Cats in handbags and other wonderful things

Recently I have spent a lot of time in Pembrokeshire – a West Wales haven full of people who love skiing and hate cats. Thus making it a place where I don’t really fit in. You wouldn’t catch me living it up on some gorgeous French ski slopes out of choice. In fact, if anyone even managed to get me to a beautiful French ski slope I would become a very difficult person to spend time with. Oh yes. Forget skiing – I am never happier than when snuggled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a cat.

What confuses me is why anyone would think differently. But people do think differently. Recently I seem to have surrounded myself with people who dislike cats very strongly. It really bothers me.

Hence why today’s musing questions why anyone could ever hate cats.

There are a lot of reasons why people should love them.

Here are a few:

1. They require little attention

2. They resent their resident human strongly, but will reward that human with love in return for food and other luxuries.

3. They are so arrogant. They sleep all day long, contribute nothing to the house and expect complete devotion from their owners.

4. This is a good one: I like house cats because they are just tiny copies of the big cats that you see at the zoo.

5. Cats are hilarious. My cat Zebedee really likes being dizzy. He will sit on my computer chair miaowing at me until I spin him around on it. He then jumps off and wobbles around for a while before jumping back on the chair. Brilliant.

6. Cats are intelligent. They know they are doing.

7. This may contradict reason 6. but cats love being in bags. Plastic bags, hand bags, suitcases.. Anything they can get into really. It amuses me.

8. Unlike dogs, one has to work for the affection of a cat. Dogs will throw themselves at anyone. Desperate creatures. If a cat loves you then you know that you deserve it.

9. Look at this cat:

cat

No arguments there I presume. He is a little Bengal kitten. They are my favourite cats because they look like tiny leopards! Amazing.

10. Reason 10 involves a bit of imagination. So, everyone walks dogs in the park. It has been done. But imagine walking a cat on a lead in the park. It’s a great image. To be fair, this probably wouldn’t work because (and this is another reason why I like cats) they won’t be walked. You don’t walk a cat. A cat walks you. I know this because I bought a cat lead for Zebedee and I took him around the garden the other day. He wasn’t sure what I was doing really. I think he thought I was a complete idiot. He lead me around for a bit and then I took it off him. It is still a great image though. Maybe the idea of a cat in a hand bag in public is a more realistic idea. Instead of a little rat dog in a handbag which seems to be quite fashionable, have a cat in a bag! It is much more original! I’ll let you know if I ever pluck up the courage to do it.

Some people are afraid of cats. This amuses me. What do they think that the cat is going to

Cat Black

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

do to them? Maybe it is to do with old superstition and cats being related to witchcraft. People do seem to think that cats are secretly evil. I do agree with this to some extent actually, but I think that it just makes me like them more. Possibly because I would quite like to be secretly evil myself. Not in a murdery way. More in a.. “I’m going to lurk in the shadows and look a bit vampy” kind of way. Maybe.

I’m sure you have all gathered that I like cats. So I hope that you will sympathise with me when I tell you about an imminent problem in my life.. My boyfriend is allergic to cats. We don’t live together yet or anything, but if it does happen then I will have to choose between my love for cats and respecting his allergy. I’m not sure which will win…

Sophie x

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Is it time to say goodbye to the exclusivity of beauty?

I am as guilty as the next person of obsessing about my weight. Everyone has a fat day every now and then. But why? Most of the time it is completely uncalled for. I am not fat. It is just that I am undeniably bigger than most (probably all) of the mainstream models that grace the billboards, posters and television advertisements that I see every day.

Thus, today my ponderings are about why unrealistic targets of beauty are so heavily ingrained within British culture.

This is by no means a new topic of debate. It can definitely be argued that the media has played a significant role in bringing the exclusivity of beauty to the forefront of the nation’s minds. On one hand the media is mindful of the need to promote a good body image to the nation. Frequent news stories about the distorted body image of young people in this country and endorsements from celebrities like Gok Wan on the topic ensure this. On the other hand of course, luxury brands and even high street brands of clothing still persist in using the same type of models to promote beauty and fashion items. We seem to live in a world where beauty is in the eye of the fashion brand. Like it or lump it.

Quite frankly, I find it boring. I am completely fed up of looking at images of conventional models who have probably been photo-shopped to within an inch of their lives, reminding me every day how I would never even fit an arm into one of their jean legs. I’m not saying that these models aren’t beautiful. Of course they are. I’m just trying to suggest that what they represent is not the only form that beauty comes in.

Women in Britain are bombarded with images of “perfect” women in the media on a daily basis and with this are challenged by an interior notion that says they aren’t good enough.

I think beauty and fashion brands could do with injecting a bit of authenticity into their campaigns. Just like Dove’s 2004 Campaign For Real Women proved, consumers are often comforted by a realistic approach to beauty and health. This kind of approach is beneficial because it tells the consumer that not everyone can be a size 8 and 6 ft 1, but it also reminds us not to care! It tells the consumer that we can all be beautiful. We’ve seen high street brands hit the London Fashion Week catwalks, thus proving to the nation that fashion doesn’t have to be expensive to be worth pursuing. So. Why don’t brands start using real women more prominently in their advertising? It would prove to the nation that one doesn’t have to be a certain way to approach fashion and beauty. It is for everyone.

I think we would do well to remember it.

See you next time folks x

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The shameless objectification of Reeva Steenkamp: a feminist musing

It is the alleged pre-meditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp by boyfriend and Olympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius that made me consider the topic of Feminism with a fresh mind.

Reeva – a beautiful and intelligent woman, a model and paralegal was, upon her tragic death considered by The Sun to be worth nothing more than the image below:

Image

The tasteless front cover of The Sun on February 15th has filled many people with disbelief. Reeva Steenkamp had been dead for less that 24 hours and already her tragic story had been lessened to a cheap ‘Valentine’s horror’ article.

The headline doesn’t even feature her name. Here Reeva is defined by two things and two things only: her body and by her status as Pistorius’ lover.

Many may consider my thoughts to be purely speculative, but this image makes me wonder how the British media would have responded had the shoe been on the other foot.

Imagine if Reeva Steenkamp had been accused of murdering her Olympic gold medalist winning boyfriend. The athlete’s name would be in every headline, with each article praising his Olympic achievements, his resilience in the face of disability and his status as a loving boyfriend. Reeva received no such treatment from The Sun. And for what reason? Well, she is a woman.

I thought feminism had happened! I thought that women and men were (on most levels) considered to be equal. I wasn’t worried about the treatment of women in this country. But after observing the way in which The Sun handled this story I believe that feminism needs to be brought back to the forefront of debate. I quite agree with the sentiments expressed by Caitlin Moran in the meme below:

caitlin moran on feminism

Women are not objects placed on this earth purely for the entertainment of men. Women have worth, substance, strength and indeed everything (worth having) that men do! So why let women be treated as objects?

I have read some very interesting blogs on wordpress about the plight of Reeva Steenkamp and on feminism in general. “The not so quiet feminist” is one of the most interesting of these. I thoroughly recommend it!

http://thenotsoquietfeminist.wordpress.com/

See you next time x

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Fake it till you make it

As a strong believer in the inspiring motto “fake it till you make it”, I think that anyone can be glamorous.

For me, it involves quite a lot of sitting upright at all times (good posture costs nothing), simultaneously sitting with my legs crossed and drinking from a mug of tea (in my self-stirring mug. Oh yes. I have a self-stirring mug. Inevitably more stories about that to come. Brace yourselves readers!) or a champagne glass with my pinky finger dangling oh so daintily.

Apparently being glamorous requires a lot of sitting. This applies to me anyway because the minute I stand up I could be subject to falling flat on my face at any moment. I’m so clumsy. I spend most of my life bumbling around like an oaf and making a fool out of myself at any given opportunity. But when I’m sitting down. Well. I can be the height of elegance and grace. But it’s all an illusion.

Hence, there are two stands to the term “glamorous”. Number one: glamorousness (is this a word? I don’t think it’s a word. I’m leaving it in regardless. What can I say? I’m a maverick) requires a distinct lack of movement. As we all know, movement is generally necessary in day to day life. This is why truly glamorous people always swagger around really slowly. Keep an eye open for it. You’ll see what I mean. And strand number two: glamour is always an illusion. An illusion reserved for photographs and paintings. Surely no one can retain pure elegance 24 hours a day!

Take The Mona Lisa. A timeless symbol of beauty, mysteriousness and grace. Do take what I say with a pinch of salt, but it could be that she is smiling away enigmatically because she knows how wonderfully beautiful the world will think she is for centuries. I bet she fell over her own feet and spilt a cup of tea all over Leonardo DaVinci only moments after the painting was finished.

I don’t even think that Audrey Hepburn could have been glamorous all the time. It’s impossible. I have spent a significant amount of my time searching the internet for unflattering photographs of the star in her prime just to prove my theory. Unfortunately readers, and somewhat ironically – I couldn’t find any… But I suppose this just serves as an excellent example of faking it till you make it.

audrey smiling

 

So next time you do something embarrassing in a public space, just smile and swan off really slinkily – no one will suspect a thing. It’s a surefire winner.

Being glamorous is what you make of it!

Fake it!

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