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.

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Kaley Cuoco on why she’s NOT a feminist in interview

Kaley Cuoco on why she’s NOT a feminist in interview with Redbook magazine | Daily Mail Online.

There are a lot of reasons why I am disturbed and a little disappointed about this article. First of all, I’m pissed off that everyone is talking about it in the first place.

As a feminist, I am pro choice and an equalist. I believe that any human, male or female or LGBT individuals, are as valuable as each other and I do accept that there are physiological differences that make individuals predisposed to pursuing specific roles in society and indeed, in the home. I would argue though, this has more to do with personality and upbringing than it has to do with whatever pair of chromosomes you happen to have.

I can only draw from personal experience but I’m sure there are plenty of articles that would reinforce the points that I’m trying to make.

The article that I have provided links to, promotes a post-feminist message of: “It’s ok, to want to stay at home and provide for your man”. It is exactly the attitude of so many young women and teenagers that have clearly benefited from the work of feminists that have brought about legal and social changes that allow women to have jobs and vote but the individuals themselves have no drive to push forward anymore and are now comfortable.

Some women, like Kaley Cuoco, are incredibly fortunate. She has the option to stay at home and look after their husband. She also has the option to go out and pursue an income and seeing as she’s currently earning millions from appearing on the Big Bang Theory, she doesn’t need to really do anything if she doesn’t want to.

I would argue, if an individual is not a famous TV star, and chooses to stay at home and look after their partner without earning their own wages, they choose to hand over the control to the other party. In any relationship, if the power balance is too far in favour of one person, the other can easily be taken advantage of. In other words, you are effectively trapped.

On the flip side, I feel sorry for men. Not only is there social pressure for them to provide for their family, it is more socially acceptable for women to completely take advantage of this. Except that men don’t have the option of being the home maker since there is inadequate paternity care support. If a woman chooses to completely ruin a life, there is no social stigma even if she took everything.

This is decidedly unfair but some women are going back to an almost victorian way of thinking and rejecting the freedom that they have been offered because it’s too frightening. It’s easier to give-up and hand over the responsibility to the man who will provide everything for them.

But open your eyes! Men are feeling more and more inadequate as women gain strength and with the current living cost and property crisis, only the very rich and fortunate can afford to not work and stay at home with their families. Men are no longer earning enough by themselves to support a family. It isn’t fair, if your man isn’t earning huge amounts of money, if you demand that he looks after you while you sit at home painting your nails. There are plenty of women out there that have kids that work part-time or full-time alongside their partner in order to support their household.

In conclusion, this sort of “post-feminism” is bull shit and shouldn’t really be making headlines. Celebrity lifestyles are NOT something that ordinary people should try and emulate because it is simply not realistic. Kaley Cuoco should have known that the red top newspapers will just grab the “I’m not a feminist” slogan and run with it.

At this moment in time, women in the western world are “more equal” than men. We choose when to have babies, we choose our own husbands, we choose our own path in life…etc. It’s a shame that so many young people would rather sacrifice their own opportunities just to coast through life by leeching off someone else and not using their own brains to get ahead in life.

Jay’s Ramblings – Why I’m proud of being an HSP personality type

I first became interested in personality types when studying for my undergraduate degree. It has helped me understand myself and the actions of others around me and since then, I have found myself analysing my friends and family and making mental notes of the personality types that they might be.

I found recently that this kind of behaviour is typical for HSPs (Highly sensitive people). This link I found is pretty much the only self test that I’ve been able to find that was on a reputable website. Of course, no personality survey should be taken at face value and it doesn’t diagnose or solve anything. I was just curious! But of course, I checked 25 out of 27. Here it is if you want to check it out: http://www.hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/

To tell the truth, the reason I stumbled across this website was because I was frustrated that I seemed to be reacting completely differently to other people when watching violent, tense or scary TV shows or movies. I tend to avoid them if I can but I don’t think it’s normal that I grit my teeth when watching Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. I know, I know, those shows aren’t THAT violent but think of how I would react to a movie like Saw. I’ve seen Saw. I don’t think I could tell you anything about the plot or characters, instead I have images of Jigsaw burned permanently into my mind. Of course I’ve lied to my friends so that they don’t think I’m a pussy but I am so so tired of keeping up this facade and I don’t know why anyone would enjoy watching someone cutting off their own leg. I mean, there are plenty of other things that I would rather watch.

I’ve always felt that my brain was wired differently to everyone else’s and some things genuinely still baffle me about other people’s behaviour. When I was a teenager, I used to regularly be moved to tears by songs. As an adult, I’m able to keep a lid on the tears but instead of crying, I will sit there and tear apart the song analysing every chord change, every instrument in the sound scape and rewind to the solo so I can listen to it over and over. I love to get lost in the detail in anything and everything that I do.

According to the website, this personality trait affects around 15-20% of the population which is too much to be a disorder but a small enough number to not be well understood by the majority. In fact, up until recently, HSP has been mislabelled as introversion, neuroticism or shyness but it has been agreed that HSPs can be both introverted and extroverted. Specifically, HSPs are more aware than others of subtleties, easily overwhelmed, sensitive to other’s moods, deeply moved by the arts or music.

As an artist / creative person, I’m thankful that I have a personality that is more sensitive to emotions and I’m glad that I am sensitive to other people’s moods. I look at other people who just don’t seem to have the ability to read the room or seem to just not care about other people’s feelings at all.

On the flip side, being an HSP personality type also means that I get upset easily and take things really personally. So whether I feel that I’m being undermined or even if I’m just having a really unlucky day, I’ll feel that the world is just 100% against me for that moment in time and I almost won’t be able to function properly unless I have a sandwich or a smoke.

The thing is with all these different personality types and quizzes is that there are all completely subjective because you could, in theory, get a different result each time you answer the questions. However, everyone knows in their heart of hearts that they fit in a certain group (ie. an extrovert couldn’t possibly think they were an introvert) – but it is also a well known fact that some people find it difficult to be honest with themselves so an accurate result in this case would be impossible.

The good thing about being aware of your personality type is that you become to understand why you think and act a certain way and once you have addressed it, you can recognise and work on areas of your personality that you aren’t proud of. Additionally, being able to recognise certain traits in others will help you understand and empathise more with them. In business, in love and in life – being able to understand the way people work will only be an advantage to you.

I’ve provided links to a few well known personality tests  and websites below, if you are interested.

Leave a comment and tell me what your type is!

Official Myers Briggs website (FYI only, you have to pay!) – http://www.myersbriggs.org/

Free test based on Isabel Briggs Myers and Carl Jung – http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

HSP personality type test – http://www.hsperson.com/

Jay’s Ramblings: Yellow fever exists. Deal with it.

‘Yellow fever’ fetish: Why do so many white men want to date a Chinese woman? – Telegraph.

Margaret Cho - complete badass Korean comedian

Margaret Cho – complete badass Korean comedian

I recently stumbled across this article on the Telegraph online talking about “Yellow fever” and was absolutely appalled by the content. For those of you not familiar with the term, “Yellow fever” is basically a sexual fetish where men prefer women from East Asia (Japan, Korea, China…etc.etc). I admit that the fetish exists and that there are a few websites that cater to people who are “afflicted”. It’s really annoying because I worry that my boyfriend might get labelled as a creep just because I’m from Korea but I always make sure that people hear me speak. I’m pretty loud, really British accent, you can’t miss me easily – especially with my platinum bleach blonde hair that I’m rocking at the moment!

Not tooting my own horn here but I have been stopped in the street by random strangers who want to know me simply because I’m Asian. I do feel offended and uncomfortable that people I don’t know are thinking of me in that way but to be honest, its a problem with all men and not just those that are into Asians. There are plenty of girls that aren’t Asian that suffer casual sexism every day just because they look a certain way so I don’t feel unique in my position.

As a result, the author of this article has come to the conclusion that because of this hyper sexualisation of Asian women, we are not being represented properly in politics or popular culture.

Park Geun-hye – South korean president

I disagree with this since the South Korean president, for a start, is female. If asian women aren’t being represented properly, it is their own countries that are failing them. Here in the UK, I don’t feel that I am at any disadvantage or advantage by being an Asian female. This is because I watch Lost, JPod, Harold and Kumar, The Walking Dead, Marvel’s Agents of Shield…etc. in which the actors and actresses don’t play to the typical stereotype at all and are well written and important characters.

In fact, the opinion that Asian females only get certain roles is quite dated. Films from about 5-10 years ago, of course they were a bit racist. Memoirs of a Geisha was written by an American author in 1997; clearly Arthur Golden loved Japan and its culture but in terms of the storyline and context, much of it was made up. Look at all those Kung Fu movies! It isn’t REAL Kung fu! Many people only think of these films and books because for a lot of people, this was the first time they were exposed to Asian culture.

Ming-Na Wen playing Melinda May in Marvel Agent's of Shield

Ming-Na Wen playing Melinda May in Marvel Agent’s of Shield

MOVING ON from Kung Fu movies, Hollywood and TV have embraced Asian actors and actresses in a variety of different roles. Also, you have to think of the initial language barrier. It isn’t hard to imagine that immigrant Actors and Actresses will have a hard time getting a job if they have a strong accent or are only able to fill certain roles. Now that we have such a strong population of Asians that have grown up in English speaking countries such as the UK or USA, more and more opportunities are opening up because we are now part of the fabric of society.

To say that we aren’t represented in the media or politics is fundamentally wrong because there are so many examples of Asian women in powerful positions right now and it’s only going to improve over time. Margaret Cho, Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs….I could go on and on and on.

We need to be realistic about what we can and can’t achieve. Yes, we will always look a certain way, but individuals certainly aren’t the same cookie cutter personality and whining about it makes us look lazy. Get off your ass and be somebody if you want to be someone!

Jay’s Ramblings: Nothing ever turns out how you expect, so expect the unexpected

I haven’t ever told you guys about my list habit! I love them. Seriously, cannot get enough of them. I’m channeling my good old pops for this weird addiction…no…compulsion of mine. I go back home once a week to help my mum clean the house and I discovered something in my book case that I hadn’t seen in a while.

A little envelope filled with notebook paper that had been torn out and scribbled all over. Aside from finding “An ode to Satan” that I had written at the tender age of 11, I discovered a list of things I had to have achieved by the age of 25. My 14 year old self would have been very disappointed indeed. I’ll transcribe it as best I can. I would post up the original copy but I’m telling you, there are some seriously offensive sketches all over it. Hail Satan.

  • Date at least 200 guys. All rock stars. No losers. Dump every single one FIRST
  • Be exactly like Brody Dalle, Courtney Love, Amanda Palmer or Marilyn Manson
  • Wear black every day (Only buy black clothing – red or purple is ok sometimes)
  • Be amazing at guitar and singing
  • Drive a convertible (black)
  • Release 6 albums (metal, rock, industrial, goth, punk, techno)
  • Grow hair down to my feet
  • MOVE OUT
  • Never settle down

Sorry 14 year old me. I think the only thing that I did was MOVE OUT. The note finishes with: “If I don’t do all of this then I’m a HUGE PUSSY” *sigh*

Jay’s Ramblings – Users and Abusers can Fuck off

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 17.35.28

I have very little respect for people who expect to receive more than they give. All relationships and friendships are about mutual respect so being used by someone you care about is never a nice situation to be in and shows that they think they are somehow better than you.

I was brought up to go “above and beyond the call of duty” and have this problem with some people where I feel that I’m bending over backwards when they don’t seem to be putting in the same effort. I have found that although I feel I have grown more empathetic over time, my tolerance level for ignorance and selfishness has sharply dropped so I really have started to get quite annoyed with people over things I would have previously have left alone.

I found myself suddenly being asked for more and more favours with no sign of being reimbursed in any way. Our conversations  seem to be so sporadic, they never respond to texts or calls and when we finally do meet up, it’s only when they need something from me. Like a couch to crash on or free food…or whatever. People take advantage of the fact that I’m generous and too trusting in order to manipulate me into giving them everything without ever reciprocating.

Why do “Users” use people? Because it’s just too damn easy. Users spot people’s vulnerabilities and exploit them for their own means. They don’t care about you – they care about themselves. If you weren’t there, they’ll just find someone to replace you. In their eyes, “It’s not personal” but it is EXACTLY this attitude which makes it personal and even more insulting if there was originally a friendship there in the first place.

Today, I only give my love to people that give me love in return. It’s only fair. I have found that clean breaks are often the best way to move on with your life. If you feel that someone you know is using you, then you should really question your relationship and never undervalue yourself by giving in to their wishes and demands. It only encourages them.

Jay’s Ramblings: Modern Romance, apparently

Well, the title is a little dramatic but I’d like to observe this point for just a moment because I’d like to see if anyone else can relate to what I am about to describe.

As I’m sure you all know, I’m currently living with my long term boyfriend of 7 years and we’ve been crazily in love and inseparable from the moment we met each other as teenagers. It’s become so odd recently because we’ve almost merged into one giant homogenous blob that do absolutely everything together. It has gotten so bad, he’s even started to channel my thoughts by saying things that I’d been casually thinking of at that moment. I’m not joking! But of course, it’s due to the fact that we’ve spent so long together that we’re like magnets. I move – he moves. I think – coffee, he puts on the kettle on for me (doesn’t work all the time unfortunately).

All I’ve ever wanted for my close friends and family is for them to be happy which includes the hope that they find a partner that respects and loves them at least as much as I do. However, it seems that in reality, the pursuit of happiness in love is almost an impossible dream for many young people these days and as I get a little bit older and start to tolerate things less and less, I’ve started to notice how different things have become since I left the game 7 years ago.

My single friends are upset that the guys that they’ve been seeing and dating recently don’t really seem to want to commit to a monogamous relationship and the Number 1 reason why they break up – cheating and dishonesty. Dating websites and apps like Tinder have made it so easy to hook up with people you match with, it’s as easy as ordering a pizza. There are a lot of people out there willing to meet strangers for sex and it happens all the time.

It’s not that I disapprove of casual sex and dating websites. I’m all for sexual freedom and…well…freedom in general for everyone. But I don’t think it’s fair to manipulate someone or to betray someone and it is just something that I would never do intentionally and I find it hard to understand serial cheaters and people that try and trick you on purpose.

From my personal experience, honesty and trust is the most important thing to keeping a relationship going. But people, these days, don’t want to be honest and trustworthy; it’s cooler to be with as many hot young things you can find in the club. Considering that marriages are becoming less and less common among our young urban elite, this isn’t surprising.

I would also argue that people expect too much of a person in a relationship. Too many Hollywood movies depict picture-perfect situations; a fairy tale marriage to a handsome billionaire. I think it has totally warped some people’s view of what a relationship should be and now, girls especially, are confused about what sort of guy that they want to do date. They want the guy with the muscles, but they also want the guy who is really intelligent. They want the thug, but they also want the guy in a suit. Realistically, nobody is going to tick every single one of your boxes so it’s unfair to expect so many contradictory things.

On the flip side, everyone has the right to be as choosy as they need to be in their choice of partner. If you’re not bothered with sleeping around then it’s obviously appropriate to not be so choosy. But if you are looking for something a little more serious, the most important piece of advice I can give is SELF RESTRAINT. If you meet someone for the first time, and you think you might want to see them again. DON’T sleep with them straight away. You should NEVER trust anyone that you don’t know very well and if there is a chemistry between the two of you, I promise you that you will notice it.

I guess what this meandering, aimless post is trying to say is:

Guys and Girls, Please try and understand what it’s like to be the “other” person in your relationship. Imagine for one moment what it might feel like to be the person on the receiving end of your actions. We are all human and deserved to be treated with respect and honesty. I’m sure that’s all most of us need to be happy in a relationship. For those still looking, don’t give up hope, there are so many amazing people in the world hidden amongst all the selfish pricks that only want to take from you. The latter have caused so much pain to my friends that one is so heartbroken that she’s leaving the country. To the people that were directly responsible for that, they will never know how many people have been affected by what they did but I’m losing a good friend because too many people treat dating like a sport. I will never forgive them for that.