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CW: Body shaming, diet talk

I remember when the heady days of summer meant something different. They meant Soleros and Calypsos from the newsagents, or Jubblies from the freezer at home. They meant factor 30 sun cream, thick and sticky and white, and cycle shorts in lime green and neon pink, and they meant staying out too late on your bike because the daylight made your Mum lose track of what time you had to be in. They meant being woken up at 3am to go on holiday in the Costa del Sol and returning sunburnt on a chilly English morning, shivering in your fringed white t-shirt (emblazoned with a Spanish map on the front). They meant paddling pools, home to dead flies and stray leaves and unbridled levels of joy, and barbecues where you could eat beef burgers without anyone butting in to tell you that they were horse.

As you can see, the heady days of summer for me only retained their true meaning in the early 90s, before I hit puberty. Once my buds became baps, summer gained new meaning. And that meaning was bullshit.

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CW: Sexual violence

More academic than Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman but by no means dry, Finn Mackay’s Radical Feminism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) offers an alternative to the plethora of humorous and heavily autobiographical texts on liberal feminism published lately. The book gives the uninitiated an overview of radical feminism – its ‘definition’, history, arguments, etc – with heavy focus on its Reclaim the Night movement, recently revived thanks to the hard work of many activists including author Finn Mackay.

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Have you, like me, spent the last twelve years mourning the loss of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Fear not. For I’ve compiled a list of my favourite TV shows, carefully researched over many hours, that you can delve into to get that feminist kick. Some are new, some are old, some will make you laugh and some will make you cry, but all are guaranteed to make you feel much better than the average rape-tastic Game of Thrones episode.

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CW: Plastic surgery

I woke one morning recently with a pretty bad hangover and staggered to the bathroom to inspect the damage. This usually consists of checking whether my eyes are gummed together with last night’s make-up, whether my fake eyelashes are stuck to my chin or whether I have transferred a hand-stamp to forehead. This time, however, there was something new. Beyond the usual mascara catastrophe or gin-fed pimples.

I had forehead wrinkles.

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CW: FGM, sexual violence, violence against women, abortion

Or, ‘A feminist overview of England’s main political parties in light of the upcoming election’.

The 2015 General Election is fast approaching and it’s best that we take a look at the parties now, before they begin making promises with the same level of desperation as a boyfriend who hears  you’re “going stay at your Mum’s for a bit and have a think.” Studies have shown that young women are currently much less likely to vote than their male equivalents, and we have to take action if we want a government that strives for gender equality.

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It’s safe to say that the trend over the past 100 years has been continuing progress in the sexual equality stakes (in England at least, and if you include progress that is, at times, frustratingly slow – basically, it’s a bit of a tenuous trend but let’s go with it while we’re feeling optimistic). Therefore, we can hope to expect good things in 2015. To move things along more quickly, let’s all agree to make some feminist new year resolutions, because it really doesn’t matter if you bite your fingernails.

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This is part of a series that covers our personal paths into feminism and/or why feminism matters to us. If you’d like to write a blog post on your discovery of feminism, please drop us an email!

I didn’t realise I was a feminist until University. I didn’t suddenly become a feminist. Once I realised that feminism wasn’t as big and scary (dare I say brutish?) as I’d always thought, and that actually it was all about equality and social ideas, I realised I’d been a feminist all along. And once I’d looked in the mirror and declared aloud that I was a feminist, life went back to relative normality.

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I was on a train recently and two women were sitting across from me. They didn’t know each other prior to the journey and I had the pleasure of watching them become friends over the hour. At first, they discussed their families (coincidentally, both were going to visit sick partners in hospital). By the end of the conversation, they were discussing the impact that beauty had on the way they perceived the world and were perceived by it. Watching these two intelligent women debate was fascinating, as one favoured the stance that it was harder to go through the world if you were less attractive and the other, if you were more. I tried not to eavesdrop on their private conversation but when issues of race and gender came into it, I was hooked. Then, in the corner of my eye, I noticed a man to my right trying to catch my attention. I looked over. He grinned, gestured to the women, then held up his hands, opening and closing them as if they were crab claws.

He’d called the women chatterboxes.