The World We live in

I’ve been the thinking about the world I want to live in. I’m reminded of when I went on holiday this summer with my family. It was a few weeks after the Brexit vote and there was an atmosphere of tense uncertainty. I sat with my mother on a bench at Heathrow and watched the other travellers milling around the terminal. As one would expect, it was a multi-cultural, diverse group of people, most of whom looked like they were off on their summer holiday. Mum commented that this ethnically diverse place is representative of the country she wanted to live in. A nation strengthened by diversity and tolerance, not sullied with distrust and discrimination. Of course, I realise that I’m very fortunate to be able to afford to go on holiday in the first place. In fact, all […]

Words with Friends

I recently went out for dinner with a group of friends, we had a brilliant night and I laughed till I cried. However, during a light-hearted conversation, the word ‘slut’ was bandied around. I was among people who are used to my outspoken tendencies, and they didn’t bat an eye when I protested that using ‘slut’ to describe a sexually active woman was unacceptable. Even if I’d been in less forgiving company, I would have piped up anyway, because I have come to understand the intense importance of words. The words we use shape our attitude to the world around us. The desperate souls fleeing death and persecution in the Middle East and North Africa are now called ‘migrants’, instead of the more accurate term, ‘refugees’. The vast difference between a refugee and a migrant is […]

The Basic Self

I’ve been a fan of Self-Portrait since its launch in 2013; in three short years the label’s popularity has grown exponentially. Self-Portrait is now stocked at Selfridges, Net-a-Porter, Matches and ASOS, to name but a few. I’ve heard women who like Self-Portrait branded as ‘basic bitches’ by other people who work in fashion; I take umbrage with this assertion. ‘Basic bitch’ is a pejorative, sexist term which describes a female conformist who loves all things bland, including Ugg Boots, Taylor Swift and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The ‘basic bitch’ is a girl who is dismissed and objectified because of her taste for the popular and generic. It’s an insidious phrase which has slipped in through the back door and become a part of contemporary lingo. Although it’s often used in light hearted banter, ‘basic’ is a horrible expression and should fall into obsolescence. It’s also dripping in unintentional irony, as […]

Burkini Beach

People often comment on the clothes I wear, but I don’t mind what people think of my look. I know my style is somewhat attention grabbing, so I expect comments (positive or negative) as a par for the course. Living in a Western, cosmopolitan city like London, insures that how I choose to dress or the contents of my uterus is my own business. I’ve never been pregnant or had an abortion, but if I choose to do so, I can expect my decisions to be respected. But more of that later. There are other parts of the Western world, where values of tolerance and equality are supposedly held in high esteem, however women’s right to choose is being called into question. The absurd outlawing of burkinis in France is an example of how women’s choices have become a political and ideological battle […]

Icky Little Thing

I’ve noticed a worrying trend in fashion marketing recently. Since Miley Cyrus twerked her way through 2013 and Robin Thicke sung the infectiously catchy Blurred Lines, casual misogyny has permeated popular culture. That’s not to say that sexism wasn’t around long before Thicke and Cyrus, however the representation of female sexuality has become ugly and aggressive. Take this advert for Pretty Little Thing, an online retailer aimed at women in their late teens to early 20s. The model writhing around to pugnacious rap in skimpy outfits is one thing, but the smug voice over at the end captions the obvious – this young woman is a ‘thing’. There are, unfortunately, many examples of women being objectified in fashion advertising, however this takes it a new level. What is worrying is that this is clearly aimed at very […]