Offensiveness and Defensiveness

Did you read yesterday’s post folks? In it, I explained why feminism and black lives matter are generally seen as ugly terms to the majority of people and how that’s a case of ignorance on the part of most people who don’t see why these terms NEED to exist. I hope most of you read the post and clapped or did something to show some approval, shares in particular are lovely, but perhaps my post reached some people who looked at it and sighed in a huff saying “God, people get offended by anything these days – feminists get up in arms over the most trivial thing” and so on and so on. If that was your reaction, perhaps you still miss the point of my posts and if you’re reading this then I congratulate you on giving this blog another chance but I need to explain to you still why ‘getting offended’ has been more of an issue in recent memory than it was, say, twenty or so years ago.

There’s the infamous Stephen Fry quote on the subject of being offended that goes as follows:

“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

Now, people use this as ammunition to take on social justice warrior types as if bombarding them with the words of their beloved intellectual icon will silence them in awe but this quote is taken out of context to serve as justification for offensive jokes. Stephen Fry is NOT saying we should get over the idea of being offended, Stephen Fry himself gets offended by homophobia and anti-Semitism as those topics affect him and those close to him so perhaps the above quote is heinous hypocrisy on his part or perhaps it has been twisted out of proportion to what I hope he actually means. What do I hope he means? I hope he means that saying one is offended is not an end-all argument, it is an empty complaint if it is not followed up by a reasonable justification – you can’t tell someone an image or joke is offensive if you can’t reasonably explain why it is offensive – this is what differentiates between legitimate outrage and silly outrage nobody can support (i.e If I were to urge you to boycott eating grapes because they are the food of the devil, you’d struggle to see justifiable grounds to that and as a result, very few people would stop eating grapes – however, there are justifiable grounds to telling someone not to use racial slurs rooted in hatred or make jokes about rape). Stephen Fry’s remark here is flippant and I don’t much like it, he’s human though, everything that escapes him can’t be perfect but this quote isn’t the ultimate putdown for any argument about offensive content, it’s something he said in the context of his own views offending strong religious types who tried to silence him on the grounds of being offensive without giving him a rebuttal beyond that.

So, back to the point at hand, why are people offended more these days? Truth is, they’re not, people have been offended by things for generations but what has changed is that people are fighting back against it more fervently and with a larger presence thanks to the internet. Past the cat videos and memes, the internet did manage to actually achieve the unification of like minds into groups that span across countries and helped people organise movements more easily than standing on soapboxes and hoping someone will listen to them shout down a megaphone. Nobody is getting offended more easily these days, we’re just learning about the offences more easily. There was no point in history in which every black person in the world gathered together and said “Hey, you know what? We should get upset when someone accuses us of being responsible for our own deaths as a result of police brutality, that sounds like a fun thing to get all bitchy about to wind them white people up – pay ’em back for the slavery and lynching by being dicks on the internet”. Never happened, they were always upset at how the system treated them, only difference is they can tweet about it now.

On the matter of being offended, it comes down to an intellectual discussion, something I know a lot of us can struggle with but we need to keep trying. You can justify being offended by homophobic remarks when you point out that they aren’t funny because in some places, being gay still gets you arrested and/or executed, you can point out how many people take their own lives because of their sexuality and you can explain how homosexuality occurs in a long list of different species but homophobia is unique to humans. That said, you can’t say, justify calling ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ a ‘promotion of mysticism’ (legit reason the book is banned in some schools) when you look at it more closely and realise if anything, it is an attempt to make the life of Jesus Christ and a relationship with God into something a kid can pick up because they WANT to, not because Mum forces them into Sunday School. Heck, I love that book series and I get all the themes, they’re so obvious I’m not sure how anyone construed Aslan as teaching kids to worship lions or what not, the White Witch is so obviously associated with paganism and satanic images and is an irredeemable villain that those of the Christian faith should adore this book, not fear it. I’m going off topic, I apologise, but you must understand that being offended isn’t a new thing, it is what drives social movements to do what is right for those who are offended and if the people can recognise their point as fair and reasonable, in time, society changes its standards and even laws to suit (thus where feminism and equal rights for LGBTQIA came in, the people listened, agreed and so did the government, little by little, that’s how these things work)

So, if you think people are offended more easily, ask yourself why it doesn’t offend you? Because it doesn’t affect you? Consider how lucky that makes you and then try to consider how unfortunate it makes those that are affected. Likewise, if you’re offended, consider why you are offended and how you can respond to the situation – sometimes you might just have to hold your tongue and sigh or else I’d never get past a YouTube comment section but sometimes it’s worth voicing your opinion, make an eloquent argument and make people see it and just maybe they’ll listen. After all, why do you think this blog changed from a buttload of dumb rants about tattoos and Facebook posts to a critique of politics and a voice to add to the many shouting for the fair treatment of all people?

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Captain America and the Conservatives

How’s about that for a title eh? Not one I ever thought I’d be writing, that’s for sure. So what’s this about? Well, in a recent issue of Captain America, the titular character fights against a super villain called the Supreme Serpent, a white supremacist trying to keep illegal immigrants out of the country by terrorising the southern border of the USA. Captain America, who I should remind you is black in his current incarnation, doesn’t much like this idea and comes to the rescue of the terrorised immigrants, defending them and facing off against the white guy. So how’d this go down? FOX News lost their shit basically, calling this a bunch of liberal brainwashing bullshit made to vilify the white conservative as being just as bad as Hitler or ISIS and asked that Marvel make the villains less white guy and more… Muslim… No shit, they genuinely suggested a Muslim extremist villain, saying that such a character is more typically seen as an enemy of America than a white guy ever would be… Let that sink in. Done? Okay, rage with me here…

Straight away, let’s address Captain America and what he represents shall we? To the unobservant eye, Captain America is just patriotism given a face and a large metal shield to wail on Nazis with and you could be forgiven for thinking that but it’s untrue. You see, Captain America was originally designed to resemble the Aryan male, a handsome blond muscular youth with blue eyes, lantern jaw and that good work ethic that made him gosh darn perfect. You might guess this is because he is meant to be the American ideal of a wholesome robust farm-boy looking character fighting for justice but it goes beyond that, it was essentially a cruel cold kick to the balls for the Nazis. The Nazi ideal was also that of a super heroic blond boy, the fact that their fantasy was the one punching Hitler in the face served as a message, that a truly ideal man does not hold to absurd visions of supremacy. Hitler was wrong, his own male fantasy was the one kicking him down and telling him not to demand perfection of others because a core part of freedom is diversity, in being diverse we are free to be different people, having a set ‘this is what you should aspire to be’ rule limits diversity and tries to push people into a pigeonhole. However, Captain America is also the representation of the values the American people are supposed to hold in high regard – honesty, defense of the innocent, righteousness – fast forward to the modern era and we have a black Captain America because, well, why not? A black man can represent those core values of righteousness, look at Martin Luther King, Jr. for example! There was no liberal brainwashing behind making Cap a black guy, it was just Marvel acknowledging that the USA isn’t the land of the white, it’s the land of freedom and justice and justice doesn’t have a particular skin colour.

So, with that in mind, this isn’t a battle of left versus right through Captain America versus Supreme Serpent because Captain America isn’t the living embodiment of the left-wing, he’s just what patriotism should be – a love of one’s country but not a blindness to its flaws, a citizen of their homeland but a citizen of the world too, always striving to encourage their nation as a whole to be better. However, FOX identified with the villains here, calling WHITE SUPREMACISTS the right-wing conservatives in their audience. You know what that means? FOX News just openly admitted, through their own stupidity, they’re white supremacists, they see these white-skinned terrorists in snake costumes with assault rifles and think “Hey! That’s me! I’m not a bad guy!”. Conservatism and white supremacy aren’t, and shouldn’t ever be, one and the same, one is a mindset based in traditional values, the other a penchant for racially motivated violence. I mean, at least FOX News are self-aware, I’ve been calling them a bunch of bigots since I first stumbled across the mindless hate-mongering of Bill O’Reilly and here they are, feeling sorry for terrorists in snake costumes and demanding Captain America make it fair by beating up some Muslims or Nazis.

Captain America, incidentally, shouldn’t go on to fighting ISIS or Muslim Extremists, there is clearly enough racial prejudice in the world without printing comic books showing gratuitous violence towards Muslims as a heroic thing to do. If Captain America exists to be a role model, racism isn’t part of that aspirational standard he should set, that’s one good reason he’s a minority – it’s not about being white, it’s about being right! Kids need to see a socially responsible hero, that’s what Captain America is for – Iron Man shows what technology and ingenuity can achieve, Hawkeye is a hero who doesn’t need powers to keep in league with the best, you don’t have to be special, you just have to try and Captain America is saying that it doesn’t matter what your background is, what matters most is that you are a good person at heart (Thus why he was a weedy kid originally and then beefed up, it was the good in him that mattered, he was never meant to be just some typical action-figure hero). As for the argument that he needs to go back to fighting Nazis, well, White Supremacists are the new Nazis, look at Trump. Build a giant wall to keep Mexicans out? Hunt down all illegally bought guns but let licensed people keep theirs, a clever sounding move until you realise illegal weapons are prevalent in poor neighbourhoods and legal ones in affluent areas, essentially meaning self defence will become a matter of how much of it you can afford to buy. ISIS are awful yes, but their tactics are made to instill fear, to turn people against each other and encourage the hatred of the white majority. Why? Because scared people are irrational and easily broken. White Supremacy, that’s a fear and loathing of difference that turns to violence – lynching, organised marches, cross burning – amassing huge swathes of people into the most intimidating displays possible to inflict as much damage as possible. If an ISIS attack is a small tactical guerilla affair to make you paranoid, a Neo-Nazi march by the extreme right wing is a bunch of angry thugs starting a riot because they don’t like being so paranoid.

In short, this comic isn’t a criticism of patriotism and conservative values, it’s a criticism of racism and extremist mindsets and there should be a differentiation between the two. If you see these white guys getting attacked by a black hero because they harassed Hispanic children and your response is “This is political brainwashing, thanks Obama!”, then think again, think hard. Captain America was taking down a bunch of armed madmen attacking unarmed civilians, that’s what a superhero does, race and nationality don’t come into it. If you want Captain America to fight with Nazis, over zealous insane crackpots who love their country and believe it the best country in the world, well then I have news for you – he just did.

Little Big Pleasures

Yesterday’s article was kinda fun, barely a soul gave a toss but you know I can write a post on here just for the sake of writing it, that’s what blogs were for before they became a way to launch a promising career in writing… which I’m still waiting for. Anyway, that in mind, a conversation with a friend has got me in the mood for writing another fun fluff piece about video games and the astute ones among you can probably guess which game came to mind for me, Little Big Planet 3, the latest in a trilogy of platforming games that is fun for all ages.

As series go, some I can buy games from hit and miss, I can chip into a series late and go back, go from the start and watch it evolve or I can just try it and leave it. For example, I only own Sega All Stars Racing, not the Transformed version that came out later, the first didn’t excite me enough to merit paying money for me, my favourite game series Dynasty Warriors, I didn’t buy the games in order – starting with 3, than a crossover game, then 5, 4, expansion packs, 6 and so on. Thankfully there isn’t a continuity in Dynasty Warriors, it’s the same game made over and over again with better graphics, gameplay mechanics and expanded character rosters. Point being, Little Big Planet, I watched it grow. I played the first game at a friend’s house and fell in love and I made sure to acquire each game since. So why do I like the series so much? Well, this is not a rant today, today I’m here to rave, to sing praise, to review with a positive attitude so allow me to fill you in on why Little Big Planet might just be one of the finest series of games going.

Okay, for those who have never owned a PS3/PS4 and never played the game at any point, Little Big Planet is a platformer game in which you customise a cutesy knitted character with costumes of all varieties and run through themed levels to rescue a world of imagination from some big baddy, be it an owl driving a death robot, an evil space snake or Hugh Laurie in a bowler hat. You run, jump, swing, fly and glide through levels that take inspiration from just about anything – Medieval Europe, the Renaissance, Outer Space, 50s Style Diners, Giant Libraries – you name it, someone has made a LBP level about it. The game is artistically stunning, it has a style that makes it all look like it is essentially an enchanted art project, adding to this idea it is an imaginary world, a world consisting of doodles and craft sessions come to life and your main enemy is always some selfish, unimaginative monster who wants to stomp all over your creativity. With that explained, here’s why this series is so good:

Diversity and Suitability

You could easily make this the first game your kids play, their first real video game series and it would not corrupt them. Far from it, I would think it enriching. Across the series, the levels opt out of falling into the templates of Snow World, Lava World and Desert World, instead opting for culturally themed worlds – New York World, Japan World, England World – not in such obvious titles but you can see the inspiration. The costumes add to this, it’s not all armour and silly hats, though there a few, but there are costumes based on Chinese Traditional Wear, Japanese Robes, Ponchos, Tuxedos, Saris and Turbans, come Little Big Planet 4 or 5, or enough DLC, and this series will touch on every major world culture at least once. In this sense, the game is inoffensive. Granted, I’m a white hetero cis male, it’s hard to offend my demographic unless you question my masculinity, but with a game that so celebrates diversity and avoids violence (You defeat monsters by jumping on their weak spots and they turn into clouds of smoke, hardly that gruesome), this is a game that is either a light spot of fun for a twenty something like me, a tool for enjoyment and education for children or a game you could possibly talk Mum and Dad into trying. Parents, seize this game, fast, when you see kids playing it, introduce them to the cultures and histories that have inspired the artistic styles and level designs to make your children students of the world!

Endless Creativity

In terms of games that allow you to be truly creative, this is up there with Mario Maker, easily being worshipped as the new user-friendly creativity tool of the decade, a title it deserves – past the “Nyahahaha this is so hard!” levels, Mario Maker offers the chance for potential game designers to use assets they fully understand to create unique gaming experiences. Little Big Planet, by the same token, allows players to use any of the materials, monsters and power-ups they have encountered in game to create whole new worlds, stickers can be found to personalise existing levels and both your home screen and character are fully customisable. LBP DLC is endless, the blank canvas hero allowing so many possibilities – Baymax, Kermit the Frog, Solid Snake, Dr Eggman – You can be any of those guys, the DLC exists and the in-game content allows you to try out so many variations with costumes ranging from ogre outfits to jeans and shirts. The series includes a Create Mode, a Pod (your home screen) for you to decorate, essentially anything and everything can be personalised and because of this there is a wealth of user-created levels, some of which make me think the designer should be paid for making this stuff up. If games rot the imagination, LBP gives you a healthy dose of it again, it offers you so much chance to be creative, it is almost overwhelming!

Simplicity

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for games being complex, a good strong plot in a video game is a major selling point for me but as a gamer with non-gamer friends I love hanging out with, getting them into games I’m passionate about is hard. They get names wrong, they laugh at things that aren’t supposed to be funny, they simplify the plot to the level of a child’s understanding and I don’t mind, they’re not fans, they’re not invested, but games that you can pick up, play once and understand are great. Pac-Man, Mario, Ghosts and Goblins, Little Big Planet – you have an objective, you have basic controls, away you go, that’s that, jump in and out at any point in the story and it still makes sense. For this reason, LBP is the most popular game on game night with my friendship circle, it’s good clean fun you don’t have to be a gamer to understand but it’s not insultingly easy to the point of being boring, the difficulty curve is perfect in every game (Well, LBP3 is actually more challenging for me than the last two, I think they’re trying to stop loyal fans from getting bored). A game you can share is a game you can love even more, nothing is as satisfying for a gamer as making someone else love the franchise you love, LBP is so easy to get into that you find yourself never short of friends willing to be Player 2. Try that with Dynasty Warriors, I get a lot of “I’m gonna be… Uhh… This big red guy with the pike. Is he good? What do I do? Oh I died… This game is hard, let’s do something else”. Worst. Damn. Thing.

It Evolves

If you make a sequel to a game, you have to change things up from the game before, that’s just a rule, you have to give the player something they can’t get from the previous game. Sonic 2 brought Tails and more levels, Sonic 3 had the option to save progress, Sonic 3 and Knuckles had a new character and a game twice as long as the games before, for those reasons those games got progressively more and more popular. Little Big Planet One is good, it plays very simply and it is very easy, a sort of introduction to the game series with nice tight level design and precious few variations on the run and jump format. Little Big Planet 2 took that and added to it, it added power-ups like a grappling hook, a fire-extinguisher hat, super strength gloves – the game had whole new realms of depth and more creative options to explore. LBP2 even had better mini-games added in, competitive ones, shooting galleries and giant dodgem car levels, this was a franchise that just got better. How do you top that? Try LBP3 – Create Mode and Play Mode now blend together in some levels, requiring you to fill blanks in a level’s design to advance (Hmm. No bridge? I better build one out of those cubes stacked on the cliff edge), the game operates on several layers with the standard far layer, near layer and in between now swapped for very very far, very far, far etc. and the game added whole new characters of different shapes and sizes with their own powers (shapeshifting, flying, running on walls and more). LBP could easily just get away with new levels and costumes and a new big baddy but it does so much more that each game is a distinct improvement on the one before. I just love it, I really do.

In conclusion, Little Big Planet as a series probably isn’t the best game series either but it’s a damn good candidate, in three games it has made more keen and loyal a fan than some game series have done in ten. I could play it with pretty much anyone and have a blast, I could play a level of any theme I could imagine or design it myself and my hero is whoever I want them to be, be it a dragon, a luchador or a green cat in a mankini (No joke, there is a mankini in this game). If you have a PS3 or PS4 and no LBP in your game library, try it, there’s something for everyone and that is pretty darn impressive.

Our Way Of Life

Trigger Warnings – Single brief mention of sexual assault (Nothing explicit, literally just a word but I’m throwing this up here in case, I know just the word alone can set off some), strong language throughout

Has anyone else ever noticed most of our pressing issues as a society are conflicting beliefs and privileges, usually people get up in arms about having to adjust their way of life one way or the other? The week just past alone has seen people argue about public feeding, ‘bloody’ immigrants and as ever, those gosh darn gay people wanting to marry each other. Now, this might come off as hypocrisy for a man urging reform but it’s a salvageable hypocrisy but my point is, why do people insist on hassling people over this? If it’s not affecting you, it’s not affecting you, can you not just go with it like that or do you truly lose so much sleep over these things? So, a list article is coming at you folks as I take a no-nonsense approach to some attitudes people seriously stick to and you may notice a theme in my responses, just saying.

“I can’t walk down (Insert Street Name) without hearing everyone there speak (Insert Language that isn’t English)”

Well, straight off the bat, you’re eavesdropping, rude. You know if you don’t understand what’s being said it’s probably not a conversation for you to listen in on or they’d speak a language you understand. I know people say if they come here, they better speak our language and maybe some don’t but for the most part they learn, it’s just nice to talk in your native tongue. I mean, if you moved to Russia, sure you could learn Russian and speak Russian all the time but if someone there approached you speaking English, would you not say “Oh thank fuck, this is much easier for me”? I would. Ok, so some areas become populated by a certain demographic and you might hear foreign languages all around you but don’t get in a huff over it, walk on and let them do their thing, maybe instead of bitching about it you can instead appreciate the fact you live in a culturally diverse area – not everyone coming to Britain wants to forget their heritage and be like us in the same way you moving abroad doesn’t mean you despise steak pies and cricket, you literally just thought you might have a nicer life there, not to escape your nationality.

“Ugh, the way she’s dressed, she’s trying to draw attention to herself, it disgusts me”

I’ve defended sluts in the past, they’re literally just having fun being attractive, who wouldn’t? However, people often criticise the dress sense for being too showy, for calling attention to flesh and so forth but really, here’s a novel suggestion, look away. If it honestly disgusts you, don’t look. Personally, I can’t stand tracksuits, the soft fabric ones especially as you never see a clean one, they’re always stained and slovenly but I find a good solution is to think “I wouldn’t wear that myself but whatever, I’ll turn and look the other way now”. Try it, see something disgusting? Don’t look. Also, you’re not obliged to give commentary on people’s dress sense, just saying, or I would constantly be telling strangers on the street they look seriously under-dressed by comparison to me. “Oh that’s cute, you went into town in a onesie huh? Get out of your goddamn pyjamas and put a suit on, you’re a grown man”. I’d be one sassy son of a gun and nobody would like me and nobody likes anybody who hurls fashion critique at strangers – except Gok Wan apparently, bitches love Gok Wan.

“Women shouldn’t breastfeed their children in a public place, it’s embarrassing to be around someone doing that out in the open”

You want to know what bodily functions shouldn’t be done with an audience? Shitting, pissing, fucking (unless that’s your kink and they agreed I guess) and masturbating (again, unless that’s a thing and they want to watch for some reason). Breast-feeding, eh, so what? Seriously, saying “So what?” as a response to things gives you a much more peaceful life. You don’t need to be embarrassed by what you see, it is a part of nature, it is the more meaningful purpose of breasts as opposed to bags of fat to oggle at. However, maybe you’re still a bit prude, maybe it does make you feel awkward? Stop looking. You are not being forced to look, the mother didn’t mount your lap and whip them out for you, she’s sat away from you so just do your thing and she’ll do hers and her baby will get the key nutrients they need to grow up into a functional adult, which is more than can be said for some.

“Men marrying men, next thing you know I’ll marry my horse!”

Legitimately happening right now, a Michigan pastor is stood with his horse, making it wear a gown as a statement on how gay marriage is akin to bestiality. This is perhaps the most ridiculous argument against gay marriage because it suggests humans are too stupid to know where to draw the line between consenting partners in a long term relationship and sticking your dick in a bagel. I mean, give us some credit as a species, we did invent the internet and various medicines and such like, I think there are enough people in the world who can tell the difference between a lesbian and labradoodle and then say “No, no this is silly, this is not a bond of love between two intelligent individuals, this is just weird”. If you aren’t gay or such yourself, what does it matter? Are you so worried about what will happen? So far no apocalypse and if it is a sin, it’s not a sin affecting you. I could write more on each of these but this is just a summation really.

Anyway, this is just a little piece on four sentences I have heard over the week just gone that have made me roll my eyes. Nigel Farage, yup there he is again, a putrid stain on my blog, is a man fighting for a Britain that doesn’t exist – a world of warm beer in a green field as white guys throw a ball around and eat meat with women sitting pretty by their side saying nothing. Society has to advance, imagine if we’d have listened to the guy saying “Nope, this fire thing sounds like a bad idea and I refuse to ever hunt with one of your fancy spears Jeff, let’s sit in the dark and starve like normal people!”. Bit of a straw-man but fuck it, it’s hardly exaggerating these arguments, even traffic in this country is apparently the malicious work of immigrants. It’s beyond a joke now, we should just all cut each other some slack, live our lives and let people live theirs. The difference with me challenging these people on their beliefs – I’m fighting to give everyone an equal right to be what they want to be, these guys are throwing a hissy fit over nothing. Gays get married, women wear short skirts, mothers feed babies, the world keeps spinning – until God himself comes down and says “Hey guys, I see you made gay marriage legal across the world huh? Yeah, I’m not happy”, maybe he’s on board huh? Sure, he never said he didn’t approve of murder and rape but those are bad things because WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO A LIVING BEING?

You see where I’m coming from? Good. Play nicely humans, we all have to live together, let’s try to be civil about it

Tragedy and Equality – TDOR Special

Trigger Warnings – Death, suicide

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance. No, this is not a day in which war veterans dress in women’s clothing, this is a day in which we remember those who were killed or driven to suicide by violence against them for not identifying with their birth gender. I am sad when I think that we live in a world in which people die for being themselves, for daring to want something for themselves outside of the status quo and whilst I personally have never questioned my gender identity, I’m lucky to be so comfortable and self-discovery is a difficult process only made harder by stigma and stereotyping

Transgender Day of Remembrance, shortened to TDOR, began in 1998 and was the idea of an advocate for the Trans* community, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to honour Rita Hester, a transgender woman who killed herself in that year. Using the 20th November as the annual date, she said we need to take a day of the year to just think about all those who have died because they simply wanted to exist in a different way to the way society expected them to, because who they said they were was not defined by what they had in their pants. The transgender community is under a constant threat, a threat of violence, bigotry, ‘correction’ and eradication, often in brutal and twisted manners. I mean, it’s appalling to think anyone should have to die for who they are and it is still a big issue for many communities seen as being immoral or subversive when they’re actually just normal people like you or me

I didn’t take part this year, I’ll say that now, I didn’t even know it was a thing, I bet many of you didn’t either but the good thing is that this is the same time every year and if you google TDOR followed by the year number, you can soon find venues across the USA, UK, and some venues in Canada, Australia and New Zealand where people are doing services to honour those who passed away for their gender identity and you can make donations to charities working with people who need help in understanding themselves and who they want to be. I feel bad for not knowing this was a thing so to make up for it, I’m getting the word out here, pass it on, make a note of it for next year and if you believe people have the right to be whatever the fuck they want to be, do something small to show some support and maybe attend a local TDOR event next year

Now, I sense an argument brewing with some of you, a ‘special snowflake’ deal along the lines of “Ugh, trans people get an ENTIRE DAY for them? When is it Straight People Day? Or Cisgender Day? Why don’t we get special events?”. Why? Because not once have I ever been oppressed or discriminated against for being a straight cisgender man, I’ve never been bullied for liking girls or wearing trousers and having a beard. We cisgender straight people are not a minority, we don’t need positive representations because we are the social norm at the moment, we are what people are ‘supposed’ to be and these events are to help change our attitude from “A normal person is someone who is straight, cisgender and upholds the status quo” to “A normal person is a human being that breathes, eats, shits, thinks like all the other ones do, their genitalia, sexual partners and dress code are irrelevant”. I’m not against my own gender or sexual orientation, I know I have a go at you but let’s face it, we’re lucky that the system favours us and in a modern world, maybe favouritism should be a thing of the past so that anyone, be they gay, trans, pan, asexual, aromantic, genderfluid, agender – can be just that without being prodded at or mocked or called sinners or anything hateful.

I know it might be hard for some of you to accept but if you’re happy with who you are in terms of knowing which bathroom facilities are for you, knowing what clothes you can wear without being laughed at or called a tranny or if you just know you’re a guy or a girl because heck, you’ve got those bits, why not, then you’re a lucky person. You grew up happy in the stereotype and don’t get me wrong, if that’s you, that’s you, I’m not saying all men should wear a dress sometime or don’t bash homosexuality without trying it, that’s silly, but some people grow up questioning themselves, asking why they just can’t fit in, why the world doesn’t make sense for them in a way it does for everyone else. I can’t begin to empathise, I’ve always been happy in my own skin in that regard but I do know something – human beings should not be attacked or driven to suicide because they want to be themselves, imagine how you would feel if people thought you were a freak of nature because you were white, or straight, or for what you wore, imagine if it made you a victim of violence or people called you by the wrong pronouns all the time or changed your name so as to call you Henrietta instead of Henry or Dave instead of Davina. It’s not on, it’s not fair and so I think at the very least, the absolute minimum we can do is set aside a day of the year to stop and think about these people and how they must feel when we treat them the way we do. Who knows, maybe one day we will live in a society in which we stop intruding on people’s genitals and sex lives and men can wear make-up without getting punched in the teeth and kicked into pulp? That’d be nice

Not Special Treatment, Human Treatment

Trigger Warnings – Abuse, violence, misogyny (No, not from me)

First of all, a big cheer for the blooming popularity of this blog after a period of relative quietness on the stats, this last week has seen the view counter soar and I’ve just had news from WordPress themselves that my blog’s average view stat is going up and up so thanks to everyone for that, makes me very happy. Anyway, today’s subject is feminism, yes the accursed word returns, even though it’s not a bad thing in itself despite what some might say and I’m here to take down some stupid arguments with a machine gun of intellectual assault so lock and load bitches, I’m going in red hot

I promise I won’t do that ever again…

1. So girls are equal to guys now? Does this mean I can hit them?

Whoa whoa whoa there sonny Jim, gender equality is a thing and the first thing is can you hit them now? What the heck is wrong with you that made that the first question? You aren’t a poof for hitting a girl because punching anything with a vagina is a cowardly thing to do, you’re a violent assailant for picking fights with people much shorter and less muscular than you, like women often are compared with men. By all means, if she’s six foot seven and carrying a crowbar, punch her lights out if she comes onto you but it’s not special treatment to not hit someone who is a foot shorter than you and in possession of less muscle mass than you, regardless of gender – if you do do that, that’s called bullying or you know, assault

2. Surely you’re sexist for thinking women need defending? Are you implying women can’t cope with harassment like the rest of us?

No, I’m not, women can cope, they’ve coped for centuries, it’s a matter of should they have to? I’m a white straight cisgender English-speaking male, I got it pretty sweet on that deal, I can walk down alleys without worrying who wants to attack me, I don’t get followed down the street, people don’t yell things at me and insult me for not responding. Add ‘fe’ to the start of that male bit and it’s a whole other ball game. Feminists are not sexist for thinking women have had enough of being treated like objects by their peers, it’s just human decency and anyone who disagrees should really try harder to empathise. I’ve met women who get things yelled at them as compliments and it just makes them feel awkward and cheap. Sure, some embrace it and take it in their stride to empower themselves, kudos to them, but not everyone can and the solution is not a thicker skin, it’s about challenging society

3. If women don’t want to be objectified by men, why do they go out of their way to attract them in the first place?

Because I go out of my way to look attractive as a guy, thus the suits and constant fuss over weight gain and hair loss, but truth be told I’m not looking to go on the pull every single time I leave the house. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t dress for other people, you dress for yourself, for what you feel good in and if that’s a little showy then really, what does it matter? Avert your gaze or grow up, it’s terribly vain to think everyone around you is set on looking their best for your attention, maybe she just thinks she has a great looking butt and wants to strut it a bit? You’re not obliged to grab it to confirm that she is indeed correct, just turning your head was proof enough really. By the same token, maybe she just likes wearing corsets or sleeveless tops because they’re pretty and nice to wear, one reason I like wearing suits so much is they just look smarter and nicer than turning up in hoodies everywhere, makes me feel like I made an effort to be a human being

4. Men are objectified too! Look at guys in films, they’re unrealistically charming and handsome!

Ok, I’ll admit unrealistic standards of beauty exist for both genders in age of star power and photoshopping but the difference is that men are idealised in media, not objectified. If you look at the attention drawn to women in media like magazines and games, it’s about their appearance, their figure, their cuteness or sexual sensuality and if they’re smart or strong then it’s usually pitched as some sort of shocker like “Emma Watson isn’t just a pretty face, she talks too, about stuff, hot!”. Men, whilst depicted as handsome in many films, they are idealised as courageous, clever, thoughtful, strong – traits that are aspirational standards much loftier than a certain bust size or hair style. Looking at the success of men and women in the workplace, women are much more likely to attribute success to their support network and luck whereas men are more inclined to self-promote or  say their success was a result of their own hard work. Men, as a general standard, are the ideal – the best thing to be is a rich white straight guy, that is a patriarchy, true equality would be if you got to ask God before you were born
“What’s the best way to start life? Boy or girl? Gay or straight? Mexican or European?”
“Whatever dude, just go out there and make something of yourself!”
Aside from a surfer dude God, that sounds great right? However, as it is, if you got to ask what you would be born as to ensure your success in life, you’re best of going for a straight white guy from the West

5. Ugh, you’re such a smart arse. Ok, explain this then – why are women allowed to not like certain types of men and not be called shallow but if a guy says he doesn’t like fat/thin/tall/short girls then he’s a jerk?

Good question, it is a bit unfair and some of our standards are still drawn from the media when we choose partners, the whole taller guy and shorter girl for example, hard to list ten films in which the female lead is tall or tubby or the male romantic hero is four foot tall. However, this is one that is a big problem we all need to get over but maybe it’s just people don’t find certain factors attractive and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, though it’s nothing to parade about either. I find women are generally a softer touch with saying why a guy isn’t their type as opposed to the “No fat chicks” slogan of many old men’s shirts. You find some things attractive, some things you don’t, but maybe everyone should look around that at what matters more and maybe we should accept the reality we won’t be attractive to every person we meet or we would all get on so much better. Could you imagine a world like that? Jeez, everyone finds everyone attractive, not sure if that’d be awesome or awkward… or you know, one massive long orgy across the planet

6. Hey… you didn’t shout me down or avoid the subject… you’re not all bad. I didn’t realise men could be feminists…

Of course, feminism is often mistaken for some sort of raging hate group commanded by a council of evil lesbians hellbent on castrating every man alive but the truth is a feminist is anyone who believes your genitals don’t determine your worth in society. Men’s Rights Activism is the hate group here, they don’t represent men very well beyond a bunch of whiney white guys wanting their female friends to sleep with them already and stop complaining so much when the men who need representation are overlooked (Gay men as an effeminate stereotype/ black men being judged as poor fathers despite that making no sense/ the male kind being misunderstood as the majority of them being horny arrogant sods/ trans* men being seen as ‘fakers’ or men being forced into masculinity stereotypes against their will). If you think we all deserve a fair chance, you’re a feminist, there you go. Men can be feminists because men are capable of realising the flaws in our society and wanting them to be worked on so as not to see their female friends and family members lose out just because they have boobs

I hope this clears up a few things about feminism as a cause, it’s misunderstood by many of us, even myself once upon a time. Feminism sounds like it’s all about women because of the ‘fem’ but considering women have had laundry and dishes to do for centuries on end, only to be repaid with degrading butt slaps and cat calls, I think it’s fair to put a hand up and say “Uh hey, we’re not 100% cool with that, can we maybe not assume every girl likes to be manhandled and we’ll let you know if we do want a spanking? Thanks”. I’d certainly say so anyway. So get the word out, the Feminazis are actually Feminiceys… just don’t put it like that