Tag Archives: society

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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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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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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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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