Friday, 28 April 2017

April 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

April has been great. I feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Favourite part?

There’s honestly been so much going on this month, and that’s been mostly down to the Easter holidays and a little time to relax (although I’ve still been busy, a couple of hours extra sleep has been doing me the world of good).



I’m quite proud of myself as I managed to see a lot of my friends in the holidays whilst actually being quite productive and I think it was really healthy for me.

I went to Bournemouth beach for the day with a group of my friends, and while I did get a bit sunburnt and it was a bit cloudy, I had such a great time.



I saw Beauty and the Beast for the second time (it was just as good the second time round) and had a few cute revision days with friends in coffee shops as well as chill afternoons with pizza and cookies and parties. My grandparents came down for Easter and it was lovely to see them as I hadn’t seen them since Christmas.



A few projects I’ve been working on were completed this month, such as a zine called MASCARA that my friends Anna and Nicola and I collaborated on. We’re not selling it online yet, but if you know any of us IRL just message us and we can get you a copy! My friend Maisie and I also launched a podcast which I’m going to elaborate on later.

Best read?

This month, I’ve read Citizen by Claudia Rankine – a truly incredible book. Please read it. It’s often described as poetry but I think would be more of an amalgamation of genres. Truly amazing. I also read The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks as it is the book I’m studying for my English coursework and will probably be rereading it a lot. It’s good, although very messed up. Earlier this week I read a Graphic Guide on Thatcherism as part of the preparation for my EPQ. Interesting, giving me a good basis but not very detailed (as can be expected). In the past few days I started reading Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates – I’ll give you an update on that next month.


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Favourite tunes?

This section’s getting a bit boring, isn’t it? You know the answer, I’m sure. The Beauty and the Beast and the La La Land soundtracks are, as per usual, on repeat for the majority of this month. For the rest of the month, ABBA’s been dancing in the background alongside Sign of the Times by Harry Styles.

What did I learn?

If I put my mind to projects, I can pull them off. It only takes time and hard work.

What’s happening next month?

May means one thing: exams.

What’s been on my mind?

Politics. A snap election was called in the UK and needless to say, I’m pissed off that I’m only 4 months off from voting. Can’t be bitter, can’t be bitter…

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

I’ve been loving both Lucy Moon and Daniel J. Layton’s VEDA’s this month. I love their videos normally, but I enjoy having an abundance of videos to keep up with.

Favourite post?

I feel really happy with what I’m posting at the moment, but I’d probably have to say Why Elle Woods is my Feminist Icon. I just love her okay!




Biggest inspiration?

I’ve been trying to pre-write all my blog posts for around exam time way earlier than I normally would, and I’ve written most of them by now. That’s been my main drive for that, but in other ways, I’ve been feeling really fulfilled and like I’m going somewhere – like I’m actually accomplishing things, which is helping me tremendously when thinking of new things to do and create.

Any other favourites?

This month I have been OBSESSED with the Guilty Feminist, a podcast hosted by Deborah Frances-White and her other co-hosts and guests. Please listen to this – please.


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I’ve also been loving the Clarins Pure and Radiant Mask this month. I’ve been using it a few times and the small tester bottle that I’ve been using is nearly over so it’s time to say goodbye to it soon as it’s too expensive to buy normally. After using it my skin did feel a lot better after using it, so I’m going to try to use face masks more often, because who doesn’t need a bit of a pamper every now and again?

Downton Abbey has been back this month. I’m now at the beginning of series 4 again. Just before exams. Whoops.

I’ve been loving the new podcast that my friend Maisie and I have launched this month (plug plug plug). How could I say anything less than that? It’s called The Actor and the Writer and the first episode is now up on SoundCloud. Go follow us on there and on Twitter for further updates!



If you liked this post you might like: March 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Can Men Be Feminists?

So, can men be feminists?

The short answer: yes, yes they can.

Before going any further, let’s remind ourselves of the definition of feminism:


To me, this seems to be a universal campaign.

A lot of the time, and in my experience, the prefix of ‘fem’ in the word feminism is enough to put off many men. They can feel threatened and excluded by the feminist movement, all over one syllable. But the fact is that the ‘fem’ in feminism wasn’t deliberately put there to scare away the men (Shock horror!!!!), but is in fact there to highlight the main focus of the movement: to protect and promote women’s rights – all women, everywhere. It is the feminine traits that are looked down upon by society, in both men and women, so the nomenclature of the movement highlights that. Men shouldn’t feel excluded because of its presence there.

The feminist movement is about the promotion of women’s rights and place in society, so that equality can finally become a reality. And the role of men as the more privileged members of society is important as their voices can be used to get those who may have ignored a woman’s voice to listen. But whilst men’s voices are useful to further the feminist cause, they should not become the cause, if you get what I’m saying?

It is important that the members of society who have more power get behind the feminist movement, but as they are the ones with more privilege, their voices should not take priority over the ones whose voices are already behind swept aside.

But men can be feminists. In all senses of the word.

They can fight for equality, call others out on their misogyny and call themselves a feminist. Just so long as they don’t take attention away from the people who they’re fighting for.




If you liked this post you might like: #March4Women | International Women's Day

Monday, 24 April 2017

I Made a Podcast!

A while ago, my friend Maisie and I thought it would be a cool idea to make a podcast. We both love podcasts and have lots of opinions and interests, so why not discuss them?



Who is this friend, you mention? I here you say? Well, I’m sure you’ve seen me tweeting her, but if you want to know more about her, have a look at her blog, Maisie Lake Arts Life.

The title of the podcast is The Actor and the Writer, for what should be obvious reasons. On here, we’re going to discuss a wide range of topics – from feminism to university applications – so with something new every episode, we’ll be sure to keep you on your toes!

The first episode is all about alcohol and is just the two of us talking about our experiences with it and lots of things related to it.

A lot of our episodes will feature guests (mostly in the form of our friends) and will centre around one main topic they’re interested in or have certain experiences with (for example, we have 2 of our Christian friends coming in to talk about religion and the different ways they perceive it) so that we can bring in the experiences of people other than ourselves and discuss issues and topics that we may not necessarily have that much knowledge of, but one of our friends might or something we physically haven’t had experience with (such as male body image).

I’m honestly so excited for you guys to listen to this, and if you are, make sure to follow us on Soundcloud and Twitter to stay updated of when our episodes go live (first one is now live, so go check it out!).



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Friday, 21 April 2017

The Cats | A Poem



The cats on street corners grin at me
From the kerb,
Their slit-eyes piercing
My chest as I walk past, school bag slung
Over my right shoulder, swinging,
Swinging, with each step crunching
The chewed up pavement under
the rubber of my canvas shoes,
Announcing that yes,
I am here.

The cats’ heads turn like owls’, but
Instead of a hoot they howl out
To the world. In despair?
Or anger? Fear?
Teeth bared and fur pulsating with each
Breath,
Standing over me as I walk.
I only walk.

But they never leave me, never gone,

Eyes on my back, never alone.

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I hope you guys liked this! I haven't posted any of my poetry on here for a while so thought it would be nice to share something newer with you all.

Jemima x



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Monday, 17 April 2017

So, Your Favourite Show is Problematic...

Nowadays, a lot of focus is on whether things are ‘problematic’ or not, and if they, to boycott them and then end up being shamed for liking something that is even slightly problematic. But I don’t think that’s necessarily right.

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One of my favourite TV shows is FRIENDS, a beloved 90s/00s classics adored by literally millions. Whilst it is now cherished, there is no doubt that the show is very problematic. There are lots of jokes based around subjects that are a little insensitive and perhaps offensive – gay jokes, jokes about sexual assault (see: Joey, the tailor taking advantage of him and various comments about consent regarding his sex life) and various other jokes that I can’t even think of.

The characters also demean and laugh at femininity in men. When Joey gets a bag from Rachel, he is made fun of; there are repeated jokes made about some of the boys wearing make-up. The comments made by the characters further enforces a stereotype of men that can be quite toxic – sexual promiscuity and rejection of anything considered to be remotely feminine. Not that healthy a message to be sending out really.

FRIENDs is also a show that is really not diverse in any way. I think there’s only been two BAME main/recurring characters (Julie and Charlie, but please correct me if there are any characters I’ve forgotten), not very accurate for a show that’s meant to be set in New York. And whilst it has a steady lesbian relationship in the form of Carol and Susan throughout the whole show and Chandler’s father (to whom attitudes towards are really negative and just generally not okay), LGBT relationships aren’t portrayed in the best way and are often fetishized (mostly lesbianism by the boys). So yeah, FRIENDS isn’t great as a way of promoting social justice and acceptance, and there is way more I could discuss in regards to this show but I won't because you'll get bored and my hands will ache after typing for so long.

Many (read: all) shows, films, books – any piece of art really - are problematic in some way, particularly ones that are perhaps a bit older. But I don’t think that that necessarily means they shouldn’t be consumed. Well, unless it’s all about promoting Nazism and seriously pushing bigotry of any kind and acceptable or that being the main element of the show. I don’t think that we should sacrifice art we enjoy because of aspects of it are problematic, and I also want to make clear that bigotry or discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and that things are more complicated because no piece of art is perfect in that sense nowadays. Instead, I think that we should acknowledge what makes the art we are consuming problematic and make sure that when we discuss it with others, calling it out on whatever makes it problematic, we are sharing those opinions and information about the art in question.

We should bear in mind the problematic art we have consumed when we go to make our own so that we can try to produce ours so that it’s the best it can be.




If you liked this post you might like: Criticising Something You Love

Friday, 14 April 2017

5 Reasons to Love the 2017 Beauty and the Beast

Having seen the first trailer for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast a while back and crying ever since, I saw the film the day after its UK release and the crying just got worse. It’s fair to say I’m obsessed and this film has just reminded me of my lifelong love for Beauty and the Beast.

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1. It’s more feminist!


Something that really struck me about the film was the way it was more feminist than the 1991 film. For a start, Belle is the inventor, not Maurice. She makes an early version of a washing machine so that she can spend more time reading then teaches another girl in the village to read in that spare time. Belle actively tries to escape the castle initially rather than lying on the floor and weeping. It’s things like that that really make me happy. 

(Believe me, it's not perfect, but it's an improvement.)

2. Character development!!!


One of my favourite things about the new version of Beauty and the Beast is the added development to basically all of the characters and consequently the relationships they have. I find this really evident in the main couple’s relationship in particular, as I feel you can see them growing closer more gradually. I also love how each character was given more of a back story, giving the audience better understanding of their actions and behaviour.

3. The new songs!


The new songs (also written by Alan Menken) are amazing. I honestly love them so much. There are 3: Days in the Sun, How Does a Moment Last Forever and Evermore. Each of these songs I find adds to the development of the characters and they are all so beautiful and in keeping with the already well-known and love songs from the animated film. Let’s be honest, an Alan Menken song is never going to be bad, is it?

4. Luke Evans and Josh Gad’s relationship


I have watched so many interviews with these guys and I just love them and their friendship, which I think translates really well onscreen. I love these two. They’re great.

5. The Enchantress



The Enchantress features a lot more heavily in the new version of the story, which I have to admit, I do really like. It gives it an added sense of supernatural control magic about it. In my opinion, it also highlights the redemption of the Beast in a more prominent way and shows how the same ideas applied to the Beast apply to the villagers also.



If you liked this post you might like: 5 of my Favourite Disney Soundtracks

Monday, 10 April 2017

Why Elle Woods is my Feminist Icon

When I was about 12 or 13 I became obsessed with the Legally Blonde films, along with that, the protagonist Elle Woods. And when I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. I still basically know it off by heart.

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For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Elle Woods is a Bel Air sorority girl fitting all the stereotypes. When her seemingly perfect boyfriend Warner Huntington the Third breaks up with her instead of proposing (citing that she isn’t “serious enough” for someone wanting to become a senator by the time he’s thirty) she is devastated and ends up applying to Harvard Law School (the school he happens to be attending) to prove to him that she is serious and win him back. Doesn’t sound so feminist at the moment, does it?

I know Legally Blonde doesn’t portray the problems of all women (The Woods’ biggest problem is when their favourite cocktail is out of supply) and it does have a very complicated relationship with stereotypes in my eyes. This is due to the fact that Elle’s character is all about breaking stereotypes but then she wins the end case (spoiler alert there) by using a stereotype to make assumptions about someone’s sexuality. But I never said Elle was a perfect feminist (is there even such a thing?).

Elle is an icon to me because she was the first female character who made me feel like I could do anything, no matter what everyone else thinks of you and your capabilities. She showed me that I can be smart and successful without sacrificing my femininity. And that, to me, is so so important.

Elle is an incredible lawyer, cracking cases with knowledge that comes from her femininity, but also demonstrating shrewd legal skills in other aspects of her life. She maintains her client’s trust, she holds her own and sticks to her guns when her professor objectifies her and tries to take advantage of her. She remains modest about her achievements, when I know I probably wouldn’t be! And all of this with fabulous nails and an attitude of supporting her fellow women and looking out for one another.

So yeah, she goes to Harvard chasing after a guy, but through that experience she finds the ability to see through her infatuation with him to see him for who he really is and decides that she really doesn’t need someone like him (*cough* “bone-head” *cough*) in her life anymore, eventually ending up with a guy who is so much better for her. Whilst seeing her opinions about Warner change, she also breaks past first impressions so that she and the girl she is immediately pitted against unite and become friends.

I love Elle, and whilst she has her problems and many other people may not agree with me, she means a lot to me both as a character and as my feminist icon.

Who’s yours?



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Friday, 7 April 2017

5 Podcasts You Should Listen To

Recently, I’ve been getting really into podcasts, and I love them! They’re so nice to have on in the background whilst doing other things or just to lie in bed and listen to them solely.


1. Banging Book Club


The Banging Book Club is, as you probably guessed, a book club that reads books focused around sex, gender and all that jazz. I have to admit, I have only read one of the books on their list (The Vagina Monologues), but I still love listening to their episodes despite hardly ever having read the book (I do plan on reading them at some point). I became aware of the Banging Book Club as I was already a fan of the channels of the women who make it (Hannah Witton, Leena Norms and Lucy Moon, who I know I’ve all mentioned at varying points on this here blog before) and I do love just listening to them having a chat as I can guarantee I’ll have a good giggle at some point in every episode.

2. TALKING POLITICS


It’s no secret that I love politics. I am currently doing Government & Politics A Level and hope to do Politics as part of a Joint Honours at university and try desperately to keep up with current affairs, both domestically and internationally. This podcast is so useful for that. With a handful of hosts and guests (both irregular and regular) from across the globe, this podcast is essentially a collection of intelligent discussion on a range of political issues, from the state of the UK’s Labour party to the goings on in Turkey. Such a great listen for anyone who is interested in politics, especially as all of those speaking on here really know their stuff in regards to politics (either through study or having worked in politics, and probably both in most cases).

3. The Guilty Feminist


Oh, The Guilty Feminist, how I love you. Deborah and Sofie (who is no longer co-hosting but I still think she deserves mentioning in here) are wonderful. Every time I listen to an episode of the Guilty Feminist I probably cry with laughter and come away knowing that my feelings of being an inadequate feminist are shared by everyone and that it’s okay as long as we are all doing our best. I love listening these women (hosted by comedians, guest are often comedians) talking about issues I hadn’t even thought of in a feminist way and I love the challenges they all get up to each week. Just listen to it. Top quality feminist entertainment.

4. iTunes U


Okay, so this one isn’t one particular podcast, but I think it fits into one point nicely. I discovered this section of iTunes thanks to my friend Charlotte, and I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of it until recently! iTunes U is a collection of lectures from a range of top universities on a range of subjects. This is particularly useful for me at the moment as I am doing my A Levels and am preparing for university in the next few years. This a great way for any A Level student to carry out their wider research and learning, consolidating the content of the courses you are doing and I would recommend it to anyone!

5. Dan Snow’s HISTORY HIT



I first started listening to this podcast when looking for more podcasts relating to one of my A Level subjects, and this hits the spot nicely (pun not intended but now that I’ve seen it, I love it). You have probably at least heard of Dan Snow as the guy who pops up on the TV sometimes talking about history stuff, and this is basically the same thing, just with appearances from other historians you may know (Lucy Worsley, for example). I find it really useful with wider ‘reading’ for History, especially as he has covered some of the areas that are included in my course, s it’s great to get further information. Dan also tends to tailor some of his episodes around current events, recently doing an episode on Islam and the Tudors. I would really recommend this to anyone who loves history and wants to know more!

What podcasts would you recommend?



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