Tag Archives: feminist

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. Review. 

As most of you know, I’m not a huge fan of the classics but hallelujah I seem to have found an classic author I can actually get on with. 

Thomas Hardy’s novel Far From the Madding Crowd is not a great tome of a book and neither is it a difficult read in terms of language or content. But the messages it gives are big ones. 

Bathsheba Everdeen is a headstrong young woman with no less than three suitors. First there is Gabriel Oak who proposes to her first when he is attempting life as a gentleman farmer, then there is an actual gentleman farmer Mr Boldwood who also proposes marriage and is asked to wait. Finally there is the seductive soldier Frank Troy who is completely unsuitable but hey, everyone likes a bad boy right? 


Literally though, Bathsheba is the worst! She’s so annoying! So conceited, so arrogant, she clearly thinks herself to be stunning and strong and usually I’d love the idea of such an apparent feminist but in this case she doesn’t even come across as a feminist. What she comes across as is selfish and at times just a little bit bloody stupid! 


I did enjoy the novel because the prose is excellent and the storyline well put together. It is not a criticism of the author’s work to say that Bathsheba is what she is, it is more that I think Hardy probably wrote her that way. She could never discover the error of her ways after all if she didn’t make errors in the first place! 

What does feminism mean to me… 

Remember that time you were standing your ground in your battle against racism and you said ‘there are good and bad in all people’ or ‘just because one person of a certain race or religion did something terrible it doesn’t make them all the same?’ 

It’s a great philosophy to have and one that I use myself. What I don’t understand is why this doesn’t apply to feminists as well. 

People choose to be feminists because they want to stand up for something they believe in. Namely equality. This comes across in different ways dependant on the person. Some women like Tess Holliday choose to celebrate feminism using body positivity and the right to choose to be whatever size you want to be without conforming to the standards of beauty the Western World expects of us. Other feminists like Malala Yousafzai fight for the rights of women in 3rd world countries to have the right to education and a voice. Then there’s Kim Kardashian but I’m not getting in to that… 

My point being that I’m getting a little tired of everybody using social media as a platform to try and destroy the feminist movement. I’m sick of going on Facebook and seeing these new videos and vlogs by men using feminism and misconstrued quotes from feminists to slander and drive women back under the rock we’ve spent hundreds of years crawling out from under. 

Not everyone is going to agree with your brand of feminism. Not every feminist wants to grow their armpit hair, put on ten stone, win a Nobel peace prize or post a naked selfie on Twitter but they should still have the choice to do that if they wish. Feminism is about equality. It’s not about man hating or burning bras or not respecting the fact that men have issues too. In fact it’s just the opposite. 

Feminists want to get rid of the idea that men have to conform to a certain masculine expectation. They want to respect that men don’t have to go to the gym everyday or have their beards shaved in a certain way to be attractive or live to unrealistic body standard set by the media and celebrities. If your a guy I bet your nodding your head and saying hell yeah right now because why should you be expected to do that? But then maybe you’re also the sort of guy who thinks that women should wear makeup and bras and shave their body hair in order to be attractive. 

We might not all agree on the semantics of person specific branches of feminism but that is exactly what they are: person specific. Not every feminist believes in the exact same particulars but overall we agree that certain things need to be made more equal. That if men can choose to either shave or keep their body hair and still be attractive then women should as well. You can’t complain that your other half takes 3 hours to get ready when society dictates that she has too in order to be feminine. 

So this is what feminism means to me: 

  • Where I hold the same qualification or same role as a male colleague I would expect to be paid the same amount of money. That means a base salary not inclusive of overtime or annual leave. – I am lucky in my job that this is the case but I know at least one male who is paid £3,000 a year more than his female colleague for working the same role.  So yes in some cases the pay gap does exist. 
  • I want to be able to feel comfortable wearing what I want including makeup. – I still feel despite all my views against it that I cannot have the confidence to go to work without putting makeup on. 
  • I want to be able to look after my own body without people disdainfully telling me that I have lost or put on weight. 
  • I want to educate people on how feminism stands up for women in the 3rd world who are not as lucky as us. Women who still can’t vote, can’t show their skin, are forced into arranged marriages often with violent men many years older than them, women who are not allowed an education or who are mutilated, murdered and raped. They need feminism even more than you and I. 
  • I want to promote gender equality and the idea that if genders were equal there would be no necessity for this pathetic and pointless competition that is battling out on social media. I want to promote body confidence whether you are male or female or a person with gender dysphoria. 

I’d love to hear people’s views on what feminism means to them so please get involved and let’s share the love and the fight for a better and most importantly equal future! 

What is feminism?

I was astounded on Friday of last week to hear a girl at my work offer the following sentence ‘my cousin is a feminist and she hates it when I wear this t-shirt because she says I am showing that I am not a feminist. But I don’t care because I’m not a feminist. I’d happily let a man look after me, it’s what I want and she says if I’m not a feminist I shouldn’t bother wearing trousers’.

I had to bite my tongue. I’m new to the job and an argument that would have made it clear I thought she was an idiot probably wouldn’t have gone down too well. I’m unsure what annoyed me most, the fact that she was boasting about not being a feminist or the fact that she clearly has no idea what being a feminist means.

The Oxford definition of feminism is ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’ I think however that this is only the tip of the iceberg. People like the girl at work make presumptions that feminism is just about women being equal to men. They think of feminists as bra burning lesbians who to put it bluntly wish they had a penis between their legs. They think it means that women want to be able to go out to work and not have to stay at home looking after children and cooking tea for the man who is the breadwinner. Yes it is in many ways about those things but for me and many other people who identify as feminists, feminism is about CHOICE.

The girl at work who we’ll call Sarah presumed that because her desires and ambitions lead only to being at home to cook and bake for a husband she hasn’t met yet and to look after their children that she can’t be a feminist. She thinks that to be a feminist would be to betray these ambitions and that she would have to change who she is and what she wants. What she doesn’t realise is that just making that choice alone makes her a feminist. Her choice to be a housewife makes her no less a feminist than my choice to want a career and an education.

So to the Sarah’s out there I think it’s time you found out exactly why you and every other woman (and man as well) should identify as feminist:

  • The Suffragettes – known mostly for their protests and work which led to women obtaining the vote. To name a few of the sufferings the Suffragettes were subject to: imprisonment and force feeding, chaining themselves to fences and throwing themselves in front of carts. Their militant protests enabled women to be granted the vote and therefore allowed women across the country to make decisions about how they wanted the country to be run.

So why is that point relevant? People like Sarah openly admit that they don’t vote and so feel that the suffragette movement had no effect on their lives at all but this is in fact not true. Firstly the choice is available to take if you want it. If you want to vote you can. That word CHOICE is so important by choosing not to vote you are still having that choice made available to you. However to deny your choice to vote implies you have no political opinion. You can’t talk about being unhappy with your wages or your children’s school and education. You can’t complain about the wait in the NHS A&E department or how often the council collects your bins. If you don’t vote then you are making the choice to allow the things you are unhappy with to continue.

  • You get to dress however you want! – if you want to wear skirts, trousers, crop tops or a burkha you’re welcome to put on whatever clothes you want. 100s of years ago women were denied that choice. They couldn’t wear short dresses or have their arms bared. Men often dictated what they could wear right down to the way they could wear their hair. Even having your hair down instead of pinned up was seen as unseemly.
  • The pay gap and career inequality – do you think it would be fair if you found out that Bill who sits next to you at work gets paid a £1 for every 77p you earn? If you found out that women don’t get promoted to high positions as often as men because it is presumed that they will be unreliable and decide to leave to have children
  • Rape and domestic violence – to stop people presuming that because you’re wearing a short skirt or getting drunk means that you are ‘asking for it’ or that because you burnt your partner’s tea it means that you deserve to be punched in the face or pushed down the stairs and that nobody will care because they still believe in the old fashioned beliefs that a man is entitled to beat on his wife. Here’s a few statistics about rape for you:
  • 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in the UK every year that’s 11 rapes an hour and only applies to adults not to mention children
  • Half a million adults are sexually assaulted each year.
  • 1 in 5 women between 16 and 65 have experienced some form of sexual assault in their lifetime
  • Only 15% of sexual violence cases are reported to the police
  • 90% of the victims know the their attacker prior to the attack
  • Most women in the UK do not have access to a rape crisis centre
  • Only 5.7% of reported cases end with a conviction

(Information taken from www.rapecrisis.org.uk further statistics can be accessed there)

Feminists do not think they are better than men or that they should have any special treatment. To be a feminist just one special ingredient is needed: to believe that all humans are equal regardless of sex, race, colour, political, religious and social beliefs.

To reiterate: feminism is about CHOICE. So you’re a feminist if you:

  • Choose your own clothes in a morning
  • Have sex when you want with who you want or choose not to have sex at all
  • Have an education of some description be it secondary or higher education
  • Choose your career path whether it be a housewife or an entrepreneur

I couldn’t fit every single reason for being a feminist into one blog post but I hope that the few reasons and examples I have used will help the doubting Thomas’ to see exactly why they ARE in fact a feminist and identify with the movement.

What Makes a Bad Feminist

I watched a short video the other day which unfortunately I can’t remember where I saw it in order to reference! Anyway the video was about being a ‘bad’ feminist and was basically a run through of reasons you might think yourself unable to be a feminist. Some were silly reasons like am I a bad feminist if I shave my legs/do I have to be nice to people I don’t like just because they’re women etc.

The video got me thinking about my own life as a feminist and what feminism means to me. As a feminist I believe in having equal rights to men. Being paid the same money to do the same job etc but when I really delve into my psyche I do think that in some ways I could be a bad feminist.

  • I shave my legs not because I particularly want to but because I do conform to a beauty standard set by others and don’t think my boyfriend would like it if I went round with legs and armpits hairier than his. Neither do I want to be stared at in the street for it
  • I do like it when men hold doors open for me and I appreciate it when someone buys me a drink
  • I expect my boyfriend to pay for things albeit sometimes

But then the more I evaluated those choices the more I thought about them rationally. My boyfriend earns more money than me and if it was the other way round I wouldn’t mind being the one to pay for the meal or buy him some drinks. Yes I conform to the beauty standard but i don’t judge women who don’t and I respect their choices. I think that is what feminism is about after all it’s the choice to do what you want with your body and damn the consequences of what other people think. We will always be judged for something regardless of if we are men or women. Whether it’s for tattoos, piercings, body modifications, jobs, home life or earnings. Inevitably what feminism is about is if your not going to judge the guy who shaves his armpits why are you judging the woman who doesn’t?

(And a little door opening for someone is manners after all :p)

Why a Lifestyle Change is so Important

Someone told me once that a woman has a personality change every 7 years. I don’t know how true that is or what evidence there is to back it up, but I gave it some thought in terms of my own life and how much I’ve enjoyed it despite the changes I’ve made and the different lifestyle I live now compared to 7 years ago when I was 18.

Life for me used to be very money orientated and in some ways it still is but for different reasons. It used to be all about going out and getting drunk and suffering from that feeling we often get; particularly as young people that if we don’t do something we’re missing out. I allowed myself to get into debt because I wanted to go on THAT holiday which ended in disaster when I fell out with my friends and had a traumatic journey back from Ibiza on my own in 2013. I went on a night out every weekend even if it meant paying for my skint friends drinks/taxis/club entry when I didn’t really have enough money myself. I wanted to be out there doing everything and living life to the fullest the only way I knew how. The results of this were a series of one night stands or relationships that lasted no longer than two weeks. A battle with depression and anxiety. Messing up several good jobs, losing a few friends and a lot of debt from loans (both from family and actual lenders) and a hell of a lot of regret. I was that girl who wants to stay out until 3am even if the night is downright sh*t just in case something happened. Even if all my friends had gone home I’d hit up some acquaintances, find out who was out and go party with them instead. I’d waste my Sunday’s lying in bed (not always my own)  feeling horrendous and eating copious amounts of pizza while watching Gossip Girl. Monday’s would often find me ringing in sick due to a two day hangover or struggling in and managing to do nothing resembling productivity.

Things changed when I met my boyfriend in February of this year. Everything moved very fast due to him finishing uni and getting a job in Nottingham in May. The only option we could both see (due to agreeing that a long distance relationship wouldn’t work) was to move in together. There were doubts on both sides from each other to family and friends but we made it a success and we’re very happy. Money is still important to me but in a different way, it means keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. I still like to go out but now I prefer a restaurant we’ve never tried before or a trip to the cinema, a walk down the canal with our dog (previously my dog) and taking in places of natural beauty or history in our local area. I still enjoy seeing my friends, bingeing on pizza and Netflix but I do it now minus the headache and with someone warm and cuddly to snuggle up to. We have a great sex life that doesn’t run the risk of heartbreak or (even worse) STDs . I have a best friend who I get to share all my crazy thoughts with as well as sleeping together and being each other’s Rock.

On Wednesday the people who read my blog regularly will already know I left my job. After the move and relocation I was struggling with the commute to my old job so I took an office job in my new town through an agency. I had my doubts at interview when the manager told me ‘I haven’t read your cv, I have no idea what to ask you or what to show you’ and asked me 6 or 7 times if I had any questions for her. To be honest it felt more like I was the one interviewing her! I took it though due to the desperation I was feeling about changing jobs and the promise of an improved salary (plus no travel costs) what I got though was a clicky office of nasty, b*tchy women who advised they couldn’t see the point in training me past the easiest most mundane tasks due to me being at uni so probably not wanting to stay at that job forever. When you bear in mind that I have 3 years left at uni, being a glorified office junior is not the career path I’m looking for. They stole from me, they were generally awful to me and when confronted denied it and I got no sick or holiday pay or any other rights due to being an agency temp. So I left. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Given time to regroup and decide what I want to do for a job and career has been great. It’s given me the power to only accept interviews with companies I actually want to work for and with. If I’ve had interviews that have given me the creeps or the feeling it’s not right for me I’ve been able to say thanks but no thanks.

I think what I’m trying to say is that my outlook on life has changed significantly in the last year. Yes I’ve got into a relationship for the first time in many years but becoming part of a couple has enabled me to find out who I am as a person in my own right. I’ve gained independence, confidence and a drive to do well and be a success in my own right in a job I actually want to do.

Abstract Feminism

My friend told me off today. It was during a conversation where I was gushing about a second date that had been arranged between me and a guy I had been on a date with earlier in the week. The telling off came when I mentioned that dating was expensive. Her basic point was that being female I shouldn’t be contributing or paying for anything on a date.  Her mind set is that she is ‘old fashioned’ in her belief that the man should always pay on dates and it is not acceptable to pay for anything or contribute to anything until you have been in an actual relationship with that person for some time.

It beggars belief in this day and age that people still believe this to be true. Yes we all like going out and being spoilt and most men like to play the gentleman but how as modern females feminist or otherwise can we expect to have equality in all things but then believe something so ‘old fashioned’ as the man paying for everything for the woman?

For a start looking at the picture in general I work full time and have a steady income of just over a thousand pounds a month. My date is still a full time student whose only income is his loans and student overdraft. Why should I expect him to pay for everything when I am the only one with an income?

Feminism seemingly has a bad name these days, it is like the actual concept has been lost somewhere beneath extremity and presumed definitions of what feminism is actually about. It also seems that people are feminists as and when it suits them. As aforementioned the type of person who wants equality in all other aspects of their lives but still expects to have their dates paid for entirely by men.

Don’t get me wrong I am not for one minute saying that there is anything wrong with a man paying for a date. If that’s what he wants to do and you’ve offered to contribute and he’s declined then fair enough go ahead. Neither am I saying you shouldn’t allow a man to spoil you to his heart’s content but to sit and expect someone who you know can’t really afford it to pay for your meal and your drinks and your taxi fare home on the basis of ‘old fashioned values’ to me that says a lot about you not just as a woman but as a person as well.

Abstract Feminism

My friend told me off today. It was during a conversation where I was gushing about a second date that had been arranged between me and a guy I had been on a date with earlier in the week. The telling off came when I mentioned that dating was expensive. Her basic point was that being female I shouldn’t be contributing or paying for anything on a date.  Her mind set is that she is ‘old fashioned’ in her belief that the man should always pay on dates and it is not acceptable to pay for anything or contribute to anything until you have been in an actual relationship with that person for some time. My mind set is however that this goes against everything feminism is about.

It beggars belief in this day and age that people still believe this to be true. Yes we all like going out and being spoilt and most men like to play the gentleman but how as modern females feminist or otherwise can we expect to have equality in all things but then believe something so ‘old fashioned’ as the man paying for everything for the woman?

For a start looking at the picture in general I work full time and have a steady income of just over a thousand pounds a month. My date is still a full time student whose only income is his loans and student overdraft. Why should I expect him to pay for everything when I am the only one with an income?

Feminism seemingly has a bad name these days, it is like the actual concept has been lost somewhere beneath extremity and presumed definitions of what feminism is actually about. It also seems that people use feminism as and when it suits them. As aforementioned the type of person who wants equality in all other aspects of their lives but still expects to have their dates paid for entirely by men.

Don’t get me wrong I am not for one minute saying that there is anything wrong with a man paying for a date. If that’s what he wants to do and you’ve offered to contribute and he’s declined then fair enough go ahead. Neither am I saying you shouldn’t allow a man to spoil you to his heart’s content but to sit and expect someone who you know can’t really afford it to pay for your meal and your drinks and your taxi fare home on the basis of ‘old fashioned values’ to me that says a lot about you not just as a woman but as a person as well.