Feminism Up: Five Things I’ve Learnt

Feminism Up is a monthly newsletter I compile that aims to share the voices of anyone and everyone. It aims to encourage everyone to call themselves a feminist and, in turn, share their own version of feminism. In tackling every day sexism and archaic and disturbing sexism, I believe we can tackle the massive global issues feminism faces. I have definitely learnt a thing or five from this little passion project of mine. If you ever compile a newsletter or anything similar, you may find these tips and tricks useful in making the process a little smoother.

Alissa

Picture from issue #4, to be released on September first.

Plan: From pictures to articles to spreading the word on social media, it all takes a lot of planning. Or it should do. Getting yourself into some kind of routine is vital. When Feminism Up is going smoothly is when I have at least three out of four of the next month’s writers ready to get writing while I’m sorting out the current issue. It’s when I have photos taken and ready to be edited half way through the month (I release the newsletter on the 1st of every month) and when the newsletter is completely edited and perfectly proof read three days before release.

Don’t be your own worst enemy: I can be so busy gathering articles from other writers and taking photographs of them that I put off writing my two pieces for an issue as well as putting off making the time to get the photos of me taken. It’ll be constantly on my mind that I haven’t written my pieces when this whole problem doesn’t make sense anyway… I adore writing about feminism.

Sarah

Picture taken from issue #3, which you can receive if you sign up before 8pm (GMT) on September first.

Social media is your best friend: Despite all of its flaws, the array of social medias we use offer brilliant platforms to get your project heard; to gather some interest. You have to be pretty persistent. I find Instagram harder to post frequently (due to a lack of pictures) but Twitter is super easy to constantly update- not that I’m doing brilliantly with this tip. When I am, however, my project feels relevant.

Trust your writers: I have found that I have every reason to just trust what my writers are going to say. I have wonderful friends (and amazingly people I don’t even know) writing for my newsletter and, originally, I was simply grateful. I kind of thought they were just doing me a favour for the chocolate I’ve been promising them. But it’s nothing to do with me (hence a couple of writers I don’t know writing me awesome pieces). Feminism is a subject that inspires such passion and people love thinking about it; people love writing about it. It’s inspiring to know and gives me butterflies when I’m reading their pieces.

It doesn’t always go to plan: Sometimes things don’t go to plan. Whether someone who is supposed to help you doesn’t in the end or your newsletter doesn’t send properly (*nods knowingly*), that’s life and all that. When I sent out a draft of issue #1 rather than the actual copy (to everyone who had signed up), all I could do was face palm a couple of times, send it again and remember it’s a learning curve. *Shrugs triumphantly.*

You can sign up HERE but if you don’t, in the mean time, Feminism Up! ❤

~ Kat ~

P.S. You can follow Feminism Up on Twitter and Instagram or email with any thoughts, questions or newsletter entries at feminismup@outlook.com!

All that She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

All that She Can See tells the story of Cherry; a baker who creates a little bit of magic to be tasted with every single bite. Only her bakery’s customers have no idea. But, after a slice, they do know they’ll be back soon. Once again, Carrie Hope Fletcher has written a story the oozes a heaped tablespoon of magic with a slice of an endearing love story. This time there is quite the portion of adventure too. Cherry has a party trick that proves to be a little more terrifying than rolling your tongue or crossing your eyes. She can see the worst parts of people; whether they are haunted by Loneliness or Mischief. Little does she know, she is less alone with this skill than she first thought.

IMG_3834.JPGWhile the book is endearing, charming and delicately so, it’s also exciting and adventure-packed. Essentially, it’s the whole shebang. The novel begins with sweet Cherry anxiously taking on the UK with her little bakery business and we soon realise All the She Can See is a story of our lovely protagonist’s progression. We egg her on to bake up some confidence and take on the local villain, Chase. He chooses to mess with the locals’ feelings rather than translate them into some goodness.

Maybe the most poignant theme of the novel is friendship. Cherry bakes up a summer day and brings it with her wherever she goes; creating friendships with all of the locals. Meanwhile Chase is baking up a storm and we, as readers, instead fall for the support Cherry offers, and the locals offer it right back at her. The calm, of course, does precede something less so tasty. I loved the pace of the novel; it developed gradually, allowing tensions to rise, eyes to widen and therefore, the pages to be turned more and more quickly.

I read this on holiday a couple of weeks ago and it was such a good sunshine companion. I highly recommend that you pack it in your suitcase if you’re going away because you click with Cherry instantly, wanting her to be your friend (and drooling at all of the cakes). Meanwhile you enjoy escaping to another world that oozes a perfect dusting of magic to accompany you on your own little escape to magic (sun, sand and water).

The story brings us moments that offer bittersweet discomfort; and thank-goodness-relief that makes up for it. All that She Can See combines a delightfully sweet tale with a sprinkle of fantasy. It’s sweet and sour and it’s bloomin’ brilliant at being just that.

~ Kat ~

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel | Feminism Up

Not only do the strands of feminism differ slightly or even dramatically, but so do our own versions of feminism. I believe my feminism is different to anyone else’s as it’s shaped by my own experiences, my background and who I am. However, since compiling this newsletter that tells the experiences of men and women alike, one quality of many writers’ feminism appears recurrent: gender expectations. My own experiences have repeatedly seen my gender as a marker of how I should act, what I should wear and even what I should order at a bar. While they may sometimes seem trivial (and they sometimes are), they leave me questioning what birthed such thoughts. Most of the time, comments I experience laced with gender expectations appear to be children of that pesky patriarchy.

IMG_3768“Kathryn, that’s not very womanly of you,” “… For a girl” and “You want a beer?” would be the first three tracks of my debut album if someone would finally agree to fund it. However, with a glass half full attitude, if we keep addressing both the ridiculous and also frightening gender expectations, we really might be able to pour the notion down the sink once and for all.

1. Kathryn, that’s not very womanly of you

Track one’s inspiration began along time ago, in a place not so far away. While my character has never been traditionally “boyish”/”manly,” nor has it been traditionally “girly”/”womanly.” Once again, Feminism Up is no stranger to discussing this restrictive recipe for A Gin-der Exclusive Cocktail. It’s an impossible aim to suggest even one of us can fit the mould of a “manly man” or a “girly girl” perfectly. Yet, my love for Star Wars Battlefront 2, fashion choices that see me wearing a movie-print T-shirt and jeans instead of a dress and ability to out-burp any male I have come across yet, has always apparently warranted sexism on draught. Should my ability to belch not simply be disgusting much like that of a guy’s? Not a silly burden on my own gender.

2. … For a girl

Track two captures the notion of receiving a compliment before it is destroyed with three little words. For as long as I can remember, any achievements my female peers or I achieved in a traditionally male-dominated area produced further segregation between the two genders. We would have run “really well… for a girl”; we’d have said something “funny… for a girl.” I myself once claimed, after potting a ball in a game of pool, that “I’m pretty good for a girl, aren’t I?” Thankfully a (male- not that this detail is particularly relevant) friend corrected my mistake, “No, you’re just good.” Our talents (and, as usual, this isn’t a story that only tells the female’s story) are restricted by the Gender Rule Book.

3. You want a beer?

As a 21 year old, I listen to track three the most. So much so that I used to hope no one would notice when I nursed a FOR MEN ONLY beverage at the pub. One time, as a bartender pulled a pint of sexism, he took my order, seeming confused. “Wait, he wants a beer and,” *turns to me* “you want a beer?” *I responded that he was correct.* “You drink beer?” I’ve been a fan of beer from my first sip and yet I’m so often called out on it. I’ve patronisingly been called a lad as if I’m the punchline of a joke; I’ve been made to feel like I’m only drinking it to be a lad. And just like that we create a world where a drink – a drink – is gendered.

I think this discussion needs to continue. While I feel lucky that I am a victim of these kind of gender expectations rather than heavier social forces, the conversation needs to continue. If we keep bottling up our feelings about subjects such as these, far more generations to come will still be fighting the battle. Call me naive, but tackling issues that are close to home like these could help tackle the issues we are grateful to call so very far away from home. Now I’ve got that off of my chest, it’s time for a beer.


This is an article from issue #3 of Feminism Up, a monthly online newsletter (that gets delivered straight to your inbox on every 1st of the month) that aims to encourage discussion about inequality, sexism and feminism. All the while, it aims to inspire everyone to call themselves a feminist. If you wish to, you can sign up to the newsletter HERE, follow the Instagram HERE, the Twitter HERE or email at feminismup@outlook.com! In the mean time, Feminism Up.

~ Kat ~

A Run with a View | Port de Pollenca

We don’t typically associate exercise with holiday. We go on a few more walks than normal but as soon as we’ve arrived back at Holiday HQ we’re looking forward to a few beers and a lot of tapas. And there is nothing wrong with that. While we wind down in the humid holiday heat, the much cooler morning will be promising to arrive and slipping on your trainers as the blue sky is already ready and waiting will be far more inviting than you might first assume.  I have aimed to run everywhere I visit. I haven’t entirely stuck to it, but on my holiday to Mallorca a couple of weeks ago, I did. It was wonderful and made me want to write about why you should run on holiday. Spoiler: I’m going to preach about why you just must run on holiday…

Holiday

  1. Feeling fresh – Although running on a hangover has been proven to be a bad idea (among other reasons, it dehydrates you further- not good!), if you’ve had a pretty chilled evening in terms of the infamous holiday boozing, it could make you feel super fresh to start the day with a run! I go from feeling holiday groggy (I seem to just want way more sleep than I ever need at home when on holiday) to feeling pumped to get the next sunny day on the road.
  2. Happy and healthy – Along with feeling relaxed, making the most of the wonderful fruit abroad and making a few healthy choices here and there, running is going to make your body give you a round of applause. And it’s a good idea to let it praise you a few times on holiday.
  3. Adventure time – As I often insist this, I’ll insist again: It’s such a brilliant way to explore a place. You might find a few restaurants you want to try out, a quieter slice of beach and that ice cream flavour you’ve been waiting to try all week (just me?). The best way to get to know a place is by foot. Change up the walking for a run for one or two mornings during your stay!
  4. An early start – If you want to beat the intense midday onward heat like most of us, you’re gonna kick off your day pretty early. If you want to spend the day exploring, reading and finding the best food, a day inspired by an early morning run is a wonderful idea.
  5. That after-run dip – When your sprint finish is greeted by a delicious dip in the water, it will be confirmed that you could never regret a run on holiday. Whether you simply walk around, have a paddle or make it a full on biathlon, the water cools you down tremendously; and those endorphins, I believe, love your choices even more!

HolidaayPort de Pollenca provided us with the tastiest views. It was around about 30 degrees at seven o’clock and Aaron and I enjoyed the challenge. We ran all along the bay, finding new places to drink cocktails and headed all the way along to where I stayed seven years ago. Nostalgia flooded in and I smiled remembering little parts that make up the very lovely area of Mallorca. As runners, we were far from alone. They whizzed past us as we gulped our water too quickly and dreamt of breakfast. Shortly after holiday I surprised Aaron with a gift that revealed he is to run the Edinburgh half marathon with me next year. I’m just the worst loveliest girlfriend. It was fun to run alongside him for the first time in for ever, without him knowing that’ll it’ll become a regular occurrence as we train for 10 more miles than we ran that morning soon enough!

I’m a big believer in shoving some trainers in your suitcase (or popping them on for the flight for weight purposes). Get the whole family out or drag along your friend. You’ll laugh at the sweat dripping off of your forehead while fellow runners who are used to it look as if they have their own air con system. But it’ll all feel well worth it in the end!

~ Kat ~

Five Quick Benefits of Swimming

Slicing my arms through the inviting water at my gym is my favourite way to start a day. I rejoined my gym at home since moving back from university and decided to bite the bullet and buy an all-inclusive membership, swimming pool and all. As much as I adore running, no day feels more accomplished than the days the start with a few lengths. And that’s probably because swimming is a bit more challenging for me. I remember being picked to compete in a biathlon at junior school, feeling okay about the run, but feeling obliged to insist to my teacher that I could let the team down when it came to the swimming. Whether I did or not, I remember climbing out of the pool at thinking, you only went and did it!

IMG_3610

  1. Sleep Swimming has helped me have a far better quality of sleep; allowing me to also drift off easily when I get into bed earlier than normal. I seem to be getting less sleep and feeling far better. Being someone who claims there aren’t enough hours in the day, this is my favourite benefit of tiring myself in the water.
  2. Endurance – At the end of each swimming session, I seem to realise I have been able to manage 2-4 more lengths more in the same period of time (about 45 minutes) than the time before. Similarly, the endurance I gain from swimming appears to encourage my body when doing other exercise. I feel my core has strengthened, thereby helping my runs feel smother.
  3. Strength Over the last couple of months my arms (although I’m sure it’s strengthened other parts of me too!) seem to have strengthened and this translates into other workouts. When I train my arms in the gym I can more quickly up my weight and I assume this is down to the fact swimming is just unbelievable as an all-body workout.
  4. Content muscles  While I feel a wonderful kind of challenged when swimming a few lengths, it is a low impact exercise. I think swimming complements running perfectly; I believe any runner should also swim. Your muscles will thank you if your body is telling you that you need a break from running, if you’re recovering from a race or if you’re simply looking for another exercise that works really well alongside your running. You will soon feel how it cheers on your muscles while the impact from running may sometimes encourage your muscles to hiss at you.
  5. A healthy mind – Exercise, in general, has consistently proven to be brilliant for our mental health. During a swimming workout I feel relaxed despite working really hard (the whole no sweating thing probably encourages this feeling) and the endorphins seem to be felt all day long.

I can’t sing the praises of swimming enough! How have you found swimming to help you?

~ Kat ~

Port de Pollenca | Mallorca

Last week I holidayed in the beautiful blue Port de Pollenca, located in northern Mallorca with a promenade of restaurants, bars and gift shops that overlook the lovely bay. I visited for seven days with my boyfriend and his family, as well as his sister’s boyfriend. I stayed there about seven years before and the walk along the promenade was just as charming in August’s warmth this year. I am normally clicking away on my camera while I am away but decided not to this time. Instead of posting a fair few posts, I have collated a scrapbook-like blog post with a few words here and there. While I am bringing it altogether, I will be nursing the old holiday blues. It was a good’n.

IMG_3673IMG_3620.JPGIMG_3645.JPGIt was well known throughout the week that my dinner-choosing ability was spot on. I consistently chose the yummiest dishes and I’m not shy to admit it. While it hurts to rank them, here were my top three favourite meals that you just have to try when visiting Spain or its lovely islands (excluding tapas and paella because… duh):

  1. Swordfish (Mallorcan style)
  2. Tuna steak
  3. Duck (not exactly Spanish but it was the best duck I’ve ever eaten)

IMG_3687IMG_3670IMG_3697The week was mostly very chilled; something I really adored about the holiday. City breaks are my favourite pastime and they are very fast paced; I wondered if a summer holiday would be a bit alien now. Swimming in the sea, playing too many card games and having a gin an tonic before we went out in the evening, however, was simply sublime. We tested out the ice cream (a quick top three of flavours: 1. yogurt with forest fruits, 2. pistachio, 3. white chocolate) most days and overloaded on Lay’s paprika crisps because, seriously why don’t we have them in the UK?!

However, we did hop on a bus or coach a few times and explore a little. At the beginning of the week, we visited Alcudia. The town is invitingly old, with lovely orange buildings and dainty restaurants. Aaron is partial (understatement of the century) to a market or two. After visiting the local market in the morning, we made the most of Alcudia’s huge market, gifting tourists with everything you want in a market: the tacky; the food; the clothes; (and most importantly for Aaron) the tea towels.

IMG_3705IMG_3680IMG_3691Aaron and I hopped on a short bus trip to Pollenca, the nearby town. While its history wove through its cobbled streets and we had the yummiest apple and goats cheese pizza (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), we think we chose the wrong time to visit. We were informed the day before that it was home to a fiesta for the time being and the town was spookily ghostly while also a bit… drunk.

On our last full day we headed to Palma, the capital of the Spanish island. It was awesome. We booked a boat ride for an hour; aiming to cool down from the pretty intense heat. We nursed fizzy pop and beer, enjoying the breeze and blue water. We then slowly made our way to lunch: tapas. The best tapas of the trip and some of the best tapas dishes I’ve had ever. And trust me, I’m more than qualified to make such a claim. I was chief tapas-orderer and thus, have our order to hand:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken wings
  • Potatoes bravas (note to self: must recreate)
  • Cheese and spinach croquettes
  • Fried squid
  • Spanish omlette
  • Assorted sausages
  • Padron peppers
  • Garlic mushrooms

Bellies full on the best kind of snacky lunch and a glass or two of sangria, we opted for a bit of retail therapy. Although it’s not my favourite holiday activity, I sunk my teeth right in, buying some new earrings and a top with a flamingo on (more than necessary). The city is more than endearing, offering tourists a bit of everything and even more.

IMG_3661.JPGIMG_3653.JPGIMG_3711One of my aims is to run in every place I visit; one morning, I slipped on my trainers and ran. I did aim to run once more but with all the swimming tiring me out (and, well, just being well and truly in the swing of holiday feels), I made do with the one lovely 5k run. One of my favourite parts of the whole holiday was the sea. Despite loving the beach, sand and water, before this holiday I’ve not made the most of dipping my feet in the sand and swimming through the I-need-to-cool-down water. Chilling in the sea was really quite fab. As well as a BBQ on the balcony at lunch time, a game of volleyball in the sea and an hour on a pedalo, the seven days in Mallorca were awesome.

We actually stayed in an apartment above a restaurant (Simbad- where I had the most delicious swordfish; the place is a Port de Pollenca must!) which is something I’ve never done. It’s now something I’d like to do again. It meant easily catering for ourselves and waking up just a minute away from the beach. I had a lovely time and have already reached the stage of holiday blues that see the Holiday Hungover Human eagerly searching for flights for the next trip away to sunshine. A girl can dream, eh?

~ Kat ~

The All Kicking and Splashing Workout

When I excitedly tell a friend that I will be attending my local Aquafit class on a particular evening, I’m greeted with the same response: I bet it’s full of older ladies and pregnant women. I’d be lying if I wasn’t expecting this to be the case when I first tried out the class. Of course it wouldn’t have mattered if the stereotype was true but I can confirm that it is, in fact, not true. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class itself when I stepped into the pool early last month but, long story short, I’ve been once a week since.

Upon returning home from university this year I decided that I wanted to up my swimming game whilst also having a gym membership. For this reason I chose to sign up for the all-inclusive membership. Although people gasp at the monthly price, I have more than made my money back and a weekly class has definitely allowed this to be the case. Aquafit does me the world of good. You feel silly in the most fun kind of way. And *shock horror* you feel it. 

My mum has been injured for the last few months and since Aquafit is tagged as the perfect exercise for those who are injured, we knew the class was for us. Even if this is one of its main selling points (alongside a really brilliant selection of fitness benefits), it doesn’t mean that it’s not amazingly challenging. While the instructor demonstrates at the pool side, we amusingly struggle to keep up- the water naturally stopping us from being quite as speedy as them. From running to punching to side stepping, you immediately feel the brilliant struggle. Many exercises in our class also involves noodle water floats which assist exercises that more than make you feel the water resistance. It feels just as challenging – sometimes more challenging – than exercises I do in the gym that target the same areas!

When reading up about Aquafit before heading to the pool, I read an article that insisted it beats other workout classes because people can’t see what you’re doing- if you mess up, it’s all good! This is often the case which removes any WHAT IS HAPPENING anxiety. However, the instructor did once correct something I was doing which makes me question just how terribly I was carrying out that particular exercise! The workout class is just under an hour’s worth of fun, though. Rain or shine I feel as though I’m on holiday, giggling away in the pool while mum and I feel the burn, simultaneously questioning if we are doing anything at all right.

To conclude: Aquafit is stupidly fun and amazingly rewarding. Being in the pool relaxes my whole being (so zen). With a layer of dancing, punching and kicking, it’s easy to understand its popularity. If you’re wondering whether you should attend your local class or have never heard of it before, I more than recommend it. Workout classes can provide such quality social time and it’s awesome to have an hour a week with my mum, splashing and laughing on a Tuesday or a Thursday evening!

~ Kat ~

Skip Benefit, Not Class | Feminism Up

Feminism Up issue #3 is live and you can sign up to read it HERE! The August issue is full of interesting thoughts by brilliant writers. One thing I decided to personally address was Benefit’s Skip Class Not Concealer advert that attracted a lot of ugly attention- and, rightly so. Below is the first article of issue #3 and I’d love to find out what you think in the comments. Is it a step too far? Has it made you reconsider their values?

Issue threeeeBenefit Cosmetics is a popular beauty brand that sometimes packages its products with entirely unintelligent designs. I have been a fan of their They’re Real mascara for years now and have been delighted to open up minis of their products at Christmas. Their daring packaging is sometimes brilliant, but when it’s not, it’s really not. And their recent “Skip class not concealer” advertising has been well and truly dumped in the This Really Sucks pile. Rightly so, too. The advert sees a young woman who has just woken up accompanied by this tacky slogan that proves to be far more alarming than the clock in her hand.

So many girls around the world are forced out of education; so many aren’t even given the chance. Benefit’s advertising makes a mockery out of the education the girls purchasing this concealer are receiving. While education should be the norm, we must not take it for granted. Education should be celebrated, not considered unfashionable. Benefit have foolishly decided to promote the ugly idea that our looks may only be valid with the help of their concealer; that looks should always be placed above intelligence and working hard. A message so many high-profile figures have been working hard to abolish. Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson are just a few that spring to mind. More than ever before, it’s cool to be smart; it’s cool to try hard. Let’s not undo all of this hard work with this advert so devoid of hope.

This campaign encourages (predominantly) young girls to feel uncomfortable in their own skin; a message we, of course, don’t want to be sending. The advert suggests using concealer is a necessity, not a choice. Young people (or anyone) should never feel pressured into wearing make-up and they most certainly shouldn’t be exposed to advertising that puts education as second best. So why are one of the world’s leading beauty brands choosing tacky and uninspiring advertising, over advertising that encourages us all to feel comfortable and empowered by our make-up choices?

Since my eyeliner-winged eyes widened at the sight of Benefit’s new icky advertising, I have done my research and found a handful more adverts that lack elegance. The company has not been shy of depicting a no make-up look alongside the word (wait for it… it’s a good one) “yuck.” The second picture will feature the same woman with their promoted product showcased and the word “wow!”… “Rolls eyes until develops a headache.* You don’t need to google for long to continue finding questionable adverts.

Make-up is an area that has always interested me in terms of feminism. Ever since I can remember the phrase, “She wears too much make-up” has been carelessly thrown around. Referring to people the speaker did know; referring to people the speaker didn’t know. When a male would wear make-up, this was also a noteworthy occasion; someone just had to say something. No one should be shamed for how they present themselves. Make-up or not make-up; female or male. Benefit’s recent advert puts pressure on the young girl that already feels alarmed by what she “should” and “should not” be doing or wearing, encouraging her to wrongly conclude that it’s far cooler to use make-up than to make the most of education. Feminism has also challenged the person who believes, in order to succeed, women must wear make-up. Benefit unfortunately doesn’t disagree, encouraging young girls to cover up imperfections before skipping class, thereby suggesting make-up is a marker of success; not engaging with education. Choosing to wear or not to wear make-up should be a choice; a choice that should never be considered influential in terms of one’s success.

It needs to be made known that we should not just turn a blind eye to campaigns such as these. Before last month I hadn’t thought twice about Benefit’s advertising; blindly taking part in consumerism without properly engaging with the thoughtless words. (And I’m an English graduate.) The “Skip class not concealer” advertising has definitely made me think twice about where my pennies are spent. I have decided I don’t want to pump money into a company that aren’t celebrating us all. For this reason, I will shortly be ditching my They’re Real mascara in exchange for a product that draws attention to my eyes that are eager to be educated.

Benefit: Detention for you.

~ Kat ~

Feminism Up: Issue #3

Pinch punch first of the month, sign up for Feminism Up issue #3 (for free!) and no returns! Feminism Up is the newsletter that encourages EVERYONE talk about feminism, sexism and equality, aiming for everyone to share their experiences in the newsletter and/or on the Instagram feed. Feminism Up wants to encourage as many people as possible to call themselves a feminist. You can sign up for the newsletter HERE, follow the Instagram HERE or Twitter HERE or contact me with any articles, ideas or questions at feminismup@outlook.com! You’ll receive issue #2 if you sign up before 8pm (GMT); if not, you can enjoy issue #3 with a cuppa whenever you like! Today, after discussing the brilliant articles in this month’s issue, I thought I’d talk about the people and things that influenced me to name myself a feminist.

FU3 (1).jpgIssue #3, like the other two issues, brings a collection of thoughts about sexism and feminism together in the most brilliant way. I’m super proud of it and the wonderful pieces the guest writers have written. Brooke (from over at The Coffee is Calling– go check her out!) has written about feminist books and how there is no “right” way to be a feminist. She also includes a fabulous reading list for those wanting to read up on feminism and I will certainly be dipping in and out of it! Next, my friend Sarah has written a brilliant piece about body expectations and why we need rid everyone of the weight of them. Marianne has explored subconscious sexism through highlighting lazy utterances from men and women alike that leave her feeling deflated. I promise you’ll read the post thinking, “I’ve heard that before.” Laura has written about why feminism is entirely compatible with her faith- a read I find massively interesting!

In my first piece I investigate Benefit’s new and terrible advert, “Skip class not concealer” as well as a few others that have caught my eyeliner-winged eye since. I will be posting this article over on the blog tomorrow because make-up and feminism has always been a topic that has interested me. My second piece explores gender expectations and a few that have been held against me; a few set utterances I have been a victim of, just because of the societal construct that is gender.

FemUp3.jpgAs I wrote in issue #1, the f word was (and still is) an icky word; a frightening word we should all leave in the history books. I knew years and years before I finally popped the letter F after my name (the easiest qualification one could ever achieve) that I admired the suffragettes and I believed in and wanted to promote equality. But something (called society) made me feel uneasy about the movement and, in turn, ignored it. Ignorance is bliss and all that. Towards the end of secondary school I felt quietly confident that I was everything a feminist stands for; by the end of sixth form I would call myself a feminist if it came up in conversation. After watching Emma Watson, Carrie Hope Fletcher talk about feminism as well as other YouTubers and reading How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, I was ready to chat. *Claps for past Kat.* It’s about time.

Whether we’ve all noticed or not or if we’ve even cared or not, I believe everyone has been the subject of sexism at least a handful of times. At least. When I was younger, I found it funny that we’d learn about the suffragettes, my history teachers celebrating their efforts even though the movement seemed frozen in time. I found it funny we’d analyse and roll our eyes at adverts from way back when that displayed product promotion at the expense of women, but I was also getting told by my peers that I belonged in the kitchen- a “joke” that’s so tired and old and yet shrugged off (I have never not shrugged it off) repeatedly. Left, right and centre I was being sent conflicting messages.

While I try not to push the label “feminist” and prefer the belief is understood first and foremost (even if the aim of the newsletter is to spread the term), I so (hopefully not naively) believe we could all benefit from this term that can capture any person’s version of feminism. I began using the term “feminist” and talking more about the movement because why not have a HQ for all of our thoughts, worries and experiences? Please let me know any thoughts you have about the newsletter if you do sign up! And if you’d be interested in writing a piece (for the newsletter and/or Instagram) I really would love it if you got in touch! If not, in the mean time, feminism up!

~ Kat ~

The Monthly Scrapbook | July

July kicked off (well, served off) with my favourite sporting event: Wimbledon. This meant a daily excuse to buy strawberries and cream while binge watching tennis. Yippee. Aaron started his new job which meant a celebratory meal out (white wine as we watched the sun set over the harbour- dreamy!) and the UK still (*touches wood*) is producing the loveliest weather. After graduating with my friends mid-July, the rest of the month has seen me frantically and excitedly apply for as much publishing work experience as my tired purse can hack.

IMG_2941.JPGAaron’s new job provides him with Sundays off; a luxury he hasn’t had with his previous job. To celebrate his first Sunday off, we headed to West Wittering, as we love to do when the weather warms up. We sunbathed, kicked a ball around, ate yummy food and walked a while. We ticked off a lot of things on anyone’s Summery Day Bucket (but no Spade) List. Sunkissed and sleepy, we finished the evening with a BBQ on the beach with his family, chucking around a frisbee like there was no tomorrow. Tomorrow, however, did come around which meant another Monday feeling like an oh-so-unemployed-graduate which, by extension, meant a day of emails, emails and more emails.

July Monthly.jpgThe day after graduating was a day that began with sun. Eager to not waste the lovely weather, Aaron and I headed down to the beach, kites in hand. He had always insisted that we must go kite-flying one day because he considers himself quite the pro. Even though the sun hid away, the wind was our new best friend. Aaron taught me how to fly a kite, something I had never done before. After we tired ourselves out we went to the cinema and watched Spider-man: Homecoming which we both loved.

SarahFU.jpgOn Friday I headed to the beach for a little 40 minute catch-up session with Courtney and Sarah, as well as taking photographs of Sarah for the upcoming Feminism Up issue. She has written a brilliant piece about body expectations. LOOK HOW CUTE SHE LOOKS. Sarah noted that it was exactly like one of those cheesy sayings so we made up our own: Sometimes you only need forty minutes with your best friends to leave with a pretty permanent grin.

As I post this blog post I am in Mallorca for a sunny holiday with Aaron’s family; a sure highlight of August. I have three books packed, ready to get my reading game back on. I have my running kit with me for a couple of runs. I have pennies to buy a snorkelling kit after falling in love with the activity in Malta last year. I’m excited! How is your August starting?

~ Kat ~