How not to hate Taylor Swift.

Confession time: I quite enjoy Taylor Swift’s music – tragically, without a trace of irony. What can I say? I got hooked on “Enchanted” whilst on exchange in Vancouver a couple years back and I would listen to it on repeat whilst infused with whiskey on moody seaside walks; I have been enamoured ever since.

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Love her music, hate her music, feel distinctly apathetic about her music – as you please. However, the perpetual slut-shaming of Taylor should surely disappoint feminists everywhere. Michael J. Fox is the latest of many to weigh in with such an opinion of Taylor Swift. Upon being asked whether or not he would approve of Taylor dating his son, he replied: “No. No … Just back off. I don’t keep up with it all, but Taylor Swift writes songs about everybody she goes out with, right?” Right! “What a way to build a career.”

Clearly, this is all really quite sad. People dislike Taylor having an active dating/sex life because it supposedly conflicts with her romantic song-writing, when in reality this shouldn’t be perceived as paradoxical: sleeping with multiple people doesn’t make you any less of a romantic.

Fox’s comments highlight another prevalent assumption regarding Taylor: the belief that she only ever writes about heartbreak, her real-life boyfriends/exes (the latest being 1D’s Harry Styles) inspiring the specificity of the material. I’m not saying I disagree with this view of her music – of course that’s all she writes about! – but I find it frankly hilarious that this is perceived as unique to Taylor. Writing a song about your ex can now be described as, “doing a Taylor Swift”. Aren’t a good majority of all the songs ever written about heartbreak and largely based on real-life encounters? To repeat Fox’s final remark: “What a way to build a career”. Yeah, take that, Adele! Amy Winehouse! Joni Mitchell! Oh, but wait. They’re all fine. Everyone is sane when it comes to everyone else.

I’m guessing people single out Taylor to ostracise because she’s a commanding girl living in a digital age and people like to get a little judgemental over such rampant female hedonism. Let’s be honest, I’m sure many of us in her position would try to sleep with all the members of One Direction. So, instead of all this lunacy, I suggest not hating on Taylor just because she is making money off her bad times and otherwise appears to be having an awesome time. Instead, should you so wish, hate her the old-fashioned way: hate her music.

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Modern graduate life.

Yesterday, I contributed to a piece concerning graduates who are only able to find non-graduate work, which was published in The Daily Mail today: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2229587/Value-university-education-falls-Graduates-degree-earn-22-decade.html

I found the article itself well-balanced and insightful. However, I’m writing this blog post as a response to various comments on the article, such as this one from Big Mama Mai, London: “Her own fault for picking a Worthless course and her Degree is a Mickey Mouse one. Learn a Trade Girl !! Or go on a Very Good Business course.” Other comments ridicule graduates for presuming they can automatically land a high-paying job post-university. Essentially, many of these comments seek to deny the humanities (particularly English Literature) any value whatsoever and jump to the conclusion that all graduates have nothing but their degree to their name and are sitting around in family comforts wondering why nobody has thrown a giant pile of money at them yet. Case in point: “It is completely dependant on the degree in question. ‘I have a degree in English literature’ Yes that’s very nice dear but what’s your point? What do you want to do with it? Did you think that through before you spent three years of your life having a nice party with your friends?”

(I wonder if a male graduate would have been met with the same patronising tone, the term “dear”?)

So, firstly, I thought I’d break the news to those in need that, believe it or not, some people choose degrees for the joy of education in itself! Not as a passport to ceaseless riches to buy up all the cocaine and hookers! Additionally, to all those writing off my degree as “easy”, trying writing a dissertation on Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, interspersed with close analysis of Satan’s rhetoric in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, topped off with germane musings regarding Jacques Derrida’s concept of forgiveness. In fact, just fucking go and read Clarissa. Then we’ll talk.

It should also be observed that, actually, most graduates do not expect to waltz into their dream job on some massive salary in an immediate or imminent manner. I’ve got a high 2:1 in English Literature, a traditional subject, from the University of Manchester. I would call that a good degree from a good university. Further to my degree, I have various work experience in journalism and PR / marketing in addition to previous employment history (temporary office work and luxury fashion retail) and an extensive self-taught IT skill set.  I do not expect to walk into a high-flying job with just my degree, yet I also do not see why it is unreasonable to expect, with the combination of a good degree and work experience and relevant skills, to gain at least an interview for entry-level employment that pays the Living Wage in, say, an appealing head office environment (museums, charities, fashion, etc.).

[Side-note:] I lost count a long time ago of the number of graduate jobs I’ve applied for, but so far none of them have even confirmed receiving my application. Considering that a single application can easily take an hour after researching the position, the company, tailoring your CV / cover letter to the position, in addition to the series mini-essays you usually have to write as answers to various questions posed in online application forms, this complete lack of response can be rather infuriating. After spending so much time on applications, some feedback would be appreciated or at least a courtesy rejection email to confirm they received the application in the first place. I’m currently saving up for an MA next September, so my circumstances are only temporary, otherwise I’d probably implode with rage.

So, there you go. My cultivated opinions as a skilled and experienced graduate. I love my degree. I love to learn. I would also love a position that pays Living Wage in a remotely intellectually stimulating working environment. I don’t see why that’s such an entitled and impossibly deluded dream.

EDIT: Just thought I’d share with you this cracker of a comment: “Come on she is blonde cannot wear a hat correctly and she thinks a bar job is beneath her, get real ducky.”

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Filed under Feminism, Life, Literature

Top thoughts of the day.

1. Can individuals in possession of a penis please stop telling me what to do with my uterus and, y’know, justifying rape and shit? Thank you, Republican senate Richard Mourdock  – calling rape pregnancies a “gift from God”  –  for being the latest of dismally many to make me want to eat my own fists in combustive rage.

2. I’m going to start painting again tomorrow.

3. Working in a pub, I am still baffled as to why certain male customers think it’s perfectly acceptable to grab my waist/hips/miscellaneous area and physically move me (and other female staff) out of the way yet, when trying to circumvent male members of staff, simply say, “Excuse me, please”.

4. Burn blisters are mental. I have a giant one following a disagreement with the coffee machine and it’s horribly fascinating.

5. I am otherwise chipper because my friend found my passport! It was in the lesbian club.

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Weekend plans: devoid thereof.

I’ll be spending the vast majority of this weekend at work (I’m a bartender/waitress, biatch), which means spending most of the weekend failing at life. Additionally, I found out this week that the tuition fees for my MA next year are nearly £1,000 more than I was led to believe, cue panic reading everywhere in the fruitless hope that I’ll conjure up something completely brilliant and therefore fundable  –  “panic reading” basically involves rolling around piles of books, speaking in tongues, and covered in jam.

Still, I’m going to consider this weekend a success compared to the last one, where I inexplicably ended up with extremely low blood sugar after a night out (I’m newly Type 1 diabetic  –  1.9mmol/L!) and consequently ran around maniacally with no clothes on until I collapsed in an unresponsive manner and my friends had to call me an ambulance.

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Jam: coincidentally what my friends fed me when the paramedics arrived

A weekend without hospital, therefore, is a most welcome amelioration in my life right now. Additionally, I currently feel more blessed than my poor friend, who informed that he’s purchased pink roses for his boyfriend to say sorry for giving him gonnorrhea.

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Kate Middleton topless: reaction

For some bizarre reason, certain people on the internet are saying Kate only has herself to blame for the recent publication of topless photographs by French Closer magazine, à la Prince Harry scandal. The general consensus of this bunch is that any partial nudity outside of the bedroom is a desperate plea for publicity, therefore I thought I might offer a brief distinction for those in need:

Inviting a bunch of strangers to your Las Vegas hotel room for drunken naked merriment, however delightful, is quite different from sunbathing topless in France with your husband on private property. Publication of the former is inevitable considering the public nature of Vegas and the open medium of camera phone utilised by a stranger; publication of the latter is a gross and illegal invasion of privacy, clandestinely using a long lens whilst hiding on private property, thereby behaving in the manner of a stalker.

Now, I would really quite like it if all the heinous misogynists would kindly fuck right off, please.

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Winning Wolf & Badger.

Last week, I attended the Wolf & Badger new designers party, which was the usual delightful combination of fun, fashion, and gin. Posted below are some snaps of my favourite finds:

In celebration of the Olympics, the theme was “Sports Day”, and so, as some vaguely attempted nod, I opted for an equestrian print shirt because my gym shorts are rather obscene. Also, I promise I wasn’t one of those fools who wears sunglasses indoors, at least for the most part; I was simply mesmerised by this Heidi London pair for sale and therefore temporary commandeering was obviously necessary.

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Music Monday: “Primadonna” by Marina and the Diamonds.

I realise this is not particularly new, but I’ve recently been listening to the album Electra Heart non-stop, especially the track “Primadonna”:

I’ve been a big fan of Marina ever since The Family Jewels first came out, and I love this song not only because it’s damn catchy but also because it epitomises what the album as a whole achieves: satirising the shallow elements of pop culture, not through an anarchistic medium such as punk rock but most uniquely through pure bubblegum pop itself.

Also, I can fucking dance to this on Canal Street, so that’s quite nice.

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