On feminism, embodiment, Gone Girl + identity

I first started writing this post in July when I was knee deep in my embodiment – technology project. Embodiment absolutely fascinates me. Assuming you’re over the whole Cartesian mind-body issue, embodiment is simply the process of living in the body, a body which is more than just our biology. This is a particularly salient idea in social psychology, as theorists argue that since we cannot seperate ourselves from our bodies, we can only relate to other people through them. Therefore, if our bodies, identities, and social worlds are inextricably linked, it is possible that by changing our bodies, we can change how we feel about ourselves, our roles in society, and how we are perceived by others; all of which are aspects of identity. (Some very cool people are actually looking into the plasticity of the self through changes of the body.)

So it is hardly surprising that people use their bodies as identity projects (aka body projects) in order to express a specific identity and lifestyle-the body is both something we are AND something we have.  The easiest way to express individuality, aspirations, and group affiliations is through fashion (although exercise is also a popular), which also explains the proliferation of makeover shows; people genuinely believe changing how you look can and will change your life. In truth, there is something to be said about how clothing affects your success.  Unsurprisingly, your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your financial success, authority, trustoworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion. Hence why alternative schools of thought offer courses that allow for working on changing perceptions from the outside – in, and why top television programs are so fashion-focused. Professor Karen J. Pine even wrote a book about it and gathered some interesting research-based facts about fashion psychology. That said, I have come to the fairly obvious realization that clothing and shopping no longer play the same status role in my life that they used to, and therefore, matter less to me.

Far more interesting are extreme body projects, as well as the subversive and pervasive effects of… talking.

First, extreme body projects. One of the most reknown body projects is that by Michael Jackson. M

Michael-Jackson-Plastic-Surgery-Before-After

Michael Jackson used the latest technologies in plastic surgery to blur the lines of his sex, ethnicity, race, and age. As the technologies improved, the more he was able to do to alter his appearance. His actions were both socially rooted and had social effects in how he was percieved. It is widely argued that he changed his body because of personal eccentricity, but also because of racialised power relations current in Western society at the time. Body projects are typically the result of a move to regain control over one’s life as well as to defy ideas about what normal is by challenging the roles society has assigned. But are such expressions of individuality truly the result of free will? Or do they occur as the result of social pressures?

This brings us to talking. By talking, I mean discourse, which is written and spoken communication whereby meaning is constructed, rather than pre-existing (as defined by Michel Foucalt and discursive psychologists everywhere). In other words, discursive psychologists believe that joint meaning is constantly being constructed through talk. So an ‘embodied self’ is a ‘social body’ (aka an organic object of discourse). According to discursive psychologists, body projects reflect the pervasive influence of society. By simply defining what it means to have a ‘normal’ body, that definition becomes the truth.

Feminists are concerned with bodies.

feminism

They oppose the outdated yet sadly prevalent idea that man equals mind (rational, knowable) and woman equals body (irrational, unknowable). Elisabeth Grosz has fought this idea by comparing the corporeal feminism to a Mobius strip, which unites the inside with the outside,  never knowing where one ends and the other begins. She argues that the female body goes beyond biology once it becomes the site of psychological and social forces such as insight, reflection, drive, and agency; i.e., the very definition of embodiment. In the fight to empower women and their bodies, Susan Bordo has brought light to the contentious issue of female body image in discourse and the ‘tyranny of slenderness‘. We’ve all heard the argument about how unfair it is that the evolved definition of a sexy body has shifted from Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s to today’s physical ideal. According to Bordo, the media enforces that only young, athletic, slender bodies can be beautiful and happy, which also explains the prevalence in eating disorders amongst women. She claims that through anorexia and bulimia, women use extreme ways to voluntarily surveil themselves and to conform to patriarchal norms which dictate what standards of feminity are culturally acceptable. At the same time, it is also the way women are choosing to exert control over their lives given such conditions which they may feel powerless against.

Enter Gone Girl. By now I’m sure you’ve already read the “Cool Girl” rant somewhere, but just in case, here goes:

 Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)

- Gillian Flynn // Gone Girl

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Gone Girl reflects the current zeitgeist, where it seems that there is no better time for the #Heforshe campaign to be gaining traction. Sati on Cinematic Corner made some excellent points regarding the alleged misogyny of the film. I started copy/pasting quotes from the blog post to link to, but it would never do it justice. Just go read it.

We need scary women characters. Men hit women, cheat on women and frankly they are mouthier than ever nowadays. ‘Calm down’, ‘settle down’, ‘listen you bitch’ etc. They think if they hit their wives they will become submissive and afraid. Worse yet – they think that women SHOULD be afraid of men and should be submissive. They think it’s in woman’s nature to be submissive and fragile. And thanks to Gillian Flynn they can now see that sometimes woman’s nature is to be vindictive, righteous and very, very sly. There is nothing misogynistic in saying some women are evil. It would be misogynistic to say they are weak. And neither of the female characters in Gone Girl is weak.

-Sati // Cinematic Corner

And read the book.

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On the contributions of phenomenology + social psychoanalysis to social psychology

Various dimensions exist within social psychology that allow for a broader understanding of the relationship between individuals and their social environment. These are cognitive social (also referred to as experimental), discursive psychological, phenomenological, and social psychoanalytic perspectives. Whilst it is widely agreed that no single perspective is sufficient independently, each creates knowledge which can contribute to social psychology in a unique and distinct way. The basic idea is that the differences (uniqueness) of each approach, specifically in terms of ontology, methodology, and focus of analysis, are what give it value in a social psychological context. This essay will focus on the unique contributions phenomenology and social psychoanalysis make to social psychology. Starting with Wendy Hollway’s illustration on how different perspectives can approach a single phenomenon, various examples of research on emotions, such as love and hate, language, embodiment, and self will be used to demonstrate the use of the other two perspectives.

A good way to gain some understanding of how different perspectives produce different kinds of knowledge is to consider hate and love.

We will analyse an article published in The Guardian entitled ‘I will always hate you people’: a direct quote from the matriarch of an Iraqi family, Mrs. Izmerly, regarding the mysterious death of her husband during the British/American invasion. In this example, the overarching similarity between the social psychoanalytic and the phenomenological perspectives is in their authors’ reflexivity on their own feelings on the matter whilst reading the text. Rusell Spears aptly acknowledges the experimental perspective as ‘a different part of the jigsaw’, whereby the puzzle is made up of pieces of the other approaches, and recognizes the need to treat experiments ‘with interpretative care’ despite their ability to go beyond an individual’s conscious account.This is where the similarities seem to end.

The most obvious difference in perspectives is their methodologies: qualitative versus quantitative. Hollway argues in favor of qualitative methods against the prevailing social emphasis of ‘scientific’ approaches to understanding human behavior popularized by cognitive psychology’s zeitgeist, highlighting issues of control and therefore ecological validity. Whilst the experimental approach seeks to model social processes in order to control them in a laboratory setting, the phenomenological and psychoanalytical approaches seek ecological validity by eliciting experience via unstructured interview techniques in order to obtain elaborate narratives. This is not an unusual way to gain insight, given that how a person tells their story can shape their identity.

Another difference lies in the visibility of the object of analysis within each perspective. The phenomenological and psychoanalytical approach are both interested in emotions themselves, unlike the cognitive social approach, which is interested in causal relationships, and the discursive approach, which seeks explicit use of emotion words and outright rejects deeper interpretation. For example, the discursive approach takes the position that language creates meaning and is therefore a constituent of the self. Both the discursive and the psychoanalytical perspective takes this one step further and view language as the key way subjective experience is communicated (Hollway, 2012).

However, social psychoanalytic perspective goes beyond the surface of words used. In fact, it is argued that language can hinder communication, either as a result of unconscious processes (for example, an inability to express a feeling may be a defense against a painful memory), and because it is impossible to map language on to concepts absolutely perfectly. Whilst somewhat counterintuitive, language is where the psychoanalytical perspective can make a useful contribution to understanding an internal process. Consider also embodiment. Cartesian mind-body dualism has been central to psychodynamic theories, particularly in terms of psychosexual development. Repressed feelings may manifest as physical symptoms, thus giving weight to the intersubjectivity of the body in other perspectives, such as phenomenology, whereby paying attention to the body can reveal a wealth of information in terms of both consciousness (subjective body versus bodily self-conscious) as well as a body-world interconnection. This directly contrasts with discursive psychologists, who believe body projects, and therefore identity, reflect society’s influence in terms of how meaning is built.

Even in this split, there are differences; the phenomenological approach is interested in revealing (making visible) emotions through elaborate descriptions which contain the emotions people are aware of, whilst the psychoanalytical perspective seeks to understand underlying (invisible) unconscious dynamics and motivations. In the example of The Guardian headline, Hollway considers her own subjective response when deciding how to frame her research question so as to understand what ‘hate you people’ really means. The interpretation cannot by its nature remain neutral as it carries the meanings and associations within the unconscious dynamic of the researcher. By extension, this perspective can only be applied as a clinical method rather than a research method, so as to extrapolate theoretical understandings of hatred to reach conclusions about Mrs. Izmerly’s experience, emotions, and how they are unique to her. Interestingly, phenomenology is “one of the few theoretical perspectives in social psychology that does not shy away from hate, understands it and takes it seriously” . Like the phenomenological approach, the psychoanalytical perspective focuses on the person who speaks, rather than on the words themselves, as per discursive psychology. According to Edwards, discourse analysis is more appropriate within a specific context.

The phenomenological approach is interested in the human experience behind the headline, according to Langdridge. By attempting to understand the many levels within an article and its headline, Langdridge seeks to understanding the hatred being felt by focusing on the story of the family living the shadow of the conflict in Iraq. Eliciting descriptions, as mentioned earlier, is essential in order to understand experiences and the breadth of human emotion. To do so requires epoché, such that it is possible. This type of descriptive analysis is useful in finding both consistencies and variations across narratives, thereby providing deeper ‘anecdotal’ insight which could be used to find causal relationship through the use of cognitive social methodologies. Spears uses comparative modelling processes in studies of Schadenfreude to understand why/how the kind of hatred demonstrated by Mrs. Izmerly could occur, and is able to find that disempowering conditions of stable low status (and hopelessness) are tied to more aggressive forms of discrimination, as epitomized by The Guardian article headline.

In understanding ‘the self’ as some shifting position, involving both individual and social fields, the phenomenological perspective is useful in helping us understand the personal experience of a mental or physical illness, which contradicts or ignores the underlying unconscious aspects evident in a social psychoanalytic perspective. Comparing the phenomenological research of an Alzheimer’s sufferer against the social psychoanalytical perspective of a sick man, Vince, it is clear to see how an embodied experience can simultaneously be comprised of psychosomatic symptoms as a result of internal distress, which are hidden not only from the researchers view, but from the individual himself as well. In this way, ‘hidden’ aspects can be revealed.

The way perspectives complement each can easily be seen when it comes to studying love. Heafner, M. and Ijzerman take the cognitive social approach to understand, not how love is discovered and experienced, as per Finlay (pending), nor how it is maintained through dialogue but how it is regulated through cognitive mechanisms.

“People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. And I just simply say, “Hardly.” You can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and then when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy.”

-Helen Fisher, Feb 2008, TED

Essentially, this entire discussion is really a conversation about power-relations: which social psychological perspective has the upper hand. The indisputable truth is that they all allow us to have a wider appreciation of what it means to be human.

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Brown, J.C. (2006). Reflexivity in the Research process: psychoanalytic observations. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9, (3), 181-197

Finlay, L. and Langdridge, D. (2012) ‘Embodiment’ in Social Psychology Matters: Book 1, 2nd Edition, pp 199-224, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Finlay, L., V. Eatough (pending) A phenomenological approach to understanding the experience of discovering a kindred spirit connection, Phenomenology & Practice.

Heafner, M. and Ijzerman (2011) The Face of Love: Spontaneous accommodation as Social Emotion regulation, [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 37(12) 1551–1563.

Leslie, B., Morgan, M. (2011). Soulmates, Compatibility and intimacy: Allied discursive resources in the struggle for relationship satisfaction in the new millennium. New Ideas in Psychology, 29, 10–23.

Hollway, W. (2012) ‘Methods and Knowledge in social psychology’ in Social Psychology Matters: Book 1, 2nd Edition, pp 59-90, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Hollway, W. (2012) ‘Self’ in Social Psychology Matters: Book 1, 2nd Edition, pp 119-144, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

The Open University. (2014) Motzkau’s online commentary: The production of knowledge. Retrieved from DD307 2014B module website

(2008) Helen Fisher: The Brain in Love. Retrieved http://www.ted.com

On counting your blessings: September 2014

With a gasp, September was over. At least, that’s what it felt like. Out of the blue, I was left with only memories of summer.

PicMonkey Collage

I could still feel the water in Sounio and smell the Monoi Tahiti. I could still feel the wind in my hair as I drove down the coast. I didn’t write much. September was punctuated by interviews, songs, and a funeral.

PicMonkey Collage

🌻 Maida Vale mews 🌻that chill in the air, finally 🌻 Chelsea Creek 🌻The Waterway birthday brunch 🌻 Hastings Sea Food fair 🌻 chorizo 🌻 writing affirmations (they work!)🌻 Hatreds Old and New: Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia 🌻 surreal fairy tale living in Oxfordshire 🌻 Giselle ballet 🌻 poetry to celebrate life (below)🌻 Bermondsey street fair 🌻 10Q – answering life’s biggest questions 🌻say something 🌻 stay with me 🌻

Feel No Guilt in Laughter

Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.

-Unknown

🌻

We Let You Go

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go

Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go

Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go

We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go running home.

-Ruth Burgess

🌻

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What I Saw

The Goldbergs

What is wrong with my children? Why won’t they let me completely immerse myself in their lives?

-Mama Goldberg

 The Amazing Spiderman 2

Guardians of the Galaxy

Godzilla

 

What I Read

Does Grazia count?

 

What I Wrote

On woman in film by women

On social psychology case studies

On how shopping has a new definition for me

 

 

 

On how shopping has a new definition for me

Whenever I’m on Oxford Street, I do my usual thing. Walk from one end to the other via South Molton Street, and then return and end at Selfridges. Window shopping used to be my favorite way to spend my alone time when I was living in London. Actually it still kind of is, what with all of the wishlists I create on Asos, Net-a-Porter, and My-Wardrobe, not to mention specific sites I visit such as Reiss, All Saints, Cos, and & Other Stories (the last two represent a slow shift towards more sustainable brands). I love and crave clothes. But something was different today. For starters, the fact that I’m committing to only wearing black or white (with the occasional neutral thrown in for good measure – yes, blue is a neutral) means that I’m only looking at 50-60% of merchandise. Also, sequins do not thrill me as much as they used to, which apparently eliminates another 15%. Through all of my ritualistic sartorial experimentation, I’ve finally realised that I’m a minimalist. And I wonder why, given my ostentatious past stylings.

As I weaved through Miu Miu and Celine, it dawned on me that I’ve always treated clothes and shopping as a status symbol. It was the a-ha moment I didn’t see coming. When I was younger, I hungered for the clothes. I would get such strong pangs of desire to buy everything on the shelves, and I used to think it was a mark of a good life to be able to buy whatever clothes you please (don’t get me started on the underlying implication that only if you have money can you be anyone you want to be/yourself). I would measure my worth, my wealth, my very identity, by the clothes I was able to buy. The truth is, this doesn’t matter much anymore. This urge to fulfill myself through stylish self-expression was no longer present, because I feel fulfilled. I’m moving towards a more meaningful career, I know what I want, and I know what matters to me in my life. So yes, the clothes were beautiful, and my eye still appreciates an elegant Alaia dress, but I didn’t feel the need to have it as strongly. I didn’t feel deprived, and I didn’t feel that by not owning that dress, I was censoring some part of myself. I was me, with or without it.

I re-read that sentence and I realize how insane it sounds. I realize how weird and warped and wonderful (because it was wonderful, while I was living in it) my little universe was. In a broader sense, if like me you’ve felt perennially lost, it’s a strange feeling to realize you know yourself.

This post was meant to be about why I’m going to start dressing in only black and white, so that’s the note I’ll end on.

Dressing in black or white means I will always look smart and classic. (status)

It means that I would rather expend less energy on deciding what to wear and what to buy and IF to buy, and be successful instead. (success)

It means that I would have a curated closet. (prudence | luxury)

In the future, it may make more sense for me to walk through the park.

On Social Psychology Case Studies

(via)

Simone

When Simone was a baby her mother always hurried her feeds saying that she was a greedy baby who took up too much of mummy’s time. Mummy needed to get on with other things and would stop the feeds before Simone was full. Simone introjected an image of an impatient and withholding mother. Simone came to think unconsciously that her own needs were a real burden on other people and that having them would lead to people resenting her, that she demanded too much and would leave her unfulfilled and alone. As an adult she found it very difficult to trust that her needs where legitimate or would be accepted by people in her life and this made her act in very greedy and selfish ways.

- introjection of an internal ‘mother’ who is impatient and withholding

Ivy

Ivy, a middle-aged woman had been deaf for about 13 years. The condition had come on very suddenly when Ivy and her husband had been married for about 20 years. Doctors had never been able to establish the organic cause of Ivy’s deafness. As Ivy’s daughter had grown into adulthood she had become ever more acutely aware of the verbally bullying relationship her father had with her mother but she also knew that he looked after her mother and that her mother had learned to cope well with her deafness.  When Ivy’s daughter was in her mid 30s, her father died and she became very concerned about how to ensure her mother was ok and able to live on her own. A few months after the funeral the daughter went home to visit Ivy and was completely overcome with surprise to find that her mother (Ivy) could now hear perfectly well –it was as if she had never been deaf at all. After some work with an audiologist nurse and counsellor, Ivy came to think that her deafness was a way of avoiding contact with her husband whom she said she had found unbearable and no longer wanted to be with, but she felt she had no other way to escape. Her deafness had been the physical manifestation of a repressed feeling.

- an example of embodied repression of unconscious aggression

Ann

I set out to study the lived experience in multiple sclerosis and in my research I actually interviewed several people with multiple sclerosis. Now what was so striking was that they all had completely different stories, and I soon realised that actually it was not possible to do a study on this is what the experience of multiple sclerosis is like. It was clear to me that I needed to focus in on the individuals and kind of honour their story. And Ann was one of the individuals, and I thought she had a really important story to tell. In Ann’s interview she talked about having a numbness in her hands that had spread, spread up her arm, and then it subsided, leaving her with a little bit of numbness in her fingertips. And that’s pretty much all she had wrong in a way. And, and that was what I was thinking: well, it’s not that bad in, in the grand scheme of things. But of course I wasn’t setting aside my understandings of the medical condition not being so bad. Whereas really I needed to tune in to what Ann was feeling about this and what it meant to her. And she did something in the interview which just yanked me back to her life world and really showed, showed me, from her perspective, what it was about.

She, she described the sense of not being able to feel her babies skin properly, so that she could love them. And she did this gesture, this kind of embodied gesture, which just whoa, and I … and I suddenly got it. I suddenly realised what … whatever the medical status of her hand, that was really irrelevant. For her, having a little bit of numbness in her hand, meant that she couldn’t touch her babies. In medical terms her symptoms were relatively minor, but her entire world was derailed. One of the valuable things that has come out in my research with Ann is, is actually working with health professionals. They do exactly what I did, which is kind of thinking: oh well, she’s just got a little numbness in her fingers, no big deal. And then they switch off. And I say wait a minute, you’ve got a person there with a whole life, look at how her, her whole world has been disrupted. I think phenomenological research in general reminds the professionals to listen and hear what it is like for the individual.

- Dr. Linda Finlay on the phenomenological perspective

Bonus

Phun Phact: In psychodynamic theory the ‘ph’ in the spelling of phantasy denotes unconscious processes, whilst the ‘f’ in fantasy denotes conscious processes, such as day dreaming.

On Women in Film by Women

Helen Mirren

credit: Mike McGregor / Contour by Getty Images

I haven’t talked a lot about that. … Journalists have talked a lot about it to me … and I have always responded for the last 20 years with exactly the same response: “Don’t worry about roles in drama. That’s not your concern. Worry about roles for women in real life, because as night follows day, roles for women in drama will follow. And when you have a female president of America — which hopefully, maybe you will very soon — when you have female heads of hospitals, of legal firms, of schools, of universities, you will have roles for women in drama.”

And that has happened. That’s absolutely happened.

(NPR)

Geena Davis

Geena-Davis-geena-davis-19917591-1357-1650

There’s a very distinct message that we’re picking up – that writers find it very difficult to write female characters. We had a forum at the Animator’s Guild a number of years ago, and we were talking about this, and one of the fellas, ’cause most of them were guys – 17% are women in the Animator’s Guild – said you know we would love to add more female characters but we can’t because they’re so boring. And we were like really? They are? Aren’t you writing them? It turned out what he meant was if there’s a female character, they’re scared to make her clumsy or dumb or unattractive or have any flaws, because then you’re saying: this is what I think of women. But, that’s only if you have one! Then people might say yeah, hey, come on, what are you saying? But if there was half female characters, you can make them any which way. That’s where we have to get to, where the female characters are as colourful and interesting and messed up as the male characters. I’m really against the idea of role models, per se.  I mean there should be role models because they’re in charge of their life and their messing up like anybody would.

(Makers)

Reese Witherspoon

kinopoisk.ru

The ideas of what a woman can and can’t do on film have really changed, and I think that’s in great part thanks to wonderful female writers like Lena Dunham, who tell very honest stories and explore female sexuality without shame. Just recently, I saw Jenny Slate in Obvious Child — so great — and I love characters like that who are that unapologetic and realistic. Even Bridesmaids changed the landscape of what we can see a female lead doing in a film. I’m just excited to be a part of it. I’ve never seen a film like Wild where the woman ends up with no man, no money, no family, no opportunity, but she still has a happy ending.

(Vulture)

 

 

On counting your blessings: August 2014

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August was a tricky month. When I had an office job, August was the summer’s raison d’etre. It used to mean taking time off work, lazy summer days of sunbathing and sea-dipping, dancing at panigyri until the wee hours of the morning, and at least one ceremony. It is the Sunday of summer, my favorite day, and I don’t know what it means any more. This year was the first time in my life that I didn’t go to Chios, my island. It was the first and only year of my life that I missed panigyri. But I really got a chance to appreciate central Athens, in it’s quiet air and tourist bustle. Monastiraki Square is where it’s heart beats.

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 Lazy summer days, sea-dipping, dancing, and ceremonies abounded, and I’m glad I got to close off the summer celebrating with people I love and new friends. Besides… it’s not like I didn’t get to go anywhere.

PicMonkey Collage

And now it’s time to buckle down and start getting serious about what I want to be doing with my time. Whilst I do, I’ll have many things I can look back on and smile with.

🌻 staying at the Sani resort was like a little mini-break to Monte Carlo 🌻 being inspired by my Russian (yet again) and spending time with her wonderful little babes 🌻 discovering Pantone has an Instagram account!🌻 IMDB watch lists – I can’t believe I didn’t know this existed 🌻 being able to run 1k non stop 🌻 my new shades 🌻 finding peace in black + white 🌻 refuge in the shade 🌻 tan lines 🌻 energetic conversations about the world + strong women 🌻 dogs + cats + conspiracies 🌻 meditation 🌻 afternoon naps 🌻 overhearing Maraveyas in the distance 🌻 summer storms 🌻 beet root 🌻 talking child psychology 🌻 Champagne breakfasts🌻 garden coffees with future mothers 🌻 Stress Lab 🌻 warm summer air on my bare skin 🌻 dusk🌻 dirty souvlaki🌻 silences between words🌻 molecular cocktails at Momix🌻 this visual poem 🌻 mini ice cream cones 🌻 outdoor cinemas 🌻 indian food 🌻 being missed in Kards🌻 putting myself out there 🌻 Mykonos light 🌻 finding out Ancient Greece was covered in lions + panthers 🌻 Delos 🌻 sibling love 🌻 “we all have the same issues” 🌻 driving with the roof down 🌻 catching up with my Sunshine who is back in town!🌻 shout-outs🌻 meeting a  fellow career changer at last (!) 🌻 wine until 2am🌻 Gordon + Victor = BFF aka frenchie love forever 🌻 laughing so hard I can’t breath 🌻 love, in all it’s forms🌻 ceremonies 🌻 Coco’s affection 🌻 compliments + artful dresses 🌻 catching the bouquet – I can cross this off my list of things I never planned to do🌻 hilarious drunkeness with lively New Yorkers🌻 catching up w my Gold and her Midas🌻 glitter in the water🌻 poolside living🌻 meeting new people 🌻

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What I Saw

Parks + Recreation

The Leftovers

Uprising: Hip Hop and the LA Riots

22 Jump Street

The Two Faces of January

Moonrise Kingdom

Hercules

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (love!)

The Princess and the Frog

What I Read

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

What I Wrote

On the best: Freddo Cappucino in Glyfada

On building identity through communication

On how adult personal development is affected by significant others – a thematic analysis

On the place of anonymity in theories of crowd behavior + associations with ‘loss of self’

On trait theory vs personal construct theory

On observing the brain + Phineas Gage

On small announcements: Stress Lab

On memory research + insider/outsider viewpoints

On Disney, princesses, fan art + some psychology