Recently your social networking sites have probably be inundated with bare faced selfies for cancer awareness. You know what your reaction was to the scrubbed smiling faces, my guess is your first thought was - how many goes did they have at taking that selfie? And secondly how does this help cancer? Rather like the mysterious trend that occasionally reappears in which all the girls post tweets or Facebook statuses in which they share the colour of their bra or pants (always pink or black, never 'mixed wash grey' or 'caught short shit stained') to 'raise awareness' the current trend for the bare faced selfies has caused confusion about the importance of awareness and donation. There's no charge (yet) for posting selfies. Of course joke's on the cynical - as ever. There's been a massive surge in donations as people were prompted to include the number to text in order to donate to raise both awareness and funds for cancer charities.
Portrait of a Catcall
I believe it was the too-brilliant-to-induce-envy Tavi Gevinson who introduced us to 'resting bitch face'. Even going as far as to create a guide for those who struggle with furrowing their brow in a dismissive expression to demonstrate levels of high bitchnosity. Since this guide was published girls and women across the world have been able to express their displeasure with the flicker of an eyebrow and the crinkle of a forehead. Then two or so years later Taylor Orci wrote the script for a short film drawing attention to "Bitchy Resting Face" in a plea to the general public not take BRF personally. It's just their face! However, many members of the general public do seem to take it personally and believe women in particular should tread the streets with a smile in their face and maybe an upbeat Taylor Swift song in their heart. I'm willing to bet most women's first taste of mild street harassment (for it is street harassment) was being told to smile. Or cheer up. Smile! you live in a patriarchy.
The smart phone and social media explosion in recent times mean that everybody - but especially Generation Y or Millennials - is increasingly involved in a constant exercise of self branding. What's your brand? Do you regularly post selfies of you pulling an expression that shows you're unimpressed with your current situation (but also totes hot)? Or maybe you think we all want to know what you're eating right about now. Perhaps you're a young man in his late teens or early 20s and you need us all to know what a cynic you are - nothing fools you, nossir because you live your life with #nofilter, if you will. By the way what are you wearing right now?
Don't Mention the Rhinoplasty
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons cosmetic surgery is on the rise. The number of people undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures went beyond 50,000. There was a 13% increase in the number of breast augmentations and the demand for liposuction went up by 41%. "every one of the cosmetic ops monitored individually also showed a double-digit rise across the board. Such a significant increase has not been seen since before 2008". 90% of the entire number of people undergoing such procedures was made up of women.
A Pox Upon Our Young
Recently Public Health England released figures to the Daily Mail concerning children under the age of consent and STIs. Over 5000 children under 16 were diagnosed with STIs in 2012. This number has more than doubled since 2003, with cases being reported of under 16s being treated for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, warts and other STIs. Is this hysteria over a minority? Meh, perhaps perhaps. In fact looking at the recorded numbers... why, yes. But how long do you wait before you react?
It isn't about if you react or not so much as how you react. Firstly in the reporting of these figures the Daily Mail vaguely mention that "Charities said easy access to online porn meant thousands of schoolchildren barely into their teenage years are getting their sex education online."
It Takes a Voucher to Raise a Baby
The UK has the worst breastfeeding rates in the world. As in we breastfeed for the shortest amount of time, not as in our breastfeeding style is the worst. Few mothers in the UK breastfeed beyond 6 to 8 weeks. In some parts of the country the figure is just below 20%. Perhaps our reaction as a society to breastfeeding is the worst. Which has caused a bit of a brainwave at Sheffield University. What if we knew these babies only had their mother's breasts on show for the money? You know, like Page 3 breasts.
Bottle-feeding is more popular in low-income areas of the UK, it is in these areas this study would like to offer up to 200 quids worth of shopping vouchers for those who choose to breastfeed instead of bottle-feed. Through this the study hopes to find out whether financial incentive can overcome cultural, negative attitudes towards breastfeeding.
Mind Those Figures
Do you think the Sun newspaper might have been feeling a little jealous of the Daily Mail recently? After all, the Mail has been extensively written about in the other papers, debated on Question Time, slagged off by Alistair Campbell on Newsnight... It's unlikely that many people are now unaware of the Mail's decision to brand a dead ex-navy officer a Britain-hater with an "evil legacy" Meanwhile, what's the Sun getting? Yes, the No More Page 3 campaign rumbles on, but it's hardly filling the pages or getting the airtime any more. Perhaps that explains yesterday's front page.
The Sun decided to kick off the week that includes World Mental Health Day with an article that stigmatises and stereotypes people with mental health problems. Oh, and totally misrepresents the report the article is supposedly based on.
No Smith is an Island
I have a confession. Until very recently I had never listened to Desert Island Discs. Ok, I realise that's not a proper confession along the lines of 'it was me who stole the crown jewels/slept with your ex/taught the gorillas how to swear in sign language' - but when you're as painfully middle class as I am it would be a fair assumption that I tune in regularly (while knitting my own houmous and reading the Guardian, natch darling).
But somehow it had never appealed. From what I'd read about it it just seemed like one of those painfully tedious exercises in political PR, along the lines of those 'books politicians are taking on holiday' lists. It gave me visions of Cameron/ Clegg/ one of the Milibands grabbing the nearest intern and and haranguing them abut what music they could choose in order to seem with it and 'like, part of the Zeitgeist but not too ridiculous, Are the Arctic Monkeys still cool?'
Peace One Day
September 21st is Peace One Day, an international day of ceasefire founded by British director and actor Jeremy Gilley. He conceived the idea in 1998, and the first day was celebrated in 1999, although it was not until 2001 that all the member countries of the United Nations adopted the program. In 2006, the first life-saving activities began to flourish as a way of observing the day.
The World Food Programme dropped food aid in Southern Sudan, and the International Rescue Committee repatriated a child soldier with her family. Initiatives have flourished since then, as Peace One Day has partnered with a number of UN agencies, governments, and non-governmental organisations. Many children have received immunization against polio and other serious illnesses.
Going on the Pull
My relationship with my hair has shaped my life.
I'm guessing that's not a particularly unusual statement. But I don't mean because I was the only redhead in my family and at my school. Or because of the styles I've chosen. I mean because I started pulling it out when I was a kid, and almost 20 years later it's a habit that still engulfs me.
I can't remember the first time I pulled out my hair. Or any of the early times really. I remember reading, and looking down and the pages of the book being covered with strands. I remember my mum brushing out my long hair and noticing the parting was wider. I vaguely remember how hotly embarrassed I was at the doctors, listening to my mum tell the GP I was pulling my own hair out. But not how it all began.