Sunday, 29 September 2013

Women Are Worth More Than The Paper They're Printed On

“World's Hottest Footballer's Wives.”

“World's Hottest F1 Driver's Wives.”

“World's Hottest Musician's Wives.”

They're mainstays of tabloid media. Pointless, redundant articles which spew the virtues of being nothing more than eye candy and masturbation material for a male orientated market. They're everywhere, and a day doesn't go by when one woman or another is put on a pedestal because she's married to someone famous.

“You're just jealous,” people say. “I don't know what you're getting upset over?”

Don't know what I'm getting upset over? Have you ever read one of those articles and seen any mention of the woman's life other than the fact that she's “beautiful” and “married to X celebrity”? Chances are you haven't. They never make a mention of that. Never mention the achievements of said woman. Instead the woman's form is just reduced down to that of an object. That's it. Nothing else. The article might mention if she's had a breast enlargement, or if she lost her post baby fat really quickly. You might get a mention that she's an actress or a model but you won't be given a list of her works. Again, that's it. And people wonder why the world is so screwed up. They wonder why there are girls who are literally starving themselves to death. They wonder why self esteem and self confidence are low. There are many reasons, a lot of it starting with the media.

“But you objectify men!” you say.

Yes, I'll hold my hands up and say that I'm guilty of that. But go and take a look at the lists titled “World's Hottest Actors” or “World's Hottest Rockstars”. You won't find a list of why their hair's nice or how they got their killer abs. No, you'll get a list of how well they act, which countries their band's toured, how many cinema seats they've filled or CD's they've sold. You'll probably get the name of their highest grossing film or best selling album. You might even get a glimpse of the car they drive, the house they live in, and how much their bank balance is worth.

“It's not offensive! I don't see your problem.”

While it's not outwardly offensive (no blood, no overly graphic content) it does the same nudity and murders and normalises people to it. Suddenly it's “normal” to want to be “hot” and “married”, as if it's the only thing which women are good for. Forget the 21st Century. Attitudes towards women are still firmly rooted in the past. Women are only supposed to be broodmares, used for nothing more than pleasure and bringing about the next generation. At least in the eyes of the male orientated media.

“You must really hate men!”

Actually, no. I just hate the misogynistic attitudes towards women. I've worked in many industries where, to be a woman is the worst crime ever. Bar manager, nightclub DJ, band manager. I've lost count of the number of men who've come up to me and told me they can do a better job. Really? Here, have the lack of sleep, the paperwork, the hours of phone calls, events being cancelled, staff being sick, equipment not working, merchandise being delayed, and the crappy pay. None of those jobs were ever done for the money. They were done for the love of music or creating amazing events. And, with each of those jobs, I was approached to do them. I didn't apply. I was asked to take the roles. Someone with tits and a vagina. What does that tell you? It's not the gender of a person but their ability to do a job. Unfortunately, as we all too often see, the gender of a person does still play a part in every day life.

You hate women!”

<sigh> No, I don't hate women. I just hate that they're used and exploited for the pleasure of others. Some do do it for profit and pleasure and I take my hat off to women who are strong enough to do that. We need more strong, independent women in this world. More role models that the younger generations can look up to. Role models whose entire life doesn't revolve around being pretty and married.

Basically, I'm tired of a world where women are treated like second class citizens. I'm tired of being told I can't do certain things because they're “only for men” (playing any instrument other than a cello or piano, learning to fly, listening to heavy metal etc). I'm tired of people trying to pigeonhole me. Tired of people telling me how to live my life because I'm a woman. Women can do whatever they want to and they don't need approval from anyone to do it.

There's a lot of wonderful and loving men who read this blog and I don't want you to feel like this is aimed at you. It's not. I love you guys to bits and I hope you'll stick with me despite some of my rantings!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night - Part 1

As the nights draw in and the air cools, our minds turn away from summer and towards other things. It's time, I think, for me to tell some of my spooky tales.

Call it being psychic, call it being in tune with the universe, call it being spiritually sensitive, call it a sixth sense. Whatever you call it, not even the most powerful of anti-psychotic drugs have stopped me from seeing and feeling things. They've always been there, just on the edge of my vision, or tickling the lobes of my ears. What do I think they are? Beings from other dimensions? Good and evil? Things which are locked to this earth? I don't know and I refuse to try and categorise them.

We'll start by taking a trip in to my own past. Once upon a time, I worked in a wonderful little pub, with a fabulous group of people (some of who may be reading this. Hi guys!), in a small, sleepy city in the south of England. We knew that everything wasn't as it seemed in this 600 year old building. And, from that building, came a handful of tales...

The Voice

This tended to happen when the bar was empty, early morning normal. I'd be cleaning up the bar area and I'd hear someone, as clear as day, yell my name. I'd go looking and yell into the kitchen to see if the chef had called me. Nope, wasn't him. At this point the hackles on my neck would be raised. It tended to go both ways; some days the chef would stick his head out to see if I had called him when I hadn't. It didn't happen once or twice, it was a daily occurrence.

The Footsteps

"Can you hear footsteps?"

The Pheasant was an old building, spread over several levels. Like a ship of the time, the ceilings got lower and lower the higher you went. We lived there, several of us who kept the place running. Late at night, once we'd kicked everyone out, we'd sit at the bar and chat quietly while having a couple of drinks. When a dignified silence fell, then the footsteps would start on the floor above the bar. Creaking footsteps that would walk to one end, pause and come back again. Once they stopped, we started talking again and, once we stopped talking the footsteps would start again.

The Fireplace

As an old pub, very old 600+ year old pub, we had several big fireplaces. One of them was a gas fire with a copper hod over it which channeled the gases outside. Anyway, in the summer, this was never on. Never. Because a summer in the south of England can get like France and Spain if it's in a good mood. Sometimes there would be sounds coming from the fire. They weren't normal sounds like the fire needed fixing. It was someone or something banging rhythmically on the hod of the gas fire. Some days it would be 1 or 2 bangs, some days it could go on for hours. Like I said, this wasn't the fire cooling down as people would have thought. Looking back on it, I wish I'd noted them down because I'm wondering if something was trying to to communicate in Morse code.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

And I Have A Name

I am Bipolar.

I am addiction.

I am an illness.

I am a disease.

Yet I am not contagious.

You won't catch anything from looking at me.

You won't catch anything from talking to me.

Being around me won't suddenly take years off your life.

I am not here for your amusement.

I am not here for you to ridicule.

I am not here for you to point fingers at.

I am not here for you to talk about because I have "something".

I am not here to make you feel better about yourself because you don't have my "disease".

I am not a lesser person than you are.

I am a person.

I have a heart.

I have a mind.

I have emotions.

I have a face.

I have seen the best and worst of humanity.

I wear my scars, both inside and out, with pride.

I have seen the darkest levels of Hell and the highest glories of Heaven.

I am healing.

I am growing.

I have turned myself inside out to get to this point in time.

And I have a name.

My name isn't "disease."

It isn't "illness".

It isn't "Bipolar".

It isn't "Addiction".

It is the one I give you to call me by.

I am me, no matter what you think I am.