L O U
~Predicaments Of Lou~
A place to indulge in low-brow pop culture, ease into high-brow think pieces, devour recommendations of The New Age of news and sigh over fine tailoring. Welcome to #Predicaments. A corner of the Internet for all things high, low, in-between journalism with rays of girl-bossery and millennial contemplations.
The New Age has begun.
Author Archives: louramsay
The case for a drug consumption room in Glasgow is ‘more compelling’ after a study by Glasgow Caledonian, despite Westminster’s resistance.
Researchers at the university have been studying the recent HIV outbreak, the largest in 30 years in Britain. They found Glasgow had the strongest evidence towards a drug consumption room, even compared to those in Canada, Australia and Europe.
If created, the facility would be the first of its kind in the UK.
This is because Glasgow experiences the highest HIV outbreak since the 1980’s as well as the high number of drug deaths, the outbreak of anthrax and the largest case of botulism in Europe in the past five years.
The common denominator in all of these cases is that they were prevalent in people who consume drugs, meaning a drug consumption room could tackle a myriad of issues.
Currently in Glasgow needle exchange services have proved the most effective in ensuring clean equipment is accessed by individuals, lessening the further spread of the HIV virus.
A mobile needle exchange van was introduced in the wake of the service at Central Station closing down late last year. Central Station saw 1,000 needles provided per month, highlighting the demand for such a service.
Researcher Dr. Andrew McAuley believes there has been a change in culture around addiction, but with heath board budget cuts, long term solutions need to be put in place.
For those living with HIV it would cost the health board £200,000 to treat them for a lifetime, emphasizing the need for permanent evidence-based solutions within the community to ensure the virus does not spread.
However, if Westminster do not change their mind toward the facilities, Dr. McAuley believes this service will not be piloted in the next few years.
Scottish universities are failing their students as they lag behind with low student counsellor numbers, despite calls and investment for better funded services.
According to information obtained through multiple FOI requests, it’s estimated Scottish universities employee half the number of counsellors than their English counterparts.
The FOI information concerns the University of Strathclyde, Abertay, Napier, Heriot Watt, Stirling, Dundee, Glasgow Caledonian and the University of Glasgow.
Mental health charities have called it “an outrage”.
Stirling University was found to have the lowest number of counsellors at 1.8 per 6,783 students.
They did not reply to comment in time for this piece.
In comparison, Kings College London has eleven counsellors on campus, one per 2,919 students.
Mental health charity SAMH have called for more to be done by the institutions, citing “a duty to care for your pupils”.
A spokesperson said: “It is dismaying to see Scotland be so behind with this issue and we hope measures will be taken in order to help students further.
“Mental health matters, so we need our education institutions to show up and do more.”
It was recently reported undergraduates declaring mental health issues up by 76%, according to NUS Scotland.
Charlene Mackenzie, a student and MH advocate, said: “going to university can deeply affect your mental wellbeing. Moving away from your home, your friends and family impacts your health, particularly for students studying abroad or from low-income houses.
“I think it is shocking these universities charge so much in fees or demand extraordinary grades to be accepted, and yet they cannot care for their undergraduates in the slightest.
“We need to talk about the growing pressure young people face – which begins by acknowledging university is not the only way to get a job, like we’re told repeatedly in high school.”
This comes after the Education Secretary Damien Hinds announced a group, set up to offer support to students beginning university, to ease mental health conditions in England and Wales.
The Scottish Government is reportedly planning to introduce 80 new counsellors by autumn of this.
They were unavailable for comment.
Halloween is here once again. The girls are ghosts and the guys are girls, dressed up in all horrors. And one of those horrors is the one we see every Halloween; the ‘slutty’ Halloween outfit.
Popularised by Mean Girls as Halloween “is the one time of year a girl can dress like a slut and nobody can say anything about it”. But let me tell you – I don’t half see a lot of people saying a lot about these provocative costumes. So we can say that claim by Cady Heron is more dead than a zombiefied fresher.
But let’s be real – what is it about those outfits that rile us up so much? Is it the exposed skin? The girls on social media feeling confident? The change of your favourite Disney characters for Adult Friendly viewing? And if it is the exposed skin, why is there such a call on ‘sluts’ when during summer girls will wear crop tops and shorts? By adding some fake blood and badly done eyeshadow for vampire eyes, it suddenly makes everyone... dare I say it… a prude.
Society seems to hate a girl with confidence – I’ve always said a girl with confidence is a revolution. And so many guys come out, in their own bad Halloween costumes (your tshirt with fake blood isn’t original, the same way me painting whiskers on my face isn’t), slagging off girls for what they wear. And no doubt this will either be before or after they’ve actually attempted to try and hook up with a girl in a sexy costume. The rejection stings, even more so than a regular night out, because those who cry over sexed up costumes are usually the ones frustrated over how good the girl looks.
It’s easier to tear someone down in costume, because people put thought into their costume. They’re excited to go out and have fun with their friends, keep Halloween as a holiday going as they mature and yes mature Halloween up as they do so.
We cant go out trick or treating, so we’ll wear fishnets and know we look good as hell.
But why exactly do we demand to have a say in what a woman wears? What makes your opinion over a provocative outfit so important, that women should stay away from these costumes and obey the idea of not being the 'slut'? Why the hell should you get a say on what I wear, and why do you deem in to be bigger than my own personal choice? We need to stop caging women into one ideal; women are human beings too, in case you forgot. We don't bend to every will and perception of a stranger, a media outlet or simply a man. We are filled with sides and complexities to ourselves - so don't tell me how boring it is when a girl dresses as a cat.
It's boring when you think I should care. And even more boring when you and your 'lads' all are wearing tshirts covered in blood. The same white tshirt.
And for girls who call other girls out as sluts or whore, tweeting their dislike for those who have dressed sexy, all I have to ask is this. Who hurt you? What makes you so mad at these strangers you see walking down the street? I get it, they look good. They’re feeling their outfits, themselves. You can see the confidence as they walk in their fishnets or holdups. And don’t they look good? Maybe it’s jealously leaking out with your words. Maybe you feel you don’t get enough male attention, so crave validation over sharing the same opinion. The one they will drop in a hot minute as soon as a Lara Croft or a sexy devil starts flirting back.
Halloween is a night of fun. It’s a night of alcohol and dancing when you’re in your 20’s. The times where you don’t actually have to be so sensible you’re a prude. You can let your hair down. Shake a stocking-clad leg and do the Monster Mash. Wear outrageous lipstick you don’t dare wear normally, because everyone’s dressed up. Dressed up to have fun. The way Halloween is intended to be – for fun.
And really. Have you never been low on money so drawn some whiskers, instead of forking out £40 on a costume?
This Halloween, if you don’t feel like dressing up as something sexy then do the easy thing and let others. Dress up your attitude into one that’s not stinking of misogyny, internalised or otherwise.
Because really, the only reason you don’t like the girl dancing in lace is because you A) want to be with her or B) want to be dressed like her, confidence and all. Try it. Have fun.
But don’t talk up on girl power and solidarity, if you can’t let girls do whatever they want. Especially on a holiday that’s made for having fun. Hating on ‘slutty’ outfits isn’t fun, but wearing them? The most fun.
With the high street becoming overrun with Girl Power inspired slogan t-shirts this summer, taking inspiration directly from Maria Grazia Chiuri debut Dior collection: I wonder, how feminist is the fashion world, exactly?
The fashion industry has seen a surge of Girl Power and the reintroduction of pink as a staple colour, as millennial pink graces all areas of the catwalk and our Instagram feeds. Our t-shirts are now emboldened with feminist slogans and girl gang mantras. We use #squad in our captions to do our best Bad Blood music video. Most notably of this is Chiuri’s debut design, a t-shirt with the slogan ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. The tee was inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TEDx talk and essay, both of the same name. Knock-offs come in at £10 on Etsy, as Topshop sell ‘Feminist’ branded sweatshirts for £24. So what exactly is the price for feminism? $710 or £24?
And how exactly did this movement become fashionable?
It is a function of fashion to reflect our time and in it, our desires at its fundamental element. Social media has given us the opportunity to delve into worlds previously unknown; learn of cultures and lives around the world. However, this has also given way for cultural and social issues to become trendable - rather than something more long standing. In fashion terms, trends come and go with the seasons, so should feminism really be treated as such?
Couldn’t this movement be like the LBD and actually, stay?
Moreover, we have to analyse whether or not the fashion industry and high fashion houses are truly championing feminism as a movement, or treating it like a trend. It appears as though Chanel did so back in Spring/Summer’15, with a catwalk march protest seemingly for women’s rights. Signs were held aloft by models read ‘History is Her Story’, ‘Ladies First’ and ‘Women’s Rights Are More Than Alright’. Well thank god for Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld to say so, right?
It’s been three years since Emma Watson was announced as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and graced the cover of ELLE UK. 2014 was dubbed the Year of the Feminist, with many big fashion houses getting behind the cause like Chanel. In their S/S’15 campaign, Celiné had Joan Didion as their campaign star, a feminist icon and a writer who embodies a level of cool we all crave to reach. Since Phoebe Philo took over in 2008, the house has become a staple for thought-provoking campaign images. As Chiuri keeps feminism alive in the fashion stratosphere, eagerly helped by high street stores like Topshop and H&M, we have to start looking past the printed tee.
How feminist is it...
when those same t-shirts are being made by a woman being paid pitiful money in a third world country, in appalling conditions, who has yet to see any benefit of feminism in her lifetime? As I.D proclaimed “fashion is big business” so really how much of a movement is this fashionable feminism, as the industry would like us to think (and shop). As reported by I.D, ‘for the first time since the Spice Girls, Girl Power has a marketing sweet spot’. And it appears its beginning to sour.
As Gaby Basora at Tucker commented, “it’s not only the woman who wears the clothes who makes a difference. It’s the women who sew the clothes, the pattern makers and the women who go off to work to support their families.” If we are to support our fellow women, the sisterhood that’s being reborn with each Girl Power mantra t-shirt sold, then shouldn’t that mean every type of woman? Dior may now be taking the helm of the high fashion movement, but lest we not forget Dior’s advert campaigns and catwalks have been predominately white.
The label still lacks diversity, both in race and body shape.
As Susie Lau best said on the Chanel S/S’15 shows
“whatever Lagerfeld’s true stance on feminism is, it is difficult to believe the conviction of a uniform of women, held up by an unrealistic standard of beauty, waving such banners whilst wearing clothes that are prohibitively expensive.”
We cannot claim a human rights movement for fashion, if we do not fully show and believe in the core values. A feminism for the catwalk, will not truly be feminism unless it is intersectional. Many things we women today take for granted, was built on the backs of those who fought hard for our rights. Were they catwalk models, of aesthetically pleasing statue, holding aloft banners that read ‘boys should get pregnant too’?
I think not. If feminism is to stay in the mainstream and continue its fourth wave fight, then we need to do more Women’s Marches and less actions designed purely for zeitgeist approval.
#Squad pictures included.
This post was written for Obsessory.com