How to Make Yourself Look Less Hung over

We all know that feeling. You have been rudely awaken by the harsh tones of an alarm clock after having next to no sleep and realise that in twenty minutes you have to be presentable. Whether you are going to work or a lecture, to see your tutor or a brunch date, it doesn’t change the fact that you look like death warmed up and dragged through a field. So what can you possibly do in a short amount of time to remedy the situation?

  • Drink a litre of water. Let’s rewind. It’s the night before you became the monster of the morning after and you haven’t gone to bed yet. Not only will drinking water make the next morning a little easier to take headache-wise, it will drastically improve the look of your skin. Dehydration leaves the skin looking dry and flaky and if alcohol is involved, chances are it will be a whole lot worse.
  • Take off your makeup. Preferably do this the night before, but even if you forget, make sure to do this before you leave the house. Smears of mascara under the eyes are a massive giveaway to the reality of your fragile state, so get rid of them.
  • Don’t reapply your makeup. It may seem like a good idea to cover your entire face with products in the hope that you will mask how you are really feeling, but this is not a good idea. Instead, ditch the concealer and give your face some time to breathe and recover. If you really can’t bare the idea of going makeup free, apply a thin layer of tinted moisturizer like this one from No7. Its lightweight formula means that it won’t clog up your pores but it will cover those dark circles under your eyes.
  • Wear layers. Being extremely tired often goes hand in hand with feeling cold. Being extremely hung over often goes hand in hand with sweating. So, in an effort to combat both problems with a limited amount of time, wear layers that you can take off and replace as often as necessary. This could take the form of a shirt, tank top and cardigan; just remember to keep each layer light.
  • Sort out your hair, love. Nothing says hung over like frizzy, knotty hair that may or may not be stuck to your face. If you haven’t any time to wash the beast, arm yourself with some dry shampoo like this one from Batiste, and throw your hair up into a messy bun. Then thank the lord that this is a genuine trend, which you legitimately could have copied on purpose.

Disclaimer: this is not my usual sort of post; however I thought it was worth sharing as I spent a considerable part of this morning writing it for another site, only to realise that the task had already been snapped up. Sugar!

Books are for girls…and boys!

If you’ve ever studied literature, you’ll know that feminism and gender equality are among the favourite topics of academics. 

Almost every assignment I’ve ever been set has included an option to discuss women and how they are portrayed in texts, and I have not let one slip. I’ve written about sexism and sexuality, power and patriarchy, and lots more contained inside book covers. But I’d never thought much about the covers themselves. 

So you can imagine my conflict when asked to arrange the books at work into ‘Boys’ and ‘Girls’ sections. While this may be an effective sales technique, it went against everything I’ve ever written to exclude children from certain books, experiences and ideas based on their gender. And don’t even get me started on the colour of the ‘Girls’ section. (Clue: it wasn’t imaginative.)

Gender-based marketing is happening all over, especially for children’s products. Dolls and beauty products are often labelled ‘Girls toys’, whereas boys are directed towards action figures and cars. All this does is reinforce gender stereotypes that are not helpful or progressive.

Unfortunately I was unable to change the display. However, I would always encourage any child to be curious about books, games or toys that are not marketed for their gender. Adult fiction is not separated into ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ and neither should children’s fiction be separated so. If I want to read a book covered with pictures of creepy-crawlies, computers, and cars, I jolly well will.

Amsterdam: the women behind the Red Lights

Amsterdam has for a long time been the favourite destination of stags, hens and students to let their hair down by drinking, getting high and maybe even doing some ‘window shopping’. Equally, the spectacle of prostitution in this city has long since become a bit of a joke.

Before going to Amsterdam I was of course aware of the infamous Red Light district, but the reality of the situation didn’t really hit me until it was there, only metres away. From my hostel window I could see three red-light houses; two of which were adorned with women in their underwear, waiting to be bought. Seen purely as a decorative, sexual commodity, these women posed for most of the evening without getting as much as a stare from some tourists. So the situation turned desperate. One woman actually ventured onto the street outside, which is where UK law draws the line, so I turned and tried to forget what I had seen.

However, that was impossible. So, being rather ignorant about the legality of the sex industry in the Netherlands, I decided to do some research. Aside from the fact that prostitution itself and operating a brothel is legal over there (the latter is illegal in the UK), I happened upon the Prostitution Information Centre which, written by former sex-worker Mariska Majoor, defends the practice of prostitution in Amsterdam. It actually claims that the workers want to sell themselves and deserve more respect as professionals.

Whilst I agree that they deserve more respect, I would argue that it should be in deciding with whom they spend the night, because, as it stands, if you can afford a prostitute, you can have her. The only conceivable reason for the workers wanting to sell themselves is the sickening idea ingrained in some societies that women are better off being used by men because they have nothing more to offer in the workplace. Do these girls actually want to sleep with each letch that comes up with the money? Of course not. But they have been convinced that this is their best career choice, and the PIC even suggests that this is empowering; working within the patriarchal structure of society in order to exploit it – for what? Money? Disease? Abortion? Rape? Trafficking? Worse?

The site argues that legalising this practice makes it safer for the workers because unsafe prostitution exists anyway. While this may be true, who knows how much abuse of these women goes under the radar because of their position as sex-objects, even where prostitution is legal?

I think it is important that we ask these questions and consider the women and (undoubtedly) children involved, because, as the PIC says, they do deserve more respect. And whilst it might be more visible in Amsterdam, we also need to consider the unseen sex-workers in every city because ultimately, nobody should be bought.