What the Aunties Did: Jan, Feb 2017

 

School bags, blue hair, swimming lessons, food, phones and new collaborations – so much has happened in the last couple of months in the life of the Aunties we haven’t even officially reported in. Aunty Jackie has done a fine job of staying in touch with everyone, but here’s the official summary of what the Aunties did so far this year.

Let’s go back to Christmas when the Aunties pulled out all the stops to give women and kids in refuge as much seasonal glee as we could. There were presents for 86 kids (they were given three gifts each and the look of wonder in their eyes would warm your heart till Easter) and we also gave 20 luxury food hampers to women to make their Christmas special, too.

Since then we’ve also tried to give 2017 the best possible start. The Aunties paid for swimming lessons, and for a parenting course at the refuge. We bought 120 schoolbags, some clothes for a woman and her three children, and socks for another woman and her kids, and ordered some food online for two women. We also paid a phone bill, fixed a woman’s car, and moved furniture into a woman’s new house.

We got some very specific requests – a 13 year old wanted more than anything else to have her hair dyed blue, so we made that happen for her birthday. We provided sewing machines for two women, and we bought cakes for other women having birthdays.

The Aunties are very excited about a couple of new relationships. We are now working with the NZ Prostitutes Collective and we’ve bought toiletries, sanitary products, wipes, undies and food for them. Aunty Jackie goes to visit them once a week to take clothes and hotel toiletries which they make up into packs for street workers – so if you are travelling, grab those little bottles and pass them on to us. Aunty Jackie marched proudly with the NZPC in the Pride Parade in February. (They did her makeup, and she looked hot.)

We’ve also started a relationship with Rainbow Youth – we’ve bought them $400 worth of undies so far.

We’ve also bought mobile phones for the women in refuge – such an important part of keeping them safe – and paid for a woman to have her house valued so she is able to arrange the sale safely while her abuser is still living there.

And we know we’ve filled a lot of people’s hearts with joy – including our own, and yours we hope, too.

So thank you for being part of this, and let’s do some more!

www.aunties.co.nz

www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/kapawhaea

www.facebook.com/refugeaunties

www.twitter.com/whaeapower

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