Archive | June, 2012

Kickass Princesses, Part 2

30 Jun

This article originally appeared in Bad Reputation – a feminist pop-culture adventure on 18 June 2012.

When I think about everything about womanhood that hamstrung me with fear when I was thirteen it all came down, really, to princesses. I didn’t think I had to work hard to be a woman (which is scary but obviously eventually achievable). I thought I had to somehow magically – through superhuman psychic effort – transform into a princess instead. That’s how I’d get fallen in love with. That’s how I’d get along. That’s how the world would welcome me.

– Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman

Welcome to part two of Kickass Princesses – a look at some subversive female protagonists in children’s literature. You can read Part 1 here.

The more children’s books I read and the more princesses I come to know, the more I realise that ‘kickass’ probably wasn’t the best term to use. Some of these characters do kick ass, but the main feature is turning out to be simply that they make unconventional princesses.

As the archetype of a fairytale princess is so ingrained, it takes looking at a wide variety of ‘unprincessy’ examples to unpick exactly what some of our starting assumptions are. A closer look at the ‘unconventional’ princesses here, and in my previous post, reveals that these women and girls have agency, interests, and are more than just a beautiful, delicate, unsullied physical appearance. Sometimes they aren’t even beautiful at all. What they are – what, we realise, makes them ‘unprincessy’ – is often simply the fact that they are two-dimensional characters.

Ouch. This stereotype needs subverting roughly forever ago. On with the show…

The Ordinary Princess

The Ordinary Princess book cover Continue reading

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Poem: Raise You

23 Jun

I generally veer away from letting my poetry get too explicitly political, just because I’ve seen it done really badly, but.. this one escaped. I’ve performed this a few times and it’s always gone down a storm, but I’m not sure about the performance-to-page transition (or, frankly, the punctuation) – all feedback appreciated.

All instances named in this poem are from real life (though they didn’t all happen to me.)

Raise You

We say “the owners of this shop have dodged six billion in tax – almost exactly the same amount which is currently being cut from disability benefits and people are dying as a result. These guys should pay their tax. It would actually save lives if these guys paid their tax.”
You say we’re intimidating shoppers.

We say “stop the arms trade! In this building right here, right now, people are making deals to sell arms to corrupt regimes who will use those weapons on civilians.”
You say we’re causing a breach of the peace.

I say “that’s my bike chain. See my bike helmet? See my bike? That’s my sodding bike chain.”
You say I’m carrying a weapon.

But we’ll see your bullshit
And we’ll raise you.

We’ll raise our voices, we’ll raise our fists
We’ll raise teams of legal observers to march in our midsts
We’ll raise awkward questions and what’s more as well
We’ll see your bullshit
We’ll call your bullshit
And we’ll raise hell. Continue reading

Day 5 of the Trial

4 Jun

For up to the minute updates, press releases, video evidence and more, go to the Pageantry and Precrime website.

Day five saw barristers acting on behalf of all four groups of claimants made their final arguments in response to the Met’s barrister, Sam Grodzinski‘s case the day before.

First Stephen Cragg acting for Bindmans solicitors on behalf of the Grow Heathrow squat which was raided by riot police the day before the wedding.

  • He pointed out that the raid was not about the fictional paint bombs which police had warrants for, it was about searching for Operation Brontide suspects who had committed criminal damage acts at earlier demonstrations. There was no evidence to link the suspects to the side, but officers were acting on “Commander Broadhurst’s hunch.”
  • “The two Operation Brontide officers on the site then went on to the Camberwell site”
  • If police were genuinely seeking to disrupt potential criminal damage before it happened it was odd that they left all the many tools which were around in the working gardens, but instead searched people’s wallets for their ID.

Continue reading

Day 4 of the Trial

1 Jun

For up to the minute updates, press releases, video evidence and more, go to the Pageantry and Precrime website.

NB: The final hearing is on Friday June 1st at the High Court (court 8) starting at 10:00 AM. It will consist of re-sponses from all the claimants’ barristers to the police’s barrister’s arguments. The hearing is expected to conclude between 12:00 and 1:00.

Day four saw the rest of barrister Sam Grodzinski responding to all the cases in turn, beginning with the first Judicial Review relating to pre-emptive arrests for breach of the peace on the day of the royal wedding.

To argue that there was not an unlawful policy of pre-emptive arrest or unlawful raids on squats, yet explain the Met’s actions Mr Grodzinski has to argue that all of the Met’s actions were completely proportionate. Continue reading