Monday, 23 March 2009

But racism is funny, you weirdo

Presented for your consideration, a story in two small parts that has amused and depressed me in equal measure.

Part one is set in a small pub just off the centre of town. Present: your faithful blogger (the Brunette), two of her closest friends (the Blonde and the Redhead – there is a reason I refer to us in joke form), the Blonde’s partner and another couple that the Blondes are friendly with. I have met them both before but barely spoken to either of them.

After complaining about how quiet the pub is, the male half of this couple pulls out his phone and shows us a text message. It's a joke. A joke that he will not read aloud. Can you guess where this might be going? Blonde sees message and laughs. Redhead sees message and makes a small noise of "I do not wish to engage". Brunette sees message. Message turns out to be a variation on the old "Bus full of lawyers goes over a cliff, which is a shame because one of the seats was empty" joke, but invoking a charming racial epithet. Brunette shakes her head sadly. At this, the joker gets his back up.

Joker: Do you not think that's funny?
Joker: Do you not like jokes like that?
Joker: Why not?
Brunette: I’m not a big fan of racism.
Joker: Don't say that! People can hear you!
Brunette: That's what it is, though.
Joker: Don’t say it out loud.
Brunette: I can’t believe I'm actually being told off for not laughing at a racist joke.
Joker: Stop saying that word!

The Blonde, I should add, later interprets this exchange as me telling him off.

Part two takes place over MSN. I am, for reasons best known to myself, talking to my ex-boyfriend. I am going to switch names at this point, just to confuse you all.

Ex: I thought of you the other day. I got into a conversation about the feminist aspects of the film Aliens.
Jen: Oh dear, is my influence spreading?
Ex: I don't mind, I always liked your strong views.
Jen: Most don't. I got told off the other week for a) not laughing at a racist joke and b) referring to it as racist out loud.
Ex: Oh! I should have guessed that was you!
Jen: Beg pardon?
Ex: Was it [repeats joke]? My brother has been telling me this story about how his friend Joker was out with this girl and he told that joke and she didn't find it funny.

Not only am I apparently the only person in my ex's general acquaintance who isn't thrown into paroxysms of laughter by racism, but also the racism = not funny thing is so bizarre and incomprehensible that Joker is telling people the story and these people find it so strange that they, in turn, pass it on. "My mate told a random girl this joke and she didn’t laugh." I am amused that I'm so instantly recognisable by my strident attitudes (amused enough that I now want to get a T-shirt that says "Strident Bitch: Don't Tell Me Jokes" and I'm getting my own Strident Bitch tag), but seriously. There is nobody in the entire world that hasn't heard some variation on that joke, so there's no real humour potential in the joke itself. The only reason to tell it is to bond with your fellow pub-goers over how much [insert specialised group] suck, and don't you just hate them (in a totally nice way, of course, but they need to realise that this isn't their country), and wouldn't it be funny if they died? But don't you dare call it for what it is. It's not racist, remember, it's politically incorrect, which is all cool and edgy and shit, and don't call me a racist because that's not fair. You’re totally bullying me by using that word. Whiiiiine.

Oh, and he didn't like it when I put the dampers on his sisters-having-sex fantasy either. Hah.

Monday, 16 March 2009

ANTM Blogging: All Pretences of Seriousness Abandoned Edition

I'm going to have to face up to it: I like America's Next Top Model. I wish to write about America's Next Top Model. But the show is fluff, pure and simple, and I cannot keep pretending I'm going to write worthy screeds on its attitudes towards women and how they are reflected or otherwise distorted in our society. Because I'm not.

So, with that out of the way:

My three girls for this cycle (which, yes, I watch on Youtube from England as soon as it's uploaded. I am a little addicted) are Teyona, Fo and Allison. I wasn't so keen on Allison until I saw the last batch of photos - the stupid group shot things with the light-up vibrators - and was immediately drawn to her in every photo she was in. Fo was my earliest pick, so I'm a little annoyed that she's turned out to be one of those "My hair! My hair! I'm nothing without my hair!" types. But I still like her. I'm charmed by her freckles. Teyona I like because she was the only one who pulled off the ridiculous make-up and styling in the promo picture.

I inexplicably hate Natalie. Tahlia, too. I know I'm meant to feel sorry for her, but she just... irritates me. Grrr. I didn't like Jessica, either, and am very pleased she's been booted.

The photoshoots have been a bit crap so far too. The first one was creepy as all get-out. Why, if you are so distressed at the loss of girlish innocence in this world, would you dress a bunch of models in little-girl clothes complete with huge killer heels? I thought it was quite disturbing. And why were the pictures so grainy? I know grain is sometimes a stylistic device, but in a "little girls playing games" shoot? No. And in the second one, they were posing with glow-in-the-dark vibrators. You can't tell me that's normal.

So, I'm pulling for a Teyona/Fo/Allison final three, and worrying a little about the upcoming "immigrant" shoot. Thoughts from other shameful addicts?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Today In Bad Ideas

Get married on Juliet's balcony! Yay! The place where two daft teenagers declared undying love and then died before they could change their minds!

Does nobody read anymore?

Monday, 9 March 2009


This scares the everloving shit out of me.

It's all horrible, every bit of it, but what really disturbs me is that the most so-say acceptable reason for hitting a woman is the wearing of revealing clothes in public. What the FUCK? Twenty per cent of people think it's at least sometimes acceptable to hit your girlfriend because... why? Because she's making other men look at her? What is it? I genuinely don't understand.

Also, I notice, it seems to be more acceptable to hit a woman for flirting than for cheating. I can't really think of anything to say about that, except yargh argh grrrrr argh bah scream arrrgggghhh. The more I see of the world, the more I am made to realise that female sexuality is bad and wrong and weird and scary and must be contained by any means necessary.

One of my ex's favourite lines to justify his possessiveness and dislike of my male friends was "Of course I trust you. I just don't trust them." The whole time we were together, this made no sense to me. How could he trust me if he didn't trust them, unless he thought they were rapists? I asked him a couple of times if that's what he thought, and he responded in complete shock that of course he didn't, how could I get that from what he said? So I remained confused.

I get it now. If I'm around a man who could conceivably find me attractive, said man might think about me. And that, right there, is the violation. There are versions of me running around in other people's heads, versions that no stern looks of his or monogamous nature of mine could regulate or control. It's got nothing to do with how I feel, and it's really not got much to do with whether or not said man would ever act on his hypothetical fantasies. The point is (or was) that they're out there. That somebody created a world where I did not belong to my ex. That in the recesses of somebody's imagination, I was being unfaithful. And (and this is the key point) I should not have been encouraging it. I think this is the logic: You know what men are like. You know what men's brains are like. You should know that being around them, wearing make-up and laughing at their jokes and dancing and everything else you do with your friends, will only make it worse. And unless you want them to be having those thoughts, why would you encourage it? And right there is where it becomes Your Fault.

I'm in no way saying that all men are like this. Indeed, I think my ex is an extreme case. But I look at survey results like that, and I have to acknowledge that no, it's not all that strange. He's not the only man who thinks this way, and I have a one in five chance of coming across another one.

It's stuff like this that makes feel justified in snapping at men in pubs who say shit like this then pretend, innocent faces firmly plastered on, that "it was only a joke". It's NOT only a joke. And I refuse to apologise for being a cranky, sexy, difficult feminist bitch. So there.

I was going to end there, but then I realised that I only put the last paragraph there to avoid ending another entry with "I'm really scared". Defiance is an easier stance to take at the moment, and one that won't result in me hiding in a cupboard for the next thirty years. What can you do with fear, except turn it into anger?