Blog Bites: September Reflection

With all my recent posts, I feel like it is time to just cool things down and take some time to reflect on just life. September is drawing to a close and I feel like it’s just a cool thing being able to look back and see how far you’ve come in a space of the month. So sorry if you don’t like these personal type of posts because this basically going to be all about me. Having said that,if you want something a bit more political or what not you can wait for my Friday post or read last weeks post about Cultural Appropriation.

So… September… What have I done?

Well… when you put me on the spot, I’m actually having some difficulty to remember. I usually take each day at a time so I fail to remember everything I have done as a collective. I will try and recollect some memories and throw out whatever comes to mind

  1. I started Year 13 – OMG!!! I still can’t believe that I am in my final year of school. Typing that seems weird. It’s a similar feeling to how I felt in Year 11 but maybe not as nostalgic. With secondary school, I was saying goodbye to 5 years of my life whereas my current school has only been 2. After this I will be moving on to University and endeavouring another huge milestone of my life. One chapter of my life is closing and another is soon to begin; I’m not afraid of that but excited for it. Moving to another school has helped me with that because it has allowed me to get used to change and adapt to new environments. Additionally, I have noticed that I have become a lot more engaged with my work.
  2. University applications – Erghhh… growing up = responsibility and this is one of them. The university application process has been a roller coaster of a process which has challenged me both physically and mentally. However, because of this, I have been able to grow as a person (I might elaborate on this more in another post).
  3. Motivation! – One reason why I wrote my Motivation post last week was because I understand the difficulty in motivating yourself and keeping on top of things in school. I’m not going to lie and say I have been perfectly motivated since the beginning of the month, BUT, I can truly say that I have seen an improvement. For example, my procrastination has moved from an A* to probably a C (there’s still more improvement to go though) and that’s because I have been more focused and keen with school! I am really proud at how I can basically complete most of my homework relatively on time and that’s wayyyyy better than last year!

This may have been a bit longer than I expected… Sorry but once you start reminiscing you can’t stop!

P.S My life isn’t as boring as you think – I have done a lot more than I highlighted above I’ve just forgotten (this will improve over time)!

Haddy x

Featured Image Source: Time and date

Cultural Appropriation: Marc Jacobs and Dreadlocks

I always found Cultural Appropriation to be a topic that is highly controversial and quite scary to discuss. However, today I just couldn’t stay quiet. I have always been scared to discuss my opinions on this matter, but when I heard about the Marc Jacobs and Dreadlocks situation, I just had to vent my frustration.

For those of you who may not know, this season is home to multiple Fashion Weeks across the world.Whether it is from my blog, YouTube video or window shopping in Oxford Street, I have always loved fashion. One day, I hope that I will be able to watch the shows in fashion week and see all the amazing work by such creative designers. One of these designers, for example, is Marc Jacobs. With such talented designs, his brand and work is iconic. So when I saw a video about his show on NowThis Entertainment I was more than happy to watch. However the caption of the video got me the most: “Hey Marc Jacobs, dreadlocks on white models was probably not a good idea.” As soon I read that, things began to take a turn for the worse.

Basically, the video demonstrates the backlash Marc Jacobs has been facing for featuring white models wearing faux dreadlocks in his latest fashion show.

Initially, I  just felt like “here we go again…another Cultural Appropriation issue” because I have literally reached a point where I am just too frustrated to care. However, when I kept watching the video and researching about this issue, I just found myself getting even more angry. I am not the sort of person who gets angry very easily so when I do get angry it takes something big to do that. Not only were the comments I read beneath the video quite disgusting and ignorant but it was the fact that STILL in 2016 people don’t understand why people are so frustrated! One of those people being Marc Jacobs himself.

Image result for marc jacobs and dreadlocks

Source: The Mirror

Whilst reading the Mirror article: Marc Jacobs defends using dreadlocks in fashion show featuring Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner after sparking row, it mentioned Marc Jacobs response to the backlash. He stated:

Image result for marc jacobs and dreadlocks

Source: Refinery 29

“All who cry “cultural appropriation” or whatever nonsense about any race or skin color wearing their hair in any particular style or manner – funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair.

“I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see colour or race – I see people. I’m sorry to read that so many people are so narrow minded… Love is the answer.

“Appreciation of all and inspiration from anywhere is a beautiful thing.”

This whole entire argument is in no way justified for what he has done. It’s clear to me that he doesn’t understand the concept of ‘Cultural Appropriation’ and he doesn’t seem to care. As a matter of fact, on his Instagram page he has just been sharing articles which argue that what he has done isn’t wrong and “Cultural Appropriation” isn’t a ‘big deal.’ Moreover, on his Facebook page he has just been sharing images of the show and made no additional comments which clearly shows how little he cares about the situation.

  1. First of all he states:  “funny how you don’t criticize women of color for straightening their hair.”

Well Mr Jacobs, if we take a little trip down memory lane to a period called slavery, maybe I can give you a little insight to why many women of colour (WOC) straighten their hair. During the slave trade, WOC (black people in particular) were ridiculed for their Afro-centric features i.e. dark skin, big lips and natural hair. Natural hair has collected numerous insults some more direct e.g. ‘nappy hair’ but other more subtle suggesting that natural hair isn’t ‘tidy’.

Dreadlocks usually occur when natural hair (which is of curly kinky texture), begins to lock in to place. Back in the day, hair tools such as comb and brushes were not readily available so this was just a natural thing to occur. As a matter of fact it collected the term ‘Dread’locks because people were actually scared of it’s appearance. Consequently, such hairstyles were usually frowned upon. In order for a slave to SURVIVE, it was better to look more white/Caucasian. Thus, over the years the creative protective styles from the various tribes of Africa soon became a part of history. Consequently, straighter hair wasn’t a choice simply from desire but a choice to SURVIVE! Unfortunately, this is still a part of our society today where certain institutions such as schools and the working environment still dismiss natural hair. For example, in South Africa where black girls protested against having their hair straightened.

So Mr Jacobs, it is very easy to point the finger to sway the blame but actually addressing the issue at heart is the tricky part!

2. Secondly he also claims that: “I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see colour or race”

Very funny you should say that Mr Jacobs because I can’t see any colour either from your fashion shows. Out of all the multiple designs you would like to present I find it interesting how I don’t see many Asian people or black people also gracing the stage. I mean what is so wrong with some colour? Do we not fit your aesthetic? Does our skin colour not work well with your design?

I find it quite difficult to believe that you can argue that “Appreciation of all and inspiration from anywhere is a beautiful thing.” because I don’t see you appreciating it that much. From what I gather, you only perceive other cultures as  beautiful when they come from a white person. Maybe you should take the time to practise what you preach by actually sharing “love” for all cultures by displaying all cultures on the catwalk (not just on a white person).

The thing that frustrates me the most, is the fact that you are capitalising on something inherent to another persons culture and that is really offensive. Especially because in this current day and age, I still can’t go anywhere without having to ‘whiten’ my appearance in order to be accepted. It’s funny how although slavery has ended, the mentality of it still prevails. To be specific, we still see other cultures being treated as inferior to the white culture. If he really wanted to appreciate dreadlocks then he should have featured a black model which actually has REAL dreadlocks on her head.

I know this piece is very different from what I usually write but I thought it was important to share my opinions. Please feel free to share yours below!!! If you still don’t understand ‘Cultural Appropriation’ I will be writing a post about it soon so look out for my upcoming posts!

Featured Image Source: The Guardian

Blog Bites: School Motivation

Hey guys!!! I’m back again with another edition of blog bites. The first edition went well so I look forward to what may come. Today I am going to be talking about all things SCHOOL related. I know…*YAWN* but hear me out. Today I am specifically trying to motivate us all to get through this year. Besides, this advice is basically applicable to all aspects of life.

Year 13. A very daunting year for me to conquer. On paper it looks great but in practice I am overwhelmed by the constant homework, revision and post sixth form prep that I just want to SCREAM!!!

Okay finally. I’ve let it out.

Now that the anger and frustration is gone, I can start thinking rationally. So what is my current situation:

  • A2 Exams
  • University applications
  • Homework
  • Revision
  • STRESS

Yes. You guys are not alone. Just like you I have a lot of things to worry and that scares me. Last year I spent too much time getting too comfortable getting used to my new atmosphere and that’s just something I can’t afford to do again. BUT… How can I stop myself from reverting back?

Well… that’s where MOTIVATION kicks in!

It can be quite difficult to motivate yourself to work. How do I know? Because I suffer from motivation-deficiency quite regularly, but that’s okay. I mean who loves school 24/7? Regardless, we have to start by changing our mentality. Revision and studies shouldn’t be something that we NEED to do but something we WANT to do! As the old saying goes “Times goes by when you’re having fun.” So make your work something fun, something that you look forward to doing. Whether it’s by watching videos, creating posters or teaching your friends. Make things interactive so you don’t fall asleep!

Also, set short term targets to achieve long term goals. There will be many hurdles in your way but once you overcome them, you can cross the finishing line with ease.  You do you and work at your own pace (just don’t take too long because that was my mistake last year). People get so overwhelmed by the stress and pressure of exams but if you realise that life is more than a piece of paper then I am sure you will relish at every challenge that comes your way!

Featured Image: Plus Quotes

I’m not excited for a female prime minister or president 

During the creation of my blog, I have always emphasised that I will discuss controversial topics and opinions.Consequently, with the timing of the US Presidential election closing in, this would be a great opportunity to exploit that.

As you may or may not know, Theresa May is the 2nd female prime minister in the UK and there are also high hopes that across the ocean Hilary Clinton will join this surge of female empowerment in becoming possibly the first female president of the US.

One one hand, you could argue that this is a great opportunity for women. Hilary Clinton is leading the way and highlighting how much women have progressed. To think women didn’t have the right to vote and now we are facing the prospects of having our first female president is crazy.

However, this argument feels like the sugar coated truth. Many of us wish that Hillary Clinton would be leading the path for women and changing attitudes but frankly she’s not. Looking at the circumstances, a lot of the arguments in favour of her presidency are so we can avoid a Trump-ency. I love Michelle Obama to bits but her speech in the convention (as amazing as it was) has subtle references to Donald Trump. With those references she basically highlights that we are more safe with Clinton as POTUS. However, this argument simply shows the comparative advantage of voting for Clinton – not getting Trump. Where do we learn about the actual argument FOR CLINTON?

Image result for michelle obama convention speech

Source: CNBC

Throughout this campaign – as much as I hate Trump I know what his policies are or what they generally consist of. On the other hand, the arguments for Clinton generally seen to be summarised as “shes better than Trump and she’s female”. This is a very dangerous game because as proven in the EU referendum, it could have an adverse effect. The Leave campaign had a clear message. They used propaganda to constantly relay messages about immigration and the NHS. However, the Remain campaign didn’t have such a strong argument since they constantly targeted the flaws of the leave campaign and reiterated how we were safer to stay. This makes a broad debate become binary.

Had there been a Clinton vs Sanders presidency contest, I believe things would be very different. I don’t want to vote for a woman because she is a woman. I want to vote for her because of the policies she intends to implement. However in America, I believe merit isn’t the reason why you win elections – its personality. Its all about people politics.

Image result for clinton vs sanders vs trump

Source: Politics USA

 

As much as I hate to admit it – its like raising the argument that one reason why Obama received a high turnout of votes was simply because he is black. It is definitely frustrating how oppressed groups in society will always get this ‘you only got this because you are… ‘ ticket.Therefore, in decades to come, when people ask why Obama became president, or why Clinton could be president we can’t avoid referring back to this blanket statement of ‘its because he’s black’ ‘its because she is female’.

Although the conservative party had a leadership contest for Theresa May’s  premiership it was only the conservatives who voted. So as a country we can’t say we voted for Theresa May. Neither can she say that she won the confidence of the people  whereas Margaret thatcher can. This is another example of how collectively, the country hasn’t voted for a female prime minister and how circumstance has affected the reasons for her premiership.

“But what if we do have two powerful female leaders? It doesn’t matter how they get there, what matters is what they do.”

Again this is a reasonable argument, however, I don’t see either women shouting out #TeamFeminist any time soon. If they haven’t done much for women before their roles, what stops them from not doing anything when they get them?

As a first lady, Michelle Obama had female empowerment written all over her. If there is anything that I will remember about her is that she didn’t let her husbands position overshadow her. In fact she at times overshadowed him because she made a name for herself by remaining authentic to her role. You knew she had a drive for gender equality and female rights. She went beyond her way to ensure that she fought for that.Consequently, after she leaves the white house she won’t be remembered simply because she is the first black FLOTUS!

Having said that there is a possibility that these two women may also do the same thing. They may have/ get voted for because they are women but when they finish their job they get remembered for their merit and the work they’ve done. I’m hoping this is the case however I’m not so optimistic.

Featured Image Source: Telegraph

 

Blog Bites: Are you masculine enough?

Hey everyone, EID MUBARAK!!! I hope you are all well and good.Looking through my blog I have noticed that I haven’t written an Eid related post. Very weird! It would have been a great way to start my Blog Bites series.Regardless, don’t be too disappointed because this blog will soon have a taste of Eid Insha’Allah!

Anyway, time for a quick update.I have decided that I want to start writing mini blog posts for those days where you want to read a quick and detailed post about a particular issue. Not only are they easy for you but also for me when I don’t have enough time to write a huge full on article. Moreover, they allow me to get a sense of what you want to read so I can write more about topics you enjoy reading and I enjoy writing. So look for ‘Blog Bites’ in the title if you want to read a short and sweet piece.

During the summer holidays, I had work experience at Good Business and I was able to write a piece for their weekly newsletter called ‘Friday 5’. To read some more interesting short pieces click here! Otherwise, I hope you enjoy reading this piece and feel free to discuss your opinions in the comments.

Teenage boys are affected by body confidence issues just as much as girls are but often have less access to support, a recent survey shows. 55% of the 18-year-old boys asked had considered changing their diet in order to gain a ‘better body’ and most felt that issues such as eating disorders, dieting, and extreme exercising were relevant to both boys and girls. While magazine spreads featuring women are generally assumed to be photo shopped, advertisements from well-known brands such as Calvin Klein that feature muscular men also set impossible standards for how men should look and are routinely airbrushed, yet there are lower levels of awareness about how these images are altered to represent an unachievable ideal. To address this issue, pressures need to be discussed openly, however societal expectations for how men should display emotion mean that boys are less likely to talk about their worries, making it hard to offer support or even gage the prevalence of body image issues amongst them. This is equally true of mental health issues, and ‘Release the Pressure’, our recent suicide-prevention campaign for Kent County Council, reacted to this by encouraging men to call a hotline and open up about the causes of stress and pressure in their life.

Feature image source: Ad Week