Advice

Topshop: STOP glamorising self-harm!

TRIGGER WARNING

Self-harm is a serious symptom of mental health issues and low self-esteem.

It is not a fashion statement.

So why is Topshop currently selling temporary metallic tattoos that appear to depict self-mutilation as if they are the ‘next big fashion trend’.

The golden scar tattoos were created in conjunction with a new range of accessories the popular retail store have created to encourage and celebrate loving ones self. The temp tattoos, which have become a popular accessories for the summer festivalgoer for the last few years, were designed in collaboration with a jewellery design student from Central State Martins and currently retail at £8.50 a pack. The packaging also shows the slogan ‘Scars worth fighting for’.

Topshop Tattoos Gold

But rather then being met with the positive and empowering response the fashion brand had hoped for, the tattoos have been met with distain and disgust by many people across the net.

This isn’t the first time Topshop have come under fire for their ‘distasteful’ and inappropriate use of mental health issues to promote fashion.

Last year the British retailers were selling clutch bags with the slogan ‘Stressed, depressed but well dressed’ which they soon pulled from their stories after receiving backlash.

Using mental health problems to create ‘fashion statements’ seems to be a worrying and ever popular technique of selling clothes and accessories for a number of high street stores. One of the most high profile being Urban Outfitters, who have produced various garments in the last few years which openly glamorize mental health issues, such as their ‘Eat Less’ t-shirt and the ‘Depression’ crop top.

So let me jump straight into it. There is no doubt in my mind that the products I’ve just mentioned were created and sold to cause offense and upset. Unless you are a child under the age of eight who can’t use their own initiative or intelligence to understand that a t-shirt that read’s ‘Eat less’ is most definitely glamorizing anorexia, then there is no excuse to produce clothing which has such a message.

But I could, in some way, understand where Topshop might have been coming from with these metallic temporary tattoos. Celebrating our flaws and our ‘scars’ rather than being ashamed of our personal struggles is an ideology our society should aspire to and any public figure that encourages this is doing right in my book. Yet, there is no doubt that Topshop have gone about this in the completely wrong way.

The official target market for Topshop is currently 15 to 30 years old.

When I was a youngster, wearing Topshop clothing was something to aspire to. Although pricey, young people are drawn to the shop for its catwalk inspired couture and on-trend statement pieces. The popular vloggers are all wearing it, so why shouldn’t they?

And this is exactly why these temporary tattoos, regardless of the innocent intention of their creation, need to be taken down from Topshop shelves.

Just like the current trend of denim dungarees, there is always the concern that these fashionable accessories could become of ‘aspiration’ to young people who may see the stick-on scars as a ‘fashionable craze’ they should all join.

It all links into the misconception self-harm is often tainted with; that harming one’s self is a form of ‘attention seeking’ or a ‘teenage craze’.

Mental health charities and ambassadors are still finding they come across this misunderstanding in today’s society.

They have spent much time trying to raise awareness and educate people on the truth about self-harm yet actions such as the one’s taken by Topshop completely undermine their efforts.

Fashion and self-harm should never have to be in the same sentence.

The seriousness of self-harm has been completely misjudged by Topshop.

Over half of people who die due to suicide will have previously self-harmed. 1 in 5 young people will suffer from mental health issues.

These statistics are often forgotten by retailers who create such products purely for profit, a profit which even when argued ‘holds a positive message’ will not go towards charities or organisations which work to help the very people who have to ‘fight their flaws’.

Stop glamorizing self-harm. No amount of gold metallic paint will cover the pain and darkness that hides within self-harm. A transferable sticker isn’t going to raise awareness of mental health. If anything it will belittle the many people who struggle with it day in, day out. It’s not a trend and it certainly isn’t a fashion statement that should be encouraged in young, impressionable people.

Education is key and the misuse of an issue as serious as mental health for brand promotion is both wrong and exploitative.

If you know someone who self-harms or you personally have been affected by this story, please seek help and professional guidance. There are a number of organisations out there that can help and support young people and adults struggling with mental health issues.

If you are looking to help a friend who is self-harming, remember that it’s important to listen and leave judgement at the door. When someone is struggling with mental health issues as well as self-harm, they will feel alone and isolated. They may not want to speak to anyone about it.

Self-harm and mental illness should NEVER be seen as shameful as many people suffer alone when they shouldn’t have to.

You can visit these sites to get more information and advice;

http://www.nshn.co.uk/

http://www.harmless.org.uk/

http://www.mind.org.uk/

G

Advice, Lifestyle

5 Ways to Spot a Feminist

If David Attenborough encountered one, he would get as low to the ground as possible and use his whispering voice as not to disturb one.

An avid wildlife watcher might grab his binoculars to sneak a peak at it’s rarity, approaching with caution, for he knows how dangerous this species can be when provoked.

And if you are a part of the male breed, may we pray for you and your children.

Feminism.

It’s a scary subject for many. If the word is mentioned in passing conversation, both men and woman tend to recoil into foetus positions while shaking their heads, wide eyed and agitated.

Feminists are so dangerous, they have been known to scare full grown men from their Twitter accounts and bring down global corporations.

So I have created a post about 5 ways in which you lovely lot at home can spot one of these ‘feminists’


1. Weapon of choice; THE BRAZOOKA!

Many have faced it’s prettifying potential. Once fully armed with a brazooka, the feminist is invincible. With wire so sharp and strong, it can gauge a sexist pig’s eye out a mile away, the feminist attaches the weapon to it’s arm and wings it around it’s hair for maximum impact when one is struck in the head.

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2. Hairy and Scary

These specimens are rarely aimed with a razor unless they are trying to cut a member of the opposite sex. They may have never visited the Australian Bush, but they know about the one they rock everyday. Razor’s were created by the feminist’s worst enemy. As far as they are concerned, Gillette Venus is a dictatorship.

3. DON’T MAKE THEM ANGRY, you won’t like them when they are angry!

A feminist will often be revealed to you during a heated conversation about 50 Shades of Grey. You may notice it’s pupils dilate, it’s lips pursed as it get’s ready to attack. It’s skin may begin to flush a burgundy shade as it jumps from it’s seat, armed with a collective resource of information regarding the topic of female oppression within the film industry.

You may want to duck, for glasses can be thrown.

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4. All Men Must Cry

If feminists appeared in Game of Thrones, all MEN would suffer at their peril, even Jon Snow D:

Please watch out men, Feminists are potentially destructive to all of society. Theories show that they may be harbouring new technology which allows them to support themselves without the assistance of the male species. THE HORROR D:

5. FEM-fastic

All members of the Feminist collective are females. Vee-jay-jay’s as far as the eye can see. Nope, no men to be seen here. They are in hiding. Poor things.


If at this point you have not realised that at least 95 per cent of this post was pure sarcasm, then I apologise for any offence.

The truth is, of course, that feminists can NOT be spotted.

They are in fact average members of society.

Many Feminists, strangely enough, fight for equality between men and woman rather then superiority.

Feminists are everywhere you look. They are both men and woman.

And they don’t bite.

There is no need to be afraid of them.

Honestly.

They fight for gender equality, to shape a fair future for our children and to make the world a better place.

That’s how to spot a true feminist.

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http://www.heforshe.org


Advice

5 Reasons Why You Should Vote in the General Election

When I was surveying Facebook today, I came across a discussion between some Facebook friends about voting in the upcoming 2015, General Election (Thanks for the inspo, Alice and Taylor!)

I realised that a lot of young people in this country probably won’t turn up to vote. Maybe 30 per cent of people won’t vote due to lack of education and knowledge about our political system. But the majority will probably be people generally believing they’d be better off NOT voting.

This is an insane prospect to me, and I can’t seem to get my head around the idea that anyone would think that abstaining from voting will somehow change British Politics for the better.

So I’ve created a post of 5 reasons why you should vote in the General Election.


You can’t mope unless you vote!

You don’t really have much of an argument on your hands if you haven’t actually bothered to educate yourself about the political parties, their manifestos and actually gone out to vote. It’s like moaning about a giraffe standing in front of your garden gate. The solution may not be straight forward and you may not get the results you desire, but at least you went out and tried to change the situation rather then being a moaning myrtle. Complaining about something isn’t going to do anything. It’s counterproductive and negative. Be the change you want to see. Every vote counts.

You are lucky enough to have a voice, use it!

We are extremely lucky in this country to have a democracy and have done for hundreds of years (technically, we have a thousand year history but woman weren’t allowed to vote till 1918 so it doesn’t count). Many countries, due to Dictatorship or Authoritarianism, do not allow their people freedom of speech and movement. We are probably one of the only countries where people can speak freely without fear of retribution. Young people in the UK have a say in how their future is shaped. We don’t always get our way, but the majority opinion overalls and most of the time, all is fair and just (I’m looking at you Cam for those exorbitant tuition fee -.-) So please understand how fortunate we are to be able to have a say in who runs are country, as many other young people do not.

You’ll Make A Change, No Matter How Small

Basically, don’t do a Russell Brand 

As much as his hair is awesome and he is quite dishy to look at, Brand’s idea for change is to encourage people to not vote at all. And what good does that do? It’s pretty much like not turning up to your GCSE exams as a protest against the education system. You aren’t going to benefit from it. You have to be in the race to have a chance at winning. The same goes for your vote. It may feel as though your vote is insignificant in the big scheme of things but your voice will count for something in the election. Even if you vote for ‘none of the above’ you still have the opportunity to change our Government and it’s policies.

Politicians HAVE to care

Us young folks are the future. We are the people who will legitimise the future Government and back their decisions for change. As much as we believe they don’t care about us, they kind of have to. They have a predisposition to win us over and subsequently, get our votes! Every vote counts remember. (Hence Lib Dem’s Rent to Buy scheme for young people who NEED to get on the property ladder)

Represent YO’

If more people were to vote, our Government would be a lot more representative of the majority of Britain. People complain our Government is full of privileged boys who know nothing of the people they act to stand for, yet if you don’t vote, how ill this every change? If we don’t like something, we need to speak up and make ourselves heard. We need more woman in politics and ethnic minorities. How can we make this happen if we don’t express our views through our ballet papers?

SO, get your butts down to the ballet station on the 7th May, OK?!

Georgia

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Me when I hear people aren’t voting.
Advice

Things you probably shouldn’t say/do on the First Date

First Dates.

They can go either way but at least 85% of the time they are quite awkward occasions where no one really knows what to say to the other and you are left in complete silence for at least 5 minutes wondered when Game of Thrones Season 5 starts and why no one has yet to invent a candle that smells like blown out candles (you are with me on this one right!?)

At least we all know that the likely hood of your first date being completely ‘awkward’ free is quite unlikely, so we can stop worrying so much about how to go about making the two hours you have to sit across the table to a complete stranger go more smoothly and embrace the fact we are all kind of social inept and that’s completely OK.

As long as you don’t do any of the 5 things on the following list during your first date, it’s probably going to go quite well for you (I guessed it would be better to know what NOT TO DO then WHAT TO DO, kind of like when you were a kid and your mum would have to tell you NOT to crawl on the floor pretending to be a dog…)

*DISCLAIMER*

I’m taking a random guess with these following suggestions as I’m not experienced in the art of dating. I am however, experienced in the art of staying inside blanket forts and hibernating from a social life.


1.

You probably shouldn’t talk about subjects the other person is not remotely interested in. Now is not the time to mention your avid passion for coin collecting (that’s at least 4th date material when his pretty much committed to the relationship and can’t do a runner). Also, not many people will be remotely interested in hearing about something/someone they know nothing about (I’m sure if they knew Bob who is Candice’s Uncle who is Marie’s sister’s brother in law’s nephew and his dog, they might be want to chat to you about it). Find out about their interests and make conversation about those that are similar to your own.

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2.

Don’t talk about yourself for a hour and a half without leaving a gap for the other person to intersect. You are going to sound like a CLASS A Arsehole and come across as un interested in your company. Unless that’s the look you are going for, then please talk as much as you like about yourself. Or you could just release an autobiography so you can spare the two hours and we can read about every detail of your life instead.

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3.

Don’t mention your ex partner at any time during the date. I’m talking ‘My ex loved prawn cocktail’ followed by uncontrollable, border line hysterical crying in your starter. The prawn sauce is salty enough without your tears all over it!! Build a little bridge (you could manufacture one out of any tooth picks you find lying around on your table) and get over it. No one want’s to hear about your previous partner at any point during the relationship never mind the first date.

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4.

Don’t start talking about potential names for your unborn child or bring out a picture of your dream wedding dress. HOLD YOUR HORSES JOSEPHINE! Once again, this is not material for the first date. I’m talking at least 2 years down the line. Such conversation is enough to scare even the most desperate of folk away.

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5.

Don’t get so drunk on the ol’ Vino you start telling your whole life story or details that the other person really doesn’t want to know, like that time you stuffed a sock down your pants so you could know what it was like to have a penis. You need to leave an air of mystery about yourself. Leave them guessing and wanting to know more.

I’m not talking this kind of mystery either.

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Basically B is for Bitch and Bastard, don’t be either one of these and you’ll be fine.

Georgia XO