Fate is Chance. Destiny is Choice.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


I've been a bit frazzled this week by the fact that I've been going to bed way too late every night (1am anyone??) and thus I've been really tired for my volunteer job at CancerBackup (incidentally, it's going well, tiring, but they need the help!) - but I've been enjoying it even though I had to have a nap as soon as I came home this afternoon (slept from 3pm-6pm erk).

Anyway, after much deliberation, I've decided to post a pic of me (and my lovely sister) and put up a few pics of reclaim the night. One reason for posting a pic of myself is that if I meet up with anyone at future protests and so on, I want to make sure they recognise me! And also, I've been blogging for a while and haven't had any nasty trolls (yet...) so I think I may be okay(ish). If not then I'll take the photo down, but for the meantime I'll keep it up.

Me and My Sis pretending to be Ninjas on the way to reclaim the night:

Me and My sis without our Ninja disguises:

My sis is the dark haired one (she's so good at pulling faces by the way!) and I'm on the left.

**Eww..blogger isn't letting me add photos of reclaim the night..I'll keep trying so watch this space. I've just got a photo of the end going into the venue and some dark blurry ones..I guess taking photos didn't feature very much (shouting did though!).**

On another note, its my 22nd birthday on Saturday woohoo. Feel a bit funny reaching 22 (the next 'milestone' will be 25) but I'm sure I'll get used to it. 21 has been an interesting age: I graduated, found feminism and grew up quite alot (although I'm still partial to a 'mad hour' when I laugh alot and run amok, general high spirit tomfoolery!) and decided certain things about my life (ie. that I want to study some more, hehe) and my relationships have gotten more richer with friends and my partner and family. And all I can say is that I've still got a lot to learn and the rest of my life to learn it. But I think I've reached one of those points where I'm happy with who I am.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reclaim The Night 2006

Wow, where to begin?

My sister took a few photos of the crowd but they are still on the digital camera and not downloaded yet but I'll get that sorted sometime this week.

Anyway, we all gathered in Trafalgar square under good old Nelson - my mum, sister and I all looked out for the East Midland's Feminist group as I had been contacting someone from ReSisters off list (a fabby gal from Derby who came with her Mum too!) and they finally arrived. Michelle was also there (LonerGrrl) and it was great to meet another blogger. There was a large police presence protecting our democratic right to protest (as my Mum put it).

We were all given a sheet with the chants on them which everybody yelled throughout the march (a particular favourite was 'Hey Ho, Sexual Violence has to go') - I had to keep checking what my Mum was chanting though to keep up!

Then we started the march from Trafalgar square to Malet Street - making lots of noise, chanting, yelling and blowing whistles (well, witchy was!!) - we had a few arseholes that tried to shout louder than us but we managed to shout louder (plus, we outnumbered them...) outside a pub on the corner near Leicester square. A few women joined us from off the street (which was fabulous!) and we got lots of thumbs up and a few people waving from shop windows and on the pavements. I loved seeing a little boy and his Dad waving from the top of Borders (or Waterstones) :-D

It was amazing to be marching with women from all walks of life, who felt the same injustice and anger that I've been feeling. And feeling that we were walking for the women that have been subject to violence, injustice, objectification and pain that couldn't be there. It was so empowering, and one of those experiences that you will pass to other people - to empower other women and men to reject violence against women. To speak up for those who cannot speak or who are afraid to speak.

We arrived in Malet street for the rally and party - and sat down to listen to women talking about their experiences and feminism. My mum translated the speeches for me, so I did get most of what was being said. And it was good to see some men there too - to know that there are men out there who understand what feminism is all about (we are not man haters).

For me, it was an empowering and affirming experience. The atmosphere was accepting and felt safe. Too often I've been in situations where I felt I was being judged - either for being deaf or for being a woman. Or both. Its hard to be in situations where when you explain to someone that you are deaf, they get that look in their eyes as though they've made a judgement about you (oh, she's deaf, that must mean she's stupid) and don't make the effort to make sure you know what they are saying. Or as a woman - feeling as though someone is judging your appearance (both men and women) or dismissing what you are saying (because apparently women have nothing relevant to say, yuk!).

It inspired me to undertake more feminist activism - stickering, attending protests, writing to people and generally supporting women's organisations. And I'm going back next year :D

Lets make our voices heard as women.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Some Feminist Critique

I've been thinking lately about the pervasiveness of fashion and how we use clothes to express ourselves, and the idea that, being a feminist, we need to critique the fact that women are encouraged to keep track of fashion and new 'beauty' products and so on.

Anyone who knows me well in real life will be quick to notice that I love clothes and make-up and so called 'beauty' products. In the past three years I have only just developed a style that I feel comfortable with, that makes me feel both comfortable with what I'm wearing and at the same time, allows me to express myself. I love purple: I have lots of purple clothes, and I also have a lot of teal/sea green clothes. I also like black because it goes with anything!

I like baggy skate style trousers but at the same time I have a fondness for mid-length skirts (I think some short skirts look funky, my sis has lots of denim short skirts but don't feel particularly comfortable with the idea of wearing them myself). I like to create different moods with my clothes - if I feel like slobbing out I'll wear comfy clothes, if I feel like dressing up then I will. For me, it's not about 'looking good' for anyone, because I have always chosen my clothes on the basis of whether I actually LIKE them. I think I have a love affair with clothes and jewellery: one of my favourite shops is 'accessorize' and I love beads and earrings, especially purple and sea green jewellery.

I think part of feminism is about analysing your own habits and working out if you can reconcile them with your ideals. There are many things I realise are misogynistic about the fashion and beauty industry: when doing my Gender and Society module, I read Sheila Jeffrey's 'Beauty and Misogyny' which made me understand that the fashion and beauty industry has a particularly misogynistic heart. For a start, fashion designers rarely design with the shape of a 'real' woman in mind, they use models that allow them to use the least amount of fabric as it is more 'economical'.

The problem with the fashion industry is that although the trends are interpreted from the catwalk onto the high street, the ideal is that a certain body shape suits a certain type of fashion; and this in turn breeds insecurity among women that feel they don't have a certain type of body shape. I know that I've felt both envious and disheartened by some types of fashion, especially when I was a teenager. I'm not small and skinny, I'm large and curvy, and naturally, skinny jeans won't fit me, and neither will hip and thigh hugging pencil skirts (not that I want to wear either as they both look profoundly uncomfortable!).

Young women in particular, on their voyage of discovery, may want to experiment with fashion and clothes and express themselves - and when fashion makes them feel bad about their bodies, their self esteem and confidence will be shredded (as if the beauty industry and diet industry and music industry and so on weren't bad enough...). Because the problem is that all of the industries mentioned, along with the sex industry, film industry and other types of media, tell lies about women's sexuality and bodies.

That to be 'attractive' they must wear this, pose like this, use this product, and that they must do this to experience their sexuality. Most of the adverts on TV have me growling and shouting and getting pissed off: the 'because you're worth it', 'a totally organic experience', 'maybe she's born with it, maybe it's maybelline' type of adverts.

It pushes the whole idea that woman's sexuality is experienced through the way she looks, through having the male gaze focused on her. That in being looked at, a woman is worth something, she will admired and 'noticed'. Men and women both do not seem to realise that they are objectifying women's bodies, pushing women down to the status of 'object' and therefore nothing but. The evidence is everywhere: in 'lads magazines', pornography, advertising, films, television programmes, in the street.

Only the other day, I was walking down to the post office to collect a parcel, wearing my baggy black jeans, my coat and my scarf. And yet a man I had never seen, met or even noticed before thought it would be 'great' if he looked me up and down and chatted me up. I felt like an object. I felt afraid because although it was only 4pm and there were other people around, I felt harrassed and vulnerable. Luckily, I walked past giving him what was hopefully a venomous stare and he didn't follow.

Since when is it okay for a man to treat a woman like a piece of meat? Like something they can 'conquer' or 'own'? Or to come up to someone in the street and give them an objectifying stare up and down? It's an aggressive thing to do. Someone once explained to me why men's stares and harassment are so threatening: because women live in fear every day that something worse will happen: men harrassing women in the street makes women afraid and vulnerable. Why can't women go around minding their own business without the fear of being shouted at or stared at in the street?

The same person said that the difference between women looking at men and men looking at women is that women don't feel the need to shout at a guy in the street or go up and grope them or stare at them agressively. Women are more likely to be discreet and repect a man's space, glancing at them rather than 'staring' at them. The difference is respect - many men see women's bodies as something for them to look at and obtain, to conquer and objectify. By shouting at a women in the street, you are degrading her to object status.

The object of fashion and beauty, in many ways, is the assumption that a woman's body is meant to be 'adorned' and 'shown off' - which is just another way to say 'object'. I think that as feminists, it is important to find a way for women to reclaim their bodies and sexuality from the media and raunch culture. Empowerment is not spinning around a pole, it is not posing nude for FHM and it is not 'acting like one of the guys' (ie. being a female chauvinist pig like Ariel Levy discusses in 'Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture').

Empowerment may mean different things for different people, but for me it means to be able to walk down the road without being eyed as a piece of meat, it means being treated with respect and it means that I am appreciated as a person that has something to offer the world that does not include anything to do with my body. It also means that I will be able to own my own body, that my sexuality will be my own and not defined by the way I look or what I wear.

It means being unafraid of what other people will think of me if I have messy hair one day and haven't bothered putting any make-up on (I normally have messy hair anyway!). That I will not be seen as just my sex in the eyes of the world, that I will be me, with all my good points and bad points and ideas.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Another Fabby Test...

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Men Stop Raping

I, too, am tired of the constant implication that women are in some way to blame for rape. They are not. And I hate our society, the media, misperceptions and women hatred for somehow implying that women have to stop rape themselves, when it is men that do it (yes, men get raped, and this applies to all types of rape, men on men, men on women, women on men).

I am sick of hearing in the media that because a woman was taking a stroll out late, because she was out having an evening out with her friends and just happened to get drunk, that because she is wearing a short skirt, it was somehow her fault. It is the person who raped that needs to be held accountable. I am sick and tired of hearing the typical 'false allegation' claim that some people put forward in court because of lack of evidence when it is painful enough for a woman to even admit that she has been raped, for fear of being branded with 'damaged goods', 'liar'; and having to go through the pain of people saying 'well, if she did this or that' then 'it wouldn't have happened'.

What do you suggest? That women curtail their freedom and stop living their lives altogether? That they must not even *think* of doing a particular thing just because someone will turn around and say it was her fault for getting raped because she even *dared* to go out with a short skirt or low cut top (which is actually most women as not many other 'styles' of top are available). The following list has been posted on several feminist blogs.

From The F-word blog:

If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.

If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.

If a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.

If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.

If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.

If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.

If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.

If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.

If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.

If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.

If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.

If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.

If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.

If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.

If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.

If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.

If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.

If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.

If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.

Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.

Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.

Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.

Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.

Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.

Don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.

If you agree, re-post it. It’s that important.

-Author unknown.-

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Which Inspiring Woman Are You?


You are Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir (1908 – 1986) was a French writer and philosopher who scandalised 1950s Western society with her profound analysis of women’s oppression, “The Second Sex”. The book became a cornerstone of the feminist movement in the 1970s, and remains controversial today. In it De Beauvoir argues that women have historically been considered as deviant from a masculine norm – they are always defined in relation to men as “the Other”, and this has limited what women can achieve. As an existentialist, De Beauvoir believed that women are as capable as men of free choice, and that they must use this freedom to transcend the role of the Other that they are cast in.

Simone de Beauvoir studied philosophy and mathematics in Paris, where she met Jean-Paul Sartre, who became her lifelong companion. They had an unconventional, sexually open but devoted relationship until he died in 1980. De Beauvoir became more politically active in later life, particularly around women’s rights, and died in 1986. Her funeral was attended by thousands, and the newspaper headlines read: “Women, you owe her everything!”

Take the Test at Inspiring Women - have fun!

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Technological Breakthrough..Of The Stupid Kind :)

Well, the ridiculous idiot I am, I just realised I can add pics to my posts. So without much further ado, here are my beautiful kitties:




Flossie is the baby of the family, and generally acts like a kitten - she's very energetic and likes fighting the carpet and random objects strewn on the floor (she's partial to paper bags in particular). Georgie is Flossie's mother and likes her home comforts: this includes food, warm comfy cushions, laundry or shoes (yes, she likes sitting on shoes!). She rarely goes outside, she generally likes staying in. Funnily enough, despite being partial to a hug and lots of attention, she refuses to sit on somebody for long and will just walk off to find a cushion instead.

Quentin is Georgina's brother - hes a lovely old boy. He's very timid although he likes to sit on familiar humans and keep them clean by licking them every now and again. He likes the great outdoors and often brings presents to us through the catflap (of the bird and mouse variety), and sits there with his head held high with a smirk on his face. But underneath all that bravado, there really is a sweetie - he likes to talk to us alot and insists on sitting on us at the first opportunity :)


Monday, November 06, 2006

Cats and Fireworks...Not a good Combination!

So..I haven't been up to much lately. I've been offered a volunteer experience with Cancer Backup as they get a lot of mail in the run up to Xmas, so I'm going in next week to have a look around and meet people. It should start next week, so I think it's something to do and something to add to my CV.

Our three cats (Quentin, Flossie and Georgina) have been totally freaked out about the fireworks this weekend so have been allowed to fur up the living room furniture so we can keep them company. Flossie likes to hide under the video and dvd cupboard and Georgina likes to sit on me covering my previously immaculate black trousers with white fur. I'm not sure what Quentin does but he tends to sit on my mum when she falls asleep and demand her attention (he's extremely vocal).

My mum, my sis and I went to Alexandra Palace to see the firework display on Saturday, the fireworks were great this year. We shared a few chips and gazed up with our mouths open (strangely enough, we didn't catch any flies). It was so loud though, I managed to turn my hearing aids off in time but we were almost right underneath them, lol.

I've been commenting over at Amananta's as she needs some hope and strength at the moment. So please go over and give her some strength and solidarity. It's hard to constantly blog about feminism and things that matter to you because its not only draining, but people can be extremely cruel and bitchy, especially on the internet when they think nobody's going to call them out on it. Well, I hope they're proud of themselves. Feminists should work together, no matter what they believe in: we all want women to be empowered and liberated from patriarchy.

I'm blogging really late, so it's off to bed for me.

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