Thursday, 28 January 2010

No surprises here

Well, here's an interesting article from the BBC.

The doctor who started the MMR scare acted unethically.

Yes. That, and he somehow forgot how to conduct a trial, making him unethical and also shit at science.

Paying kids a fiver for a blood sample taken at his son's birthday party? No wonder people believe him when he says MMR vaccines cause autism. He's clearly a really trustworthy dude.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Liberal Agenda

09:00 Giant pansexual orgy. May or may not include teenagers.

10:00 Abortion

11:00 Sacrifice dead foetus to Satan

12:00 Eat the foetus

13:00 Quiet time for foetus digestion and contemplation. Reading The God Delusion, the Guardian or any other evil liberal gaytheist feminazi tract of doom.

14:00 Lecture- Communism and How to Infiltrate the Christian Nation that is the United States of America with the Red Menace

15:00 Gay wedding

16:00 Science time! Today's topics- cosmology, evolutionary biology and climate change. Today's practical- convince yourself that these are all true so you can brainwash the children of decent God-fearing folk.

17:00 Change into goth clothes

18:00 Travel to metal concert of your choice. Mosh. Stomp on small children. Worship Satan. Again.

00:00 Midnight Mass. Get naked and dance around a bonfire chanting about Karl Marx and the NHS

Monday, 18 January 2010


I have spent a long time being told that I'm angry. Not only is this a shock to some people, but they don't seem to view it as a valid emotion, especially from someone like me- female, physically nondescript, not at all intimidating at first glance and wearing a geeky t-shirt.

So. Here is a post about anger, and why I am angry.

I am angry because so many people see my talent for science as nerdy, antisocial and elitist. I am angry because where I am proud of something that enables me to help others and make the world a better place, they see a woman who is too smart for her own good and needs taking down a peg or two.

I am angry that because of this, many people would avoid listening to me, my friends, or even people like doctors who they really need to listen to. I am angry that homeopathy, spiritual healing, anti-vaxxers, climate change denialists and intelligent design advocates get more respect and time to air their views, which leads to a spiral of ignorance and further anti-intellectualism.

I am angry that so many awful things happen in the world, and so many people are indifferent. We are all selfish, but sometimes it's right to take time out and give a little money, forward a link, do any one tiny thing to increase awareness of something that we feel is important. Jedward do not count as something to be concerned about, although they are quite shit.

I am angry that people will give up their freedom in the name of terrorism, not realising that the terrorists want exactly that- entire nations frozen with fear and giving up their way of life.

I am angry that even in supposedly liberal and civilised countries like my own, people are hurt and killed because of what they look like, how they dress, how they act, or who they love.

I am angry that theocracy and totalitarianism still exist, and still oppress people over stupid rules that make no sense.

I am angry that having a vagina puts me at more risk of sexual and domestic violence. I am angry that having a penis would put me at a higher risk of assault and being murdered by some random person. I am angry that being transgender would but me at a stupidly high risk of violence. I am angry that people cannot be safe, and that they are blamed when they are hurt even though the real answer is to stop the bad behaviour of others.

I am angry that so many women across the world are not allowed to control their own reproduction. I am angry that religious leaders lie to control people through guilt over natural sexual behaviour. I am angry that these things come together to cause the spread of HIV, which is currently an incurable condition.

I am angry that people automatically blame the circumstances of my childhood on my mother and look down on her as a member of society, even though she always did the best she could. I am angry that her divorce was not her fault, and that she worked so hard, only for people to write her off as 'just another single mother' or a woman who couldn't 'keep a husband'. I am angry that her partner found it so hard to get custody of his daughter even though the events which led to him getting custody could have put her in a lot of danger. I am angry at the system which breeds these attitudes and allows these discriminatory practices even in the law, because they somehow manage to be sexist towards men AND women.

I am angry that I have lost so many family members, whether through bereavement or (in the case of my father) them just not really giving much of a shit about me. I am angry at my uncle for dying, because he did something silly and he was the best father figure I had. I am angry because there are people who shrugged when I was upset over his death and did not apologise.

I am angry that I was bullied for an entire decade. I am angry that our society finds othering so accpetable that I have been verbally abused in the street for my choices in clothing and that a woman my age was once kicked to death for the same reason.

I am angry that I feel selfish and crazy for writing anything at all about my appearance, or how I feel as a woman, or bereavement. I am angry that I absorbed the negative things people have said about me in the past and still believe them. I am angry that people I don't even like got to me enough that I still think I'm ugly, that my body is all wrong, that my talents are not as special or good as the talents of others. I am angry that even typing thse things, let alone saying them out loud, makes me feel guilty. I didn't put these things in my head, and yet I blame myself for them being there.

I am angry at the phrase 'real women have curves'. Who are these people to tell me, or any other woman (biological or otherwise) whether we are real human beings? I am a real woman, because I say I am. I am a thin woman with large breasts compared to my overall build. Does this make me less of a woman, because my body fits certain ideals? No, it does not, especially given the number of ridiculous beauty standards that I cannot or will not meet. My curves are (mostly) small, that does not make them any less feminine. I eat. I walk everywhere. I like the way my body looks. Nobody else has the right to judge my body or anyone else's based on anything other than physical health, and even then, they'd better be a doctor. So what if I'm a size six? I'm also five foot three. I am in proportion. So is a size 16 woman six inches taller than me. Physical beauty doesn't just come in one form, it comes in many- probably in a slightly different form for each person you ask.

I am angry that our society encourages mediocrity, and that any deviation from the norm labels you as a freak so that others can point and laugh. I am angry that this stigmatises mental illness, medical conditions, sexual preferences and orientations, and even harmless everyday activities.

I am angry that so many people see the far right as an acceptable solution to economic downturn, overpopulation, and anything else that they are unhappy with. I am angry that the far right (and even the centre right, more often than I would like) exploit the insecurities of low-income people to make them afraid of things that will help them, like a health service or higher taxes which they would not be rich enough to pay anyway. I am angry that apparently, history repeats itself and the first sign of recession makes everyone look for a scapegoat and it's invariably people who are easy to demonise because their way of life is not understood by those attacking them.

I am even angry about trivial things, like the fact that the music I prefer is seen as stupid and simple despite the high percentage of metal musicians who are classically trained.


I am angry about a lot of things.


Anger can be a constructive emotion, if you use it properly.

Anger can inspire you to create great works of art, or some pretty average death metal. It can push you to better yourself, to rise above those who want to keep you down. Anger, if you can control it, can lead to changes for your own life and maybe even the lives of others, although you have to combine it with motivation and teamwork.

Anger is always seen as a negative emotion. It doesn't have to be destructive. I feel lucky that I can express my reasons for being angry reasonably well, because defining it makes it easier to handle. Making it easier to handle makes it easier to create something good from the bad feelings. I fuck up a lot, but I'm working on it. I hope you can support me in that, and maybe even get a little bit angry yourself.

I'm not looking for your opinions on whether you think I'm right or wrong here. Emotions don't work that way, and this is something that has been building for a long time. I just wanted to get some of this stuff out in the open, because a)it'll do me good and b)it might explain why I sometimes seem completely irrational.

I certanly feel better for writing it though.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

For science! And vaginas!

This lady deserves a medal.

You can now buy My new Pink Button for $30 (not even attempting a conversion, sorry, I'm lazy). It's, well, erm... it's VAGINA DYE. Not hair dye for your pubes (which is genuinely hilarious) but skin dye for your actual vagina. So the lovely woman in the link above decided to try it out, purely in the interests of science (and vaginas).

It's not dye at all. It's Kool-Aid powder, or something very similar.

Basiccally, self-conscious women are being scammed into painting their lady-parts with squash in order to have a 'natural' pink colour down there. Not only do I find this incredibly bizarre, as vaginas aren't meant to be neon pink, but as a biologist it bugs me something awful. Vaginas are not meant to have sticky, sugary things in/on them (however much fun that may be in certain circumstances). It wrecks the pH and the balance of natural bacteria so you end up getting yeast infections- yeast loves sugar, by the way- and horrible things like bacterial vaginosis, which makes your fanny smell of fish and leak greyish-greenish stuff.

Crap like this is kind of funny at first glance, but when you realise that it's all a con to make women feel shitty about themselves it's actually something to get angry about. How many of the women reading this have actually thought about the colour of their vaginas? I'm guessing none of you have had a sleepless night over it, because generally, if someone is close enough to your vagina to know what colour it is, they're more interested in touching it than matching it to a paint chart.

Oh, and they also suggest that dudes can use it for that special 'glowing penis' look. Seriously beauty industry, what the fuck?

This is an American product by the way, although it appears you can buy it online so pretty much anyone with internets can get some. Nom nom nom.

Friday, 15 January 2010

My response to a question about Twilight, which you probably shouldn't read if you enjoyed the books...

I was on the internets, insulting mainstream pop culture as usual, when the question arose: Why did I think twilight was so bad?

So here is my answer so far, in full. Bear in mind that this is the full text of my replies to two one-line questions. I feel kind of cruel and rubbish for jumping on the Twilight-sucks bandwagon, but I also feel smart for not resorting to caps lock and trolling.

Why did you think the books were so bad?

Like I say, I only read the first one.

It wasn't written very well- Stephenie Meyer isn't exactly adventurous in her phrasing or the words she uses. I've read a lot of young adult/teenage fantasy and it just isn't up to the standard set by things like Harry Potter or Discworld. I know it's not quite the same as Twilight is 'real world' not magical world, but it's still about things that are not real in this universe.

It doesn't really fit in with other vampire books- I understand it's a new take on vampires and everything, but there's a proper mythology that most vampire stuff sticks to (Interview with the Vampire, the Sookie Stackhouse books, Buffy etc) and it's kind of bizarre that someone effectively ignores all the things people imagine when they hear 'vampire' and still writes a story about it.

Bella is a Mary Sue, a character who is so generic and vague that literally every reader identifies with her- it's one thing having empathy, but a good character will be fleshed out enough that they become a separate entity to yourself in your imagination rather than you being able to project your own life onto them.

So there you go. Not a standard everyone should go by, by any means, but I was expecting something different from a vampire novel.

But is it not a good thing that it's so different? Do you not think its a fantastic love story?

Well, no actually. It could have been lovely, but it turned out as something I wouldn't want any daughter of mine to read.

Edward is possessive, jealous and manipulative. If I saw a friend of mine with someone like that, I would be worried that there was potential for domestic violence. Anyone who wants to control you or freaks you out with things they do (like his insanely fast driving) is not a good person to be in a relationship with. I know these are meant to be 'vampire' personality traits but they're really not something for young girls to look for in a relationship. You and I both know it's just a story, but it seems (from looking around on the internet in general) that a lot of people really do want their Edward. That scares me. Women have been fighting for so long to make sure girls don't grow up thinking it's okay to be treated like shit, and now this comes along and tells them the opposite- and they listen to that instead.

It is a good thing that it's not the same as other vampire novels, I can admit that. However, I would say that's because young people will be exposed to a wider range of reading material through picking up a teenage romance like Twilight rather than because of the content. A few of those kids might end up being into science fiction, historical fiction, horror... or reading anything they can. Getting more people reading is always a good thing really.

So there we go. Crazy feminist bookworm (who, incidentally, also disliked Twilight for the total lack of sexyness) reviews a book series based on about three-quarters of the first book. I should probably read the rest before I comment really, but OH WELL. The thing is, a lot of kids go apeshit crazy over this stuff, and it's basically Dan Brown with domestic violence. To be fair, I would have read it at fourteen and loved it, but at fourteen I also liked Rollin by Limp Bizkit and Orlando Bloom. Teenagers have shitty taste in everything. It's not fair to expose them to stuff that tells them abusive relationships are something to aspire to while you're feeding them trashy novels, they're already fucked up enough without that sort of thing.

I blame the Mormons.

Comments welcome as always, I most definitely welcome opposing views on the series or the views of people who managed to make their way through all the books. You can insult my goth-lite reading/fapping material if you like, I don't mind. You know I love a good argument. Then again, I already know that my own collection of vampire novels is nothing more than porn for girls like me who tread the line between nerdy and spooky (you know, like most of the vagina-owners reading this. Admit it. You LOVE Lestat).

Conclusion: I am worryingly proud of some words I posted elsewhere on the internet, where I was mean about something somebody else loves. Now I want you to tell me how cool I am for dissing Twilight just like all the fashionable people do.