Newt In A Tea Cup

{May 1, 2008}   Update

K has now been spending the nights in the red-light district. The neighbour has called the police on her for having a guy round the house. She dumped the baby with the grandmother (the one whom we suspect is bipolar or schizophrenic or something because she’ll be fine one second and then the next she starts yelling and screaming for hours on end). We don’t have a choice but to bottlefeed and have been getting milk to them. It’s not ideal- the place grandma lives is a not even the size of our bathroom, doesn’t have a proper door and has a snake hiding under all the clothes and dishes in one corner… If I thought the other was hell…

But maybe this way the baby might gain some weight. When I left she was three months old and 2.68k.

It kind of sucks that no matter what you do things keep getting worse and there is absolutely no solution. It kind of sucks to realise the relentless bleakness of people’s lives.

In positives my English lessons were a success and we had a great end of “term” party, the research project also showed huge, huge differences in the experience of labour for women with pre-natal lessons


{October 24, 2007}   Fascist Family Values

Edit: I have received a well-intentioned email from my older sister telling me that, quite frankly, I can do better. She is most probably right. In an attempt to displace her deep-seated feelings of inferiority that I did better at her at GCSE and A levels, she subtly inserts a comment regarding her uni learnings, my spelling and grammatical errors and lack of quoting sources. To which I reply; some of us actually have got jobs (you know, that work thing you haven’t touched since the end of college?) and the entire Ugly Betty Series to get through before it’s due back at blockbusters next week!

So here goes the post redux.

A few days ago I read an article in the Times where it says that a worrying number of Germans are starting to have nostalgia for the era of the Nazi’s. The leader of this radical rethink is Eva Herman. Herman used to hold down a job as newsreader however began trumpeting for the old values of femininity. Anyone who follows US politics will be familiar with the Schlafy’s of politics who make fortunes by insisting other women return to domesticity. Herman is keen to join them.

The Nazi kafuffle is to do with Eva deciding that the Nazi’s did great things with the roads and that their idea of family was quite spiffy really. The reason for this is that they had fabulous family values; you know, the three Ks (Kinder, Kuchen and Kirche).

This is exactly why anyone promoting family values is someone I instinctively avoid with a ten-foot barge pole. “Family” in this case stands for white, moneyed and “Values” means bigoted. In fact it’s pretty much a code word that can be used to signify the kind of Neanderthal political ponderings exactly the same way that “in my humble opinion” is usually followed by anything but.

I mean what kind of sick world are we in where the systematic killing of the disabled, militaristic jingoism, the active oppression and subjugation of women as breeding machines (who received medals for mass-producing) to supplement cannon fodder can be seen as family values?

How can the interests of our families be at such odds to the interests of the individual human being that forms the family?

Pah! Family Values as we know it is an illusion, I say!

Family Values are; love, compassion especially for those in trouble, understanding and respect especially for those who are not like us, a thirst for knowledge and understanding, a communal attempt to hoist each and everyone up instead of pressing people down.

Basically exactly what the feminist community is agitating for despite our reputation as wreckers of society.

The horrors of that era are simplified in a type of tunnel vision. The Aryan ideal is very narrow and anyone who didn’t fit it was out; homosexual, homeless, people with mental or physical disabilities, non-traditional women, pacifist, foreigners…Family values are the equivalent of propaganda posters- they look good and shiny but they are mass-produced dead, painted and eventually peel away under the rain of life to reveal a crumbling wall.

It seems to me that the important things in life are not things that can be measured or counted or dispatched with bureaucracy. When we start reducing relations to this in the name of morality we end in danger of forgetting the real faces behind the stories. No two people are the same and no two families are. This isn’t a defence of moral relativism but a rethink of what “moral” actually means.

No one can accuse the Nazis of being proponents of “moral values” by any stretch of the imagination. But “family values” are apparently not that irreconcilable with that type of fascism.

The fact that people can tie that together with “family values” shows that perhaps our idea of what a family should be is founded on misogynistic, exclusionary, bigoted ideas and traditions. Bringing this back may well be traditional, but it’s hardly beneficiary to anyone.

This article was very specifically focussing on the role of women and there is a certain backlash at the moment towards female upward mobility. Not a day passes that there isn’t some kind of article bemoaning how what women really want is traditional gender roles and abandoning advocating equal rights and opportunities to embrace passivity, baby bottles and unemployment is what we really need if we want to solve the problem of unequal pay/rape/discrimination; all variations on “don’t you women worry your pretty little heads. The men will take care of it and if we tell you it’s fair how dare you question it?”

Change is scary and uncomfortable so I can understand this nostalgia a bit. And yes, this is very familiar role and people like familiar because it may be brutal, terrifying and cost a thousand lives but at least you know where you stand; even if it’s barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

Don’t expect me to join you there.

{September 11, 2007}  

Rest in peace Anita Roddick – An absolute inspiration in her legacy of showing the world that a successful business can be ethical.

{July 12, 2007}   Random Facts Meme

I’ve been tagged!

We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I seriously obsess over fandoms (anime/manga/books/films whatever) for ages before moving onto a new one. At the moment it’s Fullmetal Alchemist

2. I’ve been meaning to write about my trip to Rwanda when I was sixteen. We had the scariest street harassment incident in the universe- one night after we visited the local high school practically every boy in the school (as in over 200) followed us home. It was pitch black, with absolutely no lighting or electricity anywhere and the boys in the team had to make a kind of human shield around us girls to stop them from grabbing at us etc… We’d made the mistake of having our names on our team shirts and some of them had seen them earlier so we also had to fend of some guy trying to give us letters and various gifts. I could have been married off there!

3. I am terrified of phones. I can’t stand calling up people I don’t know- in fact I go to ridiculous lengths to avoid it. The kicker? I used to work in a call centre where I’d cold-call for surveys. And I was good at it- at my best I’d get 6 people an hour (when I left most people were on 1) and timed myself down to four minutes total for selling it and completing the questions. It’d be in the top 5 of the whole branch of the company. That’s not to say I wouldn’t get people propositioning me over the phone nearly every week.

4. My favourite food has to be Japanese at the moment; sushi, sashimi, nigiri, katsu, tempura, yakisoba, whatever, I’ll eat it!

5. At the moment I have no idea what the hell my sexuality is. I either haven’t met the right person and am just commitment phobic or I’m actually asexual; which makes a tad more sense to me as I have never felt any kind of sexual attraction for anyone I’ve ever met. As in, I appreciate hotness but I’m too lazy/apathetic to get near said hotness.

6. I have naturally snobbish tendencies… After years of trying to get rid of my Canadian accent I ended up going posh r.p., I have expensive taste in food (I swear I can taste additives and chemicals) and would have incredibly posh clothes if only I could afford it. Thank god I’m cheap.

7. I used to wear shoes that made my feet bleed on a daily basis. I’ve still got the marks of the blisters. The worst was one time when it bleed through my socks and nearly stained the shoe.

8. I have a thing for music from musicals (hello wicked!) and from the rat pack and jazz age. Pure class.

{June 27, 2007}   Back To Normal Soon

I just had my last exam this afternoon, and whilst I’m pretty sure I’ve done badly (a terrifying prospectus as my university entrance goal is one A in english and two Bs), I’m glad it’s over; how could I not be? It was a rather odd question since the source we were analysing was written by a Lady in 1710 but the (lack of) grammatical structure and especially the lexis and orthography placed it straight in the 1400s during the beginning of the GVS and whilst standardisation was slow, it wasn’t that damn slow… It’s like she got an education from 3 centuries before her time… So I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, and I think I missed the point on the “globalisation of english” question. But enough about that, at least until I get the results.

My biggest fear is not fulfilling my potential and I was talking to my favourite Big Issue SellerTM yesterday… He’s actually very clever, did English at university but didn’t like Shakespeare’s purple prose, preferred modern classics (like me) and is good at design. Somewhere along the line something went wrong (I haven’t asked what) and he became homeless. It sounds crazy but I can see myself in him; I’m going to be taking a risk and if it doesn’t work, it really won’t work.

That said I’ll be able to post normally again. I want to change a few things; I get the feeling that my writing reflects that I’m still learning so much. I think that there are so many real-life things affecting women, that you can read in the papers all the time and I think I need to draw more attention to that, instead of so much abstract thinking.

It’s odd but I’m so anxious to do activism in the non-internet world but I don’t know where to start or what to do or if there is anything I can do. Right now I’m not sure that’s the position I’m in (an yes, that is a sign of my privilege) but that is a long-term goal position I want to grow into.

So that’s the general update over.

{June 1, 2007}   Lazy Blogging Cause I Can

and hey! I’m 18 today so whatever I say goes! 😀 😀

Yayz for being one year older and allowed to buy alcohol!

{May 25, 2007}   Meme!

A – Available or Single? Single but not available

B – Best Friend? I don’t play favourites… I’ve got a few friends I’d die for.

C – Cake or Pie? Cherry pie please…

D – Drink of Choice? bitter lemon

E – Essential Item? What, like my handbag?

F – Favourite Colour? Blue and silver

G – Gummi Bears or Worms? Jelly Babies

H – Hometown? Marseille, France (more like a home metropolis complete with slums)

I – Indulgence? pastries, truffles and cocktails

J – January or February? January

K – Kids? I love them as long as I can hand them back to the parents at the end of the day

L – Life is incomplete without… friendships. Cheesy but so true.

M – Marriage Date? No thanks!

N – Number of Siblings? One older sister

O – Oranges or Apples? going to go for apples but I’m not overly keen on either

P – Phobias/Fears? I’m not comfy with either spiders or balloons.

Q – Favourite Quote. The Ain’t I a Woman speech by Sojourner Truth makes me insanely happy.

R – Reasons to smile. Dancing. Listening to cheesy music with my friends. Joking around. Reading and writing. The warmth of the sun. Smell of bakeries. Pretty lights and moments where things just seem to fit. Firefly and Serenity (thankyou Joss Whedon!) Late nights out, compliments.

S – Season? Winter during the Christmas/new year build-up and summer

T – Tag Three. anyone who wants to

U – Unknown Fact About Me. I’m a fangirl with all that entails

V – Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Benign oppressor

W – Worst Habit? procrastination

X – X-rays or Ultrasounds? bwah?

Y – Your Favourite Foods? Pastries! With caramel! Cherries and chocolate. Sushi and prawns and muscles. Carbonara pasta and salad nicoise. Pate.

Z – Zodiac? Gemini

{April 16, 2007}   Thinking Blogger Award
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thinking blogger award

I’ve been awarded the Thinking Blogger Award by feminist nation, Sparkle matrix and brand new feminist but, quite ridiculously have only got around to responding now.

So here are some blogs I love:

1. fluffy woman Whilst the hairy feminist is such a cliched trope I still love the pictures that fluffy posts, constantly shifting my perception of beauty and “normal”.

2. Naked under my lab coat As an english, arty nerd with plenty of friends doing maths and science I can’t comprehend, I am fascinated into the intelligence that these women have; and the patience to be what feels like the lone female voice in their field!

3. Girls read comics Because feminist geekery is damn cool. And funny. Focused, intelligent and accessible- even if you aren’t into comics.
4. ’cause knowledge is power Insightful, perceptive but also down to earth (something I need to work on 🙂 ) The development on this blog is always worth watching- glad I found it.

5. And less of a single thinking blogger- but anyone who doesn’t regularly check out the f word needs to pronto. UK feminist slant on news, with articles contributed from various writers and accessible to all ages and feminist persuasions.

{March 1, 2007}   Roundup

The thing I like about word press is the way it tells you the search terms people have used to get here.

So far I’ve had a majority of people arriving here looking for “sluts” and “masturbation“. To those of you – I would examine your intentions. That is all.

To the surprisingly large amount of people who typed in variations of “old nude men” – ????? my reaction

To the person who typed “how to spot promiscuous female” the answer I give is that you don’t. Women are not wildlife with a check list of features to spot and tick off a list. We are people with personalities. I still need to finish my “Slut series” but I think it’s clear that promiscuity is a constructed social ideal that varies from person to person. Often it is a double, unjust standard. And it most certainly does not affect a person’s worth.

To the two people (I presume women) who wanted to know how to induce abortion using tea– don’t. In 1994 a woman died from doing that. It isn’t worth it. From what I gather one of you is only 15 days along – go to a doctor, call a helpline. Do what you need to do but for God’s sake don’t put your life in danger. Please.

Now, to those who typed in lolita nude , men wanking over womens body, rape, lolita nude, father and girl porn and real lolita child porn I suggest you check in to a psychiatrists if not a police station. You are sick and twisted evil individuals and need a lot of help. Stop and think for once that you are getting off on the pain and destruction of real people. People with dreams, and emotions and minds and feelings. But I’m guessing you sick psychos don’t care about that, do you?

To everyone else who landed here looking for personalised teacups, what “u.k.” stands for, and a plethora of newt related searches (“how to knit outfits for a pet newt“, “how much does a newt weigh“, “pregnant newt conditions“, “cheesy newts” and “a small newts exposition” plus many more) I apologize and hope I haven’t impeded your search for greater knowledge. 🙂

{December 10, 2006}   Welcome to the TeaCup!

This is my radical feminist blog where I am going to start hashing out loads of issues that fascinate and affect my life and that of women around me. My aim is to get a discussion going and to make people think. Feminism, to me, is something intrinsic in the way I life my life.
In the world we inhabit it is naive to believe that the battle for equality has been done and put away in a back room to collect dust and only noticed when we smugly pat ourselves on the back over our successes.

Feminism doesn’t go away. As long as we live in an imperfect world women’s issues shall arise and as long as women’s concerns exist so shall the need for a response to that. What we do and how or about what may change. But not the principle. The principle is this – women matter. What women feel matters. What happens to women matters. And society needs to listen to what women say if we are ever going to have a good society.

We are never going to have a perfect world as long as humans are involved. But maybe we can clean up after ourselves and make our corners less unpleasant. A ripple effect on the surface of the stream of lives, perhaps.
But what are feminist issues?

  • Body image affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Fat and eating disorders affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Sex Education affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Reproduction affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Class affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Race affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Poverty affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Rape affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Domestic Violence affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Language affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Politics affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Relationships affect women – it is a feminist issue
    Employment affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Children and their care affect women – it is a feminist issue
    Education affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Religion affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Literature and film affects women – it is a feminist issue
    Medicine affects women – it is a feminist issue
    War affects women – it is a feminist issue
  • Hell, the way men are affects women too!

    It is popular to think of our lives as divided into spheres – the domestic and the public, the male and the female. But these spheres overlap and bleed into each other. What one does shapes the other and it is impossible for us to live ignoring that. People affect and are affected by Politics and Society. The personal is political.

    We can try to ignore that but it won’t work for long. So this is why I’m blogging.

    et cetera