Author Archives: Sharrow

Divided We Stand: Acknowledging privilege doesn’t make you the enemy

Originally posted on Self Certified:

(Note for reading for white cis hetero socialist men: Read the first paragraph, take some deep breaths, go for a walk if you need to, and when you’ve calmed right down, come back and read the rest.)

Privilege used to be a popular word in the leftist vocabulary. Now it’s reviled. It’s all very well to rally against the privilege of the merchant or the monarch, of the bishop or the banker, but suggest that some of us members of the proletariat might have privilege in relation to others, and you get accused of all sorts. You get accused of being divisive, of not having a class analysis, or even, of being middle class. I hasten to add that the class analysis of some of these champions of labour extends as far as asking if the green stuff on your plate is mushy peas or avocado (I like both by…

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


Why You Should Never, Ever, Ever Get A Tattoo (but Having a Baby is Fine)

Originally posted on The Ugly Volvo:

I’m not super pro-tattoo or anti-tattoo.  I’ve debated getting one in the past but never that seriously.  But my mother is vehemently anti-tattoo.  Listed below are the reasons my mother has always given me for why I shouldn’t get a tattoo.

And I understand that she’s from a different generation.  And I love my mother very much.  She’s a really wonderful person and I’m not saying none of them is a legitimate reason, but I’m saying that after having a child, I find it really hard to take any of them seriously.

And so in case you were headed out to the tattoo parlor as we speak, here are:


1.  “A Tattoo is Forever”

Yes, a tattoo is forever.  Totally forever!  Except that a tattoo can, if needed, be erased with a laser.

 *Some of you read that and immediately thought, "I am so exhausted, please I need a laser that can temporarily erase a three year-old," but sorry, that is not a thing that exists.  

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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


A different ‘normal’ coffee with other parents of kids with ASD.

Today I am grateful the time I spent with other parents who have children who are 12 to 15 who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. While our kids were in a skills and social group sessions, under the care of professionals, rather then sit for 90 mins in the reception area, we managed to get away for a coffee and a chat.

All of us, kept our phones out of our bags and on the table, just encase the clinic needed to contact us, or in case our other kids needed us. We shared survival tips, stories of heart ache, frustration, small victories, what we have dealt with. Things which we have had to endure which usually we can’t talk to other parents about as it’s upsetting for them but is just part of our narratives.

It was also reassuring to share the things our kids do and did have in fact in common, things which usually separate them from other kids. “Oh, yours does that, yes mine did that to, or still does it, ” cue story about that issue and how we try not to laugh or roll our eyes, or get angry when we have to deal with it. It really normalises our experience as parents, which is so needed. We are not alone in struggling to manage our teens and trying to teach them to self manage.

One thing which came up, again and again was that, our lives would be easier and that of our children would be less miserable if ‘normal’ kids were not as cruel. We have enough to be dealing with, with out the damage to our children’s self confidence, self esteem and self worth, which comes from their peers. Esp in school environments, which we have to send them to, which they can come to view as not safe places to be in.

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Tired Of Talking To Men

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

I am tired of talking about feminism to men.

I know that I’m not supposed to say this. I know that as a good little third-wave feminist I’m supposed to sweetly explain to you how much I love and value men. I’m supposed to trot out my husband of nearly five years, my son, all of my male friends and relatives and display them as a sort of badge of honour, proof that I am not a man-hater. I’m supposed to hold out my own open palms, prove to you how harmless I am, how nice I am. Above all, I’m supposed to butter you up, you men, stroke your egos, tell you how very important you are in the fight for equality. This is the right way to go about it, or so I’ve been told. As my mother would say, you catch more flies with honey.

But still…

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Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Uncategorized



Originally posted on taniaannmarshall:

Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism In Girls and Women

book series2

The female profile of Asperger Syndrome has largely been ignored in research (as compared to male research) and in definitions of Asperger Syndrome. This is due to a strong gender bias, with females known as ‘research orphans’, according to Yale’s Ami Klin. Many girls and women with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism fly under the radar undetected by health professionals or are misdiagnosed, which then leads to years of misdirected treatment and interventions.

The diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome in girls and women is one of the newest areas in Autism research and in clinical/anecdotal experience. Most children referred for a diagnostic assessment for Asperger Syndrome are boys.  However, in very recent times, an influx of females on the Autism Spectrum has caused researchers and clinicians to take notice. Females tend to be missed in the diagnostic process due to the following:


  1. They develop the ability…

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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


You better THINK!


Wonderful to see these up in my kids school.
It’s a good quick guideline.

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Bread and Roses.

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: “Bread and roses! Bread and roses!”

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler — ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

By James Oppenheim inspired by Rose Schneiderman who coined the phrase
“The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.”

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Not all Guys are like that

Originally posted on Feminism and Tea:

At 15 a boy told me that if I really liked him, I’d fool around with him. Afterwards, he said he only saw me as a friend, but we should still have sex sometime. But not all guys are like that.

My first time going to a nightclub, I was pushed into dancing with a guy I didn’t know. After he tried to stick his hand in my pants under my dress, I pushed him away and he followed me til I found my friends, who said ‘that’s normal, it’s just what happens’. But not all guys are like that.

My boyfriend of 2 and a half years called me a liar and untrustworthy because I decided I wasn’t actually in the mood to have sex. It was easier to lie there and fake orgasms than have the fight that would ensue if I said ‘no’. He was a ‘nice…

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Uncategorized


Aethics: On Sex Work

Originally posted on The AtheFist:

eadycruikshanketchingbm Sex work is always controversial, largely because anything to do with sex is always controversial. Within this term I am including pornographic actors, professional doms and submissives for hire, strippers, prostitutes, rent-boys, escorts and other related professions under the whole common cause of being shamed and blamed for various of society’s ills.

Currently the big conflict is the confusion between people’s concept that prostitution is synonymous with sex trafficking, and the impression of voluntary sex workers that they’re acting of their own accord. It is fair to say that there is a problem with sex trafficking issues, but it is unfair to think that everyone who sells sexual services is forced, coerced or otherwise wrangled into doing it. There are many women, and men, who are quite vocal on the topic and assert that they enjoy their work and have chosen to participate in it – for any number of…

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Uncategorized


One week on from telling my story @Ireland.

This time last week I was curating the @Ireland account. It is a twitter account which changes curator each week. I had applied for the account before Christmas and was chosen for the week of February the 10th to the 17th. The plan was to talk about the things which I am passionate about, to get people to talk about their passions to talk about love spells, our Irish God of Love. I am a pretty diverse person, so I knew I would have a lot to talk about.

My first tweet on the Monday morning was “Hello World”, delighted me to do as it’s a old coding joke. My bio on the account read “pagan, feminist, activist, gamer, geek, and a parent with two teenagers.” From Monday morning up until early Thursday afternoon I hadn’t tweeted anything which was pro choice or Abortion Rights Campaign related. Then I RT some of the Irish Family Planing Association, tweets about their safer sex workshops in colleges.

I got replies from what I assume are anti abortion people slamming the IFPA, I didn’t address anyone in particular, but I did state that I was Pro Choice, had an abortion myself and worked with the Abortion Rights Campaign. The furor and outrage this caused was considerable.

I did my best to ignore it and get on with my day and the topics I had intended on talking about.
But the tweets kept coming, none of them addressing me directly but discussing what I had said including @Ireland. I got my kids to bed and looked at the tweets and I had already decided that
I would talk about my involvement with ARC, and was going to mention it late Thursday so that it
did not become the focus of my use of the account. But the shaming language being used to hopefully silence me made me mad.

Irish women generally don’t say I had an abortion, and they don’t tell their story often.
And when we do hear stories they are about women have been raped, or who have died, or have cancer or a pregnancy with fatal fetal abnormalities. We don’t tend to hear from women who say
I didn’t want to be a parent, it wasn’t the right time for me to have a baby. Women who make that Choice. That choice which to some is unacceptable, unforgivable and selfish, and they say that loudly.

So just after 10:35pm last Thursday, I having asked a few friends to be online if I needed them for moral support I started to tell my story. That I was in secondary school when the X case happened, to finding out I was pregnant, having to travel, what that was like, coming home, keeping secrets, supporting other women who needed access to information and support when they came home. To my dismay at the national poster campaign which was around the country in July 2012 and how that brought pro choice people together and finding commonality and solidarity.

The mainstream media don’t cover stories like mine, I am unrepentant about having had an abortion, my only regret is that I had to travel and the extra stress that caused.
Mostly online I had an out pouring of support, people who were listening and thanked me.
I would say less then 10% of the tweets I got were negative or abusive, and they only came from a small number of people.

When I signed off Thursday evening from the @Ireland account the number of followers were up, it was a relief that they didn’t go down but they had actually gone up. I knew I had broken taboos and the silence and refused to be shamed and stigmatized. I was happy I told my story on my terms, I didn’t expect what happened next.

What happened next was news outlets picked up on the story, my story and published pieces on it.

And then the Swedish National Broadcaster got in touch for an interview for their leading current affairs program and this happened.

The same french paper who printed Simone de Bouvir’s Manifesto of the 343, about her abortion and the women who signed it, printed my story.

It hasn’t all been unconditional support there was an article today which slated me questioned my Choice, my Sanity, my Spirituality. Pretty much displaying the type of rhetoric which is used to shame and silence people. That isn’t going to work on me but then again it’s not aimed at me, it’s aimed at stopping another woman or more women from sharing their stories.

Invisible people have invisible rights, I know I am one of 150,000 people who traveled to the UK for an abortion, I know aprox 12 women day travel to the UK and others travel to Belgium or Holland and there are some who don’t have the money or the option to travel and risk the 14 years jail sentence as per the new law, by talking the abortion pill.

Until people can speak out with out fear or shame, it will be an uphill struggle to force change
and to repeal the 8th amendment, because until that is done we can not legislate for the abortion rights most of the people in this country agree we should have. Never mind those who make the Choice for the same reasons I did.

Some of the most moving things I have seen this week, are tweets from women to me with just two words, just saying “Thank You”. Just two words but they convey so much and seeing people I am
friends with on Facebook linking to the BBC article and saying “I am Janet, I had an abortion”.

There has been international media coverage, as well as coverage from, the UK, France and the USA but as of yet none by Irish media. I can’t say this surprises me. 20 years ago RTE commissioned a documentary in which 3 women told their stories. It was considered to controversial to show. To this day it has never been screened.

It will be screened by the Abortion Rights Campaign on the 1st of March. This is the trailer
it features 3 women who were as brave as me 20 years ago but no one got to hear them.

promo 50,000 from hilary dully on Vimeo.

There are limited seats for the screening, if you want to see it, you will have to book a ticket.

I have been called infamous, notorious, selfish, immoral, misguided, brave, honest;
but I can but my hand on my heart and say, I have absolutely no regrets about my decision to tell my story.


Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Uncategorized


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