Feminism and Egalitarianism

You know, despite the best efforts and good intentions of pretty much every feminist out there, we still encounter those disheartening individuals who say they support gender equality and women’s rights… but not feminism. I have made posts before about calling it Humanism, a mistake because Humanism is a philosophical belief system about the destiny of the human race as being “to be good people”. However, perhaps you or someone you know says it’s not feminism they support but egalitarianism? An egalitarian society is one in which race, income, gender and background do not affect what rights you have, everyone gets the same chances and that’s that. Awesome right? Ehh…

Egalitarianism was the philosophy that served as the starting point for fair and equal societies, the argument stood as thus – everyone is fundamentally the same, we are all human, we all therefore deserve the same as one another. In the early days of society, those who spoke of egalitarianism got the ball rolling for the formation of fairer societies in which equal rights were not available. Slavery, colonialism, sexism, many creeds of people were denied the most basic of resources on flawed grounds and egalitarianism is the idea that this can be rectified by giving everyone the exact same entitlements. A great concept, if everyone was given £100, everyone is £100 better off right, especially those who are without any money right? Well the problem with this idea is egalitarianism fails to take into account some factors that might drastically alter how far that £100 goes – maybe you already have £100,000, what’s £100 more? Maybe £100 isn’t enough to pay off £500 of debt? Maybe what you need more than money is a home and food? Maybe your problem, say, a disability, can’t be fixed by throwing some money at it? Egalitarianism doesn’t address this, everyone gets the same resources, everyone has to make do.

Feminism, as a concept, only really existed as a combination of ideas and legal battles and protests, taking its name as a means to represent the under-represented class of citizens at its time, women. Women wanted the same rights as men, rights to an education and to ownership of property, to be allowed to divorce unfaithful men and to be allowed to earn their own keep. However, what is often overlooked is what feminism stood for and still stands for – gender is not a fair basis for discrimination of any kind. Feminism grew to encompass the idea that no discrimination is acceptable and a feminist will not stand for discrimination on the basis of sexuality or socio-economic status just as much as they won’t stand for discrimination based on gender, because every human issue affects every human being, regardless of gender. To the outside world, you are defined by your gender, your race, your religion, your sexuality, and feminism says that whatever the world sees, you are never fair game for being discriminated against. Feminism was the word chosen for the movement that defends the rights of those that were unspoken for, it was the name given to the gauntlet cast against the uncaring majority. If a feminist claim isn’t one that seeks to achieve equality in terms of rights and protections for all, it’s not a feminist claim and feminism is still a valid name, though that’s a blog post in itself.

Egalitarianism opened the door to this discussion for the masses when people proposed the concept of an equal society but feminism is the only mainstream movement actively making strides to achieve just that, in fact one must consider that what we often seek is equity, not equality. Equity Theory, as it is known, is the recognition that our varying backgrounds not only make us who we are but that they must be reflected in what must be done to render us all equals. Confused? Say you have a room full of people to feed and you offer everyone in that room peanut butter sandwiches. Here is the difference between equality and equity:

EQUALITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches”

EQUITY: “You are all entitled to a plate of peanut butter sandwiches but if you are wheat-intolerant, allergic to peanuts or just don’t like sandwiches, we’ll fill your plate with something more appropriate”

Like the £100 analogy from earlier, just offering everyone £100 is equal means but not a fair playing field, some people only have that  £100 and some have that £100 added onto the £100,000 they have in the bank. A fair society is one that levels the playing field so there is nothing outside of the individual’s control that is affecting their chances at a happy life. Equity, therefore, is the offering that if you need more, you can take more and if you can give more, you should give more so that we all share in the wealth and thus, share in the happiness of a secure life. Where does Feminism fit into this? Feminism, at this buffet, is the person at the buffet table telling people not to push and shove because we should all get what we want, everyone deserves to eat and that even if you are entitled to your sandwich, which you are, you shouldn’t force your way through the crowds because when it comes down to that, it’s the weak that get left the crumbs at the end.

The notion of equality can be exploited but equity is harder to fool if implemented correctly. Feminism seeks equity and for a truly fair society, so should we. To fight for social justice and a fair standard of living for all, where all needs are met and everyone feels safe, valued and able to contribute, is to be a feminist and that names does not need to change. By our very human nature, we are social animals who want to better the world we live in, even those of us who commit crimes think we are doing the right thing in some capacity, so a society of equity would ensure everyone’s basic needs were met whilst everyone’s talents were put to use. That is what feminism fights for, that is what a fair society is and that is why we are not egalitarians, we are feminists! 

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That’s So Gay!

I’m taking a break from the blog until December to reconsider a few things, the dwindling interest from my reader base and lack of feedback has had me really down in the dumps as I’ve considered my latest material my best work yet and somehow it is completely overlooked, even by people I know personally. I won’t bitch about it much more beyond that but just letting you all know; I will be back for Christmas to upload some festive posts and the Facebook page will be getting another game playthrough in the spirit of the season but after today, no more stuff for this month, unless I think of something I just have to blog about.

Growing up in a state school environment, there was one word that was something of a slur to use and even those perfectly okay with the intended meaning of the word still used this word as a synonym for crappy or rubbish. Yes, the word ‘gay’, an archaic term for being happy now applied as a label chosen by homosexuals as a means of identification and yet at the same time, a word used by people to mean something that is the opposite of good. Someone won’t come clubbing tonight? Gay! Trod in dog muck? Gay! Hideous pair of shoes? Gay! I want to talk about where this use of the term perhaps stems from and why we need to work on our fixation with using the word as a means of calling something shitty.

Well, obvious conclusion could be that the use of the term is homophobic, which in some cases is true – there are misconceptions some cling to that being gay is somehow being lesser, being weaker (especially in the case of being a gay man) so the use of the word gay to mean bad is likely rooted in that. However, I know people who are not homophobic and yet use the word gay constantly in an inappropriate context and whilst some modify their behaviour when I point out to them “I don’t see why the fact that 50% off sale ended is all that homosexual”, some cling to their use of the term, calling me a PC arsehole and saying that it’s just a habit they can’t break out of and I should cut them some slack. Well, slack shan’t be cut, not now, not ever because whilst the use of the word might not be rooted in homophobia, it suggests ignorance and a failure to consider the feelings of others. Let me bust some of the reasons people think it is okay to say gay in this way wide open.

1. It’s just a habit

It was a habit for me in my school days, I’ll admit it, I heard it used that way and you soak up your idiolect from your peers. I used it to mean something that wasn’t very masculine (A pink shirt on a guy? Bit gay isn’t it?) or something that displeased me (Extra maths homework? Gay!) but when I came to realise it wasn’t fair, considering I had gay siblings for starters who didn’t much like me using the word that way, I snapped out of it. Any habit can be broken by willpower, just shrugging and saying “Eh, it’s a habit” is no excuse, we modify our habits when they are bad for us or others, that’s how we grow as people. You were a baby once, you had a habit for sucking your thumb and chewing on plastic dinosaurs, you stopped at some point because you thought you had to stop doing it and you did, this is no different. If you feel yourself about to say ‘gay’ and not in reference to a homosexual, pause, think of a different word. Here’s a few:

That’s rubbish/crap/shitty/pants/stupid/ridiculous/cack/dumb

And that’s only a few! There are so many words that can mean rubbish and you choose the word ‘gay’? That, to me, suggests a lack of effort in your vocabulary, especially if it was a habit you picked up when you were twelve and didn’t fix in the years afterwards – I’m pretty sure I sound very different to my twelve year old self!

2. I have gay friends, it’s ok!

This is the logic people use when they say the n-word in casual conversation, claiming they have black friends so all cool right? No, not cool, if the word doesn’t have hurtful connotations to you, it is not okay when you use it – you don’t have the right to use the n-word because it was never applied to you, you don’t have to rob it of its power over you, you were never offended by it. If you think you can get away with using a word as a slur just because of your association with someone who is gay or black or whatever, try asking them, try asking ten people like them and see how they feel. If you’re unprepared to modify your behaviour even then, that’s just not fair on them and I’d be concerned as to how good a friend you are to people like that. One gay friend isn’t a free ticket to say whatever you want about the LGBT+ community in the same way one black friend doesn’t exempt you from being called a racist if you start calling people n-words.

3. People shouldn’t get so upset about this

Maybe not but they do, it is not your place to decide who should get offended by what and when. If what you’re doing offends someone and they tell you that, talk to them about it and figure out what is fair – sometimes there is a compromise, sometimes there is a guilty party who needs to shape up and sometimes, sadly, maybe you’re better off apart. I find the only people strongly complaining about a politically correct world are those who are used to getting away with saying anything. Change with the times, some words are okay to use now and some aren’t, if you refuse to adapt and use fair language, you’re on the same side as people who still black people ‘darn negroes’ or call Mexicans ‘beaners’, society evolves and as such, so should people functioning within it. People who refuse are almost always on the wrong side – the people who called women dumb broads got to see a world in which they could vote, the people who called black people sub-human saw one become President of the USA and the people who call gay people faggots will one day see a world in which sexuality is no longer a topic for crude comedy and discrimination. You have no right to tell people what they shouldn’t be offended by, I’ve criticised the offense over the Starbucks cups here but I did so with reasoning, it wasn’t as dismissive as “Suck it up, you know I don’t mean any harm”

4. FREE SPEECH!

Ah yes, this inevitable gem. Free speech, free country, yadda yadda yadda, does anyone ever cite this argument in a positive context? Personally I only hear the mention of it being a free country when someone wants to do something really shitty. Free speech, as a right, means you cannot be arrested for saying something out of place, usually as in criticising one’s government. For example, free speech is not a right in North Korea, the people there are fed a modified version of history wrongly attributing many historical deeds to Kim Jong Un and his forefathers and if someone says “This is a load of crock!”, they get bunged in a van and hit with sticks or something worse. Free speech means you’re allowed to speak freely but your words still have consequences – if you call a surly biker gang “a bunch of shit-stained pansies”, you can expect a rightfully deserved punch in the chops, no matter how often you cite your right to speak freely. Offensive material can be censored, apologies can be demanded for thoughtless comments and the right to speak doesn’t mean people have to listen to you and tolerate your nonsense if they don’t want to. Just as it is your right to shout out that perhaps, say, bananas are the best fruit in the world, I’d be within my rights to suggest that apples are better and everyone else would be within their rights to either agree, disagree or tell us both to shut up.

5. Oh come on, it’s a harmless laugh

Harmless to you, perhaps, harmless to others? Less so. Comedy shouldn’t be lazy and reliant on stereotypes and tropes, the only reason there have been a large number of comedians lamenting a PC world is swathes of their material has been based on these tired old jokes about gay people or whatever. Sure, you can’t avoid offending people, whatever you do will cause upset but is that an excuse for not trying to think of more inclusive material? No. With new information and new views as a society, we have to change and adapt and try out new things. Some of you may be old enough to remember a time when Eddie Murphy’s stand-up routines included jokes poking fun at homosexuals for checking him out and possibly giving people AIDS by kissing them and passing it on, “suddenly, your gay friend gives your wife a kiss, you kiss her, got AIDS on your lips, you’re a straight man who got AIDS”. Turns out, at the time, hilarious for people but looking back we can see how crude and misinformed the performer and his crowd were and Eddie Murphy doesn’t much venture down the whole poke-fun-at-gays avenue of comedy anymore and more the animated donkeys and being a tiny space adventurer inside a giant robot version of himself avenues. If you can’t think of good jokes that don’t rely on a racist or homophobic or discriminatory punchline of some nature, I’m sorry, you need help if you think comedy is your shtick. You can be so much better if you try, comedy should be an observation of life retold with humour and understanding, not a put down of the minority to appeal to the majority – that is called bullying.

CONCLUSION

I realise this has been a bit long but these things need to be said. What I hope you’ll take away from this is not that I’m calling you homophobic, I’m just suggesting that your comments are rooted in an ignorance of the past I know you are capable of leaving behind. If you’ve read thus far, you’ve clearly got intelligence, patience and understanding, is it such a hard concept to grasp that maybe using a label some proudly identify with as your word for calling something a pile of shit is unkind? I know people fear the PC world, so far as to tell people to stop holding out hope for it but it’ll never happen if we’re not prepared to change and we’ve made many changes thus far, imagine where we could be in ten or twenty years if we tried our hardest! Please, there are so many better words for rubbish than ‘gay’, better words for an idiot than ‘retard’ and better words for a weakling than a ‘pussy’ – such words only promote their further usage and hold back the hopes of a better world. How will we ever have a fair society if we insist on teaching people that weak people should be called vaginas and things that are ridiculous and crap are ‘gay’? It needs to stop and that starts with you, please, I know you can do it.

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?

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

A Matter of Correctness

Trigger Warnings – None

A progressive and liberal minded person will often find that when comedy and insensitivity mix, they tend to cringe, which can often lead to this talk of “political correctness” as being a negative thing. I hear it a lot, if you say to someone “I don’t tell people to grow some balls because your genitalia has nothing to do with your determination” then you’ll probably hear them say “Alright you lofty twat, I was just using a figure of speech” and then you look like the dickhead for daring to object to that racist/sexist/homophobic joke or remark. Right now, I bet some of you are thinking I’m a lefty tosser with pretentious standards I enforce upon everyone and recycle my own shit to save pandas or something, am I on the right lines? Political correctness has been painted with a bad brush, much like feminism or pride regarding sex and sexuality but in truth, political correctness isn’t about being the better man, it’s about forming a better community

I’ll start by admitting that in my time, I’ve told people to man up and made a racist joke here and there, I was a teenage lad in a chavvy school, you had to have something up your sleeve just in case. However, growing older and more mature, it’s harder to laugh at a joke in which the explanation is “Get it? Because they’re Chinese!” and we’re supposed to just go “Oh ok, so I guess that’s just how Chinese people work huh?”. I find such jokes less funny when the point of the joke is to laugh at the expense of a minority and generally think to myself “Could I make this joke with the sort of person targeted by this joke and still be on good terms with them afterwards?”

Now don’t get me wrong, comedy is on a first name basis with controversy and tragedy, that’s something I understand as well as anyone, but comedy can and should be better than the lazy effort of generalisation. You can often hear people make these jokes and justify it by saying they’re “half Black” or “my best mate is from Asia so…” and it’s a hard situation to handle but I find if they justify it in such a way, they don’t suffer the discrimination they’re inadvertently endorsing, someone who justifies their joke as “Well my sister’s a lesbian so I can do this” is NOT a lesbian, she can’t identify with how a lesbian would react to the joke and if she did tell her sister, her sister might tolerate it as just being an annoying sister

Political incorrectness is still very much a social norm and it’s a privilege we need to get over as a society, if you can’t think of a funny joke that isn’t about dumb blondes or wussy gay guys, you’re not a very funny person are you? Try harder, there are so many things in life good for poking fun at but it has to be a poke, a light tickle in the ribs, not just some dismissive “Well the joke is that you can’t drive properly because you have a vagina”. Jokes are always going to offend, sure, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a cull on some of the jokes that are just based in the world of stupid stereotypes and ignorance as humour is the work of intellect, not burbling. I realise I might upset a few people saying this but frankly if you can’t have a laugh without it being at someone’s expense, that’s your problem, not mine

Now before people get in a huff about free-speech, let me tell you something about free-speech, free-speech is the right to speak and that is all it is, it is not the right to say anything without consequences, it is not the right to have everyone hear whatever you say and it is not entitlement to a podium or stage if you want one, it is literally just the right to open your mouth and say something if you want to but you still have to accept the responsibility for what you say. So, if you want to make racist jokes, fucking go for it but accept the fact you will be considered a racist. If you think I am infringing on your rights by telling you to not make these jokes, I’m not, my right is to say this to you as it is yours to make those jokes, it doesn’t mean I can’t suggest you don’t make those jokes or argue against these remarks if you make them

So, in exercising that right to free-speech, confront someone whose comedy arsenal is a load of jokes about Muslims, Indians and women, tell them these jokes should be left where they belong, in the past, in a world of division and ignorance and that we need to move forward. If you are an aficionado of the dumb blonde jokes or laughing at how Chinese words sound so funny compared to ours, why not try to broaden your horizons? You think you’re funny now huh? Imagine how much funnier you’d be if EVERYONE could join in your fun, if everyone around you thought you were a great guy, even the little people you might overlook. Political correctness isn’t about being smart or elitist or high-brow, it’s about being a decent human being that treats all people as… well… people. Call me a radical but I think that’s a damn fine thing to do

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