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“How was your second day?” asked my best friend when I messaged with her tonight.

“Good,” I said. “But I felt so useless because there are so many things that I can’t do yet because of the language issue. I want to prove that I’m a good addition to the company, and I just feel like i sit and stare now.”

And she had to remind me that it was only my second day, and that people weren’t expecting me to know everything yet.

In fact, they’ve given me no indication that they think I’m doing a bad job. In fact, they’ve been apologizing because they can’t always find me stuff to do.

It’s one of the big drawbacks to having the kind of personality I do (and probably do being a woman used to competitive environments), this constant need to prove that you’re worthy, that you’re not a hassle or wasting anyone’s time. The need to constantly perform.

I’m not saying it’s bad to do a good job. But it’s the part about reasonable expectations that’s the tricky bit.

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Grad school is fabulous but busy busy busy. I have so many things I want to write and think about but I haven’t got the time.

I was at a CEMS mingle tonight and I met some very interesting people and had some great conversations. I’m not a fan of mingles, introvert that I am, but as far as those things go, this was a good one.

I’m very ashamed of something though.

During a conversation with a man whose passion was Borneo and orangutangs and the environment, I mentioned that I’m really interested in feminism.

Except I didn’t say that.

I said that I was really interested in gender equality.

Because I wanted to be taken seriously and not face all the crap that feminism gets. All the crap you get when you say you’re a feminist.

The crap I want to fight and that I’m playing right into by not allowing myself to use the word feminism.

It was a conscious/unconscious decision on my part, I did it on purpose, but too quickly for my brain to analyze the implications of why I wasn’t using the word feminism.

I also think part of it was that I was talking to a man, and it’s incredibly rare that a man takes you seriously if you mention the word feminism.

Well. Fuck you patriarchy. From now on I’m always gonna say I’m a feminist. Not more dilly-dallying.

I hadn’t intended to write anything about the International Women’s Day, mostly because I’m still catching up on my work after being sick for a week.

But then I read so many great pieces that I wanted to say something, just a little.

My only request for today is:

Remember those who came before us.
Fantastic women like Mary Wollstonecraft, Josephine Butler, Emeline Pankhurst, Florence Nightingale, Susan B Anthony and so many others who are rarely remembered.

Women who made it possible for me to sit here, 23 years old, with short hair and trousers, expressing my opinion, knowing that I have a place at a university, that I can get a job and earn my own money, that I don’t have to have a male guardian, that I can vote or even become prime minister.

These women, who fought against such oppression, don’t you think that they had to hear how “unwomanlike” they were?
That wasn’t it enough now?
Hadn’t they considered what would happen to the families?
That no man was safe from women like them?
That really, there is a difference between men and women and they should simply accept that?
That their unnatural inclinations and opinions probably were due to a “celibate lifestyle”?
That they were loud, annoying and destroyed things for normal women?

If they had meekly accepted all that and said “Well, I suppose it’s enough now.” and just stopped fighting?
Change is terrifying. It doesn’t happen if you sit quietly in a corner and accept things. If you’re quiet because frankly, you’re annoying people?

Should I tell Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head because she said she wanted to go to school, to be quiet?

Or Astrid Johannson, who was bullied by her own principal because she protested against a sexist painting in her school? Should I tell her to shut up and find something bigger and better to do?

So don’t be quiet.

Don’t let yourself be silenced.

Remembered those who came before, and what they did and really think about whether or not you should stay quiet.

And give a woman you admire some love.

Dear Lord…
I’m sorry, but there are a lot of idiots in the world.

Like Thomas Pascoe who blogs for the Telegraph.

He wrote a post today called “Sweden’s insane anti-discrimination laws have created a generation of lost women” so I’m sure you can tell what kind of man he is… (*cough* sexist bastard *cough*) and in the post he gives us lovely lines such as:

the result of stripping women of their social roles as mothers has not been the development of a new balance in society which still respects women, but rather a sexual nihilism with which most women are instinctively uncomfortable

and

we see a rise of a tits-and-ass culture that emphasises the physical because there is nothing else left

and my personal favorite:

No boy grows up dreaming of being a princess. I find it hard to believe many little girls grow up wanting to shoot people.

And why, you ask, did he write this blogpost?

Because he’s upset that Toys R Us’ Christmas catalouge is gender-netural this year. In it, little boys occasionally push stollers and little girls play with toolkits. Gasp, sigh and the world is obviously ending.
Not only does Pascoe seem to lack any sort of analysis capabilities or abilities to look at broader social movements, he is also abysmally bad at statistics.

He claims, for example:

Women face the highest rate of rape in Europe and a high rate of domestic violence

But he doesn’t stop to think about what he’s actually saying. In fact,  Sweden has a much broader definition of rape than most countries, since a law change in 2005. Immediately afterwards, rape statistics increased.

He also seems unaware of the fact that 75-95% of rapes are not reported to the police, either due to fear of reprisal or because of shame. One reason that more rapes are reported in Sweden might simply be because of those “insane discrimination laws” making it easier for women to escape the social stigma of rape, and actually daring to report the rapist.

But apparently, women in Thomas Pascoe’s world are empty, meaningless shells because society has taken the mother role from them and little boys grow up wanting to shoot people.

I think I’ll stay in my world, thanks.

 

There is no such thing as a hymen.

When a girl has sex for the first time, it hurts. She might even bleed a little. That’s because the hymen, the barrier blocking the vagina, breaks when she has sex. It can be broken earlier by tampons, or horseback riding or biking.
Right?

No. It’s a lie.

IT DOESN’T EXIST.

I hope that this is common knowledge today, but I’ve realized that maybe it isn’t. Time and again, I see books that have scenes with girl losing their virginity, and the hymen almost always features in some way. Pain, blood and so on.

The hymen was “created” as a way to control women’s sexuality. There’s no way to tell if a girl has had penetrative sex or not, just as there’s no way to tell if a guy has. If sex hurts the first time, it’s usually because the girl isn’t wet enough, or because you’re going too fast.

Please, please, don’t spread this lie to people anymore.

More information: In Swedish: Ungdomsmottagningarna, RFSU In English: ScarletTeen, Huffington Post

(Disclaimer: I don’t think I’ll write a lot about sex on this blog, simply because I’m a bit of a prude. But this is important enough that I don’t care about anyone’s sensibilities.)

I read a lot.
Like, a lot, a lot.

And one of my absolute favorite genres is young adult literature.
It might seem silly. Shouldn’t I read  classics or something like that? But I adore the many excellent books in the YA sphere, and I follow quite a few wonderful bloggers/authors.

And YA lit that’s norm critical or feature a strong heroine and some darkness? Even better.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Tamora Pierce – I read her first book when I was twelve, and I’m still reading today. Historical fantasy with wonderful heroines, often struggling in a man’s profession (such as knight or police.) She’s an oldie but a goodie and just gets better for every book she writes. She isn’t afraid to put sex, violence and “real world” things in books for children/teenagers. Start with Song of the Lioness and move on to her other Tortall books.
    My favorites: Trickster’s Queen, and the Provost’s Dog series.
  • Vernoica Roth – Really young (my age, I’d guess) dystopian writer, with only two books published, but they are good. A lot of psychology and questions about nature vs nurture. Divergent is the first one, Insurgent the second.
    My favorite: Divergent
  • Lauren Oliver: Has written a very acclaimed series, starting with Delirium, about a dystopian future where love is a disease that must be cured.
    My favorite: Delirium
  • Kristen Cashore: Highly knowledgeable about YA and children’s lit. She’s written a fantasy triology about Gracelings, people born with very special skills. Katsa, the heroine in Graceling, has a gift for killing.
    My favorite: Bitterblue


These are just some of my favorites, and they’re all pretty well-known and worth a read. All these authors have blogs, which I’ve linked, just click their names. If you like books, women’s issues and writing, read them!

When I was 14 years old and at confirmation camp, I remember someone asking me if I was a feminist.
“Yes, I’m a feminist” I said, rather hesitantly. And he (who was a perfectly nice guy) laughed mockingly and said: “Well, that’s stupid.”

The general image of a feminist is someone who is loud, unfeminine, unshaven and manhating, basically wanting to get rid of all men and turn society into a colorless, unsexed blob.

And isn’t that just sad? There is so much more to be said about this, and so many who have said it better, but I’ll just say this:

Feminism for me is about everyone’s right be to whoever they want. And it’s about providing opportunity for everyone to be able to do exactly that.

It’s about a girl not being blamed and shamed because she was raped.
It’s about a man being able to cry without being called a fag.
It’s about homosexuals being able to marry.
It’s about not shaving your legs because you don’t want to.
It’s about being able to go outside the door without makeup and not have to excuse yourself.
It’s about equal pay for equal work.
It’s about being able to be friends with a girl or a guy and having that be ok.
It’s about daughters growing up to be all sorts of awesome and fierce and sons growing up to be gentle and kind.

About someone being able not just to say they’re a feminist, but for the norm to be a feminist, because how can you not be?
And so many other things.

But in the end, it’s about truly believing that all people, not matter what look like, how they act and who they love having the same rights.

Curious? Lady Dahmer for Swedes, Finally Feminism 101 for English speakers.