#ELLEfeminism Every Girl Needs Access To Education

Malala Yousafzai addressing the UN

As I don’t work in a salon, here’s a question I often get asked, “How do you keep up with fashion?”

The same way as I always have done; I keep a beady eye out for what is going on around me, and I read as many Online fashion magazines as possible!

A current favourite being Elle UK. Elle has a special place in my heart because at the start of my hairdressing career I did a session with Alexandra Bastedo (19 September 1974) for She magazine (Christmas issue. Photographer Chris Simpson)! Yeah I know She isn’t Elle, but in those days we used to say, She was the English version of Elle (French) – it wasn’t, actually Elle was always better, it didn’t just reflect fashion, Elle decreed it! And I’ve been an avid reader for too many years.

Okay, so I’m reading Elle UK, and I’m reading The feminist hashtags that matter in 2015 by Kenya Hunt (@KenyaNHunt). Kenya writes eloquently about seven Twitter hashtags that actually affect you: #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult, #TheEmptyChair, #SayHerName, #GirlsWithToys, #NotGuilty, #EffYourBeautyStandards and #HeforShe.

However the big feminist hashtag, that I believe effects Everyone, #GirlsEducation was very sadly missing – Every girl needs access to education.

Anyway, it was a good read Kenya

Retouching Fashion Photographs – Anti-Airbrushing Campaign

I’ve always had a thing about retouching fashion photographs – Sometimes I like it and sometimes I hate it! This is not a new issue, photographs have been retouched since the dawn of photography; here is my retouching set circa 1920s (old school, not Photoshop):

retouching fashion photographs with L & C. Hardtmuth retouching setMy Jonathan Fallowfields “Artists'” retouching set by L & C. Hardtmuth, Austria. I bought it about thirty-five years ago, used it lots for retouching B&W photographs (hobbyist)! The set containes: A brass porte-crayon (leadholder or pencil extender). 2 triangular pencils/leadholders, marked L & C Hardtmuth, Austria, No3 and No4. A Hardtmuth branded wooden tube containing additional leads. And lastly a rolled chamois leather dual-pointed blending tool (AKA a stump).

This brief blog post was triggered by ‏@hji Hairdressers Journal, and let’s face it, they should know all about retouching because they’ve been in the hairdressing magazine business since 1882 – here is their tweet:

HJ love @melenietudor Melenie Tudor’s modern take on the Mohawk, so do I, it’s wonderful – the rest of Melenie’s collection are brilliant too. (Melenie Tudor at En Route Hair & Beauty, was a finalist for HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards 2014, North Western Hairdresser of the Year.)

My point is though; can you see what looks like three layers of freehand shading (a sort of a loose scribble) on the side/undercut section? How Very Odd! Has Melenie Tudor’s hair photograph been photoshopped? If it has: who did it and why, and isn’t it V.sad? (And not very well executed)

We are in an age where photoshopping is the norm, Miley Cyrus actually thanked a photographer for not photoshopping out her armpit hair – and meant it – you’ve got to love her for that; meanwhile, celebrities are anxiously tweaking their selfies with image editing Apps. (note to self: must Photoshop my beer-belly!) Obviously it’s all about their public image, perfection and removing perceived impurities. However for me, especially in hairdressing, it is those impurities or imperfections that are essential for individualism and consequently they reflect Real Beauty.

Real beauty isn’t a fantasy, it’s not about trying to escape from reality; it is about acceptance, confidence, empathy and love. What I’m saying is: to be beautiful, you don’t have to be perfect – and neither does a haircut.

Maybe photographs should carry a Photoshop health warning? Patently I support the anti-airbrushing campaign and the campaign for real beauty – in the meantime, here is a handy tool to Authenticate Your Photos – izitru.com via Hany Farid.

Turkish Contemporary Artist Sukran Moral

Sukran Moral - ArtistThe Artist – Şükran Moral 1994
Photograph courtesy of Sukran Moral

The Lovely Irmak Yenisehirlioglu tweeted a link to Sukran Moral’s ‘My Pain My Rebellion’ exhibition at the KODE Art Museums of Bergen (30th October 2015 – 28th March 2016) (wish I could afford to get there and see it), I followed it and I was enthralled. And I searched Google and I read and I was held captive by Sukran Moral’s art.

As a hairdresser I am interested in feminism, I’m a feminist! There is nothing odd about that, I’ve been working with and for women for many years – Those of you who know me very well, will also know that I’m a keen artist: my themes being: change, religion, feminism, misogyny and memory.

My next sculpture will be a portrait of the artist Şükran Moral (pronunciation Shukran), there will be reference to the crucifixion, FGM and how I feel about the way women are being treated by Islamic State (IS) – which in my humble opinion, reflects much of what Sukran Moral is about, I’ll do some research first ;-) x

Şükran Moral (Wiki) is a Turkish contemporary artist, she’s powerful and political, thought provoking, edgy and comes with a parental advisory warning label – I like that!

#NeonMoonGirl Neon Moon Girl

I came across an interesting project on Twitter then Kickstarter called Neon Moon Girl which is a British feminist lingerie brand that’s empowering women in all phases of womanhood.

Founded by Hayat Rachi, you can follow Neon Moon on Twitter @NeonMoonCo and also on the hashtag: #NeonMoonGirl.

I hope Slink Magazine discover Neon Moon – Here’s a related article I wrote a while back: A Plus-Sized Woman’s Hour

A Plus-Sized Woman’s Hour – Slink Magazine

Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine & Robyn Lawley | Vogue Italia Giugno | Published: 03/06/2011Plus-size models: Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine & Robyn Lawley. Vogue Italia Giugno Published: 03:June:2011 – Credits: Photography: Steven Meisel. Styling: Edward Enninful. Hair: Guido Palau. Make-up: Pat McGrath. Production: Sarah Maxwell.

I was driving down to Andover last Friday (23:01:2015) and as per usual I’m listening to BBC Radio 4; the beautiful, dulcet tones of Jenni Murray (extremely cuddly) and Woman’s Hour fill the air.

Jenni introduces the editor of the new Slink Magazine, Rivkie Baum (very cuddly) (Slink Magazine is the UK’s first plus-size fashion magazine) and Dr Orla Flannery (cuddly) a weight management expert from the University of Chester! I’m driving, listening to the chatter, when I’m slightly confused by the explanation of ‘model’s dress sizes!’ Yeah, don’t forget I’m driving!

A size 12 is a ‘plus-size’ model?

Fact: a size 12 is a plus-size model – I’m not disputing that! However, I always thought it was size 14! Call me old fashioned! <Lots of exclamation marks>

© Model: Persephone, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian RobsonPersephone – Height: 5’10 Bust: 33 Waist: 23 Hips: 34 Dress size: 10-12

Chris Roberts and I (1981) had just been up to Nevs models, on the King’s Road, and we were sitting in the Picasso Café having a beer, plotting our next move, when he pulled out the latest copy of Vogue Italia. He pointed out a fashion spread where some very young girls had been used as the models. I hated it, and said I hope this is not the future. Sizes ‘zero’ and ‘double zero’ were not being articulated at the time, however, everyone in the business was aware of the trend towards ultra thin models. For me, too thin and too young seemed offensive, disgusting and obscene.

The point is, in reality women were/are getting bigger! A typical model, Persephone, whose vital statistics in 1981 were: height: 5’10, bust: 33, waist: 23, hips: 34, was a dress size of 10 to 12, but today she would be a 4 to 6 or a USA size 0-ish!

Models are required to be tall (5’10-ish) and thin because clothes hang/look better on thin people! <more exclamation marks> We’re talking about the fashion industry here, not reality. It’s all about sales – maybe that should say money? Catwalk and photographic models are usually dress size 6 to 8, however, the UK national average dress size (in 2013) was/is about a size 16 (the basic range goes from sizes 4 to 28 – just in case you didn’t know).

Slink Magazine should reflect The Dove Campaign for Real BeautySlink Magazine should reflect The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Women, as we all know, come in all shapes and sizes; girls especially, have a lot of unnecessary body image pressures on them – pressure that is meted out by many different industries. While Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry behave like ‘Porn Stars,’ young girls are being bullied and teased because of the way they look!

Fat-positive feminists promote acceptance for women of all sizes; is SLiNK magazine a supporter of ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’ by Susie Orbach? I hope so. For me, the acceptability of obesity has got to be balanced with health awareness, however, self-confidence and an end to food anxieties and faddy dieting, in my view, is a goal worth fighting for.


Footnote: if one searches for plus size models on Google, they’re mostly in lingerie! Why is that Slink Magazine?

Aleah Chapin’s Hannah

Aleah Chapin's Hannah

Hannah – Oil on canvas, 66 x 66 inches by Aleah Chapin

Born in 1986, Chapin now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

I love Aleah Chapin’s (@aleahchapin) slightly controversial, raw, realistic paintings of nude older women; especially this one, lovely hair.

Unfortunately I missed her latest London exhibition at the Flowers Gallery, ‘Maiden, Mother, Child and Crone’ – Aleah Chapin knocks Lucian Freud into a cocked hat ~ Anyway, it’s always great to see flesh that hasn’t been photoshopped!

I couldn’t obtain permission to reproduce the artwork above because Aleah did not reply to my Facebook message! So I hope it’s okay Aleah.

A Contemporary Caliphate

It was a BBC Asian Network documentary by Catrin Nye – @CatrinNye and Athar Ahmad – @AtharAAhmad entitled: Caliphate? What an Islamic state means to British Muslims that sparked this blog post, A Contemporary Caliphate. Seven British Muslims of different sects debated on air whether a Caliphate is needed in the twenty-first century – also, it just so happens that I’m currently reading T. E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom.” BTW, I agreed with Mina Topia’s opinion!

You should be able to hear it here: Islamic State: Young British Muslims debate Caliphate

The Caliphate of the Turkish Ottoman Empire ended in 1922 with the last Sultan and Caliph, Mehmed VI, being exiled to Malta. And thus the Republic of Turkey was born! Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of modern day Turkey, attempted to Europeanise Turkey! He: liberated Turkey after world war one. founded the Independent Republic replacing Sultans and Monarchy. secularized the overall state. created a modern bureaucracy. created a modern secular education system and abolished non-governmental educational institutions. introduced the Latin alphabet (from Arabic). created a base for modern industry. gave women the right to vote. banned the Fez and set up many governmental institutions. To say that he was totally-fucking-awesome is an understatement. I love Atatürk’s motto, “peace at home, peace in the world.” I am a Kemalist.

The Islamic State (IS), formerly known as: the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), formerly known as: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s homies, formerly known as: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s Bitches, formerly known as: al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), are a terrorist group of barbaric murdering and raping bastards. They will fail in their quest to set-up a Caliphate because of: modern world thinking. religious differences within Islam. oil. And, national sovereignty – IS are living in an historically obsessed, idealistic dream world.

Muslims in Whitechapel, East London

Muslim ladies in Whitechapel, East London – Via: Mehdi Hasan: We Mustn’t Allow Muslims in Public Life to be Silenced

Nuns from St Joseph's Convent, Leeds. Photograph: Marcin Mazur CCN

Nuns from St Joseph’s Convent, Leeds. Photograph: Marcin Mazur CCN – Via: Young nuns go for life with the vow factor – The Guardian

If I was to walk down the high street of our small Berkshire village, here in the U.K., and bump into a Muslim woman wearing a hijab (a veil/headscarf that covers the head and chest), or a Catholic nun in traditional habit, I would smile and nod and think kindly of their religious commitment. However, should I be walking through the beautiful streets of Üsküdar (on the Anatolian side of the Bosporus and my wife’s home town in Istanbul, Turkey), where most woman are wearing at least a headscarf, I would be thinking, “these women are oppressed.” …Maybe I’m wrong to be thinking like that? But it seems like Atatürk’s vision of the future, a secular modern Turkey, is slipping, sliding back into the past?

I’m a Feminist – yeah, guys can be feminists too you know! In fact, I’d say all blokes should be feminists. A male feminist can be a lot like a reformed smoker – FERVENT (maybe that should be: religious – ha ha) ‘holier-than-thou,’ hypocritically virtuous! And then again, maybe sex gets in the way, or we realise that people are not equal in many ways and that it’s not just about gender! Maybe, actually, I’m a Humanist? Anyway, I believe that everyone should be treated equally. So what pisses me off is, when I see a woman who’s wrapped up like an Eskimo, walking behind her husband who’s dressed like a fucking gigolo – where’s the equality in that? – “It’s time to burn the headscarf” quoted from: Fashion, Politics and a Turkish Rebellion.

Turkey’s president: Erdogan on top | The Economist

Turkey’s president Erdogan on top – Erdogan is the real New Sultan/Caliph – Via: It would be better for Turkey if the presidency remained mainly ceremonial – The Economist

It seems to me that the real Contemporary Caliphate is Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of Turkey? And that the Muslim Brotherhood is the inspiration and driving force. However, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed in Egypt – and that’s my point really, it’s that old Shia Vs. Sunni nut again!

I’m an Atheist. In what holy scripture, written by God, does it say that it’s okay to kill, especially children? Surely humanity itself is our leading source of morality; at what point in our world’s history has God ever intervened (to stop any slaughter)?

It’s time for peace in our time.

#PutChildrenFirst – I love this photo

 I love this photo of Koo

I love this photo of of my wife Koo aged ten

This is a lovely picture of my wife Koo (aged 10) winning a gymnastics award. Her first sport was gymnastics and her favourite gymnast was the Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci.

Koo’s eldest brother (Bulent) was walking in her home town Uskudar, (Istanbul, Turkey) and saw a sign that said they were registering gymnasts for a newly opened sport center. He put her name down, without asking her, and took her to her first gymnastics class.

I’ve always thought of her as the “Sparrow from Uskudar” – Olga Korbut, but she doesn’t even know who Olga is!

ALWAYS #PutChildrenFirst

Look Good At Interviews

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Campaign for Real Beauty

Sali Hughes – @salihughes, a prolific and talented writer, broadcaster and blogger (who I follow on Twitter BTW), Tweeted:

I was immediately transported back to my school days and our ridiculous careers advice officer. He looked like the cross between a 1960s Russian spy, a lowly civil servant, a bundle of old rabbit tweed socks and Johnny Morris (of Animal Magic fame. A BBC Bristol children’s series running from 1962-1983). My older sister was the first to encounter him. “What do you want to do when you leave school?” he asked in the voice of a hamster. “I want to be a primary school teacher,” replied my sister. “Well, I don’t think you should set your goals too high; I would advise you to apply to Woolworths,” he said in the voice of Dotty the Lemur. My sister came home crying, distraught at the thought of her miserable future. “I told him I want to be a primary school teacher and I’m Going to BE a Fucking primary school teacher,” she sobbed and screamed petulantly. Brilliant. Obviously the careers advice officer was using reverse psychology; there he sat like a sack of King Edward spuds, but with the psychological profile of every child in the school at his fingertips. Evidently against my sister’s name they had, belligerent bitch, use reverse psychology! And of course it worked, she became a fucking primary school teacher! Against my name they had, Dreamer – tell him what he wants to hear! He was such a Tosser. However, that is still a long way from being told you look like a sexual predator. Was she, the careers teacher in question, overcome with political correctness (like I am) and didn’t know how to articulate her feelings? Did she just want to say, “No one is going to employ you looking like that, you silly little tart.” …Well it had to be said! Maybe the careers teacher was actually trying to help? It’s not usually straightforward, there is normally another side to the story – I’d like to hear it. ROGUE by Rihanna - sexually suggestive perfume ad.

ROGUE by Rihanna – sexually suggestive perfume ad. Pushing boundaries?

Here in the United Kingdom, we do live in an over sexualised world, just look at the latest erotic advertisement for Rihanna’s new perfume Rogue. It has been banned in the UK from areas where children are likely to see it – That’s going to work! Anyway, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled:

“While we did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, we considered that Rihanna’s pose, with her legs raised in the air, was provocative. Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.”

Children, girls especially, have a lot of unnecessary body image pressure on them – pressure that is meted out by many different industries. While Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry behave like ‘Porn Stars’ (it’s crazy, why do we let them corrupt our society?), young girls are being bullied and teased because of the way they look! As The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty says, “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” …And I think they should also say, “Where Confidence Is The Source Of Beauty.” Most People Are Beautiful. Here is my Hairdresser’s Tip of how to look for an interview: It’s all about projecting the Real You and a positive first impression – we all have different personas, but true beauty comes from within. Your look should fit the interview, if it’s the school careers teacher, well polished smart casual and following the school uniform policy to the letter. Generally speaking: a smart dark suit with hemline low enough so you can sit down comfortably, and with conservative shoes to match. Jewellery should be kept simple and not overtly distracting. Obviously a professional hairstyle – the key to your hair looking really good is the haircut! The goal is to be comfortable and natural, after getting your hair cut professionally you should easily be able to present a neat and polished look. If you’ve got difficult hair, it may be a good idea to get a blow dry the day before. Keeping the hair away from the face with a ponytail or a simple sleek chignon is a good idea for long hair. Keep the make-up looking chaste and the perfume sparingly light. All that said, why would anyone call a Normal Young Person a sexual predator, the phrase has such vile connotations and symbolism associated with it? Horrid.

[Edit] Just seen a picture of the young girl in question, she looks like you’d expect, Really Lovely (thought I’d share it with you) – good luck to her :-) xXx