Let’s play a game

August 1, 2008

Last night I had a more pleasant dream; quite literally about fluffy kittens. My cat’s kitten had a kitten of her own, more of a furball than an animal, tabby and adorable. I woke up thinking “aah” and then “weird that cat looks can skip a generation” and then “my cats have been fixed and I’m clearly developing catlady variant CJD” and then when I opened my eyes “omfg there is cat arse on my face”

Yesterday was a sad day. First because I had to go to the bank. Second because I hadn’t realised my standing order for rent had expired and despite fixing it and everything being ok now I don’t like to inconvenience my landlord. Not only because I like to pretend that my finances are in order but also because he’s a genuinely nice guy and not technically a landlord at all, just a person who happens to own a house. Third because of the whole British Gas thing(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7533389.stm) I’ve had to cancel half of my charity subscriptions so that I’ll be able to pay the bill next quarter. Fourth because I got rained on on the way back to the office.

Apparently the efficiency of my office stands at 52 per cent, a statistic our lady and mistress has been ordered not to repeat (I heard it as a dirty rumour and will assume from the glumness in that area of the room that it is true). This is not to say that we are all slackers, we work when we get assignments but we’re only given projects half the time. This probably stems from our content requestors being slow, apathetic or useless. Now though our low productivity is being secretly, gossiply blamed for the summer BBQ being cancelled and the lack of a pay review. Oh well. At least I have a job and time to spam the blogosphere.

I have invented a new game. It’s called Daily Fail Bingo. In each day’s publishings you must look out for the following:

  • A photo of a woman in a Bikini
  • A photo of a woman in a Bikini with no negative references to her weight/cellulite
  • A negative reference to abortion
  • An article about RealMenz/how womenz are destroying teh menz
  • An article about an aspect of womanhood that puts you in mind of the fifties
  • A lament by a femail journalist on how feminism has betrayed her
  • A positive view of motherhood and family values
  • A pseudo-science article about gender

I imagine you should be able to tick these off every day, the only real challenge being the second one – helpfully covered this week by Helen Mirren.

I suppose this is actually quite a bad idea as I shouldn’t be encouraging their web traffic, I just find is fascinating that there are so many sly attacks on women in virtually every article.

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The Bridget Jones post

July 31, 2008

So, having a rant about Jane Austen adaptations the other day garnered some interest from www.austenblog.com. I’d like to explain my thoughts around this but I have a feeling they will get terribly out of control and meander all over the place (my train of thought at the best of times being a wobbly shopping trolley full of impulse buys and reduced counter items). My plan is to number the sections and pretend it’s a form of organisation.

1) Jane Austen. My feelings on Austen’s novels are similar to the ones I have for Harry Potter: so many people love them already that I needn’t make too much of an effort to. Unlike Harry Potter I have read most of Austen’s books, my favourite being Persuasion, but I’m not about to have a fangasm by reading it over and over when there are many, many other books also worthy of my attention. Most of my Austen books are actually on loan to my mother at the moment in the hope of improving her taste…

2) Bridget Jones: the novel. This was not in itself a bad book though at the time it came out I was having a heavy aversion to “chick lit” (I think I’ll have to make a separate post about chick lit sometime) so I resented having to study it in school when I naively felt I should be studying “real literature”. It turns out on closer inspection that virtually every plot device in BJD was lifted from Pride and Prejudice and if I knew where that essay was I’d type it out and post it.

I found Bridget to be a stagnant character. She was always frustrated and never achieved anything. One thing she was aiming for was weight loss but even when she reached her goal weight it so happened that a few people said she looked ill that day so she gave it up and put the weight back on. I can appreciate her appeal as a character who didn’t really know what she wanted and just sort of muddled through, and that despite her screw-ups she didn’t do too badly in the balance (perhaps reflected by her tiny scratchcard profit over the year). She is essentially a mediocre person, but that’s ok because we all are. In that light I completely understand the book’s success.

3) Bridget Jones: the movie. The movie character was quite different to the book character. To make her more universally lovable they turned her into a bumbling fool. She was no longer mediocre, she was spectacular in her failure. I can’t remember a single thing that goes right for her other than having sex. If she had had one success, just one little triumph to cling to, if she’d even just been adequately good at her job, I would be able to forgive most of the rest of the movie. Sadly she didn’t, so I can’t, but that just means I don’t like the movie not that the movie itself was bad.

We all screw up, I get it. I’ve worn odd shoes to work, I thrown up in embarrassing places, dated awful men and forgotten to pay my rent. But I don’t accept that as my identity like movie Jones seems to. I’ve also got two degrees, do fairly well at work and make a mean vegetable curry. Really this leads me to my final Jones section:

4) Bridget Jones: the yardstick. This is the Bridget Jones incarnation that makes me shudder. The book was fine, the movie was blah, but the legacy genuinely distresses me. Bridget Jones has become the standard by which women are measured. The yardstick doesn’t do the character justice, not even the movie version, as it has reduced her to an even simpler form: a typical woman.

I resent that Bridget Jones has been chosen as the representative of womankind. I do not fail at everything I attempt; I do not fall over all the time; I do not go out looking like a tit without realising (mostly); I do not hear a clock in my head; I do not care about my size; I do not think that having a man is the be all and end all; I definitely don’t think it’s appropriate to start thinking about marriage 2 months after you start dating. And Bridget didn’t necessarily even do all of these things, they’ve just been added to the yardstick.

You can be a bumbling fool sometimes, but I don’t want people assuming that if they see me do it once that is all I am. The attributes above are not bad in context: Femme falls over all the time and I’m pretty certain she hears a clock in her head but she is a well-rounded capable person. In the same vein I act really childishly with my partner but it doesn’t mean I have the intellectual capacity of a five year old. If people/media were making Bridget Jones comparisons in relation to her character it wouldn’t be so bad, but it looks to me like an easy way of saying “You’re such a big dumbfuck, but we like you that way so keep doing it”.

The Bridget Jones Label is frequently abused to box women into a restricted catagory. I don’t know how easy it would be to shake that label. It especially bothered me when people (including the teacher leading my class when studying this) labelled themselves as Bridget Joneses, because love her or hate her is there anyone out there who respects her?


PS:

July 25, 2008

In case you thought the whole ‘Bridget Jones as a yardstick’ thing was kind of over:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1038427/Meet-Midget-Jones-Georgias-hailed-Hollywood-Keira-Knightley.html

Yeah I know they are stuck back in their imaginary golden age but they are widely read and perpetuate the BJ standard.


I have hunger

July 9, 2008

Ich habe hunger. Yes I do, burning a hole in my belly and my head. After last week’s no snacking at work between meals success I am now struggling as I enter the huge appetite phase of my hormone cycle. It feels weak to admit that my hormones have influence over me but their impact is impossible to ignore. Last night I ate a 150g bag of kettle chips after dinner. At the time I blamed the goodness of sweet vinegar.

I don’t usually read the Metro on the bus/train but I may start. In the last few weeks two headlines have grabbed my attention, one about unreported harassment of LGBT people and today’s follow-up on the guy the police mistakenly threw to the ground and pointed a gun at. I can’t say if they were doing this to show that young black men can be middle-class Oxford graduates or to show that racial profiling is ineffectual and wrong. I’ll keep my eye out for future headlines.

In more personal news the downturn of the economy has made it unfeasible for our landlord to sell our home so we don’t have to leave just yet. It will be a lot easier to house hunt when my dear one has a job. I still don’t want to stay in our current house for too long though, as certain factors make it an uncomfortable living space. My reaction to Housefolk Epsilon is getting worse. I think I am developing pronounced retard intolerance, like lactose intolerance, which makes anything he says hard for me to digest. When you are struggling to even make small talk with a person it’s easier to just steer clear. I usually only see him now when I’m cooking and am trapped in the room with his fearsome odour. BO that can overpower the smell of freshly chopped onion is extreme.

I don’t like feeling this way about a person. For predominently selfish reasons. Any time I have tried to reconsider he does something that makes me feel my dislike is justified. Any time he states the obvious about a film or tv show we are watching I cringe. Any time I try to make an excuse for him like only child syndrome or poor parenting I remember that he is an adult man and has control over himself. Any time he says anything right wing I want to simulatenously laugh and vomit about the stupidity and falseness of what he has said. I cannot live with this person any more. If I end up staying in my current house a while longer I will be counting the days until I can say goodbye to him forever.


What is wrong with right-wing people?

June 12, 2008

To my mind, and in my experience, those that loudly proclaim themselves to be on the right-wing of the political spectrum are not the nicest of people. As I understand it being right-wing is all about ‘looking out for number one’ and so earning lots of money for yourself and stepping on people’s heads to gain this fiscal happiness. In order to gain all you can you may abuse your societal privilege, for example if you were born a white man you may openly proclaim that chicks are no good in the board room but they sure do look nice when cooking me a steak – not those black chicks though, don’t wanna eat friend chicken every night. You don’t have to be as extremely foul and blatant as that but casual insult dropping to those regarded as ‘beneath’ you seems to be a typical trait of right-wingers. They may object and tell you they can’t possibly be racist because they have a #insert minority here# friend -right after challenging you to a game of ‘spot the white face’ which obviously can’t possibly be racist because white is the race you’re focusing on and blah blah blah.

Right-wingers also, in my observation, have a fearful loathing of the poor. I’m guessing this is either because poor people remind them how much money they are selfishly hoarding, or because they think the poor people are stealing all their taxes. I do think it funny the amount of rage right-wing media spews on people supposedly stealing taxes. Even if we didn’t have state-run welfare programmes there would still be tax to pay; that stuff is barely a drop in the ocean.

Some right-wingers have the most problem with middle-class liberals. They look at them, trying to think of a conceivable reason why this person who should, in their minds, be just like them but chooses not to be. I have seen this cause arguments and even fights. You have the capacity to gain things for yourself and yet you choose not to? What madness! What stupidity! they must think. Yet I think the opposite: you have the opportunity and financial ability to choose your actions, so why don’t you choose the actions that make the world a little bit better? Like walking to the shop. Or reusing a bag. Or not buying and buying and buying cheap things so that you can have a lot of things and still have a lot of cash. Or choosing to buy a small car instead of a large car. Or not being rude to waiters because you see them as poor servants to your greatness. Or not being rude to people you perceive as foreign because you assume they are here illegally and stealing your taxes when in fact you have no idea what their personal circumstances are. Or thinking about things for a change.

I can’t honestly say why right-wing people have more of a tendency to do at least some of the things I’ve listed above. It may seem harsh to judge but I think about things and I try not to make negative impacts on the lives of others so I don’t understand why some people think it is acceptable to do so.


What’s going on in my world today?

May 30, 2008

Link, and rant, link and rant and rant *the itchy and scratchy shoooow*

First the sad news:

http://video.news.sky.com/skynews/video/?&videoSourceID=1317480&flashURL=/feeds/skynews/latest/flash/falluja_p7464.flv

The American army’s use of phosphorous in the Iraq war has caused a sudden surge in the number of birth defects – nice one guys. I’m not going to go into whether or not the war was needed, justifiable, a failure or any of the rest of it because it’s too late, it’s done now and you can’t undo it. Sadly these people, random civilians presumably not involved in the conflict, are now suffering as the result of a poorly researched technology. Anyone going to take responsibility for this? I can believe it was a mistake as they probably checked to make sure short term exposure to adults (ie their soldiers) wouldn’t cause harm and that they probably wouldn’t have researched the affects on long term exposure and developing foetuses. But they still did it so they should make some form of apology.

The thing that bothers me about this is that the BBC is not reporting it. I have searched their website and there is no sign of this. Would it be some form of politcal dissent? The more I look outside the BBC the more I see its limitations and biases. Also if you ever want to feel angry you can read their Have Your Say pages which are full of fascists complaining about too much liberalism (where?) ruining the world.

No wait – if you really want to feel angry you should read the Daily (hate) Mail. I don’t know why I go there so often, it surely must be bad for my health. I used to avidly read Liz Jones’ column about her life believing it was satire – that is how terrifying, exaggerated and pathetic the woman’s life is. All she has taught me is that if you think seperating your eyelashes with a pin will impress men then you don’t deserve respect.

What really angered me about the daily fail today was this article about ‘retrosexuals’ which forms part of their recent anti-feminist attack:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1022932/The-return-real-men-Ladies-ready-meet-Mr-Retrosexual.html

The article insists that men are better when they can’t dress, wash, cook, take care of their homes or property, pay for everything (with cash, like a drug dealer) but then leave at the first wiff of commitment (why not save the hassle and pay to use a trafficked hooker? At least she’s tied to the bed and can’t follow you to your decrepid hovel). There is also the assumption that all men like football and are homophobic. In my experience the more that a man tries to live up to these viciously restrictive ideals the more of a prick he is. So thanks Daily Male for reinforcing the negative behaviour of fucktards while claiming that feminists make RealMen(tm) into pussies.


Cynicism radar: 29.95 with free sarcasm alarm

May 29, 2008

Last night I watched the new magically recut magical magic new version of Blade Runner, and while it was fun to see Adama as a young and kinda freaky-looking man I could not see any obvious difference between this and the director’s cut. It raised a tweak on my cynicism radar, particularly when I remembered the email I got from amazon.co.uk with a note saying they had completely remade the film from the bits on the cutting room floor. Which they (of Blade Runner rights ownership) obviously haven’t so I can only conclude they are screwing me for cash.

Cynicism radar can also help you identify people as those who may be fine at acquaintence but are not to be relied on in crises. Like those who think wife beating is a private matter and nothing to bother the police with, and leaving a friend on the street is ok if you’re trying to patch things up with a partner. Ok those are fairly obvious things but they confirmed to me that people I’d already chosen not to trust deserved my lack of faith.

I have long had a problem with a clogged up thought process. So far I have tried whining about it, writing this blog and ritual magic to help the problem, and I’m now starting to see how things I do could have been better if I’d thought about it more at the time. Which sucks but is a start so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Want to hear a really sick cliche? I have to stop wanting to do things and start doing things. I hate all that self-help life-coaching positivity-mantra bull-shit. It’s sickening and twee and reeks of desperate weakness – probably why women are encouraged to do it. That pisses me off too: women be strong and do something for yourself by acting as pathetic as possible! I think the 12.99 that crappy book costs would be better spent on a big creamy coffee treat and an epic piece of cake. None of that skinny latte skinny muffin shit neither – I’m on to you starbucks, you with your fake fair trade ‘but we have to screw the africans or where will our profit come from?’ attitude.

Speaking of attitude, how badass is the angry stripping woman?:

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/cath_elliott/2008/05/so_angry_i_could_strip.html

Considering I’ve been stared at, honked at, shouted at, talked at, curbed crawled, asked inappropriate questions about my sexual history and had my arse groped at a bus stop at lunchtime I can appreciate this problem. I do not dress to be leched at and I ain’t even that pretty, though I’m young and well-endowed. What I find most insane about this article is the number of responders implying that the author is just jealous because she’s not much to look at and probably doesn’t get this sort of attention. Again, I call bullshit. I feel a deep well of pity for all women who enjoy the greasy stares of grotesque men. And before anyone says it even if George Clooney or Johnny Depp asked me to get my tits out all they would see is my angry face.

 Edit: I forgot to add that I love the Mary Wollstonecraft quote at the end of that article. If only my cage were so shiny #sigh#