Handle with Care

  • SJ

International Women’s Day 2019

Updated: Jan 28

Balance for Better & Feminist Poetry

March, 2019: an exciting time. Here, we find ourselves in a period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence, celebrate its presence + seek to concrete it.

Join the conversation: #BalanceforBetter, this Year's Theme for #InternationalWomensDay.

A Gender-Balanced World

Building a gender-balanced world is not a women's issue; it's a business issue, and everyone has a role to play. International women’s day is a celebration of the powerful movements in history her-story.

On this day, we remember + honour the horrific past of female oppression, abuse + mistreatment. All while we rejoice in the changes made by our mother’s mothers, sisters, + daughters, all women of before:

Let’s not forget those young girls + women, set on fire, awake, + burnt at the stake. Buried alive, drowned + left to starve. Feet crushed + bound. Genitals mutilated. Kidnapped + trafficked. Denied education, voting rights, property ownership, driving licenses + equal pay. Indeed, the female sex has been raped, in many ways.

No wonder Aliens won’t visit us

Oppression + cruelty is not limited to the female sex, obviously. It is thread throughout the entirety of human existence. I can’t exactly say as a human being I’m extremely proud of our species’ history.

But the world is changing in many ways, and with it, men + women are holding hands for equality, balance + equilibrium. And it is bloody beautiful to witness + be a part of, #EqualRights.

While gender-equality and a balanced world (is albeit a long way away) concerns both men + women, in this short post I want to focus on the woman + woman connection.

Empowered Women Empower Women

One thing I find most inspiring in this chaotic, patriotic system, is women supporting women. Openly, honestly + kind-heartedly lifting each other up.

It’s a long enough route to gender equality, and gosh is it under construction, we don't need to make it longer by creating another fork in the road. Social systems can have a nasty habit of pinning us against each other, promoting gossip, competition, vanity + bitching.

Despite this, we are increasingly propelling each other higher. Helping each other achieve higher versions of ourselves. Sharing, connecting + telling our truths. More + more, women are feeling less alone + more at home within their bodies.

The more women that support women, the more women support themselves.

Bitch, please.

Personally speaking, some of the worst sexism I’ve ever experienced has been from other women. And yes – it is extremely demoralising to shamed, slated + criticised for expressing your unique femininity, by another female. If you're a woman reading this, I'm guessing you have experienced this too.

Something that springs to mind are the girls who once bullied pre-teen me for having boobs. Imagine that? I developed early, and society taught us that fat, hips + tits were ugly. Skinny was the trend back then. So, I started hiding my body at a very young age. Now? I don’t even own a bra. Calm your tits? Nah - set them free. Who’s with me? #burnyourbra

Indeed, I’ve experienced a lot of sexism from both men + women, as most people have. But individuals are not to blame here, and there this is not a battle of the sexes. As hurtful as sexism may be, it is rooting in social conditioning. That is, society enforces an outdated set of gender norms that people still adhere to, through conditioning + ignorance.

Intersectional feminism

Together, we can do better

We need to see past our social conditioning, support each other + teach our daughters to embrace intersectional feminism. That is, the idea that everyone experiences the world differently based on their combination of identities. Put simply,

intersectional feminism is the recognition that there are many kinds of women experiencing different forms of discrimination based on race, transgenderism, income, sexual orientation and more.

This type of feminism highlights that not all women are white, middle class, cisgendered people and that we need to fight for equality for all.

So what are you going to do for International Women’s Day?

The 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign runs all year long, it doesn't just end on International Women's Day. Collectively we can all play a part. That is, collective action + shared responsibility for creating a gender-balanced world is key.

Motivate others + joint the discussion. Have you seen the Balance for Better pose?

Chances are, there’s an International Women's Day Event near you. And if not – social media is sure to be lit. Either way, I encourage you to do something to celebrate the women in your life, + if you’re a woman too, to celebrate you.

Poetry // Harmony

If you followed last month’s Female February feature on the blog, you will have heard my chat with Burlesque Performer Poison – know all about my upcoming performance.

That’s right, to coincide with International Women's Day + celebrate the creative contribution made by women, Gambit Sheffield are bringing ‘Harmonyft. yours truly, to Sheffield:

a brand new all-day festival featuring some of the brightest female names in music, comedy, spoken word, performance art, dance & more.

Running for 12 hours from Midday until Midnight, at the Sheffield live music institution The Royal Standard - The RS Bar, over 40 female artists will be showcased across two stages. All profits raised on the day will be going the charities Women's Aid + SRASAC.

As if you needed another reason to attend this event - prizes, free upcoming gig tickets, merch, art + more, is ready to be given away. If you’re near Yorkshire, it’s definitely not an event to miss.

A word on Poetry

As a female spoken word artist, I feel both blessed + compelled to share my rhymes this International Women’s Day, and I’m very excited to get on stage.

Recent incarnations of poetry are fierce + fiery, more emotive + political than ever before. Rhymes this time around are simply down-right empowering, flooding the world with truths + beating walls of oppression.

At the same time, these powerful forms of poetry + creative expression are shared to stress the kind in humankind + reminds to be soft.

Poetry, like art, intends to move people. It can drop us into a deep sea of emotions, make us laugh, cry, question + answer. Poetry can carry strength to people, promote healing, mental cleaning + mind expansion.

Poetry reminds us that we are alive - but most of all, poetry reminds us to live.

To celebrate International Women's Day, I'll be sprinkling some self-care poetry in your very lovely mailboxes throughout the month - so make sure you're subscribed.

Whatever you do this Internal Women’s Day, be poetic about it, and always, always

- Handle with Care.

Further Reading:

International Women's Day

Solange Proud Black Feminist

Empowering quotes about women supporting women

10 little ways to support the women in your life

Women want to be Witches