Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Don't judge a book by it's cover



Today, for the first time in my life my looks became a commodity. Something looked upon as a consideration for a potential job. It has left a strange taste I my mouth.

I am not a model. I am not looking for jobs where one would/should consider looks to be something to judge my ability on. I mean apart from your standard presentable, clean hair, clean clothes kind of thing.

I have a degree in Marketing and Journalism; I worked pretty damn hard to be in the top 15%. I am looking to work in an industry where it’s more about who you know not what you know. But not ever did I expect for someone to ask about what I look like, to see a photo of me, to comment that according to them I am ‘attractive’, to all be put in to consideration to give me a job opportunity.

I am looking for work as a journalist; I want to report on the news. Not the pretty fluff stories, the heart breaking shit that makes you realize the world we live in is not so damn shiny. I know I am not going to get there with the first job, but I didn’t think it would matter what I looked like to get that first job.

I thought all those hard hours I put in at uni would be put in to consideration, the over 12 months I have spent interning, my grades, all the work I have had published, these things would be judged in order to get a job. Not my face.

Yeah, I think realistically to get where I want to go I will have to get in to TV broadcast journalism. But why should I have to look a certain way have to considered for a job. Why cant the fact that I am capable of doing the job be enough?

I have been brought up in a family of very strong influences, who have taught me that it’s not about what or who you are; it’s about what you can do. I have never, ever, been in a position where I have thought because I am a girl I would be treated differently. I didn’t expect that, because I have been taught that success is not about gender or looks, it’s about ability.

Today my world has changed. I hate that it makes me seem almost naïve. I am not that, far from it. But why is there a double standard? I highly doubt a male journalism graduate would have to supply a photo in order to be considered for a job. Why should I as a female have to?
 
I’ve never been made to feel so inferior, I have worked hard, I have achieved things. It has not mattered that I am a girl, or that I am what society has decided is ‘attractive’. I have achieved these things because I have worked hard, because I have been determined, because I have a brain that I like to challenge.

Today I was made to feel like none of that really mattered. That all that mattered was that by sheer luck, the genes that went together to make me produced something visually appealing.

It’s almost like Tinder for jobs, lets see if this person visually fits the role then maybe we will give them the job. Who cares if they actually have the ability, the dedication or determination to be successful or a good employee?

I am now left questioning, if I have spent the last three years working towards to work in the wrong industry.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Answering Man Repeller's writers prompt: Escape your comfort zone



I remember this moment vividly as if it was only yesterday.

Lets start with a little back story, a young, bright eyed, naïve 22 year old, setting off on this magnificent European adventure with a girl I was soon to learn I did not know well enough.

Traveling, in a pair, with a friend I had not spent enough time with proved to be more challenging than I had expected. As these things often are. You have all of these romantic ideas of how you will both get along and it will be fun and easy. For the most part it generally is, with a few terse moments.

However, the terse moments began to outweigh the fun times. I was quickly realizing that perhaps choosing an only child to travel with when I was used to spending my holidays with siblings and cousins, and no real space to myself, was maybe a bad idea.

With a 14-week trip planned and only six weeks in, I was beginning to loose patience. But terrified of the prospect of heading off solo for the remainder of my trip.

It all came crumbling down one grey rainy day in Amsterdam. I had had enough. Tired of feeling like the bad guy whenever I tried to get her to compromise or to maybe consider doing something I wanted to do. Building up all my courage to talk to her and let her know that when the bus came to get us the next day that I wasn’t going to be joining her.

It was awful, I felt awful, there were tears and yelling. It felt like a messy break up. An uncomfortable 24 hours followed, then I saw her off at the bus stop, went back to my friends house and thought it was all going to be wonderful from here.

But oh boy was I wrong…

Off I went on the bus a couple of days later, it was fine while I was on the bus. It was when the bus got to that I began to freak out.

Off I get, struggling to find a cab to take me to my hostel, seeing as I a; didn’t know where it was and b; didn’t speak German (except for gutten tag and ja).

Every emotion was building up, I was feeling stressed, worried, scared and overwhelmed. Finally making it to the hostel, checking in and heading out to find something to eat. That’s when it all came tumbling down.

Walking out the front door, with instructions on places to find dinner, then proceeded to get lost and a little teary…

The little teary turned in to one of those amazingly, attractive, noisy cries, which are best kept for the private of your bedroom or shower. However, I was currently sitting on the steps of Berlin Hauptbahnhof Station.

And I cried, boy did I cry.

All I could think about was that I knew no one, no one in this country, no one in this time zone, no one on this continent. That if something happened to me no one could help me, that no one could console me.

I’ve never felt so alone and isolated, so out of my comfort zone. Strangers kept on coming up to me asking me questions in German, which were followed by me crying louder or very unattractively sniffing then blowing my nose.

I was alone, in all sense of the word. The first time in my entire life that that thought made me feel really truly vulnerable. This traumatic ordeal lasted all of an hour. But it felt like forever.

Eventually I ran out of tears, it began to get cold and I didn’t have a jacket and I got really hungry. Dusting myself off, heading back to my hostel all red and puffy in the face.

Walking in to my dorm room, that was empty when I left, to the sound of girls laughing. Upon opening my door the girls in the room that I had yet to meet looked up at me, saw my face, came running and gave me the hug I desperately needed.

Five years on, this one girl is still in my life, although she lives in London, that night I made a friend for life. So although I was thrown miles out of my comfort zone, I learnt a lot, about my resilience, about my ability to do a good ugly cry and about the kindness of strangers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

b&w

A shoot I styled too long ago with a very talented Ned Rodgers...












Photographer: Ned Rodgers
Stylist: Me