My Vulva Has Betrayed Me By Lucy Chapman

By Lucy Chapman

I love my vulva. I even like to say ‘vulva’. But my vulva doesn’t like me.

It is because of my vulva that I bore children. Wonderful, full-of-joy children. It is because of my vulva that after doing so I dropped down from being a full time secondary teacher to working three days a week.

We had a choice, it could have been my husband who stayed at home two days; I earned more than he did at the time, so it would have made sense financially, but it was my breasts which fed the babies, so it was me who went part time.

Damned breasts.

Being part time, there aren’t many positions of responsibility in a school; if you’re a Head of Department, your staff could need guidance and you’d be at Baby Song Time or as a Head of Year a child protection issue could arise when you’re at soft play / ball pool hell. It just couldn’t work.

So, as I stagnated in the workplace, I watched with pride as my husband (who worked at the same school as me) progress, get opportunities and promotions that were just not available to me. His pay was now already more than mine, simply as a result of me going part time and still the gulf was getting bigger.

As a direct result of this common phenomenon, my husband is swiftly paying off his student debt whilst I chip away £14 one month £21 the next. His pension contributions are also substantially higher than mine are now.

So, does any of this matter if we plan to grow old together and pool our income forever?

Well yes actually, it does. 

What if I was to become a single mum (imagine he had an affair or I discover he’s gambled away our life savings)?

Firstly, I would probably have to move my boys out of their school to get a more affordable home, I’d also become reliant on benefits and as a result I’d probably be labelled a ‘scrounger’ and television programmes would be made about my ‘sort’ of person.

I’d be villainised and people would wonder why I didn’t think about this before having children. I’d still be part time, so we’d struggle a little.

I’d still have a tonne of student debt left to pay and in my old age I’d be trying to manage on my meagre pension, whilst my now ex-husband joins the fancy golf club and books a cruise on his.

Women currently make up two-thirds of Britain’s poorest pensioners and changes being made to pensions (both public and state) will disproportionately affect women further still. 

It’s 2017 and in response to me querying why I’d not be getting my expected pay increase when returning from maternity leave, my boss, I kid you not, replied “it’s not as if you’re getting a pay cut”.

It’s 2017 and if my husband was beating me I’d honestly have to decide if I could financially afford to separate.

It’s 2017 and there are hundreds of thousands of mothers working part time and passing up on opportunities whilst fathers continue to breeze their way up the management ladder with the people they work with not knowing nor caring that they have children at all; it’s just not an issue. Nor should it be.

Girls have been doing better than boys in school for years yet we still have more men in management and leadership positions and there are much more male higher earners.

Only a mere 7 bosses of the 100, FTSE 100 companies are women.

It’s shameful. 

Women have been hit far more drastically than men by welfare cuts due to harsh austerity measures, a whopping 74% of welfare cuts are coming out of the pockets of women.

Women’s refuges are closing up and down the country despite 2 women being killed every week at the hands of a partner or ex-partner.

Women are considerably more likely than men to be in part time work and part time workers earn less per hour on average than their full-time peers.

65% of public sector workers are women so have been disproportionately affected by public sector pay freezes and job cuts.

I sound bitter.

I sound jealous.

I sound dried up; it’s not sexy to be overtly feminist, but is it that unladylike to want to be self-sufficient (even if from within a marriage)?

Am I that much of a bore to want a fair shot?

Is it so very unappealing to ask not to live completely dependent on another person?

It’s 2017 and my wonderful, sensual, sexy vulva has betrayed me. 

The ‘Me Too’ Movement – Some Men Claim ‘Sexual Ambiguity’ As An Excuse But I Beg To Differ By Eddie Luigi

By Eddie Luigi

This is not a blog on the male perspective of the current media storm concerning sexual harassment of women. I am a male and this is my perspective. I do not claim to be speaking for all males.

I have never assaulted a woman and all of my sexual adventures have been consensual on both sides.

Now I don’t fully understand how women  work, and I may have been guilty of misreading a situation. That said, there was never a point of no return. If the woman said no at any time in the proceedings, then no it was. I would shuffle of with my bruised ego, muttering a few choice epithets under my breath.

I may be old school ( I am 68) but I was bought up to treat women as I would want other men to treat my mother, sister, aunts or daughter. 

I am the first to admit I am not God’s gift to women nor am I a Hollywood matinee idol. 

I have always been amazed, pleasantly surprised and grateful that a woman would find me attractive enough to want to indulge.

I don’t think that because one woman would be attracted to me then all women would. 

I have never wanted to treat women as ‘hunting trophies’ and mark my progress with notches on the bed.

I do not hold with the view that if a woman gets drunk then she is begging ‘for it’. 

By that token if a man gets drunk he is begging to be buggered? Surely not?

Unfortunately these do tend to be the opinions held by some, but not all, blokes.

I have been accused of inappropriate behaviour with regards to some women. It concerns my old school upbringing, where I was taught that if a lady offered you her hand you did not shake it, with a vicelike grip until one of you blinked. 

You took her proffered hand by the finger tips and gently kissed the back of her hand. It was a mark of respect and also stopped the passing of sexually related messages with the fingers, thumb or pressure.

Therein may lie a difficulty. What to one woman is a compliment and considered to be gentlemanly gallantry, another woman will consider unwonted and unwarranted behaviour.

But some of the stories I have heard emerge  are beyond any of this that I describe. And I cannot understand how a man can claim sexual ambiguity or misreading a situation so badly that he sexually assaults or raoes someone!

I would like to see more women stand up to sexual harassment. 

One of the ways might be to boycott the perpetrator in a work environment. 

Make it clear that you will have nothing to do with the pervert, and won’t even give them the time of day. 

If they ask a question, reply through a third party, making sure the third party knows why you are behaving that way. 

It worked for the Irish against Captain Boycott (which is where the phrase originated. You learn something new everyday.

I also believe that capitulation in the face of an overwhelming superior force, should not be considered as consent.

I am who I am because I have been who I have been.

Now I did not spring from my mother’s womb into the fully formed ‘all round good guy’ that I appear to be today. Before I reached the age of 30, I was anything but.

Before I was 15 I was what would now be called a troublemaker, but was then called a gutter snipe. 

I stole, was guilty of breaking and entering, shooting at the Queens birds, shoplifting, bullying and various other crimes that eventually led to my being sent to an approved school and being given the option of Borstal or a boarding school specialising in training young thugs for a life in either the Royal Navy or the Merchant Navy.
Between the ages of 15 and 30 I was a serving member of the Royal Navy. I was what would now be called ‘one of our brave boys’, but was then referred to as a ‘piss artist’. 

While in the Royal Navy I used swear words as punctuation, I told inappropriate and politically incorrect jokes. I thought the truth was so precious that I wasn’t going to squander it by using it.


When I reached the age of 30, I thought ‘enough, time to grow up. 

When I was a child I did childish things, but now I’m a man I should behave as a man.
So I gave up lying, cheating, taking drugs and wounding people with words.

Which brings me to Jared O’Mara. 

I can’t condone what he did or said, but I can’t condemn him either. When I was in the Royal Navy if you made a mistake you were punished for it according to the severity of the action and once your punishment was finished that was the end of the matter.
I would look on Jared O’Mara as a bit of a prat for not choosing his audience. No doubt if Jared O’Mara had been a member of the Bullingdon club, his actions would have been laughed off by the Tories as youthful high spirits and he would have been helped up the greasy pole to high office.

And before the Tories and mainstream media try to gain political capital, with their screeching rants about this being a ‘Labour Party problem’ as we’ve heard the Right Wing press claim, they should look to the racist, misogynistic, elitist, aristocratic snob, who was not only their Prime Minister, but has been consistently voted the greatest Briton of all time. Winston Churchill, oh and of course the 36 Tory MPs caught up in the sexual harassment scandal.

Isn’t it about time men stop hiding behind pathetic excuses for their behaviour and started taking responsibility for their actions? It really is time for a change!
 
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