Professional pounder of the patriarchy.

Archive for August, 2015

“What A Girl Is”

In which Liv Rooney, of Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie, hits the nail on the head flawlessly:

It’s super-duper cute and has a really positive message for everybody watching. Liv and Maddie is a brilliant show anyway – its focus is on twin sisters, one of whom is a singer-songwriter and the other is a basketball player (both played by the fabulous Dove Cameron).

My face watching this.

My face watching this.

Movie Role-Model: Maude

Warning: this article may contain spoilers for “Harold and Maude”. If you’re not down with that, come back when you’re ready. 😉 The film itself features several fake suicides – only two of which are graphic, IMHO – so, if that’s something that will trigger you, it might be best to skip those scenes.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the 1971 film “Harold and Maude”. It’s absolutely my favourite film, although it’s a far cry from the fantasy films holding up my DVD shelf. It’s utterly hysterical – in a dark and subtle way – and totally heartbreaking. It isn’t necessarily a film for everyone; it requires an open mind and heart, I think. You have to be willing to push everything you’ve ever assumed about love stories aside.
harold_and_maude

For those who haven’t come across it, it’s the story of a young man called Harold, who has some rather unusual hobbies. He drives a hearse, attends strangers’ funerals and stages elaborate fake suicides to try and get his mother’s attention. His family are wealthy and, without his consent, his mother arranges several dates for him. Needless to say, they don’t exactly go to plan – mostly because Harold finds love in an unexpected place. He meets 79-year-old Dame Marjorie Chardin, known as Maude to her friends, at a funeral. Her quirky outlook on life is entirely different to his – she looks for the beauty in everything and is carefree. Together, they save a tree, break the law and challenge the expectations of society.

I decided to write this in honour of Ruth Gordon, the actress who portrayed Maude in the film. She passed away from a stroke on 28th August 1985. So here it is – why Maude should be your role-model!

She questions the established system with every action she takes.

Her relationship with Harold is just one way in which she challenges society’s need to put her into a neat little box. She gives the phrase “public property” a new meaning when she rescues a tree that is growing next to a busy street and re-plants it in a forest, determined to show it the kindness she feels all living things deserve. As a young woman, Maude lived in pre-war Vienna and took part in all sorts of campaigns and protests. She retains the umbrella that she used to fight off “thugs”, continuing to battle for justice in her own small ways.

Maude has a tattoo on her arm which indicates that she was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. This makes her attitudes even more poignant and powerful, having dealt with cruelty and oppression in the worst of ways.

6397d_tumblr_mapttjllsJ1qec5x5o1_500

She sees everyone as an individual.

This is one of my favourite scenes in the film. It’s so beautifully shot, and the cut from the flower field to the war cemetery is perfectly placed.

Maude understands how difficult it can be to remain unique, faced with a society that treats us as numbers and statistics (or, worse, as a resource). She encourages Harold to shape his own identity. By showing him all the subtle differences between the daisies in the field, she teaches him that everybody is special. I think that’s a beautiful message.

She’s super-duper body positive!

I can’t find the clip that I want, but there’s a great scene where Harold is looking for Maude. He enters the warehouse near her house to find her doing a spot of nude modelling for Glaucus, an ice-sculptor. She isn’t at all embarrassed when Harold sees her (Ruth Gordon’s coy giggle is just fantastic!). She doesn’t do it often, she says, as she doesn’t have the time. Maude also has a self-portrait in her house, depicting herself as Leda (as in Leda and the Swan).

Maude proves that beauty isn’t lost with age; it comes through confidence and through self-love. I feel that feminism encourages self-love among women. We should teach women to find beauty within themselves – it’s in their talent, their determination, their strength. Equally, it’s important to embrace your flaws too.

ruth-gordon-haroldandmaude-1

She expresses her emotions in every way she can. She doesn’t fear sensitivity.

Again, I can’t find this clip, but the first time Harold enters Maude’s house is brilliant. It’s full of all the things she’s collected over the years, as well as her art, her sculptures and her inventions. These objects are all deeply personal to her, yet she shares them willingly with Harold.

She sings, she dances and she teaches Harold to play the banjo. Everybody should be able to make some music, she insists. She also teaches us as an audience that emotion is not synonymous with weakness. Self-expression is a human right.

Harold-and-Maude-e1349872369233

She knows that we’ve all got to be a little silly sometimes.

“Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves; you can’t let the world judge you too much.”

I hope you enjoyed this article! Now make like Maude – spread some joy and love in the world! (You can start by liking this article and sharing it on Facebook/Twitter/Google+! xxx)

#ThingsFeministMenHaveSaidToMe

Just wanted to draw your attention to a delightful little video from Claudia Boleyn, discussing the Twitter movement “#ThingsFeministMenHaveSaidToMe”.

A lot of male feminists were offended by the hashtag but, as Claudia explained in the video, you don’t need to be offended if it doesn’t apply to you. Plenty of male feminists are fantastic allies, protecting feminist spaces and making sure women can share their experiences. However, there’s an unsettlingly large proportion of that community who just aren’t good feminist allies – either they claim the label because it makes them look good or they value their interpretation of privilege and the patriarchy over that of women. I’ve had a guy tell me he was a feminist, in order to impress me (I know this because I was the fifth girl he’d tried it on with that year). He later harassed a friend of mine for nudes. So, yeah, bullshit.

not all men

Chill the f*ck out, Joffrey.

She made the comparison between “male feminism” and “white feminism”; both are exclusionary towards vulnerable groups of women. White feminism prioritises – you guessed it! – white women over women of colour. We saw a prime example of that in the “feud” between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj (which killed me because I love them both dearly!). Nicki made a valid point about racism in the music industry, which Taylor interpreted as a personal attack. She, unfortunately, missed the point entirely.

I’m white and cis, but I strive to check my privilege. I can’t be an intersectional feminist if I don’t listen to the voices and opinions of trans women and women of colour. They have unique and nuanced experiences of sexism – alongside transphobia and racism – that I won’t ever have. My job is to listen, empathise and raise awareness. My job is not to speak over them. This is something that a lot of “feminist men” would do well to remember.

If you’re a male feminist and you’re committed to the movement, good on you, sir! 🙂 Keep reppin’ feminism and continue to be a decent human being!

tumblr_ns87955MhB1tz6kdro3_500(In other news, I have managed to fix a few of my blog posts.)

Whoops!

This is just a quick note to say that I’ve done something a bit silly. I’ve deleted images in an attempt to tidy up my media library. I didn’t realise these were linked to the images within my articles, so several articles are left with blank spaces or missing images. Don’t panic – there’s nothing wrong with your browser!

tumblr_inline_n5hs7twwy01qjd93z

I’m going to set aside some time and go through the articles individually to re-embed the images. Sorry for the inconvenience, folks! Normal service will resume shortly. Thanks for your patience in the meantime!

tumblr_n29ekksHW41tucpw0o1_500

xxx

Saying No

This is a really powerful piece from Tumblr. It’s quite long, but it’s worth it – our society seems to be using rejection as motive more and more.

When I was a freshman, my sister was in eighth grade. There was a boy in two of her periods who would ask her out every single day. (Third and seventh period, if I remember correctly.) All day during third and seventh she would repeatedly tell him no. She didn’t beat around the bush, she didn’t lie and say she was taken—she just said no. One day, in third period, after being rejected several times, he said; “I have a gun in my locker. If you don’t say yes, I am going to shoot you in seventh.” She refused again, but right after class she went to the principal’s office and told them what happened. They searched his locker and there was a gun in his backpack.
When he was arrested, some of my sister’s friends (some female, even) told her that she was selfish for saying no so many times. That because of her, the entire school was in jeopardy. That it wouldn’t have killed her to say yes and give it a try, but because she was so mean to him, he lost his temper. Many of her male friends said it was “girls like her” that made all women seem like cockteases.
Wouldn’t have killed her to say yes? If a man is willing to shoot someone for saying no, what happens to the poor soul who says yes? What happens the first time they disagree? What happens the first time she says she doesn’t want to have sex? That she isn’t in the mood? When they break up?
Years later, when I was a senior, I was the only girl in my Criminal Justice class. The teacher, who used to be a sergeant in the police force, told us a story of something that had happened to a girl he knew when she was in high school. There was a guy who obviously had a crush on her and he made her uncomfortable. One day he finally gathered up the courage to ask her out, and she said no. The next day, during an assembly, he pulled a gun on her in front of everyone and threatened to kill her if she didn’t date him.
He was tackled to the ground and the gun was taken from him. When my teacher asked the class who was at fault for the crime, I was the only person who said the boy was. All the other kids in the class (who were all boys) said that the girl was, that if she had said yes he would’ve never lost it and brought a gun and tried to kill her. When my teacher said that they were wrong and that this is what is wrong with society, that whenever a white boy commits a crime it’s someone else’s fault (music, television, video games, the victim) one boy raised his hand and literally said; “But if someone were to punch me and I punched him back, who is at fault for the fight? He is, not me. It’s self-defence. She started it, so anything that happens to her is in reaction to her actions. It’s simple cause and effect.” Even though he spent the rest of the class period ripping into the boys and saying that you are always responsible for your own actions, and that women are allowed to say no and do not have to date them, they left class laughing about how idiotic he was and that he clearly had no idea how much it hurt to be rejected.
So now we have a new school shooting, based solely on the fact some guy couldn’t get laid, and I see men, boys, applauding him, or if they’re not applauding him, they’re laying blame on women as a whole. Just like my sister’s friends did. Just like the boys in my Criminal Justice class did.
This isn’t something that’s rare. This isn’t something that never happens, or that a select group of men feel as if they are so entitled to women that saying no is not only the worst possible thing a woman can do, but is considered a form of “defence” when they commit a crime upon them (whether it be rape or murder-as-a-reaction-towards-rejection).
Girls are being killed for saying no to prom invites. Girls are being killed for saying no to men. They are creating an atmosphere where women are too scared to say no, and the worst part is? They are doing it intentionally. They want society to be that way, they want women to say yes entirely out of fear. Even the boys and men who aren’t showing up to schools with guns are saying; “Well, you know, I wouldn’t do that, but you have to admit that if she had just said yes…”
If you are a man and you defend this guy’s actions or try to find an excuse for it, or you denounce what really happened, or in any way lay blame on women, every girl you know, every woman you love, has just now thought to themselves that you might lose your shit and kill them someday for saying no. You have just lost their trust. And you know what? You deserve to lose it.

cry laugh feel love peace panic: 

“Wouldn’t have killed her to say yes? If a man is willing to shoot someone for saying no, what happens to the poor soul who says yes? What happens the first time they disagree? What happens the first time she says she doesn’t want to have sex? That she isn’t in the mood? When they break up?” – vampmissedith.tumblr.com