April 28, 2016

Why I'm a Feminist

The world is going crazy, people. The more I see and hear of it, the more I wish I wasn't here at all, or at least could bury my head in the sand. I'm here today to let you all know what I know to be true, er, strongly believe about feminism and gender equality. In short, I'm here to tell you that I'm a full-fledged, shout-it-from-the-rooftops feminist.

                                    

A feminist, according to the Google dictionary, (or whatever that definition thing that pops up after you search a word is), is "a person who supports feminism."
Do I support feminism?

Uh...YEAH!

I believe that women are wonderful. We're special and important and unique. In some ways we are just as good as and the same as men, but in other ways...we're better! And to be fair, men are better at some things too, just not the same things. I think the word for that is....
   
different.

                Antique Blue Mason Jar:

Do I support feminism?
Well, I support all things that are lovely and beautiful. I support flowers and pretty long hair and skirts that swish with every step. I support grace, elegance, and hospitality. I support inner and outer beauty. I believe that motherhood is a beautiful thing, as it brings out one of the loveliest feminine traits we women have: empathy.

                         Yes, indeed...:

Femininity ought to be celebrated, not suppressed.Some people would rather women didn't show their feminine side, however. They demand to be treated equally in all parts of life; the workforce, the army, and the household are a few examples. I understand that some women don't desire "traditional" female roles. Some women feel much more comfortable in pants every day, and would much prefer a professional career instead of motherhood. I am happy that they (myself included) have that choice today. But something odd has happened in the world of gender: in the past decades, women have been so eager to attain equality with men that they forgot about what made them special and unique from men. And although some important improvements have been made, society has now run to the idea that women who enjoy being feminine and who pursue a feminine lifestyle are odd, wrong, and downright crazy.

                        .:

Some women want to be just that...women. As a feminist, I ask you to stop making them feel like they are doing wrong for enjoying the feminine things in life, or for following a feminine lifestyle. The best thing the feminist movement can do for women is to protect their freedom to decide how to live, not to coerce them to be more like men.

Women are different from men in many wonderful ways. Feminine traits, styles, and personalities are to be cherished. I want to celebrate this, and protect it.
And that's why I'm a feminist.

April 21, 2016

Amazing Grace 2006 Review

   Weekends are wonderful for many things, one of which (and probably best of which) is watching period dramas. And I watched two. In one day. Which makes me a bit ashamed of myself, of course, but it doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.
       Plus it's educational, right? Especially considering the two movies I saw were Belle and Amazing Grace, I learned much about the slave trade in England, (not to mention beautiful Georgian-style gowns and fashions, but this is beside the point.)

This makes me wonder how large the costume budget was for Belle.
   So, anyway, through some clever sleuthing, I found the full movies of both Amazing Grace and Belle on youtube, but I decided to write a review on the former because a:the volume on Belle was way too quiet, and b:further reasons that are detailed below. :)

                      

   One of the best parts of watching this movie was realizing how many good (and good-looking) actors there were! To my delight I soon discovered that I had the pleasure of watching Horatio Hornblower (his real name is Ioan Gruffudd, but whatever) play the role of William Wilberforce, a fiery member of parliament who works to end the slave trade in 1790's Great Britain. This was an hour and a half well-spent, my friends!



   But really, beyond such great actors like Romola Garai, Ioann Gruffudd, and Benedict Cumberbatch, this movie had some great music, costumes, and scenery, not to mention a powerful story and message.
   England had a major hand in trading slaves. Their ships carried them from Africa to all across the world, but often the Caribbean islands. The conditions on the ships were terrible, resulting in death and disease on the voyage. To people like William Wilberforce, slavery and the slave trade were intolerable and inhumane acts that needed to stop.



   This movie focuses mainly on Wilberforce's struggle to convince Parliament to abolish the slave trade, something that takes years of perseverance. At first there are simply too many people who don't agree with abolition, and believe that Britain's economy would collapse if the slave trade were ended. Just as the tides begin to turn for Wilberforce and his friends, the French Revolution begins. And, as typical of the French Revolution, this messes things up for a lot of people. Now, if Britain stops trading slaves, the French will take their opportunity, and Britain will lose their economy to their most hated enemy. Wilberforce is defeated, and he spirals into depression and regret.



    Enter Barbara Spooner. Even after years of failure in parliament, Barbara encourages William to talk about what happened, and once the revolution is over, convinces him to try again. Through faith, friendship, and a whole lot of hard work. Wilberforce succeeds in ending Britain's slave trade, but not quite in a way you'd expect!
     This film was quite touching for me. I really love and admire Wilberforce's passion and energy for such a worthy cause. It reminds me a lot of John Adams' same drive for independence, shown in the movie 1776. The story itself is pretty discouraging until the end, so the movie did a good job of balancing the dark, dreary, and frustrating with pretty English countrysides and a slight romantic side.

Wilberforce rolling out the names on a petition to end the slave trade.
   And of course no review of this movie would be complete without mentioning how the title is involved. Much of William Wilberforce's inspiration comes from a man named John Newton, who now works in the church, but was once the captain of a slave ship. Newton eventually realized what horrible things he had done, and in repentance composed the words of the well-known hymn, Amazing Grace. The end credits of this film have a really neat rendition of Amazing Grace playing in the background, so if you watch this, definitely watch the whole thing!

Have you seen/liked Amazing Grace or Belle?
Do you like the hymn Amazing Grace?


Smell is a Potent Wizard...

Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.
                                             -Helen Keller
In my ponderings and musings throughout the day, my mind often turns to similar subjects again and again. (After all, there is only so much I can fit in this little brain of mine!) Sometimes it's the idea of heaven and eternity (eep. Don't get me started!), sometimes it's the future, and every now and then, it's the power of scent, and why I'm glad God gave us noses, etc. etc. 

Pettifers This Oxfordshire country garden is designed for year-round interest. Photographed by Clive Nichols.:
Take a deep whiff of summer!
              
Yes, I know this is a bit odd.

But really, aren't you glad that there are scents in this world? Sure, we could get along alright if there was no such thing as a sense of smell, but wouldn't life become so much more boring? Imagine never smelling flowers, or chocolate chip cookies, or your mother's Sunday perfume! That would be awful! When I think of all the memories I have just from a certain smell, I am extremely grateful that I live in a world with such amazing scents! Of all the scents in the world, I think I've determined the very best.

                        Old chair with spring flowers:  

1. Lilacs (and Peonies, Lavender, Lily of the Valley...flowers in general)

Lilacs have a full, cheerful, and garden-y scent that I can't resist. There is a lilac bush in my backyard and I'm always sad when the blossoms are come and gone in two or three weeks. Lilacs don't really remind me of anything, but they do make me think of how utterly lovely summer is! :)

            Trim & Tidy Virginia Boxwood Garden - Southern Living:

2. Boxwood (and Williamsburg)

I remember when I was 7 and going to Williamsburg for the first time. We were just getting started when we passed a hedge of rather potent boxwood and my mother paused to ask me if I smelled it. I wrinkled my nose and said yes, unfortunately.
I was young then. I didn't know what I was talking about. I didn't even know if I'd like Williamsburg then! (I was a foolish child, I know.) But after that first glorious trip, both Williamsburg and boxwood grew on me simultaneously. Before long, the smell of boxwood became the most glorious smell in the world, and every whiff of it makes me feel like I am in Virginia again. 

                             Bath & Body Works Orange Ginger Aromatherapy:

3. Bath and Body Works Orange Ginger

Besides boxwood, there is nothing that is quite so invigorating as B+B's orange ginger scent. I save my bottle of this lotion for when I really need to feel more awake, focused, and cheerful. I think part of the reason I like this so much (and this will sound ridiculous) is that it was in the little hotel bottles of shower gel on a memorable summer vacation, and my mind has linked this scent with humid Southern vacation days.

                       Chocolate. That is all.:

4. Bakery/Chocolate

That smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven, or on a plate, or in your mouth is irresistible! Caramel brownies, raspberry cheesecake, strawberry pie are just a few of the infinite number of things that smell amazing when baked.

    "Canon Trio," Antietam National Battlefield~ photograph by shannon wagner:

Other Amazing Smells

Petrichor ~ New Books ~ Old Books ~ Tea ~ Fall Leaves ~ Christmas Trees ~ Apples  ~ Strawberries ~  Campfire Smoke ~ Reenactment Gunpowder ~ My Grandparent's House   Bayberry Soap

What are your favorite smells?
Does your mind ever wonder to the same odd topics?

April 10, 2016

Vintage Fun: the 1920's

I must confess: the writing muse has abandoned me today. Or maybe I'm just feeling lazy. :P Whatever the cause, I'm rather stumped on ideas, so I thought I'd share some neat pictures of an interesting decade in fashion, the 1920's. 


Google Image Result for http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5B4qh7Y6gu8/TaNajn3vuyI/AAAAAAAAAD8/H0ZxST0Bqhk/s1600/1330-Vogue%2B1925%2BJan.jpg:
Although it would look ridiculous in real life, it's an elegant drawing!
To be honest, the 1920's is not my favorite era, fashion or otherwise. On the surface, at least, it seems like everyone was abandoning all morals and tradition, carelessly wasting so much that they plunged the next generation/decade into financial ruin. Women's fashion of the 1920's really reflects the carefree, loose lifestyle.

The perfume of this winter - Vogue (1927) by Susanlenox, via Flickr:
I have no idea why part of me likes this picture. I mean, it's... orange!

But it wasn't all so bad! So many people have the notion that all women wore back then were short, beaded, and tasseled dresses. (Downton Abbey viewers, of course, will know better than to think that!) Indeed, most women wore elegant evening dresses and everyday clothes that, although shorter and freer, were certainly not flapper-like! And look: I'll prove it! 
                                         
Chiffon party dress, c.1924, from the Vintage Textile archives.:
I love the elegant petal-like layers on this one!

silk dresses from the 1920's:
Everything here is so perfectly pink!

Tambour Embroidered Silk Dress, 1920-1924, Whitaker Auctions:
I normally wouldn't like this color scheme, but they work well with this floral motif.

Vintage beauties from the roaring twenties:
Non-flapper women having fun!

Do you enjoy any 1920's fashion?
Do you have a favorite vintage era?
Would you like me to cover some Downton Abbey fashion in the future?


April 4, 2016

March Period Drama Tag

Tally-ho, dear people! It's time once again for this past month's period drama tag. I'm so excited to share with you all the latest in my period drama adventures!

1. What period dramas did you view in March?

  • I finally rented and watched Brooklyn, and I loved it! The costumes, the scenery, the Irish and Italian accents, all of it. I highly recommend it!
  • Over spring break I watched the first two Horatio Hornblower movies (eeee!), and He Knew He was Right, which was really depressing and kind of a waste of time. :(
  •  Last week I saw The Sound of Music in German class, which brought back all sorts of nostalgia and warm fuzzies. 
  • And now my family is making our way through Camelot. Yeah...it's pretty cheesy, but kind of fun!
Sound of Music:
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...
 
2. What is your favorite period drama soundtrack?
Ahh, don't ask this question; I have way too many favorites! I even wrote about it in one of my first posts: (cliquez here for the list!).  If I had to choose a top three, they would be Little Women, Last of the Mohicans, and Copperhead. And the opening theme for John Adams. (I know, I know, that's kind of like four. But they're all so gooood!)

This is definitely one of the most photogenic movies I've seen. Everything has such a homey glow to it!
3. If you could attend a ball in a Jane Austen story what would be the color of your ballgown and who would you dance with?
This seems like a job for Pinterest!
*20 minutes of searching later*
I think I found a nice one! (I love using Pinterest for time-traveling wardrobe purposes!)

                                   Evening Dress: ca. 1820-1825, lace, metal, silk.:
Ooh, and who would I dance with?  I think I'd split my time between Mr. Bingley and Mr. Tilney. :)

4. Do you prefer watching period dramas by yourself or with friends/family? Why?
I don't mind much either way. It sometimes depends on the movie. But until very recently I never had a friend who was interested in period drama, so if I watch those movies with anyone, it's probably my mother. :)

Ioan Gruffudd as Horatio Hornblower in the British historical miniseries by that name.:

5. What period dramas are you looking forward to viewing in April 2016?
Well, I'm dying to see more Horatio Hornblower, and Naomi just did a fantastic post on Call the Midwife, so I'll probably start watching that too. :) As for movies, I'm still itching to watch them all, so I'm not going to make a list. :) But I am immensely looking forward to seeing Love and Friendship when it comes out!

(P.S. It is snowing right now. In April. :P )