This women’s world…

I hate the damn patriarchy. I hate the structures that allow it to continue to function, the men who deny its existence and those who just close their eyes to it. I am tired of rape culture and wage gaps and micro aggressions and attacks on reproductive rights. It all sickens me. However, what angers me most are the women who refuse to join the feminist ranks. The traitors in our midst are worse than the enemy at the gate.

The simple truth is that women must fight for each other. Allies are great, but we cannot rely on anyone else to secure our rights. Although men may care about the treatment of individual women, the have proven that they aren’t all that concerned with our fight for genuine equality. Even so-called decent men exhibit shock when women discuss the nitty gritty of our lives and how misogyny affects us. If almost every woman you know has been sexually assaulted or harassed, how is it possible that almost every man in your life has no idea that it was happening? How can women be cat called, groped and demeaned from the moment the grow boobs and no men ever participate or see it happening? It is isn’t possible. They know. Just like they know we’re side-lined in the work place. They same way they are completely aware that women still carry most of the burden of child rearing and home keeping. Not to mention the emotional labour of explaining this (& oh so many other things). Our patriarchal society is very comfortable for men. Hoping they will tear down their own kingdom is naïve. We have got to have each other’s back.

Shall we start with the basics?
Other women are not the competition. The pie is big enough for everyone to get a slice. You do not have to engage in that ‘I’m not like other girls’ bullshit. Women don’t create anymore drama than men. Female bosses aren’t inherently bitchy. Slut shaming isn’t cool. Trying to distinguish yourself at the expense of the entire sisterhood is a stupid move. Everyone knows what you’re up to and almost no one likes it. You think you’re winning cool girl points with the men folk, but they’ll stomp on you just as quickly as they do anyone other chick who gets in their way. In short, don’t be a desperate pick me. It’s just sad.

Offer genuine solidarity.
Support other women in all aspects of life. Vote for the women who deserve to hold office. Consume the art of talented women. Shout out your friend’s endeavours. Fight for representation with your voice and your purse. Don’t judge women for every little thing. Stay at home Mum’s aren’t better than those with careers outside the home. There is no perfect size. Trans women are women. We’re all real and we’re all just trying out best. If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it’s worthless.

Actions speak louder…
If there is any chance of breaking down the barriers that women face, we must be prepared to stand up for each other in practical ways. We must be willing to stand with our sisters even when it’s difficult. Don’t automatically dismiss reports of misconduct against men that you like. Abusers (of all types) often cultivate a nice guy persona precisely because it makes their predation easier to get away with. Listen and be prepared to question.

Back female colleagues. Shut down mansplaining and the co-opting of ideas. It is so easy for a third party to interject a simple ‘I think X already covered that’. Do not tolerate inappropriate talk. Don’t laugh or ignore sexist ‘banter’. Be clear that you are not amused, and you will not work in a toxic environment. If you witness discrimination, harassment, bullying approach the victim and offer your assistance. Not just a shoulder to cry on, but pragmatic help. Go on record with HR regarding what you’ve witnessed, testify at tribunals etc. This is even more important if the woman in question is also a member of another oppressed group. Use whatever power you hold to institute practices that make your workplace a place that women can thrive. Then fight to have to those polices enforced. Protect and encourage the warranted career progression of women who utilise maternity or family leave. We must be willing to stick our heads above the parapet. Even/especially when we may be the only female voice in a room.

Do not reward collaborators.
This is very simple. Women who purposely back the patriarchy do not deserve your support. If they are willing to inhibit the opportunities of other women for personal gain, they are not worthy of your backing. Don’t vote for, align yourself with or rely on them. A sisterhood of women is a very powerful thing. Devote your energy to building and sustaining your own.

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It’s coming on Christmas…

I’m feeling the need to immerse myself in the festive spirit this year. The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, but I want a more. Thus, I have concocted a not at all cunning plan, but I think it will be effective.

Step 1 – Up the daily merriment with lots of Christmas nail art. I always keep my nails adorned anyway, so I might as well up the glitter quotient & get my crimbo on. First up was this simple swishy tree. Rouge Noir is never not perfect.

ly h Kerr Xmas nail art

Step 2 – Spread the goodwill. As Cliff said, it’s a time for giving and there are hell of a lot of people in need. I have decided to commit to one bigish charitable act each week of December and as many small gestures as I can muster along the way. First up is the reverse advent calendar. Basically, you get a box and put a foodbank donation in it every day of advent. Individual foodbanks list what they most need at any given time, so check their websites. At this time of year I like to add some treats along with the basics. If a person can’t afford food they are unlikely to have money for Christmas present and extras. No one should have explain to their child that is Santa isn’t coming. I am by no means rolling in it, but with a little planning it’s possible to pick inexpensive items that will make a huge difference to a little one. Even chocolate Santas/coins can really help a family struggling at Xmas. We are living in difficult times, the continued roll out of Universal Credit in particular is leaving many people in financial hardship. Those of us with enough should & can give a little (or a lot) to the people our society is currently failing. Plus, it makes you feel really warm inside. It’s a win/win you feel like a lovely person, people in need feel a wee bit less bleak.

If you’re local to me here are some links to Glasgow Foodbanks & other food services. Otherwise you can search via postcode here. Sadly, Foodbanks are springing up everywhere, there will be one in your area.

Crookston Community Group & Foodbank

Storehouse Foodbank

Glasgow City Mission

Wayside Club Centre

You know you want it…

I really want to write about the whole Kavanaugh debacle, but I find myself too filled with rage to be coherent. He is the perfect example of how deep misogyny runs. From the tired old ‘why did she wait so long’ & ‘boys will be boys’. To his openly disrespectful treatment of female senators and the hypocrisy surrounding how male displays of belligerence & tears are strong and riveting, whilst a women doing the same would be hysterical and unfit for the public office. It’s the patriarchal home run. The really horrifying thing is I’m not convinced any of it will stop his confirmation. We keep thinking we’ve made progress, but it’s lip service. Crumbs.

I am disgusted. And exhausted.

Someone else summed it better. I’m just going to leave this here.

For the avoidance of doubt, I Believe Her. Dr Blasey Ford is a hero.

American idiot…

I included a picture of this outfit in a post a few weeks ago & I got few questions about it. So, thought I’d do a full outfit post on it. I call this look protest chic.

I was combining my Friday night out with an anti Trump protest. I wanted to look great whilst I used my voice for good. I was also dying to try out this amazing lace body suit.

ly h Kerr, Anti Trump rally, Glasgow

Bodysuit – Boohoo

Skirt – Lindy Bop

I’ve definitely gotten bolder with sheer fabrics this year. I think I used to be wary partly because I’m fat, but more so because I have huge breasts. Over the years I’ve absorbed a lot of negative messages about not showing too much in that area. I’ve always raged against the notion that if I wear a low cut top my boobs are fair game. I still felt like lots of styles were automatically off limits to someone of my (breast) size. I’m so glad I’ve pushed against those limits; I feel & look great in the new styles I’ve been trying.

ly h Kerr
ly h Kerr, close up

Sunglasses – Where.Light

Necklace – Fuck the Tories

Bra – Yours clothing

I like your spunk pin – Spunk Rock

I absolutely adore the look of this bodysuit, but it is a bit tricky to wear. It isn’t very long, so if you’re on the taller side it’s a fidgety one to get fastened. It’s also a bit of a faff to wear as I had to keep adjusting to keep my more bra than I wanted popping out. If you’re thinking of buying it, I’d recommend sizing up.

Woman of the week…

It’s been a while, but a truly incredible woman inspired me to bring back the honour roll . This week’s epic woman is the fearless Hannah Gadsby

I had picked up on a little social media buzz about her latest stand up show, Nanette & headed onto Netflix to give it a watch. I expected some laughs. What I got was the most raw & uncompromising show I have ever seen. Hannah Gadbsy is a feminist hero. She begins by mixing jokes about her trauma with humour & explains how she balances tension to create relief with a punchline. Then, she bravely recounts her stories without relief. She gives us her reality.

Hannah Gadsby

She rails against violent misogyny & homophobia. She describes unflinchingly how being raised in an environment that teaches you to hate who you are cripples a child. She throws in the quips, but she never let’s the audience off the hook. She forces us to recognise her truth and her anger. She exposes her (& all our) need to honestly tell our stories. Her pain is palpable. Her courage is beautiful.

I beseech you all to watch Nanette. It is a masterpiece

You say you want a revolution…

If you are even fractionally sentient you will be aware the Donald Trump visited the UK last week. He did so with all his usual grace & charm. Yup, that’s right, none. Instead he gave us his standard fare; lies, ill manners & fuckwittery.

I’m delighted to confirm that we weren’t standing for it. A reported 250,000 people took the streets of London to protest Trump’s arrival on our shores. In Glasgow the crowd was smaller, but no less passionate.

I’ll happily take every opportunity to denounce the U.S. President & his vile administration. For me it boils down to one really simple fact; if you don’t loudly condemn their actions, you’re condoning them.

I don’t consider it hyperbole to describe the current GOP as fascists. Trump’s government displays every single facist warning sign. Rampant racism leading to dehumanisation comes straight from the nazi playbook. Language such a infestation combined with policies like family separation & Muslim travel bans are undeniably examples of this. Extreme sexism is unavoidable when the commander in chief is a sexual predator. When you combine his misogyny with the increased power of the religious right you create a dangerous situation. Reproductive rights, access to health care & basic human rights for LGBTQ+ people are at serious risk. Assaults on the free press. An inability to conduct himself in reasonable & decent manner add to his horrors. When mocking disabled people is fair game, but denouncing white supremacy is not, you have a society in serious trouble.

It isn’t possible to recount all of Trump’s bad conduct in one blog post. He represents all that I find repulsive. His Presidency puts vulnerable people within & without America at severe risk. I think all decent people have a duty to resist. I’m proud of my city for making our revulsion clear.

I spent the first half of the protest sharing a bench with some elderly Americans who thanked me for our support. They also asked me to explain some of the signs, which proved a little awkward. ‘Fud’ is not a word that lends itself to polite translation. It was, however uplifting to share a laugh and all that we had in common.

Protest is important & powerful. Please join in whatever capacity you can. Be that matches, rallies, direct action or even donations. Be safe, but be strong.

You can put your money to good by donating to these organisations.

RAICES provide free & low cost legal services to immigrants & refugees in Texas.

The ACLU fight through the courts to defend the civil liberties of all Americans.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence does exactly what it says on the tin. The campaign for & work on legislation that will introduce gun restriction laws which will reduce gun violence.

Planned Parenthood provide sexual health services, screening, abortions & much more. They are essential for many Americans who cannot otherwise access affordable healthcare.

Talk is cheap…

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which is, in theory, a good thing. Since all it seems to involve is people on social media saying ‘talk about it’ it is not actually all that helpful.

We absolutely should talk about mental illness more. We should educate our kids about symptoms & how normal it is to experience them. We should put better training in place for teachers, emergency services & NHS staff. We should all try harder not to judge or shirk away from people who are struggling. Employers should be flexible with staff dealing with mental illness. There should be more information, more understanding, more honesty. Yes, we should talk about it. Asking for help it definitely a good idea. All of these things are important & valid, but there’s still something missing from the conversation.

What happens when you do speak openly & no one listens (or seems to care). Can we talk about all the people who gathered all their courage &!swallowed their pride to ask for help and didn’t get any? Can we address the fact that as hard as is it to say ‘I’m not ok’, it’s a million times harder to hear ‘tough luck’ in response.

We do need to talk about mental illness, but we also need to listen and act. Funding is of course part of the problem. The NHS is chronically underfunded & mental health is the poor cousin. For all the political talk of parity between physical & mental illness, there has been little change to waiting times or scarcity of vital mental health services. Very often waiting to even be assessed by a mental health team is a long process. In my area the wait for psychologist input is 4months (that’s relatively short), in practise you’ll be waiting longer because you will first have to be referred & assessed before anyone even adds you to that list. During all this waiting time people can have no professional support.

Then there are the multitude who are deemed ‘not sick enough’. To be fair this has always been an issue due to stigma & ignorance. Lack of funding exacerbates the problem. When services are so stretched, access to those resources become limited. Lots of people who seek help for mental health problems are basically told to manage it themselves. Get some exercise, reduce your stress, get out more. When you summon your strength to talk about things that frighten you and are told it’s no big deal, it’s hard not to feel even more pathetic. It is difficult not to feel shutdown. Repeat that scenario more than once & people give up. Likewise for those who are informed that they’re not quite ill enough to warrant intervention. All that talk of early warning signs & speaking up doesn’t translate into much action. Having a professional ask you to wait & see if your health declines before they will help you is a kick in the gut. When you know that getting worse means your entire life falling apart, it’s not unreasonable to prefer to be proactive. When you don’t know what’s happening to you all, it is terrifying. So, yes, we do need to talk about it. I will always encourage people to ask for help. I will always strive to remove the shame of admitting you need assistance. I’ll also continue to demand that we talk about what happens after you take that step. We cannot ignore the fact that asking for help does not guarantee receiving it. We must acknowledge all the people for whom no treatment has been forthcoming & stop pretending that the problem isn’t much, much bigger.

People die because they did talk about it & nothing changed. Can we start talking about that?