Books are great for a variety of reasons. They look pretty on shelves, they’re useful for pressing flowers, they smell amazing. But one of my favourite things about reading book is uncovering great female protagonists (lead characters). The type who overcome the odds, the type who exceed expectations or the type who refuse to apologise for who they are.

Unfortunately, there aren’t as many books as there should be where the protagonist is a woman – and even fewer with girls. One study found that in 6000 children’s books, only 37% of them had female main characters. Since it was Day of the Girl on Tuesday and we are all about celebrating the sisterhood, we thought we’d have a look through our bookshelves and find our favourite literary girls.

1. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

If Destiny’s Child’s Survivor was written with someone in mind,  it would have been Katniss Everdeen(yeah yeah, we know it was written before the Hunger Games, but you get what we mean). We all know she’s tough, but perhaps the most wonderful thing about Katniss is how deeply she cares for her sister, Prim, for Rue and Peeta and Gale. And let’s be honest, isn’t it best to have a bit of both?

“Pity does not get you aid. Admiration at your refusal to give in does.”

2. Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief

Sometimes just thinking about this book can be enough to bring on tears. It’s set in WW2 and narrated by Death (stay with me). It’s a wonderful, quirky book about nine-year-old Liesel, who steals books but at the same time knows more about loss than anyone should ever have to.

“…She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on…”

3. Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Despite being published in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is still shockingly relevant today. Scout is the daughter of a lawyer who is defending a black man accused of raping a white girl in the deep south of the USA. Scout is a fearless young girl who refuses traditional ‘feminine’ behaviours and is generally an all around kicker of ass.

“I felt the starched walls of a pink cotton penitentiary closing in on me, and for the second time in my life I thought of running away. Immediately.”

4. Frankie Landau-Banks, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks 

This is a lesser-known (and in my opinion, better) book from e. lockhart, the author of We Were Liars. It centres around a girl called Frankie, who is enraged when she learns she can’t join her boyfriend’s all male secret-society at their boarding school. So, in the manner of a totally awesome lady, she created a society of her own.

“‘You have some balls.’

Frankie hated that expression, ever since Zada had pointed out to her that it equates courage with the male equipment…”

5. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Feisty orphan Anne is sent to live with a grumpy middle-aged brother and sister on a farm after a slight communication error (it was the early 1900s, so Whatsapp wasn’t available). They had actually requested a boy, but Anne quickly shows them that anything a boy can do, a girl can do better. Including totally win their hearts.

“There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

6. Jo March, Little Women

Little Women follows the adventures of the four March sisters as they grow up as girls in 19th century America. Tree-climber and playwright Jo is the most headstrong of the four, if she were around today I think her report card would be decorated with unsubtle pleas for her to “keep her temper under control.” The March siblings are all pretty kickass in their own ways, but Jo takes the cake.

“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle – something heroic, or wonderful – that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day.”

7. Matilda Wormwood, Matilda

If you can read this book without spending at least 20 minutes staring at inanimate objects hoping to move them with your mind, I salute you. Matilda has pretty crappy parents but when her teacher Miss Honey notices how clever she is, she discovers her magical powers. And we’re talking actual magical powers, guys, not just ‘believing in yourself’. Though of course that’s great too.

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

8. Natasha Kingsley, The Sun is Also a Star

This book is about a girl who loves science and a boy who loves poetry. It’s a book about love, sure. But it’s also a book about Natasha, an illegal immigrant, who is about to be deported along with her whole family. Natasha is willing to fight really damn hard for her future – and when she meets Daniel, she’s willing to fight that little bit harder.

“He closes the file and pushes a box of tissues toward me me in anticipation of my tears. But I am not a cryer. I didn’t cry when my father first told us about the deportation orders, or when any of the appeals were rejected.”

9. Lily Owens, The Secret Life of Bees

Set in 1960s America, Lily and maid / stand-in mum Rosaleen run away from Lily’s dad and end up living with the Boatwright sisters who make honey (hence the title). This book is more adult than YA, which makes Lily’s role as the female protagonist even cooler. Lily is an amazing chick who isn’t afraid to go out and find the life she wants.

“Knowing can be a curse on a person’s life. I’d traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn’t know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can’t ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.”

10. Bee Fox, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

When her mother Bernadette grants Bee’s wish to go on a family trip to Antarctica (casual), she gets enveloped in the plans. One day Bernadette disappears and it’s up to Bee to find her. As she sifts through her mum’s emails and old documents, she comes across some incredible revelations about her mum’s past.

“My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like I’m going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I’m about to kick the shit out of life.”

So go and and get reading – there is so much kick-assery to discover.

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It feels like every couple of months there’s a new bit of research announced proving that reading makes you smarter, or richer, or less likely to have voted for Trump. And while they’re seized and tweeted by earnest readers, teachers and librarians, it’s hard to argue with the core fact that reading really does seem to make you happier.

While reading a good book is not going to magically fix all your problems, the evidence suggests it might help you be able to cope with them. A key part of the power of books boils down to the way books make you more empathetic and therefore your relationships stronger – and a study really did find that Harry Potter readers are more inclined to dislike Trump. So.

The science of it is all to do with “mirror neurons”; when we read about something, our brain reacts as though we’re experiencing it ourselves. It shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise that reading about a wealth of different people and places makes us think more broadly about what it must be like to experience the world differently but the science is now backing up what readers have known for a long time. It also shows how important it is to read broadly and diversely. As Samuel Johnson said, although a little bit melodramatically: the only end of writing is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.

At the School of Life in London you can enrol in a ‘bibliotherapy’ session, and GPs are now prescribing books for panic attacks, depression and anxiety alongside medication and more traditional therapy. There are studies showing reading reduces your chances of developing dementia, that it slows memory decline, helps you sleep better, reduces the symptoms of depression. You can find stats to prove a link between reading and almost every mental health issue. For some suggestions of where to start, Reading Well has book lists arranged by subject including self-harm, body image and anxiety.

In 2009 researchers from the University of Sussex showed that even six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by two thirds, because it forces concentration on one thing and eases tension in your muscles and heart. Mindfulness may be a new phase, but reading is the original meditation and has been around a long time. An actual sentence in a report by The Reading Agency is: prolific and regular readers are the happiest groups… more regular readers are least anxious.

And that’s science, guys.

Aside from science, I’ve seen the real life impact of the power of reading. I used to work as a librarian in a big secondary school in Coventry with 11-18 year olds and I saw first-hand the impact that books could have on teen readers (and teachers); whether it’s for advice, catharsis or escape. Although famously a solo activity, I’ve also seen the way reading builds communities and breaks down barriers between students from wildly different backgrounds. And that’s not even getting onto the online communities and fandoms that the internet has gifted us.

The latest campaigner for the health benefits of reading is DJ and writer Gemma Cairney, who gave this year’s Reading Agency Lecture on mental health and the books that have had an impact on her, three of which she’s shared with us below, as well as why they mean so much to her.

She says, “Mental health comes in a lot of different flavours but it’s written about so clinically, and it doesn’t have to be – more people than we realise are experiencing one of those flavours and we just need to open up lines of communication around our mental wellbeing and start being more honest A good book is all about imagination, sparkle, something accessible and not too self-indulgent. When I started to think about the things that have inspired my life and writing, I found these were the books that gave me the licence to be me from a young age”.

Here are Gemma’s top picks for those who want to get reading…

The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

“I’ve got a rampant imagination and this captured that from an early start because it’s a totally bananas book. I’m a kooky person and you’re often lambasted for that, but his book taught me that it’s okay to be wacky and different, and I liked that a lot”. Buy a copy here.

faraway-tree

Forever by Judy Blume

“Everyone got their hands on Forever because It was the first time we could actually delve into a serious issue. At that age you start to become inquisitive about sex and when that happens it’s quite hard to regulate your idea of it. I feel lucky that I could get information from a book which is nuanced and rounded and about love, because sex should be about love.” Buy your copy here.

forever

Lorali by Laura Dockrill

“I love this book because it’s so brilliantly weird. The use of slang, the poetic nature, the need for imagination and fantasy, it gives you confidence that there is something out there for everyone, you just need to explore and find the right book for you.” Buy your copy here.

lorali

@acaseforbooks

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There are many things the world needs more of – love, peace, peanut butter Magnums, tights that actually stay up – but one thing we have no shortage of whatsoever is motivational quotes. They’re everywhere. On our walls, on our fridges, decorating our notebooks and cluttering up our Instagram feeds. They are the hot air that powers Pinterest like a jet engine.

But of course, they’re not always helpful. There are only so many times you can be told to ‘be a unicorn!’ before you want to smash your phone screen with your non-existent horn – and of all the genuinely cool and inspiring things Audrey Hepburn did in her time on earth, that quote about believing in pink ain’t one of them.

So as your antidote to all the whimsical sunsets, we’ve dug up 13 truly awesome quotes from some truly awesome women. Go kick some ass today – like yourself, not a unicorn.

(The hooves would just be impractical.)

“Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”

Marie M. Daly, the first African-American woman to to earn a PhD in Chemistry

 

“However many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there.”

Nora Ephron, first lady of American screenwriting

 

“If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I’m going.”

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who won three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals at four different Olympic Games.

 

“We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f***ing feminist and wear a f***ing Peter Pan collar. So f***ing what?”

Zooey Deschanel, your fringe icon and all-round comedy babe

 

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, from her book Year of Yes

 

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

JK Rowling, everyone’s favourite dream auntie

 

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

Zelda Fitzgerald, Jazz Age legend, from her Collected Writings

 

“Be brave and fearless [enough] to know that even if you do make a wrong decision, you’re making it for a good reason.”

Adele. You know Adele.

 

“Because you don’t live near a bakery, doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”

Hedy Lamarr, 1940s movie star and inventor, who developed the radio wave system that led to the modern creation of wi-fi (thanks Hedy!)

 

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Maya Angelou, author, poet and civil rights activist

 

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature.”

Margaret Atwood, the Booker Prize-winning novellist, on (you guessed it) selfies

 

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai, female education activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize winner.

What better motivation could you have before double Geography?

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I have a phone call with Veronica Roth scheduled for 4pm that I have been looking forward to for weeks. Predictably, at 3:50, I discover that the room that has a phone with a proper speaker is being used for a meeting. Gahhh. I manically download Skype, put some money on my account and plant myself in a corridor, glaring at anyone who dares come in my direction.

When technology finally starts cooperating and I get through to Veronica, I immediately relax. She’s not the incredibly intimidating person I imagined in my head, instead she talks to me as though we’re friends, rather than strangers chatting to each other through a kind of crappy Skype connection. She’s incredibly friendly and quick to laugh, the polar opposite of the female characters she writes about.

Veronica Roth is the author of the New York Times best selling Divergent trilogy. At 28, she’s sold millions of copies of her books, seen her work turned into a successful film franchise starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet, and has now gone ahead and written a new, highly addictive book, Carve the Mark.

Also, totally NBD or anything, but she wrote Divergent during her final year at University and sold the publishing rights before she graduated. So that’s cool.

Did she ever struggle with people underestimating her because she was so young? “Not in book publishing. I’m not the youngest author to publish a book and they mainly just care about the story, so they’re not all that concerned about your age. Your work has to speak for itself. The only time I encountered it was when the book became a movie.”

Roth sold the rights to Summit Entertainment in 2011, when she was a year out of university. “People would talk down to me… and I couldn’t tell why; is it because I’m young, is it because I’m a woman or because of my demeanour? …At the end of the day, you just keep doing the best work you can and not paying too much attention to people who don’t respect that,” she says.

I ask her about how it felt getting her story made into a film and she laughs, “I didn’t believe it was actually going to happen… it wasn’t until they cast Kate Winslet that I was like ‘Oh! This is really happening!’ I totally lost my mind.” I mean, to be fair, it’s Kate Winslet, who wouldn’t lose their mind? “The idea that so many people have taken something you’ve imagined and they’ve made it their work for however many days or weeks? There’s something really amazing and flattering about that.” she continues. “There were all these grown men building this fake train car? It’s amazing!”

To me, the thing about Roth that makes her talent so unique is that she’s not just creating stories about regular, everyday things, she’s creating entire societies. In her new book, Carve the Mark, she took it one step further and created a whole frickin’ galaxy.

Carve The Mark is set in a galaxy that has a current running through it which gives everyone a unique ‘currentgift’. The two main characters, Akos and Cyra, come from two different countries; Akos’ home is one of peace, while Cyra’s is full of violence. When Akos is taken from his family home on Cyra’s brother’s orders, the two of them form a special bond, discovering they can either survive together or destroy one another.

Cyra is a powerhouse of a character. Her currentgift forces her to live in constant pain, but also means she causes agony to those who touch her. She has spent most of her life in isolation until her brother decides to use her as a weapon against his enemies.

“What’s important is for readers to see characters that feel real and interesting and complicated too,” Roth explains. “One of the most important things to me is to make sure the characters are flawed. There’s a lot of pressure on young women to be perfect and so when you read about a character who makes mistakes and has to deal with the repercussions of them and feels normal and feels human, I think that’s important for young women.”

It takes everything in me to not just openly start applauding at this point. Even down the Skype line, I’m nodding my head so much that I think I crick my neck a bit. But the thing I really want to talk to Roth about, the thought I just couldn’t get out of my head while reading Carve The Mark, is how does one person have such a vivid imagination? “I try to cultivate curiosity as much as possible,” she says. “My mum has this quality, where anyone she talks to, she is interested in knowing more about them and I would love to become more like that.”

Well, now I also want to be more like Veronica Roth’s mum. She sounds awesome.

Roth thinks exercising your imagination is incredibly important for young people: “I think you have to have a vision of what your own life can become, what your world can become. There’s this huge imaginative element to that and you have to be able to see possibilities.”

When she was a 21-year-old writing a book in her winter holidays, she ever imagine her life would lead her here? “I don’t think escapism has to be bad,” she tells me, “I think we talk about it like an ‘Oh, you’re just trying to get away from reality, you should be engaging with reality!’ and that’s true, but you can learn a lot from genre fiction, even if it is helping you to escape a little bit.”

At this point, we get completely side-tracked and start talking about how Harry Potter helped define so much of our moral compasses. We’ve been on the phone for almost half an hour, and I know that my time’s almost up so I ask her the question we ask all the people we interview: if you could give your 13-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

“I think I needed to hear two things. One, is that you should be kind to the people around you. I was kinda mean as a young person and I definitely grew out of that as I got older. But I wasn’t always kind, especially to my female friends. I kinda fell into that trap of being really competitive with other women and not appreciating how great it can be to have a genuine connection with my female friends. Appreciate the ladies in your life. But then, I sometimes needed to hear that it’s okay to let people go if they’re making you feel bad about yourself. You don’t have to be friends with them anymore. Basically, be kind, but you don’t have to let other people make you feel bad.”

Well, s**t. This woman is my new hero.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth is out now. Buy your copy here.

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Genre: Romance/ Family

Absorbency rating: Super

Review: This YA book by Juno Dawson centres around a spoiled London girl, Fliss and her grandmother, Margot and it is so bloody addictive! When Fliss and her mum move to the country to live with Margot, Fliss accidentally stubbles her grandma’s diary from WWII. The novel jumps between the present and Margot’s diary entries seamlessly, telling the stories of two teenage girls growing up almost 80 years apart. Margot becomes obsessed with the diary and reads it from cover to cover, which is pretty much what we did too. But when Fliss finishes, there are a whole load of questions about her family and her past that Fliss wants answered.

It’s a brilliant book about a complicated family that will have you wishing that your granny had secret diary of her own.

Quote:

“I plonk myself in the Land Rover. Margot climbs into the driver’s seat and puts the key in the ignition. She pauses. 

‘Regular way home,’ she asks, ‘or shall we go on an adventure?’

‘An adventure?’

‘Let’s turn left and see where we end up.’ She turns to me and gives me an uncharacteristic wink. 

Uncharacteristic it may be, but I like it. I have to smile. I can’t help it. Although I”m aching for bed, I say ‘Adventure it is.’ “

Margot & Me, Juno Dawson, £5.99

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January has a tough time of things. It can’t be fun following the month quite literally known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.

Sure, Jan gets all the excited people on New Year’s Eve, staying up late just to greet it. But then it all goes downhill pretty rapidly from there. The mince pies have been taken off the shelves in supermarkets. The Christmas trees are half dead in our driveways. And there certainly aren’t any more presents to look forward to (no matter how many times you check under the sofa “just in case”). You’ve watched everything you’re even vaguely interested in on Netflix. All in all, it’s a downer (poor January), which is where comfort books come in.

books

Comfort book are books that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Books that maybe your parents once read aloud to you. Books you used to read way past bedtime with a torch under the covers. Books that never use the word “doth”. And because our mantra this month is ‘new year, same you’, we think it’s the perfect time to revisit some old friends.

To inspire you, here are our fave comfort books that we’ll be reading this January.

1. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

giphy

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

In many ways, Winnie the Pooh is the literary equivalent of watching videos of unlikely animal friends on YouTube. How often do you see a bear, a teacup pig, a tiger and a kangaroo even on the same continent, let alone hanging out as buds? And that tale of heartwarming cross-species friendship and adventure is just the thing to get you through January. Not to mention a few jars of honey.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

A series of unfortunate events

“The three siblings were not born yesterday. Neither were you, unless of course I am wrong, in which case, welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.”

Even if you didn’t actually read this series when you were a child, you’ll probably still find them incredibly comforting as a… not-child. The books are quirky and fun and follow the adventures of three orphan children who, spoiler in the title, are constantly running into trouble. We dare you to get through them without literally lol-ing at least once a page.

3. Harry Potter(s) by JK Rowling

harry-potter

“Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”

Oh, Harry. How can you not find comfort in a world where headmasters are as cool as Dumbledore and you can get from one side of the country to the other without setting foot on a train? But maybe the real joy of re-reading Harry Potter is that it will last you all the way through until March.

4. The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson 

The Lottie Project

“There are some teachers – just a few – who have YOU’D BETTER NOT MESS WITH ME! tattooed right across their foreheads.”

Let’s be real, this entire list could just be Jacqueline Wilson books. We are pretty confident that out of the 100+ (mmhm, and you thought your PLL fanfic was long) books she’s written over her career, there’ll be one that speaks to your particular comfort-reading needs. The Lottie Project is one of our faves, telling the tale of an uber popular high school girl who finds a photo of Victorian girl who looks exactly like her and decides to investigate her doppelgänger’s life. Sofa, blanket, bucket of tea: perfect Sunday.

5. Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

princess-diaries

“Lilly says I have an overactive imagination and a pathological need to invent drama in my life.”

If your childhood was peppered with princess pillows and tiaras that you wore once and promptly lost, these books will probably be your ideal comfort read. The series follows Mia, a totally down-to-earth girl who lives with her quirky mother in New York. But when she’s 15, her dad lets slip that she’s actually the Princess of Genovia, a tiny country in Europe (fictional, before you use it in a Geography test). Ballgowns, tiaras and important life lessons ensue.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

tumnus

“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”

While it sucks that it’s so cold but not snowing outside (regardless of how many times your check your weather app), a visit to Narnia might just make up for it. The first book in the classic series by CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe plunges you into a world of magic and mythical creatures, where animals can talk to humans and the White Witch has ruled for 100 years of deep winter (think GOT, but you know, cuddlier and generally less distressing). Instead of doing a wardrobe clearout in January, just crawl inside an imaginary one.

Hopefully that’s inspired you to raid your stash of comfort books and get reading. Who needs mince pies when you’ve got books?

(We’re kidding. Double check your pantry, just in case one of those pastry bad boys is still floating around in there).

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Get excited – we are declaring this a Presidential Election free Zone. No Hillz, no Trump. Instead, we’re talking about important things much closer to home: the latest emojis, Zayn’s mental health struggles and how much we love Emma Watson.

Here’s our weekly round-up of everything we’ve been reading, watching and loving this week.

Life is complete – we have a shrug emoji

iOS have announced the latest batch of emojis and there’s plenty to face-palm about. No seriously, they’ve added a face-palm. Also making their debut are the avocado, a female firefighter and for some bizarre reason, a hard boiled egg. So basically all the things a modern girl needs in 2016.

emojis

Zayn opens up 

Since leaving One Direction (and simultaneously breaking ten million hearts), Zayn Malik has been pretty busy. He’s released a solo album, an autobiography, and has found love with Gigi Hadid (he even makes her Yorkshire puddings, sigh).

But in his new book, Zayn talks openly about his anxiety and reveals that while a member of 1D, he suffered from an eating disorder. “It was more down to losing track of, you know, actually eating, and being super busy and getting caught up with other things…” he explained to the Associated Press, though the day before the book was published he also posted this heartfelt note on Instagram. We’re glad you’re happy and healthy Zayn.

A photo posted by Zayn Malik (@zayn) on

We are #ForTheGirl

Sadly, 70% of girls aged 11-21 say that sexism has a negative impact on most areas for their life – and Girlguiding has decided to do something about it. The organisation has launched a new campaign, #ForTheGirl, which aims to create an equal future for girls and boys and empower girls to overcome the challenges and inequality they face. Sign us up!

Soggy bottoms forever

If you’re anything like us, your Wednesday night felt empty this week, void of Mel and Sue’s perfect puns and Paul and Mary’s soft buns. But this print from oh gosh Cindy will let us keep Mary in our hearts and on our walls forever. If you haven’t started a Christmas list yet, now’s time.

il_570xn-1030353034_t23n

Mary Berry, oh gosh Cindy, £9

Vagina, Vagina, Vagina

In a 2015 survey from the UK, 66% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 said they were embarrassed to use the word “vagina” — even with a doctor. The Legalize V campaign is trying to change all that with this hilarious video, which they shared on Facebook… only for Facebook to swiftly take it down again, citing “profane language.” Puh-lease.

So using the correct anatomical name for our lady parts is profane? Balls. Or rather, vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina!

Emma Watson had a novel idea

Is it just us that thinks Emma Watson would be the ultimate BFF? She cares about human rights, she’s funny and smart AND she loves to read. So much so she’s starting a feminist book club. This week she hid copies of Maya Angelou’s ‘Mom and Me and Mom’ around the London Underground in collaboration with the Books on the Underground Project  with a special note from Emma inside! Race you to the tube.

betty is #UnpickingPerfection

For the month of November betty is tackling the idea of ‘perfection’. We firmly believe that perfection is overrated, potentially damaging and basically a big ol’ waste of time. Instead we are all about getting real on social media, spilling yoghurt on your top and spreading the message that flaws are fun and flawless is boring.

Read our imperfect articles, watch our imperfect videos and follow us on Twitter @bettycollective and Instagram @bettycollective to see more of #UnpickingPerfection this month.

That’s all! Have a lovely weekend, we’ll see you Monday.