Barbie as a Feminist Icon?

Barbie has never really been viewed favourably by Feminists. She represents very typical male-perspective impossibly high beauty standards for women. Her body is majorly disproportioned with loooong legs and boobs so big they MUST cause back problems. She represents decadent white America, teaching toxic beauty perceptions.

Yet, a study into Barbie’s career over the years does suggest that perhaps this plastic fantastic is owed some respect from us after all.

It turns out Barbie dolls have had around 72 careers during their time, including President of the United States. Barbie achieved where Hillary Clinton fell short, and has paved the way for other female dolls to also become President. Perhaps we will have a Bratz doll in the White House before we know it.

List of all the jobs Barbie has had over time, including salaries

As you can see by the list provided by Silver Swan Recruitment, Barbie has managed to earn over $45m. This makes her worth the same amount as Kim Kardashian, who is also a sex icon who deserves more respect for her career.

Barbie was a pilot, which is commendable since even in 2019, less than 6% of pilots are women.

Barbie was also a doctor for a short while, which seems progressive since women in movies and toys are delighted to nurses, while men get to be the actual doctors.

The point of this short article is that I hope that the toy industry is taking more of a serious thought into how they are shaping the children of tomorrow. Giving little girls a toy of a female president of the United States may seem small, but who knows how that shapes her perception of politics and her own boundaries as a woman.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of Barbie’s career path, and can she be fairly branded as a feminist icon?

Lots of love, Evie x

‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’ – Book of the Week

By now you should all know what a massive Jon Ronson fan I am. I have already written two reviews of ‘The Psychopath Test‘ and ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed‘, and I adored both of these books. Again, I did really enjoy this book, but I would not say it is as strong as the other two.

Ronson talks to a wide variety of characters to get a total understanding of different kings of extremists. He talks to an Islamic Fundamentalist, various KKK (Ku Klux Klan) branches, and even members of the Bilderberg group. He explores lizards ruling us in the form of Beyonce and Queen Elizabeth II. Gun lobbying white supremacists. Jihadis looking to take down the British government. These earlier topics were so interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning about them.

Although I did enjoy the novel, as I stated before I felt that it was not as strong as his other texts. Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I felt some of the chapters were weaker and a bit repetitive. There are a few chapters dedicated to the Bilderberg group, which was relatively interesting but there was not enough substance to justify that much time. I would have liked more chapters on the KKK or Sharia Law advocates as these are the real extremist groups I think people were hoping to read about when they saw this novel. However, what is good about Ronson’s books is that the chapters are all separate stories, and so if one does not take your fancy then you can easily skip ahead to the next chapter.

Ultimately though I do recommend this book as it gives an interesting insight into the lives of these extremists. In true Ronson style, it is approached with a light-heartedness that does not make this a heavy read. He never truly mocks these extremists, rather tries to understand them, all while under the threat of them finding out that he is Jewish. His kind and respectable manner enables the extremists to trust him and we see a side of them that the world does not get to see.

This was only a short review as I think my blog content is a little Ronson heavy! Just wanted to share my opinion with you guys. What did you think of the book? And do you have any recommendations for me? Please let me know in the comments below!

To buy the book on amazon, click the image below:

‘Them: Adventures With Extremists’, £6.48, Amazon

 

Free Audible Download Link:

 

If you are interested then Amazon has given me the opportunity of offering you guys a 30 Day Free Trial with Kindle Unlimited! It’s like Netflix but for eBooks! There are over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks and you get to read an unlimited amount. The first 30 days is absolutely free with the link below, and after that it is only £7.99 a month, however you get to cancel at any time if you are unhappy with the service (which I highly doubt). That’s only £7.99 per month for unlimited books and audiobooks! And the first month is free? Unbelievable. You don’t even need a kindle! You can just download the free app onto your smartphone or tablet. If  you are ready to KindleUnlimited and Chill then just click the link below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/hz/signup?tag=evelynrichard-21

Lots of love, Evie x

‘James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes’ – Book of the Week

I am going to be a little biased in this review as I absolutely adore James Acaster and his comedy. I just feel he is so clever and so weird, and we all know I love a weirdo! I first truly appreciated his work when he released four of his stand ups on Netflix titled ‘James Acaster: Repertoire’ and I honestly found them all so hilarious. Other friends/members of my family did not exactly “get” it, however the ones who did also instantly fell in love with him. I started listening to his podcast ‘Off Menu’ which is absolutely worth a try too.

I actually downloaded the audiobook of ‘Classic Scraps’ as I was going to be travelling in the car a lot over the Christmas holidays and did not want to get car sick. What is handy about this book is that it is a collection of short, funny stories from Acaster’s life. You can put the book down if you need to and come back to it- it isn’t a big commitment. Although the stories all stand alone, they do still refer back to one another and so the narrative does not feel too disjointed.

What is so funny and works about this book is that Acaster looks back on some of these stories with hindsight and does address the questions that the reader may be having, and so explains his backwards logic. I like that the ‘scrapes’ he gets himself into are not unbelievable or random, and there is some method to the madness, even if Acaster’s approach to the situation is not the same as regular people’s. This is the type of comedy I like as these situations don’t just occur “just because”, however there are a series of bad (and understandable) mistakes that snowball. Acaster has a rather literal interpretation of everything in life that always seem to result in him in some kind of mess.

I truly do recommend this to anyone who fancies a little pick-me-up on their commute as I know January can be a particularly drab time of year. Below I will provide the link to purchase the paperback on Amazon! Usually it is £9.99, however on Amazon it is only £6.92 which is an absolute steal:


‘James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes’, £6.92

 
I actually listened to this novel as an audiobook just because I was travelling a lot and it was easier for me to listen to it. I think this definitely added to the experience as his voice is so funny, and also there are a few songs in his book so you can actually hear how they go! So Amazon offers Kindle Unlimited (which is like Netflix but for books, audiobooks, magazines etc.) and has unlimited free stuff on it that you can download, I believe there are over 1,000,000 books on there so it is so worth it. Amazon offer a 30-Day Free Trial (I will link below) and then it’s only £7.99 a month after that. However, you can cancel at any time which is so handy, so if you did not enjoy your free trial you can just cancel. I honestly do recommend Kindle Unlimited if you a big reader/audiobook listener as in the long run it does end up being cheaper (especially for an English student like me who has to read like 2 books a week):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/hz/signup?tag=evelynrichard-21

Anyways let me know your thoughts on this book in the comments below! And do you have any books you want me to review or that you recommend for me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love from Evie x

How Not To Revise for an Exam

If there is one thing in life I hate more than bratty middle-class children and Snapchat streaks, it’s exams. Before I get into this blog post I have to warn you that if you are reading this the night before your exam in the hopes of getting some nuggets of gold to help you in the big test tomorrow then this post isn’t for you. This post is a warning to people like me of what not to do when preparing for an exam, most of which was learnt through real-life personal experience.

  1. Do not cram in all of your revision in the last minute. If this sounds obvious to you then I can hazard a guess you have never struggled with procrastination. I believe procrastination is a real thing that does truly need to be looked into. I believe it is not a sign of someone being lazy, rather a bizarre manifestation of anxiety and fear. “If I don’t revise yet, then there is no exam” it feels like. The issue is, I procrastinate with productive things, to trick myself into thinking I am not wasting time. I will apply for jobs, write a blog post or two, perhaps go to the gym. All I am saying from past experience is recognise this behaviour and pleaaase start revising weeks before your exam. Even 30 minutes a day for a few weeks leading up to the exam will help! Do not pull an all nighter right before the exam!
woman covering face with book on bed
Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

2. Don’t just skip over things you don’t understand and hope they will not be in the exam. Yes, if I am honest with myself I am very guilty of this. If I don’t understand something I more or less shrug and move on to something I feel more comfortable with. But the time leading up to the exam is the time to email your tutors, do research or even ask a classmate!

woman in black blazer looking at woman in grey blazer
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

3. Do not have the first time you write a whole exam paper be when you actually do the exam. … I can see I lost some of you there, but this is a legit thing. Myself and other people I know do not even so much as glance at a practise paper let alone write them out and check the answers. Genuinely, doing this makes such a massive difference as you can see where your weaknesses are. You can also work on time management better! Also, as an English student who had to write 3 essays in 3 hours in her exam the other day, it helps to practise writing with a pen for prolonged periods of time. It’s like training for a marathon- you can’t just jump right in, you gotta train.

close up of woman working
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

4. Do not make revision a chore and punish yourself. I know it is counter-intuitive but getting into a new TV show or Youtube channel actually massively helps me to revise. So what I do is reward myself with an episode every time I do an hour of work, or when I finish a chapter, or when I finish a practise paper. 20 minute shows like the IT Crowd or Friends works better than those shows with an hour long episode as you get a break and reward but you still get plenty of time to study. This may not work for everyone as you have to have some self control and I know how tempting it is to watch another episode, especially when Netflix plays it automatically after 10 seconds.

closeup photo of person holding panasonic remote control in front of turned on smart television
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

5. Don’t worry too much because it is not like these exam marks will be with you all of your life for people to judge you on and will define what kind of future you will be able to provide for your unborn children… Hmm, actually don’t listen to me. It’ll be fine in the end. Probably.

 

Good luck and let me know down below what exam tips and experiences you’ve had!

Lots of love, Evie x

On being a Literature Student with Dyslexia

One of my teachers sheepishly approached me in class and asked if I would stay behind for a few minutes after. I, of course, suddenly started imagining the worst possible reasons why. Was I failing the class? Was I going to be kicked out of Sixth Form? Did my entire family perish in a terrible fire while I was at school but she wanted me to focus on completing the textbook tasks before I was told their fate? The bell rang. “Remember to finish the work on page 22 for next class- I will be checking!” my teacher called to her class, who were hurriedly rushing to their lunch. My teacher then looked at me, “Gosh, you don’t have to look so nervous. Basically, a few of your teachers have suspected that you may be Dyslexic, and so we are calling in an Educational Psychologist to screen you next week. Do you mind if I keep a hold of your writing book for evidence?”

I can’t remember the Educational Psychologist’s name but she was nice and spoke very slowly. She told me not to worry and that we just have a few simple exercises to do. I had 20 minutes to write about what ever I wanted, just as long as I kept writing. I believe they wanted to test my sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and speed of writing. I then was given a series of letters and was asked to read them aloud as quickly as I could, followed by a series of words, followed by a series of numbers. I then had to go onto a computer and each screen had around 15 alternate spellings for the same word, I then had to quickly click the correct spelling before the screen moved on and showed me 15 more alternate spellings for another word. I was given some example sentences and asked to identify what was wrong with them, or if there was anything wrong at all. This all felt a little silly, considering I was 17, however the results came back that I was in fact Dyslexic and that I would receive 25% extra time in my exams.

There is a whole spectrum of Dyslexia and fortunately mine is rather mild, which is why it took me 17 years before I learnt I had a problem. I was told that my form of Dyslexia was less to do with spelling and grammar, as is most common, rather to do with information processing. They said, for example, most people would be asked a question and instinctively answer it “A-B-C”, whereas I would answer it more like “A-M-X-J-E”. I would show strong knowledge, but it was not immediately as obvious to me as other people what I am being asked to answer. I was told that people with Dyslexia, especially my kind, tended to be creative and think outside of the box more. However, they can struggle with higher education as mark schemes are rigid and favour conventional answers over creative ones. This is why I was awarded extra time, as it meant I could think more about what the question is asking of me, and how they were asking me to answer.

I was rather nervous starting an English Literature degree giving that I knew I had a learning difficulty typically related to Literature as a subject, and I was not even fully aware of how my Dyslexia impacted me. It is simple enough being told “you have something that makes your thought pattern different to normal people”, but what did this mean? I could not identify it in myself, I could not see when I was thinking differently to others, if that makes sense. I genuinely believe when I am writing an essay that this is what they want me to write about. It can be very difficult.

I notice it in class when we are asked to share our ideas about a text and my answer varies a great deal from other people’s. I notice it in personal life when my friends joke I always misunderstand things. I noticed it in work when it took me a little longer than everyone else to learn the complicated order on how to do tasks, when another method seemed to make more sense to me. The older I get, the more I notice that I approach things differently to other people. Some things that are instinctual to others I have to learn, because I am unlearning the way that is instinctual to me.

On the plus side, I do tend to get marked highly for creativity and thinking outside the box in my coursework. I have been awarded extra days on all of my deadlines to complete my work which gives me more time to really develop my ideas. I do feel anxious as I have an important exam next week, and I know the mark schemes are more rigid than with coursework, and so I will try hard to truly use my extra time wisely and think about how a normal person would answer this.

People find it ironic that I am an English Literature student and I run a blog even though I have a learning difficulty which says I should do otherwise. Some days I agree and question why I make life hard for myself. However, most days, I just give them a smile and explain that in a way Dyslexia is a gift. I cherish creativity and I wouldn’t  have it any other way.

Let me know in the comments below if you have Dyslexia or any other learning difficulty. I would love to find out your tips for coping as I am always willing to learn. Also let me know if you would like me to do a little guide of things I do to help my Dyslexia!

Love from Evie x

The Unwritten Rules of Public Transport, Written Down

It has come to my attention that a great deal of people seem to have forgotten the unwritten rules of public transport. My dear reader, please treat this rant below as a PSA and forward it to the appropriate audience. Do let me know in the comments if I have missed any key rules.

  1. Do not sit next to me unless completely and utterly necessary. If you sit next to me when there are plenty of other empty seats then I will immediately think you are a creeper coming to kidnap me. Additional note: I hate the idea of some stranger’s leg touching mine (men are particularly guilty of this due to the phenomenon known as ‘man-spreading’).
  2. Do not under any circumstances try to start up a conversation. I get it, you’re old. Old people probably used to chat on transport back when there was no such thing as unlimited mobile data. However, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I am a millennial. We pride ourselves in being able to order sushi to our house via Deliveroo without having to talk to a single person. I would much rather queue for a self check out than go to an open till and have to speak to a shop assistant. If my earphones are in it means I am catching up on the latest episode of my favourite podcast, and frankly could not care less if you are having trouble finding the perfect shawl to go with your dress to your friend’s son’s wedding on Saturday, Janet. It’s 2018.

3. Don’t be a dick- give your seat to the elderly, pregnant or in any way disabled. The amount of times I have seen a tired old dear hobble onto the bus and people (even middle aged people who should know better) deliberately not make eye contact so that they do not have to give up your seat. Maybe your parents didn’t raise you as well as mine, but it’s the most basic rule of public transport.

4. Have you ticket at hand, for goD’S SAKE, WOMAN! When getting on the tube in rush-hour London why oh why on Earth would you not have your ticket ready to easily handle the barriers. You should have your ticket out when you leave the house- heck, it should never be put away! Always have your ticket at hand because there is nothing more infuriating than an amateur stopping the swift flow of commuters because they are thumbling around in their bag for their ticket.

Quickfire round:

  • passengers exit the train/bus/tram/boat/helicopter/batmobile before new ones enter
  • on the escalators stand on the right and walk on the left
  • your bag does not get priotrity on a seat over me- move it