Friday, 30 September 2011

Charitable Shopper

When it comes to shopping, I am ashamed to admit that I posses absolutely all of the stereotypical female tendencies, most commonly: a love of shoes, a peculiar habit of trying on insane amounts of dresses (irregardless of having no intention of buying) and picking up anything that sparkles. Therefore my wardrobe is ever-growing, and nearly all of my wages go straight on a couple of t-shirts and maybe a necklace or two.

Goodness knows how much money I've spent in the last year on clothes, it would be no exaggeration however to say it was at least a thousand pounds. Yet do I honestly have a wardrobe to show for it? No I don't. Admittedly, but there are few exceptions to the rule of the highstreet: over-priced and bad quality. Yes, I got a few pieces this year which are simply gorgeous, as well as some everyday staples and a few hairbands, but most of it can only really be described as tat, which a coupe of other people always have anyway.

Then I discovered a wonderful place, where I can find jumpers and shirts almost identical to the ones I lust over in my favorite stores. I found a string of shops where I can get everything from genuine vintage pieces to high street outfits from a couple of seasons ago. I am of course referring to charity shops! - Now the only place where I ever buy clothes from...

Lucky for me, the small town I live in contains six charity shops for me to trawl around almost daily and at least weekly. Uncertain rummaging through rails and baskets of old handbags has put the fun back into shopping for me. Knowing that my clothes now have a history from before me is a weird feeling, as if my jumpers have memories, but it also makes me feel part of something more, like living history. Plus, everything's cheaper, I can buy so much more, and have so many new clothes now to showcase in sixth form!

It's also warming thinking about how, in this way I am contributing to the world around me. Every time I improve my wardrobe, I'm helping a charity to improve the life of someone less fortunate. For example, today, when I brought a vintage suitcase for three pounds, and a pair of never-before worn, tartan Dr. Martens, I was helping the elderly beneficiaries of Age Concern.

Good deed for the day? Done!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Is Feminism Dead?

Today I was, as usual, one of the last to leave my philosophy lesson. My teacher, another student and myself were all casually talking about The Da Vinchi Code, nothing too serious, when this happened:

Teacher: Are you a feminist?
Male student: No
Teacher: Well, you should be!

Now before anyone makes any assumptions, my teacher was male and the student is also my friend. He is articulate, thoughtful and caring, I've known him for seven years now, and I can honestly say I've never hear him say anything sexist. Yet why was it, that when he was asked if he advocated the view that women should have political, social and economic equality to men, he disagreed?

It's easy to think that feminism is no longer important whilst in the school environment. The suffragettes are studied in depth, as well as their achievements. There are both male and female teachers, and statistically, girls are far more likely to perform better in exams than their male counterparts. Recent headlines excitedly announcing that Saudi Arabian women have finally been given the vote make it easy to think that equality for women has been achieved worldwide. Once that has been achieved, feminism no longer has a purpose, it will be merely a statement, worth remembering, but not fighting for as it will already have been achieved.

But right now, women aren't on an equal playing field, whilst they can vote in the 2015 elections, Saudi Arabian women still can not drive. In Buthan and Lebanon, women must meet standards that men have no need   to meet, such as proving that they have an elementary level of education and women can not vote at all in Vatican City.

Undeniably we should celebrate the progress Saudi Arabian women have made, but we shouldn't under-estimate the value of supporting rights for women until the 87% of Afghan women currently victims of domestic abuse, one in twenty-four Nepalese women who die in childbirth and the millions of women across the world raped every year as a vile weapon in war stops and women are truly granted equal opportunities and access to basic amenities will it be acceptable for any well-educated person to not be a feminist.