Hadley Freeman Tells Me How To Be Awesome

Hadley Freeman Tells Me How To Be Awesome

Hey girls, Hadley Freeman reckons we're not nice enough - to each other or to ourselves. And d'you know what? I'm inclined to agree. In a world where things like the Mail Online exist and gals get a whole load of stick on a daily basis, we need to stop sister hating and just be awesome...

Look, I'm having a bad day. Actually, a bad month. I'm a career-minded girl with no plans to get married, have a baby, starve myself to size 0. I don't own a peplum or anything else magazines say I should. I read the Mail Online even though my mind's yelling "ARGH, WHY? STTTTOOOOOPPPPP!!!!!". It's exhausting and I feel like shit.

Fortunately for me, journalist, author and all-round kickass chick Hadley Freeman's only gone and written a book about all this stuff. When the paperback landed on my desk in all its black and neon glory I was instantly excited. Mainly because it was entitled Be Awesome: Modern Life For Modern Ladies and as a modern lady living in the modern age I feel the urge to be awesome and would really appreciate a good steer.

"When I started writing the book, I was in New York living quite a solitary existence. I was spending a lot of time on Skype with my little sister, who was living in Switzerland and very pregnant," Hadley says.

"We just used to rant at each other about the same things, and I realised I was ranting about these same things to all of my friends."

It was then that I realised I was doing the same. "Things like the Daily Mail" tick, "the way fashion magazines write" yup, "body image" yessir, "vegetarianism" er perhaps not that one.

So Hadley's master plan was to shove all her ranting into the pages of a book and quit her out-loud raging for good. Before you start thinking Awesome is some kind of Chicken Soup For The Soul self-help book, it isn't. "I don't think I'd be qualified to help anybody," Hadley confesses.

It's about all those little niggles we face as modern women in the modern world, and you're most likely to find it "in the humour section". Hadley's catchphrase of the moment has gotta be "self depreciating tourettes" and I can tell you now I am SO guilty of it. "Self depreciating tourettes happens any time someone pays you a compliment and you immediately toss it off. You cannot hear it. You just immediately want to put yourself down."

Ah-ha! I know this trait.

One of my friends: "Hey Ellen, I love your top."

Me: "Oh, it's just from Primark and it's really old and it cost, like, 9p."

Hadley reckons this is all woven up in our inability to celebrate our achievements. Which we totally need to do more often. I'm not saying start a morning mantra session in the bathroom mirror, but let's take her advice and be a little nicer to our awesome selves.

I'm not sure about you but I'm pretty sick of the media making me feel rubbish about myself. And the way the tabs describe Carol Vorderman slipping her voluptuous curves into a pair of skin-tight jeans makes me queasy. There's a lack of girl-friendly media out there at the moment, so I asked Hadley where to find some.

"The internet," she said. "The web has become very, very good for writing for young women. I particularly like Jezebel, The Vagenda, Salon, The Nation and Feministing.

"I do feel print media has slightly lagged in that sense. There were good magazines around when I was a teenager - I really loved Minx and Nova. I thought they were really exciting and were so different from Bliss and Sugar and that stuff, and yet they didn't survive for some reason." Much like More magazine *wipes away tear*.

"I hadn't looked at More since I was at school. When I was at school it was the slightly sexier, filthyier Just Seventeen and I was a bit scared of it, but it was funny and wasn't all celebrities and cellulite.

"I think it's sad for teenagers considering they don't have these magazine around that were big when I was their age. It feels like Just Seventeen and More and Smash Hits were really great funny magazines they weren't just about what Selena Gomez was wearing that day – and that seems to have disappeared from newsagents' shelves."

But it's not really up to the media to make me feel better. Surely it's up to me? So, I wake up feeling/looking/smelling like crap and I need to unlock my inner awesomeness. How do I do this? "Spend the day doing things which make you feel good about yourself," says Hadley. "And hang out with people who are nice to you. Don't hang around with people who make you unhappy.

"It took me a long time to know that I didn't need to hang around with these so-called friends who actually just made me feel prickly and uncomfortable. Be with people who make you feel good."

After unlocking said awesomeness, how do I prove myself worthy of the mantle? Can I actually refer to myself as awesome? "It's in how you treat yourself and how you treat others really. Particularly for women. I think women are extremely hard on themselves and can be quite hard on each other - just because we expect more from one and other than we do from men sometimes."

So, one last question (and I promise this is the very last). In a nutshell, Hadley, tell me how to be awesome. "I think this is what it comes down to - women being kind to each other and kind to themselves. And not letting kindness hold them back either - not worrying so much if people like them. It's all about being yourself and standing up for your rights."

BE AWESOME: MODERN LIFE FOR MODERN LADIES by Hadley Freeman is published by 4th Estate, price £12.99. Out now.

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