A collection of essays and accounts of what it is to be a woman in 21st century
A strong collection of essays from people with strires to tell
Katie Muriel explains that her president is not her president and how prejudice exists within family. How do you deal with it?
Kristy Diaz tells us that “as a woman in punk, you constantly need to defend yourself against challenges of space, ownership and identity to justify that you’re cool enough to be standing where you are” but ends with a defiant tone and the most liberating thing that has happened for her in punk rock was not to seek approval and abandon any constraints. The sad fact is that this needs to be written.
Claire Heuchan writes about colour. Again something that some may feel needs no words but obviously it does. From feeling like an outsider in her country of birth (Scotland) @claireshrugged found solace and comfort on line. Her sister outsider blog is her catharsis and people access her positive views from all over this world, instantaneously
Jen McGregor writes about living with the consequences of contraception or more to the point depo injections. As an 18 year old woman jen knew children were not for her. A life affecting decision had been made but the medical profession weren’t convinced. This is a story of long term health consequences from various contraceptive methods but a major unwillingness from the medics to make things permanent. It is an unfinished story as Jen is a young 34 year old woman looking for signs for the rest of her life
Laura Lam writes about the three generations of women before her. All dealt hard blows, stories of abusive relationships but of them fighting back despite societal ostracism. A depiction of life for many post world war 1
Mel Reeve talks of survival, after being raped. The effects this cab have in your life. Forever.
Laura Waddell talks of working class girls and their small numbers travelling to third level education. That college road is almost a fire of passage for the privileged but as you go lower down the socio economic ladder the further away the possibilities become. Even further if you happen to be female too
Sim Bejwa, born and raised in slough is a 24 year old woman who has experienced racist comments all her life, once exposed to multiculturalism. Her parents left India as part of an arranged marriage, moved to , worked and lived in the uk ever since. People scream at her ton”GO HOME YOU FUCKING PAKI”. Where?
Becca Inglis writes candidly about her role model, Courtney Love. I have seen many articles in Love and her band Hole but rarely have I seen her mentioned in print as a hero. Becca has battled with depression and Courtney love helped pave the way for her to express herself as she wanted, without fear.
Rowan C Clarke wrote of her relationship with her family and her wife, or rather how the two don’t mix. growing up rowan felt like a misfit, unsure why she was making her Mam unhappy by not doing the things girls are supposed to. That feeling changed little as she battled to go to college, move out of home and start relationships. All seemed to be choices that went against the grain but there was no practical reason for it to be. She is just a person trying to be happy and making positive choices.
Ren Aldridge feels that “speaking out about our experiences breaks the silence that maintains the violence” and I hope this is right for there has been some awful violent episodes accepted by society and the punk rock community. I have been listening to and involved in punk rock for over 35 years and somehow feel part of that community. What the community is can be hard to explain. The specific genres can be contradictory and as Ren points out the hierarchy of punk is just as bad as the state. I view our punk scene as a microcosm of any community, made up of good and bad people. I would love it to be different but it’s not. When you have people coming up to the band Petrol Girls and telling them stories of how they were assaulted at a punk gig all those dreams of autonomy start wilting away
Nadine Aisha Jassat discusses the importance of language and the words we use. We blindly and lazily use terms for convenience not realising the damage they can do. And. Out if courtesy we should be able to pronounce people’s names correctly.
When I saw against me play in Brighton I was completely blown away by the excitement, camaraderie and music on offer. They were a band ready to lead the way . The reality though is the band were all humans and having to deal with life situations like the rest of us, except for singer Laura Jane Grace that situation wasn’t like so many other. Her transition to an open transgender person was made in public and the persona of a male vocalist in Against Me! Was completely flipped. Can you imagine the strength that was required for that? Thankfully laura found strength in her bandmates and friends as explained here.
Elise Hines essay talks about her time growing up in different states in the us and the varying experiences she encountered depending on how further south she traveled. There is a refreshing honest in Elise’s writing that states with a populace of 52% women have to take some blame around the way electoral outcomes have occurred in the US. Of course that asks the question of how we rely on electoral policies and put leaders in positions of such importance. But that’s a subject for another book I guess
Chitra Ramaswamy has written a book called the inner life of pregnancy. It has 9 chapters covering each month of her journey from inception to childbirth. In her piece here Ramaswamy talks about how we never really discuss pregnancy, not least childbirth. Men deciding on women’s choice and bodies gains prominence and I think how when reading the #metoo stories that my years of pleading indifference to people’s gender hasn’t really helped the cause of equality beyond myself and I already had that equal view.
Christina neuwirth delivers a homage to two strong women, her Mam and grandmother. It is a bare personal account of two people “I will never again have a mother or grandmother “ and is written from the heart.
I often see it written that punk rock should be a safe space.gogs should be events where everyone is welcome regardless of sexuality and skin pigmentation. I like to think that is the case but this book and the recent #metoo stories hav dispelled me of that sage motion. Belle Owen speaks about the her attempts of attending these “safe” spaces as a wheelchair user and it highlights how far we really have to go. Belles story is positive though as we hear stories of travel and a life of fulfillment despite the struggle.
Zebra Talkhani’s is about language and the difference between good and nasty. Is good being subservient? Are you a good person if you accept what is being done to you regardless of whether the intention is positive or not. Is it nasty to feel somewhat liberated and stand up for yourself? And that is the whole point throughout the book. These people are not nasty women they are strong, independent, positive role models with human strengths and weakness.
Kaite Welsh talks about her sexuality but really it is of no relevance. What is more interesting is her words about clothes and hairstyles and how they really do take a lot of effort, unless you can’t be bothered with it. Even then it takes a while to come to terms with that thought. Kaite has come to terms with and is rebelling in thee freedom.
The final chapter comes from Joelle a owusu, still facing bigotry as a young black woman living in the up. However Joelle isn’t letter by narrow mindedness beat her down. Of course it effects her as she is on the receiving end of racial abuse even walking down the street but “the world is a dangerous place right now, but not as dangerous as a nasty woman with a pen in her hand and story to tell. These voices telling our truths cannot be shaken and they certainly will not be drowned out anymore “
Throughout I was thinking I wonder what a similar book would be like from a male perspective but then realised that book has been written many times including my own zines. Not on purpose but as a consequence of the number of women participating in punk rock. That is increasing now and being a strong women is no longer a requirement for being a female in a band, or maybe it is, unfortunately