#NewParty #Brexit My Manifesto for A Working Class Women’s Party (Pt.1)

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Now, here’s an idea… The country’s in a completely Brexit meltdown of a mess. Politicians have abandoned us (or at least, that’s what it feels like) so there’s no one at the helm guiding the boat to safer waters. Even when the politicians do get their act together, I can honestly say that none of them inspire me that much. There may well be some wonderful back benchers, like the late and great Jo Cox MP, but we never hear about those doing good work. 
The conclusion I’ve reached is that we need a new party on the block. A working class women’s party (I’m including women on benefits who can’t work, like me, too) – thanks to Claire for that. I guess that makes the party the WCWP …. And yes I know that there is a WEP but they aren’t up to much. Very London centric and aimed at the middle classes, mores the pity. 
As I started this, I get to be PM (until I’m ousted when everyone realises I need to nap every 2 hours!). I’d also appreciate it if I can be minister for crochet please. 
A few positions have been filled already (not naming names or @ unless you want me to, happy to edit): 
PM

Deputy 

Chancellor 

Health secretary 

Secretary of State for DWP

Minister for agriculture and fishing 

Equalities minister 

Minister for economic ingenuity 

Hampstead liberal/Prosecco socialist 

US ambassador for all things lovely inc whiskey, pizza and puppies 
I’m never sure which is a minister or Secretary of State but I’m not sure it really matters. 
Quite a few job opportunities out there, just @ me on Twitter or comment on this blog and I’ll add you. 
WCWP need: 
Home Office 

Foreign Office 

Education

End of VAWG 

BAME minister 

Minister for cats 

Transport 

Industry 

Umm …. Just had a look online and there’s loads and I’m sure there are some we can invent whilst we are at it. 
Now there’s just the simple task of a manifesto and I’m keeping positive that we can all agree on it *eeek* 
Here are some ideas we can get our teeth into …
Ending VAWG is an obvious one 

End poverty by taxing rich people 

Female only safe spaces 

Children and teens taught stuff like how to fix a dripping tap, arts and crafts, cooking lessons that are actually of some use in the real world. Then sex education focusing on respect, consent and empowerment. 

I have to confess that I’m getting tired now and my brain isn’t working so this isn’t even the start of this. Feedback more than welcome. 
Love, tea and hugs 

Exxx 

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My Feminist Manifesto 

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This blog post may alienate people, I may lose followers, I may get blocked by a few. It’s fair to say that I’m struggling with feminism right now, I know that I am one, I just don’t know where I fit in. 
When you don’t live in London, or have disposable income, you’re not a minor celebrity, you don’t have a column, you’re too tired/busy/ill/restricted by having young children and no one to look after them ….. You being to wonder what good you do at all. The most I do these days is to tweet. I’m pretty run down with my MEcfs, depression and constant UTIs. It takes the shine off any activist badge I may have had (metaphorical badge obvs). To add insult to injury, the one charity I did support have drifted off and no longer seem to need me 😦 All in all, I feel pretty useless to the cause. 
Going back to my point about not knowing where my place in feminism is, here’s what I do believe in ….
Women are wonderful and I believe in the power of sisterhood. It can be uplifting and healing. 
Male violence; two words that are not any where near enough to describe the devastation that males cause to women. The statistics are out there to prove it. One woman or child dying or being abused at the hands of a man is too many. I don’t have a solution, no one does. I believe that men need to do more to call out friends, society needs to do more to cultivate boys and women need to occupy far more positions of power and influence than they do right now. That’s not something that can be done in my generation. 
In the meantime, women need safe places to flee abusers. They need support and guidance and this requires money and lots of it. 
Women should always be believed. Yes, some women do lie but often they are individuals who need mental health support. Society needs educating on victim blaming. It’s far too easy to dismiss issues like rape by focusing on things like what she was wearing or how drunk she was. The whole CJS needs an overhaul. 
You cannot change the sex you were born with. That doesn’t mean that you can’t change your gender. I appreciate that there are people in the world that suffer huge distress over their gender identity. It’s not for me to tell people who they are. Once again, society has a huge part to play. The whole ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys’ is creating an environment where children are seen as different just for liking something that has been arbitrarily assigned to a different gender. 
The trans issue that is ripping feminism apart right now is a place I don’t even dare to tread but I must. I believe that everyone has a right to be safe and to be respected. Everyone. 

I have been called a terf for not recognising penis as female. Terf is not a word I will ever use to describe a woman. 

Maybe I am on the wrong side of history but that’s a place that doesn’t appeal to me. 

I believe in safe spaces for women. Sometimes this will create conflict. I don’t believe that trans women or men are seeking to gain access to sex segregated spaces to harm women. This was a common fear when gay men were fighting for equality. I do think that men will abuse this and they have done. 

Trans people are affected by male violence esp trans men and this needs to be addressed. 
I worry about the erasure of women in society. Natal women are not womb owners or bleeders! Our biology has created unique joys and problems! These should never be neglected. 
Women should not be slut shamed, have to look and act like a doll, force themselves into shape wear etc Leave women alone! Respect our boundaries! 
I’m pro Nordic model and want to see an end to demand. Women and girls are not holes to be fucked! 
I’m pro abortion and I’m not afraid to say that. Her uterus is none of your business! 
I’m not anti men, I’m exasperated and pissed off with a lot of them though! As a Bi woman, I will never be ashamed to say that I find some men sexually attractive. That doesn’t make me less of feminist. It would be wrong of me to lie about that. 
I’ve ranted on for a bit now. I wrote this for my own sanity and you are free to disagree with me. Please don’t expect me to get into a debate with you though. These are simply my opinions and I don’t matter to the world of feminism anyway so you needn’t worry. 
E xxx 

160000 say #BackOff to anti abortion protestors 

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In a world where only the celebrity focused petitions seem to gain huge support …. I’m so happy that my petition has reached over 160k supporters! I’ve been campaigning for well over a year now and visiting No.10 seems like a very long time ago.

There are times when I feel like giving in but knowing that there are so many of you who want the same thing keeps me going. 

You don’t have to agree with abortion to know that these protestors are in the wrong. Women should and need to be able to enter these clinics without fear or shame. They are doing nothing wrong and their reasons for visiting these clinics is NONE OF OUR BUISNESS! It’s really quite easy. 

If the protestors want to shout and wave banners then they can do it anywhere, several 100m away from the doors of clinics. It is time we did more to protect women. I know that abortion is not a cuddly topic like avenging a dead lion or having a late celebrity named after a new periodic element BUT women’s safety is so much more important and that is far more valuable to society. Then we can get on with our  

 lives and tackle everything else. 
Much love and solidarity 

Exxx 

https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-please-create-a-legal-exclusionary-zone-outside-of-abortion-clinics/u/15009390

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/114853

New Years Resolutions 

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I know, I know New Years resolutions are as uncool as tinsel and the word uncool but l happen to like tinsel and using the 1st of Jan as an excuse to rethink my life. 
1. Rethink my body image. I’m now 9st and I’m still putting on weight. Having been plagued with an eating disorder since I was 9, this is new territory for me and I hate it. Every day I look in the mirror, I don’t recognise my body anymore. I worry that people who know me will see me and think ‘wow, she’s put on weight!’. I do need to rethink my diet but I also need to accept my new body shape. It’s not the end of the world, just the end of my ultra slimness. 

2. Get off my fucking phone. This should be easier than it sounds as my phone is old and the battery dies on me at 30%! I want to concentrate on my crochet and art.

3. I need to get my teeth into my Women Together project. I don’t think we’ll really feel the full impact of the cuts until the end of 2016 which is a scary thought as things are bad enough already. My goal for the year is to offer more practical help rather than tweets and FB posts. I have a lot of stuff to go on the website – which I’ve yet to find on a Google search! Also, some way of setting up a fund for helping women would be really great. 

4. Buffer zones for abortion clinics – I’ve been working on this for over a year now and I’ve not made a lot of progress. There are now two petitions out there in the ether – check out my blog posts for more info. Hoping that 2016 is a productive and protective year for it. 

5. Seeing my life as worthwhile and meaningful. I need to stop wishing away the days and try to enjoy the year with my children. It’s so easy to get bogged down in it all and to think that life will be better/easier when another milestone is reached. I’m very lucky to have three fab children who may be challenging but certainly not dull! 

6. Get out in the garden more. I moved into this house last spring and I’m looking forward to turning my garden into a little oasis of green for as little money as possible. It’s not a very big garden however, there’s plenty of space for some nice plants. 

7. Find a way to manage my ME/ CFS better hahahahaha!!! I can try. Either that or I need to win the lottery so that I can afford a cleaner and taxis…. Pacing your activity is nigh on impossible when you’re on your own with three kids. My family and boyfriend help when they can but I need to know I can do it all by myself. Perhaps it’s my pride, I just want to feel like I’m making a fair contribution to the life I have and the lives that I created. 

8. And finally …. Not really a resolution….this is the second year anniversary of my suicide attempt – New Year’s Day 2014. It doesn’t feel as poignant as last year, there’s a sense that I’ve moved on a lot since then. I’m glad that I am still here, still alive and experiencing life from the Sun’s heat on my face to the cuddles at bedtime with my children. I could have been two years dead and life would have been so very different for my children, different in a bad and dark way. Whilst I’ll never be the life and soul of the party, I hope with every atom of my body that I will never feel that desperate again. 

So there you have it. That’s my list for 2016, I’m sure I’ll think of more to add. In the general scheme of the relentless march of time, a new year doesn’t really mean a lot but I see it as a chance to try again and put my failures behind me. Maybe give it a go and be uncool too! 
Love and hugs and all the best for 2016. May it be full of tea and crochet if that floats your boat.

Exxx 

PS one more …. Get my poems published in my own book …. 

A letter to Sisters Uncut 

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It is with great sadness and regret that I have to withdraw my support from your organisation. I really do hope that you take the time to read this email and take on board what I and many other women are concerned about.
As you know, George Osborne announced yesterday that the treasury will use £15million from the controversial tampon tax to fund certain women’s charities. Obviously this caused huge debate online, including Twitter. A member of your group called you out for referring to women having periods – you responded by apologising and correcting your ‘mistake’ by saying that (sic) ‘not all women have periods and not all people who have periods are women’. This left me stunned with huge sense of betrayal added in to the mix. 
I thought women were important to you? It would seem that your organisation wishes to erase women and their specific struggles to pander to a small minority of voices. The person who called me out has since blocked me as I’m a ‘terf’, I don’t care that they have blocked me but I do care that they have used such a misogynistic term to describe me … A woman, a female, a survivor of rape and domestic abuse. Is calling women swerfs and terfs acceptable in your group? (This member also has an issue with the Nordic model which has shown to dramatically reduce violence and murder of sex workers). 
It was only at my CBT session today that I realised how much of this had upset me and triggered me. I was told to step back from you for my own self care as it’s made me so ill. The thing is, I don’t think that you care and that hurts, that really hurts. 
With that one tweet you have just excluded so many amazing women and trans women from your cause (and I do think that you do amazing work to hold society to account). With your efforts to be politically correct, you have shown prejudice to those women who think that it’s not unreasonable to say that women have periods. This is not just a view of biologically female women but that of trans women too. Why are our voices less important than this other person on Twitter? 
We are not hate filled, I am not hate filled. When I go through the menopause, I will not be upset, triggered or offended by anyone saying that ‘women have periods’. I know of infertile women (from birth or through surgery/illness) who are not either. It’s life and we all have to accept that we have different struggles. 
I will continue to fight for women as I have done for years (and just because this person on Twitter hasn’t seen us on marches does not mean I and others are not active. That’s also very ableist. I have ME/CFS so marches are not good for my health but do not discredit the hard work that I have done to help my sisters). 
I have a sinking feeling that you have not read this to the end nor have accepted what I have to say. There has been no acknowledgment on Twitter of the upset caused and yet you were quick to react to being called out. 
I wish your organisation all the best. I’m old enough and ugly enough to be gracious about that. 
Exxx 

Witchy witchy 

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A while ago I came out on Twitter as Bi, now I’d like to come out as a witch and a bi, single mother of a witch too! No, I’m not joking and don’t expect an apology for ‘turning my back on God’ either. I told a friend of mine that I had returned to the ‘old ways’ and she responded with a delighted yay! 

Witchcraft is something that I’ve been interested in since I was a child. I’ve always felt a sense of otherness about the world. Studying science reinforced this, rather than dismissing it as nonsense. Everything is energy and everything is connected and look at all the cycles of life, water, rocks! Creative force 🙂 

  By admitting how I feel, I know there will be those who laugh and mock me and those that turn away from me, anti witch propaganda has been going on for centuries now. Much against my better judgment, I was confirmed as a Christian in 2008 (I think!). This was as a result of my ex husband wanting to be married in a church and the desire to become a vicar, ha! I was so taken in by it all but one thing I lacked was the sense of god’s presence in my life. There was no inner feeling that the Holy Spirit was guiding me. I prayed and prayed and prayed ….. I begged to be free from this vile man and yet nothing improved. I could talk the talk but deep down I didn’t believe the talk. The church let me down in a big way  too, from the man who preyed on me to the vicar whose denied that I told him I had been raped and the Chritian friends who left me for dead. Not forgiven or forgotten. 

I don’t blame Christianity for any of my abuse, why would I? Also, my separation from Christianty is not just about the negative experiences. What it did do was slowly take away everything that made me, me. I became bland and lost my connection with Mother Nature.  I gave away my books and all my paraphernalia as I had some odd notion that these items were intrinsically evil – they’re not. Also, whilst I’m on subject of evil….witches cannot worship the devil as ‘he’ is a creation of Abrahamic faiths (I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong). My besom was left behind in the shed of a house we rented when my children and I fled from my ex husband. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’d burnt it, he like to burn things. 

Whilst I have read many books on witchcraft, I tend to steer towards a more informal, hedge witch approach. I’m not into crystals (the wannabe geologist in me says that rose quartz cannot bring you love but it does look nice!) or tarot cards or any of the stuff you see in new age shops cf Glastonbury ….. Witches of the Middle Ages never had access to such items so I don’t feel that I need them. I’m also not sold on all of the gods and goddesses either. I guess I’m not much of a modern witch! Modern paganism feels like Chrisianty but with a different book.

What I like about my interpretation of witchcraft, and I stress it’s not mainstream thought here, is that I can be a part of nature and say thank you to the universe for existing. There’s no good/evil debate or men telling me what I should or shouldn’t do with my body. I chose the path I wish to, not the one I was told I had to. 

There’s a huge history of female shamans, a belief system and way of life that has been almost erased by men. It’s something that I look forward to learning more about. 

On a lighter note, I see myself as more of a Granny Weatherwax than a High Priestess of Avalon! No odd robes or headwear for me, oh no! Instead, you’ll find me in leggings and a baggy jumper admiring the dew drops on Lady’s Mantle.

Tea and hugs 

Exxx 

Abortion is not a dirty word! 

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As you know, I started a petition in Novemeber last year calling for buffer zones to be created out side of abortion clinics. Bpas also named me as one of their champions of choice for my campaigning after presenting the petition to No.10. Sadly, I haven’t been able to bring about change …. Yet! 

I am heartened by the continued news coverage of abortion clinics and by research stating how most women do not regret their abortions (please read the article by Rebecca Schiller article on the statistics at the end of this post). 

I’m going to be clear and say that I will not use the term ‘anti choice’ (even though protestors are anti choice) as abortion is not a dirty word. I spoke to a researcher from BBC R4 ( sadly they didn’t run with the piece) about the stigma and taboo surrounding abortion. Women feel shamed in to keeping their abortions secret, this should not be the case. Many of us would be open about having a medical procedure without fear of recrimination. Having an abortion is a medical procedure too, it really is that simple so women should have safe access to medical help. 

Despite what anti abortion protestors would like you to think…

Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks. 

Late abortions are very rare.

Abortion is not murder.

No baby or child has been killed.

Women are not ignorant of their decisions. Many women already have children and even if they haven’t, women can be trusted to make their own choices over their bodies. 

Abortion saves lives! I can’t imagine the pain a woman would go through having to give birth to an unwanted baby. Not to mention the life that baby may go on to have.

I may well be preaching to the converted here but I feel I need to keep posting blogs on this issue as it is not going away. Buffer zones are the only practical answer to the blight and upset that anti abortion protestors cause. They may have a right to protest but they do not have the right to cause upset and harass women and staff just because they don’t like it! 

Below are two links …. One is an open letter to the Health Secretary Jeremy   Hunt MP, the other is a link to Bpas so you can lobby your MP. 

http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/open-letter-to-jeremy-hunt/

http://back-off.org/get-involved/

Please sign my petition if you haven’t done so yet and share with others. 
Many thanks for your continued support 

Exxx 
http://gu.com/p/4akx6/sbl