Woke Feminism is Toxic Feminism!

The definition of ‘woke feminism’ is a hard one to explain.

I watched a few videos on YouTube talking about feminism and how it is growing increasingly toxic, one of which I took a lot of points from in this post called Everything Wrong with Woke Culture so check that out and do your own research and reading. 🙂

 

In recent years, there has been a rise in female empowerment in media, whether that be in film, tv shows, books, etc. But that’s not necessarily true…

Bad-ass, empowering, strong and brave women have been in the media for ages. Not as much as we would like but they have been there. These include characters such as Katniss, Black Widow, Mulan (cartoon), The Bride, Ellen Ripley (Alien), Trinity (The Matrix). However, in recent years, there has been a rise in many woman-led main roles, such as Captain Marvel, Ocean’s 8, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, Birds of Prey, etc. Although I do like a lot of these films, there is a serious issue within most of them regarding ‘woke feminism’.

 

These characters are designed to be powerful, strong warrior like people, but can also be very arrogant and act very entitled and toxic. There isn’t much growth and learning within these characters, too, displaying that women are born skilled and strong and invincible whereas, in real life, that’s definitely not true. We are raised and we grow to be strong and talented and skilled and brave, we aren’t handed that at birth.

But, Shay, they’re just films, not real life!

With my own experiences as evidence, I have always yearned for representation of women and women of colour in the media because as a young girl, growing and vulnerable to insecurities in this society, I needed someone to look up to and use as a tool to encourage myself to be confident in who I am. I think representation of women, of all backgrounds, colours, sexualities, etc, are important, for the reason being that young girls need that! That being said, we need representation of real women. That’s the whole point of this ‘rise in female roles’; it’s to increase representation. But their representations are wrong with this perception women do not need growth and do not need to work hard to earn their skills and rewards. Growth is important! And so is learning.

 

Something I find common in bad portrayals of women is that they can be very arrogant and entitled. How are these traits going to benefit younger girls and even older women in any way? We are not entitled just because we are women. Just because we’re women and demand equality and want to break down the patriarchy does not mean that we should be fed success instantly without working for it or having any reason to earn it. Teaching girls that they are entitled to anything and everything is toxic. There’s a contrast between the old cartoon Mulan and the new live-action Mulan. Old Mulan started off as this girl, who was a little anxious and had empathy and compassion but still strong and built up her confidence and bravery throughout the film whereas this new Mulan starts off straight away as incredibly strong and skilled. Very realistic. This is the same case with Captain Marvel, who barely worked to get where she was and was emotionless and kind of boring.  Yes, they are strong and brave but they’re boring, unrelatable and unrealistic because they’re so superficial and shallow. And it has nothing to do with them being women dominating the screen because Wonder Woman does it well and was a good film with an amazing female character! In general, using the excuse ‘I am a woman’ to explain why a character is so strong or basing her whole personality and motives on the fact she is a woman, or using society as the villain is tiresome. It’s great to hear the encouragement that ‘women can do anything’ since it’s so inspiring but that doesn’t mean we can do EVERYTHING. This can create a negative effect on younger girls and other women. Sometimes this can be done well, but done badly, it just takes us ten steps back in feminism.

 

The women written nowadays aren’t written as if they’re people, they’re written as an agenda to bring down men. That is not feminism. Feminism is not taking down men to lift ourselves up. We demand equality not world domination.  In fact, it’s almost insulting to women watching, seeing that these female characters are only elevated by belittling men as if that’s the only way a female led film can do well. For example, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi is so condescending and hateful towards men and I understand that there was a need to display her as a strong woman with high power but that’s no reason to bring down a man. He just wanted to help. There is no superior gender, but these movies are making it out to force that. Hermione Granger is another example. The books describe a very dynamic, 3D version of Hermione, who is intelligent, strong but also loving and relies on her friends and is relatable whereas movie Hermione is very perfect and way better than her male peers, and although I still like movie Hermione, I can admit she was hard to connect and relate to.

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with having male villains; sometimes in real life, men are obstacles for women. But these ‘woke feminist’ female characters and movies are so obsessed with trying to take down men as a whole.

 

And when these films with poor female leads don’t do well, or people don’t like them, it’s because they’re sexist. No. If a film is bad, that film is bad. There are so many films with amazing women in that do well, so sexism is not an excuse. I have found that a lot of people find some female characters to be cringey when if a male doing the same thing wouldn’t be and that is sexism and discriminatory but if a character is cringey, arrogant, 2D, entitled, unrealistic and boring, regardless of their gender, that’s a problem with their production and writing not with sexism.

Take Mulan, for example. Why did the cartoon version do so much better than the live action one? Same concept of the character but different execution.

Of course, if an important part of the character for the sake of the story is arrogance and entitlement, etc, then fine, but we want confidence not arrogance and hard work and growth not entitlement. We need dynamic and different characters, not the same superficial archetype every bad-ass female movie has. WE WANT QUALITY NOT JUST “FEMINISM”!

 

I am grateful we have moved far from the ‘damsel in distress’ type ladies like old Disney princesses and the ‘fixer upper’ girls like Laney in She’s All That and Allison in The Breakfast Club but we might be going a bit far off course. Feminism is steering into a bad direction and it’s feeding into the stigma around it. I know SO MANY people, who do not consider themselves feminists or who judge me for claiming to be one, and I believe it’s because of this woke feminism. Woke feminism is related to elite feminism, where people believe that women are superior. In particular cis-gendered women too. NO! NO ONE IS SUPERIOR!

The feminist message these toxic portrayals are delivering aren’t going to be listened to. It is spreading the wrong message and creating more toxicity and stigma.

We need better female portrayals!

 

Do you agree?

-Shay

Women In Science!

In celebration of both International Women’s Day and the start of British Science Week (8th-17th March), today I’m making a post dedicated to and appreciating women in science.

 

In the 19th century, women were excluded from formal scientific education but later on in the century, there was a rise of women’s colleges, providing scientific jobs and educational opportunities for women scientists. Also in the late 19th century, on November 7th 1967, Marie Curie became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win the award twice. As of 2018, 51 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize. (This could actually be a higher number as you’ll see if you continue reading.)

Women in science has greatly motivated and inspired me to work in science and get involved in that community. I bought a book, written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofksy, entitled Women In Science, which is a collection of pages dedicated to the work and achievements of different women in science, so I picked eleven to share with you today!

 

Hypatia – Astronomer, Mathematician and Philosopher

Image result for hypatiaHypatia was one of the earliest recorded female mathematicians, born between 350 and 370 CE in Alexandria, Egypt. Her father, Theon, a famous scholar, instructed her in maths and astronomy and she became an expert in both. She was one of Alexandria’s first female teachers and people travelled from faraway lands to listen to her speak. However, the religious tensions in the area became violent and she was killed around 415 CE, due to her ‘pagan’ teachings, by extremist Christians. Hypatia is a symbol for education in the face of ignorance.

 

Elizabeth Blackwell – Doctor

Elizabeth Blackwell set  herself on the path to becoming the first female medical doctor in the Related imageUnited States. She was accepted into Geneva Medical college but had to sit separately from the male students and even the teachers were embarrassed by her presence in the anatomy classes. She made her thesis on good hygiene and how that can prevent the spread of typhus. In 1849, she graduated first in her class. With her sister, they opened the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1857, where they treated the poor and taught female medical students and nurses and later, in 1968, went on to found the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, and the London School of Medicine for Women, in 1874. She made it possible for women to become doctors and called for better hygiene standards in hospitals and homes.

 

Nettie Stevens – Geneticist 

Image result for nettie stevensStevens worked hard to save up money for her undergraduate education at Stanford University and PhD at Bryn Mawr College. She was a geneticist and found male insects had an XY chromosome shape but females had XX. She published her groundbreaking research in 1905, which changed many misconceptions like the sex of a baby was determined by what the pregnant mother ate. However, around the same time of her discovery, Edmund and Wilson made the same discovery of XY chromosomes and Edmund was awarded the Nobel Prize. Nonetheless, she will not be forgotten for her amazing research.

 

Mary Agnes Chase – Botanist and Suffragist

Mary was born in 1869 and enjoyed learning about botany, sketching plants and using her savings to take botany classes at the University of Chicago and Lewis Institute. She worked with Reverend Ellsworth Jerome Hill as he mentored her and she illustrated plants for his papers, which eventually landed her a job at Chicago Field Museum, where she was a scientific illustrator for museum publications and then, an illustrator for the US Department of Agriculture in 1903. Despite all this, another amazing thing she did was protest for women’s rights to vote in the US, even though she was at threat of being fired. She participated in hunger strikes, was jailed but helped to gain the right for women to vote in 1920.

 

Lise Meitner – Physicist 

Meitner was born in Vienna in 1878 and worked at a Chemistry Institute in Berlin in 1907, after receiving her PhD, but as she was a woman, she was unpaid and wasn’t even allowed to use the labs or toilets so did her radiochemistry research in a basement. She worked with another scientist, Otto Hahn, as they tried to create new elements but with the Nazi’s rise to power, Lise fled to Sweden since she was Jewish but exchanged letters to Otto about their research. Lise ended up discovering nuclear fission but was unable to return to Germany so Otto was awarded a Nobel Prize for their work without her.

 

Alice Ball – Chemist

In 1915, Alice Ball became the first African-American and first woman to graduate from the University of Hawaii. At age 23, Alice developed a way to isolate ethyl esters in it’s fatty acids, found in chaulmoogra oil, to blend with water for injection as a treatment for leprosy. Those suffering with leprosy, at the time, were arrested and isolated but due to Alice’s treatment, the ‘Ball Method’, they were freed from exile. She found a cure for a what was thought of as a hopeless disease.

 

Gerty Cori – Biochemist

Gerty Cori became a biochemist at the University of Prague and received a doctorate in medicine. This is when she met Carl Cori, who she fell in love with and married. Not only did they become partners in life but also partners in science as they worked together and solved the mystery of how cells us sugar for energy (now called the Cori Cycle). They both shared a Nobel Prize, in 1947, but Gerty soon developed a bone marrow disease as she continued to work in the lab. Carl ended up carrying her to get around when she got too weak and she died in 1957.

 

Joan Beauchamp Procter – Zoologist

Joan was a zoologist, who endured chronic ill health. She kept snakes, frogs and crocodiles as pets and started working at the British Museum, in 1917, as an assistant keeper of reptiles and fish. She then became the London Zoo’s curator of reptiles, in 1923, and discovered a new species called the Peninsula Dragon lizard. She built houses for the reptiles specifically for them to make them feel comfortable and made it seem like their natural habitats with help from her artistic talents. Under her care, the reptiles lived longer in captivity than ever before. Her health, however, caught up with her and she made her way around in a wheelchair with her pet Komodo Dragon on a leash. She died at the age of 34.

 

Mamie Phipps Clark – Psychologist and Civil Rights Activist

Racial segregation meant Mamie wasn’t allowed in shops owned by white people and had to attend poorly funded black-only schools. She met her husband and future partner in psychology at Howard University, where she learnt psychology could be used to prove segregation is wrong. Mamie and her husband conducted the Doll Experiment, travelling the country and comparing responses of children from segregated and integrated schools. They found evidence that segregation damaged children and caused self-hate and this was used in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended segregation in public schools.

 

Rosalind Franklin – Chemist and X-Ray Crystallographer

Rosalind’s father disapproved of women going to  university but she went anyway and earned a PhD in physical chemistry from Cambridge University. She spent hours, at King’s College, using X-rays on fibres of DNA, capturing a famous photo providing DNA is a double helix. James Watson and Francis Crick were also trying to figure out the structure and peeked at Rosalind’s work without permission, using her findings to publish their work. She was not credited in their work and they won the a Nobel Prize four years after she died from cancer in 1958. Watson wrote jeering comments about Rosalind in his book, The Double Helix, and admitted to looking at her data. We remember her as the woman, who should have won the Nobel Prize.

 

Valentina Tereshkova – Engineer and Cosmonaut

Valentina dreamed of exploring the world but her family was so poor they couldn’t afford bread. When the space race began between the US and USSR, where she was born, the USSR wanted to be the first to send a woman to space and since Valentina was in a parachute club, she was a perfect candidate. She was selected to compete with four other women and the training was intense but she was eventually chosen as the first woman in space. Valentina flew by herself on the Vostok VI shuttle in 1963 and orbited Earth 48 times, which set a new record. Her photographs in space helped us gain a better understanding of the atmosphere. She had a very bumpy ride back, nauseated and disoriented, but she earned a doctorate in engineering and worked closely with the cosmonaut programme after her trip. She now works for world peace. She is an amazing example that women are strong and tough.

 

It was very difficult having to pick a small amount of women from the Women In Science book. I highly recommend reading it as it is filled with such inspiring women from marine biologists to inventors and neuroscientists to psychoanalysts. A lot of these women were not only scientists but also film actresses, senators, authors, etc, which makes it that extra bit inspiring. Rachel Ignotofsky is also an amazing illustrator as the book is so beautiful! Most of what I wrote above has been taken from the book.

 

Although today is International Women’s Day and we should spend the day appreciating women, let’s not forget that everyday is a day to respect and appreciate women as well as other people.

 

-Shay

The Forbidding “Reds”!

I’ve talked about this before but deal with it, I’m talking about it again.

Periods, AKA this monstrous Saw III blood bath experience, is something most cis and trans women, as well as trans men, go through. And it’s really not a monstrous Saw III blood bath experience.

There’s a huge stigma around the topic of periods. Anything to do with it, really. Period poverty, sanitary pads, the symptoms, etc. It’s considered this taboo thing that we can’t talk about. So many people, even adults, laugh at the idea of it whenever it pops up in conversation or in the media.

 

But what are periods?

Periods, also known as menstruation, occur every month when the thick tissue lining the uterus breaks down and is discharged out the vagina (period blood). This all happens with the help of two steroid hormones, progesterone and oestrogen. However, periods are much more than this bodily function in bodies that help with preparation for a fertilised egg for a baby to grow. It’s an experience. There are several symptoms, which include bloating (that feeling you get when you eat too much because we’re all fat pigs) and cramps (they’re basically minor contractions) and acne, fatigue, headaches, muscle and breast pains, lower back pain, discomfort (especially at night lying down which leads to trouble sleeping, and something I call ‘period poos’ but we don’t have to get into that.) It’s also the experience of leaking and not being able to do certain activities normally e.g. swimming. Don’t get me wrong, periods shouldn’t be considered a burden and there’s always a way to overcome these issues and inhibitions because of it but I feel like not a lot of people, especially cis men understand the whole experience of it. Some people think periods are just a tap that we release when we go to the toilet, some think it’s a continuous non-stop thing, etc. The average menstrual cycle is 24 to 38 days but periods last about four to eight days.

 

These stigmas and misconceptions and ideas are influenced by our education.

When I was in year five, doing sex education, we had a day where we learnt about menstruation. All the girls, and only the girls, were taken away. Not to another room away from the boys but away to another building (this cabin in the playground) so that we were secluded from the other year classes and from the boys in our class (because god protect their innocent little ears). Despite all this, our teacher spoke in a really soft quiet voice. This, I think, conditioned us to keep any talk of periods within the community of people, who have periods, and to be secretive about it. It made it seem as though periods are some dirty secret us girls (and trans boys) must keep to ourselves. In addition, I barely learnt anything from that lesson. I learnt that we bleed about one/two eggcups of blood but I don’t remember being specified how long periods lasted. I genuinely thought once you started your period, it would never stop until menopause (about 50 years old).

In fact, us girls also had to learn about what happens to boys even though the boys didn’t learn about what happens to girls. We learnt about sperm cells, obviously, but we also learnt about wet dreams and boners. We even learnt about masturbation! Not directly but we were told it’s okay to touch yourself and explore and discover parts of your body, whatever that means. So we learnt all of this, yet learning about the menstrual cycle and menstruation was such a taboo. It’s not very fair that the girls learnt about the experiences of boys but boys don’t learn about the experiences of girls. The argument that “boys are silly so we won’t teach them all of that” isn’t valid or acceptable at all. Boys may be “silly” because of the self fulfilling prophecy that they’re considered silly so must be treated in a way to accommodate to that. Not teaching boys about periods “because they’re silly” means when they grow up, they’re going to be silly about the idea of periods. It’s a cycle. And it support the quote “boys will be boys”, which is also an unacceptable excuse.

 

To tackle this issue, the education system needs to change. Teaching children, at a young age, while their brains are still developing, can create positive schemas, a framework that helps to interpret information, for periods. Sex education and PSHE lessons need to be changed so that every gender learns about periods to help normalise and take it seriously. We need to take it seriously not just because almost half the population experience it but because there are so many issues regarding periods such the financial and environmental cost (many menstruation products take ages to decompose) and period poverty, which is not being able to buy sanitary products due to financial issues and constraints. This is a big issue for homeless people, refugees, asylum seekers, etc. Period poverty is also a big topic that needs to be taught in schools (possibly in RS and PSHE). Here are some shocking statistics I found from Free Period

  • 40% of girls in the UK have used toilet roll because they couldn’t afford menstrual products.
  • Over 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty. If a girl misses school every time she has her period, she is set 145 days behind her fellow male students.
  • 1 in 10 girls can’t afford to buy menstrual products according to Plan International UK.
  • Menstrual products cost more than £18,000, in a women’s life (£13 every month).

 

Education changes and matures attitudes towards topics, such as periods. And that’s exactly what we need! If people become educated, I’m so sure we could  make a huge difference to societal approaches to periods and issues revolving it.

I also think teachers and people, who have periods, shouldn’t talk to younger girls in a way that my teacher did with me and my class. We should discuss periods with girls so they feel comfortable with it and not scared of it and make them understand it’s a normal thing. The majority of the population wouldn’t exist without periods!

 

Here are some period charity websites you can donate to and learn from:

  • Bloody Good Period – “We supply 16 asylum seeker drop in centres based in London and Leeds, and our ambition is to supply many more food banks and drop-in centres across the UK, so that everybody has the right to a bloody good period!”
  • Action Aid – “Provide sanitary kits in our humanitarian response work, alongside other essentials including food, water and shelter. We have distributed sanitary towels (and aid) in crises.”
  • Freedom4Girls – “We actively support women and girls in both the UK and in developing countries, who struggle to access safe sanitary protection by offering not just disposables, but environmentally-friendly, washable re-usables and menstrual cups.”

 

What do you think? Do you agree with what I said? What are some other ways you think we can normalise and overcome the issues and stigmas revolving periods?

 

-Shay

Disney Princess Lessons!

We’re back to life, back to reality. And back to school, learning, socialising, anticipating death to take us away. You know, the usual.

Most of the people reading my blog are still students and even though you probably had a bunch of lessons today, listening to your teachers, I wanted to reminisce and write about the OG childhood teachers, most likely if you are a girl. The Disney princesses.

A while ago, I saw the new trailer for Wreck It Ralph 2, which features the Disney princesses, and seeing them all together made me realise how much I actually love them, despite the negative implications they had on me and younger girls. 

There are a lot of negative connotations, morals and examples in the world of the Disney princesses, for example waiting for your prince to make your life better. However, today I don’t want to focus on the negatives. I’m going to focus on the positives, even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of them.

 

Snow White

Snow White is probably the dumbest Disney princess ever. But she’s cute so whatever. I think her stupid mistakes allow younger children to not make them. 

🍎 Snow White taught the lesson of not accepting food from strangers and in general, don’t randomly trust people you don’t really know because you can be taken advantage of.

🍎 She also showed that you shouldn’t be vain and arrogant as it won’t get you anywhere, exemplified by the Wicked Queen, and looks aren’t everything. Instead, sit down and be humble. Personality is important.

🍎 Be kind and considerate. Help out and be selfless and you’ll make good, trusty friends, who you can rely on, like the seven dwarfs and animals.

 

Cinderella

Cinderella isn’t one of my favourite princesses. I liked the mice more than her, in the film. I also had a doll of her, when I was younger. I scribbled on her face.

👠 Cinderella, let’s be honest, is a really hard working princess. And she ended up living a pretty decent life. It’s not everyday you get to be a princess. Although the fact she worked hard, cleaning, didn’t link with her becoming royalty, you can tell that the general idea is hard work pays off.

👠 Ignore your sisters when they’re being horrible.

👠 Don’t let people get you down like the stepmother and stepsisters.

👠 And never stop dreaming. Cinderella didn’t constantly feel sorry for herself, crying about her situation. She went to that damn ball.

 

Aurora

I’m not particularly fond of Sleeping Beauty, even though for most of my life, I convinced myself she had the same birthday as me. Princess Aurora barely speaks in the film so I couldn’t really think of much.

😴 Invite salty people to your parties because they may curse your children otherwise.

😴 Love can help you get through a sticky situation, even though it’s very creepy that some guy wondered over and thought it would be great to snog a girl in a coma.

😴 Also, that love may take some time to come into your life. Just be patient?

 

Ariel

I love Ariel! Personality wise, I think I’m the most like her. She used to be my number one favourite!

🐡 Never stop questioning and always be curious! Curiosity leads to knowledge and I think learning is so important. It can lead to loads of opportunities. Ariel was always exploring and trying to learn new things.

🐡 Ariel had a beautiful and powerful voice and although this may be a stretch, it could symbolise the power of freedom of speech. Voice your opinions and remember you can have your say. Don’t let people silence you like Ursula did to Ariel.

🐡 Parents are annoyingly over-protective sometimes and they’re doing it for the best. But Ariel showed that you don’t need to lead the same lives your parents had or you don’t need to live the life they want you to have. And it’s okay to want to do your own thing.

 

Belle

Belle is also one of my favourite princesses. I loved how she loves reading because I was such a bookworm. Back in the day…

🌹 Never judge a book by it’s cover. It might actually be a good book. But also, in terms of people, they may have a beautiful personality if you think their appearance is ugly. The Beast turned out to be a pretty nice guy and Belle gave him a chance.

🌹 Reading is great! So is intelligence.

🌹 Belle was kind and loving and that ended up creating a lot of joy and positivity whereas Gaston’s war and hate led to violence, darkness and negativity.

 

Jasmine

Jasmine was the first coloured Disney princess, which is exciting for a coloured girl, who barely saw coloured women on TV. Jasmine is a sassy, strong woman and I love that!

🐯 One of the biggest lessons I think Jasmine taught was to be yourself and don’t let other people tell you how to act like marrying some prince. And don’t let people boss you around.

🐯 Be independent. Jasmine showed that she isn’t to be controlled and does not belong to anyone. I feel like in the olden days, it was right for women and men to think that a wife is a possession of a man but that’s not true. You’re not a trophy on a shelf.

 

Pocahontas

I’ve only watched Pocahontas a couple times so I don’t remember as much as the others. Her hair is pretty cool though and I love how brave and courageous she is.

🍃 The song Just Around The Riverbend shows that there’s always hope and you should never give up.

🍃 Look after nature and do not exploit it. Pocahontas tries to tell John Smith that Earth isn’t something you can just claim and take advantage of.

🍃 Be brave and bold.

 

Mulan

I’ve always thought that Mulan is the coolest Disney princess. I also think the film was ahead of its time.

⚔️ She shows that women are just as strong as men are. It’s a shame she had to pretend to be a boy to be considered strong but she proves that women are just as much capable of doing certain things as men are.

⚔️ Family is important, which Mulan emphasises when she risks her life to save her father.

⚔️ As a girl (or even a boy), you do not need to be polite and sweet and dainty. You be whoever you want, just as Mulan did.

 

Tiana

When The Princess and the Frog came out, I was so excited! Disney was really doing well with whipping out all the ethnic princesses, which is so healthy for young girls to see, helping them feel represented.

🐸 Personality is key. Prince Naveen fell in love with Tiana, clearly, through personality as he didn’t care about the fact she was a frog. No offence to frogs.

🐸 Work hard and always aim for a goal/dream. Tiana opened up her restaurant through hard work and persistence and I think that’s a very important learning lesson.

 

Rapunzel

Rapunzel has a child-like, curious personality, which is something I deeply connect with. I absolutely love her! And the film is amazing!

🍳 She teaches the lesson that you shouldn’t be taken advantage of, like Mother Gothel took advantage of Rapunzel for her magical hair.

🍳 Rapunzel was brave, even though she was also scared, and stepped out of her comfort zone. I think taking risks and stepping out of what you’re used to opens up a ton of new opportunities and life experience, which you’ll never regret!

🍳 Don’t believe everything you hear. Mother Gothel lied to Rapunzel for her whole freaking life! You should always question things and make sure you understand everything going on. Also, don’t believe everything you see. as in The Snuggling Ducklings, the ‘pub thugs’ looked hardcore and fierce but all had goals and dreams and soft sides.

🍳 Rapunzel takes on like a billion hobbies to make up for her stuggle living in the tower. From experience, I can say new projects and hobbies help you through difficult times.

 

Merida

Along with Mulan, I think Merida is a boss! From her hair to her personality, she screams fierce and fiery.

🏹 Quite obviously, first lesson is to be brave. Merida is so bloody brave and it’s very inspiring.

🏹 Merida is extremely independent, choosing to control her own destiny instead of waiting for a prince, unlike some other princesses. *cough* Cinderella *cough*. Independence is so important, which I know varies amongst different cultures but it helps to make you your own person and build intuition.

🏹 Archery is Merida’s thing and she stands up for herself, stating she’ll be shooting for herself and going against the norms. Non-conforming in some instances is bad or inappropriate but right now, in this day and age, it’s what is propelling society in the right direction. Standing up for what you believe in and going against the norms is powerful and bold.

 

Elsa & Anna

I’m not gonna lie, Frozen is my least favourite Disney princess film. I’m not huge fans of the princess sisters but I do love Olaf.

❄️ Anna wanted to marry a man she had just met. In the end, we discover he’s the  bad guy. This just shows that ladies, put your books before your boys.

❄️ Elsa goes through a hard time, discovering herself and her body (not puberty though). She hides away but the film shows that your loved ones are there to support you and can help and comfort you. Don’t shut them out, whether they be friends or family.

❄️ Along with not accepting yourself and body…you should accept yourself and body. It’s a big ask but try and be confident.

❄️ Let It Go tells us to let our worries go and don’t let it break you down.

 

Moana

Moana is my absolute favourite princess, at the moment! She’s the first princess I highly relate to as she’s a brown girl from a tropical island! I was so excited when I heard it was coming out and I loved the fact that it’s one of the only princesses who don’t have a male love interest involved.

🐚 Moana followed what her heart told her, since she felt the ocean calling to her. Even if it means facing your fears.

🐚 Although this wasn’t Moana, Grandma Tala says she wasn’t afraid of what other people on the island thought of her. This shows that you shouldn’t be afraid to be different and unique.

🐚 Be strong and have confidence. Moana sails a boat, even though she didn’t know how and she set sail on her journey. She struggled but gained the strength to carry on, which is really important for everyone to remember.

🐚 Maui stole the heart of Te Fiti, which was a huge mistake but Moana helped to fix the issue. Don’t run away from your problems. Tackle them head on and it will reduce the stress building up.

 

In conclusion, most of the Disney princesses teach bravery, perseverance, kindness and the important of knowledge. I think those are pretty good lessons. When I was younger, I wasn’t a big fan of the Disney princesses and found them overrated but now that I’m older and there’s so much diversity amongst them, I understand and appreciate them more.

 

Currently, my favourite princesses are Moana, Rapunzel and Ariel!

Who are yours?

 

-Shay

Ocean’s 8 Women Empowerment!

Ocean’s 8 is an upcoming film, where character Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean (played by George Clooney in 2001 Ocean’s Eleven) devises a great plan for a huge heist at the New York annual Met Gala, which just passed, recruiting a team of specialists, to steal a necklace worth more than $150 million.

It’s not the incredible heist planned at the Met Gala and their target that makes the film so great. It’s the empowerment of women and the amazing stars involved. The famous faces include Sandra Bullock, who plays Debbie Ocean, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Awkwafina.

 

Ocean’s 8 is an all female reboot of Ocean’s Eleven. This action-packed film is all about girl power, which strays from the norms and conventions of action films, particularly those about heists and devising intricate complex plans. This is due to the fact these types of films generally have a male protagonist, as well as a primarily male cast. There tends to be a woman, who may contribute, but are there to be the love interest or stop the man from making irrational decisions, because “women keep to the safe side” and “aren’t as smart or physically fit to be part of the main team”.

 

Consequently, because of this all female reboot, there have been a lot of sexist trolls but Sandra Bullock stated that they’ve “got some feisty women that will fight right back.” I think, in a way, this is also empowering as it shows young girls and other women to stand up, be feisty and fight back, instead of conforming to people who say “to just ignore it”.

 

Sarah Paulson said that “it was extraordinary to look around the room and see Cate Blanchett, whom I’ve worked with twice now, with Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Awkwafina. It was a very empowering place to be – and it was really fun…we have a text chain going that’s one of the most epic things. If my phone was stolen, it would be eye-opening!”

Mindy Kaling said “It’s funny, because when Ocean’s Eleven was filming, you’d read about how it was such a convivial atmosphere on set and that George Clooney would play pranks on everybody,” she continued. “It made me realize that when men go away to shoot a movie for two or three months, they leave their families at home. But women take their families with them.” She added that she not only got to know the stars, like Sandra Bullock, but also their partners and kids, asking questions about how they manage and balance work and motherhood.

Sandra Bullock explained on Ellen that for the most part, they filmed together and “that’s the best part about this whole thing, is that we just got to love on each other and get to know all these different personalities.”

With all this being said by just a few of the actresses, I think it goes to show and provide evidence that women work really well together and can have a lot of fun in the presence of one another! In the wise words of Cyndi Lauper, girls just wanna have fun! 😄 And to quote Sandra Bullock “women get along”. I’ve seen far too many times in films, books and TV shows where women fight and argue, and this is prominent when there is a cast of primarily men. The tension between women presented in the media just causes harm as it reinforces to women that it’s the behaviour that they should be portraying and that there should be tension.

From my almost 18 years of being a girl, I can tell you that yes, girls can argue, the same way any type of person argues, but the majority of the time, girls get along and not just that, they boost each other’s confidence and encourage and empower each other, even without doing it directly. This may just be me but I feel the most confident when I’m with my girl friends and even other girls.

 

I think Ocean’s 8 reinforces and strengthens women in liberating and supporting one another.

Furthermore, it could be the start to a future of the appearance of more women in actions films! What do you think?

 

-Shay

When Harry Met Meghan | The Royal Wedding

Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (9684230fi)

How did you spend this special day? Watching the royal wedding? Complaining about the royal wedding? Complaining that it isn’t a state-occasion?

Me?
I had to go to work.

 

No, I actually did watch until about 12:45, before I had to head off, meaning I did watch the majority of the ceremony.

There were so many people, from all sorts of backgrounds, with A-List celebrities and well known figures (Oprah, the Clooney’s, Elton John, the Beckham’s, James Corden, Serena Williams, etc) and some of the cast from the beloved Suits, members of the royal family (obviously), and ambassadors of charities and there was even Amelia Thompson, who survived the Manchester Arena Bombing. There were so many people. And the chapel was beautiful, as well as the ceremony.

 

But today, I don’t want to talk too much about the actual wedding and the details about how things will work out now and all that shenanigans. Today, I want to spotlight on Mrs Markle, who is now the Duchess of Sussex.

 

Aspects that make Meghan Unconventional

This royal wedding is historic for the reason being that it is a rare occurrence. Meghan Markle is a beautiful woman, rich in personality, but is also an unconventional bride to a member of the royal family. Firstly, she’s considered a ‘commoner’, even though she’s a famous actress. She is a ‘normal’ woman. She went from being a Hollywood actress to British royalty. It’s pretty much a real life fairy tale!

 

Markle has gone through a previous divorce, which to me, isn’t a big deal, but in terms of royalty, being divorced is judged and regarded as a deal breaker. In 1955, Princess Margaret had to make the decision of choosing the divorced man, she loved, and her royal title and the privileges she had, concluding in her siding with her royal title and privileges.

 

Meghan Markle is also not a citizen of the UK. She’ll obviously apply for one and move to the UK but that’s just another reason it’s unconventional. It’s also uncertain whether she’ll maintain her American citizenship.

 

She’s part black. Although race shouldn’t matter, especially since mixed race people are the fasted growing ethnic group in the Britain, it still plays a role in why this wedding has been described as a “cultural revolution”. The fact that she is half black isn’t the full reason, however, for this “cultural revolution”. I don’t think colour matters, it’s about what that person brings in terms of their personality, background and beliefs. However, because of her being biracial, she’s helped to empower other coloured women and help others to realise that colour should not define and divide people. That’s why her being part black is important.

She said on Elle, “To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman. That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.'” The whole article is absolutely empowering and moving so if you want, click here to read more.

 

She’s involved in female empowerment. She’s been a strong advocator for women (since even before she was a teenager, where she became an ‘accidental activist’) and I expect she’ll continue to be so. At the Royal Foundation Forum, Meghan said “I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s’ empowerment,” Markle started. “You’ll often hear people say well, you’re helping women find their voices. And I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they have a voice. They need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing so many campaigns—I mean, #MeToo and TimesUp—there’s no better time than [now] to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them…It [the spotlight] makes such a tremendous difference.” She’s a proud woman and feminist and has explained that “we need a global understanding that we cannot implement change effectively without women’s political participation…a wife is equal to her husband, a sister to her brother. Not better, not worse — they are equal.”

In short, Meghan Markle is an inspirational, empowering and beautiful role model for not just young women but older women and men.

The Queen approved of Harry proposing to Meghan, which shows that she sees something good in the marriage between her grandson and his now wife. I mean, the Queen denied her own sister’s marriage request in 1952.

 

Aspects that made the Wedding Untraditional 

Meghan made a bold move of walking down half of the aisle by herself, before being accompanied by her father in law, Prince Charles. This was a break, through the tradition of being walked down by the bride’s father, which Meghan couldn’t do anyway, due to unfortunate circumstances. She will also break the tradition by making a speech at the reception, alongside Prince Harry.

 

Moreover, from Chicago, Bishop Michael Curry, who’s a black Episcopal priest, presided over the royal wedding, which wasn’t following tradition, where typically, British priests are invited to chair over royal occasions. After Bishop Michael Curry gave a passionate and powerful sermon on the power of love, there was a gospel choir singing Stand By Me.

 

The service was truly a modern and diverse wedding, which is reflective of the modern and diverse couple.

 

I know this may seem like a stretch and over-analytical (well what else am I supposed to use my English GCSE for) but this rare, unexpected and unconventional event of Meghan and Harry tying the knot, is almost like a metaphor for social change and society developing, progressing and moving forward in the right path.

A̶l̶s̶o̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶s̶u̶n̶n̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶d̶a̶y̶.̶.̶.p̶r̶o̶o̶f̶ t̶h̶e̶ ̶G̶o̶v̶e̶r̶n̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶t̶r̶o̶l̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶e̶a̶t̶h̶e̶r.

 

What do you think? Were you interested in the wedding?

 

-Shay

The Sisterhood Tag!

I was kindly nominated by TeenQueen for the Sisterhood tag, which is an amazing tag, opening minds on how to approach and react in specific real life situations. TeenQueen is a great blogger, who you should definitely check out. She blogs about her thoughts and aspects of her life in her posts, of which some raise mind opening questions like Does everyone deserve respect?

 

Rules

  • You must have the same featured image as what I have; the font, size and colour of the title be your choice.
  • Thank the blogger than nominated you and link this original post.
  • Answer the following scenarios.
  • Nominate a minimum of at least 3 bloggers.
  • Give at least 5 scenarios of your own.
  • Answer everything as best as you can.
  • Enjoy!

 

TeenQueen’s Scenarios

  • You’re out shopping with your friends when you [literally] bump into an old enemy from school. They start commenting about how you’ve glowed up and on your body. You start to feel uncomfortable. What would you do?

Firstly, trust me I have not glowed up so girl is lying. No but seriously, if I felt uncomfortable in this situation, I would tell them to mind their business because if somebody (especially someone who was my enemy) started commenting on my body, subjecting me to just my looks, then they can’t just walk away thinking it’s okay to do that.

  • You’re at a train station and you see a homeless man begging for money on the floor. You give him £50. (Or $50 or €50 or whatever). Later, you see him in a corner whispering to another man and showing him the money, laughing. It is obvious he is a fake. Would you confront him, report him, or leave it?

I honestly had to think about this because I thought I wouldn’t care too much and after all, it’s the thought that counts, but that’s £50. That’s a lot of money. Not only that, they’re using the idea of the suffering of homeless people to gain money. There are people, who actually need that money, who can’t get it otherwise. So, I think I would confront the man. I’m not sure if I would report him just because that man’s probably going through stuff in his life like the rest of us so I don’t know if I would go to the extent of causing trouble in his life.

  • You’re in a big shop and you suddenly see a woman dragging a small child behind her. The child is crying and looks nothing like the woman. Do you think the child is being kidnapped? If so, what would you do?

I know that mums have to drag out children sometimes, while they’re crying, because they’re being annoying or spoilt. 😂 But, to make sure, I’d probably tell security or anyone working at the shop and then run up the woman and pretend like she dropped someone to stall her and engage in conversation to make sure but make it look subtle in case she is the mum. Saying this, that’s what I would do with time to think since I am sitting here, writing and thinking about it. I guess on the spur of the moment, it kind of depends.

  • You’re at school in a classroom with your friends and everyone is surrounding you because you’re the most popular person at school. A new kid walks in and they are extremely gorgeous. Everyone’s attention moves to that kid and they soon become the most popular. You are very jealous. What would you do?

What next level Utopian parallel universe are we living in where I’m the most popular person at school? 😂 If I was in this situation, for some crazy reason, I don’t think I’d care. Of course I’m saying that because I don’t really know how it would feel for all your ‘fans’ to run off to another popular person. I think if this did happen, your real friends would stay with you and it would distinguish the fake friends and the real ones. But if I was really jealous, I’d slap the new girl. Jk, that’s crazy!

I’d kill her.

 

Nah, just kidding, I’d probably just follow everyone and see what the big deal is about.

  • At the cinema, you and your long term boyfriend/girlfriend are watching a movie. A man and woman come in during the middle of the film and block your view. Your boyfriend/girlfriend looks angry and pokes them on their shoulder. They turn around and your boyfriend/girlfriend starts calling them fat and telling them they should sit at the back so that their “overweight asses” wouldn’t block the way. The couple start swearing at your boyfriend/girlfriend. What do you do?

CUT. THAT. BOY. OUT. In every relationship, there’s always a point where your partner’s crazy comes leaking out from under the carpet. If the man and woman are being called “overweight asses” by my boyfriend, then it’s likely that he’d think that about me if I was overweight. If he’s confident enough to shout out rude insults like that, he’s probably got a shelf of other things he’s okay with saying out loud to people somewhere in his crusty walnut head.

Wow, that got me worked up.😅

 

My Nominees

Zara

Alanna

Uitwaaien

 

My Scenarios

  • You’re on the top deck of the bus you take every day to get home. You can hear a group of older and bigger boys at the back commenting on a girl, your age, sitting nearby. You look over and realise she’s uncomfortable. What do you do?
  • Say you work in retail and you’re at the till. A man approaches you and you serve him but he begins being rude and mumbling racist comments (just imagine you’re not white, if you are). What do you do? Tell him off, report him to your manager, or let him go without saying anything?
  • Your significant other cheated on you and you found out, somehow. However, you also happened to cheat on them once. What are you going to do?
  • At school or work, you find out, by another close friend of yours, that one of your supposed friends was talking behind your back. Do you take your friend’s word for it and confront them? Or ignore it and carry on spending time with that supposed friend?
  • You know somebody, who is seen as peculiar. They sit by themselves all the time and show signs of depression. You hear a group of people, you don’t know well, making fun of them. What’s your move?
  •  You’re out with your parents and pass a gay couple. Your parents, who are lowkey strict and conservative, start to comment on them, negatively, and judge their sexuality. What do you do?

 

Be as real and honest as you can with your answers. I’m looking forward to reading them! 😀

 

-Shay

PERIODS, PERIODS, PERIODS!

My last post was about disgusting things us humans do. Natural “disgusting” things we do, that people shouldn’t be shunned or made fun of for doing. And today, I want to talk about something more specific along the lines of my last post: that time of the month…

The time of the month where most girls have to suffer through excruciating waves of pain and bloating stomachs and erupting Himalayas on tired faces.

Periods.

Seriously though, let’s ditch ‘I’m on my reds’ or ‘my oven is in cleaning mode’ as a way to cover up the fact you’re on your period to protect the poor fragile ears of those who can’t deal with something natural.

 

I had some friends over the other day just to chill after a term of a school. We were all in my room doing our thing and my friend turns to me and goes “Shay, can I have a pad?” So I go get her one at her request and as I walk back into the room, I yell “catch!” She has her hand out ready and because I’m physically incapable of doing any sports related activity, I threw like I was blindfolded. I mean honestly, I could’ve been next to her and still missed. Anyways, the pad landed on one of my friends’ leg. All our heads dart to the pad, resting there, minding its own business, on his stretched out leg and he begins to scream. He screamed. Because of pad. A clean pad. Still. In. It’s. Packaging.

It’s just sitting there.

If only he saw the leak on my bedsheets just ten minutes before.

My point is, there’s such a stigma around periods. I can admit that maybe the leak part was a little too much information. (I don’t even know how it happened, I was just sitting normally.) But come on, how can the even slightest acknowledgment of the presence of a pad or tampon, in someone’s peripheral vision, send sirens and alarms screeching “code red!” into people’s heads. Get a grip.

I’ve even been in conversations with girls where I’ll say “I’m on my period.” And a girl will go “oh…you don’t need to talk about that…”

I’ve even seen posts where people are making fun of and shaming those who have had unfortunate leaks.

 

I’m lucky to have close friends, who are completely fine and comfortable with talking about periods, even in public. And I’m not shaming anyone, who does find it uncomfortable to talk about, but I’m showing you that it’s fine.

I’m in sixth form now and as students, we are a lot more mature in comparison to when we were in year eleven but even now, I’ve heard boys go into great depth and detail about where their mark on their rulers are and how long they can go for (I hope you know what I’m talking about) yet us, women, can’t even mention a natural cycle that occurs.

 

Periods are not as gross as you think.

Stand up to people who make stupid ignorant comments and talk about it like any other health matter because guess what? It is.

And to those, who do have periods, support one another and share those experiences. In fact, even people who don’t have periods, support those that do. Steps like these and little changes like these can make a difference to the perception of periods.

 

-Shay

Misrepresentations in the Media | Coloured Women (pt 1)

In this modern day and age, technology and media are blooming and growing, which in turn, shapes our lives, perspectives and beliefs. It constantly surrounds us, making it inevitable to not encounter in our everyday lives. This is why it’s so important and socially sensitive.

The media is there to make money, yes, but what is shown on it can be, in the long-term, harmful.

 

Women tend to be portrayed in the media as domestic and passive, the “side-kick” to the man. They are sexualized, and represented as quiet and soft. 

 

Generally, coloured women in the media are sub-plots and are rarely the love interest or the extremely successful ones. They are there to be the “sassy black girl” for drama and humour or there for other purposes other than being the beautiful, successful, overall well liked characters.

A good example of this is the Disney Channel sitcom The Proud Family. Penny Proud, a light skinned girl, is perceived as this adorable, pretty, likeable character whereas other darker skinned characters, for example Dijonay Jones, are perceived as stupid and unlikeable characters.

An article I found, Pride and Prejudice: Pervasiveness of Colorism and the Animated Series Proud Family,  written by Catherine Steele couldn’t have said it any better:

“Attributes of wealth, beauty, and intelligence are applied to characters with Eurocentric phenotypic characteristics while deviance, stupidity, poverty and unattractiveness typify characters with more Afrocentric facial features.”

The Gross Sisters, bullies who tend to be violent, are blue. Yes, they are blue. Why? In The Proud Family, these characters are made to work on the weekends by the parents, with the hot sun beating down on the them. They supposedly cannot afford lotion and that is why they are blue. The show emphasises they are “ashy blue” because of their dark skin. Collectively, the dark skinned characters in this show are associated with stupidity, aggression and poverty.

This was a kids show. A show in which kids will watch and go away, their minds imprinted with the idea that being dark skinned is ugly.

 

You don’t need to have fair/light skin, freckles or a thin nose to be pretty or beautiful. You can embrace “ethnic” qualities like dark skin, bigger lips, wider noses, etc, and be beautiful and smart and likeable because white women aren’t the only type of women that can be successful. Race shouldn’t define success.

 

Since The Proud Family, which ran between 2001-2005, there have been more occurrences of colourism in the media. However, there have also been shows which fight this misrepresentation and broaden the branches of feminism from just white feminism. Examples include the women in Black Panther, Orange is the New Black, Iris West in the Flash (yes, she did start off mainly as a sub-plot), Annalise Keating in How To Get Away With Murder. And we need more of this!

All we really ask is for dark skinned women not to be defined beautiful by European standards and to be portrayed in the media, not as their stereotypes but as developed and dynamic characters!

“…little black girls of any skin tone won’t ever have to question their looks. Society will learn to tell them they are beautiful, and they can respond confidently by saying, ‘I know’.” 

-Iman Hassan

 

-Shay

International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today is a day to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women! That being said, that doesn’t imply that the 8th of March is the only designated day for women to be treated and celebrated as equals. Everyday should be a day for equal treatment amongst all types of people but today is the day as a celebration.

The reason I say this is because during the course of today, I’ve realised a few things:

  1. People still don’t completely understand the concept of feminism.
  2. A lot of males get offended by celebrating the achievements and strength of women.
  3. Someone I know and am close to is sexist.

 

It’s not an unknown fact that with aging comes experiencing and that means that as you grow older, you learn a lot and you adapt and change your opinions and ways of thinking.

As a kid in year seven and eight, I was completely for the idea of equality, having gone through the process of dealing and combatting racism, sexism, ageism, etc. However, even so, I wasn’t fully educated on these subjects, not as much as I am today and so I was a little ignorant. Like a lot of people, the term “feminism” felt like discrimination against men and upraising women, which I felt was unfair and hypocritical. I felt that peace amongst all sexes as well as the harmony amongst women was more important because there are so many issues with that, especially in the media. Although, my little mind didn’t realise what I felt was important was in fact a part of feminism. The word “feminism”, to me wasn’t what feminism actually is; it was bashing males and only focusing on the problems of women. That is entirely untrue.

Feminism is ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.’ Let me repeat: ‘the equality of sexes.’

Having learnt this when I was young, I educated myself further, adapted and now I can say that I am a feminist. And, it’s never too late to educate yourself, too, as ignorance is no longer an excuse in this modern day and age.When called a white feminist, Emma Watson took it upon herself to educate and also adapted her own beliefs and opinions to fit feminism, holistically. Do not be ashamed to get a better understanding of something so important.

 

There was a particular person, today, who had said something that made me inspired to write this post. I’m not mentioning who or any names for the sake of privacy but their exact words were:

‘There’s never going to be equality..’ -I thought, okay, I guess that’s partly true but cynical.

‘…Women can’t do all jobs.” -Excusez-moi, vous petite chienne!?

Following this comment, I had a discussion with my friend. She stated that women can do all sorts of things but biologically wise, men tend to have more muscle mass. However, there are “weaker” males and “stronger” women, in terms of muscle mass. We also talked about how employers might find women “unreliable” in terms of maternity leave. An employer cannot refuse a pregnant women because of her pregnant state or condition or whatever it is related to her pregnancy, even though this does unfortunately happen. That being said, the supposed “unreliability” of women is discrimination by employers and not a god judgement of how well a women can perform at work. We then went on to talk about how Winnie the Pooh is actually a girl (fun fact!).

Women can do everything a man can do while bleeding.

And that’s not me making it seem like women are better and have a harder life than men. I understand that men have difficulties too and get faced with sexism too and that will be elaborated on in another post.

 

Feminism is equality and balance and as Emma Watson once said “If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you.”

 

-Shay