Oct 16

#Metoo

#Metoo

We are not supposed to talk about it, lest it upset or even offend someone and their precious sensibilities. We’re supposed to suck it up and get on with it. But this just allows the malignancy of sexism to fester.

I have told this to men before when having “this” discussion: I struggle to name one female who I know well who hasn’t at some point been on the receiving end of sexual harassment or assault.

There is, of course, the relentless “everyday sexism”, which is psychologically demeaning, affecting our confidence, self esteem and contributing to depression, anxiety, eating disorders etc.

There is the sickening but all to familiar fear in the pit of your stomach when you have to pass a group of men who start leering and jeering, when that guy on the bus is staring at you possessively, or when you are dancing somewhere having fun with your friends and you suddenly feel an unknown uninvited unexpected hand on your body, as if it is not yours anymore. When you feel that unnecessary and unfair but frustratingly unavoidable feeling of shame and degradation when they stare at your breasts, your ass, your legs…

We are reared to believe that men are some sort of uncontrollable animal, that simply can not control these behaviours, that the onus for protecting ourselves and preventing this is on us. That the cognitive enlightenment, sentience and intellectual capacity that the human race has evolved over millennia just doesn’t apply when it comes to men’s sexual urges.

What a load of [insert expletive of your choice]! 😡

Men are perfectly capable of controlling themselves, we have simply created a social environment that reinforces their psychologically ingrained belief that they either can’t or simply don’t have to.

It is up to ALL of us to change this untenable situation, to break this passivity, to call for change. It will come not only from the big actions, but from the subtle every day things that I was once blind too, subconsciously absorbing without realising.

The terms of triviality, intellectual inferiority, ownership and objectification that are directed at us every day. The pink, flowery, subservient perfection that we ask of little girls and the loud, independent, active curiosity that we encourage in little boys.

Enough is enough. Call it out, even when it’s uncomfortable, even if it seems small… every little bit of sexism contributes to this overwhelming sociological inequity.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.clairemariethomas.com/2017/10/metoo/

Oct 02

Fake plastic lives

Seriously … just start saving up one weeks worth of disposable plastic that you use and you are likely to be horrified: food packaging (that shit has got way out of hand!), straws, balloons, magazine wrappers, drinks bottles, washing up liquid, cosmetics, flower wrapping, card wrapping (why on earth do we need to buy cards -which come in envelopes- wrapped in plastic!!?!!) We don’t have to throw everything away, recycling alone is not enough and our disposable culture is a one way fast trip to disaster!

It does take a little effort to try to get rid of disposable plastic in our lives but you know what, we are all just gonna have to suck it up and put in a little bit of work!

This situation is totally unnecessary and bred entirely by our own lazy, ignorant, self-centred behaviours. I mean seriously, why do you need 2 straws in every drink I’m a bar? Why do individual vegetables need to be bought wrapped in plastic? The situation is ludicrous and utterly shameful!

Find a store near you that sells things in paper bags and does refills of bottled products (and if you have to walk a little further or ride your bike to get there you’ll be okay… in fact you’ll be fitter and healthier for it). Then refuse to shop anywhere else.

Don’t get me wrong it is hard at first, I have found it challenging and an still ok a journey to getting it right. You will be surprised how much you have subconsciously ignored and taken for granted … but we HAVE to wake up and start pushing for change bottom up. You gotta start some where, so just start by thinking and trying!

If enough people do this things will have to change. Don’t wait for some money addled politician or corporation to make an out of character choice of conscience to make your life easier! Get off your ass and stop being part of the problem. Simple.

More advice can be found here:

100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2017/jul/07/plastic-free-july-cutting-down-single-use-plastics-is-easier-than-it-seems

http://plasticfree.co.uk/

https://www.lifewithoutplastic.com/store/10_easy_tips_for_living_with_less_plastic

Permanent link to this article: http://www.clairemariethomas.com/2017/10/fake-plastic-lives/

May 27

You are worthy of love

Great time today supporting my good friend Winnie Ainembaabazi and the Girl Power Foundation. Today we met with girls aged 14-25 in Kihihi, South West Uganda, many of whom were young mothers. We explored communication, self-esteem and how to set goals for all the different areas (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) in our lives. 
The biggest challenge for the girls was the idea that they are worthy of love and that this is true despite any challenges (Loss of parents, early pregnancy, loss of job, poor education) that life might through at them. In the end I held one of the girls’ beautiful babies and asked them: 


“Do you see this beautiful baby? Is she worthy of love?”

“Yes”

“Does she have a job?”

“No”

“Does she have money?”

“No”

“Does she have success?”

“No”

“Is she worthy of love?”

“Yes”

“We are all born equal and equally worthy of love. This does not change with time, no matter what challenges we face or mistakes we make, we remain worthy of love”
Then, because it felt like what was needed in that instance, we all turned to our neighbours and told them (in the local language) “you are worthy of love”.
This was quite a powerful moment, and many of the girls reflected afterward that it never occurred to them to love themselves and that they were worthy of love. 


Sadly too many girls grow up thinking that their worth in life is only relative to the money they can bring in to their families or the marriage they can achieve. Too many girls spend their lives being judged on their physical looks, or preconceived societal notions of what it means to be “female” but not on the person they truly are. No matter who you are, you are worthy of love.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.clairemariethomas.com/2017/05/you-are-worthy-of-love/

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