Feminism

17 Jul

Recently I was asked whether I’m a feminist. Well here’s the thing:
* I truly believe every human should have equal opportunity and rights.
* I know that both, women and men can suffer where gender roles are rigid.
* Exploring sexual identities may feel frightening but I find it liberating and it enables more human behavior in the mid and long term.

Quoting from the Wikipedia article on feminists:

“Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending a state of equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.
This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.

Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women’s social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of sex and gender.

Feminist activists campaign for women’s rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting – while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women.

Feminist campaigns have changed societies, particularly in the West, by achieving women’s suffrage, gender neutrality in English, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to enter into contracts and own property.
Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women.

Feminism is mainly focused on women’s issues, but author bell hooks and others have argued that, since feminism seeks gender equality, it must necessarily include men’s liberation because men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles.”

Am I a feminist?

The problem with this question is that it feels loaded. Someone who hates men, who breaks all clothing rules, an esoteric witch.

Leave aside these pictures.
Define the feminist idea for yourself.

Where could you have benefited from this ideal in your life?

Of course I am a feminist!

Advertisements

Stockholm

15 Jul

In July I attended the wedding of my friends near Stockholm and took the opportunity to see the city and meet old friends. Here are the pictures of my trip through the city and its surroundings.

My first impression was that there’s a lot of water. The city itself is built across a dozen islands, which gives it a unique flair. An island for museums, one for swimming, one for the old town, one with a natural park, you name it. Approaching the airport, you fly across the archipelago with thousands of them! Very beautiful 😀

I heard a lot about high equality between women and men in Scandinavia, but seeings the uncomplicated way of dealing with femininity with my own eyes was just liberating: Women are cycling with flying mini skirts and no one gives a second look. Male toilets with nappy changing unit. Ladies toilets have simple plastic bags as bins and not those “automatically disinfecting, push the pedal, then put your pad on the flap bins” you see else often. Adults simply change into swim gear on the cities beaches and again: no stares.

The most remarkable thing about Stockholm to me was that they have instituted a sort-of human right of access to a bicycle. You simply pay 32 Euros and you get access to rental bikes for 6 months! And not those annoying 30-minute slots common across the big cities in the West – no, you get the bike for 3 hours straight!

What do do in Stockholm?

Visit the parliament for a free tour in English! Very recommended for its beautiful view from the 6th floor and the architecture. It was also very interesting to hear a few facts about democracy. For example only in Sweden and Norway the parliamentarians are sitting organized by region not by party! There’s a ladies room in the parliament showing pictures of famous “first women” in Swedish politics. The room also features a mirror, where female visitors can see the reflection of the potential future prime minister of the country. A fantastic conversation to have with school classes and other groups of visitors!

Don’t miss out on a drink on a boat bar near the old town, watching the sun set slowly between 9pm and midnight. You’ll walk home in the twilight, it just doesn’t get dark in summer in Sweden!

I also did the early morning boat tour, getting a nearly undisturbed insight into smaller islands. Below are some pictures of the defense equipment still installed on the island to protect Stockholm city (but unused).

Another highlight for me was the museum of photography with a great video installation about Chinese migratory workers.

On the day of the world cup final we were lazying around with the German friends and family of the couple. We ended up playing football. As i was in a dress and flip flops, I started carefully at first to test the shoes. Later I even scored with the left foot. We had a couple of trees on the pitch, which made it even more exciting and surreal.
Another exciting physical challenge came in form of “a slackline”. We tried to walk across a rope spread between two trees.
This weekend I really found new joy about physical mastery which I hope to continue in London 🙂

20140710_094735

20140714_082218 20140714_080829 20140713_122337 20140713_122300 20140712_094818 20140712_093649 20140711_211914 20140711_133104 20140711_121552 20140711_110948 20140711_103329 20140710_182908 20140710_174927 20140710_130458 20140714_143738

 

Grillen zum Eröffnungsspiel

14 Jun

Familienfest im Hochhaus in Sao Paulo

Der 12. Juni war ein Feiertag. Keiner sollte arbeiten in Sao Paulo, es sollte gefeiert werden. Ereignis war aber nicht der Brasilianische „Tag der Liebenden“ wie ich romantisch träumerisch erst annahm, sondern tatsächlich der Eröffnungstag der Weltmeisterschaft. Jenes Ereignis, was die Nation seit Jahren bewegt, was eine halbe Milliarde verschwendet hat, in einem Land in dem jeder zweite mit schlechtem Gesundheitswesen oder inakzeptabler Bildung oder Behausung lebt.

Meine Kollegen hatten mich eingeladen, am Grillen im Hof des Hauses teilzunehmen. Ein Rentner-Ehepaar hatte über 40 Hausbewohner zusammen getrommelt. Es wurde ab 13 Uhr bis spät in die Nacht gegrillt. Die Spielerauswahl war definitiv ein diskutiertes Thema, die Proteste und Korruption eher nicht.

Alle Generationen waren vertreten: Kinder tollten umher, schwangen kleine Brasilien-Fähnchen und aßen Würstchen aus der Hand. Junge Erwachsene saßen auf Klappstühlen und tranken Bier. Die Eröffnungsfeier wurde wenig beachtet. Mir wurde erklärt, dass die Hymne viele Menschen nicht anspricht, da sie sprachlich äußerst kompliziert aufgebaut ist und außerdem, aus dem Unabhängigkeitskrieg stammend, vom patriotischen Tod und der Gleichheit schwärmt.

Am meisten beeindruckt war ich vom Feuerwerk, was bei jedem Tor über der Stadt zu hören war. Eine große Tradition in Brasilien, wie mir erklärt wurde. Eine Nachbarin betrieb früher einen Feuerwerksladen und erzählte, wie Fußballfans ihr drohten, den Laden abzufackeln, sollte sie an die „falschen“ Fans verkaufen. Als ich von den strikten Regelungen zum Verkauf und der Verwendung von Feuerwerkskörpern in Deutschland erzählte, wurde ich (erwartungsgemäß) fassungslos angestarrt.
Nach dem Spiel erklärte mir ein älterer Herr im feinsten Portugiesisch, dass ich wieder kommen soll zum Grillen. Nicht nur ich, sondern auch meine Familie, Freunde und alle, die ich kenne. Herzliche Gastfreundschaft!

Die WM ist im vollen Gang. Die Menschen haben sich damit abgefunden und bauen sie eben in ihr Leben ein. Viele meiner Freunde sprechen sich gegen FIFA‘s Klammergriff und die Geldverschwendung aus und haben trotzdem Stadion-Tickets erworben. Die Präsidentschaftswahlen stehen im Oktober an, es besteht Wahlpflicht.

image

Wurst in heaven

25 May

This Saturday night out in London I’m following the invite of a friend who’s tagged along some other folks.

I meet them in a restaurant, after introducing himself he says that he likes my earrings. I was wearing the red ones, obviously with matching shoes and hand bag.

He’s 1.86 m or so, the perfect skinny, a cool hair cut and is well dressed.
We leave the restaurant and queue outside the club where we’re hoping to watch a concert of the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.

He runs a tech startup in London and tells me of the expansion and VC raising plans. He offers chewing gum. Intelligent guy, witty and well mannered.

After passing some high touch security checks we head in and unrequested he gets me a drink. He’s from Manchester. Explains the accent, I think!
The crowd moves to the music and so do we. It’s getting full, several hundreds of guys in their twenties are here waiting for Conchita to sing a few cheesy love songs. Everybody here has a story and many moved countries to find the space to live their story.

People want to be close to the stage and keep pushing forward while the club fills up and the AC does her job.
Is it the anticipation to rise like an eagle? That the heart will go on?

He dances, I dance, the crowd does. Suddenly a guy chats him up, quickly they laugh and talk like old friends. Then they start kissing.

And nobody cares, cause this is heaven.

4 relaxing days on Menorca

12 May

Together with my friend Caroline I went on a long weekend trip to Menorca. As the spring season had just started, we were nearly alone in the hotel, the beaches, the car parks… Instant relaxation! We enjoyed the history, amazing food and landscape.

Colour code = blue, green and white!

Celine Dion on the Underground

8 May

These terrible commutes.
Twenty six minutes in an underground train flying through tunnels but the only entertainment is pregnacare and mortgage ads.
The only?

Don’t think I can’t feel that there’s something wrong.

Opposite the black guy with his hair in lines and shoulder long braids. Tired face and eyes jumping around the floor. Returns my gaze first briefly then more steadily.

You’ve been the sweatest part of my life for so long. I look in your eyes, there’s a distant light.

Over there a mid-aged English guy with round glasses and a golden ring on the pinkie finger. Black long trench coat and somehow uneasy in his seat.

You and I know there’ll be a storm tonight.

And this Robbie Williams type of guy with headphones is sitting right next to the door. He’s very upright in his seat and ready to jump up and out.

Baby, this is getting serious. Are you thinking about you or us?

Holding the rolled up free newspaper with his one hand and controls two suitcases with the other. A traveler, randomly shaking his head and staring towards the dark window.

Don’t say what you’re about to say. Look back before you leave my life.

Now getting on is a black old professor type with a checked blazer and a briefcase. Two litres of juice in a shopping bag, pictures of mango and pineapple shining through the white plastic. Silver curly hair above the ears, closed eyes.

Be sure before you close that door. Baby think twice. For the sake of our love, for the memory.

image

Philomena

25 Apr

Religion, family, Ireland, family drama, Judi Dench as always amazing!