“You throw like a girl” A brief guide to gender policing

This morning I changed a wheel on my car for the first time in my life. I felt ridiculously proud of myself for completing such a simple task. Then I climbed out of our bathroom window onto a roof and cleared up some broken glass that’s been there since the storm smashed one of our…

An Open Letter to My Father

You don’t know this but I still have nightmares about you. Whisked back unwillingly to a time when I was small and you were big and strong and powerful. I wake up bathed in a cold sweat, relieved at finding myself in my own bed in my own house. The man who changed everything lying by…

Girls in crisis – patriarchy and mental illness

This week Kate Middleton has been in the news after becoming guest editor at the Huffington Post as part of their  new campaign Young Minds Matter to raise awareness of the importance of children’s emotional and psychological wellbeing in the UK. Whilst celebrity endorsements of causes close to my heart are always welcomed, her post fails to mention…

We need to talk about wanking

Recently a good friend of mine told me a story about how as a fresh-faced young student she had been asked by a new acquaintance whether she masturbated. She was the last in a group of other young women who had all shaken their heads and ‘Eughhed’ because it was ‘gross’ and she duly went…

A Mother’s Guilt

Becoming a mother is a bit like being hit in the face by an emotional sledgehammer. Despite having been in labour for 27 hours, I was so excited by the birth of my first baby that I could not sleep all night. I had never felt higher before in my life. It was as if…

The Women Outside the Box

I have always been the kind of woman that does the kind of things that women are not supposed to do. Bored to death by the stifling domesticity of Brownies (they had badges which basically involved making a cup of tea for fuck’s sake), I refused to join the Guides and opted for the Air…

Growing old while female

Aside from being a little bit wiser and having to admit that I have an informed opinion about washing machines, I don’t really feel much different to the 25 year old version of myself that I once was. I often think I have a bizarre mental condition where I look in the mirror and fail…

Living with the fear

A couple of weeks ago I went running with a male friend of mine. We ran through my local park that features regularly in my running life, but this time it was different. It was dark. I’m no stranger to running at night but I tend to stick to well lit roads and my winter routes…

An awkward article about racism

A black friend of mine recently posted an article to a local feminist group by John Metta about his increasing reluctance to speak to white people about race because it makes them feel uncomfortable. He talks about a white Aunt of his whose immediate response is to come to her own defence – racism is…

Never mind the ballot, it’s time for a 50:50 parliament

Along with many others, I have just returned from the polling station after exercising my democratic right to vote. I took my kids with me as they were very excited about the election. I think my daughter was a little underwhelmed when she realised that there are no flashing lights or dancers, just some disappointing…