Tag Archives: rant

#metoo

Well what a shit storm this has created. 

Not long ago, I was open about some of the abuse that I have received – and it took A LOT for me to commit that to a blog. I never talk about it. Ever. I don’t talk about the guys who have grabbed by boobs, my ass, pushed their hands into my crotch, who have pushed the hands up my skirt, who have molested me, who haven’t even asked let along ignored ‘no’.

#Metoo is important. We need to voice this sort of thing, because like I said in previous posts, we are continuously conditioned to keep quiet, to find a reason why it happened. We are told that we must have done or said something, that we should be ashamed over what happened. 

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This hashtag is supposed to highlight how many people are effected, to show that is isn’t just some bint that is featured in a news report or writes a blog or is featured on a documentary. That is is your mother, your sister, your coworker, you neighbour, it is your bus driver, your postie. It is anyone and everyone and these are not isolated. 

And you know what else, it doesn’t matter if that person misinterpreted advances. Because … oh hey there, advances, you were unwelcome. Your cat call, unwanted, you comment over the cut of the dress, unneeded. That hand on the boob over the line, the time you forced yourself on her, unforgivable. 

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Now, what else have we had over recent DAYS because of this, we have have the men complaining that it isn’t just women that are assaulted, although to be honest I think it is more women pointing this out… so okay. Sure. I get it, I really do. But one step at a time. I am all about inclusion but could we not just appreciate this for a moment before … no? Oh okay… lets all quietly change the wording on the blurb we are busily copying and pasting. 

Then we have that the men stepping up and apologising for any time they made a woman uncomfortable or if after reflection they did take things too far, didn’t listen, didn’t stop. These men have reflected, using the benefit of hindsight and been brutal in their analysis. And brave. Really fucking brave. Not only are they admitting they were wrong, they are not hiding behind ignorance or youth. They are not hiding. 

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Well, now let us move onto something else that quickly happened, to do with hiding. Women, who, like me just cut and pasted the blurb and didn’t go into their own story. Because to us, just saying #metoo was enough. It was enough to stand in solidarity to show that we are not lone, not the exception to the rule. But no, we are then told that we are faking, or hiding, or not being forthright, that we are jumping on the bandwagon. You know what. SO WHAT IF THERE ARE WOMEN OUT THERE USING THE HASHTAG ERRONEOUSLY it got us talking about it and for each woman who is just joining for solidarity’s sake, 10 more are sitting in the shadows ashamed of what might happen if they stand up.

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Oh then, yes, then we had (let us all remember this is a matter of what, 3 days?) men using the #methree hashtag. Men that have been FRIENDZONED and let us not get me started Nice guys finish last Welcome to the friend zone… and a few other blogs have covered my feelings on the matter. Or that women have had a free meal, a night out, a trip to the theatre, or a new bag out of a man and … and … get this. THEY DID NOT RETURN THE FAVOUR WITH SEX. Yes, yes I am shouting because I can honestly not fathom a time, reason, or excuse for this mentality and so I think I will leave this point alone before I do something silly. 

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Well, just when I thought that things couldn’t get worse, bear in mind every time it pops up on my news feed there is a different take on it, a friend sharing their own opinion, experience, their feelings or an article. 

This woman, I won’t utter her name. I am leaving this here. I have said quite enough about it on my own FB page, and if you are friends with me, I am sure if has popped up and I appreciate your comments on it. dickmove

Conditioned to say YES

to the dress…. and anything else that comes along.

Have you read about the chap in Bristol who set up a piano and explained to media, far and wide, that he would continue to play until his lady love until she came back to him.

Sounds like something out of a movie… anything from Princess Bride to Love Actually which a fair few infamous episodes from various sitcoms. And let us not forget the knight in white shining armour narrative which is barely questioned. It was only in the 70’s with authors like Margaret Atwood (Bloody Chamber) not questioning that someone might need saving, but rewriting the narrative as to whom is doing the rescuing.

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But let us not forget, as many men are growing up with the idea that they are the protector, the rescuer, the one who ‘does’ that is their narrative. The fact that there are more single parent families than ever has done little to disqualify this sentiment, in some cases, it could be argued that it is causing the idea that boys, need to become men who can look after their mother. A lovely sentiment but would this be the case if their father was the primary caregiver?

I digress, let us look at the Piano Dude, misguided? Enthusiastic? A Romantic? I mean what was he actually doing wrong?? Nothing! I mean what on earth, why am I taking such exception to him doing something entirely harmless, he is playing a piano. The world is watching. The media is primed to see him reunited with his love. And if that doesn’t raise any red flag for you, well… take a seat.

Some of the comments made when I shared the post : Inviting the media? It screams “Hey look at me ladies I’m a vulnerable romantic that has broken heart. I’M AVAILABLE!” At the same time it is also inviting intimidation with a crowd to take him back. There is just so much wrong with all of this.

Yup! If someone says they’re not interested just leave them alone. Being in a relationship and asking them to marry you is a bit different. Unless you just don’t want to get married ever. I’m happy just being with my boyfriend.

Yuk, he seems like a bit of a creep…perhaps why she left him in the first place, if a guy did this to me the only thing he would get is a restraining order

The way to win a woman’s affection isn’t ultimatums.

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Basically as someone who has suffered from violent unwanted advances and stalking. This is a big nope.

A. It screams of entitlement. What right does this woman have to say no. Now she can’t say no. I will embarrass her into compliance.

Compliance, this is slowly grooming a person into acting, saying or doing something you want to them to do. This can be by positive reinforcement (a la Penny and Sheldon in TBBT) offering a reward for doing as requested or wanted, or negative reinforcement where the result from stepping out of line can be physically or emotionally unsavoury. Telling an employer/friend/family member something, making fun of a person, breaking, damaging or removing something. You get the idea. 

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B. It gives others the impression that this is good idea. Either as the suitor or the victim. That big declarations of love are the way forward. That no, does not need to say no. And hell, make sure she was really sure that she is sure by repeatedly asking until she complies.

Like i said, it is wearing someone down – look I get that declarations and expressions of love are great. They really are. But they are also personal. You need to read a person. Four months is not long enough to know a person and certainly not long enough to warrant such a declaration of love. But again, it is wearing someone down and making them eventually agree. What about gut instincts. Yes, she/she may have ticked all the boxes, at the time. But no one, NO ONE is irreplaceable. And while I type that I understand that part of the grand gesture is to make that person feel that they are special. But it just continues to generate unrealistic standards. 

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C. Unrealistic romantic standards a la Hollywood are continued to be perpetuated and normalised meaning violent and abusive relationships are harder to spot and remove oneself from because, isn’t this the dream.

I was thinking about this when I switched my TV on this morning and saw Sleeping with the Enemy on. I have been accused of many things in the course of the discussion of this Piano Player. But my argument here is that he is just a lesson, as a person? Sure we don’t know much about him, but do we know any more about the characters we watch in movies, sitcoms, read about in books? They are all as one dimensional but their actions, never the less, impact on how we then interact. This isn’t to say, NO MORE ROMCOMS but that we open dialogue to understand damaging behaviours that could easily be a subtext and how they influence and how to spot when they become toxic.

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D. Yes I will stand by entitled and frankly women being shot for saying no is enough evidence.

Every day, women are attacked, physically, verbally, and mentally for expressing an opinion. For having a mind of her own, her own strategy, agenda, her own agency. Women are expected to tow the line, to comply. To be agreeable and quiet. Now I want to say, yeah know you. It is just in relationships, it is that ‘9 out of 10 know their …’ but no. No it isn’t the case. women are cat called, shouted at, grabbed by complete strangers because they are still seen a commodity that can be bought and sold and worse (?) still, that has no agency. Remember the shooting a couple of years ago in America because a girl refused the shooters advances? Or my favourite – Brock Turner who decided having merely interacted with a girl at a party gave bum the right to violently rape her? Oh and it was violent and pre meditated and he was trying to hurt her. Power play.

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Now my argument has been thrown back at me, telling me that I am over reacting and that if this is how I feel then like I said above, rom coms should be banned, and a litany of other things. Think banning violent video games and music in the wake of school shootings. That is not what is meant by this discussion and this discourse. This is merely an example to allow points to be made, issues to be highlighted. To open the dialogue about what could be potentially damaging behaviour.

As always, I can only use my female gaze and experience, I full acknowledge that this is not a gender issue and welcome discussion and discourse on this subject.

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Welcome to the friend zone…

here is your season pass. Enjoy your stay, make yourself comfortable. You won’t be leaving any time soon.

Last year I wrote Friend Zoning… and as I had shared it a couple of times with friends, it popped up on my FB memories. Now, I have to be honest. I like a good discussion on many topics and am more than willing to concede ground when I am wrong or given new information to process. This is one of the things I refuse to change my stance on. The a fore mentioned blog was written with the radio show in mind and was followed up by Nice guys finish last.

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I found at the time that I wrote them both, many people didn’t really understand what the term implied, which often led to miscommunication as to why I hate/d the term so much. I really am not as unreasonable as some of my output would suggest. 

Fundamentally it comes down to trust. I have always had more male than female friends and it never (past and present) occurred to me that there is anything on the table other than friendship. I don’t assume men only talk to me because of my gender. If we are talking because of a mutual interest then I assume it is nothing more than that. But apparently I am the strange one of this thought process.

This issue of trust is multifaceted – it can me from the partner of the man or worse her friends. Whispering about what sort of woman hangs out with men. Is that woman some sort of slut, being passed around. Surely there is no other reason that the men would be spending time with her. And this comes down to insecurity that there is a part of his life the S.O is not part of will fully or otherwise. Then you have the man himself – he only entered into any sort of relationship with you because he was pursuing you. Whether you realised it or not. And this makes things somewhat uncomfortable. Especially when you genuinely are oblivious that there is some sort of transaction in place – that in fact, no good deed going unpunished. This isn’t a friend offering you a lift. This is just another transaction that puts good credit in, which can be used to pay for a reward later. 

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Now to go with the last point, I completely understand that everything is based on a work/reward basis. You do things for the reward, whether that is tangible (go to work, get paid) or by being kind to someone (good feeling is its own reward etc). And this is of course the same in any human interaction. No one does something completely altruistic. There is always a payoff. And just because it makes you feel good to make others feel good is still a reward. So yes, I can see how the confusion can come about. And I am risking repeating myself with this avenue of discussion.

Now, I am not blind to the fact that the idea of friend zoning, or what it means at its very core, is gender less. What friend zoning, or rather the habits that cause contention tend to be at the feet of women. Men will invest time and or money in a woman in the hope that she appreciates him and takes a chance, or as an excuse to spend time with her he will buy or give him time, or because he thinks he can buy her, or simply you get to know someone with no real ulterior motive and fall for them and it is not reciprocated. So I guess in this paragraph I just sound a little pissed on behalf of my gender. And of course, we have plenty of pop culture references to show us how women use their wiles to capture a man, even if it is just to pay some bills. How to Marry a Millionaire anyone? 

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I get it, some women will abuse a man and take what she can get, hell there are even sugar daddy websites now that allow these sorts of financial transactions to take place. I would still suggest that you wouldn’t offer what you can’t afford to lose. My argument against the term is not that it doesn’t exist. That there aren’t people who won’t try and get their pound of flesh. No, they will. But it isn’t simply to with sex – friends, family, co workers? There will be people in your life that will try and squeeze what they can from you and will be offended if you suggest that there should be some balance in the relationship.

Friend zoning, or the many ideas behind it, nuances, mean that it is indeed very difficult to pin point as almost everyone has their own idea behind it. But for me, it is simple, Friend zone is a term used by a man to suggest that having a woman as a friend is a runner up prize. To suggest that because all that was invested, was no enough, that having a friend is not enough. Nothing will ever be enough. And this, I hate to say it, comes down to male privilege. It is Broke Turner and all those that came before him, and those who will come after him. That believe that if they invest in a woman, she should be grateful for the attention and become supplicant. That any woman who turns down the advances is then to be shamed and the blame placed at her feet, SHE friend zoned. It was an act that she deliberately and with premeditation, chose to do. Just because you masturbated to her FB profile picture, did not mean that she was similarly attracted or even aware that this was the cost of being in your friend circle.

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Am I angry that women are made to feel like shit because of something that they can’t control? Because male privilege suggests that women should be conditioned to react favourably to any attention levied on them? Damned right I am. That a few women, who are used to knowing that most men (and a bunch of women) that they meet will want to fuck them, use it to their advantage? That this nullifies my upset of the term and everything that it represents? That there are guys shooting up entire dorms on university campus’ because they got turned down by someone? Oh baby, please. It isn’t even a question. The actions of the few does not speak for the many. 

Making someone feel guilty for not reciprocating is not fair, or justified. 

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Boobs are fantastic

So in a recent post I explored (albeit briefly) the no existence double standard that suggests that women can (and do?) star at a man’s crotch with impunity, but if a man looks at boobs he is a pervert. I won’t really bother going over this again, it is a waste of time and energy.

But I would like to take a moment to discuss boobs. Boobs to a degree are seen as public property. That goes no matter what size you rock, or whether you have a small child latched onto the nipple.

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It is almost as if, as a community, we are all predisposed to have an opinion. For the record, I have large boobs, I grew them myself. And most of the time I hate them. I have been propsitioned by men on my walk to work and offered money to touch them, I have been attacked, man handled, groped and had items shoved inbetween, under or over them. I have had long discussions about their size, as if the cup size makes a different to most people. The assaults on my boobage is not gender specific and certainly not often able to be excused on alcohol. 

Every set, and often, the individual boob, is different. In the same way dress size, or weight is a bad way of generalising. So what might work for one, will not work for another. 

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A prime example is a conversion that cropped up on a friend’s facebook following something she posted that may or may not have been directly related to, boobs. It then descended into the ‘first thing I do when I get home’ discussion. Honestly, I LOVE not wearing a bra. Not because my inner feminist loves to spit in the face of patriarchy but refusing to wear the constraints passed down to me… or whatever bollox is behind bra burning. And let me ask you, can you afford to burn bras? I certainly cannot! But of course there was the argument for not wearing bras, that it is better for the boob etc. I pointed out that honestly, if I had smaller, or better positioned boobs, if I had boobs that didn’t run and try and hide in my arm pits at every opportunity, I would in fact not wear a bra. I spend more of my free time braless. Or rather, most of my time at home, after all my chores have been done, and I have no plans on leaving the house, braless. 

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At this point, not a single person had volunteered their bra size, and again all boobs are different so even a larger cup size does not mean that they would not be comfortable without a good underwire. But me? Nope. And of course someone chimed in to suggest I wear a sports bra. Because they are supposed to be more comfortable. Nope. Sorry no. When you get to my cup size you are pretty much just strapping things down to minimise any movement and therefore minimising pain. But I do know plenty of people who do wear them, they are generally speaking, wireless and this is a large part of the appeal. 

Now, I am trying not to repeat myself, but again, everything is individual. so what works for one may not work as well for another, when seamfree bras became mainstream I was so excited, the promises of comfort and support without things digging in or hurting. Yeah… no. They work great over a normal bra for extra support (or like me you just hate sports bras and aren’t planning on doing much cardio. I am going on a tangent. I was pretty offended that someone who had no idea about my personal situation or preferences, lifestyle or frankly, anything, would make a sweeping statement on what I should be doing in such a condescending way. 

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BOOBS ARE NOT COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

Unlike, say.. suggesting that wearing a pair of jeans to work out in might not be such a good idea.. when it is something so personal. But we all seem to have an opinion. We are all obsessed. We all love boobs, or have boobs, or are fascinated with them because you don’t really understand the attraction but… aesthetics ? 

One thing I will say, is that conversely, and with express consent by all parties, I have had plenty of discussions with other women regarding boobs, comparing and discussing issues we either shared or were unique to us. We are encouraged to check our boobs to ensure that there are no changed. We should be aware of our own boobs, shape, colour and encourage our partners to be aware. But please, please do not assume you know anything about boob life until you have lived boob life, and be aware, your boob life can and will be a different life to your friend, cousin, coworker or neighbours 🙂 

But boobs really are fab, be respectful though.

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Fighting Fit part 4

Well, since I have a couple of weeks off from training, I am being more than a little reflective about what the Combat Training means to me, personally and generally.

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You see, as I briefly looked at in my last blog in the series, self defence is to a greater degree, different depending on your sex. Men will find themselves in a protecting situation either protecting their friends, family or pride. Women often defend themselves against predators, against sexual assault or domestic abuse.

Now, in my formative years, leaving teenage years and becoming an adult, I spent a lot of time with a group of guys who were all very interested in martial arts. They trained with me, it was interesting and they wanted me to be able to protect myself. It often involved jumping out of stairwells at me or having a foot land on my head at random intervals (although let us be fair, I don’t think there will be a real life situation where this will happen) and at no point did they suggest I couldn’t do something based on my gender. Although equally they were very protective when we were all out.

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That said, I remember them coming home more than once having been attacked on the way home, and I don’t think, on reflection, that their years of martial arts training helped them. Not that they would ever admit it. But their ego and confidence rubbed off on me, I am a fast talker and have often found myself in situations where I have engaged my mouth before engaging my brain. False bravado. But, as close as I have got, and my absolute refusal to back down if I know that I am right… I have never, ever been in a fight with a complete stranger. Nope. Never been attacked. I have got close, and even jumped into a taxi in broad daylight when I realised that I was being followed, and that the direction I was going would lead me to a very quiet part of town.

But I digress, like i have just said, I have never been attacked by a stranger. Most women are attacked in domestic situations. That, is to say, I have been a victim of domestic violence. I grew up in a household that suffered heavily with domestic violence. So you could say, I should have seen the signs. But no, there were really no signs. Or none that I was prepared to notice.

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It was one of the men that I had known for years, it was one of the men that had protected me on nights out, who had taught me to defend myself, correct form, how to punch. It was the same man that I had had a relationship with, who I trusted.

I honestly don’t really think about it often, I compartmentalise. And it was only on thinking about my last training session, and how broken I felt following it. I was thinking about something that was said, about training my reactions so I am able to react in a positive way if I ever find myself in a situation that I have to protect myself.

And what happened when I was attacked? Well, let us be frank. It was not a slap, it was no a shove, and lets remember, I had trained with this man before. I still have a pain in my breast bone from when he hyper extended a punch directing it to my spine. Training. So, it wasn’t just a tap. It was a full on punch, that I was no prepared for, or expecting. It wasn’t during an argument or an exchange.

I shut down. I totally, and utterly shut down. I had no response, I lacked the tools to be able to deal with it. I didn’t train for this, because this was done out of maliciousness and not in a safe spce.

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This is why self defence training, combat training in ‘real life’ situations is important. It is why I will keep going. I will keep pushing myself. It is why I am working hard at the gym so that I am able to participate more fully in the sessions. Because what happened to me, that attack? That was exactly what the training is talking about. It isn’t about same spaces, with comfortable mats on the floor, with a referee and people cheering you on. With a bell to announce the start of the round.

The Combat Academy will continue to challenge me, it will probably break me, I will try, I will keep training in the gym to work on my fitness. And I will do this, so I know, so I am prepared. So if I do find myself in a situation I have no control over, I am able to react.

As always, if you want more information CLICK HERE

Life before the internet

I woke this morning to the following question in a group ‘Older WOW players, what did you do before the internet’ – it is was posted in a game specific post and of course garnered plenty of answers along the lines of ‘we went outside’. The game itself, if you are not already familiar with it, has players of all ages, and worrying as it is to think about, there may well be players who have only known a world in which the game exists.

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But this question is very ambiguous – what is the question asking? Older – how are we quantifying this, if we don’t know how old the original poster is? Older than the internet maybe? But then, the internet is pretty old, broadband is still relatively new in the lifespan of the internet and MMORPG’s (massively multiplayer on line games) are also relatively new. I only really had free access to a personal computer from my early twenties. Before that I was relying on a flatmates or more often, using one at work in my free time. I understand that things have changed, and that most people will have access to the internet freely whether that is via their phone or another computing device.

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My reply to the question as posted in the group is as follows :

What is the question, how did we game or how did we entertain ourselves? Because they are 2 different questions. For example, old as I am, there have been computer games of a sort my entire life so really the only difference is that I now play an mmorpg. If the question is what I did for entertainment with friends?! We would go to each others houses which meant giving our parents a break for a few hours while we ate our friends out of house and home. With regards to entertainment generally, if you are asking how hobbies have evolved, are you asking what people did when they were younger? Because that hasn’t changed a great deal for me. The biggest change for me is communication which is that I no longer tie up the phone for hours on end and can have a conversation spanning and hour, an evening, or days as the participants dip in and out.
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For me the question is still troubling, is it asking what did we do for entertainment as children? Which I guess is implied as it is directed to ‘older’ players? But then, we would have changed what we do naturally as we get older. We might go out more, go out less, have more responsibilities, or more disposable income to spend on expensive hobbies. But the internet is more than just a game, for example, to link in with a recent show – we have access to things like Netflix. So not only do I get to play online, with other players and therefore interact real time with people, I can stream tv shows, movies, documentaries that are ready when I am, and… well let us now get started on my love of social media. 
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What did we do without the internet? Or what did we do before the internet? The answer is, we did things differently. We did most of the same things, if you enjoy outdoors, walking, running, cycling, riding… the internet has not changed this. If you enjoyed gaming with friends, tabletops? This still happens, but now you can also play games like WoW, gaming itself has been around long enough that really the internet has not changed this either. If you enjoy reading? Well, now we can buy books online and have them transferred onto our kindle (other reading devices, I am reliably informed, exist… ), if you love movies, cinemas still exist, people still love going out to see movies on the big screen. But yes, we can no stream movies, and shows etc when it suits us. There is very little that has ceased existing because of the internet, or been entirely replaced because of the internet although it might have been supplemented.
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So what is the answer? Well maybe the question might be, when you were my age, what did you do? That might have made more sense! 

Learn by watching

So this week on the show we are looking at You Tube and of course I look at makeup tutorials for inspiration and direction from time to time. But what actually prompted this blog was a ‘light bulb’ moment. I am going to be doing a blog on eye brow products – mostly inspired by my own mother. And then I realised, there has been a monumental shift in how we learn about makeup.

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Years ago, really people of my generation and above, will say that they remember how their mother applied their lipstick, watching her getting ready for work, or to go out in the evening. Often our first makeup was ‘borrowing’ our mothers products. So our first, hesitant steps into the work of face paint would be whatever our female relatives have at hand. Obviously if you were lucky enough to have an older sister it would broaden your experience.

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We would learn what products are ‘normal’ to use, and probably be guided in colours by our mother. When we first go out into the world to pick up makeup, we would go with what is safe. Although shopping with girlfriends would involve glitter EVERYTHING and hair mascara.

Recently I was at an Urban Decay event (which I am going to be writing up) and we had 3 different age groups, and it was funny that the uni student commenting on how on point the school leavers are, and they in turn saying that the year 7’s are even more on point with makeup. Year 7’s in makeup? I am not even sure how to process it. But you will have to forgive me, I grew up in the Eighties, so that was not exactly a great decade for makeup inspiration… nor were the Nineties if we are going to be honest. However, things really have changed.

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Are we not all guilty of utilising You Tube to learn new skills? I don’t know about you but I spend plenty of time on You Tube researching makeup, seeing new ideas, learning new skills. So really the only difference is that girls first learning about makeup are using the tools available to them, no different from anyone else. It is just that when they are first experimenting with makeup they are being exposed to trends, and brands and their expectation is different. And let’s be honest, the make up market has exploded in recent years. There is a lot more choice, both drug store level, high end but many more independent brands to choose from.

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You Tube gives people, of all ages, background, ability a platform – a platform free of big advertising and marketing budgets. It is honest, it is personal. There are so many things that you can find on You Tube. I spend as much time looking at makeup as I do listening to music. You Tube is my tool for procrastination. Because you have so many awesome suggestions to go check out. And often (in my experience) it doesn’t matter what you started off looking for … you end up looking at entirely unrelated videos – just ask Robb who in last weeks show explained that while he might start off looking at workout videos… somehow he finds cat videos.

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And it offers skills, for me, there are numerous videos showing different makeup techniques, hints, tricks, dupes, a fabulous resource that will help you nail the look you are trying to polish. And what is really great about these videos is that you will find one that clicks. You will watch countless that while very well done, and easy to follow… it doesn’t quite gel. Now for tomorrows show, I am going to be following a video uploaded by Moth Queen Makeup (go find her on You Tube and Facebook – tell her I sent you!) for the radio show. To make things interesting, I will not be doing a trial run, and will try and cobble together a video myself. I have followed MQM for a while and find her videos really easy to follow and she uses a mix of products often finding products that are a lot kinder on the wallet. So… I will see how that goes and do a write up following the show!

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You Tube is a fantastic resource, you will find help for almost anything. But please, please sure a little common sense when copying anything you have learnt. If it feels wrong, makes you uncomfortable, or you just aren’t sure… don’t do it. Keep looking and see if there is another video that might offer a better solution. And one more thing – while I may be older than a lot of people watching makeup videos, and am learning tips, and tricks that many a 14 yr old will do without thinking – do not for a moment think you are too old. I see so many comments on various makeup themed groups asking if people are too old for a certain look (always discouraging when the person asking is younger!). What I love about makeup is that like any other art, it is constantly evolving and changing and we have access to so many tutorials now be it You Tube, Facebook, or any other number of social media platforms. We are no longer beholden to the makeup of our mothers, we are able to make choices, find new brands, new ways of using the makeup we already own, different looks, the possibilities are endless, and best of all – you can do it all in the comfort of your own home! 

The BiG oppression

I couldn’t want for TBBT to start. I have more recently given in to box sets, but before that, I too watched shows on a weekly basis. Once show that I really enjoyed was TBBT. I identified with Sheldon, worrying finding he quoted me. I found it a fun show, and as the series continued and new characters added – I found this did not diminish the show as one might worry that it could.

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But watching an episode this evening (actually happening right now, the SO still watches it religiously) and I noticed something that has been done time and again.. and i am not sure if the meaning or agenda behind it is missing the point or nailing it exactly. In the scene playing out in my peripheral vision, we have 2 cars, 2 occupants in each car. Male passenger, and female driver in each. Cut to another scene where we have a male character standing in a kitchen wearing an apron. Visual emasculation even if not directed.

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From previous episodes we know that Sheldon doesn’t drive, however, Leonard does drive so there is no reason for him not to drive. But it mirrors – so visually it is pleasing even if you aren’t really sure why, and it makes it easier to draw comparisons between the conversations going on in the car.

Back at the house, there are 2 male characters, and one female. But of course, yet again, we have the relationship of Howard and Raj questioned as well as Raj’s clear femininity. Does this make people uncomfortable? Or does it make the question usual gender roles?

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For me, yet again it is the idea of the ‘man child’ that is yet again bought up in the show, and conveniently, having female characters helps them overcome simple tasks that would have been met with confusion. Amongst the main (male) characters, we have Sheldon who doesn’t drive, Leonard does drive. Howard drives a moped, and although Raj apparently does drive, there is little or no screen time given to this fact. We have a scene in a previous episode where all the male characters are in the same car, and it breaks down. They understand the principal of the combustion engine but can’t fix their engine. So they are emasculated again. Isn’t this what would happen to a car full of girls?

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The boys in the show are so enveloped in their scholastic endeavours, they play computer games in their spare time, go to conventions, and collect comics. They to varying degrees have no social skills. Everything about them, their references, their hobbies, their job, speech patterns are all designed to make them stand out, to struggle to make themselves understood. And there are only so many series that could really be written about ‘and Englishman in New York’ so we find that Penny has more company, to help make sense of their journey’s, new directions and story lines can be written that gives the male characters more dimensions.

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And in this, strange alternate universe… the women are dominant. In subtle ways, we have Bernadette who is better qualified than her husband, Penny, who is charming, pretty, and fits into any social situation with no effort, and Amy who is on the surface a perfect match for Sheldon, mentally and in her employment. But somehow still manages ot have greater social skills.

The more I watch TBBT the more I feel that it is making fun of these men, that instead of us being able to passively able to enjoy a culture that we love in a main stream format, it is exactly what we love that is being used to get laughs. And instead of finding the female characters empowered, and raised in profile, they are just carrying out the same duties that their mothers before them stereotypical would have done, and are having to run around for these men, who are to all intents and purposes still children. I mean who reads comics as an adult, or plays computer games?

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Well the answer is a large portion of the population which is why the show has been so popular but I do genuinely suggest that the show at its very core is subversive in nature and I just don’t get any enjoyment from traditional gender roles being enforced but dressed up in a more modern way.

You want something different but positive? Watch iZombie, Kimmy Schmidt, Super Girl, Jessica Jones, hell go old school and watch Buffy.

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Look, don’t touch.

So.. going to take a moment to discuss the idea of male privilege. I realise that it is amongst many terms that are floating around our general consciousness at the moment.

But it is one that is to digress, misunderstand and to an extent is dismissed. But what is it and why am I among others, concerned with it.

Well, just now I watched a show where a man sued a women (unsuccessfully) for various reasons, and stated that he had a sexual relationship. He was referred to as a ‘sugar daddy’. He went on to say that while she was in his employ, he would ask to touch her and she would reply with ‘$60, $100’ etc for him to do so.

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That, that is male privilege. I have persona experience, the worst was being approached by someone near a mosque that my employers went during office hours, and I had assumed he had attended. I was on my way to work and he stopped me to ask about my boobs. At 8am on a weekday morning. I was a little taken aback. He asked what size they were and if he could touch them. I initially thought he was joking, and he then offered to pay me, upping the amount before I could finally extract myself from the situation that was rapidly escalating while I was also concerned that my employers would see this. I will admit, a small part of me wanted to take the money and think, fuck it. 

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This, this is what it is all about. Women are blamed in this transaction for allowing a man to touch them. Sorry, no, they are blamed for taking money. They are blamed for creating a situation where men can offer them money. And you know what, I can see why a woman would do it, it is easy money and while it is a quick boob cup, it is fairly harmless. But it is women are blamed for creating an environment where men pay them to touch their assets. Men are not blamed for assuming that it is okay to ask to touch a women inappropriately, and indeed, when asking does not get the answer they wanted, offering money. Or goods, or services.

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Of course, as with anything else, when someone suggests such a thing as Male Privilege even exists, the defensive back lash starts. Things like women being accused of being controlling or privileged for not wanting to have sex with this partner, but suggesting they have a headache. The counter argument is that a women cannot simply say no, she doesn’t fancy it, or she is tired, no, the only way out is to say she is ill. A simple no is not enough. Why not? Because Male Privilege dictates that a woman shouldn’t or couldn’t possibly have any reason to deny her partner. The Alpha Male, the head of the house. 

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Rape – rape is the escalation of Male privilege, where if a man is denied sex through normal means – dating, buying, or being emasculated, angry and wanting to exact revenge. It can be on a partner, a friend, a stranger. It can be premeditated or spur of the moment. I won’t quote statistics as we all know that they are an unreliable source of information. Instead I will just go through things that I have come accross over the years, one example that keeps coming back to me, and I believe is not isolated, is a judge in Italy throwing out a rape case because the woman was wearing tight fitting jeans. He ruled that it would have been to difficult for the perpetrator to have removed the jeans without her help, and therefore she must have been agreeable. 

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Lets look at the stereotype of the rape victim, that it is a girl dressed provocatively, who is suggesting by her attire that she wishes to have sex, and drinks excessively so therefore isn’t able to control herself or be responsible for her actions. It is certainly the excuse used in the Stanford Rape case that made headlines earlier this year. One thing that you will find when searching for this rape case, is unlike a lot of other cases, it is the male perpetrator and not the victim that is named. Brock Turner made headlines for the leniency of the sentence he received. There was certainly a split in the reporting, Male Privilege abound as there was sympathy for him, for his loss of scholarship at Stanford University and that he would no longer be going to the Olympics. That he should be given special consideration because he was the fastest swimmer. 

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He blames the culture and environment at the University for his actions, that he was merely the product of an environment of drinking, peer pressure, and promiscuity. That, in fact, he isn’t at fault here, it was bound to happen, because everyone was doing it. How was he to know that by jumping at a woman at random she hadn’t also read the memo and was not a more than willing partner. Of course this is not what happened, he blames a culture or drinking and loose morals. But what he did was not talk to a girl at a party and invite her back to look at his etchings (I blame my mother for that turn of phrase) but he either followed her, or happened on her outside, and forced himself on her by a dumpster. And when he was found by passers by, ran off. 

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This case is prominent for many reasons, the victim has chosen to remain anonymous – and this is her reasoning ‘That’s the beauty of it. I don’t need labels, categories, to prove I am worthy of respect, to prove that I should be listened to’ – what she means is that we are going to treat her as a victim of a crime, we are not going to go through her social media profiles, look at her face, we are not going to base reporting on what she looks like, how she dresses, what her skin colour is, what dress size she is. We are going to base our analysis of her purely on what she represents, a victim. It is a powerful statement. And one that is a direct juxtaposition to the treatment of the perpetrator of the crime. 

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So what is Male Privilege – a small part of it, but I hope it gives you an understanding of why it upsets people. And why it is something that needs to be changed. Women are not merely objects, they are not here to entertain men, they are able to enjoy sex, but equally are allowed to say no. Women are allowed to dress how they please, woman should be able to wear as little or as much as they want. They should be able to drink as much or as little as they wish and not worry about falling victim to a crime. Although interestingly – it is more often that women are attacked outside the environment we imagine – they are walking home from work, out jogging, open the door to a stranger. Male privilege is the idea that a man expects to be able to touch a women. That a women is a trophy to be bought with gifts or money. That women are the cause of this, women started this. That a women created the environment where they expect financial reward for men being in their company, touching them, taking things further. I would change the conversation to suggest that men assume that given enough money, they can have and or do as they please. That money is the answer, that women are just another product or service that can be paid for. Which to me, makes it feel that women are not equal in their eyes. That women are just something else to be bought.