Jay’s Rants: Changing attitudes to Feminism in music

This is something very close to my heart as a dedicated music fan, a proud owner of a vagina and as a member of the human race. As a 90s child, I grew up looking up to female icons and superstars that didn’t need to take off their clothes or twerk to get attention or to be heard.

From what I remember, 90s feminism, on the outside, seemed more militant and aggressive than what passes as feminism these days. I don’t think that it was necessarily a bad thing. “Spice” by the Spice Girls was released in 1996 when I was 6 years old. For a kid that had never heard of feminism at the time, their message of “girl power” (even though it was manufactured) was one that I found really inspiring. I was the perfect age to absorb it all!

spicegirls

Loads of other examples can be found outside of the pop genre. If you dig a little bit deeper into more niche genres, riot grrl bands such as Babes in Toyland, L7, Bikini Kill were all sources of inspiration for me and made me feel proud to be a girl. In a society where I already felt that I didn’t really belong, it made me feel alright with being different and it has made me stronger for it.

babesintoylandGrunge was a safe place for feminists and girl bands in the late 80s and early 90s because it was easy to pick up and play – just like punk rock! It didn’t matter about musical prowess (though some are really skilled players), what was important was the message – and girls were angry. Really fucking angry.

In the late 70s, second wave feminists coined the term “rape culture” to describe the way that society blamed victims of sexual assault whilst simultaneously normalising male sexual violence against women. Most women, in their lifetimes, have experienced an uncomfortable scenario were sex may not have been entirely consensual – the unlucky ones are outright abused, chewed up and spit out.

I would say that this is term is still relevant today. With the advent of disposable digital media sharing apps such as Snapchat, we are seeing teenage boys demanding nudes from their pre-pubescent girlfriends and slut-shaming on the internet. Young girls are pressured to do this because they want to be seen as grown ups – and I’m sure boys have no problem taking advantage of that.

Even my parents, being Korean and all, used to hate how I used to dress and we’d get into huge arguments about the length of my skirts. Now that I’ve grown up and experienced the world somewhat, I started thinking about how wrong that was! Why is it that the mainstream media (and therefore most people) point their fingers at the victims and accuse them of dressing provocatively? Women should not be afraid of walking down the road regardless of how they are dressed.

I believe this is because of the sense of entitlement that people seem to have towards women’s bodies. They see half naked bodies and boobs all the time. Porn, music videos and this bullshit post-feminism that we are seeing today make it even more acceptable for women to be seen gyrating on TV. Young girls are being brought up around this idea that they are only valued if they are on their knees and naked.

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter at all how you are dressed in my experience. I’ve had cat calls and abuse from white van men with a full face of make up / without make up / dressed up / dressed down…etc. It is not what women are wearing, it is purely the fact that you are a girl – nothing more, nothing less.

Many “non-feminists” would argue, that in the UK, that women in society have reached a pleasant equilibrium. I would say the complete opposite. Women are now expected to work full or part-time whilst still being largely responsible for child-rearing and running the household. Even my partner, though we are more equal than most couples, is guilty of letting me run around after him picking up his socks. Why is it that no man has EVER done that for me? Anyway, I digress….

Fast forward to today and we have Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj as the poster children for post-feminism. Clearly, their management has a testosterone fuelled agenda. It seems to me (though it could just be that I have a chip on my shoulder), that the music industry is trying with all its might to undo all the progress that has been made. If you think that post-feminism is a movement started by women, then you are very naive indeed.

feminism

“What’s the big deal? Sex sells!” – is the industry stand point on this matter. However, I would argue that it is precisely BECAUSE music has the power to change the attitudes of each successive generation, that the major record companies, as a whole, are not being responsible enough. With great power, comes great responsibility (HAHAHAHAHA – *cough* sorry, we are talking about the music industry here. The most responsible of all industries lol)

I can’t begrudge an independent artist trying to carve a career out for themselves by waggling their bottoms in front of people but there are millions swilling around in the record label coffers (no matter how much they keep moaning that record sales are low – they are STILL making loads of money). There is no excuse for them and they are investing it into acts and artists that are, frankly, an embarrassment.

In conclusion, I will only call myself a post-feminist in a post-patriarchal society – our work here is not yet finished. Put your arse away, love.

Jay’s Ramblings – We are 99.999% Empty Space

The picture below absolutely blew my mind. It’s a concept that most of us learn at school in physics but when it is presented in a visual style like this, it seems even more impossible. This is where I start wondering why we can’t walk through walls or…why there’s something when there should be nothing? Or why solid objects appear solid but aren’t really…etc.

Anyway, all these philosophical questions still exist because they are completely unanswerable. I like to think that the matrix probably exists. There’s no way of proving it doesn’t. It would make sense really if everything that we are is in our heads and doesn’t actually manifest itself physically. It would explain why everything is 99.999999% nothing. But how could the world possibly be a simulation? Maybe everything that we are is an illusion created in our minds. Does that even make any sense?

I don’t actually believe that the matrix exists but wouldn’t everything be so convenient if it was? Everything would make much more sense.

I’m glad I’m not a physicist. It would drive me insane, personally, but I have the utmost respect for those that choose that long and arduous path. The road to seeking new knowledge while sitting right on the brink of the unknowable is a challenging life to lead indeed.

99%emptyspace

#GamerGate, Feminism and the culture war

It’s a really odd thought to think that there is a culture war going on right now. Video game culture is under scrutiny this time because of a hashtag: #GamerGate. In a nutshell, many people have accused Gamergate of being a hate group because people using this hashtag have been targeting female journalists and game industry employees to send abusive messages and death threats.

What started off as some vicious rumour spreading about the validity of a game review, the entire thing seems to have grown way out of hand. After reading some awful tweets targeting @FemFreq on twitter, it is clear that people are lashing out at women “getting involved” in a traditionally, male dominated industry.

I understand that games are about fantasy and suspending reality and that sometimes that there might be a historical context for sexism that is relevant to the content. However, I cannot agree with this glorification that seems to be all too common in entertainment products these days. It is not sending the right message to young people – of both genders.

Girls can make games too you know! This teen duo from the US show the boys how it’s done…

Two Teenage Girls Have Invented the Most Powerful Video Game of the Year

Two Teenage Girls Have Invented the Most Powerful Video Game of the Year

I’m involved with making games myself. I’m not afraid to say that I love games and that I’m also a feminist. What these people don’t seem to realise is that there is absolutely nothing that we can do about the past, we can only change the future. Games like Grand Theft Auto are notoriously sexist but it is clear that these games were targeted at a male target market WITHOUT consideration of the female audience and it still sold millions.

What the game industry needs to take away from this controversy is to put the same money, energy and time into games that are all inclusive rather than exclusive. At the very least, consider that, in reality, the mainstream target audience is no longer “predominantly male”.

I mean c’mon! It’s 2014! Video games don’t just belong to boys – we’ve been playing just as long as you have!

10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman: Jay’s thoughts

You guys should watch this video that went viral since it was posted on Youtube this Tuesday. Not only does it show how often cat-calling in the street happens, it shows how intimidating some people can be without realising that they are doing it. In the comments below the video, it clearly demonstrates that some men still hold these gender biases when they say can stuff like this:

“So much bull… in the video, it feels so unreal and set up, both for the editing and the way it was prepared… besides, as many has pointed out, most are just innocent comments. So, she and others are overly sensitive, that’s their right, but… when is it ok to let overly sensitive people control NORMAL behavior? I think harassment has become such a easily thrown in word and most people feel scared to stand up to it that we are letting this kind of things control us.”

I left the spelling and grammar mistakes in there on purpose so you can see what an absolute hippo this guy is. Don’t worry, there’s more. Just keep scrolling.

Women do not consider this “normal” or friendly behaviour from men. I guarantee you, speaking as a girl, most women encounter stuff like this every day. Men don’t. Which is why I think there is this lack of understanding because it is impossible for a man to experience this constant stream of unwanted attention.

Not only that, men are unaware that they can be quite frightening at times. If I had a guy walking silently next to me, I would feel really scared. So many thing run through your mind when stuff like that happens. Especially, if they start to follow you after you ignore them – because there is the REAL possibility of being attacked and overpowered by someone who has just expressed an interest in harassing you.

To call women “overly sensitive” when we TRULY do not want this kind of attention is unfair. To be honest, the comments in the video aren’t nearly half as bad as what I can personally experience when I’m out and about. Mix that all up with good old fashioned racial stereotyping and slurs, you can sometimes get really nasty things said to you.

This is basically why I’m so glad that I barely use public transport anymore. This kind of harassment NEEDS to stop. I’m glad at least that this video has gone viral – at least it’s got people talking.

PS. To be completely honest though, the amount of terrible things people are saying in the comments section really does concern me. Also someone from the “red pill” club has got hold of it and is going off on a misogynistic rant. I despair for humanity.

Jay’s Blog – Ramblings: Nobody likes smokers

I saw a job advert recently for a Kitchen Porter which said: “We only hire non-smokers”. Which lead me to question – are smokers being discriminated against? Is that even allowed?

After a quick Google search, I discovered that yes, it is perfectly legal for employers to refuse applicants on the basis that they smoke. Now, I dunno about you, but I think that this is plain wrong.

Apparently (please – someone correct me if I’m wrong), the NHS do not give lung transplants to lung cancer patients. Which I kind of understand, apart from the fact that I pay almost 20% in VAT on top of an additional tax of 16.5% of the price paid at the till point. More than enough to pay for many lung transplant surgeries over my many years of smoking.

cigaretteLook, smokers aren’t stupid. It is a vice. Which is why we accept these ridiculous price increases year on year. We get that it’s supposed to be a deterrent and that many people see it as a dirty habit. But as a society, are we not pro-choice and have a right to live how we choose?

Cigarettes aren’t illegal yet because the government makes too much money off the back of the sale of tobacco products. According to the Tobacco Manufacturing Association website, £12.3 billion was made in Tax revenue from the sale of tobacco products in the UK in the years 2012-2013. In recent reports, it has been estimated that smokers cost the NHS £1.8 billion a year. From those figures, I’d say that we have more than paid for the right to free health care just like everybody else without being refused treatment. By that logic, anybody who does anything to harm their body in any way should be penalised in the same way.

I try my best to not smoke around kids. I can’t help it if your child decides to walk into a place where I’m smoking – I’m not moving my ass for no-one. There are RULES dammit! All I’m saying is that smokers are people too. I don’t particularly enjoy being tutted at by self righteous soccer mums so please don’t look down on us.

We’re just trying to look cool.

BBC News – Budget 2012: Tax breaks for games industry

BBC News – Budget 2012: Tax breaks for games industry.

Just thought I’d share some news about the Games Industry that some people might not know. I’m only really interested in this story because I’m actively involved in creating a Video game at the moment.

This is fantastic news basically. It means that the Government has finally accepted that Games are just as important culturally as Films, Plays, Music, Art…etc. It means that Indie Developers as well as larger UK based companies will find it easier to get funding for projects hopefully.