anything but quirky; finding a voice for women & children

This morning’s news has made for harrowing reading. A glaring article in the Observer by Kevin McKenna examining the vast social and health inequalities in Glasgow, focusing on Cranhill, reveals the sheer scale of unacceptable deprivation on our doorstep.

It’s an in-depth piece charting decline back to deindustrialisation, placing some of the blame of the city’s inequality on a pre-Thatcherite period of social and cultural catastrophe created by the collapse of working life as we knew it.

In theory at least though, the people of Glasgow and Scotland have the capacity to campaign for change by exercising their democratic right to vote in the forthcoming elections. This opportunity doesn’t lessen the seriousness of the situation in a city with pockets of child poverty rates as high as 55% but it does provide some hope. And hope, when exercised collectively, can create positive change.

It’s hard to find any positives from the appalling act that led to 5000 Yazidi women and girls witnessing the brutal murder of their fathers, sons and brothers before being torn from their families; kidnapped and sold as sex slaves, the action apparently legitimised by an ancient established aspect of Islamic Law.

In a startling article by Abigail Haworth in today’s Observer we learn of the girls who have committed suicide rather than face rape and torture, girls, younger than ten, dying from horrific internal injuries caused by sexual violence and women tied to the back of trucks and dragged through the streets to be taught a lesson.

The lesson here is that the world we live in is brutally unjust and unfair and, for some, the future looks so bleak that hope is something that can’t even be imagined.

As fellow women, fellow human beings, parents, people, everything that we are, how can we even begin to imagine such horror. It doesn’t bear thinking about, but it is everything we need to think about. Awareness is everything. Being informed gives us, we the people on the outside, hope on the Yazidi womens’ behalf. If someone knows what’s going on, if brave and tortured voices are being heard then maybe, just maybe, these imagined, unimaginable souls, won’t be walking alone for too long in the shadows.

Staying with women, Eva Wiseman asks an excellent question in her Observer magazine piece this morning. Why are creative women dismissed as ‘quirky’? It is indeed infuriating. Creative men are geniuses, held up high like the tabernacle to be admired, their incredible power and superior intelligence washing over us like a shard of inspirational light. And yet, often, when a women writes a particular way and penetrates the norm with aplomb the safe way to contain her aspirations is to tickle her under the chin, coo coo-ing at her quirkiness instead of her brilliance.

Quirky is described in the Urban Dictionary as “something that is strange/not normal but cool”. Women of incredible talent aren’t subnormal or strange they are everything we need them to be. Brilliant and inspiring and strong with voices that provide hope and collectively create the potential to inflict positive change.

I’m with Eva, let’s ban the quirky.

1 thought on “anything but quirky; finding a voice for women & children”

  1. Wow I just found you through Claire Fuller’s Blog and I’m so happy. My book club is reading Nicholas Kristof’s A Path Appears for our next meeting, I think you have very similar ideals for women. I just hope I can live up to some of them.
    Thank you for you support and wisdom. I look forward to reading more of your writing. Be well!


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