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…I can’t say I’ve got much of any interest to say I’m afraid. So have a poem instead:

Bad Times Give You Something To Talk About

 

Part of us dies with every breath

And so we breathe a living death

Each move each word penned with regret

Upon a page they’ll soon forget

Within the grand book of the world

History, herstory, each boy and girl,

Recorded, remembered until the page turns

 

Everyone lives but nobody learns

 

Positive, huh? Wrote it a while back.

 

I’m off to sleep now…I have work tomorrow and a party in the eve and rather a lot of unfinished work to do!

 

And on that note – adieu.

…is the origin of ‘Good Friday’ (see, I said I’d be referring to ye olde Who Cooked The Last Supper =] )

See, in the days of the Mother Goddess, when matriarchy was in place and men were suppressed (which, I will not hesitate to point out, was wrong just as the suppression of women nowadays is wrong), the day which is now regarded by the vast majority (apparently) as ‘Good Friday’ was regarded as Blood Day. It was a celebration (or memorial? not 100% sure) of the sacrifice of either the Mother Goddess’ lover or her daughter/son, and involved baking cakes for the Mother Goddess as an offering.

So there’s loads more I need to find out about this, among other religious festivals taken from ‘paganism’, but this one has stayed with me particularly. I’ve started, as a result, questioning people when they say ‘on Good Friday’ – but I’m learning [the hard way], that correcting them and saying ‘actually, it’s blood day’ isn’t always wise.

While it has sparked some interesting debates (and the belief that as it’s recognised in most calendars is MUST BE GOOD FRIDAY!!!! has resounded), it has also offended (more so than I’d anticipated, in my naivety) some good, albeit rather religious, friends. I put it like this not because I disagree with their religion (although, in all honesty, I disagree with its very foundations and so my respect for the religion today is…not exactly substantial), but because the friends in question are often more fundamentalist in their views, rather than the self-professed ‘pick n mix Christians’ I usually end up befriending. Perhaps, then, my insistence on recognising the origins of this festival (of sorts) has been foolish, as it provoked a reaction that should have been seen as inevitable. But it has surprised me, that there are so many that just accept what the majority say, and that there are so many that will not argue their point, but rather insist that you are wrong because their religion says so. That is no argument. Give me proof.

Also rather interesting and Easter related:

Not all Easter traditions are Christian in nature. Many are pagan “imports” and, even then, many pagan and Christian traditions have been secularized over time. The Easter Bunny, for example, derives from the worship of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility Eastre (hence the name Easter) whose natural symbol was the rabbit. Use of the Easter Bunny was brought to America by German immigrants – non-German Christians ignored the rabbit until some time after the Civil War when the celebration of Easter became more widespread.

Easter Eggs also predate Christian Easter celebrations. Pagan groups long exchanged eggs at some point near the beginning of Spring as symbol of fertility and the hope that the coming summer crops would be good. These eggs were also often painted with bright colors to represent the colors of spring, from the blooming flowers and the bright sun (remember that in the northern regions there is much less sunlight during the winter). Different cultures today color their eggs in different ways. For example, in Greece it is common to exchange eggs which have been colored crimson to represent the blood of Christ. Slavic countries tend to decorate their eggs with gold and silver and in parts of Germany and Austria, people exchange green eggs on Holy Thursday.

Found here=]

Myeah anyway, intrigued as ever to hear any views on the blood day/good friday debate and also feedback on the coherence of this blog…I fear I am losing the ability both to speak and to type of late!

And on that note – Adieu.

…I was in my POS class, and my teacher was telling us to vote for this guy who he used to teach in some skiing competition. So we watch his video (as you can tell, our lesson was very productive) and he falls over a bit but he’s alright.

Anyway, so we’re all talking about it and it reminded me of this article on Feministing (click here) where they were talking about women not being allowed to compete in skiing at Olympic level. So I asked, all innocence, “are there any women in the competition?”

And the WHOLE class (yes, including my friends), looked round at me like ‘wtf?’ and laughed. Because I’m hilarious, right? Cos I have this crazy-ass notion that women matter, and am getting a reputation as ‘that outspoken feminist girl who finds women’s issues in everything‘? It’s driving me CRAZY!!! So I said, rather quietly into the table, ‘it was a genuine question’ and the teacher said no, it’s the male section of the competition.

Is there a female section? Response: I dunno. Great.

So that’s my complaint for the day. Or for the year. Oh what I’d give to meet someone who just said they were a feminist without having to be TOLD.

*Sigh*

Oh and I just rediscovered some links I’d saved as ‘ugh’:

Poker

 

Hillary ‘Fun’

 

Rape Jokes Are Not Funny

 

Just…sick

 

And on that note – adieu.

Are seriously lacking in joy. I love my project, but I’m finding it rather difficult to actually write something.

So I’m going to do some now, but here’s what I have on Hypatia for my Literature Review – she was amazing and her story is devastating…

One woman who is particularly recognised for her contributions to science, mathematics and philosophy, Hypatia of Alexandria, lived in the 300s AD. In fact, it has been claimed by some that Hypatia was the ‘first woman to make a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics’[1], yet this is questionable. It may be more prudent to say that Hypatia was the “first of whom we have reasonably detailed and reliable information” She was also apparently “until the 18th century quite unmatched, and still the only woman of whom it can be claimed that she was absolutely pre-eminent in the mathematical world of her day”. For as well as being incredibly talented in the fields of mathematics, astronomy and philosophy, Hypatia was a strong public speaker who drew people from “other cities to study and learn from her” [2]. Her abilities were renowned, and were reflected in her success as Head of the University of Alexandria and in being credited for the invention of the astrolabe[3]. Yet her abilities did not sit well with the Church, which was beginning to dominate society. It was claimed that Hypatia ‘beguiled many people through (her) Satanic wiles’[4], and she was blamed for conflict between Cyril, the Christian bishop of Alexandria, and the prefect Orestes whom she had befriended. Indeed, it was this conflict that led to her death, as in response to the belief that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop, some men ‘waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Caesareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them.’[5] The exact details of the murder of Hypatia are still uncertain, perhaps due to the attempts to cover up what happened, yet all accounts seem clear that Hypatia was dragged to a church, stripped, beaten to death and then burnt. And so this renowned female scientist was crushed by the patriarchal power of the Church, and is remembered by few despite her achievements.


[1] Ginny Adair, http://www.agnesscott.edu/lriddle/women/hypatia.htm – This is a secondary source, written by a student of AgnesScott College, founded in 1889, a private liberal arts college for women in Decatur, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. While it is very informative, and her references show her to have done a great deal of research into Hypatia, it is possible that she may be slightly biased. Her description of Hypatia’s life may be more emotive than strictly factual, especially in the description of her death, equally her status (as a student) may suggest less reliability, as she would have less experience. Yet her description is very concise and well informed, and I believe this to be a reliable source.

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/or030897.htm (accessed: 5th January), From the transcript of Dr Michael Deakin’s talk on Ockham’s Razor on Sunday, 3rd August, 1997, a radio programme originally only aired in Australia. Dr Deakin was from Monash University in Australia, and had spent 6 years researching Hypatia, so is a reliable source.

[3] Margaret Alic, “Hypatia’s Heritage”, pub 1986 (reprinted 1990, 2001)

[4] http://www.cosmopolis.com/alexandria/hypatia-bio-john.html (accessed: 5th January) – John, Bishop of Nikiu, from his Chronicle 84.87-103, early 600s AD. A strong Christian, his Chronicles were powerfully emotive and extremely biased, as seen in his attitude to the death of Hypatia – very matter of fact, and ending with the words of the ‘people’ who named Cyril ‘the new Theophilus”; for he had destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city’. It is unclear where the Bishop of Nikiu’s information originated, and he describes scenes of violence from the Jews towards the Christians that do not appear to be recorded elsewhere, so his reliability is very questionable. His Chronicles may indeed be seen merely as religious propaganda, however elements of his writing on Hypatia correlate with other sources, suggesting that truth can be found within the bias.

[5] http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/26017.htm (accessed: 6th January) – Socrates Scholasticus, from his Ecclesiastical History(Book VII). Socrates was born c.379 AD, so his Ecclesiastical History is a primary source. Despite the obvious religious context, as a ‘Church Father’, Scholasticus presents a level, apparently fair account of Hypatia’s life and murder.

 

Sorry for the highlightyness of some bits, copy-pasting didn’t work all that well. Right…back to the lesson! And all of it’s writer’s block fun…

And on that note – adieu.

I wrote the article for the StudentVoice – hooray. Affectionately titled The Welfare Manifesto, here it be:

The Welfare Department of BHASVIC, you may be surprised to hear, is not merely an excuse to give out free condoms. It is working towards improving your welfare and the welfare of others, be that sexual health, physical or mental health, financial issues, home problems or, indeed, anything that affects your general wellbeing. If you are an avid Student Planner reader, as no doubt we all are, then you may also believe that the Welfare Department is run by Su Adams – more up to date informants will tell you that in fact Lauren Shukru now holds this post, and waits in her office for the call of a student in need of help. Although it’s probably easier to knock upon her door – the Welfare Office is next to the Careers Suite (just turn left at the top of the stairs) and Lauren’s doors are open all college hours – if she’s not there then there’s always someone on hand who’s willing to listen to you.

The Welfare Department have been busy of late – not only with the World Aids Day event, which was covered in the last issue of Student Voice, and the frequent appearances of the Mobile Information Bus, but also with plans for things to come. A Healthy Eating Day is in the works, which, we hope, shall be more interesting than the usual ‘5 fruit and veg a day’, but less full-on than the words of Sue White from Green Wing – ‘You can’t eat that, you’re far too fat!’. As well as this fun filled, food filled day, we’re working on plans for a celebration of Non-Smoking Day, observed nationally on the 12th of March and, in BHASVIC, on the 14th. Clara, the Smoking Cessation Nurse who took up residence in the hall last time she visited, will be returning, and, weather permitting, Gordon is hoping to display a smoking machine outside (as, due to the new smoking ban, even a smoking machine can’t cough out a few clouds beneath the ceilings of BHASVIC’s classrooms). So with machines that smoke, food that tastes good and some good old fashioned clean air about the place, we’re well on our way to a fun few days.

Of course, the Welfare Department do take a break from this tomfoolery to listen to your problems – in the words of Lauren Shukru, Welfare is a ‘signpost and liaison point’. We can tell you where to go, who to talk to and what actions to take to help you through the struggle of student life, especially if you need help with finance, have questions about travel, discounts and subsidies, or want info on smoking, alcohol, drugs, sexual health or being a young carer. The Young Carers Project, a charity funded primarily by Comic Relief in fact, has formed ties with BHASVIC and is ready and willing to help out anyone who is struggling to care for another on their own – Lauren in Welfare, as ever, has the details (She’s lovely, so don’t worry).

And, of course, though the Welfare department is not merely an excuse to give out free condoms, there is a sexual health clinic up and running in College House on Tuesdays, 12 until 3. Irene is the woman to speak to, and she’ll be in room 145 to give out emergency contraception, pregnancy tests, condoms, info on diseases and, most importantly, advice.

So with several great women to talk to, lots of information to gather and absorb, a couple of rooms to find, some events to look forward to and the exciting idea of Gordon with a smoke machine, I leave you with this message: the Welfare Department is not just about free condoms. It’s not just about fundraisers. It’s not even about the college as a whole. It’s about you, and your life as students at BHASVIC. You are the ones that matter, and it is for you, and you alone, that we are here.

 

Suitably cheesy and college paper pretentious-y? Yeah, I reckon so. Although whether they’ll find the image of Mr No-smiles Gordon with a smoke machine as hilarious as I did, who knows…

And as I’m here – have you heard the new Laura Marling album? It’s actually really good =] This is my favorite song, called Ghosts:

He walked down a busy street
Staring solely at his feet
Clutching pictures of past lovers at his side
Stood at the table where she sat
And removed his hat
In respect of her presence
Presents her with the pictures and says
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you.

He opened up his little heart
Unlocked the lock that kept it dark
And read a written warning
Saying Im still mourning
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts that broke my heart before I met you

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
Its not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

So he went crazy at nineteen
Said he’d lost all his self esteem
And couldn’t understand why he was crying…

He would stare at empty chairs
Think of the ghosts who once sat there
The ghosts that broke his heart.
oh the ghosts that broke my heart[…]
The ghosts that broke my heart before I met you

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
Its not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

He says I’m so lost,
Not at all well
Do as done there is nothing left to be
Turned out I’d been following him and he’d been following me
Do as done after it was over
We were just two lovers crying on each others shoulders

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
Its not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

And on that note – adieu!

A man should call the toss
Wear the pants, and be the boss
A man should be the drink
For his own damn sake
And men should the misters
And the masters of their sisters
A man should be the reason
For a heart to break
A man should cut the lawn
Change the tire, mend the worn
A man should never wait
To oil a rusting gate
Men should hold the key positions
In our country’s great traditions
A man should put the food
Upon the family plate
So, be moral
Don’t quarrel
Fair and square is best
Let me alert you
That virtue won’t hurt you
Or desert you
If you wear hair on your chest
So always remember to follow the rules
Box clever
And jocks never
Hock another jock’s tools
A man should wax a car
Fix a fuse, and tend the bar
A man should like his brow
To be wet with sweat
Men should know the right occasions
To indulge in tax evasions
A man should know the settings
That his spark plugs get
Faggots are maggots
Thank God I’m a man

How distressing to have this stuck in my head! Gotta love Shock Treatment – it’s the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which is amazing), and it’s ironiiiiiiiiic. My sister and I watched it recently and our expression throughout was just

:O

It’s SO WEIRD.

I must say that Bitchin In The Kitchen is rather catchy though =]

Anyway, I’ve been humming away the song Thank God I’m a Man and thinking -I wonder. Would I rather be a man? Right now, yes.

Not because of their supposed superiority, not because of the focus of the whole world, it would seem, on their achievements, but purely because I have lost so much blood I feel incredibly faint. And my mother’s best suggestion right now is to ‘go on the pill’, which, coincidentally, was the best option when SHE was younger and used to faint monthly.

Great to see that we’re progressing in healthcare for women.

I’m gonna go groan in pain for a bit while I write my article for the StudentVoice, bigging up my Welfare role…woopdidoop…so you’ll be pleased to know that my ‘ttotm’ moan is over.

For now. 😛

And on that note – Adieu.

I’ve been loving me some Mary Wollstonecraft of late. Her ‘Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ is terrific, you should read it (if you haven’t already). Some interesting quotes, other than the title:

” I, therefore, will venture to assert that till women are more rationally educated, the progress of human virtue and improvement in knowledge must receive continual checks”

“Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adore its prison”
Quite possibly a favourite thus far,
“Perhaps, if the existence of an evil being were allowed, who, in the allegorical language of Scripture, went about seeking whom he should devour, he could not more efficiently degrade the human character, than by giving a man absolute power”
And a little bit of Aristotle-hate, as he is paining me with coursework at the moment :
“Man is active, full of movement, creative in politics, business and culture. The male shapes and moulds society and the world. Woman, on the other hand, is passive. She stays at home, as is her nature. She is matter waiting to be formed by the active male principle. Of course the active elements are always higher on any scale, and more divine. Man consequently plays a major part in reproduction; the woman is merely the passive incubator of his seed…the male semen cooks and shapes the menstrual blood into a new human being.”
I think that speaks for itself really. And to think he is pretty much hero-worshipped by a great deal of philosophers…*grumbles*.
And on that note – Adieu.

…But first, allow me to explain. I write this kind of thing occasionally, and this time it’s inspired by this TOTALLY AMAZING book that I’m reading. It’s called “Who Cooked The Last Supper?”, by Rosalind Miles, and is a woman’s history of the world. I’m about half way through it and it is literally changing my life. I shall no doubt be recounting the most interesting bits on here, but really – buy it! And read it!

It is inspirational, life changing, mind altering and both joyful and deeply depressing – for the history that we learn nowadays has nothing to do with the women of the past, but is totally male-centric. The only women I’ve studied really have been queens, in power only because they had no brothers to take power in their place. It has made me resent my study of Early Modern History a little, but at the same time given me greater motivation to attend the lessons and get involved, so that I can help my class mates see that women aren’t a recent invention, but the heart of civilisation and existence.

Anyway, this is turning into a rant in itself. Have the creative one – I call it ‘All We Have Owned is Lost’:

 

This feeling, that all we have owned is lost, circles my mind. It burns a ring of fire into my dreams. It burns away the ideals I have built up, the optimism that held my head up, face to the world. It is the fire that encased my sisters, that held us back, that burnt the hand that built it. It is the fire of discovery and knowledge and it has cooled. It is the fire of despair and of anger, and it sears a line through my sight and sends me back, back, through sorrow and out the other side, to the correct setting, the right stage, to how it was and should be. Oh history, history, the story of men and how distant, how far it all feels to me now. How I spark sorrow when I hear of you, oh my forgotten women! How the silence of my peers tears me apart, to know how loudly you once spoke! Oh, to hear your words, to feel your knowledge flow through accepting crowds. Oh to have known, to have prevented your pain, your untimely deaths, to warn the men that turned their backs on you, to warn them of their loss. The loss of your fire has lit another and this fire, this feeling, circles my mind. All that we have owned is lost. All that we have lost is owned.

Forgive us, as we take our first shaky steps after centuries of shackled feet, that we claim them as The First Steps. We have been deprived our history, we have been deprived our selves, and all we can do now is beg forgiveness. We never meant to lose you. We never knew we had you to lose.

They have made sure of that.

The seeds they planted strangle your already flourishing fields; the doors they slam were opened by you, built by you from your own aspirations. They live a lie and we learn it, accepting blindly at first then questioning, too late. Where are you, my ladies of learning? On the written page you are every space, and I shall learn to read you. A language of silence speaks so loudly, for it is yours and once you were heard, once it was your words they listened to. So how can we possibly not hear you now? Your voices join the others on the winds, in the sighs of the disillusioned sea and the cries of the birds above, so how can we possibly not hear you now? You, who gave us our language, you who shaped our minds, you who healed and you who knew, how can we possibly not hear you now?

Our ears have been trained, our senses dulled. It is only the 6th that sees you, it recognises your work, your worth, and fills every space on every page with your praises. It sings them in the trees, it lays them at the feet of travellers, it lines our veins with them and still, somehow, we are blind to you. It takes strength to take the steps that lead us to you. We must fight through so many lies.

I have fought.

Now, only now do I see and still all is hazy. Your faces mere fragments glimpsed through the fog, your words muffled. Oh, to see you clearly, to have learnt from the start. Then, perhaps, this sorrow would not pierce my mind, my eyes, my being. Oh pity us, women of the wilderness of days gone by. We are all missing something and we were blind to it. It is only now I know you that the hole gapes in my side, that the emptiness has a name and it is yours. Oh, women of fire, burn your circle brighter in my mind. I fear this sorrow, but I fear losing it more. I cannot lose you again; I cannot lose the knowledge of what we once owned.

Oh my people, all we have owned is lost.

 

Happy, no? 🙂

And on that note – adieu.

…there was confusion. It’s all rather…different. As you can see, I’m pretty new to this. But I felt, you know, that it was about time I got a decent blog.

And the fact that I have 3 essays to write has absolutely nothing to do with it. Honest.

Not really sure right now what I’ll use this space for. Some of my writing/rants, perhaps, to see whether my creative writing friends are actually just…well…being kind. Or…well, we’ll see. Right now I just want to get it up and running! And see what this wondermachine of keys and screens and whatnot can do.

Here, have a picture. On the house =] It be from the oh-so-amazing http://postsecret.blogspot.com/

To be, not to seem

I’m going now. But I leave you with this tale: There was once a woman who was a nurse. She cared for her patients well, and was fierce in her loyalty and proud of her ability. She was a good role model for women the world around, and she became known as The Lady with the Hammer. For, one day when she was denied access to a store of medicines, she broke down the door with a hammer. She was undaunted by the supposed ‘natural dominance’ of men, defied all orders in order to help those in pain. She was a true inspiration. And now, all because of the belief of a journalist, she is remembered by a lesser name. Because a lady with a hammer is, to say the least, not lady like. You know of her, of course. Many of us do. For she is Florence Nightingale, the ‘lady with the lamp’, and she was, according to The Times, a ‘ministering angel’ without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow’s face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds.. Who would know, from such a description, of her passion and drive? Who would know of her determination, her willingness to raise a hammer to a door in order to help others?

Although I suppose, as the writer in The Times no doubt knew, the real question is: who would care? Who would accept a woman that displayed such masculine tendencies? Would she be remembered, as she is today, if the truth were widely known?

And on that note – adieu.

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