Sucking it up…

A discussion about THAT DIET ADVERT culminated in this response from a chap I know:

I just think that people need to stop being so hypersensitive. Women want to be equal to men, to be respected as much as men, yet all this complaining about ads that have skinny women on them makes women look like they’re weak-minded, emotionally unstable, and frankly, pathetic. And women are not that. You don’t see men go on a huge rampage every time an advert depicts them as bumbling useless idiots – that’s because men are expected to behave like adults, to see it as just another dumb advert that’s trying to sell something that’s probably useless, and move on.
It’s about time women stopped being treated like children, everyone needs to stop trying to protect them from every little tiny thing that might hurt their feelings. Women are perfectly capable of of standing on their own 2 feet, of being independent, of dealing with what life throws at them, of being adults.
Equality means that women aren’t getting protected from the harsh world like they used to, that’s the price of freedom. The world is a harsh, ruthless place – men have always known this and are expected to deal with it, it’s about time women were expected to do the same.

My response to this is far too long to do on Facebook….

You should not denounce a significant proportion of the population as “hypersensitive” because they are upset about something, without seriously considering that they might have a reason to be upset, even if you don’t understand it. I’m old enough to remember when women were being told we were “hypersensitive” because we didn’t want to be groped in the office or have the relative merits of our breasts discussed at job interviews. So you need to be very careful that you’re not making the same mistake those men of thirty years ago were…

Yes – we want to be equal to men – we want to be able to commute without being bombarded by advertising that creates and preys on insecurities for profit. I want to live in a world where it is not a strange thing if we opt to not wear make up, or decide to wear comfortable clothes. I want to live in a world in which if we get our glad rags on, this doesn’t make us fair game to be harassed in the street, or raped on our way home and then told it was our own damn fault. I want to live in a world where I’m not told on the one hand it’s my duty to look amazing and on the other told it’s my fault if I am attacked because I look amazing. But these things are not the ding an sich, they are symptoms of a deeper problem. If you think my rage is because of a stupid advert, then you are dumber than the advert (and I know that’s not the case).

You say: “all this complaining about ads that have skinny women on them makes women look like they’re weak-minded, emotionally unstable, and frankly, pathetic” — oh babe, this makes me want to go on an actual rampage, never mind a metaphorical Facebook one, and beat the living shit out of you and every other man who just doesn’t get that the reason women are a tad insecure is BECAUSE OF STUPID SHIT LIKE THIS ADVERT and the reason why older women are kicking off is because we genuinely thought things might have got better by now, that maybe our offspring might get to grow up without advertisers and the media CREATING those insecurities you are now blaming us for having. I see also you disregarded my actual objection to the advert – not that it used a skinny woman, but that it used what is now called “body shaming” in an effort get us to buy an unscientific weight loss product of the sort that is actually proven to make women fatter and more despondent about their weight in the long run! Women do have insecurities, yes – partially because of adverts like this. We have even told you ourselves that that’s why we want advertising like this to stop, because they are making us insecure – and your response to that is to mock our insecurity, rather than thinking, oooh, actually, maybe if adverts were different… MAYBE THEY WOULDN’T BE SO BLOODY INSECURE?!

So, you say we lack the confidence to stand on our own two feet. (Tell me, have you ever tried to stand for more than a few minutes in high heels?) If we have ever struggled with confidence, it is because MEN, not just advertisers but men in general, have for hundreds of years kept us in a state of domestic servitude and/or lassitude and belittled “feminine” properties. YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT NOW when you dismiss us as “hypersensitive”. We are standing up right now and you are complaining about it.

If the world is a “harsh” place, it’s because this is the world that MEN created for us – the world of war, cruelty, injustice and poverty. That is the world we were born into – a world created by rich white men, perpetuated by the rest of the men, who did not see any reason to challenge the status quo, because they were the dominant gender. Some of you still don’t, and that’s nothing to be proud of. You should be ashamed that you are so readily repeating and supporting the tropes of oppression and inequality that white men have been perpetuating for so long. The same brainwashing that makes women insecure has its own agenda for men, too – it is a shame you are so happy to carry on with that at the same time as demanding that women overcome theirs and “stand on our own two feet”.

When we try to “stand up”, as we are now, saying we don’t want to be advertised to in that manner, you have tried to slap us back down into our place again – can’t you see that? You demand we stand up, but that’s EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW, and look how you have reacted! You can’t demand that we are confident and independent than criticise us as “hypersensitive” when we stand up for ourselves and try and stop one of the very things that has made us weak for so long.

We don’t want to be treated like children. We want to be treated like autonomous human beings, and have our wishes acknowledged and respected. We don’t want to be patronised and insulted by advertisers, the media or anyone. We want to be allowed to have our own lives, free from the tyranny of prescribed roles and social pressure – and we want that for everyone. We want men to be free to embrace their “feminine” properties, we want women to be able to embrace their “masculine” properties, and most of all, what we want is for the new generations of boys and girls to grow up able to CHOOSE what they want to do. It’s all well and good saying we are equal and could do that anyway – but it’s just not true in practice.

WHY SHOULD WE PUT UP WITH LIFE THROWING STUFF AT US? That’s not strength, that’s weakness, that’s being a doormat. Are you really defining strength as NOT PROTESTING? That’s completely insane. Why are you expecting people to put up with being insulted or disregarded on a systemic, institutional and regular basis? Do you really live your life like that?

We have been putting up with men disregarding our feelings for centuries, all the while we were expected to look after the feelings of the men who OWNED us – most recently, making sure the house was perfect and the man came home to a hot dinner so that he did not face any further stress after a hard day’s work, making sure the perfect kids were seen and not heard, looking immaculate ourselves, not doing anything that might upset our Lord and Master. Is this because men are so weak that the sight of a stressed woman would have broken him, or something? We don’t need your lectures on being calm, my dear, because WE’VE BEEN BEING CALM FOR CENTURIES. It’s like the sight of a woman’s emotions is offensive to you or something – or perhaps just of no consequence? We have basically been suppressing all our emotions and suchlike for the benefit of keeping our men happy for ages. Men weren’t protecting us from a harsh world. Men were off being busy creating that harsh world, then coming home to a domestic world that wasn’t harsh, created and maintained by their women at great cost to ourselves. Men were trapping us within four walls, like the Victorian men who deliberately enfeebled their women, then said they needed their protection because they were so feeble. Women who went mad because of this were routinely operated on (in Victorian conditions, mind) to have their clitoris removed, were institutionalised, lobotomised, locked in attics, or cast out onto the streets to be whores. All because of men and their disregard for women.

And you’re speaking like we should be grateful for that?

You’re speaking like all those years, where our only options were to be a man’s property, the church’s property or a prostitute – were a FAVOUR men were doing us? Protecting us from the shitty, violent and cruel world that MEN created?

So now, we are out of the kitchen. We have equality, on paper, even though in practice that’s still a pipe dream for many women, who will never get the chance to claim the life they could have had if they had been given the advantages that men have had. We are looking around this world you created, the one you say you were “protecting” us from, and we don’t like it.

There is absolutely no inherent reason for the world to be as horrible as it is, no reason why it has to be so cruel, except that this is how MEN made the world, and how you seem want to keep it. Why would you not want the world to be a bit nicer? Why would you not want humans to be working together towards shared goals, in which everyone’s skills, strengths and characteristics were being used for the good of the whole planet?

I know this isn’t an idea that is inherently alien to men, after all, most of the great proponents of such a better world were men, the philosophers and prophets who stood up and demanded more than that, to which the response of the men who ruled the world (OMG IT’S LIKE THERE’S A PATRIARCHY OR SOMETHING) was usually to crucify or otherwise kill or neutralise them.

It’s perhaps interesting that the followers who stuck by Jesus until the very end were the women. As he died on the cross, only one of his male followers was brave enough and committed enough to be there, along with his mother and the other women. It seems it is not balls that give strength and the courage to stand up to injustice, it’s ovaries! The current trend of dismissing angry women as “social justice warriors” (how is that even an insult?), saying we are “hypersensitive” and trying to slap us back down is just another manifestation of the same patriarchy that has oppressed ALL of us since ever, and continues to oppress you, me and everyone else living under it.

Perhaps it’s time you grew a pair and also stood up to the men who are making this world such a “harsh, ruthless place”, rather than telling us we should just put up with it?

My Epic Complaint to Southeastern and Network Rail

You know when you’ve just had enough?

A lot of my job is dealing with members of the public who make overly verbose complaints, on the basis of some sense of entitlement based on their own position. It is therefore with some glee that I have cashed in some karma chips and sent an overly verbose complaint to Southeastern regarding the utter chaos this morning, on the basis that I’ve dealt with enough of these over the years to be owed one, and there must be at least one Quality Assurance person like me there whose job it is to deal with this shiza…

Also on the case is my local MP, David Evennett, who luckily has a sizeable majority, as I can’t see either company replying quickly to my long list of questions.

[my address]

Monday 13th April 2015

Dear Sir or Madam,

This is a formal letter of complaint, and some questions regarding the shambles that was the service in the south east this morning, and I am grateful to you for taking the time to read it and deal with my enquiries.

I am aware that there were over-running engineering works at London Bridge, compounded by signal failures this morning, which were the initial triggers for the chaos. I am not immediately convinced that this adequately justifies the delays and lack of information which Southeastern’s long-suffering customers faced this morning, but do not wish to reach any conclusions until my enquiries have been answered.

I will be sending copies of this letter to my MP, David Evennett (Barnehurst and Crayford), and making it freely available on the internet through social media. The replies I receive will also be posted on social media, and I will express my opinion as to how well my fares and taxes are being used by Southeastern and Network Rail. I am not a professional journalist or “blogger”, and I have no specific axe to grind. I am just fed up, and I want to know what causes the chaos which seems to be the only regular arrival for south east London’s commuters.

There is a common perception among the commuting public – that is, the majority of Southeastern’s customers, the people paying such seemingly inflated fares to use the service – that privatised railway companies exist only to take the money proffered by successive governments desperate to prop up the failed experiment in selling off our railways. This perception transcends political beliefs and crosses all social lines.

While Southeastern are dependent on Network Rail to provide their promised services, it is Southeastern that face the wrath of the public, who are not known for their rationality first thing on a Monday morning, facing yet another broken commute. I feel that both Network Rail and Southeastern need to share responsibility when things go wrong and therefore am sending exactly the same letter to both organisations.

Naturally, we do not know the machinations that go on behind the scenes when things are as chaotic as they were this morning. I am the Quality Assurance Manager for a company providing essential services to the public, and I imagine that you have well documented and risk assessed contingency plans for when there are major service disruptions, as we do, and policies and procedures which form the basis for decisions made in dealing with these disruptions. I also imagine that you have formal procedures for analysing and reviewing service disruptions that inform how you will improve your service in the future.

So with that in mind, I will be outlining the difficulties I faced this morning, and asking questions. I would be grateful if you could answer all of my questions that are relevant to your company, or supply copies of relevant documentation where applicable. The content and level of detail in your reply will determine if I take my quest for information further, such as by pursuing a Freedom of Information request.

This morning my journey actually started quite well. I arrived at Barnehurst at 0742, just in time for the 0744 towards Victoria which was just pulling in. The electronic display said nothing but “Stand clear: this train does not stop at this station”, but I looked at the dot matrix on board the train and it said London Victoria, so I happily boarded and the train departed bang on time. I was relieved, thinking my first day back at work after my holiday was starting well! There was no indication whatsoever either on the dot matrix or announcements of any problems. I had checked the National Rail app before leaving the house, but naturally only for my train so I was blissfully unaware of the delays to other services. It was only after several stops that I became aware of any issues when an announcement was made that the train would not be stopping after Lewisham and would be non-stop from there to Victoria. My usual route is to change trains onto the Overground at Denmark Hill, to get to Clapham High Street, so this totally ruined my planned journey. I tweeted Southeastern for advice, as the National Rail app was still showing the train planned to stop at Denmark Hill as usual, and there are no alternative trains from Lewisham. With no response to my tweet, I decided to stay on to Victoria and get the tube back out to Clapham, then apply to get the money back through Delay Repay, as when you are paying as you go and are having to take a completely different route, it has not proven possible to take advantage of “tickets being accepted on other services”.

The train then stopped at every red signal between Lewisham and Victoria. This included at Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill stations, which was especially frustrating – we were there for more than long enough for the doors to be opened and yet they did not. The platforms were chock full of commuters, and the train was half empty, yet no change was made to the plan of not “stopping” at these stations! It was then even more frustrating to have go through Clapham High Street station, and be stopped there at signals too, as I’m sure you can imagine, knowing it would be a long time before I made it back to Clapham on a train I could actually get off!

I finally arrived at London Victoria just after 9am, forty five minutes after the train had not stopped at Denmark Hill. With all the trains being diverted there, plus the usual traffic, Victoria was very busy and access to the underground was being restricted. So it then took a bit more time to get onto the tube. I finally arrived at Clapham Common station at 0940, nearly two hours after my train departed Barnehurst, and rather more than an hour after I would have expected to arrive at Clapham High Street, had I been able to get off the train at Denmark Hill as usual.

I am aware from social media that I actually got off quite lightly, in terms of how delayed I was. Had I not managed to get the 0744 – my “early train” – my delay would have been much worse.

Analysing the various issues with my journey this morning (and reading other people’s comments about their commute) has raised several questions. If this was a failure in the service my employer provides, I would be expected to analyse the incident in a high level of detail. I therefore am quite confident that the quality assurance staff for Southeastern and Network Rail will be able to supply the information I require, per each organisation’s areas of responsibility, as they will already be considering the same questions!

♦ Why was the display at Barnehurst not showing accurate information about the train I boarded? What systems are in place to ensure that station displays are accurate? How are issues reported and fixed? Is there a specific written procedure for this? Will reports be filed regarding the failures at several places this morning and action taken to rectify? Who collates and reviews such reports?
♦ Why was the National Rail app showing wrong information, and continued to do so? For instance, it was still reporting as of 11am that my train stopped where it did not, and has even given platforms. It does not indicate they were cancelled. What systems are in place to ensure that the information on the app is accurate? How are issues reported and fixed?
♦ When compiling statistical data about train services and punctuality, where does the data come from? Will that data accurately show the train did not stop at those stations at all?
♦ On what basis was the decision made for the train to not stop at Nunhead, Peckham Rye or Denmark Hill? Was the rationale for this documented and assessed before the final decision was made? Was consideration specifically given to the fact that Denmark Hill is a major interchange station for South London commuters, changing onto the Overground etc.? Was the potential impact on capacity at London Victoria considered when deciding to not stop the train at Denmark Hill? Was consideration given to the fact that allowing the train I was on to stop properly would have relieved the congestion at Nunhead, Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill?
♦ Is it possible to see any documentation or other evidence that exists for the decisions made regarding the service I was on this morning? Would I have to make a FoI request for this?
♦ Is there a specific policy, procedure or any sort of guidance document that is followed when dealing with major service disruptions which suggests which services or routes are given priority? Is it possible to see this?
♦ When was the next train along the line from Dartford to actually stop at Denmark Hill?
♦ When scheduling major weekend engineering works, before agreement is given, presumably there is a formal procedure to be followed in which the proposed works are outlined and how long they are expected to take. Is there a formal process in which the feasibility of that schedule is considered and the risk of an over-run assessed? Who is responsible for this? Is it possible to see the documentation?
♦ Was there specifically unforeseen circumstances that caused the delay in the work on this occasion, or did they just generally take longer than anticipated? How will this be analysed and used to inform decisions about future engineering work?
♦ Is the engineering work done by contractors? If so, is there a standards compliant tendering process? Are the companies’ quality assurance procedures submitted as part of the tender application, and how is this scored? Is there a requirement to have ISO9001:2008 certification?
♦ Will the companies responsible for the engineering work be penalised for the delays this morning? How is the penalty decided?
♦ Staff responsible for dealing with enquiries, particularly on Twitter, are obviously going to be extremely busy dealing with enquiries and ignoring abuse when there are major service disruptions such as this morning. What systems are in place to ensure that they have the support they need? Are extra staff assigned to dealing with public enquiries at such times?
♦ How is information about service disruptions cascaded to station staff to ensure they are giving up to date information? I noted on Twitter that at one station, staff were advising travellers they could get trains from London Bridge to Charing Cross, which is obviously completely wrong. What follow up do you do when such misinformation is reported to you?

I appreciate that this is a litany of questions, and am very grateful for you taking the time to answer those that are within your sphere of responsibility.

Yours faithfully,
[name and signature]


New Item in Dolly Rotten SL Marketplace Shop

I’ve made a new item for sale, in eight colours or a fatpack.

It’s a lovely leather-effect Corset with Feathers. Rigged mesh in five sizes with alphas.

I’ve taken advantage of the Normal and Specular maps to give it a really good quality leather effect in the correct lighting conditions and settings, but also textured it well enough that even at lower graphics settings and basic lighting, it looks like leather.

Snapshot_044 Snapshot_033Snapshot_023 Snapshot_022 Snapshot_003 Snapshot_002 box feather corset fatpack

Back in Second Life!

If you’re a fellow Second Lifer, please add one, some or all of the following people and say hello:

Jinny Fonzarelli (my original av, and founder of the Thinkers – 11 years old on 30th March)
Jezebel Yaffle (my first alt, originally the dancer, now my generally social one)
Dolly Quicksand (my fashion design alt)
Dallandra (Dolly’s muse and model, dancer)





Dolly's New Shop

Dolly’s New Shop

Dolly and Jinny

Dolly and Jinny