Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters
Well it’s been quite a sassy year!
As we get ready for a new year, it is good to look back on the passing twelve months and think where we have been, what we have endured, what we have learned, what we have laughed over, loved and loathed. By doing this we can look forward and think about making next year even better.
As for me, I have learned that I can survive the nightmare of losing my mother. As I held her hand and felt the light go out with her last breath I was hit by a wave of fear, grief, sadness and also relief – then gave thanks that I was lucky enough to be raised by her and greater thanks that she was not living the twilight of dementia for another minute. We had gone through that last turbulent journey together and it inspired our series - the Dementia Diaries. It was a rough road but along it I learned the importance of friendship, kind words, the strength you get by your partner just being there, the significance of a nurse just smiling at your loved one, how beautiful the world looks when you just need to walk and cry. I realise now that my mum, a teacher, did not stop teaching me until the second she passed. I was a lucky girl.
But outside my bubble, much has happened for women.
January – Melania Trump, no doubt more intelligent and considered than her husband, looked on in elegant iciness at Trump swearing in as the 45th president. We all hoped that she would be the balance to his twittering foolery, but this woman has yet to stamp her personality on the role of first lady.
February – was a mixed month for women. Here in the UK, Queen Elizabeth became the first monarch to reach her sapphire jubilee while Theresa May faced the clamour of those who would flout the will of the people and pushed through the Brexit Bill. Elsewhere, women were losing ground as Vladimir Putin signed a bill to decriminalise domestic violence and Aung San Suu Kyi lost her international halo as she refused to condemn the ethnic cleansing of 140,000 Rohingya muslims into Bangladesh, making this the largest fleeing of human beings since Rwanda.
March – was the month of International Women’s Day. As ever there is much talking, shouting and refuting of everything which impacts negatively on women across the globe. But in the Sassy office we wonder if big splash events have the impact that their energy suggests they should.
April – did you know the WI was born in Wales? Anglesey in fact. The spring brought them back to their birthplace to celebrate. It is easy to dismiss this organisation as a cosy melee of jam, Jerusalem and knitted everything. But they are 220,000 strong, across over 6,000 WIs and they are all about education, opportunity and a voice for women [www.thewi.org.uk/about-the-wi]. Never forget the fear in Tony Blair’s eyes as he faced a hand-bagging he never forgot.
May – Macron is elected in France and everybody is far more interested in his older wife who provides him with glamour, a very healthy diet and a hand to hold in all his meetings. We say make her the president and cut to the power line.
June – the general election in the UK demolished Theresa May’s majority to a coalition government and the wolves started baying for blood. The labour party even thought they could create a government when they had lost which was a creative, if bonkers, take on a national vote. Despite whoops of ‘she’s finished’ Theresa May is still there and parliament has more women MPs than at any point in history. Though we still have another 12% to increase if we are to match the males.
July – not much happens as politicians and the rest of us go on holiday and bask in the sun. So few of us noticed that, in South Korea, the comfort women of the Second World War were, at last recognised with their own holiday. These women were abducted and enslaved as prostitutes for the Imperial Japanese army and were never given recompense. Few will be alive today – but across the world there are 20 to 30 million slaves of which 55% are woman and children and 22% victims of the sex industry. Seems we are no different to those Japanese soldiers.
August – it was the usual non-news month while we all became just a little more concerned about two mad men slinging insults, launching missiles and baying with their fingers on the button. But there was the odd bit of good news such as the announcement of a Chinese bra made of graphene which apparently can retain heat, eliminate odours, kill bacteria and even make boobs bigger and a man perform better in bed, according to South China Morning Post. We are getting one to test for Annie Reviews!
September – women are, at last, by royal decree allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. The cynical among us through that as helpful smoke-screen to the slaughter of women and children in the Yemen, but one small steering wheel for woman kind it remains. Merkel survived in Germany, but weakened like May.
October – the chill breezes of autumn brought a storm of Hollywood horror as Harvey Weinstein was revealed as an abuser. Within days a stream of women were coming forward and the momentous ‘Me Too’ campaign began the wind of change in which women are beginning to speak up and refuse to tolerate the unacceptable. We have yet to see if this will bring true improvement or become another wrench between the genders.
November – Boris Johnson and his buddy Gove manage to make a total balls-up of the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Iranian-British charity worker jailed in Iran, and gave her captors the perfect wording to condone their cruel and foundless imprisonment of this woman. It took them too long to correct their words and neither had the guts to say sorry. Today we pray that Johnson has eaten his words and done something to sort out his mistake as his last journey to Iran seems to be yielding better news – but she is still wrongly held.
December – and our award for the Sassy quote of the year goes to Nathan Mathis, an Alabama peanut farmer who walked into the midst of campaigners for Judge Roy Moore who was the favourite contender for the Senate elections. He stood alone, holding a placard and a picture of his daughter, Patti Sue. The poster read:
"Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay,"
"A 32-year-old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind. Please don't vote for Roy Moore!"
It transpired that his daughter had come to him stating she was lesbian. Her father took her to doctors and psychiatrists for a ‘cure’. When told she was as God-made as him he told her he loved her anyway. But surrounded by hate and prejudice Patti Sue could not love herself or accept her love of other women. Patti Sue killed herself. But her father lives on, speaking up for woman, gay people and anyone oppressed by bigotry. We love him.
So, from all at Staying Sassy we wish you a very happy New Year and hope that 2018 brings you your wishes.