Thursday, November 24, 2005

What a shitty week to be a woman. The papers are full of articles reporting the Amnesty International survey which found that 1/3 of people think that if a woman flirts/dresses provocatively (whatever that means) or is drunk she is at least partially responsible should she be raped. Nice. Maybe it was na├»ve to think that this attitude died out several decades ago, what with the conviction rate for rape standing at under 6% and police estimates that only 15% of rapes are reported to them. But it’s the tone of the newspaper articles I hate: the headlines all say things like ‘drunk women more likely to be raped’. Why not ‘rapists target drunk women’? Why is the onus on women to behave, to not drink, not flirt, not wear short skirts, in other words, to do everything we can to protect ourselves from it? So unless I go out wearing jeans and a baggy sweater, don’t drink, and don’t make eye contact with a man (could be construed as flirting!), I am asking for trouble. Why is the problem of male violence women’s responsibility and not men’s?

Also making the front page is binge drinking. Despite the statistics showing that men are more likely to binge drink than women, and more men are alcoholics than women, articles about binge drinking are always, and I mean always, illustrated by a group of pretty twentysomethings in strappy tops clutching goblets of chardonnay. Give me a fucking break. This always reminds me of the brilliant and oft-repeated (usually by her) Julie Burchill quote that there are men out there who cannot bear the thought that somewhere, at some time, a woman is having fun and getting away with it.

OK, some happy things now. The lovely Therese and Dan are staying with us for a couple of weeks, and it’s a pleasure to have them here. Not only are they cooking up a Thanksgiving feast tonight, but they’re going to do some DIY too! Yes, they are earning their keep. Last night we went ice-skating at the Natural History Museum (see pics), followed by stuff-your-face Japanese in Catford. I am proud (ashamed?) to say that we got through 20 dishes between the four of us.

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