Friday, 9 August 2013

Stop using my gender as an insult

Here is a bunch of phrases and thoughts you need to stop having in your repertoire if you really like women. If you more than like women, tell other people to stop doing it as well.

Don't be such a girl
We've all been there. A guy is talking about his feels, a child starts crying, a previously "cool" woman starts talking about shoes. When you say things like "Don't be such a girl", what you're actually saying is "Something you're doing there is less than manly, and we all know that everyone should be manly because women are rubbish". You probably don't consciously think that, so you probably shouldn't say it.

Women love shopping, shoes, make up and cup cakes
Everybody loves cup cakes. Lets just get that shit straight right now. If you like eating cup cakes, there's nothing gender specific that dictates whether or not you should be able to make cup cakes. It's one of the most astounding things I've found that men have such a huge presence in the celebrity cooking universe, but cooking and baking is still applied in everyday life as female traits. I don't mind cooking, I quite like applying make up, shoes are a necessity, and shopping is either pleasant or a chore, but if you're to believe your average advertisement, it's apparently all that fills my brain. Whilst I do enjoy all/some of these things some of the time/most of the time/hardly ever, I've got other things in my brain and about my person. So to give the impression to the rest of the world that it's all I'm about, it really kinda fucks me off.

Naah, she's not like normal girls. She's like a guy, it's cool
Men do not have the monopoly on cool. When someone says it's because she's such a guy, very often, a girl might be acting a certain way because she doesn't like the way she's treated when she's a girl. And why the hell would she? You get called a slut for displaying sexual freedom; you're judged far more on your appearance; you're extremely critical of the way you look, both in body and dress; and if you're having a bad day or are in a bit of a mood, you're questioned about your menstrual cycle. It's tough enough being a girl, without people telling me how much cooler you think it is when I act like a guy. If I get into a sport, it's because I want to get some physical exercise. If I don't want to wear dresses and skirts, it's because I find them restricting in movement. If I want to drink beer and swear like a sailor on leave, it's because a lot of that shit is really fun. But I don't do it because it's better being like a man, I do it because it makes me happier as a person. And if you wear dresses and skirts, find physical exercise for leisure dull as fuck and love white wine spritzers, do that too. People unite to do precisely what the fuck you please.

and on that note..

Oh women really piss me off, I much prefer hanging out with men. I'm more of a bloke in fact!
I am most definitely guilty of this one. I went from office to office temping during a stage of regular unemployment and I used to say how much I hated working with women. And as it turns out, I just hated working in offices. I've done other jobs and worked with other people, and who I despise isn't really gender specific. If you're lazy and you whine a lot, likelihood is we're not gonna get along. I realised I was doing a real disservice to the women that I have encountered who I've genuinely enjoyed the company of. I got the impression of myself that I was secretly judging women on their ability to banter or relate to stuff I was interested in. I think if someone is kind and offers you their attention without really knowing you, they're probably worth yours as well. And just because you don't get on with women and notice that you do get on with men a bit more, don't rank yourself higher. You're degrading yourself if you degrade your gender.

So that's all I can think of right now. I'll probably encounter a few more, but the moral of this story is that women aren't less. Neither are men. Bullying and a delusion of superiority are.

(ps.. It's 1am. Excuse the typos)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

British and Proud

I spent last night not studying. I've got 4 deadlines coming up. I've got freelance work to do. I've got washing to put on, I've got food to cook, I've got people who are important to me to interact with.

I didn't do any of these things last night.

I am torn apart by the young soldier who lost his life at the hand of those maniacs. I read about the attack and instantly, for a few seconds, worried about my brother based in Aldershot. He's a soldier, he's been known to go into London. I remembered the phone call my ma had with him within the past hour, and this terrible fear dissipated and was quickly replaced with the guilt that comes with wishing that pain and heartache on another. Another sister, another mother, and as it turns out, another son and wife.

It is awful, beyond awful, what happened to the soldier killed in Woolwich. And my heart goes to the people now suffering his loss.

But that loss should never incite the action to create more hatred.

I've seen an underwhelming number of updates and posts from people, directly reacting to the man who was caught on camera with blood on his hands. My favourite was Muslim Prick. Not Cleaver Wielding Nutter or Deeply Disturbed Individual That People Saw As So Threateningly Terrifying They Just Had To Film And Put Up On Youtube. They posted on Muslim prick.

The start of this statement was accurate. The murderer on the video converted to the Islamic faith in 2006 (the link is there for reference but has the deeply insensitive imagery that's been bouncing around the internet and media outlets since yesterday, so click with caution). But by choosing that particular frame of reference, the author is predicating the idea that the actions of this disturbed individual represents the ideals of the whole.

A friend gallantly tried encouraging some thought on the subject of an immigrants status in the UK to no avail..

I had to blur out another bit as it gave away a name,
but trust me, just as insulting as the other highlighted bit

The lack of serious thought and consideration for who they were talking to gradually degenerated into racial slurs. I sat frozen staring at my computer for a minute or two, fucking furious at what I had just read.

After collecting myself and reading through the entire thing again, I messaged my friend, applauded his efforts, screengrabbed and reluctantly fuzzed names and pictures and reposted.

I then went on to see other friends status'. Not along the same lines as this, but in response to similar posts they'd seen in their own new feed. Some asking for advice on where they could acquire funds pretty sharpish so they could F off back to their own country or just simply questioning, like they never had before, whether they were welcome in the place they knew as home.

I know that a lot of this was said satirically. A response to the twerps bemoaning the drain on resources all these foreign immigrants are, and if "they" were going to do something so malicious and vile as that that happened in Woolwich yesterday, why should we keep them here?

To be British is to be diverse. There will not be a single person who can take their bloodline all the way back and say that their lineage started and remained in what we now call Britain. This land has been invaded and colonised so many times it's impossible to calculate. Not to mention all the stomping about all over the world we've done more recently..

The Islamic Society of Britain made a statement about the attack. In their own words:

"Justifying this killing in the name of faith or religion is false and rejected. Rejected by the Islamic society of Britain. Rejected by scripture. Rejected by those who commit to God. Rejected by civil society. And rejected by truth. 
We, the British, will remain together, resolute and strong."

So when I hear the statement British and Proud, I don't imagine things like this:

In response to the letter made by the ISB, and to any people suffering persecution because of the actions of a few, I would say this is not my Britain. Justifying physical and verbal attacks and bigoted attitudes in the name of patriotism and cultural pride is rejected. Rejected by the people of Britain. Rejected by its laws. Rejected by those who purport to having a higher level of tolerance. Rejected by our society. And rejected by truth.

I am British and Proud because of the diverse range of people that are in this country. It's a privilege and a blessing to be surrounded by those whose experience could be so different to mine, and could show me things I might never have seen.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Do Not Lie To Me.

Scumbag partners.

I've heard every single fucking excuse in the fucking book.

I didn't want to hurt you, so I lied.

I do need you around. You're just not what I need all the time.

We're no fun anymore.

I honestly couldn't give two craps about your cowardly excuse for why you would cheat. You did it. You are that person. Accept that, then maybe we can move on.

Except we can't move one, can we. Because you didn't accept that you're this person. The person who could systematically lie to the person you'd already managed to convince could trust you with everything they are.

You didn't just cheat on them. You broke them.

This scenario rings true for relationships of any maturity, and you could say that it's more acceptable in younger people. They're young, naive. They don't know that the things they do to another persons heart are going to keep them damaged and guarded for years to come. And by the same token, the other side doesn't know how to defend themselves against the damages done. They don't know to value trust and mutual respect, or that it is important to work hard at a relationship.

Having had these experiences young, however, they don't necessarily set you up for emotional maturity in a relationship when you're older. Especially when you're on the side that's being cheated on.

The very nature of a serious relationship means that you put more of yourself into it. You put in your safety, you put in everything you're afraid to lose. Because nothing could ever happen to it in the heart of someone who's promised to take care of it forever.

So when you, as a cheater, take all of that and lie and cheat, and you break that ever so important trust, you're a wanker.

But when you set about covering your tracks, and you start to project those vile characteristics you've developed within yourself onto your partner, you're so much more than a wanker. You, with malicious intent, start to emotionally break down another human being because you can't stand to face up to the simple fact that you've decided to not even try to work through why you feel this way. You've decided on whose feelings and whose heart is more important. You're a fucking coward.

Monday, 15 April 2013

I am Jill's debilitating fear

I am in constant fear of failing. I do work, I do art, and every so often, I kick out something brilliant I'm convinced I fluked. The accolade I get from said piece of work will keep me high for weeks. Or at least, not debilitated by this fear that the work I do just isn't good enough.

I once had a class where the teacher gave us one of those 'no-win' scenarios, and the resulting hypothetical decision we had to make was whether we save a pregnant woman and let 5 others die, or we save 5 others and let the pregnant woman die. You're distracted by the horror of the situation enough to not get the aim of the game. The game is to see whether you're a decision maker. And these games are all well and good when your participants haven't been there, done that and possess every t-shirt going. You could say the games are kind of pointless, because you're assuming a level of ignorance in your players. So you could play the game, really struggle, come to a decision, and not ask why you've been asked to do this in the first place. Or you could guess the game, figure out the answer and tell them exactly what they want to hear.

In a way, it's a game inside the game. In some professions, you need people to do exactly as they're told. You need them to not question, despite their own misgivings on a situation, and just do. But what use are you really when you're able to guess the game? Your only real skill is predicting the test and producing all that's necessary.

This is what I do very well. I never finish unless I know you're gonna be impressed. Which means the motivation to take something as far as it will go isn't my driving force.

This fear that I'm not good enough at what I do for the world, is probably my biggest problem. The heaviest rock I carry, the thickest wall I push against, the steepest incline. It doesn't just prevent me from trying, it comforts me when I'm too scared. I'll retreat back into it and I'll be comforted by this choking feeling that it's not something I can help. If I'm not good enough, I'm not good enough.

But I've decided..

My life is worth more. Time to blinker up.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Fingering my brain

So I'm a Graphic Designer (in training). I've got a bunch of books on the different methods of catching someone's attention. Now they're not all called "How to trick people into buying shit", nor is that written in the foreword, but essentially that's what they are. Whether you're buying something physical or just buying into the idea, whenever you see something that's had design methods used in it, you're being sold something. Being anti-capitalism and a loud advocate of the individuals responsibility for themselves as of a certain age, this realisation was a bit disconcerting.

I've always been a bit intrigued by the "promoted" posts on Twitter and Facebook. Companies (or individuals) can promote their business page or posts, and they will appear on the Feed of someone who doesn't like the group already. There might be all sorts of things like your cookies involved that aim certain products at your page, but I'm not an expert in that.

The Reason this intrigues me is because, basically, I ignore all that shit! I feel a little victory over my own existence that it's not being influenced by Tresemmé or Amazon. I will not like your pages you cosmetic-pushing-unrealistic-idealistic-beauty-advocating-screwing-the-little-man-bus-wankers! I feel better about it. And I thought it was what a good chunk of the population did.

But then I have a real think about it, and think "Well.. they wouldn't do it if it didn't work, right?". Why would they continually pay to promote themselves if all everyone was doing was skipping straight past it. This leads me to the conclusion that people are just clicking like because it's there.

I know that advertising keeps the internet as free as possible. It keeps non profit websites alive, I know it's an aid to some good causes. But I'm seriously concerned when the most popular ads on the internet are "Lose 3 stone in a week!!" or "This stay at home mom earns $1500 a week!!" or the ever classy "Ugly girls need love too..".

If this shit works, there is a genuine method of advertising that goes along the lines of "Right. How can we attract/encourage passive interest  for this product. What's a new way that we can play off of the fact that the person we want to click on our ad, isn't really paying attention to what they're doing?" <<This right here, is companies spending money on the fact that you're not paying attention to everything that's being projected at you. You're not paying attention to what your brains absorbing. You let these things that you don't want or need penetrate your psychy and influence your thinking.

Essentially, what you need to do is arm yourself. Don't just idly scroll down your feed not really reading all the feed because its the same old that you read yesterday. Like a load of groups that share and reblog things that aren't in the mainstream news. If you see an ad, read it, then analyse it. They're trying to sell you something. Figure out what it is, then figure out if it's something you need. If it isn't, DON'T BUY IT!


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Grey's Anatomy

There's a dozen reasons I love Grey's Anatomy. I started watching it at the height of my hormones when it was first aired, and I'm a complete sucker for American drama. But here are the reasons I love it now.

Christina Yang
She is my favourite thing about Greys. She is charmless, professionally ruthless, and is never caught selling herself short. I find that in the media, very often women's accomplishments are measured by that of a man's. In the Greys universe, you're measured by Yangs.
Seriously charmless

She's the smartest, the most determined and most hardworking. She is driven by professional ambition, rather than the stereotypical need for a happy healthy relationship to feel complete. There's been a couple of times where the storyline has had me worried about where they were taking her, like when she was compromising her career to help Burke, but as the series progressed, you saw Christina really take back control of her life.

Alex Karev
One of my biggest issues about the battle of the sexes is how men are seen in the media. According to tv, it's important to be manly, and to be manly you need to be a muscly sexual predator, with a good face and a job that's respected, well paid and in a position of authority. Whilst Greys still holds a cast chock full of "beautiful people", Karevs character breaks slightly from the normal behaviour of typically manly guys.
Still got a nice face..
Yeah sure, he starts off as a serious douchebag, swinging his bits about looking for pretty young things to have his wicked way with and waxing on about plastics being the real deal, and it takes a couple of series of peeling away layers of troubled childhood issues to get to the real stuff, but you see Alex move away from macho bravado. He's seen embracing more nurturing positions and traits associated with women on screen, like taking care of Izzy when she's sick, and going into pediatrics.

Baggy Clothes
A super easy way to sell a tv show or a film is to get a hot person barely clothed in every episode. Or a hot person tightly clothed. Basically any use of the physical appearance of characters to keep viewers coming back in the hopes of getting peeks at these beautiful people and they're beautiful bodies.
Ooh baby.
There are some scenes in the show that have bits of nudity in, but on the whole, the entire cast wear scrubs and when they're not wearing scrubs, they don't dressed as if they're heading out to the club, or topless. It's seriously refreshing to see the appeal being about the storyline and character development rather than voyeuristic pleasures.

So there you have it. Not a grand list, and not exactly one of the forerunners when it comes to breaking down archaic gender roles in the media, but closer than most.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Am I a racist?

So when I was at school, I asked my friend if he was called a chink. Or I just called him a chink. Or some other variation of that, but I think I hazed the memory in my head Professor Slughorn style because after, my friend assured me that it was definitely not cool to call a Chinese person chink, and I was damn ashamed of myself.

It's always been at the back of my mind, to clarify why I'd been so ashamed, and also why I thought it was ok to say that to my friend in the first place. Firstly, I genuinely didn't know. I'd never ever spent an afternoon googling what was 'ok' and what was 'not ok' to say to various people. The thought of having a name for another human based on anything other than how they identify themselves to the world was a foreign concept. So whatever was said, was said partly out of ignorance, but I'd like to think it wasn't the kind of ignorance that creates more ignorance in spite of itself.

Secondly, why should it be offensive if I didn't mean it in an offensive way? I am a loud advocate of equal rights, niceness is priceless and no other person is worth less than I am, based on gender, race, sexuality, height, weight, hair colour. If I say something without the historical context behind it, it just becomes another word, doesn't it? This isn't true. Language and it's ever changing significance exists for us to communicate and progress. If language was stagnant, these words wouldn't be offensive to begin with. As a user of language, you're an advocate of whatever language you use, and if there is a meaning to a word you use, that negatively generalises an individual or a group of individuals, you're not just ignorant, you're a bully.

Fast forward from my bout of ignorant racism, and I'm in a taxi with the same friend, as a taxi driver tells us he doesn't think they should be broadcasting with such ferocity the murder of the British family killed in France, "because they weren't really British". I look across at my quite obviously English-speaking Chinese friend, and observe as he's basically told that because he doesn't have English lineage, that if he and his family were violently murdered, there is a a group of people of the mind set who doesn't think he's worthy of English newspapers, despite being born and spending majority of his life here.

If I hadn't had the good fortune of a friend who perhaps hadn't worked out the damage I was doing by throwing around these terms so didn't send unrelenting rage my way, my thinking might have been much different.

Ignorance of racist terms is a small excuse, and if you get caught out with it, have the good grace to educate yourself.