Updated about me

Hello, my name is Johanna and I like words.

My first language is Swedish, then I learned English and I’m currently studying French. I like words in all languages, so next I’m planning on learning either Greek, Russian or Arabic, please help me choose. 

There are two primary reasons for why I write in English. One, I prefer to read in it, therefore I write in it. Two, I would like to get an A in English at some point and practising writing can only help. I think that it’ll finally happen this year now that I’ve got a new English teacher. It will not be as satisfying, because I doubt my new teacher is as meticulous as my former teacher. 

I’m honestly kind of a boring person whose goal is to never stop learning or leaving the academic world. To achieve this, I plan on becoming some kind of scientist, most likely a chemist but we’ll see what the future holds. The one thing I do know, is that I really don’t want to remain in Sweden, I would love to live and work in some other country.

I sometimes fantasize about walking into libraries where most of the books are in English. Can you tell I like reading? I probably write too much about books, but I shall not stop. Also, is it possible to talk too much about books? Worth noting: I care very little for spoilers, I don’t care if things get spoiled to me and I don’t leave spoilers out. Read at your own risk. On occasion I will leave a numerical rating on Goodreads.       

I will write using sources (when needed). Since I believe strongly in honesty and good sourcing I will always refer to them. I’ll be using the APA system because that is the one we currently use in school and therefore the one I’m most comfortable with. This means that all of the sources I’ve used, will be linked at the bottom of the page, in alphabetical order.  

I will write about politics, environment and equality because it needs to be said and I care about my opinions. I will also write a lot about autism because I’m autistic and it’s just my life. If a word, saying or sentence is followed by an (/s) then it was meant sarcastically, hopefully I will remember to write it always but feel free to ask if you want clarifications.  

Other fun facts about me:

I have two horses, one cat and sadly also a dog. I’m so not a dog person. He’s the only dog I can stand to be around.

I do not want children. Also, having the dog has solidified that opinion. 

I like clothes and photography. On occasion I will post pictures of me wearing clothes, or just of other beautiful things on my instagram. Same name as the blogg. 

I love climbing but I also have a fucked up wrist and it pains me to say that climbing is often too painful. But all the doctors and specialists I’ve spoken to say that I will most likely no longer be in pain when I’m twentyfour so I’ll only have to wait six years to start climbing regularly.

I don’t like the concept of five fast facts so I’m not sure why I choose to write some of my own. 

And that was your brief introduction to me. To learn more, I think that there is a subscribe button? Or just read what I have already written. I try to update once a week, but school likes to keep our workload inconsistent and I’m bad at planning ahead.

Books of August

Romanov 

Nadine Brandes

This book suffers from either an identity crisis or just a case of a really bad summary.  

When I borrowed the book I was expecting action, adventure, magic and not much historical accuracy. That was what the summary said, “But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.” (Goodreads) That sounds like action to me. But no, the first ⅔ ‘s of the book is what I assume a fairly historically accurate retelling of their time in exile. With very little magic, and no action. 

If they just would have written it, I would have had no problem with it. Historical accuracy is fun, and I would have found it interesting to learn more about the Romanovs if that had been advertised. But, since I was expecting fantasy and excitement, I just found it boring. 

Brandes also fails at assuming what people already know about the Romanovs and the revolution. My knowledge is limited to the movie Anastasia and a brief history lesson in connection to the World Wars. The book starts with the Romanovs already exiled and abdicated and explains nothing of what has happened before, or who the different actors are. Side note, I really dislike it when a book is written in English, but the characters are supposed to be from some other country and to show this, they at occasions say random words in their mother tongue, but for the most part just speak English. It is weird. 

That said, the last ⅓ was more of what I was expecting, magic and action. And once I got to it, I found the book quite enjoyable. Had it been advertised correctly I think that I would have liked the entirety.   

Six of Crows 

Leigh Bardugo

Whenever I read fantasy heist books I go through multiple stages. The first is always: Oh no, a fantasy heist book. The last one is always: Why don’t I read more fantasy heist books? I really should read more fantasy heist books.

I honestly have nothing to say about the book other than it was good and that the characters should have been older. The oldest of the main characters was eighteen, most of the others were seventeen, but one or two of them were even younger. Having young characters is often not a problem, but it becomes odd when all of them act like grownups. There was no fumbling teenagingness going on, no awkward romances, no uncertainties. They were all selfasured, well dressed, eloquent and did a lot of things you can’t imagine teenagers doing. Like killing people. It kind of made those scenes funny, I could not help but think that they were younger than me. 

Overall, great book, weird ages.    

Son of Neptune 

Rick Riordan 

The best part of reading this book was when I had to go home and ditched my friend’s Swedish copy and borrow my brother’s English copy. That ment that Riptide was once more called Riptide and not Tidvattensvåg, English is so much cooler. 

But for real. The Swedish translation is at times ridiculous. Books are just so much better in English. Fight me!

As always Riordan writes brilliantly and fun books enjoyable for the whole family. I can’t wait for the TV adaptation that I’ll pirate watch because I don’t like Disney.

Stop Burying your Gays, and Other Representation Problems.

There is a lot one can write about representation, and this barely scratches the surface. Nevertheless it felt good to write. Please educate yourself further, perhaps starting with the links I included at the end?

There are a few things in literature and movies that I can’t stand: abusive fathers, cheating couples, love triangles. But the absolute worst one, is the unnecessary killing of LGBTQ+ characters, commonly known as “bury your gays”. So when “The Letter for the King” fell victim to that trope in the last few minutes of the first season it was as dead to me, as the gay kid was dead in the show.     

The thing that makes it even more absurd is that “The Letter for the King” is very much a kids show, focusing on representation! All of the actors are of appropriate ages, not twenty-somethings playing teenagers. And they are of multiple ethnicities. The main character is black, the chosen one is female. The supporting characters are a diverse group, and when two of them, males, began a relationship the representation was at a top. The show is not only great at representation, it also deals with some heavy topics that kids need to learn about: racism, class prejudice, war and other moral questions. All important stuff! So why the fuck would they bury their gay?

Firstly, an explanation on “Bury your gays”. Bury your gays (also knowns as Dead Lesbian Syndrom) is the name of a TV trope where, kind of self explenatory, the gay (or any typ of LGBT+) character dies or have an unhappy ending (TV tropes, NDa). 

The origins of this trope are awful. It comes from a time in Hollywood when the only way to portray gay people was to have them pay for their so called immorality (McConnaughy, J, 2016, 29 of Mars). This was due to the Hays Code, which banned many things considered immoral, such as nudity and sex, blasphemy, as well as interracial relationships and homosexualiy, both of which were considerd perverted! (TV tropes, NDb). 

The Hays Code was made by Hollywood, but it wouldn’t have had to be a thing, if not for the fact that the US Congress were already planning to make laws for censoring films. This, due to public complaints of the “perceived lewd content of films” (TV tropes, NDb). 

Nowadays there is literally no need to kill gay characters. Homosexuality is no longer seen as shameful and bad (in these parts of the world) and there is nothing stopping people from writing happy gay stories. Still, it goes on. 

One example is of course “The Letter From The King”. But there is also “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, “The 100”, “Arrow”, “Brokeback Mountain” and way more tv series and movies (TV tropes, ND). 

Well, now that we all know what “Bury your Gay” is; let’s talk about why it shouldn’t be done. 

It’s because representation matters. It’s as simple as that. Stories have always been human things, we tell eachother things all the time. Nowadays there are stories everywhere. Not just stories we tell eachother, there are movies, books, blogs and so forth. But, what does it do to you, if the characters that are just like you, always meet a bad faith? If you can’t get a happy ending? Constant heartbreak and death? I would get pretty depressed, and I’m guessing you would too. 

From personal experience, I tend to avoid autistic characters because I know that most of the time, they will be nothing like me and I’ll just be disappointed…I do not have a perfect memory. I do not like trains and I do not have that much trouble connecting with people. I would just want to see people like me, who get overwhelmed easily, don’t like eye contact, do like structure and occasionally don’t get the social context. And, you know, is a woman. How hard can it be?

That is also what I would like for others to see. Because, as Nancy Wang Yuen writes “on-screen images can shape our views of reality”(2019, 22 of May). So if all you ever see, are autistics with superpowers or just in general autistic white men (who often act like boys), then that will influence your perception of autistics. This, of course, applies for all types of representation. 

Bad representation of people like me is mostly an annoyance, and a reminder of sexism. But to others, especially people of color, this is outright dangerous. If we want “Karens” to stop calling the paid murderers (Police) on black people, who are just existing, then a part of it is to stop bad representation. It will not fix centuries of systematic racism. But perhaps it will stop some “Karens” -actions and save some peoples’ lives in the end.  

Good representation in movies is important both for the person being represented and for the people watching. It will not fix everything, but mixed with other “fixes” it will lead to a better, more tolerant world. Something we desperately need. Also, I just want one cool autistic woman with a well developed story line, played by an autistic woman, to look up too, please. 

Representation matters. Black life matters.  

Shortly after I wrote this I started having second thoughts, perhaps I was too mean, too controversial about coops. Maybe I shouldn’t have called them paid killers. But then I saw the news. On the very day that I wrote most of this text the police shot Jacob Blake, a black man, in his back eight times in front of his kids. I no longer hesitate to call them paid killers. That and the fact that Breonna Taylors killers have not been arrested, it has been over five months.  

Sources

Beside my normal sources I will also link some articles.

https://www.nytimes.com/article/breonna-taylor-police.html – The NY Times, about Breonna Taylor 

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/8/25/21400481/jacob-blake-kenosha-police-shooting-riots-evanston – Chicago Sun Times, about James Blake

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/us/minneapolis-police-george-floyd.html – The NY Time, about George Floyd

https://blacklivesmatter.com – Official site 

The movie 13th (det 13:e tillägget) on Netflix is good to watch.

McConnaughy, J. (2016, 29 of Mars).What Led to Lexa: A Look at the History of Media Burying Its Gays. The Mary Sue.  Retrieved from 

TV Tropes. (NDa). Bury Your Gays. Retrieved 2020-8-14 from 

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BuryYourGays

TV Tropes. (NDb). The Hays Code. Retrieved 2020-8-19 from 

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode

Wang Yuen, N. (2019, 22 of May). Why Is Equal Representation In Media Important? Forbes. Retrieved from 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2019/05/22/why-is-equal-representation-in-media-important/#89654082a84e

Disabilities are difficult. Aka, they come in all shapes and sizes

So, I had this weird moment last fall. I had booked dance classes with my friend, and we were really looking forward to them. And then we had our first, it went well. I liked the dance, I liked the people and I liked the music. But afterwards my wrist was hurting. 

The day of our next class had been a bad day, my wrist had hurt at multiple times and I did not feel like it would have been a good idea to force it to do more physically demanding things that day, dance class was cancelled for the day. 

The next week was the same. So, there I sat with my friend. On the top floor of our school, having to debate with myself if it was worth the additional pain to do something I liked. The answer was no, dance class was cancelled for an unforeseeable time. But while I was sitting there, debating with myself, I suddenly realised that the injury that I had been living with for maybe two and a half years at that point was a disability. 

For some reason, that also made me think more about my autism diagnosis. I rarely think of it as a disability, it is just a part of what makes me awesome. But there and then I understood that not everyone saw it as a strength. I want to be careful here, it is something that makes my life more difficult, not some weird supertalent that people can write books about. But it is me, and if people around me behave respectably then it is more of an asset to me, than a hindrance.     

I hadn’t really thought about my diagnosis and what it meant for me. On one hand I was still myself, nothing had really changed. I knew that I was autistic before it was confirmed.  On the other hand it felt like everything had changed. It was official. It was something that others could use against me. Like the police, and military (fuck them and their “Come as you are” campaign). People could use it to discriminate against me. 

I understand where the discrimination comes from, uneducation. I’ll even admit that I at one time thought of myself as autistic but not  “Autistic”, kind of like how Isak in Skam was gay but he wasn’t “Gay”. Or how most girls go through a “I’m not like other Girls” phase. It is an attempt to distance oneself from a stereotype portrayed in the media that isn’t recognizable. An attempt that I realised was meaningless once I had spent time on parts of the internet where I could interact with all types of people and get educated. I came to the realisation that I am not better than anybody else and that all ways of being is equally valid. 

Other fun things that happened when I got my diagnosis, I started seeing casual ableism. What a joy. My best example of this is from the fall of my first year at Hvitfeldtska. It was in English class, we were reading The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime (btw, bad book) and we were preparing for a written exam with the book as a base. We were to answer three of four questions with well thought out arguments and all of that fun English stuff. And since my (former ) English teacher wanted all of us to do our best he gave us one of the questions beforehand so that we could prepare properly. The question was “Do you think that Christopher is a reliable narrator?”. Objectively a really good question, it both tied on to the book and to the lessons we had had about different kinds of narrators. We had to discuss the question two and two. As far as I could hear they all said no, he isn’t a reliable narrator. And while it wasn’t said outright it was his autism that made him unreliable. It was partially harrowing to hear the girl I was paired with list characteristics that Christopher and I share, as a reason to why he was an unreliable narrator. That was my first time experiencing casual ableism and one of the reasons that I started writing. 

To this day I don’t know what my teacher’s answer to the question was, or what he intended with it. All I know is that in my text I wrote passionately about how the question was discriminating and wrong. It was one of the first things I wrote at Hvitfeldtska but it will without a doubt always be the one that I’m most proud of. But that moment has stayed with me, perhaps it is why I have problems telling anyone about my diagnosis. Or perhaps I just think that it doesn’t matter and isn’t anyone else’s business.    

Another fun thing that happened was that my parents didn’t have any problem at all telling all of their acquaintances and friends. To this day I don’t know when we meet if they know or not, it makes me uncomfortable. I am a strong believer in being open about mental health in order to end the stigma, but be open with your own mental health, not anybody else’s. No shade to my parents, they did what they thought was best. I have seen way too many “family youtubers” and celebrities talk about things that their children do that I wouldn’t want the internet to know if it were me, so I have a vastly different opinion about what parents should share. I think I’m going to write a full text about it, so look forward to that. 

Anyway, back to my disabilities and back to that fall day on the top floor where I realised that I had been failed by the system. 

It was partially fun (/s) to realise that my wrist pain was in fact a disability. It is a pain that I have lived with since eighth grade, and I had never considered it a disability before. I had cried about it, I had been in unimaginable pain due to it and I had feared because of it. But never had I considered it a disability, because you know, a disability is something like being paralyzed or having lost a limb, something that affects your life daily.

 That day I realised that it does in fact impact my life everyday. That I hesitate to do certain things because I don’t want to be in pain, that I think and worry about it regularly and that I wasn’t able to live my life to the fullest due to it.            

There are two ways I was failed by the system. First one, no one realized that I was on the spectrum or that I was a “gifted” child (aka I’m really good at school). Had either of those things been realized earlier I would most likely not have suffered for three years and my education would have been more stimulating. I like to credit books for surviving school. 

Second one, no one took my pain seriously enough at the hospital. It took two weeks before I even got to see a doctor and she just sent me along to some physiotherapist that told me that I had a weak wrist. She didn’t even check my grip strength (it is perfectly fine!). I came back and I came back and I came back. It took two years before they sent me along to a specialist! Two years of pain and fear and uncertainty. Two years of no progress. This last year has been better, I feel seen, heard and helpt.                

I guess what I’m trying to say is that all pain is valid and that disabilities comes in all shapes and sizes. Just because someone has it worse doesn’t mean that you don’t have it bad, and all bad things should be taken seriously and treated. It doesn’t have to be as it looks on TV.

For those of you that are curious of what’s wrong with my arm, no one really knows. A lot of ideas and a lot of tests are happening but so far no definite answer. The most common answer is that I will grow out of it in my mid twenties because that is when you start to stiffen, really looking forward to five to nine more years of pain (/s).

BTW, The Incident with the dog in the nighttime is a bad book and sad stereotypical representation. The awful thing is that when I was researching different disabilities autism was the last one I looked up just because most of my understanding came from bad representation in media such as the Incident.  

Books of June

Persuasion

Jane Austen 

I have read my fair share of exes to lover stories, and I have never particularly enjoyed any of them. Jane Austen changed that.

Persuasion would have been a better read in the fall, there is a cosy, “sitting indoors in a nice thick sweater, while it rains outside” vibe to it. It is at times a melancholic story and at the same time you know that it will have a happy ending, making the whole read overall cosy. Like a bad weathered fall day; it looks gloomy, but you know that eventually the sun will shine again and that knowledge means that the weather can be enjoyed to the fullest.   

It is not only a book of lost love, of course there is a sense of humor in it. In fact it starts with a brutal roasting of the main characters’ father. Multiple pages telling us how his only personality trait is vanity. How could you not love Austen’s works? That is just one of many examples scattered thru the book, Austen’s wit should never be underestimated. 

The worst part of this book is that I now have unrealistic romantic expectations. If my future partner doesn’t write me a romantic letter telling me how they feel and that they will respect whatever choice I make, then what is the point? I would even settle for an email, or a really long text. There is so much feeling in words. I adore it.     

Pride and Prejudice is the classic Jane Austen, and it will always be loved by me. But I think that Persuasion is my new favourite. The tenderness and sense of humor of the book just really speaks to me. I look forward to reading while it rains.   

Renegades

Marissa Meyer

I have recently decided to give up on Marvels superhero movies. I am no longer interested in movies, that only is meant to make money for Disney. I’m glad to have found this book series as a reading replacement for any future Marvel movie. 

This book starts with a somewhat typical anti hero that  goes undercover to infiltrate the good guys. So I was scared that the protagonist would see the “error” of her way, betray her former allies and join the good guys. She didn’t. 

Meyer portrays both sides as both good and bad, as it tends to be with different sides of politics. So far it is up to the reader to choose with groups values they believe in. 

One thing that helps with that, is having dual p.o.v. One from the girl protagonist and one from the boy that has a large role, however not being a lead character (he doesn’t get too much page time).

This is a good example of how to write a good fighter. Meyer actually shows us how the protagonist defeats her enemies and in what way she is powerful. Meyer doesn’t just tell us that over and over again without actually showing it, making the reader question the abilities.   Yes, I’m still upset over Throne of Glass….. But back to Meyer’s writing. She shows us how Nova, the main character, is smart, inventive and a good fighter through the entire book. It makes the whole book, which centers around superheroes and villains, more credible.

Another thing I like with the book, is the setting. It takes place after a revolution that dismantled all governments, leaving the world in anarchy. After that there was another revolution between the anarchist and people that wanted to restart a government. In the beginning of Renegades, the world is a police/military dictatorship with constant talk of making it a democracy. The “good guys” rule and ironically don’t realise that the world they created has as many flaws as the anarchistic had. I don’t think that I have ever read a book that takes place after the revolution when the world is getting rebuilt. It was an interesting and (for me) unique storytelling way, one that I look forward to returning to.     

The Migration

Helen Marshall

Reading a story about a pandemic that only affects children in a world plagued by climate change induced storms, it was almost like reading the news. 

The concept was good, and for most of the book I was on the edge of my seat. But I felt like the ending was severely lacking and that ruined the book for me. Children all over the world are getting sick, eventually dying, and after their death they start transforming. All good so far. But I felt like we never got a good enough explanation of why they were changing. That made the main characters arcs ending extra weak. I never understood if transforming was a good thing or not, so I mostly felt confused. Honestly, I would have prefered if Marshall just would have gone with aliens.       

There were other smaller things that bothered me too. Like how the main character managed to steal her sisters’ corpse from the hospital. A sister that died from the pandemic and whose body was to be taken care of carefully. How could that hospital be so easy to break into? Especially given that it was one of the leading research centers. This brings me to the only thing that I liked about the book, the doctor. She was the only interesting character, doing morally bad things ordered by her boss. Eventually her morals got the better of her and she gave the protagonist some horrifying information about how the hospital was conducting some highly unethical experiments. If only Marshall would have made them the bad guys.    

Except for the doctor most of the book was forgettable, particularly after getting to the end. If you want to read about a pandemic, just read the news.

The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan 

I read Percy Jackson when I was ten, maybe? And I loved the series, I even reread it. The last book ends with a new prophecy and a promise of new books. Back then I did not think of Googling and therefore learned of the new series much later. Had I thought of using the internet, I would definitely have made my parents buy The Lost Hero. And I would have been so very disappointed, as Percy isn’t in it. Rick Riordan is brave, I’v give him that. 

Now that I’m older the lack of Percy didn’t affect me as it would have. Instead I think it was a good move on Riordans part. It forces the reader to accept and get to know the new characters and not just wait for the old favorites to appear. Beside adding new characters, Riordan also adds more diverse representation. The first five books were great, kids with ADHD and dyslexia, but most of them were white. With The Lost Hero Riordan introduces one Native American protagonist and one Hispanic protagonist.  

As usual Riordan excels in writing funny. I was reading the book, at my friends’ and I kept having to take a break and read the funniest lines out loud to her. It was impossible to read all of the fun lines out loud because I did not have time to read the entire book to her. That’s how fun it is. It is not just how he writes that is fun, it is all of the bonkers situations they find themself in that’s also amusing. 

I can’t believe that it took me at least eight years to read this book.  I will most likely read the rest of the series before the summer is over. (I can’t believe that I’ll have to borrow these books from my brother!)       

Ash Princess

Laura Sebastian

When I opened the book and the ruler was called “kaiser” (German word for emperor) I was sceptical, it got worse when Søren was introduced on page eight. Do you know how annoying it is to read and suddenly an å, ä or ö just pops up in a word and ruins the flow. My brain is in English mode and suddenly the word forces it to face Swedish, it is a jarring experience. It didn’t help that Søren is an old man’s name, the Søren in the book is supposed to be young. I’m glad that I managed to look beyond my scepticism because Ash Princess is really good.

Sebastian is really good at describing emotions, one of the protagonists’ old family members is killed in the beginning of the book. There was no real time to form an emotional connection to him, despite that, I felt sad over his death, that is how good of an author Sebastian is. 

On the topic of violence, I like how it is treated. The protagonist is the princess in a country colonised and controlled by a people inspired by Scandinavia and Germany and it doesn’t shy away from how awful colonisation was. The princess is treated terribly in the castle and her people are exploited. The colonisateurs use their culture as fashion statements, but look down on all indigenous people. I like that Sebastian didn’t shy away from showing violence, since she didn’t do the thing that some other authors do, when seeming to almost glorify or enjoy the violence. Good work Sebastian, you are a decent human being.   

There were of course some things that I didn’t like with the book, foremost: I hate love triangles. This one is one of the better love triangles, but still. There were some other small things as well, but nothing worth mentioning. Except, she included a random å in the word wås. I thought it was going to mean mås (a type of sea bird). But no, it is the name of the goddess of cats. That was possibly the funniest moment of the whole book.

My only other problem is why didn’t I borrow all of the books at the same time? Now I will have to wait until the next time I go to the library to read the rest. 

Eliza and Her Monsters

Francesca Zappia

When the main character laughed at something on her phone, her parents asked her what was so fun and she replied “nothing” I knew that this was going to be a good book.  

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I deliberately took three days to read it, because I didn’t want it to end. It is the first book about teenagers that I’ve read, that actually feels relatable. I recognize myself in so many things that Eliza do. Her internet habits are similar to mine, the generation gap between her parents and herself is described wonderfully and I see myself in her feelings. The only thing to complain about, is that sometimes the chat language they use is a bit off, but Zappia is not a teenager so I’ll forgive her for that. It is way better than what some older authors try to write.

The mental health representation is on point. Eliza suffers from anxiety and while I don’t, I can say that her panic attack was written very realistic, it was almost painful to read. I had to take a break and calm down after reading it. Don’t know if that is a good or bad grade.

Like I said before, the internet and the generation gap was really well written. Zappia perfectly described what it is like to be in a fandom, how we interact with other people on the net and how it all works. Things that older people just don’t get. Older people were represented by Eliza’s parents, and often reading their conversations felt like revisiting old conversations with my parents. Or, you know, just any rant by old people that complains about the internet.    

Online life is great, and this book gets it. 

I’m not sure if any book about teenagers is ever going to live up to this one, but then again, when my generation start getting books published, then the internet will be well described. Until then I will have to suffer thru books where it, at times, seems like the kids don’t even have a phone, let alone internet activity. Side note, I think I’m going to have to buy this book, it was so good.  

Vacation at Grandma’s

Did I break folkhälsomyndighetens recommendations? Possibly, I never bothered reading the part about old people. Do I think that You should break the recommendations? Absolutely not. Do as I say (write) and not as I do, kids. 

Day one, Saturday.

We left “early” so I had no chance to steal some of mothers’ chocolate. It’s extra sad because I’m about to have my period and really want chocolate. Mother was weirdly sad to see Gatsby go, resulting in some weirdly cute photos. Also I’m really tired because I stayed up way too late in order to watch a 1h and 49 min long youtube video about why Sherlock was bad. Worth it.   

It was nice to have a quiet animal in the car, unlike certain cats. 

We arrived, Gatsby was surprisingly nice towards Grandma. Father started working right away, didn’t do anything. Grandmother gave me way too much food. 

In the evening we went on a walk with Gatsby, so that I could begin the first step of my plan. I want to make him into a dog that likes swimming, and for that to work he had to be introduced to the sea. It did not go that well. He cared for it very little, except from when he tried to drink salt water. I shall try again tomorrow.

Day two, Sunday.

My Grandmother has breakfast, and then at ten she has tea with another sandwich. Essentially she has two breakfasts, and now I have too. There is so much eating at Grandmother’s place. 

I finally started reading a book, the last time I read was in June! The book I’m reading is Persuasion by Jane Austen and I really enjoy it. The best thing with classics is that they take a long time to read, normally I could finish a book this short (~250 pages) in a day. But with a classic I have to take some time, it is nice and weirdly relaxing. 

I picked cherries and I had forgotten how good they are. I’ll be eating them all.

I love cherries

We took Gatsby on another walk to the sea, no luck this time either. Perhaps I should look into how to actually get a dog to like water.    

The best part of Sunday was the truly shocking amount of times I got to tell people that it was Sunday, no one was aware.   

Day Three, Monday.

Today father went home and I was very sad to see Gatsby go. I will miss that very annoying dog.  

We went to Lars’ to get water, and I got to meet The Cat. The Cat is a cat that belongs to one of Lars’ neighbors, but The Cat has adopted Lars. So now The Cat has two humans and two houses that he can chill in. Peak cat behavior, it was an honour to meet him. 

The Cat

Grandmother is unable to see someone being inactive for a longer time, after reading some I spent time on my phone, and then Grandmother comes in and says that we are going to go and deliver the wares that one of her customers bought earlier that day. Only that she wasn’t home when we arrived. Her back patio door was opened, so Grandmother had me go in and put the items there. And that is the story of my first ever breakin.      

Apparently I have been spending so much time in the sun that my face got burned. It doesn’t matter what Grandma says, my face is red, not tanned. 

I went biking for the first time in almost a year, it went well. I should probably have been wearing a helmet but my time in France corrupted me. Also, I wanted to listen to music. 

The sea is beautiful.

All of us went biking after dinner, unlike France, old people didn’t bike past me. That was embarrassingly good for my ego.    

My face itches, it is hard to sleep. 

Day four, Tuesday.

It is raining today, so Grandmother and I are going to Uddevalla.

First we walked around Torp (a mall) and it was like every other mall, except not finished. Best part was Grandmothers’ inability to get, that I try my hardest, to not buy new clothes from fast fashion companies that don’t pay their workers proper salaries. The actual best part was when she called me Greta, I felt honoured. 

But then we went to a secondhand store where I could actually buy things. And I got three pieces, best part, only one needs alterations. Afterwards we went to Lidl, Grandma’s favourite food store, I got waffles. I want to eat them to breakfast, we shall see how much she protests. 

Worst part, I was pretty out of it the entire time. Wanna be sensory overload and pms combo not great for focusing. And I kept thinking of mothers’ chocolate that I never got to eat. I miss you…          

My period is definitely going to start, like, tomorrow. Have almost started crying like four times over ridiculous things. Like mothers’ not answering her phone, and our friends getting a new horse and not being able to find Singoalla Citron but being able to find one that tastes of pineapple (I hate pineapple). And I have eaten four Mums Mums. 

My Sad Rain Photograpfy

Sorry about that brief break, I had to go out and cry a little in the rain because of PMS and angsty teenager who’s favourite genre is Indie. What did you expect? 

Also, period crying is really weird. Previous year I had to excuse myself, to go crying some with the horses, in the middle of either mothers’ or fathers’ birthday celebration, because the day before my mum had drunk about 60% of my cider. A cider that I had had many times before and that isn’t even that good.  

I think I’m done crying now.

Day five, Wednesday.

Still raining so we are going to Göksäter. When I was young that was one of the highlights of the vacation. Nowadays I appreciate other parts of staying at Grandmothers more, but Göken will always be fun.

Also, did not eat a waffle for breakfast because Grandma made my breakfast before I woke up. Nice of her but it was a normal, boring sandwich.

One of the peculiar parts of staying with two old people is to try and figure out if they are angry at each other, or if they just really have that much problem hearing each other.

Shopping at Göksäter was fine. I got the thread that I was looking for, do you know how annoying it is to run out of thread at Friday evening while sewing? I got two rolls so it wouldn’t happen again. I also appear to have left my normally hardcore convictions outside, because it bought a cardigan. My defense is lacking but let me just say, I was cold and it is in one of my favourite colours. I’m going to have to sin some more this summer, I need new underwear.  

I don’t think that I have eaten this much sweets since right before my last period. It is bad. Also, a really great motivation to work out. Feel free to shame me if I don’t work out. 

We are having guests on Saturday, so I’ll have to cut this vacation short and go home on Friday. Sad, but I’ll come back. 

I went biking, and I fully plan to do at least some yoga, possibly abs as well. Working out is going well. 

The yoga went well, but now I have so many mosquito bites on my legs. For some God forsaken reason mosquitos love me. When me and my family went hiking in the north of Sweden I constantly got bitten while the rest of them got away with only a handful of bites between the three of them. I think that at one point, I had over thirty bites on my legs, it was hell. But I haven’t had a tick on me in years, so that’s something.     

After yoga pic. You can’t see but I’m wearing capri length yoga pants. The mosquitos could see 😦

Day six, Thursday 

I got waffles for breakfast, the day is complete.

Waffle!

This has been a really good morning. I’ve been reading in the sun and has finally finished my book. I enjoyed it, a lot. The oddest part of reading was when my Grandmother came to the window I was sitting below, and threw me a candy. She just walked away afterwards, didn’t say a thing.  

Picture taken from a more aesthetically pleasing part of the reading morning.

Grandma is bad influence. Today I committed my second break in, albeit to our own property, but still. It started yesterday with a vague plan on boating on the sea. That plan was somewhat broken when the boat was used by other family members, so instead we decided to have our Fika at the boathouse. But when we arrived, the door was locked from the inside, the boat using people had locked it. Luckily it is not that difficult to break in to. I had to wade out in the sea and then climb up the jetty. After that I simply had to walk up to the door and unlock it. In the end we took the other boat and had our Fika on an island nearby.         

Picnic by the sea

“Have you taken candy”, Grandmother asked. “No”, I say, while hiding another type of candy behind my back. Grandmother then throws me a candy. I now have two candies. 

I decided to go on a walk in order to take some photos, both of me and of the landscape. I basically just walked straight forward from the house, and when I was planning on turning around and walking back again I noticed that it looked like a small wally was up ahead not too far away. Of course I had to investigate. When I got closer I first thought it was a road, but further investigation revealed that it was an open field. I was kind of weirded out, felt like I was in a detective story and had accidently stumbled up on a drug trafficking place. When I got back I asked my Grandmother and Lars about it and apparently it is some kind of abandoned field. Not as fun and doesn’t explain why the grass was cut only to be left useless on the ground. Or perhaps I am just too bored and want something exciting to happen.   

Day seven, Friday

Today is my last day here, I’m gonna miss it.

I have now started packing and I can already tell that I’m going to need another bag. I should know by now, I always leave Grandmother with more than I arrived with.

So, my Grandmother runs a successful second hand shop in her garden and sometimes the neighbours (and others) give her their old stuff instead of throwing it away. This time a neighbour comes in with some of her old shoes, including a pair of barely worn white low tops Converse. And, they fit me! So now I have a new pair of Converse that can replace the ones that are almost falling apart. So good luck. 

Mother is finally here to pick me up. Grandmother was beginning to worry because lunch time had passed, I had to inform her that we sometimes eat lunch at 14.30 and that lunch time had in fact not passed. She was horrified.     

Goodbye for now Grandma, I’m going to miss you. But I’ll be back, I still plan to make Gatsby fond of the sea and I know the perfect place… 

BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansamn, do watch it

Director: Spike Lee

So, I needed something to watch while taking apart my lego and it stood between Keeping up with the Kardashian or BlacKkKlansman. But, I decided to watch something with actual black people in it, and not just people profiting from their culture. BlacKkKlansman was a marvelous movie, so I’m more than happy with my decision.

BlacKkKlansman is a wild movie from start to finish. There is a lot of racism in it, making for an uncomfortable watch, but the almost unbelievably crazy plot makes up for it. When watching, I was torn between feeling horrified and immediately after laughing out loud. The fact that it is real makes it so much funnier. The marvelous 70’s setting also makes the film lighter. I think that it was a brilliant movie, it is hard to sit through a two hour long film where everything is dark and depressing. It is way easier to sit through a two hour long film if you get to laugh at the racists assholes. 

My favourite part of the movie was all of the parallels, both them in the movie between the klan and the black student union. Like in one of the last scenes, where the klan was watching Birth of a nation (a really white nationalistic movie), meanwhile the student union listens to Jerome Turner (Harry Belafonte) telling the story of the lynching of Jesse Washington. That is a stark reminder of what those beliefs, that the klan has, leads to. 

Even better was the parallels between the klan and present time. Like when one of the klan members says “make America great again”, the phrase made infamous by Trump. It ties the movie to present times, and helpt to make one hell of a transition. Because the movie ends with footage from the Charlottesville white supremacists march, and from the subsequent protest. It made the movie even more impactful.

Good bonus, it doesn’t suffer from with savior syndrome. Should I write about that? 

BlacKkKlansman is on Netflix, do watch it.

Books of June

Sant Falskt eller Mittemellan

Emma Frans

Frans is fun in a very grown up, normal working-adult way. What I’m trying to say is that most of her jokes revolve around things that are very typical for a normal, working commuter. People eating egg sandwiches next to you on the bus, children’s birthday parties etc. And I think it is very nice, that someone can use the small annoyances in everyday life, and turn it around and make it fun. In the same spirit, Frans knows how to make science fun and enjoyable to read. It was fun to read about her busting common myths, some more absurd than others. I believe this is a good book for introducing people into the scientific way of studying a topic. Frans writes clearly about how the different studies she refers to, are conducted and how that impacts the result that they show.  

I have read her other book, Larmrapport, where she goes into much more detail about source criticism, and while that was a good and important read, that book can also be a bit dense at times, making for a long read. Sant Falskt eller Mittemellan was much easier to read, and could work as an introduction to the important skill that is source criticism. 

My only wish is that she would have ended each myth with a Sant, Falsk or Mittemellan printed in large bold letters. I think that would have been fun.        

I dina ögon (Saint Anything)

Sarah Dessen 

Saint Anything follows the same plot as most of Dessen’s books (all that I’ve read). Young teenage girl starts over again, at a new place, city, school or job. There she meets a group of friends that are all very colourful individuals. She learns nice life lessons and gets a boyfriend. In the end her mother either redeems herself or is never heard from again. Given the amount of bad mothers in Dessen’s books, my conclusion is that she and her mother don’t get along. 

I’ll admit, I bought this book because I knew exactly what to expect, and partly because this spring has been all about reliving my childhood. Dessen was a big part of my life when I was 13. This spring has been a very trying one. 

Of course not everything in these books are the same, I particularly liked Saint Anythings’ plot about the protagonist and her brother. It was interesting to read about her secondhand guilt and her very delusional mother. I do think that the mother changed very quickly. Kind of like Daenerys in the last season of Game of Thrones, there was way too little build up, leading to the transformation feeling out of character and not a natural development.  

My favorite part of this book was that the main character remains friends with her friends from before. Often in Dessen’s books the protagonist either does not have friends from before, or they are just awful. Having multiple friend groups made it seem more realistic to me.

Side note, the Swedish title makes little to no sense, I prefer the English.

Overall, I liked this Dessen as much as I liked the others. They are all solid teenage coming of age books. And if you just don’t read them all back to back the plot recycling isn’t a problem.    

Grey Sister 

Mark Lawrence

Given the previous book’s lack of plot I was a bit hesitant to read this one, and when the eighty or so first pages were a lot like Red Sister, not ploty, I kind of gave up on the book. Then I slept over at my best friend and brought the book with me. My friend sleeps way longer than me, so to cure the boredom, I started reading Grey Sister again. And to my surprise things and not just school happend. In fact, the book was so captivating that I read it all in a day. 

I liked the inclusion of another point of view, that of the Abbess of the convent. The protagonist, Nona, is a young woman who has very little knowledge of the politics in the world. And everyone knows that politics are important in fantasy books, so adding the Abbess makes for good explaining. She is also a fun and interesting character, so interesting that I wouldn’t mind a book just about how she came to be the Abbess. Some of it is told in Grey Sister, but it only increased my interest.

The character development in Grey Sister is well developed (I think that that was fun). I particularly like Zole’s development. In the first book she is kind of mean and a loner, but in Grey sister she becomes more friendly towards  Nona. Firstly settling on mutual respect, but eventually Zole considers Nona her friend, probably the first she ever had, and even breaks rules and former allegiances to help her. I’ve always loved loners making friends.     

Lawrence tries to build the foundations for a romance to be realised in the next book, but it does not really work. I find the crush to come out of nowhere, at least on her side, I can totally see him developing emotions, she is just that awesome. Since the romance hasn’t actually happened yet, I choose to believe that it will improve. I only wish that the crush would have been further explained. But given that that is my only major complaint of this book I would say that Lawrence has made a stellar improvement.         

Holy Sister

Mark Lawrence

I was right, the romance plot was bad. 

I liked how almost all of the characters in this series were females. It was refreshing to read all about females after reading book after book (and watching movie after movie) with a mostly male assembly. Honestly, I do not think that I’m able to name any of the male characters in the book, that is how insignificant they are. Or my ability to remember names is just that Bad.   

The best part of this series was how Nona, the protagonist, starts out as a small, independent, vengeful murderous child, angry at the world and craving revenge, and she was allowed to remain so. Of course she grows as a person, gets friends and learns to trust people, she even becomes caring. But she was still allowed to have her flaws, her anger and headstrongness. Lawrence didn’t turn her into some perfect human being who is strong, good looking smart and forgiving. I thought that was nice of him.     

So, let’s talk about the romance. It was barely in the book, it was under developed and unnecessary. My conspiracy theory; it was only in the book so that Lawrence would not have to write a gay relationship between the protagonist and her best friend. They would have been much better together.    

Final verdict: If you are willing to read the first, very boring book, then there are two standard fantasy books waiting for you. 

Phantom 

Leo Hunt

This book surprised me, in more ways than one. It is far from my first dystopian book, so when I read the summary I thought the plot was clear for me. The protagonist would find a mentor and depending on his age a fatherfigur or a boyfriend in Moth, the legendary hacker. Together they would bring the regim to an end. End the capitalism and bring justice to the poor. That’s more or less how this type of book tends to play out. Phantom was the exception. 

I liked how the protagonist was used by Moth to future his agenda, it was a refreshing take on the chosen trope. And I did like how she was taken in by the big bad, how we got to witness her perspective. It made her very sympathetic, and for a moment there, I wished that the big bad would take the protagonist under her wings and together they would have ruled the world. Sadly that makes for a bad message. 

And now I’m going to let you in on an embarrassing secret, before this I had only read three books with a homosexual main character. Given how many books I have read that number is probably statistically insignificant. Sadly there aren’t that many good fantasy books with LGBTQ+ main characters. Unfortunately I was unable to properly enjoy this romance given that it was severely underdeveloped. Seriously, they fell in love in less than two days. Talk about a case of insta love! I prefer a well developed romance that is at least somewhat realistic.     

I liked how the book ended, I have always been a sucker for an open ending where revolution and betterness is strongly hinted at. There is something about knowing that things are going to get better that just does it for me. I don’t need the actual improvement, just knowing that it might happen is enough for me.  

There was one thing that I did not like about the book, and sadly it can’t be overlooked, the ableism. If you are going to compare people not having the common cyber implants to actual disabled people then you should try damn hard to say that it is fine, that people still are people even if they are disabled and not do what Hunt did. He basically called people with disabilities less worthy, and I can’t stand for that.  

The best books from my childhood

This was supposed to been uploaded on Tuesday, I only had one small part that I wanted to rewrite, preferably while eating some delicious pie. But when going to get my pie I managed squeeze the finger that I use the most while writing. So, instead of pie, writing and relaxation there was ice, tears and pain. So much pain.

I have loved reading for as long as I can remember, but there are some books from my childhood that stand out, that was a part of defining me as a person. So, with the excuse of wanting to provide summer reading suggestions I’m going to talk about them all. 

And yes, this is actually how I sit when I read

Harry Potter 

J K Rowling 

We have to start with the books that started it all. I read Harry Potter in second grade and before that I was reading books aimed for my age group, books for eight years old children. Reading Harry Potter was like discovering a whole new world, a world with interesting stories, complex characters and books longer than a hundred pages! Truth to be told, I no longer feel as strongly for Harry Potter, as I did when I was a child. Part of that is the fact that J K Rowling is an ass. Part of it is that I have read way too much Harry Potter commentary and analyses, some of it makes Rowling seem like more of an ass, some of just put formerly thought nice characters in a new, bad, light (that’s Dumbledore). Part of it is just having read fanfiction way better than the original series. 

Harry Potter will always hold nostalgic value, and there is no denying that it is a classic. I don’t believe that we should stop reading and talking about Harry Potter just because the author is trash. Harry Potter will simply be another great book with a shity author, there is no shortage of those.    

Eragon 

Christopher Paolini

Yeah, I have already written about this series, not gonna do it again. So, if you want to read my thoughts on it you can click here.

Anache

Maria Turtschaninoff

I loved this book so much when I was younger, that I kept borrowing it over and over again. I have probably never read the same book as many times as I read Anache. At times I borrowed it not because I wanted to read it, I already knew all of it, I just liked having it home. That was how obsessed I was. 

Anache was one of the first books that I read where the main character was a female and the story was all about female empowerment. I loved how we got to follow Anache thru her entire childhood, see her struggle in a misogynistic world, and eventually grow up being a badass woman. She is an unwilling hero who saves the world not despite being a woman, but because she is a woman. One of the best parts of the book is that the big enemy is a very misogynistic man who she in the end completely obliterates. I believe that every girl needs this kind of book (or movie) as a child, but it is still good literature for grown ups. I know that for a fact, as my obsession with this book led to me getting my own copy. It stands proudly on the shelf, so that as many people as possible, shall look up on it when in my room. 

Another positive side note, this was the first book I read with the protagonist  in a queer relationship. 

Parvanas Vandring (Parvana’s Journey)

Deborah Ellis 

Our school library had a rather small fantasy section, so it did not take me long to finish them all. That posed a problem when we were required to read something from there in class. The solution? Have my teacher pick a book for me. And that is the story of how I came to read this truly, marvelous book that’s as far away from fantasy as one can come.   

Parvana is a girl living in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. When the book starts, her father has just died and Parvana, separated from the rest of her family, decide to find them. Disguised as a boy she starts a  journey that takes her across the war torn country. She encounters many horrors of the war, bombed cities, grown ups without hope and other children in the same situation as herself. 

This book is beautiful and haunting. It talks about war in a way that works for children (I was ten or eleven when I read it the first time), but it never sugarcoats it. I grew up in an incredibly privileged part of Sweden, I never knew problems. This was my first introduction to the humanitarian crises that others face, and that lesson has never left me. A lesson that others should revisit.

A brief analysis about the positive and negative aspects of leather and faux leather

Despite using this site for almost a year I have not yet take time to properly learn how to use it, there for my source list is not up to my standards. I am truly sorry for that. It didn’t help that the links really weren’t cooperating. Or that I procrastinate doing this, 23.44 is technically still Tuesday. Good night

I like leather, I’m not going to lie about that. This is a pro leather blog. Most often when you read about leather it is the opinions from a very biased vegan, who wants everyone to live like them and aren’t afraid of using loaded words and somewhat false claims to persuade people to go vegan, this is a prejudiced based on too much internet time. Also, I think that there is some kind of hypocrisy in the whole “we should stop using plastic” movement, given that they almost exclusively talk about plastic packaging. I have not once seen plastic clothing mentioned.  Therefore I felt like writing a defense of the usage of leather.    

Let me start with this; nothing is good if overused. There is a reason for the fashion industry producing 10% of the global carbon emission (UNEP, 2018). That includes both vegan and non vegan fashion; in order to reduce that number all kinds of fashion will have to be reduced. We will have to go back to an older way of thinking, when we didn’t buy tons of new clothes that we barely use, “the number of times a garment is worn has declined by 36 per cent in 15 years” (UNEP, 2018), and Americans* throw away on average 81 pounds (36,7kg) clothing a year (Goldberg, 2016, 9 june). All of that has to stop, otherwise all other environmentally friendly actions will be fruitless.   

Now, let’s dive into what vegan leather actually is. This is the boring research part of this text. 

I’m going to start with what is in H&M vegan leather products. I start by searching for “faux leather” and then I pick the first result, a faux leather skirt in two colours. It is made from “Polyester 100% Coating: Polyurethane 100%” (HM, n.d.a), that’s just different kinds of plastics. Next I looked at a jacket, it was the same there. “Polyester 100% Coating: Polyurethane 100%” (HM, n.d.b), still plastics. One of the first things they teach us in lab class is that you always want to try at least three times, so I choose a pair of pants after some scrolling. This time it was a bit different, because there was also plastic in the pocket lining “Polyester 100% Coating: Polyurethane 100% Pocket lining: Polyester 100%” (HM, n.d.c).  

HM does have a conscious collection, and I scrolled thru all 404 objects without finding anything labeled faux leather and could therefore not check what it was made of. When I looked at other clothing containing plastic, for example a pair of bikini bottoms the description said where from the plastic was sourced, most of it was recycled (HM, n.d.d). From that I feel confident drawing the conclusion that the plastic in their “normal” line is not recycled, if it was, it would most likely say in the description.       

Next I went on to Zara, the biggest fast fashion company if one looks at their economic profit ( Hanbury, 2018, 9 Dec). I, once more, started by searching “faux leather”. Side note: the search bar writes in capital letter and I found this so jarring that I almost missed spelled leather. I started with a skirt again, because it was the first thing to appear. Zara has the composition of their clothes somewhat hidden, but it read “OUTER SHELL BASE FABRIC 100% polyester COATING 100% polyurethane” (Zara, n.d.a), same as in H&M. My next pick was a pair of pants, the composition was the same “OUTER SHELL BASE FABRIC 100% polyester COATING 100% polyurethane” (Zara, n.d.b). My last pick was a jumpsuit, because it looked fun. The composition was, to no surprise, “OUTER SHELL BASE FABRIC 100% polyester COATING 100% polyurethane” (Zara, n.d.c), plastic. 

Similar to H&M Zara has an eco friendlier line called “Join Life”. As with H&M I was unable to find anything “Faux Leather”, although I did find real leather, therefore I once more looked at another type of garment containing plastics, this time a bodysuit. This time Zara wrote clearly that it was made with “at least 50% recycled polyamide.” (Zara, n.d.d). I therefore feel comfortable coming to the same conclusion as with H&M, if the plastic used in Zara’s “normal” line was recycled then it would say so in the description.  

Having only two stores as my research objects,  it is not in any way a scientific standard, but since this is not a science paper and I’m only trying to prove a point it will have to do. Of course it is not only fast fashion companies that make faux leather, but I felt like starting with them, given that these stores are stores with a large clientele. But now we are going to look into some more bougie brands and see if they have any alternative ways of making faux leather. 

First up is Bleed Clothings “cork jacket”. They describe it as “Die [sic] first vegan “leather jacket” made out of cork, the gold of the forests.” (Bleed Clothing, n.d.). And honestly it seems totally fine. Then there is ocean leather, that also seems to be the name of a perfume. Ocean leather appears to be in the early stages of development (Greener Ideal, 2014) and I was unable to find any place that sold it. There is also grape leather which H&M actually sold at some point (Vega News, 2020) but I was unable to find it on their web page now.          

The boring research part is now over, now comes the consequences of fake leather. 

What I’m trying to say writing this, is that there are many different ways of making fake leather, yet the one most common is with plastic. That is a shame, given that plastic is bad for the environment in so many ways. Let’s dive into the ocean of plastic problems.

I think that was a really smooth transition, given that the first issue on my list is the microplastics released by plastic garments, when they get washed, that end up in the ocean. Tucker from The Guardian really says it best, “One washload of polyester clothes can release 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment. It is estimated that half a million tonnes of these microfibres end up in the sea each year.” (2019, 23 june). As we could see in the text above, all of the faux leather from Zara and H&M contains polyester, therefore when the clothes are washed microplastics are released. By now, I think that we all know that plastic in the ocean is bad. If not The Guardian has a good article about it, focusing on microplastics.      

The other obvious problem with polyester is that it is plastic, with all of plastics’ problems. One of the big problems with plastic clothing is that it isn’t biodegradable, and as I said before, we throw away a staggering amount of clothes each year. So when plastic clothing is thrown away it just remains. Heaps and heaps of plastic clothes, left for generations to come….

There is of course vegan leather, and other plastic clothes, made of recycled plastic. And that is good, I love recycling. But those garments still releases microplastics. So, not as good as it sounds. Still, if you insist on wearing plastic, please do wear recycled plastic.  

Yeah, that was a lot of talking about faux leather, turning into a general conversation on plastic clothing. So after that let’s talk about real leather. 

Leather can be sourced from most animals, but according to Mahi Leather the most common animal is cows (n.d.). As we all should know by now, cows are very bad for the climate. Kaplan from the Washington Post wrote  “If cows were their own country, they would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world” (2019, 18 November). That’s an insane amount, and the only way to cut the emission down, is to have fewer cows. So even if the actual leather garment may be better for the planet, than a plastic one, the process of acquiring the leather is not good.    

It is worth mentioning that it is difficult to see the difference between cow leather and other types of leather. The leather could be from any animal.     

Lucy Siegel from The Guardian writes that “Nearly half of the global leather trade is carried out in developing countries – from Ethiopia to Cambodia and Vietnam – where, despite a backdrop of exploitation of animals and humans and the extraordinary level of pollution caused by unregulated tanneries and processors, the pressure is on to produce more.” and “workers, including children, performing hazardous tasks such as soaking hides in toxic chemicals and using knives to cut the skins” (2016, 13 Mars). While this is awful and something that should concern buyers, it is sadly not exclusive to the leather branch of fashion. 

Poor working conditions are a staple thru the entirety of fashion. Poor people in developing countries work for almost no pay in unsafe environment with unsafe infrastructure (UNEP, 2018). If you are interested in knowing what terrible consequences bad infrastructure can lead to I recommend that you check out Röhsskas temporary exhibit forensic architecture.  

Siegel brings up another good point: “in reality we buy leather goods without knowing where the hide originates or what conditions the animals were kept in. We’re comforted by “Italian leather” stamps, but this could mean that the leather was imported and finished in Italy. I’m fond of saying that if all the “Italian leather” merchandise was of true provenance you wouldn’t be able to move for cows in that country. They’d be drinking from the Trevi fountain.”. 

So, even if you think that you are buying nice, environmentally friendly leather of good quality. Made by workers in good working conditions, there are few ways of ensuring it in fact is so.

I guess that the conclusion is, that there is no truly ethical consumption of either type of leather. This comes as no surprise to me, the fashion industry is garbage, all of it. The only way to guarantee that what you buy is good for the environment and for the workers, is to buy locally produced, where you can trace the materials and know the workers. Or, to buy from brands that are very up front with how their stuff is produced. If that is the case, then I would still prefer leather over plastic. Partly because plastic doesn’t decompose and releases microplastics. Partly because I generally don’t like the look of faux leather and partly because leather clothes lasts longer then faux leather. I don’t remember how many bad plastic shoes that I have worn down over the years, but there were many. A far cry from that are my leather boots that I have worn the entire fall/winter and before that they were my grandmothers. They are still in almost perfect condition. 

*I was unable to find a clear number on Europeans, but given our cultural similarities we can assume that the number is similar. 

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https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/jun/23/five-ways-fashion-damages-the-planet

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