opinion

The Value of a Comfortable Abortion

Untitled-e1447144340358When I was 19 I had an abortion. It was an obvious choice and one I’ll never regret. Fortunately, I lived somewhere where terminations were legal, accessible and safe. Still, the experience was in no way ideal.

My concern wasn’t ethics. Having been instilled with feminist beliefs from a young age, I knew better than to feel guilt or shame. It was the thought of the procedure that terrified me. I shuddered at the idea of stark white walls and clinical waiting rooms. The thought of entering a clinic seemed to me like crossing a threshold and handing over my ownership. I was a contradiction: this was what I wanted, but it intimidated me. For weeks I’d been living alone with the anxiety of my abortion. I wasn’t ready to give it away and make it real.

There were a lot of things I wasn’t prepared for. Protesters greeted me, throwing me immediately out of my comfort zone with their signs and pleas to ‘choose life’. In my head now things go differently. I say I did. I chose mine.

Read the full article at Feminartsy.

Image via Issara Willenskomer

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Could Virtual Reality Revolutionize Safety for Sex Workers?

29-year-old Ela Darling is taking back her power via virtual reality. Beginning as a teen model and librarian, the now co-founder of VR adult entertainment company VRtube [NSFW], and secretary of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is making a keen dip into the world of holograms.

In this piece I explore the ways that virtual reality is enabling female performers to take control of their careers, safety and lives.

Read the full article at Future of Sex.

Image: brh_images

Musings: Sailor Moon, Feminism and Hangovers

patriarchyI kind of like being hungover. It simplifies things, reduces one’s priorities to a glass of water or a heavily focused food craving (today it was pasties). Goals are more attainable, satisfaction easier to reach. Silver linings.

I was half-conscious, gnawing on said pasty and scrolling through my news feed when a friend’s post told me it was International Sailor Moon Day. Ah! If I’d known I wouldn’t have been up until 4am – drinking, smoking and slopping cider all over my dress – and could be half-way into a Sailor Moon marathon by now. Alas, I’m in true Bridget form.

Fifteen years since the gateway anime came twirling into my life it retains its magic. I still buy sparkly pink keychains depicting the sailor scouts and my cat’s name is Luna. But I found that, in many ways, re-embarking on the journey as an adult was even better than the thrill of my initial awe.

I like to think that a subconscious yearning for diverse representation contributed to my religious following of the series as a child – then again, it was probs all the pink. Either way, it’s easy to see retrospectively that Sailor Moon makes an effort to provide a balanced playing field and promote girl power at the same time.

What I was aware of was that Serena wasn’t a Mary Sue. She had flaws, obvious ones that were performed and put on display. Watching her scoffing down biscuits struck me – aligned with something – gave me my first hint at the uniformity of my then limited and unarticulated stresses about being a girl. Now, 23 and aware, it’s heartening to find so much good stuff in Sailor Moon.

Firstly, the glitz. It’s genius, really. Great long-term feminist propaganda. As well as giving young girls wide eyes, the girlieness of Sailor Moon serves a purpose. Rather than straying from traditional portrayals of the feminine, it embraces them – shoves them in your face. Weaponized femininity reclaims the stereotypes associated with being female, asserting that expressions of femininity can go hand in hand with power.

On top of this, its characters are extremely diverse. Each sailor scout has her own identity, her own place (aside from being a sidekick to Serena and fighting evil by moonlight). Their varying interests and personalities are a constant reminder to young girls that there is no ‘right way’ for them to be, and to embrace each person’s differences. As well as being super amazing heroes, the girls are relatable and real.

If there was any doubt about these themes being deliberate, they should dissipate with the knowledge that in uncut episodes Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are a lesbian couple, travelling around the universe helping young girls come to terms with their sexualities. Pretty cool, huh? Unfortunately, these episodes were altered in an attempt to make them ‘more palatable’ and never aired in Australia, causing massive criticism to what was considered a key aspect of the show.

Upon inspection, Sailor Moon is laden with feminist quotes and ideals. It feels like a call to arms, like everything has been placed carefully and deliberately to achieve a common goal. Of course it isn’t perfect, but what is? Feminism is diverse, and Sailor Moon goes out of its way to acknowledge and identify with women of varying backgrounds and sexualities. Realizing this made my day.

Moon Prism Power!

Featured Image: Blastr

Musings: Cannibalism, Feminism and Holistic Claustrophobia

Apparently I blinked and feminism became an entity, developed a conscious filtering system and an eerily biased opinion on equality. I don’t like its purpose being dictated. Women in the media are now victims not only to the opposition but to their own team, under constant scrutiny for their place on the scale from one to feminism. Female celebrities are under increasing attack for their behaviour, simultaneously judged and celebrated by the infinite amount of voices to be heard, each with its own idea about the ‘right kind of feminism.’

Sometimes I get stuck in the big picture. The other day I was reading The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism & the Problem with Domination. Typically, Freudian theories of domination (that it’s an inevitable effect of human interaction) sent me spiralling into an existential crisis. Now, I’m tied down by possibilities and scales, handcuffed by the largeness of life, gagged by the perception that my actions and beliefs are completely inconsequential. I can’t write. I can’t talk. Sometimes it’s hard to think.

I call it ‘holistic claustrophobia.’ Don’t steal it.

I feel that secularisation is important now, that it’s the next logical step in progressive open-mindedness. As a group, surely it’s vital to embrace the individual experience of owning one’s own religion, finding a unique path of ideals and tailoring them over time, releasing labels of gender, sexuality and belief – forever weaving the tapestry of us – and embracing the fact that there will never be enough labels. Diversity through wholeness. Harmony. Polarities.

We have to find a balance, a way to maintain our individual ideals but keep huddling under the same umbrella: even the cannibals. As long as there’s no killing involved, I’m vocal in supporting those who have, but more importantly have needed to, devour a friend. But that’s an opinion for another day.

Chickens eat chicken and don’t get no hate.