Five Best Things About 2011

1. Graduating from University

2. Getting my first proper job

3. Co-founding the Swansea Feminist Network

4. Playing a few gigs

5. Mental health recovery

Five New Experiences of 2011

1. Being employed and having my own money

2. Getting a facial piercing (7 months and I still love it!)

3. Trying lobster and scallops

4. Getting my own typewriter

5. Getting my PostSecret published on the official website! (no I’m not telling you which one is mine)

Five New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

1. Finish my epic university-themed zine

2. Attend Million Women Rise

3. Either do a Moonwalk or a Race for Life

4. Complete at least 50 Day Zero Project tasks in total

5. Join a band


Fave Song of 2011: Bloody Mary by Lady Gaga
I’m not a huge fan of pop music generally, but Lady Gaga’s latest album has softened me to the pop world.  I found Born This Way to be much darker and more complex than Gaga’s previous work, and the song Bloody Mary was the highlight of the album for me.  The song explores Mary Magdalene’s relationship with Jesus and the duality of being a religious icon and a real feeling woman (“when you’re gone I’ll tell them my religion’s you”). Some strange lyrics abound here – she calls Pontius “Punktius” for some reason – and the title doesn’t quite work due to its associations with Mary Tudor, but it’s nonetheless a very interesting concept, rarely explored in pop music.  I also love the dark electronica feel, interspersed with male choral cries of “Gaga…”.  I love Gaga, and I don’t care who knows it.  (read my review of Born This Way on The F Word here!).

Most Irritating Song of 2011: Read All About It by Professor Green ft. Emeli Sande
Many, many songs were in the running for this title – I listen to the radio on my way to work every morning, and I swear they play the same 5 fucking songs every day – Moves Like Jagger, Jar of Hearts, Fly (Rihanna & Nicki Minaj), Price Tag, and this song.  This song ultimately wins out for being completely trite, annoying, and whiny.  An honourable mention must be given to Leona Lewis’ cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, the most inappropriate pop cover since 2008’s X Factor winner butchered Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Fave Film of 2011: Black Swan
I loved this film – drawing on feminist themes of the virgin/whole complex, the quest for perfection, and body transformation, this film was compelling and moving.  There’s an excellent feminist analysis of the film here; if I were to discuss this film, I would only be rehashing the arguments already made by the Feministing ladies.  A close second is Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, a beautiful, haunting film about the destruction of the earth (you can watch the trailer here; though, be warned – it makes the film look far more exciting than it actually is).

Most Disappointing Film of 2011: Sucker Punch
This looked so promising!  Five women kicking ass to an amazing soundtrack – yeah, they’re wearing inadequate battle gear, but I could overlook that.  Sadly, ten minutes into the film, I realised just how wrong my expectations were.  Here is a clip from the first fight scene – this is a very good example of what the whole movie feels like.  Cartoonish, meaningless violence (if there’s no risk of injury, how can you engage and root for the hero?), bland characters doing impossible stunts and inexplicably defeating enormous, faceless bad guys who supposedly represent “their demons” or some shit like that.  Sarah at Bad Reputation hit the nail on the head when she described this film as “tedious in a watching-someone-else-play-a-computer-game way. You watched, but didn’t really engage”.  Another irritating aspect of the film was the romanticisation of mental illness and the mental institution that the characters were imprisoned and abused within.  Massive shame.

Fave Book Read in 2011: The Women’s Room by Marilyn French
A classic feminist novel about the struggles of American women during the 1950s through to the 1970s.  Despite the historical setting, I was shocked at how much I could relate to, and how many problems that the second-wave feminists wished to address are still ongoing.  For example, the story about the rape of a central character, and her dealings with the justice system, showed how little has changed in terms of victim-blaming attitudes.  A thought-provoking read.

Top 5 Zines Read in 2011:
1. Jane: Chicago’s Clandestine Abortion Service
2. List #14
3. Telegram Ma’am #20
4. xyz #1
5. Shape and Situate #2

Top 5 Blogs Discovered in 2011:

1. Hyperbole and a Half.  A blog about being awkward, and growing up.  Every single post I’ve read on Allie Brosh’s blog has been hilarious and heart-warming.

2. Bad Reputation.  A UK feminist pop culture blog, often blogging about music, film, comics, and other cool stuff.

3. Monday Through Friday.  The (slightly more) intelligent older uncle of the Cheezburger Network, this blog features funny work-related gifs and memes.  (we all need a guilty internet pleasure; memes are mine)

4. Women In Theology.  A blog written by female theology graduates from an anti-kyriarchal Christian perspective, dedicated to discussions about women in religion.  They write about a wide variety of topics, including sexual ethics, Jesus, LGBT rights, saints, and traditional theology.

5.  Maranda Elizabeth.  The author of Telegram Ma’am zine, their blog features writings about mental health, genderqueerness, self-care, recovery, and writing.  It’s among my favourite single-author blogs, due to its honesty and inspiring feel.

What were your favourite books, songs, and other media from this year?


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