Feminist Fridays: You’re Not Guilty, Just Hungry

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In the last few days I’ve found myself using negative language in regards to food, when talking about eating a cupcake or getting take out with a friend I’ve been describing eating these things as ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’. I’ve been surrounded by other women talking about a ‘naughty’ slice of cake or hating themselves for not sticking only to fruit. I’ve also noticed that I hardly ever hear men speaking like this. I don’t hear men worrying about getting into a certain outfit for Christmas events.

I don’t know where this came from. Why there’s this idea of naughty food. Actually, that’s a lie, I know exactly where it came from. It came from diets, from women being told that to be beautiful they must look a certain way. Of course, if we’re having a little history lesson here, the concept of beauty changes throughout time. Look at the early 2000s when everyone who was anyone strived to get to a size 0, whereas a hundred years ago being that thin was seen as a sign of poverty, to be bigger was to be more desirable.

With Christmas just around the corner so many of us are denying ourselves the food we want to slip into a dress perhaps. I’ve been told by countless women they’ll buy clothes they know are too small in order to make them lose weight. Now, I’ll make it clear I’m not against anyone looking after themselves and being fit and healthy but I do wonder what impact this will have in the long term. How linking food to behaviour will impact not only us but those around us. By calling a piece of food good or bad will impact us mentally with these feelings of guilt that really don’t belong.

So I’ll say it and I want you to repeat it. I’m not guilty, just hungry. Life is short, while I know we all want to be our best selves eating a muffin while you’re out for coffee with your friends isn’t the end of the world. Buying a dress in your actual size and knowing you’ll be comfortable rather than struggling and feeling self-conscious if it doesn’t fit isn’t a terrible thing.  If you’re hungry, eat. Starving yourself and denying yourself won’t make you happy. You’re beautiful just the way you are.

Book Review: Girl Up – Laura Bates

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They told you you need to be thin and beautiful. They told you to wear longer skirts, avoid going out late at night and move in groups – never accept drinks from a stranger, and wear shoes you can run in more easily than heels. They told you to wear just enough make-up to look presentable but not enough to be a slut; to dress to flatter your apple, pear, hourglass figure, but not to be too tarty. They warned you that if you try to be strong, or take control, you’ll be shrill, bossy, a ballbreaker. Of course it’s fine for the boys, but you should know your place. They told you ‘that’s not for girls’ – ‘take it as a compliment’ – ‘don’t rock the boat’ – ‘that’ll go straight to your hips’. They told you ‘beauty is on the inside’, but you knew they didn’t really mean it. Well I’m here to tell you something different.

It’s no secret that I think Laura Bates is a feminist icon. The creator of the Everyday Sexism Project, author and ted talk member has stood up and said enough is enough. It is because of her that I realised that a lot of the ‘banter’ I’d felt uncomfortable with and fought against for years, only to be told I was overreacting, was actually assault. It made me feel better that I wasn’t ‘just overreacting’. After reading Everyday Sexism last year I eagerly pre ordered Girl Up and I’m so glad I did. I felt that in comparison to Laura’s last book this is much more about her finding her own voice within her writing. Not only was it funny but also distinctive in tone as well as topic.

While you could argue that this is aimed more at teenagers in some parts of the book, it’s fine with me because I really learnt a lot from this book. It’s true that there are some chapters that seem to be geared towards teenage girls but if I’d have had this book to clutch in my hormonal hands as a spotty teen I think I would have stood up for myself more. I would have been more vocal about my body, about sexism and about the fact that I have a voice too, something that was repeatedly silenced. Authors like Laura are using humor and wit to bring embarrassing subjects into the spotlight and make it easier for them to talk about. At the same time as a 21 year old, while reading I felt like Laura was an older sister I never had. She doesn’t shy away from the fact that she didn’t always call herself a feminist, that she too shied away from inappropriate comments and behaviour at the fear of ‘kicking off’. 

I one hundred percent feel that books like this alongside, How to be a Woman, The Vagenda, Letters to my Fanny and more will help to create a stronger set of young women who can feel proud to not only be women, but to be themselves. Oh and before I forget there are also dancing vagina’s because who doesn’t want a page of dancing vagina’s. I’m going to stop saying that now, even though I can’t explain how brilliant it is. All I want to say is READ IT, READ IT, READ IT! Of course I gave this 5 stars (*****), absolutely brilliant, well written and inspirational. Go and give it a read NOW!

Remember to connect with me on Goodreads here to see what I’m reading!

I’m a teeny bit competitive

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I am a competitive person. I have been for a long time and since being at uni it’s definitely increased. Partly my need to achieve and be the best is to shut up my anxiety and depression who like the tell me that I’m shit but it’s got to this competitive stage, even though I’d never be mean about it. The person I’m the absolute worst to is myself, I am super competitive with me!

Today I was in my 2nd gym class and I’ve started taking into account the little exercise I can do as well as keeping track of what I’m eating and trying to control my portion sizes as well as make better choices. With that in mind and the fact that I already had physio yesterday I did something a little silly, I pushed myself too much. I was getting so happy to see the numbers going up and just the thought of being able to fit into some of my favourite clothes just spurred me on a little too much.

I’m pretty sore right now but I’ve learnt my lesson and I won’t over do it again. I’ve been very strict with myself about numbers, I don’t need anything else negative in my life or anything I could control in a bad way so I banned scales. I don’t have any in my flat apart from kitchen ones on purpose because I know that I would just constantly weigh myself, compare myself and get stupidly anxious over it and then cry and be unhappy, no matter how thin I was.

So in a way I’m doing this blind, there’s no number here. I have a rough idea of what I weighed a while ago and after the end of my sessions I will try on my dress and possibly look when I’m at my parents house but there will be NO obsessive checking because I got absorbed with weight as a teenager. That’s the lovely part of being a teenager, puppy fat, bullying, being told to go to weight watchers, all lovely stuff. The best thing about this recovery is there’s no pressure, just support. I chose to take the class, I’m choosing what I eat and what portion size I want and when I want a day off and a take away.

So maybe I need to work on being a little less competitive for all of this to work and stop being so hard on myself. After all this is recovery, not the Olympics and hopefully it will do wonders for my stress levels too!

Banishing Body Blues

Honesty time, I have spend this evening wallowing in my own self pity feeling awful and wanting to cry. Why? You ask? Not the injury, I haven’t failed anything (that I know of), nope I couldn’t fit into last years summer clothes. That’s it. Seems silly right? I’ve spent all evening trying to pal na blog but blocked by this big dark cloud of feeling worthless. So I write a blog (it sucked) and put on my iTunes to Emma Blackery, my favourite Youtuber, her song Perfect sits there. I’ve put it above because it’s such an uplifting song. I started listening to it and I was like yeah you know, I’m okay.

I might not be a size 8 any more and it sucks that some of my clothes don’t fit but right now I’m recovering. I can hardly walk but I’ve been crying over putting on weight? No logic there, right? My family, Ali and Friends tell me that it’s the least of my worries with a fractured spine, if there’s any time not to feel guilty about weight gain, it’s now.

I don’t want to be this critical of myself, if anything I think it’s just wanting control back of my body. It’s just letting me down and I hate it and there is nothing I can do, which hurts the most. Since I’ve been getting better from the depression I’ve wanted to be so positive and do things but I fall down sometimes and want to go back to bad habits. I’m still fighting and I wanted to share this song with you because I know that everyone has their own struggles, something I wrote about a couple of months back.

Am I completely happy and fine and cheery? No, that’s why I wrote this because if any of you are going through the same thing I want you to know it’s ok. I don’t want it to become this big disgusting secret and I might get crap for this but guess what I PUT ON WEIGHT. Just like all of us will at some point in our lives, I might put it on, lose it, I might never reach a size 8 again and I’ll never be the same size as my tiny sister. I’m trying to focus on the positives though, I’m smart, I’m going on a course in ATHENS for my work and can travel with my lovely boyfriend. It’s all about trying to put it in perspective and hopefully I can keep listening to the music until this cloud decides to go.

As always I’d love to talk to you guys so leave a comment! If you want to hear more about Emma Blackery you can also check out her YouTube channel, it’s brilliant. What are you waiting for, click the link here for her regular channel and here for lifestyle and advice!