Monday, 14 April 2014

Scholarly Pursuits

One of the best and worst things about University is that you have to study Social Issues and one of those issues that was discussed in my Knowing and Knowledge A lecture and Tutorial was the steady rise of anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim propaganda that has been occurring in Australia since before September 11, 2001. Problem is, these scrape-goat and race-blame tactics are not just occurring in Australia.

Greek Tragedy: The rise of Europe's neo-Nazis

And I don't know about you, but watching that video made me want to run home immediately, crawl up into bed and never come out again. I have no idea how and why people can be so hateful, this mentality is so strange to me. I can't comprehend it. I have no idea how Muslim people, who have been so unfairly alienated by the media and by western society, get up in the morning and go about their day. How do they do it?

And this is one of the drawbacks of University, it makes you aware of the problem, but not how you can actually do something about it. Someone should do something about this, but I'm just one person in the world and who on Earth is going to take me seriously? I don't take myself seriously the vast majority of the time. I can't influence people. I don't know if you've tried arguing with a racist or homophobic person, but I know for a damn fact that they are determined to stick to their misguided and incorrect ideology, regardless of any evidence you demonstrate before them.

The only thing I could think of were amusing youtube videos and books.

Aamer Rahman Gives A Perfect Explanation Of Why Theres No Such Thing As Racism Against White People


Fear of The Brown Planet: White People


Fear of The Brown Planet: Nazeem Hussain at The Melbourne Comedy Festival 2010


Fear of The Brown Planet: Aamer Rahman at The Melbourne Comedy Fesitival 2010


Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia

What a Muslim Woman Looks Like

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Gender-Flipping

I found this article through Facebook

Gender-flips are a simple and smart way to turn sexism on its head

And I thought it was really interesting how people reacted to it. I also found this music video cliped that was a gender-flipped homage to Simply Irresistible film-video

"Simply Irresistible" by Robert Palmer


Gender-flipped version "Girls Chase Boys" by Ingrid Michaelson


The director even kept in the the sword "ka-shing" sound effect at the end :) Anyway, I found it amusing and Girls Chase Boys is surprisingly catchy.

And then there's Lily Allen's approach to Sexual Objectification

"Hard Out Here" by Lily Allen


I must confess, I do enjoy both songs, both of them make valid points about Sexual Objectification of Women in the music industry. However, which artist do you feel managed to convey their perspective the best way? Is there a right way of going about this? Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Artist Inspiration: Daft Punk

I was watching this youtube video the other day



And I realised, "Hey I know and enjoy quiet a few of those songs, I had no idea that they were perfromed by Daft Punk"

The things is I noticed that the music video clips for Daft Punk's Album Discovery were all connected by a single narrative

"One More Time"


"Aerodynamic"


"Digital Love"


"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"


"Face to Face"


"Something About Us"


All the singles released from the Discovery album tell the story of Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

Why?
"We think the music we made on Discovery has been done in a cinematic way in our minds. We were visually seeing the music and trying to find ideas that were appealing to people's imagination. An animation fan would find this mixture of elements and story in our music."
-Daft Punk

How awesome is that?

I also noticed in their music video of Instant Crush ft. Julian Casablancas it was very much a modern retelling of the old fable tin-solider and the ballerina, especially the way they melt together in the end.

I know what you're thinking, "Discovery was released in 2003, that was over 10 years ago, you're a little late to the Daft Punk party, POSER!"

I know, I know, I get that. But I just wanted to pay tribute to an artist that has inspired me and Daft Punk are very inspirational, they have a lot to offer and more artists (regardless of medium) should strive to be more like them.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Rotunda In The West

Victoria University presents...

Rotunda In The West

Gideon Haigh (real-world story-teller, cricket journalist for The Australian and author) in conversation with Michelle Fincke

Roger Averill (VU Liberal Arts Tearcher and Winner of the Western Australian Premier's Book Award) in conversation with Bruno Lettieri

Date: Thursday 3rd of April
When: 06:30pm for a 07:00pm start
Where: VU Bar, Level 0 (Building M), Victoria University (Footscray Park Campus), Ballarat Road, Footscray.
How much: $15 or $10 concession

RSVP is essential, just contact Bruno via:
Email: bruno.lettieri@vu.edu.au
Facebook: The Write Zone Events

Basic Muffin Recipe

I figured I would try this recipe I found online.

Ingredients:
2 cups (250g) plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150g) caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup (250ml) low fat milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Directions

Preparation:15min › Cook:25min › Ready in:40min

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The mixture will be thick and lumpy.
3. Spoon the mixture between 12 well greased muffin pans or line pans with paper muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.

I thought when I found it, "Yay! It's an Australian site, I won't have to do any conversions" however, this is how they turned out
The one on the left was cooked for 15 minutes at 150 degrees while the other was cooked for 15 minutes at 200 degress. They are raspberry muffins, just in case that wasn't obvious. They also tasted funny (not ha-ha funny either), but that could have something to do with the fact that I accidentally added 1 teaspoon of salt instead of half a teaspoon.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Infographics

Welcome to my mad love affair with Pinterest













http://www.pinterest.com/jpkyle/ambiguous-pieces/

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Alpha Bitch

Upworthy has this "Be A Man" Awareness Video about how society essentially teaches adolescence males to suppress all emotion and that Violence is the preferred method of getting what you want. While I agree that it is incredibly important to deconstruct and expose this predominant social attitude and expectation as the harmful bullshit that it is, however this particular brand of Social Posturing and "Violence + Aggression = Respect" isn't just a designated role given to males towards members of the male gender, female gender, transgender/transsexual people.

At this point, I want to acknowledge Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence because they are very both important topics,

Patrick Stewart: Domestic Violence
Jackson Katz: Violence against women - it's a men's issue
Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why domestic violence victims don't leave

however they are not the focus of today's blog-post (though I will come back to those subjects and do a more detailed post about it). The focus of today's blog-post is Abusive behaviour, Bullying/Harassment and Social Shamming of Women by Women. Now, I am also including abusive and bullying behavour committed against members of the female gender, people who identify as Feminine, Transgender/Transsexual people that is endorsed and enforced by Women

Allow me to introduce the most prominent and most misogynistic Female Writing Trope in the History of Art and Media, The Alpha Bitch.

Connotation: A narcissistic bully who uses abusive behaviour such as emotional and/or physical harassment to dominate and control others.
Connotative Characteristics:
~Heterosexual Normative Crusader
~Popular or High/Favourable Social Status - Even though she (and it's always a she) is a terrible human being, The Alpha Bitch will have a never ending circle of friends that flit in and out on regular rotation like a seasonal wardrobe. Possible reasons are family wealth and family social connections but it could simply be just because she's conventionally attractive (usually by Western Society Standards).
~Self-Absorbed aka "It's All About Me",  - Everything has to be done her way, her opinions are always right and her needs and wants are always more important.    
~Negative Reinforcement Behaviour - Emotional manipulation and/or harassment are her weapons of choice for keeping those lower on the social totem pole in line (bonus points if she refers to them as lowly peons or peasants)  Any female character that does not comply with her standard of beauty or her opinions how a female character should behave, then that female will be subjected to social shaming and humiliation. However, some Alpha Bitches will bully other females they perceive as weaker than themselves simply because they can
~Superficial and Narcissistic - Excessive value in physical beauty and appearance.

Why this is Bullshit and Needs to Stop:
  •  The first problem with evoking an Alpha Bitch stereotype is the fact that it's a stereotype and therefore lazy writing and, out of all the lazy female characterization stereotypes to pick, it's the with the one most Unfortunate Implications and most Misogynistic Double Standards.  
  • One of the biggest unfortunate implications of this trope is the ideology that women can not be leaders or be put into positions of power because they will eventually fall victim to this trope. Or even worse, traits such as confidence, assertiveness, social connections, organisation, time-management (all useful and necessary requirements for leadership) are what make men bosses but women bitches.   
  • One of the many tactics used by an Alpha Bitch is seduction, so the unfortunate implication here is that it is wrong for a woman to be confident in her sexuality otherwise they are a scheming back-stabbing whore. 
  • It's usually always a case of The Alpha Bitch VS The Cool Loser and the motivation/prize is a man's affections. The Alpha Bitch always has a romantic interest (usually the Cool Loser's Love Interest, because women with completely different personalities and priorities always want the same guy) and the vast majority Alpha Bitch Zany Schemes are about stealing or acquiring a love interest. It's Patriarchy Fantasy Material to have two women fight over one man, most women aren't interested in such childish behaviour. Heaven forbid the media portray a woman (even an "evil" one) who has more important things to worry about than a romantic relationship.
  • The Alpha Bitch reinforces a lot of The Patriarchy's worldviews of women, such as women being only valued as decoration, instead of person with her own goals or agendas. One of the key character traits of an Alpha Bitch is her beauty, sure it's Narcissism at it's most damaging and extreme, but the story universe and the real world still reward such behaviour. It's only when the Cool Loser under goes a usually Unnecessary Make-Over is she "worthy" of taking on Alpha Bitch. You know, because only Beautiful Women can do The Right Thing and "Ugly" Women just shouldn't exist (god, the nerve!)
  • It also implies the Cool Loser isn't "worthy" of the male Romantic Interest unless she's beautiful, and The Cool Loser must confirm to society's expected level of beauty (going against pretty much everything the character stands for or represents) and that the male Romantic Interest shouldn't just accept her for who she is from the get go. It's especially jarring as the Cool Loser character is always expected to accept the male Romantic Interest just the way he is, reinforcing the message that ugly men are acceptable but "ugly" women aren't.  
  • Scientifically Inaccurate - The Alpha Bitch stereotype is loosely based on the incorrect and outdated stereotype of how Wolves socially interact.
"Outdated belief told that wolves would show deference to some alpha pair in their pack by allowing them to be the first to eat and, usually, the only pair to reproduce. After this belief wolves would use eye contact as an indicator of dominance or submission, but in order to establish a dominant position they would often also show physical superiority through playing or fighting.Modern knowledge of wolves dismisses the idea of absolute alphas in a pack, favoring instead the concept of breeder wolves as the centers of life in a pack, in the sense that the pack leaders are simply the common parents to most of the other pack members. As such, the status of alpha as a privileged individual or pair is nonexistent in natural wolf packs.[6] Larger or less-nuclear packs may operate differently and possess more complex and flexible social structures.[7] In the case of other wild canids, the alpha male may not have exclusive access to the alpha female;[8] moreover, other pack members may guard the maternity den used by the alpha female; such is the case with the African wild dog, Lycaon pictus.[9]" - Alpha(Ethology) - Wikipedia
However, the most important (and perhaps the scariest) part in all of this is that The Alpha Bitch isn't just confined to the Media. These narcissistic bullies are in our classrooms (kindergarten to year 12 High School), our workplaces (Nursing and Teaching suffer the most with 71% of harassment cases of women harassing other women) and in our homes (Mothers With Narcissistic Personality Disorder). When you live in a society that only values and appreciates a female because of how they appear, I suppose competition and bullying by women against women is going to happen, but who really gains from this? It's certainly not women or transgender/transsexual people.

As long as Women continue to invest in an impossible-to-obtain social status that ultimately does more harm than good, as long as women continue to judge their status and sense of self-worth in comparison to another woman's looks, as long as Women continue to buy into and go along with sexual objectification, Women and Feminists are always going to be a house divided. Now I know some women who don't think they need feminism, that feminism is about psycho lesbians who want the power to castrate ALL THE MEN  in Revenge, that feminism is about how women need to act more like men.

All of These Assumptions Are All Wrong, Because Feminism Isn't About Any of These Things. 

Feminism is about giving Women and Men the same rights and responsibilities, the same pay for the same job, the same opportunities for everything life has to offer. The ability for a woman choose what she wants to do with her life because it's what she wants and it makes her happy and she doesn't have to feel ashamed or guilty about it. Because while Men created and benefit from The Patriarchy, it's women who are enforcing this system on themselves and other women that has to stop. Women are allies, not the enemy.


Resources:
Bullying Statistics - Adult Bullying
Bullying Statistics - Why do people bully?
Wise Geek - What Is Emotional Abuse?
Alfie Kohn - The Case Against Competition 
Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression In Girls by Rachel SimmonsKobo or Amazon
Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
TV Tropes - Alpha Bitch
TV Tropes - The Breakfast Club
TV Tropes - The Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality

Caroline Heldman: The Sexy Lie
Sexual Objectification: What It Is, Why It's Damaging, And How We Change It
Cameron Russel: Looks Aren't Everything, Trust Me I'm a Model
TV Tropes - I'm Not Pretty
Jezebel - Why Women don't say "I'm Pretty"
Jezebel - #LiesToldByFemales Perfectly Illustrates Gender Bullshit