Friday, June 24, 2011

An open letter to the NZ media about Slutwalk.

Dear NZ media.
I will be attending tomorrow’s “slutwalk” and I am so scared I am seriously considering not going.
I am scared that you will film me, and then use my image to misinterpret what is happening and why I am there.
I am scared that it will affect my job.
I am scared my boyfriend and I’s friends and family will think less of us.
I am scared that people who do rape and assault women will see me, and that will make me more of a target than simply being a young woman already does.
This march is TERRIFYING on so many levels.

But I will be there because I want to raise kids in a country where they do not have to drop rape charges just because they have had sex in the past, and their dating history is visible online.
I want to raise my kids in a country where the first question the police ask is “are you ok?” not “did you fight back?”
I want to hear that my kids can talk about their experiences of assault without the event being a mark on THIER reputation.
I want victim blaming to STOP NOW.

So let’s start with you shall we?
Here is how we will start.

Use our full quotes, don’t cherry pick my words to portray me as anything other than as how I present myself. My mother, great uncle, boss and friends will be watching the news.

Please accept that 99.99% of the attendees are not ACTUALLY marching for their right to wear a short skirt. We can already do that, as noted in all the judgemental footage of the viaduct that you use when covering the drinking culture in NZ.

Please do not only use footage of those dressed provocatively to cover the march – show footage of the wide range of men and women attending.

Please don’t show footage of us crying and call us victims. We are survivors.

Please don’t use footage of us shouting and make assumptions about why we are angry, or whether we should be.

Try for once to actually RESEARCH what we are marching about rather than just guessing by looking at us.

Make it very clear that we are not angry at one ignorance Canadian policeman.
Here are some nice quotes from rape crisis that you can use.

We are angry that we get judged for what we wear even though only 3% of offenders in NZ are actually strangers.

We are angry that people still feel comfortable saying someone is “rape bait” or “asking for it” because of what they wear or how they behave, when we would NEVER make the assumption that someone is a prospective rapist just because they have had a few drinks. What is the difference in judgement?

We are angry that the media spends very little time identifying that it is ok to set boundaries - even with people you love, and lots of time on what we wear when the majority of our offenders are blood relatives (30%) or a friend/acquaintance (30%) of the survivor.

We are angry that you waste time discussing where rape occurred as though we can prevent it by avoiding dark places. Those dark alleyways are in the minority of cases. Most rapes occur IN OUR OWN HOMES (61% of reports)

We are angry that you continue with thoughtless reporting, which adds to an environment where we feel so unsafe about this culture of blame that we DONT REPORT.
(56% were not reported to the Police)

Thank you for your time, I will see you tomorrow.
Kind regards,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Topp Twins in Toronto

This summer I had the opportunity to see the Top Twins live at Womad.
Their music set was fabulous and had me and all the rest of the crowd laughing, singing along and kicking up our heels to the great music.
But what I really enjoyed was ‘Ken and Ken’,
They did an hour long show on the food stage and their fabulous warm hearted characterization of the typical kiwi bloke was so neat to see live.
My partner had heard me rant about their political awareness work for nuclear-free New Zealand, the bastion point protests, and gay rights. I had tried to explain how most kiwis knew these twins who were gay, and they felt like family.
In essence, anyone with a TV could be educated out of fear of the “otherness” of gay people, by the sheer goodwill and approachability of these women.
I think I told him; “If you don’t love them, there is something missing in your chest cavity.”

He loved them.

After their food show I hovered by the stage hoping just to say hello and get a pic with either Jools or Linda. I was pleasantly surprised that when I approached Linda and she took the time to step away and grab Jules so they could both be in the picture.
I’ve met Zach Braff, Mandy More, Jon Cryer and a bunch of other celebrities and I’ve never felt out of depth.
With the twins I only just managed to stutter out an awkward blushing “I love you both – you are AMAZING” before they saved me from idiocy by making inane chit chat and posing for the photo.
I will treasure that photo forever.
While waiting to say hello, I saw a young woman throw herself at them and gush that they gave her courage to come out, and a heavily pierced woman break down in tears, unable to express exactly why they meant so much to her.
They have impacted an entire country.

I was pleased to see this write up on the Women’s media centre website by Emily Wilson.
An international audience is starting to sit up and take notice of the pair, now that their film “Untouchable Girls” won the audience award at the Toronto film festival.
It’s a shame they aren’t getting tvnz show spots for their shows, because the two of them are both still very keen to work, and it is simply a lack of interest from NZ broadcasters that stands between the NZ audience and them.

I will be very embarrassed if they get better recognition from an international audience than their own home, where they work so hard for their communities.

In local news...

In Local news...

I was heartbroken to see that the Naval and Family bar is now “Calender Girls”.
Men who wouldn’t usually have come within a block of family bar now loiter on a corner that used to hold a diverse group of men and women.

On the upside...

For a short while Campbell Orr at Caluzzi bar teased us with the concept of a board games/twister night* but apparently not everyone was down with the idea of getting down!
We are benefiting from the fact that Stephen Oats is now available as quiz master.
“Orr says punters can expect fun questions, with some surprises. There will be special rounds each week requested by the quiz attendees. He also promises great prizes, like the winning team will getting a $100 voucher valid for a month so they don't have to drink it all at once. There will also be prizes for second and third places.”

As soon as I’m not travelling so much for work, I’m THERE.
The first Caluzzi Quiz Night is Thursday 23 June.

*I may have been the only one keen on the Twister idea.

Not a nerd.

I am apparently “not really a nerd”.
I was discussing nerd stuff with a friend the other night and Doctor Who came up.
Doctor Who came up because I proud to self identify as a nerd, and we had been having some awesome discussions about nerd stuff...

Neverwhere vs. any of Terry Pratchett. – Bloody hard call but I gotta go with Terry for the politics.

Firefly – how funny is the fact that people actually started collecting money for Nathan Fillian seriously thinking that he would waste that amount purchasing the rights to a show??
(For those who have wanted to donate, Nathan suggests a good NFP – Perhaps a safe home for puppies against cancer in childen?)

Various nerdy podcasts (including Freakonomics – go get it NOW) and how much we love them.

When Doctor Who came up, I had nothing. As far as I am concerned it may as well be “Doctor Who?”, because the programme scared me as a kid, and bored me as an adult so badly I haven’t even bothered watching the new versions.
So yep, I don’t like Doctor Who.

“You don’t like Dr. Who? - you are sooooo not a nerd.”
“But I like Trek and Babylon 5...”
“Yeah but, jeeez. You really don’t like it?”

I just about had to hand over my coms badge and ray gun there on the spot.*

It made me laugh because for all the other nerdy things I do in my life, disliking one element that she was really passionate about was enough to undermine my identity in her eyes.

I didn’t really care; my nerd status has been pretty much set since WELL before nerd was trendy.
When I was 11 lunch times consisted of time in the library curled up with Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and the Alanna series.
Or when I was 12 and only had one real friend at school and we played chess all lunch time (A massive hug to Grover Boy at this point).
Or when at 13 I realised I was the only one who had already read all of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies.
Or at Uni, when I sat and read everything I could find on Fibonacci sequences, because I got interested in the maths behind art.

So yep, I didn’t really care what she thought.

Last week in yet another shitty mood that comes with this season I was sitting thinking about it...
How DARE someone undermine my self-identity?

It is called self identity for a reason, and if I want to call myself a nerd I can. If my particular brand of nerdiness isn’t enough for someone then they can bugger off.
Same goes with anything really.
I know it was just because I was in a bad mood that I cared what someone else thinks, but seriously – I will identify myself how I like, and that identity is flexible and my own choice.

*I don’t actually have a coms badge or ray gun. Or any other uniform. But I have friends who do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winter solstice and my SAD

I get seasonal effective disorder, so at this time of the year just putting my pants on and giving a fuck what I look like enough to walk out the door is a challenge.

But I am fighting.
I am railing against my hibernation instincts, the urge to be cranky, to push everyone away, to make rash decisions. To run like a dog and hide under the porch until everything leaves me alone. I am exersizing, even though the joy is gone, just for the endorphins.
I am working hard to ensure I can keep getting up, because it only takes one day to start the spiral.

It is winter solstice next week which is always my symbol that the sun is coming.
And this will get easier.
Makeup will be fun.
Bed will be an afterthought at the end of a day, not the wishful dream of an entire week.
Work will feel challenging not confronting.
I won’t want to lash out at anyone who doesn’t love me unconditionally.
I will invite you over, because my floor will be clean, there will be food in the fridge and I will be ok.

In the meantime, I will come to your place, you cannot come to mine.
I will listen more than I contribute.
I will lurk on the internet with fuck all contribution of value.
I will avoid triggers when I would normally push through.
I will force myself to keep this job, even though it gives me chest pains and I would rather bar-tend.

But my pants are on and I am present.
And that my friends, is a fucking victory.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

slutwalk LA speach from Hugo

Hat tip to Feminist Allies

This is why my partner and male friends will be attending Slutwalk Auckland.
Rape culture hurts everyone.