Friday, 31 May 2013

Body Image

I recently made a video called "Girls on YouTube" in response to Benjamin Cook's video from the series of "Becoming YouTube" and today, one of my friends messaged me about it saying the following (this will only be modified grammatically to make it into the form of paragraphs to make it easier to read)
"As much as I like the video, I don't think you are right all the time there. Guys as a rule do not have a problem with what they look like. Most guys would not care AT ALL. The amount of girls compared to the amount of guys who are insecure about how they look or even give a shit is MASSIVE. 95% of guys won't give a shit what they look like.  
Most of them would want to look better, because that's natural, so do I, but no one would take that to such an extent as to making a fuss or something. No one would care about how they look like in a photo or video or shirtless. Because they simply don't care what others think of them, sure it's good to look good, but I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks. Not talking about body specifically, but looks in general. Guys are just more confident. 
Guys actually don't care. We don't take notice of insults or anything. We ignore it because we don't care. If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am". No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl. 
Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view. Girls have invented themselves this idea of how they are supposed to look. It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated."

My friend and I did end up deciding to talk about this at school in person because this isn't a discussion to have over text and it's 11:31 PM but I'm going to respond to this now since I'm in the zone to talk about it and update this after we talk.

Points I want to address - I'll organize it nice and clear for you to read:

1. "Guys as a rule do not have a problem with that they look like. I've never met a guy who's insecure about his looks.

You most certainly cannot base a worldwide issue on the amount of people you have met. I've never met someone that was sexually abused at home but I am mentally aware that there is a huge proportion of people that have unfortunately suffered from that experience. And to be honest, "as a rule", some guys do have a problem with what they look like. Here are some statistics (despite my hatred of categorizing people in the form of numbers, this helps people visualize the issue)

• Up to 12% of teen boys are using unproven supplements and/or steroids.
• 45% of Western men are dissatisfied with their bodies.
• 17% of men are dieting at any given time.
• 1 in 10 people with anorexia are male
• 4% of men purge after eating
• 85% are dissatisfied in terms of weight; around half want to lose weight and half want to gain weight.

and these are j u s t a few statistics gathered from all around the place. But my point is, the minority of a problem does not erase its existence.

2. "Guys are just more confident"

This is partially true. Guys are just more confident because they are raised in a society that focuses 110% on their personality and attitude rather than their appearance - as it should. It is unfortunate that there are images perpetuated by the media for men to abide by or look like; because most male characters in video games and movies are also often given unrealistic expectations to live up to, but there is always more of a focus on personality and mentality on guys than on girls and that was the point I was trying to get a cross in the video.

3.  "If you tell a girl she's fat, you're an idiot. You tell a guy he's fat, everyone will laugh and the fat guy will be like, "Okay? Yes I am" No one says that's wrong. What's with that? It's like there's a difference in how you treat a guy and a girl"

This is a double standard and I most definitely do not approve of double standards, whatsoever. The fact that I'm saying you should not go up to a girl and call her something you think would hurt her, does not mean I'm saying "hey but it's okay to do that to a guy." No. I was addressing that particular aspect because it is the majority and it was also the main focus of the video I was responding to.

I personally do not condone double standards what so ever and would stand by my belief that if this gender cannot be treated a certain way because it's unacceptable, the other gender should not have to endure similar behavior either. But the truth of the matter is more guys will go up to girls and say there is something wrong with their appearance (wether it's private remarks or blunt, loud ones) than girls will to guys. That doesn't make either of the genders right for doing so.

4. "Instead of saying this from a girl's point of view, where you victimize girls, tell it from a guy's point of view"

I addressed the video from a girl's point of view because of a few reasons:

  1. I am a girl and there is no one else to understand the situation better than I would. Talking from a guy's perspective will make me seem like I'm diving into the realm of the unknown, even though I'm 110% sure of my facts from that perspective too.
  2. The video I was responding to was specifically about girls. Specifically.
  3. The video was offensive towards girls and not guys, so bringing up guys while responding to someone that didn't even mention it will make it all irrelevant.

5. "It's not guys that are making these rules up. Girls are easily manipulated"

This irritates me so much.

I am not blaming you for the body image issues that have reverberated across my gender and age group. It is not your personal fault but yes you are a contributor. And you have a huge role in contributing to this issue:

The majority of guys - or how about we say people, will make it very clear what kind of girl they prefer or what kind of physique is the right and perfect physique. And this irritates me because this is something that is: a.) Conditional and b.) Out of the person's control so there is absolutely no point in you criticizing him and her over something they can't change. Can you even imagine how upsetting and frustrating that would be?

The media is the main source of the issue - as always. Women are presented in a particular manner in the media field and this affects them tremendously. I am sorry but it certainly is not the vulnerable, 10 year old girl's fault for watching a movie and wanting to be the most loved character that happens to be the only one considered beautiful with her perfect face, hair and body. These 10 year old girls will grow up to be young women that are deeply affected by it. Not everyone ends up being tremendously affected but you make it sound like it's their fault when it is just most definitely not their fault. You cannot blame someone from consuming the shit they watch on television, some people cant help it and you do not have the same filtering capacity as a young girl or boy, you are naturally absorbing and learning from everything you watch, read, see and hear.
The thing we should be targeting now is not the people that have certain issues it's what giving them those issues. Because, to be honest, when you're not suffering from something yourself you do not quite realize the severity of it all, and when you become a member that indulges in such behavior that might affect certain individuals negatively you need to get a grip, realize what you're doing and stop.

Because no matter how serious you think it is, something small to you might be the world to someone else. One little remark you've made might be the 12th comment that person's heard that day. 

I'd just like to understand, how hard is it to just try to not hurt people with your words. Don't make comments about something that is not harming you personally. If you have a problem with someone's appearance, you have a problem with yourself. Because what someone looks like, or how tall they are or how much they weigh is literally n o n e of your goddamn business! 

Just. Don't. Make. Comments. Like. That. 

It's so simple. 

Every problem should be given importance because even if it seems insignificant to you now it either already is significant, or it will become significant if it is not stopped.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

• 2:00 am Musings •

Today at school, a strange question popped into my mind as I watched my classmates. 

Everybody clearly looked ecstatic to be awake at that time of day and obliged to take in some information about volcanoes or whatever. In fear of forgetting the unexpected and odd thought - for some reason - I scrawled it down on the back of my notebook:

"Do people in TV shows from the 60s - 90s see colors differently?"

School was definitely not fascinating or a place where I can ponder on how intriguing little details are - I sort of realized that by now - but tv shows and their vintage feel have given me unrealistic expectations for high school. And life! 

And I don't just mean the actual experience, I mean..everything looks intriguing on those shows. The dim lighting with the slight orange tint; the way nothing was ever fully illuminated and super HD.

I love it.

This may border on sounding a little ridiculous and ignorant at the same time, but I just can't help feeling some sort of attachment and obsession - if you will - with the entire atmosphere depicted on those shows. 

It's like magic. My life should take notes.

To be honest, I'm still unsure as to what the conclusive message of this post is, but I thought keeping something I wrote at 2:26 in the morning would definitely be worth reading in the morning.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Keeping Promises & Rooftop Nostalgia

I want to go home to
tangerine sunrise and blueberry skies
to pomegranate sunset

I want to go home to
sitting on the roof,
cold lemonade in tall glasses
as we talked about books
and the universe
and passion

I want to go home to
playing your mix tapes long through the night
and falling asleep,
with nothing but the constellations for a quilt
You said we'd go places
Whispered warm descriptions as I closed my eyes
to believe that this would one day be my reality

I'm sure you've forgotten that.
Along with the scarlet flower crown
and the fireflies
and the photographs
and the secrets

I want to go home to
but I know that by now
you have outgrown the confines of your imagination,
clung on to the stories
packed a bag of fresh dreams
and began searching for the words
to write the story you have always craved to say

After all,
You always kept your promises


♬ Songs That Remind Me of Harry ♬

Some of my favorite songs happen to be ones that Harry has tweeted or mentioned and since that was what they mainly had in common and I'm in an extreme playlist making mood, you get one more playlist today :)

Monday, 6 May 2013

Conformity. I hate it.

The world right now is trying to find a way to educate children to take the adults' place in the economies of the 21st century but here's what they're doing wrong. They're trying to face the feature with techniques that have long gone rusty.

In an attempt to succeed in the modern world they are alienating millions of children who don't see a purpose in going to school because the good old reason "If you study well, you get a degree and if you get a degree then you will get a job" is also quite pathetic and absolutely false in today's age. Of course, you're better off with a degree than not but it is most definitely not a guarantee of a job. Especially not if the route to getting that particular job is marginalizing what you believe is important.

The current system was conceived in the intellectual culture of the enlightenment and made for the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution. Schools are still modeled on the interest of industrialism and the image of it. They are made up of separate facilities, specialized into separate subjects and educate children in batches.

Who thought it was a revelation to categorize children in a way that implies the only thing they have in common is their age. Since when was their date of production the most important factor of their education?

Children are humans - in case the majority of the education board forgot that - and children function differently in different disciplines. Some work better than others of the same age group, some are most efficient during different times of the day or in groups of different sizes. We need to stop basing everything on a production line mentality. Children are not produce, they happen to be the future.

Recently, the rates of diagnoses of ADHD have increased rapidly. Wether you think ADHD is a legitimate condition or not is still quite debatable but the point is these children that assumably have ADHD are getting medicated routinely. They happen to have been brought into this world into the most intensely stimulating period in the history of the Earth; in the midst of computers, phones, adverts and 100s of tv channels. They are then later penalized for being distracted from the "boring stuff" by all that. So, let's punish them for being normal human beings?

This mentality is fueled by the celebration of conformity and standardized testing, which could lead brilliant people into thinking they're not because they happen to not excel or find their forte in Mathematics or Sciences. I'm focusing on those particular subjects because the arts happen to be the victims of this mentality because they focus on the aesthetic experience; the idea of all the senses operating at their peak. Resonating with this thing that you're experiencing. And these children that apparently suffer from ADHD are given anesthetics; which basically shut their senses off. How could you do that to a learning and exploring mind?

Now we have become divided into the academic (the smart) and the non-academic (the non-smart). This categorization is what puts a limit to divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is essentially:

  • The ability to see more than one interpretation to a single question.
  • and the ability to see more than one answer for a specific question.
  • This is called Lateral Thinking, according to Ed De Bono
A longitudinal study was carried out to test kindergartners based on a book about divergent thinking called Breakpoint And Beyond: Mastering The Future Today and if someone achieved a certain score, they would be considered a genius in divergent thinking. The results might not be what you expect; 98% of kindergartners scored at a genius level. 5 years later, the same students were tested and the percentage decreased, and the same happened even 5 more years.

This proves that 1. We all have this capacity but it mostly deteriorates as we get "educated". Why? Because we're doing it all wrong. Yes. Shocker, isn't it? You spend 10 years at school being taught that there is only one answer. And it's in the back of the book, but don't look, because that's cheating. Even though in the real world that's called collaboration..but hey, I'll turn a blind eye on that one.

Moral of all this is that we need to think differently about the human capacity and get over the categorizing of things; academic, abstract, theoretical. It's all a bunch of pointless and very much outdated theories that don't even benefit us in moving forward.

P.S: This was all inspired and based on the lecture by Sir Ken Robinson, that you can watch right here. Thank you for wording all my thoughts and enlightening me, properly for once.

Friday, 3 May 2013

World Press Freedom Day

So, today, Friday May 3rd 2013 is World Press Freedom Day.

As most of you know, this is an event organized by the UN - that celebrates it's 20th anniversary today - held to give the world an opportunity to:
  • "Celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • Assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • Defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • Pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty."

2013's theme is: Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media

I'm aware that it's not the best mind frame or attitude to say that something could never be achieved or that it's too farfetched, but if I say the obvious I wouldn't be the first to say it. And to be honest, even by saying what I'm about to say, I wouldn't be the first either. But still. I feel like it has to be said. I'd rather participate than be a full-time mindless consumer.

I found a color-coded diagram right here on The Guardian  that is trying to show the situation of freedom of the press worldwide. Looking at it quite briefly and generally I'd say that it's roughly accurate.

But here's my thing with this whole freedom of the press thing. That diagram could never be fully white. It could never even be fully orange or yellow. It's just not possible. By protesting to improve situations in most places, we are proposing to improve the countries that are currently yellow, because that would be possible, but taking China as an example, or even some arab and western countries, you could never completely free the press, because there's something going on in hindsight and that's the actual politics, relations and attitudes of different countries towards each other.

By freeing the press you are giving the people a free platform to communicate and share ideas with the rest of the country's citizens and on a larger scale; the world. Therefore you are now in a position of power. You are capable of changing an entire population's mindset if you sound like you know what you're talking about (and of course even when you actually know what you're talking about). But where does that put the government? Where is that privilege and control the government has over the people. By controlling the media and news outlets you are essentially controlling and monitoring what your country's finding out about itself and the world around it. And that is a very risky move from the government's perspective.

But on the other hand, if people are given permission to share their thoughts freely, what's more likely; that they'll rave and cause nothing but havoc and chaos or just be content to know that they're being heard?

I don't consider myself an expert on this, so I'm simply sharing thoughts..but yeah..that has always been very interesting to me.

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