Banknotes, Boycotts and Backlash

Oh, Sheldon. I finally understand what you were feeling when you uttered my favourite line in The Big Bang Theory. “There isn’t enough chamomile tea in the world to quell the rage in my heart.” I feel the same way, but with Mini Milks.

It seems like every time the feminist movement takes a small step forward (in this case, Jane Austen replacing Charles Darwin on the £10 note), it takes two steps back. I won’t go into my personal feelings about Austen replacing Darwin in this blog as I feel another post would be necessary. That’s not the problem, it’s the tirades of abuse the leader of this campaign has received on Twitter over the past few days along with the reaction of some people I’ve been made aware of.

Since the success of her petition, Caroline Criado-Perez has been the target of frankly horrifying abuse. No woman should ever be the target of rape threats and yet the users responsible for her abuse still have accounts on the site. Criado-Perez reported the abuse she was getting to the manager of journalism and media on Twitter. His response? To protect his account. Clearly to Mark S. Luckie, a problem ignored is a problem solved. For those interested, there has been a petition started to draw those in charge of Twitter to action here.

Upon learning of this earlier this morning, my feed lit up with journalists being horrified and sympathetic to Criado-Perez’s plight. These women are often the subject of abuse (from inside the feminist movement also) and are tired of having their opinions on twitter silenced.

Not being one to back out of a confrontation myself, I’ve been told I’m “too ugly to rape” among other things, for daring to comment that criticising a Wimbledon champion on her looks is not appropriate. This cannot be tolerated.

These journalists, namely Caitlin Moran, Helen Lewis and Suzanne Moore, have proposed an idea. That women who do not want to stand for this abuse and being silenced on social media silence their accounts for one day, to show what the social media site would be like if instead of standing up, women just left. It’s not the greatest idea ever, but what else is there to do if the site itself isn’t acting?

I’ve said it before, the most detrimental thing about feminism today is the constant in-fighting between the women (and men) involved. When this idea was proposed, it was met with the usual suspects who automatically decry anything Moran or her journalist allies say saying it’s a terrible idea. Fine, but do you have anything better to suggest?

Instead of providing something positive, it always appears to be much easier to just shit all over someone else’s idea. Would Moran’s cause have more merit if she was just out on the streets of Crouch End bawling at random strangers to fuck the patriarchy? At least these more high-profile feminists are trying to do something, instead of sitting at home criticising others’ attempts.

And so it rumbles on, my frustration reaching a fever pitch that not even Mini Milks can calm down. Sheldon, I really do feel your pain, though perhaps another one wouldn’t hurt.

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Bieber Visits Anne Frank Museum, Educators Have a Meltdown

Many young people only recognise one of the people pictured – which one? Source: radiolive.co.nz

I must confess, I have never visited the Anne Frank museum, mainly as I have never visited Amsterdam. There is an eerie fascination with what happened to those oppressed by German occupation, especially in regards to Jewish families such as the Franks.

I have seen photos from inside the secret annexe, there’s even a virtual tour you can take online, showing you how small the annexe was. Her shared bedroom was tiny, and decorated with pictures to brighten it up a little (the same way Beliebers have pictures of Justin blu-tacked to their walls?), they shared a wash room which only had a sink. She spent her days with her family, stuck in one small room. If I was cooped up for that long with my family, some of us would not have survived long enough to be caught by Nazis. It must have been terrifying.

If I had the chance to visit the museum, Anne Frank’s choice of music had she been a teenager today would be the furthest thing from my mind. Can you even begin to imagine how terrifying it must have been, the slightest noise potentially sentencing yourself and your entire family to certain death in concentration camps?

Yesterday, “news” surfaced that Justin Bieber had visited the museum in Amsterdam. This would not usually have made it into national newspapers – it would have just been a young man wanting to discover history. What made the story, though, was his staggering sense of self-importance. Instead of writing about his experience opening his eyes to her plight in the 1940’s – he wrote: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” Wow.

This, however, was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to uneducated teenagers and tweenies. “Beliebers” everywhere provided a staggering indictment of their respective education systems. Let me provide you with a few examples:

Want more? Greg Hyatt on tumblr retweeted a few more.

Recently, the history curriculum in England and Wales has come up for discussion. I had no idea that they were potentially discussing putting Anne Frank and her diary back into the teaching of World War 2. Or are these kids too obsessed by the coiffed little boy to pay attention to the teaching of fundamental historical knowledge?

I remember on at least 3 separate occasions, being taught the story of Anne Frank. I think myself incredibly lucky that my parents encouraged me to read her diary when I came home from school and said we were learning about her.

Now, however, even the BBC’s childrens’ news (Newsbeat) had to explain who Anne Frank was – to avoid another outbreak on twitter of “Who even was she?”

Her story is a fundamental part of forming empathy for the literally millions of victims of the German Nazi regime at this time. It’s truly, deeply worrying that so many young people are ignorant of her story.

For the sake of your own mental health, when you see young people being this ignorant on your timeline – do not go digging for more examples. It’s incredibly disheartening.

Out of the Swing of Things

I need to start getting back into the swing of writing on here again. Since I posted about the potential risk to a woman’s right to choose which took more than a month to prepare, I am totally stumped with what to write about. I am now no longer working (proof that hard work is no guarantee of a permanent position in Christmas temp work) and have more time on my hands – so where are my ideas?

Over the last couple of days, when I have had access to the laptop I am writing this on, I’ve written four drafts, all of which have been defeated. This blog was meant to be for me getting out what I need to, and I’m not managing to get that done because it’s not engaging or entertaining enough. It’s not like many people read this, let alone comment.

I have been exploring wordpress over the last few days, engaging with people who have been writing on topics I have already dealt with and don’t really want to rehash. But it has been interesting, hearing another person’s viewpoint. Why do people not connect with me here? Is this my hidden corner of cyberspace with over 40 followers who’re meant to be reading little pieces of literary brilliance from myself?

Can someone in the news not just be an arsehole so I can get angry again? It would really make getting back in the habit easier.

Tumblr is a Very Odd Place

I’ve attempted to keep blogs in all places online, and this place is the only one where I’ve kept at it with actually writing words and posting them – that is what the traditional form of blogging is, after all. I tried blogger, and found that much too complicated for me, and the community element of the place seemed almost non-existent. I even tried writing on tumblr for a while, but the community on there genuinely boggles my mind.

My tumblr is basically a collection of cool images I found whilst searching random terms online, be it fashion, retro or even just searching for colours. It’s not for everyone. I don’t have many followers at all (given I’m celebrating having a sum total of 33 followers on here, which twitter aside is my most-followed online profile), and I don’t really interact with anyone unless it’s to reblog something cool they’ve posted.

Tumblr is, however, a fantastic place to collect gifs, which according to a piece in The Guardian supplement G2 today, are phenomenal. I’m so easily pleased by the repetitive little blighters. One such example is from my post last week, in which I posted a gif of Kemboi dancing after finishing his 3,000m steeplechase.

I keep a folder of animated gifs on my external hard drive, and each of them make me smile. They can be little daft things, clips from TV shows, football players getting hit in the face with TV cameras, or normal people doing ridiculous things. I just love them, ok? And after all of my ranty posts in the last few days, I felt like my blog needed a bit of light reprieve.

These gifs are a small selection of what comes up when I look at my favourites on tumblr. And if you enjoy the three things these have come from, then you deserve a gold star for having excellent taste.

It Appears I May Be Turning This Blog…

…onto what appears to be Feminist Highway. This wasn’t always the intention of mine, though recently, the men who’ve come to my attention in the past few days appear to have all lost their minds, and I couldn’t keep from writing about them.

It’s actually infuriating.

On certain nights on channel 4, they show a little five minute segment after the national news which is supposed to be informative and current. Last night was somewhat different. At just prior to 8pm last night, Reverend George Curry appeared on screen to ask whether showing skin is a sin. As he said “My naked body is for my wife to see, and her naked body is for me to see”, which seems like a reasonable enough statement to make (if he had stopped talking immediately after that). However, Rev. Curry went on to talk about how immoral it was for a woman to go out showing skin “baring skin is a sin”.

I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on that.

As I posted on twitter during this man’s railing against women wearing skirts (OH MY GOD), I bet that Rev. Curry goes out without a shirt when it’s hot outside and shows off his burger nipples to the rest of the world.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to walk around topless (I actually quite happen to like wearing pretty underwear and nice clothes, they make me feel more attractive, and thus I think I come across more confidently), but if women are expected to walk around covered from head-to-toe all the time, shouldn’t men? If it’s hot outside, I’m going to wear short shorts and floaty skirts because I like it and it keeps me cool. I’m not trying to attract a man or make him think about “impure” things. If I go out at the weekend with my female friends (albeit, not that often at the moment), we all go out dressed nicely, in short skirts, shorts, dresses and high heels. None of us are “inviting rape”, contrary to the opinions of several men who’ve crossed my twitter feed/TV screen/wordpress timeline have said. I honestly can’t believe the culture of rape apologists, “slut” shaming and victim blaming.

As I have said in my previous blogs, and in my letter to Missouri senate candidate Representative Todd Akin, no woman ever deserves to be raped. It’s nothing about the clothes she wears, it’s not about a woman flirting and giving the wrong impression. Guys can give the wrong impression too, you know? “I’ll call you”. Does that sound familiar, men of the one night stand game? Is the woman right to force herself onto you? No, right. So why the fuck can it possibly be a woman’s fault that you’ve taken advantage of her because she’s not strong enough to fight you off?

I think, with the weather taking a nice turn to sunshine for the first time since May, I’ll be taking full advantage of being able to show off my milky white flesh. Fuck you, Reverend George Curry, I’ll be wearing what I want.

 

Friendship Friday – How Long is Too Long to Wait For a Reply?

Texting on a qwerty keypad phone

Texting on a qwerty keypad phone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I come to you with a question: how long is too long to wait for a reply from someone who you consider a close friend? How long can you put up with a certain someone being difficult to get in touch with before you snap?

Let’s Talk About The Basics

I’ve known this girl since we were in primary school. We shared crisps and sweets at break time, sat together at lunch, I even used to ask out boys for her (I was always much too busy playing rugby/football with the guys to be interested in them). We’ve always been close from the first time I told a girl off for being mean to her as she was too weak to tell her herself.

When we went to high school, we weren’t in any of the same classes any more, but we still kept close, meeting up in the same place every day so we didn’t miss each other. We met up most evenings, including our special “ned  Wednesdays” where we used to dress up like chavs and either go running or wander to areas of town we’d never been before, usually ending up in being lost (which should be harder in a town with less than 20,000 residents). We started going to gigs together, started underage drinking around the same time, even went through the same sorts of “phases” at the same time (one example being the emo phase I had some nostalgia for here). We were inseparable. Well, until she got a proper boyfriend anyway.

Joys With Jay And Friends

During the aforementioned emo phase, we started hanging around with the boys who skated and listened to similar music to us. Lucy started going out with a boy called Jay, and they really got on very well….the first time. Being basically children but attempting to grow up much too fast, they spent all of their time together, separate from the rest of us. I’d try to keep up with what was going on in her life, but getting her to text or phone back was already becoming harder. I had no idea just how hard it was going to get.

Fights, “Friends” And Assorted Fun

I’ve always had a decent temper, but over time it does begin to fray. This friendship was dying, and because we’d been so close for so long, I was damned if I was going to let it go just because of some guy. I remember leaving multiple voicemails and texts for her but it was still one way traffic. She’d surrounded herself with a bunch of new “friends” who I could tell only wanted to hang around because her parents let her use the house for parties at the weekend.

I was proved right because when she broke up with Jay, they all disappeared and weren’t there to support her. Yet I patiently sat there, listening to her complain about the bunch of pricks she’d set up with. I bit my tongue, but it served her right.

And Now, I Just Fucking Give Up

Jumping forward a few years, we’re in the present day. I can’t actually remember the last time I saw Lucy since the good period back at the start of the year. Sure, I’ve been seeing a lot of Chris, but I’ve been texting her to ask what’s been going on and if she was free to hang about at some time. Average reply time is now sitting at around a week, unless she wants something.

I’m at my wits end, considering this past week I haven’t been able to text as my phone bill hasn’t been paid and I can’t afford to pay it myself, and now she decides she’s my friend again. Perhaps she’s had another falling out with Ashley or some other bellend I can’t stand to be around, but my sympathy is running thin with her. Why hang around with people she plainly doesn’t like? I refuse to see her if she’s going out with Ashley, as I just don’t like the girl.

After a barrage of texts (including a laughable one asking when my birthday is – the day and month are the same fucking number!), a facebook post and even a solitary tweet I finally replied, saying “Hey you, things are great here. How’s yourself? Cannae text back as bill’s no been paid! Miss you!” and as yet I’ve had no response. Any bets on how long it’s going to take?

I give up. No more effort is coming from this end until she bucks up her ideas.

 

Do you have similar issues with flaky friends? How do you deal with them? How long is too long to stand for this? I’d like to hear your input.