2014: The Year of the Selfie

1 Jan

This is Lilipop.

I am not going to do a review of 2013 for my New Years post, like everyone else seems to be doing, for many reasons – the first of which being I can’t actually remember what I did this year – so instead I am going to talk about a challenge I am going to take part in for the whole of this next year, 2014.

2013 was the year of many things but it was the year I discovered the selfie. Before August I didn’t have Instagram, let alone Sapchat, so the only selfies I took where the odd webcam picture with Jelly or a pic if I couldn’t decide what to wear so needed second opinions (yes, the struggle is real). In August I had the amazing opportunity to go to America for #SPARKCamp13, a 3 day camp for girls in SPARK Movement. Among the many things I got from my gorgeous SPARK sisters, the most relevant thing to this post is – after extensive manipulation they managed to bully me into getting Instagram. After a few days I caved and got Snapchat as well.

Since then selfies have become a part of everyday life. From taking a selfie with my baby sis for the landmark event of buying her first bra to sneaky Snapchats to my American SPARK sisters in my geography lessons, selfies are a part of the way I communicate and commemorate. The media, and even some feminist media (*ahem* JEZABEL *ahem*), calls girls narcissistic and says selfies are a “cry for help” but to me there is nothing more radical than celebrating with a cheeky selfies. To me a selfie says oh yeah gurrrrrrrl its my time to shine! Selfies promote self-acceptance and love, whats not to love?

In 2014 I will be participating in the #365FeministSelfie challenge, to help me continue the ongoing struggle of loving myself in this world of misogynistic advertising, be comfortable with what I perceive as flaws and to celebrate being me! I think it will also be a completely fantastic way of documenting my year. I have created this tumblr blog for the challenge www.365daysoflilipop.tumblr.com so follow if you are a selfie positive gem or just love my face (lets face it, who doesn’t). Jelly will probably be featuring a lot! If you are also participating then I would LOVE to have a chat or see your blog/insta/however you are documenting and if not then I encourage you to increase your selfie production in 2014, the year of the selfie.

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Capitol Cuties

24 Dec

This is Lilipop and recently I have been helping run ONE OF MY FAVE EVER campaigns with SPARK called Capitol Cuties. It is kind of parody of the Covergirl Capitol Collection because it is so unbelievable ironic and has zero self-awareness. You can read about it here! . There have been A LOT of criticism of the problem because there seems to have been a bit of a misunderstanding of our campaign. We are makin fun of the company Lionsgate, not the people who are wearing the Capitol Collection! Lionsgate is a massive company taking advantage of people they are aggressively advertising towards. It is the corporation making and pushing these products, twisting and suppressing the true message of The Hunger Games to make a profit. It makes me sick.

The new Catching Fire film has been the cataclysm for a lot of activism around classism/capitalism because it is all pretty much bullshit but the film really put it into the forefront of public discussion. The Harry Potter Alliance has started two campaigns, We Are The Districts and Odds In Our Favor. These are kind of the opposite to our campaign, they are framing the ordinary citizens of America as people from the Districts and the super-rich of America as the Capitol to highlight wealth inequality in America. They made this video to explain their campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BmVJaBuoEYA

In the spirit of Capitol Cuties, we decided we would re-blog their video on Tumblr but with our own “Capitol Critique” if you will of their video. I have got to say it is probably the best thing ever in the world. You can read it here.

I wrote the first draft of the critique, based on this speech by David “spoilt fucking Eton tory” Cameron about Welfare reform (not sure if a trigger warning is appropriate here but watching this video really upset me and I was crying for like and hour so here is a warning anyway: this video is really upsetting and contains unrestrained ignorance in power) here if you want to watch. I was very very proud of the draft I wrote so here it is!

 

So a few of you have already seen this video and I think we can all agree that these whiners just need to get a move on and stop complaining. I mean, if they hate being poor and this “inequality” thing then why don’t they just get rich? You just have to want it hard enough and work at it. My father didn’t get all his money just by sitting around complaining, as a Gamemaker he has to work sometimes up to 35 hours a week! You don’t get to the top without some hard work. These shirkers should just shut up and get on with it. You see all those sweet little guys working in the districts on TV, they never complain because they know that they are working for a higher cause, to bring prosperity and innovation to the great nation of Panem! Not to mention the cute kids that are on The Hunger Games (my fave show lol). Speaking of The Hunger Games, how can you say that the Capitol is so bad and shit when President Snow generously gives all these prizes and fame to the Victors, I mean come on, that is really nice of him. The Games are a necessary part of what brings us together as a country, they are an annual reminder to us all of the horrific things that would have been happening now if The Revolution had been successful. We saved the districts from the Rebels, support them through thick and thin and this is how they repay us? Truly they should be ashamed.

People say we don’t care but I really think the tough approach is best or these lazy protesters won’t ever learn. My father introduced me to Minister Flamsteed at the club and he told me about all his hard work, he started importing coal from District 12 when he was just SIXTEEN. If you want to get ahead, that’s what you have to do–build a good work ethic and start young. Really it isn’t even that much of a tough approach, look at all the charity and fair trade work that goes on nowadays. Even my mascara is ethically sourced for Godess’ sake. We have given the Districts it too good for too long and now they are getting complacent; we have papered over the cracks, subsiding the farms for too long now. The compassionate thing to do is to take a hard line approach to ensure that the people of the Districts all know the satisfaction of a full days work, then they will understand that complaining is just selfish. They should be thinking of the greater good and what they can do for Panem, not what Panem can do for them.

Hunger Games: COULD DEFFO BE BETTER

16 Dec

Hey guys, it’s Jelly here, and I wanted to talk about Catching Fire and the Hunger Games franchise.

To start with; Lilipop and I are pretty hard-core excited about The Hunger Games. Lilipop even took me out on a “date” (it wasn’t a date! we’re not going out! I’m poor and lilipop is the bestest! (why thank you)) and we discussed Catching Fire intently over Vietnamese. However, one of the problems with being a feminist (I’m lying, being a feminist is great all the time, i swear) is that it’s quite difficult to enjoy a lot of media. Being aware of social issues has made practically everything icky – and it should be icky – and so, even when you get something that seems pretty good at first glance, like the Hunger Games, you are honour-bound to pick it apart and talk about how it could be better.

So, to start with: what’s great about the Hunger Games?

Well, the entire a pretty blatant anti-capitalist missive. The bad guys are called the Capitol (hardly a huge step away from capitalism), and the story is about how life sucks if you’re not super rich. Collins tells us that the next logical progression for humans who exploit the lower classes is to have humans who battle the kids of lower classes together in a brutal humiliating game, for the pleasure of people who don’t even view these children as human. The Panem that we see in the books is America – America ruled by money and power, that is, where if you are poor there is no way to get to the top. Oh, except by killing people who used to be your friends, children like yourself, oppressed and subjugated and having to live a life they don’t particularly want or everyone they love will be destroyed. Kinda like that.

And Katniss, well, she shakes things up.

Katniss is the second thing that’s good about the Hunger Games. There are ‘strong female characters’ in the books and the movies, and Katniss is stereotypically strong – physically strong – in contrast to what feminists usually mean when they ask for ‘strong female characters’ and mean, simply, realistic women. In the first movie, she supports her family by being a physical badass in that she can shoot things. She doesn’t enjoy talking about her emotions, clothes are not her thing, being more occupied with feeding her family, and she proves herself to be brave, strong, practical, and most of all, ruthless. These are, surprisingly enough, rather rare qualities in a girl in modern media. Katniss has no time for kindness, or softness, or largely, empathy, and not being “soft” makes her sometimes irritating, but very unusual and worthy of our respect. In fact, she is rather like a man on modern media in this respect – her romantic relationships are definitely not her priority and in her main relationship she is the one who is being needed, not needing. Pretty great stuff.

What’s not great about the Hunger Games? Well, the above reasons are all good. Combined with a great plot, interesting characters and general kick-assery, its success is self explanatory. However, what I’m here today to talk about (at angry nitpicking feminists dot com!) is the stuff that really could have been done better in the books and the movies.

First! Very important! In the books, Katniss is described as olive-skinned – and here is a very compelling case for her being a woman of colour. For the auditions for her character, they only let white-skinned actresses in. This is not great. This is bad. This is called whitewashing, and it’s a form of racism, as it systematically removes traces of PoC from modern media. However much you thought Jennifer Lawrence was perfect for the role, this proves she actually really wasn’t the best choice. Whitewashing is really harmful and should stop. Also read this disgusting backlash from racist and apparently illiterate HG readers! Racism in HG is actually a big problem and this blog tries to tell everyone just how.

One fact of life in modern day America is that most of the people is power are old, rich, white men. This is true in the Catching Fire as well; President Snow, Plutarch Heavensbee, Cesar Flickerman. What I don’t like is that the new revolution is also controlled by white guys – who keep Katniss in the dark, use her as a symbol instead of considering her as a person in her own right with her own ideas and –try not to faint here- might even be able to contribute to the resistance herself. This is not great. This shows a revolution, through violence or through education, as controlled by many of the same people and processes (especially in the case of Heavensbee, the previous Gamesmaker who apparently was ruthless enough to fool even the president) as before. This isn’t true revolution, after all, the master’s tools will never dismantle the masters house. Alternatively, this could be a subtle and scathing commentary upon the rise of brocialism, (anti -capitalist movements which exclude everyone who isn’t a white, able-bodied cis man, bro) but this is seriously unlikely and instead just looks like someone managed to miss out one of the major points of HG; that a revolution should be for everyone.

Another point! Katniss, in the books, is extremely independent of her romantic interests. She even says something to the effect of ‘I could do just fine without either of them,’ referring to Gale and Peeta. Her relationship with Peeta, a physically attractive, physically stronger and richer man, is controlled by her. She save Peeta – fends for him – is the dominant one in their relationship. He falls in love with her far before she falls in love with him. This, is some small way, subvert the norm for heterosexual movie relationships (although Lilipop says that I’m being far too lenient here). IN the books, although this relationship is neither particularly typical or healthy, care has been taken to keep her separate from the men in her life. All this is different in the movies. The kick-ass message that poor, angry, women of colour can change the world has been toned down in favour of a slightly ridiculous and ridiculously prominent love triangle. Katniss needs to choose between one man and another (how will she live without these manly arms protecting and sanitizing her anger???) panning back to a shot of Gale listing ruggedly after Katniss while she heartlessly abandons him to honeymoon wither blond baker in the Capitol. Katniss, “””””independent””””” Katniss, needs Peeta to stay with her after she has a nightmare. There is nothing wrong with human comfort – it’s just not consistent with her character. Basically, Katniss becomes defined by her relationships with men (NOT AGAIN) and loses a lot of her strength. Uh huh.

OVERALL! HG is great – loads of stuff in it is great – but it could be better, in the books and especially in the movies. The representation of Katniss is not as great as it could be. I’m only truly angry because this has so much potential – as modern media to incite and enthuse kids with the feeling that they can do something – but it falls a teensy bit flat. Still 100% recommend seeing it in the cinema though.

Hey this is Lilipop, a massive thanks to Jelly for writing this on behalf of both of us. There are about 700 more issues I would like to raise but we don’t want to bore you to death! I usually don’t bother getting this angry over various media but we both loved this film so hard, after reading the books together when we were about 11, that we thought it was worth doing some critical thinking on. GO SEE THE FILM!

If I were PM for the day

4 Dec

This is Lilipop. Today the BBC Women’s Hour twitter asked for 13-18 year olds to say what they would do if they were PM for the day. Sadly I could only submit 1000 characters so I thought I would post my complete email here! This is an incomplete list and of course there are 10000000000000000000 other things I would do but here are the basics.

 

If we are talking realistically there is absolutely nothing significant I could do in a day as PM apart from restock the stationary cupboard or something because bureaucracy and the PM does not have absolute power however, here is a list of the absolute emergency things I would change is I had unfettered power in the UK.

 

  • Address the horrific amount of people forced to rely on foodbanks and charities to feed themselves and their children.

 

  •  Implement a citizens wage

 

  • Politician with private interests would not be allowed to vote on things that affected those interest for example a politician who owned a medical company would not be able to vote on certain NHS bills.

 

  • Address the soaring numbers of homeless people, specifically children, as a stable home is the base line of helping people help themselves

 

  • Increase the minimum wage by at least two pounds an hour but possibly more.

 

  • Tackle the SHAMEFUL amount of corporate tax dodging

 

  • Do proper research into education and teaching and then come up with a curriculum that is accessible to all children and most importantly approved and implemented by professionals and not on a hunch or what worked for me at school.

 

Then there is my To Nationalise list, in no particular order, that will be paid for by increasing taxes on the rich and a crack down on tax evasion but also investment and high wages that will help the economy flourish as people have more disposable income and more stable jobs:

•transport •health and dental care •energy (production and distribution) •water •libraries •legal representation •care work/carers •education (all the way up to university) •internet access •telecommunications •pensions •postal service

All of these will be done only after proper research and planning by skilled experts and professionals so that all of these can benefit the public to the fullest extent. No matter what everyone deserves a warm home, enough to eat and all the education they need to make their own way in life. Children are starving in Britain today and it is quick frankly sickening all of this hateful, dehumanising propaganda the government puts out about “benefit scroungers” and similarly vile terms to turn us against the most needy in society whilst giving themselves and their mates tax breaks and total market control.

Fat Grrrls Rule… I just wish everyone knew

18 Nov

This is Lilipop and from some of my previous posts, you may have guessed that I am really into body positivity and fat acceptance movements. I really think fat girls are amazing and the body positivity part of feminism has helped me so much. I really love most of the fat acceptance activism and awareness raising things I have seen, it is so refreshing to see differently shaped women in a “normal” frame and not being labelled disgusting, shameful and generally the worst possible thing ever. It kind of makes me realise I am quite happy being fat and the only times I am unhappy about my body is when people say nasty things about me or fatness. My body does not detract anything from my quality of life, happiness, health or even ability to do sport if I want to (I don’t). There is nothing wrong with my body, fat, cellulite, stretch marks or double chin; in fact, my body is incredible, my fat keeps me warm, my cellulite reminds me I am real, my stretch marks are a beautiful pattern on my skin and my double chin is FIERCE!

I just wished other people knew this. Although I want to love myself, accept what and who I am, but I worry all the time. What do my family think? Do my friends still love me? (Jelly speaking: YES THEY DO) Do they see me the way I see myself or do they see me how society describes me, lazy, ugly, stupid, repulsive? I don’t know and I think about it a lot. I know that random people on the street feel this way, I have seen them staring with a kind of hatred in their eyes. I like to think that anyone who is my friend would never reject me or make fun of me because of my weigh and the way I look but is that realistic?

One thing that makes it worse is I cannot see myself or positive images of myself anywhere, it is hard to think of anyone who is a positive role model in mainstream media and is fat. Scientists, actors, musicians, writers, tv presenters and even politicians it is hard to think of many fat women who are displayed positively in the media, we are all but invisible. This is all ridiculous because there are an incredible amount of inspiring, inventive, funny, outgoing, intelligent fat women in the UK and EVERYWHERE! Yet there are nowhere to be found if I open a women’s magazine or turn on the TV.

It is so hard to imagine the future me. We are taught so aggressively that fat is an evil, undesirable thing that it is expected that any aspirational future self will be thinner. We don’t see anyone happy, successful and fat in the media; when I was little I thought that I would never be able to become a scientist or a writer because everyone would be so disgusted by my fat that they would hate me on the spot. I don’t want the future me to be thin, I want the future me to be happy and to keep loving herself.

Some days I feel so disgusted with myself, for being fat, for eating anything, for taking up so much space, for having such large clothes, even for my brilliant double chin and I am absolutely terrified that I will never feel better, I will never love myself again, I will spend the rest of my life agonising about every inch of cellulite, every spoon of yogurt or centimetre on the waistband of my jeans. I don’t want to think like that again ever. I can’t help but feeling if I had more fat women to look up to and aspire to be like, I wouldn’t be so scared. Firstly because I have assurance that I will be able to succeed despite my weight as others have but also so I know that other people see my body as I see it.

I know so many fat girls that have made my life infinitely more special, they are sparkling, strong people and they are beautiful. When I am older I want to be like Kaye and Beth and Kelly and Melissa and Gloria and Megan because Fat Grrrlz Rule, I just wish everyone else knew that!

Real feminist anthems

16 Nov

As you have probably seen, as it has sort of exploded over the feminist internet, Lily Allen has made a new song. “Hard Out Here” is meant to be a feminist song but we are not too sure about that at all. You can watch it here (trigger warning for racism) At the moment this is being hailed as a “feminist anthem” and so I think its very important to have a look at what is wrong with it. A lot of what is wrong with it is very obvious just from watching for the first time, especially as it claims to be a “feminist” song, but in case you didn’t catch it all, here is our summary:

First of all is the blatant objectification and hyper-hyper sexualisation of specifically Women of Colour. This is absolutely impossible to overlook and is there for absolutely not reason! Please Lily, will you tell me how slow-mo’s of a Black woman twerking is adding to your of gender equality. Some people have tried to argue that it’s like ironic or parodying blurred lines? That is quite hard to argue whilst the woman herself has plainly stated that she was not trying to satirise the use of WoC as props. Also, as she never actually commented on the racism in the song and a real parody would have been all the WoC fully clothed, it really is not a plausible argument. There are several very slut shamy lyrics, for example “I don’t need to shake my arse for you ’cause I got a brain” *cut to WoCs shaking their arses* hmmm what you trying to say Lily? Is it that you are a racist? After watching the whole video and reading the lyrics there is a feeling that she is blaming Women of Colour in some way for the discrimination she faces, she is trying to push all the misogyny off of herself and place it on the Black women in her video.

So as you can see, maybe not the best “feminist anthem”. I am a bit confused about why people are making such a fuss about the fact that a person made a feminist song and hailing it as an anthem. Its not like there are literally hundreds of songs about feminism and gender in/equality out there already, and not all by little known feminist punk rock bands in a village in rural Canada. Like, seriously, it’s possible (wow i know) to find people who make songs that don’t make you choose between sexism and racism, or slutshaming, or homophobia, or any one of these equally disgusting things. Look, we even made a list for you to make things easier! (although these are just a few of many, and I have only chosen one song from each band/singer/etc.)

Beyonce (although she doesn’t identify as feminist, many of her songs are about how great women are) update: DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY I AM TO BE ABLE TO CHANGE THIS TO – BEYONCE IDENTIFIES AS FEMINIST WITH THE ADVENT OF HER INCREDIBLE NEW ALBUM Y’ALL BETTER FREAK OUT IT’S PRETTY AMAZING

Marina and the Diamonds 

Nina Simone (who is incredible, incredible)

Salt n Pepa (what more do you want than a feminist 90’s rap band)

M.I.A.

Little Mix (who don’t identify as feminist bc they ‘don’t hate men’ but are still cool)

Janelle Monae

Missy Elliot

Lizzo

X-Ray Spex (because Poly Styrene is a babe)

Queen Latifah

as well as many riot grrrl tunes that sound great but are played by really ickily transphobic/in other ways problematic bands and so we try not to listen to them

have fun! enjoy! rock out! remember that feminism isn’t just for able bodied conventionally attractive rich white women! xx

We are different people, if you are wondering.

11 Nov

Hi! I’m Jelly . And I’m Lilipop.

As today is the first anniversary of Jellypop and we get a lot of emails and comments from people who think we are the same person, we thought now would be a good time to tell you a bit about ourselves. At the beginning (and this really was in our baby days) Lilipop used to write in bold and me in normal. Due to my innate laziness, this plan died quietly after the 3rd or so post. Since then, we’ve been writing without names (me, sorry) and without any obvious identifiers to let you know who is actually talking. I was thinking about going over all of our old posts and doing names and the right fonts but to tell the truth I can’t really be bothered (sorry). We thought we should tell you a bit about us to prove we are not actually the same person.

I am Jelly (hi!) and I write most of the ~emotional~ side of things here at Jellypop. I really enjoy reading, and at times I am quite insecure and sad, although hopefully I am getting over that. I like drawing and baking and dancing alone in my room, and I haven’t shopped at anywhere but charity shops and bargain basements for 6 months. In the future (although I am fully aware this is a horrible question for any teenager to have to answer), I’m thinking of being a doctor or a biochemist, although in my wildest moments I dream of being in a cool girl band (although I cannot sing/play guitar/drums for shit ((Jelly is a flute playing goddess though)) and travelling the world with my cool friends. I like comfort, and in theory enjoy parties, and the way to my heart is either art galleries or late night music video channels.

And I am Lilipop. I normally try and do more informative/factual blogs because I always wanted this to be a safe learning space and I really enjoy learning about feminism from awesome blogs. I mostly do feminism but for hobbies, I go to school, am addicted to social media and do crafty making things, my favourite thing I made recently is Eugene the Uterus which is a crochet uterus with a bowtie on.  I really love my friends a lot and making internet friends is funsies but I adore going out to museums and so on with my lovely pals the most. Music-wise, I play the Viola, Bassoon and Tenor Sax. I really don’t like thinking about the future, I just try to be happy and do my best in the present. Also the future is very scary.

Basically, we are two really good friends who were ok-ish friends at the start of this blog, and now are really close. It’s pretty great. I highly recommend Lilipop as a superbuddy to moan about everything from classical music to sexist shits with, because she is the empress of the universe and you should worship her, just saying. Anyway this blog is really fun, as are you, and I’ll make sure to put my name on next time bc we are definitely different people and it’s probably important that the internet doesn’t view us as one, double-headed-two-voiced vaguely teenage amorphous entity. Bye!

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