Monday, 25 January 2016

Feminism and Makeup - Friend or Foe?

Feminism and Makeup – Friends or Foe?

Vaj lips. 
It’s an oldie but a goodie: should Feminists wear makeup? If you’ve read this then or ever even seen a picture of me you’ll probably have an inkling of my opinion about this. But firstly let’s look at why are / were Feminists so anti makeup? Whilst the first wave of Feminism concerned itself with basic rights of Women in society such as getting the vote, second wave feminists of 60s and 70s began to call for women to reject anything that would subjugate them in the eyes of men. What I mean by this is that Second Wave feminists felt that one of the ways that men controlled women was by creating a society which treated them solely as sexual objects. Makeup is there purely to make a women look like she’s in the throes of wild sex! Black lined eyes= dilated (sexually aroused) pupils! Blusher=flushed sex cheeks, bright red lips= engorged labia. Yes, you are apparently trying to look like a vagina lips with that Mac Ruby Woo!

And men didn’t wear makeup, obsess over their weight, wax or shave their legs etc. but heaven forbid a woman broke free from these shackles! Militant! Ugly, man-hating lesbian! This woman is unlikely to succeed in a culture which rewards beauty (the male construct of beauty of course) and shuns ugliness! Who’s interested in the opinion of a bushy-haired, mono-browed, spotty harridan?! She doesn’t care about her appearance so we don’t care about her opinion, SHOOO ugly woman-beast!

But they’re fickle buggers, those men. Because coincidentally there was a fashion in the 70s for makeup to look “natural” …. With the ironic implication that natural beauty somehow gives you the superior edge to your heavily made up, less fortunate-of-face sisters. “I love my women to be makeup free and natural.” *Eye roll*.

Historically as most of us know, makeup has been around for thousands of years. It was used by both men and women in Ancient Egypt and played an important role in their adornment rituals. In the Georgian era makeup yet again became a tool in society to convey a message used by both men and women using a white powdered-face. This represented the face of the wealthier members of society because they weren’t so exposed to the elements. And they even had colourful patches drawn onto their skin in flower or star shapes to cover scars and pock marks (from the lead paint, no doubt!) So far, so equal. It wasn’t actually until the 20th Century that makeup became an almost exclusively female pursuit when women in the USA and Europe became influenced by the makeup worn by the visiting Russian ballet. And by 1920s Hollywood had commenced its inexhaustible glamourous influence with its kohl lined doe-eyed, silent film starlets. And of course they still hold a key role creating the look that people still try and emulate to this day.

Beauty and appearance are at the forefront of our society. Not many people want to alienate themselves from society in the manner of aforementioned woman-beast. You either really want to make a point and have the supreme self-confidence to back it up or you truly have no fucks to give. And that, I think, is super brave. Because judging people on how they look is so completely endemic that I don’t think we know we are doing it half the time. And it’s true regardless of gender, both men and women judge other men and women constantly.

The way we have been brought up to see each other (women, men, Trans community) is thoroughly entrenched in our psyche. I’ve talked before about the male gaze: men look at women, women think about being looked at. We cannot escape the influence of the society we are born into. And by society I mean, you, me, your mum, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your mates, everyone on TV, the Queen, your neighbour, that ignorant tosser who cut you up in the street earlier, the person who sold your coffee this morning.... EVERYONE!

It is what it is. Whether we like it or not, the standards of beauty that are acceptable in our western culture have been decided before we’re squeezed out of the foof. As soon as we are aware of our place in the world, we become aware of what we look like. What we choose to do with that information however is totally up to us. We can fight against the individual components of the industry that the more conscientious of us object to, like stick thin cat walk models who portray an unattainable/unhealthy body image. E.g. the French government bringing in legislation to ban fashion houses using models with a BMI lower than 18. And no one is saying that there aren’t problematic areas in the Beauty industry which wholly do need to be addressed… unrealistic sizing goals or younger and younger girls being targeted by both in advertising and the products it sells… Frozen themed lip gloss and nail varnish pack for 2 year olds anyone? *shudder*

But lots of women feel empowered by taking care of their appearance. And by extension, wearing makeup makes me feel empowered. Why? Because it makes them feel better about themselves. Why? Because they want to feel like they are presenting the best version of themselves to the outside world. Some people are even brave enough to just come out and say it: because I want to feel attractive. Attractive to who? Men? But then aren’t you just objectifying yourself?! You’re reducing yourself to a mere sexual object to boost your own self esteem! SO WHAT?! I do it EVERY DAY!!!!

When you break it down “wearing makeup for yourself” is still wearing makeup that makes you look as close as you can to your society’s perception of beauty. Unless your version of makeup is akin to Pennywise from It. And if it is, all props to ya and good luck! But it doesn’t matter. Wanting to “fit in” and feel “attractive” is not wrong. It’s a perfectly human response.

Sometimes there are deeper reasons why we want to wear makeup too. Perhaps there are scars which represent some trauma or birth marks or loss of facial hair from treatment. Nobody could accuse a chemo patient of wanting to wear false eye lashes as being vain, could they?!

When I go out in makeup I definitely feel different to when I don’t. I feel like I get treated differently too. This could be one of two things. I could be less confident, I am not comfortable with the way my face looks without makeup. I have skin problems and I am acutely aware that my eyes are too small and close together.... which is enhanced when I am packing weight because those little piggy eyes just get closer together as the fat swells up around them. Hence the massive blobs of black kohl you see splattered on the outer corners of my eyes in every made-up photo...desperately trying to elongate my eyes to the far edges of my large face just to balance out my piggy-eyed “flaw”!

Or it could be that people do actually treat people better depending on how they look. I think it's probably a mix of both. 

What about facial hair? I am extremely hirsute. I have side burns that reach my jaw line, soft but thick downy hair all over my face and bright red, thick hairs that grace my chin and top lip. I shave my face every 4-6 weeks. I have done for years and contrary to popular belief, I have not started getting a 5 o’clock shadow and the hair is as thick as it ever was and no worse. I’ve had several different “permanent” treatments: a course of EPL which luckily I had for free years ago but that should have cost me hundreds. Very lucky in that it did nothing because it works on pigment and my thickest hairs are red...the hardest colour to treat....hooray! I had electrolysis and chemical electrolysis over a period of about a year...again nothing doing. Currently I epilate every few weeks, pluck stray strays every day and spend most evenings picking at my chin. Which is why I have scars and pock marks all over my jawline and a constant acne presence there.... did I mention the rosacea? I’m lush.
4 weeks growth: It took me guts-a-mondo to go out looking like this! Is it cos I is vain?!

But this concern with my appearance, is it vanity or is it lack of confidence? Have I put this pressure on myself after adolescent experiences of rejection and humiliation unfairly blamed on my appearance (and not my loud mouth and sarcastic, caustic tongue?!). Or do I want to look as good as possible because I am manically competitive and must be the most attractive person in the world, the greatest beauty that ever LIVED? Given my fight with weight my whole entire life, I am obviously not THAT competitive.

I do regularly have days where I don’t wear makeup. I didn’t wear makeup for my entire first pregnancy and before that would usually spend my whole week at work with nothing but a smudge of Vaseline on my cracked lips. It actually changed for me after the birth of my first baby. After 9 months of feeling like hell, I wanted to present the very best of myself to the world. And by that, I mean feel pretty. Look good (well, better at least!). I don’t know what the definitive response is. Maybe it’s a bit vanity and a bit confidence. Maybe it’s partly creativity, I have an art degree after all!

I do love makeup though. I gorge on the stuff. I love the way I can change how I look instantly. I am not remotely ashamed. I even considered retraining as a makeup artist. I don’t think it’s silly and vacuous. I know it doesn’t have the slightest baring on my intellect. And with that in mind, I absolutely love this quote about having an interest in makeup from Sali Hughes, brainiac feminist AND beauty editor:

“Nobody looks at men’s hobbies ever and defines men by those hobbies. No one says ‘Paintballing? I bet you don’t know what’s going on in Syria’”.

My conclusion very much is, you can be a feminist and wear makeup. I think it’s helpful to be aware of the origins and significance of makeup in your society but it’s very definitely OK to show your painted mug to the world. I’ll leave you with the very funny Amy Schumer brilliant parody. Laters gators! 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Why It’s Not OK to Laugh It Off.

This morning I heard the news story about cricketer Chris Gayle being fined £10,000 for asking out sports reporter Mel McLaughlin during a post match TV interview. I’m going to be honest. My first reaction, knowing nothing about the news item other than those facts,  not having seen the footage or heard anyone else’s bias, was “Woah, that seems a bit steep”. That reaction, shared by many, is why I am writing this post.

On further investigation, having watched the footage, I realised how wrong I was. The footage shows a person trying to do her job, on national TV, being reduced to sex object. She asks a serious question about the match and he responds by complimenting on her eyes, telling her “don’t blush baby” and asking her out for a drink. In the background you can hear cackles of laughter from her colleagues in the gallery. She understandably looks extremely uncomfortable and ends the interview abruptly.

The story seems to have divided opinion on social media. Fellow cricketer and former England captain Freddie Flintoff tweeted:

"Well played @Mel_Mclaughlin !! Big fan of @henrygayle but made himself look a bit of a chop there."

Whereas perhaps more predictably, Piers Morgan tweeted:

"I'm absolutely outraged that everyone's so absolutely outraged by @henrygayle being a bit cheeky to a female TV reporter."

Which was then retweeted by Gayle himself.

And therein lies the rub.

The attitude that it’s all “just a bit of fun”. Us girls need to just lighten up because it’s all just “bantz....lolz!”. He was having a LAUGH! He was making a JOKE! But hang on, what was the joke? He JOKINGLY asked her out? Or the joke was that he was asking her out on TV, whilst she was doing her job, in front of millions of people, because that’s funny right?! Wrong.

That’s such a lazy dismissal. It’s lazy and actually it’s dangerous. It’s the reason we don’t live in a gender equal society. If we keep “laughing off” incidents like these, because LADS, EH? Then nothing is ever going to change. It’s this type of latent sexist attitude that holds back progress for women. Whilst we’re still seen as silly little playthings to be complimented and flirted with how on earth are we going to move on? How are we going to reduce the pay gap? How are we going to encourage more women into sports reporting let alone competing?

Gayle responded to the furore by saying it was not supposed to be offensive. How could it not be? You humiliated a woman in her workplace doing her job. It was a complete lack of respect. My default thought during incidents like this is, what would happen if it had been a man? If it had been a male reporter, this wouldn’t have happened. So it shouldn’t have happened just because she was female.

Put another way, if he was in a court of law and the judge was a woman, however much he was attracted to the judge (ooh powerful women are SO sexy!) he wouldn’t have asked her out. He would have RESPECTED her position. Or he would be held in contempt of court. He would be legally bound to respect her.

This incident is not an isolated one obviously. It brought back shuddery memories of the Andy Gray / Richard Keys debacle where Gray was eventually sacked for this exact same attitude: Women are to be played with, fondled! Seconds before going on air! And the image of a sniggering, slimy Richard Keys is forever imprinted on my brain when  he was filmed talking about Louise Redknapp, as if she were actually a piece of meat, discussing how he’d smash “it” and “imagine going round there any night...finding (Jamie) Redknapp hanging out the back of it” IT. Louise became an IT. I feel sick even thinking about it.

Which is ironic given that when I tweeted about it today I was met with a similar response:

It seems there are a lot of people out there who JUST.DON’T.GET.IT. I even came across this ridiculousness earlier. An opinion piece, written by a female “journalist” which starts “Poor Chris Gayle has become the latest sacrificial lamb for social justice warriors.” REALLY?

Come on people! This is the 21st Century! PLEASE can we just stop accepting “banter” where women are the scapegoats as “just a bit of fun”? PLEASE? We will never live in an equal society with respect to and from women and men whilst we keep thinking it’s OK to treat women like sex objects. And that is NOT OK. 

Super Busy MUm

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Spread The Christmas Love

It’s CHRISTMAS!!!! OK it’s not but very soon it will be CHRISTMAS and every year it’s CHRISTMAS!!!!! OMG CHRIIIIIIISSSTMAS!!!!!

Which camp to you belong in? 

Christmas Helicopters1) You flipping LOVE Christmas to bits. You either openly or secretly prepare for it all year round, starting in the January sales (my Nana would be proud of you, especially if you start with Marksies). Every part of it fills you with immense pleasure and every stage has become a ritual...planning the presents, buying your cards, choosing an advent calendar, choosing the wrapping, designing your decoration style, making your cake, ordering your cheese (ok that might just be me-the cheese freak) etc etc. You get semi orgasmic as soon as they start playing Christmas tunes in store and putting up the decs. You poo-poo the naysayers exclaiming “Oh it’s too early! We haven’t even had Easter yet”. You’re delirious when you see the “weeks til Christmas” countdown in your Facebook/Twitter timelines and are almost sick with excitement when weeks turn to days. You start planning your trips to the Christmas wonderlands/Father Christmas’s etc in September whether you have kids or not and get your organise the work Secret Santa Christmas and have the staff Christmas meal booked before the end of that month too. You start checking the probability of a White Christmas from June and if the odds even drop a miniscule amount, you pass out from overexcitement. Pass the smelling salts: THIS IS YOUR TIME OF YEAR BABY!

Christmas Tree2) You’re just a bah humbug. You’re just a miserable codger who can’t stand the “commercialisation” or worse still the “Amercianisation” of Christmas. You HATE the tinkling strains of Cliff being piped through your shopping experience in October. You want to punch the Store Manager in the face. And why the hell has a Gingerbread Latte become a “thing?” Why can’t Christmas just start on Christmas eve like it did when YOU were a kid? When you just had a piney twig for a tree, some garish flower lights that only occasionally worked, some tired tinsel that you brought out every year (we never bought new decorations every year in MY day!) one present under the tree and a stocking full of stones and mud if you were lucky. You wish Christmas and all it’s cheap, sparkly crap would DO ONE.

3) You hate Christmas. Your reasons for hating Christmas are sad and awful. You’ve had some horrible emotional event of which Christmas is a stinging reminder of every year. You wish everyone would shut-the-cup-up about it all. You want to hibernate until January. Or you find it a very exclusive, lonely time. Everyone focusing on socialising and gift giving and “the commercial” side of the holiday. You may be in a vulnerable position, physically, emotionally, mentally or financially and seeing everyone prance around with the idiotic silliness of the season just rams home how awful your situation is. People are selfish idiots.

Gorgeous Christmas BabiesNow. As you could probably already guess if you don’t know me personally I belong completely and utterly in camp number 1. I guess this is because I was super lucky enough to have been brought up in a family equally as ridiculous as me in it’s enthusiasm for the season.  I understand why people are in camp 2. It IS a very commercial time of year and every year seemingly more so with the media (social media especially *eyeballs Pinterest*) introducing more and more ways to pressure us into spending more. Christmas Eve "box" for the kids anyone? Homemade Advent filled with toys anyone? Or the ultimate Advent Calendar for this Mummy.... Selfridges!

But as for the last camp....this time of year can absolutely suck like hell for a lot of people. It’s so easy to get caught up in the madness and forget that there are lonely people or sad or ill people who could really do with a boost at this time of year. Sorry to turn this light hearted post into a sombrefest but for my fellow Christmas lunatics it might be nice to give some of our silliness back to the community and share our spirit. I have wanted to do something worthwhile at Christmas for a while but having small kids has always been the excuse I use for not committing. This year I am going to change that. I want to do something to make someone’s life a bit easier this Christmas. If you are a fellow Christmas looney here are some ways you can help too to share the Christmas Love:

(If you’re a bah humbug, buck yer ideas up and join in too)

Finally if you are one of my fellow are some local charities you can help out.

If that feels like too much but you want to keep it local then check out the following sites:

The Wallich / Emmaus South Wales  / Llamau / Shelter Cymru / Cardiff Foodbank

 I hope everyone EVERYONE even the BAH HUMBUGS have a brilliant time this Christmas.


Friday, 2 October 2015

Why I Now Love The Three Day Nanny (it's not why you think).

So I've just seen the Three Day Nanny (Kathryn Mewes) being interviewed on the This Morning couch. I have to say, I'd only ever watched one of her programmes because it felt like we'd seen it all before with Jo Supernanny. And actually she seemed a bit prissy (which is probably a bit mean). But she was talking about her struggle with her own new parenthood and loss of control with a newborn. I was hooked! 

How brave to go on National TV and tell the UK that actually, when it came to having her own baby, she struggled like buggery to hold it together! She confessed that she even had someone else train her baby to sleep (although this begged the question who and where can we get one?!) whilst she snivelled down the end of the garden! My respect for her has gone through the roof. 

One of the first things she said to Eamonn and Ruth was that she felt she had failed little Holly. That's EXACTLY HOW I FELT! 

She went on to explain that after a 26 hour labour and emergency forceps delivery (eerily similar to my own first labour experience) she only felt relief that Holly had arrived safe and well, handed her over to her partner and just existed in a daze for the next 3 days. She felt she didn't bond with her at all to begin with. Again that's exactly what happened to me. When I was finally wheeled from theatre to the high dependency ward, out of my mind on sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, severe dehydration and druuuugz, I just handed Gus to Emlyn and cried and cried before begging for sleep. I wasn't interested in cuddling my beautiful boy. I was so overwhelmed. Even now, thinking about that breaks my heart. How could I not have wanted to clutch this darling thing to my breast and never let him go?! That's how you're supposed to feel, right?! A rush of euphoric love that lasts forever! 

NOT feeling like that makes you feel like the worst, most despicable, confused human imaginable. And it stays with you for a very long time. I'd even go as far as to say if it weren't for the fact that my second child's birth WAS all the things I'd expected from the first, I wonder if a part of me would actually believe that birth could be ALL THE AMAZING FEELINGS! And there will always be secret sadness in my heart that my luscious boy's entry to the world was tainted by my inability to cope.

Kathryn going on telly to share the truth of her daughters birth is SO admirable. Because I know we aren't the only mums who felt like that. I think it's very common to mum's who are used to being in control in their everyday lives. I'm sure as a hell a control freak, I can't cope at all in disorder and chaos, although I am learning to through being a parent. Laid back, chilled, roll with the punches people are an enigma to me! And i think perhaps we should talk more openly about how common it is to NOT feel like a "brilliant, loving earth mum" immediately especially for those who do suffer traumatic birth experiences. It can be so lonely and alienating when you think you are the only one experiencing negative emotions about parenting.

Knowing that I wasn't alone, that it didn't make me a terrible, selfish person and actually that someone who has huge respect for her child rearing skillz experienced birth and baby blues in the exact same way is a huge comfort. I think 3 Day Nanny should get a flipping medal. And I'm now going to scour the interwebs for all her old episodes (and stalk her on Twitter obvs)! 

Can anyone else relate to this? Did anyone else have that disassociated feeling post birth and terror of keeping the tiny bundle alive BY YOURSELF?!? Or are you one of those enigmas who let it all wash off you? Comments please! Love to hear your stories too! 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

90s Nostalgia vs Present Day Mindfulness

Retro 90s! It’s all OVER the place at the moment! People are lapping up those Madchester tunes, baggy trousers, bucket hats and days when you could smoke anywhere you liked. This Is England 90! (Admittedly immense television viewing) TFI Friday! My MAD Fat Diary! 90s themed nights! 90s themed parties! There are even 90s Fashion revival boards all over Pinterest and Guardian articles extolling the virtues of a time before trolling.

This is a very strange time for me. My experience of the 90s was mostly brilliant but also a little bit mixed. I was a teenager for the most part (I was 16 in 1992) in school and then in Uni. So emotionally, seeing all of these programmes and getting caught up in the tidal wave of nostalgia isn’t a wholly pleasant experience. But then, is gorging on nostalgia ever a good thing?

Obviously being a teenager is an exciting but difficult time for anyone. Working out your place in the world, convinced you’re a “grown up” but without the knowledge, experience or confidence of real adulthood. I spent a lot of my time as a teenager rallying to be taken seriously as an adult whilst still acting like a spoilt child. A typical example of this: demanding to be allowed to go off in a van to Glastonbury at 17 with a bunch of men in their 20s (!) who all looked like they needed a bloody good wash, when I should have been on first-year exam duty in school! Amazingly I was allowed to go and had the best time of my life. I DID receive a lecture upon my return to school about irresponsibility and a detention to boot, but who cares?! I saw the Velvet Underground live! I lolled about in hippy fields and got lost in seas of tents and ate Japanese noodles and got drunk on cheapy flagons of cider and smoked 100 Marlboro reds! It was brilliant! (And it was 1993….years before rain destroyed the fields.)

At the same time however, I was too scared to use the phone. I would rather eat my own head than call for a taxi. I couldn’t have cooked a meal other than beans on toast (sufficiently) or washed my own clothes or sorted out bills and paid council tax or anything that real adults did. Well I could at a push. But I didn’t….my Mum did. Because really, I was still a kid.

And even when I went to Uni and had all the freedom and independence and learnt to do all the grown up things…I still wasn’t a properly formed adult. I still had a crippling lack of self-confidence, I still felt sick to death talking in lectures or god forbid, doing an actual talk. I still spent 90% of my time thinking no one REALLY liked me and ALL BOYS hated me (which to some extent was true, sadly). So when I hear the music from that time and see re-creations of nights out on TV the feelings I experience are fond but with a heap of sadness for the lost soul I felt between the ages of 16-21. My Mad Fat Diary was a particular trigger for this being focused on the life of a teenager in the mid-90s.

If you were a teen or at Uni in the 90s…. how do you feel about having all these feelings of the past resurrected so constantly at the moment?
And for everyone else who enjoyed the 90s and remembers them well, there must have been times during that decade that you’d like to forget too? A lot of the music is soul-searching and heart wrenching stuff….. Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine etc. I can’t imagine anyone listening to Kurt’s iconic unplugged cover of the “Man Who Sold The World” and feel anything other than desperate sadness, especially given how tragically his life ended.

And why do we have a need as a society to hark back so much to the past? I’ve definitely made the point before about how I feel like the world we live in is a much safer, more exciting time. But I also feel like we should be embracing the here and now. And there is some sciencey shiz to back me up on this thinking! Mindfulness has become a really powerful tool to help people to overcome anxiety. Anxiety is a scourge on our society right now with more and more people being diagnosed with stress related conditions, anxiety and / or depression. Mindfulness teaches us to be present and to stay focused on the here and now. It helps us to not focus on what happened in the past or worry about what will happen in the future. I also feel like, for those people who DO miss times past, their enjoyment of now and of future events will be tainted by this ache for something that cannot be recreated. I actually think It’s a bit irresponsible to present the past as perfect and scaremonger about how awful things are now.

No wonder the instances of stress and depression are on the rise if all we see are Vaseline-lensed nostalgia pieces, how fat the latest sleb has become or terrible global events CAUSED BY JONNY FOREIGNER! Surely we could do with more focus in the media of staying present in this moment and presenting a more positive outlook of the world we live in? Obviously I don’t mean ALL media coverage; I’m not talking about reporting news events from around the world or national politics etc. I’m talking opinion pieces, columns and TV programmes etc.

How about it? Come people, let’s start celebrating the greatness of today, today! Who’s with me?

And then the fun began...

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Big Mouth Strikes Again

Big Mouth
Me and my biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig mouth. Ugh. I’ve done it again. I’ve got myself into trouble by opening my big gob when I should have a) thought about what I was going to say b) not said it. I did neither. And now I feel like a complete idiot.

On Saturday night I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, it was a bit late and I may have had a wine or two. (That was the first mistake). I came across a Twitter conversation between two journalists I really liked having a big old bitch about 2 other (married) journalists I also really liked regarding an article the husband had written. I was so shocked that they were so publicly ridiculing this couple and without even including them in their tweets and therefore giving them no way to defend themselves. I felt it was really snarky, childish and unprofessional.

So. Um. I told them. In a Tweet, in which I added the other couple who were being bitched about. In fact it was 3 tweets. OK it was a 3 tweet rant about how inappropriate it all was.

WHY? WHHHHHHHHHY did I do this? What on EARTH did I think the response would be? Did I HONESTLY think my tweets would make the guilty parties have a “long hard look at themselves” and respond with contrite apologies to all concerned?! Did I think that the wounded parties would thank me profusely for my loyalty and tell the bitching girls to eff off?! I don’t know what the hell I was thinking! Because of course it became a Twitter shit-storm with me at the centre!

Not only did the husband tell me he didn’t give a hoot and wasn’t interested, the girls bombarded me with tweets defending themselves (one protesting innocence and the other one just being sarcastic) and telling me that including the ridiculed couple in the tweets was “bad form”. (But apparently bitching about them isn’t?!)  A few other people started to wade in…including a gameshow presenter whose “witty” tweet about the whole thing being like “An episode of Emmerdale” has had 12 favourites, a RT and a few tittered responses to date. I’ve also had some random strangers tweeting all involved to tell us they’re “enjoying the show” as I try and defend myself and the girls berate me even more. It’s a disaster.

If only I’d kept my big mouth shut!

And of course, OF COURSE this isn’t the first time I’ve engaged mouth before brain. A couple of weeks ago I start barking at the Huff Post and its blog editor about my post being “stolen” because a very similar piece had been published. I was ridiculed all over twitter by her; she also called me a liar…tweeting to everyone that I was liar and demanding a retraction, when actually I wasn’t lying (I proved I’d spoken to her and emailed posts to her for her to read in the past and she tweeted that she had no idea who I was). Just like the clusterfuck above….i was the only one who ended up looking stupid.

Why do I do it? Why do I get all uppity and ranty and high horsey?!

I think there are a few reasons. Firstly if I see (what I deem to be) injustice and I DON’T say something or do anything…I feel like I’m being cowardly. I had a massive lack of confidence as a kid especially in school and confrontation terrified me. I still don’t like it but I push myself to speak up when I think things aren’t right because I think it makes me a weak, pathetic person if I don’t. Which is ridiculous! It doesn’t make me weak, it makes me ADULT.

Secondly, I have a bit of a thing for fighting battles that aren’t mine. The thing that bothered me the most was that the wife of the couple was a complete innocent and she’d been inadvertently bought into the whole thing, which I felt was unfair. I have a thing for fairness also. If I think something isn’t “fair” then I get really angry. However my idea of what is deemed “fair” may not correlate with anyone else’s so this is a bit of a redundant defence!

Thirdly I definitely didn’t think it through. I didn’t think about what outcome I would actually get….i just blurt-tweeted.

Lastly the Twitter world is a funny one. It is such an accessible way to reach people in the public eye that it’s hard not to speak to them as if you know them. Which of course you don’t at all. I half think that the people who tweet aren’t even real… ESPECIALLY the “slebs”. So it kind of feels like I’m not really tweeting people in real life. If that makes any sense at all. So tweeting them abuse…that’s FINE because they don’t EXIST. Yeah, I realise this too is a very stupid argument.

So what do I do about it? (“It” being my GOB). I think the only thing I can do is….i NEED to SHUT THE HELL UP. I need to stop tweeting my mouth off and start really considering how I am presenting myself to the world. If I ever want to get anywhere with writing, people will run a mile from me if they think I am a verbal liability. I must learnt restraint. B…but…but is this possible? Can a big-mouthed blogger ever change her spots?! I’m not so sure……………

What do you think? I’m throwing the floor open to you….do you think I should shut up or do you think I’ll never change? Let me know in the comments. I’ve got a feeling I know the answer already…. *girds her loins for response*

Let's Talk Mommy

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Don't Be Scared Of Feminism

Are you scared to call yourself a feminist? Even though you think you should be and you probably want to be and you might be already but...but.... really you’re just worried that someone:

 a) Will suddenly expect you to list off all transgressions towards women since time began? And therefore cause you to have a hundred thousand counter arguments as to why you shouldn’t be?

b) Will ask how you can be a Feminist if you wear make-up, care about your appearance, shave your armpits, are attracted to men, enjoy sex etc?

c) Will think of you as some raging bra-burning radical hangover from the 70s who doesn’t wash and wears Birkenstocks?

d) Will think you just hate men? (Oh bless her; she’s had a hard time with a fella, poor dab).

e) Other?

If you answer yes to one or all of these questions PLEASE don’t despair!

Up until a few years ago, I don’t think I would feel brave enough to come out on social media and spout anything about Feminism. I actually studied gender identity in Uni and wrote my dissertation about Surrealism through the eyes of a feminist. And yet I was STILL too scared to say I am a feminist. For all of the above reasons and more. I was terrified that either a particularly articulate misogynist would shout me down, or a not particularly articulate but more-well-read Feminist would shout me down. Or in fact ANYONE would shout me down!

But in the last few years, thanks to social media and the voices of some great women in the UK media in general, (Caitlin Moran, Lauren Laverne, Hadley Freeman et al) I feel braver. So brave in fact that I want to really start talking about it more. I don’t want it to be this big, oppressive “opinion” that makes people think you’re a raving extremist. It doesn’t have to be. I want people to embrace it and not feel embarrassed to call themselves Feminist. Men and Women alike.

I know there are some people who have a problem with the term Feminist because they feel its exclusionist. If it’s a term that represents EQUALITY then why aren’t we equality-ists?! Well put simply.... the pendulum has swung in favour of men for a very, very long time. Everything we experience in our society has been created by men to benefit men (ie the patriarchal society). They have historically held all positions of power, be it in family (the male lineage, taking the male name, the son being first heir etc) or in positions of power within Government, Business, Religion etc. So to swing the pendulum the other way, we have to shift the balance to include women, hence the term Feminism.

We are now, I have recently learned, entering what some people are calling the Fourth Wave of Feminism. Who knew there were so many waves?! Thanks to people being able to articulate themselves better with the “edit” facility of social media, people are able to express themselves in a much clearer way. And Feminism is a hot topic.

And I say “people” and not just women because wanting equality of the sexes is not exclusive to just women. Plenty of men want in on it too.

BUT the first wave was started by the suffragettes and most notably Emily Davison throwing herself at the King’s horse in 1913. 1913! That’s over 100 years ago and we’re still talking about needing equality! Come on peeps! We need to grab this thing and run with it!

So you don’t know all the ins and outs of the beginnings of Feminism, you don’t know who Emily Davison or Simone de Beauvoir or Germaine Greer are? You’ve never heard of the Male Gaze much less realised you were a victim of it? Who cares!?! You wear make-up and shave your hairy bits and actually want to feel attractive to the sex you want to attract...according to the patriarchal standards of beauty that we accept as normal? SO? SOOOOO? Why is it bad to want to feel normal and accepted amongst your peers?! That’s not WRONG. That is utterly your choice and it certainly doesn’t dictate whether you should feel embarrassed about wanting equality for women.

How about THESE questions:

1)    Do you think Female Genital Mutilation is acceptable?
2)    Do you think a man and a woman doing the same job should have different pay?
3)    Do you think the way a woman dresses dictates whether or not she should be raped?

Answer NO to all of them, right? BOOOM, you’re a feminist! Now shooooo.....go away and spread the word. Until we don’t have to ask these questions like these anymore, Feminism is still needed, OK?

Unscary Feminist
Feminist in Make-up and wearing pretty shiz and not giving 2 hoots!

Brilliant blog posts on