Why We Should Go Easy On Russia

Ever since primary school Jess brought an Anastasia DVD from Woolworths, I have been obsessed with Russia. The fallen monarchy, Winter Palace, Russian dolls- even the Rasputin Cossack dance on that wii Just Dance game- I love it all. The problem is, as I’ve grown up, it’s proved quite a hard love to defend: Russia rigged the election, Russian doping scandal, Russia hates gays, whichever part of the internet you go to (unless it’s, like, Putin’s LinkedIn page) there’s at least one article which aligns with Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ view.

So this summer when my Russian friend offered me the chance to visit her hometown Izhevsk I was so excited to finally see whether the media was right.

It wasn’t. Now obviously I’m not denying Chechnya’s gay purge or the fact the government’s corrupt- we’ve all seen the Reggie Yates documentaries- but when we talk about Russia we seem to solely focus on demonising it, which is strange considering every country has flaws and when I visited I was amazed by how normal it felt. So here’s why I think we should go easier on the planet’s largest country:  Continue reading

Why Wonder Woman Is The One

Wonder Woman, otherwise known as THE ONEder Woman, made me feel empowered af. I can’t even describe the mix of tears and happiness I had emerging from the cinema. I’ve never left feeling so good about myself and my capacity- and also so hopeful that other directors will learn from Patty Jenkins and take some tips from her about the male gaze and how to treat women in film. Here are some spoiler free reasons why I loved it so much:

Women fighting each other was one of those things that I never realised I needed to see until I saw it. Yes OITNB has some catfights, and- as long as said woman has a pixie cut- Game Of Thrones is in, but a full on female battle is something that I’m pretty sure has never been done on screen before. Well there’s probably like warrior porn out there if you looked hard enough but you know what mean. Normally women are considered too ladylike to fight, and if they do then the director gives them nothing but a really sexy blood stain in the shape of a dick on their forehead to show for it. This was refreshing af. 

The guy stands up for WW when she’s catcalled. Okay it’s like a 10 second exchange but the fact the director acknowledged how women are treated in the real world and then, not only translated that into a film but also, showed what men can do to diffuse the situation is so important. Feminism isn’t always about women standing up for themselves independently, sometimes men will only listen to other men, so the fact Chris Pine confronts them is such an important step in educating men on how to help women in gross catcally situs. Continue reading

How Life Would Differ In Feminist Utopia

Call yourself a feminist in the UK and, unless you’re chatting to Jeremy Corbyn (moment to appreciate 72% youth voting turnout!!) and the Spice Girls, you’re going to be met with at least some hostility. The most common criticism is that there’s legally nothing a man can do that a woman can’t, proving how we have gender equality aka you can shut up now love and get back in the kitchen instead. The key word of the opposition is legally. This argument reminds me of how when the Civil Rights Act was passed in America this was a de jure change, which meant segregation was illegal; however this couldn’t cause de facto change as socially people had become so accustomed to racism that no law could translate into their realities. In the UK, feminism isn’t needed to overcome sweeping legislative inequalities (from what I’m aware, but hit me up if I’m wrong) we need to focus on All The Small Things, Blink-182 style.

Often we view social changes as insignificant. Catcalling bothers you? Stop whining. You don’t like it when guys approach you in bars? Then start dressing like a homeless barrel. Want a career? Keep your legs closed. But humans are sociable creatures and so if our everyday lives are riddled with, put bluntly, people being shits, then it’s going to have a pretty big impact. I’ve compiled a list to show some of the ways my life would be different in a de facto feminist society.

I wouldn’t dumb myself down: I don’t even know how this happens. I just finished my International Baccalaureate exams, my IQ qualified me for Mensa and I’m 50,000 words into a novel- I’m a smart cookie. Why then do I feel compelled to let men mansplain words I already know or say stuff like *sharp intake of breath* *clutches cheeks* *Disney princess voice* ‘What book was Titanic based on?’ to make them laugh? Is masculinity so fragile that I round off the corners of my brain to make sure it doesn’t damage them? In feminist utopia, I’m shamelessly smart, full stop. Continue reading

A Feminist Watches: Miranda

I’m watching so much film and TV atm, now that my exams are out the way and so I thought, why not put all those hours to good use in a new blogging series I’m calling ‘A Feminist Watches’ because if I’m honest, sometimes I find it really hard to just enjoy the film without focusing on all the inequalities. I’m not trying to appeal to the stereotype feminism takes the fun out of everything but also… well…

I thought I’d start with my all time favourite female comedian Miranda Hart- and it’s spoiler free. Her show Miranda capital STOLE my heart when I was 10 (sorry, did that make you feel really old) but when I recently re-watched it I realised it wasn’t all such fun. See what I did there? (If the answer is no then you’re probably really going to struggle with the rest of this post so I recommend you phone into work, say you’ve caught a terrible case of existentialist crisis, pop to HMV if it still exists, buy the boxset and spend the rest of the day watching it before returning back to yours truly to understand what I’m actually on about.) On with the post.

Hypermasculinity: Miranda, I love you, but sometimes the way you treat Gary is reallllllly bad. (Why did I address that to Miranda, she is famous, she is busy, Jess she is not I repeat not going to read this.) There’s literally a whole episode where she mocks him for being scared of geese when geese are actually pretty creepy- I learnt the hard way after eating a bread roll in front of a body of water in 2003 and having to retaliate to the car bonnet to prevent being eaten alive by one of the hundred birds that emerged from it. Don’t underestimate the quack, it’s lethal. So, not only is this phobia pretty natural- newsflash: men are scared of things too!- but then there’s another episode (or maybe it’s the same one, I’m such a fake fan) where Gary feels the need to turn into a ‘Geezer’ to stop everyone calling him ‘sweet’. All this does is suggest that men have to wear a string vest and own a power drill to be proper men, which is such BS. I’d way rather have someone affectionate that can cry at Captain Phillips with me, than someone that thinks they need a Cher Lloyd style swagger in order to fit in, so stop scaring all the emotionally vulnerable guys into the gym please! Send them my way instead!

Women. Swoon. At. Everyone: I swear these ladies could come into contact with Donald Trump holding his Muslim Ban in one hand and wotsit wig in the other and still swoon. It presents women as such drippy drips. Plus, no one swoons anymore, the game has changed. If you like them you just snapchat them nudes with the dog filter or something.  Continue reading

What FemSoc Taught Me About Feminism

For the past year I’ve been running my college’s feminist society (or femsoc for those of you with an abbreviation fetish) and today was the final session before we go on study leave and all the little year one feminist babs take over.

Despite what every American show suggests, running a society isn’t easy. It takes loads of research, planning, photocopying, shouting at people because they’re not assisting with the research, planning or photocopying, group chat drama and vocal strain because I didn’t realise how chatty everyone would be in between tasks. I’ve basically been popping strepsils like they’re going out of fashion. But out of all this work I’ve learnt so much about feminism and, as it’s been a while since I burnt my bra, I thought I would share.

What Running a Feminist Society Taught Me About Feminism

The Movement Is Still Super White: I realised how much of a white feminist I’d become when, brainstorming for session ideas, the top of the list were body positivity, representation of women in sport and ‘does merchandise devalue feminism?’ Important issues, yes. Deserving to be top of the list? No. These were subsequently interspersed with sessions like women in war and politics, but even then we could’ve done more to promote intersectionality. As a privileged white woman, speaking about cultural appropriation was hard; working out whether the Declaration of Human Rights had a western bias was simply impossible. When a society is run by white women our default topics are white ones, so you have to do a lot of research to stay inclusive. Feminism should encourage not speaking for other women but addressing their issues as if they were our own. Continue reading

Should We Support Ivanka Trump?

Headlines from the past few days make it apparent that Trump’s eldest daughter has been suffering from her father’s election:

‘Sales of Ivanka Trump apparel slumped at Nordstrom’

‘Upset with Trump the President, consumers boycott Trump the brand’

‘More companies drop Ivanka Trump products’

Here we see a female entrepreneur- a breed which is unfortunately still rare in the modern world- having her business boycotted due to the actions of the men in her life. On paper it’s a feminist’s nightmare, but in practice I think it’s pretty justified.

Don’t get me wrong, as a rule of thumb judging women for the actions of the men orbiting them is a no-go, but in this case, to blame men for the entirety of her demise just isn’t accurate. It’s not about boycotting Ivanka because of Donald’s actions (first name terms amiright), it’s about boycotting Ivanka because of her own. Or should I say lack of. Because yes, he is her father, and yes it would be blady awkward at their next family Thanksgiving if she publicly condemns his behaviour, but it’s still her choice not to do so. To deny that she has a choice is, as Sartre aka King Of My Heart describes it, ‘bad faith’. Continue reading