Professional pounder of the patriarchy.

Posts tagged ‘anti-bullying’

Dear Body

Dear Body,

I want to tell you, once and for all, how much I love you and how sorry I am for the times when I didn’t love you.

Body, I’m sorry for sighing at you when dresses didn’t look how I wanted them to. They didn’t hang right, they didn’t fit right; my tummy was too big and my chest wasn’t big enough. I’ve learned to like that you are soft. I’ve learned to stop pinching my belly and to start gently squishing it so it makes a funny little face. Belly faces are the best. It is a simple, childish pleasure and I thank you for that.

Body, I’m sorry for refusing to let you wear comfy leggings and cute shorts and pretty skirts. I didn’t like my legs, you see. My thighs were too big and wobbly and hairy. It was easier, less embarrassing, to just hide you away in three-quarter-length tracksuit bottoms. I’ve learned to like my legs too. They can dance (what they lack in skill, they make up for in enthusiasm) and chase dogs and run for buses (if adequately persuaded).

Body, I’m sorry for all the times I have held my mouth open and wept angry tears at my teeth. We made them like that; we made our rabbit front teeth and our wonky jaw and our overbite. But that’s okay – nobody cares and nobody notices. You still articulate my arguments, vocalise in three languages and pronounce my passion for everything. We might not have the best face, the prettiest face, the face that will launch a thousand ships, but it’s a good face all the same. It is a happy face. It is a face that people can approach when they are sad and scared and insecure. That’s what matters.

Body, I will try to remember all the wonderful things you have done and will do.

I will remember your feet – feet that have stood on the ancient cobbles of Rome and the tors of Devon and the beaches of Murcia, feet that stood firm and did not flee when I talked of feminism in front of my whole school. They might tremble and shuffle and dawdle. They might trip me up foolishly, but they are feet with dignity and integrity.

I will remember your hands – hands that have cradled three brothers, hands that have comforted and consoled, hands that can write and draw and create. They might be clumsy hands that smash and knock and unbalance. They are chaotic, but they can bring their own chaos into order; they don’t need anyone to do it for them. I am as Nims called his love: “A wrench in clocks and the solar system. Only with words and people and love, you move at ease.”

I will remember your words, Body. I will remember how you tell people they are beautiful and they should love themselves as they are. You should save that advice for yourself too.

Body, I love you. It has taken me a long time to love you, to find things to like about you. There will be days when I still do not love you like I should, but, even on those days, remind me.

Love,

Dolly x

“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.

“How to be the Perfect Person”

I’d like to draw your attention to this short anti-bullying video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKbuWOkvP8A (you can find a second link to this video, along with other clips, on my video links page).

The video is “How to be the Perfect Person” by Sky Full of Rainbow. It hasn’t got a specifically “feminist” angle – though what constitutes a feminist message, strictly speaking, is up for debate! – but I think it carries a strong message about equalityrespect and identity. Don’t be fooled by the title!

The statistics mentioned in the video are truly sad – “43% of kids have been bullied online and 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.” However, only 1 in 10 will tell an adult about the problem.

There is huge pressure on people of all genders to look a certain way and be a certain way. That’s why feminism is so beneficial for men too – it can deconstruct social norms and break down restrictions in all directions. Discrimination and hatred often stem from the creation of an “us and them” complex, whether that’s due to different religions, political viewpoints, sexual/romantic orientations or even different genders. It’s easy for bullies to target people who are different to them, because it validates their own identity. It’s easy to target those who are already part of a minority or a disadvantaged group.

As Sky Full of Rainbow rightly said, there is no “perfect person”. The only way we can strive for any kind of perfection is through love, acceptance and equality.

I’d like to retirate the message of the video and urge everyone to report bullying/discrimination in all its forms, whether that’s online, at school, at work or anywhere else. Here is the link to the website from the video: https://www.kooth.com/about. It’s an NHS-funded service aimed at 11 – 25 year olds, offering support and advice.

Take care!

Mo O'Brien