Hollie performs her newly composed poem for Woman of the World.
What has it achieved? With Jude Kelly, Jyoti Mhapsekar, Vanessa Ogden, and Suraiua Chowdhury.
The singer talks to Jenni and performs her song BIRDS live.
Reclaiming the Essex Girl and other stereotypes with Syd Moore and Shaista Aziz.
With Natasha Walter and Nina Power.
Hollie McNish, Performance Poem, WOW
Hollie McNish started writing poetry when she was only five. It took her a long time to summon up the courage to perform her work in front of an audience – she was 23 when she began at the Poetry Café in London’s Covent Garden and she’s since toured the UK and Europe and her CD, Touch, a collection of her poetry and live spoken word pieces was released last year. She performs her newly composed poem for Women of the World.Hollie McNish
My body is amazing
I can almost hear her saying it
As she stands naked at the mirror
Hands clapping in applause to it
Naked, bold and proud
Her mouth open wide and round like
My body is amazing
She is one year’s old and loving it
Full belly sticking out, thighs like mini tyre towers
And when she looks at her reflection she always shouts aloud like
This body is so great!
Gazing down now
I try to do the same
Ignore the plastic advert spreads
That pass me on the way
I say ‘my body is amazing’
Despite what some might say
I say my body is amazing
Despite the claims you make.
The nip and tuck and cuts and sucks that fill my walk to work each day
Enhancement ads and happiness will only come with curves this way and
if I lay in front of you today
Clothes dropped to the floor
You’d prescribe me what I could have less and what I should want more of
A tick box what could be chopped off with red pen ready hand aside your eyes deciding what to slice from lips and cheeks to bum and thighs
The lines below my eyes you say
I ought to peel or pull away
My breasts will start to sag one day
My breastfed baby there to blame
She came into the world you say
but now behold your face
your saggy stomach, baggy eyes
Stretch mark stripes you look and sigh:
My eyes, tighten
My legs, inject
My thighs, cut back
My head, perfect
My stomach, flatten
My breasts, enhance,
Don’t smile, too much
Oh God, don’t laugh.
As you mark me like a canvas page in circled bouts of red
I feel the need to tell you you might praise this skin instead
Cos as you chat about corrections, your plucking cuts and lasers
Briefcase stuffed with time relapses, scalpol led erasers
I take up your red pen to my cheeks and mark two stripes on either side
A naked painted warrior could be a sorer site for eyes cos
I am ready for your battles now
My body’s felt the worst
No scalpol cut intense as that last damn push of birth
And I have learnt with awed amazement what my body brave can do
And now I’m marked like tribal tattoos with the tales my flesh went through
But those stripes that line my saggy stomach mark me like gold
And the folds by my eyes tell a tale just as bold
My laughter lines are deeper now because I smile twice as much
so if you palm read these first ‘wrinkles’ my life would light up.
Your official position is that smoothness is queen
but without any lines there’s no reading between them
A storybook opening
My life’s just begun and
Once upon never plays
If you cling to line one
As you try to cover the living I’ve done
As a human, a woman, and now as a mum
But your red pen can’t rub out the night’s I’ve not slept, the parts that I’ve bled or the laughter I’ve wept, the baby I held in the stomach that stretched, the breasts that got heavy so baby was fed, the parties I’ve had out, the sleep I’ve missed out on, the dinners I’ve stuffed down my throat like a python,
As you pile on the pressure to cover my life
I wonder what on earth is so wrong with your sight.
If my mind and my memory can tell you my tales
Then why can my body not tell them as well?
As our babies lie naked,
Applauding their skin
I can’t wait for their lives and their lines to begin.
International Women's Day and Achievements
This week marks the centenary of International Women’s Day. It is a global celebration of the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future. So how did it all begin and how is it being celebrated and what has it achieved? Jenni is joined by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank and festival director of WOW, Jyoti Mhapsekar who heads a women’s waste-pickers co-op in India, Vanessa Ogden, Head teacher of Mulberry School for Girls in East London, and Suraiua Chowdhury, Head Girl.
Following the success of her debut platinum selling number one album ‘Made of Bricks’, the singer/ songwriter Kate Nash, with her conversational lyrics about cups tea to bitchy girls and rubbish boyfriends, was just 20 when she was named Best Female artist at the Brit awards. After taking a year out due to exhaustion, she released her second album ‘My Best Friend is You’ last year. The former Brit school graduate talks to Jenni and performs her song BIRDS live on acoustic guitar.Kate Nash
Reclaiming the Essex Girl and Other Stereotypes
Bimbo, Cougar woman, Strumpet, Stepford Wife, Yummy Mummy, and Drudge – just some of the labels regularly applied to women. Where do these stereo-types come from and do we ever admit to recognising ourselves in them? Syd Moore can be described as an ‘Essex girl’ because she was born there. Along with artist Heidi Wigmore she’s created a card game with all the characters based on female stereo-types. Shaista Aziz is a stand-up comedian and she refuses to be pigeon-holed.Superstrumps
Feminism - the Way Foward
Nearly half of all women in the UK do not believe they are treated equally to men, according to a new poll published on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. However despite this sense of social inequality and first-hand experiences of sexism, only one in five women described themselves as feminists. Has the feminist movement become too complacent and appeasing? One columnist recently wrote all this polite and smiley feminism is getting us nowhere. What are the most pressing issues that need to be addressed and is more direct action and vocal outrage the way forward? To discuss the future feminist fight Jenni is joined by Natasha Walter author of the New Feminism and Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism; and Nina Power who is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University and author of ‘One Dimensional Woman’.
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