Need a quick, easy & cheap recipe for university? Try Flava-It’s tasty meat marinades!

16 Aug

Flava-It make pretty awesome meat marinades and they have just launched three new ‘Meat Lust’ special edition flavours. The marinades work their magic in 10-minutes- meaning they are a quick and easy way to create a tasty meal-  perfect for students in a hurry!
You can get a free sample of the marinades here.
Flava-It invited me to test out the new flavours and ‘Unleash My Meat Lust‘…sounds pretty racy, right?
Here’s my blog, recipe and review of the GORGEOUS barbecue shredded beef bun. Enjoy!

You will need: 

Screenshot_2014-08-14-21-27-36-1   – Burger buns (Tiger bread warmed in the oven worked perfectly)

- Watercress

- 1 X beef tomato

- 1X red onion

- 250g minute steak  (or 500g to make four servings)

- Tablespoon olive oil

- Flava-It Barbecue Marinade (ONLY around 85p!)

- Optional for sweet potato fries: 2X sweet potato, tablespoon honey

& preferred seasoning.  Serves two.

Method:

- Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 8/ 450 Fahrenheit/ 230 Celsius

- Peel and chop the sweet potato fries and place them in a roasting tin or baking tray. Drizzle with honey and add seasoning. Place in the oven and cook until slightly brown and crispy (around 30 mins) Screenshot_2014-08-14-21-24-40-1

- Slice the minute steaks into thin shredded strips. Place in a bowl and mix in most of the marinade. Save a small amount of the marinade for later, to mix into the mayonnaise.  Screenshot_2014-08-14-21-25-26-1

- While the meat sits in the flavouring, chop the red onion and tomato into thin slices. Wash the watercress.

Screenshot_2014-08-14-21-25-49-1

- Slice the tiger bread buns in half and place them in the bottom of the oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking time to warm and go slightly crispy.

- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and flash-fry the shredded beef until it’s cooked through and the marinade and beef juices form a slightly syrupy liquid. Leave to cool slightly in a bowl and lightly fry the tomato and onion in the same pan, to pick up the rest of the oil and seasoning.

- Remove the sweet potato fries and tiger buns from the oven.

- ‘Spike’ your desired amount of mayonnaise with the remaining marinade mix, spread onto the buns and build your bun with the meat, onions, watercress and tomato. Serve.

Mix the marinade into the mayonnaise for a tasty barbecue sauce

Mix the marinade into the mayonnaise for a tasty barbecue sauce

Review:
Screenshot_2014-08-14-21-26-54-1

I would highly recommend stocking up on some Flava-It meat marinades before university starts! The recipe only took around 30 minutes (and would be less without the sweet potato fries) and would make for a succulent, flavoursome tasty meat treat at the start of the semester before those overdrafts start sizzling.

The barbecue mix was especially on point- it reminded me of that incredible South-Carolinian barbecue taste, and for under £1 I’m definitely going to be keeping a stash of marinades in my cupboard!
I was going to record a reaction video…but I figured I wouldn’t deter my blog fans and follows with a video of me salivating over this ridiculously tasty meal!

Quick ratings

Best assets: Price, cooking time, unique flavour

Other bonuses: Versatility, great for lunch or dinner  and you can use any of the flavours on loads of different meats for any of your favourite meat recipes

Best for: Date nights, having friends round

Drawbacks: Calorie intake/ Wanting more!

Healthy version: Ditch the mayonnaise and use a wholemeal bun

What the $50m BuzzFeed investment says about the modern-day media

13 Aug

Are listicles, gifs, videos and quizzes replacing quality long-form journalism?

What started out eight years ago as a hub of cat videos, listicles, trivia, gifs and quizzes has recently been valued at $850m (£506m) following a $50m investment from a US firm.

            Californian venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has given BuzzFeed a pivotal boost in the form of a $50m (£30m) investment, which now values the internet sensation at more than three times as much as the Washington Post. The firm’s investment in the site has grown from their prediction that BuzzFeed is set to become a top-level digital company.  

News of the investment was released on Monday

News of the investment was released on Monday

            The funding signals another push in the direction of online media and confirms much of what we already know about the digital shift. The advent of digital journalism is well and truly underway and print is fast becoming a sinking ship. While newspapers are sure to become a dot on the horizon in the next few decades, websites, blogs and social media outlets are the new kid on the media block- and they’re here to stay. 

            BuzzFeed is one of the most renowned websites for capitalising on the digital shift. Although the website has recently hauled in hundreds new recruits in an attempt to report on mainstream news and features (politics, the Ebola outbreak, the Gaza conflict) it’s best known for creating breezy content that’s sharable across online platforms. 

Buzzfeed creates material that's easy to digest on laptops, mobiles and tablets

Buzzfeed creates material that’s easy to digest on laptops, mobiles and tablets

            Many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers share BuzzFeed articles on a daily basis. They’re often posted with a reluctant disclosure that ‘I don’t normally share BuzzFeed stuff, but…’ and ‘This is probably a bit kitsch but I couldn’t resist sharing…’ followed by a listicle that glamourises, romantises, humourises or victimises the daily struggles and predicaments of a particular subgroup. Take, for example, ’27 Incredibly Annoying Things People Do To Bartenders’. It’s irresistible clickbait for anyone, anywhere who has ever worked behind a bar and prompts numerous discussions about which number made them laugh, which number reminded them of that hellish Valentine’s Day shift in 2008 and which number was so accurate they had to copy and paste the link and re-post the article themselves. 

            These articles typify many aspects of digital media and the kinds of things that consumers want to see when they browse online. Aside From A Questionable Tolerance Of BuzzFeed’s Tendency To Capitalise Their Every Headline (each to their own) the rise of BuzzFeed confirms our thirst for sharable, easily digestable, succinct, delightful, humourous, day-enhancing material. We also seem to like multi-media platforms that combine gifs, photos and videos with listicles, quizzes and articles. (BuzzFeed’s ‘Trending’ bar consists entirely of captionless photos.) 

Buzzfeed's header

Buzzfeed's trending bar is image-friendly

Buzzfeed’s trending bar is image-friendly

But I can’t ignore the fact that a website that has a ‘LOL Feed’, a ‘Cute Feed’, an ‘OMG Feed’ and a ‘WTF Feed’ is being dubbed as the next big thing on the media scene. I don’t doubt that BuzzFeed deserves such a title- it has, after all, successfully tapped into digital trends and consumer demands- but I worry about what the potential accession of BuzzFeed as a dominant media company says about the nature of our consumer demands in the first place. 

            Articles such as ’Weird Little Things All Couples Do’, ’23 Things Women Are Tired of Hearing’ and ‘21 Celebrities Who Prove Glasses Make Women Look Super Hot’- besides demonstrating a short-sighted willingness to tarring all couples and all women with the same brush- are simply self-justifying articles that social media users can regurgitate to legitimise how they’re feeling at any given moment. It’s closed-minded material that tells specific subgroups how to feel about other subgroups, and it’s not open for discussion.

            Then there’s the fact that listicles go against every English student grain of my being. BuzzFeed is like a giant slap in the face to everything I was taught at A-Level: it’s taking the numbered paragraph plan from my notes and forgetting to bother with the final product. Writing a listicle is much easier than crafting a nuanced, comprehensive, articulate, well-structured column consisting of those long-forgotten things we call ‘paragraphs’.

            But BuzzFeed is capable of winning over even the most orthodox among us. As a travel writer, ‘16 Encounters That Prove The World Is Smaller Than You Think’ totally got me clicking. As a cat-lover, I’m also lured in by ’13 Iconic Movies Improved By Cats’ and as a feminist, I really enjoyed ’18 Inventions By Women That Changed The World’. BuzzFeed has tapped into the likes and dislikes of just about anyone and is writing irresistibly light-hearted entertainment pieces that resonate perceptively with those interests. 

            We’re yet to find out whether the venture capital investment will bear fruit and BuzzFeed will become the website to reign over all. Perhaps if BuzzFeed is going to rise above conventional media companies it’ll have to ditch its associations with listicles anyway. But here’s a thought for the meantime: indulging in a listicle is great, every now and then, so long as it doesn’t replace an ability to read and write insightful, challenging and cutting-edge debates that don’t start every new point with a number. Call me a traditionalist, but I like to dream that the light-hearted side of the digital shift can move forward without casting a shadow on our good-old friend, quality.

How Tough Mudder changed my ideas about body confidence

6 Aug

This column has also been featured by The News Hub and can be viewed on their website here.

Battling through the world-renowned mud run gave me more than just cuts and bruises

As a young woman growing up in the 21st century, I’m well aware that the mainstream media is infiltrating my ideas about what the female body should look like. Thirty squats a day and I could achieve the thigh gap. Cut down my calorie consumption to get V-shaped abs. Repeat lunge sets with weights to achieve an instant butt lift. From music videos to Facebook memes to billboards: the modern media is constantly trying to convince me that I’m chasing slightly behind the latest coveted body goal.

Despite the diverse array of body shapes that exist in the world, media firms and advertising agencies are cropping, cutting, highlighting, fixing, shadowing, blurring, streamlining and photo-shopping the hell out of their images to subscribe to the singular Barbie-Doll criterion of the female physique.

Meme by soulpancake.com

Meme by soulpancake.com

I know I should be exercising because it’s healthy, because I enjoy it and because it’s part of making the most of the one and only life I have. But there’s still a part of me that’s guilty of exercising with the intention of chasing those media-induced body goals.

I’ll go to the gym if I can’t fit into my favourite jeans and I’ll only leave once I’ve burned enough calories. One of my most energising workout motivations is knowing I’ll have to wear a bikini on an upcoming holiday and I’ll start a panic-induced gym regime after watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Whether I’m playing netball or running on the treadmill, I’ve always got an ingrained sense in the back of my mind that as long as I’m burning calories, I must be moving in the right direction.

But I recently completed Tough Mudder and have started to gather very different ideas about fitness and the female body.

For those who don’t know very much about Tough Mudder, its creators describe it as ‘Probably one of the toughest events on the planet.’ Valiant participants are let loose on a military-style 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test mental and physical strength. The obstacles test common fears such as heights, fire, water, electric shocks and claustrophobia- sometimes separately- and sometimes all at once.

What makes Tough Mudder so gruelling is that it requires a combination of physical strength and mental grit to see participants through to the end. I could never have jumped into a pool of ice and water, pushed myself over the edge of ‘Walk The Plank’ or crawled through a trench of live electric wires if I didn’t have the mettle and courage within to just shut my eyes and go for it. What’s more, I wouldn’t have had the energy or the strength to complete the course if I’d been on an unbearable juice diet.

Not only am I proud to have simply survived Tough Mudder but I’ve come away from the course with a life-affirming realisation about body confidence. Having battled through one of the world’s toughest obstacle courses I’ve realised that body confidence isn’t about what my body looks like, but what my body is capable of. While the media would have me believe that I’m always one step behind achieving the perfect body, Tough Mudder showed me that I already have what it takes to be strong. DSC03520

From now on, when I play netball, go running or hit the gym, I’ll be training with a purpose and a new set of goals. I won’t be thinking about the fastest way that I can slim down and look skinny. I’ll be working towards new ways that I can overcome challenging hurdles and develop my strength. The media are targeting women and girls with relentless propaganda that’s pushing our body ideals down a particular path. Thanks to Tough Mudder, I’ve realised that there’s nothing more empowering than taking over the reigns and going in my own direction.

2014-08-03 17.27.13

 

Tough Mudder 2014: Vlog, blog & photos from the hardest day of my life

5 Aug DSC03539

Last weekend I completed Tough Mudder 2014 in Yorkshire, England. I’d spontaneously pledged to attempt one of the world’s most renowned mud runs just two weeks before the big day and I had no idea how gruelling it was going to be. I’d been imagining myself lolloping around Yorkshire’s fields, bounding over inflatable obstacles and feeling the wind rushing through my hair as I mastered gentle physical hurdles. I imagined wrong.

Tough Mudder photo 1

Minneapolis/St. Paul Legionnaires brace themselves for a water landing after being shot off the Fire in the Hole obstacle. Photo by Tough Mudder

For those who don’t know very much about Tough Mudder, its creators describe it as ‘Probably one of the toughest events on the planet.’ Valiant participants are let loose on a military-style 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test mental and physical strength. The obstacles test common fears such as heights, fire, water, electric shocks and claustrophobia- sometimes separately- and sometimes all at once.

My boyfriend Dan is a reporter for the Harrogate Advertiser and was asked to attempt Tough Mudder for a two-page spread in the newspaper. Lucky for me, he was given an extra ticket for a companion to accompany him through the course.

We’re pretty ordinary people as far as strength and athleticism goes. We go to the gym when we can, eat relatively healthy and play for local league football and netball teams. Unlike many of the rugby teams and military squads who sign up to TM, neither of us have ever attempted an obstacle course- never mind a military one filled with 500,000 litres of mud. Having undertaken no Mudder-specific training, by the time Friday night rolled around we were pretty nervous about the next day…

When our 7am alarm pierced through our peaceful slumbers on Saturday, getting up and making breakfast felt like going through our morning routine in autopilot. The fear and uncertainty of the tortuous path ahead was bearing down on me like never before. My stomach was doing flips in the car…

An hour later we followed the flashing signs reading “TOUGH MUDDER –>’ and pulled in to what looked like a lush country estate. We found our way to the media tent and pinned our race numbers to our bright orange shirts. After taking a couple of snaps at the entrance, we left our belongings at the bag drop and joined the hordes of people by the stage for a short warm-up.
2014-08-02 07.49.30 2014-08-02 07.59.59 2014-08-02 08.38.01
One thing that reassured me was the varied demographic of people taking part, from single participants to groups of 20, men and women, young and old, big and small. Before we were all unleashed onto the course, we had to get down on one knee and take ‘The Mudder Pledge’ at the starting line. Placing our hands on our hearts we recited the following lines at the top of our lungs:
DSC03515DSC03517

“I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.

I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.

I do not whine – kids whine.

I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.

I overcome all fears.”

As our final ‘HOO-RAH’ bellowed to the skies, the host wished us luck and announced the start of the race. This is it, I thought. No turning back.
DSC03519 DSC03520

We soon approached the first major obstacle, the Arctic Enema. I could hear people screaming, ‘THREE…TWO…ONE…GO!’ and as the initial buzz drained from my veins I realised that my most dreaded obstacle was already right in front of me: the ice pool.

tough mudder 2

A Mudder emerges from the Arctic Enema Photo by Tough Mudder

Mudders have to climb up to the edge, jump into a cloudy-brown pit of 0°C water and swim underneath a row of tyres that obstruct the exit. As we tentatively climbed up the ladder to the pool’s edge, we could hear Mudders ahead screaming and moaning as their bodies caught up with the drastic temperature change. But it’s not the physical challenge of Arctic Enema that makes it so unbearable- it only lasts 30 seconds- its the mental grit required to plunge yourself into a pool of freezing, muddy water without being able to dip your toe in first.

Having survived the Arctic Enema I felt like I could conquer anything. Good job, too, as 10 more miles of the course lay ahead, including 500,000 litres of mud, 1,735 feet of vertical gain, 24 more obstacles and a 12 foot drop into yet more muddy water.

Halfway through the course, Dan and I had scrambled through industrial pipes, bobbed underneath barbed wire, clambered over walls, swam in mud pits, rolled down hills, lugged chunks of tree trunks across a field and even carried each other across the ‘Hero Carry’. We were feeling pretty tired, but were relying on an intense adrenaline rush that was seeing us through even the toughest of obstacles. I was covered in mud from head to toe and my eyeballs suddenly looked neon-white as I smeared the mud away from my face.

toughmudder3

A Mudder scrambles through Electric Eel Photo by Tough Mudder

As we approached ‘Electric Eel’ we could hear the sound of electric currents zapping human skin. This dreaded obstacle features live wires hanging down from a barbed wire frame, ready to send 10,000 volts of electricity into even the most agile victims as they crawl through the mud on their elbows. I made it to the end of the frame and began to think that I’d overcome the odds until I started to haul myself out of the mud and a wire caught my shoulder blades. I unleashed an unstoppable yell to cope with the pain and my body shuddered forward without my permission. I’d learned a valuable lesson about underestimating Tough Mudder- and I learned it the hard way.

We’d come 10 miles and I thought we’d seen it all. We’d been zapped, frozen, and smothered in mud. The muscles in my arms and legs had started to numb. My joints were creaking under the weight of my sodden clothes and all I could think about was which takeaway pizza I was going to reward myself with in a matter of hours…

That is, of course, until I found myself at the edge of the 12ft ‘Walk The Plank’ obstacle and all I could think about was plunging to my imminent death. As I chickened out of the timed jumps over and over again I started to feel a lump forming in my throat. A crowd of spectators was gathering at the water’s edge and fellow Mudders started slapping me on the back and telling me I’d be okay. I looked behind me and saw no way of climbing down the plank frame without causing utter humiliation and regret, so I shut my eyes and shuffled along the platform. Without thinking, I took a huge breath and forced myself over the edge…

Picture shows TM Skipton Photowall Saturday. rossparry.co.uk / Steven Schofield I came to Skipton on Saturday prepared to run the 12-mile course and bypass every obstacle. I emerged feeling battered, bruised and exhausted- yet stronger than ever before.  DSC03539Tough Mudder isn’t a competition, but a test of each and every individual who takes part. The beauty of it is that this is my Tough Mudder story- and there are millions of Mudder Legionnaires all over the world who have their own unique story to tell.

2014-08-02 13.42.53

Top 10 ways that studying abroad transforms your resume

29 Jul

This blog has also been featured on Verge Magazine’s website and can be viewed here.

How to communicate your overseas experience to employers.

 

Moving my entire life to South Carolina last August, I knew that there was an unpredictable, unfamiliar and exciting journey ahead. Having returned home to Leeds, England, a year later, I’ve been able to see just how much that exposure to unfamiliarity has made me a stronger individual. But the challenges I’ve faced over the last year have also made me a more employable individual.

I’ve been applying for internships, work experience placements, jobs and volunteer roles and have realized just how much I’m relying on my year abroad as a tool for self-promotion.

Here are the top 10 ways that studying abroad—wherever you go and whatever you study—transforms your resume:

1. Study abroad fosters global thinking.

999819_743861552311694_607540598_n

Delivering a presentation about England to American students in Irmo Middle School

Studying abroad encourages students to see the advantage in global connections. You might be able to bring a global twist to a new work project, or utilize connections you made in the field. Or perhaps studying abroad simply made you more worldly and more aware. Whatever the case, studying abroad helps us to nourish an international insight into studying, into employment and into life itself. 

2. Study abroad demonstrates versatility.

Studying abroad shows potential employers that you can deliver the same degree of high-quality attainment even when you’re at the edge of your comfort zone. Having adapted to the needs of an academic institution across the world, they can rest assured that you won’t be daunted by the demands of a new office either. 

Trying local shopping in Columbia's thrift stores

Trying local shopping in Columbia’s thrift stores


3. Study abroad makes you more open-minded.

DSC00832

Trying rock-climbing for the first time in Alabama

While studying abroad, many things happen that you never would have predicted at the start of the year, the start of the month or even at the start of each day. Exchange students foster the ability to approach change with an open-mind and learn how to stay calm when they can’t predict the outcome of a given situation. This will be particularly useful for employers who are looking for someone who can think on their feet. 

4. Study abroad demonstrates an ability to embrace differences.

As a freelance blogger and journalist, actively learning about other cultures has not only enriched my life perspective, it has also enriched my writing with a deeper consideration for counter-arguments. Living in another country for a year has helped me to think about how someone from a different culture may consider what I’m trying to say.

10464346_10152120568557051_5369498333485261182_n

My new friend Smokey in Memphis, TN

Whether you’d like to be a columnist for a national newspaper or the head of marketing at a high-flying firm, embracing social, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious and moral differences demonstrates a progressive, think-outside-the-box attitude to life. 

5. Study abroad builds confidence.

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman recently released their book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance and define confidence as “life’s enabler,” and “‘the ability to turn thought into action.” Confidence is also accumulative: the more you’re reinforced with positive results for taking risks, the more you’re likely to take more risks in the future.

DSC02121

Backpacking in the chilly winds of Grayson Highlands, Virginia

With a study abroad year on your resume, employers will know that you have that “just do it” attitude to life that separates you from the “thinkers” and makes you a “doer.”  

6. Study abroad helps develop your organization skills.

There are many aspects of studying abroad that require you to be rigorously organized. Much of this begins the moment you tear open your acceptance letter: vaccinations, visa requirements, bank forms, accommodation, exam certificates and doctor’s forms constitute just a small selection of the paperwork that an exchange year thrusts upon it’s courageous participants. It also demands the ability to plan and be proactive.

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 18.21.32

Just some of the papers I had to sort through before I departed

Going on a year abroad is the perfect platform to master organization and forward planning so that getting these basics in place for future jobs will be a breeze. 

7. Study abroad allows your communication skills to cross cultural barriers.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.21.25

Giving a presentation about my year at USC’s Discovery Day

Every study abroad experience is different from the next. Some people will study abroad in America for a year and vow to visit every state. Some will study abroad in Europe for a semester and vow to learn another language. However you measure success on a study abroad year, there’s no doubt that being able to create a life for yourself in another culture requires a certain clarity of communication, both verbally and interpersonally. 

8. Study abroad makes you more independent.

DSC03020

Trekking through Yosemite National Park with a group of people I’d met a week ago

No matter how many times you Skype home, the bottom line is that you’re out there on your own. You have to create a life for yourself in another country, make friends, find your classes, open a bank account and familiarize yourself with another culture. This will prove indispensable to employers who are looking for self-motivated candidates who can flourish in new environments. 

9. Study abroad fosters a single-minded determination to succeed.

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 19.57.23

South Carolina’s Best Student Columnist 2013

Although the essence of studying abroad is to broaden one’s horizons, something can be said for maintaining focus while so many distractions lie outside the window. I remember kicking myself when I missed out on weekend trips and nights out because I had so many writing deadlines. But I decided that becoming a columnist for South Carolina’s student newspaper was the better reason to be staying up late at night. 

However people choose get involved with campus life while on exchange, making an extra commitment can be the ultimate difference between a shortlisted resume and the one that secures the job.

10. Study abroad demonstrates an ability to overcome challenges.  

Martin Luther King once said that “the true measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The capacity to see opportunity in difficulty is what separates the optimists from the pessimists.

DSC02874

Making it halfway through the Grand Canyon trek (8 hours total)

I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories within the study abroad community—lost passports, stolen baggage, being stranded in an airport, running out of vital medication—but the capacity to overcome these challenges will determine the strength of the residue that is left behind when life’s luck and fortune have evaporated. 

 

Sexism & gender stereotyping explained by 5 popular Facebook memes

23 Jul

Facebook memes typically feature a witty expression or phrase written in two parts, typed over a photograph or image that supports the impact of the punchline. The first meme I ever saw was this popular spin-off from the Lion King, in which Mufasa explains to Simba what lies beyond the light, at the ‘shadowy place’. Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 17.00.16

Memes have become so widespread that you can create your own meme on a number of meme-generator sites. So instead of the above meme reading ‘The South’, you could insert anything you like, from ‘MacDonalds’, to ‘Malia’.

At best, a meme is a witty quip about some aspect of modern life. But most of the time, people use memes as a way to quickly justify and validate bad decisions or cheap shots at other individuals and groups. For example, the ‘People of Wal Mart’ page has over 25,000 likes on Facebook and is full of memes, but when you think about it, the page is a seriously creepy collection of photos taken of people unawares in order to make fun of their appearance.

There’s something about memes that have social media users hypnotised. Whether it’s the typeface or the supporting image or a combination of the two, memes seem to make hurtful statements acceptable and imbue flimsy observations of daily life with substance. In many cases, if you heard a stranger utter the same words out loud in a restaurant, you’d feel inclined to move tables.

When it comes to gender, sexuality, dating and modern relationships, memes tend to promulgate the gender binary, lock women into double standards, portray all men as chauvinists and relationships as some kind of unhealthy fated fairytale.

There are a select number of popular memes that I keep seeing again and again over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that really grind my gears because they romanticise harmful and polarising messages about gender. Without further ado, here are 5 popular Facebook memes that have crept all over the Internet and done exactly that: Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 16.03.10

I also like the idea,

That someone, somewhere, had just broken up with their partner and made this meme to justify their dating status.

I’m sure many people all over the world ‘like’ the idea of soulmates but this meme promulgates the fantasy that modern relationships are like Disney films. In reality, there may well be one person you can spend your life with, but it takes hard work, co-operation, sacrifice, patience, acceptance, humility, negotiation and maturity to make a life-long relationship work with anyone. This meme typifies everything that is wrong with expectations of modern dating, thanks to happy-go-lucky sitcoms and chick-flicks. Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 16.02.22

If a guy sleeps with ten women, he’s a stud. If a woman does the same, she’s a slut. This is one of the most tired double standards in the history of sexism that’s yawning so hard its jaw hurts. But this meme expresses the prejudice through a viral image, which re-inflamed the toothache like never before. A woman is not a territorial conquest. She is a human being.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 16.05.16

I’d much rather be understood than loved, thanks mate

I’ve seen so many women and girls re-post this meme on social media sites. I’m not sure if it’s suggesting that women are so complex that it’s easier to just love them, or that women are simply not worthy of human understanding, but either way, it traps women in a binary. The fact that the quote originates from Oscar Wilde does nothing for me. Literary prowess aside, Wilde lived in a time when women’s status was entrenched within economic, political and social barriers that do not exist now, so the fact that the quote has been re-generated via memes in a modern context is completely anachronistic.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 16.02.04

I like to think of myself as a kind of straightforward, reasonable person who means what I say, but the Internet has other ideas. Apparently, because I am a woman, my vocabulary is imbued with double-meanings that send warning signals to men everywhere. I am so truly complex and manipulative, that men have created memes to help other men figure out what I might mean. Huh, who knew? Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 16.03.37

I saw this meme on Instagram and felt how much of the nation felt while watching Nick Griffin on Question Time- there are so many aspects of it that incense me that I don’t know where to begin. The concept of ‘gentleman’ and ‘lady’ teeter upon archaic, chivalric expectations of behaviour based purely upon gender. I would much rather that somebody held the door open for me because it is polite, not because I’m a woman. If society, meme-users or a man believes that it is his entitlement to ‘smack my ass’ when I have walked through that door because I am ‘his’, then they’ll be met swiftly with a door to the face. Some gent.

10 basic facts you should know about feminism

19 Jul

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 14.15.32

The original Buzzfeed article that exploded over social media

            Buzzfeed recently released a post called ’14 Women Say Why They Don’t Need Feminism’. The article was a photo compilation of various women sympathetic to the ‘Women Against Feminism’ camp, holding up signs explaining why they’ve shunned the women’s rights movement.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 14.15.21

Just a selection of the hundreds of women who back ‘Women Against Feminism’

The reasons varied from ‘I don’t need feminism because I respect all humans, not just one gender’, to ‘I don’t need feminism because I am not a victim’. Every explanation portrayed feminism as an outdated, irrational, man-hating monstrosity that promotes entitlements and supremacy over liberty and equality. The article promulgated an ugly and unforgiving stereotype of feminism that feminists everywhere have worked tirelessly to refute for decades. 

Thankfully, the article was met with a stream of retorts over Twitter, explaining how these ‘women against feminism’ have dreadfully misconceived ideas about what it means to be a feminist. American actress, writer and singer Molly Ringwald was re-tweeted 853 times when she wrote,

‘This “women against feminism” trend perplexes me. Feminism is not female chauvinism, it is equality. Pretty simple concept.’ Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 14.18.27

In a later tweet, Ringwald highlighted the irony of the ‘Women Against Feminism’ motion: the perplexing fact that the majority of this anti-Feminist polemic rests squarely upon the bricks and mortar of feminist values. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 14.20.18

A sample of a ‘Women Against Feminism’ selfie

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of gender equality. Women declaring that they refute feminism because they don’t hate men, or because they are not victims, or because they support equality, are therefore feminists themselves. Women Against Feminism is promoting the same principles that feminists have been shouting about for hundreds of years- it’s just a damn shame that the stereotype of 21st-century feminism is causing them to shout about it from a separate soapbox. 

Feminism’s grossly distorted public image must be reconciled with its straightforward, clean-cut principles. In order to fight for a future in which women and men are treated equally, we must first fight for a world in which the word ‘feminism’ is treated positively. 

In an attempt to undo some of the damage caused by ‘Women Against Feminism’, here are ten basic facts that everyone should know about feminism:

  • Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men. 
  • Female emancipation does not thrive on male emasculation. Feminists do not seek to demonize or disadvantage men on the road to empowerment, only to achieve the same level of equality as men.
  • Not all feminists agree with each other. There are liberal feminists and conservative feminists. Pro-sex feminists and anti-porn feminists. Pro-choice feminists and, you guessed it, pro-life feminists. If you hear a feminist promoting a particular cause or argument, it doesn’t mean the rest of us automatically fall in line.
  • Feminists stand against the subordination of women. This means that we oppose any individual, group, organisation or movement that supports female inferiority. We do not confront those individuals, groups, organisations or movements without reason, but because they stand up for the destructive ideas that obstruct the path to our goals.
  • If a man believes that women and men deserve to be equal, he is a feminist.
  • Some women give feminism a bad name. They throw the word around recklessly as a justification to demonize men. Feminists hate this just as much as men do. 
  • Feminists come in all shapes and sizes, ethnicities and creeds, occupations and ages.
  • Feminist history began hundreds of years ago. It was not born in the 1970s. 
  • Feminists can be feminine. We don’t have to emulate masculinity in order to prove our worth.
  • If you ‘don’t need feminism’ because you see yourself as having achieved equality, that’s great. But other women all over the world are mentally, physically, socially, economically and culturally subordinated every day, so don’t chastise other women for carrying on the fight. 
    Repping my Chimera (women's self-defence) t-shirt in Yosemite National Park

    Repping my Chimera (women’s self-defence) t-shirt in Yosemite National Park ‘It’s not the woman in the fight, it’s the fight in the woman’

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,431 other followers

%d bloggers like this: