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10 Funny Feminists you should check out on Twitter

Author:
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By Amy Callaghan

Twitter has the potential to be an incredibly grim place, particularly for women. Often, women receive insults, hate and even threats from those – usually men – who take issue with what they say publicly, even if they didn’t particularly intend to make any kind of statement. Fortunately, amidst all the negativity, there are plenty of women on Twitter who combine feminism with humour, even at the risk of potentially receiving hate. When the world is all doom and gloom, brighten your timeline with these hilarious women offering a humorous take on everything from gender inequality to the latest political horror show.

Lex Croucher @lexcanroar
Lex Croucher is a British vlogger who is vocal about social issues through all her social media channels. Combine this with her incredibly dry sarcastic humour, and her Twitter is a reliable source of simultaneously relatable and relevant content.

Ruby Tandoh @rubytandoh Ruby Tandoh was a finalist on the Great British Bake Off in 2013. She is a witty and outspoken young queer chef whose unapologetic passion for food – no matter how ‘unhealthy’ – makes a refreshing change from the pretentiousness of many food writers. She’s also unapologetic about her love of One Direction, the Kardashians, and junk food – her Twitter is a potent blend of these ingredients making for an incredibly satisfying addition to your timeline.

Danielle Henderson @knottyyarn

Danielle Henderson is a busy woman – when she’s not writing for The New York Times and The Guardian or creating the hilarity that is Feminist Ryan Gosling, she’s keeping it real on Twitter with her tweets centring on race, class and gender.

Gabby Noone @twelvoclocke Gabby Noone is a staff writer for Rookie magazine. Her (seriously underrated) Twitter will bring you the witty observations of an unapologetic millennial, as well as genius insights about how to manage smartphones after getting acrylics (rhinestone styluses, if you were wondering). 

Rosie Fletcher @rosieatlarge

Rosie Fletcher is a young writer living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Her Twitter offers an entertaining mix of knitting, feminism, children’s literature, and her political views, in addition to offering her enlightening perspective on experiencing living with a disability.

Kashana Cauley @kashanacauley Kashana Cauley is a writer whose tweets – even those centring on serious issues and situations – and are often loaded with withering sarcasm.

WomanAgainstFeminism @NoToFeminism

Even if you aren’t already following this satirical account, chances are you’ve seen it retweeted a few times. Their tweets make fun of the frequent reasons cited by women who claim to be against feminism in the most ridiculous and hilarious way possible, shining a light on how insane it is for any woman to consider herself against feminism.

Mara Wilson @MaraWritesStuff The star of ‘Matilda’ from all those years ago is now a super cool, super feminist, super funny queer writer. If you’re not already following her, you definitely should be.

Naomi Ekperigin @Blacktress

Comedian and writer Naomi Ekperigin is as funny on Twitter as she is writing for the commercial and critical success Broad City. Her tweets are hilarious and relatable, but she doesn’t shy away from the big issues either.

Alison Leiby @AlisonLeiby Alison Leiby is a comedian and writer in New York whose tweets, particularly those of a feminist persuasion, are dripping with sarcasm, perfectly exposing and making light of some of the ridiculous stereotypes placed on women.

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What comes with the wave

Author:
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A guest poem and video by Hollie Cooper

Perhaps I’m not like you at all.

Yes, most definitely not like you.

Definitely afraid of you.

I’m not here for beauty.

Nor for rules.

Just to be.

Not to get caught in a tiresome wind.

Not to dance like a kite but to fly away.

The waves crash.

The moment breathes.

The sun gazes.

Governed by her own accord, her rays here for no one.

To emulate her is to be free.

Fly me to the moon.

Let me live uncritised.

Do not label me.

I am energy running wild.

Running dark.

Running blood.

Running gold.

Running thin.

Running plentiful.

Running real.

Running in circles.

Not for no one.

But life itself.

You can read more of Hollie’s poetry here: https://www.holsnco.com/caught-in-the-riptide

Ode to the teenage diary

Author:
dear diary

By Sophia Simon-Bashall

I feel as though when I say that I keep a diary, people look at me differently. There’s something judgemental in their response. That’s something that I’m used to, because I was a teenage girl for a pretty long time, and I’m a massive One Direction fan – most people tend to look down on people who meet this criteria. Actually, there’s a link there. People who like One Direction and people who write diaries can be anyone, but what demographic are they traditionally associated with? That’s right – teenage girls.

Obviously, I’m a cheerleader for teenage girls. I love teenage girls and I have experienced first-hand how smart they can be, how kind they can be, how strong and brave and creative they can be.

I am also a cheerleader for diaries and journaling. I believe that there is so much value in this practice, especially as something in the life of a teenage girl.

In a culture which teaches girls to hold back our emotions; to be good and sit pretty; where we are to be seen and not heard – writing a diary is an amazing release. Our diaries are private spaces, and nobody can criticise or judge us. Our diaries are places where we are allowed to let it out. All of it.

Anger is a particularly difficult emotion for a lot of girls to express, because we’ve been taught that it’s an ‘ugly’ emotion. I really struggle with it, and tend to only ever direct it onto myself. But if I take the time to sit down with my journal (or any old notebook, even a scrap piece of paper – and failing that, the notes app in my phone) I can get out some of that pent up rage. I can release my frustrations, and it doesn’t cause any harm to me or to anyone else. I also like that because nobody else is going to see what I write, it can be messy visually, too. I like things to be ‘perfect’, because I like to have people’s approval. In the comfort of my own pages, I don’t need anybody’s approval. I can, for once, relax, and scribble away.

It’s not just the emotions of girls that are undervalued, but our everyday experiences. We are taught to value what upper-middle class white men say, and to ignore the lessons we learn in our own lives. We learn early in life to question what we have to contribute to the world, we are told the story of our irrationality, our fickleness, our naivety. When we write in our diaries, we tell ourselves a new narrative. When we write about our lives, we are writing to remind ourselves that we have something to say and that it matters.

As a teenage girl, I was told often that my mood swings were normal, ‘just hormonal’, and that I was overdramatic. Now, I cannot say that I was not dramatic – I remain so to this day – but I can say that these comments were dismissive. They told me that other people knew best what was going on in my head, and that stopped me from talking about it. I even told myself, “you’re making this all up”, “this isn’t real”. I didn’t believe in my own version of events, I didn’t trust myself in the slightest. Finding that self-trust is something I’m still working on. But I am always learning, and my diary is instrumental in that discovery. At 15 years old, reading my own diary entry from the day before was what made me wake up, and realise that what was going on in my head was serious. At 19, it is what made me stop denying the truth and recognise the significance of what I was feeling – my diary helped me to end a relationship I was no longer happy in, and leave a space that was triggering my anxiety and depression to the extreme. My diary saved me from my own denial.

This record of memories and the validation of our personal experiences is also important to our identity. It is so easy for your sense of who you are to get tangled up with who you’re ‘supposed to be’. Teenage girls are thrown hundreds of mixed messages every single day, and we lose ourselves to it all. We allow ourselves to be defined by others and simply categorised. Not because we want to be, but because it’s overwhelming, and it can feel like the easiest option to play pretend. But in our diaries, we can take off the masks. We can be honest, and that is healing.

Nobody’s identity is static, but mine is particularly erratic. I have spent my life moulding myself into different forms, usually out of a sense of desperation, a need to be seen, a fear of being abandoned by the people I loved. For me, identity is something I don’t understand – none of the people I’ve been in the past really feel like me. When I read through old diaries, it’s painful. “I don’t know her”, I think, going through the journal I kept during my hospitalisation at 15 years old. But as uncomfortable as my past selves make me, it’s important that I connect with them, learn to accept them and, ultimately, forgive them. And when I read my old diaries, I learn about who they were, and by extension who I am. This was the only place that I was honest, and so it gives me an insight to thought patterns; shows me the consistencies in my likes and dislikes; proves to me that there is a thread which connects me to myself. I’m not just fragments.

The Diplomatic Disaster of Trump’s Relations with China

Author:
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By Amy Callaghan

The relationship between the US and China is one of the most significant relationships of the 21st century. China’s role as an international power and its place as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council means that it is a vital and powerful ally to the US internationally.

US concerns about the rising power of China in East Asia, and Chinese concerns about the tendency of the US to interfere and impede on affairs which China considered purely domestic, have been the main reason for tensions between the two countries in the past.

Since the end of the Cold War, a delicate diplomacy has emerged between China and the US, hinging on a core set of values and established rules of interaction between the two. Both countries are incredibly reliant on each other both from an international diplomacy point of view as well as in terms of economics and trade, and this is why the election of Donald Trump as president of the US has caused such concerns over the future of the US-Chinese relationship.

One of the most crucial aspects of the relationship is adherence to the ‘One China’ policy. Put into simple terms, the ‘One China’ policy means that the US only recognises the People’s Republic of China, governed in Beijing, rather than the Republic of China, governed from Taipei in Taiwan.

In the past, issues between the US and China which have nearly led to open conflict have centred on perceived breaking of this principle – for example, the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis nearly resulted in use of military force by the US and China against each other. This crisis was caused by a state visit from the newly elected president of Taiwan to the US, which appeared to China to be a direct threat to the One-China principle. From this perspective, then, it is clear why then president-elect Trump’s phone call to the president of Taiwan in December 2016 caused tensions between the US and China, with experts from the White House rushing to assure the Chinese government in Beijing that the US intended to adhere to the One-China policy.

Evan Medeiros, the Asia director at the White House national security council, told the Financial Times: “The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action of historic proportions. Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative. With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for US-China relations.”

Diplomatic blunders such as these are why the presidency of Donald Trump could throw established international relationships into chaos.

Domestically, of course, Trump’s presidency has been anything but peaceful and stable – he has demonstrated a distinct lack of understanding of the judicial system among other things, as well as enacting essentially unconstitutional policies such as the Muslim ban. However, it will be these international diplomatic blunders which cause Trump – and the US as a whole – the greatest issues in maintaining their status as a power with unrivalled global influence. In recent days, Trump has committed to maintaining the One-China policy in a phone call to Xi Jinping, the president of China, yet the fear and uncertainty about Trump’s intentions caused by his initial blunder and stance on the issue is now a part of the Chinese perspective on the US for the foreseeable future.

It is unclear, as with so many issues arising from Trump’s presidency, how this situation will play out over the next four years. Maintaining a stable and cooperative relationship with China was one of the priorities of the Obama administration, as its importance as an ally of the US was given the value and significance it deserved.

However, with his customary tough talk and his ambitions to ‘Make America Great Again’, Trump could completely throw off the balance of the international stage, and nothing is a clearer indicator of this than his interactions with China up to this point. Threatening the stability of America’s relationship with China would have disastrous repercussions globally, from an economic perspective as well as a threat to keeping the peace between the two countries.

Content Notes 101

Author:
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By Yas Necati

Whilst reading through our site or others, you might have come across some posts that are marked at the beginning with something called a content note. In case you’re wondering what that is and why we use it, here’s a quick guide.

What is a content note?

A content note is usually placed at the beginning of a piece. It’s

put there to inform you about topics or themes that might come up in that piece, so that you can be aware of them before you start reading. For example, if a piece is called “10 best cat videos ever” you might put a content note: “cats”.

The example above is pretty obvious, and pretty silly, but whilst I’ve used cats as an example to illustrate what a content note is in its simplest form, content notes are mostly used more seriously and shouldn’t be taken as a joke.

Content notes come about as a way of letting people know of any potentially triggering or hard to read themes that might come up in a piece. If I were to put a content note on this piece, it would read: “Content note: discussion of content notes, trigger warnings and reference to themes/topics that might be triggering or upsetting”.

To give you a bit more of an idea, here are just a few examples of things that content notes are commonly used for. Someone might put a content note if a piece discusses racism or transphobia, or if a piece references war or sexual violence. Content notes should be used if the entire piece could be upsetting or triggering, for example if it is a piece about cuts to welfare and the effects the cuts are having on marginalised communities. Additionally, content notes should also be used if something triggering or upsetting is mentioned at any point in the piece, even if the piece as a whole doesn’t focus on this topic. For example, somebody might write a piece about kickass female characters in comics. At some point in this piece there might be a few lines about the main character being catcalled on the street. A trigger warning for a mention of sexual violence/catcalling should be put at the beginning of the piece, so that a reader knows that this topic is mentioned at some point.

Content notes can be used to prefix all sorts of different media – not just writing. For example, a content note might be used before a video, podcast, poem, piece of artwork, or any other form of content. However, for the simplicity of this explanation, I will refer to written pieces as I explain further.

Why use content notes?

Content notes are commonly used so that people can know of anything that might trigger or upset them before reading a piece. This gives someone the choice to carry on reading or to choose not to read the piece. If they decide to carry on reading, they are prepared for what is ahead and they won’t be surprised or caught off guard by something that could be difficult for them to read.

To give an example, somebody who is mentally ill might be reading an article about their favourite band online. At some point in this article there might be a quote referring to the lead singer as being “mental”. This might be a really difficult word for the person who’s experiencing mental illness to read, particularly if they have experienced discrimination in the past. The media, family members and bullies might have used this word in a hurtful way towards that person, and therefore reading it could trigger memories and feelings that the person could find hard to cope with, all just by reading a piece about a band they like. If this piece had been prefixed with a content note such as “mental health slurs”, this could have been avoided.

There has been a lot of talk in the media and popular culture recently about content notes being “too politically correct”. At Powered By Girl and SPARK we choose to use content notes because we feel that it’s important to look after our readers. We want to give you the choice to opt out of reading things that might be painful if you don’t want to. We also want you to read difficult things only if you choose to do so – not by accident.

Why “content notes”, not “trigger warnings”?

At Powered By Girl and SPARK we use content notes to prefix our pieces. You might have come across something called a trigger warning which is still widely used on many sites.

A trigger warning is very similar to a content note: it is designed to prefix a piece and highlight anything in that piece that might be triggering. For example, a piece that mentions police violence might have a trigger warning: “police brutality”.

We used to use trigger warnings for our pieces, but we’ve moved to using content notes because we think the language makes more sense. “Trigger warnings” imply that anything that could be triggering is mentioned at the start, but the truth is that we don’t know what might be triggering for people, and every person has different triggers. To give an example, someone might be triggered by the song “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac because it’s a song that their abusive ex frequently listened to, so it reminds them of their ex and the abuse that they survived. This trigger is unique to this person, and they probably don’t share the same trigger with many other people. The point here being – as an author of an article or blog it is impossible to know what people’s triggers will be, and to put a trigger warning for everything that could trigger anyone – because that could be literally any word or phrase in the entire piece.

The reason we use content notes is because whilst they don’t solve this problem, they don’t imply that we have covered all the triggers that could come up for anyone. We try to use content notes for things that are common triggers, like discussion of violence, slurs, hatred and discrimination. This way we can warn people of general topics that might be triggering or upsetting.

The flaws of content notes

The above is obviously an example of a flaw – even with content notes we can’t prevent people from being triggered or hurt because we don’t know every individual’s triggers. By using content notes, we hope to lessen the amount that this happens. There are a few other problems with content notes.

The first is that the word used to describe the content note could be a triggering word in itself. For example, if a piece discusses rape it would be prefixed with a content note: “rape”. However, reading this word as a content note could be triggering enough – the person might not choose to continue reading the piece, but they may have already been triggered. In this example, the content note appears to be counter-productive. However, although the word rape alone might still be triggering, reading the piece could have potentially been worse for the survivor as there might be more detail than just the word itself. Either way this isn’t ideal, but at least with a content note the reader is left with a choice to not read on and be surprised by discussion of rape in more detail.

Content notes can sometimes be used in the wrong way. For example, someone might write an article full of ableist slurs – words like “stupid” and “mad” – and prefix it with a content note: “ableist slurs”. This doesn’t make it okay to use this kind of language! The only time slurs should be used is if they’re being criticised, or if they have been reclaimed: words such as “queer” and “crazy”. A content note should only ever be used to highlight that there will be discussions about something problematic or triggering. If it is used as an excuse to use slurs/hurtful language/discriminate or excuse violence, then it’s not being used right.

I hope this gives a brief overview of what content notes are and why we use them. If there are any content notes you think we should be using and aren’t already, please email  me on yasthatannoyingfeminist@aol.co.uk to let us know.

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