Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I'm back at university after a wonderful Easter break. I had a great time travelling up and down the country, catching up with all my school-friends and generally staying as busy as possible. With the new medication I'm on, my oversleeping became more under control and I generally felt a lot better.

Now, two weeks into the new term, I'm studying for my upcoming exams. I'm stressed, naturally, but in general I'm not doing so badly.

My partner and I have split and we are now just friends. It's difficult living together and being this close when you are meant to be getting over each other. Having enough space isn't really a possibility right now, and won't be until the summer holidays. Still, we have a large amount of respect for each other and are being open and honest about our feelings, so it could be a whole lot worse.

I'm glad to report that things are nowhere near as grim as they were when I last posted. While my life is far from perfect, and I am still struggling, the improvement is excellent and I can't wait for all of this exam crap to be over so I can enjoy myself properly.

J xxx

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Lad Culture

Where do I start?

I’ve been meaning to write something about lad culture for a while, and, with all the recent controversy surrounding the website Unilad, I think now’s the time.

At university, I’ve come across my fair share of laddishness. I’ve been at drinking games where men who haven’t been able to consume a large enough amount of alcohol have been labelled ‘pussies’ and guys (and even girls) who have managed the feat have been awarded so-called ‘lad points.’ (n.b. lad-points can’t be sewn onto a sash or proudly displayed on a star-chart!) I’ve observed male acquaintances make comments about passing females, using the language of rape and conquest: ‘I would absolutely smash her.’ And I see women being objectified every single day around my university town: in student publications, on student union posters, even in my house.

The difficulty with lad culture, as the Unilad scandal has highlighted, is that the whole thing is infused with a certain amount of humour. Ask many a ‘lad’ whether he’s against equality for women, and the chances are that they’ll be surprised you even asked the question. Lads don’t think they’re being sexist. They’re not about to question my right to vote, or infringe on my everyday freedom (although my boyfriend once was asked why he ‘lets’ me go to an LGBT group. Yep, I admit it! I frequently go and have gang-bangs with the homosexuals behind his back! Seriously. Grow up.) They just think they’re having a fucking good laugh, enjoying their youth, not taking themselves too seriously. Life, for the lad, is all about ‘The Banter.’ And that’s what is so utterly frustrating.

‘The Banter,’ of course, is like The Force. It’s a higher power that we can use to strengthen our popularity, top up our lad-point totaliser, and summon fit girls when they get a whiff of our Lynx.

Criticise lad culture at your peril. You will be labelled ‘boring,’ ‘humourless,’ and told that you ‘just don’t get it.’ Everything you could possibly complain about can be explained away by ‘The Banter.’ Take issue with rape jokes? Oh come on, lighten up, you boring fucker. Worried about the objectification of women in Nuts or FHM? Chill out, the girls love getting their tits out. Concerned that drinking games are a bit dangerous? Stop being such a pussy.

The situation is pretty bleak for the average lad-surrounded girl at university. With the opportunities to criticise laddishness highly stunted by the fact that ‘The Banter’ will make everything you say seem fucking ridiculous, you haven’t really got much choice but to go along with it. This is why Female Chauvinist Piggery comes in. If you haven’t already, please pick up a copy of Ariel Levy’s book. It isn’t very long and it explains how girls are now colluding in their own oppression, by simultaneously acting like men (lad-points for that bitch in the office, what a boss!) and being sexy for men to further their careers and be successful in everyday life. Every wondered why you feel like you’ve got to get a Brazillian? Lad culture wants you waxed. Lad culture wants you to look like a glamour model. Lad culture wants you to titilate it. And you’re letting the whole of lad culture and humanity down if you don’t get that fucking Brazillian.

I’m with Caitlin Moran on this one. I want a grown woman’s vagina, not a child’s.

Oh lad culture, how do we get rid of you? Through ‘the banter’ you’ve become imbibed with Essence of Cockroach. I just hope I’m not alone in hating you. I appreciate a sensitive man. I appreciate a girl who doesn’t collude in her own oppression. I appreciate a bunch of fucking pussies, frankly, and as for real pussies: I like ‘em hairy.

I’m glad that Unilad has finally got the comeuppance it deserves, and I hope lads everywhere start to realise that ‘The Banter’ doesn’t really make you powerful. It just socially lubricates you around other lads, and makes your life a hell of a lot less deep and fulfilling for it. It saddened me that a girl who commented on a Guardian article by a girl at my university, was immediately told to ‘shut the fuck up, you slut’ by some arsehole who, no doubt, loves being a lad. It seems that this controversy won’t be enough to mark the beginning of the end of lad culture, and that is bad news for women, feminists and decent people everywhere.

Also posted on tumblr, from my feminist blog (which needs updating more regularly!)

Why The Shame in Losing Weight?

I’m a slim girl. I always have been. Unfortunately, I’m also very conscious of every bit of excess fat on my body, and I am currently aiming to lose a bit of weight. Not too much, mind. Just enough to give me a bit more confidence and get rid of those flabby bits that every girl would rather the mirror didn’t show.

When I tell people that I’m trying to lose weight, I get a pretty discouraging reaction. “What?! You’re slim enough!” “You’re NOT fat.” “Haha, how ridiculous!” I like to explain that no, I am not fat. Yes, I am slim. But yes, I currently eat quite a lot of crap and don’t do enough exercise, so my optimum healthy body would look slimmer. It just would. It’s a fact.

I wonder why this is the case? Is it because obesity is on the rise, and I should be grateful for my slim figure? Or is because eating disorders are on the rise, and I should be careful not to slip into a dangerous cycle of starvation?

I think both matter. Weight, frankly, is a touchy issue. People get upset at the very mention of the idea. Moreover, I think the constant pressure to stay a certain size fuels anxiety in women. My friends, no doubt concerned about their own appearances, find it uncomfortable when I say I’m losing weight, because it draws attention to the fact that they’re not.

For an overweight woman, the pressure to lose weight is everywhere. “I lost five stone!” glowing women on the front of gossip magazines proclaim. Diets are everywhere, and you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a weight-loss advertisement of some kind, whether for weight-loss pills or even meals that will be delivered to your door. Hollywood and the fashion industry are a prominent reminder that your fatness is somehow your biggest flaw.

For a thin woman, seeing the same images as your overweight sisters is only going to fuel the pressure to maintain the thinness with age. The message is to cling to your most valuable asset: your tiny frame.

Size, however, should only be relevant in terms of health. If we’re too thin or too fat, we lack energy for all the things we do in our busy modern lives. Just because your friend is thinner than you does not mean she’s healthier. We all know girls who can eat like horses and stay thin, but why should we applaud that as a virtue? What’s wrong with having a bit of curve? I eat, and it stops me from being skin-and-bone. My body is well-nourished. So what if it’s not a size 6 (US 2)?

So why I am I trying to lose weight? I want to be at my optimum health levels, and I want to feel confident about myself. But is it the most important thing in the world? No. I will freely admit that I have more hang-ups about my body than I would like, especially as a feminist. But I know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, no matter how cringey that sounds.

So next time a slim friend tells you she’s losing weight, don’t criticise her.

This was posted on tumblr ages ago. I thought I'd share it here.


I looked back on this blog this evening, and realised that it was no longer reflective of the person I have become, or, more accurately, the person I have un-become. I've changed the background, the title, and the description, in the hope of coming closer to the woman that I am. My 'about me' consists of nothing but the labels of which I am sure. Everything else is suspended.

I haven't deleted any of my former posts, even if they embarrass me. They were heartfelt at the time and I still believe in a lot of the things I said.

I'm going to post a few things I've written fairly recently on here, just to try and get the ball rolling again and get back to a position where opinions can flow freely.

As to how I'm doing at the moment: not great. My chronic depression doesn't seem to be leaving me, and concentrating on university work is such a struggle. I've been struggling on and off with self-injury, I can't wake up -- literally cannot -- until I've overslept, and I'm so exhausted that I don't know how I manage to wake up at all. Oh, and I'm still mighty confused about my sexuality. My partner and I don't have sex, because I don't want to. I don't know if this is because I'm completely gay, or because I have no libido because of my depression. I just don't know.

I'm trying to stay positive so I can get to the end of term and give myself the permission to completely relax. I have some exciting things lined up for the holidays, and I'm determined to be able to enjoy them and not have to pull out.

Thank you for reading

J xxx

Friday, 22 July 2011

I stir...

It's been a long time!

I put things on hold because I'd lost myself. Shortly after I stopped blogging, everything went even more wrong than I thought possible. Over Christmas I realised that I'd spent the first term of university doing something that I have never previously done in my life, because I disagree with it on principle -- being someone I was not. When I came back to university, I crashed. After a term and a half of self-harm, depressed paralysis, doctors' appointments, medication, mania, compulsive hair-cutting, a police search, chain-smoking, suicidal thoughts, weeping and insomnia, I was sent home by my university college to rest and urgently seek professional help. My first-year exams were postponed until August.

I haven't seen a psychiatrist, only GPs and a psychotherapist, so I'm so entirely sure of the exact name of my condition, but for the time being I'm working on the diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder leading to clinical depression. Life has suddenly got so much harder for me, and although I am so much better than I was three months ago (I'm able to laugh again, able to get out of bed), a simple thing like meeting up with friends is often a cause of distress, and I am still wracked with constant physical pain as my muscles are in constant spasm from anxiety. I'm at least not reclusive. I've even been able to go clubbing again, if with caution. I have hope, something I didn't have when I was sitting in the bath dragging a razor across my shin.

I have not been entirely dead to the world, and I have been very good at keeping up with my tumblr. I have also gone vegan since I last posted on here, which is definitely the best decision I ever made. I have never enjoyed food more and I really feel like it's sparked a hell of a lot of passion in me. Most surprisingly, I acquired a boyfriend, something I never thought would happen. He has stayed with me while I've been too down to get up, wiped my tears, brought me cups of tea and taken me out for day trips. He has taken enormous emotional strain and has even ended up ill himself, also seeking help from the university. He's done it all because he loves me, and I cannot imagine a stronger or braver person than that. I, for one, am indebted to him and will always love him and his kindness. I struggle a lot with heterosexuality, because I still feel that I'm a lesbian or at least woman-leaning, and I still often find myself in terror of never being sexually fulfilled, but my heart is close to him as my best friend and the only person I can be with 24/7 without wanting to scream. Sometimes I panic, fantasising about women. Then I wonder whether it's me that's wrong, spoilt, fucked. I look at his gentle face and he's smiling at me, and his arms are so warm, and he makes me feel so safe. I wish I had someone to talk to, to express my concerns. I love him so much, and the thought of hurting him makes me feel sick.

A lot has changed. But I'm still me. I'm a passionate feminist and I care enormously about justice, and I want to change the world, one vegan meal at a time. I'm so grateful to those who have stuck by me, and although I'm hurt by the ones who haven't cared, I've learned to feel sorry for them.

End of personal story.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Hmm, I'm thinking this through and I'm really not happy with this blog and what it has become.

I have become less intelligent, I think, or certainly less clear about my views, and less up-to-date with current affairs. I'm less self-absorbed these days too.

I'm not sure what it is, maybe it's just letting go of all the heavy stuff in life and letting myself free-fall. Simple things in the calendar have passed me by, and I'm living in a little bubble where nothing matters except my immediate environment. I'm worrying less, but I do feel like I've lost brain cells.

Such a person hardly wishes to write blogs on political and social issues, particularly when she is probably failing her Politics degree and feels like a total disgrace for doing NOTHING.

Maybe because I am becoming more superficial, or merely because I have put the 'deeper me' on hold, the future of the blog is thrown into question.

I've not had time or the atmosphere to write poetry (just as well, because I was never any good), and I've not made anything for ages because I haven't brought my sewing machine or materials to university with me. So what is this FOR?

J is still in here somewhere, but she feels separate from this blog.

I HAVE decided to try and keep up with the tumblr idea.

So perhaps this is goodnight, perhaps it isn't.

J xxx

Epic Fail

Desperate not to stop blogging, I tried tumblr and failed.

Basically, nothing is going to be happening till at least Christmas.

Sorry, punks!

Much love,

J xxx