Louise O’Neill Interviews Lindy West

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Last night, I had the extreme pleasure of going to see Lindy West speak with Irish author Louise O’Neill here in Dublin. The event was part of Lindy’s book tour promoting her memoir, Shrill, but they also talked about body positivity, the #shoutyourabortion campaign, and Lindy’s ideal internet troll.

In their discussion of internet trolling, Lindy’s story for This American Life came up. I immediately remembered the harrowing tale of an internet troll who created a false online account of Lindy’s own father, who had recently passed away, saying horrible things about his ‘daughter’. The story has stuck with me since I heard it over a year ago, but I (dumbly) didn’t even realize that this was the same woman until that moment. Now seeing her in person and watching her light up the entire room, the depth of that story hit me all over again – How could something so horrible happen to someone so vivacious and warm? Are some people truly that threatened by other people’s happiness?

But what makes Lindy incredible is that she did not simply accept this troll and let him continue (although she did talk about when that is totally okay to do too), she actually confronted him and spoke to him for several hours about his own life and how he came to troll her for the last several years. Who confronts and forgives their horrible online trolls?! Lindy West, people. What a badass.

The two went on to discuss Lindy’s new book (which I’m totally picking up now so bravo at successful marketing), where she shares stories of her journey from quiet human to loud and proud fat woman and feminist. Just hearing her speak for that hour, I can tell that her voice is thoughtful, funny, and fierce and I’m excited to see how this translates into her writing. I’ll keep you posted!

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The whole night was actually a fantastic reminder that the feminist world is a rather small one and is full of women who want to help each other out. Because I’m on my own quite a bit, it’s easy to think that maybe I’m the only person thinking about this stuff, maybe I’m the only one feeling this pressure. Especially after leaving Bryn Mawr, where everyone talked about feminism constantly, the real world has seemed so barren in terms of these kinds of conversation. But being in that room with women (and men) who wanted to talk about these issues and share their real stories felt so good – someone even commented that they wanted to bottle up this feeling and carry it with them all the time. And I think that’s the challenge for feminists everywhere: how do we live our values every day in a world that tries to tear them down? To that, I don’t think there is one right answer, but last night definitely reminded me that solidarity is essential in making equality happen and allowing diminished voices to become amplified.

A huge thank you to Louise O’Neill and Lindy West for an incredible evening and a huge boost in my feminist confidence! Also shout out to Irish Tatler for the wine, mini hamburgers, and for sponsoring our sweet selfie – always appreciated!

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Weekend Roundup: Happy Memorial Day!

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{Photo of Ashley Graham by The Coveteur}

With my friends heading home and the boyfriend over in Jordan, I’ve been hanging alone for the better part of a week now. I’ve gone through all the stages of having the apartment to myself: giddiness, the crushing realization that I am indeed alone, wine, netflix, and acceptance. I celebrated my glorious ‘me time’ by doing things Ian would pretty much hate: baking, watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and going to bed before the sun goes down (which in my defense is like 10:30 here). It is kind of comforting to know that my natural state is that of an alcoholic grandmother…

Other than frozen pizza and reruns of That 70s Show, I had an afternoon of working in the shop today and actually visited a new church this morning for the first time in a while. The jury is still out on whether or not I’ll be a regular (mostly for scheduling reasons), but it was nice to try something new after being in Dublin for so long. I’ll be continuing to buckle down with my dissertation reading these next few days, but here are a few bits and bobs for a little procrastination inspiration…

If you’ve seen Ex Machina, this is hilarious.

Skeptical, but so curious to try these.

Yaaaasssssss 🙌

Made these last week with a veggie friend and was shocked at how tasty they were!

Too real, guys…

Interesting conversation on Irish twitter about the authenticity of bloggers. Positive space or lying to get free stuff?

I wonder what my aura tastes like.

I am about this life! Having space from work should be protected!

Excited to be attending this event tomorrow night – will report back.

That’s all for now, but I’m excited to have one of my besties visiting this week, as well as a ball to attend. Stay tuned!

New Jewelry at Bow & Pearl

To be honest, I’m not much of a jewelry person. I’ve worn essentially the same 5 or 6 pieces interchangeably for the last 10 years. Every now and then I’ll pick up something new, but it often has some sort of sentimental value or deeper meaning. I’ve just never been one to pick something up because it’s cute. Cue me seeing the little V-necklace below with a 15 euro price tag and all that goes to hell. It’s so sweet! I’m eying the circle necklace, as well – styled with a white v-neck t for something simple and summery.

This shoot was another I felt really happy with. Playing around with group shots was a new challenge for me, styling wise, and using the encyclopedia added a fun bit of texture. I love when things that are often just lying around can inspire an entire shoot and add a new dimension to simple product photos.

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Everything shown is new in at Bow & Pearl, along with a bunch more great jewelry! Like seriously we have such a haul in the shop right now… Come check us out in Ranelagh! Or online at bowandpearl.com!

Introducing… My Master’s Dissertation!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently writing my master’s dissertation here at Trinity College Dublin. Just me and 15,000 words all summer… soooo fun… The whole thing has been pretty solitary, which can be tough for me, so I wanted to share some of what I’ve been reading/thinking about/procrastinating with all of you.

Before you start rolling your eyes, I am not writing my dissertation on like 15th century clay pots or the habits of bug mating in South America (although I would probably still read a blog about that). I’m writing about social media, female sexuality, and young adult literature – more specifically, the way social media is used to shame and harm young women who either partake in consensual sex or are raped. So like pretty heavy stuff, right?

And I guess for me, the most important part of writing about this academically is to be able to talk about and share the things that I’m reading and discovering. Because as great as it will be to have another feminist piece of academic criticism on the books, that doesn’t necessarily start the conversation I want to have.

Since writing about my weird email experience (here), I have been completely inspired to make my blog a place of actual real conversation. It was so amazing to feel a sense of solidarity and real talk on the internet instead of trolling and tearing each other down and I want to keep that up. That doesn’t mean everything has to be heavy all the time (I’m sure there will be a fair share of silly/excited/fun posts as well) but I’m really trying to steer myself in the direction of my genuine opinions, which will also be a journey for myself as a person/writer.

SO with all that said, please feel free to give me real/candid/anonymous/whatever makes you comfortable comments on any of this stuff because the blog is just another page on the internet without you…

Now back to the main event!

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Above are just a few of the many books I’ll be reading for my dissertation, including my three primary texts Asking for It by Irish author Louise O’Neill, Gossip Girl the series that inspired the TV show by Cecily Von Ziegesar, and Good Girls by Laura Ruby. All three, in different ways and at varying degrees of technological advancement, deal with young women be criticized for sexual acts (consensual or not) on the internet.

Asking For It is by far the most recent, published in 2015, and is also the roughest one to read both in terms of sexual violence and patriarchal bullshit. Good Girls also has its fair share of infuriating moments, but promises more resolution and female solidarity than the others. Gossip Girl, I was surprised to learn, is rather different than the TV show, but is still packed with drama, nonetheless.

I have gotten several eye rolls/questioning looks from librarians as I’ve checked these out, so I would like to take a second to defend my choice in academic literature: These are books people read outside of school. Girls read them when they’re 13, adults read them to regress a little at night, people read books like these without an academic lens. But I think it can be dangerous to leave books that are widely consumed by culture (and particularly by young women) completely unexamined. What are these books really saying? Are they empowering or puritanical? Do they show girls that sex is a natural right or something to be feared? I’m not sure yet – that is kind of the point of all this. But I’m not content to let these books be tossed aside by academia simply because they are intended for young women.

As I go through this writing process, I’ll be sharing bits and bobs of what I’m researching hoping that someone else will find it interesting, too. And as a way of keeping my own sanity as I dive into the pits of patriarchal hell.

So let me know what you think! Have you read any of these? What else should I be reading? Seriously, recommendations would be incredibly, amazingly helpful because the internet is a deep dark place… Thanks so much y’all!

St. Stephen’s Green

Even though I absolutely love sunshine, I’ve really been vibing with the lush and overcast weather we’ve been having here in Dublin recently. It seems our summer was rather short (aka it lasted two weeks and it’s not even June) and I’m starting to get used to the idea of a temperate and rainy summer. It helps that the sun doesn’t fully go down until 10:30 and that I’m not sweating through all of my clothes like I would be at home. I think I’m actually starting to understand this whole “summer knits” thing they keep talking about here…

I took a walk around St. Stephen’s Green yesterday and grabbed a few snaps of the park under cloudy skies. I love that even an overcast day doesn’t deter people from spending time outside here; I feel like at home, if the weather isn’t perfect then why bother? But here if it isn’t pouring and the temperature is reasonable, there’s no excuse not to walk around or have lunch outdoors. It’s also hilarious that the weather becomes a national pastime – everyone is always talking about it! But then again, so am I right now… 🙈

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So, even though lots of great things have been happening lately (the end of classes, friends coming to visit, successful meetings) the last few weeks have actually been pretty stressful. Surrounding all these good moments have been a lot of worry and uncertainty and so these things that should be wonderful and inspiring have actually introduced a lot of anxiety into my life. It’s like I’ve been so distracted with everything that I’ve let self-doubt creep in unnoticed. Then suddenly a little mistake or a brief goodbye can seem like the end of the world.

But I know that it’s not. And it’s been taking walks like these and doing things alone that reminds me of that solid part within myself that I can always fall back on. That voice inside me that reminds me to let it out and then pick myself up and do better. It’s like I ran into a wall of my own self-esteem – but why has it been so elusive for so long? How do I tap into this solid foundation of self all the time? I feel so lucky to have this part of myself, but I’m afraid that soon the things that have helped me harness it will lose their potency and I’ll be steeped in fear again.

Am I alone in this or do others feel this process of building up and tearing down? What do you do to remind yourself of your own strengths? Is this getting a little too LiveJournal right now? Probably yes, but I’m still curious…

Sunshine & Sparkle

As I’ve been shooting for Bow & Pearl, I’ve been trying to mix up the style of our product photos a bit and am really happy with how these turned out! I love their vintage feel while still incorporating a bit of nature in order to feature our summer jewelry. The mirror was a little tricky to get right, but I’m so happy with the result – a good reminder that experimenting can always pay off big.

I’ve loved taking photos each week and am already seeing myself improve, which is something I’m really proud of. I took up photography as a hobby a while back after watching my dad take photos growing up. As any self-righteous child, I used to be embarrassed whenever he would stop the car on a road trip to take a photo of a cornfield or when he took me along to set up a long exposure shot of an old tree at the arboretum for hours. But now I see so much of my own process in those experiences and appreciate that he has always been willing to get the shot he really wanted. I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the Nikon …

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Of course there is always more to learn and improve on, but it’s nice to see something that you made and really enjoy it. Per usual, everything above (including the candles and cards) are available at the Bow & Pearl shop in Ranelagh or check out everything online. Hope you enjoy! 😘

Good Vibes Through the Internet

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I just want to take a minute and say a huge thank you to everyone who read, commented, or shared their feelings about my last post. I wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to share, at first, because I was still feeling pretty vulnerable about it and often the internet can be an unforgiving place, but everyone’s words of support and thoughtful discussion on why this problem persists was seriously eye opening. I’d forgotten how often I feel the need to apologize for my actions when I’m not sorry about them and that sticking up for myself doesn’t make me mean or rude or ‘bitchy’ – it keeps me level headed, assertive, and safe. I often take for granted my confidence in myself; I know that it’s there but I don’t completely feel it. After being able to take a shitty situation and empower myself through self-expression and solidarity, though, I am reminded that my feelings are powerful and that my needs are supported by so many people in my life.

So again, an enormous thank you to my amazing community! I have felt so much love and compassion through the interwebs these last few days – you’re the best! 💕