Sunday, 16 December 2012

Interning at Pregnancy & Birth Magazine (2012)

'When I do get pregnant, I highly doubt I'll be one of those women who don't look pregnant from behind - I'll be that chick who looks pregnant from her ankles up'- Katherine Heigl 

I spent a majority of last week on an assignment out in the freezing cold streets of central London looking for pregnant women. And not just any pregnant women- fashionable pregnant women. You'd think on the packed streets of New Oxford Street I would be spoilt for choice, but I roamed around for hours with an unused camera. I had my eyes glued to the stomach of women as they walked by, slowly making my way up to their face where I was met with a 'I want to punch you in the face' look. That was awkward in itself, but imagine being faced with the following dilemma- not knowing if they were pregnant or slightly overweight :/ I never noticed how different each women's body could be. Some had large thighs and tiny waists, some had huge midsection's and long legs and others....well they were just generally large all around.

The cold also made it difficult to spot expectant mothers. Everyone was wrapped up in huge black bulky coats and I couldn't wonder how much easier this task would have been in the summer, where pregnant bellies were out in proud full force, intertwined in skin tight tops and flowing maxis. Trying a different tactic, I trudged into maternity sections in shops where I got distracted by some very lovely pregnant-women clothes and had to deal with a bitter case of role reversal when a sales assistant asked if I needed any help, whilst looking down at my tummy. There wasn't a child growing inside of me, only the bucket load of food I consumed earlier to waste an hour of my recommended 3 hours I should have spent scouting outside. Legging it, I stopped to regroup my plan of action in a cute cupcake shop (What??) I concluded in shamefully walking back to the Bauer Media offices where I was interning for, yeah you guess it 'Mother and Baby Magazine'. Confessing my inadequacy to find any fashionable pregnant ladies, I was surprised that the editorial assistant seemed to understand. 'Trust me I've had days when I can't find anyone at all too' she validated my lacklustre activities of the day. I breathed a sigh of relief and sat down at my desk and didn't do anything for a couple of minutes. My fingers felt frostbitten and my feet ached. This job isn't for the light hearted y'know! Even though I've been unsuccessful in this particular task, I still find it my responsibility to present to you the top 3 basic tips for scouting:

1) Usually you shouldn't make eye contact with strangers, but in this case go out of your way to look that very confused person in the eye. They will slow down and wonder what is going on which will give you precious time to see if they have the goods you want

2) Take your credit card. Food breaks are essential.

3) For gods sake- do it in the SUMMER !

On a final note, I was having lunch with an old friend this weekend in Wimbledon. We headed out of the restaurant completely engrossed in a different conversation, when she point out 'Oh look- there's a pregnant woman!'......Damn right, there she was in all her pregnant glory. I felt a little stab of bitterness, wondering where that woman had been when I needed her the most- But i got over it and moved on with my life.

Jabeen Xxx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Malala Yousafzai's Attack - She's a Hero

Malala Yousafzai
People like Malala Yousafzai make you wonder why you don't do more for your own country, when you're lucky enough to be freely educated in a country that looks at women and men as equal. Being Pakistani, I understand the difficulty in obtaining a first class education in the country and what more following that through to higher education, especially if you're female. People are scared of raising their voice to change the unfairness associated with women's education in Pakistan. However hope lay in 15 year old Malala who became the country's hero as an outspoken educational and women's rights activist from Pakistan's Swat Valley- an area which was notoriously known to ban girls education by the Taliban. At age 11 she started writing about her right to an education in a blog for the BBC. Quickly she rose to prominence and viewed as an incredible role model through documentaries and interviews.

However, on October 6th Malala was shot in the head in an assassination attempt, which she miraculously survived after being flown to the UK for treatment. Her brave determination has now come to the attention of the entire world. So much so that it is widely believed that she deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize 2013.

Bonnie Lloyd, a college professor from New York has started a petition to urge Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to nominate Malala for the honour. Lloyd describes the petition as a 'global movement' which has already been endorsed by the Canadian Prime Minister, UK's 'The Sun' and 150 members of Parliament in France who have signed an appeal to nominate Malala for the prize.

There are over 200,000 signatures on the petition- add yours at


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Lena Dunham's Girls Season 1 Review

"What about the stuff that gets up around the sides of condoms?"- Hannah Horvath

'Ew I watched one episode and I was like wtf is this? I like watching shows with pretty people thanks' said a friend of mine, disgust etched across her face when I asked if she had watched the new show 'Girls'. I looked at her bewildered. I mean sure I love watching shows with the rich and the beautiful who have dramatic story lines surpassing their tender years and romantic love stories that put Romeo and Juliet to shame- But I have to say that I for one have given into the craze that is 'Girls'. I hate giving into crazes, mainly because the crazes over the years have involved vampires, werewolves and wizards. I don't know about you but I am not a vampire, or a werewolf and I am certainly not a wizard.

I am however a personality clone of 'Hannah Horvath', who is played by the immensely talented Lena Dunham. Not only does she star in this relatable series for women in their twenties, but she created it and wrote the script for it. The incredible writing made me gag for the another episode online, when I finished the one I was watching. The series is currently airing on Sky Atlantic here in the UK. For those people who aren't watching in on Monday nights whilst hoping their parents don't walk in, or who haven't happily succumbed to loner-ville like I did online, here is the synopsis of the show-

Dunham plays Hannah, a hopeful writer who two years out of university is still interning. Similarities are smacked in my face right there and then. Asking for a paid position gets her sacked, and she does her best to make ends meet in the jungle that is New York with her close circle of friends as they navigate their way through their twenties 'one mistake at a time'. Her friends include stunning but serious and responsible Marnie, innocent virgin Shoshanna and cool and fiesty Brit- Jessa.

The most incredible thing about this show is that it airs our dirty laundry in a way that no other show has done. Like mentioned previously, whether you have interned for what seems like an eternity, googled your symptoms and convinced yourself you're dying, encountered lesbian romps, had countless awkward sex experiences in hopes that one day you'll feel like a badass pornstar, had a loving relationship but felt like he started turning into a creepy uncle, had someone read you innermost cringiest thoughts in your diary, got jealous of that annoyingly clever girl from years ago who's on the verge of super-stardom, been in love with a guy who dissapears for months on ends, found our your ex-boyfriend is gay, dabbled in sexting which went wrong and engaged in angry arguments with a close friend that comes after months of bitter buildup- then you will be able to relate to this gem of a show. The following are a few quotes from the show that parallels our lives-

*I'm so happy to see you I could murder you- Remember those times when you stand there awkwardly talking to whoever is wasting your time, whether it was that sleazy guy who drooled at the mouth or that annoying girl who rubbed her perfect life in your face, telepathically pleading with your friend to come and save you? And then finally she appears out of thin air? You have never been so happy as you are at that point in your life. That is when this particular quote comes into play.

*No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing that someone's gonna think of to say about me, I've already said it to me, about me, probably in the last half hourLet's face it, we're our own worst critic. Anything mean anyone else says without thinking is something we've already validated to ourselves on a daily basis. It's an innate natural thing that we can't help.

*I've been dating someone who treats my heart like it's monkey meatWe've all been there. We all feel weird in ways we cannot even imagine when we're in love. Monkey meat is a good comparison- why didn't I think of that before?

*Sometimes being stuck in my own head is so exhausting it makes me want to cryThis is particularly true, late at night when you feel as if you're the only one in the world who's awake and your brain won't shut up. All of a sudden you have the ability to think about anything and anyone at a million miles per an hour. It's not fun especially when you have an early wake up call.

*Do you know that part on your resume where they ask if you have any special skills? Well, it's the thing where they ask you to list like, 'yoga, Spanish, water skiing, Photoshop.' I feel like I don’t I have any special skills- For real......what does one write? I like 'socialising, travelling and blogging'.... I feel like a muppet writing these generic answers, but I doubt ' I can make duck noises with my hands' will get me the job.

*I didn't lose my job, I gave it awayHow do you explain the reason you lost your job in a less embarrassing way? You politely stepped down to give someone else a chance and to pursue other options for yourself of course !

*I'm like the least virginy virgin everOnce in their 20's virgins will tell themselves anything to make them sound appealing in that crucial first sexual encounter of theirs. I cannot even proceed to tell you the giggles I have got from these types of conversations.

*You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don't feel like itI have had many interesting jobs in the past, which I don't think I can ever consider as a full time job. Swinging on my chair to make myself dizzy, blowing up balloons e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y slowly to kill time, risking my internet rights at work whilst stalking that girl on Facebook who's just moved to Los Angeles, gone out to hand out vouchers but ended up in a corner with a giant nutella pretzel...yes I have done it all.

*I am 13 pounds overweight and it has been horrible for me my whole lifeDon't talk to a girl about her weight. We will eat you up alive. Even though many of us realistically aren't that obese....we still think we are. So just go along with it and help us to lose weight. Don't sit there with a kebab in front of us. Even though I hate kebabs I will still eat it. Magnetic forces are at an all time high between women and food- well between me and food anyways.

*I just want someone that wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world and wants to have sex with only me. And it makes me feel very stupid to tell you this because it makes me sound like a girl who, like, wants to go to brunch, and I don’t want to go to brunch, I don’t want you to like sit on the couch while I shop, or like even meet my friends. I don’t even want thatAnd honestly, sometimes that is really ALL we want. Is it too much to ask for ?

The critically acclaimed programme returns for a second season on January 13th on HBO (USA)

Jabeen Xxx

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