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Blood, sweat and tennis – the great period debate.

Woman playing tennis

‘Take that you bastard ball’ Woman on her period playing tennis.

Tennis player Heather Watson is now the poster girl for menstruation and sport. Bit embarrassing, but less so compared to the other famous tennis poster girl who doesn’t wear pants and scratches her arse. Besides, we don’t have to be embarrassed anymore about our *whispers* women’s issues, because now other female athletes are joining in to tell us of their favourite ‘when I was on the rag’ story which is quickly turning into a version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

Radcliffe: When I was on my period I broke the world record at the Chicago marathon.

Pavey: That’s nothing, I’d just had a baby when I won Gold at the European Championships, I slung the umbilical cord over my shoulder and went for it, had no choice.

Grey-Thompson: In my day we couldn’t afford periods. I had eight one year and I thought myself lucky.

Croft: You lot don’t know you’re born. We weren’t allowed to have periods. I had to win three tournaments before I was allowed to ovulate, and then it was only for five minutes on a Sunday.

Now that we’re talking about them, here are some very important things everyone should know about periods:

  1. The idea that women should ‘take a break’ every month is due entirely to marketing, having a period each month seems more ‘natural’. This has become common wisdom, although doctors do now say that it’s fine to only have four breaks a year. Don’t know how they come up with this figure. It may be a massive conspiracy by the makers of sanitary products and the government because…..
  2. The government charges VAT on sanitary product because it is a luxury item. This is so wrong that all women should shun these ‘luxuries’ and bleed all over the place until they change the law, but every time I suggest this people look at me like I’m mad.
  3. Despite what teenage girls around the country tell their PE teachers it’s fine to go swimming when you’re on your period. Even if there’s a shark in the pool as they are attracted to sweat and other bodily fluids too so they are just as likely to attack your male classmates. Actually, probably best not to go swimming with a shark just in case.
  4. There are roughly 2 million euphemisms for menstruation, which seems like a lot, but if men had periods there would be 6 million.
  5. Just over a hundred years ago doctors were still discussing if menstruating women could turn bacon rancid. Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you’re not a moron.
  6. In 2005 Gian Franco Kasper, president of the International Ski Federation said that there were restrictions on the women’s sport on medical grounds- It’s like jumping down from, let’s say, about two metres on the ground about 1,000 times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view. He seems to be implying that it might break their wombs. The bacon thing suddenly seems a little bit less stupid in comparison.

Opening up a debate about periods would be great as long it doesn’t descend into questioning if should women be allowed to fly military jets, rule countries or handle pork products.

I know this is a nuisance, but the thing is that there are loads of us women. Not all periods are the same. Some women just have a day of cramps and are fairly regular. Others can come on at any minute and will stab you in the eye/ burst in to tears of you look at them funny. Generally though it’s probably true to say most of us manage to incorporate periods into our lives without huge effect. Sometimes they cause problems, making you more likely to snap at someone, ruin a white sofa or lose a major tennis tournament. We should all be grown up enough to be able to say, ‘Sorry about that, got the painters and decorators in’ and get on with our lives. It’s not an excuse, it’s just how it is sometimes.

I tell you what though, when it comes to physical limitations and sport, aren’t those blokes doing remarkably well? I’m not being sexist, but in all honesty with their most vulnerable area dangling front and centre, they are not really designed for sporting activity are they? With all the swinging, kicking and flaying about they could really hurt themselves and not be able to have babies and if they can’t have babies, what’s the point of them? However, those lovely chaps have largely managed to overcome this with cups and straps and a gentleman’s agreement to keep things ‘above the belt’. Good for you for overcoming your physical disadvantages, but do be careful now.

Why the biggest tits on show are the ones reporting the NoMorePage3 story.

Alice Kenny and Christabel Pankhurst

Look at those bloody women standing there making no difference.

Listening to a news report that The Sun appears to have dropped topless pics on Page 3 my joy was tempered slightly by the reporter’s closing sentiment. Rather than credit the #NoMorePage3 campaign for the change in policy, he said ‘changing public attitudes’ were the reason and even ended with ‘sexism is so 1970s’.

Is it? Are, we’re done with sexism then? Wow, that’s REALLY great news, to be honest if I was doing that news report, I’d have led with that.

No more sexism, that’s chuffing marvellous, although I suspect what’s the reporter was actually saying is, yes there’s no more pg 3, and it was all our idea. Feminists don’t go thinking you’re clever, you have achieved nothing, so there’s no point trying to change anything else.

This isn’t the first time that ‘changing public attitudes’ has been credited with social advancement instead of the work of campaigners. Take votes for women for example. That all happened because of ‘changing public attitudes’ after World War 1 (thanks WW1, *thumbs up, winks*) and practically nothing to do with the suffrage movement. In fact, if anything they held it back. If society hadn’t had to waste time force-feeding suffragettes in prison, the idea of giving women the vote probably would have occurred to the ruling elite much sooner.

A quick glance round the news sites this morning shows there’s a charming assumption that the work is done, and a bit of irritation at anyone who says ‘no more topless women is great, but replacing them with women in lingerie isn’t loads better’. The comments sections are hilarious in their ‘FFS what NOW?????’ outrage.

Maybe there were some people who thought the whole Rosa Parks thing was actually about seating arrangements on public transport. ‘Let the lady sit down, and we’ll say no more about it.’ Nobody seriously thinks that the civil rights movement in America had nothing to do with achieving greater racial equality, and it’s equally delusional to think that the patriarchy is going to shift its arse without all us feminists coughing loudly in its general direction.

I understand that the reporter was trying to be funny and light-hearted with his ‘sexism is so 1970s’ crack at the end (God forbid we actually take this stuff seriously), but perhaps it would have a more rounded piece if he’d looked at what the modern equivalent to page 3 is because page 3 is not about a bit of cheeky porn, it’s about keeping women in their place. I’m sorry to kill the joke and all, but a few lovely ladies had to endure daily rape threats and abuse to achieve this so they’ll be pleased to know that it’s got nothing to do with them.

It would seem that it takes about 30 years of relentless campaigning and the victimisation and abuse of those who spearhead change before rights are won with a churlish ‘we were going to do it anyway’. I however, am very grateful for the people who are making these changes happen and would like to say thanks to Lucy-Anne Holmes and everyone associated with #NoMorePage3. Well done.

More hair

Nigel Farage with a Hare on his shoulder

Hare on a nipple

Can talk about hairy nipples?

I’m exaggerating, actually A hair on A nipple.

I’ll start from the beginning, normally I don’t see the point of shaving legs in the colder months. After all that’s what trousers are for right? If you’re married, your husband shouldn’t be picky about what you look like naked in case you enact the ‘til death do us part’ of the contract. Anyway, if he knew how much waxing products/services cost he’ll wholeheartedly support keepin’ it real for the sake of the household finances. ‘Your bikini line will have to wait love, the TV licence is due’.

However I was thinking of wearing a dress in public, so I was in the bathroom applying the magic shower cream which makes hair disappear when I started contemplating whether it would be really cool to use a piping bag to write a message in my leg hair. It would be really powerful. Imagine a feminist message written in leg hair.

I’m totally doing this. ‘Screw the’ on the left shin, ‘patriarchy’ on the right. That’s when I noticed a black hair emerging out of my nippular region.

Shocked I grab a pair of scissors and trim the offending hair.

  1. Q) What’s worse than nipple hair?
  2. A) Nipple stubble.

Now I’m going to spend ages trying to grab the damn thing with a pair of tweezers. Rubbish tweezers too, I’m too cheap to by decent ones, I might as well be using chopsticks.

I try using chopsticks, at least if I’m caught doing this I can pretend that I’m just retrieving a noodle, I mean everyone eats Chinese food in the bathroom right? You know, there are worse things than nipple hair, like when I realised I have hair growing out of the mole on my face, that’s right readers, ON MY MOTHER LOVIN’ FACE.

I asked my friends why they didn’t tell me that I had hair growing out of the mole on my face. The replies were unsatisfactory: ‘Because you might have cursed me’ (cowardly), ‘Because I was focusing on my mother’s funeral at the time’ (selfish), ‘I was distracted by the chopsticks sticking out your bra’ (inattentive), and ‘You have mirrors right?’ (fair point).

Thing is that when I look into mirrors, I don’t really look, you know? I’m a busy person, so I just write my death threat in red lipstick and leave. I don’t examine my face in any detail. Unless I’ve sustained a facial injury, then I can’t help but look. In fact I take pictures and share them with all my friends and their acquaintances. My FB album looks like the story board for the Elephant Man.

I digress. I feel that now that it has hair, my mole should really be up graded to ‘wart’ and therefore I have earned the title ‘crone’ My new status makes me feel more comfortable about the nipple hair, I’m not an ugly old woman, I’m an excellent crone. Perspective – see?

Back to the nipple hair…Distracted, I go into the shower too soon and simply wash off the magic leg hair cream and the hair is still there. Great, my unwanted hair is impervious to chemical attack. In fact by exposing it to low-level chemicals without killing it, I have possibly made it stronger. Now my legs and armpits will turn green when I’m angry. Also they are still hairy.

This is not fair. I just wanted to shave my legs, but not only did I fail to do that, I’ve discovered two extra follicle sources. I went into the shower normal(ish), I have emerged as Captain Caveman.

Captain Cave man

Me

7 bits you may have missed this week

  1. Godfrey Bloom (this bloke)

    Godfrey Bloom

    Godfrey Bloom –

…is quitting Ukip because it’s too politically correct. That may sound like an odd thing to say, but this is the fella who uses phrases like ‘bongo bongo land’ and calls women ‘sluts’. Saying odd things is really Mr Bloom’s ‘thing’ and apparently even Ukip have its limits.

Tell you what Mr Bloom join the Tories.

cameron poses with blackface dancers

They don’t give a shit.

Yes, that it the Prime Minister pictured with some ‘blacked up’ Morris dancers.

To be fair to the Morris dancers the black-face thing is an old tradition to do with obscuring their identity, rather than the horrendously racist thing it initially looks like. –Still, I’d suggest it’s one of those little traditions you probably want to knock on the head now, ok guys? Like all those people who go on about swastikas being an ancient Celtic good luck symbol, or this guy…

imagesSMROUZTL

Sometimes you just have to accept, times have changed.

To be fair to the PM, if someone asks for a selfie, it must be tricky to say, ‘No way, you look like a bunch of bigot clowns, but can I still rely on your vote?’ and on the plus side, at least now the prime minister has one picture where he looks the least like a bigot clown.

I also like the little touch of carrying the toddler. Like a human shield against hatred. Nice try Dave, but this it still pretty far from being an Athena poster.

2.

1

 

I always thought there was something a bit ‘off’ about that Hitler bloke.

3.

David Cameron has decided something must be done about ‘coasting’ schools in affluent areas which are doing ok, but should be doing better. Clearly the PM (who is currently looking for a school for his daughter in an affluent middle class area), sees this as a massive problem. He’s not said much about problems like this:

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or this…

3

or this…

4

But then his kids are not likely to go to those schools, so who cares? No, those middle-class schools where the kids have shoes and no-one gets stabbed, they desperately need our help.

3. Hey, guys stop murdering your mums.  Write poetry or something instead (not that I’m condoning  poetry).

56

4.

MacDonald’s try an interesting ‘Our food is not quite as disgusting as you think it is’ campaign.

7

‘Hey, that the pink slime stuff has nothing to do with us… (ahem) any more. And sure, technically we use the same chemicals in our buns as you’d find in a yoga mat, but it’s not like it’s a used yoga mat, that’d be gross.

They also admit to using anti-foaming agent in their chicken nuggets and using beef treated with hormones, but I won’t dwell in this stuff  because a) we all know the rumours about MacDonald’s and I don’t need to repeat them because, b) they might hound me down and sue my ass off.

I actually kind of admire MacDonald’s for (finally) coming clean about what’s in their food. Now I wonder how many of us will admit that we don’t care, because frankly it is tasty and cheap and we’ll eat anything if you slather on enough mayonnaise. Also we’d basically feed our kids rat nuggets as long as you stick a plastic toy in the box so we get 5 minutes peace

5.

Farts are still pretty much the funniest thing ever. FACT.

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6.

Prison is horrible. But perhaps not quite as bad a being shot to death in a bathroom? #justsayin’

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7.

We all know how hard it is to arrange a party, but the broadcasters arranging the televised debates seem to be screwing up royally.

10

ITV: Dave and Ed are in obvs, what about Dave’s partner Nick?

BBC: Might be a bit awkward now they’re splitting up?

Channel 4: That boorish tosser Farage seems to have wangled himself an invitation thanks to Clacton so I suppose he’ll have to be there.

BBC: Great, can Jeremy Clarkson come too?

Channel 4: No, but if we’re inviting Farage, shouldn’t Nathalie Bennett of the Green party have a place?

SKY: Oh, give it a rest hippies. Let one chick in and they’ll all be wanting a say.

Channel 5: I have literally no idea what we’re talking about.

Hair today…

Theresa May

My new haircut

I’ve had my hair cut, and it’s kind of big deal, because a) I massively overestimate my importance, it’s what makes me so damn adorable, b) I had a LOADS taken off c) I go to the hair dressers about as often as I have major surgery. I prefer the surgery tbh.

In my opinion there is a bit of a tendency in the health and beauty industry to exaggerate the need for regular visits. If I regularly postpone smear tests, skipping a few trips to the salon isn’t going to bother me. Split ends don’t cause cancer (hairdresser looks at me as if to say, ‘but do they though?’)

I don’t think I’ve ever had a facial where the therapist hasn’t told me I should be having more facials despite my only having the one face. Now that they’re not free anymore, dentists do this sales stuff too. Last time I went my dentist said my teeth worked fine, but they weren’t white enough. I asked him when did dentistry get all racist? Sorry Mr Dentist, but if I was going to ‘un-yellow’ bits of me, I’d start with my liver. Then my dentist asked me if I drink red wine, I said, thanks, but this Rosé is fine, and he said that’s the mouth rinse, and you’re supposed to spit it out. Pretentious wanker.

It’s the opticians I feel sorry for. There’s not much they can say to you really, once you’ve done the eye test, and your sight is fine, that’s pretty much it. They can’t really add, ‘Would you like a quick eyeball polish? Or ‘we recommend that you try blinking more and wherever possible incorporate NOT JABBING YOURSELF IN THE EYE into your daily routine.’

Any way I was inspired to go the hairdressers by a friend of mine, who’d just had her long hair cut to a gorgeous bob. She’d even donated her lopped off locks to a charity which makes wigs for little girls who’ve lost their hair undergoing chemotherapy. I was going to do the same, but on second thoughts I really wouldn’t wish my split-ends on some poor bald girl. She’s got enough problems without a wig of badly dyed blonde hair making her look more chav than an extra from Eastenders.

I take the attitude that there is a ceiling to what I can really achieve with this hair and beauty thing. I could spend a small fortune chemically manipulating my hair and skin so they look consistently immaculate, but there’s no getting around the fact that my head looks like something God came up with when he was arseing about on his etch-a-sketch. If I was sensible I’d shave my head, but then I’d be cold and the cancer kids are hogging all the wigs, so I think I’ll stick to hats.

The 4 Golden Rules of Dress Up Day

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1. Only play if you want to.

I know that the idea of fancy dress can be an emotive issue. In the political hotbed of the school playground, it can split parents like no other issue, other than perhaps who’s the fittest Cbeebies presenter. I’m afraid I must admit straight away that I am decidedly pro dress-up day. As soon as I find out the theme, I’m clapping my hands with joy and planning a trip to Hobbycraft. Around 50% of the time I then I forget about the whole thing until the night before and bodge something together while a bit drunk, when attaching sparklers to a seven-year-old’s boots is a sodding genius idea.

Sometimes I manage to pull off a good outfit, I fondly recall my Gruffalo of World Book Day 2012, and sometimes I have an epic fail, such as last year’s Dalek, which resulted in the teacher ‘wanting a quick word’ with me at pick up time. Basically, If you have put in the time and effort to make a decent outfit, it’s ok to be proud of it, just don’t get too cocky, because next year it could be you covering your kid in labels because no one can work out who the hell they’re meant to be, or forgetting altogether. Like the kid I saw on Roald Dahl Day, who was dressed in normal clothes, but had a printout of a book cover cellotaped to his back. Weirdly he didn’t seem to mind not wearing a complicated and uncomfortable outfit all day. Perhaps it’s because dress-up is fun, but ultimately no one cares, and we all have busy lives.

2. It’s not a competition, except for when it totally is.

I know that a lot of the reason some people don’t like dress-up day, or cake bakes or project homework, is that they can introduce an element of competition between parents which is often seen as divisive and unfair. As someone who has never won anything in my life without resorting to cheating or blackmail or kidnapping the judge’s family, I quite like the jokey-competition of a load of slightly-deranged (mostly) mums high on the fumes of craft-glue, ignoring the cries of their petrified children as they mutter ‘more sequins’. For someone who works part-time from home and looks after small children the rest of the time, I enjoy the opportunity to do something a bit silly. I don’t expect everyone to do it, and I know no-one is giving out bonus parenting points for making instead of buying this stuff, but I’m not ashamed of the fact that last night I spent 2 hours making insects out of pipecleaners and I look forward to having my mates take the piss out of me for it. So there.

3. Enthusiasm counts for a lot.

I’m not the crafty-type to be honest. In fact, I’m not really any good at anything which requires presentation skills. My handwriting looks like something a cat’s coughed up and my dress sense looks like I’ve smothered myself in pritt stick and rolled about in Kate Bush’s jumble. I’ve tried to embrace my inner Nigella in the kitchen, but it turns out that in the tenth circle of hell, those guilty of having a Pinterest account are forced to stare at my poorly decorated cupcakes for all eternity; watched over by Mary Berry who laughs as their eyes bleed and they cry out for mercy and a piping bag. But I generally have a go at these things, and I genuinely love seeing overly-ambitious homemade efforts on the playground. Today I spotted a kid as Mike TV from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who was actually inside a cardboard box TV. Simply marvellous.

 4. Stick to the brief

I fully support the argument that graphic novels is a vastly underrated genre and should be recognised as worthy for Booker Prize entry. However I’m still not sure you can really justify sending your kid to school as Batman on World Book Day. Loads of people do, and I know that I’ve done it in the past myself. My son insisted that he could allowed to go as a Transformer because he has a Transformer book, dismissing my insistence that a book of a film, doesn’t really count. To which he argued that surely the ethos of World Book Day was all about inspiring children to read books and that it was not a time for arbitrary distinctions of high and low art. I accepted his point, but countered that, the he was himself undermining the spirit of World Book Day by using a loophole to bring cartoons into a day which was supposed to promote literature. That’s when he reminded me that he was six and wanted to wear his Bumblebee outfit he got for Christmas and if I had a problem with that perhaps I should consider getting a life. I relented, but I cut him out of my will for spoiling World Book Day for me and in forty years he’ll learn a valuable lesson about respecting his elders. Anyway, a few years ago I recall one mum making an incredible costume which must have taken her hours and all the kids loved it, -seriously it was amazing- but it was a character from a Pixar film, and all I could hear was the parents whispering ‘It’s not a book though is it?’

So the moral is with dress-up day- as with life- if you’re going to challenge the rules, be flagrant and unapologetic, and no one will think the less of you, but make an effort to create something with love and you will be vilified on a technicality.

Signs I’m getting old.

Bulldog Clip

This is the laziest picture I’ve ever put on a post.

1.

I get the sense people have started ‘humouring’ me.

 

2.

I sometimes walk into a room and forget why I’ve gone in there, even when that room is the bathroom.

3.

I’ve just used hand cream.

 

4.

I’ve gone from thinking that politicians are bastards to
thinking they should die for their crimes.

 

5.

I used to not wear make-up because didn’t have time, now I
don’t see the point. This is also true of hair removal, getting dressed and being sober.

 

6.

Yesterday I got really, really, really angry about a
newspaper article.

 

7.

I calmed my rage by repotting seedlings.

 

8.

My ‘going out shoes’ have been overtaken by my slippers
collection.

 

9.

My slippers collection has been over taken by my ‘empty jars
that may come in handy’ box.

 

10.

My ‘empty jars that may come in handy’ box has been over
taken by crippling anxiety when asked a direct question by a stranger.

 

11.

Sometimes I think I’ll go out for a walk because it’s a nice
day.

 

12.

But then I don’t because my knee hurts a bit.

 

13.

I don’t wax anymore because ‘making the skin taught’ requires clamping devices and now I don’t have any bulldog clips to use for work.

14.

I used to worry that the kids would wet themselves while we were out. Now I worry I will.

 

15.

Most of the time when I’m talking to people I am mentally creating a new cheese/biscuit based snack. As I write this, I’m coming up with advertising slogans. Actually this might not have anything to do with getting old. Because people of all ages love the cheesy sweet crunch of a Rich-Brie!©

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