I’ve recently left work at the Citizens Advice Bureau to take maternity leave. My work is primarily in benefits advice and I am a huge benefits geek. It’s a combination of the intellectual exercise of manipulating regulations along with the pleasing sense of mastery over a system that appears all powerful and capricious when you are on the other end of it. I love it.
20 Aug 2012 Leave a Comment
03 Apr 2012 1 Comment
It seems like this couple:
managed to get the internet up in arms after over their cultural appropriation of depression era poverty as their wedding theme.
This reminds me of something that happened when I was planning my own wedding.
Hampstead Heath is a beautiful big park in London, which I just adore. At the top of the park is Kenwood House, an old manor house which is now run as museum and restaurant.
Kenwood House is licensed to perform marriages and I loved the idea of having my wedding there. I could picture myself coming out of this big white building, family and friends around me and looking out over rolling parkland at all the families picnicking and the kids running around. I just thought it would be perfect.
Hiring a manor house does not come cheap but I was encouraged to see that they also do a reception package in the kitchen, which is a good sized room, and can be decorated in something called “shabby chic”: which seems to involve a lot of meadowy flowers in mismatched vintage milk jugs and oldie worldie style table cloths and doiles and so on.
Her own mother however (my grandmother), was “in service” from the age of 12 and clearly, the experience has cast a long enough shadow that the idea of celebrating anything “below stairs” still carries with it a sense of horror and shame. Even for the next generation. Even 70 years later. And yet this response had not, for a second occurred to me.
10 Aug 2011 7 Comments
A brief glance over the news in the past 24 hours and you would be forgiven for thinking this country feels more for property than human beings. “The worst rioting in decades as crowds of youths smashed windows, emptied shops of their goods and set properties on fire.” (Sky News)
Images of burning cars, shops and other buildings are splashed all across newspapers and news websites. Hardly a mention anywhere of the human element , aside from the obvious demonisation of young hooded ‘thugs’ looting shops and clashing with police.
“Rioting has spread across London with cars and buildings set alight on a third night of unrest, with trouble flaring in other English cities.” (BBC)
14 Jul 2011 9 Comments
in About the Blog, Language Tags: class, discrimination, exclusion, gender, gendered language, language, manifesto, microaggressions, oppression, pejorative language, race, representation, rules, Scotland, Scottish languages, slurs, transgender
You won’t read the slurs in this post again on the Village Aunties, unless it’s under very particular circumstances. The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the following clause in the Village Aunties guidelines page, Take Heed:
Village aunties challenge language and actions that reinforce oppression.
Use of language on this blog that reinforces sexism, heterosexism, racism, transphobia, and class oppression (to give but a few examples) will not be tolerated. Not taking heed will get commenters summarily banned according to the sole discretion of the village aunties.
This includes such terminology as “ned”, “chav”, “pikey”, “white trash” and other insults regarding people’s position in the class structure. It also includes “teuchter”, “weegie”, “Gaelic mafia” and other terms (including sectarian slurs) used to insult people according to where they belong in Scotland’s cultural landscape. Exceptions will be made only for individual village aunties who rightfully claim a label for themselves, and for the use of words from Scots or other languages in the context of that language, as long as they are used non-pejoratively. For instance, self-identified ned feminists are more than welcome; as are posts written in Scots that use the word “teuchter” in its original sense.
Many readers may be shocked, puzzled or annoyed to read the second paragraph. The white people among us (which includes me) know we can’t use “the ‘N’ word” or “the ‘P’ word”. Most of us understand why. There are a range of words in between these almost universally acknowledged slurs, and general insults like the lovely Kiwi insult “ya egg”, where the degree of taboo, offense or potential hurt or exclusion are debated.