Het is helemaal niet aan de mannen om kansen te creëren en ruimte te maken voor vrouwen

2 min leestijd – 

Die verantwoordelijkheid is aan onszelf.

Het zal absoluut liggen aan het algoritme op de platformen en het feit dat ik vrouw ben dat ik de laatste tijd steeds meer sterke vrouwen in de entertainment industrie zichzelf zie en hoor uitspreken. Eerst dacht ik dat vervelend te vinden: ‘moet dat nou?’. Ik ben zelf altijd redelijk stellig geweest: ‘ik ben geen feminist, als we gelijkheid willen moeten we niet vechten en claimen maar moeten wij onze plek als meer dan normaal gaan beschouwen en er geen twijfel over laten bestaan dat een vrouw deze functie vervult’. Maar wie hou ik voor de gek? Dat is toch ook gewoon hetzelfde als vechten? Opkomen voor jezelf, je rechten, wensen en behoeften.

De afgelopen jaren heb ik gewapend met naïviteit en passie territorium bij elkaar geharkt en is mijn social media aanwezigheid niet alleen geweest voor een goed gevoel maar vooral als bewijs dat ook hier een plek voor vrouwen mogelijk is. Dat ik er hopelijk samen met andere hardwerkende vrouwen voor heb gezorgd dat als er nu een vrouwelijke tourmanager met een band en crew het podium op loopt, dat de vrouw gewoon wordt aangekeken en haar hand geschud. En dat de volgende vraag is: ‘dus, hoe gaan we het aanpakken?’ en niet de band te horen krijgt: ‘pittig zangeresje hebben jullie zeg’.

Mijn hoofd knikt mee terwijl ik het interview van de NRC met Roosmarijn Reijmer lees: ‘Ach.. jij bent toch een van de mannen. Pas onlangs besefte ik: nee, dat ben ik helemaal niet.’ Wat een wanhoop dat wij als vrouw zo erg het gevoel hebben dat we alleen mee kunnen spelen als we zoals de mannen zijn. En dan de regel: ‘Zit ik hier omdat ik een vrouw ben, of omdat ik goed ben?’. Man man man, pijn in mijn borst zo raak. Gisteren kwamen de woorden van Eva Jinek op haar site tot de kern van het kwaad. De vrouw trekt zich te snel terug als de kritiek weer eens enkel over het vrouw-zijn en het daarbij horende uiterlijk gaat, en niet over de inhoud. En als we heel eerlijk tegen onszelf zijn, zijn het niet de mannen die ons in dat hoekje duwen. Dat doen wij vrouwen zelf.

Afijn. Time to face the music, zoals ze dat zeggen. Ik kijk uit naar nog meer groei en acceptatie. Dat minder vrouwen klagen en meer vrouwen zich uitspreken. Dat meer vrouwen zichzelf serieuzer nemen en voor zichzelf opkomen. Dat we in de nabije toekomst hier niet meer over hoeven te praten. En dat mijn dochter en haar kleindochter zich vanzelfsprekend niet meer meten aan mannen, in hun kracht staan en zich geen enkele kans laten ontnemen.

Interview Eva Jinek
Interview Roosmarijn Reijmer

We need to stop promoting ‘This is your moment!’ and ‘you can be anything you want!’

3 min read – 

A world full of opportunities at a standstill.

For the past year I have been trying to steer clear from Social Media when it comes to personal moments of endless scrolling. Which is a pretty hard thing to do when 75% of your job and side projects need you on Social Media. And I’m not saying this is a typical ‘I hate Social Media’ and ‘It’s such a waste of my time’ phase we all know and go through once in a while.

I found that if I want to stay mentally healthy, keep up my mental strength and self-confidence, there is one thing I don’t need in my life: happily smiling beautiful looking women stating ‘this is your moment!’ and/or ‘don’t let anybody steal your dreams, you can make it happen!’.

Back in 2014 I had to accept the fact that I’m not invincible. My head was a mess, I couldn’t remember simple things and I started doubting everything — mainly myself. It felt like someone took off my rose-colored glasses and now I had to face reality. I hated the new me. I wanted back my old-slightly naive-down for everything-not afraid to ask. But she never came.

At the end of 2016 I finally felt like a snake that completely shredded it’s old skin and I felt comfortable in my new suit. I even tried some new moves, testing my new shoes and without realizing it the doubting stopped. In the beginning just for short periodes of time, but as I seized more control over the new me the doubt vanished for days and even months at a time.

However the doubt is still there, hidden inside of me. And once in a while it takes a walk outside. It knows my weak spots. When I’m tired from work, when I’m just about to have my period, when I’m confronted about something. And then I go through the phases I’ve become so familiar with:

– First comes a feeling of paralyses
– Second is a strong urge to flee and hide
– Third is me realizing what is happening
– Fourth is me being mad for allowing ‘it’ to happen again
– Fifth is me remembering it’s not the end of the world
– Sixth is acceptance and rest
– Seventh is the feeling of gaining headspace again
– Eight is figuring out a game plan and returning to the scene

The first time this happened it took me a full month to go from 1–8, but nowadays I go through the motions faster. Not because I’m not allowing myself to give every move a proper check, but because it naturally happens faster. Now I can hear you think: ‘so if you got this down, what has Social Media got to do with it?’.

We live in a world of balance. We — as the world, our society — have gained so much from our individualism, automation, feminism and education to all. But it has and is costing us greatly as well. My friends and I grew up with the opportunity to follow a higher education and get a job that women before me couldn’t. I didn’t have to take over the family business and it is not expected of me to be a stay-at-home mother.

But these so-called ‘opportunities’ are putting a paralyzing pressure on our generation. I am a 27 year old woman that has been working as a freelancer for over 7 years. In the early days I felt like I could make a change, I’m special and I could do whatever I wanted. Over the years that feeling turned into a misplaced feeling of responsibility. A big part of that feeling comes from within, but the other big part comes from society — more specifically from Social Media.

If we want young women to thrive we need to stop promoting ‘this is your moment!’ and ‘you can be anything you want, don’t sit around and wait for it!’. It may get them up from their seat, but it will backfire once they hit a challenge. If we want equality and fair chances we need to accept that we shouldn’t be pushed. We need to be understood, accepted and supported.

But until that happens, I will steer clear from Social Media on my weaker days. I draw strength, motivation and inspiration from having dinner with friends, walking the dog, going to a petting zoo, calling my mom, reading a book and movie night with my man. And maybe a little bit of wine and chocolate…


Why I’m bothered by my white privilege and should speak up

3 min read – 

Like every teenager, I dealt with my fair share of exam stress, wardrobe panic, gossip talk, body changes and all of the typical school insecurities. But other than that I was a very happy kid and had not much to worry about. One thing always did bother me though. And it never really faded. On the contrary, it still bothers me today and even angers me greatly from time to time. And I feel it’s time I open up and start to act on it.

I am born half Dutch, half Greek. Many of you know this because I once told you. But you wouldn’t know if I didn’t. Because apart from the brown eyes, brown hair and the amazing bronzing capabilities of my skin, I look just like my fellow white Dutchies. I now know that this ‘look’ has made my life a lot easier. Sure you work hard to reach your goals, but my life would have been very different and a lot harder if I was half African and my skin was black.

When I was still in middle school I was introduced to this dark truth. My class combined more races than a G20 summit and I had a bunch of friends whom I hung out with that didn’t share my white look. I remember we would go to the supermarket during lunch break and I would hear other people (grown-ups) whisper insults, point fingers and even swear at my classmates or deliberately push them. They didn’t do anything wrong or said a single bad word. I was 13 years old and shocked and confused.

Fast forward to University. I was conducting my graduate research at a foundation organizing Hip-hop events. I love Hip-hop and grew up rapping along with J5, Talib, KRS and Dilated Peoples. Many of the people I worked with, including the artists, were black or looked like what the media depicted as the face of a typical suicide bomber. Walking through town together I couldn’t help but notice people avoiding our paths and tightly holding their bags. My friends looked like they didn’t see it but were probably pretending. It made me feel sick and strangely ignorant.

Today. I have the amazing pleasure to still be surrounded by and work with extremely talented artists, musicians, and inspiring people. Almost all of them showing the world a beautiful dark skin color. The only difference with back in the days and now is that many of them became a public figure and are popular by demand. And somehow that changes the ‘rules’. They are praised and applauded, role models and award winners. But when the night falls and we walk to our car after a show, and security is closing down the building and doesn’t recognize the guy who just sold out the venue, we still hear the whispers: ‘maybe he doesn’t carry a guitar but there is a gun in his guitar case’.

I am privileged. And I’m fed up and angry about the fact that my friends are not and have to deal with shit like this on a daily basis. To this day I regret not standing up to those security guards. I shouldn’t have listened to my friends who were careful to not rock the boat or make a fuzz and asked me to let it go. We do not just need to acknowledge that we are privileged. If we want change we need to actively make an effort to support change. So I’m making a promise to myself that I will call out on supermarket whispers, I will confront people that show disrespect and misunderstanding and I will ask what exactly scares them and show and tell them that it’s an illusion we are maintaining ourselves through these bad behaviors.

I am not just taking a knee, I will not be silent and I will make an effort.

This piece was inspired by a powerful article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson. Read it here: My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest.