GET TO KNOW : Bells Kirby

 In Get to Know, What really matters

HERE WE MEET BELLS….

BELLS IS WORKING ON AN AMAZING PROJECT ABOUT SELF CARE IN MEN FROM 24-26yr old ….REALLY GREAT IDEA TO HELP BRING THE SEX’S TOGETHER WITH MORE UNSTANDING.

– ANY GOOD NEWS?
The sun is shining, I got my acceptance letter for my Masters, it’s not Hogwarts but it’s pretty cool!

– WHAT DO YOU DO?
I study at the University of Sussex, amongst other things. I do lots of arts and creative stuff, silly amounts of exercise, and can usually be found in a café readings novels.

– TELL US WHAT YOU ARE STUDYING?
I’m a student in psychology – and no, I can’t read minds.

– TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROJECT?
I’ve just completed a research piece on masculinity ideals and their relationship to self-care practices. Basically ‘what is it about being a man that clashes with looking after oneself?’

– WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATIONFOR THIS PROJECT?
Several things really, first I notices that most self-care movements suggested things that I simply couldn’t imagine the men around me do, like taking a bath with a tiara on, scrapbook exercises, or wearing glitter. And then, whilst researching for a paper, I found statistics showing the rates of suicides for men and women, and decided I’d make it my mission to find why 78% of suicides were accounted for by men.

– WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FEMINISM?
I remember someone explaining it to me, when I was about 10, as a fight against patriarchy, and patriarchy being a world created by men for men. And I think much of the movement does actually follow that line of thinking. And I’m just not convinced that that is entirely true, at least not anymore, not in western countries. My research points to a paradigm that serves no one, and that is maintained by everyone. I think the ‘women as the victims, men as perpetuators’ way of thinking is damaging everyone, and leaving very little space for anyone to take true accountability.

– HOW DO YOU DEFINE IT?
To me, feminism is a movement which fights for the systematic and subjective equality of all genders.

– ARE YOU A FEMINIST?
Definitely.

– SHOULD BOYS BE IN THE MAGAZINE?
I think it could be hard to capture what is great, what is beautiful, in femininity without including other genders too.

– HOW DO YOU THINK BOYS CAN HELP EMPOWER AND INSPIRE GIRLS?
One of my biggest inspirations, as humans go, is a fifty-year-old carpenter who lives part time in a tipi, owns a truck and a dog, and can carve a spoon out of a nearby log in under 2 minutes. He taught me to be myself, to trust myself, to build fires and be wild, without thinking of what others might think. He saw me for me, gender aside, and empowered me to fully embrace that, simply by encouraging me and supporting me to be the version of me I really wanted to see in the world.

– HOW DO YOUR THINK GIRLS CAN HELP INSPIRE BOYS?
My research has definitely shaped the way I think about this. It has taught me to listen, really listen, to men, to put the effort in, and make them connect and share with me. And yes, sometimes it feels like pulling teeth. But I’ve been raised as a girl to know and understand my feelings and sharing that, and making that available to the men around me could make a difference to that statistic and save lives, and that’s really important to me.

– AS WE HAVE JUST FINISHED OUR ‘BODY AND SOUL’ ISSUE , HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR BODY?
I feel like it’s definitely been a roller-coaster. I battled anorexia for most of my life, and it’s only been 4 years since I’ve broken free from that pattern. Exercise is really important to me for that reason. When I’m cycling or running, it’s not about what my body looks like, it’s about how it allows me to move and be in the world. I feel as though I’ve gone from constantly fighting against my body, as this outside thing, this demanding, alien thing, to working with it, being grateful for it, and even loving it!

– WHERE’S YOUR SOUL AT?
Somewhere, running in the woods…

– WHATS IT LIKE TO BE YOU?
Very energetic! Sometimes I make my own head spin, with how much I want to do and achieve everyday, and in life in general.

– HOW DO YOU STAY POSITIVE?
Yoga and meditation are both key components of my self-care. Keeping my flat nice and tidy, wearing bright colours and being in nature are all high on the list too.

– WHATS YOUR IDEA OF EQUALITY?
That’s a really hard question to answer. Respect, for everyone, for our differences, as people, not as segregated categories, I suppose.

– WHATS THE DIFFERENT BETWEEN GIRLS AND BOYS?
To me the way we’re raised and socialised. The way I’ve been given power over physical appearance, emotions and social connections whilst the men around me have been given power in what they do, the way they lead. I think what adults deem important when we grow up can fundamentally shape how we think of ourselves as adults.

– THE NEXT ISSUE IS ‘SCENT AND SIGHT’ – WHATS THE LAST STRONG SCENT YOU REMEMBER FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD? WHAT DOES IT REMIND YOU OF?
The smell of tarmac burning under a 50 degrees Celsius sun, and the oils the pines give off under that heat. I don’t think it would be pleasant to anyone else, but it’s the smell of home, of my childhood.

– WHICH CELEB DO YOU THINK SMELLS THE BEST?
Whoever is in charge of Hugo Boss parfumerie, has got to smell good!

– WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Hopefully in my own research department, making science accessible to as many people as possible, owning a dog and a cabin in the woods, upcycling furniture on the weekends and writing novels. Bit ambitious?

– 10 WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU?
Driven. Bookworm. Bouncy. Ginger. Sister. Outdoorsy. Energetic. Smily. Brave (I hope). Creative.

– HOW CAN WE ALL LOVE LIFE A LITTLE BIT MORE AS A PLANET? HOW DO YOU LOVE LIFE FOR YOURSELF?
I think it was very powerful for me to realise that the way I think about the world, shapes the world. I got this revelation watching a speech called ‘this is water’ and it’s fundamentally altered how I think about my thinking and how much responsibility I take for it. I also like to make myself notice, appreciate and savour every little bit of happiness and kindness I witness around me.

HG XXX

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