There’s not many people who can get me panicked that I’ll miss a train at 6:30 in the morning, except for my friends. And on Sunday 8th March, International Women’s Day, I spent some quality time with some strong women that I’m lucky enough to call my friends.
Zina and I had tickets to the All About Women Festival in Sydney. It was our second year attending so I think this is the start of a new and exciting tradition for us.
Race to learn
We attended a session featuring the deity Flex Mami and iconic Clementine Ford all about ‘finding your voice,’ especially in the digital sphere. Just two seats away was my amazing colleague and I knew we’d have a lot to talk about when we returned to the office.
The conversation ebbed and flowed between why we may or may not need to find a strong online voice for ourselves, where our voices develop from and what drives us to voice our opinions and experiences.
“We always race to speak, but we don’t always race to learn and understand.”
I thought that the biggest take away for me was that some of us are lucky to have a platform, my blog is one of mine. And that with a platform comes a responsibility.
My colleague asked me yesterday at work what was my purpose in life – I know, just small talk.
After thinking about it for some time, now, in the stage of my life I’m currently in, I replied, ‘to learn all that I can.’
I believe, what Clementine and Flex showed was vulnerability in not knowing things, in making mistakes and growing and evolving their ideas and values.
“No one finds their voice or comes into this world as a perfectly politically correct person.”
We’re all on this journey together, and this International Women’s Day, with the theme being Each for Equal, is really resonated that we’re all trying to do our best and understand this crazy world and our position in it.
So, what about my voice?
At 25 I know that I’ve got a voice. I know how to use it. I’ve perhaps used it irrationally before. And I’ve said things that I perhaps regret or shouldn’t have said.
But I’m aware of this. I feel so aware of my views, values and voice and I’m always questioning why I think, react and behave this way. I think what’s next for me is refining my voice. Cutting out all the shit, all the nonsense, all of the stuff that does not spark joy, and use my voice wisely.
I want to race to learn, rather than race to speak. Because I think when we learn and take our time, is when we grow and create magic.
A huge shoutout to the incredible women in my life who have shown me the way, and played a pivotal part in me finding more voice. To my family, friends, colleagues, role models, acquaintances… to the people who listen to me, support me and lift me… thank you.
Wow, what a crazy month! The year has been flying by but somehow March seemed to go on forever! Perhaps it’s because it was so jam packed with amazing events, incredible people, some ups and downs and a strong reminder of my strength, determination and resilience. The temperatures cooling down and we’re making our way into April (I flippin love April!), but before I get swept up in the whirlwind of life, let’s have a look at the magic of March.
🙈 Arctic Monkeys Australian Tour and Sydney Mardi Gras
When it happens, it all happens at once. And on one magical night in March, I was graced by the presence of the Arctic Monkeys and the dazzling Sydney Mardi Gras. It seems that the Arctic Monkeys have received some mixed reviews from their most recent Australian tour, plus their new album. But I can honestly say that it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to! Even their new stuff, which yea, we all know it’s no AM, was incredible. We watched them in Qudos Bank Arena and we were even seated, and I can tell you, we were rocking out to the Monkeys! So. Freakin. Awesome. Alex Turner, you look great on the dancefloor.
Then, it was out to the crazy streets of Sydney, covered in glitter and ready for a boogie. We ended up in Oxford St in the heart of it all. There really is no time like Mardi Gras. Everyone is so happy, accepting and loved up. My favourite part was ending up at a quiet little bar with espresso martinis in hand and watching the world go by. And of course, followed by a kebab! What a great time to be gay.
👗 All About Women Festival
I’ve been wanting to attend this festival for years! And each year it’s seemed to slip right by. But this year I was determined to soak up some female power. It came at the absolutely right time in my life and my feminism journey. I wrote all about my experiences in a post because I felt like I learnt so much and was really challenged in my beliefs and place in the world. I would strongly encourage everyone to attend events and meet new people that challenge you. It’s so easy to get comfortable in our ways, so bring on being uncomfortable and getting out of the comfort zone!
🐚 Jervis Bay roadtrip
Top of my go-to places for this year has been Jervis Bay! And we finally went! There’s nothing like a little day trip to get away from the chaos of life. We stopped of at Gerringong for some brekky, Hyams beach for some white sand and tropical water, Huskisson for some fish and chips, and of course, Berry for some famous donuts! I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world! Let this be a reminder to get out and explore your own backyard!
❤️💛💚 One Love Reggae Concert
Yep you read that correctly, I spent my Friday night at a reggae concert! There’s nothing like being a little spontaneous and I can definitely agree that a reggae band is probably the most random, but most awesome night you will have! I wasn’t drinking, and despite all the dreadlocks around, wasn’t smoking, but felt high off life, music and the good vibes everyone was vibing! If you ever get the chance – go to a reggae concert! You won’t regret it.
Pasta by Angie McMahon Angie’s back and she’s brought her A game. I always love some kick ass female rockers, especially with a cool little video clip! I’m hoping this means a new album is on the way!
Old Man by Stella Donnelly Wow! What an awesome album! I saw Stella Donnelly perform at A Day On The Green last month and was seriously blown away by her stage presence and live show. And now falling in love with her album, gosh I have so much respect for her, her music and what she stands for!
The Trauma Cleaner, by Sarah Krasnostein I can honestly say that this book was incredibly challenging to read. Not in the way it’s written but the raw nature of the content. As the reader you’re very confronted by your own privilege. This book follows the story of Sandra, a trans woman cleaning up after other people’s mess. This book isn’t just important because of the experiences she shares during her transition to a woman, but her experiences as a sex worker, and a woman during the 80s and 90s. It also shines a light on poverty in Australia, a topic that I personally feel there is little discussion about among the Australian public. You’ll be challenged, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Russian Doll I smashed out this series very quickly and thought it was smart, provocative and super interesting! Natasha Lyonne plays her character so well and I was totally hooked! Your curiosity will keep you hanging around until the end!
📷 Bloggers, Vloggers and Podders
Bobo and Flex Yes. Yes. A million times YAAASSS! I absolutely love this podcast! These two gals have opinions and they want us to hear them! They dive deep into sex things that you think you’re not allowed to think. They make you evaluate your sense of self, your spirituality and your hotness. I love how candid their conversation is, and most of all Bobo’s reactions of ‘I am dead. Literally crying.’ (If you listen to the show you’ll know the exact voice she uses!) Absolute must for those independent women out there!
The Guardian’s Longread This may reveal my inner nerd but I have fallen in love with The Guardian’s Longread podcast. Because unfortunately, I’m a busy gal and don’t always have time to read in-depth investigative journalism. And this podcast reads it to me! It’s a great way to feel informed, educated and in the know with leading issues.
Something that I kept coming back to this month was being strong and believing in myself. By having faith that I was in the right place, at the right time. I started a new job (a permanent one – what?!) and really believe that this is where I’m meant to be. It’s scary seeing friends move on and move away from their life in Wollongong. It’s even scarier thinking about your future in a place that you love so much, but think there’s maybe more out there for you. That time will come, but it’s funny how I have to keep reminding myself that I’m 24 years young. I have literally my whole life ahead of me. And there’s nothing wrong with taking your time, making the most of what you currently have, and making the most of the opportunities that present themselves to you.
Woah March, you were pretty hectic. Moving in to April, I think I need to make sure I’m constantly checking in with myself and see how I’m doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in life that you forget to take a step back, take a deep breath, and just be. I’m excited for all the awesome things planned for April, but I’m also looking forward to some down time and focusing on me!
Individually, we are one drop. Together we are the ocean.
On Sunday 10th March, I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do… attend an event about empowering, educating and inspiring badass women. All About Women is a festival celebrating women and our achievements whilst critically engaging in the global discussion surrounding gender inequality, and what it looks like for women around the world.
As I was on the train en route to Sydney, I firstly took some time to think about my experience as a woman in the world today. I am a proud feminist and feel relatively ‘woke’ about women’s issues in today’s society. But no matter your ‘wokeness’ level, if you’re a woman navigating today’s society, gender inequality affects each and every one of us in different ways. This is what gender inequality feels like in my everyday life;
I am terrified to walk home from the train station (5 minutes from home) at night.
I am scared of having my drink spiked when on a night out.
I feel ‘lucky’ for getting a job, rather than feeling I’ve ‘earned’ it.
I am labelled hysterical and psycho when I am angry or emotional.
I think twice about what I wear out, in case I attract unwanted attention.
I question my male friendships.
I get offended by trashy hip hop music videos.
I second guess when I hold hands with my girlfriend in public.
I’m constantly told my body is not sexy enough, slim enough or (insert health influencer buzzword here) enough.
I’m worried I won’t have enough superannuation when I retire.
I hold off disclosing my sexuality straight away.
My heart breaks every time I hear about a woman who has died at the hands of violence.
These are just some of the ways I do not feel equal in society. But being a white woman living in Australia, I know that my experiences are vastly different than those experiences of women of colour, transgender women, women with disabilities, women of faith and any woman who identifies as part of a minority.
This is why I wanted to attend this event. To hear, learn and grow from women whose experiences are different to mine, reflect and challenge my own knowledge, and think about what the future of feminism and gender equality looks like.
The Cut On Tuesdays featuring Clementine Ford
I attended a live recording of one of my favourite podcasts called ‘The Cut On Tuesdays.’ If you haven’t heard of it, and if you’re reading this blog, you will love it and I implore you to pause. go download. listen for the 40 minutes. come back. and say with me now. WOW!
I’ve never been to a live recording of a podcast, so I can truly say I had no idea what to expect. I attended with my friend Zina, and her Mum, which was a très cool duo to attend with. Under the beautiful arches of the Sydney Opera House, in the newly refurbished Utzon room, Molly Fischer brought the house down with her brilliant episode and presentation. With such a strong voice and even stronger ‘can do’ energy, I was immediately hooked. The fact that I could see Australian feminist icon, Clementine Ford, sitting in the front row, had me wriggling nearly off my seat!
Molly spoke about ‘women’s media.’ Everything from the sealed section in Cosmo, to the buzz word badass, to evolving from a fashion blog to a major political news company, now known as The Cut. When she invited Clementine Ford on stage to discuss gender and women’s rights here in Australia, I found myself nodding along to everything they were saying. As a young woman who recently graduated from a media and communications degree, it’s pretty inspiring to hear directly from the horses mouth, the experiences and challenges associated with being a woman in the media.
When the interview was wrapping up, Clementine Ford asked Molly what she thought of Australia and the way in which we treat women, after rather explicitly suggesting Australia is a rather sexist country. Her response was interesting. Whilst having only been in the country a few days, the first thing she mentioned was the luxury Australians have by having Medicare and universal health cover. Compared to the US, we are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful system where a doctors appointment doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars. It was also interesting to see them apply a feminist lens to healthcare. Women’s rights are human rights and society as a whole benefits when women are treated equally. It was pretty damn awesome to be in a room where I felt excited by the challenge of being a woman with a passion for the media and the critical ability to engage with it.
Wokeness and Radness: Ayishat Akanbi and Jan Fran
The next session I attended was titled the ‘The Problem With Wokeness,’ presented by Jan Fran and Ayishat Akanbi. My first question was, well what is wokeness? And is there a problem with it?
I think the first time I came across the term ‘woke,’ was Childish Gambino’s Redbone, with the line ‘Stay woke, n*ggers creepin. They gon’ find you. Gon’ catch you sleepin.’ Fast forward a few years and being woke is one of the trendiest things you can be. Upon doing some light research before this talk, I found that ‘woke’ or ‘staying woke’ originates from American people of colour about racial injustice in the US with regards to police brutality. Woke is the past tense of ‘to wake,’ implying that wokeness equates to waking up to yourself and the world around you. Seeing the world for what it really is in all its messiness. Now, wokeness equals being aware of various social injustices affecting our communities and livelihoods.
So… what’s the problem with it? Well I must admit, I was so completely absorbed by her conversation and what she had to say, that I stopped taking notes and decided to just take it in. But one of the biggest takeaways is that she argues that wokeness has stripped us of our compassion. At the end of the day, regardless of our identities, we are painfully similar and have a lot more in common that we could believe. Compassion is fundamental for creating empathy and real connections with people who are similar to use yet have experienced the world in a different way to us.
I learnt that you really can’t be woke about everything. At the end of the day, we will never truly understand everyone’s unique experiences of the world. Oppression and inequality affects people in many ways. It’s up to us to listen, learn, be allies and speak up. I learnt it’s also not worth your time or energy to argue with people who are less intelligent than you. And by less intelligent, I mean, stupid idiot internet trolls who have already made up their mind and will attack you to break you. I found this enlightening because it’s a reminder to not always take things personally. That people can be passionate about a situation, whilst being respectful to you. And when they’re not, they’re not worth your time.
Ayishat also recommended if you want to have real conversations and attempt to really debate ideas, then leave your DM’s open. It’s funny how reactionary people are in the comments section. They type first and think later. In the DM’s, it’s a whole other story. People are respectful, polite and articulate. Even when disagreeing on a topic. I honestly believe this is how you have meaningful conversations that lead towards long term change.
I left the Festival feeling incredibly inspired yet apprehensive. It’s kinda crazy attending an event where everyone there is like minded, especially in the fight for gender equality, and then you leave the safety of your bubble and realise that there are some not so woke people out there. But the takeaway is that there are people out there. Fighting the hard fight, speaking out and standing up.
We’re not there yet, and we’ve got a long way to go, but in the meantime we can lift each other up and enjoy the ride.