aside Angela van Son addresses privilege and stigma in her new poem “Back In The Day”

Angela van Son, 42, Utretch, Netherlands, is a dutch procrastination coach and poet/writer, Angela explains that she began learning English at the age of 12, and while thinking she never had any creativity, took up a creative course that has led her to rekindle her love for creative writing.

“I loved writing when I was a child, and I’m happy it’s back in my life. I love to play with words, I enjoy the challenge of writing in English, and I love the surprise of an unfolding story or poem. I never know what I’m writing about until I do it.” – Angela van Son


angela van son (2)
Angela van Son

We wanted to find out a little more about Angela:

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

“I’m self-employed, working internationally as procrastination coach. I like to help people move forward when they’re stuck, and to work on what’s holding them back. Procrastination is only the starting point. Finding ways to do things that suit you, liking yourself more, creating changes in your life, all of these may happen.”

What is your process when creating?

“I tend to be a quick writer. I follow the flow of the moment and then quit. The joy of creating is more important to me than if it’s right. Though I do mind spelling and grammatical errors, they have to go.”

Who inspires you in general?

“Patti Smith. I love how she doesn’t let herself be bound by ideas of what a woman should be, what an artist should do, or any other form of prescription. She’s original, she’s creative, she’s contagious, she has a sense of humour, she’s intense. When I see her live and she sings about revolution, every cell in my body believes that’s possible.”

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for…?

“Even as a girl I was attracted to feminism. The difference between the way boys and girls were treated has baffled me since I started to notice it. I’ve always felt it as unfair. The more I learnt about the world, the more that feeling was strengthened. Unfortunately there’s still a long way to go.”

What do the statements “art saves lives” and “art creates change” mean to you?

“There’s a reason why most dictators try to ban or censor art. Art is dangerous, It makes people think. It makes people feel. It sends messages.
There’s a reason why art helped people in concentration camps survive. It can help people stay sane. It can help people find beauty. It can help people believe there’s good in the world even when surrounded by bad.

When you create, you can access parts of you that you may not want to talk about. Or be able to talk about. It can distract you from your daily struggles and create a safe haven. It can bring playfulness when you overthink. It can bring distraction, relaxation, beauty, depth, it can empower you. Creating is a form of health. There’s a reason why all children create.”


Angela’s submission piece focuses on gender privilege and ageism, she writes of her poem:

To me this poem is about how we treat others, and how we’d like to be treated. The poem combines male privilege (looking at women as prey) with a contrast of ageism (feeling written due to age). To me the man is obviously wrong in his predator gaze. He likens women to prey. Yet there’s also the tragedy of only being seen as male if you’re young and seen as virile (a stigma). It brings a sort of sadness to the poem.


Back in the day

The young girl walked by
said hello
smiling a friendly smile
and making eye contact
not knowing that her friendliness
castrated him
and that she wasn’t
the first one

Back in the days
she wouldn’t have dared to look at him
afraid even a furtive glance
would be taken as an invitation

She would have held her breath
to not smell his feromones
avoided his smile
for fear of not being able to withstand it

Now the friendly looks said
you’re no danger to me

The smiles denied
his virility

Each hello meant
you’re old, old man

He wanted to yell “you’re unmanning me!”

But just smiled and said hello

What are your opinions on what causes discrimination?

I think discrimination originates in the human urge for social status. Both the desire to belong and to have power increases the dynamic of us versus them. Belonging and power increase the chances of survival. It probably started with access to food and shelter. The human mind seems to always want more. So now it’s access to WIFI, mobile phones and branded clothing…

What are your opinions on labels and stereotypes?

They are SO hard to stay away from. They’re in my mind, even when I don’t want them there. So I need to be aware of them and work on moving past them.

What are your opinions on national identity and in your opinion does nationalism create or deter discrimination?

The Dutch pride themselves on not being nationalistic, which in itself is an interesting form of national identity Though there is a serious Holland first movement too – we’re definitely not better than any other nation. National identity creates distinction, and hence invites discrimination. Even in state forms that have non-discrimination as part of their constitution.

What social privileges do you have? For example: are you white, able bodied/minded, a man, rich, heterosexual, thin… etc.

I’m white, able bodied, and I remember clearly what it was like to be able minded. I live in a country with social security, no war. I live in a safe neighbourhood and rarely worry about money. Schools have always been within walking distance, and they are good schools too. I have a passport that allows me to travel to many countries without restrictions. My looks are naturally unexceptional, and my brain is on the smart side. I remember what it was like to be thin. People understand the language I speak. There are lots of privileges and coincidences that shape my life.

How does social privilege affect our world in your opinion?

It tends to make the privileged blind for the experience of others, and reject their frustrations as exaggerations. It creates and recreates inequality, because people find it hard to give up their privileges. Privileges are part of belonging and of power.

In your own words please tell us how you feel the arts and creativity can further help to empower, communicate and educate people with regards to discrimination, privilege and stigmatisation?

Art enables you to walk in someone else’s shoes, experience different perspectives, broaden your mind. I’ve learned from stories I’ve read, I’ve learned from songs I’ve listened to, I’ve learned from pondering the revolutions in the visual art. In a world that demands super humans, arts and creativity help us to stay human.

If you would like to keep up to date with Angela’s work, please follow the links below:





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  1. “When I see her live and she sings about revolution, every cell in my body believes that’s possible.” Yes, it happened to me too this November when I heard her live for the first time. ❤

    All in all, a great interview. Art helps in so many ways.


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