This week’s celebrated woman is someone I have the pleasure of knowing. She is a bopo goddess, a thrifting maven, accomplished public speaker & possibly the bubbliest person I’ve ever met. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Hayley Angell.
I met Hayley at a blogger event in Glasgow & was instantly impressed by her vintage look. I was also a little intimated by her polished confidence. I don’t find these events very easy. I have a lot of anxiety around new people & situations. I have even more anxiety about hiding my discomfort. The moment I spoke to Hayley I felt more at ease. Her sincere warmth allowed me to collect myself & have a good time.
I obviously immediately commenced following her on social media and have done so since. Hayley’s accounts are bursting with life affirming energy. Her honesty about her body positive journey; discarding control garments, trying new activities & generally enjoying her body is inspiring. She recently discussed her experiences as a plus size women taking burlesque classes. Despite outward proclamations of inclusivity she still felt it was assumed that fat women would be less assured. She got the sense that fatter folk were quietly ushered into the background. It takes guts to be open about this stuff. Even more to be honest about how often we convince ourselves that we belong at the back of class. Thus, she used her Instagram account to launch #stepforward a reminder to all plus size people that we are worthy of taking up space & being seen.
The Body Positive community has given me so much. I always want to say thank you to those who inspire me. I also want to spread their work because I know it can bring others happiness. Hayley is one of those fabulous women who can help you change how you see yourself. She is an insta must follow.
Bopo aside Hayley is, as I mentioned, a thrifting magician. Her Instagram is worth following for her second hand style alone. If you need tips on trawling the charity shops for fashion gold, Hayley is your woman. If you simply enjoy seeing a person enjoy themselves & clothes, she is still your gal.
I’ve only met Hayley in person once, but I would not be without her online presence in my life. For a shot of genuine self love, go press those follow buttons.
It’s been a while, but a truly incredible woman inspired me to bring back the honour roll . This week’s epic woman is the fearless Hannah Gadsby
I had picked up on a little social media buzz about her latest stand up show, Nanette & headed onto Netflix to give it a watch. I expected some laughs. What I got was the most raw & uncompromising show I have ever seen. Hannah Gadbsy is a feminist hero. She begins by mixing jokes about her trauma with humour & explains how she balances tension to create relief with a punchline. Then, she bravely recounts her stories without relief. She gives us her reality.
She rails against violent misogyny & homophobia. She describes unflinchingly how being raised in an environment that teaches you to hate who you are cripples a child. She throws in the quips, but she never let’s the audience off the hook. She forces us to recognise her truth and her anger. She exposes her (& all our) need to honestly tell our stories. Her pain is palpable. Her courage is beautiful.
I beseech you all to watch Nanette. It is a masterpiece
This week’s marvellous female specimen is Ruby Tandoh. I actually came pretty late to Ruby party, but I intend to make up for lost time. Ruby is the no bullshit baker we all need in our lives.
Ms Tandoh obviously came to public attention on The Great British Bake Off. She didn’t win the show, but she was excellent in every way. Every single one of her 5 million facial expressions were endearing & I totally related to her stressing. It goes without saying that she made some tasty shit, but the best was still to come.
It wasn’t until I found her on twitter that her true glory was revealed. Ruby is a kick arse intersectional feminist. She tweets about important matters from LGBTQ issues, fat phobia & ableism to popular culture & politics with the kind of blunt clarity I admire. She calls out the sell out tactics of other chefs who jump on the healthy eating bandwagon. All the while writing joyfully about food (& various other things) in her Guardian column & books.
Ruby had no fear in taking on the big names. She has been savage in her take down of Jamie Oliver & clean eating quacks Ella Mills & The Hemsleys. She skillyfully disects the dangers of healthy eating fads whilst highlighting why they are so problematic.
Her recent contribution to Do what you want, a zine about mental well being has pushed her even further in my estimations. The zine includes a variety of pieces on all aspects of mental health. It covers perhaps less talked about issues like accessing treatment as non binary person & mental well being from a refugee stand point. This all round excellent publication also donates all of profits to mental health charities. I believe it is now sold out, but check the website for details.
Ruby Tandoh seems to be that rare thing of a ‘celeb’ who puts her money where her mouth is. Her feminism is inclusive of the groups so often exclude from mainstream white feminism; sex workers, non binary people, POC, fat women, the disabled & so on. Her life seems to genuinely reflect her spunky public persona. This is a woman worthy of our respect.
If all that wasn’t enough she is hilarious. We’re talking about the chick who refused to work with Piers Morgan by calling him ‘sentient ham’. Oh & she wasn’t fucking sorry about it.
I couldn’t march on Saturday because my stupid body is stupid. I am gutted to have missed such a massive assembly of strong women.
I was especially delighted to see so much intersectional feminism on display along with a big turnout of kids & young adults. It heartens me to think that right here in my city the next generation is woke. I am proud that so many parents everywhere are raising their kids right. Which brings me to one of my favourite videos from the March on Washington.
By now I am sure you have all seen Ashley Judd’s recitation of Nasty Woman. It was a memorable performance of a powerful piece & credit to Judd for bringing to the attention of so many. For me what makes it even more inspiring is that it is the work of Nina Mariah Donovan; it is she who is my woman of the week. The 19 year old from Tennessee wrote the poem last year in response to Trump’s growing campaign infractions. Judd attending the event at which Nina originally performed the poem. The writer’s own delivery of the piece is every bit as commanding as her famous fan.
Ashley Judd of course sought & received permission to use the work & Nina expected some backlash. Ridiculously Trump supporters are disgusted with Donovans’s description of Ivanka as her father’s favourite sex symbol, whilst having no issue with Trump’s own incestous comments.
Nina Mariah can be found on YouTube, where she posts videos of her incredible performances. She writes on feminism, social justice, her Puerto Rican heritage & pop culture. I’m blown away with the intensity of her words. Her stage presence & mastery of language are stunning. Do yourself a favour & start following her now. I dearly hope this young woman’s redoubtable talent is about go BIG.
Picking a woman of the week has never been simpler. In the turmoil of the EU Referendum results only one politician has come out prepared. Nicola Sturgeon is an impressive politician. In a sea of vague non answers, she has a definitive plan.
Watching the First Minister speak on the steps of Bute House really made me proud to have voted SNP. Not only did she calmly lay out the steps her government would take to maintain European business links & investment in Scotland, but she unequivocally declared immigrants welcome. Her language made it clear that there is no room in Scotland for racism or Xenophobia.
‘Indeed, I want to take the opportunity this morning to speak directly to citizens of other EU countries living here in Scotland – you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.’
The leaders of the leave campaign are either silent or back tracking on promises. The government has no strategy for negotiating our exit from the EU & both the Tories & Labour seem determined to destroy their parties from within. There is justifiably an air of spreading panic. Nicola Sturgeon has been my sole ray of hope. Her clear & authoritative addresses have reassured me that Scotland, at least, has solid leadership.
I am proud to be governed by such a progressive & passionate woman. I am delighted to belong to a country that has rejected fear & prejudice. I live in hope that Ms Sturgeon will steer our celtic ship to independence.
This week’s amazing woman Khadija Gbla is the executive director of NO FGM Australia. She campaigns to stop girls in Australia suffering fgm & to bring awareness to issue.
She bravely & honestly talks about her own experience of fgm; from the trauma of the act as a small child to the lasting effects it has had throughout her life. Gbla’s frank discussion of her struggles with her scars, loss of sensation & fgm’s impact on her pregnancy are essential. Fgm is still greatly misunderstood, it is so important for everyone to know the horror that is being inflicted upon children & the lifelong problems that ensue.
I admire Khadija’s determination to thrive & her drive to prevent others from enduring the same mutilatiom.
It occurred to me that I am constantly coming across wonderful women. In all aspects of my life I am repeatedly astounded at the amazing things women are achieving. I also realised that perhaps I am often surprised by how excellent these woman because no one is shouting about them. Well, I think it’s time we start hollering about how fantastic our fellow females truly are. With that in mind I’d like to introduce a new regular feature, Woman of the Week.
First to be drenched in praise is one of my very favourite tweeters, @stavvers. Going by the twitter handle Another Angry Woman, she is smart, funny & woke. I find myself nodding vigorously to every tweet she crafts. With a reliably intelligent comment on both the major & underreported stories of the day, a strong intersectional feminist view point & a knack for making idiots look ridiculous, she is a must follow.
Her own blog makes excellent reading for anyone of a feminist persuasion. Her writing is a joyous experience; strident, hilarious & covering topics that need to be spoken about. Along with original pieces she does a periodic round of up of interesting things she has read, which are never less than brilliant.
What are you waiting for? Go follow @stavvers now. You won’t regret it.