Dear Kate Winslet,
This is a difficult letter to write. I've always been a fan of yours - I mean, I never had a Titanic poster on the wall or anything, but as far as people pretending to be other people goes, I reckon you're pretty good at it. I assume you're a nice person, and judging by your recent comments, I think you're quite a sensitive one. So please forgive me when I say this: FUCK OFF.
Specifically, please can you fuck off with your suggestion that talking about how women earn less than men is "vulgar". Throughout history, people have used this word to try to put us in our place; to demean us for doing something as daring as wearing trousers, or asking for the vote, or having periods, or telling jokes, or saying that we're not totally keen on female genital mutilation.
And now here go us bloody women again, asking not to be taxed for not having a penis. OUT LOUD! You're right, Kate, it's not "a very nice conversation to have publicly". We should all sit down in the privacy of our own homes and write polite letters to all the politicians and captains of industry. We will quietly explain that we'd quite like equal pay, if that's alright, but please don't tell anyone we mentioned it. That will definitely sort things out.
Oh Kate, I do understand when you say things like, "I'm quite happy with how things are ticking along." Yes, because you are a millionaire Hollywood superstar, apparently living in 1952. These days, everyone talks about money - even the Prime Minister! He's always banging on about how we have to tighten our belts, unless they're solid gold because we're already massively rich. Actually, I think you and he would get on.
I know you find talking about sexism "uncomfortable", and that it's not something you've had a problem with: "If I'd ever been in that situation I would have either dealt with it or removed myself from it... I haven’t ever felt that I’ve really had to stick up for myself just because I’m a woman." Here's the thing, Kate: these pesky sexists are so blimmin' crafty that sometimes, they don't even tell you they're being sexist!
No, really! They might NOT ring you up and go, "Hello love, just to let you know you're getting $4m less than Leo for the boat film, because of your tits." They might NOT record and send you a copy of their conversation about how you're too old for their movie, even though they've already signed up George Clooney, Sean Connery, and a guy who's been dead for 30 years. Sometimes, Kate, people are sexist behind your back. Which makes it a bit difficult to stick up for yourself.
But if you reckon you've never been discriminated against, knowingly or unknowingly, then brilliant! Good for you. The thing is, though, I'm not sure everyone else has definitely had the same experience. There are literally millions of women complaining about sexism in the workplace, and I know this sounds bonkers, but I don't think they're all making it up.
I'd better draw this letter to a close, because Jeeves is probably already waving the smelling salts under your nose. But while we're here, I might as well tell you a few other home truths. I'm sorry if you also find these statements vulgar and uncomfortable, but you'd find out sometime anyway.
1. Some people are racist.
2. Looking after small children is boring.
3. Even the Queen does shits.
All the best, Kate - I hope you continue to enjoy a successful and sexism-free career. But when it comes to telling the rest of us what we're allowed to complain about, as I say, do fuck off.
Fancy some more feminism? Check out our podcast episodes with Suzanne Moore and
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