Speaking Up

When you come away from a weekend of listening to intelligent people articulating on topics that are very close to your heart, it’s hard not to be completely pumped up about that, (and perhaps ready to bend anyone and everyone’s ears that happen to cross your path.)

In times like this I’m thankful for this space. So I can consider and muse to my heart’s content without the side effect of possible ear weariness, that may be associated with anyone that happened upon my doorstep in the last couple of weeks.

While the topics spoken on varied from anxiety, death, masculine shaped communities, politics and the importance of women’s voices; for the sake of not writing a thesis today, I’m going to stick with the last one.

The importance of women’s voices.

Now as a woman, someone who writes, someone who engages in regular cultural questioning and as someone who often feels censored on various levels, this one was always going to be a big one. With Tara Moss, Jane Caro, Tracey Spicer, Emily Maguire, and Sara Mansour, this panel wasn’t going to be wishy washy.

A panel known for speaking up where it matters, standing to be seen, and making sure their voices are heard in ways where it counts. These women have established voices, words that have been finely tuned and (for some) have been articulating well driven words for decades.

So where does that leave the listener?

Or the person that doesn’t have the public presence, and has no interest in being thrown into the arena spotlight, but still wants to be heard and counted on matters that lie close to the heart?

To start with, think local. Now whether it’s your food system, your clothing or social change that you are advocating for, your local community needs you. It’s something i’ve banged on from the beginning in some shape or form, but your local community needs you. In regards to being heard; power and leverage comes from forming together. So keep it small at first and then if and when you are ready, widen your circle.

Remember you don’t have to be ‘nice’ all the time. Politely demand more, and then repeat yourself, and then probably again, and then, you guessed it again. (The Good Girl Stripped Bare– Tracey Spicer.)

Equal representation needs diversity. Those different voices need to be heard, otherwise you don’t have an accurate snapshot of the area in which you live. Who’s driving your community? Who are the ones speaking up within your schools? Your work place? Your public spaces?

Turn up and connect. Power is networks, use existing structures or like minded souls to make those changes. Often it will just take one person to get the ball rolling. Ripples become waves and watching a single voice turning into a chorus is a wonderful thing. (2017 Women’s March)

You’ve always got something. Always. Something to give, no matter how small that voice seems at times, it’s yours to be used. Whether it be in a letter, a protest, standing up, creatively fuelled, the written word or simply raising a question in a room where the conversation has never been challenged before, (and oooh, there’s plenty of those to choose from.)

Throughout the ages there have always been people who have moved against the tide, stepped out of line, thrown questions in a noisy room and refused to be silenced.

Those voices, with their diversity of backgrounds, experience, colour, communities and sex, simply put, encourage a more wonderfully inclusive and balanced society…and that’s certainly something I’d like to aim for.

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Silence and Powerlessness– Rebecca Solnit

Icelandic Women’s Strike– 1975

Nurturing Wild in our Daughters– with Steve Biddulph

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International Women’s Day

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On March 8th it will be International Women’s Day. A day that’s celebrated in a number of ways around the world. Maybe as a form of respect and ongoing love- can there ever be too much of that? Or perhaps coming from a political and social awareness view point. Here, they are all enthusiastically supported, and for me International Women’s Day is an important one.

Within these blog pages I’ve written about being a Distracted Feminist, about women that inspire me, why acknowledging the wonderful everyday women in your life is important and some guilty rambles with a divided heart. Yes, talking about women, the way they work, the way we feel, the way women are portrayed, the countless journey’s that still lie ahead. It’s important to me.

Am I a feminist? Damn straight I am.

Do I believe in starting conversations and causing ripples where often inequality silently still sits. Yes, yes I will. As my beautiful friend Fran keeps reminding me, ripples become waves and waves change things up. There are still countless opportunities in our communities for things to be changed up.

In order to make those changes you need to believe in something. You need to have a fire within your belly, you need to be inspired and sometimes these changes take time. Inspiration can come from countless different places. Whether it’s your own musings propelling you forward, the people that surround your every day giving you strength or the very things that you see before you.

Our visual story is an important one, and one that I’m acutely aware of at the moment. With less time for words these days, many people often hold far more importance to a simple picture. It can be worth a thousand words, and it can also ignite a multitude of action towards gender equality, empowerment, or simply kindness. And that can only be a good thing. #beboldforchange

Happy International Women’s Day.

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Some links for Change, Thinking and Inspiration

A change.org petition for gender equality school uniforms

Mem Fox- “No more passive behaviour. Hear me roar”

Women Photograph

Why female photographers matter more than ever

UN Women

The distracted feminist

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Hello. My name is Brydie and I’m a distracted feminist.

It’s an odd title but, but there it sits. Like me sitting down to write this post. I thought, I ummed, I errred a little, I paused, I read and then I thought some more. I had an idea, and then…well, I got distracted. Distracted by the bills that needed paying, one or two children, the door bell briefly and then I got distracted by the enormity of the topic- feminism.

I read article after article on different feminist points of views. I had rich and emotionally charged conversations with my husband. I laughed and laughed when I watched this funny lady. And then I thought some more.

Initially, I thought feminism wasn’t dead at all, instead it had just been pushed to the back of the ‘I’m too busy’ pile along with so many other things that people used to have an opinion about.

When people’s attention span has so dramatically decreased in recent years with the introduction of social media, online options, and general ‘busyness‘. It’s hard to hold someone’s attention for ten pages of feminist musings. Let alone, an entire book.

After that initial thought though, I leapt from one thought process to the next and wondered if our communities weren’t being exceptionally dumbed down and our women still indeed have a long road to travel. It sits uncomfortably that thought, but it sits all the same. Gender based inequalities, a rather long held topic really.

I do think living in a continually distracted state can keep us from some of the most important things in life- things that we should have an opinion on and be engaged with. 

While I’m completely guilty of being a distracted feminist at times, I’m also more aware of things then I ever was as my younger self. Stories, plights, endeavours and opinions of my fellow women I will devour and never tire of hearing about. Why? Because I am a woman and I want to think about these things. I want to have an opinion. I want to play a part in trying to change things that need changing. And it’s not just women that need to think about these things it’s our men and boys as well. Inequalities should be thought of as we are human, not because of what sex we are.

Becoming a parent introduced me to a whole range of subtle feminist musings I had never previously considered as a childless person. Things to consider, actions made or simply words and their substantial weight when said in a seemingly careless fashion.

So how does my day-to-day life align with feminist thinkings without dusting off the Germaine Greer books by my bed side table and stalking Clementine Ford‘s twitter feed? Well, it’s having an opinion and speaking up when I hear stupid comments like…

“Oh take your skirt off!” said to the young boy when he was hurt playing soccer and had paused the game.

“Boys will be boys”, on a messy bedroom. No, just because they have a penis doesn’t mean they are entitled to a room that looks like a bombs gone off, and yes girls can do that just as well, (my sister was an expert in this.)

cityhippyfarmgirlI don’t just read books to my kids where the hero is always a male. Nor do I subscribe to the useless princess stories waiting for her whole life to be fixed by a charming prince.

I won’t put clothing on my daughter that will restrict her playing, learning and her general keeping up with her big brothers (or anyone else) because she is the “dainty feminine one”. Sure she LOVES tutus, and if that tutu is covered in mud and paint splodges at the end of the day well, it looks like that has been a damn good day.

I won’t cultivate my boys interests to more “masculine” orientated themes. If they are interested in something, bloody hell, I’ll do whatever I can to encourage that.

I also refuse to take stupid comments like, “oh your husband will understand better” on asking for technical advice in a phone shop, before being fobbed off. No. Err, no he won’t, which is why I am here asking for help.

It’s true. I am unfortunately a distracted feminist- things can get busy round these parts, just as they can for so many other people. But I can also can be a distracted mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister. Along with a 100 other labels I could pin upon myself. The difference is, that I am interested, and I do have curiosity to know more, do more, think more. I certainly don’t see my sex as being inferior or less than and I refuse to take on any restrictions that someone cares to throw at me because of it.

What I will do is, have an evolving strong feminist leaning opinion…albeit at times a slightly distracted one.

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Today is International Women’s Day, the 8th of March– this post, along with another at the end of the week will be written with a feminine curve, (just as I did last year with these posts below.)

Guilty rambles with a divided heart

Lavender and inspiring women

lavender and inspiring women

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A gnarly sun kissed hand pushed a bunch of wattle towards the car window. The driver reaching out for it, swapping the vivid yellow for a few coins and on they drove. The traffic continued, until the next change of lights, where the gnarly hand would once again push forward, offering the small bunches of bright yellow to the driver.

How wattle got to be a symbol of International Women’s Day in Italy I’m not sure. But this is how a number of Italian menfolk show their love and gratitude towards the women in their lives on the 8th of March. Mothers, wives, daughters, co workers, friends…they are all acknowledged, with a little bouquet of wattle. Whether those little bouquets are given as symbolism for the political and social struggles of women this day was initially started for or it’s more a mark of respect, love and appreciation I’m not sure.

Either way, I think I like it. A small symbolic gesture, that I would imagine be really appreciated. Now wattle originated in Australia, so does Australia have a similar culture or giving tradition on International Women’s Day?

Unfortunately no, nope not in the slightest, but I’m wondering… perhaps it’s time we started?

lavander

Some inspiring women in my life that I’ve been thinking of lately, and would love to give a small bouquet of lavender to…

My gorgeous friend who made the mammoth shift of moving states, to give her family a new start- Taking that plunge takes incredible courage.

This wonderful woman is a Doctor with MSF. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her a couple of times, being a good friend of my good friend. The site won’t let me embed the video here, but PLEASE take the time to watch it. (3 mins)

Another artist friend who is at the very beginnings of studying law. As a mama to two little people, I’m in absolute awe of her, (I can barely finish a cup of coffee at the moment.)

And my wonderfully strong blogging friend Mariana, who is still dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding on her property.

All incredibly strong courageous women, that I feel honoured to know.

Which women are you inspired by at the moment?

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Also a few books I’m thinking about for my girl…

Not one Damsel in Distress-

Grandmothers Stories-

Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters-

I think my boys will enjoy these stories too.