Posted by Zeyno

Winter holidays are often my favourite time of the year to go exploring, and this year I had the opportunity to visit some Northern cities before flying 200km into the arctic circle. I've been lucky enough to visit the place a few years back at the same time of year, but this time I was shocked to discover some major differences: the lack of snow.

Mentioning the causes of Climate Change and human impact will undoubtedly be repetitive for anyone, but seeing its consequences in action is definitely quite scarring. It is half way through December, and Stockholm city is filled with Christmas spirit but not the least bit of snow. In Lapland, artificial snow is produced to maintain the amount needed to build the ICEHOTEL.

I view this situation as ironic above everything else. The one accessible place I have grown to know as the place where real winter is felt, is having to produce fake snow to meet the demands of tourists. Of course, in this case, I am amongst those who I shamefully refer to as 'tourists'.

The big debate begins when we try to decide if this situation is a good thing. Looking at it in terms of the future of our planet, the easy answer is a no. The millions of tonnes of aviation fuel for our luxuries and western society's endless demand to consume, does not help in creating a cleaner environment.

On the other hand, it is our desire for new experiences that gives a boost to current local economies of places like Kiruna. During my visit, I was told by some locals, that fifty years ago the land by the river (in other words the outer skirts) were sold for very little as people preferred to make their way into the city. But today, the frozen river and it's surrounding areas have become one of the major attractions of the area due to the ICEHOTEL and various opportunities of dog-sledding.

Moving on to the global scale, there are companies like Multiconsult who are proud to announce that they have expanded to meet the growing interest in the natural resources of the Arctic. In their advertisement campaign, they strongly imply that they are not the people who are doing the 'bad business', they are simply growing due to the appeal.

This shows that there is global consciousness, so the issue is not to make people more aware of the current situation. The issue is that there seems to be a habit of 'tossing the ball around'; no one seems to be admitting to be the partial cause of our problem. It is understood that we are not in a position waste any time to make some serious changes, but through the fear of getting the blame for greenhouse emissions (as well as potentially lower profits), big names in the business are reluctant to make a change.
 

Feminism

12/12/2013

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Posted by Godelieve
“Whenever I hear the "Women are paid $.78 for the man’s $1" I flip it around. Men make $1.28 for every woman’s $1.  It interests me that even the most common simple measure of gender inequality is firmly based on male-as-normative …”

    - Patrick Richards- Fink

The oppression of females is extremely prevalent in our society still, and despite the progression of the public's opinion towards woman, we are still having to fight for what we deserve; our rights to be equal.  Recently through some of my classes we've been exploring the subject of misogyny and feminism and the results are actually surprisingly shameful. 

The Oxford English dictionary states that the definition of feminism is 'the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.' However, too many people believe that there is the shame in calling yourself a feminist, too often feminists are given the view of being over-dramatic and ridiculous, they are stereotyped to hate men and be unhygienic. This means that despite being oppressed, in order to not receive mockery, women will not call themselves feminists despite being so. I've heard the words 'I'm not a feminist, but I do believe that men and woman should be equal' uttered and what really shocked me was how uneducated a lot of people are about these issues.

One of the biggest reasons why we do not have the same rights as men, still may come from our representation in the media. Too often we are objectified and over-sexulised, this video really puts into context the ridiculousness of how woman are portrayed to the general public. 

The problem that arises is that this is the view that little children get daily, girls grow up thinking that this is okay way to portray themselves and boys are treated to see woman in far too much of a sexual light from a young age. An example of this would be Robin Thicke's infamous 'Blurred Lines' with an extremely catchy tune it's not surprising that it is played all the time and has become as widespread as it is leaving it stuck in our heads. However, children under the age of 10 sing it with not a faintest idea of what they are actually saying, and subconsciously their opinions on woman and sexual activity forms.

As well as political parties rightfully fighting, I think that we as a society need to educate the younger generations of today on the issues regarding inequality and misogyny, only then can we make a development on equal rights between men and woman. 
Men categorize women in one of four ways: 

Mothers, virgins, sluts and bitches. 
Of course none of the above is suitable for the modern business woman. 
But you can create your own image by selecting pieces of each archetype that work for you.
The sexual attractiveness of the slut.
The wisdom of the mother.
The integrity of the virgin.
The independence of the bitch.
This leaves men confused and unable to pigeonhole you.
What they are forced to do instead is take you seriously.


-Syrup

 
 
Posted by Zeyno
A gasp came from one of my close friends as she realised that I had closed my account on one of the most desired and used social networking sites on the planet. Her tone of voice made me realise that in her eyes, I had committed a crime.  I had gone against what seemed socially acceptable and took a step into becoming socially unaware.

But the truth was, I was tired of trying to capture the picture perfect life my followers expected of me, not only that, but also tired of streaming through endless pictures of other people's perfect world. After time, I came to the conclusion that it was all too pretentious for me, and not always as real as it set out to be. 
"Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family."
This is how Instagram chooses to explain itself. Unfortunately, for me it doesn't seem to explain the endless hashtags of thousands in "desperate need" of likes and followers, or the multiple fake accounts for almost every celebrity one can name. 

Nevertheless, it doesn't fail to become a great source of distraction for many and often manages to put a smile on its users faces through the fascinating and never ending variety of photos it offers. And that in my eyes is something to be proud of. 

However, not being a part of this massive circle by choice is nothing to be embarrassed of, and it certainly is not something that people should be looking down on one for. So taking a step away from social media is not becoming socially aware, it's simply meeting your own request.
 
 
Posted By Godelieve 
“I don’t want to be little again. But at the same time I do. I want to be me like I was then, and me as I am now, and me like I’ll be in the future. I want to be me and nothing but me. I want to be crazy as the moon, wild as the wind and still as the earth. I want to be every single thing it’s possible to be. I’m growing and I don’t know how to grow. I’m living but I haven’t started living yet..”
— David Almond
A few days ago I spent a few hours babysitting a little girl who is a family friend. Despite being fun it was surprisingly enlightening, we did everything that one would imagine to do with a little girl, we made brownies, went swimming and played hide and seek. However while hiding in the dark depths of their house I couldn't help but question the importance of our childhoods, the impact it has on us as we grow up and just how delicate we are with young children.
One of the problems is that Children of a certain age can't make their own decisions on a lot of things yet so they rely on their parents to do it for them, they look up to people and mirror them, it is as simple as that. People aren't born close minded, we as a society educate them to be, we tell them what is right and what is wrong before allowing them to form their own impression. This is why then Teenagers are labelled to be 'rebellious' because we start to understand and see things we didn't see before, and make connections, we begin to see what was hidden from as children and we begin to form our own opinions on them.

Looking back at all the things you used to watch, read and love as a little kid is also important, because these are the things that heavily influenced you and made you who you are today. For example, I as a child was avidly obsess with Roald Dahl, I imagine I read his autobiography at least 8 times but only recently did I learn that the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is based off of the Seven deadly sins. A lot of children are being exposed to certain ideas and concepts without even being able to understand so that later in life, there is the hope that we agree with them

It is still full of deception, for example, while babysitting this little girl, we let her win in all the games, while giving her the illusion that we were trying our hardest, just the same as you won the majority of the time, when you were little. This is because people don't want to hurt you as a child to avoid guilt, you take things very differently when you are younger and you aren't able to hide your feelings. One of the major downfalls of this is you only see good in people, however you can't understand what is actually going on. Despite all of this, a good childhood is a key to being able to express yourself and be happy when you are able to understand the world around you, because every tree needs strong roots to stand. 

As much as I could explain negative things that we are influenced by as children , I do believe that all of it is important and being a child is even more important. It is important to learn these lessons because they prepare you for what to come but I think one of the most important things is that you can remain a child forever, and as Madeleine L'Engle wonderfully phrases it :

'The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been' 

You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.

Germaine Greer

 
 
Posted by Zeyno

Do it yourself, this seems to be the phrase I have stumbled on in the last few months. I find myself presented with a project, which I should be able to undergo more often than not. It's great to be self-sufficient, I cannot argue with that. The sense of accomplishment, pride and joy in the final product is possibly what keeps anyone striving through small but challenging projects.

However I frequently find my self almost infuriated by the requirements of such tasks. Sometimes, having felt not only mentally ready but also actually ready with the essentials I purchased for a project, I feel frustrated when faced with the nitty gritty I had forgotten to bear in mind. I seem to find myself having to say things such as; 'No, I do not have four mending braces, or three floral wires and a bone ring'.

Of course one must not oversee the biggest advantage of DIY, it is cheaper than having someone else do it for you. Also, it is not just a way to solve problems but a nice way to occupy oneself.

Saying that I do not want to do anything myself would be simply wrong, it is the commercial side of the whole idea that I do not enjoy. If I wanted to make myself a jewelry display I would prefer to do so myself, and would not use a set of step by step instructions to make my jewelry display look exactly like someone else's. If I was going to spend some time to make something for myself from scratch, I would like it to be mine; my ideas, my mistakes, my flaws and my creativity.

Society has evolved in such a way that someone telling you to "do it yourself" no longer offends anyone. As liberal as this might seem, one cannot help but wonder if this is a change for the better. The three-letter abbreviation seems to be a newly developed solution for our daily problems: sorting out ones needs and desires without bothering anyone.

"What's so great about do-it-yourself
They say that it's fun and good for your health
They say it saves money
And helps you make friends
And is the ideal way to spend a weekend


My memory's blank
I got hit by a plank
That was balanced on some blocks
I stumbled and flailed
And got stuck on some nails
Hidden inside the shed's box


Now I'm lying in bed
Bandaged, half dead
I look a bit like a mummy
Yes you may laugh
As I have my spongebath
But I'm telling you that it isn't funny





They said do-it-yourself
So I did it myself
And do it I did and it never got done
Now because I tried to build a shed
I'm lying in a hospital bed
And I can tell you it sure wasn't fun



As if that wasn't enough
When it was finally up
The roof decided to fall off




And as for the shed
It's now down the tip
I should have built myself
A pyramid.
"
 
 
Posted by Godelieve
'She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

  • Rainbow Rowell 
The Idea of beauty is something that is often brought up in society and media and there are so many articles and pieces that I could make reference to but I find myself having to give reference to three pieces in particular. Caitlyn Siehl beautifully describes how it isn't our jobs or societies' job to judge whether we are pretty or not, we don't have to be anything that we don't wish to be, the word itself unworthy. Katie Makkai then proceeds to complete this point in a piece of spoken word poetry, when she phrases that ' The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters. You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative , pretty amazing but you will never be merely pretty' 

I feel as if modern culture is too dependant on how people look, if they fit into certain sizes or if they are 'pretty', as if this isn't bad enough we are then measured and definite by numbers, which mean next to nothing, and are given the unrealistic and unhealthy image of what we should strive towards being, instead of being told that we are beautiful the way we are.. The way that people look externally is placed to high on the list of character traits that people can  have and because of this there is an immense pressure on people to look a certain way and do certain things so that they can be considered beautiful, and this is affecting the general happiness of society itself. 

What media shows us, is less than 1% of the world are the people that are the exception. Its our decision to choose how we want to look, what we want to wear and how we display ourselves, we as women are often told that we are not graceful and beautiful if we don't shave our legs or if we are not slim .However, once people do wear exactly what they wish to then people proceed to be judged too - the only solution to this must be that we should not let the way that other people look affect anything to do with us, we should not judge or compare our selves to them, and look past the mere exterior. 

 What people have and the way people look is no reason that people should be more successful than the next person, It's a sad society where the first decision you make about someone is about how they look. We should not have to apologise for things that they cannot change: tiny flaws, scars on knees and knobbly knees. It's all of the tiny imperfections that lace people's skin are what make them unique.

People are worth more than a handful of adjectives and numbers, so we as a society need to stop defining them to be that way.

"when your little girl

asks you if she’s pretty

your heart will drop like a wineglass

on the hardwood floor

part of you will want to say

of course you are, don’t ever question it

and the other part

the part that is clawing at

you 

will want to grab her by her shoulders

look straight into the wells of

her eyes until they echo back to you

and say

you do not have to be if you don’t want to

it is not your job

both will feel right

one will feel better

she will only understand the first

when she wants to cut her hair off

or wear her brother’s clothes

you will feel the words in your

mouth like marbles

you do not have to be pretty if you don’t want to

it is not your job

It is not your Job | Caitlyn Siehl

 

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    Godelieve and Zeyno. Two students with a passion.

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