While in Part One, I discussed feminism as something important to me, I felt I had to dedicate a little space for my own Sisterhood of wonderful women. I'm incredibly lucky to have a lot of supportive sisters in my life- both the bioligical variety and those with whom I have a sisterly bond. The sisters I grew up with inspire me in so many ways- my older sister Cat is the epitome of love and kindness, with an infectious laugh, while my sister Robin is a fierce and fabulous force to be reckoned with. My 'sisterhood' of friends also mean the world to me. In the past I'd always been wary of female friends, intimidated by the girls that taunted me at school and a few dodgy friendhsips as a teen. Meeting my friends Alexandra and Pip during University taught me that I could have female friendships in my life that were not only healthy, but incredible. We've navigated our way together through the stress of a degree, and are currently finding our way through the awkward post-graduate days. I've partied hard and cuddled gently with these women, and I love them from the bottom of my heart. In the past year or so, I've found a new friendship in the form of the wonderful Jasmin. The first time we hung out (a movie marathon) we chatted for hours non-stop and left the DVDs discarded on the side. Every time we meet, my affection and admiration for her grows even more, and she's just such a cool presence in my life! I really treasure my gang of creative, queer friends that I can always rely on, no matter how many miles are between us all. While I've basiclaly fangirled over them all, my point is that a great sisterhood can change your world, and make you feel so much stronger. Personally I high recommend it!
14. Period Dramas
As an artist, I love beautiful things. I also love films. When these two come together with a great narrative, I swoon. While I love many films with a contemporary setting, I have a real soft spot for pieces set in the past. If cinema is escapism, period dramas are time travel. I love titles that make me want to climb into the screen and raid wardobes (even if bad representation of plus size characters means nothing would fit me). There's been some gorgeous costume design I've revelled in during the past few years- in particular, Odile Dicks-Mireaux's work in An Education (2009) Kasia Walicka-Maimone's utterly lovely designs for Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and, more recently, the unforgettably beautiful creations for Carol (2015) by Sandy Powell. The increase in television show production values of late have led to some incredible visuals in TV too- my top recommendations (aside from the obvious Mad Men!) are American Horror Story:Asylum, and Masters of Sex!
15. Frankie Magazine
Women's magazines can be vicious. Simply pop into your local newsagents and you can see women being torn down and pulled apart by the cruel words of gossip mags and lifestyle publications. Within the past few years, I've made an effort to stay away from these types of magazines and either find more positive reads, or stay well clear of them all. I was incredibly happy to find Frankie-for me it's the perfect companion to curl up and read with! Frankie is mostly about arts and crafts, celebrating female makers and shakers and displaying gorgeous art and photography projects to leaf through and fawn over. Between the double pages of luscious art, there are fascinating articles covering a variety of subjects and giving wonderful female journalists a voice. Frankie is a soothing, friendly gal who certainly has a lot to say!
16. Clashing Patterns
Fashion is fun! One of my favourite aspects of fashion is matching items together, and in particular I find clashing patterns simply wonderful. I love contrasting textures and prints, block patterns and smaller details. Adding a second pattern into the mix can make an outift really stand out. Some say it's garish- but to me, garish means eccentrically brilliant. Some of my favourite combinations are ditsy florals with leopard print, tartan with breton stripes, and 60s monochromes with bright 70s floral illustrations. Mixtures of textures always catch my eye too, I love tweed and faux leather, fake fur and knitwear. Two of my style icons are Vivienne Westwood and Jean Woods (of Fabulous Fashionistas fame) and I think they clash patterns perfectly!
17. My Body
This fleshy vessel (or a flesshel) has been through a lot of self hatred in the past, for the same reasons a lot of women hate their bodies- we feel we are supposed to. At the start of 2015 I vowed to appreicate and love the body that I have, whatever form it takes on, and it's one of the best decisions I've made! I altered my social media intake, unfollowed unhealthy influences, did what I could to carve a positive space, and was generally a bit kinder to myself. The body positive movement has made an incredible impact on the way I view not just my body, but the bodies of others. I've grown to love my wobble, my jiggle, my belly, my stretch marks and cellulite, because I've wasted enough time hating it! It's not an easy journey and some days it can be the hardest thing to do, but moving from self acceptance to self love can be so powerful. Of course I still have my bad days, but I can always rely on the inspirations in my life to fill me with warm fuzzy feelings again. I take time to appreciate how my shape works, how my clothes hang from my frame. I love my tallness, my big butt, my squishy thighs- but if I had a completley different body, I'd still love that too. I feel the 'bo-po' movement needs to adapt to become more diverse in order for everyone to feel empowered, confident and truly love themselves, because it's a great feeling that everyone should know!
Aren't foxes the cutest? As my partner Dom will tell you, I love them! One of my first larger tattoos was a fox-I have a fox-patterned dress, a fox necklace, fox socks and more! I'm not sure where the obsession has come from, but I'm a long time fan. In Primary School I even wrote to Tony Blair, asking him to ban fox hunting, illustrated with crying foxes (I didn't get much of a response). Obviously, the baby-biting thing wasn't a wise move for the fox community, but I'll always love the cuties.
19. Movie Soundtracks & Scores
We all love a good movie soundtrack, ones that make every scene feel more grand, more sad, more uplifting, but also ones we can listen to independently and love just as much without the visuals. Some of my most treasured soundtrack CDs are:
-Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
-A Single Man (2009)
-(500) Days of Summer (2009)
-The Graduate (1967)
-Donnie Darko (2001)
-Billy Elliot (2000)
-School of Rock (2003)
-Singin' In The Rain (1952)
20. Sex Positivity
To me, sex positivity is an integral part of feminsim. I truly believe that, if done safely and consensually, sex is a great thing! While sex in relationships is awesome, one of my favourite times in life was when I was casually dating and living a healthy sex life without a partner! The idea that you should only have sex in a relationship simply is not for me, and many others agree! If you're in the both in the mood and a safe opportunity arises, why shouldn't you go for it? I love that the Sex Positive movement has created such a backlash against slut-shaming and societal expectations, and I'll never be ashamed of my decisions regarding my sex life. As some of you may know, I worked in an adult store for eighteen months and it proved to be an interesting experience! I learned a lot about the industry and its customers, and one thing I took away from it is that there should be more accessible resources for people to learn about sex-in particular anatomy, and what we class as 'normal' sex. I think it's vital that, while we have conversations about consent, sexuality and provide safe information, we must support and not alienate victims of sexual assault and the asexual community, and ensure the message is intersectional, fair and welcoming!
|My illustration of singer/songwriter Mary Lambert|
21. Mary Lambert
Growing up, I found queer role models incredibly hard to find. So many pop songs centred around a boy-meets-girl theme, and with so many music videos focused on attraction from men- a lot of you will remember how the 2002 release of TaTu's All The Things She Said was deemed shocking and explicit, while heterocentric pop videos bumped and ground their way through without censorship. In the years since then, very few out queer women have found mainstream success within the industry-the biggest success probably being that of Lady Gaga. Last year I discovered the music of Mary Lambert. Featuring on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' track Same Love catapulted her into the charts and into the hearts of many LGBT+ music fans. I remember hearing She Keeps Me Warm and rejoicing at finally hearing a lesbian love song! She Keeps Me Warm is a simple and gentle ballad, and proudly projects the message that love is love, and none of us should be denied a relationship that keeps us warm. As a plus size woman, Lambert also takes on the topic of body image in her work- most memorably her spoken word-piece Body Love. Any follower of the Body Positive or Feminist movements should really give this track a listen- her choice of words and clear frustration at the issues we face bring me close to tears each time I hear it. In her more upbeat track, Secrets, Lambert sings of wholeheartedly embracing personality aspects some see as 'flaws' - her mental health, sexaulity and body image amongst others- and invites us all to do the same. Mary Lambert is such a positive prescence in the pop world, providing both catchy, well written songs and a strong message of self-love. If you're on the lookout for more queer musicians to add to your playlists, check out the musicians Soko and St Vincent too!
22. Charlie Brooker
As the end of each year approaches, when we reflect upon the events of the last twelve months, I always love hearing writer Charlie Brooker's summary. The yearly 'wipes' are a ritualistic rant of all the crappy situations the year has found itself in, and the crappy people that put us there. It's easy to paint him as a cynical critic, pointing and laughing, but listen to what he's saying and he's simply dissapointed and angry at the world, and uses great comedy to let off steam about it. His heart is definitely in the right place, and I'm constantly watching old episodes of Screenwipe (which totally needs to come back to our screens please!) My personal highlight of 2015 Wipe was contributor Philomnea Cunk (real name Diane Morgan)'s take on Feminism.
Zines can be an incredibly powerful thing. A throwback to the Riot Grrl music scene of the 90s, feminist zines are a raw and passionate projection of frustration and anger at ignorance and prejudice in the world. I love the combination of art and feminism, but above all I adore the concept that anyone can make a zine. You don't need a degree in bookmaking or a Masters in Feminist theory to be able to create! All you need is passion and access to a printer! To read more about making zines, Whatcha Mean, What's A Zine? and Make A Zine! are wonderful books full of advice and inspiration!
24. Tove Jansson
Recently, you'll have seen this adorable gif from the TV adaptation of book series The Moomins doing the rounds online, and rightly so! It has a wonderfully body positive message that we could all benefit from. What I love about Tove Jansson's The Moomins is the simple and peaceful message of it all- about a small community of characters living in harmony, without hatred or judgement, something many of us see as an ideal way to live! Tove Jansson could probably be seen as one of the few truly successful female artists of the twentieth century, and one of even fewer successful lesbian artists of the same period. The longevity of the success of the Moomins boils down to the fact that Moominville is a safe and positive place to escape to, away from the harshness of today. That, and Moomins are so damn cute. Check out this awesome article about Tove Jansson and representation within the Moomins!
What are the things you adore in life? Let me know what makes you smile!