Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Things People Believe About Feminists (And Why They're Wrong)

When there is a movement, there is always a counter-movement. It happens in microcosm, a response to the mildest of things. If the general agreement in the populace is that a particular song is the best by a particular artist, a secondary group will appear purely for the purpose of disagreeing, of applying contrarian practices.

Since its birth at the turn of the last century, feminism has had plenty of counter movements. It began with essential basics of human rights, such as the right to vote - and people argued against that. Then it moved onto the lives of women, right through second and third wave feminism.

Given that feminism has been around so long, it’s to be expected that there are opponents to it. It just so happens that in the last decade, those opponents have become more and more vocal - arguing back against a world where Beyonce stands in front of a “feminism” banner and women begin to see work towards a more equal society. Here’s the thing that happens; here are the counter-arguments.

It’s exhausting.


One of the most exhausting things about the way that the anti-feminist brigade act is that they have a set core of beliefs of what a feminist is. To them, feminism is a band of cut-out women on a paper chain, all espousing the same thoughts and beliefs. This is despite the fact that:

  • Feminism has many layers and focal points, from the pay gap through to intersectionality.
  • Literally no two people in the entire world think the same. Of course feminists don’t think identically to one another - no one does!

Nevertheless, the anti-feminist movement persists with its preconceived notions of what a feminist is.

Why Is This Damaging?

It might seem like a small point.

If there’s going to be a counter-argument regardless of all other considerations… then why argue? Why not just accept this as a part of the movement and move on?

The major reason to argue these perceived notions is because if they are left alone, they enter into a kind of “agreed truth”. Even though no one has directly agreed, the insistence without consequence means that a bad definition becomes the definition.

This in turn leads to people who might absolutely agree with the core basis of feminism to not want to label themselves feminist - for fear of what it says about them, based on a definition not created by feminists - but by the people who oppose them. Preconceived notions should always be challenged, so with that established, what do people say about feminism?

“Feminists burn their bras!”

First off, the event that gave rise to this myth - the 1968 Miss America Pageant - featured no bra burning. It’s not really a thing. The occasional group may have burned their bras, but it’s by no means a defining feature or something that’s regularly practiced. So why does it persist? Because it makes women sound irrational, perchance?

The thing is, most women acknowledge that… bras are kind of useful? They prevent back pain, make outfits look better, can give a boost of confidence. Why would we be setting fire to bras?

Also, bras are expensive. There are far easier and more effective ways of protesting patriarchal values than setting fire to lingerie, for goodness sake.

“Feminists hate men!”

No, that’s misandry. Feminism and misandry are very different things and by no means mutually inclusive.

The vast majority of feminists have no problem with men as a whole. We know men, we like them, we date them, we enter marriages with them. The problem isn’t an individual man, it’s about an entire system of patriarchy that stretches so far back into the eons of history it’s impossible to even know where it really began.

There is a huge difference between society and individual people.

Also… a lot of men are feminists. So if this were true, wouldn’t it be kind of difficult for them to exist? That would be one confused inner monologue!

“Feminists don’t shave!”

To which the only reasonable response is:

  1. Plenty of feminists shave by choice.
  2. If they don’t… so what? Why is this a problem?!

The removal of female body hair can be seen as problematic, stemming from a desire to impress men. So if feminists hate men (remember, we’re down the rabbit hole into this mindset now…), then why remove their body hair? Of course! Because they adore men and are just playing at being a feminist while still trying to tempt men!

Of course.

Rolling eyes.

In reality, shaving is nice. It’s practical. It can help with a variety of skin conditions that hair might otherwise exacerbate. Some feminists choose not to shave and more power to them for it - some do, because they prefer it. Not because they’re trying to “tempt men” - because they are capable of their own preferences.

Which brings us neatly onto…

“Feminists are hypocrites if they care about their appearance!”

This is a common one for the MRA movement. The line of thinking is rather difficult to keep up with, but it goes like this:

  1. Women only want to look good to attract men.
  2. If a feminist tries to look good, takes care of her skin, her figure, the occasional nip and tuck, the simple act of wearing makeup…
  3. Then she’s a hypocrite because she’s doing it to attract men.
  4. And feminists hate men.

This is such a circular way of puzzling thinking that it’s almost impossible to negotiate.

Feminism is about choice. And some women choose to want to feel good about themselves. They want to look nice, for them - not to impress guys. Apparently this is difficult to understand when it’s actually such a simple concept.

If women choose to have her hair done, like to play with makeup, see a few wrinkles and decide to learn more from about getting rid of them, and follow fashion - then that’s their choice. Some feminists might choose not to do that. Both are fine options and both have absolutely zero to do with impressing men. Being proud of your appearance doesn’t make you a hypocrite - it makes you a person!

“Women want what men have.”

Their rights not decided on by those that aren’t impacted by the decision? Well, when you put it like that…

Of course, this statement isn’t ever meant in that simple term. It’s used as a code for: “women don’t want to be equal, they want to be superior”.

The defining concept of feminism is one of equality, for everyone. The argument is not that one gender should be seen as superior to the other, but that they should be treated exactly the same.

This also begs the question: why is the idea of women wanting what men have so terrifying? Is it perhaps because certain sections of the male populace recognize their inherent privilege - and don’t want to share it?

If you see a message about “girls on top” or “women leading the way” - it’s not meant as a replacement. It’s meant as an alongside, a way of reminding women that these are attainable goals. Women need reminding of this as, even now, we exist in a society that tells us what we can and can’t do. If that message is occasionally pushed to the point of hyperbole, that’s not a threat, it’s just a group reinforcement of anything should be possible no matter what your gender is.

“Feminists have nothing left to argue for. It’s all fixed.”

And finally, the grandaddy of them all - the argument that there is no place in the modern world because all of feminism’s causes have been granted. Women have the right to vote, rights over their own body - it’s argument over, right?

Of course not.

We’re now into a phase that is known as “third wave feminism”. The third wave began in the 1980s, when the basic human rights - and that’s all they were, basic human rights! - became established.

The third wave focuses on themes such as intersectionality and making feminism work for women all across the LGBTQI+ banner. It became about problems such as the pay gap - which still exists - and the fact that maternity leave in the US is still terrible given our status as a first world country.

Like any movement, feminism might have achieved some of its fundamental goals. But that doesn’t mean the battle is won - it just means the targets have changed. There’s still a need for a strong, female voice to counteract the discrimination that still happens on a daily basis - you only need to scroll through the Everyday Sexism Twitter to see the problems aren’t fixed at all. They’re somewhat less institutionalized now, but they’re still there.


If you ever encounter someone who thinks these things, there’s a few tools to argue it back. Even women can believe these things. Just because there is a general perception doesn’t make it the case - and for as long as these misconceptions exist, feminists will be there to try and prove them wrong.

This is a contributed post.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Is a Career Change on The Cards?


Our careers are so much more than simply a way to earn money. They define us, they’re essentially why we spend the whole of our young lives studying and working hard. To get to where we want to be in our jobs. However many people can reach a point where their career simply no longer fits them. When the years go by our interests and personalities can change. Maybe you dream of doing something more suited to you, or want to re-ignite your passion for work. If a career change is on the cards, here are a few things you’ll need to consider.

Do You Really Want To Change Career
Instead of just jumping in, it's worth sitting down and actually thinking about it. Does your career seem stale because you've got yourself into a rut? Is it because you dislike the company, your colleagues or boss? Could you work up and get a promotion, or even transfer to a different company? If you've spent a long time working up in your career, you don't just want to throw it away at the drop of a hat. See if it can be salvaged first, that way if you do change careers later down the line you can do so with no regrets. You'll know you tried everything.

Improve Your Skills and Education
If you're taking a completely new career path, before quitting your old job, it could be worth improving your skills or education. You could take evening or weekend classes or do some voluntary work in the field you're interested in. Not only will this help you decide if it's what you really want, but it will mean breaking into that career is easier too. A drastic change of career will probably mean starting from the bottom, but having some background understanding or experience can help you move through the ranks more quickly.

Decide on a New Career Path
Have you got in mind an area that you want to work in? You could look into more info about healthcare positions, finance, law or IT roles depending on what it is you’re after. If it’s not entirely clear in your mind what you want to do, think broadly at first and then narrow it down. For example maybe you’ve always wanted to work with kids and have a passion for music? A music teacher or tutor could be your ideal role. Perhaps you aspire to help others, working as a carer or social worker may be for you. Perhaps you have an interest in a certain area but aren’t sure where it could lead. Do some research, have an idea of what kind of career options are out there which suit you.

You Could Be Your Own Boss Instead
Switching to a new career is one thing, but have you considered becoming your own boss? Setting up your own company gives you freedom and the potential to earn a lot of money if you have a good idea. Thanks to the accessibility of the internet, more people than ever are able to successfully set up companies or work from home. Again, before quitting your job get the plans in place and get the company off the ground in your spare time. That way you know it's going to work before giving up your salary. You could sell items or services from online or your own shop, or even get into flipping properties for a profit. To keep a constant stream of income, monetising a blog or website or working as a freelancer can bring in some money plus it's flexible and free to set up. Having a couple of different flexible earning options as well as a main passionate interest gives you security and can help make the leap from employee to business owner. Having some money saved as a buffer is useful too, you need to know you can pay your bills if things go through rough patches or get off to a slow start.

Making a Career Change Later in Life
There's no doubt that stepping out of the realms of the unknown takes a lot of courage. When you've been in a particular career your whole adult life and are used to a certain salary, you might question whether giving that up is the right thing. However, it might well be the best move you ever make. If you're at a dead end in your role, or if you're unhappy then this could be a chance to start fresh. You can set new goals, chase current passions rather than continue with a career you picked out for yourself in your late teens. There plenty of reasons why people choose to make the switch later in life and the good thing is, it’s completely possible to do so. When changing careers, you will more than likely move to a well-paid position to a much lower paid one since you will be starting from the beginning. However if it’s for a career you’re passionate about, you will probably be fine with taking a cut in money. But have a think about the financial aspect and make sure it will work for you. Will you still be able to afford to pay everything you need to pay? The good thing is, changing careers later in life means you will probably move up the ladder more quickly than you did the first time round. Years of work experience in any job role all counts for something, even if it’s not directly linked to the new role a lot of your skills may be transferable.

It's true what they say, money can’t buy happiness. If your current job is making you unhappy or affecting your mental health then why not consider a switch. If you work a job you're passionate about, money will be just a bonus rather than the driving force.


Are you considering a change of career? What made you decide to take the leap?

This is a contributed post.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Season, New You: How To Get Your Life In Gear

Spring is officially here, which means it’s time for all of us to come out of hibernation. Ditch those blankets, turn down your heat, and stick your nose outside into the fresh air - winter is gone and it’s time to re-evaluate your life. Here are some tips to help you change your life for the better...

Change Your Fitness Routine

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Now that the weather’s getting better, you can start to utilise the great outdoors in your quest to get and stay healthy. Not only does that mean that you can cancel your extortionately over-priced gym membership and the spinning classes that are, let’s face, absolutely ruining your knees, but it also means that you can get some fresh air at the same time as stretching your legs and getting healthy. Why not look for a 5K in your area that you can work up to? That means that you can earn some money for charity at the same time as getting in shape.

Makeover Your Wardrobe

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This time of year, you’re probably looking into your closet with a little consternation and wondering what exactly you should wear now that it’s too hot for big woolly sweaters and not quite sundress weather yet. That in between stage is hard to dress for - and it’s even harder if, like many people, you’re not very good at throwing out or donating your old clothes. Take an afternoon out to go through your closet and make sure you’re ruthless when you’re making your decisions about what exactly you should get rid of. Once you’ve decluttered your wardrobe a little, it’ll be easier to find old pieces that you loved and forgot about so that you can wear them again, and it’ll also be easier for you to identify what you need to buy. When you’re adding to your closet, make sure that you focus on emphasising parts of your body that you love. A lot of people worry too hard about covering up parts that they don’t love as much, which means that you might end up swathed in unflattering tents of material. Cinch dresses at the waist and don’t be afraid to show off your figure.

Take Advice From Other People

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It’s a good idea to listen to other people’s advice and to actively seek out ways to make your life better. A lot of people cite self help literature as something that’s helped them through crises and enabled them to figure out what direction to take their lives in, but you might find that coffee dates and thrashing over the ways of the world with your best friends suits you better. Remember that even though you know yourself better than anyone else does, other people may have good advice and insights that aren’t as obvious to you.

Learn To Spend Time Alone
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Finally, there’s nothing that will make you feel as at peace with yourself as being comfortable in your own company. Take your book out for company at a cafe, and take yourself to an art gallery or play at the theatre by yourself. Indulging your own interests is the best way to get in touch with yourself. In one of his most well-loved poems, the late poet Derek Walcott said ‘You will love again the stranger who was your self’ - it’s time to get out there and find your own self love.

This is a contributed post.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Shift The Excess Pounds and Get Fitter This Spring!


Most of us tend to slow down over the winter. It’s dark when you wake up, dark when you go to sleep and generally not very nice outdoors leading most of us to want to stay home and not do much else. However, with a new season on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking seriously about your health and fitness goals for 2017. Maybe you have a vacation planned this summer and want to look your best? Perhaps you want to just feel healthy and energized to make the most of the nice weather? Whatever your reasons, here are just some of the ways you can shed excess pounds and get fitter now that spring is just around the corner.

Eat Lighter
Winter is the time for comfort food. Hearty soups and stews, snacks and treats in front of a good movie with the rain pouring down outside. And not to mention Christmas! But when the weather warms up, it’s your cue to start eating lighter. Lots of healthy and delicious produce comes into season so fill up on a rainbow of colorful fruit and veg. Go with fruit salads and smoothies for breakfast and light yet tasty salads for lunch and dinner. Meal prepping can be effective when you’re looking to trim down, with all of your food for the week set out and ready to go there’s less temptation to veer off course. It also saves you time and energy in  the week too which is no bad thing! Check out some recipes online for what sort of things to include, you’ll also need some Tupperware or meal prep bags to store everything. Sites like have reviews for these if you’re unsure. When the days are longer and warmer, we naturally tend to want less food, so take advantage of this.

Bike or Walk Short Journeys
There’s no doubt that having a car can make you lazy. Rather than walking to the local shops or the post box, for example, you find yourself hopping in the car. Sites like state how constant short journeys are horrible for the environment (not to mention your vehicle), but it makes you much less active too. Challenge yourself to either walk or bike shorter journeys instead. Now the weather is nice it allows you to get some fresh air and some gentle exercise, and something you’ll feel far better for.

Get Active With Friends
Instead of meeting friends for drinks, why not round them up and do a sport or activity together? It could be anything from a dance class to a competitive sport like badminton or basketball- even paintballing! You can find lists like this one at for more ideas if you’re stuck. Whatever it is, having your friends with you will make it all the more fun. You’ll get a workout in without clock watching or wanting to get it over and done with. You get to socialize as well as workout- the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone when you lead a busy life!


Have Fun With The Family
In your free time, get out and about with the family! You could take your dog on long walks in the countryside, kick a ball around at the park or go on day trips where you’re walking around and exploring new places. Showing your kids that exercise and being active can be fun (more so than staring at a screen all day!) will set them up for healthy habits for the rest of their lives.

This is a contributed post.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Looking After Your Skin and Hair Whilst Working Out

When we think about what it means to take care of ourselves, most of us immediately think of fitness. Staying fit is so important. Exercise and diet can help us to achieve our full potentials and smash our goals. It’s even been suggested that exercise can reduce stress levels and increase our focus. Which is an obvious asset in the workplace. So it’s clear that fitness is incredibly important. But how do you take care of your skin and hair whilst you do it? Workouts can be tough on our skin, we sweat and wipe our faces a lot, which isn’t good for our skin. Similarly, sweat and humidity can lead to frizzy hair. Whilst you’re at the gym, this is unimportant. But it also affects you outside of the gym. Acne, frizzy hair, dry hair, and even dry skin can all be a result of not looking after ourselves whilst we work out. Read this guide on how to take care of every part of you whilst you workout…


The main issue with working out is sweat. Sweat doesn’t actually cause acne, this is a common misconception.What does cause spots, blackheads, and breakouts, is the mixture of sweat, bacteria, and sebum in a pore. Don’t worry, though, there are ways to workout and look after your skin too. What you need to do is keep it clean and hydrated, before, during, and after exercise...

If you wear makeup to the gym this is bad news for your skin. Whilst we sweat our pores open up and it becomes easy for makeup to mix with our sweat inside a pore and create new spots. Either that or our skin can become dull, lackluster, and uneven. If you can, avoid wearing makeup to the gym.This will give your skin a chance to breathe as you workout. The best way to look after your skin as you workout is to regularly wash your face. Post-workout give your skin a gentle cleanse and apply a moisturizer to lock all the hydration in.

If you can’t face hitting the gym without makeup on, wear a lightweight tinted moisturizer. Or a BB cream. Select a water-based formula which doesn’t have any oil. This will give you a bit of coverage but doesn’t risk blocking pores. Straight after your workout cleanse your skin before your makeup has a chance to set into the skin.

Working out, particularly outdoors, can be brutal. Winter workouts can be especially challenging for our lips. During a run or even an indoor workout, some people can lick their lips more than they need to. The feeling of having a dry mouth leads us to lick our lips for moisture, but this makes them drier. If you’re experiencing cracked lips when you leave the gym, this could be why. Bring a chapstick to your workout. A moisture-rich formula like shea butter works best. This will keep the moisture in, and steer you away from licking your lips during a workout.

During the summertime, an outdoor workout can also spell bad news for our lips. They’re a particularly delicate area of our face and too much exposure to the sun can lead to blistering. Put some sunscreen on your lips if you’re going to be working out outdoors. Stay hydrated too. Bringing a water bottle with you, sweat can dry your lips out too, ironically!



Neglecting our hair at the gym is a common problem. Throwing it up into a ponytail and getting stuck into our workout is great for our fitness, but not our hair’s health. Sweat and heat are enemies or hair and can leave it looking dry, greasy, and even weak. Take some precautions before, during, and after exercise, to leave your locks looking luscious…

If your workout is going to consist of a swim, make sure you condition your hair first. The chlorine in the pool can damage our hair. A leave-in conditioner will protect it, as will a swimming cap. Post-workout try not to put too much heat on your hair. The chances are you’ll be styling it with hot tongs like these ones,, to ensure there’s no frizz. So you don’t need any extra heat on it. Try a cold setting on the blow dry instead. Cold air can also prevent static and frizz.

If you’re not washing your hair after a workout make sure you spray it with a hydrating spritz. This make sure moisture is locked in rather than sweat. If you have somewhere to go after the gym, but don’t have time to wash and style your hair, try a French braid instead. This will give you a gentle wave post-gym and keep your hair secure whilst you workout. Also bring your dry shampoo along for some added volume! Don’t go to the gym with too many products in your hair, though. This could lead to it becoming greasy, or spots forming.

A headband not only keeps hair off your face whilst you workout, but it also soaks up sweat. That means your hair will be less greasy, and skin will remain cleaner during your exercises. Similarly, it helps to stop you from touching your hair. This can make grease worse and transfer it to your skin. If you have a fringe the headband is a slick solution to products and grips.

If you go to the gym a lot and see people you know there, it can be easy to feel self-conscious. Try out some different hairstyles to accessorize your workout look. These can be as simple as braids, or a more elaborate up-do. You can still show your sense of style and personality at the gym!

This is a contributed post.