Feminist Friday: Is having a Vagina a pre-existing condition too?

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I woke up this morning and was flicking through my news app and my hazy eyes focused again on a smug picture of Donald Trump, this time with the headline ‘Obamacare is dead’. I’m not American, nor do I live in the US but have watched the past few months unfold with waves of nausea after being faced with the blatant problems with sexism and racism in the US.

Once again ‘making America great again’ will have a nasty impact on many. The list of what is being considered a pre-existing condition is horrifying. As I was reading though I realised something, once again women were having someone choose their options for them because they own a vagina.

Things such as

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast, Cervical and Ovarian Cancer
  • Acid Reflux (often a problem in Pregnancy)
  • Cesarian Section

would all stop you getting coverage under Trump and his party. It must be recognised there are also issues such as enlarged prostate and testicular cancer that will impact only men, this is an issue for everyone. It’s horrifying and harrowing that people are fearing for their lives because of something they cannot help. America is supposed to be one of the most forward-thinking countries in the world…I doubt that now seeing as birthing the future leaders of the world will now mean you might not be able to get insurance.

I’m incredibly lucky I live with the NHS, if it was the same in the UK there is no way in hell I would be insured because of previous problems I’ve had. It’s a scary reality when dystopian novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale are getting chillingly close to real life.

At what point do Republicans just make having a Vagina a reason for exclusion officially? At what point do they fall backwards in time and make it so women are legally second class citizens. We need to talk about this, we need to make ourselves louder than ever all across the world to make sure it is known to the misogynists that not only are we equal, we are strong and capable.

What are your thoughts on the new bills being passed? Are you going to be impacted by them? Let me know in the comments below or drop me a tweet @chloemetzger!

Sunday Seven: Places you should visit!

Is it summer time yet? No? I can hear the collective groan as so many of us have to wait for the summer to roll around so we can go away and have a little break. I’m very lucky that my family liked to travel when I was growing up, I’ve seen some beautiful countries and hope to add to the ever growing list. This week I wanted to share with you seven places I loved and that you should visit!

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Paphos, Cyprus 

I’ve been to Cyprus a few times with my family and I absolutely love it. We’ve been going since I was quite young and my last visit was just before I started uni. We’ve stayed at the same hotel each time, but the town itself is constantly changing. There’s also a great waterpark, great excursions you can do and a lot of history around. One day I really want to take Ali and show him one of my favourite holiday destinations.

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Sorrento, Italy 

Ali and I first went away together with his family all the way back in 2009 to Sorrento. In the picture above (excusing my awful choice in ‘fashion’) we are standing at the top of Mount Vesuvius. We’d spent the day walking around Pompeii and looking at the history of it. Aside from that Sorrento is very tourist friendly, which means it can get busy but it’s also easy to get around. Also, the food? To die for, I loved it. You can also go over to the Island of Capri which oozes glamour. I want to go to different areas in Italy but Sorrento was a good place to start.

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London, UK 

I’ve been in love with London for as long as I can remember. I was taken to Oxford Street with my Mum and Nanna more times than I can count. London to me means excitement, it’s where I see shows, meet friends, go to events, explore the rich history of a wonderful city. London will always be special to me and I couldn’t just say one place, I love it all!

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Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam just before my 21st birthday. While we stayed closer to the Red Light District, it was on the last day we found the real beauty of Amsterdam in Vondelpark, if I were to stay again I would definitely pay the extra to stay near the park, also their Hard Rock Cafe is incredible.

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Greece

I’ve been to Greece a lot. The first holiday I  went on with my parents was to the island of Crete, we went time and time again and I fell in love with it. I wanted to use a picture from then but couldn’t find any in digital. Fast forward about 18 years and I’d gone back to Greece, this time to Athens with Ali  for a week long class, and looked at the history of one of the greatest civilizations to have ever lived. Oh and for an Ouzo or two.

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Orlando, Florida 

Anyone who knows me, knows Florida was going to be on this list. My parents have taken me to Florida at least 3 if not 4 times. I was very lucky. I like going and acting like a kid, going to Disney, Universal, shopping in the outlet malls. I can’t see myself going for a while but damn right I’m going back.

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Harry Potter Studio Tour – Watford 

A must for ANY potterhead or anyone who just liked the films. Seeing everything up close, admiring the artistry and the detail on even the smallest things. I need to go again at some point, it’s only been a few years since I went but it’s already changed so much from pictures. It really is a must.

What are some of your favourite places to visit? Let me know in the comments below!

Feminist Friday: To Those Who Need Support Today

Hello,

When the election results were announced I, like many of you, was shocked, scared an angry. To express my feelings and reach out to those who were struggling I wrote an open letter to those who didn’t vote for Trump. I wanted to use tonight’s Feminist Friday post to speak not only to women but to all who feel they need a helping hand, to those who have been offended by Trump and his administration. I am speaking to women, the African-American community, the LGBTQA+ community, immigrants, the disabled, first generation Americas, various religious groups. To all of you. The rest of the world hasn’t forgotten you.

It’s not that I wanted to write tonight, I needed to write this. It was a compulsion. I caught the last half hour of the inauguration and was struck by the sorrow on Michelle Obama’s face. Her face said what so many people were thinking and feeling. The anger and confusion that a man who has a record of being sexist, a sexual predator, islamophobic, racist, the list goes on. I wanted to tell you that he doesn’t represent the American people. He shows that there is a flawed political system, that fear and hatred have been used as a tool to gain power.

The next four years are going to be tough, there’s no doubt BUT he is one person and there are ways that we can fight against his hatred around the world. When people care for each other and listen to each other the world becomes a better place. I was proud to hear about the Women’s Marches taking place today, about those who have stood up against the harassment of others, those who have made donations to Planned Parenthood. There are so many acts of defiance and kindness that we can choose to focus on, rather than him.

No matter how tough the next four years are, know that there is support for you, know that there is love in the world. There are people that will listen to your worries and concerns. I haven’t lost hope for America, I believe there is still good, decent and kind people who care about issues outlined above.

Stay strong, speak out, we love you.

Book Review: Great Small Things – Jodi Picoult

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“You say you don’t see colour…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyperaware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you dismissing what I’ve felt, what I’ve lived, what it’s like to be put down because of the color of my skin.”

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us. It is about opening your eyes.

I have to start by saying that I have had the release date of this novel written down since it was known. I’m a HUGE Jodi Picoult fan and have been lucky enough to speak to the lady herself a few years ago when The Storyteller was released. Jodi’s novel is a particularly prominent in light of the violence we have been seeing pouring out of the US against black people, and how quickly things can turn nasty. I requested a copy of this novel from the publishers and was lucky enough to receive it in return for an honest review.

As with all Jodi Picoult novels, the story is seen through the eyes of multiple characters. Ruth is a trusted and hardworking nurse, she is also African American. Turk is a husband, new father and White Supremacist. When baby Davis dies, Turk wants the hospital to pay and to know why the woman he demanded not be near his son was present. Ruth is thrown into a world of accusation and uncertainty, can she finally face the fact that the world might not be as colour blind as she thought? Meanwhile, lawyer Kennedy has her eyes opened to the world in a way that she couldn’t understand.

Once again Picoult has chosen to write about a moral situation that raises a thousand questions. It’s something completely new to me to read from the perspective of a White Supremacist. While there is a fair amount of novels out there from the perspective of a black person facing prejudice, novels that I want to read and to understand. I never would have picked up something from the perspective of a White Supremacist, because I didn’t see the point. Why would I want to read about hatred? However, Picoult manages to show the humanity in everyone. She doesn’t paint Turk and his wife as someone to disregard because of their views, nor does she sugar coat them. I felt angry and uncomfortable reading Turks perspective, but I realised that this was important, because this is what people face. That said, Ruth is not painted as perfect either. While she is a model citizen, the widow of a fallen hero and loving mother, Picoult shows her reactions in a human way. She shows not only what people would expect of the characters, whether that be in a positive or negative way, but also shows them as real people who make judgements, mistakes etc.

That said, Ruth is not painted as perfect either. While she is a model citizen, the widow of a fallen hero and loving mother, Picoult shows her reactions in a human way. She shows not only what people would expect of the characters, whether that be in a positive or negative way, but also shows them as real people who make judgements, mistakes etc. While I understand why Kennedy was included as a point of view, she wasn’t particularly memorable for me. She added a middle ground to the novel but I didn’t feel particularly affected by her until the very end.

This is without a doubt an important modern novel, it’s been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my favourite novels of all time) and while I understand the comparison, it’s different. To Kill a Mockingbird had a clear right and wrong, you knew who was innocent and who was guilty. While few people would agree with Turk and his beliefs (and I certainly don’t agree with them) the emotions, thoughts and to some extent certain backstories make you unclear about all parties. Picoult has refused to show a clear cut good vs bad situation.

I gave this novel 4 stars. I really enjoyed it and I thought the concept was incredibly unique as well as very well written. That said I had mixed feelings about some parts towards the end of the novel, some I just felt didn’t fit (I wish I could go into more detail than that!), but I think this is down to personal preference rather than a flaw in the writing/plot. Picoult has once again shown that she is not afraid to confront issues that we might not want, or feel too awkward to talk about. She’s cemented her status as one of the most thoughtful and intelligent writers of the 21st century.

Great Small Things is out in the UK on November 22nd!

I’m Loving: American Crime Story

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As someone who doesn’t have a hooked up TV in their flat, it’s rare I get excited about TV programmes. Over the last few months I’ve kept seeing reports about the OJ Simpson trial, I knew nothing about it but I knew about the name. Nicole Brown-Simpson was murdered the year I was born, so while I have no memory of the trial being on TV I’d heard it mentioned before. The more I read the more interested I got and of course this was all build up to the new FX show, American Crime Story. This looked like it was going to be a great show.

I read and watched a lot to understand background and know the fact before watching the fiction, I wasn’t disappointed. I cannot wait for next week and the next installment, the acting so far has been incredible and I love the angle. There hasn’t been an overwhelming sense of O.J’s guilty or O.J’s not guilty in the first episode which was a relief. I didn’t want to watch something that was incredibly tainted with one person’s view. The fact that the case focuses on those around the case and how it changed their lives is also brilliant to me. Of course, there has been some criticism of the fact that the Kardashians as children will feature BUT the children of O.J and Marcia Clarke are also featured. Robert Kardashian Sr was O.Js best friend, and Kris Jenner Nicole’,s which means that their lives are going to be explored.

The show was fast paced and from what I’ve read is staying close to fact so far. For someone like me, who’s never had an interest in crime shows before to be so hooked they must have done something right. I cannot wait for the next episode and the next and the next. I know I’m going to be clearing time each week to sit down alone and watch, no matter what’s happening that week.

The show also brings up some big issues. The race element is still incredibly relelvent today, 20 years later which is a sad truth. Why is the US still dealing with racism and police brutality? It’s something that, in my opinion, took away from the heart of the case. Two people died, but this was turned into another race issue. Don’t get me wrong I agree that there were and still are great issues between police and the African-American community but for this hugely famous athlete I don’t think it was the case. We’re also confronted with the issue of domestic violence, something incredibly serious. Whether or not O.J Simpson killed Nicole and Ron Goldman, he did assault her. Domestic violence is something that is never ok, towards a man or a woman and from this terrible and shocking murder hopefully there is room for education about domestic violence.

Overall, I’m very excited about this series. It’s going to be a fascinating look at ‘The Trial of the Century’. I’m already thinking about next week and how the famous chase is going to be shot.

How about you guys? Have any of you been watching? What do you think so far?! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

USA Goodies!!

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Today my family finally came back from America! It’s been super weird getting pictures sent to me and having to FaceTime them rather that just a call when I felt like it, my family have never been abroad without me but alas missing third year lectures was not an option. So instead they went shopping for me in return for me looking after my sisters hamster Fudge and you know not telling the world they’re away. So here are most of the gifts they got me, so exciting! IMG_5392

Star Wars cups. STAR WARS CUPS. So I watched Star Wars 4,5 and 6 for the first time all the way through and now I’m obsessed. I want anything and everything Star Wars, my Dad found these in a discount store and I’m so excited! They’re all so cuttttteeeeee.

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Pops! Pops everywhere!! So as any of you who follow me on Instagram I have a little bit of an obsession/ collection with Funko Pops as I pointed out in my Comic Con post and so Mum was armed with a list of what to look out for while in the US. The ones I put down were all sold out, which sucks but she still found some beauties. I got the new Katniss, Spirit Yoda, and exclusive Holiday Dancing Groot and the adorable Lilo I’ve had my eye on for a while. Yay for Pops!

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All the candy ever. There was halloween events in Florida and so of course they went for them. My Mum got two full bags, my sister three and my Dad another two, my Dad’s not a giant sweet person so I got his but I’m pretty sure that Mum’s going to give me some more the next time I got home mwhaha. I also got an adorable penguin with Lollipop, Taffy, Rock Lollipops and Milk Duds. Hello sugar highs! I’m hopefully going to do a candy post too with my favourites.

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I finally have some black and white converses after mine went in holes (again) and an ace Vans t-shirt to match. Some awesome m&ms, a chocolate frog and a Hard Rock pin badge. Oh and let’s not forget my new wand Harry Potter’s no less! I also got some comic books too but I haven’t taken a picture of those but I’m sure they’ll feature on Instagram soon! I’m so grateful for all my gifts and have a great time with Fudge spending quality time together.

My Big Mouth: Ireland changes the world, Take Note USA

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Today history was made in Ireland, the good people of that beautiful country voted YES to everyone being able to marry! While I was unhappy that it had come down to a vote (I mean come on no one had to vote on straight people being able to get married) the result is incredible.

I’ve been watching the news for the past two days, hoping and keeping everything crossed. People travelled home to cast this vote, because they are decent people, who believe in freedom and equality. Someone asked me ‘Why are you so excited?, It’s great but you don’t live in Ireland and you’re not gay?’. Correct, I neither live in Ireland, nor am I gay but I have a really close friend who is. I wrote a letter to them last year for National Coming Out Day (read it here), it makes me sick that if they lived in another country they might not be able to marry someone they love because of someone else’s bull**** opinions. I don’t care what religion you’re a part of, you can’t take away someone else’s happiness.

I’m bursting with happiness for Ireland but there is so much that we need to do! Listen up America, it’s your turn! America is getting a lot better with legalising gay marriage (pft legalising it, I hate writing that). That said, some people still think if they shout loud enough they and stop whatever they want, especially if they back themselves up with some religious book.People deserve the right to get married no matter what their sexual preference is. They are in love, they want to be committed to each other and it’s not going to impact anyone else’s life other than theirs.

I realise this has gotten slightly ranty and I apologise. I just feel so passionate that countries such as the UK and USA are leading countries so we should set an example and show love and compassion. I’ve hung out with a lot of LGBTQ people and guess what? They’re good, normal, honest people! So what if a girl likes another girl, a boy likes another boy or someone decides they like the best of both or uncomfortable in their own skin.

Change the world, spread some love and fight for equality! Congratulations Ireland!

Image from Pinterest