‘Would you do that if it was Daytime?’

Imagine, it’s midday you are walking down the street in a busy local Town/City minding your own business & suddenly a man grabs your bum, chest, legs?! Would this really happen? The chances are extremely slim. In fact if this had happened the likely outcome would be to phone the Police. So why is it that when the sun goes down and a few drinks have been consumed, it becomes acceptable and the norm?

On a recent weekend away in Cardiff visiting friends, we went out on the Friday and Saturday nights, both of which we received some form of verbal/physical annoyance from men. Now that I have moved back home and no longer live in a big City, I had forgotten what it was like to get this kind of ‘attention’, as going out at home usually consists of bars rather than massive clubs.

My ‘favourite’ incident or not so favourite in the literal sense of the word was on the Friday night; walking towards Welsh Club ready to enjoy a fun night with friends, three guys walked towards us one proclaiming the classic ‘wheyyyyyy’; I guess this was because we were all wearing skirts and our legs were out. Screaming words such as whey at us is 1) not flattering in any sense and 2) a massive turn off, so obviously we ignored them and probably gave them unimpressed looks. Their response? ‘Oh halloweens not for a couple of weeks love!’ Right so two minutes ago you were primarily objectifying us and now you are basically trying to say we look ugly, all because a simple ‘whey’ does not result in a pull for you. How lovely.

Saturday night walking along St Marys Street heading towards the taxi rank a man decided to walk along side us; ‘Well done you have really sexy legs’ one said to me. Thank you and all but I didn’t actually wear this dress for you, someone I don’t know, to approach me on the street and proclaim this. In some sense I guess it could be a compliment, but I don’t seek compliments from strangers, or anything else for that matter. The funny thing is he then went on to tell us ALL that we had sexy legs, obviously trying his luck, what did he expect the outcome to be? Oh actually that’s a silly question.

By the Saturday night in Cardiff I really had, had enough responding to one guy who had touched my friends chest as we walked past; ‘Would you do that if it was daytime?’ Yeah I would was his response, of course I cut him short with my reply – ‘actually the answer is no you would not’. And I’m entirely right, nobody (regardless of gender) would go up to another stranger in the day time and invade their personal space in this way.

As I said before I usually don’t experience this as often anymore, and going out two nights in a Capital City does not mean that every single guy is like that, however no matter where I am whether it’s in a big city or in a small bar, there will always be those guys that think it is acceptable to just grab you as you walk past. Just maybe think next time, I didn’t ask you to do that did I, so please don’t. I certainly would not go up to a stranger and touch them inappropriately, so why is it acceptable for you, a man, to do that to me?

Just because us girls like to dress up on a Saturday night does not mean we enjoy it when strangers give us this kind of ‘attention’.

I’m going to Travel the World…

As of 2nd February 2015, this will become my travel blog – writing those words does not even make it feel real. Though we booked our flights a few weeks ago, I don’t think it will sink in until the moment arrives, but words do not explain how excited I am. I am also extremely eager to combine my love of travel with my love of writing and hope you will all follow me along this journey via my blog. Through pictures and words I will portray the incredible experiences I am so lucky to encounter.

Our Route

From the 2nd February – 14th May 2015 my friend and I will travel to and around Dubai, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Some people may ask – Why travel? My answer to that question could be extremely long but I have a few important reasons why. Firstly, in modern day we have become so reliant on the internet and social media that we create our own social bubble that frankly restricts us from the rest of the the world, the next town down the road, or even the people actually around us. It is so easy to become wrapped up in our own lives that we forget the potential of further afield becoming narrow minded and therefore less open minded. I love seeing photographs on Instagram or Pinterest of a far of place – many leave you thinking ‘wow’, yet how do I know how that place really looks? What the ground feels like, the sounds, the smells, and what are the surroundings beyond the photograph? I simply don’t. This is one of my main reasons for travelling, I want to see the scenery that is beyond those photographs already captured by others, I want to be in that moment myself. If you have that wow moment, what is stopping you from going there yourself?

It is also easy for us to get comfortable where we live already because it is what we know and we are surrounded by people that know us well. I like the idea of taking myself out of comfort zones, meeting new people, and experiencing new worlds. Living out of a backpack for three and a half months will certainly put me way out of my comfort zone, it may be a struggle but I know the positives will outweigh any negatives. My emotions towards my adventure range from nervous, excited, apprehensive to thrilled, and I expect this rollercoaster of emotions will carry on throughout the journey. I am also so lucky to be sharing this experience with one of my best friends, and knowing we will have each other’s company throughout the adventure, makes the whole thing even more exciting.

Lastly, and probably the most important reason, is that – I want to travel for myself. I have just Graduated university, at 23 years of age finally my education and hard work is complete. Because of this I wanted a break; a post university gap year in some sense. Of course I am currently working full time in order to be able to travel but I know it has an end point and before I know it I will be on that first plane (we are getting a ridiculous amount of flights). It is something that I feel like I need to do, I want to experience cultures far beyond ours and I’m sure it will adjust my way of viewing life, and finally I am looking forward to seeing new places which will spark me to write creatively like I never have before.

Through the eyes of my blog, for three and a half months you will see my ever-changing life and world.

Painting ‘Slim’ as Unattractive

It was my first year of university during an English Language lecture that I witnessed one of the worst forms of discrimination against slimmer women. The male lecturer was talking about connotations of words, to which point he opened a slide on his PowerPoint presentation of tall runway models, and the word ‘skinny’ in large letters, he then asked us to feed back to him what kinds of connotations we associated with the word.

Many were negative, as expected, but a couple of students said a few positives. To my shock, the male lecturer immediately critically remarked these positive connotations stating that he personally associated the word with being unhealthy, and malnourished. Wow. How this was acceptable in front of an auditorium full of mainly young women I do not know. Such a sensitive subject that would have offended many in the room. It personally made me upset and angry; people described me as skinny and apparently according to my lecturer that meant I was unhealthy.

The past few years has seen the media celebrate womanly curves and the plus sizes. Personally I think this is fantastic, considering how the media usually relies on a vast amount of photo shopping, resulting in the creation of an unrealistic female. It is good that it has been recognised that a real woman is not necessarily what is seen in magazines or in music videos. All types of women with different body shapes should be appreciated and viewed as just as attractive as the next.

However, this celebration has also led (I personally feel) to putting down, the ‘skinny’ girls.  I think the media and popular culture have slowly connoted ‘skinny’ as unattractive. I hate the word skinny – something I have been described as all my life. From friends, strangers, anyone who has an opinion really, that word has always been thrown at me.

It is as simple as this – I DO eat, so please do not tell me to go eat a burger. Yes – I go to the gym, not to lose weight but to be physically fit. My bone structure is small, I am petite, it’s just the way I am & I DO put on weight if I don’t take care of what I eat or exercise. In fact in my final year of university I put on a lot of weight in a short space of time, yes I did not get noticeably fat BUT I got cellulite, I felt unfit and I no longer fit into my clothes. So I changed this and lost it all, for myself, nobody else, not because I wanted to be ‘skinny’ but because I felt unfit and unhappy with how I was.

People obsess over the fact I go to the gym, more than I do myself; for some reason it is assumed that I go to lose weight, no, couldn’t be further from the truth. Here is the answer; I enjoy it, I want to be physically fit and as healthy as I possibly can be, it makes you feel good, it reduces stress and lessens my anxiety, I think it’s great for your mind as well as your body; it is mentally and physically stimulating.

With that said though, the stigma around slimmer women has increased dramatically over the past few years, mainly down to the attention the media has given it. Alongside this is celebrity endorsement, for example Meghan Trainor’s recently released song ‘All About that Bass’ is a prime example of popular culture making a joke about slimmer women whilst taking pride in curves. The question is why this positive message cannot be magnified via music, magazines, and film whilst not putting down other women in the meantime. It goes both ways, it hurts. The message should be that we are all different shapes and sizes, and that everyone is beautiful.

The lyrics in Trainor’s song include ‘Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size, She says, “boys like a little more booty to hold at night” you know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll’. The media and culture today make it acceptable to ridicule smaller woman with words such as ‘stick figure silicone Barbie doll’ in songs, yet if someone was to call a woman fat it’s horrible (which it is, don’t get me wrong, as said previous it works both ways). This song could have successfully renowned curves and been just as catchy and made just as much money, without undermining smaller women and making them feel unattractive.

My final point is that everyone is different and beautiful in their own way; the obsession with size needs to stop. We are all unique, we all want different things in life, and it is not necessary to compare ourselves to other people’s appearances for self fulfilment and pride.