Wednesday, 27 November 2013

In Afghanistan, there are women.

Before I start I want you to know that I cried before writing this, because it scares me. Ready?

In Afghanistan a woman's son was kidnapped and killed because she's a headmistress of a girls' school. His three month old corpse was found with 12 gun shot wounds to his body. She continues to educate young women in a world where women are dirt on men's shoes. She continues to be threatened by her son's murderers. Her husband was told this by them, "Your wife is working, she was a [parliamentary] candidate, and was awarded the Malalai gold medal by Afghan-Americans. And you still say you have done nothing and ask why we are cruel to you?" 

In Afghanistan a woman and her family was targeted by the Taliban for working as a gynaecologist providing healthcare for women suffering from abuse, including rape and domestic violence. She worked for an abortion clinic working for girls who had been raped by their relatives. If these girls did not have an abortion, they would be killed by their families in an 'honour' killing. Two years after receiving warnings from the Taliban, her 11 year old son was almost killed by a grenade in her back garden. Six months later her 22 year old brother actually died in a grenade attack in the front of her house. 

In Afghanistan, in recent months, the last two most senior female police officers in Helmand province have been murdered. 

In Afghanistan women continue to work in full burkas, receiving threats from the Taliban, spat on, murdered, judged, deceived, exploited, attacked. 

This is because they are women. I am so disgusted by this discrimination I could be sick. My respect for every single female in that country could not be greater. They persist in a slow and terrible fight every single day. 

Amnesty International is asking for local MPs to be contacted and pushed for support by the UK for women in Afghanistan after many countries pull out in 2014. Here's the link.

In Afghanistan there is an entire country of strong but frightened women. I give them words and thoughts with hope and love because unfortunately it's all I can afford. 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Friends with different body parts.

I know this might seem really alien, but I actually I have a few guy friends who aren't complete jerks. I know. Shocking. They're all genuinely nice, intelligent human beings with good intentions and without any misogynist superiority complexes. I get on well with all of them, we all laugh together, none of them put me down with some messed up sexist comments, and we all accept the fact that I'm a girl and they're boys and we can all be friends with different body parts. It's cool. 

Despite this, however, I continue to be told by some members of society that my friendship with these lovely boys is not real. They only talk to me because they want something more. They're the same as every other sexist male pig; all they want is to GET IN MY PANTS. This is because of course scientifically it's impossible for any male to be polite and kind and friendly with a girl without some sort of dirty intention. And we forgive them all for this natural desire, their brains can only run on two thoughts: BOOBS and SEX. This even dates back to the middle ages where women could be possessions. In fact, why don't we forget the whole friends and equality thing and bring back this mentality? Because men won't change, right? 

Of course that would be completely and utterly ridiculous because most decent human beings are feminists without even knowing. Due to the fact that a nice person usually tends to like the idea of complete equality between the human race as it would be rather jolly if we could all just get on. 

I think it ridiculously unfair that we allow ourselves to assume every man has the same intentions with women and can't possibly be friends with one. If we are to continue a feminist revolution we've got to remind society that we are fighting for equality, not for female superiority. This means we need to stop presuming every kind male to have malicious intent behind his female friends and accept the fact that there are nice gentlemen, and there are nice ladies and they don't all have to want to have sex with each other. 

In When Harry Met Sally, Harry says that a man and a woman can't be friends without there being something more for one or the other. I think in some senses this is true, it's often natural for someone to start developing feelings for the opposite sex (if they're straight) when they spend a lot of time with them. 

But I'd like us to accept the fact that we can all be friends with different body parts and that it's totally cool. Thanks. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Kids grow up so fast, girls even faster.

I would like for somebody to approach me and tell me why when children reach the age of about 12 there is a divide into how girls and boys are considered. A boy may reach the age of 12 and still want to play Pokemon and think girls give you germs, whereas, a girl may reach the age of 12 and start to think that makeup makes a child's face look older.

The boy will be asked no questions. He is a boy, after all.

The girl, however, will be pat on the head and told how cute and 'underdeveloped' she is should she choose to steal her innocence for a while longer. She has to steal it, for after a certain age a girl's innocence may no longer be her own.

As soon as a young girl starts to develop, grow boobs, wear a bra, have wider hips, she is subject to the unfair interpretation of the world around her. Inside her head she may still be wanting to play outside when she gets home but to everyone else she should want to stick posters of boys on her wall and act twice the age she is.

It is not impossible for a boy to go through judgement if he does not grow up fast enough, but from my experience of still technically being a child it's a very real thing for little girls in their tween years. There are boys in my school who can still hold onto their childlike qualities without judgement, some of them are even accepted by the 'cool' groups.

But let a girl go innocently into year 8 with pigtails and a fresh face and CBBC straight on when she gets home, and you witness a reject. The darling little girl who thinks that makeup is silly and boys smell, bless. Compared to the girls already frightened of their own appearance she must be happier. She hasn't grown up. She probably doesn't have men second guessing her age and staring her innocence away as she walks down the street with the new body she didn't ask for. Because she held onto her childhood, she's allowed to be free from oppressive sexism just a little while longer.

Don't make girls grow up when they don't want to. Once you say goodbye to your blissful naivety, it never comes back.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The inner most thoughts of an exam student.

The entire hall is filled with shuffling silence. A sort of desperation pushes the tips of each student's pen as it rapidly scribbles across the page. Just under a hundred different answers being written at the exact same time for the exact same question. Some will be wrong, most will be 'right'. The fear of expected failure can be smelt. We all expect it because believing otherwise can bring disappointment and knowing you are good at a subject would just be vain, right?

Our teachers have told us that we'll be fine, you've done the work, you'll do well. I don't think anyone ever believes them. Writing for 2 and a quarter hours under exam conditions you say? Surely this will only end badly.

The clock will not speed up nor slow down during this experience but despite this I still manage to look up as if I have a twitch every five minutes. It's okay, I tell myself, I'm on schedule. Thinking isn't really necessary during the exam, only reading and writing. There is no time in between to ponder what will be for tea or what's on telly tonight. All my brain can focus on is whether the headline in this article uses a metaphor or not.

Metaphor. Simile. Pun. Alliteration. Emotive. Persuasive. Informative.

It's as if I've been programmed to think only these things until I have finished writing and only then. Literally nothing else can enter my mind unless it goes along the lines of a one person conversation such as,  "Oh my god this is taking forever I'm never going to finish and then I'll fail this exam and then all my exams and then all my GCSEs and then I'll just have to never get a job." "Mollie?" "Yes?" "Shut up."
And then the writing commences immediately after.

What I never anticipate, however, is the waiting that comes from finishing an exam 35 minutes before its actual end. When you're not tired enough to fall asleep during those empty minutes, time suddenly starts to go very, very slowly. The thoughts you held back during the writing come back randomly in a strange order as your mind is strangled by boredom.

These thoughts are not the miraculous realisation of why man kind exists, or why we fall in love, or how to travel through time. No, these are the most trivial thoughts one might experience in their life time. I guess it's the sudden contrast from hard concentration to a short void of nothingness that creates a less than inspiring string of daydream.

The shuffling silence is no longer full of nervous energy, despite probably still being quite true. The desperation that once belonged to you has faded. Now you have done the work. The exam is done. You've done what you've been asked and now you can wait for months for the dreaded result.

I wouldn't say an exam was an emotional roller coaster, rather a simple plane journey with a bit of turbulence at the start.