Look twice… Or why #stopthebeautymadness is more than it appears

I’ve written before about having the ability to create instant reactions to internet trends thanks to the freedom of working up-to-the-minute online.

zeroIt makes sense that this is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week enterprise, in that there are always parts of the world awake while we sleep, but then there are, mercifully, office hours and employment laws to save us from round-the-clock updating.

Suffice it to say, when there are internet events like the #stopthebeautymadness campaign, it’s a given that we’ll cover it in some way.

Truthfully, there is a wave of female-focussed advertising and campaigns around at the moment that give feminist pause. On the one hand, a strong message is a good thing. But on the other, are advertisers taking advantage of the zeitgeist to flog us face cream, shampoo and more?

Anyway, with #stopthebeautymadness, there’s no shady backstory, no hidden reason.

It’s just good sense for all of us.

Read the piece here, and read more about the campaign here.


Keep on keeping on… Or don’t let the Bastards get you down

Bravery comes all around us, but it’s surprising how much courage there is to be seen in the case of a single mother from Muslim Morocco.

mainRabha El Haimer was cut loose from a marriage which was never officially blessed – thus recognised – after two years of beatings and violence at the hands of her husband.

She was 16 years old when she arrived back at her parents’ place.

Cardiff-based Deborah Perkin made a film about Rabha to show the world what the remarkably forward-thinking country still considers appropriate treatment of women like Rabha, and her daughter Salma, labelled illegitimate and therefore unable to have a normal life within their own culture.

The anger, inspiration, emotion and joy of the film Bastards is a testament to the incredible strength of both Rabha and Deborah.

Read the piece here.

Making hard choices… Or the woman who wins over politics

Anyone who has grown up in the last two decades in much of the Western world must know hillswho Hillary Clinton is – and if you’re female, chances are your admiration for this astonishing woman’s power and strength is as sizeable as mine.

As it happens, there are politics that keep some of us apart from the former US Foreign Secretary, but the legend of the woman who would be the first female POTUS is such that for me, as for many, it’s a case of gender winning over political opinion.

Her raft of publicity interviews and in support of her autobiography Hard Choices gave UK viewers a chance to see the strident Clinton in more of a relaxed environment, which didn’t serve to diffuse her brilliance.

Watching her on The One Show and hearing her come head to head with Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour made for a study in excellence and decorum, whatever your gender.

But she never did reveal if she’s going to run for president in 2015.

Read my piece here.

Radio is cleaning up the nation… Or where are women’s voices on the airwaves?

With the news that BBC Radio Five Live was shedding female presenters came the understandable outrage.

Adrian-ChilesAfter all, these women, Victoria Derbyshire and Shelagh Fogarty, couldn’t have decided to leave the station of their own accord, could they?

In actuality, they might have, they might not – but when I wrote my column, I was less concerned with why – and much much more concerned with the fact that it was so.

The airwaves once humming with the dulcet tones of these two women were to see male replacements brought on.

In themselves, the new presenters Adrian Chiles, Dan Walker, Tony Livesey – all may be fantastic and I’m sure listeners will think so.

But I still hold a belief that there should be some balance between genders on a publicly-funded station, and I haven’t heard anything yet to change my mind.

Read the piece here.

A feminist perspective on advertising… Or why message is more important than method

The move towards working for digital platforms has brought interesting times for those who were formerly print journalists.

Being given the opportunity to respond speedily to an event is a new one for those of us who

Dakota is one of the #likeagirl campaign's real stars
Dakota is one of the #likeagirl campaign’s real stars

are used to waiting all week for a print date, and the global reach of the internet is exciting in that it gives an opportunity to write about ever more expansive things.

In that vein, I wrote a column for WalesOnline about the Always #likeagirl advert.

It’s an interesting one because it seems that, thanks to recent Dove and Pantene campaigns, advertisers really have cottoned on to the fact that women lap up positive messages about femininity, and they’re not afraid to exploit that for profit.

As a result, there are feminist messages about self acceptance, powerful women and confidence at any age proliferating the commercial world, much to the annoyance of left-leaning commenters with a dislike of capitalism.

In my view, perhaps it’s crass and exploitative that these messages are being peddled for profit – but isn’t it the message that’s the important thing?

Read the piece here.