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one of the boys

Updated: May 10

I have been told that this is a feminist blog, but I wholeheartedly disagree with the bitches who said that. This blog is about hate, and only hate, and anything deeper you choose to read into it frankly disgusts me. I plan to continue to write about hate, and only hate, until the day someone offers me a book deal and when that happens, I promise I will shut the fuck up and you will never have to hear from me ever again. Unless, of course, you buy my book - which, actually, would be preferable.

I’d also prefer it if a book deal was to happen sooner rather than later because I am growing increasingly aware that the longer this stupid blog carries on, the longer I will risk pushing the ~brand~ too far - only to come across like a moody teenager void of a personality, the type who wears one of those “people scare me” hoodies bought from Camden Market. The sooner someone offers me a book deal, the sooner I can finally call it a day, and then move on and find some happiness in my life. Please. I beg of you.

This is not to say that my life isn’t currently full of love and joy - it is - I just don’t believe love is funny or interesting enough to write about. Even when I have a book - if my publishers allow me to write about hate (and they better, because the book is already written) - there is not going to be some final summary in which I discuss how we really ought to focus on love instead of hate. Because I don’t believe that. I think hate is not only a perfectly acceptable emotion, but I think it is healthy to allow yourself to feel it, and I think those who claim to be void of it are lying to everyone, including themselves.

I’ve been told that my hatred is hurting only me and just robbing me of time, but the people who tell me that are wasting my time. They say things like “you’re just letting people live rent free in your mind”. I’m fine with being the generous landlord in their metaphor - I believe housing is a basic human right, but should this ever change and should my tenants continue not to pay rent, I can just evict them - I’m very much in control here. They might have squatters rights, but we will deal with that, as and when. People also say things like “hating someone just means they are taking up space in your mind that could be used for other things”. This one is just plain ridiculous - the average human mind can store up to 3.5billion gb of data, so I think I am more than capable of remembering if someone is a prick and can still get on with my day just fine without this simple fact consuming me.

I would rather be the way I am, and I don’t think it’s up to yoga-attending, self-care book-reading, extroverts to tell anyone else how they should be. If you’re so into inner peace, focus on yourself! I’m doing just fine. Yeah, I have plenty of hate to give, but I still am able to allocate plenty of love to a small group of people who deserve the world - I would quite literally die for these people, ain’t that adorable?

Studies have shown that this is actually a healthier approach - to have a handful of deeply meaningful relationships, regardless of your feelings towards the other 7 billion people on this planet, than to want to be friends with everyone you encounter. So HAHAHA in your face all you glass-half-full hippies! It’s actual science - we have these things called telomeres which are repetitive structures at the end of our chromosomes which help to support their longevity - and the length of telomeres is widely accepted as an indicator of mortality. Research has shown that a person with a greater number of less meaningful relationships exhibits shorter length in these structures. Those who have a small number of really meaningful relationships, even if they hate everyone else on this damn planet, have telomeres out the wazzoo (not medically speaking).

What I am saying is - babes, it’s your funeral. Literally. Science actually suggests that those who skip about town, smiling and laughing while being friends with absolutely everyone, will, thankfully, die young. (Of natural causes and also because if they keep doing flash dances on motorways, someone will eventually, and rightfully, mow them down). Sure, people who are “friends with everyone” might be invited to every birthday party, but those of us who experience real love with a small number of people, will be the last ones standing snacking on the hor d’oeuvres at your funeral.

Oh shit, I think I’ve accidentally started talking about love. Sorry. Back to business. I think hate is a really healthy emotion - it’s evolutionary in fact. For survival, we have grown to retain information and not trust people who have previously hurt us. You want me to forgive and forget? To skip out into the world and stroke a lion's mane like a fool? No thank you! I can learn from my mistakes!

If it’s not clear by now, I’m pretty firm in these beliefs so if you are still reading this blog expecting a sudden turn where I begin to talk about how hate is futile, and all you need is love, you’re in the wrong place.

There is not going to be a point at which I suddenly realise that the glass is actually half full - I will always believe it is half empty and that it best be on a fucking coaster. I don’t care for self care, I don’t want to live, love or laugh and until someone finally gives in and gives me a book deal, I will continue to write about what I sincerely believe the world needs more of - hate. That may seem like a joke - and although almost everything I say is a joke, I do mean this one quite sincerely. I genuinely think there is too much positivity in this world - in particular, coming from the very people who most often give me cause to be so negative.

I seriously don’t get what’s up with positive people and why they need others to join in their delusion - who, exactly, are they trying to convince? Have they read the news? Can they even read? I personally feel like I have been confronted with too much substantial empirical evidence pointing to a conclusion that most people are shite, to believe that most people are good. I believe in science and evidence based conclusions, and my experience has taught me that most people disappoint you.

People often say that they want to believe that most people are good. Me too. I want to believe that. Of course I do. I just don’t. I also want to believe in a God. But I don’t. I would also love to believe that the person I am writing this week's blog about is not a raging sociopath. But I don’t.

Sorry I went off on a tangent there, but, as you have probably gathered by now, the person I am writing about this week is an exceptionally positive, overly friendly, self proclaimed feminist who is very into self care and "bettering herself". I believe she would describe the handful of paragraphs you have just read as “projection”. I would say that I am rightfully seething with rage about this person today, because (a few years ago), she said to me:

“maybe you should check your internalised misogyny babes”

Before I tell you more about this person, why she said this, and why this statement made my blood boil, I want to tell you a little bit more about myself.

“Why?” you ask. Because it’s my fucking blog.

I must confess to you that I am not a girls’ girl. I’m sorry, I know that it is 2021 and it might seem like a 1983 move to say something like this - but go ahead and cancel me. Seriously, please do, I’m exhausted. Full disclosure - I’ve chosen 1983 because 1983 was the year Risky Business came out, and this is me trying to say that admitting that I don’t agree with the idea that women should always support other women is probably a risky thing to say, especially in my business. I appreciate that this was a bit of an IKEA joke - all the bits were there but it hasn’t been put together very well - but please forgive me, because, seriously, I am EXHAUSTED.

I am exhausted at the number of times I have been told that women need to support other women, especially, when, in my experience - and I wish this wasn’t the case, but unfortunately, it is - the people who have treated me the worst and have been the very opposite of supportive, have been women. They have been people who have done their utmost to uphold and benefit from patriarchal structures, simultaneously being the same ones who shove feminist catch phrases like “women support other women” down everyones throats, while also stabbing other women in the back. I’ve watched them be lauded for their so-called feminism, and thought about writing about it, but time and time again, I have decided against it.

I have decided against it because I know the kind of response this kind of opinion could provoke. If people don’t pay enough attention to what I am actually saying and pull out my deliberately provocative jokes, which are very clearly intentionally jokes, people could sound off about how me saying what I am going to say sounds like internalised misogyny. But, fuck it, allow me to explain why it, most certainly, is not. What we are dealing with here is not me having a problem with women! My Mum is a woman!! So is yours, I saw her when I was visiting your Dad - please say hi for me!

I don’t have a problem with other women - what I am saying is that I have a problem with a specific type of woman, a type of woman who is most certainly not representative of most of us - one who is a definite minority, but an unfortunately incredibly vocal one. This is the type of woman that it is difficult for a lot of us to admit exists - I know I find it difficult - but these women do exist and they capitalise on the modern day pink-washing sparkly branding of feminism, for their personal gain at the expense of others.

I wish it wasn’t true but the worst bullying I’ve experienced in the workplace has been from women and the worst bullying I’ve experienced in my life has come from women. The worst boss I’ve ever had was a woman, the worst friend I’ve ever had was a woman. Not only have these instances in my life involved women who don’t support other women, but they have actively leveraged their positions to do the opposite - to push other women down to get them where they want to go. And it’s a really hard position to be in to be on the other side of that - to be bullied by another woman, especially when that woman’s entire PR campaign revolves around how much they support other women.

Correlation is not causation and I would not extrapolate from such a sample and draw any meaningful conclusions - however there has been enough evidence of this type of behaviour in my life to suggest that there does exist enough of a real problem with women who benefit from patriarchal structures and girlboss, gaslight and gatekeep their way to the top.

These women are really difficult to criticise - because if you do, you are told that you are the one who has a problem with other women. Their PR is fucking phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong, men in the workplace (and world) can fucking suck too, but this type of women is the hardest to critique. Every single one of these instances in my own life, has involved a woman who publicly claims to be a girl’s girl - a self proclaimed and incredibly vocal supporter of other women. It’s infinitely harder to say something about this type of women’s behaviour because they run such excellent PR strategies and you run the risk of people thinking that you are the type of woman that you are accusing them of being - someone that doesn’t support other women.

Personally, I have never considered myself a girl’s girl. Before you start tut-tutting at this statement, let me explain. Ok so… to be completely honest, I’m not sure where I really stand on this whole “feminism” thing. I think sometimes it can be a bad thing. Alright calm down and hear me out first before you start tweeting at me!

A while back I was having a nice casual thing with a guy but it ended rather abruptly and I was never entirely sure why. It wasn’t a big deal but he never gave me a reason and I didn’t give it much thought until years later. Years later I found out why he had exited my life quicker than you can say “sabotage”. I found out that, at the time, a female friend of mine had told the guy off for saying he didn’t want a relationship with me - unbeknownst to the fact that I did not want a relationship with him either. At the time, she had said to him “if you can’t commit to Hannah, leave her alone so she can find someone who will”.

How do I know this? Because she proudly told me this over drinks a couple of years later, exclaiming that she was a “girls girl” and would never let anyone treat her girls badly, like she believed he was doing! Was it a girl's girl move? Indeed! A well intentioned one at that? For sure! But did it stop me getting laid? YES!! And that’s why feminism is bullshit!!

What I am saying is, OF COURSE it was well intentioned but it wasn’t real feminism. It was stroking this broad with the same broad brush stroke used on other broads - assuming that we all must want the same thing, and ignoring our individuality and agency. This is another problem I have with some modern day feminism - the catch phrases, the simplicity of them and the lack of nuance often applied to situations because we are constantly told things like “women support women”, that we should all be “girls girls”, no matter the context.

I am not a girl’s girl, but it’s in the same way I have never considered myself a “people person”. I’ve never been one of the boys either. I believe in true equality - hating everyone equally. However, when I was younger, I think it is very fair to say that I thought I might have been a girl who “just got on better with boys”. Again, before anyone tweets at me, I must stress that this was simply down to proximity. I certainly had a period in my youth, which I think most young girls experience, during which I viewed myself as “one of the boys”. Once again, please don’t sound off about how this sounds like internalised misogyny before you know the context - it’s not. I grew up the same way most young girls do - I spent 9am to 3pm at my all girls school, then was picked up from the school gates and whisked off to the golf course to practice with the boys. I had a terrible time at school with girls, then was in my element, having a lot of success on the golf course, with the boys. Once again, correlation does not equal causation, but I was a kid and didn’t know that.

I moved around loads as a kid and before the most scaring move of my adolescence (to Australia), I went to mixed schools, and had a swell time, and then my parents moved me to a new country and I had to go to an all-girls school - and I hated everything about it. At my new all-girls school, I was treated so differently than I had been at the other schools. I was made fun of constantly. The bullying was mainly about my accent, but when swim season started, the sharks came to comment on my appearance. My mum wouldn’t let me shave my legs and insisted that if I wanted to remove my body hair, I should wax as it will be better for me long term. While I admit she was right and I am like a dolphin now, it’s difficult to be the girl who waxes as a teenager, because there is a period of growth between waxes which offer a girl called Sarah a window during which she can point and laugh at your greatest insecurity.

I would spend all day at my all-girls school being made fun of for my hairy legs and weird voice, and then I would pop on my trousers and head to the golf course, where it was just me and a bunch of boys having a great time, not talking to each other. I had a significantly better time in the afternoons. I took the data and concluded that I just had a better time in the company of boys.

When I entered adulthood, this continued, and I had more male friends than female friends. I wasn’t delighting in this fact, it was just the way my life was. It wasn’t a positive or negative thing, nor was it deliberate - it was just a fact. I am not about to say that I got along with boys because there was less drama - because it’s simply not true. I had plenty of issues with drama and sexism (sometimes intertwined) whilst growing up playing golf. Because I wasn’t male, I was not physically allowed on the course on Saturdays, and when I wrote a letter to the committee as a scratch handicap teenager who needed access to the course to have any chance at the career I worked really hard for, I was told that the men didn’t want to allow women on the course, because there would be too much drama. Literally, that's the reason they used. If you don’t know about drama from men who play golf, I implore you to google the names Bryson Dechambeau and Brooks Koepka.

I have faced more than my fair share of sexism in my life, as well as unnecessary drama, and a great deal of both of these things have come from men. But the stuff that has hurt me the most, the stuff that really twists the knife, is the stuff that comes, all too often, from other women.

Since starting stand-up I have noticed that more men like and support my comedy than women. This isn’t a good or bad thing - it’s just an observation. I’ve been told a few times that my comedy style is masculine, which intrigues me, because I don’t believe it is. However, I have noticed that the people who tend to like my comedy (or more accurately, those that have taken the time to let me know that they like my comedy), more often than not, are men. I have also noticed that almost every single person who has offered feedback (phonetically pronounced: “insulted me”) after a gig has been a woman. Their feedback? That I am not ladylike. Every time. Now, that's internalised misogyny.

A male heavy fanbase was not something I was ever intending to curate, and at this point I would like to point out, I am using the word ‘fanbase’ very loosely. What I have noticed from the 10 people who have expressed positive things about my work - is that those of whom are men, like me for the exact same reason that the women don’t - because I wasn’t what they expected. The men who have spoken to me have told me that they liked me because I pleasantly surprised them - my material was darker than they expected. The women who have spoken to me have told me that they didn’t like me because I shocked them - my material was darker than they expected.

I am a woman and I write from my experience, so I would argue that my stand up is, by default, feminine. Also, I want women to like me, and I want women to agree with, relate to, and laugh at the things I say. But this is not what the evidence and my experience in comedy has been thus far. Initially this did surprise and occasionally upset me - and it made me wonder what it said about me if I wasn’t the type of girl that other girls like? Now, I’m settling more into who I am on and off stage, and I’m no longer bothered about it. Frankly, I’ll be delighted with any paying audience who wants to spend time with me, regardless of any identity factors. If it happens to be predominantly men, then, sure, it’s not what I expected - but so be it, whatever. They earn more anyway.

I’ve thought long and hard about why exactly I garner such a reaction, and I’ve spoken to friends and colleagues about it. This next part makes me deeply deeply uncomfortable, and I wrote it and almost didn’t include it in the blog, but I think if I am going to talk about how I am perceived by audiences and how I don't say the things that people expect from someone who looks like me, unfortunately, I can't ignore what I look like.

So fuck it, here goes - I think (at least part of) why I garner such a reaction from audiences is because I am what some people (your dad) would describe as a “conventionally attractive woman”.

I am using this term because it sounds academic, and it’s more socially acceptable than describing myself as fit. I find it very uncomfortable to talk about my own appearance, for the most part because I don’t have particularly high opinions of my own appearance. However, as I said earlier, I am a very logical person and I like to draw conclusions based on empirical evidence and empirical evidence alone, so I have been told that part of the reaction I get from the audience is based on what I look like - so I have gathered the following evidence and it suggests that “what I look like” could be described as “conventionally attractive”;

  • the worst responses I have received from audience members have been from women, some of whom I have seen tighten their grip on their incredibly mediocre boyfriend when I have been on stage (lol)

  • the female audience members who have loved my stand up (and female comics who have kindly told me they enjoy my stand up and blog) are always absolutely stunning (and incredibly funny) - and I have deduced that these women like me and enjoy my comedy because they would, never, in a million years, see me as a threat

  • No one ever tells me I am attractive, and I have a theory that people don’t compliment people who they think are used to hearing it - ergo, because everyone assumes attractive people hear that they are attractive all the time, they actually never hear it. This theory has led to me deducing that I am either attractive enough that people don’t think I need to be told, or alternatively, I am atrociously hideous

  • Since discussing the above point with one of my closest friends, she will not shut up about my butt, so I guess, thanks Leah

  • Whenever I show a friend a picture of a guy I am interested in, they always reply “really? wtf?? this guy??”

  • I have asked out almost every guy I have dated - and most have later told me that they didn’t ask me because they didn’t think they had a chance - apologies if this seems like a humble brag, but get over it, conventionally attractive people like me can say shit like this xx

Another reason I have decided to talk to you about my appearance is because it was used against me before the subject of my blog told me off. The aforementioned statement about my so-called internalised misogyny was made after I returned from a client’s office in Swindon. As if it wasn’t fucking bad enough that I had to go to Swindon.

When I was in Swindon, my company had organised that a bunch of young women from my office meet with a female CEO who was supposed to inspire us. Our boss wanted us to chat to a successful woman about how she overcame barriers and broke through the glass ceiling. What followed was witnessing one of the worst presentations of my life, and I’ve done open mic gigs.

I wish what I’m about to say was exaggerated, or made up, but this meeting took place during the height of the MeToo movement, and the CEO who was speaking to us literally rolled her eyes after bringing up the victims who had spoken up. She criticised them and said that you can’t just change your mind later if you didn’t want to do something. She said that sleeping your way to success was a part of business - that sometimes the best way to get to the top is to go down.

She didn’t stop there. She said it’s just the way the world works and you need to learn to be ruthless - do whatever you can, to whoever you can, to get what you want. She also highlighted to me, in front of everyone else, that my highlights (my blonde hair at the time) made me appear vapid and superficial and no one would ever take me seriously. She pointed out in front of all my peers that someone who looked like me, would be assumed to be vacuous. After looking up the meaning of this word later that day, I was deeply offended, because that’s like, totally, not who I am at all.

When I went back to the office and said that the woman who spoke to us was a piece of shit - because she was - I was told that I had a problem with powerful women. I said that the CEO was a bitch, and the overtly positive subject of this blog snarled at for me using misogynistic language and said that I was clearly threatened by a woman in a position of power. I wasn’t. She just was a bitch.

This is when I was told “maybe you need to check on your internalised misogyny babes”

She went on to say, “it’s good to see a woman leaning in. It’s good to see a woman behaving how a man would”. I disagreed. I would’ve hated seeing that behaviour from a man, and I hated it just as much from a woman.

I was told that if I were a feminist, I would support these women, and understand why they have felt compelled to make the choices they have made. I do understand it and I certainly can see how the sexist world we live in could explain this sort of behaviour - because I live in it too. I can understand where the sort of “if you can’t beat em, join em” attitude came from, but being able to understand and explain behaviour is not the same as being able to justify it.

I think it’s wrong. The cheery, happy-go-lucky, self proclaimed girl’s girl I worked with, told me to put my feelings to the side. Not supporting another woman was damaging to the cause, I was told - there were more important things, bigger things at play, than my sensitive feelings. So what if she shits on a few people to get to the top? Isn’t it great to see a woman at the top? I was told to get over it, and just support other women.

That’s bullshit. I believe that if you think that someone should be supported simply on the basis of being a woman, you are a part of the problem. I would never want anyone to support me simply because I am a woman - I would see that as sexist. I want people to support me because I work hard and am great at what I do. And because I am extremely fucking fit.

I don’t think we should support all women. I also think we should never stand in the way of another person's success, and not pull the ladder up behind us - I think we should help others wherever we possibly can. But I don’t think that that bad behaviour should be overlooked, and it certainly should not applauded simply on the basis on gender - and I don’t think that’s a bad thing for me to say. That’s just, like, the rules of feminism.

However, if you disagree, and indeed, if the person who inspired this blog, or anyone else for that matter, happens to read this piece and absolutely hate it - then brilliant, I’m glad you’re feeling a little hate in your life, you’ll might just live a little longer, and actually - I am looking for a place to rent.

If you are a girl’s girl and have been outraged to learn that I am not, you are entitled to think that I should support all other women, and that I’m a prick for not doing so. However, if you disagree with me then logic follows that you maintain that women should always support other women at all times, regardless of what they have to say. This, unfortunately, means that you must support me, a woman, in saying that women shouldn’t always support other women. I am sure you can understand the conundrum you might find yourself in. So indeed, if you’re not going to support me on this - then shit... maybe you should check your internalised misogyny babes xx

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