Why I’m embracing my pale colour and saying no to fake tan 

opinion piece

Throughout high school I was that chick who looked like she had splashed her dad’s creosote on her face. Yes I was perma tanned, and for some reason (still unknown to me) I thought I looked great. But in reality I was probably a streaky orange mess. I become reliant on fake tan to feel good about myself. 

We are constantly told that a tan makes you look healthier, slimmer and more sexy. And that’s fine if you obtain a natural tan, or if you apply fake tan wanting a natural looking tan. I get it. Tans are beautiful. But we can’t all be naturally tanned. 

The fundamental with keeping up appearances is that you become addicted. Two or three years ago I probably would not have left the house without tan on. You start to believe it’s your natural colour, your brain becomes numbed to your pretense. 

About a year ago I decided I was going to embrace my natural colour. And I haven’t looked back since. I don’t mind if people tell me I’m really white, too pale or call me Casper. 

I will be conforming to others beauty ideals no longer. This is my colour. I’m going to embrace it and love it. 

The art of comparison: how Instagram is detrimental to female self-esteem 

opinion piece

I’ve had severe ups and downs with Instagram. It’s both my favourite and worst social media app. Because on the outside, it’s aesthetically pleasing to scroll through people’s seemingly perfect lives, perfect selfies, perfect food and their perfect relationships. But we often forget, usually, a huge amount of effort has gone into constructing these images. It’s fake.

As females we all have days where we are insecure. And unfortunately with social media girls of younger and younger ages are aware of their looks – and feeling an innate pressure to be conventionally attractive. Adhering to false beauty standards portrayed on social media. Now Instagram, being a visually based app – and thriving off of a like for like and comment for comment culture can breed self esteem issues.

Of course, it’s not a new concept for the media to convey unattainable beauty standards. This has been the case for traditional media platforms for most of cultural history, however the online realm; and in particular Instagram has accelerated this. Let me tell you why.

The app itself is, of course, irresponsible for a high increase in young girls developing mental health issues plagued by body image or self esteem. It’s how the app is used, and the nature of the characteristics of the app. It’s so fast moving, that users often feel pressure to upload. They have followers and ‘Insta celebrities’ they aspire to be like – and therefore this often breeds a competitive nature. Or a feeling of inferiority.

The art of comparison is what is killing our young girls souls. Scrolling through pretentious images, constructed for social validation. Comparing yourself to images that are fake. Comparing your life, your goals, your face, your ass and your entirety to someone you’ve never even met.

Possibly one of the worst things you can do in the cut throat world of Instagram is to compare. You must must must always stay grounded, remembering that most of these images are socially constructed. And even if they aren’t, everyone progresses at their own pace in life. You are doing great and that’s all you need to watch.

Survival of the fittest.

Neo-feminism vs. Neutrality 

opinion piece

Personally I don’t even believe in feminism as a concept or philosophy. If you are a female who does not believe in gender equality, then I would be forced to seriously question your entire morality and set of values. 

This being said, on the contrary, I would however still refer to myself as a feminist. There are still far too many sexist agendas which discriminate against women, that are simply just accepted in our society. For example, rape culture, which has received a lot of media exposure in recent years. 

We still have a long way to go. And I fear we are going completely the wrong way about tackling it. Just recently I have read several articles which refer to a neutrality in some form. First of all we had, ‘pan-sexuality’ – the belief that one has no sexuality. I next heard about ‘gender neutrality’. I understand these neutralities are being formed as a positive action, they are there to decrease discrimination and gender stereotypes, archetypal gender roles etc. 

Now just yesterday I read an article which was stating that body positivity is a farce. We should have ‘body neutrality’ as an alternative. That it causes us to put immense pressure on ourselves to always feel positive, and naturally everyone has insecure days. 

But I feel like ‘positivity’ is being misconstrued completely, I believe in the power of positivity. Now as cliche as it may sound, staying positive and believing things will get better, has aided me through some of the toughest times of my life. For one to assume that means you aren’t allowed a bad day, would be naive, no? 

Staying positive is a means to help people believe in themselves. It comes from a good place, and I just feel like, why must we always criticise? For example, body positivity is encouraged because of body shaming. And now positivity is being criticised because of being positive? 

This is just one fundamental example, but it relates to my initial point about neutrality. Why can’t we accept things for what they are? Biologically there are differences between females and males. That, in no way shape or form justifies any type of inequality or discrimination. But there are clear differences, no one can deny the fact. 

It’s awesome to write counterintuitive articles, it’s often something I enjoy doing myself. Criticism is how we learn, challenging the norms is a crucial part of being a competent journalist. Conforming to your role as the fourth estate within society. But some of these articles, and ‘neutralities’ are just scraping the barrel now. 

Why I’m going to be insanely selfish this year 

opinion piece

‘Successful women are selfish’ 

Discuss. 

No, this isn’t an exam don’t worry. I don’t really like that quotation, or my title to be fair. They both contain implications that we as females are selfish on superficial levels, when in fact, I am only referring to on a professional and careerial level. 

When a man is ruthless he is adored as a great business man. But when a women is just as ruthless she is called selfish? 

It’s not selfish at all. It’s a natural progression that one feels at a certain stage in their life when they need to put their own wants first. 

Why I am going to be shamelessly selfish this year 

The end of 2016 marked the end of an era for me. I finished my degree, and with zero guidance and a paradigm of confusion; I entered the real world. So for 2017 my fundamental aim is to gain as much industry experience as possible (my degree was in journalism). And be in a ‘good’ place by the end of the year.

I have to apply myself intensely so that I can be in a better position. BUT applying myself hard does come with some consequential factors. For example, I am still working my other temp job as a service advisor / marketing assistant at a garage; which by the way is severely demanding. 6 days a week, around 58 hours per week. It is a stressful role, and on top of that I am upkeeping a blog – freelance writing and attending interviews. 

Ultimately this year I need to put myself first. I need to save as much money as possible – an internship means unpaid or low paid work potentially. This means that other factors of my life may suffer. I am going to struggle financially, I’m not fortunate to have rich parents who can support me. Which means I will have to undertake a weekend job (hence no social life) just to pay my bills. Friends whom are not benefitting me, who aren’t ambitious or driven in life I just don’t have time for. This is not ruthless or unfair – I just have a very strict agenda and I need to stay focused. 

There are times where I want to cry out of frustration. My current job is not what I want to be doing – so everyday is a downhill struggle. My email inbox is scattered full of rejection. I am rejected on a daily basis. I must have applied to at least 2000 jobs / internships. This is the most disheartened I’ve ever been in my life. To want something so badly, try as hard as you possibly can. To just hit a brick wall. 

It hurts and I want to give up, I want to give up everyday. But I continue. I continue for myself. For my future, for my career. 

So if cutting back your social life, wearing last seasons trends and shopping at the pound shop all mean you can move forward in life. Do it. Do it with pride. Put yourself and your needs first. 

If that makes me selfish then ok I am selfish. But you know what? At the end of this year when I have achieved so much more than I even expected due to my own hard work. Then I will be the one reaping the rewards. 

Selflessness is so last year girls. 

Overrated: trekking to pretentious restaurants on your birthday 

opinion piece

I really don’t want to be the Scrooge of birthdays.. but it has to be said that in my latter years I really cba with my birthday. 

I mean yes, I want to celebrate it with those who are close to me. But do I want to spend £50 on uber taxis (in a silly Toyota Prius may I add, huff); sit in a wanky restaurant surrounded by pretentious hipsters, whilst paying another £35 for a mediocre steak & sipping a pornstar martini which costs more than hiring an actual real life porn star? Nope. Going out to expensive joints is not for me anymore. 

Here are my top tips to enjoying special occasions without the overrated venues; 

1. Localise 

I’m pretty sure wherever you live you have a favourite restaurant. It’s not going to cost you hardly anything to travel to, you know you like the food. It’s a safe option, but sometimes safe is good. Safe is really good, and helpful to save money. 

2. Travel light 

As much as you want to look like a sass queen on your birthday, sometimes getting the tube is a lot cheaper and less time consuming than sitting in traffic. What you can do is bring flats in your bag (very flat flats), and just wear your stunner shoes for pics & inside the actual venue. 

3. Review that ish 

I wish in hindsight that I had read reviews on the over priced restaurant I attended for my birthday this weekend just gone. (Stk). It would have helped me to make a better informed decision. Always always read reviews, but take them with a pinch of salt. Of course every business / establishment gets fussy customers who just complain for the sake of it. But if the majority are saying negative remarks then take notice. 

4. Shop smart

Don’t even waste hundreds on your outfit just because you are going somewhere expensive. Who is going to know your dress was £13 in the missguided sale? As long as you slay who cares? 
But most of all enjoy!
 Slay bitches.

Why females need to stop shaming each other 

opinion piece

We’ve all been there. Scrolling down your Facebook feed and you see a funny meme, it’s a little below the belt, but fuck it. You re-post it. ”Real men prefer curves” with a depiction of a skinny woman. For whatever reason it struck a cord with you, perhaps you were aiming it at someone you hate? Or maybe you are just highly opinionated and want to air your views. 

What I would like to understand is the pyschology behind posting ignorant, and most of the time, bitchy memes/indirects. 

Whatever your self justification may be. Any type of shaming is wrong. Just recently on social media I have noticed a lot of girls shaming other girls. Whether it be body shaming, slut shaming or even make up shaming (yes this is totally a thing now, and it’s just plain mean). It needs to stop. 

How can we expect men to respect us as a gender? When all we do is slate each other. 

If it’s because your insecure, jealous, or generally angry about something. It still doesn’t make it right. As a level headed person you need to deal with that internally, and discretely. Social media is not meant for airing your dirty laundry. 

Fair enough, I understand not everyone agrees on everything. We all have our individual opinions, and that’s fine. But spreading memes which shame others – particularly on attributes they cannot control / superficial attributes. It’s petty. 

And FYI. It makes you look like a mean girl. 

I believe we need more positivity between females, to encourage each other to grow, progress and succeed. Negativity creates boundaries, and segregation. Positivity unites. 💕 

Chanel rouge noir collection: the big facade 

opinion piece

Following the legendary nail varnish release 20 years ago, Chanel has relaunched a whole rouge noir collection for Christmas 2015. There is nothing innovative about the ‘new’ collection, it’s an imitation of past products. We ask why?
Words: Michelle Whitney, Subeditor: Christie Bannon

  

Chanel is renowned for classic glamour; its cosmetics and perfumes are no exception. The quality of their products is notoriously high, but does this mean they are consequently permitted to be lazy?
If we look at the rouge noir collection, there is no ‘bang’, nothing innovative, and certainly nothing new. There is nothing wrong with reinventing classic products, or appreciating them for that matter. But when it’s a relaunch of the same nail varnish colour every year it does become somewhat tedious. The only remotely new item is the glittery top coat designed to go on top of rouge noir polish. Well, mid-range/budget make up brands have sold gold glittery nail varnish for years now.
Chanel has certain brand values, and that’s perfectly understandable. They know what works and they stick to it. On the other hand other luxury brands who are just as classic; have reinvented legendary cult products and have been hugely successful. YSL’s Opium perfume a few years ago would have been seen as unsuitable for anyone under the age of 45. Once YSL relaunched it in a glittery bottle, and changed the formula to a fresher, sweeter smell – et voila! A reborn classic. Estée Lauder too, have recently launched a lipstick range with Kendall Jenner; typically they aim their products at the older woman, but utilising Kendall as a spokesperson has opened up their demographic to a younger audience.
If these brands are capable of modernising their classic products, why can’t Chanel?
It seems as though Chanel aims products at an elitist demographic, and that’s perfectly reasonable; clearly they want to uphold luxury connotations and an air of exclusivity. In the long run though, all they are doing is depriving themselves of reaching out to a younger demographic. The elitist audience they aim their products at now does seem deliberately exclusive. Chanel also doesn’t cater for ethnic skin tones. Their foundations have a limited range of colours; this is discriminatory, and it seems as though it’s because they are already a popular established brand. They feel no need to alter this, and to enter 2015.
Undoubtedly the collection will be a success, there are so many avid Chanel fans who will buy just because of the label. This is wrong, and complacency is in danger of causing them to become a stagnant brand. But it’s also disrespectful to our expectations. And I think as consumers we should demand more. How about launching a brand new classic, and expanding the current range so that everyone can enjoy the high quality of Chanel which we all appreciate?
We need future classics.