Personal, introverted, arm chair, navel gazing, struggling feminism

Posted February 1, 2011 by katieinthehat
Categories: being me, blogging, busy thinking, feminism, hello world, i like telling people useless information about myself, life is random, niggles, world gone mad

Not-so brand new feminist seeks like-minded introverts who like to give support and agreement. Seeking abdication of responsibility for anyone’s feminism but own. High maintenance, feeling low maintenance.

There is so much fantastic, HUGE feminism going on at the moment. And yet, at a time when women and gender equality are taking a beating, sometimes literally, from all sides, and so much needs to be done, I can’t find my place in it.

One person calls me a revolutionary, another invites me to a meeting for “key players”, I let another down with my inability to motivate others and follow through on the courage of my theoretical convictions. Who am I then? Am I the revolutionary or am I the great pretender?

Because I can’t seem to be the kind of feminist activist that I’m expected to be, that I set out to be even, I am more recently returning to my little shell. Safe and warm and solitary. That way I can’t let anyone down and I can see that I am a disappointment. Or I can’t feel that I’m a disappointment, because others might not even notice.

I’ll sign your petition. I’ll retweet your message. I’ll facebook your link. I probably won’t pluck up the courage to attend your event, I probably won’t read your long facebook entries about women who don’t want me to connect with them. But I will feel bad about it. I will.

Want me to come for a coffee and talk about my experiences and state of the world, and listen to your side of that conversation? I’m there.

Want me to ignore my own shit and only look at the global socio-political economic international regional blah blah blah? Sorry, I’m in bed reading Virginia Woolf wishing I could be who you want me to be.

This is about as self-serving and navel-gazing as one can get: I really do care but don’t have the mental or physical energy to DO. I am now working with vulnerable women on a daily basis, they are my sole client group. I’m contributing. It doesn’t feel like enough but it has to be some how.

Inspiration in the unlikeliest of places

Posted September 7, 2010 by katieinthehat
Categories: feminism

The Take A Break puzzlebook. Arrow word. African wild cat. Not a clue.

By process of other letters coming into place I get CIV_T. I figure the word must be civet. Never heard of it. Looked it up. There is all female band called Civet.

I find this link:

This is a write up of a group of female artists, wherein they are appreciated for their musical talent not their appearance. The piece is written by a man. Now, in my experience of trying to get people to listen to good music by women, the main opposition comes from men in the industry. Readers may remember the Guitar Girls debacle of ’08.

Reading this piece about a band that I had never heard of inspired me to blog. Credit where credit is due.

I’m back

Commit, Act, Demand Change

Posted November 25, 2009 by katieinthehat
Categories: activism, being me, bham.fem, feminism, in the news, sites of interest, something made me smile


It’s nearly over but that’s okay because today starts the 16 Days of Activism, so we have 15 more days to really focus our energies on events to make a change.  The 16 days ends with Human Rights day :)

Today I wore a White Ribbon Campaign tshirt and got a good response from my colleagues.

Tonight we had a Birmingham Fems meeting and organised our route Reclaim The Night Birmingham 2010

On Saturday I went to London with Bob and met up with some other Birmingham Fems to take part in Reclaim The Night London for the second time.  This time I didn’t steward and it was a very different experience.  I really enjoyed being part of the atmosphere despite getting thorough soaked!  I held my Object board, which I held high for the inner city residents who looked out of their windows and the people on the bus who passed by.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to stay for the rally but I’m sure it was great, it certainly was last year!  Well to Object for winning the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize this year!

On Monday (1st Dec) I will be speaking at the west midlands Women’s Networking Hub event at the Drum: COMMIT, ACT, DEMAND – AN END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (or on Facebook).  Please come along if you’re a woman and you’re local.

Alternatively, especially if you can’t attend at the Drum but can spare a smaller amount of time, or are a man or just don’t want to go, I would encourage you to take part in Birmingham’s POSITIVELY RED World Aids Day events, particularly the paper lantern parade on 1st Dec (same day).

In a week where it has been announced that the National Curriculum will finally add gender equality as mandatory in order to address issues such as domestic violence, starting in 2011, we need now more than ever to keep the message strong. To commit to raising awareness, to take part in action and act on unacceptable behaviour, and to DEMAND CHANGE.

In the words of the White Ribbon Campaign we must “pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women”.

The political is personal

Posted October 22, 2009 by katieinthehat
Categories: being me, busy thinking, feminism, hello world, i like telling people useless information about myself

Being feminist is a massive part of my life.  Since realising that they way I felt was feminist and not freaky I have felt so comforted by the ability to share my opinions with likeminded people.

But sometimes it’s difficult for me to write about certain subjects in an ‘objectively’ feminist way.  I mean you could argue that people don’t always do that anyway.  Feminists often use their own experiences to inform their writing (if they write!), hence ‘the personal is political’, but sometimes I get stuck with the personal and have found it hard to take it to the political level – not because I don’t understand or agree with that level, but because it is still too personal.  When something negative happens to me it stays with me for a long time, I have visceral reactions to seemingly small things – words, names, places, pictures, music, clothes and so on.

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What pro-choice means to me

Posted September 11, 2009 by katieinthehat
Categories: busy thinking, feminism, in the news

[ETA: I actually wrote this post ages ago but for some reason never posted it, and it stayed in my drafts. This is possibly because it doesn’t have an ending, it kind of just stops. However, I am going to leave it as it is and let my reader(s?) pick it apart if they want to.  But be constructive and supportive won’t you?]

[ETA 2: While I accept that this post may, through web searching, come to the attention of ‘pro-life’ / anti-choicers, and while I invite those people to read what is a personal opinion and possibly question the inappropriate actions of one of their leaders, I would suggest that there is no point leaving a comment condemning me or trying to make me think again about this issue. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family and got an A in Roman Catholic Religious Education at GCSE, so I don’t think there is much room for me to budge on my opinion in this case being as it is fairly educated as a ‘lay person’.]

Abortion is a contentious subject by no means  and I don’t profess to know a lot about the subject literature and statistics wise, but I do know what my feelings are and I’ve been thinking of this post for a little while now.

I read this post on Feministe and was just mortified to see that supposed pro-lifers have used the death of an abortion provider’s family to make their point.  Basically, God smote the family of Irving Feldkamp because he provided abortions.  The fact that he owns a ‘for profit abortion chain’ is another matter entirely as it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that should ever be ‘for profit’ but then drugs for deadly diseases are also made ‘for profit’ so that argument is moot really.

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Veg Out Against Violence

Posted July 24, 2009 by katieinthehat
Categories: activism, being me, bham.fem, feminism, hello world, something made me smile

Tags: , , , ,

Last night, Birmingham Feminists held their first major event – Veg Out Against Violence.  I did a speech.  We asked some more reputable people first but unfortunately they were busy, so I spoke to 50 odd people about us, Reclaim The Night Birmingham 09, and the problem that is violence against women.

Here is my speech:

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I am not who you think I am

Posted June 15, 2009 by katieinthehat
Categories: being me, blogging, busy thinking, femininity, feminism, ffs, hello world, i like telling people useless information about myself, It really is so simple it hurts, life is random, oh dear i said something somebody didn't like again, rant, sadness, shake my head

It’s been a long time since I did a ‘real’ post.  By a real post, I mean one about myself where I don’t just post a link or a story and say that’s it’s important, but one about actual experiences.

This weekend I went to visit the sort-of-in-laws (i.e. we are not married so there is no law about it).  I started the weekend by being interview by someone for a book about feminism.  It felt good.  She asked me about Birmingham Fems and how and why I set up the group.

I recalled me feelings of isolation while living in Norwich with the SOILs (oh good abbreviation!) and how I felt like a freak with outdated ideas about sexuality and sexual expression and what it meant to be a ‘modern woman’ who can succeed without removing her clothes.  I went on to tell her about I met people from other regional feminist groups and was encouraged to start my own.  So I did with some guidance, and it took a long time to get off the ground, but when a few people’s enthusiasm finally matched my own we started to meet up.

It wasn’t about activism or academia, although it was really in some ways, for some people.  For me it was, and is, about support.  About being able to speak to people who get where you’re coming from.  About being able to talk to someone about something that has bothered you and not have to start from a position of defense about why you feel that way.

Then we got to Norwich.  Well first we got stuck near Elveden because a kind and slightly shirty man got out of his car in stopped traffic to tell he had ‘almost gone into the back of us’ because our brake lights weren’t working.  So we stopped and indeed the two normal brake lights weren’t working although the one at the top of the window was. Dee checked the bulbs and the fuses (I was too hot so I went to look at the war memorial) and everything seemed fine. So after an hour or so of awaiting breakdown assistance we finally got to Norwich.  We went to see ‘The Young Victoria‘ at a showing at a local community centre that the SOILs are involved with.  I LOVE that film because Emily Blunt is amazing and because Victoria didn’t feel the need to be married before she became Queen and she wasn’t intimidated by the fact that she was so young, and she refused to sign the regency order just because her mum and her advisor wanted her too.

BUT, when the host introduced the film, all he said about Victoria was essentially that she was a horny baby machine!  All stuff like she wasn’t a quiet girl (oh yes, girl) and ‘nine babies in 20 years’ etc, and and ‘phoar’ about Emily Blunt.  This is a 60 something ex-school teacher and ex-Parish Council Chairman, you know.  That really annoyed me, and I felt it again.  Here I am, back in the place where I felt powerless, where I still FEEL powerless every time I am here because Dee’s mum for some reason thinks I am this really girly girl who likes disgusting duvet covers with shoes on, and all things pink and glitter.  Yes, when I was living with them I went through a real Monsoon stage but that’s because their clothes are elegant and remind me of, my first love, dancing.

This is not who I am.

I am not that kind of woman.

I am not ANY kind of woman.

I am MY kind of woman.

I am not any particular kind of feminist.

I am every kind of feminist I can be apart from pro-pornography (there is no space here to debate the true existence of such a person) based on my experiences and choices. i.e. I am not separatist feminist because I believe that feminism and sexism are human issues, and because I live with and love a man.  Of course, if one chooses to further define their feminism by gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, then I am different from others.  However, the root remains the same.  I am a feminist.  I understand what you mean by your feminism and you hopefully understand what I mean by mine.

I am not a ‘academic’ feminist, even though I am interested in feminist theories.  This is nothing to do with academia for me though.  I do not feel that going to University shaped my opinions on feminism – or at least the academic side of it didn’t.  Living with men and being assaulted by someone who supposedly loved me, those things taught me things about my feminism.  I have always enjoyed the concepts of science and theory  – that something is only true until it is proven otherwise.  Like criminal justice.  My current field.  People assume that I must be academic in my feminist outlook, because I went to University and because I did study gender in relation to criminal behaviour and victimisation for my second degree (but I had to PUSH feminism into that, I had to make it fit into my work because it was part of me and I wouldn’t let them push it out of me, even if my trainee colleagues though I was absolutely unhinged).  That is just one part of it for me, and I don’t really tend to discuss that outside of work, because seriously 38+ hours of being in the mindset is enough for me!

I love feminist art.  I love feminist thought, and speaking and just, being.

I am me.  I am Grace.  I am Katie.  I am katieinthehat.  I am ‘fearless leader’ of Birmingham Fems if you’re a member and you want to make me cringe.  I am the “committed to working with women offenders” one.  I am the “has a visceral reaction to pornography, certain words, certain phrases, certain places, certain names, certain concepts” one.  I am the “seriously too tired to read your long policy documents” one.  I am the “no I didn’t read that article or watch that news story because I have to work at work and sleep at home” one.  I am the 25 year old woman with a full head that feels ageless, who is still trapped between external expectations and internal desires.  I want to scream in your face when you call me girl, or love, or your sweet when you don’t know me.  I want to hug you when you don’t do those things.  I want to be extreme, and I want to be calm and collected.  I want my voice to be heard but I don’t want ALL the attention.

I just want you to know who I am.


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