Category Archives: Recreation

Racism, Sexism and Music Videos

by Pauline Musoke @ThePauzi

We are currently living in an intense environment of popular culture dominated by music videos, which are focused on traditional images of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. Music videos may have changed over the course of modern history, but have certainly grown to be bigger, bolder, some would say sexier and more controversial. The reason for finding music videos problematic may be because of the unrealistic images of the human body and the messages that are being portrayed and sold by major music industries.

Music is one of the major things that connects the people of Bristol, both within and beyond the city. It allows people to feel a rainbow of emotions and express themselves in countless ways. Music can take us on a trip down memory lane, it can give us a sense of total freedom during the private moments when we dance around in our underwear and for some, music is their lifeline. However, much of the popular music produced today is accompanied with videos that present distorted images of sexuality and objectify women’s bodies. This is particularly the case of Black women’s bodies which are often exotified, have their behinds’ fetishized and are continuously limited of their autonomy because of their race, ethnicity, class and gender. Continue reading Racism, Sexism and Music Videos

Time

By Jane Rogers

sand timer“Mummy I go to the park with you. Just you. I don’t want you to be chatting to other mummies, or having to help my sisters, I just want it to be you and me.”

When my friend Amanda asked her little four-year-old Anna what she wanted to do together, the answer she got was very different to what she was expecting.

Our little bundles of endless energy seem to need entertaining every second of the day, and we duly respond with play dates, clubs, and any other activity of the tearing-around-making-lots-of-noise variety, but what they really want is you. Your undivided time.

My sister had her first baby a few months ago. The moment those immortal “I’m pregnant” words were uttered, the floodgates opened and friends were falling over themselves with well meaning advice, with the enthusiasm of opening day at a flagship Primark store. Amongst the “you’ll be so sleep deprived you’ll wish it was back in” gems of wisdom, one morsel stuck with Anna: “take time to look at your baby. Actually consciously look at their face”. We spend so much time ferrying our children from one playgroup to another, juggling nursery, work, chores, and various “activities” when was the last time we actually just looked into their little eyes and held their gaze? Continue reading Time

Girls and Women of the World competition

This year for International Women’s Day, we need your help to make Bristol Woman magazine amazing! Can you draw a fabulous picture on the theme of ‘Girls and Women of the World’?

We would love to see a celebratory illustration that reflects the lives of girls and women around the world. The picture needs to be bright, bold and eye-catching so it captures people’s attention.

The winner will see their picture published in Bristol Woman – online and in print. Continue reading Girls and Women of the World competition

Where are the women? Founding Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Words by Sian Norris,

Regular Blogger for Bristol Woman

 

 

Four years ago, in 2011, the Bristol Feminist Network and Bristol Fawcett Society collaborated on an event that demanded ‘Where are the Women’. The event was the culmination of research undertaken throughout the previous five years on the representation of women in the media. http://www.rowitm.org/findings.html

Our research had revealed that women’s representation fell into two camps. Either we were highly sexualised, young and smiling with red lips, white teeth and big hair on the covers of magazines, celebrated for our ability to conform to a male-defined idea of beauty. Or we were…not there.

This invisibility of women was noticeable across the media, and backed up by 2010 research conducted by UK Feminista. Music festival line-ups, male dominated. Film directors and writers – male dominated. Plays in theatres written by men, art exhibitions celebrating men, cultural events dominated by men, news pages dominated by men with the exception of a topless woman smiling on page 3. And, of course, literature festival line-ups, literature review magazines and literary prizes – all dominated by men. Women were rarely to be seen. When we did appear, it would be on a panel about women or feminism. Panels with grand titles such as ‘The future of the world’ were a strictly women-free zone.

Continue reading Where are the women? Founding Bristol Women’s Literature Festival

Is it time to let go?

By Sam Stone

Caterpillar into Butterfly‘Who are you?’ said the caterpillar….

‘I – I hardly know, Sir, just at present’ Alice replied rather shyly, ‘at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then’.

Lewis Carrol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Making sense of change isn’t always easy. Whether you are becoming a new mom, starting a new job or simply experiencing some sort of restructuring in your life – these can be times full of excitement, mystery and adventure; promising many benefits, but as we know, they can also be stressful.

Few people relish in change. I hit a bump in the road when a relationship that I was in came to an end but I wasn’t ready to let go. My inability to move on was unpleasant and the situation tortured me for many years. I looked for new solutions all the time as there must be some way I could get things back on track. I was stuck in a rut and brilliant at wall papering over the cracks, telling myself ‘it’s no big deal, everything’s alright really’, but then anger would rise up in me as my own truths crept in. Numerous times, I sizzled into despair to start the cycle all over again by denying my lived reality. The thing that I missed on so many occasions was acceptance of an ending. Acceptance that, yes, I will miss this and I don’t like the new situation but I will give it a shot anyway. Continue reading Is it time to let go?

The Shame Game

Words by Honor Tuttiett

After hearing that today’s theme on Women’s Hour, Radio 4 was going to be about menstruation and the shame that still surrounds it in many cultures, I thought about how interestingly taboo the natural occurrence still is. They focused on last week’s Australia Open where the British tennis player Heather Watson played less than her best and put this down to ‘girl things’. This gave rise to a media storm. How sad it is that one of the most regular experiences for a female is so taboo to be spoken about that it starts an actual frenzy.

A Tampax Advert - Appealing to our sense of shame?
A Tampax Advert – Appealing to our sense of shame?

It got me thinking about how I see menstruation myself. I have always prided myself on being a forthcoming woman, speaking honestly about bodily functions if the conversation were to arise. But then my mind forced me to reflect on a niggling memory. Scrolling through my Facebook feed one evening I stumbled across a picture of a drunken, skirt wearing, female acquaintance in an amorous embrace with a man. They were leaning back on a table and any picture observer could see her tampon string clearly protruding from the skirt.

I was shocked, as were the other onlookers by the story the comments told. But I want to focus on why was I shocked. Was it because she was on her period, shamefully having a great time? But I do that myself. Was it because she didn’t remember that this day was one not to show up your skirt to the camera? But I am sure I could be in that position too. Then I realised, it was because I had been affected by period shaming and was now inflicting that on others. The conversation on Woman’s hour flowed well (excuse the pun!) they went from shaming in adverts to sport and then how schools treat this subject.

Finding that most of these industries still address the subject as they did in 50’s. I remember my own experience of being sectioned off from the boys, because obviously this would never enter their lives, and being told to protect myself from leaking- the ultimate shame! Continue reading The Shame Game

Cranberry Chutney Recipe and Gift

Creating homemade winter treats are a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. Today, our lovely guest contributor Charlie of Poppies Parties is sharing with us a delicious recipe. Perfect if you are looking for things to do in the last few days of the half term!

Hi everyone, Charlie here from Poppies Parties. I have an easy and yummy cranberry chutney recipe for you to make, which is perfect for the festive season. This goes well with hot turkey, cheese platters or cold meats and is delicious on a brie toasty.

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Ingredients:

2.5 cups (600g) cranberries
2 large oranges
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
10 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup (120ml port) *if you don’t wish to use the port add 100ml orange juice instead

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Directions:

This is made on the stove but can easily be made in a slow cooker by adding all the ingredients together and cooking on low for 8 hours.

Wash cranberries and add to a medium size pan

Peel large slices of orange using a vegetable peeler and set to one side

Juice the orange and add to the pan

Add the cinnamon together with the sticks, nutmeg, sugar and water

Cook on a low heat for 1 hour until the sugar has dissolved and the cranberries start to break down

Add the port, turn up to boil, bring to simmer and cook for another 2-3 hours

Add the zest then turn off the heat and leave for 30 minutes to cool

At this stage the chutney should have a layer of skin over it. This is aiding the thickening process and is perfectly natural.

Stir the chutney and pour into some pre sterilized jars and cover with a small circle of greaseproof paper, which will stop the skin forming again.

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To learn more about Charlie and Poppies Parties, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, PinterestTwitter and on their website!

#GEW : Skating to Success

Happy Women’s Entrepreneurship Day!#WomenseDay #WED ! In today’s blog post, we show how one female entrepreneur has brought Bristol quite literally a breath of fresh air! Bristol born and bred, Sharon, explores with us her passion, energy and enthusiasm for skating as well as her mantra for a successful business.

 

My parent emigrated here from Jamaica in the 1950’s. I was born in Bristol in the 1960s and grew up in Easton, then Eastville as the youngest of 3 children. We were one of only two families of colour that lived on our street at this time. On the weekend, I would roller-skate into Easton to the local roller-disco at the sports centre.

During primary school, I participated in St Pauls Festival, sat on one of the floats during the procession with my friends, waving at the crowds.  We loved every minute of it! Attending this festival is ingrained in me – I am so proud to have seen the carnival grow and evolve over the years. Continue reading #GEW : Skating to Success

Halloween – trick or treat?

Words by Honor Tuttiett

pumpkinSo, I found Halloween quite a disappointment this year. After stepping into a fancy dress shop in the week coming up to the night of looking scary, I found the costumes for women pretty limiting in the frightening department. There were hilarious and monstrous costumes for the men’s sizes, but just a shitter short skirt or jumpsuit version for every woman’s.

When chatting this over with my male friends, I found that the majority thought that all women used Halloween to look sexy. I happened to feel differently about this, but they felt sure they had it right for most women. I concluded that it must be a pesky chicken and egg situation, as we can never really know if the costumes are made for our real desires. Or that they may be contrived out of wanting women to take on this holiday by dressing revealingly.

It got me thinking though; surely if I wanted to actually look scary, then other girls did too? For us this meant breaking away from the fancy dress shops and getting creative. Which could be a metaphor for what I find myself doing a lot in life. Discovering that there are set ways that women are believed to behave usually via men or historical residues that we all wish would wear off faster. This chicken and egg situation seems to kick us in the bum a lot. As many women do want to use the holiday to dress up in a revealing manner, and because this is what is advertised to women for Halloween by shops, I can understand why it would appear that this is the female’s main desire for the holiday.

However, I wanted to be a dead rat because I had seen one earlier that week and thought it looked good and scary, as well as it being an inside joke at work. There were no animal costumes for women except for ‘sexy black cat’ in the shop, so I went online. Here I typed in ‘women’s rat costume’ and found that there was nowhere that did that kind of costume for women. Some of the websites actually made me laugh at the considerable contrast between the men and women’s costumes, http://goo.gl/OIKm8I.

So, I suppose it would be fine going on finding this major stereotyping amusing as I do. But when does the world actually catch up with the fact that there are endless variable types of women? It didn’t ruin my life that I saw no place for me in any fancy dress shops, but it did ruin my day, and I fondly imagine many other girls shared this disappointment. There was an obvious pressure to dress in a sexy manner this holiday and I thought this was blatant and out of place in a holiday meant for scaring. Therefore it I thought I would mention it here, as it was a real situation of gender stereotyping that is curbing the options for women to express differently.

What do you think?

Women Fighting Their Corner

Words by Sophie Merlo

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In a city renowned for it’s boxing history, only a fistful of women train. One such woman is 28 year old ‘Lady’ Debby Tarrant, who boxes for the Empire Amateur Boxing Club in St. Pauls…

‘I got into boxing about 2 years ago.’ Debby says. ‘I was at a loose end … just got out of a bad relationship. I was drinking and knew I didn’t want to become part of the pub furniture. Something had to change.’

She’d always been interested in boxing, having been taken to fights by her then boyfriend. She’d fancied having a go but her ex hadn’t been keen on the idea, but as soon as he was out of the picture, Debby realised there was nothing stopping her; she hasn’t looked back since.

‘I train every day, twice per day… boxing isn’t something you can go into half-heartedly. It takes lots of commitment.’

Before going to her day job, Debby arrives at the gym at 7.15am for plymometrics – explosive movements to work on power – before cardio. After work, she returns to the gym to pound punch bags or goes for a run. As if that weren’t commitment enough, Debby follows a strict nutrition plan: ‘lots of fish, no bread, pasta or potatoes.’ I ask about chocolate and Debby laughs ruefully: ‘none of that either.’

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‘Luckily, I haven’t encountered any sexism … people have been great.’

Debby isn’t just determined in the ring: as trainee manager in an optical wholesale company, she’s going places in her career. With a clear entrepreneurial streak, she’s also set up an online business selling shabby chic. ‘I’m not ruling out turning pro as a boxer,’ says Debby. ‘But there’s fewer opportunities for women to make money in this sport.’ hence needing to pursue other things. ‘Luckily, I haven’t encountered any sexism … people have been great.’

No doubt Debby and other female fighters have been helped by trail-blazing Jane Couch, the first woman to turn pro-boxer in England. Jane is now a Bristol-based boxing promoter. Even though Debbie doesn’t box under Jane, she feels indebted to her. ‘I also find Olympic Gold medallist Nicola Adams inspirational.’

‘Boxing hasn’t just made me fitter, it’s increased my confidence. I’d  recommend boxing to anyone!”

Debby then tells me about her first fight. ‘I got a huge buzz, even though I didn’t win.’ She adds,’ I don’t think anyone can truly understand boxing until they get into the ring for themselves.’

Debby is obviously a vivacious woman. ‘Boxing hasn’t just made me fitter, it’s increased my confidence. I’d  recommend boxing to anyone! It would be wonderful to see even more women involved!’

See more in the summer edition of the magazine https://bristolwoman.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/summer-issue/