December 20, 2014
My friend Lily Munroe – who was my partner in crime in launching our campaign against the positioning of Lads’ Mags in newsagents, petrol stations and other similar establishments a year ago – is writing an Open Letter. Still a work in progress.
Part of her letter, however, looks at the intimidation and threats women who speak up receive online and she asked me if I were willing to share any.
I was never going to publish these, but I did keep the most horrible comments made by the same man, in response to the Wicked Campers campaign back in July.
Why did I keep them? Because I’ll never forget how they originally made me feel – but the re-reading of them, on occasion, lessens the impact of those sentiments and helps me strengthen and arm myself against any future expressions of deep hate.
I publish them today to help a worthy cause – which I will keep you updated on.
During that campaign, I received over 300 (mostly positive) comments on this blog, and I responded to just about all of them. Only a few were missed because I couldn’t keep up with the incoming flow, but a few I barred from publishing because they merely insulted and didn’t contribute to the discussion. But the following thoughts – from the same man – were pure venom.
As I was reading this first one, I reached the end of the second paragraph and thought – ‘Isn’t that what I did?’
And then the penultimate paragraph knocked me for six:
Then he followed with this:
A myriad of responses may come to your minds as you read these, from: ‘Suck it up, he’s just a troll’ to maybe understanding how it must have felt to ‘hear’ those words – but all I have is how I responded.
It was deeply alarming to me – especially how he imagined my brains being blown out in the first comment. It made me catch my breath as I read it, even though a few had had a fair go at it – but this one was different. There was so much hatred in his words. It upset me.
I also had a man in Queensland make a ‘Wanted’ poster of me, lifting an unclear image of me (lucky) incorrectly identifying where I lived (lucky) and saying that if anyone saw me around, that I needed to be ‘taught a lesson’.
Question #219: Imagine if I hadn’t been ‘lucky’ in the first two instances?
I would have been in real danger. Well, I already was, a little.
When women who ASK for something better – not abolished; just better – like getting rid of some particular slogans off a camper van or asking one retailer to remove the horrible game GTA5 from sale in their family store – the bitterness and rage that comes cascading down is something to behold.
And all because we dare to ask.
BUT – more and more articles are being written about misogyny, more conversations are being had and some campaigns are even being won – which is bloody brilliant.
Greens Senator Larissa Waters wrote this piece titled, Australian women can’t and won’t be silenced. She references my petition against Wicked Campers and how it inspired her to take it to The Senate. The motion she put forward, condemning Wicked Campers, was voted on unanimously – just four days after the petition was launched.
Activism works – even though, you might get winded from time to time.
A great way to work those abs, though, right?
Each ‘hit’ will only make one stronger.
December 22, 2013
Does anyone remember the movie, Awakenings?
Based on a true story, Robert De Niro plays a patient – one of many – who is catatonic. They are all ‘awakened’ from their condition by a doctor (Robin Williams), testing a new drug which seemed to work…until it didn’t. I have this image in my head from the film, where De Niro’s character’s health is regressing and deteriorating; where the viciousness of his spasms cause his muscles to slowly seize, rendering them stiff and him catatonic, once again. (I cried for about half-an-hour after that movie ended, when I was at Uni. Head buried in a pillow.)
As of late, I’ve been experiencing moments where I feel mentally unable to move. The instances, and the related feelings that come with them, are happening a little bit more often as time passes.
I feel stiffened by the
world – machine at work – people surrounding all of us and running the show. The drive to make excessive money – at all costs, regardless of who or what suffers – sickens me.
And it’s not just in the dark, underbelly of life – it’s disgustingly in government and big business; hand in hand; cutting more and more corners at our expense. There is no escape from it – the Internet makes sure of that, of course; with pictures and everything:
Atrocities being done to people – predominantly women and children;
Atrocities being done to animals;
Atrocities being done to the planet;
Question #194: Where’s the outcry?
There are many ‘regular’ people out there – wonderful people with courage – driven to do something and speak up. A common way to raise awareness is by starting a petition. My heart aches to see the flow of terribly unjust issues going on and on out there; as they appear in my Newsfeeds and emails. It’s so deflating.
Helen Razer recently posted a piece about her refusal to sign petitions (amongst other actions) saying:
“If you just want me to sign your online petition, I will not sign it until you sign my online petition declaring that the purpose of online petitions is to draw attention to the fact that one has signed an online petition.”
I don’t agree with her comment above. I think there are many petitions out there that, with a big enough *outcry*, can (and do) create change.
But again – where is it?
I write here; I call things out and discuss different perspectives with the few who indulge me;
I share petitions calling for action – sometimes they work, but on the whole people stay mute; I also started a campaign with my friend Lily Munroe, to ‘Lose the Lads’ Mags’ and we’ve collected some great support from Collective Shout and awesome activists like Steve Biddulph. We have been just about ready to go for a few months now, but have been temporarily halted in the search for legal help. When we get going, a petition will be launched.
This is the juncture, where we seem to hit the wall.
Regardless of what action is taken – one still hits that wall of indifference…or hate.
The change that’s urgently needed for a more just existence for all, seems near impossible with our current paradigm – an overpopulated one – where Greed and the attainment of excessive money is far, far stronger – even (especially?) amongst our common populace.
So here I am – finding myself slowly stiffening, due to the lack of change for things we all know have to. As I look one way and see an injustice being called out, I read the vitriolic labels, clichés and criticisms that ooze out of trolls and the ignorant, through their comments – inherently saying, “Shhhhhhh….”
This post took me days to write and I nearly scrapped it all together. I feel like I’m getting repetitive – which is, in actual fact, the point; if it’s getting repetitive, then we have a problem, right? But ultimately, my posts are possibly causing the same reaction in you, that the cruel and grim realities of so very, very many of our own kind, are having on me.
So I’m stepping back from the blog for a mo’. I’m going to enjoy this holiday period with my family and wish the same for you.
A little more kindness – that’s what I’m pushing with my girls in how they treat each other.
The world is thirsty for it too.
I hope 2014 is the ‘Year of Action’ where we, the people, band together as a race and balance things out a bit. It’s getting hideous out there.
I still have a plethora of things to say but they’re just going to come, when they come.
In the meantime, there are nearly two years’ worth of posts on this blog, covering many an issue. I invite you to take a stroll back there – maybe even partake in a wee chat with me.
I wish you all a Christmas that is merry, safe and full of awesome!
Lots of love to you and your loved ones.
Pass it on.
October 13, 2013
I’m finding my mind swimming – literally swimming – with thoughts and perceptions that I want to articulate in a coherent and succinct manner. But there are so many and sometimes it just doesn’t help that I want to shout and use a shit-load of profanity.
I’m getting so weary and disappointed at our microscopically slow pace of change, that I have this to say:
One important lesson to gain from Malala (not the obvious one).
Yesterday I read an article that had a great impact on me.
This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalised. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armour to save her.
The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, “see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.”
I agree. It practically looks like a PR stunt and I don’t like that Malala looks like she’s being used as a pawn in this seemingly deceptive agenda.
I also agree that there are A LOT more Malalas out there.
But this is the point where I want to deflect and add something important.
It’s not just that these girls need urgent saving – and they absolutely do – the motivation that has to power the movement of change, is the realisation that:
This world NEEDS girls and women like Malala.
It’s the missing ingredient for things to improve.
Girls and women.
NOT to take over. Equal representation.
If women – according to the Patriarchy – are supposedly the nurturers and carers, then the question shouldn’t be, ‘What have we got to lose?’ (because the only answer is money) but:
Question #187: What have we got to gain?
Simply, I think a great, great deal of good.
When are we going to evolve?
Don’t we want a happy planet for all, instead of this realm of greed, despair, rage and destruction?
I just want to finish by saying, that I think Malala is astonishing. A true hero. An inspiration.
I don’t care in the foggiest that the western world has made a big fuss about her – she absolutely deserves our full attention.
What a wonder she is.
Now let’s WAKE UP and channel that toward educating our children – in schools and at home – by teaching them to be the cogs of change.
Our youth is the answer – with our guidance.
If you’re thinking that you’ll give it a try (which would be awesome) – I would also like to respond with the famous words of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back:
“Do or do not; there is no try.”
What are you going to do?
Anything. However small.
We must start to act as a collective.