Tuesday, 24 February 2015

(Wannabe) Wild Child

I am crazy and excitable and can be full of energy, but I don't think I can describe myself as being particularly spontaneous or wild. Those just aren't two words I cope well with. For me the fact that I can decide to have a fringe one day is about as crazy as I get (yeah I know living on the edge right?!) and sometimes my sartorial choices are a little out there, but when it comes to crazy trips and last minute get aways I do not excel... I am the kind of person who would say "Yes, I'd love to do something spontaneous... how's next Friday?" In other words, I love the idea, but then when the reality of the unplanned and the unknown begins to dawn on me it doesn't take much for my mind to run a mock with what ifs, and numerous negative scenarios fill my little head. I guess that is what happens if you have anxiety issues.

I think that is why I have a kind of fascination with my friends whose lives are like that, the ones who just pack a bag and say "Right, see you soon!" I would love to be one of those care free, live in the moment people, but I am not. I am learning to be less controlling and more impulsive, but it is one small step at a time. I have just reached a point where I am tired: tired of fear holding me back, tired of feeling like nothing I do is good enough, and most of all I am tired of making excuses. It is never too late to change, or to take charge.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Keep Walking

 I used to be ashamed of the word feminism. I, like many others saw it as a dirty word, reserved for man haters and tough, aggressive women, who believed themselves not just equal, but superior to men. It was a word that I did not what wanted to be associated with. But as I have grown up and have learned (and I am still learning) to live in the big wide world, I have realised the importance of its principals and true values. Not the desire to achieve superiority over men, but the desire for true equality. I am lucky enough to have grown up in a society where the gender gap is significantly smaller than it used to be, and still is in many other places around the world.  However, as always there is progress to be made and what better place to start than in our own back garden? As a man, how would you feel if every time you left your house you found yourself double checking your keys were easily accessible, in case of attack, or wondered if you’d be catcalled and how many times? How many times when you go out do you wonder if the drunken people you walk past are threats to your safety? Or even the sober walks to and from uni or work? I walk almost everywhere, and each and every day I am faced with the same threats, just because I am a woman. Many think that we are catcalled or harassed in the street due to how we dress.  Let me stop you right there: I have been catcalled on numerous walks from uni, wearing jeans and a puffa jacket with a scarf and hat. It is scary and it is NOT a complement. One powerful response I had when talking about this issue with a male friend was him asking, “What do you do?” I looked at him and just said “I keep walking.” He was shocked at this, and then asked why I didn’t say something. It is simple: You never know what their response will be, and if the catcall is anything to go by, aggressive is a good guess. Thus it’s safer to just keep walking. Right now, in the comfort of my own home I can sit at this keyboard and say that this is NOT OKAY, but in reality? Silence is safer. THIS SHOULD NOT BE THE CASE. There are entire sermons/dress codes/blogs and magazines, which preach a message of assault being partially our fault. They constantly say that if we dressed more modestly, and covered up more, or were less promiscuous then we’d attract less attention to ourselves. We are taught that beauty and sexuality are desirable, but only if they appear not to be tipped to any extreme: too modest and we are considered frigid and fat or ugly, but too loose, and we are considered easy, worthless. It’s a game, which is impossible to win. We are taught not to have (or at least not to show) the same desires and sexual appetites as men and that being intelligent and powerful in the workplace means we won’t find lasting love and happiness. It is nearly always a case of one or the other. Have I listed enough reasons why we need feminism yet? Why men don’t get their sexual history questioned in rape cases? Yet, as has been the case for centuries, a simple bad reputation can break a woman’s case. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.  We assume that the woman has a part to play, that it is always her fault. Well let me stop you: IT IS NEVER HER FAULT.  This is me standing up, saying we need feminism, and I am a feminist.