poetry

Break Free

when you break free from your shackles

first you will walk,

then you will run

until you set flight

and then –

you will soar

where the stars reside.

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Theories

First Impressions – Should They Really Count?

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So today I want to discuss a famous expression and belief that many hold dear to their heart (or head) – first impressions.

I recently got into a huge debate with a friend about first impressions (although her sister called it arguing … Purely because I didn’t take her side 🙄). If there’s anything my friends know, it’s that I love debating … 99% of the time just for the sake of it. I’ll even debate my own arguments I’ve put forward and think about it at night and then think about it ALL night but it’s usually not so much a cohesive train of thought.

My friends opinion: first impressions are everything. You either get along with someone or you don’t and/or the first impression you get lasts. Now this debate originated from a recent date that she had which was arranged by two relatives of hers (modern arranged marriage process, guys). She’s more of a go-getter, corporate type and he is a shy teacher. (I was going to say introverted but being shy and introverted are not one and the same thing). Apparently he was a little overwhelmed by her bold and direct attitude from what she said about how the date went, although my other friend (incidentally her ex) said it was probably due to the fact that this wasn’t just a date for him, it was a potential marriage so therefore he was bricking it. Anyway, end result, she decided not to see him again because she felt they didn’t have a connection and his family was not as united as her family is and that that is her biggest priority in a marriage. Now the latter is fine, she’s very family oriented so she naturally would be looking for the same quality in a husband – even though, in an Asian culture, that attitude won’t always necessarily include the daughter-in-law as an actual member of the family and that anyone can create a false first impression of a big, happy family and once you get married, you realise that it was all an act (honestly, this does happen in some cases in Asian cultures, I’ve seen it happen to a former friends sister!). So ultimately it still goes back to not allowing first impressions to override actually getting to know the person better before deciding to pass any judgement on them. Unless they’re a sociopath, you’ll need some serious sort of Machiavelli detector shit to pick up on that or a therapist, I don’t know.

My other argument is that sometimes you might simply catch someone on a bad day and that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person, it just makes them a human being. However, she said even if she was able to capture two first impressions – one on a good day and one on a bad day – the bad impression would override the good impression as its a preview of how the person will behave under stressful circumstances. For me, I believe that’s a more ‘it’s all relative’ counter-argument because there are way too many types of ways a person can react to a bad situation and different degrees to what constitutes ‘bad’ and only a narcissist would believe they’re exempt from bad behaviour. As long as the person is not raping, abusing, unjustifiably murdering someone (if it’s not absolutely necessary self-defence), even being a bystander to these actions or harming another person then it shouldn’t matter. However, the last behaviour listed can be considered quite shaky as I’m sure we’ve all harmed someone in some way, whether intentionally or not, at least at one point in our lives. A person can genuinely redeem them-self, feel remorse and change their behaviour but if we let that first impression count as our overall impression we probably won’t be able to stick around to see how they change that behaviour and overall become a better person (provided they didn’t commit either of the first series of crimes that is, excluding the latter).

An example of a first impression gone terribly wrong for me and a few others was during college when I first met this charming, bubbly and gorgeous girl. I think pretty much everyone was taken by her, men and women alike, and we all thought ‘aw, what a nice girl.’ And behold.. I’m sure you know what exactly went down. This is what Machiavelli informed us about – charming behaviour that is nothing but tricks and illusions, consolidating why charm is synonymous to bewitching. There’s a difference between being charming and genuinely nice – you say what you really mean as opposed to what you’re expected to say by society in order to please people. Anyway, she went and did some terribly questionable things that I simply can’t be arsed to go into. P.s my friend from the early paragraph was also friends with her too. This just goes to show how deceptive first impressions can be, it doesn’t take a lot to deceive people.

Anyway, overall (trying to make use of my English Literature and Language education) I don’t believe in wholly relying on first impressions. Yes sometimes we intuitively know just by looking at someone exactly what they’re thinking (well I don’t know about you but I certainly do 🤓, just kidding… Not at all) it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is this person overall. We’re human beings, we’re complex, we’re layered and we are not just a first impression. I want to draw a parting science analogy: when we perform a scientific experiment, sample size is important and why is that? Because it needs to be tested in different conditions, to test the strengths and weaknesses of the subject … And then we can create an average, overall opinion. I also think ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is also fitting even though the expression is based on physical appearances. You’ve just the read the cover, not the entire book. (Well that might take a while, at least sample a chapter or two).

Side note – why am I so sarcastic?

Anyways… Let me know your thoughts and opinions. 🎈✌🏽️

TV

My All-Time Favourite Comedy Shows

You know something that never gets old? Comedy. And memes (never forget that we live in the age of memes). Anyway, I thought I’d do something different today. Whenever I want to relax, to truly relax, I put on the telly and watch endless comedy shows. What’s the point of all that work if you don’t get to laugh at the end of the day? So, if you’re looking for a new series to watch or simply reminisce the good old classics, sit down and let’s countdown to my favourite comedy shows of all time!

Friends

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IMDB description:

‘Follows the personal and professional lives of six 20 to 30-something-year-old friends living in Manhattan.’

Oh my, what a shocker (!). Well… of course this was going to be on the list. Friends throughout its ten seasons has been consistently funny. The USP is its lovable cast of characters and their genuine friendship. I can tune into Comedy Central and whichever episode is showing, there will be undeniable laughter on my end, it is reliable funny. For those of us who watch it and love it, believe we all share a history and bond with the show. Maybe you’re a fan of Chandler’s witty sarcasm, Monica’s people-pleasing, strength and neuroticism, Rachel’s charming, bold and positive nature, Phoebe’s endless quirks, Joey’s, uh, naivety and good-naturedness or Ross’s… let’s call it strangeness e.g. PIVOT!  There’s something in it for most.

My favourite character is Phoebe whom Mike perfectly describes as “wonderfully weird.” Sadly, I don’t think I fully relate to any of the characters on the show, perhaps I’m a mix of Chandler and Phoebe but Monica when I play Monopoly (I’m not competitive… I’m passionate). My favourite episode is ‘The One With The Unagi’ and any other episode where Phoebe is dancing (I mean it is a treat for the eyes, you better believe).

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And for the record… they were on a break. But Ross should not have slept with the copy girl.

How I Met Your Mother

how i met your mother

IMDB description:

‘A father recounts to his children, through a series of flashbacks, the journey he and his four best friends took leading up to him meeting their mother.’

Right, I love How I Met Your Mother and I’m honest enough to admit that it isn’t always the funniest. Regardless, it is my all-time favourite show. Do you know why? Because it has Ted Mosby. And darn Ted Mosby for instilling unrealistic expectations in love for me because there aren’t a lot of Teds’ out there. For me, this show is ruthlessly honest and doesn’t cater to the audience’s expectations of what should happen, instead it shows what really happens through all nine seasons. But if you want comedy, Barney’s enactment of his outrageous playbook will serve laughter.

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(I mean this is sorta genius).

Although, I think Robin’s the funniest simply because she shares the same sense of humour as me. Hello first relatable female character in a comedy show! I love Lily too and she’s the kind of friend every girl should have in her life.

Am I team ‘blue French horn’ or ‘yellow umbrella?’ Well, I’m both. Robin accurately states that “if you have chemistry, then you only need one other thing: timing.” And I believe that timing worked out well for them because they all got what they wanted in life because they were honest about what they wanted.

My favourite episodes: ‘Last Forever Part 2,’ ‘Platonish,’ ‘The Final Page’ and ‘Symphony of Illumination.’

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And here are some helpful tips in life Ted has for us:

Thanks to How I Met Your Mother for teaching me so much over the years.

Modern Family

modern family

IMDB description:

“Three different, but related families face trials and tribulations in their own uniquely comedic ways.”

Okay, this isn’t my faaaaaaaavourite show but I still like it a lot, thanks to Gloria, Jay and little Jay! What I love about this show is due to the enormity of the cast of characters, you get a lot of variety in the characters and situations. I wish it would slow down a little in some parts because it can be rushed at times. What I live for in this show is Jay’s grumpiness and straight-to-the-point manner and Gloria’s desi aunty-ness. Little Jay is shaping up to be hilarious. Manny’s been enlightened since he was born, I’m guessing. My favourite moments on the show:

gloria
Where is this world Gloria lives in and how do I get in?
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Me too, Jay. Me. Too.

And don’t forget… it brought us this little nugget:

dreamers and realists

The show is on its ninth season now and that makes sense, the core idea breeds longevity.

2 Broke Girls

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IMDB description: Two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business – if only they can raise the cash.

Oh, I can’t believe this show is over. Honestly, in terms of female friendships on TV, this was one of the best. The humour is pretty vulgar, and I LOVE THAT. If you want some adult humour then this show is for you. Max is a stone-cold realist who comes ready with witty and biting remarks and Caroline is the idea-generating optimist which makes for a perfect recipe for a business partnership. Another thing I love about the show is that the cast is diverse, fully diverse.

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Impractical Jokers

impractical jokers

IMDB description: Q, Sal, Joe and Murr are real-life best friends who love challenging each other to the most outrageous dares and stunts ever caught on hidden camera.

Okay, so I remember seeing around way over 75 episodes recorded on our Sky box and I thought my siblings were complete losers. I decided to see what the fuss is about, watched one episode and got OBSESSED. And I mean crazy obsessed because I then proceeded to watch every single episode from the first season to the last. This is one of the few shows, no wait ONLY show, that actually has me laughing to the point of tears, absolute incoherence and slapping my thighs at almost every episode. P.s my favourite episode has to be from the latest season where they go to Hawaii.

I’d say the funniest joker is Sal, simply because you can see how devastated he is at having to break social conventions by saying and doing outrageous things. You can literally see the torture plastered on his face. I’m not going to lie, I have the biggest crush on Q, or shall I call him Qtie-pie (Sophia, stop). Murray has no limits and will do the dares barely flinching. And Joe is crazy, I mean have you seen his eyes? Those are serial killer eyes. I hear he’s a nice guy, though.

Another favourite moment I have to add is Murray’s Presentation!

The Inbetweeners

the inbetweeners

IMDB description: Follows four friends and their antics during their final years of school.

Oh my God, is that a non-American show? Yes! If one British show is going to make it into this list, it’s this legend of a show. If you’re unfamiliar with this show, think British Howard (Jay) Raj (Neil), Sheldon (Will), Leonard (Simon) without the science and they’re students and there’s zero filter. Their student status is the show’s weakness meaning it only contains three seasons (major thumbs down for that) but it does have two films out. I think Neil is by far my favourite character, dude is so spaced out and happy and naïve.

New Girl

new girl

IMDB description: After a bad break-up, Jess, an offbeat young woman, moves into an apartment loft with three single men. Although they find her behavior very unusual, the men support her – most of the time.

Ohhhh to think I hated this show when it first started because I absolutely could not stand Jess. I’m kind of okay with her now. No, actually, not really. She has a habit of making everything about her. Now, I’m dreading the fact that there’s only one season remaining with a time jump by four years. I, especially, cannot wait to see what Nick is doing. I find him So. Damn. Relatable. One thing I did not like is that they waited so long to utilise Winston who’s my favourite character and now, we only have one more season of Winnie – the Mother of Cats, slow puzzler but loves puzzles anyway – Bish, I will miss this show so much. Favourite episodes: ‘Girl Fight,’ ‘Background Check,’ ‘Clean Break,’ and ‘All In.’

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The Office

the office

IMDB description: A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.

I recently started watching the show (can’t believe it took me so long!). I’m only on season 3 but I am loving it so far. I want to hate Michael because dude is so unbelievably politically incorrect but I just can’t for some reason. Michael Scott is delightfully bonkers and no way would the show be what it is without him. Dwight, on the hand, that square can do one unless he’s joining in on Michael’s antics. Angela reminds me of my 8-year-old cousin, I even have a picture of my cousin not enjoying parties and looking miserable when our other cousin was blowing the candles out. Angela speaks to her soul (or will when she watches the show when she’s grown up). I absolutely love Jim and Pam (I’m not loving Karen simply because of Pam even though she’s perfectly lovely) and I hope to see more of Stanley because he may actually be one of the funniest on the show.

Favourite episodes: ‘Booze Cruise’ and ‘Diwali.’

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The Big Bang Theory

the big bang theory

IMDB description: A woman who moves into an apartment across the hall from two brilliant but socially awkward physicists shows them how little they know about life outside of the laboratory.

I don’t really need to explain this show much, you’ve probably watched it or heard of it. I agree with most that the show is not what it used to be. I know some hate the introduction of Bernadette and Amy and peg them as the reasons for the show’s decline. I’m not crazy about Bernadette but I absolutely love Amy and I loved it when Amy and Sheldon performed social experiments, those were one of my most favourite parts. Also, Amy is one hell of a woman. Almost everyone loves Sheldon but I’ve been a Howard fan from the start. It’s a shame the show’s kind of neutered him since he actually had the best sense of humour. I’d say Penny has the best sense of humour now, she’s gotten a lot more sarcastic and together with Leonard they have the better lines in recent seasons.

My favourite episode is ‘The Romance Resonance’ (Howard writes and performs a song for Bernadette and it was a real tear-jerker), ‘The Opening Night Excitation’ and ‘The Rothman Disintegration’ (Sheldon and Kripke play basketball!).


And that concludes the list. Who knows, in a few years I might have some more shows to add to the list. I think this may just have been one of my top two longest posts. Let me know what your favourite shows are in the comments section!

-Sophia Ismaa.

You can find me on instagram: @sophismaax

quotes · Quotes · Theories

The Problem With Gender

The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be, rather than recognising how we are.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘We Should All Be Feminists’

So, I took this gender test to understand how I measure up on the gender scale. This is how the test is explained:

‘Drawing on the work of Dr. Sandra Lipsitz Bem, this test classifies your personality as masculine or feminine. Though gender stereotyping is controversial, it is important to note that Bem’s work has been tested in several countries and has repeatedly been shown to have high levels of validity and test-retest reliability. The test exclusively tests for immanent conceptions of gender (meaning that it doesn’t theorize about whether gender roles are biological, cultural, or both). Consequently, the test has been used both by feminists as an instrument of cultural criticism and by gender traditionalists who seek to confirm that gender roles are natural and heritable.’

According to the test, I am:

gender test

53% masculine (average) and 31% feminine (low). It measures traits on a scale (strongly disagree/disagree/neutral/agree/strongly agree). Traits include: individualistic, yielding, ambitious, polite, mild, ambitious, analytical, willing to take a stand, compassionate, etc. It’s so strange considering most of these traits are attributable to both men and women or more accurately: to human beings. We all contain these traits, the degree to which we possess these traits differs from one individual to another individual and I don’t believe that the determining factor is our gender.

I don’t know about you but many of us have felt the societal and cultural pressures to act in a certain way that is described to be as feminine from our elders. Being a tomboy growing up and completely lacking any social skills whatsoever, I really struggled with this. I was neither polite, friendly, warm but more so wacky, nerdy and, to put it plainly, perhaps a dash of weird too. I longed for heroine’s in books that I could relate to and thanks to YA Fantasy and general fantasy fiction, I now do. I do still feel out of place when I’m in a group that consists of women because you’re expected to bend to the will of societal norms which do not come naturally to me. Ironically, these same traits that we love in real life are the ones we despise in literature e.g. Sansa Stark (whom, by the way, I absolutely love). Having said that, I do feel society, and I too, has progressed in a way that allows me to be myself a little more confidently. We are seeing women in traditionally ‘masculine’ roles and vice versa. It’s a gradual process that will take a long time, but we are getting there in some ways.

I wanted to find out what ideologies we’re passing on to the next generation so I asked my 8-year-old cousin sister what she believes is the role of the woman and man and this is what she had to say:

(For women)

What they should do: ‘They must be kind, wear makeup, be happy, be beautiful, look pretty because a girl always has to look pretty. Be friends with other people who are lonely.’

What they do: ‘They are quiet, do the housework, take care of little brothers and sisters, do the vacuuming. They cook a lot to make sure their family are eating.’

On career: ‘They should have jobs. Maybe they could work at a hair salon. They should get paid the same as men because it should be fair and equal, they cook a lot to make sure family is eating.’

(For men):

What they should do: ‘They should be a bit quiet because they shout a lot. Girls should relax, and boys should work because its normally the opposite. Girls should ‘change the tables around.’

What they do: ‘They’re noisy and girls aren’t. They play football a lot, PS4 and games on their phone a lot.’

On career: ‘He should work at a bike store or a tools shop. Girls could too but girls don’t know much about gadgets. Men should provide because men get a lot of money.’

Notice the differences? We have a long way to go.

 

Book Reviews · Literature

The Other Boleyn Girl Book Review

Genre: Historical novel

Setting: 16th century England during Henry VIII’s reign

Pages: 661

Goodreads rating: 4.04

My rating: 4.3

Story: When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realises just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take fate into her own hands.

A rich and compelling novel of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamourous court in Europe and survived by following her heart.

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Let me just start by saying that I LOVED THIS BOOK! I know a book is good when I either can’t stop turning the pages or take my sweet time to read it because I do not want it to end. In this case, it was the latter. This was the first novel I read on the Plantagenets’ and being a huge lover of historical fiction and deeply intrigued by the enigmatic Anne Boleyn, its certainly made me want to read more about the Tudors. What better way to start than with Anne Boleyn, the most controversial of Henry VIII’s wives.

The story is told from the perspective of Mary Boleyn, the ‘forgotten sister.’ I didn’t know of Mary’s existence before this book nor know much of George’s other than being tried and executed for incest. Mary, at the start, is naïve, innocent and a pawn in the family’s ambitions and finishes by seizing and taking her happiness in her own hands whilst remaining pragmatic. It’s hard to not like her. Yes, even when she takes the king as her lover whilst remaining sympathetic and devoted in her heart to Queen Katherine. Ambition is the underlying motive of the courtiers and you cannot say Mary did not try to argue for her loyalty to Queen Katherine. Although, I do feel that if she was truly loyal she would have prevented herself from falling for the king (the least you can do).

Viewed from Mary’s lens we get to view Anne in a more intimate light. I’ve read online about how Anne is usually presented in either one of the two extremes. As I don’t know if I have seen a more balanced portrayal, I don’t have a framework to work with e.g. fanbases dedicated online to Anne Boleyn. Did I like Anne? No. Did I sympathise with her? No, not until the very end where you cannot help but sympathise with her and the mental torture she must have undergone. I mean, execution… really? If he can annul and exile Queen Katherine, why could he not do the same for Anne? The reason given was that Henry could not stand for Anne’s hatred if she were to be kept alive. I guess, that’s the price you pay for dogged ambition and ruthlessness. I sense karma at work. I feel bad for even saying this, to be honest. But you cannot deny the pain and suffering she inflicted on Queen Katherine whom I really admired for her dignity. When you assist in putting idea’s in a king’s head that divine law and king are one, you open the country to a reign of tyranny. And if you are not the king, do not expect that you will not suffer from that tyranny yourself. Anne failed to see the consequences of her actions.

I was near to delighted laughter because Katherine of Aragon was speaking out for the women of the country, for the good wives who should not be put aside just because their husbands had taken a fancy to another, for the women who walked the hard road between kitchen, bedroom, church and childbirth. For the women who deserved more than their husband’s whim.”

What I did admire about Anne was her unwillingness to put up with Henry’s crap because why should she? Perhaps, the way she went about it was not the most effective in the late stages of their marriage. He was no longer young to hold the energy required to deal with Anne’s temper. I was disappointed that Anne changed tack and decided to be more patient and tolerant with his ways. It was almost shredding whatever bit of self-respect she had left.

Anne Boleyn is portrayed as ruthless, manipulative, ambitious and determined. It seems ludicrous that Anne employed all the energy and charm she had to become Queen and in the end, it rested on her ability to provide a male heir. To lay your life on chance is highly risky for the prize of Queenship that she realised, once she became Queen, didn’t even make her happy.

Every bit of rumour and speculation surrounding Anne was thrown in good measure and that includes witchcraft and incest. It’s alluded to as a certainty in the novel which I don’t think was the right thing to do, a mere allusion would have sufficed for the sake of accuracy. I wonder what Henry would think if he were alive knowing that out of all his children, Elizabeth (A WOMAN) was actually the most successful of his children and probably one of the greatest monarchs England has ever had.

And don’t get me started on Jane Seymour. I know she’s presented as pure and good and a sympathiser of Queen Katherine. She may have been the opposite of Anne in terms of personality but she sure as hell did pretty much the same thing if we look at facts alone.

One thing I wish was included or at least alluded to was George Boleyn’s speech prior to his execution. As to George himself, he wrestles with, albeit weakly, following family ambitions and his own happiness. He’s presented in a more sympathetic light and I actually really liked his character and wished Gregory hadn’t presented the incest as a near certainty which the film did not follow (thank God!). Nonetheless, Mary is by far my favourite Boleyn. She’s perhaps the sanest of the three… and in the family. She’s the Sansa Stark of her siblings. But I have to admit, if the story rested solely on Mary it wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting. When you read a book on the Boleyn’s, you want to read about THE Anne Boleyn!

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Other than that, I loved the way this was written. The language and dialogue was easy to follow and contained some heavy foreshadowing which I enjoyed.

What I learned from this book is that do not lay important things e.g. your LIFE, on chance. Think about the long-term consequences of your actions, adopt better methods than throwing tantrums by reading the person whom you’re experiencing difficulties with. What you do, comes back to you. When you try to create a new world, and give someone the tools to do it, don’t forget you’ve handed over the tools and thus you are no longer exempt from being damaged by the tools. Overall, I really enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl which you can purchase here. I have now added The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker’s Daughter to my Goodread’s bookshelf.

“She did not want George to know how deep this canker of ambition had spread inside her. She did not want him to know that she was not his beloved little sister any more but a woman who had learned to throw everything, even her mortal soul, into the battle to become queen.”

That’s enough from me now, thank you for reading and let me know your opinion on the Boleyns! You can check out my other reviews (Into The Water, The Impossible Fortress) here.

feminism

The New Sexy by Emilia Clarke

My life has been shaped by a true sense of equality; it was never an overt “for crying out loud Emilia is just as capable as her brother!” it was simply etched into every action, choice, and behaviour of my family.

It was a recognised matter of fact that I, as a woman, was no different to my brother. Just as my mum was no different from my father in their careers, therefore I was raised in an equal earning, equally managed household that showed me anything a man could do, a woman could and should do too.

So I grew up with a voice, but it was not a shared voice of a generation, and it was only much later I realised what an incredible, feminist, start to life I had been given.

In the last few months we have all witnessed a major shift in the way women are collectively making their voices heard. The Women’s March on 21 January gathered more than five million people throughout the world – giving us all the lead to see what we can do to make this a change that’s here to stay.

Now I don’t know about you, but there are days where I feel like a guilty feminist. What am I actually doing every day to stand up for women’s rights? My personal experiences, and my understanding of the bigger issues of inequality, aren’t enough. What can I take part in, against hate and oppression, to ensure that the women’s movement continues, and strengthens and grows?

– ADVERTISEMENT –

And so guest editing the All Women Everywhere edition of The Huffington Post UK is not a task I take lightly.

As my best friend would put it, I am a girl-boss, and I am in an industry where if I speak out against inequality I have a platform, and might be lucky enough to have a chance of being heard. The roles I’ve played have given me an insight into what it feels like to be a woman who stands up to inequality and hate, and stands out as a feminist.

That aside, it hasn’t stopped me from walking away from situations and people who have assumed I am weak because I’m a woman; it has forced me to stand by my actions and be ok with the consequences.

Do I get treated equally at work? Not always. Does every woman? No, and the statistics back that up. Do I get asked questions at press junkets by men and women alike, specifically because they will get headline grabbing responses coming from a young woman? Yes.

If you’ve watched Game of Thrones then, spoiler, you will have seen me in the nude. There are plenty of ways in which people want me to respond to questions about this fact. And plenty of reasons why I do not feel the need to justify myself.

I believe we all have the opportunity to stand up as women in our ordinary everyday lives. I believe that we all have the power to replace hate with justice, open-heartedness and kindness.

This doesn’t have to be a seismic change that we all have to learn. I believe we, as humans, (gender aside for a moment) have the opportunity to combat hate because of the way we behave towards one another. Not just during seminal moments, but during our everyday, ordinary ones too.

I believe we can start with kindness.

Kindness. I know, It’s a pretty un-cool word isn’t it? But its results are cool. They are immediate and they are real. One act of kindness can take your day from bearable to enjoyable in a heartbeat. Because being kind is showing someone that they are seen and heard, and that they do indeed matter. And that’s sexy.

For example, having the confidence to look someone in the eye, and speak to them as an equal, regardless of their gender, race or sexuality – that is kind. It is a small gesture towards showing that person that they are acknowledged. Imagine, just for a moment, that we all strive to be kinder to one another on a small, day by day, sincere level, wouldn’t that actually feel really incredible?

I believe that one woman’s success, is every woman’s gain. I believe that it is every woman’s choice to be able to live her life how she sees fit… that all of us are girl-bosses and the power of the girl-boss is that we care a bit more about those around us.

Little small acts of kindness can add up to a big movement. On this International Women’s Day I am not proposing a big idea, I will leave that to the leaders and politicians; instead I propose that each and every one of us start to re-energise our kindness gene, give it power and share it with each other, with our sisters and brothers.

As I read recently, kindness is sexy, it’s good for us, it makes us feel happy and valued. Positive action starts with small individual deeds that accumulate over time and become a movement… a movement toward a more equal society where kindness anchors our feet to the ground while giving us the momentum to keep chipping away together.

With my voice, I hope the feminist mind set my family instilled in me becomes the new normal, and boys and girls are raised to know they are equal.

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Thanks for reading. I know this is something different but I read this a few weeks ago on HuffPost and I was struck by Emilia’s simple message of kindness. Not just the big acts of kindness but being kind in your every day life through your interaction with others. I didn’t know much about Emilia before other than that she came across as very bubbly and positive. To read about her motivations and the reason behind how she is put a new light on her for me. I don’t know about you but I struggle with being kind every day. One thing that does help me, when I do employ conscientiousness, is focusing on the fact that they may not be aware of how they’re coming across or they might be having a bad day because I know this can prevent me sometimes from being kind. Or to use a better word: empathy. Put myself in the others shoes and that usually helps. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did.

Literature

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words! All you have to do is answers the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I saw this at Kristin Kraves Books. Be sure to check her out, she is fast becoming one of my favourite bloggers!

Currently reading:

 

I’m currently reading Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. I’ve read about 68% of this book. Normally I love to read on paperback but I found this on iBooks for free (as most classics are) (paperback is still better). I’m half enjoying and half exasperated by this book because all the characters are thoroughly unlikeable. Except, perhaps, for Clara Dawes who seems much more mature than the rest of the characters. The other characters need to get it together. There is so much hypocrisy that the characters are unaware of, raging about things that they themselves do.

Finished Reading:

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I finished reading this last Sunday. I won’t say much as I’ll be publishing a review this weekend. All I can say is that I absolutely loved it. This was the first fictional novel I read on The Tudors and what a way to start: with the enigmatic and divisive Anne Boleyn. I can’t wait to read Gregory’s other books now. If you know any good fictional books on Elizabeth I do get recommending!

Reading Next:

Next up to read is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I’ve read about 50 or so pages already before book club announced that we would be reading The Other Boleyn Girl. From what I read, it was okay so far. The author hits home some hard truths or his truths in the earlier pages which I don’t necessarily think true. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book as there is a highly intriguing, perhaps a little bit of a crackpot, character that I want to know more about and will definitely take me on an adventure. I’m interested to know why there’s a an aura of danger surrounding certain characters.

And that’s it for now. I’ll be posting the review for The Other Boleyn Girl this weekend so make sure to check it out!

Sophia Ismaa

 

 

 

quotes · Theories

Aurelius In The Right – Our Opinions Are Not Facts

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

– Marcus Aurelius

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes.

You can’t tell me what to think! But we can debate accuracy and some things WILL seem more accurate. We cannot always find the truth but it’s nonetheless a lot of fun to seek the truth and the truth that is the most applicable and the best and most beautiful of all: LOGICAL.

Sophia Ismaa

Literature · quotes · Theories

We All Think We’re Dumbo

“I found myself remembering the day in kindergarten when the teachers showed us Dumbo: a Disney movie about a puny, weird-looking circus elephant that everyone made fun of. As the story unfolded, I realized to my amazement that all the kids in the class, even the bullies, the ones who despised and tormented the weak and the ugly, were rooting against Dumbo’s tormentors. Over and over they laughed and cheered, both when Dumbo succeeded and when bad things happened to the bullies. But they’re you, I thought to myself. How did they not know? They didn’t know. It was astounding, an astounding truth. Everyone thought they were Dumbo.”

-Elif Batuman, The Idiot

 

I remember reading this passage on social media. It struck me as to how true it is. We all think we’re the hero and those who have wronged us the bullies. I can’t say I don’t find myself doing this because I’m sure most of us do, at least once in our life.

Why is it that we do not see others as Dumbo? Or why is it that we are far more sympathetic to characters on screen than in real life? I think it’s because when we watch a film, we are granted access to that persons story, their thoughts and feelings. And when we’re granted such a large part of that, it makes it easier to feel empathy because the character will have experienced something we have ourselves. Whereas, in real life we are not always granted such a huge access to others minds and feelings, sometimes not even our own friends let alone strangers. Neither do we always have the time because like it or not we are living our own life first and foremost and not other people’s lives. It takes a lot of time, effort, energy and strength to invest in others and find out how they’re doing or what they’ve experienced from childhood to now. I think if we could do this and be more open about our own selves, then we’d be able to see others as Dumbo too and not just our own self.

P.s. I need to get a copy of this book someday.

 

Sophia Ismaa