Author: Holly Ashe

Review: The Battle of Ideas 2017, London

Briskly walking through the huge entrance of the Barbican centre, the echo of my boots fills the gigantic hallways. A huge banner welcomed it guests to the conference; “Battle of Ideas” in huge bold letters, friendly staff standing under a banner which states where certain “battle grounds” are around the centre. Anyway, I finally found “The Pit”; where the first of three debates I would go to see had started, and I found myself in the debate, which essentially reflects my life lately, named “Women vs Feminism”.

I got to my seat to see the highlight of 5 willing women duking on the panel consisting of Hungarian political scientist Eszter Kovats; head of personal investing at Legal and General and founder of the 30 percent club Helen Morrissy; education editor of Spiked Online and author of “Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating From the Gender War”, Joanna Williams; author of the book “XX Factor: How the Rise of Working Women Has Created a Far Less Equal WorldAlison Wolf and was chaired by the co-founder of the Institute of Ideas Sally Millard. I looked around and absorbed comments from each side of the fence; a middle-aged male’s opinion on females within the engineering career sector, and why they’re declining, a young man’s view on what constitutes as a real feminist problem, with issues like ‘manspreading’ being deemed as a real problem, when in different countries, females are being subjected to child marriage and female genital mutilation and can there really be compared? (this comment I clapped a little harder, the sting signifying my solidarity with such an obvious, but overlooked comment); and a middle-aged woman who works for an abortion charity’s thoughts on how the new intersectional feminists are singling out men as the enemy when that clearly isn’t the case and what is this doing to our younger generation of males.

Sitting among such proficient people who share that same opinion comforted me, and reinforced my beliefs that the new wave feminism is ruining our chance for true equality, until of course, when a cocky oldie stood up with a typical “this is not a question, more of a comment”. There’s always one wan**r who makes you question the concept of egalitarianism. 

Read More

Me Too? No thanks.

Logging onto any social media site lately has been emetic for any woman, with the unfortunate overdose of #MeToo on our news feed. Sexuality is supposed to be private, and if it is selfish to say, so be it, your trauma is private as well. As a self made woman, who has never felt the need to cry about being sexually assaulted or even experienced any actual assault from the men in my life, it is encouraging watching people that I know, mustering the courage of sharing their trauma, although the cynic might question how many of these incidents are actually true. Women, just like men, lie, a lot, and sometimes the easiest way to score up in a victimhood Olympics, is to claim to be a victim.

 

Don’t believe me? Here. And here. And here. And here. And bloody HERE.

 

But the question that bothered me was something different. As I dug deeper into some of these stories (and I would like to emphasise the word ‘some’) I felt a little uncomfortable with the scenarios and experiences these women were calling “assault”. Take the Sam Kriss story, the left-wing journalist and male feminist, who was accused by a fellow journalist he was dating of sexual assault and instantly his career was over. It is a special time for right wingers. Harvey Weinstein was a Hillary Clinton guy and major donor to the Democrats. In UK, Clive Lewis, Labour MP mockingly called a man a bitch, or as some transgender activists would say, a dog born with female sexual organs. Lately, another Labour MP, Jared O’Mara was done with, for some idiotic forum comments from a decade back.

It’s understandable why people get more angry at others, who claim sainthood and then fail to live through those ideals. Proud sinners, are well, proud sinners. But these careerist lads, of course grovelingly apologised, and were instantly hanged, drawn and quartered by a online lynch mob.

 

But then I read the details of the Sam Kriss story, in Cathy Young’s article. So, kissing on the way to a bus, after a night of binge drinking, is sexual assault? Who knew!

Read More

Real Women’s March is happening in Turkey

When my friend forwarded me this short article by the BBC, it was touching and pride filled moment; an incredible feminist alliance, standing up in the face of an actual oppression from men, unlike past protests and campaigns that are against futile and unwarranted apparent problems, western women ‘face’ which I wrote about here. Hundreds of brave Turkish women protested on the streets of Istanbul, against the antagonism and violence they face with the dress code that is enforced on them, chanting “We will not obey, be silenced, be afraid. We will win through resistance” after a rise of incidents involving men’s violent conduct towards women wearing more revealing clothing then what is expected of them.

 

I was sure that other feminists, including the intersectional feminists we all know I am so fond of, would be standing with their sisters, using their voice to back them up and unite for women’s right for fairness. Sadly, for the last 3 days I have been checking feminist sites such as The F Word, Feministing, and my all-time favourite, Everyday Feminism, but none had anything written about it. Instead their front pages are congested with articles such as 3 ways men wanting to ‘focus on her pleasure’ during sex can still be sexist, or how to be a feminist porn director. Important subjects no? Real paramount and pressing issues that women around the world are faced with every day.

Read More

Is Yoga really harmful? Depends on what you think “Yoga” is.

Recently, the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies published an article on the negative effects of Yoga in 350 participants New York, which states that it has caused severe pain in a third of those surveyed. So after 5000 years of standard practice of Yoga across the World, why is it only now people are seemingly becoming susceptible to injury and pain?

If we go back to the birthplace of yoga, and look at some of the most influential yogis and yoginis in India, you will find many have something in common. Take for instance Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, ‘The Father of modern yoga’ who is credited into reviving hatha yoga and being the architect behind the ever popular vinyasa. Krishnamacharya was mainly known as a healer, and used yoga to restore health. Similarly, B K S Iyengar, one of Krishnamacharya’s earliest students, throughout his childhood disease riddled his frail body and turned to yoga to restore his health. Despite 2 heart attacks through his life, he still died at the ripe age of 95, and still able to do a hand stand. Iyengar was a pioneer in bringing yoga abroad and founding the yoga practice known as Iyengar Yoga.

 

See a pattern? Here’s something interesting. I myself took up yoga, as a sufferer of joint disorders and chronic pain conditions, yoga was something that helped me recognise my body alignment, that paired with weight lifting and one on one coaching has helped me incredibly, knowing my misaligned my joints are and rectifying the problem instantly as I now read my body right. If I do it wrong, I’ll most likely dislocate a joint.

 

Yoga is theoretically, supposed to heal, restore and maintain a healthy life balance, aligning and strengthening by developing your relationship between mind, body and spirit. Some of the best yoga I have experienced has been more about the connection then the physical exercise and poses. Prana Kriya was something that connected me so much and so overwhelmingly that I cried after the session was over and it was more to do with breath control than long withstanding poses. Yoga is an art that takes time precision and immense concentration and listening to fully get to achieve the full benefits of.

 

Unfortunately, that’s where it went wrong in the West.

Read More

“I’m not a feminist” : What Kara McCullough taught me to say proudly.

For a working-class girl, who’s studying and working at the same time, let me be honest about something that I always wanted to declare: “I am not a feminist.” That F word has been captured by the intersectional postmodern left, given a complete makeover, and is now heading the realm of an authoritarian and fascistic campaign while proclaiming to be an emancipatory reform movement. This once truly and proudly progressive word helped women win some of the biggest battles, including fairness and free speech, among many others. Now the neo-feminist establishment is tarnishing the work of our foresisters, destroying the foundations of what was being built to create a world that man and woman can live side by side in total fairness, while dividing the movement further in race and completely manufactured gendered terms.

The latest victim to be attacked by this aggressive and mephitic army, just because they simple don’t agree with the extremism and bigotry these people are preaching? Our very intelligent, sexy heroine Miss USA Kara McCullough.

For the uninitiated, McCullough works as an emergency preparedness specialist in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response after earning her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry; at the age of 25 years old she just won Miss USA, and has been inducted in the National Society of Black Engineers and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Not only is she incredibly intelligent, she is also fiercely independent. Standing in front of the world, in one of the biggest competitions of her life, being judged on the kind of person you are, she decided to not sugar coat her opinions on equality and feminism, saying the brave words I started this article with: “I am not a feminist.”

The internet obviously lit up instantly, with sisterhood trolls gathering together to coerce and attack the tenacious scientist. Blasphemy, heresy, stupidity… I read it all on our illustrious Twitter hashtags (we all know how much I adore hashtags) none truly informing us curious audience, as to why not being a “man-hating” feminist is a bad thing.

This isn’t unique. Recently in the West, the postmodern liberal left seems to have some curious ideas as to what constitutes as real problems for women in the real world.

Read More

UKGE2017: Corbyn provides hope for the future

“For the many, not the few”.  A motto that almost half the country clang onto, some of which are people living in destitute, encased in the vicious circle of poverty which the Conservative party has contrived. The hope that Jeremy Corbyn had beamed from his manifesto benefited British people who were most in need, and a way out to break the cycle and an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet.

Under the 90’s Tory government, with John Major at the helm, I was a kid living on the tenth floor flat in one of East London’s many council estates, which were constantly featured on the 6 O’clock news for whatever crime had been committed. I was raised by a lone parent, my miracle mother, whom not only managed to survive on such a small amount of money, (we had £15 a week for food) but had to endure the constant abuse and degradation from MPs and the tabloids for being a single parent (obviously a choice she freely made…. Oh wait…) and we were all engulfed in the same vicious circle that the Tories had created; punished for not working, but no help or opportunity available to get out there at work. Childcare was a fortune, adult education was limited and the lack of working rights made working mothers life impossible to balance.

Then in 1997 Labour was voted in, and despite the questionable decisions Tony Blair made in regards to the wars we were plunged into, that government did a lot for my family and my childhood. My mother wasn’t siting in our 2 bedroom flat in Leyton enjoying being on benefits, scrimping and saving and struggling everyday while enduring hatred. When the opportunity arose thanks to changes Labour made, she went out and studied law. Then when Cameron was voted in, it again affected my adult life. Shockingly diagnosed with multiply lifelong conditions, which cause pain, fatigue and mobility issues at a mere 24 years old, I was unable to work, and was left to fend for myself. The austerity cuts killed people with disability, the stress made me want to kill myself. The stress that the cuts caused was unbearable, more unbearable then the constant pain I was in. I didn’t ask for this. As a person who had worked since she was 16 years old and studied, I did not see my life trapped in another Tory snag,

Like my mother I got myself out of that circle, but with no help from the people who serve us.

Today, after years of unnecessary austerity, the top earners paying less tax than me, disastrous campaigns from May and Corbyn taking the polls by storm, we still have the conservatives leading by vote. Me and every other labour voter are asking ourselves, why? 

Read More

Body Positivity is killing women: A Followup

1My previous post on how Body Positivity is killing women, went viral, thanks to Areo Magazine kindly republishing it.

It also raised some follow up question, and snarky comments, which needs to be followed through.

In the wake of the University of Birmingham’s extensive study, which states that people with a high BMI are at greater risk of developing either coronary heart disease, a stroke, heart failure or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) compared to healthy, normal BMI numbered people, now it’s time to finally admit the obvious, that being obese WILL cause health problems, and it is time to stop sugar coating the truth and start yelling from the roof tops the reality if one actually wants to start saving lives.

Read More

Body Positivity is Killing Women

What do the hashtags #IWontCompromise, #EffYourBeautyStandards, #DareToWear, #AndIGetDressed have in common? They are all ultra-intersectional feminist, “body positive” and accumulated over 700,000+ tags and counting on Instagram. Oh, and they are also killing women. Allow me to explain.

No matter how many ludicrous comments saturate pictures of these body positive heroines, obesity is still a massive (no pun) issue within the health system. £25,000 is being spent a minute within the NHS on diabetes alone. In total, an estimated £14 billion pounds is spent a year on treating diabetes and its complications, with the cost of treating complications representing the much higher cost. That number is just scratching the surface, with heart disease, high blood pressure and a copious amount of other obesity related chronic illnesses that is crushing health systems across the western world.

When the inevitable happens, and the obese patient is told that it is now a matter of life and death, the NHS seems to be freely handing out bypass surgeries at the cost of a tidy estimation of £32 million. Yikes. How many nurses would that pay for? How many beds would cater for generally ill people? Imagine how well equipped cancer wards could be with that nice little bonus? 

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Get the most important and interesting articles right at your inbox. Sign up for B+D periodic emails.