A feminist take on parenting and politics


A street near Spitalfields market in London where Jack the Ripper killed most of his victims. Photo: Getty
If we’re going to confront male violence, perhaps we need a Jack the Ripper museum
By Glosswitch - 31 July 12:01

Jack the Ripper was not the only man to see women as meat; he merely took this to its logical conclusion.

Eton schoolboys make their way to class. Photo: Getty
Is having children about to become a vanity project for the rich?
By Glosswitch - 23 July 12:40

How George Osborne's two-child benefit limit is making building a family into a class issue.

A classroom. Photo: Getty
Teaching sex education misses the point unless you teach boys not to be sexist
By Glosswitch - 17 July 15:53

The problem with ordinary PSHE lessons is that boys are still given a free ride in terms of consent.

Margaret Thatcher, just after being elected Tory leader in 1975, chose to highlight her housewife credentials. -/AFP/Getty
Speaking as a mother, I think the idea that mothers make better politicians is ridiculous
By Glosswitch - 08 July 10:39

There is a pervasive sense that women politicians are more “real” and “normal” if they have children – a standard that is never applied to men.

Newborn babies, ready to meet our assumptions. Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images
How did dressing your baby become a political act?
By Glosswitch - 02 July 10:56

Dress your baby in pink and people will see a temperamental prima donna. Dress him or her in blue and they will see a boisterous little chap with a fine set of lungs.

Mindful pregnancy seems to advocate a dulling of the senses. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Why “mindful pregnancy” is just another way of turning women into compliant maternal putty
By Glosswitch - 23 June 11:04

Andy Puddicombe’s book is just one of several that aim to teach the art of calmness and acceptance to the pregnant, in case women need any more unashamedly brain-numbing guidance.

A yawning new born baby. Photo: Getty
Will shared parental leave make for a more equal world?
By Glosswitch - 19 June 9:53

To get to grips with the drawbacks and benefits of shared parental leave, we must look past the “maternal gatekeepers”, “commando dads” and other stereotypes that muddy the debate.

A young woman taking a selfie in black and white. Photo: Flickr/Paško Tomić
Hospitalisation of young people with eating disorders is rising – but don't blame selfie culture
By Glosswitch - 05 June 15:47

Don't trivialise the problem of eating disorders by citing social media as the source.

Mothers are treated as plot devices rather than fallible human beings. Photo: Getty
Why do we assume there is an evil mother behind every violent man?
By Glosswitch - 27 May 10:41

As the coverage of Jan Jordon – allegedly killed by her son, Jed Allen – shows, our culture too readily blames mothers when men and boys commit heinous crimes.

Israeli women cuddle a newborn baby of a homosexual couple who was born in Nepal to a surrogate mother after they were repatriated to Israel from earthquake-hit Nepal. Photo: Tomer Neuberg/AFP/Getty Images
The feminist history of surrogacy: should pregnancy give a woman rights over a baby?
By Glosswitch - 22 May 13:36

Surrogacy rates are rising in the UK, and 95 per cent of these births are taking place overseas. Glosswitch looks at decades of feminist thinking on surrogacy to see how women’s labour and female lived experience can be incorporated in this complex ethical debate.

While by no means unique in their attitude to women’s bodies, these Protein World adverts have provoked protest.
The Protein World “beach body” adverts only prove that body shaming is a feminist issue
By Glosswitch - 29 April 11:44

In fact, “body shaming” is a terribly weak term to describe the enormous impact of a misogynist, fat-hating culture on women’s self-esteem.

A four-day-old baby in a hospital ward. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
In After Birth, Elisa Albert is putting the feminist action back into motherhood
By Glosswitch - 24 April 14:56

Knowing, understanding and speaking about birth and its aftermath are clearly as important as the political narrative that surrounds it. In her novel After Birth, Elisa Albert seeks to do just that.

Sunbathers on Brighton beach. Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
Sussex police’s victim-blaming anti-rape campaign: why is it victims, not rapists, that must change their behaviour?
By Glosswitch - 09 April 12:50

Decades after the first Reclaim the Night march, we are still wondering: why is it always women who are told they have to modify their behaviour in order to stay safe?

How can a memoir convey the damage done by eating disorders, without passing it on?
By Glosswitch - 31 March 9:06

Nancy Tucker’s eating disorder memoir, The Time In Between, tackles this problem head-on.

Containers with donated milk at the human milk bank in Lima, Peru. Photo: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images
Why you shouldn’t sell breast milk
By Glosswitch - 27 March 11:55

In many ways we have come full circle, returning to a time when women were seen not as human beings, but as objects available for sale or exchange. Only now we call it choice.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbano with Naomi Campbell in 2010. Photo: Tullio M Puglia/Getty
Dolce and Gabbana’s comments on IVF highlight how often we ignore the surrogate mother
By Glosswitch - 17 March 16:05

Amid the outrage over the fashion designers’ comments about “synthetic children”, the role of the gestational mother has yet again been completely erased. She just makes the picture too messy.

It's extreme masculinity – not love or despair – that drives a father to kill his children
By Glosswitch - 12 March 12:27

Stop excusing family annihilation with cries of "masculinity in crisis": it's masculinity at its most raw and extreme.

Newborn babies at a hospital in Kolkata. Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images
Why is it still controversial to say that women should make the decisions about childbirth?
By Glosswitch - 02 March 10:13

Rebecca Schiller’s All That Matters is a brief but important book.

How do you explain something you don’t really understand yourself? Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
How do we talk about mental illness to children?
By Glosswitch - 23 February 15:16

Children can often be cruel, but they can also be the most receptive to breaking down barriers.

Trying to conceive can take over your life. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Trying to get pregnant is hard enough without being told not to drink
By Glosswitch - 16 February 11:26

New guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advising women who are trying to conceive not to drink any alcohol at all just load more stress on to an already fraught time.

Paternity leave: why we should stop romanticising fatherhood
By Glosswitch - 09 February 12:10

Labour's latest pledge reveals how an equal allocation of arse-wiping duties is hindered by our view of fatherhood as a unique, glittering prize.

Treating women in the workplace in the same way to heterosexual men is not equality. Photo: Getty
Why do we still see equality for pregnant women and mothers as “special treatment”?
By Glosswitch - 05 February 13:48

Everyone benefits from so-called “women’s work”.

Mother and daughter go for a walk. Photo: Getty
“Mummies at war”: stop pitting mothers against each other in order to sell formula milk
By Glosswitch - 30 January 13:09

The representation of mothers as shrill Mumzillas is hardly something new. Sadly, neither is exploiting these stereotypes to sell things.

Women cleaning in the Empire State Building, 1946. Photo: Staff/AFP/Getty Images
Wifework and “proper” work: why we have to stop romanticising women’s labour
By Glosswitch - 23 January 11:34

Neither the left nor the right can get their heads round the fact that there’s nothing romantic about liberating “the workers” when said workers are women up to their elbows in shit.

Christian Bale in the 2000 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel “American Psycho”.
Women are clever enough to know when art is just misogyny in disguise
By Glosswitch - 19 January 15:37

Misogyny both creates and thrives on women’s intellectual insecurities, implying that dissent merely signifies one’s inability to access a greater, higher truth.

A woman-only island might look something like this. Photo: Getty
Men in feminism: how do we preach to the unconverted?
By Glosswitch - 13 January 17:36

We live in a world in which most men neither notice nor care about the broader context in which women’s voices are suppressed. Can anything be done?

Mary Whitehouse.
Opposing sexism, not sex: how does a feminist mother explain a lap-dancing club?
By Glosswitch - 06 January 10:25

There is no special fantasy zone in which female subjectivity can be suspended. Women are people 100 per cent of the time.

Iain Duncan Smith speaking at the 2013 Conservative Party conference. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Limiting child benefit to two children is an insidious hint that the “poor shouldn’t breed”
By Glosswitch - 16 December 10:40

Iain Duncan Smith’s suggestion that child benefit should only be paid for the first two children in a family is symbolic, not practical. It is designed to plant the idea that poor people deserve to be poor.

The Metropoliz Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
Why farting is a feminist issue
By Glosswitch - 09 December 11:28

To exhibit any kind of bodily function in public – whether it’s pissing against a wall, spitting in the street, picking and flicking earwax while one waits in a queue – is still seen as a male thing to do.

Ho, ho, ho. Not all men want beer-related gifts, you know. Photo: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Secret santa sexism: why are we so keen to reinforce gender roles for adults at Christmas?
By Glosswitch - 05 December 13:34

Some progress has been made in getting rid of toys marketed specifically at girls or boys, yet we’re still confronted with “For Him” and “For Her” in every Christmas catalogue that plops through the door.