Random Girl With Internet Access

I believe I am what they call "bleeding heart"

Archive for the tag “Culture”

On the Niquab/ Face veil

In October ITV ran a series entitled “Britain’s niquab”, in which they dedicated multiple programs to discussing when and wear and to what degree (Muslim) women should be aloud to cover there faces. The face veil is beginning to boarder on a national obsession. With the multi culturists championing it as a human right, the jam and Jerusalem brigade worrying about those poor women but feeling you cant really talk about it, to the BNP/UKIP/ EDL lot convinced that it is nothing more than a means to hide stolen goods and IEDs; people seem to experience something of a delight when voicing their personal opinion on this particular article of clothing.

It’s a dilemma. My first reaction is that I would never dream of telling another woman how little or how much of her body to cover or uncover. After all its her face. If she wants to hide it from public view then she has very right to do so.  Imagine if someone told you that you were no longer aloud to cover your chest. That from hear on out wearing a t-shirt would result in a severe fine or prison sentence. Surely that’s precisely how this demand for Muslim women to uncover feels to them.

It could easily be viewed as colonialist orientalism that we would demand that Muslim women remove their veils. We often seem to argue that WE know weather or not these women are oppressed better than they do. It appears to follow the same Wight-man-save –brown-woman-from-brown-man plot that had been used as a slice of the justification many wars in recent history.  Do we really have the right to declare weather or not these women are oppressed, with little ore no input from the women themselves

But then again; Faces are important. We use them to identify one another. It is far easier to tell who someone is, how they feel about you, or what you are talking about, weather or not they are lying, and so on if you can see your conversation partners face.  And I can’t help but feel that all people have the right to feel the wind on there face and to see the word more clearly than can be done through a mesh covered opening. I also question how free a decision truly is when you have been told by authority figures in your life that you will burn in hell if you don not cover your face

Then again will banning this as France has done eliminate the underlying prejudice that prompts the demand for this covering? Or will it simply alienate these women further? After all if these women are being brutally oppressed by there fathers, husbands and brothers, then what’s to stop these men simply preventing these women from leaving the house following a ban on the veil.

And what about other people who want to cover their faces? Protesters? Trick-or-treeters? These women arnt the first people in history to want the anonymity offered by a face covering.

Whilst there are times and places when viewing someone’s face is necessary and it is possible to do this with both sensitivity and security in mind, for example having a woman remove her veil with a female member of border control in private. And so yes, predictably I am with the multi culturists on this one.

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Some Open Letters

Dear Right Wingers on the Internet

I am not going to explain this to you again.  The Council of Europe and the European Union are two entirely separate bodies. They have nothing to do with each other. I am not going to debate you if you cant be bothered googling the think we are debating.

When you are angry about human rights legislation because you think that deporting a few suspected terrorists would be worth giving up your own “right to privacy and a family life” or “right to a fair trial” you are angry with the Council of Europe, who enforce the European Convention on Human Rights, not the European Union who have nothing to do with it.

When you are angry about immigration, you are angry with the EU and it is totally irrelevant to bring up any recent human rights cases, for reasons mentioned above.

Sincerely,

Random Girl

Dear BBC,

In some of your coverage of Thatcher’s death one of your reporters said “Privatisation isn’t a political issue anymore, its just something governments do” – I would like to know who decided this and when.

Sincerely,

Random Girl

Dear Teacup making companies,

Go bigger.

Sincerely,

Random Girl

Dear Governments,

It has come to my attention that a man named Nickola Tesla invented a way to make electricity transmittable through radio waves, this would be more efficient and there wouldn’t be wires everywhere. However this was never put into practice as anyone could put up satellite and get electricity from it.  This means it would be difficult for companies to make a profit from it. The solution to this problem is to bring electricity back under state ownership and have everyone pay into it through tax.

An I am sure there are many other problems which could be solved with nationalization, like the price of trains, and if trains were cheaper fewer people would drive, and if fewer people dove the roads would be cheaper to maintain the roads, and since you already pay for the tracks I think this could work out well.

Stop acting like privatisation is the only way, please.

Sincerely,

Random Girl

PS.  Do haulage companies pay extra to use the roads considering they do the most damage to them? Because they should.

Dear Fashion/beauty/celebrity Magazines,

Did you know that the average female experiences a drop in self-esteem after just 8 minuets of reading you? You should probably do something about that. Actually what you will probably do is make a concerted effort to make that time smaller, considering almost all of your advertisements are for plastic surgery, diet products and make up. You are in the business of creating false illnesses in order to sell a cure. I have had enough.

Sincerely,

Random Girl

P.S. Did you know that cellulite was considered attractive until Vogue said it was a disease?

Dear Nick Clegg,

What happened?

Sincerely,

Random Girl

Dear Exams,

Did you know a Chinese teacher invented you to make more money out of his school?  The idea was that people would pay to come to the school and then pay to take the exam. I am adding you to the long list of problems with capitalism.

Sincerely,

Random Girl

Dear Internet,

I’m not sure how I feel about you, you are a mass of contradictions.

You increase potential productivity whilst reducing, for many people, actual productivity.

You make it easier for people to connect with each other but all we end up with is a bunch of meaningless insults with no constructive dialog.

You make it easier for talent to be discovered, but you ruin simple mediocrity. For example the case of a girl who’s parents paid for her to make a music video for a Bat Mitzvah present and ended up being called out as “the death of music”. (That’s all the Friday song was, a Bat Mitzvah treat, no one was calling her the next big sensation and instead of enjoying it, as she should have, she ended up being bullied to the point of dropping out of school)

And yet I cannot imagine my life without you, who would I be without fandoms and Nerdfightaria? Would I have ever gotten into politics without the Young Turks? Would I be more comfortable with my body without Internet advertisements? Or less without Laci Green?

To tell the truth weather you’re good for me or not I can no longer imagine life without you.  To tell the truth, sad as it may be I no longer know how to research without Google, or how to make plans without Facebook.

Sci-Fi has long predicted an age of cyborgs, and since many people can no longer function without computers, who’s to say we haven’t arrived?

All my love,

Random Girl

No – One is Taking Away Your Free speech

I try my best to be politically correct. I think carefully about what term I am going to use if I need to describe somebody’s race. I use the pronouns requested by transgendered people. I don’t use “gay” or “retarded” as insults. It’s not because I’m terrified of offending people. It’s because I don’t want to. People seem to be up against Political correctness. Of course I go against it from time to time, such as when a religion is being harmful or cult like (eyes are on you catholic church) I will insult that religion to my hearts content. Political Incorrectness should not be something we are afraid of. Here’s the good thing…no one actually is.

What I don’t understand is why I can hardly consume a weeks worth of media and conversation without hearing at least one person rant about how they are having their rights taken away, how political correctness is a threat to free speech and how this is exactly like, Nazi Germany/ Soviet Russia/ North Korea/ an Orwell Novel. Look, hears a clue if you can claim that your country is like any of those, with out any fear of being arrested  shot, or censored, then it most certainly isn’t. When was the last time you actually saw some one get banned from the telly for being non-PC? Oh right- never.

I don’t get why some people are so desperate for an end to political correctness. Are they just dying for a world in which people can use the N- word and make jokes about rape without being criticized at all?

Yes if some one is offensive there is backlash, criticism is a part of free speech. The listeners are now exercising their free speech, just as Mr. Non-PC was doing when he was being an offensive so and so. Some of them may say that he ought be banned from the telly, it is very, very, very unlikely this will happen. Why? Because it is completely risk free to say that this country is like Nazi Germany. Which means that it isn’t.

Another annoying habit of the anti political correctness brigade is the pathetic assumption that any LGBT character, any minority actor, any disabled character is their solely for the reason of making the show more PC, in order to protect it from the evil communist fascism of political correctness. This is where the fact that they are in fact prejudiced idiots is revealed. Does it not cross their minds that a non- white actor may in fact also be a good actor. Because according to them the only reason this person could possibly have made the cut is because of political correctness.

And now Michal Gove, the half-wit currently running our education system is planning on removing Mary Seacole form the national curriculum. The only black person not connected to slavery or civil rights on the British National Curriculum. My hypothesis is this is somewhat to do with the negative feeling towards political correctness in our country. GOD FORBID WE HAVE SOMETHING POLITICLY CORRECT ON OUR CURRICULUM  But its like the TV thing, its nothing to do with political correctness. She was important in the Crimean war and she deserves to be held in as high esteem as Florence Nightingale. She would have been long ago if she wasn’t black. You can sign the petition to keep her on the curriculum here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/michael-gove-secretary-of-state-for-education-keep-mary-seacole-on-the-national-curriculum

If this article annoyed you – chances are you are the reason I wrote it. I hope you know that I am not demanding that you be politically correct. I am asking that you stop pretending that anyone is. Oh and I would also appreciate it if you stopped trying to make fetch happen with the whole “discrimination is now against heterosexual, wealthy WASP men” thing. Because that is beyond annoying and stupid.

UPDATE: the petition was succsessful MAry Seacole was not only kept on the curriculum but was moved from optional to compulsory learning. Happy times.

Continuous Prose on writers block- leading to an awesome idea

I got nothing…

So at the end of the term (or if you are indeed American: Semester) I promised myself that I could leave all my school work until after Christmas if I posted a long article on my blog every day. And today… I got nothing. I realise now that I picked a really stupid time to commit myself to a post a day, because I feel that every fecking post ought to be Christmassy. I’ll come up with an idea like “I could write about the pros and cons of communism” and then think – well that’s not very Christmassy. I haven’t really even done anything particularly productive with the time I should have spent writing. I mean I wrote the first two paragraphs of an article on celebrating Christmas as an atheist but it didn’t even go anywhere. I thought to write about gun control in America. I mean it’s not exactly seasonal but it’s topical. But I wouldn’t really be writing any thing anyone had before. Just the typical  “guns don’t kill people but they do help, the second amendment was written during a post revolution climate in which bears where a constant threat and semi-automatic wasn’t a thing, do you really think that the second amendment trumps the “right to life” bit” stuff. So yeah, I spent the day, on Facebook, watching YouTube, making a gingerbread house, wrapping presents and looking at cloths on the Republic website. Wait… I just got a great idea I will bring you the 25 COOLEST PHOTOS I CAN FIND ON THE INTERWEBS. Stay tuned.

Consumerism VS Festivity

I like to consider myself an anti-consumerist (despite constant failures to follow through in practice) and The Holidays have been turned into the biggest consumerism fest known to man. Or have they? Festive shopping, despite being done on mass, may be the least consumerist of all consumerist acts, as the shopper does not buy for themselves but for others. However consumerism is defined by Wikipedia as: “a social and economic order that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-greater amounts”- something we are definitely encouraged to engage with during the holiday season.

Before I give my advise I would like to remind readers that I

A)   Did not come up with all these Ideas myself, I will be looking throughout the internet for pointers whilst writing this, all sources will be referenced at the bottom

B)   Have at least partially failed to remove consumerism from my Christmas celebrations

C)   I am a teenager who has never had a full time job or lived away from home- this is just my opinion I am not claiming to be an expert on anything

Whilst the obvious and most commonly sighted way to keep big business out of you’re festivities is to “make your own gifts” 99% of the population runs into trouble here. This takes a hell of a lot of time, equipment for stuff making is often far more expensive than simply buying a gift and few people actually own the skills to make a good gift- not to mention you’ve got to pull all this off behind your families back. Not to mention many people expect store bought gifts so unless you are a very skilled craftsperson or a three year old your loved ones are unlikely to appreciate your efforts. So for this reason I will be offering tips on how to buy gifts in a non-consumerist fashion.

 

Include Personal jokes and sentiments

If you incorporate small personal jokes and thoughtfulness into the purchase of gifts this takes the focus away from the accumulation of material wealth and back to the relationship you have with this person. Recognise that you can get a far better gift with 5 pounds and a good knowledge of the recover than you can with a million and no knowledge of them.

Buy From Small local shops

I have brought most of my gifts from small local shops. This way you insure that your money doesn’t go to a tax haven and that you are paying for a childs football lessons not a third holiday home.

Don’t buy any “Disposable” crap

I havnt been entirely true to this value this year. I have offended with disposable reindeer antlers on the last day of school (put to shame by my friends beautiful, durable, handmade ones) and my family uses a disposable turkey tray every year. But we all know the spiel: landfills, wastefulness, not cost effective and so forth. Very bad. Best avoided.

Check where stuff comes from

I haven’t brought anything from Amazon this year. It has recently been revealed that they only pay 1% tax in the UK. I if you need to go to chains John Lewis and Lush both pay good levels of tax  . The Guardian has a fantastic charismas shopping guide with an “ethical shopper” section.

Give, and Ask For, Books

Nothing is as bad for consumerism  like educating yourself- and there is nothing consumerist about it.

Take the Focus Off the gifts

The holidays are about taking time away from work and stress to focus on you’re family, friends and being joyful (and for some people faith). If you focus more on this than the gifts then that is anti consumerist in itself.

Bagginsing

This is a favourite of my Grandmother Despite needing to be strictly reserved for those of your friends and family who are on the same anti-consumerist page as you are, bagginsing can be quite fun. It simply involves giving people your pre- loved possessions as gifts. If you don’t own anything your family would want you could always try charity shops and second hand stores. Some people will definitely prefer something new so keep that in mind and agree on bagginsing before hand.

Donation Gifts

Another one likely to piss off the pro-consumerist relation. Oxfam allows you to give a donation in someone else’s name as a Christmas gift alongside many other charities. You can even get an E-Card if you are running late. You choose what you give and options range from school supplies, to hygiene kits, to goats , to safe water for an entire school at the top end of the price range. But be careful I have heard many a rant against these.

I have found many websites advocating that we should agree with our friends and family not to gifts for each other. This could work but I will not deny that gift giving – if done correctly- can be a good way to tell the people we love that we care about them. So long as we keep our money away from international chains who don’t pay any tax.  And make sure you buy you’re conservative friend a subscription to The Guardian- or is that like buying someone deodorant.

 

Bibliography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumerism

http://makewealthhistory.org/2012/12/18/the-changing-culture-of-disposability/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/christmas?INTCMP=SRCH

http://www.wikihow.com/Celebrate-Christmas-Without-Going-Broke

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped/ecards?intcmp=hp_131_hero_shop-ecards_2012-12-18

Personal contact- Pat Hall

 

 

Review of “Feminist Frequency”

Review of Feminist Frequency’s Youtube Videos

 

Anita Sarkeesian , host of “feminist frequency”, a web series on YouTube analysing the representation of gender in TV and film, recently gained allot of attention after she announced that she was planning on making a series of videos analysing the role of women in videogames. She has always had a love- hate relationship with the people of the Internet, but her enemies found this idea particularly unacceptable. She was subject to a mass hate campaign, which she described as a “cyber mob”. She was sent multiple threats of death and rape as well as videos showing her likeness being raped by videogame characters. However her friends responded by donating far in excess of her requested amount to her indie-go-go campaign.  The series of videos will now be far in excess of what was originally planned. She talks about her experience hear (http://www.upworthy.com/a-bunch-of-sad-insecure-dudes-attacked-a-woman-and-everyone-got-what-they-deserv ) however I am going to write about her videos that are already out there. All the videos I discuss will be referenced at the bottom of the article.

I personally enjoy her videos. Not enough people recognise how the common themes in our literature, drama and other arts reflect how our society thinks about certain ideas or groups of people. Sarkeesian, whilst I do often disagree with her, gets people thinking about this. I am so tired of the “its just a story” line in response to my concerns about things like abusive relationship patterns shown in twilight being romanticized. She displays this best in the “tropes vs. women” series and I hope her “tropes vs. women videogames” series will be just as interesting.

I was shocked when she applied the Bechdel test to all the Oscar nominees with disastrous results. I had never heard of the Bechdel test before and I am thankful for her introducing it to me.I am not sure about her idea of adding a “60 second” rule to the test, as it would remove the “lowest common denominator” element from the test. The best thing about the Bechdel test is that no one can claim that with the Bechdel test you are being petty or nit picking, its really the least you could ask for.

I also enjoyed her analysis of advertising to children Sometimes I feel like I am the only person in the world who notices not only the disgustingly gendered nature of advertising to children but also the lack of ambition, which is advertised to young girls. Sarkeesian points this out in a blunt no nonsense fashion. I agree with her almost entirely on this point. Companies advertise in a nature that encourages girls to be nurturing and boys to be ambitious offering almost nothing in the opposite direction. I am glad someone with as wide an audience as Sarkeesian is pointing this out, even if many of her viewers are just their simply to make comments like “make me a sandwich bitch” and “tits of gtfo” (Sarkeesian however is impressively effective at removing these and blocking all comments if they get out of hand)

I am not without my reservations with Sarkeesians videos. She has often been accused of “problem hunting” something which I definitely think where evident in her analysis of True Grit and a photo-shoot of the glee cast (I must mention, however that I have never seen true grit). It often seems that she either has a problem that women are being shown in a traditional gender roles or that they’re strength comes from being “like men”. In the latter situation “problem hunting” is definitely evident in my opinion.

She also seems to struggle with complex morality, some thing I am in love with. Whenever a “bad” entity is shown to have “good” qualities she accuses the artists making the film or TV show as endorsing the “bad qualities”. This was particularly evident in her analysis of “the doll house” (I must mention here that I have never seen the doll house). She also seemed to demand allot of transparency from “the doll house” by saying that they “haven’t discussed weather or not this is rape”. It seems to me that it is being discussed simply by the doll house’s presence. This also seemed to translate into one of her tropes vs. women videos in which she discussed “mystical pregnancies” which she believes “reduces women to their biological functions” whilst this can be true, she fails to mention the incidences in which the hi-jacking of women’s bodies is shown as distressing, with a little tweaking this trope could be made into an interesting commentary on women reproductive rights.

Overall I think that whilst feminist frequency appears to have very black and white view of the world and a small dose of ‘never enough’ syndrome (the only media I have ever seen her satisfied with was the first book and film of the hunger games, the first two series of veronica mars, and a terminator spin off- this is since 2009), I appreciate her analysis and I think she brings some important problems to the fore. I would also like to point out that whilst, should you find Sarkeesian a pain, you are entitled to whatever opinion you want, there is NO EXUCUSE for the level of harassment she has received.

Tropes VS Women By Feminist Frequency:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqJUxqkcnKA&list=PLBBDFEC9F5893C4AF&index=1

Feminist Frequency on The Oscars and The Bechdel Test:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH8JuizIXw8

Feminist Frequency on Toy Ads and Gender

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZn_lJoN6PI

Feminist Frequency on “true grit”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbiP3wxImAY

Feminist Frequency on Glee Photo Shoot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX5IXYoPzDA

Feminist Frequency on “The Doll House”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvDg8VeGWJs

Feminist Frequency on “mystical pregnancies”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rhH_QGXtgQ

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