Emily Bashforth

"There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in black women. It's as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet" is a quote by Maya Angelou... and she was correct. If the world were a machine, black women would be the cogs which kept it functioning.

Language is our primary form of communication, therefore, it's vital that everyone feels included within it. All too often, those who identify as transgender, non-binary or gender fluid are excluded from the conversation because the words being used don't accommodate for them. These people will always be part of our society so it's time to start combating institutions which ignore and silence them and, instead, ensuring they are fully integrated into all aspects of society.
To read is to exist. Reading helps shape us as people and educates us on the world in which we live. Reading about feminism is especially important to help us learn more about the movement so we can better ourselves as advocates for equality.

With London being so huge and bursting at the seams with tourist attractions, planning your first trip there can be overwhelming and knowing where to even start can be difficult. With so much on offer in one of the world's most amazing cities, you'll, naturally, want to see it all. Whilst there is so much you want to do and so little time to do it in, it's a good idea to cherry pick where you want to visit during your stay.
In an ideal world, all beauty brands would be cruelty-free. It's baffling how, in this day and age, so many are not, especially when much better alternatives to reprehensible animal testing are available. However, it's important to celebrate the brands which produce beautiful products without harming either humans or animals, in the hope of them getting the recognition they deserve for having good ethics and also that it'll encourage more brands to follow suit.

As enjoyable as sleeping is, is there anything more frustrating than not being able to fall asleep when it's the only thing in the world you want to do? We've all been there. You've been lying awake in bed for what feels like a century, you turn on your phone only to be blinded by the beaming screen and see it's 3:32am. You let out a huff and turn over, knowing that, for at least the next hour, that's all you're going to be doing, tossing and turning until you eventually drift off and get a solid 30 minutes worth of sleep.

The world has put so much emphasis on physical appearance, as if it's the be all and end all, as if how we look determines our paths in life. It's shocking how plenty of people will refuse to leave the house after having a break out because their acne makes them feel so ugly and self-conscious.

Life as an introvert can be difficult and frustrating. There is nothing wrong with being introverted, especially as most people's personalities have some percentage of introvert in them. However, you may be looking for a way to become more outgoing and to really allow that hidden extrovert, buried deep within you, chance to shine.

02.01.2018 marks three years since I decided to create the very blog which you are reading right now. A lot has changed in my life since then but my blog has remained a constant and a place for me to express my thoughts and feelings.

It's time to say farewell to another year. Another year of anxiety, stress, grief, political corruption, natural disasters, world suffering, devastating shocks and drama but not before taking a moment to reflect on all 2017 has taught us and brought us.

2017 was a fantastic year for cinema. Filmmakers really pushed the boundaries and raised the bar to provide us with unforgettable viewing experiences. The film industry was brimming with diversity, representation, it addressed uncomfortable issues which are often shoved into a corner and told the stories of remarkable people, without whom, the world would not be what it is today.

2017. Thank God it's over. It's been a ghastly 12 months, with Trump as President, Brexit talks taking place, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, cases of sexual assault, homophobia, racism, sexism and transphobia around every corner...I think I speak for everyone when I say I'll be glad to see the back of this year.

The overall consensus was that 2016 was the worst year ever. However, it seems 2017 has given 2016 a run for its money, having left us all wondering what on earth we were complaining about last year as the past 12 months have just got increasing worse. Whether it was something to do with politics, pop culture, our personal lives or just generally good people doing bad things, there always seemed to be something to whinge about.

2017 was the year of the woman. 2017 was the year women spoke out, it was the year women succeeded, it was the year women got angry, it was the year women were in control and it was the year women stared the very things in the eyes which intended to frighten them and said, "I'm not scared of you."

Wasn't 2017 a fantastic year for music? Even when the country was crumbling beneath us and the government were trying to snatch our human rights away from us at every possible moment, at least we had good music to keep our spirits up.

17th December marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Sex Workers. Globally, sex workers have a 45-75% chance of experiencing sexual violence at some point in their careers and are more likely to be killed on the job than the average person. It's time to put an end to this and decriminalise sex work.

Most people label their gender with some form of pronoun and it's vital that we use the right ones when addressing or speaking about someone. Deliberately using the wrong pronouns and misgendering, in my eyes, is the highest form of disrespect.

Period poverty exists yet we aren't talking about it because periods are still such a taboo topic. They're viewed as disgusting and conversations surrounding them make people feel uncomfortable, but, the truth is, we have to push past that discomfort and realise that no topic is "too disgusting" when it's having a detrimental impact on people's lives.

The coming out process can be a frightening thing for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Regardless of what they're coming out as or who they are coming out to, this time can be riddled with fear, stress and major anxiety.

We live in a predominantly girl power culture, which is great. In 2017, women love to build one another up - you only need to open Instagram to see the comments sections of selfies flooded with "OMG BABE YOU LOOK SO GORGEOUS!" It's great to see females empowering one another and sticking together. But, sometimes, it can feel like we've lost our way a little.

Every week in the UK, two women die from violence. One in three girls' first sexual encounter is rape. Each day, women live in fear of becoming the next victim. Every day, women's suffering is silenced. Every day, atrocities against women are committed yet, despite being the ones on the receiving end of sexual, physical and psychological abuse, the whole thing is still seen as a 'women's issue.'

There aren't many people who I would spend eight hours sitting on the cold, damp streets of Manchester for, well, Harry Styles is probably the only person in the world who I would do that for. The majority of my Wednesday 1st November was spent sitting in a queue outside the O2 Apollo in Manchester, longing for 7pm when the doors open and I could prepare to see my favourite person in the world...and it was worth every second.

Niall Horan has always been overlooked. In 1D, he wrote some songs but was never given enough credit for them, he was barely given any solos in the band's early days and, despite being the second most followed member on Twitter for a while, his talents were never truly given the recognition they deserve. He was the Irish one, the happy go lucky chap who made people smile and had a sweet voice - nothing wrong with that, of course, but it meant that Niall's true potential, vocals and songwriting abilities were cast aside.
Fair Squared are a company who sell skin and haircare products, as well as condoms. They are Fairtrade, too, and are actually one of the first cosmetic product producers who have permission to label their products with the well known Fairtrade seal. Their products are also approved by the natural cosmetic organisation, NATURE, as well as The Vegan Society, the animal rights organisation PeTA and are HALAL certified.

Feminism is the movement changing the world. It already has changed the world. Without feminism and the feminists who have died fighting for equality, many of us wouldn't be able to live as freely as we do today.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, "We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage." She was right.
The Kat Von D Lock-It primer and foundation tick all the boxes on my imaginary list of "things I a primer and foundation need to have in order for me to like them" so why not share my thoughts on them so you can like them too? What a great idea.

When I was a small child, there was such a lack of representation in what the media fed to me. In the TV shows and movies I watched, 99% of characters were white, they were all heterosexual, they were all cis gender, most were able bodied and most were not religious.

Cosmetics brands can be very good at hiding the fact that they test on animals. Many get away with claiming to be cruelty free because, for the most part they are, however, a lot of brands sell in places which require them to test on animals by law, such as China.

Animal testing has been around for, well, pretty much forever. Animals have been used repeatedly throughout the history of biomedical research. Early Greek physician-scientists, such as Aristotle, (384-322 BC) performed experiments on living animals.

You're 18. You've just completed your A-levels. Now, a lot of authoritative figures are on your case constantly, pressurising you to make a decision regarding your future. The "normal," I guess, path to take would be to go to university as that's what is expected but, honestly, if you don't want to go to university, then you don't have to go.

Every 40 seconds somebody takes their own life. Suicide is a huge problem and the statistics aren't showing any sign of decreasing, meaning days like Suicide Prevention Day are still so necessary. However, despite this day being around for such a long time, suicide still exists. Of course, just by naming a day "Suicide Prevention Day," suicide isn't going to cease, however, more needs to be done in order to tackle this prevalent issue in our society.

Being a woman isn't easy, especially in such a patriarchal society. Life in general isn't easy and it's okay to stumble sometimes and look in the direction of others for advice. I wanted to remind my fellow women of fifty three things which should always be in their minds. I want to tell you these things to help you live a happy, prosperous life as a woman despite the world wishing to silence you and constrain your ability to achieve your dreams.

College. The dreaded C word. You've survived your first day at nursery, first day at primary school, first day at high school but your first day of college just seems like the end of the world. A new environment? With new teachers? Having to make new friends? Whilst studying new subjects that are going to be difficult? How could one possibly make it out alive. Well, I'm here to tell you that you can.

December 2016 could've signified the end for world renowned X Factor manufactured girl group, Fifth Harmony. After losing a member, not all bands are able to move forwards. However, fearless 5H powered on as a foursome and are back with their third studio album and, after listening to it, I doubt anyone has any worries about whether or not these girls can manage as a four piece.

Music is the best thing ever...alongside pizza, poetry and equality, of course. It's rare that I go a day without listening to it. I love how music makes me feel. I love how one song can make me feel ten different emotions, even if I don't fully understand what it's about. On the other hand, I love how I can resonate so deeply with some songs and feel as though the lyrics were written about my own life.

Morphe are famous for their eyeshadow palettes. They're highly praised by both professional make-up artists and by everyday folk who see make-up as nothing more than a hobby. I've always been eager to explore Morphe as a brand and thought it was only right that one of my first products from them was a palette.
I'm tired. I'm tired of living in a racist world. The world is sexist, it's homophobic, transphobic, but it's also racist and, in this blog post, we're talking about racism because racism is a real issue today, just as much as it was seventy years ago and we cannot keep sweeping racism under the rug just because it's always been there. We shouldn't have to just "put up with it."

I'm 18. Oh no. Does this mean I now have to start going out to clubs every night, partying the night away whilst drinking my body weight in alcohol then laying in bed until 3pm the next day, nursing my hangover? Is my life now supposed to become a vicious cycle of partying, sleeping, feeling hungover then going out and doing it all again? Am I supposed to live off kebabs, pot noodles and spend every Summer up to my knees in mud at some British music festival? Because, if so, I'm about to be the worst 18 year old to have ever graced the Earth.

The bisexual community are subject to prejudice and harmful stereotypes at all times, both in real life, in fiction and within the media. These stereotypes have been used so much that it can be difficult to dispel them or to make someone see why the preconceptions they have of bisexuals are false.

It sucks living in a world which has such high expectations of you and which has you under a microscope, constantly picking apart everything about you. It's impossible to breathe without being scrutinised and it's a shame that that has become the norm. It's as if we all now just expect to be criticised for everything we do and it's stopping us from living our lives as the best versions of ourselves.

I don't know if it's just me who thinks this, but I believe gender stereotypes have got worse as time has passed. I know previous generations had to grow up in an extremely gendered society, with girls being directly told to aspire to be housewives and mothers and boys having no option but to be physically strong, intellectual and willing to defend their country. However, typical gender roles are now being fed to society's children much more subtly and it's worrying to see the impact they're having.

I love Tumblr for its cute GIFs, One Direction fanfiction, artsy room decor inspiration and for beautiful photos for when I'm in a wanderlust mood. I also love it for its realness and how its users aren't afraid to speak their minds, especially when it comes to things that really matter.
TV shows come and go. I don't know how many there have been since televisions were invented but I know there have been a lot and programmes have evolved heavily since the black and white days. Storylines are more intense, actors are more skilled, costumes are more extravagant, sets are more elaborate, budgets are higher, stunts are more death defying, technological developments make the impossible seem possible, taboo topics are touched on more frequently and audiences just generally love TV shows today in a way that they did not previously. TV shows are more than that now, they're a real part of all of our lives and, choose the right one, and you could find something which changes your outlook on everything.

You'd think that, by now, the world would have accepted the fact that, yes, women have body hair and, no, sometimes they don't want to shave it off. But no, whether or not a woman ought to shave off every hair follicle on her body is still actually being debated, most of the time, by everyone other than women themselves.

The lesbian community are stereotyped each day and it is vital that we dispel the myths that surround them in order to create a better society in which lesbians feel able to express themselves. Stereotypes dehumanise members of their community and are totally unnecessary as making a judgement about a whole group of people based on the way some of them act is wrong.

It's that time of year again. Supermarket shelves are stacked high with fitness DVDs, every TV commercial break contains countless advertisements for diet foods, gym membership prices have been reduced, everyone looks at you strange if you dare to breathe near anything with more than ten calories in it and the only thing you're allowed to drink from now until the end of August is water. Yep, you guessed it, it's time to get SUMMER BODY READY!

There's a series named 13 Reasons Why. You've probably heard of it. The show landed onto Netflix earlier this year and pretty much the whole world was eager to check it out after there had been so much hype surrounding it.

Feminism: The social, political and economic equality of the sexes.

To the LGBTQ+ community, this is my love letter to you. I write it at the beginning of Pride Month 2017.