I’m Not Ashamed of Periods, But…

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Hey Hey Guys!!

So this is a little left of centre for me, but I’m going to talk about… Periods.

Not like the ones you have in schools (though if you are a high school girl, then those too!). No, I’m talking about the monthly menstrual cycle of a woman.

This is a 100% natural thing, necessary for pro-creation and there is NOTHING to be ashamed of about them. Nothing at all.

But…

I recently read an article in HelloGiggles, a site I am a big fan of for their empowering, female-centric articles. They speak to their reader like a friend, like a sister. They give a platform for women to scream HELL YEAH about woman’s issues and that’s great! BIG fan of female empowerment.

But…

This article… It’s gone viral so you might have seen it. I just can’t agree whole-heartedly with it. I am in no way saying that the writer was wrong in what she was saying, not at all. Just that I personally am just not in agreement. She basically says that she bled through her pad, which is something pretty much all women have done, but she seems pissed off that people offered to help her, or told her that she might want to hide the stain, perhaps until she got home.

And this is where I disagree with her. She seemed annoyed that it was said to her in hushed tones, that she was looked at by people who spotted the stain. But I understand. If I were in her position, I would have tried to cover the mark. I would have accepted the pad from the stranger. I wouldn’t be ashamed of being a woman, not at all it happens to almost all of us. But can you really blame people for trying to help her to cover up blood? If you saw someone with a nosebleed in the street, surely you would offer them a hankie? Is this not a similar situation? It’s a matter of personal care. I’m not exactly the finest dressed of folk, but I do try to take at least a little care, and going out covered in blood seems to be the opposite of that.

That’s not to say that we need to look like we’re off to a ball every day of the week, just that maybe being covered in blood is taking “zero fuck’s given” a little too far.

Men are infinitely immature a lot of the time and those men that were staring aren’t worth dealing with. I admire her for putting it out there, but I do find this whole thing a little aggressive. I would have accepted the help and left it at that.

I want to conclude by saying that the girl totally has my respect and admiration for broadcasting the fact that this does happen, it’s natural and if you care, you are an idiot. I’m just saying that maybe she misinterpreted the offers of a pad as shame, when they were really meant as an aid to modesty and as a kind gesture. Just saying.

SSDD

Tess Holliday – Big, Bold, Beautiful. Plus Size Is On the Rise!

Hey Hey Guys!!

Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday

Big things are happening in the fashion industry. Tess Holliday is one of them.

The bootilicious beauty from Mississippi is making history as being the first size 22 model to be picked up by a major label, UK based company, Milk Model Management.

Tattooed, pierced and rocking a little more junk in the trunk than your bog standard clothes horse, Holliday is breaking all the rules and breaking onto the scene in a big way.

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“Bigger is better…”

This is certainly true for the humble, 29 year old mother of one from Mississippi. Not only is Holliday stunning, but the alternative model is making waves as a campaigner for change in the fashion industry and for beauty standards in general.

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In 2003 she created #effyourbeautystandards encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to love their bodies and feel empowered by their individuality. It has gathered her an impressive 455,000 admirers on Instagram and almost 28,000 Twitter followers, where she posts behind the scenes shots of her on shoots, as well daily fashion snaps.

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Suicide Girls are an alternative models website and founder Selena Mooney rates Holliday’s future. “I’ve been following the #effyourbeautystandards movement for a while now, and I think it’s fantastic. Women have been put into boxes and made to feel ashamed if they don’t meet this specific cookie-cutter look that society dictates. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.  I’m just glad there are strong, intelligent, and gorgeous women like Ms. Holliday to influence and encourage society to break the mould and get people talking about female empowerment.”

After so long pandering to the obscene and regimented standards of most fashion houses, Holliday is presenting an alternative – a realistic, alternative.

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Critics have suggested that, far from being a positive representation of the female form, she is encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle with her size. But this is far from the truth, as Holliday works out with a trainer three times a week to maintain her glamorous curves.

With her flowing auburn hair, she looks reminiscent of a model from the Romantic period. Though her body confidence is something that has grown with time, much like the booty that is making her so worshipped now.

She told Look magazine, “I had to leave school at 17 because of bullying. I understand not everyone understands what I’m about. But to me it’s such a simple concept. It’s all about loving your body regardless of your size and chasing your dreams.”

Speaking to the Daily New York News she spoke of the struggles of her childhood. “I feel like I’m breaking ground. I never could have imagined that I could be here. It took a really long time to get over things that had happened to me during the vital years of my life. My mom always encouraged me, I’m always still that 13-year-old girl in Mississippi who people told I wasn’t good enough. I never could have imagined that I could be here.”

Tess is not only a great addition to the fashion industry as a model, but an inspiration as a role model. Real-world body types are grossly misrepresented in high fashion, television, advertising… Where is the variety? There is an increasing level of discourse between the pictures seen in magazines and the reality of life. An average UK woman is a size 16, yet models are generally an 8-10.

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It is becoming more and more difficult for females to accept themselves when being constantly told they are not “right”. For this reason, we need more pioneers, more strong minded, self-respecting role models to look up to.

The 5 foot 5″ babe is several inches smaller than the average plus size model, who generally stand at 5 foot 8″, making her yet more unique. Milk have been keeping quiet about what their plans are for their new star, but we can certainly expect to see those ruby locks a lot more in the near future.

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We aren’t all Victoria’s Secret models. Few of us can even afford to shop there and their gym bill must be more than rent in halls! But we can aspire to the mind-set of Holliday; live to make you happy. Screw what other people think and if they give you crap for it – show them one of Tess Hollidays’ super sexy, uber confident Instagram pics, with their sassy tags and F**k the haters mantras.

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SSDD

Casual Sexism Has Comebacks

Casual sexism is making comebacks, not just coming back.

So you want to send the women to the kitchen, do you?

So you want to send the women to the kitchen, do you?

Women are w whole lot wittier and less subduable than we were. That antiquated 60s resignment of  kitsch to the kitchen is so abhorred now that FEMINISM is a whole being on its own, not just a whispered idea at a womans’ only book club or afternoon tea ceremony.

Feminism is something that’s not so much grown legs as grown the ability to breathe fire and propel rockets out its ass! We aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the fuck up off his lazy ass and get himself whatever he is asking for, if it’s derogatory. Coz, you know, if you’re in the kitchen already and he’s just asking for a coffee, to say no would be, you, know… kinda bitchy.

Females in general are the “fairer sex” but that doesn’t mean we are the “softer” sex. We have strength and ability, ambition and creativity – but that’s old news. No one wants to hear that about women. Where’s the new angle? Honestly, even the wordFEMINISM” to me is a little discriminative – we’re already a separate gender, do we really need another label to be further distance from the so-called dominant males?

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Honestly, there shouldn’t have to be one, yet it’s an ever-evolving subject. These cute ideas of what women should be, like being in the kitchen and making sandwiches all hours of the day and night are changing too (by the way, the amount of sandwich jokes I hear in a week would suggest that every woman on earth should be feeding about 2000 people a day; I would like to be shown one person with that many male mouths to feed or even one person capable of munching that many sandwiches – men who request these, prove to me you can eat the number of sandwiches you request and them consider me impressed).

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Is THIS the perfect woman to you?? Really??

Now, the idea of the perfect woman has changed. It involves big boobs, make-up and a dependence on the man to save you from the bother of responsibility. You need to look only at most action movies to see this. Exceptions to the rule are slowly on the increase, thought they’ve been around for years. Unfortunately, most of them could be found only in literature. And not the sort that guys were likely to pick up. One of my favourite female writer, Laurie Penny, recently wrote an excellent post for the New Statesman about this. Link HERE. Also, she starts some really interesting convos on Twitter.

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My favourite book for example, is The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman. For those of you (crazies) who haven’t read it (why the hell not, it’s awesome!?) may need some educating. Aside from it being the awe-inspiring concluding part in one of the greatest, most life changing trilogies ever penned, film watchers might be aware of the (extremely poorly made) film adaptation of the first book, Northern Lights, aka. The Golden Compass.

Dakota Blue Richards as the heroine of my childhood, Lyra Silvertongue

Dakota Blue Richards as the heroine of my childhood, Lyra Silvertongue

The protagonist, Lyra, formed my idea of what a proper children’s book heroine should be. She was (is, is, Lyra will never die in the Neverland of my most intense childhood memories) what I considered to be the perfect character for the books that would pretty much influence and help form my opinion on everything from religion to relationships to the evolution of people as people. What makes you take certain actions? How can an opinion change so drastically with the passage of time? How can the dreamland of a childhood playpen, safety net, the enclosed treasure chest of home, suddenly stop being so, and transform into an extension of a world of suspicion and fear, full of people who seek to exploit and who do not have you best interests at heart?

Lyra in sleuth mode

Lyra in sleuth mode

The answer was simple: because we grow up.

Dakota now... a young adult herself, growing up as her character did.

Dakota now… a young adult herself, growing up as her character did.

In my head, at the time, there was no question as to whether it was her gender that instilled her with such strength and resilience. These were attributes and by-products of her other, sexless qualities; fair-play, a non-judgmental, trusting view of the world through the child-like innocence of rose-tinted specs and the lack of knowledge of the gender divide. Her best friend was a boy. She abhorred “dressing up”. Was a tom boy of a most determined level. She personified a certain androgyny that made her so attractive to read about. I was frustrated at the lack of interest in reading from my male classmates, pawning the practice off as “nerdy” (at the time a less than fashionable label to be assigned).

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As time passed Lyra grew to become a young woman, as she experienced more of life and formed herself as a person rather than a child, yet lost none of the qualities that made her so enticing a character to begin with. Her increasing femininity added to the robustness of her persona and added flesh to the embodiment she gave to the representations Phillip Pullman was trying to convey – about the importance of youth, and the equal importance of losing it. She was a hero despite gender, fighting alongside grown men and being accompanied by a boy her own age. She was not only equal, she was respected. Her individual merits and unique talents were valued. A boy might admire the way she shunned her feminine ways. A girl might admire how she wore them while giving as good as she got.

It is characters like this which are becoming more common in literature and film. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games being the big one recently. She, to me, is like an older version of Lyra. A fighter, a motivator, an action taker in the face of danger who can still rock a skirt should it take her fancy. But most of all,  a protector and freedom fighter.

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The stunning Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

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JL flippin’ the finger like a boss XD

Proving women can be Robin Hood

Proving women can be Robin Hood

...And also pull of an LRD like a pro. Weep boys, for she is far too good for you

…And also pull of an LRD like a pro. Weep boys, for she is far too good for you

So as far as feminism goes, this is what I want to see more of. Not so much androgyny as equality. For women to be looked upon by everyone as whatever they want to be seen as, rather than just pretty little objects. If they exude strength, then treat them with respect. If they want to be nerdy, take an interest rather than scorn them.

We women have minds and we enjoy using them. Men should take note and deal.

SSDD