An Open Letter to Humanists

AAAAGGGHHHH I love this! What great writing 🙂

Hey Bro

How about that sharing economy, amirite? Bitcoins; Uber; media disruption – all totally rad. *High five* It’s cool that we’re coming from the same space, you know? However, I sort of wanted to talk to you about, well, “humanism.”See, humanism is a word like “atheist”or “dude”that I used to seriously identify with but lately has morphed into a he-man woman haters club shibboleth; an epithet that proudly marks members of privileged classes trying desperately to pull up the ladder before some bogus subaltern claims more than a shred of equality.

Instead of referring to a belief in the inherent dignity and equality of all humanity, humanism in 2014 is marked by a tremendous anti feminist and anti social justice stance, predicated on a mistaken idea that, like, misandry is real and not just very, very, very funny. Essentially, humanists tell us, often / always…

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A quick synopsis for my ideas on good Consent education.

hessianwithteeth

Make it quick and repeat it often

Make it informative

Make it inescapable

Focus on Consent (but don’t avoid saying rape)

Make it quick

Make it from different perspectives

Tailor it to the audience where ever you can

Make it mandatory

Make it informative

Make it quick and repeat it often.

Obviously this doesn’t give good info on the actual how’s, though there are not shortage of skilled sex educators and film students out there. Make a hundred or so pick 15-25 of the best.

Withteeth

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British Values for British People

Great piece on British Values. I mean, really, British Values! I ask you, what the hell are they supposed to be? My top picks: 1. Oppression of minorities and women 2. one rule for the people and another for the private schools 3. fish and chips

Left at the Lights

As a member of my family, a friend of many circles and a citizen of the patch of land on which I made my entry into the world, I share a common set of values with the people I choose to have in my spaces. They’re old, young, black, white and brown. Some of them practice a religion but a significant number don’t. They come in all shapes and sizes, genders and sexualities. Oddly, they do not share the same political beliefs necessarily but they place the same values on the things we all think are important; like treating each other with respect, for example, and dignity regardless of borders and stereotypes.

Honesty also scores fairly highly in our value system. It takes courage and humility to admit when you are wrong or when you may have hurt someone, unintentionally or otherwise. Recognising humanity in others is something I need…

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Picking your battles

‘You have to pick your battles’

Out of all of the maternal advice that I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot), I think that this has been the most frequent. Picking your battles. I remember being a small child and throwing a tantrum over my sister nicking my toy or not getting the exact sweet I wanted from the corner shop, and my mother telling me to ‘pick my battles’.

I remember being older, having issues with friendships and having to deal with really very painful arguments and bitchiness as a teenager – pick your battles.

I remember learning about injustice in the world for the first time, and being absolutely outraged at the idea of children starving in Africa, or pollution destroying the ozone layer, or governments toppling the structure of entire countries in the name of ‘counter-terrorism’ – pick your battles.

And I remember being awakened to feminism, being angry at the manager who hit on me, the ex who told sexist jokes, the men in the street honking their cars, the men in clubs touching without permission. And again, I subsumed these issues, because – you have to pick your battles.

I’ve accepted it, and subsumed it into my consciousness, for so long, but I’m starting to realise that actually – fuck that! 

When I point out to my brother that his favourite TV show is full of sexist jokes and stereotypes – that actually matters – it is actually a thing! It’s not just me being the crazy obsessive feminist – it’s me getting increasingly tired and frustrated by living in a world where sexism is so normal it’s not even noticed half the time. Where sexism is so normal that sitcoms airing at 6pm – sitcoms that are essentially aimed at young teenagers like my brother – are full of it! Would we accept sexism on a programme on the CBBC channel (kids TV channel for non-UK folks)? No, we would not. So why is it ok that the programmes that air before the watershed and are essentially for kids (after they’re too old for CBBC but before they’re old enough to think for themselves) are so full of misogyny?

So I realise that sometimes I might post *too many* depressing stories about rape, or murder, or rape-murder, or rapists being allowed back on a football pitch with no consequences – but maybe instead of telling me to ‘pick my battles’ you should look at the societies that allow these things to happen so often that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.

And maybe I’ll come across as an angry or bitter person – but it’s not true. I have my personal life, and I have my political views – and I’d like to keep them fairly separate (or at least be able to compartmentalise so I’m not constantly walking around fuming about female genital mutilation – because who does that help?)

However, I’d rather be angry and bitter and yet raising awareness and trying to make the people in my life concerned about these issues in the way that I am than be blissfully unaware of the damage and pain that my culture is contributing to.

As I’ve written in other posts, sometimes the injustice in the world really does get on top of me, and makes me want to melt into a heap and just cry forever, because I feel utterly useless and helpless to make a change.

But I’m trying to accept that whilst I might not be able to end sexism or give everyone an education, give everyone life-saving vaccines, give everyone enough food and water and shelter to live – I can make small changes and I can contribute in my own way.

I have to follow my talents, and my talents are in my writing, in my theatre work. If I make a play and just one person comes to see it and they leave thinking, really thinking about how they can change this stuff, I’ve succeeded. And that’s all I can do.

Sometimes it does feel like I have to make a choice between pointing out sexism and injustice all the time, and people thinking I’m obsessive and weird, or allowing this stuff to pass by me, allowing people to say hideous things in front of me with no protest, and feeling ashamed of myself and internalising that sexism.
But, honestly, people have always found me a bit obsessive and weird.
I’m really not bothered.
So I’m sorry, maternal voice, I know that you want me to pick my battles. But looking back on my life, in the past I’ve spent so much time picking my battles that I’ve neglected to fight some of the most important ones. So, moving forward, I’m fighting, and fighting, and fighting some more. Because I have to believe that I can make a change. Because I won’t be silenced by anyone, not even myself.

I Can’t Cry

This post has opened my eyes about prostitution in a really big way – I’m still questioning, as I question every new idea I find, but it’s a compelling read and worth considering I think 🙂
(More of my meaningless opinions in the comment section btw)

Rebecca Mott

I want to cry so much.

My throat hurts so much coz it so blocked, my eyes are tired of being tired, my heart is in an agony where words disappear to.

I still can’t cry.

I wanted to cry when Lauren Bacall died, for she was my protector when all my world was being thrown to the wolves.

I remember as a 14-year-old wanting to be Lauren Bacall, wanting her presence by my side.

I stood by the bar in a sex club, and try hard to make it into “The Big Sleep”, and make reality disappear.

I imagined the dive I was in was a sophisticated nightclub – where I was wisecracking and keeping men at a distance.

I refuse to see the truth, that I had no voice, no safety, no access to dignity – I refuse to know I was nothing as I imagine I was…

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#YesAllWomen

I thought I’d add myself to the long, long list of women taking up the cry of #YesAllWomen to document their experiences of sexism, harassment and abuse. *Warning: obligatory #notallmen part coming up* As others have pointed out, by writing this I do not aim to indite all men, I’m only trying to add to the vast swathes of evidence, on the internet and elsewhere, that all women have experiences like this.
So here goes. #YesAllWomen because…

  1. At 12, being made to pick up litter in my teacher’s classroom during an afterschool detention, and whilst I was on my hands and knees, hearing my teacher say ‘that’s a woman’s place’.
  2. At 13, being jealous of my friends because they got beeped on their way home from school by men in vans and I didn’t.
  3. At 13 and up, having to text my friends to let them know I got home safe and getting them to do likewise whenever we’d go anywhere after dusk. Never having to do this with my male friends. Still doing this now.
  4. From 13/14, ever since I grew my (large) breasts, having them be an open topic of conversation for anyone to mention, stare at or touch whenever they like, and me feeling that I had to be ok with this and even make jokes about my own breasts.
  5. At 14, in my first job (at a newsagents), having a married dad with kids my brother’s age that I knew from church give me his mobile number.
  6. At 14+, taking out my key and holding it inbetween my fingers as self-defense when walking home in the evening (from a friend’s house 2 minutes away, in a sleepy village) – Still doing this now.
  7. At 18+, being touched up in clubs, every time I’ve been in a club.
  8. At 19, being told by my manager at a well known pizza delivery chain, over facebook, that I had ‘nice breasts’ and that he wanted to ‘touch them’. Having to explain to him why it was not ok for him to say this.
  9. At 20, working at a large arts festival and being persuaded back to my 40 year old, married-with-kids colleague/superior’s flat, at which point he lunged at me for a kiss, then denied he had.
  10. At 21, working packing boxes in a warehouse and being told that only the men packed the heavier stuff because they were stronger. By a man who weighed less than me.
  11. At 22, being forced to listen to the radio at work, which for a 6 month period played Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ at least three times every working day. People thinking it was hilarious to sing it at me and watch my reaction. People deliberately forcing me to watch the explicit version of the music video to it because I’d said I was uncomfortable about it.
  12. At 22, being warned against meeting with a potential theatre collaborator at his home, even after I’d already met with him a few times in public and was working with him. Allowing this to worry and scare me. Feeling reassured, not because I knew he was a good person who wouldn’t randomly attack me, but because I was pretty sure he was gay. Never having this problem with any female collaborator/colleague.
  13. At 22, going to a burlesque club and the MD commenting negatively on a group of women who had just walked in, saying ‘the strippers have arrived’. At a burlesque club. Where people strip…
  14. At 22. being aggressively approached by a middle-aged guy whilst in a pub with my two sisters (aged 19 & 25). He was asking my younger sister about herself, and whether she was a student. When he asked me and my older sister the same question, we told him we were sisters. He got very offended(?) and pointed at my older sister (who has darker skin than me and my other sister) and shouted ” She is NOT your sister!” He then refused to go away until my other sister threatened to go and ask the bar staff to make him leave us alone. This was obviously threatening but also just bizarre and kinda racist?
  15. At 23, having to sit at the table in a restaurant listening to my fellow diners joke and laugh about the ‘good old days’ when they used to go clubbing and grope the girls in the clubs.
  16. At 23, and watching my partner try (unsuccessfully) to explain why he objected to a comment about how he’d been ‘raped’ at a video game.
  17. At 23, feeling a million times safer walking down the street (no matter the street, time of day or clothes I was wearing), when I’m walking with my boyfriend or any other man.
  • Because I feel lucky as one of my only friends who has not been sexually abused or raped.
  • Because I feel lucky, compared to my friend who was raped at a party and no one believed her, not even her parents. She decided not to press charges because she knew the guy was a ‘nice guy’ and she didn’t want to ‘ruin his life’.
  • Because I feel lucky, compared to my friend who was raped by an acquaintance who spiked her drink at a party, and was told by the police that there wasn’t enough evidence to press charges
  • Because I feel lucky, compared to my friend who was driving an acquaintance home from a club when he refused to get out of her car until she gave him a blowjob.
  • Because I feel lucky, compared to my friend, who had the colleague/superior who lunged at me (point 9), lunge at her too, but was too drunk to say no. He raped her. I know it was rape because she told me she was in and out of consciousness when it was happening. She doesn’t see it that way.
  • Because I feel lucky, compared to my friend who was hit and sexually abused by her stepdad when she was a child.
  • Because I feel lucky, compared to a girl in my town who was raped as a baby and toddler by a relative.
  • Because I read more news articles about cases in which women have lied about rape than about women who have been raped.
  • Because more than two women are killed a week in my country by men.
  • Because of Elliot Rodgers, and other men who think they’re entitled to women’s bodies, and that if women don’t want to give them their bodies, they deserve to be punished.

What are your reasons for #YesAllWomen?

Dispatches From The Gynocracy

This is the best damn thing I have ever seen in my whole damn life. Stop.

The Belle Jar

“WE HAVE KILLED ALL THE MEN. STOP. MADE THEM JERK OFF INTO CUPS FIRST. STOP. WILL USE THEIR SPERM FOR ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION UNTIL WE DISCOVER ASEXUAL REPRODUCTION OR HAVE PERFECTED CLONING. STOP.”

“WE HAVE BANNED ALL THE LITERARY CLASSICS. STOP. WE DO NOT WANT OUR CITIZENS DEVELOPING PATRIARCHAL IDEAS ABOUT WOMEN BECAUSE OF THE GREAT GATSBY OR THAT DICK ERNEST HEMINGWAY. STOP. DID YOU KNOW ERNEST HEMINGWAY WAS A DICK. STOP.”

“WE WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND TO YOU A FORMAL INVITATION TO OUR ANNUAL ANDREA DWORKIN DAY CELEBRATIONS. STOP. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN KNIVES FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE CEREMONIAL CASTRATION OF OUR SYMBOLIC PAPIER MACHÉ REPRESENTATION OF THE PATRIARCHY. STOP. AFTERWARDS THERE WILL BE A VEGAN MEAL SERVED IN THE TOWN SQUARE BECAUSE ANIMALS ARE OPPRESSED PEOPLE TOO. STOP.”

“WE HAVE BANNED ALL PHALLIC SYMBOLS. STOP. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY THINGS LOOK PHALLIC WHEN YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT…

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