Ignorance and Inspiration

Trigger Warnings – Whilst outdated, this article contains opinions that may be deemed offensive to certain people, though they only serve as examples. Mentions of sexual assault and homophobic attitudes

Hello everyone. So, at the start of the week I did an article for Asexual Awareness week and I did a lot to teach people about the subject but I realise it is one of those topics that if it doesn’t directly affect you, you’re not likely to know about it and probably don’t even consider it, perhaps some of the ignorance in this world is simply a result of such. Ignorance, if not worked upon, is not exactly a brilliant trait for one to possess but you can’t shame someone for ignorance, only if they are not willing to learn more and so to help give you some perspective, I want to give you some insight as to the ignorant views I myself once held in my younger days

I think angsty is probably a great word to describe my younger self, maybe more towards raging asshole actually. A romantic would view me as the lone rogue, dressed all in black and standing apart from the crowd without a peer or indeed a care in my heart and I am not ashamed to admit I was a selfish and melodramatic young teen. However, for my academic smarts and brute strength in a fight, I was ignorant of people, I knew nothing of their struggles and pains, of their ways of life, I knew only the path I stared down and thought nothing of the world around me. I wasn’t always a man who promoted equality and justice, I thought justice meant revenge and here are some of the ignorant things I once thought

1. Being gay is okay (Just don’t be gay with me!)

A common one I hear from a lot of lads, saying “He can bum who he wants but if he tries touching me up, I’ll kick his head in”. This is a presumptuous statement, it assumes that by default you are attractive to gay men. Is every woman in the world attracted to you sir? No, they’re not, same applies to men. I don’t know why I thought this, it was before I had met anyone of the LGBT community (excluding not knowing my brother was in the closet, I suspected but never thought much of it at the time and I barely knew my eldest sister at the time who is a lesbian). I believe this is more a comment of fear and misunderstanding, some men view homosexuality as an infringement on their masculinity, as if they’ll be treated by gay men the same way they treat women. I would urge people of this philosophy to calm down, in all my life I can count the amount of gay men that have hit on me on one hand and it’s not a difficult situation to diffuse and heck, I feel flattered to be truthful, especially as not one of those men has ever presumed me to be gay, at most bisexual. You need only be courteous and decline politely, the way women tend to decline you lads (Well, nice women, let them down how you’d like to be let down)

2. Dressing provocatively is asking to be assaulted

Again, this is a common argument I hear, the line being “Well when you’re dressed like that, what do you expect?”. Newsflash, you don’t dress for other people, you dress for yourself and to be honest, if a man walks down a street with his chest on show then he isn’t checking every corner for an attacker, why should a woman have to? A woman should not have to dress with the views of society in mind, simply her own tastes – wear that skimpy top if you really want, you like it, you wear it and if, heaven forbid, you are a victim of assault then it was not your fault for your dress sense because men as a rule should have self-control to not lose themselves to a lustful frenzy just because they saw a bit too much cleavage for one day. I can manage it and I’m a man with a knack for womanising and a history of self-control issues but not once have I ever even considered attacking a woman for dressing provocatively, heck I’m too modest to even oggle

3. The friend zone

Yes, I believed in the friend zone once upon a time, being the non-threatening guy pal to a lot of attractive women who knew I wouldn’t step over the boundaries when they were laid down. I resented it and I always grappled with this conflict in myself as to why these girls weren’t falling for me when all I ever did was do everything they wanted from a guy. Well, I feel this needs an article in itself and I’ll admit I only got over this view rather recently after some soul-searching but the truth is you shouldn’t validate your efforts as a friend by the end-goal of sex or a romantic relationship, the platonic love is no less significant. I know it sucks that she’ll never see you as her boyfriend and that you might never have what you wanted but if you love this person, love them enough to let them pursue what they truly dream of, don’t try to force your dreams upon them because it will destroy you inside as they resist those dreams until it makes you burn inside just to look at them

Those are just three for now, it was actually rather hard to think these up surprisingly but yeah, I haven’t always been uber-liberal love-and-acceptance, I used to be bitter and self-entitled to my personal dreams in life, as if what I wanted meant more and the issues of others fell upon their own shoulders, nothing more. I thought everyone was responsible for their own bad hands in life and maybe that’s why it cut me up for so long with everything that happened to me in life, I accepted the blame for every bad thing that happened in my life. The point of this article is to encourage people not to just despise those who are misinformed but educate them, nurture them and make them an ally as was done with me. I learnt about these things because they affected friends – I had relatives in the LGBT community and made friends there too, I had friends who dressed in rather alluring attire and felt sick to the gut at the thought of something happening to them, I did not want to ruin my friendships by resenting people for not reciprocating my desires. We all change as we learn about the world, a friend of mine recently admitted to me in confidence that they realised they were a misogynist and weren’t fully comfortable with that so rather than bite their head off, I tried to understand the roots of these views and I hope to help this friend of mine find a new outlook on the female gender over time

My friends upon the left-wing, we face a difficult battle with gender equality, gay marriage, the understanding and acceptance of the full sexual spectrum, better education on mental health and sexual education and even those of non-mainstream religions so let us not see every white hetero male as a villain, let us befriend them and teach them what we know and be taught in return. Ignorance is the enemy of humanity, we must unite as one and slay it

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Things I H8

Trigger Warnings – Strong language throughout and mentions of sexual assault

I’m going to start by saying I’m a feminist, if you hadn’t guessed already – I didn’t always understand the cause of feminism growing up, saw stereotypes and took my impressions of the cause from them until I decided to dig deeper and then realised that feminism isn’t a bunch of angry housewives wanting to beat men to death (not at the core, there are a few bad eggs but hey you get Buddhist marauders so…) but in fact people of all walks of life standing for equal rights, to have a world where everyone, at the most base level of human rights, gets the same treatment. I couldn’t agree more with this cause, we should all be equal because until I see a definitive reason one human being is greater than the rest (i.e born with a fucking halo) then you know, we should just try to get along as equals, be we gay, bi, trans, man, woman or none of the above

FCKH8 recently resurfaced in the attention of the masses with their ‘feminist’ advert, yes advert, in which little girls dressed as princesses drop the effing f-bomb like there’s no fucking tomorrow. Watch it to understand this article it’s easily found on YouTube. Now, I’m not against swearing, I curse like a sailor with his dick in a vice when I want to, swear words are so interwoven with our society as a whole that children swearing comes as no shock to me personally but to a lot of people this advert was a slap in the face, an affront to their senses as pretty girls screamed that they weren’t damsels in distress. Ok, so on the feminist front, it’s great that one message of this advert is that girls are not obliged to conform to the princess trope, that women aren’t helpless prizes to be won for a man’s achievements but the real problem with this advert isn’t the foul language, it’s everything else about the advert and just a heads up, this gets dark

I have an issue with using children to push products and messages they don’t understand, these girls are helpless, not because they are girls but because they are children being manipulated into shameless advertising. Sure, a third of the proceeds from the shirt sales goes to charity but that is not saying much if, out of your donation to a charity, only 33% actually goes to the cause and 66% goes towards everything else. Speaking only for Oxfam, as someone who works for the charity, we keep less than 20% of the money for running our business and the rest goes straight to fighting the spread of Ebola, supporting people affected by the conflicts in Gaza and so on and so on. The message is insincere, these aren’t the little girls defying the trope, these are little actors reading a script. Why not just ask these girls “Do you really want to be a princess?” and then have some girls saying that they’d rather be doctors or police officers or something that is generally considered a ‘male’ profession. A bunch of eight years olds swearing and reading statistics off a prompt just sends the message that they’re being pushed, sure they seem fine with it but that’s the thing with being manipulated, you never actually complain about being manipulated. Why not use adults? Why must we face the ‘shock’ of exploitation? The message is for adults, children don’t have pay inequality issues (yet) so using kids to talk about it undermines the sincerity of the message as little more than a stunt

Actually, that rolls onto my next issue with the advert, the statistics. Setting aside the obnoxious cocky tones that just further the stereotype of the angry feminist, there are mentions of rape, with the statistic that one in five women are the subject of sexual assault and one girl then asks in an eerie tone “Which of us will it be?”. You’re fucking ten years old, you shouldn’t be worrying about that. I know children can be victims of such assault but we shouldn’t be making them consider that at such a young age, gathering them in groups of five and then asking them which one they think is gonna get it first. Sexual assault is a serious issue that needs to be tackled but this isn’t the way to do it and the fact this adverts gives these girls the impression they are unstoppable forces of nature that should demand respect means that heaven forbid they ever are the victims of such assault, they will blame themselves because if something stops the unstoppable, the unstoppable doubts itself. You shouldn’t build someone up like that because it won’t hold water and they’ll be the victim when it all crashes down. I thought I was the greatest, turns out I wasn’t, I loathed myself and even now still have doubts about myself.

The advert, which is what it is, is a shameless debauchery of the cause, cementing the idea in people’s minds that a feminist is a foul-mouthed pissy little girl criticising men for having dicks. Saying fuck in a dress is not feminism and this advert is not empowering for anyone. Would you have your kids watch the advert? No? So the kids learn nothing. Do you feel empowered watching children swear at you? No? So you learnt nothing, other than FCKH8 is a penny-pinching organisation confusing anger and rage for justice. I mean, take the name, clearly meaning to read as ‘Fuck Hate’. Fuck it? Yes, nothing resolves hatred like hatred and heck, this organisation has always had trouble with it’s messages – seeing bisexuality as a cross between gay/straight, having very little to say for trans* equality, insinuating that effeminate gay men are the ‘best’ representatives of their cause – but an attitude of petty acts and outlandish anger just sells the greater cause short. FCKH8 is to the LGBT movement is what Farage is to British Politics – the noisy idiot that makes everyone look bad and makes us turn away from the whole affair.

In summary, feminism is not anger and rage and swear-words, it is simply wanting equality for all and though the name starts with ‘fem’ it is not about angry women ruling the world and castrating us all from birth, it represents the interests of us all. FCKH8, you did not relay a positive message by exploiting your children into selling your crappy confrontational t-shirts, you just embarrassed people trying to make a difference