Things associated with women – part 2 // On matters – feminism

Things associated with women – part 2 // On matters – feminism

Hi everybody

After a bit of a leave I am back again with the second part of my series on how I encountered stereotypes laid on women by society – and then mostly, by men.

I once was told by a guy that my clothes don’t flatter me.

This was of course pretty upsetting to hear, because as a person you dress to express yourself – whether you have a comfortable or ladylike style, you spread a message. I, at the time, was wearing a jeans, a floral blouse by Zara and I believe my cognac colour winter shoes. The comment was mostly targetting the blouse, which I actually really adored. I had bought it while shopping with one of my dearest friends and we both agreed it looked super on me. My question thus is: why does someone express his opinion about how you dress so openly?

 

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The mentioned floral blouse

Well, I think there is a lot behind that expression of saying that something doesn’t flatter another. Firstly, I think that our society is flattening out when it comes to fashion style. A lot of us just wear what’s trendy for the season. Not that that is a wrong thing to do, necessarily, but I sensed that a whole bunch of people younger than me – I’m 19 – all look the same; ripped jeans, white Adidas Stan Smith sneakers, girly blouses/ t shirts, long hair; mostly centre-parted, no frizz, no curls. So in comparison to that, I’m almost the reverse; curls, often frizz, no centre part (I even braid my hair when it’s damp and so I go out and about with a braid and actually like it), no white sneakers: mostly leather, classic shoes and girly blouses… well, let’s say that depends on the mood 😉 .

To make a long story short, I’m just afraid that in a while there will be no space left for individual style and that in order to be ‘accepted’, you will have to dress a certain way and wear what everybody else wears in order to be thought ‘beautiful’. This to me is devastating and shocking at once!

When I was 12 years and just starting high school, I was by far the most classically dressed: I had to moan to get my first pair of sneakers, beg for the kind of sweaters my class mates wore. I wore classic shoes, wide trousers – not even jeans – and almost old-fashioned jumpers. I had little friends at that age, while I am actually quite good at conversing with others, but at that time apparently not with youngsters. I had to wait until I turned 14 and started senior secondary education to find that atmosphere that allowed myself to be me. So now, I hardly wear those hoodies – I stuck with the converse, however 😉 – and just wear what I like, no matter what others think. I thought that that space of acceptance was normal, as your class mates and you including age and become more mature. I hadn’t expected that university would reverse that – I think positive – evolution of accepting others’ expressions through fashion. Now I’m sort of rebounced to the position I had when I was 12: not found interesting enough by ‘the popular bunch’. Not that I really mind, but for people who can’t brush that off their sleeves, there might be a problem. That worries me: that through time, there will be more outcasts, just for not agreeing with the general idea of fashion.

 

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My beloved Converse All Stars – going strong for two years already!

 

<above: a few of my favourite things>

 

Secondly, what you like on yourself and on others. We all know that our best friends give us fashion advice when going shopping and that’s marvellous because it shows that that person cares about you and wants you to feel good in your clothes – which is utterly important for self esteem, I believe. But some people want that everyone follows their opinion about fashion and appearance. The previously mentioned guy also said that if I dressed differently, boys would surely like / gaze at me more. (If you read my previous post on this subject, you will know that that gives me the chills.) Why dress for someone else? Why change your style to become more popular? This is the true opposite of all I believe in. When it comes to your appearance, you must dress for one person only: you. Wear what makes you feel beautiful, self-confident. It’s utterly important and I myself have underestimated this fact for a long time.

Below: some of my most adored pieces of clothing, all for different reasons; vintage bag I got from my Mum, a long British style raincoat which I own since I was 16, a striped wool dress (so comfy in autumn / winter) and a washed off jeans jacket, bought with a huge discount in sales!

 

 

So, I want to make a plea to wear what you like and don’t let anyone get to you. What you wear is a visual expression of who you are. If you like pointy shoes – like me – wear them. If you like jelly pink raincoats: wear them. Nolite te bastardes carborundum.

 

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Love,

Charlotte xx

PS: I did not make any earnings from this post. Just to be clear, since I mention some brands 🙂

 

Blokblog week 3: About disappointment and (not) giving up // On matters – S&E

Blokblog week 3: About disappointment and (not) giving up // On matters – S&E

Hi everyone

I’ve had a rough weekend and I honestly hope yours was far more relaxed and sunny!

It all started when I came home Friday noon after taking my contract law exam. I think I haven’t done well, but actually I don’t know as grades are only published in the beginning of July. To make a rather long story about how I came to feeling sad short: once I came home, still in my dress and heels (it was an oral exam) I just started to cry, and really hard. I felt such a disappointment, such inferiority and so extremely sad. I had studied for 6 days in ‘blok’ – after already studying in term of course – and I really thought I’d be able to give an answer to most of the things the professor could ask, but that turned out not to be the case. The ground was swept from under my feet. And after crying two times on Friday, feeling miserable on Saturday and crying a third time yesterday I think that what I feel is something that many of you have felt too and that it should be a topic of discussion and conversation, because our mental health is really important.

University is a rat race – or at least at mine is

I am so disappointed in the way the faculty/-ies profile themselves. It feels like they don’t care. It is not the purpose to keep people on board, as the matter of fact, it is just the point of losing those who can’t swim (yet) and even though knowing this for quite some time it just struck me all of a sudden. I am quite the perfectionist so when I don’t reach my goals I am just so disappointed, but then I manage to get back on my feet and carry on. But not this time. This exam was the one I really wanted to study for, I really wanted to do really well and I didn’t want to disappoint the professor because to be honest he’s a straight down genius and an incredibly gifted and clever man, able to slip jokes in his lessons – while many others just come and teach their courses, able to explain things in a good way, a good narrator and a teacher who keeps the crowd active in class. I like people like him, so naturally I wanted to be at my best. Then it felt like I failed. And hard.

Truth is, I study law not necessarily to become a sollicitor / barrister, judge or something. I don’t really know what to do with it, but I had an eye on becoming a professor, with the mentioned professor as a huge example and role model. But as everyone knows, only the top get to become professors. And I’m not the top. Teaching is something I’d really like to do, and certainly at uni. But there I am, in the middle pack, not the one with the really good grades and then you see your dreams float in the air, unreachable. I was sad.

I feel a constant disappointment in myself and especially when leaving my exam

I’ve only had one exam that made me feel good afterwards and that was history of law exam (course about constitutions / constitutional law and political developments throughout history of the main countries in Europe), all the others made me feel sick to my stomach. I left in sad cloud mode, thinking I (nearly) screwed it. Professors (when having an oral exam) can give you such doubts and it really affects me. Still, no one of the staff seems to find that a problem. I keep thinking over and over whether it’s a test or not. And so that happened again, Friday. Not that the professor was unkind or anything, but it was the atmosphere ‘hanging’ in that tiny office. I returned home by bus and train afterwards, happy I’d brought my Harry Potter book to read. It’s the only thing of comfort these last days. So I managed to hold myself together until I got home. I was sad.

In term it was practically the same story: not making deadlines I personally planned, not feeling fulfilled, only emptied, reading but not able to absorb the things written in front of me. I was sad.

Doubting whether I fit in law school. Shouldn’t I have chosen languages from the start?

This is truly a hard one. It’s what I feel for three days now. I’m not quite sure if it’s a correct feeling or not. I have always loved books and languages, beeing kindly fed them by my Mum, who is a language person herself. But transfering gives no guarantees either and it might be a leap in the wrong direction. Anyway, one thing I know for sure is that I miss English as a course and a matter of study. My mother tongue is Dutch so obviously I like reading books in Dutch as well but ever since I started uni, I have read English books non-stop. I truly think it’s an indicator. Question is, what should I do with it? So, I was sad.

Conclusion of this whole matter is that I’m in such doubt I couldn’t function anymore. I panicked and I overreacted for sure, since I could still have passed that exam. Trouble is, I can’t seem to find the proper concentration to get back at work again. One small fact: I have still two more exams to come and every time I open the books, it’s a constant reminder of my doubts and sadness – I felt so dumb and stupid after that exam…

I don’t want to discourage any of you thinking of going to uni, I certainly don’t! But don’t make a fairytale of it, because it’s not. It’s a full-time job. But whatever you do, try to remain positive and full of hope. Relax from time to time (I think I’ve sacrificed too much to study and get through my books with the result I’ve blocked myself). So, if you are a student / student to be, will you try not to do that? Please?

So, I’ll try to get myself back on track and not give up, certainly not for those two last sheets of paper to fill in and explain. I’m a Gryffindor after all.

 

A nice start of the week for all of you!

Love,
Charlotte

 

PS: I wrote this post in a hurry, so excuse possible spelling / grammar mistakes O:)

Blokblog – week 2 // On matters – S&E

Blokblog – week 2 // On matters – S&E

Hi everyone

Studying was with ups and downs the last couple of days. Everything started of well with studying constitutional and governmental (I hope that’s a term) law, but since then my concentration hasn’t been what it should be. Ethics passed me in a way that is not good and contract law started of well but then hit the clippers. So, sort of a horribilis end of the week (last week, that is). Plus, I hit my head this morning and I have an exam tomorrow. Just great.

It’s making the best of it, I guess. Economics has been a struggle so I can only hope that everything goes fine tomorrow.

I will try not to worry a lot. Hakuna Matata. 🙂

If you have exams too this month I wish you all the luck in the world!

Love,

Charlotte
– with a bump on her head

 

LINKS:
Previous post: Things associated with women
Blokblog day two

 

 

 

Things associated with women – part 1 // On matters – Feminism

Things associated with women – part 1 // On matters – Feminism

Hi everyone

After a year in uni, a lot has happened. I have learned and experienced a lot and there’s something that frequently struck my mind. It was the fact that there is still a stereotypical view on women, mostly imposed by men. I have never felt this so clearly, not even in secondary school.

This will be part one of a mini-series I’ll write on my blog. This idea has been playing on my mind a lot and I finally sat down to write about it. If you sort of get lost in why this is about feminism, I put this under that tag because this series discusses the mindset of society expecting certain things of women, just because they are women. This article will discuss the first topic: make-up.

“You don’t wear make-up”

No, I (nearly) don’t. Mostly I just wear mascara and some concealer on pimples if I have them (and really are fluorescent red), sometimes BB cream on my  nose – the dermatologist says that I have more veins in my skin there and it often shows super red, so I cover it up just a little bit, but only if I think it really necessary. I prefer to just let it “open” so that my skin can breathe. When I’m feeling up for it, I’ll wear brown eye pencil (by Rituals, post on that following later) which is really subtle. Apparently, I am to sort of “update” how I look, so that other people (read: boys) find me more attractive.

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But why is that? I’m just a person like anyone else. I don’t really mind being thought of as ‘non-attractive’, because my judgment of others will mostly be based on what I think of you as a person, not on how they look. (But you’re a friend of mine and if you mistreat your body, I’ll speak my mind.) Am I so naive in expecting people to treat me likewise?

For the record, I do like make-up. I really do, but not to put on my face every day. I’m going to uni to study and of course I don’t walk in my pyjamas or go to class still with my hair in its braid (I braid my hair for sleeping to tame my curly hair, so you can imagine what it looks like when I wake up 😉 ) but it’s not Paris fashion week!

When I go out I do like to put on eyeshadow, a bit of blush / highlighter and lipstick because for that one night that I have this event, I like, you know, feeling “fancy”. Putting on subtle make-up which enhances my features is fun on nights like this! I never go overboard. It just makes me happy 🙂

 

Another thing is that I got sort of critized over which brands of make-up I used. (The phrase was something like this (on the nose subject): “You have to go to this brand X, they have super good products which will look good on you. The ones you use now are not as good as these, it doesn’t cover up well- etc etc…”) I have to pay for my beauty products myself so I think every purchase over. It’s nice that people want to help you in finding good products, but this sounded like a judgment, when I look back on it. Because that person insisted that I should cover the redness and praised other girls wearing make-up by that brand and thought they looked beautiful. It made me feel like I was ugly with my pink-to-red-toned nose, but it’s just another part of my body. It just happens to have a lot of veins and after several years I have come to the point that I no longer mind. And I will decide when and if I want to cover it up.

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#positivity #nomakeup

 

If you too have thoughts on this subject, you can always leave them in the comments, I love to read them!

Love,

Charlotte

*PS1: I seldom share photos of myself and I hope you all understand. I’m still doubting whether I’ll post pictures of myself on the blog. If someone has tips / ideas about that, let me know! 😀

*PS2: Post not sponsored in any way (in case you wondered as it features some brand products 🙂 )

Blokblog – day 2 // On matters – S&E

Blokblog – day 2 // On matters – S&E

Hi everyone!

As exams start in June – the 9th of June for me, to be more precise – I thought I’d share with you my ‘journal’; how my days are passing and what happened. I have never done this before so I hope you’ll like it! 🙂

Friday the 26th was a total mess. The train I wanted to take to Kortrijk (city in West-Flanders) wasn’t riding that day (should have known, the day after Ascension Day…). But anyway, I got there.

I positioned myself outside in the grass, because the library would be packed I thought, plus it was such a beautiful weather out… Couldn’t resist and so I sat on my shawl in the grass, no one there but me. Magical!

A friend came to join me later and so we sat studying economics together – we study law, but it’s a course you have to take. It was nice, but of course a lot of talking happened O:) .

In the afternoon we had two classes which was immensely frustrating as ‘the blok’ (which would in English be ‘the cram’ or something because I remember learning the word cramming as studying, but then continuously) actually already had started the day before. You want to study, not go to a class for just the 6 remaining pages of your coursebook! But everything turned out fine.

As I got home at 7 pm I was soaked in sweat and so tired! I still had some studying to do so… Hooray! Plus my mum was working in the garden and asked me to help, it was rather a chaotic evening.

Day two completed, day three, show me what you got! 😉

xx

Charlotte

The thing about choosing – uni // S&E – On matters

We all have that period in our lives where we have to take a decision that we will know to transform our lives, and one of them is deciding what you will be studying at uni. And what a big decision that is.

I still remember myself in 5th grade (Belgian grade, my second-last year in secondary school, that is 🙂 ) and completely not knowing what to do. My first intentions were to become a doctor, because I had this childhood dream still living in my head of curing those suffering from cancer disease. By the time the year was over, I had realised that the science world was nothing for me. I just had to work too hard to get my grades.

Inbetween getting to that realisation, there was serious doubt. I thought of doing psychology, philosophy, maybe. Languages or biology? Maybe sociology? Or what if I just saw it all wild and went of to drama school?

To summarize, I was just lost. There seemed to be an endless spectre of things you could do that I felt like I had literally no idea what I would do with my life.

If this situation is recognisable for you, I’d suggest you just take a deep breath and start to explore: what’s out there? Because in Belgium, we have this system of academic and professional bachelors, so there’s a spectre of a billion things to choose from – which doesn’t make the choice easier… So basically, get informed. Go take some open classes, get brochures, ask people who are already at uni what their experiences are, go to teachers / your parents… Make sure you have a complete overview.

Secondly, when you have arranged the rainbow of options, start to reason: think logically. Where am I good at? Like, for example, I basically sucked at math and didn’t want to envolve it anymore in my studies or career, so I could cross mathematics, engineering etc. out.

So when that all was down in the bin, I still had some options left open. I thought about what I was really interested in. Languages (I had always had a thing for English and Italian, now I want to learn Danish, Irish and German too… O:) ), society, people drew my attention and I had (and still have) a rather big general interest. I narrowed my options down to two: studying languages (English & German) or studying law. I chose for the latter, because I thought that choosing for English and German would keep the spots of history, sociology, psychology and communication, plus general knowledge uncoloured. I was so happy I made the choice in January in my senior year. A block of concrete fell off my shoulders. I knew it was going to be tougher than languages (all my teachers were thinking I’d be off to literature studies) and so a lot of people were surprised with me choosing for law. & I’m still a bit one of them, but that’s okay 🙂 .

The most important thing I wanted to say is that if you really don’t know, embrace the fact that you just don’t. Don’t go pick a study programme just because you have to choose something; you will have a fulltime job of studying, attending classes and reading about the field you are exploring, so you must have the right intentions from the start. Trust me, if you don’t like it, you won’t be happy doing it and the results will probably not be as good either. You have to feel comfortable at what you’re doing from 8 AM until 10 PM. If you have the opportunity, pack your bags and go on a gap year to think it over quietly while having new experiences, or go find a job for a year to find where you’re good at / interested in. You might discover aspects of yourself you didn’t notice before 🙂 .
And even if you chose for the thing that you really loved and find yourself thinking sometimes: “what if…” then don’t panic. It is a sign that you simply are not to be categorised in one box, which is, really, a good thing 🙂 .

Love,

Charlotte

PS: feel free to comment / correct my grammar or spelling mistakes – I am not an English native speaker you see… O:) Anyway, I am happy to read them!