Feminist Friday with… Jess Willby

Feminism is… Listening to other women

This is a guest post by Jess Wilby, a Manchester based lifestyle blogger who writes for philocalist.co.uk.

My only brief is write about what feminism means to you.” This was my only guidance from Chloe and it really got me thinking. The commute home isn’t one that usually inspires me. Believe me, the wet armpit of another commuter certainly isn’t my regular muse. But as I made my way, trapped on a hot & sticky Metrolink carriage, I thought about all the ways I’d been wronged as a woman. Being paid less, because I am a woman. Being cat called in the street, because I am a woman. Travelling in fear that someone might grope me during the commuter rush because I am a woman.

But really, that’s just me in my little bubble. Feminism is about that – but also, it’s about something much bigger. Feminism to me is actually more about knowing what it means to you.

We all live within our own parameters. Try as we might, we will never be able to truly understand what it’s like to live someone else’s life. Empathy is one thing, but I mean truly understanding. That’s why the modern day feminist will never quite have all the answers and actually, our greatest tool is listening to someone else and letting them tell their own story.

There is power in silence; in the ability to shut the fuck up for a moment and stop banging on about your own personal brand of girl power.

The task of achieving absolute gender equality is almost unfathomable but you’re not going to achieve anything if you only exclusively focus on your own goals. Self-care is dope but contrary to popular belief we’re not just out here spinning on a space rock for our own personal development, you know?

It’s time we stopped excusing our ignorance and instead actively seek out varying experiences of womanhood. The internet might be a big place, but it’s not hard to find and share stories from women living a life different to your own.

Whether it’s Grace Victory talking to you about the lack of diversity in blogging, Stephanie Yeboah telling you how black fat women matter too or Ali Catrin explaining what it’s like to live with Autism, we need to take their words on board and celebrate their voice. Devour every word and pass it on, champion them for speaking out.

By listening and sharing these stories, you are empowering the women who truly need to hear them. The girls who feel alone; who are in the same position, needing someone to look up to. I’ll say it again, there’s power in listening to these experiences. You don’t need to put your own spin on it, we only need to take these women at their word.

Believing, listening, sharing – it doesn’t matter if you haven’t experienced the issues yourself, you can still be part of the domino effect. Not only will your own mindset start to change by exposing yourself to new ideas, so will those around you. Suddenly women who previously may not have been willing to share their voice feel empowered to do so because they know there are people who will listen.

And so – if like me – you ever find yourself armpit-deep on a sweaty, commuter-packed Metrolink take a moment to think about how the other women around you are feeling in that moment. What story do they have to tell and would you be there to listen?

 

Thank you so much to Jessica for this post, I completely agree. If YOU want to get involved with Feminist Fridays email chloefmetzer@gmail.com with ‘Feminist Friday’ in the subject line.

Nine Years, New Adventures

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I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to put in this post. A long post about the love I have for my boyfriend, something funny and quirky, just a simple I love you and a few pictures? Nothing seemed right. Even as I write this, I’m not sure. If you’ve followed this blog go

If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, or any of my Social Media channels you’ll know that he’s a big part of my life. It’s too simplistic to say he’s my best friend and leave it there, because it’s more complicated. For the past nine years, Ali has brought out the best in me time and time again. Without him and his gentle nudging I probably wouldn’t have even considered University or been in a band or even been in the job I am today.

It’s not that he makes me who I am, we’re both our own individual selves, it’s more that he’s been a good part of the growing process. I mean he’s literally seen me as a slightly awkward teenager to a less awkward and more confident adult. He’s carried me to the bathroom when I couldn’t walk. He’s cleaned up after me, cooked for me. Most importantly he’s told me no at times and not just instantly agreed with everything I say (although that’s a whole blog post in itself).

Now we’re at the nine-year mark, we’re finding new challenges and adventures. In a few weeks he will be going on his first tour for work, all over the country. This means he’ll be away for two months. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m so proud I could burst, for our relationship though it’s going to be new. I think the most we’ve ever spent apart is two weeks. So it’s a bit of a jump.

With each year that passes we’re going to take on new things as a couple and by ourselves. This time last year we didn’t think we’d both be doing so well at work that he’d be going off touring and I’d be so happy working in design. In the next nine years we’ll probably get married, we might start a family or move. We might be thinking about getting a mortgage or we might be doing something completely different.

Either way, I didn’t know when I fell in love with him at thirteen years old how our lives would map out. I still don’t. I’m pretty sure if we’ve got each other though, we can make anything into an adventure.

Sunday Seven: Exciting 2017 Book Releases

There may only be 3 and a half months left of 2017 but the amazing releases aren’t slowing down (my poor bank account). I’m so excited for so many books that are going to be coming my way!

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the sun and her flowers – Rupi Kaur 

I was a big film of Milk and Honey (so were most people I know) so I’m really excited to see what Rupi has in her new collection.

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It only happens in the movies – Holly Bourne 

If you didn’t know, I’m a huge Holly Bourne fan. I love her books, her message and her style. She’s one of my absolute favourite YA authors.

 

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Lady Killer Vol 2  – Joelle Jones 

It’s been so, so long since I picked up the first volume of this and now the second is so close! To sum up 1950s, beautiful artwork, kick ass killer ladies.

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Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

Does this really need explaining? It’s John Green. JOHN GREEN.

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Feel Good 101 – Emma Blackery

I’ve followed Emma Blackery since my first year at uni, Ali introduced me to her videos in her first year at uni when we would watch them together in his room. I still love Emma and I’ve seen her live. Feel Good 101 was my favourite set of videos and I’m SO PLEASED she’s finally releasing a book.

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Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions – Russell Brand 

Learning from our past is something I’m a firm believer in. Russell Brand is doing a great job, I think, I’m really excited to read his thoughts because I genuinely think he has something important to say.

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Harry Potter – A History of Magic: The Book of the Exhibition 

I’m loving all of the Harry Potter 20 books that are coming out at the moment. I’m really hoping to go to the exhibition and pick this up myself.

 

What books are you looking forward to in the final months of 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Feminist Friday: Support a woman in STEM!

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To me, women supporting women is a huge part of feminism and today I’m enlisting your help. I met Chloe while we were both students at Kingston as a friend of a friend. She’s done amazingly well and now she’s in a competition to win a £5000 scholarship towards her Master’s degree. So, let’s get to know Chloe.

What is it that you study? 

Undergrad: Forensic Science

Masters: Will be doing Bioarchaeological and Forensic Anthropology

What do you love about studying?

I have found a subject that interests me and I truly enjoy learning about. I love studying it and finding more out about the subject because I am passionate about it and would like continue studying to specialise and hopefully work in the area of science that I love so much.

Did you always know you wanted to go into Forensic Science?

Forensic Science was definitely not something I always thought about. After finishing my GCSE’s I was actually a bit lost with what I wanted to do. I was stuck between going into Art or Science, but at the time was never really told enough about careers in science to really want to do anything. After a year of mixed AS levels, I found my college offered the Forensic Science BTEC. It sounded so interesting to me and I was still so unsure of what I wanted to do that I just decided to go for it. Since then I never looked back and have wanted to continue studying it after all that time.

Do you think we can do more to help get women into STEM?

As I said before, when I was in school trying to decide what to do as a career, I don’t feel I was ever really told about the different options and amount of jobs in STEM. Therefore the subjects didn’t really interest me because I didn’t know where they could take me. It was pretty much by accident that I ended up in a science subject. I think women need to be shown early on what they could do and the jobs out there in STEM. We also need to lose the idea that men do better than women in these areas and stop women feeling like computer sciences or engineering are men’s jobs. So I guess awareness is the main thing, to show more women there’s plenty of room for them in these fields. As for Forensic Science, I am happy to say, at least from my experience, there are plenty of women in this area, and at university level I have been encouraged by all my lecturers, both men and women, to go further with my studies.

So, how can you help? All you need to do is click here, click vote and that’s that!

Thanks so much for reading and don’t forget I’m looking for guest bloggers to write about what feminism means to them! To put yourself forward email me at chloefmetzger@gmail.com!

Book Review: You Can’t Touch My Hair And Other Things I Still Have To Explain – Phoebe Robinson

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I’ll be honest, prior to picking this as an audiobook I had no idea who Phoebe was. It just sounded like a funny book with an important message. What I ended up with was a great new comedian and writer to follow and a new appreciation of what it’s like to be a Woman of Colour.

It’s not a surprise to any of you who visit my blog or any of my social media that I’m a White British woman. I fully admit that I have no idea what it’s like to live as a Woman of Colour and I never will. Phoebe’s book isn’t just about race but she really gave me insight in a firm but approachable way and made me consider things I hadn’t before. I didn’t expect that from a book that marketed as being funny.

Don’t get me wrong, Phoebe is hilarious. It’s like listening to that awesome friend with all these crazy stories that you can’t believe are true. While doing this though, she talks about Feminism, about being put down creatively, about casual racism. The bottom line is that Phoebe is fiercely relatable, I think to the majority of women. I absolutely ADORE her.

One of my favourite parts of the book (which I can guarantee works best as an audiobook) is Phoebe’s letters to her niece. Of course, they’re funny a little inappropriate and meant for when she’s older but there’s just a wonderful sense of care. That Phoebe is talking about all of these issues, not for her, not for us, but for girls of the future so the world is a little bit easier for them to navigate.

I gave this four stars. This is a brilliant, well written and hilarious book. There’s just the right mix of humour and serious thought throughout. The only tiny reason I haven’t made it five stars, is because there are points I felt dragged on a bit too long for me. It definitely is a great read or listen though! Make sure you check it out!

To The People Who Stole From My Boyfriend

Hello,

You probably won’t read this, you don’t even know who I am. On Sunday, I found out about you. I woke up after an incredible time at Brighton Pride with a smile, but that quickly changed. All because of you.

Now, this isn’t going to be an angry and hate filled letter, I don’t want to give anyone the satisfaction. It is, however, to let you know that what you thought was just ‘stuff’ to steal actually meant more. You might have just seen a black bag and thought, no one will miss it.

You see, that bag you stole and the Laptop and the iPad, and the Headphones belonged to my boyfriend. Belonged to someone who’s been doing 12+ hour days as a Sound Engineer so that people like you can enjoy events and festivals. That’s after the years he’s spent training and the three-year degree he worked his butt off for to be able to do that.

I know, that everything in that bag was important. The laptop was a present from when he started university and got him through to now, the headphones have lasted almost 5 years through every assignment and event he’s done. The thing that upset me most was the iPad. Yes, these are just material things but just before we started uni, I gave him the iPad. I gave it to him as a gift. You have stolen that gift.

They will all be replaced, eventually, you see they have to be for his job. A lot of the hours of work and travelling will now be spent on something that you decided you didn’t feel like working for.  It might mean nothing to you, it probably doesn’t but this is just to let you know you didn’t just steal ‘stuff’. You stole from someone doing a job to make other people’s lived more enjoyable. You stole from a human.

And the worst thing? We were at a festival about love. I met some of the most wonderful people that day and now you have tainted both of our memories with your disregard for others. Next time, think before you steal.

 

Chloe

Sunday Seven: Reasons to go to Brighton Pride!

This weekend I went to my first Pride Festival ever! Abbie and I trekked down to Brighton (in the middle of all the Waterloo closures, not fun) to celebrate love for everyone and to visit Ali while he was working the festival. So, why should you attend Pride? Here are 7 reasons…

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1.This oversized deck chair

Yes, yes I am putting this as a reason. I’m also grateful no one managed to get a picture of me and my tiny legs trying to get out of said deck chair.

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2. The People 

Everyone is happy at Pride and just lovely. Here are two amazing guys we met watching the parade, they also had pink sparkly batons. We shared glitter, spoke to random people, took pictures of groups. It was just a great friendly atmosphere.

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3. You can dance to great, cheesy music

Here I am dancing in the 1985 tent. Yep, there was a 1985 tent. The whole festival was full of incredible music but my heart was definitely with anything cheesy, I wasn’t disappointed. Even if I didn’t know that many of the tunes playing when I was in the tent.

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4. The Parade

Everyone in Brighton gets involved in the Parade. I’ve never seen anything like it, as well as a variety of communities, there were huge brands, all the emergency services. Everyone covered in glitter and stars and rainbows. The floats are huge and absolutely amazing, they also literally stop the whole city centre.

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5. Glitter and bright colours everywhere.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen more glitter in my life than at Pride. Above is how I started my day, pink and blue eyeshadow and multicoloured stars. I thought I was prepared. It was so glittery that even the floor on the street was covered in glitter, all the toilets, everything. All. The. Glitter.

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6. To have a great day with your friends 

Abbie and I got to have a great time being silly, drinking wine and just having a damn good time at the best party we’ve ever been to.

 

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7. To celebrate love and remember those who can’t 

This is the whole reason for Pride. We’re celebrating all kinds of love. We’re also remembering those who have died for their love, those who cannot be open in love and more.

 

A big thank you to my best friend Abbie for taking a lot of these photos while we were trying to say phone battery ❤