The hypocrisy of Lily Allen’s Feminism

Not so lighthearted: Lily Allen in the video for Hard Out Here.

A few weeks back, the Andrew Marr show linked up to Lily’s set at Latitude festival but managed to fit in a quick interview before she played. The last question Marr fired at her was; “Now, Lily, you’ve famously had a real go at female pop-stars exploiting their bodies with twerking and all of that, and now I read you are going on tour with Miley Cyrus – Queen of the Twerk – what is going on?”

What is going on? Following Lily on Instagram, where she somewhat announced her plans of joining Miley on the infamous Bangerz tour, even I was a bit WTF?  My ears definitely perked up when Andrew asked that question.

And her reply? “Well, I’m not actually working with Miley Cyrus I’m going on tour with her across America and I think I’m doing about 7 dates, over 12 days? So, that’s what that’s about. She is very good at twerking, I’m not so good, but I’ve given it my best shot and failed miserably [laughs].”

Poor answer, you could’ve have done better than that Lily.. Why am I so bothered? Well, we all know Lily and her story, we’re all fans of her music, her distinctly British sound and sarcasm and a few years ago when she declared her retirement many of us were left disappointed.

Walking down the aisle and two babies later, she made a bit of a comeback – her first single? ‘Hard Out Here’, an apparent ‘feminist’ anthem aiming the spotlight on the pressures forced upon women in the media/music/film industry, with lyrics aiming to sting, like;

Don’t need to shake my ass for you ’cause I’ve got a brain

and

If you’re not a size six, then you’re not good looking
Well, you better be rich, or be real good at cooking
You should probably lose some weight ’cause we can’t see your bones
You should probably fix your face or you’ll end up on your own

It doesn’t take your regular Quantum Physicist to notice the over-sexualisation and got-to-be-thin ethos of women today, especially in a profession where Lily has firmly stamped her mark on, but I can forgive her for being not all that original with her comeback song, because after all, she could just be the perfect lady to prove the ridiculousness of it.

In an interview with the guardian before the release of her Sheezus album, she explained; “I’d like to think that my children’s generation won’t feel like this. Like I do. I want them to realise that not everyone can be fucking ‘hot’. Rather than attractiveness being the end prize, it should be as rewarding to be clever or funny, or, you know, have your, your ‘thing’.

To some critics Lily has taken the predictable popstar-turned-mum route, but reflecting on other singers such as Beyoncé, whom I love as much as the next girl, after having a baby girl she reversed full speed in the opposite direction with her songs and videos glaringly more sexual, surely leaving any pre-adolescent female confused on what attractiveness is and what it means. (Clue: doesn’t mean getting naked.)

Whereas Lily seemed to push things forward in this particular single, for instance; she’s not super thin in the ‘Hard Out Here’ video, but she doesn’t care (why should she?), she doesn’t reveal much of her body in it either or stand around in revealing lingerie, groping her body, bending over and this is exactly my point – she writes her own songs and is extremely talented, shes doesn’t (usually) fall back on “sex sells” and that’s what I love most about her and her sharp witticism that no other male or female single holds or has the guts hold and be open with it like she does, all whilst delivering it in her signature accent.

My problem with seeing Lily as bit of a hypocrite is when it’s clear she buckles under the same pressures she slags off to conform to them. For example, her point of having to be thin when she’s clearly slimmed down, which may sound a low dig from me but it’s not intended that way.  I know this was probably her own choice, yet I feel not giving a shit whether you’re a size 6 or size 16 and making it work – making it ‘your thing’ – would be more effective when promoting that message.

Touring with Miley was the biggest hypercriticism for me, if that hasn’t been obvious in the start of my post. Miley, despite already maintaining a good-earning level of fame from a famous father, a Disney show and even a few albums under her belt, decided that wasn’t enough and wanted that super stardom and knowing there was one way to get it, which was to get controversial and basically get naked – go figure, so she went for it. (BIG QUESTION MARK around exploiting your body Miley, something Lily doesn’t agree with.)

mc11

Of course, this isn’t entirely Miley’s fault – it’s the way the industry works and perhaps it shouldn’t be like, like what Lily  originally complained about in Hard Out Here and other various interviews, but when I saw Lily onstage with Miley, arguably an artist who embodies all that is wrong with that sexist industry, and is showering her in copious dollar bills whilst she bends over and twerks into oblivion – that’s when I questioned Lily’s rants of inequality and feminism.  Was all of this just a bit contrived, or was she just taking the piss?

Does Lily’s feminism believe she doesn’t need to shake her ass because she’s ‘got a brain‘, or being a woman is flipping inequality on it side, if your body can get you where you want to be then fuck it, use it to your advantage…?

All of which becomes murkier still with my next point, although I’m a bit uncomfortable making it, but has some of this feminist/inequality confusion leaked into some of Lily’s songs? Before now her quirky hits stood strong and unscathed, because ultimately the recognition Lily has received (and still gets now) hasn’t solely came from her being an attractive female (she writes damn good music too.) However, when I heard ‘As Long As I Got You’ and more precisely the lyrics:

I had that awful feeling, that I needed help
My life had lost this feeling, but you saved me from myself

Clearly a lovely song dedicated to her husband that openly admits she is dependent on her husband to keep her in control, but hold on when was Lily ever truly out of control? She’s talked about her partying ways and admitted to drug-use, but let’s be realistic – who at that age hasn’t delved into some hedonistic ways?  Or, more importantly, who at that age managed to have a ‘good time’ but still managed to carve a well-respected music career for themselves?  (Not many.)

I’m not saying feminists can’t fall in love and refuse to have children, if anything women should have the right to feel the full spectrum of being a woman and all the roles that it brings like being a wife, going through pregnancy, birth and being a mother.  I’m happy for Lily, for her relationship with her husband and creating a family, she’s worked hard but it’s almost disappointing to throw all of this down, all of her own efforts, to a person other than herself (because it was all down to her, only her, to how far she has come.)

Falling to pressures you’ve set up to burn is like extinguishing your own fire – for someone like Lily, who made it here through talent alone and not through her latest raunchy music video, and who we all adore, despite her weight having its ups and downs because a tiny waist wasn’t what drew us to her in the first place – by sticking to your guns Lily, you won’t miss your target.

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Macedonia brings in chemical castration penalty for convicted paedophiles…

Macedonia

Image nicked from http://www.lonelyplanet.com

Picturesque Macedonia has been the first country I’ve heard of to bring in the penalty of castration for convicted peadophiles.

What a sentence to open a post with and yes you did read that right, read that again if you like, because that’s what I damn well did when I saw this in the Guardian yesterday.

So what happens if you’re a paedophile just been convicted in Macedonia?  Well, if this is your first conviction you don’t lose your nuts just yet, you’ll receive a jail sentence which could be up to life imprisonment.  Second time convicted?  Say goodbye to Mr Jingles.  Your bits will be chemically castrated and never to be seen again.

There is also another option for the first time convicted paedophile, they can voluntarily opt for the downstairs removal and be done with it, in order to reduce prison time because after release they are likely to commit again, which is why the child protection group Megjasi, who were the people campaigning for this penalty, says the law is still too lenient.

There’s the facts; now for the theory.  I am very open for comments expression opinions on this or explaining any of the science behind it.

Question number one: What is chemical castration?  Well actually, chemical castration isn’t as horrifying as it sounds.  Unlike castration as we all well know and maybe fear, you don’t actually lose your genitals, it’s actually medication administered to you which aims to reduce your libido and sexual activity.  Sorry for the physical images above, I thought it would add a cheery and comic seasoning to the serious core of this post.

Question number two:  Does it work on both men and women?  I guess so, I can only find cases relating to men though…

Question number three:  Is is reversible? Does it work?  Apparently according to trustworthy Wikipedia, if you discontinue treatment, which is injections every 3 months, then it can be reversible.  Oh dear, best make sure you get the job done properly then!  I can’t find much to see if this actually 100% works but I can see it causes other problems, which is the next question…

Question number four:  Are there any side effects?  Life threatening side effects can happen, but are rare.  Some users have had an increase of long-term risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease), osteoporosis (bone stuff going wrong,) Gynecomastia (glands in males becoming larger), reduced body hair and loss of muscle mass.

Question number five:  Is this a recent thing?  No, actually, Alan Turing, the famous British computer scientist, chose to be chemically castrated to avoid imprisonment in 1952 for homosexuality, which at the time was illegal, the homosexuality that is, not the chemical castration.

Question number six:  Is this a just punishment?  Is this right or wrong?  I can’t make my mind up on this one.  Relating this back to the age old favourite question of are you in favor of the death penalty, which I am not, I believe governments shouldn’t cause harm to their prisoners physically, in being killed and in the sense of beatings, hangings, tortures etc.  This is because I don’t feel prisoners should have an easy escape out of this life for the crime they’ve committed and also because the law states not to kill and this should be withheld in all society, so why should an executioner be above the law?  The other physical harm here could also be the side effects the medication can produce.

Saying that of course paedophiles do deserve suffering, please don’t get me wrong.  But is taking away their sex drive and the feeling of any arousal suffering?  When if treatment is completed, they wouldn’t feel the suffering of this loss because those feelings would not be there anyway?  Or would they?  Would cutting the burden of their own desires be a way of curing them, or a way of escape for them to live their life out in the world again with everyone else?

Opinions please…


Kanye West – Bound 2

Err…  now I’m not going to lie; I am a fan of Kanye’s music.  In fact, I agree he has done a great deal for popular music since he’s came on the scene.  And in some way, I do think he’s a genius.

But, after watching this all I can say is… erm…?

So pulling in his wife/mother of his child into the video doesn’t just tug on the cheese factor, but having her practically topless, bobbing up and down on a motorbike in front of him, whilst spraying lyrics likes “I wanna fuck you hard on the sink” and “step back, can’t get spunk on the mink” feels a bit too personal.  Does it not?  Or just a tad bit “look how much we’re SO in LOVE with EACH OTHER!!“, whilst screaming the opposite.

It never works.  Look how much the world cringed when David and Victoria Beckham released those god awful pictures of them both; her looking as through she is orgasming by sprawling out on a car bonnet, and him, not even looking down at his spasming wife, just looking like a cold and boring stone statue instead.  Yeurgh!

wtf

 

I’m sorry Kanye.  Like I said, I love his music, although this song is a hard stretch to actually like, with it’s weird “uh huh honey” interruptions and lyrics, which instead of flowing into each other trickles painfully and slowly, brings me to ask, is Kim is Kanye’s Yoko Ono to John Lennon.

Hmm… (just saying.)  Your thoughts and comments please?

 

(Side note: another hilarious article from The Guardian’s Lost in Showbiz about the above, read if you fancy a giggle:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2013/nov/21/bound-2-kanye-west-kim-kardashian-music-video-love)


The number 20 and me.

Date written 14.07.2013  Place:  Somewhere in Mongolia  Time: 14:50

The number twenty has always followed me throughout my life; not only am I born on the twentieth day of January, I have lived in numerous residences with twenty as their number (or within the number, for example: flat 205) or calculation in the post code.

I started going out with my first boyfriend on 20th May, which was the same date I handed in my notice this year to leave work and start traveling.

20130907-152820.jpg

My Grandad died on 20th January this year, my birthday and now I find myself on the Trans-Mongolian express in a 4-berth cabin with bed number 20.  Although I was located bed number 19; after a few “baltika” beers and shots of vodka the other night I dreamt I had fallen asleep on bed 20.

I woke up believing I had fallen asleep here, feeling a strong line connecting its bed to mine, before the realisation elevated me back up to bed 19.

When I arrived in Beijing a few days later it was the number 20 bus I had to catch to get to my hostel.

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Famous Songs about Cars…

To start it off….

…there’s bands who sing songs about cars, and name their band after cars,

and there’s bands who sing car noises in their songs,

bands who just don’t care where, just drive,

bands who are just honest about it,

bands who have fond memories in their car,

actually Meatloaf sings about cars kinda a lot…

Then there’s the plain stupid,

and partially related,

and to finish it off!

Yeah Baby.

How many songs can you think of which involves cars?