Julie Burchill: A new way to keep women at home


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The Independent Online

Goodness knows I'm a broad-minded broad, but I do yearn somewhat for a time when san-pro ads weren't being thrust down one's throat at every available oppo. I'm old enough to remember when the yowling Bodyform ads were considered a bit beyond the pale. Now you can't turn on the TV or open a magazine without being confronted with more periods than a Morse code manual.

The latest, and to my mind most objectionable, advert is for something called the Mooncup. I won't go into the gory details here, but suffice it to say that it's being pushed as a green alternative to tampons and the like. "LOVE YOUR BEACH? LOVE YOUR VAGINA". Around 30 items of sanitary protection end up on every kilometre of UK beach. Mooncup offers a reusable alternative that's "better for you and your beach" runs the print ad.

Who needs a glass ceiling when you've got a plastic cup reminding you of your biological function, lest you fly too high? If we think women have a long way to go to get parity in the boardroom, it's going to take even longer if they're fiddling about with a Mooncup 24/7, one week out of every month.

My best ex-hippie friend, now happily brought back to the land of the living, says that the vile item involves a lot of squatting and a lot of cervix navigation, sans satnav, and is truly the gift that keeps on giving, inappropriately, especially in a public place, when it has to be washed in a sink before being reused.

Worse still sounds another "alternative" (so-called, I would guess, because they are an alternative to being efficient and effective at what they do) san-pro product called the Natural Sponge which in effect makes the wearer into their very own Jackson Pollock in the privacy of their own toilet cubicle. Then there are the reusable sanitary towels, which one apparently washes and – shudder – hangs out to dry. My friend tells me there are even WOOL ONES – whoah, bet they make you feel seven kinds of sexy!

What all these indicators of a virtuous vagina have in common is that they conspire to straight up KEEP WOMEN AT HOME FOR AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, as most ecologically-approved things – breastfeeding, small-shopping, slow-eating – do. The half-witted enemies of feminism often claim that the idea of "having it all" (a job, a private life – whoah! We'll be wanting the vote next!) has actually made women's lives less rewarding than they were in the good old days (Before Tesco) when we were shackled to a sewing machine from nine till five being forced to give free-range milk to the local gentleman farmer. Green ideas seem tailor-made to take us broads right back there to the Middle Ages. And if you say no, it means you don't love your beach, you bee-yatch.

But I live at the seaside, and I see what washes up on Brighton beach. It's one of the reasons why I will happily eat seafood anywhere but in my adored, adopted home town. CONDOMS. Everywhere. Seagulls playing tug-o-war with them, kiddies trying to make balloon creatures from them, young adolescent lovers being lividly embarrassed by them. I don't read men's magazines, but I really do doubt that they would ever attempt to put the blame for the state of the nations beaches, or indeed the eatability of its shellfish, on the selfish desire of British males to use a fresh condom each time they do the deed.

Not until the 1850s were rubber condoms invented; before then, leather and linen versions, washable and reusable for years, did well enough for the decidedly non-metrosexual male population keen not to catch or hatch anything.

Until modern man is similarly urged not to pollute the ecoscape as modern women are with the by-products of their genital health, I think we can safely say that the Mooncup is a load of sexist, reactionary eyewash.Or something.

More celebrities would equal no riots

The Left blame the bankers, the Right blame the nanny state for the mega-temper-tantrums that broke out the week before last. But both – pathetically – blame "the Celebrity Culture".

Let's get this straight. Before unknown people were allowed to become known people, what we had was feudalism. People staying in the place where they were born until the day they died – dying very young, and in pain, generally, if they were working class. Only the rich were famous before the Celebrity Culture.

One marker of the reversal of social mobility which has been a highly unwholesome – and dangerous – feature of this country over the past decade is that the children of the famous have become far more likely to become feudally famous once more, gaining automatic entry into their parents' trade no matter how talent-free they may be – trades ranging from modelling to journalism. Every time a cushy job was handed to an insider, in my opinion, a rioter was born. What we need are more celebrities – from scratch, on merit, not because of who Mummy and Daddy were – not fewer. Nepotism, not celebrity, truly does rock the cradle of chaos.

Spare me guides to how to get a man

Many things make me glad to be an old, married dame in this day and age; the way young women seem to believe they have to COMPETE for stinky boys is one of them. Frenchwomen, Japanese women and New York Skinny Bitches are the latest to weigh in with their how-to-get-a-man guides.

I think it was the late, great Lenny Bruce who said that men would happily have sex with MUD. Watching beautiful young women contort themselves to compete with a hole in the ground, one would have to have a heart of stone not to snigger.