A Women’s Best Friend Part One: Standing up for friends

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In the media dogs have not had a great time: with reports of dog attacks, the branding of certain dogs as dangerous breeds and the demonization of their species, over the past few decades. Once described as man’s best friend these creatures have found themselves slowly becoming ostracized from society by humans, with many being abandoned, put down and left to become aggressive. So who will come to these canines’ rescue? How about women?

Growing up I made a lot of assumptions of how humans view dogs, believing that the rest of humanity viewed them in the same way I did. Not once in my childhood did I see dogs as aggressive, only as protective; never as dangerous, only as powerful; never as monsters, only as friends (and some of them as jack asses). It also never in a million years crossed my mind that my gender would be a problem when it came to owning a dog. Growing up with and around powerful breeds, I never thought being a girl would disqualify me from owning one of these breeds. However as an adult not only have I been warned against adopting powerful breeds, due to the fact that as a woman, I would be too weak to control one. I have also been told quite frankly that as a woman, I should never own a dog, as woman can never really train any dog without a man.

In these collections of articles, I want to put my argument forward as to why women (without male supervision) not only should adopt dogs, but also why women should consider adopting some of the more powerful breeds. I also want to  set the record straight about the myths about breeds, why some dogs become aggressive,  and how it can easily be prevented. Dogs can bring so much to a human’s life, why can’t they be our best friend too?

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Women and Weight Part three: The Return of a Menace

There have been many famous diets over the years from the cookie dough diet to the cabbage one. All promising a perfect physique if you only cut out this or that certain food group. And that’s all diets are, a promise.

The majority of diets that have passed have been mostly harmless and a lot have been laughable. Then there have been some which are so dangerous that they make me as a human being psychotic with rage. Why, you ask? What diet could possibly be so bad? I’ll tell you. The tapeworm diet.

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Beef tapeworm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The diet first became popular in the Victorian era, when having a tiny waist was the ideal of beauty. It involves the ingestion of tapeworms. Back then young women who wanted the perfect figure would eat raw meat in the hope of getting a tapeworm, which would grow and eat them from the inside out, leaving the women thin and free to eat whatever they wanted and not worry about their expanding waist.

Of course ingesting a tapeworm would and did leave to such side effects as:

  • Malnutrition
  • Intestinal blockage
  • The formation of cysts in the liver, eyes, brain and spinal cord with potentially lethal consequences

However time passed and the need to have a size zero waist went, along with the tapeworm diet, thank God. But lo and behold as the need to be skinny came to be the new obsession of our society so returned the tapeworm diet. Now however, instead of eating raw meat women are illegally importing tapeworms found in cattle and ingesting them in order to be thin.

This of course is a seriously dangerous diet and if tapeworms are digested and left to grow, it will take more than a few worming tablets to get rid of them. And no- having a mars bar waved near your ass will not get rid of this deadly parasite.

But what makes things worse is when I went online to research this deadly and illegal form of dieting. While there were articles not exactly recommending the diet, there were a lot of websites telling people where to get these parasites and highlighting all the weight you could lose from this diet.

This writer, however, strongly recommends, no begs you not to do this diet. Unless shitting out a thirty foot tapeworm is your idea of a good Saturday afternoon.

Women and Weight Part 2: Why do we do this to ourselves?

It’s funny what women will do if it’s fashionable–and damn we have done some pretty weird stuff in the pursuit of beauty. Whether it’s plucking off all our eyelashes and eyebrows in the 18th century or wearing rib-braking corsets in the 19th century will do it for beauty. Each century brings about a new ideal of beauty and new extremes of how to get there. The latest fixation of the past 30 years has been weight i.e the need to be thin. Weight is consistently in the news whether it is about skinny celebrities or the obesity crisis; our society is obsessed.

This obsession has caused major repercussions within our society in the form of eating disorders, mental illness and even death among the western world, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Every trend in fashion has been exactly that – a trend. So sit back and be amazed at the dumb things we as a race have done to ourselves in the name of beauty.

HEAD BINDING

Head binding is found amongst a huge variety of ancient civilisation, but it is most well known with the connection with the Maya’s. Head binding or ‘Artificial cranial deformation’ was a trend of both genders. It was done by distorting the normal growth of a child’s skull by applying force, normally around month after birth till the child was six months old. A child’s head would be placed in-between two pieces of wood which would be bound with a cloth in order to get the desired shape. The reason for these shaping was that they wanted their children to look like their gods heads which they thought was beautiful.

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FEET BINDING

Foot binding also known as “Lotus feet”, is a custom from China, which is a painful process of applying tight bindings to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. Small feet where seen as a feminine trait and seen as very beautiful in China. To the point it was thought hard for a women to find a husband if she had large feet.

Foot binding became even more popular as a means of displaying status (as women from wealthy families who did not need them to work, could afford to have their feet bound) it was soon adopted as a symbol of beauty across Chinese culture.

The foot binding process was undergone purely by young girl aged between 4-7 years old. It began by soaking the young child’s feet in warm water or animal blood with added herbs. After soaking the feet, the girl’s toe nails were to be clipped short and given a foot massage (sound’s okay so far). Next, every toe would be broken except for the big toe. Due the fact the big toe contributes a lot to balance. Then the foot was wrapped with cloth. Every day, or every couple of days, the foot would be unwrapped and wrapped again; the girl was put into smaller shoes until their foot was about 4 inches long.

Despite people trying to ban foot biding all the way back in 1664, it was not until the early 20th century that foot binding began to finally die out, due to changing social conditions and as a result of anti-foot binding campaigns. Foot-binding resulted in lifelong disabilities for most of those subjected to it, and some elderly Chinese women still survive today, with disabilities related to their bound feet.

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HAIR REMOVAL

Most women today remove some form of hair whether it’s shaving their legs or plucking their mono-brow into shape. But would you believe it that women once plucked out all of their eyebrows!!! Okay, okay maybe after watching Educating Yorkshire that is very easy to believe.

However during the Middle Ages, even until the 18th century, eyelashes were not in style. Yes eyelashes! Women during this time women removed eyelashes and eyebrows in order to give more importance to the forehead, (so they didn’t even draw them back on) which was seen as one of the most beautiful features of a women’s face.

Women were not supposed to exhibit any of their hair in public, not their eyelashes, eyebrows or hair on their heads. This was due to the fact that the Catholic Church condemned women who dared show hair as an offense to God and the church, and as a sin.

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FACE TATTOOING

In Burma’s hilly Chin province, women have had full-facial tattoos for generations. It is a cultural tradition, a rite of passage and for many a sign of beauty, strength and pride.

The practice was believed to have begun a long time ago, when the kings in Burma found out about the beauty of Chin women and teenagers. These kings began kidnapping the village’s women, they would come into the village and basically pick out the women they wanted before then take them away. In response to that, the village elders (who were women) started tattooing the girls as a measure against the king’s actions. It was a form of rebellion, a way to steal their young daughter’s beauty: a sacrifices they felt necessary in order to protect them from abduction and much worse.

Although it was once something to make them ugly, over time these women became to view themselves as beautiful. It soon became came a symbol of strength and of feminine beauty. With different tribes having different patterns, women with tattooed faces became a symbol of pride for the Chin. Promoting a positive view of Chin women among the tribes as being not only beautiful but also tough.

This practice has started to die out due to the fact that it is no longer needed and is a painful process that the village elders do not wish young girls to go through. Especially if all it will do now days is alienate their daughters from the outside world.

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CORSET

During the Victorian period, the ideal figure for a woman to have an hourglass figure. It soon became mandatory for all British women to wear corsets to get the figure. With women who did not wear these corsets were branded loose women, with loose morals. However, there was every reason not to wear corsets, as they were death traps. Corsets where known to break ribs or put so much pressure on the ribs they indented some of the internal organs. They caused women to pass out, have miscarriages and die.

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WHAT WOMEN DO TODAY

I know what you’re thinking. Well that’s all in the past how silly where those women but still to this day women are mutilating their bodies for beauty. You only have to go and look online to see the millions of fad diets or watch TV to see all the women pinned back and tucked into an inch of their life. It all looks so painless, so easy. I mean, a face lift will only set you back a couple of grand nowadays and with all the new painkiller medication you will barely feel the three month headache. What’s a three month headache when you have your face cut off and stabled on again?

So what if all these diets cause malnutrition, really what side effects could these diets cause to the body? Well apart from feeling tired all the time and lacking energy, taking a long time to recover from infections, delayed wound healing, irritability, poor concentration, finding it hard to keep warm, persistent diarrhoea, depression, abnormal blood counts, elevated liver enzymes, seizure, brittle nails, hair that thins, breaks or falls out, absence of menstruation, dry skin, irregular heart rhythms, low blood pressure, dehydration. But at least women are thin.

At the end of it all, women have done a lot of things to their bodies over the years, most of which have been painful and unhealthy. Most of which is not seen as smart or beautiful in today’s standards. All of which have been phases, trends that have died out and were brought about by crisis, pressure or the need to be beautiful.  So will the need to be thin die out? Yes. Will people stop starving themselves and throwing up after every meal? Eventually.

What We Love this Week… Sexy Ghosts!

Halloween is just around the corner. Yaaay! It’s the time of year we can all get together and watch scary movies, eat buckets full of sweets and dress up as monsters. What’s not to love about halloween. But unfortunately for women, as each year comes back around, the costumes seem to get less scary and more well… slutty. Slutty cat, sexy witch, slutty pumpkins . Fear not, for we have stumbled across the slutty ghost! So if you don’t know what to go as this year, you do now!

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Women and Weight: The Media’s Obsession

The media is obsessed with weight, making a fetish out of fat and feeding. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing endless shows shaming society into be thin such as Fat Families, I Used to be Fat and Supersized vs. Super Skinny. Whilst at the same time, another form of show has become very popular—cooking shows, such as Come Dine With Me, Master Chef and The Great British Bake Off. If you’re not at home watching the news on the latest figures on obesity, you’re reading the latest magazine diet trend followed by celebrities. It’s impossible to escape the need to be thin.

What kind of effect can such an obsession really have on the society? Apart from 165,000 people who have eating disorders in the UK alone and the millions paid to the diet companies in the hope of being a malnourished size zero. This obsession with weight is a constant threat to women in the media and their careers, with women in the spotlight being publicly humiliated for putting on a few pounds over Christmas and some losing their mental wellbeing over this perception of beauty.

Despite there being plenty of men in the news business who are considered overweight, Jennifer Livingston, a Wisconsin television anchor-woman, received an e-mail titled ‘Community Responsibility’. It was from a man who was ‘worried’ about having a large woman on TV and the impact it would do to young children, especially girls. It’s as if the excess weight she was carrying would seep through the TV screen and infect them, or that by seeing a larger woman, children everywhere would suddenly start uncontrollably eating. Fortunately, she hit back at this man, proclaiming that she knew very well she had a weight problem, but she would not stand down to this type of bullying. She carried on to say that she could brush off such comments, but worried about children who didn’t know how to do the same.

“To all of the children out there who feel lost, who are struggling with your weight, with the colour of your skin, your sexual preference, your disability, even the acne on your face, listen to me right now: Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies. Learn from my experience — that the cruel words of one are nothing compared to the shouts of many,” she said on the air.

But it doesn’t stop there. Good Morning America’s, Tory Johnson, wrote a piece recalling the subtle but unmistakable way she was pressured into losing weight in order to keep her job. Johnson was worried that she’d be fired on the spot after gaining weight. Instead, her superior offered to introduce her to a wardrobe stylist before then slyly added, “I feel much better when I work out.”

Johnson stated that not once was she called fat, or told to lose weight, or had it hinted that her job was in jeopardy. The words “fat,” “overweight” or “obese” never came up, but what she did gather from the meeting with her boss was, “Lose weight, or lose your job.”

With the media’s fetish for weight and its worship of the perfect figure (whatever that is) it has let weight discrimination continue to be acceptable and all too common in our lives. It targets both genders and is now even causing a growing number of men to gain eating disorders. However, it still to this day is mainly a woman’s issue and has become just another way to discriminate against women.

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