1. A defence of female sexuality

    I am totally bored of defending my sexuality just because I am a woman. I am tired of hearing male friends say things like “women fantasise more about the intimacy of sex and men about the actual act of sex” or “she has a vibrator and is therefore way horny” (rather than having a pretty normal sex drive) or “women get more offended by emotional cheating and don’t really mind much about the actual sex” or “women like having gentle and loving sex, whereas men want to, you know, fuck” or “I can’t believe it - her sex drive is equal to mine and I am a man”.  Porn is a perfect example of sexism within sex: totally primarily catering towards a straight male sexual appetite.  (It also has totally ridiculous ideas of what a ~sexual encounter~ actually is! Sex shouldn’t be a few minutes of clumsy genital stimulation, 8 minutes of dull pounding and then ejaculation. I dunno, maybe there’s a correlation here.)

    There’s also that whole assumption that men are the ones who are “tied down” by women in a straight relationship, rather than an equal agreement to be monogamous - it is apparently only men who potentially suffer from having only one sexual partner.  With this overwhelmingly common assumption that men enjoy/value sex more than women, and with the focus on male sexual pleasure during sex, it is seriously no wonder that faking orgasms is a thing. 

    It is crazy and upsetting that rape is seen as a sexual act that women may actually secretly enjoy, whereas enjoyment of consenting sex is seen as something very male.  

    Totally sucks. 

  2. Haley Stevens is a 21-year-old photographer from Montana and is currently studying in Richmond University, London. She started travelling with her family from a really young age and has the opportunity to photograph some incredible places, from Iceland to Zambia and Machu Picchu. Haley is now on a two month internship with a photography company in India and has done various shoots including weddings and an embassy meeting with the Netherlands Ambassador. http://www.hrsphotos.com


  3. GRRRL CRUSH #20: Peggy Seeger


    She’s smart —- for a woman / I wonder how she got that way? / You get no choice, you get no voice / Just stay mum, pretend you’re dumb. (“I’m Gonna be an Engineer”)

    Peggy Seeger is a British-American feminist folk singer, left-wing activist, parent, idol.  She is a seriously impressive musician and person - being fluent in the guitar, autoharp, banjo and piano, owning her own record label, and running various music-based workshops (currently analysing the portrayal of women in folk in her workshop “A Feminist View of Anglo-American Traditional Songs”).  She reminds me of Nico in the way that her voice is hard and demands your attention (I love female singers who stray away from typically feminine vocal traits) which perfectly suits her complex and political lyrical content. She has lived in Britain for most of her life as her American passport was revoked after she visited Communist China under the McCarthy government (managing however to stay in Britain with a phoney marriage). She also identifies as bisexual and has contributed essays discussing LGBTQ issues.  Amazing.  


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    There is something in the sincerity of music tinted by Religious faith that I just completely love, especially when it is scratchily recorded and croakily sung.  Elizabeth Cotten (1893-1987) was a Blues musician from North Carolina who was rediscovered during the 50s/60s folk revival after working as a maid for Peggy Seeger's family. She is an incredibly impressive musician, having taught herself how to play guitar incredibly competently (and upside-down!) and writing her best known song Freight Train at age 11.  

    For fans of: Karen Dalton, Washington Phillips, Mississippi John Hurt etc.


  5. GRRRL CRUSH #21: Veronica Sawyer


    Shall I write about two Winona Ryder characters in a row? Well I’m gonna cause I have a huge girl crush on her and Veronica Sawyer is one of my favourite teen-movie female leads (despite the envy I feel that she gets to kiss and cuddle dreamy 1980s Christian Slater). Heathers is a dark comedy and presumably an ironic take on the popular Bratpack films of the time, kinda like mean girls but with more death and less Lindsay Lohan. I love veronica for her dark (yet almost adorably naiive) approach to Making The World A Better Place, and for the fact she is so far from a boring female 2D character that the film industry are so keen to churn out. 

    "Betty Finn was a true friend and I sold her out for a bunch of swatch dogs and diet coke heads. Killing Heather would be like offing the Wicked Witch of the West… wait East. West! God! I sound like a fucking psycho."


  6. GRRRL CRUSH #20: Lydia Deetz


    Lydia Deetz basically represents a cooler version of my nine-year-old self:  I remember daydreaming about becoming friends with ghosts and weird things and general beings that nobody wanted to associate themselves with (maybe a result of my obsession with solitary reading and/or Ghost Hunter). 11 years later, she still makes me wanna dye my hair black and explore dark rooms, looking for things that other people don’t notice.

    "Well, I’ve read through that handbook for the recently deceased. it says: ‘live people ignore the strange and unusual. I, myself, am strange and unusual. "


  7. GRRRL CRUSH #19: Daenerys Targaryen


    Oh boy, Game of Thrones: it is refreshing to see a show with so many strong female characters (Brienne! Arya! Ygritte! Shae! Catelyn! Sansa!).  the show demonstrates the ridiculousness of sexism by allowing the viewer to understand the character, and then placing them in a gender based role (Arya being made to sew, Brienne in a dress etc.) which then looks silly and uncomfortable. 

    Daenerys is so goddamn badass (that scene when you realise she speaks valyrian).  Not only is she independent and strong, she is just and smart, using fire and blood to do (sort of) good.  It is so cool to watch how her character has developed from season one, from being essentially the submissive property of Viserys to being the Khaleesi of the Dothraki even after Khal Drogo’s death (a group who only respect the strong).  Dracarys.


  8. The Coathangers


    You know when you’re at a party and you’re drunk and you and three of your friends start talking about how ‘WE SHOULD TOTALLY START A BAND’ but then you never really do because the next day you’re more focussed on vanquishing your hangover than channeling your ~creative energy~? 

    Well, The Coathangers actually did that. Apparently they started off as a joke, and if that’s true it’s one of the best jokes I’ve heard in a really long time. 

    Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, they make abrasive garage-punk that sounds like The Reatards and Sleeping In The Aviary with a hint of Sleater Kinney. They also did an awesome split 7” with Misery Chicks faves Nü Sensae. 

    I think I’m in love.


  9. COMICS #5


    What I love about Graphic Novels/Comics is that they can really effectively/visually give you a tiny insight into an individuals life, without having a strict narrative or satisfying ending. This is especially true of June Kim’s 12 days which portrays 12 days of protagonist Jackie’s grieving process, where she drinks her lover’s ashes in order to cope with her death.  This story doesn’t try too hard, and I like that the sadness portrayed is that of unexaggerated realism, rather than the cliched hyperbolic Hollywood style. Totally worth a read. 


  10. ♥ fun tip #5 ♥ (make up!)

    it is so cool that with make-up we can be in control of how we look, and that there are people walking around with purple eyebrows and green lips and generally looking how they want to.  i like that make up gives you this really great opportunity to be creative and different with your appearance and helps you to feel confident and beautiful.  however it sucks that so many women feel so unconfident without make up, seeing it as an essential rather than as a nice extra.  it is only recently that I have started to reject that idea, after realising that getting out of bed before your boyfriend to put make up on was kind of pointless and sad and why was i not in the nice warm bed with my boyfriend at 9am?  i see issues surrounding make up as similar to those surrounding body hair - it is all about choice and doing whatever makes you feel good. if you want to wear make-up, that’s totally cool (I still wear some), but you definitely don’t have to.

    the beauty industry is basically dominated by a small number of multinational corporations.  these are a few of the largest:

    1.     = P&G (Clairol, Olay, Covergirl, Nice n Easy, Herbal Essences, Lacoste, Hugo Boss, Duracell, Braun, Gillette, Old Spice, Head and Shoulders etc.)

    2.     = Nestle (L’oreal, Lancome, The Body Shop, Garnier, Maybelline, Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Yves Sant Laurent, Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani, Biotherm, The Body Shop etc.)

    3.     = Unilever (Vo5, Tresseme, Dove, Slimfast, Comfort, Vaseline, Sunsilk, Toni & Guy, Radox, Axe)

    4.     = Estee Lauder (Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Donna Karan, Estee Lauder, MAC, Tommy Hilfiger etc.)

    there is this frustrating illusion of choice, and i feel deceived.  it makes me uncomfortable to be giving so many hundreds of pounds a year to largely unethical and already very powerful corporations.  they make so much money out of making you feel like you need their products to be attractive, and that is so, so uncool.  even dove, who has this really great love-your-body marketing strategy, are hypocritical as they are owned by the same company who bring shit like this lynx advert. 

    when a friend and i were sunbathing on a beach in cambodia (in a bikini – it was 35oc), two khmer girls who were selling jewellery approached us (fully clothed, even wearing socks) and told us how much they wanted to trade their brown skin for our white skin. we laughed and said they were crazy and that we’d much prefer to have darker skin. It was so confusing, all four of us were unsatisfied despite both pairs having supposed desirable skin colour.  we were just desperately trying to live up to unrealistic standards set by big and powerful companies who want us to always feel we need to change some aspect of ourselves so that we keep buying their products. 

    i know how hard it is to want to stop wearing make-up but feeling unable to, and it frustrates me to see friends shame those who take a long time getting ready because i am sure they would rather have the confidence, like them, to go without - rather than feeling like they have to spend half an hour each morning putting product on their faces. 

    we decided to upload some pictures of us with and without make up to (hopefully) prove that people without make up don’t look hideous and weird and neither do you. a few months ago, i seriously would have chosen buying foundation over food, and spent £22 on MAC foundation every three months.  that is so sad when that money could have been spent on better things, like spending time with my great friends. 

    P&G, Nestle, Unilever and Estee Lauder all test on animals. 







  11. ♥ fun tip #4 ♥

    i really think cutting your own hair (or getting a friend to do it) is great, especially if you’re only getting a trim; getting your hair cut professionally is so needlessly expensive, and it’s really fun and easy to do it yourself (you can also change your hairstyle whenever the hell you feel like it, which is always cool). here are some basic DIY haircutting links:

    1. how to layer hair
    2. how to cut a fringe
    3. how to trim hair
    4. how to cut a ‘side fringe’
    5. how to cut hair


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    Okay, so you probably know and love Bratmobile, but I can’t stop listening to pottymouth and felt they deserved to take up another tiny space of the internet cause they’re just so great.  For those who are unfamiliar, Bratmobile were a punk trio from the early 90s, and one of the first bands to be labelled ‘Riot Grrrl’.  They’re scrappy and catchy and totally make me wanna form a band.

    for fans of: Bikini Kill, Slant 6, Heavens to Betsy etc.


  13. A Miserable Chick’s (kinda) Guide to Loving Your Body

    If you’ve been in the UK for the past few months, you probably spent them joining in with the collective groan over how awful the weather is and how it seemed like we were all doomed to live in some sort of wintery hell forever and that there was no justice in the world and obviously no god because what the hell am I doing wearing a coat in my own damn flat? 

    Well, now it’s heating up a bit and we’re all doing a victory dance about how spring is great and summer is the greatest. And while I’m smiling along and participating in the group high-fives what I’m actually thinking is why the hell don’t I live in the Yukon or anywhere permanently cold year-round. Which, admittedly, sounds kind of weird and masochistic. But as much as I love the sun and the rituals of summer (which for me are basically drinking cans of beer in various outdoor locations), I’ve never been able to shake the crushing fear of ‘dressing for summer’. Bare legs, bare arms, and the idea of anyone seeing these parts of me is one of my biggest fears.

    Sadly, I’m sure a lot of you will understand where I’m coming from on this matter.  

    Read More

  14. GRRRL CRUSH #18: Sharon Van Etten


    Sometimes you get sad. Sometimes you get heart-broken. Sometimes all the time, sadness and heartbreak need a soundtrack.

    As I’m no stranger to either, Sharon Van Etten was one of the most welcome discoveries I’ve made recently. Lyrically and musically she somehow manages to find that spot where you hide your most secret feelings and tells you ‘It’s okay- me too.’ Her emotional honesty is something I can’t help but appreciate and admire, and something that particularly affected me when I first heard her song 'Don't Do It', seemingly about talking a friend out of suicide. 

    She’s probably one of the musicians that I find most poignantly fills me with that indescribable ‘happy-sad’ feeling (you know what I mean). 

    Her career also has a triumphant story, apparently being initially stunted and delayed by a boyfriend that discouraged her from making music. I bet he regrets ever doing that now.