I am Saving Myself Thanks Mum

Kiera Knightly this week broke the interweb with her announcement that she has banned her three year old daughter from watching The Little Mermaid and Cinderella.  She feels that they teach her daughter wrong and even misogynistic lessons; that you need to wait for a man to save you and that you must give up your voice for the man you want…

Kristen Bell has issues with Snow White because of how consent is conveyed in it.

Fair enough.

Who are we to judge? If these Mamas don’t want to let their kids watch these movies, that is absolutely 100% THEIR DECISION!

In fact, the portrayal of women in Disney is something I have discussed with my students many, many, many times, and while I agree that many of the traditional “princesses” are frustratingly meek and mild and oh so obedient to their hearts and menfolk, I also am aware that the stories are not the cause of inequality and misogyny in our modern society.  They are only stories; fairytales, make believe… it is HOW we read them that is important.

Yes you can say that Prince Whatshisface kissing Snow White while she was sleeping is wrong.  Of course it is, but why do we hone in on that rather than the previous 60 minutes where she was a servant and cleaner and feck knows what else,  for seven little men?  (And does that not insult men, suggesting that seven of them together couldn’t function without a teenage girl to look after them?)

Yes, Cinderella needed magic and spells and fab shoes to get her prince.  And ‘tut’ to her that she needed a man to save her, but such was the world, the IMAGINARY world, in which she lived.

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Shakespeare wrote some of the most incredibly females in history. Lady Macbeth calls upon evil spirits to “unsex me here” because obviously she couldn’t be evil as she was a woman. (Any men getting offended here?)  And then he also wrote Ophelia, who is worse and more weak and frustrating that ANY Disney Princess in the world. Don’t start me on Ophelia…

Why did Shakespeare write her?  Because he was a woman hater? NO.  Because that was the society and cultural norm in the time in which he lived.  And actually, he had his Portia save the day when a crowd of men made a mess of everything, and then she married her Prince Charming, after saving his ass.

But we don’t ban our teenagers from reading Shakespeare do we?. In fact, we encourage it because we know that they can recognise the injustices and gender issues for themselves. Because we’ve given them those skills.

As for the Disney classics, remember that Cinderella and Snow White and The Little Mermaid were written in the early 1800s… of course their messages and social concepts are different to ours.

We however, get to choose how we read them.

And while there are valid arguments about the negative messages some of the classics send out, there are also plenty positives…and a few weird things, to pay attention to.

Cinderella was good and kind and she felt good in new, sparkly shoes. She also spoke to mice and birds.   Snow White was happy that Prince Whatshisface kissed her. He saved her. She wasn’t dragged off kicking and screaming to the castle to live happily ever after, was she?  The Little Mermaid was a defiant strong-willed rascal, who followed her heart.  Her best friends were also a crab and a fish… so let’s differentiate reality from fairytale.

Our daughters are no fairytale princesses.  They will not NEED a man to save them.  They will be able to look after themselves. They will be self-sufficient and well able to provide for themselves, to follow their dreams, to be “anything they want to be”… but can we stop already with telling them that they DON’T need to be girly?

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This teeshirt made me mad when I saw it a few weeks ago.  Yes, by all means encourage our daughters to believe that they can achieve anything they dream of and work for, but why do we need to tell them that being girly or wearing pink or dreaming of being a movie star are signs of weakness?  What the feck is wrong with wanting to be a movie star?  Are Megan Markle or KatyBaby failures because they found their Princes?

My daughters love dresses.  They love sparkles. They love makeup and dressing up and singing and being all round princesses.  They also love superheros, dress up as Hulk,  football and Pokemon and they play ninjas and wrestle.

There is no “That is for girls” or “That is for boys” in our house.

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Because that is not how to teach our children equality.

I like football. I like MMA. I swear more than a lady should. I train along with the menfolk in Jim and I prefer Marvel movies to Chickflicks.  In my work and projects, I take no prisoners and do not see any man as better than me.  And yet, I love to do all things “girly” too. and I love to dress up and I like sparkly shoes.

Does that make me less? Does the fact that I like pink and glitter and girly stuff make me weak? Because it seems to me that we’ve gone beyond telling girls they can be anything, we’ve gotten to the point that being girly is snubbed and scoffed at and actually looked down upon.

Well not on my watch.

I dress up and get my girly on, for me. Not for my Him or for anyone else.  For me. Because I am comfortable with who I am. And let me tell you, there is NO ONE who has watched as many Disney movies in their childhood (and still), as Me!

And my daughters will do what they want, how they want, Prince Charming or no Prince Charming, but they certainly will not be banned from watching Disney Movies, because all they see is a mermaid who sings songs and fights evil octopus monsters.

It’s a movie.

If you want your daughters to grow up strong and independent, teach them to be strong and independent…point out how old fashioned some of those Princesses are. (not all of them, for the newer ones are WICKED!  Merida, Mulan, Ana?)

And teach them that to be feminist does not mean hater of men.  It means equality for all. It means being able to stand up for themselves and to be a strong and independent woman, who can change the world and kick ass…whether in trousers and flats or in a skirt and glittery heels.

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Otherwise, they’ll end up offended by every man in the world and will need a big box of Man-sized…sorry, “extra large” Kleenex to wipe their offended eyes. I wonder when Manchester is being renamed? Peoplechester has a ring to it, don’t ya think?

Wear the pink, wear the glitter, wear the lipstick. Or don’t if you don’t want to … But be yourself and be strong and don’t let others tell you that you’re wrong. And then you might just live happily ever after.

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I am She Goes, He Goes Mum

 

“OH DU TOILETTE…”

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The Throne…

Becoming a Mum brings with it many wonderful and exciting changes for parents. The “books” will tell you how new babies will test even the strongest relationship.  They do not tell you that one of the biggest bones of contention between parents is the process of the poo.
Let me explain…

(Read alá David of the Attenborough on a wildlife show…)
The female of the species becomes quickly skilled at excretion. After childbirth, despite possible  complications and difficulties with the bladder, she will quickly evolve into a bladder controlling machine. Caring for her young is always a priority. Even with a full bladder, the female can retain control under duress and highly stressful conditions, often balancing her offspring on her abdominal area. She is strong however, and will wait for the perfect moment to pounce on the elusive porcelain.  When the opportunity presents itself, the Mama will swiftly and skillfully do what she needs to do.
The female can relieve a full bladder in 8.5 seconds and it has been said that faecal excretion can take only 5 seconds. (Evidence of this has not yet been acquired as the female is so skilled and speedy that scientific equipment is not fast enough to measure the act.)  The female performs the essential and necessary act of excretion faster than any other species, and often with up to 4 of her young hovering around, or indeed ON, her.  Cleanliness is swift and onehanded in many cases. Other species have yet to evolve at the speed of the human Mammy.

The male of the species is entirely different.
The male is special. He makes quite the production of the animal act of excretion. The bathroom must be empty of all young. The atmosphere should be peaceful and relaxed in order for the full joy and relaxation of the event. Full concentration is required.  Men have evolved to require the help of a handheld device for the excretion process. Tablets are acceptable but the clever male prefers the mobile phone, as it can be sneaked into the room, past the female, more easily.  The male may require anything up to 45 minutes for the process.
It is very difficult and he ensures that the importance of and difficulty of his excretion is heard by his female if she dares to question the length of time he has been in his throne room. “I’m IN THE F$#€** Toilet” may he roared in a manly way, by the manly man, during his manly process, if he perceives disapproval or tutting from the female outside the door.  The delicate procedure is prolonged and made easier for the male by perusal of Bookface or Instagranny for the duration. This device aids in the relaxation required for the faeces to remove itself from the manly male posterier.

Sometimes, for reasons as yet unknown to scientists, the male will remain on the porcelain seat for much time after the act of relieving himself. It has been suggested that this is an avoidance of the reality of the children who are not allowed to bother him while in the special pooping room. This is not yet proven, but breakthroughs are expected in the near future as female scientists are working on remote controls to switch off the prolonging devices. Other exciting developments are self flushing timed toilets, although there are fears that such a device might be mistaken for self cleaning.)
The male reappears into the homestead calm and relaxed, thoroughly relieved and oblivious to how long he has been in the bathroom. The bathroom and the rest of the world have different time rules when the male excretes… what he feels to be 5 minutes, is often 37 minutes by the female’s observant and obsessive count…

The male excretion ends with a ceremonial greeting by the female which can be high-pitched and erratic.

This process remains as such until the female completely loses her mind and screams so much that the children become afraid to interrupt her, or they finally reach the age where watching Mammy poo is no longer interesting or exciting…

The Male checks his phone and wonders what all the fuss is about.
#takeashitalready #soblessed #peeinprivate

I am S is for Special – World Downs Syndrome Day

It’s World Downs Syndrome Day. ❤❤

 

It’s a day to celebrate the extra chromosome that makes some people just a little bit more special.
One of the first images I saw on Facebook today was of my good friend Lee Gooch and his handsome little man Noah.  

And oh! How it melted my heart.

Not simply because of the angelic and perfect little face of the wee man, but because of the smile on Daddy’s face.

  This 👇👇 my friends is the smile of true pride, of true joy…of true and utter love. 💙💙


And it melts my heart, not only because of the joy it brings, but also because of the memories it provokes in me.
Lee and his family are blessed. 

I know this, because my family too were blessed.

A child with Downs Syndrome isn’t just their extra chromosome.

A child with Downs, is special.
Special in every sense of the word.
My own aunty Carmel was special. 
She was beautiful, mischievous and intelligent. She held more love in the tip of her finger than ANYONE I have ever known. She was witty, bold and an absolute rascal, loving nothing more than to get the craic going with whoever was visiting. She loved to dress up, adored The Rose of Tralee and loved to dance.  Every single person who walked through the door of my Grandparents’ home, fell head over heels in love with her. She was the most head-strong, determined and fearless Ladybelle I’ve ever met.  She kept our family on our toes. 


And she taught me many lessons.

The main one being that we are all different and that different is good. 
I remember being in the shopping Centre with her and my other Aunty when I was about 5. Other kids were staring at Carmel. It was the first time I realised that she was different because I suddenly became aware of other people’s reactions to her. Her reaction to one teenage boy who stopped to look at her? She stuck out her tongue at him, laughed her hearty laugh and waved at him mischievously as we pushed her past.😂😂
 There and then, I was proud of her. Even at that young age, she taught me that you must NEVER let anyone bring you down, that you must be YOU, and that there IS no other You to be.
She was perfect.

She was the strongest woman I ever had the pleasure of knowing.

She was more brave and more caring and more wonderful than I could ever put into words and I miss her every day.
She was indeed my Special Aunty, but for so many more reasons than her Downs Syndrome.

Special doesn’t even start to describe her or the love that she gave or more importantly, the love that she demanded.

Love.

Pure and true…

Like the love on Lee’s face in that photograph and every day.
 A family who have been blessed with an extra chromosome, know a love that is beyond words.
So there. 

I never thought I’d write about my precious Aunty Carmel, but today, I decided it was time. I miss her every day and she lives on in our hearts and in our memories. Knowing and loving her is responsible for so much of who I am today.
And I send my love and respect to every single family who are fighting every day for the rights of Downs Syndrome children, and who are helping to make people realise that the “S” in DS should not stand for “Syndrome”…

It stands for “Strong”.

It stands for “Smile”.

and it stands for Special.
#worlddownsyndromeday #smile #love #special 
(Lee has given me permission to post this pic. Thanks Lovely. And kisses to Noah.)
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