Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
So you know what’s gotten a little out of hand lately? The need to have the last word. I blame the internet. (It’s easiest). No but really though, the internet seems to have brought out this weird thing in us where we must a) have all our arguments, disputes and disagreements in the public sphere and b) never let anything go. Ever. Growing up, the general message when it came to confrontation was to be somewhat gracious, especially in defeat, the internet has birthed a culture of ‘don’t back down, even if you’re wrong and making a complete ass of yourself, don’t back down.’ I got to wondering the other day, can’t we just go back to the time where we can just let some stuff slide?
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
‘Hip Hop doesn’t enhance society, it degrades it’ was the subject of last night’s ‘Hip Hop on Trial’ debate at The Barbican. Put together by Versus and Intelligence Squared, this was a panel debate that combined on-site speakers (the likes of Reverend Jesse Jackson, KRS-One, Michael Eric Dyson, dream hampton, Tricia Rose and Benjamin Zephaniah to name a few) with contributors in the States (Q Tip, ?uestlove, Toure, P.J O’Rourke) beamed to us live by Satellite, using Google + technology and YouTube to bring the whole thing to a wider audience. So, how did it all come together?
Thursday, February 16th, 2012
You know, I like to think we’ve come a little ways as women. What with us having the vote now and everything, we’ve made some significant changes. Hark at all the opportunities we now have! Ones that our grandmothers would’ve loved to have had available to them. So when I saw Marie Claire tweet last week that women are apparently tricking rich men into having their babies, I couldn’t help but wonder, are we taking three steps forward and two steps back?
Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Me and my blog homie Big Fashionista like to have a good heated debate. One thing we tend to go toe-to-toe, head-to-head, bitchslap-to-bitchslap on is reality TV. She loves it, I hate it. It really shouldn’t make a difference – it’s not like we live together, but I do virtually wrestle the remote from her when she tweets about whichever bit of reality show she’s taking a regular dose of this week. I mean, I love her, but come on! Here I’ll make my argument for why I hate reality TV, head on over to Fashionista’s blog to see her plead her case for all things reality.
Why don’t I appreciate the joys of reality TV, I hear you cry? Because I live reality every damn day! I get to see the excruciating minutiae of me brushing my teeth, tweeting my whereabouts, staring into space, clock watching at my job, you name it, I get to see myself doing it up close and personal every day. And lemme tell ya, I’m pretty fascinating, but even I wouldn’t think that constitutes good viewing for anyone else.
Big Brother? Thank God they finally wrapped that prolonged piece of crap up for good. I’ll admit, I watched the first series when it aired about 10 years ago. Then, it seemed like an interesting social experiment. But that’s all it really required – the one series. Why the hell should I care about someone picking their toe nails? Or that they sat on a sofa for a total of 43 minutes? What the heck does any of this add to my life?!
Then of course there’s the shows that make the mind boggle as to who actually green lit them in the first place. I remember when I lived in Canada, there was a show from the US called The Swan – I’m not sure if this little gem ever made it to England. Basically, it took people who’d (allegedly) been beaten with the ugly stick, sent them off to some flashy spa somewhere, gave them complete facial plastic surgery, dental implants, liposuction or whatever else they felt was required, then presented the finished product to the person’s very baffled looking family members. And the whole time the narrative was about how beauty comes from within. I shit you not. The plastic surgeon would be talking about inner beauty while shaving some poor bastard’s nose bone down during a rhinoplasty. They brand that as reality TV, but I’m not sure what planet that’s reality on. Wait, scrap that – Planet America, of course.
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do, it’s to escape reality. And no, I don’t go to the other end of the spectrum and go nuts with all that vampire shit – I am not riding that wave. I watch my DVD sets of The Wire (cause it never gets old to me and if you want a good story, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better one), Law & Order SVU (cause Ice T’s ponytail tells a story all of its own) and generally just zone out. Reality has its place – mainly in you living your own life. I long for the day we stop giving every two-bit-no-talent-having-nobody a shot at their fifteen minutes. I don’t care about these fame-hungry whore-mongers. And you shouldn’t either! So there!
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Belgium just did it, France wants to do it and politicians in the Netherlands and Italy are pushing for it, but is it right to ban the Burka?
I’ve heard the arguments of both sides. I’ve heard muslim women say it’s a sign of oppression and others say it’s liberating. Some say women are forced by men to wear them, others say it’s a personal choice. Is banning it a broader statement about the Islamic faith in general or can the wearing of a Burka be treated as a separate issue?
I recently went to a curry house and saw a muslim woman eating at a table with two men. She was wearing the niqab (fully body covering with only eyes exposed). I found myself staring. I didn’t mean to be rude, but this is something I’d never seen before. As stupid as it sounds, I was intrigued by how she would eat wearing the veil (she would quickly lift it, put the food in her mouth, then replace it just as fast) and if she was even allowed out with two men. I’m willing to admit that this all comes down to ignorance on my part. But doesn’t that speak volumes? As someone who has lived in big, multicultural cities my whole life, I still don’t have an understanding of what is and isn’t a muslim woman’s choice.
To me, this is where the burka becomes much more than just a veil. It is, for all intents and purposes, a barrier. In western society, we don’t cover our faces. If you do, you’re considered to be hiding or disguising yourself. We favour openness, we prefer to look someone in the eye when we talk to them. By wearing the burka, isn’t it like saying you don’t want to engage with me, or anyone else in western society? How are we supposed to learn and break down these barriers if there is a whole section of society cutting themselves off from us?
When westerners go on vacation to the middle east, women are told to cover their bodies up, to respect the culture out there. Shouldn’t that work both ways? If you come to this country, shouldn’t you comply with the custom of showing your face?
I dislike that people use the Koran as a defence. The Koran only says that women should dress ‘modestly’. The Burka is taking ‘modesty’ way too far. If a man is telling you to wear it, he’s essentially treating you like a child or pet. If it truly is about religion, not oppression, the hijab (veil covering only the hair) is an adequate expression of faith. I don’t know if banning burkas is the way to go. I definitely understand points made on both sides of the argument. I favour diversity and merely see the burka as almost a preventative measure when it comes to understanding different faiths and cultures.
I truly intend no offence with this article, merely to open up a debate. If the banning of the Burka is becoming commonplace in other parts of Europe, it’s probably just a matter of time until that issue is brought up on British soil.
Bear in mind, this article is intended to open a discussion. Comments using any racist or offensive language will be removed immediately.
Monday, January 25th, 2010
Last week, an article called ‘Why I Hate Fashion’ appeared in The Guardian. The writer, Tanya Gold, bitches about how liking fashion makes you a shallow, vapid, insecure little girl. Oh and apparently, fashion also kills people (a girl wearing heels fell onto a train track and died. That’s the evidence for the argument. Cause of death: fashion). Needless to say, I have a thing or two to say on the topic.
In my experience, it is always a certain kind of woman who feels this way. They’re usually slightly overweight. They put on a few pounds, don’t feel as good about themselves, clothes aren’t fitting as well as they used to and perhaps the fellas don’t glance their way as often as they used to. So, they decide they ‘don’t care’ and because they ‘don’t care’, they will put down anyone who deigns to give a crap about their appearance (mainly because those people look better than them, which does nothing for their downward spiral of insecurity).
Firstly, I’d like to challenge the notion that these people ‘don’t care’ about how they look by putting forth this argument: BOLLOCKS! Of course you bloody do! I’m assuming you shower daily, no? You wash your hair and brush it. You moisturise your skin, hell, you may even throw some makeup on. Unless you live in a nudist colony, I’m assuming you still buy clothes. You may not buy them because they’re ‘in fashion’ but you might like the colour, the feel or the way they hang on you. All of that says you care about how you look. So please, spare me. It’s not that you ‘don’t care’, it’s that you’ve given up.
When people give up, they try to say fashion is just beneath them. It’s childish to care about such nonsense. They feel we who care about our appearance judge them, so they judge us right back; we are shallow, unintelligent morons.
Let me set a few things straight about taking pride in ones appearance. I do not spend my every waking moment traipsing through Topshop, clearing out my wardrobe every season or laughing in the faces of those whose style choices I consider to be inferior to my own (I mean, I do that last one fairly regularly, but not every waking moment). I don’t care for trends, what’s ‘in’ or ‘out’. But I do have a sense of style. I know what colours, shapes and styles suit me and I take pride in the way I dress myself. I see no shame in that.
I don’t blindly follow fashion. I don’t buy fashion magazines. I tend to steer clear of the high street when shopping. But I look at how women dressed in the 40s or how my grandmother dressed her whole life and I’m in awe. I can look at that wonderful collection Hussein Chalayan did in 2000 with the table that turned into a skirt (skip to 4:30 mark in the video) and appreciate it for the wonderful visual it was. I consider Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood to be artists more than a ‘fashion designers.’
Having an appreciation for these things does not make me shallow, vapid or insecure. It is one aspect of who I am. It it not the whole story. Why knock someone because they choose to express an element of themselves through clothes? Fashion isn’t just everything you think Vogue represents.
To put forth the argument that you must be either fashionable OR intellectual is completely ridiculous. I think I’m pulling off both quite nicely thank you.