Monday, 27 August 2018

'To Be A Woman Is To Be Strong', By Eesha Ray

To me there is strength in every person who identifies themselves as woman. There is more to “female strength” than just what it says on the tin. It’s not a requirement to have gone through something turbulent to prove you are woman enough; although your battles certainly do matter. 

Female strength comes from a place of self love- both physically and introspectively. There is hair between here and there. Little mountains form on my legs from past careless shaving mistakes. When I sit down my tummy folds over, when I stand up my skin stretches thinner. My cheeks still bunch up and hit my glasses when I smile. My acne is just my body reacting to the outside world. I’ve learned to look at all these little kinks for simply just what they are. They don’t make me any less of a woman. 

I know societal views and expectations of the female body are not a direct reflection of who I am as a person and at my core. What I love about womanhood is the connection it creates between us. I feel empowered when I hear stories of girls accomplishing whatever it is that is important to them without the need for acceptance from others. 

My mum is the definition of female strength. I will always admire her courage to leave a country she knew to be her home, and begin to build a new one from scratch for the sake of her children’s’ future. She continues to teach my sister and I that true independence acts a catalyst for success in your life. She could have stayed in her home country, left education, married a doctor and lived a comfortable life. But she chose to challenge these expectations because she knew that as woman she had more to offer in this ever changing world. 

Female strength is definitely the most prominent within the women who don’t get enough (if not any) recognition for the strife they go through everyday just for being who they are. That’s why it’s important for people to recognise their privilege and use it to give a voice to the girls across the world that we often neglect. I undoubtedly believe that unity acts as one of the many thing that is able to drown out all the negativity and bigotry this world has a habit of exploiting. Celebrate the women around you because comparison and self deprecation only leads to resentment and spite. No one is less and no one is more. Say no when you want to say no. Allow yourself to want more from what is expected of you. 

To be a woman is to be strong. 

-Eesha Ray

Sunday, 19 August 2018

My Top 5 Most Badass Women in History

The amount of respect I have for this incredible young lady is immense. When I heard a bit of her story in the news, I was gobsmacked and so inspired that she was only a couple of years older than me and yet had so much power and intelligence. Malala is a 21 year old woman from Palestine who has been a political activist for girl's educational rights since she was only 11. She wrote for the BBC about her experiences of being ruled by the Taliban where she was banned from getting an education. In protest to this, Malala bravely continued attending school and taking exams, only to be shot in the head on the way home from school by a masked man, as the Taliban were threatened by her courage and refusal to back down. She miracuously survived this major trauma, and has since went on to become one of the most well known political activists in the world, and has set up a charity to help other young girls get an education. Oh, and did I mention that she became the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize, and that she now studies Politics at Oxford? Malala is truly an inspiration to every young girl.

Having only recently become interested in artists and paintings, Frida's work was the first I came across that really drew me in, that evoked something in me. Frida was a Mexican, Mestiza woman who painted self-portraits. Frida was an individual in the purest sense of the word. Her art work often depicted her inner turmoil and most honest feelings, which was very new for the early 20th century. In a patriarchal society, women's feelings weren't often taken seriously and as a result women felt they had to keep their feelings to themselves - Frida turned this idea on its head, instead making the theme of her paintings represent her pain, her natural form, her political views and so much more. For someone who went through a lot of pain in her short lifetime, she was able to channel her emotions into beautiful, thought provoking art. She unapologetically showed the female form in its natural state, and portrayed it as beautiful rather than something shameful that should be changed. I admire how she challenged social and political ideas through her creative mind.

Maud Wagner isn't necessarily a household name, but it's someone you should definitely know about. Born in 1877, Maud started out as a perfomer in the Circus, and while touring, she met tattoo artist Gus Wagner, her future husband, who taught her the stick and poke tattoo technique. What I think is really cool is that shes the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. Although females in Native American culture since the 1500's which is important to note, it seems that through her travelling and unique displays of her body artwork during peromances, Maud helped normalize the idea of women having tattoos and in turn, control of their own body and the freedom to express themselves how they want. She was an extremely colourful human being, adorned with illustrations of trees, birds, snakes and women.

Mary is one of many Irish heroines, and she certainly rocked the boat. Educated at both Trinity in Dublin and Harvard in the US, she became a laywer who was extremely passionate about equality and human rights. In 1990, she became the first female President of Ireland and showed women across the nation that gender equality was becoming possible in Ireland, 'I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.' She began a revolution of women who no longer felt inclined to stick to traditional catholic values and be stay-at-home mother's while their husbands earned the money. She empowered many women to become independent, through legalising contraception and fighting for women's rights to sit on juries. Mary didn't do what was expected of her. She married a protestant; something extremely controversial at the time, as well as signing bills to help decriminalise the LGBT community. I admire Mary because she marched to the beat of her own drum and helped a lot of people in the process.

Hedy Lemarr is quite possibly one of the most underrated and underestimated women in history. Many may know her as the beautiful, hollywood starlet, but what a lot of people don't know is that she was also an innovator and inventor. Behind the scenes of her acting career, she was fascinated by science and often created experiments in her movie trailers. She invented something revolutionary - a radio communications system that helped guide underwater missiles in the US Navy so that they would be undetected by the enemy. This invention is in fact one of the biggest parts of our generation today - would you have ever thought that the basis of modern WiFi was created by an actress in the 40's? Unfortunately at the time, Hedy didn't really get credit for her incredible work as men thought she was better suited for the screen than for science, but she is really inspiring to look back at now as she shows how woman can be comfortable with their sexuality and express intelligence - something that's apparently mind-boggling to some men.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

'We Are Truly Godesses' by Linda M. Crate

(art by @keeksthelabel_ on instagram)

we are truly goddesses
i don't need the sanctuary
of your gilded cages
because a lie no matter how pretty
or ornamented is nothing less
than a lie and i seek deeper roots,
and paralyzing truths;
these are the things that set me free
of all your ruin—
always people want to put me on a pedestal
or paint me some damsel to be saved,
but i slay my own nightmares;
and i ride upon the backs of dragons
for i am brave
i need no man to complete me for i am whole
don't need no saving because i am strong enough
to save myself—
when i was a little girl,
i prayed and wished upon shooting stars
for my daddy to come rescue me;
but he never came,
& i dreamed about my prince on his white horse
to come whisk me away from the mundane;
but no matter how many times i looked into green fields
of sunflowers
he was never there—
i learned that life and people weren't fair
at an early age, and i learned that i must save myself;
depending on others is a mistake because
they're only trying to save themselves;
and they won't inconvenience themselves for your need—
my whole life they have told me women are the weaker sex,
but that's only because they don't want to admit
what we truly are:

- linda m. crate

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Why 'Ladybird' Is So Important

Once nicknamed ‘The Meryl Streep of Mumblecore’, actress and writer Greta Gerwig made her directorial debut this year with ‘Ladybird’. The film has been discussed as though based directly on Greta's 'coming-of-age' in an all girls Catholic School in Sacramento, California, which hasn't really been confirmed or denied, but it is essentially a warming, light-hearted story about a teenage girl in the early 2000’s who’s about to graduate high school.

The protagonist of the film is Christine McPherson who has nicknamed herself 'Ladybird' is played brilliantly by the talented Saoirse Ronan, as a relatable young girl who just wants to get out of her small town and experience the world.

The film captures the dynamics between her and her mother, and the relationships she has with others. Some critics may be quick to deny this film the title of a 'feminist film', due to the fact that it depicts Saoirse's character, Ladybird's struggles and experiences with boys, the love story is essentially of Ladybird and her mother.
It shows a positive portrayal of women but also has a real sense of comedic realism in terms of how it showcases the ups and downs of a mother-daughter friendship, which I think we all have with our mothers. It's the first film I've seen in a long time that captures this complicated but beautiful relationship between mother and daughter so well. It's completely raw and honest, whilst still being light-hearted and humorous.

What I really admire about Greta and her directing style is that she fully invests into all the characters, making sure all their stories as important as the protagonist. I watched a video of her in action and it was truly warming to see the relationship she forms with the actors, and how much energy she puts into each cut.
I truly believe this film is so important for young girls in the same situation as 'Ladybird', as leaving school and going into the big bad world is usually presented as almost fairytale like, with 'chick-flick- films often portraying cliched and misogynistic ideals of college life, whereas in contrast to these, Ladybird is much more realistic.

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