Trees

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Trees in the sun
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The trees are quaking and quivering
under the weight of you on their boughs,
Their branches point upwards, shaking and shivering;
to drink in the light you allow.

Their roots create networks deep underground,
Where the souls of the tired go to sleep.
While leaves' hushed voices follow the sound
of those who lie solemn, and weep.


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Is feminism the new F word?

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feminism

Line breaks: fem¦in|ism
Pronunciation: /ˈfɛmɪnɪz(ə)m 
  
/



Definition of feminism in English:

NOUN

[MASS NOUN]
The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.



Feminism has had a serious revamp recently. With high profile advocators like Lena Dunham, Caitlin Moran and Emma Watson rooting for the cause, I would say it has become a far more popular and almost 'trendy' movement. If you'd asked me a few years ago what a feminist was, I would almost certainly have described a hairy legged, bra burning, socks and sandals wearing, short haired lesbian. Sorry to all the feminists out there, but it's true. In my opinion, the word has had quite negative connotations until recently and has often been associated with man-hating women who invent reasons why men think they're better than them.

I've never identified as a feminist, however like most topics I write about, this blog post was sparked by a debate with someone where I realised I disagreed entirely with their point of view and in fact had quite a few opinions about the subject. I still wouldn't say I am a feminist and I certainly don't feel strongly enough to take part in any activism but I do feel that sexism is still very prevalent in today's society.

Her view was that women are still seen as beings who's main priority is to pop out children. She said that if she were an employer and was deciding between offering a promotion to a man or a woman, she would offer it to the man on the grounds that the woman might decide she wants children and have to take a lot of time off. And if the woman already had children, she would prioritise them over her career. This will be quite a wide spread train of thought- she can't be the only person with this opinion.

My counter argument was that it takes two to tango, and where there's a child with a mother it has to have a father. Why shouldn't the man be equal with his wife when it comes to taking responsibility for the care of his children? He may have to drop everything and go and pick his sick child up from school. He may have to take time off for appointments or school plays. He may not perform his best at work when he's had a sleepless night because his newborn wouldn't stop crying. Then there may be women who can't have children, or women like me who chose not to have children because, shock horror, there are other things in their lives more important than the burning desire to push a watermelon sized screaming bundle of white muck out of their vagina and spend the next 18 years looking after it.

Are women really being thought of like this still in today's society? Are these outdated and frankly insulting views still relevant in the world we live in today, where women are no longer tied to the kitchen sink while their husband goes out to work? With the reams of information and opportunities available at our fingertips, women are now showing more than ever that you can successfully manage a career and a personal life - Anna Wintour, Michelle Mone, Karren Brady (who throws a football team in the mix), Oprah Winfrey, and Jacqueline Gold to name but a few. So is this recent incline in feminism the product of the modern woman being given the ways and means to let her voice be heard? Or is feminism the new F word?

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Russia bans people with 'mental disorders' from driving

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Russia Traffic
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Have you seen the rather bizarre new move by the Russian government, banning all of those with 'mental disorders' from holding driving licenses? Apparently the move is taking place to tighten medical controls and try to lower the amount of accidents on the roads. You'd think that the Russian Government wouldn't be able to outdo themselves in terms of draconian policies after Vladimir Putin's implementation of anti LGBT laws in 2013, however they've shocked us all and really pushed the dictatorial boat out this time. Disorders on the list that make you incapable of driving include:

- Pathological Gambling
- Compulsive Stealing
- Fetishism
- Voyeurism
- Exhibitionism
- Transgenderism
- Transsexualism

Forgive me if I'm being ignorant, but since when did being born into the wrong body or enjoying a bit of latex in the bedroom affect how well you can drive? Has anyone ever had a car accident and cited the blame on the fact that they lost their punt on the 14:20 at Central Moscow Hippodrome?

Not only is this way of thinking archaic and oppressive, as well as being a shining example of the Russian regime's denial of human rights, this provision could be very detrimental to the welfare of Russia's citizens. As Valery Evtushenko of the Russian Psychiatric Association so rightly says, this new law could potentially deter people with mental health issues from seeking psychiatric help based on the fear of having their driving license revoked. 

Perhaps the Russian Government should look a bit closer to home when trying to identify the causes of their road accidents - for example, the Scherbinsky/Yevdokimov case of 2006. If you're not familiar with this, a member of the public was imprisoned for dangerous driving after Mikhail Yevdokimov, the Governor of Russia's Altai Krai region, crashed into him at more than 90 miles per hour and the force of the impact was so great that Governor Yevdokimov died. Ignoring the fact that Scherbinsky was minding his own business simply turning a corner when the accident happened, a judge decreed that Scherbinsky was at fault for 'not giving way to a special vehicle'. Our good friend Putin also piped up that Scherbinksy was to blame because he was driving a right hand drive car. Nothing to do with the fact that the official who struck his vehicle was travelling in a manner which was in contradiction to driving laws and speed limits, of course.

Research shows that this mindset is very prevalent amongst Russia's governors and officials, who must believe that they are above the law when travelling on the roads, as this does not appear to be an isolated incident. The questions that this raises are as follows:

Will there be reports that prove that these 'medical' restrictions have been beneficial to the country's road accident rates? And how far will Russia go in order to cast out and ostracise members of their society who don't quite fit the norm?


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Ched Evans signs for Oldham Athletic

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Rapist Ched Evans signs for Oldham Athletic
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Scrolling through Facebook the other night I saw a post that suggested that Ched Evans was in talks with my hometown's football club with regards to signing a contract and it got me all riled up. My other half and I got into a bit of a debate because after I commented on the post it came to light that we have totally differing opinions on this subject. As it happens, Evans has now since signed for Oldham Athletic (a deal that has led to three of Oldham's official sponsors cutting all ties with the club) so our debate was pointless, but it's been on my mind a lot.

The subject is very sensitive, to some more than others for obvious reasons, but it is one that I feel very strongly about. I believe that someone who has been convicted of a crime of this nature in particular does not deserve to carry on their life as they were before their conviction. Being a footballer in the spotlight is a privilege that many aspiring young people work towards, and after committing the  disgusting offence that he has, why should Evans still reap the rewards of that privilege? He won't be earning a premiership wage, but it will still be more than he deserves and much more than the average Joe Bloggs earns. Everyone knows the remuneration and perks that come with being a professional footballer.  In this role he'll be looked upon as a role model by young football players and fans alike; meanwhile his victim has had to change her name and address due to being absolutely vilified by members of the public including Evan's fans. What sort of message does this send? That someone can be convicted of abusing their somewhat 'celebrity' status, be unfaithful to their partner and rape a young woman in a hotel room, serve half their sentence and then continue to live the life of riley while the victim suffers? Although in the eyes of the law he is guilty, to this day he is still protesting his innocence and has not  apologised to his victim or her family, and does not seem to understand or show any remorse for the distress he has caused.

Having now been placed on the sex offenders register, one would assume that Evans is not able to take part in any youth training groups that Oldham Athletic offer through their youth academy. Many employment offers are subject to in depth CRB checks and some contracts even state that any criminal offences of this nature will result in instant dismissal for bringing the company into disrepute. Numerous employers would not employ someone on the sex offenders register - why is this not the case within the FA?

I believe that Ched Evan's case highlights a far greater moral issue than the question of whether or not he should be allowed to play professionally, but in fact emphasises the discord between what is acceptable for ordinary people and those within the public eye. As a national and extremely high profile organisation, should the FA not be setting an example in this respect?


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