Tag Archives: female

Wine Reviews for Normal People (Title TBD)

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I read somewhere that in order to become a wine connoisseur; you have to go to a school that specialises in teaching students about notes, bouquets and food pairings, along with other very important information. I imagine, that makes you qualified to be on Saturday Morning Kitchen telling people what to throw in their gullets with their posh meal. The people I’m writing reviews for are people more akin to the type of person I am; a multiple bottle kinda girl whilst sitting in front of my television, before breaking into song at whatever Disney film has to be stuck in my head.

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I am writing these reviews for the person who likes to come home after a long, hard day and forget the day by pouring multiple large glasses and eating hula hoops, before stumbling through their hallways to bed and zonking out, waking up the next day with a distinct fog wrapped around their heads like an invisible, fluffy hat. This is how most normal people drink wine and if you don’t drink wine like this, then you have no place here. Please leave.

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There are no real rules to this wine reviewing, but I do encourage you all to join in by commenting or emailing and I’ll throw them in one of my reviews! I am going to review whenever I can be bothered, really and I can’t imagine that any of them will really be the same, but as a normal human, I don’t really know how to review wine, so if that’s what you are looking for, again, you have no place here. Please leave.

A guide I will try to follow will be as follows:

  • Label – what does it look like? Photo and a small description of why I chose it. Did it jump out from the shelf or was I intrigued by the logo or something else?
  • Price – was it a bargain or full price?
  • Store – very important, in case I, by some miracle, inspire you to buy! (If so, let me know!)
  • Colour – red or white, we don’t do rose in this house as an Italian wine Coinoisuer once told me that it is a bastardisation of red and white wine and I don’t really like upsetting Italians, bastards, or wine being disturbed unnecessarily unless I really want to slum it and offend an an entire nation (for example, if someone buys me rose wine as a gift, I will still drink it)
  • Sweet or dry? That’s important because if I’m going to tell you to buy this wine and you hate dry wine, you’ll think I’m a right bastard for not informing you first.
  • How many glasses does it take before you feel a little popped? I drink out of very lage glasses, so I can’t really do this very well, but whatever, these are my reviews and I do what the hell I want.
  • At what point do you start finding people you don’t usually find attractive on television attractive? Suggestions for ‘sexy once drunk’ television humans are more than welcome. Sex Blog of Sorts suggested Kevin McCloud.
  • Food Pairings – weekend drunk snacks like oven pizzas or takeaways with loads of grease on them being my formative choices, alongside blocks of cheap cheese, salted peanuts and potentially chocolate.
  • At what point do you start feeling overly emotional and the need to swill your wine glass, spilling contents to convey your emotions?
  • At what point do you start off on a massive speech, then go off on a tangent because you forgot what you were talking about?
  • At what point do you interrupt anyone or anything happening around you to sing loudly along to Disney songs?
  • At what point do you start feeling ridiculously horny and start showing off your cleavage?
  • At what point do you feel so proud about your cleavage do you send a picture of said cleavage to both of your parents thanking them for creating you so well? (yes, I did do that. It had a figurine of Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z wedged in between)

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These may be relatively bizarre points, but I’m trying to remember my feelings/behaviour/opinions when drunk. Feel free to comment, email or tweet me your own suggestions, send me a picture of the wine and a small anecdote as to why you’re drinking: Sorrow, loneliness, you want to trick someone into sleeping with you… Only proper reasons, you understand.

I’ll post my first review as soon as possible and Brain, I know you’re reading this, so if you’d like to fetch home some wine following my helpful wine guide, I would appreciate it and also be very grateful that you’re actively supporting my blogging pursuits. I will take no wine as a signal that you don’t love or support me. See you soon!

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A Different Shade of Grey:

Today sees the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in our cinemas and with it, comes the controversy and the heady, dizzy frenzy surrounding the novel and subsequent movie will hopefully begin to subside… There will be an undoubted rush of women bellowing for all to hear that on-screen Christian Grey is as much of a romantic hero as his character in the novel, of which most will know my opinion! I recently wrote an article over on Femtellectual that explains why he isn’t anything of the sort and why women shouldn’t let Christian Grey anywhere near their sex lives, but even I have to admit, with all of my judgements and peeling a part of the novel to reveal the less than savoury centre, that EL James and her violently domineering romantic hero has changed the manner in which we view sex and relationships exponentially.

Back in 2011, when the novel was released, I am sure I’m not the only person who reluctantly experienced, first-hand, what it was like to come face to face with a woman who had read the novel. Out of the woodwork crawled many dishevelled women who were positively tickled pink by the contents of the novel and the ‘activities’ carried out by Grey in his ‘Red Room of Pain’, many with comments articulating their desire for their own Christian Grey. It’s no secret that sexual confidence soared within so many women that I know in my real life, including family and friends, and, as much as I have nothing good to say about the novel, or the domestic abuse within the storyline, I can get on board with the sexual confidence that ensued following James’ terrible, terrible writing.

I’m not afraid to admit that I was ashamed that so many of my family and friends read the novel and got excited over the concept of Christian Grey and I was especially embarrassed when my mother and sister seemingly jumped on the bandwagon. Because they’re my family, I saved them the diatribe reserved for other folk and I let them get on, but I realised later on, especially when my mother began reading them, that her enjoyment had nothing to do with her supporting the abuse or believing that it didn’t exist, or even finding it romantic. For my mother in particular, she was positively aghast, but not necessarily in a bad way, that things like this went on, not only within the confines of the novel, but in real life too. Apparently, when she was reading the novel, she meandered into my sister’s bedroom, book in one hand, reading glasses in the other and with a presumably adorably furrowed brow said, “can I ask you to Google something for me? I don’t know what anal beads are…” turns out my sister didn’t either, so they both discovered anal beads in all of their glory and my sweet mama vowed never to ask her youngest daughter any sex related questions ever again, instead choosing to either Google them herself, or ask me. I’ve always been renowned for my cavalier attitude towards sex and all that it entails, so I think my mother felt emboldened and happy to discuss things she’d never discussed before. When we went shopping, she would slide into Ann Summers and giggle at all of the ‘sexy’ clothes and even wandered so far as the vibrators and turned pink in the cheeks as I switched them all on and told her about the merits of certain movements and how it pleasures the female, much to her amusement/horror/surprise! Yet, whipping, flogging and sex toys inserted into anus’ didn’t seem like her cup of tea but, “those jiggly ball things” that Christian uses on Ana seemed to intrigue her a great deal. When she found out I own a pair and she laughed so hard that tea came out of her nose, “Really?!” she screamed, “what are they like?!”

***

One of my best friends got in contact with me this week to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey and asked if I was going to be going to see it or if I would like to have a girly night in my flat and we’d watch it together with wine, provided she could get either her partner or her mother to babysit (not us, a baby!). I informed her that I wasn’t all that supportive of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie and sent her the link to the article I mentioned earlier and her response was surprisingly different to most women. Promising anonymity, she allowed me to quote her:

I understand where you’re coming from with this, right, but ever since we’ve been young, you’ve been SO sexually confident. You’ve talked about sex toys like they’re your best friends and you’ve been so cavalier with your attitudes; what you like and what you don’t. I’ve never had that. I never understood where you got your confidence from, to be honest. But, after I read Fifty Shades I began thinking differently. As much as you were a lot of the inspiration behind my desire to be more sexually confident, a lot of the content in the book helped me begin to explore that with [her partner].

Admittedly, I was pretty shocked when I read her response, especially given my attitude towards the novel. I know and I do respect that people will have differing opinions and mostly, I just let people believe what they want to believe, but I have to say that it did surprise me that someone could feel so emboldened by Fifty Shades of Grey and that was one of the reasons behind one of my dearest friends exploring her sex life in a definitely more kinky detail.

My friends are, obviously, not the only people who have been affected by the novel, whether good or bad and it’s clear to see that EL James has inspired a surge within many factors of the sex industry. The sex toy industry for example, has positively boomed since Fifty Shades was released in 2011 and EL James has managed to bag herself a specific Fifty Shades inspired sex toy range that fans of the book/movie can purchase for their own sex play, which is available at LoveHoney and has proven extremely popular since it was first available online. There was obviously an existing BDSM inspired market, but with the popularity of the book and undoubtedly the novel, this has increased dramatically, and as much as I am firmly against the empire that EL James has created for herself, on the back of a book that undoubtedly promotes domestic abuse, but I can’t say that I’m unhappy that there are more and more women out there who have decided to positively and safely (presumably) explore a kinkier element to their sex lives.

It does extend beyond the bedroom, though, and I think due to attitudes towards online dating mellowing, I think a lot more freedom has been allowed for people to discuss their sexual preferences openly as part of the (for want of a better word) courting process, if you will. When I was single, I spoke to a lot of different men and used the likes of online dating to, at the very least, get my confidence (read: MOJO) back with regards to communicating with the opposite sex. Whilst I didn’t do it for very long, it did seem that every man I spoke to basically inferred elements of sex that they were into pretty much immediately. One man informed me, without any preamble, that he would like to see me hog died and insert sex toys into very specific orifices because that’s the kind of thing he was into… (three dots included) and whilst I didn’t respond to this person, it did seem to me that sex was the only thing that was on the table to this person and other people I spoke to as an immediate introduction to myself and presumably other women. In the past, where this might have been taboo to mention, or you might not have discovered until later on in the relationship, exploring kink and being open about one’s sexual proclivities has become a cultural norm and I do think the soaring popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey has something do with it; sensibilities have changed and, again, as much as I’m against the novel, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Talking about sex is, I feel, wildly important within relationships because everyone should be open and honest about their preferences and their boundaries; whilst having discussions within two sentences that reveal one’s sexual appetites is potentially a little full on, it’s still a good sign of confidences and shedding the ‘taboo’ moniker of sexual intercourse – everyone does it, but not everyone talks about it and Fifty Shades has helped that. Dating sites such as Plenty of Fish have even begun including specific sections of their website dedicated to people who like the novel and the ability to be able to specifically search for a dating site that caters to your needs has never been easier. Following the popularity of the novel, areas of the market have opened up and BDSM has become a popular, relatively normative sexual practice, with sites such as 50shadesofgreydating.com that allows you to sign up to the ‘luxury BDSM dating site’ for free and allows you to explore your inner dominant or submissive side by finding your Ana or Christian…Red room included! It’s refreshing to see that a kinky lifestyle is not only available, but widely promoted online and that people are exploring potentially dormant desires to be dominant or submissive in the bedroom by reaching out to like-minded individuals. It would be intruiging to find out whether these sites operate under the full safety of written contracts and promotion of safe words and loving/supportive after care for all involved, but even so, if two consenting adults actively go into a situation knowing full facts about BDSM, then I guess it’s up to the individuals to ascertain their boundaries, rather than the company, but it would still be interesting to find out.

It just goes to show that whether you love it or loathe it, Fifty Shades of Grey has had an impact on our sex lives and the manner we conduct our relationships in significant ways, and, whilst I am still fundamentally against the concepts of the novel and the promotion of domestic abuse within the poorly written pages, I am hoping that the movie depicts the relationship in a more consensual, loving manner that better represents the BDSM community, allowing for people who are potentially experiencing Fifty Shades of Grey to explore their potentially dormant proclivities in a more positive and safe manner.

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Chapter Four: Becoming a Woman

If you didn’t read that in a calming, soothing voice akin to Counsellor Diana Troy’s voice from Star Trek: Next Generation, then you have failed me. Go back, read it again, and come back to me with a fresh perspective and better attitude towards the piece I’m about to write. Back? Okay, thanks for that. If you’re male and/or slightly squeamish and are reading this with increasing trepidation that I’m about to go into a Vagina Monologue style rant about my first period or the first time I touched myself, then don’t worry, because I probably won’t. But then again, I might do, because I’m cruel and also because I’m trying to practice literary improvisation.

A lot of the things I read online tell me that gender roles are established very early on in life, depending on what toys you play with, thus, modern parenting techniques advise that parents don’t force their kids to play with toys depending on what part of the toy store they’re in; let kids be kids and choose their own way in life is the mantra. Anyway, I never had that. I played with Barbies and dolls (well, I smacked their faces against walls) I played with prams (ran over bees with the wheels) and played with toy make up and jewellery, as well as girly arts and crafts – I never grew up feeling that my place as in the home or in the kitchen (unless the fridge was fully stocked) and I don’t hold any kind of resentment towards my parents now for me playing with gender specific toys. Granted, I had both of my parents telling me on the daily that I would be a smart, career driven, independent woman who would be able to drive, tell the time without getting confused when the afternoon rolled in and never forgetting which way is right and which way is left, meaning I would just point in directions and say ‘over there’ by the time I was twenty six. Parenting successful, you guys, you can retire now… Anyway, I never felt that my toys were a suggestion of my future to come, nor did I think they were sending me subliminal messages, telling me that I’d make a great home maker/mother/wife, because my parents screamed even louder in my face that I would be AMAZING and BRILLIANT and high fived me when I didn’t wet the bed… In a way, I’m pretty pissed off that my toys didn’t have more of an influence over the adult I’d become, because my favourite toy, Barbie, had an amazing life and other than the subsequent body/self esteem issues I’d undoubtedly acquire by being too influenced by the blonde babe I played with daily, I’d still have been pretty happy with the outcome.

My Barbie dolls were awesome and their lives were pretty sweet. They lived in a giant mansion, all together with their best friends and enemies alike and they’d go on all sorts of adventures and divorce and marry people within a week. Imagine that life? It’d be like Dyansty! More to the point, I’d have been married to a Ken doll and we would have been amazingly well dressed and matching at all times. He would have enormous pectoral muscles, which I don’t agree with, and a questionable crotch region, which I agree with even less, but with the wealth of Barbie and Ken and the abundance of available plastic in the world, we’d be able to sort that kind of thing out, no problem at all. Life would be sweet. I’d also have an entire wardrobe style house full of clothes and every single day would be my first day at a new job. It would be like that first scene in Clueless where Cher is sorting out her outfit du jour via her amazingly technologically advanced computer; the only difference being, that my outfit match would be what I’d be doing as a job that day. My work week may have even looked like this:

Monday: Palaeontologist
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Tuesday: Canadian Mountie
Wednesday: Yoga Teacher
Thursday: Surgeon
Friday: Ambassador for World Peace
Saturday: NASCAR Driver
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Sunday: Princess

I mean, that’s way better than any of your careers, right?

Unfortunately, my toys had very little influence over my life. Unless you count my Speak and Spell which taught me how to spell swear words correctly and maybe my doll pram for killing all of those bees.

***

Do you remember watching ‘coming of age’ movies and TV episodes in the likes of Sister Sister, where they’d discuss womanhood like it was some kind of amazing journey we were about to go on, filled with love and romance and in the end, a tub of ice cream and laughs with our best friends for life humans? Then, as it got closer, all it really entailed was a lot of general hysteria at not only your perpetually changing body, but at the entire world around you for being so selfish by not realising your CONSTANT DAILY STRUGGLE WITH EXISTENCE!!! I was expecting magic carpet rides and new found responsibilities that had absolutely nothing to do with shaving my arms or legs, or being metaphorically thrust into the world with new squishy bags on my chest, thus suddenly agonisingly aware of my SELF and the perpetual gaze of the male ascending on me every time I chose to leave the house. It was awful.

Suffice it to say that I didn’t enjoy growing into a woman very much at all; I mean, I love it now, because I’m a woman and I firmly believe that is a great thing to be. I can’t think of anything that wields as much power as a woman’s vagina, except maybe her cleavage in a bar. Or more important things like what a woman has to go through to bring life into the world. There are some people who champion the sheer genius behind sperm and go into advance scientficit discussions about how far the sperm has to travel and out of the millions and millions THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE that assists in the creation of new life.

I’m not sure about you, but when I hear that, I’m sitting there metaphorically patting the head of which ever idiot has come out with that one, before retorting with what actual reproductive heroics actually entails. Firstly, women only have a certain amount of eggs and they start depleting from the moment we start our periods – did you guys know this?! – so when people start talking about biological clocks ticking, they don’t mean that one day you’ll wake up and have an overwhelming urge to reproduce and maybe, potentially steal a baby off the street, like I thought happened… Oh no: It means that you only have a certain amount and that the more periods you get, the more you lose them, because they just disappear. So if you only have like thirty eggs in your uterus and you’ve been a woman since you were like, eleven, then maybe you won’t have eggs in you at all and you’ll be BARRON. Which is really unfair when you think about it, like men can just wank incessantly on the daily for their entire lives and even when they’re like, ninety, they can still use that sperm to impregnate someone. I’m foaming I can’t do that with my vagina eggs.

I genuinely expected that becoming a woman would bring with it some kind of epiphany and that my entire life’s purpose would suddenly become abundantly clear, but other than the fact that I woke up in a pool of my own blood wishing I was born with a penis and that I could now house babies in my womb (ones that were grown there, not just put there as some kind of horrifically upsetting babysitting service) and that the concept of ‘babies raising babies’ suddenly became very clear to me, nothing else really changed. I still liked cartoons and I still believed in Santa Claus and cried when I didn’t get my own way. When I think about it now, I think of it in terms of history and how women throughout life were treated once they began menstruating, relief washing over me when I realised that upon having my period, my dad didn’t trade me in for a few goats to a middle aged man, I was lucky that my dowry remained very much non-existent. I was also lucky that my period coincided with the new millennium; otherwise I may have potentially been procreating for a well over a decade now and making food for a much older man, whose sweaty body had no concern for mine at all (what? The nineties were weird, man!). In a way, becoming a woman for me, meant staying a child, and I found that pretty awesome.

Me, on my 12th birthday, seducing babes, being a woman.

Me, on my 12th birthday, seducing babes, being a woman.

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Excuse me, I’m Going On A Quest

Hello everyone,

This is a little bit of an advertisement, a cry for help, if you’re being super dramatic because I want to hear from you guys. Recently I posted a blog over on Fem-tellectual regarding experiences I and others have received (as women) within the gaming community and have, thus, attested it to the growing hostility and tension between pro and anti ‘Gamer Gate’ people. As a woman, as an English woman even more so, I’m guessing, I’ve experienced Gamer Gate only as a platform on which people have attacked me for being female, threatened me with sexual abuse and threats and have made me feel that the general consensus of those ‘Pro-Gamer Gate’ don’t want women playing games. Whilst I stand by the post and believe that it is important with regards to inter-gender interactions within a gaming platform, I also feel that it was a little misguided.

The reactions that I’ve had from the post have been largely positive: most gamers just want to game and don’t want to get lost in the politics or accusatory nature of social media, so they agreed that we should just ignore the hype and get down to some gaming. Other people are more passionate about the Gamer Gate cause and contacted me because they feel misrepresented within the media. I guess in the same sense that I feel misrepresented in the gaming industry, or, hell, how I as a woman and feminist feel misrepresented within my country. So I began speaking to them about Gamer Gate, the origins, their feelings, the tension, the counter-arguments from Anti-Gamer Gate contributors… everything. I’ve also been talking to Anti-Gamer Gate folk to discuss their opinions thereof too and have been collating some great pieces of information and speaking to some truly eloquent, interesting, informative and intelligent gamers and general humans.

I have also spoken to some men who basically didn’t want to write information down, lest I edit it and mould it into something negative; take their words and bastardise their intent for my own gain, which I did put down to paranoia and felt they were mistrusting of me because I’m female and a lot of the men I’ve spoken to have assumed I’m Anti-Gamer Gate. I just want to make it very clear to all involved: I am Gamer Gate Neutral and during this entire process and afterwards, I will remain neutral – I don’t have the time or the energy to become invovled in a ‘war’ of sorts. So please, don’t try to force me into a side, because I won’t take one. Also, please be aware that everything I am given will be documented via screenshots, as well as quotes for any articles I write – nothing at all will be edited, or warped, or bastardised to suit my aim… Because I don’t have one.

As a writer, I believe that integrity, ethics and an unbiased approach to everything when writing articles is absolutely imperative and from what I can see, a lot of the Gamer Gate saga has boiled down to a he said/she said mentality, both sides feeling disrespected, both sides feeling they have been done wrong… as someone who has not been involved – not really – I have taken it upon myself to explore this further and represent an unbiased, non-aggressive, polite and professional approach to Gamer Gate and find out what is really causing so much tension: is it the ethics within gaming journalism? Is it a gender issue? Is it that women are mis-represented? I don’t know these things, but hopefully my discussion with fellow gamers and people from both sides of The Gamer Gate Camps will fill me in and discuss with me openly and honestly about their experiences.

If you would like to speak to me, please feel free to contact me via the contact page above. I would like to point out that I do not have an agenda, I am not on either ‘side’ and I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be given a passionate and intruiging piece of propaganda that makes me align myself with one side or the other – all I really want to do is write a piece about something that no one really knows about (other than those involved, it seems). I don’t believe in abuse or ill-treatment of people online, so please respect that when contacting me!

Thanks a lot, guys! 🙂

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Funny Feminist – Tits Over Talent by Sarah Farrugia

unnamedThe past year I took up acting, as a career choice (along with YouTube and selling makeup and shamelessly plugging my own businesses). I’m about to act in my first speaking role in a short film, which I can’t wait for. Actually, scratch that, I can wait. Wait until I’ve hit the gym a few more times and got my ass looking perky and round. My first scene is a nude, or, well, I will be wearing underwear but they don’t leave much to the imagination.I have no issue appearing nude or semi-nude in a role where it feeds into the character, this one being quite like myself, a bit of an exhibitionist and a show off, but in looking for more work all I can seem to find are roles that require me to be only a set of tits.

I am paraphrasing a little here but most roles I find that are suited to my age and location have lovely little side notes such as:

  • May requite nudity
  • May require you to be groped/touched/kissed

Now, these roles are mostly volunteer roles, it’s not easy to find paid work this early on unless it’s something commercial. And like I said, I have no issue showing off my fabulous breasts or my small but lovely butt if it’s called for but these films are generally asking me not to play a character but a blow up doll. To add to the fun of it, you never know who you’ll end up working with until you get the role, so God knows who’s greasy or possibly eerily small hands will be twiddling your tits for free.

This kind of requirement is minimal for men. Out of all the roles I have looked through over the past few months I’d say more than two thirds require you to be groped or nude if you’re female, compared to less than a third for male.

I’m wondering – should I give myself a new standard for choosing roles? If the female part can be replaced with a blow up doll (with substandard fun bags) it’s probably not worth going for.

At least I know that if I am ever sick or too tired or depressed about the state of roles for young women, I can send said blow up doll in my place with a nametag.


Sarah Farrugia is an aspiring actress, avid book reader, cat lover and general amazing human I am lucky to call one of my best friends. I am excited to work with her on Funny Feminist and follow her throughout life and her career – you’ll definitely be seeing more of her here, but if you would like to follow her and be a part of her journey, you can do so here:

Follow Sarah on Twitter

Sarah’s Youtube Channel

Sarah’s Younique Make Up Facebook Community

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Chapter One: My Glorious Birth

I once said that if I was ever going to write a biographical account of my life, that I would begin with the closing chapter, so that people would be left guessing, rubbing their chins and huddling in dark corners of libraries or book clubs, pouring over the first (last) chapter, wondering if I was a time traveller, or if I had a very specific car that required plutonium, then bits of rubbish and eventually, a train, to work. Mainly because my introductory chapter was going to entail a very specific account of how I died. It would be like that chapter and also scene in The Time Traveller’s Wife where he flashes into the present and he’s bleeding profusely, causing everyone to panic. But, to save this kind of undoubted social upheaval that would pour into the media and social networking networks like a fine, but dangerous wine and vilify me as some kind of monster for the rest of eternity (oops, another plot twist/spoiler: I’m immortal), I thought I’d change tact and start at the very beginning: My glorious birth.

But first, we’re going to need a little background, I didn’t just appear in my mother’s womb unexpectedly, that is nonsense and only believable if it happened in the olden days when apparently everyone fell pregnant at the hands of THE LORD, who was more than a little cavalier at his seed sowing back then, if you know what I mean… anyway, let’s continue:

When my parents first met, they were just a couple of crazy kids living in the midst of the only decade that everyone remembers with heart-warming nostalgia for unbeknownst reasons, given the neon colours, strange pants and terribly big and crunchy hairstyles: The 1980s. Now, I’ve only heard this story from my parents, who, you’ll learn throughout the course of this process are inherent liars, so this may not be entirely true; they may have lied to my sister and me all these years, forcing us to believe in the bittersweet concept of falling in love at first sight, which is apparently what they did. Apparently, my beloved dad was a little smitten with my mam from a distance for an indeterminate amount of time and it wasn’t until he happened upon her one morning as she was waiting for a bus, did he take his chance and bedazzle her with his 1980s moustache and his own car. Anyone who knows me, knows my undying passion for romance and love stories, so undoubtedly this story is my favourite: She was waiting for a bus and he happened upon her and decided to take his chance at love. Like, if John Hughes had been wandering through a tiny, sleepy village in the North East of England back then, he would have definitely cast Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy, or maybe even John Cusak to play my parents and it would have been a truly amazing piece of cinema, with an even better musical score (Side Note: For the rest of the post, I would be happy if you could hum Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds, perhaps the epitome of the 80s right there).

It’s not often that my parents talk about when they met, or really, life before my sister and I, but when they do, they seem to go misty eyed and they look at each other with looks that only two people who know the true meaning of love can look at each other. It would be sickening if it wasn’t so damned romantic and when I see the love they have for each other, I can’t help but thinking that I’ve been so unlucky in love in the past because of my sheer unwavering desire to fall in love at first sight (which, eventually happens to me, but you’ll have to wait a few chapters to get to that part. Or go and read the rest of my blog, whatever) and eventually, hopefully, marry someone I would also call my best friend, like they did. To me, it just makes the fact that I exist that bit more important, knowning that I was conceived in an environment where two people were so in love that about twenty seven years later, they still look at each other all funny when remembering how they fell in love. Aside from the knowledge that they had sex, of course, it’s good to know that I’ve been bred from two people besotted with each other, which not everyone can say, I guess.

I am told that other gloriously romantic and comedic things happened during the period of them meeting and me being born, which pads out the John Hughes movie plot slightly: My mam stubbed a cigarette out onto my dad’s hand and laughed hysterically right in his face as he nursed his injured hand. He lied about being allergic to dogs, to hide a presumably un-masculine fear of a tiny little girl boxer dog (which he would own for the rest of his life, which might just go to show where I get my enormous sense of hypocrisy from! And my ability to tell lies to get myself out of situations I don’t want to be in, too, I guess!) and there’s also a story about salted popcorn being propelled down the aisles of a cinema, shoulder shuddering giggles ensuing,w hcih would be another, very sweet comedic aside for the movie John Hughes would have directed. Maybe my mother (Molly Ringwald) would say something in a voice over akin to ‘From the moment that popcorn spilled down the steps of the cinema aisle, I knew I would marry either Andrew McCarthy or John Cusak, depending on casting, and we’d have two amazing children and a very happy life together… everything became clear then.’ End scene.

Anyway, back to the important part of the story, perhaps the main part of the opening chapter, considering that, without it, I’d not actually be here writing this at all, unless I went the route of the usual blogger and hired a ghost writer (oooh, I went there!), but even so, without the main event, I couldn’t hire a ghost writer, and now I’ve officially ‘Inception-ed’ myself.

I was born on Christmas Eve, which was a full eleven days before my due date and as a result, I have given my mam an amazing story to tell to everyone who mentions the fact that I was born on Christmas Eve. She grins, leans towards the person to whom the tale she is telling and states, “Yes, she was supposed to be born then, but she just needed to be here for Santa coming, didn’t you petal?!” and then she looks at me all proud, because as my mother, of course she is proud for having given birth to a human, but also because she’s proud for telling the joke like it was the first time, but also, I’m guessing, because she remembers it word for word every single time, which is actually a very applause worthy accomplishment, given her forgetfulness. Personally, I don’t mind that I was born on Christmas Eve, but other people absolutely hate it and offer me condolences and pitiful glances before telling me that it must be absolutely terrible to have been born then, because people will undoubtedly skimp on presents, given that it’s the time of giving and whatnot, which always seems a little odd to me… why would one skimp during this time? I’m not going to apologise for being born then if people aren’t going to apologise for their blatant cheapness on the day before Jesus’ birth… Bastards.

Obviously, I can’t remember anything about being born, which is probably just as well. I would feel deathly sorry for anyone who can actually remember being cast into the world via means of a vagina, screaming and crying only to me released into – depending on the birthing process, I guess – what I can only imagine being rivers upon rivers of blood and potential excrement… who the hell wants to remember that freakshow?! According to my dad, I was a really intelligent baby and general medical marvel from the moment I was eventually released from the womb and into the real world (absolutely no shit to be seen, I’m told!). Apparently, I didn’t cry at all, just looked around with wide eyed wonder (or, if I was aware of where I had just exited, absolute terror), and later on, when he was tapping my incubator with his finger, I followed his every single tap with my eyes… let’s face it, if that’s not a sign of a genius baby, then what is? I was also told that I was very long and skinny, which looking at me now seems like a genuine impossibility and I often think that I’m told I was long and skinny with a certain sense of scepticism, like my parents have active conversations behind my back, wondering if they brought the correct tiny human home with them, or if they’ve made a terrible mistake. Because, even though my limbs are pretty long, they are also significantly padded, hence their potential disbelief. But, I guess I look far too much like them for that to be a plausible explanation for having a fat twenty six year old child-woman, so that theory is a bit knackered. It’s still good to know that I was skinny once, though (and will be again! My poor, aching skeleton shouts).

In conclusion, this insightful, entirely truthful, if not slightly melodramatic for literary purposes, chapter on how I was born gives you a little taster of what you’re in for over the coming weeks, months, years, decades (depending on how long it takes you to read this), of what’s in store within my biographical process. It will be, hopefully, a good journey, as long as you remember this: You are literally reading the life story of a nobody… that’s what you’re doing right now. Think about that.

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2015: Doris’ Blogging in a Nutshell:

My blog is barely even a year old, but as WordPress informed me over Christmas, it has been doing very well for still being a baby. Last year saw me finding myself as a writer, as a woman and as a person who had less than a stellar experience in life, love and dating before May 2014. I’ve grown up, I’ve experienced things I never thought I would and I have had good and bad times, which have all been documented in my blog. However, one thing I feel that I’m seriously lacking is a structure, a proper tagline for what my blog is about, other than the general thoughts of someone who watches too much television and trawls social media all too ready to join in a debate regarding feminism. Some of my posts last year portrayed me as a rather melancholy, angry type feminist, which isn’t me at all, so I decided that 2015 will see me becoming a different kind of blogger entirely.

I’m not going to stop writing what I’m writing, but I am going to readdress topics in a manner that suits my personality more. I’m not an angry feminist. I’m not a politically charged type of person. I like lying in bed and watching bad television, I don’t profess to be anyone with opinions worth listening to. A concept that did hit me in 2014 however, was the notion of feminists as real women; not stereotypes and something that I want to promote on my blog over the next coming months is the idea of a Funny Feminist post written by either myself, or women that I would love to hear from… Any woman who counts herself as a feminist and who is generally quite hilarious. If you’d like to join in, please contact me via the contact page and we’ll get chatting about topics etc!

I am also going to start posting biographical snippets as per request from Brain, who said these are his favourite types of posts. They’re supposed to be funny and generally insightful snippets into my life from childhood onwards. I have spoken to a few people regarding this and they all thought it would be a swell idea, so keep an eye out for that too!

In general 2015 is going to see a lot more well written, well structured, informative posts about current events and popular culture that affect me as a woman, a Geordie and a normal person. I’ll keep you all updated via social media, naturally and if you are a business who wants me to write for them (I have a few of these lined up over the next few months too!) let me know, again, via contact page.

I hope everyone had a lovely, fun and safe new year and can’t wait to hear from you all over the following 12 months! Let’s make it a good one, human shapes.

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Sexual Confidence

Recently, I agreed to answer some questions for a journalist who was looking to find some women between the ages of 25 and 30, who would be willing to answer some questions about their sexual confidence for a supplement in one of the UK’s largest newspaper publications, a free magazine targeted at women. The article came out earlier in the week, and suffice it to say, I was bitterly disappointed at being severely misquoted and having my well thought out, articulate and structured answers butchered and spliced to fit the journalist’s true intentions when writing the article. What I gathered from it is that neither the journalist, nor anyone at the magazine, truly cared about the sexual confidence of young women, but, instead, wanted to marginalise these women into certain categories and from my perspective, none of us were shown in a positive light. In hindsight, I realise that the questions were both vague and worryingly infantile for a grown woman to be asking another and instead of putting my faith in this person, hoping to, eventually, find an article that didn’t discuss sexual discourse from an angle consisting of solely demographics, percentages and charts, but instead, highlighting that sexual confidence is something that we should all be aware of and participating in. Needless to say, I was wrong about the journalist and wrong about the publication; instead of championing women who are confident in their sex lives, the article seemingly chastised us for daring to speak so brazenly about our sexual pasts. Shame on us, eh? So, in today’s blog post I am going to write about what I would have chosen, had I, as a decent writer and person, been given the opportunity to do so:

 

Typically, the concept of being sexually confident is something that is, by and large, considered a taboo topic, even in today’s society. To discuss being sexually confident, perhaps conjures images of that rare breed of woman who has the body to pull off matching lingerie, teamed with suspenders and high heels; Victoria’s Secret models and porn stars, maybe, but not your average English woman, whose underwear drawer consists mostly of comfortable, practical pants, with the odd pair of Spanx in there for when we truly need it; the idea of wearing high heels and underwear and lounging seductively anywhere bringing us out in hot sweats, panic attacks looming above us like death. For a long time, I was part of this demographic; I was ashamed of the way I looked and frightened that I wouldn’t only not look like other women, but that I wouldn’t perform correctly, or that I’d do something that the other women didn’t do, and it hasn’t been until very, very recently that I realised that none of it matters: The concept of sexual confidence is a myth, yet another demographic and percentile mark that we are forced into, in the aid of yet another boring article about sex, that doesn’t help normal people with sex worries at all.

 

I think part of the reason that articles like this can exist and highlight sexual insecurities is because we all have them; even porn stars, even women so perfect it looks like there is someone photo shopping them in real life: Everyone has insecurities and this is why articles like this thrive, especially amongst British people who suffered the indignity of sex education classes as children. I’m sure I’m not the only person who thought those awkward sex education classes were entirely counter-productive and not at all insightful or helpful when coming to terms with the concept of sex overall. In hindsight, and I’m sure you’ll agree, it seemed less about providing people with sexual education and more an instructional manual of contraceptives and how to put them on; more intent on stopping diseases and unplanned, teenaged pregnancies, from spreading within their school (how embarrassing would that OfSted report be?). But, it didn’t truly educate people as young as fourteen and it didn’t stop them from having sex; it was demonstrably unhelpful in discussing sex in real terms: The emotional implications, the concept of self-respect and not doing anything you are uncomfortable with, or even consent. As a result, I found that a lot of my class mates were incredibly well versed  in the Karma Sutra and that none of them truly had any idea what they were participating in: They were just pumping away until the male ejaculated… from what I was informed. Admittedly, a lot of my sex education came from the internet; I would hear terms and Google them, or look up an array of different sexual practices just for the sake of soaking up knowledge, but sex education at school taught me nothing. I didn’t even know that females could orgasm from sex; all we learned is that we need to wear protection so that when our male partner ejaculates; we won’t get pregnant, which is very, very sad.

Even as adult women, which the article I’m discussing proves (I think), is that not a lot of people truly understand sex: To have an article that uses percentages and graphs to outline their target demographic or discuss topics that might not be considered normal within general sexual discourse is entirely infantile to a worrying extent, as I’ve already discussed. It just proves that we’re a society that thrives on these ridiculous articles to feel, I guess, the opposite of validation, to a certain extent, like sex is some kind of secret that none of us are truly a part of and that we’re still not quite there when having sex; we’re ultimately marginalising ourselves and stopping ourselves from experiencing good sex, because we’re too busy concentrating on being like the percentages in the piss-poor articles we’re reading, rather than our partners or our own enjoyment. I think the first question I was asked, do you think you’re good in bed, only highlights the infantile nature of the article and the general childish attitudes that people perceive others to have about sex; there is no such thing as being good in bed – you either enjoy yourself or you don’t and that bares absolutely no relevance on the manner of performance that either you or your partner exude; you simply either have or haven’t enjoyed that particular moment. In the article, sexual confidence implied a sense of superiority over other people, which simply isn’t the point of being confident at all: Sex isn’t a public display for us all to participate in, if you enjoy the things that you partake in sexually and have an enjoyable sex life, then you are confident, there is no in-between.

The questions the journalist asked also involved perceptions of society and that if I, as someone sexually confident, felt restricted by the perceptions society had about female sexuality and, if this would change in the near future. Overall, I think it was an excellent question, but I don’t see it featured anywhere in the article; the idea of encroaching on society’s ideals of how women should behave sexually, still, seemingly too taboo to post, which is so unfortunate and upsetting. I thought I was writing something that would assist the general struggle a lot of women are feeling, that is evidenced on Twitter and within movements such as Everyday Sexism or even my best friend Em over at Any Girl Friday; that women are sexual beings and that it’s okay that we enjoy masturbating or have a right to say ‘no’ when approached by a man regarding sex, but that wasn’t featured in the article at all. Instead, the fact that I had a partner who was into male chastity was featured as though I was some kind of aggressive dominatrix type woman, which wasn’t what I wrote at all. In fact, quite surprisingly to some, I wrote quite nice things about that person and looked at the psychology behind why he might have been into male chastity, which stemmed from his inherent, uncontrollable, somewhat oedipal maternal issues. But I guess the journalist took ‘I don’t do things by halves’ (written in the first paragraph) and the ‘My ex was into male chastity’ (fifth paragraph) and spliced them together to make me sound like I was a heartless, cruel dominatrix, because that’s what sexual confidence is all about, isn’t it?

 

If you’re a woman and you have worries about sex, or if you’re a man and panic about this too, then heed my advice: Speak to your partner. Sexual confidence isn’t about being able to perform alongside some archaic ideals of what good sex is supposed to be. If your woman isn’t screaming the walls down, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing a stellar job. If your man isn’t ejaculating into your mouth within five minutes of sucking his dick, that doesn’t mean you aren’t awesome at sucking cock. But that’s not for me, or anyone at all to tell you, especially not some piss-poor article written in a magazine.

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Anxieties About Blogging & The Future.

As a writer and blogger who allows literally the entirety of the internet a stark, honest and unabashed insight into her life, hopefully using smidgeons of comedy and interesting, bold content, I feel that I might be, somehow, holding myself back. As proud as I am of the content I discuss on my blog, I still write under a pseudonym and nothing about my online presence, or manner in which I market my blog could be described as personal; other than my boyfriend, no one I know in real life reads my blog and no one, other than close friends and family, know of its existence. Those who do know of its existence have never seen it and wouldn’t know what to search for, even if they wanted to read it. Its instances like this, which I feel assist to my feelings of general despondence when it comes to my blog and my plans.

To speak of my goals, of the things I would like to accomplish by habitually providing my blog with content is something I have never done. It’s something I feel that I am not talented enough for, that I am not someone whom people would regard as ‘serious’ enough to write on a professional level – which is a ridiculous concept. There are countless female comedians, females who write for excellent newspaper outlets, magazines, businesses, television networks who are unashamedly themselves; silly, rude, confident, hilarious and this comes across in their writing too. So why do I feel that I’m not good enough? Is it something that could have an element of truth or something that I’m being entirely paranoid about?

Recently, I have been asked to write for a rather large UK publication and also asked to become a paid writer for a large establishment in the North East and whilst these are enormous accomplishments, part of me thinks that it’s all a joke – that someone will eventually jump out from behind a wall, point at me and laugh at me for ever thinking anyone would want me to write for them professionally, let alone get paid for it. Which is an entirely foolish concept. I am so lucky to have wilfully left a job that offered  me no real – right within my grasp attainable and financially viable goals – with no jobs lined up for me and have had these amazing opportunities, essentially handed to me on a platter. In two months, I have dabbled in the waters that will, hopefully, if I’m very lucky, lead me to my dream career: Published & modestly paid writer.

I think it’s a confidence thing, but I’m not sure if it’s something other bloggers face. To me, it seems that the only concept that people can employ and consider when speaking to/about female bloggers is that we all write about clothes and make up – things that employers, particularly male employers, find non-threatening and just a bit of fun. I feel that when I tell people that I write about feminism, mental health, confidence, sex and pop culture in a stark, honest and hopefully witty/funny manner, their eyes darken and I can almost see their mind working away, wondering what I am doing, daring to interview with them, or leave my house without a big neon sign pointing: INTELLIGENT, OPINIONATED, PROBABLY A BITCH, STEER CLEAR at my head.

It may be paranoia that is sifting through my unconscious mind, causing me to cast doubt upon my passions and evident talents, or it might be something that is true: Everything I do, everything I use in order to market my blog and share it with people is foolhardy and that I won’t be taken seriously as a writer due to my attempts at comedy or somewhat self-deprecating manner in which I write.

This blog doesn’t really make too much sense, but I had some concerns and having spent the day not feeling rooted in reality and that I am not real today, I have also been incredibly anxious and panicky about my future. I’m hoping that I’ll read this tomorrow and some worries will be put to rest, but if you’re reading this and would like to help or share some words of wisdom, they would be much appreciated.

Thank you. Lots of love x

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We are Feminists, Hear us Roar:

This year, we have seen an increasing surge in women identifying themselves as feminists and, perhaps worryingly, it seems that there are those out there who think that this is a bad thing. There are some who believe the current resurgence of feminism and celebrities identifying themselves as feminists will result in the movement become too ‘trendy’, rendering the movement obsolete, which would be an overwhelmingly demonstrable slap in the face to ‘real’ feminists everywhere. There have been celebrities, models and normal people taking to social media to express their worry at feminism being this season’s ‘hot accessory’ and deeming it a phase that people are going through, but is this really a bad thing? All I can see happening within the movement now is a hierarchy developing, which to me, seems to be more dangerous to feminism than the increasing volume of misogynists, or the ‘women against feminism’ movement – it feels to me that a feminist hierarchy would only perpetuate certain stereotypes placed on women and feminists throughout history, thus creating a dangerous environment for women to be a part of – feminism is becoming increasingly like a bad teen movie set in a high school, rather than an empowering and important movement to identify oneself with.

After I posted my response to Chloe Hamilton’s article on Zoella, I spoke to Brain who told me that articles like that are why people don’t take feminism seriously. I’m paraphrasing here, because it was ages ago and I thought he was trying to attack my article, but it’s something that resonated with me quite deeply (thus why I’m regurgitating it now): He said something along the lines of ‘one woman says something bad about another woman, because she’s not being the right type of feminist, and then there are you are, posting something else, which could be misconstrued by another feminist, creating a cycle of what the right kind of feminism should be’ (he said this way less articulately than I have, but that’s what I’m here for, to make him sound good!). I can’t help but agree, though, and it’s unfortunate that a really important lesson in feminism has come from someone who often (in jest) calls me a ‘dick hating feminist’ to get on my nerves. He is someone who has no real interest in feminism, other than me I guess, and he has said something that I find the most appropriate statement regarding feminism that I’ve heard in the past year. Something which I feel resonates quite deeply with the notion of there being a feminist hierarchy.

Earlier in the year, I wrote that I had become a little disenfranchised by the notion of feminism and questioned whether there was room for a feminist like me within the movement and it’s something that I’ve questioned time and time again. The sheer fact that I referred to there being a room for a ‘feminist like me’ is exactly the point I’m trying to make; there is a feminist hierarchy and it seems to me like I’m pretty low down in the ranks. Personally, I feel that unless you’re a feminist standing on the front lines, preparing for war, there isn’t really a huge deal of room for you in the dizzying heights of the feminist hierarchy; that’s the type of feminist you’re supposed to aspire to be, you become that after many years of patriarchy smashing. You have to earn your stripes before you can become a proper feminist. Simply identifying as a feminist isn’t enough; you can’t be a feminist for your own private reasons, or because you’re a woman who believes in equality any more – you have to be constantly fighting. You can’t be a feminist just because you’re a woman, you have to have a reason: I don’t want to be cat-called in the street, I don’t want to fear rape if I wear a short skirt or get drunk, I don’t want to go to work and be treated differently because I didn’t have the sheer luck of being born with a cock and balls. These feminists, the women who simply are feminists are the lowest ranking members in the supposed feminism hierarchy; you can’t make jokes about being a pussy and then complain when you’re stuck in the middle with misogynists, so to speak.

SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE

Admittedly, I feel a little bit like the girl near the end of Mean Girls, who just wants everyone to get along, paint rainbows on their faces, eat cookies and snuggle whilst reading extracts from The Feminine Mystique or How to be a Woman to one another, but I think, the way some women are reacting to feminism right now, it’s not too bad an idea. When I write about feminism, or write about anything to do with the movement, it’s not men whose reaction I fear – its fellow women’s. And that’s not right. I feel that, the way things are going, the movement will become vitriolic to new members; to the youth of tomorrow. Feminism isn’t some high school game we should be partaking in to find the new Regina George of feminism; it was a movement that began in order to find gender equality in all walks of life, to achieve the vote, to be able to go to work and receive equal pay. To be the type of woman who can write about feminism or gender inequality or being mistreated due to gender on a blog without fearing the censorship of the patriarchy; as feminists, we need to support one another regardless of how ‘real’ their brand of feminism really is. Because, to me, the hierarchy that is evident, particularly within social media circles, is exactly the reason why feminism isn’t taken seriously and why people can call it a ‘trend’. The vitriol present within the movement will be the source of its demise and we have to be careful.

In order to counteract movements such as ‘Women Against Feminism’ and the recent ‘Meninist’ movement, we need to acknowledge and welcome supporters AND critics of feminism, regardless of gender. Yes, by all means, strap on your Doc Marten’s and smash the patriarchy until it’s bloody and battered, after all, that is your choice, but it’s also my choice not to. And that’s something that people need to start reiterating: Feminism is a choice and does not have a strict set of rules you need to adhere to, to be a ‘proper’ feminist. You’re a woman, you control your body, you have a voice and an opinion that deserves to be heard. That is what we need to be supporting here, that feminism is a choice and that your opinions are worthy of our time; the sooner people realise that, the sooner we can forget about silly trends and childish hierarchies.

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