Obligatory 2013 Review

Hey Readers!

 Happy completion of the Earth's orbit around the sun! But seriously, enjoy yourself more next year than you have in other previous year. But not too much, otherwise the following year might not seem so fun.

New Year Resolutions according to my Exercise Book of Life. 'Scuse my dodgy thumb and nail polish.

I prefer even numbers to odd numbers. To me even numbers automatically say happiness, and so 2013 seemed as if I could be nothing but not that great. I should really be less prejudiced. 2013 was a brilliant year, mainly because it was a really different year. I wish that I could do a run down of all the months with what they meant and with their significant moments, but I can't really remember January. Oh my Lord. Yes I can. I was doing my Unit 2 GCSE science exams. Geesh that seems like a long time ago. And that's what has made this year so special.

I've changed so much this year. I don't think it's anything to do with the magical allignment of the numbers 2, 0, 1 and 3 that has helped me, but rather I'm just going through one of the rare stages in life were you really can change as a person and for the briefest of moments you can at least feel fungable. Considering that I can't really remember what it felt like to be me at the beginning the year, I don't think that feeling is illusion.

In a way I'm lucky that my birthday is so close to the beginning of the year because it means each year has been defined by my age. Obviously defined is slightly too strong, but 2013 was not the year that I was 15 for a bit, then 16. 2013 was year that I was 16.

I began this year with diary entries that are too basic and boring to put up here (but also contains references to events which I would rather not put up online). It began with me just forming friendships with people that I became incredibly close too, yet now feel like they have drifted away. Of the top 10 people on the chat list on the side of facebook, I knew three at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of 2013 the school I'm at now didn't even figure on my radar of potential sixth forms. I certainly didn't expect to be taking the subject combinations that I am.

During this year I discovered what means it to be a feminist. Not just to simply have feminist views, but to actually be a Feminist. It means putting yourself out there, knowing that you are going to be defined by beliefs that you hold that you know everyone should hold. It means changing your language and the way that you think. I means reading the best pieces of writing the internet has to offer, meeting the most interesting people, and having something to comfort you in times of crisis.

I met some really great people. I met boys. And then had to go to school with them. I also met girls. A few of whom a hope to know for as many years as I can muster. I count Cecily in that, because I feel like I really met you this year.

All in all, I just feel a bit more comfortable being me. Before I sort of had accepted who I was. I never questioned myself, I never allowed myself to be actively comfortable in myself. Of course I'm still not 100% comfortable, which is fine. It means I still know there's room for improvement.



Book Review: 'Steppenwolf' by Hermann Hesse


The book and the man himself. At least I hope it's the man himself. He might just be a guy who enjoys posing next next to covers. [source]
Hey Readers!

 I feel it's time for a little cheeky book review! I haven't done these in a while...

So yes. Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is one weird book.  It's like Hermann Hesse has taken a piece of art from the Weimar era and put it in words; which is not a coincidence as it was written during the Weimar period. You can't deny the fact that it's weird: it's about a guy who thinks he's a wolf and ends up in a theatre where he runs people over in cars during the war between machinery and man and the such like, with the odd threesome along the way. That said, it's also one of the sexiest, most intelligent and by far the most openly intellectual books I have ever indulged in.

Hesse weaves in references to other German authors (with the odd medieval German poet thrown in there for good measure) which I'm sure would be very symbolic if I actually had any idea of who they were or what they had written. The most important of the writers talked about was Goethe, so if you don't know who he is, I suggest you take a glance over his wikipedia entry prior to reading. He also whacks twenty pages of character psychoanalysis in the middle. Just because he can.

Throughout the whole book there are essentially five characters, one of which is never named. This character introduces the book, and you begin under the impression that it is Hesse speaking, until you are thrust into the main part of the book, where you can't help but feel that Harry Haller is actually the confessions of Hesse. Notice how they have the same initials.Upon reading the essay bit at the back after finishing Steppenwolf, I discovered that this book was indeed written while Hesse was having a full-on crisis and tended to write autobiographical work. Then you have Hermione, who is rather unlike the Hermione we know, as well as Maria and Pablo. Each young, beautiful and bisexual; the three traits that I associate with Germany (or more specifically Berlin) during this period. All three contrast beautiful with the misanthropic and isolated Haller as they propel him head first in to the life he systematically fails at rejecting.

As a translation, the language can feel and bit clunky and doesn't have the natural rhythm of a book written in the language that it belongs in, but hey. The Germans have a reasonable number of tenses (although I can't forgive them for the number of cases they deem as appropriate) so it's never going to translate easily. Moreover, I can't really comment on the writing style because, as Cecily and I were discussing, I'm not sure whether that was Hesse or the translator.

If you are up for feeling rather cultured or taking on a literary challenge or want to experience more of the Weimar period (I'm talking to you Fleur) then go and read this book. If you can, take a trip to Berlin, it does help set the mood. I was discussing it with my Uncle and he said he never enjoyed Hesse's work more than when he was my age, so by not reading it now, you're just loosing out on more pleasure.  Five Stars.


P.S. If you're wondering what I mean by "FOR MADE PEOPLE ONLY" your just going to have to read the book. But oh my Lord, wouldn't that be a fantastic name for a blog? I might consider going solo, just so I can call it that...


Strictly's "Historic" Final

Hey Readers,

 For those who do not leave in the UK or/and are not sixty-five year old ladies at heart you may not have watched the Strictly Come Dancing 2013 Grand Final. Well, if you didn't you certainly missed out on a vital piece of our history.

Let me explain. Here is a picture of the finalists from this year:


Abbey Clancy, Natalie Gumede, Sophie Ellis-Bexter  and Susanna Reid all had the supreme honor of being able to compete in Strictly Come Dancing's first ever all-female final. I mean just wow. The first ever all-female of Strictly Come Dancing that there has ever been in the entirety of human history. I'm just amazed I've been able to live through such a significant event in women's liberation.

I hope you are noting the sarcasm.

Because I would hope you would all agree that the fact this final was all-female is, well, rather meaningless. As a feminist, I'm all for women being more prominent in our every day lives. However hearing Tess Daily squeal with delight as four women flounce about on stage, hold hands in smiley manner while a roared on to stage to Here Come the Girls, I can't help get a little bit angry.

Celebrating the achievements of a particular gender is only important when they are in a system that is engineered against them. A quick bit of research shows that Strictly Come Dancing is not an example of this system. Every final up until now has been mixed, with the the combinations of MMF and FFM both appearing five times each, and five of the eleven winners have been women. So Strictly isn't exactly a system engineered against women. What it is, is an example of is probability. In fact of all the years this one was most likely to be an all female final as their were more female celebrities than male ones.

So, no Susanna Reid. This is not a "historic" final, as you called it. The gender ratio in this final is nothing to get excited about. However it could have been a note-worthy final if gender did not come into it at all. If we could value the quality of the final based on the ability of the competitors* and not their chromosomes (as it has been in the past) then maybe this all-female final would have been something to get excited about in terms of the feminist movement.

While I was considering this, a question popped into my head: What would they be saying if this was an all-male final? I posed this question to my Dad and he was of the opinion the BBC wouldn't have been made such a big song and dance about it for fear of coming across as sexist. Oh the irony. That, or they would have been exactly the same, and used it as a chance to break out the male stereotypes instead of the female stereotypes.

Before I finish, I would like to say that I am not a feminist being picky and not being happy with anything and seeing sexism everywhere. I'm a feminist who is tired of gender still being such a thing because it only drives sexism further (that is a post for the future I'm sure). Especially when gender has nothing to do with it, as with Strictly. Where gender does matter, on the other hand, is in politics, or in pay gap or in any other way where men or women are systemically discriminated against. But not in Strictly Come Dancing**. 


*On this note, Susanna and Sophie should not have been in the final. It should have been Ashley and Richard.

**The overall representation of gender on another hand is something that might be worth blogging about, however I'm simply talking in terms of gender ratios.


I'm certainly fancying our blog at the moment.

Hey Readers!

 I'm home from Berlin (You can see my catastrophic attempt to post from my phone here [I'm going to leave it as it is as a memorial to my visit]) a trip that I will do a long and detailed post about at some point. Probably Christmas Eve. It can be my present to all our wonderful blogger friends/Following friends!

 In the mean time, the more astute amongst you may have realised that there have been changes made (courtesy of Cecily) to Their Harangues & Their Fancies. Please do take time have a gander around the blog as it stands. And when I say gander, I mean gander: Cecily and I now have our own pages and an FAQ! Also, I'm liking the seaside theme. It brightens up my little English December life!



Guten Abend Readers :)

 Just quick update from Berlin when I should be sleeping...

I really love this this city. I find myself connecting with it in a way that
I don't normally do with European cities outside of Britain. Yet the overall
Tone of the city is like something I  never felt before. I think Fleur describes
It bst with 'it's as if they have superficially tried to forget h war but it's still in
The phsychology.

That's all. ow. I aologise fthe quality fspelling and formatting a I cn't a cn't ee what I am typing. Ccily asort .


Things that I like at the moment

Hey Readers!

 I'm going to casually brush over my silence.

Instead I'm going to write about things that are making my life happy and good at the moment. In the most beautiful and artsy way this physics A-level student can manage.

 I'm loving that I have less free time. Everybody says that like it's a bad thing. But I'm doing things like working with CERN. Or that I'm seeing my writing style develop into something I can be proud of. Or that I honestly am loving all my subjects. Even maths. Even when we're shown this in maths lessons.

Gloria Marigo Photography
I love that I'm developing my own opinions. And I can scrutinize others and not just blindly agree anymore.

 I love that I'm getting my camera out again. And using it to take good photos. Like really nice one. That's partially down to Fleur. Whom I'm loving also. Like I'm loving all my friends. That's why I've stopped worrying about the drama and the arguments because I know it's not important anymore.

I'm going to Berlin on a German exchange trip in two weeks. We're going to make Feminists On Tour t-shirts. And maybe even a cheeky short film. Gah. I'm so excited. It's Berlin. The city in Europe I most want to visit. Und ich kann viele Deutsch sprechen.

 I'm loving the sound to my life at the moment. It's a lovely mixture of Lorde, Swim Deep, Haim and Blondie. With the off bit of Chvrches and Foxes thrown in for good measure. We went to see this band in town in a cafe on Friday called Zebra Crossing. Go on. Download their EP.

You can imagine I'm the most popular girl ever.

 I'm particularly like that I did a presentation of feminism and intersectionality to my year. And was somehow allowed to put in this picture.