Feminist Friday: I Wanted a Boob Job Once

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I am proud to call myself a feminist. I’m proud to fight for equality and the right for women to do what they like to their bodies. When I was younger, I wanted a boob job, or at least I thought I did. Let me back-track, it’s a little embarrassing, don’t say I didn’t warn you. When I was little I thought that the Glamour models on page three were some of the prettiest ladies I’d ever seen. I picked up a copy of the paper they were in and told my parent I wanted to do that when I grew up. My Mum laughed, my Dad not so much, it was a strange announcement for a 3-year-old.

How do you feel about that? Shocked? Angry? Upset? I could easily blame the media and rage, but I don’t. Do I think there should be a topless model in a newspaper? Ask me a few years ago I would have said yeah, sure. Now though, not so much. I don’t understand why there are topless women on the third page of a national newspaper. I honestly believe that was my first instance of thinking that makeup and big boobs could make you happy.

When I was a pre-teen Katie Price (also known as Jordan) was all over the media, she’d started her romance with Peter Andre and she wanted to be an empire. Some part of me fell for it. I had about a year where I thought modelling and glamour something I wanted and that big boobs were what you needed. I met her, I thought she was really nice, friendly and talented. As I got older I realised that it was all an illusion and that after puberty showing off my body was the last thing I wanted to do.

I don’t think there are problems with people having cosmetic surgery if it is going to make them happier or feel more confident in themselves. I do think, however, that their state of mind, intentions and full understanding of major surgery. The fact that there are places in the world where doctors don’t think twice about giving people these procedures is wrong.

As an educated adult I can see the problems that a little girl couldn’t. That Katie Price has a lot of problems and what appears to be a front to make people believe she is an ‘it girl’. To some extent, I’m glad that I’m not comfortable showing my whole body, that I don’t feel comfortable in makeup and heels. I’m pleased that I value my mind and my achievements more than my body. For some, they are caught up in this world, they let these ideas of beauty define them.

We don’t need feminism to tell women they can’t wear makeup or heels. We don’t need to judge others. We do need so that women and girls can make informed decisions and know that there isn’t one acceptable way to look. That’s the issue here, the lack of diversity, the lack of education. Less people would be striving for cosmetic surgery if all body shapes were represented.

What do you think? Join the conversation below or tweet me @chloemetzger

Book Review: Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World – Edited by Kelly Jensen

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What is Feminism? Does doing certain things mean you’re not a Feminist? How can I see myself in Feminism? Being young and trying to be a feminist is tough. Actually, scratch that, being a feminist at any age is tough. When I was younger there was little on feminism, I’ve always believed women can do anything, but didn’t want to use the word ‘Feminist’ (I wrote about it here), I truly believe if there were more books like this I wouldn’t have gone through that awkward phase of insisting I was a ‘humanist’ (urgh). Jensen and the writers behind Here We Are have made an incredible book.

I cannot contain my excitement over this book. I want to go out any buy copies for all my friends, female and male nad just urge them to read it. Unlike any feminist book I’ve read before this collection of essays, stories, art, lists and more will speak to everyone. Jensen and her fellow writers just seem to get what being a modern feminist is, because they aren’t trying to tell you what is right. The book is diverse and doesn’t shy away from topics such as not wanting children, intersectional feminism, racism, mental illness. While I believe this is aimed at young adults, I learnt a lot from its pages.

When I requested this on Netgalley I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I hoped it would be good and that it would get the message across, but it did so much more. Women and men from all walks of life have contributed their thoughts on such a variety of issues that I struggle to find flaws in its pages. There were some individual quotes that I didn’t agree with, but that’s part of the beauty of feminism, we don’t all have to agree on everything (something else that was mentioned in the book).

The freedom of expressing yourself in your own way is also celebrated in the book. Artist have taken to creating comic strips, there are poems, songs, general essays, interviews, pictures and artwork, all of which make the message of feminism easier to identify with. By doing so the team of artists and writer have all given a breath of fresh air to self-expression in feminism, something which is definitely needed because not everyone is going to side down and read The Second Sex.

This is a wonderful, smart and encouraging read. I don’t think it’s for one age or one gender. The ideas, layout and overall message of the book is creativity, acceptance, equality and, most importantly, love. I hope this book goes far because it definitely deserves to. Pick up a copy now!

 

Thank you so much to the publishers who sent me an advance copy!

Is Uni Right For You? Pros and Cons of Going To Uni

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Going to university is a big decision. With tuition costs as high as they are a lot of people are wondering if university is right for them. I was the first person in my family to go to university and, for a long time, I wasn’t going to apply. I thought university was for rich kids, I didn’t think I’d fit. I thought that all universities were like Oxford and Cambridge (the only universities I knew) but I was wrong. Through the persistence of a great teacher and my boyfriend I realised I could go to uni. That said I know uni isn’t for everyone! So, I thought I’d put together the pros and cons of going to university.

Living

Pro: You have the opportunity to move if you wish – I was terrified to move to a place I didn’t know but it was the right thing to do looking back on it. It made me be independent, it made me know that I can look after myself and gave me space to work out who I was on my own.

Con: Moving back after uni is tough. I see a lot of people who didn’t go to uni who are starting to get on the housing ladder because they’ve been working and earning while I’d been studying.

Pro: Being able to run your own schedule and your own life. You can eat when you want, sleep when you want and come and go as you please.

Con: Remembering to look after yourself. I really struggled in my first year with loneliness, I wasn’t close with my flatmates. I’d lock myself away for days on end sometimes, which was really tough.

Work

Pro: Some degrees are needed to get into careers, that’s a fact. Likewise, there are some jobs where graduates are preferred.

Con: It can be difficult to work and study. Everyone knows that student loans are difficult to live on and so if you live in a city it can mean long hours.

Pro: Student jobs can pay a good wage.

Con: Student jobs can have very crappy hours.

Friendships

Pro: Making friends from all over the world is a great perk of going to university. I learnt a lot about other cultures

Con: When friendships go wrong it can be hard. When you’re away from home and friendships go wrong it can knock your confidence and make you feel lonely.

Pro: Meeting new people. Meeting new people was great for me, I needed a change and I needed to rebuild myself, which was a huge positive for me.

Con: Moving back after graduation. When all of your friends are all over the country or world it can be really hard to adjust and you do miss the.

Money

Pro: Getting a Student Loan to help while you study was great (although depending on what your parents earn and your circumstances will depend on how much help you get).

Con: Going to uni means you’re not on a full time wage. This really depends on how much you want to study because I know a lot of brilliant people who didn’t go to uni, went straight to work and have built up a good career for themselves.

Pro: Over their lifetime, on average, a graduate will earn more.

Con: If you’re not studying full time you can get a lot of knowledge and experience in your industry, all of my family did it this way!

Learning  

Pro: If you love studying then of course uni makes sense! I loved reading and learning theory and debating, it was the best part of my degree!

Con: Uni can be really tiring and taxing. In third year I didn’t really sleep much, I was very stressed towards the end and got sick because of it.

Pro: You can create your own education. There’s so much choice in terms of courses and modules.

Con: If you’re not interested in studying, writing and sitting in lecture halls uni might not be you and that’s not a bad thing! There are so many ways to progress, further your career and learn!

There’s so much more I could come up with so by no means is this exhaustive. Whether you go to uni or not doesn’t determine if you’re successful. What are your plans? I’d love to know in the comments below!

Sunday Seven: 22 and a half

This week I hit 22 and a half, I know most adults don’t count their half birthdays, but firstly I don’t see myself as an adult and secondly I like using this as a benchmark to take stock of what I’ve done in half a year. I mentioned way back in January that I don’t like making New Years Resolutions, instead, I like to use my year birthday to birthday to see how things I have been going. So let’s take a look back and see what I’ve learnt in the past 6 months.

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You don’t need loads of friends to be happy 

Now I’m back in Basingstoke we don’t have as many friends around, but that really doesn’t matter. I still talk to Joe all the time, although it sucks I can’t just pop and see him. I also have Abbie and Ben on the other side of town. I have a lot smaller group of people that I’m in contact with but it’s really about the quality rather than the quantity.

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The pain of losing someone you love never goes away, you learn how to deal with it

A few weeks after my birthday I lost one of my hamsters. Although, to me they are my babies. Noodle passed away and it broke my heart, I still miss her each and every day and that never stops.

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I want to write, so I’ll goddam write 

Enough messing around, it was time to get serious, get planning and get on with it. We’ll see what happens…

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Having your own space is key to happiness 

We finally moved home! Having our own space has made it much easier for me to relax and have time to myself and Ali.

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It’s ok not to be ok. 

I have a problem with wanting to be perfect. I always have. In the last few months when things have gotten tricky I’ve had to remind myself that I’m allowed to feel tired or overwhelmed, that I’m human. So, I did what I always do and I wrote about it and it made me feel a lot better.

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Leaving a job that isn’t right for you doesn’t make you a failure

Back in November I left my first full-time job for a variety of reasons. I wasn’t happy there and didn’t feel like it was right. When I left, even though I had another job lined up, I felt like a failure because I hadn’t been there long. That said it lead on to bigger and better things and just because it didn’t work out didn’t mean I was a failure.

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Grades aren’t everything. 

For a good few months, I hid my degree certificate. I didn’t want people to know that I wasn’t perfect and didn’t get the first I’d been dreaming about. I hated mentioning it and whenever I did I’d follow up with ‘but I was only 3% off of a first!’ as if getting a 2:1 in literature was something to be ashamed of. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t hurt but at the same time my life was a mess in third year, to come out at all with a degree is fine with me. It now happily sits on my desk while I write.

Feminist Friday: Born or Becoming a Woman?

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If you’ve ever studied Feminism or Women’s writing you’ll know the quote I’m thinking of when I started to write this post. It started in France with one of the greatest feminist writers of all time; ‘one is not born, but rather becomes a woman’ Simone de Beauvior argued and how right she was. There’s a lot of debate in feminism about what feminism means to each and every one of us. I enjoy debate, it’s healthy in an intelligent society as long as we are willing to listen to each other.

I truly believe that no one is born into a gender. I wrote essay after essay in university about how gender is socially constructed, it’s not in our DNA. I loved those classes, because I really passionately believed in de Beauvior, in Judith Butler etc, I also wanted to apply it to a modern problem. Something that many wanted to ignore. I 100% believe we need to include Transgender women in the fight for equality and feminism. A few years ago Germaine Greer made very unfair and uneducated assumptions about Trans women.

While I myself am I white Cis female, I care very strongly about the LGBTQ community. I truly believe that all women, no matter what, have a right to equality. There’s no one shape for a woman, no one idea, that’s what feminism is about! Being ourselves and being respected. In each culture there is an idea of what a man is supposed to be and what a woman is supposed to be, it’s not hard-wired because of our genitals. It’s who we feel we are.

If someone goes through the experience of living in the wrong body, having to tell that to the people they love in the fear of rejection and then try to fit in with other women then, damn, they’ve tried harder than me. If they are not a woman then I am certainly not. I have my own struggles, problems and issues, we all do but to be insulted after all that and be told you’re still not accepted? I don’t believe in it, to me it goes against everything feminism stands for. We are what is in our hearts, not our pants.

We each become who we are, who we feel we are inside. Some become women, some become men. We, hopefully, become who we are inside.

I’d love to open up a conversation with you all in the comments below or on Twitter about this! If I have any trans readers who maybe want to talk privately DM me (@chloemetzger) or drop me an email on chloefmetzger@gmail.com, as always I’d love to hear from you all!

 

 

Book Review: Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough

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Can You Trust Anyone? 

When Louise kisses a gorgeous man at a bar on Friday night, she thinks little of it. After raising a young son alone after a hurtful divorce, she deserves a bit of fun. That is, what she thought was fun until her now boss starts on Monday morning and she realises he’s her mysterious kiss and a married man. While she tries to keep her distance, it’s clear that David hasn’t forgotten. To make matters worse, Louise meets Adele, a young and lonely young woman who’s new to town…she’s also David’s wife. As Louise falls hard into both relationships not all is as it seems. Someone’s playing games, but who?

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Behind Her Eyes for review from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good thriller, after trying so many of the current ‘it’ books I needed something a little different, a little darker. So I was happy when Pinborough’s novel was ready for me to read. The novel moves between Louise and Adele, two very different women who both have an interest in the same man. The closer the women get, however, the darker the novel becomes.

In true thriller fashion, readers are questioning throughout the whole novel who’s telling the truth. As an outside perspective, I feel that most reader will be a few steps further than our characters, or at least they think they will. I will admit that while I didn’t entirely like some of the twists I was hooked. I needed to pick that book up and get it finished, I needed to see how it was going to work out and if my predictions were correct (some were, some weren’t).

I will say there were times when I felt that the did fall into some of the classic thriller tropes that can get fairly annoying. For example, the idea of a marriage that looks perfect to the outside world but is hiding something dark. This has been done so, so many times before and I did bore me at times because it kept being reiterated, particularly in regards to Adele. There was also the situation of two women who are so different but are thrown together in some way and bond. Realistically I could not see Adele and Louise getting along or being anything like one another, which meant I struggled at some point during the novel.

I had to give it three stars as the ending was a little too neat for my tastes. There were elements that, while intriguing and interesting, I felt didn’t really match the rest of the story and could have had a lot more exploration. To some extent, I felt like they were simply thrown in there for shock factor, which wasn’t needed. A good thriller is largely dependent on the ending the author creates and while this wasn’t my favourite ending, it did have an element of surprise.

 

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Why I Love Valentines Day, But I’m Not Celebrating.

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I love, love. I think there’s nothing better than sharing how you feel with others and bringing happiness. There are lots of people I love, including Ali. Now, this is not an anti valentines post, not at all. I’m happy for those of you out there who are going to have a special day to yourselves to celebrate love. This year, however, Ali and I haven’t planned anything, we haven’t made a bit deal and we’re not going to.

Why? Why would someone who loves love and valentines and flowers and all of that not want to do it this year? It’s partially because we’ve been together for a decade next year, we’ve done valentines day, we’ve done flowers and teddies and dinners and all of that. The thought of going out to a busy restaurant on the same day everyone else is doing the same fills us with dread. Another reason is the cost, this is where I might sound like a cynic but when I’ve been out shopping recently seeing £10 on a tiny (although adorable) cuddly toy made me roll my eyes, in a month they’ll all be normal price. To put it in perspective we’ve just moved house, I’d much rather we use the money we would have spent and got something for the house, which I know must sound very old and boring.

My final reason is that I don’t think we need it. I think valentines day is great for a lot of people to focus on each other and be romantic, god I’ve been there! I still love flowers and gifts and things but I love it much more when Ali remembers to do something for me, picks me up some chocolate on the way home or runs me a bath. I love it when I feel a litle rushed off my feet but he still tells me I look nice. I love it when I feel crap because I’ve been in hospital and he tells me how proud he is of me. That’s not bashing anyone else, that’s just what many years in a relationship looks like for me.

That said I would LOVE to know what you guys are up to whether it be with a loved one or friends?! Let me know in the comments below!