Monday, 17 September 2018

Am I A Bad Feminist?

As incredible as the internet is, I have to admit it really intimidates me sometimes. Anyone is free to criticise you, laugh at pictures of you with friends in their group chat, attack you for sharing your thoughts and opinions - it liberates me and makes me a paranoid wreck all at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, in the last couple years I've become so much more sure of myself to the point where I know I don't need validation from strangers online, but there's still one aspect of my life that I share on instagram that I feel extremely self-conscious about - the dreaded F word *queue dramatic music*... FEMINISM!

It's become such a heated topic online, with anyone claiming to be a feminist being put to the test by some people who are, lets just say, extremely passionate about the subject. I'm by no means trying to shame feminists and label them as crazy, I myself am an extremely proud feminist, but there are a small majority of people who have this unofficial rule book of wrong and right feminism and have no problem preaching to people when they've done wrong. I must admit that this group of people have even had me question my own morals over ridiculous things.

Orlagh's thought process...

Am I a bad feminist if I let men open doors for me or offer me a seat on the bus?? Am I a misogynist because I don't want to grow out my body hair? Should I just go to hell now for letting my boyfriend treat me to a meal? Am I a pathetic excuse for a woman if I want to take my husband's name? Where does the line end???

This is how I end up thinking when I go on Instagram sometimes. A lot of so called 'feminists' think you have to uphold this certain female archetype to be considered a good feminist, but doesn't this really defeat the whole purpose of feminism in the first place?

If you want to be a 'good' feminist, let everyone have equal opportunities. Allow people to be whoever they want to be and look however they want to look. Educate people on how to help achieve gender equality rather than telling them what they're doing wrong. Because I quite frankly couldn't give a damn if you have body hair long enough to plait or if you'd rather be a stay-at-home mum. If it's your choice and you feel empowered doing it, that's all that matters. We need to drop this hypocritical notion of what a feminist should be, and instead respect and support other women in their choices. Empowered women empower women!!


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The empowering poetry of B.Elae

B.Elae is a poet and spoken word performer from Indiana, and has been writing since her youth. She is currently working with individuals in recovery but is working towards opening her own international resource line for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking. She plans to work with victims internationally and is also working on a woman empowerment campaign. Her work has been featured in the 'Wild Women's Medicine Circle' journal, '45Mag', 'New Views in Gender', 'The Good Quote' and she's also currently working on her second poetry and letters book.

Check out some more of her poetry and activism on her social media:

Instagram & Facebook - @b.elae

She was built for winter...
Not the winters down south,
but the winters up north
where snow layered over streets 
and intrusively snagged at your kneecaps

And even then, 

she'd clamp hold of a gravity of her own,
and parade through collections of snow like it was nothing
She toted grocery bags to fill up the cabinets enough
to name every vegetable,
and the fridge enough to leave a reserved spot
for the recycled jug of water shared amongst the household.
She could make furniture out of crates, once burnt orange,
and she could hold a note that could fill the stomachs of starved men.
She was familiar with war
-and that stopped her none-
as she'd cover her long days errorlessly,
and then scurry back to her roost
to feed the mouths of her children
She found ways others failed to coin,
and if there were even a moment where she could sit still,
you'd miss it if you blinked
She'd a torso that not only prospered in birthing two babies,
but one that carried them, 
right on top of teenaged scabs left unattended
She never missed a show, a race, or a performance,
and she picked pennies out of concrete to pay for it all
56 with a broadened back completely kept,
and almond eyes still cunning though 
most are blinded by their own misuse of Earth
And though her soul feels spent,
You can still see light that was not for sale.
She hauled a certain kind of love,
and lugged mettle,
And everything could be stripped from her,
but there was no taking that away.

-B.Elae, "Steel Shoulders"

She's bursting of radiant glitches, courage, and outlawed rebellion.

Witty and driven by unrelenting ambition and tinted blisters.
She is excessively and unexcessively observed
-often nudged and left unfastened-
and always required to rebuild herself 
             And nothing for her is ever without toil, 
             though she never asks for simplicity, 
             but solely a place where the weight
             of her own story doesn't crinkle her back bones.
             She is the yolk of sunsets and the sweepings of
             whatever makes a crescent moon luster.
             They say she's hair-raising...
             yet, no one is careful in how they hold her.
             And she is often nudged and left unfastened,
             and can, still, in some sort, rebuild herself
-B.Elae, "Jela's Pyramid"

"There are girls who never share themselves completely, 
only during certain spells
And if they hold themselves together,
then no one can ever tell
They'd weigh up against a world, 
but always sought it through
Most familiar with themselves,
with no one else to hold onto..."

Adequate but never adequate enough

for anyone who seen her simply 

as a widened rib cage to sublet without warrant.

Nothing more than a temporary pleasure,

and always left to be unhinged by the time they’d taken what they’d come for.

She was ripped at the seams by the hands of tactless borrowers, 

and then sluggishly pasted together-

loosely tying her insides back together just to have them severed again.

...Because-as always- everyone needed her to exist, she was fighting for the chance to.


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