Thursday, 30 July 2015

The creeps we shall encounter.




We have been staying in Paris for a week - my friend Anneli and I - and a day ago we had been walking along the Seine after having had lunch underneath the Eiffel Tower. It was a fantastic day. The type of day where everything is exciting and new and beautiful. And it continued to be such a day, for the most part, without counting this unfortunate encounter. The bank of the Seine on which we were walking has been painted with geometric shapes and board games and small, box type rooms act as libraries and caf├ęs and toilets along the way. Anneli had gone to use one of the toilets and I had gone to wait at a table where the top was decorated with the board of a game of Ludo. It was warm and I was calm and sleepy and happy.

When Anneli returned a man came to ask in French if we could take his picture for him. Of course I obliged, he was just a tourist like us. I followed him over to the edge of the water and he told me where to stand to take the photo. I then had to try my very best not to burst out laughing and look knowingly at Anneli whilst he posed like an amateur model and walked towards me as if on a catwalk. He looked ridiculous. "C'est bien?" I asked holding out the crappy camera knowing that really the photos could never be very good. He told me they were great and I was ready to walk away, the deed of being a kind stranger nearly over. But then he strangely asked me to be in the photo with him which, obviously, is not a thing a stranger would agree to. However, being slightly out of my depth for a moment and a little confused I stupidly agreed. The camera was so awful you wouldn't be able to tell it was me anyway. And then we stood to pose, awkwardly, and I felt a hand slide with an unwelcome familiarity around my waist. I think if you looked at the photo a short moment of distress would be painted on my face. I wanted to get away. But I didn't feel ready to make a fuss. I still don't know why. Anneli and I were now sharing frequent glances of worry and began to give his camera back and move away. He asked another question I couldn't quite understand but the gist I got was that he wanted to look into my eyes. I got that gist because he had tried to turn my face towards his. Please no. I remained polite, "non merci", and began to edge away. Any decent person would have noticed my friend and I were uncomfortable, and yet he still stood a little too close to us. I think now is a good time to point out that this man looked as if he could have been about 15 years older than me. Anneli and I more forcefully moved away still politely declining his perverted advances. He still persisted. He kissed me on my cheek before we made a more urgent move. I continued to say No, Thank You.

No, thank you? How about "Back off you perverted creep get away from me!"? Unfortunately, however,  I didn't say anything remotely close to that. I would have liked to have made it much cruder.

We walked a little while away before I began to feel a little bit disgusting. I didn't want to have been in that situation, and I am ashamed at the weakness I expressed in my inability to tell him to back off. I felt  a bit sick. I literally washed my face with hand sanitizer. I wanted to forget the entire debacle. Why did I let him do that to me? I feel such an awful idiot. For all my feminist rants and beliefs the moment I faced a violation of my personal space as a woman confronted by a man I stood in waiting without moving to defend myself. I let him get away with it. I didn't even shout at him afterwards. Why?

I kept asking Anneli if she'd seen him take something from my bag, perhaps that was his game. No, just a perverted photo for who knows what purpose that I let myself be in.

Had I been caught off guard? I guess so. Was I scared? A little, but I think I was too confused to really comprehend or analyse the situation first hand. I think I was naive. I had been having a nice day with a nice friend and with nice French people telling us where to go when we got a little lost. We hadn't planned to meet a creep in broad daylight by the river Seine. I suppose I remained polite as a defence mechanism. Really all I wanted was to get away. In such a bizarre experience I felt I had no opportunity to unleash an anger I know is normally within me for these exact situations. Because of course, despite their unexpected timings, these situations are to be anticipated for pretty much every single woman and girl in their life times. I don't exaggerate. I really didn't believe that I would go through my life without meeting a man who wanted to exploit me or violate me in some way. I would have to meet one or two at some point. One of them happened to be met the other day.

After it had happened Anneli and I discussed how much safer we'd feel if we had one of our male friends with us. We wished to be protected. We felt vulnerable. Suddenly thrown from a nice, sunny day in Paris to an existence in which we must be perpetually on edge looking for men who may wish to do things to us we do not desire to happen to ourselves.

We are young, strong minded, confident women in Paris and we feel a little wary, a little unsafe, of what next we may encounter.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

What even is this?

Most of the time - in fact - every time I tell somebody that I write a blog they ask me what it's about. Oh, I say suddenly racking my brain for an explanation of the half decent ramblings I like to splurge out now and again, it's sort of... social commentary? But is it? I think I stole that from somebody who categorised it in that way when I tried to explain what I liked to write about but really I'm not sure if it always fits into that.

For almost every single blog post I write I have very little idea of what I am talking about. I suppose you could say my blog is observational, I take an idea or something I am interested in and then I write directly what thoughts I have about it in that moment. And then I post, and that is that. I do not have a fashion blog, a life style blog, or even a social commentary blog. I just have a blog for my thoughts and ideas. Which, perhaps, is the original concept for a blog.

Often I wonder if one day I will look back at previous posts and feel deeply embarrassed that I could ever think such a thing or write in such a way. In total honesty I have done that quite frequently before, but I never dare take it down, for it would damage the nature of The Fully Intended. Where my posts have few consistent themes or can contradict their own ideas they do all consistently reflect my thought processes. The workings of my inner mind, or just outside the innermost part, are concentrated here for all to see. I am figuring things out this way, perhaps, for all of you to witness. It is possible I have just been writing a very public, very embarrassing diary for the last 3 years in which anyone can read how I have been growing and learning and developing my ideas and identity since the age of 14. Although truthfully I enjoy that idea.

I do hope that as I get older and my outlook changes my posts become richer and better written. But I also appreciate the record of how my outlook alters with time and the insight it can give you for being aware of your own mental development. Perhaps the next time I talk to somebody about my blog and they ask what it's about I should just tell them it's an enriching experience for myself and a public diary for mostly everyone else. As time moves on I will still have no idea of what I am talking about, but I hope this small, insignificant journey is as bizarre and enjoyable for just a few other people as it is for myself.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Fiery Women.


                                                                     Source: via

I am about to carry out a personal investigation into the feminist ideals of female protagonists in As You Like It and Top Girls as a part of my Pre-U English literature qualification. When I described my idea to my teacher she pointed out that in both, despite being written in completely different eras, the feminist ideals I was looking for were constructed by feisty, defiant women. I hadn't quite thought about it before (I had only just made up the question for the essay) but I realised had deliberately gone searching for characters who in some way fought against the status quo, defied at least some small aspect of stereotyped femininity for any period and were gutsy whether it made them likeable or not. I had looked for fiery women because, for me, that became synonymous with feminism. Women who had been oppressed and spoke out in some manner against their oppression, or questioned their state of being, with an air of defiance were exactly what I was looking for. 

I did not care for female characters who were still slaves to a male writer's idea of femininity and who, despite expressing some form of oppression, were quiet and well behaved and downtrodden. I cared for women who were actively speaking out (even if in Shakespeare's case this could have been unwitting) against standards of delicacy, obedience, and pleasantness for the female form. 

But does this then mean that only fiery women, both fiction and non-fiction, can become feminist idols? Or is it due to my own personality that I find myself attracted to such a quality in who I admire? Even celebrities like Zooey Deschanel who on the outside look kooky and sweet and harmless I consider to be defiant in the unapologetic manner with which they simultaneously carry their darling appearance and continue to express feminist thinking. 

The thing is in order to be agreeing with feminism and having it mean the belief in equality one must automatically be unapologetic, defiant and angry in some way. Even with a sweet demeanour there must be some fire within you to be questioning the justice in the treatment of men and women throughout every aspect of society. Therefore, does a woman who is simply nice and compliant and who does not speak against any whisper of oppression qualify at all to be a feminist idol even if placed in a situation in which they passively question the ideals of their own gender? Would that even provide anything to greatly admire?

I know girls who are quiet and shy and very, very nice but who also call themselves feminist and get angry about injustice and so in my mind that still makes them defiant.  The fire and the anger is still there and the patience for sexism lacks somewhat so they are still gutsy. 

I should conclude therefore by answering my own question by saying that, yes, only fiery women and characters can become feminist idols because there must be some defiance within one's person to fight against any form of oppression. It does not necessarily mean that they are overtly obstinate but simply their level of patience for bullshit is relatively low. Women who are in some way ardent about their beliefs in the face of disapproval or oppression represent feminist ideals: they are not willing to sit submissively in the face of discrimination.  So I will continue to look for these ideals, high and low, for research purposes and for my own satisfaction in even the shyest of women because, for me, that's what it takes to apprehend feminism into some section of your being. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Writer's Dream.



At some point in my life I would like to bust out a novel. Perhaps when I am at university, desperately looking for a job to pay my bills or settled down in a new family I will finally feel the urge to splurge some words into the form of a novel. I know I have a book somewhere in the deep recesses of my cluttered mind, I have even tried to get it out before, but I've never quite felt the desperation to explain myself through my very own fictional characters in these formative years of my life. I am simply not ready yet to write a book. Some writers claim that you will never feel ready and whilst that may be an accurate statement I feel perhaps that during this period of my life I do not actually want to write a book.

There is, however, the rather important question as to what type of novel I wish my novel to be. Do I wish for it to be a clever novel? With several different meanings and metaphors mashed into a vaguely interesting story. I could write political fiction and turn the woes of today's world into symbolic characters who clash and rule and destroy and who years later an English literature class will research the great context behind. Or would I prefer to write something that touches people's hearts? Not to pull at heart strings per say but to suck readers into a world they never want to leave and have my characters sit with them for the rest of their lives. You can write something that touches hearts and seems somewhat intelligent simultaneously, one may only need to look to Harper Lee or J D Salinger to understand such a concept but am I looking to just tell a story or to invite discussion as well?

I spent most of my early teens with my nose in almost the entire Young Adult genre. I adored those books. I loved the exploration of the supernatural and the tantalising danger it brought to the utterly unrealistic teen romances. I loved the dystopian novels with young women making futuristic histories by rebelling against totalitarian societies stolen a little from 1984. I have powerful memories of being so submerged in these novels that I would walk around with the characters carrying on with their lives in my head. I would get this delicious feeling in my heart for when I would return to a book and begin again the adventures the author had created for me. The sad thing is, I haven't really recreated such an experience in a long time. Instead, I am working my way through classics now.

Although, I am still completely in love with these new novels I have been exploring. I am in awe of  writers and the messages they have woven into words and stories and characters. I have transported myself to other periods in history and other mind's of other women who saw a world completely different to my own. But I have not quite felt the glorious sensation of sinking back in to a slightly trashy but totally lovely Young Adult novel in a long, long time. And this is where I am stuck.

I would be overjoyed if I were to write a novel for anyone who cares and discover that I had not only entered the hearts of millions of readers but incited intellectual debate and created a depth to my story with many little layers. This of course is every writer's dream, I cannot claim it for my own, but I wonder if it is always possible. I am afraid of going back to the books that swept me away in case I discover that the writing is shoddy or the plot line has holes or the characters are weak. I want to have people pine to get back to my book in the same way I would sit and daydream about some novels in the moments they weren't glued to my face. I want to recreate that sensation for other young girls stuck in their rooms with their hearts beating fast for fictional worlds and people that I would have given them. But I also want to recreate the sensation of understanding the author's mind as stories unfurl to give greater meaning and I am not entirely sure how to mix this all together.

One day then, if you happen to stumble across a book with my name planted somewhere on it, please give it a read to discover if you lost both your heart and mind to its content. Perhaps I can make someone fall in love with the words, the story, the world I made up. I hope I can do that, I hope it is sitting waiting in my head and I hope it is magnificent. And, I think, that is all.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Identity.

You don't know who I am. I don't know who you are. We are the only people in the world who can fully understand ourselves and it leaves us standing rather alone. Unless somebody has acquired an ability to mind read we really are just 7 billion islands floating separately as in our minds we grow and nurture a sense of being.

There is no way of fully knowing another human being. We may understand their behaviour, study their habits and learn to predict how they think but we can never know exactly what they are thinking within the many layers of consciousness the brain is supporting.

This ambiguity between each and every one of us strongly upholds the necessity we have for identity. Identity is the way we build bridges between each island as we project an idea of who we believe ourselves to be onto our exterior image. We wear different types of clothes to distinguish the certain community, religion or sub culture we are a part of - an indicator of a thought process: conformist or non conformist? We share music tastes, create fan clubs and idolise celebrities collectively to demonstrate what and who we identify with culturally. We keep mementos in our bedrooms with pictures and souvenirs and old toys to document our past identity and how it has accumulated to our current one. We label our personalities with "neurotic" "happy-go-lucky" "laid back" "highly strung" to indicate to others how we respond to emotion and how that affects our being.

I express my thoughts and ideas with anyone who will listen, preferably through the medium of writing, in order to imprint my own identity somewhere in this highly cluttered world. My physical identity demonstrates my desperate attempt to distinguish it from everyone else's. I exhaust myself trying to stick out like a sore thumb in a world full of people trying to do the exact same thing.

But it is how we connect, with our identities, and the greater effort made to discover and accept the fluidity of who we are the greater the relationships we will have. At the same time as establishing our own identity we search for those who can help us understand it. We search for those who share little bits of our sense of being so that eventually we do not end up as solitary islands in our own sea of thoughts but as a connected body with an answer for all our quirks somewhere in the world.

Identity is vital and if you are lucky enough to have settled and established an identity that provides a sense of security and togetherness then bask in the ability to feel at once unique and wholly supported in a world full of tiny islands reaching out to you as you happen to pass.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Scantily clad and totally rad.

                                                                   Source via

Slut shaming is wrong in whichever context you put it. Whether it be to class a woman as undignified based on sexual history, desires and choices or on the clothing she wears it is an unfair judgement on her way of being that really isn't reversed for the other gender. The sexual revolution has perhaps not come to its conclusion in that rather than being liberated women are merely encouraged to behave and dress provocatively but are then ridiculed and debased for doing so in some bizarre and unjust game of double standards. The media says to wear a mini skirt, and society (whilst perpetuating the content of the media) passes judgement for any woman or girl who decides that they really do like the scantily dressed fashion item. The amount of people a woman sleeps with is becoming less of a cause for discrimination because, like, get over it, but the sexualised fashion making its way down to girls as young as 12 is a little more concerning.

There is a more psychological issue running right along side our slut shaming scandal which brings to light the reasons behind the fashion choices women and girls make. A young girl is the only person making the conscious choice to wear a revealing crop top and hot pants which is totally rad if that makes her comfortable but, when looking at it a different way, a horrible example of the mass insecurity supplied by media and society both to sexualise girls in particular.

For some reason, most boys do not feel it necessary to wear as little as possible to parties where they will find a majority of the girls with skirts riding just below their buttocks. Sexuality for boys, whilst full of its own concerns, is not quite as dramatically enforced as sexuality for girls is shoved into the faces of TV watchers, newspaper readers and internet users every single day. The power of female sexuality may have something to do with femininity and the mystic hold it seems to have over both the possessor and the onlooker and when one is comfortable with said sexuality a short skirt and an attractive demeanour can be totally killer. But the horrible feeling I have when I see a young girl clad in nothing but a bralet and short skirt is that this girl is not really meaning for the whole world to be watching as the skirt rides up, or her cleavage squeezes as the bralet bunches together. Sometimes I worry that this girl has seen one too many popular music videos and suffers from low self esteem because glossy magazines scream at her to lose weight and get a tan and get toned and wax everywhere possible. So this girl wears near to nothing to feel the gaze of men (and women) on her, to know that some men will look at her hungrily and to feel appreciated for the perfectly formed body which each day is devalued and criticised for not looking inhuman, all to fill a hole in her confidence. This girl is probably only 14.

This is not to say that wearing provocative clothing is always a sad thing. Sometimes it's thrilling to wear short shorts, sometimes it feels empowering and pleasant to know that you are attractive to people in the immediate vicinity and sometimes being scantily clad is a choice of a self confident woman who enjoys the attention just for the rush it gives her.

What is desperately important to stress is that in both circumstances a woman cannot be called a slut for wearing revealing clothing. It means nothing in the way of describing who they are, but it is detrimental all the same. There is no need for a public ban on hot pants (I for one would heartily oppose such a thing) but there is definitely a need for a review on how women are portrayed. Sexualisation by itself is not wrong but sexualisation forced onto all members of society, including young children, in a visually violent and often distasteful manner through a vast section of media causing a whole wave of self hate and misplaced respect is almost disgusting.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Flow like water. Dance, dance, dance.


(source: bohemianswift via: humorking)

Life can be exhilarating. Surprisingly, the short bursts of exhilaration in betwixt monotonous and droning existence do not always come from adrenaline inducing activities or momentous occasions but from the buzzing of a brain that has long sat waiting in a kind of stupor as life was passing by.

Like electricity shooting through your veins life can sometimes randomly give you a natural high, a short lived but wonderful whirring experience of cluttered fast thinking and a sharp sting to a heart that has been living untouched and simply beating in hibernation. The sharp sting is not one of pain, but one of exhilarating enthusiasm pulsing energy into limbs and thoughts and senses. Suddenly, from what was seeming a dull reality comes from nowhere a speeding rush of feeling. The art and love around you you were trying desperately to cling to and make something of is now inspiring and fires ideas and passions into your heart and head in a flurry of activity. You want to do, you want to be. You have to use up the energy you can feel humming in your hands, sticky and heavy like clay you have a weighted desire to be busy with life.

But nothing makes sense. No words are actually going to come to your brain yet, it's too excited by this rush, this force. The awful thing about this is that you mustn't grab onto the feeling, for the exhilaration will slip through your fingers like sand and leave you feeling hollow with the effort of making it mean something. And so you have to close your eyes and dance or walk and play your music so loud you'll probably suffer from Tinnitus in years to come because this energy does mean something but you're going to have to let it flow. Let it flow and when it subsides into a glowing, faint smile left on your face then sit down and write or do whatever it was your brain was desperately needing to do. Write about how it felt, write down the ideas that came to you, and start to express what is so vital to your being.

You can lose what it is that beats in your heart every day in a small moment, but if you wait long enough it will come to you like some bizarre dream that imprints faintly onto your memory for the rest of the day. Life is exhilarating, so flow like water and dance your way through it towards the something brilliant that has been pulling you along the path.