My feminism

I’m 53 this year. I’ve been a feminist for a long, long time.
I used to believe that there were many types of feminism, and that we all enact our feminism in our own ways.
I used to believe that feminism was about women.

But I don’t believe any of those things anymore.

If you look at the traditional definition of feminism it’s about the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Except. The construct that is gender, and essentialist or binary – ie you’re either a man or a woman – is a false construct. There is much research to suggest, and indeed prove, that. Google it.

Gender queer people were never considered in the feminism that I was raised in. Now, however, I believe that feminism is a movement that should encompass all PEOPLE who do NOT have equal rights. That we should be advocating for those people on the grounds of the equality of the genders, all genders.

That’s it. That’s my hard line.

We’ve won many rights, and we have a long way to go. I would argue that that distance is only covered effectively if we take gender queer people with us, if we deconstruct gender and what that means, if we destroy that toxic masculinity that’s so harmful to us all. That won’t happen if you exclude gender queer people. Feminism isn’t just for white, middle class cis women. It’s for all people that don’t hold the power of the patriarchy.  If feminism is the opposite of the patriarchy, then what does it need to look like?

It’s not men we’re fighting anymore, you see. It’s the patriarchy. Designed by white, cis, wealthy men to keep everyone else out of any power structure they have created. These structures are often aeons old, and designed for nobody else but themselves. And if there’s one thing we know about white cis men, in general, it’s that they don’t like to share power.

So how do we go about denting that power? Taking it for ourselves? Busting the patriarchy that keeps us shackled, those of us who don’t control it, or benefit from it?  In my opinion, we need to stop the bollocks of defining everyone as man or woman. The patriarchy doesn’t hate women, it simply resents and seeks to erase all those who are not they. It searches for disunity, seizes upon it, and 7/10, it wins whatever war it thinks it’s fighting.

This is crucial. If we continue to buy into transphobic rhetoric and fears, if we continue to deny that trans and genderqueer people have a place in feminism, then we are lost. It’s as simple as that.

I used to believe that feminism only advanced if we spoke with one voice. That voice is female and white, I have discovered. This single minded stupidity is costing us dearly. There are many voices in this movement, and white cis women’s voices are no longer as vital to the cause. We aren’t the bosses anymore. We are part of the movement. But we aren’t the impetus that is required. We must keep raising our voices, but we must also seek to boost the voices of others. To listen more. To be aware of how internalised misogyny works. And understand how harmful we are being if we deny trans people their place in the movement.

This shit needs shaking up. Gender needs to be destroyed. We are humans. If, and only if, we can accept that, that it’s about working together, and sharing power, we might get somewhere. Otherwise, we are as bad as the patriarchy we purport to be fighting.

I’m a woman.

But I’m a human first and foremost.

 

 

A Tale of Two Women.

This last week has been one of great highs and terrible lows for women in my life who have lived through domestic violence.
The satisfaction of finding a life where the ex isn’t likely to find you.
The terror of the ex who drags you through litigation to smash you down, and keep you there.
Two women.
Two stories.
One lives in the refuge.
One does not.
Both are wonderful humans, terrific mums, loving friends.
One is penalised for having to move so many times to escape unwanted contact with her ex.
One is penalised for speaking up, and whenever her ex is hurting, he makes her hurt worse.
One is a professional.
One has had to constantly leave jobs to stay one step ahead of the violence.
Both are deeply and profoundly wounded by what has happened, and is happening, to them. Just trying to function, raise their kids, be good people.

Thwarted. Constantly.

They are tired.

Weary of other people stopping them from moving, not just forward, but anywhere.

Abuse, and violence, don’t stop until HE stops.

Make it stop.

What’s Needed At The Moment!

As this whole bizzo has expanded, so have the variety of things we are supplying to the people I now have a working relationship/association with. Please read the list and see if there’s anything you can supply. If not, maybe you’d like to make a donation to our givealittle? The link is at the end of this post.

NZPC (New Zealand Prostitute’s Collective) 

  • Pouch yoghurts – I’m going to buy them a few dozen of these regularly. They keep them in the fridge to give to clients who are strung out on drugs. It’s the only thing they can eat, so Annah makes sure there’s a good supply. You can help me with this by giving a few dollars (or more) to the givealittle.
  • Pads/tampons – once again, I’ll be buying them regular supplies. It’s better to buy these in bulk so once again, this is a money thing.
  • stationery vouchers – many of the NZPC clients have kids, of course – stationery vouchers would be one more expense they don’t have to worry about – I will be buying some so you can contribute to the givealittle OR you can buy one or two and send them to the Aunties PO Box (as with the givealittle, the address will be at the end of this post).
  • Clothes – all sizes – they have sexual health clinics every Thursday and they have a great many clients attending. The clothes I have previously taken them have all gone, so we need more. In particular…. dresses and skirts  – all sizes, tight, hugging, suitable for sex work. We have drop off points now in New Lynn, Waitakere, in town, to me at my home, Pakuranga, Torbay, Warkworth, Greenhithe and Onehunga. Please contact me if you need those addresses. My email address is whaeapower@aunties.co.nz
  • Big shoes (sizes 9-12) – many of the trans women in particular have larger feet, and have a really hard time finding suitable shoes. High heels, sandals, wedges, court shoes.
  • Hotel toiletries – the staff make up packs for their clients who sleep rough, or are currently homeless. We don’t need these for the refuge so get collecting for the NZPC!
  • A bench top oven – if you have one of these you don’t need anymore, Annah and the staff would appreciate one. They have very limited kitchen space. I can buy one but we are pretty stretched at the moment, so I’d prefer if someone could give us one.

Rainbow Youth

These lovely humans need some clothes racks – just a couple. Does anyone have some or one they don’t use anymore, that’s in good nick? Please contact me! Otherwise I will buy them a couple.

The refuge (s)

I really really really need large men’s clothes. Like, desperately! These are for the Whãnau house that Te Whãnau Rangimarie runs.

And for specific women:

Boy:
long pants/trackies size 14-16
jumpers – size 14
black runners – size 5 kids
gumboots – size 5
windbreaker/navy blue size 14 -16

Boy:
long pants/trackies – size 4
runners size – 11 kids
singlets – size 3-4

Boy:
long pants
singlets – size 2-3

Girl:
singlets – size 7-8
tights – size 8
runners – size 3 kids

haircutting clippers set
a light coloured thin Lizzy

If you have any of these items, please contact me at the email address above. Or you can pop a few dollars here –  http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/kapawhaea

If you would like to send me anything, our postal address is:

The Aunties

PO Box 76638

Manukau

Auckland 2241

Thank you so much.

Jackie

 

A love letter to my abuser

Today I was a bitch,

I was stupid.

A waste of space.

An idiot,

Bad.

A witch,

Horrible.

Insane.

Fat.

Ugly

I was a bad mother.

You combined some of them to call me a fucking stupid bitch. Idiot.

That you are going to have my children taken off me. Incapable insane whore.

You are so clever, your mind is sharper than mine after all the hours of broken sleep and breastfeeding your children.

After I  juggle jobs and childcare. You are cleverer than me.

After I clothe your children and kiss their boo boo you are cleverer than me.

After I get up early, again, a second job to pay the bills. You are cleverer than me.

After I wait in queues and fight for assistance.. You are cleverer than me.

After I parent for 24/7 when you refuse to come pick them up for weeks, you are cleverer than me.

You have used the courts as a new weapon and your words as a control. You are cleverer than me.

You’ve silenced me,  and I’m tired.

images

So this is my Love letter to you, my abuser.

The only name I can call you.

Because these days that you back me into the corner and pummel me with words and hit me with insults and try and cut me to the core with your barbs until I just don’t think I can go on any further,  these days when I have no tears left so that I wish you would go back to just abusing me with your hands instead of your words because at least then you stopped, these are the days that I howl into the night and cry out to my sisters in whispered message boards and I am remembered…

That I am a deeply  loved and loving mother.

That I am a smart, valued, wise, and kind,

That I AM good,

That I’m sane, healthy,

A beautiful woman.  

I am a wonderwoman.

And it might just be enough…

From the writer – wonderwoman

I have written this after a day of unrelenting insults and disgusting words that have got me so down. So low. After weeks of failing to pick up his children and childcare arrangements and beginning of year school costs and all those stresses that get the average functioning family down.

But these men; that hold esteemed positions in our community, that you know, that you admire. They use their brains and their contacts, their resources of courts and systems and privilege as their new weapons. The other men around them continue to hold them up to, even if they know. They use the fact that they are “too important “ for anyone to criticise.

This man learnt instantly he was not allowed to put me in hospital, I gave him no second chances yet he still put me there more than once, and finally the police agreed it was enough so now he does it in other ways.

Yet sometimes when I am especially low and fragile I wish for that over this, because at least then it is short sharp and over (I apologise to other women that have suffered ongoing physical violence that would of course disagree). But for me, and so many others this is torture. Emotional, verbal abuse and threats that just keep coming, The NZ courts system can or will do nothing, and they often add another layer by silencing or imposing a gag order so the abuser can legally and freely continue to abuse with the permission of the courts.  

It is a life time sentence.

Somedays I feel strong and I want to shout it from the rooftops but I am not allowed. I am silenced. Somedays it is all too much and I really don’t think i can make it through.

Today I am tired of it all.