Forget What You've Been Told
It's time to Un-Learn
Every week on our Instagram Page @socialmodelwomen - we do a poll choosing between topics/language and then we unpack it together in a post on Sundays.
Instagram has made this increasingly difficult and so we've decided to move it over here. It feels like safer space than social media too - so come along and un-learn, judgement-free and grow with us as we realise - pretty much everything we have been taught about people is wrong.
Follow us on Insta to see the topics we've already posted about, and to take part in voting on the polls!
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You voted for Misogyny this week so let’s unpack:
So what does it mean?
Misogyny is basically the word for sexism towards women. It means hatred or contempt for women and can present as abuse, harassment, intimidation or deliberate or systemic processes that keep women as ‘lesser’ than men.
What does it look like?
Physical examples of misogyny might include rape or violent abuse – but misogyny can present in many ways. Less obvious examples could be – people believing that men are the ‘stronger’ sex, systems that prevent women from getting paid fairly, men making decisions about women’s body for example abortion laws, or teaching women how to avoid abuse – rather than teaching men not to abuse women.
Misogyny is everywhere and intrinsically linked to feminism – misogyny only became recognised as a hate crime in…2021. Yep.
So – what can we do? Join our mailing list to be kept up to date on actions, campaigns and the upcoming podcast.
Termination of pregnancy
When we talk about facing barriers, what do we actually mean?
People can find the term barriers confusing. When we talk about the 'Social Model of Disability' this is based around disabling barriers. The reason some people will find this confusing is because of their perception of disability. It might be hard for you to picture any other barriers than the 'obvious' ones you might associate with disability i.e someone who uses a wheelchair. You might see that as the barrier.
...and that's where you'd be wrong.
Disabling barriers are felt by everyone. Not just disabled people. Disabled people are people who face MORE barriers than a non-disabled person - because of the way society is structured.
So let's unpack what we really mean by barriers, and how we could go about removing them.
So let say you are a non-disabled person, and your car breaks down. When your car goes in for repairs, it will be off the road for a few days. You can't get to work because there is no bus stop near your house, and you still have to do the school run which is at the same time as the train would be leaving. So you call your employer and they say you still have to come in.
What do you think the barrier is here? Not having a car?
Nope. There are several, and not having a car isn't one of them.
So the first barrier in this situation is that there isn't a bus stop near your house. Why not? Lots of people would benefit from it, you know that your neighbour doesn't drive and you start to wonder how they go about getting to and from town.
The next barrier is your employer. They're less than understanding about your situation. It's out of your control and you're already worried about the financial impact of this. They haven't been flexible in this situation and offered to support you with a temporary change of hours, or for you to take some leave, or to swap your shift.
The last barrier is the inconvenient train times. The service does run, but not consistently and you're not able to get to work on time using it, as well as get your children to school.
So now picture - this is your life all of the time. At every turn, there is a reason you can't participate in 'normal' activities.
You see, for disabled people - this is constant.
Barriers are about the way society is set up and what is accepted and not accepted. And they aren't just faced by disabled people.
If you are black, the perception might be that being black is the barrier and why you experience racism. That simply isn't the case. Racism is the reason you might experience racism. White supremacy is the reason. Social acceptance. Not being black.
If you have depression, the barrier here is largely stigma. Stigma prevents people from speaking out, and accessing support. Stigma is the barrier - not depression.
If you are non-binary and the only options on a form are 'Mr, Mrs and Miss' - you see where I am going with this? Yeah, it's not you - it's the form.
Sometimes the barriers are clear to you and sometimes they are harder to understand. Barriers not being obvious doesn't mean they're not there. Sometimes we need to ask questions to understand how we can support people and remove some of these barriers - instead of questioning whether or not they really face them. Just because you can't see them or don't face them yourself, doesn't mean they don't exist.
Barriers are also not always present. Take the car example, that situation is temporary for you, but permanent to some others. If you break your leg, you're disabled for a few weeks - but non-disabled again when your life returns to 'normal'. Some disabled people have conditions that fluctuate. Sometimes the barrier is there is one shop but not another. The barrier might be put in place by one employer but not another.
So, can we really live in a world without barriers? I believe we can - but don't forget the biggest barrier of all is communication and acceptance.
No one expects to never be inconvenienced. Sometimes we have to negotiate and change our plans - but we can still participate.
A few examples of how you can remove barriers are:
You can start asking people 'is there anything I can do to make this more accessible to you?' - this could be when you are inviting a friend over, going shopping, or catching a movie
You could ask people at work 'do you need anything altered to make this meeting easier for you to attend?' for example, some people find Teams more accessible than Zoom - it's okay to ask!
You could write to local businesses and MPs to find out why there is no bus stop, why there is no ramp, why their music is so loud or do they have any plans to stock larger sizes?
You could talk to your friends and family about times you've experienced barriers and what you learned from it
You could get used to talking about barriers - this helps people see you're accepting and understanding. They may be more willing to ask for help if they don't feel judged
You could sign up to our mailing list so you're the first to hear about new SMW launches...spoiler alert, we're going to talk about barriers A LOT
I haven't even scratched the surface here - so let's keep this conversation going and think about how else we can support each other. We all face barriers - never forget that.
Kimberly - SMW