Women of the Year 2015

At this time we’re usually all having a last glance at the old year before forging ahead into the new. We often see best of or most shocking lists and tonnes of folk write their own lists of resolutions. Well, bollocks to the new year, new me trope. I quite like me & so I am summing up 2015 by laying praise at the feet of women who helped me to see that. We can all be better people, but you don’t do it by joining a gym. To quote my dear Mother, all you have to do is keep trying your best. Try to be kind, stay open to learning, say sorry when you’re wrong, seize every opportunity you’re able to, use your talents & always show the people you love how much they mean to you. Those are my ideas on how to be my best self, but everyone is different, you do you. In the mean time, if you need any inspiration, check out these kick arse women.

 

Let’s start with my 2015 musical hero, Sia. I love every note & every word that escapes her mouth. Her consummate ability to express both strength and vulnerability blows me away. Her music is clearly amazing, but what really excites me is her total commitment to doing it her way. From her unique take on keeping a low profile to the, at times, controversial choreography of her videos, it is all marching to her beat.

There has been much discussion about rape culture in the last year. Violence against women has a rising profile thanks to the dedicated work of feminists & professionals in the field. The problem of how universities in America deal with reports of sexual violence has been a topic of outrage. The actions of one student struck me as more courageous than I could ever hope to be. Emma Sulcowizc was raped in her dorm room at Columbia university in 2012 by a fellow student. The university found her attacker not responsible after an enquiry in 2013. Sulcowizc conceived Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight) as an act of endurance performance & conducted it as her thesis during her final year of a visual arts degree. Commencing in September 2014 the work involved carrying a 50lb mattress ( the kind used in uni dorms) everywhere she went on campus. Emma said she would cease the project if her attacker was expelled. That, however did not happen and she carried the mattress until they both graduated in May of last year. On her graduation several other female students helped her carry the mattress across the stage. To have survived not only the heinous crime of rape, but the further violation of her abuser going unpunished takes strength. However to continue with her degree knowing she may see her rapist at any time on campus shows true bravery. Moreover, to face that threat whilst carrying literally a huge weight in order to protest not only her own experience, but that of countless other young women, is beyond powerful. For Emma to open herself up to censure, attack & possible danger to make this statement humbles & emboldens me.

Mhairi Black is a testament to what a person can do when they believe in something passionately. At the age of 20 she became the youngest Member of Parliament since 1832. As if that wasn’t achievement enough her election victory for SNP ousted the Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander. At the time of her election she hadn’t even completed her degree, but went on to earn a First-Class honours degree in Politics from Glasgow University shortly afterwards. Black describes herself as an old fashioned socialist, which is perfectly aligned with my own politics. Her stance on welfare cuts & LBGTQ issues have proved her ethics & her maiden speech in the house was outstanding. As a Scot and an SNP supporter I couldn’t be prouder of this home grown talent. Having met her briefly at my brother’s wedding, I can also attest that she is very patient & lovely when accosted by drunkity fans.

 

My next marvelously outre woman is an all time favourite. Carrie Fisher is everything. Obviously she’s a cult actress, star wars & when harry met sally are in my watch a million times pile. Oh my, but she is so much more. Her writing is incredible. When I first I read one of her books I cried. I felt every emotion, I was awed. No one can write like Carrie Fisher because no one’s mind works like hers. Her words rush off the page is flow into parts of my brain that no other author can reach. Carrie is not only wonderfully eccentric, but also an outspoken advocate on mental illness, ageism & sexism. Her words are direct, but dripping in caustic humour. Last, but not least she made a hilarious appearance in one of my favourite shows, Catastrophe. Let’s face it this Hollywood royalty is the real deal, Carrie Fisher is genius.

Bree Newsome is an outstanding film maker & activist. He film Wake has won numerous awards and been screened at film festivals including Cannes & the Montreal International Black film festival. She has said that her experiences as a black woman working in the horror genre led her to activism. She saw that the space for Black women was so small that it wasn’t possible to advance without activism. In 2015 Newsome came to media attention when she removed the confederate flag flying in the grounds of the South Carolina State House. Removing the flag was no easy feat, she had to climb a 30 foot pole. She was arrested (along with a man police claimed helped her, James Ian Tyson) & charged with defacing monuments on capitol grounds. Within hours of bail being set, the $6000 for both parties was raised by crowd funding. Support for Bree’s actions was huge. The flag’s presence was of course repulsive and a talking point, but her bravery in taking action was inspirational. A lesson to us all that actions speak louder when words. The flag’s permanent removal did not take place until July after a vote that was no doubt forced by the media attention garnered by Bree Newsome’s activism.

My final wonder woman is fast becoming an idol. Luisa Omielan is a stand up comedian whose act is not only hilarious, but also massively uplifting. Her show, Am I right, ladies? is absolutely the best stand up I have ever seen. Her handling of body positivity, slut shaming, mental health & penis desire will not fail to have you screaming with laughter. From the moment I saw her grooving on the stage before the show to watching her grab her belly with delight I was enraptured. Omielan’s message is what I need. Her brand of feminism is what we all need. The joy of Luisa goes beyond her act. Her can do attitude towards everything is impressive; not only crowd funding her dvd, but also packing & posting them herself, acting as her own manager, creating the best social media presence and even funding amazing events. Luisa Omielan, if it’s not too creepy to say, I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mistletoe & wine….

Things are a tiny bit hectic at the moment. Honestly, it’s been one of those years. Anyway I find myself with two large house guests & no time for interesting outings or outfits. So, here is my obligatory Christmas jumper post. I wore this on a visit to my Dad’s on Xmas eve. I’m rather sad I’ll have to wait a year to get it out again. 

  
  
Jumper – Dorothy Perkins

Skirt – Forever21

Boots – Gift

I wanted a nice festive pic with my dear old Dad, but in classic ly style I have my eyes shut in every one. Dad looks good, though.

  

Oh & if you were wondering about those visitors, they snore, but they’re very cute.

   
 

My week in pictures….

It’s been a busy week. There’s been Xmas prep, nights out & some special birthdays. My perfect niece was 6yrs old on Sunday, which is hard to believe. Why do the little ones need to grow do fast? My little muffin will be leaving school & driving cars before I know. Also celebrating their big day was my bestest friend Pamela. I’ll not mention which birthday, but it was older 6. 

So, in lieu of a more in depth post I  thought I’d give you a wee look st my week in pictures. There have been cocktails, silly selfies, sparkly shoes, an ewok dog, sushi & other pretty things I snapped along the way. 

  

  
  
  
  

  

Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice….

I have a confession to make. I open presents. I just can not wait. If you give me a pressie of any description early, I’ll have it opened seconds after you leave. This year I was determined to behave & save all my gifts for the big day. That was until a mystery package arrived & I did what any girl would do; tore it open immediately. I genuinely didn’t realise it was a a Xmas present, but nevertheless I have been naughty again. 

My darling friend Jenna has clearly been reading this blog as nestled inside that package was something I really, really wanted. 

  
This pendant was made for me. Plath is one of literary heroes. I adore her words & let’s face it, these words could have been written about me.  I haven’t taken it off since it arrived. 

Once again I am reminded that my people are the best people. Thank you, Jenna. Big love. 

  

This week I have been mostly…

Feeling jolly. Yup, I’ve been rocking the Christmas tunes. In my continued quest for a joyuex noel I’ve been playing all the xmassy songs that give me the good feels. 

Ok, let’s get cheesy. Mariah is so not my style, but who doesn’t love her festive offering? I have been singing along & thinking about someone dreamy since my school days. Some of those objects of my affection make me blush to remember. The song, however, remains untarnished. 

You know, I’m not even entirely sure that Mull of Kintyre is a Christmas song, but I always play it at this time of year. Now, maybe it’s because I’m Scottish or perhaps it’s my soft spot for Paul, but it swells my heart. It’s a song that makes me think of home & family & love. I suppose that’s what Christmas means for me.

John Lennon’s Christmas isn’t your standard merry track. It does, however  have that ‘make you think’ quality. I think this tune was probably easier to love in my youth when accomplishments stacked up with ease. These days when I think about what I’ve done in the preceding 12 months I often worry I’ve come up wanting. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be Xmas with John & sadly his message remains salient. 

I have saved the best for last. Not the most original choice, but one that is dear to my heart. The Pogues & Kirsty McColl’s bittersweet tale of love in the big apple hits my spot. That chorus fills me with seasonal warmth & those lyrics, oh the lyrics.

‘ you took my dreams from me

when I first found you.

I kept them with me babe

I put them with my own 

can’t make it all alone

I’ve built my dreams around you.’

They’re almost enough to make me consider kissing Shane McGowan. 

Snow is falling…

I’m diving into the festive spirit this year. Love & sparkle & food & presents are exactly what I need. I’d like to finish this dodgy year on a high point & so, I am immersing myself in all things joyous. 

First up, my nails. I don’t mind telling you my normally pretty talons have been looking a tad shabby of late. Not anymore; they are now shiny & bejewelled. How can my joy quota not be upped when I have diamontes shimmering on my fingers.

  

Unfortunately doing your nails whilst incredibly sleep deprived can sometimes make your snowflakes go a wee bit spider webby. It matters not, they’re still cute & I am one step closer to Santa.