Learning Gender Roles Via The BBC


The BBC have recently been accused of sexism with their remake of children’s classic Topsy and Tim.

It was claimed by parents that the BBC misinterpreted the original children stories, and chose instead to reinforce traditional gender stereotypes, which were being aimed at very young children. The charecter Tospy is a little girl who is seen baking princess cakes with her Mum, while her Brother Tim is informed baking is not for him. As a boy he can play outside on his bike or help his Dad with “mans work”.

I wondered, as I have on many occasions before, how do we learn our ‘gender roles’? Is it nature or nurture, and how can we be sure?

Thinking of my own childhood, I recall never being compelled by my parents to be particularly ‘girlie’, and naturally I wasn’t this way either. I was always encouraged to just be me, and perhaps by being a headstrong child who knew what I liked, pressures to be ‘girlie’ (if they existed), never affected me. I therefore feel surprised that in the 21st century children are still being encouraged to mimic, and reflect, what their own parents deem to be acceptable gender specific stereotypes. It just seems almost self defeating and rather odd.

Why would any parent force their child to be anything, and ruin their own child’s ability to blossom and develop naturally, free of preconceived ideals laid down throughout the eons?!

What is so terrible about girls playing with cars and bikes, and boys playing with kitchens and dolls? Surely having diverse skills and interests make for more rounded and capable future adults?

I know if I had children, I would indeed encourage them to be them; who else can they be after all!

Don’t get me wrong, their is nothing wrong with traditional gender roles, if those people performing those roles are happy enough to do so. Yet, there is nothing wrong with mixing it up either!

Living in Madrid I see many more examples of the conventional family unit than I do in the UK. The wife cooks, cleans, takes care of the house and kids, while the man works, is head of the household, applies the discipline and often the education of the kids. This is almost expected and seen as the social norm.

Now my household has never been quite like this, to the surprise of the people I meet in Spain. People are shocked that I am interested in politics, and also that my degree, career and writing all have a political grounding. I have actually been told how unusual it is for a girl! Obviously they haven’t heard of Emily Pankhurst, Simone de Beauvoir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher, Naomi Wolf and Hilary Clinton; what about Eva PerĂłn?

For me, applying any expectations upon a person, especially at a young and impressionable age, just becomes a simple case of the self fulfilling prophecy. You get what you expect. Women and men then become merely caricatures of their gender, nothing more than that! How can we then argue they are naturally as they should be?

Have women actually been able or allowed to genuinely break through that “glass ceiling”? Not if the 21st centuries depiction of gender is the reference point; a woman’s place is still at home, while the man still belongs to the world. This has to be true, the BBC even think so!

To be serious, in recent years it has been a giant step backwards for men and women alike. Adverts, marketing, media and society in general have peddled the over sexualisation of the younger generation. This has drip fed a generation with gender specific notions of beauty, relationships, sex and availability, youth, frivolousness, self obsession, celebrity culture, diets, gossip, fashion and materialism.

So, maybe reverting to the stereotypical gender roles is only the natural step forward from this re-education?

For me I feel it is difficult to distinguish, and therefore state concretely, how much of nature actually plays a part in a child’s socialisation, self perception and development. Especially with all the dross floating around their environment.

Think about how difficult it is for us as adults to really separate ourselves, and our choices from all the expectations applied upon us, what we have seen, learnt, experienced and absorbed into our psyche?

If it is so difficult for us as adults, the question then remains; how can a child?

Nature v’s nurture, for me there is no real contest to contest!

Advertisements

Breaking Bad Becomes Child’s Play


Breaking Bad 'Lego' set :)

Breaking Bad ‘Lego’ set 🙂

What do thinking of these ‘Bricking Bad’ toys?

These ‘toys’ have been modelled upon the Breaking Bad series. Yes, the Crystal Meth lab, and all the characters of the series included; in fact, every last detail has been faithfully recreated in miniature LEGO format!

Crazy fun ‘eh?!

‘Bricking Bad’ was being marketed to the ‘LEGO’ company, but strangely they refused to see the the funny side of it all.

LEGO therefore turned down the opportunity, of what would no doubt have been lucrative sales, deeming association with such a ‘rip-off’ product as akin to sleeping with the devil.

The tweeters were twittering with indignation over the inappropriate nature of it all too (no doubt what eventually swayed LEGO’s final decision). All the social networking tribes set to work to shun ‘Bricking Bad’, before it could filter through to corrupt the young people of today!

I think this is totally off the mark, I mean what six year old’s toy box would be complete without such a unique item? How to cook Meth, isn’t it what every parent hopes their child will learn, and then recreate in their teen years! Don’t ridicule, it could be a good option in such an economic climate!

For me, I see this as an adult/collectors item, obviously! It was never likely to be marketed as anything more than a novelty item for a model shop, rather than a toy shop.

Yet, to be serious, with all the uproar this product has received you’d think the young of today led sheltered lives, instead of being the informed and savvy socialistas they really are.

Good God, they learn about sex from the ages of five now, so, Crystal Meth is far from off limits for topics of convo, surely!!!

Anyway, I’d have bought a ‘Bricking Bad’ set, I can definitely see the cheeky side of it! Can you?

Confident? Who Can Tell?


I don’t want to dig at anyone else. I don’t want to say; ‘hey you are wrong’! Yet, I have to state, just for my won record, that I don’t necessarily agree on any one definition of confidence, or in fact how to spot confidence.

Until I know a person I refrain from making a sweeping judgement on them and their life history. Perhaps, because I spent my life being judged by others!!! I also don’t agree that by being confident it can make you a beautiful person, because confidence alone doesn’t make a person anything.

I also question whether any one person is 100% confident? I doubt they are, and doubt they are confident 100% of the time. Also, how often is confidence mistook for being arrogant, cocky, foolish, dismissive, spiteful, brash and so on and so on?

I too used to think, because I was actually told by people who said they were under confident; the reasons these people always bragged about themselves and their life, bullied others, acted up or had to be the comedian, talked too much and too loudly, was because they felt under confident. Perhaps this is true for some people, but not for everyone.

Now, I have never been 100% confident in me – NEVER! Yet, I am good at masking this, moving on, challenging myself and pushing myself to ensure I don’t hide away. I can appear confident no doubt, but not by bragging, talking too loudly or rambling on and on about me in conversation. Just by how I interact, what I am willing to do, even good eye contact and positive body language.

In fact, I learnt to not brag myself up or what I had or did from a young age. Bragging was believed to be crass, and discussing your personal life and wealth was too. Also hogging the conversation, talking too loudly about nonsense or personal matters, and acting like a complete fool to gain attention – all were deemed crass and a BIG no, no!

I was brought up to be modest, not to ‘blow my own horn’, to listen and then speak, to be mannerly and adhere to social etiquettes. In short, I was taught to not act as though I were too important, not to place myself above other people. Whether I was richer, more intelligent, more talented, artistic, or whatever; I had to just keep quiet about it all, and allow others to impart to me their life stories.

Being forced to be modest all of the time, and this sort of ‘social conditioning’, along with other issues, has actually contributed over the years to my own battle with under confidence. Another reason, one of THE most profound reasons for feeling bad about me in general, stems from being severely bullied from a young age up until I left school. This was actually because of who I was, and what others perceived of me. I know because some of these bullies actually admitted this to me at one point. They bullied me because they saw me as threat. I wouldn’t be like them, I didn’t want to be their friends, I refused to bow to what they wanted or act as though I wasn’t an individual with my own brain.

Yet, some people think that ALL bullies have confidence issues, well, my bullies may have had those issues, yet I do too and have NEVER bullied another.

So is it wrong to display a ‘false confidence’? Is it wrong to brag about you, to talk loudly, to perhaps not listen intently, to be the comedian (or whatever else)? Well consider this, how can anyone get anywhere unless they are willing to at least brag a little about themselves and their qualities? How do we become an employee, a student, a boss, an entrepreneur, how do we get a bank loan or find a partner? We display ourselves in the best possible light, and we talk about what we can offer, and often languish in a little self importance.

People may be or not be confident, BUT people being people WILL display this under confidence in many varying ways. There isn’t one type of anything. Confidence, like the weather, changes depending on what, who, where and how.

In my opinion any-way!!!

Related articles: from lifeonwry.com at WordPress
Can You Spot A Truly Confident Person?

Unpicking You


How can you, unpick you – that is your fundamentals, what has made you you for so long?

I always think of myself as sentimental layers of life experiences built up over years, and compacted together to form layers which represent my whole being, a person; for the moment, a ‘final product’.

If there is something amiss, somewhere deep down in all that sediment layering then how can that be sifted through? How do we locate successfully that one ‘bad seed’ upsetting the equilibrium of our being, creating disharmony?

There are certain things which effect me and impact on my life; these I feel are embedded reactions to something long gone or long ago learnt. These embedded ‘flaws’ or ‘bad’ reactions, ‘faulty’ coping mechanisms or whatever else are more difficult to locate in my life layering than something recently learnt, experienced and assimilated into myself.

In fact, pin pointing the specific incident that triggered these flawed behaviours, faulty coping mechanisms or bad reactions which currently effect me, is the hardest thing to do! Perhaps the reason for this is because they are anchored to my childhood, before I was fully cognisant?

If something impacts upon us before we are fully self aware, how can we then unpick these flaws in ourselves? How do we begin to find the thread to unravel, and unpick ourselves, thus solving these issues we have? How can a root be found without knowing first where to look for it?

Isn’t what we have automatically assimilated into our fundamental core person, the most difficult to then rectify if there are problems with this assimilation?

Perhaps then it is time to move on from even trying to unpick ourselves. Is it ever worth spending time feeling that we should be more than we are? Is it worth considering that one moment, long ago in our past, may have diverted us from becoming a different person – one perhaps more ’rounded’ and grounded?

I have begun to think not.

Some things have no rhyme or reason, they just are. The best method of healing, for me, is to just accept my ‘warts and all’, and embrace who I am – faulty or otherwise! Unpicking myself, unraveling my threads would, I feel, create more problems than it would solve. I may be flawed, faulty and even bad on occasions, but then that is me, the only me I know – so who is anyone else to contest that?

None of us are perfect, but those little imperfections make us all perfect just the way we are.

Who would we be without our little flaws – would we be better people or would we be worse? Who can really ever know for certain.

The Golden Child


I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who complained that her Brother was her Mother’s favourite.  For me this conversation echoed my own families experiences; it was too close for comfort.

My own Mother had issues with her Mother, as she favoured my Mother’s Brother to the point of isolating my own Mother. This ongoing nepotism caused vast rifts in our family, the repercussions of which are still visible today.

My friend, like my Mother has experienced Motherly spite, withheld love and trust and also head games. Whatever was done or said it has never been good enough; never feeling like they belong to the family they were born into because their Mother won’t accept them. Both my friend and my Mother have been left feeling like the underdog or the black sheep in their family for no good reason, other than they are not the favourite.

A result of this unwarranted treatment, years of continual stress, strain, upset, turmoil and anger. Years of wondering in vain, why?? My Mother always felt inadequate somehow, and this was the result of that faulty Mother / Daughter relationship, which my friend is now suffering at the hands of now.

I have heard similar stories related to me time and time again; the golden child scenario and the ensuing faulty parental and child relationship of the one left in the shadows.

The golden child; how much destruction does this effigy of shinning ‘perfection’ in human form cause to families all over the world?? To what extent has this parental favourtism ruined the lives of the siblings not in favour? The fractured self esteem, dampened confidence and even altered functionality of the child who then becomes an adult, feeling somehow as though they have missed out on a necessary piece of their childhood – unconditional love. How can the adult ever then gain any of this missed time, missed life back to become whole??

Why would a parent deny a child unconditional love? Why would they hold onto their favourite child to the detriment of another? Why would they want to hurt their own child in such a profound way?

Do parents do this consciously? It seems to me that often they do. Is it because the parents themselves have witnessed or been the brunt of such behaviour themselves growing up? Does something innate compel them to do this to their own child, something they can’t even understand??

What can any parent gain from ripping the world out from under their own flesh and blood? For me it is a self defeating prospect, that only creates and stores up trouble for the future. It seems to me that once these golden child sides have been drawn up, they cannot be changed or undone; it remains this way, a private family war, forever. The ripple of bad feeling surrounds that golden child, and alienates the child outside of this ‘halo’. It has a massive impact, and effects consequent generations – I know as I have grown up with such things surrounding my own life. The effect on my own Mother from her childhood impacted even when she no longer lived with her parents, and still does.

I empathise with my friend and what she is going through. I hope for her and her families sake (her own children and partner), that she can find a resolution to gain peace of mind, and sooner rather than later.

I hope she doesn’t allow the golden child rot to infiltrate, and mar her life as my own Mother did (to some extent). I hope my friend realises life is too short to measure herself against what her Mother thinks or doesn’t think about her; as she will never gain her approval with whatever she does or says. It is a losing game trying to please someone who cannot be pleased, because you are not their favourite.

 

 

Bank Of Mum And Dad


Image by: cowanglobal.com

Image by: cowanglobal.com

To include a suggestion made by PK Read at champagnewhisky.com, on the direction of my blog; I thought I’d begin this post by providing you an insight into what set this idea whirling around my mind in the first place.

When I was in college, and then university, I looked about myself and saw those students with the flash cars and the latest mobile phones. I wondered how they afforded such luxuries, until I learnt their secret.

These students had at their disposal their parent’s bank accounts; to pay their rent, buy their food and pay their bills as well as credit card bills too. I literally was aghast.

You see I didn’t have that, nor did I expect that. My parents ethos was work, and learn the meaning of money; it was a ‘you can’t get anything for nothing’ type of attitude. So, I worked and studied. I also learnt more than the lessons I attended taught me; life isn’t served up just to my specific taste at a click of my eager fingers. I learnt that what I wanted I had to work for, and to take responsibility for myself and my life.

Yet, so many ‘kids’ out there never learn this. In essence, they never grow up, they are the Peter Pan’s of society. Well, as far as facing the real world doldrums of paying your own way goes, and not to mention taking responsibility for yourself.

Also, I noticed these ‘kids’ attitudes towards material goods. How to have something which was worked for, was not valued and was seen as insignificant. The reason for this, well they had what they wanted when they wanted it, and didn’t need to value anything. So me driving my ‘vintage’ VW wasn’t to their discerning and expensive tastes; at least I owned my own car, and paid my own way. Something I’m certain they would have died of shock doing!

So, having left college, university and then beginning to working full time, I soon met other ‘kids’. These people although they worked, they were young enough to be in college or university – and yet, they still had this reliance on their Mum and Dad.

WHY??

Well, they claimed it was just too expensive to detach themselves from the proverbial apron strings; rent. mortgages, utility bills, food and so on, breaks their meagre bank. Their parent’s help supplement these poor strapped for cash individuals; who, let me add, were on good wages for singletons, with no kids and no house to run!!!!

In fact this still goes on now. I hear people I know comment on how their siblings or even their own children can’t afford to move out, to claim their own independence. Well, I have a different take on the reason they are still bleeding their families dry, and it goes like this…………………

People, young people, can’t afford to move out of their parent’s house, ummmm, probably because they prefer to squander all their wages on a ‘champagne lifestyle’.

These young people opt , instead of fledging the nest, to book their next expensive holiday on some sun kissed island, where the only prices that will bother them are those of the cocktails they purchase!

They say, ‘rent and mortgages are too expensive for me’ (in a whiny voice). Well yes, they can be, but so to can brand new cars, fake tans, hair extensions, jewellery, acrylic nails, nights out in clubs, new clothes, cigarettes, drugs and plastic surgery (yes, this too is on the menu)!

So, maybe the ÂŁ500 plus a month wasted on their own lavishness, could indeed be spent on moving away from Mum and Dad, and paying for those oh so tiresome domestic bills, before they reach 40!

Or maybe those diamond encrusted iPhone cases are something they can’t live without, or maybe they can, if they had to. If they were given a theoretical kick up the bottom by the parents in question!

Now, I’m not suggesting young people don’t spend their money, I for one know I have spent, or squandered,  a fair share of my own; but then I did move out in my 20’s! I know of people who are in their 30’s and still wasting their money on booze and Ibiza boat trips, and they have the cheek to moan about being strapped for cash!

When will they learn that money, some money, is better in the bank than in a beer bottle?

Money savvy counts. I feel now, more than ever, this is going amiss in the world. Everyone tends to forget about it or doesn’t value what they have. They are under the false illusion that money is another ‘never ending resource’ like coal or gas, and even if they run out of it, Mum and Dad will provide what they need.

Money it seems does in fact grow on trees now, well I never!!!

Money is no longer worked for, accrued  earned, gained. Money is given gratis, courtesy of the Mum and Dad’s across the world, to the children that cling ever longer to their coat tails.

These young people now get fed the milk and honey of a never ending stream of money.

When will the hand outs stop? How old must these ‘kids’ become??

I understand love, care, concern and support – but when does this just become a bad joke? How can anyone differentiate between this, and being used and abused by the very individuals they gave life to?

When is the line crossed?  When will enough, be enough?

When do parents reclaim their own lives and say, that is it, no more?

Suicidal Star


320175-mindy

Mindy McCready tried to commit suicide FOUR TIMES in seven years before she ultimately took her own life.

  • McCready shot herself at her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas, on Sunday
  • Singer was released from rehab last week after spending just two days at in-patient facility
  • Doctor found her clean of drugs and alcohol and ‘mentally stable’
  • Sex tape of her will not be released (why would it be – surely there is some respect for the dead)
  • A shadow was cast over country star after the recent death of live-in boyfriend David Wilson

What went so wrong that Mindy felt she had call the curtain on her life of fame and fortune??

Is this another gun tragedy? 

Why was there no real intervention before such a devastating act could take place?

Is it a case of another star merely seeking attention? Or, was Mindy crying out for help and being ignored? Perhaps, the signs of what she felt were well concealed?

She was a person first and a mother too, and now her children are left behind to wonder why.

No-one is exempt from Depression or even suicide, this proves that clearly enough. It also proves that regardless of money and status, real help is not always available.

If the support networks had been there, would Mindy have lived? Learned to cope?

Are there any real answers for things like this that occur in life? Maybe not.

However, any life lost is truly sad.  

Read more on this topic:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2282243/Mindy-McCready-tried-commit-suicide-FOUR-TIMES-ultimately-took-life.html#ixzz2LXpsRKPM