Ask a feminist, with Zoe Margolis

Girl with a one-track mind author Zoe Margolis sorts out our conundrums of modern, independent womanhood.

I was given a book called ‘Porn for women’. It’s full of pictures of men, with speech bubbles in which they comment on the importance of housework or empathise with the reader’s supposed heartfelt desire for consumer items such as shoes and expensive moisturiser. I find this demeaning to both men and women. Am I having a sense-of-humour fail?

Anyone that finds those books funny needs a sense-of-humour transplant. It’s not amusing basing ‘jokes’ around what should be normal behaviour for men. A book that shows a guy cleaning, cooking or being receptive to conversation shouldn’t make light of the fact that that isn’t most women’s experiences. We should be questioning why that’s not incorporated into women’s lives, and perhaps suggest ways of enlightening women and men to alter their behaviour to enable more equality-based relationships.

I suggest you ask your gift-giver to bung you some real feminist porn as a counterbalance: at least you’d be able to wank to that – which I’m sure would put a smile back on your face.

Blowjobs: inherently an act of female submission?

Let me answer that with a question: what about gay men? Or does a man giving another man a blowjob not count? Just because there’s a penis in someone’s mouth, it doesn’t make the person sucking it submissive: it’s only the context of it being performed – for example, in a Domination/submission scenario – that imbues it with any meaning. Blowjobs in and of themselves are just a sex act, nothing more, nothing less. And very nice they are too.

Blowjobs in and of themselves are just a sex act, nothing more, nothing less. And very nice they are too.

I’m preggers yay! I didn’t change my name when I got married, but my man seems to think the kids get born with a nametag which includes his surname. We don’t want to hyphenate and I don’t really want my surname to be their redundant middle name. Is there an answer?

There seem to be three options available here:

  1. Use solely your surname. Pros: the kids retain the matriarchal identity. Cons: Your husband may feel left out of the lineage.
  2. Use your husband’s surname as the kids’ middle name, and yours as the kids’ surname. Pros: Your surname won’t be ‘redundant’.Cons: Your husband may be tempted to call the kids by their middle names all the time: confusing for all parties involved.
  3. Combine parts of both of your surnames into one, new surname. Pros: By being creative, both you and your husband’s lineage is part of your kids’ future. Cons: None!

Follow Zoe’s blog at and get a copy of her new book, Girl with a one-track mind: exposed. Penny Red will be back! Email your burning feminist worries to or add them below. This column appeared in Filament magazine Issue 3, December 2009.

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