awkwardlyaverage

For those who don't have a box to fit in

Women Who are Ambivalent about Women Against Women Against Feminism

One of the best blogs about feminism I have ever read.. Plus Patrick Stewart

The Bloggess

So...yeah.  Right now there’s a lot of talk about a tumblr called WomenAgainstFeminism.  It’s just pictures of some women holding up handwritten signs entitled “I don’t need feminism because...”  Some of the reasons they give for not needing feminism almost seem like a parody (“How the fuck am I suppose to open jars and lift heavy things without my husband?”) and some (“I don’t need to grow out my body hair to prove I’m equal to men”) just make me wonder where in the world they got their definition of feminism.

At first I considered starting my own “I Don’t Need _____ Because” tumblr with people holding equally baffling signs.  Signs like:

I don’t need books because YOU KNOW WHO WROTE BOOKS?  HITLER.  HITLER WROTE A BOOK.  NO THANK YOU, NAZIS.

I don’t need money BECAUSE I HAVE A CHECKBOOK, ASSHOLE.

I don’t need air because LOTS OF IT…

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And then..Haha.. he raped her! HAHAHAHAHA…No.

Rape.

Its funny right? These people seem to think so… And these... and these

Being violated, embarrassed, hurt, controlled, abused and made to feel like you are nothing, less than nothing, not worth the merest notice let alone respect… that’s all funny right? Well I don’t get the joke. Many of us don’t, and its about time we stopped laughing, about time people stopped brushing rape culture under the rug with phrases like “lighten up” and “its just a joke” or insinuating that someone has something wrong with them because they don’t find rape funny.

Well its not. Imagine, for a second, being held down, against your will, drugged, stripped, beaten, violated and left for dead… Its doesn’t sound very funny to me. The fact is that rape happens in every country around the world, with estimates that approximately 75-95% of sexual crimes go unreported, and the majority of people still believe that women or men who dress provocatively and act flirtatiously ‘deserve it’ or are ‘asking for it.’ Rape jokes just help to perpetuate the rape culture in today’s society and it needs to stop.

Song like Blurred Lines are not okay, jokes are not okay. Rape culture is not okay.

Now I get it, a lot of people hear a joke, hear a song, giggle or sing along without thinking about it- but that’s the problem. We are not thinking about it. More and more we are flooded by negative ideas, images and propaganda through the media, this isn’t likely to stop, but our awareness of it can. The next time you hear a rape joke, or an inappropriate song, or advertisement, think about your daughter. Your niece, wife, sister, brother, husband, son, friend and how you would feel getting a phone call saying ‘help me, I’ve just been raped’ and then see if you’re still laughing.

We need to talk about this. Need to make a change in our thinking and then in our society, challenge someone who thinks its a joke. Women and men need to stand together and fight against sexual crimes instead of drawing lines in the sand and blaming the opposite gender, because we are both victims and both perpetrators.

Every single person has the change to make a change, whether it is something simple like sharing blogs like this one, or this one, or this one, or something with more impact like getting involved with your local sexual violence prevention organisations or just talking about it. Stopping sexual violence at a party if you see it happening, reporting a video on-line, explaining to someone why a video or joke isnt funny and why it perpetuates a bigger problem. Small steps can have big consequences, do something about it.

Rape isn’t funny and we need to stop laughing.

 

Health is Health Nothing “Mental” About It

I wanna take a minute here to talk about Mental Health

*pause for screams of horror, awkward shifts in eye contact and hesitant coughing*

Yeah, its awkward. I’ve already said thats what Im all about… but why? Why is mental health hushed up? Why when you approach people about it immediate buzzwords such as ‘depression’ ‘panic attacks’ ‘suicide’ spring to mind, and yet when you talk about dieting words like ‘lifestyle change’ ‘healthy’ and ‘clean eating’ come to mind?

 

I’ll tell you a story, I was working for a company I loved (or thought I did), thought I loved my job, loved my team. Did not get on well with my Regional Manager, but pretty small issue on the grand scheme of things. I thought I was happy. However I was avoiding friends, preferring to stay at home in bed then see people, my partner and I barely saw each other, and drinking. A lot. Not enough to cause family to worry, or even myself to worry, but enough that looking back I can acknowledge that at the time, I was not mentally healthy.

This is the part that people seem to have a problem with “are you depressed?” they asked. No, no I am not, and I was not, not as far as my understanding of depression goes. But this is the problem with mental health, it isn’t a yes or no, you aren’t ‘depressed’ or ‘healthy’ its a sliding scale and you need to look after yourself. I was not mentally healthy. I was in a bad state and was mentally unhealthy and therefore became physically unhealthy. That’s the key here, healthy buzz words regarding food are in, removing ‘good’ and ‘bad’ from food is in, clean eating is in. So lets go hand in hand with our lifestyle changes a mental change, lets stop thinking ‘bad’ and ‘depressed’ and start thinking about ‘healthy’, ‘clean thinking’ and ‘positivity’.

Ill put that box in a box, in another box…

I dont think I fit in here...

So Im the kind of person who likes order. Everything has a place, a box, a shelf, an position. Over the years I have come to realize that perhaps it’s not just me, but in fact human nature to want to put everything in a place, give it order. Create meaning from chaos.

Well, thats great and all, but what happens when you don’t have a box?

What happens when all your life you have been putting things in their place and then look at yourself and realize… well… you don’t have one.

You are awkwardly average.

Then it gets worse because you realize you have put everyone else you know in a box. Your Mum; the healer and peacemaker, your Dad; the crazy wisdom giver and supporter and on and on it goes dissecting everyone you know and putting them in these special boxes in your head.

But then you come to yourself and go… well, Im cute but not gorgeous, smart but don’t get top marks, creative but not original, nerdy but not a gamer.

Awkwardly average. No box is quite the right fit and nothing quite defines you. Trying to fit yourself into shoes a size too small… it just doesn’t work.

Well, my friends, if thats how you feel (join the club) I have news for you, and it took me a long time to realize. Those boxes? Well, everyone fits into one because those are the boxes we created for them. We create them for our friends and family, even strangers. Boil their personalities down into a simple reduction which leaves their defining elements, maybe not what they would pick as their defining elements but what we believe defines them.

See we create these boxes… so that awkwardly average one Im sitting in? The one that doesn’t quite fit? Thats because maybe I’m not entirely sure who I am at the moment, maybe I wont ever, maybe you wont ever, but maybe it’s a journey. And we carry our boxes with us as we go through life carefully filling them with the bits of life that define us. Sometimes we might empty it out completely and start again but when you are feeling lost and like your box wont ever fit your awkwardly average self remember this:

Your family and your friends, they have boxes too, and yours? Well it has a name and your defining features are in there thats who you are to them so go and find out who you are for you.