Kitty Blackadder

Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about anxiety, minimalism and eyeshadow.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Minimalism Means Muffins



I'm not 100% sure where I'm going with this post if I'm honest; I've changed the title 11 times and normally that’s a sign for me that I’m not sure enough to write whatever I'm trying to write, but I've had the idea brewing at the back of my mind for a while and figured it was about time I try and commit something to paper, erm, web page. So, a lot has changed since I started embracing a “less is more” way of living – a lot of things that can be easily quantified or explained a la “oh my gosh, there was floor under all those clothes?!”, but some other things that are potentially even more palpable for me as experiences, but at the same time, a lot harder to pinpoint. This post is about two of those things.

banana pancakes with blueberries and the heading "Minimalism Means Muffins"

So, guys I’ve been making muffins. Like on multiple occasions. I know, right?  Baking for me is one of those things that I always see myself doing (and for some reason I always tell employers I do when they ask me about “me outside work” at interviews – what’s that about?), but I actually never do. I guess it always falls below the other tasks in life like work, cleaning and making “proper” food, because apparently “brownies aren’t a nutritionally balanced dinner”, pfft. Even in terms of hobbies, baking falls way down on the list for me; something about the idea of dragging 18 utensils out from the back of cupboards, and then reaching for all the ingredients – about 50% of which will have now expired of course – and then after it all, I have to clean up, are you serious? Yeah, somehow reading a book with a huge mug of tea and a blanket just seems more relaxing somehow.

My muffins – because I’m only competent enough to make one kind, you see – are banana based, and one day, I was working at my laptop at the table and I noticed the bananas in the fruit bowl were really past it. Huh. Those would be good to go into muffins, or else they need to go in the bin. Then I literally just turned my head to the right – didn’t even have to move off my chair – and I could see we had flour, oil, etc. I could picture the mixing bowl’s location, the baking tray – heck, I even knew where my apron was. And all of a sudden I stood up from my laptop and I made some muffins.

two egg shells in an egg carton

Normally, I plan baking like a week in advance, warning friends and loved ones not to call that day BECAUSE I’LL BE BAKING, only for it all to end up in a frustrated mess starting as soon as I lay the scales out on the counter. Normally it seems arduous and like it takes hours, and now, suddenly I’m that person that just “whips up” some baked goods in time for Kenny coming home – I mean, just the one type of baked goods really, but you know. Could this spontaneous muffin spawning be related to minimalism somehow?

Another thing that happened is my return to the world of lasagne making. I’m not a great cook, I’m not even really a good cook, but I am competent, especially with simple recipes, but guys, can I make a lasagne? No, no I cannot. Every single one is either too dry, or to saucy, or the béchamel is sweet or something else weird. I actually gave up altogether a couple of years ago because I got so frustrated and it legitimately made me feel not so great about myself – I’m the daughter of the world’s best lasagne maker you see, although I could be biased there. Anyway, one day recently, I woke up and I wanted lasagne, big time. I went to the store and I’m peering into the ready meals cabinet, having resigned myself to something sub-par and preservative laden, and suddenly I think, “no, I’m going to make a lasagne for dinner tonight”. I Google a recipe on my phone and standing there in the store, I’m able to recall what ingredients I have, what size dish I’ll use, and exactly what’s on my schedule for the rest day – so I know how to time this out. I was so calm, so able to make this split-second decision, whereas normally with my legitimate anxiety issues and my not-so-legitimate lasagne angst this would have had me in cold sweats and ready to hide under the duvet. Long story short, I made a lasagne, my béchamel vanished altogether (?!?!?!?!) and we ate dinner at like 9:30pm, but you know what I did after dinner? I didn’t cry. I didn’t apologise 8,000 times to Kenny for making us eat so late because I had some weird whim. Nope, I cleared up and then I reached for my cooking notebook and made some notes re: my discovery of vanishing béchamel. I stored the leftover pasta sheets, calm in the knowledge I’d be reaching for them again soon, and I went on with my life. Could this be a minimalist thing?

pile of banana pancakes with blueberries
Erm, yes I am aware that all the photos in this post are actually of pancakes rather than muffins, but I didn't take photos of the muffins, so these are banana pancakes instead... close enough!

It's very hard to see how muffins and lasagne would be related to it all if I look at the big picture, but I think when I break it all down it becomes pretty clear that all of this was a direct result of my adopting a more minimalist lifestyle. Everything from the fact I could actually see the fruit bowl on the table to know that we had bananas that needed using - rather than finding some furry blue unidentifiable shapes in a bowl under the clutter three weeks later - to knowing what ingredients we have and where they are, to not being so hooked on some trashy Netflix show that I feel I don’t have time to make a lasagne. I could make notes in my cooking book, because I could FIND the cooking book. I didn’t end up a frustrated, sauce covered mess while cooking, because I had my apron to hand and I wasn’t multitasking 17 things so I actually remembered to put it on.

a forkful lof food in front of a stack of pancakes

I feel this may not come across that clearly, like I said, it’s harder to draw an arrow pointing to it and say “result of minimalism”, but for me, the connection is as clear as day and I honestly, truly, would not have believed before I saw the results for myself that learning to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle would have opened up my mind and my mood and my opportunities so much that I would feel like I had the time, or the ability to make muffins – as silly as I’m sure that sounds. I feel more in control of my own time and my own mind; there is no “chore I should be doing”, there is no Netflix running in the background to distract me. I feel like I’m really starting to see the effects of my hard work to “live lighter” trickling down into real world results, and I like what I see. Now, does anyone have a good lasagne recipe they’d like to share?

stack of pancakes on a plate on a wooden table

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A Simple Way to Help Fight Daily Anxiety

There are a million posts like this on the internet, and, generally speaking I'm not that into posting 'tips and tricks' for anxiety or depression because I feel like they're complicated illnesses that a) there's unlikely to be a 'quick fix' for and b) I'm probably not that qualified to give out advice on the subject, BUT, I had to share this idea...
notebook filled with done lists

And what makes this one different? Why share this one? Well it provides almost instant gratification, doesn't require any prep work (or require you to happen to own a full set of healing crystals, or live next to lake you can swim in...), and I think it's pretty risk-free, you don't like it; you stop it.  

With my anxiety, I definitely need to feel organised and in control - I make lists, I catalogue eyeshadows, I have a Spreadsheet for what I eat in a day and one that lists all the bras I own, but sometimes, I end up feeling like I'm being controlled rather than like I'm the one in-control but I still need to track things, I need to make that list. (And yes, it would be great if one day I could tame that need and not feel so out of control if I haven't planned for something, but honestly, one battle at a time...)

So every night before bed I make a to-do list for the next day - I've done this for as long as I can remember. Now when I'm 'well' this list will consist of bigger, more impressive things like:

- jog 4 miles in the a.m.
- work 10am - 7pm
- dinner with Dad after work
- going to the cinema @ 10pm

You know, normal life stuff. And then, when I started to get mentally worse recently, I adapted the to-do list so it looked more like:

- get up before 9am
- wash hair
- eat either breakfast or lunch
- text someone

writing a done list in a notebook

Really simplified right? I thought I would set myself super achievable goals and that would allow me to easily tick them all off and feel really accomplished and proud of myself, gold stars for me. But let me tell you, when you deliberately write a list of four ridiculously easy things to do in a day and then, because you're so unwell you can't do any of them... that is not a healthy or a good feeling. I was going to bed every single night feeling more like I was failing, like I was falling further down into the depression  BECAUSE CLEARLY I COULDN'T DO ANYTHING SO WHAT EVEN IS THE POINT. Seriously, for every one thing I managed to tick off the list, there would be three or four I just couldn't face (sometimes, for days at a time), and those to-do lists would just rub that in my face, day after day.


So it was time to regroup and try and find a way to still make those lists without those lists making me crazy and I remembered something I'd learned on a training day in some job or other (you know, the sort of days where there are 'team games' and 'creative exersises' *shudder*) and the tip was actually given as a tool to motivate staff when you're running a particularly difficult shift, but hey, it applies here and the idea is... to write a done list.

So simple, and so widely used by people in all sorts of settings, it's potentially not that surprising that it would help manage daily anxiety, but what's interesting to me is that it doesn't seem to just be a tool to help me cope day to day, it actually seems to be improving my overall mood. Having the list to look at at the end of the day is cheering, but having a week's worth to look back at lets me really see how all the little pieces come together. Sure I only managed to study for 2 hours a day instead of 3, but you know what - that means I'm still 14 hours closer to achieving my dreams than I was at the start of the week.

It also helps me plan my time for the week ahead (because yes I do still need to have a rough plan of my time or else I just feel so lost). I can see realistically what I was achieving each day and I can be more gentle when structuring the week ahead - it means I can see I can usually study for about 2 hours a day, so I plan for 1.5 and then I'm proud of myself for doing more, rather than planning for 3 and 'failing' every day. 

notebook full of lists

One thing I would say is that I think these lists are pretty personal - and of course, completely relative. For example, here's my list for yesterday:

- Managed to cook dinner
- Managed to text my sister to say good luck for her interview
- Managed to do some programming
- Managed to listen to my body and sleep when I needed to
- Managed to speak on the phone






So... for me, that was a pretty alright day actually, based on how my life is at the moment, but clearly to almost anyone else this list would look ridiculous: 'I mean okay, so you managed to take a nap, stuff your face, mess about on your phone and what even does 'some' programming mean? Did you call the doctors? You know that's important. Did you eat anything before dinner? You know you need to eat...' and so it could go on. One thing I'm really learning with my mental health is how personal the journey is. My done list is (usually) for my eyes only and that way I can choose to attach only positive feelings to it. I'm learning to measure success by my own standards and to notice all progress, not just significant progress and sometimes even though the people around us might only ask because they care, it can be hard having to say over and over again; "well no, I ... I didn't actually manage to do that today..." and have them look shocked - that always makes me freak out about why I didn't do it. 

Every journey starts with a single step, and the journey to mental wellness is no different, it's just that while from the outside, the first step might be "eat breakfast each day", depending on your starting place your daily achievements might be "was able to consider eating today, and was able to open the fridge", and there is nothing wrong with that. Even the smallest step is a step in the right direction and so I think the done list is a great idea as long as you remember to count everything you've done as an achievement not just the big stuff, and you know what it's okay if all that's written down some days is "kept breathing" because I know that sometimes, that can feel like a battle in itself.


 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Blog Posts I Read and the Blog Posts I Write

The original title for this post was "Finding My Voice", but that made me sound like I'd had a reverse-Ariel moment and had in fact discovered I was the next Idina Menzel (ooh, mixing my Disney princess references... hardcore.). Anyway, I wanted to talk a little today about why I write, and what I write, and just generally to explore the difference between what I consume, and what I project.

Header image of a notebook bearing the title "Finding My Voice"

I first really got into blogs and started following along when I was 20, so six years ago. Among the first I followed were Lily Melrose, J for Jen, and, like a lot of other people I was hooked on Zoella and Essie Button. My Bloglovin' feed was filled with lipstick reviews, shopping hauls, Christmas makeup looks and cute hair braids and believe me, I couldn't have been happier. I had a Birchbox subscription, I bought suitably seasonal candles and I made this blog, of course, to write about, and bask in my love for makeup and everything that the beauty bloggers were. I wanted to be ahead of the curve, I wanted to be original, I wanted to be funny, I wanted to be wanted basically - but, if you take a look at the stats of this blog, you can easily tell, none of those things happened for me. I think it's because while, yes, I was besotted with the idea that the Lush PR team might send me the Christmas collection, and yes I really DID love writing about what shower gel I was using - oh and the photographs, I freaking loved taking the photographs - the reality was that it wasn't my love for a bargain concealer that kept me writing over the years. I LOVED writing about makeup, but somehow, it still wasn't my passion, on a deeper level - I think I wrote about beauty mostly because there were 1000 blogs out there doing the same, showing me it was safe to do so: that this was how to express creativity as a woman in my early twenties.

3 Lipstick Queen lipsticks laid out
Man, I loved taking these sorts of photos.

But actually, I've always written, right through childhood and through my teens, there has always been something being fervently typed up on my laptop late at night, or scribbled in my purple fuzzy diary after I had put the "padlock" on my door to keep my little sister out. The subjects have varied wildly from musings about whether my teacher was a witch (18 years on and I still think she might have been tbh), to huge, elaborate tales of pirates with incredibly emo names, and every imaginable subject in between until, of course, we came to beauty. Because there were already so many wonderful beauty blogs out there, in creating my own I instantly had so many of my creative "needs" met: I had goals to work towards, I had a schedule, I had motivation, community, validation and of course, control. When I wrote a "Top 5 Highlighters" post, I could have everything just so. I could take 1000 pictures and redraft 100 times in order to create something that I felt was correct. So writing a beauty blog allowed me to channel my fairly aimless writing into something that seemed 'worth it', that there was a point to, that I was joining in and maybe someday could become a way to meet people or even be a job. I felt like it turned my scribbles spread over 57 different notebooks into a clear narrative - but whose narrative was it?

Real Techniques blush brush and three baked blushes from MUR.

In retrospect, I think it's fairly easy to see that a  part of the reason that this blog never 'went' anywhere was because I wasn't being myself, and yes, I know that's incredibly cliche, but I think it's the truth. I DID rewrite everything 10 times, I edited and edited my personality to try and make myself better and more like Lily, or Zoe or whoever else: what do they have that I don't? Why can't be that together? I tripped over myself trying to follow every rule about post length, image placement, SEO and click-baity titles and really, all I ever wanted was to write what I felt.

A big turning point was joining the Project Panning community on YouTube, where, in stark contrast to the blog, I had a great time, almost instantly falling into an amazing group of women (Amber F, megsmakeup8, and Emily R being just a few of them) where we all communicated about issues we were having and gave each other support and encouragement. There, I didn't need to pretend to have it together or to have an Instagram-Ready flat - I could just be me, and they saw and appreciated that. I didn't have to always behave the same, or to self edit; I could have funny days, sad days, chatty days and, in contrast to how things had been on the blog - all of that was ok. I realised that I didn't need to try and be anything, I really could just be me.

Picture of me posing for a YouTue thumbnail
YouTube thumbnail shot from back in the good old days. Not completely sure what's going on with my blush/highlighter/bronzer situation, but it didn't matter so much then, I was happy.

As time passed and my interests changed and grew - exploring new topics like marriage, minimalism, vegan diets and home interiors, I realised that so many of the bloggers I once squealed to see on my Bloglovin' feed were now being completely ignored. Instead, I leapt on posts from A Cup of Jo, Extraordinary Routines, Rowdy Kittens, Jenny Mustard and many others who offer a more varied, lifestyle based content. Sure, you'll find mentions of a particularly fantastic lipstick, but they also explore more in depth topics like mental health, decisions about having children. women's rights and more - so why wasn't I writing about any of this when it's clearly what I was passionate about?

Well, it all came down to fear. While I may never have been good at beauty writing, it was safe, it was formulaic. I could sit down tomorrow and write a review of my Hoola bronzer (mmm... I can even see the photo props), and I would have a great time doing it. I could post it up, send out a couple of tweets, nothing to worry about. But, if I was to start writing about my anxiety, well, gee, I could give bad advice, or offend someone. If I wrote about the meals I cooked, well, I mean what do I know, I'm no Judy King? Writing about minimalism or jogging or mental wellness in general, I mean, I'm not an expert, I would hate to get it wrong. Best play it safe and write about some mascara then...

Fruitbowl on a wooden table
More recent blog photos have looked like this: nobody panic, we do actually keep more fruit than that in the house, but the kiwis were not very photogenic and the bananas wouldn't cooperate.

As time has gone on though, I've realised that I may not know much in life, but I do  know my own story and I know my own mind. At 26 I believe I am finally (freaking FINALLY) on the road to overcoming the anxiety that has crippled my life for more than 2 decades. I have quit trying to pursue a career with my degree because I just honestly don't want to work in that industry, and instead I'm working part time as a barista, surrounded by 20 year olds who're all way cooler than I ever was at 20, and I'm trying to teach myself Software Development to a degree level. I'm learning to love exercise for the first time in my life, I'm learning to care what I put in my body. I'm planning a wedding (erm, or well I should be planning my wedding...), I'm navigating a minefield of family relationships and I've managed to keep a plant alive for more than a month (well, actually, it's three plants, but I mean I don't want to blow my own trumpet) - all of these are stories I want to tell, and conversations I want to start. I don't want to be afraid of my own voice anymore, because I believe I do have a story to tell and ideas to share - I want to start being a positive force and writing the kind of posts I would like to read, that would help me, or inspire me or make me laugh. The bigger the subject, the bigger the risk of stepping on toes or embarrassing myself, but I know I have more in me than thoughts about blush, and I really want to get that out there.

So if you made it through this post, well done, and thank you! I'm so excited to get my teeth into writing again and begin sharing more dynamic, though provoking content on here, and, additionally (I'm making it public here so I can hold myself accountable), I've started work on my book - To Gatwick and Back -  which tells the story of growing up with an anxiety disorder, and now, as an adult, dealing with all the mess it has made. At the rate I'm going I should have it finished sometime in 2072, so, hold onto your hats folks!





Sunday, 19 March 2017

My Employers Told Me I Had to Wear Makeup and Heels, and I'm Not Okay with That.



So, it's been a minute. In the month or so since I last sat down to write a post I got a job (yay!), and then had to leave the job before I could even start (booooo!). Now, I could, and may yet write a bit more about the full set of circumstances that came about - because I think it's an experience worth writing about, if I can only pick my jaw off up the floor and do that, but for this post, I want to talk about just one of the issues that I had with this employer.

As you might be able to tell from the title, I was hired by a company that enforces an excessive dress code and grooming policy. I would love to share the specifics or quote phrases from the several-page-long document to show the harsh language used, but frankly, the document was marked as 'confidential' and there's a long paragraph at the bottom telling me exactly what I'll happen if I share any part of it - can't imagine why they'd hate for this to become public - so I can't do that, but anyway, this isn't ultimately isn't a piece about me blowing the whistle on a specific company, it's about how I felt being faced with these appearance guidelines and how it's changed the way I see things now.

 WARNING: A completely bare and unedited face not fit to be seen in the workplace.

To give at least a little context to things: it was a High-Street, retail job, working for a major, international company that sells high end beverage machines and their supplies to the public. I knew nothing about the dress code when I applied, and due to there not currently being a store in my city, or nearby for that matter, I hadn't seen the work environment first hand. I interviewed in another city’s store and have to say it was a very positive experience for me, staff were lovely. I wasn't overly aware of the dress code then - I was interviewed by a manager not in uniform, and the only staff member I saw for longer than a quick wave was male - so I couldn't see the issues I would soon find out about. I was thrilled to get the job, and everything seemed great - the job hunt was over, the super tight financial belt could be loosened and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Fast forward two weeks and major cracks had started to appear in the company's communication and coordination - dates pushed back, emails from me ignored, that kind of thing - but in amongst all the fog and whispers, I received one piece of information loud and clear. The dress and grooming standards. Now, I've worked in a lot of customer facing jobs - I've worked in everything from busy food and beverage locations, all the way up to fragrance counters and high end wedding wear - I am aware of the need to present oneself well, and to look clean, approachable and professional at work. I am also aware that for brands that aim for a more 'high end' feel they may be stricter with things like neon coloured hair ties, or coloured socks peeping through between your black shoes and black trousers. I don't think it's unreasonable for a company to want their employees to look fresh and well-kept because I do think that speaks to the customer, and is more welcoming, and while I'm not personally a 'fan' of uniforms, I do appreciate that when a company spends thousands of pounds designing their products' aesthetic, and decorating their store, they don't want the attention drawn instead to the staff member wearing a tie-dye pair of overalls (‘cos that's what the kids are wearing today, right?). So yeah, I get looking 'proper' at work. Neither men, nor women should be allowed to come in with creased, soiled clothing. Nobody should stink of alcohol, cigarette smoke or last night's Chinese takeaway. Both genders should polish scuffs of their shoes, wrestle their hair into some sort of compliance and have non-offensive breath - are you with me?

My issue with this dress code came in the form of how much more than men women were expected to be. How much more uncomfortable, how much more sexualised, how much more maintained and how much more out of pocket. Now, the dress code for gents seems reasonable enough to me - gents can have a beard, but they need to keep it nice, or they can be clean shaven. Uniform is a standard shirt and tie and typical black shoes - and everything else for gents is as I discussed above. Please shower. Please have tidy hair. Please brush your teeth. When you get onto the dress code for ladies, it is more than double the length and much more invasive. Women must wear heels. Women must wear the provided uniform - a fitted dress. Women must wear various, specifically mentioned items of makeup, including, but not limited to, foundation, lipgloss and red lipstick - and the woman is responsible for keeping this up to standard all day. Women must not only have their hair tied up, but it must be pinned and pleated or placed in a bun. Oh, and wear perfume, wash your hair every day and y'know obviously, all the usual hygiene requirements too. I cannot fathom how in this year, in our society, this seems okay to anyone. I am there, allegedly, to greet customers, to use my product knowledge and experience to advise them on the best beverage products for their requirements and to efficiently process their transactions. Can anyone tell me how wearing high heels, red lipstick and eyeliner would help me do this?

 No makeup, but still exactly the same knowledge of customer service as I would have with eyeliner on...

I can understand that if you work for a makeup brand, you might be expected to showcase their products on your face to help sell them, likewise, if you work in a clothing store it might be inappropriate to walk about in a t-shirt with a huge Nike tick on it (erm, unless you work for Nike I guess?), however, for me to dress up like that in a beverage-selling environment, frankly the only thing I'd be selling is sex. Selling myself as a desirable, sexual image.

When I read the document initially (after the pit of my stomach had finished dropping below sea level), I phoned my sister, and, while not breaking confidentiality, gave her the gist of the situation. Hearing the anger and the defiance in her voice filled me with relief - to know that I wasn't being 'silly', or overly sensitive about the issue overwhelmed me brought me to tears. My mum, my gran, and other women had the same reaction. Anger. Frustration. Disbelief. But I think maybe the most emotional reaction from me came from telling my Dad, who is not, it has to be said, an overly-gushy individual - normally, Dad sticks to the facts. Telling him about this and how it was making me feel he was silent and let me finish, then he simply sighed and said that he found it upsetting that anyone would consider his daughter not competent enough to do a job unless she was covered in a face of makeup. That I somehow wasn't as professional as a man and had to make up the difference. That I wasn't good enough as I am.

And that was the crux of the issue for me. I'm not "pretty" by our society's standards, I never have been, and I am 100% okay with that now, but I was bullied all through school in large part for how I look. For being pale. For my massive mane of curls. For my refusal to wear makeup. For my "boyish" choice of shoes and clothes. Like a lot of women, by the time I hit my twenties I was a wreck of insecurity. It has taken me years to come to love my face and body - and some days, it's still a work in progress. It has taken me decades to accept, and embrace my curly hair. And you know what, I own not one single pair of high heeled shoes, but 5 pairs of Converse Hi-Tops and I am FINE with that. Growing up I eventually came to realise that the playground bullies were just that; bullies. That I didn't need to listen to what they said - because what did they know anyway? But now... well, now the people telling me my face is not okay to be seen as it is, that my hair needs to be disguised and that comfy shoes are NOT okay... well, they're not just bullies, they can reject me for employment if I don't comply.

 As it happens I do now wear makeup most days to work - because I want to. On the other hand, if I choose not to get up 30 minutes earlier to put on a face of makeup – because I’m tired, or because I have something more pressing to do than apply lipgloss - I don't see that there's anything wrong with that either, and I certainly don’t expect to have to explain myself to an employer, or to face disciplinary action at work because of it. I have complete respect for women who go the full hog with makeup for work - up to contour and false lashes - and also for women who are there bare faced. It makes not a jot of difference to how knowledgeable, friendly or competent they are.

 If I was a man showing my bare face at work would be okay, but because I'm a woman, it isn't.

I take a minute out of each and every single day to feel grateful that I am a woman living in 21st century Scotland, and to be painfully aware of the inequalities that generations of women before me, and still women in parts of the world now endure. I am not comparing my experience to any of theirs, but my point instead is that I guess I always thought when it came down to it, I was an equal in my society. I always thought I looked professional without lipgloss, I always thought I was being hired for my ability to do a job and not how my legs look when I wear high heels. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that while I've always considered myself passionate about women's rights, I didn't necessarily ever consider that my rights might need defending. I always fought and protested and signed petitions with the abstract feeling of 'our' rights, I did feel part of a bigger cause and I did care about the outcomes, but I never necessarily felt I personally had anything at stake. But now, having been emailed by a man, confirming these grooming standards were to be adopted from day one of our (non customer facing) training, so that he could ensure I was meeting the standards, well, boy, don’t I feel belittled. To be sitting on the morning of your first day of a new job and not brushing up on some company stats, or looking forward to meeting new colleagues, but instead to be trying to get those lips looking nice and full and red, and making sure to cover that skin that looks so you know, like skin, well, colour me shocked. This was not the society I thought I lived in.
 
Ultimately, I'm writing this not because my experience was so out-there or shocking, quite the opposite really. I'm writing this because - as you may have seen in the news - many companies out there still think a double standard in appearance for men and women is okay, many companies think the fact that "sex sells" is justification to sexualise women, and many companies seem to disregard information about the long-term damage regular high heel wear can do to women, because hey, as long as it helps them sell products, right?. What happened to me was actually tragically commonplace - maybe you could write a similar story yourself - but I think it matters now that we do speak out about the things that we want to change, because I know I certainly don't someday want my future daughter or granddaughter to call me up and tell me they can't go to work unless they wear high heels.
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