“On Motherhood” by @GappyTales

Cross-posted from: Gappy Tales
Originally published: 28.05.18

I gave birth to my second son under a tree. It was under an Ash tree, and it was bloody. Days after, a chuckling visitor told me I could be heard the other side of the hill; that everyone within a mile radius knew he was coming. I’d delivered that son standing, my two feet rooted into the ground, my face up to the sky. Roaring.

A few years later saw my car, boot full with the weekly shop, pulling in to the driveway next to my house. A short, clear three metres over tarmac and lawn lay between car and front door, but it would be another hour until I was home. My daughters head butt deep in my pelvis, her feet tangled under my ribs, I could not force those last few steps and fell instead into a dead, dribbling sleep against the steering wheel. I woke to confusion and imminent labour, thick red indents striping my cheek.  ….

 

You can read the full article here.

Gappy Tales : Writer, feminist, mother. Likes cake, hates Jeremy Clarkson. These are my principles – if you don’t like them, I have others. @GappyTales

 

8 KINDS OF EMAILS YOU REALLY NEED TO NOT MESS UP, by @LorrieHartshorn

Cross-posted from: Lorrie Hartshorn
Originally published: 28.05.18

Email. It’s a pain in the arse.

Every day, I go through my inbox and think, “I really should have a clear-out.”

But gradually, the subscriptions creep back.

Truth is, email marketing works.

Here in the UK, every pound you spend on email marketing has an average ROI of £38.

So if you’re thinking of getting into (or expanding) your email marketing efforts, here’s some shit you want an email copywriter to help with. …. 

The full article is available here.

Circles Under StreetlightsCircles Under Streetlights is the personal blog of Lorrie Hartshorn who is an English literary and speculative fiction writer, whose work has appeared in The F-Word, FlashFlood, Six Sentences, 1000 Words, The Pygmy Giant, Six Words, The Literary Nest, Compose, Anthem and Vagabond. She also works as a copywriter. Her business website is here.

How other people’s stories teach us who we are, by @AliyaMughal1

Cross-posted from: Aliya Mughal
Originally published: 30.01.18

It was DH Lawrence who said that “the only history is a mere question of one’s struggle inside oneself”. His point being that the collective story of humanity, whether in fact or fiction, as chronicled in the billions of words scratched onto paper and battered into computers by individuals across the world and throughout the ages, are testament to the enduring struggle that we all face to make sense of our place in the world.

The deceitfully simple idea that “to know thyself” is the reason for living, the ceaseless echo through the centuries of Socrates’ call that “the unexamined life is not worth living”, is the most maddening challenge there is.

As the philosopher Alan Watts once said: “Consciousness seems to be nature’s ingenious mode of self-torture.” … 

 

 You can read the full text here. 

Aliya MughalI’m a dedicated follower of wordsmithery and wisdom in its many guises. Reader, writer, storyteller – if there’s a thread to follow and people involved, I’m interested. I’ve built my life around words, digging out the stories that matter and need to be told – about science, feminism, art, philosophy, covering everything from human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, to famine and the aid game in Rwanda, to how the intersection of art and science has the power to connect the disparate forces of humanity with the nanoscopic forces of our sacred Earth. Find me @AliyaMughal1

Chronicles of Iris Bean-The Boston Strangler, at the Daly Woolf

Cross-posted from: The Daly Woolf
Originally published: 30.07.17

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In her grandfather’s bedroom, at the age of ten, Iris Bean read The Boston Strangler. She hid the book in an old trunk filled with antiquated, sepia-tone photos of people who weren’t afraid to show how truly unhappy they were or how dour and severe their personality, how unfortunate and downright hard  their circumstances.  Not a toothy, fake smile on these women’s faces. Stern and mean as steers being prodded with a steely rod.  They could do some serious hair pulling and throw some knock-down punches Iris imagined, and many of them did, from the stories that were told about these women; cousins, aunts, sisters from the 19th and early 20th  century.

Iris’ grandmother, a terrified woman who painted her windows shut and kept doors locked at all times, had the capacity to see through walls and know every move and  thought everyone was making and having in the little bungalow house on 13th Avenue. She knew Iris was in the dimly lit back bedroom with peeling wallpaper,  the room smelling oddly like damp socks, reading The Boston StranglerGrama Vivian scolded her from a distance as she crocheted dog sweaters for the animal shelter while watching Perry Mason or Marcus Welby. But secretly Iris’ grandmother knew, even before Iris did, that Iris was training for her work as a forensic feminist. …

 

Read Here

The Daly Woolf: An Uncanny Journal of Memoir, Poetry, and Cultural Analysis : I am a feminist writer/intermedia story artist and the executive director of Satori Instititute. I live in Boulder, Colorado. The Daly Woolf is an essay driven journal of memoir and cultural analysis. My twitter handle is @rebecca9

Flash Fiction (?): Language Lessons

Cross-posted from: Durre Shahwar
Originally published: 22.04.16

….  I guess I’ve always had a fascination with languages, being bilingual myself, and how languages form parts of people’s whole identities sometimes. Languages can open up whole new worlds and stories, and even create barriers, and I find that so interesting to write about.  …

This is what I love about free-writing exercises; they unlock parts of your subconscious, that develop into a conscious interest, a thing to further explore and write about. They unlock creativity. If you’re stuck on writing this weekend, just write anything. Write a thought you are having, however mundane, and let it lead you. This is also why I will forever be grateful to my MA for giving me the space to learn, write and explore such things. …

 

Read Here

HerStory (Durre Shahwar)I’m a writer, a book reviewer, and an MA Creative Writing graduate. As a South Asian female, I’ve identified as a feminist, since a teen and to this day, I’m writing about what that means and trying to put my experiences into words. My blog was named ‘Herstory’ after my research into Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own during my degree. The term has been the driving factor behind my writing. We all have stories to tell, voices that need to be heard, especially from women of colour, and I hope to be one of them. On my blog, I write book reviews and other content related to the craft of writing and sometimes, academia. I’m interested in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, mental health, intersectional feminism, gender, religion, art, yoga – though not always in that order or mixture! I’m slowly getting my writing published, and trying to review more book by women/women of colour, for which, I am happy to be contacted for via my blog or on Twitter: @Durre_Shahwar.

 

Grasping Things at the Root: On Young Women & Radical Feminism, by @ClaireShrugged

Cross-posted from: Sister Outrider
Originally published: 02.05.17

Why does radical feminism get so much bad press?

Radical feminism isn’t popular. That’s not exactly a secret – Pat Robertson’s infamous Holy Cow! Too Funny!!!!!!claim that the feminist agenda “…encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians” has set the tone for mainstream discussions of radical feminism. While Robertson’s perspective on radical feminism verges upon parody, his misogyny served with a side of blatant lesbophobia, it has also served to frame radical feminism as suspect.

If radical feminism can be written off as something sinister or dismissed as the butt of a joke, none of the difficult questions about the patriarchal structuring of society need to be answered – subsequently, power need not be redistributed, and members of the oppressor classes are saved from any challenging self-reflection. Rendering radical feminism monstrous is a highly effective way of shutting down meaningful political change, of maintaining the status quo. It is, therefore, predictable that the socially conservative right are opposed to radical feminism. …

 

Read Here

Sister Outrider :  Sister Outrider offers a Black Radical Feminist perspective on feminism, gender, politics, popular culture, and media representation.

Male and female power, and ‘structural analysis’ – avoiding the MRA contagion, at Liberation is Life

Cross-posted from: Liberation is Life
Originally published: 01.04.18

There’s an MRA-style position too beloved of economistic socialists — it would be wrong to call them marxists — which treats women’s unsympathetic wordstowards males as being on a par with male-pattern control over women and children, and all the violence and abuse which that entails.

This economism acts as though a sufficient anti-capitalist critique can be accomplished by ignoring capital’s support for male power over women and children, and by blaming DV and rape mainly on ‘poverty and cutbacks’. By avoiding any mention of gendered socialisation and how it is actively enforced, especially via society’s main institutions, from birth.

Real marxists reject the claim that this is any kind of competent ‘structural analysis’.

The failure to get this right makes it impossible to ‘structurally critique’, or understand the inherently oppressive nature of, a key institution of capitalism — the capitalist (male-led) family unit: ….

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Liberation is Life : Renewing a feminism that’s scientific and fighting (marxist) rather than individualist/consumerist. That opposes neoliberal reasoning-via-identity arguments along the lines of ‘I identify as feminist/marxist/radical and therefore my position is feminist/marxist/radical and I have no need to justify it’. This leads only to sectarianism – to the abandonment of solidarity with women who ‘identify’ differently – and to the dumbing-down of feminism.

More Evidence This Government Is The Killing STATE of #Tory Britain

Cross-posted from: The Killing State of Tory Britain
Originally published: 24.04.18

Today the Observer View is around the imaginary reasons and victims of the Austerity Agenda. As I have continually said for the past 5 years the Tories have persistently developed and implements policies which actively discriminated against those who are most vulnerable, belong to minority groups and, or are the poorest.

The Observer states “Lacking a positive vision or plan, this is a government whose agenda is defined not by finding solutions, but scapegoats”. We Scapegoats are paying the price with our health, and with our lives; the time has to come when We say ENOUGH.

Two month ago I wrote a post with this name which I’ve left below as a reminder. Today further evidence of the discriminatory way Governments of the past ten years have treated Sick & Disabled people has been published “Sick and disabled Brits killed by the state – crime without punishment Successive UK Governments have restricted access to vital long-term sickness and disability benefits” by Welfare Weekly  ….

Read Here

Jayne LinneyI’m a disabled woman, a life long feminist and Social Activist- I write from a personal perspective, usually about the current Political climate and its affects on disabled people. Director of DEAEP – Social Enterprise run by and for disabled people. @JayneLinney

The Blood on My Hands by Shannon O’Leary, a review via @Durre_Shahwar

Cross-posted from: Durre Shahwar
Originally published: 26.07.16

“Set in 1960s and ‘70s Australia, The Blood on My Hands is the dramatic tale of Shannon O’Leary’s childhood years, growing up with an abusive father, who was also a serial killer. No one, not even the authorities, would help O’Leary and her family. The responses of those whom O’Leary and her immediate family reached out to for help are almost as disturbing as the crimes of her violent father. Relatives were afraid to bring disgrace to the family’s good name, nuns condemned the child’s objections as disobedience and noncompliance, and laws at the time prevented the police from interfering unless someone was killed. “

 

 

The Blood on My Hands is a gripping read, with underlying tension throughout the book, right from the beginning. Every recollection is detailed and concise, be it the author’s memories of her pets and animals or her days at school. It is full of rich descriptions of the characters and the hot Australian setting. The book has a structured, chronological timeline of events, which works without losing the storytelling/memoir feel.

Yet this is not for the weak-hearted. The story is gruelling and traumatic, not for the shock effect, but because this is a story that needs to be told, and the detailed account is an evidence of that. It could be argued that it didn’t need to be so detailed and horrific, and the more traumatising recollections could have been toned down. However, while as a reader, I see the reason why others may feel this way, but as a human, there is credit to be given to Shannon for being so honest and vulnerable on the page.  ….

 

The full text is here. 

HerStory (Durre Shahwar)I’m a writer, a book reviewer, and an MA Creative Writing graduate. As a South Asian female, I’ve identified as a feminist, since a teen and to this day, I’m writing about what that means and trying to put my experiences into words. My blog was named ‘Herstory’ after my research into Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own during my degree. The term has been the driving factor behind my writing. We all have stories to tell, voices that need to be heard, especially from women of colour, and I hope to be one of them. On my blog, I write book reviews and other content related to the craft of writing and sometimes, academia. I’m interested in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, mental health, intersectional feminism, gender, religion, art, yoga – though not always in that order or mixture! I’m slowly getting my writing published, and trying to review more book by women/women of colour, for which, I am happy to be contacted for via my blog or on Twitter: @Durre_Shahwar.

 

The Production of Monsters, at The Not Me

Cross-posted from: The Not Me
Originally published: 04.09.14

In 1977, my grandparents took me and my sisters to the top of the Empire State Building. I can remember being annoyed by all the waiting in line just to ride the elevator to the observation floor. We probably spent more time waiting to board that elevator than we spent viewing the view. Still, when our turn came around and after the elevator finally reached the 102nd floor, I burst out of the doors to see what all the fuss was about. Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 08.41.13

At first, I was too distracted with taking in the view to notice that my grandpa was not with me. When I turned back to search for him, I saw that he had parked himself close to the elevators away from the windows and the view. I called to him, “Grandpa, you gotta come see this.” “No thanks,” he replied “I’m good here.” “Pretty please,” I pleaded. This time he just smiled at me as he shook his head, still refusing to budge.  ….

The full text of The Production of Monsters is available here. 

The Not MeIn school, my art work was about the construction of gender, conflicting female identities, fairy tales, and cognitive dissonance (images at francescamilliken.com).

 

Creativity as therapy, by @rae_ritchie_

Cross-posted from: Rae Ritchie
Originally published: 04.04.18
Creativity_Primary.jpegThe BBC’s Get Creative festival is a welcome attempt to encourage participation in pastimes that are proven to support wellbeing, as mental health practitioners have long recognised.

With its gentle piano music and lingering shots of hands working pins and needles, MAKE! Craft Britain could only be a BBC Four documentary.

MAKE! Craft Britain was a three part series featuring craft novices trying activities such as rug-making, letter-pressing, silver jewellery making and cross stitch (all three episodes are available in the UK on the BBC I-Player).

Few other television channels would risk such long scenes without any narration or dialogue for fear that the audience would drift away.  ….

 

The full text of this article is available here. 

 

Rae Ritchie:  I blog mainly about history and women’s magazines, with more creeping in on contemporary magazines than I’d expected, and most definitely consider myself (and my writing) to be a feminist.

A FACE – IN PENCIL, at Generation Why: An Arty Feminist Blog

Cross-posted from: Generation Why: An Arty Feminist Blog
Originally published: 06.03.18

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 Generation Why Superheroes, short stories, art, photography, feminism and anything that comes to mind.

What if You’re Wrong?, at Faithless Feminist

Cross-posted from: Faithless Feminist
Originally published: 12.03.18

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One of the many common misconceptions and myths that we atheist parents hear from the believers around us, usually said with a horrified or frightened tone, is the question What if you’re wrong? What if my belief system of guilt during life and heavenly reward afterlife is true?

What if you’re wrong about that science stuff? What if you’re wrong about how you interpret the fossil record with the concept of evolution? What if there is a glorious afterlife to reward a life time of worshiping our silent, absent, and often-cruel god? What if there is a hideously agonizing afterlife to punish for free thought and using logic and reason during life? What if we were right to heap shame upon anyone who was not a white, straight, male, monogamous follower of our god? What if we are supposed to carry the shame of being born a human being on this planet?

What if the sheep herders in the Middle East truly do know more about the best way to live life than any thinking person in the current era who uses compassion and love as a starting point? What if our earnest belief in a water-walking carpenter from Bethlehem is absolutely essential for an eternal reward? What if the hominids of the past million+ years of time were alive a mere six thousand years ago? What if dinosaurs are truly misunderstood dragons? What if violent murders or silencing of innocent victims of rape by elders is truly the preferred way to handle the inappropriate sexual acts of those trusted, respected, or feared elders?  …

The full text of this article written by Karen Loethen is available here. 

 

Faithless FeministWritings about religion’s subjugation of women

This is why I leave work on time, sisters, via @thewritinghalf

Cross-posted from: The Writing Half
Originally published: 08.07.17

Look I haven’t been to yoga for a week so you’ll have to excuse me, alright? My zen has done a runner. I’m so jacked up on fury right now. Unfortunately, now that you’re here, you’re going to feel the full force of it. You and that almond croissant anyway. I’ve quit trying to stick to my self-enforced two-cups-a-day rule. Now I drink my caffeine by the bucket. And so that I can refill at any time of day I keep our kettle on a rolling boil, which – coincidentally – perfectly describes my mood.

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One of my colleagues passed away unexpectedly this week. Someone broke their word and let me down. I’ve got a cold. Trump’s still president. You know. The usual.  
Read more This is why I leave work on time, sisters, via @thewritinghalf

HOW COMMON IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON AIRLINES? – @KATEHARVESTON

As you board a plane, it’s not uncommon to scrutinize the size of the seats and wonder where exactly your carry-on bags are supposed to fit. But other than that, we generally feel safe nowadays, having gone through several security screenings and identity checks to board the plane.

Another problem looms, especially for women who fly. Sexual harassment is commonplace on airplanes, with both passengers and flight attendants as targets. And the contained space in which it takes place makes the situation even more violating, with the person making unwanted advances — and the people who could stop it — sitting mere inches away.

What’s Causing Airline Sexual Harassment?

We know that many stories of sexual harassment, both on the ground and in the air, involve alcohol. One woman detailed her own terrifying experience with sexual harassment on a plane, noting just how much the man next to her had been drinking.

She said he downed several beverages quickly, perhaps to deal with a fear of flying. But the alcohol soon gave him the courage to make an advance on her, which started verbally and ended with him leaning in for a kiss. Nearby passengers intervened to stop him.  …

 

This was first published at Feimineach. You can find the full text here.

 

 

Feimineach:  quick-hitting the hell out of everything. occasional thinky blogging. Twitter @grainnemcmahon

Figure Skating: A Very Gendered Thing, at Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist

Cross-posted from: Hell Yeah, I'm a Feminist

Many call figure skating a sissy sport, a feminine thing.  To the contrary, and to my unrelenting irritation, it is a very gender-inclusive sport, a sport of both sexes, a sport where men must be men and women must be, well, girls.

Consider the costumes.  The men usually wear ordinary long pants and a more or less ordinary shirt.  The women, on the other hand, with such consistency I suspect an actual rule, show their legs – their whole legs – and as much of their upper body as they can get away with.  And they always wear that cutesy short little girl skirt.  What is it with that?  Or they wear a negligée.  (Ah.  It’s the standard bipolar turn-on for sick men: sexy-child.)  (Why is child sexy to men?  Because child guarantees power over.  And that’s what sex is to men – power, not pleasure.  Or rather, the power is the pleasure.  Probably because they don’t recognize the responsibility of power.)  (So even in a sport without frequent legs-wide-apart positions, the woman’s costume would be questionable.  But I believe it is actually a rule – the female skaters must show leg.  Like most rules women are expected to follow, this one surely was made by men, for men.  As if women exist for men’s viewing pleasure.)

 


Read more Figure Skating: A Very Gendered Thing, at Hell Yeah, I’m a Feminist

Like a Bird on a Wire; Standing up, standing firm and never losing faith, via @abigailrieley

Cross-posted from: Abigail Reiley
Originally published: 08.03.18

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I’ve been listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen lately, Pete Seegar too. There’s something in the air at the moment. A whiff of revolution. It almost feels like a sea change but it’s too early to tell.

I usually write a post for International Women’s Day and that’s what I’m sitting here trying to write but what I’m thinking about this year is solidarity. Solidarity has been a theme of the #Metoo campaign and may yet see it change the way things are. Frances McDormand’s Best Actress speech at the Oscars this week paid tribute to every female nominee and called for “inclusion riders” to be negotiated into contracts to ensure more diverse casts and crew in films from now on. The Atlantic picked up on the fact that the Oscars began as a response to the threat of unionisation in the studios. This little factoid seems particularly apt in today’s climate. It really does feel as if something’s changed.
Read more Like a Bird on a Wire; Standing up, standing firm and never losing faith, via @abigailrieley

I should not have to bring up your sister/mother/aunt/wife in order for you to give a fuck….

Cross-posted from: Life in the Patriarchal Mix
Originally published: 12.12.17

The title of this post summarizes my thoughts whenever I have a discussion with men who seem to proudly display their ignorance about the constant attacks on women and girls. One should not have to pull heart strings in order for one side to have any feelings or even care about the subject at hand. It never forces men to have empathy for women and girls, it just reinforces the idea that men’s “damaged property” (female loved ones) should be the only reason why they should be against rape.


Read more I should not have to bring up your sister/mother/aunt/wife in order for you to give a fuck….

Womanhood: On Sex, Gender Roles, and Self-Identification, by @ClaireShrugged

Cross-posted from: Sister Outrider
Originally published: 09.02.18

A (not so) brief foreword: this essay was originally commissioned by an independent publisher looking to release an anthology on gender. In 2017 they asked if I’d be interested in writing an essay on womanhood. I was a little surprised, the publisher being explicitly queer and me being a radical feminist, but ultimately pleased: their goal was to publish a collection with plural perspectives on gender, and I believe wholeheartedly that having the space for plural perspectives on any issue is essential for healthy, open public discourse. I knew that my lesbian feminist essay would probably be in a minority standpoint, and felt comfortable with it being published alongside contradictory perspectives. Given the extreme polarity of gender discourse, which results in a painful stalemate between queer activists and radical feminists, it was encouraging to think we had reached a point where multiple views could be held and explored together.

So I wrote the essay, made the requested edits, and produced a final draft with which the publisher and I were both delighted. Their words: “We’re really happy with the edits you’ve done and the areas you’ve developed on upon our request. You did a splendid job refining the essay.” However, certain people objected to the inclusion of my essay before having read it. Some early readers gave the feedback that they were unhappy to find a perspective that they were not expecting, and alarmed that I had connected my personal experience of gender as a woman to the wider sociopolitical context we inhabit. Backlash escalated to the point that the publishing house faced the risk of having their business undermined and their debut collection jeopardised.

They gave me the option of writing another essay for the gender anthology, or having this essay published in a future collection. I declined both choices, as neither felt right – fortunately, there are more projects on my horizon. That being said I have great sympathy for the publisher’s position, and find it regrettable that their bold and brilliant venture should be compromised by the very people it was designed to support. Furthermore, I wish the publisher every success with this project, and all future endeavours. As for the essay, controversial even before being read, I have instead decided to publish it here as the seventh part of the series on sex, gender, and sexuality. It is, in my opinion, a good essay and deserves to see the light of day. 
Read more Womanhood: On Sex, Gender Roles, and Self-Identification, by @ClaireShrugged

Stony (Butch) Femininity and the Watery Female Body: Why Women Want Bounded Bodies, by @LucyAllenFWR

Cross-posted from: Reading Medieval Books
Originally published: 04.02.18

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‘Woman [Latin: mulier] takes her name from “softness” [mollities], or as it were “softer” [mollier].’ (Isidore of Seville, Etymologies)

‘the most stone butch of them all … a woman everyone said “wore a raincoat in the shower”‘ (Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues).

In her novel Stone Butch Blues, Feinberg imagines a brutal police raid on an underground club full of butch/femme couples. The character of whom she writes the lines quoted at the beginning of this post is, so we are told, subjected to deliberate humiliation by the local police, stripped naked in a bar, her female body opened up to a public gaze. ‘Later she went mad, they said. Later she hung herself’. For Feinberg (or, at least, for her novel’s protagonist), the quality of stoniness encapsulates a certain lesbian identity, an identity deeply conscious of its embattled ‘otherness’ and characterised by a magnetic resistance to touch. Intimacy might ‘melt’ this stoniness, her novel suggests, but to outside eyes it is a target for violence because it appropriates masculinity, because it insists upon boundaries between the stony body and the world, to which female bodies are not traditionally considered entitled.


Read more Stony (Butch) Femininity and the Watery Female Body: Why Women Want Bounded Bodies, by @LucyAllenFWR

Postive & Promise: The Memories & Musings of a Neurotic Bookworm

Language: A Feminist Guide

We Mixed Our Drinks

Storm in a Teacup

Mairi Voice

Hiding under the bed is not the answer