My top 3 books for Young Adults.

Blogging for author Lucy V Hay.

Here are my top 3 books for Young Adults today, and why you should read them.

Click HERE for the blog post on Lucy's website. 

My Interview with The Fan Carpet. #Twisted50

After the Twisted50 Awards party I was interviewed by The Fan Carpet.
I spoke to Ellie Torrez about the inspiration for Twisted. How Chris Jones and I decided on the genre of the initiative, and why we wanted our horror project to encompass all horror sub genres.
We spoke about why Create50 is such a great initiative, and how we wanted to support the writers, to help them become better writers. As a result of this process we were able to build a second book from all the fabulous submissions, and Evil Little Sister was born!
It is an incredible project which I am desperately proud of.
Proud of the creativity and commitment from the writers,  and proud of the tremendous community spirit we have all nurtured, and achieved together.  
The stories are fabulously sick, and I take utter pleasure in encouraging our weird and wonderful writers to keep pushing those boundaries.
Listen to the interview here.

Twisted50 Launch Party.

We had a cracking launch party for Twisted50 last week. The turnout was awesome, the cast playing the characters from the stories were terrifying and it was fantastic to finally meet the writers. The venue was The Cinema Museum in Elephant and Castle, which was a perfect match for our Twisted lot. The Create50 team did a fabulous job of scaring us all to death throughout the night.

I am incredibly proud of 'my writers' and to be part of such a formidable team. 

Check out some of the photos here, with me, our editor, Create50 founder and some scary cast and writers. 

If you want to join the growing Create50 community, and get stuck into some writing or filmmaking, check it out HERE

Blogging for Twisted50

Why creatives should attend events, especially when you are starting out. See HERE

Podcast Interview

Listen to me being interviewed by the fabulous Leo Robertson, on his podcast, Losing The Plot. 

Best of 3. Blog for author Lucy V. Hay

Crime writer Lucy kindly asked me for my best of 3 crime and thriller books. Read more HERE.

Below are a selection of blogs pulled from my previous blog Ruby'sReveries, written in 2015. November 2016, marks the beginning of this new website. 

Violence & Masculinity

 

Two days ago I started Reading Jackon Katz’ s book ‘Macho Paradox’. This morning Mike Lousada shared the following article on Facebook.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/may/20/concert-pianist-james-rhodes-wins-right-to-publish-autobiography

The article moved me to tears, as every article about abuse does. I cannot begin to comprehend the life James Rhodes has had.

Nor can I begin to comprehend the suffering and the torture other men and women have had to endure in their lives at the hands of sexual abuse.

I have a son and daughter and I think constantly about how to bring up two compassionate little people.  I read endlessly about child psychology and human behaviour. I want so desperately to create a world in which we can stamp out violence towards men and women.

Gloria Steinem once said, “We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters”.

I has certainly brought up to be more like a boy, in my mother’s fight to give me choices and make me strong to face our male dominated society, she also taught me not to rely on a man. I acknowledge that along with my university education and my feminist peer group, I have grown up to see men as untrustworthy.  These sentiments trouble me greatly, for I have a wonderful father, two fantastic brothers and an amazing husband.  I now have a 3 year old son, alongside my 7 year old daughter.

My readings tell me to make her tough and make him soft, yet my intuition has told me otherwise. I see a society today in which I read about men feeling emasculated and women being accused of being ball crushers.  This does not create a harmonious society.

 

More recently I have been exploring essays on the feminine and masculine sexual superpower – allowing both men and women to act intuitively in not only their sex life, but daily lives. Not making women who want to stay at home feel inferior to working women, nor making men who want to open doors for women feel like sexist pigs.

I think the time in humanity has come to rebalance and bring the sexes together, for too long it has been men versus women.

Finally, after a year or so or having Jackon Katz’s book, unread, on my shelf, I picked it up. The revolution he talks of resonated deeply within me. He talks of western culture needing a paradigm shift amongst adult men with power, to create a shift, within their peer groups.

He rejects the notion that men need sensitivity training, instead they need leadership training.

Young boys and girls need to hold onto their sensitivity, not have it beaten out of them, allow them to feel the tears of sorrow. They need to be taught to lead, to be leaders of their own lives, to set standards amongst their peers, demonstrate standards of respect and compassion towards all human beings, regardless of gender, colour and sexual orientation.

We, as a collective group need to stop fighting against each other and come together to create a conversation. I understand that some white men resent being told they are privileged, when they feel so oppressed by the system they live in, they too need to be heard, for the system as it stands today is failing most of us.

 

 “In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” Martin Luther King

See his TedTalk below.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue?language=en#t-1045754

 

 

 

Sense8

The shows rocks, not just because the stars are all gorgeous and they have hot sex throughout. The show moves outside of heteronormativity, emphasising taboo subjects and stereotypes, whilst making gloriously powerful statements.

I was inspired to see scenes depicting elements which are so  often hidden away from viewing, in order to present a more sanitised and conformist version of life.

This is what jumped out at me:

·         Women and their tampons

·         Women’s vaginas during child birth

·         Blood related to tampons and child birth

·         Transgender

·         Lesbians, a black lesbian – even better, and she gorgeous, feminine, clever and light hearted, NOT stereotypically angry.

·         A gay couple

·         White male police officer who is sensitive, kind and not racist.

·         The language highlights sexism, “She spins well for a girl” is responded to with, “She spins well, period”

·         In Mumbai – Tina is smart and her story highlights the sexism within her culture and her arrange marriage.

·         Sun Bak is from Seoul – her story is powerful in illustrating how undervalued daughters are.

·         Nairobi – Capheus or “Van Damme” portrays a beautiful, joyful and gentle soul caught up gang war fare.

 

On a deeper level, the poignant message of Sense8 is one of human connection.  If we can fully connect with others, we can, and we will protect each other. Together we make a stronger and more compassionate unit which has the ability to challenge the Status Quo.

Rather pertinently, the antagonist works to destroy the connection, for they are too powerful as a ‘cluster’.

Personally, Sense8 flooded my senses as a direct assault on contemporary society. I fully believe that our governing bodies, prefer society to be half asleep and disconnected. They want to dull our spirit with consumerism and materialism. By instilling global fear, we, the masses work tirelessly to pay the system. Fear of threats, terrorism, perpetrators, and economic ruin keep us all nicely under control………

 

But don’t take my word for it, remember the makers of Sense8 brought you the Matrix……. 

Menstruation

The subject of women and their periods, throughout cultures is problematic to say the least. At best young women feel silenced into not talking about it and at worst they feel disgusting and ashamed.  The range of emotion seems to shift throughout cultures.

My experience of growing up has been this:

British teenagers are embarrassed about, I lived in a perpetual cycle of trying to pretend it was never happening. The thought of talking about periods with boys was horrendous and if a tampon was ever spotted on my person, it was the most shameful experience ever.  I look back now and wonder why we can never say, ‘Yeah? I have got my period, so what?’

So as a woman in my 40s now, I marvel at young female artists who use the menstrual cycle as a topic for their art. I am also stunned at the level of abuse these women have received online for daring to challenge society to confront the blood which flows monthly from a woman.

The hateful comments have compared the use of menstrual blood to using shit to make art, and despite the fact that bodily fluids have been used to make some art for many, many years. The public’s response is one of outrage.

Though for me, each bodily fluid has a function and the purpose served by menstrual blood is one which should be celebrated and not condemned.

On that basis, I applaud the women over time who have forced society to confront the very foundation of human existence. Seeing female artists use their menstrual blood to create art fascinates me - the images and links below are emotive and challenging.

 

Become present to how you feel and question yourself…

 

French photographer Mael Bussand has published many photos on her deviantart page.

 

 Casey Jenkins, ‘Casting off my womb’

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/17/vaginal-knitting-artist-defence

 

Carina Ubeda, ‘Cloths’

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/menstrual-blood-art-carina-ubeda_n_3499027.html

 

Judy Chicago’s Red Flag, in 1971.

http://www.judychicago.com/about/career-history.php

 

Sarah Levy painted a portrait of Donald Trump using a tampon and her menstrual blood as a reaction to his sexist comments about women.

https://sarahlevyart.wordpress.com/

 

Jen Lewis and her husband took beautiful photograph of her menstrual blood.

http://www.beautyinblood.com/gallery.html

 

 

 

 

How not to behave like a Slut

That’s a good question, and more accurately the question is asking, how to avoid sexism.

It interesting having had my own experiences of being the ‘slut’ and reading teenage articles today, that nothing much as really changed in 20 years. Girls who behave in a sexual manner are still, very often, called sluts by their peer group.

As always, it seems acceptable for boys to pursue girls, but girls are given a hard time for pursuing the boys, and this is awfully boring. Not only does it mean boys feel the pressure to do all the chasing, but girls are grossly disempowered.

And then girls find themselves having ridiculous conversations like this:

“Did you hear what he said??”

“What did that mean?”

“Does it mean he likes me?”

“I will wear this dress today to get his attention and maybe he will ask me out.”

“What if I hang out with his best friend, then he will notice me?”

Could it be that girls and women are reduced to speculating utter shit because they are not encouraged to be direct and be in control of their own sexual agency? Instead we spend a huge amount of time deliberating over the meaning of words and messages.

If women were able to be direct without the feeling of recourse, without worrying that women may be called sluts or ball breakers or bossy or nagging, then maybe women could experience a simple shift in their confidence and take the course of action they feel is appropriate.  For all of those negative terms cause some women to shrink and modify their behaviour.

Imagine an accepted space in which women were allowed to be upfront and men were allowed to take a back seat without being accused of being ‘wimps’.

Modern social media is a real problem for young women who not only suffer ‘slut shaming’ within the confines of school, but now within the wider context of the world wide web, so perhaps if our young women of today could try to own the bullshit which is being spread about them, might we see some progress towards women being allowed to behave in any sexual way they wish?

Whilst, simultaneously, of course, re-educating our youngsters, and the parents, and teach them to stop the slut shaming?

 

 

Truth & Reconciliation

This week I had intended to write a blog about the rivalry between women. My aim was to discuss my observations, from my own personal experiences, and suggest, that we all hug each and unite to make the world a better place. As I normally do when I write, I research other sources and I became reacquainted with the political debate between the Radical Feminists and the Liberal Feminists, and then I came across the term TERF, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists – this seems to be the latest divide between the Radfems and the Libfems. 

What started out, for me, as a fascinating read into the opinions of all parties involved in this heated debate, became an upsetting journey into another war on human rights. With a heavy heart I read page after page of aggressive and hateful comments.

My initial blog post seemed naïve and pathetic and I felt drawn into the trenches in order to fight for our freedom to exist peacefully. Yet as I began to build a constructive argument as to why I felt the Radfems were as oppressive as the patriarchal system they rally against, I continued to feel despair and hopelessness.

Talking through my despair with my husband we were able to identify that my nature was not to join a side and fight, for it is true that I do understand the stance of the Radfems, I get it, some ciswomen may indeed feel threatened by a ‘man’ entering their safe space. On the subject of porn, I have female friends who find it hateful and destructive, I disagree with them, but they are entitled to their feelings. Prostitution can be the end of a woman, but it can also be the beginning of her powerful choices. It is not my place to tell another woman how she feels and how her experiences have impacted on her life.

So ultimately,  we all have a belief system which we think is right, and that is how it should be, but I think the key is not make others wrong for having a belief system which does not match ours. 

The world can be a dark place, nevertheless, it can also be a place of joy. We bring beautiful little human beings into the world every day, some of us celebrate the rising of the sun, the cycle of the moon, and some of us even celebrate the Intelligent Design of our natural world. Our planet is an extraordinary place, humans have suffered and survived adversity, yet blood has and continues to be shed.

Can we not move forward into a place of Truth and Reconciliation? Can we not look upon the likes of Nelson Mandela and find it in our hearts to forgive the past and move forward? Can the war raging between human beings and their sexual preferences not be laid to rest? To once and for all stop making each other wrong? To move into a space of trust?

It is complex, I know.

Join The Revolution........