While watching Selina Thompson perform her one woman show Chewing the Fat I was struck my a particular line she said. Describing a teenage love for high fashion, Vogue and other fashion magazines Thompson explained that she wasn't in the least bit intimidated or pressured by the tall, slim, white models whose bodies her short, fat and brown teenage body didn't match up to. "It wasn't that I didn't look like them; they didn't look like me." It was an attitude I partially identified with as a short, pale redhead who also had a love for fashion. My brain simply said 'that doesn't apply to you', which is not the same as 'you are not good enough'. I bring this up in light of the Victoria's Secret Perfect Body campaign which recently came under fire. A reaction anybody at Victoria's Secret, from the shop assistants to the CEO should have seen coming from a mile off.
You have by now probably not only seen that short film of a woman Shoshana Roberts in modest attire walking silently around New York as men (of colour, perhaps down to choice of neighbourhood) verbally harass her and intimidate her. At the end of the video the comments and actions of the men on the street are totted up and we are told if we want to stop this we should visit and donate to the project Hollaback. You have probably also seen the Funny or Die (I choose die) parody film posted up by Unilad (who amusingly had to point out that it was a parody and that they were aware of this fact. Just a quick overview of the people who run and read Unilad really) of a man in a t shirt wandering the streets of New York silently as people high five him, praise him, offer him jobs and eventually crown him. The film mimics the original's scores at the end and says this is all down to the patriarchy and if you're happy with that then do nothing.
The nights are drawing in. Thoughts are turning to jacket potatoes and soup and fireworks. And before that, Halloween. What, did you think we'd forgotten? Of course not. This is our favourite festival based around sweets, mild extortion, and competitive carving. Oh and the dressing up. As a feminist website we are under a contractual obligation to mention the whole phenomenon of 'slutty' costumes. Men can dress up in inventive costume. So can women, but it apparently has to feature cleavage and stocking tops, because that's what everyone thinks of when they think 'halloween zombie.' Thing is though, the outrage about those costumes is getting more tiresome than their existence. Have you ever seen one on a real live human on halloween? Us neither. Mostly we just see lots of drunk people wearing badly applied facepaint doing shots. If anyone wants to wear a revealing costume then really, just get on with it. We're not here to judge.
How about a return to some of the other traditions associated with tonight? The feeling of ice down the spine, the face lit from below by a torch as a gruesome story is shared. We asked our contributors to share a scary story that has happened to them...
David Cameron has finally fallen foul of the media's new 'photograph party leaders with prop' campaign. Having happily posed with a free copy of The Sun alongside his fellow leaders, and won over more Sun readers by sporting a Help for Heroes wristband next to Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage - though not Ed Miliband, Cameron has refused anElle magazine t-shirt. Why? We aren't sure but it seems while Clegg and Miliband are happy to be photographed in a t-shirt that declares "This is what a feminist looks like", Cameron isn't. Come on Cameron, everybody's doing it now Beyonce is a feminist. It could be because the t-shirt features a rather ugly font. But until Cameron releases a statement confirming this we have to assume he is one of the many afraid of the word feminist and we have to address this.
I once went to a panel on women in comedy where one panellist said that women find it hard to celebrate other women's success and night on impossible to celebrate an attractive women's success. None of the panellists were willing to discuss this with the (attractive) woman making this point so it's hard to comment on whether it is true or not as I have had little success other than being born totes beautiful. Because I am of a certain age and don't tend to go to YouTube for video tutorials I did not know who Zoella was. Because I am of a certain age however I feel qualified to comment on the reception she has had after finding huge success through vlogging.
It's Halloween this week so let's kick off the scary season with the terrifying tale many a career woman fears and every Daily Mail writer warns ladies about: 'Help! I forgot to have children!' No, no, no childless by choice people out there, you did not decide that children weren't for you, allow us to give you the benefit of the doubt and portray you as a tragic and absent minded woman so focused on that promotion you forgot that your little eggs were withering away inside your screaming ovaries. Probably. It is a popular theme to run a story on a woman - who does not necessarily need to be in her 'Autumn' years - regretting her unoccupied womb. Usually the woman is professionally successful and it is a lesson to us all with an ounce of ambition. However according to a new study it is the high fliers who have more children.
This week we learned that one of our favourite bands, Sleater-Kinney, had been in the studio for the first time since The Woods was released. As big fans of riot grrrl and women in rock we are delighted that Corin, Janet and Carrie are back together making music. We can't wait to hear their new material and possibly seeing them live again. The reunion of Sleater-Kinney after such a long break has us thinking that maybe some of our other band reunion hopes aren't so far fetched. We have come up with some other bands we'd like to see rock out again...
I spend far more time lurking on Twitter than I should. I usually justify this to myself, saying it's a necessity rather than a procrastination tool because nothing keeps more more up to date on celebrity deaths, affairs and hairstyles than Twitter. And that is Need to Know stuff, right? Yesterday I was scrolling through Twitter, tralala and saw feminist writers of fashion, beauty and fiction Hadley Freeman, Sali Hughes and India Knight discussing someone who had apparently sacrificed their round face for a longer one and forfeited ageing well. Who? Who, who, who? Well guys it looks like the filming of Bridget Jones 3 might be facing difficulty because apparently Bridget Jones is unrecognisable.
"How do you label yourself and what does that mean?" It's a conversation I hear a lot in various circles. Online magazine for bisexual women Biscuit even had a poll on the question - turns out most of us here identify as bisexual, but almost a third of respondents don't, instead choosing labels such as queer or pansexual, or avoiding labels altogether.
On Bisexual Visibility day the American LGBTQ Task Force ran a blog by leadership programs director Evangeline Weiss about why she no longer called herself bi but instead preferred to identify as queer.
My first Tom Jones encounter was in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air via the famous Carlton Banks dance. The next was watching the disappointing film Mars Attacks and then out came the album that had everyone taking Tom Jones seriously again - but in an ironic way, yeah? Plus it appeared the Welsh crooner (I'm contractually obliged to say that) was in on it. Reload featured all the right people in 1999, The Cardigans, Cerys Matthews, Robbie Williams and the Stereophonics (did I mention it was 1999?) all made an appearance on the album. Suddenly we all loved Tom Jones again and since then he's allowed himself to go grey (so wise!) and portray himself as a mentor in the music industry. Some of us, it seems love him a little more than others.