Wednesday, 31 July 2013

On victim blaming. (possible trigger warning)

Rape is pretty special in the type of emotions it brings out in us. It's also pretty special in the way some people so readily jump to blame the victim. "Why was she out so late?" "Where were the parents?" "Why was she wearing a short skirt?" "Why didn't she fight?" "Why was she so drunk?" "Why was she dancing like that, surely this means she wanted to have sex?" "Why did she kiss him in the first place?" "She slept with him before, so how come she didn't want to this time?"

I'm aware that I am painting men as rapists and women as the victims in my above rhetoric. I know that many men do also experience rape and sexual assault. This is most commonly perpetrated by other men though of course there are exceptions. However this doesn't get the same news coverage so we don't tend to hear "Why was he walking home so late at night by himself"? I also don't think I've ever heard the words "Why was he wearing such a short skirt then"? You may laugh at that I am however not trying to be funny, seriously when do you hear men's clothing on a night out discussed in the way women's clothing is? WOMEN SHOULD BE ABLE TO WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY WANT TO WEAR!!!!

The majority of rape is committed by someone the victim knows and often trusts. Stranger rape is no more real rape than any other rape. All rape is rape, it's not a little bit of rape versus a lot of rape. It is rape as soon as someone has said no or is incapable of saying anything at all. If your girl/boyfriend is saying no please don't ever utter phrase "just a little bit more". If a girl/boy you've taken home with you seems a bit too drunk to know what they're doing and you feel it's a grey area then always air on the side of caution. You can always have sex another time.

It is never ok to blame the victim because it is never the victims fault. The common thread between rape is a rapist. Blame the rapist, blame the rapist, blame the rapist. How many times will this need repeating???

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

On breaking up with a friend.

I didn't technically break up with this friend, they dumped me. It hurt, it hurt more than any break up with a boy/girlfriend ever has. I think it's because it takes you by surprise, it's not something you're ever taught to expect. In some ways we might have just been growing apart and I'd refused to see it, perhaps there were all sorts of reasons that I will never know because he never told me. One day he just disappeared from my life. I saw him in a club with his girlfriend and he blanked me, I sent him a message asking if he could at least talk to me. He told me we should meet up and have a chat, I told him I was moving to London and that I didn't even know what to say to him I was so confused by his actions. He never replied to that one.

The pain I felt from losing him has never really gone away, it has diminished but I still find myself thinking about him. I wish he would have been less of a coward and told me why. It's not that I would have wanted a chance to rectify something I did wrong, I know I did him many wrongs as he did me, it's all part of a friendship. At one point I know he wanted much more from me than a friendship and my fear kept me from pursuing that. I know this hurt him but I did not then nor will I ever owe him or anyone else a relationship just because they want one. So when he did meet someone I kept it from him how much it broke my heart.

I should have known though, he'd done it to another friend. He replaced them with me and as I found out years later I too was replaceable.

Monday, 29 July 2013

On why I'm uncomfortable with the online porn ban.


No it's not just because I like porn and there's a small version of myself quietly panicking in my head. Are you saying I'm going to have to brave walking into a shop and buying a magazine while the person behind the counter giggles almost as furiously as I am? What about if I want something I'm not comfortable with people knowing that I want? Some of my fantasies are my secrets, dirty secrets.

I have a huge amount of problem with censorship. Even censoring things that I don't like very much like rape jokes etc. I don't want to police people, I just want them to think about what they're saying. Because rape jokes can be funny, if they're not aimed at the victim. Unfortunately most of them are aimed at the victim which ergo means they are not funny (to me). I also have nothing against smut in advertising or any form of titillation. I have a problem when it crosses over into depicting violence against women or when it's only women being smuttified as I would like my smut equal and inter-sectional please!!! I do however get a little bored with so many adverts being sexual. The Herbal Essences one was quite funny at first but now I'm like "orgasm while washing hair, really?!?!". Also, why are you making adverts about yoghurt sexual? I don't want a sexual yoghurt, because, well, that sounds like a disease.

The Internet is a place full of horrible people and of nice people, much like the world in general. Criminalising people for making bad jokes is never going to be ok. Banning porn (or asking people to opt-in) isn't going to deal with the problems in the porn industry. It's also not going to shield children's eyes from porn (they'll find that magazine in their parents’ drawer, or that secret video they have stashed away). It's ok for children to see extreme violence but sex is just too horrible for their sweet innocent eyes? I am aware that some porn is very extreme but banning it doesn't make it go away, nor does it make people not have certain fantasies. Cameron also forgets that you can already filter what your children can access on the Internet. Until of course they take a crash course in hacking and manage to get around those filters. People will always want what they can't have. 

 

Because the war on drugs has just worked so well....right?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

On eating out (an obsession).

I am completely obsessed with eating out. I hate cooking but I love food so it feels like the natural choice for me. My favourite foods are Japanese, Korean, Mexican, American, Nepalese, Lebanese and Chinese all in the broadest sense. I like many of the bastardised mixes and I love big juicy Tex-Mex burgers, I want to dunk my face in a steaming hot bowl of Ramen with a huge side of sashimi and katsu curry. Cover my face in spicy chicken wings with lashings of blue cheese sauce, I want pork burritos to follow me around on a permanent basis. I adore Korean BBQ and it's lavish amounts of meat and lettuce covered in spicy sauce. I have a thing for raw meat including having my steaks nearly completely raw. I think this is all very normal.

I recently ate Lobster for the first time and nearly died in ecstasy. I had Korean BBQ again the other day and didn't even bother with the rice because why would you? I ate steak with two of my closest friends and not only ate mine but finished theirs off as well. You may call me the hoover!

I used to like cooking, a long time ago. Now it bores me terribly and is the last thing I want to do when I get home from work. I love how social it is to eat out with friends, I don't tend to dine alone. I don't think there's anything wrong with eating out alone it's just not for me. I want to enjoy wonderful food with some of my equally wonderfully companions.

I am also always looking for new restaurants, so please if you know anywhere amazing in London let me know in the comments or if you know me privately hit me up yo!

And yes, as I'm writing this I can feel my stomach growl in hunger.


A short list of some of my favourite restaurants in London.

  • Misato
  • Taro (the one on Brewer Street)
  • Wahaca
  • The Diner
  • Red Dog Saloon
  • Burger & Lobster
  • Soju
  • Kimchee
  • The Sitara
  • Asakusa
  • Flat Iron
  • Tonkotsu
  • Bincho (the one on Old Compton Street)
  • Hideaway (for their amazing pizza's)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

On why I need feminism.

  • I don't want my career progression to be stopped by the glass ceiling.
  • I want to be able to have as much sex or as little sex as I want without judgement.
  • I want to love my body.
  • I don't want to my worth to be measured by the way I look.
  • I don't want to have to "have it all".
  • I can be sexist sometimes.
  • I love men.
  • I love women.
  • I don't want to be bombarded by naked women (and sometimes men) everywhere I look.
  • I'm sick of "make me a sandwich bitch" style jokes.
  • I'm sick of rape culture.
  • I want to earn as much as my male counterpart.
  • I want to see more than one body type (men and women) on TV/film/print.
  • I want to be able to be girly, feminine, masculine, boisterous etc. all at the same time.
  • I want certain men to learn to make a compliment rather than tell me to learn to take one.
  • Learn to make a joke rather than tell me to get a sense of humour.
  • I have a sense of humour.
  • Women are funny. So are men.
  • Sex workers and strippers are people too and should be treated as such.
  • Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I need protecting.
  • I wish I didn't have to justify not wanting to marry.
  • Or maybe not having kids.
  • Or the fact that I hate cooking.
  • Anti-ageing is a con.
  • I don't want to be on a diet.
  • I want the freedom to make my own choices.
  • I want autonomy over my own body.
  • I don't need a bunch of dudes who can't even get pregnant telling me about abortion.
  • Because I am any man's equal.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

On loving my surname and wanting to never give it up.


Let me drop my first bombshell, I don't want to get married, ever. I know I know I might change my mind, meet that special someone blah blah blah. I was with someone very special for nearly five years and although I mulled over the option at the end of the day I just didn't want to. That didn't make my love for this person any less serious or important to me I just have never felt that way inclined.

Second bombshell, I don't want to change my surname if I do ever meet that special someone. This seems to surprise people mostly in the sense of "but what name will your child have"? Firstly, not sure if I will ever have a child even though I wouldn't mind. Secondly my parents didn't change their names so I have two (sadly though I am not posh, I feel cheated). Thirdly both of those surnames carry huge weight for me and I want to pass them on. Both of my names are rare and I am the only person in the world (I think) to have this particular mix of surnames.

When my step sister married her first husband he changed his name to hers. Why did he do this? Because her name was more interesting than his. There are many people out there with interesting names and I'm not saying mine is better of course. But I have attached so much of my identity to mine, especially my Jewish one. I am not religious, far from it, really very incredibly far from it (complete opposite end of the spectrum). However I do identify as culturally Jewish (mostly for the food, oh my god the food).

I was also teased at length for my surname. Frankel = Frankenstein apparently. This might also have been because I was a bit of an outsider at school. All the outsiders grow up to be the coolest people, don't you know??? Then they go on to start a blog where they mostly talk about themselves.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

On the trials and tribulations of mad hair.

I was inspired last night to write about hair, not just my hair but hair in general. This was prompted by a man asking me a very odd question whilst I waited in line at the bar. He turned to me, pointed to my head and said "How much did that cost?" I replied and he turned right back around. I'm assuming he might have thought my hair was a wig, or that I have a very expensive hairdresser. I can see why he was interested as my hair is turquoise, blue and a couple of shades of purple/pink. I can understand why people stare; I am less understanding when they reach out and touch it without asking first.

Unfortunately it's the hair of white people which is often revered. Apparently straight, blonde hair is what we should all aspire to have, an idea I absolutely abhor. I have Jewish heritage so my hair is naturally very curly, thick and quite coarse. I was ashamed of my hair for so long as it was so different from most Swedish people. It took me many years and much research into hair oils to finally learn to love my hair.

Hair is such a personal thing, not just for women either. I have a favourite hair cut on men which I think often makes them much more attractive. I always notice other people’s hair, especially if they've done something interesting. I love the different textures of hair, I love the way it feels and if properly cared for the way it smells. People identify with other groups based on just a haircut and they can vary immensely depending on where you come from. I say do what you want with your hair, it's yours, play with it, or don't, it's up to you.

But seriously though, don't fucking touch my hair without asking.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

On being inquisitive and politically minded.

It never crossed my mind not to be political. Never once, it just sort of seemed natural. To me at least. It never even struck me that others wouldn't be the same, nor that I would get teased for it. Oh boy did I get teased for it, I still do, often. I'm proud to be a feminist, to be political, to be inquisitive of the world around me. I see no reason to tease me or anyone else for this. Isn't it counter-productive? Now I'm not so big headed as to say I could change things. I hope to, is that na├»ve? I don't think I'm anything special but I do believe that if I fight, if I learn, if I strive to be something more than I am maybe I can change just one persons views. I want to help open peoples eyes, I want to have my own eyes opened.

I went to a school in Sweden full of predominantly right wing students, this taught me how to argue my corner from a young age. It also taught me to listen to others, find the fault in their argument. I learnt how difficult it was to constantly stand up for myself but I also learnt how wonderful it made me feel.

One of the reasons I spend so much time online being political is because I have a completely dead end job. Because if I have to spend that much more of my time rotting away at my desk without saying or doing anything I will feel worthless. I will have wasted every opportunity that my privilege has given me.



Monday, 8 July 2013

On recent links I've posted on Facebook.

The always wonderful Hollie McNish. Find her here:


Viewer discretion advised on the following due to distressing nature:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jul/08/mos-def-force-fed-guantanamo-bay-video

Cats are infinitely cuter than the men.
http://deshommesetdeschatons.tumblr.com/

This is important to highlight.
http://jezebel.com/nearly-100-women-were-sexually-assaulted-in-tahir-squar-656721811

Some very interesting points made.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/07/sexual-assault-norms-abuse

Jezebel article about a great new law in America.
http://jezebel.com/california-lawmakers-pass-k-12-transgender-rights-bill-671049322

In response to a new UK law.
http://www.vice.com/read/should-trans-people-have-to-disclose-their-birth-gender-before-sex


 
The above was shared by a few of my friends on Facebook and made me slam my head against my desk repeatedly.

Finally! This was posted by a friend.
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-07/04/natural-selection-2-female-marine

Ellen Page is rather wonderful.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/jul/03/ellen-page-interview-the-east

This is tentative good news.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jul/03/hiv-bone-marrow-transplant

Rob Delaney is not only a funny man.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/rob-delaney-access-safe-legal-abortion



                                                               Cute cat is cute!
Harrowing but important read.
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/i-got-raped-then-my-problems-started?utm_source=vicefb

And last but not least if you haven't signed up for this, then do!
http://wethinkalone.com/

Friday, 5 July 2013

On seeing Anti-Flag.


 


This year has so far been amazing for gigs and it looks like it will continue to be so. I'm also feeling extra lucky as I've been seeing a lot of bands I never thought I would actually get to see.
One of those bands was Anti-Flag and I finally saw them last night. They were so good in fact that I can barely keep my eyes open today. They're still as political as ever and were getting everyone in the audience riled up. At one point they instructed people to send a text which would add them to a petition for freeing pussy riot. I admire how they have been able to hold onto their principles for so long and still use their music for good. On top of which they have an amazing energy and put on a great performance. I hope they keep doing what they're doing for a long time as they're bloody good at it.

 

                                                 
                                    
    

Thursday, 4 July 2013

On the joys and pitfalls of pornography.

As a feminist, pornography is always going to be a difficult topic. I have so many issues with the industry and how the people in it are treated (not just the women). I have issues with the contempt the performers are shown because I believe that is wrong. I watch porn and so do many if not most of the people I know. I'm all about eroticism and watching someone else live out the fantasies that you might be too scared to act out. I have a lot of respect for the people who can do this job because I certainly couldn't. I struggle with the idea of sex and sexuality becoming commodities, not just women's of course but anyone. It really shouldn't be a commodity, it's a personal thing. However I still watch porn, I don't feel any shame about it. I wouldn't even say that I try to be selective even though I know I should. I watch a lot more amateur porn than professional. I know they both come with a different set of problems. I know drugs are heavily used particular in the amateur porn industry. Then again I live in London, drugs are heavily used everywhere. I do prefer the porn made by female directors but then they don't always cater to my particular brand of sexual deviance.

I struggle with this dichotomy, one that is so very entrenched in my being as I qualify myself as very sexual but also as fiercely feminist. I want to be able to watch my fantasies but I also want the performers to be treated ethically and with the respect that they deserve. I don't want any women to ever feel that they're forced into this line of work. I have watched documentaries where the performers display a worrying amount of loneliness. I feel tremendous guilt when I see this. This person is lonely and sad because she/he is in a line of work that brings me satisfaction.

You could also argue that watching porn is lazy. Shouldn't I be content with the images I can create? Those images don't hurt anyone and are so completely mine that I can control exactly what happens. Then again much can be said for erotic visual aids, ones where the two or more people are engaging in a very private moment but one which they want people to see. There has been a lot of beautiful art created in this vain.

I'm not sure I will ever be able to reconcile these two sides of my personality but I never said I was a perfect feminist.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

On my obsession with shopping.

So I'm just going to come out and say it. I have a problem, I shop too much. Now don't read this wrong, I'm not in debt and I certainly wouldn't put myself in debt for clothes. I just can't really move around my room as easily anymore. Most of the clothes and shoes I buy are from car-boot sales and charity shops. I also love vintage shops but they're a little out of my price range sometimes. I always head straight to the sale racks and the bargain bins. I'm addicted to bargains! I love Asian fashion so a lot of my monies goes to eBay. I think eBay loves me, I really do.

Nothing I buy is expensive and I do try to be ethical and not buy from the high street. I will try to re-make stuff I get bored with or take them back to the charity shop. I've heard that this isn't always good either but I feel it must be better than just throwing stuff away. I also enjoy occasionally selling things on eBay and I'm itching to try out a car-boot sale (mostly so I can just spend what I've earned right then and there). My favourite thing though must be pile parties, or clothes swaps whatever you call them. You bring your old clothing (the nice stuff not your ratty old undies) and everyone puts their stuff in a pile. Then you quite literally dive in and aggressively steal all the clothes......oh? Only me? But seriously, it's a brilliant way to pass on unwanted clothes and also find yourself some lovely bits.

People will talk about loving clothes as something that's shallow and frivolous. Firstly what's wrong with being frivolous? Secondly why is it shallow to want to express yourself through your clothing? I'm not saying everyone who loves fashion and clothing does this but many do. I do! I love playing with clothes, playing dress up is one of the many childlike things I still enjoy in my adult life. My clothes and my shoes have taken over my room much like my toys did as a child.

I have collected clothes from every country and city I have travelled to. They are daily reminders and souvenirs of who I am and where I've been. When I look in the mirror I feel happy. It makes me feel comfortable and confident in taking on daily life when my outside better matches my inside. People do stare at me, even in London. It doesn't surprise me as I currently have multi coloured hair, a face full of piercings and arms slowly becoming completely covered in tattoos. I don't mind being stared at but if you think for one second that I'm doing this for anyone other than me, then you are sorely mistaken.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

On seeing The Computers (a review of sorts).




The wonderful thing about music especially live music is that it can transport you. That sounds lame right? But it does, it can make your whole world clearer, more alive. It can make you happy, sad, angry and feel completely free. A bands energy can get a whole mosh pit going and make everyone feel euphoric. Music can connect you to the people you're with, other people in the crowd and if they're really good the people performing. That's what The Computers do, they connect with everyone. They make everyone feel like they're special. I'll stop now before my gushing becomes completely pathetic.

My point; just go see them, you won't regret it!



Monday, 1 July 2013

On being pan-sexual.

I have been out since I sort of accidentally came out age 12 at school. Someone asked me if I was lesbian, I said no. They then asked "well do you like girls at all" and I was like yeah they're pretty cool and all of a sudden I was a LESBIAN. Except, I wasn't. At the time and for a few years after I called myself Bi-sexual. I've never felt comfortable with that term though and eventually came across Pan-sexual. I'm not sure if this is the exact label that is suited to me but it is closer. It's just slightly broader and means that I like everyone regardless of what gender they identify as. To me it doesn't matter if you are a man, woman or anything in between. I don't care what you were born as or who you feel that you really are. I am attracted to the WHOLE WORLD!!!! People talk about straight privilege but in all honesty I feel very privileged to be attracted to such a range of people. It can get confusing at times but generally speaking I'm very comfortable with it.

I wasn't always, of course. My parents were very accepting. I think my mother more so although she appears to sometimes forget that I like girls and transgender people. I think my dad would prefer it if I only liked boys who were born as boys but would never say so. Some school chums were less accepting of course. Although I think they're less homophobic now they've grown up which is of course great. Still there's a part of me that stings when they change their Facebook profile picture in support of LGBTQ rights and I'm like "I remember when you asked me not to get changed in the girls changing rooms". Or when I would be having a normal conversation and one of them piped up with "eh ma god Emma are you hitting on me?" Funnily enough I've never made a habit out of hitting on straight women. Ultimately a little disappointing don't you think?

I also found that when I moved to England people were easier going about it. In my experience Swedish people talk about how open and accepting they are but if anything disturbs the status quo they often become very uncomfortable. The English people that I've met who were homophobic were a lot more vocal about it which made it easier to cope with. Most people I've met have been either very supportive or just not seen it as a thing. Both of which I find equally pleasant. I have of course met the occasional guy who has got off on the fact that I also like women but unless they're unpleasant about it, it's not something that bothers me. Everyone has fantasies and many men fantasise about two women together. Generally any boyfriend has said "the idea of you with a woman is great, the reality not so much".

A question that I often get asked is "which do you prefer?" And the answer is; it doesn't work like that for me. I like everyone, sometimes I go through a phase of being off boys and I begin to wonder if I'm completely gay but my interest in guys always comes back. I do tend to like more effeminate men but I'm not sure there's much to be read into that.

Do I feel any shame in my sexuality? Hell no! I'm out and I'm proud!