Stuck In My Head – Portishead (+barely contained rage)

This week has been pretty shitty and I’m going to talk about it.
These are my ineloquent views, so please don’t think for a second that I’m saying that these should be your views or are your views. I have been called an extremist, feminist, and an atheist sometimes all in the same sentence and I am happy with those labels.

Reading the news has left me tired, sad, and undervalued as a member of society.
As a lady in a committed relationship, who doesn’t want children, and who knits I couldn’t help but feel sorry for another lady in a committed relationship, who doesn’t want children, and who knits, and who also happens to be Prime Minister of Australia.
I have always believed I was fortunate enough to live in a time where I could choose my own destiny.
Without having a husband I own property, I have a credit card, I have a degree, and I can vote. Yet I have shockjocks on the radio saying that there are people that might assume my partner is homosexual – as though there is something wrong with that.
As though there is something wrong with the way I choose to live my life.

I am strong enough now to not care about opinions of people who don’t matter to me. However I do care that while this is in the media, people in the lunchrooms and in the pubs feel entitled to criticize and comment on my life choices. Whether they’re doing that intentionally or not, when they’re talking about a lady in a committed relationship, who isn’t married, doesn’t want kids (I believe deliberately barren is the phrase), and who knits, they may think they’re talking about the PM but they are also talking about me. This week the world has told me that I am not a “real woman” because I don’t see marriage or children in my future.

In the same week, we’ve seen a high profile domestic abuse case. I was prepared to hear victim blaming opinions from the people in the lunchrooms and in the pubs but I was seriously shocked when this was the only live discussion I’ve heard (I’m excluding online as I have a lovely online bubble where no one would even consider this comment). The comment was about how bad she looked without wearing makeup, and how she is pretty on tv, but not on the cover of a newspaper.
SHE WAS JUST ABUSED! Seriously, her appearance is so low on the available topics regarding domestic abuse it doesn’t even warrant a mention. And yet it’s the only conversation I’ve heard about the whole thing. This week the world has told me that even if I’ve just been strangled in public, I am still obliged to meet a beauty standard.

It would be easy for me to untwist my knickers* and retreat back into my own sheltered world where every person is equal, everyone can choose how they want to live their life, and as long as it’s safe and consensual no choice is better than any other.
But I just can’t do that at the moment. And I don’t just want to talk. There are ways to contribute. There is gofundme.com where you can donate straight to real people and causes. (I’m sure at some point we will see news reports about scams, but I feel the risk is justified.) I recently donated to help cover the living expenses of a sex worker who needed money to be able to prosecute her rapist. There is a getup campaign to steer the conversation away from personal attacks and to the very real consequences of being born a woman.

I don’t usually talk about these things on my blog. But when it came to choose this weeks song, I couldn’t think for all the opinions and thoughts in my head.
If it seems glib to be talking about domestic violence, and then music in the one post please excuse me but I’m starting to think instead of talking about these difficult issues in hushed tones, they should be open and everyday conversations.
I want my niece, and every other young lady out there to find a world where they’re not financially worse off as soon as they come out of the womb, be it through tampons being taxed as a luxury item, not being paid for equal work, and not having adequate superannuation. I want my niece to be able to go to work and be asked “if she wants to get married and have children”, not asked “when” as though it’s a foregone conclusion that because she is female she must have a husband and babies to be complete.
I want my niece to choose her own path in life, whatever that may be. And I want society to accept that choice.
Maybe I’m dreaming of a perfect world, but the only ways that I can think to achieve change is to talk about it and give my time and money.

How can any song possible make its way through all of this clutter? Well there was really only one choice.
In many ways it’s not relevant to this conversation, but it’s the song which is giving me the strength to write these thoughts instead of leaving it solely to the proper writers who explain themselves more eloquently than I do. See articles here, here, and here.

http://open.spotify.com/local/Portishead/Dummy/Glory+Box/308

*Is “got your knickers in a twist” a common colloquialism outside of Australia? If not I know it to mean get worked up about something you have no control over.

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