Book Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

Izzy is many things, an Orphan, an aspiring comic and slut extraordinaire, that’s what it says online at least. But can you believe everything you read?

Wow, wow, wow. This is currently a contender for my book of the year and I’ve already been nagging my friends to read it. I initially liked the look of this novel from the blurb and super eye-catching cover. That said, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. This is a fantastic look at societies views of girls who like sex.

After Izzy enjoys herself at a party she doesn’t think much of it. That is until posts about her being a slut are posted online, then pictures of her having sex, then some of her naked…and then a national scandal involving the son of a senator erupts. Which, as you can imagine isn’t as easy to ignore.

I LOVED our protagonist, Izzy. She was funny and sarcastic but also you could tell she had a good heart. A really good heart. The novel is written in Izzy’s voice and was like you were reading a friend’s blog rather than a fictional character. I felt that there was a great deal of balance between the face that Izzy shows to the world and her own feelings. She just felt real.

There is so much covered by this novel, slut shaming, the double standards between guys and girls as well as what it’s like to grow up with little money. In short, this is a novel that needed to be written. This is something that happens to a lot of girls and through the lens of a small town. You can feel the disgust that Izzy feels as she can see even the adult males mentally undressing her after seeing the images. You feel anger as she is treated terribly by those in authority even though she is a victim.

I gave this 5 stars and have been recommending it to absolutely everyone. We need more novels like this. Izzy isn’t defined as a victim here. She’s upset and angry but she’s still herself. She still has dreams and hopes for the future, she still loves her family (huge shout out to Izzy’s gran who is amazing) and thinks about others. I highly recommend this and can’t wait to see what Laura Steven does next.

Together We Rise – The Organisers of The Women’s March

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The Women’s March went global last year. After America chose to swear in a proud misogynist, women decided to take action, and so they did. This book details the marches and more importantly, why we marched. As soon as I saw this I wanted to speak to you all about it and seeing as it’s Women’s History Month, what better time is there to speak about it?

I’m really pleased to be working in collaboration with Harper 360 for this post after reaching out to them. As you know I’ve written about the London Women’s March in earlier blogs and why we needed it but what about over a year on? This collection makes it clear that we still need to stand and be counted when it comes to society.

The book is divided into four parts; Before, The March, After and Now What, each looking at the importance of these four periods not only in relation to the march itself but also within a wider context. What I find particularly interesting however is that each part is further broken down into the reason an individual woman marched, as well as some incredible photography of the day itself. We are also treated to insights from some well-known names such as; Rowan Blanchard, Senator Tammy Duckworth, America Ferrera, Roxane Gay, Ilana Glazer, Ashley Judd, Valarie Kaur, David Remnick, Yara Shahidi, Jill Soloway, Jia Tolentino, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Elaine Welteroth.

I think this is both an important and accessible book, giving insight into the thoughts, feelings and power that the March created. It’s also one that you don’t have to sit and read in one go, you can pick it up when you want to feel inspired or are struggling. I can’t wait to have this on my shelves and dip into it, although I’m definitely going to be tempted to dive in and read it cover to cover!

Are you planning on picking this up? Have you already? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Fantastic Feminist Authors

On the 8th March it’s International Women’s Day, so what better time to share some kick ass authors for you to get into. In a recent Twitter poll you guys said you wanted to see more bookish content on the blog which is fine with me, so let’s get started!

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Holly Bourne – YA Queen

From the first few pages of The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, I fell in love and knew that Holly was one to watch. Her novels speak to young adults in a way I haven’t seen before. She talks about Feminism, without making you feel like she’s preaching. A fantastic author and you can read my review of Am I Normal Yet here.

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Laura Bates – Conquering Everyday Sexism

Laura created the Everyday Sexism project, started to show that sexism is very real and giving a platform to share it. She has just released her third book Misogynation, after Everyday Sexism and Girl Up. She’s factual as well as standing up for women’s rights. A must-read author.

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Caitlin Moran – The Reason I’m a Feminist

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, How To Be A Woman changed my life and perspective and, ultimately, made me a feminist. Caitlin says what she wants and has no time for bullshit. I’ve read all her non-fiction works as well as her novel How To Build A Girl, which is also a cracker. Great for getting the information with a great laugh at the same time.

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Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett – Taking on the Magazines

Holly and Lucy run their own blog of the same name but I found the book first. This is different to any I’ve read before, particularly as neither are that much older than me. This examines the way we take in magazines and the media industry. It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic. Here’s my review to wet your appetite.

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Rupi Kaur – Bringing Poetry Back

She’s become amazingly popular and for good reason. I haven’t seen poetry get this popular, well, ever. Rupi talks about the female experience in her poetry and it’s absolutely beautiful as well as thought-provoking. You can read my review of her second collection The Sun and Her Flowers here.

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Louise O’Neill – Tackling Taboo

For incredible, thought-provoking fiction Lousie O’Neill is the one to go to. Her novel Only Ever Yours freaked me out but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and later novel Asking For It has been raved about since its release. She’s not afraid of writing about taboo subjects and feminism, what more do you want? Review of Only Ever Yours here.

 

Who would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

 

My Doritos are too crunchy

My Doritos Are Too Crunchy!!!

So much happened on Superbowl Sunday and I’m not even talking about the sports. We had Kylie Jenner announce that she had given birth and kept secret her entire pregnancy (c’mon don’t pretend you hadn’t been wondering too), Justin Timberlake played the halftime show and announced he was coming to the UK on tour BUT the real news will change the lives of all ladies.

…Are you ready?

Doritos have answered our prayers and planned lady friendly snacks. They’ll get rid of that horrible crunch sound, fit into our handbags and we won’t need to suck our fingers like a man! Just how did they know what we were all hoping and praying for! *end of heavy sarcasm*

Yep, seriously. Although now they have said they’re backtracking it still raises the question. What the hell were they thinking? Do they really think that the big issue that women have is that they don’t like getting messy eating a bag of crips? I don’t think so. Now, if I was being cynical I would guess this is a big publicity stunt, a shock tactic to make people angry but still talk about their brand. Which kinda worked.

There is still this idea of gendered BS though, things that are made pretty and pink for women for no reason other than they have a vagina. Do you remember the Bic ‘for her’ pens, have you looked at women’s razors lately? Mine has a damn Daisy on it for no reason, I bought it because it was on offer not because it spoke to my feminine instinct.

In response, I’ll be grabbing the loudest crisps or ‘chips’ as Americans call them and doing this…

Comedy Central Eating GIF by Inside Amy Schumer - Find & Share on GIPHY

How about you? Do you think this goes too far or it’s just amusing? I’d love to hear from you all in the comments below!

Growing Up With Girl Power – The Spice Girls & Me

 

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I might have squealed when I saw this on Instagram…

 

I love music and have done for just about as long as I can remember and everyone has to start somewhere, right? Unless you’ve been completely removed from the internet in the last 48 hours you will have seen this picture. Be still my child heart because all five Spice Girls were in a room together with their previous manager and now there’s actually talk about new Spice plans.

The Spice Girls were something else for me and millions of other little girls. ‘Wannabe’ came out when I was two, I wanted to listen to these ladies all the time, I had no idea what they were singing about but I loved them. The older I got the more I wanted to be like them.

I remember around the age of four sitting and watching the new videos that came out on the TV or just waiting to see old ones. I remember watching Viva Forever’s video for the first time. Spice World was the first film I ever saw and then in 1999 my incredible Mum took a five-year-old me to see them at Earls Court, Victoria waved at me and it was the best day of my little life.

There’s something else that stands out to me as an adult though, the Spice Girls were a marketing machine. They absolutely nailed it. In the 90s you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing some reference to them, they took over the world – and with a good message. These were women who did what they liked. They were funny and loud and everywhere.

The message of Girl Power is one I held with me long after the girls parted ways. Although I know, Geri Halliwell claims she’s not a Feminist for a lot of young women, myself included, chants of Girl Power were the start of their own belief in women and Feminism. I truly believe that the message of the Spice Girls was part of me never feeling like I couldn’t do something just because I was a girl. I had, and still have, Girl Power!

Whatever these ladies choose to do as a five-piece I’ll be so excited. Really because they were a big part of my life growing up and who I am today.

What are your Spice memories? Are you excited to see them back?! Let me know in the comments below and as ever, Spice up your life.

Feminist Friday in 2018

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In 2016 I started my Feminist Friday series and I’ve so pleased with where it is and where it’s going. I’ve had some wonderful guest posts from women and men about Feminism and what it means to them. But this is just the start.

In 2018 my aim is to make Feminist Fridays even bigger, getting more of you writing about your experiences and what feminism means to you. It doesn’t matter how old you are if you are male or female, what you identify as I want to hear from you and give a platform for people from all walks of life to talk about feminism in their life.

So, my wonderful readers, I need you! I need your thoughts and stories. You can write about anything and if you want to get involved but don’t know where to start, that’s fine I even have prompts!

I also wanted to share some of the wonderful guest posts from 2017 so a big thank you to…

Jess Wade

That Marketing Punk

Lou Sarabadzic

Charlotte Selby 

Jess Wilby

These are just some of the incredible examples that I’ve had in the past year and I’m so grateful for each and every word that they have put together.

Feminism is a key part of our future, particularly after the year that we’ve had in the world. Women are speaking out and making their voices heard, something which can only make the world a better place.

If you, or anyone you know, would like to be a part of Feminist Fridays in 2018 I’d love to hear from you! Email chloefmetzger@gmail.com or comment below with your details, ideas and any other information! I’d love to discuss your ideas and talk about what feminism means to you!

Thank you for a wonderful 2017 and here’s to a fabulous, feminist 2018!

Blogmas Day 4: Last Minute Gifts for the Feminist in your Life

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Now, I know, some of you out there have had your present shopping done since September, I salute you, but some of us still need ideas. So, how about some ideas for the kick-ass feminist in your life? I’m really excited to be working with House of Wonderland for this post and thank you so much for sending the above goodies for me to enjoy! So, let’s get on with those ideas.

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Stronger Than You Think Enamel Pin

How great is this pin? With a Rosie the Riveter style to it, it would look great popped on a denim jacket or bag. A fab stocking filler or little something extra.

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You Can Change The World Print

Feminism is all about making change happen so how about this print just to remind your favourite feminist that they can and will change the world.

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Survivor enamel pin

I’m so pleased that I was given one of these pins for myself. I 100% identify as a survivor of various things and I love this as reminding someone that you love and believe in them.

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Girls Supporting Girls Mug

Because what is being a feminist about after all?

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Stronger Than You Think Tote Bag 

You know the age-old ‘oh just get a girl a bag’ how about one that reminds her how strong she is? Sign me up.

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Girl Gang Candy Yellow Banner Necklace  

I love these necklaces, who wouldn’t want to be a part of a Girl Gang, these would be great for your own group of gals as a cute matching gift.

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Enamel Feminist Candy Bar Necklace 

I was also sent this and I’m in LOVE with it, it’s feminine but also makes the statement of I’m a feminist and proud. This is perfect for your loud and proud feminist friends.

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What Would Freida Do Print  

Another great print for those who love art and the wonderful Freida Kahlo, absolutely beautiful and a great tribute to the woman himself.

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Feminist with a Femilist notebook

‘Cause us feminists have a lot to do.

Thank you once again to the amazing House of Wonderland for the opportunity to work with them on this post! For even more of their wonderful products and to support a small business visit http://www.how-store.com/ . Also make sure to give them a follow on Twitter & Instagram.

 

Feminist Friday: A Strong Woman

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What does a strong woman mean to you? Does your mind instantly go to physical strength such as the lovely woman above? Does it make you think of a steely and determined businesswoman? Or maybe something closer to home? And does this idea of ‘strength’ help or hinder us?

In the past few years, I’ve been told that I’m ‘strong’, emotionally. That I can hold shit together when it all goes wrong. The thing is, I don’t think I have a choice because I’m a woman I get on with it. When I was growing up, I saw my Mum as the glue that held everything together. Dad would do 12-hour shift work, so I spent a lot of time watching as my Mum organised, cleaned, sorted birthdays, got me and my sister through tough times. She just kept going and I thought, as a woman that what you did.

In literature and film, we have ‘strong’ women who can fight and survive in a physical manner. Many, are irritated that a strong woman must be considered physically strong. Take, for example, Hermione Granger, we are told how brilliant she is, how smart, however, I never saw Hermione described as ‘strong’ because she was using her mind, rather than her physical strength. On the other hand, Katniss Everdeen is often described as having strength because of her physical capabilities and the fact she can fight.

It strikes me that these ‘strong women’, often have to prove themselves, in a way that is reminiscent of men, at least in a traditional sense. While I love women showing their bodies are powerful, there are so many other ways a woman can be strong. Women in the face of adversity, women who have changed the world (like those in Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls ).

On another Harry Potter note though, think of the strongest woman in the series that you know. Mrs Molly Weasley is easiest the most kick-ass woman who has unwavering strength throughout every book and film. She is a strong woman, she’s a mother and housewife. I’d love to see more of the strength in everyday women portrayed.

What does a strong woman mean to you? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Feminist Friday: Westminster

Last week we saw a scandal in Westminster, one that unfortunately wasn’t at all surprising. UK Defence Secretary resigned amid allegations of sexual assault, following this an avalanche of accusations from all parties in UK politics. While Downing Street called the accusations ‘deeply concerning’, leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn addressed the ‘warped and degrading culture’. No one outwardly said, we have a problem and it’s been swept under the rug.

In the past year, sexual assault has been in the media particularly in the face of powerful figures. With the recent Hollywood conversation more and women and men are coming forward to share their stories about the abuse they had to deal with. In light of this, I believe that ultimately, we’re going to see more and more people coming forward because this isn’t an anomaly.

Recently, comedian Jo Brand hit the nail on the head as the only woman on the panel of Have I Got News For You when she said;

 “If I could only say that as the only representative of the female gender here today, I know it’s not high level but it doesn’t have to be high level for women to feel under siege in somewhere like the House of Commons. And actually for women, if you’re constantly being harassed even in a small way, that builds up and that wears you down,”

And that is exactly what needs to be said. If, in the place that our laws are made and passed a woman feels unsafe, what hope is there for the rest of the country? Personally, I’m grateful for these women that are reporting and standing up to powerful people because it makes people recognise a problem that has, I’m sure, been happening for years.

I’m hoping that this is the start of change. That the voices that are speaking out and finally starting to be heard can break down the protection of those in power, in regards to sexual violence and assault.

As always, I want to hear from you and your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below!

Feminist Friday with… Jess Wade

As a part of my Feminist Friday series, I’ve been asking lovely bloggers and writers to write about Feminism and what it means to them. Today, the wonderful Jess from makingphysicsfun speaks about Inferior by Angela Saini, women and science. So, over to Jess. 

Did you, like me, read the Google memo this summer and role your eyes? Or perhaps look up the new Nikon D850, and be confronted with an ad campaign that consisted of a wall of 28 men. Maybe you picked up the Time’s Education Supplement (Sept 2017) to read boys were “better at physics” because they pee in urinals? Or waited for the announcement of the 2017 House of Commons Science & Tech Select Committee with naïve optimism, thinking it might continue the women-dominated glory 2015 – 17, to find out it was (you guessed it!) … all men. Every single time I get tired of talking about the need for more women in science – well, physics and engineering specifically – a new scandal makes part of me think I have to try again. But the rest of me is thinking – maybe they are right? Maybe women really are crap at photography. Maybe I am worse at physics than the boys in my group because of how I go to the toilet? Maybe women are bad at technology because we don’t have enough testosterone? I don’t say this out loud much, I wouldn’t want to let the side down!… but these miserable thoughts echo around my head every time I have to stand on stage.

And then, I was asked by Physics World to review a copy of Inferior by Angela Saini. Angela Saini is an Oxford-trained engineer who has had a phenomenal career in popular science writing and journalism. In 2009 she was named the European Science Journalist of the Year by the Euroscience Foundation and three years later won the Association of British Science Writers’ award for best news story. That year she became Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2015 she won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Kavli Science Journalism gold award for a BBC documentary into bogus universities.

When Saini was investigating the science of the menopause for a Guardian article, she discovered that there is very little scientific literature explaining the biological mechanisms that caused it. She realised that everyone takes it for granted that research will be fair and unbiased; that experiments will be ethical and that the results will be reproducible. But what if the people who wrote the rules of science were biased themselves? Saini’s ground-breaking second book, “Inferior”, uncovers how science has gotten plenty of women wrong, often due to the biases of the people and processes involved in research. An advocate for equality and honesty within scientific discourse, Inferior does not set out to prove that men are sexist scientists- it highlights stories where assumptions, poorly designed experiments and hasty press releases have failed 51 % of the population. She is a phenomenal journalist determinedly persistent in untangling the evidence from both sides to present pure fact – her bibliography is 29 pages long with 306 distinct articles and books covering the gamut of evolutionary psychology to anthropology. Inferior has it all: from understanding bluebirds to babies, shouting at dodgy f-MRI studies and picking apart the lazy stereotypes that prevent women entering science and technology careers. Reading Inferior has given me my voice back… and I am going to short very loudly.

You can catch Angela Saini on her UK university tour or at a local event. You can buy Inferior here.

Angela has written a comprehensive response to the now infamous Google memo, which you can read here.

 

Bio: Jess is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Physics and Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London, creating chiral molecular structures as the active layer for electronic devices. Jess has been involved in projects to support gender inclusion in science, as well as encouraging more young people to study science and engineering. She won the Institute of Physics (IOP) Early Career Communicator Prize (2015), “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!” (2015), the IOP Jocelyn Bell Burnell Award (2016), the IOM3’s ‘Robert Perrin Award’ (2017) and the Imperial College Dame Julia Higgins Certificate (2017). She sits on the committees of the IOP’s Women in Physics Group, Communicators Group and London & South East Branch. She is also on the council of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) and Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) Young Women’s Board.

If you’d like to write for Feminist Friday please get in contact, I’d love to hear from you! Email chloefmetzger@gmail.com.