Femme Love


"I'm a feminist. I've been a female for a long time now. It'd be stupid not to be on my own side." ~ Maya Angelou

If you haven't watched Wonder Woman yet...what are you doing with your life? GO! Within the first 20 minutes I was overcome when a wave of emotions washed over me. It was in the middle of a battle scene and I felt like crying — not because people were dying or because it was necessarily supposed to be sad, but because I realized the weight of this moment. I realized how badass we are. How we don't need a man saving us to make a blockbuster movie. How we shouldn't need the Bechdel test to gauge whether a movie has equal gender representation. And how silly it is that we've had to wait this long for a female role like this. 

You might think this is silly, and that it's not even worth writing about, but when I was sitting in the theatre and Wonder Woman jumped into the air, nothing can beat the feeling of when I saw the little girl in front of me throw up her hands just as Wonder Woman blasts her enemy. Nothing in the world. Unlike so many of us, this little girl will grow up with a female film protagonist to look up to. She'll watch it over and over again and know that Wonder Woman's love for mankind was greater than her love of that one man. She'll know that this love is what gave Wonder Woman her strength. And that this love is all she needs too. 

And I don't think that is silly at all. For if more little girls knew this, there's no stopping what we could do. 

I couldn't tell you the exact moment when I became a feminist — just like I can't tell you the exact moment I became a Christian. However, I know Emma Watson's speech in 2014 had a lot to do with the way I viewed feminism. Since then I've come to realize that it's not something to be ashamed of or to keep quiet, because I have a burning fire in my heart to right so many wrongs and this is just one of them. This is just one of the things, and it's got to be loud in order to be heard. 

So here are some things that make me go "heck yes!" to all of the femme love. I wish my bank account allowed me to sport all of these...I might just have to get that jean jacket though  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

all about type

The first year of my Communications degree I took a class that pretty much everyone agreed was the biggest waste of time, ever. Well it turns out that maybe, perhaps, it wasn't that useless after all. I've always enjoyed good design and I'd like to think I had an eye to say what was good and what wasn't, but it wasn't until we watched a documentary in this particular class, that I realized something incredibly significant: type. 


The documentary we watched was "Helvetica" (you can watch it here) and I've since watched it a couple times. Rick Poyner, a British writer on design, graphic design, typography and visual culture says in the film "Maybe the feeling you have when you see particular typographic choices used on a piece of packaging is just 'I like the look of that, that feels good, that's my kind of product.' But that's the type casting its secret spell." 

It's hard to watch a documentary like Helvetica and not look at the world in a completely different way. I'm reminded of an interview with Stephen Colbert where he jokingly mentioned his ear and said "once you see it, it can't be unseen!" And I think in a weird way, in my case at least, that can be applied to type as well — it's not something I can just gloss over, it demands to be seen. 

It's been said that, "Good typography is invisible," and I think Helvetica is a very good example of this being the case. It's everywhere you look. Anything you wish to look modern and simple and clean, you use Helvetica. Brands like American Apparel, adidas, Sears, TARGET, NIKE, The North Face — they all use Helvetica! And yet do they all convey the same feeling? No! This is in part due to good branding, but can be attributed to Helvetica's design too. It came out of a need for rational typefaces that can be applied to any situation, that's both intelligible and legible. 

Most type can be broken down into two categories, serif and sans serif. Serif fonts have the little feet on the bottom or the top of the principle strokes of the letter — in a way it adds a bit of flair, but it also helps guide your eye as you scan a page of text. Sans Serif fonts like Helvetica — especially Helvetica — are stripped down completely and lack these "feet". They're fonts that can mean anything and in that way Helvetica has become ubiquitous. In it's birth it helped designers with anything they needed to spell out loud and clear "modern" and yet now Helvetica has become a default, from sign systems to brands to fonts on computers its always there, but never noticed.

I think typography today is embracing both modernity and fluidity; where before a typeface was an invisible vessel in which to hold something, today it wants to be noticed. Just like a brand wants to standout in it's competition, so does typography and design. The thing that I think separates today's typefaces and designers is that instead of free creative reign, they're really dancing between two lines: modern and garish. And in this endeavour I believe it wants to be noticed.

That being said, maybe I just have an eclectic taste when it comes to typography. I'm neither a sans serif puritan or a serif fanatic, I just like what I like. At the end of the day it's relative, right? That's not to say certain typefaces don't irritate me in certain circumstances. One of my biggest pet peeves is using sans serif fonts that have rounded edges like Comic Sans or Calibri for documents that are supposed to be professional. Just don't do this okay? 

Type is saying things to us all the time. Typefaces express a mood, an atmosphere. They give words a certain colouring.
— Rick Poyner

Talk about falling

Heres the thing. Sometimes — and if I am completely truthful more often than not — I am enveloped in fear. It’s something that just clutches at my chest and I can feel it slowly tighten. It’s a difficulty-breathing, can’t-get-comfortable, feel-on-edge, type of fear. 


“If you can’t beat fear, just do it scared.”


Over the past couple of months I’ve lived with this mantra in my head and for the most part it has worked tremendously well. I can’t tell you how many times I was scared to death to do something, and something inside of me whispered “Bronté you have to do this.” Now normally this takes a lot of convincing, by myself and others for me to work myself up, so when I heard that — felt that need to just have to do it, I just did it. I didn’t beat my fear. I didn’t have any grand misconceptions about who I was, I was scared shitless. But I had to do it.


Beyond this fleeting feeling, that has maybe only happened two or three times this semester, I’ve started to feel a different kind of fear. Like maybe now that I am here, now that I’ve come this far, I’ve deceived both myself and everyone else. That I’m in way over my head. That at some point I am going to have to let everyone know that I’m just a fraud and I don’t actually know what I’m doing and I was just faking it up until this point. 


And maybe it’s true. 


Maybe doing it scared can only reach a certain point until you’re scared for a bigger reason. Or maybe I’m just in my head.


I think I have a tendency when talking about my abilities and achievements, to downgrade them. I don’t think that this is a fault necessarily, however it has created a sort of safety net for myself. A space for me to either far exceed someone’s expectations or meet them. It’s this breathing room that actually just gives me an excuse to never let anyone down. How could I when I have graded myself so low? 


And so I suppose in the big picture of things it’s this fear of letting people down that’s clutching at my chest now, making me aware of what little breathing room I have given myself this time. And if I fail I’ll fall hard and if I succeed I will just be living up to the expectations. 


And I don’t think I have ever failed to that degree before.