Wilkinson

CW: Body shaming

Don’t tell me you haven’t heard these words uttered time and time again, as each year we approach British summer time: “Are you beach ready?” and “Are you ready down there?” They’re usually heard alongside smiley women with perfect hair, smiles and, let’s not forget, “body confidence”. If you haven’t, I’ll assume you’ve been living under a rock for some time. Otherwise, you’ll have been exposed to the idea that you must be bikini ready by Wilkinson’s colourful display of ads.

Illustration of a Bikini on sandy beach

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.