On learning to love your body (and not feeling guilty about eating cake)

Everywhere I look, there is a worrying amount of pressure on us all to be thin and lose weight if we don’t live up to a certain standard. This is true of both genders, but there’s no denying that it is especially true for women. Adverts featuring stick-thin girls permeate our everyday lives, along with fad diets being pushed onto us and magazines telling us how to be “bikini ready” all whilst chastising female celebrities who are either too thin or too fat – whatever they are, they’re just not “the right size.”

Fe-line - Learning to Love Your Body

As a woman at a restaurant, you must reject dessert or risk being considered a pig. “I’m watching my weight!” say women who have probably never known life at more than eight stone. “Better make sure I’m good tomorrow!” tiny girls exclaim after a slice of cake. I scoff, feeling judged when I (almost every time) go for the non-salad option and also order dessert – and even though for the most part I don’t care, it’s not always easy. I would be shocked if I saw a man doing this, but as a woman it’s almost expected.

I know healthy, gorgeous women of all sizes that hate their bodies, and it’s depressing to see – especially when they won’t listen to anyone but their own inner demons, awful magazines berating women’s bodies and companies trying to sell their products, rather than the people that really love and care about them.

I’m the first to admit that this is coming from someone who has always been relatively lucky in this department – fairly slim and with a high metabolism – so I realise it’s easy for me to say “just eat what you want,” because I’ve enjoyed that luxury most of my life. However, recently, as I’ve been getting older (late-twenties, eek!) I’ve noticed that’s changing and I’m putting weight on more easily. This depresses me, and it’s hard to fight this feeling despite my better judgement. So yes – I get it, believe me. And as a feminist, and someone that believes you are beautiful no matter your size, it frustrates me that I care. But of course I do. Because society tells us we must be thin if we are to be beautiful, successful, loved. This is wrong, but it’s been internalised in us from such a young age that it’s difficult to get out of our systems, even if we know it’s wrong.

However, believe it or not, I’m actually quite fond of my body. Sure, in an ideal world, I’d have a bigger chest and a flatter stomach – but I’m not going to get a boob job, liposuction, or deprive myself of the food I love in order to achieve unrealistic beauty standards. Hell, I’d rather be a little chubbier and eat what I want than obsess over weight and have a tiny figure. Also, food is the best – a life without chocolate and pizza (in moderation, of course) is not worth living, in my opinion, no matter how skinny you are. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”? Pah, I say!

Don’t get me wrong, health is important – but crash dieting and obsessive calorie counting isn’t the way forward; healthy eating and exercise is. And everyone deserves a treat every now and then without any guilt. Why live your life only eating things you don’t enjoy all that much for the sake of fulfilling society’s unrealistic expectations of how you should look and how much you should weigh? And anyone that judges you on how you look or the food that you eat isn’t worth the time of day, quite frankly.

What I want everyone to know is that weight is not the be all and end all of your existence – your happiness, is. I realise the two can go hand in hand because of what the media wants us to believe, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Realise that society’s expectations of us are a load of crap – I know it’s hard, but try your best to do so.

So I guess what I’m saying is: be healthy, eat sensibly, exercise – but don’t let losing weight, counting calories and only eating “the right things” take over, because that’s no way to live your life. Yes, I realise it’s easier said than done, but no matter how difficult, do try – and most of all, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Emily

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: charlottedownie on Flicker

About Emily

Born and bred in Oxford, I'm incredibly passionate about women's rights and I love writing, music, movies, fashion, cats, wine and tea. I just got back from a round the world trip and am now figuring out what to do with my life...watch this space!

The love list: a few of my recent favourite things

RetroSalonGirls

 

If, like me, you’re a bit of a culture vulture and always on the hunt for new things to inspire and admire,  you’ll no doubt already be a pro at scouring the web for all things new and exciting.

I wanted to share a few things with you that have ticked the A-W-E-S-O-M-E box for me this month, hopefully they’ll float your boat, too. Enjoy!

First things first, a new season = new hair. As a former hairdresser (did I forget to mention that?!) this website excites me very much. If you find it difficult explaining exactly what you want to your stylist then fear not – HAIRCVT is your new friend. You can search by hair type, service or style and find which hairdressers do the kind of cuts or colours you dig. Or, you can use it on your phone once in the salon chair. Simples!

This cute little names website is a bit of a silly one, but pretty entertaining nevertheless. It gives you a graph of your name’s popularity since 1996, as well as showing the most current popular baby names (Isla, apparently!). Tres fun…and tres dangerous if you want to accidentally loose four hours…

If you’re into Humans of New York, you should definitely check out up and coming Aussie blog the Why You Collective. Started by Bondi boy Adam, who I recently met in Sydney, the blog aims to explore ‘the reasons humans in each community do what they do’ and to share, inspire and spread peoples unique and individual stories with others. Adam and I chatted over our love of blogging and he shared his plans for the Why You Collective with me – turns out he’s off to run through Europe in January, starting in Amsterdam, and intends to use the blog as a platform to share the stories of the people he meets along the way. It’s one to follow!

Finally, Mac Ruby Woo red lipstick is my ‘treat yo’ self’ recommendation of the month. As a red lippie devotee, this is by far the best that I have ever used. Wine proof (essential), bold and long lasting, this bad boy has been my ultimate sidekick this month. Although a little pricier that your average High St lipstick, it’s well worth the investment.

Love and lippy,

sally

 

 

 

Image source:

http://michaelalexandersalon.com/custom.asp?PID=6509

 

 

About Sally

I’m Sally and I am currently based in Sydney, Australia. I work in PR and love all things to do with brands, travel and social media. When not blogging about PR, social media, travel or anything else that inspires me, I like to spend my time indulging in travel, Italian food, art galleries or a good book. I also give a mean haircut.

Fabulous Felines – A Purrfect Mini Trend

Here at Fe-line we love a purring furry friend or two. You can also see us donning the occasional pair of cat ears and perhaps even some whiskery face paint as an ode to those fabulous felines.

The allure of the cat has been well documented throughout history from the Ancient Egyptians to Norse mythology. In Ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals often depicted as sleek beautiful creatures and in some instances as the embodiment of a goddess. There have been recorded instances of domesticated cats living with humans in most cultures around the world for many centuries. Their allure and relationship with humans is enduring, as cats are the most popular pet the world over.

There is also something rather mystical about cats, and their history was marred by their association with witches in the medieval period, where many thought they aided witches with their spells and potions and as a result were hounded. Nowadays their mysticism just adds to their appeal. They are aloof and agile which has led to the common myth that cats have 9 lives.

I think this seemingly death defying ability makes them a fascinating animal and possibly one of the many reasons that we try to emulate them. We are attracted by their sassy devil-may-care approach to life and their non-committal relationship with us keeps us hooked, it’s almost as if every time they show affection or attention they make us feel like the privileged chosen one. Unlike dogs, cats haven’t evolved quite so much during domestication and therefore have closer links to their wild ancestors, so although domestic cats are now tame and can even be trained to some extent, they still have the wild tendencies for play and mischief. It’s this blend of characteristic combined with their beauty that make them so well loved among the human population. However it is worth noting that one of their wild tendencies is to catch prey, with 55 million bird mortalities in the UK being linked to cats, it’s worth accessorising your cat with a couple of bells to help house sparrows and starlings in particular, as these are two species that are most frequently caught by cats and are under population pressure in the UK. Having a furry friend in your life is great for mental health, but a bit of help for our native wildlife means we can preserve more of the natural beauty that is a great, every day mood booster. Its win win!

Cats are great for mental health as they promote companionship and comfort alleviating anxiety and stress. Plus lets face it, who doesn’t love a ‘cats do the funniest things’ video on YouTube?! The cat has been personified in many roles in popular culture including Puss in Boots, Cat Woman, Mr Mistoffelees, and who could forget the Aristocats. They make us laugh and feel warm and fuzzy inside when they do cute things, in essence we love the sense of fun they infer and seek to replicate it.

This season the fashion world has embraced the image of the cat and the good vibes they imbue as a key mini trend perfect for feline festive fun. It’s a great way of adding some humour to your look. Animal print is still a key look for this season and is an easy and stylish way to incorporate a bit of animal magic into your wardrobe. It’s feminine with a hint of wild danger.

Aspire Leopard Print Dress

Aspire Leopard Print Dress

If you’re looking for something with a bit more ‘kawaii’ factor, there are some great accessories and jewellery out there, and would be perfect for wearing to one of our Fe-line dinners or drinks in the coming months! The original cute cat shoes from Charlotte Olympia are the quintessential essence of this trend, though at £365, I’m going to have to do A LOT of saving to get my feet into some of these!

Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats

Charlotte Olympia Kitty Flats

This mini trend has inspired me to curate a range of fabulous feline jewellery at Kinship of Oxford. The collection is made in Bristol by Laura Hunter and is the essence of feline fun with beautifully cut acrylic in quirky styles including this awesome Black Cat Mask Necklace that is just perfect for dressing up a casual crew neck jumper or smock dress, or adding some fun evening bling to a party outfit.

Kinship of Oxford Black Cat Mask Necklace

Kinship of Oxford Black Cat Mask Necklace

If you’re looking for some quirky fancy dress, these Crown & Glory Cat Ears are also uber cute and glittered to the max. Perfect for Halloween, you’ll be the sparkliest cat woman at the party!

Crown & Glory Liberace Kitty Ears

Crown & Glory Liberace Kitty Ears

Lastly, the Queen of cat jewellery has to be Lea Stein. She started working in the fashion industry in the 50s and soon established her iconic look using layers of plastic to create statement jewellery, including many variations of cats. Her styling is often thought of as Art Deco, which I think really suits the sweeping lines of the cat. This is a great example of one of her pieces. You can still pick up Lea Stein jewellery on-line and in Antiques centres such as Antiques on High.

lea stein cat brooch

Lea Stein Gomina Cat Brooch

So how about adding some fabulous feline style to your look this season, whether it’s just for fun or to show your feline adoration, there’s something for your look.

Why not tweet us @Felinewomen showing your cat styling, I’d love to see your ideas!

Love and styling purrfection,

rosie-signature

About Rosie

I grew up in South Oxfordshire and now live in wonderful East Oxford, via a few years in Brighton. I run the online gift store Kinship of Oxford, and am passionate about gorgeous gifts, fashion, music, photography, and of course the beautiful city of Oxford! You can often find me at dancing at gigs, popping up at markets, pounding the streets of Oxford and catching up with friends in a pub or two!

“Women with Short Hair are Damaged!!”… Apparently

Rebelle Haze looking pretty damn good with short hair

Rebelle Haze looking pretty damn good with short hair

“No woman in all of human history has ever looked better with short hair than she would with a head full of healthy locks.”

Kittens I have recently read an article titled “Girls with short hair are damaged”. You can imagine how thrilled I was to stumble on such a piece of intellectual writing. Let me share with you the creative insights the writer Tuthmosis has into girls with short hair.

1. Women  encourage other women to get their hair cut to eliminate competitors in the dating pool.

Golly gosh and here I was thinking my friends were complimenting my cropped locks because short hair actually suits me.  Seriously the idea that women are constantly competing for men’s attention is not only heterocentric but also suggests that women have nothing better to be doing with their time than being pretty for the boys! Hear me when I say this, your choice to look how you want is just that, your choice. It’s for you and you alone, if others appreciate it, fabulous, if they don’t then that is their problem not yours.

2. You will be hit on less if you have short hair

I’m not sure about anyone else but when I go to the hairdressers the first thing I ask is- will this cut encourage a member of the opposite sex to want to procreate with me. Furthering the human race is top on my list when getting a haircut, not manageability, not what I would actually like to look like but what can make me more f**kable all round. My ovaries danced the tango when I read this sentence: “Just because you have enough left-over attractiveness to remain bangable after cutting off your hair doesn’t mean you wouldn’t look better with it back on.” *Sigh* Oh what an example of prime masculinity! Of course I will grow my hair immediately,  so that I may be seen as “bangable” by you, good sir.

3. The plaudits a woman receives when they cut their hair are from people who have no business commenting on the attractiveness of women- other women and gay men.

You heard it here first gentlemen, if you are not exactly heterosexual then you have no business commenting on what you think is attractive. You are not entitled to an opinion, how silly of you to think otherwise, to think that being a human being allowed you to have an opinion. You may only have an opinion about a woman if you intend on procreating with her or “banging” her, other than that you can go on about your day discussing appropriate topics of conversation. I am glad I have received this piece of information. Now I know the correct response to give people when the compliment my hair- “You, Madame or non-hetero sir have no business commenting on my hair”

short

“Kittens behave how you like, wear your hair whatever way you want”

4. Short hair is a near-guarantee that a girl will be more abrasive, more masculine, and more deranged.

In fairness I was significantly less deranged before I read this article. However yes I am pretty abrasive. Do I need to spell it out? What this “gentleman” is trying to suggest is that in order for you to be a lovely girl you must have long hair and be pretty and polite. There will be no getting cross for you, Ladies do not get cross!! Oh how I wish I was making this up but there is an individual out there who really believes this stuff!

5. “The bitchiest work colleagues, the most difficult cashier, the most confrontational, aggressive c*nts in bars have all shared one trait—short-ass hair. But it wasn’t until I decided to make exceptions to my no-dating-short-haired-girls rule that I proved this beyond any doubt. The first pixie-cut girl I went out with—who was otherwise attractive—harbored twisted rape fantasies that actually concerned me that I was being entrapped. She cavalierly talked about filthy sex,throwing around the word “pussy” and “cock” even when our clothes were on.”

Rebelle beautiful in blue

Rebelle beautiful in blue

This is an actual extract from the article! I find it quite interesting that a person that takes issue with a partner using the words- cock and pussy in a “vanilla conversation” has no issue with calling women c*nts. As well as this it is quite obvious that they have omitted to take into consideration that they might have brought out the negative reactions from these women! There’s something more shocking fact being omitted here. Some women have feelings and not all of those feelings are shiny and happy! I know!! It might be my silly feminist notions but I was of the belief you can feel however the heck you want and you don’t have to be simply wonderful to everyone just because you are a woman. That said I have short hair so I might be saying these things because I am deranged.

Kittens behave how you like, wear your hair whatever way you want, let the “should-ers” wag their fingers and ignore them when they tell you what you “should” do. Go forth and Kick Ass, y’know if that’s what you want to do!

rebelle-haze

 

 

 

 

About Rebelle Haze

Rebelle Haze is body positive, feminist, sex educator. When she isn't teaching seminars on how to improve your sex life, she writes for Ink Fetish magazine and her own blog Rebelle-ution.

We were TRAPS: Time to say goodbye

‘We Are TRAPS’ has been entertaining audiences in and around Oxford since 2011, with its deafening mixture of anthemic indie punk sounds, slick lyrics and soulful vocals. The band takes its inspiration from Joy Division, QOTSA, At The Drive In, Bjork, PJ Harvey, The Cure and Skunk Anansie. The self-description on the official Facebook page is “Like Juliette and the Licks meeting PJ Harvey at the meat counter in Waitrose”.

TRAPS 3

But, sadly, Friday the 26th September, 2014, was their last ever gig – well for now, never say never I say. How poignant then that Music in Oxford had this to say about them, “(TRAPS is) breathless, brilliant stuff, and is making a lot of people very excited about the future of this band.”

TRAPS began in 2011 when Roger Blake (guitar) had split from Kill Casino and was keen to create some ear-piercing and epic music – but with a bit of a twist. He soon found Pete Canning (drums) ‘classified ad’ style – and after they hit it off on a blind date, Roger reconnected with old friend Tim Gardiner (bass). All that was missing was their twist! They found this in the form of the line-up: enter friend and ex-housemate of Tim, Lex Goodyear, a power-house, female vocalist and the only girl in the band.

This very loud, grungy-rock four-piece started out with its first gig at The Bullingdon. Since then TRAPS has been on Radio 1, local radio, played the O2 with ‘BBC introducing’, and at other local venues such as the Ashmolean Museum, the Cellar and the Old Fire Station. And, performed alongside great bands like Everclear, Tennis and Danananakroyd,  Freada, Jordan O’Shea, Invisible Vegas, Webs, Marionettes, The Deputees, Orange Vision, Crayon, Russian Cowboys and Anastasia Gorbunova, to name but a few.

The famous four have also played at local festivals Truck and Punt, at our very own Fe-line sessions (our one and only all-female music night) – and in 2012, TRAPS won the national ‘Battle Of The Bands’ competition, run by Majick Music. They’ve even done an unplugged set complete with piano and cello.

So there were lots of shocked fans when the band announced this on its Facebook page…

“It’s with a sad but optimistic heart that we have to announce our splitting up after our next two gigs. We have achieved everything we wanted and more…it’s been amazing and we sincerely thank everyone that’s been a part of that. We haven’t fallen out, and there are no musical differences…it’s simply a case of life getting in the way and moving us on.”

Part of the announcement was the last ever gig at the O2 Academy. I may no longer live in Oxford but I promptly put the date in my diary. I’ve seen TRAPS a lot – I’ve supported them at gigs, cheered them on through competitions, attended EP launches and front women Lex even sung at my 31st birthday party.

I knew it would be a good, if somewhat bitter-sweet, night – but when the band said on its Facebook wall “Come down for the show, we intend to make it the most energetic yet.” The four of them weren’t lying. This was their best performance yet.

Traps gig

Lex literally bounced onto the stage to join the boys and never stood still. The band preceded to belt out tune after tune – with most of the audience singing along to the words. Roger even got into the crowd on more than one occasion. What a way to make us miss them even more.

So, yes, we’ll mourn the loss of this power-house of grunge, indie, rock and pop – called ‘We Are TRAPS’- but we wish the guys all the best. They’ve even left us with a reminder of TRAPS’ memorable and well-deserved place in Oxford music history: the last ever EP, Darker – was released on 23rd September.

I’ll leave you with a few more quotes about the Oxford band that is now ‘We Were TRAPS’…

“As loud as it is epic” – Nightshift,

Indie Music Reviewer – “This EP is probably one of the best outputs of the genre for a few years” / “Like ketchup on chips”.

 

becky

 

 

 

 

 

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About rebecca

I lived and worked in Oxford for three years at a publishing house and am now back in my home town, Winchester, working in copy-writing, content creation, PR and social media – and doing a spot of freelance. Words are a massive part of not just my professional life but also my personal one. I love devouring books (especially the classics, gothic horror, sci-fi and fantasy) and writing my own short stories and novels. I also regularly get involved in acting, producing, writing and directing for my local drama group – and in fact relish any excuse to don vintage attire; be it at steam-punk balls, vintage bike rides, or art and music festivals.

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