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Ask for it, ask for it, did she ask for it? She usually doesn’t ask for anything, really. She knows not how to ask for help. She can help herself, she thinks. She didn’t ask, that one time, for a very sober man to follow her home at night asking if she was single and insisting that she was “troppo bella!” to be alone; she also didn’t ask, when in Rome, those two young men to roll down their car window and scream comments about the movement of her breasts as she was running to approach the tram. She didn’t ask, as a teenager, for her gym instructor to molest her repetitively for three years and make her believe it was all very normal. She didn’t ask to be filmed while giving a guy a blowjob and then learned from him that he’d sent it to his cousin because ‘he wants to jerk off to it too’. She didn’t ask to grow a sense of disgust for her own sexuality, and certainly didn’t ask for her body to be hypersexualised since the summer she grew boobs and a (very nice) ass. She didn’t ask older men, in her small hometown, to feel an all encompassing sense of ownership toward her body. She didn’t ask her ex-boyfriend to tell her what she could or couldn’t wear; she didn’t ask him to manipulate her into believing she was guilty of all male attention received, and a slut for flirting, dancing, fooling around. She didn’t ask that guy at the Camden bar, when she went home with him, to be so insisting as he continued to fuck her and whisper in her hear that she was loving it, that she needed to relax, though she kept saying it hurt. …


Here’s a stream of consciousness birthed during the first hours of my second lockdown, whilst experiencing a mixture of anger, fear, longing, and love — to only name a few. In the hopes that our hearts remain unconfined, so that our pain may be expressed shamelessly, and our passion may continue to fuel our vision, even in the dark.

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Lonely, lonely, lonely, sad… Crrrrr, crrrr, ugh. Screaming out loud, crying, laughing, dancing now, naked in the kitchen, alone. Is it seasonal depression? Is it the end of the world? Hysterical, I am being hysterical. Sorry, mom. I wasn’t raised to face adversity. Adversity in my face now, how ironic. Life lesson… Life teaches me, for pure chance, I am living. Experiencing a specific kind of universal truth that’s happened to reveal itself while I’m here. Proof? 2020. Isolation. Alienation. Ah… I thought maybe, we could smoke one last cigarette together? Before you go, goodbye, bus station, when will I see your face again? My solace, my happiness… The smell of your clothes, our childhood, refuge. Walking the streets, all together, crying again, raising arms and clenched fists, learning from each other, trying to understand what’s been left unsaid, what’s hurting… How many layers are there to this fuckedupness? Demanding for justice. The most noble of words. The most abstract. Eyes and hands and tits and buttocks and legs and bellies and long hair and piercings and tattoos and second-hand clothes and tight jeans, running. Suffering. Joy… Silence… Summer is over. Empty images passing by the unending regime of robotic screens. Here’s all I am supposed to be interested in. Infallible Instagram algorithme… But please, can I stay the night? I’ll sleep on the couch. There’s nothing I want to buy. If only, maybe, your company? You don’t know me very well, but see… Have a cup of coffee with me. I know of a place, a secret place, a place where it stops! The buying, you know? The lights, the fake digital smiles, the artificial smells, the white noise. If I want to leave my apartment I need to buy. To buy I need to want to buy. To buy I need money. …


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For all the times I thought cutting you off would’ve made me find happiness. I was so blind I thought you were the thing holding me back from living my life the way I wanted to. You were doing so much for me and I had nothing but hate for you. I apologize.

For all the times I looked at you in the mirror and squeezed you crying and screaming against you because I just wanted you to disappear, to look flat, like the girl on the covers, or the girl next door, and you would just hang and look at me with that soft, feminine, wise smile of yours. I never knew how much love you were showing me all along. …


On Growing Up with a Mentally Ill Parent and Choosing to Abandon the Victim Mentality

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I love my dad. He is a successful lawyer, taught me how to ride a bike, made me curious about travelling and diversity, shared with me his passion for culture, adventures, good books, and nature. He’s also one of the people who’ve hurt me the most, though he never meant to. My dad started struggling with mental health in his early twenties, and after having a few depression episodes he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was prescribed medication. I have never doubted his love or affection, yet his troubled relationship with feelings, his phases of depression combined with phases of hyperactivity, emotional instability and irrational expectations of my performances impacted me a great deal growing up. They sometimes still do, to be honest, even if I go to therapy and I am aware that he never meant to hurt me. …


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Art by: @_lauraberger_

Stereotypes. Stereotypes are one of the reasons why people become judgemental toward the things that they don’t know about, and develop false perceptions based on fear rather than experience. I stopped keeping count of the number of disappointing conversations I’ve had with educated men who claim they are not feminists but egalitarians, because they do believe in equality; they’re just not into…“nazi-feminists.” Women being angry. Women being proudly fat. Women complaining about rape culture but then clearly “asking for it” through the way they dress. Many men want feminism to be all about the negative stereotypes, so that they can politely and reasonably disengage from it. …


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As a teenager, I used to obsess over the fantasy of a love story that would be so passionate, romantic, and intense it would make me into a new, more experienced, more exciting and confident girl. I watched romantic comedies and religiously followed up on famous celebrity couples — what they were doing together, how long they were dating for, how in love with each other they said they were. I was desperately looking for love. …


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Western contemporary society has an issue when it comes to dealing with emotional darkness and negative feelings. Removing them, finding alternatives to them, pretending they don’t exist, acting like they’re an unnecessary part of our human experience which do not deserve our full attention. To be completely honest and specific, I think women are even more socialized than men to think of darker emotions, feelings, and inclinations as things foreign to their nature and unnecessary in relationships.

If men are not allowed to show their most tender emotions, they surely are allowed to dive into their negative ones — it is okay for men to be angry and aggressive and selfish and exaggeratedly self-centered, yet mainstream society does not encourage them to show and share in the light of day their most vulnerable feelings and emotions. Which is unhealthy and toxic, I am sure we all agree. But women… Society shames and blames women (not surprisingly?) …


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Mission Lifeline and Sea Watch volunteers demonstrating against the Maltese government decision to sequester their rescue ships. La Valletta, Malta, July 2nd, 2018.

A crucifix is hanging on the courtroom’s wall in La Valletta, Malta, where Claus-Peter Reisch’s hearing has taken place on Monday morning, July 2nd, 2018. Another crucifix is placed on judge Mifsud’s desk, looking directly over at the defendant and the rest of the jury.

Claus-Peter Reisch is being detained, together with other German and Dutch volunteers, in La Valletta by the Maltese government because of unclear accusations. He is the captain of Mission Lifeline, a German NGO whose purpose is saving lives at sea and rescuing migrants from smugglers off the Libyan coasts. …


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According to the Oxford dictionary, own means have something as one’s own or possess. It’s been about two and a half years since I actively began reading books about feminist theory and manifestos, watching documentaries about female emancipation, going to women’s rights demonstration carrying around huge posters, and defining myself as a feminist. My favorite slogan is and always will be: my body is mine. Because yes, I technically do own my body. But it hasn’t always felt this way, and I sure have a long way to go, before I can claim true and absolute ownership of my body.

It wasn’t until I realized my opinion of my body had come from outside of myself that I understood, I do not fully own my body — or, rather, a male gaze dominated narrative together with my personal experiences have convinced me, growing up, of things about my body shape and image that I am now finally succeeding at dismantling. …


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Last summer, together with a few volunteers I was working with in Chennai, India, I spent a weekend in Pondicherry. Pondicherry is a small lovely town in the south of Tamil Nadu where you can take long nice walks by Marina Beach and sip iced coffee while listening to the rumbling waves of the ocean. We visited the city centre on Saturday and then decided to go to the beach on Sunday, confident that we would find the perfect spot to swim and relax a bit. Two of us were white guys and the rest of us were girls, all of us coming from European countries except for our Indonesian friend. The white European girls all wore bikinis, myself included, for we had heard that Pondicherry is a quite touristy place and “Western swimwear” is somewhat accepted (whereas in the city we usually never wore short skirts or dresses as a form of respect to the local culture). Our day at the beach was great. …

About

Francesca Giuliano

She/her. Outspoken intersectional feminist, committed to thoughtful cultural analysis and social justice work. Lover of simple things. Writer and observer.

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