Who’s that girl?

Who’s that girl I see looking at me from a magazine? She’s perfect, she has flawless skin, bright eyes and not a hair out of place, she’s thin, there are no hips, no cellulite, although despite her skinny frame her breasts are fantastic. She’s not real. Tonight I spent a good amount of time watching the above and this afternoon I was reading my normal monthly set of women’s magazines.

Now I’m not going to use this article to bash women’s magazines because I know some who really do support women, although I can’t claim to understand some of the articles. I do have a problem with advertising, because it promotes an image that none of us can achieve. I’ve said many times on this blog that I’m not always happy with my body, especially as of late. I fractured my spine, I put on some weight and I wish I could say so what but I’m surrounded by images of thin and beautiful women.

I’m not saying we ban an idea of beauty, I mean who hasn’t used a good filter on Instagram? Or been happy with a little touch up here and there? Of course we do. I also want you to think about any time you’ve felt a little bit sad looking at pictures or thought I wish I looked like that, because I know that as an impressionable teenager I had these fleeting thoughts but they wouldn’t damage me right? Wrong. In part these images added to my feelings of self consciousness and comparing myself to other women.

In the video about I heard about young women who took on teen magazines to limit the use of photoshop. This gives me so much joy and hope. At that age you don’t always know that these images aren’t real, that you can’t look like that. I remember posing like Paris Hilton (I was a young teenager, and it was the early 2000s, give me a break) in a holiday snap to try and look thinner…I wasn’t fat to begin with. Children and young people are very impressionable, especially as you hit the teenage years your body is doing things you have no control over, your spotty or greasy or whatever.

Now for most of us who are bullied and teased we grow up and shed that awkwardness, even just a little, but at the same time we didn’t have the glare of social media. I just want to educate young girls that this isn’t real and at the same time. I want the media to stop sexualising everything they can, to not cut a model like a pumpkin, carving what they want out of you.

Just preparing for a project I’m going to do and looking at the words used in women’s magazines and they’re almost as responsible as the pictures. I want to do something positive. I want to shout it for the roof tops as I remind my little sister that she is the most naturally beautiful person I know and my little cousin that just because we’re a different shape to my sister doesn’t mean were not beautiful too. I want to make people not feel ashamed to wear makeup or want to get fitter but to know that there are so many different types of perfect and not just the models in a magazine.

Why do I blog? Two years on and what started it all.

For the last few days I’ve been spending my time with some great students. These guys are around 16/17, just finished their first year of college or sixth form and are thinking about going to university and we got to show them around, take them to taster lectures and answer any questions that they had. So I loved working with these guys and they asked some great questions, one of which really got me thinking. Why do I blog?

Ah! Why do I blog? I really had to think so I just kind of went through the last few years and realised that it might be an idea to share it with you guys. SO first blog, my first blog was about books surprise, surprise.Basically my Mum was always nagging me to get rid of some books every time I bought new ones, so as a reason to keep them I set out to review as many as possible and fell in love with it. I done that weekly for about two years until I realised that I wanted to write about my experiences of uni.

I wanted to create a second blog for a while and played around with ideas and themes while I was 18 until I realised what wanted to read. I wanted to read about people like me. People who had no idea about uni, started completely clueless and to tell the truth about what it was really like. Around the same time I finally got a mental health diagnoses and I was passionate about including that too. So this blog was born on the 1st September 2013 (although it’s changed names several times before I realised my own name was pretty awesome).

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The beautiful picture of a very fresh faced looking me the week I got into university, aww. 

I knew what I wasn’t your typical student, at the time I didn’t really go out drinking, I was in a long term relationship and I had terrible Anxiety and Depression related issues. BUT! I knew I wanted to write almost every day about my experiences and my life so that others could find it and have a reference point and someone to ask questions too.

My reasons have evolved over the years such as: 

– I love to write every day, it keeps me constantly thinking and in practice

– Mental health is important and needs as much help as possible to beat the stigma 

– You don’t get a manual on how to be a student…so you might as well have some true experiences 

– I love talking to people! I have some great friends online now, like Caitlin, Alwyn Ash and so many more! 

– I had no idea what uni was about and was fed up of generic guides which were all positive! 

– I absolutely love it 

So why do I blog? For so many different reasons but mostly because I genuinely enjoy it. I’ve had people be SO impressed with the fact that I write nearly every day, but I just see that as normal. It’s not a diary (there would be a lot of swearing if it was) but it’s just me being able to reflect and share that with you all.

So I’m nearly two year in now and I love it. I plan to carry on this blog for as long as I possibly can really. I also want it to get better! I have already started my weekly book reviews, a few opinion pieces and I will be starting more top 10 and uni advice blogs! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and if you’re even slightly considering creating your own blog, go and do it! Why not! Drop me a comment with your blogs below and I will try to follow as many as possible.

Thanks for reading guys and check back in tomorrow for a new book review! Also can I please say thank you SO much to everyone who has followed me, I now have 600 followers! I want to get to 1000 by Christmas and who knows I might do some kind of prize…ohhhhhhh!

My Big Mouth: Stigma needs to stop!

You can’t fail to have noticed the coverage over the last few days about the terrible end to the Germanwings flight, with reports stating that the co pilot deliberately crashed the plane to attempt suicide. This is a terrible tragedy with so many lives lost, however, that is not what has chilled me the most.

The pilot, it is reported, had mental health issues. I am not in any way justifying what he did by killing all those people who did not want or deserve to die, but if he was this depressed who knows what was going through his head. With this in mind I need to stress that the British media in particular are handling this information in a disgusting and shocking way. With papers calling him a ‘mad man’ and asking questions such as ‘why was he allowed to fly?’ many mental health sufferers will have felt a familiar sense of dread.

It’s easy, when people are angry, to have knee jerk reactions but when almost all of the press are taking the same angle it is terrifying. I know that in this country in the next few weeks anyone who declares a mental health problem is going to be scrutinised more now, due to the way in which this has been handled by the media. It’s a terrible case and I don’t think we’ll ever know why he did what he did. Like everyone else I am shocked and angry that he took all of those other people with him, including children.

I do have something to say though. I have mental health issues, I write about them each and every day. Events like this fill me with fear because of how other people judge people with mental health problems. While most people understand that we are just like anybody else, others can’t seem to grasp the concept that we are just like everybody else!!!! I’ve had depression for more than a quarter of my life now and guess what? I don’t want to hurt anyone, I don’t want to be violent towards anyone and if I ever feel angry or anything like that I am the one I direct it to. Yes I might snap at people if I’m angry but this idea that people with mental health issues (that’s around 1 in 4 of us by the way) want to attack and hurt others is wrong and so, so rare. We are not going to get anywhere as a society until we start trying to stamp out this stigma! With the press saying ‘mad man’ and such we’re moving backwards.

I have to say though, the amount of people who have come forward to say that they are depressed and still working, still strong has been incredible to see. The BBC I can do nothing but applaud for their coverage of the crash, and now investigation. We cannot let one individual shape a quarter of our society! I for one won’t let that happen. So many incredible people I know have or have had a mental health issue, but they’re getting there. It might take a little longer or a different route but the world wouldn’t be what it is today if everyone with an issue was locked away and forbidden to work.

People are only going to be scared of mental health while they live in ignorance, education really is the key here.

What I want to be when I grow up

You know when you’re a kid? You dream about everything you can be and there are absolutely no limits. I’ve changed my mind so many times about what I want to be my ‘proper job’. You see I want to be a musician, I want to do it more than anything in the world but in my lecture today something came to me, a thought that is now burning through my mind like a flame. I want to be a journalist, well I think I do anyway. I swear I was the only one in the lecture today who was excited by a journalism lecture, even though I didn’t particularly agree with some of the things said I’m seriously considering some work experience.

An important part of uni is trying to work out just about what you’re going to do when they throw you out eventually, you know into the big scary world. The timers ticking, I have 3 years here and then I’m supposed to work it all out. Well that’s the theory anyway…

Malala Yousafzai: An inspiration to all

Most teenagers would spend their 16th birthday with friends, family and being spoilt with presents, or trying to have a house party without damaging too much of the house. Malala Yousafazi, however, spend her 16th birthday in front of a UN conference giving a speech on the importance of education. The difference between Malala and the majority of girl in the UK is that at the tender age of 16 she is a campaigner for the right to education and has survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. 

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From an early age Malala has been fighting for the right to gain an education simply because she is a girl. Under threat from the Taliban, Malala and her family would not let them win as she claimed yesterday extremist groups are ‘scared of books and pens’. It is this attitude that we should adopt,after all knowledge is power. At the age of 12 Malala began writing a blog for the BBC ( although obviously not using her own name) about how it was to live under the rule of the Taliban. As well as this she still fought to go to school, along with her female friends as well as filming a documentary for the New York Times about her life and struggle. This in itself is extraordinary and I salute her parents, many would be too scared and no encourage her but according the reports she has the full support of her family. Unfortunately the Taliban carried out their threat and attempted to assassinate Malala, boarding her school bus and asking for her. Malala did not hide away and identified herself proceeding to be shot in the head along with her school friends (proving their cowardice). Malala was flown to the UK for emergency treatment and is now living in Birmingham and still working hard to provide education for all children around the world and give equal opportunities to all women.  

Yesterday Malala took to the worlds stage again at a UN conference and I actually got goosebumps watching her speech. You would not guess that she is only 16 years old her bravery and total commitment is something that many adults do not have. It made me appreciate my education more than anything and just marvel at her. I researched more about her and found out that she is the youngest contender for the Nobel Peace Prize in history and has already won awards in Pakistan for her contributions. I could not find a single person who did not watch the speech and agree that she is incredible, watch it here

It also strikes me that in the western world we still hear cries of ‘feminism’ and how we need to fight harder for equality. In certain situations this is right but in the UK today even an idiot could see that we are better off than many of our sisters around the world. In the UK the majority of us are free to make our own choices, we can receive a free education, decide what to do with our own bodies and have wide access to contraception. It is my belief that with the help of girls like Malala we can make the world a better place for women. It has shocking that we are still seeing a lack of education for girls, reports that female babies are being aborted or given up for adoption quickly after birth simply for being the wrong sex. It is incredibly sad that women are still begin treated as objects and are not free to marry who they choose. This is NOT because women are not strong, it is simply through following ancient traditions and not entering the 21st century. It is when I think of this that I get angry at girls in this country who do nothing with their lives. I can tell you now there would be thousands of girls willing to trade for your position and pro creating because you were bored or drunk does not count as ‘doing something’. I am incredibly proud of my country for allowing Malala to live here and gain the education she deserves because to me she is a true hero. 

 

Report by Chloe Metzger