Feminist Friday: The ‘Girls’ in modern thrillers

Have you ever noticed a trend in modern thrillers? The Girl on the Train, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl or the other couple of thousands I found when I typed in ‘The Girl’ into a thriller search. I can hear some, what’s the problem? Are you making a mountain out of a molehill here?! When this was initially pointed out to me I wondered the same thing but it goes deeper than that. In all of the books that I’ve read with a similar title, there is no ‘girl’, just a grown woman. So, why are publishers so persistent in presenting them this way?

Now, it could be as simple as this is a catchier title, but I’m not buying it. It seems to go further. When we hear the word girl as a society there are connotations of weakness, naivety and childishness. I know for a fact in ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’ both of these characters aren’t seen as reliable narrators, which is only added to the fact that they are referred to as ‘girls’ in the title.  If we switch this, trying to find instances of men being called boys is incredibly low. Which just screams inequality to me.

I’m aware that this isn’t a huge issue, that this isn’t the most important thing that feminism should address but it is an issue. It just shows how there is a, sometimes unconscious, bias against women in our everyday language. I’m not a linguist but even I can see that by branding these women ‘girls’ we are doing women a disservice. If you’ve ever read Gone Girl for example, Amy is not a one-dimensional character, far from it, nor is Rachel from The Girl on the Train.

It’s definitely something I think we should be mindful of. Call these characters what they are, women! It’s just something that has been playing on my mind. As always let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

March Favourites!

How we’ve quite gotten to April I have no idea. This month has been super busy for me, I feel like I haven’t stopped. While this might not be my most detailed monthly post, it certainly is packed!

 

Outfits

I’ve really gotten into putting outfits together this month, as well as finding some absolute steals on Ebay. It also helps with the slightly warmer weather and not having to hide under as thick a jumper I can find! L-R Jack Wills dress & Next boots, Next Dungarees, River Island Jumper & Doc Marten boots, Meela Loves London Dress and finally Lipsy jacket, Next boots & New Look Boots. For more OOTD, make sure to follow me on Instagram.

 

Treats 

I have had a few lovely treats this month. A few trips to London have also meant trips to Lola’s at Waterloo, I made some homemade cookies for Red Nose Day at work & I made that post about pizza, read it here.

 

Events 

I’ve been lucky enough to have some great evenings out this month firstly to see Russell Howard in a hilarious and thought-provoking show. Next up was a great evening out with Abbie with a lot of cocktails and finally a night with my Mum and Sister to see Olly Murs to end the month.

 

Sunshine and new specs! 

 

Books 

I’ve been in quite a reading slump this month and really struggling. I did manage to read a few though focusing on strong women including the compilation, Nasty Women, Orli Auslander’s ‘I Feel Bad’ and prosecutor Marcia Clarke’s Memoir ‘Without a Doubt’.

 

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My Little Ray of Sunshine 

As always Hamski is a favourite.

Book Review: One – Sarah Crossan

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This is my story.

It is a single story,
not two tales tangled up in each other
like lover’s limbs,
as you might expect.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins sharing every single experience with one another. While they may not be ‘normal’ teenage girls that doesn’t stop them wanting to have the same experiences as everyone else. Written through the eyes of  Grace, Crossan presents the story of two heads, two hearts, two souls, one body.

I was intrigued by the idea of this novel, I’ve never read about conjoined twins before in a fictional setting before, must less from the perspective of one of the sisters. That said, this novel is about both Grace and Tippi and who they are as individuals, as more than just ‘the twins’.  The novel considers their family life, job loss and what it means to be a ‘normal’ teenager when you are the subjects of stares and whispers of all around you.

This novel was endearing and quite clever, what I didn’t know upon buying it is that the novel is written in verse. While this is different and shows that Crossan is incredibly talented, I found it incredibly difficult to read in this format and while I was trying to work it out it took away from the story for me. I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I think I would have should it have been prose.

I did enjoy, however, that Crossen didn’t show the girls as a freak show or as one person. Both Grace and Tippy have their own personalities, their own likes and dislikes. While some would see Graces ‘bucket list’ as depressing, in fact it makes the book more realistic. There is a chance that these girls will die as their bodies try to cope with being conjoined.

Crossan isn’t afraid of realism within the novel. The focus on the feelings of exclusion they feel and judgement are not shied away from. Nor are the financial problems that Grace and Tippi’s family face from their condition. The struggle and worry of being able to afford treatment that keeps them both alive highlights the unfairness and strain on a family for something they simply can’t help.

Overall, I gave the novel 3 stars. While it did enjoy it and thought it was an interesting story I felt that while the prose was a brave choice, it wasn’t for me. Trying to work my way through the prose as well as following the story, I found myself constantly distracted. I would recommend this novel if you want something a little different and want to expand your reading experience.

Why I’m Not Studying a Postgrad Degree

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A year ago I truly believed that I would be preparing for Fresher’s week again, with a stack of new stationary and pre prepared novels read. Instead I am sitting back in Basingstoke, curled up on the sofa, fairly relaxed with a to do list for work tomorrow. I’ve spent the summer earning money and reading whatever I like. I never thought I’d be so happy to be working, but I’m finally finding a rhythm for myself. That said, many people wouldn’t believe me when I said I was happy, because all I spoke about, wrote about, breathed about was becoming an Academic, so what changed?

Third year made me realise that I needed a break. I worked myself half to insanity, I was in hospital because I was so stressed and probably spent more time in tears than I did happy in my third year. I’m not saying all third years will fare this way but dealing with the recovery of my spine, depression and other personal issues on top of the pressure I put on myself to get a first made me very ill. On top of that, I realised that part of my decision to continue study was through fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing who I was outside of education. I’d always been the smart girl, I had always been the hard worker and over achiever, hence why my mental health struggled when my grades didn’t come back as constant firsts, as they had before. I saw myself in Plath, when she wrote of her struggles with what she should do, should she chase education, something she knew she could do?

In short, I didn’t carry on studying because I need a break. I realised that most of my ambitions were based on a false security. Education was safe for me, something I could do. I could work hard and be good. I’d stay in the library late, I’d keep winning prizes and scholarships and then I’d be an academic. I was scared to step out of that box I’d been in since I was 4 years old. And now, after speaking to countless other new graduates, I see that I wasn’t the only one and so many have gone into masters programmes after saying they don’t know what else to do.

This doesn’t mean I won’t go back and study later on. I still have a passion for literature, I’m still interested in looking at Gender, Sexuality, about the impact of literature on young people’s lives, about Mental Health in post WW1 literature.  I still have a passion for it and I still read things about these issues. BUT! Now I have another passion, something I love and want to get into. I love my job and the more I get into it, the more I feel like a masters isn’t something I need, it’s something I might do at some point. I’ve moved on though, I no longer feel trapped by being the ‘smart girl’. I have people around me in a job that value my opinions without me having to be the ‘know it all’, because I’m not stupid I know that there were occasions people spoke to me because they thought I had the answers. I finally feel that my self worth is tied to more than grades.

Of course this is all personal, this is all how I feel right now. In a year it might change, I might save and go back part time but it’s good for me to get away from feeling like a number and someone’s opinion defines me.  I’m not doing a masters because I needed a break, I needed to grow on my own and I’m enjoying it.

Illumicrate May 2016 Unboxing and Review

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Hello, hello, hello! I have finally been able to go back to my parents house and pick up my illumicrate which I literally missed by about 2 days the last time I was here. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on an affordable book subscription box, Illumicrate are based in the UK I believe, so I don’t have to pay huge shipping costs which are not my friend while I’m job hunting. So I may be a little late to the game but I’m hoping to try out more subscription boxes this year and give you guys an idea of what’s out there. Don’t forget that I’ve also done unboxing and reviews for MCM Collector Corps and Lootcrate too! On to the wonderful illumicrate…
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Bookworm Clip by My Bookish Mark and Readers Gonna Read Pin by Literary Emporium 

How adorable is this bookmark?! I’m always on the lookout from new bookmarks because I will literally use anything I can. Also the Readers Gonna Read pin is such good quality and it seems like it’s going to last. Love it. Love it. Love it.

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Ex Libris Stamp by Little Stamp Store

This is such an adorable little stamp and something that I didn’t expect at all and it has a fox on it!!! If you didn’t know I’m all about the foxes. Now I can go through and stamp all my favourite books if I want to WITH FOXES!

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Jenny McLachlan Badges

I’ve not heard of Jenny McLachlan before recieving these badges but they’re cute and in bright summery colours, I can definitely see myself putting them onto a tote bag! I’m also going to have to give Jenny a Google later on!

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When We Collide – Emery Lord 

I have wanted to pick this up on my last few bookshop trips and it’s been on my to read list since it came out so when ‘When We Collide’ was buried in my box I let out more than a little squeal, there’s also a set of postcards and a signed sticker from Emery (which has not been put inside the book). 10/10 for this book, very well done to the illumicrate team for finding this gem!

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Book Club Mug by The Art of Escapism and To Be Read List Notepad by Goodnight Boutique

I didn’t get individual pics of these two amazing items. The mug is a great size and is made of a strong plastic so you can use it inside, outside and it’s just got a really cute design on it too. The other awesome exclusive is this notepad! It had a to review list, a books to buy list and a currently reading list on it, I can see this becoming VERY useful.

Harper Lee

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The literature world was shocked and saddened to hear the the great writer Harper Lee passed away today. We have truly lost a great talent, she’s a writer that had an idea and ran with it, the end result was educating millions about being a good person and created a literary legend in the character of Atticus Finch.

I first time I picked up the Pulitzer prize winner I was 15 and about to start the final year of my GCSEs. It had been around for a year before as my boyfriend studied for his, but I hadn’t read it because I had no idea what it was about. As soon as I opened that first page though, I was hooked. The book had such a profound effect on me, I truly believe it was what started my love for academics. I went on to pass my GCSE and went on to study a whole project on the African American woman, inspired by the mother figure of Calpurnia and the mistreatment of the African American community in To Kill a Mockingbird.

When Go Set a Watchman was released last year, I preordered, managed to leave work a little early and started as soon as I got home. While there were a lot of reviewers who hated it, I loved it. I loved the fact that it showed how people change and the people who you thought were heroes growing up were just ordinary people.

She rarely gave interviews and had only released those two books, but they were enough. Enough for us to see her wisdom and intelligence and continue to  Even though she kept to herself, she was an icon in literature.

Rest in Peace Harper Lee.

Finishing my first week of classes…yes really!

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As of 11am I had finished my first week of classes for this year. I know, crazy right? Being a humanities student is about doing a lot of independent research so while I’m only in class 6 hours a week I’m definitely going to need to use the rest of the week to get my research done and try and get some new ideas together, but this suits me just fine. I get to read and create ideas and if I’m having a low I can just work at whatever time suits me best, if I have a rough night I can sleep later and work into the evening or vice versa. I feel like I’m going to get a lot more done this year when I can set my own times and agenda.

I am really pleased with the way my classes went this week, it’s a lot more interesting and I feel like we’re at a stage where our opinions can really be valued. I’ve worked hard to get to the stage that I’m at with my course and I finally feel like I can let out my excitement and not look like the biggest geek ever because, with dissertation especially, other people are also enthusiastic about their projects.

This is the start of, hopefully, a long road of independent research, there are even less classes when you take part in a Masters degree and then PhD classes are usually research based rather than taught. It’s a big thing to undertake but right now it’s one of the only things on my mind. Of course I’d love to be a musician and tour the world but equally I know that might not happen because a big part of it is being in the right place at the right time.

I’ll admit that I am a little nervous about having lows, partly because for 4 days of the week there is nothing to force me to go outside, but partly because I’ve lost my ways of exercising. It is hard having mental health issues and studying sometimes, you can feel really isolated, especially around deadlines as well as extra pressures but I’m hoping that not being in class all the time means I can just sit and focus as well as trying to meet up with friends from other courses/play shows/ write/draw if I am getting a little too stressed.

All in all I’m pretty pleased with how this week has gone, I have a tonne of reading to do in the next few days but I can’t wait to go back to class on Monday morning!