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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Why We Are Pro-Feminism

There are many misconceptions about what Feminism is, and what it means to be a feminist. One of these is that feminists are man hating, which they are not.

Not only do they work for equal rights for both genders, but they are against things that affect men too, such as being against gender roles for men as well as for women.The concept of feminism is not women should have more power and rights then men, its is that both women and men should be treated equally in all circumstances

In case you do not believe us, here are some statistics that prove why feminism is still necessary:
- In virtually every job category, women on average earn less money than men
- On average, 'two women get killed in the UK by an ex or violent partner every week'
- Almost 1 in 3 girls have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school
- Only 77% of men believe that having non-consensual sex is considered rape
- 70% of people in minimum wage jobs are women.
- Only 1 in 4 women are MPs

Something shocking that we have noticed is that, people have lost an understanding as to why we are in high demand of feminism, and more than that, of what feminism means. Women should be treated in all circumstances as equal to men. 

No one is suggesting that women should be above men, but instead we start treating women, who contribute to half our planets population with the same respect as we do to men. It shames us that in the twenty first century we are having to justify why it is important to stand up for women and their rights. 

But what's worse, is that there is still an obvious need to end misogyny and rectify the objectification of women. Rape, wage gaps and domesticating women is nothing to romanticise. 

As women we should be proud of who we are and what we can achieve, let no one stand in the way of what you are going to do, because you are a women. Also as a man, it is not shameful to stand up for women and bring an end to the misogynistic and degrading images that many still today use to objectify and abuse women. 

Remember to speak out and speak now against people who do not stand up for equal rights for everyone. 

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Is Racism Really an Issue of the Past?

Mike Brown.

Hopefully, by now most people will know this name. Mike Brown was a black civilian shot by Darren Wilson, a police officer eight times.

What makes the injustice of Mike Brown's case even more tragic, is that there is undeniable proof that Mike Brown was an unarmed, nineteen year old boy, that wasn't posing any threat that deserved that out of proportion treatment to society. But here is the thing that gets us the most: Darren Wilson walked away from this a free man. Mike Brown however, will never walk again.

We say that there is undeniable proof against Darren Wilson, and yet-

We deny.

We deny Mike Brown's right to live, simply because he was black.

It is a despicable crime that is not an issue of the past, but very much an issue of the present. How can we, as people of the twenty-first century, who have been brought up learning history, and have known or seen people who are a part of that history, let history repeat itself?

It is very easy to let Mike Brown be another name with the millions of other people who have fallen simply because of their skin colour. We propose that we don't let him be forgotten. We are shocked and appalled at the devastatingly high amounts of apathy shown in our world.

In fact, it is way too easy to just let this go. We ignore the suffering that doesn't directly impact us because we are too preoccupied with the mundane things that happen in out lives that we consider to be more important than remembering.

'Lest We Forget' is a phrase that we use to remember those lost in WW1 and WW2. But it is applicable here as well. Lest We Forget those who have fought a different kind of war. The war against racism, that has taken and continues to take the lives of so many.

We must remember Mike Brown, not just for what he stands for, but also who he was as an individual. A young boy, who had his whole life ahead of him. Being apathetic towards the situation is not enough. We need to be proactive in putting a stop once and for all to all these tragedies.

The message we would like you to carry with you from this post, is to speak out and speak up about racism. Report these issues as they come up, because even though you may not partake in a racist act, you must raise the concern, in order for it to be heard by anyone.

Here is a link to a website that will enable you to educate yourself about some of the issues surrounding racism:

-LF, LR and MG

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A poem about Anxiety

There is a monster,
Living in my head.
His name is anxiety.

There are times, 
When anxiety is all I can hear.
All I can think about.
He sits in my brain, and controls me.

Pulling my strings,
Manipulating me like a puppet,
Forcing me to listen. To give in.

He knows my weaknesses,
How to make me ill.
Twisting my thoughts,
Until he has got what he wants.

Some days his voice is quiet,
Barely there.
He is easy to ignore.

But other days, he is the only thing I can hear.
He blocks everything else out,
And hurts me.
He does it on purpose. 

Anxiety gets jealous,
When i don't listen to him.
He doesn't like it when I am strong,
Only when I am weak. 

The battle is on going,
And is not likely to stop.
For every day I win, 
He is weakened.

But everyday he wins,
I loose everything.


Fighting Anxiety

The thing about anxiety is that, at first, it slowly and stealthily creeps into the back of your mind, but then, before you know it, it has taken over and controls the way you think, talk, act and function.

Just like with other mental illnesses, we are unable to predict General Anxiety Disorder and how it will affect us. Some people stride through life, barely anxious about anything and carry on as though they are as light as a feather. However, for others, it is not that simple. Anxiety has a way of dragging you down, making you over-analyse and scrutinise every single action you make or word that you say, to the point where you can't function properly.

Staggering statistics show, that 1 in 5 people suffer with feeling anxious for some or most of the time. This is important to realise because although anxiety is "the most prevalent mental health disease" in the UK, it is the most "under reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated" Which also highlights other problems such as lack of awareness, which ultimately and unsurprisingly, is caused by lack of education.

Some common signs and symptoms of anxiety are: Feelings of fear, panic and uneasiness; problems sleeping; cold sweaty hands or feet, shortness of breath; heart palpitations; inability to be still and calm; dry mouth, nausea; muscle tension; dizziness or panic attacks. These are not all the symptoms, but are very commons ones, which can help you identify whether you are suffering with this illness.

Now, we would like to give you some coping techniques that we hope will provide you with ways in which you can help yourself, and will also give you the courage and strength to seek more professional help, if the symptoms do not subside.

1) Take deep, calming breaths. We know it sounds very simple, but it actually works wonders. Breathing in through your nose, and out through your mouth a few times, can help clear your mind from the initial panic, will help you see things more clearly, and will also enable you to relieve some of the building tension you may feel particularly in your chest, shoulders and neck.

2) Try to rationalise.  The thing about anxiety, is that it has a way of taking even the most insignificant sounding scenarios and turning them into a full blown nightmare in your head. Try to put back the root of the fear, or if you can't find the root, the thing you are most worried about, into context. Place it back where it came from, and try to find logical and conclusive evidence that either supports your worry, or shrinks it back down to normal size. This can be quite hard to do, so try talking it out with someone you trust, or writing it down.

3) Find a nice, quiet spot to sit. Just by clearing your head from all the noise and commotion around you, sitting down, and relaxing for a few moments, you may be able to calm down the thing that feels too much.

4) Talking things through. Often, the reason why we get in such a mess, is because we let the thing go round and round in our heads until it is wildly out of proportion and causing us great difficultly. Just by finding someone you trust, to talk to about it, can help you greatly and relieve the pain and weight from your shoulders.

5) With two fingers, tap the back of your other hand. Using this when you are anxious allows you to let out your feelings, by tapping very quickly. After a while of doing this, start to slow down and in turn, your breaths and eventually your heart rate will slow down with it. This method, can be very calming and comforting.

These are just four, basic things that we hope will reduce particularly the imminent anxiety that you may feel. Although, under rated, anxiety really does affect people sometimes critically, so please, if you yourself, or someone you know suffers with anxiety and is receiving no help for it, don't forget to speak out and speak now so that you can help yourself.

Sometimes these things feel like they are going to swallow us up whole, but once you get help, you will be able to clear your mind and begin to walk on the path that you want to go on, not the one that anxiety is steering you towards.

-LF, LR and MG

Sunday, 18 January 2015

On Katie Hopkins' "My Fat Story"

Recently, Katie Hopkins has become more visible to the public eye. Since her appearance in the British television programme The Apprentice, she has popped up in the media on numerous occasions due to her risen fame and 'talent': offending people. She released her own television documentary regarding overweightness and some of her observations can genuinely persuade viewers to think in her way.
“Life is much easier when you’re thinner. Big is not beautiful, of course a job comes down to how you look." - Hopkins
This programme consisted of Hopkins excessively eating until she gained three stone,  then proving to the public just how 'easy' it is to lose weight.
Firstly, this was incredibly dangerous; changing eating patterns this drastically could cause numerous health issues. Doctors told her that this plan was "ill-advised", though she still persisted.
Within her documentary she also exclaims:
"I hate fat people for making me do this..."
Her main concept of 'eating too much and not moving enough' is an acceptable opinion to have but, as per usual, she takes this strong view and goes completely out of line. It is not okay to make a part of this population feel not only self-conscious, but also guilty for the way that they look. She claims that she would never hire a fat person to work for her. In America, she sobbed at the sight of overweight children.
Momentarily, she felt sympathy for an overweight woman that she met, but no sooner did she return to her original views; "This doesn't make me like fat people more. I hold them responsible for this."

This post is not one where I spend the entire time rambling on about my views on Katie Hopkins. This is delivering a message of kindness and consideration. Through personal experience, I can say that this documentary offends me; not because of her values, purely because Hopkins does not consider the emotional impact of being overweight. She does not she seem capable of understanding human emotion and just expresses her opinions in her own way - strongly and hurtfully.

So the message I would like you to take away from this post is to stop and think about the way you voice your opinions, to consider how other people may feel or react, and fundamentally be a decent human being.

But do remember to speak up, and speak now. If you see somebody projecting ideas which are offensive, unkind or even if you alone disagree, you should not hesitate to stop them and try to show them the other side of the coin.

-LF, LR and MG

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The 'A' Word - Follow Up Poem


For some people,
Childhood bruises like the scabs on their knees.
Happy memories of broken bones,
From falling out of trees.

Laughter, races and falling over.
Your skin black and blue from the playground.
The thrill of winning the race,
That you wanted so badly to win.

It was easy to pretend,
At ages six and eight,
That her bruises were from her friends.
Not from home.

It was only later,
When this became a struggle,
She had to find new excuses.
For why at twelve and thirteen-
she was still black and blue.

“I’m clumsy,” She told her friends,
“Always falling over.”
The bigger worry was to come,
From the internal bruising in her heart.

From years and years of words,
That cut her deeper than a knife.
Those types of wounds that will never heal,
Even when she tries to forget.

Even when she tries to make her childhood something that it wasn’t.
It won’t matter in ten years,
She insists.

Praying that her peers forget what they saw,
Praying that she forgets what she has seen.
They always do,

But she is still yet to.


The 'A' Word.

The thing about abuse, is that you can go your whole childhood believing that one thing is normal; and then, one day when you least expect it, its like BAM! If you are being abused, the amount of energy it takes to keep it a secret is unbelievably exhausting and has many effects on your mental health and your physical health. But it's more than that, its the awful feeling when you first have to come to terms with the fact that the things in your life that you once considered 'normal' are really, really not. And you know something: thats ok. No one is going to judge you based on what other people have done to you, or to a close member of your family, or a friend. Its ok, and it is going to be ok.

Something we have noticed about the word 'abuse' is that it is very taboo. No one wants to even utter the word, unless it's a joke, because otherwise it would be real. No one likes to admit these kind of things about their family, or their friends. People have decided that 'abuse' is a word that leaves a bad taste in their mouth, and try whatever they can to avoid saying it. To avoid being the whistle blower, and calling people out when they know it's wrong.

We think the first question we need to answer, is what is abuse?

Abuse can be divided up into a few categories, all as serious, damaging and painful as each other:
1) Physical Abuse: That involves anything to do with a person/people hitting, kicking, punching, pinching, pushing or using their body to physically hurt another person.
2) Emotional Abuse: This is something that often people overlook, but is still just as important and can be extremely damaging. It involves name calling, hateful speech directed at anyone, excess shouting, screaming, manipulative language, threatening language or being spoken to in a degrading and insulting way.
3) Sexual Abuse: When someone who does not have your explicit consent, touches you or does something to you in an inappropriate way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
4) Neglect: When the people involved are being deprived of basic needs, such as food, money, clothes, medical attention, personal hygiene requirements and education.
5) Financial Abuse: When you are given restricted or no access to your accounts, or your partner is gambling away or loosing your money without your consent.

As much as it is important to know these 'symptoms' of abuse, so that you can be aware what to look for, it is also important to know something else:

It is not and it never will be, your fault. Whatever is going on, is not a reflection of who you are, it is just the situation that you have been given. Please, please, we seriously urge you, that if something written in this blog speaks to you, then speak up and speak now.

It's going to be scary, lonely and hard at times, but chances are, those are all feelings that you are very used to. But then, it'll be different, it'll be better and you'll be happy and safe. And that is the most important thing. We cannot advise you strongly enough to speak to a trusted adult, who could be a teacher, a doctor, a friend, a member of your family, but anyone- before it is too late.

You are worthy of a good life, you are worthy of happiness and health. So please, remember to speak up and speak now, because you really are important, you are kind, you are a valid human being that doesn't deserve to live like this.

-LF, LR and MG

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Speak up and Speak Now

We know how it is. The way that each week ends up merging into the next. There is no time to pause for a breath whilst being whisked away with the madness that is our world. It almost seems as if the stigmas of society are invisible until you are stood within and they turn on you like a tidal wave washing you out. 

So what is a stigma? 
A stigma is defined as a negative attitude attached to complex issues, such as divorce, mental health illnesses and abuse. 

As an anonymous blog, we aim to provide an open, encouraging and safe environment where we can offer advice, thoughts and information regarding more emotionally provoking subjects, that will raise awareness for you. 

You will hear from us every Wednesday and Sunday from now, feel free to comment, share stories and even suggest which topics you would like to read. This is your space, filled with mutual respect and an understanding and trust in each other.

Please remember to speak up, and speak now.

- LF, LR and MG.