Because I’m sick of this shit

22 Oct

Trigger warning.

 

Another week another piece regarding women, alcohol and rape. Mia Freedman posted an article suggesting women can prevent sexual assault by avoiding drinking. She explores the fact that women put themselves in danger via alcohol and being out late. She is also quoted in an earlier interview stating that ”You should be able to leave your car unlocked with the keys in the ignition, or leave your front door unlocked, and expect nobody to burgle you.” As if comparing the female body to a cars is a completely valid point.

Whenever women are continually instructed to undergo certain behaviour to avoid rape, there is a detraction of  the responsibility of rapists, contributing to an underreporting of sexual violence, and the encouragement of a rape tolerant society. The emergence of an ideology which blames the individual for her or his sexual assault proposes that, instead of blaming the perpetrator  the individual should take more responsibility for not being assaulted.  This is something that has been far too dominant in our media of late, in high profile cases where the women are belittled for being out late without their partner, or being drunk underage. At risk behaviour is seen as a problem and telling females this as the solution.

 Let me state the obvious. I, my mother, my sister, and my beautiful friends should all have the right to go out, drink, wear what they want and not be raped. Why aren’t we telling men to stop drinking in order to stop raping? Most rapes occur by a person known to the victim. By publicising these kind of ignorant views we are simplifying a woman’s grief.  No female has brought anything on herself.

 

The reality is for most women it’s not about ‘how not to get raped’ it’s about the long painful journey to recover from already being assaulted. A huge part of this journey is learning not to blame oneself and these kind of publicised statements about women drinking less does nothing but shame and inhibit an individuals right to realise that it is NEVER her fault. We need to send victims of assault a clear message which counters the myth that their individual behaviour somehow encouraged this to happen to them. The reason that so many assaults go un-reported is down to the fact that there is a legal system that seldom supports to them, alongside at many points, a society. Women need to explore the fears, anxieties and years of recovery that follow an assault with out fear of blame or judgement.

Women drinking is not the problem, the sooner we realise this the sooner we can start the long battle of trying to combat a society where too many people think that other peoples bodies are for the taking.

There is only one thing that causes rape, and that is rapists.

What were you wearing?

25 Mar

WHAT WERE YOU WEARING ?

 

 

What was I wearing?

 

Cop  pauses, pen gripped, stare insistent.

 

 

What were you wearing?

 

I was wearing high wasted shorts

Boots up to my knees and a camisole shirt

 

What was I wearing?

I was wearing 5 vodka lime sodas and sore feet from dancing

 

 

What was I wearing?

Bright red lipstick on rubenesque lips

Tight black shorts on marylin hips

 

What was I wearing?

And as it starts to rain

mascara slightly smudges too each side

Like a cat.

But cats own the night, tonight I do not

 

 

What was I wearing?

 

I was wearing being left out on the street after the boy that I shared a bed with decided to go to his bed with his bong instead of me.

 He lasted longer. Than he should have.

What was I wearing?

 

Tears and freezing in the rain

It approaches me.

As if. A taxi now hails itself?

 

I should have known.

What was I wearing?

2 hours in a police station

 

his hand went where at what time?

What corner were you on?

You’d had HOW many drinks?

ARE YOU SURE?

 

 

What was I wearing?

A constant fear of physical inadequacy

I’m tired.

I’m worn

 

I’m not sure you will ever understand.

The galloping horse

Through your chest

As you feel a stranger

Pace Behind

 

Quicken, Head down

Get. Home. Soon.

I love being a women

But I’m tired

 

What the hell were you wearing?

 

I was brought up by a man who could touch the stars

He treated women as if they deserved the respect that Cleopatra demanded

And we would dance underneath those starts and I would feel

The luckiest and safest girl in the world

 

What was I wearing?

 

I was wearing a grief.

The men since who have plundered and

 pillaged my dance under the stars

I don’t feel safe anymore

My fathers here, great men surround me

But I don’t feel safe anymore

 

What was I wearing?

That women I love
The prickles on your neck

A pack preying on the weaker

dark alleys

Leering  

wild beasts in the coop

 

 

What was I wearing.

 

What were the Sabine women wearing

When the Romans arrived?

Or the girls of central Eurasia

When King Gengis Khan Fathered Thousands

And the Women of Australia

When we came calling?

What were they wearing?

 

Rape wasn’t invented,

With the mini skirt

 

What was I wearing?

 

My right to be out late

In what I like

With whom I like

 

 

And not

Be here. Now. But

 

Lost in a taxi cab.

My Mum drops the phone

A fruitless search

That leads nowhere.

 

An echoed tale from women’s lips

Through every generation

 

 

A timeless tale

A womans tales

 

I will for all women

Wear whatever I like

And hold responsible

Those who think others bodies

Are for the taking

Hold responsible

 

And I will continue to dance,

 

To swing these hips.

 

To not feel fear.

 

In my tight laced boots .

 

 

An echoed tale from womens lips

 

I love being a women

 

But I’m worn

 

 

 

 

 

Repping the short arse

22 Mar

swedish

This is for the short girls.
This is for you.
 
I was as most of my female counterparts was thrilled to see the rise of the *cough* ‘normal sized’ mannequin.
It’s a refreshing change. Looking at the larger female one I felt something I had never felt whilst looking at a mannequin before.
Recognition.
 
The fuller thighs, soft tummy, Hell, this thing kind of resembles me. Naturally my bumps aren’t quite as smooth and perfectly proportioned as this ladies, this is the closest I have ever come to self recognition in a fashion mannequin.
Whilst I think this is of upmost importance to todays society that we (FINALLY) start mirroring a more realistic female form this does bring me to a consistent problem that I have with these ‘plus sized’ models.
 
Where are the short ones?
Where are the stumpy ones?
 
It seems we have conceeded to appreciate curves as long as they’re spread throughout a long legged female fatale.
 
Now I’m probably not considered overly short, in fact I’m quite average height for a girl, I do however have the genetic gift of having a long torso and short legs. I recall my first ballet concert in my bright yellow tutu and my parents concluding that I had ‘hook legs’ (My grandmothers married name) this of course referred to their length and there oddly shaped knees. Though I had no idea of what they were referring to, despite my parents assurances, I was pretty sure ‘hook legs’ was not something I was aspiring to.
 
 
They were always been the thing that I despised. I used to mentally carve them up as a 13 year old, looking down at my swimsuit. Carve them down with my mind until they resembles the leg of, oh say a fashion mannequin. Through years and reality checks (I have run many runs and the hook legs show no sign of giving in) I have come to accept my short albiet oddly shaped stumps. Anyone who has ever been bed bound in hospital will find it hard to be-grudge their legs once recovered.
 
I do however feel at a loss when I try to think of a catwalk model or mannequin who mimicks my particular body shape. Whilst I know this is a pipe dream, clothes have always been modelled on the tall whether skinny or curvaceous, I think this is a body type that is not given the particular repsect it deserves. Hell I can be shorter than you standing up but taller sitting down (MIND BLOWN) I can walk under things with ease (evident to me whilst caving with my much taller counterpart) and I can be absolutely enveloped in a hug from a taller lover or friend.
 
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that despite this being a wonderful step to creating higher body acceptance in the world, we still have a long way to go. The fact that these models have caused such international press should indidcate to us just how far.
 
I long for the day when I can walk into an underwear store and be greeted with a thick legged buxon short ass. I think When this day comes I intend to high five said mannequin and walk out singing sir mix a lot.

Dear Ovaries,

9 Dec

Dear Ovaries,

First of all fuck you.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, I think it’s time we had a little chat. You see I’m not sure what I ever did to you. But I guess that is getting ahead of myself, let’s at first discuss the very day you decided to make your presence evidently clear. Last Tuesday, I had a lovely meal cooked for me by my significant other. You see we’ve both been very busy, tired and I myself have had about all the charisma of Kyle Sandilands of late. To be frank, I haven’t been fun to be around. But we were rectifying this you see,  then it’s when you decided to send me into fits of pain. I must say you did a good job of it, I do  believe I resembled the girl from the exorcist. Flailing around, froffing at the mouth. Of course at this stage we didn’t know it was you, I felt as though I had a half vampire trying to eat it’s way out of me ala twilight, but of course, my life isn’t dictated by an odd Mormon from America.

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The author and her ovaries in happier days

 

After copious amounts of morphine the doctor finally showed me you. I guess I should have been like a proud mother, gazing down at the little puerile beings inside her womb. Instead, you disgusted me. You’d developed cysts and had deformed so much you had simply curled around not twice but three times. You were an ovary only a mother could love, and let’s be honest, I was struggling.

Now dear ovaries, they took you out via my tummy, they righted you, saved you and placed you back in. As I type this you’re probably playing ‘Kokomo’ by the beach boys and playing volleyball. I imagine you’re quite content. But I’m not.

You see your subsequent replacing wasn’t it. My doctor informed be, quite bluntly that your current state meant that my childbearing days had been, let’s say, timelined. You had a good 4 years in you, 5 at most. You quite clearly had your use by date.Short of turning me into a demon possessed child, you now turned me into a baby obsessed banshee. I feel as though someone has switched a switch. Quite calm upon hearing about my mutated baby makers all of a sudden I am a mess, I go to the toilet to cry alone and find myself welling up every time I tell people. What the hell is wrong with me.

I resisted all the temptation to start wildly harassing people on what my options are.  I found myself lying away at night having perverse Ally Mcbeal like dreams of babies, babies dancing, babies crawling, babies somehow defeating my time bomb of a uterus. I ponder back on past boyfriends, one who I used to argue with. He wanted kids when I was 27, I wanted to wait. I find myself writhing in pangs or regret as I trawl Facebook for photos of him with his new baby girl. What kind of cruelty is this? Why would you do this to me ovaries.I’ve always wondered at your work, always treated you well. Didn’t my morning jogs fill you with health and wellbeing, didn’t you galavant in delight every time a leafy green passed my lips. Tell me ovaries, what could I have done differently.

I’m not sure what it is about being a women, that crumples one into an outright mess when denied something that they always assumed was theirs, whenever they were ready. I think the biggest grief for me, is regret. I spent my teen years starving myself, to try and smooth out the very curves that were designed for child bearing. I denied myself a period for 7 years, and I can’t help but now, feel like I had some part to play in my story. Are you punishing me ovaries? If so, I’m sorry, 25 felt a long way away back then.

 

Perhaps however ovaries, I should thank you. Had you not contorted yourself to the effect of a circus de soleil acrobat I may have never felt your furor inside my belly. Had you not decided to practice bikrum yoga in my belly, I would not have been given a timeline. So I guess, thanks for the warning. I wish we could have treated each other better. One chance seems too little now doesn’t it.

Dear Rita Pinaha- An Open Letter

22 Aug

I am writing to you in regards to your opinion piece in ‘The Herald Sun’ today. As a future teacher I found your article ill informed and destructive. Your reference to a ‘dumping ground’ of Australia’s lesser intelligent could not be further from the truth. I also don’t think your use of enter scores to measure intelligence is legitimate or constructive, but that’s another issue. Seeing you felt the need to bring it up I should tell you that I myself got into a top Journalism degree at RMIT and have found teaching far more rewarding, this has nothing with my said ‘intelligence’ but perhaps my commitment to and engagement with young people. So why do we do it, if we get shit pay? Perhaps because we have a legitimate passion and belief in what we do.

Your talk of ‘allocated hours’ is grossly inaccurate. You talk of teaching unions conveniently leaving our facts let me alert you to a few you have omitted. The fact that most ‘planning hours’ are spent taking extras, taking workshops, working one on ones with year 12′s or perhaps trying to shove in some lunch before yard duty at lunch would be just a few examples.

I agree with you that the starting wage is great, but there is very little beyond this and does not compare with the earning power of other professions. The wage only increases for 10 years, thus a teacher with up to 20 years of teaching expertise has very little to no incentive. The money is finite in conrast to the work, energy and soul a great teacher puts in and the angst he or she takes home for the entirety of their professional life. In teaching, the job is never done.

Imagine you have 6 presentations to prepare everyday at work to an audience of 28 (not very compliant or enthusiastic) clients. This takes more preparation than you can imagine let alone the energy and drive it takes to remain enthusiastic for these hours and compete with the electronic media saturating these young peoples lives.

But thanks for just re-enforcing ill thought out stereotypes of teachers. Teachers have entered a selfless profession, they not only support student’s education, they also are embedded in young peoples mental health journeys. This is something they do not leave at work, they take this home, there is always a feeling one should be doing more. As the daughter of a teacher I can tell you my Dad had many sleepless nights over his students. I think your article highly underestimated and devalued the amount of work these people put in and I suggest you go and spend 2 weeks teaching, it’s an art where the craft is well concealed, and I have a feeling your view would alter significantly.
But thanks for painting teachers as dumb, thanks for re-enforcing all the bad stereotypes which are ill-deserved. The reason people don’t want to go into teaching is nothing to do with the wage or the hard work, it’s because of people like you.
Hannah Monagle

Anastasia, Bella Swan and other feminist nightmares

11 Jul

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In wake of the latest literary craze ’50 shades of Grey’ I feel compelled to finally allow my pure frustration with today’s female heroines out. Anastasia the main protagonist is of course ‘slim, virginal’ and at the beck and call of a misogynistic albiet ‘damaged’ male character. Now excuse me if I have small elements of this book wrong, you see I couldn’t make it through the thing without gagging and throwing it on the train tracks.

The worst part is that it is women solidifying these books as the ‘hottest craze’. It is premdominantly women buying these books and allowing these stereotypes (not to mean shitty writing) to become something that is valued and rewarded. Even after Anastasia and her controlling douche bag of a boyfriend finally become let’s say ‘an item’ (after he intially refuses to allow her to even share a bed with him) He then takes to some controlling, albiet damn right creepy behaviour to keep her on the ball and chain. Tracking devices on cars, phones and an obsessive email realtionship. What are we meant to consider this as? Sweet?

This book has become a worldwide obsession. Sure, I can see the giddy excitement with the bondage, discipline themes. It is as if porn is this form has become an acceptable outlet for women. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with erotica. But why does our exploration of sexuality have to support the objectification, submission and downright relinquish of control from the female lead. Bella Swan is another prime example sacrificing her life for a man, not to mention her happiness being solely reliant on her boyfriend (who at the best of times is stalkish and sullen)

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Both of these novels main female characters are virgins, tentative and in-experienced. Is women owning and exploring her sexuality before finding ‘prince charming’ such an abhorrent thought. Too bad if Anastasia had had a geeky year 12 boyfriend who taught her that perhaps being chained/gagged and stalked wasn’t her thing. If she perhaps had, would her appeal and attractiveness to her male counterpart would be lessened? Would her sexual history be something she have to be ashamed of? Why is the male able to have a vast and kinky sexual history whilst the female character is little miss innocent, ready to be corrupted. It’s sickly like some kind of misogynistic fantasy image, the sweet little virgin, ready to be taken at the helm of this power. Both of these female leads are overcome by this experienced, brooding male lead.

God forbid the heroine be strong, experienced, and rebellious to the kind of behaviour that is being inflicted on them. The relationships in these novels reinfoces that women are at the hands of men, as if they have no identity until they are defined by their relationship. How can these novels be written by women when they encourage everything feminism has taught us. That womens place in society, women power over their sexuality has been defined by men, to be dominated by men.

Both the men are also extremely wealthy, the age old concept of the ‘provider’ to take care of the female. The only job Anastasia is allowed to have is with-in her husbands company and Bella appears to be too busy having the life sucked out of her to consider her university place. I have no problem that women are reading about sex, I actually think it is great, I just wish that the overwhelming amount had a stronger female lead to associate it with. Sure the success of these books is not solely reliant on these stereotypes, I just think women needs other options. I loved Katinis in ‘The Hunger Games’ at least she fights, thinks and schock horror, rescues the man. In a world full of wonderful writers and wonderful, powerful women, surely the top sellers can better reflect this.

Middle Finger to Metro

7 May

According to Metro, I don’t deserve to be here. I know, disgraceful isn’t it. My name is Hannah Monagle, and I am a fare evader. Before you get all righteous on me its fair to estimate that between myself and my ever-suffering parents we have probably provided Connex with at least 12 months worth of ‘authority parading’ uniform funds. Yes no crime goes un-punished and don’t I just have a billion little yellow slips to prove it. But if the 5 step program starts with apologizing than sorry Connex/Metro/Yarra/everyone I have wronged, but I am not at all remorseful about my actions. Here is why.

Monday afternoon, I’d been blessed with the early shift at work and was catching the 4pm tram back from the city. I was wearing my ‘smurf-esque’ work t-shirt and short skirt and was wearing a face that no doubt resembled a scowl. At a stop on the top of Swanston st a young man got on, I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on ethnicity but I’d take a stab in the dark at Arab. He was about my age, well dressed and holding a ticket.

He was lucky enough to get on at the same time as 8, larger than life, long trench coated Metro inspectors. Seeing the man en route to the ticket machine, one of the inspectors, lets call him, little short baldy, decided to demand to see his ticket. The man explained that he was on his way to validate it, to which the ticket inspector demanded he take a seat. PAUSE SCENE.

Meanwhile in the back of the tram, guiltily consuming the hunger games, I awaited the in-evitable fine. I had a myki, but it was not topped up, nor was it validated. When I admitted this to the man he asked me not to do it again, what a nice chappy. This co-incided with short baldy and friends getting aggressive to the young man. With raised voices they insisted they were giving him a fine.

A man, probably about my father’s age, was seated across from me, reading a far more superior piece of fiction. We will call him Ber, because his gentle nature and high brow reading taste, reminds me of that of my father. Ber, seeing the young man getting agitated piped up his defense.

‘The whole tram saw the bloke get on mate’ he quipped, ‘you can’t fine him because he didn’t get to validate his ticket before you accosted him’. Silence. ‘Why don’t you stay quiet and go back to reading that book of yours’ Short Baldy retorted, furrowing his eyebrows.

Ber wouldn’t back down. I sat back in quiet admiration as he adamantly took the details of the incident. Clearly agitated that his actions were under fire, short baldy called the police. Tram stop down Lygon st, Ber, short baldy and man under fire got off the tram. 200 meters down the road and police cars come raging past. 3 of them, as if accosting an entire pack of drug addicts, not a young (I presume student) and Ber, the friendly tram goer.

What really struck me in this incident was the reaction of the other tram goers. That is, the non reaction. Following the small party departing the tram the entire carriage erupted in conversations of disapproval at the ticket inspector’s actions and aggression. I include myself in this, as we all spoke of how wonderfully Ber had acted. But I found myself questioning, why hadn’t I spoken up.

I think I realized that in my position (a fellow fare evader) standing up for man under fire, was probably not the wisest idea. A selfish justification sure. This was coupled with I’m sure what was applicable to the entire tram. Fear of this authority. These blue, badge plastered men, who act with aggression and scare tactics. Why are we so afraid of them? It’s the brutal hand of the law I guess. But when we see this hand being mis-used, can we not use our voice louder to protest?

Teaching bullying to a bunch of year 9’s I found myself feeling hypocritical as we discussed the ‘bystander’. Those who allowed the bully to perpetrate without standing up for what they deemed to be ‘the right thing’. Isn’t it a sad truth that what I teach to the youth I feel unable to apply to my everyday life.

I don’t know what happened in the conclusion of that incident, but I would assume that the odds were not in that young mans favor, despite Ber’s best efforts. What really upset me was the ease in which I was allowed to get off. You can’t pick and choose who you apply the rules too. Especially when the way in which you do this reeks of xenophobia.

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