Monday, January 13, 2014

Since Taipei

In the months since my return from Taiwan, I've been wearing the yellow Obey hat regularly. It was only in December that I decided to look up the brand and research their philosophy. To quote from their website, Obey is about 'biting sarcasm, verging on reverse psychology'. I tend to stay away from sarcasm because it's based on repetition, and tends to reinforce the very thing that it sets out to undermine, and Obey is really no different, except this message is powerful and often goes unsaid, so I decided that I would become one of the people doing it justice. I needed a new hat anyway, and I'm glad I have one that makes people think.

Anyhow, I've learned that being open and warm is the best way to meet new people. The hat has had the function of opening me up, because I seek genuine connection, and don't want to shut people down via the use of negative slogans. So I let my face bely the word above it.

This evening I was walking around in my neighbourhood singing Lady Gaga's Paparazzi, a sign of growing relaxation within myself, since I hadn't felt comfortable to sing in public for a while. Being made vulnerable by being exposed to the public mental health system, I somehow listened more than I intended to the words of my mother, who claims that singing in public is 'not quite alright'... and now I'm finally dispensing with this fraudulent consciousness that crept up on me. A guy I didn't know even said 'Hey, pretty girl', so I must be doing something right.

I used to enjoy it when people gave me compliments on my looks, but now I find it almost always problematic. Women are conditioned to care about their appearance rather a lot, and people (both women and men) are always commenting on it. Women cheer each other up by saying 'you look nice today' or something of the sort. We are overly looks conscious. I prefer to be complimented on my sparkling intelligence.

Postmodernism & Gay rights

For as long as I can remember, I've loved a postmodern way of doing things. Being aware that any text has a specific context and none can carry an objective truth, I've learned to indulge some people their absolutist fantasies some of the time. But most of the time I can't be bothered. It's for this reason that I'm reluctant to engage in conversations of wide-ranging patterns; my point of view is considered obsolete at best, and emotionally corrosive at worst. I've grown content to gather steam at my own pace in my own blog, and leave the generalising to others. Reality seems a messy tangle of contradicting rambles, somehow managing to co-exist within the same vicinity as long as they don't rub up against each other directly. It's the insistence on the real, on reality, on the realness of things, that gets me.

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Why are some countries (UK, New Zealand) welcoming same-sex marriage, and some (Uganda, Russia) are criminalising GLBTs? I believe that the latter is a backlash to the former. It was easier to ignore the growing power of GLBTs in (mainly) developed countries when they didn't have equal marriage rights, but this final legal barrier has made us more visible, and so the countries whose citizens are still stuck in homophobic mindsets have finally decided to react against these new laws. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

On being constantly held back

One evening, not so long ago, I passed a girl I had gone to high school with in the street. She was in conversation with another girl and couldn't dedicate much time to reading me as a series of symbols and signs, however I could tell her subconscious was chewing upon my 'Feminist' shirt. I could tell she had many unresolved questions about what feminism could mean for her. She had been willing to assume new levels of authority and responsibility but she had been denied her chance to rise - this much I could tell in the dim lighting. I said Hello, and she said "I thought you looked familiar" but she had passed by already, before we had a chance to establish a dialogue on anything related to feminism. She reminded me of my own struggles with the system - constantly trying to push forward, create a new space of dignity and respect for myself, and being constantly knocked back. We had a moment of mutual empathy. And then the night swallowed her up.

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My favourite film of 2013 was Philomena. It stayed with me for days afterwards due to its magnificently drawn characters.

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I figured it out: When I was in those Bulgarian taxis I was accustomed to equating a certain level of misogyny with a rapacious attitude, which led me to believe that I was in danger although I most likely wasn't. I was overwhelmed by the degree of hatred those men evinced, and catastrophised. 

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Men's Rights Activists demonstrate that they have no empathy for the feminist struggle for equality at all. They are too selfishly obsessed with their own sense of disempowerment, which they attribute to the growing power of women. I've spent too much time trying to puzzle out the value of their arguments - value that isn't there. I would do best to focus on my own staunchly feminist narratives.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Snippets

When I went to Melbourne, I looked at the world with fresh eyes. I was particularly interested in how women held themselves on the street as I passed them, and here's what I noticed: All of them had their gaze averted downwards, as if apologising for their very existence on the city pavements. Was this how Sydney women acted too, and I was just too accustomed to it to notice it happening in my hometown? It must be so, I reluctantly concluded, as the women kept their heads low, frustratingly avoiding eye contact of the sort which could prove to be an empowering moment shared between two individuals belonging to minority-status groups.

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You make poetry impossible
It slips through my fingers when I hear your voice
Whereas before I tried to trace
The symphony muddled up in the noise