Archives for posts with tag: student

reclaim-the-night

Last week my university had a march down one of the main roads in Manchester city centre called Reclaim the Night. The point of it was to raise awareness about rape culture and show the government that us women will not stand for it. The march had particular relevance as sadly the area of Manchester most students live in, including myself has had a record number of sexual attacks on female students in the last few months. Between September and November alone there were 30 attacks and since the beginning of this semester I have heard of at least two more; one of which occurred at eleven thirty in the morning. Shattering the argument of the ignorant that women shouldn’t travel alone at night. This means within the last year the number has doubled and something clearly needs to be done about it.

This is why Reclaim the Night was so important. With over 2000 people marching, armed with glow sticks, placards and yelling feminist chants, the people of Manchester were made well and truly aware that all of womenkind (and the men that attended) wanted their streets to be safe to walk along at all times of day. And that being a women should not increase your likeliness of being raped. My university’s women’s officer rightly described the march as being “like a battleground” and she is right, just saying you are a feminist is unfortunately no longer that effective, we have to harness that and go out there and make a change. All around the world women are being persecuted and we need to be louder about it. For too long women have been cast aside and not listened to, but Manchester’s Reclaim the Night proved this idea wrong. We are here, we exist, we have rights and we will not tolerate being under threat.

I hope that due to the success of this march that there be others that follow to raise awareness on other feminist issues occurring around the world, such as the practice of FGM, young girls being forced into marriages and the lack of rights for trans women. I am incredibly proud of my city and university and I hope it has shown the men who committed these terrible crimes that they are not wanted in society and are a disgrace to their gender. I also hope by writing this piece, women from other countries will gain inspiration to hold similar marches at their university or college to show the world that we are strong and want change now.
Popdunk

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This past weekend I binge-watched the show Broad City, getting through the entire first season and
the first two episodes of season two. I’ve finally found a show about young women living in a big city that I can actually relate to. The main characters Abbi and Ilana feel real, they live in okish apartments, with shit jobs that they hate and spend most of their lives broke; something most fresh out of uni people experience.

These aspects of young adulthood are often neglected by films and TV and it’s ridiculous. Take Girls for example, they are all in their early to mid twenties but live in gorgeous apartments, and even though mishaps occur, seem to have lives most twenty year olds can only dream of. TV has a long history of doing this as even seminal shows such as Friends (I still love you Friends, please forgive me) are incredibly unrealistic in terms of lifestyle etc.

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This is why broad city is so refreshing. As a nearly twenty year old I need to have a show that I can see myself in. As a student who is constantly scraping the barrel money-wise it’s almost a treat to find something that I can relate to on such a level. The scene where Abbi desperately searches for her fish bowl full of quarters is eerily reminiscent of myself one morning last week. The incidents and mishaps that occur within the show are not dissimilar to ones I have experienced with my friends. Making the characters friendship a good representation of what friends of that age get up to.

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 It also doesn’t skirt around the grimmer side of humour e.g. Ilana trying to tweeze her pubes in a Topshop changing room.
Most importantly though, it shows early adulthood in all it’s messy, sometimes disheartening but always funny glory. Team all of this with a banging soundtrack, brilliant storylines and solid, hilarious side characters (I’m talking about Lincoln here.The shows unsung hero) and you have yourself a show made inheaven. There’s a reason why Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 96%.

Broad City is exactly what comedy TV needs and what young women need as well, it’s fresh, funny and feminist. A combination not often seen in the media, however I feel this adds to its oddball charm. Seeing characters who are so fiercely feminist, even

if it takes a while to see it, is what society needs to see more of. And especially what other people my age need to see too. So I can safely say, hand on my heart, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer; I salute you.

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Thank you for making a show that I not only feel at one with, but one that makes me sometimes tear up with laughter whilst also making me feel empowered to be me.


Popdunk

A month ago in a flurry of excitement I ordered all the bleach and dye needed to make my hair a lilac delight. I became immersed in looking at pictures of gorgeous pastel hair on Pinterest and envisaged myself rocking the same cool colour. When the dye arrived I meticulously did all the tests needed and arranged with my friend (who was supposed to be a dyeing expert) when we were going to do it.

Friday came around and we set about bleaching the shit out of my hair, now its important for you to know that I already had medium/light blonde hair so it should have been relatively easy to do. Oh how wrong I was. Having used up all the bleach powder my friend started to make somewhat disgruntled sounding noises. My heart filled with fear; “um is everything ok?” I nervously asked. “Yeah I think so” came the reply. Not something I wanted to hear to be honest. I wanted a sound, resolute “everything is great!” Regardless, we carried on and eventually I washed out the bleach; only to discover instead of going white my hair had turned a brassy, orange kind of colour.

By this point I was already beginning to have my doubts, but the state of my hair meant I couldn’t quit as there was no way I would go out in public looking like I had Lucozade infused into my head. It was only after we started adding the purple that we both realised a mistake had been made, my hair was not taking the colour and in a fit of temper I rinsed it all out. This left me to put it nicely, looking like a science experiment gone wrong. The ends of my hair to mid-way up had gone purple, and the rest had patchy coverage with ginger and white everywhere. And my roots. Oh god, were they hideous. On the verge of tears I asked my friend to go into town and get everything needed to salvage my hair and dignity. An hour later she returned, armed with colour stripper, toner and brown dye.

The brown hair dye terrified me. I had been blonde my entire life; the thought of having dark hair majorly freaked me out. Not only would I look extremely washed out; which being super pale was something I really did not need. But I just couldn’t envisage myself going dark. But alas, what else was I to do. So after stripping my hair, which turned it a mermaidy aquamarine, I then made my shower look like a slaughterhouse, due to the masses of red toner I washed out going absolutely EVERYWHERE. I’m talking up the walls, on the shower curtain, somehow under the curtain and up my door, the toilet-seat and all over the floor. My bathroom looked like Michael Myers had been busy in there and how it happened still mystifies me. Anyway an hour and a half later I was sat, looking at the mirror with dark brown/burgundy hair. And I hated it, I loathed the sight of myself. It was just wrong, this wasn’t me, I looked weird. I had to go back to blonde, somehow.

As I write this I am awaiting my hair appointment to go back to my true colour, my calling, my one true love. I have had to wait a month though; and boy has it dragged on. In that month I did learn some things about myself, for example brown hair makes me look mildly like the corpse bride, so I can now do makeup which reinvigorates the face mildly. So if the undead ever rise I could end up with a lucrative career in a zombie beauty salon. Which is handy I suppose; always nice to have a back up plan. But finally I shall be myself once more; an 80s obsessive with thick eyebrows and blonde hair. The glory.

I’d love to know if anyone else has suffered a hair calamity and what lengths you went to to salvage your precious hair.

Popdunk

When I first started at university last September I was of course convinced that I would be billy-no-mates and navigate my way through student life as a hermit who was all alone. Instead, I acquired three of the coolest people I have ever met as my closest friends. The thing with uni friendships is, you are seeing each other blunder through a somewhat strange period in your life; this kind of half teenager/half adult stage where you’re expected to behave like a fully fledged human but have no idea what the hell you’re supposed to do.

This makes for hilarious times and also testing ones too. We’ve already had an ill-fated, drunken night in A&E, misguided all-nighters before a huge deadline (BIG MISTAKE), cooking disasters and clubbing fails; to name but a few. They have already seen me at my worst and helped me through some crappy times in a way I didn’t think was possible when we’ve only known each other seven months. Whether or not this is just pure luck and that by some fluke I have come across the best people in the world, or whether it’s because they’re more rounded and more equipped to deal with life, who knows. Either way I don’t what would have happened without them.

Never in a million years did I think I’d find three other people who not only share my deep love of 80s music but also have the same sense of humour and same passion for, in one of their words “all the foods”. I really did not envisage my life as a student to consist of several nights a week sat in one of their rooms watching rubbish horror films, eating too many white chocolate and raspberry cookies, listening to Absolute 80s radio and mourning the fact that we missed such a glorious decade. But I’m so glad that’s how it has turned out.

You see what makes our friendship group even great is although we have a clump of shared interests; we are all very different people personality wise, which makes us compliment each other very well. So for example myself and one the other are incredibly awkward in most situations, so the most chill member of the group now does things like walks into the room first without even asking. She just knows to do it. We all have very different styles fashion-wise. I go for more of a grunge/early series Monica in Friends look. Whereas the others range from always in dresses, is big on her bright eye shadows and always wears Air Max, to oversized shirts, crop tops and massive hoop earrings, to “normcore” with a touch of glitter. This is great for going out as I must say I am very heavy on my daywear and somewhat lacking in terms of clubbing attire.

What I am grateful for the most though, is that with them I can truly be myself, nothing is “tragic” or “weird” with them. I don’t need to do things like hide my love of Meat Loaf. I mean yes they took the mick out of me but not in a nasty or judgemental way, merely because they clearly do not understand how much of a banger Bat Out of Hell is.

We’re an odd bunch of people who somehow found each other in those trepidatious first few weeks at university and bonded over Duran Duran and the TV show Absolutely Fabulous. Something that I will always be happy occurred.
Popdunk

Yesterday and today my university has been running the “Time to Talk” campaign in the students union. Throughout the days they have been releasing blog posts written by people with mental health problems and also giving out support to those who need it. These aspects of the campaign are useful as they allow us sufferers to express their issues in their own words, rather than having someone dictate what it is like with a particular issue and also informs sufferers of how to get help so they can get support they need more easily.

However, the rest of this campaign leaves a somewhat unpleasant taste in my mouth. The stall in my Students Union and posters of other stalls from around the country are all daubed in flowers and smiley faces and smothered across my universities one is “come and have a chat and some cake,” “free cake here,” “cupcakes,” “be happy” etc. All of this in my opinion is rather tiresome and mildly patronising, implying that we need to be lured in with promises of smiley faces and free food. As if we are wild animals that need to be caught. The presentation of the stalls also ironically promotes the idea that we are all unhappy all of the time, need to be loved and have a person show kindness towards us, which is exactly the kind of stereotype they are attempting to change and combat. People with mental health conditions do not have a set symptom, we are not autonomous and as someone who suffers from severe depression I am not constantly in need of a hug and some kind words.  This approach of kittens and cuteness also somewhat dumbs the issue down and hides the true nature of how terrible life with a mental health can be. It is not a fluffy topic so presenting it as one does not help in the slightest, if anything it trivialises it.

Instead I feel that this campaign would be much more educational and actually of some help if there was a day where people could gather in-depth information about each illness, thus educating people and allowing them to spot warning signs in friends or relatives. And also to make the day more about the people who actually suffer from said illnesses rather than emphasising how great it is that non-sufferers are reaching out to us and giving themselves a metaphorical gold star.

All in all, in my opinion the “Time to Talk” campaign has good intentions but is currently not being implemented in the most effective or tactful way. Instead, it just makes me even feel more isolated and “different”  compared to everyone else.