‘The Girls’ – Short Review By Musical-Hating Feminist

At the weekend I went to the theatre with my girlfriend and some friends to watch the production of The Girls, a new musical produced by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth and based on the hit Calendar Girls.

Although I haven’t seen Calendar Girls I know the overall story plot yet I was still unsure of what to expect. I’m not a fan of musicals and, if I am completely honest,  I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the performance very much. However I was pleasantly surprised. The cast were all excellent and the plot was moving, funny and, in my opinion, surprisingly feminist.

I won’t spoil the play for anyone who is planning on seeing it (I would definitely recommend it, by the way) but I will say that the way the female characters rally around one another and offer heaps of support in light of the events was truly refreshing to see.

The women work through their differences and begin to encourage and empower one another as the play progresses. The way we see these female characters build one another up is in stark contrast to the negative portrayal of women as bitchy, jealous characters that has become all too common.

In addition to the overall feel of a sisterhood that was portrayed in The Girls each character had their own message to give to the audience and two of these really stood out to me.

The first was one character who admitted she had previously had cosmetic surgery and spoke out saying she refused to be ashamed by it.  The character acknowledges that it is her body and her choice and states she will not be made to feel inferior to the other women because of her decision to change a part of her body she did not love.

She believes all women have the right to love their physical appearance, (I second that) and if that means they have to resort to cosmetic surgery then so be it.

The second character who really struck me was the oldest of the group who decided to take part in making the calendar despite people suggesting she shouldn’t due to her age.

She shocked everyone by going through with it and demonstrating that women of all ages are beautiful and that we should not be ashamed of our physical appearance simply because we have gotten a little older.

Despite my initial thoughts regarding the play I thoroughly enjoyed it and took a few little pearls of wisdom home with me. I left the theatre feeling uplifted and quite moved by the blatant display of girl power that I had just witnessed.

 

Image by The Girls Musical Official Website

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You’d Be Prettier If You Smiled

A lot of stuff has been circulating recently about women who have spoken out about random men approaching them and telling them to “smile.”

I must confess that it made me quite happy to see other women sharing their views on it as I was starting to think I was the only one it annoyed.

I’m not naive enough to think I was the only person that it happened to but I was starting to question whether I was overreacting and just hating on men for making friendly remarks.

Like the women who have spoken out about this before me, I will make a point of saying that it only seems to be a small minority of men who engage in this bizarre activity and the vast amount of the male population probably aren’t even aware that this is a problem.

But it is.

Every woman has experienced it. One minute she is simply walking down the street completely lost in thoughts about what she could eat when she gets home and the next thing she knows she has been waylaid by a random man telling her to “smile.”

When this happens to me a few responses tend to run through my head, most of which include the word “fuck.” Who the hell are these men popping up out of nowhere telling women what to do with their faces?

I have received a few variations of this command. Some men simply tell me to just smile in general, others ask me to give them a smile and, infuriatingly, some talk about how smiling would make me prettier.

Newsflash: It isn’t my sole aim in life to be pretty. In fact, that isn’t actually an aim of mine at all.

For all these people know I could be on my way to a funeral yet they are still commenting on the fact I don’t walk around looking like Cinderella in her transformation photos.

We are not Disney princesses wandering around grinning in awe of the beauty of the world around us. We are human beings with our heads bowed trying to avoid the pentrating gaze and comments from random men who are, as usual, attempting to tell us what to do.

This woman hit the nail on the head for me when she stated:

“It may sound extreme, but it reminds me of a dog owner telling his pet to perform a trick.”

It seems that amidst various arguments about us having reached sexual equality and how there is no longer a need for feminism, women are still being treated like little dolls that exist solely for male pleasure.

Trying to extract a smile from us is a way of trying to regulate the physical appearance of women and, in my book, is just another way that men, (admittedly not all of them), have of trying to control the female body.

 

Image by Daniel Lobo via Flickr under this Creative Commons License.

Come On Cameron

syria fb

Image from the Unilad Facebook page

I’m sure by now everyone is aware that the UK, ( or should I say David Cameron), has made the decision to bomb Syria under the pretence that it is Britain’s “moral and military duty to attack Islamic State.”

He firmly feels that if we did not potentially blow thousands of unsuspecting people up then we would “betray British Muslims,” because, quite bizarrely, Cameron thinks this is not only the best defence of our country but also the best “defence of Islam,” a peaceful religion.

I don’t like David Cameron but I still don’t want my opinion of him to result in me automatically being against anything he thinks is a good idea. However with that being said, I cannot help but feel as though the argument that he put forward in favour of the airstrike was simply a mish mash of statements designed to confuse and scare the audience of MPs into voting to launch an attack. By no means did it seem like a rational argument.

Cameron seemed to rely heavily on propaganda and implied that those voting against the airstrike were being unpatriotic and going against the best interests of the UK. He even demonstrated how much of a douche he really is by labelling those who disagreed with him as a “bunch of terrorist sympathisers.”

So just to clarify, in Cameron’s opinion those who DO NOT want to endanger innocent civilians are the bad guys.

Amongst the scare tactics that Cameron used in his speech were the Tunisia shootings that tragically took the lives of multiple British citizens. It certainly isn’t my intention to downplay this horrific incident, however, after Cameron stated that this attack was “inspired” by ISIS I cannot help but feel as though he embellished and utilised this attack as propaganda to fight his cause.

Cameron also implied other plots had been uncovered and  told the room that these terrorists have “plotted atrocity after atrocity on the streets here at home,” and are “waiting to kill British people” yet provided no examples, leaving me somewhat sceptical of the existence of said plots.

I would hate to think that someone could embellish horrendous events and build on the fear the invoked to further their cause, however, I guess these are politicians we’re talking about here.

Image by Number 10 via Flickr under this Creative Commons License.