EDITOR’S NOTE In honour of International Women’s Day, Wave Press is a special edition magazine in collaboration with LU Arts and the WP team. Within these pages, we exhibit the work of talented writers and designers exploring the feminist waves and celebrating the women of our worlds. Wave Press began as an excitable Instagram DM that I pestered Hannah T with back in October, where my exact words were: ‘let’s do a big project uniting a tonne of cool powerful women!’. Hannah T has been the greatest mentor, peer, and friend to me since we were introduced in 2017, and I felt honoured to have her on board after she took my rambling messages seriously and we joined forces to pitch what is now Wave Press! Our ultimate goal was to produce a new and exciting publication that would unite, celebrate, and represent women and allies from all walks of life. With Hannah T and I’s expertise certainly not stretching to design, we welcomed Lauren with open arms and became a team of three. Not only did she do an incredible job of bringing these pages to life, but Lauren also became a great friend. As Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee said: ‘When women gather, great things will happen.’ Wherever you’re at with feminism, it’s likely that you’re still learning – I know I am. We hope that Wave Press can contribute to and facilitate that learning process in any kind of way: ‘Some women being empowered does not prove that the patriarchy is dead. It proves that some of us are lucky’ – Roxane Gay Reminder: Your experiences are valid. With some Wave Press wisdom and love, Hannah B x
EDITOR Hannah Bradfield ASSISTANT EDITOR Hannah Thompson, @hannaht1194 (Twitter) LEAD DESIGNER Lauren Postlethwaite @laurendp_arty COVER ART Clemence Bahout, @clemsdoingok
WE STILL NEED FEMINISM 4 Mayowa Fagbure I CAN’T SEE HIM IN A TUTU 6 Amie Woodyatt SISTER WORDS 8 Lottie Hazell YOU’RE SPILLING OUT 9 Caitlin Binks NEITHER, OR BOTH? 10 David Wilson CALL ME BY MY NAME 12 Yasmin Nwofor TWINS 14 Ngozi Oparah GENERATION FEMINISM 16 Hannah Bradfield ACADEMIC SISTERS 21 Jackie Goode NEURODIVERSITY 22 George Reed FAST FEMINISM 24 Hannah Bradfield and Hannah Thompson ETHNIC VILLAGES 26 Xiyuan Tan WOMEN CARE FOR THE WORLD, BUT WHO CARES FOR WOMEN? 28 Leah Langley HEALTHY ADULT: I TRUST MYSELF 29 Sara Osman VEIL OF LIBERTY 30 Afreen Fazil VERITAS AEQUITAS (TRUTH & JUSTICE) 32 Tamilore Ayo-Famola SUPERSCRIPT FEMINISM 34 Isobel Sigley A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER 36 Adèle MacKinlay WORKSHOP 38 Hannah Timson RESOURCES 39
T IS 2021 AND IT SEEMS LIKE BEING A feminist is finally socially acceptable. With celebrities like Beyoncé, Emma Watson and Taylor Swift boldly claiming the label of ‘feminist’ and brands like CoverGirl and Dove using female empowerment as part of their marketing campaigns, current conversations about feminism have painted it as outdated. In
Third World and First World feminists. While I recognise that women in the Western world in-part contribute to the subjugation of women in developing countries through imperialism, it is harmful to place one form of feminist activism above the other. Western feminism isn’t less impactful or important because it champions causes such as the media’s
WE STILL NEED
FEMINISM By Mayowa Fagbure; illustration by Fran Butler, @franbutlercreative
many countries, women can vote, work, drive, live alone, and pursue an education. These developments pose a crucial question: Have societies progressed past the need for feminism? The short answer is no. Data on sexual violence is staggering – one-third of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner physical and/ or sexual violence (United Nations, 2020). The gender income gap continues to affect women within the labour force, while sexual harassment and rape culture are pervasive elements of our so-called ‘post-feminist’ societies. UNEVEN PLAYING FIELDS In developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, women’s rights continue to be suppressed. Women face disadvantages by issues such as marital rape, sexual assault, limited access to education, period poverty and child marriage – to name a few. Cultural attitudes and religious doctrines reinforce ideas that support this suppression of women’s rights. Governments do not assign enough money towards the empowerment of women within their national budgets. In all, the rights of women are viewed as secondary to their male counterparts. With this in mind, it is clear that there is a pressing need for a more globalised practice of feminism. However, I disagree with the creation of an antagonistic relationship between
representation of women, sexual freedom or reproductive rights. The rights of African, Asian and Latin-American women are just as important as women living in the West, even if they are championing different causes. HOW ARE WE FIGHTING? In a world that has drastically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, political activism has not declined. The internet, especially social media, has provided a new platform for activism, for example, the #MeToo movement which solidified the impact of social media in effecting real-world change. The use of the hashtag to create a community of women connected by their experiences with sexual assault and harassment is a hallmark of the solidarity that exists within the feminist movement. Online activism is a valuable tool for feminists to accommodate and develop intersectional mindsets - that is, the acknowledgement that race, sexuality, class, disability among other factors converge to create inequalities for women, in different ways. MOVING FORWARD The popularity of feminist ideas does not mean that its goal has been achieved - that is, global gender equality. The need for feminism is alive and well, and it is a fight that we should all be engaged in for the long run.
I CAN’T SEE HIM IN A TUTU. By Amie Woodyatt
RASURE IS A COMPLEX TOPIC TO discuss, particularly when it grants me another (albeit assumed) layer of privilege. I am pansexual. But I’m also a white, femme, cisgender woman who passes as straight; my pronouns are she/her and no one has ever struggled with that. My body is subject to patriarchal expectations, but I do not suffer from the added systemic aggressions against darker skin or attacks for not fitting into the binary. Erasure, though, is another blanket thrown over the LGBTQ+ community in an effort to hide it in our heteronormative society. It is assumed at birth that everyone is straight; this grows into the unwritten expectation that to be queer your partner must also be your gender. Ergo as a woman if I date men, I must be straight, and if I haven’t dated anyone, it’s still assumed that I’m straight. When others consistently question or manipulate my sexuality for their own benefit or understanding, I wonder if I’m queer enough, if I’m queer at all, and if the times I’ve been with women actually ‘count’. I only came out to my parents when I was in a relationship with another woman – I didn’t feel queer enough to do so beforehand. If I hadn’t dated a woman before, how could I prove that I wasn’t straight? Ultimately, my parents didn’t care who I dated, as long as I was happy, however, a passing comment stuck with me, “I didn’t know you batted for that team”. Using the baseball (or… cricket?) analogy, I bat for batting’s sake – I don’t care about the teams. Pansexuality is experiencing sexual attraction regardless of gender, we’re not attracted to everyone, but when we experience attraction, gender does not impact it. (This is not to
disregard non-binary definitions of bisexuality – they’re absolutely valid, pansexuality is merely the ‘label’ which I personally feel comfortable with). As I no longer date a woman, I have seemingly had my queerness erased. This comes up in comments like “but you’re dating a man” and suggesting it’s a phase with “that was when you liked girls” (it’s women, by the way). My personal favourite came after I had defended my sexuality due to my partner being a man. “I can’t see him in a tutu.” As if my partner wearing a tutu changes my sexuality. As if all women casually wear tutus. As if a tutu is a gendered item of clothing. I had to laugh. My partner also laughed, suggesting he would in fact don a tutu quite happily. That image lives rent-free in my mind. In the past, partners have not been so supportive, suggesting I not take part in diversity programs because “you’re not affected by that”. However, with many heterosexual men, they will just as quickly ask how I can be queer if I’m dating a man, or if I’m interested in threesomes. The fetishization of queer women is a very real issue within erasure. These are, of course, microaggressions –I’m not being seriously hurt or attacked. As a woman, I am used to proving who I am. But I do hope that people learn to not be surprised when they hear that others aren’t straight. I hope when individuals set boundaries and terms for how they identify, they are respected. I hope queer women can be queer women without being questioned or fetishized. I’m happy with my partner. I’m empowered by my partner. I’m a woman and he’s a man, and I am still pansexual. Illustration by Phoebe Eaves, @phlavours
SISTER WORDS By Lottie Hazell NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a found poem written using only words used to describe the #MeToo Movement on The Guardian website. out i never intended to Speak for difficult Women, angry Women, these Women. Real name powerful white old Men, out of Control over her lived Experience. a Political correctness, Sexual harassment for Women. a Violence against Truth telling. Me Too. sex and Power structures for a new Generation. desire, agency Sexual Abuse, Violence. a Feminist dystopia. a Feminist movement. Gender equality. Gender inequality. Sexual Politics. Sexual harassment. Social change. Social norms. Social history. Rape culture is victims. out i never intended to Speak for Female rage, Female anger, Female Power. for her Experience, her Truth, the Truth. telling, Me Too.
You’re Spilling Out responds to common sexist phrases that women hear about their bodies. Caitlin Binks (@caitbinksart), You’re Spilling Out, 2020, wire hanger, bra, insulation foam, acrylic paint and fishing wire.
BAFFLER. CORRECT-TOILET DOUBLE-CHECK INSTIGATOR. PATRIARCHAL BIRTH-RIGHT REJECTER.
“PHARMACIST BAFFLER. CORRECT–TOILET double–check instigator. Patriarchal birth– right rejecter.” These are some of the terms that non-binary comedian Andrew O’Neill came up with to describe their identity. As someone who was beginning to get my head around my own gender identity when I heard it, the last one stood out. No wonder my appearance could send some men into a rage. They’d offered me membership of their exclusive club, and I’d turned it down. I’d read the terms and conditions and said: “Nah, it’s not my sort of thing”. The dress code was extremely dull.
And that comes with male privilege. But they will also detect that “something is wrong”. They’ve been detecting it since long before I had the words to describe it. Since before I had any clothes, any jewellery, any makeup to spell it out. From my earliest memories, it’s been like an aura they can sense. They don’t usually have the words either, but they may well have some very strong feelings. The result of those feelings can be aggressive, even dangerous… and ultimately lead to marginalisation.
We live in a patriarchal world. Men, on average, have more status and power than women. When women dress more like men, we call it power dressing, to reflect the higher status that comes with it. When men are superior, women that act more like men move up the ranks. When men appear more like women, the reaction is different. So, it’s hard to know where someone assigned male at birth (amab) but who rejects the norms they’re supposed to follow, sits in the hierarchy. As a feminist, I’d rather there wasn’t a hierarchy, but we’re not there yet. And when there isn’t equality, some people have more privilege than others, making their path through the world a little smoother.
Like gender, privilege and marginalisation aren’t binary. We’re not privileged or marginalised. We’re all complex combinations of attributes and characteristics and we move through different contexts. We might be the most privileged person in one setting, and the most marginalised in the next. That’s why the work put into checking our privilege is never complete. As someone socialised male, I can be quick to offer my thoughts and opinions and I have to work to ensure I’m not taking space from people brought up to be less forthright. But as a non-binary trans bisexual, I have to be constantly aware of how safe, or unsafe it is to let people see the real me.
Those of us who want greater equality, work to be aware of our privilege; making an effort to keep it in check. We try not to take up more than our fair share of space, to allow others who are more marginalised, to retain theirs. The privilege you have comes from how others perceive you which box they decide to put you in. Most people still view sex and gender as binary - either male or female. With those being the boxes that most people employ, I will be put in the “male” one.
“Keep checking that male passing bs privilege and we’ll be good!” said a friend years ago. I do. I keep checking for danger, too. And to those who do judge people solely based on their appearances, I will leave you with something Iggy Pop once said, “I’m not ashamed to dress like a woman, because I don’t think it’s shameful to be a woman”. Illustration by Phoebe Eaves @phlavours
NEITHER, OR BOTH? By David Wilson Application Support Manager, IT Services Equality Diversity and Inclusion Team Member, People and Organisational Development Trans Rep for Loughborough LGBT+ Staff Group
CALL ME BY MY NAME We were to meet at the square by nine To dance under a pale moon until our young legs grew weary Instead I was met by A man who had crossed my father’s palm For the promise of my hand in return He rid me of my garments White My protest was my naked vessel Bold and brilliant battered and bruised Red Before him My protest was my pleasure My protest however, Was met only with rageful scorn For I threatened his power I threatened the ground upon which his superiority stood Quaking in it’s boots How dare I stand before him Tall and proud When all he ever knew was that I must contort my vessel To fit his mould I had outgrown the earth in which he planted me Suffocated down to my roots For this oppression traces down to my roots But my daughter will not know the taste of this oppression She will not know but the sweet air of freedom Never bitter Always sweet Head high Heart strong My lungs too shall taste the freedom of tomorrow’s promise Call me by my name My voice commands This courage startles him But is no stranger to my heart Call me by my name This name of mine was born of my mother’s hips and spoken of my father’s lips This name of mine holds power
NIGERIAN FEMINIST LITERATURE FREQUENTS THE IDEA of reclamation. We reclaim not only the black female body but our narratives as well. The narrative on what it means to be a black woman from the very mind of a black woman is all too often subsumed by that of others. The art exhibits the way in which our voices can be lost amidst a crowd of people who are all too accustomed to their access to our minds and bodies alike. This art is about black women reclaiming the rightful position as the sole author of our own narrative. I endeavour for us to have progressed far beyond a time when Nigerian women had to use their naked bodies as a tool of protest, to a space of celebration and recognition. Call Me By My Name is an ode to the women who found themselves lost in the duties of forced marriage and premature motherhood. The poem is a call to recognise women as more than the roles they fulfil, to recognise women as celebrated individuals. This is our birthright! Poetry, words and artwork by Yasmin Nwofor, @yasminnwofor
TWINS By Ngozi Oparah
OUR MOTHER IS THE TYPE OF WOMAN who wakes at 5 am to make breakfast for her husband. Not before first putting on a fresh layer of makeup and nude lipstick. This is her only exercise: cooking and cleaning for a house and its contents. When you met your mother she was working at a community service agency with high school dropouts in Atlanta. She’d bring them jollof rice and plantains and force them to pray before they reached into the tupperware to take their shares. After five pm, she would still be at her desk talking to one of the kids. She had a gift for finding those in need and giving some of what she had to offer to them. She liked the ones who hated her the most, the ones who came in raging or diminished. Who called her curse words and threatened to never come back. These are the ones she stayed late for, the ones whose requests she took when she cooked on the weekends. The ones she learned to text, email, and IM for. When your oldest brother said he was too embarrassed to be seen with her purchasing with food stamps at the Kroger outside the neighborhood, she drove 45 minutes north to buy groceries. She told you this years later, when sorry and you shouldn’t have were only sounds, were less than empty. When your father was around he always seemed frustrated with her. He’d say her whole name, Evelyn, then start, why are you, suck his teeth, you always, shake his head, you just like to run run run. You don’t know how to [synonyms for rest]. She was always
working for him, though, as he complained. He wanted her to do all she was doing but also be around to enjoy it with him. Like at Christmas when the rest of the family used to play boardgames or be dancing in the living room, she’d be in the kitchen making sure there was food ready for when the bodies grew tired and hungry. She could never be in both places and it wasn’t just your father whose solution to her being overwhelmed was wanting multiples of her. Sometimes he’d get nasty and switch from English to Igbo, his spit riddling her face as he tried to convince her to be everywhere at once. And you could tell, even though you don’t know the language, that he was shrinking her. You shrink the same way: chin first, then eyes, then shoulders and upper spine. Then knees lock. Body drags, gravitating towards the closest exit. She’d disappear and then come back later with a smile. Reset. You’d ask her if she was okay in secret but before you could get to her, no matter how quickly you did, the memory of her bullied in the living room or kitchen or bedroom would be more yours than hers, more worry than real. She tells you this often when you try to tell her about your own pain: That yours is a problem of focus. That pain is only pain when you give it the name, that power. You believed this myth for years. It took the place of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy that other children had—meant to help you understand the things you’re given, the things taken from right under you when you dare to rest. Illustration by Millie Peacock, @milliepeacockart
GENERATION FEMINIST The Defining Era of My Grandma By Hannah Bradfield
CAN’T SAY THAT WEARING A MASK makes interviewing the easiest thing. Especially if the interviewee in question is slightly hard of hearing (sorry, Nana!), and thought that she might be able to tune her new AirPods into actual human conversations (catch up, Apple). Regardless of the social distancing measures, however, it was lovely to just sit down and listen. I don’t think we do that enough; just listen. There’s a beauty in those intergenerational conversations that have become increasingly rare; consumed by the chaos of everyday life. As we began our conversation, our contrasting appearances made me laugh. I was barely held together by a purple pair of velour joggers and a stained t-shirt. Meanwhile, my Grandma was perfectly put together (in her 89 years on this earth, I don’t think she’s ever been anything but). She was even wearing makeup. Lipstick? I haven’t heard of her since pre-COVID. My very first question was directed towards any prior knowledge she had of feminism as a concept. Although she struggled to grasp a definition, it was obvious that she’d subconsciously been engaging with feminism throughout her life. She reflected on ‘a man’s world’ where men seemed to have it all; from the biggest dinner portion to passing laws on abortion.
‘You just didn’t do the things you do now… people would frown if you were dining alone in a restaurant. To go into a bar on your own was unthinkable, not because you’d fear being attacked, but because it just wasn’t right if you were a woman.’ ‘I would think, ‘but why shouldn’t I go into a bar if I wanted to?’ It was definitely a man’s world, and for women, it was a very unkind era. There’s so much that I could tell you about that era; you just couldn’t do anything. I was actually considered to be rather ahead of my time.’ I felt awful. Awful that I couldn’t relate from my position of privilege, paved for me by people like my Grandma. Feeling awful, however, is unproductive. Education is much more important - and having those intergenerational conversations is a good start. What has actually changed? What remains wrong with the world? How can we have a voice for the women who don’t? On a lighter note, however, it was lovely to see that talking fashion made my Grandma glow. She has always been empowered by dressing exactly how she feels is fit. – ‘I loved the fashion… that Dior era was a lovely era’ - for my Grandma, the times of high fashion and dancing in cocktail dresses offered a light in an otherwise darker time for a lot of women. Note: the following ‘NP’ abbreviation stands for ‘Nana Pam’. We all know my grandma as Nana Pam – my friends do, my friends’ parents do, even my old teachers did. Think of it as an informal stage name… H. What did you do for fun with your friends? NP. Danced. I loved it. That was my absolute favourite thing. It still is. I’ve danced since I was three, all through my life… H. Could have been a dancer!
NP. Well, that was what I wanted to do Hannah! H. What did you wear to the dances? NP. We used to wear cocktail dresses. Mine were satin and silk and had lovely sleeves. The A-line was very straight, and the others had more full skirts. I wore cocktail dresses up until the year I married Grandad, and that was 1968! I remember a funny story, a joke really…We went on holiday to Paris…no, not Paris, Nice! We went camping in a tent and I took cocktail dresses with me – which was ridiculous! But that was what we wore, with jewellery that was always sparkly! (Can you imagine how amazing this shoot would be – a tranquil French campsite glowing under the hazy Summer sun and my Grandma rocking 60s cocktail dresses and jewels – Vogue, you heard it here first…) H. I wish we had more of that – the high fashion! NP. I was always interested in clothes…we didn’t have a lot of money, but I always had to have the best fashion that I could. I had Dior’s New Look…the little peplums, the skirts and the gloves. We always wore gloves…when we went out, we actually dressed up! For my grandma, fashion was the good stuff. It was a means of expression in an era where women were not encouraged to express themselves. She has taught me so much as I have grown into a young woman and I am empowered by her experiences. Empowering, educating, and having a voice for one another is paramount. NP. Thank you for having this discussion with me. I’m going to talk about it with my friends; what is sad, and what I understand now, is that I was much more intelligent than I was made to realise. This self-doubt is an insidious tool used to extinguish ambition. But, to me, and to many others, my Grandma still represents ambition. A dancing, sparkling, bejewelled kind of ambition.
‘What I understand now, is that I was much more intelligent than I was made to realise. Right: illustration by Lucy Moult, @lhmoult_art. Previous: illustration by Clemence Bahout, @clemsdoingok.
ACADEMIC SISTERS By Jackie Goode; illustration by Ellie Boyle, @elliejoyart
She showed me hers, And I showed her mine. They made us laugh. "I think we ought to get them published," she said. "What do you say?" "I will if you will, I said. So. We might become an item: one slim volume.
NEURODIVERSITY By George Reed
Illustration by Flo Sargent, @flo.sargent.design
TODAY I LIKE BEING AUTISTIC. AS MY SOCIAL skills and resilience have gradually grown, my perception of the condition has shifted from being a curse, to just being different. I’m proud of that growth, but it’s also uncomfortable to consider how my quality of life improved as I refined my skills of ‘masking’.
1% of children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and girls remain significantly underdiagnosed since the models for diagnoses are based on males. ASD is a hugely varying developmental disability which causes difficulty with social communication and interaction, and often sensory differences. I respect the right of other Autistic people to talk about their condition however they want. The inequality we face makes a negative outlook understandable. Only 16% of adults diagnosed with autism are in employment, Autistic children are three times more likely to be bullied than children without ASD, and more than 70% of Autistic youth have mental health conditions.
support requiring Autistic people strongly reject the neurodiversity movement, viewing autism as a disease and yearning for a ‘cure’. Yet those making these critiques are predominantly non-Autistic or have low support needs themselves, and multiple nonverbal Autistic writers support neurodiversity’s principles. Young nonverbal Autistic blogger Philip Reyes writes, ‘I have listened to people talk negatively about autism… I learned to hate myself’, expressing frustration at negative depictions of autism. He expresses pride in his condition: ‘I love my life with autism.’
There is an expectation of Autistic people to learn and conform to social norms, going so far as to punish them for their disability. Autistic children are instructed to fit in if they want to avoid being bullied. Of course, Autistic people feel as ambitious as the neurotypical to adapt to life’s challenges, but when the ramifications of the inevitable falters are as serious as abuse, unemployment and depression, this expectation is deadly.
Nonverbal twenty-year-old Japanese author Naoki Higashima has written several collections of essays about his experiences to huge worldwide success, all with a handmade alphabet grid. To my surprise, there have been many of his experiences I do not relate to, making me realise that as a comparatively low support requiring Autistic person, I am privileged compared to those in the community with greater impairments and that the Autistic experience of life is as diverse as the non-Autistic one.
Under the social model of disability, on which the neurodiversity movement is based, Autistic people are disabled not by their condition but by societal barriers. I used to be doubtful. As I underwent anxiety and depression caused by bullying, descriptions of autism as a ‘gift’ or ‘different way of viewing the world’ felt like silly romanticisation. Now I feel differently; that distress would almost certainly not have existed in a society where every effort was made to support and integrate Autistic people.
Reyes and Higashima are both intelligent, yet without the technology that they both rely on to communicate, they would likely be assumed to be the opposite. Whilst there are many Autistic people with learning difficulties, we must wonder how many high support requiring Autistic people are deeply misunderstood – assumed by society to be cognitively impaired but more held back by society’s assumptions, a lack of state support, and current technological limits.
The neurodiversity movement faces much criticism. Autistic pride has supposedly encouraged new potentially harmful schools of thought celebrating anorexia, addiction, and depression – but these are illnesses, and autism is not. Some supporters have bullied Autistic people or their families for describing the condition negatively – this is awful behaviour but does not undermine the social model. I am more concerned over whether the neurodiversity movement risks trivialising autism, thus marginalising Autistic people who are nonverbal or have the highest support needs. The movement is undoubtedly dominated by those who can speak and have average or above IQs, which risks letting down the third of Autistic people who are nonverbal. Some families of high
Relatively low support requiring Autistic people like me should do more to welcome high support requiring Autistic people into the neurodiversity movement - not as token participants, but as full members with influence. No one in the Autistic community should feel shouted down, including when they feel negatively about the condition. We must all resist the assumption that communication impairments – mild or severe – reflect a lack of intelligence. The gender diagnosis gap must also be closed, so Autistic women can receive the support they deserve. Finally, neurotypical people should educate themselves on autism to help shift our society to one which integrates Autistic people to the greatest possible extent and appreciates our value.
FAST FEMINISM By Hannah Thompson and Hannah Bradfield; illustration by Sophie Hawley
The WP editorial team, Hannah B and Hannah T, took to Zoom to chat to two incredible GB athletes sprinter Beth Dobbin, and long jumper Jazmin Sawyers, about flawed measures of femininity.
EMININITY AND SPORT HAVE often been considered opposites; incompatible and problematic. Yet, in the recent feminist wave, reclaiming femininity has facilitated new meanings of its expression- and how truly empowering it can be. With Beth and Jazz, we discussed the phrase ‘like a girl’ and its meaning to them. They shared with us their thoughts on femininity and selfexpression, and the ultimate goal of celebration and acceptance within the sporting space- as Jazz pointed out “look, if I do my hair nice, make up and nails nice I’m not going to be mad if you talk about it but in the same stretch talk about our performances first.”
Reflecting on her early experiences as a teen grappling with the changes puberty naturally brings Jazz noted the conflicting identities of what it meant to be ‘like a girl’. “Being girly was used as an insult but if I came in, which I did, with bigger muscles than the boys, stronger and a not very ‘feminine’ figure, I was a ‘man’ and that was an insult as well. So where was I supposed to fit that actually works? If I accepted the traditional feminine side of things, then that was too girly and that’s weak and that’s a negative. But then at the other end of it was I am a man, too masculine and that’s seen as a bad thing. I feel like when you’re a teenager trying to figure it all out going through what teenagers go through having that thrown at you, how am I supposed to do this, I just want to enjoy sport.” Beth added: “Yeah, I think I notice it more now. When I was younger, I was slim, and I didn’t have many muscles and it’s now that I am older, I compare myself to my friends who don’t do sport and they say you look like a boy and I know they’re only joking but sometimes I do look in the mirror and think this is weird. But at the same time, I wouldn’t change it for anything.” So, what changed for these fearless female athletes and their perception of pairing femininity and sporting prowess? For Jazz, “The turning point for me, was when I was confident in my own ability in my sport, so I was like okay I know that I am confident that I can deliver performance so whether I come across as feminine or masculine it doesn’t matter at this point. I feel confident enough. I know what I am doing. Then I was able to step back and actually think do I dislike this feminine stuff, or do I just think I do because I wanted to push that away. It turns out I actually really like traditionally feminine things and that’s okay.” The powerful pair are aware that they have had to unpick and re-negotiate their femininity (thanks to early internalised experiences of misogyny). If we can celebrate being ‘like a girl’ as a positive rather than, as Jazz pointed out, an insult, perhaps the generation of women to come will be free to express themselves confidently in their own ways. As Beth said, she likes ‘matching scrunchies with leggings, but if people don’t want to do that, that’s fine as well. As long as you’re happy within yourself, that’s the most important thing.’
ETHNIC VILLAGES Comic and words by Xiyuan Tan IN CHINA, THE IMAGES OF ETHNIC MINORITY people are usually female. Query the phrase ‘Chinese ethnic minorities’ on Google Images and you’ll notice. On the contrary, in textbooks, more names of ethnic minority men are shown. Why is imagery representation more likely to be women and textual representations more likely to be men? Is it because imagery representations are there to be ‘gazed at’ and to appeal to ‘audiences’?
WOMEN BUT FOR
CARE FOR THE WORLD
WHO CARES WOMEN?
By Leah Langley; artwork by Sara Osman Sara Osman (@sara.kew), ‘Healthy Adult: I Trust Myself’, 2020, Latex and Sand.
RADITIONALLY, WOMEN HAVE tended to take on the responsibility of looking after the health of others. There has been an undeniable societal expectation that women conform to the domestic sphere, holding a role and status within society that has often overshadowed their mental health needs. Mental health has become a more widely discussed topic over the years, with many people becoming more open about their problems. However, the conversation has very rarely touched on the treatment of women’s mental health. Instead, conversations are much more inclined to focus on women’s openness surrounding their mental health. The lack of adequate conversation has led to a reduced awareness of the discrimination that women face in service provisions. Women are not often considered as separate entities when it comes to service provision, and more gender-neutral approaches are adopted instead. In 2002 and 2003, it was advised that services needed to encompass gendered responses. The inequality that women face is fortified by the failure to correctly address issues in current care practices. Social attitudes towards women and the insidious nature of the gender data gap (see Caroline Criado-Perez’s Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men) reinforce the barriers between their access to adequate support and resources.
The incessant growth of zero-hour contracts and the amplified ‘marketisation’ of care, propels this disparity further. The most evident disparities in women’s mental health care are those concerning the prescription of psychotropic drugs. There has been an undeniable increase in the prescribing of these drugs in 15 to 17-year-old girls, with the medications often being advertised as the answer for a wide range of symptoms. Despite the incremental growth in prescribing these drugs, there is a negligible amount of information regarding the gendered side effects that these drugs have. Women have been shown to have more severe side effects, including escalated weight gain and cardiovascular side effects. The lack of sufficient care represents a clear ignorance of the factors that women are exposed to, that men might not necessarily face. More women are the main carers for dependants, and they juggle multiple roles. There is also an over representation of women in low income and low-status jobs, which had led to a surplus of women living in poverty. The increased life expectancy of women also predisposes them to risk factors, as they are more likely to face more difficult life events and daily stressors. The failure to address such factors for much longer will only lead to further discrepancies in the services, and so the question remains: women care for the world but who cares for women?
VEIL OF LIBERTY Words and artwork by Afreen Fazil, @afreen.visual. MUSLIM WOMEN ARE CONSTANTLY PLACED outside of the brackets regarding ‘liberation’. We are misrepresented by the media when in truth it is the very veil we wear, and religion we follow that empowers us. It’s time to shed the Eurocentric bias and begin to accept that the experiences of all women are legitimate.
VERITAS AEQUITAS TRUTH & JUSTICE
By Tamilore Ayo-Famola; illustration by Tom Holmes
And where is my lady of good counsel? They carry news of her on the winds, Saying that a new sun has dawned And reached its zenith. The rays warm our backs but cast Long shadows of the past Over our present. They look up at the clouds Saying that the sky is open to us -- endless, limitless -Though on the ground shards of glass cut my feet as I march, Almost always falling behind the standard. So, I ask again, where is my lady liberty? I find her likeness on gold coins, 76 for a girl and 100 for a boy. Pressed into my palm, Their weight reflects neither the fruit of my labour, Nor pride in the works of my hands. In that number is fear and shame At the possibility that we might Outearn. Outmatch. Outlast. In my mind I hold a crystal-clear vision Almost like a prophesy. Someday my lady will appear, Not as a helpless damsel but as An indomitable deity, A modern legend, An urban goddess. Myth gives way to truth And the story is non-fiction. Of a society that levels us on balancing scales, That prospers us from a horn of plenty -- Where there is fairness, wealth must also be. To humble ourselves before the goddess is to be raised Above iniquity to equity. She is a symbiotic titaness, Calling us to be more Than our individual parts But working in synthesis with her And with one another. To be forged at our very core For the common cause with on-fire hearts, The binds on our chests unravelling, Burning.
N 2015, I SAT IN ONE OF MY FIRST of social order governing the behaviour of a set undergraduate lectures in Martin Hall and of individuals within a given community” (152was asked to ponder what it means to call 53). This policy endows Ahmed with “more room oneself a feminist. Sara Ahmed’s Living a to attend to those feminists who came before Feminist Life (2017) poses a similar ponderance: me” and room to “acknowledge our debt” (15). “I write this book as a way of holding on to the promise of that word, to think what it means to “CITATION IS A FEMINIST MEMORY” (15) live your life by claiming that word as your own: being a feminist, becoming a feminist, speaking Citations are part of the fabric of our work. We build our research out of citations: “Citations as a feminist” (1). can be feminist bricks” (16). If citations work to Now, as a doctoral researcher, claiming the situate our work in a field, to establish a network, word ‘feminist’ for my research takes a lot of to demonstrate that we are in conversation consideration. Though my subject matter – with other scholars, then we must choose women’s short fiction in the late nineteenth our citations carefully. Who do we want to be century – concerns questions of first-wave in conversation with? Who do we want to rub feminism in obvious ways, it is the way I conduct shoulders with? Whose fabric do we want to my research (differentiated from the content) weave into our own work? Ultimately, whose that I hope to also class as ‘feminist’. To do work do we deem worthy of reproduction? justice to the work of the writers I study and admire, and to ensure I am continuing their legacy, my research demands that I exercise a type of academic activism which actively promotes inclusivity and diversity. One way I try to achieve this is through an awareness of who I cite and why.
The citational spaces in academic work too often reflect the whitewashed academy, with a lack of diversity that serves to reinstate the same voices as authoritative. Amidst calls to decolonise the curriculum, Ahmed challenges researchers to diversify our bibliographies. She proposes, and practices, a citational policy that disturbs the alleged authority of the white, male, cis, hetero, and able-bodied, and includes the voices of marginalised scholars: “I do not cite any white men” (p. 15). By white men, Ahmed refers to “an institution” (15), which she later defines as “a persistent structure or mechanism
As well as fostering greater awareness of how citations reflect upon our own work, it is important to understand the impact of a citational policy more widely. By referencing someone’s work, we add volume to it. Even if we engage with works to disagree with them, we divert attention their way. Citation, in this sense, harbours power – power to validate the contributions of others, to celebrate other scholars, to honour the work of peers. In wielding this power, researchers and academics have a choice: to be complicit with and reproduce existing structures or to disturb the “brick walls” of institutions that Ahmed identifies, and with our “feminist bricks”, build a diversified and inclusive network instead. 1 Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017) informs this article. References to this text will appear as page numbers in parentheses within the body of the article.
SUPERSCRIPT FEMINISM 1
By Isobel Sigley; illustration by Eve Park, @inyourperspective
A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER
MY DAUGHTER WAS SIXTEEN IN FEBRUARY 2021: I was sixteen, well, let us just say, a while back. My daughter is smart, kind, witty and stunning. She doesn’t see any of that. She is fuelled by self-doubt, low self-esteem, and the views of others. So, as a lifelong sufferer (until quite recently) of the imposter syndrome, this is what I say to my daughter, and wish I could have known when I was sixteen.
By Adèle MacKinlay, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development. Illustration by Indigo Price, @indigosdesign.
• Believe in yourself. Today is not the day when you are going to be ‘found out’. You will not be ‘exposed’ as a ‘fraud’, as less competent than others, stupid, ugly, without anything relevant to say. Whatever else your insecure self is trying to brainwash you into believing, is not going to happen. It’s just not true. You are fabulous, unique, and valued. Do whatever you need to do to believe in yourself; imposter syndrome just messes with your mind. Learn how to love yourself for who you are and ‘own your space’. You are the best friend to your friends, the best partner to the person you chose to be with, the best mother to your children, the best person at your job. As Maya Angelou said, ‘You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody’. • Do not let toxic people into your life and exit those who ‘snuck in’ when you weren’t watching. This may not be easy. Don’t let anybody treat you in a bad way whether that be psychologically or physically. Don’t be a bystander in your own life. Challenge the people who cause you harm. Be prepared to walk away from them. • Experience people. As many different people from different cultures with different life experiences. It will make your life richer and more meaningful and may open up a world of opportunity that you didn’t know existed. • Do what makes you happy – be with who you want to be with, have a career or not, have children or not, stay home or go out. It feels like yesterday when I was 16, yet in a flash, more than three decades have passed. Life is super short, so live your best life, travel extensively, meet lots of different people, have lots of experiences. Try new things today because “someday” isn’t a real thing! Mostly, do what’s right for you. • Be kind. If you are known for nothing else, being known as a kind and compassionate person is the epitome of success. There’s a great quote that reads, ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always’. Live that every day. • Laugh. As often as you can, and at yourself too. • Drink water, exercise and use a good quality moisturiser. Doing all of the above is difficult sometimes. But this is not a dress rehearsal...
A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER By Adèle MacKinlay; illustration by Indigo Price, @indigosdesign
Step into my workshop Find solace here. The tools may be dulled, but will shine if you polish them in the right light. The workshop has no master. A furnace burns away undeterred, save for a few volatile sparks. A charred fireguard catches the most: containing outbursts; ensuring damage limitation. Stay a while. Let your body be enveloped by the cushioned armchair. It no longer springs back to its original, uniformed shape. There is some comfort to be found in that. Rest. Walls convulse; trembling from the vibrations of the outside world. Trace their indents with your fingertips. Feel the scars of those who have sought relief here before. Let it out, that virulent outpouring of nihilism. A taunted alley cat; hackles raised, haunches steady. It will not go judged here. Take your time There are tonics to your trauma. Antibodies for the grief. A looking glass to see the world through different eyes. Look a little closer: Do not become careless. Leave things as you found them. Every touch leaves an imprint. Take what you need, yet no more than you can give. These tools were not manifested as a remedy for your pain. Not forged in the fires of your tirade. They are a loan, not a gift. The workshop turns on, day through night. A torn patchwork tapestry tied together by worn fibres. If anger drove your compass needle into its foundations today, refrain from touch. Seek revitalisation from within, instead. By Hannah Timson
RESOURCES Domestic Abuse and/or Sexual Violence
Sexual Health & Wellbeing
The Amber Project
Brook ‘Being a young person can be tough. Through our innovative clinical services, digital support, tailored counselling and inspiring relationships and sex education, young people are able to take charge of their sexual health and wellbeing.’ Website: www.brook.org.uk
‘The Amber Project provides support to anyone who has experienced rape and/or sexual assault but the survivor does not want to, or is unable to, go to court. The service includes a specialist children and young people’s worker and support workers for adults and is available to anyone living in Leicester City, Leicestershire and Rutland.’ Contact number: 01509 274740 Website: www.lwa.org.uk/get-help-now/ services/the-amber-project.htm Women’s Aid Leicestershire ‘Women’s Aid Leicestershire Limited was established in 1974 when we opened the first refuge in Leicester to support women and children fleeing domestic abuse. Since then, we have continued to provide vital assistance to all victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.’ Local helpline: 0808 80 20 028 National helpline: 0808 2000 247 Website: www.wa-leicester.org.uk/who-we-are London Black Women’s Project ‘A specialist and dedicated BME woman only organisation. It is committed to securing the highest level of quality services provision towards protecting, promoting and developing the rights and resources of women and children from BME (Black Minority Ethnic) communities.’ Helpline: 020 8472 0528 Website: www.lbwp.co Mental Health CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) ‘Anyone can hit crisis point. We run a free and confidential helpline and webchat – 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems. We support those bereaved by suicide, through the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP).’ National helpline: 0800 58 58 58 Website: www.thecalmzone.net/about-calm/ what-is-calm/
Other Pregnant Then Screwed ‘Pregnant Then Screwed exists to end the motherhood penalty. We campaign on the many issues which impact working mothers and offer free advice and support to those who face pregnancy or maternity discrimination.’ Website: www.pregnantthenscrewed.com Bloody Good Period ‘Periods (still) don’t stop in a pandemic. We give period products to those who can’t afford them, and provide menstrual education to those less likely to access it.’ Website: www.bloodygoodperiod.com Black Ballad ‘A UK based lifestyle platform that seeks to tell the human experience through eyes of black British women.’ Website: www.blackballad.co.uk Salty ‘We fight for digital visibility for women, trans and non-binary people and are working every day to make sure our stories are not erased from the internet.’ Sign up to the free newsletter: www.saltyworld.net/whatwestandfor/ Instagram pages: @justgirlproject, @theinsecuregirlsclub, @shityoushouldcareabout, @goodnessgraciousgrief, @theconfidencecorner, @chicksforclimate, @thehappynewspaper