Tuesday, 8 December 2015

I Just Really Love Plants


Hallo friends! 

Today I am just waking up from my bloggin nap to post some plant-related things. Because plants are friends. I love plants so much. I might even change my blogs' background to pictures of plants... If you're reading this and there are plants everywhere, I'm sorry! Not.


I am currently house-sitting in Katoomba in my dads little country cottage. He sure has a lot of cute plants. Like lavender! And chamomile!


PLANTS ARE SO CUTE. Look at these little cactus friends:


Plants are even pretty at night time when no one is looking. How do they do that?


Annika and I hanging out with some night time plants:



I am so happy that plants exist.


Look at these little plant friends! They are little earrings I got at a market. How are they so great?


Plants can help you to feel more indie if you're having a crisis! They are there for you, always. See how this plant helps me look better:


LOOK AT THESE PLANTS. THEY HAVE FACES. Undeniable proof that plants are your friends.


Sometimes I think that maybe I am a plant.


Which is Katie? Which is plants? Who knows.

I'll leave you with a video about some more really great plants:




Was this post some kind of irony? No. I just really fucking love plants. And now you know.

Xxx


Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Second Hand Emotion


Hallo again everybody!

I just want to quickly say that I am overwhelmed by the response to my last blog post. However many moons ago that was. You have made it so a pretty negative experience has meant that I am able to grow and share my experiences with you wonderful people. I really feel like I am headed in a positive direction, in so many ways- and it's largely down to all of you beautiful daisies who for whatever reason care about what I have to say. So thank you, you big badasses.




Now, I have actually had a lot of requests lately to write about luurrrrrrvee. Hence the really bad Tina Turner reference in the title. I'm really excited to write this post, and I really don't know where to begin. I have a lot of opinions on dating, love and romance and I try to look at it through my feminist-coloured glasses whenever I can. Personally, I am in a long-term committed relationship- but that doesn't negate what I am about to say. Being critical of something dos not exclude you from liking or participating in it. This is something I am arguing about with people all the time. Just because I have torn apart this coming-of-age teen movie from the 90's doesn't mean I don't enjoy watching it. Just because I recognise that something is problematic does not mean I don't like it, per se. 




I think that being critical of most things is the healthiest thing you can possibly do, even if you choose to participate in that thing; at lest then you are aware that it is a choice. Creating a space for yourself to make informed decisions after you have looked at everything critically is a really productive thing to do. All this being said, I recognise that I actively benefit from privileges that make it so that these choices are easy for me to make- such as being white and able-bodied for example. I am given a space to move and stretch and build my personality and identity that is not afforded to people who do not benefit from the same privileges, and that is a shitty thing that I actively benefit from. No decision I ever make to inform my identity will ever be attributed to my race and I am able to use my body to express myself in a physical way to attempt to empower myself.  I try to be aware of these things. And while I can't do much to change my lived reality, I can try to engage in a discussion wherein I am critical of this privilege and the discourses that they produce. It is an active and ongoing process and I think that the most important thing for me (and preeettyy much everyone who benefits from these privileges) to do is to just listen- so if you have anything you ever want me to correct, add, consider, anything, ever- just shoot me a comment.




Okay. So love. Lovely love. What's love got to do, got to do with it? Etc. Upon uttering the word I already have a kind of nightmare of songs internally playing in a mismatched medley in my mind. Say that sentence five times fast.


Mary Evans (2003) argues that the idea of love which is produced and reproduced in popular media  can lead to high expectations, disappointment and a sense of entitlement. She argues that an emphasis on individual autonomy and difference in the romance narrative has led us to believe that there is someone who can help us fulfil our full potential in our potential for love, and that failing that we are just going to keep trying (and failing) to find love through agent and empowered decisions about who we sleep with, who we date- basically who is worthy of our time. Because we are all made to believe that love will sweep us off our feet, that we will just know when we find love, that there is someone who can make up our other (better?) half- we don’t settle for second best. At least not in the same way that- in the past- a kiss was a contract. You may see your grandparents, married since they were younger than you are now, and compare it to your experience of searching for love: trial and error, chaos and uncertainty, in the quest for your one true love. And in making this comparison, you may ultimately render your grandparents love less real, or less legitimate than your experience of love. How, you ask, can they know that they are the ones for each other? To what extent are they faking it? And then you feel feel blessed and count your lucky stars that you don’t live in a time where you have your decisions made for you, in a time where you can choose to find love in your own time, on your own terms and suited to your own expectations.




But how much is this search actually conducted on “your own terms”? If we are to unpack notions and illusions of agency and individual freedom, it may be that we find out that we weren’t really calling the shots all along, but largely contributing in the continuing narrative of commoditised romantic love. This is maybe why we so often face disappointment. We are part of the processes of finding love, but love rarely presents itself as an end game, like a shiny reward for playing the romance game. I am not saying then that our grandparents have had it better (they haven't), or that I have come to realise that their love is more ‘real’ or ‘organic’ -like that is even a thing- I am suggesting that we do not currently live in a world where the discourse of love can be separated from the way of thinking that is specific to that particular time. 




A lot of this, I think, is a reflection of modes of production and the economic patterns of the time (bear with me on this one haha). Your grandparents’ love and consequent marriage could be said to be a product of them existing in an era of Fordist production, an era characterised by supply, demand and necessity (and I'm really sorry how much I am honing into your poor gramps here). The desire for security and stability meant that they were buying things more or less because they needed them, or at least because they thought thy did. How many times have you seen an old add for soap that's like: "Soap: It Will Make You Clean."? ...Or something like that. Haha.

In turn, my ventures into the search for love could be fostered in part by my existence in a Post-Fordist era of production, an era characterised by niche marketing, individualism and consumer flexibility. The way that love is sold now happens in so many different ways: the media and marketing, films, pretty much any thing that is highly visible and contingent with popular culture. We are asked in magazines: "Are you in the right relationship?" and we buy new clothes, apps, books and more in the quest to discover what we want in love.

Perhaps it is apparent that the way that we will experience love and intimacy is to at least some extent a product of consumer patterns and values. In recognising this, we can think about the discourse of love as constantly evolving to reflect the modes of thought reflected from consumption patterns. These routines and rituals are performed and reproduced so as to reinforce meaning, while at the same time creating some illusions of agency and personal identity. The way the romantic love is produced and reproduced in a cultural context will determine how the participants in that narrative will experience love.



We are living in a moment where love is a text, a narrative that is sold to us so that we can go on reproducing its effects. Expressions of love and intimacy have evolved, yes, but where do we go from here? Are we just going to keep doing, feeling (and buying) the same things over and over until we feel satisfied? Will we ever feel satisfied? Mary Evans (2003) argues that if we continue the way we are going, by capitalising on romance (and cashing in on disappointment), we will be faced with an ultimately pessimistic future, where romance and sex is readily available, but love is not. But what does this mean? What's so important about love, and how do we actually define it? As it is, the narrative of love is told time and time again in popular culture: through music, television, advertisements and the online world. This narrative is presented as though love is an achievement- like love can be earned, like it’s something that we are entitled to, like love can be bought.




Modes of intimacy and expressions of love are mutable. They are constantly changing and will do so as long as the world around us changes and expands. The way we relate to others is directly affected by the mediums through which we communicate these relations. For example, the role and impact of technology in love has been a hot topic for debate in recent years, with significant media focus on cyber-sex, simulation dating, social media and even artificial technology. The hot potato of moral panic that is being thrown around frantically is the question of authenticity. Have we "lost" love? If we have, what is at stake? Have we really lost authentic love, or was our understanding of it never really "authentic" in the first place, and in reality we are all just swimming along and changing and expanding as we go? The people screaming from rooftops (idk if they're actually doing this but hey) about the "loss of love" are so often mourning the supposed loss of, lets face it, heteronormative, monogamous and western/ euro-centric notions of what love is meant to look like. 




Dress: from a market
Socks: Annika's
Shoes: Thrifted- originally from Rubi Shoes
Brooch- Handmade for me as a gift by the amazing Hannah


So...is love "sold" to us? Is it catered to the individual? What are our expectations? Is it heteronormative? Is it authentic? WTF does that even mean?  Is the pleasure of love derived from the search or the result? Are we all super disappointed? So many questions. I don't know. Love is a tricky, wonderful, triggering and validating thing all at once.  It's political. It's stupid. It's important.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or on my Instagram  or Tumblr.

Love always (haha),

Katie Buddle

x


Evans, M. 2003. “The Future of Love” in Love: An Unromantic Discussion. Cambridge: Polity. Chapter 6: pp. 124-143; 153- 155.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Let's Talk Sexual Harassment/ Wearing a Sexy Dress


Hey there!

CW: sexual harassment

Alright everybody. I am about to rant. A couple of times. I'm sorry I have been more or less AWOL over the past month (unless you follow me on Instagram), but I have been silly busy with the ins and outs of getting a job, starting my third year of university, taking care of my mental health and baking mango cakes.

But before I launch into my rant I feel like it is very important to introduce you to this dress:


This is my one of my favourite dresses. Like most of my stuff, I got it cheap at a thrift shop. It's comfy, flattering and makes me really love my body. I call it my "super hips" dress. And I would pretty much live in this dress if I didn't cop street harassment for it every time I go out in it. Literally. Every. Time. I live near a major road, and walking to the bus stop is really becoming an exercise in how many ways I can creatively respond to/ ignore gross cat-callers from cars.


Before heading over to Annika's house to take these photos, I sent her an exasperated message detailing the ins and outs of yet another shitty walk to the bus stop in this dress (she also has also written a fucking fantastic open-letter to cat-callers here). It was a really hot day, I was grossed-out, sweaty and bothered and had absolutely zero  tolerance for bros, so I got my teeth stuck into some searing and shouting, which to an outsider would make it seem like maybe I am an incredible bad-ass who doesn't get scared or isn't made anxious by shit like this. This is not true. It frightens me. It can ruin my day, hell, it can ruin my week. Over time, this kind of crap can, and does, ruin women and gender non-conforming people's lives.


It is a deadly serious issue. This is not about some well-intended dudes who just want to wish you a nice day as they speed off down the highway. This is about cis-men's perceived entitlement of the body of basically anyone who is not a cis-man. This is about the strategic layering of masculinity and power over time that continues to build an empire of misogyny in which we still reside in.

This video came across my newsfeed this morning, and it is a fantastic SBS report on sexual-harassment in Australia. According to this report, 83% of women aged 18-24 experience abuse from random guys in public. Definitely worth a watch.


Post by SBS 2.




Now, without a doubt the most time consuming, exhausting and difficult thing I have been doing recently is trying to get a job. I have worked in countless crappy waitress jobs over the years, and it's taken its toll on my well-being. From the misogyny spewed out from the some of the self-appointed small-business overlords to the snide, sexist remarks from my customers (no sir, sorry, I am not "on the menu" and I also don't "come with the special"), it has been a roller-coaster of tiring, sometimes terrible, sometimes incredibly fun and rewarding and always exhausting under-paid work days broken up with days of great tips that would sometimes be claimed by my boss because apparently I didn't work hard enough.





So, yeah. I am pretty over hospitality. So over the past year, I have been volunteering with The Trading Circle, an amazing not-for-profit business that sets up producer groups of women around the world living in poverty or hardship, and seeks to foster their skills while at the same time creating a source of fair income and trade. We sell their crafts in our shop, and the profits go directly back to them. It has been a wonderful place to work, not only for the amazing work behind the scenes but because of the amazing and supportive community I have been a part of, that has been a world away from my experience as a waitress/ barista.



So I decided recently that I have enough experience to break out into the world of paid retail work, and have successfully landed an awesome job at a not-for-profit second-hand boutique store in Sydney, run by an acclaimed international charity organisation. So that's pretty damn cool, and I get to manage the whole store for two days every week, going through donations, making the store pretty etc. I've only just started, but I love it. I feel lucky, and privileged to have been given such an opportunity.


(This is my favourite necklace, given to my by my gorgeous friend Rasiha for my birthday. Jeanette Winterson is one of my favourite authors, and writes fantastic things on the body and feminism.)



But that is the cool part. The not-so-cool part happened during another interview for a retail shop in the city.

I arrive, dressed in my smartest interview attire. Manager-dude shakes my hands before standing back, aghast by the amount of "electricity" we appear to share. I nervously laugh and try to remain composed. I want the job. During the course of the interview, the man attempts to stand over me, while asking me if he was "intimidating" me. He then tells me that he "knows (I am) a girl, but this job is more than just pretty things", before telling me that he and I could "get into real trouble here". Before I leave, he confides in me that no, I probably won't be getting this job, because sure I am perfectly qualified but he thinks I am too attractive for the role, and that I could get him into trouble because we are obviously so attracted to one another. 

"But" he says, "I want you to come back and visit me Katie. Come and visit me tomorrow."

I left the store quickly and called my friend for support, and then received a phone call from him asking where I lived.



I ended up filing a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission and being involved in a series of events wherein this man was heavily reprimanded for his actions, and out of some miracle the CEO of the company was this amazing woman who helped me every step of the way. It is not always that easy to get justice though, so if you have been victim of an kind of sexual harassment in a workplace environment and live in Australia, don't feel like you have to keep it to yourself.

The Human Rights Commission lists example of sexual harassment occurring in the workplace (which happens to 1 in 5 women), including:

  • staring or leering
  • unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against you or unwelcome touching
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • intrusive questions or statements about your private life
  • displaying posters, magazines or screen savers of a sexual nature
  • sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
  • inappropriate advances on social networking sites
  • accessing sexually explicit internet sites
  • requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates
  • behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.
If you have experienced any of this, or anything else that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to say something, either to someone in a higher position, the HRC, a friend, or heck, me. I am more than happy to help if you need, and if so please send me an email at katie.j.buddle@gmail.com.



So that concludes the story of this sexy dress and my new job. Well, not really, but I am reaching critical lows of energy and need to take a nap. Because this is draining. But what is exciting is the potential for change, and our ability to reach out to one another and connect. We can get shit done, and it's hard, but we are doing it. So well done us.

Love always, 

Katie B xxx



Friday, 13 February 2015

I Bought This Shirt For Someone Else/ What About Me?


Hallo!

(If you're wondering, my obnoxious and constant misspelling of "hello" that I say at the beginning of every post is here to stay, coz it's cute, or whatever.)

I've been pretty busy since my last post, and the most notable thing that has happened is that I got a job in a bookshop! At my university! Woo! So I'm pretty stoked about that. I had some pretty horrible experiences looking for jobs, that I plan to make another blog post about later- feat. sexual harassment, conditioning, and wom*n in the workplace. That will be a fun one, so stay tuned.



(outfit details at bottom of post, including this awesome brooch)



Today I wanted to just take the opportunity to tell you some incredibly interesting and thought-provoking things about myself. Not really. This post was mainly inspired by the first things I saw when I looked around my house.



I also wanted to take pics today because it's the first day in a couple of weeks that I've felt pretty good about myself and wanted to make note of it. I've mentioned before that the heat makes me a bit of a rage monster and recently it has been no different, and I certainly haven't felt like taking pictures of myself in my clothes.

 I pretty much have been wearing clothes for as long as necessary to be socially appropriate and then stripping down as soon as I am home. It also doesn't help that my laundry situation has become entirely unmanageable:



Yeah... I'll get to that. 

But today I was just rummaging through the clean clothes I have left, and I found this shirt that I orignally bought at the thrift shop for Annika's gorgeous boyfie and one of my bestest ever friends Luciano, like months ago. But I put it on coz it looked comfy. And it is. And I like it. So I am taking it back before I have even given it to you. I love you that much Luci.


(Don't really know what I'm doing with my face or hands here)

Okay so lets take it away with a couple of incredibly interesting and not at all mundane fakts about Katie Buddle! That's me.

1. I play the flute.


I've actually been playing the flute for going on 11 years, although I had a bit of a hiatus up until recently when my beautiful mum bought me a piccolo flute to refresh my interest. I really love it, and I'm always kind of surprised when I can just pick it up and play it. I had kind of forgotten I could do that.



2. I have very bushy eyebrows that I used to be very self-conscious of and sadly was bullied about when I was a kid. My mum used to painstakingly pluck and wax them for me because I was so worried about fitting in. Now I just let them do their thing. 

I also get hairs on my chin and sometimes weird hairs on my neck. Thank you, Italian genes. Oh yeah while I'm at it,



3. I am part Italian, and my family are from Reggio Calabria. I have a nonno and a nonna and I am the only one on that side of the family who got a freckly red-head gene, so I tend to stand out a bit at family do's. This is a picture of me, my mama, my nonno, my auntie and my beautiful cousin Jade.

4. I have freckles everywhere. Including my knees, my shoulders and my elbows.







Turns out taking pictures of the freckles on your elbows and knees are really difficult though. At least I tried?


5. I collect dolls. 



This is just a sample. Most of them are safe at my mum's house, and they are all creepy porcelain dolls too. I try to buy dolls from different countries when I visit, and a few of these gorgeous grrls are from Estonia. Annika is also keeping one of my favourite dolls, named (creatively) Katie-Doll, safe at her place for a while, because she fell out of my pocket.



6. I also collect tea cups and tea pots and all related things. This is tricky to do in a share house, so I have taken to surruptiously placing them about the place and delegating them to specific tasks, such as um, toothbrush holder? 




Scrabble piece storage? I don't even know.




This is one cupboard among many that is filled with my tea crap. Good thing we have a big kitchen.



(I only just noticed that underneath my teapot chalkboard and next to the photo of me and Annika is a tiny tiny little toy teacup. I didn't even see that when I took the photo. Far out.



Shirt/ Dress: Thrifted/ Vintage
Winnie The Pooh ring- Thrifted from Helsinki
Earrings: Thrifted/ Vintage

Okay, that's all from me for now, largely because my phone camera has run out of storage space and my SLR needs new batteries. FYI I also collect aprons. I have over 30 of them. Eeep.

Oh, actually

7. I am a feminist. This one should be pretty clear to those who follow my blog, but if not, there you have it. I am a feminist and I collect aprons and teacups. Does that make me less of a feminist? I think nope, and I have already explained my thoughts on femininity and feminism in this post, which was featured in Tigress Magazine.

I think it's also important for you all to know that I do my best to support a feminism which is intersectional in it's approach, meaning that it recognises the intersection between things like race, sexuality, gender identity, class, and ability. 

So far I have tried to address things that are specific to my feminism, such as mental health and body image, but I am hoping to expand this over time. I also don't want to take up space that should be occupied by those experiencing various other points of intersection. I would love to feature guests here eventually, and have a few things lined up- at this point it is mainly down to my organisational skills. If you have any suggestions for things you'd like to see on my blog, please let me know!

Love always, Katie xxx