How I felt when I didn’t protest

I hope this post doesn’t make it sound like I’m making the protest about myself. That isn’t my intention at all – obviously the protest isn’t about me. This is just how I felt yesterday on my way home.


 

I had another work experience placement in London yesterday. As you may know, yesterday was also the day of a planned protest against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban in the US. The protest was an extremely convenient ten minute tube journey from my office. Like many others, I despise Trump along with every single policy he’s implemented so far. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how inhumane the Muslim ban is (I hope not anyway). I was desperate to attend this protest.

I had heard there was possibly going to be another march against the Muslim ban the following Saturday during the day. However, I wasn’t convinced this protest would actually end up happening. I hadn’t seen anybody saying they were going and couldn’t find anything when I searched around the internet. I hadn’t gone to the previous Women’s March on London either due to having no time to organise going with friends (I knew my parents wouldn’t want me going alone). Admittedly I’d just started a new work placement that week, but I still mentally kicked myself for not simply making time for something I cared about so much.

The protest yesterday ended late and it was dark and I was by myself. This had caused me to put off asking my parents whether I could go or not as I had a pretty good idea what their answer would be. I held off asking my mum until half an hour before my work placement ended. Once I’d finally psyched myself up enough, I sent her a text.

Now the thing is… I know my mum very well, so I was able to predict her response almost word for word. My mum didn’t tell me I couldn’t go because apparently she couldn’t technically stop me (she probably could though to be honest). She did tell me she’d be extremely worried about me and begged me not to go. I am in no way blaming my mum for this. She said those things because she cares about me and her concerns were legitimate.

So… I didn’t go. I felt too guilty (about worrying her so much). But I felt just as guilty about not going at the same time. I was angry and upset and a nasty lump appeared in my throat at the thought that I would be doing nothing to help that night. I called my boyfriend and tried communicating to him via a series of incoherent wails. How could I be ten minutes away from the protest and not even go? Ten minutes away when others had travelled miles to get there. I had to hang up the phone as I went through to the Underground.

I got very emotional. I felt like every cell in my body was telling me to just ignore my parents’ fears and go. I felt like I was betraying everything I’d ever written about or argued against. I got on the tube and tried not to cry. I felt like a bystander and a waste of space. I was present during an awful time in modern history and all I could do was go home for dinner when people needed help. I felt like I didn’t even care at all. Why hadn’t I just gone? Why couldn’t I actually do something? Why did I care so much about worrying my parents?

After an incredibly dramatic and probably self-pitying journey, I got home to find out the protest on Saturday was actually happening after all. The protest this weekend is during the day so my boyfriend and I will be going together. My parents will be a lot less worried under these safer circumstances. I’m not entirely sure what the point of this post is to be honest… I guess I got reminded BIG-TIME of the importance of actually doing something and fighting for what you believe in. I realised how distressing it felt to be an onlooker.

To everybody who went to or supported a protest yesterday – you’re amazing, please keep fighting because we need people like you to save the future of this world from the direction it’s stuck in right now. You all give me hope.

————————————————————————–

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ranterwrites

What Feminism Means to Me :)

Once again, the president of the United States almost stopped me from posting today. Once again, I am not going to let him stop me!

Hello everyone, today I am going to be talking about what feminism means to me. Get ready to buckle your seatbelts because this is going to be a wild ride.

Feminism is something that is very important to me. Although I only learned about it properly a few years ago, the lessons it’s taught me have had a humongous impact on my life and the way I see the world. The literal definition of feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism does not mean women are better than men. This notion means so much to me as I’m a firm believer nobody should ever be discriminated against because of their gender (and you should be too!) To me, feminism means a better quality of life and more opportunities for everybody.

Feminism means fighting for a better world. To me, this is about never giving up in the face of defeat. Yes, we will lose battles along the way, but we’ll also make progress in the future – because we are the future! After all, so much has already changed since the movement began. It means celebrating our small victories whilst staying strong and fighting back when life tries to walk all over us. It means reaching out to help others when life tries to walk on them.

early-feminism

Feminism needs to be intersectional in order to benefit all women. If you are more privileged than someone in terms of race, gender, sexuality, etc., this means listening to their experiences and actually acknowledging them. It means believing them, not being indifferent or accusing them of lying because we can’t relate to what’s been said. Ultimately, intersectional feminism means recognising the movement needs to help more than just white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class, heterosexual women (that was a mouthful!) It needs to help all women.

Feminism also means helping men. Although women suffer from the effects of the patriarchy to a greater extent (which is why I think using the term ‘feminism’ is important so we don’t lose sight of that), there are also ways the patriarchy harms males. For example, male abuse and rape victims are taken less seriously. Also, men are more likely to die from suicide than women. Many believe this is because society has taught men to completely suppress their emotions.

Feminism means recognising just because we are discussing women’s issues at one point in time, that doesn’t mean we don’t care about men’s issues as well. For example, if someone is having a specific conversation about female victims of abuse and rape, it means not dismissing that by telling them ‘well men get raped too.’ This is because in that space the conversation happens to be about female victims, therefore in another conversation it will be about male victims. Having said this, it’s vital these conversations about men do actually take place, because like I previously said, male abuse and rape victims are often taken less seriously. In short, feminism means making sure these conversations occur for all genders. Feminism does not mean fighting against existing conversations in order to start new ones. An alternative, more helpful response to ‘well men get raped too’ could be ‘I really care that men get raped too, so let’s start a conversation about that as well whilst the one about women continues.’ In my opinion, this is more useful mind-set.

calm

So there we have it – that is what feminism means to me! During times like these (a.k.a. the Trump era), I think it’s more important than ever to keep discussions about feminism going. Although all this negativity often brings me down, I am trying to make it encourage me to speak out more. If any of you have written posts speaking out about issues under threat, please link them to me in the comments. I will genuinely read all of them because I need people to give me hope right now, so please let me know your thoughts!


Twitter: https://twitter.com/ranterwrites

 

Sad Ramblings, India Mass Molestation, Life Lesson of the Week

Hey people,

This week was interesting because I went back to do some more work experience on a magazine I’d helped out on last October. I was helping them with research, which meant I had to read around a lot of news websites all week.

Normally I try to keep up with the news as much as I can anyway. However, as you can probably imagine, searching through these websites all day meant I read a much wider range of stories than usual. Because of this, for the majority of last week I was being reminded of how much bad stuff goes on in the world. Which was great.

On the flip side, I was being reminded of how incredibly lucky I am. I could have been born into any family, in any country, during any time era. Heck, I could’ve not been born at all. Yet here I am…

Despite this, I haven’t been feeling amazing this week to be honest. I’m not sure why. I guess my brain just decided to be a bit moody. However, like I just said, my problems could be way way worse. At the end of the day I think it’s important to stay grateful, cheesy as it sounds.

096

One news story that really stuck out to me last week was the mass molestation in India on New Year’s Eve. The indifference shown by Karnataka’s Home Minister saying ‘these kind of things do happen’ angered me a lot. Worse still, one minister shockingly blamed these attacks on the women themselves for dressing in a ‘western’ way. This kind of victim blaming for sexual assault still happens all over the world today and it’s absolutely disgraceful. It’s 2017 people – we need to be a little more forward-thinking than this! This, of course, was just one of the horrible stories on the news last week. I haven’t even touched upon things like the Florida shooting or anything happening in the Middle East.

india-society-crime-molestation_371155a6-d242-11e6-89f5-e9c163347fb8

I also had to research some charities during my placement. Again, there were two different sides to this experience. On the one hand, it was unpleasant to be reminded of how many problems and crises there are in the world. On the other, it was nice to remember how many charities have actually been set up and how many people take time to help others.

go-the-extra-mile-for-autism-charities

All in all it’s been an interesting week for me. The main thing I’ve taken from it is to try and stay grateful for what I have. Sometimes if I’ve had a bad day, I feel like wallowing in misery for months and refusing to do things that make me feel better. However, that isn’t very helpful and my life could be a lot worse. I could literally be living in a war zone, have an extreme lack of human rights, or be starving to death (sorry if that got a little dramatic, but it’s true!) Over the past few months I’ve gained a better perspective on life in general, so that’s definitely something I want to work on now.

I hope you all had a nice week. Thanks for reading xo


Twitter: https://twitter.com/ranterwrites