Sexism, Exploitation and Memes

I wonder how many memes there are on the internet?

They’re something we all see pretty much every time we log onto a social media site. That black and white lettering that protests some sarcastic message has basically become iconic now and will forever be recognised.

Memes are a way for people to rant, to express their opinions or just to make a joke in a quick and fashionable way and overall I think they’re pretty funny. There’s no better way to procrastinate than looking at a photo of a stupid dog with a sarcastic message printed over it.

But I wonder how many memes out there mock women? I bet most of them degrade or ridicule feminism and the actions of women in some way. Although these memes aren’t as cool as a dog wanting cupcakes or a cat with a moustache, they seem to be the most popular ones and the ones that are constantly being shared.

Obviously this is something I don’t like. But I don’t think it’s a problem to be blamed solely on the sharers, as most of these people don’t really know what they’re mocking anyway.

Recently I saw a meme which inspired this whole post. This meme basically said that women complain about men complimenting them or looking at them, but will continue to wear little clothing or present themselves in a sexual manner.

(Because obviously these actions are all just an act to attract men, right?)

The meme was basically saying “why are you complaining, woman? You obviously want this”

Now if I close my mind, I can almost see why some people would find this ironic. But it doesn’t take long for the stupidity (and a bit of fear) to come flooding back in.

People seem to think that if women want to be taken seriously, then they can’t dress in a certain way. For these people, women must not appear sexual in anyway and cover all parts of their body because, God forbid, should we see some cleavage then there’s no way we can concentrate on what these lasses are actually saying, right?

It makes me sad that some people still genuinely believe that clothing (or performances or whatever) has any impact on your rights to be taken seriously or to be heard.

As for the degrading comment…

The reason why a woman choosing, for example, to wear shorts that may reveal her vulva is not degrading is because she chose to wear them. She chose to reveal whatever part of her body she wanted and because it’s her body and her choice, this is not degrading. If you want to label it anything I’d go for empowering.

Everyone has a right to control their own bodies. And if that means they want to be sexual then let them. The problems occur when other people think they have the right to sexualise something that is not theirs. That’s why people speak out about adverts, films, posters or comments that use women’s bodies in a sexual way because the power has been taken away from the person who owns the body and given to someone outside of it.

The whole point of feminism is that people a choice, regardless of their gender. Women, like men, can freely express their sexuality if they want to. But it’s down to them to choose if that’s something they want to do. It shouldn’t be something that other people can choose for you.

Men are, of course, not excluded from this. How many washboard abs and toned physiques have you seen to promote, sell or generally just grab attention in the media recently? There’s tonnes, I know. But the reason we talk about women so much when we deal with topics like this is because it happens to us more. Plus, because it’s deemed acceptable to treat women this way we then start to do the same things to men.

It’s just not fair for anyone and it’s creating such a shitty situation.

Can’t we just let people do what they want, whether that be in fashion or sex or just life, and not feel the need to comment, judge or ridicule? Let’s be fair to one another and if you see something shitty report it and try to educate those who don’t understand why it’s wrong.

And before you ask, yes I can take a joke. I just prefer my jokes to have more humour than spite.


Materials:


*affiliate link used

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Check out my last post here.

If you have something to say to can tweet me, comment below or contact me.

You can follow me on bloglovin’ or Instagram if you fancy.

Introversion: Learning & Accepting

Realising I was an introvert was a journey that took longer than I could have ever imagined. And even though I’m finally getting towards the end, I still struggle to accept it sometimes.

Being the centre of attention is not really my cup of tea, if I’m honest, and it never has been. Of course, should my time to shine for a small while arise, I’ll of course make the most of it! But generally I prefer the days when people don’t notice what I’m doing; when only a handful of people listen to what I’m saying. As someone who gets embarrassed- note embarrassed here connotes going red, stammering, sweating and just a general sense of ill comfort- very easily I don’t like to have attention because in my experience one (embarrassment or attention) cannot be present without the other.

At school I was pretty bookish and quiet (labelled a teacher’s pet until the day I left sixth form and that sentiment is still with me now as I finish my final year of university) but I was never an exceptionally quiet kid and I think that’s why it took me so long to discover where my energy goes. My introversion is something that has only really come to a head whilst being at university. It’s this strange time in my life where socialising has been considered a priority. As someone with a history of only having a handful of friends who were pretty low maintenance, as we could survive on seeing each other at school and didn’t need much more, getting to grips with these new expectations has been tricky. It’s something I’m only starting to get to grips with now.

Introvert:  describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energised by time alone.

Extrovert: describes a person who is energised by being around other people

Spending time with people is something that takes away my energy and leaves me feeling very tired afterwards. And by spending time with people I mean everything from having a class with people, actual social occasions like parties or going for coffee to even mindlessly watching TV with my flatmates. I’ve found that in recent years my energy levels when around people seem to be getting lower- or maybe that’s just because I’m spending more time with others.

Either way, university is often an exhausting experience for me and while I love being around my friends and flatmates generally, it’s important that I have time to recharge.

BEING RUDE

As I’ve grown more aware of how much being alone can benefit my mental health and generally make me a better person to be around, I’ve also grown aware of the issues it causes to those around me. I constantly say no to social events because I need that time to recharge (this is something I aim to work on as it’s not really the best thing. But more on that later); I often hole myself up in my room while at university in order to be by myself and I find that if I don’t have the time to recharge I’m just a horrible person to be around. I’m cranky, snappy and just not interested in what’s happening and that’s just as bad as not being physically present.

But as rude as it may be, I’ve eventually learnt the value of looking after myself first. Because if I don’t take care of myself, there is no way I am going to be present around other people. So although it may be bad for the short term if someone like me disappears for a bit, just have faith that when we return we’ll be better than ever.


Materials (Or How I Recharge):


Speak soon,

Rachael.

*affiliate link used

Mind Your Damn Business: A Discussion On Privacy by a Nosy Journalism Student

I haven’t even started this post yet but I already know it’s going to have no structure and no clear point. Apologies. But this is a topic I really want to talk about and something that I’ve been thinking about recently for various different reasons.

I am currently in my last year of a Journalism degree, which means for the past two years I have been taught how to be more curious, how to be ask the right questions and how to find things out. Which is all well and good and these are certainly skills I will need should I go into this field.

On a personal level I have loved learning these things. I’m naturally a nosy person and I ask a million and one questions a day (something I’m sure my friends and family hate). Basically,  I feel like I didn’t grow out of that stage every toddler goes through where they want to know the answer to everything, right now. I’m 20, guys.

Anyway, I’m hoping you get the picture. I’m a nosy, curious person who loves nothing more than finding out information about other people.

Despite this, I do find myself thinking or saying the phrase “it’s none of your business” a lot of the time recently. Even though I’m studying journalism and I am such a nosy sod (seriously. I’m embarrassed for myself a lot of the time) I can’t help but think that it’s all kind of wrong.

In an age of social media, we’re encouraged to share everything with our followers and our friends. And some people share everything. I mean, everything. Which is totally cool, you do you. But because we’ve become so used to having access to people’s personal lives, whether they be celebrities or old school friends, we begin to expect it. So when someone chose to keep something private, we feel enraged.

How dare they not share that with us?

We begin to feel like we’re owed this information. And that’s kind of messed up.

But not only do we want access to this information, but because we’ve gotten so used to seeing it we feel like we can comment on how other people live their lives.

We all do it and I for one am guilty of this on almost a daily basis- which is really sad when you think about it.  We all have our own ideas of what is the right or wrong way to do something, from the way we study, the way we raise children, the way we work: the list is endless. And when we see someone do something differently to how we would like it to be done we freak out.

Celebrity magazines thrive of this stuff, man. How many articles have you read insulting the way a famous person does this or that? Tonnes, I’ll bet.

It’s such a normal and common thing that I think we’ve forgotten how wrong it is. Like what business is it of ours how someone chooses to live their own life? As long as they’re not hurting anyone or breaking the law or something like that, then what does it matter?

Of course, if you see something actually wrong (ie. legally) then don’t be afraid to report that shit and put a spotlight on it. But in terms of the everyday stuff, why do we care?

I don’t have a solution to this. I don’t even have any suggestions to offer on how to get better at minding your own business. I just wanted to express some opinions on this topic and hopefully get some kind of discussion going, because it’s an interesting topic.

If you are interested in this kind of stuff, I’d recommend you watch this video by the wonderful Sarah Rae Vargas which inspired this whole train of thought.

How public are you on social media? Are you a nosy person? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Or you can Tweet me and start a conversation there.

Thanks for sticking with me, if you did, through this long post. If you like my blog you can follow it on bloglovin too.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Calling All Freshers: Second Year Experience

Okay, so the title of this ‘series’ doesn’t really go with this topic as when you’re in Freshers (that’s the first year of university) you couldn’t care less about what’s coming next. Still nonetheless I know hearing about other people’s experiences helped me get prepared and generally just calm my nerves about what was to come and I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

IT GETS HARDER

This is obvious but second year is pretty difficult compared to the first. For many courses this is the year when your grades really count and contribute to something. First year, at many universities, counts for 0% (or a similar small amount) of your final grade so there’s no pressure to do anything other than pass. However your grades in second year do count so there is that pressure to do well, to ensure that your happy with the final result.

As well as this, the work becomes more difficult and you will probably find that you have more deadlines- normally all at once!- than last year as well. For me, I also had exams this year which was a totally new experience as my first year was assignments only. It can feel overwhelming at times but remember that everyone is in the same boat and as long as you organise your time (tips will come soon) you will get everything done, I promise!

IT IS EASIER

So the work isn’t easier but everything else is. Because you’ve spent your first year learning all about your new campus, the basics of your course, your flatmates and accommodation- basically everything outside of the work- you go into this year feeling a lot more comfortable and confident about these areas. Which is a wonderful thing and means you can really knuckle down with your work and the more ‘important’* bits as you’ve got to grips with the rest.

*I personally think that all areas of university, the academic side and the rest, are equally important and it really helps shape who you are and all that. But you know what I mean. 

IT’S MORE FUN

As explained above, all your hard work in first year getting used to your surroundings really pays off in second year. Now you’re (hopefully) used to your new city and have a nice group of friends you can just go out and enjoy yourself without worrying about where to go or what to do. By know you’ll have figured out what you like to do best with whoever suits the event the most and that means you can just go for it! You know what clubs hold the best events, where the best shops are and who offers the nicest food and you can just go for it without issue. (As you can tell those are my favourite things to do but everyone is different and I’m sure you’ll find things you love wherever you are).

However, it can be very easy to get stuck into a routine and therefore miss out on all the other fun things happening outside your comfort zones. I know that is something me and my friends struggled with this year. Even though you may feel as though you have learned all there is to know about your new surroundings, take some time to look further because I can guarantee you’ll find something even better you may have just missed last year.

Star

I wish you all the best of luck as you head into whatever year you’re going into. I am so proud of you for getting this far and I hope you have the best time!

If you have any tips for our second years or any tales of your own experience please get in touch and let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

There’s More Than Meets The Eye (Usually)

I’m going to hold my hands up now and say that I’m a judger. I judge people instantly and, as horrible as this is, all the time. And I know I’m not the only one.

But the things is, we’re taught to judge people. We’re told that ‘first impressions count’ and whatever is decided in these, often incredibly awkward, first few moments stick with us throughout that relationship.

More Quote

Although I can’t argue with that, I can say that more often than not I’m wrong with these judgements- whether that’s for better or for worse. The trouble is anything can colour my opinion and I hope I’m not alone on that. The way a person looks, their body language and other people’s opinions are often the main factors in creating a preconceived opinion.

Which is so stupid when you think about. How can we develop a full opinion on someone based on initial factors, most of which are physical things might I add? How can we know whether we will get on with someone before we’ve even spoken to them? We can’t.

I know this won’t stop me from prejudging people, I swear it’s just human nature, but I kind of like the fact that I’m often wrong. It’s like a constant reminder to not judge and to not just assume things about others. I need to wait until I actually have a least a conversation with them first to find out whether I was right or not.

The thing about judging a person on the first, or second, meeting is that we don’t know anything about them at that point. We don’t know what kind of day they’re having or what happened to them before our meeting. I know for certain that if I’m to meet someone when I’m having a bad day- say I didn’t sleep well the night before and I have a lot of things on my mind (kind of like today, actually!)- there is a very slim chance of that person every coming back to me again!

As I’ve said before, people change all the time. Now that’s not to say that if you don’t get on with someone or feel uncomfortable around them that you should wait it out and let it pass. Almost conversely to everything I’ve just said, our gut instincts are normally right so follow that if you’re unsure. What I’m talking about here is the nasty habit we have of judging; creating opinions about a person before we’ve even given them a chance. It’s a bit unfair and something I, personally, am going to try to work on.

Do you have an issue with this too? Please feel free to share.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Being A ‘Good Girl’: A Discussion of Rebellion, Following the Rules & Accepting Yourself

All my life I have been a ‘good girl’. I never got into major trouble at school, my parents were never called in to discuss my behaviour and I never got a detention. Although I was a bit more loud and livelier at home I was still never a naughty kid. Like everyone I got into trouble sometimes and was constantly being told off for being too cheeky but for the most part I was a goody two shoes.

I’m a worrier. I stress and worry about everything and I hate it when things don’t go to plan. I’ve always been this way and I don’t think it will ever change; it’s who I am. This is why, throughout my personal and school life, I never did anything wrong. I didn’t step out of line, I didn’t drink or stay out too late. In fact I barely went out at all.   Since going to university and starting a job I have a met a ton of new people, each with their own stories and anecdotes to tell. And most of the time the tales turn to the past and when we were all younger and I find myself struggling in these conversations as I have nothing to say.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

(Theodore Roosevelt)

Although I had a very good childhood and I’m normally a reasonably happy person, thinking about the way I was and the way I am can often make me feel down. Especially in comparison to other people’s wild stories. I’m aware that maybe at the time of their wildness they mightn’t have felt too good and maybe there were a lot of complications elsewhere due to their behaviour, but I often wish that I had been a bit bolder, a bit louder and a bit more daring like them throughout my life. Especially in school!

I might have enjoyed my time there and in other situations a lot more if I wasn’t so concerned with what other people thought of me and I didn’t worry so much.

Although I am not encouraging anyone reading this to drink underage or do anything dangerous or damaging (to yourself or others) but I am saying that it’s okay to do things out of line sometimes. When you’re young you’re allowed to make mistakes and do things wrong- in fact that’s kind of the point of being young! That’s how you learn things about yourself and the world. But if you don’t try anything new and are always so conscious of the way you act and are then you’re never going to learn and develop.

I wish I had done so many things differently but I’m trying my hardest not to regret any of my past actions. Okay, I was very quiet and nerdy at school but that enabled me to get the grades I needed to get out of there!

I will never be the type of person who is completely wild and doesn’t follow the rules. That makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. But I’m trying to accept that fact and see that no matter what I do I can still have a good time. As long as I stop caring about other people’s opinions and do things for me that sound fun but may not exactly be the ‘good’ thing to do.

I’m aware this post may seem a bit random considering everything else I’ve written so far but as always I hope my little discussion helped you in anyway. If you have any stories from when you were younger, any advice or just anything you want to say please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael