I Won’t Be Silent – A Poem

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For a while there,

I lost my voice.

I let someone else’s laugh muffle by shouts

for rebellion.

 

But I am a woman,

hear me roar.

I’ve got no time for heels,

or a cat call.

 

Because I broke free,

from the good girl mentality

and now, here I stand

Just as good as any man.

 

I won’t be silent.

I won’t be contained.

Because I am a woman.

I don’t need to be saved.

Feminist Friday Returns!

Yes, you read that right I’m bringing back Feminist Friday.

I was really unsure for a while, I wasn’t getting the response I wanted, feeling generally deflated. Then I read a few books, got mad about sexism and started writing again. Really writing for a few weeks and, well, I decided that I wanted to bring this back.

I’m not sure it will be every week, I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to be writing about. There will be opinions and poetry and hopefully other women writing about things they are passionate about too.

Let’s start a revolution!

Book Review: Everywoman – Jess Phillips

Everywoman Jess Phillips

 

A lot of people scoff at the thought of going into politics. Even more so if you’re from a less wealthy background because it’s not what someone ‘like us’ does is it? Be prepared to completely change your mind and want to start a revolution of diversity and equality and it’s all thanks to Jess Phillips.

I picked this up after watching an interview with Jess online, I finally saw someone who I could identify with who works in our government. This book is much more than politics, this is about women, empowerment and just giving things a go! Previously, Jess worked for Women’s Aid, an incredibly important charity supporting women who need help most. Some of the stories were harrowing but show the fire behind Jess’s speeches in parliament, such as those about domestic violence.

From Mum guilt to just about getting through university Jess talks about anything and everything. That said, she also touches on some heartbreaking topics. There were many moments in this book that touched me but it was the parts talking about Jo Cox that really got me. Jo Cox was an MP in the UK, a rising star in the Labour Party, Jo was murdered for doing her job and being a compassionate human. Jess was a friend of Jo’s and I can’t imagine how hard it was going through such a horrific loss.

Not only is Jess a kick-ass MP for Labour, she’s a friend, a proud Feminist, a Mum, a Wife and, by the sounds of this book, the kind of person I’d want to have as a friend. This book fell into my hands when I needed it most. I was feeling like I was struggling as a woman, I was feeling a little beaten down by the world. Then I realised I can do this because there is so much to do! It really gave me the pick me up I needed.

I’ve recommended this to almost every one of my friends because it’s the kind of book that can and will start a revolution. Of course, I gave this 5 stars, I could not stop listening to the audiobook at every opportunity I had. I’m pretty sure I’ll not only be buying this as a gift for a few people but I’ll also be listening again very soon!

Book Review: Red Clocks – Leni Zumas

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In the not too distant future abortion is illegal. IVF has been banned and the clock is ticking for any women who wants to have a child past a certain age or a child on her own. This is America. In one city, four women deal with their own lives in relation to these changes. This is their story. A pregnant teenager, a healer trying to help, a frustrated mother and a woman wanting to be a mother more than anything.

I knew I wanted to read this as soon as it was released so as soon as I could I requested it and was graciously given a copy to review and devoured it. The scariest thing about this novel, it could be a reality in the US from recent news, which is exactly why you need to read it.

One of the best parts of this novel is that women come through for women but not in a cheesy way. Becuase of the situation they are in there is a vibe where women pass on vital knowledge to other women to help each other but not in a cheesy way. Also, this novel isn’t about hating men. Are there some terrible guys in this? Yes, but most importantly they are not the focus, not a plot point they just exist. This is a novel for an about women.

The one criticism that I have is that I felt the character of Susan, a frustrated mother didn’t add that much to the story. I understood why she was included but I just felt a little irritated with her and her perspective on things. You don’t need to like every character in a book and out of the four main women she was the one I felt the least connected with in any way.

I gave this 4 stars. I was thinking about this constantly for about a week after reading it. I had so many thoughts, questions and a little bit of anxiety. That said, it is a really important novel and a stunning debut. I can’t wait to see what Zumas comes up with next.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my review copy

Re-embracing my Feminism with Paola Diana – Blog Tour

Reclaiming my Feminism

There are times when a book falls into your lap at the right time. I’d been struggling with my own feminism. It felt like a constant fight whenever I mentioned it, multiple times people used it as a reason to argue with me about something completely unrelated, so I’d kept my mouth shut. Then I got an email offering me the chance to read Paola Diana’s book Saving The World, Women: The Twenty-First Century’s Factor for Change as part of a blog tour and I thought why not?

Earlier in the month, I’d picked up Jess Phillip’s Every Woman which made me proud of feminism again. Paola’s book was a perfect follow up to keep the fire burning. Looking at politics, religion, economy and society Paola doesn’t shy away from addressing the how powerful women really are and will be in this century.

This is not an opinion based book, followed up by facts and her very own activism it got me excited. If there is a time for equality it is now. In no other period in history have women been so educated, aware and able to voice their opinions. Although, of course, we still have a long way to go around the world. Now we just have to make it happen. The combination of intelligent research, looking at the wider picture and optimism is a welcome addition to my bookcase.

Feminism itself is complex. The basic premise of wanting equality of the sexes can be forgotten at times. I know I’ve felt overwhelmed trying to defend my reasons for being so open as a feminist. I’ve felt that there is so much fighting over what feminism is and should be. So I took a step back, I still carried on with my life but I was quiet about it which I hated. This isn’t me. I guess sometimes life does beat you down but, personally, I’m back and ready to reclaim my feminism and continue to educate others with this book by my side.

Sound good? I’m also running a giveaway on my Twitter so head over here, follow and retweet for your chance to win! UK only.

Thank you so much to Midas PR for sending me this book, Paola and the publishers for this opportunity!

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.