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Dear feminist,

Januari is ten einde en dat betekent alleen maar positieve dingen; de lente is weer wat dichterbij, Dry January is eindelijk voorbij en er komt weer meer leven in de brouwerij. Vaak ervaren mensen januari als een maand van sleur, somberheid en een maand die niet op lijkt te houden. Dus om jullie uit deze winterdip te krijgen, hebben we onze Feminist Mail geheel gewijd aan inspirerende feministische makers. Creativiteit moet gestimuleerd en beloond worden, en al helemaal als het van vrouwen komt. Voor mijzelf helpen een aantal dingen zeer goed tegen zo’n maand als deze. Hier komen ze:

  1. Ga wandelen, al is het maar een rondje door de stad. De benen strekken en naar buiten gaan helpt enorm tegen negatieve gedachten die in je hoofd vastzitten. 
  2. Een beetje verwennerij op zijn tijd: voor mijzelf betekent dat warme chocomel met slagroom en mini marshmallows, maar voor jou wellicht een kaasplankje met een glas wijn (voor mij ook wel, ik vind alles lekker). 
  3. Focus op de (nabije) toekomst: ook al is het nu nog koud en grauw buiten, de lente komt er snel aan en daar ga je geheid van opknappen. Houd die gedachten vast als je weer eens op kantoor zit en er niks uit je handen komt, of in de collegezaal en de docent lijkt een eindeloos lang verhaal te vertellen waarvan je bijna in slaap valt. Voor je het weet loop je de deur van je werk of school uit en staan de zonnestralen weer op je gezicht. 

En ik durf zeker te zeggen dat ik enorm naar die zonnestralen verlang. Al ben ik best een fan van de kou. De afgelopen maanden ben ik zeker iedere dag buiten geweest om te wandelen (zie tip 1), ook al is het hartstikke koud. Maar als ik binnenkort mijn dikke sjaal en handschoenen niet meer aan hoef,  ben ik toch wel erg blij. 
 
Stay warm, happy en have fun reading!
 

Lisanne van 't Riet
Redactie You've got Feminist Mail

Rhaida el Touny

Foto: Joyce Jeroense

Liang de Beer en Rosanne Schot

Rhaida el Touny is illustrator en visual content creator. Ze noemt zichzelf geen feminist, maar met haar werk waarin krachtige vrouwen centraal staan, inspireert ze via Instagram. Tijd om kennis te maken met deze jonge maker uit Den Haag: ‘Als je echt iets wilt, ga er gewoon voor. Desnoods via een omweg!’

Een jaar geleden ben je voor jezelf begonnen, hoe heb je dat tot nu toe ervaren?
Natuurlijk tekende ik al langer, maar sinds een jaar ben ik serieus werk gaan maken van mijn Instagrampagina. Inmiddels komt 80% van mijn opdrachten via dit platform binnen. Ik doe zowel freelance illustratorklussen als mijn eigen creatieve werk, maar ik was ook online beeldredacteur op freelance basis voor de Happinez. Een van de leukste dingen om te doen, is het maken van gifjes! Mijn gifjespakket heeft al 25 miljoen views. Wat voor mij belangrijk is in ondernemen: ik kan helemaal mezelf zijn. 

Jezelf kunnen zijn, is dat een van de redenen dat je voor jezelf bent begonnen?
Nu ik voor mezelf begonnen ben, kan ik zelf bepalen waar ik werk. Maar vooral: ik kan dragen wat ik wil. Ik ben een moslima met een hoofddoek. Sommige bedrijven willen meisjes met een lange jurk of hoofddoek niet aannemen. Voor een stage moest ik 20x meer mijn best doen. Een docent zei ooit: als je moeite hebt een stage te vinden, dan moet je kortere kleding aandoen. Ik kan nu compleet open zijn over mijn identiteit. Op Instagram leg ik graag meer uit over de  islam en waarom ik ervoor kies om een hoofddoek te dragen. Via social media ontvang ik veel steun, ook van niet-islamitische vrouwen.

Welke verhalen wil je graag vertellen in jouw werk? 
Diversiteit is belangrijk voor mij. Ik ben altijd geïnspireerd door vrouwen met verschillende achtergronden en culturen. Ik wil vrouwen met verschillende huidskleuren, lichamen en kledingstijlen tekenen. Mijn eigen creatieve werk gaat bijna altijd over vrouwen: het is een ervaring die ik herken en die dichtbij mijzelf ligt.

Lees verder op de website van FEL.

Insta(nt) inspiration from Rhaida

Feminist Art

Rosa Koenders

Instagram can be the place where we marvel at the fabulous lives of influencers and become insanely jealous. Or it could be the place where we get inspired by food, make up and art. I know what I prefer! Some of my favorites. 

Becca Rea-Holloway runs an instagram account called The Sweet Feminist, in which she uses her incredible cake decorating skills to be vocal about a diverse range of topics. Her pies are focused on feminist issues such as the gender pay gap, abortion rights, toxic masculinity and birth control. Becca does not only create edible masterpieces, but she also uses her platform to write insightful captions about important topics. One example of a caption, that I believed was striking and so well written: “I talk a lot about street harassment. But it’s not enough to talk about my anger at the time some guy grabbed me and told me (a straight white woman) he wanted to fuck me. I also need to be talking about the ways this type of gendered violence is often compounded by other factors (such as anti-Blackness, homophobia, and transphobia). Me being grabbed on the street is part of a greater system of white supremacist patriarchy and control. We are all affected by that system in different and varying ways.”

Bodil Jane is an illustrator based in Amsterdam and she runs an Instagram account where she shows off her stunning illustrations. Her illustrations are not only beautiful, but they show a great deal of diversity, which is something we will never get tired of. Her captions are not explicitly feminist, but her diverse portfolio shows that she does not need activist captions to inspire people. She has created awesome stickers/GIFs for instagram, so you can definitely spice up your new Instagram story if you search for bodiljane in the ‘stickers’ section. 

Nikkie de Jager (well known as NikkieTutorials) is a true artist with makeup. She does not only create fabulous red carpet-ready (or grocery store-ready) looks with her skills, but she is also teaching people the so called ‘power of makeup’. In a recent video, Nikkie told her audience that applying makeup has been a form of therapy for her and that it has helped her through some tough times. She is also well known for her amazing complete transformations, such as Mrs. Grinch.

How to get yourself a feminist tattoo

Willemijn Schmidt

I managed to find the perfect match between me and a tattoo artist during my backpacker time in New Zealand. It was my second tattoo and it was set by @thegal.draws, an artist from Auckland whose account I found one of my Instagram-hunts (“so where did she get that tattoo..?”). After she posted a tattoo she just finished, I knew I had to contact her while I was still on that side of the world. A now-or-never kind of situation. After two glasses of wine in a backpacker bar in the middle of the mountains, I shot her a message and just hoped for the best. A positive reply, an 11-hour bus ride completely out of my route and one rented Airbnb later, we met each other.
 
How do feminism and tattoos come together? My experience in New Zealand made something very clear to me: I want to get tattooed by someone empathic, inclusive and feminist. The tattoo industry is dominated by men and hypermasculinity and it can feel like the tattoo shop is everything but a safe space. But getting my tattoos feels like the ultimate move in reclaiming my own body, in no small part because of the stories of the people who designed and tattooed them. Instagram is now the place where feminist artists and tattoo lovers find each other.
 
Don’t mind traveling all the way to New Zealand? Or are you looking for some Insta-inspiration closer to home? Here are some of my favorite artists directly into your feed:

Dear feminist,
We would love to get to know you! In order to keep improving our newsletter, we want to get to know our audience. Please fill in this short poll.
Thank you!
Fatima Jarmohamed

For the new decennium I have promised myself I will hold selfcare in an even higher regard than I already did. Taking the best care of myself allows me to be my best self and I know I thrive with good food, enough sleep and relaxation, great company, regular journaling. So for this new decade, I  feel that my selfcare routine can be spiced up. I’ll take that extra twirl of creativity, please! 
  • Take long walks in the city / forest / park with your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb Mode’. Allow yourself a few hours without messages and other notifications and pay more attention to your surroundings. Take mental pictures and try to soak up sounds and smells. You don’t have to draw the sights you have seen – try to walk the scenic routes and just enjoy the view. And of course, taking the occasional picture with your phone is still a possibility. 
  • Use your body in a different way. Trying to sketch with your non-dominant hand will reset your way of drawing a bit. Have you already discovered your ‘non-dominant-hand’ handwriting or ever tried brushing your teeth differently?
  • Write down your dreams and use your dream as a starting point for a short story! Had a dream about a big dog in the park carrying a big carrot? Well, he’s obviously building his carrot house for his friend Robbie Rabbit, whose house was damaged during the Winter Festival. Tip: highlight the elements of the story that you  actually dreamed, so your stories can double as your dream diary. 
  • Go to the museum without any expectations. Don’t read the information on the art pieces (yet) and try to be as mindful as you can be. Just admire the art (or not) and recognize which art pieces make you happy and try to turn that brain off as much as possible. More and more museums offer mindful activities that allow the visitor to be fully present and engaged with the art.
NikkieTutorials' video currently has 33m views.

Rebecca Spruijt

All over the world, people were notified of the fact that Nikkie de Jager (known on YouTube as NikkieTutorials) was blackmailed into ‘admitting’ that she is transgender. Many had an opinion about this, whether on her looks, her gender (woman/transgender) or her position to be a role model. The reaction in itself is newsworthy. 

Many people act as if her life, her body and her identity are a public issue, open for debate. As if they were entitled to state an opinion about Nikkie. It is of importance to give attention to the reaction, without participating in the debate.

Nikkie was forced to make her statement. Until now she chose to keep it private, and that choice was only hers to make (not making a statement to take back power over your own life). However, recently, she uploaded another statement in which she is thankful for all the love, support and warmth she has received from people all over the world. 

This shows that despite the coercion behind her first statement, and some nosy reactions,  an extensive share of the reactions towards Nikkie was positive and loving. Let’s hope that this is a foretaste of what 2020 is going to bring!

Reflection

approached it
never owned one
like that
before
 
that big
 
looked in it
didn’t see herself
saw a basket of flaws
 
forced herself to keep looking
sure it could be done
read it on the internet
 
assessed what she saw
from head to toe
 
neutral judge
the way others
would see her
as instructed
try to be mild

the top of her head
Hair. Ginger. Frizzy.
Unruly ball of fuzz
 
No. Stop. Again.
A deep, bright red
 
Now, the face.
Round puffy fat.
 
Wrong.
Round, but intelligent.
And cheerful.
 
Down. Neck.
a long neck.
Mother had often said
it saved her
from the double chin.
Stopped saying that.
 
She didn’t mind it
so much
 
Down. Once
collarbones had poked
through her skin
Not anymore.
only gratitude

Shoulders and upper arms.
Shapely curvy womanly.
 

Boobs.
Heavy bags to be restrained
by torture devices.
But the internet had also said
a bra that fits
exists.
 
Down. Belly.
this part had stayed
flat and acceptable
the longest.
 
smiled at her belly
Someone lived there
now.
 
A girl
the doctor said
 
couldn’t shouldn’t hate herself
in front of a daughter
 
It stops here
 
Hips. Turning slightly
examined the slope
of her back and ass.
 
He grabbed
the hips and ass,
the man who would be
father.
 
why that ever scared her?
 
Thunder thighs
can carry any load
 
Calves, feet.
The feet sometimes
complained.
It might be better
for them to not
carry so much.
 
could feel the darkness
behind that thought.
 
A darkness she would not
pass on.  

Paula Breuning

Inspiration from Sanne Thijs
Woot woot! There is a lot going on in feminist Leiden:

Join us on Galentine's
Galentine's Day is the day dedicated to sharing your love with your lady friends! Join us on Sunday February 16 at 3pm for some wine and tea as we write love letters to our closest friends and ourselves. We'll send you the letters you write to yourself within the next eight months as a nice reminder of self-love. Bring along a book you love to add to the new FEL Biebje - a feminist library in Leiden where you'll be able to borrow and trade feminist reads.
RSVP here for some #sefFELove

And there's more...
The FEL team is looking for new board members (Treasurer + Secretary/Communications) and volunteers for the events committee. Do you want to learn and grow as a feminist? Be part of a creative team? And have 2-4 hours a week available? Get in touch!
De afgelopen maand stond ook in het teken van de Leidse Top 50. In de aanloop naar Internationale Vrouwendag 2020 gaan we op zoek naar de 50 vrouwen die in Leiden het verschil maken. De Leidse Top 50 geeft vrouwen een podium die het afgelopen jaar iets betekend hebben in tien verschillende categorieën (van Wetenschap tot BioScience Park, van ondernemers tot onderwijzers). Op 8 maart presenteren we de lijst!
You've got Feminist Mail is made by FEL
Fatima Jarmohamed, Willemijn Schmidt, Liang de Beer, Rebecca Spruijt, Paula Breuning, Sophie Jansen, Rosa Koenders, Lisanne van 't Riet and Rosanne Schot. 
Copyright © 2020 Feminist Evolution Leiden, All rights reserved.


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