Mims' Musings

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Today I woke up to an excited household. My parents were watching Pope Francis’s meeting with the Jesuits in the Philippines. My Mum is from the Philippines, and my Dad studied with the Jesuits there. Several of the Jesuits in the room are personal friends of theirs. I joined in watching the video, feeling happy that Pope Francis had experienced that Filipino sense of humour which I’ve grown up around.

Minutes later, this article came up, and my happiness quickly dissolved into anger:

Pope criticises Gay Marriage, backs ban on contraception

I was brought up as a Catholic, and stopped going to church regularly when I was about 15. This article has reminded me why I don’t subscribe to Catholicism anymore. I’m always respectful of other people’s faiths, but as this is the one I’ve been brought up in, it angers me.

I have been a feminist for as long as I can remember. This doesn’t mean man-hater, it means I believe in equality between everyone. Banning contraception perpetuates inequality between men and women, and saying people aren’t fit to bring up a family just because of their sexuality is just sick.

I think it’s absolutely appalling that in this day and age, we have someone with so much influence in parts of the world, enforcing a ban on contraception. How is the world ever meant to beat the outbreak of HIV/Aids if we have the head of a church saying using contraception is wrong?

Long before I stopped attending church, I was very uncomfortable with how patriarchal it is. I would refuse to say parts of prayers which use ‘man’ or ‘mankind’ as a shorthand of referring to the whole human population.

It didn’t take me long to expand this thought to realise that the whole message throughout Catholicism is that women aren’t the same as men.

Women caused all the sin in the world

Women are only worth a mention during a catholic mass if they’re a Virgin

Women aren’t good enough to become priests

But I don’t think my ideology is limited to feminism, it’s a basic human right that we are all equal, and to have control of our bodies.

The ban on contraception reinforces inequality. By condemning birth control, it condemns women to perpetual inequality. They’re unable to take ownership of their own bodies, and firmly puts them in a subservient bilogical role of maternal nurturers. Because if women weren’t busy having babies, maybe they’d get ideas and want to be leaders!

Before I decided to stop attending the Catholic Church regularly, I tried to find a compromise. My logic was that as there’s an ‘actor’s church’, maybe there’s a feminist church. I googled feminist catholic church, and my horror escalated as I browsed through the results:

Pope Warns Feminists

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Catholics Trapped by Feminism

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I literally wept while reading this. How could I continue to be part of a church which teaches people to think in this way?

As it seems women don’t stand a chance in the Catholic Church, it seems that gay couples have even less of a chance.

If heterosexual couples are such an ideal family configuration, then why can’t the same be replicated by a homosexual couple? Isn’t the key to it having loving parents? Why would it matter if a kid has two Dads, two Mums, or just a single parent?

It feels so much more personal that the pope has reinforced these messages in a country to which I attribute half of my heritage. They are a step backwards into times which humankind has since evolved from.

Wake up Catholics, it’s 2015.

Disagree with something I’ve said? Feel free to comment, I like a good debate!

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ImageGraduation was always going to be a happy day. I’d worked hard for 3 years, achieved First Class Honours, my parents looked like they were going to burst with pride, and we all scrubbed up well in the cap and gown. Just before the ceremony, I was surprised when I started feeling this knot of terror in my stomach. I quickly realised it wasn’t about getting up on stage, I’d even worn tiny heels to avoid falling flat on my face. This anxiety was something else completely. It was about what this graduating business symbolised. Mainly that this meant the end of my nice stable routine of commuting, assignments and complaining, and that I had nowhere to go in September.

For a while I forgot about the horrible feeling, enjoyed the day and felt quite proud of myself. However, it’s never gone away. In fact I can feel it right now.

I felt the first twinges of this bluesy feeling when he had a particularly demotivational careers talk in our final year. They showed us the statistics of what last year’s graduates are doing now. Barely any of them were in a job that has anything to do with English or Creative Writing, many of them were working in retail or bars. We were told if we were lucky we might get a job in a museum, which is what I was doing before I spent £21,000 on a degree.

I was determined not to let this get me down. I knew that I’d have to make looking for a job a priority. I started looking for a job way before I graduated. I always knew that it was going to be hard. I’m a realist and I’m not kidding myself about the struggle I face as a graduate, with a Creative Writing degree. I signed up for as many useful websites as I could, wrote a killer cover letter, polished my CV and set up a good routine of applying for as many paid and unpaid positions as I could.

The same week as I graduated I went to the Jobcentre. I knew it was going to be hard but wasn’t quite prepared for the extremity of their attitude towards graduates. Just before my first interview I overheard two of the ‘advisors’ talking about how they hate graduates, because they assume that they’re better than everyone else and don’t deserve help when they wasted so much money on a ‘piece of paper’.  I took a deep breath and went through the interview as if I hadn’t hurt anything, but saw the face fall when I mentioned that I was a graduate.

A week later I had my first sign on day, my advisor was an hour late to see me after eating her lunch, chatting to her friend the security guard, and not checking to see if I was there to see her at all.  She used a really rude abrupt tone with me throughout the session, demanding to know why I hadn’t worked during my degree, dismissing my answers as not good enough excuses. I had to repeat my answers several times, there were several points at which she seemed to be judging me and I felt intensely uncomfortable. By the end of the session I felt belittled, and like all of my confidence had been knocked out of me.

By the time my third interview rolled around I was dreading it.  I’d applied for double the amount of jobs than they required from me per week. The woman I saw was actually quite friendly, until she casually said that she can’t sign someone on if they’re on drugs. I was completely baffled about what she meant, and then she said “Well you’re clearly stoned, your eyes are bright red.” I was so shocked. I quickly explained that I had severe hayfever, showed her the medication I take for it, but by then the damage had already been done.

This post graduation feeling can be described as a general feeling of hopelessness. This generation has been brought up to expect the worst, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I’ve always lived by the motto that ‘Success is the best revenge’, but in this case it feels like the path to success is going to be like going uphill during a rock slide. I’m determined to get a job as soon as I can, and as far away from the Jobcentre as I can, but I’m yet to receive any replies from my applications. I was prepared for that, but combined with Jobcentre’s attitude towards me, my morale is lacking a bit! The sense of not knowing what’s next is really unsettling.

I would love to know if other new graduates are having similar problems. Please comment with your own experiences, and hopefully there’ll be some good news stories too!


Sunday mornings are usually a slow news day. Almost as if the whole world takes a break for a day, and loose ends from the previous week’s news are tied up.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I woke up this morning to find that overnight major riots had taken place in Tottenham.

I drive through Tottenham to Haringey on a regular basis, so I was trying to work out if I recognised any of the pictures coming through on the news. Although I couldn’t place them I was struck by certain images that are a familiar part of everyday life in London:

A burning double decker bus
Looted high street shops, like JD Sports and Comet
An Aldi dramatically set ablaze.

The riots are said to have broken out after a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting of a local man, Mark Duggan, by the police.

As last night’s events are revealed I find myself having an overall feeling of, ‘i’m not surprised’, as if this was going to happen somewhere in London eventually.

There are many issues that span across several communities in London, which have built up over the last few years to a point where you can see how riots like this can happen.

In this case the main issue seems to be the way in which the police interact with young people. It seems that there is a feeling of ‘them and us’ between the community and the police that is felt strongly, particularly amongst the younger members of sociey.

In communities where these tensions are simmering just under the surface, it’s easy to see how if a small number of people began to riot, it could errupt into the scale of events seen last night.

Part of me hopes that when the investiagtion takes place, the riots aren’t completely blamed on the youth of London. With events like this there will be several people to blame, and in these situations it’s easy to make scapegoats of ‘young people’.

As there started to be a trend of violence during protests earlier in the year, let’s hope that this weekend’s events don’t start a trend around London.


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