Uplift Wins Cosmo Blog Award!

WOW. I’m still getting over this and don’t think I can quite put into words how I’m feeling about it all. But hey…I’ll give it a go!

The Uplift team rocked up to the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards with bleary eyes this morning, hoping for the best and expecting – well, not really expecting to win, that’s for sure. We were up against some huge names, so it felt like an honour just to be along for the ride. The swanky venue, Sketch, was glammed up with projections all around the walls, flashing up the nominated blogs, one after another. It was rather surreal to see Uplift projected way above everyone’s heads in that room!

We quickly ensconced ourselves next to a big rack of cakes, as you do, and had a bit of brekkie with our fellow bloggers. The Cosmo photographers were on hand to snap us sitting in what we’d deemed to be ‘the naughty corner’, but it turned out to be the winners corner as we’d also shacked up with Carrie of Wish Wish Wish who won in the Best Fashion and Style Blog category!

Cosmopolitan’s Publishing Director Justine Southall and Acting Web Editor Pat McNulty then took to the stage to announce the winners. I’m so excited to see that all these hard-working bloggers are getting the recognition they deserve and can’t wait to add one or two (or three, or four…) to my reading list! Bloggers are such passionate, motivated and pretty darn brave people to put themselves (and their opinions) out there, sheerly for the love of it – so I salute every one of them!

And then, when it came to our category of ‘News and Current Affairs’ I just couldn’t believe it when they called out Uplift magazine! I’m so thankful to everyone who took the time to nominate and to vote, I just can’t express how overwhelmed I am! I think it’s really encouraging too that, in a world where people are quick to say that feminism is dead, a blog which covers such ‘current affairs’ as reproductive rights, women in politics, women’s rights around the world, body image etc. etc…. can be pinpointed by blog readers as the ‘best’ news source for them. That makes me SO happy :D

Thanks again everyone!!!!!

Here’s the official video from the awards – apparently there were 15,000 nominations! Yikes!

Oh, and here’s a video of me babbling about the win and dropping the F-bomb… sideways, no less! Woop!

By: Sarah Barnes, 09.09.2010 | Comments (7)
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Uplift is nominated for a Cosmo Blog Award!

What fantastic news to bring Uplift back from a mini-hiatus (I’ve been moving house!) – and a huge thank you goes out to all you lovely Uplift readers who nominated us!

Back when I attended the launch event for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards last month I was intrigued and excited; Since this is the first ever Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, ‘Aimed at celebrating the crème de la crème of the blogging community’, every blogger at the launch was entering into un-chartered territory. But, as Pat Mcnulty (Acting Web Editor at Cosmopolitan.co.uk) explained, Cosmo are simply hoping to tip their readers off about all “those ‘can’t-get-through-the day-without-clicking’ blogs”.

So, I am absolutely chuffed that Uplift has been nominated as one of the best News/Current Affairs blogs out there! And that’s not just a purely personal pleasure; I’m especially pleased that a publication such as Uplift (that mixes feminist analysis, women’s news and pop culture) has been tipped as a vital web-destination for women who may not otherwise have discovered it.

Thanks once again to all who nominated Uplift, to all those who spread the word about the awards, to Yasmin and Dearbhaile for their fantastic blogging work on Uplift and everyone who has contributed to the site!

You can VOTE FOR UPLIFT in the News category here up until Wednesday the 18th August – That’s not far off, so get your skates on and get voting!

By: Sarah Barnes, 12.08.2010 | Comments (0)
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Cosmopolitan Blog Awards: The Launch!

It was with great excitement, and more than a couple of tummy-dwelling butterflies, that I attended the launch event for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards this morning. Sharing my excitement in the pink-ified surroundings of  The Future Gallery were some of the best bloggers you’d ever hope to meet, all dying to find out what Cosmopolitan had up their sleeves for their first ever blog awards. As the various speakers from Cosmo explained that they had gathered us together because they felt we represented a fresh wave of voices, communicating directly and distinctly with women, I felt even more honoured to be invited to be a part of it!

The butterflies I will blame on the fact that, as a blogger who dishes up women’s news and feminist analysis of pop culture, I felt sure I’d be in the minority amongst a sea of style bloggers. This wasn’t entirely true, though, as I got chatting with people and was reminded that the great thing about blogging is that it’s so personal a medium that most blogs will encompass a bit of everything; be it fashion, feminism… or Sylvanian Families! Still, as Emily at Fashion Foie Gras noted on her blog ‘anyone that is anyone in fashion blogging was there’. Even Cosmo themselves couldn’t resist ogling the shoes of all the attendees – there really was some fantastic footwear in that room (something fellow feminist blogger Lori of Rarely Wears Lipstick also noted as we nibbled on strawberries and did a bit of ogling ourselves)!

After getting to know our fellow bloggers and munching on mini pain au chocolat, it was down to business. We were welcomed by Justine Southall, Cosmo’s Publishing Director, who gave us an insight into why the magazine is still going strong after 38 years in the UK; “It speaks to core human needs. It’s empowerment, uplifting, motivating, sexy, glamourous… These are not part of the zeitgeist, they are fundamental things that women will always want.” After a speech from Beth Wont, Managing Director of Aigua Media, we were then introduced to Pat Mcnulty, Acting Web Editor at Cosmopolitan.co.uk, who gave us a little background as to why Cosmo have decided to start awarding us bloggers.

Pat identified that as a “multitude of fresh voices” us bloggers make the internet a very exciting place but, she acknowledged, that the amount of choice can be pretty bewildering for even the most media-savvy women out there. With their new awards, the Cosmo team hope to “weedle out those ‘can’t-get-through-the day-without-clicking’ blogs” and let their readers know about them.

Right now we are only at the stage where you can nominate by voting (just the once!) for the blog you think deserves to be recognised, but later Cosmo will then choose five semi-finalist blogs for each category. The public will then vote for the winners, which will be announced late August!

Of course, I would be over the moon if Uplift were to be nominated as a vital blog stop for women’s news and thoughtful things (hint hint!) but I had such a great morning (and got such a ridiculously amazing goody bag) that right now I’m just so happy I was invited! And, of course, it was great to meet loads of bloggers (Including Angharad at Edible Glitter, Alex from Domestic Sluttery, Kate at Sticky Lips, Kristin aka The Clothes Whisperer and Simon G at The Very Simon G) who I am looking forward to reading up on. Now, who am I going to vote for… ?

Read more about the event and cast your vote here!

L-R: Justine Southall, Beth Wont and Pat Mcnulty. All images from the Cosmo event gallery… and there are more great pictures from the event over on Fashion Foie Gras!

By: Sarah Barnes, 01.07.2010 | Comments (1)
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LASH out at Street Harrasment.

Whilst browsing for low level perverts on Hollaback, the NY edition drew my attention to a new campaign launched recently in the borough of Hackney, London. The London Anti-Street Harrassment (LASH) has a rather ambitious aim: to put a stop to a certain kind of man who thinks it’s flattering/appreciated/wanted for him to give you an insight into whatever seedy thought is running through  his brain whilst he encounters you in a public space. Or worse, deciding his hands just have to wander over to your body. LASH is busy writing to MPs and the media to try to give exposure to an issue that is often considered as yet another thing women just have to ‘put up’ with.  Founder Vicky Simister decided to start up the campaign shortly after moving to Hackney and noticing the level of street harassment she received increased. She states:

With many noble organisations dedicated to preventing gender discrimination in the workplace, sexual assault and other important women’s issues, street harassment gets overlooked as a minor problem. Women are told to accept harassment as a fact of life, or to ignore it. We don’t think is fair. We need to re-educate people, both the perpetrators – who often brush off their actions as “harmless” – and the victims, who frequently feel intimidated, offended and afraid.  It needs to become socially unacceptable to yell at a woman in the street, or make unwelcome comments about her appearance.

Street Harrasment is one of those areas which divides opinion on as to what actually constitutes inappropriate behaviour. In the chat forum on Cosmopolitan, started by LASH, the first two pages of comments are pretty depressing. One commenter posted, “It’s when they stop wolf whistling at you that you have to worry!” and offered the useful adviceCould you not walk another way? or something?”.  Whilst a small cross-section, most depressingly most of these comments appear to be written by women. Whilst no doubt some women do appreciate being wolf whistled at on the street, I’m not sure they would appreciate what the next step may be; being kissed at or having someone masturbate in front of you – just two of the most recent posts on Hollaback. So, exactly what is street harassment, what do you think constitutes street harassment?

I certainly don’t feel flattered when a man wolf whistles as me; I am mostly confused as to what sort of response I am supposed to give. Does he really think I will run over and declare my love? Or is he simply satisfied knowing that he’s made my day by blowing air through his lips?

Nor do I feel flattered when I am wheeling my bike down the road and a man suggests “I’d give you a ride” punctuated with a sleazy smile. Nor (having grown up near a park known for curb crawling) to have a man, old enough to be my father, slow down to a crawl alongside me and ask “Are you working?” before laughing to himself and, thankfully, driving away. Did I mention I was wearing my school uniform at the time? Nor when sitting on the tube with my sister, to have the man opposite us stare unbroken until we felt so uncomfortable we moved.  These are just few examples street harassment I have encountered that stick in my head, but every time it happens I flit between felling scared and angry at my first reaction of fear because some else has a problem.Why should I feel threatened when I am simply walking down a street?

I feel uncomfortable discussing exactly how I look and how I dress, because I feel that removes the focus from the real issue. It is not about how attractive or unattractive a person might be… how slim they are or how big/small their boobs are. None of this is what is at fault. It is the man, who feels it gives him some power by commenting on the way you look, that is at fault.

That said, and as much as I believe that statement, I have a further confession to make… one that I am rather ashamed about; recently I have started lowering my hemlines or covering up a short hemline with a long coat.  I know this is slightly illogical to my previous statement (and, no, you are not excused from comments just because you are wearing jeans and a jumper) but it does seem to decrease the amount of comments.

I am so fed up with these attitudes of some men, and my reaction to it, that I want to do something more constructive than getting pissed off and amending my outfits. There may be a lot of people to convince that street harassment in any form is not ok but, with growing support, LASH may well do it.

Image from here

By: Dearbhaile Kitt, 04.05.2010 | Comments (5)
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