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

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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.

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…

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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!

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!

My December Book Haul!

Hello fellow book lovers!

I know that normally I only post the books I received in my monthly wrap-ups BUT as it was Christmas and the sales I thought it would be worth my book haul getting its very own dedicated blog…because there are so many! So, let’s get stuck in!

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Harry Potter – A History of Magic

I asked for this for Christmas as I was visiting the exhibition at the end of the month. This really goes into another level of detail about the world of Potter and history of magic itself.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition – J.K Rowling 

The boyfriend did good on this one, these illustrated editions by Jim Kay are something else. These illustrations are so beautiful and you can tell they’ve been born from imagination rather than the films.

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Fantastic Beasts Illustrated Edition – J.K. Rowling 

This is illustrated by a different artist but is, again, so beautiful and unique. With the Fantastic Beast films coming out every few years this is a perfect companion and there is so much detail in these illustrations.

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A History of Britain in 21 Women – Jenni Murray 

Hearing about kick-ass women who made the country? Of course, I wanted this so on my Christmas list it went. My parents picked this up for me for Christmas, I can’t wait for even more inspiration from reading this.

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Hello, Goodbye, Hello – Craig Brown

I saw someone recommend this on Youtube and the premise of this is fascinating. This links 101 meetings between interesting figures in history and connects them all in a very satisfying circle.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King & Owen King 

Confession, I’ve never read a Stephen King book. This is because I am a wuss and cannot watch a horror film, but books are different. This really intrigued me, although it is absolutely huge. It considers what the world would be after women are infected with a virus, making them feral and violent, sign me up.

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The Stepford Wives – Ira Levin 

I loved the film of this as a teenager and thought it was only proper that I read the book too, I can’t wait to see how it compares.

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Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin

I’d heard about this novel before and it was in the offer with the above, so it was worth picking up.

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Animal Farm -George Orwell

I read this when I was at school, I must have been about 13 (I’ve just realised that’s 10 years ago and I feel so old). I absolutely loved this novel and what it stood for but think it’s going to be fascinating to read it all these years later.

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Down and Out in Paris and London – George Orwell 

I’ve only ever read Animal Farm cover to cover, so why not read another of Orwell’s works?

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Night – Elie Weisel

I haven’t read this before and found it in a cheaper bookshop for only £3 and I know it’s a classic piece of Holocaust literature. It’s something, I believe, we need to read about and remember so that so many can be remembered.

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Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell

I was offered a copy of this book for free, so of course, I said yes. This is set in Elizabethan times and focuses on William Shakespeare’s younger struggling actor brother.

Are any of these on your TBR for the year, or maybe you’ve read one? Let me know in the comments below!

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!

Book Review: Wild Embers – Nikita Gill

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The latest release by Nikita Gill has been getting rave reviews, a collection focusing on passion, identity, the universe and femininity. I was thankful to receive a copy of Wild Embers for review by Netgalley. This is my first encounter with Gill’s work.

This is a collection of both poetry and prose, which I haven’t come across before. I’m used to collections being one or the other, therefore felt the flow was slightly interrupted and at times hard to get into. That said, Gill clearly has a talent for both. In fact, I would gladly read a collection of short prose, something that I don’t believe Gill has released before.

There is, however, a strong female message behind the majority of her work. Poems such as ‘Witches’ and ‘Dragons Breath’ uses fantasy elements to reiterate the strength of women and their capabilities of being powerful in their own right, challenging how women are seen in traditional fairy tales.

Dismissing traditional ideas of femininity takes centre stage the prose pieces, as Disney Princesses get rewritten into feminist heroes with their own thoughts and agendas, not waiting for a prince to save them. We’re also introduced to Greek Goddesses, wise and intelligent. In this instance it reminded me of Carol Ann Duffy’s, The Worlds Wife, a wonderful collection. I would love to see what else Gill could do with these characters in further collections of prose or poetry.

I gave Gill’s collection 3 stars. I enjoyed experiencing a new poet and felt that there was huge potential in what Gill was writing about. That said, I struggled with the layout and, at times, felt that there could have been more of a structure to the way that the collection was presented. I did have times where I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I wanted to be. Despite this I’d really like to try out some more of Gill’s work to experience her work.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this opportunity.