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Invisible Women - default male knobs

Invisible Women
Invisible Women - default male knobs
By Caroline Criado Perez • Issue #49 • View online

Well, GFPs, this week in moving to the country…on Thursday we discovered a nest of baby blackbirds. Cute!
What we found when we checked in on them later that evening, however, was less cute. One was missing, another was out of the nest and dead, a gash along its body, and the third one was alone in the nest, looking pretty bad. We initially thought it was dead too until we realised there was some faint, laboured breathing, but it was very unresponsive. I called every nearby rescue I could find online and finally got through to a bird of prey shelter who told me to get it in my hands to warm it up back to body temperature, and advised us on how to keep it alive overnight so we could hopefully get it to a shelter the following morning when they were open. The poor thing was absolutely freezing, but after a few hours in my hands as I sat by the fire, it became much more frisky, even emitting a few cheeps and once gaping for food.
It even felt well enough to deposit this charming present on my nice event outfit.
Thanks, baby bird.
Thanks, baby bird.
We had been told to sit it on a sky box or a router overnight, but we don’t have a sky box and our router is up in the attic, which is freezing…so we settled it for the night in a box surrounded by some wheat packs in our bedroom, and hoped that would keep it warm enough.
Night night baby bird! 😴
Night night baby bird! 😴
When we got up in the morning, I thought it had died as it was unresponsive again and its head just rolled right back when I tried to wake it up…but amazingly it wasn’t, but it *was* very cold again. So we got it back in our hands as we did another shelter ring-around and found one that would take it about a 45 minute drive away. Off we went in the pouring rain, the AB holding it in its hands, Poppy with her nose firmly out of joint in her puppy seat in the back.
One live baby bird!
One live baby bird!
We arrived at the shelter and handed over the baby bird to the experts, happy to have done our good deed for the day. We also donated some money as we were so grateful someone existed to hand the baby bird over to as I wasn’t sure I was ready for baby bird motherhood – if any GFPs fancy it, do donate to your local wildlife rescue, as this time of year seems to be really busy for them. We were one of two people driving to this one shelter that morning with a sick / abandoned baby bird. The other baby didn’t survive the trip.
I have genuinely no idea how I’m going to top baby-bird-gate next week…
EXCEPT. STOP ACTUAL PRESS! Literally just as I was hitting send on this edition, look what the AB found in the garden!
I guess stay tuned…hopefully this one has a happier ending!
Gender data gap of the week
This week my period was late. It usually comes like clockwork on day 27 so I took a pregnancy test, which came back negative. Naturally I turned to Dr Google to find out what was up – I really wanted to be sure whether or not I was pregnant as I’m booked in to get my vaccine this week (hooray!) and the vaccine pregnancy data has been so slow in coming (🤬). I hadn’t yet decided whether or not I would go ahead if I were pregnant. On balance, probably, especially given the latest data shows that Covid has been linked to severe complications in pregnancy including increased maternal mortality, preeclampsia, miscarriage and stillbirth, while the latest Pfizer and Moderna data show no such link. Still though. I’d have liked to know.
Anyway, in the course of my research I came across this woman:
And now I was pissed off. Pissed off with this woman’s doctor for her definitive dismissal of any menstrual impact when at the time we actually had no idea about the impact of the vaccine on the menstrual cycle because a grand total of zero pharma companies had bothered to check for interactions during their trials. Pissed off with the pharma companies for failing to factor the menstrual cycle into their research. And once I got going, pissed off even more at the pharma companies for failing to sex disaggregate side effects data, and for failing to explore sex-based dosages even though we have known for YEARS that women may require lower levels because of our more active immune systems. But who cares if women are suffering with side effects that may well have been completely unnecessary it’s only the second sex amirite.
Anyway, thankfully, women have been allowed into the scientific community for a while now, and so better late than never, some research is actually been done on this issue. Following reports from women in Spain, a midwife launched a survey which found that 51% of women had experienced menstrual cycle impacts after having the vaccine (interestingly, the article about the survey also starts with a woman who noticed an impact on her cycle and was dismissed by her doctor…it’s almost like doctors should stop dismissing women as hysterical or something??). And in the US another survey has been launched by medical anthropologist Kate Clancy, after she was flooded with replies from women to her tweet about her unusually heavy period following her vaccine. I urge all GFPs who have had the vaccine and have a period to fill in the survey. Data is power 💪
Oh and my period did come in the end. GET THAT NEEDLE IN MY ARM, STAT 😍😍😍
Default male of the week
Amanda Prest
@CCriadoPerez @revue Thanks for sharing the NHS survey. Completed it and then decided to look up catheters as I may need one for an upcoming procedure. Super helpful diagram on the NHS website (there is only one, not the pair you might expect).
I literally can’t even.
OTOH it’s a perfect excuse for my all-time favourite clip:
live action shot of the NHS
live action shot of the NHS
Women fixing it of the week
I would LOVE this to become a regular slot: after all, it’s fun (and important) to get righteously angry over everything that’s wrong, but the reality is that there are loads of brilliant people working to make things RIGHT, and it’s just as important that we track and celebrate that.
Also, I will literally never get over the excitement of reading things like this:
GFPs, it gets better. 
As long-time GFPs may know, the PSED is my VERY FAVOURITE duty: we used it in our campaign to get the Bank of England to remember that women exist. It’s surprising how often people seem to forget that.
Anyway, this is an absolutely overwhelming response to reading Invisible Women. I’d love to hear more stories like this! Let’s inspire each other to get this stuff FIXED 💪
Exhibition of the week
Not sure if this is going to be a regular slot, but this exhibition at the Barbican looks brilliant and very worth a visit if you’re going to be in London between now and the end of the year. Called How We Live Now, it looks at who the built environment is made for (clue: it’s not women), starting off with a retrospective of Matrix, a 1980s feminist architecture cooperative who had the radical idea of speaking to women before designing for them.
From The Guardian write-up:
A case in point, shown in another section of the exhibition, is the Essex Women’s Refuge. The complex, designed by a male architect, had got basic things wrong, from the shared kitchen, which was far too small, to the location of the children’s play areas, which were completely separate from the main communal areas, with no visual or aural connection for passive supervision. Matrix worked on the centre in 1992. Using what became a regular tactic, they presented the women with big cardboard models of different spaces, which they could rearrange to test out different configurations, along with using ribbon marked like a ruler to measure their existing spaces, which were added to the plans as a comparison.
Rather depressingly, however, this review of a 1988 Channel 4 film that is shown at the exhibition feels like it could have been written today about Invisible Women
A reviewer in the Daily Telegraph, who had been expecting something “amateurish, boring and full of loony leftist women” was instead enraptured by the film’s display of common sense about the ills of car-dominated planning. The makers “did not suggest any wilful discrimination”, the critic wrote, “but simply inability on the part of male architects to envisage what women actually do and need in their buildings”.
Yep, that’s literally all we’re saying.
Anyway, depression at how history repeats itself aside, it would be great to feature more of these – let me know if there’s a good gender data gap themed event / exhib coming up in your area!
Actually Designed for Women's Bodies of the Week
Came across these socks while buying some wellies this week (it has been raining A LOT up north)…
I obviously bought a pair but haven’t yet had a chance to wear them. Will report back when I do!
Homework of the week
This very quick survey (literally took me all of 2 minutes) of women’s experiences having their IUD fitted.
This is an issue that is very close to my heart / uterus, as I had a HORRENDOUS experience having mine put in. I was given no pain relief. The person who took my previous one out put my cervix into spasm. About 3 people then tried one after another to fit the new one without success, and I was made to feel like this was somehow my fault for having a “difficult” cervix. They finally brought in the expert who put it in with no trouble at all. By that time however I was in excruciating pain and thoroughly traumatised. You’re meant to have them changed every 5 years or so; I didn’t go back until I decided to have to out because I wanted to try to get pregnant, and let me assure you that was more than 5 years later.
And I’m not alone. After I tweeted about this, several women got in touch to share their experiences.
Natalya O'Connor
@CCriadoPerez I was sure I could feel it after having it fitted. This continued for several weeks. My concerns were dismissed by the male doctor. He assured me it was fitted correctly Eventually had to find a female GP to remove it🙄
@CCriadoPerez Mine too, i vomited and thought I was going to faint, told them to stop when she said 'one more second ' and then done. I have fillings without anaesthetic but I'd never have another IUD fitted without a local (not that they offer), horrible.
Rebecca Halifax 😷 Liberal do-gooder
@CCriadoPerez Had one fitted after cesarean section - it stuck on the underside of the scar. The pain was blinding, to put it mildly. The GP had to anaesthetise me with pethidine (all she had available) in order to remove it, before I passed out anyway.
Paige K
@CCriadoPerez I was told (by a male doctor) I 'might' feel a slight cramp. Understatement of the year. It was excruciatingly painful.
Lauren Hearn
@CCriadoPerez Me too! I knew nothing about what an IUD was and had it fitted as ‘emergency contraception’ when I was 20, having it taken out was even worse, the prongs didn’t collapse and it had to be removed fully open.
Ugh I feel sick just thinking about it.
@CCriadoPerez I liked the reassurance before that this will only feel like a slight scratch. Which is very nearly what I did to his eyes through the actual labour breaths required when having it fitted. #tellusthetruth
Quarantina 💚🤍💜
@CCriadoPerez Agreed. It was dreadful, no warning, no painkillers, no nothing. The last time I had any truck with an IUD I had one removed and replaced. I had to work a double shift later that day. Never again.
@CCriadoPerez I had mine done at the hospital with an experienced gynae, procedure was fine BUT THE PAIN WAS HORRENDOUS! Why do women have to put up with these things without pain relief? Also why does no one tell you it’s painful for a while afterwards? Always the same with gynae stuff 🤷🏼‍♀️
@CCriadoPerez Worst medical experience of my life. More traumatic than childbirth. No warning, no pain relief. 6 months of discomfort and affected mood before I finally had enough and had it taken out.
@CCriadoPerez Just to indicate my levels of pain tolerance: two natural births with no more than gas and air.
A few things seem clear.
  1. women often find the insertion and removal of IUDs excruciatingly painful
  2. their experiences are often being dismissed by medical professionals (where have we heard that before)
  3. women are left traumatised by the experience
Final word to Lucy, who set up the survey in the first place:
Lucy Cohen
@CCriadoPerez Argh I'm so sorry that happened to you. Honestly, I thought it was only me. And then I shared my story and well, wow. Why is there gatekeeping of safe and effective pain relief for what is a responsible reproductive choice?! Some of the responses I've had are heartbreaking.
Well, quite. And here’s the survey again:
not quite toilet queue of the week (I’m sure they’ll be making a comeback before long 🤪) but I do *discuss* toilet queues in a short segment on toilets at the top of the show…
BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, Griff, Typo-Squatting, Ece Temelkuran, Windrush Compensation Scheme, Public loos
Poppy pic of the week
all tuckered out after a hard week of keeping the AB Under Her Paw
all tuckered out after a hard week of keeping the AB Under Her Paw
That’s it for another week! Until next time my dear GFPs…xoxoxo
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Caroline Criado Perez

Keeping up with the gender data gap (and whatever else takes my fancy). Like the Kardashians, but with more feminist rage. Plus, toilet queue of the week.

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