Agony Column: Ask Fiona

Have you got a problem within your relationship or your workplace? Fiona the Feminist will respond to questions from both women who are being oppressed, and men who are trying hard to move away from their oppressive, sexist ways.

Fiona will be pleased to give you the benefit of her advice, drawing from her own deep well of feminist wisdom.

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8 thoughts on “Agony Column: Ask Fiona

  1. Dear Fiona

    A man passing me in the street a few weeks ago said “hey gorgeous to me.” He just came out with this vile sexist remark in broad daylight in front of everybody. I felt so objectified and violated. I have been suffering from terrible nightmares ever since. I feel like a nervous wreck and I’m afraid to leave the house in case I am objectified again. I am also afraid to tell my husband about the ordeal although he keeps asking me what’s wrong. Please help Fiona, you’re my only hope.

    Terrified.

    • Dear Terrified.

      You have suffered from a deeply traumatic experience. Just remember this was not your fault. You should seek help immediately. If you live in Dublin you should try to make it to the Irish Woman’s Union. I am sending you the details. The people there can get you the help you need.

      Take a taxi and when you call the cab company make sure to insist on a female driver. A male driver is likely to leer at you or say something inappropriate. You cannot afford to risk being victimized again.

      I would advise you not to tell your husband. He is likely to victim-blame. Men tend to blame women for everything. He will say that you were asking for it and he may well beat you out of jealousy.

      One out of three women are beaten by their partners. Or is it one out of two now? I will check that out on http://www.feministfactoids.com In the meantime you need to get yourself to a safe place where you can find the help you need. You might be in for many years of recovery after this horrific incident but remember – You are a woman. You are strong.

      Say it with me – We are women, hear us roar.

      Fiona.

  2. Dear Fiona,

    I was walking out of the office building and, wouldn’t you know it, a man was walking in front of me. Anyway, we get to the door, and as he exits he notices me behind him so he actually pauses to HOLD THE DOOR OPEN for me! I couldn’t believe it. I was so angry I didn’t know what to do – I mean, I was shaking. Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t open the door for myself, does it? I didn’t know if I should yell at him, kick him where it hurts (after all, he did start it) or just turn around and march over to HR and file a sexism complaint. What do you think I should have done?

    Regards,
    WhyDoThingsAlwaysHappenToMe.

  3. Dear Jo

    I am sorry to read about this disturbing incident. Firstly remember that no matter what anyone says – This was not your fault!

    Men who hold doors open like that so it for two reasons. Firstly to demean women as being lesser beings who cannot even open doors for themselves and secondly, to give themselves an opportunity to leer at you and objectify you as you walk past. This “chivalry” is learned behaviour and it is often the first step on the road that only leads to rape.

    The head of WIW (women for the infantilization of women) recently described “chivalry” as the “gateway to gang-rape.” CEO Betty the Bleater confirmed that studies conducted among feminist organisations at several Irish Universities had born this out.

    I know that you survived and you are putting on a brave face and I always admire the strength and courage of women like you. I do think you should report the incident to HR though. Not only for the sake of the safety of all the women in your company but also as a way of helping yourself to heal.

    If you feel you might need counselling to help you come to terms with this terrible ordeal, please feel free to contact me at http://www.wearevictims.com We can also provide access to legal advise if you feel that a law-suit against the company that allows this sort of brutish misogynistic behaviour to go unchecked would be more appropriate.

    In the meantime remember you are a woman. You are strong.

    Fiona.

  4. Dear Fiona,

    Let’s just say, a friend of mine knows this lady, sort of a pen-pal he has been writing to for a while. He likes her a lot, and on the surface she seems like a proper feminist like a woman should be, but I have pointed out to him that there are some very disturbing red flags as to her being oriented correctly as a woman. One is that as an educator, a number of this woman’s colleagues seem to have expressed a great deal of concern about some of the things she says in her classes and writes about publicly. Their consensus seems to be, this deluded woman would never have had any of the equalities she enjoys if it were not for the great feminists who came before her, like Emily W Davison who stepped in front of a horse so this woman could own property, and the brave women of the UK White Feather campaign who saw to it at great risk to themselves that more young men would march across Belgium to save its women from mass rape. She seems oblivious to it all, and often is heard saying things about how children need their fathers, or how “hookup culture” is destroying “marriage and family”; at times, I have told my friend, she seems almost (dare I say it?) conservative in her views, which any woman should know will be a career-killer, especially in such a safe space for women (and minorities) that brave feminists are working to build on the university campuses. She has been observed questioning obvious truths like equality and diversity, multi-cultural awareness and rape culture, and there have even been rumors that she frequents MRM websites and posts her dangerous views on them under her own name (“men’s rights movement”, as if we as men didn’t already have all the rights we need? The only right men have is to dismantle patriarchy and see to it that women are always made our equals, even if we have to give up our jobs or even our children to them, anyone knows that…)

    I just don’t want my friend to get hurt, by someone who clearly doesn’t mind traumatizing and triggering innocent young women with her un-reconstructed tactics as a teacher, like relying on so-called “facts” about history instead of sharing the proper views of how women have always been oppressed. She heaps insults on the ideas of solid coursework like Gender Studies and sociology, and makes wild claims about women having power in former times when everyone knows this is not true, that feminism gave women the only power they have ever, ever had…

    What can be done about such a person? As a woman who knows how to be entitled, a victim and superior all at once, Fiona, I know that your command of feminist dialectics will show her the way, if only anyone could find a way to reach her before her collaboration with the oppressive patriarchy costs either her or my friend a place in the feminist culture being built to make sure unconscious biases and rape culture and restrictive gender binaries never threaten women again.

    Wood Man

  5. Dear Fiona,

    I am a fully paid up member of the “I support Womyn” Parliamentary men’s support group and always work hard to be equal to my female peers in the House of Lords. Just the other day I suggested to the Woolsack that we should rename this august body the House of Ladies and Lords but was howled down by several womyn for using the word ‘ladies’. I took it on the chin.

    My question concerns ettiquette in the subsidised bar. A womyn Peer said the magic words to me just last evening before a late night sitting: “What’ll you have?”. I recognised the terrible dilemma immediately (after attending a consciousness-raising’ session last month run by the Chief Whip). One the one hand if I accept her offer I am taking unfair advantage of a womyn who inherited far fewer serfs than I have and who has only 20,000 acres (hived off from her Daddy’s pile and to which she has ‘time-shares’ with her undeserving four bothers) of sparse woodland on Bodmin Moor completely devoid of grouse while I was left 50,000 prime acres in Derbyshire by my patriarchal forebears and which is simply innundated with the little flying bastards (grouse, that is): and on the other hand if I offer to pay for the round m’self, I would be reinforcing gender stereotypes, forcing her to acknowledge the mendicant position she in fact has in this misogynistic anachronism of a Palace.

    So, to the point: I am at a loss to know what to do in such circumstance. Should I blow the Palace up, or blow myself up, or shoot a few brace of grouse and send them around to her taxpayer-subsidised London lodgings, or perhaps shoot a few taxpayers or even – I have given a lot of thought to this – invite her around to my London Gentleman’s Club – which does permit womyn to enter, even if by a side door to ensure their privacy – to look at my collection of womyn’s underthings. I would suggest a vote on the options but would not like to sully a decision with chauvinistic influences.

    Your empowerment advice would be welcomed and taken into consideration.

    As a subsidiary or supplementary question ( I am entitled by Standing Orders) there is the matter of the wine when offering or being shouted. Who chooses? And can one send back an inferior one when it is her shout?

    I remain, Madam, your most obedient but nonetheless Aristocratic to my toe-nails Anonymous enquirer.

    (PS Please print a reply here, in this ‘Safe -Space’ and not in your column or I shall have to slap a bloody D notice on you.)

    Lord Rroar. ( A ppseudonygm)

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