Tag Archives: feminism is not dead

2014: The Year of the Selfie

1 Jan

This is Lilipop.

I am not going to do a review of 2013 for my New Years post, like everyone else seems to be doing, for many reasons – the first of which being I can’t actually remember what I did this year – so instead I am going to talk about a challenge I am going to take part in for the whole of this next year, 2014.

2013 was the year of many things but it was the year I discovered the selfie. Before August I didn’t have Instagram, let alone Sapchat, so the only selfies I took where the odd webcam picture with Jelly or a pic if I couldn’t decide what to wear so needed second opinions (yes, the struggle is real). In August I had the amazing opportunity to go to America for #SPARKCamp13, a 3 day camp for girls in SPARK Movement. Among the many things I got from my gorgeous SPARK sisters, the most relevant thing to this post is – after extensive manipulation they managed to bully me into getting Instagram. After a few days I caved and got Snapchat as well.

Since then selfies have become a part of everyday life. From taking a selfie with my baby sis for the landmark event of buying her first bra to sneaky Snapchats to my American SPARK sisters in my geography lessons, selfies are a part of the way I communicate and commemorate. The media, and even some feminist media (*ahem* JEZABEL *ahem*), calls girls narcissistic and says selfies are a “cry for help” but to me there is nothing more radical than celebrating with a cheeky selfies. To me a selfie says oh yeah gurrrrrrrl its my time to shine! Selfies promote self-acceptance and love, whats not to love?

In 2014 I will be participating in the #365FeministSelfie challenge, to help me continue the ongoing struggle of loving myself in this world of misogynistic advertising, be comfortable with what I perceive as flaws and to celebrate being me! I think it will also be a completely fantastic way of documenting my year. I have created this tumblr blog for the challenge www.365daysoflilipop.tumblr.com so follow if you are a selfie positive gem or just love my face (lets face it, who doesn’t). Jelly will probably be featuring a lot! If you are also participating then I would LOVE to have a chat or see your blog/insta/however you are documenting and if not then I encourage you to increase your selfie production in 2014, the year of the selfie.

#Campaign4Consent

21 Aug

Hello! This is Lilipop and today I wanted to tell you all about an exciting new TYFA campaign called #Campaign4Consent. This campaign is all about having sexual consent taught in the UK National Curriculum. At the moment the curriculum in sorely lacking and what teens are actually receiving in schools is even worse.

I just got my sex ed last term and I could have learned more typing “Sex Education” into google. I was so disappointed. We had two twenty-minute sessions in our PSHE lessons. Before the first session I was quite hopeful because some sixth formers had been talking to the Headmaster about improving sex ed at school so I thought it would probably be quite up to date with all however that was not the case. My sex ed was wholly contraception based. If nothing else it did give some quite good comprehensive information about contraception and how to get it but in every other area it was lacking. In fact I don’t think it even went into detail how conception works. We didn’t discuss relationships, consent, oral sex, abuse, kinks, LGBT+ sex or relationships didn’t even get a word in and it was generally just not informative enough. I know that most teens these days normally get most of their sex education through the internet and way before the age of 15 when most of us get our sex ed at school and some others get “the talk” from their parents however information from the internet is not always right and can often be exaggerated or very biased and parents may be selective with the things they talk about or more often wont talk about sex with their children at all. Sex ed at school is meant to give comprehensive and accurate information to kids so that they don’t have to rely on ropy information from the internet.

There are so many issues with the sex ed curriculum I can’t think about them all at once but a simple and universally relevant one that is missed out is consent. Sex without consent is rape and any other sexual contact without consent is sexual assault. We are not taught this at school and I would be quite surprised if someone stumbled across lessons on consent randomly on the internet unless they were specifically looking for them which they can’t if they don’t know what consent is! This is a problem because, in some assault cases, people don’t know what they are doing is wrong or that what happened to them was wrong. It is not uncommon, particularly in younger people, for a rapist or assaulter to not know what they are doing is rape or assault and I have read stories of victims not knowing what happened to them was assault or rape for twenty years or more. Victims will be affected by this and not know why they feel so bad and often blame themselves for what happened even though it is their assaulters fault. If teens, who grow up to be adults, know more about consent, what is a crime and where to report assault it will help as victims can get help the help they need, report what happened to them and hopefully the assaulters will be arrested and taken to court. It also will educate potential rapists or assaulters that what they are doing is wrong and a crime.

As you can see consent is pretty important and I think it is important enough to be taught in schools. Almost everybody engages in some kind of sexual contact at some point in their lives and so this is relevant especially to young people as they discover and explore their sexualities. The TYFA (which you readers know I’m involved with) have launched #Campaign4Consent, asking the government to put consent in the UK National Curriculum. We have a website (it’s not quite finished yet) but there are details on how to get involved on there. We want help from everyone, regardless of age, gender or sexuality to get involved!

#Campaign4Consent www.campaign4consent.co.uk

My Feminist Society’s first meeting

24 Apr

So on Wednesday the 17th of April we had the first meeting of my school’s new Feminist Society (TFS)! As you can imagine I was OMJ SO EXCITED about this and I was right to be.

I only had a week to advertise the new femsoc at my school and we have 1500 students not including the Sixth Form which is another 600ish so advertising stuff is a NIGHTMARE!! I was fully expecting to be sitting in a room all by myself all lunch time so I made a few of my friends promise to come along. It turned out I didn’t need to worry because 15 people turned up despite me only putting the posters up that morning.

I made a powerpoint the night before about the basics of feminism which we looked at first at the meeting. I made the powerpoint into a video for you people.

After the powerpoint we had an amazing discussion about intersectionality and talked about sexism we had experienced and how it was wrong. There were lots of great ideas and IT WAS JUST SO FUN! A girl in the Sixth Form and I got a bit over excited and started shouting A LOT! It was amazing to talk to people in real life about feminism and get into proper discussions. I was really inpressed that everyone understood and kept up as well because most of them were not feminists before this meeting and about half were 13 years old or younger.

After the meeting I was just so happy, it was a great relief that it went well. When I got home from I looked on my twitter and discovered one of the Year 8’s (12-13) had written a blog post about the meeting which was super sweet and I have spent the last week “AAWWWWW”ing about it (here it is http://thestyledummy.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/twitter-youth-feminist-army-woooo/).

We had the next meeting today which was also a success. Here is the powerpoint from today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUBcACsSIhI. As a result of todays meeting we MIGHT start a society blog but I will keep you updated.

WTF is TYFA?

10 Dec
Hi! Lilipop here!
 
The Twitter Youth Feminist Army is a network of young people who met thought Twitter and support each other in their journey to feminism. The TYFA has many members (and will hopefully have many more in future) who have interests in all areas of feminism, different political and religious views, currently ranges in age from 14-27 and has members all over Great Britain!
 
To me it is a life line to like minded people, who share my views and values. It is an intersectional feminist group who are inclusive to all, regardless of age, religion or ethnicity. It is a place to learn and to teach, to share and to experience. Most importantly, the TYFA shows people that feminism is far from dead and show a different type of feminist that is so often stereotyped. I think I may currently be the second youngest member of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army and I have found each and every person I have met through the group a supportive and I know I will be an active and supportive member for many years to come!
 
We has all been feminist for different lengths of time: years, months or decades but will always need help and support from our fellow feminists. Emily feels she has always been a feminist but only just started identifying as a feminist. “I’ve not called myself a feminist all my life (though I’d like to claim it was my first ever word). I’ve identified as a feminist for around a year I’d say”.  Millie, however,  has always identified as a feminist. “I’ve been brought up with feminism my entire life, with my mum and dad both identifying as feminists.”
 
There has been talk of feminism being dead or dying recently, however we aim to prove them wrong with a new generation of feminists! We all became (or started identifying as) feminists for different reasons, showing there is still a great need for feminism and our struggle is not over. Some of us have drifted or stumbled into feminism, such as Jemma , who says that “I sort of stumbled, very fortunately and quite by accident, upon this group of angry, passionate, brilliant people”. For some of us it was triggered suddenly as for Laura who says that when her mother “was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I became very angry with everything, but particularly with the injustices of the world”. For some, they have always been a feminist but something has made them particularly passionate like Millie “My mum showed me a website called Uni Lad…I was absolutely horrified at how sexist and vicious this site was towards women” or for Jess D it has been a constant undertone of sexism “I have constantly been subject to vast amounts of street harassment and other forms of casual sexism”.
 
Although there are young feminists, it is very hard to find them sometimes. Me and Jess C know each other in person – in fact it was Jess C who made me aware of feminism –  but apart from that, I know no other young feminists in real life and not from the Internet. Most members of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army are in a similar situation. Some of us have one or two feminist friends in real life but I don’t think any of us have a strong network of other young feminist not on the Internet. Cat has had a down right negative response to her feminism from her peers, saying that “Most of my friends are disinterested in feminism, however some are decidedly disinterested and intimidated by feminism. My friends I attend college with, for example, usually meet my comments on feminism with ‘Don’t burst my BUBBLE!’ and ‘I don’t care.’ along with a chorus of dismay from the rest of the class.”. Tilly is in much the same position as me”I had never really met anyone who was an open, active, passionate feminist. I still don’t know all that many in person.”. Luckily, some of our members, in particular the older members, do have lots of feminist friends and the Twitter Youth Feminist Army is just a one more way of meeting other feminists “Most of the people I’m close to are also feminists,” says Jess D.
 
This is why the Twitter Youth Feminist Army is so important for our members. It helps you connect to people who support you and your ideas, to meet people who are interested in things you are interested it, to discuss and learn and develop interests in feminist issues such as unequal pay and cuts to women’s services. Tilly said “It makes being a feminist a lot easier and a lot more fun…especially as a young person. That is why I find the Twitter Youth Feminist Army so inspiring…It fills me with hope for the future”. Laura said that “The Twitter Youth Feminist Army made me feel like I was not completely mad”. Millie says that “Being able to have the discussions and make the points that I’ve been aching to make for so long has boosted my confidence in not only my own voice, but the voice of our generation and generations of feminist women and men to come”. Jemma said “Being able to connect with someone who was at the same point in their life as me and had had similar experiences… really encouraged me to go out and talk to people and get involved” and finally Jess D who said “Meeting other young feminists, through TYFA as well as various other channels, has helped massively in my journey, because it has clarified my position that feminism is alive and well and still important and relevant to women of all ages”.
 
I would like to end with a quote from an older feminist who is not in the Twitter Youth Feminist Army. “It’s kind of like reading about a tube of smarties exploding via Twitter”.
 

This post about the Twitter Youth Feminist Army has had lots of input from 11 member who have all worked very hard in putting this together and they are: Jelly (Jess C), Cat, Tilly, Emily, Jemma, Jess D, Laura, Alice and Millie.

 
This blog was writen for a bloghop hosted by The Real SGM for the 16 days of activism on violence against women and girls (http://therealsgm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/16-days-of-action-on-violence-against.html)
For more information about the Twitter Youth Feminist Army then there are contact details on the Contact Us page, including our hashtag (#TwitterYouthFeministArmy). Some members of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army have their own blogs and you can find them of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army page of this blog.