Showing posts from 2011

A Visit To The Smiling Coast

The Gambia

This month I took my first trip to the motherland, opting to holiday in the West African country of The Gambia; also known as the smiling coast, The Gambia is the smallest country in the African continent, though it surely does not lack any slender or rich history.

A former British colony, Gambia played an important role in the slave trade; the River Gambia was used as a hub for the exportation of African slaves, first controlled by the Portuguese from 1456 then by the British in 1661.
Gambia won its independence from the British in 1965 and has since been relatively political stable.

The country is filled with happy and friendly locals, with my coach transfer to and from the airport greeted with kind waves from the local people.
Tourism is said to be Gambia's biggest industry, though I don't think this alone is the reason for their friendliness, I found the Gambia people to exhibit much pride in their country, culture and a contentment for their lifestyle.


The Lesser Of Two Evils: Britain's Distorted Versions Of History

Watching Bed Knobs and Broomsticks during the festive season, I couldn't help but realise Britain's obsession with the Nazis and World War II.
Not that I hadn't noticed this before nor is Bed Knobs and Broomsticks the only vintage family film to perpetuate an aggressively negative image of the German or Bavarian people, take Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and their made up country 'Vulgaria' whom the citizens all speak with German (type) accent.
I know only too well the acts of genocide preformed by Hitler’s army, not only am I reminded every year before and after Remembrance day in November, the subject also took up much of my secondary school history lessons, with the lesson ending with a 'must see' trip to France to what remains of the battle of the Somme battlefields. World War II is in fact a horrible piece of recent history, with an estimate of six million Jews killed in concentration camps under Hitler’s rule and often not mentioned that another four millio…

TV Review: Black Mirror, Channel 4

This must be one of the best TV offerings in a long time; I really enjoyed watching this show!
Produced by Charlie Brooker, the writer of E4's Dead Set, Black Mirror was a 3 part mini-series shown on Channel 4 that came to an end last night.

Black Mirror, not too dissimilar from the concept of the old TV show The Twilight Zone, took a satirical look at modern culture and offered up entertaining and thought provoking fictional events, some based in the future.
All episodes carried a 'moral of the story' using modern cultural concepts such as fame, social media and the advancement of technology.

The first episode and my favourite, was a political thriller were the British Prime Minster was put in a compromising position when a much loved member of the Royal family is kidnapped for a very creative and personally humiliating ransom - to have sex with a pig live on TV.
As far fetched as it may seem, it did encourage you to think 'what if?', maybe not so much seeing Dav…

TV Review: Class Dismissed, BBC 2

The BBC makes jokes about the class system in Britain.

Yesterday evening BBC2 aired the programme Class Dismissed, a one off comedy panel hosted by Frank Skinner discussing if the class system is still prevalent in Britain.
The comedian guest panel saw Mickey Flanagan, Roisin Conaty and Miles Jupp ridicule working class celebrities, perform joke skits and basically take the piss (excuse my French) out of a serious issue!

Between reading Owen Jones' book (Chav: The Demonization Of The Working Class) and watching this BBC offering, I really do not understand why the middle class are so quick at dismissing classism as a urban myth?
It's made clear to me every time I see the likes of David Cameron and other Conservative MP's on the TV that we are worlds apart, only differences being that I'm more conscious of the lifestyle they are exposed to, where as they are absolutely clueless as to how the other half live!
If that wasn't enough proof I need only visit any UK ci…

Book Review: To Die For Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? + Interview With Author

Environmentalist writer and journalist for the Guardian, Lucy Siegle explores the effect our 'throw away' culture has had on our attitudes towards consuming fashion and the destructive impact it has on the lives of those in the third world as well as the environment.
Siegle takes on the task of educating the average fashion consumer on the exploitive and destructive journey our clothes take in order to reach the shop shelves. Done with wit, Siegle dissects the fashion industry as a whole and scrutinises the product life cycle from design stage to the time we throw our clothes away, as well Siegle also provides antidotes of evaluating of her own imperfect wardrobe and teaches us how to read 'behind the label'.
Siegle begins with an accurate evaluation of our current fashion consumption habits and explains how globalisation and sourcing in Far East regions have bought about a fast fashion model. Not just a concept adopted by high street fashion, Siegle ident…

UK Fashion Industry Told To Stop Exploiting Interns

According to reports the HMRC has recognised the exploitation of interns in UK fashion houses and will in the New Year be issuing out penalties to those that exploit their interns for free labour.
Vogue online states that 102 British fashion houses that showed at London fashion week were notified by letter on the enforcements put in place, any fashion house found not complying will be fined and forced to back date interns pay.

As much as this is a triumph for struggling fashion students that currently work long hours and receive no pay while doing placements at some of the UKs biggest fashion houses, I have no doubt this will have a damaging effect on the industry as well as cause these fashion houses to limit the already very competitive internships they offer.

Reminiscing back to my days as a fashion student, I remember what a struggle it was to complete an unpaid fashion work placement, travelling to and fro in and around London wasn't cheap!
This was why taking placements at …

Book Review: The Twilight Saga

Warning: This post will offend ‘die hard’ Twilight fans!
Warning: *Spoiler alert * for those following the films!

Admitting to having read the four Twilight books isn’t an easy task for me, since most people will usually expect that I enjoyed them. - Which I didn’t! - In fact I thought the story was awful, a poorly formed storyline and a terrible example of young womanhood that goes against the very principles of modern day feminism.
The books serves only to enforce patriarchal indoctrinations, which is why I can't understand how a fellow female could aim such books at an impressionable teenage market.  I also do not understand why in the 21st century this story is being lapped up by women worldwide!?
The only way I can justify having read the books is summed up by the quote from Sun Tzu “Know your enemy.”

I have seen very few reviews which critically analyse the story and its damaging impact, which is something that deeply concerns me considering how widespread the books and films…

Name & Cup Size Please!

How derogative is this!? I'm not sure how this company thought that forcing their female staff to display their bra size was clever and not at all a degrading idea. I wonder with the same line of thinking if it would be ok to have male staff in men’s underwear stores to walk around in their pants so that the customer can gauge the level of support provided by the different types of men’s underwear!  
Absolutely crazy, though I am surprised that only one employee complained about the badges! Having said that I’ve met very few guys that actually understand bra sizing (which I find surprising), though that’s not actually the point, those who work for clothing or footwear stores wouldn’t need to reveal what is personal information so bra shop assistants shouldn’t need to either. 
It’s not necessary nor does it improve customer service or sales, shame on you!
Article pictured was taken from: Stylist Magazine, issue 102, 16th November 2011, page 14.

How Wearing Skirts Can Boost Your Career (Sorry This Only Applies To Women)!

Now this story isn't new I've heard about it a while ago now though what I find interesting is the reasons why a women in a skirt could be seen as more successful or better at business compared to a women who wear trousers!

To me the reason seems quite simple, women are historically linked to wearing skirts and dresses where as the image of trousers are considered to be very male and masculine.
Also consider that the presence of women in the office or board room only became prominent in the late 70's-80's along with the trend of the women 'power dressing' in trousers suit (thank you Yve Saint Laurent).

This could explain how the image of women who work in business and wear trousers are seen as being more masculine or aggressive in their approach; whereas women who wear skirts to work are seen as less intimating and possibly docile, since her image maybe conceived as confirming to patriarchal traditions of business - that its a mans world!

I would love for some …

Stay At Home Dad, You Man Enough?

A very interesting article found in today's ShortList magazine entitled 'Could You Be A Stay At Home Dad?' Apparently a shift in cultural attitudes has lead the way for an increasing number of men choosing to stay at home and look after their children.  This relaxed attitude towards gender roles are said to be due to more women being the bigger earners in their relationships, which when considering childcare seems sensible for the men to stay at home and raise the children.
I was a little apprehensive at first since being a men’s magazine it could have flirted on either side of the fence, though to my pleasant surprise the article was very honest, positive and handled with tack The article really covered the issue well and raised awareness of how fulfilling the choice to raise children can be, it also addressed the issue that men who chose to stay at home with the children do at first feel emasculated in the role, though first hand accounts from men whom had stayed at home exp…

Bedroom Vote

I just had to share this as I found it so very funny!

I would love to find out if many Zimbabwean men upheld this?
Surely the Zimbabwean government could find a better incentive to get women to vote, especially since recent reports from the Daily Mail have said women have sex out of obligation (see link below)!

Either way it is important that women worldwide exercise their political voices (and not their husbands), with many reports saying that the population of most countries are majority women, its time governments considered us better when dishing out policies that tend to make our lives harder!

Women are 'having sex out of obligation, not enjoyment': How fun in the bedroom has slipped down list of priorities, Daily Mail

Article pictured was taken from: Stylist Magazine, issue 102, 16th November 2011, page 14.

Black Is Beautiful: The Devaluing Of Black Female Beauty In Popular Media

The singers early on in their careers

Where all the black women at?

While the white ethnicity are on the pursuit of tanned skin & bootyliciousness, black females are still unsubtly being coaxed into obligating the colonial colour cast where whiteness is the perceived standards of beauty.

Black features are the epitome of modern female beauty for our white sisters, with model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley sporting a natural ‘black’ pout; though for black female celebrities (or models), particularly those that reach commercial success, the plum lips and chocolate brown skin isn’t seen attractive or 'marketable'!

Note that I specifically say ‘female beauty’ since black men are exempt from this line of scrutiny; in fact blackness for men in mainstream media seems to enhance their masculine images, good example being rapper 50 Cent or actor Samuel L. Jackson.
For black females in mainstream media, they are expected to conform to European body shapes, be fairer skinned and have st…

Sex Sells So Why Not Stick It On A T-Shirt!?!

Well ain't they something!
While out shopping recently I came across a whole load of men’s t-shirts with naked ladies on them, some more disturbing then others! Who buys these tees and what girl in her right mind would allow her boyfriend/husband/brother to wear such a t-shirt?
I’m not even going to get into how these tees exemplifies the common practice objectifying women is in our culture, since it’s obvious the girls printed on the above tees weren’t chosen for their brain power!
I do think the issue is somewhat an epidemic, mainly because girls are being breed to believe the choice to get naked is somehow practicing girl power.
Having said that guys need to remember that these women are their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, show some respect!

TV Review: Top Boy, Channel 4

Yesterday saw the last instalment of the four part urban drama Top Boy on Channel 4.  The drama stared UK rapper Kano and rapper turned actor Ashley Walters (who has a reputation for staring in urban cult films).
Top Boy described by the Channel 4 website as “about young lives lived on the edge in east London - an honest and gripping rendition of inner-city drug and gang culture”, seemed reminiscent of the 1991 American film NewJackCity with Wesley Snips and Ice T, only with a UK backdrop!

I’m not denying that such events occur on London streets, though whether the drama was created with the intent to address an issue or simply to continue to perpetuate the stereotypical imagery of black family life, culture and masculinity was unclear!

The storyline being how local drug dealers are recruiting young impressionable boys in the neighbourhood to act as foot soldiers to sell and transport their drugs. Ra’Nell and Gem, the two main younger characters, are both 13 years old and best friends…

Sexy By Nature

 This has got to make you laugh! The things us women have to deal with, can’t even eat without being sexually suggestive! I find it funny that this campaign in Finland is aimed solely at women, is the trend to sexually harass while eating only practiced by women?
You would think it would be easy to identify someone who is being sexually suggestive while they are eating * I’m envisioning a Carry On type performance, with cheeky winks and fake blushing! * The example they used in their video with the banana is just silly since no one can eat a banana by licking it, so for someone to be doing that in public kinda suggests something!
Oh well you gotta laugh at these things sometimes!
Article pictured was taken from: Stylist Magazine, issue 100, 2nd November 2011, page 17.

The Complexities of Modern Racism In Britain

While on a night out in the capital, a guy in a club put his beer bottle in my face expecting me to take it from him, when I moved away he promptly followed continuing to try and give me his bottle. His friends seem bemused and didn’t try to defuse the situation; seconds later I saw the guy go over to the side and put his seemingly empty bottle on a ledge; on his return he attempted to elbow me in the face, had I not been leaning in to talk my friend he may not have missed!
Unfortunately my reaction was delayed although I guess its better that I didn’t escalate the situation further.  Considering the offender was white and that at the time I was probably the only black girl in the club, I couldn’t stop thinking whether this happened because I was black?
I wasn’t alone I was with friends who were white and also in closer proximity to the guy then I was so why me?

I don’t like to use the ‘R’ word loosely since modern day racism is quite complex; we are all guilt of harbouring prejudice…