Sexist highlights of 2015

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

As we move on to a new year, we look back over all the great moments of 2015.  Not forgetting the sexist and misogynistic moments.   The moments that you can do nothing but laugh at, and the moments that are damn right infuriating.

Here‘s a quick overview.  Don’t let it overwhelm you!


I was having a chat with a lecturer recently – we discussed how terrifyingly sad and frustrating it is when languages begin to die out – especially when it’s yours.  Language seems to make your identity, somehow.   People may scoff at my love for Wales.  My little island in the very North West.  My little village, and my little family and my little language.  I’m not sure why I have such a strong love for my country, or why it is such a part of my identity.  I’m not sure why being part of the United Kingdom is not part of my identity.  I don’t really  identify as “British”.  Possibly, it is because of our history of being oppressed – the way our prince’s were slaughtered, the way our language was literally beaten and humiliated out of us, the way our heritage is belittled.  Possibly it’s because some people still call us a “Principality”.  Possibly it’s because some people complain about our bilingual road signs, our Welsh GCSEs, our choice to put money into our language.  Those things make me want to defend the place that means so much to me.

So I always tell people – “I’m first-language Welsh” to make it very clear that that is who I am.  That I’m proud of being Welsh – not British, not a monoglot.  I’m not saying that identifying as British or only speaking English is a bad thing in any way – it just intrigues me that I find it so crucial to let people know who I am, and that my language is the way I do that.

I wear my silver dragon around my neck to remind me that I have a place to belong, I have a family within Welsh speakers, I have a colourful history to teach my children – and to remind me that however bad things get, I will always be able to see the snow-covered mountains of North Wales.  I think that’s why it’s important to me to state my identity in one word – Welsh.

Diolch, Lois.

Instagram girls

I’m not a great fan of social media – this blog and Facebook is about as far as I go.  So when I discuss Instagram, I don’t presume to know much about it.  What I do understand is that people upload pictures of their lives with a tag line, and then others who follow their profiles can ‘like’ their pictures.  This has created some kind of culture, where people (usually pretty people or celebs) are paid lots of money to look good whilst using/wearing/drinking a particular company’s product.  This can actually become people’s living – be their main source of income – apparently (if they have enough followers).

Essena O’Neill was one of these people.  Here‘s an article that explains a little about how she completely turned on this kind of life.  She speaks about how all her pictures on Instagram were purely for ‘likes’, attention, and self-promotion.  This is what she based her self-worth on, and it made her increasingly depressed because it wasn’t real-life.  She apparently would spend hours trying to take the perfect picture, make sure her stomach was pulled in, her boobs pushed up and so on.  Because obviously, the prettier she looked, the more likes she would get, and the better she would feel about herself.

This self-objectification can make people feel better in the short-term, but has numerous negative effects in the long run.  Essena was depressed.  Others may develop anxiety or eating  disorders due to the shame about their “imperfect” bodies.

Go to Essena’s website to learn more about her revelations.  She’s very interesting and potentially inspiring to girls who know exactly how she feels.

Try not to base your self-worth on the number of ‘likes’ you get on a pretty picture from strangers on the internet.

Lois xxx


“Sometimes, anxiety doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you.  You can’t change your personality, and why would you want to?  You’re such a lovely girl.”

I recently realised that there are many Facebook communities/pages for people with mental health issues, each one specific to an issue, such as anxiety or depression (you may think that I’ve lived under a rock most of my life).  On these pages, people post inspiring messages, positive stories, issues they are dealing with, questions about coping, and even screams for help.  And every comment is supportive, and usually contains a “I feel exactly the same way”.

“Anxiety is a burden.  But having anxiety doesn’t make you a burden.”

I don’t specialise in this type of psychology (I wish I could research everything!), but with this strange feeling of community, and of unconditional understanding, a weight is lifted, that I’m certain helps people through their most difficult moments.  An invisible support system that is available 24/7 with no judgements.  Social media has the power to do great things.

However, can it become an issue, and have a negative effect when reading about millions of other people’s awful stories and worries?  Is there a limit to how many people should have the same problems as you, and does too many cause a worry that things will never get better?

Here are just two papers to have a look at  to peak your interest:

The Yin and Yang of support from significant others: Influence of general social support and partner support of avoidance in the context of treatment for social anxiety disorder (Ronald, Peters, Carpenter and Gaston, 2015).

Perceived social support helps, but does not buffer the negative impact of anxiety disorders on quality of life and perceived stress (Panayiotou and Karekla, 2013).

Removing feminism from politics A-level – ??!!!

How can such a huge POLITICAL movement be removed from the teaching of POLITICS?!  Teaching girls and young women about their political history  and the movements that increased gender equality is vital.  Women are consistently under-represented in such domains, which means girls have fewer role models than boys do, and it suggests that women should not be involved in these areas, which in turn reduces their aspirations.

Please sign the petition linked in the article.

Plan to axe feminism from A-level politics triggers protest


SPSS, part 3: Frequencies

% frequencies may look big, but they depend on the number of participants, so always look at the normal frequency to compare.

Analyze -> Descriptive Stats -> Frequencies

  • move variables into box on right
  • click “Statistics” to choose only the descriptives and percentiles you want along with the frequencies
  • click “Charts” to choose histograms (continuous variables) or bar charts (categorical variables)
  • you can split the file beforehand to look at (e.g.) gender separately

To get box-plots you have to use Analyze -> Descriptive Stats -> Explore

  • put variables in the “Dependent List”
  • put variable you want to split file by in “Factor List”
  • click “Plots” to choose histogram too, and tick “Both” at bottom


  • use mainly to compare the max and min values of groups
  • longer horizontal line = more variation in scores (range is bigger)
  • box-pos-skew = positive skew = skew_pos
  • box-neg-skew = negative skew = skew_neg
  • can compare medians:


SPSS, part 2: Descriptive stats

Descriptive stats

  • distribution (skew, kurtosis)
  • central tendency (mean, median mode)
  • dispersion (SD, variance, range)

Analyze -> Descriptive Stats -> Descriptives

  • move variables into box on right
  • click “Options” and choose the descriptives that you want
  • click “OK”
  • you can split the file beforehand to look at (eg) gender separately


  • may affect analyses because we assume normality
  • positive number = skew_pos
  • negative number = skew_neg
  • 0 = normal distribution


  • no impact on results
  • positive number = leptokurtic kurt_pos (scores clustered tight)
  • negative number = platycurtic kurt_neg (scores not clustered)
  • 0 = mesokurtic (normal distribution)