So after writing this blog I have realised it is quite lengthly…. it also becomes a wee bit philosophical times, can get kind of reflective/analytical and also touches on some controversial topics. Therefore to refrain from overwhelming you with too much of my casual and not-so-casual-ramblings and just general stuff, i have decided to split this one into two sections….next one posting soon….enjoy!
I took a bit of a spontaneous decision on friday evening, and ended up going up to London on Saturday in order to document Cardiff’ Universities day at WOW – The Women of the World festival hosted by the Southbank Centre. Recently the university held a competition offering 25 individuals across Wales the opportunity to join a mentoring network and the opportunity to attend the WOW 2013 festival. Entrants had to create a story or express their thoughts in a creative way about what it is like ‘Living in a World of Digital – Past, Present or Future‘. Six of the winning entries were then given the opportunity to present their submission at the festival. Myself and fellow Insider Aimee-Louise were given the opportunity to accompany the group and document the day.
So after setting off at 7am from the union (which involved waking up at a time I never even knew existed in the morning) we were greeted on the coach by coffee and pastries. Naturally I manage to to cover myself in both, however it’s definitely a breakfast I could get used to! Upon arrival you can see that the festival is buzzing and that the atmosphere is alive with excitement, friendly debates and the general chit chat of old and new friends. I don’t know if many of you have been to the Southbank Centre, but the main floor is pretty large with an area that on this particular day had been dedicated as a platform for speakers to talk about their views on women’s rights. All around the sides of the entrance however, were a multitude of stalls selling or advertising products and projects, big and small, classic and quirky. They had it all! One of the clear favourites was an interesting project in which you could could have a very small picture of strong/admirable/iconic women printed onto your nails.
In terms of the actual talks themselves, it was so difficult to choose which talks to go to as there was so much going on! We ended up attending a talk given by Michael Kaufman, author of the prize winning novel ‘The Possibility of Dreaming on a Night Without Stars‘, on some of the issues tackled in his most recent book: A Guy’s Guide to Feminism. I found this talk highly interesting, both in what he was saying and they way in which he communicated what he was saying. He begins by putting on a white lab coat and talking about feminism as a disease with a deliciously large helping of mocking! Instantaneously I was both amused and engaged. He spoke about how his co-author (Michael Kimmel) and he were inspired by female scholars and activists, and that their book reflects what they’ve learnt through listening, talking, and researching the nature of a male dominant society and the impact on both women and men. Something about this book which particularly impressed, and appealed to the scientific psychologist inside of me, was the fact that their book was based on case studies and facts, not just subjective opinions. A statistic that was given to us that I found interesting was that women make on average 81% of what men make….whether this was due to the types of jobs each gender was occupying . What this signalled to me, wasn’t in relation to women’s earnings not being as high as men’s, but more about the fact that women have fought for equality, leading to a society that has changed and is now also fighting alongside women to achieve this.
Michael took us through a couple of ABC’s from his book, such as ‘L is for Language’ a chapter that explores how women can disappear or appear magnificent depending what words are used in a particular sentence, and ‘O is for Orgasm’ a highly amusing chapter on equality in the bedroom! The chapter that really stood out to me was ‘V is for Violence’, not because of the problems that we are facing regarding violence towards women, but because of the way many men across the globe have got together to support this cause and are wanting to put a stop to it. Once again, this demonstrated to me how much society has changed and that men are fighting for women’s rights. So thanks for that guys! If anyone wants to follow/support the campaign against violence to women, you can do via the white ribbon campaign, supported by Michael himself! http://www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/
Moving onto the afternoon, and once again my eyes were opened to some interesting opinions….this time not actually from the speakers themselves, but a fellow conference goer. Aimee-Louise and I had attended a ‘How to’ workshop on blogging, and part of this involved group work and discussions. One of these said discussions was on topics to blog about, one particular topic came up that sparked some very passionate views on how university is merely a degree factory that students barely do anything besides getting drunk and spewing up. For those of you who shall be starting university soon you shall quickly discover that, although granted there are the occasional nights, this is very far from the truth! It made me sad to see that members of our society view us students as (for want of a better phrase) lazy bums who do nothing except party, wasting three years of our lives, education, and money. This has inspired me to write a blog on the myths and realities of university life, tackling these controversial yet highly interesting stereotypical views of who we actually are, and what we actually do!
My ranting aside, we come to the main event: Our six applicants….
……in the next edition: part 2
For now i’ll leave you with these thoughts, and the ever so tantalising cliff hanger of how Cardiff Students did in their presentations!