Things that make me go…eeewww

Sometimes the world is bustling with things you love. Other, it keeps thrusting annoyance in one’s path. My current sphere is veering towards the latter.

The hype around the new Ivy Park x Adidas was as big any Beyoncé project gathers. The sizing was more than a little disappointing. It’s frustrating to see someone who gains much aplomb for her nods to body diversity fall down when it comes to her own product lines. Fat folk were, yet again, an afterthought. With small fats squeezing into a later release & everyone else ignored; only girls of a certain size run Bey’s world.

Khloe Kardashian tweet promoting flat tommy shakes

Sticking with the celebrity field (if slightly less A list) is the continued promotion of weight loss crap. Khloe Kardashian springs to mind as a repeat offender. Despite having more money than anyone could ever need, she’s still punting flat tummy shakes to her fans. A huge portion of which are young women & girls. Shame also spreads to homegrown reality celebs. With Lauren Goodger & others agreeing to promote a product containing the fatal ingredient, cyanide. She was caught on camera saying you didn’t have to actually use the products to promote them. None of the influencers involved in the BBC reportage recognised or checked how dangerous the ingredient was. Again, much of base they ‘influence’ are young people. It’s gross that people with a platform are happy to push products that are damaging to mind & body. The greed really does make me go eeeww.

In a less contentious space is the return of some fashion horrors from my youth. Foremost of my objections are hairbands. I really cannot stand those big, thick padded head bands. They conjour two unpleasant 80’s associations; sloanes & teacher’s pet. Both of whom proudly wore those clunky accessories. I’m sorry, they are just not cool.

Black diamanté hair band & red pearl hair band

It will come as no surprise to you that I’m not enjoying current wave of internalised misogyny. Almost nothing is more stomach churning that women shitting on other women. I am aware this is far from a new phenomena, but the relish with which its whipping around it vile. As my more progressive sisters advance an intersectional agenda the less enlightened are pushing back. They’re fighting with mean attacks on real issues like period poverty and trans rights. When I see a privileged woman deploying an I had to suffer once so you can too argument, it makes me nauseous. Turn it up to the full on bigotry of transphobia & I’m boaking. Rich white women need to do better. Much, much better.

Next on the fashion nope radar is another relic from my past. The return of chunky 90’s footwear is not pleasing. I hated spice girl trainers & rubber block heels when I was 15. My opinion has not changed. I loved so much of the 90’s, but these heavy hunks are not amongst them.

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.

Woman of the Week…

This week’s marvellous female specimen is Ruby Tandoh. I actually came pretty late to Ruby party, but I intend to make up for lost time. Ruby is the no bullshit baker we all need in our lives. 


Ms Tandoh obviously came to public attention on The Great British Bake Off. She didn’t win the show, but she was excellent in every way. Every single one of her 5 million facial expressions were endearing & I totally related to her stressing. It goes without saying that she made some tasty shit, but the best was still to come. 

It wasn’t until I found her on twitter that her true glory was revealed. Ruby is a kick arse intersectional feminist. She tweets about important matters from LGBTQ issues, fat phobia & ableism to popular culture & politics with the kind of blunt clarity I admire. She calls out the sell out tactics of other chefs who jump on the healthy eating bandwagon. All the while writing joyfully about food (& various other things) in her Guardian column & books.

Ruby had no fear in taking on the big names. She has been savage in her take down of Jamie Oliver & clean eating quacks Ella Mills & The Hemsleys. She skillyfully disects the dangers of healthy eating fads whilst highlighting why they are so problematic. 


Her recent contribution to Do what you want, a zine about mental well being has pushed her even further in my estimations. The zine includes a variety of pieces on all aspects of mental health. It covers perhaps less talked about issues like accessing treatment as non binary person & mental well being from a refugee stand point. This all round excellent publication also donates all of profits to mental health charities. I believe it is now sold out, but check the website for details. 

Ruby Tandoh seems to be that rare thing of a ‘celeb’ who puts her money where her mouth is. Her feminism is inclusive of the groups so often exclude from mainstream white feminism; sex workers, non binary people, POC, fat women, the disabled & so on. Her life seems to genuinely reflect her spunky public persona. This is a woman worthy of our respect. 

If all that wasn’t enough she is hilarious. We’re talking about the chick who refused to work with Piers Morgan by calling him ‘sentient ham’. Oh & she wasn’t fucking sorry about it. 


Can we have a standing ovation for Ruby?

Woman of the Week…

I couldn’t march on Saturday because my stupid body is stupid. I am gutted to have missed such a massive assembly of strong women. 



I was especially delighted to see so much intersectional feminism on display along with a big turnout of kids & young adults. It heartens me to think that right here in my city the next generation is woke. I am proud that so many parents everywhere are raising their kids right. Which brings me to one of my favourite videos from the March on Washington.




By now I am sure you have all seen Ashley Judd’s recitation of Nasty Woman. It was a memorable performance of a powerful piece & credit to Judd for bringing to the attention of so many. For me what makes it even more inspiring is that it is the work of Nina Mariah Donovan; it is she who is my woman of the week. The 19 year old from Tennessee wrote the poem last year in response to Trump’s growing campaign infractions. Judd attending the event at which Nina originally performed the poem. The writer’s own delivery of the piece is every bit as commanding as her famous fan. 

Ashley Judd of course sought & received permission to use the work & Nina expected some backlash. Ridiculously Trump supporters are disgusted with Donovans’s description of Ivanka as her father’s favourite sex symbol, whilst having no issue with Trump’s own incestous comments. 

Nina Mariah can be found on YouTube, where she posts videos of her incredible performances. She writes on feminism, social justice, her Puerto Rican heritage & pop culture. I’m blown away with the intensity of her words. Her stage presence & mastery of language are stunning. Do yourself a favour & start following her now. I dearly hope this young woman’s  redoubtable talent is about go BIG. 

Woman of the Week…

It occurred to me that I am constantly coming across wonderful women. In all aspects of my life I am repeatedly astounded at the amazing things women are achieving. I also realised that perhaps I am often surprised by how excellent these woman because no one is shouting about them. Well, I think it’s time we start hollering about how fantastic our fellow females truly are. With that in mind I’d like to introduce a new regular feature, Woman of the Week. 

First to be drenched in praise is one of my very favourite tweeters, @stavvers. Going by the twitter handle Another Angry Woman, she is smart, funny & woke. I find myself nodding vigorously to every tweet she crafts. With a reliably intelligent comment on both the major & underreported stories of the day, a strong intersectional feminist view point & a knack for making idiots look ridiculous, she is a must follow.

   

    
   

Her own blog makes excellent reading for anyone of a feminist persuasion. Her writing is a joyous experience; strident, hilarious & covering topics that need to be spoken about. Along with original pieces she does a periodic round of up of interesting things she has read, which are never less than brilliant.

What are you waiting for? Go follow @stavvers now. You won’t regret it.