Tag Archives: women

Review: Sarah Millican Home Bird tour

saIt’s always got my goat a little that there just don’t seem to be as many female comedians around. I love going to see comedians live and watching them on television because I think the two give you very different experiences of a comedian and can often leave you with very differing impressions of their work. For instance, I know someone who loves all of Jack Dee’s stuff on television but when she saw him live she was very disappointed. Likewise, I am not usually very keen on Jimmy Carr, but will be seeing him live in a couple of weeks and am looking forward to seeing if I prefer his stuff live. In Sarah Millican’s case, I have always loved her stuff but have never seen her do a huge amount of stand-up on television. I have seen more of her on her chat show and when she has appeared on other shows, and was interested to see what she would be like live and when she wasn’t tied to the watershed.

My boyfriend got us and his parents tickets for Christmas to see her Home Bird tour at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Tuesday night and we were all looking forward to it. Particularly because none of the four of us had ever seen a female comedian live and going back to my opening line, this is something that has annoyed me. Over the years of snatching up tickets to see comedians in Lynn, Norwich and Cambridge, I have seen countless male comedians including Milton Jones, Stewart Francis, Daniel Sloss and Russell Howard. But where are the women? Their gigs just don’t crop up as much because a) there are less of them and b) those that exist just don’t seem to reach the same level of fame! I just can’t understand why when Sarah Millican’s two shows were packed out and everybody clearly loved both the main act and her support act – Sally-Anne Hayward.

47267-24113-nottingham-comeI was so impressed by Sally-Anne’s set after having only seen only small clips of her before. She kept the audience guessing with her hilarious tales that never went in quite the direction you were expecting and caught us completely off guard with her saucy comments leaving the audience in hysterics. The bits about her mum’s relationship advice really made it for me and I’ll definitely be looking out for her work in future.

She welcomed Sarah Millican on to the stage and instantly I was struck by how little she actually is and how at home she would look sitting on your sofa with a mug of tea and a cat. I’ve always loved the way she is just the kind of woman who would fit perfectly into my group of friends – she is filthy, funny and doesn’t give a f***. Starting your set off with an anal sex joke definitely sets the tone and the audience loved it, with all ages enjoying the show equally. Sarah gave a perfect example of how we all find the same gross things funny and of how we’re actually all equally mad and just think we’re the only one. It was very refreshing it was to hear a woman talking about women’s things – jokes about lady parts, nana’s swearing as they cough and the entertainment of living with a man. All topics that are just as funny as the standard grumpy young or old man that seems to be taking over the comedy world.

She gave a great gig and we all left the show with a smile on our faces. If that’s not the telling of a good comedian, I don’t know what is. I would really recommend you try and catch her Home Bird tour because it is just brilliant and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it. I don’t think I have ever seen such a varied audience at a comedy show and everyone was joining in and chuckling along. I would definitely say that Sarah Millican is doing it for the girls when it comes to comedy – her style is fantastic. sarahWho is your favourite comedian – male or female? Have you seen this tour – what did you think?

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Facing up to ‘The Sexy Lie’ we women are living every day

For those of you who haven’t yet heard about The Sexy Lie, and who haven’t seen this TEDxYouth San Diego talk on the topic of sexual objectification given by Caroline Heldman, the chair of the Politics department at Occidental College, I wanted to share this with you. All of you, male or female, but particularly the women, really ought to listen to this because it really changes the way you look at the world around you, and yourself, leaving you both empowered and depressed about the world at the same time.

Watch the video before reading on

I’m sure you’re thinking ‘Wow’, much like I was when I first watched the video. It really makes you face up to all those elements of the world we live, all those things like the Nuts magazine covers and the dolls houses right up to those blokes that leer at you on a night out and the way you make a point of dressing up. All those tiny things that seem insignificant because they have become part of our everyday lives and we have become so desensitised to the extreme sexuality we are faced with each day.

As a friend of mine said, it’s like being raised in a red room, pulled out of that red room, and asked to describe the colour red.

This is something I had not really thought of previously in these terms, of course I am aware of how extreme and sometimes shocking advertising can be to really jump out at us, but until I heard this speech, I don’t think I had really thought about the reason for this – that we have become immune to high sexualised images. The speaker gives a great example of this in the advert for pre-owned cars with the text ““You know you’re not her first, but do you really care?” The gasp from the audience said it all, I too was shocked to hear this lewd and disgusting way of advertising something so completely unrelated. And the fact that the number of adverts we are exposed to each day has increased so much is actually quite scary when you think of it in terms of the children who are equally exposed to such images. In such a hyper-sexualised society is it any wonder that children are growing up so fast and that complaints websites are needing to be set up?

Why are we experiencing this now? It can really be boiled down to technology. New technology has increased the sheer number of images that you are exposed to everyday. In the 70’s, we saw about 500 ads a day. Now, we see about 5,000 ads a day.

5474582092_700bffc739_oCaroline’s questions for defining sexual objectification are great and wheedling out those that might sometimes get away with it, such as the commodity or canvas ideas. But it is her explanation of the sex object vs sex subject that really interested me. I had never thought of the power struggle under those terms – I had always believed that the relationship between men and women is a power struggle but I liked to think that women often held the power by being desirable. But after listening to this talk I am left conflicted. I still think that choosing to be sexually objectified does give you a certain power – look at Kim Kardashian, she chose that lifestyle and has made it work for her and look at her success (whether we all want that kind of success is a different matter). However, Caroline is right that if you are sexually objectified by another, you lose your power because you are there to be acted upon by those who deemed you a sex object in the first place.

Even if you become the perfect object, the perfect sex object, you are perfectly subordinate because that position will always be acted on; so there’s not power in being a sex object when you think about it logically. Beyond that, this idea that sex sells, I like to challenge that directly because the fact is if sex sold, most women are heterosexual and we are sexual beings, so why wouldn’t we see half naked men everywhere in advertising.

I would like to propose that something else is being sold here. To men, they’re being sold this idea constantly that they are sexual subjects. They are in the driver’s seat. It makes them feel powerful to see images of objectified women everywhere.

As Caroline goes on to say, it is power that is being sold, and mainly to men. How sad that we live in a society where we have to constantly make men feel better about themselves by making ourselves into sex objects that have been airbrushed beyond recognition and, as she goes on to say, how sad that we are raising the next generations to do the same.

We raise our little boys to view their bodies as tools to master their environments. We raise our little girls to view their bodies as projects to constantly be improved. What if women started to view their bodies as tools to master their environment as tools to get you from one place to the next as these amazing vehicles for moving through the world in a new way?

6326161953_8b85f2d351_oShe finishes with a plea for the audience to imagine the following, and it’s astonishing to think how simple this world she imagines should be, but in reality how absurd it sounds. I’m glad to say I’m not the sort of girl who takes hours over hair and make-up, but I still cannot imagine a world where I didn’t feel like I needed to or wanted to to feel completely comfortable. How sad is that? As one of the more confident girls I know, I should be happy to walk around make-up free and I should not feel like the way I look will have an influence on the men around me. I like to think that I wear make-up because I like to and I dress up for nights out because I genuinely enjoy getting dolled up – and I think because I have had a boyfriend for so long this is less for the men around me than others – but is it just the result of a lifetime of conditioning from women’s magazines telling me I must be wearing an outfit that shows off my figure or lipstick that makes guys want to kiss me?

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this idea of imagining a different world. I’d like you to imagine a world where girls and women don’t spend an hour every morning putting on their make-up and doing their hair.

I’d like you to imagine a world where women are valued for what they say and what they do rather than the way they look.

I would like you to imagine a world where instead of spending time on dress and appearance, we actually directed our energies to dealing with serious problems like human trafficking, sexualized violence, homophobia, poverty, hunger.

I have to add that while I do feel that I am valued for what I say and my input at work, I genuinely think that my looks played a part in the reason I was hired by the initially male-heavy staff. I have no huge problem with this because I have more than proved my worth in the job and have used this to my advantage in this situation, but what if appearance was the reason someone didn’t get the job in favour of someone who was better looking but less talented? This is when sexual objectification becomes a problem, especially if it leads to inappropriate comments or behaviour. Caroline is right, there are far more important issues out there that warrant our attention than having the latest shoes or achieving that perfect liquid eye-liner technique. As she lists above, these are just some of the important issues that we should be tackling.

You might want to check out this article about how being a woman restricts your freedom across the globe.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the talk by Caroline and on my opinions on the subject – share them in a comment below!

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Thank god Lily Allen is back to represent young women

She has always been such an inspiring woman, unafraid to speak her mind and commentate on issues such as the objectifying of women, sexuality and gender roles in a way that is accessible to young women and that attracts the right kind of attention. I’ve really missed her contribution to the music scene in recent years, but the release of Hard Out Here and her performance on this year’s John Lewis advert proves she is back with a bang and here to stay.

I hope her parody of ‘musicians’ , and I use the term loosely, such as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke is a sign of more social comment to come on the treatment of women and the way that women themselves are increasing this sexualisation and behaviour in music videos. It’s about time that someone actually made a statement with their music, especially since Lady Gaga seems to have lost her way. So Lily, here’s to you! And plenty more of the good stuff.

Any other Lily Allen fans out there?

 

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Ahhhhh Ready For The Weekend!

This song had been floating around in my head for over a week now and I think it is going to be my anthem for the weekend. Icona Pop are a bombastic Swedish duo with electro house, pop and punk influences. They smashed into the UK charts with I Love It which instantly stuck in my head and still gets me singing along – and remind me of a TATU-esque band (cheeky and cute, but with mountains of attitude).

The two singers, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, who grew up in Stockholm, like to create music that they describe as “you can both laugh and cry with at the same time” according to an interview for a Swedish magazine. Although not my favourite artists, they are certainly one of the most catchy around at the moment and their music, although current and fresh, also seems to hark back to a 90’s ‘girls night out’ kind of vibe. It’s cheeky, flirty. loud and brash – the perfect type of music for getting ready for a night out with the girls.

It’s going to be playing very loudly in my head, and my car, this weekend as I head to Essex for a big night out and a university reunion.

Networking: Making new friends at the #EABloggerParty

On Friday night I headed to the beautiful city of Norwich in the rain with two photographer friends and a fellow blogger to the first East Anglia Bloggers Party, organised by the fabulous and lovely Gemma Seager – the woman behind Retrochick.

(From left, Mike Chivers of Rebel Heart Photography, myself, Victoria Arndt of Faerie Wishes and Emily Nichols, another photographer)

Gemma had organised the cocktail party as a chance for bloggers and creative types to meet in person instead of just online and it was a great way of developing a community between Norfolk writers.

Here I am hobnobbing with some of the fabulous writers I met at the party (pics courtesy of Rebel Heart Photography) over some gorgeous 241 cocktails – my favourite was the Freak Friday, although I rather enjoyed a raspberry Bellini as well!

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It was a really lovely party, Gemma had gone to so much effort in organising goody bags, a raffle and tights competition, and I meet some lovely women. It was refreshing to go into a room of women with such a wonderful atmosphere, everyone just wanted to make friends and hear about your work. Talking about what I do also made me realise the value of all my work by seeing it through other people’s eyes. It is very easy to forget or underestimate yourself when you don’t take a step back to put all your work into perspective.

It was also fantastic to finally meet the woman behind Retro Chick – one of my favourite blogs and Gemma is such an inspiration for turning her passion for writing and all things vintage into a career – when she couldn’t find the job she wanted, she created it.

I’m really looking forward to the next gathering and keeping in contact with the bloggers I met.

For the tights competition, we had to choose a pair to take home and wear, then getting a picture of ourselves and posting them on our blogs to stand a chance of winning a hamper. Here’s my offering – and I love the tights I ended up with – gorgeous lace print!

The tights are by Pamela Mann – http://www.tightsplease.co.uk/brands/pamela-mann/