There’s a lot of emphasis in mainstream feminism on being pretty. Which might sound strange – after all, you’d think feminists would be the least likely group of people to care about being pretty – but it’s true. Whether it comes from women trying to dispel the myth that all feminists are hairy lesbians; or whether it’s women claiming back their right to wear lipstick, mainstream feminists are convinced that their ability to draw the perfect eyeliner wing will save the world. It’s an idea that’s become known as ‘weaponised femininity’. The idea that by embracing the beauty standards forced upon women and using them as a form of powerful self-expression, women are somehow one-upping the patriarchy. The idea that the ultimate women is sexy AND strong. It’s an incredibly problematic idea. [bctt tweet=”There’s this idea that the ultimate woman is strong AND sexy. That idea is bullshit.” username=”oawoodward”] I’m…

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Let’s not beat around the bush – the representation of women in fiction is often terrible. Like, really terrible. Like, so terrible that sometimes I want to throw things at my telly or chuck my book out of the window. But sometimes – just sometimes – people get it right. Sometimes I watch a film or read a book and there’s a woman presented that is so perfect (and by perfect I mean flawed, and real, and complex, and fantastic) that I kid myself into thinking the patriarchy is over. So today I thought I’d share with you my top five fictional females, in case you need reminding that sometimes the world isn’t totally terrible to women. These women are listed in no particular order, and they are from a mixture of film, television, and books. 1. Jocelyn Fray / Fairchild A few weeks ago I wrote about all the…

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I, like most females (and humans), struggle with body confidence That’s not to say I hate myself and think I’m hideous, because I don’t. On the contrary, I think I’m pretty damn attractive most of the time. But I still dislike parts of my body. I don’t like my nose. I don’t like stomach. I’m not particularly fond of my legs unless I’m wearing heels. Some days, I even dislike everything about my appearance. To combat this, I’ve spent years trying to buy into the ‘love yourself’ philosophy of the body confidence movement. I’ve spent countless hours in front of the mirror trying to find the good in my wobble tummy, or my large nose, or my thick thighs. And it worked, for a while. For a while, I could honestly say I loved every part of my body. But then came a day when I gained weight and all…

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Let me tell you a secret – I’m really fucking awesome. I know, I know, I’m committing a cardinal sin by telling you that, but it’s true. I am awesome. Now let’s be clear here, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m more selfish than I’d like to be. I have a temper. I can’t draw to save my life. But overall? Yeah. Really Fucking Awesome. As a woman, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m supposed to mutter something apologetically about how occasionally I do some cool stuff, but really there are lots of people (read: men) out there who are smarter and cooler and better than me. As a millennial, I’m supposed to be #relatable. I’m supposed to Tweet jokingly about how useless I am at adulthood, about how I don’t know why anyone has trusted me enough to give me a full time job with actual responsibility, about…

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October has started, which means Halloween is nearly upon us. That wonderful time of year when we dress up as zombies and witches and other such terrifying supernatural creatures. Or at least, that’s what we do in theory. In practice, we have shifted away from scary costumes in recent years towards horrifically inappropriate costumes instead. Nowadays, instead up rocking up to a party as a ghost or ghoul or gremlin, you can rock up as a sexy mental patient, a sexy eating disorder, or a sexy Native American. Something tells me people are beginning to lose sight of the true spirit of Halloween. Now I hope I don’t have to explain to you why sexy mental patient and sexy eating disorder are terrible costume ideas (for Halloween or any other occasion), but I’m willing to bet that there are a few of you who aren’t quite sure why ‘Native American’…

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