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Women Shamed for Being Women

27 Jan
Women Being Shamed for Being Women

On Saturday night’s Celebrity Big Brother (23rd January), I was disgusted with what I saw.

(Let’s put aside for the mo that it’s Celeb BB, ok? I know some people don’t like it, but I do. This is not strictly about the programme, so please bear with me.)

Chris Maloney, John Partridge and Darren Day were around the dinner table, going through dirty washing left in the bathroom. Later, we discovered the washing belonged to Stephanie Davis (who claimed the washing was left there so she could wash it. Granted, leaving your dirty washing just hanging around is out of order, but let’s put that aside, too).

Chris was going through each item and laying them out on the table. He got to some knickers and laid them out. Almost immediately, all three guys made noises of disgust, and John started going on about how a pair of knickers had “pigeon shit” in the gusset. He said whoever those knickers belonged to needed to be “named and shamed”. The knickers were left on the table, with the stain on show for all to see. In John goes to the bedroom to tell all who will listen about the knickers, and out the others come to have a gawk, Gemma Collins declaring, “That’s not normal!”

All over a bit of vaginal discharge. Continue reading

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#ToTheGirls2016

22 Jan

With the UK release of All the Rage – a novel about a rape survivor whose whole community turns their back on her – YA author Courtney Summer has brought back her social media campaign to share support and advice to young girls, #ToTheGirls2016. Yesterday, Summers was on The Guardian website talking about her book (which I’ve read already, it’s amazing!), the campaign and why it’s so important.

Continue reading

A Woman’s Body

3 Sep
A Woman's Body

A woman’s body is her own.

With her body, she can do what she likes, when she likes, with who she likes, as often as she likes, however she likes.

When/how/with whom (etc) she wants to sex, and when/how/with whom (etc) she doesn’t. She has the right to say “Yes”, and she has the right to say “No”.

Whether she chooses to have children, whether she chooses not to, and whether she choses to have an abortion.

Whether she chooses to have tattoos, body piercings or other body modifications.

Whether she chooses to have plastic surgery, whatever various kind, however many times.

How much she does or doesn’t choose to consume. This applies to diet, dieting, and alcohol consumption.

How she chooses wears her hair, how short a skirt or how low a top she chooses to wear.

No-one has the right to comment or judge on the decisions a woman makes in regards to her own body. No-one has the right to attempt to take control of a woman’s body.

A woman’s body is not public property. A woman’s body is her own.

Have I left anything out? Please add to this in the comments.

N.B. The only time someone gets to say anything about a woman’s decisions regarding what she does to her body is when she is breaking a law or endangering her health, and even then, I think the people involved need to be careful.


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A Woman Is More Than a Womb

10 Jun
More Than a Womb

I strongly believe that a woman has the right to do whatever she wants with her body. Whether it’s tattoos, piercings, or what she chooses regarding her sex life. Not only is it her right, it’s no-one else’s business. Her choice, and her’s alone.

Yet this is simply not the case in some parts of the world. You don’t even have to look to third world countries to see the rights women are not being given. Practically on my own doorstep, women in Ireland are not given their right to abortion.

Earlier this morning, a link posted by Amnesty International on the Irish abortion laws on Facebook was shared by a friend. I knew things were lacking in Ireland, but I didn’t realise just how bad things were. I did further research, and what I found was heartbreaking.

Fourteen years. That’s how long a girl – and I say girl over woman for a reason – faces spending in prison in Ireland, for terminating a pregnancy. The only exception? If the mother is “near death”; a vague term that has doctors worried. And this only came about after the death of Savita Halappanvar, who I’m sure we’ve all heard about; her life could have been saved if she had her pregnancy aborted. She was refused an abortion – despite the fact that Halappanvar was already miscarrying. And even with this new law, vulnerable women still aren’t being helped.

It is unbelievable to me in this day and age that anyone feels that they can have control over a/nother woman’s body; that a woman just like me, only an hour or so plane’s journey away, can be prosecuted for making a choice about her own body, about her own future.

Of course, when it comes to couples, it’s a decision that should be discussed and I would hope be made together, one way or the other. For these people, in the case of an unwanted baby, abortion should be an option – not necessarily the automatic go-to solution, but an option. And, yes, there’s also the option of adoption. But in the case of rape victims, they should not be forced to carry a foetus to term if that’s not what they want; a constant reminder of their harrowing ordeal. Have they not suffered enough already?! I cannot imagine what that must feel like, to have a foetus conceived through rape growing inside me, and be told there’s nothing I can do about it.

A woman should not be told she cannot have an abortion if she doesn’t want a baby. If there are women who are suffering and/or unhappy with their pregnancy, they should be allowed their right to terminate it.

A woman is more than a womb.

Sign Amnesty International’s petition to decriminalise abortion in Ireland.


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Don’t Dismiss Your Pain: On Sexual Assualt and Rape

29 May
Don't Dismiss Your Pain

I’ve wanted to write this post for quite a while now, but I’ve been scared to write about it. It’s not something I like talking about, nor something I like reliving. But I feel it’s important to say, and I’ve not seen anyone else say it, so I’m going for it.

I was sexually assaulted when I was 11-years-old. I was followed home from school by a boy several years older than me. He touched me, and threatened to rape me.

What happened that day affected me for years. I was robbed of my innocence, and was terrified, now in the knowledge that I could be hurt and violated in such an unimaginable way.

I had no social life; I was too scared to leave the house on my own – the only times I did was when I went to school, went shopping when my mum asked me to, or to visit my Nan who lived five minutes away. Otherwise, I only went out if I was with my parents. Because of this, I’ve always had trouble talking to new people and making friends. It’s something I have to force myself to do.

As a teenager, I had no interest in boys in any real way; I was petrified of the idea of letting a boy get close, of being in the position where I could potentially get hurt. All I knew was fear. and later – after realising I had wasted all those years because of what he did to me – anger.

There have been several articles about rape and sexual assualt that have been coming up in my Twitter feed in recent months. They would sicken and disgust me, but I would feel such admiration for these women who were speaking out and moving forward from their ordeal. At the same time, I’d think about my own experience and would have one thought; “What I went through wasn’t that bad.”

I’d feel guilty for the fear and anger I had felt because others have been through worse. I’d dismiss what happened as not that big of a deal in comparrison, dismiss my feelings. What did I have to feel so angry about, what was I so scared about, when I had got off so lightly?

I’d been feeling this more and more as the weeks went by and the more articles I read. It occurred to me that others might be feeling the same, and it stopped my thoughts in their tracks. What was I thinking?!

Yes, there have been others who have been through so much worse, but that doesn’t make what I went through any less traumatic. And the same goes for anyone else who has been through something so harrowing. We have every right to react and feel the way we do.

I recently had a conversation about this on Twitter with New Adult author Tammara Webber, who has been very open about her experience of rape. Despite having gone through something worse than I did, she completely understood where I was coming from. “That is EXACTLY how I felt about what I went through – that it wasn’t bad enough, comparably.” She went on to tell me about a friend of her’s whose experience she felt was worse than her own. It seems most of us, no matter what we’ve experienced, could feel that someone else has suffered more.

“It doesn’t lessen what you suffered,” Webber told me, “or your ability to sympathize with anyone along the whole rotten spectrum.”

No-one should be subjected to rape or sexual assualt. No-one. And no-one who has suffered at the hands of another should feel that their experience isn’t worth their reaction. We’re allowed to feel scared, angry, sickened, disgusted, and violated. We have every right to feel the way we do.

As Webber says, “Don’t dismiss your pain.”


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