Blazing Flames of Hope

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend a Women’s March yesterday but I spent most of my day in contact with friends attending, following Twitter and other live updates. I found it incredibly exciting.

For me, and many I know, we moved from 2016 to 2017 under a cloud of global negativity, dejection, grief, so on and so forth! Yesterday, however, was the day when the sun came out, the negativity turned positive and the dejection turned into a fighting hope.

Spending the past hour pouring over images of women, men and children marching together, marching in peace and projecting one loud and clear message of equality and hope has put a huge smile on my face!

It is something that will be said over and over, but we cannot allow the anger to dissipate. We have to hold onto this fire and march forward, the dialogue must be open, it must be understanding, it must be inclusive. Despite the events of 2016, the effects of which we are still yet to feel, we must hold our ground and not allow so much progress to be regressed!

A woman’s place is in the Resistance, and we must resist united!

Men confess what feminine things they’d do if stereotypes didn’t exist

It was refreshing to wake up this morning with a clear head, a rarity these days living in a regressed state teaching abroad in Spain. Anyway, with Fighting Talk on the radio, eating pancakes and sipping fresh coffee I set about on a morning internet surf…

I came across a great article titled as above, here is the link https://www.the-pool.com/news-views/opinion/2017/2/what-men-would-do-if-stereotypes-didnt-exist

The article discusses a recent Reddit post in which male contributors relay the things they would do if they weren’t deemed to be ‘too feminine’ by wider society, these ranged from sewing to yoga pants to buying flowers. The responses from other men were encouraging, supportive and friendly which in the world of Reddit is not always the case. It can be a dark place filled with all the bad -isms of the world and it was refreshing to see it in a different light.

There was, however, a sentence in the article that didn’t sit quite so well with me:

“Feminism has been working to break down the female stereotypes which, in turn, prop up the ideals of what a man should be.”

As a friend with whom I shared the article noted too, surely the breaking down of female stereotypes also serves to break down male stereotypes? Surely we don’t prop them up? I hope that this is not how it is perceived, if it is the case then we are doing something wrong.

The inclusion of men in the feminist debate is all-important. We need men to be able to express themselves as much as women too, the high numbers of young men with depression is something we need to discuss more in society as the knock-on effects this can have are all our problem.

 

Still Reading Ladies

I’m not very consistent with these posts, but I have been consistent with my 2016 New Year Resolution – reading female authors.

Besides two summer exceptions, which were definitely worth it – Yoga for people who can’t be bothered to do it by Geoff Dyer and The Tortilla Curtain by T.C Boyle – I read books by females all year.

As the year progressed more and more people around me became interested in the idea, requesting I share with them my list of books or inquiring as to what I had gained from the experience. In truth, when I read I get consumed by the story, I fall easily into the setting and the characters and this is the same for each book be it by a man or a woman.

It appears obvious to note that novels by female authors have predominately female protagonists, hence many of the characters, if not more relatable are at least more understandable. My intention in reading more female authors was innocently that of supporting females in literature who, like in many other industries, are often overshadowed by males.

As Christmas rolled around it felt natural, when asked what I wanted as a present, to ask for books. It turns out everyone caught wind of my foray into female lit and all in my family were regaled with female books, it was great to see!

A number of the books I was very lucky to receive are non-fiction, this is a first for me besides the endless essays and critiques I read during my degree. All are by women, and so here goes 2017’s Resolution – to begin my non-fiction female reading (not the whole year, I still need my story-time). To begin with I have The War on Women and the brave ones who fought back by the wonderful Sue Lloyd-Roberts.

What your [blank] says about you

As a human being there are millions of factors that have contributed to what makes me me – both genetic and that of outside influence. I think we could all agree on this, right?

In this age of rife narcissism it seems that people require more and more frequent verification of their status as a human being. I often stumble on empty articles that are titled ‘What your hairstyle says about your personality’ and ‘What your best sex position is according to your zodiac sign’. Now, most people that know me would call me a cynic, but to me this is just obvious bullshit, no?

How can me wearing a low pony or a tight bun determine my personality and tell you whether I am more of a Blake Lively or an Ariana Grande? The abundance of these articles tell me there must be an easily influenced audience for such crap. It tells me, and this is solely my opinion, about the need for confirmation that young girls are just as good as the celebrities they admire, that they too have this so called ‘star quality’.

Is this a dumbed down psychology for the masses? I don’t fully understand the purpose of these articles, maybe I am wrong on their audience. Any enlightenment would be appreciated.

Reading Ladies

Although not terribly late in the year, I am proud to say that my New Year Resolution is still in tact and growing stronger by the book – I didn’t choose to quit smoking (though I will one day soon), I most definitely couldn’t make it through January dry and the thought of joining a gym fills me fear and self-consciousness induced mild panic. Instead I resolved to read, not just to read more but read female.

I thought of my previous years literature and realised that the majority of it was written by male authors. My thoughts moved then to wondering which female authors I had a read as an adult, I knew many names but had not really delved into their books. As a child and teenager I had got the most joy from books by female authors – from the heart breaking stories in Marita Conlon-McKenna’s Children of the Famine trilogy, Jacqueline Wilson’s tumultuous family tales to Louise Rennison making my sides split with the teen tales of Georgia Nicolson and her really big knickers. I knew for sure then that this was my year for female literature.

I wouldn’t claim to be the best read person around by a long shot but it was while I was compiling my reading list that I realised how much I had been missing out on. Never had I intentionally avoided female writers, it is just the way it worked out – I can’t blame any outside influences either, I don’t think at least. Over the years, however, I have identified more and more with the feminist movement and was quite disgraced with myself by how little one of my biggest passions, reading, had taken this on board when it seemed such an obvious thing.

Anyway, so far I have read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tar Baby by Toni Morrison and am about to embark on some Virginia Woolf.

I have a extensive list but suggestions would be welcomed!

KardashianBlocker Anyone?

After having spent the day preaching Maya Angelou poems to my students on International Women’s Day I had positive vibes flying around me. They had been engaged, they had been interested and above all they had something to say on the matter – which isn’t always the case.

My mood has managed to take a dive though. Whilst scrolling through Facebook I was confronted by yet another picture of a Kardashian. Another nude photo. Another argument on Twitter. And for me another eye roll. This time however, I genuinely felt dispirited. I have spoken today of inspirational women, of women that have achieved something great, of women who stood for something worthwhile and yet this click-bait is what is the most read.

I have never understood the phenomenon, I never will. Reality TV has never floated my boat but I know plenty of people that watch it. To me it is bizarre that a large percentage of earth actually gives a shit about this family, they actually give a shit about their actual shit?

I think I’ve waited long enough for their popularity to fade but it doesn’t appear to be happening – my question now is how can I erase them from my line of vision? We have access to Ad Blockers – is there no such invention as a Kardashian Blocker? Please world, I know I don’t stand alone in this, please help!