Confessions of a Drunk Feminist

By Anonymous

It’s 7.30am on a Saturday morning and, for some godforsaken reason, my phone alarm is ringing. My initial disorientation develops into sudden panic and I jolt up into a sitting position then fumble around to find my phone. For reasons beyond my knowledge at this moment, it is inside my bed. I quickly come to the realisation that my momentary rush of energy is not sustainable and, if I stay in this position for too long, last night’s McDonald’s Happy Meal (who still buys a Happy Meal?!) will resemble the furthest thing from ‘happy’ possible. It is the combination of these feelings that lead me to wholeheartedly accept that I am almost definitely still drunk from the night before. My head is pounding and the light seeping into my room from the crack in my curtains causes last night’s events to dawn on me. My palm reaches for my forehead in shame.

I did it again: I talked about feminism.

My stomach begins to swirl uncontrollably. At first, I think it’s probably the alcohol but it comes to my attention that it’s last night’s recollections that are causing me to feel this way.

I vaguely remember the conversation: it started with someone making a comment about the way a woman was dressed. Then it escalated and I was on a roll: safe spaces, equality in the workplace, and the value of care work – I lectured my peers with a sophisticated glass of Sauvignon Blanc in my hand on these topics of great importance. After a double G&T, I showed off with proclamations on intersectionality and self-regulatory behaviour and almost certainly dropped Foucault in to the conversation. Shots were downed and I veered to the feminist connotations of the Power Puff Girls and mumbled about how Disney combated and encouraged sexism simultaneously. I ranted about my confusion on Beyoncé being the feminist icon of the 21st century after another, less sophisticated, glass of wine, and recall debating one or more of Rihanna’s music videos. I said something about the constraints of body image and something else about the freedoms of it with a much-needed glass of tap water in my hand. I definitely shouted “DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY!” at least twice.

I eventually switch off my phone alarm and quickly turn the screen to face the bed. There is a high chance that I have clicked ‘Attending’ to some gender-related lectures on Facebook in my drunk state and left a passive-aggressive (mostly just aggressive) comment on the status of a classmate from primary school about how his views could be construed as sexist. Good riddance.

Now, let me make myself clear: talking about feminism is not a problem. In fact, it’s quite the opposite (see: every other article on this website). However, there is a time and a place for everything and I think it’s fair to say that 2am in a cocktail bar in Central London is probably not the time nor place to be delivering my feminist diatribe or any other semblance of intellect for that matter.

At the best of times I struggle to articulate my arguments in conversation and, given that drunkenness basically breeds poor communication and lack of clarity, trying to make a significant point in this state is virtually impossible and not advisable. You will not come across as intellectual, articulate and passionate. You probably come across as dogmatic, self-indulgent and aggressive. This, in my experience, is probably not the best way to illustrate your point, nor is it a good recipe for having a crazy-fun night out with your friends.

This occurrence of me trying to argue the feminist cause when intoxicated would not be so embarrassing were not the case that most of the people I hang out with are already sympathetic to gender equality. They have heard it all before from me. They have listened and been empathetic towards my concerns. They are not the problem and alcohol is also not the solution.

For the random strangers that I have engaged in conversation with while at a party or in a bar, they probably did not come out to hear a slurred rant on decreased government funding for domestic violence services or how unfair the Tampon Tax is. And when I say probably, I mean definitely, as much as I try to convince myself that that’s not true.

Moreover, talking about feminism has become a default position, an almost inevitable consequence of having a drink or two. If this were the occasional conclusion to a night out on the town, it would be fine. However, I am probably not doing feminism or myself any favours by ramming my ideas down people’s throats alongside a Tequila shot or two. I have become an oversharer, and just as people divulge more information than usual about their sex lives, exes and micromanaging boss when under the influence, I am no different as I bemoan the pay gap, maternity leave and how I need a husband who is willing to share the care.

Clearly, this is something that I care about a lot. Studies show that alcohol doesn’t make you become a different person – it just causes you to care less about how you are viewed by others. This could be related to self-regulation: there is a lack of ease talking about feminism in everyday conversation because of the stigma associated with it. One imposes a filter when discussing gender equality in everyday life for fear that others might judge them.

I mean, I would be inclined to agree with this if I didn’t already talk about these issues all the time: I have a Master’s degree in Gender and write for a website on the subject on a regular basis.

In truth, I probably just need to find more hobbies.

*

They say a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts. Well for me, it looks like a drunk woman’s words are her less well-articulated thoughts on women’s rights, equality and the patriarchy more generally. Friends, please don’t stop talking about feminism. In fact, talk about it as much as you like, even when you’re drunk. I have tried, and failed, to bring it up less. But it looks like I’ve become a trope that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The next time Buzzfeed brings out a list on The Types of Drunk Friend Everyone Knows, I will be asking them to add another: I am a drunk feminist and I am here to stay.

Mental Health and Gender: How Much Do Suicide Statistics Really Tell Us?

By Lindsay Riddoch

Trigger Warning: Suicide

In 2013, 6,223 people died by suicide in the UK. That’s more than 6000 individual tragedies, and many more friends and families whose lives will never be the same again. In reality there were almost certainly many more people who died by suicide than that – but coroners tend to avoid ruling suicide if they possibly can. Every single one of those deaths is, I believe, partially the responsibility of the whole community. It takes a village to raise a child, and for every child who fails to be given a life worth living, every member of that village bears some blame. Suicide is mostly at home in silence – in the hidden corners and closed wardrobes of the family home. It is right, therefore, that so many organisations fight to bring these statistics to our attention; that they attempt to shock us into talking about it, dealing with it.

I have for a long time bitten my tongue when it comes to the means with which many organisations use statistics about suicide. I thought – well yes, they’re not getting it completely right, but at least they’re raising awareness. However, as the issue of male suicide in particular moves to the forefront of people’s consciousness – as it becomes a key argument as to the problems faced by males based on gender roles – I think it’s time to bring these arguments to the fore. More men die by suicide than women. That is – with the caveats as to coroners’ rulings – a fact. However to attempt to measure the collective misery of a group, or to understand the public health risk factors for suicide merely by ‘completed’ attempts is a statistical fallacy – and a dangerous one.

Suicide statistics are well renowned as complex. They are recorded differently across the constituent nation states of the UK and based almost entirely on coroner rulings. Coroners will, as said, tend to rule a narrative verdict unless they can be certain of the intent. Therefore the deaths recorded as suicide will tend to underestimate the number of deaths based on methods that could be seen as ‘self harm’ – such as poisoning or violence to self. More than this, even if we were able to collect a solid data set on completed suicide this would be much less important, in my opinion, than a set on ‘attempted suicide’. Whether or not an attempt on one’s life is completed, and leads to death, tells us nothing. If we are attempting to measure distress, or work out ways to prevent suicide, then our focus should be on all those who attempt to take their own lives.

I know at this point that some would argue that ‘completion’ is a sign of intent. In other words that those who attempt to take their lives, and do not complete it, were ‘not as serious’. In my opinion this is not only factually impossible to prove, but very dangerous. No one outside the mind of the person who makes an attempt on their life can, or should try to, class how ‘serious’ that attempt was. It is true that people can use methods that could be used to take life for self harm – poisoning (overdose) being the most obvious example. However individuals, and professionals, know the difference between those two things. Taking one’s life requires a fair amount of knowledge, timing and chance. To imply that someone’s attempt wasn’t ‘serious’ as it wasn’t ‘completed’ demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of how the suicidal mind works – as well as the huge element of chance in completed versus non-completed suicides.

Whether or not you actively believe that suicides that are completed are ‘more serious attempts’, every time you quote statistics on how many more men die by suicide than women you are re-enforcing that idea. As far as we can tell women attempt suicide more than men do. The reasons they complete less often are widely debated but often stated in terms of method. Women will often choose a ‘less violent’ method, such as overdose. While overdosing is lethal there is a time lapse. This makes it more likely – the chance element – that someone may find them and take them to hospital in time. Perhaps this could also mean that more female deaths are not ruled as suicide, as they choose methods that could also be used as a means of self harm. There may also be an alcohol element – more men who die by suicide have drunk alcohol in the hours before, and alcohol problems are also more common in men who die by suicide. Alcohol would subdue the natural inclination to struggle or fight off the attempt – perhaps therefore explaining the difference in completion rates.

Basically though, we don’t really know why there is such a difference in completion rates. While it does show that there is a ‘gender element’ to suicide – in so far as the differences in methods and such seems to often divide along gender lines – it does not show that suicide is ‘more of an issue’ for either of the sexes. Suicide is a tragedy. Every single one of those 6,223 deaths is a tragedy. It is a highly personal, and complex, issue. Gender norms do create a multitude of issues for men, and difficulty discussing emotions is one of them. However the suicide statistics are not the right way to make that case. First and foremost because we shouldn’t be looking at ‘avoiding suicide’ as the end goal. The level of suffering shouldn’t be that intense before we want to change it. Suicide always represents a tiny part of the story, and when we focus on it we set the aim as ‘staying alive’ instead of ‘living a life’.

Furthermore, every time we quote the numbers on completed suicide we are, if accidentally, furthering a narrative of hysterical women who don’t really mean it. When we repeatedly quote only the statistics on the number of completed suicide we are silencing the great numbers of people who attempt it – and who then have to carry on living. We are feeding into the narrative that they ‘did not really mean it’ because if they had, they would have completed it. The reasons that more men complete suicide are complex, but they are not because more men wish to die than women. We need to keep talking about suicide. We need to make sure that everyone has resources available that work for them – including male specific initiatives like CALM – but we need to stop making suicide a gender issue. It’s a human issue.

Mental Health and Gender: Have We Been Failing Men?

By Lucy Campbell and Megan Carter

Originally delivered as the winning speech at the Young Local Authority of the Year 2016 public speaking competition by the representatives of Kent Council on Thursday 19th February 2016.

Trigger Warning: Suicide

Around 75% of all successfully committed suicides in the UK are male. This is not a new statistic – for thirty years men have been up to three times more likely to kill themselves. It has become our country’s leading cause of death for men under 50, with 13 male suicides every day. It’s a problem many feel strongly about, but there is a strange reluctance to address this as the feminist issue it is.

How we discuss gender has become strangely polarised – our treatment of men and our treatment of women is always considered separately, as if these behaviours existed in isolation. Over the last century, feminism has encouraged women to challenge traditional gender roles and improve their quality of life; but men have been largely uninvolved in these discussions. Despite campaigns like the UN’s ‘He for She’ trying to widen the debate, men’s lives are still governed tightly by gender norms. As feminism pushes for intersectionality – recognising the needs and rights of BME, LGBT and less affluent women – where men fall in this discussion is still uncertain.

It is important to note that patriarchy is not a dichotomy of men against women. For some men to have authority, there is a clear model of what a ‘good man’ is, and men who fail to live up to this standard are also punished and held in check. These are ‘unconventional’ men – homosexuals, househusbands, the androgynous, disabled, etc. The masculinity of these unconventional men has always been put on trial. This can have profound implications on their mental health, as their gender means they are expected to remain emotionally resilient, physically strong, and capable providers.

Let’s begin with emotional resilience. From our foundation years, we use gendered language to discuss mental wellbeing. We tell boys that ‘big boys don’t cry’ and to ‘man up’. We tell them which behaviours are ‘girly’ and that to show emotions is to be feminine. The British obsession with the stiff upper lip can have lifelong consequences for how men express themselves and use support networks. Half as many men share their concerns with family as women and two thirds as many share with friends. Retired men are at greater risk, as the loss of work relationships can leave them socially isolated. Even medical support is overlooked, as men visit the doctor 20% less than women. Consequently, men often turn to destructive alternatives, being three times more likely to become drug or alcohol dependent. Furthermore men are twice as likely to react angrily to distress. 50% of suicidal men have been in trouble with the police, leading mental health workers to question if we mistake male mental illness for anger. It could be that diagnosis and treatment is tailored better towards women. Men’s Health Forum, National Mental Health Development Unit and Movember Foundation have all concluded men respond positively to ‘shoulder to shoulder’ rather than ‘face to face’ therapies, as they feature peer support and ownership of a problem. Maybe this is why (despite representing most of the UK’s suicides) men make up only 38% of NHS ‘talking therapy’ referrals.

Clearly a perceived tenant of masculinity is concealing weakness – and this plays out emotionally and physically. Whilst many have not followed through in practice, we have become increasingly conscious of the language we use to describe women. However there is not the same self-awareness for men (and indeed some deliberately seek to objectify men’s bodies in order to even the odds). Aidan’s Turner performance in Poldark was infamous – for being topless and muscular. Men’s bodies are scrutinised, with clear notions of what is attractive and manly. Words like ‘dadbod’ mock the average man’s figure, and Dove has never launched an ‘every man is beautiful’ campaign. Is it surprising some men still equate muscles with manliness, regardless of the costs? Once a problem within professional athletes, UK steroid abuse now excels heroin users. NICE believes that 59,000 people took steroids last year; most users were male, with a young average age. There is a growing phenomenon of men, obsessively pushing their bodies to create the perfect gym selfie and have their appearance validated by others. But men also experience other forms of body dysmorphia. In 2014 the Royal College of Practitioners indicated a 66% increase in men treated for eating disorders in the last decade. But society regards these disorders, with their anxieties, concerns about appearance and need for control, as inherently feminine, locking men out of discussions and treatments. It is telling that society is willing to diminish the significance of this mental illness due to the strong associations with young girls – and risk harming everyone in the process.

Evidently many expect men to act emotionally and physically strong – and this is exacerbated by the persisting belief that they must be ‘providers’. Men are still judged by their capacity to support their families and more often than women their employment forms an irrevocable part of their identity and self-worth. Research reveals one in seven men may develop depression within 6 months of being made redundant and unemployment may treble a man’s suicide risk. Following the 2008 economic downturn, thousands of men were left without work or unable to support themselves – they had failed at being ‘good men’. But being a provider is not just financial – particularly for fathers. Just as women are pressured to balance career with family, men are expected to be increasingly involved with their children whilst working. Transitioning to fatherhood is filled with additional financial pressures, emotional moments, changed relationships with partners and less sleep and the Medical Research Council has observed the rise of Parental Postpartum Depression (PPPD); 3% of fathers had been depressed in the first year of their child’s life, 10% by the fourth year, 16% by the eighth and 21% by 12th. Yet little is done to address PPPD, despite the obvious benefits of cross-gender support for new parents fighting depression. And if we need anymore evidence about the importance of this provider role –the highest suicide rate is for divorced men, who have faced changes to their support systems, finances, and access to their children.

No doubt some will take this argument to mean that ‘women have gone too far’; others will say we’re ignoring the persisting issues women face within society. But equality is not a competition and compassion is not finite. It is possible to acknowledge that both genders are stigmatised and we can combat them together. This is a feminist issue – men ‘must’ be resilient, strong and providers, because women ‘must’ be emotional, weak and cared for. For many men who cannot fulfil how they ‘must be’, poor mental health is a consequence of these rigid gender expectations. There are a number of steps which can be taken to reduce the rate of male suicide; awareness of the prevalence, collaborating with local health boards to recognise the needs of vulnerable men, supporting charities with recovery programmes. But what is resoundingly evident is that men will continue to take their lives at a staggering rate, unless society recognises that men can be more than stoic, muscle bound heads of house – there is no right way to be a man.

 

LGBT* on the Streets

By Nick Burdett and Emma Simpson 

Originally delivered as a speech at the Young Local Authority of the Year 2016 public speaking competition by the representatives of Leeds City Council on Thursday 19th February 2016.

***

We make assumptions about homeless people. There might be people in this room that would stand up and deny that, but these assumptions are culturally produced and lie thick across our grey matter. Even if you aren’t making them, you will hear them from the mouths of others: lazy, drug addict, dangerous, mentally ill. The reality, of course, is that people become homeless for a large number of reasons. The way we speak about these reasons reveals us, as do the things we don’t say. Something that often escapes the assumption of grumbling pedestrians passing by the homeless is their sexuality or gender identity.

Queer is an umbrella term that can be used to define anyone that identifies as something other than heterosexual or cisgender. It indicates that someone exists outside of these social norms of gender and sexuality without specifying an exact gender identity, or with whom that person forms relationships. Queer is a fluid label that can help to create a bond for members of the entire LGBTQ+ community. Queer is still seen as controversial by some, because of its history as a slur, but it has since been reclaimed by many members of the LGBTQ community.

Of the young homeless people in the UK, the Albert Kennedy Trust estimates that one in four of them identify as queer. This isn’t simple demographic representation. One in four homeless young people aren’t gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans* because it mimics the rest of the UK community. The number of queer homeless youth is disproportionate to the known percentage of queer people in the general population. According to the 2014 Integrated Household Survey, more than 90% of 16-24 year olds identified as straight, with less than 3% openly identifying as L, G, B or T.

So what is the reason for this discrepancy? Leeds City Council, in its recently released ‘Housing Equality Improvement Priority Areas’ report, claims that, of people using homeless accommodation services in England, over 60% are young people made homeless due to a “relationship breakdown” with family and friends. One origin of such relationship breakdown is a child, peer or partner being something other than heterosexual or cisgender. Homophobia and transphobia mean that family acceptance and safe homes are not guaranteed for young queer people.

We are now coming out earlier and earlier than our contemporaries. Where people would come out in mid-life or in their 20s and 30s, young queer people today are coming out at 12 and 13. While this is a positive indication of social cues that affirm queer identities, it means that young people, who are forcibly expelled from their homes, or under threat from family members, are too young to live independently.

Young queer people are also likely to have already exhausted the usual social safety nets of school, friends or foster care. Gay and trans* youth face bullying and marginalisation from peers in schools and in foster care, and are too frequently met with misunderstanding or further discrimination from adults in those environments. The Metro’s ‘Youth Chances’ survey identified that over 40% of young queer people had suffered from harassment and a further group of more than 20% had been physically assaulted because of their orientation or gender identity.

Salt in the wound of this lack of support at home or in school is the absence of targeted material from shelters or local government programmes — something that became clear to us early on in our research. Though there are social support groups available to the young queer population of Leeds, these have proved very difficult to find and, as stated, contain no explicit mention of homelessness concerns. This contributes to the notion that homeless queer youth are unwanted and unprotected. Even where services exist, and can be accessed successfully, queer people may still end up fleeing due to discrimination or harassment. Where public services are the only thing standing between young people and living on the streets, this is not only dangerous: it is an invitation to homelessness.

In the ‘Housing Equality Improvement Priority Areas’ report, Leeds City Council recognises youth homelessness as a key issue for our housing services. The document speaks on how we have let young people down, how we must do more to reach them, but it says nothing about queer youth. Queer identities are not recognised as a priority marker within the housing needs assessment, or included explicitly in documents focused on homelessness. The authority signposts third-sector organisations working to resolve domestic violence and sex trafficking within the queer community, but does not refer to any Leeds-based services that tackle homelessness. Leeds City Council has also only recently introduced equality and diversity training for all staff, which raises questions about the preparedness of front-line services interacting directly with vulnerable queer people.

While we appreciate that many staff may have joined the authority before queer issues had come to the fore, these are barriers we must overcome — and quickly. We cannot assume that our messaging is reaching queer people: without an explicit focus on the particular needs of that demographic, it is unfair to expect them to feel safe in approaching our services. In 2006, Michelle Wang, a lesbian woman from Chicago, was turned away from a homelessness shelter after she told staff about her orientation. In 2014, a shelter run by the Salvation Army refused housing for a transgender woman on the basis of her gender identity. When stories like these exist, we must be proactive in reaching out. As Michelle Wang commented, “Too often, vulnerable people are too occupied with meeting their immediate needs to exercise their rights.”

While the situation for young queer people may seem dire, there are some institutions that are getting it right. Manchester City Council, for example, has worked with the LGBT Foundation to build a homelessness service specifically committed to examining the threat of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour as part of a needs assessment. Councils everywhere should be doing the same.

Not only that; local authorities must also tackle LGBTQ homelessness at its source by running programmes for family acceptance, and working closely with schools to support and protect queer students. Front-line staff must be trained in equality and diversity to prepare them for conversations around sexuality and gender identity, and queer youth must be named as a priority in housing policy. For too long we have overlooked or ignored the welfare of our queer citizens: it’s time for a change.

This is Why We Must All Celebrate Mother’s Day

By Noa Sasson-Brooks

I did not think this would be the title of my article.

I thought I was going to have an angry rant about the commercialisation of this day, about the suggestion it gives that mothers want to be given pink things, or overpriced chocolates and flowers – the production of which is destroying our planet with chemicals…. I thought I was going to write about how narrow-minded the cards one can buy seem to be, focusing as they do on thanking mum for all the cooking and the cleaning, all in pink; about how this deification of mothers is another way to make women feel inadequate when they become mothers, or doesn’t allow for the lonely road that is believing you are the only person whose mother is a bit rubbish and not worthy of thanks… And I thought I’d write about how alienating the holiday can be for single mothers, single dads and children of single-parent families.

I also thought that before I started ranting I should make sure I knew exactly what Mother’s Day is about. I had a vague idea that it has something to do with Easter but wasn’t sure exactly what. I researched the history and I have to say that, despite still believing all the rant-worthy things about the commercial side of the day, I have completely fallen in love with Mother’s Day and I will celebrate it every year until the day I die.

My history lesson starts with today and will work its way backwards.

The commercialised Mother’s Day we recognise today was modelled on something which started in America in the late 19th century, and has its roots purely in the desire to express appreciation for mothers. It was brought to the UK in the 1920s and by the 1950s was widespread and commercialised, which explains why there is still such a heavy emphasis on mid-century values of motherhood and homemaking in the cards and gifts widely available.

We in the UK, however, celebrate Mother’s Day on a different day to our transatlantic friends. Constance Penswick Smith, who was responsible for establishing Mother’s Day in the UK, was from a family of vicars and chose the traditional Christian Mothering Sunday to be the date of Mother’s Day. This explains why my Granny always calls it Mothering Sunday. But what was it?

It had historically been the fourth Sunday of Lent, a surprising feast day in the middle of Lenten fasting. It was a day when everyone, even servants, would return to their ‘mother church’ where they were baptised. It was the only day of the year when working-class families could all be together, as servants usually had to work on other holidays. Due to the celebrations taking place in the spring, there was an emphasis on flowers, decorating the church with flowers, and giving flowers to their mothers. There were even special types of Mothering Sunday cakes, which developed over time.

This is where my interest was piqued. Why the random feast day in the middle of Lent? Its real name was Laetare Sunday but became known as Mothering Sunday because of the return to the ‘mother church’? Really? The only information I could find about it is that it occurs on or near the vernal or spring equinox. Now I sensed pagan roots forming, and delved further….

The Romans had a week-long celebration of a demi-deity called Attis, and the day of the vernal equinox was supposed to be a celebration of his resurrection. Three days after his death. Involving carrying a tree trunk through the streets and being killed. Sound familiar? (Fun fact: the reason the date of Easter changes every year, despite the Romans’ scrupulous recording of events, is because it is calculated according to the first full moon after the vernal equinox).

But let’s talk more about Attis. He was the ‘husband’ of the Magna Mater, Cybele. When Cybele first decided to make Attis hers, by gate-crashing his wedding to a princess, he was so overcome by her power that he and his would-be father-in-law went mad and chopped off their own genitals. Cybele felt bad about this and made Attis a demi-god, and their followers in Greek and Roman society were eunuchs. There was another romantic spring festival for Cybele, the Megalesia, which was about agriculture and involved castration of livestock.

Who on earth was Cybele? I’ve always been interested in Greek gods and their Roman counterparts, but had never heard of Cybele. Well, she wasn’t technically a Greek goddess, but it was very common for these ancient empires to absorb the deities of territories they expanded into, to keep the people happy. The Greeks found Cybele strange and exotic but she was welcomed into their pantheon. Aside from her association with castration, she rode a chariot pulled by lions, and lived in the Leo constellation, and was usually depicted seated.

This is where it gets really good so stay with me. Cybele was originally a Phrygian goddess. She was the lead deity of their pantheon, but the only female. She was goddess of agriculture and fertility, and reigned as ‘mother nature’ from 1200 to 700BCE.

But before the Phrygian people, there was a society called Çatalhöyük, from around 7500BCE. Archaeologists have discovered a probable precursor to Cybele, in the form of many figurines of a female deity (and not very many male ones). She is depicted seated and pregnant, flanked by two lionesses. It is unclear whether she was a goddess of harvest, fertility or death, or all three and more. Many ancient religions linked fertility with agriculture, and birth with death, and represented them with a female deity. It is believed that Çatalhöyük was a completely gender equal society or perhaps a matriarchal one.

That is the end of my history lesson. Let me sum up this amazing theory: nearly 10,000 years ago, a powerful goddess was revered above all else. She clung on through the religions, being incarnated as various mother nature characters or fertility goddesses, associated with lions and always remaining powerful, to the point where the males surrounding her were castrated. And her festival has survived until today, and is now called Mother’s Day. And if that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.

By all means, join me in eschewing the commercialised aspect of modern Mother’s Day. But this is a day of ancient celebration of the power of all women.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not an anthropologist, theologian, historian, or even a Christian. I don’t want to offend anyone, and would love to hear more information on this topic from those more knowledgeable than I am.