Feminist Fridays: Why I’m excited about some dolls.

As we all know, little girls are expected to like and play with dolls of all variety, I was no different. I had a box of Barbies, piles of Polly Pockets and stacks of generic Baby Dolls. There was something missing though, of course my Barbies started to have jobs (Vet Barbie was a personal favourite), but they rarely kicked butt. They didn’t say to me that girls could be as cool as boys in films, that we weren’t confined to pink and only pink. I didn’t get into Star Wars until I was 20 but damn I needed it. I needed to be reminded that women were powerful and could lead a war.

There are going to be new Star Wars Dolls for Star Wars: Forces of Destiny to accompany a new TV show. I read the news over on the brilliant Heroic Girls and when I saw these dolls I had a wave of excitement. These were posable dolls of some of the most fearless women in the galaxy. Of course, these are going to be collected by fans but for the little girls of today? Little girls who have seen Star Wars and what a girl can do, these dolls are something else. Of course, as time goes by we are starting to see more kick ass dolls on the market, ones that appeal to both boys and girls. Let’s not forget the boys in this, the ones who are told that ‘dolls are for girls’, WRONG.

When I was a kid I used to draw these dolls called ‘Jenny’, I used to draw her in every job that I knew, particularly jobs that I knew people said that boys did. The dolls weren’t there for me so I designed my own. That and I know for a fact one of the boxes for Army Barbie came with the slogan ‘hat and short skirt too!’ Yeah, because that’s going to help when the enemy is firing at you, a short skirt.

Corny or not, kids are the future. How can we expect them to be any better if we don’t teach them about equality as children. That girls and boys can be what they want and play with the toys I want.

Damn right I’m excited about these dolls, and I hope it’s just the beginning.

Carrie – An Icon

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I’m writing this with a heavy heart and tear stained cheeks, today the world lost an incredible woman, Carrie Fisher, her death was confirmed by daughter Billie’s publicist. To many Carrie will be remembered as Princess Leia, but she was so, so much more. I met Carrie only a few weeks ago and still can’t get my head around how this fun loving woman who crouched down to sign a little girls wheelchair without so much as a second thought is no longer with us, the world is cruel.

Of course Carrie was Princess Leia, but it’s not all she should be remembered for. She had a no BS attitude to life, which was apparent in her interviews. She was also an incredibly talented writer publishing three memoirs, a handful of novels and also working on screenplays in her life too. Carrie had a way with words that I can only dream to have, I’m thankful she took the time to have a London signing.

While Star Wars makes me happier than most things, it’s not the the thing I’ll remember Carrie most fondly for. She was open and honest about her struggles with addiction and life with Bipolar Disorder. When I met Carrie I wanted to thank her for that, when I did she seemed surprised and said ‘well I have a voice, when you can speak out you should, you know?’ There was nothing more to it. Carrie knew that she could make a big change and she did. For a star of her size to talk so openly about mental illness opened people’s minds. Carrie took the label of ‘crazy’ in her stride, she laughed about it, she made people realise it was ok to laugh. She made mental health come into the conversation, because she wasn’t ashamed. I didn’t get into Star Wars until I was 20, but finding out about Carrie changed my life. I devoured her books and interviews because she became an icon to me.

We have lost a beautiful soul, I can’t help but think of her daughter Billie, her dogs and the rest of her family at this time. She meant so much to so many, but at the end of the day she was someone’s Mum, Sister, Daughter and I cannot imagine the heartbreak they are facing right now.

Rest in Peace Carrie, and May The Force Always Be With You.

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Feminist Friday: Star Wars Special

 

 

I’ve just gotten back from watching the latest part of the Star Wars series, Rogue One. Before going in I debated whether or not to do a Star Wars special post on Feminist Friday, because of course I know that there are some issues with Star Wars from a feminist standpoint (that gold bikini was a huge mistake, so was Padme’s ‘oops my shirt got ripped’ outfit) BUT I firmly believe that despite some smaller things Star Wars gave a huge boost to woman and girls everywhere. Star Wars provided kick-ass female role models.

In the pictures above, if you don’t know, are of Princess Leia from the original trilogy, Jyn from Rogue One, Rey from The Force Awakens and Padme from the prequels. In each film there has been a strong female in central focus. Firstly Princess Leia, while she is dressed in white and helped (not saved) by Luke and Han initially she doesn’t act with feminine worship and gratitude. Leia knows what she needs to do and she’s going to do it, with or without a scruffy nerf-herder, a Wookie and a Jedi in training. In the next set of films that were released (in the wrong order, we’ll let that go for now) Padme aka Queen Amidala, a strong leader in her own right and respected in the senate. Moving on to last years stunning release, Rey is the centre of the latest trilogy, while we don’t know much about her she’s strong, fast and highly intelligent. Lastly, tonight I watched the character of Jyn, a leader and a fighter. These characters are incredible, intelligent and strong women.

Whenever I watch these films, I just feel an immense sense of pride that women are being represented this way on screen. As leaders, as fighters, not simply being saved. This is what we need more of in the film industry. Women can still have relationships, fall in love but that doesn’t make them unable to fight in a rebellion, to have ideas and stand up for themselves. I get a heart full of joy when I go to conventions and events and see little kids dressed as Leia or Rey, because they’re dressing up as powerful role models, people who they can look up to.

There’s already so many reasons I love Star Wars and these kick-ass ladies just make me love it more.

Sunday Seven: Star Wars Celebrations Europe

It’s been all over Twitter and they’re the hottest tickets for any Star Wars fan! Yes this year Star Wars celebration came to London! So Ali and I hit up the Excel centre today to see some of the incredible sights in our closest city. So, for tonight’s Sunday Seven I wanted to share with you seven of the best parts from today!

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Giant builds. 

These were absolutely huge and so, so cool. It was so busy though these were the best pictures I could get, it would have been so cool to sit in them.

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Lego Rey and BB8 

Now, for my birthday I’m hoping to get a Lego Millennium Falcon so seeing this was incredible. I mean look at that BB8, who wouldn’t want to take him home!

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Bumping into R2-D2

After buying something I heard a familiar noise, turning around I realised that R2-D2 was behind me! Not only was that in itself insanely cool as he was just strolling around the event (along with other droids)  he was also signed! One of THE coolest things I’ve ever seen.

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Giant Chewie Funko

For some reason Ali wouldn’t let me bring this Pop home… I can’t think why.

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Seeing CARRIE FISHER.

Now I love the original cast and Carrie is not only hilarious but a great writer we wandered off only for her to come back to where we were standing after her panel. We were standing really close to her and honestly that alone was worth the ticket price. Carrie Fisher, CARRIE FISHER.

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Celebration Swag 

I didn’t go as mad as I thought I would. I DID get the exclusive celebration Pop Vinyls, one that is exclusive to Smugglers Bounty and a Yoda (because Ali persuaded me too) which I’m really excited about because the UK rarely gets exclusives. I also got a con exclusive Ewok family (how cute!), the colouring book I’ve been after for a while and along the bottom is my pass to get into the show. All in all a pretty good haul.

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A nod to Princess Leia 

Now I didn’t go in full cosplay because it was very hot BUT I did manage to get my hair in these Leia style buns and a short white dress.

 

Book Review: Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher

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‘It isn’t all sweetness and light sabres’

Carrie Fisher was born into the madness of Hollywood, the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher grew up watching her parents sing, dance and act. Is it any surprise that this bundle of joy grew up to be one of the best known actresses of her generation? At the tender age of nineteen Carrie was catapulted into stardom after the release of Star Wars A New Hope as Princess Leia became the heroine girls wanted to be and the beauty the boys wanted to date. In Carries memoir, written to accompany her stage show of the same name, she reminds us that underneath the glamour of it at she had to cope with her own demons; addiction, mental illness and the media.

Now, if you didn’t know already I LOVE Star Wars, I got into it last year after finally watching the original trilogy (after being put off by the prequels on TV) and now I’m obsessed. Finding out that Carrie had written a memoir (she’s actually written a second and had a third coming out later this year) meant I had to get hold of a copy, especially as I knew it spoke openly and honestly about her experiences with  mental illness as well. There’s many reasons why I adore Carrie Fisher and her humor and ability to be open about having Bipolar Disorder is just one of them, before this turns into a post gushing about how awesome Carrie Fisher is let’s get on with the review.

When I started reading Wishful Drinking, I knew barely anything about Carrie Fisher in fact I knew about 4 things. I knew she’d played Princess Leia, that she also had a mental illness, that she was hillarious and that she is in love with her dog Gary. I knew nothing about her addiction, that she was a fiction writer or that she had famous parents. Going into this mostly blind I was shocked and in awe of Carrie and her achievements. The fact that at 19 she was relatively unknown and went on to be such a huge star would mess with most peoples heads, couple that with the rather odd upbringing she had (including having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother) Carrie appears to have developed a thick skin and a brilliant sense of humor. I laughed and laughed.

The memoir has gotten a lot of negative reviews for being ‘too short’ or having a hectic structure. While I can see where other readers get this view I felt that this accurately portrayed what Carrie was saying, the narrative perfectly fit the voice. Also, I’ve now watched the show and seeing as this was a supplement for those who couldn’t see it personally I can understand its length. If you’d like to watch it as well as reading, there are some great clips on youtube to give you an idea of how she performed this on stage, I absolutely loved it and wished I could have seen it live.

I also praise this for Carrie’s honesty, it feels like there is nothing she hides from us. She’ll tell you about her absolute lowest points in life, about the addiction she faced and the love she has for her daughter, Billie. With that in mind Carrie is in no way self pitying, she laughs at the past, her family and the craziness that has been her life. She’ll remind you that sometimes she forgets things because the Electric Shock Therapy she has for Bipolar Disorder wipe out a good portion of her memory. She makes us remember not to take life too seriously.

I gave Wishful Drinking four stars ****. I really enjoyed this as a quick read and an insight into Carrie’s life before, during and after Star Wars. What I like most though, is Carrie’s humor and positivity. I know how awful life can get when you’re sick and how much more you appreciate life when you’re better and Carrie absolutely embodies that. I highly recommend Wishful Drinking for anyone who wants a quick and hilarious read.

My Top 10 Graphic Novels

For the past year or so I’ve fallen in love with comic books and graphic novels. In particular I like reading about badass women, alongside the classic superheroes like Superman, Captain America and Spiderman. It’s nice to read these books that have the amazing story with the bonus of incredible art. My friend Joe introduces me to so many amazing comic books and I’m in the shop every weekend seeing what’s in my subscription box. Mostly I like to collect trades, which are usually 6 issues of a series in a volume, known to everyone as a graphic novel or a trade for those who collect. I thought I’d share with you 10 trades that I absolutely love at the moment and it was so hard to just try and pick 10!

 

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Captain America: Civil War comes out in cinema’s later this year and so it was only right that I read this beforehand. My friend Lucy got my this for christmas and I really enjoyed seeing all these amazing superheroes as well as the angle of the plot. Now, I don’t know how much of this is going to stay in the film but I’m hoping it’s close because this really was a great book.

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I’m a huge Star Wars fan, watching the trilogy last year changed my life. So when I found out there was going to be a six part mini-series featuring my favourite princess I had to own it. It shows Leia as we all love her, smart, clever and not taking crap from anyone. Ther artwork and storyline was fantastic and I recommend it to all my friends who like Star Wars. I’ve read a few Star Wars based ones and this was definitely my favourite.

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This was the first trade I bought and so far the goriest. Lady Killer is about a 1950s housewife who is also a killer, but when the tables are turned she needs to protect herself. A really different and imaginative story and great artwork, waiting for the next installment is driving me mad.

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I picked this up after browsing. I wanted to read some more Captain America and I was told this was good. It’s written after 9/11 and kind of looks at how Captain America reacts to what has happened and how it affected the everyday people. Really enjoyed it and it was well done especially because of the subject matter was handled.

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This started my obsession with Harley Quinn. I know a lot of people who don’t like this comic and don’t really like Harley as a character but I absolutely loved her. The first one I read so quickly and just admired how Harley came to life, I don’t think it was as well done in the second and I’m get to read the third but I’m definitely a Harley fan for life, whether or not Suicide Squad does a good job with her is yet to be seen.

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The first comic book I bought when I was 11 was of a variant of Spider Girl (different to what she is now) so Joe recommended me Spider Gwen, it was the first time I subscribed to anything. I don’t know what it is about her but I can’t get enough (and she’s getting her own Funko Pop this year!!). It’s set in an alternate universe where Gwen Stacey has Spider Powers and is trying to get over the death of Peter Parker, a great spin on Spider Man.

 

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I’m putting these two together because they have the same Author, whom I absolutely love. These are different series’ but similar in the way they deal with Gods and Godesses mixed in with the real world. The Wicked and The Divine focuses on a group of Gods who are bought back to earth every 90 years, they set the tone and popular culture for the world, but in two years they are dead. Phonogram is a musicians dream, focusing on Britpop in the 90s, Goddesses and mentions brilliant music. Seriously have worship vibes towards Kieron Gillen.

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Codename Baboushka is about a Russian Spy, it’s fairly new at the moment having only just completed its first 6 issues but the first part was brilliantly done and left on an interesting ending. Baboushka isn’t my favourite but I did really enjoy it, hence why it’s here.

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Again Black Magick is just starting out. It’s really hard to explain without someone reading it, not because of spoilers but because it’s so early in that I’m not even 100% sure that I know what’s going on. There is dark magic that is returning that seems to be after Rowan, who’s also a police officer. I think there’s still a lot to be explained but even with the little knowledge I have I’m really keen to keep reading, meaning it’s definitely a keeper.

I hope you enjoyed these and as always I’d love your comments below and any recommendations!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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After weeks of having Star Wars constantly on the brain today I got to put on my new jumper and head into a galaxy far, far, away. Yes, I got to go and see Star Wars: The Force Awakens today with Ali after booking what seems like a lifetime ago. I’ll say now this WILL NOT have spoilers, because I think that’s cruel to all the people who haven’t seen it yet. That and someone ruined a big plot point for me on Twitter and I have a special hatred for them that will last a lifetime.

Did I like the movie? Yes, of course I did. I was apprehensive before going in and kept reminding myself that this was a new film, new characters and just to enjoy it for that but as soon as the music started I had a chill down my spine and squealed. Of course it’s common knowledge that the original heroes are back and of course they were incredible (there’s no question about that) but I need to focus on the new trio.

Rey, Finn and Poe are going to be incredible through the next set of films, I’m calling it now. All three actors were absolutely phenomenal and were working with an incredible script that made you fall into the story seamlessly. The boys both had a brilliant on screen dynamic and really gelled I felt but it’s Daisy Ridley that I have to give a special mention to. She’s had minimal acting experience but there is no way that you would know, her performance of Rey was flawless and I’ve fallen in love with both Daisy’s character and her acting.

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The only thing I’m still not sure about as I write this is how I feel about our new Dark Side. Despite all the promo Captain Phasma didn’t seem to be that much of a big deal to me, she looked cool but I don’t know how vital she is to the story. Additionally I’m not 100% on Kylo Ren as a villain at this point, I have a feeling that as the movies continue our new villain will be one of the greatest but I’m just not feeling it yet.

So I’ve left the theatre feeling a spectrum of emotions and my overwhelming feeling is that I need to see it again as soon as possible. The Star Wars franchise is very much back and I’m already obsessed over theories for the next film. Only a year and a half to go!