The catch 22 of feminism

MILKSHAKE-DUBAI-catch22-hairyarmpitsblogCatch 22 Bar. Source: mesvacancesadubai.com

There was an argument I read a while back that shook my core beliefs. Or at the very least, made me question them:

The simple statement, ‘I want equality for women’ does not necessarily help the cause. It is behind the next phase. The next phase being – women are equal, women are empowered, now what? How can we improve? How can we develop as a sex? Yes, we have issues, what can be done about it, etc.

This almost post-feminist rhetoric is powerful.

Phenomenal-Woman-maya-angelou-hairyarmpitsblog-Maya. Source: visi.co.za

I like the statement Maya Angelou made – I am not a feminist, I am a woman, and that is a wonderful thing to be. (If you can find the reference to this, please let me know, I saw it a few years ago.)

Is there a difference? Yes, and it is very slight. There is a slight implication of victimhood. Perhaps the position of victim of this culture, this inequality, this life, is only an outside perception, and not meant by the statement ‘I am a feminist’ at all.

But somehow, it is unavoidably tied with the idea of injustice. And this may be so. The inequality is real… But if you want something to move forward, focusing on the problem and not the solution will not get you anywhere. (This may also not be the case. Prove me wrong if you like!)

are-you-a-feminist-or-feminist-ally-me.me-hairyarmpitsblogKorean. Source: me.me

The point I am getting at is, perhaps there is a new and exciting and more empowering way of stating who we are and what we want.

I am proud of what my feminist sisters have done and fought for. What we’re still doing and being today. Isn’t it time we honoured all that work with a new wave? Of women who are women who already believe they are equal? Surely this strength and belief would bring about equality and a demand for our rights to be met, in the most effective way possible?

After all of this thought, I had to ask, do I still see myself as a feminist?

The answer is yes. While I cannot say that I do believe that staying in feminism forever is the right path for women, I could not deny the belief I have for equality. I could not deny my sisters who say ‘what other choice do we have but to be feminists?’

And so I stand by and with them.

pinky-swear-womennow.in-hairyarmpitsblogI’m a feminist. Pinky swear. Source: womennow.in

But I will say, there’s something for being proud of being a woman (feminist or not). A soul focus on the strength of women, over the inequality being faced could be a game-changer.

And so, while I honour our past, I am set on the future, baby. And it’s lookin’ bright.

bright-future-bitcoinist.com-hairyarmpitsblogBright future. Source: bitcoinist.com

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We need to talk…

emma-watson-hiding-maya-angelou-cute-hairyarmpitsblog“Are you a feminist?” Source: thecut.com

Recently I went to my French class (I am living in Paris, and still do not speak fluent French, I thought it was time to change that this year) and in it there are mostly women, and a few men from all over the globe.

When we reached the subject of feminism I was astounded and pleasantly delighted to find that, as the teacher asked ‘who here is a feminist?’ all of the class’s female occupants put their hands up.

This was something I had never seen before. I, naturally, shared this blog with them, and just as we were all leaving said I had never been around a group of so many women who believed in the same values of equality for women as me.

girls-talking-iceland-girltalk-hairyarmpitsblogGirls talking. Source: girltalkhq.com

After class, what one of the women said struck me as important: ‘I never really talk about it with other women.’

And neither do I.

How crazy is that? The only way that we can spread the idea of equality is surely through talking about it.

So that question, ‘are you a feminist?’ can open up worlds of support and inspiration, that would otherwise be closed off from us. Some of my closest friends are highly intelligent and inspiring women, and yet I have never asked them this simple question.

I have mostly spoken only to men about the subject, but hardly ever to women…

Well, I think it’s about time we start, don’t you?!

 

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Who were you born to be?

lady gaga born this way tatto tattoodo.com

Women’s problem in society is one that we are all facing. It’s just a very specific way of feeling it –  that disconnect. That disconnection from who we really are.

It’s the ‘pretty hurts’ part of society and culture.

Because when we try and be the ‘women’ (or the cardboard cutout) of what we think we ought to be, over what we actually want, we lose contact with ourselves. And that’s when we lose power.

barbie box woman
Barbie’s friend. Source: pinterest.com

As Kyle Cease says: we lose what life is all about when we lose connection with ourselves. When we trade in who we are and our connection to ourselves for an outside ‘reality’ or aim… this can happen with anything for anyone.

But for women, it is more likely to be trying to be ‘pretty’… trying to be attractive, trying to attract a mate – because that’s what society says gives you your worth – not who you are, or what you’ve done, or your achievements.

It’s only us that can say that who we are is what gives us something. That it is everything.

selfie for approval
Selfie. pinterest.com

The point is, that in all this trying to get approval from… someone, from the outside, we lose the inside. And how do we start that journey, of finding out who we are and what we want?

I honestly don’t know.

I believe in just acknowledging the fact that this pressure exists, and even more than that, on some level or another, that we (well, a lot of us!) want to adhere to it, in order to have things perfectly natural and desirable to us, like having a mate or acceptance, or love…

Weirdos having fun. Source: pinterest.com
Weirdos having fun. Source: pinterest.com

Thing is, when we connect to ourselves, to what we want, to the unique and outpouring everlasting and overflowing expression that is us… when we feel full of our souls, those things come naturally. I mean, who doesn’t want to be around someone like that?

Someone simply trying to ‘be pretty’ ends up being 2D. That’s not because they’re now a boring person. It’s because they’re hiding, from themselves and others, who they really are.

And if you fit into that box, if pretty really is you, then go you!

lady gaga giff be strong

I’m just saying, that for the rest of us. For the ‘ugly’ girls by default, the weird ones, who don’t fit into a norm that was never made for us, but for men selling things to women so other men could watch us, and we would hope to get their approval.

I’m just saying. There is more than that.

There is, so much more to us. To our future daughters. To our future sons.

And when you see it – notice it. And applaud it.

beyonce quote
Yoncé.

Because in each person that stands up to be

who they are or stands up against ‘the box’ that we’re meant to fit into, another future girl can find it in her own self- in her own soul – to really question who she wants to be, not in the world – but in her world – her own world.

And to every weirdo out there, fully connected to themselves, I say thank you. You give us the courage to stand up and be who we really are. Because, if she can do it, so can I.

Thanks so much for your support of the site so far, your contributions remind me that writing this really might be making a difference. And that’s the whole point! Thanks so much for your gifts ❤

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In response to… the ‘right to pester’

Right to pester
Catherine Deneuve.

Recently a letter was signed by over 300 women, who are claiming to be against the #metoo movement, and are arguing for men’s ‘right to pester’.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you will know my views about #metoo, and if you haven’t, then I’ll save you the suspense- I’m all for it!

I do believe that women being able to talk about their frustrations, fears or grief around sexual violence, or even pesterings, is a wonderful thing. The idea of anything less would be to say ‘pipe down woman and get me a sandwich’, which be quite a vulgar phrase to use.

That said, I was very interested to hear the opinions of these women, one of whom is Catherine Deneuve, who have offered a different opinion on the matter. In the signed letter, they were talking about the idea of seduction. That feminism comes from a feeling of injustice, and so it simply cannot be anywhere near the idea of seduction.

To the contrary, the feminism I know is to do with respect, which, in my eyes, has everything to do with being a whole and healthy human being, which is seductive in and of itself.

The issue these women have with the #metoo movement is not with those that have actually suffered abuse, it is the kind of catcalling women receive on the street (certainly in a city) on a regular basis.

They believe that men may feel put off from seducing women, and want to let them know that they should, indeed, have the ‘right to pester’.

Where do I stand on this?

I am aware that we are all humans. We have the desire to procreate written deep into our cells. Man will always desire woman, and vice versa (and a lot of wonderful people outside of this heteronormative construct will always be attracted to each other 😉 love ya!) … Overall, sex is going to happen!

I do believe it can be a real fun part of life, being hit on and hitting on someone. A man should not be chastised just for wanting to stick his penis inside a woman. If  I may be so crude – a lot of women want penises inside them!

The problem is not sex. It’s not even the desire for sex. Lets be clear here, it’s being hit on by ugly men! (Ok, I’m joking, but that’s probably a part of some women’s repulsion!)

No, the main problem is the way the seduction or lack thereof is gone about. A simple smile and a hello when you see an attractive woman, surely could not be considered an impingement or offensive act. Calling out offensive things to women is one, just annoying, and two, will likely never work. It does feel a little like being, as Iliza Schlesinger so aptly puts it, ‘shot with a dick gun’.

It is a difficult balance to achieve. On the one hand, if you’re being hit on for the fifth time that day and all you want to do is get home and hang out in your pyjamas with your girlfriend and eat cheerios, I hear your pain, girl. At the same time, if you’re one of those guys out there living his life, desperately horny and sick of jacking it off to unrealistic sex on the internet, I also feel you (although, not that way, sorry, bro’). It’s a conundrum. All I can say is, if you’re going to hit on someone, be polite, don’t follow them, or ask them three times for their number or stare at their tits. The basics. Don’t yell at them or whistle for them to heel like dogs!

But, the point is that, we’re looking for an ideal world, here. In an ideal world, all men would be expert seducers, with high-emotional intelligence, and wonderful manners. The problem is, people come in all shapes and sizes. And there is always going to be the weirdo on the bus who slurs the word ‘avocado’ at you while he looks at your feet like he wants to eat them.

That said, I am not for the ‘right to pester’, never for pestering rights – because no one likes being pestered! Being pestered is about as sexy as a fly stuck in a jar. But. The only way I can feel empowered in this paradigm is to accept the sexual part of the human experience. To accept the fact that men are attracted to women and that they need to express it. (If not only because otherwise, we would all die out!) Even the ugly ones. Even the ones with buckteeth and low IQ scores, yes.

And I am hoping that certain men can learn a little more the art of seduction, rather than the art of pestering. (Although none of them are likely to ever be reading this blog post.)  I suppose the little things that break down a woman’s confidence can be just as harmful as a full-blown attack.

At least that can be pointed out. Women don’t go up to men and say things like, ‘can I touch your balls!’

So… I reject your right to pester, ladies. But I do allow the right to gentlemanly seducing. As Sandrine Muller said, ‘There is seduction and seduction’ – no one will ever accuse you of harassment for writing a poem.

Show ’em hows it’s done, David! …

And as always, thanks in advance for any gifts ❤

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She for He – #hecancry

#mencancryMan crying. Source – guardian.ng

I just had a huge epiphany: That we, as feminists, may have been missing a trick.

I think one of the largest problems with feminism today (as in, its efficacy), is that the word often, without meaning to, creates estrangement. Men can feel isolated and like it isn’t something for them to be involved with…

I happen to believe that the missing piece is connection. Women and men need to see each other as individual people, that is the only way these barriers can be broken.

I was recently talking to a friend, who told me that I was more than the colour of my skin or the gender of the body I am in. That was a huge compliment, as I believe all great people can be defined by who they are, and not where they were born, their parents, their upbringing etc. At a certain point, a person surpasses their physical boundaries: Maya Angelou. Martin Luther King. Lana Wachowski. John Lennon. Prince.

Maya Angelou. Source – quote ambition

“A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”

Men go through crippling difficulties with not being able to express emotion in a world that is too busy to hear. Many men die because of this lack of support, and connection.

sad man.jpgMan in pain. Source – blocksoflife

I am not saying women don’t have it hard. There are many problems for women to deal with in this modern age, too. Many that it may be hard for men to understand. In the same way women may never fully understand the difficulties they face. If you’re feeling a resistance to helping men, I get it. We feel unheard, often unseen. Surely the first step, again, is connection.

We are not so different. We are all human. And just because we have not experienced their problems, and vice versa, it does not mean we can’t help each other out. We need unity more than ever now.

emma-watson-cares-and-so-should-you__1500x670_q85_crop_subsampling-2Emma Watson. Source – globalcitizen

“Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too.”

As Emma Watson said so eloquently in her speech, men have problems, too. Helping men to express their feelings and to connect, in my mind, can only help women… and men.

So here’s my proposal… to post the hashtags #hecancry #warriorscry #sheforhe along with a supportive message to all men.

This is a way of showing that feminists can support men. I believe that men and women supporting each other is crucial if we are to work together in the future.

Men play a large role in helping us to reach equality, and being kind is always a good thing. I believe it is time to show that while we need men’s help (#heforshe), men can be just as benefited and lifted up as we can. It’s also time for #sheforhe #strongmencry #warriorscry #hecancry

As always, thanks in advance for any gifts ❤

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Why we needed #metoo

Why we needed metoo Taylor Blake FlickrTree woman. Source – flickr

Recently a friend said to me that she didn’t think so many of those using the metoo hashtag needed to kick up too much of a fuss. Most of them were probably only verbally sexualised on the street, was her theory. Maybe it was just people making a fuss about nothing, right?

The thing is, if you’ve never experienced sexual violence of any kind, you are the lucky ones. That’s not to say this is a bad thing. We want more and more ‘lucky’ young women, and the #metoo movement isn’t just about making people lucky- it’s about making being safe the norm, for everybody.

As someone who has been attacked, I couldn’t find the words to say, ‘no, it IS needed.’ Because still the shame runs deep through my veins. So I decided to write this post instead.

If someone slaps a woman’s ass on the street, it’s no big deal, right? I mean, it’s not rape. It’s not murder. My issue with this attitude is this – one disrespectful act can lead to another.

I know not everything in life needs to be taken seriously, but when one of our sisters or brothers speaks out against injustice, especially when it is so hard to break this silence , we need to accept their reality as truth. And to listen.

#Metoo was a huge deal for those that were brave enough to speak out. And denying the fact that it ever happened is simply denying a larger problem, and that needs to be addressed.

beth budestheim painting

Connected woman. Source: bethbudeshiem.com

We cannot keep raping our mother. Sexual violence is the worst kind of violence because it is a misuse of sacred feminine energy, it is a misuse of love. And it is a deep hurt, sadness and longing, for real love.

The reason we need this truth, is for unity, for all those who are grieving their pain, together. And for an awareness, that voices will be raised, and this is acceptable, no more. No more. No more.

Oprah. Source – the Tube

War No More

I just got the news that the UK, US and France decided to send another load of bombs over to Syria. Well, that was smart. Who knows why the real reason is, but I sure as hell don’t believe that the innocent men women and children that were killed as a result were harmed because the politicians were so concerned for our safety and well-being.

arianna-grande-concert-attack-manchesterAttack in Manchester. Source- thetube

This attack most definitely harms our well-being. As new ideas fill grief-stricken and (rightly) angry minds of those that have just lost their loved ones, guess who’s going to get it in the neck? That’s right, more Ariana Grande fans. More people on the bus. More people on the underground.

 

So people of the UK, US and France need to be careful now – if you live in a large city, try to be aware of large groups of people, of how you could be run down by a car. I’m not saying live in fear. I’m just saying, be aware – because in the next few years – we’re gunna get it in the neck for this, while the politicians that thought this would be a fun idea that they can probably make some profit off of it, reap the benefits.

DagxQJaV4AAS6XBSyrian children. Source – twitter

“What kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of men, women and children?” Trump asked. Well, you tell me, ’cause you’re the one organising all this atrocity!

Obviously, as a pacifist, I’m annoyed. But as a human being, I’m livid that these acts have been performed in my name. That people are in pain, and as someone who is from the UK, and, now living in France, I am disgusted at how these nations have acted.

Killing only creates more killing and it pains me every time I hear that another bomb has been dropped. In France, to have an ‘air strike’ means you have to change your flight times because the pilot is not happy with his pay. It does not mean this kind of shit.

happy-pilot-ready-to-fly.pngHappy pilot. Source – howtobecome.xyz

I’m so enraged, and wondering what, if anything I can do about this. It seems the world is in a huge mess and the worst possible things are happening, whether it be a Brexit that represents a fear of losing what we have, a fear of diversity and inclusion, or connectedness.

To Trump taking over, with his large (rather entertaining at times) ego, and now this. The beginning of what I feared when I heard that he had become president. I don’t mind Trump himself, don’t get me wrong. If he were at a party, I might avoid him as the drunk Uncle who makes no sense. But on his own, I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy, really. It’s what he represents that scares me. He can go from a funny caricature to a very serious threat to humanity in seconds flat.

donald-trump-donkey-hotey-caricature.jpgTrump caricature. Source – Flickr

I’m writing this because I feel annoyed about how there’s nothing I can seemingly do to stop this kind of behaviour.

I am writing because if you don’t SAY something, at least, then this behaviour can carry on, seemingly ok with society. ‘Well, they didn’t say anything, so…’

No.

If Martin Luther King hadn’t raised his powerful voice, we would not be where we are today – better off for those words. So, it may be little. It may not be much, just a small and insignificant blog post. But I had to say something and take a stand today.

I am writing, to say – to those in Syria, there are people in the UK who are on your side, and we are shouting, screaming WAR NO MORE.

#warnomore #Syrie

 

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