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Why I Feminist the way I do

May 12, 2016
Cara Rage, Feminism, My Advice, My Life, Rants

femmo-allowedtobeangry

I haven’t ever really suffered from feminist fatigue before, but this week I definitely felt it. I actually love getting into online arguments with people about sexism, whether it’s convincing someone their way of thinking is harmful or just smashing misogynists with my witty insults (because proper debate with those kinds of turds just ain’t gonna happen). Sometimes I feel frustrated with all of the crap news I read about how shit the world is to women, whether it’s about another woman being killed by a man in Australia or a new statistic proving how broad the wage gap is or whatever… but usually my frustration feeds my passion to continue to help sort the world out.

But dang, when you have a bunch of arguments with people you actually know and who you think are on your side, it becomes a lot harder to turn that frustration into empowerment because it seems like everything you’ve tried to do has fallen on deaf ears or has made others resent you. I’ve recently been told I’m too aggressive, that I’m just a keyboard warrior who does nothing in the real world, that it’s pointless and besides we have it’s good enough now, don’t we? Not just by randoms, this came from family members and people I thought were friends. One person who was kind of a friend and an occasional client of mine had a big rant on facebook about how the new wave of feminism is about hating men, being too aggressive, turning people off and has actually pushed feminism back decades. I couldn’t help but feel like I was one of her targets in this post (maybe I wasn’t, but I’d be shocked if that were the case). So I told her I absolutely disagreed and that being calm and pandering to male ego’s by quietly explaining why feminism matters and how it benefits men too isn’t working any more and being loud, assertive and sometimes aggressive, is the new way forward. She was an arsehole about it, told me I was embarrassing myself so I deleted her as a friend and am quite OK without her in my life.

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But it still bummed me out. How many other friends think this way about me but just don’t say anything? Why do people react so badly to women standing up for themselves and yet don’t seem to mind the abuse women face every damn day, particularly online? How the hell are we meant to be polite and calm in the face of dudebro’s telling us that feminism is ruining the world, that we have the right to vote and own property now, what else do we need? That we literally exist for their pleasure and that it’d be better if we just shut up, spread our legs and make them dinner afterwards? That we provoked our own rapes for wearing the wrong outfit, for being out late at night, for enjoying a few drinks? That domestic violence is either deserved or affects men more or is just a myth perpetuated my angry lesbian feminists? Or just having everything undermined from some privileged manchild who loves playing devil’s advocate, insists you’re overreacting, that men experience the same thing or acts like your lived experience isn’t actually real because he’s never experienced it himself.

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Look, I know the sort of feminism I’m into can be confrontational to those who’ve not seen it before. I fully acknowledge and accept that it’s not for everyone. In fact I started off thinking kindly explaining it to people, being patient and kind in my discussions was the best course of action in my pursuit of women’s right. After all, you get more flies with honey than vinegar, right? But it’s been proven time and time again that this isn’t working for me. Being polite and considerate of men’s feelings can so often be taken as weakness. So one of these “discussions” would go on forever with me not making any progress and ol’ mate thinking he won because he out-debated me. And if ever I snapped and yelled at them my entire argument would be thrown out because I suddenly became irrational, too emotional and swore which GOD FORBID women ever do!

So now I start off angry when I encounter this misogynistic trolls. We live in an age where Google exists, the internet is literally everywhere around us. Men who ask pedantic questions about why feminism is still needed are being wilfully ignorant, they just want to piss you off with their ceaseless questioning, so that we’ll get bored or annoyed and give up. Men who deny such things about the epidemic of male violence against women, the wage gap, workplace sexism and harassment, cat calling, death/rape threats online and everything else that feminists are fighting against are purposely ignoring actual evidence from women and proven research (y’know, science) because acknowledging it means they have to admit world kinda sucks for women and they need to give up some of their privileges in order to help make things better. If anyone is able to argue with these kinds of people without getting angry and becoming aggressive and swearing, then you rock! Keep it up! This movement needs all different types of fighters involved and that absolutely includes those who keep calm and measured in their discussions. But that no longer works for me and I refuse to be silenced or feel shame because I am a loud, shouty woman who wants to rid the world of harmful sexism!

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I’ve been called a Social Justice Warrior times than I care to recall, and I love it. Damn straight I am! I will never, ever stop fighting against social injustices. Not just against women either. I am passionate about injustices against people of colour, LGBTI+ people, the poor, people with disabilities and the poor souls stuck in detention centres around Australia. I admit, a lot of my activism happens online, but that’s where I find myself a lot. If and when opportunities arise where my activism is needs out in the “real” world, well I’ll be there too! I will not stop being a passionate, angry person. It’s who I am and I know my message is being received by some people. Just this morning I got the most wonderful text from a friend who said she’d been listening to what I’ve been saying (both online and in face-to-face conversations) and confronted a man for being a rude pig to her while at work. If she didn’t know me, she probably would have just ignored him and felt awful about it later, but I helped her stand up for herself and give her a shot of confidence against entitled men who think they’re allowed to say whatever they like to women. It may be a small drop in the ocean in the grand scheme, but it meant the world to me and I know I’ve helped other people too. So no, I will not stop being the kind of feminist I am. It may not be for you, and that’s fine, but I don’t want to hear your opinions about it. If it pisses you off so much you’re free to stop engaging with me, to delete me off facebook, avoid spending time with me or whatever makes your life easier. But if you like/love me and want to be in my life, then you have to accept this part of me. And I’m not sorry about it.

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Farts and Feminism

August 6, 2015
Body and Soul, Feminism, Rants

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This might seem like a bit of a bizarre topic but I am actually quite passionate about it to be honestI personally think farting and other bodily functions are feminist issues and like to discuss them regularly. Is it because I think farts are absolutely hilarious? That’s probably part of it, but there’s a lot more to it then that!

I’ve read a few great articles about this topic (there’s even been scientific research), which confirmed my suspicions that the way men can get away with public displays of bodily function vs how women are shamed out of it are really damn sexist. How many times have you heard a man say he’s never heard his girlfriend/wife fart? Or that women don’t fart at all? I’ve heard it a lot and I find it so absurd that some (many?) men actually think this? That we literally do not or cannot fart, or that at the very least we hide it because it’s gross and inappropriate when the gas is come out of a woman’s arsehole. Get a grip dudes!

I feel the same about peeing. Men love pissing in public. Need to wee, not gonna wait til I find an actual toilet in five minutes time, just going to piss behind this bin! But god forbid women ever do so in public. At least when we do we’ll find a space that’s away from the public eye. But even so, it’s somehow perceived as gross and tacky while you’ll see dozen of blokes pissing on shop walls when out on a Saturday night. Could they have gone in the bar or nightclub they were just in? Of course! But nope, might as well piss wherever because we can, I’m a guy, wooo! I hate it! I have a really bad bladder so I find myself worrying about where I can pee a lot. I have almost wet myself on the hunt for a toilet which is about the time where I say “fuck it, I need to wee right now or else have pissypants”. But how many guys wait til that absolute bursting point before the do a public wee? Probably not many! Surely a random pee patch on the pavement is pretty gross regardless of the person who did it? Of course it is.

Why is this? Why are men allowed to fart, burp, piss and cough up phlegm without much more then a dirty look while women are too terrified to do any of these, even in the privacy of her own home? It’s because women aren’t allowed to be too “human”. If we show too much “real” stuff like men do then we become less desirable and therefore less fuckable. So much importance is placed on being ladylike that we’re actually denied the right to let our bodies do what they need to do naturally. I mean, most women hate pooping in public toilets because we’re ashamed of the noises we make! That is so bizarre and unfair!

Personally I think well-timed farts and burps are one of the greatest comedic devices ever. I am thankful I grew up in a house where we could fart and burp, talk about poop and wee and all that stuff without being shamed because “eww women don’t do that”. A lot of families aren’t like this, they won’t discuss any of it, which is actually really fucking bad and can cause you harm! I do understand that some people just don’t like any of it, they find it gross whoever it comes from. That’s OK! Different strokes for different folks! But when a man roars with laughter at his own farts but is repulsed when a woman does the same, that is some sexist bullshit.

LADIES: Embrace your farts! Burp when you need to! Discuss your bowel and bladder movements with your friends! Use your bodily functions to your advantage and overthrow the patriarchy! There is no reason why men can make every gross sound or smell available to them without concern and women are expected to act like they’re robots who don’t expel anything, ever. Maybe you don’t think this is worth worrying about, that feminism has bigger things to worry about. But c’mon, if women are living their whole lives without ever farting in front of their partner for fear of disgusting them, if women are making themselves sick by being too ashamed to tell anyone about their issues with their own bodily functions, that’s a bloody huge issue that absolutely needs to be addressed. While we worry about every other shitty (heh) thing that affects women but not men because the patriarchy fucking sucks. Because yeah, we can care about many things at once and in my case, being able to fart is one of them!

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Femmo Bites – There’s no such thing as misandry

June 19, 2015
Cara Rage, Feminism, femmo bites, In the News, Pissed Off, Random Thoughts, Rants

I wrote this post this morning on Facebook after being totally bummed out by the horrendous comments left on a post by a prominent Australian feminist writer who criticised the culture of shaming women for sending nude photos and not the men who violate the woman’s trust by sharing them with others:

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Why Anaconda doesn’t body-shame nor is anti-feminist

August 28, 2014
Body and Soul, Cara Rage, Feminism, In the News, Music Love, Rants

Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda

Unless you’ve been living under a big ol’ rock, you’ve probably heard some of the fuss about Nicki Minaj’s new song ‘Anaconda’. If not, a brief summary is that people don’t like it, they think it body-shames (specifically, skinny women) and that it’s anti-feminist. Which is a direct rebuttal to the people saying that the film clip can actually be considered empowering and doesn’t skinny-shame at all. I would like to say right now that I fall into the latter category completely. I’ve never been that big a fan of Nicki, I mean I love her image to death but her songs just aren’t quite my thing, which sucks because I am ALL about supporting black, female rappers in a misogynistic industry like the rap music scene. Before I get into why I like this particular song, I urge you to watch the clip now, even if you have already seen it, as I will reference it a couple of times:

OK so one of the first things people point out about this song is her use of “skinny bitches”. I’ll admit when I first listened to it I thought “great, skinny shaming! This is no better than Meghan Trainor’s damn song”. For reference, Meghan’s song “All About That Bass” has been a bone of contention to a lot of feminists because it’s packaged as a body-positivity song but is full of skinny-shaming (I will discuss this further later on). It’s a widely held belief in feminist circles that body-positivity shouldn’t come at the detriment of one body type over another. But otherwise I loved the song and was totally mesmerised by the film clip. I’m a member of an excellent feminist group on Facebook where we have discussed this video/song at length and it was through there that I started to question if Nicki was skinny-shaming at all, so I decided to do some research and see what other people have written about it.

I quickly found two distinct opinions, that Nicki’s brand capitalizes on racial stereotypes while reinforcing notions of Black female hypersexuality that are long established racist trope or that we live in a world where black women’s bodies are meant for our consumption but only on the terms which everyone who isn’t a black women gets to dictate (both of these articles relate to the cover for this single which was release a couple of weeks before the clip came out, just to clarify).  The more I thought about it, the harder I found it to be mad about Nicki’s supposed skinny-shaming and I was starting to lean more towards the opinion that she is reclaiming the sexy black woman image from people who either fetishise or demonise it but rarely respect it. Aside from the “fuck skinny bitches” lines, everything was so great about the song and the video, the way she featured no men except for the end when she gives a lap dance to Drake who is merely there as a prop for Nicki to dance upon and is denied any real pleasure from the experience (as soon as he tries to touch her she’s outta there), the symbolism of her chopping up the banana etc. 

As I kept researching I came across more articles that were pro-Nicki and so I not only started to side with them but started to vehemently agree with them. One article I loved in particular drew a comparison between Beyoncé who people are so readily to accept as being feminist (even before she “came out” as a feminist) and yet discount Nicki as being over-sexualised and anti-feminist. This is despite the fact Beyoncé has released some really problematic stuff in the past, but hey, she’s deemed classier so it’s easier to accept her brand of moderate and respectable feminism.

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So what about the “skinny bitches” line. Could I ignore it when I’d had a few rants about skinny-shaming in Meghan Trainor’s song. No, but I was suddenly able to justify it. See, Nicki has reclaimed the word “bitch” to be an empowering word for woman, the female equivalent of men being called “boss”. With that in mind, when you hear the lyric “skinny bitches” it’s suddenly not a case of her saying “you’re a bitch because you’re skinny” but her just saying “skinny women” because remember, she also refers to herself as a fat-assed bitch. Yes, she does say “fuck the skinny bitches” which sounds pretty abrasive and mean at first, but after a closer look it’s really just her telling the skinny women to move it because her and her fat-assed friends are coming in to take over the club. I now interpret “skinny bitches” to refer to the skinny, mostly-white women like Miley Cyrus who’ve been trying to appropriate twerking from black women, telling them all to get out of the way because the women who twerked first and twerk best are here and they ain’t impressed.

So back to why ‘Anaconda’ is a more empowering song than Trainor’s. First off, “All About That Bass” is presented as a feel-good body-positive song, which is all lovely and fun until she actively shames a skinny woman by presenting one as “less attractive” and unable to dance in the clip. Meghan is also a thin-waisted curvy girl (therefore an acceptable kind of “fat” that is still considered attractive and desirable) who wrote a song about how bigger girls are better than skinny girls because as her mum says “boys like a little more booty to hold at night”.  It’s just taking all the crap that fat women usually get and redirecting it at skinny women, which isn’t body positivity at all and is just plain ol’ skinny-shaming. But people don’t see that, they see a cute white girl in a cute music video being soooo cute and suddenly she’s the voice for all bigger women everywhere.

On the other hand, Minaj doesn’t have any such pretense. She’s doing what she usually does – the fuck you all type swagger that that you find in a lot of hip hop. At no point does she make the claim that she’s trying to make girls all feel good about themselves, her song is solely about her feeling good about her sexual prowess and how she much she loves her own big, fat ass. There’s a line that says “Say he don’t like em boney, he want something he can grab” which some might consider the same as Meghan’s booty line but the difference between them is that this is something a man has told her he specifically likes, whereas Meghan was told that to make her feel better about feeling fat/unattractive.

Nicki-Minaj-Anaconda2

I guess it can all be interpreted differently depending on your own personal experience. Overall I find the idea of skinny-shaming to be a step backwards when it comes to body-positivity, but at the same time I’m not that upset by it. Yes some slim women find it offensive, and I agree that it kinda sucks. But skinny-shaming is in no way comparable to fat-shaming. Thin people, women especially, have this thing called thin privilege, where they can see thin people like themselves represented in an appealing manner in all forms of media, they can walk down the street in a pair of shorts and not have people sneering at them or calling them names, they don’t have people concern-trolling them about their health or how they’re a burden on the health system or how they’re undesirable. So when people get up in arms about skinny-shaming and how it’s as bad as fat-shaming, I feel sad because it’s not true and it’s hurtful to try and align two types of shaming that at face-value might seem similar, but in reality one is oppressive while the other is just about some temporarily hurt feelings. Oh and just a note; if your immediate response to the concept of thin privilege is to dismiss it is being untrue or ridiculous, perhaps you need reminding of the phrase “check your privilege” because the thing about privilege is that you don’t know you have it until it’s pointed out to you.

In the end, these are all my own interpretations based on my own observances and the articles I’ve read online. I have never been skinny-shamed in my life because I am not skinny, but I also haven’t experienced much fat-shaming as I’m kind of in-between. I’ve seen both though, and I gotta say, fat-shaming is a lot more common and hurtful than any of the skinny-shaming I’ve ever witnessed, which seems to mostly stem from jealousy instead of outright disgust. ‘Anaconda’ has a lyric that can easily be perceived as hurtful, but that is not necessarily how it’s intended. This is a song about having a fabulous, big ass and being proud of it. Nicki uses her sexuality to express this in a way that empowers her. Maybe it doesn’t empower you, that’s OK, but you can’t tell everyone else that they’re not allowed to feel empowered by it. I’m happy for women to be empowered by ‘All About That Bass’ too, I won’t deny it’s too problematic for me to really enjoy but I understand why others feel differently than me.

Anyway that’s my feminist fat vs thin rant for now! Back to your irregularly scheduled program of intermittent fashion and geeky posts by yours truly ;)

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Toxic Misogyny

June 10, 2014
Feminism, Nerds and Geeks, Random Thoughts, Rants

I’m a little late to the party, but I couldn’t work out what I wanted to say exactly about this matter, and how I wanted to say it. I was really affected by the Isla Vista shooting the other week, I found myself thinking about it a lot and spending a lot of time reading article about the shooting itself as well as opinion pieces on why this mass shooting was especially awful. To be honest plenty has been said about it, most of it a lot better than I could possibly write (I’ll post some of links that I especially enjoyed at the end). But I still felt compelled to write something, to convey my thoughts on what made Elliott Rogers do what he did.

First of all, what he did was dreadful in every conceivable way. He decided that because women did not want to have sex with him, and other men were having sex with them instead, people deserved to die. Such a thought process is so beyond my comprehension, I barely know what to say except he was fundamentally wrong and anyone who sympathises with him is also wrong. Not one single bit of reasoning he gave for his atrocious actions can be justified in any way, which you’d think was pretty darn obvious but the amount of stuff I’ve seen where people (almost exclusively men) saying “if women just sucked his dick, this never would have happened” and words to this effect (yes I did read a tweet that actually said that and I’m still shocked and appalled by it). Clearly some people, most of which are men, just don’t get it.

Seeing #YesAllWomen take seed and blossom into an empowering discussion about what all women have to endure at the hands of some men was wonderful. It’s been so liberating to see how big this has gotten and how far the usually unheard voice of women are being heard, finally. I love seeing how much conversation it’s been generating, much of which has been very positive and helpful in shutting down the infuriating “NOT ALL MEN” rhetoric.  I can only imagine how many men are seeing this stuff, and being shocked by how lucky they are to not have endured what so many women have, from obnoxious cat calling to physical/sexual assault. I hope that men, after reading about #YesAllWomen will be more careful about who they call out “compliments” to on the street, how they pursue women at bars and when to stop, what consent actually means and how to react when they catch another guy when he does something shitty to a woman. Obviously not every man will change his behaviour, but I am really optimistic that many will.

But what about the men who refuse to change their minds or just ignore this whole issue completely? Men who’ve been brought up thinking women are nothing but objects to have sex with and (if they’re lucky/so inclined) make babies with. Men who teach their son’s that women aren’t as good as men, that manliness is proven by sexual conquest and that respecting women is for “sissies”. Sometimes these boys don’t even need to be taught these things from their parents as such, maybe their parents just don’t really go into any of it so they boy has to search elsewhere for this information, and finds it from his peers, from his favourite TV shows and films and the internet. What is the information he gleans from these sources is skewed and teaches him the wrong thing? What if he learns masculinity is defined by sex and/or violence? What if he finds new friends who feel the same way and help make him become bitter that he can’t be a “real man” without having sex, so that his only resort is violence? That’s what I believe happened to young Elliott Rogers. He wasn’t told by anyone that sex isn’t the be-all-end-all, that at the age of 22 it’s perfectly OK to be a virgin, that women can offer a lot more than sex, that you’re allowed to talk to people about how you’re feeling and that violence is never, ever the answer. I don’t blame his parents at all, they already knew he was troubled and tried to do something about it but were told there was no real risk of him doing anything drastic. Can you imagine how they must feel, they’ve lost their son but can’t really grieve for him because of his own dreadful actions.

I worry that there’s no real way to reach the young men like Elliott and his online peers who feel the same way as him. While most of them won’t get a gun and shoot people, they still think the same way he did. How do you address people of privilege who have everything going pretty darn well for them in most respects but still expect more? How do you untrain all of the young men in the world who think they deserve the love and sex of women without doing anything to actually earn it? How do you explain that a black or hispanic man has just as much right to date a white women as he does, and they probably deserve it more because they think of women as whole people and make the effort to be kind to them? How do we tell all of the new parents out in the world to teach their son’s that a woman’s worth is not measured by what she wears, how she looks or how she sleeps with? It’s an overwhelming concept which seems all but impossible, but with more and more men standing up against misogyny in society, I am hopeful that maybe it will be possible in the not-too-distant future.

Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

Elliot Rodger was a misogynist – but is that all he was?

Elliot Rodger’s Online Life Provides A Glimpse At A Hateful Group Of “Anti-Pick-Up Artists”

Yet Another Blog Post About The Isla Vista Shooting

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The Miley Cyrus Debate

October 4, 2013
Cara Rage, Feminism, In the News, Rants

mileythenandnow

Another day, another article about Miley Cyrus post-VMAs. I kind of feel like her performance at that joke of an awards show will become one of those “do you remember where you were when…” moments. I remember where I was, at work. I first learned about her “controversial” performance on facebook and then a few news sites as images and video started to emerge of her performance. More than anything, I remember the reactions people had. Before I watched the video I thought she’d done something really full-on based on peoples reactions, so I was really disappointed when I actually got around to watching it. That’s it??? It was such a non-event to me, and certainly not the most controversial thing I’ve seen done in pop music.

So many people, including friends on social media, appeared mortified that she’d dared dress and/or act the way she did. Many people lamented that the old Miley was now gone and this new one was horrible and a disgrace. While I thought her performance was tacky and probably unnecessary, I couldn’t understand why people seemed to angry/appalled. But then I guess it’s because I never cared that much for Miley to begin with, whereas a lot of other people did. For some reason people were taking great personal offence that she’d decided to strip herself of her cute, all-American, girl-next-door image and now wanted to join the ranks of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Madonna and countless other pop stars who use sexuality and unusual clothing choices to grab the public’s attention.

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The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Not just at peoples dumb reactions to a celebrity they don’t even know and yet seem to think they have a say about what she does, but to every damn aspect of it. I hate the over reactions to something that wasn’t even that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. I hate the fact people are now acting like twerking is a new, exciting thing and actually proclaiming she is the queen of it (when she can’t even twerk at all). I hate how her body was critiqued because her bum wasn’t pert and perfect. I hate how Billy Ray Cyrus had to defend her, because idiots thought her dad should not let his adult daughter do undaughterly things on TV. I hated how she got all the flak and fucking Robin Thicke got nothing when his song is a rapey piece of shit and he looked like a puncier version of Beetlejuice in that damn suit. I hate how she’s obviously felt pressured to change her image like this in order to shed the Hannah Montana image that people cling so desperately to. I hate how she has to use her body and silly sexual gestures to get noticed, because it’s not enough that she can sing.

It’s a shit situation all round, but at the end of the day, it’s her life and she can do with it what she wants. She generated a HUGE amount of interest because of that performance, so really, if getting attention and some notoriety was her intention, then she did a fantastic job of it. I wish it wasn’t at the expense of her credibility and dignity, but hey, it’s pop music. Since when did pop stars ever get to keep their dignity? People should have let go of the Hannah Montana thing long ago, when she stopped playing that character and started growing up. They bitch and moan that her sexy new look is trashy and unattractive, but they forget that she was being fetishised as a underage sex symbol anyway, and at least now any sexual attraction to her is justified and less creepy because she is an adult, acting like an adult, and doing adult, sexy things that demand sexual thoughts.

I just hope that she gets all of this hyper-sexualised BS out of her system with this album, a few film clips, a photoshoot with Terry Richardson (ugghh) and then moves on to become the person she really is. If it turns out this is the real Miley, then good on her. Many of us go through most of our lives not knowing who we are or suppressing our true selves for the benefit of others.  Whatever happens, I still won’t ever buy her records so really, it aint any of my damn business.

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LISTEN UP: Your weight does not define you

July 4, 2013
Body and Soul, Cara Rage, Feminism, I love Links, Life, My Advice, Pissed Off, Rants

weight

Yesterday I read this article which made me cry. Why? Because I could have so easily written it myself. I have spent much of my life worrying about my weight and I know this began early on by my mum who has a terrible perception of her own body image which she unintentionally projected onto me. Growing up mum was quite overweight and it was a major struggle for her to overcome the emotional issues that made her that way and then eventually lose weight. She lost over 40kg through Weight Watchers and was a lecturer for them for a number of years. Then some bad stuff happened, like my parents splitting up and her having a near-fatal accident while we were holidaying in Paris, that made things hard (and almost impossible for her to exercise) so she eventually put the weight back on. So now she’s back to being overweight and is desperately unhappy about it, and it breaks my heart.

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My family and I in about 2001, my mum was at the peak of her weight loss here

She would always look at thin women and say “I’d kill to have a figure like that” which I also do myself now. She also used to comment on my figure when I gained weight after going through puberty, say that I had such a pretty face before reminding me that I needed to lose a few kilos, or encourage me to go on diets with her or comment that I shouldn’t wear certain clothes as they weren’t flattering. I remember my family went on a trip to Cairns when I was in my late teens and I spent so many nights crying by myself because everyone would comment on how gorgeous my younger sister was who has always been slim, while effectively ignoring me or worrying about my weight even though I wasn’t anywhere close to being overweight.

 mecat

During the trip to Cairns where I was  made to feel fat and daggy for not being as slim or fashionable as my younger sister

I tended to go through phases where I was comfortable with myself as I was to being horrified at how fat I’d let myself become. I’d go on diets or just live life without a care in the world. I got pretty chubby while I was living in England and I really didn’t care that much at all, making the occasional token effort to eat better but generally not giving a damn. I can’t explain why I was so OK with myself as I was, perhaps it was because I was surrounded by awesome people who didn’t go on about their figures constantly or bring others down by making nasty comments, or perhaps it was because I had absolutely no trouble picking up guys. Whatever it was, I was happy, confident and didn’t feel pressured to be a skinny minnie.

But then I came back to Australia and everything changed. I met a guy who told me constantly for the next six years that I was fat, that I’d be “so hot” or “unstoppable” if I was skinny, that he was ashamed to be seen with me because of my weight, accused me of lying about going to the gym/eating healthy because it didn’t show and so on. I endured that for six years until I had no self esteem left. I only had a smidge of confidence that I had a pretty face because that’s aabout the only compliment I ever got and even then I rarely heard that because of all of the hurtful and destructive criticism he would yell at me. Imagine being told that your boyfriend didn’t want to have sex with you because you’d put on a few kilograms? That he’d start showing you off in public if only you’d lose more weight. Getting told to stop getting tattoos because they didn’t suit a girl my size. Yep, pretty nasty stuff.

I had lost about 8kg here and was told by my ex that I was finally hot enough for him to be proud to be my boyfriend. I gained the weight back as soon as I stopped the diet I was on, as I was pretty much starving myself

While it was clear my ex was an abusive jerk who didn’t deserve a second of my time (let alone six years), his words had a huge impact on me and it’s been a long, hard road to try and get over them. I have a new, wonderful and loving partner who showers me with compliments constantly, who thinks I have the body of a bombshell goddess and even if I did gain a bunch of weight, would still love me until the end of time. And yet I worry almost everyday about my weight, especially since I’ve gained a bit since I hurt my back last year and had to stop exercising for a few months. It stresses me out all the time, and even though I know I’m being silly, I can’t help it! I’m pretty healthy in my eating habits and exercise regularly, and yet I feel like a bit fat blob who everyone whispers about behind my back.

I also get really sad when I see friends get obsessed with dieting, exercising and losing weight. Now days it’s not on to say you want to lose weight, but are trying to be “healthy” when they really just mean they want to lose weight and be skinny. Why can’t we be happy with how we are and maintain a healthy lifestyle without blasting it all over social media like we’re fucking heroes for going to the gym and eating a salad? Why can’t I look at an instagram post of someone eating junk food and not immediately feel compelled to judge them?The mentality of what is healthy is is so messed up. It’s assumed that being slim = healthy and being fat = unhealthy. Meanwhile I work with a bunch of women, half of whom are super slim and yet eat anything they like, never exercise, drink and smoke constantly and yet at face-value they’d appear healthier than me with my chubby little belly, thighs and big bum. The other half just obsess about what they eat and are constantly taking weight loss pills or trying new diets.

I came to the decision a while ago that I was going to change the way I express myself about my body image issue, because I refuse to let me children grow up thinking they’re fat or ugly because of the things they heard me say about myself or others. And not just for my future children, but for other women around me. Some of the things my friends and work colleagues say about themselves to one another (as I was writing this one workmate called herself a “fat fuck” because she’s been craving/eating scones lately). I’m going to try and stop spreading negativity by bitching about how fat I am, because I’m not. And even if I was, who cares? It’s unhealthy and BORING to talk about weight all day and I’m sick of this toxic culture of bringing ourselves down when we’re perfectly wonderful the way we are.

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Ruby’s Thoughts on Racism in Australia

June 5, 2013
Cara Rage, In the News, Pissed Off, Random Thoughts, Rants

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I love living in Australia, it’s a bloody good country in a lot of ways. But as a general rule, we’re a bunch of racists. Not necessarily outright racists who abuse non-whites for merely existing, but a lot of Australians are “casually racist” in that they don’t really like other races very much but claim they actually do while bitching about “bloody abo’s” or getting angry over the “problem” with boat people flooding our country.

It’s something that’s mostly glossed over, people make a remark that’s kind of racist and people just ignore it. I admit I have, because sometimes it’s too hard to confront someone about it or you just don’t have the time/energy to start a debate on what’s considered racist. A lot of the time these comments are made by people who don’t even realise they’ve said something racist, they’re just saying what they’ve heard a lot of other Aussie’s say and don’t see it as a problem. And because people never really point it out to them, they go through life not understand just how offensive their casual racism can be.

There’s been a lot of media attention on a 13 year old girl who called an AFL player an ape recently. While it seems like an obvious racial slur, the girl insists she didn’t mean it as such and has apologised profusely for yelling it out. But she’s now become the “face of racism in Australia” and has potentially had her young life ruined because the player in question, the AFL as a whole and the Australian media are portraying her as a racist, conveniently forgetting she’s only a kid and has already apologised. She’s more than made up for her silly comment with the aftermath of this event, and I think it’s horrendous how she was treated.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m defending this girl after claiming most Australians are mildly racist. Well, in my opinion this little girl is being used as a tool to prove we don’t tolerate racism, and unfairly so. Aussies are so keen to prove they’re not racist by vilifying others when they really ought to be looking at themselves. I’m sure most white Australians can think of something they’ve said or thought that’s far worse than calling a man an ape, so to harass this little girl is absolutely hypocritical of us to do. Even if you haven’t said/thought something like that yourself, think of all the time you’ve heard someone make a racist comment and not spoken up. It’s not exactly the same, but just because you’ve not vocalised such comments yourself doesn’t mean you’re any better than that little girl.

I think casual racism is a big problem in Australian society and every time we ignore it, insist it doesn’t exist, or blame it all on the one person who was caught saying the wrong thing, we are only making it worse. Silence implies consent. If you don’t tell someone they’ve been racist, how will they ever know? I’m as guilty as the next person of turning a deaf ear to racist remark, and it’s something I’m working on (so not only will I be a shouty feminist who berates anyone who makes a sexist remark, I’ll also tell you off for being racist, mwahaha). Next time you hear someone mention complain about some race for doing something they don’t like, let them know it’s not on. You don’t have to be an ass about it, a polite reminder will hopefully stop them. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least you tried. You can’t change the world in a day, right?

To conclude, I am going to leave you with something that’s very painful to watch but relevant to what I have been saying. The woman in this video is NOT representative of all Aussies but she’s definitely not alone in her horrible, racist beliefs. But her vitriol isn’t the only bad thing in this video. That bus has a lot of other people on it and the only reactions she gets involve some other bogan laughing along with her, someone filming it and the bus driver asking her to stop. That poor kid had to endure that abuse alone, and I was ashamed. Silence implies consent, so as far as she knows, she didn’t actually do anything wrong. Anyway, see for yourself. WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE.

Cara Rage: Food in the office

May 6, 2013
Cara Rage, My Life, Random Thoughts, Rants

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I have worked in office environments for many years now, and for the most part I love it. I get to sit in air con all day, I work in the middle of the City, I get regular lunch breaks, I don’t have to work on weekends etc. But working in an office comes with some downsides, such as being friendly with people who you’d never put up with outside of work and dressing like a chump because apparently you work better in a restrictive business shirt than you do a comfy t-shirt (yeah right).

Among many of my office-related gripes, the one thing that I dread the most about working in an office, are all of the conversations about food. UGGGHHHH! Now, I love food, I love eating it and I even like to talk about it a fair bit. But at some stage it was decided that food was one of those subjects, much like weather, that is a perfect conversation starter in workplaces that everyone can relate to (after all, we all eat food!) and can’t offend anyone.

WRONG!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not offended by food in any way shape or form, I just find endless conversations about it really friggen boring. I absolutely dread someone wandering into the staff kitchen when I’m reheating last nights tea or cooking steamfresh vegies because I’m too damn lazy to prepare real meals. I’m pretty sneaky about it and so rarely have to worry about boring food discussions  but I can’t be a winner every time and sometimes I’m sucked into the vapid, uselessness of work-lunch-chats.

“Ooh someone’s eating healthy!” they say, seeing my steamed vegies and can of tuna.
“Aw yeah, trying” I reply, faking a chuckle and hoping against hope they get the hint and leave me alone.

I actually think that’s why my lunches are pretty boring, if I have anything too delicious or exotic, it will inevitably make people want to talk about it more, until I just want to throw it in the bin and go get sushi instead. Which I know seems super assholish, but I just can’t stand forced conversation, plus I feel what I choose to eat at lunch is no one’s damn business but my own.

Another food-related, work conversation I detest is the long-winded discussion about where to have lunch. In my last workplace where it was all a bunch of white guys aged from 27 to 45, they’d spend a good half hour discussing where they were all going to lunch before actually leaving the office. Between starting to talk about it and then returning from lunch, a good 90 minutes would have passed. I also never got why they all were so keen to go to lunch together or the fuss they’d create when someone suggested something different. I mean, they’d always end up going to Oporto’s anyway, so I never understood the big song and dance about it.

As for where I work now, I always thought of myself as a bit of a foodie, but what I meant was I like to stuff my face with food all the time. I have now discovered being a foodie is about using fancy words when describing food, eating at expensive restaurants where things are sauteed and people feel OK about eating baby chickens because they call it poussin and basically taking the pleasurable act of eating food and making it super boring and crazy expensive. Seriously, how do people who are on similar wages to me afford to eat out that often, let alone at restaurants with actual michelin stars??? It blows my mind, but not in a fun way but in a “holy shit you need to get lives that don’t involve calling a piece of meat a medallion”.

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Down with the Anti-Feminist

March 25, 2013
Cara Rage, Feminism, In the News, Rants

I tend to get on my feminist high-horse on a daily basis. There’s always something going on in the news about some poor woman being raped/murdered or simply highlighting the inequality between men and women. Depending on my mood I tend to post links to my facebook where I have a bit of a rant about the injustices of the world and maybe have a bit of a discussion about it with friends. Occasionally there is debate, sometimes heated but almost always respectful and well intention ed.

That is, until I posted this article last week.

I made a point of mentioning that as it’s from the Daily Mail, it’s automatically kind of hard to believe or take seriously, but that I recommended it because of how it proves misogyny is still a big problem these days, even amongst the well-educated and wealthy, and that rape should never a joking matter. I feel these two facts are pretty obvious, and so I am always shocked and appalled when I get resistance to them from people. There was a massive fight about it, with one person being particularly vocal about how it was probably all a lie because of the site it was on and discounting it as female hysteria because there were no back up sources online (wut?). As one friend put it “Being critically aware is cool, but doubting off the bat has its roots in victim blaming and misogyny itself”.

Now we have the Steubenville rape case, where reactions range from “good, serves them right for raping an unconscious girl” to the absolutely shocking “that whore shouldn’t have gotten so drunk if she didn’t want to be raped” or, as CNN put it, “The most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders… That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.” YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT WILL. And rightly so. They’re rapists.

It’s not just the media that’s sympathising with the rapists, the average joe on twitter has an opinion on it too as highlighted on Public Shaming (Warning: This tumblr will probably enrage you).

It is perplexing to me that even in the year 2013, people still don’t “get” what rape is. It’s as though rape is only genuine when it involves an innocent girl is raped by the creepy pervert hiding in the bushes. There is always a question of “what did the girl do to deserve the rape?” because it seems that unless you were dressed conservatively, are sober and you were walking in a safe area during daylight hours, it’s basically your fault that you got raped because you did something wrong (dressed “provocatively”, drank too much, walked in a bad area at night without a male escort etc) and you really should have know better. And unless a man forced himself on the violently, there’s always doubt about whether it’s really rape because maybe she lead him on, she just regretted having sex with him the next morning or the ever popular “well she didn’t say no”.

Just to be absolutely clear: RAPE IS RAPE.

We need to be beyond a time where we doubt a woman’s claim of rape before she even has a chance to explain what happened. Her being drunk or the fact she wore a short skirt should never, ever be justifications for her being sexually assaulted by anyone. There is no “lesson” being taught when a girl is raped. There is never something she has done to deserve rape as a punishment or lesson because no matter how repugnant she may be as a person, rape is never acceptable. It makes me furiously angry that everyone doesn’t know and accept this, but with everything that’s been happening in the world lately, it’s pretty darn clear that the general public either doesn’t realise or simple refuses to believe the truth. The fact a woman can be gang-raped to death and have people ask “Well why was she out after dark with a man who isn’t her husband?” or have a girl molested by a group of boys and have thousands of people the world over blaming her because she was drunk, only proves that there is a huge amount to do in terms of educating people on how victims of rape deserve to be treated. It’s not going to be easy and we’ll probably never get 100% there but I honestly think it’s possible.

I have so many opinions on this matter but I feel they can all be summed up with the following:

Henry Rollin’s amazing blog about the Stuebenville case

And this quote that’s floating around on tumblr:

What people don’t understand is when we say “Teach men not to rape,” we’re not talking about telling them not to jump out of the bushes in a ski mask and grab the nearest female. We’re talking about the way we teach boys that masculinity is measured by power over others, and that they aren’t men unless they “get some.” We’re talking about teaching men (and women) that it’s not okay to laugh at jokes about rape and abuse. We’re talking about telling men that a lack of “No” doesn’t mean “Yes,” that if a woman is too drunk to consent they shouldn’t touch her, that dating someone – or even being married to someone – does not mean automatic consent. We’re talking about teaching boys to pay attention to the girl they’re with, and if she looks uncomfortable to stop and ask if she’s okay, because sometimes girls don’t know how to say stop in a situation like that. We’re talking about how women have the right to change their mind. Even if she’s been saying yes all night, if she says no, that’s it. It’s over. That’s what we mean when we say “Teach men not to rape.

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