Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A love affair with classics.

To those who have been ever so slightly smothered unkindly by academia, I ask you to take note.

Please do not ask me to fill my shelves with Chaucer or T.S Eliot or Elizabeth Gaskell, for I have not the space. Please refrain from spoon feeding me Animal Farm nor 1984 because I really do not have the stomach. I request kindly for my words to be reserved for some light hearted article and not for a 1500 word essay or two on the poetic techniques of Siegfried Sassoon. In case you were wondering no I will not be eating up Wordsworth, nor grilling some Yeats for the odour does not depart from my room for weeks.

I'd like to remind you that whilst you endeavour desperately to load your minds with majestic vocabulary and complex concepts your hearts have been left empty and they beat wildly for fulfilment.

Instead of strapping each book to a chair and torturing the words out I would suggest a much more romantic method of ingesting the sweet syrup of literature.

Forget your university professor lecturing for long hours about Doctor Faustus, or Radio 4 suggesting Larkin should be read. Alternatively become best friends with Jane Austen for she was probably a right laugh and take all of the Bronte sisters out to tea. Have an intense love affair with William Shakespeare but marry Thomas Hardy later on. Go for a stroll with Mark Twain and let F. Scott Fitzgerald take you on a wild night out. Weep all day long for every character who suffers hardship and let your heart skip a beat for every one who you become infatuated with. Pull an all nighter with Mary Shelley and have lunch with Agatha Christie. Just, for Heaven's sake, become captivated by every book you ever read and follow your heart's every literary desire because we do not have long. Books, like everything in life, can't even follow us to the grave so fill your memory up with ones that make you laugh and love and cry.

Read because you can't think of anything better in the world and never, ever because you must.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Does swearing weaken your point?

I would say that I am a polite, well spoken 16 year old who is only foulmouthed in the right company, or in an appropriate situation. I even have a personal struggle with the 'c' word. It makes me cringe every time I read or hear it. It leaves me feeling uncomfortable if I ever have the urge to use it. Every other cuss word fails to make me even bat an eyelid but I would say that, on the whole, I'm a relatively mild swearer.

In the company of friends I have a tendency to cuss when I get angry or passionate in conversation. The more passionate I become the more frequently the swear words leave my mouth. If I were to speak like that in more formal company then I suppose people may be a little shocked. I can't be the most pleasant nor articulate speaker to listen to when all barriers are down. However, without overdoing it swearing can often have comic value. It can be witty before becoming too crude. So when swearing is used in a calculated and thought out manner I believe it has worth. It can be powerful, it can be ballsy, it can make people laugh. If I read something that uses cuss words often it can make the piece more relatable. More accessible. Instead of standing as a potentially pretentious article a swear word or two can make it seem more like a conversation around the dinner table late at night.

This does not diminish its effect, late night conversations can be equally as meaningful as a carefully crafted piece of writing. Granted if every other word in each sentence is fairly offensive then you'll probably come across as a little angry. Unattainable even. You inevitably get a bad name if you continuously spurt out provocative language. But swearing mildly and occasionally is no indication of a less than sunny disposition. Using swear words to fit in with a certain style of writing, a particular genre, causes no harm. If I was to say the word... 'fucking' perhaps but then followed it up with 'perfidiousness' surely I am not stripping away from my intellect. If I swear does that mean I degrade my opinion? Does that make me a bit too feisty?

Whatever it does I would hope that anyone reading any of my work and happened to stumble across a few swear words would either dismiss it or appreciate it was incorporated specifically into the style of writing I intended to use. If somebody mistook it for being a vain attempt at feistiness and then went on to somehow find that offensive then I say, well, get a fucking grip.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sluts are old and boring.

It's become a common social norm that if a woman sleeps around she is consequently a slut, but if a man sleeps around he's a hero. I've been told that it's not sexist it's 'just the way it is' but here's why that is absolutely wrong.

Throughout history when every unmarried woman in every society was severely oppressed by a patriarchal society her dignity and status relied on her virtue as a maid. Were a woman to go to bed with a man out of wedlock her reputation would instantly be in tatters and should said man refuse to marry her it was highly unlikely any man ever would. Even if the woman had been raped it would still deem her unsuitable for any suitors that may come her way. However, the man's virginity was rarely ever questioned. I assume that many respectable gentlemen were honest about their sexual history and made marriage to their wives equal, but should they not be virgins before they married it would be unlikely for anyone to bat and eyelid. "Boys will be boys" I suppose they would have said. But a woman would be a slut, a whore, a harlot.

In our society there isn't so much destruction of a woman's dignity should she bed a man out of wedlock, no one even uses that word anymore, because we've gone through the sexual revolution. Right? Men and women in our Western society are able to sleep with whom they choose as long as both partners give consent and are of a legal age. Women are even allowed to admit they enjoy sex, contraceptives have liberated ladies everywhere. But there's a limit on the number of men a woman can sleep with, and the way in which she does it. A woman's number of sexual partners does not equate to a heroic feat but to disastrous consequences on her social status. There are plenty of names for women who aren't shy about who they take to bed, there are none for men who show equal promiscuity. Is the sexual revolution complete then? Or is a women's virtue still based on her sexual history whilst men can walk on by with as many partners as they want?

The new popularity for 'purity balls' in America are also quite staggeringly old fashioned. There is no alternative for a son to pledge his virginity to his mother until he marries, because his sex life is of no concern to anyone. It's the daughters who are monitored and disapproved of throughout their whole lives. They are not exposed to sexual freedom. Their sex lives are the property of their male superiors. Their father and then their husband. To me it seems like a very unfair deal.

I don't think women have been sexually liberated because every day there are obstacles to climb over when dealing with their own private sex history. For me I still see the archaic view of women's sexuality being judged and jeopardising their entire worth. It isn't just a case of 'that's the way it goes' it's a society treating the same manner differently for two genders. Which is inequality. 'Slut' is a sad word, a hurtful word because it's used in a derogatory manner specifically towards women. Until there is a male equivalent or until 'slut' is not used in a degrading way the sexual liberation of women is not complete. A woman's sex life is private, but an archaic element of our society seems to think it's everyone's business to judge. Slut shaming is without a doubt a very sexist issue. It needs to stop.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Why #yesallwomen shouldn't be exclusive to women.

The trend #yesallwomen has received all manner of commendation and criticism. There was the usual 'oh look at all these man haters trying to gain power' which always pops up and never actually makes sense, or the 'men are discriminated against too' which is very true but statistically it's the female population that needs the attention in order to address all manner of discrimination. And then there was an interesting criticism, one that struck me as a little contradictory, which claimed that this was an all female twitter protest that didn't need the men to join in. 

It wasn't a comment filled with misandry, but it was one I found difficult to comprehend in this particular online feminist movement. Why couldn't men join in? There were plenty of guys using the hash tag and supporting feminism, which to me was a gratifying thing to see. However, some women complained of their support being a little condescending and crashing in on the whole 'girl power' style. Now, I am definitely supportive of the idea of the 'sisterhood' where women unite to look after each other, but the idea of 'girl power' makes me want to be sick. If #yesallwomen was supposed to be just for women because of this 'girl power' reason then I oppose it. 'Girl power' contradicts everything feminism in the new age stands for. It appears to be a sickly phrase designed to make those little ladies feel like they're gaining something out of fighting against the all powerful patriarchy. For me it separates women and men into two different categories that excludes all males from taking part in feminism. It's a special club for girls who can't equal to the 'boy power' that they campaign against. It just seems like a fairly backwards concept. 

Feminism isn't about a struggle against the entirety of the male population it's an egalitarian movement to fight for equal rights for all. Yes sexism is faced everyday by almost all women in a way that men don't commonly experience, but that's all the more reason to have support from men in this movement. If we exclude men from our protests against sexism then we alienate them and make all of them the issue, which is not the problem. In an all male environment if there is not one feminist then we are not getting anywhere. We are failing, we are teaching girls to deal with male issues in a way that does not exterminate the issue itself. The guys are let off because it's not their movement. They can't be feminists. They can't believe in equality for all. 

Feminism is the movement for everyone to fight for the equal treatment and rights of every human being. It is not a girls only club. Please remember that. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Your body is not your own.

Should you possess female sex organs and consider yourself a 'woman' then let me warn you, your body will never be your own. Every morning when you dress yourself in whatever attire you desire please note that every judgement made of you that day will be made because of your appearance. Should you happen to be an intelligent, witty, talented, incredible person and attend an awards ceremony to receive commendation for your achievements, please wear something that will please the press and public opinion even if you feel uncomfortable. Remember, your body is not your own.

If you have a low metabolism and look rounder than the preferred forced stick insect style, please just lock yourself away in an attic somewhere even if you have something to be doing that's important. For example, if you're a doctor don't even bother because your excess in body weight might impede your job. That degree in medicine will NOT compensate for that muffin top. Oh and need I even remind you when you decide to act on your sole purpose as WOMAN and push a small human child out of your body that if the disgusting weight from carrying another person inside of you for 9 months is not lost within a week then you will simply be called out as having 'let yourself go'. Another friendly reminder, your body is not your own.

If you somehow become a celebrity (as a woman) don't forget to look like a strangely perfect human every time you leave the house because the press like to convince the population that you're not actually a person. The one time you do forget to cover your face with skin coloured liquid your picture will be taken and laughed at because it's always hilarious to mock how VILE people look without their painted masks on. Dear celebrities, your body is definitely not your own.

This is a very important thing to remember, if you have a vagina AND have strong opinions then it is scientific fact that your pubic hair will be excessive and the subject of public speculation. Mary Beard is a real life example of this, please take her situation as a valuable life lesson and don't discuss controversial opinions. Otherwise, the entire nation will know that you don't shave 'down below' which as we all know is a punishable sin written in the bible. I think she definitely learnt that her body is not her own.

To all women in the public eye, or in any profession or life style, your body is not your own.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The lazy man's guide to what to think and know.

I sometimes fear that by reading a newspaper I might accidentally ingest a pre-prepared, carefully executed, one-sided opinion that clouds my own judgement. Because often I'm afraid that that is what journalism is forced to be. An unapologetic sausage factory of biased, untruthful propaganda for extreme left or right wing politics. Or essentially a lazy man's guide on what to know and what to think on a government party of their choice.

I never, ever completely believe what I read or see through media for the dread of having a forced outlook thrust upon my unsuspecting self. If the subject is interesting enough for me to want to form an educated opinion then I might look elsewhere for opposing information or for typicality of the source to make absolute certainty that what I have just read is close to the truth. What I always do without fail, however, is take a mental note to always make sure that my own opinion and judgement has not been incorrectly affected by the deliberate release of certain information by the media.

Perhaps my wariness of newspapers and their selective journalism has been enhanced after my reading of Orwell's 1984. Just the idea of ruthless censorship and total control over how a body of people think is enough to make my skin crawl. I am inspired to keep myself separate from being too loyal to a governing body, or from any society when approaching how I judge and view things. For following a general consensus of opinion can only destroy and damage individualistic thinking.

Fortunately I think that by always having an awareness of the information you receive everyday can help you form opinions that are truly your own and formed by nobody but yourself. If the question "why am I being told this?" is constantly running through your mind you can dodge indoctrination and stay true to yourself, without the fear of your thoughts being damaged goods of a forceful approach to journalism and news reporting.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

"Feminism" is just a phase I'm going through.

What you can do at 16 in the UK: You can buy premium bonds. You can sell scrap metal. You can join a Trade Union.  You can join the Armed Forces but cannot go into a war zone. You can choose your own doctor. You can claim social security benefit. You can work full time. You can leave home with your parents' consent. You can get married with one parents' consent. You can drink wine or beer with a meal in a restaurant.You can have heterosexual sex. You can have homosexual sex. You can hold a licence to drive a moped. You can apply for a passport. 

What you apparently cannot do according to the general consensus of people my age is form and express developed opinions on matters important to yourself. If, like I made the mistake of doing, you decide to open your mouth and debate with your fellow class mates it will soon get turned into a reputation and be used as a twisted insult against you. My main cause for expressing my opinion was my passion for feminism. The other day I was told that "feminism" was a phase attention seeking teenage girls go through.

Evidently the entire feminist movement currently going through its 'third wave' has been made entirely from hormonal young girls wanting to impress someone. Fighting for equality is something I will get over eventually. When I grow up into a woman I will lose this passion and become willing to be a slave to the patriarchy and give up every hope and dream I ever had. I will forget about the terrible injustice women are facing in places like Afghanistan once I have finished puberty. I will discover that it's awfully uncool to believe in absolute equality for men, women, homosexuals, and any other 'minority' dealing with prejudice. I will simply grow out of this phase like I will grow out of wanting to dye my hair  blue. It's a trivial, teenage interest of mine. 

Also, the male gender is completely incapable of sharing the same feminist views as me as 
it is actually a specific hormone that makes me desire equality.

Really, it saddens me greatly that so many still feel threatened by the word 'feminism' and fail to understand what it means in this day and age. It also frustrates me that I am often thought of as strange for having conveyed an interest in gender politics at an age that is apparently 'too young'. I struggle to comprehend what I should be doing instead. Perhaps I should close my mouth to please the majority of my peers. Although, I shall probably continue to perplex and aggravate them by debating and expressing my opinion until I am blue in the face and they finally, finally understand. Yes, I believe that is my preferred option.