My Top 5 Cruelty Free Products

As a new comer to the cruelty free scene, I’m still going through and replacing all my old favourites with their cruelty free alternatives, and my collection is almost complete. A lot of the products on this list are things I probably wouldn’t have tried without them being cruelty free, like collection makeup, for example. So if you’re thinking about making the change, just know there’s so much more out there than you think that doesn’t harm animals, and with brands like NYX and elf new to the UK, there’s never been a better time to try and buy more cruelty free! Here are my top five cruelty free products:

NYX Ultimate Warm Neutrals Palette

I was very excited when NYX came to the UK. I knew it as what they used on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and had seen it in American makeup tutorials. I also knew it was cruelty free, and it came to Boots at almost the same time I decided to go cruelty free. Clearly, me and this palette were meant to be. Living up to the name, it has every matte and sparkly neautral shade you’d ever need, as well as a few bolder brown, orangey and pink tones. It’s very pigmented and lasts a long time. I hadn’t had many other eye shadows before I got this palette so I don’t have much to compare to, but I know it is quality none the less. NYX is a high street makeup brand, and at just a little bit more on the pricey side at £18. While this is more expensive than it’s ELF or Revolution competitors, you’re paying for the long wear and pigmentation in the 18 shades.

get it here

Superdrug Sensitive TeaTree Cleansing Wipes

Something that has been very helpful since I started buying cruelty free was Superdrug- all their own brand products aren’t tested on animals! This is helpful for more obscure things like toothpaste and suncream that are harder to find cruelty free, but my favourite is their teatree makeup wipes. They’re nearly always on offer, and they’re a perfect match for my sensitive spotty skin. They usually cost £3.29, but are almost always reduced, or on 3 for 2. The pore strips from the range are great too. Cheap, effective, and no little rabbits got hurt in the process. What more can I say?

get them here

Collection Lasting Perfection Foundation

Foundation has always been tricky for me. With the two extremes of combination skin, finding something that is matte but won’t dry me out and will be heavy duty enough to cover my spots is pretty tough. Add cruelty free into the mix narrows the search even more. I’d found one that was good enough, but then the search began again for a cruelty free replacement. I tried out a lot and collection was the one! In all honesty I’d written it off as a cheap tacky brand, but I am happy to say I was wrong. It’s oil free which is perfect for my skin but doesn’t dry me out either. At £5.99 I won’t be buying another for a while.

get it here

REVOLUTION Ultra Pro Glow Highlighter Palette

I can’t rave about this palette enough! A teeny tiny swipe of my brush leaves me highlighted, bronzed and beautiful. At only £8 for 8 colours it’s a steal, with a shade to compliment every makeup look you can think of. I’m obsessed. I would even go as far as saying this palette lives up to it’s name and is bloody revolutionary.

get it here

 

Body Shop Seaweed Oil Balancing Mask

This mask is less of a staple and one of the more indulgent items on my list. The Body Shop has been cruelty free since I can remember,  even if it’s swapped hands over the years. I love face masks, but this one is my favourite. It smells amazing, absorbs every bit of oil, and leaves my face feeling smooth. The pot is £11 which seems like a lot, until you realize how long it lasts. I actually prefer it to the more expensive range of masks the shop sells. It does the job without the frills, but still feels like a treat! I honestly don’t know if it makes my skin better or not, I tend to find most products don’t actually do help the way they claim to, but the seaweed mask pulls all the oil out of my face without leaving me feeling dry. Simple!

get it here

 

 

 

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Flash Review: Wonder Woman

 In the past few years female lead media has been on the rise, with successes such as Pitch Perfect, Orange is the New Black and most recently GLOW. We are seeing feminist messages in our media more and more, and the phrase ‘strong female character’ has become common place. Wonder Woman took this one step further, in a beautiful representation of every little girls favourite superhero. Grossing a total of $813.4 million worldwide, it is undeniable the film was a success. 

DC hasn’t had an amazing track record in it’s film releases in recent year. Despite the two still making millions, Batman vs Superman was a worldwide letdown, and Suicide Squad has become a joke in it’s own right. Because of this I was nervous for a stand alone Wonder Woman film. It was very important to me that this film succeeded in order to elevate female superheros from sex symbols to actually being taken seriously in the public eye. Don’t get me wrong; we’ve been seeing amazing lady heroes for years now with the likes of various  X-Men and the Black Widow.  But, Wolverine has his own set of films, not Storm, and Natasha Romanoff is one of the only Avengers without her own movie. DC has taken an alternative approach, setting up Wonder Woman before the Justice League film, rather than some of it’s other male counterparts. In summary I was nervous the film wasn’t going to be a success, but it thankfully proved me very wrong.

Wonder Woman follows the story of Dianna, played by Isreali actress Gal Gadot, an excellent choice for the iconic role.  Dianna is an Amazon woman from the fictional island of Themyscira. The Amazons, made up exclusively of women, are a warrior race in constant battle training for the return of Ares: the god of war. Dianna is the child of the Queen Hippolyta, who tells her stories of a weapon left by Zuess to protect mankind: the God Killer. Although her mother tries to protect her from the world of war, Dianna grows up training in secret, to become an excellent fighter. Her skill is tested when a mysterious man washes up on the beach of Themyscira, talking of war on earth. The year is 1918, the final year of the first World War. Dianna, hearing Steve Trevor’s story, steals the God Killer, a magnificent sword. Her plan is to kill Ares and end the war, though Steve is skeptical and looking for a way back to London.

With the back story out of the way, lets fast forward slightly. Not to give too much away Dianna’s venture into the world eventually leads her and Steve to form a group fighting back against the Germans, with Dianna getting closer to who she believes is Ares. The hijincks of Dianna in a 1918 London lead to funny moments of her trying on clothes that work with her armour, but also facing the limitations of being a woman in that oppresive time. While her ignorance of the world often makes her a voice of simple reason, Steve’s superiors ignore her aspiration to protect as many as possible in the war, leading to a team of rebels lead by Steve.What follows is an utter delight. I don’t wish to give away any more of the plot than I already have, but there are finer details I need to discuss.

Highlights: My first highlights of the film were the fight scenes. This is not something I normally enjoy in a film at all, and in superhero flicks there are many to be expected. But I personally found these scenes in Wonder Woman really enjoyable. They were well choreographed, and also short enough that they didn’t drag. When a films entire third act is made up of fighting, I tend to nod off. But the films big climax had fights interspersed with dialogue and action with the side characters, as well as just being a more interesting fight in general, for reasons I will not divulge.

My second highlight was Dianna’s belief in herself. Throughout the film, Steve Trevor and his team quietly think Dianna is ridiculous in her belief Ares is real, yet she keeps her faith and perseveres, even when Steve tells her Ares is not real. She believes in herself and the knowledge she was raised on even though everyone else is telling her different, and does not doubt herself for a moment. I believe this to be a fantastic example to young girls.

My third highlight of the film was Chris Pine’s performance as Steve Trevor. Despite ending up a love interest for Dianna, he only helps her in the sense he takes her where she needs to go. Everything else is done by her alone, and Steve and his men don’t actually affect the plot too much aside from being a love interest. But his character is likable, and the two make a perfect odd couple. Their on-screen chemistry is excellent, providing the romance in the background from the main plot: Dianna’s mission.

Let-downs: This film met every one of my personal expectations; there is not much I can say in terms of let-downs. If I had to pick my least favourite part, it would be the climaxing fight between Dianna and Ares (spoiler alert.) The fight bordered on too ridiculous while the rest of the film was believable enough. Despite following a fictional race of god-women with super powers, the final fight scene pushed the film into the realms of ridiculous. But is this not what we expect from superhero films these days?

Another final let down was the casting of Ares. David Thewlis will always be most well known for his performance in the Harry Potter series as Remus Lupin- the definition of a good guy. This made it difficult to take him seriously as the villain of the film, especially combined with his large almost comical mustache. I will concede however that this fed in to the surprise reveal of Ares’s true identity- you never expect the good guy.

Rating: 9.5/10

 

Flash Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a thriller lacking in thrill. I was incredibly excited for this film, I can recall seeing the trailer a long time ago and feeling it was an absolute must-see. It has everything that could leave you on the edge of your seat, but just not quite enough to push you off it.

The film follows father and son morticians Tommy and Austin Tilden, played by Brian Cox and the slightly dishy Emile Hirsch. Just as Austin is about to leave for the day with his girlfriend, they are brought a woman’s’ body with no identification, no backstory, and no obvious cause of death. Her body is dug up in the cellar of a crime scene, in which a couple have been found dead in their home. The Jane Doe’s half dug up body is found by police, and the Tilden’s are told the cause of death must be discovered by the morning. As the seemingly-safe examination begins, so does the feeling of unease. Frequent shots to the woman’s pale face, with her gaping chapped lips and her clouded over eyes, imply to the viewer that something more sinister is going on.

 

The film follows, as the title suggests, the autopsy of the unknown body. It is discovered that despite no physical cause of death on the outside, she appears to have been set alight, her organs lacerated, her tongue cut out and a cloth patterned with strange markings. All of this should have been leading up to a thrilling pay off. But it just didn’t quite… pay off. The spooks took too long to kick off, the twist was a disappointment, and the ending somewhat unfulfilling. It was enjoyable enough, yet the viewer was left feeling dissatisfied.

The film was packed full of interesting ideas that lead to at least some scary moments. But the potential the films initial concept brought was not met. In the era of some pretty fantastic horror we are in, perhaps standards are too high. Then again, the trailer describes the film as ‘the new face of horror, and makes the film appear like a scare a second flick. This is not the case. The majority of the film consists of the two men performing the autopsy, and while this builds suspense and intrigue, it is just not the ‘terror’ the trailer boasts.

Highlights: My favourite aspect of this film was the bells. In the past, old morticians attached bells to the ankles of their subjects that would ring if the body was in fact alive. This old superstition is used as a fantastic spooky device. The bell on the ankle of a dead man features in the climax of the film, and does deliver a good scare. The introduction of the bells at the start of the film also leaves the thought in the back of the viewers mind, leaving a sense of dread as, following the horror format, we know we will hear it ring.

Let downs: The climax came far too late in the film, rendering it something of a scary murder mystery rather than a classic haunting. Some might describe this as a more interesting take on the horror genre, but it did not hit the spot for others.

Rating: 6/10

Why I’d Rather Be Chubby

Just a quick content warning: this post discusses negative body image, depression and an unhealthy relationship with food. 

My relationship with food is by no means perfect. There isn’t much I love more than putting effort into a meal and then getting to reap the tasty rewards. But I know that I eat too much. I also know that I use food as a comfort. Food is my reward for doing well but is also my coping mechanism when things are bad. I get a takeaway for example to celebrate a good grade, but I’d also get a takeaway to treat myself after a bad day. I’ll never forget the day I had an argument with a boy I was seeing and I ran home, tore open a frozen pizza and once cooked I stress-devoured it at the speed of light. When I’d finished, panting in the crumbs, he rang me and we sorted everything out. But I’d still eaten that pizza in what felt like 30 seconds flat, as my go to method to calm myself down. On the other end of the spectrum, I can remember skipping meals so the first boy in my life would want to see me with my top off. So, while I love food now, that has not always been the case.

A young Anna with my 2 mains foods: rice cakes and cherry tomatoes

Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life, and on top of that a fussy eater for about three quarters of it. This means eating a lot of carb based simple meals like cheesy pasta, cheesy noodles, pizza, cheesy rice… Can you spot the trend? An easy trap for the vegetarian fussy-eater to fall in to is to add a mountain of cheese to everything to give it more flavour. I like to think this is something I’ve grown out of in the past few years, and I’m attempting to ditch the cheese in aid of fresh chillies and spices. I still remember the day I ‘discovered’ black pepper. Revolutionary.

My family often tried to push me to eat better out of love, but this just frustrated me even more. At the time, my attitude was simple: “If I don’t like something, I’m not going to eat it.” This attitude hasn’t changed now I’m older; but my taste buds have. This means my diet has widened considerably which in ways has allowed me to eat more healthy meals. I was very afraid of exotic anything, going from mildly spicy food to the horror that is purple carrots. If I decided I wasn’t going to like something, that was it. People would tell me, poorly hiding their exasperation, to “just try it, please.” But until I got older and my taste buds matured, nothing was going to change. My meals were high fat and low in fibre, vitamins, and while I didn’t know it, flavour.

I don’t think I was fat then. I’m not sure it was a problem in weight in my early to mid-teens so much as not getting the nutrition I needed. *Just as a disclaimer now, I might use words like fat/chubby and so on in this writing, but I don’t use them negatively. To me these sorts of words have become more descriptive, like other adjectives. Fat isn’t really a negative word to me anymore, and chubby is just cute as heck.* I wasn’t getting the right nutrients as a vegetarian, as a teenage girl with heavy periods and low iron, or as a growing girl lacking protein. But I didn’t really see this as a huge problem. The older I got, the better I got at eating. I broadened my palette and didn’t have an internal freak-out when the beans were touching the chips. But that’s not where my mental quirks around food vanished.

Me at around age fifteen, before the prom diet catastrophe

Fast-forward a few years to me being sixteen. I was only just hitting puberty, I’d never had a boyfriend and nobody had ever seen me naked.  My mum had made some comments on my appearance and weight over the past few years. I don’t have any ill will towards her about this anymore. I understand in her mind she was just trying to do what she thought was best for me, and make sure I didn’t let my eating get too out of hand. When you have your own issues with size and food, it’s very easy to accidentally comment on other people’s diets and weight. I’ve done this myself with my sister, something I’ve felt guilty and ashamed of every time. But that wasn’t the main issue. I was reaching the end of year eleven in school, and prom was on the horizon. I heard a lot of the girls around school talking about prom diets. They wanted to look at their best in the pictures, didn’t want to bulge in the dress, wanted to look skinnier on the night we’d remember for the rest of our lives.

I’m the third from the left, the midget in heels who thought her arms looked SO FAT in this prom pic

This mentality managed to leak its way into my brain. I started to eat a little less, and make myself feel REALLY BAD for eating unhealthy food, even though I’d do it anyway and torture myself after. I’d like to clarify now I was nowhere near eating disorder territory, and this whole shabang I’m about to go into only lasted about six months.

So, I was eating a bit less to look good for prom. Spoiler alert: I did look good. I was potentially at my smallest at that age, with photos I’d look back on dreaming to be that slim again. The night itself, cheesy though it sounds, is a memory I still treasure four years later. I got ready with my best friend, took about a million photos and the majority of the school learned that yes, I do put on makeup sometimes. The night ended with an after party at the house of the boy I fancied. I had my first kiss that night, thus beginning my first love. This beginning meant the delayed end of my “prom diet.” I got more into it and ate less for one reason: the boy. My basic mentality was simple: if he took my top off, I didn’t want to bulge over my jeans. I honestly don’t give a fuck about this now at the bulgy peak of my life so far, and looking back it seems ridiculous that I cared so much. But my basic logic was if I was going to his house in the afternoon, if I didn’t eat breakfast or had a very small lunch, if anything, my tummy would be flatter if he took my top off. He was my first kiss, my first boyfriend, and the first person to see me naked.

It wasn’t the boy who put these expectations on me. On the contrary, it was my low self-esteem at the time that lead him to brutally dump me for being Too Sad, just four months into our budding romance. But in the brief time we were together, from what I can remember he did his best to make me feel good about myself. But I was determined to be miserable. I would fish for compliments that I’d refuse. I’d suck my stomach in and plaster on a smile. I would eat tea at his house which turned out to nearly always be falafel because his mum had no idea what else to make for a vegetarian.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my mental health had been on a steady decline for quite a while. This fleeting relationship was a pivotal four months in my mental health journey: the day after being broken up with for being too sad and insecure, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression by my GP. A few months later I started what ended up being just over a year and a half of therapy. The diet got lost somewhere in that time, as therapy taught me to be more confident and eventually lead me to love myself. I was still pretty skinny, but eating more and gaining weight. I had a lot to deal with at this time, ranging from a mum with terminal cancer, a sister recovering from a breakdown, a new boyfriend who was the human equivalent of a very abusive pile of rubbish, as well as the realization I was mentally unwell. Food wasn’t really the root of my mental problems, but it had slowly started becoming the solution. I was old enough that I had my own money and my parents couldn’t control my diet anymore. Junk food very gradually went from a luxury, to a guilty treat, to a routine. I’d never eaten amazingly healthy, which only escalated. I comfort ate through my problems throughout sixth form, but never really saw it as a problem until I was around eighteen. I look back at pictures from then now, thinking that was the time I thought I was fat, and cared far more than I do now about it, being two or three sizes bigger.

Me and some lovely pals camping the summer of my first toe dipping into body confidence and showing more skin

By the end of school, I’d reached another relationship ending. Getting out of a toxic relationship in which the boy DID put me down often, and limited me in a lot of ways, was very liberating. I gave myself my first real wave of body confidence and positivity, despite being single and bigger. After one of the best summers of my life, I moved to university in Salford and everything fell apart. My mum died that first October after fighting back the cancer she was diagnosed with when I was about twelve. This was a huge hit to me and my whole family, and going back to uni to people I barely knew just two weeks later so I could hand in my second ever assignment was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Through grief and through having a lot more money than I was used to, I found a home in food. Parts of this were good and parts were bad. I learned how to really cook healthy and flavourful meals, and I also learned that you can buy a lot of tortilla chips and salsa from Aldi for a fiver. Just finishing second year, I am a size fourteen. I’ve grown out of a lot of my clothes. My body is dotted with stretch marks in places I didn’t know you could get them, like the tops of my arms. My thighs have expanded into cellulite, which I didn’t even know was a thing until recently. After discovering what it was I realised that I have it, and its apparently something to be ashamed of. I’m not ashamed. I have cute little tummy rolls. I have wide and god damn sexy hips. I have pretty decent boobs which didn’t come in until the extra weight did. But most of all, I have a forever redefined confidence and absolute love for my body.

Me, the shorty on the left, rocking my beaut bikini bod last summer

I am bigger than I’ve ever been, and I’ve never loved myself more than I do now. Somehow, I’ve found it far easier to love my body than when I was a size 8 at 16. I eat food and I enjoy it. I would like to get a handle on my snacking, but my meals are all healthy, packed full of veggies, and vegan around 70% of the time. I don’t buy cheese or really any dairy other than pizzas and the non-vegan Quorn, except for a few chocolatey or cheesy slip ups. I go to the gym on a semi regular basis. I try to walk places if I’m not running late. I have a tummy, but I have confidence. I have stretch marks, but I walk taller, and I’m not afraid to wear a bikini and admit I look damn good in it. Not to mention that I actually believe it. There are still the days when my tights wear through a pair of jeans, or I realize what used to be my favourite dress doesn’t quite fit anymore. But luckily for me I have a decent amount of student loan and I bloody love buying clothes. I am not ashamed of how I look: it is a part of me. Some people in the world would consider me as humongous, to others I’m probably pretty slim. The greatest thing I ever learnt was that the average size for a UK woman is a 16. The girls you went to school with are not a cross section of society.

Not the most flattering picture in the world but one of the most recent full body ones I have, and looking happier than I’ve ever been with my babe Kate

Getting fatter was such a terrifying thing to me, and now it’s happened I can claim it in a way I never thought I could. I never thought there would be a time when I could very happily say I love my body, and mean it. To sum up, I’d much rather be a bit chubby and love myself, than a size 8 and starving. Some people can healthily maintain this size, but it seems that I can’t. I would like to say to all the women from size four to size forty that we will all find our own beautiful eventually. Mine hasn’t come from meeting society’s standards, or from a boy. The best thing you can do it find it in yourself, and try and rock however you look as much as you can. Do I have some days where I’d rather go back to a 12 or a 10? Yes, I do. There’s no point at sugar coating that. But the vast majority of my mornings are spent looking at myself in the mirror in a sick bodycon outfit, a new bikini or even in the nuddy, and absolutely loving what I see.

A lot of these photos are terrible quality and far too small, but I’m writing this at 1am in the spur of the moment and don’t have photoshop on my home laptop to resize. I also need to post this before I chicken out. I’ll get professional one day. Thanks for reading!

Killer Crazy: the Mental Health Horror

I’m a recently converted avid horror fan. My love began with the likes of The Shining and rages on to this day with films like It Follows and Lights Out. I think this love can be boiled down to one thing: the best horror films are just really fucking clever. Jump scare upon jump-scare doesn’t impress me now I’m a seasoned horror watcher: I crave something more. Something better. Don’t get me wrong, jump scares can be excellent, when built up effectively and used sparingly. I’ve found what scares me the most is surprise and sustained fear, not little spooks when the ghosties jump up in front of the camera. This lack of clever plot to me however extends further than just shitty jump scares. It’s a problem that’s been in the back of my mind for a really long time, and that is mental health in horror films. I’m almost certain that in the majority of your favourite horror films, there will be at least one person with a mental health problem. This could be the person who sees ghosts so is ‘crazy,’ or the ‘pshycho’ killer who says the voices made him do it. I am in no way innocent here; nearly all my favourite horrors feature one of these characters. It’s hard not to argue that no matter how people with mental illnesses are featured in these films, they are meant to scare us.

I wanted to express these thoughts a while ago, particularly inspired by the film Lights Out, among others, but I felt like I was being too picky. To put it simply, the main characters’ mother only sees Dianna, the monster/ghost in the film, when she doesn’t take her medication. I was worried I was  finding problems where they don’t exist, and taking things too far. So I let it be. But let me make one thing clear, if I doubted how I felt then, I shouldn’t have, because I have watched a lot of horror films, and continued to feel the same way. A few days ago I watched the James McAvoy thriller Split, and I can’t keep my big mouth shut any more.

Split, if you don’t know, is a very recent thrillerish nail biter about a man with multiple personality disorder who kidnaps a group of teenage girls. There are spoilers ahead, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! Basically, three of the Kevin’s twenty-four different personalities believe in ‘the beast,’ another of Kevin’s personalities that is essentially a higher evolved human, with advanced super-strong abilities. He can climb up walls, and alter his body chemistry with his mind to make him big and strong. This personality needs to feed on ‘impure’ flesh to grow stronger, and believes those who haven’t suffered in life are weaker in the evolutionary chain. The pure ones are the ones who have suffered, eventually saving the protagonists life. He doesn’t eat her when he sees her self harm scars and learns she has suffered and is thus pure. In summary, these three personalities kidnap the girls to feed to the beast, but first hold them hostage for a while to keep the spooks going.

Already, this sparks a lot of red flags for me. The trailer revealed most of this information, but I still went to see it, knowing it’s probably very dodgy. Why? Because it looked damn good, and it was. Looking at this film as a horror, regardless of the problems it could create in the stigmatisation of Dissociative Personality Disorder (split personality disorder,) it was a damn good horror. It came with clever and subtle suspense, with deliciously disturbing scenes to boot. But I can’t detach myself from this problem, and I don’t think I should have to in order to enjoy a film. I don’t believe it’s exactly easy writing, like jump scares- but I think there are other options that can be taken. The film was incredibly clever, and the idea of using this disorder created some highly unsettling scenes. But I still can’t quite let it go. For a lot of people, this may be the first time they ever encounter Dissociative Personality Disorder- a violent unhinged kidnapper, cannibal, and somebody who can supposedly alter his own body chemistry to make a monster? I’m no expert, but I’m 99.9% sure that isn’t possible.

Pictured: James MacAvoy as ‘Kevin’

I wanted to get a proper opinion, so I found an article in which a proper doctor, Cathy Kezelman, describes the film as ‘stigmatizing,’ and I can’t help but agree. The article also says that studies have found only 3% of people with DPD have done anything criminal: “the soon-to-be published research paper, Mental Illness and Violent Behaviour: The Role of Dissociation, which found that out of 173 people treated for the disorder, only three per cent reported having been charged with an offence in the past six months.” Basically, it’s pretty darn uncommon.

This is all getting a bit complicated, so let’s explore a more simple example. In The Ring, Samara is a creepy little girl who is seen either as a creepy ghost, or a little girl in a mental hospital. With her forever wet looking hair covering her face, in her white gown in her white room, Samara personifies all these things we associate with creepy. But why? It’s clear that Samara’s supernatural abilities are much more than her being a little ‘crazy.’ Then there’s the mental asylum scenes in Insidious 2, the ‘monster’ being a tortured and evil transgender person? Seriously?

Asylum horror has somehow become an entire genre too, and it grinds my bloody gears. With the likes of Grave Encounters and The Ward, these scary representations not only of mental illness, but also how the mentally ill are treated, are repeated over and over. How much media is out there to combat it? When I’m watching this stuff I can’t help but sit and wonder why mental illness is so scary to us as viewers, but the answer of course is obvious: it is scary. As someone who’s grappled with dodgy mental health personally, and watched people close to me grapple too, of course it’s scary. It’s fucking terrifying. But not in the way we see in horrors. Mental hospitals are not filled with ghosties and demons and torturous surgeons. The vast majority of mentally ill people are just living their every-day lives, just the same as any neuro-typical person. A pretty fucking big majority, actually. Not murderers, or kidnappers, and definitely not people with supernatural abilities to alter their own body chemistry etc etc.

On the other hand, there is the obvious thing to consider: these films are fiction. They’re not real, and they’re made to entertain, not to educate. It may also be important to note that murder and mental stability don’t exactly go hand in hand. Portraying a completely sane serial killer in a slasher wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. But for me, that doesn’t take anything away from how important representation is. As long as we have these scary portrayals, we need something good alongside them. As I said I’m in no way innocent when it comes to watching and loving these films. A lot of the films I’ve mentioned today are my favourites, and I’ve seen all of them. I’ve seen Split even though I knew what it was about. I love Lights Out and the Ring and so many others that pose the mental health problem, whether in subtle ways or not. I’m also not a film maker, and I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin when it came to writing something genuinely scary. I wanted to come to some kind of conclusion with this but I’m not sure what the answer is. Only to recognise that the world is moving forward, and it’s vitally important to show this in representation. Shows like My Mad Fat Diary and films like Silver Linings Playbook pave the way towards a better view of mental illness in the media. Am I just being too picky? Regardless of what I think, we still have a long way to go.

Am I being too picky or do you agree? Let me know what you think! Help end the mental health stigma with Bell Lets Talk.