Just three weeks to go until I leave this amazing city and am finished with my all too exciting exchange in England. This week I finally decided to do a little tour in this beautiful historical city and capture the “magic” it clearly has. So on Wednesday as it is my day off, I took my phone and my crappy little digital camera (which wasn’t much of a use) and went for a hunt for some nice pictures. Times like these I really miss my SLR camera (damn you, thieves!). Nevertheless, I will let the best pictures I managed to capture with my little Samsung Gio to say it all. So here it is- my own little Game of Thrones!
Receiving a newsletter from a store, fashion label, human rights group and whatever you have sign up for to get a one-time-extra-discount and whatever you have sign up for when rushing through the streets of a busy city and got stopped by some teenager to sign something for a good cause, via mail is rather common. These constant mails, call them spam, inform you about important discounts or new arrivals or even if you should sign some petition to save the world from its utter evilness (means from us). However, after a time the inbox is filled with these kind of mails and it’s a mystery how some of the stores go you mail address. However, after a time the adverts just land directly in the bin and the attention is captured just by the tagline. Thus, the other day I got the weekly newsletter of some fashion label I used to buy my clothes from, I was about to delete it when I saw the headline:
‘We Know What Girls Want, We Know What Guys Like’
Well, I thought to myself ‘really?’ you know what I want, that’s interesting, so yes I clicked on it and voilà…
Obviously they didn’t know what I want, but I guess it’s a nice tagline to upset people like me. Hoping to be FINALLY enlightened in ‘what I want’
Nevertheless, my personal desires aside, I also noticed something else and I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t have noticed it some months ago.
Before I went to the University of Melbourne, before I took a class in Gender Politics.
Yes, this text will address feminism. So don’t stop reading. In fact, I was convinced to do it. When I first started studying the course ‘Sexual Politics’ at Uni Melbourne I thought
‘Why should I engage in this class? I AM a woman, I am naturally a feminist, I know what it is about!’
Also, I had a quite strong belief that many so called feminist are totally against men, in a mystical sphere of overanalysing and self-pitying ; basically, that they are somehow crazy. In fact, if you type in ‘crazy feminist’ on Google images you will be surprised how many memes and pictures are ridiculing that movement. However, a friend of mine said that it wouldn’t hurt to attend the course and she believed that I should go. Another thing that stroked me when I discussed it with her was something that some people would undeniable call a female reaction.
I was scared. I was scared that I might find out that feminist are not crazy, that they have a point, and that I not just belonged to the biological sex which is supposed to be weak, but also that I wasn’t doing anything against it, that I was laughing about jokes which were sexist, but hey ‘it’s just a joke’, that I was one of the girls which laughed with the guys when a sexist joke was outspoken and that I judged the girls who weren’t, that I looked at them and said:’ what a prude’.
I do have the strong but strange feeling that many women do feel like this, and that so many men don’t what to have the feeling of being ‘the evil one’ maintaining the system.
How stunning it is, how personal feminism is; as nowadays the decline of state-identity men and women tend to search for another identity-pool which is mostly to be a man or to be a woman, thus the theory (which was widely supported in the 60s) is instead condemned by ridiculing it, or by claiming it is too extreme. The radical voice is always the loudest, so in which theory don’t you hear about the radical views first?
Back to the newsletter I got the other day from the fashion label; the ad suggested that girls want:
a hair straighter
and a book about fashion.
Guys liked (notice how the brand knows what girls want whilst they just know what guys like)
A pencil case
A case to put your eventual writings in it (uh wait, that could be something for for me but ahh.. no. that not what I would want.)
2 books about hobbies
… well, of course it could be claimed that there is no difference and of course it could be said that this choice of products is based on demand, but then again:
That’s not the point is it? The point is that girls just want something which includes looks, whilst guys like something which includes action, includes reading something with content (not just plain picture of how you are supposed to look), having something which has an actual purpose: headphones-to listen to music, writing utensils, a wallet to put all themoney in which is earned.
Clearly, as a girl I wish to have more choice and my choice to study feminism brought me closer to this wish.
This week we’ve had a reading week which means no classes. I was a good student enough last week and did all my assignments to not feel guilty of going to London for a couple of days. I left York on Tuesday morning and got back on Thursday. One whole day was perfectly enough to see all the main sightseeings in London and meet up my friends. Luckily my childhood friend/neighbor from Finland studies there, so I had a place to crash for these two nights.
On Tuesday night, my friend and I just strolled in the Westfield shopping mall and ate some Chinese food. We also passed the bridge that played an important role in last years London Olympics. I didn’t know much about it, but my friend had worked there last summer and enlightened me on that.
We woke up really early on Wednesday. I had written down a whole list of places to go and see, so we were determined to finish off the list by dinner. We took the tube (that’s how they call metros here lol) to Waterloo Station and started off from the London Eye. The Eye was way bigger than I had expected. It was also more expensive than I could afford, so I settled only with the pictures for this time. Passing the London Eye, we walked along the South Bank and had a gorgeous view on the the Parliament House and Big Ben. The sun was shining warmly and the day seemed to be favoring us.
We crossed the River of Thames and got to the other side where Westminister Abbey was welcoming us with a garden full of poppies for the Remembrance Day.
By noon, the weather was extremely nice and warm, so we decided to walk to the Buckingham Palace through St James Park, which was quite close to the Westminister. I was looking forward to see the changing of the guards at the Buckingham Palace. Once we got there, though, for my disappointment the change in autumn is only every other day. I took some pictures and figured I could just come back tomorrow before my train leaves.
I couldn’t have left London without going to Notting Hill, so our next stop was to go and find the famous blue door from the movie “Notting Hill”. It used to be my favorite movie of all times, so needless to say how excited I was was we arrived there. Looking for the door took us quite a while, on our way we actually found the bookstore (also from the movie) first. They had closed the bookstore and now had a shoe store there instead. We passed the market, also noticed well in the movie, and decided to turn back as we realized we had probably missed the door somehow. It wasn’t until we got to the very corner of the street (our starting point) when I suddenly saw the nr 280 (according to Google that’s the one). It was exactly as I had remembered it from the movie. It definitely made my day 🙂
Our last stops for the day were Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery, Picadilly Circus, Harrods and Oxford Street. I didn’t know much about Trafalgar Square apart the lion statues. Because of the gorgeous sunny day, there were a lot of tourists and British youth sitting on the stairs leading to the gallery. We peeked into the gallery for 15min and saw an exhibition about saints. It would have taken us until the night to see all the floors, so I was happy enough to just take a quick look of the paintings on the first floor. It reminded me the Art Gallery in DC, but I guess most of the art galleries look the same.
I have been to Picadilly Circus before, so we didn’t stop there for long. Instead, we headed to Harrods. I had never been there before and wanted to go in and see the fancy place I have heard so much about. I was determined to buy something and found the cheapest thing in the sweets store. After paying for my strawberry cream fudge, I was ready to leave the store, happily holding on to my green bag saying Harrods on it.
Before meeting my friend for dinner, we also stopped by Oxford Street which was totally decorated for Christmas already. It was full of people running their Christmas errands and for just a second it really felt like Christmas 🙂
On Thursday I was determined to go back to the Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards. I was happy I did, because it turned out to be Prince Charles’ 65th birthday and the guards were on fire lol. They fired cannons in the Hyde Park and played different ABBA songs for his honor. So ironic, feels like Sweden is haunting me wherever I go. It was definitely the coolest things of this trip and a great end for these three days in London.
I am back in York now and school starts in 2 days. I only have 4 weeks left until I leave, so unbelievable how fast time has gone. It makes me rather sad to think about leaving, but then again, it would be nice to be home for Christmas before I need to go back to Sweden for my last semester.
I am planning to go and explore more of York next week, haven’t even been on the wall yet. Until then, cheers!