➨2017 – I thought my generation had scored the winning goal in terms of general equality, which bought about the fulfilling birth of my Invisibility Myth project. It’s mission is to show that we older women never had it so good and that the hard work of the women’s movement, is an unstoppable global force that will only move forward. I felt I could relax a little, knowing that my daughters daughters will be equal to all – at least in my sphere of society. 
However, a couple of things have rattled me and sounded alarm bells this year.

Freedom is a dream by SAM
➨I was visiting a somewhat subdued New York the day the new POTUS (who’s name I cannot bring myself to write) was inaugurated in Washington.  The infamous Women’s March that overshadowed his day was awesome to walk with and witness, but I confess to becoming a tad irritated by the “This pussy bites” placards etc as I felt it was showing an unnecessarily aggressive mannish attitude.    

Revolutionary Suit by Jae Jarrell

I had failed to grasp the full validity of their concerns, and did not get the “Gilead is not an instruction manual” references.  I had last read The Handmaids Tale back in 1984 when it was published and I had retained the feeling and atmosphere of the dystopian world Margaret Atwood created in the book, but not the detail.

 It didn’t take long for me to see the bigger picture of what was happening right across America: – the sexist rhetoric, the rooms full of men making decisions about women’s issues, the new bills being signed off by POTUS and his man gang. The general rise of everyday sexism being brushed off as a lot of fuss about nothing, or fake news by so many men and women. The attempt to suppress freedom of speech and the free press, which continues to this day was beyond my understanding, outside my life experience….I initially parochially back-burnered it, as I focused on the UK’s own issues with the attacks on our home soil,the General Election and Brexit Negotiations.

➨…Then The Handmaid’s Tale aired on British TV – Oh. My. Word. “We sleep-walked into this” says the Offred handmaid portrayed with such chilling conviction by Elisabeth Moss , after a flashback scene to when the normality of her life started to be undermined and unravelled …Shivers ran down my spine as I saw how easily society can slip backwards and find our hard won equality and freedom curbed, and in the worse case scenarios removed.  A definitive wakeup call as I tuned back in to our friends in the USA. This was coupled with unsettling Government imposed restrictions on the general public after a spate of terrorist attacks on my beloved home City of London.  

Injustice Case by David Hammons. B1943 

My eyes opened wide once more, peripheral vision restored, switched back on. If invisibility is to remain a myth, then I/we have to keep on the ball, questioning, talking, challenging.  If I/we don’t, then there is a real possibility that Gilead could happen – is happening in societies around the globe…Fertile women corralled – aka Handmaids – aka breeders in a society that sees armageddon fast approaching via infertility. Only today I read a real study headline stating that sperm counts among western men have halved in the past forty years…(www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/25/sperm-counts-among-western-men-have-halved-in-last-40-years-study)…  

Jaffa beach September 2016
 Oppression, power, control…I think back to the beach I daily visited in Jaffa, Israel in 2016: in 36 degree heat, women were having to wade into the sea fully clothed in their black robes, unable to do anything other than stand within the billowing fabric.  When they struggled ashore, and tried to shower out the sand from their salt water sodden garments, they were looked at disapprovingly by their shorts only wearing menfolk as if they were being somehow provocative. My love child and I observed this, dressed as we normally are on a beach, with a sense of righteous anger on the women’s behalf.

My Jaffa Beach outpouring 2016!

 It was clear there was no personal choice or freedom as their male dominated society dictated this protocol to them. They were Handmaids and it was little wonder that they looked at us with sad resentment.  

➨My determination to live my own life in the fullest possible way, clearly has to include an ongoing responsibility to carry on fighting injustices wherever and whenever I see them, otherwise there can be no justification in my pursuit of and belief in The Invisibility Myth.

 ➨Step up and back into the fray time Jeanie, no napping! Love and peace 💟

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