It now seems impossible not to engage with networking sites such as facebook. As more and more family members and friends sign up, facebook offers a way to stay in touch. There are also professional reasons to join. As I discovered recently while working with Moving Stories Theatre on the play of Vanessa and Virginia, networking sites are crucial in spreading the word.
There seems to be a National Day/Week for almost any cause – but I can hear the trees quivering at the thought of this one! Well starting today it is National Stationery Week!
I am a big fan of anything stationery related – BIG FAN! Testament to this is the book shelf that is stuffed (two rows) with EMPTY notebooks – yes that’s right, these are notebooks I have bought because I liked them, and I still have’t used them.
I am currently on the last pages of my huge fat journal that I purchased from Kate’s Paperie in NYC in 2006 – which contains roughly the last 3 and a half years of my life – it took me the best part of 3 years to decide to actually write in it, because for me, notebooks are as much about the aesthetic as about the use! Before that it sat on the shelf looking very, very pretty.
I am also a bit of a fan of the fountain pen – though I do admit to using cartridges not bladders, because I write too much and as a result they are in need of constant filling. The cartridges last longer.
I am due to start a new journal in the next week and I have decided that my 2006 purchase of an antique leather journal (currently nestling in tissue paper in a box underneath my desk) will be the next journal … I’ve become a little less precious about my collection lately and have decided that they are far more interesting if they are actually used for the purpose which they were designed.
In other exciting new
(well for me it’s exciting) I will be doing a traditional book-binding course (starting in June!) and I cannot wait … I want to be able to make my own books. I have enjoyed making several starbooks lately for people’s birthday’s etc and they are simple and fun. As someone who spends a lot of time working with words, crafting can be the only way to achieve the empty head feeling it’s either that or alcoholism …
In Other News
I am in the very last stages of writing up my thesis – recent feedback has been a real boost as my supervisor is clearly very pleased with my recent work … so I just have to extend that excellence to the rest of the thesis! Blogging takes a back seat just now too – so entries are sporadic, but I couldn’t let NSW pass by without a special mention!
I am always surprised by women who describe themselves as ‘not a feminist’ … because to me if you are a woman, how can you not be feminist? I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t a feminist, if I am truthful. It isn’t like a religion where a conversion or awakening was needed for the transition to take place. I was just raised to believe in the equality of women.
Notice I used the word equality there … not supremacy! Feminism isn’t about proving women are better than men — it’s about expecting to be viewed, socially, politically and economically, as equal to men. On the same level playing field. It’s about not being treated like a second-rate citizen or accepting a subordinate status.
It’s also not about blaming men for everything or putting men down. Any feminist who does that is as misogynist as any woman-hating man. Patriarchy is a word bandied about by many women as the root of all evil, but let us not forget that as many women as men supported patriarchy. It takes two to tango as the saying goes. Women have historically also been culpable of oppressing women. It isn’t about addressing a sex imbalance as a societal one.
Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is something that both men and women participate in. – Ashley Judd
I found a great quote for a friend of mine who claims not to be political or a feminist (she is actually both) which said
A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men – Gloria Steinem
And for me that is one of the best definitions I have come across. It’s true that the label “feminist”has become pejorative for modern women who cannot identify with the militant, perceived as predominantly gay, feminist movement of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Many modern men, though, have little trouble in accepting the label, and will happily call themselves ‘feminist’ …
So why are modern women so sure that feminism is not something that should concern or worry them or that they cannot identify with? Should we be trying to rehabilitate the ‘label’ or are we working towards an era where labels seek to exist. As Soren Kierkegaard once wrote:
‘Once you label me, you negate me.’
As a scholar in feminism and gender studies I can see the damage that some schools of thought have done, building barriers instead of breaking them down. Feminism should be something that is accessible and that women of all sexualities, ethnicities, cultures and political persuasions can identify with. Yes, a lot of damage has been done, though arguably it was necessary for women today to be enjoying the rights that they do … so has our comfortable status (achieved by the previous actions of other women) made us, as women, apathetic to what are forebears suffered, that we may enjoy equality? (Though that equality is still often arbitrarily bestowed and not world wide – there is still plenty to be fought for, other wise there would be no need for demonstrations such as One Billion Rising.) Can it be argued that feminism has achieved so much that the fear of what previous generations suffered has receded into the annals of the past, and no longer motivates their children?
Is feminism a 21st century issue or a thing of the past? Is it time to redefine ourselves as humanists? Individuals? To forget the sex-divide? I fear that even though progress has been made, the attitude of a society that can still call its females things like ‘slut’ still needs to be changed. A society where a woman is still judged by her sexual history is still prejudicial. A society where the heterosexual norms are still given higher social status than the non-heterosexual needs to change … Any society that imposes judgements on the way a women dresses, and punishes them for non-compliance needs to reassess their priorities. Whether that be in court after being assaulted or in the street for not abiding by an imposed religious or political dress code.
But what we forget is we ARE society. It’s not anyone else. It is each individual that makes a difference. The personal is the political and together, we can affect change. For the better. And maybe there is still a real need for people to be proud to call themselves feminist. I know I am. But even if you eschew labels … be the best person you can be, uphold the values that you value and fight, when necessary, to make the world a better place, regardless of what sex you are or what labels you hang on your sleeve.
And, just incase you were wondering, THIS is what a feminist looks like … I hope you all have a feminist sort of a day!
I had forgotten the therapeutic nature of crafting – so set aside a day this weekend to have a wee fiddle.
A friend of mine kindly loaned me her rather extensive stash of craft materials, departing with a wink and a parting comment of ‘I don’t mind what you do as long as you make me something!’
So I set to and made her a card … then I made another card for someone I know who was having a bit of a rough time of it, and thought – hey this is
procrastination taken to a fine arty level FUN!
The project I was working on at the weekend needs refining and I doubt I am going to be making my fortune out of selling them to
gullible foo other folks, but I did find the process of creating something physical with my hands a great way of relaxing my mind and emptying it of all the circulating ideas that get so confused and tangled.
The problem with any such
displacement activity is that you just want to to do more and more of it, especially as it brings with it a kind of zoning out peaceful trance like quality that is hard to attain when engaged in academic work!
So what to do? Well perhaps treat myself to craft sessions every time I reach certain goals, like a glorified grown-up star chart! Whilst I can see to the outsider this seems like a ridiculous state of affairs, I will do what I need to do to psychologically get myself through this damn process, and if that includes treating myself like a reluctant toddler in order to get myself to do anything productive, so damn well be it!
Who knows it might work!
Reviewing extant paradigms of textual interpretation can open some pretty interesting doors to theories that might otherwise have passed me by.
This is because his work is not based on the hermeneutics of reading and interpretation but rather on writing and production. His ideas on how every text enters into a socio-historical context allows anyone working in literature to take a fresh look at old interpretation in a more materialist way.
For McGann textuality is a matter of inscription and articulation, which is one of the basic arguments of my thesis and now I have a theorist which I can turn to for the kind of academic support that my argument was lacking. It is a wee bit of a breakthrough. I knew my ideas were sound, however it’s good to know that there is a respected academic out there who has given a label to the ideas circulating in my head, and a vocabulary with which to explain it.
This will make writing the introduction a little easier in the long term and will help fill out the section I have in draft form on the importance of periodic coding! Hurrah for small break throughs!
This deserves a trip to Aberfeldy and the Watermill book shop …