I don't even know where to start with this, I have so much I want to talk about. Bear with me, this is a rant, and it's a long one.
Over the past week or so, every time I turn the laptop on I read something else that leaves me pretty much like this:
I think it's probably easiest to list them, and see where it goes from there.
1. "Kimye" on Honeymoon. Supposedly, Kim Kardashian (famous for having a sex tape) and Kanye West (famous for taking microphones off award winners on stage) flew into Shannon to have their Honeymoon here. Fair play to them, they're entitled to go wherever they want. What I don't understand is the mass hysteria that followed - there were people actually out trying to find them, get pictures of them, they were discussed on twitter, facebook, the news - every day this week. Signs were erected in their honour. Sightings were sent into radio stations. Are we so obsessed with celebrity that this is what passes for national interest now? I haven't seen a picture of them here. I don't want to. I don't CARE. They're just people. Ask Vincent Browne.
[Source: Mark Farrelly via Broadsheet.ie]
2. Solange Knowles was offered a $1 million deal to compete in an Ultimate Fight deal after footage was leaked of her attacking her brother-in-law JayZ in a lift. The footage showed Solange flying at him furiously until she was pulled away by security. I know that this was more than likely a publicity stunt from the guy behind the championship, but can you imagine if the same deal had been offered to Chris Brown after he beat Rihanna up? Why is this okay when a woman does it? In the days following the incident, media here even held a phone-in to see if there were any women in Ireland named Solange. WHAT??!! Violence is violence, she should have been reprimanded instead of glorified.
3. "Miss Personality". The Tubridy Show on 2FM are running a competition to find someone to send to the Miss Ireland pageant. The winner will be selected based purely on personality, not on looks. Which is admirable. Or, it would be, if it wasn't so inherently disgusting. I happened to hear the "entrants" this morning - one lady called herself "Miss Grecian Feline" because her first name was Greek and she liked cats. Ryan went on to mock her nickname, mock her for liking cats, and insult her home county (Cavan - "We can't have a Miss Ireland from Cavan") but all in his usual jokey, jingly way. He also had "Miss Leinster Lady" who had a passion for rugby - Ryan asked her "is that only because of the Kearneys, yeah?" - and "Miss Pearl" - Miss Pearl was a foreign national who had moved to Ireland as a young child. She told us all that people mistook her for being Swedish because she was blonde and blue-eyed, and talked about her love of chess. Ryan used the words "geek" and "nerd" several times when discussing chess and when discussing comic books with the first entrant - he asked her what her favourite Superhero was, and when she replied "Wolverine" he said "Tell the truth, you don't like him at all, you just like Hugh Jackman".She said that if she got through, she'd wear a wetsuit and sun hat in the Swimwear round because she felt that not being skinny wasn't a valid reason for not entering Miss Ireland. "Swimwear round" you say? Yes. Miss Personality will have to partake in the Swimwear round, where they will stand on a table and have the judges draw circles around all their fat parts. Okay, not really, but it will be a "closed door" judging, which is nonsensical. I fail to see what this is achieving, to be honest. Ryan gets to patronize 8 young women and laugh it off because "it's all a bit of fun". If you want to be judged on your personality and not your looks, WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU ENTERING A PAGEANT? EDIT: Someone left me a comment saying I mixed the Miss Personality contestants up, I deleted it by accident. With all due respect, I don't listen to Ryan Tubridy's show. On the morning that I caught that, I was out and happened to hear it. I was typing that night, from memory. My problem was with Ryan's responses and questions, not with the entrants. I apologise if I mixed the women up, I didn't mean to make them seem interchangeable.
4. "The Sex Factor". I heard about this today on the radio - it's a new reality show that will feature 8 men and 8 women who all want to become porn stars. The winners (one male and one female) will get to star in a porn movie with the presenter, Belle Knox. There's a hashtag & everything, so we can all play along at home. YIPPEE, I know I can't wait to sit at home salivating over nude people and getting them to engage in various sexual acts in the name of entertainment. How have I existed this long without it?
5. "Skin for 1D". This was trending on twitter tonight. I clicked on it, and much like the beyond belief tag "cut for Bieber" (in which Justin Bieber fans cut themselves to show support for him after his arrest) this features fans of One Direction uploading naked pictures of themselves "in support" of the boys, who are reported to smoke weed. I couldn't care less what they smoke, but I do care that there are young men and women out there who think it's a good idea to take a photograph of themselves naked and upload it online. I clicked on the tag once and saw multiple pictures of (presumably) teenage girls, one spreading her vagina apart with her fingers "in support" of the boys. How is that supporting anything? What the hell is going on in the mind of someone who thinks that is okay? The comments on photos are usual twitter fare - 50% troll, 50% OMG, but it really saddens me that a young woman can throw away her dignity (not to mention potential future employment) over a pop group. If you want to bare all, go ahead. But please, for the love of humanity, don't do it because some boyband you're never going to meet have allegedly smoked weed. You're worth more than that.
6. "#YesAllWomen" and the reaction to it. This was another hashtag that trended during the week - mostly in response to the theory that misogyny was behind Elliot Rodger's killing spree. Go have a look at it yourself - it's just shocking. (HERE). What was even more shocking was the response from some men - note, I said SOME men, not ALL men. I saw one lady mention something sexist thrown up by Google, and she was almost immediately shot down by a response from a young guy saying "So Google is sexist then, stop using it". You don't have to scroll very far to see why the majority of points on that tag are still relevant. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think feminism has "gotten out of control" or that we've all turned into a nation of man-haters - I do believe that sexism and misogyny is absolutely rampant and it's up to us as society, and as parents, and as brothers, sisters, friends - as PEOPLE - to stop it. Nobody should have to feel afraid walking home. Nobody should have to consider if what they choose to wear on a night out could possibly be interpreted as a come-on. Nobody should have to explain themselves if they say "No", or fear that by saying no, they are branded a slut, a whore, a cocktease, a bitch. This is a screenshot (names removed) from just a few minutes ago.
This isn't good enough, guys. There are very, very good men out there, and equally there are some horrible women out there too - but the fact that the majority of women have experienced sexism, harassment or misogyny at one point or another means that something needs to be done. As the mother of three boys I feel an incredible responsibility to do all I can to make sure they do not think this is okay - but I can't control what their peers do or say.
7. The people who comment on certain Radio/TV Talkshow facebook pages. Find wall, bang head, repeat. Leaving aside the most appalling grammar and spelling, pages like this prove two things. Firstly, that they thrive on stirring people to fight amongst themselves. Secondly, that there are still many backward, ignorant, idiots alive and well in the country. Example - one talkshow page posted something about obesity levels today and instead of asking what people thought, or if they thought the studies were accurate, they asked if it was okay to call people fat "to get them to lose weight". Here's a gem from that discussion (which also contained the comment "Send the women in that picture out to the starvin blacks in Africa"):
That guy in the middle is obviously fairly young. Therein lies the problem. I have three sons. How in the hell am I supposed to teach them to be respectful, empathetic, honest and decent human beings when this is the sort of cretin they're undoubtedly going to be mixing with at some stage? A lovely lady I talk to on twitter had something ridiculously stupid about her hair colour shouted at her from a man in a car the other day. This is 2014, folks.
I could go on and on - about the man who sexually assaulted a woman and then blamed his medication, about a certain newspaper digging up pictures of the "girl" Elliot Rodger was rejected by and printing pictures of her in a bikini - but I fear I'd explode altogether.
In the words of He-Man (and 4 Non Blondes) WHAT'S GOING ON??!!!