Category Archives: General Opinions That May or May Not Make Sense

Woman to Woman: Labour Uses Giant Vagina to Win Votes

There are a lot of women taking to social media and blogs lately to discuss their increasing concern regarding female representation within British politics. A lot of us are metaphorically scratching our heads and wondering which party to align ourselves with in order to feel properly represented and others, myself included, feel so overwhelmingly disenchanted by the overt lack of female representation within politics that we are considering abstaining from voting altogether. According to those in the know, roughly nine million women refrained from voting during the last general election, the majority of those being of the younger population. It bodes the question, why does politics insist on not representing half of the population? Apparently, Labour have the answer and it looks like it comes in the form of a giant vagina on wheels.

Perhaps this isn’t the most important thing to take issue with, and I may be the only person who feels this way, but I feel that the bus is hugely patronising and, if I’m honest, quite offensive. Whilst I imagine that the thought process behind the bus was well intentioned, I feel that it creates far more issues towards women like me who were disenfranchised with British politics to begin with. A giant pink bus, I feel, only further alienates me from the voting process and a lot of it does, admittedly, have to do with the colour. Harman has openly argued that the colour is the most appropriate representation of their aims with regards to recruiting female voters, but I can’t help thinking that it is entirely counterproductive and creates a more specific and gaping gender gap than the one that already exists. To me, it feels that Labour are insinuating that female voters are different from regular voters.

In essence, Labour have single-handedly landed themselves a specific ‘niche’ target in the form of half of the population by highlighting concepts within their political aim that seemingly only affect women. Harman stated to the Telepgraph that: “I don’t think it’s at all patronising to recognise that women have got different patterns of their working lives, there’s different patterns in families between what women do and what men do. That is to recognise the reality and to say public policy needs to address that.” Which, if anything, just goes to prove how out of touch with reality that Harman and Labour truly are: To suggest that child care, equal pay and domestic violence are female specific issues is only further highlighting the massive misrepresentation of women within our country. This Labour voting tactic that is supposed to appeal to women on a higher level than their adversaries, only further seems to represent the over-arching patriarchal ideologies within our political voting system that disenchanted over nine million voters during the last general election; these issues are not gender specific issues that need to be addressed by women – these are overwhelming issues that have been apparent within our country for decades without being acknowledged by men within government bodies and personally, I find that it is these men that need targeting and not this ‘niche’ (and by niche, I mean that tiny proportion of women that represent half of the country. If you can’t detect my sarcasm, then read it again).

As far as political tactics go, I find this one to be the most offensive. An attempt to reengage female voters is a fantastic idea, but the truth is, reengagement of a disenfranchised body of women that represents over nine million people (perhaps increasing, I’m not sure) by driving around in a vagina bus is only highlighting that the government, whether they be elected or not, have no idea how to appropriately represent women, because they keep seeing us as women specifically. We are voters and the issues that are at the forefront of the woman to woman vagina bus campaign are incredibly important, but we’re not the people Labour need to be targeting. We know that equal pay is a horrendous issue within our country and we know that we are at a financial disadvantage when we perform the same job as men; it’s men and business owners and people like David Cameron whose blatant refusal to acknowledge this wage gap is the issue. The sheer cost of child care isn’t something that only affects mummy, it’s a cost that effects the whole family, meaning daddy needs to acknowledge and support child care reforms too. Domestic violence is an issue that affects both men and women, not only as victims, but as perpetrators too – in short, these are not female specific issues that that is where Harman and her merry band of idiots has gone wrong.

Instead of a vagina bus that highlights gender stereotypes (because all women resonate with and respond positively to a fluffy pink, girly bus!), surely in order to reengage female voters, specifically young female voters, is to highlight the inaccuracies, hypocrisies and blatant lack of gender equality within political systems. Passing things off as ‘female issues’ is only further representative of women not being taken seriously within politics. It highlights the gaping chasm that is gender equality within our country and only further emphasises that issues such as equal pay, child care and domestic violence aren’t taken seriously at all by governing bodies. I get the theory behind Labour’s vagina bus, I really do, but I feel that the only real goal it has achieved today is to further slam another nail in the Labour coffin: They are not only out of touch with their traditions and roots, they are out of touch with half of their voting population too and the main lesson I’ve learned today is that a vote for labour is a vote for the demise of common sense.

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Can’t Vote, Won’t Vote:

I am more than happy to admit that I am not the most politically minded individual. Politics both bores and infuriates me in equal measures, as it’s something that I am excluded from, before I’ve even began to consider a party I might be interested in aligning myself with. As a result, I am one of those rare breeds in society who is mocked and ridiculed by any type of voter as being the type of person who shouldn’t have an opinion on any political party, or the manner in which our country is run. But, surely someone who is as utterly despondent as I am regarding the UK government, both as it stands and because of the parties fighting for the coveted role of leader of the political playground (Oops, I mean Prime Minister), surely I am exactly the type of person both necessary to politics and who deserves the right to complain?

The reason I feel that voters don’t think I should have an opinion regarding politics or any form of political discourse is because, as a result of being so positively dejected by every political offering we have and from receiving positively vitriolic diatribe when admitting this in the past, I am often reluctant to admit that I have never once voted. I don’t even think that I am registered to vote. I do understand that this might make any attempt at political discussion entirely redundant, but fear not, ye of voting mind set – I am writing this blog purely to highlight why I don’t vote, not to encourage others to do the same, or not to try and tell you that your political stances are all wrong (although, let’s face it, if you vote Ukip, they probably are).

Of course, as a woman, I feel a particular, poignant and overwhelming shame at myself for aligning myself with the concept of not voting. As a woman who calls herself a feminist and who supports women’s rights and who practically obsessed with Emily Pankhurst at school, writing essay after essay championing women and their suffrage (I received A*’s all-round for every single one, so ignited was my burning passion for the right to vote!), I sometimes recoil in horror at the fact I’ve never voted and my feminist heart genuinely bleeds over the fact that I am not what my fore-sisters were starving themselves and accidentally flinging themselves in front of horses for. But, I don’t think that’s my fault and I like to think that if I had a chat with Ms Pankhurst, she’d support my decision not to vote – whilst I definitely have the right to, I guess that also means I reserve the right not to, especially if I feel that it is detrimental to my country… right?

I am not the only person who is feeling politically cast adrift and there are many people in my life who either don’t vote, or stick with the same voting pattern as a result of tradition or an inability to choose. A term often used, which sums up my political stance (or lack thereof) is: He’s the best of a bad bunch. And to me, that is the epitome of UK politics; the guttural, agonising cries of democracy as it wilts away into the past, leaving in its wake the questionable politics of someone who bends and twists democracy to fit their own personal needs – the best of a bad bunch. Yet, to me, in the upcoming elections of 2015, there doesn’t seem to be the best out of a bad bunch, because to me, everyone is terrible.

Every time I switch the news on, I am inundated with the same things happening. If David Cameron has done something particularly idiotic one day, then we will see a smug looking Ed Milliband explaining why Labour would be a better choice through personal and pointless attacks at how seemingly hopeless the current UK government are, then we’ll see Nigel Farage wobbling his head and doing exactly the same thing, throwing in some rhetoric regarding how he wants to make Britain, Britain again, whatever that means. Then, occasionally we’ll see Nick Clegg attempt to join in the Cameron bashing, until he realises that his credibility is a moot point and that as a result, his political party of choice will never see the warm innards of 10 Downing Street again. And this is entirely interchangeable, depending on which leader of which party has done something that the others can attack – it’s playground name calling and childish taunting at it’s very best and it astounds me every time I see these people on the news, making juvenile comments about their opponents, that this is the state of UK politics; it’s nothing more than a terrible reality show like The X Factor, except the winner gets to ruin our country for a further five years. It’s worrisome.

I think the only thing that unites all political voters (or non-voters in my case), is perhaps the fact that our country is in dire straits and the only, overwhelmingly obvious reason we feel that our country is as broken as it seems to be, is the fact that we have David Cameron and his merry band of wankers at the helm of it all (the concept of a coalition government, conveniently forgotten, it seems). If the hashtag #CameronMustGo is anything to go by, I am not the only person who agrees that the country is flailing on the world’s stage as a result of his shockingly bad method of management. If you didn’t already know, the hashtag is Twitter’s longest standing hashtag, with millions of comments and links to photos and articles outlining Cameron’s failings as Prime Minister, as well as a particularly resounding death toll for the tolerance of the Conservative Party as a whole. These are concepts I am entirely in agreement with and feel that, as a result of being the type of person who was charged bedroom tax when she didn’t have a job and having to choose between eating or putting on heating for two weeks (which I could then only use at night, because it was too expensive to run constantly) in the winter months (of course, only having the living room, bedroom and bathroom heaters on, because I couldn’t afford to heat the whole house) and having to sign on every two weeks, even though I didn’t receive any proper benefits as a result of my freelancing, only to be told that my efforts weren’t good enough; I didn’t use the booklet to fill out my job search because I always filled it within a couple of days, instead opting to use a giant PukkaPad, I was sanctioned. I didn’t use the government appointed jobsite that linked to Monster because I found it too contrived and not very user friendly and I was sanctioned. Meaning that for one month, I had the forty pounds I needed to eat with taken from me. I was lucky, because I could just jump ship and go from my freezing house to my parents’ house where I would live for free, eat for free and be as warm as I wanted for free until I could afford to go back home… but for thousands and thousands of people, they didn’t have that luxury and in some cases, suicide/death was, for them, the only luxury they felt they could afford… Yet, there are some people who tell me that Cameron is the best of a bad bunch. And it upsets me to think that they might be right. But, if Cameron is the best out of a bad bunch… How bad are the others? Who else could we really see running the country in a manner that doesn’t result in either all out civil war or seeing yet more people starving themselves to death as they stand in a queue for a food bank?

To me, at this point, there seems to be only two further parties with a potential at glimpsing the ultimate goal of wrapping their hands around the doorknob at 10 Downing Street and feeling the sweet sense of ecstasy as their hands grip the knob, twist and push it open, acknowledging the ultimate climax of getting to call 10 Downing Street theirs. (All very homo-erotic, but I went for it, don’t judge me) and that’s The Labour Party and apparent ‘never going to happen, but there are a lot of people so utterly despondent with the rest of us that they are all clinging to a party that consists of nothing but racist, homophobic, misogynists with contempt for anything that isn’t a white man with his own business and a tiny penis to match’ alleged underdog, Ukip.

If I chose to vote and didn’t want to choose The Conservative party for obvious hashtag related reasons, then these are my options. Labour with their politics allegedly steeped in history that support the common worker and fight for worker’s rights via unions and other such things in order to promote a healthier, more financially stable Britain through accessible politics. Except that the people supposedly encouraging these politics are no worse than Cameron and his merry band of wankers. Leader, Ed Milliband, perhaps the weakest man ever to grace the political stage, surrounded by upper-class snobs who turn their nose up at the very people who helped define The Labour party through its formative years; the common worker. If Emily Thornberry and her ill-advised photographic tweeting is anything to go by, aligning myself with the Labour Party would result in nothing but something that is very much the same as what is happening to the country right now. Except the person doing all the damage would be wearing a red tie instead of a blue one.

As a woman, aligning myself with Ukip is not even an option. To consider it, to even write about considering it, knowing that I would rather bash my own skull in with an empty wine bottle and hurl myself in the Tyne river during a snow storm than actually consider voting for Ukip, is painful and makes me want to hurl. I hate Ukip. They terrify me and the fact that people I know and care for support some of their racist, misogynistic and downright inhumane policies is shameful and terrifying. To be a woman voting Ukip is essentially putting a bullet to your own head and pulling the trigger (which may actually be possible if you vote for the fuck monkey that is Nigel Farage); you are not respected, you’re barely even considered human and as someone who has had extensive experience with certain Ukip voters, you are only considered a baby machine, who has no real place in an environment that doesn’t involve making sandwiches or cleaning a toilet bowl. Please take a look at this link if you’re a woman who is considering, or has a male human in their lives who intend to, vote for Ukip.

So you see, faithful readers, who’ve gotten through almost 2000 words of blogging… this is why I don’t vote and why I won’t vote. If any of these political parties (because the other parties don’t really have a look in as far as I can see from my research) achieve success in the next election, then I and any woman who identifies themselves as someone worthy of respect, will be fucked in some way or the other (and it seems with Ukip’s policies on sexual harassment in the workplace, this might be literal) and our country will plummet further into the dank and disgusting space reserved for the likes of North Korea or Australia, back when we sent all of our criminals there. Voting for the best of a bad bunch? No, you’re voting for the destruction of the United Kingdom***.

***Unless you’re a homophobic, misogynistic, racist snob…then congratulations fuck nugget, you got yourself a five year long muslim bashing, female smacking rape party! YAY!

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The Paedophile Next Door

Last night, Channel Four aired The Paedophile Next Door, an hour long documentary that highlighted the concepts of paedophilia as a sexual preference. In the show, we saw victims, health professionals and one paedophile discussing their experiences and opinions on the matter. For me, it was incredibly harrowing and very difficult to watch, but I managed, with tears in my eyes and a hand over my mouth in horror, to get through the documentary. Some of my views were immediately aired on twitter – as is always the way – the bitter sting of the show still digging into my sides and I ended up having a debate with one of my very best friends, Sian, about it. Now, with the immediate visceral reaction having subsided, I feel that I can, perhaps, review the show in a more… hopefully, neutral manner. Although, I’m quite happy to admit that I am not sure if I’ll manage. We’ll see.

The show addressed paedophilia as a legitimate sexual preference as well as a mental health issue that could be classed as an affliction and we, as the audience, were pleaded with to listen to reasoning and admit that not all paedophiles should be vilified as that encourages them to attack, instead we should be nurturing and encourage those paedophiles to admit their sexual preference and mental health problems and receive the help they deserve – this is something  that is already done in Germany and the show’s main topic, Eddie, admitted that he would also like to seek help for his affliction. Personally, I think the show did a poor job of arguing their point, which I reitertated on Twitter. Whether or not people deserve help is neither here nor there, if paedophiles want help, then great, but surely history regarding sexual preferences dictates that you can’t change who you are?

What does that say about the LGBT community who have fought for years and years to attain social equality? We STILL don’t offer social equality to this community and in an enormous amount of countries – including our own – there are still a great amount of people excluded, murdered, beaten up and vilified for their sexual preferences… but this isn’t classed as a mental illness? Why? Because it isn’t – loving someone of the same sex does not make you mentally ill, identifying as a female when you were born a man does not make you mentally ill; we’ve fought for the equality of all of these people and that love has no gender, that in 2014 we should not be adhering to the heteronormative, biblical solution to love, marriage and procreation. It can’t be beaten out of you, it can’t be changed through therapy, you can’t be sent off to a straight camp and come back loving pussy when you’ve spent a life time sucking cock – we have covered this; it’s inherent, it’s in your blood: you are who you are, that can’t be changed. So why are paedophiles any different? Offering them therapy isn’t going to stop them from being paedophiles and wasting money on offering them comfort in the fact that it’s okay to be sexually attracted them to children is dangerous. If a homosexual can’t be turned straight, or a straight person can’t be turned gay, how do you turn a paedophile into a non-paedophile? You can’t.

Attempting to normalise paedophilia is tantamount to saying that it’s okay to be attracted to children and I honestly think that is beyond wrong. Firstly, children don’t have the mental grasp on life to be able to give consent and think that it’s okay for a grown man or woman to sexually abuse them. Being attracted to children as young as five, or children who can’t even draw or walk or crawl is not okay and I am rather disgusted that there is an attitude that we want to help these people; they are not okay and no amount of therapy will make it okay for someone to fancy kids as young as new borns, which was mentioned on the programme.

I get that there are paedophiles out there who have not sexually assaulted children and that’s fantastic, good on them, I don’t mind their existence, that’s not what I’m saying, but as with every sexual preference, there has to be an outlet somewhere, so what do they do? Think about having sex with children? Okay, that’s fine, but which children? The ones who live next door? The ones who he sees going to school every day? What about child pornography? That’s readily available, surely? Yes, of course, but we’ve already covered that children can’t give consent, that to be involved in sexually graphic photographs or content is not consensual; an adult has, at some point, exercised their ultimate control over a child and forced them to do that, so surely by watching the porn, paedophiles are only perpetuating the abuse of the poor child in that movie or photograph?

Of course, things like this are broad generalisations, but the fact that there is a counter argument out there suggests that it isn’t okay normalising a sexual preference by brandishing it as a mental illness. We can’t accept that, as a society, it’s okay to call paedophilia a mental illness, but we cant call homosexuality a mental illness (quite rightly, mind). Sexual preferences are not mental illnesses and it’s not something that any amount of therapy will correct. It may stop someone from offending, but it might not… Then who do we blame? We blame ourselves… and is that okay?

I would really love to hear people’s opinions on this, because as you can see, my arguments are emotional and for the most part visceral – I simply do not agree with normalising paedophilia or supporting them in any way, but as with my debate with Sian, I would love to hear other points of view, so please send comments or emails or anything and I am more than happy to discuss it with any of you.

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Life Lessons That Only 80s Movies Can Teach a Person:

If you were born anywhere beyond 1983, you really weren’t an eighties child. You were too young to truly understand just how awesome a generation of people who believed we would be flying around on hover boards by 2015, one space ship ride away from a weekend of passion with an alien who owns three tits on Mars. Growing up in the 1990s was probably the worst time to grow up; everyone was a little pissed off that the 1980s stopped so abruptly and music got decidedly worse, the only exception being The Spice Girls, of course. Even today, you will still find an abundance of people wistful for the 1980s, which is why movies from that generation are so damned popular, even now. I was born at the very end of the 1980s, with only two tender years of being alive during an awesome decade, so I think I feel it more than a lot of people, thus take perpetual comfort in sticking on a film from the decade and grinning like a lunatic until the credits roll.

Eighties movies capture everything that was truly awesome about the decade. I mean, at least the ‘truly awesome’ parts that I, as someone who wasn’t old enough to actually understand the society and culture then, therefore can only assume were the best parts. It might have been crap, but think about it Back to the Future, ET, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, My Step Mother’s an Alien… all of these amazing movies that allow us snippets into how awesome life in the eighties really was and how logic, science and the impossible were all made true to life and genuinely possible for normal people. It was a magical time, way better than any Disney movie can boast. And it taught us so many important life lessons regarding how we should be living our lives as adults born a little too late in the decade to learn any real and tangible lessons about being an adult. And, after all, living one’s life through a series of potentially thirty year old movies is a wise and mature decision, no matter who you are, so remember that.

One of my main childhood crushes in life has been constant: Andrew McCarthy. Just saying his name causes over dramatic, romantic sighs to escape from my lungs; he was a true romantic hero and I owe a lot of important life lessons from the Mannequin and Pretty in Pink actor. The Polonius from Macbeth line: to thine own self, be true can encapsulate the characters McCarthy plays quite well and I guess that this could be one of the life lessons I should take from these movies, but I’m not going to. I’m going to take something else, whilst explaining how he always stays true to himself. I mean, think about it… How many men do you know that would fall in love with an ancient Egyptian princess trapped in a mannequin, only coming to life in private, when no one else is watching and not feel an ounce of shame by being caught in incredibly compromising positions by passers by/shoppers/your boss?

Like he didn’t even explain himself at all; during one scene, they were found after a night of passionate love making (as passionate as a mannequin can be, I imagine, but she did end up playing Samantha Jones, perhaps the horniest woman to ever grace New York City), people were gathered around him as he lay in her embrace wondering “Holy crap! Did he have sex with that mannequin? In a tent? In the middle of this department store?” and that was it, just dignified, silent concern for their fellow human being. Although his reaction was slightly different: mischevious grin, quick exit, total nonchalance and no sign of an emotional breakdown at finding himself in these constantly awkward situations.

Pretty in Pink, of course, saw our romantic hero fall in love with a girl way below his social ranking in life, played by the one and only Molly Ringwald, 80s queen. She was a girl who spent the majority of her time looking after her adorably alcoholic dad (it’s not a danger to her health or her mental well-being looking after an unemployed parent in the 80s. it’s a bonding experience and totally cool!) and a girl who made amazingly fashionable clothes from hand me downs and cast offs and who spent a lot of time hanging around with Jon Cryer, back when he was at his most adorable (like, part of me is totally annoyed at Ringwald for not falling in love with Ducky after his AMAZING Try A Little Tenderness routine. Like, even now, when watching old episodes of Two and a Half Men, I still look at Alan when he was younger and remember seeing him as a youngster, thrusting in the air along to the dulcet tones of Otis Redding and my innards do a little pang. Yes, I know and no, I’m not ashamed); Andrew McCarthy saw past all of that, saw past his supposed best friend’s, James Spader’s dickish comments about social class and Molly being only good for one thing and he fell for her like any 80s romantic hero should, because she was the 80s queen and he knew it. The important life lesson here is that Love Conquers All, alcohol addictions are a father daughter bonding experience and that James Spader deserved to have his party ruined.

From Back to the Future, I learned a lot about friendship and that it comes in all shapes and sizes and even moments in time, and that being a young teenaged boy who befriends a cooky older man everyone thinks is weird will not result in molestation or Stockholm Syndrome: It will result in TIME TRAVEL. I think this is partly why I tend to gravitate towards the older generations, in the hopes that one day, when I’m having an extensive conversation with an old man on the bus, that he will lean into me and whisper I have a time machine. And I will believe him and travel through time with him.

Back to the Future also taught me that incest is surprisingly sexy and that part of me really wanted Marty McFly to kiss his mam because she was way prettier than his 1980s girlfriend and by the sounds of things, way hornier too. And I mean, it wouldn’t be that creepy because it’s a film and people in the 80s didn’t care about incest the way we do now. I mean, the only reason we care Is because of one man who locked his kid in a basement and spoiled it for everyone. But, at least Game of Thrones are bringing it back! The important life lesson here is: Friendship with the elderly will result in time travel and that mothers are sexy.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is perhaps the most important life lesson of all. I mean, firstly, this is the guy who will go ahead and reignite a generation of children’s passion for Africa and is probably the sole reason that we grew up caring about animals, because, let’s face it, anyone who plays SIMBA in a movie is going to be the voice of a generation. I mean, he totally cheated on his wife when she started earning more money than him, but fuck off, he was SIMBA and he also played a person called Ferris, which takes a lot of balls. I take my hat off to him. I think I like this movie so much because it doesn’t play along to the pre-ordained constraints that a lot of movies adhere to. I mean, here he is, a dork for all intents and purposes, bunking off school and having a day of sheer awesome the likes 80s children had never seen before. I mean, he gets involved in a parade that just happened to be making its way down the street when he decided to grab a microphone and join in. I mean, back in the 80s, random parades for no reason were pretty commonplace and it wasn’t weird that no one had the day off work or school to go and see it, because they have parades of everything in America, so people aren’t even that bothered by them. Another parade? ANOTHER PARADE? Ugh, I can’t be dealing with this shit, I have a maths test today! He’s not the traditional romantic hero that a lot of 80s movies encapsulate in their discourse; he’s insightful and inspirational to a generation of teenagers, even today, who feel a little lost and a little broken. The Life Lesson here is: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The 1980s saw some of the, arguably, best movies of all time and movies that literally shaped a generation of people who were really pissed off not to have been born in a society where no one seemed to care or get down about really shit stuff, I mean, Freddie Mercury, rock god of the time not only came out as gay and people were SHOCKED because flamboyance was not only accepted, it was expected and didn’t see homophobes everywhere clenching their arse cheeks and standing so close to the wall that they could be furniture, but he died and instead of saying horrible things about him being a homosexual, people were sad because his sexual preferences weren’t even a big deal: He was Freddie Mercury for fuck’s sake and he was awesome. Living in the year 2014 sucks, not only because there ARE NO HOVER BOARDS AND TIME TRAVEL DOESN’T EXIST, but because everything is so, so crap these days. You can’t even turn on the news without seeing someone being beheaded or raped. Just once, JUST ONCE, I would love to turn on the news and hear: London came to a halt today as a truant child jumped on top of a float during one of  London’s random daily parades and sang us all a song that caused so much joy that he didn’t even get in trouble for truanting and his childlike joy was so infectious that we cured cancer. That’s all from us this evening, goodbye and have a great night!

I think the most important life lesson from my essay of remembrance is that we definitely need to start finding more time in life for joy and in that same respect, eighties movies. Life is too short to watch a shit, independent French film about the nuances of glancing at someone fleetingly for half a second (but then goes into a two and a half hour diatribe as to how negative this can be on human beings), resulting in a lifetime of misery realising you watched this instead of WarGames. So, let this be a lesson to you: Find more time for joy and more time for dissecting 80s movies to make you feel better about having a shit day. Tot Ziens!

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Twenty Something Midlife Crises:

If you’re reading this, then you may be a twenty something individual going through a little bit of a crisis. I understand. Crises are usually reserved for the middle aged and are thus appropriately glamorised because they had their shit together in their twenties and have therefore earned enough money in their lives to buy a new hairpiece, fill their faces with botox, buy a red sports car and develop a drug addiction, derived from having many dinners and sexual dalliances with high end prostitutes. Twenty somethings are not privileged enough, nor have they earned enough money prior to fly around in a sports car, paying people to have sex with them. (I should also point out that mid-life crises are not gender specific; women have them too, only they are far less glamorous and probably result in drinking wine in the afternoon and declaring themselves ‘cougars’ hitting up clubs with their other miserable friends in order to revitalise their youth in a manner which botox and sex with prostitutes wouldn’t be able to fulfil). Therefore, there is no readily prepared information on how to stop having a crisis in your twenties, get your shit together and stop lamenting over the fact that you’re in thousands of pounds worth of debt because of a degree you were encouraged to get to improve your quality of life/employment chances has resulted in unemployment and eating dried garlic bruschetta for lunch because you’re too cast adrift in your life to consider proper food consumption. I get it, so I’m here to help.

You see, I too have been, adrift and in crisis. One could argue that my current state of affairs is akin to feeling adrift and in crisis, but I would say that you are wrong, because the first stage of a crisis is denial that you are in a crisis. Much like a red sports car is such a good idea, because the ladies love a red sports car and no the media has not bastardised the red sports car to the extent that driving in one is synonymous with being an old creep looking to touch people young enough to be their daughters. You see, denial, it knows no boundaries. I am not denying that I am in a crisis, because I’m not – there is a checklist, which I have handily drafted for you all to highlight that you may be having a twenty something crisis, but I, most certainly, am not:

  1. You have a degree in some kind of artistic pursuit that filled you full of purpose during your formative years, but has since left you feeling empty in body, mind and pocket.
  2. You choose to pursue the talents bestowed on you by said degree by pursuing this as a hobby, which will accidentally, one day, flourish into a career.
  3. You have more wine glasses than you do any other type of glass in your flat.
  4. You take stands quite a lot and are often incensed by things such as the news, adverts and the inability to use your television due to your partner’s inability to explain how to use said device properly.
  5. You have too many dishes to clean on a daily basis.
  6. You have stood in front of a mirror and lamented over your girth, foaming at your reflection, but happy in your resolve that this must be your natural body shape and not a sign that you should stop eating ice cream.
  7. You don’t often wear a bra during the day, so that when people deliver packages to your door, you look like you’ve been breastfeeding two baby elephants simultaneously for the past half an hour.
  8. Or, if you’re male, don’t wear a shirt and the results are pretty much the same.
  9. Your mother often rings you to ask you if you’ve had any joy on becoming a proper adult, instead of the overgrown toddler you have essentially become, given your addiction to bottle shapes, afternoon naps and tears at not getting your own way.
  10. You write lists.

If you have checked positive for any of these, then I am very sorry, but you are probably going through a twenty something life crisis. Given, of course, that you are in your twenties. If you are younger than in your twenties, then don’t worry, your parents pay for shit and this is just childhood, enjoy it, get a tattoo. If you’re older than in your twenties and/or are married with children, then you should probably get your shit together, get off the internet and do something more worthwhile in your life. There is no room for you here.

The main problem, I think, with people who are going through twenty something life crises is that it’s not glamorised enough. Instead of being rich and having sex with people, we are poor and watching Netflix on loop every day watching actors have simulated sex with other actors. It’s all very drab. Plus, if you decide to inform someone that you feel you may be going through a little bit of a crisis, that you feel that your talents and life are dwindling away, that you’re at a point in your life where you see others with their shit together and it gives you feelings of intense anxiety to know that you are at the bottom of the gene pool in both terms of sexuality and employment. These people who you talk to are inherently selfish and will therefore laugh heartily until tiny tears are coming out of their eyelids, they will shake their heads, smile at you and tell you that you should pursue a life of comedy, or that you should write a fictional novel because the stories you come up with are crazy. If you don’t speak to someone selfish, then they will tell you how great you are and buoy your confidence up to a level where you feel stupid for ever feeling that you were in crisis, until they leave and you realise all they did was make you feel temporarily better and are probably worse than the people who didn’t support you and thought you were insane.

The truth is, twenty somethings worldwide are the first generation in life who are on the precipice of life but unable to jump over into that ship of self-sufficient adulthood and money in the bank that doesn’t need to be saved for bills or you’ll be kicked out of your house for not paying rent, because it’s just too far and you’re scared of the presumably shark infested waters that undoubtedly lie beneath. Our parents had their shit together, when they left school at sixteen, careers were pretty much handed to them, having been crafted throughout their school careers. My dad knew he was going to be an engineer and became an apprentice, my mam a hairdresser and did the same. I left school and I knew that I was going to spend a significant amount of time lying around looking at pictures of Ryan Gosling on the internet and reading books, before going shopping two days before college and buying clothes that made me look like a weed smoking hippy from the 1970s that wouldn’t make me any friends. We’re part of a generation that are in debt before we even decide what we’re doing in life, meaning we can’t pursue the things that we should do in our adult lives: mortgages, weddings, financial stability, babies, buying a car that we don’t have to lease, decorating and weekend DIY. Instead, we remain in an almost infantile state, attempting adulthood but failing miserably, working temporary, shit jobs whilst holding out for our degrees to finally pay off, developing addictions to things that remind us of childhood: which explains why EVERY male human you know has either an addiction to some kind of Japanese anime, playing army on his playstation or his xbox with his friends and that girls are weird and icky and why EVERY female you know has at some point in their lives bought a hat with animal ears on it and changed their Facebook status to Disney princess in training because they spent an entire evening drinking wine and singing along to Disney songs in their pyjamas, wishing that men were like Disney princes (not the parts where they kiss you without consent whilst you’re asleep, or kidnap you and refuse to let you see your family so he can force you to love him, though).

To me, it seems like the only thing we can really do at this point in our lives is develop the ability to time travel, go back in time and punch our childhoods right in the face. Tell them to not pursue academic excellence and instead settle for the mundane, because everyone you know who didn’t go to university is now in a proper career, has bought their first home and is married to someone they overlooked during childhood. Let them know that if they do pursue the arts they will end up fat, miserable and unemployed, the only joy in life being the fact that you have found your forever human, so at least that’s out the way and that if you’re asked to join companies under zero hour contracts or for barely minimum wage you should laugh in their faces and explain that they are what is wrong with the economy and spit on their shoes before storming out of their building, indignant and…well, unemployed.

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Rape or Little White Lies?

Apparently, I am a part of a demographic that is more likely to cry about and lie about being raped. No, seriously, a man on Twitter told me, so it must be true. This man is on a noble quest to rid the world of the blatantly sexist women that exist everywhere, fighting for the rights of convicted rapists and the horrific slights that men have persistently faced for centuries in both their work and personal lives at the hands of vicious and vitriolic women whose sole purpose in life is to perpetuate the inherently misandrist culture that poor men have to be a part of. As someone who lost her virginity as a result of rape and was terrified into silence (because who is going to believe me, a girl from The Valley, when the son of a police chief is far more believable), I was pretty shocked to be pigeonholed, if I’m honest. But, of course I was. After all, I’m a woman and he’s a middle class white man with his very own business; he is powerful and I am not. He doesn’t have to shower me with facts to make his point clear; pulling little white lies out of his arse and attempting to blow smoke up the arses of silly little women daring to make their opinions on rapists clear instead of sitting in the corner, waiting to be spoken to by her master, is perfectly acceptable. I sometimes have to be reminded that I’m a just a little woman. So, I have to admit, that it was no surprise to me that when I woke up this morning and heard the news of Janice Dickinson’s revelations that she was among the many women who had been sexually assaulted and raped by Bill Cosby, that she was accused of lying. Because, of course she was.

Rape is one of the most horrific things that a woman can suffer and whilst in the last year 22,000 rapes were reported by women, we found out yesterday that roughly 25% of rape and sexual assault reports were simply dropped by the police, victim not contacted; forgotten about, as though it was a nonchalant comment made half-heartedly, the assumption being that it wasn’t important enough to pursue and that’s the problem… when a woman reports a rape or sexual assault, it’s ultimately put into the hands of other people, both women and men, who, even though they aren’t the victim or the attacker, are allowed to have their own personal stake in whether or not victims become one of the 25% who are simply ignored, and therein lies the problem; when a woman is raped, it becomes public property and victims have absolutely no control over who contacts them to offer support or otherwise.

The truth is, there’s simply not enough education out there for men on what rape is. Men are allowed to choose to believe that rape is non-existent or something that a woman cries if she regrets her dalliances the night before, which simply isn’t true. Whilst women are taught preventative measures to stop themselves from being in a vulnerable position, men are left to their own devices and allowed to form their own opinions on rape and what can be classified as rape, opinions they are allowed to form themselves with no lessons from professionals or otherwise. Then, we have people like laugh a minute, comedy hero, Dapper Laughs, who promotes and normalises rape culture, whether it be intentional or not, passing comments that are absorbed by lad culture and heralded as comedy, rather than potentially damaging rhetoric that can endanger women everywhere. Of course, I am generalising, and I know that the majority of men are not inherent rapists, but I believe the general masculine consensus on rape is she could be lying.

Unless you look like a victim, then you won’t be treated like a victim. Unless you play up to the fact that you have been violated and allow a horrific time in your life to encapsulate your future, then you won’t be treated like a victim. You have to want to be treated like a victim, staring forlornly into a camera, speaking in great detail about your anguish five minutes after it has happened. Or sitting in the dark with a voice changer morphing your words lamenting publicly about your human rights being violated, then you won’t be treated like a victim, which is exactly why Janice Dickinson has been slammed for being a liar today. She is glamorous, advocates plastic surgery, has talked brazenly and unashamedly about her sex life; someone who has had sex with Mick Jagger and talked about it can’t be a victim of rape, she had to do it willingly, therefore she’s lying.

It’s so easy to accuse a woman of lying about rape and it’s so easy for us to sit in our glass houses, throwing stones with little or no knowledge about rape at all. Do you know what a woman has to go through if she is brave enough to approach police about being raped? The sheer horror is, unless you report a rape immediately after, with his semen still trickling down your legs, then the likelihood of you being believed is dramatically decreased. The truth is, as victims, we need to willingly wear our horrific attacks like scarlet letters; broadcasting to everyone that we have been violated. We can’t wear make-up, or dress in any way that can be perceived as provocative; we need to become shells of our former selves and allow our rape to define us for the rest of our lives. Why? To protect men, of course.

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#BandAid30, Why I’m Not Buying Into It.

I am a huge supporter of charities and am more than happy to donate my time and money into funds and awareness raising to something worthy of the name, however, there is one thing I won’t be wasting my money on this year, and that is the Band Aid 30 Christmas Song. Or, as I’m taking to calling it: Bob Geldof and Bono’s Attempt at Shameless Grandstanding and Self-Righteous Preaching, Whilst Reluctantly Rubbing Shoulders with Inferiors in an Attempt to Further Glorify Themselves as Saviours of the Universe, Guilt Tripping, Publicly Shaming and Vilifying Anyone Who Dares to Say No to Them. I mean, I get why they called it Band Aid 30, more pleasing to the ears, I imagine.

Let’s not be under any illusion here: Band Aid 30 has nothing at all to do with fighting Ebola. Gathering One Direction, Ellie Goulding and Seal into a room, having them clutch their arms around each other and paint a woeful expression on their faces, crying out for us all to ‘feed the world’ is not about charity at all, and Geldof’s recent public shaming of Adele for not participating in the video is proof, if you ask me. Geldof recently stood in front of the media and slammed Adele for not taking part, vilifying her for choosing to ignore his phone calls and focus her attentions on her family instead. It turned out that Adele had made a private donation to Oxfam prior to declining the invitation to participate in the song, but that is still worthy of Geldof’s shaming,  is further justification that Geldof’s choice to reignite the dying embers of a song that hasn’t been relevant since the 1980s, is all about him. What can the perpetual regurgitation of an eighties song actually do to help fight whatever disease Geldof happens to be bothered about at the time of release? Whether it be famine (80s) or Ebola (today), what makes Band Aid 30 so important? How is being the fastest selling Christmas song ever released pivotal in the fight against Ebola? Answer is, it’s not important at all and the only reason we think that it’s important is because of Geldof’s constant grandstanding. The truth is that the song’s only relevance in pop culture is to guilt trip us, as a society, into believing that the fight against the spread of Ebola lies entirely in our hands; it’s scaremongering at its finest.

Geldof’s constant presence in the media this week is only a constant reminder that we are not doing our bit, that we’re selfish and that when we’re munching down on our Christmas dinners that, in most cases, we’ve been saving for the entire year to afford, that we’re laughing in the face of all those who’ve died of Ebola. We are being manipulated into believing that, if we don’t buy the Band 30 single, we are automatically synonymous with being racists who hate West Africa, laughing into our diamond encrusted goblets whilst thousands of people perish as a result of the disease. We are being manipulated into believing that the fight against Ebola lies entirely with us as a society: By ignoring Geldof’s grandstanding, we’re killing West Africans over Christmastime (but just over Christmastime, mind you. Once it’s over, we’ll not hear from Geldof for another decade when he’ll regurgitate the song for a fifth time to fight against whatever disease is relevant at the time).

I am electing not to feed into Geldof’s grandstanding, ego boosting, self-righteous attempt at superiority through his ‘selfless’ act of regurgitating 80s pop culture for the third time, opting to vilify people who don’t want to listen to or be a part of it. This does not mean I’m a racist who hates West Africa and wants everyone to die of Ebola. It simply means that I don’t want to be a supporter of Geldof’s ego; I would rather make my own donation to the fight against Ebola and be proud of myself for knowing I haven’t perpetuated the belief that celebrities en-masse equate to selfless acts of charity.

If you would like to make a donation (because, remember, it’s a choice), you can do so by following this link.

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We are Feminists, Hear us Roar:

This year, we have seen an increasing surge in women identifying themselves as feminists and, perhaps worryingly, it seems that there are those out there who think that this is a bad thing. There are some who believe the current resurgence of feminism and celebrities identifying themselves as feminists will result in the movement become too ‘trendy’, rendering the movement obsolete, which would be an overwhelmingly demonstrable slap in the face to ‘real’ feminists everywhere. There have been celebrities, models and normal people taking to social media to express their worry at feminism being this season’s ‘hot accessory’ and deeming it a phase that people are going through, but is this really a bad thing? All I can see happening within the movement now is a hierarchy developing, which to me, seems to be more dangerous to feminism than the increasing volume of misogynists, or the ‘women against feminism’ movement – it feels to me that a feminist hierarchy would only perpetuate certain stereotypes placed on women and feminists throughout history, thus creating a dangerous environment for women to be a part of – feminism is becoming increasingly like a bad teen movie set in a high school, rather than an empowering and important movement to identify oneself with.

After I posted my response to Chloe Hamilton’s article on Zoella, I spoke to Brain who told me that articles like that are why people don’t take feminism seriously. I’m paraphrasing here, because it was ages ago and I thought he was trying to attack my article, but it’s something that resonated with me quite deeply (thus why I’m regurgitating it now): He said something along the lines of ‘one woman says something bad about another woman, because she’s not being the right type of feminist, and then there are you are, posting something else, which could be misconstrued by another feminist, creating a cycle of what the right kind of feminism should be’ (he said this way less articulately than I have, but that’s what I’m here for, to make him sound good!). I can’t help but agree, though, and it’s unfortunate that a really important lesson in feminism has come from someone who often (in jest) calls me a ‘dick hating feminist’ to get on my nerves. He is someone who has no real interest in feminism, other than me I guess, and he has said something that I find the most appropriate statement regarding feminism that I’ve heard in the past year. Something which I feel resonates quite deeply with the notion of there being a feminist hierarchy.

Earlier in the year, I wrote that I had become a little disenfranchised by the notion of feminism and questioned whether there was room for a feminist like me within the movement and it’s something that I’ve questioned time and time again. The sheer fact that I referred to there being a room for a ‘feminist like me’ is exactly the point I’m trying to make; there is a feminist hierarchy and it seems to me like I’m pretty low down in the ranks. Personally, I feel that unless you’re a feminist standing on the front lines, preparing for war, there isn’t really a huge deal of room for you in the dizzying heights of the feminist hierarchy; that’s the type of feminist you’re supposed to aspire to be, you become that after many years of patriarchy smashing. You have to earn your stripes before you can become a proper feminist. Simply identifying as a feminist isn’t enough; you can’t be a feminist for your own private reasons, or because you’re a woman who believes in equality any more – you have to be constantly fighting. You can’t be a feminist just because you’re a woman, you have to have a reason: I don’t want to be cat-called in the street, I don’t want to fear rape if I wear a short skirt or get drunk, I don’t want to go to work and be treated differently because I didn’t have the sheer luck of being born with a cock and balls. These feminists, the women who simply are feminists are the lowest ranking members in the supposed feminism hierarchy; you can’t make jokes about being a pussy and then complain when you’re stuck in the middle with misogynists, so to speak.

SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE

Admittedly, I feel a little bit like the girl near the end of Mean Girls, who just wants everyone to get along, paint rainbows on their faces, eat cookies and snuggle whilst reading extracts from The Feminine Mystique or How to be a Woman to one another, but I think, the way some women are reacting to feminism right now, it’s not too bad an idea. When I write about feminism, or write about anything to do with the movement, it’s not men whose reaction I fear – its fellow women’s. And that’s not right. I feel that, the way things are going, the movement will become vitriolic to new members; to the youth of tomorrow. Feminism isn’t some high school game we should be partaking in to find the new Regina George of feminism; it was a movement that began in order to find gender equality in all walks of life, to achieve the vote, to be able to go to work and receive equal pay. To be the type of woman who can write about feminism or gender inequality or being mistreated due to gender on a blog without fearing the censorship of the patriarchy; as feminists, we need to support one another regardless of how ‘real’ their brand of feminism really is. Because, to me, the hierarchy that is evident, particularly within social media circles, is exactly the reason why feminism isn’t taken seriously and why people can call it a ‘trend’. The vitriol present within the movement will be the source of its demise and we have to be careful.

In order to counteract movements such as ‘Women Against Feminism’ and the recent ‘Meninist’ movement, we need to acknowledge and welcome supporters AND critics of feminism, regardless of gender. Yes, by all means, strap on your Doc Marten’s and smash the patriarchy until it’s bloody and battered, after all, that is your choice, but it’s also my choice not to. And that’s something that people need to start reiterating: Feminism is a choice and does not have a strict set of rules you need to adhere to, to be a ‘proper’ feminist. You’re a woman, you control your body, you have a voice and an opinion that deserves to be heard. That is what we need to be supporting here, that feminism is a choice and that your opinions are worthy of our time; the sooner people realise that, the sooner we can forget about silly trends and childish hierarchies.

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Hi Tinkerbell, it’s me… The Writer.

This morning, at the crack of dawn, Brain left for London to go and see his final NFL game of the year. I, groggy and shivering from cold, took refuge in my bed and spent the next few hours having extremely odd dreams; you know the kind where you feel you’re awake, so anything remotely upsetting seems like it is happening really and you spend the rest of the day feeling a little unsettled, because the rational side of your brain tells you no, it’s just a dream, don’t worry. Then your conscience pips up with really? It certainly seemed real, are you sure your landlord didn’t walk into your bedroom and have a conversation with you this morning about being really ill? I know you don’t feel ill, but why else would he let himself into your flat? So, I spent a few hours waking up with a start and trying to get back into a peaceful slumber and every time, an unsettling this could be happening to me right now dream would rear its ugly head and mess my waking life up. One of which was a chance email from The Writer, prompting me to check a very old inbox… low and behold, there sat an unread email reading: Hi Tinkerbell. Oh God.

When I moved back to England with my family, I spent a few years of school having a certain degree of je ne sais quoi about me; I was English, had grown up in England, but had lived in the South of Holland for a few years and could speak fluent Dutch – if it hadn’t been for my inherent awkward, dorky, bookish ways, I could have been someone who capitalised on this and made herself a pretty interesting individual. The majority of people at my school got a bit bored of walking up to me and asking me if I would say certain words in Dutch (usually expletives) and I became a wall flower once more. Inevitably, I began appealing to the more arty type folks, the musicians and the people who wore floaty shirts, long cardigans with sleeves far too long for their arms – the types who would draw on their school bags and blazon their favourite bands on the front of their shirt, claiming to be their first and biggest fans. They were awesome people, don’t get me wrong, a crowd I fit in with quite well and still speak to regularly now and they opened me up to some experiences that I wouldn’t trade in for the world, both good and bad.

It was around this time I met The Writer. He is someone with whom I’ve always had an entirely platonic relationship with, and despite my irrevocable crush on him for about five and a half minutes, it’s something that I am eternally grateful for now. He was one of those kids who had the sheer poor luck of being at his most handsome during his teenaged years: Tall, creamy pale skin, the first of his age to have facial hair and someone who wrote poetry, who played guitar far superior to anyone else our age and also decided that he was going to write an Oscar winning film after seeing Titanic when he was a kid (didn’t we all, though?!). We gravitated towards one another because of our love of music; I was going through my Johnny Cash phase and was secretly hoping to be someone’s June Carter one day and when he first spoke to me – one Friday night that we all saved our lunch money for; a cheap litre bottle of cider we’d all share together, he sidled up beside me as I sat shivering on a wall, offering me his scarf. He smoked, so I declined because I didn’t want my mother to smell disgusting smoke and ground me, but our arms were touching and I felt warmer as a result so we simply sat and talked. There is no denying that The Writer was endlessly interesting; his love of poetry and classical literature was evident; he was someone, the first and only person in my friend group who I thought hmm… he is challenging. I didn’t feel smarter than him, I felt a little in awe of him.

As time went on, I realised he was arduous. I’ve always been a general good judge of character, but only when I realise someone is trying too hard to be a certain someone, or someone who holds a mirror up to society, purely to hide themselves; to fool others into thinking they are greater than they are and The Writer was someone who became obvious to me within a few weeks of our friendship. I realised quite quickly that he would build himself up by trying to belittle me. He knew I wrote and instantly attempted to tell me that my writing wasn’t good enough, I blogged, which he deemed bourgeois, predictable and a bastardisation of the written form. So when he sent me some of his work, I was nervous, I was tentative to read what I understood to be the greatest piece of writing I would ever read; I felt sad that nothing I would ever write in the future would feel even remotely as brilliant as what I was about to encounter. Heart beating, I opened the document and began reading… about five minutes later he asked me what I thought. I hated it. I was disappointed that I’d doubted my own writing, which at the time, and even now is nowhere near brilliant, but his writing was atrocious. He attempted to write about things he had no idea about; warfare, having emotionless, passionless sex with a woman in Paris, the curvature of a woman’s breast and the taste of her (metallic, empty… the lingering taste of those before her bitter on my tongue) It was inappropriate, awful and just… shit, really.

I told him that I didn’t like it and he hit the roof, he told me I wouldn’t know talent if it punched me in the face and refused to speak to me for years. Which was fine by me.

Since then, he has sent me emails out of the blue, discussing the tiresome nature of his life, how his creative process has been diminished by the mundane, that working in a call centre has crushed his soul. That the women he has been with have not satisfied his intellectual desires. He saw the movie Shame and sent me an email telling me that he resonated with Fassbender’s character so well that he genuinely thought someone had been taking examples of his life and used them; he felt creatively robbed, he said. He also sent me an extensive email late last year telling me that he wished he’d treated me with the respect I’d deserved, that he always treated me as though I wasn’t going to be as successful as him and because he knew I hadn’t achieved any form of writing success, he blamed it on himself. That his words had put me off writing and that my disliking his writing was as a result of knowing that my own attempts at literature would never make it… He’s a person so full of himself that I abhor him and enjoy him in equal measures; his own sense of entitlement, I guess, that he has a right to discuss my life as though he has any impact on it whatsoever is both annoying and hilarious in equal measures.

Today’s email was as melancholy as I’ve ever heard him, but it didn’t prompt me to write back words of encouragement. I was annoyed. He has just broken up with a girlfriend of his and quit his job as a result (my creativity needs to flow; working in a fucking call centre stifles my brilliance. I haven’t written a decent word in fucking years!), he was telling me that I know exactly how I feel, knowing how my creative process is constantly stifled, that blogging is a dull and futile attempt at getting exposure. That being so unsatisfied in life that I’ll never find satisfaction in a relationship, because ‘we’re both just too fucked up to be with anyone but each other’.

This email was dated four months ago, when I’d just started seeing Brain and even though it bears no relevance to me now, it is still annoying. It bugs me that his failings in life simply have to include me; that because he considers us kindred spirits that I consider my life a failure; that I can’t find joy in my writing or my relationship because I’m too internally fucked up. Does anyone else have this? Someone in their lives who insists on projecting their misery in order to make you share this? I’ve known people who’ve resonated with me when I’ve complained about him and it almost always tends to be people who’ve chosen a life of creativity, but it always seems that there’s a male/female struggle there too; that if the female is content, happy with her creative pursuits, doing well in some aspect of their life, the creative male becomes cantankerous, publicly agonising over his lack of success instead of just enjoying the creative process for everything that it is and can be. I guess to say it’s a regular thing between male/female dynamics is entirely wrong, because it will just be a tiny portion of people so insecure with themselves that they need to find company for their misery, but every example I’ve experienced has been, so I will state: I don’t think it’s a gender issue, per say. Perhaps… creative men are simply more fucking childish than the average m ale human.

I’m glad I didn’t respond. I think there’s a certain point in everyone’s life when they just need to realise that writing may not be the career they expect, but that writing shouldn’t have to be. Writing is a hobby and if you’re going to be a published writer, great, but surely the only way you get there is to write and write and write; my blog is full of terrible pieces of writing, my creative writing I am far too self-conscious and embarrassed about to share with people, which would be counterproductive if I ever expected to be published. I think that The Writer needs to cling on to me because he doesn’t understand me. I write for the pure pleasure of writing, I love surrounding myself with creative people so we can bounce off one another, learn from one another (whether that be writing or not, any creative pursuit) and bond given our similar passions. To use me as a metaphorical punching bag to highlight his own short comings is not the calling card of a kindred spirit, nor is it the basis on which friendships are made. The Writer proved himself to me within weeks of knowing him: He’s a fake and someone evidently so unhappy with himself that it makes him feel good and powerful to put others down. I don’t have time for people like that. I don’t have time to massage egos anymore.

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Lena Dunham: Not That Kind of Girl?

If you’ve been living under a rock this weekend, (or in my case, the comfortable, safe haven of Brain’s ‘nook’) like me, you may have missed the Twitter storm that came a-brewin’ against Lena Dunham for certain passages written in her memoirs Not That Kind of Girl. As someone who is both a fan of Dunham and the older sister of a fellow female human, I can’t say that I was surprised to see that the media had picked up on inappropriate passages within the novel and called her on it publically.

When I first read the passage, I remember thinking ‘hmm… This is a bit weird, should she be writing this?’ and thought to myself that no real sexual predator would admit to molesting their younger sister so openly, so pushed it to one side, trying to remember if I’d done anything in my childhood that could be misconstrued as inappropriate and dangerous to my little sister’s development into adulthood… I hadn’t, just to be clear. I mean, at least nothing sexual, I don’t think I helped her OCD by perpetuating her fear of never getting to stand on a leaf again, so she would stand there for ages just stamping on it until the rest of the family were miles away and she looked like a tiny little dot, stamping away on some leafy corpse, which eventually led into a facial tick that my parents were mortified about, but I also don’t think that I could be directly blamed for that and she doesn’t do it anymore, so I guess I’m in the clear. So, when I read this morning that it was picked up by the media and she has been accused by countless people of being a child molester, I can’t say that I was surprised. What I was surprised at, was her backlash and request for people to stop twisting her words when she blatantly stated that she attempted numerous methods to woo her little sister, comparing herself to a sexual predator in those exact words right there in the passage. I’m glad it was picked up on and people had the same reaction to me that it was weird and inappropriate, but I can’t say that I think she’s a child molester. Or that she was, rather.

I think Dunham’s desired perception of herself is that people look to her as she quoted in the first season of Girls. She does see herself as the voice of our generation and whilst she does come out with statements that young women can resonate with and respond to positively, I think her attempts at being this independent voice that all young women are crying out for is misappropriated. There is no denying that she is an excellent writer and I can say hand on heart that I adored her memoirs, but I believe her writing style – her unabashed confidence in writing about truly intimate, borderline inappropriate and triggering details of her life – are misguided and can be perceived as being far more damaging than I feel Dunham even realises. Dunham grew up in a liberal, artsy type environment that seemingly celebrated the bizarre and creativity in abundance, which is a childhood set up that I’ve always wanted to be a part of, so I totally understand her joy at being able to write so brazenly about everything from her sexual awakening to two different accounts of being raped (same person, but she wrote about them differently to highlight how she enjoys embellishments within stories), to another account of potentially being groomed by her teacher, but I think as a woman so admired by fellow women everywhere and as someone who seems to attempt to perpetuate the ideals that she is the voice of our generation, she should have thought about and chosen her words more carefully.

I’m a strong believer in writing about personal details of my life. In my blog I have written about my former relationship, which was tempestuous and unenjoyable, I’ve written about depression, general anxiety disorder and feeling so low about myself that I attempted suicide and I’ve written once or twice about being raped when I was a teenager – these are potentially triggering to people who have read them, but I also think they’re vitally important pieces of information to have written on my blog; they not only define the person I am today, but they go to show that for anyone struggling with these things themselves: It happens to people, it is horrible, but there are people here for you and there are people who can testify that it will get better. We write about these things to highlight how common these issues are and to be a support network for all involved. Or at least, that’s why I do it. So, there are elements of Dunham’s memoirs that I feel are highly appropriate, even if I do feel the nonchalance in which she writes about them disturbing. I feel she detaches herself from everything she writes; therefore negating any aspect of responsibility for if/when shit hits the fan, such as these sexual predator comments.

As I mentioned before, Dunham states within the memoirs that she does embellish stories and that her sister has called her out on it so many times, because she does tend to add pieces of false information to try and create more drama out of the story and to make it more interesting, and whilst I don’t feel that this could be an appropriate defence, I just feel as though the stories about masturbating whilst her sister lies asleep next to her and opening her sister’s vagina and there happening to be rocks in there… It just all seems farfetched to me. Like, I have always been so close to my sister and we’ve talked about everything with each other, from our first kisses, to the first time we received the joy that is known as cunnilingus (her reaction was far more visceral to mine, she actually shouted OH MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD, SO GOOD! Whilst clenching her fists together, whereas my reaction was ‘I don’t think he knew what he was doing, it was more like a dog having a drink at the end of a really long walk’) and we still discuss intimate details of our sex lives and show our boobs to each other, I still see her naked because she insists on pissing in front of me, even when I ask her not to… just I as I causally leave sex toys lounging around the bathroom/bedroom for her to see, even though she thinks it’s a bit weird. Sisters generally are close. Not close enough to discover rocks in each other’s vaginas, but you know, pretty close.

Whilst I am not trying to defend Dunham for including such senseless and odd comments in her memoir, I don’t think that she molested her sister and I feel that these comments have been slightly misconstrued to fit the desires of her critics, but, I am also confident in saying that I think Dunham is a bit of a liar, that she embellishes her words in order to make them seem more interesting, for her to seem more quirky and individualistic and I think to do so in such a public setting such as a personal memoir and to compare oneself to a sexual predator is her, long overdue, in my opinion, comeuppance. I feel that this recent backlash against Dunham is appropriate and I feel that her defending herself against these critics by asking them to stop twisting her words is her embarrassment; it has brought to life how truly unoriginal she is and that she embellishes words and stories to gain a better reaction from readers; to seem quirkier and funnier. I don’t think she’s a child molester, but what I learned from her memoirs is that she isn’t as interesting as she attempts to convey herself. She is open about how she has suffered with mental illness and I think that is why some of the stuff she writes comes across as being generally quite disturbing; because she is so detached from things herself (which she openly admits), I think her actions come across as a little childish and selfish. From reading Not That Kind of Girl I can safely say that my resonating opinion when reading the novel was that she did seem like a little girl sitting at her first typewriter/laptop writing about things she thinks grown-ups are supposed to write about, which is perhaps why some of her language is wrong or … again, that word: misguided.

I certainly don’t think that Lena Dunham is a child molester, nor do I think she actively molested her sister when they were children. I think she is a confused young woman who has had such a meteoric rise to fame, that her embellishments have become such a prominent part of her success, that she has never truly had to acknowledge them or answer for them. Until her memoir, her writing has been for television or movies, where she has created characters based on life, but not necessarily 100% true to that life, so she has never truly had to acknowledge the damage that her little white lies can cause. Now, as I did state, I feel she has had her comeuppance thanks to recent events, and whilst I do feel deeply sorry for her, I hope that it has taught her to choose her words more carefully in future. As someone who has used a character to say the words I think I might be the voice of my generation, she should take on more responsibility and realise that to a lot of women, she really is that and her words, her embellishments affect us all, one way or the other.

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