Illustration: Ellen Angus
This is a collection. by /// Features Lilly O’Donnell Elisabeth Sherman Sam Gentry Natalie Davis Charles Olafare Jade French Rachel Rigby Not So Popular are a collaborative group of young artists and writers. We were all a bit tired of doing lots of work that was never seen by anyone else except our nans, so we joined together to make a mark.
Photography Skya Le Vay Nastasia Alberti
We have put on art exhibitions, poetry nights and club events. We produce ‘zines and prints. We do this because we want to showcase the work of young artists/writers who want an opportunity to get their work out there.
Illustration Liv Jeffes Ellen Angus Grace Flavin
Rise above the 9-5. Look it in the teeth, and contribute your work to an issue/ exhibition. Don’t sit around and wait for Saatchi... He’ll never come. He only likes Chinese contemporary art and massive breasts. We believe in collectives. We believe in the “myriad of different voices drumming along the inner-city streets with creative cries”. Not So Popular take their inspiration from the depths of cultural talent because everything from Van Gogh’s ear to Brian Harvey’s baked potato were not so popular at one point.
Poets Pascal Chea Sam Stensland Amy Ekins Marie Burrows Kate Lewin Ticaux Jade French Nazli Tarzi Liv Jeffes Rosie Spence Team Spirit Anna Mason Beth Gilmore Liz Field
Editor Jade French Sub-editors Rachel Rigby Liv Jeffes
This is a collective zine showcasing work from fresh, flush new writers. from all over the world.
ESSAY: LILLY O’DONNELL
Judging only from the current state of journalism, it would seem that blogs and the Internet have introduced a new challenge to the longstanding, steadfast tradition of objective journalism – where the writer is not an individual, but merely a catalyst through which the story flows, unmarred, from pure fact to written word. It would seem that social media and the proliferation of the citizen-as-reporter pose a threat to the natural state of journalism. But that’s not the case at all. In the longer story of journalism and its developing styles and edicts, the standard of objectivity is only a blip on the screen – an experiment that never fully took hold, and might be on its way out for good. At the birth of journalism as we know it, in the 1600s, considerations of objectivity and personal involvement weren’t part of the equation. The idea was to get information to the public, whether by eyewitness accounts, second-, third- or fifth-hand accounts told as if they were first-hand, convenient fabrications, wild speculations, personal axe-grinding or any combination of the above. “British Troops, unmolested and unprovoked, wantonly, and in a most inhuman manner, fired upon and killed a number of our countrymen,” was perfectly acceptable language for a news story in 1775, when it appeared in The Massachusetts Spy. If that line crossed a New York Times editor’s desk today, he would probably change it to something like, ‘British troops fired upon and killed a number of Americans,’ harder to dispute, but also less interesting to read. It wasn’t until about a century ago – even as the muckrakers were setting the standards for hard-hitting investigative journalism – that objectivity became a concern. “Sound practice makes clear distinction between news reports and expressions of opinion,” announced the “Canons of Journalism,” published in 1922. “News reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind.” Dry and distant style became the standard toward which journalists were expected to strive, as it still is today in most circles.
But in the same decade that the “Canons of Journalism” came out and told reporters to be objective, some found the model insufficient. Vera Connolly wrote her 1929 Good Housekeeping article, “The Cry of a Broken People,” from the perspective of “we,” letting on immediately that she felt connected to what was happening. She was part of the scenes she described, not hovering above like an impartial specter. She retold the complaints she heard at a meeting about the quality of government boarding schools for Indian children. An objective reporter wouldn’t have allowed the sympathetic pleas of parents for better treatment of their children to dominate the article, as she did, let alone to come in right at the top of the piece so that the reader reads the rest of the article with the image in his head of “children so underfed that they snatch like little famished animals at plates of bread.” And let’s not forget Hunter S. Thompson, whose work flies gleefully in the face of objectivity. By the strictest standards, Thompson might not even be considered a journalist, but a memoirist who writes about being a journalist. His piece, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” can hardly be considered coverage of the Kentucky Derby – it’s an essay about Thompson’s experience covering the Derby. Even the first word of the piece is “I.” “I got off the plane around midnight and no one spoke as I crossed the dark runway to the terminal,” Thompson begins. In case a reader might think he was just setting the scene in the first person but would later transition to focus on the Derby, his supposed subject matter, they needn’t fear. The rest of the piece consists almost entirely of scenes of Thompson’s thoughts, actions, and interactions with other people. He uses the pronoun “I” 123 times in the piece, which is just over 7,000 words long. Yet Thompson is one of the most well-known and celebrated journalists in history, and only one member of the group of journalists who popularized the “new journalism” – this unapologetically biased journalism where the reporting is woven in with a personal narrative, often the story of the reporting process itself.
“By the strictest standards, Thompson might not even be considered a journalist, but a memoirist who writes about being a journalist.”
A Hist o r i c a l A r g u m e n t fo r S u b j e c t i v i t y in Jour n a l i s m
ESSAY: LILLY O’DONNELL
MEMOIR: ELISABETH SHERMAN
MEMOIR: ELISABETH SHERMAN
Steamed trapped on the inside of windows, foggy glass. I took a jitney ride down a dirt road with my mother our first time there and she saw a man laying in the road, face down in the mud. She wondered if he was dead. Mom looked away, nausea curling upwards in her stomach and reaching up her throat like the tentacles of an octopus. She told me it was the heat that got him. Not enough water. The jitney drove on without stopping, passed the man in the mud, down the road. I don’t remember where that crowded bus took us. We were staying in a country house---there were acres of rice patties outside our bedroom window. I slept in the same bed as my mother because I had nightmares. Laying face up in bed I stared at the spinning ceiling fan above me, wide awake. / / / The drive to the airport was always induced excitement and anxiety in me as a child. I can remember only the flights I took at night. Flights to Australia, to New York, watching the black city masked in yellow and orange lights glowing from office buildings and street lamps, slip away behind me as the car swept down the empty highway. Passing the port and the cargo ships, passing Boeing field sitting still and empty, overhead darkness swallowing up the last traces of the day. Sitting in the passenger seat of my dad’s truck as it careened along the concrete toward the airport, both of us silent, while I stared out of the passenger seat window. Watching more of those sick looking yellow and orange lights of the industrial district of my city flicker and fade as we raced toward the airport. The collection of buildings bunched together to turn the Seattle skyline black and jagged against the midnight sky, warehouses and train yards and abandoned apartment buildings towering like teeth jutting up into a cavernous mouth. The airport felt like purgatory. Each moment inside the white walls is another moment in a place beyond time, in a place that was a not a place. Anticipation makes the air feel stale--not always excitement just anxiety-inducing anticipation, the boredom of waiting for the inevitable, how it must feel to wait to die. Airports are the executioners of flight. This was a neutral space, where all the objects seemed to take on the same tone--muted variations of primary colors specked with that persistent absence of colour, white, off-white, that constant reminder that once inside the airport, you were floating between territories like a migrating bird at the change of the season, without a home. No guarantees you’ll find your way back again, to anywhere. /
A plastic cup might remind me of the Ovaltine I drank in the orange and brown kitchen of the country house, sitting on the last step of the staircase that emptied into the kitchen while my mother and grandfather argued.
Or the sound of a rooster at sunrise might trigger the taste of vomit in my mouth. I had an attack of heat stroke once that caused to me to throw up for several minutes into a paper bag provided to me by my mother. The two of us were taking the bus from Manila to my grandfather’s house in Baguio City, which is located in the mountains. Like all the buses in that country, this one was over crowded, loud; stale, uncirculated air rested heavily on the passengers like a wool blanket. We sat in the back, with a man who had brought his rooster along for the trip. The animal was in a cage, or perhaps it was loose, both seem likely. I was excited and fascinated by the animal clucking and crowing with agitation on the bus, a wild creature close enough to touch, its owner laughing at his pet and speaking in rapid in Tagalog with his neighbors. My mother sat me down in the window seat, strangers pressing against me, beside, in front, behind me, though she was close by, clutching our bags, and if the chaos of the bus made her anxious she didn’t show it on her bright, smiling face; captured in rays of yellow sun, she looked happy. As we ascended up into the mountains, I stared out the window at the dark green vegetation and the burnt, dry fields. We passed many outdoor stalls selling granite statues and headstones, to decorate a garden or to mourn the dead. I was sweating and as each statue vendor passed the more nauseous I became, until I began to beg my body to not humiliate us. The vomit rose in my throat slowly, I could feel the slime and ooze slide upwards inside of me and though I tried to force the sick back down, moments after we passed yet another statue vendor, I watched the grey figures slip out of few, and threw up into my lap. I had given no sign of illness before that point, so the sight of me retching must have jolted my mother. I threw up for at least a minute more, into said bag, which Mom seemed to produce from no where and shove toward me at a superhuman speed. When I was finished, she leaned toward me, our fellow passengers leaning forward or away from us, the white women, there were only two of us, and handed a new shirt from one of our suitcases, yellow, a cartoon animal pattern printed on it with buttons and a collar. I changed my clothes in front of the strangers without hesitation, no need to be a ashamed of my body as an eight-year-old. She cleaned me up with that same bright smile, asked me if I felt better, which I did, very much so, and then I believe I ate an apple.
Photography: Syka Le Vy
In Baguio City, however, the air is always hot.
“Or the sound of a rooster at sunrise might trigger the taste of vomit in my mouth.”
The sunlight caught her tan face so that each of features was lit up and glowing--her laughter filled the space between us, overjoyed that I had been sick and then found a way to solve the problem without much help from her. Happy that I could easily slide between sickness and health like a child should, happy to see the mechanics of my body working as they were meant to, happy to see life’s cycle between death and renewal operating within a creature of her own creation. / / / There were the motorcycles in the streets of Baguio that had sidecars attached to them. Those were my favorite vehicles to ride in as a child visiting the Philippines. I begged my mother for rides in the sidecar. I never wanted to walk. Riding in a jitney another day, on the same trip my mother had spotted the heat stroke victim, we passed a fenced in field. I was just barely tall enough to see over the top of the metal railing that held the passengers inside the windowless bus. The field was dotted with tin huts. Walls plastered with discarded newspapers and roofs held up by sticks and floors anchored by stones found in ditches. A woman in a bright yellow sari with a blue basket balanced on her head leaned out of the doorway of one of these one room shacks. I turned my face away. / / / I try to spread the memories of those trips apart in my mind, but they congeal together like warm honey on toast.
ESSAY: SAM GENTRY
The T o p o g r a p h y of E x p e r i e n c e
ESSAY: SAM GENTRY Germany’s bifurcation into west and east invariably aided a “sanctioned amnesia” about the Nazism and the Holocaust, as the German public perception of the atrocities were dichotomized- with each segment tempered to the needs of its corresponding citizenry. The GDR inevitably, owing to the deeply disturbing tendency in communism of only honouring the left or “international resistance” movements, veiled the deaths sites of their racial significance. Buchenwald’s racialist motivate existence was expressively hidden. Similarly, the interment at Ravenbruck was disguised as a women’s camp rather than a death camp for lesbians and other “a-socials”. Moreover, in west Germany, the FRG failed until the 60s to turn death camps into commemorations- arguably due to the camps used to the imprison Nazi war criminals. This, however, was only in place till 1952. The reason following was that Germany, for economic reasons, no longer wanted to be associated with its Nazi past. Dachau situated in the cultural centre of Germany- the Weimar- would have ended up a desolate, disused wasteland like the site of the Nuremberg rallies if it had not been from external political pressure. Moreover, there was a strong correlation between designations of memorial sites and the number of survivors. Where there was a total extermination there was no room for protestation. While Germany was forgetting its past Britain was monumentally honouring it. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 was an a-historical phantom, cloaking a country impoverished by two world wars and a crumbling, costly empire. But it was a spectacle, it enrapture a national psyche within the thralls of myth, unreason and irrationality. Churchill’s romanticized; Blake view of England was instilled within vast swathes of the populace. The myth even if once true, perhaps early 19th Britain was based on thin foundations. The Conservative MP Alan Clarke has stated, “the appearance of glory was all there… the saluting sentries… but underneath it the whole thing had been washed way. Moreover, on his deathbed Churchill himself spoke of wanting to “sleep for a billion years…. I see stupendous issues unfolding before our eyes, and we are only specks of dust settled in the night on the map of the world”
This article attempts to examine the contrasting yet concurrent ways Britain and German have attempted to deal with their historical traditions. Britain despite its irrelevant status in the international order is still deeply contextualized within notions of empire and monarchical rule. Germany in lieu of Nazism has de-contextualized itself from its traditional Teutonic past. The consequences of this have seen a revanchist rise of a ‘new’ Germany and the slow, ebbing decay of a once ‘Great’ Britain. The Second World War was represented, in the public imagination, as the last in a war between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. The carefully choreographed narrative, of the Nazi crimes and allied victory at Nuremberg designated a “rupture of civilization” between Auschwitz, Dachau, and Buchenwald and the new epoch of pan-Europeanism. The fabrication at Nuremberg of the events leading to WWII delineated, via the film, “the Nazi Plan” a series of events starting from the German desire to conquest, to Auschwitz and the death camps. The anachronism of Nuremberg showed Nazism not as an aberration of history, a product of Versailles, depression and societal anomie, but as a “logical consequence of the German tradition”. In light of this there was an effort by allied administrations to rid Germany of its historical past, thus preventing it of the emblems and cultural signifiers that, supposedly, enabled the outbreak of war? They called this program de-nazification. What the allies neglected was the fact the Hitler and his henchmen, notable Goering, had conjured up a mythical, rarefied vision of Germany, one founded on the great Teutonic Knights of the Middle Ages. They used these emblems and cultural artefacts to instil and manipulate the populace, imbibing them in the all governing and all encompassing entity of the “body national”. Winston Churchill, ironically, no, perhaps more coincidentally, used the same historical view of Britain in order to defeat the Nazis during WWII. He conjured up the filiopietistic, Arthurian legend of England, invoking a memory, provoking a nation not to fall in a time of national crisis. “And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light; In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly! But westward, look, the land is bright!”These words roused a nation depleted, having lost a whole generation 20 years previously, into a British “body politic” fighting and winning a war. They were, however, fictional, based on the same amalgam of myth, legend etc that Dr Goebbels and Goering used to create the Third Reich. I am not equating the two. Churchill’s os-
The de-contextualization of Germany from its Teutonic past, due to the Nazi and the Allied deracination of post-war Germany culture and the malfeasance of the FRG and the GDR disabled the German people’s chance of reconciliation. Since the fall of the Berlin wall this has changed somewhat. Misremembrance enabled Germany to contextualize itself with the Europeanism of the 20th and not to mourn the recent past. Britain on the other hand was still and is still imbibed with the glories of its Imperial past. The Queen’s jubilee, the Iraq and Afghanistan war, the lack of Governmental reform e.g. House of Lords has meant that the institutional ethos is circumscribed by imperial tradition. Britain’s place within the EU is one of indecision, isolationism- not quite in it but bound by law. Britain still sees itself as a independent sovereign caught up in the power politics of the 19th century rather than the participant in an inter-dependent system. After the debacle at Suez, Enoch Powell spoke that “when we shed our power, we omitted to shed our arrogance”. The same is true still, transmogrified into the psyche of a nation.
“cloaking a country impoverished by two world wars and a crumbling, costly empire.”
FRAGMENT: NATALIE DAVIS
SHORT STORY: CHARLES OLAFARE
Live at the Moebius
Photography: Nastasia Alberti
People who look like artists are menaces to the world. Doing passionate death dances in the walkways of bohemian clubs like beatniks without beats, lip-syncing lyrics from the latest avant-garde craze of niche music. Since I went in that white room I started to see things differently. Maybe not see them at all! My once warped sense of reality is now so misshapen that I can’t walk in a straight line without feeling queasy. Riding on buses was never the same. All I heard was “Stop. Stop. Stop” A shaved head points and spits at cars with venom, flirting with crazed misdemeanour thinking about what he couldn’t hope to understand. A girl copies, but it’s hard to differentiate because they both blur into poison peoples. Every stop was like a heart attack. The world is not such a happy place. What’s the science required for redemption? Sometimes the happiness becomes me when it is from somebody worthwhile with love. Lying front to back and slipped into contours is what our aesthetically artistic friends struggle to understand about us. They’re blasted onto another social plateau, beleaguered with incongruous flatpacked ideology and they start to see stars, chasing trends of celibacy, Veganism and iron deficiency. It’s the quirky-zany-kooky that comes on leaps and bounds when wearing a matter of earthy coloured jumpers knitted in the dark by somebody who was dreaming of omega oils. Meditating heavily to karma enhancement CD compilations and wondering if you can afford the electricity bill, then campaigning for energy efficiency but leaving the porch light on all night so the cat doesn’t have kafka dreams. Understand that all you want is world peace but you’re not even at peace with yourself. Know what I mean?
Like shit in the digestive tract of the ouroboros, everything comes back to the Moebius Hotel. It is the Mecca of re-connectivity where what was once clichéd and played out is reborn, fresh faced, fearsome and exiting. Could anywhere else hope to be as fitting a venue for the reformation of the once mythical girl group Sada Abe and the Dick Cutters? The answer is, and will always be, no. In performing at the Moebius, four women and one man/machine hybrid had spat in the face of eternity and literally turned back time. The fifteen thousand strong crowd stood in awed silence as lead singer and saxophonist Sada Abe took to the stage, quietly adjusting the height of her microphone and signalling to the soundman for more level in the monitors. Not a word was said as Rhythm Quantization System 30 (drums), Mary-Beth Tinnin (keyboard) and Bell Gunzz (theremin) followed suit and slid in to their respective positions. It was not until the speakers resounded with the first key notes of fan favourite Crash the Hegemony that the crowd erupted in fevered screeches of nostalgic joy and frenzied adulation, sounds that seemed to echo in the arches of Augustus Ferdinand Jnr’s former home for the duration of their forty-five minute set. In characteristic fashion, Sada Abe and her band mates did not look up from their instruments once as they thrashed out hits from their critically acclaimed album, Making love to Catherine MacKinnon. Indeed, the only time either member addressed the audience was during the middle of the set, where the band stopped briefly to announce that someone had parked their car in the disabled area and was in danger of being towed. It was shortly after this rather aloof announcement and during the second refrain of The wall that would not wail that something strange, but altogether typical of performances at the Moebius began to take place. The walls of the two hundred year old building began to shake, the floor of the stage glowed red, cracking like the floors of the Andrean desert and an unknowable hypersigil appeared behind the band as they powered through their song. Upon gazing at the hypersigil, some members of the audience began to wail uncontrollably and bleed from their eyes whilst others found themselves unable to feel their heartbeats but somehow all too aware of how many atoms there were in their fingernails and the creases in the soles of their feet. This inexplicable happening carried on for the duration of the song until, as the last note of Sabe’s saxophone solo was sorrowfully played, the band themselves to undergo a change of their own. Whilst tuning up for their next song, each member began to change in appearance. Reverting back to the bodies they had inhabited twenty years ago when they had first formed. Sado manifested new young flesh and a full head of auburn hair; Rhythm Quantization System 30’s mechanical tendrils once again became arms of muscle and sinew; Mary-Beth Tinnin’s frail six hundred year old body transformed into an expansive field of crackling light, just as it had been on the cover of their debut LP; Bell Gunz shrunk down to a height of five foot six inches, the same size she stood on the day she was born. True to form neither one of them acknowledged these changes and continued to play in their former instances until the time came for the show to end. Upon completion of their final song, the anthemic round composition Untitled, the group descended from the stage and left the venue through the crowd without saying a word to a single fan. Perhaps that final gesture could be read as a summation of their music and the attitudes that it stood for, perhaps it was a cavalier display of godlike arrogance. Either way each fan I spoke to in the parking lot as I waited for the tow company to return my car, told me they were pleased with what they had seen, heard and experienced. “It felt like meeting an old friend for the first time in my life,” said one woman as she wrapped a bandage around her boyfriend’s bleeding eyes. I told her I felt the same and we all laughed till we forgot where we were and what we had been talking about. All in all it some of the
was a great show, though songs were hampered by
beers were soundman’s
too expensive and overzealous mixing. 3.8/5 Stars.
FRAGMENT: JADE FRENCH
‘Maybe I’ll thing about
Maybe that’d be interesting for people to read about because she’s got fire and politics and music in her; maybe I could research her beginnings. Talk about the way she was whipped by the Bible belt. A Jehovah’s Witness upbringing that would roll her towards the words: Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine. A sentiment of sacrament and sacrifice which does not diminish a religion but acknowledges it as not for her. Not for me, either. I thought maybe I could talk about her past, her time of unsuccess, her New York struggle. How I’d always imagined a poet’s life to be; garret and wine and sick in the gutter before the times of prosaic elevation and higher understanding. And Patti stood in the gutter of St. Marks Church in the project making a project of poetry, making a stand in the concrete mud. Maybe there is something to be said about the role of the idol; the totem of creative power. Patti was not incubated in a back alley sex shop waiting to become the homogenous pin-up of S&M leather and safety pins. Mick Jagger was all “I think it’s crap! I think she’s so awful...she’s full of rubbish, she’s full of words and crap. I mean, she’s a poseur of the worst kind, intellectual bullshit...a useless guitar player, a bad singer, not attractive.” Not attractive. She’s full of words and crap. That kind of crap that seeps through the floorboards after the toilet explodes and spreads, virus. Infectious, swaying through the air. Or, talking crap: sitting like a whisper at the back of a café- watching (hawkeyed) with a nose sniffing for the dregs of granule understanding. And Patti sat there, stewed there, went crazy there, ran up and down stairs there- her eyes wide, pen flashing. Patti wrote poems. Patti wrote rhythms. Patti let her hair grow to her knees. Her pit hair. Plaited understanding in the combed undercurrent. I bet. Maybe not, but it doesn’t matter. Hair is irrelevant. So, maybe (I thought) I will put it down about Patti. She’s all about the body; coming and screaming and ripping. She’s all about that. Right. I was supposed to see Patti Smith in Paris. Hear those jargon words float through the Seine, crumble the top of the Sacre-Coeur as I posed in polo-neck, with my book pressed against my chest, with the pen in my hand waiting to jump into her signature. Instead I got hit by a car. Patti went to Paris in 1969. Instead I got hit by a car. Tumbled 360o over a metal bonnet; head crashing concrete as the wheels squealed away. I lay, upturned. Lucky that I didn’t break anything, that my head didn’t cave in, that I had friends who came and
And the woman who lay in the bed opposite me and screamed for the devil, at the devil and for the devil as a piercing headache split my body in two. And the young male nurse who saw my bruised ass and winced as I winced at being so exposed, the decomposing mark of impact clinically discussed. And the poor, wizened girl who cried for morphine in the ward down the hall. And the worried faces of visitors and the curling stench of medicinal cleanliness and the rolling powerlessness of being wheeled down the hallway… But this is about Patti. In hospital I said “Can I still go to Paris?” and they laughed. “But I’m supposed to see Patti Smith”. The laughter drowned me out. Sore and bewildered I dreamt about meeting Patti: her long hair would swoop onto my shoulders- connecting us. Her voice would rasp lyrically in my ear, muttering nonsense. No sense which makes sense. And I would tell her that her words got me, every time. That the words aren’t all dead, the words are golden. Pieces of golden truth, knuckle dust words… Fuck the word...fuck the word fuck the word the word is dead is re-defined...the bird in the (womb) is expelled by the propelling motion of fuck the fucking you can’t say “fuck” in radio free america by patti smith The punk poet power to the people Patti.
ESSAY: RACHEL RIGBY
Man’s love is of his life a thing apart / ‘Tis woman’s whole existence It was in Don Juan that Lord Byron reminded me how one often finds them self portraying and perceiving woman as the dependent creature. What has confused me further, is how easy it is to forget that this dependence is little more than a common myth. Of course, its not difficult to understand how this went on for so long, considering how women have been undermined socially and intellectually. But it often seems as though biology has given men this opportunity. This is where we see the question of motherhood arising. Is it the womb that allows the world to be so cruel to women? It is in the Second Sex that De Beauvoir declares maternity to be a woman’s ‘physiological destiny’. No matter what approach we take to female emancipation, the hindrance that motherhood proposes is unavoidable. Just as a child is trapped in a womb, so is the mother. However, we cannot simply argue that this entrapment derives from social preconceptions and the history of motherhood. In motherhood we see a child physically attached to the mother, bound by the umbilical cord and entirely dependent on her for survival. It would be absurd to extensively read into the symbolism of this, I’ve grown hair and I don’t cry every time I get a cut and blow. But with motherhood comes nostalgia, a consistent compulsion to be depended upon, the ‘maternal instinct’. And it would not be unreasonable for us to suggest that this is a classic female stereotype, the supposed ‘neediness’ of the woman, the myth of the woman being a wholly dependent creature. This myth begins to appear ironic beside the function of the figure of woman as the creator, there is no denying that, as a mother, the woman is given an imperative role sustaining the survival of another human being, therefore is it not absurd that this would hinder woman in her fight for emancipation? Motherhood has undoubtedly empowered many women. This is the paradox we have been presented with. The concept of physical and psychological dependence, once the umbilical cord is cut the child can grow into independence and the relationship they share with their mother relies mostly on circumstance. Research by Maureen Perry-Jenkins and Karen Folk at the University of Massachusetts found that only a decade ago “working-class employed housewives did a significantly higher proportion of traditionally feminine chores than women in middle-class occupations”. Remember the taboo of teenage mums? Supposedly getting pregnant purely so they could reap the rewards of their very own council flat courtesy of the taxpayer, a Daily Mail classic. Class is considered the perpetual hindrance to gender equality, the idea that its hard being a woman but even harder being a working class woman. The women fighting for the vote, education and independence were often upper class women, fighting for other upper class women. Stereotypes dictate that the working girl always got left behind, she had no pushy parents so pushed out some kids of her own instead.
Illustration: Grace Flavin
The P a of M o t
She would never look back, its not the role she wants to play as a mother, but now she questions whether there were other roles she could have played as a woman. But motherhood has left her isolated, in another sphere to men, in another sphere to the woman that went to university, something she sees as above her. The only way women could truly obtain independence would be to cast aside any other ethnic or cultural differences, and we can even apply this to the relationship between mother and daughter; a daughter cannot undermine her mother for adhering to a female stereotype, when all she has done is given her love, affection and a high quality of life. Its not as if the modern woman feels resigned to the role of motherhood, amongst many cultures now women do have the opportunity to balance their parental roles between themselves and the father. However, I cannot pretend I do not agree with De Beauvoir, women’s bodies are physically engineered for pregnancy and childbirth, it is impossible to deny this. And because of this physical inevitability there are extensive emotional consequences. It is imperative we acknowledge this physical attachment, this cutting of the umbilical cord and the way in which this has contributed to the inevitable paradox, which seems to have unfortunately been portrayed and perceived as a woman’s weakness and dependency. In Byron’s eyes, the woman is consumed, she is devoured by attachment and this has led her to such an ill fated destiny of dependence, the classic case of a ‘mother living through her daughter’. I don’t believe a mother has ever lived through her child, I think that she sees woman emancipating herself as a whole in her daughter and not as a class or community, evolution taking place before her very eyes, and I believe that each woman, daughter and mother, wants to be involved.