Sensible Conversation

I talk to myself almost constantly when left in my own company. I always imagined I kind of whispered to myself but both my family and friends that I’ve lived with have commented that they often hear me chatting away quite loudly, and have assumed that I’m on the phone. Nope, just crazy me. I know that most people at some point or another have talked to themselves, maybe repeating things out loud or talking through something that they’re doing, but my conversations with myself are a whole new ball game. I laugh at myself, ask myself questions which I then answer, I argue various points as though I’m in a debate with someone. It’s thinking out loud on another level.

Throughout the years I’ve wondered why I do it so much. My dad also talks to himself a lot so maybe it’s genetic. He used to say, “It’s the only way I can have a sensible conversation around here”, which is obviously such a dad joke, but in a way I agree with him. I talk to myself most – as in have a real conversation with myself, not just the average muttering that other people do – when I’m thinking about a lot of things at once. I feel like I have to say my thoughts out loud or I won’t be able to make sense of them, or get them in order somehow. Not to get too amateur psychologist on myself, but I think it feels like if I don’t say something that’s important or significant when it’s in my mind then it will slip away and I won’t have cemented it into reality by vocalising it. When I thought (said) this the other day I had a mild panic that it happens because I’m not clever enough to hold multiple thoughts at one time. I have since decided that I should get over myself and carry on down the path of madness this will inevitably lead to.

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International Women’s Day

International-Womens-Day1I love this day. Women supporting other women will always be one of my favourite things, and this day is just 24 hours of love and admiration among the female community (and male allies of course). In my opinion, it is so important for women to recognise their greatness and shout about it from time to time because so often we’re ignored, spoken over, and shouted down. International Women’s Day gives women the opportunity to unashamedly celebrate themselves and those who inspire them. It is about the power of unity and equality. But what is also important on this day is to recognise the privilege that we do have, and hopefully become more inclusive through that recognition. Feminism is about fighting for equality, but equality is further away and harder to achieve for some. Women of colour, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, impoverished women – the list could go on – around the world face misogyny and discrimination that is potentially life-threatening on a day to day basis. On this day, and every day, we need to use our privilege to support these women.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”2016-02-25-1456409707-7874552-InternationalWomenDay

 

Forever searching

One of the hardest things about being an adult is trying to find a job. Actually, I’ve found lots of jobs, what’s hard is getting one. I graduated from university last year, worked a temp job until December and now here I am. I started volunteering at a couple of charity shops at the beginning of February so that I actually had some semblance of structure during the week. It helps me not to feel so useless, but a paying job would still be welcome. The whole job search is disheartening. Taking the time to write cover letters, fill out application forms, comb through and improve your CV again and again, and then not to hear anything back? Not even a thanks, but no thanks? That sucks.

I think one of the hardest things is going from education to nothing. At school and university, you have long holidays every summer where you can waste your days away if you want to, but you know that come September, there is a place waiting for you. Having no job means that the days stretch endlessly in front of me, with no comfort that it will come to an end once the semester starts again. Whilst you’re in education, you’re on a path and working towards an end goal, even if you don’t enjoy the journey. I didn’t particularly like school, but I loved uni. I loved all aspects of it, I loved the friends, the nights out, the nights in, the independence. I loved American Studies, my lecturers, my modules, even my dissertation. I loved all of it, but upon graduating I felt ready to leave. I felt ready to tackle the ultimate challenge: being a real adult. Student life was great, but I was looking forward to making my own way in the world (we can ignore how cheesy that sounds). And now, two months of unemployment in, I’m feeling – I don’t know. I want my life to start.

‘Diversity’

Earlier this week I was scrolling through Facebook when a BuzzFeed article about white model Karlie Kloss dressing as a geisha for Vogue caught my eye. I clicked on the article, saw the photos and, honestly, I had to stop myself from laughing about the incredible irony of the situation. Vogue chose, for their diversity issue, to feature a white woman appropriating Japanese culture. Whitewashing is so prevalent in the fashion industry that even in an issue of Vogue that is supposed to celebrate and represent models of different races and cultures, white models are still the preferred option. There’s a sense that Vogue wants to be diverse, but not too diverse. “Okay, we’ll have a shoot celebrating Japanese culture but no way is a Japanese model going to be used for it, that’s a step too far. Let’s get Karlie Kloss to put on a kimono and pretend to be Japanese, and just to be safe make sure she has a six-page spread, God forbid anyone non-white should take centre stage in our diversity issue.” It would be laughable if it weren’t so harmful.

Of course this isn’t the first time that this has happened, and every time I hear of another instance like this I just think, how? How did anyone think this was a good idea, how did anyone agree to this, how did no one see the shitstorm that would come their way if they cast a white person in a non-white role? I think what bothers me most is the white people who agree to be cast in these roles. As a white person, I cannot imagine myself in a situation where I agree to playing a character that is non-white (bearing in mind that I’m not an actor/model/performer so it’s quite difficult to imagine playing a character at all). It irritates me that Karlie Kloss didn’t understand that what she was doing was offensive until after people reacted negatively. Did she not see that this photo shoot could be problematic? Even if she thought it was fine for her to dress as a geisha, did she not think for one second, “huh, this is the diversity issue though, isn’t that a little ironic?” I can only assume that she didn’t see the problem, and that in itself is the problem.

This situation is reminiscent of the reaction to Emma Stone playing a character of Asian and Hawaiian descent in the 2015 film Aloha. Emma Stone, after receiving criticism, admitted that the casting of her in the role was problematic and taught her a lot about whitewashing in Hollywood. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that Stone has become more educated on this issue, but why did she ever accept the role in the first place? She seems, as much as one can tell from interviews, like an intelligent woman, and yet nothing about the idea of a white woman playing a part Asian and Hawaiian character tripped her up. Both Asian actors and Native American actors are hugely underrepresented in film, so when a character like that of Emma Stone’s in Aloha comes up it has the potential to offer an opportunity to actors who are too often overlooked. But once again a white actress was chosen in an already overwhelmingly white cast. Why bother including a character of colour at all if that character is not going to be played by an actor of colour? If the ethnicity of the character is important enough to be specified, then surely accurately casting that role is of equal importance.

Ultimately, it’s not good enough to apologise after the fact anymore. White performers throughout the entertainment and fashion industry have a responsibility to call out cultural appropriation and whitewashing when they see it, just as their counterparts of different races have been doing for years.

Blogging

This is an entirely new concept for me. I’ve always enjoyed reading other people’s blogs, but I never considered writing one myself. I’ve also potentially chosen the least interesting moment of my life to start; I graduated university last year, worked a temp job until December, and now am searching for a permanent job. So, if anyone is reading this, (unlikely, I know) I apologise for not having something more exciting to say. Hopefully that will change soon.

The reason I’ve decided to start a blog is simple, really. I’m terrified that whatever intelligence I had is slowly slipping away day after day the longer I go without something to keep my mind active. So, blogging seemed like a good way to slow the process down. I think that this blog will probably cover a range of topics, but honestly I don’t know if I can promise anything of much worth. I think it will take a while not to feel self-conscious about writing private thoughts on a public forum, but nonetheless I’ll persist. Oh shit, I sound like a dick.