not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Sometimes I think I am just a romantic, that when asked if I am a realist I may think so but I am just romanticizing what a realist is. I am realistic about many things but have utopian views at times. It is the utopianism that keeps be going, gives me hope and lets me dream. I was asked by the Dublin ladyfest crew to write a paragraph on what I though ladyfest was. I wrote a quite paragraph to send off, this women who asked me said that it seemed that they were missing in the heart department and were asking everyone to write something that might bring it back alive again. Something that they could possibly include in the mission statement so more people were involved in making it, something to bring the ladyfest back alive. This saddens me so much that it was the heart that was missing. I mean if you don’t have a venue, or money or something material, if you have the heart usually you will have the creativity and the energy to make it happen. But if you don’t have the heart well it just dies, regardless of what material goods you have. All one has to do is look at SEC, see an organization that is well if not over funded. And see how no one cares, how everyone just sits around and chats and how they spent there money on Ikea furniture instead of addressing the issue that the majority of the calls we get are fake calls. So here is what I wrote about ladyfest . . .

What ladyfest means to me is punk ethics and feminist praxis. It is a space where body politics, queer theory and feminism are all centralized through music, art, zines, films and workshops. It is where women how ever they identify can show their talents, skills learn knew ones and know that they can do it themselves. It is a space where confidence grows with the shared knowledge. It is DIY and non-hierarchal and brings anarcho-feminism to a fun level. Ladyfest bring a community of like minded people together who feed off each others creativity and energy and is able to create a new norm or transform the space and people permanently. Ladyfest although different in each location that it is put on creates a feeling of not being alone, realizing that another way of living, partying, interacting is possible and people are living it so many different spaces around the world.
In order to keep the quote from nazis from mars up, I will write my two favorite quotes of the day up here.

me: maybe we are just urban hipsters in denial?
melissa: But I'm not, I'm just a feminist!

"we're not licensed for suicides around here. This place halah. Kosher, understand? If you're going to die round here, my friend, I'm afraid you've got to be thoroughly bled first" Mo from White teeth, zadi smith

I picked up this magazine today called Spacing:whose space is public space, covering toronto's urban landscape. This topic of this issue is pedestrians. There is this one section called dead man walking that has this stats of pedistrians hit by cars in toronto. Some of the most disturbing stats include "1 person in 100 will be hit in Toronto by a vehicle this year." and "a pedestrian is injuried every 3 hours and 35 mins, adding up to 6.5 people per day." so people can stop making fun of me when I make eye contact with the drivers when I walk across the road and murmer "please don't hit me, please don't hit me" I have a legitimate reason to think that they might just not notice me and hit me.

Another intersting stat is when these accidents happen. according to this mag "walkers are most likey to get hit by a vehicle on Friday, at 8am or between 3pm-5pm" 8 am and 3pm strange, I suppose the 8 am thing is morning rush hour and I suppose the friday thing is last day of work rush and/or friday night drinking and driving. I would think more people go out on saturday, perhaps on saturday there is more car pooling since people are at home before they go out and on friday their may be more individuals in cars therefor less desinated drivers. But between 3-5pm, that just is plane strange. There are not even that many cars on the road at 3, perhaps then pedistrians are less aware . . . you would think that dusk would be bad, late at night would be bad and weekends would be bad. odd.

I wonder if the pedestrian streets that they ared starting in toronto are helping with the number of people getting hit. I suppose not, it will pervent people from getting hit in kensignton and church st on sundays, but I don't think that will affect the rest of the city. It might even make things worst since more pedistrains may start reclaiming the roads and the drivers unaware of the politics of this action will hit them in shere surprise of their boldness!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

james has created a new web site for the ucd's student union, on it he put up my zine in a none zine format, so all the info is there with out the design or pics, but if anyone didn't get a chance to read it and wants to it is at I created the zine as a project for a class on inequalities on education and it was based on a quote given to us from Paulo Freire.

He put up a few other articles I wrote for the freshers guide so here they are:

Everything but yes means no

Growing up we hear over and over again don’t talk to strangers. We are conditioned to fear the other, the unknown. We are conditioned to fear the lone man walking on the street behind us at night or the possibility of a stranger lurking in the shadows or bushes. What they don’t tell you is that most violence, sexual assault and rape occurs from someone you know, it is not likely to be the stranger at night. Violence and rape is not essentially against women.

At this time in Ireland women report the majority of cases of rape with 9% of men reportedly being victimized this way . The three major myths according the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre when it comes to rape is that the act is a result of overwhelming sexual desire, that victims provoke rape by their dress or behavior and finally that people are usually attacked by stranger.

Statistics say that up to 85% of rape is committed by someone that the survivor knows. At the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 66% of their clients are seeking assistance based on an experience from someone who they know. The term ‘date rape’ or ‘acquaintance rape’ has been coined to talk about this experience, regardless of the term the definition stays the same; it is “non-consensual sexual intercourse by a friend or acquaintance” and it is an act of violence, a method of control over another’s person.

Rape cannot be seen singularity as a result of overwhelming sexual desire. Although there is a large sexual aspect to the violence and as a result a rape can affect the future of ones sexual experiences and their relation to their body, themselves and others. At the same time there can be a deeper analysis of objectification that goes beyond ones sexuality to levels of attempting to silence the voice and take away the autonomy of the person. Rape should be seen not as a result of overwhelming sexual desire but as a way to control another person by using sex as the form of violence for this control.

Feminists have worked to debunk the myth that women ask for it, that they want to be raped and that a women’s outfit or history is excuse enough for the act of sexualized violence. Although this has become a common understanding the root of the problem has not necessarily been addressed. In an interview conducted by Bikini Kill (American Riot Grrl Band) they ask a guy how a woman asks for it. He says in the way they act, not in the way they dress since that is their own personal choice. This response shows that, although through popular education it has been normalized that women should be allowed to have some level of autonomy over their bodies, at the same time blame is still directed at the women for the act of violence that occurs to them. This idea of blame can be so pervasive that many women or men still blame themselves when they experience acts of sexualized violence and the closer the attacker is to the person the smaller the chance that the survivors will report it or even acknowledge the severity of what happened to them.

Although most self-defense classes are generated from the construction of fear of strangers, there are feminist self-defense classes, which address assertiveness in intimate relationships to help prevent all forms of control, manipulation and violence. Regardless of the type of self-defense class offered, the confidence developed through knowledge that one can protect themselves is priceless. Fighting back when attacked can be the difference between an attempt of rape and becoming a survivor of sexualized violence. According to WAVE, a women’s anti-violence education group, 61% of women who screamed and 68% of women who used physical force of any kind escaped and avoided getting raped .

The word non-consensual is the defining word of rape. In the past it was assumed that rape could not happen within marriage since the women by saying her vows has consented to please the man’s sexual desires. Slowly the legal system came to understand what most women already knew that they are in control of their own bodies and that what rape expresses is not sexual desire but rather control of another being through a violent act that is deeply violating one’s self.

Groups doing work around the issue of sexualized violence and date rape have worked towards normalizing the idea that NO means NO, but what does that really mean. Does a person have to say NO! for the act of sexual violence to not be consensual? What if her judgment had been altered due to too much drinking or being drugged with “date rape” drugs? What if she has been coerced or pressured by manipulation or fear? What if she has said ‘I have a boyfriend/girlfriend’, ‘I’m tired’, ‘I don’t feel like it’, ‘I have a headache’? What if she changes her mind? What if she stays silent?

I think within our collective consciousness we can agree that if she was drugged and if she was threatened, even if she said yes in those cases that consent had not been reached and the experience was an experience of rape. What is more important to talk about and fully understand is the headaches, the change in mind and the silence. We have to realize that for consent to be reached one has to say YES!! And everything but yes is no. Excuses for not reaching consent have been uttered such as it is not sexy to ask first. But what is less sexy: making sure that your partner wants to have sex with you or to engage in sex with an unwilling partner and violate this person in a deeply embodied way.

Entering college life is an explosion of freedoms and promise

Entering college life is an explosion of freedoms and promise, some of us move to Dublin from smaller towns, others move out of our parents’ homes and all of us enter a new larger community with so many possibilities. There are parties, societies and so many opportunities to meet like-minded people and to have a great time. One is bombarded throughout there first few weeks with the number of events and posters for parties that dominate the college landscape. Yet one can’t help but notice that these events are directed at a certain student: the straight male.

From the first day one can notice that the designs of the posters for the events have the straight male’s sexuality in mind. The posters depict women as objects and ask men to come and consume the events and take part in their societies. The societies and parties themselves are open to all genders and sexualities and if questioned they would assure you that the events are in no way sexist or heterosexist. Yet one has to wonder what level of safety and comfort someone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer would feel entering those events, let alone feminists of all genders. For example how included would a LGBTQ student feel at events that had males performing as strippers and did not allow any males in the audience or societies that had posters that said ‘everything that you want from a society’ and had several “sexy” women in bikinis surrounding a single guy. Somehow that is not what the majority of students are looking for in a society.

Many people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer don’t feel a level of safety to “come out” when they were still in high school. Homophobia is alive and strong in the high school environment, especially in the catholic school system. Many LGBTQ students may have been closeted within their family and social circles and find that college is a safe space to come out. Yet the general feel of the college is that it is not a safe space. Although there is the LGBTQ society; unless you want to be ghettoized you don’t want that to be your only outlet to be “out”!

Last year, in order to tackle this problem of heterosexism at UCD and the possibility of feeling ghettoized into a marginal society, there was a joint effort between the LGBTQ rights officer and the LGBTQ society called the Positive Space Campaign. This initiative encouraged lecturers and university staff to place a ‘positive space’ sticker on their door or other visible space. The goal of this project was to create an environment at UCD where issues of sexual and gender diversity were at the forefront, where discussions both personal and academic could legitimately take place. The hope was to create a sense that LGBTQ students could be “out” and be themselves in all aspects of their college life.

A package that contained an explanation of the campaign, definitions of terminology used, resources to further educate themselves on Dublin’s LGBTQ community and services and a sticker to place where they say fit was delivered to all staff. Although I would say that the campaign was a success, it did not go down with out any hitches. Services and administration were concerned that these stickers would be permanently adhesive to the university structures, which was the point!! They seemed to want to support anti-discrimination campaigns but had little understanding of the need we felt for a permanent transformation of the college environment to create and maintain safe spaces for those who are outside the heteronormative matrix.

There was also some blatant homophobic response from some of the staff who received the packages; you would think that we were trying to have them engage in gay sex. Perhaps they felt that if we let LGBTQ students feel safe in their offices and classrooms that somehow this would lead to them being “converted” to homosexuality. However, for every negative response, we got 10 positive responses from staff and hundreds from students.

Perhaps you will see one of these stickers still around from last year and perhaps you won’t. Don’t assume that because your lecturer doesn’t have one outside their door, they are homophobic. We have to realize that the heterosexist environment that is created through the events and posters resonates through all levels of the college. Those working in the college may also not feel safe within their departments to put up such a sticker and others may have been in academia for so long that they forget that it is a place for politics and would rather their space stay ‘objectively’ free of any political material, as if it is possible to be neutral and apolitical in such a space. We hope that this campaign will continue this year and more staff will get involved. Look out for a positive space campus.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

back from anarchist u, completely loved it, partially it was getting away from the city and being in this camping environment, swimming in lakes, cooking over a camp fire, sleeping under the stars. when I am in that environment everything becomes clearer, simpler and I know that everything will be ok. The anxiety and depression that is built from the presures of urban capilatist existance dwindles and dreams start to flourish.

lilies float just beneath my pull
crystal rays guide my way
a world of life under the surface, free
we are given freedom, 'freedom' to be issoloate
'freedom' to consume, 'freedom' to pollute and distroy

the driver murmers "I understand what Prouhdon was on about;
'property is theft', all we want is a place to swim"

once surrounded by water and the voices of my friends are drained out by the gentel ripple I reach calmness, a sense of clarity

i feel you need to be out here

my dreams flow towards me with the gentle waves
the thick forests expose the possibilty,
the vastness of this land,
the diverisity of knowledge and experience

the other part of the trip that I loved was connecting with all these new great people, finding out different projects that people are involved in, feeling the passion, determination, hope that all these people express. PASSION and FREEDOM the two words that I have considered getting tattoed onto my body were lived through example by the people this weekend.

I came back from this weekend and read an email from james that said "tobie, you know you are an anachist at heart, now you need to start organising" in an attempt to encourage me to join WSM (workers solidarity movement) an anarchist group in ireland that he has recently become part of. It is true that I was an anarchist at heart before really understanding what it ment. I was thinking and organising with anarchist tendancies for years. But as someone said this weekend "kids are born anarchist, they are trained to be statused." It seems to be it is all part of the unlearning process, deconstructing socialised norms and expectations that one leads to anarcism.

Until two years ago I had never had anyone identify to me as an anarchist and due to this and my ignorance, I had many misconceptions. yet becoming closer with people in OCAP and with marike I realised that this ideas that had been developed in my mind were sensational and not at all realistic. With breaking that boundary suddenly I was open to the ideas and realised I was already living and loving in a direction that was closer to anarchism then anything else. I also realized that most of the people I know and have been involved with have anarchist tendancies regardless of their idenities. And the more I talk to people the more people seem to identify with anarchism.
so what do I have to say about all this now . . .well; organize, educate, agitate :)