Thursday, 27 February 2014


The misrepresentation of women in media is a huge and difficult problem. From fairy tales to news rounds we are constantly presented with unrealistic role models. From a young age girls have always been fed stories of princesses and pretty young women who's only aspiration is to marry the man of their dreams. In fairy tales older women are usually presented as witches and evil stepmothers; jealous of younger women and determined to be seen as beautiful. These women are useless as they have lost their only redeeming feature; their beauty. 

Later in life girls are bombarded with images of sexualised celebrities and pop stars who use their sexuality to please men and make money. Unfortunately this usually comes at an important stage when we are thinking about what we want to do and who we want to be. Only having female role models who are successful because of their beauty means a lack of self confidence. Girls find themselves less determined to work hard and more desperate to look nice. 

In many films and on TV every female character (unless there for comic effect) looks perfect at all times while men can look average or worse as long as they are funny or charismatic. Even when there is an 'average-looking' female character in a film she will almost always get a makeover, take off her glasses or put on a new dress to reveal that she has in fact always been pretty and therefore worthy of a man. 

Of course this sexism does not occur in all aspects of media. There are many tv series and films which include successful, hardworking and talented women such as The Carrie Diaries (which happens to be amazing) featuring a young ambitious writer from Connecticut. The problem is that so much of the media does feature these negative aspects and therefore is encouraging sexist beliefs.

The consumption of harmful misrepresentations is impossible to avoid if you are a normal, tv watching girl. Most girls are able to look past it but unfortunately it can influence and mould many of us. It is difficult to know how we can finally reclaim the media when it is predominantly run by men. A good start would be to understand and acknowledge the problem before putting pressure on companies who currently think that they are giving us what we want to see. If they discover that gender stereotyping and causal sexism in media is not for us then maybe they will finally bring it to an end.

Luckily there have been signs of change in the form of Disney fairy tales with new heroines such as Brave where Merida aspires to escape from her mother and her role as a princess who must marry in order to be successful. New role models are coming to light in the form of Amy Poehler, Beyonce and other successful and intelligent women. Hopefully a new age of female celebrities will bring about more and more determined and aspirational girls.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Winter Olympics

There has been a lot of controversy about the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The homophobic and sexist outbursts seem be overshadowing the sport itself with Putin and other Russian officials already having denounced LGBTs as paedophiles.

One of the highlights so far was a quote from Alexander Arefyev, the Russian ski jumping coach, on women's ski jumping. He claimed that women should not compete in dangerous sports but focus on their '[main] purpose – to have children, to do housework, to create hearth and home'. Ski jumping is known for being an incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal sport but what baffles me are the reasons against women's participation. There have been medical claims that a ski jumping accident may cause slightly more damage to a woman than to a man but even if this is the case surely women should be able to asses that risk for themselves. The ridiculous part is that women have in fact been used to test out the jumps to make sure that they are safe for men, which thoroughly undermines the health related arguments. I think the fact that women have only just been 'allowed' to compete in the sport despite the large numbers of pre-existing women ski jumpers is shocking.

So is Russia a sexist society? With Pussy riot taking centre stage and leading the way for Russian feminists there are some signs of change. I think that much of Russia's sexism, homophobia and other un-PC views do not stem from a fascist mindset but from deeply embedded traditions. The Russian view of society and family life is very old fashioned with female housewives and male breadwinners as its core. To change this situation will take patience and hard work but hopefully, as feminism catches on in Russia, women will gradually gain their own independence.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Girl Idols

In honour of Galentine's Day this coming Friday I thought I would put together a list of inspirational girls and women who I admire;

Kate Nash (for those that don't already know) is a singer, infamous for her 'girl gang' of fans. Not only is she an amazing singer, guitarist and songwriter but she also writes insightful lyrics tackling various important issues. She was recently dropped by her record label and now become an independent artist which is hard work. I love how she fights for women in the music industry, showcasing the discrimination and prejudices which are so deeply embedded. One of my favourite of her songs, 'Rap For Rejection', includes a story in which she looks for cool music magazines to find that they are only sold in the 'men's section'. This is just one of the ways in which she portrays the sexism in society.

Germain Greer was one of the most important feminist voices of the mid 20th century. Germain describes her goal as 'liberation for women' and the positive acceptance of gender differences. She has written many feminist books including most famously 'The Female Eunuch'. She has always been a controversial character due to her strong opinions but I admire her persistence and self-belief.

Lady Gaga might be someone you would not expect to be in this list because you may think she shows too much skin or is just too wild. The thing that differentiates Gaga from you average female singer/stripper is that she is always in control. Gaga does not do what she does for straight men but for herself, gay men and other women. Her lyrics, though usually set to loud club music, are often about alienation, the objectification of women and homophobia amongst other things. I love her because she has made her own success by being different and standing up for minorities.

Tavi Gevinson is the creator and editor of Rookie Mag; an amazing online magazine and at teenage girls. Described by Lady Gaga as 'the future of journalism', she has written about feminism, fashion and many other important topics since the age of 15. At the age of 16 her first book, 'rookie year book 1', had been published and she gave an amazing ted talk soon after. I think she is inspirational as she is an incredible writer who strives to give help and guidance to teenage girls everywhere.

Caitlin Moran (pronounced CATlin) is a columnist for the Times as well as a broadcaster and author. I have already managed to mention her at least twice on this blog as proof of my obsession. I read 'How to be a woman' about a year ago and have never looked back. I honestly think everyone in the world should read this book as not only is it insightful and full of interesting anecdotes but it is also hilarious. I have also seen Caitlin in a number of interviews which have only made me admire her more. She is a powerful, confident, funny and intelligent woman working in a male dominated industry.
Malala Yousafzai is an activist who campaigns for women's education in Pakistan. She is the youngest person (at 16) and the only girl to have been nominated for the Nobel peace prize. In 2012 malala was shot by the Taliban for her efforts but narrowly survived. She has quickly become incredibly famous and for good reason. I think she is amazing for standing up for Pakistani girls and their right to an education.

Finally Leslie Knope; the creator of Galentines day. Leslie is the main character (played by Amy Poehler) in the amazing and hilarious TV series 'Parks and Recreation'. She plays the deputy parks director of the Pawnee parks and recreation department. Leslie is an ambitious, optimistic woman who's main goal is to build and restore as many parks as possible. Some of her best quotes include; “I’m a feminist, okay? I would never ever go to a strip club. I’ve gone on record that if I had to have a stripper’s name, it would be Equality", and, “You know my code: hoes before bros. Uteruses before duderuses… Ovaries before brovaries.”

Happy (nearly) Galentines Day!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

January Favourites

I know it is a bit late for a monthly favourites post but there is so much that I enjoyed throughout January that I want to share it all with you.

I am currently reading 1984 by George Orwell and am really enjoying it. It is about a man living in a world where big brother watches over your every move. It is interesting as it was published in 1949 as a prediction of what the world would be like in the future. It shows George Orwell's pessimistic views of society and gives a creepy vision of how the world could easily become. It captures your interest from the start and is a book which is hard to put down.

The Carrie Diaries has been a firm favourite TV show of mine recently and I managed to watch two whole series's in just under two weeks. It is about Carrie Bradshaw (pre-sex in the city) and her life as a teenage girl living in Connecticut. She dreams of being a writer in New York and we follow her through all her life's dramas. I love the 80's style clothes, makeup and hair as well as the classic american high school scenario. It is completely addictive as you can (if you are a teenage girl) immediately empathise with Carrie and her life.

I have been obsessed Brightly coloured eyeshadows (mainly due to my many Carrie Diaries marathons) throughout January. I normally use this ELF pallet as it has pretty much every colour you can imagine. I personally prefer bright eyeshadows to be matte and my favourite colour schemes have been pink and purple. 

I love this elvive sparkling shampoo and conditioner (although sadly it doesn't actually make my hair sparkly) as it really seems to tame my hair and make it less 'fluffy'. I think people with thick hair who want it thinner are forgotten about by haircare brands. If you share my thick, unruly, fluffy hair and want to make it more sleek and manageable then I highly recommend this.

Feministe has quickly become one of my favourite blogs as it features feminist, anti-homophobia and anti-racism posts as well as links to other interesting articles. It is very well written and I highly recommend it if you want to find some new short but thought provoking articles.

My last favourite this month is Blogging! I only started wishbone a few weeks ago but have quickly developed a blog obsession. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much I enjoy writing them!

Speak to you soon...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Makeup and Feminism

Makeup is one of my favourite things in the world. I am obsessed with the idea that you can change how you look depending on how you feel that day. A bit of eyeliner here, a bit of lipstick there and BAM! Your a totally different person. Makeup can make you feel more confident and powerful. My obsession with makeup is not just about how it makes me look and feel. I see it as a freedom of expression as well as an incredibly enjoyable hobby. The only problem can occur when people feel as though they cannot leave the house without spending hours on their face. This is not a common problem, although some seem convinced it is, and I don't know a single girl who would not be perfectly happy going to the corner shop bear faced. If someone does get to that point then they clearly have their own confidence issues. Makeup can not be blamed for a persons insecurity.

The worst thing is when men give 'advice' to women on their makeup preferences. "I prefer girls who don't wear tons of makeup" is a phrase that I hear all too often as if we are seeking approval. Of course there are people who wear makeup for the wrong reasons but I would argue that the majority do not. I personally wear makeup for myself and if anyone else happens to appreciate it then that's a bonus. I do not need approval from men, or anyone for that matter, on how I chose to look.

Some people seem to think that wearing makeup is somehow 'un-feminist'. This is an argument which totally baffles me. I can not see a single connection between wearing lipstick and believing in equality for women. Why on earth should women not be able to be creative, have fun and change the way that they look? I think the argument is that we must be wearing makeup to impress men (after all that is our only purpose in life) and therefore are betraying our feminist beliefs. There are so many obvious flaws to this argument including the cocky assumption about our motives that to me it seems completely ridiculous.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Current Favourite Songs // February edition

Here are some of the songs I have been enjoying recently:

Billie Holiday - Warpaint
Warpaint are a four piece girl band from Los Angeles. Their new album is amazing with so much unusual syncopation and some great base lines. I have been loving the slow and catchy tune of Billie Holiday recently. When you listen to it through headphones it really transports you to another world.

XO - Beyoncé 
Of course there had to be a bit of Beyoncé in this list and XO is my current favourite track from her new album. I love how happy Beyoncé looks in the video and that definitely comes through in the song as well. The combination of the heavy drum beat and gospel style backing singers make it so uplifting and I would defy anyone not to be happy with this playing.

Bitter Rivals - Sleigh bells
I have always liked sleigh bells but have never been a particularly keen fan. While browsing through their latest album I discovered this song and immediately fell in love. The syncopated beat is amazing and instantly makes me want to dance. It is not one for the lighthearted as  the chorus has a very thick, almost metal-like texture but I love how powerful the lead singer Alexis sounds. I think this is a song that needs to be played with the volume turned right up if you want the full effect.

Backwaters- Drenge
I first saw Drenge when they supported peace at Shepherds bush empire. They are a very classic style, no frills rock band made up of three brothers and the lead singer, Eoin, has a very unique voice. I love their catchy vocal lines and their simple but effective chord sequences. I have been loving backwaters recently because of the amazing bass line and chorus.

Jessica - Major Laser [feat. Ezra Koenig]
This is one of my all time favourite songs (and not just because it shares my name). I think you know you really love a song when you have to ration it for fear of it becoming old. Jessica just has the most addictive tune ever with an amazingly strong bass line that lures you in to dancing.  

Snap Out Of It - Arctic Monkeys
I'm still unsure about my feeling on the Arctic Monkeys' new album. I do love many of the songs but they all seem so similar to me that they can get a bit boring. This has to be my favourite at the moment because of the jazzy drum beat and catchy melody. 

What are your favourite songs at the moment?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

I Am A Feminist!

Today I wanted to talk about what feminism means to me. So many of my friends are wary of calling themselves feminists, believing it is a word reserved only for pussy riot and suffragettes. In my eyes being a feminist is believing in equal rights for women and in the words of my idol Caitlin Moran "What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you?". To call yourself a feminist is not to renounce men and it does not require you to immediately take to the streets as an activist. All it means is to believe in independence and equality for women. The word itself has definitely become 'uncool' and it needs to be reclaimed.

Fortunately there are some signs of a changing attitude towards feminism such as Beyonce's AMAZING new visual album which features a number of feminist messages. Many other female musicians and powerful figures are also speaking out and I think gradually opinions are changing. The new wave of feminism is not just about the right to vote. We can not succeed this far and just give up. Now we have to keep tearing down the pressures, obstacles and glass ceilings in place to hold us back. We need to eradicate the objectification of women and insure that opportunities are equally available for both sexes.

So why are there only few women in powerful positions? Why do women only earn roughly 77% of what men earn? When I see majority male audiences at talks and courses that would be interesting and helpful for everyone I am often confused and annoyed. Is it because girls just aren't interested? Do we not care about important world issues? Sometimes I worry that maybe girls are just inherently less motivated.

The problem is that so many important areas, even at school, are totally male dominated and many women feel intimidated to pursue them. Let's take football as an example; even if I liked football I would never play it at school purely because I would be the only girl there. I would worry about getting crushed, injured or worse; made fun of. I think this is an example that relates to practically any work place.

The media does not help the situation, constantly bombarding us with images of 'the perfect woman' who of course manages to be pretty, thin and curvy all at once. Girls often seem to think that being clever means being unattractive, that the two must always go hand in hand. I think the biggest problem of all occurs when girls think they should 'act dumb'. I have seen so many clever, interesting girls pretend to be stupid in conversations or in lessons because they think it will somehow make them 'prettier'. This is something that boys will never do because, unlike among women, being clever is a redeeming feature among males. Girls are taught from a young age through films and fairy tales that their real goal in life is marriage with no mention of aspiring to anything more.

So "are you a feminist? Hahaha. Of course you are.” - Caitlin Moran 'How to be a woman'.