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Poetry

What comes with the wave

Author:
699A8846

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

Abbatoir Floor

Author:
Photo by Kaylen Forsyth

A poem by Kaylen Forsyth

Content note: Violent and sexist language, gender based violence and harassment

my name changes from BABY to HONEY,
NEARLY DRUNK ENOUGH, DARLING to BITCH.

i always thought i’d love the first boy to talk in poetry,
but i craved metaphors of moonlight, not war-talk and violence:
BANG, SCREW, NAIL, DESTROY.
“i like this song, do you?”
“i prefer the original,”
and you’d think i’d said something funny;
i guess it’s hard for him to grasp-

i have an opinion, i exist outside of this room,
i exist as a person- when i’m not just a nail
to be banged, to be screwed.
i guess it’s hard for him to grasp- but do you know what’s harder?

watching a girl even younger than myself
with a man twice her age on the abattoir floor.
she’s probably the girl of his dreams
or close to it-
the youngest he won’t be sent down for,
and he grabs at her throat like he’d tear at a steak;
he decides if she’s raw,
if she’s burnt,
if she’s bloody.
“keep your eyes off those boys,
you dirty, little slut!”

he has reigns on her conversations,
her body, her beauty.
and when i check on her later
she’s smiling so wide,
calls the finger-shaped bruises on her neck pretty pearls-
“why should I be afraid? it was just like a movie.”

Powered By Girl’s Winter Feminist Gift Guide

Author:
5020935650_2ab6969092_z

By Anna Hill

As winter fast approaches and various celebrations come about you might be thinking about what you want to ask for, and what you want to get others!! So I made a handy list of suggestions for you to peruse and/or send to a parent/friend/add to that amazon wishlist!

Fiction

She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya

This masterpiece of a book is so beautiful! It’s written by a bisexual trans woman of colour and is full of accurate depictions of what being bisexual and experiencing biphobia is like. Its an illustrated novel chronicling the life of one specific boy as he discovers himself and learns to define who he is himself, alongside a really lovely re-imagining/retelling of Hindu mythology.

Carol/ The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Perfect for those wintery-Christmas-cold feels, Carol tells the story of Therese Belivet, a shy but artistic set designer and Carol, an older glamorous women on the brink of divorce. It’s a story set in the 1950s and is full of intricate and deep silences and omissions, portraying the lives of lesbian and queer women at that time. It is a great reminder of survival and love. This is also now a film which you could watch and discuss especially with the context that Patricia Highsmith, a lesbian herself, wrote it originally, but the director of the film was a straight man named Todd Haynes – how might that switch up perspectives?!

New Virginia Woolf Vintage Editions

Vintage has just released some beautiful new versions of Virginia Woolf’s work – my favourites are The Waves and Orlando. The Waves is an experimental modernist novel about five people and the way their lives wind together throughout their lives. The prose and imagery are amazing and inspiring. Orlando is very different – it’s a fun novel detailing the life of Orlando, a character that fluidly switches gender and time span, traveling from Istanbul to London to Russia.

Refugee Tales

This book is a double gift!! Refugee Tales is a collection of testimonies set out in a similar form as The Canterbury Tales and the entire profit of the book goes to Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group and Kent Refugee Help! Which means you get a shiny new book, and someone else gets funds that will help their wellbeing.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

This is a Young Adult Novel about a young Bruja [Latinx witch!]!! Perfect for the aspiring witch in your life; this is a story about mistakes, growth, family and identity. The novel is also part of the #OwnVoices movement, which means that it was written by someone who identifies with the main characters the story is about!

Ragdoll House by Maranda Elizabeth

Maranda Elizabeth is currently my favourite author and I attempt to include their work in every conversation! Ragdoll House is a wonderful novel about queer girl friendship, survival and love. This was described as a “queer punk classic” by one goodreads review and I couldn’t agree more! The prose is great and its always great to support mad disabled self-published authors.

Non-Fiction

Where Am I Now by Mara Wilson

Yes!! This is by The Mara Wilson, of Matilda fame! This is a collection of personal essays Mara has written about what it has been like for her growing up as a young girl and a former child actress. Her twitter account never ceases to entertain me and neither does this. Her honesty and wit is enthralling and her perspective is really interesting.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This book is a current feminist classic! You might have seen the ted talk this small book is based on, or you might have heard the section that is played in the Beyonce track Flawless. Either way, you probably will have come into contact with this book! With a stunning cover this is the perfect gift to baby feminists to help them on their way to greatness!

The Feminist Utopia Project: Fifty-Seven Visions Of A Wildly Better Future

This looks like a really interesting and hopeful read – what does a feminist utopia look like? What exactly do we want from liberation? In this collection over 50 authors discuss their feelings!! Including but not limited to Melissa Harris-Perry, Janet Mock and Sheila Bapat, in various different formats including interviews, poetry and short stories.

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla

A collection of voices from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic British folks today exploring ideas about why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it feels like to be “othered” – in all its forms, from being an “ambassador” for your race to having to jump through hoops to be seen as a “good” immigrant. Get angry when you read this!! Get challenged by your own prejudices!! Get learning! Perfect feminist work to enjoy and digest over the winter so in 2017 you can reify your perceptions, refocus and really help to destroy inequality and racism wherever you see it.

Comics and Zines

Beyond the Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology edited by Sfe R. Monster and Taneka Stotts

A beautiful collection of diverse and exciting comics! Featuring, but not limited to, an agender ghost working at a tea shop, constructed gay robot aliens falling in love, Chinese-russian bi polyamorous astronauts and a monster queen falling in love (with no words!)! In other words, it’s everything you have been missing! More information on it here

Jem and the holograms!

Jem is one of my favourite comics because of how diverse it is, and not just sexual and romantic orientation wise, but also in terms of body type!! This comic tells the story of a band made up of sisters as they try to thrive, using technology that is so advanced it can create a holographic lead singer! Full of vibrancy and excitement, Jem and the holograms is especially good for pop punk fans!! (but I pretty much think everyone should read it because all the band members are so god damn CUTE.).3 volumes are out so far!

Hysterical femme – karina killjoy

This is one of my favourite zines of 2016. It’s about being a femme survivor, taking up space and working to love yourself and other femmes and other survivors too. It’s so affirming to read that there is no right way to heal and that there are others who feel how I feel! Its about still being angry and hysterical and mentally ill and still being treated with kindness and understanding rather than being deriding and frustrating. This zine is beautiful and validating and I hope everyone reads it one day!

Queer Indigenous Girl #2

This is a lovely submission based zine for black, indigenous people of colour who are queer, trans, 2-spirit, mentally/chronically/physically ill and neurodivergent. In prioritizing these folk’s voices it’s really great to support and read their work! It’s a colour PDF zine with art and illustrations. It also talks about what living with ADHD is like, depression and survival.

Poetry

milk and honey by rupi kaur

This is a firecracker of a collection of poetry. It’s split into four sections and each of them meticulously breaks your heart and sews it back together over and over.

the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Another energetic feminist poetry collection, this one focuses on being the main character in your own story, recovering from abuse and inheriting the power that is inside of you! Plus it’s written by an asexual author who is outspoken about books and social justice on tumblr.

Radical Softness

This is the CUTEST feminist poetry pocketbook made by wonderful graphic designer and general cool person Soofiya. Perfect for the person who is SO busy kicking the kyriarchy to the ground that they only have short amounts of time to read poetry. You can read this anywhere and everywhere ingesting all the great vibes from it whenever you need to!

Heartless Girls

This is a poetry zine by Emma T and it has such brilliant poems! My favourite line is probably “I don’t know how to stay tender/ with this much blood in my mouth”. Emma’s poetry is raw and vulnerable and that’s why its so great!

That’s it for my suggestions, I hope you found something fun off this list!

Thoughts From Latitude – Feminism, Class Politics, and Checking Your Privilege

Author:

By Cora Morris

latitude

British feminism has a class problem.

When I’d looked into going to Latitude in Suffolk earlier this summer I’d been pleasantly surprised to note the number of women performing at the festival. The stand-up comedy line-up at Latitude was almost two-thirds female – suggesting brilliant progression within an industry that is known to be (more than occasionally) sexist. Musical acts ranged from Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders to Lily Allen (who we all undoubtedly have opinions about) and Haim, the trio of Californian sisters who’s lyrics I’m yet to find too much feminist fault in. There was cabaret, theatre, and even an appearance from the English National Ballet. The poetry area was a favourite, with Hollie Mcnish’s spoken word stealing the show entirely. It was safe to say I was catered for – I felt incredibly lucky to be in a place where so many of the arts came together in a way that was of such a high quality, and where female performers were not dismissed or looked down upon in the slightest.

It is pointless to deny that Latitude is anything but a very stereotypically middle-class festival, and this is clear from the sheer scale of variety throughout the acts and attractions – are literary stages and quinoa stands really abundant in other festivals? We, as crowds, were referred to as ‘Latitude Lefties’ several times and ‘Guardian Readers’ at least twice – the privileged lives of many of the festival-goers was obvious. I’m not sure where the association between academia and class formed but it seems to be a false attitude in England which we supposedly can’t quite get away from. The problem is, feminism gets added into the equation too by way of being wrongly perceived as academic in its subject matter.

Awaiting a panel with Laura Bates (of The Everyday Sexism Project), Laurie Penny (PBG Blogger Sophia reviewed her new book, Unspeakable Things, last month) and Zoe Pilger (whose new novel, Eat My Heart Out, is becoming a personal favourite) regarding feminist fiction I look around to see who I’m sharing the literature tent with, and who is sticking around for a talk that I thought would have been one of the less popular of the schedule. I’m met by the unsurprising sight of mainly middle-aged women, a selection of younger, artsy looking types and a scattering of men – boyfriends, maybe, though I’m glad to see a few raise their hands when and we are asked who in the crowd identifies as a feminist. Some of them scurry away hilariously when Penny begins criticising Facebook page The LAD Bible, followed by her sniggering that ‘Maybe they run it… we’re scaring away the men, everyone!” Naturally, we all laugh. The talk continues and I begin to consider whether this evermore middle-class seeming crowd reflects the limited demographic feminism reaches out to and engages in Britain. Yes – the answer is yes.

I think the examples speak for themselves – to quote Marianne Wright-Eldman, ‘You cannot be what you cannot see’. The fact that significant numbers of this country’s most prolific feminists appear frequently as writers for newspapers such as the Guardian – a wonderful and insightful left-leaning publication, but one that undeniably primarily appeals/sells to Britain’s (if only slightly) privileged – says a considerable amount.

We do not have voices in this country at present that are speaking to everyone else. Not prolific ones, at least. Feminism is becoming almost trendy amongst the middle classes whereas it is much less so elsewhere. Intersectionality is so key – the ways we are increasingly considering the oppression of everyone is vital to the progression and expansion of feminism and its values. However, as I find myself being told more and more frequently that I’m ‘a privileged white girl with nothing to complain about’, thus ‘pretending men are causing problems because they’re easy targets’, I am wondering whether awareness of feminism’s modern form is really being reflected as what we’re all about. It has become a movement that strives for intersectionality, and space in the conversation for people other than ‘privileged white girls’. The problem is that in the public eye, we are represented by what are as a majority people who fall into this ‘category’ (so to speak). I don’t think that we can expect to engage a majority if we are being solely represented by a relative minority.

I am not by any means suggesting that the voices are not there. They are. They are all over Tumblr and Twitter and WordPress and LiveJournal. They are writing papers and reports. They are posting blogs, and getting angry with MRAs, and scanning zines they’ve drawn into their computers. Lots of them have been oppressed in different ways. Lots of them are angry. They are angry because their invaluable voices which make up substantial proportions of the population are not being heard in the public eye. Why are they not represented by our media? They are essential voices in this brilliant and potentially revolutionary conversation we are having, and to an extent, they are probably bored of being spoken for rather than doing the speaking themselves.

There is a great deal to say for checking privilege. A good number of feminist journalists in the public eye are semi-militant about this, with Laurie Penny claiming that she is “constantly checking” her privilege “in the manner of an anxious homemaker constantly checking that the gas is off’”. However, when Caitlin Moran says she “literally could not give a shit” about the representation of people of colour in Lena Dunham’s show Girls – well, that statement speaks for itself.

I think Caitlin Moran is brilliant – really, I do. She has done a lot for the cause in this country and elsewhere, which makes her inspirational by default. Besides, as Penny also mentions – “It’s easy to fuck up, especially when you live in a world that tells you, repeatedly and often, that as a white, straight middle-class woman, yours is the only story about women worth articulating.” But, again, it means we are getting representation that is presumed to speak for the majority and yet does not do much more inclusive opinions any justice.

We are not different species. Class shouldn’t be an issue. The idea of it probably shouldn’t exist. But unfortunately, it does. In Britain, it means a great deal to some, as I’m certain it does elsewhere. I use it as a means of acknowledging my privilege, though I’m always conscious of coming across as snobbish. It is there, albeit as another way of putting all of us into boxes by those who wish to do so.

Feminism is valuable for all of us, in all of the boxes. It is just as valuable for the CEO that raised her hand in the Q&A in that literature tent complaining that she was not listened to in the office as it is for the millions that are not in similarly highly paid positions. Again, there are different kinds of oppression – some of those might affect particular boxes more than others. All of the voices are there, and they are all speaking. But at present, not all of them are being amplified quite as loudly as others.

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