Monday, 9 September 2013

Overheard at Leonard Cohen...

On Saturday I had the privilege of seeing Leonard Cohen play at Leeds Arena. Of all the things I expected, sexist quotes were not among them.

Not from dear Leonard of course, he is a perfect gentleman, a gorgeous old crooner whose voice still has the power to touch your soul and melt your insides. No, this quote came from a particularly loud audience member, who sat behind me and whom I had the pleasure of listening to for half the show whilst she voiced her opinion and generally chit chatted her way through the concert. HELLO LADY IT'S LEONARD FREAKING COHEN, RESPECT!!
I have nothing against enjoying yourself, but lets keep it a level where everyone else can too, huh?

Anyway, I digress.. What really riled me about said lady, was when she commented on Cohen's female singers. They, like the rest of the (all male) band, were dressed in suits. White shirts and black suits.

"The girls could have made an effort to look a bit sexier couldn't they?"

If a 79 year old man had not been on stage at the time, sinking to his knees and singing his heart out, I would have turned around and waded in..

These are women that were doing THIS:
and THIS:

Thats a GOD DAMN HARP she's playing there! Nope, apparently not good enough, if you're of the female persuasion it's not acceptable to just come out, belt out a lung-buster or apply mind-blowing dexterity whilst singing to a crowd of thousands, you have to LOOK SEXY whilst you're doing it.

What was worse about this attitude was that the 'girls' actually did look pretty smokin'. There was no need for them to sex things up.

I know this was the opinion of one person out of an 13,000 strong audience but it's also not a far cry from the media slurs of 'frumpy' or 'boring' when women in the public eye turn up to events looking anything less than a million dollars.With the current debate about the treatment of women in music (Robin Thicke, I'm looking at you) this comment really resonated.

There appears a fine line for female performers, don't be too sexy (Miley...) or people will think you're a naive, easy slut. But don't be drab and dull, don't be fooled into thinking you can rely on your talents to earn respect.

The judgement of appearances is not limited to women of course. I've seen men's outfits and bodies crop up in the 'what were you thinking' section of trash magazines and the daily mail sidebar on occasion. But I think this assessment is a far more gentle in mens cases. Most men in the public eye aren't criticised for daring to appear without make-up, dressing in their slacks and smoking a fag. They aren't subjected to weekly judgement in magazines and internet forums, where their outfit choices are reduced to a cross or a tick followed by a scathing put down. The received wisdom is, you cant go wrong in a suit, unless you're a woman.

This tumblr, FUCK YEAH WOMEN IN SUITS and knowing Annie Lennox is still out there being awesome makes me feel a whole load better about women being viewed and judged as sex symbols before their various talents...

But it saddened me to hear it from a woman. At a Leonard Cohen Concert. I just expected more.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Choosing an outfit for a date is hard enough...

This week I am going on a date. With a boy. Although technically at 31 I think this classes him as a man. I've ventured into the world of online dating, and this will be my first date in over a year, but more importantly, my first date as a hairy lass. 

My date doesn't know about my hairiness. Of course I am of the mindset that if he has a problem with it then he's not the one for me, but my dilemma is, when do I reveal this to him? Should I march in bold as brass, vest donned, pits out and in his face (not literally, it's been a while since I've dated but I'm fairly certain headlocks are still a no go)? Or should I opt for something a bit longer in the sleeve department and if he seems as nice and genuine as his online banter suggests, then divulge it to him?

The worst part is that I even have to acknowledge this as an issue. I feel pretty body confident, I'm young with porcelain skin, perfect tits, the right balance of squidgy & toned bits and a warm welcoming smile. I never think twice about getting my pits out in front of anyone, even my current crush. It's not even a thought, they're either out or they're not, no biggie. 

What would Natalie do???

I've never had anything I felt worried about people judging me on. Because nothing is out of the ordinary and I'm now torn. For the first time in my adult life I doesn't feel confident enough to just go as I am, but I know if I purposefully choose something long sleeved, I'll feel like I've let myself and the hairy team down. Hiding my hairy pits like a dirty secret, when really I actually adore them. I'm proud of them! 

I also told him I was a keen hiker and planned on doing the three peaks later in the year. Maybe I can let him know this was a lie and slip in the hair factor whilst he's still reeling from that blow. Or maybe I'll just get drunk and snog him. 

NB: I thought I'd include this screenshot of what the usual dickwads online send me...


He wants to go south with his mouth! 

(I have left his name on incase anyone wants to take him up on the offer, although as you will note, there is a limited time period.)

Friday, 19 July 2013

Wise Hairy Ladies

Both these articles from The Guardian this week are worth reading, including the comments if you can stomach it...

I'm considering dying my armpit hair for august... not sure what colour though... any thoughts??

Monday, 3 June 2013

I dont like big BUTS and I'll tell you why..

'I'm not a feminist, but...' is usually followed by an extremely normal, acceptable opinion on womens rights. So why the prefix? The only other time you hear this construct is usually before someone tells you that they're not a racist, before launching into a tirade about the Islamic religion/amount of black people on Eastenders/last time they had a white taxi driver. 
That's how bad some people believe it is to:- 
a) be a feminist. 
b) give an opinion on the treatment of women. 
Yet these people, male & female, quite clearly have an interesting insight on such issues, which they themselves validate as being a feminist opinion by declaring themselves specifically NOT a feminist but the point of view they are about to express as being so with the prefix of 'but'...

Seems simple, no? 

Friday, 31 May 2013


I'm afraid I've not been a good writer lately. I blame a combination of working so very hard, 2 for 1 cocktails, distraction and sheer laziness. But I now intend to start updating this blog on a more regular basis, so keep a look out. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Steubenville - How to deal with compassion.
Steubenville is a town divided by opinion on this case. Which is hard to get your head around. These two boys, with a group of friends, raped a 16 year old girl. They held her arms and legs down and violated her whilst filming it. Nothing can ever excuse you of that crime. 

Nameless, faceless 'Jane Doe' has become a target for victim blaming. She has no public profile, to supporters of Mays and Richmond she's just a dumb slut who got too drunk at a party and cried to mommy when she realised what had happened. CNN does not care about her promising future or the 'lasting effects' of a young girl being degraded, humiliated and raped 'essentially'. 

If your names are 'Candy' & 'Poppy' you should be automatically disqualified from presenting the news.

This video should be a warning. It should be a bright flashing light saying 'don't do this!'. Instead it has immortalised these two young men as victims themselves. It is a source of tragedy and emotion that has these two news presenters gushing about the 'star football players' an their 'promising futures'. They are more concerned with the effects on these boy's lives than the justice done or the severity of the crime. 

It's hard to watch those two boys being sentenced. It is truly awful to see the visceral display of Richmond's guilt, regret, hurt and pain as he speaks to his victims family. But he deserves to feel like that. There is nothing wrong with feeling compassion for these boys. Moreover, I truly believe compassion is what keeps us fair minded and sane. I don't believe these boys are evil. They made a huge, fucking stupid, mistake. Richmond broke down in court and exclaimed "my life is over, no one is going to want me now". We know they will pay for this long after they serve their time. 

It's easy to be swept up with the emotional nature of the sentencing. They key is to not let that compassion consume you and remember that 'Jane Doe' is a victim who spoke up about a crime that goes largely unreported. I know countless women who have had men force themselves upon them or been in a sexual situation they were not comfortable with and have felt like there was nothing they could do. She should be commended for her bravery. The legal system should be praised for seeing justice done.

I'm going to leave this post slightly mooted because the whole story depresses me. The young girl who has to try and get back to a normal life after this horrendous incedent, the two boys with destroyed futures, the biased reporting and the abhorrent messages of support and victim blaming seen on various social networks.. The only silver lining seems to be the outrage that is appearing on twitter, blog sites and news stories, speaking out against victim blaming and the misplaced sympathy. I hope that this outrage inspires a change in attitude and enlightens those who still think 'she was asking for it'. 

Interesting reading on this story can be found here:

How blogger helped the Steubenville rape case unfold online - Jennifer Preston

Saturday, 16 March 2013


For various reasons this week I have been thinking about HAIR. 
I have a lot of it. Like most humans I'm covered in the stuff. Mine happens to be dark, prominent and grows pretty much everywhere. Last August saw the Armpits4August campaign make it's debut and it inspired me and many others to hang up the razor. 

It also gave me a chance for reflection. I have been shaving my entire body since I was 11 years old. I was still in Primary School. I was still a child. I remember being in year 5 and Tajinder from the year above calling me a gorilla after seeing my hairy legs. I also remember being the only girl in The Brownies with her own pubic hair.. and later proudly showing it to everyone on a residential. 

I remember shaving my legs for the first time in secret in my room with a dry razor and making my legs unbearably itchy for the following week. 

As I got older I learnt how to shave my legs without leaving my ankles bleeding and how to most efficiently reach behind my thigh. I progressed through the years to hair removal cream, waxing and even once spent £50 an medieval torture device called an Eplilator. The Epilator has three removal settings to choose from, depending on your masochistic tendencies. It requires a spare two hours, numerous packs of frozen peas and no matter how much pink packaging you wrap it up in it still looks like this:

You can also spend more money on Laser Hair Removal, Intense Pulse Light Therapy or Electrolysis. All of which can cost between £50-£500.  Is it any wonder women seem to have come to a halt in the pursuit of equality when we are spending all our time and money having our hair stripped, ripped and torn from our bodies?

So last August I decided enough was enough. I said goodbye to my hair removal paraphernalia and embraced an 'au natural' approach to my body hair. It was a lot scarier than I realised. As an avid vest wearer I was most conscious about my armpit hair. People notice it. I can see the moment when they clock it. Some people are very cool and ask me when I stopped shaving. One of my friends has even been inspired to take action herself and is giving up the razor on her pits for a few weeks. Other people realise I know they are looking and make excuses or just dont mention it. But we should be talking about it. We should all be talking about it! 

I have got used to my hair. I have wobbles. If I'm going to see a potential love interest my instinct is to remove all traces of hair and transform my body into a playground of smoothness. But that instinct reminds me of all the reasons I stopped shaving in the first place. The pressure to live up to an unrealistic image of what a woman should look like is just wrong. Any man who judges me for my body hair is quite clearly not the man for me. 

I do not judge any woman who feels the need to remove their hair. I understand the fear that comes with letting it grow free. I try not to hold it against men or women who have an issue with it. They are just not used to seeing women appearing like this. I think I'm lucky to have been raised in a family where my mum always has hair growing from her legs, armpits, upper lip and everywhere else and my dad still loves her unconditionally. There was no feminist agenda on my mums part. She just couldn't be bothered. And it never made her any less beautiful. 

Armpits4August is an amazing starting point for anyone thinking about letting their hair run rampant. Start with your armpits. See how you feel. The challenge is only for a month and is also raising money for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It will be scary, but stick to your guns and one day the question of shaving will be the same as choosing what top to wear or what shade of eyeshadow you want. If anyone slags you off put some Ultra Nate on, remember how awesome you are and tell them to jog on. 

The wonderful Emer O'Toole wrote this amazing piece for the even more glorious Vagenda on female body hair and her 18 month hair experiment. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013


I've been toying with the idea of creating a blog for some time now, but was finally convinced to do so after a couple of glasses of Rioja and reflecting on a brief Facebook argument I had with someone last night who was having a go at the image for International Women's Day (See Below). 

As I started to argue with this piffling idiot, I realised I was wasting my internet data allowance on someone who would never really get it, as (in hindsight, maybe not my best putdown) I called him an "ignorant fuck" and he responded with "That's it Lois let your violent anger out. That'll solve it.". Sigh. 

Weirdly enough it's the second time in so many weeks I have been accused of being aggressive/violent by people who seem to have no understanding of the words they are using. Anger clearly isn't an attractive feature in a woman, I may cause myself a mischief. 

Harry Enfields fantastic 'Women Know Your Limits' sketch.

I dont think I need to point out (but i am of course going to) to you my wonderful reader, that 'Gender Violence' is not specific in its gender but rather united in a stand against violent attacks based on an individuals sex. A raised fist does not have to mean violence, it can mean UNITED. It can mean STOP. It can mean VICTORY.

And lastly... Maybe, just maybe... there are only women on this banner because, and stop me if this sounds far fetched, it was International WOMEN'S Day? But god forbid men feel underrepresented... 

In conclusion I wanted to say that I haven't started this blog to bitch about dweebs on Facebook, but because I see sexism every single day. Sometimes very casually from people that I love and respect.. and it makes me so angry that on occasion I can feel my blood boil. Hence the slightly ironic title of this blog. 

Rage and anger are born of passion. They are not always a bad thing. Channel it into something positive.