrass someone for being a douche. Par example:

A few nights ago, I joined some friends on a night out. Wearing thick black tights and a leather skirt was apparently enough of a come on for a complete stranger, who decided he’d have a quick feel of my arse as I tried to get past him.

I genuinely cannot understand why people do that. Are you checking it if it’s ripe, or something? We’re not in the fruit aisle of Tesco, bro, you don’t get to have a feel a la Try Before You Buy. Anyway. Whatever his motivations were, I’m not particularly game for a good round of casual sexual assault in a nightclub, so I politely asked him if there was anything in particular he thought he stood to gain by groping a passing woman.

He was mortified. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me, his friend looked awkward and turned away, and he certainly didn’t give me a satisfactory answer. Hmm? Was there something you wanted to say, treacle? You’ve got my undivided attention. I don’t know if he’ll do it again, but I’m willing to bet if he was confronted that way every time he copped a feel, he’d get the message.

There’s an amazing ongoing campaign called the Everyday Sexism Project. (Their website & their twitter are well worth a read). In practice, it’s this huge database of women’s experiences of sexism. If every single one of those instances, some of them casual, some of them harrowing, and most of them relatable, were called out, then we might be half way to putting sexism to bed.

I’m not in anyway suggesting sexism is in any way women’s responsibility, or that men are naturally, stupidly sexist and we need to carefully train them out of it. It’d just be brilliant if we could sit around, having cocktails or sleepovers or whatever girls do, and laugh about the time we called out sexism, rather than sharing embarrassing and often uncomfortable anecdotes of it.

So, next time you see sexism happening, or are at the brunt of it, tell that person to piss off. Next time someone asks how you think you’ll bring up children and have a career, or when they suggest you’ll be too busy buying shoes to care about important stuff, or when they grope you in a club, call them out. We can embarrass it so much that the ground really does open up and swallow it whole.


Home for Christmas (& happy 1st birthday, ESS!)

It’s not secret that I adore being at home. Deep and meaningful chats with my mum as we wander around the supermarket, squabbling over the correct way to pronounce “pear” and getting to watch the cogs turn in my sister’s brain as she makes the tough decision between watching Made in Chelsea reruns or Big Bang Theory reruns. Who wouldn’t love it?

As we’ve downsized houses this year, I don’t technically have a bedroom anymore. Instead, Bethany has graciously lent me some floor space for my things and I tuck myself in at night on a mattress in an alcove in her room. It’s not ideal, as being a twenty year old woman who has to cut her Bill Bryson reading short each night because her little sister has turned off the light at ten pm is a tad frustrating to say the least, but it’s worth it. Full and unprecedented access to her wardrobe/make-up bag (as long as you’re subtle and she doesn’t notice), hell yeah.

When I’ve not been engaging in chase scenes with the dog, or discussing kidney removals with my stepdad, I’ve been catching up with my woefully neglected friends. Several bottles of wine and a hurtfully embarrassing game of bowling later, with plans for more hangovers in the immediate future already brewing, I’ve managed to squeeze in a little work too.

I’ve applied for a grad scheme, because that’s what responsible student apparently do. I’ve also made several decorative but not necessarily useful revision posters. I’ve been back to York for some final pre-Christmas shifts, complete with extra stress to ensure the biggest relief on returning to Huddersfield. In short, it’s been a busy, happy and welcomed week.

Walking Ralph, having a dance in Huddersfield with Liv, quality Nandos time with Beth

Happy birthday, EverySecondSong!
It’s been a year to the day since Every Second Song was born. My little corner of the internet is a whole year old.

I never actually expected anyone other than my mum to ever read my blog, so it’s pretty cool that I’ve had so many hits and won a real life internet award. It’s so weird that I can bump into people in the shop or people I haven’t seen in months, and they already know everything I’ve done because they read my blog. I’ve been introduced to people as “Every Second Song” before. I’m always subconsciously drafting my next post. It amazes me that people actually care that I’m liveblogging tidying my room, or my reviews of club nights or my opinions and attempts at humour. I’m looking forward to Year Two of Every Second Song already :)


Could you donate an organ?

It’s been an important few weeks for us Yellies. Steve, my stepdad, has just undergone an operation removing his kidney. He’s not ill, thank goodness, he’s just decided to donate it. To a stranger.

Donating an organ to a stranger is a lengthy, costly and exhausting procedure. Steve has undergone around a year of medical tests to make sure his kidney is up to scratch, and that he’s in a physical (and psychological) state strong enough to wave goodbye to an organ. He lost weight, took countless blood tests, fasted and cycled across west Yorkshire to get to hospital appointments.

The operation was a success, and he’s now recovering in his onesie and a beanie hat at home for the next few weeks. He can’t do anything too strenuous, his meds can make him ill, his appetite is off, and he can’t drive or take the dog for a walk. Instead of feeling lighter, due to the absence of a hunk of meat inside of him, he is bloated from the things that have been pumped inside of him. He feels like a ‘rearranged suitcase’.

It all seems a lot. Especially when you consider he has never met, and most likely never will meet the person who’s receiving the spare organ. But he hasn’t complained- even where he’s had to cut out his beloved slice of bread before tea, or after an unpleasant stay in the hospital. He’s saving someone’s life, and that’s enough for him.

I couldn’t be prouder. He has no reason to voluntarily offer up his kidney, other than wanting to improve a life of a complete stranger. If you ever doubted altruism existed, then this would put you straight. Wanting no recognition or praise for his undoubtedly noble act, he’s quite content shuffling around the house making Coke Floats, happy in the knowledge that somewhere, a person can continue to live because of him.

Could you donate an organ? I’m sure we’d all like to think we’re dutifully to chop off limbs and spare bits to save a loved one in a desperate and unfortunate situation- but could you do it for a stranger?

It’s quite easy to donate blood- safe in the knowledge that our hearts will be powering to replete our levels. Once you offer up something your body can’t simply restock, it’s a different story.

Steve is one of the first hundred people in the UK to donate to a stranger. The name for a living donor of organs is an “altruistic giver”, and is spot on. Steve, and my family members, went to some lengths to ensure this donation would run smoothly. It’s not always been a walk in the park, and there are considerable improvements to be made to the entire donation procedure. But somewhere in London, a young woman has been given a new lease of life. And that’s the important thing.

Here is my virtual hat off, round of applause and tear of pride in my eye to Steve Yates.

If you fancy following in Steve’s footsteps and handing over your spare kidney to someone who could really do with it, or if you’re just interested in the process and people’s motivations for altruistic giving, check out this amazing but small campaign: One’s Enough. There’s also a fascinating article on the rise of altruistic givers in The Guardian here.


Things to do while Facebook is down


Calm down, I have a plan.

  1. Go to sleep. It is twenty to twelve on a Monday, after all.
  2. Read something. Something that isn’t your mum’s mate complaining about the local council, and especially something that isn’t that girl you barely know having a status update argument with someone you aren’t friends with anyway. Like a book!
  3. You definitely have an essay due in, or something. You must have. 
  4. Comfort eat. Immediately raid the fridge. Doesn’t matter if that massive block of chocolate is your flatmates, THIS IS A CRISIS.
  5. Blog about it. QUICK, BEFORE IT’S NOT RELEVANT.