2016, Uncategorized

The Way You Look At Me

A blue, button-up dress; short, yes
Winged eyeliner good enough to take flight
A fresh undercut
A dazzling smile
I look dressed up, but not for a date
Not for anyone except my own darn self.

A quiet bookstore.
An old acquaintance
A quick hello, from me to them
A quick hello back and then
A look  –

A judgement?
An objectification?

A swift exit
A stroll down the street
I see a nice older woman and I
Offer a smile, but before it is returned
A look –

An unsavoury opinion?
A disapproving glare?

The resounding question on my mind is

What has changed?
What is different
For you to think you have the right
To look at me like you know some dirty little secret
Like my makeup and my outfit
Somehow means something about who I am inside?

And so that is the story of how
Even though I left the house looking great
My looking great was the exact reason
For the undeserved
Unappreciated –

For the stupid, unfair way
That you looked at me
And made me feel like nothing.

2016, Uncategorized

Why Gender Stereotypes Are Holding Us Back

“Wear a pretty dress.”
“Grow your hair long.”
“Put some makeup on.”

Or, you know, I could do whatever the hell I want.

Gender stereotypes are more outdated than rotary egg beaters. They’re dumber than Valentine’s chocolates on sale on Boxing Day. They’re worse than wearing pants on a Sunday.

The idea that someone born with female genitalia should be fragile, aesthetically pleasing (what does that even mean?) and sexually reserved is, apart from being astoundingly ridiculous and frankly, offensive, a notion that (shockingly) society doesn’t need to ensure the longevity of the human race.

The expectation for someone born with XY chromosomes to be emotionally colour-blind, physically strong and fearless to the point of recklessness is not only damaging to the psyche of every young boy who doesn’t fit this description, but is also making a princely contribution to the gender hierarchy that’s wreaking havoc on the bras of a few select feminists, and at the very least enraging a few billion less select human beings who believe in equality.

In simpler terms, gender stereotypes are stupid and we don’t need them.

My gender doesn’t affect my ability to smile at people when I’m walking down the street. It doesn’t change how many friends I have and love. It doesn’t impact how I word a sentence or blow bubbles, both of which I like to think I’m good at.

I play bass guitar. I play soccer with the guys. I’m pretty good at the parallel bars, a solely male sport. I’m fond of button-down shirts. I like feeling dapper. I am currently sporting a mad undercut with accompanying man-bun, but I’m not a man.

I spend too much money on tea dresses. I have a soft spot for Elmo. I feel most confident when I’m wearing fierce eye makeup. I love to sing. I like wearing earrings. I’m short and slight. I played with Barbies as a kid. I still take my teddy bear on every school camp. I adore John Green books.

It looks like I’ve separated these traits into ‘boy-traits’ and ‘girl traits’ – but the truth is, these are all just parts of my identity. None of these attributes make me more or less myself.

Stop using the words ‘girly’ and ‘manly.’ Stop telling people, especially kids and adolescents, to toughen up or act more ladylike. Everyone on the planet is made up of a billion different traits, all of which are intrinsically their own whether we choose to assign a gender to them or not. The only difference is a bit more self-esteem, a bit more confidence. A bit less bullying, a bit less unhappiness.

A bit more equality.



I think bedbugs are misunderstood.

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite! You’ll get a rash and die,” we are warned.

Funny, because I don’t think a bedbug would fancy being bitten by you, either.

Maybe they’re hungry. Maybe they’re lonely.

Maybe we just need to be more compassionate towards things we’ve heard about but don’t really understand.

This is a lot less about actual bedbugs than originally intended.

Anyhow. Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite. Or do let them bite, I don’t know, it’s your life.

Or we could all stop making sweeping generalisations about large and diverse communities that cannot possibly be represented by a small minority that may not even exist at all. Maybe not all bedbugs are bad.




The paper sits face down on the desk.
The teacher is already moving on to the people around me.
Groans of displeasure accompany fist pumps and war cries of a job well done.
The air is thick with one question: “What did you get?”

I wait until the people next to me have turned away.
Slowly, the paper is turned.
Slowly, my eyes travel upward to the numbers circled in red.
Slowly, the cogs of my brain start to spin.

It’s a good mark. A really good mark.
I absolutely cannot complain.
I worked hard for this, I know I did.

The boy on my left turns to me.
“What did you get?”
“Oh, I did pretty well, yeah.” I smile and turn away.
“No, but what was your mark?”
“A number.” I turn away again. He moves onto quizzing the girl on his left.

It’s not that I’m embarrassed.
I’m just tired of being judged for it.
“Yessssss!! I beat her!” Well done you. Jerk.
“She got that mark and I bet she didn’t even try. What a show-off.” Of course I tried, you moron.
“She doesn’t even look happy about it! Way to make me feel bad about what I got.” It’s called modesty, look it up.
“Is she seriously disappointed? With that mark? How arrogant can someone get?” I know I could do better than this. I know I can work harder than this.

But this mark, just now, this is one I’m proud of.
I know I put in the work.
I know I tried my best.
And it paid off.

But amid the mess of voices around me, only one rings clear.
The little voice that sits between my ears.
And this is what is saying:

“Well done. But… Could you do it again?”