Tag Archives: fybf

On What Feminism Means…

I talk a lot about the definition of feminism and I do it for a pretty good reason- I think that once you understand the definition, at it’s most basic, you see how it applies to you and how you apply it to the world around you.

I get so frustrated when people distance themselves from feminism or actively campaign against it. Feminism, as a word, has a definition. It seems ridiculous to reject feminism based on what some think it means as opposed to what it actually does mean- yet it happens all the time.

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Life-Changing. Period.

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Surfing the crimson wave. That time of the month. Aunt Flo is visiting. The curse. Shark Week. Monthlies. Girl flu. Periods. Whatever you call it, we all know what you’re talking about.

Menstruation is something most women have to deal with and I’m writing about it today because I’m coming up to a special anniversary. I’m just a few days off a whole year of no tampons and no pads.

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Parenting Blog: You’re Doing it Wrong

It was with interest that I perused Mark Latham’s latest offering

“Mum Bloggers show dark side of feminist parenting”.

The title caught my eye, having just guest blogged about Parenting through a Feminist Lens myself, over at  a great parenting blog called The Multitasking Mummy. I wondered what possible dark side he could have imagined about parenting while keeping the mindset that women are, you know, human beings.

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Minister for Women Rejects No Gender December

In another stunning example of ill informed commentary, our PM and Minister for Women has said: 

“I certainly don’t believe in that kind of political correctness. Let boys be boys, let girls be girls – that’s always been my philosophy…Above all else, let parents do what they think is in the best interests of their children.” 

This was in response to the No Gender December Campaign, which seeks to highlight the fact that the Toy industry, along with toy retailers, are continuing to promote gender stereotypes that research has shown to be harmful.

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You Are Not The Jerk Whisperer

Last week, I responded to a column written by former Labor leader and resplendent stay-at-home dad/gourmet cook/native gardener extraordinaire, Mark Latham.

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My response was one of many “left-feminist” perspectives roundly criticising his remarks. This one is a doozy.

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Latham Causes Eye-Roll Injuries Across Continent

Yesterday morning, I read Mark Latham’s latest offering in the Australian Financial Review. Ever since he famously called then PM John Howard an arselicker back in 2002 I’ve taken an interest in what he’s saying or doing. Primarily because he loves a good swear and speaks his mind- regardless of whether or not he should. I do that too, on occasion. That seems to be where the similarities end, thankfully.

Anyway, I caught the headline floating around in my twittersphere:

Why left feminists don’t like kids

And I couldn’t resist. I clicked the link and read on. Admittedly, my eyes rolled so far back in my head in places that I may have missed a line or two.

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I don’t even know what’s worse- Latham’s attempt at mansplaining feminism or his somewhat hysterical attempt to diminish a person because she takes medication.

For starters, this is the article he refers to, have a read if you haven’t seen it. Basically, the female author talks frankly about her anti-depressant medication. Now, anti-depressant medication is not something you put yourself on. A doctor prescribes it. They do so after diagnosing you with depression, right? Depression being a psychiatric condition. Lisa Pryor, the writer, mentions how well this medication has worked for her and how in being honest and open about it is not an endorsement of medication but rather:

“It is about the power of showing vulnerability, diagnosable or simply human, and how it makes others feel safe to do the same. I’d like to hope this helps build the kinds of connections that protect against psychological trouble in the first place.”

I quoted her directly there because I thought she put it so well- she exposes her vulnerability and humanity and hopes that in doing so, it may help others. It must have taken a lot to start doing that face-to-face, let alone in a national publication. Only to have Latham respond with the likes of this gem:

“At a personal level, it’s also cowardly: popping pills as an easy way out, instead of facing up to the responsibilities of adulthood.”

He  takes the liberty of stuffing words into her mouth to suit his agenda while he’s at it. Once a politician, eh? For example, he touches on her being a medical student while raising two children (My hat is off to you, Ms Pryor!) then ignores that and talks about her as if she is solely a stay at home mum who is complaining about her lot in life. He also asks:

“How will the children feel when they grow up and learn that they pushed their mother onto anti-depressants?”

Yet, no where does Ms Pryor state that her need for anti-depressant medication is the fault of her children. That’s a pretty big leap. A better question is now how will they feel  when they grow up and see that ex-politician Mark Latham has blamed them for their mother’s depression?

Personally, I think that acknowledging that you are depressed is a big thing in itself. Whether the help you need is medication or therapy of some sort- seeking that help is a big deal. I have known more than one person to suffer depression. I have suffered it myself at times. It’s bloody terrible and it’s really hard, if not impossible, to pull yourself out of it alone.

Lisa Pryor recognised the problem, got help and is now talking about it. She’s breaking down the stigma, she’s being human and vulnerable. And she’s doing it so that other people can talk about it too and maybe avoid depression in the first place. For this, Mark Latham is calling her a coward. When he got testicular cancer back in the 90’s, should he have just, what, toughed it out? Refused treatment in a show of idiotic “bravery”??

I have no idea if Lisa Pryor is a feminist. It wasn’t mentioned once in her article. But Latham has certainly taken the opportunity to blast us lefty feminists anyway.

He leveled a few other attacks I’d like to answer here.

” Why do people like this have children in the first place?”

Well, Mark, perhaps because people with conditions like depression are able to manage those conditions through appropriate therapies and it does not exclude them from being wonderful parents. That might be one reason why.

“Whether it’s my daughter’s smile, my eldest son’s Aussie irreverence or the belly laughter of my youngest son – these are my anti-depressants, every hour, every day. What is Pryor going on about?”

Lisa Pryor didn’t say her children don’t bring happiness. Not once. Depression isn’t as simple as being a bit sad. If your children’s smiles bring you happiness, that is wonderful. If you don’t require further treatment than that, you probably don’t suffer from depression  (I’m guessing, I’m no doctor). Latham may as well get upset when someone else needs a cold and flu tablet because his nose isn’t running- that’s how much sense his outrage makes.

This was my favourite assertion:

LEFT FEMINISM IS AKIN TO A PSYCHONEUROTIC DISORDER

Yup.

So, Merriam Webster’s defines a neurosis as something based on emotional conflict in which an impulse that has been blocked seeks expression in a disguised response or symptom.

So, the belief that women should have the same rights that men already have is essentially a mental illness. You don’t REALLY want that equality! Not REALLY! You think you want it but really you want something else because you have a disorder.

Confusing. Because mental health conditions require treatment, right? But, according to Latham, seeking treatment for a mental health condition is cowardly.

What a quandary.

Latham also takes the time to compare his stay at home dad lifestyle to Ms Pryor’s:

“I’m sure I’m just as busy as her: looking after a huge native garden at home, cooking gourmet meals for my family, pursuing a few business interests, writing books and The Australian Financial Review columns and, most crucially, preserving time for my children’s homework, conversation and love. When I explain this reality to my male friends, they are incredibly envious. Each of them wants to swap places.”

All that gardening and stuff is JUST LIKE full time medical school. He may as well be given an honorary medical degree for all those gourmet meals. In all seriousness though, he neglects to mention that he is able to live this lifestyle with the aid of a parliamentary pension (Some $200K per year) income while still earning additional income from his writing commitments etc- something most of us child-hating, lefty feminists just  don’t have the luxury of doing.

Latham then compares all women to those in Western Sydney and finds the rest lacking, because Western Sydney women don’t seem to suffer from Feminism. They don’t want to work and find joy in child rearing. Not like the rest of us child-hating lefties who only want to work and dislike all children but most especially our own, am I right? 

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Oh please. Feminists are everywhere, yes, even in Western Sydney, and many of us are doing our best to raise the next generation of feminists because frankly, the Mark Lathams of the world make achieving equality in my lifetime seem very unlikely. For the record:

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Look at me there, hating all my kids with my shriveled, feminist, pinko heart *rolling eyes as I type*

What did you think when you read his article?

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I Pity the ‘Foo…

Have we all heard about poor old Redfoo? For those that don’t know, he was part of dance music group LMFAO, he’s on The X-Factor and has really big hair.

That pretty well sums up all I knew of him until this week when, in the wake of the Julien Blanc saga, he and his mates released a new song which was immediately dubbed the most sexist song of the year.

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I watched the clip here to see what all the fuss was about.

I have to say, at first, I was horrified. I mean, it would appear that a bunch of girls go to a party, refuse to drink alcohol (because literally, they can’t!) and dance and do “girl on girl” and get told to shut the fuck up. As the video progresses, Play-N-Skillz ft Redfoo, Lil Jon and Enertia McFly and the other party-goers surround this group of women and kinda force their dance moves on them. As each women succumbs to what can only be described as physical peer pressure, their clothing seems to shrink and appears smaller and tighter. Weird. It’s almost like when they succumb to the pressure to drink, dance and go girl-on-girl it makes them…sexier? At one point a woman or two ends up falling or being half-dragged or pushed into a wading pool,  and they spend some time gyrating around in the water with clothes falling off a bit while someone- possibly Redfoo himself?- appears to videoing them on a mobile phone and accessing a website called “Red Tube” (don’t Google that one at work- imagine a YouTube for…erm…adults) presumably to upload a video.

Then there are the lyrics. Here are some of Redfoo’s bits:

You got a big ol’ butt
I can tell by the way you’re walkin’
But you annoying me… ‘cause you’re talkin’ (STFU!)

and 

I said jump on the pole
I didn’t need your opinion
Gurrrrl I’m sippin’ on this drink
I’m tryna see what you got
Not tryna hear what you think

And the rest of the song is basically guys yelling at women to shut the fuck up when they don’t want to do something. It appears to be an exercise in pressuring women to conform to what these men want; wild girls who drink and perform sexual acts and dress revealingly but don’t express individual opinions or thoughts. So you can probably see why I felt the way I did when I watched it.

Thankfully, Redfoo jumped on twitter and cleared the WHOLE thing up.

See, we have it all wrong. We all purposely misinterpreted the clip and the song to support our agenda. You know, the whole rape culture, misogyny thing we’re all harping on about for no apparent reason.

We just jumped on this song and CHOSE to see it as a group of women being pressured to drink, dance and do “girl-on-girl” as if it were a party trick. It might seem as if it’s a group of men shouting at women to shut the fuck up when they aren’t compliant. It looks like women being forcefully sexualised. But really, Redfoo and Co are the victims here.

Oh! Well, that’s okay then!

He has great respect for women. It’s true, I mean, look at the “artwork” with his single “New Thang” (note the camera on his forehead):

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See? It’s SATIRE. If you’re offended it’s because you DON’T GET IT. It’s not because it’s offensive! At the time of writing this, over 16 thousand people have signed a petition to remove Redfoo as a judge on The X Factor. That’s over 16,000 people who don’t get it.

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Image Source Redfoo (above): a man of wit so subtle that more than 16,000 people don’t get the joke.

For those of us that just don’t get this particular brand of “satire”, you should check out this modified cover of “Literally I Can’t”. It was rewritten and performed by Melbourne art rock band, The Stiffys. Don’t let the band name put you off- this is LITERALLY  the best thing to come out of this debacle:

The petition to remove Redfoo from The X Factor was launched by Collective Shout, who campaign against the objectification and sexualisation of women and girls in media, advertising and popular culture. Here is what they had to say:

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He has since posted this fauxpology on Facebook:

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This song is meant to unite people through laughter, dance and celebration? Yeah, no. As a woman, I can categorically state that there is nothing unifying about being told to shut the fuck up. I listened to the song. I watched the video. I wasn’t laughing. It didn’t feel like a celebration. Like the women in the video, I didn’t want to dance, either. 

Obviously, it’s up to Channel 7 to decide whether or not they still want this guy on their show. I wonder if losing a job would push the point home?

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Have a laugh on me</div
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Feminism- the New “F” word?!

Julie Bishop was raised on a South Australian cherry farm. She grew up and studied hard, eventually graduating with a Law degree.
She worked her way up through the ranks of a couple of law firms (notably Clayton Utz where she attained managing partnership) before entering federal politics.
She is currently the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. The first female to ever hold that title and only the third to ever hold the title of Deputy Leader of the Opposition. She is also the current Minister for Forgein Affairs. She is the only female member of Cabinet. Her list of achievements and political portfolios held is far too long to list here.

So it was disappointing as hell to read that feminism was not “part of her lexicon”, as well as a few other choice comments.

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Jane Caro tweeted about how claiming not to be a feminist while reaping the rewards of feminism was pretty crappy (I may be paraphrasing a little) and she is absolutely bloody right. image

The thing is, “feminism” ISN’T a dirty word. Feminism really is what got Julie Bishop where she is today. Obviously she also worked hard to achieve her goals, but without feminism, that wouldn’t have been enough.

Take her legal qualifications- in the early 1900’s it took years of campaigning by feminists to have law degrees earned by women recognised and for them to be allowed to practice. While such things as the Gender Pay Gap exist, while women are still subject to alarming rates of intimate partner violence and the subsequent injury, disability, homelessness, trauma and even death that come from it and while women experience barriers to equality in social and economic settings, we still need feminism.

It must be so easy to sit at the top of your game and disregard it- but I think that’s a slap in the face to every sacrifice made, every struggle and every battle won that allowed you to get where you are.

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, was quoted back in March as saying:

“I believe in gender equality and if you want to label me as a feminist go ahead and do it. But certainly, labelling myself as a feminist, if that is a prerequisite now for being a Minister for Women, that’s ridiculous.”

But it’s not ridiculous. If you believe in gender equality, then you must acknowledge that we don’t have it.

If you acknowledge that, you’ll see that they way to make the genders equal is to give women the same rights, benefits and opportunities that men already enjoy.

It may not be written into the job description for being a Minister for Women, but it bloody well should be.

Otherwise, we’d have a Minister for Women ignoring the inequalities and disadvantages faced by women. And what would the point of that be? …Oh…wait…

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Linking up today with MaxabellaLoves for Weekend Rewind and With Some Grace for #FYBF

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I Have a Phobia and It Hasn’t Hurt Anyone*

A phobia is, by definition, an irrational and extreme fear of a situation or a thing.
Mine is Mottephobia- the fear of moths.
I recognise that moths are (allegedly) perfectly harmless. I mean, they don’t bite or sting, they don’t have razor sharp moth-feet, they don’t eat people (apparently) and they aren’t venomous.
They do, however, have insecty-segmented bodies, a bunch of legs, freakishly powdery wings, scary eyes and an uncontrollable attraction to me. It’s terrifying.

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Mothra vs. Godzilla


About 13 or 14 years ago, there was a plague of great, big moths in Sydney. Awful things, the size of a small pterodactyl, from memory. One night, I had gone to bed and just started to drift off. It was a hot, summery evening but I ALWAYS need a sheet over me (In case of bugs, the bogeyman, intruders etc- what good it will do I have no idea, all I know is I must have it). Anyway, as I said, I was just drifting of when something thudded on to my thigh. I would estimate the weight to be that of a small-to-medium bird of prey. I froze, then pulled the sheet up over my head. My then-partner flicked on the light in response to the distressed noises I was making. He instructed me to remain under the sheet, refused to answer my impassioned pleas to know what it was that was on my leg and set about coaxing the thing on to a pillow and carrying it outside. Once he’d slid the balcony door closed I risked a peek. It was a moth the size of a dinner plate (or near enough) that had been ON ME.
My fear was big enough that I got very little sleep that night and every time the sheet shifted on me I would jump, sure that the giant moth was back with his mates, ready to take turns in terrifying me.
I have another phobia, too. This one probably interferes less in my day to day life. It’s fish. Fish, with all their scaly, slimy, bug-eyed…fishiness. I’m not sure it’s an actual phobia so much as it’s a revulsion. I can’t eat fish. Looking at whole cooked fish or fish with scales on- can’t do it!
So moving in to this house was kind of an issue, because of the shower screens in both bathrooms:

I’m sure you can see my dilemma.

I don’t shower in the butterfly shower. Butterflies are just slightly more colourful moths. Instead I put up with the fish. I literally turn my back on them and just avoid looking at them. It became worse when I found out that the style of screens were super popular because they used real fish, butterflies and what have you encased in the screen. Vom.

I have two friends who have a phobia of cotton wool. It’s pretty real for both of them. Adam had this to say when I asked him:

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My friend Marissa recounted this for me:

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Both Adam and Marissa know that cotton wool is harmless, just like I know moths are. But the fear and revulsion is still there and we’re helpless against it.

Somewhat more concerning is another phobia that seems to be getting a lot of airtime. It’s being called Islamophobia. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s were people act like total jerks towards members of the Muslim community. This includes abusing and physically attacking people. Islamaphobes get all upset if a new Mosque is being built, they refuse to purchase foods that are halal certified, they try to ban cultural dress and they talk about driving Muslim people out of the community by contaminating their places of worship. There is, however, a huge difference between Islamophobia and a fear of bugs or cotton products. Whereas people like Marissa, Adam and I know our fear is irrational- Islamophobes, in my experience, claim the opposite. I was involved in a discussion recently with a very objectionable man. He was full of justifications and rationalisations for his attitude towards Islam and was keen to sign up new members, so to speak. At one point, he said: 

“I’m not against Muslim people, I am against their religion, beliefs, food, dress and culture. As people, I’m sure they’re fine.”

So essentially, what he said was:

“I’m not against Muslim people, except when they are, you know, being Muslim people.”

Well, that’s a relief.

He also raised the issue of Sharia Law. Two Muslim women who were part of this conversation said that Sharia Law was broadly misunderstood and not something enforced in Australia anyway. Both mentioned their faith dictated that they first follow “The Law of the Land”. The man told them they were wrong.

He told two practicing Muslims that he knew more about their faith than they did.

I won’t even go into the other things he said, because quite frankly, that shit doesn’t bear repeating. It was offensive.

What do you say to people who are so heavily committed to hating a minority group that they literally deny the facts to maintain their hatred? This guy belonged to a number of Anti-Islamic groups and I clicked on some of the pages and websites. I saw their online memberships numbered in the thousands. How bloody depressing.

This is different to your run-of-the-mill phobia. It’s irrational, sure. It tends to be extreme, too. The trouble is- this particular phobia? It’s a choice. If I could become friends with our mothy brothers, no longer paralysed with fear at the sound of powdery wings flapping- I’d do it. If Adam and Marissa could roll gaily in cotton wool, abandoning themselves to billows of the soft, squeaky balls without wanting to vomit or die, I have no doubt they’d do it in a second. Because phobias really effing suck. I can’t even pretend to understand why you’d choose one. Do you have a phobia?



*It MAY have caused some moth-deaths.

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Petition Misses the Mark

We take a lot from American culture here. We watch American sitcoms and dramas, eat American style fast food, read American authors and even drive American cars. The gun culture, though, is not something we’ve adopted and I’m happy about that because guns scare the bejesus out of me, personally. I’ve written before about my feelings on toy guns so it was with interest that I read about Toys R Us being petitioned to stop selling Breaking Bad figurines in the US. The figurines were marked to be for ages 15+ but one mum was completely outraged they were being sold in a toy store, because they came with matching guns, a cash bag and a bag of meth.

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Over 9000 signatures later and they did remove the products. What I find interesting is the toys NOT being petitioned against. Take this for example- a Walking Dead Carl figurine (another show aimed at adults) of a 12-14 year old boy- see the knife on his hip? How about these Predator figurines, one covered in blood, aimed at 17+ year olds? They’re ok? How about this TMNT Soldier, aimed at age 3-8 years? What’s that- 3 different guns AND a knife? What about the classic G. I Joe? Here he is, aimed at ages 4 and up- check out how many weapons he comes with!

I’m the first to admit, again, that I’m no fan of toy guns. Research in this area is limited and of mixed results. So maybe toy weapons are bad for kids…but maybe not. I still don’t like them, personally and what others do is their own choice. Still, it seems strange that in America someone had such strong objections to ONLY this toy line, citing it a “dangerous deviation from their family friendly values”. The person that started the petition is a Florida mother- Florida being considered fairly accommodating when it comes to guns.

It really doesn’t seem that weapons/violence was the issue here, despite the wording of the petition:

“While the show may be compelling viewing for adults, its violent content and celebration of the drug trade make this collection unsuitable to be sold alongside Barbie dolls and Disney characters.”

And Predator figures. And Walking Dead figures. And literally hundreds of other action figures bristling with weapons and combat gear. Family friendly??

Touche, Mr Cranston, touche.

This lady hasn’t gone on to start other petitions about the action figures aimed at older teens or even the ones aimed at 3 year olds, despite them clearly referencing violent media. It’s the meth and cash bags she was upset about. I get that- no one wants to glorify drugs to their children or have them exposed to illicit drug culture. Even older teens who one would hope would know better.

The USA is embroiled in an ongoing “War Against Drugs” that it is, by many accounts, losing, with massive numbers of drug-users flooding the prison system while rates of drug use increase. I can’t tell them what to do (though I’d like a stab at it!) but I can certainly see why a toy seeming to glorify the drug trade would be a scary article for a mum in the USA. 

I guess what I don’t get is why the guns aren’t the issue. America has the highest gun related mortality rate in the developed world.

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I saw a thread, recently, within an international babywearing facebook group, that was devoted to sharing photos of Mums and Dads who wear their babies while also openly carrying firearms. I actually found it difficult to contain my shock and, I admit, horror. The discussion that ensued got pretty interesting, with American mamas horrified at the idea of Australia being a place where “only the bad guys have guns”. They couldn’t believe how much lower our rates of gun crime really are or that  firearm related suicide and homicides have decreased steadily and that mass shootings are practically unheard of here since the laws surrounding guns changed.

Nothing I said would change anyone’s mind. Pointing out America’s gun mortality rate was water off a duck’s back. Another Australian mama pointed out this recent study showing almost 10,000 children in America are hospitalised or killed due to gun injury each year but people ignored it. I can’t fathom it. The culture surrounding guns seem so ingrained and entrenched and I just can’t help but think this petition was missing the point- if you want to get upset and drug culture, fair enough. Research into drugs may or may not surprise you but even so, living where you do, I get that concern, when something like half of a massive prison population is in there for drugs.  The petition page mentioned a “celebration of the drug trade” but honestly, anyone who has ever seen Breaking Bad has to admit it’s no party. It’s one of the most devastatingly sad things I’ve ever watched! But why ignore the fact that guns are a huge and deadly problem in your society too?

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N.B- It’s also worth noting that their is a counter-petition going strong too, with almost 6000 signatures at time of writing- I wonder if this will see the toys reinstated?

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