Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 188

Issue One

A Body Positive Magazine by Girls for Girls

Issue One
2

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


3
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
Issue 1

Silkie magazine is a body positive


magazine written for girls, by girls.
Counter to the many magazines
which depict a standard view of the
teen girl mind-set, Silkie magazine
aims to represent the authentic and
diverse identities of teen girls raised
in Ireland.

This issue contains sharp wit,


feminist talk and discussions that
may make you feel things.
The Girls

I find it refreshing that Queen Activism for education has We all feel down sometimes.
Latifah is comfortable in her become remarkably strong over Theres no avoiding it. It just
own skin and does not let the the last decade and is continuing happens, and thats okay. Youre
medias perception of perfect to grow in followers and aware- not alone, we all feel like this.
affect her. ness today.
Amy Russell
Melissa Hughes Sarah Talbot

With the push for gender I love the western culture that There is no one feminism,
equality men will be free to I live in, but sometimes it gets but rather limitless feminisms.
act how they want without to me, the stigma around the
seeming to be less of a man. LGBTQ+ community. Ailbhe McDonald

Aisling Carberry Emily Peat

One day, I would love to be Theres a reason why there are The only way we can evolve
able to say that I have the so many quotes that say you and grow as a species is if we
same amount of courage that never work a day in your life, start supporting each other
Emma Sulkowicz does. doing what you love. as equal, deserving human
beings.
Shona Mynes Beibhinn McCarthy
Ciara O Sorin
A lot of young women and I wonder how many people Personally I think the
teenagers dont know what have stopped eating red meat prettiest thing a girl can wear
sexual objectification is, and because one celebrity had said is not skinny jeans, but a
they often do not fully under- it helped their weight loss. smile with pride about how
stand how to recognise it. she looks.
Sinita Azubike
Kerrie Patten Aoife Hanway

I was the person that was As a society we have an Being a girl I know that girls
really self conscious. Then unhealthy attitude in which are judged upon a number
I felt that it was crazy for we dont want to share our of things just to name a few;
me to be uncomfortable problems, even if that helps weight, skin, fashion, sexua-
with myself. solve them. lity: But why do we do this?

Emma Hyland Aine Marsh Maeve McDermott

I created Silkie magazine in


the hope that it would be a
source of comfort and inspi-
ration to the girls and women
who read it. That it would aid
their feelings of empower-
ment.
I never realised that in its
creation, it would do the same
for me as well.

Eleanor Jameson
8

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Contributing Illustrators

Fuschia MacAree

Clo Meldon

Julianna Szab

Shauna Woods

Siobhn O Riordan

Katie Kidd

Luiza Abend

Hollie Leddy Flood

Louise Smith

Lisa McHugo

Lauren Tracey

Fiona Suttle

Leona Gonnelly
9
Mice Hell
Contents

15. Silkie Talk


Silkie talk discusses the emotional, the
confusing and the uplifting. The form-
ation of identity and what influences us

Dealing With Negativity 16
Feeling Down 22
The Stigma Around Crying 26
Body Conscious 32
Feeling the Guilt 36
You Are Who Youre Friends Are 42
Beauty is a Concept 46
Self-love 52
Making decisions 58
Dont Judge 62

72. Silkie Loves


The Silkie team recommends their
favorite books and films to the Silkie
Readers and also does a body positive
photo shoot.

Silkie Books and Films 70
Silkie Photo Shoot 72
Contents

76. Silkie Social


Questioning the social norms prevelant
in our society, Silkie Social discusses the
fearless, the prejudiced and the inspiring.

Its Just Hair 79
Body Taboos 85
Laverne Cox 89
Strength 97
Coming Out 101
Ruby Rose 105
Internet Feminism 109
The Internet and Body Image 117
Emma Watson 123
Barbies Body 127
Disney Diversity 133
Misty Copeland 139
12

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Silkie Talk

Silkie talk discusses the emotional, the


confusing and the uplifting. The discussions
range from food shaming to feeling down to
being body conscious.
13
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
14
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Melissa

I really feel it is important to preface this by saying that I am sure that


those who do this do not mean to be offensive or disrespectful towards
others and I am certain that they would not continue to if they were aware
that they did this. To be derogatory means to have a critical or disrespect-
ful attitude towards an entity, which is something that is becoming increas-
ingly more evident in todays society. Fat-shaming, skinny-shaming and
other things of similar nature is a grossly publicised disposition that some
people are guilty of presumably unbeknownst as to how it can actually
damage anothers self esteem. While we have all, at one time or another,
probably been guilty of this, we may have also found ourselves to be a
victim of this, and I think it is a subject that we can all relate to and
connect with.

It is really tough being a teenager. It can be hard dealing with your body
changing constantly, your health, school, relationships, accepting yourself
Illustration: Mice Hell
Dealing with Negativity

and upkeeping some sort of social life so that you dont go crazy from the
stress. When you throw dealing with other peoples acrimony and judge-
ment on top of all that, it can be crippling and make things very difficult
for you. When faced with such hostility at a vulnerable time, it can lead
to low self-esteem. Its important to take time out for yourself and to put
yourself first.

Personally, I had never had much experience with negative remarks until I
was about 13 years old. I was walking past a group of boys and they laughed
and told me that my thighs and belly jiggled and that it was really en-
tertaining to watch. Im not going to lie to you, that comment really hurt
me at the time. I cried and I convinced myself that I was the size of Jupiter.
Looking back, I laugh at how small and silly their comment actually was
but I suppose I had never been exposed to such ridicule of my physical
appearance before. However, the fact that I laugh at it now is exactly why
this convention of shaming people needs to stop. We have been desensi-
tised to any negativity and hurtful comments that are directed towards us
because we are either used to it, or told that we need to toughen up
We need to stop the passivity, or even the acceptance, of being vexed as
such as it can have a very negative impact on a persons psyche.

So how do we do this? Well, it begins with how you acknowledge the nega-
tive comments you receive. One of the most important things to remember
is to remain dignified. Reacting defensively or rashly towards an offensive
comment puts you into a negative light that you dont deserve to be in.
It is important to remain calm and composed, and to really process the
comment, to try and understand why the person may have said it. Avoid 17
confrontation. I mean, people will appreciate the person who calmly re-
sponds more than the person who is red faced and screaming that the oth-
er person is this and that. If at all possible, you could remove yourself from
the situation in order to give yourself time to form a gracious response.
Be a lady, or a gentleman, about the matter - it is not reputable to respond
to negativity with negativity. I understand that it may be quite difficult to
do this. It can be hard to respond to bitterness with decency, but it is very
important in order to rise above the negativity. You cannot change the
other person so the most you can do is focus on yourself. Another persons
Dealing with Negativity

negative comment has nothing to do with you. It does not define you and is
most likely untrue, and if it happens to be true, has been said for no posi-
tive outcome or purpose.

All that being said, I think that the key to dealing with negative and deroga-
tory comments is to be confident. Im sure youre rolling your eyes right
now and thinking its easier said than done, but trust me. I was a major
introvert in my early teens. I was awkward and I kept to myself a lot and
had very low self-esteem. I just wasnt a big communicator. It was around
that period of time that I took every negative comment to heart and let it
consume me and it made me sadder and sadder, and thats not a healthy
way to deal with negativity. It was when I grew older, and came out of my
shell a little bit, that I became more confident. I put myself out there more
and I did things that scared me, just because I knew it would benefit me.
I did more for myself. I started to take care of myself, I realised that I am
important and I soon began to care less about what other people said to
me. It soon became apparent to me that there is a link between confidence
and your ability to deal rationally with others. As my confidence grew, I
found myself more able to deal with negativity and my self-esteem gradual-
ly grew to match.

So why did I write this? I want the social convention of shaming others
in order to make them conform to the medias perfect person to stop.
People should be free to look whatever way they please without fear of
judgment or disapproval. We all have a right to be who we want to be
and nobody should tell us that we are wrong or stupid for wanting to be
ourselves. There is beauty and perfection in everybody and its up to us 19
to make sure that we protect ourselves and dont let negativity affect us.
What some-body else thinks of you is none of your business.
20
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Amy

Okay, lets start off by being honest. We all feel down sometimes. Theres
no avoiding it. It just happens. And thats okay! Youre not alone, we all
feel like this. So now that we know that feeling blue happens every once
in a while, now we can look at ways to deal with it. Firstly, I think its best
to realise that your sadness wont last forever even if it feels like it might.
Itll go away eventually and we just have to ride the wave until it does. If
talking helps, do it! Loads of people dont like talking about their problems
which is okay, as long as it doesnt get to be too much for them but if you
think itll help you, I guarantee, youll find someone to listen - even if it
is your dog! Talking through the feelings and the thoughts behind them
can sometimes allow you to find the problem or maybe realise there is no
problem at all. And even if you dont realise anything from it, at least its a
shoulder to cry on, right? You often hear exercise is a way to escape from
Illustration: Katie Kidd
Feeling Down

your problems. Its all those endorphins apparently. For me, it would just
cause more problems exercise and I dont mix! But for others its a bril-
liant way to release stress and clear your head! And knacker you out if you
find youre not sleeping!

Distractions are key when feeling down. Netflix! Ah Netflix! Netflix is the
perfect distraction for some people (including me!). Or even just TV or a
movie. Takes you away for a while, doesnt it? Baking or cooking is another
recipe Ive heard works when feeling down. Most likely some of us would
burn the house down but if you enjoy it, sure why not? Food, glorious food!
Thats an amazing distraction. Maybe for you its going out to dinner with
someone you love or maybe its just getting the worst food for you possible
and stuffing your face. Mine is Cadburys Swiss Gateau cake...I love that
stuff. Give me a slice of that when Im down and the smile will be back on
my face in no time! Maybe retail therapy is your thing. Unfortunately, we
dont all have to money to go out buying things every time were down but
if youre in the money and it works for you then you might as well! Some
people find confronting their problems helps them over come them, others
feel hiding from their problems will be better. Both ways have flaws but its
always up to you and only you how you want to face your problems.

Lastly, I think the most important thing we need to realise is that its okay
to feel down. Its not strange or a sign of weakness. Allow yourself to be
down, to be moody, and to be a bit spoiled and bratty sometimes. Youre
fully entitled to it! Now Im not saying go around and be rude to everyone
all the time but allowing yourself one off day every once in a while will not
kill you (or those around you!). In fact, itll probably give you the chance to 23
see your life more positively. Sunshine isnt sunshine without a little rain.
If all else fails and things are really getting you down maybe its best to try
talk to someone who knows what theyre talking about. Maybethats a par-
ent, a teacher or a counsellor but remember if things really are getting past
feeling a bit down every once and a while, address the problem.
I have hidden all sorts of problems from even
my closest friends all because of a random statement once
said by someone who probably doesnt even
remember it.

The Stigma Around Crying


Written by Aine

From childhood, boys and girls are inundated not heterosexuality and the idea that people are
with images of what is right or wrong for either not necessarily the biological gender they were
gender. Before they even begin in school, a line born. A couple does not have to be a man and
is created separating the idea of a man and a a woman. Just because someone is born with a
woman, each being vastly different to the other biologically male body, people are beginning to
and it is only right each takes up the correct, understand that it does not mean they identify
traditional role. Women are the mothers. They as male. And yet we still teach children archaic
are passionate, caring and expressive. Men are and biased gender values.
providers. They are hard working and support
the family but they are not emotional the way Dolls are marketed to girls, cars to boys. Blue is
the mother is. a boy colour and pink is a girl colour. Boys play
sports, girls take dance classes or art lessons.
The world is changing. We believe we are be- Over the Easter break, I worked as an assistant
coming more accepting of sexualities that are teacher in a childrens art camp, teaching a class
Silkie Talk

of all girls and stopping them from arguing over emotional issues by oneself or with help, but
who got the pink marker, while in the next room I cannot imagine how much more difficult it
there was a boys basketball camp. How do we ex- must be when you are actively discouraged from
pect society to become more open minded if we sharing feelings. This is more than likely the
continue guiding children towards old-fashioned reason three times more men died by suicide in
gender standards? If we keep teaching them that the UK than women in the year 2012. In the US it
a family must have a woman and a man as a is four times more men than women. Obviously,
mother and a father, then that is what they there are many factors that contribute towards
will believe as they grow up. considering killing oneself, but there is clearly a
problem if the statistics are so drastically differ-
Since we make such strong distinctions between ent per gender.
boys and girls, children often do not want to be
associated with those of a different gender. Girls Id like to step back from our expectations of
dont want to be friends with boys, for fear that men and look at the way everybody feels about
others may then identify them as a boy, or at sharing our inner emotions. I said already that
least as a masculine girl, and vice versa. Youre men are discouraged from sharing their emo-
such a girl becomes a common playground in- tions in order to appear masculine, but I think
sult when a boy expresses any kind of weakness that as a society everyone fears sharing their
or fear. Some people say that children grow out inner negativity. Whenever someone asks how
of this, but I dont think we really do complete- you are, one generally says that they are alright,
ly. Girls grow into women believing that they but this is rarely the case. We dont want to bur-
should act feminine so that people will like den others with our problems, or we are afraid
them, and boys are urged to act manly. of what people might think if they knew how we
might be aching inside.
What is manly? When Google defines mas-
culine, some of the synonyms offered include When I was young, someone once told me that I
26 muscular, strong and powerful. Men are shouldnt cry in public. I dont remember what
told they must withstand whatever comes at I was crying about, but that statement has stuck
them with resilience. They are taught that with me for years. I have played those words
they ought not show that they are suffering over and over in my head until they have be-
emotionally, because that means that they are come twisted. I now think that I just shouldnt
weak. As a result, few men are diagnosed with show that I am upset at all. I bottle things up un-
mental health disorders such as depression, til one day everything spills over and I cant hold
because they do not wish to show vulnerabili- it back. Things that were a little bad get ampli-
ty by expressing their emotional weaknesses. fied and snowball together until I just think that
Sharing something this personal is hard enough everything is going wrong. That one bad grade
for a woman, as well as suffering through these means that will fail my leaving cert.
27
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
Illustration: Clo Meldon
Silkie Talk

When I was young,


someone once told me that
I shouldnt cry in public.
I dont remember what I
was crying about, but that
statement has stuck with
me for years.
A small misunderstanding with my friends the only one who feels this way. As a society, we
morphs until I worry that maybe they dont like have developed an unhealthy attitude, in which
28 me at all, maybe they just pity me or maybe I we dont want to share our problems, even if
force myself on them. I have hidden all sorts that helps solve them. We dont like to believe
of problems from even my closest friends all that our problems are worth crying over, or
because of a random statement once said by that we are important enough to anyone that
someone who probably doesnt even remember they might want to help us feel better. So many
it. To this day, the only person I told when I was people have a low sense of self-worth, because
suffering from depression was my mother (and we condemn those who express pride and con-
now all of you, readers). fidence in who they are (though, really I think
most people are jealous of them). We need to un-
When Im in a good state of mind (and not in derstand that being emotional isnt a bad thing.
emotional turmoil) I think that surely I cant be Why should we all feel like we have to hide it?
30
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Aoife

Personally, I think the prettiest thing a girl can wear is not skinny jeans, or short
skirts, but to wear a smile with pride, and be happy with how they look. If you feel
beautiful, you will look beautiful. Im not saying being confident with yourself is
easily achieved,W because it isnt, but shouldnt being confident in our own bodies
be the norm? Instead of the majority of teenage girls struggling to be happy in their
own skin? Im not saying that Im 100% confident with my own body, but in recent
months Ive come to realise I have cared too much what other people thought of
me, and of what others around me considered to be the perfect look; tall, big
boobs,a skinny, curvy waist and a flat tummy. Being the tiny little kid I was in first
year, with my flat chest, zero waist definition and being barely 5ft tall I was far from
confident and would constantly find myself crying in the mirror, hating the girl
who looked back at me. When I eventually reached puberty, and my body started
to change I found I was hating myself even more, even though I was beginning to
32
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Siobhn O Riordan


Body Conscious

be the girl I so desperately wanted to be. It was a vicious circle of self-hatred, until
I eventually realised there is no perfect look, I am who I am, and I should love
myself for that. One major reason girls tend to have a bad image of themselves is
that they compare themsleves to other girls. These girls can be in their school, be
childhood friends or celebrities in magazines, comparisons are constantly being
made. The unrealistic, photoshopped images of women portrayed in magazines is
also no help in regaining confidence in ourselves, as we constantly try do anything
possible to achieve this perfect look. Shouldnt perfection really be when were
truly happy with ourselves? The bottom line is that no one is perfect, but once
youre truly happy with how you look, embrace it.

A really shocking amount of girls are unhappy with how they look; and unfor-
tunately this self-consciousness can lead to self-hatred and going to extreme and
unhealthy measures to achieve dream bodies. Love yourself for who you are girls!
This extreme self-consciousness can mean devastating embarrassment when get-
ting changed in front of, (god forbid), another person and potentially overwhelming
fear when involved in sexual encounters with a partner. As embarrassing as it may
be when someone sees you naked for the first time, dont let yourself think Oh
theyre definitely silently judging my stretch marks or staring at my oddly shaped
bellybutton, because believe me; theyre not. Theyre more than likely in awe of
the sheer fact you are naked in front of them, rather than critiquing every inch of
your body.

Not caring what anyone thinks of you is easier said than done, I know, but dont let
the fear of negative attention consume you. When I was told I had really stretchy
skin on my tummy, it honestly felt like someone had just ripped off my leg and
began beating me with it; I was so hurt (not like having stretchy skin is anything to 33
be ashamed of, or really an insult at all). For a solid year I would never show anyone
my stomach, and I would wear my Dads XL tees to the beach while all my friends
would be wearing gorgeous bikinis or swimsuits; purely because I was embarrassed
of a little excess skin on my tummy. When I finally realised a bit of stretchy skin is
nothing to be ashamed of (and actually kind of cool), I stopped wearing my Dads
tees that would be past my knees, and went out and bought plenty of bikinis for
the coming summer. Now I will show my stretchy belly to anyone who will watch,
and started to consider it my party trick when I finally realised its my body and I
shouldnt be conscious of it because I am who I am.
34
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Sintia

That was so good, I really want another one. I wonder how many calories
it contains. I really shouldnt have eaten that. I wonder how much exercise
I have to do to burn that of. Im never going to get that thigh gap. Maybe
Ill skip dinner or I could just puke it all out and it will be like I never ate
it in the first place. Stop! How can one piece of food make someone feel
so bad about themselves? Having one chocolate bar, a packet of crisps or a
brownie and feeling like you just gained 3 stone but in reality nothing has
happened to your body you are the same weight and you just enjoyed an
amazing brownie! Its okay to have a piece of chocolate, its okay to have
a packet of crisps or two. Why must you feel so bad for eating something?
Why is it bad to eat something thats not the healthiest of things? Its be-
cause youve been told not to eat something unless its good for your body
or it helps your weight loss. Even though you might not even need to lose
Silkie Talk

any weight, youve been told by the media, by magazines, by your peers
and even by celebrities with the perfect body not to eat certain things that
you might personally enjoy so much because they are not good for your
weight loss and that if you have it you will automatically be unhealthy and
that its shameful. But what is really good for you? Forget about your body,
what would make you happy and make you feel good? Sometimes when
feeling down all you need is a small bit of junk food to make you feel all
better not worse. To be okay with having a girls night in having a munch
(a load of junk food) and happily enjoying it not sitting in the corner
dreaming of having some of it.

All this is almost like a competition; if you dont eat healthily you will be
shamed by others. I remember once I brought a Caesar salad to school
and I said I love Caesar salad and its healthy. But of course someone
had to look over their shoulder to tell me Its actually not healthy, Cae-
sar dressing is really fattening. Im not going to lie, that made me think
twice about eating it, but why should I miss my lunch because someone
says its not good for me, its salad? It contains lettuce therefore its healthy
and I will eat it. I enjoyed that salad so much and I dont regret eating it
at all. What would make me happy is having a cup of tea with 4 chocolate
digestive biscuits while watching TV and simply relaxing. To do that with-
out feeling like I have to skip lunch or feel guilty for the rest of that week
because I just ate a couple of biscuits. I want to be able to have a chocolate
bar in front of everyone and not feel like I just ate a giant cake to myself
(which I could easily fight through). I want to say that Im eating healthily
and still be able to have a packet of crisps without anyone pointing out
36 I thought you said you were eating healthy. Its a packet of crisps!

I recently read an article where a celebrity who lost a lot of weight in a


short time said I have stopped eating red meat. I wonder how many peo-
ple have stopped eating red meat because one celebrity has said it helped
their weight loss, I wonder how many people have though Oh I better not
have red meat if I want to lose weight. Red meat is good for you! Please
dont listen to every celebrity out there. It is suggested that dietary restric-
tion increases desire for forbidden foods, in the form of craving, and may
induce negative emotions in affects such as guilt, anxiety and depression.
So let your self have a bit of whatever youre craving and feel much better.
37
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
Illustration: Lisa McHugo
Silkie Talk

Please dont make yourself go through guilt, anxiety or depression be-


cause if you eat that one food that you grave so much you wont achieve
the perfect body or that thigh gap. What even is the perfect body? The
body on the cover of a magazine? Completely photo-shopped! We want
something that is non-existent. We are putting ourselves under so much
pressure to look like someone in a magazine that doesnt even look like
that in real life. We need to learn how to love our bodies and just because
youre thin or over-weight it doesnt mean your unhealthy, the media has
put a label on those people as unhealthy, but until you are told by your
doctor that you should watch out for your health keep enjoying life!

I completely agree with healthy eating and that having too much junk
food is not good for you and you will eventually gain weight, but what
Im trying to say is that you should be able to go out and if youre really
craving something thats not the healthiest but will make you happy to go
for it. To be able to eat out and just get something that you would enjoy
not a plate of lettuce because you think thats what you should eat to lose
weight or to look healthy. And After eating it to feel content, not to feel
like you have committed a huge sin and that you have to work out for 3
hours or skip a meal, and starve yourself or think that vomiting it is okay.
I want you to sit there with a full stomach and be happy. Its okay to have
unhealthy food, its not a sin.
Without them I wouldnt be the person I have found myself
as and I know for sure, after all the instability and chaos
riddling my life, I have found a foundation I can depend
on in the form of my friends.

You Are Who Youre Friends Are


Written by Emily

This time two years ago, I certainly was not and having to leave them in third year because
the person I am today. As a shadow of myself, my family moved house was extremely difficult.
I wasnt filled with much. And although it was Yet, I feel that the move made me stronger and
the most stressful thing Ive ever experienced, helped me understand a lot about life. When I
moving schools brought me the best gift life has came to Holy Faith at the start of third year I was
ever given me; the gift of my friends. Theyve a seriously bitter person. I didnt think anything
helped shape and mould me into my true self in my life was stable, I was angry over the deci-
and bring me an infinite amount of happiness I sion my parents made to move and of course I
couldnt find in anything else. Thankfully I have was lonely. But then I met my friends and every-
a lot of friends, but my close nit group I have in thing seemed to brighten up.
school are the foundation of my life and Im for-
ever grateful to them for all theyve done for me, Shona Mynes has been a positive motivating
even the things they arent aware theyve done. force within my life for the past 2 years and
I couldnt be happier about it. With her as a
I started school in 2010. Undoubtedly I had an crutch when times got bad and a voice of wis-
amazing group of friends who loved me dearly, dom when my spirits got low, my quality of life
Silkie Talk

To these two girls,


although I see them as
my equals, I find myself
looking up to them.
has skyrocketed to infinity and beyond with her ing me of it. She inspires me through her pas-
as a confidant. Shona has helped me come out sions and her words that I should be the pers-
from the shadow I was hiding behind prior to my on I want to be, and is consistently someone I
move in third year and has giving me, through can count on. Sarah has a caring disposition,
words and actions, the support I need to become and once you earn her trust, you have a spot in
the person I am today. My thoughts, my words her heart for life. She is completely truthful to
and my happiness are not afraid to show their herself as well as others, and I look up to her in
faces, my actions are not second guessed and my many ways. I admire her strong nature, value
smile is genuine with her encouragement and her weakness and will always cherish her dearly.
support. She is trustworthy with all her heart
and kindness is in the marrow of her bones; To these two girls, although I see them as my
42 I couldnt ask for a better friend. equals, I find myself looking up to them. They
are the epitome of good friends, good people
Sarah Talbot and I became friends in the early and spectacular role models and I find myself
days of forth year, and our friendship has blos- feeling immensely lucky at the thought of them
somed ever since. Sarah is the first person in infinitely being part of my life. Without them I
my life who has taught me how to laugh with- wouldnt be the person I have found myself as
out inhibition and to live without the restraints and I know for sure, after all the instability and
of what others might think holding me back. chaos riddling my life, I have found a foundation
She helped me understand the meaning of being I can depend on in the form my friends. You are
content with myself, and is constantly remind- who your friends are.
44
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Ciara

In the last few years, an incredible emphasis has been placed on exterior
beauty as a way to identify ourselves. We value our looks only for what the
media and our society view as beautiful and good looking. We, as wom-
en, judge each others looks based on high cheek bones, on tiny waists, on
big breasts, on long, slim legs and the list goes on and on. But why do we
find these things attractive? Just because we are told to? What benefit is
it for us to envision a thin, attractive, blonde bombshell Victorias Secret
model as our role model and inspiration? In this article, I plan to pick ap-
art what beauty means to me, on a completely personal level.

First lets just look on the surface and understand why we look the way
we do. Its genetics right? When I look at myself I know I look just like my
mother, who looked just like her mother too. We all share the same high
46

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Beauty Is a Concept

cheekbones, the same thin, pink lips, the same brow line and tiny, mouse-
like nose. But lets face it, these things arent really beautiful on their own
or even together. They are just features. So why should I beat myself up
because my genetic pool doesnt allow for Nike tick eyebrows or big, Why
should I value something so incredibly useless to me when I get to share
genetics with two of the strongest, most wonderful women Ive ever got
the pleasure to meet, let alone call family, so who on Earth has the right to
tell me that I am not beautiful for having those things? No one. Not a single
person can put an imagined value on perfect, freckle-less skin and a size 0
body when I get to share forever features of this ideal.

Do this test for yourself. Pull out the features you share with your favourite
aunt, uncle, cousin, grandmother etc. Arent you proud to be part of this,
to share genetics and features with people as incredible as they are? Even
if its dull, mousey brown hair or too bushy eyebrows (which are always
portrayed as unappealing in media) who can really tell you those traits ar-
ent beautiful? That these features passed down generation after generation
like heirlooms, are not valuable, precious things? Once you start noticing
how priceless your looks truly are, without any input from society, you
can truly accept that you are incredibly beautiful, and a mix of wonderful
people with their own strengths and successes passed down to you. Your
exterior identity is an invaluable source of pride and inspiration to be just
who you are.

When a child is born, the comments made about its looks are usually all
based around what features it has inherited from each parent. The moth-
ers side of the family will all rejoice over the news that the newborn baby 47
has its mothers, beautiful green eyes, alike to her whole side of the fami-
ly, whereas the fathers side may celebrate the tuffs of blonde hair on the
babys head, alike to all of his side of the family. These family character-
istics shared in this child now bond two families together. Instantly, this
child has a network of family that will adore them, regardless of whether
they are deemed beautiful by society, but because they are one of them. I
myself have experienced this feeling of immense pride of family and bond
between my little cousins and myself. Both my little cousins share my nat-
ural dirty blonde hair colour and high cheekbones. When they were born,
Silkie Talk

I remember looking into their cots and seeing tiny versions of my aunt,
my grandmother and myself. I felt an enormous connection to these little,
tiny babies, not because they were beautiful, which they were, but because
they were family. And now that my cousins are older, both around 8 and 11
years old, they both compare themselves against me, using my features to
guess what they might look like at my age. They ask me numerous ques-
tions about when I started getting taller, about when I grew hips and all
other horribly awkward questions I wish they would save for their mother;
but they ask me this, not because they think my being tall or having hips
is beautiful, but because they see themselves in me. They are curious as to
what they will look like but not out of fear of not being beautiful or per-
fect. That innocent way of looking at ourselves is enviable but not out of
our own reach. By loving our physical appearances purely for the bond they
represent between the people who love us, we can throw the medias repre-
sentation of what beauty is under a bus or out the window (whichever you
prefer), and cherish in ourselves what is truly valuable and precious.

Beauty is entirely conceptual. Be the kind of person who is strong enough


to reject what society deems as beautiful and find for yourself what you
truly consider to be amazing. Life becomes a much simpler, happier place
when you cut out the pressure to be perfect, to be a size 0, to have big
breasts or hips, or long, spider legs. Finding what beauty truly means
to you is one of the most important and valuable things you can do for
yourself. You will be freeing yourself from endless pursuits of perfection,
from shackling yourself into fitting in with a flock of sheep, all looking the
same and being the same, never becoming more than beautiful. When you
48 give yourself all the power to define what beauty is to you, You are free.
Free to chase dreams more rewarding and precious than being considered
good-looking. Free to be whoever you want to be regardless of what you
are told, how people might see you. Finding your own definition of beauty
allows you to live independent and free from anyone elses expectations
of what you should wear or whom you should look like. To me beauty is
self-acceptance and appreciation for family and friends. To me, beauty is
what I make of it, not what some trashy magazine cover could ever tell me.
Beauty is a concept; own it.
50
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Emma

I think it is important for everyone, but especially us girls to be able to say


that we love ourselves! In society today there is a lot of competition to be
the one who everyone looks up too. Yes okay, this can be a motivational
thing to some people but on the other hand people can be influenced to
put themselves at risk. I think this destroys the mind of young vulnerable
girls who have yet to discover who they are. This doesnt allow people to
develop properly into being themselves. They are just a mirror image of
someone else. Everyone deserves the chance to be happy. I feel that this can
be done by accepting who you are and being comfortable with that. The
key to a happy life begins with happiness within yourself.

Feeling comfortable in yourself is one of the most important things anyone,


male or female can do! In my opinion it is the key to a happy life. No one
Illustration: Shauna Woods
Self-love

should feel uncomfortable in their body. Feeling comfortable in yourself


enhances your confidence. Both socially and mentally. Personally I can say
that I am a confident person and yes I am comfortable in myself and my
body. Although I dont have the perfect body (what ever that perfect body
may be), I am still happy with the way I am. Feeling pleased with yourself
allows you to do a lot more things than just worry about how to change
yourself. It is also key to being comfortable with yourself for your relation-
ships and friendships to be positive (as if been a teenager itself isnt hard
enough). We should not inflict another burden upon ourselves. Ok, I know
everything Im saying is a lot easier said than done, but I was one of them
people before. I was the person that was so self conscious about who I was
and what other people thought of me. Then one day I felt that it was crazy
for me to be uncomfortable with myself. After all I cant change who I am!
Now, to this day I can accept who I am and what I look like and I am happy!

Something else that is important when it comes to being comfortable with


yourself, is coming to terms with your flaws. If you are able to do this I can
guarantee you will already start to be comfortable with you. Everyone has
flaws! It is unavoidable in life! The best thing to do is just figure out what
your flaws are and to just simply accept them. This will boost your confi-
dence so much. There is no one in the world like you. For things that you
think are flaws other people could envy. If everyone was able to accepts
their flaws, the world would be a much positive place. I feel that positivity
is exactly what society needs to try to help people to come to terms with
being comfortable with themselves.

Something that change the way with people feel about themselves is to 53
understand what actually makes you feel comfortable! Whether it would
be music, walking, talking to someone, having someone around, hobbies!
It really could be anything! For example there are three main things that
make me feel comfortable. Having someone around makes me feel at ease.
Some people would feel better being by themselves but I am the complete
opposite. Having someone around that you are able to talk to and just be
normal is the main thing for me! Second would be meditation. Most people
wouldnt turn to this sort of thing but it has really been an eye opener for
me. I have become more self aware by meditating and a lot more com-
fortable with myself. It gives you the chance just to have alone time with
Self-love

yourself recommend starting meditating. It allows you to be happy with


yourself and everyone around you. Lastly, something I think most people
should feel comfortable about themselves is because you are unique! I love
the feeling of being different from everyone. It allows a sense of happiness
because other people could idolise you for embracing your uniqueness.

Lastly, I think that being yourself is a very important component in rela-


tionships. Through out everyones life time we develop many relationships,
whether it be with friends, boyfriends/girlfriends and also family members.
Something that plays a huge contributing factor to a healthy relationship is
being yourself. This allows for a huge amount of trust to be built, and this
is key to any healthy relationship. In relationships if you are constantly try-
ing to be someone else it can cause a lot of stress to build up! Being yourself
lets you relax and be stress free. No one wants to have to play an act all the
time. It is so much better to just leave all negativity behind and allow who
you really are to shine through. People will prefer the honest you to the
fake person you try to be. I can honestly say that if people can be comfort-
able in themselves relationships will build and last strongly!

55
56
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Written by Beibhinn

As a seventeen year old student I am supposed to be able to decide now


what I want to do for the rest of my life, but I can hardly decide what I
want to have for lunch! It is an incredibly difficult decision and unfortu-
nately, in this country we have to face it when we are so young and so 57
clueless. There are so many options out there: science, art, English, history,
law, politics, the list goes on. The amount of options is bittersweet; there
is something out there for everyone, but most people will have more than
one thing that they are interested in, and choosing between those is near
impossible. Personally Im stuck between two completely different options:
Science and Art.

Science is the smart choice, I would go into a general science course, pick
what to specialise in, get a steady job in that area, and that would be my
Illustration: Fiona Suttle
Making Decisions

life. I know that I would be happy doing this; it would be simple, easy and a
lot safer, so why dont I choose it? I hesitate because choosing art would be
so much more exciting. I love art; I love to draw, to paint, to sculpt. Art Col-
lege sounds perfect for me, drawing every day, learning new skills, being
surrounded by people who express themselves and think like me, so why
am I finding it so hard to choose? It should be simple, follow what makes
you happy right? Do what you want no matter what anyone else says? But
its not that easy, I find Im at a crossroads because although I would love to
do art, Im worried that it isnt as secure as science.

It might be surprising to hear that my parents are fully supporting me if I


want to choose art; it is from elsewhere that Im getting my doubts. I have
a friend who knows exactly what she wants to do when she finishes sec-
ondary school. She wants to go into veterinary, a steady job that will earn
her lots of money if she succeeds. She has her whole life planned out and it
scares me that I dont. She has my best interests at heart when she tells me
things like you wont be able to afford that if you become an artist. While
being an artist is not my goal, and making a lot of money is also definitely
not my goal, she has a good point that the job options after Art College are
scattered and precarious, so I am back to square one: Science or Art.

The reason that I am writing about this is that I know that many people are
in the same boat as me, they have more than one option and they have no
idea what to choose. It is not an easy decision and not one that should be
made lightly, but what I keep saying to myself, whenever Im unsure or my
mind is changing, I think of what I will feel like if I choose the safer op-
tion. I know I will always be wondering what my life could have been like if 59
I went to art college,

To be honest I havent made my decision yet, but I know that what I am


doing is trying to plan out my life like my friend seems to have hers. But
nobody can do that, life is unpredictable and opportunities will arise and
change whatever meagre plans youve tried desperately to hang on to. My
plan is (and I know this is grossly clich but) to make sure that whatever
decision I make I will have made it because its what I want and like to do,
and I am going to work hard to succeed.
Being a girl I know that girls are judged upon a number of
things just to name a few: weight, skin, fashion sense, sexu-
ality, how toned their body is, whether they have cellulite or
not, how many likes they get on their profiler on Facebook.

Dont Judge
Written by Maeve

I think we can all agree that being in an all girls who they are and allow for the expression of
secondary school allows for a lot of bitchiness, their personality and appearance in general.
drama and unnecessary judgment of one an-
other. I feel we all have been exposed to, been Being a girl I know that girls are judged upon
the victim of or taken part in this judgment for a number of things just to name a few: weight,
some reason or another. Which probably leaves skin, fashion sense, sexuality, how toned their
you asking the question: why is she writing this body is, whether they have cellulite or not, how
article and contradicting herself ? many likes they get on their profiler on Face-
book, who their friends are and what interests
I think we all can agree that we have taken part them. But why do we do this? Do boys do the
in judging someone for something, but why do same? I can remember at a really young age,
we still do it although we know thats its wrong maybe six or seven, being at a birthday party
and someone is going to end up getting hurt? and someone passed a remark on the clothes
I think that girls need to accept each other for a girl was wearing because she stood out from
Illustration: Louise Smith
Dont Judge

I find, personally, that this


constant feeling of being
judged leaves me feeling
on edge.
the crowd at this party. Instead of wearing pink to impress their friends? There are a number of
clothes that included things such as a skirt and different possibilities that spring to mind but
tights, this girl wore a pair of tracksuit bottoms nobody can seem to come to a final decision as
and runners which left everyone in shock due to to why girls judge each other.
the fact she broke what was was considered to
be the norm. This exposure to judgment of what I decided to take to my year group to see how
is considered to be out of the ordinary has start- they feel about being judged, if they are/have
ed from a very young age, in my case anyway. been judged, what they have been/are judged
about and why they think girls judge each other.
I think that nowadays the Internet and the me- When I asked the question Do you feel that the
dia has quite a big part to play in all this judg- girls in this school judge you and your class-
ment. When Im scrolling down through my feed mates?, every girl I asked answered yes. This
on Instagram, particularly on celebrities photos, saddened me because knowing that a number 63
there is at least one comment passing judgment of girls are feeling this way indicates to me that
on how they look, what theyre wearing, how this answer probably would apply to majority
they seem to have gained weight or how ugly of the year group. We should feel comfortable,
they look. We can clearly see that judgment is happy and confident when were in school. Not
happening everywhere and everyone knows insecure, on edge and down in ourselves. When
how wrong it is and how it impacts on the lives I asked the girls what they think people are/have
of those who are being judged. Which brings been judged about, they came up with a number
me back to the question: why do we still do it? of different things: what you wear, who your
Do girls judge each other because theyre bored? friends are, financial stability, opinions, their
Because theyre insecure? Because theyre trying makeup (and whether or not they wear it), eating
Silkie Talk

I dont think people reach


their full potential due to
the looming feeling that
they will be judged for
putting themselves out
there.
habits, body and fitness. The girls also thought If only it was as easy as that! Even after girls
that when girls are bored all this judging and saying these things you could clearly see girls
bitchiness happens. whispering, passing remarks and laughing at
girls who were singing and acting. Consider-
When I was interviewing my classmates I re- ing we were all in the same position you would
membered back to 4th Year and came across assume that we would have been supportive and
64 the perfect example of everyone judging each encouraging of one another but it was quite the
other; the auditions for our school play Annie opposite. As a result of this I dont think people
These auditions meant that firstly we had to get reached their full potential due to the looming
up in groups of ten and sing particular song and feeling that they would be judged for putting
gradually those groups lessened until you were themselves out there.
left singing on your own in front of half the year
group which would have been around fifty or I find, personally, that this constant feeling of
sixty people. I remember talking to girls at the being judged leaves me feeling on edge, intim-
start of the auditions and everyone was saying idated and insecure and I dont think that I or
things like Who cares, Were all in the same anyone else should ever have to feel that way.
boat, Give it your all d
ont judge each other. In more severe cases I think that minor prob-
Dont Judge

lems like this can often lead to bigger and more


serious problems and affect peoples mental and
physical health. Words are thrown around too
easily without understanding the effect they
can have on a persons life. So the message Im
trying to get across is: next time youre going
to pass remarks on what someone is wearing or
how they look just stop and think. How would
you feel if this was said to you? How would you
react? Put yourself in their position for a mo-
ment and it might give you a different opinion
on what youre about to say. So lets start a trend!
Break the Internet like Kim K or get it trending
on Twitter, anything! Just stop judging people.

65
66
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Silkie Loves

The Silkie team recommends their favorite


books and films to the Silkie readers and also
does a Body Positive photo shoot.
Silkie Books

Mornings
in Jenin
more than most of us ever the kaleidoscopically shifting
Susan Abulhawas novel, first will in a lifetime. Malalas landscape of the late sixties.
published in the US in 2006 unwavering support for the
but since reworked, follows important principles of lib-
the Abulheja family, Yehya erty, democracy and freedom
and Basima and their two has inspired many people.
sons, in Ein Hod, a village in
Palestine. The pastoral open-
ing crams into 40 pages a Perks of Being
cross-faith friendship, a love a Wallflower
story, the Zionist invasion
of the village, and the theft Charlie is a freshman. Divergent
of one of Hasan and Dalias And while hes not the
sons, the infant Ismael, by an biggest geek in the school, In Beatrice Priors dystopian
Israeli soldier. he is by no means popular. Chicago world, society is di-
Shy, introspective, intelligent vided into five factions, each
beyond his years yet socially dedicated to the cultivation
awkward, he is a wallflower, of a particular virtue. Can-
caught between trying to dor (the honest), Abnegation
live his life and trying to run (the selfless), Dauntless (the
from it. brave), Amity (the peaceful),
and Erudite (the intelligent).
On an appointed day of every
Girl, Interrupted year, all sixteen-year-olds
must select the faction to
Kaysens memoir encompass- which they will devote the
I Am es horror and razor-edged rest of their lives. For Be-
Malala perception while providing atrice, the decision is be-
vivid portraits of her fellow tween staying with her family
Malala Yousafzai is only 16 patients and their keepers. and being who she really is.
years old. Yet she has already It is a brilliant evocation of a She cant have both, includ-
seen, experienced and done parallel universe set within ing herself.
Silkie Films

Blue is the
Warmest Colour
had her memories of their as I walked down Madison
Big success in the film busi- tumultuous relationship Avenue, I realized I was head-
ness often means opening erased. Out of desperation, he ed for the big time! The Devil
a can of worms along with contacts the inventor of the wears Prada is a humorous
the champagne. The Palme process, Dr. Howard Mier- critic of industry.
dOr at this years Cannes zwiak (Wilkinson), to have
film festival went to the epic Clementine removed from his
and erotic love story Blue Is own memory.
the Warmest Colour. But the
jury and its president, Steven
Spielberg, insisted the prize The Devil
should be accepted not only Wears Prada
by the director, Franco-Tuni-
sian film-maker Abdellatif The Devil Wears Prada is
Kechiche, but also by his two being positioned as a movie
young stars, La Seydoux and for grown-ups and others Ten Things I
Adle Exarchopoulos. who know what, or who, or Hate About You
when, or where, Prada is. But
while watching it I had the 10 Things I Hate About You is
uncanny notion that, at last, a 1999 American teen roman-
one of those books from my tic comedy-drama film. It is
childhood had been filmed. directed by Gil Junger and
Call it Andy Sachs, Girl Edi- stars Julia Stiles, Heath Led-
tor. Anne Hathaway stars, as ger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
a fresh-faced Midwesterner The film, a modernization of
who comes to New York seek- Shakespeares The Taming
Eternal Sunshine ing her first job. I just grad- of the Shrew, is titled after
of a Spotless Mind uated from Northwestern, a poem written by the films
she explains. I was editor of female lead (played by Stiles)
Joel (Carrey) is stunned to the Daily Northwestern! Yes! to describe her bittersweet
discover that his girlfriend It had been a thrill to edit the romance with the male lead
Clementine (Winslet) has student newspaper, but now, (played by Ledger).
Body Positive Photoshoot

Silkie magazine wants to celebrate women for it comes to dressing preferences can
who they are. Therefore we conceived the idea to feel restricting.
have a body positive photo shoot involving some
of the team. For the photo shoot the team wore If a friend shows up looking drastically differ-
attire that reflected an aspect of their identity. ent from you, that can feel upsetting and cause
The girls, dressed and ready to go were then anxiety. But that doesnt mean that one person
given a task. Each member of the team gave the must change while the other holds her ground.
person beside them a positive word. This word Finding ways to open up discussions, make
could be anything. The only rule was that it had compromises, or work within multiple peoples
to relate to the persons character. That person comfort zones can go a long way. We need ot
would then write down the word and hold it up accept each others individual style. See their
during the shoot. clothes as a expression of that persons unique
identity, By doing this it is impossible to judge
We, here at Silkie, think its important to ac- people on a basis of what is right or wrong to
knowledge that social pressures to conform espe- wear. Through photo shoots like this, Silkie aims
cially among friend groups, and especially when to encourage people to dress how they want.
71
Silkie Talk

72
73
74
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


75
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
76
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Silkie Social

Questioning the social norms prevelant in our


society, Silkie Social discusses the fearless,
the prejudiced and the inspiring. Topics range
from pink tax to hairy legs to the time of the
77
month taboo.
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
78
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Hair on women is considered unattractive and embarrass-
ing. Meanwhile men walk around in their shorts flaunting
their leg hair to the world.

Written by Aine

We know that all humans have hair growing Ill start with how I feel about it. I usually shave
on their bodies. It is a natural occurrence and my legs. Shaving takes such a long time that I
in theory we should treat body hair like that. really couldnt be bothered to do it most of the
But nowadays there is an expectation for all time. Dont get me wrong, I love how nice and
wom-en to remove any hair that is not on their smooth my legs feel afterwards, but that feeling
head. How did this become the normal thing? doesnt last long. I often wonder whether the
Why do we shave and wax, what do we really amount of time it takes to shave my legs is worth
think about doing it? I asked other young wom- it when I have stubble again so soon after. What
en their thoughts on hair removal and why they it really boils down to is that I am lazy. If some-
do it, and I thought about my own habits too, thing will take a certain amount of work, but
hoping I can understand why women are com- does not urgently need to be done, I will put it
pelled to do it, and do it so often. off as long as possible. This usually applies to me
80
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Clo Meldon


Its Just Hair

They all said it was because


they like how it feels, but I be-
lieve something else is at play.

and shaving. I will wear tights or long trousers lar practice, but if they are playing in a match
if means I dont have shave. Just the idea of hav- against another team she feels very self con-
ing to sit in my bathroom for so long doing this scious if she has any hair on her legs. When we
one thing seems so boring to me that I dislike it. are with people we know, it doesnt usually both-
Not to mention that Im so clumsy that I will er us whether weve shaved or not. In fact, my
probably cut myself as well! This tends to mean friends often talk about how we havent shaved
that during the winter months I barely ever our legs and show each when we havent shaved
shave. I mostly wear jeans in winter anyway, in a particularly long time. What bothers us is
so whos even going to see my legs anyway? what strangers think of us. First impressions
matter, and we think if we dont look perfect,
This makes me wonder why I really shave my with nice clothes, great hair and completely
legs. I say its because I like how it feels, but if smooth legs, people will look down on us, or
I think so much about whether people see my perhaps just outright dislike us because of it.
legs or not, surely that means Im doing because
of what other people think about me. When I Does anyone have any idea why we think like
asked some other girls from my year what they this? If body hair is something that occurs
thought, they told me that they wouldnt ever naturally, who is it that decided one day that 81
want to go out if they hadnt shaved their legs. everyone should remove it? Evidence of women
They would worry about what other people removing body hair can be traced back as far as
would think if they came without shaving. How- ancient Egypt, where women removed hair using
ever when I asked them at first why they shaved, pumice stones and tweezers made from shells.
none of them said it was for somebody else. They This may have been in order to make themselves
all said it was because they like how it feels, but I pure for the gods, as the priests did. Now we
believe something else is at play. still keep up the arduous tradition of removing
almost all the hair from our bodies, but because
One girl who plays sports said that she doesnt the media has deemed it unattractive. I think
mind if she hasnt shaved her legs for her regu- that outside of aesthetics, there are very few
Silkie Social

All our flaws should be


hidden, the things that
make us unique altered
to be like everyone else.
To conform is the norm.
advantages to hair removal. The only example they have to shave. It should be a persons own
I can think of where hair removal is helpful is decision as to how their body looks, and yet all
for athletes. Less hair means less air or water around us we have the media screaming at us
resistance, so you can run or swim faster. But that we should be a certain ideal and every-
if you are not an athlete, hair removal is just thing else is wrong. The fact that we live in a
something that takes up your time and money. world where some women dont shave as an
Leg waxing in a salon will usually start at around act of defiance is a sign of how twisted modern
twenty euro per session and, of course, you have beauty standards have become. All our flaws
82 to do it regularly. Removing hair takes a lot of should be hidden, the things that make us
time, and honestly I personally could think of a unique altered to be like everyone else. To
lot of things I would rather do at that time. conform is the norm.

There is quite a double standard in our society I am not telling anyone, man or woman, that
about body hair. Hair on women is considered they should or should not shave. I know I will
unattractive and embarrassing. Meanwhile men still shave whenever I want to wear a skirt or
walk around in their shorts flaunting their leg shorts. I wish that we could some day reach a
hair to the world. In fact, some might consider perspective where people look and dress the
is immasculine for a man to remove his body way they want to, without being dictated by
hair, which is about as unfair as telling women what is or isnt in fashion and what the media.
84
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Its our job as young women to talk about periods,
especially those of us who have younger siblings
who will soon be experiencing what we experience
every month.

Written by Shona

It is evident from Instagrams latest censorship communities shun this natural process, although
war that there is a lot of unnecessary stigma half our population go through it every month.
around the topic of menstruation. When Rupi
Kaur decided to highlight this as the theme for Some are more comfortable with the pornifica-
her university photography project, chaos broke tion of women, the sexualisation of women, the
loose as Instagram censored this picture. violence and degradation of women than this.
They cannot be bothered to express their disgust
She wrote on her Tumblr: I bleed each month about all that, but will be angered and bothered
to help make humankind a possibility. My womb by this. We menstruate and they see it as dirty,
is home to the divine. A source of life for our attention seeking, sick, a burden as if this pro-
species. Whether I choose to create or not but cess is less natural than breathing. as if it is not
very few times it is seen that way. In older civili- a bridge between this universe and the last, as if
zations this blood was considered holy. In some this process is not love, labour, life, selfless and
it still is, but a majority of people, societies and strikingly beautiful.
Illustration: Luiza Abend
Body Taboos

Girls are taught when they


get their period that its some-
thing you keep a secret and do
your utmost best to hide.

Why was this picture censored? Im sure this necessary and it should be spoken about. Lets
comes as a surprise, what the fuss is about this stop pretending like theres something wrong
photo is - its a bit of blood. But recent events with the fact that it isnt. The mere mention of
have made prominent what is wrong with soci- the word period can sometimes genuinely make
ety today. Periods are not spoken of - She-Who- girls uncomfortable, there have been many times
Must-Not-Be-Named, and we need to understand where Ive heard (or struggled to hear) women
why. From the minute a girl makes the transition in bathrooms trying to hide the fact that theyre
into womanhood, this issue is concealed from on their period when opening their toiletries,
her peers and is seen as embarrassing. Periods and keeping their pads and tampons disguised in
as a topic of conversation is unheard of. When their bags. Girls are taught when they get their
this topic actually does arise in conversation, its period that its something you keep a secret and
quickly shot down as its seen as disgusting and do your utmost best to hide. It doesnt help that
too personal for people to comprehend. Why? brands of toiletries promote this secrecy, intro- 87
Why do all of these issues arise just from men- ducing new discrete versions of tampons and
tioning the word period? pads, as if nobody should know that someone
has their period. Far too many girls are taught
That is why Im writing this article. Millions of to feel disgusted by their own body, when its
women have their period every single day. Its a something they cannot help. It seems comp-
common issue for women everywhere, so why letely unreasonable to me.
should we hide the fact that it happens just
because it makes people uncomfortable? Periods Its our job as young women to talk about peri-
are a natural bodily function, it is absolutely ods, especially those of us who having younger
88
My Role Model by Ailbhe

Laverne Cox
Depictions of people in the media can have an of the storyline; 20% of transgender characters
enormous impact on the way society views them. were cast as sex workers. Additionally, 54% of the
Unfortunately, media portrayal of transgender 102 episodes GLAAD has documented were cate-
people ranges from positive to very negative. gorized as containing negative representations
The transgender community is constantly bat- of the transgender characters at the time in
tling with the negative image and trying to which they were aired; transphobic slurs, lan-
overcome stereotypes in television, films and guage and dialogue was seen in 61% of these
other media. Usually trans people are not the portrayals. Out of all these appearance, only
main characters, and most of the time fall into 12% were considered groundbreaking, fair and
the stereotyped supporting characters, or por- accurate enough to earn a GLAAD Media Award
trayed as a victim or villain. According to infor- nomination. Recognition of non-binary gen-
mation collected by GLAAD, which has been der in media is very rare. In fact, a large deal of
cataloguing the appearance of transgender char- non-binary gender media representation hap-
acters on scripted television shows since 2002, pens in communities made by and for people
at least 40% of the time transgender characters who identify as non-binary, and contain largely
were cast in a victim role; transgender charac- self-made content, often about the content mak-
ters were cast as killers or villains in at least 21% er. Basically, the majority of transgender repre-
Illustration: Julianna Szab
Laverne Cox

been negative, derogatory and just plain offen- The internet and social media are of great im-
sive. Ignorance towards the full matter although portance for young people struggling with their
sometimes well meaning are contributers to this. identity, especially members of the LGBT+ com-
munity. She has shown us that it truly is possible
Despite this, there has been a shift in this rep- to make a difference not only to a community
resentation of transgender characters in the but to the world also, even when it seems like
past few years. This is most likely due to greater the whole world is against you.
awareness of transgender rights, and the addi-
tion of actual trans people acting in trans roles. Representation of marginalised groups is so im-
Laverne Cox has heavily influenced how trans portant, Laverne has a hugely positive impact on
folk are represented in the media. She originally trans people who feel that they can relate to the
rose to fame playing Sophia Burset on the Netflix character of Sophia. On the topic of transgender
television series Orange Is the New Black. She visibility in the media, Laverne says, So many
then became the first openly transgender person students have said, trans students have said; now
to be nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award I can have a point of reference when I talk about
in the acting category. Laverne is also a reality who I am. My friends are like, Oh, like Sophia
television star, a television producer, writer, and from Orange is the New Black? and theyre like,
an LGBT advocate. In early 2014, Laverne was yeah, and then they just move on and its not an
given GLAADs Stephen F. Kolzak Award for her issue. I feel that most people dont understand
work as an advocate for the transgender commu- the importance of media. Laverne Cox playing
nity. Despite 91.5% of respondents saying that La- a multi-dimensional trans woman of colour in
verne should be included, she was omitted from Orange Is the New Black is ground-breaking.
Time magazines 100 Most Influential People of It teaches people who arent like her to under-
2014. Later that year, she became the first open- stand and relate to Sophias humanity, and it
ly transgender person to grace the cover of the helps people like her to see that they arent
same magazine. alone in the world and that their lives and stor-
ies matter. It helps people to accept all sorts of 91
Laverne attempted suicide at the age of 11. definitions of womanhood. The more we under-
She had developed romantic feelings about her stand the diversity and validity of peoples lives
male classmates and had been bullied for sev- and experiences, the less likely we are to buy
eral years; she refused to act the way someone into stereotypes and deny people their full hu-
assigned male at birth was supposed to act. manity. Stories are incredibly important because
Her mother would chastise Laverne after her they shape how we see the world.
schoolmates attacked her, and refused to enrol
her in ballet because it was too gay. Laverne On being a role model, Laverne says, I would
praises the internet for connecting people strug- never be so arrogant to think that someone
gling with their sexuality and gender. should model their life after me. But the idea of
92
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


93

Illustration: Julianna Szab


Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
Silkie Social

We need trans writers


and trans actors to create
authentic media that is not
sensationalized or offensive.
We need to be willing to
embrace and celebrate
our differences.

out in public, hopefully will show to other folks can become more willing to let go of precon-
that its possible. So I prefer the term possibility ceptions we might have about people who are
94 model to role model. Laverne is a down-to- different from us. It is important to remember
earth, compassionate and vivacious woman. She to listen to individuals in terms of how they
inspires people from marginalised groups, and describe themselves. We cannot decide how
shows us that differences should be celebrated. other people define themselves, so we must take
Laverne teaches love and acceptance, and I feel people at their word. We need to let trans people
that she could have a positive impact on people write their own stories, so trans characters and
of all gender identities. storylines can be most accurately represented.
We need trans writers and trans actors to create
Change cant happen overnight, and behaviours authentic media that is not sensationalized or
and attitudes take time to shift. However, if we offensive. We need to be willing to embrace and
listen to trans folks stories and experiences, we celebrate our differences.
96
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


In my opinion the overall statement of men are
stronger than woman is ridiculous. Strength does
not depend on your gender. Its different for
absolutely everyone.

Written by Emma

Men and Women are very different in many statement causes a huge amount of controversy
ways. Not only physically, but also emotionally worldwide. In my opinion I believe that woman
and mentally. Because of these differences, there are in fact emotionally, mentally and in some
is also a distinction in the way men or women cases physically stronger than men. I also think
are treated. When looking at the obvious facts that the belief above Men are stronger than
that set males apart from females, it is quite woman is very unclear. You are not told wheth-
clear to me that men definitely have the advan- er it is physically, mentally or emotionally, but
tage. Not only do men have defferent builds most people act as if its physically.
than women, but men also do not have to go
through certain changes throughout their lives Mentally and emotionally I think that woman
like females do, such as menstruation. Also, are stronger compared to men. I have deep sym-
men and women are treated very differently in pathy for men when it comes to this topic. Men
society. These differences lead some people to have been given the label that they have a heart
believe that men are stronger than women. This of stone. It is as though they are not accepted if
98
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Shauna Woods


Strength

they show any sort of emotion whether its good got to do with our gender. It is simply the way
or bad. When it comes to women, we are able to your body is built and whether you go to the
show any sort of emotion any time of the day. It gym and build your own muscle. For the people
is just who we are, and I am very proud of this. who say that men are stronger than women it
In my opinion and also in my past experiences I really doesnt make sense to me. I could do the
know that it is much better for your own mind same project in an all-girls school. A group of
to express how you feel and show your emotion. girls could be ten times stronger than some girls
Holding things in is never the healthy option. in the year. These girls could be the fittest girls
This is why I feel sorry for men when it comes in the year that go to the gym everyday.
to this hard subject. We live in a world where
equality is fought for on a day-to-day basis. Yet The overall statement of Men are stronger than
no one is willing to reach out to the opposite sex woman is ridiculous. Strength does not depend
and help one another. Although men may try on your gender. Its different for absolutely
to appear much stronger than woman, we may everyone! Not just if youre a boy or girl. A great
have an advantage when it comes to this topic. example that men are not stronger is the great
Whether every woman feels this is a good thing success of Irish boxer and Olympic gold medal
I cant say, but for me I personally think it is one winner Katie Taylor. In 2012 the Irish Boxing
of our best qualities! team made headlines nationwide, but only one
name was most recognized. This name was Katie
Now, to speak about the dreaded idea that of Taylor. Katie is a woman from Bray who was the
Men are stronger than women (physically). only gold medal winner from the Irish team in
I just want to say that this is the one thing that 2012. Four men won medals in the Olympics but
annoys me so much. I am not a man hater and none won gold. Katies fellow male boxers did
I definitely am not a die hard feminist, but this not win gold but silver and bronze. This opened
has to be one of the most outrageous statements up a new era for female boxing to commence.
ever made! Yes okay it has been proven that Although female boxing had been around for
men are physically stronger than women, but years, after Katie won she brought light to the 99
hold on. Say I go to a Boys School with boys female area of boxing. In my opinion Katie Tay-
of the same age as me. I can proudly say that I lor destroyed this stereotypical world that only
could be stronger than many boys, but of course men should box when she came home with the
there will be boys that are stronger than me. gold medal. It gave women everywhere hope that
This isnt because men are stronger, its be- maybe one day this Men are stronger than wom-
cause maybe I dont have the same muscle as en statement can be gone for good. If you train
them. So how about I bring in another girl my your body hard to achieve certain bodily goals
age with the same muscle as these boys. She they can be reached. It had nothing to do with
will be stronger than the boys I was and just as whether you are a boy or a girl. Being male or
strong as the ones I wasnt. To me it has nothing female is not a contributing factor in my opinion.
100
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


I hope that it gets easier, the stigma wears off and
LGBTQ+ kids are finally allowed just be themselves
without the need to come out.

Written by Emily

Coming out wasnt exactly a topic of conversa- twists society into thinking that anyone whos
tion on the playground when i was 7 years old. not heterosexual is not normal. Lucky I was
We were simply born oblivious to certain ele- brought up in a home that nurtured the idea
ments of life like that, until something happens, that love is love, no matter what shape or form
and our perception changes. What I want to it came in, but I must remind myself that not
know is why does the transition between think- everyone was so fortunate. There are still peo-
ing nothing of liking the same-sex and feeling ple out there who think being yourself isnt the
the fear, or disgust, for those coming out hap- right thing to do.
pen? And what causes this change in our mind-
set? After thinking about it long and hard I can My theory about society being the blame for
only blame it on one thing; society. discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community
starts from the very beginning. Because we are
Dont get me wrong, I love the western culture I all born brand new, without a perception of
live in. But sometimes it gets to me, the stigma any- thing in our head, we are shaped by those
around the LGBTQ+ community and the way it around us through opinions and thoughts to
Silkie Social

Society has told us for


far too long that we need
to approach coming out
cautiously and that there
are certain rules attached
to it.

become the person we are today. Rather like a spectrum to accept it themselves because of the
flower, we blossom differently in whatever envi- harsh stigma attached to it they grew up know-
ronment we are placed in. Someone brought up ing. Fortunately I was able to talk to a few people
by homophobic parents, in a homophobic neigh- who have dealt with coming out, or who have
borhood with homophobic friends are more avoiding up until this point, and I got to divulge
102 than likely going to be homophobic themselves, myself into their mindsets. One girl I inteviewed,
because they know no other way of thinking who never intends on coming out, states that
about the topic. This is slowly changing, and although shes in a stable relationship with her
rising generations are stepping up to the plate boyfriend, she is still petrified at the thought of
and going against the grain of their ancestors to her peers and parents knowing shes bisexual,
think for themselves on the matter, but that is simply because of the community she lives in.
only taking a small bite out of the problem. She also states shes too young to come out,
but what is really the right age to come out?
Although it is hard for society to mould itself Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, now referred to as John, is only
to finally accept the LGBTQ+ community in this eight years old and has decided, with the full
day and age, its harder for those in on the queer support if his parents, that he would wear a suit
Coming Out

to the Unbroken premiere and to cut his hair myself, why must people coming out need a
short. This young hero has become themselves in crutch to confess who they really are? Why do
the media spotlight with such grace and support they have to hide behind screens from those
and is a prime example of the fact that coming theyve known their whole lives, and why
out shouldnt be something we have to wait un- must they be drunk to finally feel safe telling
til were a certain age to do. This again is a social people something theyve hid for so long? I
construct, that a person is too young to know blame this again on society. It teaches us that
what they really are, and that doesnt justify coming out is a big deal, through books and
their sexuality or gender. movies to personal experiences. I feel we can
slowly change this for the better, but not with-
I also talked to a boy who told me that he came out tackling the situation head on. Society has
out to his friends via Whatsapp. He was a ner- told us for far too long that we need to ap-
vous wreak when he sent the text, but got noth- proach coming out cautiously and that there
ing but love and support back. Another girl told are certain rules attached to it. But why even
me she had to be intoxicated to confess her true come out at all? Why make a big deal over
sexuality to her friend, which causes me to ask something that should be nothing?

103
My Role Model by Sintia

Ruby Rose
Lets be honest, everyone has a small crush on Global Vision International.She appeared in
Ruby Rose, especially me, I mean she is beauti- the episode Media Virgins, ofAustralias Next
ful! Ruby Roses sharp bright eyes grabbed many Top Model, acting as a guest judge. She also
modelling agencies attention, but a model agen- worked as a correspondent for the finale of
cies always want something to change. Whether Australias Next Top Model. From July 2009,
they want someone a little bit skinnier, a little Rose along withDave Hughes,Charlie Pickering,
bit taller, a little bit prettier, but MTV want you Carrie BickmoreandJames Mathisonhosted
to be yourself! Not censoring anything and not The 7pm Project, an Australian television news talk
conforming to anything. Thank you MTV. Ruby show produced byRoving Enterprises which airs
Rose then began to flower into the amazing weeknights on Network Ten.
person she is now, she is open to be who she
really is. Ruby Rose isnt just hot and talented,she also is a
caring and kind person that has been through a
In 2009, Rose won theASTRA Awardfor Favou- lot and wants to help other people. She is a sup-
rite Female Personality. She also travelled to porter of charities and Issues close to her heart
Kenya to highlight the amazing work done by include animal welfare, campaigns for anti-bul
106
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Lisa McHugo


Ruby Rose

She also is a caring and


kind person that has been
through a lot and wants to
help other people.

lying and youth mental health and works as an sometimes she got hit by guys. Theyd say, I
ambassador forHeadspace. She has also travelled would never hit a girl, but youre not a girl.
to Laos and Africa to volunteer each year. On July the 14th, 2014 a video called Break Free
starring Ruby Rose was up loaded by her onto
Rosecame out as homosexual when she was 12. Youtube. In the video you can see a very beauti-
As a teenager, she suffered from verbal taunts, ful girl with long hair, in a lovely and flattering
physical abuse from her schoolmates i.e. bullies, dress, but the woman who is wearing it, Ruby
due to her sexuality. As a little kid, Ruby Rose Rose is not happy with how she looks, because
was convinced that she was a guy. She used to she is not been herself. She begins to cut all
bind her breasts with ACE bandages, which is of her hair into a short haircut, then begins to
really, really bad for you. She was really young. wash all of the makeup covering her tattoos off
revealing her true skin. She gets out of the dress
In her teens, she tried to be quite feminine. Her and gets changed into something that she feels 107
mother was pushing her to do some modelling, more like herself in. She changes into a shirt,
as she was a very pretty girl. And then one day jacket and trousers. At the end of the video she
it just got too much for her. Ruby shaved all of looks happy, confident and fierce, she is feeling
her hair and just went Fuck you to everyone comfortable and like herself.
who thought she needed to look a certain way.
She should do whatever she feels is right doing. Ruby rose has and still is encouraging and help-
And then she got bullied after that. If a guy said ing people to be open about their sexuality and
something to her like, What are you? Youre a that you dont need to hide who you are. She is
girl but youre trying to be a boy. or Look at now so happy doing and proving everyone who
you, youre disgusting. If she tried to talk back, ever doubted her wrong! Rose is an inspiration.
108
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Because of the internet, we question what we learn
in school and what our parents tell us. We dont rely
on a handful of sources to gain information.

Written by Ailbhe

Is there one true definition of feminism? For what the media wants us to think. Is this not the
most, it is something we define ourselves. It is same media that benefits from the insecurities
something that can evolve and develop as we of girls and women? The same companies, say,
become more educated, and sometimes we feel that make money selling us razors and expen-
more drawn to one particular feminist school of sive bras and things we dont necessarily need?
thought. There is no one correct feminism but If feminism could make a profit for big corpora- 109
rather limitless feminisms. When I was young- tions, I am sure feminists would not be painted
er, I never related to it. I heard about feminism in such a bad light. Because our reality is heavily
through my family and my peers, whose prior influenced by the media, many of us have given
knowledge was influenced by the media. I feel feminists a bad rep.
that the media deviates from these boundless
definitions of feminism, and tells us something The internet has changed that. By providing
untrue. The media tells us that feminists are us with a different narrative, we see feminism
angry, hormonal man-haters who burn their bras without the medias embellishment. Because of
and refuse to shave. Although there is nothing the internet, we are offered an alternative defi-
wrong with any of the latter, we are force-fed nition. I discovered feminism through blogging
Illustration: Julianna Szab
Internet Feminism

Thin, toned, flawless, blemish


free women are idolised by the
media, but these images are put
through a tedious routine of
photoshop in order to be perfect.

websites and feminist zines. I found truth within Seventeen Magazine to stop using photoshopped
feminism. I stumbled upon people whose words images. Julia and other teen activists from an
resonated with me, whose ideas fascinated me, organisation called Spark used Facebook, Twitter,
and whose ideologies I wanted to share. I found and Tumblr to shed light on the unattainable
concrete evidence of aggressions towards wom- beauty standards and unrealistic images in the
en, and new points of view I wouldnt have expe- magazine. Julia and millions of other girls read
rienced without the internet. These people were magazines like Seventeen and see these images
not only translating the multi-faceted concept of of uniformed beauty. Thin, toned, flawless, blem-
feminism into eloquent yet relatable language, ish-free women are idolised by the media, but
they made me realise that the injustices between these images are put through a tedious routine
genders didnt have to be accepted as a way of of photoshop in order to be perfect. Eventually, 111
life. Feminism is an easily-reached community Seventeen magazine listened. They vowed to
because of the internet - you dont have to be celebrate every kind of beauty and feature only
an educated scholar to recognise inequality and real girls and models who are healthy. This was
spread new ideas. Our voices are not alone. a huge victory in the fight for gender equality; if
the internet can make Seventeen question how
Fortunately, we are not the only ones influenced their material affects young girls, we can have a
by internet feminism. A fourteen year old girl better understand of what is truly the norm and
named Julia Bluhm took the internet by storm learn to love our bodies more.
when she garnered 86,000 signatures on a
petition on change.org, in an effort to persuade People like Julia are using the internet as a
112
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


113

Illustration: Julianna Szab


Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
Silkie Social

Online feminism is the future


of feminism. The internet can
keep an issue visible, alive, and
evolving so its always fresh
and relevant. We are able to
create a new culture of inclu-
sive and diverse feminism.

weapon in the fight for gender equality. It is modern feminisms challenge is to include wom-
giving young girls voices, and making us the en of all backgrounds and with all experiences,
most educated and connected generation yet. and not always focus on one dominant voice. We
The leaders of internet feminism are outspoken must not only include other women, but resist
114 and eloquent, and give voices to LGBT+ people the urge to speak for them. We must listen to
and women of colour where the first and sec- the experiences of people other than ourselves,
ond wave movement hadnt. One of the original and the internet helps us do this.
movements biggest failings was inclusiveness.
Our generation of girls and women are raised in Online feminism is the future of feminism.
a world where information is free to share and The internet can keep an issue visible, alive,
receive, and the mistakes of past feminism are and evolving so its always fresh and relevant.
no longer acceptable. Years ago a woman could We are able to create a new culture of inclusive
argue that she was only able to speak to her own and diverse feminism. While feminists of the
experience, and as a result, much of the dialogue past created a dialogue and a culture that has
was about women who looked like them. Now, led us to these conversations today, its up to us
Internet Feminism

to make sure our activism is continually inclu- the wealth of information available to us on the
sive. The internet has provided a tool to connect- internet with the click of the mouse. Our phones,
ed us with like-minded people, but also made us computers, and tablets aid us in questioning the
open to scrutiny if we mess up. Protests and sit- media and social norms. We now know that our
ins are still important but, thanks to the internet, voices matter. We can create change. We can
anyone can be a part of the conversation. Be- make wavelengths from the comfort of our chair,
cause of the internet, we question what we learn if we have the confidence to share our voice with
in school and what our parents tell us. We dont others. Us the next generation, have the power.
rely on a handful of sources to gain information We must be brave enough to believe that change
and knowledge - we can educate ourselves with is possible, and that we can spark it.

115
116
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


If we work hard we may in years to come create a
world where everyone, no matter what gender, may
stand on the same level.

Written by Kerrie

The internet has many positive attributes and body image. Users of accounts on social media
features for girls. It has completely revolution- websites such as Instagram and Facebook often
ised the way we communicate with one another, post pictures of the ideal or the perfect body
the way we access information and the way we and tell others that this is how they should be
live our lives. We can follow celebrities and blog- and look.. These pictures tagged as motivation-
gers we are interested in, keep up to date with al or inspirational and designed to make you
news and trends and we can communicate faster live a healthy lifestyle can sometimes have the
and easier than we have ever before. Despite all opposite effect on girls. Perhaps this is the rea-
these positive attributes, the internet also has son that in the UK the number of young people
a dark side in which can effect women directly seeking help for eating disorders have increased
and indirectly. It can do a lot of damage to the by one hundred and ten percent in the last three
way we think and also our development into years. There are also thousands of pro-ana blogs,
adults. accounts and websites that promote the eating
disorder anorexia nervosa, telling others that
The interaction with the internet, especially its not an illness, but a lifestyle choice to loose
social media, can have a profound effect on our weight. These websites encourage crash dieting,
118
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Leona Gonelly


The Internet and Body Image

Exposure to these kinds of web-


sites especially affects already
vulnerable girls who have low
confidence while making others
feel depressed about their own
physique.

the use of laxatives and give tips to girls on how post and how they look to our friends. A lot of
to hide their eating disorder from parents and us are even nervous about putting up posts that
doctors. Exposure to these kinds of websites may prevent us from employment in the future
especially effects already vulnerable girls who which further adds to anxiety of being accepted.
have low confidence while simply making ot- A study by the journal Personality and Individ-
hers feel depressed about their own physique. ual Differences showed that people who scored
higher on a narcissism questionnaire are more
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all other social frequent Facebook posters and photo taggers 119
media websites are designed for sharing imag- and had more Facebook friends. Whether we
es, posts and experiences with the people we want to accept it or not, we upload photos and
love, but its known that it can get competitive. posts with the intention of drawing attention to
We only put things online that show the best ourselves and to show the world how great we
of ourselves; the perfect profile picture and a are, silently competing with everyone else. Ben-
clev-er caption that is almost always re-edited jamin Grosser, an artist and software developer
more than once before posting. We become created an open source web browser plug in that
jealous of those who get more likes than we do stops the user from seeing how many likes they
or who receive more comments on their photo- have got on a particular post, replacing it with
graphs and we begin to over analyse what we people like this. He found that most people
Silkie Social

Online bullying is a huge


problem in schools around
the country. Cyberbullying is
when instant messages, emails,
text messages or webpages
are used too spread rumours,
make threats or harass others.

were less obsessed about checking their posts Online bullying is a huge problem in schools
while using the plug in and enjoyed the relief around the country. Cyber bullying is when
from competing for likes. Researchers found that instant messages, emails, text messages or web-
120 heavy use of Facebook may make certain people pages are used too spread rumours, make threats
experience feelings of envy which in turn could or harass others. It includes written messages,
lead to depression. These tended to be users who photographs, videos or voice messages. An NUI
compare their own lives to their friends photos Maynooth study found that seventeen per cent
of luxurious vacations, status updates about of children had been victims of bullying at some
good news and the amount of likes they receive point while almost one in ten had admitted
on posts. Like one friend said to me Everyones carrying it out. The research found that victims
achievements seem to blend into the one perfect were most frequently bullied by a single female
person that you cant live up to, and this makes or a small group of females from a different class
us feel depressed and lowers our confidence in but in the same year as the victim. Girls need to
ourselves. stand up to cyberbullying immediately if we see
The Internet and Body Image

it happening to others in the year and support feels like to be unplugged from technology. We
each other against this. So what can we do to need to find a space that isnt the web in which
spend time on social media in a healthy, safe to inform us for example going out an meeting
way while getting the full enjoyment from it? friends. This is much healthier too. We should
Venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & develop our own critical thinking to evaluate
Byers did research which suggested that people what we see online. Finally, we should take re-
checked their phones 150 time a day. Its a good sponsibility from what we say or do online, and
idea to evaluate our own social media use and to invest more time in things that help build our
determine if its helping us meet goals . Also, its confidence, because at the end of the day, likes
OK to take a break from your phone or laptop and comments on Instagram and Facebook wont
once in a while and remind yourself what it do that for us.

121
My Role Model by Aisling

Emma Watson
Feminism in recent years has become something radicalisation and man-hating She discusses
of a taboo word, it has become associated with her struggle with being labeled by others. At the
man-hating and female domination. These views age of eight she found that when she wanted to
have prevented many people from identifying be in charge of a school show people called her
themselves as feminists, in particular in the case bossy, but none of this was directed towards
of men. The HeForShe aims to involve more peo- the boys. She discussed how at the age of 14 she
ple, especially men and boys, in the struggle for began being sexualised by certain aspects of the
equal rights for women all around the world. UN media, something that rarely happens to boys
Women have taken this huge step towards mak- of the same age.
ing a change alongside the UN Women Goodwill
Ambassador, Emma Watson. These issues are relevant today, women are
expected at a certain age to stop what they feel
This campaign has come to light recently due to are boyish activities because girls are not to act
Emmas speech at the UN going viral all over the that way. Most importantly, Emma discusses the
internet. In her speech she addresses the issue issue of men being unable to express their feel-
surrounding the association of feminism with ing in fear of appearing weak or hunman-like.
Silkie Social

All of these issues are what drive Emma and discriminated against every day of their lives.
many other women, such as myself, to become This campaign is largely to show men that femi-
feminists. The issue of feminism becoming an nism is about them too. Men too are affected by
unpopular word is a large part of the HeForShe many of the issues HeForShe is fighting against.
campaign, they work to destroy this view of fem- With the push for gender equality men will
inists and encourage people to look past the ta- be free to act how they want without seeming
boo and identify themselves as feminists. One of to be less of a man as is insinuated by many
the many important things about this campaign people today. As the stigma behind men lessens
is that feminism is not a word, it is the solution the progress for women will be a natural conse-
to gender inequality. quence. The involvement of men in this cam-
paign is the key to furthering the success of the
In this video Emma talks about how it is right for gender equality movement.
women to earn the same as men for the same job
and how it is only right for women to make deci- As the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma
sions about their own body. I recall when nudes has had a huge influence on women and young
of many celebrity women were released around girls throughout the world. It is well-known that
the time of this speech, Emma was threatened to Emma played the role of Hermione Granger in
have photos of her they supposedly had leaked. the film adaption of the Harry Potter book series.
It was an inspiring moment when Emma stood Hermione as a young girl is also an inspiration
firm against these individuals knowing she had to children everywhere. This character showed
nothing to hide. Although our country is well de- young people that not only can you be the smart-
veloped, it is situations like these thathighlight est person in class but you can also be a loyal
that feminism is still needed in todays society. friend and one hell of a badass when needs be.
As a child Hermione was my hero and she was
The HeForShe campaign is focused on the wom- to many others like me. I think it is safe to say
124 en who need it most, in her speech Emma tell that as I have matured my childhood hero has
us of how lucky she was to not be any less loved become the hero of my adolescence. Emma has
by her parents or given any less opportunity by grown up to be a huge inspiration to me and to
her teachers simply because she was a girl. These many others and it is her work with UN women
feminist campaigns are fighting for the women and the HeForShe that has helped me to realise
who need feminism, who dont have the same that I, myself am a feminist. The ideals that I
privileges that many of us in Ireland and the UK valued in Hermione as a child shine through in
have. We are the lucky ones, but this campaign the work Emma is doing for feminism today.
as for any feminist campaign is for the women Emma Watson not only portrayed the young girl
who dont have the rights that we do, who are I looked up to, but she has become the woman I
Emma Watson

It was an inspiring mom-


ent when Emma stood firm
against these individuals
knowing she had nothing to
hide. It is from these situa-
tions, that it is evident that
feminism is still needed in
todays society.
125
aspire to be. Through spending all of childhood amazing work she is doing Emma Watson is my
on a set, being sexualised from the age of 12 role model. This is the case for many women just
and experiencing constant harassment from the like me who found inspiration in her character
media this woman has maintained her dignity and in her true self. Having grown up with her
and courage. as a role model and then to have her influence
me in later life as well is fantastic. This influence
Not many people get to say that their childhood Emma has on so many people is what is needed
hero grows up to be their role model as an adult to encourage people to join in the HeForShe
but I feel privileged to say that because of the campaign and the fight for gender equality.
126
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


From a young age, the majority of young girls are
given Barbie dolls to play with- leaving them to
admire these dolls,

Written by Aoife

From a young age, the majority of young girls would only have room for half a liver and a few
are given Barbie dolls to play with- leaving them inches of intestine. With 3.5 inch wrists, Barbie
to admire these dolls, and aspiring to one day be would be incapable of doing any heavy lifting.
like their beloved Barbie dolls in ev ery single Barbies extremely long, thin legs are supported
way possible. However, is it right we give young by childs size 3 feet and 6 inch ankles, leaving
children dolls to play with that portray women her only capable of walking on all fours. Barbies
in an unrealistic way? Although to many Barbies weight and uneven body distribution would also
body may be ideal, but this ideal body is also leave Barbie without a period and proper
next to impossible to achieve and in no way is menstrual cycle.
it even remotely healthy. For example, with a
neck twice as long and 6inches thinner than Even with all these factors considered, millions
the average womans neck, Barbie would be of young girls still aspire to be like their beloved
incapable of lifting her head. Her head, 16 inch Barbie doll physically. There are some girls all
waist (which is smaller than her head), Barbie around the world who pay hundreds of thou-
128
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Siobhn O Riordan


Barbies Body

This ideal body is also next


to impossible to achieve and
in no way is it even remotely
healthy.
sands of dollars/euro on cosmetic surgery so In 1998 the dolls waist was expanded and bust
they can resemble this fictional character, like made smaller, and was said to reflect a more
29 year old Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova. real female body type, but still the dolls body is
Described as the real life Barbie doll, and the in no way realistic or in any way helps promote
human Barbie, Valeria undergoes extreme gym a positive body image as this more real female
workouts to keep her slender, slim physique, body type remains unachievable. Young girls all
has had more than one operation for her breast around the world look up to Barbie as sort of an
implants, spends an unreal amount of money of admirable role model, and thrive to succeed in
cosmetics and makeup, and wears contacts to achieving her perfect body. Why cant Barbie
disguise her naturally green eyes just to resem- be a size 8, 10, 12 or 14 like most other women,
ble this plastic doll. which will allow children to accept being bigger
than what Barbies body is, after being left to
As of February 2014, Valeria has converted to a believe it is perfect? 129
practice called Breatharianism, where she an-
nounced that she would try not to partake food Not that there is anything wrong with being
or water for an unspecified length of time, in an slim, but to create a doll for young and impres-
attempt to live exclusively on light and air. But sionable girls and allow them to think that their
why go through all this trouble just to look like a loving doll is how women should look (with a
plastic doll? To go without food and water just to body thats next to impossible to achieve), is that
look more like Barbie? Is this really the lengths right? How come there is no dolls to represent
some people will go to in an attempt to be more bigger women, or women who dont have a big
like a plastic doll? bust or long legs? Whos their representative?
Silkie Social

To be called Barbie is seen


as a compliment to many
women and girls; but how
come we are flattered to be
compared to this piece of
plastic?
To be called Barbie is seen as a compliment to In March 2014, a prototype for a doll that is
many women and girls; but how come we are said to be based on the average 19 year old girl
flattered to be compared to this piece of plastic? in America was made; complete with acne
Personally, I think as a result of this doll being in cellulite and stretch marks - totally contrasting
the majority of young girls homes and children to the Barbie weve known for so long. Lammily,
being brought up with this doll, we subcon- the new and improved Barbie, was created by 25
130 sciously see this doll as perfection because we year old Nickolay Lamm, who himself had his
are so familiar with it, when realistically this doubts on the success of this more realistic fe-
doll doesnt portray a real female body type. And male doll, as he believed not many people would
still there doesnt seem to be any changes in the stray away from the perfect Barbie weve been
manufacturing of this doll to help promote a familiar with for years. However, Lamms story
positive body image for young girls by showing is a very successful one as he makes hundreds
the more real body features women have; like of thousands of dollars from Lammily (which he
shorter legs, small breasts, or thighs that dont reinvests in this project). Lammily also comes
touch off each other. We shouldnt judge each with a sticker pack for your doll that gives the
other based on such minute details. illusion of acne, cellulite, stretch marks, tattoos,
Barbies Body

moles, freckles and bruises, among many other


things. In an interview following the realease
of his doll, Lamm said Every one of our bod-
ies is different, so we should not be aspiring to
some idealized standard. Personally, I think
these dolls promote the beauty of reality. In my
opinion, I think from this study its clear that
these children dont see Barbie.. One child in
this group even said She, like, isnt, like, very
thin even at such a young age these children
noticed the extremely thin physique belonging
to Barbie. But will Lammily be a beneficial factor
as we try change the stereotypical body.
132
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Representation in Disney films will always be
important because of the messages they send
to children.

Written by Ailbhe

Disney plays a huge role in most of our lives. As beginning of Disneys issues. Nowadays, parents
kids, we sat in front of the television with wide want their childrens entertainment to be fun
eyes, enchanted by Disney princesses eluding vil- and fulfilling. Many may stay away from a movie
lains, dancing in pretty dresses and pursuing ro- that could promote harmful ideas. The company
mance. But could Disney have a negative impact has responded to the criticism by creating more
on how we perceive ourselves? It may not seem diverse storylines of late. This evolution is a
like young people could be effected by simple welcome one, but theres still a lot to complain
cartoons, but we often internalise negative mes- about in todays animated childrens movies.
sages without realising it. For years, Disney has
bared the brunt of criticism for perpetrating ste- Over the years, Disney has raised many an eye-
reotypes and giving children the wrong message brow with their gender interpretations and lack
in its films. Perfect princesses lacking in diversi- of racial diversity. We are forever seeing one type
ty, misrepresentation of different cultures, and of woman or girl being represented. She is un-
countless perpetrations of sexism are just the naturally thin, with flawless white skin and Eu-
Illustration: Julianna Szab
Disney Diversity

It tells us that people need to fit


a certain criteria to be valuable,
and that people who are different
dont matter.

ropean features. Sisters Elsa and Anna from the do with contemporary objectification of women
Frozen franchise have practically identical fea- than it does historical accuracy. We even see a
tures to that of Tangleds Rapunzel. Under-rep- scantily-clad Princess Jasmine trying to entice the
resentation can impact different ethnic groups evil Jafar, a far cry from anything demure white
negatively, resulting in the alienation of young princesses like Cinderella or Snow White would
People of Colour. Only two out of ten Latino and try. The Huns of Mulan have a much darker
Asian children, and four out of ten African-Amer- skin tone than the films Chinese soldiers. The
ican children say they see people of their race Chinese soldiers and the emperor - on the good
very often on TV, compared to seven out of ten side - have a peach, almost Caucasian skin color,
white children. Four out of every five children while the Huns have a significantly darker grey-
of colour agreed it was important for kids to ish-brown skin tone. The Huns are also portrayed
see their race portrayed. These sad statistics are with more stereotypically Asian features, such
only worsened by the fact that cultures are often as smaller eyes and wider, flatter noses. On the
misrepresented by Disney, with racial stereo- other hand, the protagonist, Mulan, and and her 135
types prevalent. In The Princess and the Frog, romantic interest, Shang, have extremely light
Disney made a step towards inclusiveness with skin, small noses, larger eyes, and educated, re-
a black princess named Tiana. Her suitor, Prince fined voices and vocabularies. They are made to
Naveen, has an ambiguous accent and hails from appear more familiar and approachable in many
the made-up country of Maldonia. Many critics ways, and this goodness is purposefully associat-
have argued that Disney would not have made ed with whiteness in Mulan.
Naveen identifiably black, as that would put a
black male in a position of power in their films. Even the way Disney portrays villains perpetrates
In Aladdin, Princess Jasmines entire wardrobe harmful ideas. Antagonists such as Alice in Won-
is socio-historically incorrect, and has more to derlands Queen of Hearts, The Little Mermaids
136
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Julianna Szab


Disney Diversity

They will internalise negative


feelings about themselves and
feel alienated from the nor-
mal people represented in
these movies.

Ursula and John Ratcliffe of Pocahontas are all mannerisms and patterns of speech throughout
overweight. Disney demonises these charac- the film. By sending the message that effeminacy
ters by portraying them as fat, yet there are no is villainous, these films create an association
fat Disney princesses. Theres no protagonist between queer or feminine and bad. Not
that fat children can identify with. If anything, only are gay men constantly stereotyped as ef-
the fact that the only fat people in Disney are feminate by straight people, but the devaluation
villains only encourages fat-shaming at a young of femininity is also an urgent problem within
age. Little girls see Ursula, see that shes fat, and society.
an association is formed between fat girls and
bad. Ursula doesnt get respect, therefore fat Representation in Disney films will always be
girls dont get respect. They are never the heroes, important because of the messages they send to 137
and only the villains. Disney also does a disser- children. If a childs body type, orientation, gen-
vice to the LGBTQ+ community by feminizing der or race is misrepresented, they will internal-
male characters in order to make them seem ise negative feelings about themselves and feel
even more evil. In The Lion King, for example, alienated from the normal people represented
Scar displays traditionally feminine manerisms in these movies. The first messages we receive in
before threatening Mufasa. In Hercules, Hades childhood, things that we may internalise, can
adopts effeminate traits, and can also be seen affect our point of view for the rest of our lives.
sipping a Cosmo. Governor Ratcliffe of Poca- We need to strive to create diverse stories. We
hontas wears pink bows in his hair and drinks need to learn from past mistakes and properly
wine. Aladdins Jafar, too, adopts effeminate represent people diverse identities.
My Role Model by Kerrie

Misty Copeland
As a dancer, I always look for inspiration from is shown in the statistics, ballet dancers are ten
others. I aspire to be better than I am, to become times more likely to develop an eating disorder
technically advanced and to perform well. With than others.
all the youtube videos, Instagram pictures and
Facebook posts its easy to find people around It is clear that part of the problem of body image
the world who can provide plenty of inspira- in ballet is that dancers are constantly striving
tion and guidance for young dancers. However for the perfect ballet body; arched feet, long
the dancers we look to can be unhealthy and lean legs, a short torso and a long neck. Like
underweight. It is well known that in the world the fashion industry, the business is obsessed
of dance, particularly ballet, there is a huge with appearance. This can make a dancer scru-
pressure to be thin. According to David Kinsella, tinise their diets and to do what is necessary to
the director of the documentary A Beautiful stay thin and maximise performance onstage.
Tragedy a ballet dancer in Russia should have a Because of this some dancers choose extreme
BMI of 14, (under 18.5 is considered to be under- calorie control and diets to ensure that they do
weight). This pressure on girls to be thin dancers not put on weight. Gelsey Kirkland, a former
140
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Leona Gonnelly


Misty Copeland

I think that most girls today,


dancers or not, can identify with
the struggles she faced with phys-
icality and race

principle dancer of the American Ballet Theatre cally induced physical maturation, professional
and Royal Ballet, famously turned to cocaine to pressure to conform to ballet aesthetics which
deal with stress. then resulted in a binge eating disorder. She was
able overcome her difficulties and in 2007 she
However there are some healthy and positive was promoted to a soloist in the American Ballet
role models in ballet such as Misty Copeland, the Theatre.
American Ballet Theatres first African-American
soloist in over two decades. Copeland seemed to Copeland aspires to become a principal danc-
beat the ballet odds, she was old starting dance, er, and has many goals in terms of performing
she was considered to not have the right figure leading roles including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet
and there were very few African American danc- and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She now has her
ers in US ballet companies. Misty is considered to own line of dance wear, is an embassador for the
be a prodigy, she only began dance when she sports wear company Under Armour and has re-
was thirteen years old. She was discovered by her leased a biography Life in Motion. In September 141
teacher, Cynthia Bradley at a boys and girls club 2013 Misty became a spokesperson for Project
in San Pedrio, California. After auditioning and Pli, a national initiative to increase racial and
attending ABTs (American Ballet Theatre) sum- ethnic representation in ballet. Misty Copeland
mer programme for two years, Misty was offered is an inspirational person and a role model. She
a place as a corps member with the studio com- was able to overcome the pressures that she
pany in New York. However Misty was not aware faced and she kept going with something that
of the role that race played in her career. As the she loved doing, even though she was judged
only black dancer in ABT, she found it hard to by others in her profession. I think that most
identify and feel belonged in the company. In her girls today, dancers or not, can identify with the
second year in the company, she endured medi- struggles she faced with body image.
142
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


The media is abusing Photoshop for its own gain
and this is having a detrimental effect on people
across the world. Its got to stop.

Written by Aisling

Photoshop has become an essential part of the comical aspect, there have been many occasions
printed media in recent years. Although Photo- that people have photoshopped their friends
shop is an enhancement tool to be used in an photos for a comedic effect. However, people
artistic way it is abused by the media in a way tend to only associate Photoshop with the media
that is detrimental to young adults. In one way and forget that its original use was to enhance
photoshop has many benefits when used on photos for a creative purpose. There is a reason
personal or creative photos. Photoshop can be that it is associated with the detrimental effect
used to add effects to the photos to make it more that it has on people due to the media more so
desirable to the person who took it. This doesnt than the creative aspect of it and it is a problem
have to be to the extent where the photo has that needs to be addressed.
become so distorted that it is not even the photo
the photographer originally took but it allows There are many examples of Photoshop in the
them to fix the parts of it that dont satisfy the media that have sent people all over the internet
look they were going for. It can also be used for a crazy, many of them have come from simple
144

Illustration: Lauren Tracey


Photoshop

The altering of womens bodies


using Photoshop is one of the
many things that cause wom-
en to have low self-esteem and
doubt their own bodies.

clothing websites rather than anything else. An editing technique to further the audience out-
example of this would be the Target models on reach of the magazine. Not only did the photos
their website where their clothing line photo- cause an uproar they were shared and liked
shopped a thigh gap and thinned their models so that nearly every person with Facebook,
waist to such an extent that the models arm was Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or any form of social
disproportionate to her torso. This particular media saw these photos. With thee trimming of
campaign caused outrage with people through- Kim Kardashians waistline to the enhancement
out the internet so much so that Target was of her derriere these photos set a standard no
forced to issue a public apology for that particu- woman not even Kim herself could achieve, lead-
lar photo. Target Photoshop scandal model: ing women to believe they need Photoshop on 145
their photos to look as good as Kim did in those
The Target scandal was one that was known photos that indeed succeeded in breaking the
worldwide and other forms of media used this internet.
idea of major Photoshop to cause a scandal of
their own as a publicity stunt. The most well- It is campaigns such as the Break the Internet
known example of this would be the Kim Kar- and the Target Model that cause women to
dashian cover for Paper Magazine using the believe that photos of themselves are not good
caption Break the Internet Kim Kardashian. enough without enhancements. Many young
The purpose of this photo-shoot and the exces- girls have begun trimming their own waists and
sive Photoshop was to abuse the beauty of the legs, Photoshopping photos of themselves. As
Silkie Social

These perfect bodies we see


in the media have set an un-
realistic goal for women who
feel they need to look exactly
like the models and celebrities.

well as this many women have started trying


to look like these women in the magazines in
real life using devices such as waist trainers
which have been proven to be very dangerous to
a womans body. These perfect bodies we see in
the media have set an unrealistic goal for women
who feel they need to look exactly like the mod-
els and celebrities. This is the encouragement
the media gives to women today instead of the
encouragement to accept their own body shape.
146 This is the reason many women feel the need to
use extreme tactics and make themselves look
like a different person to whom they are. This
is extremely harmful to a womans self-esteem
and is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a
cautious yet strict manner.

The altering of womens bodies using Photoshop


is one of the many things that cause women to
have low self-esteem and doubt their own bodies.
148
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


I learned, with a lot of confusion, there were
different rules for boys than there
were for girls.

Written by Ciara

Ladies dont use curse words, Be a man and get over boys than there were for girls. I would get given out
it. Phrases like these are used every single day in our to for wearing school trousers and shorts instead of
society. Their negative impact affects us from the day skirts. I would get in trouble for running and scream-
we are born until the day we die. But it doesnt have ing while at play and not sitting with some of the
to be this way. I entirely believe we, as human beings, other girls in my class who preferred to read during
can achieve complete equality of genders, if only we their yard-time. I was scolded with the stern voice of
give up our ridiculous expectations and stereotyping my teacher that it was inappropriate for a girl like
of each other. (And I dont think thats too much to me and un-ladylike for me to do these things. But for
ask.) 8 year old me, I couldnt understand this at all. While
sitting in a Time-Out at the side of the yard watching
When I was growing up, I was constantly absorbing all my friends run around, having fun without con-
information about social conduct from my parents, sequence, I wondered: What was it about my gender
teachers and other children in my class. I learned, that made it bad for me to be boisterous and playful,
with a lot of confusion, there were different rules for like every happy child is? What evil thing about being
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
Lad vs Lady

a girl meant I couldnt dress comfortably or play should be worried past our 20s if we havent
with my friends? This was the beginning of my managed to rope down a guy just incase a flat
never-ending battle against gender stereotypes. pack wardrobe appears and we cant handle the
DIY alone or worse what if we dont give birth?!
This stereotyping of genders continued into my This portrayal of women as feeble and dependent
teens, with a lot of new rules and validations is incredibly damaging, leading strong, indepen-
of identity that I still dont quite understand. dent women to be scrutinized and attacked for
Suddenly, I was in a world where women MUST being able to live their own lives freely. Even
be thin, beautiful, sexy and quiet. The ideal in lesbian couples, there is ridiculous pressure
image of beauty is splashed onto magazines for one of the couple to be the more dominant,
and newspapers. When a woman is in control and therefore male figure in the relationship.
of her sexuality and has many partners happily, And even when this pressure succeeds, theyll
shes seen as negatively sexually promiscuous still be labeled some new stereotype of butch,
and they are labeled with Slut. When a woman and will be expected to have tattoos, a cropped
gains a few pounds, which is natural and com- haircut and a whole lot of flannel shirts. And in
pletely healthy as we grow older, shes labeled as gay couples alike, society expects one of them
Fat. Or Ugly. This kind of bullying of women to be the more submissive and therefore female
out side of the perfect woman image is incred- role in the relationship. And this person will be
ibly unhealthy, leading young women and girls expected to love musicals and theatre, flower
everywhere to hate themselves and their bodies arranging and drink girly drinks like Appletinis.
just because they dont fit the medias portrayal It seems the media and society itself cant handle
of beauty. What happens to the girls who arent the thought of a woman being able to take care
the high-cheekbone-blonde-haired-clear-skinned- of herself or even more ghastly, being able to
big-breasted-beauty that is portrayed everywhere take care of both herself and her partner. And
we look? It is insane how tiny that bracket of the thought of happy relationships outside of the
perfection is, and how we try to squeeze roughly hetero bracket must try mirror their image of
3 billion + women into the same small category perfect love as closely as possible, even at the de- 151
of beauty instead of creating for ourselves our struction of a persons true identity and feelings.
own ideas of what beauty really is, and is it even
actually important, not just following the me- And women are not alone in this horrible stereo-
dias ridiculous portrayal of women. typing war against real life and perfect imagery.
Men, as a result of needing to be the stronger
We are also told we are the weaker sex. We sex, are under horrible pressure to come out on
are led to believe through TV shows and movies top, no matter what. They will receive abuse as
that we need a man in our lives to handle all the kids for showing interest in feminine things,
bills that of course a woman wouldnt be smart such as dresses or dolls or playing House with
enough to figure out. We are led to believe we the girls. I remember another story from when I
Silkie Social

When I was growing up, I was con-


stantly absorbing information about
social conduct from my parents,
teachers and other children in my
class. I learned, with a lot of con-
fusion, there were different rules
for boys than there were for girls.

them see him playing with girls. What is wrong with Theyre suddenly being judged from every angle;
our society that a young boy cant show interest in their hobbies and interests, what they wear, what
family? That a young boy should be so afraid of being girls they date (especially if they havent any interest),
judged and losing his friends all because he wanted how manly they look and how well they can fight.
to play with girls for a while? Why do we pressurize This Lad Culture is incredibly dangerous to young
young boys to fill this insane masculine stereotype men and how their thoughts and values develop into

152 when they cant possibly understand why? This stupid, adulthood.
unjustifiable pressure on boys carries onto their teens,
and sadly, it only gets worse. It is the most primitive thing I think I have ever
witnessed watching two young boys have a fight. Of
As the boys hit their teens, they will be under incred- course, they have downed about 8 cans each because
ible pressure to succumb to Lad Culture, i.e drink of the pressure of their sex to drink much more
ridiculous amounts of alcohol, grow facial hair, have than the girls (to prove their great magnificence of
sex and many sexual partners (and within this brack- being male) and both will be wearing their XS Top-
et, they cant dare to treat a woman as anything but man t-shirts to try show off their muscles as much as
an object for their sexual desires, or else their mascu- possible, because if a boy dares to look thin or weak
linity is at stake), hide their feelings and play sports. he is instant prey for bullies and, quite frankly, bone
Lad vs Lady

headed idiots. This fight can occur between two lads scrutiny, the most abuse, and for what? Not fitting
from one of two things; they are both chasing the into the medias portrayal of What Makes You A Real
same girl (who probably doesnt want either after see- Man. I watched their identities and comfort in their
ing this display of stupidity.) or they have in some way genders become completely obliterated as they re-
insulted each others masculinity The fight will occur ceived insult time after time for just being themselves.
exactly as I describe it, I can promise you: They will
square up to each other, puffing their chests out like Gender stereotypes are dangerous. Not only do they
gorillas. . They will start a pathetic; almost rap battle, destroy personalities as they naturally develop and
where they will scream a slurred line of badly made factor in the development of mental disorders such
up insults, usually including someones mother or as depression but they also create unhealthy relation-
sister or any female member of their family. The fight ships between men and women alike. Women com-
usually ends with slightly less drunk, more intelligent pare each other and themselves and rip each other
creatures pulling both boys back into separate corners apart to become the Perfect Woman. Men compare
and, of course, reinstating their masculinity by telling themselves entirely against idiotic stereotypes that
them how they definitely couldve killed that guy if define their masculinity and identity and then tear
theyd been allowed. each other down if they dont fit the mould to becom-
ing The Perfect Man. And both sexes attack each other
Why are the men of our countries raised to believe in a fight of genders about respect and dominance,
violence is a mans game and why is their identity of without realizing if we just allowed each other to cut
self so fragile as men that one slight degradation of the BS stereotypes and just become honestly who we
their masculinity results in, not being able to talk out really are, with no consequences, we would not have
a problem like intelligent, mindful human beings, but the hostility that surrounds and stigmatizes both sexes
instead pummeling each other like wild animals? Why and creates such a huge gap between our understand-
are we encouraging men to hide their hurt and their ing of each other.
emotions and channel them into rage instead? And
why do we continue to be shocked at the rate of male I hope in this article I have brought to light for you,
suicide in this country being so incredibly high, when maybe, many things about gender stereotyping that 153
we pressurize men to live like this? you might not have ever thought about before and I
really hope it has made you think twice about saying
My heart goes out to all the boys Ive known who things like Boys dont cry or Sit like a lady. It may
havent been able to grow facial hair or chest hair not seem like these phrases hold any real weight, but
until their mid teens. To the boys who didnt hit a in reality, they solidify the stereotypes surrounding,
growth spurt when everyone else was 6ft tall and and destroying, both genders. The only way we can
growing still. To the boys who liked playing piano evolve and grow as a species is if we stop treating each
and singing over playing rugby because they just other as foreign, alien creatures, and start supporting
didnt see the appeal. Because these were the boys each other as equal, deserving human beings. Gender
who grew into young men as the subjects of the most stereotyping has to stop.
154
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


My Role Model by Melissa

Dana Owens
Dana Owens, better known by her stage name courage to speak out against the misogynistic
Queen Latifah, is the woman that I would representation of women in the majority of rap
consider a positive role model. She was born in music. Many women considered this a very brave
Newark, New Jersey in 1970. She skyrocketed action on her behalf as she was one of the few
to fame as a rapper in the late 1980s and later females widely recognised in a predominantly 155
branched out to acting in film and television. male genre of music. Her songs U.N.I.T.Y. and
She was the first female rapper to be nominated Ladies First are centered around the idea that
for an Academy Award and was ranked No 72 women are to be respected as people, rather
on VHIs Top 100 Greatest Women of Rock & than only objects to be looked at. Domestic
Roll list in 1999. Latifah has used her successful violence, objectification and the degradation of
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree

career as a platform to speak openly about, and women are common themes Latifah confronts in
become an advocate for, race, social class and her music, making her one of the biggest female
gender equality. role models of the 1990s and early 2000s.
As a young rapper in the 1990s Latifah was
known not only for her music, but for her Queen Latifah has, on many occasions, stated
Illustration: Mice Hell
Dana Owens

She is a strong, established fig-


ure in the worldwide struggle
for gender and racial equality

that she is very comfortable with her body and canny valley. Unfortunately, the majority of the
has discussed how she finds the term plus-sized population have become desensitised to these
in fashion to be offensive and outdated. She has images and most teenage girls strive to attain
also voiced her disgust with the unrealistic beau- the unachievable figures of models in magazine.
ty standards portrayed in the media that destroy I find it refreshing that Queen Latifah is com-
womens self esteem worldwide. In 2006, Latifah fortable in her own skin and does not let the
promoted National Womens Confidence Day medias perception of perfect affect her. She
and launched Project Confidence in an effort to proved that the size 0 image isnt necessary for
promote self-esteem in women and young girls. women to be successful, intelligent and to be
Latifah has teamed up with Covergirl to launch considered beautiful. She is a strong, established
her own makeup brand The Queen Collection, figure in the worldwide struggle for gender and
a collection focused mainly around makeup for racial equality and is in my opinion, the perfect
darker skin. She also has her own clothing line example of a woman who stands up for what she
of the same name that is designed for women of believes in.
all shapes and sizes, that was launched in 2011.
She had her own experiences with negative 157
I find Queen Latifah inspiring for a number of body-image and lack of self-worth as a young
reasons. As a teenage girl living in a generation woman, but has overcome that to become one of
where the media is considered vastly import- the strongest, most independent and confident
ant, I understand that it is extremely easy to women in the world, which is a feat I consider
be plagued with the idea that yourre not good very admirable. In her autobiography Ladies
enough and to have a very distorted view of your First: Revelations of a Strong Woman, she wrote
body. Every day, we are being bombarded with I dont want to be a supermodel. I want to be
harrowing images of unhealthily thin models a role model.This quote suggests to me that
who have been photoshopped to the point that she doesnt care about being the most beautiful
they almost fall within the domain of the un- woman in the world, but is interested in being a
158
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


The media is abusing Photoshop for its own gain
and this is having a detrimental effect on people
across the world. Its got to stop.

Written by Kerrie

Can you put that in the English language?, was cation is associated with feminism and is known
the first response I got from a close friend when to play a big part in gender equality, as ninety
I asked her for her opinion on sexual objectifi- six per cent of sexually objectified images are
cation of women. When I explained the concept of women. The opinions of feminists differ in
she replied, I never really thought about that where sexual objectification occurs, but some of
before. Like my friend, a lot of young women the most common examples would be of main-
and teenagers dont know what sexual objec- stream media such as advertising and art where
tification is, and if they do, often do not fully women are portrayed as sexualised objects or
understand how to recognise it. commodities instead of human beings. Prostitu-
tion, stripping, the presumed need for cosmetic
The term Sexual Objectification means disre- surgery and men evaluating and judging women
garding the personal and intellectual abilities of physically or sexually in public spaces and events
a person and treating them as an instrument of such as beauty contests are other examples of
sexual pleasure. The concept of sexual objectifi- sexual objectification.
160
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Leona Gonnelly


Objectification

So how can you recognise Sexual Objectification? rewarded, they learn to sexualise themselves.
Dr Caroline Heldman at a talk at TEDxYouth in These ads put pressure on women to live up
San Diego, California spoke about the Sex Object to this unrealistic expectation of beauty and
Test she developed to help her identify sexually behaviour and leads to constant body monitor-
objectifying images. She said if the answer to any ing, eating disorders, female competition and
of the seven questions from the test were yes, depression. Perhaps thats the reason that only
then the image was sexually objectifying. Some 63% of women aged between 18-34 are satisfied
of the questions include, Does the image show with their appearance. As women we are con-
only part(s) of a sexualised body? for example a stantly trying to improve the way we look and
womans legs, Does the image present a sexu- we compete with other women for attention
alised person as a stand in for an object?, Held- from men. And its not just teenagers and adults,
man uses a picture of a table with the legs of a a report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on
woman, and Does the image affirm the idea of Body Image found that girls as young as five are
violating the bodily integrity of a sexualised per- worrying about their appearance and one in four
son that cant consent? meaning is the person seven year old girls have tried to loose weight at
being acted upon as though she is a sexual ob- least once. Negative body image affects women
ject. Using these rules, you can understand what throughout their lives, and holds women back
images stand as sexual objectifying images, and by dissolving their confidence.
what dont. This in turn will then hopefully aid
you in understanding the harmful effects these So how do we change the way women feel about
images can produce. their bodies. We can start by educating ourselves
on the content that the media bombard us with
On average, a person is exposed to about 5000 and to understand the messages that are behind
adverts a day. The majority of these adverts them. When we see these messages for what
would have sexually objectified images in them. they really are we can then make the informed
When exposed to sexually objectifying images decision to reject them. We need to stand up
of women, men are being sold the idea that they to the people making these harmful advertise- 161
are sexual subjects and women are being sold ments and to change the way they portrait wom-
the opposite... that they are the objects. This en. For example, Julia Bluhm, a fourteen year
means that men are sold the idea that they are old girl started a protest against photoshopping
in control and this makes them feel powerful on Seventeen magazine, and with 84,000 signa-
whereas women are sold the idea that the way tures on change.org, the magazine pledged to
to have value is to become a sex object. The not use photoshopping on girls faces or bodies.
pioneering activist and cultural theorist Jean Its also time to put an end to the idealisation of
Kilboune says that girls are expected to become the perfect body type, be it thin or curvy, short
sexualised with little or nothing in return. As or tall and competing with other women for the
they learn that their sexual behaviour will be attention of men.
162
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Idealistically, people will stop judging each other
enough and accept what everyone wears and feels
comfortable in.

Written by Aisling

There is much controversy over the insinuation multiple occasions. It seems that because of the
throughout the world that the clothing a woman freedom in society given to men that is not given
wears categorizes her sexual availability. This to women, to express their sexual lusts men are
problem is known all over the world with many lead to believe that they can comment on wom-
people being shamed about the clothes they ens clothing and sexualise them for it. It also
wear, it being widely suggested that if people leads some people to believe that the clothes
wear so-called revealing clothes that they others wear are an indication of how sexually
are asking to get hit on or indeed in some available they are and indeed in some cases lead
cases it being suggested that the are asking people to believe that this is a form of consent
to get raped. As absurd as it might seem this and that people are only wearing those clothes
is a problem that is still very much evident in in order to attract someones attention.
todays society. A person could be walking down
the street and be sexualised by strangers as has The whole idea of what has come to be known
happened to many people, including myself, on as rape culture revolves a lot around victim
164
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Lauren Tracey


Clothing Not Consent

blaming. Rape culture can be defined as a out on these sexist dress code rules, many mak-
culture in which dominant cultural ideologies, ing posters and arranging meetings with princi-
media images, social practices, and societal pals and some have even staged active protests
institutions support and condone sexual abuse against the sexist regime. These include Isabella
by normalizing, trivializing and eroticizing male Ryan from West Shore Middle School who faced
violence against women and blaming victims for suspension from her school by wear the banned
their own abuse. It has come to light that vic- leggings into school, this active protest caused
tims of rape have been asked in court what they the school to lift the ban. In South-Orange Mid-
were wearing at the time of the attack as some dle School, New Jersey one girl Frankie Lindsay
sort of justification for the rapists actions. It is become an activist against the sexist dress codes
situations such as these that have made people by meeting with her principal to discuss the
self-conscious about what they wear and become situation and also campaigning with the help
afraid that if they wear a certain item of clothing of many of the parents to invoke change in her
they are in danger of being taken advantage of. school. Lindsay set up a viral campaign #IAm-
MoreThanADistraction to raise awareness of
It is the society today that gives the freedom of her cause. This caused young girls throughout
sexual expression to men above women that has the country to protest and petition for equal
caused many of the problems I have mentioned. treatment. These girls braver invoked bravery in
This has also led to other issues for young girls, others and the campaign continues in the US to
dress codes in schools being the main factor. demolish the sexist rules of many of the schools.
Young women throughout many countries across
the globe have been subjected to shame and The idea of slut shaming and being prude is
ridicule and have faced loss of precious educa- a serious issue today as there is only a fine line
tion for the clothes they choose to wear. In many between what people think is showing too
schools throughout the US leggings and sweat- much or too little. People feel the need to stay
pants have been banned as well as many other on this line regardless of what they feel comfort-
heinous restrictions to clothing. Sweatpants, able wearing, in constant fear that they will be 165
skirts/dresses that are longer than the girls fin- judged and labelled.
gertips, shorts, off the shoulder tops, tank tops,
crop tops, these are all pieces of clothing banned It is my hope and the hope of many that these is-
from a number of US schools and in most cases sues come to light, not only do these issues affect
the reason for this is that it distracts the boys. women but men as well, we together experience
Any tight piece of clothing or anything that these horrendous things as people and in order
shows of a womans figure is banned from the to put a stop to it we need to reform the view
school for the sake of the education of the boys. of society today and equalize and in some cases
contain the amount of sexual expressive free-
There have been many campaigns calling schools dom given to people. These are the steps need-
166
Silkie Talk

Illustration:Lauren Tracey
Clothing Not Consent

There have been many cam-


paigns calling schools out on
these sexist dress code rules,
many making posters and ar-
ranging meetings with prin-
cipals and some have even
staged active protests against
the sexist regime.

ed to allow people to feel comfortable in what 167


they wear and not feel afraid that they might be
giving the idea that they consent or that they
will be judged. It is idealistic that people will
ever stop judging each other enough and accept
what everyone wears and feels comfortable in.
One day, none of this will matter and it starts
with us being okay with wearing what we want
confidently, because if we feel comfortable and
beautiful we are.
168
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


My Role Model by Shona

Emma Sulkowicz

Choosing one particular positive female role attacker. Although two other women also public-
model in my life was an extremely gruelling task. ly accused the same man of assault, the univer-
After several hours of deliberating I came to the sity found him not responsible.Understandably,
conclusion that the person I would pick would Emma was devastated, in response to this she
be Emma Sulkowicz. In my opinion, this young began carrying a mattress around campus with 169
woman is extremely inspiring to women across her. This mattress was similar to the one she
the globe. Her perseverance and unbelievable was raped on, back in her sophomore year. This
strength made her my number one choice. As mattress symbolised the daily struggles she dealt
she has nothing but courage to offer females with as she stayed in college with her exonerated
everywhere. rapist.
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree

When Emma began her first year of college at


Columbia University she was raped, nothing was I was raped in my own bed and I carry that
done about this along with 23 other cases in her weight with me wherever I go.
university. She says that after she was raped by a
classmate in 2012, Columbia failed to punish her In her final year of her arts degree, Emma
Illustration: Luiza Abend
Emma Sulkowicz

moulded her senior thesis around the horrific but others are allowed to give help if they come
events that happened and used it to raise aware- up and offer it. So, Im hoping that not only do I
ness. Her endurance art performance project get better at carrying the mattress, but other peo-
was called Mattress performance: Carry that ple will learn about the piece Im not hoping
weight. As part of the piece, she vowed to haul that everyone comes in and helps, butIm very
her 50-pound univ ersity mattress wherever she interested in seeing where this piece goes and
went on campus until her alleged rapist, a fellow what sort of life it takes on. Emmas evocative
student, left, either by expulsion or his own creative perspective about what happened to
volition. Emma carried her mattress everyday her has a lot of influence on people as it causes
throughout campus from 8am to 10pm to class, them to reflect on her project, sexual assault and
this symbolised the weight she had to carry peaceful protests. Not only as an activist, but
throughout her college life as she dealt with her as an artist, Emma demands a policy change in
rapist still living on campus unconvicted. Her colleges across the board in regards to sexual
discretion and the dark embedded feelings she assault. What Im trying to get at is that people
had towards her bed where she was raped, were treat what Im doing as a protest with a set goal
portrayed through her carrying of the mattress. rather than an art piece that I made out of per-
She accused the administration of her college of sonal necessity. I make artwork because its the
systematic mishandling of sexual assault cases way I think; its the way I digest and metabolize
and her ability to raise awareness about what all the trauma Ive experienced for the past two
happened to her deeply inspires me and I find years of my life. Her strength has taught me that
her project extremely moving. it is ok to defend yourself regardless of the situa-
tion, and she has definitely had a positive impact
As her task became more difficult, her class- on my life and many others around the world.
mates began to help her carry her mattress Without a doubt Emma Sulkowicz is a huge
around. These classmates arent only helping positive female role model in my life and I would
her get from class to class but also sharing in her love to be able to say one day, that I have the
everyday burden; carrying the weight of her past same amount of courage as she does, no matter 171
and present. what curve-ball life throws at me. Emma contin-
ues to inspire myself and many other across the
One of the rules of the piece is that I am not world everyday and because of this she is the
allowed to ask for help in carrying the mattress, perfect person to write about.
172
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


If we work hard we may in years to come create a
world where everyone, no matter what gender, may
stand on the same level.

Written by Aine

We all know that throughout history, women for them. Many of the women were from upper
have not often received the same rights and and middle class backgrounds. These women
privileges as men. Even now, career fields such were expected to be wives and mothers, and had
as politics and science are dominated by men. no other impact in society. Unlike women in the
Even today, in the twenty-first century, true working classes, who often had to work along-
gender equality seems like a nearly impossible side their husbands to make ends meet, these 173
achievement. But we have to admit that thanks women were not allowed to work, since their
to the work of many brave women over that last households would have had enough money with-
hundred years and more we are much nearer to out their work. Women were frustrated with the
that goal. restraints they felt from society and knew that
they wanted more.
The Suffragettes were women who fought to
gain voting rights for women during the 19th In 1903, Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Wom-
and 20th century. These women risked their ens Social and Political Union (WSPU) and she
reputations, and often their lives, in a battle for became an influential leader in the campaign for
something that ought to have been a basic right womens suffrage. She was born in 1858 and was
174
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia
Illustration: MacAree
Clo Meldon
Fight for the Right

As women today, we have to


thank the brave Suffragettes, as
well as many other hard-work-
ing women around the world,
for our place in society today.

became known as the Cat and Mouse Act. This women were listened to. In 1928, women over
made the hunger strikes legal, meaning that the age of 21 were granted the vote in Britain.
a suffragette would be temporarily released This was only weeks after WSPU founder Emme-
from prison when their health began to dimin- line Pankhurst, so she never witnessed the full
ish, only to be readmitted to prison when she victory of what she worked so hard for.
regained her health to finish her sentence. This
enabled the British Government to be absolved As women today, we have to thank the brave
of any blame resulting from death or harm due Suffragettes, as well as many other hard-work-
to the self-starvation of the striker, in addition ing women around the world, for our place in
to ensuring that the suffragettes would be too ill society today. Women are no longer confined to
and too weak to participate in demonstrative ac- being a mother or a wife, or to working in areas 175
tivities while not in custody. Dramatic behaviour such as sewing or washing. We can now achieve
seemed like the only way for the Suffragettes to anything a man can. Even so, I think it is still
gain attention, however they also had negative impossible to say that we live in a world with
repercussions. Many believed that the drastic ac- complete gender equality. Women are expected
tions undertaken by the women showed exactly to be feminine and men masculine. Career
why they should not be granted an equal vote to fields such as politics and science are dominated
men. When Emily Davison threw herself under by men. The world is far more equal than it was
the Kings horse at the Epsom Derby, losing her when Emmeline Pankhurst was growing up, and
life, some believed this expressed that women it definitely would not be that way without the
were unable to think logically. Eventually the work of her and many like her.
176
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


Activism for education worldwide has become
remarkably a much stronger force over the last
decade and is continuing to grow in followers
and awareness today.

Written by Sarah

Activism for education worldwide has become Malala the importance of education at a young
remarkably a much stronger force over the last age. Malala grew up in a safe environment and
decade and is continuing to grow in followers has called Swat Valley a second paradise. How-
and awareness today. It is with the help and ever, since in the year 2011 Swat Valley had been
motivation of women such as Malala Yousafzai targeted as a base of terrorist attacks, with the
and Michelle Obama that proves this statement Taliban destroying over 400 schools and cutting
to be true, as they make their own journeys to off electricity lines, hence the water supplies,
fight for children and womens right for quality in many villages and homes. This was devastat-
education ing for the people of Swat Valley as they were
deprived of their power, natural resources,
Malala Yousafai: Malala Yousafzai is a 17 year- and freedom.
old girl from a small village called Swat Valley
in Pakistan. Her father is a Pakistani diplomat In 2009 Malala first appeared in the public eye
and owns a chain of public schools, and taught in the New York Times Documentary Class
178
Silkie Talk

Illustration:Hollie MacAree
Illustration: FuschiaLeddy Flood
Education

dismissed: The Death of female education. The but because it is not. Malala spoke for the 57mil-
documentary profiled the 57 million children lion children around the world who are deprived
living without education and girls like Malalas of their education every day, and face the same
struggles against education and the Taliban. Af- challenges that her and her friends had to face.
ter it was broadcasted, The Taliban were enraged She thanked her family, who had been by her
and issued a death threat against Malala by 2012. side every step of the way, and her friends who
established the Malala Fund, which is an organ-
Malala was unaware at the time of her interview isation that is helping to reform the 400 schools
with the New York Times that it would lead to that had been destroyed by the Taliban.
such danger and threat with the Taliban. Then
on October 9th 2012, her whole world turned up- Her voice and strength has inspired millions of
side down. She was commuting to school by bus people worldwide, particularly teenagers of this
with her schoolmates when the bus driver was generation. Her iconic journey and bravery has
ordered by the Taliban to pull over. A gunman shown the world that change is possible with
then boarded the bus and demanded to know means of hard work and determination. There
which schoolgirl was Malala. When she was is no sign that Malala is stopping anytime soon
recognised the gunman fired three bullets at her; without a fight, especially since giving the state-
one hit the right side of her forehead, and the ment that she will not stop until every child in
two others wounding two of her friends. Malala the world is given quality education.
was left unconscious and bleeding for two hours
until she was finally taken to a military hospital. Michelle Obama: The First Lady Michelle Obama
Her condition was too critical to be treated there has previously launched her own campaign
that she was flown to Britain in 8 hours to con- called Reach Higher. The campaign involves
tinue surgery. With almost complete heart and students all across America to receive full edu-
lung failure, Malalas survival from the shooting cation all the way through High School and into
is still considered nothing short of miraculous. the college of their choice. Over the past 5 years
It took Malala three months to recover from The Obama Administration has been working on 179
the traumatic incident. She says that the shoot- giving particular students a Free Application to
ing has only strengthened her to continue her encourage them to reach third level education
campaigning and fighting for quality education and pursue their goals for the future.
for girls.
Michelles main objective in this campaign is
Malala was given a Nobel Peace Prize in October to expand opportunity for high school students
2014 and was the first Pakistani and youngest across America. It is her initiative to help stu-
person ever to receive this award. At the ceremo- dents with issues such as financial difficulty to
ny she gave an exceptionally moving speech and receive the kind of college education and career
said I tell my story not because it is different, they are working towards. She is also working
Silkie Social

There is no sign that Malala is


stopping anytime soon with-
out a fight, especially since giv-
ing the statement that she will
not stop until every child in the
world is given quality education.

on helping various high school counsellors to


encourage the high school graduates to continue
to third level.

By the year 2020 Michelle expects America to


reach the top college graduate rate in the world.
Over the last two decades the United States had
180 slipped from first in the world all the way down
to 12th. Michelle believes that with encourage-
ment, hard work and belief in Americas stu-
dents that this goal can be achieved for 2020.

Education is the key to success for so many kids.


And my goal specifically is to reach out directly
to young people and encourage them to take
charge of their futures and complete an educa-
tion beyond High School Michelle Obama,
Jan 16th 2014.
Education

181
182
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


My Role Model by Sintia

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks is a hero, she is the woman who the front, they were made sit at the back. As the
inspires all women including myself. Rosa Parks bus started to fill up, the bus driver told Rosa
was born in Alabama on the 4th of February Parks to give up her seat to a white man, as part
1913. Both of her parents were born before slav- of the NAACP (Largest civil rights organization).
ery was banished from the United States. Being She quietly refused to give up her seat. This was
from a coloured family at this time was not very spontaneous and not premeditated. People 183
easy. After her parents had died racism was still were taken aback at her refusal to give up the
very strong. Black people were still treated as seat. They were shocked that she would even
worthless and were greatly discriminated against. dare stand up to the authorities for in their eyes
Rosa Parks is one of the reasons why racism has she did not have the right. Rosa Parks was then
improved. arrested and convicted of violating the laws of
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree

segregation, known as Jim Crow laws. Rosa


One day Rosa Parks had enough of white people Parks appealed her conviction and thus formal-
being treated as superior, as the elite. Rosa got ly challenged the legality of segregation. Rosa
on the bus, paid her fare and sat at the front of spoke about her time in jail, she said when she
the bus. Black people were not allowed to sit at stood up to get some water she was told
Illustration:Lisa McHugo
Rosa Parks

If one person can make such


a statement, just imagine how
much a group of people can do.

to sit back down and that the fountain is only very strong, courageous and wise woman. Rosa
for white people. This made her furious. They Parks had a wonderful life as a person and as a
messed with the wrong one now On the 15th of noble woman. She inspired everyone to do what
December 1955, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King is best for everyone. The people who inspired her
Jr. and JoAnn Robinson stood on street corners were mostly her family and friends, the people
and noticed that there were barely any black she cared for. Throughout it all, she stuck with
people on the bus since Rosa Parks was arrested. the people who believed in her and encouraged
Prior to this the bus was mostly filled with black her to do better in life. To help her by her side
people, they were the majority who would take was her husband, Raymond Parks. She just want-
the bus so this was a amazing. People stopped ed to make the world a better place for everyone
riding buses all because Rosa Parks. to live and enjoy their life. She also taught every-
one including me an important lesson on how
Finally the rules for the bus where changed. to share the world and be thankful that you are
Black people could sit wherever they wanted still living today. A hero should not be somebody
Black people were able to apply for driver posi- who has super powers and can fly anywhere
tions. Bus drivers were to respect all passengers in the world, a hero should be someone who
on the bus. In 1979, Rosa Parks received the does everyday things to make the world cleaner, 185
Spingarn medal. In 1980, at the 25th anniversary happier and safer for everyone. A hero should be
of the bus boycott, Rosa parks was awarded the a noble woman like Rosa Parks.She has shown
non-violent Peace prize by Martin Luther King people including me that actions speak louder
Jr. In 1984, she was given the Eleanor Roosevelt than words. Being a woman she encourages all
Woman of Courage Award. At this point Rosa women, black and white, to stand up for what
Parks has made it, she is now not just a woman they believe in and not to be discriminated
but a hero. Rosa Parks started to receive danger- against. I see this as one of the main reasons to
ous threats from people, aimed towards her and encourage people to stand up against inequality,
her family. This scared her but it didnt stop her, to fight, argue and be heard. If one person can
she continued fighting for her rights. make such a statement, just imagine how much
Rosa Parks greatly inspires me because she is a a group of people can do together.
186
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree


187
Illustration: Fuschia MacAree
188
Silkie Talk

Illustration: Fuschia MacAree