If you're finding yourself repeatedly disappointed by partners who just aren't ready to commit, you're in no way alone. This might be a good opportunity to step back, reflect on what's going on for you, and how you might be able to change things up and break away from the same old pattern that's been getting you down.Read More
Rad Bitch is about supporting women to empower themselves, to own their voices, stand up for themselves and express their views with confidence.
Rad Bitch is inspired by the incredible, radical women who have, and do stand up together to carve out space for us to speak up and shine in our own ways.Read More
And as the conference started to loom closer, I could feel myself starting to slip back into some of those old patterns - although thankfully, I've kept to my limit of two coffees a day, and I haven't taken up smoking again.Read More
In my last post I made a passing mention of the cult classic 80's film, 'Heathers' - purely in reference to the fact that I'd been playing croquet at a picnic over the weekend, and to be honest, it's been on my mind ever since. It turned out that nobody else at the picnic had seen Heathers before, so I gave a super brief, non-spoiling description to the interested guests that, "It was a cult 80's high school film starring Winona Ryder and featured heavy doses of dark humour".
The comparison was immediately drawn between it and 'Jawbreaker', a film which I remember watching on VHS when I was still in the early years of high school, and starred Rose McGowan and featured a cameo appearance her then boyfriend Marilyn Manson. For the record, I really enjoyed this film when I was young - and I'm a little tempted to give it, and 'The Craft' another viewing - just for shits and giggles and "old times sake".
Anyway, this all got me thinking about pop culture references to Girl Gangs - particularly in the films I grew up watching - and the interactions between female characters in them, and I was struck by how overwhelmingly negative the relationships were.
In pretty much all of them, there's backstabbing bitchiness, competition over boys, perfectionism, idealised superficial beauty - and murderous cat fighting.
Even if I think back to stuff I watched as a kid - 'The Addams Family Values', 'Daria', and the relationship between Darlene and Becky in 'Roseanne' - the sarcasm, snark and straight-up resentment that played out between these fictional girls, was intense! And yes, I totally identified with the "odd-girl out" in all of these examples.
About the only examples I could think of which featured solid Girl Gangs, were 'Now & Then', and 'The Baby-Sitters Club', which was originally a book series (books that I devoured copies of faster than my Mum could bring the next one home from the Second Hand Book Shop) before being made into a film. The fact that I grew up and became a Nanny, is no freaking coincidence when you think about this.
This isn't just limited to films intended for teen audiences ('Bridesmaids' is a good example of this), although it's super prevalent in the whole high school film genre.
In reality, most female relationships are not this fraught - and for the most part, these films are a great excuse to hang out on the couch in your PJ's with your own Girl Gang, eat pop corn and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Yet the overwhelming message in most of these instances, is that as girls, we are automatically and intrinsically pitted against one another and will fight to the death.
There's rarely any real, deep learning - let alone genuine self-acceptance that takes place by the final act of the film, and whatever "feel-good" message we end up with, is usually pretty generic and superficially blase. I could very easily get into a rant about how this is all because patriarchy is still a thing, but that's not really the point of why I wanted to write this post.
I suppose I've been thinking about this sort of thing a lot more recently - especially since I created The Rad Bitch Girl Gang. Although in truth, I've probably been thinking about this - at least on a personal level, since I started on this whole adventure of rebuilding my own world over the last few years - because my focus is on creating positive, supportive relationships and safe spaces which encourage and facilitate growth.
So as not to sugar-coat stuff, I've definitely had my share of falling-outs with girlfriends, and regrettably have dished out as much Girl-on-Girl negativity as I've copped over the years, but it's a pattern I've worked damn hard to recognise, repair, to change and improve upon.
One thing I have DEFINITELY recognised over the years, is that I am far more likely to treat others well, and to feel confident in my relationships when I'm feeling confident and comfortable within myself.
I believe that there are three sides to this:
- First of all, we have to do the work to create our own genuine sense of self confidence.
- Secondly, there's the Karmic side - What you put out into the world comes back unto you.
- And thirdly, I wholeheartedly believe that we teach others how we to be treated through how we treat ourselves.
As much as I think it would be cool to have a well known pop-culture reference to point out as an example, and confidently say, "YES! THIS!! This is exactly how my Girl Gang feels!" I honestly can't think of one - yet! So, in the meantime, I suppose I'm working to create what I hope to see more of in the world - groups of amazing girls and women who treat themselves and one another beautifully.
I'm proud of the fact that The Girl Gang is a safe space for many of The Rad Bitches to share and support one another, and I'm proud to know some incredible women who are working to empower women in ways that will seriously change the world.
Remember, each of us is enough as we are.
There is enough in the world for each of us.
PS: '10 Things I Hate About You' will probably ALWAYS be my favourite high school movie, ever.
To download your copy of my FREE eBook 'A Rad Bitch's How to Guide to Life: From Post Break-Up Survival Mode, to Rocking at Life', click HERE. [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]
Today is International Women's Day, so inspired by my friend Yen over on The Yennipenni Channel, and after saying for months that I wanted to create videos, I've finally pulled up my Big Girl Pants, said, "Fuck it!" and rambled to my webcam for a good 10 minutes.
Obviously, uploading it to YouTube and hitting publish without editing or re-watching it was the only way I was ever going to get this bad-babe out to the world without hitting delete and bailing on the whole idea, and I'm not entirely sure that I was coherent so please, "Go gentle on me, Internet."
You can check out my video here, if you're so inclined:
*If my video triggers any negative responses, or upsets you and you'd like to speak with someone, I've listed some of the services available within Australia, including Lifeline and Beyond Blue. You can find their contact details at the end of the post.
The overall idea was to send a message of things I would like my younger self to have known, and I chose to address my message to Nine Year Old Kym.
I chose that age pretty specifically because that was the age that I remember having absorbed so much of the negativity around me, in the way girls spoke to one another - to me specifically - and internalised it not only as acceptable, but as NORMAL.
Looking back now, having done a shit-tonne of work developing my own sense of self worth and becoming confident in who I am, I can see that whenever I engaged in Girl on Girl Hate (and sadly it took years to truly stop engaging in this kind of behaviour), it was more a reflection of how I felt at the time, than of those said Hate was directed towards.
I think it's also really important to recognise that this kind of behaviour is something which our culture still very much ENCOURAGES. Seriously, think about all of the toxic negativity we see spewing off the covers of trashy magazines, on TV, and out of newspapers. Anyway, this is a big part of why I now make such a considered effort to encourage women and girls to support one another - and why in The Girl Gang, I try to promote the idea that Rad Bitches Stick Together.
I also don't own a TV anymore, and I rarely read the news, because I'm trying to limit my exposure to things which frustrate or piss me off. I never buy trashy magazines and if I feel like indulging in a little pop culture, I stick with titles like, The Collective, Womankind, Yen, Peppermint, Frankie, or Bitch, because they offer well rounded, complex and nuanced representations and interpretations of the world we live in.
I think that this is also part of why I've always felt at home within fringe communities filled with artists, goths, punks and metal heads - even though many of those communities are super filled with dudes, I always felt accepted, rather than competed against.
Over the years, I've learned to be far more patient, understanding, and compassionate, but I still get super worked up about a bunch of issues - most of which tend to centre around inequality and systems of oppression.
I'm super fortunate to know (and know of) a number of incredibly wise and articulate people who frequently write and speak on these topics, so today, I'm going to share links to some of the pieces I feel are worth considering today.
My friend Penny attended Amy Gray's International Women's Day Opening Address during the week, and wrote about 11 Ways Amy Gray Inspired her.
Last year, my lovely friends Stevie and Luc - who collectively formed Team Earthling, explored International Women's Day from a vegan perspective, along with some of the ways in which animal rights organisations fail as an intersectional movement, in their podcast Why Intersectionality Matters.
I would also encourage everyone to check out Amy McGuire's piece for New Matilda, All Feminists Are Created Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others which discusses the unique forms and systems of violence experienced by Indigenous Australian Women.
Take the time to learn about the history of International Women's Day and it's roots as a revolutionary movement, and the relevance it still holds today. This article written by Rebecca Winson, was published last year on New Statesman.
I'd also encourage you to learn about what actions YOU can take to prevent violence against women and children, and the ways in which you can offer support to those who are currently experiencing, or have experienced male perpetrated violence through initiatives such as Our Watch.
Check out Annabel Crabb's piece on being a Proud Bad Feminist.
Or learn about the Radical Brownies, based in Oakland, CA. who aim to "empower young girls of color so that they step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership in order to make the world a more radical place."
Now having put my first video up, I'm feeling a little braver about the whole thing, and I've decided that I'd like to send a message to both 17 Year Old Kym, and 25 Year Old Kym.
How have you celebrated International Women's Day this year?
What message would you like to send to a younger version of you?
In the meantime, let's all stick together, learn from, and support one another - even when we disagree - that's the beauty of open dialogue.
Contact Details for support services and resources available in Australia:
Lifeline Suicide Prevention Hotline: 13 11 14
Victorian CASA (Centres Against Sexual Assault): Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292. For Sexual Assault Counselling Services 1800 RESPECT
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636, an Australian "national initiative to raise awareness of anxiety and depression, providing resources for recovery, management and resilience."
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