ON EGG SHELLS Zine
Contents 1. Front cover 2. Content page 3. April 2015 Newsletter 4. “Am I Pretty Now?” 5. “The Monster of Oppression” 6. “Portrait of Lizzie” 7. Interview with Lizzie Bradley 8. Interview With Lizzie Bradley cont. 9. “The Stereotypical Conception” 10. “The Stereotypical Conception” 11. “The Stereotypical Conception” 12. Interview with Zoulikha Belblidia 13. “Portrait of Zoulikha” 14. Interview with Zoulikha Belblidia 15. “Clowns” 16. “Clowns” 17. “Clowns” 18. “Razor Sharp” 19. Treader’s Film Review: 20. Know Your Anatomy 21. Know Your Anatomy 22. Know Your Anatomy 23. Know Your Anatomy 24. “Portrait of Catrin” 25. Interview with Catrin Lawrence 26. Interview with Catrin Lawrence 27. Many Thanks To..
Hey there treaders!
This month theme is intersectionality. What does intersectionality mean to you? As feminists, we should try to include all women, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexuality, or sex. It can be especially hard to do this if you are not part of these minorities. But, we should all make an effort to educate others on these matters. One problem with dealing with intersectional feminism is that individuals want to HELP. If you are not part of these minorities– do not help. By helping someone, you are diminishing their ability to help themselves. Rather than help, educate others who do not know this, especially those who are in a similar position of you– eg. if you are cisgender, focus your attentions on other cisgender people. Intersectionality is not equal with patronising. Enjoy this month’s issue, treaders!
Victoria Hollie Gourlay
“Am I Pretty Now?”
You say to me,
So I sit,
You’re too loud,
I silence myself,
I bottle it,
Think before you speak!
Shut myself away.
You say to him,
But the oppression,
You’re so eloquent,
What a great leader,
He commands the room!
It created a monster, me.
When I question,
So how can you blame,
That’s just the way it is,
It’s not sexist,
Just the way it is.
When I am just fighting back?
Lexemes swarm my mind,
You say to me,
You man-hating feminist,
Go burn your bra.
You say to him,
The genders are equal!
But they’re just words I know. Women do what they want! ...Right?
Interview with Jace Evans
This month we caught up with Jace Evans, an agender, asexual and aromantic individual. Within this interview, we spoke about the details about Jace’s gender and sexuality, how people reacted when they changed their pronouns, and how Jace would like the future to develop into a more open minded society. J– Jace V– Vicky V: Can you please explain what asexuality, agender and aromantic is? J: Asexuality is no sexual attraction to anyone, aromantic is no romantic attraction to anyone, so no loving feelings or want of a romantic relationship and agender is lack of feeling any gender. V: Do you have to explain it a lot to people? J: Recently, yeah- because we’ve been studying it in psychology. My psychology teacher didn’t really know that much about it and she thought that asexuality was a gender! So, I had to explain that it’s a sexuality instead of a gender and basically explain the entire thing to her. V: Your gender neutral pronoun, you like to be referred to as “they” or “them”. Do people ignore it sometimes or they refuse to use it because they don’t agree with it? J: I’ve had people try to go around it and with my name as well, because it’s only recently that I’ve been asked to be named that. I think some people get it; it depends on how exposed they’ve been to things like this throughout their life. So, there are some people I know who haven’t been brought up with this or people from the LGBT+ community, so they don’t really know about it. They tend to use the argument that it’s not grammatically correct. And, it doesn’t matter whether it is or not, it’s still what I prefer.
V: So, when people slip up, and use “she”- how do you feel about that? J: It depends on if they correct it or not. Because, if they were to make a big fuss, and say oh my god, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, and emphasize it a lot, then it’s a bit unnecessary. Just correct it and move on, because then you’re making a big deal about it. V: Did you think that you were different, that there was something wrong with you at first? J: Yeah, a bit. It was weird, because I remember writing something online saying about how all my friends were exploring all these things, and I just didn’t want to, I didn’t feel like that, I didn’t feel normal. What I was expected to do, I just didn’t feel. V: Have you have any insults about your asexuality or aromantic? J: Well, what I said about my psychology lecturer. I accidently came out to the entire class about it, when I brought that up. And, they were all fine about it, but my lecturer said something- she didn’t mean it in a bad way, but she said, how do you know, because you’re so young? And it made me think, how does anyone know their straight, at my age as well? V: When people ignore your agenderness- how does that make you feel? J: Angry. Because, it’s part of me so I don’t see why people would try to ignore it- that’s like ignoring that I’m there. V: In your ideal world, what would the attitude towards sexuality and gender be? J: I hope in the future, there would be a point where none of it really matters, or nobody really cares. We can still have the labels, because it can be good for some people, and not fit for others.
“The Stereotypical Conception”
Interview with Zoulikha Belblidia In this interview with Zoulikha, we spoke about how people perceive Muslim’s in our society, as well as her reasons for wearing a hijab, and how people react to her wearing one. Zoulikha is a profound believer that an individual should be judged on their value, not on their religion, or a minority who give the religion a bad name, Z– Zoulikha V– Vicky V: Could you please explain your beliefs? Z: Obviously as a Muslim I believe that there is one God, and his name is Allah. I also believe that Mohammed is the messenger of God. Also, as a Muslim, I believe that there are five pillars of Islam and we have to follow them. V: Why do you wear the hijab? Z: I first started wearing it when I was in Year 9, going into Year 10. To be honest, it’s something I’ve always known I wanted to do; I’ve always wanted to wear a hijab, to follow my mum. It was a choice; I wanted to show people that I am a Muslim, because my complexion is fairly white, people never knew I was a Muslim until I started wearing the hijab. Most people wear it to be modest, but I believe that women can be modest without a hijab. V: Would you say that people are a bit tentative to ask questions to Muslims due to a minority giving it a bad name? Z: Yeah, people always ask me, is it okay to ask this, is it okay to ask that, and I’m like, yeah its fine. I think that they don’t want me to think that they are coming off as racist. I’d rather them asked me about my religion then make assumptions that aren’t true. V: Would you say that we need to have a better education about diversity within religion? Z: Yeah, having R.S lessons that are compulsory are great, but
we’re not taught about the people who follow that religion, and the only information that we get about people following religion is from the media. Religion is open to interpretation, and if people choose to do bad things with it and some people choose to do good things with it. V: What would you say the common misconceptions are about girls who wear hijabs or about Islam in general? Z: I think, most people see that Muslim girls are oppressed, and that Muslim guys are oppressors. I also think that some people don’t see us as good people. And yes, there is a lot of terrorism; sadly, it is because of people who call themselves Muslim, that kill people in the name of Islam. It makes people think that, oh what if I have extremist views, what if I think like that, but my views aren’t extremist at all. V: Have you had any insults about you being a Muslim or about you wearing a hijab? Z: Never from people that I know. I was standing at the bus stop once, and this guy just drove past really slowly and put his middle finger up. I just put my thumbs up, because if I give him the reaction that he wants, then that’s him gaining something from it. Then, one time, this guy starting throwing rocks at me. I just laughed; it made him look like an idiot. V: How do you feel when you wear the hijab? Z: More confident, if I’m honest! It is a feminist thing, I think people need to realise that I do support women’s rights. V: What advice would you give to a girl your age or younger who was wearing a hijab? Z: First, is it something they want to do, something they want to wear? If the answer is no, then they shouldn’t feel pressured into wearing one, if the answer is yes then they shouldn’t feel pressured into not wearing one. I think they also need to be educated into the reasons why they are wearing a hijab, Just exactly why are you wearing it? Just try and be as honest as you can!
“Clowns” “Clowns” is an investigation into the allure of makeup. Do you use makeup to brighten up a dull, black and white life? Or does society push a need to “better” our appearances as a means to silence us, and to make us appear as objects, rather than beings?
These are some of the questions that I had asked myself, hoping that this project would give me some answers. By placing makeup onto images of my classmates and I, I wanted to question whether society uses makeup as a means to demote us to objects of beauty, or whether it is our choice to make ourselves more “attractive”.
Treaders Film Of The Month Review: Nausicaa, Of The Valley Of The Wind This Studio Ghibli anime was a keeper. Whilst a fairly childish anime, compared to the more complex concepts of a lot of other Studio Ghibli films, this one was a feminist film throughout. Not only was Nausicaa well respected as a character, but she didn’t need help from anybody. In all fairness, if it wasn’t for her, everyone would have died. Everyone. Now, we know that Studio Ghibli is a very good production company for creating brilliant female characters, as well as actually creating a decent plotline that doesn’t involve the girl being a damsel in distress, but this film was in a world of it’s own. Nausicaa had style, sass, punch lines, and a super cool pet squirrel thing. What more could a feminist film fanatic want? However, there were two points, for me, that the film was let down on. Firstly, the sexualisation of Nausicaa. Whilst throughout the film, she maintains a fairly innocent young girl, with a little bit of flirting from the lead male character– her outfit? A tiny, impractical skirt, that definitely wouldn’t be a good clothing choice when flying a futuristic glider, saving the world. What was that about, Studio Ghibli? You might say that it is true to the genre of anime to have some subtle hints at sexuality, but I very much doubt that Nausicaa would have picked that outfit herself. The second point, for me, was the weak ending. A lot of stuff happened in the course of the film, which seemed to warrant an ending of some kind of solution to the environmental problems the People of The Valley faced, but nothing! Not even a clue. However, all in all, a very good film, that upholds Studio Ghibli’s reputation for being a first-place feminist production company (even if Nausicaa’s butt cheeks were shown a little too much). Definitely worth a watch. Next month’s pick: “Nymphomaniac”
KNOW YOUR ANATOMY
I would love to do a show of hands on who can name their genitalia with correct biological terms. I don't think there would be many of us who can tell each other where the sebaceous gland is in the hair follicle, or it’s function. Now, I know– not everybody likes biology. However, knowing our anatomy is a key function in battling the constant sexualisation of our bodies. Let me explain: When we complain about our bodies being objectified, we have common arguments– for example, breast feeding is a natural process, therefore should be completely acceptable within society. Same goes for pubic hair– we all have it, so why is it so taboo? However, to back up these arguments, we have to know WHY it is natural, the bodily functions, the terminology, otherwise, our argument could be called invalid. Pornography is another area that is a hot topic within feminism. Now, to promote sex-positive, safe pornography, we need to establish within society that sex is natural. Yet, how are we supposed to educate people on NORMAL sexual contact (rather than airbrushed porn), if we
don’t really know what happens biologically during sex? The issue of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) is an obvious choice for showing how we need to know our own biology. Arguments that individuals often raise when agreeing with FGM is that it is more hygienic, raises male sexual pleasure, is more honourable, and that it promotes chastity. Within communities that promote FGM, women are often not told about the consequences of allowing the procedure to happen to the younger generations, which include an increased risk of infection, fatal bleeding, tetanus, anaemia, and intense pain during urinating,
sexual intercourse, and menstrual cycles. However, there are no known biological health benefits, and many countries, such as Somalia (where a staggering 98% of women have had FGM), do not have the knowledge to realise that what they are doing is wrong. However, in the UK, we do. What is our excuse for not knowing our anatomy? Are we not given biology text books in school? Have we not been taught diagrams of genitals? We’ve all been given the puberty talk, the sex talk, by parents and teachers– so why is our biology such a myth to us? It could be due to society’s fear that knowledge is power. Do
schools and parents think that if youngsters know what their body does, and why, that we might exploit it? Or is it because they don’t want us thinking about our bodies? I guess we will never know. But, what we do know, is that this is not the case. Yes, knowledge is power– but why should we shy away from giving youths the power to challenge why our bodies being sexualised? It is not our place to deny the knowledge of our own being to others, just in order to “protect” them. It is unreal the amount of people (men and women) I have spoken to who are unaware that the vagina and the clitoris were not the same thing. Seriously guys, come on! Even if you don’t want to go and get out a book on biology from the library, at least look at yourself! How are you expected to know if there is something not right with your body if you don’t even know what’s normal? Even if you don’t do it for the greater good, at least learn your anatomy for your own benefit! At the end of the day, what have you got to lose? You don’t have to go into major depth, knowing every single type of cell in your body! Start with external elements– do you know what your areola looks like? Take notes, examine yourself, and you will become in tune with your own body. So, the next time someone tells you to “grow a pair” you can retort that you were born with a fully functioning vagina, not a pair of testicles.
Interview with Catrin Lawrence Catrin Lawrence is a pansexual, panromantic, who is diagnosed with high-functioning autism. In this interview, we discussed common misconceptions about autism and pansexuality, how people perceive Catrin because of her sexuality and autism, and how feminism can sometimes leave her out, because of her disability. C– Catrin V– Vicky V: Could you please explain your sexuality and disability? C: Okay, so I’m pansexual, which basically means that I’m attracted to anybody on the human gender spectrum. I’m also panromantic, which means I’m attracted romantically to anybody on the gender spectrum. And, as for the disability, I’ve got an official diagnosis of high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. The only reason I haven’t been diagnosed with Asperger’s is because I had delayed speech. V: Are people surprised by your autonomy because of your disability? C: I think they do sometimes, yeah. Recently, I’ve felt a bit isolated, because I’m, quite high-functioning, even more so than people with the same diagnosis, but I’m not as normal neurotypical passing than some other autistic people, and that’s caused quite a few problems recently. So, yeah, it can be a bit isolating. V: Are people surprised by your sexuality because you are disabled? C: Yeah! There seems to be this thing where people assume that disabled people can’t have an alternative sexuality or gender identity because people think we don’t understand. But in my case, people haven’t really said anything about it.
26 V: What are the common misconceptions about your sexuality and your disability? C: The thing about pansexuality, is that people see it as you loving everything, rather than everyone! So, they sometimes joke about bestiality and object stuff, and I’m just like, no! I guess people assume that I’m really naïve, or innocent. And that really frustrates me, because, although I do come off as quite timid, because my confidence is quite low, I don’t want people to think I’m stupid- that’s a particular thing I have. Because, people always assume that autistic people are stupid and can be easily taken advantage of. I was bullied quite badly when I was younger, so because of that I’ve become quite defensive about things like academic areas. I feel that, if I get high grades in my work, then people won’t pick on me. V: In your ideal world, how would you go about making people more positive and open minded about sexuality as well as disability? C: I think the sex ed we have in schools is really, really bad. Because instead of saying how sexual intercourse actually happens, they just show you pictures of infected genitals and videos! It’s just a deterrent, it doesn’t tell you what to do if you get passed those things and do it anyway, and it doesn’t tell you that everybody is straight. I think it should be a law for teachers and their classes, especially if there is going to be a disabled person in their class and it isn’t obvious, that it should be obligatory for a teacher to tell the class about it. And, education about disability should be included in discrimination campaigns. V: Do you think that feminism should be a bit more intersectional to include disabilities? C: Discrimination campaigns always leave out disability- even on Tumblr, which is a really big feminist community, like Judaism on there, autism and other disabilities on there tend to be ignored. So, even if you are a really big feminist, you can still be ignorant about autism, which I have experienced recently. V: What advice could you give to someone who is disabled and thinks that they could have sexuality outside the binary? C: C: I’d tell them to go with your feelings. Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re wrong, just because you’re disabled doesn’t mean that you’re always wrong!
Many Thanks To:
Harriet Boughey (interview not included)
Summer Gomes (interview not included)
Lizzie Bradley (interview not included) A full video documentary of “Interviews of
Intersectionality”, along with other works, is available on: www.victoriaholliegourlay.com See past work on: www.flickr.com/photos/victoriaholliegourlay
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