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!