An image of the Women’s March in London to accompany an article about The Women’s March across Europe for artisan, independent, luxury, eau de parfum brand REEK Perfume’s blog.

WOMEN'S MARCH LONDON 2018

WOMEN'S MARCH LONDON, 2018

Actress and all round Damn Rebel Bitch, Ellen Patterson, writes about her experience at the Women’s March in London.

A year ago today hundreds of men, women and children gathered to stand against the election of a sexist and racist candidate to one of the most powerful positions in the world. That day I was far from London, but I followed the event on social media from South Africa and I could feel the determination and drive for change. It was clear that the year ahead would be a big one. In the past twelve months, incredible progress has been made with thousands of women fighting tirelessly to have their voices heard through campaigns such as #MeToo. Some people thought this might be ‘a flash in the pan,’ something that would blow over sooner or later (for many preferably sooner.) Today ,outside 10 Downing Street we made sure people wouldn’t make that mistake again. From baby bitches to lady bitches and many fabulous male bitches, voices rang over London to tell the world that time is up. Time is up on sexual harassment and abuse, on gender based bias, on bigotry and prejudice, on racism, Islamophobia, transphobia and homophobia. Time is up on anyone being made to feel anything other than proud to be in their own body. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu triumphed over the elements as she led our voices thundering through the snow and the rain, introducing inspiring speaker after inspiring speaker. The air shook with resolve as we stood together in support of our sisters. We stood with our sisters in Poland who are told they cannot choose what they do with their body, our sisters in Sierra Leone forced to live in fear of abuse, our sisters in India who disappear day after day, our sisters in Ethiopia who are mutilated without remorse, our sisters in Ireland who have to leave their country to access medical services, our sisters in the United Kingdom being pressured to conform to a binary gender norm. To our sisters across the world of every race, religion, culture and sexuality today we tell you loud and clear – WE STAND WITH YOU.

As I lowered my frozen fist, with mascara streaming down my face and watched the rain-streaked placards march into the distance, I felt pride on a whole new level – this was damn rebel pride. No one could have been in any doubt that this was a fight that was not losing momentum any time soon and that the year ahead is destined be one that can, should and I hope will change the world. From the wonderful people from Bloody Good Period to Helen Pankhurst, the great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, the crowd today represented a global movement hell-bent on creating greater equality. A world where every bitch can be who they want to be.

#timesup

Photography by: SNY Photography 

“I have been brought up by women, most of the most important relationships I have in my life are with females. My Mum, my Gran and my Aunty. I have watched my wee sister grow up and I have blagged a wonderful girlfriend. I have young nieces and nephews, little minds still free of the inequality facing millions today.”


#METOO IN TECH PART ONE

#METOO IN TECH PART ONE

Michael MacLeod, journalist and media producer, hits hard with this piece about sexism in the tech industry. Bitches, you will be shocked.

Most history books will document 2017 as the year women exposed sexual abuse in Hollywood. For the technology world, 2017 will go down as the year women exposed scandal after scandal on a truly world-changing scale.

Eight months before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, the tech industry was rocked by allegations that led to confessions exposing a culture of workplace sexual assaults, unequal pay, harassment and bullying.

It was the year the world woke up to the fact that men controlled the worst of the internet and women should fix it. There is undoubted male-bias behind the scenes of the web and the career ladders linking its architecture. The social media platforms that many people believe resulted in a Trump presidency were mostly built by men.

Evidence?

Billionaire CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his 2018 goal was to ‘fix’ Facebook, implying that even he regards it as broken.

To its credit, Facebook does do a lot to encourage and celebrate the women in its workforce. But that’s because it can afford to. Smaller companies point to a supply chain that doesn’t meet their ideal recruitment demands.

Despite some wonderful efforts, the likelihood – right now in 2018 – is that any employer seeking a software developer will end up hiring a man. Why?

Only seven percent of UK students taking computer science A level courses are female, according to careers advice group Women In Tech. Of those young women, only half landed a job in the same field.

That’s an absolute tragedy for equality.

As a result, women make up just eight percent of the UK’s technology engineering workforce according to the most recent ONS figures.

A huge 70 percent of startups have no women on their board of directors, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s SVB Startup Outlook Report 2017. The global survey reflects the answers of nearly 950 startup firms.

“We cannot be deceived by our seemingly large network of talented and successful female founders, investors, board members and innovators,” admits Claire Lee, the Managing Director and Head of SVB’s Early Stage Practice. “The data show us these women remain a lonely minority in the technology world.”

The disparity is cemented into the very building blocks of the internet. Brick by brick, those blocks need to be rebuilt, with women involved at every level: research, user experience, design, programming, testing, project management, analytics, marketing, team management, business development, thought leadership and boards of directors.

When you consider most of these roles are dominated by one gender, it’s no wonder we’ve got an unfair internet. Shutting out women, denies innovation, shuns valuable community links and misses out on clear ideas of what the internet can and should be. It lacks a true reflection of the world and humanity.

I almost submitted this blog post every week over the past six months. But every week brought another gender-related scandal within the tech world. This piece would be tens of thousands of words long if I listed them all. So, here’s a summary of 2017’s biggest gender-related tech sector scandals. Some of these stand-alone reports were the result of dozens of brave women uniting to share their stories.

February 2017: Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber, blogged about a pattern of sexual harassment during her time there.  I strongly urge you to read that blog post and reconsider whether you want to have the Uber app on your phone. Her claims sparked internal investigations exposing a rampant workplace bullying and sexism culture. After many setbacks, Fowler was finally vindicated. Her strength to speak out ultimately resulted in the resignation of the multi-billion-dollar firm’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/technology/uber-ceo-travis-kalanick.html

June 2017: Four months before the Harvey Weinstein accusations surfaced: an avalanche. Dozens of female entrepreneurs told the New York Times that sexual harassment was rife in the technology industry.

Their bravery paid off. Venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck admitted making unwanted advances in the context of business deals. His company collapsed as investors withdrew. Read him groveling after-the-fact here. His apology warned that this was only the beginning. “It is outrageous and unethical for any person to leverage a position of power in exchange for sexual gain, it is clear to me now that that is exactly what I’ve done,” he said. “The dynamic of this industry makes it hard to speak up, but this is the type of action that leads to progress and change, starting with me.”

July 2017: A memo written by a now ex-Google engineer sent Silicon Valley into uproar. James Damore claimed ‘biological causes’ made women less suitable for intense jobs like his. He even moaned that ‘every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression.’ Google fired him , scrambling to distance itself from his comments, but the impact was huge. Among his controversial ‘solutions’ to tackling gender imbalance was a section titled ‘De-emphasize empathy.’ I’ll spare you the detail but here’s the link for transparency.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. James Damore’s diatribe rallied some in the alt-right, newly emboldened by Donald Trump’s defence of Charlottesville white nationalists as very fine people.’  They saw Damore as a martyr and called on people to boycott Google for firing him.

One of the most celebrated responses to Damore came from another former Google engineer, Yonatan Zunger, who said: “The conclusions of this manifesto are precisely backwards.

“It’s true that women are socialized to be better at paying attention to people’s emotional needs and so on — this is something that makes them better engineers, not worse ones.” Something odd happened in the summer of 2017. As the executives tumbled, their confessions began morphing into strange rallying cries for diversity and inclusion. In one case, an admission led to an apology followed by an almost never-ending essay of pitiful wealthy white male privilege masquerading as a manifesto to change the entire industry.

It’s rarely a good idea to read the comments, but the comments below this apology from investor and former Google executive Chris Sacca are a fascinating debate.

Sacca apologised after entrepreneur Susan Wu accused him of touching her without his consent

Ms Wu said: “There is such a massive imbalance of power that women in the industry often end up in distressing situations.” At one large firm, a working group had more men called Matt than women, according to this excellent New Yorker report published in November.

Did you realise it was this bad before? Truth is, it’s probably worse. These are the stories of the women who felt able to speak out. It’s certain there are others who haven’t and that these examples are the tip of the iceberg that women in tech have been up against. But there is a fightback. Coming soon, on this blog, we’ll meet the women leading it.


EMILY MILLICHIP INTERVIEW

EMILY MILLICHIP INTERVIEW

REEK interview with textile queen Emily Millichip about what makes her such a creative and empowering bitch…

How would you describe your job?

Like a questionable mushroom trip in an abandoned theme park. Relentless. Also colourful, creative, exciting and empowering. But relentless. It’s like walking a knife edge between total excitement and mischief, and bottomless fear and despair. Not to sound too melodramatic, or illegal.

Do you feel that women are celebrated in your industry? Tell us about some of the women who have inspired your own career?

I would consider my industry to be young internet-based independent labels rather than the traditional/established fashion industry, so yes. I find it impossible to divorce my own personality and identity from my brand because I set it up to express myself, so I can relate to women that have created brands that are extensions of themselves. I love the way that Jen Gotch is a total business powerhouse, but still Instagram Stories herself having an existential crisis, then watching Dolly Parton. I also admire the way that Sophia Amoruso handled the bankruptcy of Nasty Gal, a brand which was built on her personality. She was just like, “Whatever. I’ve set up this media company now. Bye.”

Where do you find inspiration for your own style?

I used to be pretty experimental in my dress and would read a lot of style blogs and do a lot of vintage shopping. I guess these days it’s more Instagram and Pinterest, although the demands of my lifestyle are probably my biggest influence. As I get older and busier my tastes have changed, so now I am more minimal punk on a good day, grotty street-rat on a bad day. There are things I used to wear almost daily that I couldn’t bear to put on my body now. Full skirts, ruffles, sequins, bows, they are all dead to me. Give me a nice wipe-clean bit of pvc and a white ankle boot, thanks. Although, the other day I saw an elderly woman walking through Holyrood park with a can of Tennent’s and a Rottweiler and that was pretty fucking inspiring.

What gender equality causes mean the most to you personally and why?

Bodily autonomy is essential. I am so happy to see the way the narrative regarding consent has evolved over the years. My generation were taught that anything other than an active no is consent, whereas now consent is regarded as an enthusiastic YES. Sexual coercion can be damaging on a much deeper level than we realise.  There is an incredible amount of entitlement to woman’s bodies, both in and out of the bedroom. Leading on from this I also think it is vital to have access to free reproductive healthcare, safe abortion and aftercare.

What women do you identity with from history to the present day?

Probably all of those nameless women that got stuck in mental asylums for distemper / living an immoral life / reading novels, etc. It’s like, GUYS LEAVE US ALONE, WE ARE WRITING THE BUCKET LISTS OF THE FUTURE.

What changes do you think should be implemented to try and encourage more women to go into business and start up their own brands?

Parents of all genders should be banned from asking their adult offspring when they are getting ‘proper jobs’. Beyond that, give us cold hard cash.

From your travels what cultures inspire you the most?

The first place outside of books that really inspired me was Berlin. I hitchhiked there when I was 18 and got a lift with these old punks. I remember getting out of the car in Prenzlauer Berg (before they cleaned it up) and entering this other world. It was like being a kid in a candy store, there was so much chaos and fun, but these guys were smart. I think that was one of the first times I really saw the intersection between intellect and style. More recently I have been inspired by the colours and vibrancy of Mexico. I spent time there learning traditional Mexican embroidery, but the thing that ended up inspiring me the most were the tiny shops selling domestic products. I particularly loved the striped rolls of loosely woven cleaning cloth you could buy for about 40p a meter. I ended up making sack dresses out of the stuff with neon orange and neon green through it which obviously confused everyone because they were like, why are you wearing our floor rags?

What are your favourite smells and why?

The sea, because it the one constant in my life and the recipient of all of my hopes, woes, and darkest secrets. Nag Champa because it reminds me of moving to Edinburgh and creating an independent life for myself. I burn it at home all of the time and take it with me when I go travelling. I like heavy sweet scents like jasmine, honeysuckle and vanilla. I literally just remembered that my dad once told me that rapeseed flowers smell like decomposing bodies. That’s dark. Moving on, all food.  

Are you a bitch, a witch, or a bit of both?

Depends on if you’ve crossed me, muthafukkaaaa.

What makes you a damn rebel bitch?

My criminal record.

Want more? Of course you do. You can follow Emily’s work on her instagram and website

https://www.emilymillichip.com/

https://www.instagram.com/emilymillichip/

Photography, Caro Weiss 


RAPE CONSENT ALERT

RAPE CONSENT ALERT

Indian sex guru, Osho has written over 600 books some of which advocate rape. An undercover feminist investigates on REEK’s behalf.

You know when you can’t believe what you’ve just clicked on? I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled on this either – a respected sex guru advocating rape. Surely not. Don’t take my word for it: Type “osho rape” into a search bar and go over the results. Most of them won’t be blogs, but the writings of Osho (real name Chandra Mohan Jain, 1931 – 1990) an Indian spiritual icon and leader of the Rajneesh movement. He advocated a more open attitude towards human sexuality, earning him the tag line of “sex guru” in the media. In 1991, an influential Indian newspaper counted him, Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi among the ten people who had most changed India’s destiny. Osho’s entire works have been placed in the Library of India’s National Parliament in New Delhi – over 650 books are credited to him, in more than 60 languages, which makes him, by any standard, a major international writer. There are more than 600 Osho books on Amazon.

When you google Osho, the 2nd highest results points to his book, “The Secret of Secrets”, which retails at over £220 in hardcover. Here’s a quote from it:

As far as rape is concerned, look into your unconscious, look into your dreams. It is very rare to find a woman who has not dreamed of being raped . . . There is a certain attraction in it. The attraction is that you are so irresistible that a person is ready to go to jail for 10 years, or if it is a Mohammedan country, is ready to die.”  

The “Secret of Secrets” is available in full online and also for sale on sites like Amazon and GoodReads where it’s rated highly by dozens of readers. Osho’s pro-rape philosophy is also quoted on websites including the fan site http://oshosearch.net, which states: “The information on this site is of religious nature. It represents a mankind’s heritage, just as recognized by the government of India pronouncing the books of Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Chandra Mohan Jain) as heritage of India and placing all his books into the governmental library.

One of the most damning quotes used on this site reads:

“It is not certain that raping the woman is certainly bad. Perhaps she was also waiting for it. Perhaps she was getting frustrated that nobody is raping her. There is a deep desire in every woman to be longed for, and the more drastically you long for her the more satisfied she feels. And rape is the ultimate in longing for a woman. You are ready to commit a crime just to have her. You may be imprisoned for years in a jail, you don’t care.”

It reads on:

For example, the rape of a woman is certainly ugly. But who is responsible for it? The society, the culture, the religion – they have been trying to keep men and women apart. Your biology knows nothing of it, and when you see a beautiful woman on a dark night, alone, your biology takes over your so-called morality and religion. . . . In most of the cases you and the woman are both brought up by the same idiotic society. They have told the woman to remain away from men, they have given her a certain psychology to avoid men. Even if somebody is attractive to her, she has to say no.

All psychologists agree that a woman is raped because deep down she desires it. It gives her a great ego, that she is so beautiful, so lovable, that people are ready even to commit suicide – there are countries where for rape you will be sentenced for your whole life or you may be crucified; still the man wanted her. There is a great satisfaction – he risked his whole life!

Two major themes dominate Osho’s rape stance: The willingness, even complicity of the woman and the lack of any individual responsibility. The blame, it seems, belongs to a vague, un-punishable perpetrator.

“A man commits rape. A man commits robbery. A man commits murder. Certainly something has to be done. But not punishment. Because the man who commits rape simply means he is sexually unsatisfied. And your society has not given him a chance to be sexually satisfied. Mohammedans are allowed to marry four wives. In the world there is an equal proportion of men and women. Now if men are going to marry four wives, then what about those three men who will remain without wives? And if they start committing rape, is it a crime?” (From here)

Osho remains without a doubt, one of the world’s most popular spiritual leaders on a global scale. Just one of many Osho Facebook communities has 2.5 million people liking the page and 2.4 million following its posts. Dozens of others have hundreds of thousands of followers in search for enlightenment.

During the past few weeks, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the #metoo hashtag has highlighted numerous heart-breaking and infuriating personal stories of abuse against women (and men) – at the hands (quite literally) of powerful directors, actors, politicians, teachers and many others. At the moment of writing, there are over 93 million results on Google for something that barely existed a couple of months ago. To all the above-mentioned categories of powerful sex predators, it’s all the more exasperating to add yet another: Spiritual leaders, gurus offering guidance and comfort to people all over the world going through vulnerable times.

Who of us hasn’t wondered about enlightenment? Or meditation, or mindfulness, and how many people doing so must stumble over an Osho book or walk into one of the many mediation centres promoting his teachings? It takes a particularly cynical type of guru to use a genuine interest in self-betterment to advocate rape.

If you know any Osho followers in your circle of friends, publishers, meditation centre and Osho community leaders – share this with them. We have to take the power away from rape gurus, and strip them of their status, all-knowing aura and huge international followings, in order to stop them advocating for (and excusing) rape. If you’d like to do something act now.

Want to report an Osho site

to Google:

  1. Go to drive.google.com.
  2. To open the file, double-click.
  3. At the top, click More .
  4. Click Report abuse.
  5. Choose the type of abuse found in the file. Each abuse type has a description to help you determine if the file has violated our policies.
  6. Click Submit Abuse Report.

Or to Amazon on https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/reports/infringement