Because women are just here to please Men‚ĄĘ, right!

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since anyone posted on here, let alone since I myself posted (do I dare look up when my last post was? I do – it was last August. Well at least it hasn’t been a year yet!) I’ve been really busy and stressed, meaning I had no inspiration and energy to blog on here, but I am here today!

So a little background before I jump in: I’m a journalist student in The Netherlands, currently in my second year. Either next year or the year after that, I’ll have to start my first internship, so I was looking at the list of internships that were approved by my school.

Now, I didn’t know all of the ones on this list, or I looked them up anyway to see if my expectations were right. This is how I stumbled upon two Dutch magazines (who also post on their websites) JFK and Panorama. I always thought Panorama was a photography magazine, but boy was I wrong. Both magazines are aimed at men (that’s how they describe themselves).

When I googled JFK it seemed harmless, but Google did suggest one of their tabs: ‘women’. This already made me a bit nervous, but maybe these were articles aimed at women? Or so I hoped. Nope. It’s all about objectifying women and sex. Because that’s all we’re good for, am I right?

They have a recurring column, called JFBabe, in which they highlight a woman. As far as I scrolled, I could only see women dressed in either swimwear or lingerie in the featured images of these columns. In the introduction of their latest ‘JFBabe’ they explain that each Friday they share ‘one of the hottest chicks of Instagram’ to ‘get in the right mood’. What does that even mean??

The column goes on to say that she got her followers because of her beauty: ‘More than 150.000 people want to stay updated on her vacation- and bikini pictures. And with her perfect curves we can’t blame them, what a great way to start the weekend!‘ (the word they use is ‘heerlijk’ which could be translated as ‘great’ or ‘delicious’)

And they don’t just stick to sexism! In an article about ‘crazy things’ Katy Perry has done, they write: ‘Kissing girls isn’t the only¬†crazy¬†thing this babe has done’. Ummm?? Girls kissing girls isn’t ‘crazy’??¬†

I do have to give them credit for writing an article about¬†not looking up a leaked sex tape from a Dutch vlogger and explaining why it’s wrong. But there’s just a lot of objectificating – women are not portrayed as human beings on their website.

Then there’s Panorama. If you go to their regular site you won’t see this tab, but Google suggested ‘Sexy Reader’ to me. I clicked on that one and ended up at babes.panorama.nl. Can these magazines stop referring to women as ‘babes’??

Pretty much everything under the tab ‘women’ is about sex and porn. There’s also the delightful post ’10 facts about boobs you didn’t know yet’ –¬†I’d like to quote my friend here: ‘fact 1:¬†¬†you don’t get to touch them when you’re a pig’ But¬†a real fact they share is that the most common bra size is cup-B, but that the average bra size is only growing ‘something we’re only encouraging!’ Mate… Mate have I got news for you. I have cup-D and my tits are small af. Bra size is a little bit more complicated than that.

There’s also an article about an upcoming show in which Dutch celebrities will learn how to pole dance and compete with each other. First they name all the female participants and describe a Dutch singer as ‘the one with that nose’ which is just¬†infuriating. Especially since they don’t describe any of the others, and I’m sure not everyone actually knows those celebrities as they’re not that famous. Why is this singer any different?

Then they go on: ‘who doesn’t want to see those ladies scarcely dressed climbing into a pole’? Hey guess what! Pole dancing is a sport, not just entertainment for straight (cis) men! But then, oh no, poor them: ‘Each advantage has it’s disadvantage. Did you think you could stare at half-naked women, wrapped around a pole for two hours? WRONG! (note: Jesus Christ did Donald Trump write this article??) When the candidates were announced, we were horrified to find out that¬†men¬†are participating as well!! And what kind of men! [some Dutch male celebrities are mentioned], we don’t need to see it.’ I don’t even know where to start. Hell, I don’t even know the middle or the ending. Like I said, pole dancing is¬†a¬†sport (and a really tough one at that!). This tv show isn’t a live strip club for straight (cis) men to enjoy. I’m sure the makers of this show and the female participants are terribly sorry that your expectations were crushed and that these women aren’t going to please you for two hours straight!!

On top of that, they also have an article on how disappointed they are that Apple is taking precautions so nudes won’t be leaked anymore: ‘It’s sad that we can’t expect anymore pictures. The sexy selfies that are going around the internet are already delicious/hot (note: the word used is ‘lekker’ which means nice, delicious. I also added hot so it makes more sense in English, but wanted to keep in the ‘delicious’ to convey how pervy and creepy it is), but we’re still missing a couple of ladies (MILA KUNIS!!). But I’m sure there will be a smart person who can avoid these precautions on iCloud.’ And then they ask their readers whose nudes they missed (no one responded). Do I need to explain this one? I am nauseous and disgusted. At least JFK told their readers¬†not to search for leaked nudes and explained why you shouldn’t. Panorama though? I can’t believe this is published.

How are these two magazines considered journalism? Why did my school approve of these misogynist, disgusting pieces of media as internships? Just why in general?

Michelle is an 19-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

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Stop Criticising Dafne Schippers – Women Are Allowed To Show Their Frustration Too

Who is Dafne Schippers? Dafne Schippers is a Dutch athlete and one of the fastest women in the world at the moment. While she easily won the semi-finale of the 100 meter sprint, she didn’t win any medals when it came to the finale. Naturally she was disappointed, but she was determined to win gold at the 200 meter finale. Now Dafne won silver, which of course is great and she is happy with it now, but after the race¬†was over she was disappointed and not afraid to show it. In a moment of frustration she threw away her sneakers, and really, it was no big deal. She’s human, she had worked hard towards her goal, and she didn’t make it. How many times have we seen athletes winning silver, but not being entirely happy with it because they were going for gold? After the race she said in an interview that she ‘couldn’t enjoy it’ (winning silver she meant). This and her throwing her sneakers away has led to some criticism.¬†

They talked about her in a Dutch tv programme (not even about sport. It’s an entertainment/gossip programme)and ¬†except for the invited guest (Fatima Morero, who is an athlete herself) they all criticised Dafne’s behaviour. It was an entire frickin’ debate, but like Morero said ‘sports is emotion’. Why can’t she throw away her sneakers, show that she’s upset? It’s ‘not professional’? One of the men (Morero was the only woman) said that everyone ‘will remember her this way’. She’s one of the fastest women in the world, the World Champion of 2015, won silver at the 200 meters, but everyone will remember her because she threw away her sneakers? Well, maybe if people make such a big deal out of it, but that’s not because of her but people like him.

On Twitter people criticised her for saying that she ‘couldn’t enjoy it’. They called her a sore loser and that she had to ‘work on her mentality’. She was in it to win it,¬†that’s her mentality. That’s the mentality of a lot of athletes, isn’t it? Like Morero said on the programme, when she and her hockey team lost a hockey finale, meaning they had won silver, they were all in tears. I’ve seen so many athletes on tv crying and being upset over losing gold, even if it means winning silver instead. Why is it such a big deal? Dafne Schippers is only human, why does she have to put up a facade? Why can’t she show emotion?¬†

The thing that is annoying me the most, is that I have the feeling that if she had been a man or if any other male athlete had thrown his sneakers in frustration, no one would have batted an eye. Because men are allowed to show their anger, if women show it they are hysterical. It reminded me of this quote from Cat Grant from Supergirl:

Whatever you do, you cannot get angry at work. Especially when you‚Äôre a girl. When I was working at¬†The Daily Planet, Perry White picked up a chair and threw it out the window‚Ķ because somebody missed a deadline, and no, he did not open the window first. If I had thrown a chair‚ÄĒor, my God, if I had thrown a napkin‚ÄĒit would‚Äôve been all over the papers. It would‚Äôve been professional and cultural suicide.

It’s like ¬†a man is ‘a tough boss’, but a woman acting the same way, would be a ‘bitch’. Because women can’t show anger. Women are supposed to be delicate little flowers, always smiling and always polite.¬†Otherwise we’re hysterical and bitches. No. We are allowed to show our anger, frustration and disappointment just as much as men. She¬†threw¬†her sneakers on the ground. Not in someone’s face. She didn’t punch someone. She just showed a little bit of frustration, but that was enough for people to criticise her and her mentality.

SIDENOTE: One of the arguments I used ‘she’s human’ was also used last week when a Dutch male athlete was send home for violating the contract he had signed with the Dutch national olympic committee. The contract said that he had to ‘behave’ himself, but instead he went out, drank alcohol and came back loudly in the early morning. Then he overslept and missed a training. The committee sent him home for violating the rules and because his¬†coach requested it, since this wasn’t the first time. They were just fed up with him. A lot of people took his side and said that ‘he’s only human’. But apparently Dafne isn’t human, but a robot only good for getting us some medals and honour who isn’t allowed to show her disappointment.

Michelle is an 19-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

There’s No Room For Kira – BUT LET’S BRING IN MORE WHITE MEN

WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS ABOUT TEEN WOLF 

Back in April I wrote a post about what happened to Arden Cho on Teen Wolf. Originally I wasn’t planning on writing a follow-up, and even when the trailer for season 6 was released I didn’t think of writing one, because I had already done so. But the fact is that there is new information, new information that made me angrier than I already was.

Here’s the thing. Back when I wrote my post it sounded like Ian Bohen would return to the show, though it wasn’t official yet. Now the trailer for season 6 was released at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago, and Ian Bohen was in it. In my last post I already ranted about how vile Bohen is (he’s sexist, degrading, victim-blames and publicly humiliated Arden and basically bullied her), so let’s not go there again (though boy do I want to). Kira, Arden’s character, was written off the show, because there was no room for her. Yet they brought back Peter Hale, a white man who brought nothing to the show after season 1 and whose story should’ve been wrapped up after that season.

At Comic Con it was also revealed that Cody Christian was coming ¬†back (NO offence to Cody, really, he’s a talented actor and he seems like a nice guy). Now Cody¬†is half Native American, but he’s white-passing and it wouldn’t surprise me if the higher ups at Teen Wolf have no clue about his ethnicity. And even though Cody himself isn’t entirely white, his character is.¬†Like I pointed out in my previous post, Kira was the only non-white main character besides Scott.¬†And don’t even get me started on how they’re treating him. What is his role going to be in season 6? I have no idea, because the trailer revealed nothing. Look, I’m the first to admit I’m Stydia trash so that trailer made me happy with all the Stydia, but we barely saw Scott and what was he doing? Why is the show once again focussing on Stiles? (don’t get me wrong I love Stiles) I really hope the trailer is misleading and is going to focus on its actual protagonist. It’s Teen¬†Wolf, not Teen Human. Scott literally died last season, but we don’t see him dealing with that except for the one episode after it happens. He had a terrible relationship with his father, who left him and his mother, then came back in season 4 only to never be brought back. I get that the actor might be unavailable, but than¬†mention¬†him. He already left once, show us Scott dealing with his father once again abandoning him. Show us Scott dealing with everything he’s been through. Show us Scott learning what it means to be a True Alpha, because honestly I still don’t really know? They could’ve explored that more.¬†Point is, they need to focus more on Scott and remember who their protagonist is.

Anyway, back to Kira. To make matters even worse, from the trailer we can tell that¬†Cody’s character Theo is brought back from the dead/hell/wherever he was (yes see they’re literally bringing him back from hell BECAUSE HIS STORYLINE WAS OVER but there’s no room for Kira) with¬†Kira’s sword, the one she used to defeat Theo, to drag him to hell.¬†Which she¬†only¬†could have done by making a deal with the Skinwalkers. See, at the end of season 5 Kira went to the Skinwalkers for help, and they gave her that power to bring Theo down in return for her staying with them for who knows how long, until she got her powers under control. So that sacrifice was all for nothing. Talk about disrespectful towards Kira. Also why the hell didn’t she take her sword with her??¬†

That’s not all, though! Before I wrote my previous post it was already announced that there would be a new supporting character, who, surprise, is a white man.

So there was no room for Kira, but let’s bring in three white(-passing) men, of whom two already had their storylines finished and another who is probably going to be incredibly irrelevant (you know like Jordan-I’m-The-Only-One-Who-Can-Defeat-The-Beast-But-In-The-End-I-Didn’t-Do-Shit-And-If-Had-Been-Removed-From-The-Plot-Nothing-Would-Change-Parrish).¬†Meanwhile Kira’s story was¬†far from over. She was still learning about being a Kitsune and her powers, she had to learn how to control said powers and we¬†never saw her realise that she was going to live like 900 years and outlive everyone she loves (I’m not sure about her mom, they said that Kira is the Kitsune now and her mom isn’t anymore? It was very confusing, at least to me, but even if her mom is still immortal as well, she’s going to outlive her dad, boyfriend and friends) and coming to terms with that. But let’s literally drag villains back from the dead (Peter (Ian Bohen) was brought back from the dead in season 2, by emotionally manipulating a teenage girl and basically being a creepy pedophile like sit back back in your grave son) and introduce more white(-passing) men!

Oh and guess what, another new supporting male character has been announced! Though thankfully he isn’t white, though I’m not sure how I feel about him being Asian either. It’s like Teen Wolf is saying ‘well we can’t have more than one on the show!’ (not counting Kira’s parents. Also I really wonder how they’re going to treat him? Besides Mason and Hayden I’m 99% ¬†sure all the other non-white supporting characters are dead). He’s even going to be a Lacrosse player, like Kira was. They’re literally replacing her with a male character.

So to sum up: Kira, an amazing Japanese female character; one of the three main girls; one of the only few girls we even still had on the show, was written off. And they replaced her with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR male characters, of which two are white and one white-passing.

I could make a lot more points, but I feel like I’m repeating my previous post and repeating the points I’ve already made in this one. I’m just furious at the sexism and racism going on behind the scenes and it’s hard to even write down my thoughts properly because I’m just just¬†ugh. So¬†I’m going to leave you with the gem that is Tyler Posey:

LOOK AT JEFF DAVIS’ (man sitting behind Tyler, he’s the showrunner) UNCOMFORTABLE LAUGHTER. DRAG HIM TYLER

Michelle is an 19-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

Arden Cho Deserves Better

Warning: I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, like saying ‘one of the main characters was…’ but in this case I just can’t keep it entirely spoiler free

At the start of this week, Arden Cho announced what a lot of us Teen Wolf fans already feared: she will not return for season 6.

Now, you may ask, what’s the big deal? Actors leave shows all the time. Of course they do, but Arden Cho didn’t want to leave, that much is clear when you watch her youtube video in which she announces the news. She loves the show, she loves the cast and crew, she loves her character; and she’s clearly emotional when breaking the news. She was basically fired.

And that after her character, who besides the main character Scott is the only one who isn’t white, was treated like shit this entire past season. And not just her character Kira was, but Arden herself was too.

Kira Yukimura was introduced in season 3B, when one of the main characters was possessed by a Japanese evil spirit. She and her Japanese ethnicity were necessary to the story. When that storyline was over, Kira was promoted to a main character status in season 4, but somehow she got less screen time than when she was a supporting character in 3B. Not to mention she didn’t have her own storyline and it felt like she was just Scott’s (the main character) love interest (nothing against Scira; I love them). Meanwhile Lydia, one of the original main female characters also had a lot less screen time.

Then season 5 came, and Kira got her own¬†interesting storyline. She couldn’t control her Kitsune powers and it looked like they were going to explore the Kitsune. Instead we got a half-assed story in which Kira was absent 4 entire episodes (actually 5, because she doesn’t appear until the end). And Arden didn’t even know about not being in one of the episodes. She filmed her scenes, but they were cut without her knowing about it. She had to find out from fans. How horrible is that? Meanwhile Lydia only had her own storyline when she was in a mental health facility; before that she barely had any screen time and when she did, she had been reduced to a possible (white supporting character’s) love interest. The moment she got out of said facility, she was immediately running after the supporting character again, who had more screen time than both her and Kira. This supporting character was more important than two main female characters, and in the end he wasn’t even necessary to the story. They could’ve left him out and it wouldn’t have changed a thing, except it left more screen time for two of the main girls and it would’ve allowed them to fully explore Kira’s storyline (and not reduce Lydia, who used to be an amazing character and role model for young girls, who was independent and had amazing character development, to a love interest).

We barely have any main female characters as it is. Supporting white men get more screen time than the ones we do have, especially more than Kira did, who besides Scott is the only non-white main character. Saying that her storyline is over, that they have no idea what to do with her anymore, is bullshit. Her storyline isn’t over, and even if it was, you can give her a new one. That’s what you do with characters. She has a personality, ambitions, dreams, goals, flaws, relationships with other people, supernatural powers; all these things and more could’ve been explored.¬†

And Arden Cho, the amazing sweet cinnamon roll that she is, is justifying their decision to write Kira off the show by saying that since there are so many characters there is no longer any room for her. No, that is ridiculous. Season 5’s main cast consisted of¬†six main characters. If you can’t handle six main characters, how are you even writing a tv show. They shouldn’t keep adding new characters, they shouldn’t give these new (often white and male) characters more screen time than their main female characters. Before Arden announced that she wouldn’t be in season six, they announced the casting of a new character. Guess what: a white man. Wow. Very¬†surprise. Such shock. Much anger in this fan. And while it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, it sounds like Ian Bohen, another white man, will return. And not just any white man. A man who publicly humiliated Arden and basically bullied her. A victim-blaming, sexist man, who decided to write a degrading Tumblr post on how to be a ‘lady’ when people called him out on his shit. A man who played a character whose only purpose on the show is ‘to be evil’ and hasn’t had any character development in four seasons. Was it weird that he just disappeared after season 4? Yes, but it’s something we’re all used to since there are enough characters who disappeared without a word to start a small country.

So Arden was fired, because there was no longer any room for Kira, but meanwhile two white men are invited (back) in. What do you mean racism and sexism aren’t a problem in Teen Wolf? To make things even worse, Arden thought she would return for season six. They probably didn’t even tell her that the season 5 finale was her last episode. I myself was terrified that they would kill Kira off, because of the way they were treating her this season, so when in the finale she left to go to Mexico again (sorry for the spoiler, but like I said in the beginning, this post can’t be entirely spoiler free) and Lydia said that she wasn’t gone forever or something, I was so relieved. I thought that maybe she would be absent for a few episodes, the first half of season 6 at the most, but no. That was her final appearance. She didn’t get any closure (nor did Arden most likely. Imagine being on set for the very last time, not even knowing that. I’m just so disgusted I have no words). Her storyline wasn’t resolved; that’s why she went to Mexico. To learn how to control her powers. But apparently the audience doesn’t need to know how that ends. Apparently Kira isn’t needed in the pack.

They treated Arden horribly and she deserves so much better. She’s a wonderful human being and an amazing actress. Kira deserved so much better. She was an interesting, complex character, who was a sweet cinnamon roll who kicked ass. Who is a kitsune, which is already really cool and interesting.¬†Who was relatable to so many people. But no, let’s bring back the evil werewolf whose sole purpose is to be evil. And while we’re at it, let’s invite more white men into the show. And meanwhile Shelley Hennig (who plays Malia on the show) talks about how¬†diverse the show is.

Watch Arden Cho’s announcement here:

Will I continue to watch Teen Wolf? Yes. Will I be bitter about it? Yes. Believe me, I want to quit. But some of my favourite characters are still there, and it’s very likely that this will be the last season anyway. If it’s not, they’ll probably continue with the ‘next generation’ because they’ve been shoving them down our throats the entire past season and I’m not interested in them anyway (except Mason, but he’s neither white nor straight, so even if they do make him a main character I wonder how long they’ll keep him on).

This is a very long post, and believe me, I could’ve gone on and on. I’m¬†furious, but they were treating Arden like shit so actually I’m also relieved that she’s no longer on the show. She deserves so much better and I hope she’ll land a great role soon, where she will be treated like a human being with feelings and a talented actress, instead of whatever the hell they were doing on Teen Wolf.

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

Goodbye Feministas, Hello Femilimes!

Hi guys, this is Michelle! I haven’t been on here much lately since I was busy with school, but I’m honoured to let you guys know we are no longer called ‘The Feministas’. From now on, we’re The Femilimes. This means this blog will be all about the rights of limes. Because we are¬†all limes.

yer a lime

Embrace your inner limeness. Become the lime you were born to be

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

Ps. Happy April Fools’ everyone!

#TheDollEvolves

curvy barbie petite barbie tall barbie

Barbie has often been criticised for unrealistic body images, but they are starting to make a difference. Starting today Mattel sells ‘tall’, ‘petite’ and ‘curvy’ dolls, not only showing girls that they can have any career they want, from scientist to designer to president to chef, but also that they can have any body they want.

Positive body image is so important. If you teach young girls from the start that they need to be as skinny as they can be, what kind of problems will they face when they are older? Not to mention the bullying that negative body images can lead to.

I also really love what Mattel has written on the official Barbie website:

This is just the beginning. From offering products that feature more empowering and imaginative roles to partnering with best in class role models, we believe in girls and their limitless potential. #YouCanBeAnything

I really hope that Barbie continues to evolve and teach girls that they indeed can be anything they want to be.

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

Speak Up: Make A Change

Hey guys, it’s Michelle! I missed my last post because, well… I’m going to be honest with you guys. I forgot. I have to admit I DID remember, but when it was late in the evening and by then I was too tired to write a post. I blame school. Anyway, our last theme of the year (*gasp*) is a recap of 2015.


It’s the end of another year, what usually means resolutions for the next one. But what if we all set some resolutions together, for the entire world to follow? Of course, they can’t really be accomplished within one year, but it never hurts to try.

We need to start being kind to each other. We need to stop discriminating people because of the colour of their skin, their gender, their sexuality or their religion and beliefs. We need to stop looking down on others and treat each other like equals. We are all human and to quote High School Musical: we’re all in this together. I’m not saying we should all start a musical (because let’s face it, that would be a disaster since most of us can’t sing), but we need to stop treating each other like dirt. Stop discriminating. Stop bullying. Stop hurting each other¬†on purpose. It’s impossible not to hurt other people sadly, but it¬†is¬†possible to stop doing so intentionally.

Of course we don’t always realise that what we said is hurtful, so we also need to speak up against one another. Even if that person wasn’t talking to you, say something. Help those that are being looked down on, discriminated and bullied. Stand up to the bullies. I know it’s scary. I’ve been there. It took me years to stand up for myself, let alone for others, but if one of us stands up, we can all stand up together.

Protect each other. Be kind to each other. Stand up for yourself and others. Speak up. 

And keep in mind:¬†don’t bully back. That won’t solve the problem. Don’t scoop down to that level. Talk to them. You don’t know what’s going on inside the bully’s mind. I’m not saying that whatever is going on in their life, excuses their behaviour, but talking to them, making them realise that bullying won’t solve anything and is a¬†big problem, may do a lot. Make them realise¬†how they affect their victims. Make them realise what they’re¬†really¬†doing.

Smile at each other. Give each other compliments. Don’t feel awkward. Don’t feel shy. Who knows what that person has gone through, what’s on their mind, how they’re feeling. That one smile, that one gesture of kindness, that one compliment; it can turn their day around. It can save them.¬†

Of course there are so many other resolutions I’d like to set. I wish we could just end all the misery in the world, but being kind, stopping bullying and discrimination, standing up, that’s something we all can do.

So who’s with me? Let’s start being kind to each other. Let’s speak up. Let’s make a change.

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

You Are An Inspiration

You are an inspiration

Hey guys, it’s Michelle! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here as I was busy with school and last time I forgot to post (oops), but I’m back now! This time our theme is about inspiring¬†teens, but instead of focussing on a specific teenager, I will be talking about how any of us teenagers (do I still qualify as one? I’m eighteen¬†and certainly still feel like one!) can be and are inspiring.

We can’t be all Malala Yousafzai, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be inspiring,¬†even if it’s not to the entire world. You can be an inspiration to those around you, just by simply being you and being there for them. You can be inspiring by speaking your mind, even if it’s just in your own living room to your parents and siblings. You can be inspiring by smiling even when there’s nothing to smile for. You can be inspiring by working hard, being kind to others and helping them. Simply by being there for someone, you can be an inspiration.

Maybe you haven’t been on television. Maybe you haven’t held a speech in front of a big crowd and several cameras. Maybe you haven’t written an influential book. Maybe your blog isn’t read by millions, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t influential. Who knows how much you inspire those around you? And remember, if you want to make a change in the world, you still have time.¬†You’re still young and you already have a lot going on. No one will blame you for being a regular teenager, besides, like I said, being a regular teen doesn’t mean you are not inspiring. Everyone is inspiring to someone in their own way.

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

Working With Amnesty International

Hey guys, it’s Michelle! I haven’t posted on here for a while: school got in the way and I got sick too, but I’m back now! This fortnight we’ll be talking about charities and as you can guess from the title, I’ll be discussing Amnesty International.

Last year, in my senior year of secondary school, I had to do something we call ‘profielwerkstuk’ in The Netherlands.¬†You could call it a big essay you have to write, but you can also make for example a documentary. It’s basically a big project and you must do a lot of research.
Anyway, for my ‘profielwerkstuk’ my friend and I worked with Amnesty International and the Dutch Resistance Museum here in Amsterdam on a project called ‘Geen Nummers Maar Namen’ (No Numbers But Names). This project led to an exhibition about political prisoners, mostly those from the Second World War, but also about three recent cases. One of those cases is Raif Badawi, who you may have heard about in the news. Raif is a blogger like us Feministas and wrote down his thoughts on the situation in Saudi-Arabia and the freedom of speech (or lack of in the case of Saudi-Arabia and sadly many other countries). Soon Raif was arrested and now he’s still in prison, and if the government gets their way he will be in there for ten more years. To make matters even worse, he was also sentenced to 1000¬†lashes. He has already received the first 50, the rest are postponed until further notice. This doesn’t mean that he won’t get them though, he could get them anytime.

To me, and hopefully to all of you as well, this is just ridiculous. Raif Badawi is a good man who just wants to make a change, but because the government is so terrified of losing their power they torture an innocent and kind man. There are so many things I’d love to tell you about Raif, but I wouldn’t even know where to start.

As you’ve probably already guessed, my friend and I worked on Raif’s case. We researched all that we could, talked to experts and mailed with Raif’s wife Ensaf, to write a short biography and help with the exhibition.¬†During this time Amnesty International helped us as much as they could, but of course they were really busy. What I found incredible was that everyone was so cheerful and joking around at their headquarters, while they deal with horrible stories like Raif’s all the time. Everyone was just so friendly and helpful, it was very inspirational to me. This project also showed how hard Amnesty works to help people and though I already admired them before, my respect for them grew so much more during this time. I wish I could donate to help them, because I find their work incredibly important, but sadly I don’t have the money to do so right now. I do know that once I’ve graduated, have a proper job and a stable income, I’ll try to donate, even if it’s only a little amount, every month.

If you want to help, but don’t know how, here are Amnesty’s five ways to help Raif and here are all the petitions you can sign. If you can and want to donate to help Amnesty help Raif and others like him, visit¬†the Amnesty website for your country.

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.

Why Men Need Feminism: ‘Unmanly’ Sports

Why Men Need Feminism_

As you may know this time the theme on The Feministas is why men need feminism. When I heard of the theme I almost immediately thought of my grandfather.

When my grandfather was young he used to practice ballet, and he was very good at it. So good, he could’ve gone to England to join Margot Fonteyn’s ballet, if it weren’t for his parents, who disallowed him to continue on with ballet and made him join the army. After all, ballet isn’t for men and ‘ballet can turn you gay’.

Of course this is ridiculous: how can a sport turn you gay? But sadly there was no one that made them see reason and my grandfather had to quit ballet. Ballet was and still is one of his biggest loves and passions, and I just can’t imagine that as a parent, you can tell your kid ‘no, you can’t do that’, when you know it makes them happy. When it’s something they’re good at and they can succeed at. Why would you do that?

I shared this story with you (in short), because sadly there are still many sports and hobbies that are thought of as ‘feminine’ and thus ‘unmanly’. Men shouldn’t perform those sports or enjoy those hobbies (i.e. ballet and other forms of dancing, sewing, knitting and anything¬†else¬†related to fashion etc.), because they’re supposed to be strong and manly, they shouldn’t be elegant dancers or draw dresses. And I ask you: WHY THE HELL NOT? Who has decided what is okay for women and what’s okay for men to do? Who has decided: you’re a girl, so you should do ballet, but you’re¬†a boy, so here’s a football. Girls can play football, boys can do ballet. They can do¬†both, as long as they enjoy it and it makes them happy (speaking of which, my grandfather was also a goalkeeper later in his life). Who gives a damn about it? As long as they’re happy, shouldn’t¬†you¬†be happy?

Men need feminism, just as much as women do, because both genders just ¬†should be able to do¬†whatever they want, without others telling them it’s ‘gay’ or ‘un-ladylike’. So to all of you reading this: please don’t care about what others might think. If it makes you happy,¬†do it. If you have the opportunity and the chance, if no one is physically stopping you, if you¬†can,¬†then do it.

Michelle is an 18-year old book and writing blogger who blogs at The Writing Hufflepuff, where she also talks about personal things and other interests. You can also tweet her at @writingbadger.