Monday 25 September 2023

Who Can EVER Sleep?

If you're someone who struggles to sleep *flings hand up* then you are possibly obsessed, like me, with how other people sleep. How do people sleep? How can anyone EVER sleep?! 

You may be one of those super lucky people who can sleep on a chicken’s lip! You put your head on the pillow and poof! You're asleep! You absolute lucky dabber. My relationship with sleep has always been weird. Apparently, I slept well as a baby. I was a very early riser, but I needed my bed early. I remember in Junior school my bedtime was always earlier than my friends. Boo! No Adrian Mole for me! But if I got overtired, I would get really nauseous and often actually vom. (Bad times for my vom-averse mother!) 

As an adult I've had lots of bouts of bad sleep especially during stressful periods. I remember visiting a lavender farm in Oz and left convinced that the "sleep balm" I'd bought held the key to the secrets of sleep! It didn't. My pregnancies were tricky, and sleep was difficult especially when the cholestasis (itching thing) kicked in but taking piriton definitely helped keep me asleep after I eventually drifted off. THANKFULLY during newborn stages insomnia did NOT rear his ugly head and I could sleep when I was actually able. 

My sleep obsession has meant that I am very aware of sleep hygiene. I have a cool, dark bedroom, cotton sheets, few electronics in my room, no caffeine after 4pm, exercise most days, no late night snacks, no blue light on my phone and I only watch ASMR videos on my phone before I fall asleep. I also have used meditation apps, but I struggle with the concentration needed so I find ASMR more relaxing. 

But in 2018 I had a bout of meta-anxiety. Since then, I've managed to convince myself that I absolutely AM a permanent insomniac. My sleep was deeply affected by a prolonged, months long episode of anxiety attacks. And the more I couldn't sleep, either at night or in the day when trying to catch up, the worse I felt. It was a complete vicious circle. 

That episode, coupled with my awareness of maybe being neurodiverse and learning that I am peri-menopausal (insomnia is common in menopause and with ADHDers), has definitely added to the narrative I've been telling myself. I CAN NOT SLEEP, UNAIDED, EVER. So, I take over the counter sleep aids (antihistamines), melatonin or a very limited prescription of sleeping pills. And obvs wine other nights although that's usually counterproductive as I am sure you know. 

But the problem is that I've now fully convinced myself that I can't actually sleep a wink unless I take something (recent new addition... CBD drinks!). This is obviously due to being an anxious person. I fixate and tell myself repeatedly things that aren't actually true so that I eventually believe that they are. It's one of the single most annoying habits I have and it's exhausting. 

I have spent the summer worrying about sleep and then proving to myself that actually I CAN sleep without any aid whatsoever, even if that means I take hours to get to sleep. I DO sleep. It's not ideal because 5 days a week I have to get up early so not being able to sleep til 1-2am isn't great. The pull of a pill that promises a full night’s sleep IS so hard to resist. The idea of sweet, sweet oblivion for 7 maybe even 8 hours is immense. But I need to remember that I will function on 5-6 hours too. And stop telling myself LIES! I DO SLEEP. I WILL SLEEP.

Do YOU SLEEP? Tell me how you sleep! Tell me how much you sleep. I need to hear your stories. Tell me I’m not alone!

Tuesday 6 June 2023

JUST YOU WAIT, Said no kind person ever. TEEN VERSION.

Danger High Voltage Sign

Ah shite. I’ve become THAT mum. The mum of a teen who wants to scream JUST YOU WAIT! I mean, I say I WANT to scream because I know I shouldn’t. But I did, accidentally, to a colleague the other day. She was talking about her niece battling a newly emerged three-anger from a very docile 2 yr old.

And it just came out by mistake.

I was mid-way through half term, half working, half battling bored kids. Stressed, thinking about all the things I need to do and haven’t done.

 So, I blurted it. “Ugh, she should wait til they’re teens! Constant but incomprehensible anger, unmitigated selfishness and they NEVER go to bed”.

My colleague, bless her, defended her niece. As well she should. “Well, she’s finding it pretty tough”. I felt awful. Of course, she is! Having a small, unreasonable being who doesn’t know if they want peas/chips/yogurt even when they have it in their hands, is exhausting. The tantrums leave you wrecked, you’ve likely been awake super early, no daytime naps to have down time and you’ve got bedtime to contend with. No one EVER needs to hear at that stage, that it gets worse.

Preteens and teens are a much easier phase in the parenting timeline, in general. It’s not unrelenting work, anxiety, and exhaustion. There’s lots more sleep, which makes everything easier to cope with. There’s so much more independence. No physically getting small, unwieldy arms into coats and wriggly feet into socks. No bum wiping WOOOHOO! No fetching drinks and snacks (although the request for these items has doubled from the teen, where do they put it all?!). And loads of the time they just want to get on with their own stuff.

But, it is a BIT hard work, isn’t it? Like this sweet, funny, shy boy who would eat anything pretty much now freaks OUT if his dinner isn’t Buldak super-hot noodles with a soft-boiled egg and spring onions cut up on it. If I dare to make anything remotely healthy that he was more than happy to eat literally LAST YEAR, it’s major kick off time. I’m talking stir fry, chilli, bolognese, lentil dhal and rice, quorn korma…. I mean not totally disgusting foods?! (No liver & onions here!). Even if we suggest previous fail-safes: pizza, chip shop chips or pasta pesto the result is often “OHMYGOOOOOOD” followed by door slamming. It’s such an odd thing to get angry about. The unpredictability of when the food angers will appear as well?! Flip!

Must-have teen nosh

In fact, the explosive anger and inability to see their actions as selfish is something I really struggle with. I KNOW it’s hormones. I know teen brains are wired to be self-absorbed so that they can sponge up all the knowledge they need to grow. It is a really hard time for them emotionally and I still remember the confusion of being stuck between being a kid and being an adult.

But knowing it intellectually and trying not to instinctively react to a kid who is talking to you as if you were a) a moron b) his servant is veeeeery hard. Because usually my instinct is to bellow his name VERY loudly and I don’t often win the inner battle to remain calm.

Also, evenings are no longer your own. Just as we’ve done one bedtime with the preteen which is a protracted process marked by PDA and other potentially ASD trickiness, the teen then wants attention all to himself.

I understand. This is his time with us solo. If he wants to watch a film, then that’s fab. I get to veg & we get to chill together. But loads of times he’s hyper and jumping up and down and winding the kitten up and doing impressions of me (does anyone else’s kid do this?! It drives me BONKERS) and asking me 400000 questions which he then doesn’t listen to the answer to. And then asking for snacks JUST as it’s time to go up for bed. WHY THEN?!

All this being moaned about said I would NOT go back to toddler times. I love seeing my mini adults emerge. It IS a better time of life and despite the angers, I am proud of who my teen is becoming. It’s hard but it’s ok. Yey!

Monday 11 April 2022

Have I got ADHD?

Have you been seeing a lot of posts about adult ADHD and how it presents in women? How it presents so differently to boys and can be masked so much that many women are only now just discovering they have it?
Dopamine Chasing on a swing, or am I???

According to my newsfeed of Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, almost every adult woman I know is seeking or has got an ADHD diagnosis. How could it be that prevalent and so badly missed by medical science? *Hollow laugh* I mean, we know the answer to that don’t we. #womensproblems

However, it’s very possible you can’t relate at all to what I am writing. You’ve not seen many, if any posts about adult ADHD and you definitely don’t relate to the characteristics that can nod to a diagnosis. The wonder of the algorithm!

One of the things about ADHD is that people diagnosed have lower levels of dopamine, the reward-pleasure chemical in your brain. And one way of seeking dopamine hits is social media. So, my chicken and egg situation with “how have I suddenly got loads of friends with ADHD on my Insta feed” is now clearer. It’s those of us who endlessly scroll, like, share and gorge on memes for the sweet dopamine vibes who are most likely to be posting about it too. A big chunk of my real-life friends have no social media and if they do, they aren’t on there 24/7. And they most definitely aren’t diagnosed with ADHD.

So, after clicking and liking and reading more memes and watching TikTok’s where I was like OMG THAT’S ME! And even listening to podcasts where people talked about their diagnoses, I began to think that it was something I should consider too. The one that stood out for me was Shappi Khorsandi talking about going to festivals (skip to 12:24 to hear) and staying to the bitter end. This was a bit of a light bulb for me. I have actually told several counsellor’s that I was always the last one standing and I “never wanted the party to end”. I would drink bully people to staying up with me all night because I just didn’t want the fun to stop.

I had dismissed a potential diagnosis initially because one of the main characteristics of ADHD is disorganisation and being messy. I am super organised and tidy. I have lists and budgets and calendars and a paper diary that I manually fill every year with every birthday and holiday. I write down all the kids school things and the days they need to be wearing a green jumper for “football saves lives” or whatever shiz the school have got their begging bowl out for that week.

But the more I read the more I thought… hold up. Could this be the reason why at the ripe old age of 45 I’ve never had anything remotely resembling a relevant career? This March marks the 20th anniversary of working at a job I started temping in back in the day. *Embarrassed groan*. I’m being flippant about it but the relief actually made me cry. The thought that it might not be all my fault that I felt useless, lazy and shit in school and colossally embarrassed about the fact that I’ve never managed to work in a field remotely related to my degree let alone carve out any sort of successful career.

So, then I wrote a list of other ways I could relate to the symptoms:

Inability to concentrate on anything, ever.

Not being able to sit still (this is especially annoying in a cinema or theatre)

Even if I am watching a film, reading a book or watching a concert I am LOVING I will count down the minutes until I can leave/finish.


Impulsive shopping / terrible with money

Binge eating disorder / drink too much


Addicted to social media

Terrible short-term memory

Impulsive blurting…. I’ve got into endless trouble as a blogger when I write about things/people without thinking properly about the repercussions. I even have a blog post “Big mouth strikes again”. ☹ Especially not fun if you actually hate confrontation.

Short tempered and no patience.

Finishing people’s sentences

Talking over people (I try not to do this because I know it’s rude, usually I do it but apologise and try really hard to keep trying to remember my point whilst they finish talking)

Can’t do one thing at a time, always doing multiple things.

In school all school reports were “easily distracted, always talking, disruptive” “capable” but “not reaching full potential”.

Would spend more time devising elaborate revisions schedules than revising. Revising was horrendous. (Classic procrastination)

Cannot stand monotony. Cannot do things repetitively without losing my mind.

I hate being alone. I always need people or noise. If I am alone, I have the radio or a podcast on. I can’t do boring jobs like cleaning the kitchen without listening to the radio or a podcast.

I think you’ll agree, if you know anything about it, these seem pretty definitive, don’t they? So, guess what guys, plot twist!!!! I went for a referral. Filled in a huge questionnaire (as did my parents), it took me a week to fill in because, you know, concentration is a bust for me! And I ended up writing 3k plus words. And they wrote back within 2 weeks to tell me they weren’t sending me for an assessment. BUMMER.

I was gutted. I mean, I do understand. The NHS is under huge pressure. They don’t have the money to send everyone who decides they’ve got a diagnosis from Facebook through a costly assessment process. Especially when there are people who really need extra support. I just wanted to be told I’m not shit. I don’t want medication and I don’t know how a diagnosis would help me going forward other than boosting my self-esteem. In those terms it’s super easy to accept the non-referral. But now I just feel stuck in a kind of limbo.

But. One of the things I am the worst for is labels. I like to find big fat labels for things and stick them metaphorically on to the “thing”. It helps my brain sort out the world into understandable bits. But this is a very black and white approach. And the world isn’t black and white. There is nuance in everything, and I need to be more accepting of this. So, I don’t have a label for myself and my weird ways. Ok. Now I need to just accept it and move on. And I am definitely not immediately picking up my phone and looking at ADHD TikTok’s right now….

Tuesday 6 August 2019

What advice would I give a friend who wants to lose weight?

This is going to be a bit of an unusual post for me. Normally I launch straight into my opinions about parenting or some outrage about human rights. Today I’m going down a more personal route.

I am going to write to about health. What advice would I give a friend who was looking to get healthier? I am being careful with my words here for a number of reasons. Obviously I am talking about losing weight. My real life friends know weight is something I struggle with constantly. I have done since I was in my late teens. I’m actually even cautious to use the words “struggle” when it comes to weight because I don’t want to convey a message of negativity to those who are large and happy.

I’m a massive champion of body positivity. There are lots of reasons people are overweight / obese and none of them are laziness or greed, the common misconceptions. So I applaud anyone who out and out rejects societal pressure to adhere to a specific “acceptable” BMI and embraces their size/shape with confidence and enthusiasm.

I have written before about how you shouldn’t worry how wobbly you are naked, just embrace it. I have no shame about showing my chunky body on the beach.

However. I am not happy at my current size. I feel unhealthy. I feel unfit. I am scared of sitting on certain chairs or seats in case they’re not built for my weight. I actually worry when I get in my bath, whether the pressure of my weight and the water might be too much for the floor boards. I worry that the reason my new bed has started creaking is because I am putting so much weight on it every night.

I am struggling to do things which should be basic. When I stand up, my ankles can seize up a bit from the shock of the weight. When I go to the loo and twist back to get bog roll…my back hurts! Bending over to paint my toes is really hard now. This is humiliating to admit. For all the body positivity in the world, sometimes the reality of being a larger lady isn’t that fun.

I put my anti-depressants up last year after a bout of anxiety. I’ve put on 2 stone. And I was already obese before that. SSRI’s are linked with weight gain although there seems to be disputes as to the reasoning behind this. But whatever the reason, my focus now is, that I want to be healthier. A healthier weight that I am more comfortable with. Not a “skinny” weight so I can look the way magazines tell me I should. But a weight where more of my clothes fit, I feel less self-conscious walking up a hill or eating in public, or finally so I am not so ashamed when people ask me about my gastric band (because they don’t understand how it didn’t work).

I am seeing a counsellor to help me understand the reasons why I over eat. Often it can be really hard to be kind to yourself. But he pointed out that I should think about the advice I would give to a friend who is struggling with their weight. It’s much easier to be kind to others.

So here is the advice I would give. Treat yourself better. Understand what this means. “Treating” yourself doesn’t mean eating a cake or having a glass of wine. Treating yourself means taking care of your body and your mind. What would your BODY like you do for it? It would probably quite like a bit of fruit, maybe a salad. Maybe a run or a swim? Then a good night’s sleep. That’s what your BODY wants.

Your body’s probably a bit sick of that 30th bag of crisps this week that you’re emptying down your throat. Your body probably doesn’t want a glass of wine because it’s tired and dehydrated. It probably doesn’t want that coffee either.

Make better choices. Have a camomile tea with some honey!

And why? Why make these healthier choices? You may feel like you “deserve” to have a squidgy cake and a creamy latte, but what does your kid deserve? Does he deserve a mum who eats healthy? Does he deserve a mum who nourishes her body? And your body! Your body doesn’t deserve cake sugar and full fat dairy products!

My counsellor asked me what fuels my desire to adjust my relationship with food. He deduced it wasn’t a lack of confidence in how I looked (I was right…embrace the naked!) but my need to give my kids a healthy parent. One who they can look to as a role model.

To lose weight you need to change your habits and your lifestyle. You want a healthy body so you can live a longer more energetic life. If your core value is to be a good mother, then one of your main priorities should be to make healthier choices. Then you can be that healthier, more energetic parent.

Also I am very good at black and white thinking. I think in extremes. I sometimes feel like this is the only way I can deal with things…. Either go all in or don’t bother.

This is also my attitude to weight loss. I’ll be insanely disciplined for days, sometimes weeks. Then I’ll allow despair to kick in and I’ll completely sabotage my own efforts. What this translates to is, I’ll have lost a good chunk of pounds, suddenly have a “fuck it, why bother” moment and scoff a load of rubbish and *50 bottles of wine. Sabotaging any progress and destroying my positivity.

The normal reaction to “falling off the wagon” would be to get back on. But I won’t. I will go to town and gorge on everything I’ve deprived myself off (for all of 4 days).

This needs to stop. I need to find a way to let myself make mistakes, to acknowledge the fallibility and move on. Move on into the GREY area, rather than the black and white extremes. Try the middle ground.

To be honest, I am daunted. I have doubts. I don’t feel confident in my ability to change. But I am going to try.

If you like, I’ll keep you updated. Because if I can do it, then anyone can. Let’s kick some unhealthy habits into touch!

*exaggeration. Probs only 20.

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Got Small Kids? It DOES Get Easier.

Got small kids? It gets easier.

When I had my first baby, I noticed that whenever he appeared to be peaceful, certain people couldn’t WAIT to tell me what awful things I had to come. Not sleeping through? WAIT til the terrible TWOS! Terrible twos? Wait til he’s a threeanger! You think you have problems now, wait til they’re an ACTUAL TEENAGER! BE GRATEFUL.

Actually, this is not very helpful thing to a new mum. Or in fact, ANY mum. You may be greeted with a wan smile if you say this to someone but inside that person will be swearing at you. Because NO one wants to hear that things get worse. Stop it!

I often think about whether or not I actually would have wanted to know how hard I found EVERYTHING from pregnancy onwards. I’ve had many a conversation since with fellow parents starting “no one ever tells you …. *insert awful realisation about parenthood here*…” But would I have REALLY wanted to know?
Would I have wanted to know that:

a) Pregnancy is sometimes not brilliant. Not everyone loves it. Not everyone “blooms”. Sometimes it’s miserable, and hard and horrible. And if it’s your first, you will probably feel terrible guilt because you haven’t enjoyed it. Who can’t even do pregnancy right? *raises hand*

b) Childbirth is sometimes (a lot of times) really traumatic. Not physically. Everyone expects that. But emotionally. And if you have any kind of trauma, you’ll probably feel guilty about that. Who can’t even give birth properly?! *raises hand*

c) Breastfeeding doesn’t “come naturally”! It’s really hard. Everyone finds it hard. Even those who go on to feed their kids until their 12. And if your child doesn’t thrive because you can’t feed him and you have to express and or use formula which will make you feel guilty too. Who can’t even breastfeed? *raises hand*
In fact the ONLY thing I was prepared for was lack of sleep. And that was bearable.

I don’t think I would have wanted to know beforehand. I would have been scared shitless. As I was, when they handed that bundle of cuteness over to me in the hospital and expected me to keep him alive for the next 18 years.

One thing I became obsessed with once I’d had my first, and I mean literally weeks after he was born, was how the HELL do I do it again? I knew I wanted more than one kid. I wanted loads. But I knew realistically I could probably only cope with one more. How though? How do I go through all that again AND have another small child to look after?

THIS is what I want to tell you. You don’t. You don’t go through it all again. You may have another hard pregnancy, but you know it ends. You may have another traumatic birth, but you know that it goes by in a blur. You may even struggle to feed again. But you will NEVER have that terrifying wave of responsibility crushing you when your new baby is handed over. Because you’ve already had it. You’ve accepted your lot. You’ve acclimatised to the feeling of 24/7 parenthood vigilance. And it’s ok.

The only difference in your life will be the amount of time you get to rest. That definitely changes. For a few years all waking hours before 8pm are relentless.

After that though, it SPEEDS away. Suddenly they’re going into primary school years and you have to think about high school and wtf?! They were 3 last week! And it gets SO much easier. Sure kids go through bastard phases, but in general life is CHILL. They’re so much more independent. You don’t spend hours of the day wishing they weren’t crying or screaming because they’re actually just playing with their lego or their mates. And they’re ace company. And you don’t have to wipe their bums, or fetch snacks and drinks every 2 minutes.

You can watch a tv programme do some work because they’re in their rooms doing something for longer than the attention span of a gnat. You can finish a cup of tea. You could have a little nap. They can get up and get themselves breakfast. (this might include arguments but sssssh, don’t spoil it).

 I look back at their toddler years and think, why is it so long ago? It felt like it lasted a million years at the time. When all you did was slave away. But now my babies won’t stop growing! But it’s lush really. And it isn’t harder or worse. It’s MUCH better. It’s what I expected and hoped motherhood would be. And I anticipate that the teens will be a challenge but for now, I am immersing myself in the easy years and relishing every second. The easy years ARE a thing. It DOES get easier. For now.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

For All The Glorious Women In My Life

For International Women’s Day I want to celebrate all the glorious women in my life. I’m so lucky to have some amazing ladies around me. I thought about trying to write something worthy. Something about trying to celebrate unheard women’s voices from around the world, but as David Lammy pointed out about Comic Relief, it’s time we let their own voices be heard. We don’t need another white, middle class woman clumsily trying to write about inclusivity, without awareness of privilege or agency on the subject.

So. I’m just gonna write about my mates and my family. My female loves. To tell them how much I appreciate them, need them and adore them.

The Girls Who Are My Rocks

I don’t have a “girl gang” or “tribe”. But I have a fantastic selection of super close friends who I’ve made since leaving school. They’re an eclectic bunch. I met them all over the place: Uni, work, friends of friends, family friends I’ve known since we were teens, Zumba, baby classes (which weirdly wasn’t the reason I signed up to NCT classes but was the reason I returned), some through my kid's schools and a chunk I’ve met through writing.

These are the girls I turn to for coffee or messenger/whats app convos about homework or inset days. The girls I go for coffee with after school drop off, who made maternity leaves cope-able, the ones who took me to soft play cos I couldn’t drive, the ones who I gossip with endlessly about school politics. The ones who made my mornings bearable when I wanted to cry after another battle on the school run or even worse in the playground (with everyone staring...don’t tell me you haven’t been there!).

There are the girls I spent my 20s getting drunk and ridiculous with. The ones with history. Our kids are different ages, everyone is at different stages but we still make time to check in on each other as much as we can. And never let it go too long without wine and food and longer conversations that won’t fit into our whats app group chats. These are the girls who know all my secrets, I can turn to for anything and have been there for me through thick and thin.

There are the girls I don’t see so much because we don’t live close but we chat almost daily if not weekly (thanks whats app again!). Ones who when we get together no one comes up for air for 5 hours straight. The girls I can talk to about almost anything and who make me laugh til I cry (or at least annoy my husband when I am weeping hysterical tears over my phone).

There’s the friends who are close but also double up as WHOLE family friends so the kids and the blokes get on and we spend the whole days trying to fit in “catching up” conversations, food, “appropriate” conversations (hard) and slurping coffee whilst herding kids around National Trust properties (cliché) in a bid to exhaust them so we can shove them in front of a film at home, open the booze, swear freely and lament our “going out” days.

The Women Who Made Me

My Mum. The second person I ring in an emergency. Or the first if it’s a ridiculous emergency (most of the time and not really an emergency). The person who’s advice I may ignore but I want it anyway, the person who is honest, who wants the best for me, who supports me but keeps me grounded. The person who I giggle at with about nothing annoying my husband and dad simultaneously, the person who will pour the wine whether its good news or bad or will let me weep on her sofa when I’m not able to adult. The person who always told me I was beautiful when I was sad, and never expected too much when I was in school, never made me feel pressured to be a certain way or fit in any mould. The person who bought me up to never question my equality with the opposite sex. The best person to go on a spa day with.

My long departed Nana, who loved me unconditionally. Spoilt me rotten and made me feel like the most special little girl in the world. She’s probably to blame for my terrible ego to be fair. The person who’s house I hid in during my monstrous teenage years. The kindest, silliest, loveliest person. She was my foundation. I was so lucky to have had her.

My crazy Grandmother. She’s not a saint, she’s made me cry many times. But she’s also given me a wild yearning to travel, to know about other cultures, to know about history, her history and my dad’s. She’s hilarious and fun and bonkers, and despite the crying I know she loves me fiercely and I her too. She’s one of the most sociable people I've ever met and I think I get her need for company from her.

I need my girls. All these women enhance my life in ways I can barely begin to describe. I haven’t really done any of them enough justice and this is a ludicrously self indulgent post. But I just wanted to share how lucky I am to have them all in my life. And this International Women’s Day I will be celebrating them all!

Sunday 17 February 2019

Sex Tapes and Selfies: In Defence of Kim Kardashian.

Keeping up with the Kardashians…. A programme that divides and unites. I’m assuming that you’ve seen at least one episode but even if you haven’t, you’ll have most definitely seen and heard about the various members of the family. In my experience it tends to unite people in their shared negative opinions about their vacuous, vain, uber-privileged life style and perceived lack of discernible talent. I am here today to put forward an argument that most of the vitriol aimed at this family, in particular the daughters and specifically KIM, is based on internalised misogyny and double standards and that there is more to selfie culture than just vanity.
Lets get started with the first thing that people think about when the name “Kardashian” pops up: Kim’s 2003 sex tape. I haven’t linked to it, not because I don’t approve of it, but because it was sold without her consent. What, a woman didn’t give consent and the guy didn’t face any consequences? Welcome to the rape culture of the 21st Century peeps! But the fact that she didn’t consent for it’s publication, doesn’t detract from the fact that she was a willing participant in that tape. Enjoying a lovely sexy time with her then boyfriend, Ray J.
And that’s what I think so many people, including scores of WOMEN have a problem with. She allowed someone to film her enjoying sex with her own partner. What kind of woman would DO that? What kind of dirty, depraved whore would lower herself like that? The puritanical disgust that woman like Kim K, Paris Hilton et al have made sex tapes is astounding to me. Why on earth is it a problem? What is that disgust based on? It’s based on a dangerous, deeply rooted belief that is still prevalent in our society…. Women who enjoy sex are whores. And whores are bad. Because I don’t see Ray J being accused of being a whore? Oh but he’s a guy! It’s OK for him to have sex and it’s ok for him to enjoy it! Ugh.
This fetishisation of women as virgins or sluts, stems from a culture still heavily influenced by values of a patriarchal religious society. And as a result I believe most of these attitudes about women who enjoy sex and their own sexuality are not even conscious. It’s a default response to be horrified by them. Open any magazine or newspaper and the representation of women who have dated/slept with a lot of men is starkly negative in comparison with the “Lothario” type male celebrity who is back slapped or at worst, eye rolled at.
This is the double standard I can’t cope with. Kim Kardashian had a sex tape. It was published the same year Keeping up with the Kardashians aired, in 2007. Did it help launch her career in the public eye? Almost certainly. But so what? Good for her! She took back some control when she had none. She’s made millions marketing her remarkably rotund posterior. She’s harnessed that sexual attention, she’s acknowledged the male gaze and she’s taken back control. Her body. Her choice.
Talking of her body, we come to the next point. Selfies. The other accusation about the girls in the show is that they’re vain, selfie-obsessed airheads. Rather than astute business women with an eye for marketing that’s made them millions, specifically harnessing their “looks” and using them to sell make up to the millions and millions of young folks clamouring for a taste of Kardashian glamour.
Selfies are seen as vain and I find this a problem. It’s now so much a part of life, that a recent Austrialian study has discovered that 90% of selfies are NOT for the soul purpose of self promotion. Most bloggers I know use selfies frequently in their work to connect with their readers and followers. As the keen photographer in my family, I often will take selfies when we’re out and about or at family event, because if I didn’t there wouldn’t be any evidence that I was even there!
In an age where the pressure to look and feel attractive is arguably more intense than ever before, it seems strange to me that we would castigate those who have the confidence to put themselves out there. Rather than branding people as vain, I think we should be rewarding self love. According to this article, one of the ways to overcome the affect of the male gaze (in short the objectification of women/femmes), is mirror therapy. To centre yourself and become familiar with your own reflection rather than see it through the eyes of others. Not for vanity but as a form of self acceptance.
So whilst I wouldn’t say that the Kardashians are totally unproblematic… promoting weight loss aids, cultural appropriation and benefiting from a level of privilege most people will never experience etc., I don’t believe they deserve all the vilification they receive. Sex tapes and selfies shouldn’t, in my opinion, equal shame. And if you think differently, then shame on you.

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