Sunday, 25 May 2014

From Half-Marathons to a Holiday

Apologies for the two week absence but I've had a busy few weeks. Let me update you:

So on May 10th, I took part in the Moonwalk, completing a half marathon power walk through the city of London overnight with my mum in aid of breast cancer charities. After getting fit this year and becoming a regular at the gym, I'd decided to challenge myself to some kind of achievable sporting feat. I'm not a sporty person but I walk a lot everyday so I figured that I could complete a walking challenge. The charity was particularly important to me and my mum because my stepdad's mum died of breast cancer in January so we wanted to do something special in her memory. Cancer has affected many people in my life and even I have had the slightest brush with the disease, so I felt it was important to make an important contribution to combatting it. Me and my mum both raised a considerable amount and surpassed out goals thanks to the generosity of friends, family and workmates. If you'd like to donate you can do so here.

As somebody who has never been one for exercise until recently, I felt an enormous sense of achievement as I crossed the finish line on a gruelling 13.9 mile walk. It's been a long time since I felt proud of myself and the feeling was immense and I felt like I could do it all over again. I think my mum may have had other ideas!

Now I'm looking for my next walking challenge, but little did I know that my trip to Barcelona the following weekend would be just as much of a walking feat! Last weekend me and my best friend Zoe ventured over to the Spanish city to enjoy a few days away for my birthday. Within the first full day, we discovered that the city wasn't as big as we thought and that it was quite possible to walk everywhere in the city. This made exploring the city far easier but also meant that I probably walked another half marathon over the few days I was there!

Barcelona is an amazing city and I recommend it greatly for a long weekend. It's the perfect mix of a city and sun holiday thanks to it's med location and beach as well as exciting districts and streets that offer a mecca of shopping and eating delights. Done right, you can grab a bargain at the flea markets and gothic quarter shops as well as delicious spanish cuisine. I loved being among the amazing backdrop of Barcelona and it was a fantastic place to experience.

We also took a trip up Mount Tibidabo which offers a fantastic view of Barcelona is surprising easy and affordable to do thanks to a bus and tram service.

If I do recommend anything, it has to be an amazing cocktail bar called Dry Martini. Like a 1930s speakeasy, jazz plays in the background and the mixologists are experts at what they do. Slightly more expensive than your average cheap cocktail, this is the place to come for well made drinks, a special atmosphere and to meet other excited tourists.

By some feat, I managed to get my purchases back into my small cabin suitcase which I'd overpacked before I went away anyway. Now I've got the travel bug and just want to visit everywhere! Next on the list, Marrakech!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Why Feminism is Still Relevant

I'm going to try and make blogging a regular Sunday thing, so lets see if I actually stick to it this time. Keep on my back everyone!

So I've wrote about feminism a lot on this blog and it's a subject I'm passionate about. While feminism is something that's been prevalent for centuries, particularly within the last century, it's enjoying the latest wave and is finally something that is present in mainstream media and being talked about in commercial women's magazines. It's been enjoying this resurgence for well over five years and it's a delight to see more and more focus on important social and political issues for women. Yet we're still asked the same questions. Is feminism still relevant? What does it mean to be a feminist? What about men?

The answers? Of course feminism is still relevant. Women may enjoy more freedom than they've ever had before but there are still so many issues where we are still fighting for equality. Even in the workplace, where we're seeing more and more female CEOs and MDs - women on management boards and higher positions are still lagging severely behind. Of course we don't want 'token' women on boards to make up the numbers, but are women being considered as equally for these roles?

There was recently a campaign involving high profile successful women called 'Ban Bossy' which strived to stop asserting a powerful woman with the word bossy while we'd consider the same traits in a man as a 'leader'. Celebrities such as Beyonce and Victoria Beckham took part to spread the message. You can read more about it here but the message is that we should be encouraging girls and women to lead and not be fearful of being judged because they know what they want. Women still struggle to be taken seriously as leaders, bosses, managers and entrepreneurs and it is this attitude we want to eradicate so women can stride forth and lead.

But what does it mean to be a feminist? In truth, I believe there is no set guidebook for being a 'feminist' - you just have to believe in the right to equality for women. You want to be treated fairly and equally? You're a feminist. I've heard so many women completely shrug off the idea that they could be a feminist like it's a dirty word. It really frustrates and upsets me because unless you want to be some sort of subservient woman - then of course you're a feminist. My personal belief is that being a feminist can consist of whatever you want it to. You can just have the belief that equality is right or you can actively take part in spreading the word and trying to change society. It's whatever path you choose to take with it. Therefore there isn't a certain look for a feminist. You can look girly, you can wear make up, you can worry about your weight, you can shave your legs and it doesn't make you any less of a feminist.

You can keep your opinions to yourself, you can argue where you see there is something wrong and you can blog or bring the topic up with friends. I still see things to fight for everyday. Whether's it's an outdated and offensive comment from somebody around me, a cat call or a leering look or comment because I'm displaying skin - it's all an issue of feminism and the change that still has to be made. If you're not convinced, just a quick scroll down Everyday Sexism and you'll see just how far we still have to go.

Finally, what does being a feminist mean about your opinion of men? Well whatever you want it to, but I come from the non-hating men brand of feminism. I am a believer of equality and just how I believe women should be treated equally, I believe there are issues where men deserve equality as well. Men struggle to be taken seriously when it comes to instances of rape or domestic abuse and this is an attitude that needs to be addressed for both sides of the sex. Just as with women, I don't believe it should be one rule for either sex.

What we're striving for here is equality between the sexes not for one to be better than the other. We want to be treated with equal attitudes and taken seriously whatever path we choose. We want to obliterate stereotypes.

Do some more research and see for yourself, why feminism is still relevant and still deserves a place in modern society.