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On gender blurring, ageing, childlessness, singledom, female self-development, women’s communities: PC’s compendium of website delights

June 19, 2015

I’ve been scribbling here for over two years now. In that time I’ve found so many astonishing, inspirational, quirky, helpful and informative blogs and websites. I’ve quoted loads. Now it feels like time to take stock: to give you my pick of some of the best.

GENDER BLURRING

'Enigma Tess-Kyronex Queen' by Garbage 59, Wikimedia Commons

‘Enigma Tess-Kyronex Queen’ by Garbage 59, Wikimedia Commons

Living doll networks (female masking): http://www.maskon.com/kerry/links.htm
Cross-dressing articles from the Gender Centre, Australia: http://www.gendercentre.org.au/resources/polare-archive/archived-articles/cross-dressing-magic.htm
Gender-neutral language: http://genderneutralpronoun.wordpress.com
Transgender forum for all who are or feel this way: http://www.tgforum.com/wordpress/
Fuck Yeah Andrej Pejic: a website that celebrates the beauty of this astounding model and ‘redefines androgyny’: http://fyeahandrejpejic.tumblr.com/
Stunning photography by Jill Peters of the ‘sworn virgins’ of Albania who dress and live male to exist more fully in a male-dominated culture: http://www.jillpetersphotography.com

AGEING, ANTI-AGEISM

Ivatan old woman, taken by Anne Jimenes, Wikimedia Commons

Ivatan old woman, taken by Anne Jimenes, Wikimedia Commons

This Chair Rocks. Evangelises powerfully against ageism. Started by the admirable Ashton Applewhite, recently lauded as one of the world’s most inspirational women: http://www.thischairrocks.com/
Ageing Without Children, a UK site. Militates for change in health and social care policy for the older and childless, given the growing demographic in this respect: http://awoc.org/
The Red Hat Society, a global sisterhood of women who communicate or meet, wearing red hats and purple clothes (as in the Jenny Joseph poem ‘When I grow old’), to celebrate womanhood at all stages of life: http://redhatsociety.com/
A Child After 40. Supportive and informative US site looking at the realities of being, or trying to be, an older mother: http://achildafter40.com/
Similar for the UK, Older Mum: http://oldermum.co.uk/
The Old Women’s Project. Focused on ageist language and attitudes to women: http://www.oldwomensproject.org/
Women, body and society. Cross-cultural differences in menopause experiences by Gabriella Berger and Eberhard Wenzel: http://ldb.org/menopaus.htm
Site full of inspiring and endearing portraits of older people with positive attitudes: http://betterlife.jrf.org.uk

CHILDLESSNESS

Thailand: a weaving woman looking at a woman with a child, taken by Peter van der Sluijs, Wikimedia Commons

Thailand: a weaving woman looking at a woman with a child, taken by Peter van der Sluijs, Wikimedia Commons

Gateway Women, friendly and compassionate site for women unable to have children through choice or circumstance, or struggling with that possible future. Also has local Meetups. Small annual subscription. http://gateway-women.com/
TheNotMom, similar non-sub site in the US. Also has annual conferences. http://thenotmom.com/
Life Without Baby, another friendly US chat forum, non-sub, with articles and blogs. http://lifewithoutbaby.com/
Childless Mothers Connect. Similar US site, non-sub, but also active in getting women involved in ‘adopting’ children via long-distance connections. http://www.cmoma.org/cmc/
Savvy Auntie, for all women – aunts, godmothers, adoptive aunts – ‘who love kids’. Founder coined the term PANKS (Professional Aunts No Kids).http://savvyauntie.com/defaulthome.aspx
The Pursuit of Motherhood, a blog by Jessica Hepburn, still pursuing her dream of children despite heart-breaking setbacks. https://thepursuitofmotherhood.wordpress.com/
Another one for non-parents, UK-based and non-sub. http://www.nonparents.com/

SINGLEDOM AND SINGLISM

Single woman in a crowd, copyright 1000 Words/courtesy of Shutterstock

Single woman in a crowd, copyright 1000 Words/courtesy of Shutterstock

Dr Bella de Paulo’s fab site on singlism (her word) in society. http://belladepaulo.com/
The Modern Spinster, thoughtful blog on being single in contemporary society. https://themodernspinster.wordpress.com/
Kate Bolick, writer, puts out this savvy blog on ‘modern spinsterhood’. http://www.katebolick.com/
The Spinsterlicious Life by Eleanore Wells, another good one. http://eleanorewells.com/category/the-spinsterlicious-life/

FEMALE SELF-HEALING AND -DEVELOPMENT

Woman fire dancer, taken by Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons

Woman fire dancer, taken by Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons

Brene Brown, pioneering speaker, blogger and leader on human/female problems such as overcoming shame and fear.http://brenebrown.com/
Treesisters, ‘an audacious experiment fuelled by the love and creativity of everyday women’ to bring about ‘swift reforestation’ of the globe. Members see this as a metaphor of growth for the sisterhood. http://treesisters.org/
Red Hearth House, a woodland red tent centre in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England with a website, bringing women and girls together through their experiences of the womb, menstruation, the lunar cycle and physiological/emotional womanhood in general: http://www.hearthart.co.uk/
Annabel Du Boulay, women’s therapist/healer working out of Glastonbury, England, especially on ‘womb wounding’: any kind of distress related to womanhood and/or child loss or hurt: http://www.belashka.com/

WOMEN’S COMMUNITIES

Bamyan Women's Community Centre, Afghanistan, taken by Sgt Heidi Agostini, copyright Wikimedia Commons

Bamyan Women’s Community Centre, Afghanistan, taken by Sgt Heidi Agostini, copyright Wikimedia Commons

The first (mixed gender) self-built cohousing project in the UK. Lived there myself for a while. http://www.therightplace.net/coco/public/
Online list of all-female communities worldwide: http://metro.co.uk/2013/03/05/where-women-rule-the-world-matriarchal-communities-from-albania-to-china-3525234/
Alapine Community, an ‘all-womyn’s intentional community’ in the US: http://www.owch.org.uk/. http://www.alapine.org/herstory.html

ART AROUND ALL OR ANY OF THESE THEMES

Woman painting at the National Arboretum, taken by Sage Ross, Wikimedia Commons

Woman painting at the National Arboretum, taken by Sage Ross, Wikimedia Commons

Suzanne Heintz. Wonderfully tongue-in-cheek photography/installations about female singlehood (lack of a ‘family life’) and childlessness: ironic take on Motherhood and Apple Pie. http://suzanneheintz.com/
Painter Sam. Samantha Bennett, who paints butterflies into her portraits to represent her subjects’ loss of an infant and the hopes of transformation from that experience: http://www.paintersam.com/
Bloom, literary site devoted to highlighting, celebrating, featuring and reviewing older writers: http://bloom-site.com/
The Walking Art Project in Cumbria, England, devised by Louise Ann Wilson. An ‘interactive artwork’ in the upper Cumbrian fells. Women who are childless are guided through the landscape, helped to identify positive landmarks of their state from the beautiful details of their natural surroundings. https://louiseannwilson.com
Interesting androgyne art: Alan Feltus, http://www.alanfeltus.com/; John Stezaker, http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/john_stezaker.htm; and Claude Cahun, http://courses.washington.edu/femart/final_project/wordpress/claude-cahun/
The agony and ecstasy of losing and lacking children: Frida Kahlo. http://www.fridakahlo.com/selected-artwork
By Ana Maria Lassnig, the brutal but amazing and life-affirming Du oder ich, eighth self-portrait of the artist ageing, illustrated at http://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/25/maria-lassnig/view/
Benita Stoney. Illuminating, positive images of older/ageing (and younger) subjects. https://benita-stoney.squarespace.com/gallery

And now, enjoy…

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