Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Case of Michael Brown.

It is not really relevant whether the witness statements or Darren Wilson's claims are correct in the case of Michael Brown. It's not really relevant how innocent each side of the party is. What matters is that this one moment has angered thousands of people, black and white, across America and overseas. 
If it was just another example of the questionable use of guns in the USA I don't think we'd really feel the same. The general consensus has been made clear on that one, it's not something to be changing any time soon.
But we are shaking our heads and banging our fists now because there is just one more story in the headlines to add to our huge, historical collection of racial discrimination that tips yet another build up of prejudice over the edge and into the ridiculous. 

It is 2014. We are pushing ourselves to the height of technological progress and creating things our ancestors would not have been able to conceive. And yet, we still have to fight against a very large and very unhappy group people who still fail to understand the concept and the goodness of equality. Who, for some reason, have not allowed history to bury its head in the sand to forget all of the awful things it had done but perpetuate it instead. They perpetuate this fear of the 'other', the 'unknown', the 'different'. 

Over the past 100 years or so the ball has been rolling, we've gained so much more than those at the beginning could have imagined and yet we are still so far from what we could achieve. Because young, black men are being shot mainly for the colour of their skin. Because these young, black men are often forced into following a life of crime because the ghetto concept still exists. There is still a separation between black and white. There is still white privelage. And I am truly, truly sick of it.  

The sides of the story in the Ferguson case are not relevant because the fact that Michael Brown was black should not be a factor that decides how trustworthy his side is. We should not be having to seriously challenge the American authorities like it's the 1960s all over again. I know that every protestor out there has enough energy to carry on screaming until somebody listens so I do not need to tell them to carry on, because I know that they will. Instead I will say that my thoughts are with Brown's family and everyone who is supporting them, because for some sad reason they need all the support they can get.

 Come on, America, for one of the most powerful countries in the world this all seems really  rather backwards. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

It's a Large World After All.

I've probably said it before and I'll probably say it again, the world is enormous and life is just one exciting/traumatic circumstance after the other. The planet is full of dangers lurking in certain whereabouts and magnificent wonders both compacted together on one rock. Our lives are so complex that the fantastical phenomenons of our bodies and mental capacities have us stunned at our own capabilities. There may be a reason for our existence, or there may not. Life could be just one big, brilliant scientific coincidence. Think how marvellous that would be.

However despite how already intricate our lives may be we still let ourselves be pummelled down by the tiniest, most unimportant issues life can throw at us. Whether these be a lull in our day to day lives with too much repetition so that we feel we're in an updated version of Groundhog Day, or an insignificant failure at school or work that can easily be improved upon, or the dissatisfaction with life that will come over in waves throughout our existence no matter how optimistic you claim to be. These are all natural problems we come to face, but to make a real deal out of such events seems so ridiculous. To want to call them crises is hyperbolic. They are not crises, they are just little hiccups in the grand scheme of things.

You are a working, vital part of this huge machine called Earth. You are small, but that's okay, because it means that those minor issues are even smaller. Life is still astonishing no matter how bored, or agitated or uninterested you are. Don't let the small things get to the heart, they're really nothing in the bigger picture.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cheers, Love.

Call me a Bad Feminist but I don't find being called babe/love/sweetheart/darling by a man I might not know offensive or intrusive. In fact, I find it comforting. If a man serving me in a shop, or someone I serve at work calls me 'love' during a conversation in a friendly manner it actually brightens my day a little. It's the same feeling I'd get from a woman using the same endearing phrases. It is pleasant and shows an acknowledgement of your presence. It's often intended to put you at ease, and it does, for me anyway. 

I know that some women find this behaviour insulting. That they are annoyed by it if some creepy older man starts calling them 'sweetheart' but you have to look at it in context to justify calling such a phrase a form of harassment. Had said man followed said woman out of a bar and then called her 'darling' that would be creepy and definitely be harassment. Had he tried to chat said woman up inside the bar the same interpretation would apply. However, what if this man was just the bar man and said it to all of his customers just as a small part of his friendly disposition? Of course the woman has every right to find this irritating, we're all different, but there's no way it can be labelled as harrassment. And sometimes it is. Or at least complained about in a manner that would suggest it was some awful sexist faux pas. 

It's terribly precarious territory to start accusing women of making a fuss over nothing and I am by no means trying to make such a point. That's why we have such shocking stories of rape being unabashadely ignored. But if you start throwing accusations around of every day politeness being yet another form of sexism then we get ourselves into another mess. 

If as a woman, or even as a man, you are offended by being called certain names such as 'darling' then make sure that if you show coldness to whoever said it because of this that they weren't just being friendly. We need more friends in this world as it is. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

In defence of a fandom...

Ever since I was 8 years old there has always been something within in me that desperately hopes to hear a wheezing, whirring sound of a blue box turning up out of nowhere so that I could go away and visit the stars for the day. I am almost 17 and that wish only gets stronger.

You could say that being so involved in a television programme is juvenile and a waste of time and there are so many other things I could be admiring. I do admire lots of things, I find the world an extremely delightful place and I do a lot of things in it, but there is such a strong sense of escapism with Doctor Who that I cannot help but feel it is something rather special to me.

It is ridiculous, absurd and often very silly but I have been in love with the idea of the Doctor for a long time and its impact has a wonderful effect. We all whine and moan about Stephen Moffat's new plots that slightly go off on a tangent and end up contradicting everything that's been said before on the show but if you look past the sometimes precarious writing and focus on the conception it never really loses its magic.

Imagine that one day this old fashioned police box appears suddenly and out steps a forthright man in eccentric clothing. Somehow you get caught up in some save-the-day scenario that's both terrifying and exciting and afterwards he invites you to travel with him. But he doesn't mean just travel the world, he means the stars and all of time. You step inside the blue box to find it's infinitely bigger on the inside and can do all manner of peculiar but wonderful things. You meet historical idols, and fight unimaginable alien beings in far off lands that no other human has heard of. And eventually you come to realise that the man you've been travelling with is a mad genius who is kind and wise and dark and fun and represents every person you could be or have been. You know that in any situation you could possibly be in he will always, always save you and take you away. You understand, after a while, that no one is better than he is and that's just the most fantastic thing about him. Even when he changes his face, you can never really be scared with him around, you are always safe from every evil.

I think that the last bit, about having an eternal friend who can save you from everything, is the idea that most people connect with. Because for 45 minutes on a Saturday night you can escape from everything frightening and be in a world of possibilities. Sometimes, although it's a little bit sad, it feels like coming home when I watch Doctor Who.

And that's what I love about it. It's terribly British and quirky and nonsensical. And it gives you this brilliant imaginary friend that I think all of us want and need.

So there is something slightly ludicrous about adoring a silly TV show so ardently and I do seem like a bit of a loser, but I think that the Doctor is really, really cool. And that's a nice thing to have.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Shouting feminism to the wind.

Beyonce's said it, Emma Watson's said it, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston have said it...But what now? It's all very wonderful and lovely to see feminism become a mainstream word with  everyone getting on board but where do we go after making it a fashion accessory of the western world? Awareness and a peaceful high profile declaration of equal rights are vitally important in this feminist movement but what about the little, practical things? The things outside of wearing a t-shirt with the words "This is What A Feminist Looks Like" and posting a selfie with it on to Instagram.

Have any of our world leaders openly declared themselves as feminist and then demolished unequal pay immediately after? Why is that one still taking a long time to get going despite everyone happily shouting out the need for equal rights for men and women? There are more and more programmes out there to help girls get into the tech industry, into coding, into other industries and cultures seemingly bereft of any female input due to discouraging, 'traditional' attitudes. Shouldn't we be putting more of our effort and our online power into these organisations as feminists in order to get the ball really rolling?

We're beginning to see some 'Yes means Yes' and 'No means No' campaigns mainly in America, but why aren't all universities and all schools educating us on not only your right not to be raped, but also, rather simply, not to rape? Why isn't this more widespread? Why is it taking so long for people to really care about the fact that women and men are being raped and then ignored by the justice system? As feminists we should be pushing these issues right up into the noses of officials and saying 'DO SOMETHING!' instead of just using the word feminist in day to day conversation.

I do believe in the widespread social media outbreak of feminism and how it will positively impact the issues we're facing, but we do need a little more than just admitting to being a feminist to actually create more movement. When you call yourself a feminist, you should probably know why you're still having to call for that revolution, because otherwise it may all just be in vain. I don't do enough to battle gender inequality issues, but from now in I'll make sure I do. You can't just expect the earth to shift the moment you give yourself the feminist label, there's a little more pushing and a little more shoving to it than that.