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.