Wednesday 30 July 2014

How to Cure a Feminist: A Decade(ish) On

I think it's interesting to read old articles to see how much society has changed since their publication. Here's a curious one from American Maxim magazine in 2003 entitled 'How to Cure a Feminist'. It's a pretty hilarious read, if you can ignore the fact that this was once a serious article (though later widely ridiculed). The cigar advertisement fittingly reinforces the archaic and patriarchal image that the article conjures up.
(Click to enlarge/read text)
So, how far have we actually progressed from here? It's hard to measure. The culprit magazine is still in business, which isn't a good start in my opinion, as well as other 'lads mags' here in the UK still flying off the shelves albeit covered with 'modesty bags' in Co-op stores. We still have 'Page-Three-Girls' (which seems so incongruous in our so-called 'modern' age, don't you think?), apart from in Ireland (though they are still barely clothed - but progress is progress so I'm not complaining!), and limited access to the Page Three website.

I mean, I'm up for a laugh and all, but this 'Laddism' isn't much fun for anyone really - even for these lads who are living in an embarrassing facade where 'Cool Girl' exists. People are kidding themselves if they think this is a 'harmless bit of fun', because anything prominent and established in any part of society has inevitable ramifications to attitudes, and therefore affects pretty much all aspects of society. Everything is relevant.
Moreover, there was the blog 'Girl with a one track mind', which arguably opened people's eyes to the double standards involved in male and female sexuality. There is now more funding for studies into the extent of FGM cases in the UK (read declaration here). We also have slightly more female representation in Parliament.

In terms of the general attitude regarding gender equality, I can't really say what it was like before 2003 - I would've only been about 8 years old. I can say that at least now though, we have the influence of some great activists and writers such as Caitlin Moran and the people behind The Everyday Sexism Project to name just a few of them.

Of course, we must've had similar figures a decade ago too - after all, it was the 00's not the dark ages. However, from what I can gather, many of them were charmingly named 'killjoys' or 'battleaxes' -  regarded as nothing more than 'fat' and 'bitter' women who were envious of the beautiful, socially-pleasing majority. How lovely.

Today, many successful women or female activists, such as Malala Yousafzai, perhaps receive more positive publicity and support. This is true if we, of course, ignore the Daily Mail Online (in particular their obsession with Lady Gaga's weight gain, bikini bodies, and/or toned midriffs [oh the abundance of midriffs!]).

Is progress speedy? Probably not. But good things take time - and effort.

What do you think has been a great step forward in the last decade?

P.S. If you still aren't convinced about the societal poison that is the Daily Mail - just know that it supported Mussolini and Hitler during the fascist 1930's. Just sayin' ;) x

Monday 28 July 2014

Laugh of the Day

As it's the summer holidays, many of us are free from uni, college or school now. However, I still think we all need a laugh or two on a Monday morning. I came across this on the internet yesterday and it made me laugh. I don't know if you've seen it before because it's a few years old, or even if you find it remotely funny - but I thought I'd share it with you anyway!

Have a great day :)

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Friday 25 July 2014

Liebster Award

Many thanks to Emily for nominating me for the Liebster Award, I really appreciate it! Here are my answers and nominations.
The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows:
1. Thank/link the blogger who nominated you.
2.  Answer the 11 questions that they have written for you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate other bloggers with under 200 followers who you believe deserves the award.
5. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer & let them know that they have been selected.

My answers:
1 - Current staple fashion item?
My white sandals are essential at the moment.  Goes with pretty much everything and ever so comfortable.

2 - Your dream vacation?
Sounds cliched but I'd love to go to Paris.. Most people who I know have been there have said how disappointing and mundane it actually is, but I sometimes enjoy visiting the more humbler qualities of a city as opposed to the grandiose. Also - Amsterdam and Krakow would be great. Basically, anywhere.

3 - Why did you start blogging?
Primarily boredom due being a uni student who has a timetable of less than 10 hours per week (although a ton of books to read in-between). I also like the thought of having somewhere to express my thoughts and opinions - like a diary but more articulate than any diaries I've ever written (i.e. rantings of a madwoman), haha.

4 - Your biggest inspiration?
Other than people, things like nature and being in city-centre's in the dark somehow makes me feel inspired and empowered sometimes -- spiritual, even. I realise how specific and random this is. 

5 - Heels or flats?
Flats unfortunately - at 5"1 I am in need of any boost I can get, but I just don't have the talent. Walking in heels is definitely not innate to womanhood.

6 - Favourite current musical artist?
George Ezra - his voice is bizarre and soulful and gorgeous.

7 - Night in or night out?
Depends on the company.

8 - Last movie you saw?
I saw About Time a few days ago and liked it a lot. I was skeptical because the DVD cover looked too Nicholas Sparks for me, but was pleased to discover it's actually quite a funny and charming British movie :)

9 - What would you do with £1000?
Literally have no idea. Perhaps go on holiday? See question 2!

10 - Any pets?
I have a 3-year-old dog called Ron who's a Patterdale/Spaniel cross and is the scruffiest thing (and naughtiest), but he's also sassy and adorable so I forgive him.

11 - What is your best feature?
Don't know if people IRL will agree with this, but I like to think that I'm open minded and don't judge people too quickly and too irrationally. Physically, this is quite random, but I quite like that my eyelashes are naturally long - and lucky too, because I cannot apply false ones no matter how much I try.

11 random facts about myself:
1. I love live stand-up comedy shows.
2. I volunteer in a coffee shop/visitor centre for a local woods.
3. I didn't get excited for the World Cup at all, and I'm not 100% sure who won. Sorry.
4. I'm proud of recently achieving a first in my first year of uni :)
5. I had a Matmice blog when I was much much younger, and I still resent that it closed down. Does anyone remember Matmice??
6. I live in a cottage with a rather unpronounceable Welsh name.
7. I have 2 middle names but I only usually tell people one of them, because the other is quite embarrassing (but also hilarious).
8. When I was about 13/14 I was completely fanatic about the Jonas Brothers, and saw them live in London in 2009.
9. My favourite number is 7. This is also my favourite times-table.
10. I had poems published when I was aged 9, 10 and 11 (but believe me they were dreadfull!!)
11. My guilty pleasure is TOWIE. Can't help myself!

Questions for Nominees:
1. What's your national anthem called?
2. Name something you like about summer, and explain why.
3. Have you ever voted (for a political party)?
4. What's your current TV addiction?
5. State/describe your religious status.
6. What subject did you struggle with at school?
7. Tea or coffee?
8. What's your favourite accent?
9. Which Youtube video(s) have you enjoyed recently?
10. What is something that you wish you were better at?
11. What quote inspires you?

Let me know if/when you've posted your answers - I'd love a read :)

Thanks for reading, I hope you're having a great evening!

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Wednesday 23 July 2014

Soap & Glory makeup - worth it?

Thick & Fast mascara £5 (bogohp deal from Boots) / Kick Ass retouch powder £12 

In a nutshell:

Powder - 9/10
  • 'Translucent' so it feels light and subtly does its job as fantastic primer (or post-foundation shine controller)
  • Generously sized mirror and plenty of space for applicator pad inside case
  • Adorable packaging as expected from Soap & Glory! 

Mascara - 7/10
  • Great mascara but its voluminosity is a bit exaggerated. I think that it's good value for money at £10 RRP (even better with the Boots deal!) - though I prefer Benefit's 'They're real!', and Rimmel's 'Scandaleyes' comes close too. 
  • My experience with this mascara is that while it doesn't flake (as promised), it IS pretty messy (whether or not this is my application technique I don't know) and does have a slight tendency to clump lashes rather than define and individualise them.
  • May have better luck with Soap & Glory's 'HD' edition of this mascara? 
Overall, I would say yes, I would recommend them, especially if they're included in a special offer. They aren't phenomenal products but they're pretty great, plus I think their retro ethos is just marvellous. 

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Saturday 19 July 2014

7 things I've learned from my first year of uni

I've recently finished my first year of university. I have loved the experience and am thankful to say that I have met some amazing friends. Admittedly my viewpoint is fairly limited because I'm still living at home as I study locally, so I can't give you much of an insight into the living/moving away aspect of it, but I still think there are some valuable things that I can share. I've listed (in no particular order) some random things I've learned and, in retrospect, aim to improve for next year. Most of them are quite obvious but should nevertheless not be overlooked. This is a fairly lengthy post but stick with me!

1) Ask, ask, ask - ask as many questions as you want to, regardless of whether you think they're 'silly' or too obvious. It's best to ask and know now rather than be stuck on something simple later on.

2) Don't waste seminars - Depending on your degree, lectures are information-rich and great, but I think seminars are what you're really paying for. They're much more intimate than lectures which can sometimes include hundreds of students, so don't waste these invaluable opportunities with the experts. Seminars can be awkward if nobody speaks! Ask for advice on that recent assignment you've been confused with, get some practice in, get yourself involved if you can.

3) Take advantage of Book Lists - If you are lucky enough to have the book list available before you start the course, then fantastic. You'll know if it's a heavy one or not, and if so, I would definitely suggest starting it before the course begins, even if it's just 15 minutes of reading every evening during the week before class begins, or a few chapters here and there. It saves so much stress and time if you gradually tackle the books rather than having a panicked frenzy the night before a book is addressed in class.

4) Consider a dictaphone - These are a godsend for days where you really don't feel like making notes at 127mph, plus they're so ideal as revision tools and something to go back to if you didn't quite understand a lecture the first time around. Some people buy actual dictaphones but the built-in iPhone 'Voice Memos' app worked perfectly for me. Other apps are available - if you want something more professional, perhaps Super Note would be more suitable, or if money isn't a barrier Dictate + Connect is highly rated. Don't forget to name and date the recordings after each class (i.e. date/class/topic) - trust me this saves a lot of fuss and confusion!

5) Enjoy your social life! - a dominant one for most, but for people who aren't that keen on or familiar with these situations/meeting new people/partying/etc it can be daunting. Although I did join a couple of societies, one of which I enjoyed and got involved in considerably, one of my regrets/aims for next year is to get involved with more of the social side of uni. After all, university is supposed to be a UNIVERSAL experience, only part of it being academic. Though keep in mind that socialising doesn't necessarily have to mean hardcore partying if it's not your thing (if it is though - fab); me and my friends usually have a laugh over a meal/day out etc.

6) This includes making the most of the time with your friends. Most of the friends that I've made in uni this year actually live pretty locally, so in a way I'm quite lucky that we can still catch up throughout the summer. However, for most people in uni you will be saying goodbye to your friends for the summer while they (and you) go home to families. I have at least 4 months off from uni so make some memories with your friends during term-time while you have the chance! One thing that I underestimated was how fast this first year has gone - it has absolutely flown by.

7) Relax - This one is important for fellow worriers out there. Please don't stress yourself out! By all means try hard but don't have a break down for god's sake. Many first year courses don't count towards your final grade, and while this doesn't mean they aren't beneficial, consider this year as a period of trial and improvement and for gathering all the tools you need to tackle your further years. I struggle with stress/anxiety and am not ashamed to note that I actually attended a few classes/workshops held by the wellbeing services regarding controlling it, so if you feel that would help you, go for it. It's such an obvious fact but a lot of people (including myself!) forget that the only way to "better yourself" is to MAKE MISTAKES and address these mistakes directly, in order to see how to handle things better next time.

Lastly........ENJOY! Like I said, it will go so so quickly (my sister would know a thing or two about this - she graduated a few days ago), so make the experience count :)

Proud and my sister at her graduation, 16/07/2014 
Hope this is helpful! Any questions are welcome, and good luck to all you almost-freshers. You'll be fine.

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(Photos 1 and 5 belong to Danielle at Cupofloveliness)

Saturday 5 July 2014

What DO I carry in my bag?

I can be extremely over-cautious when it comes to the contents of my bag - part of my 'prepare for every situation' mentality - but these days I'm more of a simple gal, especially when it comes to smaller bags where you don't really have the space to fuss.

Sometimes I read other peoples' 'What's in my bag?' features and I just think No way do you carry some of that stuff around! ...Seven shades of lip gloss?!  - so I'm personally going to be as realistic as I can for this.

Glasses / A book - I wouldn't be allowed this luxury in a small bag like the one above, but I do like to bring a book so I always have something to do if I have a little bit of time on my hands. My current fixation is Morrissey's AutobiographyPurse / Mini hand cream - gotta look after those hands! This Soap & Glory one is so velvety and smells good enough to eat (but I won't of course)  / Vaseline - I'm addicted to it / Phone and cover case - got this from Etsy recently, along with the bag / Pen - honestly don't know why I carry this, there aren't many situations when I have needed a pen on demand.

Also:  Hairclips - an absolute must for my Medusa-eque do / Earphones / Mini deodorant/body spray - not so relevant for today (rain!!), but the past few weeks have been BOILING and there's nothing wrong with a little preparation for when the sun is sweltering you! / KeysSnacks - usually these (they're delicious and taste like sweets except are 100% fruit!) or something more a bit more naughty and/or chocolatey! Some say it's bad to carry food around with you but I regret to say I disagree!

I'm sure I've forgotten something but there you go. No doubt a uni edition will be coming in Sept/Oct in preparation for my new term!

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