What Would…

…Miss Fisher Do?

In my quest for mental peace and stability I have come up with many different mantras from many different schools of thought and whilst they have all helped me in many different ways, one is helping me over and over and over again.

what-would-2

For those of you who don’t know what Miss Fisher is, go to Netflix. Go there now. NOW. And watch it. If you like 1920s fashions, strong female characters with gumption and tenacity, and some light-hearted murder, then this is the programme for you!

What Would Miss Fisher Do helps you answer questions when you either don’t know the answer or you do know the answer but feel weirdly guilty about the answer, mostly the latter, for example: Continue reading “What Would…”

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Which is more important…

…your bottom or your brain?

Now obviously your bottom has some important bodily functions that must be taken care of and they can also be nice to touch, and wibble about in front of the mirror but I was getting ready for an evening out when I came across this on Youtube:

I’d gone from being excited for a lovely night out on the taaan to seriously depressed about the state of the world I’m going to have to bring children up in one day. It was a proper bummer (ha).

Continue reading “Which is more important…”

Happy International Women’s Day!

On this amazing day of celebration I would, perhaps somewhat controversially, like to focus on men (I know, because it doesn’t happen often enough…). I woke up this morning to a bunch of misogynistic tweets by uneducated men thinking that International Women’s Day was an excuse to tweet pictures of scantily clad girls and call it “appreciating” women. So these men are twats, statement of fact, but I’m not sure that it is entirely their fault.

I’m not worried about women; we’re strong; there are more and more of us not just overcoming the oppression of our society and marching towards an equilibrium of respect, but also starting to overcome the ridiculousness forced upon us by our fellow kind in advertising and the media. I am confident that as long as we remain strong and true in our push for complete equality, that we will get there, perhaps not in my lifetime but I’m fully planning on educating my children to carry on the fight when I’m gone and just maybe, it might happen in theirs. It’s the male-folk I’m worried about.

I was surprised this morning when I came across a tweet that said “happy #internationalwomensday boys” accompanied by a picture of a bikini clad celeb. For me this seemed to be a complete lack of understanding of the point of International Women’s Day, and I commented as much…I may have also used the word “cretin” but in my defence I was only stating the bloody obvious. I was then surprised further still by the tirade of responses I got from men telling me to “go back to my knitting” and that I had completely missed the point that they were just being “ironic” and that they were actually “appreciating” my entire sex. My bad, I didn’t realise that actually by subjecting women to only physical forms and rating them on scales of appreciation based solely on how pleasing they look, was a perfect example of appreciating the true wonderment of women on International Women’s Day. Don’t I feel silly.

But the thing is while we’re busy educating ourselves to create a better future for our gender, I’m slightly afaired that we’re leaving the other half behind in the dark ages. Men aren’t born chauvinistic twats, they develop these traits and glowing attributes as they grow and learn (or not as the case may be) and of course I do expect a couple of old toggers to pipe up with “there’s no such thing as International Men’s Day” (uh, that would be every day), I really don’t expect a bunch of young, average guys to fundamentally misunderstand gender equality in the most stupid of ways. Women are amazing, every day I am surprised and astonished and proud of us (granted not all of us, but I do think the majority) and I so want to be able to say that exact same sentence about men. I’m lucky because I am surrounded by men who do make me feel that way, but I feel know that they are the exception, not the rule.

I’m constantly told that I should temper my opinions (especially at dinner parties) but how can I when faced with men who think equality (and indeed the norm) is them wearing suits and women wearing bikinis. I’m afraid actually that from today onwards I may have to be slightly more militant in my tolerance (or lack thereof) of these people, and if you want to live in a world where you are praised for your free-thinking brain instead of degraded for it then I suggest you do the same.

Happy International Women’s Day.

international women's day inspirational women

Xin Chao!

I haven’t travelled all that much in my life so far. I’ve been lucky enough to visit many places in Europe but I’ve only ventured off this fair continent once before, so when the opportunity to go to Vietnam sprung itself into my life path I sprang back! For me travel is all about widening your understanding and respect for other cultures and getting to see amazing sites. So far on my trip I’ve been visiting lots of museums and temples in an effort to get to know more about the history of this beautiful country and its people, which I have but I’ve also learned an awful lot of things I didn’t know just by looking out of my taxi window. Some pretty damn awesome things actually – others just a bit weird but it takes all to make a world!

So here are 10 things that Vietnam has taught me (so far):

  1. JetLag is a mysterious and cruel mistress.Suffering from jetlag!
  2. You don’t really need specific road lines, lanes or junctions if you’re driving a vehicle with a loud horn.
  3. Whoever invented the selfie stick must now be disgustingly rich and laughing from his own private island where he’s hired his very own full-time photographer to take photos of him instead of him having to look like a twat doing it himself.
  4. You can in fact cook an entire pig, trotters and all, on a street sewage drainage grate.
  5. Hi Chi Minh or ‘Uncle Ho’ as they call him is in fact the Don of Vietnam.Uncle Ho the father of Vietnam
  6. You should never, ever pay more than £4.50 for a top ‘made’ by Zara, or in fact £5.50 for their shoes.
  7. Buddhism appears to be a very joyous and peaceful religion and watching someone pray can be a very moving experience…until they try to sell you postcards.Buddhist temple in vietnam
  8. You can fit at least three cumquat trees on the back of a moped.
  9. Why even buy a car when you can also fit a family of four on a moped?
  10. Vietnamese women make epic Generals and soilders of war. Fact.Vietnamese war women

I’m not even nearly done yet, having just moved from traditional Hanoi to the huge and modern city of Ho Chi Minh, stay tuned for the next 10!

Complement…

…or insult?

So I came across this little video on the Independent website and was almost instantly incandescent! With good reason!

Here’s why:

  1. The comments “let men be men” and “men are going to be that way, what can you do?” have sickened me down to my core. Firstly the majority of men that I know don’t see catcalling as an inherent part of their “man-ness”. They don’t see shouting unsolicited comments at random strangers solely based on their appearance as at all associated with the fact that they have a penis. Secondly, “men are going to be that way, what can you do?” this sounds like something some twat who works for Nuts magazine would say about a rape case. If we as a society start to adopt this attitude to unwanted attention it will have an extremely detrimental effect on where we draw the lines of consent, sexism and ultimately gender equality. Men are not just “going to be that way”, no man is born a chauvinistic pillock, they learn these specific behaviours through growing up in a society willing to take harassment as par for the course of being a woman!
  2. I am all for dressing to impress, if I have a big meeting I make sure I’m dressed nicely, I put my makeup on and do my hair – I want to make a good impression. That impression is not “you should do business with me because I look sexy” it’s “you should do business with me because you can take me seriously”. Yes I want to look good, but that has nothing to do with looking sexually attractive. So when this hideous excuse for a man says that when he gets dressed in the morning he wants to look in a certain way that is “appealing” to people, all I have to say is FAIL (unless a fake-tanned-over-sized-baby-in-a-suit looking man is appealing – each to their own I suppose). Even if he was a handsome Adonis of a man I would be pushed to find anything appealing about him because I would be too focused on the fact that he’s a complete wanker. Call me crazy but I like to hold standards for people based on their thoughts, opinions and actions, not on the cut or brand of their suit.
  3. If someone were to clap me down the street I wouldn’t be smiling, or feel complimented, I would be intimidated and frankly a wee bit confused.
  4. I almost feel sorry for these women because they’re confusing two very different things. Should someone you know say, “you look nice today” – that’s a compliment, if someone you don’t know shouts “nice arse” at you while you cross the road – that’s harassment. I am confident enough in myself not to yearn for a stranger to find me physically attractive. If these ladies are so deprived of genuine compliments that they have to quaff and Botox themselves to within an inch of their lives and revel in the objectification of their efforts by random men then they need therapy, not a TV show. The other day I was in Boots, wearing my most favourite of all my Marple-style suits and the lady serving me said, “that is a great suit” – that’s a complement! It is a truly great suit! That’s why I bought it! Not because it shows my legs or bottom or booby bits (which incidentally it doesn’t – Marple would never behave in such a way) because it’s frikin awesome! Now if she had said “your bottom looks good in that skirt, I would so love to touch it” I would have been tempted to say, “I have not invited you to comment on my physicality in any way and would thank you kindly not to ever again” because I know the difference between a COMPLIMENT and an OBJECTIFICATION.
  5. The saddest thing about this whole sorry video is that these people are allowed to voice their damaging and ridiculous opinions on a national scale, on a mainstream stage, in the largest country in the world. It’s so important to make sure that we mark this as what it is – just wrong and that we strive to teach the boys and girls of the generation coming after ours that self esteem is not something that is shouted at you across the street, that self respect is not glowing upon the objectification of a crass and rude person, that what you look like does not make you who you are and that it is not okay to shout hideous things at people you don’t know!

Thats not so much my 10 cents as my 100 dollars worth. I don’t like sitting on the fence – long thin planks of wood are not a comfortable thing to place my un-objectified bottom on thank you very much.

Free the bush…

… or as my future feminist movement will be called, Free the Foof!

So I went to a very lovely wedding a few weeks ago, I had my outfit all sorted, in fact I’ve worn it to every wedding I’ve been to this year, it’s my 2013 wedding outfit. Nice dress, a hat (I was hoping would look a little ‘vintage 50s’ but that I fear ended up looking rather more ‘modest 80s’), red shoes, the whole kit and caboodle. And as I was readying myself for the big event, scrubbing myself shiny in the shower I realised that I had forgotten to pack my razor. “Ah well” I thought, “It doesn’t matter, this is the north, I’ll wear tights.” Then as I continued to cleanse myself of all dirt I noticed (with some alarm) that actually my armpit hair had grown to such a length that it could have been mistaken for small kitten. At that point it looked like I should have been using shampoo and conditioner not shower gel to clean that particular area of my body.

In my last blog I did mention that I have an aversion to shaving, in fact it’s not so much an aversion as a complete lack of caring. Now, how one looks after their bodily hair has often been related to one’s political, or more specifically feminist values, I know this because I religiously listen to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 and they say so. Can you be a feminist (or at least a good one) if you dye your hair? Can you be a feminist if you shave your armpits, legs, face or… other places?

In my case I’ve never been good at hair maintenance of any kind, I’m too impatient (and get up too late) to dry my hair, I only ever need to buy razors on leap years and I very much take the ‘Secret Garden’ approach to my, ehem, feminine upkeep. However, this has actually worsened in recent years, partly because I accidentally shaved a two and a half inch strip of flesh off my ankle during my first year at uni (by the way, running into your new house mates’ room, soaking wet covered in only a hand towel and a lot of blood, is an excellent ice-breaker) but partly because I am loved by a wonderful man who couldn’t care less whether I am hairless or otherwise. I feel attractive and sexy and loved and wanted with all my hair perfectly intact, and in abundance (as is my genes and colouring dictates). Which poses the question, am I feminist if I don’t shave my hairs because of the love of a man?

Well why does anyone else shave their body bits? To appear more attractive to their chosen sex? Because it makes them feel good about themselves? Hygiene reasons? Pressure from the spewing of modern media pressuring all women to look fictional? I’m pretty sure which one I think it is. Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of a silky smooth leg. I like it so much that I tend to rub my legs together after shaving which results in me adopting a very odd walk for the rest of the day, but that only ever happens around once every quarter.

But when confronted with the little kitten under my arm I too caved. I searched high and low for a razor and rid myself of all armpit hair (or as much as was possible from the weird angle one is forced to adopt when armpit shaving). I didn’t want people to think that I was dirty, because such is the pressure on women to look how society says they should look, that I would have been perceived as not quite clean if the hair that naturally grows on me and every other woman in the world had remained intact. It is now more surprising to see the natural state than the un-natural one.

Take for example, Victoria Secret models, who have recently been gracing every shiny-sheeted publication in Christendom; why has nobody ever said when looking upon their almost alien forms “wow, that look’s weird”? Because to my mind these women are freaks! Beautiful freaks! Nobody actually looks that way, but women look at these abnormally lovely creatures and think “oh, that’s how women should look, I’ll try to look like that too then.” This is a minority of people who were born all odd and have a large team of highly trained and experienced professionals to help them achieve the look of being fictional, so why are the majority of women trying to achieve it all by themselves?

My sister made the very valid point that to be a feminist is to have complete control over oneself and ones body and if that means shaving simply because you like to shave then great and I agree, but for all the women who look upon every single other women used for the advertising of anything and everything ever, ever, ever and think, “bodily hair is obviously highly unattractive” and then spend every shower time they have running sharp objects all over their skin, then I say NO! Stop razoring yourselves! It took feeling finally comfortable with my natural form to figure this out, which was, admittedly helped a lot by the love of a good person. But I was not helped into my state of happy furriness by the approval of a man, just a good person, who waded through all the ridiculous aesthetics of being a women and said “sod em, you look gorgeous.”

Everybody’s different, I am the kind of woman who got excited the other day because I realised that my pants where big enough for me to tuck both my vest and shirt into, which helps a lot with the annoying tucky-inny bit that comes with wearing high-waisted trousers. But just in case you’re the kind of woman getting out of bed 15 minutes early every day in order to shave your legs, I wanted to be person to say to you “sod em, you look gorgeous. Put that razor down and go and have a big bowl of porridge instead. It’s winter after all and you’ll need all the insulation you can get… plus porridge is a warming bowl of slow releasing energy and a much better way to start the day than hair removal.”

I’m not infallible to the pressures of beauty, I still shave or trim too, but I think what I’ve spent 1,110 words trying to say is, don’t worry so much, being hairless isn’t a compulsory requirement to being sexy, so don’t worry about it so much.