I get called a lot of things by taxidermy enthusiasts, animal-rights activists, and the media. I'm apparently an instructor, an expert, a hipster, an animal hater, a sicko, a stuffer...but one of the most puzzling things I have been called recently is a "woman taxidermist" and I get asked the same question time and time again "Why are so many women taking up taxidermy classes?".
Don't get me wrong, I love men. Some of my best friends are guys. David Beckham's one and my granny married three; intelligent, confident and forever towing my car somewhere, the men in my life have always been a source of great inspiration and wisdom to me. So when I launched my own company, I had no idea how much everything would change.
Some gay people might feel that finding a gay gene might diminish prevalent homophobia, but this is naive. Racism has not diminished because we know that blackness or whiteness is genetic. But scientists still treat us like rats in a lab and look for 'causes'. I have been told I am a lesbian because my mother smoked and drank whilst carrying me.
My daughter recently had to do a project for her science home work. She was making a board game that involved great scientists. Of course there was Einstein, Peter Higgs, Dmitri Mendeleev, Euclid, Joseph Black, Jan Van Helmont, Galileo, Schrödinger (and his cat)... Only the cat wasn't male. And that was because it was a theoretical cat.
This week, the WWE has been holding shows in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh. John Cena, Randy Orton and some 30 others have been performing across the three-day tour. This is the first time the franchise has held matches in the country since its Middle East debut in Egypt in 2012. Subsequent events were held in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates...
We are double blind to the issue, we've our fingers in our ears when suicide is mentioned, and this wanton deafness pops up when it comes to our attitudes towards men being weak. Better to blank both issues, most particularly when the two combine. And so we have a society where suicide accounts for the lives of more men aged 20-49 than any other single cause. Bigger than road deaths. I write this having watched Newsnight bemoan the 68 deaths a year from illegal highs, or around one death a week. By comparison 12 UK male deaths a day should warrant a series.
What needs to happen, as with any dysfunctional family, is more conversation, and a bit less grumpy-teenager-grunting from both sides. Those women who identify as feminists need to avoid being dismissive of those who don't. It's time to realise that a lack of engagement is often to do with your failures, not theirs.
A recent study has found that, even in a year deemed 'female heavy', women are still only playing 30% of given speaking roles. And that does not mean integral, central characters who dominate talk time, that includes any line spoken in all of the top 100 US films. Women's voices are still stuck in the silent movie era - the majority are on mute.