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Posts Tagged ‘ Feminism ’

News In Brief: Gay Cows, Water Rows And One Man’s Giant Marrow

Benjy the 'gay' bull faces the burger. (image: flamencoexport.com)

Benjy the ‘gay’ bull faces the burger. (image: flamencoexport.com)

According to South Korea NIB is too drunk to do their job properly this week, because of Ireland’s “alcoholism nature” but we’ll try our best.

You must have seen this story by now, a young teacher was refused a job in South Korea on the grounds the Irish are a bunch of drunks. Sure you wouldn’t want to work over there anyway they’re a fierce dry bunch of lads.

Remember, remember Thursday’s in November. According to the Injuries Board (great bunch of lads unlike some!) it’s the fourth day of the week in November that most workplace accidents occur, more than any other time of the year. Apparently the average award for a workplace accident increased from €27,286 in 2012 to €28,886 last year. But, their study also shows men get paid more in compensation than women! Although in an act of karma, men are twice as likely to get injured, ha, probably too busy waving their mickeys about. Men, pah!

Talking of the un-fairer sex, Benjy, a Mayo bull, is facing the slaughterhouse because apparently he’s gay. Well done Ireland, round of applause. Apparently the farmer who is remaining anonymous told the Irish Daily Mail he is ‘resigned’ to the animal’s sexuality. He bought him last year having been tested; “everything was normal” until he discovered none of his cows were preggers. He thought he may have been a “discreet chappie” who didn’t want to do his thing, but then started chasing his man friends around. Poor Benjy, he’s off to make some nice burgers though, nice and pink in the middle. Continue reading

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Gaga’s Body Revolution; Resisting or Reinforcing Harmful Beauty Standards?

Lady Gaga’s weight is not exactly something I want to discuss but with all the attention it’s been getting lately or rather the type of attention it has been receiving it has become all but impossible to avoid the matter. In fact it would actually be unwise to ignore it at this stage given that as of yesterday it became a serious and indeed a feminist issue.

It was just last week, after Gaga appeared on stage looking perhaps a little larger than usual, that the press turned into a bunch of Mean Girls reminiscent of Gretchen, Cady and co from the movie of the same name. As per usual, the media took the most unflattering pictures of Lady G (there have been claims that certain pictures were actually further distorted to portray a more exaggerated version of the singers weight gain) and printed them front page alongside cruel, dangerous and highly irresponsible headlines including the following;

 “Porker Face! Has Lady Gaga Put On 2st On The ‘Drunk Diet’?” (The Sun – Who Else?)

“Lady Gaga Looks ‘Gaga-gantuan’ During Amsterdam Concert.” (NY Daily News)

“The Fat Lady Gaga Sings.” (Examiner)

Even the International Business Times felt the need to weigh in (no pun intended – really!) with their own vitriolic headline which read; “Is Lady Gaga ‘Fat’ From All Of That Marijuana Smoking In Amsterdam?”  Really you would think the IBT of all publications would have more important issues to cover. As you can see the F-word reigns supreme here people. Clearly this is no longer about simply selling newspapers. No, this is a cold hard case of bullying and fat shaming. Whenever messages such as these are publicly broadcast they become malignant. Quickly their poison spreads throughout the world affecting, in turn, each and every one of us – even if we don’t necessarily realise it at first! Making this all the more horrifying however is the fact that Gaga has openly spoken about her experience with eating disorders in the past. In February of this year the pop star was quoted saying;

“I used to throw up all the time in high school. So I’m not that confident. I wanted to be a skinny little ballerina but I was a voluptuous little Italian girl whose dad had meatballs on the table every night” She also admitted “Weight is still a struggle, every video I’m in, every magazine cover, they stretch you – they make you perfect. It’s not real life… I’m gonna say this about girls: The dieting wars have got to stop… It’s making girls sick.”

Somehow, despite all this the media still found it appropriate to hit out at the star and mere months after saying she was looking “worryingly frail” too. At one point even Elton John admitted he was worried about the singer and her tiny frame. It seems a woman can never get it right huh?

Not one to take things lying down Gaga hit back at the press yesterday by posting on her website several photographs of herself in her underwear alongside the caption “Bulimia and Anorexia Since I was 15.” And with this she launched her latest project The Body Revolution encouraging people everywhere to “make our flaws famous, and thus redefine the heinous.” Later the singer explained that she was joining the revolution to “Inspire bravery” and to “Breed some m$therf*cking COMPASSION.”

Thus far the world’s reception of this project has been overwhelming. Since the page launched fans all over the world have begun uploading pictures of themselves which display skin conditions, scars, the effects of eating disorders and disease. Accompanying them, are comments from Gaga herself such as “Emily Rose recovering from anorexia. We support your bravery and have compassion for your pain (and huh gUUrl, you don’t need to diet ur FINE AS HELL)” There is also the following “My assistant and best friend Sonja. Stage 2 breast cancer. Just had double partial mastectomy from DD to C. Yesterday was first day of radiation. Looking good b*tch. She is so brave. Her boobs look even better.” Following suit fans are posting similar comments telling one another just how amazing and gorgeous they all look.

Naturally, as with any move Gaga makes, there are the lovers and the loathers. While the majority are celebrating the stars Revolution applauding her for using her influence and celebrity for good and for simply making this conversation happen others remain less than convinced. Anything that encourages body diversity is a good thing, obviously, but some are worried Gaga’s Revolution is inadvertently reinforcing rather than resisting harmful and outdated beauty standards. Although confidant that the singers compassion for her friends and fans is genuine critics are questioning why the singer couldn’t just leave her supportive comments at “She’s so brave” and skip the whole “her boobs look even better part”  I hate to say it but it’s not all that hard to see where these people are coming from. After all, who cares if her boobs look great, the woman is a cancer survivor, isn’t that what’s important? And what if they didn’t actually look any better? And when it comes to Emily Rose if she wasn’t “FINE AS HELL” would she need to diet until she were? Yes, everyone wants to feel pretty, that’s just the nature of the human condition but why, critics are asking, can we not work to shift the conversation away from appearances once and for all?

Certainly, Gaga’s sharing of her story has already inspired many people and will, I’m sure, continue to do so. Only launched yesterday there remains a lot of room for Gaga to do a whole lot of good and truly that is excellent but while we are having these conversations about the resisting of increasingly narrow beauty standards and the temptation to judge others based on their appearance, shape, size or any other purely physical attribute would we not do better to avoid the topic of “looks” entirely? Telling people they are worth more than the sum of their looks while simultaneously ramming down their throats that they are “gorgeous,” “hot,” and “damn fine” kind of defeats the purpose now doesn’t it? Then again, if one influential pop star and her millions of fans can do anything to turn the tide, inspire compassion and actually make the fat-shamers feel the shame for once then more power to them…!

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