Jen Thorpe

Banking on sexism

Earlier this year I told Standard Bank that they could stick their dishwasher where the sun doesn’t shine. The reason? It replicated 1950s sexism assuming that men in the family are breadwinners, sit around watching TV all day, and that the women in the family do all the cleaning. Accordingly men were given the opportunity…

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Why I believe in non-violence

I believe in non-violence. That means that I don’t stand for any organisation or belief that encourages or perpetuates violence. I think of feminism as a non-violent movement to end sexist oppression. I think of being a part of the environmental movement as a non-violent movement to protect the animals, plants and air that we…

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How many sexual offence cases go to trial?

The annual crime stats present us with figures of how many people reported their crimes in the previous year. These can be incredibly hard to comprehend. It’s hard for me to imagine what 100 people look like, never mind thousands of people. So trying to imagine the 64 514 people who reported a sexual offence between…

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How far is South Africa from a female president?

The road to Mangaung is paved with good intentions, but none of these intentions include advancing women to the position of president or deputy president. This year’s race is patriarchal to the core — just have a look at the effort that’s been put into pushing the Traditional Courts Bill through the system despite the…

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What does it mean to be a feminist in Women’s Month?

Many people spend a lot of their time making straw-women arguments about what it means to be feminist. Feminists, they assume, are all unshaven, definitely don’t wear make-up or do their hair, and perhaps are a bit overweight. Feminists, they think, are all militant and anti-men. Feminists do not have a sense of humour, and…

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Standard Bank, you can stick your dishwasher where the sun don’t shine

Ek kan nie. Get a dishwasher for mom, while dad sits on his post-feminist patriarchal derriere and watches his new home theatre system? Nee. Ndixolele. Jammer, maar nee. I don’t think I need to go into what is wrong with this advert. If you don’t know by now, you will never ever ever know (apologies…

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#Zumaspear and the politics of the cock

When I first saw the painting of the The Spear I instinctively felt that it was wrong for one reason: if it had been a painting of a female politician with her genitalia (however small) displayed at a public art gallery, I would not have supported it. I would have felt that it was an insult to…

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Why I don’t want any more nuclear power in SA

It is nearly one year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. As a result of this meltdown, a 30km evacuation zone was triggered and 150 000 people within that radius have since had to leave their homes, and sometimes their pets, behind. They will not…

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We need to change the gendered value system

Are men and women different? If so, are those differences significant today? Recently I’ve had two discussions with men about the differences between men and women. Each time, after a long drawn out debate, it has come down to this: “But men and women are different. If they’re not, how come men and women don’t…

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Why unequal gender relations are bad for everyone

Bathing in the warm, fuzzy glow of pay day, my boyfriend and I decided to head out for a drink this past Friday evening. We had set out later than planned, and it was a dark but warm night. The roads were busy, and we made our way from Illovo towards Melville via Parkhurst. The…

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