Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Is it feminist to... let your child wear make-up?

After listening to an old Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast on the right age to start wearing make-up I began thinking about this ridiculous question.  Make-up is not inherently bad, good or sexy.  That last one is the most important here because that is the whole issue.

First. things. first.  NOBODY needs to wear make-up.  Nobody.  It does not mean you are a more valid or respectable or attractive human being if you wear it and if someone tells you different then you have my permission to head-butt them.  Okay maybe not, no violence.  But it's true.

Despite not needing it to survive, a lot of people do wear make-up and for many different reasons.  Women often wear it so they feel more ready for the day, more 'put-together'; it's the war paint, the face we show the world.  It's partly ritual too.  If I am going on a night out that is part of the routine.  For many people, including myself, it's fun.  It's creative and enjoyable to paint your face and make it look how you want that day.  I covet certain make-up items for their beauty and ability to brighten up my face and my day,  I get excited by certain lipsticks and eye shadow palettes.  I love the different finishes and the myriad of colours available.  And I don't ever, not once, give a flying monkey's bum what anyone else thinks of my make-up.  I don't care what anyone else says 'suits' me or thinks is inappropriate.  Unless I am working, then I conform, or don't wear it at all, girls gotta earn.

Now we have the purpose of make-up all straightened out, is it okay to put it on a child?  Well, allergies aside, why not?  I don't wear it because I feel like I must to look nice, pretty, sexy, beautiful, presentable, not tired, not hideous.  I wear it because I feel like it that day and I enjoy it.  So why can't kids put make-up on for fun, if they choose too.  My almost two-year-old son already loves watching me put my make-up on and touching anything I'll let him get his hands on.  He loves how the brushes feel on his skin and copying what his mummy does by putting blusher on  his cheek.  Why should that be any different for a little girl too?  So long as you are not telling them it makes them look pretty (as that implies prettier) then what's the harm?  Emphasise the fun and creativity of it and you can't go wrong.  Let them experiment as they grow up, whether boy or girl, and if they are in no way interested in it then don't tell them they need it.  Because they don't.

The real problem with make-up comes when we say things like "Mummy needs to put her face on" or "I can't go out like this!" or "I need it to make me look nice".  We all feel that way sometimes but, in our current pressure cooker of a society, our little girls (especially) don't need another person telling them that they need make-up to be respected and liked.  They need to know that their face is fine and that how they look is irrelevant in most circumstances.  If you emphasise how you look to your kids they will think how they look is really important too.  It's no good spouting off self-loathing diatribes about being fat and ugly then telling them they don't need diets or make-up.  That doesn't make sense to young, growing minds.  Be the best example of loving yourself and they will love themselves too.  Make-up is not evil.  The patriarchal society that tells girls they must be attractive to be valid is evil.

The history of make-up might relate to make-up making women appear more sexually attractive but it doesn't need to mean that now.  It can just be fun, like dressing up.  We need to get away from the idea that women must attract men to have a full and worthwhile life.  That starts with make-up, wear it, don't wear it.  It doesn't matter.  But don't tell kids that it's a grown-up thing because then that automatically links it to sex, which is ridiculous.  It's a vicious cycle that many teenage girls find distressing: wear make-up-attract-boys-be-validated-sleep-with-boy-be-vilified.  They don't need boys or make-up and linking one to the other is damaging.  We need to tell our children that wearing make-up does not make you more or less likely to attract a mate and there are more important things to worry about that attracting a mate any way.

To conclude, there is no 'right age' to start wearing make-up because it is for frivolity, creativity and amusement - not to make yourself attractive to the opposite sex.*

Fem Love - Danielle

*Very hetero-normative, but that seems to be where the problem is

What do you think?  Do you let your child put on make-up?  Do you think there is a 'right age'?

Comment below or email me at

   He also likes to try on my shoes - so cute!

Sunday, 24 April 2016


Just a week after saying how much I love dying my hair crazy colours I have decided (with some help from my mum) to get my hair back to it's natural colour.  Well, as close as possible to my natural colour because my natural colour is a darkened-strawberry-blonde so not the easiest to replicate but I will need to cover the blonde when the blue fades as white hair does not suit my complexion.

This brings me back to the other version of individuality I have felt when it comes to my hair colour and that is the 'being a ginger' individuality.  Gingers suffer.  They suffer in the sun, they suffer in school and they suffer trying to find pale enough foundation.  My hair was bright ginger when I was wee and has dulled down to the aforementioned colour as I have become an adult.  I personally did not suffer the ridicule that many do as children and teenagers, probably because it wasn't as bright as some others and also because I have never really cared about my hair, or anyone else's opinion.  But.  If anyone ever tries to tell me I'm not ginger when I am plainly sporting my natural colour I go booloo.  I like being part of that club; I am on the less obvious end of the scale but I still have freckles all over my body, have to wear factor 50, cover up and sit in the shade when it's sunny and have hair that would be coloured-in orange if were ever made into a cartoon.  All the hair on my body is ginger, from my head, eyebrows, legs, underarms and pubic hair.  In fact, it is the less visible hair that remains bright orange.  I love it.  I love the colour, I love the fact that I am part of a small section of the population with this shade of hair.  I love the freckles on my eyelids and knees.  It's part of who I am.

The weird thing about being ginger as a female is that overall we get an easier deal than males of the same species.  Being different, unusual and colourful as a man is not as desirable when you are male as when you are female, it seems.  Things seem to have changed recently with famous male gingers such as Rupert Grint and Ed Sheeran and projects like the Red Hot 100 which aim to change the image of gingers in society.  Of course, part of the teasing that happens occurs purely because kids are mean and anyone different is ridiculed at that age but it is still worse if you're a boy.  The reason for that could just be that males of the species very often use teasing, even as adults, to bond with each other and they will find anything to pick on each other for; if you're ginger it's just to easy not to use that.

A downside of being a ginger girl is that it is just another reason for perverts to fetishise you.  As if being a woman isn't enough, we have to be classified by hair colour or other parts of our bodies and how big or small they are.  Blergh.  I have encountered these creeps and I have also heard the phrase 'red heads are best in bed' which just makes me shudder, as if having a red/orange tinged hair means that our personality is affected by a socially constructed idea about what the arbitrarily assigned colour 'red' has.  IT'S MADNESS PEOPLE, MADNESS.

So, in short, ginger hair is great, not weird or overly special.  Just a hair colour.  If the same percentage of people with ginger hair had brown hair then they would have the piss taken out of them too.  Except you probably wouldn't call the brown-haired people night-walkers because they wouldn't get burnt just looking at the sun from indoors.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Blurple hair and men in women's spaces.

I've been away for some time and now I'm back... let's not wang on about it.  Time to make this blog what it should be - about my life as a big ol' raging feminist - yay!

I have recently moved back home to Essex, specifically to a little village near the big town that we're from.  I am already in love with village life; there is loads going on for grown-ups and kids alike and the people are just so welcoming.  I can't even count the amount of times people on the street have said "Hello" and "Welcome to Hobbiton*not actual village name*" when they learn we are new here.  I do miss my amazing mummy friends from our previous town a lot, but I'm still keeping in contact with them - not letting those beauties go!

Since we moved to this little slice of heaven 3 weeks ago, I have been dying my hair again.  This time I thought I would try the blue/purple (blurple, natch) that I had coveted from the start.  It was mostly a success but it's still a little patchy.  Amateur hair dressing aside, a lot of people might wonder why I have this hair-dying hobby; I had to bleach my hair to begin with, causing damage to my hair, it's a lot of upkeep, and many (mostly) women consider it a brave and therefore risky thing to do.  Head hair is the prized possession of many women and they wouldn't want to risk it 'going wrong'.   I don't really care about that sort of thing and even if I have to shave it off I would consider it an exciting new change and a chance to get into head-wear (England not being the warmest of climes...).

Sooo many people tell me they love my hair - random strangers in pub toilets have requested to touch it, cashiers at the Tesco petrol station shout "love the hair" as I leave, even men compliment my 'do - but it's not the attention I crave: it's the individuality ( individual being a loose term: I know brightly coloured hair is a bit of a fad at the moment so I'm not the only one doing it, but I'm definitely unusual round these parts).  When you become a mother you do lose some of yourself because there just is not enough room for all that is you and all that is them at the same time.  I have changed in so many ways for the better since giving birth to my son but as you get to grips with this whole child-wrangling business, you start to want some of yourself back, some of what made you an individual rather than a care-giver.  So, my hair is my hobby.  Also, I currently don't have employers to dictate the way I look so best to do these things while you have the chance!

The other topic of this entry is the one of men being all up in women's spaces.  The fact that they were present in those spaces was not the problem, the problem was...

Firstly, I have been going to a lot of new parent and toddler groups locally to meet new people and as usual they involve 99.9% women when it comes to the adults.  At one of the groups there was 1 dad, noticeable in his singularity.  He seemed totally un-phased by his alien status - unlike mine and other male partners who refuse to go to any 'mum and baby' groups alone if they happen to be off in the week.  It is so sad that men feel that way - intimidated by a space that should welcome all parents and children.  And they do, welcome them, but it's society at large that creates the problem for men here.  They feel intimidated because they do not see people like them doing these activities - it's the old adage of 'you can't be what you can't see', which is usually used in reference to women and high-powered jobs.  But, as vital as it is for young women to see females having a variety of successful careers, it is also vital for young men to see males as carers, caring and able to care for children.  Men need to feel as if they are allowed to care for children without it being considered unmanly, weak or even weird.

The next, mainly female, space in which there was a lone man was at a mindfulness and meditation class I attended.  I am looking for ways to take care of myself mentally and improve my stress management because I do struggle with mental health issues and I would like to stop taking pills for it eventually.  There are many reasons to learn the art of mindfulness and how to meditate but all of it relates to self-care in some way.  There was 1 man out of 10 people in the class.  I have not got as much experience of classes like this as I have of parent and toddler groups but it was interesting to note the inequality present here and it lead me to wonder if men are encouraged to look after themselves as much as women are.  Is it acceptable for men to acknowledge that they need help with their mental fortitude?  Are they just expected to 'get on with it'?  The male suicide rates certainly would confirm that attitude within our society as they are consistently higher than that of females.  It seems an injustice that men do not feel that they are as worthy of self-care as women are.

Lastly, the final female dominated area in which men were present this week was the comments of a Feminist News Facebook post.  This picture appeared on my timeline -
I commented below the picture "I love to leave blood trailing all around me. It feels far more civilised than facial stubble- that's for sure!" just to be humorous, really.  I rarely get involved in these things online but I thought this was a fairly obvious and inoffensive comment, anyone with logical thoughts would agree... Other people started commenting in response, mainly women joining in with the witty banter, but then along came the men.  I won't bother quoting them but the gist was that shaving your face every day is as bad as, if not worse, than having periods.  I didn't respond to these men as they simply don't deserve my energy and I just couldn't be bothered.  Anyone who does not have a vagina that bleeds regularly does not get a vote.  Women don't specifically shave their faces but they are required to remove hair from other (more extensive) parts of their bodies in order to be deemed acceptable for public consumption.  Stubble and beards on men are actually deemed quite attractive, for the most part.  Lady beards are not generally given the same admiration.  I'm not sure why I'm telling you guys this stuff because you all know this, it's obvious.  But not to some, and those people, once again, should stay out of it until they have had a good old bleed out of their bums once a month.  Men are always welcome in feminist discussions, but only if they're not being twats.

Thoughts and comments welcome, what do you think of these topics?  Comment below or drop me a line at

Love and stuff, Danielle 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Why children are so exhausting.

The terrible two.

My life is so much improved by having had a child.  I am the sort of person that always needed someone else to worry about in order to be content.  I wasn't very good at looking after myself for myself.  But for him; he's worth it.  I have to look after myself now because he needs me. Plus it's just great fun and the overwhelming love is as amazing as you've heard.  Now here comes the but...


That doesn't mean that it isn't the most exhausting lifestyle choice you can make.

I hated my job and it caused me endless stress and issues so I am glad to be away from it.  I now work in the evenings and at weekends to help pay the bills but I most definitely would not work at all if not entirely necessary.  This is because childcare is exhausting.  

I guess to some who have not done it that child care may seem like a lovely lifestyle.  Coffee mornings and play groups, singing nursery rhymes and doing some housework during nap time.  No job-related stress and demands from a boss.  Just spending time with your bundle of joy; watching them grow and develop - how exciting!  And all those things are great.

The 'but' comes in when you consider this.  

Having a child is like having an extra body that you cannot control; another set of arms, legs, another stomach, and another bum to worry about. Even though you are so intimately connected to this little person that you feel they are as important, if not more important than your own body parts, you have no idea what the brain is doing.  No idea what this little extension of you wants or needs; most of the time it's just a guess.  It get easier. Of course it does. But the seemingly simple task of taking care of children is a minefield of trial and error. 

Then there's all the guilt. Such a massive drain in itself. Should I feed him more? Should I feed him real food or jars, because that's all he'll eat? Is he too hot or too cold? Is he comfortable sitting there?  Has he just eaten something dangerous?  Choking.  Falling.  Hitting. Grabbing. Cutting.  They are a whirlwind of danger to themselves. They are like happy little suicidal drunks.  Children can't control their limbs properly but they are determined to use them with gusto. They are attracted to danger over and over and they think being told off is hilarious fun. 'No' 'hot' 'dirty' don't mean a thing to them for quite some time. They cannot walk but are determined to try no matter how many times they fall over and bash their heads.

When they do fall over there is the possibility of crying.  Oh the crying.  They can go from laughing to crying faster than a drunken single bridesmaid at her best mate's wedding.  For the parent of a crying child, it is torture.  And they don't just do it when they're in need of something life-sustaining.  For quite a while, they do it for EVERYTHING.  If they're bored.  If they want your crisps.  If they want a toy turned on.  If they've thrown their own dummy on the floor and they can't sleep without it so you have to go and pick it up for the FIFTIETH time.  And every time they are upset you feel that inside, even if you know there's nothing 'wrong' with them.  That in itself is so draining you just want to have a nap after a particularly whiny dinner time. 

Me?  Exhausting? 

All of these things make them joyous and exhausting in equal measure.  I realise that this is nothing new that hasn't been written about before but I just needed to share my version of it. Because even being in a room with my son is exhausting, let alone having to work, clean or cook.  And he hasn't even started walking yet.  And I have my eyes on 4 kids... 

We'll see how crazy two makes me and go from there... 

So, in short, children are exhausting because you're so damn fond of them.  If you didn't care as much about them they would probably still survive, but you'd be more relaxed.  But I wouldn't change it for the world; there would be no point having them if you didn't love them so much you go a little bit insane

.  There is some fun involved...

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Is it Feminist to...Call Yourself Fat?

You’re fat. You’re ugly, disgusting, gross, inhuman, unattractive, vile, unshagable, a
paper-bag-job.  Apologies for the seemingly abusive start but, are all of these synonyms for ‘fat’?  What does it mean to you?  If someone calls you 'fat' or you refer to yourself in that way, in your mind or out loud, what does it really mean?

According to the magic internet dictionary this is what it means-

adjective, fat·ter, fat·test.
1.  having too much flabby tissue; corpulent; obese: a fat person.
2.  plump; well-fed: a good, fat chicken.
3.  consisting of or containing fat; greasy; oily: fat gravy; fat meat.
4.  profitable, as an office: a fat job on the city commission.
5.  affording good opportunities, especially for gain: a fat business contract.

I’m talking about its use as an adjective, rather than a noun, as that is where the problem lies, the description of females as 'fat'.  So number 1 states that 'fat' is having “too much flabby tissue”.  What is too much?  If you are an average woman you will have more than an average man, is that too much?  If you have naturally large breasts and hips you will have more than someone who does not have such sizable body parts – is that too much?  Who is anyone to judge whether another person has too much or little of any given substance in their body?  Too much for what?  Too much to fit in a size 8 (which is arbitrary as there is no regulation amongst retailers in the UK)?  Too much to fit through that doorway?  Too much to be a dancer or gymnast?  Too much to be a human being??

Proof that we come in all shapes and sizes and all are healthy and beautiful.

In our culture calling someone ‘fat’ is not a compliment, it is an insult (unless they are part of fetish culture but then that’s a whole other issue).  The connotations of that insult are that the person you are referring to has too much fat to be considered attractive.  You might mean that they are overweight (which is a very contentious issue as some athletes are considered obese according to their BMI)  e.g. unhealthy which also indicates unattractiveness as we are inherently attracted to people who we think we can reproduce with, and reproduction is tougher if you are unhealthy in any way.  But people that are unhealthy in a variety of ways fall in love and have children every day; there's no insult for someone with poly-cystic ovaries, for example.  It is vital that we have language to describe people's health relating to their weight as we can't shy away from these issues altogether.  But I would argue that 'underweight' and 'overweight' are perfectly servicable and the words 'fat' and even 'skinny' can be discarded for their emotive and offensive connotations.  They both imply something more than just factual information about someone's body shape.  They imply 'too much' or 'too little' and can make people feel bad about themselves unnecessarily. 

Now we all know that it is how you feel that is important; how you feel inside, physically and about your appearance.  We know that we should worship and love and take care of our bodies and that how we look is not really that important.  But the world around us is conveying a different message; any woman that is not a size 8-10 is not really represented in fashion, television, and the media at large which can make even the most secure person start to feel like they are not ‘normal’, that they are not ‘right’, that they are ‘other’; compared to people who are that size most of us are ‘fat’.  Most of us have ‘too much’ if we measure ourselves using that standard.

All of these women are 'real women' and all are beautiful to someone.

The word ‘fat’ is a tool of the media to describe (mostly) women in a sensationalised way in order to sell more magazines and newspapers, and in turn this makes us as readers/observers feel like we need to change to fit in.  That change, strangely enough, involves diet books, gyms, exercise classes, diet meals and membership fees to diet clubs.  Funny that.  It is no coincidence that making you feel shit about yourself leads to them making money.  Women's weight is not the only insecurity created in order to make removal products, I'm looking at you.  It also ties in to the idea that women are more valued for their looks than their thoughts and what they have to say.  If we are not hairless from the neck down, and acceptably slim we are invisible.  Features such as 'the ring of shame' and criticism of female celebrities loss or gain in weight only serves to focus our attention on our own bodies and perceived 'imperfections' linked to being 'fat' like cellulite, stretch-marks and 'muffin-tops', all of which are natural and acceptable features of a human body.

An 'up-yours' to those who criticise your body is the only way.

So next time you think you need to diet (despite being perfectly healthy) or do exercise you don’t enjoy, next time you shy away from wearing something or doing something because you are worried about being too ‘fat’, think this instead; I am a human, with a body and I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks of it (unless they are being nice).  If you are uncomfortable because you know that your weight is affecting your health then change your lifestyle to fit in more movement (that you enjoy) and change your eating habits.  But don’t call yourself ‘fat’.  Your partner, your friends, your family, and anyone who respects you as a human being would not refer to you using that word, so you shouldn’t either.

As Feminists we need to think carefully about the words we use to describe each other, but also the ones we use to describe ourselves.  Don't use these words that have been invented or bastardised by others to provide hurt and insult and make women feel like they are less.  Self-deprecation is a standard human activity but women have many more ways to hate themselves than men; stop the word 'fat' (and 'skinny') from being one of them.

What's the deal with Ruby Rose?

For the time being, let's ignore the fact that I haven't posted on here for over a year due to keeping a small person alive (this is a very time-consuming activity; in case you hadn't heard), and instead, let's talk about what everyone else is talking about.

For this post I'm not aiming for originality - I realise that everyone and his dog is writing about this woman - but it's just been the first topic I've been compelled to write about since birthing the boy.

The inspiration came from watching a short film entitled 'Break Free', that the woman of the hour made herself; it shows her transformation from a very stereotypical version of a female model to a truer, some might say more 'masculine', version of herself, and the one that more closely resembles her character in hit show 'Orange is the New Black'.  This transformation perfectly encapsulates why she is attractive to so many different people.  She is undeniably attractive; even if you weren't attracted to her, you could not say that she was ugly.  She has a very symmetrical face, large eyes, full lips and a slender and healthy-looking physique.  But that's not it.  That's not what has prompted tweets, Facebook statuses and even articles that men and women who consider themselves to be straight or gay have written saying 'I would'.  (Lucky her!  What an honour that many random strangers would do you given half the chance...)

Being married to a man, in a definitively monogamous relationship, means that I 'wouldn't' (shag her, just in case you hadn't caught on).  But after watching her performance in OITNB I definitely feel myself being attracted to her in a way that I am not usually to women.  Obviously there are many women who I consider to look attractive but that's not the same.  As with most people, I'm not just attracted to someone because of what their mumma and daddy gave them.  Genes can only get you so far.  It's a combination of so many things including sense of humour, attitude to life, values, the way someone moves, speaks and how they present themselves.  The way that Ruby Rose presents herself is very much appealing to many people.  She is the perfect storm: beautiful but edgy;  tattooed and stylish; short hair, but not devoid of hair (on her head, I mean...there is a scene of her naked in the show but I wasn't really focused on the state of her body hair).  She does not conform to the pressures that many beautiful women feel to have long hair, fake tits, wear loads of make-up and wear dresses and high heels - be 'feminine'.

She is the perfect combination of things that both people who are attracted to men and women find attractive.  Plus she just comes across (as her character and in real life) as mysterious and interesting and what's not sexy about that?  It's brilliant because it's making people realise how little the labels imposed on us matter.  Female/male. Gay/straight. Masculine/feminine.  Even though none of these are inherently offensive words (unlike some other labels people like to throw at gender-fluid people) they can be incredibly limiting in society today.  The body you have under your clothes doesn't matter.  It's who you are and how you present yourself that matters and it's clear that Ruby Rose is damn cool and very alluring.  I don't think nearly as many people would think she was so stunning without her tattoos and with the long blonde hair that she sports in wig-form at the beginning of her short film.  It's how she presents her personality via the way she looks that makes her more beautiful and interesting.

It is sad that it took this long for some people to realise that gender-fluidity is beautiful, interesting and acceptable and it's a shame that it took someone who is quite so beautiful to be the poster child for it (us humans are the most shallow animals), but we just need it to happen, however that may be.  Hopefully it is a step towards gender-fluidity being more accepted or even celebrated; men wearing dresses or make-up and not being treated like freaks, women having short hair and never wearing heels or make-up and still being deemed attractive and respected within society - or even just not being asked if they're ill...come on, people.

I'm sure it feels like a massive amount of pressure on someone who has only just come into the limelight in such a big way; she is bound to be a role model for many young people struggling with gender identity and identity in general, but so far, she seems to be handling it with panache.

Have you experienced gender-fluidity yourself?  What do you think of Ruby Rose?  What do you think of the new season of OITNB?  (No spoilers!!)

Tell me below or here @myfeministlife or here

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Mothers Lost in Time: Women Shunned from Marriage Certificates in England and Wales

I was outraged to discover recently that only your father is included on your marriage certificate.  In 2014!!  Listening to the Woman's Hour podcast (not exactly Feminist but has some interesting stuff on it) they had a family historian and record specialist Audrey Collins explaining the law, and Caroline Criado-Perez explaining why it needs to change.  

Since 1836 when marriage certificates were developed women were the property of men; when you got married you went from being the property of your father to being the property of your husband.  This piece of paper represents the exchange of a woman from man to man as if she is an object.  Is that a symbol you want in your life anywhere?  If you feel like you are equal to your other half in every other way, why is it that in the symbol of your union it is fine to still have this archaic symbol?  What if you were brought up only by your mother(s)?  What if your father is dead, absent, or you don't have any kind of decent relationship with him?  

The statement from the Home Office is that it is too expensive to replace the bits of paper in the churches and registry offices; when I spoke to my other half about this he told me that if you work in the council and you have any kind of relationship (including a drunken snog) with one of your colleagues, you now have to fill in a form reporting this.  Now I wonder how much it cost to print out all of those ridiculous forms??


If you don't think that women should be wiped from history via marriage certificates, if you think that women are equal to men, or if you think that you will be pretty pissed off to be excluded from your child's marriage certificate in the future then go and sign the petition.  It's free and it takes 2 minutes at the most.

I know that I for one will not be getting married until this is changed; most people don't realise until the day of their own wedding, when it is too late, so I am glad to have found out in time.  Those of you who are friends and family reading this - you may be getting a little holiday in Scotland!