#womenwrites: on disability, gender, and women writers

Black British writing: a tribute to Buchi Emecheta by Eashani Chavda 

… Whilst black writing had soared overseas in conjunction with the civil rights movement in America, its progress in Britain was much more gradual and largely lead by men. Despite this, Buchi Emecheta is up there with Samuel Selvon, Stuart Hall, Joan Riley (to name just a few) as a great pioneer of black British writing. While male writers covered topics of class and racism in mid-20th Century Britain, Buchi highlighted the plight of black women in Britain and the double-colonisation they faced. While intersectionality has become a buzzword for feminists today, Buchi approached the topic of misogynoir back in the 1970s. The struggle of black migrant women following the Windrush era, and the layers of oppression they faced were fluently articulated in Buchi’s writing. The social realities she depicted in her novels were felt by a large community of women, who being isolated in their own homes, workplaces and on the bleak streets of London, could finally feel some relief in knowing that they were not alone. Not only did she expose the racial, gendered and classist discrimination of 20th Century Britain, Buchi defied patriarchal structures within the Nigerian community, all whilst taking great pride in her culture and her blackness. …

Why I’m raising my kids to know their sex, not their gender by J.J Barnes  via @FeministCurrent

In January 2017, the BBC aired a controversial documentary called, “Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?” which explored the doctrine that children know best when it comes to their “gender identity,” and that we should accept their beliefs without question. Following the airing of this documentary, the BBC came under fire from trans activists, who claimed the documentary would spark prejudice and lead to the social rejection of “trans kids.”

As the mother of a four-year-old girl and a 10-month-old girl, and step-mother to a four-year-old boy, I find the limited discourse around “trans kids” troubling. As I watch my children growing, learning, changing, and exploring, the idea of allowing them to make such a life-changing choice, so young, without question, is abhorrent. …

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a high-street shop, asking it to dress her by @salihughes

Dear British high-street retailers,

I am a 42-year-old woman with an upcoming awards ceremony, three weddings (one my own), several important work engagements, a holiday in the unreliable British climate and some pottering about, doing bugger all. I have spent weeks browsing your wares, both online and in your bricks-and-mortar stores. My question for you is this: where, in the past five years, have all the clothes gone?

Let’s begin with sleeves, for these cast a shadow over my entire shopping experience. Despite your apparent belief that my life is one long high-school prom, I would always like to cover my arms, at least to just beyond the elbow. I would not like capped sleeves to highlight the fact that I’ve lifted one kettlebell in my life, nor a bandeau top that precludes me from wearing a bra. I don’t want to pick up any more nice-seeming dresses, only to find the entire back of it missing. …

How I Got My Agent & Why You Should Never Give Up The Dream  via @Sabina_Writer

It’s been over a year since I last posted and what a year it’s been. There have been moments of despair, but more importantly there have been triumphs and those have made all the other stuff seem insignificant.

So, I want to share the journey that brought me here, mainly because I found some much-needed encouragement in reading about the journeys of others and I hope that someone might find that same kind of hope from reading about mine. …

Fleshing Out a Narrative of Illness: Notes on the Flesh  by Shahd Alshammari

… As someone who was struggled with Multiple Sclerosis for more than a decade, l chose to take up the task of writing the illness narrative. This began with my introduction to the works of Nancy Mairs and Audre Lorde. Mairs gave me a beacon of hope. She had written about her transition from English professor to a writer dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. She had George, though, her partner, who remained witness to her journey with Multiple Sclerosis. I was alone. I realised that being alone in the face of a brutal illness is not where I wanted to be. I picked up Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals. I read her work and found myself dwelling in her insistence on intersectionality, and on writing the effects of race, gender, sexuality, and disability in one (or even multiple) voices. Writing Notes on the Flesh proved to be a daunting task. I was writing based on my imagination, but also on and through my own bodily experiences. The distinction between fiction and nonfiction, real or imagined, past and present, no longer phased me. What I wanted was a collection of voices that expressed what it was like to be ill, in love, and vulnerable. …

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