For the love of fuck, does Kirsty Allsop ever shut up? I ask because, like a foghorn from the darkness, she insists upon blarting her withered opinions across our cultural ocean with the regularity of an IBS sufferer who’s eaten a deep fried Mars Bar. And this time she has gone too far. No, not because she has resurrected her argument that that women find housework therapeutic or because she today announced that women should eschew university for childbearing. It’s because I’m a sewist for a living and, as the self-styled figurehead for the crafting masses, Allsop is making my career look like Martha Stewart’s stool water.
Let me explain. I’m about to open my online shop Kraken Kreations where I’ll sell my outrageously bright and wild geo-print accessories for the home. I’ve turned my sewing hobby into my sewing career in a one-woman campaign to bring an end to the ubiquitous and terminally offensive ditzy print. Believe me, if I wanted to surround myself with dainty flowers I’d find a flux capacitor and go live with Enid Blyton. The problem is that for me, and thousands of other women who make a living from a needle and thread, Kirsty Allsop has somehow finagled herself into the role of Chief Crafter and every time she announces that women should stay at home she’s tarring us with a brush formed from her patriarchal bristles. In one breath she’s telling the nation’s women to ditch degrees for dummies and in the next she’s giving crafting lectures to those of us who want to turn their hobbies into careers. Thanks to this dual role of hers, the distinction between the two groups is terrifyingly thin and every time Allsop claims to represent us women who have the vision to create businesses from hobbies it gets even thinner.
For the love of fuck, kraken-lovers, you know much I adore Facebook but there are times when I want to track down Mark Zuckerberg and tie him to stake forged from mousemats before driving sharpened chip forks through his scrotal delights. That’s because in recent weeks Facebook has been infected with one of those cyber postcards complete with vintage image and an alleged truism. Now there are some people who will no doubt claim that what I am about to rage over is “just a bit of fun”. Thing is, I’m laughing like roadkill as it takes its last breath because at the heart of this postcard is the reason why there’s a 19 per cent pay gap. That’s right, it’s the bilge that reads, “Your husband will always be your biggest and oldest child who needs the most adult supervision”.
Now, if you have put this on your own timeline and also consider yourself a friend of mine I’ll be optimistic and assume that you’ve perpetrated this heinous act with a sense of humour/ irony/ sarcasm because you are inherently understand why it is the verbal equivalent of chaining women to a family sized bottle of Domestos. However, if you don’t fall into that category and have posted this card seriously, with an indulgent giggle while patting your husband on the knee, this would be a good time to step away from the blog because I am about to take you down. And when I say down, I don’t ever really intend for you to get back up again.
Here’s a first for The Kraken. Instead of being enraged to the point of exuding through my pores boiling spleen juice, today I am mostly heartsore. I know, I know. Who’d have thunk. You see, I had a bit of a lock down on blogging last week but when I surfaced on Thursday I found myself greeted with a nugget of such distressing offensiveness that I almost hunted down Tim Berners- Lee himself. I could leave you guessing about this t’web turd but I’m too sick to the stomach to bother. Yup, it’s another article by Natasha Devon and this time it’s a lumpen mound of an opinion piece claiming that feminists thrive on being victims.
No, I have not plucked those words out of a tombola spun by a crack-addicted spaniel, much like Devon seems to have done in the paper on 15 May. You can read the entire thing here but if you want to retain your dignity while divesting yourself of the notion that Devon cares about female equality, here’s the upshot: Devon starts by saying the has rarely encountered misogyny and that the men in her life are all about gender equality; she considers herself a feminist but “struggles to comprehend” women wanting to be rid of page 3 and lads’ mags; harmless acts of wolf whistling are now being labelled as ‘rapey’; that opposition to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is based on the misguided notion that all men “know women want it”; that feminists make assumptions about what men are thinking; that feminists use the word ‘misogynist’ too often and easily; that The Everyday Sexism Project is great but excludes men; in 2014 Britain women can get any job they want and get paid the same as men; feminism teaches women to be victims and men to be villains; feminists need to give men more credibility. Feel free to read that lot again and compare it to the original article because the last time I wrote about Devon she told me I’d taken her words out of context. From where I stand, though, the only contextual problem is that Devon is writing about a world in which few other women actually exist.
If you are any sort of long term reader of this blog, you’ll have guessed by now that I’m a kraken of the Welsh variety. I know, I know, what can I say? I’m living the dream kraken lovers, I’m living the dream. The only problem is that being born in Wales carries with it a burden of such weight that it’s like carrying the entire city of Atlantis around on my bloody shoulders. That’s because as much as I love my heritage there is a shit load of it that I’m apparently duty bound to cling to even though it’s hackneyed and clichéd and sucked dry of enjoyment simply because it’s been rammed down my throat from the moment of my birth. And it’s your lucky day, kraken lovers, because I am going to list these cultural boulders for you. Ready?
Dylan Thomas: Look, I can appreciate that the globally renown piss-artist of a poet was important in the world of, well, poetry but I find him as unfathomable as the Marianas trench. Perhaps it’s because he was incapable of writing so much as a fucking shopping list without imbuing it with the sort of earnest weight usually reserved for funereal eulogies. Or perhaps it’s because even when I have tried hard to read his outpourings I’ve switched off after approximately three sentences because boredom overwhelms me. Or perhaps it’s because, as a Welsh woman, loving him is now so expected of me that I turn to Larkin and Hughes as an act of rebellion. Fuck knows, Pam Ayres would be an improvement. Seriously, it’s no wonder Thomas was a bloody drunk. Ten minutes of his overblown droning makes me want to poison my liver as well.
Hold the boat, kraken lovers. Hold the bloody boat. I have just read something so heinous and bleak-hearted in that faux-newspaper for mouthbreathers, The Metro, that I may have to leave you a moment to soak my frontal lobes in a cleansing mixture of hydrochloric acid, washing-up liquid and bees. Let me explain. On Saturday 3 May The Metro printed an article entitled 27 Things Men Do In Bed That Women Hate. Written by one Hannah Gale, the piece listed various alleged irritants such as, “When they ask you to put the condom on”, “Man stubble “, and “Trying to remove underwear with their teeth”. That’s not the problem, though. Fuck no. The problem is with the fact that eight of the points list sexual assault and rape before passing them off as annoyances, much like overpriced coffee and bad drivers. And for your rage and delectation, here they are:
‘When you give them a blow job and they act as if you don’t have a gag reflex. How about I’m sick all over your penis?’ Yup, you read that right, kraken-lovers. According to The Metro a man forcing his penis into my throat, even though it is making me uncomfortable, scared and upset, now deserves to be shrugged off more than it deserves to be a moment of monumental distress. Somehow the notion that this will make me vomit as a result is far more important than the fact that it’ll also make me want to call a rape crisis line.