Thursday, 4 September 2014

Burn The Bra

I never thought as a young woman in 2014’s England I would ever hear “you really should be wearing a bra” snivelled at me by some perverted man. However a few weeks ago, at a predominantly English festival in Spain, that happened. I’ve been catcalled, grabbed without consent and had men comment on my appearance -without my asking them to- plenty of times but this seemed different, it seemed even more violating than the uncalled for butt squeezes and creepy greetings one gets when walking at night walking alone.

It happened while I was fetching some water from the bar inside the festival during a Paolo Nutini set. A group of men, having bought some pints, stumbled into me causing one of the pints to spill over me. After they apologised, Mr. Sexist proceeded to say “Poor woman, you spill your beer over her and she isn’t even wearing a bra.” It was when I asked how whether I wear a bra or not was any of his concern that spurred his ridiculous comment. So for those of you who are too small-minded to understand how a woman can choose to not wear a bra, here is an explanation.
It was about two years ago I decided to stop wearing bras for one simple reason: Why the fuck should I? Society makes us believe that from the tender age of twelve we must clothe our – barely there – tits in an uncomfortable, and a lot of the time unflattering, contraption that really isn’t very necessary. I was beyond sick of being stabbed by under-wires and suffocated by back straps. No longer did I want to have my baby feeders pushed to my ear lobes for the attraction of men and the concealment of the mere suggestion of nipples to the public. Of course, over the course of two years I’ve had a lot of questions about my choice from my friends: Why don’t you wear a bra? Doesn’t it hurt? Aren’t you embarrassed? What happens when you run? Won’t it make your tits sag? And then there’s the belief that they and I are different in some way with a self-doubting: ‘I would never have the courage to do that’…
I’ve never understood how after over a century of women protesting against the things that have put us in an unequal position to men, we still find our way back to the abnormal boning that forces our bodies into shapes that don’t naturally exist. In the 1920s, women abandoned their corsets; in the 1930s and 40s they put them on again; in the 1950s, feminists burned corsets; in the 60s and 70s they burnt bras and in 2014 we’re still wearing them.
Feminist writer and documenter Jennifer Lee wrote in her article on TIME about the Women’s Liberation Movement in America during the 60s and 70s:
Bras were just one of the items protestors were encouraged to bring that day (The Miss American Pageant Protest in 1968)that signified how the male-dominated culture was keeping women locked into rigid ideas of beauty, but they weren’t burned. Starting a fire on the boardwalk was illegal, so protestors opted to Playboy magazines and other items in a Freedom Trash Can. Still, the bra-burning image remained—a symbol that was easy to belittle as women focusing on something trivial. Misinformation and myths sometimes serve as placeholders in our memory when facts are not remembered.
Despite my incessant rambling, I am not making a stance on telling any woman or man what to put onto their body. I am pro-choice. I hope you, my reader, can be pro-choice too.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

bgo x WWF

Pizza, prosecco and philanthropy is usually a surefire way to entice me into an event. However, this event held by the  Joe Blogs Network was so much more. The sponsor for the night was bgo, with the aim to raise money for WWF through gambling as much fake money as possible. 

The crowd was a wide range of bloggers, writers, publishers and casino aficionados, all coming together for a bit of fun and the same purposes; to raise money and raise profile. The Joe Blogs staff were extremely welcoming on arrival and throughout the night, never making anyone feel out of place or bored. Being constantly encourage to play as much blackjack/roulette as possible along with an abundance of alcohol is always an interesting mixture. 

Thanks for the fun night guys. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Stop Telling Girls To Be Skinny

I am so sick. Sick of the constant flow of media telling us how to look 'thinner'. Thinner? How can that necessarily correlate with healthy? In a world where eating disorders are getting worse and worse by the day, whether it is obesity, anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating, we need to be more and more cautious of telling society to be 'skinny'. In the UK, it is estimated by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence that 1.6 million people are affected by an eating disorder and 11% of these are male. Although, a more recent NHS survey showed that up to 6.4% of adults showed signs of an eating disorder, with a quarter of those adults being male.  

ELLE US recently tweeted an article that was uploaded on January 27th saying '7 Editor's tricks to style yourself skinny'. Disappointing. ELLE is usually a magazine so, so liberal and brilliant when it comes to feminism, anti-racism, transgender equality, intriguing and original articles... Why do they let their followers down by endorsing the skinny hype? The article tells us to click through for "the inside scoop on silhouettes that flatter, cuts that camouflage, and fabrics that hide the physical dirty laundry"  and tells us later on to buy a "Pricey Blouse" because "An overwhelming number of insiders credit the slinky, curve-skimming silk material of an Equipment button down as the Holy Grail of skinny dressing."

Naturally, we all want to be thin. How could we not when we're told all the time that we should be? Tabloid newspapers and trashy weekly magazines constantly shaming celebrities for putting on a few pounds or for having a post-baby stomach. As well as this, eating disorders are very much a form of control when everything seems chaotic around you. Being in control of your own body and allowing yourself to shape it as you please is liberating in many ways as explained in an article by Glosswitch (VJD Smith) on Feminist Times debating how her anorexia was not an anti-feminist battle with her body at all in her eyes, as she saw it as a way to reclaim her own body. However, I cannot and will not speak for everyone who has an eating disorder because, naturally, everyone has different triggers and problems at the route of their own eating disorder.

So then, can we perhaps ask the big question as to whether all of these moral problems in the fashion industry, such as racism, sexism, an influx of models with eating disorders and the idolisation of 'skinny', are linked? Is it perhaps the warped judgement of the people at the top or is it the warped judgement of our whole society? And why aren't we campaigning for this to stop?

Love yourself people and love everyone else too.