Just Dance, Poem by Kate Wilson
How excitement! My article on Melinda Tankard Reist has been reproduced in New City Magazine:
”The Beautiful and The Just” a poem from my feature at Passionate Tongues 13.08.2012. Check out more of my poetry here: http://www.youtube.com/user/carriehaganpoetry
In recent weeks I’ve spoken to and corresponded online with people who, in response to my writing, have brought attention to the fact that there seems to be an ever-increasing amount of advocacy for women and girls in the realm of body-image and self-esteem, but not so much for men and boys. Despite what some of my critics think and say, I equally agree with and lament this fact.
I would like to state, again, that while I primarily focus on issues impacting women and girls, I do not, in any way, advocate gender-supremacy or misandry. In fact, I want to see a movement among men, of all ages, who will speak up on behalf of their gender, and start talking about the issues they are dealing with as they try to navigate the murky waters of the 21st Century.
The reason I focus on what I do is because I want to speak about what I know and understand, according to who I am and my situatedness in this time and culture as a woman. And that is not assuming, of course, that all women will agree with me, but that some will.
In my previous post, I mentioned that I, and many other women, do not appreciate the fact that men so often speak on our behalf - as though they know about our experience of the world better than we do. So the reason I haven’t written about the experience of men in our society is because I felt that I would be doing to them what I didn’t want them doing to us.
Guys, I didn’t want to steal your voice. But, perhaps, in fear of doing so, I neglected to lend mine to empower and encourage you. I’m so sorry.
So, having said that, later this year I will be getting a .com domain for Beautiful Fierce and will be expanding it into a website. And while I will remain committed to Women’s Interest, I am now on the lookout for some guys who will be interested in working with me to create a brother site (see what I did there, hey?) or blog where men can use it as a platform to raise awareness about the above-mentioned issues.
If you are interested in being involved, please email me at email@example.com or leave a post on the Beautiful Fierce FB wall:
Note: The following is not intended as a generalisation or stereotype. When I make reference to men I am not referring to all men, just some.
Two guys I know asked me this, in all seriousness, today. They literally said that we, as women, have nothing to complain about because Women’s Rights has already taken us as far as we could possibly want. Well, for whoever is interested, this is what more we women want:
- To be able to walk into a milk-bar without having half-naked, Photoshopped women on magazine covers staring back at us; reminding us of the ever-present and unattainable standard of beauty and sexuality that hangs over us.
- To be able to trust that men want to know us for who we are; without comparing us to Hollywood celebs and porn stars.
- To have the freedom to speak openly and honestly about the way objectification and hypersexualisation make us feel; without fear of being laughed at, scorned, or asked “what more could you women want?”
- To have the term “feminisation of poverty” made obsolete.
- To see a decline, and eventual elimination, of pornography as the ultimate sex- educator.
- To have the freedom to tell our own stories without men speaking on our behalf.
- To see our governments stop legitimising the porn industry by recognising porn production companies as bona fide businesses; you tax them, you profit from them - you’re part of the problem.
- To see the abolition of childified porn; or Pseudo Child Pornography (PCP). So a porn star can appear as a minor engaged in sexual activity, but cannot be an actual minor engaged in sexual activity? Any government that would approve a policy which legitimises this needs to schedule a few sessions with Dr. Phil. It’s not legally permissible to be a paedophile, but it’s okay to pretend to be a paedophile? Yes, boys and men are sadly exploited in this business, but the majority of victims within the porn industry are girls and women.
The above points are only the tip of the iceberg as far as necessary change in the realm of Women’s Rights is concerned. The more I come across the kind of attitude I encountered this afternoon, the more determined I am to seriously examine my own understanding of these issues so that I have an informed response to such statements and questions. And the more determined I am to speak up and out about the state of our society and culture.
Trafficked by Sophie Hayes
Definitely a Beautiful Fierce Book Recommendation. “Trafficked” tells the true story of Sophie Hayes * who is the first known British national to have been trafficked abroad. She was groomed and then lured to Italy by a man she thought loved her, and was then forced to work on the streets to pay off a hundred-thousand-dollar debt he owed from a drug deal gone wrong.
It is as tragic as it is eye-opening and unusual. It is such a reality to check for those of us who take our daily grind for granted. Not to mention a harsh, but much needed, slap in the face to shake us from our complacency.
Books like this never cease to remind me that I am not here without a purpose. I don’t want to let my life go by without knowing that I impacted as many people as possible. You and I are a part of the solution. We have a job to do. So many of these young girls are set up to be groomed and exploited as a result of not feeling secure and loved. So, as a community, what are we doing to teach strong, beautiful, secure femininity to our young girls? Are we modelling it to them? Are we teaching them about sex and relationships in honest, yet age-appropriate, ways? Are we reminding them that their worth comes from who they are and not from whether they have a boyfriend?
Do I feel confident, secure, and loved all the time? Sure…ummm, actually, maybe not. But that is why we can’t do life alone. Sometimes we are strength when others are weak. And often we need to be a reminder of true beauty and love when our sisters forget.
I want to be strong for my sisters. And I want to allow them to be strong for me. I also know that I want to be a reminder, especially to our young girls, that they are not alone because they are valuable and accepted.
(Name has been changed for the safety of the author)
Photograph: Yolande de Kort/Trevillion Images