Our first fantastic news is that we have been to the House of Commons and met with Barbara Follett, Culture Minister. It was very exciting to be in the Houses of Parliament, it’s a truly impressive place, hard to imagine working in that environment, breath-taking really! Barbara is interested in our campaign, and vice versa as she is a champion of women’s issues. What we wanted to achieve from this meeting was firstly of course, support, but more than that, we need to gather a selection of supporters, some of whom may well be people of influence, that we can call on for advice, and who can help us achieve the reach and results that we want for this project. PinkStinks is aiming high, and to have women like Barbara Follett and Polly Toynbee supporting us is a fantastic thing … hopefully they will be the first of many.
Barbara was in the news recently, having been quoted as saying that ‘little girls only aspired to be Wags, Barbie and win the X-factor’. Now as simplified as the quote may be (see Sun article HERE), the press leapt on this as some sort of mortal insult to our little girls (princesses?!). Simplified maybe, but reason to then write an article about Barbara’s husband? See the Sun…? Ridiculous. For us at least, this was a welcome inroad for us to talk about the issues which are concerning us and many others. It will take people, brave people at that, like Barbara to dare to question what the media is doing to our kids as well as to question parents on their own values etc.
The BBC however, decided to react to this with quite possibly two of the most boring and maybe even innapropriate guests to discuss these important issues. Firstly, a deathly dull teacher, talking about the teachers’ survey, which we agree, is full of very interesting insights into what teachers are experiencing in schools. We quote it a lot ourselves; but I have to say, someone with more passion…PLEEEEASE. Secondly, a woman who was on in her capacity as a ‘business woman’. It transpired that she was a make-up artist … nothing wrong with that, I know a few of them myself … but she sat there and described to us how Jordan (Katie Price) was the most successful businesswoman in the UK (NOT true); and how it was irrelevant that she’d been a glamour model (we would argue ALSO NOT true). It really was laughable to insult the issues so much by having these two on ‘debating’ in the very loosest sense of the term. I was in disbelief. Now maybe this was as these issues are first and foremost in my own mind that I felt so let down by the BBC. Now is definitely the time for us – as a movement – to really get our voices heard and get these issues into the media and being discussed by the people that really do have something pertinent to say on the matter.
Our next piece of fantastic news is that we are re-launching our website very soon, which has been re-designed and vastly improved. There will be the first range of PinkStinks t-shirts available … the first of many that we hope which will give girls something other than sparkles and glitter and princesses and playboy bunnies, to emblason upon themselves with pride, attitude and solidarity with what PinkStinks stands for!
Also, just wanted to link today to bbc iplayer, where you can hear a discussion that was on Woman’s Hour this morning, may I say a much much better effort by the BBC, to get some decent guests in to discuss some issues close to our hearts, including Aimie Littler, who herself runs a campaign ‘The truth isn’t sexy‘, and who had some very interesting thoughts on girls’ ‘poverty of ambition’. She was a supporter of Barbara Follett’s comments, and had done some research into who girls sited as their role models… the usual suspects were all there, Kate Moss, Paris Hilton and any WAG…. She quoted some of the reasons that the girls she spoke to gave for wanting to be a WAG…. including ‘they’re always in the papers’, ‘they drive nice cars’, ‘they do nothing and get paid for it’… I’ve contacted Aimie and hope that she’ll take a look at our campaign.
Thank you for your support everyone, and please do remember to forward on links and tell people that you know about our website, blog and campaign. PinkStinks is a labour of love at the moment, so all contact with the outside world is much appreciated!
Abi and I decided that we’d do our best to talk about positive things in the next blog we wrote! Easier said than done as good things are so few and far between, while it’s difficult to not be bombarded with ever more distasteful rubbish (see last entry).
Anyway, was pleasantly surprised to see the new stamps launched by the Post Office which feature six women who have achieved amazing things. It’s difficult to know how much of an impact being on a stamp really does have, but it’s a start and I can imagine it being a talking point for school children perhaps (in the classroom … probably not the playground!). Something I’d really like to see – perhaps as a complementary set to this one – is some modern day role models celebrated on a set of stamps. It would be a very interesting exercise to find and identify who those women might be. I can imagine quite a few blank faces round the table at the PR company when they brainstormed for a long list. Even a short list might be a challenge! ***Coming very soon*** our list of role models, which should help ;o)
The new stamps have prompted me to write some letters or cards or something. Just so I get to use them.
We’ve also just had some excellent news in terms of our campaign in that we have secured a meeting with Barbara Follett, Culture Minister , in a couple of weeks’ time. Barbara was in the news this week, following her remarks about how girls’ ambitions are being thwarted by invasive marketing and celebrity culture. See some of that HERE, It will be interesting and useful to meet with Barbara. We have many questions for her, not least… funding!
Watch this space.
This prompted me to look again at this site Miss Bimbo and once again it repulsed me. But the bit which repulsed me the most was not the vile stereotyped content and the gross caricatures or women/girls (all boobs and lips and batting eyes), but it was the about section which tries to explain what this ridiculous site is all about. Some classic nonsense in there of which this is just a tiny extract:
“We expect Miss Bimbo to be a positive influence in the female world for years to come. We want it to remain an education tool, a fashion powerhouse and a place where females can hang out in a safe cool environment. … We also anticipate the site becoming a stronger and more influential tool for girls/women online.” This is a tiny fragment out of a huge section on the site which claims to have some kind of real meaning and influence on girls and women. They say: “ These days the world is more bimbo friendly and with leading bimbos Paris Hilton and Chelsea Clinton succeeding in their respective fields the barriers are finally starting to be broken down”. I don’t know where to begin on that last statement. I may give Chelsea a call so she can sue these people. And as for talking about barriers being broken down! It’s astonishing really. Utterly astonishing.
Who are these people trying to kid! I can’t believe the nerve of them really. They also talk about how they think their site has a Simpsons style humour to it. Well, I for one can tell them they’re living in dreamland if they think they’re that clever and funny! I can barely bring myself to look at the boys’ version. But I’m going to. And I’ll report back – presumably once I’ve picked myself up off the floor …
I’ve just had a look at the ‘Little Hooliganz‘ website. What a joy it is to know that there are adults out there who think that it is right that children should be subjected to this rubbish. It’s violent and aggressive and lists the following as some of its attractions:
“Earn some spondooley to purchase the things a Little Hooligan needs – food, beer, colours and weapons!
Challenge other Hooligans and show them who is da boss!
Find your very own beautiful Bimbo!!”
Now call me old fashioned but aren’t we just in the middle of crisis amongst young people with increasing amounts of violence towards eachother and knife crime ever more prevalent (over 20 young people knifed to death on our streets this year – let’s ask the parents, families and friends of those people how they feel about this shall we? I challenge the people from this ‘company’ to have the guts to do it). I hate to sound all Mary Whitehouse about it but this is irresponsible and dangerous. I’m sickened by it. I wonder if any of the computer geeks (they call themselves this) who have created this ‘game’ have kids of their own? Somehow I doubt it very much. They clearly don’t have a very good grasp of the English language or basic grammar given the state of their website so I can only guess that they are as a stupid as their websites are.
let us know what you think HERE
More on that HERE from the Telegraph
We’ll be talking about BOYS Soon…. on PinkStinks.
Was in the West End this week, and I wrote down some of the things that caught my eye … and have been pondering on them!
Firstly – an ad on the side of bus for new show, called ‘The Hills’, picture of three or four women, all smouldering to the camera, tag-line ‘reality can be a bitch’ – another excuse to pit woman against woman, maybe girls … not sure how old they were. Immediately after, another bus ad, new show from the producers of ‘Sex and the City’ called ‘Lipstick Jungle’ or something like that … four more rich women, wearing lots of lipstick, God, it made me want to yawn…
Secondly, wander innocently through Leicester Square, and there are thousands of teenage girls queuing up for the High School Musical 3 premiere … in the rain. Just a thought, but yet another example where we’re all meant to obsess about being pop stars and drool over teenage boys singing songs … grim … it’s always been there … Grease, and Fame in our day, but it’s EVERYWHERE these days, and Disney is capitalising big style. Anyway – here they are!
On my way home I’m looking over shoulder of a woman on the train, to a headline in HEAT magazine or something similar, saying ‘Rene’s put on 10Ibs’… Rene who? Not sure, but why do we care about this? Poor Rene, whoever she is. Do we really want to comment on such a personal thing … and has she done anything cool lately this Rene? A masterpiece of acting? Or something …? Anything? Or has she just put weight on. So depressing.
I wasn’t looking for these things, and I suppose as a group of little ‘noticings’ there really is nothing too outrageous here … but an email from someone re: our site, made me want to put them all together, as these are collectively the messages that we’re seeing day in, day out, plastered on buses, or all over the magazines that pit woman against woman in the desire to be thin, rich and beautiful. And of course all of the above mean SUCCESS these days too …
So here’s the message;
Message: I have nine and five year old girls. Pink has been popular in our house but the underlying issue that concerns me is the sense of place in society for young women. Your web site is inspiring and I hope with the help of my daughters to add some positive suggestions soon ! Well done x
From Francisca Sandiford.
This message really understands I think, what we are about … and what we hope to achieve. It’s not a hate campaign about Pink … it’s what’s underneath it that we want to expose, and of course … it’s providing an alternative that is the key.
Maybe PinkStinks can do something to give girls that sense of place, that so much of the garbage that goes their way doesn’t?
We really hope so.
So outside of the website we’re also making progress. Hopefully our t-shirt designs will be be available in the next few weeks. Clearly we want to try this out in the run up to Christmas with a view to expanding our range as time goes by. We know that at the very least we have friends and family crying out for a PinkStinks t-shirt! So let’s hope it’s the must-have for this Christmas (and beyond). Also, working on getting our brand and logo developed which will all be applied to our website and will give the campaign a really strong and appealing visual impact.
Unfortunately we also sufferred a slight setback today as a result of the Cabinet reshuffle. We’ve been waiting weeks to get confirmation of a meeting with Barbara Follett, received that confirmation letter at the end of last week, only to find she’s moved on from that particular Ministerial job. So – according to the diary secretary we now have to go back to square one, and we have to wait at least another week to start that process again. We’re going to continue our quest to meet with Barbara as she’s done some great stuff for equalities causes; and we’ll be in contact with the new Minister as soon as we can.
I was reading to my two-year-old daughter this evening, before bed. Her current favourite books are Maisy (any story she doesn’t care which!) and Maisy is definitely a character who is a great role model for girls (albeit that she is a mouse). She’s a farmer, a bus driver, a shopper, a baker. She’s great. She’s going on the list. Also, Rebecca loves her wheels on the bus book. In the version she has, the mummies on the bus go chatter, chatter, chatter is replaced with the people. Right on! Becky still sings Mummies though! Her other favourite character is Miffy. Now I don’t really get what’s so good about Miffy. Odd books. I wonder if there’s something lost in translation on this one. Anyway. At least she doesn’t wear pink. The pink fairy stuff is just starting with Becky. I’m keeping an eye on it … purely from a scientific viewpoint of course. I’m sure I heard her say her favourite colour was pink the other day. Although I think she was pointing at green at the time.
You can find Maisy HERE
Another positive to add…. are a couple of messages from the authors of Packaging Girlhood – Lyn Mikel Brown & Sharon Lamb, great to have others on board, they run a great website in the states www.hghw.org for girls…
Thoughts on Leslie Ash
But most shocking of all to me, was the troop of women, who she’d invited along to a bogus ‘botox party’… (contradiction in terms if you ask me but hey!…) here we see a group of 30 somethings, maybe 40, all of whom looking nice, in their party clothes… walk into a room, drink a couple of champagnes, and then willingly sign cheques for 200 quid a pop, and queue up to sit on a doctors trolley, where an actor, dressed as a doctor, is about to administer water from little vials, through needles into their faces. Unreal…! How hideously mainstream and normal this sort of thing has become, it used to be Hollywood people that did it, and yet now, ordinary women, feel compelled to put themselves through this, in their mission to stay looking younger for longer. Leslie of course appears from the background, just before the first victim of this hoax is about to get the needle… and she points out to them that not a single one of them had asked to see this doctor’s credentials. Horrifying… particularly when you take a good look at Leslie. The film concluded however, with her saying that she certainly hadn’t ruled out a face-lift, and 50 year old Toyah came on going crazy about the benefits hers had bought to her, and her career, since she’d had one.
SoPinkstinks asks, where are these messages coming from, that nowadays are making cosmetic surgery, and other procedures, so common place, and desirable. What is it that woman think they are going to achieve? Ever lasting youth? Happiness? And mostly, who is it that is profiting from this… and there is certainly BIG money being made.
We’d argue that this is all starting very young…pamper parties for 6 year olds for example… innocent seeming, but certainly training girls young in the culture of looking good = happiness and success. One article we’ve read claimed that there were 6 year olds in the US having chemical peels. And if all our role models are celebrities, then the pressure on our kids is just compounded (‘10 years younger’ regularly has women under the knife), then these things look set to become the norm. How tragic. Guardian piece on Leslie Ash There’s a link on here, where you can watch the documentary