The 3 L's

Please People, Can We Stop Using The Term ‘Real Women’?

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It’s been a lovely afternoon for me, spent meeting with a friend over coffee. I couldn’t help but overhear, however, the conversation taking place between two bushy bearded men two tables away. It seems I have a hyper-sensitive radar in regards not only to the mention of my name, but any reference to me whatsoever – in this instance, I was simply ‘nah, mate, the other one’.

We were being assessed. Luckily, not with numbers (I hate that. Why do guys have to label us with a mark out of ten? Could their way of expression any attraction – or lack of – be any more degrading?) Instead, they were comparing us to the standards of beauty of today. That’s when that term came into use… ‘real woman’. According to Santa’s Hipster son 1# and Santa’s Hipster son 2#, I’m a ‘borderline real woman’ because I have a bum, but according to his friend.. ‘nah mate, she’s not a real woman, she’s too thin, mate, too thin, I like real women.’

Excuse me, I can vouch that I am a real woman, and I can also say, with confidence, that I am not hovering around an imaginary line between womanly and… whatever the alternative is. Boyish? Butch? Barbie? I see myself naked on a daily basis, and trust me, I’m all woman.

Of course, the bigger issue with this conversation was the fact that we were being so casually evaluated in the first place.. I’ve heard men hold similar conversations in front of the meat aisle in Tesco. ‘Mate, steak tonight? What d’ya think of this one?’ – ‘Nah mate, look at it, that’s barely a steak at all – it’s a borderline cold cut! The only thing that’s good for is being slapped on a sandwich!’

I’m not about to start complaining about being picked at by men, however. I frankly can’t even muster the energy to do so. But I can muster the energy to complain about that term, because this isn’t just a degrading term used by men who see woman as objects to be assessed, and used, and disposed of, but it’s a part of the forefront of our society. It’s used in our magazines and on our TV shows and in our day-to-day debates as we compare ourselves to others. Suddenly it seems that in the ‘quest’ to force the fashion world to accept ‘plus sized’ and curvier women rather than sticking so stubbornly to their size-zero ideals, everyone has in the process developed this obsession with what is and is not ‘real’ or ‘natural’. Is that not counter-productive? Everyone has been calling out for the fashion world to accept all shapes and sizes, and yet we’re all too willing to decide for ourselves what is natural. And that just makes it ok for guys to then do the same.

Is it not about time that we adopt a cultural attitude that is accepting of all shapes and sizes? Take me and my friends, for example. Yes, I’m thin, but I have a bum and boobs . Take a look at my friends: anonymous friend 1# is thinner than me, and she really doesn’t have any curves at all, while anonymous friend 2# would be described as curvy, anonymous friend 3# is a full time plus-sized model and anonymous friend 4# has a perfect hourglass figure the we all can’t help but envy. (PS, those friends may be anonymous, but they know who they are and they have agreed to be mentioned here… just in case the rest of my friends real this and wonder.)

These are our builds, our natural figures and regardless as to how well or how badly our diets are going, our shape never changes, the only thing that changes is how squidgy the top layer is. Equally, while we all know that most models work hard to keep in shape, working on every inch of themselves until they are a sculpted masterpiece of perfection, it’s ridiculous to say that they are not ‘real women’ either, because they are there, they exist – I’ve seen enough famous models pass me in the street here in London over the years; Kate Moss and Lily Cole and a strew of lingerie models, and I can tell you, Photoshop or no Photoshop, they still look as stunning and slender as in their expansive portfolios. They exist and therefore they are real.

So please, can we stop referring to women as ‘real’ or ‘not’? Because last time I checked, it was definition enough to be a real woman purely to exist in all our fleshy goodness and to have no dangly bits between our legs… etc.

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If Only: Outfit of the Day 1#

Like most girls, I have for years enjoyed wasting hours of precious time on various Fashion blogs, or perusing Lookbook.nu, perusing with green-eyed envy the carefully styled outfits of the globe’s most glamorous bloggers, photographers, models, students, graduates, interns and general ‘average Joe-anne’s; those in the same boat, it seems on the surface, as myself, (recent graduate, recently moved to London, pushing, like everyone else, for that big career break), and yet they are magically able to somehow afford what constantly appears to be immaculately designed, sweeping white-walled apartments and bottomless Narnia wardrobes.

I know that bloggers carefully design their public persona. Some may spend a week completely redesigning their entire work area simple for a quick ‘what’s on my desk’ post, while others swap and borrow from a long list of friend and family members’ wardrobes in order to constantly appear to have been on the shopping spree of the century. The more well-known bloggers may get sent free stuff, or take home goodie-bags from a range of events that their magical spot of the internet grants them access to.

These past few months, I’ve fallen in love with blogging, in the same way that I love my photography. It’s become very much a part of who I want to be, professionally… though I’m still figuring out the logistics of that. However, I do not have an immaculately designed, sweeping white-walled apartments, nor do I have bottomless Narnia wardrobes. I moved here to London in June, with one 10KG, carry-on sized suitcase… partly because I did not realise at the time that I would actually be moving to London, rather than simply passing through on my travels… that decision rather hit me like a ton of bricks. Therefore, 90% of my wardrobe remains locked away in my Dad’s spare bedroom in Derbyshire, waiting for my return. Not to mention that last summer, I decided in a stubborn fit of nomadic wanderlust that I would be living indefinitely out of that same suitcase, and so I had the clear out to end all clear outs. Yes, yes, I know. Silly, silly me. My wardrobe is calling to be built back up to its former glory of all colours, all fabrics, all designers.

Hard to do when you find that you’ve suddenly (a madly, willingly) gone from the luxury of nomadic travel, in all of its rent-free, bill-free, other-‘settler’-related-bills-and-taxes-free glory, to… rent, bills, other-‘settler’-related-bills-and-taxes. I find myself constantly asking where my money has disappeared to, checking my bank statements in a panic, convinced that I’ve been robbed, only to realise, ah, of course… it was rent day yesterday.

It’s been a shock to the system, to say the least. The past twelve months have spoiled me. However, from this came the ‘If Only’ series; an insight into my personal fantasy land, where I can live a-la-Sabrina-the-teenage-witch (you remember? She wore a completely fresh outfit everyday with a zap of her finger, because she could), and wear whatever I want; a completely fresh outfit everyday. Go on, indulge me. It will be so much more interesting than anything in my actual wardrobe.

11-Aug

1. Kate Moss for Topshop Jumpsuit. £90 £50. Available here.

2. Valentino Embellished Suede Cape. £10,440 £6264 . Available here.

3. Guiseppe Zanotti Fish Embellished Sandals. £640. Available here.

4. Reed Krakoff ‘Mini’ Atlantique Tote. Available here.

5. Love Moi Black Gold Triangle Statement Necklace. £17. Available here.

6. Links of London Diamond-cut chain necklace. £110. Available here.

7. Assad Mounser Swarovski Crystal Chain Necklace. £400. Available here.

8. Venna Crystal Pendant Spike Chain Necklace. £485. Available here.

9. Venna Crystal Spike Pearl Necklace. £435. Available here.

(7, 8 and 9 twisted, twined, quite possible taken apart entirely and worn, reassembled, as bracelets)

10. My Flash Trash Bronze Six Grill Ring. £48. Available here.

11. Saint Laurent D-Frame Acetate Mirror Sunglasses. £195. Available here.

12. Alexander McQueen Resin Skull-Handle Collapsible Umbrella. £330. Available here.

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Kate Moss for Topshop

Everyone with an even remotely fashion-minded blog is talking about Kate Moss’ new Topshop collection, and of course, I felt it only right that I join in. It’s been eagerly awaited since it’s announcement last year… probably longer in fact, as I think many die-hard fans have spent the last three and a half years with cramping crossed fingers for a return of their favourite fashion model-slash-designer. Thinking about it… has it really been seven years since her first Topshop collaboration??

One thing that I have noticed, however, is that my personal ‘top picks’ from her long awaited new collection, seem to differ from the top picks of most bloggers. It is a gorgeous collection, for sure, but no matter how many fashionista models or designers try to persuade me otherwise, I won’t be joining in with 2014’s cow girl trend. Not even Chanel can convince me otherwise. Nor am I a fan of seventies inspired fashion. I’m just not one for fringe.

Kate Moss Topshop collection 2014 preview

Kate Moss Topshop collection 2014 campaign

Nevertheless, it is a stunning collection, and no doubt it will remain on rails for all of five seconds. I think I’ll have to avoid Topshop for a while unless I wish to be trampled to death. I’ll stick to online shopping for my favourites. Maybe I can just about squeeze the gorgeous black jumpsuit into my suitcase.

My Topshop Top Picks:

Also, who was the photographer for her collection?? Brilliant.

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