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What about the Menz!

This post has be simmering for a while, but before I start let me just don this fendora.

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Right lets do this. I have written a lot over the years about how I came to be a feminist, being a feminist and how that is important to me. Having grown up to be a woman in this society I am aware of the double standards, mixed messages, unreachable standards and limitations in how girls are socialized and women are expected to behave. I knew when I had my daughter some of the battles and struggles she would have to face.

I did have my son first and did think life would be easier for him, but I found out he has his own set of battles and struggles with the double standards, mixed messages, unreachable standards and limitations in how boys are socialized and men are expected to behave.

One of the people who helped open my eyes to this was Tom “Devore” Murphy.  in our many back and forth debating and discussing the topic of feminism over the years, one of his salient points was I don’t know what it is to grow up with the societal messages that boys don’t cry, boys are smelly, boys aren’t emotionally intelligent, men aren’t caring, and that other then aggression or pride few emotional expression are considered ok for men.

Yes both my brats have ASD, which means we have had to do a lot of work around emotions, figuring them out, what they are feeling, best ways to express those emotions, how other’s are feeling and being compassionate and considerate of others. This type of work is not done with most boys, girls learn it’s ok to talk about their feelings, boys don’t, boys get lessons in how to appear emotionally tough for when they have to go out and interact in male company.

These lessons can from family often unknowingly, from media, from peers from school, society and even media aimed at children. This youtube clip is 7 years old.

So what, do I as a feminist think is meant by the saying Patriarchy hurts men too.

Patriarchy is to me the promotion and enforcement of gender roles and stereotypes for the good of society. Thing is I didn’t grow up in a gender stereotypical family, My parents took turns being the stay at home parent, my Dad was reared in a household were hands had no gender, he had no issues 39 years ago changing my terry cloth nappies or making apple tarts. So much of what patriarchy promotes I have always known to be bullshit.

I see how such gendered enforcement holds back girls and boys, girls I would have always said more, I had believe that as gendered stereotypes were broken down, mostly by women and girls it would effect positively for boys and men.

For Every Woman
By Nancy R. Smith, copyright 1973

For every woman who is tired of acting weak when she knows she is strong, there is a man who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable.

For every woman who is tired of acting dumb, there is a man who is burdened with the constant expectation of “knowing everything.”

For every woman who is tired of being called “an emotional female,” there is a man who is denied the right to weep and to be gentle.

For every woman who is called unfeminine when she competes, there is a man for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity.

For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.

For every woman who feels “tied down” by her children, there is a man who is denied the full pleasures of shared parenthood.

For every woman who is denied meaningful employment or equal pay, there is a man who must bear full financial responsibility for another human being.

For every woman who was not taught the intricacies of an automobile, there is a man who was not taught the satisfactions of cooking.

For every woman who takes a step toward her own liberation, there is a man who finds the way to freedom has been made a little easier.

But I have now come to see there has to be a complimentary body of work to be done, by men and boys for men and boys and supported by women and girls. Feminism is for me not just about smashing patriarchy, it is not just about equal rights and opportunities, it is about encouraging women and girls to speak out and speak up about what needs to chance and empowering them to make changes. I think boys and men need something the same along those line. I don’t think it’s feminism job to do it for them, I don’t think it would be right for me as a feminist to tell men what needs doing in how they related to each other and what should get priority in their movement.

I have tried before to get an action group up and going to agitate and petition for paternity leave (there is no legal entitlement to paternity leave in Ireland), there was a lot of talk about creating the group, but none of the men showed up. There are many issues which I am more then happy to support, lack or support services and awareness of male victims of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence, male suicide rates and mental health issues, the rise in male eating disorders as boys now have those impossible abs held up as what it means to be good looking, there is a list to be sure.

To date there is only one group/org which I feel I can show solidarity and support to and that is the men’s shed movement. Most of the other groups/orgs seem to waste so much time and energy condemning feminism and blaming it for all the ills that beset men. The men’s shed movement says that men are more inclined to talk shoulder to shoulder, working together then talk face to face, they do good work globally.

There are serious conversations needed, about what it means to be a man in society, the struggles men face. I do want these conversations to happen, I just wish they would happen to be parallel  to the ones women are having. I would love to see a hastag on twitter with men sharing the issues they have faced and deal with.

Just as I think there needs to be women’s only spaces to talk about what needs smashing and changing, I think there needs to be men only spaces to do the same and then we should be able to get together while respecting each other and offer support and solidarity.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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#Yesallwomen

Being on twitter and watching women I know and women I follow and other women who I have no connection with sharing stories of the same type of abuse was Powerful.

Women took over a section of twitter, made it their own safe space, shared stories and supported each other. Complete strangers read echos of what happened to them in the words of another woman, and saw other women struggling with the same feelings of frustration, anger hurt and disappointment.

It was the best solidarity and awareness raising excise I have ever seen and over 10,000 women took part over 36 hours. I saw men shocked and learning, I saw women connecting and finding each other and finding others who lived near them.

While being on twitter denotes a level of education to be literate enough and to have access via phone or pc, it is a very democratic space.

#Yesallwomen I see as a tipping point, yes it is by no means a goal in it’s self, but a start to more women not putting up with such treatment and knowing they are not alone and will be believed. They know that they have other women they can share with if they are in that situation again and are looking to gather up their courage to speak up and speak out.

Never underestimate the power of having 20 other kickass and supportive women (and men) in your pocket, whom you can talk to via twitter.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Updated @ 11am:Voting Prochoice in the EU elections.

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Even with all the candidates which are running in the 3 regions very few of them are openingly prochoice.

* how ever it seems that the person whom Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has nominated to take his seat if he can not fill the one in the EU parliament is pro life.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/merciful-absence-of-rancour-in-ming-s-eu-canvass-1.1783650

But the garda whistleblower, John Wilson, is happy to chat. Wilson, who underwent bowel cancer surgery in March, had intended to run as a Mingist independent candidate here (there is an actual inky Ming stamp of approval, bestowed on 15 approved local election candidates) but has just withdrawn for health reasons. He remains Ming’s “deeply proud and honoured” first sub for Europe.

“I’m pro-life and anti-drugs – I’d ban tobacco if I could”, says Wilson, “but he still chose me. He’s just a really genuine, decent individual . . .”

If you have any more info about candidates, leave a comment or catch me on twitter.

11am 23/05/2014 Updates

South independant Jillian Godsil

Midlands north west Independant Cordelia Níc Fhearraigh

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Voting Prochoice in the Dublin West By Election.

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So only Roderic O’Gorman and Ruth Copperinger are pro choice that I could find out.

If you have any more info about candidates, leave a comment or catch me on twitter.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Voting ProChoice in local election

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So Roderic O’Gorman, Memet Uludag and TJ Clare are known to be Prochoice.

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So Ruth Copperinger and Louise Bayliss are known to be Prochoice.

If you have any more info about candidates, leave a comment or catch me on twitter.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Voting Prochoice in your local Elections.

This is very hard to do it seems. Each county Council is meant to have a list online of candidates who are running and how to contact them. But from talking to friends, it’s spotty at best.

However as I have stated in my other blog it is easier for us to try and communicate with them and to pool resources with each other to ask the questions we think are important and that for me is who is ProChoice. If two candidates are weighing up for me equally this will be the decider, or may rule out someone who other wise I would vote for.

So here is a link to a list of all the candidates I could find who are running in the local elections and how to contact them.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1E386rHzLnsrlaejUzin63ImWBfOb8APm7xMCkcrUsfY/edit?usp=sharing

Also that really well funded lobby group had the time and resources to get a bunch of local election candidates to sign thier pledge, so here’s the list of who not to vote for https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B954SdlrGC2lc1dQVkN0cmtLN2s/edit?usp=sharing

I will be doing a round up of the EU Candidates tomorrow.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Why I am Voting Prochoice!

 

This week I will be voting in the Eu elections, local elections and a by election in Dublin West.
So why am I asking Candidates to the EU parliament, if they are pro choice?
Policies set in the EU parliament effect us here in Ireland and it is to the EU court of human rights Irish women have to go again and again to try and get access to the health care we need in our own country. Currently there is report, called the Estrela, which sought to make clear that reproductive rights are human rights and

the importance of making contraception widely available, comprehensive sex education and quality family planning services. It also says that women have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing of their children and underlines the importance of safe abortions.

http://reproductiverights.org/en/press-room/EU-parliament-fails-to-back-women-rights

It was rejected by an anti-choice alliance, will the candidate you are voting for join that anti choice alliance or will they work in Europe on your behalf to ensure that Ireland moves to give women the health care we the need here?

 

So why am I asking Candidates in the local elections if they are pro choice?

The majority of candidates who are running the local elections to be members of the County Council are members of political parties. They get to have input to party policy and to the debates and discussion which happen before a party adopts a stance on any issue. Often those who get elected to the County Council go on to seek election to the Dáíl, so it’s good to know what their stance is.

Also over the last 12 months we have seen County Councils passing motions in support of a referendum on the issue of Marriage Equality, hopefully we will see County Councils passing motions in support of a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment.

 

So why am I asking Candidates in the by elections if they are pro choice?

The Dáil is one of our legislative bodies, we have seen the how important it is when we have has several bills come to be voted upon in the Dáil chamber that our elected representatives be willing to vote in accordance with the wishes of the people who elected them. We need to let them know we are pro choice, that we will not wait 20 more years for the next abortion legislation and we do not want them to wait either.

So why I am Voting Prochoice ?

Because I don’t ever want to give any preference to someone who thinks women like me who have had abortions are murders, who think that they can be the gate keeper to the abortion rights which the majority of people in Ireland agree we should have. I do not want any one who thinks it is ok for women to have to travel to get the health care they need to be voted in to a position of any significance via my vote.

 

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Voting and why I do it.

I have mentioned before that I read this book around the same time I became a teenager.
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It is the story of the fight for women’s suffrage in the USA. It made me aware of the countless hours women of many generations worked so hard for to get the right to vote some suffered horribly in vile prisons and some even died.

Women in Ireland did not have the Vote until 1928.
Yep 1928 which means we have not had the right to Vote yet for a 100 years.

Suffragettes including our most famous ones Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington seemed to think once women had the Vote the world would be radically changed as we would be then equal with men and able to change laws and make the world and the country a fairer place.

While I think if those brave ladies were to travel forward in time there are many things they would be pleased with but I do not think that the level social change and ‘equality’ would be something they would be happy with.

Women having the Vote did give us a certain amount of power but as we all know well now it was not the Pancea for all ills the suffragette had hoped it would be. But that does not mean it won’t be as we move forward and with the internet making it easier for us to communicate and collate information, making an informed choice and being informed on whom to vote for has gotten easier.

Every time I get a polling card with my name on it I think of the women who dedicated themselves in the fight to get women the right to Vote and didn’t live to get to Vote themselves. 86 years of having the Vote, I don’t think women have done enough with it. The old boy’s club is still very much the way things are in our houses of parliament. We deserve better.

I am refusing personally to vote for any candidate who is not pro choice to some extent. I will never give a preference to any candidate who considered women like me to have committed murder. I will never give a preference to a any candidate who does not see the need for a separation of church and state esp in our schools and health care system. I will never give a preference to any candidate who does not see the need for a comprehensive universal sex and sexuality education program in our schools.

I have had people ask me why bother, well that just means things stay the way they are. Often less then 55% of the people who are on the electoral roll turn out to vote and we have people who are eligible to vote who are not even registered to do so. If there is a low turn out in an area, which politicians can tell, due to the numbers being low then they don’t feel the need to work so hard on the issues being raised in those areas. You want to make a difference, get active, get informed and vote.
It is a lot easier to do so now, then it was when women first got the vote in 1928, it’s easier now then it was 50 years go even 20 years ago.

I Vote because I believe I have an honour and a duty to do so. I have never failed to do so in the last 21 years and I hope I never do.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Ladies who lunch? Part 2

So I found myself wondering who is it I would like to hang out with and have a long leisurely lunch.
The type of ladies with whom, I could talk life, the universe, sex and sexuality and not have them bat an eye lid at anything I might say. Laugh their heads of yes, but not be made uncomfortable.

As ever when one starts along such a train of thought, it is wishful thinking, so why not pick anyone.
So I guess Amanda Palmer, Margaret Cho, Joan Jett, Betty Dobson. Laurie Penny.
Each of which are amazing women, who have broken new ground in their professions spending a couple of hours in their collective company would be so invigorating.

But thinking about it I am lucky to have such women in my life who are just as kick ass and I think I am going to have to organize a get together.

Lora O’Brien is a writer, manager of Rathcroghan Heritage center in Roscommon, how she manages to get so much done in a week still baffles me.

Coral Mallow
whom I meet when she was over doing a series of workshop, she had a boundless sense of fun and what makes people tick. She also makes amazing jewelry and will be returning to Ireland to continue her work with 4elements theater company.

Bon who is also know as deannawol and under that name has write some wonderful RPG games, which I have been lucky enough to play at conventions, and her work ethic when it comes to her writing is something I am frankly jealous of.

Ailish Farragher who’s tribal belly dance workshops are a delight to take part in and who runs a Tantra salon in Dublin and is one of the Organizers of the Bliss festivals and circles/

Tara also know as @MsFrugalone who had organised so many wonderful meet ups, is caring compassionate, has such a wry sense of humor and always ready to burst out laughing and even when she’s admonishing me I know it coming from the best of places.

But a handful of wonderful women there are more the ladies I have meet at pro choice events and so I guess it’s not that I don’t fit in with women, it’s finding women I fit in with.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“Feminism is nonnegotiable.” Margaret Cho

Twitter is something I use just about every day, I enjoy the engagement, the information streams and the sharing of things which I think are important and need changing. I usually ignore the number of followers, cos frankly if I think about it, I get self conscious. Often blogging and being on twitter for me, is something I do in the ‘dance like no one is watching’ mindset. Now and then things happen which make me go, woah! one of those things was happened last night and this was it.

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But I don’t know if many people here in Ireland are aware of Margaret Cho, her work, her comedy, music, writing and activism. For me she is a like minded soul and someone who has made me feel less alone in the world. On the surface it would appear we have very little in common, she is after all Korean American but it was her bawdy sense of humor as a comedian, brought her to my notice, and the shared narrative of being a fat, feminist, sex positive, queer outspoken woman has me me revere her. She is the first person I think of when people (usually guys) say women aren’t funny or good as comedians.

Her comedy breaks down barriers, it is kick ass, sex positive, feminist, taboo breaking, queer, irreverent. Every tour is about what is going on in her life, as she strives to be who she is, not who the world, or her cultures or media says she should be. Her last tour in Dublin was 2003 it was the Revolution tour. Her current tour is Mother but there doesn’t seem to be plans for her to come and play here unfortunately.

There are feminist comedians which I think are wonderful like Joan Rivers and Lily Tomlin but I would not consider them to be of a same generation as me but Margaret Cho is. She also grew up in a Gay bookshop in San Francisco so the fact she is openly bisexual (and will make the point of saying so esp due to the fact she has a husband) and is a LGBT activist/advocate is not surprising.

There is a wonderful series of short interviews with here here:
http://on.aol.com/video/margaret-cho–sexism-still-exists-518011313

I know she is not everyone’s cup of tea, there are people who don’t understand why she would do a burlesque act tour or that would not be comfortable about how explicitly she talks about certain topics, but there is no way for me not to adore her, esp as she wrote my favorite song about oral sex called “Eat me out” which she preforms unabashedly.

 

http://margaretcho.com/
https://twitter.com/margaretcho
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Margaret_Cho

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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