October 25, 2016
After I left home at 18, it took me a while to figure out that I was damaged. I had assumed my upbringing was normal and had no idea that I had spent years being traumatised by the violence and abuse I suffered at the hands of my father (which you can read more about here). I first discovered the concept of therapy at University when a friend recommended I went along. Talking about your problems was not something that working class people did and I don’t think I had any idea what counselling was. 20 years later, and I’m a qualified counsellor and have been working with trauma for many years. In the process I’ve learnt much about both the immediate and long term effects of childhood trauma and have unwittingly discovered a lot about myself.
Experiencing a single traumatic event such as an accident or the death of a parent may lead to the development of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which you can read more about here, but this article is more concerned with what happens when you are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events as a result of living in a violent or abusive home. This can cause you to live with the effects of complex developmental trauma which may become so embedded that you consider them a part of your personality. You may be experiencing the effects of complex trauma without realising. You may even have been told that you have a personality disorder (borderline or schizoid) which might add to the feeling that there is something wrong with you.
Read more 9 Signs you may be living with childhood trauma – and what you can do about it via @WomanAsSubject
October 24, 2016
In September, JAMA Psychiatry published a Danish study that found a correlation between the use of hormonal birth control and being diagnosed with clinical depression. The study tracked hormonal birth control use and prescription of antidepressants over six years for over a million women. They found that women who were on hormonal birth control—be it the pill or a hormonal IUD or vaginal ring—were significantly more likely to be prescribed antidepressants.
Since the news broke, many women reported feeling vindicated that science is finally catching up to their lived experience. “I’d used the pill for ten years,” says Holly Grigg-Spall, author of Sweetening the Pill. “One particular kind, Yasmin, had huge side effects —psychological effects, depression, anxiety, panic attacks. I didn’t make the connection between what was going on with me and the pill for two years.”
Read more The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret
October 21, 2016
A more spiritual person might have believed I picked up the book because of some kind of higher purpose, but at the time, I thought I was merely attracted by the color: a pale lilac that spelt the word ‘Wicca’ in a simple font on the book’s spine.
A year ago, I stood in that bookstore debating whether I should buy the book or not. I didn’t know then that my choice in buying that book — and more importantly, reading it — would lead me to where I am today.
Wicca wasn’t something that usually appealed to me. At the time, I was a hardcore atheist. While I tolerated religious beliefs, I found myself quite incapable of placing faith in a higher power.
I wasn’t always an atheist. I was raised in a family that was partly Christian and partly Muslim. My childhood seldom involved church, but was filled with family members invoking biblical verses and prayer in times of need. Uncomfortable with this contradiction, and influenced by my school friends, I began attending church and Bible study groups regularly at the age of 14.
Read more APPROACHING WITCHCRAFT AS A RECOVERING ATHEIST
October 20, 2016
Cross-posted from: Jayne Linney
Originally published: 01.10.16
Both ‘Official’ and Social Media are buzzing this morning with the above news – at last those of us who are chronically ill will no longer have to perpetually be tested for our ESA. This is very welcome news but…until I know exactly what ‘Chronically Ill’ constitutes, what illnesses and diseases (as reported on the 8.00 am news) make up the list, I will refrain from using 3 hours energy getting excited.
Read more Employment and Support Allowance: Re-tests axed for chronically ill claimants
October 19, 2016
JANE & MARIA DOE
Jane Doe was 13 years old when Donald Trump tied her to a bed and raped her. She begged him to wear a condom. He responded by violently striking her in the face and screaming he would do whatever he wanted. She asked what would happen if she were to get pregnant, at which point he threw $100 dollar bills at her and screamed that she should “get a fucking abortion.” Jane’s rape was witnessed by Tiffany Doe, who has signed a sworn affidavit confirming her testimony. Jane and Maria Doe (who was 12) were forced multiple times to perform oral sex on him.
Read more Trump: 4 Women Who’ve Accused Him of Rape by @GoddessKerriLyn
October 18, 2016
Cross-posted from: bottom face
Originally published: 04.07.16
Every day I lie in bed. The TV chatters in the background telling stories I do not even listen to. The curtains swell like the sails of a yacht and the noises of the outside world drift in in a jazz breeze. Car doors slam, children holler and laugh, a mum scolds her child, a lawn mower hums in the distance. The noises of lives lived, so unlike my own it’s almost absurd that they should be so near. And I lie and I half listen, and I drift in and out of sleep.
I barely see friends anymore. Too many invites unaccepted, so the invitations stopped. Too many stairs, and hills and bumpy pathways on the journeys once-upon-a –time-friends take. Mostly I’m alone. Yesterday I spoke to a friend I haven’t seen lately. She told me a dozen stories about people she’s spent time with whilst she was too busy to spend time with me. “We’re going camping this weekend. It was just going to be me and John, but then I invited Tracey, and then Gemma, and Sarah, and now it’s just grown into an event.” I wonder whether it ever occurred to her to invite me. She keeps the tent that I own at her house as she has more room than we do. The deal being that she can use the tent whenever she needs to.
Read more When Friends Forget You’re Still Alive- the life of a sick person
October 17, 2016
2016 Friday 12th of august 15:43
Dad said this morning I wasn’t allowed to bring my diary to the church but I didn’t listen. He says my dream job writing isn’t proper whatever that means. So when dad took my diary he put it in his desk drawer that he puts everything he doesn’t want me touching in. He thinks I can’t get in because he locks it but then he just puts the key on his desk. My dad isn’t very smart; all he does is watch TV and “teach”, He supposed to be a teacher but all he does is hire this guy to pretend to be him. Everyone tells me I shouldn’t complain cause he’s rich and has a big house, but they don’t know him like I do. Only 2 people in the entire world know him like I do, my best friend and my mum. My mum is dead now but she understood me when I complained. She said he was a nice man when he met him but as he grew older his heart got smaller. It got even worse when mum was diagnosed with cancer. It was weeks and weeks of back and fourth to the hospital. Soon mum lost her hair and then she died n the 28th of july. That’s why I’m here its mum’s funeral.
Read more Alex’s Dream
October 14, 2016
The gallery had sold out of the glossy, colour catalogue for Making the Australian Quilt: 1800–1950 by the time I saw the exhibition last week. But I had a terrific chat with the young woman serving at the museum shop while I placed an order to have the catalogue mailed out (at a discounted rate, no less).
“Isn’t it interesting,” she said, “how contemporary some of those quilt designs are. It’s amazing to think they predated modernism by decades. But not acknowledged, of course.” She gave me a gorgeous, wry smile. “Why would women’s sewing be acknowledged as art?”
Making the Australian Quilt: 1800–1950 is a wonderful and important exhibition now showing at NGV Australia (the gallery at Federation Square, in the heart of Melbourne). Over eighty works are on display – mainly quilts and bedcovers – and they are variously beautiful, historically significant, poignant, charming and fascinating. Intricate quilts stitched by convict women en route to Australia. Depression-era blankets (called waggas) made in desperation from scrounged bits and pieces. Delicate embroidery commemorating the jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Read more Elizabeth Macarthur’s Quilt at the National Gallery of Victoria
October 13, 2016
When feminists use the word patriarchy, it is usually followed with a shrug, a rolling of the eyes, or a sigh.
This is because when we speak about patriarchy, we are referring to the sanctioning of male dominance in society. We are taking issue with boys clubs that exclude women from matters which concern them. We are pointing to a binary hierarchy system where the value of the female sex is diminished by tradition, religion, culture etc., while the value of the male sex is given unreasonable preference.
There is no denying that this system exists, but I have started questioning how accurate it is to call it patriarchal. …
Read more Do we really live in a patriarchy? by @MsAfropolitan
October 12, 2016
My second to last day on the land I threw away the black leather jacket that I had been wearing to shoot the Night Stage in for the last five years. A very persistent mother mouse had established a nest in an inside pocket and in the process destroyed the lining of my beloved (and iconic, to me) jacket. That jacket was one of the last personal items I let go of on the Land this year, but it was far from being the only. In fact, this year on the Land I ended up losing many things that I knew I would never see again. I lost the labrys that I wore in the lapel of my jacket on Saturday night, my brand new Michfest hoodie, a one-of-a-kind hand crafted metal earring, a beautiful bouquet of feathers that a Sister presented me with as a gift of gratitude for my work, at least two lens caps, some brand new socks and finally the tent a friend had gifted to me seven years ago – the year my daughter came to the Land as a four month old infant. My tent was badly damaged by the aforementioned persistent mother mouse and a tree that fell on top of the tent, resulting in a ripped rainfly. The mouse came through the bottom of my tent and the tree came through the top. No, the tent was not tarped, I know, I know, I know. My point is, there were few days that some part of my mind was not occupied by my relationship to the things I had to let go of. I was given plenty of opportunity to remind myself that the most magical, comforting and even practical of “my” things have the potential to pass right through my hands and that both possession and permanence are illusions of my heart and mind. Everything changes. Every single thing reaches a moment of completion. In big ways and small ways we are always moving through and toward and away from the things, the places and the people we have loved, cherished and tried to hold on to in our lifetimes.
Read more THINK OF ME AS LOVING YOU STILL by @ssml
October 11, 2016
Cross-posted from: Glosswatch
Originally published: 09.10.16
It’s that time again, when the liberal left pretends to be totally outraged by some heinous act of sexism which they’d ordinarily condone. Perhaps I should feel relieved. Perhaps I should think “well, at least one sexist out of the many millions is getting his comeuppance.” But instead I feel tremendously depressed. I don’t believe the outrage over Donald Trump. Yet again it’s feminism being used for anything but the purpose of liberating women.
So the GOP has chosen Trump’s “lewd” admissions of grabbing women “by the pussy,” caught on tape, as the excuse to distance themselves from him. Fair enough. They’ve known about the creepiness, the misogyny, the rape accusations, for long enough, but better late than never. They could of course have drawn the line over some other form of discrimination – one which, as many liberal commentators have helpfully suggested, affects actual people, such as men – but you can’t have everything. Hey, at least a trivial issue such as sexual assault is being used for the greater good.
I don’t believe anyone is actually outraged, though. Not women, nor men, either, and not merely because this is “what they’re all really like.” It’s just another of these increasingly false dawns, a cleansing ritual of sorts, whereby everyone gets to performatively express horror at one man’s sexism and by doing so absolve themselves of guilt. Take our sins upon you, oh tiny-handed one, that we may once again be pure (and not have to liberate women in any meaningful, practical way, which might cost us time, money and our precious ‘rights’).
Read more I don’t believe the outrage over Donald Trump by @glosswitch
October 10, 2016
Cross-posted from: Jen Farrant
Originally published: 23.09.16
I have practiced yoga for over twenty years now, most of it at home on my own, sometimes attending classes and more off than on if I am honest. Since I got sick I have done yoga every morning as a way to help my body heal, gain strength and cope with stress, which has an enormous detrimental affect on me.
For the most part it has been quite difficult. Mornings can be tough for me and I am often incredibly painful and sore, getting moving is an effort of will and doing yoga would sometimes feel like it was something I had to force myself to do in order for my body to work and keep moving.
Read more Blissful yoga via @jenfarrant
October 7, 2016
The identity of Elena Ferrante is a secret well-guarded by her publisher. At the request of Ferrante. Ferrante has made it clear on multiple occasions that she does not want her art confused with her real life. This may not seem something that our campaign would necessarily concern ourselves with but there are multiple reasons why women deserve anonymity and even more reasons why breaching their anonymity puts women at risk of male violence.
As many of the writers we’ve linked to below demonstrate, authors owe their audiences nothing more than what they write – and even then audiences are not entitled to new material. What concerns us, and is referenced by some of the authors below, is the refusal to recognise the reason why a woman would want to keep her real life private. As with Facebook’s ‘real name’ policy, there is a complete refusal to recognise the reality of male violence against women and girls. Claudio Gatti, the journalist (and his publisher) who believes he’s entitled to know the real name of a woman despite her refusal demonstrates a total disregard of women’s safety.
Ferrante’s decision to remain anonymous may simply because she values her privacy – something that all women are entitled to. It may be as a way of protecting herself from online harassment and abuse that many women writers experience. It is also entirely possible that her anonymity is a way of protecting herself from male violence – both historical and potential. Ferrante has every right to do so and Gatti, and others before him, simply do not have the legal or moral right to doxx Ferrante just because they don’t like successful women writers (and there is more than a whiff of misogyny here).
Read more The Naming of Elena Ferrante
October 6, 2016
My earliest memory was you
Being wheeled away by green men
A checkered blanket on your knees
Then pushing my tiny thumb up against your brass jean button
The stars making a dent
I would watch you roll your cigarette
In one hand
The other holding a book
Faultless and compelling
You’d brush shimmering lilacs
On cheekbones and browbones I desired
Your mouth an Oh
As you traced the line of the lid
Pitch black lashes
A Chrissie Hynde fringe
And converse boots
I stole your leather Jacket with the fringes
I’m sorry I never told you
When I smell nail polish
You are here
When I smell leather or Patchouli
You are here
My first love
The one I’ve always hoped I could match
To be for him
What you are for me
The Feminist Poet: A Shout from the Dark: I am The Feminist Poet and this is my blog. You will find poems, fables, allegories and fairytales inside. Sometimes the hardest things to hear are easiest heard through poetry. And for me, the hardest things to hear are the stories of the women, my sisters and the daily battles they face. This blog is for them.
October 5, 2016
Cross-posted from: Young Crone
Originally published: 05.10.16
On Sunday night, I watched the Louis Theroux documentary ‘Savile’, which investigated why he (and by extension, others) hadn’t realised who and what the thankfully deceased serial rapist and abuser Jimmy Savile was, back when he interviewed him in 2000. In it, Theroux recognises and acknowledges that he missed certain signs, etc., as did so many others, but at the end, when he finally concludes that we will probably never truly know how Savile got away with so much for so long, he is completely mistaken. Because it’s totally obvious why he did – misogyny. And Theroux, for all his soul-searching, for all his sense of guilt and shame, for all his willingness to research the topic and hear difficult things from victims, including insulting things about his own past involvement with Savile, never stops to analyse the most obvious reason for why he also failed to spot the truth – his own misogyny. As a liberal, lefty guy, he probably doesn’t think he’s sexist at all, and I imagine that if you met him, he probably would come across as very nice and less sexist than a lot of men. Like so many men, because he’s not an out-and-out leering chauvinist pig who thinks women should only exist to attract and service him, he thinks he’s not sexist. BUT. BUT. His misogyny and male entitlement and participation in patriarchy are glaringly obvious in the documentary.
Read more Louis Theroux, Jimmy Savile and the failure to recognise the obvious: misogyny
Tags: celebrity culture
, child sexual abuse
, Jimmy Savile
, male violence
, male violence against women and girls
, rape culture
, sexualised violence
, toxic masculinity
October 4, 2016
Cross-posted from: Feimineach
Originally published: 01.04.16
Update: this post has been through a couple of permutations now. First, I just told the story (prompted by the guardian piece below), then I added some thoughts on how I felt at the time and how I wanted to challenge this guy’s behaviour, and then I thought about the ways in which I did (and really did not) challenge his behaviour, and then I thought about the ways in which I was discussing my own actions and reactions. I didn’t say anything about them at the time but I want to now.
I realised at the time, and have thought about it since, that I was engaging in some really problematic discourses about myself and about women. Now, importantly, I am stressing here that my perpetuating of these discourses is not problematic, per se, but rather part of a broader, social issue.
If you read on, you’ll see that my discussion of events is littered with victim-blaming (i.e. if anything had happened to me it would have been my fault for provoking the taxi driver in the way that I reacted to his “flirting”). I do not on any level agree that this would have been so but I also know that victim-blaming is so embedded in women’s consciousness that it informs nearly every aspect of our lives (and not just potentially violent situations). What do I do in this situation? How do I react? How do I avoid something bad happening to me? And, if something bad does happen, we think about what we could have done to avoid it.
I repeat: I do not on any level agree that a victim is to blame for her experience of violence but we are told so often that she is and that she should have been careful and that she should have watched herself and that she should have done this and that and then this again differently, that is impossible for us to truly avoid placing ourselves within those discourses when we think about our own behaviours. It’s a horrible, debilitating trap that we fall into time and time again.
Read more BAN “FLIRTING” IN TAXIS? YES PLEASE. (BUT LET’S NOT PRETEND THIS IS ONLY FLIRTING.) by @grainnemcmahon
October 3, 2016
One of my great passions is Big Junk Art – I just love cardboard. So when Holywell school gave me the go ahead for a Big Art Project at the end of term; I was thrilled.
After laying out a rough framework of boxes, I set to work with the gaffer tape and rolls and rolls of masking tape – in fact I realised, at the end of the project, that I had used the entire schools supply!
Once the skeleton was reasonably firmly fixed together and safe from the enthusiasm of the year one and two children, we embarked on the next stage of fleshing out. This needed a pile of another expensive resource – newspaper.
I was lucky that a big group of year 4 girls were happy to help during their lunch hour, as the end of term was looming. They were an efficient team – some scrunching the newspaper into balls others attaching it with the masking tape. Piece by piece the beast began to take shape.
Read more Violet, the Vocabulary Dragon, by @skybluepink
September 28, 2016
On the personal and political implications of misogynoir.
I should be writing my dissertation. I should be writing the abstract for that conference paper. I should be preparing the workshop on feminist voice I am to deliver. There are a hundred and one things I should be doing – things essential to my life that I am not doing, because I am curled under my desk having a panic attack. The abuse I receive online has reached new heights. For the first time (and probably not the last) I feel physically unsafe because of it. Along with the persistent misogyny, the overt racism, the steady drip drip drip of “shut up nigger”, there is something new: the threat of violence.
A white man told me that he wanted to hit me with his car. He wanted to hit me with his car and reverse over my body to make sure that I was dead. The scenario was so specific, the regard for my humanity so little, that it felt more real somehow than any of the other abuse I have received. It shocked me in a way that nothing on Twitter ever had before. I could hear my bones crack. He believed I deserved to die for being Black and having an opinion different to his own, that endorsing Black Lives Matter made me a legitimate target of violence. Seconds later, another white man appeared in my mentions with a chilling casualness to say that my being ran over would be “fair enough.”
It is not ‘just the internet’. This abuse does not fade from the mind when I close my laptop, when I put down my phone. It is a part of my life. It has altered my way of being. It is, at points, debilitating. There is a clear pattern: it is when I am most vocal, most visible as a Black feminist woman, that the abuse occurs most frequently, is the most vitriolic. Not a single one of the accounts I have reported in the week (for calling me nigger, for threatening me, for telling me to go back to Africa, etc.) has been suspended. Twitter Support’s failure to penalise accounts spreading racist threats and harassment creates the impression that people are free to abuse others with impunity – and Black women are so often the targets of that abuse.
Read more Self-Care or Speaking Out? A Black Feminist Dilemma by @ClaireShrugged
, Andre Lorde
, feminist activism
, male violence
, Media Diversified
, online harassment
, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy
September 26, 2016
Should coverage of Melania Trump’s plagiarism outweigh coverage of the racism, misogyny, and other bigotries on display at the Republican National Convention? Probably not, but it does have a deeper relevance than its function in further exposing the absurdity of the Trump candidacy.
Let’s start here: intellectual communities build themselves through acts of citation. Bloggers link; scholars footnote or in-text cite. In some non-western cultures, writers may include passages in ways that western scholars would view as plagiarism, but I believe that this generally occurs in cultures in which an educated person would be expected to recognize the sources without a citation. It functions similarly to allusion and is considered a way of showing respect to the original writer. In context, Melania Trump’s appropriations show disrespect for word work (and play) and thought—more evidence, as if we needed it, of anti-intellectualism.
Read more Why Melania Trump’s Plagiarism Matters by @EKSwitaj
September 23, 2016
Naming a new, emerging creative project is like naming a cat; you just know when it’s right. My new intermedia story art project, Nine Uncanny Women Who Live in Your Neighborhood really began to emerge more fully when I was studying this astrological happening involving a newly discovered (2005) planet (controversy abounds; no, yes, no, yes, yes, no on the planet question) Eris (pronounced ee-ris) and Uranus. They are meeting up in what is known in astrological parlance as a conjunction….hanging out next to each other…..a few million miles away, but you get the hang of it. They haven’t been this close for 500 years or so. The mythology of Eris is what caught my attention. She’s famous for being an agitator; a hard core Truth Teller, a disruptor of the status quo, a badly behaved troublemaker, a dissenter. We know who wrote her story. Patriarchy hates her and her ilk; radical feminists…..the Biophilic Warriors among us. Uranus, the revolutionary fire brand who dislikes stasis and confinement, meets the radical truthspeaking feminist Eris in the searing rebel constellation of Aries; now that’s a party I want to be at!
Read more 9 Uncanny Women Who Live in Your Neighbourhood at The Daly Woolf