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a book, film + chit chatty blog

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Weird Cinema Experiences in France

Happy Sunday!  I've changed my blog schedule to Sundays because I personally love catching up on all my favourite blogs and Youtube channels at the end of the week. It's quite chilled isn't it? So I thought it'd be quite nice to do the same thing with my own posts. I'll still be blogging in between the week  but Sunday will be the day can come here and see something new. I hope.

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Monday, 14 November 2016

Is The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf still relevant?

I've seen this book circulating around social media, hailed as this 'must-read' feminist manifesto. So like many hyped up books, you and I may reach for it without knowing anything about it; you know, hoping it'd change our lives etc etc. That's what I did anyway. Thing is, its one of those books you should know a thing or two about before reading.

Firstly, it's written in quite an academic style. Of course this isn't a bad thing but I'd gone from reading a string of contemporary, female memoirs to The Beauty Myth which was pretty dense in comparison. And don't be fooled, the abridged version may be shorter, but it's not exactly light reading.

And another piece of advice, definitely read it from the beginning. This isn't one of those 'start anywhere in the book and dip in and out of it.' Naomi Wolf sets out her argument in the beginning and then builds on this, to the end. The start was a little boring so I skipped a bit, only to find I'd missed the explanation of the beauty myth itself.

Now, I didn't find the central argument: that feminine beauty is an socio/political/economic weapon used by the patriarchy to oppress women and prevent them from advancing in society, entirely convincing. But the good thing is, your experience of the book won't hinge on whether or not you agree with the main argument as there's a lot of good, well reasoned insights you can take away. Here are a few quotes I personally loved:
  • "A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn't grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights." 
  • “Culture stereotypes women to fit the myth by flattening the feminine into beauty-without-intelligence or intelligence-without-beauty; women are allowed a mind or a body but not both.” 
  • "Whatever is deeply, essentially female - the life in a woman's expression, the feel of her flesh, the shape of her breasts, the transformations after childbirth of her skin--is being reclassified as ugly, and ugliness as disease. These qualities are about an intensification of female power, which explains why they are being recast as a diminution of power." - YES & I WANT THIS TATTOOED ONTO ME. And also what a beautiful way of looking at the female body?!
But on the whole I have to say I was quite disappointed by The Beauty Myth. Ugh, I know. I really wanted to see a conversation about social media and the internet and how this is impacting the female body but the book predates social media so this conversation doesn't happen. She instead touches on  the role and influence of magazines - perhaps less influential than social media but still relevant. On a whole though, the book could've been a lot less patriarchy and a lot more about consumerism. This may just have been due to the wave of feminism at the book was first published. 

I did also feel really frustrated at times when reading this because it focused entirely on the 'strife' (no shade ... but shade) middle class white straight women. And in doing so, the book completely failed to address how beauty ideals affect women of colour , women that aren't financially privileged and women in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Someone on Goodreads said that this book is "a shadow of what it should have been"-  couldn't have put it better myself.


3/5

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Writing, Consumerism + my blogging identity crisis

I couldn't think of an appropriate photo of so here's an old one I've used before 
It's been about a year since I started this blog and if you've been here from the beginning you'll know it's seen many incarnations. I'd started because I like writing and wanted a space to do it. I read a lot and thought why not start a book blog?  It was fun for a while. I wrote a couple of reviews on books I'd been reading at the time. But then I also started reading a lot of other book blogs ... started comparing mine to theirs and low and behold, in came insecurity. A lot of the book blogs I'd found read a lot of YA, making me think that if I wanted to make my blog better, I should read more YA too. Btw I know now this is dumb. And it meant I kind of got lost in the whole blogging community itself. It just became more about making everything look nice with book hauls and book tags and having a great shelf. Rather than actually, writing about books.


In the book blogging community are some of the nicest and most passionate bloggers you'll ever meet online. But for example in trying to buy stacks of books so I could have really nice photos, I wasn't being authentic *cringe I hate that word but it's appropriate here*. I couldn't afford the books I was buying, nor did I have the space to put them. Bookstagram and I guess Instagram in general, definitely promotes consumerist behaviour. There's actually nothing wrong with that. People are free to do whatever they want with their money and, it is of course natural to want to share stuff that you've bought that you love. But I was basically buying, in the name of fitting into a community. And because I was blogging about books I didn't enjoy reading, it became a bit of a chore. Hence why started writing  writing about films and TV because it's the one thing I can write about and talk about effortlessly for hours on end. But then I also felt like I was being true to the blog because it was *meant* to be a book blog. Because you know, you can't possibly write about more than one thing ....

The truth is:

  • I hate reading hardbacks, they just aren't that comfy to read (but they make for great photos)
  • On my own accord, I read about 5 YA books a year. Out of 50.
  • I love reading on my Kindle because there's nothing better than cheap books and I don't have to worry about storing (a virtual book doesn't make for a great photo does it? Of course there's nothing like reading a paperback. So at this point in time, I only really buy physical books I anticipate I'll love/read again. Or I just pass on/sell the books I decide I won't keep.
  • Though I'm passionate *another cringe word but again, appropriate* about film and books and TV, I often have the urge to write about other things because above all else, I love writing
  • I don't like bulk buying books. I buy no more than 4 at a time because having 20 books I bought last year that I haven't read makes me legit anxious. (Oh and I'm low key broke)
So here we are one year later. I've had a purge on the blog so everything left here, I like and I'm proud of, and I enjoyed writing. And though this will still predominantly be a film + book blog, expect a lot more personal posts.

I hate the fact that its taken so long to feel settled in blogging but there's also nothing wrong with that. If you don't know what you want to do, my new mantra is to try everything and don't feel shamed about constantly changing your mind. Not a very snappy mantra but you get the gist.
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Friday, 4 November 2016

To All the Wonder Woman Haters


DC's Wonder Woman has just been made the honorary UN Gender Equality Ambassador and people are pissed. Thousands of UN staff actually signed a petition to have the decision revoked  against her to have her removed citing her as: "A large breasted, white woman of impossible proportions, scantily clad in a shimmery, thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots - the epitome of a "pin-up" girl".  Oh and also, many people took issue with her being fictional. Well, my lil ol' comic book loving self is offended by those who took offence.
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