Feminist Fridays: Little Girls and Lipstick

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I’m a firm believer that women should do what empowers them and not take any notice of anyone else. For some this means putting on their make up or perhaps a lipstick to go out, to make them feel confident. Hell, I know I’ve put on a splash of lipstick to make me feel more confident than I really am. While I’m not a frequent make up wearer, I understand that others do and respect their choice. Banning make up isn’t going to sole gender inequality in the world. This week, however, I did have a serious think about children and make up.

When I was a little girl I thought my Mum’s red lipstick was the most classy thing ever ( which is probably where my love for a good red lip comes from), but she only did this when we were going out somewhere special. Day to day, while my Mum used make up it wasn’t made out to be a big thing, she could go out without it if she wanted too, and often did. Now she has two daughters, one who has minimal interest in make up (me) and another who can shame some make up artists if she tried (my sister). I thought back to our childhoods and the way make up was presented to us, it was just another thing. Did we want our nails painted like our Mums? Of course we did but that’s all it was, Mum never showed us a desperation or a need for make up.

Now, when I look for presents for my Goddaughter, due to the fact she’ll be a big sister soon, I find myself increasingly frustrated about what is put on the shelves and the child models themselves. Someone on my Facebook shared an image of a toy that was marketed as 5+ but, alarmingly, the little girls on the front appeared to have red lips. There are piles upon piles of ‘toys’ that have nail varnishes, lipgloss etc with Disney Princesses on. I fully understand little girls wanting to be like their Mums and Sisters but at the same time I’m worried that at the age of 3 or 4 little girls are introduced to an idea that playing, for them, is to do with their appearance.

We all know that growing up is not easy, so why are the toy companies cashing in on making little girls grow up even quicker? I know it’s about business, I know it’s about profit but there’s something I find deeply uncomfortable about it. You don’t want a 4 year old thinking that all they can do is play with dolls and lipgloss. I’m a big believer in letting children be children, because they are for such a short time. Women are told to worry about their bodies from all kinds of media for their entire lives, but putting lipstick on a child that’s going to go on a toy box? It’s too far. We need to take back the toy aisles. We need to tell girls it’s ok to want to play with other things, that they can build whatever they like about lego and we need the kids on the boxes to look like happy and healthy kids, not a dressed up version.

Sometimes, when I write these, I just feel an overwhelming sadness. I struggled so much to fit in even at secondary school because the only make up I was interested was eyeliner, and a lot of it. I struggled when girls would be making up dance routines or playing ‘Mums and Dads’, because I was leading an army in the woods with the boys. I’m not saying that I didn’t LOVE body glitter the age of 10 or put on my Mum’s make up like other girls, of course I did at home. The thing is for almost al of my life I’ve felt like make up was just a thing, not the be all and end all. I don’t care if I go on without it, but I worry about what little girls are seeing now. Look at everyone on Youtube doing make up tutorials, the images used on boxes and the pop stars they watch. There’s never a hair out of place and images are photoshopped for perfection. It may only be a little bit of make up on a model but I for one want to give kids as much time to be kids as possible, before they have to deal with growing up.

Book Review: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

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Last year it was announced that the Harry Potter story would continue in a new work, this time a play. Rowling was to work with a small team to carry on the story, this time focusing on the next generation of Potter’s, Granger-Weasley’s and Malfoy’s.

I wrote last week about how I was going to queue up at midnight to get my copy of The Cursed Child, along with Abbie and my Mum. I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since I was a little girl and I hoped, like all the other Potterheads out there that this was going to be something incredible, although I was disappointed it wasn’t going to be a novel. So I eagerly tucked in to what was billed the eighth story in the Harry Potter universe and read a little when I got home and the rest the morning after and, well, I kind of wish I hadn’t. While I was nervous about reading this and quite apprehensive, as many of the people I spoke to were, I didn’t think this was going to be the final product, especially after the incredible reviews the play has received. Please note this is ONLY MY OPINION I respect other’s opinions :).

The play starts where Deathly Hallows finishes, on Platform 9 and 3/4, where Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione are about to wave off their children. For Albus Potter and Rose Granger Weasley this is the first time they’ll take the trip to Hogwarts and start their magical education in a place we’ve all firmly kept in our hearts. While the first part of the play almost completely matches the novel, that is where I feel the similarities end. The first shock was Rose Granger-Weasley, while I think the aim was to create similarities between Rose and Hermione at the same age, she came across as a brat, not how I imagined her at all.

I can’t go into a lot of detail because of spoilers and the fact I would probably ramble on for hours. I think the main issue with it is that you can tell this wasn’t written by J.K Rowling, it may have been her idea but this does not read like her work at all. At best this reads like a fan fiction, and not necessarily a good one. In fact knowing that Rowling is supposed to have come up with this entire plot makes me very sad, the energy and passion isn’t there. It has so many classic fan fiction tropes that just made me mad. I wanted to shout at the book, what are you doing to the world we’ve all fallen in love with.

The hardest thing though was the trio themselves. It didn’t feel like I was reading about the character’s I’d grown up with. Harry said certain things that I felt Harry just wouldn’t say, Hermione had lost her spark of being able to take control of a situation and Ron was probably the hardest of all. When he was in the play, which wasn’t a lot, he just milled around and was used as minor comic relief but, as will Harry and Hermione, had lost what made Ron, Ron. I will say though that I absolutely loved Draco Malfoy in this, we really got to see him come into his own and develop as a character so gold stars for that. Ginny Weasley, however, is pushed to the side in this play as she was in the films, in fact I felt like all the women were pushed aside which was very disappointing.

When it comes to the new generation again it was a Malfoy that I liked, the character of Scorpio was probably my favourite and reminded me of someone from the original novels, although not his father. The relationship between Scorpio and Albus was sweet and there was an understanding between them. I wish I like the character of Albus as much but I didn’t, thankfully Scorpio will tell his friend when he is being ridiculous, because someone has to. There were rumors there would be a romance between the two and as great as that would have been, I can confirm it is not true.

There are some surprising characters that appear throughout the play and some…interesting concepts too. Other than that we are mostly following Albus, Scorpius and their parents over about three years.

I’m only giving this 2 stars (**), frankly I am heartbroken that this is now canon in the word of Harry Potter. While I’m sure this is a lot better in the medium is was written for, it doesn’t feel like Harry Potter to me. At most this is a basic plot relying heavily on fan fiction tropes and in some cases completely ignoring what happened in the previous seven books and the wizarding law within them. I have a ticket for the play next year and I’m kind of curios to see how it looks on stage (because, you know I already paid for it) but it’s safe to say this doesn’t work in the same way the books do. Do I think it should have been published and given the hype it did? Not at all. In my mind there are 7 Harry Potter books, that’s all the canon we need and want.

 

What did you guys think? Love it, hate it? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Treat Yo’self

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I have a problem. Like many other people in this world sometimes I forget about someone that needs to be looked after and treated well, myself. To an extent I think most of us do this, we work ourselves to the point of exhaustion and yet if we saw a friend doing this we’d be the first one to tell them to take some time out, have a break, we might even treat them! I’ve learnt that we need to learn to treat ourselves! We need to learn to take a little me time, even if it’s something small, a nice bath, a take-away or just a cupcake on the way home. In this post I talk about some of the ways that I’ve treated myself in terms of things BUT treating your mind is also super important. Have a day where you leave your phone on silent and just do something you want to do. That might be sleep, it might be doing something creative, listening to music WHATEVER, just switch off. I have to admit, switching off is one of the things I am worst at. I always have to be doing something and talking to someone and checking my phone, sometimes I have major online FOMO. That’s something I’m working on, because if I do get to go into digital for work (and I really hope I do) I need to be able to literally and figuratively switch off!

So, as all of you who follow me on Twitter will know, yesterday I submitted all of the work for my degree. That’s right, I’m free! Duh duh daaaaah! It is one of the best feelings ever and after I submitted I wandered around town a little bit, determined to treat myself to something, I’d worked bloody hard and so wasn’t going to get anxious over spending a little bit of money (which is a big deal for me, I am obsessed with savings). There was nothing in town so I ended up having to order online, which it where I picked up 6 YA novels. I decided to give my brain a break from chunky books that I didn’t really like, that I had been forced to read and study for months. These were things I could read and enjoy, there was no weight on my shoulders to have a big opinion and defend it,  I just wanted to read for FUN, so I treated myself. Aren’t they pretty?

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Books, books, books! 

It may not be anything big or flashy or something to remember but it just perked me up, I feel like I’ve earnt the time to read what I like, have lie ins because I’ve stayed up too late reading and all that jazz. Soon I’m going to have a full time job, something I’ll have for the next 45 years, who knows if I’ll have this time to just do what I like whenever I like again? I’m hoping that I’ll become a writer and so part of work will be reading a load of novels and then writing my own, then I can treat myself again 😉

For everyone reading this I just wanted to recmind you that it’s ok to treat yourself in whatever way you can. You’re getting on with life, surviving and I know a lot of you are working damn hard so relax, treat yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

Treat Yo Self image from Pinterest.

10 Things you forget if you haven’t owned a cat in a while

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Going home for the holidays was so much fun, in particular I got to be the animal master. While Lottie was the chilled out pup she always is our new addition wasn’t as mellow. Ed isn’t even 20 weeks old yet, which means he’s a bundle of energy. We’ve never had a kitten before but we used to have a hyperactive cat called Tink for years and some things you forget about having a cat…

1. Meow has 50 meanings, but most of the time it’s ‘I’m hungry’.

2. 4am is playtime, who doesn’t want to play at 4am?!

3. Cat hair gets EVERYWHERE.

4. Nothing, at any height, is safe from being knocked over.

5. If you piss off a cat you better watch your back.

6. Play includes clawing and biting any limb.

7. Sleeping on someone’s head is comfortable…apparently.

8. Christmas trees are great to climb…as are chairs.

9. If they want your attention they will get your attention. No matter what.

10. All in all though, they’re adorable, loveable and so much fun. If I could have my own kitten at my flat I definitely would.

Last night!/We love KU!

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Last night was supposed to be some chilled out bowling, a drink or two and making some new friends. It turned out to be so, so much more than that and one of the best nights I’ve ever had at uni, although it could quite well have ended very differently.

I’d gone almost straight from work to meet the girls outside the bowling ally…apart from I didn’t know who I was meeting except from Daniela. Time passed and soon it was half past with no sight of anyone I recognised. Anxious didn’t even cover how I was feeling, I was trying not to cry and all sorts of horrible situations ran through my mind, maybe they didn’t want to hang out with me after all? I’d been surprised in the first place that anyone, girls, wanted to hang out with me. You can imagine how crushed I was when I thought no one was coming. Just as I had decided to go home and try not to be too upset then my phone lit up, Dani was apologising and saying to head to Spoons and I’ll see the girls.

From that point on the night was full of laughter, happiness and a night I wont forget. I went to two pubs and then I finally made it to Pryzm night club!!! The biggest surprise? I absolutely loved it! I drank a lot I danced, laughed, made friends and got home safe. I couldn’t be happier that someone has given me a chance to be one of the girls.

Fast forward to 6am, I had hardly slept, a few hours at most and I headed into work feeling a little off but otherwise good. I was at work for 7.45 and got straight into it. I love meeting people, talking to them and making sure they get all the info. I was able to work with people who remided me of me as well as a few disabled students. I got home exhausted but happy and started to pack. Overall the past week has been exhausting and amazing, I’m so damn excited for second year!