THE FEMALE

Emma Watson

My most memorable International Women’s Day to date was the year I saw Florence + The Machine at Ally Pally. Granted, I didn’t buy the tickets in celebration of womankind, but it was a nice coincidence all the same.

I went there with a secret hope that she would acknowledge the day, and Florence being Florence, she did. In the best way ever.

After howling her way through hundreds of hits, she asked the men in the audience to lift the women nearest to them onto their shoulders. My brother is 6ft2 and frequents the gym daily, but I assumed he’d still tell me and my thunder thighs to jog on. Much to my surprise however, I felt myself being lifted into the air, along with hundreds of other women, desperately clinging onto my pint of wine and high-fiving everyone within reach.

I felt like a rock star.

And that’s how I think women should be made to feel every day.

Forget the princess crap – although a tiara would be nice – we would instead simply love to live on the edge with you, to be believed in like you, to be as bold and brave as you’ve been allowed to be, to run across stages barefoot; screaming and howling like Florence herself because it makes us feel good. Chuck us in the air, challenge us, swear at us (we’ll swear back) and let us be wild and free and live like the creatures we were made to be. We’re resilient you know, all it takes is for you to give us a chance to be.

Asking the men to lift women onto their shoulders in celebration was so symbolic of our fight for equal rights, because without men lending us a helping hand, we’re fighting a losing battle. You, dear gentleman, are crucial. Despite this, there are still so many who will do anything to avoid being deemed a feminist, mainly because they’re unsure of what the word even means. So if Emma (Goddess) Watson wasn’t clear enough, then I’ll try to be: a feminist is someone who wants equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. That’s it. No frills, no fancies, no shouting, no screaming; just a world where you, your mum, your niece and your brother, all have the same chance to be the best human they can be.

So although we are a long way from our end goal, I think it’s important to acknowledge the advances that we have made so far because, well, glass half full and all that. We now live in a time where The Oscars are less about manicures and more about Lopez, Streep and Arquette coming together in raptures for equal pay. A place where Amal Alamuddin is no longer referred to as George Clooney’s wife. And a world where being called a slut on the street is being challenged (finally).

Believe it or not people, times, although slowly, are a-changing. And I’m excited.

So lift up the women in your life, high onto your shoulders and celebrate them this Sunday. I don’t need to list the reasons why you should.

Have a good one.

The Chase

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Mexico. 2008. Spring Break.

My first encounter with a chaser.

I.e. A soft drink that jocks knocked back after shotting vodka or tequila.

London. 2013. Spring Term.

My second encounter with a chaser.

I.e. A lot of teasing which led to a dumping which burned like a shot of Sambucca but was forgotten as quickly as a hangover.

Ever since Nursery school, chasing has been a major part of our social interaction. The boys would relentlessly follow us girls around the playground in pursuit of an innocent peck until the bell went or the whistle blew. I then went home to sit in front of Tom & Jerry which was essentially twenty-five minutes of the same thing. This frantic cartoon was later exchanged for ten years worth of cat and mouse action between Rachel and Ross. Pretty much the same plot line except for I don’t think Tom was trying to shag Jerry the whole time, unless I missed something really quite pivotal, of course.

I feel like I’m now living out this childhood game, except for now it normally takes place in dark rooms with loud music and vodka and comes to a halt at last orders.

Although undeniably thrilling to watch, I think we have to ask ourselves why we permit ourselves to enter into this exchange later in life? Why do we bother to chase or be chased? I think it’s to fill a gap until something better comes along. That probably explains why, when we finally get what we’ve been pursuing for such a long time, we lose interest. To the chaser, it’s normally just a passing the time supper with a side of ego boost. Think about it. Why did Tom never actually catch Jerry?

We must be careful. Along the road we chase upon, wooing can lead to winning someone’s affection rather than just their attention and it’s at this point you should stop teasing and start walking.

The truth of the matter is, you shouldn’t have to try to win someone over. If they like you, they will be with you. End of story. A chaser might chase you all the way to the top of Primrose Hill, but if it’s for all the wrong reasons, they won’t be waiting for you when you get to the bottom.

Spend your life chasing your dreams rather than people; the rest will fall into place.