Well it’s Valentine’s day again. That wonderful feast day to celebrate the saint of love, marriage and strangely beekeeping.
But, being the bitter singleton that I am, and having never actually had a gift or a card from someone other than my mum on Valentine’s day (cue sad violins…) It’s only appropriate that I write a bitter post about the day.
To me, all these holidays and special occassions, Christmas, birthdays, weddings, mother’s day, Hallowe’en and even St Patrick’s Day have one thing in common; they organise when fun and happiness is supposed to be. And yes, there are many occasions that many of us have had great days, but there are also many where people haven’t.
Much like having a night out is usually the funnest when it is not planned, love is usually most honestly recognised when it is either unexpected or perfectly timed.
Don’t get me wrong, although the stalls selling roses sprouting up around London Bridge have made me cringe with jealousy, the thing is that I would actually adore to be given a bright red rose by someone who loves me.
But just because this holiday is here doesn’t mean love should be forced. And neither does it mean that we shouldn’t recognise it on other days of the year, when a great friend is there in a difficult time or a parent or carer is there doing their best to keep you warm, fed and dry.
Having love concentrated like this morphs Valentine’s day into something like Christmas; a retail, advertising and merchandise holiday which never truly expresses the depth of the emotion. And isn’t sensitive to lose who have been recently broken-hearted or lost a loved one.
Love is for life, not just for Valentine’s.
In case you didn’t realise, tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of women (only those over 30 mind!) being given the right to vote in England.
There are many events running across the country to commemorate this, including a special exhibition at the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester, and the Museum of London.
But with a hundred years passed since this first milestone law, how is feminism fairing in modern society?
It is a question which has dogged me for a while – a staunch feminist as a teenager, I never wore make up and insisted on studying physics at university, in retrospect mainly to prove that I could do so. It used to annoy me when I heard other people, both men and women, referring to modern-day feminists as “greedy”, “lesbians”, “bra burning” “man hating” etc. etc. It can all be very negative.
Yes, it is true that nowadays women in the western world endure many privileges also granted to men. And it is true that historical sexism could be regarded as not as abhorrent as racism and other forms of discrimination. But the fundamental idea of the feminist movement is one that resonates throughout the entire human race – a necessity for people to be treated as the individual and unique person they are, rather than with regards to their heritage, gender or any other difference.
So why should feminists be viewed in such a negative light, even by other women? It is distracting people from a problem that still resonates in society, even over a hundred years since the suffrage movement. Women are still not equally regarded in society as men, though it has improved far more. But branding people fighting for their cause in their own chosen manner does not help anything.
Not a teenager, wearing make up and having thoroughly turned my back on my physics career, I still regard myself as a feminist. It is something I am proud to be, and something that all men and women should be proud to be, void of any negative connotations. It is necessary for the tarnished feminist image to be revitalised to continue its forces towards equality, not just for men and women, but for all people.
I don’t care for that little piece of my life,
The one you took away from me;
It was a phase, a moment left in time
And one I was so scared to leave.
But now it’s gone I don’t think of it much,
The tides of time have run away with me,
The love is gone, the feelings were all lost,
When I returned across the sea (and I found out I could be free)
Ohhh did you think I would wait?
Did you think the love was that great?
But then we parted, and whatever was there has gone,
It’s never something I would dwell upon.
Kisses on postcards can only go so far
Before I begin to undo
And all those men waiting at the bar
They all make me think of you
What’s done is done; the sands have passed,
What’s lost is lost, we can’t make it last
And all the while you thought I would wait,
Expecting that you and I were a product of fate.
So, what if our time has run?
And all those memories are made.
I grow old, I grow fatter, I become
Just a silhouette to fade.
But I couldn’t wait, not for anyone
My life was mine and my battles to be won
I had my reasons; my goals are my own
The world was mine, still yet to roam.
‘In pain!’ the master lawyer shouts, ‘In pain you must not jest,
To leave me with the all before and longing of the best!’
He stamps his plump feet along, upon the wooden floor,
And reels off a list of nine; the sins I have adored.
‘You pushed a knife right through her chest, you hurt her, dead I say!
You bundled body, you bundled more; you threw her life away!’
And with this, the look of disgust flies across his face
And passes on the jury gone, in their only place.
‘Do you know what you have done?’ he asks with all implore,
‘Befouling and committing murder.’
What careful guilt I bore,
As gavel rests in judge’s hand and jury look in spite
Upon my figure, cowering hence who knew not wrong from right.
‘I know’ I say, in all endure, my voice distinctly low.
I know what I have done,’ I say, ‘I know where I must go.’
With these uneasy words, a thousand eyes then fall
Upon my guilty figure there, cowering by the wall.
The lawyer, then he turns around to see his wistful crowd,
So eager for me put to hell; only then will they be proud.
For I have done what others only dream they can achieve.
Imagine up in careful nightmares of stories I believe.
And the master lawyer, then he settles there.
The jury is beneath his thumb; breathes them like they’re air.
He knows of course that he is all, he knows that he has won;
Receives a healthy sum of money for all that I have done.
And the jury wait with baited breaths, thinking in their minds
How I am not a human more, no member of their kind.
And as for that, their only notion, I’m afraid I must agree
As cameras flash all over me, adhering to my plea.
Because I lost myself one aching night, when hatred ruptured me;
Consigned myself within my mind to not again be free.
Not live without my actions tarnished, not sleep through all the night,
Forever carry consequence of my ill-intended smite.
The master lawyer smiles then as I am put away;
Left for only darkness gone; rot, rot and decay.
His fat cheeks adhere the evil, spread it through my veins,
Boil my blood in harsh regret as I am locked in chains.