What does it mean to hold space and extend compassion to ourselves and our communities? Rachel Cargle reminds us to ask ourselves: who would we be if we weren’t trying to survive? Similarly, what would care and vulnerability look like if we weren’t trying to survive? The anarchy of queerness constantly and necessarily resists the capitalist engineering of the Survival Myth: one that wants us to endure an isolated life instead of embracing it with the radically transformative joy of togetherness. Caring for yourself precedes, succeeds, and exists alongside caring for the collective.
Society finds a million different ways to tell us that sports are not for women but why? In popular culture, it is mostly men who are shown to be excelling at sports. Athletic women are shown as out-of-place ‘tomboys’ and outcasts.
I am not like other girls”, “I don’t like hanging out with girls that much”, “She is being very irrational today, I think it’s that time of the month”, are some common statements that you may have heard or even made yourself.
In a time when reason is more valued than emotion, unravelling and understanding the politics of self-care becomes all the more fundamental for us, and the movements we seek to develop and build. When our bodies, our emotions and our needs become weapons to be used against us, acts of defiance become rooted in thinking about your self and how we practice it. I find I am faced with more questions than answers, but I also know that asking the questions is the first step to finding the answers
I know that the lives of many human rights defenders are under continuous threat, that sometimes it is impossible to sleep or to enjoy a moment of peace because of the harassment coming from the outside. What I address in this text is our internal disposition as activists, and the ideas that stop us from taking care of and holding ourselves together.
I can recall my experiences in the washrooms of different gyms that I have been a member of. A men’s washroom is an interesting place in terms of how sexuality manifests itself in its various aspects. It was not unusual to see men of various kinds with strange energies in these washrooms.
The inability to correctly identify, express and soothe (all three without exception, and in no particular order) inner vulnerabilities and imperfections is the weakest link between asserting masculinities and being able to properly live their full potential.
In a world of prescriptions of performance and perfection, there isn’t truly that much space built in to risk non-performance, not being perfect, or to risk not fitting the prescription.
The gendered assumption that girls are generally disinterested in sports, could be easily refuted by the fact that the principal’s office shelf was adorned with multiple trophies awarded to the girls’ hockey team for winning championships.”
Pandemics have a profound psychological impact. They are known to disrupt one’s sense of safety, security, certainty, control, concordance, and…
The point is not to lay the blame on women or assign them responsibility for patriarchy. It is to encourage a deeper introspection of our desires. My first boyfriend, whom I got to know in 2010, was in the habit of asking me (and other women he had previously dated) whether he could kiss me, before doing so. Every time any sexual activity was involved he would always ask beforehand and continuously check in if I was comfortable throughout.
Marriage also feels complicated when one approaches it through the lens of feminism. Marriage throws in two people and often their families into a system designed to perpetuate patriarchy, subjugate women, and bind men and women (in heteronormative marriage) into strict roles in the marriage.
To think of sexuality as performative disrupts the need for stable categories and identities, instead suggesting that we all reinforce and disrupt normative formations as we attempt to inhabit the world in messy ways.
There have been several recent examples of actors, movies and events being called out because of their lack of representation, like for the Oscars. With social media it is easier to create and distribute diverse art and also to voice the need for diversity. So it needs engagements and awareness in society. Change will happen once enough people demand that change.
Shikha Aleya interviews Daniel Mendonca who identifies as an intersex person and is a gender rights activist who has engaged with diverse groups of people in India and other countries, to expand awareness, build empathy and foster an environment that is accepting of diversity.