The overlooked voice

A few days ago a friend reminded me of a deeply entrenched phenomenon which occurs fairly frequently in our patriarchal society. A woman makes a statement and the group ignores it, a few minutes later a man repeats the idea and the group applauds and accepts it. If you are a woman that has ever been in large business meetings I’m certain that this is not news to you. However if it is news to you, I invite you to observe. To observe your friends, colleagues and family, and to listen for the overlooked voice.

Do you have a voice inside that you overlook? Do you wait for someone in ‘authority’ to validate a truth you already know inside?

So often when a voice is overlooked there seems no way to challenge it. You could say “I just said that five minutes ago!” but it sounds petty, or you might let it go, glad at least that the idea is out there, or sit back and roll your eyes. Perhaps we could start by challenging the behaviour in ourselves too?

What would happen if we listened to ourselves? If we trusted ourselves and spoke our truth? What would happen if we listened to the overlooked voice in the room?

There are truths which need to be said, truths which our ecosystem and our future children are relying on. We’re being called to listen, and to speak up.

And by the way, the friend who reminded me? It was a man. Would I have taken the step to write this otherwise? I don’t know, but I want to from now on.

Independant midwives

You’re only born once. It is a life changing significant time for any family and power and control of that time has social consequences. We have made huge advances in reducing the mortality rate of mothers, but with the industrialisation of birth, the humanity and social significance is increasingly sidelined. It has become common language to describe the doctor as delivering a baby rather than the mother.

Independant midwives are currently illegal. They have been made so because the law ruled that you could not be a midwife without insurance, yet no insurer underwrites them. Meeting Annette from the East of England Midwives was an eye opening experience. The range of knowledge and wisdom that can be explored during your pregnancy and how other people can help you. It is a time when you appraise your life, and your future life. How do I want to live? How do I want to bring up my child? There is huge power in these questions. Many women discover a new motivation for self care when they know they are to create another life. Annette is passionate about helping other women and their giving them choices to be healthy during and after pregnancy.

For women to regain power over such a critical time in their lives they need access to choices and information. It is for women to decide how they wish to face this time, not for others to tell them.  The voice of women has been muted in our patriarchal society, it can not remain so if we are to face and solve the challenges at hand.

The writing’s on the wall

Ugly, intrusive, negative messages in our public spaces. Commercial billboards in our towns affect us on a daily basis but we have little control over the images and messages we are exposed to. Graffiti also comes in to our public spaces, creating a variety of reactions.

Some graffiti is simple ‘tagging’ where the writer marks an area or is leaving a message for a specific audience or gang. Other graffiti may include more complex artwork or wider political messaging. Bristol is the home of Banksy, the now world known graffiti artist who’s art challenges ideas and questions the dominant culture. Around Bristol I saw different types of graffiti, some direct messages, some abstract, some subtle, some blunt.

A lot of graffiti contains sharp shapes, over sexualised or violent images. The vast majority of graffiti is done by men and perhaps for men? It can leave me feeling that the images have as little relevance to me as the billboards do, other than my empathy for their anger. Some graffiti artists like Banksy go further though, cutting through the noise of images with a counter message that makes you stop.   

When a message does reach me it’s like the shock of seeing a smiling friendly face amongst a sea of angry strangers. Walking over a road footbridge someone has sprayed “Live Free” on the ground. Outside an anarchist community social center I found this:

Near the St. Werbergs City Farm were these images of bees:

There are definately a lot of things to be said and a lot of other voices to be heard, other than those who can pay for a billboard.

Update on The Buzz Tour

bags and poiOur crowdfunding campaign has raised £115 so far, help us reach our goal of £500 by donating. The lovely Buzz Tour bags have arrived if you’d like to donate and claim one! Other lovely perks are available too.

The tour will officially start from Totnes on the 19th of April.

Yesterday two of us walked in support of the Oxford Reclaim the Night women’s march against violence. On three occasions men along the way harassed the 50 women and were greeted by a chorus of ‘stop the march!’ and all the women turning to point and shout at the abusers. A very empowering and effective technique!

In the picture above are Eve’s bee poi. During the walk Eve will be teaching poi spinning for free. We’ve also had offers from people to teach legal observing, mindfulness, foraging and conflict resolution. Please let us know if you have a skill to share. 🙂

Keep smiling.