Ramblings

A feminist rant…

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I want to write about something I never have before; Feminism. I don’t want to get into a debate about what a feminist is or isn’t but over the last few weeks, I have seen a few things that have made me a bit angry. I will start with the one that actually happened to me. Before I start it really isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things but it just bugged me. I was in a local pub with my fiancé and got up to walk to the bathroom. We were having a really nice night but I just discovered that I’d lost an earring. Not the biggest issue going on in the world but in that second I was a bit annoyed. On my way, a group of ‘lads’ I will call them, start giggling and one yells ‘smile’ at me. I was so taken aback and confused that I don’t know what facial expression I ended up giving him; probably one of complete bemusement. When I got back to my seat I was so annoyed. I felt quite intimidated walking back past them to be honest and felt 14 again. You know whatever they’re saying about you probably isn’t nice. Why should I smile for him? I think most people would agree that when you see someone smiling at themselves it can be a bit unnerving, as sad as that is. I posted this incident on Facebook and was flooded with responses from loads of my female friends saying this has happened to them. No men had had it happen though and it always seemed to be men that were the ones commanding the smile. Is this because there’s some deep rooted idea that women should always look attractive for men’s enjoyment? That guy did not know me; know what I was thinking or what was going on in my life so why did he feel the need to tell me to smile? I instantly became self-conscious that I constantly look miserable. I now vaguely remember that when I was back at university in Swansea I was occasionally told by strangers (men, I will add): ‘Cheer up love, it might not happen.’ How do they know it hasn’t already? A male teacher of mine pointed out that there was no right way for me to respond. If I’d smiled I would have been patronised and if I had responded I would probably have received a more unpleasant comment.

In a similar vein, I read an article last week where two colleagues, a man and a woman swapped their names over when they signed off on emails. Those replying to Nicole were patronising and uncooperative. She had been told she was working too slowly by her boss but it turns out that those she had to deal with would tell her she didn’t understand or take their time in responding. However, when she worked in exactly the same way but signed off as her male colleague, the complete opposite happened. This really appalled me that this blatant sexism for no reason other than a name still exists. I work in an office where a number of people rely on hearing back from clients on a daily basis. Luckily I don’t deal with clients but my work is indirectly related to them and it’s concerning if this is happening.
I couldn’t write this post without referring to one more recent feminist topic. Emma Watson has been subjected to criticism for her decision to pose semi-topless for Vanity Fair. Firstly, most people would agree that she is a fabulous icon for women in general. She does so much good work as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador as well as balancing her successful career and education. All this while still being a decent person from what I can gather. Now some ‘so called’ feminists are complaining because she has posed in the magazine. Firstly, she is not naked or in Playboy. It’s quite a tasteful photoshoot. But either way, from what I can understand in my limited knowledge is that feminism is about telling women they can do anything, not that they can’t. I would not choose to pose naked in a magazine but if someone chose to I wouldn’t brand them unfeminist. I believe feminism is, as Watson herself pointed out, about giving women a choice. Either way though, I think there are much more dangerous and damaging issues affecting women all over the world compared to this. Just some food for thought.

Image credit to pixabay

Ramblings, Wedding

Ireland: love for all!

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Last month, I was privileged to be invited to the wedding of my cousin to his long-term partner in Ireland. It could not have been a more wonderful time; the wedding ceremony was absolutely beautiful. For those who don’t know, my cousin Bernárd Lynch and his husband Billy Desmond have tirelessly fought for LGBT rights for many years now. He worked to help those suffering from AIDs in the 1980s and was persecuted for it. This hasn’t stopped him and he played a vital role in the passing of a number of equality laws in New York. However, through it all Bernárd has kept his strong faith against a religion that says his love is wrong. That kind of devotion is exceptional and I don’t know anyone else who can do what he does.

It was both a private and public celebration; their personal commitment to each other and the culmination of the work of many years that now meant they could legally marry in Ireland after the historic vote for same-sex marriage in 2015.

Coincidentally they were the first gay couple to marry in County Clare, where Bernárd was born, which made it an even more momentous occasion. I can honestly say I don’t think I have seen two people more in love and I challenge anyone to say that being gay is wrong.

As well as the wedding, the whole weekend was the first time I’d been back in Ireland, where my father’s parents were from, in about 14 years. It’s such a beautiful country and the people are so friendly; the stereotype says it’s the friendliest country and we really found that. It was fantastic to meet family, some of whom I’d never met and I instantly felt like I’d known them for years. We are already planning a road trip again soon.

I can wholeheartedly say that I am so proud to call them both a part of my family. I have always supported equal rights for people of all genders, races, sexuality, religion etc. but compared to the struggles and sacrifices they have made it’s nothing.  I implore people to think again when they make a judgement about a situation. Love is all that matters and I think that message has been lost somewhere along the way.

If you want to find out more about their work check out this charity they have set up to support LGBT people across Ireland.

Ramblings

New Years Resolutions

For 2017 I am making two new year’s resolutions. The first one will be obvious. Even though I profess a love of writing, I appear to lack motivation when it comes to writing this blog. I’m great at writing for others or for my new job but not actually for me so I am determined to update this blog regularly. Whenever I finish a great book, tv show or album I will report on my findings here. In other news,  I now have a real ‘grown up’ job as a copy-writer; not that my jobs before weren’t proper ones but there’s something about doing the 9-5 office thing that feels more adult than shift work. I’m really enjoying getting into a routine and more importantly, writing.

My second resolution is connected to the big event happening for me in 2017. For those who do not know, I am getting married in August. My fiance and I are going on an amazing honeymoon and I want to be able to wear a bikini comfortably so would like to lose some weight. I would not normally write stuff like this for people to read but if it’s out there it will hopefully make it easier for me to achieve. Don’t worry I’m not going on some fad diet and I won’t be posting annoying posts about tiny meals etc. I’m just planning on exercising more and eating better. Any tips appreciated.

Please let me know what your new year’s resolutions are and I hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and New Year.

Ramblings

Something that made me think…

So that promise I made to blog more regularly didn’t go quite to plan, but in my defence a lot has happened since my last post. I have also discovered that I get very easily distracted and have all these great plans to do things like blog but something always gets in the way. I need to find a way to improve my motivation.    Firstly I started my new job as a library assistant which I’m really enjoying but the biggest change is that I’m now engaged. I can see my posts becoming quite wedding related as there is so much to think about. It feels very grown-up to be sorting out wedding venues and photographers but in some ways I still don’t feel old enough. So that I’m not just talking about myself I also want to write about important things that have inspired or affected me. On Thursday night I saw the majority of a programme called Employable Me. It followed two men who have both struggled to gain employment due to their conditions. One has severe Tourette’s which gets considerably worse when in public and the other a form of autism which affects his communication, I don’t know much about either conditions so it was very insightful. It was so sad to see them struggle with rejection when they so clearly wanted to have gainful employment for themselves and their families. They both saw professionals who helped them uncover their potential; the man with autism was extremely clever at visual problems and the man suffering from Tourette’s had a passion and talent for photography which also calmed his tics down. The documentary ended with them both in jobs where the employer was able to see their potential behind their condition but it really got to me and showed me how lucky we are that the majority of us in this country can work (albeit that might not be in the exact career or field that you want or even the desired salary). There are also people out there who do not want to contribute to society and have no work ethic but this show makes me feel that hopefully these are in the minority and it also filled me with hope that there are workplaces that actually look at what a person can do regardless of any conditions or circumstances that affect them. It has definitely made me feel much more grateful for the opportunities I have had.

Emma: Some Sense and Ability, and a lot of Persuasion