Tag Archives: feminism

F is for Fellas & Fille’s alike

Aren’t kids AWESOME? I’ve been a big fan for a while now and I absolutely LOVE hanging out with them. I’ve even been an Au Pair, a nanny and a babysitter AND I get the honour of taking their portraits every so often at my day job.

I’ve been challenged and inspired recently by Lulastic and the Hippyshake‘s post on asking people not to greet her daughter with comments regarding her appearance HERE and I’ve also just read Role Reboot‘s post about her visit to Santa with her daughter resulting in the same issues/struggles HERE.

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I love that Mum’s are flagging this and are feeling confident enough to challenge it publicly – it’s not easy, but I really feel that it is now OUR turn to respond to this outcry. It’s our job as family, friends, teachers and total strangers to help put this right.

I often get the privilege of chatting to children through my work and I admit I become a very visual person and am struck so often by certain physical features that people have – whether it’s a dusting of the finest freckles, eyes that hold impossible combinations of colour, a smile that somehow makes the entire world glow or hair so full of volume I want to get out a spoon and eat it!

My job is centered around capturing an image. It’s about what I can see, and showing other people that image. It’s about colour, composition, light, positioning and physical appearance. But I can’t enjoy or even like my job when it has to stop there. I struggle with it and question it, my feet feel heavy and I can’t give it my all. Why? Because we are so much more than our skin and bones. We’re more than that. So much more that it even intrudes on our appearance, it interferes and meddles with our physical being. That’s when I love my job. When, by some kind of magic, I can capture cheekiness, curiosity, love, trust, commitment, fun, journey, history, truth, character, pain, excitement and so much more. That’s all down to you and your beautiful soul bursting out and making its mark on your face and body. It’s the wonder of being human that makes me love and really appreciate photography.

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So, it’s a challenge to be a photographer. It’s kind of strange doing this job whilst struggling so much with my own appearance and at the same time feeling so strongly that we should live our lives away from the mirror and media. I’m still working it out – big time! – and that’s why I found these articles so inspiring and important for my own journey.

Here’s some helpful and practical conversation starter ideas from Lucy Aitken-Read and Kasey Edwards (thanks ladies!) that should also get you thinking:

How was your journey here? I got the bus and there was loads of traffic!

How has your day been today?

What animals do you like? I love elephants the most.

Are you reading many books these days?

Who’s this dude? (Referring to the teddy/ action figure they may be holding.)

Mostly though, a simple Hello will do and more natural interactions can come a bit later, as you and this child get more comfortable with each other.

–       Where have you been today? or Where are you going today?

–       How old are you?

–       What’s your favorite book/toy/sport/animal/food/song?

–       Check out your surroundings and remark on something such as a flowering plant, a truck, a picture on the wall, even the weather.

And some from me:

– How are you feeling today?

– How do you feel about being here today?

– Talk about their family and your own family – siblings, holidays, jobs, ages, names etc

– Explore your surroundings

– Sing songs or tell stories, poems or interesting facts

– Play games or offer to teach or be taught a new skill

Let’s give our boys and girls the best opportunities to express and explore themselves – starting with a gender neutral, non-appearance based greeting!

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F is for fervor

So I haven’t written here in a criminally long time.

Life (excuse my french) is a bitch. And then you die.

Right now, I wouldn’t mind trying out an experimental drug that induces a week long coma. If you’re developing this ,ye scientists, pray do get in touch. Why?

BECAUSE I’D REALLY LIKE A BREAK.

God, come on give me a break

How many of us feel like we’re in over our heads? How many of us are in pain of some kind every day? How many of us are overwhelmingly stressed? How many of us would give our most prized possession, a limb, our hopes or dreams to simply experience 10 solid minutes of health and stability? If I had anything of worth, or the opportunity to barter bits of me for a glimpse of health and peace….

I would hand it over no questions asked.

x

I was wondering, does this desperate state of mind & body damage us? Does it mean we forget things? Like the art of patience, forgiveness, empathy and even simple thought? Does it erase the parts of us that had perspective and the ability to dream and hope? Does it mean that we become blind and detached?

Do we lose the will to believe in anything but pain and anger? Do we make menial things, Gods? The small things that actually have some kind of affect and positive interaction in our lives? Or do we let something much darker take hold of us? Do we bow down to medication, alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, self harm, money? Do we sabotage others in a desperate attempt to feel better about ourselves?

Maybe we can take it slow, start over, begin again every day. I may have been able to ignore some of the pain today, but yesterday I let it take over me. Tomorrow I could feel excited and hopeful and be able to help somebody in some small way… Next week I could consider suicide. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or indeed what this evening will hold, but maybe that’s ok. Maybe then we could release the guilt and release the shame. Take it slow. Maybe?

What do I think?

Keep asking

&

Change your expectations

Of yourself, others, life, experiences, the bigger picture.

Stop and think and ask yourself

Do I need to rest, do I need to be sad, do I think I can go and see a friend, do I want to cry, do I feel angry, do I need to get help, do I need to breathe deeper…..stop and think and ask.

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Here’s a song that I’ve been a little bit obsessed with for a while now. I feel hesitant to share it because it’s my life line at the moment, but today I can share and today I can write.

Today I can ask, maybe?

Love and strength to you x

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F is for Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself”

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I’ve thoroughly enjoyed connecting with the heart of feminism over the past few years. Whether that’s intentionally or by mistake, consciously or subconsciously. It’s been an amazing journey.

For me, true feminism offers forgiveness, love and growth – not the fires of spiteful anger, violence and revenge, like so many people think it is or indeed want it to be. I think this is a great misuse and a terrible manipulation of the ‘shield’ of feminism. We mustn’t use feminism to justify recklessness and violence or to trample on others. We can’t use it to hide, excuse or justify wrongdoing. We must not turn feminism into an ugly, angry, clumsy troll.

Feminism is about peace, justice, love, grace, forgiveness, growth and truth.

NONE of those words are ‘soft’, ‘pathetic’ or ‘weak’.

In fact, they are the strongest, mightiest words I know.

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I know what it’s like to be used. I know what it’s like to be treated badly because of my gender. I know what it’s like to experience sexual abuse and harassment. I know what it’s like to have your self worth manipulated and crushed. I know what it’s like to be angry and filled with rage. I know what it’s like to feel utterly alone, abandoned and ignored.

And I know that the strongest, most powerful tools I have to fight all of these things are those seven words I mentioned up there.

May we, feminists, commit to providing an alternative and righteous way of life that promotes:

Refuge, not revenge

Peace in place of pride

Justice in place of judgment

Love in place of lies

Community, not conflict

Equality in place of ego

Healing instead of hatred

Truth and not tyranny

Hope in the place of hypocrisy

Grace instead of greed

and

Forgiveness, not fist fights

Anyone care to have a stab at what they think a great

‘mission statement’

for feminism would be?

Truth Cartoon

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I DO!

“Everything that I know…

I know only because I love.”

Tolstoy – War&Peace

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Everybody’s had marriage on their minds recently. Some of you want to stay away from it, some of you are trapped within it. Some of you feel free because of it and some of you don’t know how you feel about it. Some of you are desperate for it, some of you have dreamt of it since you were wee and some of you couldn’t care less.

All of that is ok and all of that is valid.

Not that you need an ‘ok’ from me – I just wanted you to know that I get that life is complicated and there are few safe places to feel accepted and at peace. You can relax here and you can speak freely.

F is for Feisty welcomes you with a big fat FUGGLE! (A free cuddle, or free hug = FUG)

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Here are my messy, random, frantic, silly, OTT, slightly odd thoughts on the matter of marriage.

I got married in 2009 on July the 4th.

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Some may find that ironic, but for me it sits perfectly.

In a previous post about changing my name when getting married, I said…

From the day Russ and I started dating I felt strongly about not wanting to lose myself to the relationship. I had been ‘lost’ so many times before, I’d seen so many people get ‘lost’ and I didn’t want to sink and just be ‘Russ’s girlfriend’ or ‘Russ’s wife’.

I wanted to be Kate.

An individual who was free and independent with her own mind. And you know, Russ knew that. Before I told him. I didn’t have to spell it out – he knew my heart and he wanted to be the one to free me from the crap that bound me from negative experiences in my past.

!SOPPY SLUSHY PUKEY WARNING!

For our last wedding anniversary he gave me a bird cage, with a bird shaped candle inside.

He told me that the door on this little bird cage would never be closed – and that has been our biggest promise to each other for 6 (nearly 7!) years now – to give each other wings, to free each other from pain, insecurities – anything that holds us back.

To want the best for each other and to FIND ourselves within the promises we made, not LOSE ourselves.

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I am glad to say that this is still the foundation of our marriage – that, and honesty.

When I got engaged, I got a lot of confused looks and a lot of questions. I also got a lot of remarks like:

‘but you still have so much of your life left!’

‘but you’re so young!’

‘why not wait until you’ve lived and you’re ready to settle down’

‘marriage is for old people who are miserable!’

and so on.

My favourite list of comments showered me when I was at the hairdressers one spring afternoon back in 2009….

Shocked to see an engagement ring on my finger, my hairdresser – visibly panic-stricken – asked if I was part of a cult or if it was some kind of an arranged marriage. A good effort was made to talk me out of it and to get the ‘real story’ out of me, like I was a lost child with ‘help me’ written on my oh-so-youthful forehead. Having never met this hairdresser before I was a little baffled by the whole thing. The sad looks like I had announced I had days to live, the slight snigger at my ‘young age’ and the patronising list of questions about the seriousness of this commitment all added to my confused little chair/mirror/cape/towel combo.

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The thing that kept me confused and pretty speechless throughout the whole shebang was that my hairdresser – shocked and fearful at the mere thought of marriage – was about 7 or 8 months pregnant.

Now, please don’t hear me wrong – I have nothing against makin’ babies. In fact, I CAN’T WAIT to have a little tribe of mini people to live life with.

My point is – when did marriage become this plague-like life sentence that we are victims of and need rescuing from? When did it become a retirement home for the miserable and doomed?

Why is it for some people and not for others? Who gets to judge or decide that? Who gets to deny or grant it?

What the F-is-for-Flip IS it?!

A simple ‘define marriage’ in the google search bar gave me this ‘gem’ of an explanation:

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Personally I feel this is extremely dated and rather vague and, well, RUBBISH.

So, naturally, I turned to my friends kids.

What is marriage?! I cried. Who is it for?!

This is what they told me….

Marriage is when you marry someone and it’s after you’re engaged.

The book reader says you are now husband and wife and the lady gets another ring.

The lady changes her second name to the husband’s second name and you have bridesmaids to hold up the end of the bride’s dress.

You live together forever.

Look, bumblebee!

I asked the children “what do we do when we love each other?” a 3 year old told me…. “we get married and hug.”

Marriage is a festival!

Marriage is for mummy and daddy, you should marry daddy.

Marriage means getting married, you have a party!

It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.

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So I then turned to Sesame Street.

Seemed logical.

Cute, yes, but this kid obviously has better things to think about. He clearly isn’t FOCUSSED.

We need guidance, oh YouTube God! Help us in our time of need!

And then I saw a face.

A face in the darkness.

A face to light my way.

Yes, Brad Pitt, it was your face.

Oh sweet sweet you. 

Who actually talks SENSE!

Sweet sweet sense!

Brad’s is a message of LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. It’s a message of SENSE and PEACE and of RESPECT.

It’s a message I like.

We, too, must put on accents and suddenly become a fictitious character on TV and be GORGEOUS in the face of injustice!!

F is for Feisty salutes you, Brad!

*fist pump!*

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At the beginning of this (now somewhat absolutely random) blog post, I quoted Tolstoy. It wasn’t a quote about marriage but about LOVE. I chose this because my reason for living is to love. I try to make every choice through the eyes of love and to see everybody through those eyes too. How many times are choices made without a moments thought of love?

Let’s give it a try.

Let’s start with LOVE and see what happens.

Let’s choose LOVE and see what happens.

Let’s speak LOVE walk LOVE dream LOVE share LOVE give LOVE see LOVE hear LOVE make LOVE create LOVE weave LOVE write LOVE and inspire others to LOVE.

over&out

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Freedom is for everybody

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I LOVE this website:

MADE IN A FREE WORLD

I also love this organisation.

BECAUSE I AM A GIRL

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We just CAN’T be ignorant anymore!

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STOP THE TRAFFIK

CUT IT OUT CAMPAIGN

Women’s Rights – Amnesty International

 

What great campaigns or organisations do you know of?

How can we get involved?

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“Rockin’ Robin, TWEET!”

Thanks Michael, I’ll take it from here.

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Come tweet with me at

@fisforfiesty 

where I’ll never quote Michael Jackson lyrics.

Well, maybe.

Maybe just at Christmas.

And, you know…

If it’s ever relevant.

To the cause.

And like…

Stuff.

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Feminiwhatism?!

To be honest,

I am figuring this one out too.

I’m figuring out most things and I hope I always will be. I hope I’ll always want to learn and listen to new and old opinions and experiences and theories.

Over the past couple of years I’ve collected some images and quotes which, so far, sum it up for me. I hope they’ll be helpful to you too.

Don’t forget to share what inspires you, makes you giggle, helps you get up in the morning,makes you angry or makes your heart beat.

Leave a comment, you know you want to!

And when I say you, I mean YOU. Whoever & whatever you call yourself.

I mean the unisex, err’body in the club, love train, join hands, brother, sister, S Club 7, boogie wonderland, marching band, yours&mine, rosie&jim, marvin&tammy, ziggy stardust, granny& gramps, R E S P E C T, mama, papa, hoe down, barn dance, fred&ginger type of thing.

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Graffiti, Soweto, Gauteng

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 feminism

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 the-role-of-men-in-the-fight-against-sexism-L-BsB5mR download (3) Campaigners protest against the Sun's Page 3 at News International's headquarters photo4  images (3) images (2) download (2) download (1)

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You & Me

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I love discussion, community, journeying, wrestling, chatting late into the night, learning, reading, understanding, growing and sharing and I want to do all of that with YOU! I’ll post questions I get asked and comments too so that we can work things out together.

I am definitely at the

discovery

stage of all of this and I’m loving it!

I don’t have answers and rules and nothing is set in stone here – feminism isn’t a club or an organisation with a logo and a membership card. It’s simply believing that you and me are people. That we’re valuable, unique and worthy of respect no matter what dangly bits we may or may not have. Simple!

Let’s get started with a few bits from this past week……

QUESTIONS:

I wonder what you think the most immediate goal for contemporary feminism should be?

Where do you think the most energy should be spent?

How do you choose your battles?

Not to imply that any issue is trivial but I wonder if there’s a requirement for more formalised leadership within feminism?

What do YOU think? Leave a comment below and let’s get chatting!

COMMENTS:

It was illuminating and concerning to hear successful TV cook Mary Berry announce that

feminism was a dirty word

and she

“didn’t want women’s rights and all that”

this week.

Perhaps she just can’t be bothered to have a career anymore, wishes she never learned how to read, got bored of choosing how to spend her money and ran out of ideas for her own opinions. Each to their own. But I’m pretty sure she’s enjoying many rights without realising.

She cited

not liking shouting and wanting to respect men as reasons to reject feminism

but this only highlights her misunderstanding of it. Good news, Mrs Berry –

feminism is with you.

We like the same things.

We can be friends.

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F is for Feedback

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I’m excited, interested, blown away and chuffed at the responses I’ve had to this blog so far – thank you! I really do love to hear what you guys are thinking – whether you agree with me or not – I’d love to get your input.

This blog is an open house for everyone and anyone and I passionately want it to be a channel for your voices too – your thoughts, feelings and questions are valued here.

Some of these posts will be silly and some will be serious but all are a valid and genuine part of my journey as a person and as a woman.

Thanks again!

x

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Hairy Mary

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I get frustrated when people think feminists hate men. Feminism is not about hating men.

It’s about EVERYTHING and everyone and every day normal big and small things and people and choices and challenges and fun and love and work and parenting and thinking and pain and freedom and all sorts of glorious things life throws at us as women.

It’s a safe space for women to express themselves freely, and sometimes that is to let out cries of frustration and longing from living within a male dominated world (and I don’t mean ‘male dominated’ in a 2D way).

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Riiiiiiiiiight…..

Fun Fact: I am a lover of documentaries and I love to learn. BOOM!

I was watching one the other day and was distressed and saddened to hear a woman state that ‘body hair is unnatural for women’. The general idea of the documentary was following a group of women who had been challenged by the program makers to stop any kind of hair removal for one month. There was me thinking what an easy challenge that was!

Again I was distressed by a conversation that took place between one of the women taking part in the challenge and her group of friends aged between 35 and 45. The disgust and utter disgrace that was being placed upon this woman by her friends was shocking. Comments such as

‘that’s just wrong’

‘you look like a man’

and

‘I feel sick’

floored me.

Over the course of the month these women had break downs, lost boyfriends, retreated from their social lives, lost self-esteem, received abuse from friends, family and total strangers, thought of themselves as ‘unnatural’ and ‘wrong’ and not one of them made it to the end of the month.

WHAT?!

The New York Times Fashion and Style section featured an article on famous women who choose not to shave. Here’s a mini chunk…

“On the red carpet, if a woman has hairy legs or armpits, it is assumed to be an accidental misstep — a failure of time management, if you will. But that hasn’t been true lately. In January, at the Golden Globes, Mo’Nique, who won for her portrayal of a gruesome mother in “Precious,” lifted her floor-length dress to reveal her unshaved calves, abundant in their hairiness.

This did not go over well. On Web sites like TMZ.com, people posted comments like “I have to HURL now … Disgusting is an understatement.” It would seem that a collective ewww rang out nationwide, one designed to make every ’tween girl snap to attention and realize that leg hair is not allowed.”

A simple google search produced these images:

Not-Shaving

Hair4

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What is it about body hair that is so unacceptable? Why am I a failure if I don’t shave? Why am I acceptable if the only hair on my body is on my head? Why are the expectations so completely different for men and women? Why am I seen as lazy, unorganised and disgusting if my eyebrows/armpits/lips/chin/legs/pubic area/bottom/stomach/back/arms/feet/hands aren’t plucked, shaved or lasered?

What are your thoughts?

Me? Well, sometimes I’ll shave and sometimes I won’t. I won’t judge women or men by whether they shave or not.

We are all free to choose. And I’ll love you whatever you choose.

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The life of Lyndall

... all its glorious twists and turns

Bento Box

A lunchbox full of tasty treats (maybe)

Frost in May

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Bright Lights and Buttons

thoughts and crafts to pass the time

My African Adventure

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El Lugar De Las Torres

Short Stories by R.J.E Luscombe

If you tolerate this then your daughters will be next

Learning how to behave like a socially acceptable woman

loseeverything.wordpress.com/

a blog about honesty, hope and losing everything