Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ok, time to actually get round to posting

I've been busy, hence the not-posting. Let's kick start everything again with a nice easy links round-up.

Here's what I've been reading recently:

An article about Nawal El Saadawi, an Egyptian feminist I had never heard of until this (Guardian) article.


In Defense of Hit Girl - Kate Harding at Shapely Prose

The Estrogen Dilemma at NYTimes Magazine





I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones most recent in my memory. I'll think about actual proper blog posts (GASP!) and try to post something within a couple of weeks. Not promising anything though... I am very, very lazy and it's wonderfully sunny here.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Argh!!!!

Was talking to a friend about insomnia. To be honest I was hoping for sympathy but I would have settled for common sense. Sadly alas! Her comment was (and I quote) "Can you not just force yourself to sleep?"

WHAT THE FUCK!!

Need I say anymore?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

ME - is there enough support available?

I've suffered with ME for two years now.  Maybe that is why I empathise with Lynn Gilderdale and how she suffered for years with ME.


Reading this made me wonder why there is little support available for ME sufferers in the UK?  Why so many people are suffering without support for years at a time?  Bloody hell if we had broken legs or were drug addicts then we would be overrun with help.  A bit hypocritical me thinks.

I consider myself to be lucky.  I have a GP who is understanding, a consultant who actually understands the illness and amazing help from a local Physical Disability Team.  I know that I am the minority here and most sufferers don't have this support available to them.

What is the solution...?  To be honest I have no fucking clue!  There are so many things that could help improve the quality of life of a ME patient: better understanding of the illness; more practical help available and of course raising awareness of the illness.  No-one should have to be told they are suffering from "Yuppy Flu"!

Sorry... bad night... pain too much...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Make Noise for Free Choice!

Sign this petition to get free, legal abortions recognised as a human right and to put pressure on EU countries who have not yet bothered to help women out.

Abortion is a human right. I absolutely believe that.

It's about choosing when or whether to have a family. It's about life and death. It's about escaping poverty. It's about rape. It's about having a choice, having another option.

Most of all, it's valuing a woman's right to her body and her own life.

Monday, 25 May 2009

BBC In Blissful Hypocritical Ignorance Shocker (Or, why you should listen to real scientists and not mass media for cancer advice)

Snappy title, eh? I do my best. There's more of this brevity to follow, so make yourself comfortable - I'm going to talk about cancer.

It's a horrific disease, with many causes ranging from the genetic to the environmental. Something happens to cause cells in a part of the body - the liver, the brain, the cervix, the testicles, the breasts... any tissue can harbour a cancer - to mutate. Something causes the genes which regulate cell growth to act in a way that they shouldn't, and the cells begin to divide rapidly out of control, produce toxins, damage the surrounding tissue and metastasise - spread. They somehow convince the body to give them a blood supply, and they need a lot of blood because they use so much energy. If they get big enough they can press against vessels and block them, among other things. If damaged they can bleed into the surrounding tissues. A particularly malignant tumour can produce cells which, via the blood or lymphatic system, can spread to any part of the body where they spawn a fresh tumour. Each type of cancer is different, and what makes one tumour shrink may have no effect on another. It kills thousands every year, and the scariest thing about it is how uncertain we are of a cancer's origins and mechanisms, knowledge without which we cannot find a cure easily. It can strike at any time and occur in anyone: young and old, people of all nationalities, backgrounds and lifestyles.
Some cancers can be screened: the mortality rate for prostate and cervical cancers, once diseases with a very poor survival rate, fell dramatically in the UK when programmes were put in place to detect and treat them early in the groups most at risk. Other cancers are more insidious. Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer among men and is set to become the biggest killer among women too. Detecting it is extremely difficult because it is often asymptomatic, or presents with symptoms that are so general that they could be anything - tiredness and general malaise, for example. It often doesn't show up in X-rays until it is in an advanced stage, by which time your outlook is bleak. Here are some facts and statistics from Cancer Research UK:

Lung cancer can be generally divided into two categories - small cell and non-small cell.
In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) there are 4 stages of development, each stage with an A and B phase.
  • If caught in stage 1A, people with NSCLC have a 54-80% change of surviving for the next 5 years.
  • In stage 1B, this drops to a 38-65% chance.
  • 2A - 50% chance.
  • 2B - 30-40% chance
  • 3A - 10-30% chance
  • 3B - >10% chance
  • 4 - >5% chance.
Unfortunately, very few people are caught in the early stages. With small cell lung cancer, there are only two stages - limited disease and extensive disease. 2 out of 3 people have extensive disease at the time of diagnosis, with less and 5 out of every 100 surviving for the next 5 years. Limited disease sufferers only have around a 25% chance of doing the same. And now, to bring this all together, the statistics for overall lung cancer survival are as follows:

Overall, of all those people diagnosed with all types of lung cancer at all stages, only about 25 out of every 100 people (25%) will live for at least 1 year after diagnosis. About 7 out of every 100 people diagnosed (7%) will live for at least 5 years after diagnosis.


There are currently some trials running to find new ways of detecting this cancer early on, due to end this year. However, the best way to survives lung cancer - and indeed all cancers - is to not get it in the first place. Naturally, everyone wants to know how not to get cancer, and that's where the media steps in.

Mass media can be useful in many ways. We need it to find out about events around the world and in neighbouring towns, it keeps an eye on the common people and authorities alike, it educates and informs. Unfortunately, the newspapers and T.V. stations also need to make money, and will often build up a story and sensationalise it if it will boost ratings and sell more copies. The extent to which the happens varies with the quality of the news source, but all of them, highbrow to tabloids, will do this to some degree. When it comes to health issues they are particularly bad, latching on to any study - no matter how poorly conducted, inconclusive and unreviewed - and present it as indisputable fact. Readers of the fantastic Bad Science book, column and/or blog will be aware of Ben Goldacre's constant frustration with the poor quality of science and health-related new reporting that we currently endure. Fads abound, but everything is true until it isn't, it's all 'official' - the scientists said so! Except they didn't. One week, we are told that antioxidants cure everything, the next that they cause cancer; selenium may or may not be of help to diabetics; every month has a new superfood whilst last month's dish has been found to shorten our lifespan by a billion years. Sometimes studies are quoted as proving something that they didn't even mention, as in this case of man flu being proven to exist by a study that... didn't have anything to do with influenza at all.
So it may come as no surprise when the BBC reports that the UK public are now 'deeply sceptical' of cancer advice from scientific sources.

The UK public is deeply sceptical about scientific claims for what causes or prevents cancer, a poll suggests.

The YouGov survey of 2,400 people for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found more than half thought scientists were always changing their minds.

More than a quarter said health advice changed constantly and the best approach was to ignore it completely.

But the WCRF said its advice, including eating more fruit and vegetables, had stayed the same for more than a decade.


So, the advice has barely changed, but people think that scientists are so confused than they keep changing the guidelines on a fortnightly basis. Why?

Let's have a look at the BBC's own cancer headlines to find out.

And those are the sensible ones. Dig a little deeper or go to the Daily Mail and you'll get a whole tonne more.
Yep, the BBC and every other news source has jumped on so many health claims before they've been properly tested or peer-reviewed that the public has gotten fed up. the result? They beginning to ignore ALL the advice - even the sound stuff. Even the advice that experts who know what they've been talking about have been doling out for a decade.

Here's the basic, no-nonsense, sensible advice for cutting your cancer risk that has been tested, reviewed and shown to work for ages. This advice, you may notice, is the same basic advice given to anyone wishing to improve their health and cut their risk of developing a variety of our illnesses.
  1. Quit smoking. That's the most important piece of advice to ever be offered. No matter what the tobacco lobby keeps saying, independent researchers have shown time and again that, without a doubt, smoking hugely increases your risk of cancer. Not just lung cancer - although that's the main one and, as I explained above, the most deadly right now - no, smoking has been linked with a whole host of diseases and several cancers. It contains thousands of chemicals that can damage cells and trigger mutation. Also, even if you've smoked for years, cutting down and stopping now will immediately begin to improve your life expectancy.
  2. Cut down your alcohol consumption. We're not saying 'never drink'. Well, some might*. But be aware of how strong your alcohol is - learn your units. Your liver can cope with the occasional overindulgence remarkably well, but if you do have a night on the razzle give yourself time to recover afterwards - that poor organ needs TIME to recover! One possible routine would be to have some days of the week when you don't drink anything alcoholic, some where you do drink but stick to the limits (3-4 units for most men, 2-3 units for most women) and try not to get yourself kicked out of the club on the weekends.
  3. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Never mind food fads and fancy programmes. Just eat plenty of fruit and veg, eat meat in moderation (if at all) and cut down on saturated and trans-fats (often shown on the label as 'hydrogenated oils/fats'). Three meals a day = great, just make sure they provide all you need. Snacks are fine in moderation. If your diet is healthy, your body will get all the nutrients it needs to maintain a strong immune system, you will reduce your chance of suffering cardiovascular disease, improve your digestive health - all of these things and more. You may feel more energetic, it may improve your visible health - skin, teeth, hair. Diet is really important.
  4. Exercise regularly. I don't mean going to the gym or anything like that, though that's good for you too. Take a half-hour walk in the evening, or to work. Get off the bus a stop or two early. Take the stairs. Cycle and walk instead of driving. When you're bored, go outside instead of switching on the telly or computer.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. The evidence of a link between obesity and cancer isn't some vague thing - it's been getting continuously stronger for many years. The reasons for exactly why this is are less clear - one theory is that denser, fat laden tissues often harbour and release hormones that have been linked with cancer formation. There are other theories to do with the link between obesity and a poor diet and/or an inactive lifestyle. We don't all need to be a size ten and a certain amount of stored fat is normal and healthy, but we DO need to be aware of the risks associated with significant weight gain over the healthy range. Alongside cancer, obesity is also linked with higher rates of atherosclerosis and heart disease, complications like arthritis and a greatly increased risk of developing Type II Diabetes Mellitus, which can progress to Type I (insulin-dependent) Diabetes if poorly controlled. Complications of diabetes include peripheral nerve and blood vessel damage (which, in tunr, makes it the greatest cause of non-traumatic amputation in the UK), kidney damage, retinopathy (leading to blindness). The best thing that anyone can do to mainitain a weight that is healthy for them is to follow steps 2 and 3. My mother is probably the healthiest person in the family lifestyle-wise and is still the heaviest. If you are still concerned about your weight, it is best to consult a doctor, qualified dietician or other expert - don't follow expensive fad diets. They often make matters worse.
  6. Get your health info from people who know what they're talking about. Here are some examples.
NHS Behind The Headlines - a site that take the news articles and examines them to see how well they present the evidence. Also has NHS advice on a range of health topics.

The Science Behind It - for those of you who want to read the original studies behind the sensational stories that don't cite their sources. Plug in the URL of the science story from whichever news site you found it in and the search engine will attempt to track down the source material.

Bad Science - A bit more to the lighter side, but still cuts through a lot of nonsense ranging from AIDS denialism to Gillian McKeith's 'PhD'. Ben Goldacre is a doctor. A doctor who is sick of seeing the public mislead with pseudoscience and fad diets. He also likes the occasional lewd joke.


Stay healthy, kids. Play nice. Don't do drugs.



*I don't drink and I'm amazing.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Vote Match

Fellow UK residents! The EU elections are on June 4th, and I shouldn't need to remind anyone of the importance of taking part in the democratic process. If you're stuck on which party to vote for, a tool called Vote Match may be of some help. You are asked whether you agree, disagree or are open-minded on subjects covered in 30 questions. You then pick out the issues that are most and least important to you, and the parties you are thinking of voting for. Your answers are then compared with the stances of your selected parties. I'm quite pleased with it as I'll be voting for the first time this year and I'm not sure where to start.

It's not perfect, of course, and there are some issues that are barely covered if at all, such as:
Women's rights - only one question on whether you think there should be a 50-50 gender divide in the European Commission.
Disability rights - nothing.
Parenting rights - nothing.
LGBTQI issues - nothing.

I'm not sure whether these issues will be coming up at all in the elections but they're still worth knowing. However, it's a starting point, and you can look up more detailed info on the 'close match' parties after narrowing down the options.
Also, you won't be able to find out how you compare with the NO2EU, the Christian Party or BNP's stance (the first two missed the deadline and the BNP are standing, but feel that questions relating to EU participation are inappropriate and irrelevant to them... yeah...), but chances are if you're voting for them you won't need this application to tell you - the differences between them are more pronounced than those between, say, Labour and the Conservatives! More on the BNP party later, by the way - I really enjoyed looking up the Scottish Christian Party in 2007 and I think I may spend an evening getting pissed off at our country's favourite bigots this time around.

Now, the little thingy.

Friday, 24 April 2009

What a good idea... (yes it's a shop)

Made By Survivors is a shop that sells handicrafts made by survivors of, and those at high risk of slavery. It sells jewelry, bags, scarves, cards - that kind of thing. I thought I would spotlight some of the products and the shop itself.

First up is this silver dragonfly bracelet. Ok, it is $120 but it's silver and gorgeous.

I like these glass bead earrings ($14). I don't have my 'lobes pierced, but if I did I'd get the blue ones.

In the bags section, I like the look of these clutches ($50, not suitable for veggies), and I love this French Market Bag ($20).

I like the designs on these napkins ($20 set of 4), and I would definitely go for these pashminas ($60 each) if they came in more colours (currently only pink or light blue)... since they don't I would definitely go for one of these Batik scarves ($25 each) which come in orange, natural, light blue, navy and pink (I'm unclear as to what 'natural' means).

I must say, silk trousers for $6 is not to be sniffed at, though it's unclear from the picture exactly what they'll look like (and importantly - how they do up).

There are other lovely things on the site, so do give it a look. I think some of the paper crafts would make wonderful gifts, and it's great to know that you're really making a difference (just by shopping). It's American, so all the prices are in dollars and you do have to pay for shipping. The price is fixed at $10 (p&p), but it's sometimes lower (in which case they will refund the difference) and sometimes higher (in which case they will warn you before shipping). Some of the products are available in the UK at Hatti Trading, which also sells some different products (fair trade, eco-friendly, made by survivors, organic - usually more than one).

I thought this post belonged here as well as at Eclectic Tastes because it's relevant to issues of trafficking and prostitution, which are pretty important topics in feminism.

Outdated Moral Code

Good morning folks, just thought I'd make a brief mention of a Radio Scotland phone in debate I'm currently listening to, with the subject being an advert for the morning after pill that went out for the first time last night, predictably bringing the religious old ladies out from whatever rock they hide under until their hyper sensitive nostrils pick up the stench of moral corruption in today's youth. The whole thing is a true storm in a teacup.



Not so bad right? Well apparently the important matter of educating teenagers and young adults about all the methods of contraception available to them is nothing... NOTHING, compared to the poor young minds that are being corrupted and convinced that killing unborn children is alright. Now I know that radio phone-ins are hardly the best place to hear convincing arguments, or any evidence of public awareness about the issues of the day, but I found that this one threw up some very odd arguments. Let's take a look, and try and come up with some thoughts on them.

1) This is an abortion pill and it's being advertised to children!

Solution- Now calm down, take a chill pill... Oops, I forgot, you don't like pills do you? Anyway, you're kind of wrong on both points here. Firstly, the morning after pill cannot be compared to having an abortion, on any level at all. You're not really "killing" anything, since conception doesn't happen as soon as you finish having your immoral sex outwith the bonds of matrimony, but it is in fact a slower process. Indeed, we could hardly say that the wee clump of cells is a life until much further along in the pregnancy; where we draw the line is the issue, but the answer isn't "the minute the man ejaculates into the woman". As a philosophy student I'm meant to be able to give good answers to problems like this, but rather than that I'll just show you a good answer. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defence of Abortion is one of the most important philosophical arguments ever produced, and certainly should be required reading for anyone willing to spend much time on this problem. Secondly, the advert was required to be shown after the 9PM watershed, so that it would lessen the chances of children being exposed to it. Now maybe it's just me, but the advert is hardly the kind of thing I'd be terrified of a child seeing, lest it blow their innocent young minds sky high (or straight down to Hell, depending on your religious point of view), but since people seem to have a problem with it, all I can say is that it's your own fault for letting the kids stay up to watch TV after their bedtime. What kind of a parent are you? If it's teenagers you're worried it'll corrupt, then you're missing the point entirely, it's teenagers that need to see this kind of information, and much more than they already do. When schools begin to sort out a proper curriculum of sex education, aimed at younger age groups, whilst also making information about all the possible or recommended methods of contraception available, whilst also making sure they understand that sex still isn't something to be rushed into, then you might begin to see a difference. Until then, stop trying to get in the way of important steps forward like this advert. Next!

2) This advert tells young people that they can always rely on options like this, and so encourages them to have unprotected sex without thinking of the consequences!

Solution- I feel that if you actually watch the advert you would see that it hardly gives out the vibe that it's encouraging young people to have unprotected sex, but let's break it down anyway: It depicts a young woman (who doesn't look like a teenager, though it's hard to tell as it's drawn in a happy chirpy cartoon style, so I guess it's no wonder that people think it's aimed at 6 year olds) who wakes up in bed with her handsome young partner, and worrying that at some point during their no doubt lengthy romp the condom might have split, as her weird floaty thought bubbles and the terrifying sperm with faces swimming around over her indicates. But she's not ready to get pregnant! Nor, hopefully, is she ready to catch one of this stud's many STI's, but we'll assume that they're a trusting long term couple. She rides the bus to her destination, throwing terrified looks at mothers carrying babies, and gazing wistfully at the melting writing on the window telling her she's not ready for such a commitment. We then cut to a pharmacy, where an equally pretty young lady behind the counter cheerily waves, then pushes the morning after pill towards her. Personally, I've never had a pharmacist wave at me when I came into the shop, I guess it's a girl thing. Anyway, she walks away with a smile on her face, and everyone lives happily ever after. The end. Now, the ad is less than 30 seconds long, so for it to subtly include the incredibly evil notion that sex might be ok is quite something. The important thing to note here is that though the advert is presented in a stupid cartoon style, as opposed to using real actors (presumably this is to prevent the country from moral meltdown in the instance of seeing REAL PEOPLE buying CONTRACEPTION on their screens at home) the young woman depicted within is not obviously drawn as a teenager, and though it's a moot point, the relationship with her handsome male friend is not obviously depicted as being fleeting. She seems like a 20-something woman, going out to take extra precautions to prevent something that would completely change her life. She doesn't know if the condom split or not, nor does she know that she's pregnant, she's just making sure that she doesn't end up with a benefits gobbling sprog in her arms 9 months down the line. In this way the ad is not encouraging people to have unprotected sex and to rely on the pill; rather, it is suggesting that people should use it, or other contraceptive methods, as well as using a condom, which is a very commendable stance. Next!

3) The jolly presentation of the advert contrasts with the implication that pregnancy is something bad, like a disease, and this will put young people off getting pregnant at all.

Solution- Well you're insane for starters, with particular reference to your accusation that the advert implies that pregnancy is a "disease" of some sort, but the idea of pregnancy being seen as a bad thing is worth commenting on. Today we are encouraged to aim high, stay in education, gain some skills in something we enjoy, then find a job that requires those skills and enjoy our lives. For young people at the beginning of this cycle, say 16-24, pregnancy with a view to keeping the child is a bad thing. It messes up their ambitions, makes staying in education or finding a job much more difficult, and possibly worst of all it is potentially bringing a child into an environment where they are not going to have the opportunities and support that they need. If you have a child at, say, 18 years old, you're almost certainly not going to be in a position where you have the income to support both yourself and the child, you may not have the family/friends network that you'll need to cope with the strain of raising it, and it will be a drain on you for at the very least the next 18 years. Surely it's better to encourage young adults to go out and have some life experience, and settle into a decent income and environment before having a child? Next!

4) Sexual intercourse from age 11/12 almost guarantees cervical cancer in later life, and this advert encourages that.

Solution- Man, do I really have to say something about this? Ok... Well I'm afraid that there's little to no evidence to back up your bizarre claim, but if you're implying that sex from an age where the body isn't fully developed can lead to complications in later life, then fair enough, there is potentially a risk of that. However, I must again stress that neither this advert, nor the fact that it is being broadcast, will encourage children as young as 11 to have sex. You're looking in the wrong place if you're trying to find the problem, and all you're doing is hindering people who will benefit from seeing this information by blasting their moral standards. Nobody wants to see 11 year olds having unprotected sex and getting pregnant, but that's an issue for the parents and the children's schooling, and doesn't concern the young adults this advert is aimed at. Next!

5) This advert shows just how morally vacant this country has become, and I think that all children from underprivileged families should be taken away from their parents and put into foster care. If we don't break the cycle then they could become pregnant at a young age and be miserable benefits grabbing chavs for the rest of their lives!

Solution- Personally, I think most of the public would rather see people with opinions like yours taken away by social workers and put into care homes. Hopefully, no further comment required. Next!

6) Why is contraception only aimed at women? This encourages men to rely on the woman to deal with it if there's a risk of pregnancy, leaving them free of responsibility.

Solution- This is an important question, but one that I don't feel I'm fully equipped to answer as a man. Really, the only contraception we can aim at young men is condoms, and they are already advertised (occasionally), and are freely available at many locations for boys or men that are sexually active. Sure, they should be much more widely available, and boys need to be educated properly on the importance of their use, but the fact remains that the moral outrage directed at this advert is sadly typical of the outrage directed at most forms of female contraception. To use an example, let's look at the Catholic Church: Now they're against the use of condoms, and encourage people to avoid any form of contraception, but their members don't go and bomb condom factories or pharmacies that stock condoms, nor do they protest outside clinics where young men can go and be given free condoms. Contrast that with the whirlwind of nonsense that comes around wherever there's an abortion clinic, or when potentially life changing contraception is aimed at young women; oh all of a sudden everyone's on their high horse, telling everyone that it's "wrong" to encourage us to kill unborn children, suddenly we're the evil youth of today, running about shagging everyone and murdering potential children for a buzz. It's ridiculous, and clearly indicative of the male dominated moral code by which we are expected to live our lives. When I was younger I used to think that once every member of a certain generation died, issues such as racism, sexism, and bigotry would just vanish, because people of our generation were beyond such outdated bullshit, that we knew it was all rubbish and were just trying to ignore the vocal minority, who were too old to be convinced that they were wrong. Sadly some time in the real world has shown me that misinformed and outdated opinions exist in all generations, and that they won't just vanish of their own accord one day. If the public can only handle small steps at a time, then so be it, at least we're making progress however slow it may be. Adverts like this are key to the progress of sex education in this country, and if even one young women sees it and benefits, then it's done its job.

Oh, and go and listen to the phone-in itself, I promise that I wasn't making these problems up. Some people really are that insane.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Support Religious Freedom. Support Gay Marriage.

Here's something for your five-minute tea break. It's focussing on cases and quotes from America relating to religious opposition to gay marriage over there, but it's got a fairly widespread relevance, I think.

Friday, 10 April 2009

A brief interlude...

Never forget, my friends, that we live in a turtle-eat-pigeon world where the crows are smarter than we think and probably plotting our downfall.
However, take comfort in the fact that at least, in this futuristic dystopia, you can make tea with lasers.





Friday, 27 March 2009

Nellie McKay

A vegan feminist singer with the voice of an angel and biting wit... gorgeous ^_^. Here's her site, and her myspace.



Found over at Female Impersonator.

(Cross-posted at Eclectic Tastes)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

This struck a chord

Feminocracy: An open letter to guys at bars - about being hit on by men at bars (funnily enough), but in a sometimes-creepy and inappropriate way

I would like to voice my agreement with points 1, 2 and 10... all of which are "Don't touch me".

How is it possible to emphasise this enough?? Don't ever touch me. Not if we've never spoken, not to 'help' me in an awkward corner, not a handshake or a hug, not a tap on the arm (unless very brief and after attempting to engage me verbally over either an emergency or a real issue; e.g. I'm sitting on your coat or there is a fire).

What is it with some pricks who think they can invade your personal space?

Just like I couldn't stand people trying to play with my hair, pick me up or tickle me as a child, I am not going to accept someone I don't know well touching me unless it's absolutely necessary (say, I break my leg or black out randomly and have no friends with me - never gonna happen *touch wood*). I have had complete drunken strangers requesting kisses from me when I was 17 and with my partner, and after I refused was harassed. It's not my responsibility to touch someone else unless their life is in danger, and I'm going to avoid it as much as possible.

I guess this is partly a feminist pet peeve, but mostly a personal one. Thank feck I never really have to deal with this as I don't go to bars unless pressed.

(And about point no. 9... I agree that whoever approaches you, especially if you're already with friends, should be making some kind of offer to be polite and as an icebreaker. I mean they are the ones interrupting you. I would do the same if I ever approached a stranger in a bar [I don't really frequent them as I barely ever drink]. I dunno, it just seems like common courtesy more than anything to do with gender relations. But on the other hand, I wouldn't accept a drink from a stranger unless they bought me a sealed bottle, because I'm paranoid like that.)

ME/CFS/PVF or whatever other name they are calling it!

Well you may have guessed this is a bit of a rant at the lack of support for ME. Despite there being like 5 different names for this illness lets just stick to ME to keep me sane.

I've had ME for 18 months now. There isn't really a nice way to describe the hell that this illness causes. The pain, tiredness (and I don't mean "oh I'm sleepy nap time" tiredness), confusion and the horrible way that the basic tasks suddenly seem impossible.

Thousands of people have ME. I am sure that many sufferers have more extreme and sever symptoms than myself (and I am pretty bad). If thousands of people suffer this then why do I always feel whenever I speak to a medical professional that I am wasting my time??

I completely understand how difficult it must be for a doctor to treat ME - but don't dare suggest to me that I am choosing this lifestyle. There is no choice. It seems to me, from the months of tests and appointments with several doctors, that if there isn't a pill that can cure my illness than it is all in my head. Two words to say to that: FUCK OFF!

Don't tell me that this is depression.
Don't send me to a psychologist who sits there being condescending.
Don't suggest to me that I "get up and walk".
Don't say it is all in my head - there is medical evidence to the contrary!

Do doctors not understand the pain and suffering that sufferers go through? Have they no fucking compassion?

People say that in twenty years time the medical profession will be able to pinpoint exactly which virus/infection or whatever triggers ME. Great, and if i can help in anyway I will... But what will that achieve? By the time they have worked it out there will be another illusive virus that they don't understand to take its place. There is no magic cure, sadly.

People do recover. I will be one of them.
But in the mean time I refuse to accept that there is no help for me.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Does The Man In Your Life REALLY Need A Job?

Because, what with girls doing better in school, outnumbering boys at university and generally kicking ass... we need the most qualified people for the job. And by people I mean women. Especially in these recession-riddled times, what with women heading most single-parent households. Oh yeah, and you can pay women 17% less even when they're better qualified! Bonus!*

Sound ridiculous?

Check this out.

Stumbled across at The Pursuit of Harpyness (which is an awesome blog btw).

*No I didn't fact-check any of these apart from the 17%, because I was trying to be unresearched and sloppy in that kinda truism-pop-psychology way. A bit like the way journalists throw out unsubstantiated claims about the 'battle of the sexes' bullshit.