Friday, 20 December 2013

On body snarking.

There is so much pressure around to look the way the media tells us we should look. Unfortunately this is now ever growing for men too. When we talk about equality I don't think this is quite what we had in mind. We wanted it to get better for women not worse for men.

The media portrays a thin, white, blonde binary cis woman as the ideal women should all aspire for. If you happen to resemble this closely by any which means you may consider it a privilege. It is a privilege bestowed upon you by the cis het white men running the show but it is still a privilege of sorts. There are different kinds of beauty privileges and body privileges that can give you a leg up in various parts of your life. Or fetishize you in others. If you happen to be an alternative chic but still fulfill certain beauty credentials you may experience the phenomenon affectionately dubbed "fuck a freak".

Obviously people commenting on skinny bodies isn't cool. Being constantly told you're too thin, should put on weight etc. must be a horrible thing to hear. And any pressure to stay a certain way is awful. However whilst you are thin this affords you certain opportunities, your body is quite simply lauded. It may not be a positive thing but looking a certain way particularly as a white woman will give you a foot up in life. Until you age and it all goes tits up, or down if you'd rather.

The thing about privilege is, you won't necessarily see that you have it. But as a woman you will be measured and you will be found wanting.

Monday, 25 November 2013

On grieving.

Grief is deeply personal. It cannot be quantified and it cannot be compared. 

You cannot tell someone that they are grieving wrong. Everyone has a right to deal with their pain in the way that they feel is best for them. It is very different for each person but that does not mean there is a right and a wrong way to deal with it. 

You can be there for people. Offer your support in any which way you are able to. Some people are able to say the right things and others are better at making a cuppa. Some people give great hugs and a shoulder to cry on to those who need it. Others can come round and cook a meal. Some have the ability to make people smile. Some are great at just sitting next to others in silence. Do not force your help onto others, or force them into grieving the way which you yourself believe is healthy. Just show that you are there, if they need or want you.

Sometimes they might not even need you to be right there. Don't take this personally, don't get hurt. It isn't about you. Sometimes just knowing that there are people you can turn to is enough. One may not actually feel the need to turn to them.

Some people talk easily and others don't. Some people want to do as much as possible to take their mind off their grief. Others prefer to dwell in it.

Grief is not something that magically goes away one day. Perhaps the pain lessens for some but for some it's just learning to bare it on a day to day basis. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

On showing compassion

For a moment just forget everything else, forget about yourself, forget about your surroundings and just breathe. Think about what others go through on a daily basis. Put somebody else's shoes on for a moment. Walk as best as you can a few steps as them. Take in their air, their experiences, their joy, their pain, their laughter, their tears. Breathe. Step back into your own shoes. Think about your own effect on others, your experiences, your pain, your joy, your laughter, your tears.



Look at the person across from you. Imagine how they might be feeling. Soften your features.



Write someone a note, just saying I care. Or I love you. Don't appear to care but instead really properly care. It's a little more painful but in the end deeply important for both of you.



Think about how you talk to people. Do you make them feel as if you're listening to them? If not, imagine how it would feel if you always felt ignored or passed over.



Step back, appreciate someone else's space. Think how you would feel if yours was always invaded.



Look up, does someone need your attention? Give them it. Even just for a moment.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

On whether I want what you think I want.

I know the scenario well. You speak up and someone is always willing to be super helpful about how you could be more inclusive.....towards cis men. How do we make them feel welcome in a feminist space? How about how do they behave so that we feel safe when we invite them into a feminist space? I spend more arguments with men who are essentially just having a tantrum and throwing their stuff out of the pram because they just want to feel included. Women are rarely included in an equal measure in male dominated spaces.

Ah yes those cries of "well if you want equality you have to include men also". But the thing is, men in society always come first. Cries to WOC "if you want to be equal you must include white people". Cries to trans* people "if you want to be equal you must include cis people". Always skirting around the issue just so that those with most privilege can feel included in the discussion. Sometimes however you or I are not welcome. Because it just isn't about us.

"But if you want to be equal you must listen to men's opinions too" "We're just giving a counter argument". Never do they realise that I or you or them have heard your argument a million times over. Every time a negative is pointed out about a social group we feel the need to point out that we don't do said thing. It's not important if you don't do it although to be fair you might actually do said thing. That doesn't necessarily make you a bad person. We all do shitty things, all of us.  If you want to be included or taken seriously the first thing you must do is listen. So many of us fall down in this first hurdle. Then realise that if you do certain things now would be a good time to reflect and change your behaviour. Apologising won't do much good if your actions don't reflect it. We all fuck up, it's how we deal with it and what we do after that counts. If you don't do said thing that's great but don't make a huge song and dance about how you're not a bad person.

But I'm noticing that I'm beginning to have a problem with the word equality. Every time I talk about something I am told to pander to men so as to make the conversation equal. I must listen to their opinion on things that well they just don't have much experience of. Just like there are situations that I myself have no experience of. So I get awfully tired of the word equal being thrown around as we all walk through life differently. People are not currently equal and I'm beginning to doubt we ever will be seen as such by society. At least not in my life time. It feels as if there will always be a dominant social group because there will always be those desperate to dominate. So better than equality right now, I want liberation. I want to be free to make my own decisions and open my mouth to speak without threat of abuse. I want to be given a job based only on the merit of my work and who I am. I want to be free from daily sexual harassment in the street. I don't want equality if it's constantly on men as a societal groups terms. Or on white terms or on cis terms or on able bodied terms.

That is just patriarchy under a new name.

Monday, 4 November 2013

On dragging your feet (TW rape)

Disclaimer: I am NEVER EVER talking about all men. I am fully aware that many men are wonderful human beings who would never hurt anyone. Not all men rape! However I will not be doling out cookies because you're not a rapist, you're not fucking supposed to be. 

Women rape and commit domestic violence. They also rob and beat people up in the street. About 1% of rape is committed by women. However the legal system in the UK doesn't recognise non penetration as rape and it is therefore in legal terms Sexual Assault. I would like to make it clear that I don't agree with this law, I would like to see rape legally recognised as rape as soon as there is no consent. 

That leaves us with the other 99% of rape, which is committed by men. Around 93% of victims are women and we know that around 84% of rape is committed by someone who knows the victim. Young people from the ages of 10-14 are the age demographic most likely to be raped. Though the statistics on trans women is sparse they are significantly higher than cis women. Around 22% of cis women are raped in their life time this rises to an astounding 68% of trans women. In the US Native American women are the most likely to report rape at around 34% and African American women at around 19% versus around 18% of White Women. This is reporting mind so not very indicative of actual rates. There is growing anecdotal evidence that the rape of men by men carries further humiliation because the perpetrator wants to "feminise" the male victim. However statistics are largely useless when we talk of rape as in actuality so few rapes are ever reported. It is said that 1 in 3 women experience Sexual Assault throughout their life time however this could be much higher. I would again like to make it very clear that I find ALL rape absolutely abhorrent and that no one should ever have to experience that or any kind of sexual violence. 

The reason we need to talk about male violence is partly because it's predominantly women fighting it. I want us all to be fighting it. It sucks for men to often be suspected as rapists merely because women are protecting themselves. It's a nasty thing to have to experience, but do you know what is inexplicably worse? Being raped. It is not women who hate you, this is a clear instance of the failings of patriarchy. It is also part of the rape culture that we now often discuss. By creating rape culture we have created a society where men are seen as violent rapists and women are seen as sobbing victims. We are all hurt by this but women are hurt more, not least if you're a trans woman, a WOC or a disabled woman. 

We continue to feed into this when we give "helpful" advice to women on how not to get raped. As most rapes are committed by someone who knows the victim this advice is only "helpful" in around 16% of cases. However any advice on staying safe we already know. We know to stay in groups, we know to carry rape alarms, we know to be careful about drinking and we know that we will be blamed if we've worn a short skirt. You aren't telling us how we can stay safe from rape, you're telling rapists how they will get away with it from a legal standing point. You're giving helpful pointers on how to find the most vulnerable victims and how they can use this to their advantage if they are ever charged. Not to mention that a woman should be allowed to be naked and blind drunk all by herself and not be raped. The onus should not be on women to not get raped, it should be on the perpetrators not to rape. Rape is NOT sex. Sex is something between two or more consenting individuals who are having a great time together. Rape is an attempt to exert power and humiliate a victim. 

I fear men because I have been hurt by men. I fear them because society tells me I must always protect myself from them and when I fail to do so, it tells me it is my fault. I do not like this, I do not wish to view any man with suspicion because I do think and hope that the majority of you are wonderful human beings. You cannot call this fear irrational because it has arisen from lived experience. I wasn't born someone who feared men. 

So to the men who cry that they are hard done by this, don't fight me. Instead join me in fighting rape culture.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

On Dreams.

Dreams are a funny thing aren't they? They sort of take on a life of their own and transport you somewhere else somewhere better perhaps. Or perhaps just somewhere different. I realised one of my dreams in 2012 when I travelled around Japan for 7 weeks. The only problem is that now I dream of it again, even more strongly. I wish to travel around more of the world and stay for an even longer time in Japan and South Korea. I dream of shopping (yes I'm slightly vapid ok), walking around and eating lots of delicious food. So essentially what I enjoy doing here in England just somewhere else, somewhere better. It's a dream contingent on money, though of course I can work a little as I travel. It's a dream contingent on a lot of money. It's also a dream as many things are contingent on luck. I'm lucky to have a job where I can save for this dream. I'm lucky to live in a society where I am allowed to travel. It will be luck that gives me work throughout my travel (perhaps someone is interested in a somewhat vapid travel blog?) and it will be luck that gives me work when I get back. If I come back. It will be luck that determines if my partner gets a job that enables him to save and come with me. I'm not sure I wish to go without him.

I dream of buying a beautiful old warehouse and making it into a stable home. I dream of a stable home. I dream of never having to move ever again. I dream of making it spacious and light and one day hearing children laughing. I dream of children with my current partner. Don't worry he knows this, he's not about to have a heart attack regarding this revelation. I dream of him rubbing my growing belly and giving our child the childhood I never had. Again, this dream is contingent on money and on luck. Money to buy the place, money to do it up, money to save for when this inevitably goes a bit tits up. Luck in being given a mortgage, luck in finding a place and luck in it not falling apart. I need money for children, to give our children the childhood I wish to give them. A childhood without poverty, one where I can feed them, clothe them and be there for them. I need luck to have children, luck in having a job where I can pay for their upbringing but also luck in our jobs giving us enough freedom to spend time with our children.

I dream of many other things, but the only job I dream of, is one that can give me the above.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

On what I really wanted to say.

I think I'll try to keep this short.

To whoever is sharing Russell Brand's recent interview without pointing out that fact that he's a misogynist shitstain. Forgetting how he's risen to his prominence by the very things he proclaims to hate in this society. I now know who you are for. You're for the white middle class. You're for men. You're not for me or any other woman.

You are free to like him but for the love of Christ acknowledge who he is and how he's got to where he is. I really don't want to listen to him saying "underclass". He wants a revolution? So do I but I certainly don't want a revolution headed by a white, straight, cis, able bodied, rich and misogynist piece of shit.

That's really all I can be fucked to say.

Monday, 21 October 2013

On the dangers of asserting that something is evil.

I was in an argument this weekend because I would not answer the question "Do you believe that religion is inherently evil" with a yes. I believe that there many issues within religious doctrine but not that it is inherently evil. Reducing something that frightens us and has been used to enforce certain ideas of normality to an "evil" is a phobia. A phobia of those who do not submit to your faithless view of the world. Positing one thing as good and one thing as evil doesn't change anything because our world is not black and white. I also felt uncomfortable being forced to defend religion when I am not myself religious. I am a secular Jew and I do not believe in god. I wish to fight bigots and bigotry, however this I see in people from all different walks of life. If you hate, you can always find something to back up your hatred. Education is important we can all agree on this I hope but living in a world where we are all treated equally does not hinge on abolishing religion. Japan is one of the most unequal societies for women, yet by the year 2000 less than 15% of people reported any formal affiliation with religion when filling out a consensus questionnaire. Most of their holidays are secular in nature except for a couple including New Year's day. Sweden doesn't take its Christianity very seriously and is indeed a better place for women. Never the less it is also a country that is deeply xenophobic. In fact your ethnic/religious background and skin colour have a significant impact on your opportunities in the labour market. Now this part is important for later on in this post so keep it in mind, some ethnic minorities particularly Jews face larger risks of threats and violence. After Germany and Austria, Sweden has the highest instances of anti-Semitism in Europe although the Netherlands are now almost equal.

I am of course not saying that religion doesn't have its problems but I believe that you should question everything. A lot of awful things are done in the name of religion and a lot of progression is hindered because some religious leaders don't want science involved in education. Education must encompass everything so that people are really truly free to make up their minds. Religion also has its problems because it's headed up by men who wish desperately to hold onto their power. I believe in progressiveness within everything but anything whether it is religious or secular that is used to subjugate people is dangerous and leads to deep rooted inequality.

Being actively anti-theist will not solve the problems of oppression within our society. You will only submit to a different kind of oppression. The person who argued that religion is evil was clear in this, their arguments were not solid but were instead based into attempting to frame me as lesser. On top of which, this anti-theist Swedish man was just as misogynistic and patronising towards me as a religious man could be. He was woefully ignorant and I'm not talking about the kind of ignorance based in a lack of education but instead he had a callow disregard of facts and instead stated assertions as facts. He asserted that even the Nazi's would not be as cruel as to shoot a girl for going to school "they only gassed some Jews". Ignoring the fact that these kinds of comparisons are completely odious and offensive, this isn't correct, the Nazi's routinely rounded up women and girls as young as 3 and shot them in the name of cleansing. They did not "just gas some Jews", they attempted to commit genocide They slaughtered 6 million Jews as well as gay men & lesbians to a lesser extent, black people, queer people, mentally ill people, disabled people. The German's and their collaborators killed it is estimated as many as 1.5 million children, in large proportion Jews but also many Romani children. No the Nazi's did not shoot one specific girl because she continued to fight for her right to an education, because she wore a bright pink dress to school to defy the Taliban but they slaughtered over a million just because they were Jewish. To hear a self identifying atheist man talk of how to abolish oppression start his argument by erasing MY entire history by a callous and wantonly cruel disregard of fact.

You erase me then wish to talk about my oppression as a woman under "evil" religion?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

On the strangeness of inclusivity being radical.

My mother and I had another one of our lovely chats recently. I'm not being facetious, although I can understand if you've read my blog before why you might think so. I'm not always in a foul mood, I promise!

Anyway, she told me she'd recommended my blog to my uncle but warned him that it was a little radical. Though I know exactly what she meant it made me think. Is it really so radical to want a feminism that is completely and 100% inclusive? An equality and liberation that is not just for the privileged few?

The white mainstream feminism that we see so much of in the media is accepted because it sits very nicely within patriarchy. It's quietly asking men for a piece of their pie rather than just taking it and then throwing it in their face for not giving it to us outright. It challenges nothing but is instead just a different version of the Status Quo. It holds no place for you if you're not middle class, cis gendered, white or even straight. It's not accepted that you can shave the hair around your vagina and still consider yourself a feminist. Nor could you possible want to work as a stripper or a sex worker and still care about unionisation and equal rights for all workers. I find this utterly bizarre. 

Of course women are portrayed problematically within the media, we are naked more than men this is true. The only thing that ever bothers me about nudity of any sex or gender is when that person is reduced to only their nudity and not the person as a whole. However being naked isn't unfeminist but telling women how they should be and what choices they make is in my opinion deeply unfeminist. Women are nuanced and want different things and all of this must be taken into account.

I've talked about this at length before but what I really haven't made clear is that there just wasn't a place for me within mainstream feminism. I like pink sparkly things, Hello Kitty and porn. I wasn't allowed to be a part of that ideology, called a traitor for shaving my pubes off and wearing make up. Intersectional feminism makes a space for all women because it views all women, every damn one of them as people who should be treated equally. It also sees that some women already have it better than some men. Mainstream feminism says that all women are oppressed equally within patriarchy and that just isn't true.

Flavia Dzodan coined the call to arms "My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit". If that's radical well hey I hope one day we'll all be that radical.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

On being emotionally open on the internet.

This was inspired by a post by a friend this morning wishing that people would be less personal online. This was punctuated by someone commenting with the words "emotionally slutty". I'm just going to go right ahead and give that the biggest side eye I can muster. With an added fuck you.

The reasons I think perhaps people are uncomfortable with this are:

a, they worry about all this information being so readily available. Sorry to burst your bubble but it already is if you've got a doctor, rent a property, own a property, have a job, sign on etc. you get my drift. Unfortunately you have no control over where the information about you goes.

b, they're uncomfortable with raw emotion. Well that's your problem and not something to impose on others.

It is fine absolutely fine to be uncomfortable but it's not fine to project that onto those who do use the internet to be emotionally open. My Facebook is quite political and occasionally I hope I brighten up your day with my humorous quips. My Twitter is for my politics yes but also very much for me personally especially in a supportive sense.

The internet can be a fantastic way to call for help, to find others who feel the same and to find a community of support so that you feel less isolated. One of the scariest parts of mental illness is how isolating it often is, the internet has been a game changer in this way. It's scary to sit down and just talk to one person who may just look at you in an utterly confused manner and offer no sympathy whatsoever. Luckily my support in real life is very good however I still sometimes turn to the internet. Because there I find people who understand without me having to explain. They know about the spoon theory without me having to link them to the article. They understand my anxieties that I worry are really weird because they have the exact same ones. They understand the mood swings and the shame because they have the same feelings or illness. It soothes me and makes me feel like less of a freak. I also feel like I don't want to be constantly burdening my close friends with my MH because it IS constant. If I can ease some of their involvement by being emotionally open online then this is important to me.

There is such a huge stigma attached to mental illness. Don't make us feel more ashamed than we already do!

Friday, 4 October 2013

On what feminism means to me.

Feminism is quite a dirty word isn't it? Its become so twisted and up it's own arse by mainstream white feminism I can barely see through it all. The fact that feminism isn't widely accepted as something that should be completely inclusive & completely intersectional baffles and infuriates me beyond belief. The fact that a trans* inclusive feminism statement even had to be written makes my heart ache. We sit and moralise how women should and shouldn't be, behave and not behave, wear and not wear rather than focus our attention on ACTUAL change. The crux of feminism for me is a woman's right to choose, ALL WOMEN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE! I want to dismantle a patriarchy that is dangerous to not only women but to many men. This is not something that is only for the privileged few.

Yesterday a new "feminist" publication launched and published a piece in favour of forced sterilisation. Now in what fucking universe is that even humane let alone feminist? Mentally disabled, mentally ill, physically disabled and WOC all over the world shuddered at this because it was and in some places still is a reality. This being a vile practice is not up for discussion! If you think it is, then you know what also isn't up for discussion? The fact that you're an absolute shitnozzle! Now I'm sure they did it as click bait, they want to show the world how edgy they are. Well congratulations you showed the world that you're a fucking dickhead!

I still cling on to the word feminist trying to desperately claw it back from the judgemental, racist, transphobic pile of steaming shit I see around me. So here is a list of what the word means to me:

  • Equality, freedom, liberation for ALL WOMEN.
  • Freedom of sexuality and to have as much or as little as you want. 
  • Trans* women are women so therefore they are included...and in other news water is wet and fire is hot.
  • Dismantling a patriarchy and kyriarchy that is dangerous to women AND men.
  • It is NOT about telling women what to do, wear or how to behave.
  • It is NOT about hating men. 
  • If we do hate certain men, think about why instead of telling us we're alienating.
  • It is about safety for everyone!
  • Dismantling rape culture because it is disgusting and damaging to everyone!
  • It is NOT about excluding certain women based on their CHOSEN profession. This includes Strippers, Glamour models and of course Sex workers. Again in other news water is wet.....
  • It is about understanding that some women have more privilege than others and some women are already more equal.
  • It is also about understanding that some women have a better lot in life that some men.  
  • It is NOT about excluding WOC or saying "we'll come back for you later" again...water is...fucking...wet....
  • It is about listening, learning and changing our behaviour if we're excluding women.
  • It is NOT about excluding physically or mentally disabled/ill I can't even say that shit any more. 
  • It is NOT about letting abusive men into a safe feminist space and it is about taking responsibility if you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, why does this shit even need to be said?!?!?!?! 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

On taking a joke.

My great uncle Ben used to sit me down on his knee and tell me Jewish jokes. They were hilarious and occasionally a little offensive. However he as a Jew had gone through some of the worst things imaginable. They had fled, some of the family stayed and some of them where caught and well we all know what happened during the Holocaust. When he told me these jokes I laughed and I learned about my history. If another Jew were to make these jokes to me now I would most likely laugh. I would perhaps even see myself in some of what they were joking about. However if a non Jew made some of these jokes I would not find them funny, I would find them anti-Semitic. I know, life is just so unfair.

I get a lot of jokes slung at me about my perceived militancy as a feminist. Personally I prefer the term fiercely feminist to militant feminist and for the love of god do not call me a feminazi. Not only is it disgusting to collate those two terms because of the history of Nazism but I'm a Jew and you're just being a dick. Now it's not that I can't or don't take the piss out of myself because I do and I am often the first to laugh at myself. However I've noticed a trend, it's nearly always men who have very little understanding of feminism or why we need it who make the jokes that really aren't funny. I've had men make hilarious jokes about feminism but they're funny because they have genuinely thought about what they're joking about. When you as a man make a joke about my belief that I am equal to you then you cross into dangerous territory where you are essentially belittling me. Lord help me when I joke back or am a little bit sarcastic because then all of a sudden I'm alienating or rude. If you're going to dish that shit out, trust me I am going to reciprocate and I will be brutal.

In finding a joke funny so much depends on WHO is saying it, WHEN they're saying it and HOW they're saying it. Who are they joking about? Are they taking the piss out of a vulnerable victim or are they taking the piss out of a horrendous part of our society that needs changing? I'll let you figure out which one I am more likely to find funny.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

On hurt feelings. (TW abuse, rape)

It seems I'm gaining a bit of a rep as a mean girl. It's true, I can be.

Let me explain. If you as a man want to be a feminist ally or indeed my friend I am going to be harder on you than I would be on a woman. I know, this is terribly unfair isn't it. You crying yet? Cause you might be come the end of this post.

I have never been abused by a woman, I have never been raped by a woman, I have never been completely 100% afraid of a woman, I have never been properly verbally abused by a woman, I have never had a woman get off the night bus and try to walk me home, I have never been cat-called by a woman, I have been harassed by a woman, I have never stalked by a woman....shit this list is getting long.

I'm not saying women don't do these things of course they do but I do not have direct daily experiences of it therefore I have not learnt to be wary of women.

There are many men in my life who I love and trust but they have earned it, they didn't just get given it. So if you think I should be careful with your fee-fee's when I call you out on your misogynistic bullshit listen to me very closely. I. Don't. Care!

Dear men of the world, I am not here to soothe your hurt feelings. I am not here to play nice with you. I bet you'd call me a bitch, wonder what you'd call me if I was a man?

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

On when I learnt no does not mean no a poem (TW rape)

I feel you in my body
The fire, burning deep inside of me, of us
Cursing through my veins like red hot liquid oozing
And I am ready and willing for you

But little did I know, that when I said yes to one man
I said yes to all men
I said yes to never being allowed to say no
I said yes to no never meaning no
To no meaning yes in spite of every fibre of my body telling me that it is not so
I gave in to yes and gave up my no
I learnt that my body is not always my own
Little did I know this when I said yes to you

That I automatically say yes even when it isn’t so

On the male feminist (a poem)

He is the new weapon

The new version, updated and ready to move in.

He strokes your hair and tells you “you are beautiful without the make-up that patriarchy forces you to wear”

He deems your sexuality unhealthy and wishes to make love to you softly. He ignores that you might WANT IT ROUGH!!

He has never listened to a woman, oh but he knows what’s best for them.

So fuck you male feminist and fuck you nice guy. Do not patronise me, do not think that I do not wish for agency of my own skin. But that is MY agency, one fought for by ME. And it is however I wish for it to be, you cannot tell me which sin to bear and which to toss aside. For I have loved every minute of my sin, of my choices that have filled, me, up with their hot, sticky, love.

Monday, 23 September 2013

On a poem to myself.

Dear body, why must you ache so?
The dull throbbing of fatigue cursing through your limbs.

Dear brain, why must you say such mean things?
What did I do to deserve such hateful words?

Dear body, why can’t you just co-operate?
I want to go out, dance and join in.

Dear brain, why must you make me so anxious?
It can’t be true that everyone hates me.

Dear body, why can’t you get out of bed?
I just want to be able to go about my day.

Dear brain, why must I justify everything to you?
I just want one day where you’re quiet and you’ll let me be.

Dear body, stop failing me.
Dear brain, balance yourself, please.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

On the "not all men" argument. (TW discussion of abuse)


Now that I've stated the obvious and my brain is bleeding out of my ears from doing so, let's get on with it.

Women and not least WOC and trans* women live in a world where they can and most often do experience perpetual abuse & harassment. Rape culture is now so pervasive that you can hardly move for it. No one has ever said that all men are guilty of this, or that all men harass because that would simply not be true. None the less, many of them do and most if not all women experience it almost daily.

You may wonder why it's so dangerous to say "not all men...." well not only are you deflecting and derailing the argument, you are shutting women up. Every time a woman who is harassed says something and you counter with "not all men.." it's like you're saying, there, solved that one for you. The "not all men" argument is redundant because the men who don't commit or are accepting of abuse are not the problem. Therefore those are not the men we talk about.

When you say "not all men" I hear "maybe this man". When you say "but I'm a nice guy" I hear "he's probably not a nice guy". When you say "my experience as a man" I hear "I have no interest in listening to you". Keep those things in mind next time a woman talks about her experiences and ways in which we can help solve this and makes things better for everyone. When you say "not all men" you're saying that you don't care or trust in her experiences. When you out-right call her a liar and patronise her she thinks "not all men, but definitely this man".

Thursday, 19 September 2013

On my body image. (TW ED mentions)

Yesterday I was inspired by another twitter user to talk about my body and the way others view it. Many people were agreeing with the same frustration we felt about how people treat our bodies.

For some reason when you're a curvaceous some-what overweight woman people feel it's ok to comment on it. They also feel the need to offer unsolicited exercise advice, diet tips and a perfunctory "well you're not THAT fat".

No, I'm not THAT fat. I am over-weight but you know what, I'm becoming increasingly ok with this. I'm slowly but surely beginning to love my body. I battled eating disorders for many years, the only time I have been truly thin I was also very sick. In my case thin did not equal healthy, somewhat overweight has however made me feel much healthier. I have more energy to do the things I enjoy. Those things by the way do not mean going to the gym. Not only do I absolutely not enjoy it I feel ashamed when people look at my body that way. I don't want to be poked, prodded and told in which areas I fail. This is partly the reason I stopped dancing, the intense scrutiny ruined my self-esteem.

I am incredibly aware of my body, it's movements and the way it looks. My breasts receive a lot of attention 95% of which is unsolicited, unwanted and quite frankly creepy. I am indeed in proportion with a smaller waist, a rotund behind and what is affectionately named "child bearing hips". An hour glass figure is sought after, I know this. But the hour glass figure that is sought after is one that still manages to be a UK size 6/8. This is not the hour glass figure that I have!

There are many lovely people in my life who try to make me feel better about my body by saying it's not as big as I think it is. I think it would be far more helpful to see beauty in a range of sizes rather than equating beauty with thin. When I say "I'm fat" instead of saying "no you're not, don't be silly" say "yes, and you're beautiful".

Please stop telling me it's ok cause I have a really pretty

Monday, 16 September 2013

On male feminists.

So this is entirely an opinion piece, though I make vague references I will not talk about any prominent ones specifically. I am not well informed enough nor was I directly affected. Those who were have written heart-wrenchingly and in great detail already.

This is just my current opinion, my opinions have been changing and growing a lot recently so they may of course change. I also mean no offence to the wonderful men in my life. Right disclaimers over!!!

Men can in theory be feminists, the problem is they're not very good in practice. I don't blame men entirely, we live in a society that gives prominence to men by luck of the draw at conception. Therefore I can understand that it can be difficult to take a step back. One argument I've heard is that if they take a step back then it can be seen as patronising "let the little lady talk" kind of way. I see this but I don't agree. That equality should be reached by any means or voices necessary, again I see this point but I don't agree. Equality (for want of a better word) won't happen if it's reached by male voices as it will mean that women still aren't equal. Just like any equality reached by only white, able bodied, middle-class, cis, straight women won't be equality either. Some might have it better yes but most still won't, this is not a feminism I want any part of.

I believe much of it is down to experience. Men can't experience what women go through on a daily basis just like I can't experience what WOC, disabled women, trans gender women or working class women experience. I've spent a lot of my life poor but I am and have always been middle class which means I had a leg up on working myself out of that poverty. All I can do is listen, learn and change my behaviour that hinders rather than helps. I can offer my voice in solidarity but I can never speak for anyone but myself.

If a man is truly feminist they don't spend their time explaining feminism to women. Instead they spend their time listening & learning. In an all male space I am grateful for those men who tell other men to change their behaviour rather than standing idly by as they harass or assault women. However if I am there, then I do not need you to speak for me. I am not interested in hearing about which women "do feminism right" and those who you believe alienate you. This is an instance where all I can think is "someone call the waahambulance". Nor do I appreciate being told how to present myself. If you think for one second I look the way I do for you then you are sorely mistaken.

Many of the men who want to be feminists are abusive. They have invaded a space and acted cruelly beyond belief. They have done more harm and caused more mistrust than I think many other men can fully understand. If men genuinely want to rebuild this they cannot play the "nice guy" card. There needs to be a fundamental understanding that women do not exist for the pleasure of men.

Patriarchy and kyriarchy hurts us all and I believe men are beginning to see this and how it effects them personally. This is an area where they can help make a change but only if they truly see the dominance which they hold in society. Only if they fight side by side not in front of us.

Remember this at all times men, I drink men's tears for breakfast, they make me beautiful & strong!

Monday, 9 September 2013

On making an important decision.

When I was 19 I met a man at University. I became very infatuated with this man even though it wasn't quite our time. We dated briefly and broke up before we headed home over the Summer. When I came back we bumped into each other at a party and not long after began dating again.

Our relationship was always quite difficult but we had plenty of good times too. It was difficult because we both struggled to commit but he especially struggled to. He could not completely let go of a past relationship which hurt me deeply. I couldn't let go of the fear that I had met the person I could see myself spending the rest of my life with at 19.

I rushed us into moving in together because knew instinctively that if we didn't we would break up. Though it was at times nice to live together it was a terrible idea. We quickly got stuck in a rut. As was inevitable we eventually broke up.

We stayed friends. I didn't want a new relationship. I felt happy being in love with a man who I was not together with as long as we stayed friends. We both tried other things. We hurt each other by doing this. 3 weeks ago we got back together. I am bonded to him.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

On the joy of a good selfie!

I was inspired to write this piece after reading another saying various bullshit reasons for why selfies are bad for feminism. There are many things I could think of as being bad for feminism, TERF's, MRA's, rape culture, lack of intersectionality, racism etc. These things are bad, what you do with you body hair or whether you take sexy photos of yourself isn't my top priority.

I struggled to read it all as it was a bit blah blah blah but in essence women are taught from a young age that their looks are probably their most important asset. Being a pretty girl is basically the be all and end all. Now I don't disagree with this, however what I prefer to question is our very narrow minded idea of what beauty is. If you go by western standards it's white, thin, long hair etc. whereas I believe beauty not only lies in the beholder but is so much more than what our media tells us. I rarely meet people I don't find beautiful whatever gender they are or identify as. Some people I find more mesmerising that others of course. Be proud of what you look like because you are beautiful (and all of the other things that you also are).

I like taking photos of myself doing silly faces, nice faces, dyeing my hair etc. I like posting them for others to smile or laugh with me. It's nice when someone calls me pretty (although I also enjoy intelligent and funny in equal measure) and it's nice to know when people find me attractive. I don't take my self worth from it but like I said, it's nice.

I also like seeing other peoples selfies. I like looking at people, I like them for who they are and what goes on in their head too. I like it when people are confident in what they look like and if you're not then you should be cause you're beautiful and it's true because I say so. So there!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

On privileged celebrities.

Oh wow there is so much going on in the news at the moment. Basically a bunch of famous privileged people behaving like arse hats. This is nothing new of course and people have been vocal about these things for a long time. Maybe I'm more involved or clued up now but I feel like I'm hearing those voices grow louder & stronger.

I was really hoping that people would take this opportunity to listen. I know, I'm naïve. I'm going to give credit where credit is due as I have spoken to many people who do seem to be taking things on board albeit with some disagreement here and there. Unfortunately what I've seen most of though from white people especially is more foot stomping and a refusal to listen. I've seen the usual level of denial mixed with slut-shaming mixed with poor shaming. I've seen the word bored thrown around which is something which made feel deeply uncomfortably. I've said it a couple of times already but I will say it again, only the privileged have the luxury to feel bored regarding important cultural discourse. It is hard to see oppression when you are generally the oppressor. This is something that white people do really need to think about. Did you hear that Miley?

And this brings me to the other arse hat in the news at the moment. A certain rich dude telling poor people they're doing poverty wrong. Also as you were once a spokesperson for Sainsbury's should you be telling people not to shop in supermarkets? I've said it once and I'll say it again, why don't you give some of that money to food-banks instead of telling poor people they shouldn't get a big TV? Also don't hate on cheesy chips you food fascist!!!!

Friday, 23 August 2013

On being the new Batman!

Ok, I lied. I'm not the new Batman. Totally wish I was though.

I kind of wish I was Batman because he probably doesn't suffer any street/sexual harassment. I do (most if not all women do) every single fucking day. Nope you did not read that wrong. Every day! Every single fucking day that I leave my house some guy or guys say something or looks me up and down. I have also on more than one occasion had strangers (always men) touch me. I could make a long list of what has been said to me but honestly I just don't have the time or the energy. I never know how to react, if I'm with friends I might say something but if I'm alone I wouldn't dare. I see myself as a strong woman but I'm just too scared. What if they hurt me? What if they verbally abuse me more?

How do we tackle this? How do we change a society that lets this happen? I don't know but I can't well go around wishing I was Batman all the time.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

On Facebook stalking and odious comparisons.

I did something very silly today, I looked at the Facebook page of one of the girls my ex boyfriend (who I've very recently got back together with) had liaisons with whilst we were apart. It was silly because a, it shouldn't matter b, it has only served to make me upset and c, she is incredibly beautiful so I began to compare myself to her.

She is most likely a rounded human being with perfections and imperfections alike but in my head she is now a beautiful, perfect goddess. It doesn't help that she is genuinely quite the beauty. Now here's the worst part, she is thin, much thinner than I. As someone who is recovering from ED (it may have been a long time ago now but you are essentially always "recovering") it's difficult in a way that many people will fail to comprehend. She is thin, she is something that I am not and however healthy and happy I may be (or show the world that I am) something I desperately long to be. I am better, I think about it less and my relationship with food now is healthy, full of wonder and curiosity. However these things are a trigger, comparing myself to a woman whom I might have been attracted to myself if had I met her. Odious comparisons based on nothing but photos of a very beautiful woman.

I do not like to talk about my MH issues very publicly (or online) not because I am ashamed but because I am scared and I do not wish to be defined as a whole by a part of who I am. I do not wish for pity or for people to be careful with me. So I apologise to those who do not know me in person if ever my posts are a little vague.

My only thought however irrational, untrue or down-right stupid is "she is thin & beautiful, I am not".

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

On love & compassion.

I've been thinking even more about how we treat each other and one thing that always sticks in my mind is "lack of compassion". I see this sometimes in people I meet and also very much online. Especially within feminisms exclusionary groups. I like to spend much of my time watching, reading and listening. There is much anger, an anger I believe should be listened to. One that has brewing for a seemingly long time. Anger can be vey destructive but it is often healthy. It can wake us up to voices that we did not want to listen to before. It can open up new doors for open and inclusive discourse. In my personal experience of anger it's a way of letting go, spewing forth all the things that have been kept inside for so long.

I also watch many people stomp their feet and shout about how hurt their feelings are. If you're feelings are hurt when someone talks about the abuse they have suffered from you then I'm afraid that your hurt is not valid. You need to listen, apologise and learn from the experience. You are NOT the one being abused!

I'm not going to go all soppy here and talk about our need to love in great detail. Except to say it is much easier to love than to hate, it is much easier to treat people with love and compassion than with hate, it is much easier to include than to exclude.

Monday, 19 August 2013

On being called an attention seeker.

This has happened to me a few times in my life, usually by older slightly more conservative people. I think it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of "alternative" cultures. The idea that because you look different from "the norm" you are doing so to command attention from others. Personally I look the way I do because it makes me happy, it's fun but also it is a little bit of an armour. If I were to strip it all away and look natural I would feel uncomfortable, unhappy, naked and possible quite distressed. I cannot deny that it draws attention but I am not deliberately seeking it.

However it did get me thinking, would we ever call a man an attention seeker? A loner, weirdo, creative maybe even mad but an attention seeker? What about if they're loud and brash would we use it then as we do with women? I can't think of an instance where I have ever called or thought about a man as an attention seeker but I have about a woman. I feel like a hypocrite when I think about this. Also is it really so bad to crave attention? Don't we all to some degree want people to pay us attention, to feel wanted and included in a situation?

We adhere much more negative connotations when we talk about women than when we talk about men. We use our language to put women down and reduce them to nothing but objects wanton of multi dimensions. Our language is littered with it. Slut for a girl who says yes, friend zone for a girl who says no, bitch for a girl who speaks her mind, lonely or unfulfilled when they choose to be childless, a traitor to feminism if a mother chooses to stay at home with her child. Asking for it, hot mess, damaged, victim, broken, manic pixie dream girl, cold, she's more like a guy, let herself go, dress for your size, holds a grudge, faux feminist, easy, man eater, nice tits, cooorrr yeeaaah, so can I watch you kiss that girl?, you just need a decent cock in you!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

On how we treat each other (a musing).

Over the past few days I've been going through some pretty shitty personal stuff. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how we treat each other. Not just those we love but people around us in general.

I've been wondering a lot about why we exclude, lack compassion or feel the need to put people down. I wonder why we are cruel and deceitful to those we claim to love the most. Is there something inherent in us that makes us manipulate or abuse? And for those of us with a lot of privilege (myself of course included) why we feel the need to keep certain people from being equal to us? I won't deign to imagine that I have anything other than patronising solutions, in many instances it is for me to just stand beside in solidarity but know that I have nothing else to offer. You may have from me whatever you want. I'm learning.

On a personal level, when someone tells you what they need from you know this is genuinely what they need from you. When you continue to cause pain they will slowly retreat. 

I've also been thinking about how we treat those we work with or receive a service from. As soon as we see someone as below us we think we can pretty much speak to them any way we want. If we don't get what we want we stomp our feet and treat them with distain. We are thoughtless.

People are people and people get hurt, be nicer dickheads.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

On all the anger I have spilling out over the edges. (Possible TW)

I'm angry at all the people who have made me feel bad for calling myself certain things. I'm angry at Richard Dawkins for being such a dickwad that I feel bad about calling myself an atheist. I'm not going to defend why I call myself that just because he's a shit but I blame him for giving it a bad name.

I'm angry at those white feminists who hold us back. Asking us to be quiet and attacking those who question them. I want to question everything and when you don't give a shit about people or exclude them then I'm going to stop listening to you completely. It may be childish but you can't even respond properly to the people asking you to listen to them. You block them on twitter instead, well done.

I'm angry at men who just refuse to listen, angry at the ones calling themselves feminist but not letting me speak. I'm angry at those who berate and try to insult me by saying that "everyone who's attacking me has the same twitter bio hahahaha". Maybe that should be telling you something? All these people identifying as something calling you out on the same thing.

I'm angry at high profile women saying that child abuse victims can be predatory, that's it on that. I can't actually say anything else because I think I might fall apart if I do.

I'm angry at personal life shit. I'm angry at myself, I'm angry at the world because people aren't listening. I'm angry at my own failings as a white cis feminist, I want to be better.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

On being someone who makes inappropriate jokes.

I'm not going to tell you some of them because it's utterly mortifying. I'm one of those awful people who's not very good and thinking before I speak. Don't worry, I'm working on it! I don't tend to get embarrassed by much but this does get to me. These things slip out, it's like I can see the words flowing out of my mouth. I can hear the joke forming in my head and it's almost like a compulsion to speak it. Afterwards I usually feel awful, mean, embarrassed, thoughtless and all other adjectives you can think of.

Now of course people have a right to make any jokes just like we all have a right to be utterly horrified by some of them (see rape jokes). I'm not saying I'm not allowed to make jokes just that I really need to do my best to think & hold back at certain times. I do always follow it up with apologising profusely afterwards. I would save myself and the other person much embarrassment and hurt by just not doing it in the first place.

On the flip side though some of my terrible jokes have been successful, very successful even. Maybehaps I need to work on gauging situations and people as much as thinking before I speak.

What about you? What bad trait are you most mortified about?

Monday, 5 August 2013

On #twittersilence.

Lots of people have been writing about this and have probably done a much better job than I can. However I want to talk about it too, because I'm not very good at being silent. I have no interest in being silent. I used to like Caitlin Moran, I read "How to be a feminist" and thought it was hilarious. Then I started reading her tweets and well, I stopped liking her. Now of course I know that girl hate is a bad thing and I don't hate her, I certainly don't dislike her because she's a girl. I dislike her because she says really horrible things to anyone who disagrees with her, people are allowed to disagree with you Caitlin! She makes really horrible jokes about AIDS and trans* people and when people call her out she calls THEM abusive. Then because lots of  her privileged, white feminist friends have been attacked on twitter she starts #twittersilence. Firstly she never spoke up when other feminists (who happened not to be white or her friends) were being attacked, secondly I don't think silence is the answer. That's what they want, they call them trolls but I refuse to. They're not trolls they're usually men. Not all men, but some men, horrible awful terrible men, not trolls. Trolls are cute with their fluffy blue and pink hair. I used to wear one as a necklace so I get really upset when people are mean about trolls.

I'm white so I have tons and tons of privilege, however I am Jewish (although I don't believe in god) so I've had some nasty things said about me. The most commonly used one at school was "Jude hora" which translates as "Jewish whore". Was I silent when I was called that? Was I fuck! Am I going to be silent now, or ever? AM I FUCK!!!!!!