Friday 8 October 2010

getting heard

Before I started blogging, I'd had the rather odd experience of featuring in quite a few newspaper stories as a consequence of my prosecuting my former employers, P&O Ferries, in an Employment Tribunal. The papers seemed more interested in dwelling on the salacious (and unfounded) allegations made by the company, than with the actual facts of the case- the judgement in my favour was noted with apparent incredulity by, for instance, the Daily Mail- "Would you Adam and Eve it?" their headline asked.... my blog allows me, in however small a way, to make my own voice heard. When you've had nasty things said about you by people who don't know you and don't know the facts either, that sort of thing becomes important.

It is also, for me, a continuation of the story told in Becoming Drusilla, because, as the book notes, life doesn't end with transition, or surgery, or whatever; indeed, perhaps transition is a continual and on-going state, not just for people like me but for everyone.

I don't just write about trans stuff, because there is much more to my life than trans stuff. But sometimes a story comes along and I feel the need to comment on it.

a bit of subvertising

Like that business over the Nationwide Building Society advertisements that came out in May, using David Walliams and Matt Lucas of Little Britain. At that time, I wrote an open letter to David Walliams, suggesting that his characterisation of a 'rubbish transvestite' character furnished people with a model and a vocabulary for abuse, and that as a self-identified champion of transgendered people, it might be helpful if he desisted with that sort of thing.

I was wondering how things were going with the Little Britain chaps, so I had a look around this evening, and I see that they have just this minute finished making a new series of comedy programmes. I also checked with Google to see how visible my previous blog posts about the Nationwide ad campaign were.

Just at the moment, they seem to be practically invisible to Google*. Most odd, to the point of presuming they've been nobbled. Although at least I guess it shows that they got noticed. Perhaps David and Matt are actually ashamed of their work?

*try it for yourself, if you like- enter dru marland nationwide walliams an open letter into the Google search box, and see what turns up. You see? (postscript (Jan 2011) it has now reappeared....) ( link( here and here


  1. Dru. Seriously - to coin a phrase - every little helps. You added, and add, your light to the sum of light (as the saying/prayer goes...a symbol Amnesty borrowed). Yes your comments were noted...because they checked you out. Are they ashamed of their work? Who knows.

    I have never met David Walliams. So this is speculation. But, the more I see of him (most recently on Rob Brydon's chat show), the more I become 110% convinced he is trans. He practically said it on that show (naturally the audience/presenter were oblivious, but my trans radar practically overheated). Which might explain the rampant denial going on, and the obsessive parody of dressing up in LB etc. Here's someone who feels totally boxed in by a successful career, but it just won't go away.

    Maybe I'm wrong...I could be. But it would be very sad if his fear locked him into this place forever.

    We are making REAL progress with the media now at Trans Media Watch, with the support of people like you. We have moved our emphasis away from pointless complaints to the PCC, or the Daily Mail, and much more into where we can make progress. The BBC and Channel 4 are genuinely listening. And there are plans afoot which WILL start to change things. Finally we are having meetings with people who are actually important...

    Take heart.

  2. Far from downhearted, Jo! -I just wish I had the time to do more useful work. I feel more like an observer than an activist.

  3. But you have moral fibre Dru(!). And all power to you.
    Best wishes, Graham

  4. Perfect snap, says it all, hope they got the message.

    My skin still crawls at the thought of those two, so creepy.

    Caroline xxx

  5. Touching on a different kind of lampooning, how was it OK in the Nationwide poster to make a reference to the Black and White Minstrel Show, which long ago was regarded as dodgy where anti-Black racial prejudice was concerned? It seems to me that Nationwide were on slippery ground for more than one reason. They'll be featuring Rushdie next, and some sort of 'funny' take on the Satanic Verses!

    I can't imagine who reacts positively to the kind of advertising they have been persuaded to use in recent years. The ads that featured the flippant, fat, couldn't-care-less branch manager were just as bad, because the message they conveyed (to me, anyway) was that he was typical of what Nationwide was all about. They were gross and offputting, utterly lacking the charm (and catchy little tune) of the Lloyds-TSB ads. Almost as if Nationwide were really saying, 'We know you'll come to us because we do better than Barclays and NatWest and HSBC - the customer satisfaction polls say so - and so we'll present what ever public image we like. Frankly, we don't give a damn.'


  6. It isn't the poster Lucy. It's a photoshopped mock up to make a point to Nationwide about what they were REALLY doing with this campaign. Fascinating that you thought it real - kind of makes the point ;-)

  7. ... oh and this pair have also (and I have direct experience of this) done their bit to return breast-feeding to the "gross-out" bin.
    Thanks guys!
    All-in-all as a woman I do not feel these two are my allies.
    Which is tiring.
    I think what you are doing drawing attention to the power these kinds of figures have is laudable.
    I am interested in Jo's comments that TMW are making progress with other broadcasters. It's good to know these tunnels are fitted with lights at the end. However flickery, distant and tricky to reach.

  8. Thank you, Graham! -or bolshy, of course...

    Something to offend, if not everyone, then a fair slice of people, Caroline- especially in Bristol, the more troggy elements frequently use the Vicky Pollard character as a model for describing young working class women. Classism and sexism too!

    Sorry, Lucy- I thought it was an obvious pastiche, though I suppose it could well have been for real... Nationwide seem a bit clueless on the ads front, don't they?

    Indeed, Jo!

    ...or even possibly peeved, Anji? Hard to say. It will be interesting to see how they present the female characters they play in their new series. If it ever gets aired in the UK....

    I missed that side to them, Fed, though I don't think I was missing much. Yes, TMW is doing good things. Very good things.

  9. Totally off topic...but how have I managed to miss your fine blog until now?

    Calie xx