Category Archives: Girl Power

Pic; @teenvogue/instagram
In light of last weeks’ Presidential Election, I’ve
suffered from a slump I wasn’t fully aware of suffering from.
 It was an act of
mitosis; every grieving American, and woman, became part of me. Their
frustration was my frustration, because it felt like Brexit was happening all
over again, but on a larger than life scale. This was America. Obama’s America.
The country of self-confessed freedom and greatness. A nation that elected a
black man as President for the first time, and the second time after that, and
it felt a lot like progress. Of doing what we are meant to do. Now there is an
ache. An ache of ‘what-could-have-been’. There seemed to be no way to move this
ache, this loss of glass ceiling smashing and love winning. Nothing to
remove the feeling ‘maybe we were asking too much’. And I thought over and over
what exactly it is that I felt.
An instagram account and poet you must follow – Nayyirah Waheed.
But mostly? I am tired. I am overwhelmed. I am
disappointed. But I will not let this envelope me any longer. Hell no. Instead,
I want to fight. I want to educate
myself further, because being tired and disappointed and overwhelmed are words
that do not hold enough gravity to what I feel. Frustration does not match the
way my whole being is on edge, realising how ill-timed my optimism was. How
wrong it was. How much I’ve lost, how much bigger the fight is.
I still
want more.
I want numbers and statistics to flow from my
tongue, like the way water runs down a stream. Smooth, easy, calm. I want
knowledge, all knowing smug knowledge, smirking knowledge, because feelings no
longer matter. Who cares how someone might feel? Feeling is not knowledge. It
does not make moves, it does not pass bills and legal documents, the way
knowledge and words can. It can be flimsy. It can be easily backed into a
corner without knowledge.. Unless they feel the same, deep down, then nothing
will change. It’s the way things are set; how one can make an argument and
deliver it will grandeur, convince you yes
we’re right
. It’s a numbers game, a game of manipulation, of deceit, of
downright politics at its core. I want to be calculated. Cutthroat.
Self-aware. I want to be your angry feminist nightmare, because if you thought
I was bad before, you’re in for a treat.
I do not want to be cushiony and understanding,
cheering for ‘positivity only!1!’ because at the end of the day, your friends
‘beliefs’ can be, at its core, erasing another persons’ being. And I won’t have
Soz not soz, and all that sweet cheeks.
It’s not happening. Didn’t you know it’s 2016? We
don’t do racism, homophobia or misogyny in this day or generation. It’s not how
we live our lives, because love wins and
the future is female.
There may be a hierarchy and a need for people in
power, but those ‘below’ are not dogs and will not be pushed around as if we are
bits of gristle on your plate. We are not blind, nor stupid, nor naïve. You’ve started a fire you can only add
gasoline to.
You might feed on who you are, what people think you are, how
much dollar bills you’ve got in that bank. But we are rising and believing and
fighting to have a better future. A future we want. A future of freedom and
greatness, of freedom in our bodies and our decisions, of love and unity, of
building people up, not building up walls to keep them out. The future is ours.
And we will have it how we want it. We will.
Because love trumps hate, and I’ve always been good
at card games.
Remember that. And bring your argument next time
you try to let hate win, because I’ll be bringing mine. And like Annalise
Keating, I’ll know my shit. So make sure yours is water tight.

Lou x

Yesterday afternoon Another Man announced their 23rd cover star – Harry Styles. What followed blew my mind. 

As my feed filled with remarks on Styles appearance in all three covers, with the first and most commercial being applauded, I began to wonder. Why is this artist still viewed as an object?

We know I’m a fan of Harry Styles’ style. This isn’t new.

You can’t demand feminism in 2016 if you still view an artistic photo shoot as derivative just because you aren’t getting hot and bothered over it.

Why does he have to be hot? Why do we
demand this of man, the ‘man candies’ or #mcm to be six packed and
aesthetically pleasing as possible?

 We cry out when women are splashed over the
cover as the New Hot Girl and shriek it’s sexist. But then a magazine cover
comes out with Harry Styles on looking not his usual boyband self. And people
instantly put him down, saying he’s ‘so average looking’ ‘so not sexy at ALL,
I’d rather have Zayn’ or ‘does he think this looks good?’ What if this was
the reaction to a woman like Miley Cyrus at the start of her career post Hannah
Montana? Or Victoria Beckham when she branched into fashion? (Oh wait.)

Another Man magazine is not Sports
Illustrated or Playboy. The covers are not made for you to drool over the cover
stars features in a commercial way. Another Man launched in 2005 to cater to
the ever expanding interest in menswear; both the market and the new found
creativity. Regularly Another and Another man magazine create thought-provoking
articles, incredible imagery, stimulating editorials and show frankly
pioneering fashion in menswear. Therefore Another Man is not a magazine of tat
and fodder. It’s a niche magazine for a niche market – one for the intellectual,
creative, adventurous (and some would say hipster) males. So I could then make
the point to the ladies, this photoshoot isn’t even for you.
And that’s not a bad thing. Men’s
magazines have so few in comparison to women’s on fashion, art and socially
cultural articles. Men are allowed their own stuff. No biggie.
 When you saw those covers did you scoff? Did
you think ‘here goes another boybander trying to be more’ and roll your eyes? The
never ending fight young artists and performers battle against – to be seen as have
in grown up. And yet you’ll
lmao and ‘call out’ magazines if a woman’s breasts are more the central focus,
how exactly does that work? Is it because we think, as women, it’s FINALLY time
for men to feel how women have for years? The pressure to look as physically
attractive, sexy and appealing as possible at every moment of every day if we
encounter the opposite sex. As if it’s a punishment that must be passed on,
this dreaded feeling of being constantly ‘on’ cc appearance, which instead of
being squashed down full stop, we shove onto men. And not any man. A man who’s
in arguably the biggest boy band this planet has seen in generations, the fame
of One Direction was unprecedented. A man who was in the limelight at 16 and
presented as a man whore. 16, the age you have turned legal in the eyes of the
law to have sex, 16, an age we still consider girls young, 16, a situation the
country would have roared back if it had been a girl. 
But it was a boy and he was branded ‘a
lucky lad’ and ‘cheeky’ by the media to get anywhere near Caroline Flack. So
many more women would view this 16 year old boy as a sex object, a boy who
liked cougars. Who –at 16- is readily available. Who still to this day has sat
in interviews and been treated as meat. Gross.
Maybe that’s why people are so
pressed on Harry Styles not being commercially attractive on the three covers
of Another Man magazine. The public has been presented with the image of ‘playboy
Styles’ we forget how exactly is saying that, if there’s any value, if perhaps
Harry Styles is more than who he’s slept with? Like, we demand women to be seen
as more, then we must apply this logic to men as well. You can’t demand
feminism in 2016 if you still view an artistic photo shoot as derivative just
because you aren’t getting hot and bothered over it. It doesn’t work like that.
End of story.
You want feminism then you realise
both sexes are more than their looks and should be treated as such. A celebrity
isn’t just for you to view and be ‘hot’ and ‘attainable’ as One Direction were
presented when they started, the ‘boys that could be your boyfriend, if you’re
lucky’. Are we even still on that PR, even subconsciously?
If one wants art and fashion, real artistic talent and
photography skills to come into the foreground then don’t knock off Harry
Styles before you try it, as it were. If you hadn’t known the celebrity, if he
had been a model instead, the likelihood is you’d see more of an appeal. There
would be exclamations on how he looks like a young Mick Jagger (have you seen
the moodboard for the Another man shoot? Very early Rolling Stones. And like c’mon.
The second cover?). 
Instead what
you’re getting is the deconstruction of an image 5 years in the making. The
very thing that may be familiar to so many, is being shredded and in the
digital age, this image overhaul has been incredibly well documented. 

I must say a large and heartfelt bravo to Another Man, for
creating such stimulating and intriguing covers. They show more layers than an
X-Factor boy band member, a new side to Mr Styles we’ve only glimpsed at and I’m
excited to know more. Bye heartthrob, let’s see the Styles of now.
And frankly, if a man can work a Gucci floral suit I think he’s more than what you think he is. Just food for thought.

Lou x

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“I don’t always write the way I feel. Sometimes they are just residual feelings that show up again due to lack of closure.”

When I write, I don’t always mean the now. No writer always writes in the now, even if what they’re talking about could be happening in the now – some parts connect to the past and things they remember and stuff they wanted to say back then.  I don’t write always in the now. I write of the past, of things I remember and work through, seeing my past in a new light and coming to a new conclusion, a new lesson. Sometimes things link up, past and present BANG inspiration strikes.

My hurt is my hurt. And I can use it when and where I see fit.

I may write flowery word and speak about boys, but that doesn’t mean I’m talking about the High School Boy, because it’s been nearly three years and I’ve been with other people, I know this might be hard to understand, because I don’t have it strewn across social media the same way my clothes are across my bedroom floor. 
But I have. And I’ve loved every minute, because each time it taught me something, even if it wasn’t in an outlandish ‘coming-of-age’ style, it still mattered. Because it mattered to me, I experienced it. Me and me alone, not you who thinks you know my life from tweets you read when I don’t even know you.
I’m tired of talking of what I want and people attempting to figure out what I’m saying, decoding my words like they’re cryptic egyptian symbols, when really I met someone today and I started thinking about how he could stop the cynic in me. How he smiles down at the ground and I like that, the way he thinks before he speaks and measures out his words, and isn’t that enough? Does it have to be more? Can’t I just write about that?
And when I talk about this, I don’t mean that High School Boy I haven’t spoken to in so long, who I don’t want to speak to, because life moves on and don’t you understand that? How people move on, how life travels fast, how girls aren’t always hung up on their ex? What a vicious stereotype, to think girls are clingy on their first love, when boys snapchat you after six months talking about ‘no work tomorrow’ and frankly, what am I to do with that? Why should I care?
It’s the same way people harp about Taylor Swift and her break ups, or Malia Obama playing beer pong in college. I don’t care I don’t care, don’t you get that?

I hate being petty, my drafts on Twitter are filled with some tweets that will never surface, because anger is a moment and I don’t want to immortalise it for the world to see. But that doesn’t mean I don’t tire; tire of strangers attempting to find symbols in the words I write and feelings that aren’t present, because my hurt is in my past and they’re both mine, so I can write about and whenever I please.  You don’t control my hurt. It’s mine.
It may be easy to put things in boxes in your head, label them the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’. I get life can be difficult, I have nearly 21 years and experiences many haven’t been through, stuff I don’t want you to go through, so I get it. But at the end of the day, most of life is grey. You don’t really know everything – especially of those who don’t know you, who only know you exist because you tried to start drama, you tried to wiggle in between their words and into their brains, but didn’t you know at the time you were going the wrong way?

Please know that while I write this – I am not angry. Not at all. I’m simply passionate about this, because this quote on residue feelings and not writing in the now is what I’ve been wanting to say for so long. I fucking love that quote. I felt something shift inside me when I read it, because it’s it. Everything I have been wanting to say. To explain how I write. 

Anne Lamott has a famous quote on writing, saying

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

I love this because you need to remember as a writer to be free with what you say. Never to worry about the implications, until your wrists ache and the words stare back at you. Then you figure the  rest out. 
But sometimes, both people behave badly – the writer and the writers inspiration. Both parties can be equally guilty. And the stories you read will always be biased. But just because you might upset people doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write about it. Nor should you hold your tongue around a writer in fear of what words they might say; we are still human, we’ll still fuck up. We just own that fuck up. I read a book called Becoming by Laura Jane Williams and I’ve mentioned Laura’s downright amazing book before, but it’s worth mentioning again. This whole ‘claim your hurt’ thing? started with Becoming and will be right up your street.

“I don’t always write the way I feel. Sometimes they are just residual feelings that show up again due to lack of closure.”

Own your hurt. It’s yours and yours alone. No one gets to tell you how to talk about it, no one gets to be the person who gives you permission to talk about your hurt. It’s yours. ONLY yours.
Own your hurt and talk about it if you want. Talk about it for you. 
Just remember to be doing it for you.

Lou x

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   Time to be firm about your own reality. 

           Own your story. Never
be silenced.”

We’re racing up from the Tube, glancing into the road for oncoming taxis, before hurtling ourselves to the next pavement. I’m stumbling in my gold heels, giggling at passersby expressions before, suddenly and quietly, stopping short. I look over to my friend Anna, who’s smiling but looking like she wants to bite her nails. She’s checking the time and worrying. She looks back.
”It’s just hit me”, I admit. “We’re going to be in a room with women I admire from a-far on the Internet. Proper girl bosses.”  Fuck.
grabs my hand and squeezes it tightly. We’ve got this.

The room was busy,
incredibly busy and there was a deafening chat going on. You know when you’re
in a nightclub and your friend has to kind-of-but-not-majorly shout to you, so
you can hear them? The #CTRLALTDELETE book launch was a club in a way; a band,
a gathering, a group of  kick-ass humans who came together with love to
celebrate a writer who gave nothing, but love to us all. I gazed around, rising
up to my tip-toes in order to grasp the vastness of the room, how many
humans there were with a glass of something in their hand and a smile on their
face, chatting, chatting, chatting. There I was in a room, sharing space
with women who’s words crafted through their keyboards. Women who had
helped shape me, even in a little way. Be it introduce me through social media
to other writers, writers they admired from far-away, or writers who had
grabbed the digital age with both hands and taken a piece for themselves, to
being proud of their work ethic, unashamedly been human in front of the
eyes (and feeds) of many. People who had jobs and careers and people who liked
them, even if it was for the way they wore clothes or said something in a blog
post or article. And then there was me, standing in this room, trying hard to
just take it all it and make the most of it. The most of this moment of
pure happiness.

I could go on about
these women I adored, but really all I can think about when I remember this
evening, is how much hope it gave me and how much love surrounded me. This love
wasn’t directed at me, it was for Emma. Emma who had written the book. Emma who
had taken the chance. Emma who had humans around her that loved her, in some
shape or form, who came into this room to celebrate the fact she did it. Emma
was the author.
In bleak times, it can feel
as though you are shouting into a void, with no clue or indication if anyone is
hearing you and accepting the words you’re saying. With the Internet, this
void grows bigger and you can feel as though your voice gets smaller, even if
only by an decibel. But in this room, although my voice is still small and I’m
in no ways basking in the success so many were, I stood on the side and thought
I can do this too. I can make something of myself, for myself, with no
rhyme or reason to hold me back.”

We all needs somebodies not
only to lean on, but to evoke a burning passion in us, to move and create and
cultivate a life we can be proud of. A life we feel comfortable, supported and
loved in. For a millennial and as part of Generation Z, life is far more
tricky and far more deep than it was in our parents time. With the Internet and
social media, people are connecting far quicker than before. Careers are
being carved, businesses made – the middle man no longer something as an artist,
a writer, or even a business man is needed for success. What is needed is
gritted teeth and determination. It all sounds so simple, a process not unlike
the flow of water from hillside to seaside, yet there’s still things that hold
us back. The pressure of others. The self conscious way we consider
ourselves to be perceived. So the simple becomes entangled in what we
think ‘reality‘ is.

I stood in this room,
tugging my white top down every now and then, listening to the speeches.
Hearing the reactions and cheering with the rest. As the first time going
somewhere as both an Internet human and a blogger, it felt
bloody amazing. Just to stand there and watch someone’s dreams become a
reality, to see the product of what going out there and just doing The Thing
made. Emma is that human, the complete girl
boss who showed me that night the power of doing what you want, to have drive
and passion. If you haven’t checked her blog out, do so here.

can all do The Thing we dream of doing. Nothing holds you back, as long as you
do like Rihanna and work work work work work.

Thank you for
inviting me Emma. This was magical.



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