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.


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Speak soon,

Rachael.


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Important Things To Remember This Festive Season

This season is meant to be the happiest of them all. I mean the month of Christmas and all the other festivities; a time when we’re supposed to be surrounded by friends, family and wonderful food, what’s not to love? But for many people it’s just another month in the year. Or for some, even with all the festive cheer, this month still has it’s struggles and it;s difficulties.

But because we’re all meant to be so merry and bright (sorry) this month, it tends to make our dark days darker as we feel like there must be something wrong with us. To be sad, anxious or just generally not having the best time during Christmas? How can that be possible? Don’t worry, I get you.

If you are really struggling, at this time or any, please speak to someone. But for the most part, here are some important things to remember when things get a bit much this season:

  • Don’t Compare Yourself With Others

This is something I have mentioned a few times in various posts and something I try to remind myself on a daily basis. But I think it’s especially relevant during the Christmas period. It seems that everywhere people are having a perfect festive season; their families are so close and get on so well; they have enough money to buy amazing presents for everyone in their life and even the fact that people have time off is something we can get envious of. But it’s important to appreciate what you have going on and basically ignore everything else. Whenever we look at what other people have in comparison with our own, nine times out of ten we come out on the bottom. We get so busy obsessing about how we aren’t as good as the other person that we lose sight of everything we have and all the wonderful things going on with us. This one doesn’t have a quick fix and I’m still struggling on it, but please spend more time on what you have and less on other people. It’s such an unhealthy exercise to out yourself through.

  • Social Media Is A Highlight Reel

Similar to what I’ve just mentioned, it’s so easy to feel disheartened when you’re bombarded with images of perfect everything 24/7. Now that it’s Christmas we’re seeing images and videos of the ‘perfect’ way to do it, from the best decorations to expensive gifts to even constant happiness. With social media it can often feel like you’re the only one left out, but you need to remember that it’s a highlight reel. Every post on any site has been chosen carefully (in most cases) to highlight something. We all do it. Everything is edited and cut to only show what the creator has chosen to allow us to see. Why wouldn’t you just show the best parts of yourself or your day if you could? Which is all well and good but when it’s a constant thing it’s easy to forget that real life just isn’t like that. Not everyone looks flawless, feels 100% happy or is having the best day all of the time. Just because that’s what you see on social media, doesn’t make it true.

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  • Have Realistic Expectations

We all do it every year, I know. That thing where we big up Christmas and New Year and think we’re going to have the best one ever. We try to do so many things and make everything perfect that on the day nothing is good enough and we’re left disappointed. The key to this is be realistic. You don’t have to be negative, just think about the Christmases you’ve had in the past and the simple things that made them great. Do not try to replicate them or try to plan anything too much. This is really hard for someone like me to do, but it’s really important to try to ‘go with the flow’ a little bit this season. With all the stress and excitement things are bound to go wrong. With people coming and going so much, plans aren’t going to get stuck to. Plan as much as you need (ie. get your presents in before the big day!) but don’t put too much emphasis on everything being the best. Instead focus on having a good time, spending some time with loved ones and taking a break when you can.

  • It’s Only One Day

This is something I think we all forget in the excitement and stress, but Christmas is really only one day of your life. Of course it’s nice to make a big effort and join in with the excitement all month long but you need to remember that it’s only a day. When things feel like they’re getting on top of you and you’re struggling to do everything at once, take a breather because it’s only a day. 24 hours. That’s it, then it’s over. Now I’m not encouraging you to drop everything, become a total Scrooge because ‘fuck it it’s only one day’ but I feel like we all go a bit crazy over the month of December and it is a bit daft. There’s plenty of time to see your family and friends, to chill out and have a laugh. Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once.

As always I hope this helped any of you that needed it. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and I hope you’re having a good day.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

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.

 

 

It’s Difficult #3: The Response

(This is a follow up post. You can read the other parts here and here to get the gist of the story)

As with most things in my life, I like to ask for other people’s opinions. This is either to prove to myself that I’m not alone or just because I’m a curious person and I like to hear what people have to say.

So for this whole topic of the internet, social media and the way we use it I turned to two of the most popular platforms to see what people had to say.

Twitter

For the first time I used the Twitter Poll thing (it was a revelation, let me tell you!) and I was fairly surprised by the responses.

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As you can see a majority of people said they would be able to go without the internet, then the next large group was not sure. I honestly believed more people would say no but I do think that my use of the word ‘addicted’ might have thrown some people of voting that way. No one wants to think they have a problem, do they?

But still, there’s a surprisingly high number of people claiming they would be able to do it.

Facebook

Facebook was pretty much the same story, with a whooping 80% of all the responses I got were from people claiming they could do it. Many even had some experience in being internet free:

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Other people claimed that although they enjoyed the internet, there were other things to do and therefore would be able to be without it for a day:

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(Side note: you are not sad if you like to read)

Some were pretty honest about the whole thing:

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I feel like this is the one most of us can relate to. We’d all probably be able to get through a full day, but as I said in my previous post why shouldn’t we use the tools if we have them?

There was a response that reminded us of our forgotten, old fashioned values:

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Then there were the nos. I have picked two that explained themselves the best, but to be honest there wasn’t many ‘no’ results to pick from. The majority, surprisingly, were pretty confident in their ability to go internet free.

This response demonstrates how important the internet has become to us and is something I’m sure many can understand:

 

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(Note her use of an emoji to show how weird it is that the internet is such an ever present force in our lives. It’s kind of odd when you properly think about it)

As for my final response I’m going to share with you, it once again shows how vital the internet is to our lives (it keeps us connected, it helps us)  and what it can be like when you no longer have it:

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She seems pretty traumatised by the whole thing, bless her.

Conclusion

So the majority of people asked did think they could go 24 hours without the internet. Those who had previously, claimed that it was because they were busy, around friends or exploring another area meaning they didn’t miss or require the internet. Which makes sense, of course.

But on a day to day basis I feel like the internet is a vital tool and one that would be quite hard to go without now we’ve gotten so used to it. Although there are other outlets for communication, education and entertainment the internet offers us all of these and is always available.

Although we may rely on it too much, the internet is an integral tool in our modern lives and I feel like we should all make more of an effort to take a break but overall let’s get rid of the guilt we have when it comes to being online a lot.

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. This is the final one of a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

It’s Difficult #2: Seeing The Problem

(This is a follow up post. You can read the first part here to get the gist of the story)

I didn’t think I had a problem. Although it was something that had crossed my mind in the past, I had always dismissed it as I wasn’t one of those people.

I do use the internet a lot within my daily life and since coming to university it has been my main source of entertainment as well as helping me with my course. I was aware of how much I used it, but I’d always assumed that I’d be able to get along okay if I didn’t have it.

Yet now I was struggling to even make it a couple of hours without going online. And I wasn’t the only one.

From checking social media when we first wake up to watching YouTube instead of TV, social media and being online has become an integral part of our daily routines. Especially for those of us who grew up with the internet and have gotten so used to it being around.

Not only is it a routine, but it’s become a habit too.

How many times do you check your phone without even knowing what you’re looking for? If you’re anything like me it’s a constant thing.

Now, contrary to the title, I don’t want to get all negative on this topic. The internet (and social media of course) is a brilliant thing. You wouldn’t even be able to read this if we didn’t have it.

But it’s the way it influences our lives that can be a bit worrying and this whole challenge has shown me that. Even though I had thought about it in the past, my failure here has proven that I do probably rely too much on the internet and that I might benefit from putting my phone down and doing something else, every now and again, instead.

Which is a pretty obvious thing to discover, I’m aware.

As I said though, I don’t want to be negative about the whole thing. (I feel like the internet gets enough grief as it is, the poor thing). This challenge did show me how the internet benefits my life, in both a social and educational sense. And although I may rely on it too much, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

I mean, why shouldn’t we use this fabulous tool if we have access to it?

And I think that’s the best way to view it. The internet is a tool that benefits us and although conversations like this, regarding our use and reliance on it, are important to have because problems will still arise, I don’t think we should get too caught up in the fear that comes with it.

(Read the third part here)

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. It will be a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

It’s Difficult: Going 24 Hours Without The Internet

Being set the challenge of going 24 hours without the internet doesn’t sound like a big deal, if you say it quickly. The idea of going one day without checking your Facebook or scrolling through Instagram sounds pretty easy. It even sounds kind of liberating, don’t you think?

I certainly did anyway. In fact prior to the day of the challenge I was feeling pretty excited. With claims of “it’s only a day, really” (more to convince myself than anyone else, I’ve later realised) I turned all my devices onto aeroplane mode and began to plan how I would spent my full free day.

Maybe I’d finally start reading that book that’s been lying on my shelf for God knows how long or maybe I’d take a walk to the beach and check it out. That’s something I’ve been dying to do for ages.

But I didn’t get chance to do either of those things.

Within two hours on the day of the challenge I had crumbled. Despite trying to not be connected I couldn’t escape the notifications, emails and app updates that were blowing up my phone and I had to check them out.

It seemed that on the one day I didn’t want to use my phone, I suddenly became popular. But I don’t really have anyone to blame here.

I had failed my challenge within only two hours. That’s like the time it would take to watch one movie, or two episodes of the latest hit on Netflix. That’s nothing and I was so annoyed.

I was also ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t even go a couple of hours without being drawn to the online world. I honestly thought it didn’t mean that much to me and that this challenge would have been something I could have flown through.

Wait, I am addicted to the internet?

(Read the second part here)

Star

This post is a part of a university assignment I was set. It will be a three part post regarding the internet, social media and other people’s views. Normal service will continue on this blog throughout these posts. Cheers for you patience and stick around for regular posts.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

Five Tips For Becoming More Body Positive

Body image is a topic that takes up a lot of my time. Not only, like every other person on the planet, is it something I have struggled with since my preteen days but it is also a something that interests me greatly as a subject. I understand how difficult it can be when you’re struggling with your body image. Whether it’s your weight, your skin, your this, your that- everyone is struggling with something and it’s not cool.

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You have a right to feel absolutely fantastic about yourself and I think you should feel amazing for being and looking like you. So, today I’m offering some simple but effective tips to help you on your self-love journey.

  • Look At Yourself

Don’t avoid your reflection and instead take a proper look at yourself. You don’t need to say or think anything regarding your body- the main thing is to just look and familiarise yourself with the wonderful, unique situation you have going on. Getting a grasp on what you actually look like, rather than the hideous caricature you think of in your head, is so healthy and will get easier with time.

  • Get (Semi) Naked

Similarly , spending private time naked (or semi-naked) can help you become accustomed to your body. Of course, getting naked isn’t something we can always do. I have recently been spending time at home roaming around in crop tops and shorts, which is fairly revealing. Just by doing this every so often, I have found myself enjoying seeing my own body and becoming increasingly more comfortable with it as the days go on.

  • Wear What You Want

This is such a simple statement but can be a difficult task. I want you to know that regardless of your size or shape, you can literally wear whatever style of clothes you want. If you really like the look of a trend or style, just try it. We all know that this whole ‘dress for you shape’ business is bollocks anyway so go on, I dare you just try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to wear it again. Be brave, I dare you.

  • Use Social

Social media can be a dangerous place if you’re body-conscious, with perfected images being thrust at us from every angle. But the wonderful thing about it is everyone (well, everyone with a smartphone) can be seen. Although diversity still isn’t there in mainstream media, online so many different people are showing themselves and representing what they have. It can be a great place to recognise that everyone is unique and everyone is wonderful for that reason.

  • Be Inspired, Not Discouraged

Comparing yourself to other people is such a damaging habit and is certainly a hard one to break. But instead of comparing yourself to everyone you see, try to turn that into inspiration. You’re always going to see what other people have and what other people are going, but instead of being negative about it use that energy to be inspired and bring it back to you. You are your number one at this point, so treat yourself like it!

I hope you found this post useful or at the least an interesting read and I wish you all the best of luck on your body positive journeys!

Speak soon,

Rachael.