Despite my whinge binge over at Get Into This earlier, I actually like International Women’s Day. It’s one of the few official “days” that doesn’t have the gift and card industry attached, which makes a change. To celebrate IWD this year I compiled my list of women who inspire me the most right now. Here goes.
Hillary’s going to be the first ever female POTUS, and that’s amazing. She’s been called a witch, a bitch, a murderer, evil, ugly, a dumb/big c*nt (much like myself, you can read about that here) and a lying whore – and the rest – over and over again yet she keeps on going. Every lunch hour I log onto her Facebook page to see what’s she’s been up to. Her accidentally on purpose wanderings into bachelor parties are a favourite of mine, but above all, it’s her bravery that inspires me. One foot in front of the other, no matter what, she carries on. And I think that’s great.
Women cleaners.Cleaning is a largely feminised profession because of low pay. I’ve worked in the business and I probably will again; I’m no job snob. The fact is, most of those who clean and pick up other people’s rubbish are treated as if they are the rubbish. The wages are terrible. I bang on about this a lot, but if a cleaner is going into someone’s house each week to work, even for just a couple of hours, and she doesn’t get maternity, sick and holiday pay, then she’s being taken advantage of. And not many people understand that. I wrote about this and more in my essay THE HOUSEWORK ISSUE : THE OTHER ONE for I Hope You Like Feminist Rants, which you can get here.
Jess Phillips MP for Birmingham Yardley.
Says what she thinks, and I respect her for it. I don’t always agree with her, and thank god for that. I don’t want to live in a world where everybody nods along with politicians, and I don’t want them to pretend to agree with me either. Plastic smiles, glassy eyes and unquestioning devotion? Not for me, thank you. Jess is so bloody refreshing. And I get the feeling you could have a proper barney over politics with her and she’d still be ok with you afterwards. I hope to get to test that theory out some day.
Women from my old boxing gym.I had to stop going when it started getting dark in the evenings because I don’t find it comfortable walking 30 mins on my own there and back as I describe here, but I’ll return when it gets a bit safer, in a few weeks’ time. Recently, I bumped into one of the women who is a regular. “You’ll love it in Spring!” she said, beaming. ‘When it starts getting light, Sean (the instructor) takes us outside and we get to drag his van across the car park.” BRILLIANT. How I miss those women.
Another woman who plugs on regardless, despite the abuse. Put together all the things Hillary and Jess get called and multiply it by at least a hundred and that’s what gets flung at Kim.
From my perspective, Kim can do what she wants to her body and put whatever she wants on it. She’s allowed to fall in love with whoever makes her heart go boom. What she calls her babies is down to her and her husband, not people on the internet.
As my feminist hairdresser and friend Alison says, ‘Someone took Kim’s sex tape and made it public without her consent. She turned it all around and made a multi-million dollar business out of it. If that’s not feminist, I don’t know what is”.
Cleaners, Hillary Clinton, Jess Phillips and Kim Kardashian on a list together? Hell yeah!
Jenny Pepper.I was originally going to compile my top five, but Jenny is too ace to leave out. She’s the protagonist in the novel Vigilante, written by Shelley Harris. Jenny is a middle aged woman who turns invisible to all around her – her husband, family and society don’t seem to see her anymore. So she decides to get herself a superhero costume and fight crime. When girls in her fourteen year old daughter’s class at school are being attacked, she decides to do something about it. The book is BRILLIANT.
I know some people won’t love my list, and that’s ok. Whether you do or don’t then why not head over to Twitter, and name your selection using the #inspiringwomen #IWD2016 hastags?
Oh, the state of the One Direction fans at the concerts this weekend, watching Harry and the boys singing and dancing for them, spending time with their friends, having a day they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. Having such a delicious day, they are wrong and stupid, the girls who don’t know any better and the women who really should; the stupid, hysterical women who have no lives. The 1D fans, all of them, they’ll learn soon enough.
Us who know better, us with our proper music on vinyl because it’s so fucking authentic, us sitting at home on our own on Facebook, and mocking them, these ridiculous stupid females. We are winning. Of course we are.
I have an article on women gaining and developing their own voice in the Breaking Boundaries issue of GEEKED Magazine, out this week. Available here.
I wrote a flash fiction GOOD TIMES last year about a woman in her forties who has a relationship with Daniel a seventeen year old boy, an exploration of what things shock and disgust people. Everyone is eager to be appalled these days, kicking off over any slight, real or imagined, intended barbs or careless words falling from loose lips. Sure enough when I told people about my story, much of the response was an automatic screwing up of the mouth into the “cat’s bottom” look accompanied by a shake of the head, like I was a sorry pervert.
I was going to modify the story, make my protagonist younger to soothe things, make the age gap narrower but I was stopped my inner editor. Sod it, I thought. My protagonist is staying forty four. What a massive contradiction or hypocrisy it is, for people might be repelled; the objectification of young men is now an acceptable past time.
A well known swimmer was the cover star of a newspaper supplement at age 15, wearing swimming trunks and smiling boldly into the camera. This fifteen year old, this boy, garnered “wearing nothing but skimpies and a smile” responses. He was two years younger than my fictional Daniel.
The actor who plays Bruce Wayne on the new Gotham series (an imagined account of Batman’s younger days, it’s very good – I recommend it) has been the recipient of cat calls from adults on social media. The actor is thirteen. Daniel would think him a kid, and he’d be right too.
I found this article on the increased objectification of boys and young men here. I also found these 1970s albums in a charity shop at the weekend. Objectification of girls/boys/men/women; what larks, eh?