March 2016Weaving Pages: March 2016

Monday, 28 March 2016

Elders and Betters - Holly Peckitt

Elders and Betters

DefinitionAn idiom reflecting the idea of respecting those who are elder than ourselves simply because they older, and therefore ‘better.’ E.g. When we were children, we were always taught to respect our elders and betters.

In December, I turned 17. Legally, at this point, there’s a lot I can do. I can learn to drive, if I want to, I can have sex, and with parental permission, I can get married, I can gamble too. But there’s also a lot I can’t do, and often I find that part of that comes with the "teen" label. Aside from the alcohol, the voting, tattoos and piercings, there is my own voice, which is silenced by our society with an aging population.

I may be nearly an adult, but I feel that my and every other teenager’s voice is disregarded, thrown away, ignored by the people who are supposed to be our "Elders and Betters". We, the future leaders, rulers, citizens, are granted very little say in our own lives. Currently the British Prime Minister David Cameron has decided that the 2016 EU Referendum as to whether the UK remains part of the European Union vote will not be open to 16 and 17 year olds. Recently it was announced that the vote will be held on June 23rd. That’s 6 months and 1 day before my 18th birthday. It’s fine for any adult who votes and gets their way but we are younger. We live here too. We will have to live with the consequences (or benefits) of other people’s actions for longer than they will themselves. The votes of elder teenagers could completely change the way the vote goes, and we are raring to go to the ballot boxes. But instead, someone who won’t live with the outcome for nearly as long as us, decides that because we are young, because we are not wise, because we cannot be trusted, that we have no choice in what happens.

Of course, this isn’t the only example. Have you ever felt irked by the phrase Elders and Betters? Have you ever been told that you don’t have much respect for those who are older than you? Doesn’t everything feel wrong about that phrase? Just because somebody has lived longer, by no means should that say that they fit into the criteria of someone who deserves to be respected. I have known many adults who due to their actions I have and never will have any respect or reverence for. We should treat everyone, no matter their age with respect, not just those who demand it because they’re over 18.

As I get older, I feel I become more and more internally rebellious. I don’t outright rebel in the way other people do, but I feel fury towards adults who are so controlling and dominant over teenage spirits. If I’m ever somebody’s mother, I think I’d parent very differently to how I’ve witnessed friends and peers in the past – because I can’t stand watching the condescension of adults to children.

We live in a world where because we’re teenagers, young, we are told that we don’t know what love is or we’re too young to understand politics or even when you get older, you learn what’s really important. GIVE US SOME CREDIT!

Holly Peckitt is a 17 year old blogger over at Lost in a Library, and can be described as a Ravenclaw, Musician and a Writer. You may find her on Twitter @HollyPeckitt and on her blog.

Holly makes some absolutely brilliant points here- it can be so frustrating when your opinions are constantly vetoed and shunned because of your age. It's infuriating when decisions are made that will impact upon your future, your life and yet no one bothers to ask for your opinion. 

If there is something that makes you feel passionate or angry or overjoyed or upset, please head over to the CONTRIBUTE page where with a few clicks of a button, you can be well on your way to being heard here on Weaving Pages- come share your thoughts!

Friday, 25 March 2016

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Series: N/A 
Source: Publisher* (Netgalley)
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Published: June 14th 2012
No. of Pages: 394

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Feminism Today and in YA Literature - Georgia Stencel

We still live in an unjust society. The majority of places in the world are still sexist, women are looked down upon as the ‘inferior’ gender. This really aggravates me because women are just as equal as men are and yet, they’re still being treated unfairly.

I’m not afraid to call myself a feminist, frankly I’m proud at the fact that I am one. I’m not scared at the fact that I’m passionate that I want equal rights for everybody and I’m certainly not terrified about the people who will throw abuse at me and mock me for my beliefs. But feminism isn’t just about equal rights for women, in my opinion, it’s equal rights for everybody in the world. I’m talking about the different races, the LGBT* community…you get the point. Even though women, ECT, are getting fairer rights – very slowly, I must say – there are many people who disagree and continue to say that having the society we have now is fair.

I hate the fact that even today, women are getting paid less money than men for jobs – even though they’re pretty much doing the same thing; the fact that it hasn’t even been a hundred years since women got the right to vote in Britain; that when a women gets raped she’s the one to blame because of the clothes that she was wearing, and it’s not the rapist’s fault; that a woman is told to make herself pretty for the men…I hate how women are treated, alongside those who are also treated unjustly just for who they are.

Feminism is becoming more recognised around the world, and it’s even popping up in young adult (YA) novels. This is a real great thing, because many YA authors are willing to show that feminism is a good thing, and that we should accept it. For instance you have novels like ‘I Call Myself a Feminist’ (okay, so the title is a *little* bit out there) but it does really stress the issue. Or the fact that novels like ‘Asking For It’ (written by Louise O’Neill) or ‘The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks’ (written by E. Lockhart). Those two novels scream the word ‘feminism’ with a capital F, and they do stress the issue fantastically. YA is amazing for when it comes to issues like this because it gets the point across fantastically.

We’re all born equal, so why don’t we act like it?

Georgia blogs over at Books Bandit, and I think she makes some brilliant points in her opinion on feminism. I particularly love that ending sentence- why don't we all simply acknowledge the fact that we are all equal?

If you want to share your opinion just like Georgia, start by heading over to the CONTRIBUTE page, where you can quickly take the first steps to having your voice heard here on Weaving Pages. We want to share your opinions, so go now!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Are You Who You Want To Be?

I constantly ask myself this question. Am I who I want to be? It's the kind of question that is so much easier to ignore, to shove its complexities far away from your mind and pretend it never came up. But I can promise you, that question is always there.

I want to be a child. I want to bask in the glory of having my parents to complain to, to have them do all the worrying for me so I can enjoy the feeling of dancing to Disney songs in the middle of the living room with my sister. I want to take perfect Instagram pictures and go out with my friends and laugh till I cry. I want to wear dresses and pink lipstick and denim shirts with rolled up sleeves. I want be young, and I find that so hard to reconcile with the other things I want.

I want to move people with the words I write and have my own library to rival a bookstore. I want do my absolute best in school, to get into the university of my dreams, to study law and move abroad. I want to see the world and use my life to help those who have their rights taken away from them everyday. I want to speak out, to make a difference and to be a role model to other girls to show them they can when the world tells them they can't. I want to have my thoughts published in articles and my parents and my sister to be as proud as they could be of me. I want to be able to repay them for all the love and support they have shown me every second of my life.

My biggest fear, I think, is that I'm not doing that. That I'm leaning more towards the childish side that can only every last for maybe five more years, when I know that my dreams will last me a lifetime. I try my best to do both, but when you're a teenager you have to fight to not be like everyone else. And that's especially hard when every bit of your being tells you to fit in, to pretend you didn't revise for a week for a history test and to be careful with what you say. It's a constant pressure on your life, on you and I never could have put it into words until I read a speech by Rowan Blanchard who said one of the main problems we lack gender equality in STEM subjects is because "girls in my age group would rather be liked than be leaders."

That sentence hit me hard. We all want to be liked, we all want to have fun and to 'fit in'. Everyone feels that at some point in their life, but that sentence reminded me exactly of who I don't want to be.

I don't want to be the girl who trades in her dreams for five seconds of popularity, or who gets so caught up in the disillusionment that is fed to teenagers and children today that she forgets who she really wants to be. I want to be young, but I shouldn't have to not have interests and aspirations so as to be.

Being young should be portrayed as having goals you'll fight to achieve and as working to make all your wrongs right. It should mean realising you have an entire lifetime where you will experience a multitude of opportunities, and not living like the best years of your life will end as soon a life 'gets serious.' I should be able to wear pink lipstick during my final exams and laugh till I cry because all the hard work payed off. My perfect Instagram pictures should be of the university of my dreams and I should dance in the living room to Disney songs because I got accepted to work at the European Court of Human Rights.

I know who I want to be, no matter how much everyone else may say otherwise. I want to be me.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Outside Eyes - Mannah Pierce

We are all prejudiced to some degree. We cannot help it. It is inevitable. We can learn to recognise in ourselves as well as in others. We can fight it.
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Maya Angelou 
Only it is not easy. What do I say when a mother sits across from me at a dinner party and says that she hopes her boys never make friends with a Muslim because Muslim youths are so easily radicalised? I do what I can. I describe the marvellous adolescents I have met who are Muslims. I scrabble about trying to find a positive male, Muslim role model in the media. I fail because she stops listening. I am the leftie teacher who doesn’t have children and therefore does not understand.

I leave it. I have tried. It is not the time or the place.

According to a recent YouGov poll, people like me and my dinner companion think even less of white men in their 20s than they do of Muslin men of a similar age. According to the poll white men in their 20s are rude, lazy, promiscuous, hard-drinking druggies. Perhaps my dinner companion should be more worried about her sons’ white friends.

My 24-year-old nephew is nothing like that. Her sons will be nothing like that when they reach their 20s. We both know that the stereotype is just that, a stereotype. Our experience balances, or even modifies, our prejudices.

Only most people’s experience is limited. That is where imagination can play its part. As a child stories took me places I could never go and introduced me to people I would never meet. Fiction, whether on page or screen, expands one’s horizons.
“The show doesn't drive home a lesson, but it can open up people's minds enough for them to see how stupid every kind of prejudice can be.” Redd Foxx
So I write my stories. Unlike that dinner table, they are my time and my place. I choose Science Fiction because the world I have built, story by story, is outside the reader’s experience. In my vast interstellar world there are countless societies, each as confident about its constitution, code or laws as the next. Those who do not fit or who have no prospects often choose to leave the planet of their birth. Then they are faced with a choice. Do they join a crew that follows the spacer code and trades between the stars? Or do their join the pirates or slavers who prey on the weak?

I invite readers into my world. It is world in which their prejudices have little or no meaning; a world where racism is about how many non-human genes you carry and Artificial Intelligence is the only taboo. I invite readers to broaden their horizons and identify with my characters, even if they are strange and different.
I invite you into my world.

Mannah Pierce is a debut author who's book, Cast Adrift, is part of a Science Fiction saga published just last year. Pierce is also a former scientist and teacher who has contributed to the UK education system through her diverse lesson plans and syllabus. Find out more at

If you're like Mannah and you have your own story to tell, please visit the Contribute page, where you can quickly and easily take the first steps in having your voice heard. I look forward to working with you!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

"Yesterday, they killed me."

On the 22nd of February, two Argentinian girls who were backpacking in Ecuador went missing. Marina Menegazzo and Maria Jose Coni's bodies were found six days later, left like rubbish on a beach. The event has brought to light once again the evident women's issues countries like Ecuador have, particularly in terms of violence against women.

In response to the deaths and the horrifying responses of many, Guadalupe Acosta -a communications student from Paraguai- wrote an open letter as though one of the victims were speaking. In it, she expresses the injustice felt by many at the treatment of these girls in a patriarchal society, and calls for action to be taken to end violence against women.

The letter is originally in Spanish and has been translated into Portuguese- predominant languages in South America. Yet it is foolish to think the problem only exists there. Every 6 minutes a woman is raped in Britain. 60,000 girls are at risk of Female Genital Mutilation in England and Wales. 87% of American women aged 18 to 64 have been harassed by a male stranger. This isn't a problem that you only read about in newspapers. This is a problem that is right outside, on the streets that you walk. This is a problem that hurts the women you know and love every single day.

In an effort to recognise that, I've taken Acosta's letter and translated it into English, so that many more can read and understand its message. Please share it in the hope of raising awareness of the fact that Violence Against Women is a real problem, and we have to change our attitudes towards it now.

"Yesterday they killed me. 

I refused to let them touch me and so with a stick they burst my skull. They stabbed me and left me to bleed until I died.

Like rubbish, they put me in a black, plastic bin bag, wrapped with duct tape, and I was dumped on a beach, where hours later they found me.

But, worse than death, was the humiliation that came afterwards.

From the moment that they saw my lifeless body, no one asked where the son of a bitch that ended my dreams, my hopes, my life was. 

No, they chose to start asking me useless questions. Asking me, can you imagine? A dead girl, who can't speak, who can't defend herself.

What clothes were you wearing?

Why were you alone?

Why does a woman want to travel on her own?

She went to a dangerous neighbourhood, what was she expecting?

They criticised my parents, for giving me wings, for allowing me to be independent, like any other human being. They told them that there was no doubt we were drugged and went looking, that we must have done something, that they should have kept an eye on us.

And only when dead did I realise that to the world I am not equal to a man. That dying was my fault, and it always will be. Because if the title said "Two travelling young people have been killed" people would be offering their condolences and, with their false and hypocritical speeches, with false morals, would ask for the maximum penalty for the murderers.

But, as it is a woman, it's minimized. It becomes less serious because, of course, I was asking for it. I did what I wanted, I got what I deserved for not being submissive, for not wanting to stay at home, for investing my own money in my dreams. For this and a lot more, they condemned me.

And I suffered, for I am no longer here. But you are, And you are a woman. And you have endure that they continue to rub in your face the same speech about "having self respect", that it's your fault when they shout and want to touch/lick/suck your genitals in the street because your wore shorts in the 40 degree heat, that if you travel alone you are "crazy" and most likely if something happened, if they poached your rights, you put yourself in the way.

I ask you for myself and all the other women who were kept quiet, silenced and who had their lives and their dreams destroyed, speak up. We are going to fight, me at your side, in spirit, and I promise that one day there will be so many of us that there will not be enough plastic bin bags to silence us."

Here at Weaving Pages, we believe more than anything that every single girl in this world deserves a voice. Every girl deserves to be treated as a human being, and she deserves to have every opportunity in the world. Guadalupe's words are symbolic of that, and I don't believe she could have said it better. One day, no one will be able to silence us- I truly believe that.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

8 Books to Pick Up this Week

You may have spotted me over on twitter asking everyone what their "Book of the Week" was, particularly because I started to realise just how hard it is to just quickly find some good recommendations without trawling through a load of reviews. Thus to combat the problem, I have a round up of books people in the bookish world have been loving so you can satisfy your love for a good book!

The first recommendation is from @HollyPeckitt who says "All the Rage by Courtney Summers. I finished it the other day and it's incredible."


@Books_Bandit recommends "Only Ever Yours by Louise O' Neill. It's a fantastic novel and it makes you think about today's society and how it could be in the future!"

@Ariannebooklove swept in with the announcement " I HAVE HEARD THE SONG OF MY PEOPLE" and tells us all that "Kiran Millwood Hargrave's The Girl of Ink and Stars" is the one to be reading as soon as it's out.

27973757    25814154

On the other hand @BrunetteBlogg 's book of the week is "The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell".

@serena_poetree says "I'm reading The Hills is Lonely by Lillian Beckwith. It's lovely and cosy and absolutely hilarious."

1158031    6473592

Although @Quarkiness says her book of the week is "Gone by Michael Grant. Half way through and it's so hard to put it down." I don't blame you, Marian!

@booknauthors 's choice is "Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid!"

Never Always Sometimes   348914

My recommendation to you, however, is Wuthering Heights, which I have been reading at the moment. Sure, the language is tricky, but the story is strangely engrossing- so give it a go!

There you have it then- a complete reading list which you can use to find your next favourite book! Don't forget to share your book of the week with me, either in the comments, or over on twitter @WeavingPages Happy Reading!

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