A Clash of Isms

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Originally published in qmunicate magazine, issue 124

In the last few years feminism has been enjoying another moment in the sun. Journalists can’t get through an interview with a female celebrity without asking her whether she considers herself a feminist, but as we fawn over Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, do we ever consider what that feminism really means? I’m not the only young woman to have asked myself this question. In a recent interview for Vice, Maisie Williams bucked the trend by admitting that she doesn’t identify as a feminist. She believes there is no need to label ourselves in order to prove that we support equality. Rather than viewing herself as a feminist, Williams prefers to call non feminists out for what they are; sexists.

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Self Harm is a Feminist Issue

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Originally published at https://qmunicatemagazine.com/2016/10/10/self-harm-is-a-feminist-issue/

It’s that time of year again. As autumn arrives along with colder weather, most of us are begrudgingly retrieving our jackets and oversized knitwear from the back of our wardrobes. But for people like me this season marks the end of months of anxiety. I first self-harmed 11 years ago. A particularly tough spell of depression last winter has left me with fresh thick red scars to join the silvery white lines of scar tissue across my arms. For me, summer is a season of excuses. I tell my family I’m not really that warm as I fan my red face. But no matter how deep the shame, there is only so much sweating in long sleeves that one person can take.

I came to this conclusion while doing dissertation reading in a West End café on a particularly hot summer day. As the sun beat down on me through the windows, I finally gave in and peeled off my cardigan. Exposing my scars usually elicits no more from others than a rude stare or an uncomfortable expression of acknowledgment. I never could have predicted what would happen next. As the pair of middle aged women sitting next to me rose to leave, one spotted my marked arms. She looked to her friend, tutted and muttered “Silly girl”. I would love to tell you that at this point I stood to confront the woman, calling her out for her stigmatising attitude and rudeness. I was so taken aback I shrank in my seat, hiding behind my hair.

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Period Leave

Originally published at https://qmunicatemagazine.com/2016/03/21/period-leave/

Coexist, a Bristol based community interest company, have become the first in the UK to introduce official time off for periods to their female staff. Women will be given the option of flexible working to allow them to cope with the symptoms of their periods. The aim of the policy is to create a more inclusive and productive workplace, and improve the satisfaction of workers.

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