Amber Rudd’s’Name and shame’ proposal leaves a lot of unanswered questions and a rather irksome feeling.

Despite all claims to the contrary I’ve always tried to avoid the simplistic view that BREXIT was primarily about race and xenophobia. Whilst no one is denying that the ‘breaking point’ campaign and indeed a lot of the leave campaigns rhetoric was focused on immigration (despite EU immigration being limited to Europe these campaigns tried to focus on refugees, which is kind of ironic considering we still have a duty to them with or without our EU membership) there were other factors that would encourage someone to vote leave.

My article on Public Opinion and the Young People Who Voted Leave discusses several of these alternative reasons and shows that many people were influenced by the perceived anti-democratic way the EU was run, they wanted to leave what they saw as a global superpower that was trying to control 28 countries from a remote headquarters, and/or they wanted Britain to have more control over their destiny and economy. It would be very naive to assume that no one voted leave due to racist and/or xenophobic reasons, but the idea that these were the only reasons highlights the remain campaign’s failure to appeal to people in the first place.

Recent events have made me a little disturbed, however.This ‘name and shame’ policy that attempts to look at how many non-British born people work for a particular company does sound quite sinister because the aim appears to be quite clear. This policy seems to have been discontinued due to the backlash it recieved, but the fact that this was an option, the fact that this is what our government wanted to focus on is a little scary and perhaps shows what is to come. According to The Guardian Amber Rudd’s aims were as follows:

“Under her proposals, firms could be forced to disclose what percentage of their workforce is non-British as a way to encourage them to hire more locals. Ms Rudd said she wanted to “flush out” companies abusing existing rules and “nudge them into better behaviour”.

Source http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37561035

Whether they publish their findings or not the goal seems to be to check how many migrants compared to how many British born people work for a particular company and if they are not satisfied that British people are getting first pick at the jobs they may take measures to encourage the company in question to focus on British applicants and give them first choice for employment. I am not sure if these policies will focus on people who weren’t born in the U.K themselves or people whose ancestors were immigrants, nor do I know whether it will focus on a particular group (i.e European immigrants or non-EU immigrants).

I also don’t know if ‘British born’ is going to be based on race or residential status and how that’s going to be qualified (will Amber Rudd count you as a British citizen if you weren’t born in Britain but have British citizenship? Will a recent immigrant with a better application be turned away in favour of someone who has no relevent experience but is a Britis citizen?) but either way this seems very contradictory to our apparent commitment to inclusion and the need to encourage a more representative, diverse workforce not only so our workforce reflects the country we actually live in but so we don’t end up with stale ideas and we don’t miss out on talent.

We already know that we have a problem with diversity in British industries, and even though we have schemes and quota systems in place to encourage a more diverse workforce they don’t always seem that effective. We know, for example, that around 8% of the Creative sector (i.e media, film and art-based jobs) are nonwhite, and when we consider that a lot of these jobs are based in London where the demographic is roughly around 40-60% this is quite shocking. (source here: http://www.gold.ac.uk/news/the-creative-industries-and-meritocracy/)

From a quick Google search on the subject I found the following statistics:

  • Black workers with degrees earn 23.1% less on average than white employees with the qualifications
  • Ethnic minority people were more likely to live in poverty than white people
  • Ethnic minorities are still “hugely under-represented” in positions of power – such as judges and police chiefs (info found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37114418)When they are talking about hiring more locals, what jobs do they mean? Do they mean the NHS where a significant portion of the workforce is made up of Non-British born staff? Do they mean the jobs many British people simply don’t want to do or don’t have the skills for? Do they mean the more competitive industries where diversity is still a real issue? And what do they mean by foreigners? Is this based on your race, where you were born, or is it simply how soon it was that you moved to the UK? If you were brought up here and lived most of your life here but you happened to be born in another country how do you fit in? How do you qualify a British person and how do you qualify a non-British person?

    It is hard to get a job in the U.K and a lot of this is because there is too much competition for certain jobs, not enough jobs to go around and a real preference for free labour under the guise of ‘internships’. How we could sort that out is a whole other issue, but the solution isn’t to close off all opportunities to people who ‘aren’t British enough’ if they have the skills that the particular job needs. Surely if companies are encouraged to hire as many ‘British’ workers as possible it will exasperate inequalities. Surely changing hiring policies so ‘the British come first’ would increase racial profiling? Surely ‘British Jobs for British workers’ is quite an open statement which doesn’t really mean anything,  because who is British and who isn’t? What are you basing that on?


Equality for boobs

Today,  I would like to talk about bras.


Now, my boobs are quite big (32-24 F’s to be exact depending on the shop). From a quick google search (I’m not pretending to be a boob expert here) it shows that the average bra size appears to have increased from a B to a DD-E in the last few decades (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/bra-size-survey_n_3645267.html for example), which is attriubted partly to weight gain and breast implants but far more to more women wearing the correct bra size, which suggests the average was always in the DD-E region and people just didn’t know it. Despite of this, even though I am sure there are more options for women with larger breasts than there were 20 years ago, I and many other women with breasts above a DD-E find that most stores do not cater for us, and that our bras cost twice as much as a bra for a A-D cup.  In my personal experience at least 50% of women that I have met wear a D or larger cup, many of whom are rather slim with around a 32-34 band. Again this is not to suggest that all or even most of women with large breasts are slim, but it is simply untrue to assume everyone with larger breasts are also larger women and that large breasts necessarily have anything to do with weight. Breasts grow naturally, and many of us naturally happen to have big ones.

Now there are a couple of reasons why people may think more people have smaller breasts than actually do. Whilst more people are getting measured than used to, not everyone is. This could be due to embarrassment, lack of knowledge or simply because you may assume you know your own size. Now, without being properly measured it can be hard to tell what is giving you support and what isn’t, especially if your bra is too small in the cup and too big in the band. It may look like it fits, but it may also be making your boobs sag and be putting unnecessary pressure on your back, and also giving you the dreaded four boob effect (I know, I’ve been there). If you never get measured, you might never know so get measured people!

A lot of women also have been measured and are way above a DD, which for some reason appears to be the highest size a lot of company’s will sell. Whilst places like Primark sell a D-F range, you will often find if you look that the E-F sizes are mostly sold out and hard to find, which in my mind suggests there is quite a big demand for them, especially as there appears to be an abundance of A-D bras. Whilst that is because there are far more of them I have to ask why there are far more bras of a smaller size and far less in a larger size in the first place.
With places like La Senza for some reason deciding they won’t sell anything larger than an E up size, buying bras can often be quite hard.   Anne Summers, Bravissimo or specialist bra shops sell very nice bras but are very expensive (the best deal I currently know of is from Anne Summers 2 bras for £30, when considering it is very easy to buy an A-C bra for as little as £3 and that you should be buying new bras every six months ends up making things rather expensive). There are also quite a lot of women (more than you would think, and more than you would know just by looking at them) who wear a G or bigger cup, which is a size that can be quite hard to find. From my knowledge Anne Summers only sells up to a G cup, so if you are any larger you do have to go to places like Bravissimo which, whilst cheaper than a specialist taylormade bra really aren’t cheap. If you happen to have a narrow chest but a large cup, you pretty much have to go to a specialist bra store. Whilst I accept its probably quite uncommon and therefore might not generate enough money to sell bras that are, for example, a 28 band and a G cup in a main stream shop, I do think there should be some attempt to broaden the sizes that are on offer and at least start catering for those who wear a 30 band and a larger cup, and indeed also start catering more for women with narrow bands in general.

DH5GDH Women's bras at Primark, Oxford Street, London, England, UK

Now, I personally cannot see why larger bras are so much more expensive than smaller bras. It does not appear to me any reason why a larger bra should cost so much more to make than a larger top/jeans/skirt etc. Clothes can go from a size 6 to a size 22 and be the exact same price, I see nowhere that charges more for larger clothes and I in no way suggest people should pay more for larger sizes, but then why should we pay more for larger bras? Does it cost so much more to make a bigger bra cup but not to use more material for a dress? If we can cater for size 22’s why can’t we cater for people with L cup sizes? I see no reason why that would be more expensive, and just from talking to other women and going into clothes and bra shops and seeing the sizes that get sold out, I believe there is a much larger demand for large bra sizes at affordable prices than is currently being met, and it appears to be the one branch of clothing that seems to have direct discrimination  in what they sell against people with a particular physical feature. Whilst I’m not saying there is a conspiracy against women with large boobs, I simply fail to see why clothes shops do not represent us. You can be skinny or large and tall or short, so why is it not the same in bras?

This is definitely not intended to offend anyone with small boobs, it is simply to vent my frustration and confusion as to why there are a lot of people who really do have to pay a stupid amount to have a supported chest. As we are the ones with bigger chests, surely we need more support. Surely we are the ideal consumers for bras, and surely these companies should be doing more for us. I want to live in a world where most if not all shops that sell underwear will sell at least up to a G cup for the same price as an A cup. I want equality for boobs. I want young girls to be encouraged to get measured and made to feel comfortable with their bra size, rather than feeling if they are too big she is somehow abnormal as no where appears to cater for her, and I want the days of only being able to afford 1-2 bras a year to be over.

I’m going to go back to watching the ITV leaders Debate now,

Happy Easter