No, I Really Did Wake Up Like This

60708aecf6c6f573a6b0eb23e5f07308Women get so much stick for being Photoshopped, don’t they? We’ve seen the gifs that lurk around the Internet, normally sold like illegal drugs to a website like Jezebel for thousands of pounds just so we can sadistically watch a before-and-after photo on an endless loop. The thing is we don’t need to see them, we didn’t ask to see them; it’s basically just an example of magnified, glorified bullying. I don’t care if something’s Photoshopped or not, it’s up to the model what they want to do. If they want to look nice in print so they can show it to their kids one day then so be it! But the media don’t need to be so MEAN about it. Oddly I also stumbled across another article today about how shock, horror! A model has recently refused to have any Photoshopping and now she’s getting stick for looking so natural with one tiny wrinkle. Ew, an untouched bikini photo you say? I warn you not to look at any of my 2008 Facebook album then. Can’t bloody win these days.

So in this unfortunate situation of “we can’t win” I have started to really not give a shit. Obviously we all like looking nice on certain special occasions, and we all like toning it down, too. But I had a moment of thinking WOOHOO, because if we can’t win, then we are free! Free to look however we want to look! Because either way, it’ll be wrong! I don’t know about you, but this is actually fantastic news if you think about it. Because by not winning all the time, we are WINNING! (The mind boggles).

Recently my person style “inspo” is coming from two people: Caitlin Moran and Kristin Stewart (mainly because she wears trainers on the Red Carpet). And because: they don’t care!

Caitlin gave an awesome quote in last week’s Stylist magazine and it scared me because for a moment I thought she’d crept into my brain and stolen my thoughts.

“Oddly, I feel more insecure if I’ve made an effort, which is the opposite of how you’re supposed to feel as a woman. If you try to do the beautiful hair, dress and make-up, then you’re competing with women who have stylists and world-class make-up artists, so I’d rather take myself out of that race. I can win the ‘being slightly overweight, dishevelled and backcombed with make-up I’ve put on with my fingers’ race instead.”

I always used to feel a bit weird if I’d make a massive effort to “dress up”, and realised around my late teens that there was an interesting correlation between 1) a bad night and getting so dressed up that I felt uncomfortable and 2) a good night and me being in trainers or comfy boots. Then the penny finally dropped. Yes, I did always have a better night in flat shoes and a chilled dress because that was more me. Wearing layer upon layer of make-up and being constantly paranoid about hairspray was ruining all the fun. Last weekend I went to a nightclub in shorts, a jumper and clumpy Birkenstocks (that my sister hates) and I had a brilliant night. I danced for HOURS. I honestly don’t think that would have happened if I was stumbling around like a drunk giraffe in heels.

Basically, I am really enjoying being “out of the race” as Caitlin Moran so perfectly summed up.

 

Some Stuff I’ve Written This Week

In case you fancy a read, here are some pieces I’ve penned this week:

  • In Interview with Jack Antonoff, Lena Dunham’s lovely boyfriend – on The Debrief
  • You Don’t Have To Shave Your Legs to be Feminist – The Independent
  • Life Lessons We’ve Learned From Caitlin Moran’s New Book – The Debrief

OK I Admit it: I Should Know More About Politics, But Also Something’s Got To Change

Political-Pundits-Thriving-Online-Via-Mobile-and-Across-Social-MediaThere is definitely a problem here. There’s a clear issue with the accessibility of the political sphere at the moment, and in particular how it speaks to Gen Y. Everything about it reeks of sepia, or a dusty old attic. It needs a shake, or a fresh coat of paint.

Today’s “generation” is everyone’s generation. I’m not trying to wage a war between young versus old here. And I don’t think the “youth” should rule the land. Far from it. And don’t worry; I’m not being a stubborn millennial asking everyone to TALK TO ME IN EMOJIS with a 3-second Snapchat attention span. I just feel as far away as Pluto right now from the goings on in those four-walls of parliament.

The communication around politics hasn’t evolved to fit with the way our modern society works. It’s remained in a frightened bubble of “the way things have always been”. It’s not that we can’t be arsed to vote, it’s that we don’t care enough about it. There’s a subtle but important difference. On top of that: it’s difficult for us to vote, because it requires us travelling back in time to buy a piece of parchment and feather quill. Continue reading

That Moment When Your Idol Is Not Your Idol Anymore

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The first thing that really drew me to Caitlin Moran’s book – apart from the obvious fact that I adore her personality and dare I say it her “personal brand” (pause for vom) – was the name of the book. It wasn’t just “How To Be A Girl” it was “How to Build A Girl”. A subtle but important difference. Not that we should be assembling ourselves physically like Barbie dolls of course, but that we take layers of pop culture, quotes, ideas, personalities, inspirations and build them all together to one day have a proper Self.

I had fixated on a few well-known writers from an early age. As a curious 16-year-old I’d do the classic thing of emailing a few of them cringe emails from my dial-up computer, explaining just how much I wanted to be them when I grew up. Thinking, oh-so-naively, that they would write back to me with an A-Z plan of “how to make it”. The Official Guide To Doing What They Did. A few secret meetings in which they would tell a podgy 16-year-old everything, for free, because of course they would have the time to do that. Amongst the thousands of other desperate emails. Later I learnt it’s rude to ask to pick someone’s brain for free even if you offer a free lunch, unless you are soul mates, or it’s mutually beneficial. Then, (and only then) will someone maybe do you a favour. Continue reading

Film Review: Boyhood

I saw Boyhood last night. After quite a lull in going to the cinema (there was nothing that good on for ages following the massive streak of Oscar-worthy films at the beginning of the year) I was really excited about seeing this one. It already had some interesting quirks, after all it had taken 12 years to complete – and that was on purpose. The film’s director Richard Linklater started the cameras rolling in 2002, and it’s only just been released, this year in 2014. That’s mind-blowing commitment right there.

The film follows a heart-warming story of the boy’s life, from five years old to eighteen. Twelve years is a really long time when you think about all of that development, and I think the most dramatic changes of the boy take shape during his teenage years. (Especially the hair cuts.) You start to feel quite close to the main character Mason, as you are seeing him grow, as if through the eyes of a parent, through his most difficult years. Actually you feel like that with all the characters, they all age quite obviously right before your eyes. It’s interesting to watch the mum (played by Patricia Arquette) as it’s so apparent how young she was when the children were first born, and she sort of enters adulthood herself. It’s like with longstanding TV shows such as Friends, or SATC, you first meet them when they’re young and fresh-faced and say goodbye to them when they’re a bit older and greyer. It’s sort of hard then, when they go off screen because you feel like you know them, in a weird way. Continue reading