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A Love Letter to Jeremy Corbyn

Oh Jezza,

I write this, as I’m sat watching Channel 4’s coverage of Election night and scrolling through my twitter feed, listening to comments about you that you’ve garnered the most support any party has during an election run up in modern times; reading posts that claim you gather bigger crowds than Winston Churchill, and thanking you for your contribution to changing British politics.

This is my second time voting in a General Election, and this is the first time I have voted Labour. I’m from the South Wales valleys, a place where voting Conservatives is social suicide, a place that still feels the effects from Thatcher’s Tory government. The Welsh Valleys have always been Red and growing up I have always been aware of this. Labour, its in the name, for the Labouring classes; however, the first time I voted, I didn’t vote Labour, instead I voted Plaid Cymru. Why? Because Welsh Labour are fucking shit for one. But most importantly, when I first accompanied my parents to the polling station in 2015, the only real direct alternative I was offered to the Tories was Plaid Cymru, this was before you J.

So, why have I voted Labour this time? It’s been all for you Jezza. You and your commitment to bring Labour back to the left, where it belongs. Away from the Labour that existed under the war mongering Tony Blair, and back to representing the working classes. Even though, my vote in my Ogmore constituency is a vote for a Welsh Labour candidate, I decided to vote for Labour to prove how many people are actually behind you Corbyn. We don’t just like you because we think you’d be funner to have a pint with than Theresa May, we like you because you, well, like us. You haven’t raised our tuition fees to an extortionate £9k a year, you haven’t scrapped Nurses university bursaries, you are not responsible for the increase in homelessness, food bank usage, suicide rate increases.

I have scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter feed for the past few weeks and all I have seen is you, Jeremy. You’re popularity across young people is incredible, you are the first politician in recent years who has really inspired a generational interest in politics. Its not just that we all want you to be our Grandad JC, we want you to be our PM.

Whatever the result is tomorrow, I just want to thank you, for not only inspiring me to reconnect with politics and reconnect with Labour, but inspiring a generation, because of you, I know my future is bright.

Feminism · relationships

Anniversary post

It’s been over a year since I found out that my boyfriend had been cheating on me for the last five months of our relationship. And though I ended it straight away and said a massive fuck you to him, I kind of wish I care a little more than I did at the time.

I wasn’t like a lot of girls; I didn’t find blame in myself for his inability to keep it in his pants. I knew I did nothing wrong, and I know I couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. I also understand why he did it, unlike me, my ex had never had any previous “intimate relationships”, and obviously, at eighteen, he wasn’t ready for the commitment that came with me, and I’m ok with that. I’m not saying it’s a good enough excuse for the way that he hurt me, but I know why.

Looking at it this way has allowed me to not be swallowed up by my insecurities. It’s safe to say I had changed drastically through our relationship. I was no longer concerned with dressing to impress, I dressed how I wanted to dress, I had a boyfriend, and I didn’t have to worry about showing how good I could look. I also put on a lot of weight, and one comment he made about my weight has stayed with me since. It was during the Easter holidays last year, just a couple of weeks before we split up; I had been dieting and going to the gym since January because I wanted to make a change for myself. I sent him a side-by-side photo of me from January, to a photo of me from March, to show him how much weight I had lost. I didn’t receive the reply I expected, there was no “Wow, you’ve achieved so much, I am so proud of you.” Instead, I received a text saying:

 

I can’t believe I used to have sex with you like that.

 

I don’t think I need to say much more about why we broke up, or what our relationship was like throughout as I think that comment says it all.

When I have spoken to people about my ex, people have always said that they can’t believe someone like me would put up with that. Someone who has always stood up for herself, someone who has always told boys when they are wrong or disrespectful towards girls, someone who knows how she should be treated, someone who describes herself as a feminist.

I guess the simple answer is that you can’t make these assumptions until you’re in that situation. I know I could have gotten out of the relationship a lot sooner, but I was taught to self loathe. I was lured into a position where the only person I had was he. I was encouraged to believe that I was worthless, that he was doing me a favour by staying with me. All this made me stop him from leaving me. He tried to end our relationship many times, and this is something I’ve always found hard discussing because if I were so unhappy, why would I beg him to stay? I wasn’t strong enough to know any different.

I can barely remember some of the things that were said to me out of hate, I think my memory has blocked it all out. But I do remember times where I was left fighting back the tears in front of my friends, scared to tell them any truth about what my boyfriend was texting me, embarrassed to reveal that it wasn’t as perfect as it looked.

After all this, I still don’t hate the boy, I can walk past him in the street and say hello and walk away feeling no different. Its important to forgive, not for the other person, but for yourself. Look forward and not back. I started writing this with the intention of revealing how I’ve not let what he done to me affect the way I trust other men. But, I think that I should have let it affect me more. I think my relationship was proof that its important to be cautious of people, don’t fall too hard, and make sure that you know how important YOU are without that person. I’m still working on that x

Uncategorized

Picking a scab at the library.

I pick scabs on my skin

as if it is your hair on my pillow

 

I’ve started to bleed so I reach for the nearest tissue.

I now have blood, running down my foot, towards my toes.

the desk is marked from the touch,

and this paper

 

I get into bed and I find another of your hairs,

running through my hands,

marking my skin from the touch,

and this paper

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Do not hire me for my poor family

I recently participated in a discussion about how many employees are actively seeking to employ people of colour and people from underprivileged areas to promote equality.

I sat viciously squirming at one girl, complaining how as a ‘white woman of privilege’ she could not even apply for a certain job. I smugly thought of how for once being from a working class family in the Valleys could actually be a good thing in the current job market.

Thinking over this again, there’s something that makes me feel uncomfortable about this selection. I don’t want to be employed because my family isn’t as rich or as privileged as some; I want to be employed because I am good enough. (I am not intimidated by your money or education; I am just as good as you.)

I feel that this employs a sort of pity, an attitude that “you only got the job so the company doesn’t face inequality allegations.”

I totally get it, a company should promote and reflect equality, but that doesn’t mean it should exclude applications from people of privilege. I want to compete with these people. I want to show them how their privately funded education means jack shit, as I can be just as good, or even better.

I may not have attended a public school, not received private tutoring, not have an exceptional talent for playing the xylophone, but that does not mean I cannot compete with someone who does.

One thing I have noticed in my community is that we have a lot of pride. Pride in getting things done by us. Pride for working for what we have. Pride in our belongings, our households, ourselves, because though we may have little, we have a lot. I don’t feel comfortable with being pitied because of my background, a background I am incredibly proud of. I have been taught that though the CEO of an automobile company is important, they are nothing without the factory workers that make the parts for their cars.

The main issue with employees looking to employ graduates or else from an underprivileged background or of colour is that they’re attempting to fix the equality at the end of the road, without looking at what that person has been through to get there.

In London, about 26% of pupils are white British, but 49% of these children are in schools with a white British majority. These figures show that in Britain children are more likely to go to a school with other children of a similar background to them, promoting segregation that the workplace is trying to fix.

Whilst I acknowledge that certain places in the UK have a higher/lower ethnically diverse population than others, I believe that schools should attempt to adopt the same fairness and equality regulations that employees are implementing. This starts fixing equal opportunity from a young age, as well as promoting social integration.

Lets show our children their worth.

Or lets just ban public schools all together. Etonians move over, we’re coming for your jobs!!!!

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A letter to my ex.

You came into my life as a moral compass. Said you were better, better than anyone before.

You told me I would never be with anyone better than you, that you were too good for me.

The boys before were nothing, you told me they used me.

You used me.

I hope you never have a son, I hope no one follows in your footsteps.

I hope you never have a daughter; no woman should use you as a man to aspire to be with.

I knew she had feelings for you, you told me I was silly. You let her try it on with you, repeatedly, until you gave in, and let her in your bed.

I checked your emails, I told myself I was crazy. Paranoid. Just a friend I.

I believed you stayed in that hotel by yourself. You wouldn’t spend money on something like that with someone else, when you were asking me for money to cut your hair.

On Valentines Day, you spent the evening on your phone, I told myself it was my fault, that I was too demanding, that I asked too much.

I persisted. I persisted because you told me you loved me.

I was your first, and you made me believe that I was your last.

How did it feel?

In my bed? Lying next to me, like you lay next to the others.

And yet you tell me you love me still. You care for me.

You lie.

If you loved me like you claim you do, a love you say I have never received before; your eyes would never have wandered elsewhere.

You’ve never loved anyone the way you love me, and you never will.

Your hands will never touch my body.

I will love again.

Warsan shire

 

 

Feminism · Uncategorized

Why are we so prude about the nude? – The Kim K Debate

I’m going to keep this short, otherwise we will be here until our hair is grey and farts are limp, debating whether or not Kim K’s nude photo is ‘good’ for feminism. I use the word ‘good’ lightly here, who knows what is good and what is not good? Here goes.

Kim Kardashian added fuel to the fire with her naked selfie a couple of weeks ago, and has since posted another topless pic with Emily Ratajkowski. Piers Morgan called her out for being a bad feminist, questioning how women believe it advocates equality, Chloe Mortëz highlighted how we as women have more to offer. Mortëz is right, we do have more to offer than our bodies. Morgan on the other hand, raises some other questions. Emily Ratajkowski tweeted “However sexual our bodies may be, we need to have the freedom as women to choose when and how we express our sexuality.” And I think she hits the nail pretty well on the head. Body confidence is empowering for women because women choose it to empower them. As Helen Cixous so brilliantly points out in her essay “The Laugh Of The Medusa”, women’s bodies have spent centuries being written by men. Helen Cixous called for women to write their bodies, to take control of their sexuality through that writing. And isn’t that what Kim is doing? She is writing her body, it may not be through formal literature, but in 2016 the boundaries of texts are blurred.

kim k and emily

(Here is the most recent pic for those of you who haven’t seen it – “@KimKardashian when we’re like… we both have nothing to wear LOL @emrata”)

And despite that we need to remember the double standard of the industry Kim is in. Whilst Justin Bieber can pose nude and not get called “cheeky and sexy”, people like Kim and Miley are called sluts. Lets not forget that some men still live in a patriarchal society, those same men are threatened by the sexual female, the female body scares them, “Ahhhhh Boobs!!!!”

Back to Mortëz, I think the issue with her response was how she expects Kim to advocate a ‘supposed’ greater form of feminism. I am not saying that reclaiming your female body and deciding for yourself when to be sexual isn’t important, what I guess I’m saying is, I don’t think any of us are expecting Kim to declare her love for Jane Austen and burn her bra anytime soon, you feel me? I must admit, I am a die hard Kardashian fan, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kylie, Kendall, Kris, I love them all! But they’re not the women who have guided me towards my feminist thinking. I do not read their books and feel inspired. I do not read their essays for education. I do not sign petitions through their guidance. And whilst I am aware that for some young women and girls they are a role model, is it damaging?  Ok, so essentially all their careers spawned from Kim’s sex tape (“Thanks Sis!”), but have they not worked hard to build their empires since? Reality TV, clothing line, baby clothing line, beauty products, appearances, do you think thats easy?? I don’t. I struggle to look good to go to uni for an your let alone be followed around by cameras all day and look fantastic.

So I suppose what I’m trying to say is that there are different kinds of women, in different kinds of industries advocating different issues of feminism. So am I going to be posting a nude photo feeling liberated any time soon? Hell no! I hope one day to teach, and do you think a naked photo of myself on the internet will allow me to do so? Of course not! And I don’t expect it to. With that said, would a male contemporary of mine be able to teach with an equally as nude photo of himself on the internet? Yup- you guessed it. No.

Its about deciding what makes you feel like you’re making a contribution to the cause. What makes you feel liberated, and if thats a topless pic or wearing a dog collar, you do it girl, because you can only do you.

I’ll leave you with this.

Kim K naked

(courtesy of @KimKardashian Twitter)

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Motherhood- an ‘anti-feminist’ movement?

In recent months I have found myself faced with the same conflicting response upon sharing news that sister was expecting a baby. She’s far too young, having a child before a career, and doesn’t she want to spend her twenties actually living them? Not that anyone has actually said this to me; I knew they were thinking it.

As a university student, studying English literature, I am surrounded by young, career minded women like myself. So whenever I have shared this information with them, I’ve always felt slightly judged, especially being from a working class family, I think there is a lot of stigma around the issue. I know twenty-one isn’t young to have a child, our grandparent’s generation were as young as sixteen having their first, and that was fine. It is certainly passed the teenage pregnancy age, but first time mothers are getting increasingly older in our society due to women focussing on their careers. And so they should! That is definitely my plan anyway. However, that does not mean that having a child in your early twenties is wrong either. The focus here should be on the individual.

So lets compare the facts of the situation. My sister and her partner have been together for six years this year, which is far longer than our own parents were together before having their first child. They are also in a safe position financial wise, my sister was just nineteen when she moved out, into a house which her and her partner have purchased together. Now that I am nineteen I can’t imagine paying a mortgage, but she did. They are both employed in sustainable professions, however they aren’t career orientated at this moment in their lives, but they are family orientated. Unlike me, my sister didn’t particularly like school and therefore decided university wasn’t the right path for her.

What is the point in spending thousands of pounds educating yourself when you didn’t enjoy being educated in school? This is always something I have been unable to wrap my head around, the pressure of young people to go to university. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. There are plenty of other ways of achieving in life, and my sister and her partner are proof of that. When I eventually graduate university and hopefully continue with post grad study, I am going to be in so much debt there is NO WAY I will be able to afford my own place to live. You will find me living in my parent’s attic until I am thirty.

So why is it then, that some ‘career minded women’ may frown upon some of my sisters decisions in life, like having a child at twenty-one? Personally, I’m jealous. Who wouldn’t want to know what they want from life so young? Who wouldn’t want to own their own house?

I guess the question I’m really trying to figure out is why is motherhood ‘anti-feminist’? The suffrage movement was about women getting the vote, social equality with men, a position in the workplace. We have that now. I am not saying it is time for us to stop burning our bras and claiming back the night. We still need angry feminists screaming at misogynistic men. But what we don’t need is this young new type of feminist I’ve encountered in recent years, who think anything other than a career is wasting a feminist opportunity.

Feminism is not just about being able to go out into the world of big corporations or the creative industry and actually having an equal share with men, feminism is about having the choice to live how you want. And if that choice is being happily settled with a child at twenty-one, who are we to question that?

Here is a photo of me with my little nephew, who inspired this post!

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