Fatal fads

No one gives much thought to keyrings. Yet they are a focus of thousands of people around the world. Why? People in China have developed an animal keyring that is being sold en mass in subways and in the street. It’s extremely popular and it’s perfectly legal.

So why am I ranting about a legal product that is trending amongst China’s teenagers? The keyrings are a disgusting fad. Animal keyrings – it doesn’t sound so bad. I mean, everyone has owned a plastic giraffe or a meerkat that squarks loudly whenever you try and open the door. The only problem with that comparison is that the keyrings in China aren’t made from plastic – they’re real animals.

Turtles, salamanders and fish are being packed into little plastic keychains subjected to prolonged suffocation. This is consumerism gone awry. Veterinarians have disputed claims that the animals can live up to a few months inside the bags filled with coloured liquids. The average lifespan for turtles in captivity is 30 – 40 years. Animals in this type of captivity may die after a few days. The trend may be legal but it’s immoral and cruel.

We’re not so different from the animals trapped inside the key-chains for we are trapped inside a bubble of consumerism and despite our efforts to breathe the depleting moral air and to avoid immersing ourselves in the hedonistic waters no-one’s realised that we’re already drowning.

Free these animals and you free yourself.

Why this month could be the start or the end of my future

Woah… so that sounds a lot more dramatic than I expected. In all fairness, that’s how the teachers made it seem.

GCSEs. Four/five pointless letters that evoke fear deep in every teenager. Stress levels should be rocketing which is why I’m worried… because they’re not. It’s not like we’re that stupid, it’s just that when we sit down and open the paper all the words look wrong and we carn’t spel or cownt.

The funny thing is that we’ve already been forced to choose our A-Levels which will dictate the course of our entire lives. We can barely spend a night alone without burning the house down – so why are they making us choose our jobs? Let’s be honest. Can we be frank with each other, person-I’ve-never-met? Here’s the deal…I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!

They gathered two hundred of us into one room and handed out green sheets of paper. We know whatya doin’! Just because the A-Level form’s been printed on green paper doesn’t mean that it’s any easier or any more fun. In fact, if you wanted to make it easy for us, then you should have given us boxes to tick because I’m pretty sure I spelt mafamitacs methimitecs mathematics wrong.

To every teenager out there… you are not alone. There are thousands of us who sat that maths exam and who had to check on our calculators that 1 plus 4 equals 6 but we got there in the end.  It doesn’t matter that we don’t understand what’s going on in the news because we can  crack out a bit of Pythag and do…something… with that. Mostly nothing they teach us is not not useful…

We’ve got this.

Freedom of Facebook

Facebook has recently come under attack for failing to enforce its own guidelines on hate speech and violent imagery. Is it a website’s job to moderate the content its users post, or should users have complete freedom? Is there a happy medium? If so, how would you structure it?

Hmmm… Facebook freedom? There are some things that shouldn’t be allowed on Facebook such as videos or images of people taking drugs or pornography.

However, there are certain videos that should be permitted like the PETA video which can be considered violent. These raise awareness of issues that need to be addressed. Videos that are promoting violence should be censored.

Whilst Freedom of Speech is important, I do not believe that hate-fuelled propaganda should be permitted, particularly on websites.

Facebook must enforce guidelines about hate speech and certain violent imagery. However, like I said, when the images or videos are attempting to stop the violence that they portray, it is not inciting violence and therefore should be allowed. This is just my opinion.

Some Facebook users may argue that young children are using the site however, it has an age restriction of 13 which is an age where a certain level of emotional maturity has been reached. The videos are not only available on Facebook, they are available on YouTube as well. If parents are concerned then I think they should monitor their children’s use of the internet full stop.

There is never a ‘happy medium’ as there will always be people who argue that not enough has been done or the site is too restricting.

Facebook is striving to maintain the level of freedom that its users have. With regards to videos, Facebook should match its guidelines to those of YouTube. Facebook should enforce a ban that encourages users to refrain from hate speech considering discrimination is against the law.

In conclusion:

1. It is difficult to monitor what can or can’t be said without breaching Freedom of Speech but when opinions clearly overstep laws, such as hate speech, bans must be put in place.

2. Videos are monitored on Facebook already. However Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks should work together to produce a set of rules that all of the networks abide by.

Shhhh… it’s taboo.

So many people, including myself, avoid topics of awkward conversation because why should we speak out when there are other people to deal with the issues? What if we make a mistake and voice a controversial view? We can make mistakes as long as we learn from them but in order to make a change, we have to make an effort.

There are so many taboo subjects but I want to talk about rape. Yup. I want to talk about it. (I am focusing on female victims however I am not devaluing or disregarding the male victim accounts.)

Rape crime punishment

Image from The Guardian website

If a person’s judgment is, in any way, impaired then they cannot consent to sex. However, the Morgan rule states that if A thought B consented to it then it cannot be considered rape.

No one deserves to be or asks to be raped. Often the case is argued that if a woman, for example, is wearing revealing clothing then she is ‘asking for it’. A woman in a bikini at the beach is just a likely to be raped as a woman wearing a burka on a bus. Many women wear bikinis at the beach, does this mean that they are all asking to be raped. No. This argument is completely void of any sense and should be disregarded.

There is no ‘wrong place’ or ‘wrong time’. Women should not have to be cautious of where they spend their time. Rape should not be justified because the victim was in the wrong place. We all have a right to freedom and fear of rape and assault takes this freedom away.

Rape infringes on more than five human rights. This may seem like very few but human rights are what defines our society and our lives and our freedom. Without them, life would not be worth living. If any one of the human rights were to be abolished our lives would change dramatically. Stop and think about what your life would be like without your right to equality or freedom from slavery or personal security. 

Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.

– The UN website.

How can we celebrate human rights when not all of us have them?

Recently, rape has featured on the news and quite frequently, may I add. It is not just the rapists that have blood on their hands, it is the also the people who refuse to address the problem now. In a year more people will have been raped so the issue must be overcome now. 

Being a Size 0

I am a size 0. Well I would be if they didn’t keep printing the 1 in front of the 0. As it is, I am a size 10 – although I maintain that I most definitely am not.

When someone asks me what size I am, I wipe my face of all expression and take a second too long to answer. I debate whether to lie or not and after establishing that I probably won’t be able to maintain my lie because my memory is awful, I stare at my shoes and mumble my size. If the person is skinnier than me then it’s awkward. If they are larger than me then it’s awkward. Either way, their reaction is ‘oh’.

When I’m in public, I am constantly checking myself in shop windows, holding my stomach in and subtly comparing myself to other girls. I know I’m not fat but I’m not the perfect size either. Which brings me to the question I would like you all to debate. When did size 10 become ‘fat’?

As a teenager, there is unnecessary pressure on being slim. I find myself asking whether I would rather eat this or have my collarbones showing and would I rather eat that or have defined hipbones.

The Daily Mail said:

Fifteen is when the ‘teenage brain’ kicks in and becomes hard-wired to seek novelty, risk, excitement and the company of peers. All teenagers at this age are relentlessly comparing themselves to members of their own sex, and finding where they are in the pecking order in terms of attracting the opposite sex.

Summing up the age of 15 perfectly, The Daily Mail deduced that at certain ages we experience a new kind of pressure. When I was 10, the only kind of pressure I experienced was to buy the new type of mechanical pencil.

The pressure is not from one source, it’s from hundreds. We succumb to conformity and when society includes size 0 models, it’s no surprise that we want to be like them. Less being more and all that…

International Women’s Day

I googled ‘International Women’s Day’ and read numerous articles until I stumbled upon the realisation that everything was so vague that I didn’t know what the event was actually for.

The first International Women’s Day Event was celebrated in 1911. That is of little relevance to us today. We are ‘honouring the work of women’ so why don’t we actually honour them.

The event I went to yesterday was, with all due respect, extremely boring.

The first problem was that there were three men in the audience and the rest were women. Put simply, there are two genders. Women know how to honour their own gender’s achievements so it seems obvious that the event was for men to honour our achievements as well. In order for them to do that, they need to be at the events.

The second problem was that the event was planned so well that they allocated times for us to breathe. There were so many women that campaigned for us to have the freedom to do what we want and yet we sat down like lemmings and allowed ourselves to be silent and whisper our praises. I was disappointed in the women who organised the event. They had 3 hours to make an impression and I left having learnt nothing.

If it were me, I would have organised the event differently:

No MPs giving lectures, please. I would have contacted as many famous people as I could so they could not only raise awareness but attract attention to the event.

There would be live music. Gospel choirs and other groups; individual performers and dancers.

It would be a celebration. I would make people laugh and no one would be bored. There would be a mixed audience with people of all ages joining in the music and meeting new people.

Overall, I would ensure people knew why we were celebrating. Not just because we are women but because of all the things we have achieved and all the things we will continue to achieve. I would get interesting and exciting people to give very short speeches about the past and plight of women, women whose work needs to be acknowledged now and whatever else they feel is relevant.

International Women’s Day is not about extreme feminism which is what many people seem to think. It is about celebrating and relishing our successes – of which there are many.

 

Where’s our humanity gone?

Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

The first thought that crossed my mind this morning was about cruelty.

Please be warned: this video contains shocking footage:

I KNOW MANY OF YOU WILL NOT HAVE TIME TO WATCH THE VIDEO. IN SHORT, THIS IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT:

THE BRUTAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS FOR THEIR FUR.

SKINNED ALIVE, THE ANIMALS ARE LEFT TO SUFFER IN PILES OF BROKEN, WRITHING, SKINLESS BODIES.

The atrocities being committed in the Chinese fur farms are overlooked with no punishment for the maltreatment brutal murder of animals.

All in the name of fashion.

Fendi did not just dip their toe in the water that is the taboo material of fur in the industry, they plunged into it and splashed about. Showcasing goat, antelope, mink, crocodile, camel and many other hides – the 2013 show displayed the remainder of half the animal population alerted the fashion empire that fur is no longer off-limits.

Karl Lagerfeld, joint designer with Silvia Venturini Fendi, unashamedly put forward what he thought was a legitimate argument: ‘fur today is different. Animals are not killed in the same way.’ Is he on Twitter? I might send him the PETA video.

Fendi’s 2013 fashion shoot featured an abundance of fur. Models wore fur fake mohawks and Lagerfeld’s creativity was applauded by the media when titles such as ‘Fun Fur’ (NY Times) headlined the newspapers.

Vogue said: ‘this is where the playfulness came in; some of the bags swung with little furry Muppet-y creatures as pendant adornments.’ The Muppets was designed to make children laugh. A terribly ironic comparison.

I have yet to find an article that frowned upon Fendi’s use of fur. Please comment below if you find one.

Fortunately, Ralph Lauren, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, J.Crew, Talbots, Wet Seal, Express, and Limited Brands are just some of the companies that have abandoned fur and reestablished their humanity.

Visit:

The PeTA website

Fur farms – PeTA