5 (prohibited pleasures)

put a bit of fire in my mouth
my mouth
with yours
our bodies burn
press harder
– harder –
heat rises
tracing circles
and round
my neck
your crown of white gold
blisters my fingers
the walls fall around us
rubble and ash
beneath your mounting

“Love Song for Meg” by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

It was the way

the sun came sidling

through the branches –

points of light

exploding into stars

as the wind,

eddying overhead,

delicately sprung

the leaves apart.

I remember most

your eyes and then

your silence.

Light’s undertow,

backwash of green

from the dull silver

of decaying trees.

It was the way

your green eyes

widened and burned black.

Black and gold

sang the leaves,

the water rose

in the secret pool

where all afternoon

I tickled trout –

rose gently

and carried us away

in summer sleep.

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell was a Polynesian poet, playwright and novelist. Read more about him and his beautiful writing here:

Feminism goals for 2017

With feminism hitting the mainstream, everyone seems to be pushing an image of easy-peasy female liberation down our throats.

Yes, it’s super great that brands are championing body-positivity. Yes, no-one can deny that the casting in H&M’s latest ad campaign was killer (Hari Nef is QUEEN). Yes, it’s definitely positive that no-one is shying away from the f-word and celebrities no longer hesitate to label themselves as feminist. HOWEVER: while publicity and representation are good, how politically invested is all this ‘feminist’ hype? And to what extent does it really affect positive change?

Currently, it feels a lot like the label is being embraced en-masse without a thorough understanding of what it all means. On the one hand, being a feminist is about feeling yourself and about equal pay and about putting an end to street harassment and about a hundred other things but, above all, it’s about crushing the patriarchy.

Because we’ve got your back, we’ve come up with a handy list on how to do this in 2017!

Ways to crush the patriarchy in 2017

Acknowledge that if your feminism doesn’t have an intersectional focus then your feminism is only surface-deep.  It’s pretty common that people bristle at the mention of ‘privilege’ but it’s basically common sense. The first step to understanding how privilege works is to overcome the notion that your personal experience is universal and to listen to different perspectives. Once there, you can see the ways in which you have had a harder time than others or vice versa. Intersectionality is about understanding that society makes it easier for the people who adhere to certain criteria and harder for those who don’t. More than anything, intersectional feminism is about fighting for your rights and the rights of other feminists, specifically those who are POC, LGBTQI+ and different-abled.

Acknowledge that trans-exclusionary feminism is not okay. Trans women are women. Trans men are men, yes, but like all men they should have the option to be included in feminism if they wish.

Give queer feminism a chance. A glaring problem with feminism as it stands is an over-reliance upon a binaristic definition of ‘man’ v. ‘woman’. There is a possible solution to this in the form of queer feminism – a feminism which incorporates queer theory to open up definitions of gender and examine the ways in which heteronormativity, sexism, misogyny, cisnormativity, transphobia and homophobia interact and intersect. One example of this is looking at how the restrictive gender roles imposed by the patriarchy are not only negative for cis women but lead to cisnormativity and transphobia.

If you want to read more about queer feminism then SPECTRUM would recommend:

  • Feminism is Queer: the intimate connection between feminism and queer theory by Mimi Marinucci more info here
  • Sam Dylan’s Finch FANTASTIC blog ‘Let’s Queer Things Up’ here
  •  queerfeminism.com : an online queer feminism resource here

Happy 2017 from the SPECTRUM team xox

Forgotten female artist

Okay… so Artemesia Gentileschi wasn’t exactly ‘forgotten’ but, for a very long time, her status as a female artist in the 1600s overshadowed the excellence of her work.

Her paintings have long been championed by feminist art critics (Linda Nochlin and Griselda Pollock to name a few) and were equally revered by feminist artists, with Artemesia Gentileschi being one of the names featured in Judy Chicago’s 1979 installation piece ‘The Dinner Party’. However, it is worth promoting and sharing her work so that the name ‘Gentileschi’ slides off the tongue just as easily as ‘Caravaggio’ or ‘Rembrandt’.

Susanna and the Elders – Artemesia Gentileschi