Feminist cricket

You may or may not be aware that I’m an avid follower of Sali Hughes’ beauty column on the Guardian every Saturday. I stumbled across it in the search for the elusive smokey eye, and it was all downhill from there.

Sali, and most of her fans, are feminists. I’m glad to call myself both. The online column is frequently suffering from trolls, baiters and vitriol – a sorry sign of one’s popularity. One comment this week particularly riled me, courtesy of a reader named “Oldfeminist”:

Solve the problem and save money by not using make up at all. Our own beauty is enough…saves time too. We are beautiful as we are. Don’t accept other people’s ideas about how you should look.

My response, in lengthier prose, follows.

 As a note to an old feminist from a young one: Why, exactly, should we save money by not using makeup at all? I love the colours, I love being able to change my face if I feel like it, and I love being able to cover up spots. I love getting compliments like, “your eyeshadow looks amazing!” or “you look different today”. I love being able to express myself through makeup.

Isn’t that what feminism is about? Oldfeminist was partly right on that account:  “Don’t accept other people’s ideas about how you should look”. I don’t wear makeup for anybody else and they’d get told where to go if for one moment they expressed a view that I “ought” to wear it. I really dislike these views that if she’s a feminist then a woman shouldn’t wear makeup, or take pride in her appearance because “that’s what feminists do”. It’s just as bad as being told that one ought to wear eyeliner, red lipstick and stockings whilst washing the dishes, because “that’s what women do”.

I heard in a snippet on the radio this afternoon that the majority of young women feel divorced from feminism. This is especially sad because I think they have become estranged from the concept of feminism, which is that a women should be able to do as she chooses without being dictated to by The Man (I employ a smidgen of sardonicism in using that term). Instead, it seems that a young woman associates feminism with being dictated to by The Woman, with bra-burning and its sign-waving sisters, and being told not to shave her legs. 

Not that (ingrown hairs aside) there is anything wrong with not shaving your legs, or shaving them, as a woman (or a man) pleases. I shave mine purely because I like the feeling when it’s done. But being told that you shouldn’t? Or that you should? That’s just not feminism. Or cricket. Or, er feminist cricket.

I feel lucky, now, in that I’ve always called myself – sometimes even proudly – things that aren’t always quite the norm, or even well-received by society. “Gay”. “Clever”, at school. “Fat”, at times. “Ginger”. “Feminist” is  just an addition to the list of my oddities.

For those who have always been pressurised to fit in, to be blonde and slim and appear to fancy the jock and be good at sports and not try too hard at school, I can totally appreciate how hard it must be to a) break away from being told how to fit in, and b) gravitate towards something that’s, at best, an unpopular concept. The misconception that being a feminist means dictating to others how they should behave is just the icing on the cake.

Being a feminist is (amongst very many other things) about having the choice and the freedom to wear what she pleases and look as she chooses, and to not be dictated to. So, to conclude with a note to any tentative feminists out there: Do as you like. Because I bloody well shall.

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One habit, two habits, three habits, four…

Oh dear. I haven’t been doing very well at keeping this updated regularly, have I? It’s definitely not yet in my habit inventory to check the reader more than once a week, let alone write a post of my own.

They say it takes 21 days for something to become habit. Other estimates lie anywhere between 30 and 60. It has also been said that it takes 6 repetitions to remember something (for those with average brains, presumably. I have photographic recall, but my processing power is virtually null. Ho hum.)

I wonder how many habits this applies to. I’m trying – and vaguely succeeding – to get into the habit of going to the gym more (or even at all!) and generally being more active. Will becoming a habitual member of the blogosphere scupper my chances? Guess I’ll suck it and see… Now where are the reminders settings on my phone?

Am I there yet?

I’m obviously not quite into the swing of this blogging malarkey yet (not this particular blog, anyhoo). And by “in the swing”, I of course mean “not sufficiently addicted to check compulsively on the nearest available chunk of electronica”.

As I write a lot for a living these days, I wondered whether writing even more in my free time would be an exercise in futility. But you never know until you try and anyway, I would rather like to have a bit more flex on what I can write at times… Round peg, round hole.

This is really a roundabout way of saying “hello”, and a belated introductory post. These days I call myself a medical writer, which is to say that I did a lot of science, achieved a PhD, sickened of academia and moved into an ad firm’s healthcare department where I now write promotional stuff for pharmaceutical companies.

(Yes, that does mean I sell drugs.)

What you are likely to see on here is an amalgam of science, cool marketing (which is roughly equivalent to psychology) and some squawkings about my other hobbies: horse riding and dressmaking.

Don’t worry. I’m not as boring and domestic as that last makes me sound… as, with a bit of luck, you will find out for yourselves!

Mirror replacement

Mirror replacement

Sometimes, I do think of replacing the shiny thing above my sink…

And lo! There were words

Technically every day marks the start of a new year – it all depends on where you start measuring. But, since we all run on the Gregorian calendar these days: Happy New Year!

As much as I like to go against the flow, I feel at least a little obliged to write an introductory post. Another pseudonym wanging on about life is precisely what 2013 needs… *cough* so here I am.

For many I know (and probably many more I don’t), 2012 was a rough year; I hope that you manage to incorporate it into your own history and allow it to shape you into you without too much retrospection. My own 2012 had a variety of ups and downs with resultant net neutrality. In the name of restricting navel-gazing (something I’ll try to keep as irregular as possible), I shall leave it there.

Nonetheless, a lot happened last year and I feel I might document this one better than any of the previous. Do please get involved – I love a good debate, moan, or simply a pertinent observation.


Only dead fish go with the flow.

Here’s a thought for you, whilst I gather mine.

Only dead fish …