Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’
Earlier this week I found myself having a conversation with one of the Director’s in my office. He was telling me he suffers terribly from “middle-aged resentment”. That he’s constantly aware at all times, someone out there younger than he is, will be having the time of their life. His best days are behind him.
At the time it wasn’t something I could entirely connect with, I laughed and thought “poor sod”. Until I took a peek at his passport the other day and realised he’s actually only a couple of years older than I am.
I’m 34 this year (we all say how old we’re going to be next birthday don’t we? Never the age we’re at now) and have never thought that put me in the ”middle-age” category. I always thought I was smugly past those rosy days of your twenties when you think life is spontaneous and chances are handed freely to you just by merit of your naive enthusiasm. Feel like I’m not quite in the days of my forties where I fully expect to feel like I have let myself down in not saving the human race or keeping a plant alive for more than a fortnight and then start buying shit loads of cats. Then I found out Chris Packham is 51 and I am hugely confused about where middle-age starts, and strongly suspect that actually maybe these age brackets that try to define us don’t exist anymore. Being that he looks as youthful, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as a boy scout.
I like lurking in my thirties. So my hangovers can last a couple of days and Topshop feels increasingly like its laughing at me for trying to remain in its demographic. But my boobs are exactly where they should be still (although I strongly suspect my bum may not be, but I don’t have to look at that). I still feel like I have time to ignore my ever-present nagging conscience saying “what are you going to do with your life?”, I pretend not to hear it over the Tinnitus.
We always talk about our idyllic childhoods don’t we? No one ever tags that word on to our adult years. Tragically sad really.
A couple of days ago I read an interview with Annie Lennox in The Guardian. She talks about winning the Barclay’s woman of the year accolade in 2010 when she asked for people to stand up if they were a feminist. Half the room remained seated, and chances are I’d have been in the half of the room that stayed on my bum. Not out of meekness or embarrassment. Certainly not because I’d have been picking my nails wishing I was back in the kitchen darning my partners socks or whipping together a casserole.
I’d of remained seated because I don’t feel the need to label myself just because I am female, independent, feel strongly about women’s rights and enjoy dancing to Beyoncé. For those reasons I also don’t know how I really feel about International Woman’s Day.
In the interview Annie Lennox ponders “it made me wonder, what is wrong with the word”. Nothing at all is wrong with the word, and being female (working ovaries, a brain, two feet etc) no one is more grateful that it exists. I may stand alone here, I just don’t feel the need to brand myself because of my gender.
I grew up in a family where my parents shared the mortgage, housework and childcare. I have watched my parents sitting down to the crossword every weekend together, mutual respect for their intelligence, as equals. Way before fathers were allowed into the delivery room my Dad was trying to barge past burly matrons to support my mum (only to be smacked round the head and sent down the pub by the midwife, “nothing for you to see here”).
In my career I have been lucky enough to work with inspirational men and women (more commonly known as my colleagues) and although I have experienced utter idiocy and poor decisions on numerous occasions they have simply been that. Foolish management choices, not sexist choices. I have frequently felt more supported and more equal to my male colleagues in fact. In the workplace it’s more often been female co-workers creating unnecessary competition and tension unfortunately (and I could write a book on how much this saddens me).
As for my relationships, I currently date a feminist. If you frequently take the central line in London look out for a man ranting at anyone daft enough to be caught ogling page.3 on public transport. He will also march against those that find strip clubs “lads” entertainment and spit at TV shows “aimed at woman enforcing the idea that you’re ditzy emotional idiots” (Sex and the City, Take Me Out). I must stress he doesn’t do this in order to get a hot meal and my pants off.
But when Annie Lennox says this shouldn’t be a female only members club I do wholeheartedly agree. Do not cross the line unless you can show your bra and prove you own a Patti Smith CD is outdated when I know so many brilliant men that see us as equal, not less able sex objects who have no worthy opinions or contribution to the world. Take a look at the men in your life and ask yourself if this is their picture of you? I suspect not. The reason being is because us women are great judges of character, have choices, earn a wage, know what is unacceptable and therefore we wouldn’t give anyone the time of day if they did treat us like this.
Maybe I am exceptionally lucky and rare, I am certainly not naive enough to think my experiences are a blueprint for every woman out there. Yes we have a long way to go. Woman are woefully represented at board level and in our parliament (and when we get there end up doing “ironic” sexy GQ shots, Mensch I’m looking at you). Vile programmes like Loose Woman do the sane, clever, witty lady zero favours. Mens appearance is not picked apart in minute details (Lana Del Rey recently at the receiving end of quite vitriolic abuse). But the people, male and female, I surround myself with give me hope.
I will be eternally grateful to the advent of birth control, the suffragette’s for pioneering the feminist movement and to Annie Lennox for cropping her hair, putting on trousers and showing us we can do it just like the fella’s. All these things are the reason I have the voice and platform to type all this and it was her voice that drifted through the walls from my sisters bedrooms when I was seven, one of my earliest influences and examples of a strong, talented, intelligent woman (all those things we weren’t meant to be once upon a time).
It’s just that I’d have felt more inclined to jump up on the table and swing from the chandeliers had she asked me to “stand up if you’re a human”. That’s where we need to be. ♥
***If you’re on Twitter you can find me here ***
Up until yesterday I had no idea that I’m paying a luxury tax on sanitary products (keep reading men, I won’t go into too much detail and gore I promise). Any egg producing female will confirm there’s nowt luxurious about having a period. I am willing to be pulled across the UK by dogs, while I’m on roller skates, listening to Dr. Alban’s It’s My Life while handing out leaflets categorically stating these products are a necessity.
This is a small plea to sign a petition that @bloodydisgrace are fronting. Be you male, female, vampire or sontaran sign the petition here and perform a tiny act, you will be rewarded with karma. I bloody dare you. ♥