On writing

Dear Reader,

I’ve spent the afternoon trawling through social media and news reports to find a topic to write about in this week’s letter. One that is unique. That would grab your attention and hold it. Because, unsurprisingly, just like you I get bored reading the same thing over and over again, even if it is merely worded a little bit differently.
And then I read several articles about Lionel Shriver and her keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival with opposing viewpoints. Her speech was fundamentally about cultural appropriation and how anyone can tell anyone’s story. Or as Yassmin Abdel-Magied viewed it, exploiting the stories of ‘others’ so your story was better. Continue reading On writing

Sexism did not have a break

Dear Reader,

How was your summer? For me it was time where although I enjoyed the break from deadlines and pressures, it was one where events around the world made me wish I could write a thousand letters for this column.

The Olympics were, once again, a hugely successful event for British athletes. Note I use the word athlete there and do not precede it with ‘female.’ The media coverage surrounding the athletes who happened to be women was archaic, often putting their success down to who they were married to or fathered by. There were also comments on how theses women looked and on what they were wearing. And this didn’t just happen to the athletes, but the commentators as well and I found myself frustrated by the reporting and belittling of their achievements by journalists needing to link these successful women to men. When their successes have nothing at all to do with men. Sure their husbands/partners must be wonderfully supportive – I’d like to think – in order for them to win a medal at an Olympic games, but that’s not why they’ve won. The men in their lives weren’t the ones training for hours and days and weeks. They weren’t the ones dedicating their whole lives to achieve their dream. No, that was them, the athletes themselves. This girl really can!

 And then over the summer holidays there were horrific murders of women, where newspapers and reports focused on solely their killers, their husbands, portraying them as ‘troubled,’ ‘under pressure,’ and saying their murderous, violent, horrific acts were ‘out of character.’ The women killed vanished and became invisible. We were told nothing about them. There were no column inches dedicated to them. They were purely defined as mothers, or wives, not women. Women whose lives have been cruelly cut short by men they loved and trusted. It’s abhorrent. Continue reading Sexism did not have a break

Dear Nicky Morgan… again

I was not going to write about education or politics this week and was adamant I would find another topic. But…. But…. But….I have just finished reading an article about ‘Shanghai-style’ maths lessons and I can feel my blood boiling again. And so this week, after the absolute tragedy that over half of the country’s year 6 children are apparently not ‘secondary ready,’ I had to do it. I had to write to the people responsible for ruining our children and destroying their precious childhood.

Dear Nick Gibb and Nicky Morgan,

Me again. Angry, again. And I am not entirely sure where to start this time.

Over the last week I have seen many, many posts on Facebook and tweets from teachers and parents about how sad they are for their eleven-year-old children – yes, children – because of this year’s SATs results. And instead of admitting that you got it wrong, instead of apologising to those children for experimenting with them and their self worth, you tried to defend the tests. You tried to justify the sheer trauma you have unnecessarily caused these CHILDREN by saying that these results cannot be compared to last year’s because they are taken from a completely different type of test. A test that most of them have failed. A test that says they’re not good enough. A test which tells them that in spite of working their hardest and following your absurd assessment procedures, that they are not ready to move on to the next stage of their education. But who cares if the tests don’t match to last years? That is not the point. A test that states half of this county’s children have failed it, is a failure itself in my opinion. You’re not experimenting with something unimportant, you are meddling with the next generation. When are you going to start listening? Continue reading Dear Nicky Morgan… again

Dear Karma,

How are you? I wanted to write and check you were working ok because recent events have led me to believe that you may have gone a bit skew-whiff.

Every time I speak to loyal and dear friends, or turn on the news, or flick through my Twitter timeline bad things are happening to good people. And I’m not saying I necessarily want bad things to happen to bad people, but it would be nice if the world evened itself out a bit.

Although, maybe good things are happening and they are just not reported. However, in the current climate, where bombs in Bagdad are killing hundreds of innocent people, iconic celebrities are dying at the rate of knots, shooters are killing people for who they love, racism is alive and kicking once more, famous murderers are being imprisoned for stupidly short amounts of time, and the twats that got us into this Brexit mess are resigning without facing any of the consequences that come with such a mad decision, I fail to see how this could be true.

I’m in hospital with my seven year old at the moment and will be for a while yet and he’s developed a rather morbid fascination with wanting to watch the news. He claims he hates Nigel Farage and says he’s a nasty man, an opinion I will not argue with, and he thinks that the nurses and the doctors who are looking after him should run the world because they are nice people. And he has a point. Continue reading Dear Karma,

Brexit for Women

Dear Reader,

I’m going to start this letter by pointing out the obvious, which is that Brexit affects all of us – young or old, male or female – but seeing as this is a women’s magazine I’ve quite rightly decided to focus on them today and the impact that last week’s vote will have.

Although I’m unsure as to where to start. The remain campaign lost by just over a million votes. And around a million more women than men were eligible to vote. Safe to assume that quite a few women did, in fact, vote to leave the EU last Thursday.

This surprises me and yet it shouldn’t, for the campaigns – as with an awful lot of other aspects of politics – were being run by overgrown, male school children. The elite. People who are not in touch with the inner workings of Britain or the people who reside there. Men rule and decide, women step into line and follow. That’s how it is assumed the country will work. Men who are more concerned with an unnecessary ‘political out-doing’ of each other forget to think about the very people their pathetic arguing will affect. Continue reading Brexit for Women

Dear Children…

Dear Children,

kidsI’ve spent the last three hours looking after five of you. Five of you glorious human beings who, without even trying, light up the world you live in. You have boundless energy and optimism. Positivity hasn’t slowly been beaten out of you, yet.

And the whole time you were here laughing and running around in my garden, I wanted to apologise to you. I wanted to apologise to all children, everywhere. And why? Because decisions are being made that will have an immense impact on your future. And because they may very well be the wrong decisions. And because you have no say in the matter. Continue reading Dear Children…

Dear Resentment…

Dear Resentment,

If only we didn’t let you take over. Take hold. Because your hold is toxic and unnecessary. You become a force so vivid and powerful we are unable to let you go or rationalise your existence. You make people feel they are owed something they are not, and make them angry with things that are irrelevant.

Let me give you an example, a political one if I may. Next week many people will turn out to vote as to whether or not we stay part of the EU. Part of something set up many, many years ago. But you, resentment, you’re making people feel negatively towards their current predicaments. You are twisting the facts and making them believe that all of their problems stem from issues and people that have no impact on them at all. You are muddling immigration and the purported issues surrounding the EU and sadly you are putting the UK in a risky situation. Because people resent the lives they have. They blame the government without looking at the facts. They blame the wrong issues and the wrong people. And they are now in a position to throw the UK back to the dark ages and show Europe and the world that we think we’re better than them. And better off without them.

See how dangerous you are?

You make people listen to nonsense and believe made up statistics. They become sponges for statements that make them feel like they can grasp the live they are owed regardless of others.

I’m not a politician and so I am not going to counteract what others have said to allow you to spread amongst the nation, but I would like to urge people in your hold that they need to do some proper research – hard I know given that politicians are no longer about the people, and just seem to enjoy arguing with the opposition for the sake of it – encourage them to look beyond their own resentment and frustrations and see the bigger picture. Because if this vote goes the wrong way then you’ll have an unprecedented power over the nation and things will get even uglier than they are now.

You’ve had your time, Resentment, and you’ve done plenty of damage. But enough is enough. It’s time to let people think without you clouding their judgement. This vote is too important, there is too much at stake.

Just take a step back, and let people think, without bias, for themselves. View things rationally.

And make the best choice they can.

Right, I am now off to write to Ignorance.

Take care,

Love, Me x

ordinary women, extraordinary lives

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