World Cup 2015: Why We Can’t Celebrate Equality In Football Just Yet

On Sunday 5th July 2015, a record number of viewers in America turned on the TV to watch a football match. By 8.30pm, a reported 22 million people tuned in across the States to watch their home team play Japan in what was an impressive final, with the final result seeing the U.S beat Japan 5-2.

Morgan Brian

So, women getting the highest ever ratings in the U.S for a football game out of both male and female tournaments seems like we’re heading towards the direction of women’s football being considered as interesting and worthy as men’s, right? Well, yes and no. Such a strong amount of interest being shown is a brilliant indicator for the amount of respect women’s football and sport in general has gained. However, it is soon tarnished and overshadowed by some rather startling events. The first being that Sunday night’s winning team received just a quarter of the amount of dollars that the U.S men’s team received in the World Cup.

Say what?!

You heard me right, Bey. FIFA awarded the U.S Women’s Football team with $2 million for their World Cup victory. That’s a boat-load of money, I hear you say. Enough money, in fact, to buy 160, 263 jars of Nutella (not just the normal-sized ones either but those big ones you want to drown in whenever you see them at a crêpe stall). Enough money, even, to buy 801 pug puppies (imagine) or 106,842 months of Netflix.

All. That. Netflix.

So, yes $2 million is definitely a nice sum of money to receive. BUT, something is definitely up when a winning female football team only gets a quarter of the sum of money a male football team gets for getting booted out (sorry ’bout that pun) in the first round. Whilst the U.S. women came away with the title of World champion on Sunday night, their male collective counterpart made a World Cup exit in the initial rounds of the tournament. And yet, the male team received $8 million.

You serious?

So, $8 million to the men for coming 16th, and $2 million to the women for winning and becoming world champions? Huh. It doesn’t matter how many times you say it, it still doesn’t make sense. Believe me, I’ve repeated it in disbelief all day. Just the other day I was reading comments on an article reporting a cafe’s decision to only charge women 77% of the bill to highlight the gender pay gap and saw endless comments on how the gender pay gap was just a myth, some creation of militant feminist propaganda. Well, in case you needed any hard proof that in some industries at least, women still have a long way to go before they earn the same as men, here it is in the form of that credible organisation we all know and love, FIFA. Yes, men’s football brings in more revenue for FIFA currently but there’s a blindingly obvious reason as to why. FIFA invests much more money into men’s football – the Cayman Islands (home to just 58,435 people and a team who have never actually made it to the World Cup) are being given over $2 million by FIFA to fund efforts in their men’s team.

f u pay me

As if that wasn’t enough to make it clear that women still have a long way to go before they achieve the status of credibility they deserve in the world of football, the England Women’s team were welcomed home by this message from their FA.

HOLD ON. England’s Women’s Football team made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup. England’s Men’s squad haven’t made it that far in the entire time I’ve been alive (I join the twenties club on Friday) – and would you ever see them described as ‘going back to being fathers, partners and sons’ whenever they fly home to a disappointed and entirely unsurprised crowd at Heathrow?

That’ll be a nope

That’s right, Bey. When our male footballers are celebrated, they are celebrated as being just that; footballers, athletes. But this tweet from the FA creates the image that the women’s team have had their fun for a couple of weeks in Canada and now they can get back to their ACTUAL jobs; getting married and making dem babies. The female squad isn’t going to hang up their boots and disappear into societal gender roles resembling the 1950s just because the TV coverage they’ve had in the World Cup is going to suddenly diminish again.

Whilst viewer stats and the general public has shown a definite increase in interest towards female football, we clearly have a long way to go before the organisations making the decisions in the industry make a serious effort to give women’s football the credibility, funding and status it deserves.



Film review: Gravity

Picture from http://thespoilist.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Gravity-1.jpg

Hey blog you lovely little thing, it’s been a while.

So, recently I’ve really got into film and considered going into film journalism. That was, until I realised I can’t summarise a film plot any better than Nick Clegg can keep his promises or John Tavolta can read names off an auto cue (if you haven’t already seen it, click here and cringe). Instead, when trying to describe the plot of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats to good friend Beth Massey, it came out something like…

“…from what I remember when I watched it as a kid, it was just a bunch of cats, singing about being a cat and stuff. And then there’s this one cat whose like, a magical cat…”

It’s safe to say that my film reviewing is in the same boat as Pitbull being played on the radio – it doesn’t sound great and probably shouldn’t happen. Nevertheless, I have decided to make a long overdue return to blogging with my ‘alternative’ film reviews, purely for your amusement/bemusement (circle those that apply). Every time I watch a film, a somewhat succinct and certainly unique summary will be uploaded right here. If you’re a fan of Empire-style, in-depth reviews, continuing to read these posts may offend/upset you. If you’re already in the cinema and need a quick summary to decide whether to see a certain film / don’t deal well with lots of information in your head at once / need something short and lighthearted to read on the toilet, this is for you.

I start with the film that won more awards this year than Beyonce won girl crushes by looking like a mermaid goddess at the Brits. It’s Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity (2013)…

Budget: *the cost of several world cruises for a family of twelve

Box office gross: **enough to take the population of Belgium on a Virgin Galactic trip to space

You should see this film if…

  • You enjoyed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (it was directed by the same guy)
  • You’re really down to earth

Plot summary:

This woman floats around for a couple of hours in a Ghostbusters outfit, but she’s not at a fancy dress party, for most of the film she’s by herself and it’s like she turned up to an event that was cancelled and never got the memo, and she’s wandering round in a fluster wondering where everyone went. For a while it gets really cold and then George Clooney comes along and makes the heating come on again, you know like when your boiler breaks down and you have to wait around for the repair man to come, except it’s never George Clooney, it’s some balding Yorkshire-man whose just waiting for his lunch break when he can buy a Gregg’s chicken and vegetable pasty. And then there’s this giant snow globe in the background that doesn’t really do much, it just kind of sits there and all the snow’s stuck at the top and the bottom. Probably one of those cheap presents that comes out of a Christmas cracker and you know as soon as you pull the cracker open you’re going to have something that’s already broken but you still say “ooooh how useful!” before shoving it into a drawer with the clip-on tape measure that doesn’t clip on that you got last Christmas, and the little plastic thing you’re not really sure how to use you got the year before.

Stay tuned for the next installment, a review of The Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men (2007).

*estimated budget may not be factually accurate

**estimated box office gross may not be factually accurate


Summer Boredom Busters

yawning is danger!

Fred wished he’d read Khadija’s list to save himself from fatal boredom

That’s it. I am officially free from A levels. Never again will I have to write about biological explanations for obesity or evaluate the different explanations for sleeping disorders (yay). It’s the three month break every A level student can’t wait for as they tear their hair out in the middle of exam season and begin to accept failure and consider careers as a stripper/submarine chef/shark tank cleaner. And yet with freedom appears to come boredom. Whilst I was still revising for my last exam, several people had already finished theirs and were tweeting about how bored they were now they had no revision to do. Madness! I thought. It’s been almost three weeks now since I finished my last exam and I still haven’t had a day with nothing to do (my room is incredibly messy). However, I have compiled a list of boredom busters for those summer days stuck indoors with nothing to do but watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians re-runs (it gets really tense sometimes – will Khloe pick Starbucks or Caribou Coffee for her iced latte? Who knows!) So next time you find yourself enjoying an episode of Homes Under The Hammer at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon, fear not, Khadija has a list to save you.

1) Search your belly button for the lost city of Atlantis.

2) Learn to play the tambourine until you can play it better than any m****** f***** has ever played it before.

3) Make a hilarious dating profile on a dating website.

4) Adopt a llama. Find your soul mate right here http://www.llama-rama.co.uk/Adopt-a-Llama.html

5) Take your llama for regular walks and romantic picnics under starlight

6) Go to Subway. Answer every question with yes. “Which bread would you like?” “Yes.” You might be there a while.

7) Find some face paints. Buy a ginger kitten. Download the Circle of Life from iTunes. You know where to go from here.

8) Buy a pug. Put it in a yoda costume (like this). Be entertained.

9) Clean the poop from around your house excreted by all the animals on this list before your house smells funky.

10) Meditate until you reach enlightenment. Or until you get pins and needles.


Creme Eggs and Christmas

So it’s nearly the end of January and I still haven’t wished my blog a Happy New Year. Happy New Year!

It probably feels like a million lightyears have passed since you were shoving down brussel sprouts at the only time of year it is acceptable to eat a vegetable that tastes like farts (only gravy will make those little green turds taste remotely appetising). Fear not, your local supermarket will be stocking mince pies and synthetic santa hats before you can say ‘Christmas pudding’. Every year, christmas seems to be thrown at us earlier and earlier. Christmas 2012 brought us bobble-headed blue aliens in early October telling us that we could order our Christmas presents online from Argos. For me, October means getting stuck in that annoying drizzle rain that makes your hair frizz into something resembling a Bichon Frise dog. October means Halloween and Halloween means that for one night, girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it. October does not mean giant baubles hanging in shopping centres strung next to signs telling us to “get our Christmas gifts now”. I am a procrastination master and love doing my Christmas shopping in the last couple of weeks before the big day. It’s more exciting when town’s full of people who are counting down the few days there are to go before everybody forgets Weight Watchers and spends the Twelve Days of Christmas eating endless turkey sandwiches. Why would I want to go shopping for gifts before at least mid November? I’m still trying to pull the cinder toffee out of my teeth from bonfire night.

Retail companies are now trying to milk Christmas for all it’s worth by dragging it out over an unnecessarily long period of time so that they have more time for people to buy generic boxes full of gift sets. Soon, the summer holidays will finish and avertising agencies will start cramming campaigns onto our TV screens reminding us to buy that Homebase giftcard for Nan this festive season. Secret Santas will be organised in mid-August and Advent calendars will start on September 1st. Goodbye summer, hello Christmas. It is as though retailers think that the general public can not live without a festive season to look forward to. Christmas was over and once we’d all slept through New Years Day it was suddenly ‘Creme Egg season’. Creme Egg season?! We’ve only just welcomed in the New Year and already Cadbury’s have decided to give us a four month warm up to Easter. Glorious! No really, Creme Eggs are glorious. However, the fact that they are – or were – an Easter-themed confectionary suggests that they should be sold towards Easter, no? Apparently not. “Christmas is behind us!” the retailers thought, “the public will be crying out for public-holiday themed chocolate. We can not make them wait until late March”…

“I know!” some bright spark thought, “lets make people think Easter lasts for four months and rake in as much profit as we can”. This whole ‘blink and you’ll miss the Creme Egg’ excitement that used to come with Creme Egg season is no longer relevant. To miss Creme Eggs now you’d have to blink really, really slowly, in fact you’d probably end up hibernating until April. Don’t do that though, you’d miss pancake day.

When I’m president of the world – it will happen one day – retail companies will not be allowed to advertise anything Christmas related until after the 20th November and Cadbury’s will have to give every Creme Egg produced before March to the homeless. World, just you wait.




Put The Gun Down And Pick Up An Iced Finger

This time three months ago I was concerned about humanity as people decided to still watch X Factor when it started once again. Last Saturday night I was concerned about humanity when people got completely over excited about the travesty that is I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Now I am concerned about humanity because another bomb-fuelled conflict is all over the news. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the Gaza-Palestine conflict, but it again leaves me sad to think that there are still people in this world who believe that ammunition is the way to be the bigger man and solve problems. Killing people does not solve problems. Throwing a bomb to the other side does nothing except the following:

  • Causes injuries or fatalities thus affecting not just the person injured/killed but the people they know and care about
  • Angers your opponent and encourages them to throw a bigger bomb back

Throwing a bomb will never, ever solve a problem or win a disagreement the right way.

If you hold a position of power and authority, you should probably have big enough balls to sit down and talk or have heated debates, right? Why then, do so many people in high up positions decide to send off men with guns and grenades off to do all their dirty work for them? Because it’s easier for them? Because it’s the only way to solve the problem? If starting a war or commanding an act of violence was the easiest way to sort something out then I’d have shot every bus driver who told me they didn’t have any 5 pences left by now. I’m not saying issues between countries and within countries themselves can be simplified down to an analogy about 5 pence, but just because something’s difficult doesn’t mean the solution can’t be found without violence.

Now it may not be my birthday today, but I am going to make a wish. My wish is that people would bake a cake instead of throwing bombs. Imagine that. A world where instead of every bomb, there was a victoria sponge. A world where instead of every gunshot fired, there was a chocolate chip muffin. We would all be a lot fatter and the NHS would be crying about obesity levels. There would be a lot more of us due to the lack of lives lost through war and half of the world population would probably have to move to Mars to make room. Tony Blair and George Bush would have worn aprons and baked each other key-lime pie. However, there would be no war. Billions of pounds would not be spent on weapons and the military every year for us to be told that we are in a recession. The newspapers would not tell us their version of a conflict we don’t really understand. More importantly, innocent people would not be murdered. Because that is quite essentially what war is. Murder. Murder is wrong. So I ask yet another question. Why the hell do people still fight blood-shedding, ruthless, costly, murderous wars? I am beaten for an answer every time I ask myself this question. That’s why I end up imagining worlds filled with brownies and cheesecake.

People reading this have probably realised that I’m an idealist and an optimist, I know. But to quote John Lennon, “I know I’m not the only one”. I’ve always wanted my own quote and now I think I’ve found one. Don’t throw bombs and bake cities, whisk eggs and bake cakes.



P – Putting off that piece of work by doing every menial task possible beforehand

R – Reading tweets instead of homework questions

O – Overeating on the entire contents of the biscuit cupboard

C – Checking Facebook. Again. And again. And one more time.

R – Reading more tweets

A – Asking when lunch is ready and deciding you can’t possibly start your work properly before you eat

S – Sighing about how much work you have before returning to the internet

T – Trying on different outfits and deciding what would look good next summer

I – Ironing. Because anything is better than doing work.

N – Nearly starting the work by picking it up and flicking through the pages before putting it back down again in exhaustion

A – Asking what time dinner is and deciding you’ll just have to have a packet of biscuits before then

T – Timing how long you’ve been avoiding homework and starting to panic before realising The Big Bang Theory is on

I – Instant coffee number 3

O – Ordering clothes you probably can’t afford online

N – Nightime. Sleep time.



The World’s Worst Dinner Party

In one of my many attempts to delay doing holiday homework, I decided to compile a list of some of the people I would least enjoy spending time with at a dinner party.

1) Derren Brown. Some people say his work is a fix. Others are convinced his mind games are all real. I am undecided, and am therefore terrified of him. The thought that one man can convince another man on his own birthday that he is living in a post-apocalyptic world quite frankly disturbs me. If I ever met Derren Brown, how on earth would I know I wasn’t under his hypnosis not just at the dinner party, but afterwards also? I do not want to wake up on Christmas Day believing everyone including the Loch Ness Monster and his friend have moved to Mars.

2) Michael Gove. Imagine if one privately-educated man was screwing over the country’s education system. Imagine having to spend lunch with him.

3) Mr Blobby. His glassy eyes give me the heeby-jeebies. I also had a dream once that he was chasing me with an axe. No, I would not like to sit and eat pasta with Mr Blobby.

4) A goat. It wouldn’t just eat its own food. It would eat my food. And the table.

Now I really must answer these psychology questions, but if you’re avoiding doing holiday homework too, leave a comment below of people you’d least like to go to a dinner party with.