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
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,
I’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 parents of the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure,
Most days, on the school run, someone loses a child. The gates close and everyone runs round shouting the name of the wandering preschooler. We’ve all been there. I know I have. Stood chatting to a fellow parent I assumed my 3 year old was where he normally was, picking up sticks behind the classroom.
Except he wasn’t. He had walked down the driveway and was a few
minutes from where I stood. And, after five long minutes looking for him, when my breathing had calmed enough for me to ask him why on earth he’d walked away without me, his answer was simple, ‘I thought we were going to the park, mummy. So I was going to the park.’
It wasn’t a pleasant experience, but one – even after three children – that taught me never to assume. That their little brains are always one step ahead and revelling in their own little world. And I was lucky. Only a handful of friends saw my panic and whitnessed my lapse in childcare.
Sadly the whole world is aware of your mishap. And horribly judging you for it. Continue reading Dear parents of the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure
Ever heard of the so-called ‘pink tax’ especially for ladies? Aren’t we, as a gender, so lucky that they’ve thought of a tax just for us? And in what is, of course, every woman’s favourite colour, right?
Um, let me think about this….no!
In case you don’t know what I am talking about, the pink tax refers to the extra costs we, as women, are subjected to. And subjected to, some would say, from the day we are born. Girls clothes often cost more than boys clothes. As do our haircuts. And beauty products. And dry cleaning. Continue reading On the pink tax
There was an article in yesterday’s Guardian that I am sure would’ve astounded many. Others, however, would’ve empathised that indeed some cannot do right for doing wrong.
The article in question was about a schoolboy who made an unfortunate spelling mistake. The ten-year-old Muslim boy intended to write that he lived in a terraced house – however, due to his incorrect spelling, it read that he lived in a terrorist house. Had a middle class white boy have made such a mistake I wonder if the following would have happened, but of course that is me, merely speculating. His teachers did not even consider he may have made a simple mistake and alerted the police who then interviewed him, and examined a laptop found at his home. The upshot – the family now feel traumatised and the boy no longer wants to write. Continue reading About a schoolboy
by Jen Faulkner
I have always been a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. In my life, and that of the people I love, it’s often proved to be true. Even if the unthinkable has to happen, which at the time makes no sense. Like my dad dying of bowel cancer so I would have screening at a young age, which, as it turns out, has saved my life. Or my eldest son needing a middle and lower lobectomy, which enabled the diagnosis of a rare genetic condition for both him and my youngest child, preventing his lung ever needing to be removed. Hindsight has always shown me that these hideous things have happened because of something and haven’t been in vain, even though I’ve only recently begun to understand why.
But when I look at the news, and at what is happening in the world, my theory of reason makes no sense anymore. Events this year have shattered lives, broken families, and destroyed houses and countries. People have lost hope. Lost faith. And lost their homes and loved ones. Terrorist attacks, flooding, and austerity measures to name a few, have all taken their toll. Continue reading Dear 2016
by Jen Faulkner
This week I was angered by an article, partly entitled, ‘I want to drown my baby.’ Frustratingly it was an interesting and informative article about post-natal depression, and as to why more women don’t speak up and ask for help. And ironically one of the reasons they potentially don’t shout out loud for assistance is because they are afraid that people will assume they want to harm themselves or their child, exactly what the headline quoted. And so, this week’s letter was an easy one to write….
This week, as well as on countless other occasions, you’ve taken a vitally important topic and completely devalued it by insisting on attaching it to sensationalist and unnecessarily brutal headlines.
Recently it was The Telegraph who potentially caused an entire generation of post-natally depressed women to burrow themselves even further away from support and reaching out with an atrocious headline that completely missed the mark. Continue reading Hat wearing cats ruined my life
Letters section lead by Jen Faulkner
Friendships are hard things to navigate at times. From when you’re a toddler and your peers refuse to share, to being at school and struggling not to give in to peer pressure, to being an adult and all of the complexities that come with it. I was talking to my fourteen year old the other day, who often has friendships struggles as all teenagers do, and the conversation inspired me to write her a letter about the many aspects of what it takes to be a good friend.
We talk about friendships a lot. Aside from exam stress and sibling rivalry it’s one of our main topics of conversation. You talk and I listen because I have learnt that you don’t want me to fix the problem, just understand. Continue reading Dear daughter…
I have written the letter for this week’s column. Recently, two of my children were diagnosed with a life changing chronic illness, which leaves them vulnerable to infections. My six-year old has already had to have two thirds of his right lung removed due to an infection permanently damaging it. Another infection and he could need a transplant.
So you can understand why this letter is written passionately and honestly…
I want a little word in your ear. You see I have two children with chronic illnesses that affect their immune system. One has already lost a lung and I’ll be dammed if any more lobes are going to be chopped out.
I’m usually an advocate for choice. Hugely so. But not when it comes to vaccinating your child. Because, choosing whether to vaccinate or not isn’t only about your child. Continue reading A letter to the anti-vaxer