Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The sexualisation of women

Today while I was attempting to write my essay on the novel Disgrace, I heard my brother listening to a song. Two guys were rapping. I hadn't heard the song before, but it basically spoke about women the way most hiphop songs do. Like objects. "I like pussy. I like cunts, but I don't like women" one of them shouted. I was disgusted. It seems to be not more than normal to view women as nothing more but objects who have to listen to men, because, well men are superior, aren't they?

I'm not a feminist. I don't go around burning my bra, screaming how awful men are. Because I've met quite a few good men along the way. However, the thing that bothers me is that there is still a large majority of guys who think it is normal to treat women like they are of no importance. Like they are just there to please men. In the novel I have to write an essay about, there is one quote that particularly sparked my interest: “She does not own herself. Beauty does not own itself.” This is not just a quote from a book. It is sadly what some men perceive to be reality.
Whenever a girl walks down the street in a pretty dress and men whistle, she is supposed to feel honoured. She is supposed to feel good about the fact that she looks good enough to be whistled at. To be considered an object of desire. But how honourable is it to be whistled at by strangers, asked for sexual favours and more often than not, after you decline, being called stuck-up or a whore? Yes, everybody likes attention. Everybody likes to be considered pretty. It's fun to flirt. But that doesn't mean that a girl wants to flirt with every random guy on the street. It doesn't mean that a girl is appreciative of your sexual comments. It doesn't make someone feel better. It only makes them feel scared and insecure.

I remember when I was 19 and I was alone waiting for the train. A guy came up to me. He was my age and he started talking to me so we had a nice conversation. When the train came, he followed me and sat opposite me. At a sudden point he would start stroking my leg and I felt very uncomfortable about it. I was afraid to speak up because I was rather shy. He asked me if I wanted to come to his house to have sex. I politely declined. I had known this guy for half an hour and he already thought it was okay for him to ask me for sexual favours, just because he was in the mood for sex and I was the first vagina he spotted.

Women are sexualised in the media, that's a fact. And I think that it's okay for women to use their sexuality to a certain extend. There is nothing wrong with nudity as long as it is tasteful. There is no shame in the female body. But how often do we see half-naked men on Page Three? How often are men called manwhores for having sex with a lot of different girls? Women are sluts the moment they enjoy their sexuality and sleep with more than one guy. Why is a man a hero when he slept with 5 girls in one weekend? 

Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, even Beyonce who is seen as the rolemodel for female empowerment show themselves as sexual objects in their music videos. It's fine when you want to show the world that you are comfortable in your skin, but the fact that the ladies perform all kinds of sexual acts in the video, while the men are usually just watching it happen is strange.

In her latest video, Jennifer Lopez turned the tables around and had hot half-naked men perform the role of video hoes. And what strikes me most is that a lot of people were actually surprised by the video. As if men can't be objects of desire. As if us girls can't lust after a guy without being called a whore.

When girls get raped, there are people who dare to say that it is the girl's fault. That if she hadn't dressed 'provocatively' it wouldn't have happened. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with clothes. It has to do with values. It has to do with respect. It seems that we live in a world in which boys are taught that women are inferior, whether by their environment or by what they see in the media. Instead of blaming girls for being put in the position of lust object, we should teach boys that you treat a woman with respect. That you do not touch her if she does not want you to touch her. That you do not go up to a strange girl to ask her for sex and call her names if she doesn't comply. Because men don't own women. We don't wear a sign around our necks that says I'M A WHORE, USE ME AS YOU PLEASE. 

Sex is a great thing and it is a powerful thing. It's great when two people are in love and make love. But it has to always be consensual and all the parties involved have to be respected. I fear we still have a long way to go before we're truly equal. Until that time, dear media, instead of just throwing boobs in our faces all the time, at least show up some penis action too. You know, for equality.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Victory of the Bearded Lady

Yesterday was the Eurovision song contest as you inevitably must have heard. Unless you're not from Europe, then you have an excuse to not know whaddup. Anyways, those who follow me on twitter could read my fantastic live report as I was tweeting whilst watching the show. The sport of it all is too be witty and entertaining. Being a bit bitchy is allowed as long as you don't make it personal.

Yesterday was the final and it was more than just entertainment. Of course, we all installed ourselves in front of the television with our laptops and phone in hand, ready to share every thought on social media. But this year the Eurovision wasn't just about who wore the best/worst dress or had the weirdest act. This year the world outside of the Eurovision bubble managed to invade and it was magical. The Eurovision Song Contest has always been about politics, neighbours voting for each other etc. It had little to do with music and more to do with extravagence. But this year, Austria entered the lady with the beard, Conchita Wurst. To some it might have been a witty act to garner attention, but to many others, including myself, it was a statement. A statement of being who you are and nobody who can touch you.

Ever since the semi-finals, Conchita has been my favourite and the favourite of many others. She did not just perform an act but she was honestly amazing. Her voice sounded phenomenal and the song was truly empowering. It was no surprise that she went through to the final and eventually won it.

The final was entertaining, although most acts were exactly like they had been in the semi-finals, with the additional countries which go through automatically for paying most money to finance to whole thing. Nobody was impressed until Conchita took the stage and owned the show. Social media went wild. It was a done deal.

Why yesterday was a statement? Well, because of the current political situation in Russia mostly. Russia, Belarus, Azerbeijan, they all wanted to ban her performance and when that failed, they aimed to not air her performance in their countries. Outrageous.
But hate doesn't win. It never does. And Europe showed that yesterday. The large majority of Europe united in their support for the bearded lady and Austria got vote after vote after vote. What's more is that at the mention of Russia alone, the crowd would start booing, the people on twitter started booing and we all brought Conchita her victory and with her victory, we brought ours as well. Because only if we fight together, we can fight intolerance and increase acceptance. I felt sorry for the Russian twins who had to endure the boo'ing, but it wasn't aimed at them and it wasn't aimed at all the people of Russia. I know enough Russians who have no problem with gays or people who are different. It was mainly aimed at Putin and the politicians who support his conduct.

After the final, a Russian politician posted: "There's no limit to our outrage. It's the end of Europe. It has turned wild. They don't have men and women any more. They have 'it'." But it is not the end of Europe. It is the beginning. Because regardless of our differences, we all agree that everybody should be able to live their life the way they want it to. To look the way they want to look without being insulted. To love who they want to, without being condemned. And that is a victory and there is no man whose hunger for power can stop that.

So congratulations Conchita. Congratulations to my own country for coming in second (hey it's been a while) and congratulations to Europe. We're one step closer to acceptance.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Short story - Destiny

I haven't posted any writings I've done here in quite a while and as I'm working on a bigger story right now, I thought it would be nice to share a little short story with you today which fits the theme of the other one. I like to stay in that same kind of mood. I hope you'll like it and I promise I will try to write more. Ugh, life that gets in the way. So annoying.

Anyway. Here it is. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Sometimes I wonder if you can hear my voice travel through the layers of time. You didn’t want to go, I could tell by the way you looked at me. By the way your voice broke when you said the words. When you told me that you loved me. I was there. I held your hand and I kissed your lips and I whispered sweet nothings in your ear, hoping that it would make it all the more bearable. “I’ll see you on the other side,” I said and a faint smile appeared on your lips. But I knew you didn’t believe me. I knew it was the end and so did you.

I rested my head on your shoulder. You were already cold and distant. I never realised how much I truly cared for you until that moment. Until I was losing you. I held you close. It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that you weren’t the person you used to be. The one I gave my heart to. All that mattered was that we were here. Together. Until the last breath. “Don’t give up on me,” you said and I replied that I wouldn’t. I sang you a sad song. I sang you a happy song. I sang a song about missing you. But I never sang a song about forgetting you. How could I? You were a part of me.

I saw you staring in the distance. Your eyes looked a thousand worlds away. I gave way to tears as I held your hand for the last time. I saw you smiling. A smile of an angel. A cold evening, a lonely morning.

And I stayed by your side. Until the sun faded and the moonlight was nothing but a memory. I stayed by your side. Until my skin was wrinkly and old, my hair white and my body fragile. I stayed by your side until my heart stopped beating. Until we were one. We erased the times we lost each other. We cherished the moments we shared. You lived within me, so we never had to say goodbye.

It was...destiny.