Sam Pepper, Emma Watson & the Importance of Feminism

This week the media has addressed the outrage in response to Sam Pepper’s (British ex Big Brother ‘celebrity’) YouTube video in which he sexually assaulted young women by pinching their rear as a ‘prank’ whilst pretending I wasn't him. His video created a shitstorm of critique from people abhorred by his actions.

Last week Emma Watson made this speech on gender equality at the UN. What a bloody brilliant job she did. Feminism has become a unpopular word, and it shouldn't be.  

As an international relations student Feminism is also a really important in my studies. How are women specifically affected by war? How are women eradicated from the discussion of international relations? Has gender affected the way in which states have reacted to things like war, nuclear weapons, poverty? Throughout my academic endeavors, I've been a great advocate of a branch called ‘critical security studies’ that identifies the need to address such questions that have traditionally been overlooked within traditional International Relations discussion and theory.

As a female interested and actively engaged in such a subject, it is challenging; challenging not in my ability to comprehend the subject (although it is by nature constantly changing and therefore complex), but to be part of a minority that is trying to knock down the traditional walls and boundaries that bind women within  minimal roles within the subject and in its analysis.

Studying such a subject has made me realise just how important Feminism is. It has also made me incredibly wary of just how relevant to every aspect of my life it is. Take my part time job for example, every Saturday morning my job was to put inserts into newspapers before they went on the shelves. Every week I had to endure putting these inserts into the ghastly Daily Star, The Sun and various ‘sports’ (basically porn) newspapers that has full spread images of topless women baring their all mixed in with general news articles. And this wasn't the worst of it. The worst thing about my job was serving customers and parents buying these papers in front of their children. It made a little part of me die inside every week this happened.What great lessons of self-worth young girls must be learning being exposed to such sexism and normalisation of sexist behavior, and the poor boys who grow up to think that it is 'normal' to view women as sexual objects. Every single week I felt degraded as a female, knowing my body was the source of gazing eyes. Believe it or not, this was a part time retail job and this was the single worst thing about it. Not even the rudest of customers came close to how this made me feel. 

There wasn't necessarily a point of this post, but talking about Feminism and gradually breaking down the stereotypes of Feminists being 'man haters' i think it really important. I feel in the past few years Feminism has been increasingly talked about, and as a Feminist myself i want to contribute to this and encourage others to share their stories and ideas. 

So I want to know how has feminism affected you? Did Emma Watson's speech resonate with you?

If you’re interested in finding out more about the campaign to ban page 3 in these sexist newspapers please check out the nomorepage3 website. Also, if you're interested in finding out more about Feminism and how it affects people in their day-to-day lives, please check out Kiersten and Marielle's Feminism posts and link ups.

Life Lately: dissertation deadlines & coffee addictions

I've been a little quiet on the blog front as of late. However at 11am this morning, i finally handed in my Master's dissertation! I've basically been living in the library the past few months and spent way too much money on the coffee machine, but it's finally done! We went out for curry tonight to celebrate, along with a big supermarket shop (didn't actually buy much but it was so nice to get out the house!).

Obligatory 'I've finished!' dissertation photo.

It's definitely time for some relaxation although I still feel like I have a mountain of jobs to do. We're moving out of our little flat in a couple of months, and living with my mum for a while whilst we're sorting out our big move to Australia. In the meantime though, i'm going to be trying to enjoy my last few weeks in York- seeing the many friends i made throughout the past year on my course, working the last few weekends of my part-time job and spending each day visiting the places we haven't managed to go to in the past year. Hopefully a more regular blogging routine will commence!

Just in case you didn't know, you can also follow Nomad Notebook on Pinterest- pinning is one of my favorite things to do to pass the time :)

Visit Nomad Notebook's profile on Pinterest.
What have you been up to recently? How do you de-stress? I need some tips!

The Transition From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Today I have linked up with the team at Thierry Mugler to write a post about the inspiration behind the perfume ANGEL and their #BewareofAngels campaign. After doing a little research into the perfume, it actually reminded me a lot of the film Amélie (one of my favorite films ever); the power of freedom, creativity and a real heroine. With themes of metamorphosis and femininity, I decided to write about the experiences or lessons that have shaped me as a woman (feels strange saying that, I still feel like a teenager 99% of the time!). 

Cafe des Deux Moulins, Paris.

The wealth of diversity
I think one of the big things that has shaped me into the person I am today is the environments I have surrounded myself in throughout daily life. Whether this has been travelling on my own to Australia and experiencing the power of independence on my gap year before university, or appreciating the society I live in on a day-to-day basis, it has taught me a lot. After experiencing the 2001 race riots in the city I grew up in, with everyone's cars on our street being smashed and all the men on the street attempting to protect families in the midst of violent chaos, I think its so important to be have understanding of different cultures, faith and people.

I've been quite lucky in that throughout my life I've been fortunate to meet people from all around the world, and now have friends who are French, Ukrainian, Spanish, Japanese, Polish, Australian, Thai, Chinese, Italian, British, Nigerian etc. When I was growing up I was surrounded by such a diverse set of people that I expected nothing less when I went to university and met a whole lot of different people there too. I find it odd that some people never get to experience this, and quite sad. Such a wealth of diversity I believe has enabled me to grow into somebody that is incredibly cultured. Casey has actually written a post about living in Saudi Arabia and the accepting nature it taught her which really resonated with me.

Me and my French best friend growing up. We spent all our summers making tree houses, swimming, being a nightmare to the local farmers and ruining they're straw bails (sorry!) and spending half our time speaking 'Frenglish'.

Acceptance is Happiness
One of the most important lessons, and one I still grapple with on a day-to-day basis, is accepting myself. Whilst this is still something I do, my childhood and teenage years were filled until recently of anxiety and self-doubt. This has by no means disappeared, but I finally had a 'break through' moment in my final year of university in which I became much more confident, and this really did fill me with a kind of happiness I hadn't really felt before. Whilst I was challenged by the things going on in my life, I was becoming happier with the person I was, and my attitude towards everything. I also align this to learning how to respect my body- I was exercising and eating healthily and felt amazing (definitely need to get back on track with that!).

There's a lot of negative connotations surrounding death, and I've had my fair share of mourning. However the one thing that unites my experience overall is the power of life that motivates me at the most difficult of times. Nothing can be so powerful than recognising what can actually be achieved through life. It has inspired me and still does inspire me today to say 'yes' more to opportunities, and to value each day. I find creating goals is a really good way to make sure each day 'counts'. Check out my 2014 goals page to see what goals I'm currently attempting to achieve. 

My lovely Granddad who inspires me everyday to carry on. He worked everyday of his life to give his children the best experience growing up, eventually working his way to the top enabling him to have a comfortable retirement. 

Realising your thoughts create your reality
There is something to be said about positive thinkers being generally happier people, even in the crappest of situations. I am forever telling myself that by being a positive and kind person, that the universe will somehow give back to me. Whilst I am usually disheartened by the lack of positiveness and politeness on most weekends (the joy of working in retail), there's always one person who breaks the mould. One guy I was serving at work asked how I was and I replied "not too bad thanks, how are you?" to which he replied "I'm amazing thank you". I was puzzled at his response; every time I served him at work and asked how he was he always answered with the same response. I decided to probe him. His reply was "I've got nothing to really complain about, and feel if I remain positive, the universe will bounce it back to me in some shape or form". He has now become one of my favorite customers. It's difficult to always remain positive- but it really does help your state of mind and helps put things into perspective.

The quote "Stop watering the weeds in your life and start watering the flowers"
Sometimes there really are situations and people you just shouldn't waste your time with. Whilst I look back on my school years and wonder why I wasted so much time caring about what people thought of me, this lesson has kept with me until the present day. It is never good to be around people who drain positivity or suffocate your abilities to be a confident and individual person. Detoxing negativity and surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people can truly make a massive difference to your well-being. This means all your efforts can be put into the people you really respect and who really care about you.

One lesson that I'm beginning to understand is...
No one actually knows what the heck they're doing half of the time. A lot of things happen by chance and planning doesn't necessarily mean everything will go the 'right' way but these experiences are the ones that take you by surprise and shape you as a person. Just because you don't know what you're doing doesn't mean you're a failure! I've had a few plans in the past couple of weeks fall through meaning I'm not 100% sure about my plans for the near future. However, I'm attempting to go with the flow in the hope something will work out. I think one thing that really makes you into a strong person is the ability to adapt to situations. Once one door closes, another one opens...
I actually used to live opposite a silk museum and it always surprised and amazed me how beautiful the silk worms would become when they transformed into delicate moths all with their individual characteristics.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some things that have shaped me to become the person I am today.

I'd love to know what are the things that have shaped you as an individual? How have they impacted your life?