Tuesday, October 29

Lewis' Law

Lewis' Law is taken from journalist Helen Law's theory that "the comments on any article about feminism, justify feminism". It only takes a short trip to do the bottom half of the internet to see where she is coming from. There are a lot of articles, blog posts or videos that touch upon feminism that are then followed by comments suggesting the women concerned return to the kitchen or that they are better suited to child rearing than whatever they are doing.
And so with this in mind I have created a found poem to help demonstrate Lewis' Law and the sexism that is present on that dark side of the internet otherwise known as the comments section. I have scrolled through many websites, posts and comments and pulled together some of the most spectacular phrases that real people have deemed appropriate and suitable for broadcast. And this is without venturing into the more abusive and threatening comments that may female writers face online.
(And for a little more on the matter at hand I recommend this article.)

Lewis' Law.

What's so good about feminism?
Their constant whining and
masculine appearances.
A real woman, REAL woman,
should be trained in childcare.
And a real woman cooks.
Call me old fashioned, I think women
themselves are to blame,
demanding preferential treatment, blaming men
for everything. 100% garbage. Another non-issue.

But wait...where are the tits?

Teach all the young girls to cook. Have them trained
at school in domesticity.
WIFE stands for Washes Irons Folds Etc,
it's hilarious people are offended by this sort of thing.

Feminists are nutty as a hazelnut cake
with extra nuts on. But you can't have
your feminist cake and eat it. They're all
about whinging. I like my women
how I like my steaks. Thick and submissive.

Oh stop being offended by petty jokes and enjoy your cats.

Saturday, September 21

St Peter & St Paul's Church

You might feel like you know your town pretty well. Especially if you've lived there all your life as I have with Syston. But your knowledge is really put to the test when you're submerged in its history. Today me and my Dad set out for an open day at our local church and got side tracked by a display in the Methodist Church. There we spent a good half hour looking at old photos and road plans and land auction bills from our town. Sadly, our house hasn't even reached the age of 25 and so was nowhere to be seen among the hoard of black and white photos. But it was great figuring out what buildings were still there and thinking about what they have become. 
Then we tested our knowledge even further when we popped round the corner to St Peter & St Paul's Church. A few more old photos greeted us but the only reason I went was to climb the church tower. We had done the same in 2007, I still have the certificate pinned to my cork-board, and I was excited to do it a second time. As the time before, we stopped off in the bell ringing room and, further up, we peeked through a door to see the bells spinning round and ringing. 
After crawling through a small hatch we were on the top of the church tower. From there we looked for our house, Dad's allotment, I looked at the changes to my primary school and we basked in the sunshine that had managed to creep out for us. We looked out to Bradgate park, the churches of surrounding villages and had a very clear view of the new Doctors Surgery which hadn't been built when we last conquered the spiral staircase.
Of course if you're not local to Syston or Leicester this will all mean considerably little. But there really is nothing like viewing your town from above and if you get a chance to do so then you should take it. Even if it means staggering away from a spiral staircase feeling incredibly dizzy. 

Tuesday, September 17

Lets get lyrical, lyrical.

It's a topic that keeps creeping into my mind and so I am going to unload it all on you. If you aren't a fan of pedantry you might want to look away now.
There are some amazing lyricists out there. Whether they are penning punchy pop tunes or heart wrenching ballads, some people just have a great talent when it comes to writing song lyrics. But I'm going to be pulling out a few lyrics that don't quite bang the nail on the head. And some miss by a mile.
To start we have Rihanna. And although she didn't write it, we're going to pin the blame on her anyway.
"Want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world". That sounds pretty romantic, right? If you're the only girl in the world then his eyes aren't going to start wandering and you are going to be the only one for him. Fabulous! But on the other hand, you're the only girl in the world. There's a big chance that he's settling, love. I would rather feel like there are plenty of other girls out there but know that he chose you and only wants you. If there's only one apple left on the tree, your options are limited.
Next? You may recall that in Beauty and a Beat, a certain Justin Bieber claimed that "we gonna party like it's 3012 tonight". 3012? It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and although it fits the line pretty well, it really doesn't sound quite right. But I'm going to let him off on this one, and not just because he didn't write it. What year are we meant to say now when we're looking to the future? Prince sounded a little concerned about the new millennium and instead he told us "party like it's 1999". Meanwhile Pulp said "lets all meet up in the year 2000". And I think Busted still have a pretty strong hold on the year 3000. And so I'm going to let the pop munchkin off, because quite frankly I can't think of a date that doesn't sound a little bit odd. I still think 2013 sounds weird.
Lets swing back to 2009 and remember the delightful Soulja Boy repeating the line "kiss me thru the phone" in what I like to think was a desperate plea for a dictionary. I spent a lot of time shouting "No! That's not a thing!" and hoping the world's addiction to the song would soon be over. A year or so later I found myself submerged in Cheap Trick and my ear drums were feeling very spoilt. Until, when listening to I Can't Take It, I heard the line "You're kissin' on the phone". I was heartbroken. My new found pop-rock heroes were singing about the same concept I berated. And so to avoid diminishing one of my favourite songs, I have to forgive the irritating lyrics of one of my least favourite songs. Just promise not to kiss me thru the phone or I will cry.
There are plenty other song lyrics out there that are worth moaning about. Drop me a comment with lyrics that annoy you and I'm sure we can have a ranty discussion about it! If you need any inspiration I recommend watching Ed Byrne talk about Alanis Morisette's Ironic. He sums it up beautifully, That's not ironic, that's just stupid. 

Saturday, May 11

Visiting Victoria & Albert

I spent most of Thursday in the Victoria and Albert Museum. With a short break to go to the Hummingbird Bakery and a get a cupcake, obviously. I can't go to South Kensington without having one. I have previously written about the Natural History Museum, and it is still my favourite, but the V&A is becoming a close second. I spent hours walking around the maze of rooms and exhibits and I didn't even see them all.
I know I missed a few rooms of tapestries and I missed out the Raphael Cartoons which I had seen before. However the worst part is I missed the David Bowie is exhibit! I really want to see it but as I might be seeing it with the boyfriend I thought I had better leave it. And it was OK, there was plenty more to keep me and my camera occupied. 
The diversity of the exhibits is so impressive. One moment you're in a room full of spectacular glassware, then you're looking at models of architecture from around the world. There's theatrical dress, paintings by Constable and religious artefacts. As I walked through a gallery full of silverware I even heard Nirvana coming from a lecture room upstairs. It's a huge building and it still manages to be bigger on the inside.
I took a lot of photos in my afternoon and these are just a few. Some of them are a little dim but I don't like using my flash and drawing attention to myself in such quiet places. 

Charles II
 I love how much attitude Charlie
 has in his portraits.
 Gorgeous Glassware
Theatrical Dress
Not all of the costumes in the collection are 
this odd, these are pretty spectacular though.
Mantle Piece
Just a little bit of bling. 
Perseus and Medusa
One of my favourite shots of the day. 

If you like these there are more on my Flickr page, here.

Thursday, March 21

Get me to the Feminist Tourist Board!

OK, I admit it, this post has nothing to do with feminism. However my last post did and that has had a steady number of views over the last month or so and I wanted to see if that was down to the title! Is it just a lot of feminists reading that one post?
However this is a post that should get me a job on a tourist board, so lets hope they recruit by looking at personal blogs hidden in dark and dusty corners of the internet. Fingers crossed!
So what have I done to earn this job? Well, I've thought of a way to get the tourists in even when the weather is bad. Discounts! With tourist attractions such as the Shard or the London Eye, the ideal time to go is a sunny day, right? However they still make for interesting and enjoyable days out when it's raining. So why not offer a discount on days when its soggy outside?
A few weeks ago Clive Anderson was on Room 101 and was discussing how nobody does things spontaneously any more. I can see what he means. There are a lot of comedians I have seen plugging their tickets on Twitter and the shows aren't on until 2014. Who is planning a night out that far in advance?
Of course these discounts won't be helpful to tourists who are planning ahead. However it will be great for getting locals out and into the city. Instead of staying in for the weekend because it's miserable people will decide to go out and take advantage of a cheaper trip to the top of the Shard. Simple! And once they're out then they'll be spending money on transport and diving into a cafe for a hot chocolate to warm up. It's such an easy economy boost!
If it's raining at 9am there's a discount until noon. If it's still raining at noon there is a discount until 3pm and so on! OK, you may miss out on a little money because you're knocking say 10% off all the prices. But the chances are you'll get more people coming in because you're offering a discount.
Am I a genius or what? (To nudge you towards the right answer here is a picture of me with Einstein at a tourist attraction.)

Sunday, January 13

Spotted Dog Loaf

I assume this loaf gets it's name through its similarity to spotted dick. However its more of a bread which you serve in thick slices and covered in butter. Who could ask for more!

300g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
3tbsp caster sugar
100g dried fruit
200ml buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt

  • Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, bicarb and salt.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the dried fruit, egg and buttermilk (see noted for alternatives). Mix to form a dough.
  • Knead very briefly on a lightly floured surface, then press into a greased loaf tin. 
  • Cook for 35-40 minutes at 190 degrees, until the top is s dark golden colour.Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack. 

As the picture shows, I forgot to beat the egg first. So although the recipe works without it being beaten, you should still beat it!
Your local supermarket may stock buttermilk, if not there are alternatives. I used a 200ml mix that was half milk and half natural yoghurt.
As for the dried fruit, I used raisins as I had some in. Sultanas, currants or a mixture would work just as well.

Feminist until you get married.

Today was spent, in the main part, sat in a onesie wasting my life away on my laptop. Now, after having a bath, I have been sitting in my pyjamas and killing time until the boy comes over. This consists of sitting and scrolling through Tumblr and searching for new blogs to follow. And this was going swimmingly until the above picture got under my skin.
It's apparently a quote from "The Hypocrite Diaries" as you can see, and it was sat on my Tumblr dashboard with thousands of notes. This means plenty are in agreement with it and are happy for it to appear on their personal blog. But why are they?
Communist until you get rich, yes there is plenty of space for hypocrisy in that scenario. Atheist until the airplane starts falling. Yes to some extent this is hypocritical, but now I think about it, it doesn't have to be. An atheist doesn't believe in God, fair enough. However when you're in a life threatening situation and you pray and beg to God, it doesn't necessarily mean you now suddenly believe in a God. Surely it just means this is the time you really wish there was one. You may still be thinking "I know there isn't a God, but I'm going to pray and hope I've been wrong all this time." So that one isn't a 100% hypocritical but I'll let them have it.
It's the middle one that really got me. Feminist until you get married. As far as I'm aware, feminists can get married without disowning their beliefs. You would have to get married and become the ultimate 1950's housewife for the statement to work. Make that 1850's. By the 1950's women were making their way into the workplace and had proven their strengths during the war.
Feminism is concerned with equality, gender roles and objectification of the female form (among other things obviously). There is nothing to say a feminist cannot fall in love, declare it to the world and want to raise a family. It simply means if they do they may not want to comply to a typical housewife lifestyle. They may want to share the house work and the cooking of meals with a partner who doesn't take her for granted or assume it is her job to do such things.
A feminist can wed and raise a family. It's not hypocritical. To me, it simply means she will do it with a fairer attitude towards gender roles than many parents might.

Wednesday, January 2

...and a Happy New Year

2013. I want it to be the happiest yet.
When I was still in sixth form I wanted to skip a few years and get the politics of school and the hard work of university out of the way. I wanted a job and a house and to feel settled.
Now, in my third year at university I feel the same. I just want to be a grown up already. Have a place of my own that I can decorate, be in an interesting job and have a cat. I probably wanted a cat whilst in sixth form too but nearly as much as I want one now.
And now it's 2013. Those years I wanted to skip have almost gone. It's time to graduate and figure out how I'll be getting onto the career ladder and to find a flat I might stay in for more than a year or two. It is scary, but it is what I've wanted for ages. And so I shall knuckle down and try to ace my dissertation. I will write more, whether it's blog posts or creative pieces or articles I could try and get published. I will jump into job hunting and find a job I like the look of, a good starting point. Failing that I shall find something that can keep me in London. And failing that I shall move back home, find whatever job I can and learn to drive before hunting for something I want to do.
I want to be positive this year. I won't be yearning for my future, I'll be jumping into it and making it happen. Making it happy.