Monthly Archives

September 2018

Posted on September 24, 2018

‘Women should support women’ – a flawed feminist concept?

Uncovered

I’ve been in two minds about publishing this piece. I mean, how can I not be? The post-truth era of today is making it increasingly difficult for curious thinkers to have open discourse about important issues. Often times, those who seek out the truth – or at least, their understanding of the truth are branded as ignorant, behind with the times or dare I say, ‘bigots.’

Having been in a position where my own views were misconstrued, I am now very wary about how I express my opinions online. So as a disclaimer, I think it is important to note that this blog is not about discrediting feminism or the efforts of the feminist activists. This blog is about critically looking at some of the standards that are set on women by other women who claim to be members of a movement that is rooted in freedom of choice.

Shall we begin then?

I think mainstream media portrays modern feminism in a way that makes it toxic and full of intellectual inconsistencies. For instance, women who choose to wear the burqa are seen as oppressed, but then women who willingly strut their stuff for a living as grid girls are thought to be in an inappropriate line of work. There seems to be a mixed criteria for who qualifies as a feminist, even within the feminist movement.

I’ve always had a warped impression of the word feminist.  In many ways, I feel that the label has become incredibly tainted overtime. The negative stereotypes attached to the title are even resulting in less and less women identifying as feminist, despite having feminist ideals.

According to a recent poll from Refinery29 and CBS News, about 54% of young women say they do not identify as feminists. Some even believe that there is no need for the current feminist movement at all.

I personally do believe there is a place for feminism today, particularly in Third World countries. However, my growing disillusionment with feminism in Western civilisation is making me increasingly critical of the movement as a whole. Like when I hear the often feminist buzz phrase ‘women should support women,’ I find it incredibly unsettling. There is just something about the word ‘should’ in that sentence that doesn’t sit well with me.

I am someone who champions individuality and thinks there is no shame in embracing the characteristics and attributes that make a person unique. In my thinking, there is an underlying prejudice that exists within the phrase ‘women should support women,’ because it insinuates that being a woman is the only prerequisite for why females should support one another.

I think this immediately disregards important attributes possessed by women that make us valuable candidates for support. It frames women as weak and it fails to acknowledge us as the strong, capable beings that we most definitely are.

I want to be supported based on my merit, not based on my genitalia. I want to know that I am getting a person’s support because they believe in me as a person, not because of my gender. I want your support because your values align with mine.

I believe that women have many wonderful characteristics that make us worthy of support and blindly supporting a  woman just because she is female ignores this.

Women are complex, intelligent creatures that deserve support not for being women but for being exceptional ones.

Granted, supporting anyone in their endeavors is always a positive development. But I can’t help but wonder if the forced nature of ‘women should support women’ goes against feminism, or at least feminism in its true sense.

Riddle me this…

That was funny. But I meant this…

If feminism is about men and women deserving equal rights and separating a person’s gender from their value, worth and place in society because of the idea that men and women are both the same, then isn’t it a bit contradictory to let a person’s sex be the deciding factor for why you support them?

And if feminism is about freedom of choice and women making choices for themselves, then doesn’t the imposing nature of ‘women should support women,’ strip us away of both our choices and ability to think independently? Worth thinking about!

Bottom line, if a person’s decision to support someone centers around gender then I think it diminishes their values, work ethic and merit – all the things that I imagine, would make someone worthy of support.

‘Women should support women’ is reductive and places a woman’s value on gender. My gender is not the whole sum of me and yours shouldn’t be either – see what I just did there? 😉

You are more than your gender, ladies.

Yes, empowered women, empower girls. But it is also true that empowered people, empower everyone.

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Posted on September 20, 2018

A simple green smoothie recipe for beginners

recipes

As you probably know from my recent Instagram story, celebrity chef Rachel Allen has recently teamed up with Herbalife to create some nutritious healthy shakes recipes and as a self-proclaimed foodie and avid smoothie lover, I couldn’t wait to plug in my blender when my luxury Herbalife* hamper arrived last week.

The hamper was filled with two Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal tubs, a blue Herbalife shaker cup, a blue apron, an olive wood serving board and of course, two of Rachel Allen’s delicious recipes.

The recipe I will be sharing today is called the Green Goddess. It is light, fresh and has a lovely zesty flavour to it. Best part? You can enjoy it at any time of the day! So without further ado, here is what you need to make Rachel Allen’s Green Goddess shake 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 26g Herbalife Formula 1 Vanilla flavour
  • 100g raw celery, roughly chopped
  • 100g raw cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 100g raw spinach
  • 3 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 250ml milk
  • 150g ice

Instructions:

  1. Start by putting the milk and formula 1 powder in a blender.
  2. Blend together and then add in remaining ingredients before blending further.
  3. Blend until completely smooth.
  4. Add in some extra lemon or lime juice to suit your taste! (I added a tsp of spirulina powder for added benefits).

This shake is so easy and convenient to make, especially for beginners! It has appx 220 kcal per serving when made per instructions! Are you a fan of smoothies? If so, be sure to give this shake a try! For more recipes with Rachel, check out the Herbalife website here! 🙂

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*The Herbalife products were gifted to me, but all views remain my own. 

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Posted on September 10, 2018

10 resistance band workouts for abs

fitness

Anyone who knows my fitness ethos would tell you that along with being against food replacements meals, I am a firm believer in the saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen.’

Relentlessly doing crunches on a day-to-day basis without my efforts resulting in washboard abs has now taught me that a combination of a good diet and the right amount of resistance training will bring you one step closer to seeing more definition on the tum.

Having a bit of a flabby tum has always been a problem area for me, so I know all too well that it takes true dedication and committment to achieving six-pack abs – never mind having to maintain it!

So don’t beat yourself up over not instantly seeing your desired results. Take it from someone who is half way there, these things take time. As long as you remember to have some fun with it, first and foremost. The rest will follow! ☺️

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite resistance band exercises for toning up my tum:

Be sure to read the disclaimer before attempting any of these workouts!

1. Russian Twist

Starting point

Step 1

Step 2

Starting position: Lie down flat on the floor with the resistance band wrapped around the soles of your feet. Hold  one end of the band in each hand. Now lift your back off the floor at a 45 degree angle, raise your slightly bent  legs a few inches off the ground and clasp hands so that both ends of the band are touching. This is your starting position.

Step 1: Keeping your core tight, slowly rotate your hands and torso to one side of your body. Hold it for a few seconds before returning it to the centre.

Step 2: Repeat movement for the opposite side while maintaining position for a few seconds before returning back to centre.

Tips: Be sure not to put too much pressure on your lower back, slow and steady is the name of the game! To make it easier, keep your feet on the ground, straighten your arms and rotate the torso left to right.

2. Knee Pull

Starting position

Step 1

Starting position: Assume the push-up position  with the centre of the band wrapped around the sole of one foot. Hold one end of the band in each hand, palms flat.

Step 1:  Starting with the foot with the band, pull the knee towards the chest as if to bring the knee to meet the head. Press the heel back to straighten the leg back to starting position. Do 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps and repeat on other leg.

3. Torso Twist

Step 1

Step 2

Starting point: Stand on the center of the resistance band with feet apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Slightly bend elbows on each side, bringing hands up to the shoulders.

Step 1: Rotate upper body only to one side. Return to center and then rotate to the other side.  Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

4. V Sit

Starting Position

Step 1

Starting point: Lie flat on the floor with your body facing up and the band wrapped around the soles of the feet. Hold one end of the band in each end, keeping arms by sides.

Step 1: Pull on the bands and slowly lift your body up in a V sit position. Do 12 – 15 reps.

5. Plank Hold

Resistance Band Plank Hold

Starting point: Wrap the band around your waist and assume the plank position while holding the ends of the band on each hand. Extend the legs straight and keep your palms flat on the floor.

Step 1: Tighten your core and glutes and hold this position for 30 – 60 seconds.

6. Side Bend

Starting Point

Step 1

Starting point: Stand on the center of the band, holding the ends on each hand. Keep shoulders back and chest up straight.

Step 1: Bend on your left while pulling the right hand up to the side of your chest. Return to center and repeat on other side.

7. Resistance Band Sit-ups

Starting Point

Step 1

Starting position: Lie down flat on your back with the resistance band wrapped around the soles of your feet and hands on each side near your groin.

Step 1: Sit up and lift your hands so that the whole body follows. Lie back down and lower hands back to the starting position for a complete rep.

Tips: for a more advanced version, cross the band by holding the right handle with the left hand and the left handle with the right hand. 

8. Scissor Kicks

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Starting position: Lie flat on the floor and tie the resistance band around your calves. Place your hands under your lower back/bum for support.

Step 1: Keeping the legs straight, lift both legs off the ground while crossing one over the other in a criss-coss motion in an upward direction. Repeat this motion going back down towards the ground and in your starting position.

9. Crunch Tap

Starting Point

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Starting position: Tie the band around lower thighs and lie flat on the floor with hands behind your head. Keep legs extended.

Step 1: Raise the top leg while you crunch up.

Step 2: Raise the lower leg and tap it against the back of your foot.

Step 3: Bring the lower foot down to the ground.

Step 4: Crunch down and then bring the second foot back down to the starting position.

Tips: Be sure to get the movement right before you speed it up. This can seem a bit tricky at the start. Remember this order ‘crunch, tap, down, relax’

10. Side V

Starting Position

Step1

Starting position: Lie down on the floor on the right side of your body , keeping your legs together and the center of the band wrapped around the soles of your feet. Extend right arm on the floor and hold on to both handles of the band with the left hand, keeping it at the side at hip level.

Step 1: Keep abs engaged and bend the left elbow behind the shoulder while lifting upper body and legs as high as you can from the floor. Bring back to starting position to complete a full rep.

And there you have it! 10 simple resistance band workouts for your abs, are you familiar with any of them? If so, be sure to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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Disclaimer: Please note that while I did take an online course in sports nutrition, I am not a qualified PT. I am simply a health enthusiast who has an interest in anything health and fitness related. Be sure to consult a qualified trainer before attempting any of these exercises.

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