10 ways to get comfortable using the ‘f’ word

feminist lookbookSwag. Source: lookbook

It has taken me just over a year to begin feeling comfortable with calling myself a feminist, with putting it on my site, even.

Here’s how you can, too!

Try telling your friends and people who support you

It’s funny to me as I meet new friends and they gasp (maybe not quite gasp), but as they wonder at how I could be so bold as to say that I am. I used to wonder if I could be so bold, also, but now, it’s really become easy, old hat.

My newest friend asked me if I get a lot of negative reactions, and the answer is honestly, no. I do see negative reactions to feminist videos, to anything that might resemble a woman standing up for her rights or talking about other women as if they had rights (audacious, I know!) but I personally have never had anything close to abuse or negativity about my views. (Touch wood!)

Talk with other feminists

Being in a group where you know there will be no retribution and will support your views is always a good thing. A lot of the people I follow on twitter I know are feminists or supporters of feminism (if they’ve not quite got there yet!)

Perhaps this is because I am always networking with those of like-minded thoughts.

I don’t get into comment fights if I can avoid it, and any comments I make are only for what I believe is a positive step for feminism – I express my enthusiasm, and it’s very difficult to argue with someone who has not even given an opinion, only expressed a feeling of joy that equality is that little bit closer for all women.

Express your feelings, not your opinions

This is not to say that voicing your opinion is not a good idea, it’s simply for those that don’t want to get in a fight about what they intrinsically believe – and why should they if they don’t have to? The idea is to stand up for what we believe in, not to bring others down who don’t believe in it.

Empathise with those who don’t believe what you believe

When some people say why you should shut up or shouldn’t call yourself a feminist specifically it can be hard to hear, if that’s what you identify as. But empathising with those statements, i.e. seeing the feelings and needs behind them can allow you to accept any differences of opinion. We’re allowed to disagree.

Plus, a bonus of this is people expect a dehumanising argument sent back their way. If you instead try to connect with their statement, it will at least confuse them, and at best, help both parties to feel heard and understood.

Know that you don’t have to use ‘the word’

Some people just don’t like the word ‘feminist’ I’m not sure why, and I will be writing a post on that topic next, because when it comes to it, it simply means wanting women to have basic human rights¬†and equality.

But, just because I use the word for myself, doesn’t mean YOU have to. -Who cares?! A word is a word, and it’s my own right to identify as any identity I want to, and it is yours, too.

And if you do like the idea of equality, you might come to call yourself a feminist just to yourself, as I did, at first. It’s not like I go around with an ‘I am a feminist’ t-shirt on all day. I don’t talk about it all day long to complete strangers – it’s just a part of who I am – what I believe in – and why I write these posts in my attempt to empower myself and other women.

You don’t have to give up lipstick

Or make-up. Or hair products. Or being girly. Or manly. You don’t have to be angry all the time. Or give up having fun. Or laughing. Or having sex. Or not having sex.

It’s just about equal rights… Not about hating.

Shout it out

As Caitlin Moran suggests, try standing on a chair and yelling out words like ‘feminist’ and ‘environment’ until they become as natural as saying chocolate or macadamia nuts. (bonus points if you got the Eat, Prey, Love reference)

Use a disclaimer

The first post I ever wrote on this blog was about how not all feminists are dungarees-wearing, bra-burning, hairy-arm-pitted lesbians. I explained who I was, how I am JUST interested in equality for women.

Remember, it’s not your responsibility how other people react to you

This is simply that a friend of mine told me maybe the word feminist isn’t so good’er idea to use the actual word. It might offend some people. But that’s because they don’t know who I am, and they don’t know what I’m about. And they have their own stuff going on.

And that’s ok, but it’s not my responsibility to help them out. I might want to. I might want to clear some things up. To use a disclaimer. In that case, I would. But I am what I am as they say, so I’m not about to go around apologising all the time if they can’t believe me, the same way they don’t need to for disagreeing with me.

Remember, it’s about individuals

We’re all different. Some people won’t agree with you. No matter what you say. So you may as well say, quite simply, what you believe in.

I choose to use the ‘f’ word. Because it defines easily what I believe and any misconception that it means anything other than (I’ll say it again!) wanting equal rights for women, is a shame, but I have stated simply in what I believe and if someone chooses not to take my word for it, that’s really their prerogative. I don’t have to prove my beliefs to them.

In the same way, I am a pacifist, no one questions what this means.

Being a feminist, to me, is the same. And that’s my prerogative

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be ‘weak’ or ‘whiny’

You don’t have to be a ‘victim’ to be a feminist. You just need to want equality. It’s. really. That. Simple.

You can be super strong and want equality (if you like). Like Michele Obama ūüôā

You can give feminism a good name

Feel like feminists have a bad rep? Well, you can change that.

Anyway, I’m not saying deciding to take that great leap and claim the name is easy. But I will say that if you are brave to even say the ‘f’ word once a year, you will be giving it a new shine, a new lease of life. Because there is a stereotype of angry bra-burning¬†feminist, people shy away from using the word. But¬†it’s not a big deal. It’s like saying, I eat¬†chicken, I am a pacifist, I believe in human rights. I believe in equality. It’s the same thing.

Sharing that you are a feminist can be scary, but once you’ve done it, it really becomes reassuring just HOW MANY people will support you in your boldness to claim the label; to make it clear that you stand for women’s rights, and to show that you are not a horrible man-eating ogre to boot! ūüėČ

 

So there we have it, ten ways to feel more comfortable using the ‘f’ word. I hope it’s helped.

Overall I have made my peace with the fact that there are those out there that do not believe what I believe, who do not understand my¬†need for equality, who will make arguments against why they don’t see the need. And that’s ok. Hopefully one day we will be able to connect. Or not. But that’s their role in life, and this is mine. And I have to play it out with as much gusto as I possibly can.

I think one¬†reason my blog has had so much support and not one negative comment (again, so far!), is because I am usually positive with my posts, always looking for the best in any situation and supporting young women. There is no ‘down with men’ speak of any kind, because I love men, and I think being a woman is a wonderful thing to be, I just also want equality…

 

What do you think? Are you loving the word or does it not matter at all? Let me know in the comments, and as always, thanks in advance for any little gifts you might want to give ūüôā

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5 Ways A Male Feminist Makes A Really Good Boyfriend

5 reasons you should go out with a male feminist hairy armpits pinterestFeminist boy. Source: Pinterest

This is another slightly silly post. But it’s true, a lot of women go weak at the knees for a feminist guy¬†(or at least, I do!) and here’s why:

  1. He’s down with consent

A guy who is aware that when he offers a cup of tea, you might not want it at that particular point in time, and is ok with that becomes majorly attractive. Someone who understands what no means and respects it immediately and with little worry becomes someone we want in our corner.

2. He cares about you

If a guy cares about women’s rights and equality, then he cares about you and all women. That’s hot.

3. He is likely to be fair to you

Anyone that is on the side of equality is likely to show those same views within all of his relationships. Because fairness is important to him. Period.

4. He’s perceptive and empathic

A lot of people cannot see when inequality does not exist simply because it isn’t happening to them and they haven’t maybe understood (or they don’t want to) how this can effect any ‘minority’ group. (I say ‘minority’ as there are a few more women (1%) than men in my country today)

5. He will respect you

Anyone who sees women already as equal to men can see the good points about being a woman and respects women. It is those that believe women are ‘less than’ that do not appreciate women’s strengths. Likelihood is he will both appreciate and respect you.

This is not to say that all men (or women!) who proclaim themselves as feminist are perfect. But, if the right guy (or gal) comes along and they genuinely share these views… total bonus, right?!

If you liked this post and feel moved to give me a gift, I thank you in advance ‚̧

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So there you have it! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

In response to… International Women’s Day 2017

hairy armpits blog in response to... international women's day 2017 8 marchWomen’s Day. Source: februarycalendars

This being a feminist website, I thought I’d best talk about the one day a year dedicated to celebrating women!

I usually don’t take much notice of it (which is perhaps ignorant, considering Annie Lennox’s wonderful and inspiring speech about the coming together of women of this day) as I write often about this subject, and I see everyday as a chance to inspire women; I see everyday as women’s day already. But a day to come together as a collective, to empower each other and to remember, that no woman is alone in this struggle for equality can only be a good thing in my book.

hairy armpits blog in response to... international women's day 2017 a lifeA life. Source: isis.aust

This year, sky are dedicating a week’s viewing to women’s achievements, the UN focused upon equality for women in the workplace by 2030, and Michelle Obama made an awesome speech about why young girls need to be educated.

Emma Watson once asked ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’¬†and I think this question answers all of the doubts those wondering about why a women’s day is needed. Because it’s one time when all of the issues we are concerned about can be discussed, together. And that is really empowering. Knowing there is a time for your voice to be heard, makes it easier to speak out knowing you will be supported. You were going to say it anyway, but it just makes sense to say it then.

So here’s to another 364.

 

If you liked this post and feel moved to give me a gift, I thank you in advance ‚̧

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What do you think? Are you a fan of women’s day? What did you do this year to celebrate? Let me know in the comments!

Why women are not sl*ts- they are temples

The Golden Temple (holiest Sikh shrine), Amritsar, Punjab, IndiaSri Harmandir Sahib. Source: WordPress

I see myself as a Goddess. If I value myself and my body and decide that it is sacred – does that mean no one can come inside and visit? No. A truly beautiful temple has many visitors. This doesn’t mean that a woman who saves herself for one man or woman or trans person, is any less of a temple.

We need to see ourselves as beautiful beings, and tell our friends, no – just because someone burnt down the alter, or wrote on the walls, does not mean you are any less of a goddess temple. As the line says in the¬†poem– “no man can make a wounded energy of your flesh.”

And no name- no shame- that you felt after the one night stand, the rape, the callous looks of someone who is upset about something in themselves and has nothing to do with you, can ever take away the fact that you know your inner value.

That’s why the word hurts so much, and I don’t¬†use it as I know that it has been used all too much. As a hopeless slur, to abuse you. To abuse all of us. As younger generations appear, I am confident there is not a fourteen year old school girl that has not been called this name in some form or capacity – as- class shaming becomes pre-dominant and as a way to cut girls down when they are learning so many other things from the media and TV about what it is to be a girl – and what’s bad about it.

About how bad it is to have larger breasts, or to have smaller breasts, to have sex with consent, to refrain from it. To wear short skirts and low cut tops, and to cover up, and to be human, and to live and to love and to cry.

And I’m sorry if I’m getting emotional, but this is important to me. Because those girls are important to me. Because they are me – I was them once and they will become what I am now, and I hope to God that they can see themselves as lovable with all this crap going on as women begin to find it hard to orgasm with all of these conflicted and shameful messages in their heads.

Tell your daughters- they are a temple. They have their own inner space and power. Don’t let any media image or bitchy girl trample all over that, because that is so easily done. And at that age, it is hard to become un-done.

Tell them, they are never a slut.

 They are women. And we laugh at the crocodiles.


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Ten reasons not to use the word sl*t

awesome-jelly-what-makes-you-a-slutLegs. Source: Awesome Jelly

If you’re reading my blog, I am probably preaching to the choir, but here goes, ten¬†reasons not to call anyone a slut.

  1. It implies sex is bad – and hello, everyone knows the opposite is true! (hat tip to asexuals who might not enjoy sex at all)
  2. It implies there is something wrong with the victim of this abuse, and they must change.
  3. It implies you are a God-like judger who knows how someone ‘should’ appropriately behave.
  4. It shows a lack of respect and caring for the person.
  5. In insulting one woman, you are putting down women as a gender, by telling them that she does not have autonomy to choose for herself what she does with her own body, neither then, should any woman.
  6. It contributes to rape culture. I’m not saying everyone who has used this word ever is a rapist, of course not! But what I am saying is this violent language is in the ballpark of ‘she was gagging for it,’ ‘I would hit that’, ‘no means yes’ language. Using the ‘s’ word is a stone’s throw away from making rape a more accessible means of violence. The same way amtssprache made killing easier for the Nazis. Language like this¬†similarly dehumanises people, and makes violence easy. And beings one in three women in America will be either beaten or raped this year, I’d say it’s a good reason to stop.
  7. You’re not being accurate. If you call someone a slut, chances are it has nothing to do with their sexual experience. This shows there are complex reasons why you might want to say what you’re saying – what is it that you’re really getting at? What are you really upset about?
  8. It’s classist. The girls using it in sororities¬†use it to put down the other girls who are poorer than them; they¬†don’t dance in a way that they would like (or have as much money as they would like).
  9. It shows that women are making leaps and bounds in terms of freedom and equality. There is a direct correlation with the amount of slut shaming in relation to a movement of free speech and women’s rights. The suffragettes were, apparently, total sl*ts!
  10. You can break a young girl down and get her to question herself, her place in ¬†the world, to feel like she has to live up to other’s expectations, that she is never good enough, and even, sadly, to feel that she is sexually ‘broken’.

So, there you have it, ten¬†reasons not to use the ‘s’ word anymore- ever again. If you have to – try saying the ‘s’ word or putting in a star the way we would for n****r. Distinguishing the difference between saying the word and alluding to it shows that it is harmful – and shows that we are moving forward in terms of what we all, deem to be an acceptable way to treat each other in society.

What do you think? Are there any reasons that I’ve missed? Please let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to give me a gift, thank you in advance x

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Word play : SLUT

arts-effect-slut-the-playSlut the play. Source:Arts effect 

Warning: NSFW

Ok, so this one is about the word: slut.

I think this one may actually be more offensive than cunt. Because a cunt is just a strong sounding word for a vag, but slut has all sorts of connotations and judgements of its own.

The thing is, like¬†how¬†being hairless was associated with class, i.e. those who were hairless tended to be in the upper classes (poor people couldn’t afford razors!)… the word slut was actually originally used to describe a man who was dressed badly (“Did you see what John was wearing? -Flannel pants with a checkered shirt – what a slut!”)

omweekend-hot-slut-clubPopular Slut Club. Source: dollskill

It was next used to describe girls in lower class status when they were working as maids and¬†didn’t do the housework to the standards their boss would’ve liked. So really, we are implying girls who have more sex than the next girl are lower class citizens – but we knew that anyway, right?!

Just think of the type of girl who is a slut. Got her in your minds eye? Now, is she a powerful business executive who likes to sleep with guys when she pleases?! I’d guess not.

That’s why the word slut is not just about sex. It’s not just about telling girls it’s wrong what they do with their lady parts when they’re turned on (whole other blog post!) – it’s about what she looks like, how she dresses, her intelligence level, her class, if she has a lot of make-up on.

urbanette-magazine-slut-bitch-whoreSlut Whore Bitch. Source: Urbanette magazine

It’s also about her autonomy. And it’s about how the person using the word is feeling. It takes away the focus from them, and whatever needs they may have that aren’t being met (and believe me, they have them if using this word!), and puts it onto you. It’s about insecurity and fear, at the heart of it all.

The Cambridge Dictionary definition: (slang) “A woman who has sexual¬†relationships with a lot of men without any emotional involvement.”

This word is so strong it can provoke strong reactions in women and men. ‘Slut’, of course, can now be used against men as well as women. Men who are deemed ‘too promiscuous’.

We’re all different, and some people like getting down a lot more quickly with a lot more people than other people do. And I don’t see why two consenting adults having a good time shouldn’t be able to do that without judgement or shame. In fact, as a pacifist, I would much rather that be a pass-time than war.

Women Calling Women Names

true-star-beaut-slut-pictureBeautiful slut. Source: true star

TV has educated us well to expect girls to be catty to other girls, and to fight over each other for the man. This is not an accurate representation of life. Nor is the idea that women only ever talk about men all the time and little else. But there is some truth in there: women slut shame.

Girls in high school reportedly call the other girls sluts¬†in order to gain a higher rung in the pecking order (…noticing a pattern here?!), and women have been known to call the other girls sluts, because they would like the guy to see her as special. She’s the one who doesn’t give it away so easily. She’s special. He will have to work to get her. She is an upper class citizen, comparatively.

It’s this kind of behaviour that separates womankind. And that’s the saddest thing of all. -Have you ever heard of any other group doing that?

Do I look like a slut? Source: The tube

Creating a class within and between other women, is not a great way for us to all move forward as a gender. It implies that most women are below that of a man’s status, but a few are equal to it – the ones that aren’t sluts. The ones that don’t put out?! It’s ludicrous.

On top of that, if this system actually worked, none of us would ever get laid!

Then there’s the other sad side of this word. The part that relates to sexual violence. The idea that, if you can begin by calling a woman this label, it makes her a certain type of person – almost less human. And any kind of dehumanisation can easily lead to other forms of violence.

inside-sao-paolo-slut-walkI am not a sandwich. Source: Inside Sao Paolo

Words are powerful. Words of hate used against any group or individual need to be taken seriously.

So, what now? Well, considering it’s a word to denigrate women and lower their status as human beings, a violent phrase that implies unworthiness of love and equality, I’d say we have two options: we either don’t use it, ever, or, only women use it¬†in a POSITIVE¬†way (if this is even possible).

video-italiano-pulp-fictionSexy intellect. Source: videoitaliano

I, personally, am down with sexy women – sexual and creative and expressive beings. Women empowered in their sexuality – not put down by a classist, racist and sexist word.

“Sexy is always good.”

Donatella Versace

To support an anti-women shaming group, click here. And as always, leave a comment, let me know what you think!

 
If you enjoyed this article and would like to give me a gift, thank you in advance x

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Inspirational Women: Victoria Wood

beautiful-victoria-wood

Victoria Wood. Source: Manchester Evening News

This is a post I wanted to write a few months back, but honestly, I was so sad to hear of her passing that I couldn’t bring myself to write it.

That day was one where I just gave up on trying to do anything, and just lay in bed and watched her sketches.

So, here it is, my dedication to Victoria Wood, and why I think she is an inspiration to all:

She Knew No Boundaries

vic-and-ggboWinning CGBBO. Source: theexpress

Victoria Wood began playing the piano when she was a young girl.

She wrote a Bafta winning film. And a comedy series, or two.

And stand-up shows.

And songs.

Basically, her creative cup runneth over, and then some. She even won celebrity bake off.

I love the way she was never restricted in her work. (She did not say ‘oh, I’m a comedian, so that’s it.’ No, she was free to do what she wanted. And to show herself in each show.)

She Was a Pioneer for Female Comedians

_89358993_victoria_wood_young_gettyYoung Victoria. Source: bbc

Whether intentional or not, in following her passion for comedy, Victoria made it possible along with other amazeballs trail blazers, to be female, and to be a stand-up comedian.

“In my 20s I was going round seeing agents who were patronising because I was fat and a girl, which was a double whammy.”

She Was Dedicated to Her Art

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Victoria followed her passions and her heart. When she was talking about being a comedian, she admitted that touring was not something that really came naturally to her. And yet, because she felt drawn always, to comedy, she kept doing it, even though she admitted herself, she wasn’t sure why, in her humble way.

When she created the masterpiece that is Dinnerladies, not unlike the making of Fawlty Towers, the work was exhausting. The cast were working long hours and performing the tv series live onstage, just so she could edit out any parts that didn’t work.

She Stretched Her Comfort Zone

When she first began stand-up, she was so nervous, she began at first by hiding behind the piano, and doing her set. Next, she stood behind the mic. And finally, she learnt to walk freely across the stage. This shows how anyone can learn to take these kinds of risks. How anything we do can eventually be developed into something better, with a little time.

She Showed Human Vulnerability at Its Best

Swim the channel. Source: The Tube

Like many sensitive types- artists and writers, and comedians, Wood saw what many of us can easily miss in people. Their vulnerable ambitions, their well-meaning attempts at fitting in, and the tragedy in the comedy of it all.

Subtlety seemed to be her middle name, capturing the human existence in such a caring and understanding way through her characters, all the while making us laugh.

And She Was Unique…

An Audience with Victoria Wood, Dec 1988
Fun. Source: stephaniepomfrett

She was someone who was exceedingly herself, to the point where people didn’t know what to make of her. She stood for the ‘otherness’, for the geeks, for the outsiders. The people who do this in life give us the permission to do that, too.

“It’s not the people who were chosen for the netball team who are great stand-up comedians- it’s the spotty, specky lard-arsed people.”

Victoria Wood¬†has made me laugh and cry through her work. I am writing this in celebration of her life.¬†I am also writing this for all women who have been drawn to comedy, but never dared to do it. I’m saying: you can do it! You can do it for yourself, and please, do it, for all of us! Because the world can always do with some laughs.

And in memory of one of the greats of comedy, Victoria Wood, I will leave you with this…

Let’s do it. Source: The Tube