Let’s hear it for the girls…

It’s International Women’s Day again and we’re all applauding the amazing women who are soaring in all manner of ways. Whilst I am very much here for that, I also want to give a standing ovation to the women who are just about holding it together. I really want to shine a light on a different kind achievement. So often we overlook the strength it takes to just keep going on the face of adversity.

Neon together we will burn brighter

I want this IWD to be about the women living with chronic illness, mental illness, inequality in the workplace, trying to make ends meet, shitty relationships & everything else that weighs you down. Perhaps you’re not launching your own collection, pulling in 6 figures or living the insta glam life. That does not mean you aren’t striving and succeeding. Every day that you get out of bed despite being wracked with pain, you’re killing it. Every single mother who loves, feeds & inspires her child(ren) every day is changing the world. Forcing yourself out the door when you’d rather curl into a ball & cry, is winning. Steering your own course in a workplace that is designed for the comfort & advancement of men makes you a boss. All the women who have to fight stigma & danger to claim their womanhood, you are queens. Even if you were unable to wash your face or get dressed today the fact that you are still here, still living, still fighting is enough.

We are all Wonder Woman

*

We all know smart, talented women who are doing the best with the hand they’ve been dealt. That may mean that their successes aren’t as big & shiny as those we’ve become accustomed to celebrating, but they count. Those hard won achievements deserve acclaim. This year let’s hear for the women who keep their worlds spinning every day in spite of universe’s attempts to thwart them.

*Wonder women print by SaturnTwinsArtShop.

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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.

Early bird gift guide…

I know I am getting into the Xmas chat a bit early & I apologise. I only do it because it takes me ages to get organised. I have loads of Dec birthdays & far off loved ones to send to on top of regular Xmas. The added complications of spoonie life means I’m usually already quietly Xmas shopping in October. I am certain there are others just like me out there, thus I thought some early gift guides might be useful.

I’m staring with this fairly random guide as I think most folk are a bit eclectic in their tastes. I find all those really specific guides a bit annoying because very few people fit in just one box. So, i have collated this bunch of cool, but varied gifts. I’m calling it, traditional eclectic, all the standard crimbo fare with some twists. 

I may have mentioned before that christmas without velvet is just not on. Velvet clothes feel divine, so imagine how amazing this most tactile of fabrics would feel right next to your skin. Yup, velvet lingerie is definitely a sexy festive gift. Of course along with something to slink about in, something to slob in is also required at Xmas. Never underestimate the power of good jammies. 

All good book shops, New Look, Plus size lingerie lounge, New Look, All good book shops,The literary gift company. 

Hand in hand with nightwear go a really good book & this delightful cushion to lounge upon. I have become a bit of a cushion fanatic, but I think most book lovers would be pleased with this couch addition. 

Everyone likes a bit fancy at Xmas time. Wether that be twinkling on your eyelids or quirky touches around the house. 


eBay, Asda Home, Urban Decay (Heavy Metal). 


Barry M, I want one of those, Pyro Pet, Ciate (Glitter Flip).

The rise of the christmas jumper in recent years has tickled my fancy. The sheer variety of festive knitwear means there is something to suit all tastes. Chocolate & jewellery are also Xmas staples. Again, if you look hard enough you can find some to please everyone. 


Vegan Town, Marks & Spencer’s, Bonnie Bling. 

As a kid I always had a holy advent calendar, so the idea of a vegan choc one really appeals to me. Making a statement with my accessories is so up my street, but sometimes I just want my baubles to look pretty.  There’s a bit of each here.


Rebel Circis, Marks & Spencer’s, Fuck the Tories. 

If my haste upsets you, I get it. If however you have a massive Xmas list that you need to get ahead of, have at it. 

This goes out to all the women…

Lemonade. I know, everyone is talking, writing & I suppose singing about it. I must confess to not having heard (or seen) the complete album. I’ve sampled some highlights and whilst not a member of the beyhive, I’m excited to hear more. I have no issue with Beyonce’s music (her fur wearing is another matter). I applaud the increased political input in her work. Her support of black & feminist issues is on point. Her artistic viewpoint is increasingly progressive & radical. Which is why, some of her fans retrograde behaviour of late has been particularly hard to take. 

  
Oh, I know fans are fanatical these days. Bey is queen & they worship her. That’s all good, but the reaction to Lemonade & hints that Jay Z may have cheated are down right backwards. 

Rachel Roy’s ‘ Good hair, don’t care’ Instagram post ignited smouldering rumours that she was Mr Carter’s indiscretion. The beyhive immediately launched a social media witch hunt. Bee & lemon emoticons appeared en mass on her various pictures & posts. Along with the taunting images came more serious abuse, which inevitably led to her making her accounts private. Today’s tabloids decided that it was in fact Rita Ora would had done the dirty with Beyonce’s spouse. She too was lavished with the same treatment. 

  
Perhaps you think those involved in infidelity deserve what they get. Maybe you feel betraying Bey is worthy of a good hounding, but wait, what about Jay Z? If he did in fact step outside his marriage surely he’s where the hive loyal should turn their scathing tongues? He’s the one who made vows & a child with Yonce. Why does the arse who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants get a pass?

  
The answer, as is so often the case, the patriarchy. Woman are still being conned into feeling that other chicks are the enemy. Our old boy’s club society wants it that way. It’s much better for the status quo if smart, talented women view each other as the competition. Stop letting yourself be suckered by the tired old trope that cheating men can’t help themselves, but cheating women are whores. It’s such a dangerous road to go down. It ultimately leads us to rape apology & the dismissal of female sexual agency. That’s not what we should be teaching our daughters. The bottom line is the Carter’s marital woes are not my business, but women tearing each other down is. 

Cheating is cruel. I’m not loving anyone who participates. But, ladies, come on. Stop beating on your own whilst letting men off easy. We’re better than this.  

I hate you so much right now….

I’m having one of those days when life seems determined to subvert my plans. It is, to say the least, infuriating. So, I thought I would vent my frustrations by having a little bitch about the smaller things that get my goat.

If you’re wearing anything with a wizard on it, you might want to stop skip this bit. I’m afraid when I see an adult reading a Harry Potter book I have to suppress the urge to scream. Those stories are for kids. Read a grown up book. 

Staring. Stop it. It’s just basic manners. I know I’m fat. I know my boobs are enormous. My clothes are weird clothes, but continued looks won’t alter that. Yup, I have scars & piercings & tattoos. Stop gawking. Oh & whilst we’re on the topic quite nudging your mates & whispering too. I see you & it’s rude. Seriously, just stop it. 

  
Carol Vorderman. She’s not a genius. She’s not even likeable. She does morally questionable adverts & her face just annoys me. I don’t have very good reasons for my hatred. I just can’t stand her. No more woman. No more. 

Gin. It’s horrid, but only recently has it made my list. Some marketing dept somewhere clearly decided they needed to make gin cool & man alive have they been successful. It is now almost impossible to find a cocktail that doesn’t have gin lurking in it. Events have gin only bars. Everyone in the bloody world suddenly lists it as their favourite tipple. It’s taking over. Go away gin. I don’t want you.

  

I’m going to wrap this up with my current top level pet hate. Basic bitches. I think my interpretation of this phrase may be slightly different from other folks, so I shall explain. What really winds me up is chicks whose understanding of feminism & womanhood is peripheral. The type of person who doesn’t think trans women are ‘real women’. They love a bit of slut shaming & feel gender roles must be adhered too. This is a girl who conforms, they will  mock anyone who dares to be different. Solidarity is not their watch word. They’re basic & more often than not, they’re bitchy AF. 

  
(I’m amused by this meme because Judy can be basic herself)

Disclaimer : If you’re a gin swilling, Harry Potter loving relative of Carol Vorderman, the majority of this post is just a tongue in cheek rant.