Edition #4
March 12th 2021
On my mind this week:
It was International women’s day on the 8th of March and I am obsessed by one particular thought. Well you caught me, many thoughts about where women find themselves in 2021 but this is the one I’m sticking to today.

The baby parenting world is full of judgements and rules and reasons to do things or not to do them and is often a mind field of guilt bombs and not good enough parenting traps. Putting all of that aside I do think this one deserves contemplation. Here me out. I don’t as a rule dress my baby daughter in dresses. Almost never. My daughter is voracious in the speed at which she moves through the world. Wanting to be done with one stage while she is only just beginning it. She’s always ready for more. Before she could crawl she started dragging her tummy across the floor commando style and when she sees something she wants BAM! the speed at which this tiny human can move is a sight to see. So I don’t as a rule ever dress her in dresses. She needs her legs to propel her forward, to feel her feet planted firmly on the ground without something wrapping and bunching around her legs. To stretch out wide and tumble and learn she can catch herself. Dresses get in the way of that. One day if she wants to wear a skirt (and no knocking skirts and dresses I wear them too) by all means will I say yes but I remember vividly at school trying to do cartwheels while worrying about flashing my undies to everyone on the yard. Why on earth if the boys are wearing shorts so they can easily run and jump and kick and tumble unencumbered do we make girls where dresses? Paradoxically we then spend the whole time reminding them to close their legs and for goodness sake stop flashing their undies. "Be more lady-like" I heard a Mum say to her 8 year old daughter who was swinging from the monkey bars at the park. What if 'lady-like' really meant stand up straight, square your shoulders, assert your needs, set firm boundaries, run, jump, tumble, hang upside down, find your voice and use it. Be smart and funny and kind and brave. Tread your own path. When it's said casually to little girls it doesn't really mean that at all does it? It means be gentle, be softer, sit with your knees touching, for goodness sake don't hang upside down with your undies on display, remember to ask nicely, say please and thank you, be grateful, be smaller. How about instead of asking girls to be more lady-like we encourage them to wear shorts or pants (especially at school) so they can cartwheel and hang upside down to their heart’s content? No shame or constant reminding necessary. Free to be you and me. No babies in dresses at my joint thanks.
Something to read:
Simone de Beauvoir (January 1908 – 14 April 1986)

Just in case you're like me and Simone's name rings a bell but you aren't completely sure why, she was a very strident feminist, intellectual, philosopher, social theorist and political activist. I recently went on a deep dive into her writing after listening to Adam Grant talk about the need to be vulnerable and admit what you don't know. So here I am saying I really hadn't read anything much of her writing even though so many women I admire quote Simone de Beauvoir. ANYWAY here we are exfoliating shame and owning knowledge gaps so they can be filled rather than pretending. I wanted to share a piece of her writing that also really spoke to me after thinking a lot about my daughter (and my son) and the way in which I want them to grow into themselves while they are out there in the world. 

"On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in her strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself--on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life..."

For me this piece speaks to the heart of what it means to be in an equal, loving relationship (whether that is in our friendships, our family or with a partner and in a more intersectional context however you identify). When we value ourselves, delight in our strength, really get to the work of showing up in the world as we are, tell others in our close relationships what we actually really need and not abandon ourselves; when we stop trying to squeeze ourselves into a pretty box with a bow on top so that someone else might find us lovable. That's when love becomes joyful, sustaining and feels as Glennon Doyle would say like being held and free. At our wedding my pal Mo played a version of Clare Bowditch's song as everyone was existing the ceremony called
'One Little River'. There's a line that I love 'come on and let it all out. Go on say too much, let someone know you.' To me this is perfect. 

One final thing I'll say is that bringing your whole self to a relationship, setting your boundaries, letting the other person know what you need, does not mean that you are selfish. It should mean that they do the same for you and you can then be the partner that they need too. And if they don't? It might mean you need to walk away and this is the spiky end of standing in your own truth and valuing yourself - knowing when it's time to walk away from someone (or something) that isn't good for you. I think often as humans (and even more commonly as women though this happens in all different kinds of relationships) we think in order to make the other person happy or even be a good parent we need to forget entirely about what we need too. This in the end can lead to disaster. The most powerful lesson we can give each other and our kids is to deeply love and value ourselves so we have room, time and energy to also show up for the people we love.  

Just for you here is an exquisite performance with Australian singer-songwriting legends Bernard Fanning, Casey Chambers and Clare Bowditch called 
Watch Over Me.
Something to listen to:
I’m very late to the
Dua Lipa party but have become obsessed with her music after discovering a gorgeous set she played with her band on NPR’s tiny desk series for YouTube. The set they perform on is just as vibrant as their music and has kick started a new found obsession with pink and orange for me.
In fact the NPR tiny desk concerts are a boon that came from the depressing state of affairs that was (or still is?) world wide lockdown. 

Something to watch:
I’m obsessed with one film this week which I can’t wait to discuss with James on
 Suggestible (out every Thursday) but wanted to wait until he has seen it too. I won't put spoilers in here in case you would like to watch it to so we can all talk about it together. The film is called Moxie and the latest offering from one of my favourite comedians Amy Poehler. From Saturday night live skits to Leslie Knope in Parks and Rec this woman is a force and downright hilarious. I watched her previous Netflix film Wine Country and enjoyed it but this one - hooo boy! What a delight. It’s available on Netflix and if you do nothing else with this newsletter go and give it a watch. It’s a teen coming of age movie (Poehler directs the film and also plays a busy working mum. Her parenting style in this is just everything I want to be in looking after a teenager). The comedic timing is fresh and insightful, full of feminist rage and awakening around the double standards and misogyny apparent in the central character Vivian's high school. I immediately googled the song Bikini Kill Rebel Girls as it’s the raucous anthem central character Vivian listens to that inspires her to create a zine that begins to launch a revolution at her school. I then fell down a rabbit hole learning about the Riot Grrrl movement of the early 1990s – a feminist punk rock movement that began as a reaction to the growing punk scene and it’s lack of welcome for women. Bands including Bikini Kill with lead singer Kathleen Hanna were pivotal in it's creation and this video does a great job of explaining the history of the movement.

Something to Cook:
Easy Vegan Salad (curtesy of my glorious pal Moose)
Put one packet of bow shaped pasta onto the boil, cook until al dente, drain and cool. 
Meanwhile chop one purple onion into fine rings, one red capsicum into strips, top and tail two cups of green snow peas and mix in a large salad bowl with one cup of raw cashews and one cup of baby spinach leaves.
When just warm tumble in the pasta and add the following dressing at the last minute.
The key to the whole darn thing:
1/2 tbs honey*, 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs white wine vinegar, 1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs sweet chilli sauce, 1/2 tsp seeded mustard. Whisk it up or shake it in a small jar ready to transport to a BBQ. 

*secret trick for measuring honey. Tip the olive oil into your teaspoon measure first and then squirt in the honey. It should just fall straight off the spoon without the sticky hassle. You're welcome.

 Again happy belated international women's day and lots of love to you this week!
Tonts x
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I write today, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Copyright © 2021 Tonts, All rights reserved.

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