An Open Letter to Katie Hopkins; the Know-it-all who Knows Nothing

Dear Katie,

I became aware of your tweets regarding your opinions on Depression and Alzheimer’s earlier this week when I was made aware of your tweets via a Facebook and Twitter feed which had virtually exploded with outrage at your insensitive, bigoted and frankly quite disgusting comments regarding two of the largest issues of mental health which are affecting people in this country on a daily basis. Usually, I would be quietly outraged about a number of your comments, as your controversial nonsense is expected – you’re the ‘go to girl’ for a heartless and insensitive comment which demeans the very existence of many people not just in the UK, but across the world. However, as an individual who has been suffering with depression for years and recently lost a family member after a decade long battle with Alzheimers, I felt that it was time to speak up. Firstly, I’ll address the comments on depression, and then those on Alzheimers.

Depression is not a ‘holy grail of illnesses’ or ‘the passport to self-obsession’ as you have so crudely alluded on your Twitter feed. It’s isolating, lonely and, contra your super weird opinion that people ‘want depression’, sufferers would give anything for the end. Be that the end of the illness or, in some sadly extreme cases, the end of their lives. I used to be a bubbly, happy individual who had the whole world at her feet and couldn’t wait to experience the life that I had ahead of me. I wanted to experience it all and I vowed to make the most of every single day of my life that I had to live. But then I was hit by a black ball hurtling at me at such speed that I couldn’t dodge it. It hit me. I couldn’t breathe, felt like I was drowning in blackness and I was fighting to push the blackness away – to get it out of me. When I eventually thought I had broken free I was an entirely different person, the real me locked inside my head behind bars screaming to be let free.

Depression is not easy; it’s bloody hard work and every single day is a struggle to get through. Every single morning getting up is a battle with the covers. Not as a result of laziness because you want ‘ten more minutes’, but as a result of the fact that there is a hard wired belief that there is nothing worth getting up for, and you can’t face going through another day of forcing on a smile to convince others that you’re okay – that you’re normal. You’re afraid that the mask will slip, that people will see you for the self-loathing, unbelievably distraught individual that spends hours every single day fighting back the urge to give into the black hole of sadness in her stomach and cry her heart out until the tears won’t come any more. You don’t cry about anything in particular, but for some reason that black hole is constantly there, threatening to expose you for what you truly are; depressed.

Your eating habits are thrown out of sync. You binge regularly, because food all of a sudden is capable of giving you that emotional nourishment that you feel you are lacking from everyone else. We know that in reality it doesn’t work, but that need to feel connected to something is sometimes the only thing which is preventing dark desires from taking over, such as the desire to cut your wrists, swallow that entire bottle of paracetamol that is in the cupboard, or curl up into a ball on the bathroom floor and let the tears flow and flow until you either black out or someone needs to get ready. You then find yourself too unhappy to eat. You don’t feel worthy of the nourishment that the vitamins will give to your body. You’re too weak to move from the spot you’re lying or sitting in to go to the kitchen in search of something to feed yourself, and even if you were capable it would be a pointless exercise as it would be bland and tasteless, followed by a feeling of nausea as the bite you’ve just taken hits your stomach and almost forces your gag reflex into action.

You lose all interest in your appearance. You know you’ve gained weight because of the emotional eating, and that just makes you hate yourself even more. You buy and wear clothes that hide the damage you have done to yourself as a result of overeating so that nobody will look at your appearance in any way which can be perceived as positive – you don’t deserve it, and if you were wearing something more form fitting there is the fear of rejection through hideous comments which prevents you from doing so. You want to be invisible, because when you’re invisible you don’t have to work hard to hide the anguish which is eating you away inside. You stop wearing makeup on a regular basis, despite the fact that you might never have left the house without it. If you do wear it, it’s just enough to cover the signs of maltreatment – the spots which have appeared as a result of the unhealthy oily food, the blemishes which give away the tears which have been shed and the dry, sallow skin which gives away the fact that you’ve barely slept. Your hair is shoved back into a mere ponytail. You don’t even bother to brush it when it’s been washed. You eventually stop caring about the weight gain, and give in to the pity cycle which you have resigned yourself to the notion of being the puppeteer of your life.

You push those that you love away because you can’t bear to admit to them that you’re feeling so hopeless and unimportant. Your moods fluctuate as the veneer begins to crack behind closed doors, and you spend as little time around family as you possibly can. After all, they can see you for who you truly are because they have loved you for your entire life. There is no hiding from them. You flare up with anger when you’ve been challenged, all of those feelings which you have bottled up inside spilling out into what has now become an emotional battlefield. You try to reign it back, but you can’t. You end relationships because you don’t feel you can give your partner what they deserve, despite the fact that they’ve held you in their arms and let you cry just because you needed to.

That was my reality for depression, and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, and anybody who would want to feel like all is lost and be labelled as such is clearly insane. They’re certainly not those who wish to be seen as fashionable or ‘In’. It’s taken me a long time to try and pull myself out, and I’m only just beginning to see life as being one which is worth enjoying and taking advantage of. But I’m lucky – I’m not one of those who are clinically depressed and as such are unlikely ever to find a way to bring themselves out of the endless cycle of despair which is controlling every single decision that they are making in their lives. Not everyone has the same munchausens-esque approach to their lives as you do. As someone who is quite happy to be on the receiving end of bad press and hateful comments, you quite clearly have some serious mental health issues of your own
regarding attention seeking and the need to comment on EVERYTHING.

Just because there has been a 500% increase in people being diagnosed with the illness (as you say) doesn’t mean that it’s being treated as a fashionable condition which doctors are keen to label people with. It’s because campaigns raising awareness of the illness are leading to people who had previously been suffering in silence seeking help. They don’t feel ashamed or afraid any more as society no longer shuns people who have mental health problems in the way that it maybe did twenty or thirty years ago. There is no need to feel ashamed of admitting that you need help, and there is certainly none in being yourself be that a happy, fulfilled individual or one who feels like they have absolutely nothing in the world. After all, there’s an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with early onset cancer, but there is no way that you would even consider of them seeking attention for wanting a ‘fashionable’ illness because that’s something you can’t argue with. It’s there in black and white because it’s a disease that you can see whereas depression isn’t. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it less real, life threatening or important. And demeaning people who are struggling with this diagnosis in the way that you have is appalling and for those who are at breaking point, could prompt a dangerous behaviour. Be it harm to themselves or harm to someone else.

As for the Alzheimers comments, there is very little to say on that subject except the fact that the utter drivel which you spouted on that topic was more toxic than any known substance on this planet. How you can so off handedly state that the sufferers should be euthanised, to paraphrase your comments, is utterly inhumane and so hurtful to those who have to watch their parents, grandparents and spouses deteriorate on a daily basis. Because they aren’t entirely gone. You lose them slowly, but these patients never lose their reason for living. My grandmother was diagnosed ten years ago, and passed away last month after an incredibly gruelling journey of regression to childhood. But despite the fact that she forgot where she was, that her husband had died and that she had no recollection of any events which had taken place over the past ten years and much of the period before that, she always knew that she had family who loved her. She talked about us, albeit fleetingly. Every time we would visit her at the care home she was living in, she would have no idea who we were for much of the time, but then a glimmer of recognition would flit across her eye, and for the brief moments that she did recognise her grandchildren and daughter, she was ecstatically happy. Those moments were worth all the hardship for her, and for us. To say that an Alzheimers patient is unaware that they are living is a gross misunderstanding of the illness and its progression.

The decision not to look after her at our home was also one which was taken out of our hands. As a family which is forced to move almost annually as a result of factors outside of our control, it would not be fair to have carted her around with us. It would have been unfair to take her out of an environment which she knew and recognised, and had been so happy in for most of her life. The quality of care that she received at the home she was a resident in was also beyond the standard of anything which she could have received if we had looked after her. She had constant companionship, nurses and doctors who saw to her every health need, she received different types of therapy aimed at slowing the disease and she had people to talk to about things which had occurred in her past which we would have no understanding of. It was the right choice for her, and every decision which we made for her care, was made solely with her in mind. That does not make us bad people and it certainly doesn’t mean that we should have given up on her.

So to finish, it would be my advice to you to either inform yourself fully of everything which you are quite happy to comment. A majority of the issues you comment on, you are so ill informed on that you are in danger of spreading poisonous and dangerous ideas which have the potential to destroy what is left of the humane society that we live in today. They can lead to people harming themselves or others, while you sit safely behind your keyboard or your phone mindlessly talking crap. Just because you have an opinion on something does not make it a truth which people have to ‘get over’ or ‘deal with’. It makes you a sad, pathetic individual who feels the need to belittle others. A sad, pathetic individual who is, actually, wrong when discussing a large number of the ‘truths’ she claims to speak. How someone like you managed to become a ‘voice of the people’ in a newspaper is beyond my comprehension as you are clearly very out of touch. So out of touch, in fact, that many people are wishing that you would in fact be euthanised sooner rather than later so that it puts an end to your idiocy. Everyone has the right to life, regardless of which world they find themselves living in. Be it a regressed world, a depressed world, or a joyful one. One thing is for sure though – you are in no position to judge anyone for the way their life is lived. But before you attempt to apply that yourself, you opened yourself up to judgement the moment you decided to write such heartless and hateful words.

Sincerely,

Someone who knows what they’re talking about

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Famous Moustaches….. On Pets

A little piece I’ve written for a friend’s blog which revolves around the various critters that run around the earth. One thing I’ve learned whilst writing it: there are way too many animals with hilarious moustaches!

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Whilst researching which picture to overload cute senses with next, I happened upon quite a few images of pets with moustaches – a lot of them bearing uncanny resemblances to famous characters or persons. Hopefully you’ll recognise who most of them are being compared to, but if not, Lord Google will be sure to help you out!

The Billy Connolly

This dog has adopted the eccentric Scotsman’s penchant for dying his facial hair pink.

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The Dick Dastardly

If you’re familiar with Wacky Races or Catch the Pigeon, you’ll more than see the resemblance here!

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The Hercule Poirot

Belgium’s most famous fictional detective appears to have a fan. An adorable fan.

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The Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali is renowned for his eccentricity, and this little guy and his moustache do his incredible facial hair justice!

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The Charlie Chaplin

As of yet, I haven’t met anyone who has been…

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12 Reasons Why Big Boobs are a Curse

The average breast size of women in the UK is recorded as being the largest in history, and with that, more women are finally becoming familiar with the trials and tribulations that come with being a Big Breasted One.

1. You need a loan to buy your bras

It doesn’t matter where you go to shop, you’ll always come out having spent £4773848 of your life savings and then some just to buy a piece of material which will prevent your breast from reaching your knees.

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2. You can forget ever owning a pretty bra

All those pretty bras you see on the models are a pipe dream for us large breasted women. Calvin Klein, Victoria Secret and all those other makers of beautiful bras just don’t cater to women with a cup size bigger than a D. Why? Who knows. Maybe it would cost an arm and a leg to manufacture, or maybe we’d just make them look downright awful. Either way, we still get stuck with the boring, beige nursing style bras with straps two inches thick.

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3. Wearing a name tag at any time is disastrous

Name tags always go on your chest, but the issue with big breasted women is that these name tags draw attention to them for all the wrong reasons. People won’t remember you as ‘Victoria’. They’ll probably fondly refer to you as ‘boobs’ because despite staring at your name tag for hours, they were incapable of memorising your name.

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4. You can forget about enjoying any sport that involves running

Running with big boobs is horrible. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the worst things ever. You’re worried that people are staring, and even more worried that you’re going to give yourself a black eye. Or that your boobs are going to bounce out of your bra in a bid to finally break free.

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5. Wearing a bikini is a terrifying experience

Like with bras, manufacturers of bikinis are making their bikini tops smaller, and smaller, and smaller in order to cater to those who like to flaunt their stuff in teeny weeny pieces of material. It’s impossible to find one that your breast don’t threaten to bust themselves out of, and more often that not you find yourself stuck in a one piece, hating life.

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6. You can forget about ever looking good in a bridesmaid’s dress

For some reason, brides seem to favour the strapless bridesmaid dress which is downright horrendous for anyone with large breasts. It constantly slips, meaning that every five minutes you have to do the ‘lift shuffle’ to make sure that you’re not ‘on show’, and the dress looks like it’s melting off you in all the pictures. If it’s not strapless, it’s usually off the shoulder which then makes you look like you have one boob bigger than the other, and both at different heights.

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7. The idea of having a baby is terrifying

It goes without saying that having a baby makes your breasts EVEN BIGGER than they already are. Mine are already big enough without going up another two sizes. Enough already!

8. It doesnt matter what kind of top you wear, you always look like you’re putting your boobs on display

Wearing a v-neck, round-neck, turtle-neck…. any neck, basically, makes you look like you’re purposefully trying to attract attention to your boobs. Unfortunately, this makes you overly popular with men and less than popular with other women who think you’re doing it on purpose.

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9. Button-down shirts are a huge no

Button down shirts are the bane of any working woman’s life with big breasts. The buttons pop open in the middle of meetings and the rest of the time they’re practically bursting apart, leaving a gaping hole in the front of your shirt which shows everyone which bra you’re wearing. It’s more than humiliating.

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10. Wearing a strapless bra is pointless

The moment you put a strapless bra on, you immediately regret the decision as your boobs are drooping and, more often that not, the bra itself has slipped down the front of your dress leaving a ghastly shape which is attracting the attention of every single person in the room. They are instruments of torture.

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11. It’s easy to look fatter than you are with bad photography

There is nothing worse than going to a party, ending up in lots of pictures, then surfing through pictures of yourself the next day to find that you look like a heffalump. The reason being is that nearly all the pictures have been cut off at breast height, making you look 2662874 sizes bigger than you are, and immortalising you that way for eternity. You can’t use the “I’m not that fat, I’m just big breasted” excuse, as it washes down just as well as “I’m not fat, I’m just big boned.”
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12. We worry more about getting old

Sagging boobs is something that every woman worries about, as they aren’t particularly nice to look at. Large breasted women have it bad, though. Sometimes they’re so big that they’re already drooping, and you face risking them peek out of the bottom of your skirt when you walk to collect your pension.

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So there you have it, 12 reasons why having big boobs is less than fun, and why women should enjoy having smaller breasts.

***please note that all images have been taken from Pinterest unless otherwise specified. If you wish to be credited, please contact me so that I can give credit where credit is due.***

The Ice Bucket Challenge – Why I’m Not Doing It

The Ice Bucket Challenge is the latest fundraising craze which has taken the world by storm, following in the footsteps of the ‘No Makeup Selfie’ campaign which aimed to raise funds to find a cure for breast cancer. It involves standing still, while someone else tips a bucket of iced water over your head. People are nominated, the video is uploaded to Facebook and the whole cycle starts again.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is designed to raise money for a motor neurone disease called ALS or, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. The disease sees sufferers plagued by muscle spasticity, rapid and progressive weakness due to muscle atrophy (death), and finally an inability to speak, swallow or breathe without medical intervention. The life expectancy of an individual diagnosed with ALS is a shockingly short 2-5 years, depending on the severity and progressive pattern of the disease.

I was first made aware of the disease after being shown this video on the Huffington Post which shows Anthony Carbajal, an ALS sufferer, comically perform the Ice Bucket Challenge before then shocking everyone with the raw, bare facts and emotions surrounding his diagnosis five months previously. I was in absolute tears when I watched this for the first time, physically distraught that this young man had been handed a death sentence which cruelly forced him to watch his own mother die in the same manner which would be his own fate. He literally stares death in the face every day.

Whilst Anthony’s video has managed to evoke an overwhelming emotional response from me, I have decided that unlike him, I will not be participating in the challenge. Instead, I have pledged what I can afford to the charity. Unfortunately, it’s only £15. If I had more to give, you can rest assured I would. I’ve also shared Anthony’s challenge on my news feed because I feel his story says more than dumping water over my head ever could. This donation and sharing, however, has not sat well with many of my Facebook friends. I’ve been accused of donating money because I “don’t care enough to do something to my own body”, been essentially told that I am less than human for not doing the video, and generally made to feel like a horrible person.

My decision not to participate doesn’t stem from a fear of dumping ice cold water over my head, nor is it a demonstrative factor showing that I ‘don’t care,’ therefore branding me a monster. I’ve chosen not to do this because of personal factors in my own life at the moment, and my own more than likely controversial opinions. I don’t want to broadcast them online, because I believe everyone is entitled to their own privacy. However, I feel like I have been pushed far enough to have to. Whether you find these reasons legitimate enough or not, they are my reasons and I stand by them.

The first reason is that I find nothing particularly brave or fascinating about dumping a bucket of cold water over the top of your head. I personally think of it as more of a cry for attention. A sort of “look at me, I’m doing something for charity and I look like such an idiot ha ha” thing, if you will. Charity shouldn’t be forced. It should come from somewhere inside you which makes you want to donate money because you care, and not because you don’t want to wuss out in front of your mates. That’s all these videos are to me, and I’m sorry if I offend anyone who has done it and feels differently. They’re videos which exploit the vain side of humanity and appeal to the human need to show off to the whole entire world. They aren’t about the condition, or awareness – although people will pretend they are – they’re about the individual, and the donations are just a byproduct of the need for attention. This is further highlighted by the fact that absolutely none of the videos I’ve seen my friends do have touched upon what ALS actually is, or even told people how and where to donate. Concern appears to lie with self promotion as opposed to increased awareness.

The second is that people have ‘put a price’ on their challenge through the purchase of ice, water and all the other little accoutrements which have been used to create their ice bucket minute of fame. Personally, I think it’s wrong; especially when you consider that the money they’ve wasted gearing up for this could instead have been donated directly to the ALS charity. The extra £1.50 from every bag of ice from the UK challengers could have gone a long way to almost increasing the total raised by the individuals in the country by up to 60%. That’s huge, and totally worthwhile.

The third is that I believe it trivialises an absolutely horrific and debilitating illness by making a mockery out of it. It desensitises those who are watching it and completely detaches individuals from the gravity and importance of their donations. They don’t see the impact of the illness on the sufferers, and they don’t see the good that their donations are doing. Instead, they see people running around in circles, screaming their heads off because they got a little bit cold. How does this possibly benefit the ALS community and their families, and how does it raise awareness?

The fourth reason is that despite the huge number of celebrities involved, and the number of people who claim to have donated, the total amount raised for charity stands at a mere $31 million. You’d think that people would have learned to dig a little deeper, especially those with more money at their disposal. If you want to be seen to care about something, you shouldn’t do it with a bucket. You should stick your hand in your pocket and prove it by helping someone who desperately needs it. I’m not flash with cash, but I still feel moved enough to reach into my pocket and give the charity my last £15. The amount of self-promotion from these people we are supposed to admire is also shocking when you consider the amount if money they make off the back of it. Take Hayden Panettiere for instance. She used the challenge as a platform to announce her pregnancy. It’s morally reprehensible.

The fifth reason is that I’ve come under so much fire for not taking part in the challenge, by people who aren’t even friends, that I am now more determined than ever not to do it. They don’t seem to understand that I should be allowed to donate anonymously, as my money is just as good as everyone else’s. Just because I haven’t tipped a bucket of ice over my head doesn’t exclude me from having the same rights to donate money as the individuals that did. I’m of the firm belief that a majority of the anger on their part stems from the misguided perception that I ‘owe’ them because they did it first and ‘chose me.’ Whist they fail to see is that I refuse to promote myself and other individuals through social media off the back of individuals who are seriously, seriously ill.

So there you have it; five of the reasons why I won’t be doing the ice bucket challenge. And before people start accusing me of being heartless because I can’t imagine what it’s like for the families or those diagnosed, I probably have a better understanding of how they feel and how the donations can help than a majority of the people who have taken part. My sister Alex wad diagnosed with Atypical Secondary Addison’s Disease in 2010 when she was 17 years old. The disease originates in the pituitary gland and is usually caused by tumours. It’s life threatening. In Alex’s case she lives in fear of having a seizure she may not recover from, no ability to respond when she’s scared, she has a less than effective immune system, and has to inject herself in the stomach every day because her growth hormone is also failing. Her weight fluctuates, and she has the psychological struggles of someone who pretty much lives every single day with a death sentence hanging over their head. It’s why I’m even more adamant that it’s donations, calls to action and awareness which will help these people.

If anyone wants to donate to help those living with ALS, please follow the link here

Alternatively, if any of you feel like donating to the Pituitary Foundation, you can find their page here.

Why I Can’t Take My Sister Anywhere

There’s always that one member of a family who finds it impossible to behave in public. Unfortunately for me, this relative is not a distant one; it’s my sister. I have suffered large scale embarrassment on numerous occasions, been forced to endure scathing looks and, when things have become unbearable, considered changing my name and moving to Burkina Faso. However when the red cheeks have faded and the hot flushes of embarrassment have subsided, I have these gems to look back on and laugh at.

1. She visits the Tower of London in fancy dress, and poses for the tourists.

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2. She recreates Grand Theft Auto in the beauty section of M&S

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3. She goes incognito at Thorpe Park

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4. She forgets her manners at Harry Potter World, to the disgust of other visitors…..

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… And then she performs a fashion show in their merchandise

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5. She performs plays for the children she babysits for, complete with costume

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6. She hides in the displays at the Natural History Museum, preparing to frighten unsuspecting tourists

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7. She recreates Harry Potter scenes at Hampton Court Palace, and tries to transport herself to Diagon Alley by fireplace using floo powder

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8. She treats B&Q as a playground
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9. She tries to blend in with the mannequins at the British War Museum

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10. She dresses up as Elton John to go to casual dinner parties with absolutely no fancy dress requirement whatsoever…

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11. Her Christmas dance-a-thons are completed in a less than private setting…

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….And involve the use of props

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I’m sure you’ll agree that, with the evidence provided, my claim that I can’t take her anywhere isn’t exactly unfounded. However, I can easily say that despite extreme cringe moments, I spend nearly every day of my life laughing.

Why Taking your Husband’s Surname ISN’T ‘Medieval’ or ‘Horribly Sexist’, and Weddings aren’t ‘Acres of Misogyny’

I should start by iterating that I am NOT in any way, shape or form an anti-feminist. I’m all for equality between the sexes, I love my independence and I relish the fact I have all the social, political, legal and economic rights as men in this country. However, I recently read an article in the Daily Mirror in which feminist columnist Polly Hudson claimed that it’s sexist and medieval for a woman to take the surname of the man she is to marry. She then goes on to pick at every aspect of the wedding ceremony from the father walking the bride down the aisle to the bouquet toss. Whilst I’m sure that Polly’s intentions were not to disgust her readers, I couldn’t feel anything but angry when I studied the article. Two thoughts went through my mind; the first being that feminism had become ridiculous and would appear to be, in a lot of cases, extreme. She almost bullies women into feeling ashamed for not keeping their own name. The second was that every romantic ideal of my own wedding day had been tarred with the ‘misogynist’ brush, destroying all romantic notions of the little rituals which will, if I get married, be so incredibly important to me.

Taking your husband’s surname is NOT medieval.

The first issue I have with Polly’s article is that in no way, shape or form is taking your husband’s surname medieval (the only accuracy Polly has pointed out in her claim that it is, is that medieval women took their husband’s surname). For starters, surnames during the medieval period had a much more significant meaning to them than they do these days; they were usually derived from titles, profession or place of habitation. For example Webb was a surname attributed to weavers, and Baker was a surname attributed to bread makers. Therefore, following a wedding, the women took on the identity of their husband’s profession, not just their family. The surnames would be used to attribute individuals to their family groups for the purpose of records, and also distinguish them from each other as society grew.

Nowadays, surnames don’t hold as much practical significance as they did during the medieval period. However to me, they’re still important. Personally, I think taking your husband’s surname is a tradition which should be upheld if it’s something you wish to do. I’m incredibly proud of my current surname; several members of my family have been very successful and brought it some prestige, and it’s very uncommon in the UK. If and when I get married, however, I will be dropping it in favour of taking my husband’s. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t. After all I’ll be starting a family with him, living with him, and sharing my life with him as my partner from that moment on. When I consider how big those changes are, and how frivolous some people are with using deed poll to change their names, taking my partner’s really isn’t such a big deal. I will still have my roots and know where I come from. I won’t ever lose my family ties. Instead, I’ll be making my own. Everyone is entitled to make their own decision regarding this, but it’s better to make an informed one as opposed to being pressured or made to feel ‘subservient’ by an overly feminist woman who wants to pressure others to share her ideals.

There is no reason why your sister/friend/mother/ can’t make a speech at your wedding

I’m not sure if Polly is familiar with YouTube, but I’m sure if she typed ‘maid of honour speech at wedding’ into the search bar, she’d find plenty of examples of women standing at the top table and toasting the bride and groom with a speech which could rival that of her male counterpart. In the UK women have the same rights as men, and these rights are not void when it comes to nuptials. These days, they can be both traditional and modern without a hint of sexism in sight. All you need to do is ask. I’m pretty sure I won’t be breaking any laws by asking my sister to speak at mine. I’d ask my Mum, but since she almost drowned me in happy tears at my graduation I’m sure she’d be too busy trying not to flood out the guests to say a single word – let alone a speech!

You are not ‘property’ being ‘traded’

Whilst a daughter was her father’s property back in the day, the handing over of which was symbolised by a walk down the aisle, today it means something entirely different. My father has never treated me like property, and has only ever encouraged me to be my own person. I don’t see why he should all of a sudden ‘lay claim’ to me for my wedding day. Instead, I look at it as the last walk I’ll ever make with my Dad as his little girl. It will be an act of love, not ownership, and a final confirmation that he trusts the person that I marry to protect me and keep me safe for the rest of my life. It doesn’t mean he’s a misogynist or of the belief that women can’t look after themselves as well as men can; he just wants his daughter to be as safe as possible with a man who loves her unconditionally. He will use the walk to reassure me that I can go through with my marriage and support me as I make the biggest change I will ever make in my life. Or, should I get cold feet and decide I don’t want to go through with a wedding for whatever reason, he will be there to support me then too. I for one know that when I make that walk there is nobody I’d rather have by my side than my father, and I sure as hell won’t be able to make it alone.

The bouquet toss is NOT solely for ‘subservient little women’

Another tradition that Polly has sought to demean is the bouquet toss. She claims the women jostle each other to try and catch the flowers, whilst their boyfriends look on wondering which will be forced into marriage next. If this does happen, these displays of emotion will be made purely in jest and everybody in our society knows it. The bouquet toss is a bit of light hearted fun which provides amusement to party guests. Nobody believes that the person who catches it will be the next to marry, and that’s why it’s so much fun. There is also nothing to prevent the men from joining in either. The reason they don’t is most likely down to the fact that they don’t have any interest in flowers, and enjoy seeing the state that their partners get in trying to shove other women out out of their way whilst they attempt to claw their way to victory. I don’t think Polly has considered that there are just some things that men aren’t in to, and her attempt to legitimately use it as an example of separation between the sexes is just ludicrous.

Divorce doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your husband’s name

Polly cites Ronnie Wood’s ex wife Jo as an example of an individual who is ‘stuck’ with her ex husband’s name. She wasn’t ‘stuck’ with it; she just chose not to change it. She had become known by the name, and decided that she wanted to stay known as Jo Wood in order not to slip into anonymity. When you go through a divorce, you can change your name. You can revert back to your maiden name. It doesn’t mean you’re ‘handing your identity back’ or giving your ex another part of you. In fact I think it means the opposite. By retaking your maiden name, you symbolise how strong and independent you are, and I imagine that without association to my ex should I ever go through a divorce, it will make moving on with my life so much easier. It also doesn’t mean that I’m allowing my father to ‘repossess’ me. Like I said previously, I will never forget where I came from and, should I need to start again, I’ll go back to the beginning.

I apologise if this has come across as one sided – that wasn’t my intention. I’m merely adding my voice and opinion to the debate, along with my reasons why. If people choose not to marry that’s none of my business. There is nothing wrong with cohabitation without marriage. There is also nothing wrong with choosing to keep your name or adopt a new one when entering into marriage. It is not for others to judge those who choose to do things either way; everyone is entitled to make their own choices and be happy with them. For me, the traditions of a wedding are important and should be kept, but modernised where possible. I don’t judge those who decide to do differently unless they do so in a way which demeans the ideals of others in such a way that it is insulting. In the same way, I don’t expect to be judged or made to feel less of a woman because of the decisions I have made or will make. I don’t want to be accused of ‘setting women back 100 years’ or of being ‘weak’ for not fulfilling somebody else’s ideal. Ensuring my rights are protected is important, but so is making decisions which will be the best for me and my family.