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Tumblr seems to be taking over any of the time I spend not doing Philosophy and Gender Equality society and actual uni work…so obviously I’m doing the sensible thing and signing up for twitter too.

Fun times.

We went to a meeting last week to help out with the organisation of the International Women’s Day Exeter event. It’s a big un. There’s to be a march, and then lots of stalls and poets and music and activities! The women organising it are brilliant, and we ‘networked’ with most of them after the meeting. Who knew that the uni has an Equality and Diversity officer? Well, apparently we do and she’s lovely! Also met the head of the Exeter WI among other equally awesome women, so that was super exciting! It’s given me a bit more faith in the town and also something to look forward to next weekend!!


So I haven’t blogged here properly in a while. I’m at that point at the moment where everything seems to be kicking off and so I’m struggling to find the time to write here. But it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped caring – far from it! I’ve just started to try to be more active in reality as well as the oh-so-wonderful cyberspace, and it’s eating up my time!

The society I mentioned is coming together. We have about 50 people interested on Facebook (within a week), but at the moment it doesn’t look like that many will actually attend meetings. We settled for the name ‘G Soc’ (I was convinced by my friends’ superior persuasion tactics) and I can’t wait to get publicising 🙂 But we still have to get official society status first, which we’re getting close to now.

We’re having meetings every Wednesday, which are like little discussion groups. It’s fun and really interesting to get different views on things that I have quite a strong stance on. We’re aiming to forge links with Fawcett Devon as well, which should be fun. Aaaand if we get society FUNDING, we’re going to organise trips to Bristol and kick feminist ASS over there 🙂

Which is what I’m doing this Friday, by the way. It’s the Bristol Reclaim the Night march, and I’m heading over with my one of my best mates to get involved. It’s very exciting! Check it out 🙂

What else do I have to say? Oh yeah this weekend I’ll have had this blog for ONE YEAR. Crazy. I looked through some of the archives earlier and it was so interesting to see how much I’ve changed and learnt just in the space of a year. Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me! And especially to Derek, who really inspired me to get blogging and get involved generally.

On a less positive note, a London Student survey on attitudes about rape is simultaneously upsetting and depressingly inevitable – link – and the number of women raped in the uk annually really shocked me:

The survey also showed a lack of awareness of rape figures – 50 per cent of students did not know how many women are raped in the UK on average in a year, and 15 per cent thought the figure was under 500. […] The actual figure – according to the Fawcett society, who campaign for equality between men and women – is over 47,000. The Home Office recorded 11,648 incidents of ‘rape of a female’ in 2007//08.

And, to end on something good, have any of you checked out the new Lily Allen album? DO. It’s brilliant and feminist and witty. As you can probably tell, I’ve become a big fan 🙂 ’22’ stands out quite a lot, as does ‘F**k You’ – listen and enjoy, my dears!

When she was 22 the future looked bright
But she’s nearly 30 now and she’s out every night
I see that look in her face she’s got that look in her eye
She’s thinking how did I get here and wondering why

It’s sad but it’s true how society says
Her life is already over
There’s nothing to do and there’s nothing to say
Til the man of her dreams comes along picks her up and puts her over his shoulder
It seems so unlikely in this day and age

She’s got an alright job but it’s not a career
Wherever she thinks about it, it brings her to tears
Cause all she wants is a boyfriend
She gets one-night stands
[ Lily Allen Lyrics are found on ]
She’s thinking how did I get here
I’m doing all that I can

It’s sad but it’s true how society says
Her life is already over
There’s nothing to do and there’s nothing to say
Til the man of her dreams comes along picks her up and puts her over his shoulder
It seems so unlikely in this day and age

And on that note – adieu…

I have been more than a bit rubbish on here lately. No detailed posts, no news…you may get the impression that I’ve given up.

But while I feel like there’s an awful lot I’m giving up right now, you, dear readers, are not one of those things. Writing this blog opens my eyes constantly, and hopefully has made one or two of you think, every once in a while. Lately, though, I’ve neglected it.

There are hundreds of reasons. The most obvious – I had exams, I travelled, and now I need time just to space out and enjoy just being (which, incidentally, is what one child claimed they could smell when they did a blindfolded trail on the school trip I helped with yesterday – Me: “And what can you smell, J?” J: “I can smell…being” ). But there’s also the emotions that this time entails – the ‘oh my god I’m leaving all my friends behind’ emotion. The ‘oh my god I’m not going to be with my family all the time’ emotion. The ‘oh my god I’m going to be on my own for this one’ emotion. The ‘my results are in August and my whole life hangs in the balance’ emotion. The…well, yeah, the list goes on. I’ve not been handling this emotional car wreck all too well, so I’ve needed to distance myself from…well, from myself a bit. This blog is very much a way of channelling what I care about, an element (and a rather powerful one at that) of myself which I have tried (unsuccessfully, may I add) to distance myself from, so I suppose that is also a reason for my general absence.

There’s also a sense of despair that has become a more permanent fixture, though. I can’t read the news properly at the moment. I struggle to get past the first page of the paper, I look at my RSS feeds, 1000+ unread, and I just let them build up and build up. The world is too dark, it’s too much for me. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there’s no ‘one day this will all be different’, because there will always be terrible people who, even against the odds, can cock it up for everyone. I just…I dunno, I feel a bit like everything I do, everything I try, is futile. I can’t brighten this world, and hell, by opening people’s eyes to it surely I’m spreading darkness, not preventing it?

Even writing this, though, I know that I don’t (well, can’t) 100% believe it. There have to be small changes everyone can make, differences that matter. There’s always a reason to keep going. But while I’m feeling the futility stronger than usual (which is, no doubt, tied to this stressful [supposedly holiday] time), I tend to leave the world behind, and that, I think, is the main reason for my neglect. When I can’t make the difference in my own world right now, what use is there in trying with the world?

So I apologise. I’ll be back soon, and hopefully with a vengeance. I’ve returned to reading Who Cooked The Last Supper?, which is one of the reasons that this blog exists in the first place, and I fully intend to keep my promise to profile the various bluestockings women. For now, though, I need a bit of time to clear my head. It might be a few hours, it might be a few weeks. We’ll see.

So until we meet again, friends, adieu.

I have neglected you. It was my exams and then my birthday, then my party and, immediatly after, a 5day trip to Paris, which I returned from on Friday, only to return to work on Sat and Sun! So I’ve had no time for a breather until now… I hope to return in even more detail now that I have the Summer (although even this is proving rather less free and rather more busy than anticipated), and to keep you going I give you this to mull over:

Yeah, I know. Hideous, huh?

I won’t be blogging much for a while, as have a fair few exams which are going to decide the next three years of my life – going to focus on them for a while.

But when I return, I shall get down to informing you about the Bluestockings women who I learnt about in the exhibition I mentioned a month or so ago – I’ll start you off with Elizabeth Montagu now.

As a young woman, Elizabeth became a friend of Lady Margaret Harley, who had a strong influence over her early desire to learn. They corresponded weekly when apart and were inseparable when together. She spent time with Lady Harley in London and met many of the celebrated figures of the 1730s, including the poet Edward Young and the religious thinker Gilbert West. In Lady Harley’s household, men and women spoke as equals and engaged in witty, learned banter. (source)

When she was older, and married, Elizabeth was central to the Bluestockings movement of the 1750s (and onwards…), opening up her house (legally her husband’s, Charles Montagu’s) for “breakfast parties and evening conversations”. As one of the wealthiest women of her time, she devoted her time and money to encouraging authors, poets, painters, etc. Although she didn’t write much herself (only An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespear, from a quick search – she may have written more but this was the only work she published, in praise of Shakespeare), her enthusiasm helped form and maintain the Bluestockings movement.

Her gatherings did not consist solely of women, but encouraged a meeting of minds, with the likes of Samuel Johnson alongside Elizabeth Carter…

For Montagu, and the other women who made up the Bluestockings Movement, this was their chance to learn and converse equally in a time when only men were seen fit to educate. As the ‘education’ of women stretched only to needlework and cooking, the nature of the Bluestockings’ meetings becomes even more extraordinary – these were women who fought to learn, and to be heard, if not by society then at least by each other. Montagu gave herself and these women a platform, and showed that women could be educated and remain in good health, and as rational beings (contrary to common belief that educating a woman could give her cancer, or would make her a nymphomaniac).

It has been claimed that the Bluestockings group “preserved and advanced feminism”, addressing social issues for women as well as furthering their own educations.

Elizabeth continued to encourage the movement until her death, using the money from her husband’s death to build two new houses in which she continued to hold meetings. She died in Montagu House in London on August 25, 1800.

Today was my first job at the Castle! It was for a wedding, and was me and a friend (who also got the job hoorah) and our boss setting up everything.

It was really good fun, and totally utterly exhausting!

What I liked about it was the way our boss didn’t treat us any differently to the way he treated everyone else – there were no allowances made for ‘the ladies’, we could carry boxes and chairs just as well as anyone else. Which was mostly true…but it took two of us for a table, I must confess.

Anyway, it went well with that attitude until right at the end, when we were packing up the tables. So we have a table between us, he has one of his own, and we’re putting down the legs but my friend and I are struggling. Getting there, but struggling. So he tells us to put it flat on the floor, stand on it and kind of nudge the legs with your heel.

Of course, he’s wearing big smart shoes, we’re wearing flats. Not much power behind them. No joy.

He looks over and says ‘oh honestly, you two are such big girls

I kneel. I push, in one swift movement, the legs down and into place. My friend follows suit.

I stand. “Yes, yes we are. Two big girls with big strong hands

Heh. How fun =] He didn’t comment on it after that! Hell, we worked our big-girl-socks off, so he had nothing to complain about!

It’s quite nice having some human contact. Being trapped in my room revising is slowly driving me insane. Means that I have less experiences of dipshits who argue with me, but also less experiences of the greatness of people – working at a wedding makes you realise how happy people can be, I guess. I’d never been to a wedding before, and I can’t say I’m all that enthusiastic about the traditionalist elements to it (giving away your daughter, anyone?) but there’s something about a wedding that seems to leave everyone with a smile on their face.

It wasn’t the Pimms, I swear 😉

…it’s a year since my dad had his heart attack.

A whole year.

Feels like yesterday. Just close your eyes and you’re back in that dark panic and emptiness, back in that sudden reminder of finality, ours.

Thankfully only a reminder, a memo to say you really should cherish every moment you have. All the old clichés come howling from the vaults, with ‘live every moment like it’s your last’ ringing in your ears. It could have been his…but no, it’s not worth dwelling on what could have happened. Look at what did happen – he was fine. As fine as you can be after a major heart attack and consequent operation, but still fine. Still there.

He didn’t want to celebrate. Ma and sister wanted to, to celebrate his being alive and all. I didn’t know. Seems a little strange, celebrating the anniversary of a heart attack. Still, I suppose celebrating being alive doesn’t sound all that bad.

Sorry, this is so irrelevant to everything I normally talk about. But I needed somewhere to just say, to acknowledge. Some way of getting it into my mind that a whole year has passed – and that at pretty much the same time this year as last year, he’s going under the knife.

Some people are just lucky, I suppose. Some people can eat crappy food, do no exercise, smoke, do drugs, and ultimately turn out ok. But some people aren’t. His lifestyle is so damned healthy and still, one year a heart attack, the next a slipped disc in his back…that’s not how it should work out. He deserves better.

So I’m on a bit of a downer, I guess. Too many memories and anxieties filling a mind that should be focusing on revision and exams and digging myself out of this early-onset-disillusion. I really should have more faith in the world, I really should have more faith in people. Maybe if I had faith it would be easier, but I could never believe, even if I wanted to. Fooling myself won’t help.

I just don’t understand. I don’t understand how someone can be perfectly healthy one day, and in hospital the next. I don’t understand how someone can seem fine yet be in constant pain. I don’t understand why, or how. I wonder if understanding would help, anyway.

I think I should go. I should stop reaching back into that time, I should just go to bed and tomorrow will just be another day. No more anniversaries, no more ‘a year ago today…’, just normal life.

Oh, who am I kidding. It’s not that easy.

  • Good night.
  • I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite bits of one of my favourite books, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It’s amazing and you should all read it…the poetry in her writing is fantastic. Anyway yes, this is one of my favourite extracts:

    Sir Perceval, the youngest of Arthur’s knights, at last set forth from Camelot. The king had begged him not to go; he knew this was no ordinary quest. Since the visit of the Holy Grail one feast day, the mood had changed. They were brothers, they laughed at Sir Gawain and his exploits in the land of the green knight, they were brave, all brave, and their loyalty was to the king…Had been to the king. The Round Table and the high-walled castle were almost symbols now. Once they were meat and drink. But for Launcelot and Bors, betrayal is in the future as well as in the past. Launcelot is gone, driven mad by heavy things. Somewhere he is searching too; reports reach the king; garbled, incoherent, ragged like the men who bring them. The hall is empty. Soon the enemy will come. There was a stone that held a bright sword and no one could pull the sword because their minds were fixed on the stone.

    Arthur sits on the wide steps. The Round Table is decorated with every plant that grows growing circular-wise like a target. Near the centre is a sundial and at the centre a thorny crown. Dusty now, but all things turn to dust.

    Arthur thinks of before, when there were lights and smiles.

    There was a woman, he remembers her. But oh, Sir Perceval, come and turn cartwheels again.

    To counter the pain of…well, the world.

    Have three beautifully great videos from Whose Line is it Anyway? :

    Oh how I love Whoopi Goldberg and Josie Laurence!!!

    And on that note – adieu

    So I’ll blog properly about something more relevant soon. But for now, have a picture of our new kitteh.

    Soon, my cuteness will allow me to control the world. For now though, I wanna sleep...

    And on that unbearably adorable note – adieu 🙂

    Flickr Photos