Slashers- who are we?

I recently saw an article written by ELLE magazine about a new generation of women who are successfully holding down numerous careers. The phrase that's been coined for these women is "slashers".

I am a slasher. Having left education with some idea of what I wanted to do and a vague way of getting there, I now hold down eight jobs, some paid and some unpaid. Three provide me with my main source of income- the remaining five are more for the experience, contacts and getting my foot into the world of media based careers. It's hard work and often I'm working for 14 hours a day to get everything done and meet deadlines- all whilst maintaining a social life and studying a diploma too!

I also know many other 'slashers', women who are starting their own business whilst working full time and doing a multitude of other activities such as being a mum, studying, blogging and the likes. It's not uncommon for people to be holding down more than one job. But is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Me, I'm all for female empowerment and I think if a woman can and want's to hold down more than one career then why shouldn't she? Take a look at the vast majority of celebrities nowadays who we praise for doing their profession, e.g. singing, yet also bringing out a book, DVD, perfume and products. We always celebrate them and how talented they are, despite knowing that they probably didn't do much of these accomplishments single why don't we do the same for normal women who do complete these same style accomplishments all on their own?

The article in ELLE magazine briefly mentioned how 'slashers' are often perceived as women who can't settle down, can't make ends meet and don't really have their lives together. To me, this is so wrong. On a personal level, I do make ends meet and I do have my life together, yet I still fit into this 'slasher' category, as do many other women I know. It's ridiculous that women are being criticised for having the talent, time and capabilities to hold down more than one career. It's definitely something to celebrate- these women are building empires for the women of the future so that they will have more exciting opportunities than are available now, and they're building an empire to support them for the rest of their lives. How is this possibly a bad thing?

It isn't.

The fact that there has been a rise of 'slashers' says one thing to me, and it's not the obvious "everyone's broke so they need more than one job to get by" excuse. Women want more. 50 years ago, women couldn't build empires, least of all build empires and get praised for it, very easily. Now, with more doors open to them than ever before, millennial women especially are taking opportunities with both hands and squeezing everything they can from them. And it's working. There are more women running their own mini (and massive!) empires than ever before, more female entrepreneurs trying to break into a multitude of industries, pushing aside the male oppression's telling them what they aren't able to do and ignoring the archaic views of older women saying that they need to pick one career, start a family and settle down.

Us 'slashers' are breaking the mould, creating a new norm and paving the way for generations upon generations of women to come. If we're slashing anything, it's societies expectations of women and what we can and can't do.

The phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" is dead. Millennial women- "slashers"- are capable of so much more now. So go out there and make something of yourself! Be bold, be brave and be creative- it's time to build your empire.

Love from,
Florence Grace

Anti Bullying Week- my story.

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When I woke up today, I noticed one of the trends on Twitter, "Anti Bullying Week".

Bullying is an issue that is very close to my heart. I think of myself as a pretty strong person, I have a sharp tongue when need's be, like to be in charge and am *maybe* a little bit bossy. I can hold my hands up and say that in any scenario, I would probably be a bully rather than someone who was bullied. It may not sound like a nice thing to admit, and it's not because I'm a horrible person, but rather because I feel like my characteristics do not emulate that of a "victim".

Yet three times in my life I have been the victim of bullying. One, tame incident when I was about nine years old, one more serious incident when I was twelve and one far more serious incident that started when I was fifteen and still has an impact on my life now. If anything, this told me that anyone can be a victim at any time in their life, regardless of what characteristics they have.

When I was nine, the incident was not so serious. It lasted for a few weeks, if that. I decided that I no longer wanted to be friends with my "best friend". She was spiteful, mean and called me a "cow" in the girls bathroom. I was having none of it and went straight to my teacher- who sent me to the headteacher. Now, I was not a teacher's pet at school, but I was popular with teachers, I got good grades and they all liked me. This probably helped my case but they managed to sort the problem quickly, nipping it in the bud and bar from a few evil looks, the girl never bothered me again.

When I was twelve, it was a bit more serious. I was in my first year of secondary school, and my primary school had a friendship scheme, putting at least three people from the same school into each secondary school class to make things easier. I was lucky, I was placed in the same class as my very best friend! Then there were two other girls who I didn't know so well, but could say hello to. Unfortunately, my best friend moved away and didn't make the transition to secondary school with me. Because we were from the same primary, me and the other two girls got lumped together and became "best friends". To cut a long story short, one was evidently a third wheel, and made my life very awkward because of it, even getting her older sister and her older friends to come and "have words" with me. Me and my mum went into the school and, again, the teachers liked me and asked what I wanted to happen. I said I wanted her moved from my class and never to speak to me again...and they did just that. They removed her from my class and she never spoke to me again. I was very, very lucky.

The third and final incident of bullying was the worst and has- in a way- ruined my life forever. It started when I was fifteen, lasting until I was nineteen and occasionally happens to me still now. It's knocked my confidence, if I see anybody from my old school I break out in a cold sweat and feel sick, and if I have to meet anyone on a social scenario (e.g. serving them at work, which happens more often than I would like) I wish nothing more than for the ground to swallow me up. This bullying was never physical- I somehow think it was worse. This bullying was by a huge number of people- my block list tells me 250- all from school, in my year, the year below and from other school, even including some people who didn't know me, who used social media to humiliate me, laugh at me and make jokes at my expense.

Yes, I can admit that at 15 and 16 I made some stupid tweets, I over shared personal details about arguments with my boyfriends and did many, silly "indirect" tweets. But the bullying started before that. People I believed were my friends were using twitter, before I had it, to bitch about me. When I joined twitter, people tweeted things such as "oh no, the downfall of twitter" and "where can we bitch now?". I couldn't believe it. But it only got worse. Everything I tweeted was screenshot, shared around and had hundreds- literally, hundreds- of people favouriting, retweeting and laughing at me. When I started blogging, they pulled apart my work. They made fun of my relationship, how I dressed, things I said, what I posted, how I captioned photos. They picked my life apart online for all the world to see and still to this day don't see how they did anything wrong. I see them face to face and they either blank me or smile and say hi like nothing happened. Some people message me, confused as to why I've blocked them on social media.

If you favourited, retweeted or replied to any of the comments on twitter or facebook, or worse still participated in writing something, you're not my friend and that is why you are blocked. Is it that hard to understand?

Now, at twenty, I'm living with the effects of this humiliation every single day. I don't have much confidence, I find it hard to make friends and I trust no one. If I didn't have the support of my mum and my boyfriend throughout the ordeal I hate to think what would have happened.

Bullying can happen to anyone, at any time. I used to be pretty popular at school, I was friends with most people, went to all the parties, to town every weekend and after school. I don't know what happened to change all of that, or who initiated the online bullying, but it's had a severe knock on my self esteem and the person that I am today.

What I want to say to victims of bullying is that it does get better. Whilst I still live with the after effects of it, I have still come out stronger. And whilst one of my bullies is working in Mcdonalds, another has no job at all and everyone else is just getting on in life, I am building an empire for myself, running my own magazine, working in the media industry and doing so many other incredible things. Bullies try to ruin your life but never let them. It's easier said than done, believe me, I know, but once you make it through, it's totally worth it. The online world has a block button for a reason, so don't be afraid to use it. At school, if you're that scared, find safety in the library or a classroom with a teacher so you don't have to face seeing the bullies at break or lunch. Tell teachers and parents, or your friends what's going on too, never keep it to yourself. Bullies are sad, hurting and angry. They take their insecurities out on other people, and it's wrong. Don't let it overcome you though. Don't let it end your life, destroy your relationships or cause harm to yourself. It's so tough to get through but you can do it. You can, you can, you can.

Bullies never win. It's important to remember that.

Love from,
Florence Grace

My emails are always open if anyone needs to talk- or find me on Twitter and have a chat. Never keep things like this to yourself. 

My favourite TV shows*

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Everyone loves watching TV, right? I used to watch it literally 24/7 and would freak if I missed out on any of my favourite shows and had to watch them on catch up. However, as I got older and grew interested in other things- such as blogging- my TV addiction faded away and now, I rarely watch at all.

However, one thing that has been bad all the way through is my TV. It's pretty small and is on the other side of the bedroom, so the struggle with eye straining is real. This Christmas I've asked for a new telly, to improve the TV watching experience- and I've found that Panasonic have a great range to choose from! The hardest part is...well, choosing one! Have a look, which one do you think looks best?

Once I've got a new TV, I'll definitely be able to enjoy programs properly and will actually be able to see what's going on! Me and my boyfriend have started to watch a lot of programs again, but we rarely watch one off programs; we like to start whole series together! We've watched some good series and some not so good series, which look a bit like this:

Good series:

Bad Series:

That's right, I hate two of the most popular sitcoms there are. I'm sorry, but Big Bang Theory isn't funny- and neither is How I Met Your Mother! However, I feel I do love some amazing shows, such as Empire! That's definitely an amazing addition to Tuesday night TV as well as being a show I would recommend to literally everyone! And whilst Gotham is a little on the violent side, which isn't my usual choice of show at all, it's got a great story throughout which makes it so addictive! I'm sat here waiting on the next series rather impatiently...

I'm definitely going to be ordering the boxsets of some of my favourite shows to watch all the least I will for Empire and Gotham!

What TV shows do you love and hate? Let me know in the comments below!

Love from,
Florence Grace

This post was kindly sponsored by Panasonic. 

Sex on Trial

*Trigger Warning: This post contains sensitive content discussing rape and sexual assault*.

Last night (02.11.15) BBC Three showed a documentary titled "Is this rape? Sex on Trial". Being the opinionated woman I am, and with my strong views on rape, sexual assault and consent, I knew that this was something I would have to watch- and share my opinion on.

Which I did via Twitter of course, with the hashtag #sexontrial. Many of the people I follow joined in and the whole evening, from when the program started to long after it had ended, was filled with accusations, outrage, swearing, shock, denial and everything in between.

The show was hosted by 4Music presenter, Will Best, and focused on 24 teenagers/young adults, of both sexes, and a variety of ages who were taken to a house and shown a staged drama made for the purpose of the documentary of a sexual encounter at a party between a boy and a girl. The group of young adults then had to discuss and decide whether or not the encounter was rape. With Will Best playing devil's advocate, and some real life victims thrown into the mix, the whole program was tense, frustrating and eye opening.

I genuinely had no idea that so many people did not have a clear understanding of what rape and consent is.

*SPOILER ALERT* In the drama, it was so clear to me immediately that the sexual encounter shown was rape. I didn't need to hear the different individual's stories, I didn't need a discussion. The young man started to kiss the young woman whilst she was asleep, before sticking his penis into her mouth. She quite clearly did not consent, he did not look for consent and therefore it was rape.

The fact that this had to be discussed and caused conflicting opinions and arguments showed me that a better education on rape is needed desperately.

I'm not going to shove Google definitions at you and tell you what I believe you should already know. What I will tell you is the things that you can't find on Google about consent and that is this:

If a girl/boy (because yes, both sexes can and are raped) remains silent that is not consent. Saying nothing is not saying yes.

If someone is dressed in what you believe is a sexually provocative way, that is not consent. They are not asking for it, in the same way that somebody not wearing a suit of armour is asking to be stabbed! Don't be so ridiculous- it makes me retch that some people still even believe this to be true.

"Come hither" eyes at a party, along with flirty "banter" and being cheeky in a cute way, especially whilst under the influence of alcohol but also without, is not consenting.

Sending a certain amount of kisses in a text is not consenting.

Not pushing you away is not consenting.

The only form of consent is somebody giving you verbal permission to have a sexual encounter with them. Regardless of whether it's kissing, oral sex or penetrative sex, if you don't have permission, don't do it.

How can so many people be so clueless? Why are we not having these sorts of things taught in school? Why are we still stuck firmly in the belief that men are rapists and women are victims and that it's never the other way around? Why do we still say people are asking for it, because of how they look or behave?

No one- I repeat, no one- asks to be raped.

Similarly, why are we always ready to shame a victim of rape? Why do we sit and accuse them, tell them what we feel they should have done, ask them whether they care that they are ruining their attackers life? As a victim, it is not your fault. We're so quick to defend a rapist over a victim, always assuming that they're crying wolf. Why is that? It's no one's fault. No one chooses to be attacked. No one asks for it.

No one asks to be raped. 

If you're raped, or sexually assaulted in any way, it is not your fault. 

Whilst you may disagree with the program, the outcome of the documentary's drama or my own opinions, one thing has been made abundantly clear; we need a better education on what rape and consent are. Maybe then, with a better education under our belts, issues like these may begin to decrease.

Understand what rape is. When having sex, keep on checking that this is okay, that you both want this and are comfortable. It's not embarrassing, prude or awkward. It's polite, it's safe and it's needed.

Love from,
Florence Grace

Did you watch the documentary? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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