David Thompson


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April 27, 2010



Of the 11 'stars' pictured on the festival website 6 are women. ;)

Bob Smith

"It’s all part of my investigation into cultural femicide - the erasure of women from public life."

She apparently hasn't been to the magazine rack at her local bookstore. If she had, she would surely have noticed how few magazines that have a human being on the cover have a man on the cover. She must also consume zero entertainment media, because it's fairly obvious that a good 90+% of it is about female celebrities, or a much higher percentage if you consider photos rather than column inches. A 90th percentile male celebrity can't get a fraction of the press a 10th percentile female celebrity does.

"There are 25 debates covering broad themes such as evolution, the urban space, creativity, violence and privacy. All but two of these events are male-dominated"

Because, it seems, any subject that isn't specifically about women is proof of discrimination against women. Women must always be the center of attention.

Bob Smith

How do I format text? The blog strips my formatting hypertext.


"Is it that philosophy embeds a male mode of thinking, a phallogocentrism, that discourages women?"

That one sentence makes me want to book a ticket right away.


"Of the 11 'stars' pictured on the festival website 6 are women."

That's a T&A thing obviously. Patriarchy!



“How do I format text? The blog strips my formatting hypertext.”

Unfortunately, and for reasons that escape me, TypePad doesn’t permit text formatting in comments. However, if you paste in a URL it’s linked automatically.




The university department where I have worked for the last ten years has had seven new appointments in that time. Six were women. Should I be complaining about the gender imbalance?


"She is, in her own imaginings, entirely at odds with the current establishment, rather than a routine and rather comical feature of it."

Nail. Head. etc


"Do help yourself to refreshments. A stiff one seems in order."



As an event organizer and alleged perpetrator of patriarchy, I haven't met anyone who thinks "women's" perspectives are inconsistent and inconsequential.

Bidisha's perspectives, on the other hand...

Ted S., Catskills, NY

"Yes, I know. Do help yourself to refreshments. A stiff one seems in order."

Your use of the word "stiff" obviously betrays your membership in the phallocracy!

As for all this crap about "gender balance", I remember a good decade or more ago when one of the old shortwave broadcasters (I think it was Belgium's Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal) had a International Women's Day piece from some activist wanting to mandate that the party electoral lists had genital quotas (not that she used that term, of course). I suggested at the time that I'd like to see some party run 50% men in suits and 50% men in drag.

(I'm sorry, you can't vote for that person. You haven't voted for enough vulvas yet.)


"It's all part of my investigation into cultural femicide - the erasure of women from public life."

I can never tell if Bidisha is joking. Maybe it's meant to be satire on feminism?


“Maybe it’s meant to be satire on feminism?”

Well, it’s difficult to parody an article by Bidisha, in that you’d struggle to make it more hyperbolical and absurd. And intended or not, it does have the makings of grim comedy – something like “The Office” or “The Larry Sanders Show.” A woman who describes marriage as a “legalised prostitution trap cum labour exploitation racket” and who defines racism as, exclusively, “despising non-whites” lectured others on political theory. In itself, that’s kind of funny. But I’m assuming she didn’t turn up wearing big clown shoes.

Still, perhaps we shouldn’t mock. After all, she’s trying to change the paradigm through sheer force of presence.


Sadly, I won't be able to be in Hay in May as I plan to be experiencing the rain in Spain on the plain.

As cynical as I get, and the cycle feeds on itself, I am constantly amazed at what sort of "thinking" is taken seriously by western society. Yet in my despair, I discern a glimmer of hope in the sincere consideration of virtually any idiotic idea...Might I suggest again...while there's still time...two birds, one stone...Throw her into the volcano...

Chris S.

"The discrimination is obvious. All you have to do is count."
Combined with:
"Why do we find it easier to achieve gender balance in our musical events but struggle to do so in philosophy"

It makes me wonder if the "balance" was in women's favour would Bishida still consider it discrimination (against men)?

I also wonder if the women who decided not to participate saw Bishida on the invitee list and backed out because of her. Thinking it might be another one of "those" events.

Newsflash, most professional women don't want to be asked to provide the "women's perspective", just thier perspective.


This lady Bidisha... how do people like her square the fact that almost all of my fave authors are female. And in my fave-of-fave books I most love the main character to be a strong, capable and independent minded woman. And I'm a male, or was last time I looked.

Oh wait, I get it... it must be me being jealous that I'm not marginalised like real wimmin.


"the shining example of my contribution"

That's one for the ages.

carbon based lifeform

Makes you wonder how J.K. Rowling (est. worth $1 billion) made it past all that patriarchy.

Spiny Norman

It seems a bit cruel of the Grauniad to continually cater to this woman's neuroses. Isn't "enabling" a passive-aggressive form of abuse?


David, what's the tune?



It’s “Quand Tu Danses” by the late Gilbert Bécaud. (1953)






@carbon based lifeform, @Steve:

J.K. Rowling and other female authors you like are not really opressed, but traitors/opportunists.
Maybe because they are read (also) by males? ;-)


Pomo's of today would go ape over the representation going on in this lost canuck gem. God I miss the 60s/70s. :(


frank black

dear global patriarchy

i work in IT. there aren't enough pretty femmes to balance the fat, ugly, balding males. please send help asap.

cubicle worker 782

p.s. what's up with that anyway?


The real tragedy of Bidisha is that, despite her trying so hard to be edgy and outrageous and all prickly feminism, she's...well, essentially harmless. Basically, a pub bore who goes on and on and on and everyone tolerates despite this, because she's hopeless and harmless.

Whereas some feminists are more like the quiet, brooding giy in the corner, muttering softly to himself, and ominously fingering an object hidden deep in his pocket. Him, everyone avoids:



Natasha Walter addresses much the same topic with the usual woolly, tendentious, question-begging waffle:

“The facts are incontrovertible. If you look at any cultural or political event, from the leaders’ debate to a summer literary festival, you will keep seeing the same thing... women are being outnumbered or squeezed out entirely.”


The “facts are incontrovertible” bit made me laugh, since, so far as I can make out, she doesn’t refer to any. But then this is the same Natasha Walter who described Hizb ut-Tahrir as “an alternative to capitalism” and champions of women’s rights.


It’s strange how the people telling us that “women” aren’t taken seriously are very often people you can’t take seriously.

Bob Smith

"But then this is the same Natasha Walter who described Hizb ut-Tahrir as “an alternative to capitalism” and champions of women’s rights."

That's bizarrely afactual. How can any jihadist group seeking global supremacy for Sharia law be termed a "champion of women's rights"?


"I used to power my way through every token-woman appearance on panels in the hope that the shining example of my contribution would change the paradigm through sheer force of presence... It didn’t happen."

When you think about it, this is a breathtakingly arrogant line.

"I, Bidisha, light of the female world, descending unto your little 'debate' with the full force of my luminary wisdom. And yet I did not single-handedly change the entire tone of the debate, thus providing explicit proof of sexism"

Obviously, Bidisha, voice of the oppressed, would have won any fair debate- indeed one suspects the raw force of her "non-white female" opinion would have caused at least two of the other panelists to spontaneously switch genders. As this did not happen, clearly the entire system at every level is a patriarchal machine. Remarkable.

Chris S.

Hizb ut-Tahrir *IS* a champion of women's rights. It's just not the rights you are used to seeing. I mean, they've got the womens right to not drive cars, or the women's right to not walk unaccomanied, or the women's right to do whatever her male relatives tell her.

Why are you against women's rights?

The Great and Wonderful Kitty Glendower that Julia Can't Seem To Ignore


You really love love love the milk that flows from our tits, don't you?


Oh, touche! I see what makes you "Great and Wonderful"! It's the tits, isn't it?

Karen M

"At theatres, festivals, art galleries and bookshops, women's work is being pushed to the margins"

Yeah, I can never find J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer in a bookshop. Or Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, Judith Butler, Kathy Acker, Maya Angelou, Germaine Greer, Bonnie Greer, Sarah Waters, Ophelia Benson, Hilary Mantel, Karen bloody Armstrong... I guess they must have all been purged by the Patriatchy.

Who knew paranoia could be so funny?

sackcloth and ashes

'"It’s all part of my investigation into cultural femicide - the erasure of women from public life."'

So a columnist in a national newspaper is claiming that her gender is being 'erased ... from public life'. Am I being dense, or is there an inherent contradiction here?



As we’ve seen several times, self-contradiction doesn’t inhibit Bidisha in her rush to a conclusion. Don’t forget she also claimed that science fiction is a nest of patriarchs, bigots and “women-hating racists” while simultaneously disproving her own premise at some length. And that kind of stupidity isn’t arrived at by accident.


Coherence and logic aren’t her strong points. What matters to Bidisha are indignation and claims of persecution, and the fact it’s all your fault.

sackcloth and ashes

The thing is, if the Graun and the Beeb didn't exist, what would Jazz Hands have to do for a job? And would actually have to use her surname?

The gold digger

Women outnumber men in ballet. As primary school teachers. In nursing. Obviously, it's all a plot to keep men in their place.

See? It sounds just as stupid when you look at it the other way.


Wah, wah, wah.

"Nobody likes me. The world is bad and I'm normal."

Wow. Narcissism, paranoia, etc. This used to be considered mental illness.



You really love love love the milk that flows from our tits, don't you?"

I followed the link in Julia's comment to have a look at A Room of Our Own. The first link I clicked on was Room Rules which essentially spells out the comment policy which can be boiled down to: "We hate men, all of them, all the time." and "If you don't agree with us completely we won't publish your comment and will ruthlessly mock you." How the mocking will take place without the comment being published isn't really fleshed out but I'm sure they have some soooper sekrit method.

I love the hypocrisy in Wonder Kitty following Julia back to this comment thread to make a snarky comment which, according to the rules, wouldn't have been published on her site.

*** Disclosure: I left A Room of Our Own after reading the Room Rules so there may be comment threads full of derisive comments made by members of the Patriarchy... but I doubt it.



The ladies at AROO and their assorted psychodramas have been discussed here before. See the link below and the comments that follow it.


M Lofthouse

"Whether or not meritocratic selection has been achieved can't be deduced from whether gender parity results, since we have no basis, except ideology, on which to say that gender parity should be the meritocratic outcome. The assumption of a 'natural' 1:1 gender ratio in all occupations is itself a prejudice, albeit a modish one."

Well said. Thank you.

Tom Foster

'You really love love love the milk that flows from our tits, don't you?'

Hi there Great and Wonderful one.

You're lactating? Does this mean you've been fraternising with… a man?



You really love love love the milk that flows from our tits, don't you?"

Oh, ladies, ladies! 'Tits' is so uncouth, so 70s.

I vote for 'boobies'. Much more 'now' more Zeitgeist...


"...there may be comment threads full of derisive comments made by members of the Patriarchy... but I doubt it."

And you are right to doubt it. Actually, her latest post is concerning that very thing - keeping men from 'penetrating' their Internet space:

"Although most females cannot achieve a space in everyday life free from males, the internet, to a certain extent, can provide that space. Of course, we cannot hold nor have genital checks on the internet..."

I'm rather surprised there isn't an app for that... ;)


Man Free internet spaces = good.
Women free (although there seemed to be a lot of women) literary competitions = sign of discrimination.

It's lucky for her that cognitive dissonance only makes you stupid and isn't fatal.


Re: Hens sans mens...It amuses me how some women make such an issue about insisting on being included in every and any situation where they may not be wanted, and yet many of those same women will insist on their own private space.

I go to a barber who felt the occasional woman who would come in with her boys and/or husband was cramping the atmosphere. While having a sense of propriety about guy-talk, he wished to run his shop his way and allow it since he felt a barber shop was an appropriate context. So as not to cause confusion and to get his point across (though not exactly subtly) he used to have a "for men only" sign in his shop. He had to take it down. He had even more women constantly coming in to demand to know why they were being excluded.

Austin Powers

Took a look at both articles.

It's a man, baby!


"To witness femicide in action, go to the town of Hay this May"

So is femicide like homicide and genocide combined -only worse? And this bloodbath will happen at two love-ins packed with middle-class lefties?



"Coherence and logic aren't her strong points. What matters to Bidisha are indignation and claims of persecution, and the fact it's all your fault."

She's not alone. Professor of Gender and Women's Studies Sharra Vostral says 'patchwork' is a "gendered insult"… "To debase something by calling in patchwork really is based in gendered and derogatory understandings of the quilt."




Thanks for that. One for the ‘Only-An-Academic...’ file, I think. As Mr Christopher patiently points out, “The metaphoric use of ‘patchwork’ isn’t meant as a value judgment of patchwork quilts, but rather as a way of visualizing the concept of something made up of existing leftover pieces, rather than pieces fabricated for a given purpose. It’s a great way to make use of scraps of fabric, but not the best approach to government policy.”

Assuming Professor Vostral isn’t delusional or an incorrigible drunk, her objective seems to be to distort meaning and control language, which is a common enough ploy among her ideological peers. The Guardian’s Zoe Williams insists, based on somewhat circuitous thinking, that “hoodie” is a “sinister racial code word.” And not long ago David K Shipler was busy hallucinating more of the same. “‘Elitist’ is another word for ‘arrogant,’” said he. “Which is another word for ‘uppity,’ that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves.”


Examples like those above hold no water as “scholarship” or benign concern. Though they could make sense if viewed in terms of passive-aggressive leverage.

Rich Rostrom

TBA, bobchild: re "shining example" - I think it's pretty clear that Bidisha was being sarcastic there. She's a prat, but not quite as vain as that.

Ted S.: "You haven't voted for enough vulvas yet." - I think the current UK elections will meet that test - if one replaces "vulvas" with, ahem, a vulgar synonym beginning with T.

Karen M: Of the 25 top sellers at Amazon (US) right now, 12 are by women, one co-authored by a woman, and one is a publication of the American Psychological Association. Only 11 are by men. Obvious phallobia! (16 of 25 at Amazon (UK). _11_ of which are vampire romances. Go figure.)


Jumping jesophats! A talking vuvla:

"Once a male is allowed in, the space is compromised, —penetrated, thus, the subversion has been repurposed to reinforce patriarchy. He is entering with the support of the world behind him. He ..."

Talking vulva paying lip service to common sense.

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