What life is like for a woman in Britain

Some years ago, I wrote a poem about the tearful state of women’s emancipation in Britain.

As you may know, the United Nations inspection a few years ago found Britain possibly the world’s most openly misogynistic country, with sexism worse than in some African countries and countries like Afghanistan. Yes, there is a lot of open hostility and sexism toward women here, with for example “fuckability” and number and frequency of heterosexual sexual service encounters seen as the only indicators of a woman’s worth, with women being taunted as useless, fragile and afraid, and with rape not really seen as a crime and women seen as deserving to be scorned, abused and dismissed. It’s considered so normal that most people in Britain saw nothing wrong with it (which is also why they didn’t recognize themselves in the UN report).

But things are very slowly getting better.

(Not just for women and not just in Britain. It is one of the topics I address in my new course. Did you know that Italy allowed women to go to university much earlier than Britain, that Italy has almost no gender pay gap and that Italy now also allows women “period leave”?)

Shortly after I arrived in Britain at the end of 2004, an accountant I spoke with surprised me greatly by telling me that Chamber of Commerce meetings were “safe for women to attend”. It sounded like something out of a western, to me. I think that worrying about one’s personal safety during business network meetings is no longer a concern for women in Britain these days.

 


Land of white
(November 2011)

In the land of white, everything is black, except the bridal gowns and the blood of the women. If a woman of over twenty years old dares stick her head out of the kitchen window, that head gets chopped off, stuffed with black worms and served as a delicacy at the Sunday roast while a male voice booms “Are you pregnant yet?” at the remaining women who giggle nervously and cringe in the dusty attics of their soft falsettos.

The booming voice continues “Stick to the sink, stick to the stove, you stupid cows!” and laughs loudly and cracks louder the whip that doles out oodles of lashings, while the women stoop and bake cookies and cupcakes for which the salt came from the tears and the blood drops and the miscarried babies that fell into the dough.

In the land of white, where everything is black besides the gowns and the blood of the women, and sometimes the puke, women who refuse or are unable to bear children end up in hamburger patties, breakfast sausages and steak-and-kidney pies.

The land of white where the only color is black, except of the blood on the gowns and the gowns and the blood of the women, knows and grows fear and hatred, black hot hatred dripping with the blood of the women for the sausages, the patties and the pies, dripping on black pansies that bathe in black sunshine and are covered with the black dew of protest.

I need not say more.

I do not want to say more, querida.

 


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