Wednesday, 28 January 2015

On Nothingness

Okay, I will be the first to admit that this particular blog title might just be a tad melodramatic. Before we go any further, let me just say, this is not a cry for help.

But this week has been about nothingness. For a reason that I cannot fathom, I have not had anything to say, not had anything to write about both on and off the blog. Perhaps it is the mythical writers block and loss of the bloggers mojo that I see bandied about, but I have never really believed in that.

There are some weeks that you want to crawl under the duvet and not get out. I think this has been one of them. The freezing mornings are making getting up impossible, and whilst I am not the biggest Summer fan, I for one, will be happy to see the back of Winter. Instead of getting dressed, grabbing a coffee and getting on the 07:49 to London, I want to stay at home in a pair of comfy leggings, a baggy jumper and watch back to back episodes of The Good Wife (maybe interspersed with a little 90210 for some comic relief).

Last week was one of great excitement. I got incredibly fired up by the No More Page 3 campaign. I wrote about it. I tweeted about it. I got incredibly fired up by the book that I read. I will write about it. Eventually. I got incredibly fired up by the rugby.  

But this week, I’m not fired up about a lot. And actually, that’s okay.

Sometimes a week of nothingness is fine. You don’t have to tweet about every little thing that has happened to you (I didn’t even feel like sharing the amusing incident that happened on Oxford Street involving a drunk Scottish man, and his love of a particular work beginning with F and rhyming with duck.). You don’t have to write in your blog if you don’t want to. You can wish you were at home and it’s not a bad thing. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves, otherwise we will be exhausted.

Nothingness can be overlooked, but sometimes, a little bit of nothingness is just what we all need. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

This week's ten lovely things

One year ago today, Dan and I got engaged in Paris, and if that isn't a lovely thing in itself, then I don't know what is. A cliche it might be, but I cannot believe where those 365 days have gone.

1 :: Fresh coffee in the mornings, and not the overly priced sort of stuff you find in a papercup with your mis-spelt name on it.

2 :: Cheesy movies on Netflix. Highlights included Made of Honour and Safe Haven. The perfect remedy when it is Arctic outside.

3 :: Talking of Netflix, I recently started watching / got addicted to The Good Wife. I'm currently midway through the first season, and I am hooked. If you've not seen it, all you need to know is that Mr. Big has been a dirty dog, and his wife is left to pick up the proverbial pieces.

4 :: Finishing Sisterland. It's not the ending I would have wanted, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Starting I was Here and immediately falling in love with Gayle Forman's magnificent writing.

5 :: Booking a little trip to Corfu in June for a friend's wedding and a few days in the sun. Now I need your help - what do you wear to a hot and sunny wedding abroad?

6 ::  Cheese and toast, with Heinz Tomato Soup for lunch, on the coldest day of the year. Sometimes, you need a proverbial hug in the mug.

7 :: Impromptu family visits on Friday morning.

8 :: Emma Watson's empowering speech on gender equality at the WEF in Davos. In a week where women were very much in the limelight (from Page 3, to Yes She Can to even, Dove's Love Your Curls campaign), it was fitting for the week to end with Ms. Watson's inspiring speech. #BossWitch

9 :: The moodiest sunrise on Tuesday morning.

10 :: A rugby filled weekend. European matches are always a joy to watch (if not a little frustrating at times) and this weekend was no exception.

Friday, 23 January 2015

actually, 'no more page 3' really matters

My first ‘memory’ of Page Three (and let’s face it, this in itself shouldn’t be an event), was when I was eleven years old. We were on holiday in Spain. These were the days before internet, and before news on demand. The only ‘British’ newspapers available were those from the day prior to this, and there was a very limited selection. My father, a stalwart Telegraph reader, found himself in the awkward position of choosing between The Sun and The Beano. Given the two options available, and in need of news fix from back home, he chose The Sun.

And that was the moment that I realised that newspapers thought it was okay to not only publish photos of ladies breasts, but to do so on a daily basis.

Even at the age of eleven, long before I was venturing into the bra department in Marks & Spencer, I knew that I didn’t like this at all.

Fast forward many years later to 2012, and the campaign ‘No More Page 3’ was launched, and I have long admired the admirable work that these ladies do.

There are countless reasons to not like Page Three. And it’s not just about being a prude. It is, at the end of the day, sexist. If men and women are to be treated equally, printing a photo of a young woman in nothing more than a pair of knickers in one of the biggest selling newspapers does not help. It treats women as nothing more than a pair of breasts. 

Anyone can pick up a copy of this newspaper, anyone, including young and impressionable children.  We are constantly telling young girls that beauty isn’t what is printed in the media, but yet, page three still exists. We are constantly telling young boys to treat females with respect and equals, but yet, page three still exists.

In 2014, we should have moved on from this ‘lad’ culture. And when I last checked, boobs aren't news.

And then on Monday, something incredible happened. The Sun didn’t print Page 3. They didn’t print it on Tuesday, (although they did print photos of scantily clad young ladies frolicking on the beach. What larks), and they didn’t print it on Wednesday either.

But then on Thursday, they did.

The Sun’s behaviour is nothing more than a stunt (which so perfectly rhymes with the one word that describes this decision). Their actions were intended to ridicule and belittle not only the No More Page 3 campaign, but also women and anyone who dares think that a family newspaper is not the forum for printing photos of breasts.

My Twitter feed has been alight over the last day. From those who call anyone who is against Page 3, a granola-eating, sandal-wearing, bra-burning lesbian (for the record, I am none of those things, but it wouldn’t matter even if I was), they were promptly blocked, to countless upon countless tweets from angry women. 

So well done The Sun. Your childish behaviour has pushed the No More Page 3 campaign into the limelight far more than anything else you could ever have done. It has got people talking, it has got more people signing the petition, it has got people angry, and it has got people ready to fight this cause even more.

In the same week where women are celebrated through the remarkable Yes She Can campaign, your little stunt has in actual fact, left you looking like the bad guy.

Because it might be just a pair of boobs, but it is about so much more than that.