Archive for violence

Television…what a great invention!

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by prekosifa

I was having a pretty enjoyable Bank holiday today. I  had my son for the weekend, which meant Playstation, play fighting and lots of snacks and it was my mum’s birthday so that meant chocolate cake, fizzy drinks and checking out her latest electronic gadgets, (bit of a techno geek my dear old mum!); and I was looking forward to an evening of quality television, courtesy of whichever channel could produce the goods. I have always enjoyed Bank Holiday programming, a bit of the old with a bit of the new, and films I would never dream of seeing at the cinema, suddenly became something to look forward to seeing with a barrel of popcorn and some fizzy pop!

So, after watching Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen Two, yes they did make another one! I cooked and ate some dinner and then sat down to watch Eastenders, a guilty pleasure of mine. (For you guys overseas think of it like any regular American soap opera minus the model like men, uber beautiful women and fantastical storylines!). .But it was the programme that came on afterwards that really caught my attention. ‘Joanna Lumley tracing the Nile’, was exactly what it said on the tin, Joanna Lumley, that amazing sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and noughties TV actress, famous for her roles in the Avengers, (tight catsuit), and Absolutely Fabulous (boozy floozy!), travelling the length of the Nile, and giving her opinions, thoughts and observations along the way. It was beautifully filmed, wonderful to watch and a real learning experience for many out there who have never travelled to the ‘Dark Continent’, and I use that term, as full of as much sarcasm as I can muster on this one dimensional computer generated page. You see there was no difference between this show and the historical accounts of the rich, ignorant white male explorers of the 18th century.

As I watched I heard of places named after the white people who had found them. Lake Victoria, Lake Albert, lots of other European names in a place that, last time I looked, was still in Africa! I often wondered what the local people of these regions thought about that. Should I not be offended that my family’s continent of origin is ridiculed in such a way? Whatever happened to respect? At one point, the lovely and oh so very British Ms Lumley, was in Uganda and blamed the mass poaching of the wild animals on Idi Amin, who apparently made it hunting season all the time when he was in power, (no question though of the thousands of white poachers who capitalised at the same time).

Highly Dubious or Heavily Distorted?

Look, I am not saying that there is a racial bias here, I am SHOUTING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! Fair enough, I understand where I am located, but is it too much to ask for just a little bit of balance. Yes Africa is the land of wild animals, exotic rivers and people dress like something out of a Tarzan film, but there are also thousands of cities and towns that are as modern as any place in the UK or the US. I get angry because children like my son, will see this kind of programme, and automatically will form an opinion in his malleable mind, as will his schoolfriends. Children can be heartless little fuckas at the best of times and many of them in this country are given the ammunition to be just that froma  bvery young age. Kids believe what they see on the television as do most Sun, Daily Star and Daily Mail reading adults! Do we really think that portraying certain countries in specific lights has no effect ar all on anybody? Yes I am bitching right about now, but this is serious!

Another programme I saw last week was about Nigeria, the country where my father is from. What we got, again from the BBC I guess still doing its bit for ‘Britannia’, was an image of a country full of thieves, poverty and slums. Now I am not saying that these people did not have a valid reason to be in front of the camera, I just think, in fact, I know that there is a hell of a lot more to that country than was depicted on my 32 inch high definition screen. Lagos is a city; people live in houses and apartments, go to night clubs, museums and even take afternoon tea! I am all for an image of any country as long as it is balanced, and when it comes to places in Africa especially, I am calling for fairness across all media. Tell it like it really is and balance the fuckin picture for once because I am sick and tired of seeing and paying for this shit, and then having to explain to my son that things are not really like that.

Phew! Okay rant over for now. I think maybe it was due to a combination of seeing Avatar…again, Pocahontas 2 and Atlantis The Lost City in quick succession. Three Disney films that, I might add, had exactly the same plot and premise. Finally I know Disney’s secret, tell the same old story again and again by simply changing the main characters. Hmmm! now that sounds like a familiar tactic, I wonder where I have come across it before…

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Gilrs will be girls…won’t they?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by prekosifa

Last Sunday, I decided to take advantage of the first signs of summer and take a trip to the park with my son and his friend. The park was packed full of like minded souls taking advantage of the hot sun and my young charges were happily playing on the swings and throwing stones at each other when a commotion on the far side of the children’s area grabbed our attention.

A group of youths were the cause of the uproar and in the centre two teenage lads were trading blows like they were on Saturday Fight Night!, at least, I thought it was 2 boys. Upon closer inspection I realised that one of the ‘boys’ was in fact a girl, but she was giving it all she got. The fight was split up by one of her friends and she took the opportunity to spit in the face of her male aggressor, before being urged to go in the other direction. The excitement over, everybody got back to what they were doing and pretty soon all was forgotten.

Had I just witnessed the new face of feminity?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind of person that believes that women belong in the kitchen, or indeed that there is a particular way in which men and women should act, but what I have noticed lately is a shift in the way that some females behave. Girls now are following in the footsteps of their male classroom counterparts when it comes to violence and straightforwardness. The rise of the ‘pornification’ of women in the media, has been matched by the rise of the laddette. The beer swilling, foul mouthed females who lurk until closing time in bars and clubs around the City, always ready to down a pint or two as quickly as possible and too eager to lay you out flat on your back if you say the wrong thing or stare for too long in their direction.

Just what is going on?

But maybe I am being unfair. Am I basing my opinion on what a woman should act like on an age old stereotype put in place by men way before my time? Am I indeed sexist in my approach and beliefs that it is normal for a woman to act demure and ‘princessly’, not being expected to paint a fence or change the wheel of a car, but will always look better in an apron or dressed to the nines in clothes created more for the male gaze than for any type of physical practicality? I admit that I came up in this male dominated world therefore hold some male dominated views and yet there still seemed something wrong with seeing a girl trade blows against a boy. In my opinion the boy should have known better, if that had been my son hitting a girl, I would have been more than disappointed. (But then again, if a girl was acting like a boy and started a fight against my son, I can’t say wholeheartedly that I would be angry with him if he gave her a bitch-slap!) .

You see to me if you act in a certain way, then you can’t really blame anyone for treating you in a certain way. It may just be that this rise in more masculine femininity has come on the back of a more feminine masculinity. Men are spending more and more on cosmetics and stuff to make you look and smell pretty than anytime before in history. Now, its certainly not the first time that men have dared to care for their appearance but the last time it wasn’t met by an equal shift by women in the opposite direction. In the past, when women were held further down than they are today, men were allowed to play whatever roles they wanted to, often donning ridiculous wigs, and horrific makeup, and looking like 17th century pimps! Today things seem to be changing but unfortunately the good is mixed with the not so good, encompassing behaviour like I witnessed in the park.

Logically thinking I suppose what we should see is a middle line where men and women act more or less the same, where women can stand on equal terms with a man, receiving an equal amount of acknowledgement. Maybe that is the effect of a changing world, maybe this is what this world needs to redress the huge imbalance that has occurred since time immemorial and so perhaps, maybe we are just going to have to get used to it. Now, I don’t think that we will see a blanket transformation of harder female types appearing on the horizon like zombies out of a Dario Argento film, it will be more a gradual thing taken up only by those who are eager to do so.

And so, as long as there are women out there happy to play the ‘stereotype’ that I have come to know and love, everything, in my world at least, will be copasetic!