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A personal ramble on make-up, self-expression, hair colour, the beauty industry and body positivity




Friday night I dyed my hair.

Which in itself, is not a big deal. I have been dying my hair auburn using Lush Caca Rouge Henna for seven years now. Yes, there have been gaps where I've tried other vegan hair dyes but overall this is a long time to be committed to a specific hair colour.

Over the past six months, you might have noticed that I have become increasingly brunette again. Because it is henna, it will fade rather than produce a harsh root line. But I was also experimenting with other hair colours, namely burgundy. I never found a purple vegan dye I really liked and because most of them were not permanent I got frustrated with the upkeep. But saying that, I never returned to my auburn roots (ha!) until Friday.

What changed was that in the middle of last week I wasn't feeling at home in my own body. My skin had that crawling feeling, I hated all my clothes, and I wasn't feeling myself. Because I always choose to work through my feelings - instead of ignoring them - I came home and sat with myself. Because I knew my negative feelings were connected to my physical appearance, this also involved staring at myself in the mirror where I began to notice perceived flaws that don't actually exist.

If your reaction to this is to immediately scream BUT THIS IS BULLSHIT BEAUTY STANDARDS! YOU ARE A FEMINIST! STOP SHAVING YOUR ARMS! FEMININE AND FEMINIST CAN'T CO-EXIST! FASHION IS SHIT AND WE SHOULD ALL BE NUDISTS! then I want to have a chat.

Because the purpose of this blog is not for me to talk about my hair (it's just the opening anecdote, I promise) it's to have a discussion around caring about your appearance (make-up, clothing, plucking etc) while being feminist and shouting about body positivity ten times a day - and how these two things can co-exist within the same person.

And that takes me back to my hair anecdote. I feel more at home in my body with auburn hair. I've been told by other people that I suit my fake auburn hair more than I've ever suited my natural brunette hair. But not everyone is saying that it's more aesthetically pleasing; I've had people comment about it "suiting my personality". I get that. I'm not exactly the most mainstream person ever, so it's understandable that I might not want a mainstream hair colour. The Little Mermaid is my favourite Disney Princess. And clearly, I'm not going to become a fish anytime soon so I'm settling for red hair.

And it's here where I introduce you to the reason why you can be feminist while still caring about your appearance and preach body positivity while wearing lipstick: self-expression.

Heck, Lady Gaga once wrote a song about hair and self-expression:
 

Make-up and clothing choices play a large part in how we express our self-identity. When we dress a certain way, we tell the world who we are in a non-verbal way. Do we want to proudly show off our favourite sports teams? A favourite band? Make it clear that you belong to a subculture? That you consider yourself to be a girl girly? That you're queer? Maybe you wear a political badge? Your appearance speaks a thousand words before you open your mouth. And some of us like to actively control the words our appearance makes.

When it comes to my romantic and platonic attraction I am drawn to people whose appearance suggests a certain type of personality. In all genders, I am drawn to stylish geeks and indie kids who aren't too hipster. I know many girls (and boys) who love a man in a suit - but what makes me weak at the knees is a pop culture t-shirt and converse! Plus facial hair! And the last three dudes I've dated/fancied wore glasses! You don't need to be a relationship expert here to work out why these kinds of people draw me in: I am a geek/sort-of-hipster and I'm drawn to people who give off the vibe that they are also a geek/sort-of-hipster.

(Even if you don't consciously consider the messages your appearance gives out, I'm sorry to break it to you: but people still subconsciously look for clues about your personality in your appearance).

Dieting and intense exercising, however, aren't connected to self-expression: it's limiting your food intake and wearing yourself out in order to shrink your body to a certain size (which it's probably not meant to be). That's just unhealthy and you could be causing yourself damage. Food is fuel. It's what your body needs to survive. Yes, you probably shouldn't drink 10 cans of fizzy juice a day, but that doesn't change that your body needs sugar. I would argue that in 90% of cases a calorie controlled diet isn't just unnecessary: it is dangerous. In case you (somehow) never got the memo: people do literally die from diets that get out of hand.

(Calories also only measure the fuel in your food and provide no information on how healthy the food is)

Exercise gets a bit of leeway, as it's only dangerous when it gets out of control. I swim. It's my longest running hobby and is really beneficial to my mental and emotional wellbeing. I love swimming. But I don't do it every day and I know when enough is enough. I listen to my body. And while it is difficult to not pay attention to the slimming effect it has on my body, I try to measure my success by the milestones that have nothing to do with my waistline (time improvement, how many lengths of butterfly I can do etc).

Now it's back to self-expression and why it means a lot to some people (including myself).

If you were to dig out photos to document my life you'll notice something: I yo-yoed between tomboy and girly girl for a lot of my pre-adult life. Growing up I had complicated feelings towards make-up. I was an ugly teenager with spotty skin and squint teeth so for a long time make-up was about looking "better". I would copy make-up exactly the way it was in the magazines rather than finding a look that felt right on my own face. But I also hated that I felt like this and I would enter stages where I'd refuse to wear it. I also wanted to rebel and not conform to societal beauty standards. It also didn't help that very few people in my family express their personalities through their clothing choices (at least consciously). So yes, my teenage rebellion did involve wearing clothes that I knew would piss my parents off.

When I reflect on my shift from a childhood raised in a house where clothes were nothing more than protecting yourself from the elements, to an adult who actively expresses themselves through clothes I notice two time periods when my aesthetic began to align more closely with my personality.

And, make no mistake about it, the two time periods I am referring to were when larger emotional shifts were happening in my life. My changes in physical appearance where the outward visualisation of a deeper shift within myself.

The first was when I was 20. I went through both a platonic and romantic break-up (both on very bad terms) within the space of a few months. And while this was a difficult time period for me, it was also the wake-up call I needed that I was letting people walk all over me and I needed to work on why that was (I go into more detail about that in this post). I began to assert myself in small ways: going vegetarian, moving to Glasgow, starting a blog, not doing hobbies I didn't really enjoy, and (dun dun dun) beginning to dress in a way that I felt more at home in. When you look at pictures of me from before the age of 20 I don't look like the same person. But from the age of 20 onwards, I don't look wildly different from modern-day me. You begin to see some consistency.

The other time period I am referring to is the end of my self-love journey, which was two years ago. Over the years I had begun to make choices for myself without letting other people's opinions affect me. But these were small choices where I slowly took back autonomy of my own life. Two years ago I finally had a break-through where I made two big decisions that were scary and I knew I might get backlash:

  • I removed toxic friends from my life who I went back years with
  • I came out of the closet as bisexual, having known I was bisexual since the start of high school
While I had known intellectually for years that these two decisions would make me a happier person long term, it took me until my mid-20s to burst. When I did burst, years of internal confusion were lifted and I felt like I had been re-born. 

And for the first time ever I felt confident that I knew who I was. And that was shown in my physical appearance. When I sorted out the internal shit, the external shit fell into place. I now knew how I wanted to express myself aesthetically. Turns out, the lack of consistency in my aesthetic appearance was the external expression of a confused person. Deep, I know. 

If you've never gone through a period (or lifetime!) of confusion you might not be able to relate to what I'm saying. That's okay. I'm not here to please you. 

But I know I'm not the only one. I know of at least two other queer women (one bisexual, one gay) who also didn't come out until their mid-20s whose physical appearance changed in the months that followed. One has publically said that they "got comfortable dressing more dykey". For them, they express their queerness through their clothing choices and felt more comfortable doing so once they had accepted the most honest version of themselves. 

But both women became more comfortable dressing tomboy. I was the opposite: I became more comfortable dressing feminine and sorting out my relationship with make-up. Melissa A Fabello (who is incredible and will change your life!) has spoken several times on her identity as a femme queer woman. For her, dressing feminine while being queer is making a powerful statement that bucks the myth about how queer women are supposed to look. It also flies in the face of "women wearing make-up to impress men" because some feminine women aren't even attracted to men! For some of us, wearing make-up is about marking us out as femmes in queer spaces. 

When I came out, being femme became a big part of my self-identity. And I like to convey that in my appearance. 

On the male side of things, I read an interesting anecdote in Football's Coming Out by Neil Beasley. While there is a lack of publicly out footballers for gay fans to look up to, the author writes about the comfort he took in David Beckham. I don't remember a time before Beckham, so what I didn't know was that prior to his career launch (along with his well-styled hair) football was very manly in a toxic way. And even though Beckham is heterosexual, Neil looked up to him as a gay fan because he still helped change the world's perception of footballers as rough manly men. 

Finally, society and the patriarchy mocks typically feminine hobbies. Women's football? Boybands? Chick flicks? Gender pay gap? Stereotypically female careers paying less? Make-up and hair get mocked because they are typically female hobbies. And we love to downplay female hobbies as lesser-than (just look at the way women in sport are treated!). And some feminists lap this up and let society mock beauty YouTubers. Not on. 

But that doesn't mean that make-up and fashion aren't problematic. 

I'm never going to pretend that make-up isn't layered with patriarchal and capitalist bullshit. A lot of women wear make-up - including my teenage self - to look better and hide their faces. If you're struggling to leave the house without make-up (or can't even sit at home alone without wearing it) you might want to sit with yourself about why that is. The same goes if you are copying trends blindly rather than developing a look that works for you. And trying to appear more attractive to someone you fancy (teenage me would wear more make-up on days when I had a class with my crush). Sit with that. 

The beauty industry does feed off insecurity. There's no denying that. One thing that a lot of feminine feminists do (which I could be better at) is buying their make-up from make-up companies that encourage self-expression rather than covering flaws. Some examples of beauty companies that encourage expression in their marketing (and are cruelty-free!) are Illamasqua, Urban Decay, and Barry M. 


And we can't talk about beauty and woman without mentioning The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. While the book is written in a pompous and inaccessible tone, I agree with the general sentiment: women are encouraged to spend so much time on their appearance so that they are distracted and not using their time and money to achieve things and overthrow the patriarchy. Ouch.

Even a well-groomed man who spends a lot of time on his appearance will still not spend as much time as a well-groomed woman. Think about the Beckhams, I'd still bet my monthly salary that Victoria's beauty regime is more time-consuming than David's.

And socio-economics plays a part. Beauty costs money and people with more of it can afford more beauty treatments. There are a lot of beauty treatments I'd love to get that my salary won't stretch to. Remember when Kylie Jenner got lip fillers and told everyone she just sucked a cup? Remember young girls did the same? Because they literally believed that a multi-millionaire achieved those lips without surgery. The same goes for Khloe pretending that her make-over was 100% exercise and diet. Hunny, we know there was surgery involved.

And race. Beauty ideals are white-centric. A black girl using skin whitener is not the same as a white girl using fake tan. One is layered with racism, the other is layered with looking sunkissed. Unless you're using it as an appropriation of ghetto culture, then, in that case, I'll direct you to this article. 

White people: don't get dreads, wear Native American headdresses, or wear a kimono. These things are rich in a culture that is not yours. Sit down. 

My overall point is that yes, the beauty industry is problematic as fuck and really needs to take a good, hard look at itself. But beauty is more than skin deep and can be how people express themselves, tell the world how to read them and give out non-verbal clues as to who they are. 

You don't get to tell people that self-expression is wrong (unless is appropriated). 

Because that is still policing people's bodies, and that's not okay. Especially since it's usually women's bodies, and our bodies are already policied enough as it is. Give us a break. 

Now excuse me, I have a new auburn barnet to show off.
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How to spot a Feminist Ally in the streets, but a Misogynist Wanker in the sheets




Feminist men.

It’s a good idea in theory and it looks good on paper.

But in practice? Not so much.

I’ve come across my fair share of self-proclaimed Feminist Men in my time. Granted, many of them appear (to the outside eye) to carry out great work and seem to have a true understanding of how gender inequality works.

But I’ve also met several self-proclaimed Feminist Men who use it as a badge of honour. A bragging right. A way to appear more attractive to women. Even a dangerous smokescreen. They’re the Political Nice Guy if you will.

But any man can stand there and say he is a Feminist Man. That’s pretty easy. But we all know that many men can lie - and will lie - to get women into bed. The news stories on Ryan Adams and Moby have thrust beta-male misogyny in society’s consciousness. We’re now waking up to the idea that men don’t need to be loud, alpha males who shout “grab them by the pussy” to be a threat to women.

They can be shy with a sweet demeanour. A musician who writes love songs on an acoustic guitar. He might get along with his mum. Skinny and couldn't physically assault you if he tried. Not be sexually promiscuous. Votes progressively and goes to protests.

And boy, have I been caught out.

I’ve dated and been friends with several men over the years who like to think they are woke af but actually treated me like shit. Three men stand out in particular: two sexual/romantic and one platonic (but wanted to be sexual/romantic). Between them I’m owed money, been kept from speaking to other people at parties, intellectually insulted, demeaned, spoken down to, mansplained, scared to date other people, and been pressurised into sexual acts that I wasn’t comfortable with.

It wasn’t a fun ride.

And what makes these memories so difficult to carry around with me is that I know these men will fool other women in the future. I've dated numerous shitty men in my time but some of them were obviously shitty and I can't believe I was ever fooled. But these men: they play a pretty tight game. They know how to play the Feminist Man card to their advantage.

But women talk, and we like to keep each other safe. So I've taken a look back at these Fake Feminist Men and tried to identify the warning signs that I could have seen.

So ladies, if the Feminist Man you've just started dating showcases more than four of the following traits then he might be a phoney.

He expects a cookie for being a good person


Great, you respect women - but fuck receiving praise for being a good person. Similar to Nice Guy Syndrome, Fake Feminist Guy expects a cookie because he knows rape is wrong. The real Feminist Dudes know y'all don't get praise for being a fucking decent person.

His definition of feminism doesn't get any deeper than "women should have access to abortion"


I appreciate that people who are new to social justice might have a shallow understanding of the topic. But feminism is a lot more than not groping women in nightclubs. There's mansplaining, Gender Pay Gap, sex workers rights, beauty image, body politics, not talking over the top of women.....

If you're talking to a new guy who wants to learn more, offer him some advice and resources (Every Feminism is a great one). If you're speaking to someone who is a long-established, self-proclaimed Feminist Guy and he still isn't past the basics you should just roll your eyes and refuse that second date.

He takes a sulk when called out


We all get called out from time to time. It can be a chance to grow or a chance to sulk. Which option your dude chooses says a lot about is his commitment to the cause.

He can't admit to a period in time when he wasn't a Feminist Man


Controversial.

But even the most social justice orientated of us are not immune to the effects of the patriarchy or social conditioning. We've all fucked up at one point. I've dressed up as a Native American for Halloween, claimed that Silence of the Lambs wasn't transphobic, and voted Liberal Democrat.

And I'm okay admitting these things because a true social justice warrior knows that in order to undo oppressive structures we need to confront ourselves about the role we play in them. I probably still do oppressive shit that I'm yet to unlearn.

If he can't give you an example of his own personal growth as a Feminist Man then he's very likely not the real deal (and has very low levels of self-awareness).

He doesn't support sex-positive feminism


The feminist hill that I am willing to die on is that sex-negative feminism and sexual assault go hand in hand.

Let me break it down.

Sex-negative feminism argues that there's a right way to shag. It turns sexual preferences into a theoretical debate. It tells consenting adults what they can and can't do in their own bedroom. It tells us that women don't like rough sex, making money from sex, or watching porn - despite anecdotal evidence.

Sex-positive feminism, on the other hand, lets individuals decide for themselves what sex acts they like to engage in. It encourages open communication and seeing people as unique human beings. Though saying that, "sex-positive" men sometimes use feminism as a guilt trip to make women do kinky things they are not into but blah blah blah liberated feminist women embrace their sexuality blah blah blah don't be a prude and have sex exactly the way I want to blah blah I don't care about your needs.

Bottom line: you're looking for someone who respects your sexual choices, whether that's dungeon orgies or missionary with the lights off.

He brags about eating pussy


Eating a girl out does not make you a Feminist Man. Fucking shut up. Read this article for more because I don't have the energy to deal with these men anymore.

Doesn't take bisexuality seriously (or any LGBTQ+ identity)


How a guy reacts to me mentioning my sexuality is a make-or-break for me. If his eyes light up, I'm out. If he asks if I have a preference, I'm not out but he's getting called out. In practice dating me is like dating a monosexual. It won't affect the relationship so I don't want much of a reaction.

He listens to your romantic and sexual needs


Feminist Men like to think they treat women well. It is sort of the idea. But then they get it into their heads that "treating women well" means following a bullet-pointed list and treating women as a homogenous group who all have the same sexual and romantic needs.

That's still patriarchy at play, y'all.

A man who has truly unlearned the whole Women-Serving-Men thing will be up for honest communication about your needs and won't just arrogantly assume them.


He just mansplains in general


Whether it's how to do your job or the politics of your home town, don't put up with that shit.


He's friends with creeps


You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.

One of the Fake Feminist guys I dated didn't even have any friends, which should have been a massive warning sign. While the other had a wide social circle. But that social circle included men who were creepy as fuck in blatantly obvious ways. If he was fond of a guy, he wouldn't speak up - but couldn't wait to verbally jump on men who he already disliked for another reason.

And the guy I mentioned in the introduction who wanted to be romantic/sexual with me rather than just platonic? Since cutting him from my life he made the decision to stand by someone who was convicted of sexual assault!

Has no platonic female friendships


Men that are desperate for a girlfriend to the point where they will approach anyone (including swiping right on every fucking girl) irk me. It still showcasing an inability to see women as people if he's wondering if every new woman he meets might be his next romantic or sexual conquest.

A true Feminist Man isn't looking to date every woman that walks past him because he sees women as more than that. He knows what he wants in a romantic partner and recognises that not every woman will fit that criterion. And you deserve better than someone who will say yes to a date because he would say yes to anyone1

He thinks all relationships should look the same


I want to make this abundantly clear: I do not, by any means, think that anyone is less of a social justice warrior because they want an opposite-sex marriage where they move to the suburbs and have two children (and maybe a dog).

But a social justice warrior respects alternative relationship styles and won't react negatively if you want to check in on the first few dates that you want the same things long term (wanting children, opinions on marriage, polyamory/monogamy etc). Even better if he's had an active think about different relationship styles and has a good idea about what he would want. It's 2019, we can't assume everyone wants the same thing anymore!


Is intimidated by your success


I've dated (or even just met) several men who like me because I've "got depth" and "not a bimbo". But the moment they realise there's a chance I might be smarter than them they shuffle their feet or start mansplaining.

A true Feminist Man won't worry about you outperforming him. Or earning more. Or getting better grades.


Insists on paying


When I'm in a formal relationship, yes, I think the higher earner should pay more. And thanks to the sneaky Gender Pay Gap it will usually be the man. But when I'm on the first few dates with a new person I don't feel comfortable with them paying. How they react to this can demonstrate their attitude towards money within a relationship, and whether they would be comfortable with a woman earning more.

It's the same reason why I tend to swipe left on men who brag about being homeowners on their Tinder bios.

Judges your taste in pop culture

I'm not entirely sure how this came to be, but I've met a lot of "Feminist Men" who act as though pop culture that is aimed towards women is the stuff of immaturity. Think boybands and chick flicks (but not female superheroes because the Feminist Men like that stuff because, duh, comics are generally male territory and female superheroes are tough, not "fluffy"). This is not behaviour saved for nerds who live in their mother's basements; I've met a lot of progressive men who seem shocked when they learn that I enjoy stereotypically girly pop culture. I've never sat a man down to get to the bottom of this phenomenon, but my hunch is the persistent idea that feminine and feminist can't go together.

Also applies to any man who takes it far too personally when you don't like his favourite bands or whatever. For me, it was a Feminist Men perplexed by the idea I didn't like Star Wars. I don't like things set in space so I've never bothered. He was too bothered about this.

Has a house that is growing mould


When I'm dating someone new, I judge them by how clean their house is. I don't expect high-end art pieces on the wall or their kitchen to be filled with every gadget from Argos. But I expect it to be clean and functioning. You're an adult who knew they were having a guest round so make sure you have a toilet roll for Pete's sake.

Many men don't pull their weight domestically - even when they are single and living alone. It's almost as though they consider cleaning to be so unmanly that they still won't do it even when there's no woman around. The earliest warning sign that he'll expect you to do all the cleaning in a relationship is if he didn't even do it when he was single!

He is offended when you say "men are trash"


A true Feminist Man will understand your frustrations. A person of colour can say "white people are trash" to me and I'm okay with that - because we are. These statements are about systematic problems, not individual people.

He amplifies the rumour that only alpha-males can be sexist


One of the beta-misogynists I dated once said "of course he's the type to sexually assault, he is a footballer" in relation to the Ched Evans case. This same guy ignored my verbal no in the bedroom and assaulted me. Rolling my eyes at the irony helps with the trauma.

(Same guy also refused to get a Tinder account "because only creepy men use Tinder").

If a beta man actively and explicitly says that it's only alpha men that are the problem then run for the fucking hills. Don't wait for any other point on this list to show up - just go. This is a big warning sign. Get out.

He tells you to wear less make-up


I've noticed this thing with Feminist Men who try to rip down bullshit beauty standards by telling women to wear less make-up.

News flash: women don't necessarily wear make-up to attract men.

Yes, it's a personal choice that can be layered with patriarchal bullshit. However, it can also be worn for purposes of self-expression. I quite like looking a bit like a badass hipster. It gives people I've just met some non-verbal queues about me as a person.

True Feminist Men let women do what they want with their bodies.

Has a history of dating younger women


I'm not explicitly against age-gap relationships, but they are worth thinking about.

Most people's maturity plateaus around about 25, so your typical 31-year-old isn't going to have much in common with your average 23-year-old - but that was exactly the age gap with a Fake Feminist Guy of my past. I was still finding my feet in the world and hadn't fully matured yet, making me a prime candidate for someone who was incredibly immature for his age (and, uh, likes to attack people's self-esteem).

But the big warning sign is if they have a history of dating younger women.

And any man who admits that his Tinder is set to only show younger women.

His appearance is a bit scabby but doesn't fancy low-maintenance women


I once wrote a blog post on this!


Has ever muttered the phrase "real women have curves"


Go away and die.

His feminism isn't intersectional


Ask for his opinion on Trans Rights, Black Lives Matter, and trade unions.

Because if your feminism isn't intersectional then it's bullshit. 


He doesn't understand the role of an ally


Sometimes being an ally means doing nothing. It's knowing when to shut up and let the oppressed group do the talking. It's not something you "are" just because you say you are. It's a label you earn -and you earn it through actions. Ultimately, if the Feminist Guy you've just met won't STFU and can't provide a basic level definition of an ally then he, sadly, probably isn't one.


And finally, some things that don't indicate how feminist a man is: 

  • how promiscuous he is
  • likes football, rugby, golf, and other manly sports
  • gets along with his mum
  • enjoys kinky sex
  • cuts down trees with his bare hands
  • if he's LGBTQ+ in anyway
  • is a vegan
  • owns a dog
  • supports other progressive movements
  • how much effort he puts into his appearance
  • has been to a strip club

What have I missed? Probably a lot. I like to rant. 

Men are trash. Especially Nice Guys. 

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In this essay I will prove that Child's Play 2019 reboots a classic horror story with modern fears for a new generation




This weekend I took a trip to the cinema to see my favourite film franchise about toys getting up to mischief when their humans aren't watching.

No, I'm not talking about Toy Story 4.

I'm talking about the re-booted Child's Play film, which was originally released in 1988. You know, the one with the killer doll called Chucky who was possessed by the murderer Charles Lee Ray? It's great, you should watch it. While the clothing choices in the original film give away that it's older than me, the special effects and mechanics of the killer doll hold up to this day. It's still brilliant.

While I wouldn't say the Chucky franchise is a personal favourite and I certainly don't fangirl for it (creepy dolls are not a macabre favourite of mine, generally), there has never been a Child's Play film that I've not liked and as a franchise, it has held itself together. While there are a few inconsistencies, producers generally respect the established canon.

On top of that, the Chucky films tend to successfully move with the times and reflect the horror trends of their decade. The first three films released between the late 80s and early 90s follow the traditional, yet simple, slasher set-up. Then in the 00s we were introduced to the Chucky family with Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky. These two films slid nicely into the comedy-horror genre that was popular around the millennium thanks to Scream (which is my favourite horror franchise). Then in the last few years, Netflix released their own Chucky films: Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, both of which were weirdly aesthetically pleasing with well-thought-out colour palettes. I blame Instagram.

Despite Chucky not appearing high up on my favourite horror icons list I was still a little worried about a reboot. The re-boot trend is a risky thing. On one hand, you have to stay close enough to the source material so you don't upset core fans but you also have to do something different to ensure that audiences have a reason to actually see it. Personally, I hate Rob Zombie's reboot of Halloween as I felt the added backstory on Michael Myers's descent in madness was out of place as the whole point of Myers was that he was a hollow shell. The idea that he was once a cute kid just doesn't sit with me. But I loved the Scream television show because it took the basic premise and changed what didn't need to stay. They didn't tamper with anything too important.

I am grateful to report, however, that Child's Play 2019 hits the sweet spot of respecting the source material but re-creating it for a modern audience who belong to a different generation.

[spoilers ahead]

Within the first 20 minutes, you will notice that the creators have removed a key component of the original film: Charles Lee Ray does not exist in this re-boot and Chucky is actually the product of a disgruntled Vietnamese sweatshop worker who disables the doll's safety features in revenge. Political, I like it.

You'll notice very quickly as well that instead of Chucky being a Good Guy doll, he is now a "Buddi" who can be hooked up to your electronic devices and is effectively a doll version of Alexa for children. I did roll my eyes slightly at this, but you know what? It's relevant. Smart homes are a thing now so it was only a matter of time before film producers began working it into horror films.

But some things have remained the same. Aside from the iconic image of Chucky stabbing people with a kitchen knife, Karen and Andy make a welcomed return and their relationship in this film is similar to that of the original (though 2019 Andy is a teenager). And Chucky's outfit hasn't been altered much.

And while I personally rolled my eyes at the technology bit, I can see why the producers did it. Back in 1988 dolls were still a very popular children's toy. That's what made the film so scary to some viewers: taking something as innocent as a children's toy and turning it into a murderous killing machine. But dolls aren't what children play with now, it's smartphones and that's exactly the socio-cultural update that Child's Play needed to make it scary to modern audiences.

The cast is less white than the original which is also a nod to the changing conversation around representation in media. And while I'd like to celebrate this, the producers still handed over the key roles to white actors while the non-white actors were regulated to supporting roles. Do better.

And it was funny, in a quippy, self-aware, and sarcastic way. Which I always like. That's my humour.

Bottom line: it was a good film. Whenever you go into the cinema to see a reboot you have to keep an open mind. You can't go in there thinking it will be the film you fell in love with. Try and convince yourself that you're watching it for the first time.

I've read reviews from critics who hated it. But when I'm reading these rants I see a common theme: they aren't separating their love for the original from the acknowledgement that this is a different film. It's not meant to be a line-for-line remake; if it was there would be no point. The world has moved on since 1988 and producers have chosen to create a modern re-telling of a classic film. Is it lazy to re-boot? Yeah, a little. Is it a fresh idea? Nah. But as long as a franchise has living fans who will pay money to see it there will be re-boots, sequels, and prequels. That's how capitalism works, y'all (I am chuckling at the irony that a film that taps into anti-capitalist imagery is literally a capitalist product itself looking to make money off an established horror icon instead of make something audiences arent familiar with).

I also didn't see one person in the cinema who would have been a teenager when the original came out. I looked around and everyone appeared to be my age or younger. The 50-somethings who remember the cultural significance of the original weren't out in tow.

And maybe that's the point. Maybe it's not aimed at people who hold memories of watching the original in the cinema with their friends. It's for a new generation who have a new set of cultural and political fears.

Damn millennials and their smartphones, ruining everything.

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Should you work at a marketing agency or in house?




I'm not usually one for viewing people in binary terms where everyone slots perfectly onto two neat sides. But if you were to pull together all the marketers of the world and ask them to pick between agency marketing and in-house marketing, very few would claim to have no preference. 

It took me a while to discover it for myself, but I'm an in-house girl. I love getting to know a brand inside out and truly understanding its message - especially when I get to work in an industry as fun as travel! My only brush with agency work has been through internships and work experience, where I had to learn very quickly the brand message of each client (which could differ immensely from one to the next). That wasn't for me, but some marketers thrive on a variety of projects in an agency setting.

So which should you personally choose when you enter the marketing workforce? The only way to truly know is to experience both. While you're at university try and get internships on either side to work out where you'd be happiest. But to give you an idea on where you might belong, I've asked my marketing buddies on both sides what made them choose the agency or in-house path.

The variety of work

The basic rule of thumb is this: agency marketers love a variety of work and in-house marketers like working with one brand. But like all basic rules of thumbs, there can be exceptions.

Some agencies specialise in a particular industry (I once interned at POSH Communication who specialise in hospitality) and some big agencies will have specialist teams who deal with certain types of clients (B2B, B2C, corporate, third sector etc). Plus, not all clients receive the same level of attention and the variety you crave might not realistically happen. My friend is an in-house web developer at a Glasgow branding consultancy and says he spends 80% of time carrying out web work for their biggest/most important client and the other 20% split between the rest.

On the other hand, working in-house isn't always about one brand. At Barrhead Travel we own several child companies and all their marketing is controlled by Head Office so, in reality, I'm switching my hats more often than my aforementioned agency pal.

The relationship between in-house and agency

I once heard someone (who doesn't work in marketing) say "most companies do their own social media and pay a company to do the creepy things like SEO" and another person (who does work in marketing) say "in-house tends to do strategy and the agency does the creative". Both statements have been completely untrue in my experience, and how the work is split between client and agency depends on the individual relationship.

I've worked in situations where all the creative is done in-house but the external agency is used for monthly audits, external ad-hoc support during busy periods, and training. I've also worked in situations where only certain social channels were handed over to an agency, while others were kept in-house. Sometimes a company might recruit an agency because the workload is getting bigger, but not big enough to justify a new employee salary. There is a multitude of reasons why a company hires an external agency. (Tip: when you're in an interview ask if there's an external agency involved and what their role is to get a good idea of what you're walking into).

Extrovert vs Introvert

One of the best mentors I've ever had said to me "agency life is the extrovert life and in-house work is the introvert life". Unlike the statements I shared above, there has been some truth to this one. Some agencies have account managers who do all of the front-facing work for you, but if you're looking to 'move up the ladder' into a supervisory, management or director role - you'll have to meet the clients from time to time (and it won't always be pleasant conversations) and pitch to prospects. There are also some agencies that don't have account managers, so regular employees will be expected to meet clients and attend networking events. 

On the other side, I work in-house and the only people I speak to externally are those who work for the external marketing agency we use on certain projects.

Job Security

Agency marketers tend to move around a lot more - and when I asked my agency friends why this is headhunting was the most popular answer. It's really common for agencies to keep an eye on each other and sweep in on their employees with a better salary. But another reason that came up was boredom - agency marketers typically like variation and can get fed-up if the client roaster looks the same two years down the line.

There was, unfortunately, a negative reason for this movement of people that one of my agency friends brought up. He once got made redundant because the agency lost one of their biggest clients (plus the massive monthly invoice) and they had no choice but to let people go.

Progression

Since agency marketers are more likely to switch employment at a quicker pace, supervisor and management positions open up more often. A lot of agency marketers I know have progressed into senior management while still in their mid-twenties. While in-house marketers who want a promotion might have to decide if they want to wait patiently for someone else to hand in their notice, or for the company to grow enough that they can justify new supervisors.

Cool factor and company culture

When I graduated I wanted to work in one of the super-cool agencies in Glasgow because - wait for it - it fitted the hipster aesthetic I was going for at the time. I've thankfully outgrown this ridiculous thought process but I'm still slightly jealous of the agency environment. They're usually a bit more relaxed about employee dress-codes and have office happy hours - while I'm sat in my corporate office completely sober wearing heels.

Working hours

I'm yet to learn of an agency that opens up shop on bank holidays or doesn't shut off for Christmas. So if the idea of working Easter Monday makes your stomach churn or 9-5 hours work better with your young family, agency life could be for you.

If you work in-house, you might be required to work weirder hours so social media channels can stay covered. I personally work in travel and - shockingly enough - the Facebook inbox is busier at the weekend with most of the public off work, so someone from my team has to be in work answering these messages. As glamorous as a job in travel can be, it's not for anyone who cherishes their weekends and evenings. I also don't get bank holidays off.

Salaries

I've never held a full-time salaried position at an agency so I'm basing this on what I've heard through the grapevine. But salaries don't change much between in-house and agency and are more likely to be affected by the size of the company, your experience and ability, whether you work in a price-driven industry, and how generous senior management is.

All and all though, it's very difficult to know which side you belong on until you try them out. So as I said earlier, get some experience on both sides through internships and work experience to find out where you belong.

If you're a marketer, what side do you prefer? Let me know if I've missed anything.
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Who I'm currently supporting on Patreon



I'm a big believer that creatives should get paid for their work. Unfortunately, it's a well-known reality that creatives need to hustle (especially full-time creatives). As a social justice activist, I love to support creators whose work is designed to move society forward. But these creatives have the shortest end of the stick as the Powers That Be would prefer to silence them (hence why creative careers are less profitable than corporate ones).

This is where Patreon comes in. It's a platform where you can pledge a particular amount of money per month to your favourite creators and provide them with a paycheck (and some financial stability!) for their projects. It also allows them to create content that is for their readers/viewers/listeners, rather than magazine or television execs who might try and censor them. In return, creators also provide perks and rewards for people who pledge certain amounts of money.

I currently support five people on Patreon. This might change as time goes on (I've actually pulled support for someone before) but, at this moment in time, I am happy to continue supporting these creators.

Rowan Ellis



I've been watching Rowan's videos on YouTube for years and always find myself nodding my head in agreement. I also love that she is UK-based because so many big-name activists are American and their content isn't always relevant to me.

So when I found out she had a Patreon I had to support her. I chose her $10 a month Recommendation Station package, which includes private blog posts, scripts of her YouTube videos, upcoming video schedule, the chance to vote on future topics, monthly recommendations (books, recipes etc), and a monthly book giveaway (which I won last year and the books she chose for me were on-point!).

Riley J.Dennis



Riley J. Dennis is an amazing activist. Not only do they create amazingly informative content, but they're funny to boot too! Riley is a queer, trans, nonbinary, polyamorous lesbian, and it's important to support activists who are oppressed in multiple ways, as they usually have the hardest time making money in the real world. I opted for their $5 Wonderful Human package, which gets me access to all private Patreon posts.

Marina Watanabe



Admittedly I'm a fan of Marina more for her personality. While her work is great, it's not as in-depth as I'd prefer - but she's a great choice for people looking for an introduction to social justice. Plus she's bi-racial and bi-sexual so has first-hand experience of two forms of oppression. I chose her $5 a month pledge, which provides me with access to longer videos and personal vlogs.

Dead Meat



James A Janisse is the only creator I support who doesn't specialise in social justice issues. Instead, he runs a YouTube Channel about horror movies. His channel has a variety of playlists, but it's his Kill Count that I'm always checking in on (where he "tallies up the kills in all our favourite horror movies"). James, however, is very socially and politically progressive so calls out sexist and racist bullshit during his commentary, and he has refused to produce videos on horror films produced by problematic individuals. I can get behind that.

Melissa A. Fabello



I first discovered Melissa's old YouTube channel four years ago and was blown away by her content. She has a knack for breaking down academic and complex ideas into bite-size pieces written in layman's terms. Thanks to her I've developed a higher understanding of the world around me, protected myself from societal brainwashing, and been able to verbalise experiences that previously irked me but I couldn't explain why.

Most of her work centres around body image activism and beauty culture, but she also touches upon media literacy and human sexuality (she holds a PhD in this field). I currently support her for $2 a month, which allows me access to her private Patreon posts. Though I have considered her $5 tier, which would allow me access to her book reviews.

Who are your favourite creators on Patreon? 

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How to speak to a girl on Tinder, by a girl on Tinder




Once upon a time, essential life skills were limited to cooking a Sunday roast, washing your bedsheets, addressing an envelope, paying bills, and changing the oil in your car.

But in 2019 speaking to strangers on apps and social media is just as essential a life skills as unclogging your plug hole (hahaha I said the word hole in a blog post about dating hahaha I'm so mature).

And that includes Tinder (plus other dating apps).

If you don't know how to Tinder then you're probably going to get left behind in the dating game. Or just not have a dating game, at all. Or not get laid, ever.

But judging by some of the messages I receive on Tinder (and other dating apps) it's clear that many of us still haven't mastered the art of Tinder. My phone really appreciates being slammed down on my bed in frustration.

But all life skills can be improved on. Just like learning to read and write as a child, learning how to wow people on Tinder is a skill that can be honed.

Maybe.

I'm writing a guide anyway.

So here we go. My guide to not being a weirdo on Tinder.


Don't swipe right on every girl


Storytime: I briefly dated someone from Tinder who swiped right on my photos alone and only read my bio when it was time to craft an opening message. It was absolutely lovely to find this out - and to know that he would have left swiped had he read I was vegan!

FFS.

Also, take dealbreakers seriously. I have that I don't want children on all my dating profiles. But that doesn't stop people who want kids (or already have them!) from trying their luck anyway. Dealbreakers are dealbreakers; it doesn't matter how amazing someone is otherwise.

Personally, I've found Tinder much less stressful and headache-inducing since I became fussy about who I swipe right on. If I was at a party I wouldn't start flirting with everyone in the room; I'd only start making eyes if they stood out to me. I now behave exactly the same way on Tinder. It's been a breath of fresh air not trying to force conversation with twenty different people.


Use her bio as a starting point


I'm not offended by "Hey, how are you?" as an opening line. I'm a socially awkward turtle and not always the best at an opening line myself. A bad opening line does not mean that someone isn't life partner material. 

But the conversation will become meaningful more quickly if you use their bio as a starting point. "Hey, I notice you also like Celtic. Me too! Did you see the game last Saturday?" is a simple opener that gets the conversation moving but doesn't require you to be a witty comedian.

Google any words in their bio that you're not familiar with


I know I come across as an unassuming straight girl in real life, but my Tinder is pretty queer-centric. I use terms like "unicorn", "no terfs please", and "poly-friendly". I also include my pronouns. I'm all for educating people, but when you've had to explain that unicorns are not always characters in children's books to 30 different guys, it gets tiresome. Just Google anything you don't understand and stop expecting people to perform emotional labour. 

No unsolicited dick pics


Unfortunately, this still needs to be said.

Ask questions


A simple way to move a conversation along is to ask questions. Ask her about the hobbies mentioned in her profile, what she did that weekend, or if she loves her job (if her job is listed; some people don't want to reveal where they work, which is fair enough).

And provide lengthy answers


Nothing makes me give up on a conversation quicker than feeling like I'm pulling teeth. If you're asked "How was your weekend?" don't reply with "boring". Even if you did spend all weekend in the house you probably didn't spend it staring at a wall. A better reply would be "Oh, I had a quiet admin weekend where I got all caught up on stuff, and I also made good progress on the book I'm currently reading."

But don't turn it into an interview

Questions are fine to get the conversation going, but if the conversation doesn't naturally start flowing into flirty banter then it might be that there's no real connection. A quick tip is to make your questions lighthearted: such as asking about their dog and favourite tv show, rather than their job and house. 

Compliment them


But on something other than their looks. My favourite opening message to receive is someone telling me why they swiped right. It makes me feel like I stood out (even if they are saying it to every other girl). 


Know what you're looking for


Not everyone Tinder is looking for the same thing. Some people are looking for The One while others are here for "a fun time, not a long time". Have an idea about what you want and make sure that is communicated. If you're looking for a serious relationship have a bit of an idea of what your ideal partner might be like. Just saves anyone from wasting time.


Have patience


I have a life outside of Tinder, but judging by some of the messages I receive you'd think about 30% of Glasgow's male population don't have jobs to go to. They also seem to be sex-ready every night and are lying in bed naked with a hard-on waiting for a girl to accept their hook-up request. Do these people not have a Netflix show to binge? 

Look, it might take a few days for a girl to respond. Her social calendar might be genuinely busy and it may take a while to pencil in that initial date. They might be settled down for the night and not able to call an Uber at short notice to hunt down a stranger's flat on the other side of town at 3am. Don't let your impatience get in the way of what could be an eventual relationship/fling/hook-up. 

If they're not straight, don't highlight it


I have no problem with someone I am actively dating asking about my sexual orientation. It is natural to wonder what my preference is, my coming out story, or whether I would consider a threesome. But when a guy asks about it while chatting on the app, I immediately feel like I'm being fetishised or they might only be speaking to me because of my sexual orientation (because that has happened). 

Don't ask for alternative contact details 


Men seem to hand out their mobile number like Haribo, but online dating (or just dating) is still scary for women. You'll find many of us won't hand out our personal contact information or social media profiles until we've sussed someone out. I've always been cautious about it, but after coming off OkCupid two years ago due to harassment (where the guy didn't have any extra contact details, blessedly) I refuse to communicate outside of dating apps until I'm actively dating that person. 

Be yourself


We're ego-centric creatures at heart and it can be tempting to Tinder in a way that focuses on your number of matches rather than quality. But not everyone fancies adventurous traveller types, who watch Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and have three dogs. Some people want a chilled out introvert who likes comics and watches Netflix all day. Don't hide who you really are because the right person will swipe right on you because you're you.

And.....remember to ask yourself the golden question:


How will this look in a screenshot on Twitter?

Happy swiping!


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The 10 best Eurovision songs ever, according to me


If you don't immediately recognise the dress, it will make sense when you find out my favourite Eurovision act. 


If I were to list my favourite yearly events, Eurovision would come second (the first would be Halloween). And I dgaf what anyone thinks of that. Years ago, I once even wrote a blog on why I love Eurovision so much. It's great and I will not hear a word against it.

With it being this Saturday and everything, I thought I'd mark the occasion with a list of my favourite Eurovision songs ever. Because I am the sort of person who thinks about these things. And if you thought that I thought about this for the sole purpose of this blog, you would be mistaken. I've long kept a mental list of my favourite Eurovision songs that I can recite when needed. This is just me putting it on paper. I might print it off later and laminate it.

In no order, until my favourite - which is at the end.

Lordi



Poor little Finland: until 2006 it had never won the Eurovision Song Contest and it doesn't even make the final half the time. But Hardrock Hallelujah was a stomper of a tune. I also went to see Lordi in 2015 when they were on tour in Glasgow because I am that cool.


Jedward



I'm not apologising for this. They've been in it twice, and I prefer Waterline to the other song. It's happy and reminds me of falling in love. That's nice.

Lena



Germany's song from 2011, which won them the title. This song was so good that my Eurovision-hating dad actually picked up the phone to vote for it. It's the only time he's ever voted.

Softengine



Apparently, when Finland do make the final I really like it.

Ruth Lorenzo




Everyone loved this one too. It's a power ballad.

Hanna Pakarinen



This was Finland's entry the year after Lordi won them the crown. It didn't do nearly as well. But it's still gothy because you can trust Finland to bring the goth. I voted for it.

The Ark



Also in 2007 was The Ark from Sweden with a bit of glam goth rock. The next day I downloaded it to the family computer from Limewire (probably with some viruses too) and it's still on my iPod to this day (it's a nano, and I still use it).

Precious



The first ever Eurovision I remember watching was in 1999, where the UK's entry was the girl band Precious. It's a happy pop song about saying I Love You for the first time. And one of their members is a pre-Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, so what's not to love?

Selma



Alas, however, we cannot vote for our own country. So during the 1999 Eurovision, my mum let me break my voting virginity and I chose Iceland. Here is Selma with All Out of Luck (she came second, but Sweden won).

And my forever favourite Eurovision song...


Gina G



I have a slightly weird fangirl love for the one hit wonder that was Gina G. So much so, that I dressed up as her for Eurovision one year when we had to dress up as past Eurovision acts. The dress is the one in the picture at the start, and I intend on getting married in it.

She came second to Ireland and I believe she was robbed. I will die on this hill.



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My earliest fandoms and pop culture obsessions




I've been pop-culture obsessed as far back as I can remember. As much as society, teachers, and parents tried to present tv watching as The Lazy Child's hobby there was no keeping me from new films or spending my pocket money on every magazine ever.

When I say tv watching and magazine reading, I'm not referring to the typical adolescent behaviour that most people aged 12-16 exhibit; I devoured the pop culture that surrounded me. While I wouldn't identify as a geek until my early 20s it's safe to say that I already was.  

Saying that, I didn't grow up in a pop culture obsessed house. My parents aren't particularly big television watchers so we never had Sky with my mum even stating that if we were multi-millionaires she still wouldn't sign up for anything other than Freeview (though my parent's do now have Netflix...which only my dad uses). So there were some late 90s and 00s fandoms that I didn't have access to. 

But like every teenager ever, I found a way around everything.

I also have a crazy good memory.

As you'll find out. 

The Babysitters Club

I wasn't a massive bookworm as a child and even as an adult I gravitate towards non-fiction, but my earliest fandom ever was The Babysitters Club. I remember randomly picking up Claudia and the Great Mystery as my library book and it ended up being love at first page.

After speed-reading that first book, I would pick out another book in the series until I had read everything that was on offer in the school library (which I think was a measly six books; I grew up in a village so, naturally, our school library wasn't all that brag-worthy). Then whenever we had those school jumble sales it was copies of The Babysitters Club that I would scout out.

As an adult I have even purchased a few of the books to help fill in the gaps. The Babysitters Club has become a book series that I appreciate more as an adult. The characters are diverse, each with their own personalities and quirks. Plus, they weren't all white and there was a boy babysitter too. I also first heard about diabetes from The Babysitters Club and several diabetics around my age have confessed that Stacey was a character who helped them through their diagnosis

Hollyoaks

I want to pretend I'm joking here, but I'm not: I was full-on obsessed with Hollyoaks as an early teenager and would consider it a major fandom of my adolescent years. Every weeknight at 6:30pm I would purposefully sit down to watch it, and would even tell my friends they weren't allowed to come in for me until 7pm! I don't watch it these days as all my favourite characters have left, including the only real celebrity/fictional crush I've ever had: Craig Dean aka Guy Burnett! 

Scream

I've blogged about my love for the Scream franchise before, including the new television show (they can re-boot the premise as many times as they want and I'll still be its numero uno fan). I explicitly remember flicking through the channels one night in my mid-teens and Courtney Cox appeared on screen pacing through the college corridors. Thankfully I don't mind spoilers, including watching things in the wrong order, so starting on Scream 2 didn't prevent me from falling in love with its clever genre-bending horror-comedy storyline. 

Friends

I think everyone was obsessed with Friends - but did you spend New Year's Eve inside by yourself watching a programme on its effect on western culture? No? Step aside. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I was in two minds about including this. I do indeed love Buffy and believe it is one of the greatest television shows ever made (did you catch my 20th-anniversary blog?). However, my lack of access to digital channels did mean that my viewing was patchy, and I didn't watch it episode-to-episode until my early twenties. Either way, I will never tire of dissecting Buffy. 

Veronica Mars

We all remember our first attempt at illegal online streaming, and this was mine. I caught the first season of Veronica Mars on E4 then.....nothing. So sneaking around online it was. But in all seriousness, this show was smart, had a sassy female lead (with a funky name) and a brilliant soundtrack. What's not to love? 

The Powerpuff Girls

I told a white lie earlier; we actually did have ITV Digital for one year when my dad managed to blag a year's free subscription. Much to my parent's dismay, I glued myself to the Cartoon Network with The Powerpuff Girls being my programme of choice. I was a tomboy for a bit and fancied myself as a bit of a Buttercup even though I could barely throw a punch. I ended up with the nickname Mojojojo (naturally) for the last bit of primary school (I've never quite forgiven my childhood best friend for that one). 

Bliss Magazine

Do magazines count as a fandom? Because I bought them religiously and even marked the release of the upcoming issue in my diary. Girl Talk was my natural introduction to magazines, before a brief fling with Shout during the summer between primary and high school, then finally settling on the monthly Bliss and weekly Sneak as my magazine subscriptions of choice.

I know neither could be described as 'geeky' per se, but when you're growing up in a non-geeky household and your friends also don't fit the geek mould, that was the best pop culture literature I had access to. Saying that, teenage magazines were amazing and I still firmly believe they were largely a good thing. 

Harry Potter 


I actually didn't get into Harry Potter until my late teens...and I started by watching 5th film in 2007 because why the hell not? The final two films were the only ones where I had read the book beforehand. 

Can you remember your earliest fandoms?

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How the fuck do we fight systematic oppression?




Unless you've been living under a rock (or don't have a Twitter timeline primarily made up of vegans) there's been a debate internet argument about whether it's people's individual ethical choices that are destroying the planet, or if its big evil capitalism with its filthy oil companies

It pretty much started with a study that claimed that we can save the world by giving up meat. But at the roughly same time, The Guardian posted a really good article pointing out that making people feel as though it's up to them as individuals to save the planet is actually very neo-liberal and stinks of capitalist rhetoric. Naturally, Twitter erupted. And it's still erupting because I started this post months ago and only just finished it.

Personally, I think both sides have a point. I do believe that people who are in a position to make ethical lifestyle-choices (read: mostly middle-class people) should do so. But I also believe that veganism (or recycling, or using a MoonCup, or growing your own vegetables) is not going to magically stop the planet from going up in flames when we still have oil companies drilling into the ocean floor and nuclear weapons in the Clyde.

Honestly, I think the reason so many of us focus on our own ethical living - even though, individually, we probably only make a 0.000004% difference to the earth's temperature - is because it's easier. It's more straightforward to buy a compost bin and start taking public transport than it is to dismantle a global system that has fucked us over for hundreds of years. Almost all inequality is society is caused by systematic oppression, with the destruction of the planet is no different.

I doubt any of the world's oppressive systems will be dismantled within my lifetime. Not fully, anyway. I don't know exactly how we go about it, but over the past few months I've been thinking how I can switch my activism from making positive individual choices, to actually causing a dent in the messed-up global system. Here are my ideas (which might not even work, but it's worth a try).

1. Educate yourself

Systematic oppression can only be dismantled if we can see it and understand how it works. Educating yourself on that alone takes time and conscious effort. And it's not fun. It means opening yourself up to the ways in which you've been part of the problem and actively unlearning behaviours that you didn't know where harmful.

To top it off, many of the resources that helped me re-shift my world view weren't even free (they were mostly books) however Every Feminism was a big part of my growth and is always the first place I point people in the direction of.

And remember, learning is never done. You never graduate from social justice school; it's a lifelong commitment.


2. Vote for a radical party


I'm aware that our voting system is part of the problem. We need to abolish First Past the Post, hold more referendums, have more transparency, increase the amount of unbiased media, and hand more powers back to local communities. But you should still vote and choose your vote wisely.

In the Westminster elections I vote for my second favourite party (Scottish National Party who, you know, aren't exactly radical and do have a few small-c conservatives in their ranks but they're better than most parties) rather than the party I am actually a member of (Scottish Green Party, who do believe in radical change) because, well, I'd rather keep the Tories out. And, yeah, that sucks.

But other elections with fairer voting systems do exist. Remember to always vote in your council, European and devolved parliament elections. These are a great opportunities to help get smaller but radical parties into a place of influence and power (and then work their way up: look at the SNP for inspiration).

3. Campaign for radical parties

The SNP are proof that with good campaigning and organisation you can beat First Past the Post at its own game. Even within my lifetime I witnessed Scottish independence go from a mere whisper to a loud roar, with the SNP emerging as a political powerhouse. I myself once said I would never vote for Scottish Independence even if you held a gun to my head, to someone who started walking down the street wearing a Yes badge.

One of the main reasons for this change in political discourse was because the SNP and mainstream Yes movement were organised to fuck and didn't piss about at the back of the class. The SNP are pros at knocking on people's doors, phoning people on the day of elections reminding them to vote, and using social media to their advantage. Learn from them, even if you don't vote for them.

In the 2015 UK Elections I was actively involved in campaigning for the Scottish Green Party and was at the electoral count in Glasgow. We stood a few candidates in Glasgow, but were primarily focused on our Glasgow North candidate. You know who got the most votes and actually got their 5% deposit back? Our Glasgow North candidate. Campaigning works.

If you want change, it's not enough to simply vote for a radical party and pat yourself on the back. You need to tell other people why they should vote radical too.

4. Support independent media

There is no such thing as unbias media. No, not even the BBC. In the run-up to the Scottish Independence Referendum Nick Robinson pulled off a little stunt where he claimed on BBC News that Alex Salmond (who I realise is problematic af right now, but this is one of the most ridiculous examples of BBC bias I have to hand) didn't answer a question - but then a video of him answering the question in full was shared by an international journalist. 

The big players in the world of UK journalism help keep the oppressive system in place (most of them work for Rupert Murdoch, or people who look like Rupert Murdoch). So if you want more variation in media voices, help independent media reach a wider audience. If you have the money to donate to some of your favourite independent content creators - please do so. If you don't have the money (and don't feel ashamed about that, because that's the system's fault) instead share some of their best content on your social media feeds.

And while we're on the topic of newspapers: stop treating media or journalism as Mickey Mouse degrees. Claiming that journalism is the kind of 'soft' job we could all do is why we're partially in this mess in the first place. If you wouldn't let someone with an accountancy degree loose on your teeth, stop allowing people who degree in chemistry loose with a newspaper column.

5. Pay creatives

Similar to the point above, but I just want to reinforce the idea that creatives should always 100% without-a-shadow-of-doubt be paid. Art isn't a lesser than a job in STEM. Plus the system fears creatives because artists/musicians/filmmakers/comedians/writers have the power to influence society's views more than many other professions. The art industry is generally a left-wing place. The powers don't like that.

And people should be paid a fair, period. No matter their job.

6. Let the people who face oppression lead the conversation

If you're close to the default member of society (male, white, heterosexual, middle-class, university-educated, able-bodied, neuro-typical, cisgendered, etc) then there's a high chance you've never felt real oppression. And that's okay: no one is asking you to apologise for your privilege or saying that's you've always had it easy.

But what you do have to do if you're in a privileged position is know when to stfu and hand the microphone over to the people who have lived experience of oppression. I'm not just talking about straight, white, men here either. White feminists who think they are a personified textbook on race issues: I'm looking at you.

I myself am a middle-class, white woman and I've been guilty of sprouting white classist feminist bile. I've been called out, and I've had to learn to hand the microphone over myself. That's why the activist content I create centres around women's rights and bisexual experiences. Because that's the only two forms of oppression I have real experience of. I show my allyship to other causes by sharing content created by people who actually fucking know how it feels to be oppressed in ways that I am not. I also donate money to issues that don't personally affect me.


7. Think outside of your own experiences

This is a mishmash of point one and six. But if you're activism centres around your own problems, then you're not going to change the world.

8. Stop volunteering for your CV

Stop with that white saviour bullshit (and I say that as someone who once did that white saviour bullshit).

If you really cared, you'd do something about the system. If you're bragging about that time you built a school in India to a potential employer then you need to go have a word with yourself. That's you benefiting from others poverty. Ick. (Again, I'm saying this as someone who once did this).


9. Think about why you make your decisions

Feminism should be about women making choices to suit them blahblahabalhagaa.

As true as that is, we don't make our choices within a bubble. We're all been subjected to societal conditioning (some more than others) and that can really make us think that we want things that we don't. Be honest with yourself: is there a big shiny thing that society tells you should want, but you feel iffy about it. Listen to that. Sit down with yourself and think about what you want (but don't go against the grain just to make a point, you do you boo).

Fuck, it was only last week I shared a long post about questioning the way I see romantic attraction. I'm still figuring shit out. But when something feels right, you feel it right in the gut.

10. Be a good person, always

I've met several Twitter activists who are jerks in their day-to-day life. I'm a firm believer that being a good, kind-hearted person who treats people with respect is a radical act. And that includes treating yourself with respect.

This can be messy. It means confronting your negative personality traits. And that can be a painful journey. But take it from someone who has gone deep into that journey: it feels incredible when you know you're better than the person you were last year and you're causing less harm in the world.

Knock out some self-help books, or even see a therapist who specialises n social justice.


11. Make ethical lifestyle choices

I might sit firmly in the "the system is the root of environmental destruction" camp, but that doesn't mean I don't believe in the power of ethical consumerism. Even though I've turned a lot of my activism towards deactivating the system, I'm still just as much of a self-righteous ethical-shopper as I've always been. I don't eat meat, I don't use slurs, I recycle, use re-usable sanitary products, buy second-hand clothes, heat my flat with green energy, and don't use animal-tested cosmetics

Not everyone can logistically and financially make ethical lifestyle choices but if you can make more ethical choices in your life, start today.

And tell your friends to, too. As one person can't save the world.

The system might hold us in place, but we also hold it up with our own actions. Stop holding it up.

So, I ask you: how do you combat systematic oppression? Because using a Mooncup alone probably isn't going to save the world. 


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April Linkables



So, we're finally saying goodbye to winter and hello to spring - and I am so grateful. I'm such a summer babe and can't wait for warm summer nights, alfresco dining, and beer gardens. Bring it on. As for my life since my last Linkables: I visited Lisbon for two days, got ridiculously drunk at a hen party, and I am on the lookout for a new flatmate (which is incredibly stressful).

Anyway, links!

Food & Drink


Did you know that traditional Scottish potato scones can be easily made vegan

Interesting: ‘White People Food’ Is Creating An Unattainable Picture Of Health

Sex & Dating


Platonic love is underrated, and I'm ecstatic to see a rom-com focus on the platonic love between women






Pop Culture


Last August I fell into the world of improv comedy, which now takes up a lot of my social life. I recently found this article from 2008 on it's increasing popularity in Scotland





Look, I loved Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You but now, as an adult, I realise that the character is bit trash. This article agrees. 

Have you seen Taylor Swift's new music video? I have. And I agree with this article on where the singer goes from here. 

Blogging & Social Media



Later is one of my favourite social media tools and their blog is top-notch too

Etc.



It's spring so I'll be making another attempt at a balcony garden, and this will come in handy.


Tell me what you've been reading this month!  


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