Tag Archives: patriarchy

The “Burka Ban”

22 Sep

Hello everyone! This is Lilipop here. I wanted to talk about banning the niqab and burka because a college in Birmingham (read more here) did just that and it seems to have kicked off a national debate and most recently the far right party UKIP making a policy vowing to “ban the burka”.

Straight off there are the recurring problems that seem to happen when any marginalised group’s rights are “debated”. I am seeing and awful lot of white male politians opinions but not a whole lot of Muslim women’s opinions  even though they are the only people this is really going to affect! Sigh, sigh, sigh. This reminds me so much of when abortion is “debated” by white male politians; your opinions do not really matter unless you are a member of the group who’s rights are being restricted. Of course it would be massively hypocritical of me to say that and not have the opinion of a muslim women here and also my opinion doesn’t really matter so my friend Anisha very kindly wrote a bit for this blog about what she thinks of the “burka ban debate”:

Recently in the headlines there has been a consistent reappearance of political matter concerning the possible ban of the burqa.

The burqa commonly referred to as ‘chadri’ in countries located in Central Asia is a symbolic garment within the Muslim culture; it acts as a facially concealing garment allowing a less fabricated/ sheer section around the eyes to allow sight for the female.

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Anisha

Alongside the burqa there is the niqab in which the ‘veil’ us attached onto one side transforming the head scarf into a niqab, this is the okay commonly worn  version of the ‘veil’ in London, which political leaders are

mistakenly confusing for burqas which are fully fabricated garments with a sheer fabric located in the position of the eyes.

Never the less back I my opening statement, there has been a constant appearance of the burqa and the niqab in the news regarding the ban of the Islamic based garment.

As a Muslim teenager who has grown up my whole life in London I would like to say I completely disagree with the ban of the burqa/ niqab it is unnecessary, disrespectful and without a doubt degrading to the people of the Islamic community. I am in a state of disbelief with the MP’s and hope they take into account the possible effects this ban could have on the Islamic community alongside the people of Britain who are supporting Muslims through this terribly distressing period of time.

2 hours later  after the decision of the Muslim ‘veil’ ban being reversed:

After hearing the news I have decided to write up on this morally degrading issue which I was previously frantically ranting about.

Following the news of UKIP reversing the ban I am thrilled with the fact that they have had a change of mind set and have decided to completely scrap the ridiculous ban 3 years after proposing the total ban of ‘covering faces in both public places and buildings ‘.

I wish to believe that future MP’s will not make any drastic bans related to the publics religions and beliefs, such as the disgusting ban on burqas / niqabs.

-Anisha Namuli, 15.

Here is a list of other piece by Muslim women on the “burka ban”:

http://talatyaq.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/burkha-banning-an-insult-to-freedom-and-feminism/

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2013/09/the_veil_debate

http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/dani-garavelli-niqabs-in-the-public-eye-1-3105790

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/21/dont-ban-veil-in-uk

I also just wanted to point out some very disturbing arguments that are being made for banning the burka and niqab which I have seen a few white non-muslim women who call themselves feminists using. One of these arguments is that the burka and niqab is a symbol of female oppression and that many women are forced to wear them, this is despite the many women speaking out against the banning saying they want to wear them. This is a huge and ignorant case of taking agency away from Muslim women. These people are ignoring the voices of the Muslim women, the people who will be effected by the ban, and instead imposing upon them their own theories on what these women are experiencing. They are ignoring lived experience! They are also refusing to acknowledge the fact that Muslim women, and here’s a crazy idea, MAY ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR OWN DESISIONS *gasp*.  Another argument that is so so so so so WRONG is that people “want to be able to see their beautiful faces” and so should not be able to wear burka’s or niqabs OH MY JAM LIKE SERIOUSLY! I have heard this from women as well as men. I wonder if they realise they are saying that they think their perceived right to see and essentially turn women into objects is more important than these women’s right to wear whatever the fuck they want. This is usually called the Male Gaze I think and it is hugely sexist as it is basically dehumanising the women on the receiving end of the Gaze. It is also quite ironic as one of the points of wearing a hijab, burka or niqab is to control what other people can see and stop people judging and objectifying women based on their appearance.

I am, of course, talking from a position of privilege here so please, please point out to me the things I have said wrong in this. If you have anything else to add or another link to pieces by Muslim women feel free to share.

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Capitalism, can you not.

11 Sep

A bit of a rant about capitalism from Lilipop. I didn’t even spell check so sorry for mistake and I would just like to emphasise this is not meant to make any sense!

I don’t even think I can fucking live in a capitalist society any more. My entire worth, the only thing that is valuable about a person is their earning potential. FUCKING PRIVITISATION. Our system is being Americanised faster than anyone realises but WHY. Its not like the American system is working in America, more children are living on or below the poverty line each year, politians think that’s its fine and dandy to leave people starving on the streets (“They have the choice of paying for their own houses food and medical care” go fuck yourself) social mobility is a fucking joke. We have this idea in the UK of the US as a shining golden meritocracy lolz no. Privatisation just means more and more and more and more money stagnating at the top 0.01% of the super rich elite. Productivity is soaring, record highs, however wages are plummeting in real terms! I don’t even know if I believe in wage labour and to be honest I don’t really know that much about all the socialist communist anarchist stuff but I know that when it is even a debatable topic for people to not have basic food and housing THERE IS A FUCKING PROBLEM. I just don’t understand, I really really don’t. HOW WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do people think that it is acceptable for people in as developed countries as the UK and US to not have medical care? Oh and another thing. People, they are privatising our legal system. This means we are just going to have some kind of factory justice system. People wont get to choose who represents them in court and as legal aid is being slashed to a REDICULOUS degree a lot of the time people wont have any legal aid. And again, people are living without medical care and it is somehow a debatable topic???

This is in no way comprehensible and I am not an expert on any of this but I don’t think I can deal for another minute without crying so this.

#Periodgate

2 Jun

So today I wanted to tell you about a project I am involved with called #periodgate. The name is pretty self-explanatory, you talk about getting your period and add the hashtag #periodgate on Twitter. Now you might be thinking “that’s a cool idea” or you may be thinking “why the hell would you do that, you freak?!?”

The reason I think #periodgate is amazing and the reason I take part in it is that around 50% of the population of the world will get their period at some point in their lives yet you would probably be less shocked it some (consensual) hardcore violent pornography popped up in this window right now than if a picture of a person getting their period popped up. I think this is seriously messed up, patriarchal society normalise violence and sexualisation but tells us that something as ordinary and natural as getting your period is disgusting and shameful. This is not to say that all pornography is wrong and I am not trying to kink shame but I think we should be as used to periods and menstruation and be just as open when talking about them.

I am not saying we should do moon dances in celebration to connect with your flow because menstruation (or getting your period) is not always fun. However we should be able to talk about how not fun it is! If you have really bad cramps you should be able to talk about it without feeling embarrassed or if you have run out of pads or tampons or whatever you use, you should be able to ask your friend for help. This sound so simple but many people find it embarrassing and as a result they think what is happening to them they have to bear on their own. If you are having really bad symptoms then you should be able to discuss it with other people to find out if what you are experiencing are common symptoms or if you should go to the doctors.I have had a few negative reactions to doing #periodgate on Twitter. In one particular case I can remember, another woman called me disgusting but I ask you, is getting your period any more disgusting than graphic pictures of violence against women and girls that are readily available on every social media site there is?

In my experience of #periodgate I have found it enormously helpful in terms of moral support and advice. I have been getting my period for 4 years so it is amazing to talk and share with women who have had many more years’ experience. I have learned about myself and my body, I don’t have to be ashamed of what my body does. I feel like this is another step to tackling patriarchy’s hold over me, it makes me feel free.

The Perfect Woman

16 Apr

Here is a post that I wrote for Project Naked

I know that, as a girl, I am judged every day for how I look and what I’m wearing. I am compared to my mother, my friends, models in magazines and people’s own ideas of how I should look. I am compared to this “Perfect Woman”, who is the patriarchal ideal of what a woman is meant to be.

The Perfect Woman is something everyone feels differently about. The media’s best efforts to brainwash us into worshiping a white, slim, able-bodied image of perfection have been mostly successful but we still have slightly different opinions about who and what is beautiful.

These ideas of perfection are so often very different, if not opposite, to how we really look and feel about ourselves, yet we feel obliged to try and make ourselves more like the Perfect Woman. This is a problem because in our patriarchal society, a women’s appearance and beauty are some of her most valued traits. Whether we want it to be or not it is ingrained in our society, in our minds and the people around us.

My picture of the perfect women is different from the way I look. Not opposite but far enough away that I know I will never look that way. I will always be subpar, inadequate, not quite good enough. But I know I am not alone. I have never met and I do not think there exists a single person on this earth that is even nearly happy with the way they look. In fact, in my experience, the people who are perceived as most beautiful have the most negative views about themselves. The most beautiful girl I know doesn’t even think she is pretty, let alone beautiful.

The perfect woman is a shadow in the front of our minds. A niggling voice saying we will never measure up. Telling us we aren’t beautiful, we aren’t desirable, we aren’t wanted.

BUT

I don’t like that voice and I don’t think you do either. Why should we measure and compare ourselves to this ideal, this figment of imagination when we are real. We all have flaws and we are all different so why try and change that? Why not celebrate our differences? I ask you to see your differences and embrace them. Embrace yourselves and embrace the differences of others around you because perfection is not real.

Lilipop’s Feminism

22 Feb

I was about to have a shower when I looked at myself in the mirror and realised how much I don’t hate myself. I finally feel comfortable in my own body with is quite an achievement for me because a year or so ago I would sometimes feel physically sick looking myself. It seemed to me that I was total failing as a girl because I was not a size 8 or because I had body hair. I constantly worried about what people would think of me if they saw a roll of my fat or some stuble from shaving my underarms. I know now that people just don’t really care if I am a size smaller or if I don’t wax my bikini line, all that matters is how I feel about my self. Of course there are always times when I dont feel as confident and and sometimes I have a little breakdown but I have amazing friends and the feminist community helps me through it.

The problem is, most girls my age feel how I used to feel. Should we feel this way? Why do we feel this way? And most importantly, how can I make it stop? This is why I am a feminist. I want to be allowed to love myself for who I am. Why are we made to feel ashamed of natural, normal? My answer is that we are getting these messages from a society that is a partiarchy. Patriarchy is the idea that the social system we live in is dominated by men. Men are the primary and automatic authority figure, they decide what is normal and what should be expected. This is a better explaination of patriarchy, have a look at this

Of course feminism and oppression by the patriarchy is not just about body image (although that is important). Women are marginalized and oppressed in so many different ways, for example the pay gap. Despite the (easy to get around in the UK) legislation, women still earn on average 30% LESS than men doing the same job with the same qualifications for the same amount of time. This means when me and my little sister grow up we will have an automatic disadvantage, something extra holding us back. No matter how hard we try it will not get better still the patriarchy is smashed.

Well now we have established that I am a feminist and why! Now that I am a feminist, I have found a great community of feminists on Twitter and through the London Student Feminist Network. Of course I could not talk about my feminism without talking about the Twitter Youth Feminist Army, I would not be the same without them. I have meet so many amazing friends, learnt so much and been given so many amazing oppertunities because of the Twitter Youth Feminist Army. This is why I am trying to spread the word of feminism, it has given me some life changing personal experiences and is working towards a better world for everyone, hope for the future.

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Music that makes me go GRRRR

1 Feb

I haven’t yet shared with you my GRRRL POWER playlist! This is a playlist that I listen to when I am feeling depressed or “whats the point”-y. After I listen to it I CAN DO ANYTHING! It was originally named the FEMINIST PLAYLIST but not all of it is feminist music however all of it makes you feel like you can punch the patriarchy in the face!

Here it is:

1) The first one is “Mr Big Stuff” by one hit wonder Jean Knight.

2) The next is “Hot Topic” by Le Tigre (WOOOO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0idmTWxFs1A

3) This is “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS” by Salt’n’Pepper (They speak the truth)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q96-e042bk

4) Next is “Respect Yourself” by The Staple Singers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1pYKdqD1ls

5) After that, “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill (The music is GUT despite the members faults)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZxxhxjgnC0

6) Of course no playlist would be complete without NINA SIMONE! Today in the form of “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9_Tzginj7g
7) “Your Revolution” by Sarah Jones (Not techniquely a song but amazing never the less)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRgIGMwZd2o

8) Ending with the classic “You don’t own me” by Lesley Gore (possiblly the first feminist pop song)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNb-8gLcXLs

I hope you have enjoyed the music!

Lilipop x

Seriously Texas, this is NOT on!

14 Jan

Hello! Lilipop here.

Today I wanted to talk about the defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas.

You probably have read about it but if not or you didn’t understand I will try to explain what’s been happening in that crazy place we call America.

It was announced on New Years Eve (which is probably why it has had next to no coverage) that judges had decided that the state of Texas could cut off funding to a program run by Planned Parenthood that provided family planning to poor women through the State Womens Health Program. This included basic care such as birth control, cancer screenings, pre natal care and advice and the program served 48,000 poor women.

“This sounds like an important service” I hear you say “why would Texas want to cut it off?”
Well it comes down to Texas’ so called “affiliate rule”. This is a law pushed through by Texan Republican law makers last year that says State funding can not be given to an organisation or an organisation affiliated with an organisation that perform abortions or is pro-choice. This law was justified by the people who wanted this law by saying that Texas is a “pro-choice” State.

Abortions are in fact legal in Texas but all women who want or need abortions must have two counselling sessions including an ultrasound scan at least 24 hours before the abortion. The State of Texas will pay for an abortion but only in the case of rape, incest or if the mother is in danger if the woman is covered under the government healthcare programs. Insurance rarely covers the cost of abortions either so it almost always has to be paid for out of the women’s pocket and can cost a women more than $500 as well as being an incredibly traumatic experience, prolonged by the mandatory counselling sessions and scans. Planned Parenthood provides abortion services privately in Texas as well as in other states and that is the problem.

Planned Parenthood has 74 independent local affiliates that operate nearly 800 health centres around the USofA; because the health centers providing the free, important health care for poor women are affiliated with the health centres providing abortions privately, by Texan law, they cannot have any State funding.

Now you would think with the amount of fuss Texas is going to, leaving tens of thousands of women without basic healthcare, that planned parenthood must be performing abortions left, right and centre! In fact only 3% of the services provided by planned parenthood are abortion services. Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education and information to almost 5 million women, men and adolescents. Most of their services are aimed at PREVENTING unintended pregnancy but they also perform 770,000 Pap tests and 750,000 breast exams each year which are essential to detecting cancer. They also perform more than 4 million STI tests each year.

I find it disgraceful that, firstly, these people think that they have the right to dictate what a woman can and cannot do with her body and secondly, that they are letting these misguided and in my opinion WRONG WRONG WRONG beliefs affect their political decisions that affect tens of thousands of women. They have denied women not only their right to reproductive health care but also sexual health care, contraception, cancer tests and education on all of these.

Why can women not choose for themselves what they do and do not want to do with their bodies? Why are women not trusted to make important decisions for themselves? Why are men making these decisions? That’s right, it is mostly men, who will never get pregnant and will never have an abortion are making these choices for women. Here is an interesting fact for you, women make up 20-25% of Texan Lawmakers and only 18.3% of the United States’ House of Representatives which is absolutely disgusting and even worse when you know, that is SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than North Korea, in which women make up 1/3 of representative positions. This makes me want to throw up then punch the US goverment in the face. Very hard.

I think every women should have a choice. Poor Texan women are not given a choice. Their own goverment is crushing their choices.

I am way too angry to write any more but I expect you can imagine your own rant now!

Lots of ANGRY love

Lilipop

P.S BYE!!

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