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Saturday, 14 June 2008


I almost always read Dr Crippen - see NHS blog link at the top of this page as he writes with a great deal of common sense and compassion. I don't always agree with what he says but I find what he writes to be balanced and fair. He seems to have stirred up a lot of vitriol amongst the extreme feminist lobby again when writing about so-called 'obstetric rape'.

Rape of any description is always going to be an emotive issue for anyone. Please let us not forget that men can be raped as well. But to equate any medical procedure with rape is I feel going a little bit far. I have had many vaginal examinations in my life - some more painful than others - but I have never felt as though I was being raped. They have all been carried out with sensitivity and frequently humour which help me. I have never felt powerless or in any way oppressed during the procedures which to me are some of the essential properties of a rape. I am not decrying this lady's experience She obviously feels extremely strongly about the issue.

What I would say - as a woman - that not everyone feels like her. I do not agree with her apparent suggestion that anyone who doesn't agree with her has been brainwashed by the patriarchal society. There is always room for more than one point of view. I think both men and women should have equal rights in society, but you cannot change a culture overnight. I am not sure how this lady wants to change things from reading her blog. Does she want everyone to accept her particular view of the world as the only view? If so then I think she would advocate locking up half the human race and not allowing them access to the other half - or that's how it reads to me.

Yes there are some really awful things that happen both in the UK and in America which appear to show that women are still treated as objects and property by some men. Just because some men behave like that doesn't mean all men are unreconstructed male chauvinist pigs at heart. I currently work in a male dominated environment but I have no problem with this. In fact it makes it easier to be frank about what I think as I know no one is going to take offence. I have worked in all female environments and I found I really had to watch what I said. Maybe this says more about me than society in general. I don't like laddish talk and behaviour any more than many people of both sexes do, but in general I find it easier to work in a male dominated environment.

When I was working exclusively with a small group of women I found my own views had to take a back seat. I was always quizzed about the contents of my sandwiches - they were all vegetarian and I'm not - told off I ate chocolate, commiserated with if I had to go for a smear test - because 'it's really unpleasant and a chance for a horrible man to look at your bits' etc etc. In fact I'm sure this particular group of people would have very much sympathised with the views expressed in The Burning Times. I found I was on a different wave length completely. In spite of this I would say I am broadly in sympathy with traditional feminist views. I read Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan and didn't wear a bra if I felt like it without feeling I was a shameless hussy.

So what has happened to feminism? Is it alive and well and living with this type of comment

"This kind of shit happens a lot, as I’m sure you all know, as soon as you get into blogging and you have the audacity to be both female and have a brain. Normally, I just ignore it, but this man is dangerous"

No I don't agree and the whole of The Burning Times leaves me with a very uncomfortable feeling because I know that any comment I post will be treated as criticism and deleted. Women are allowed to use their brains - it is one of the main benefits feminism has achieved in my opinion. I was always brought up to think of myself as equal to any man, but then my parents never encouraged me to think I should stay at home and let the man go out to work - even though my mother did stay at home until we were all teenagers. I wasn't treated as inferior because I was a girl and as a consequence I suppose I've always felt that equal rights for men and women were logical and sensible.

If the views - evidenced by The Burning Times are widespread then I dread to think what could happen to society.

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