“Spotted”


I must admit, reading about “Spotted” in the news once again came as no surprise to me. Sadly, it seems everyday a new wave of internet indecency or nastiness becomes part of the norm.

And, make no mistake, the materials posted upon “Spotted” are particularly grotesque. But, I still have to question; aren’t such materials in many ways merely an expression of freedom, and of being human?

In truth, it is completely normal and part of everyday life – men and women will look at, talk about, fantasise about and trade lewd comments/pictures of the opposite sex. They don’t need the internet for this either.

So, I have to ask – how far is too far on the internet?

And, has “Spotted” reached, breached and exceeded the limits?

For those of you who don’t know what ‘Spotted’ is, allow me to provide you with some shockingly foul-mouthed quotes which illustrates it clearly (warning – profanities follow);

That blonde haired girl who just walked into the 2nd floor of the library is fucking banging – ‘Spotted: Reading University Library’ (3718 likes).

To the dirty skank… for gods sake buy some new leggings!! jesus christ! i can see your minge! [sic] – ‘Spotted: Swansea University Campus’ (2407 likes).

To the girl talking about harry potter. i think your arse might be a horcrux, im gonna have to destroy it tonight – ‘Spotted: Kent Uni Library’ (4209 likes).

These comments are typical examples of what “Spotted” has to offer. Male university students and their velvet tongues, produce one disgusting comment after another, and it is shrugged off as a type of compliment that their female peers should enjoy receiving.

“Spotted” pages are in fact part of the Facebook family. They are pages that encourage students to write comments and messages about their peers, which are published anonymously by page administrators. Many of the pages target specific universities (each page supposedly run by a student at that institution), with hundreds of different pages appearing on Facebook. Many of the pages have been liked thousands of times.

The “about” sections of most of the pages innocent enough, they encourage students to share funny incidents, grievances or secret crushes, but the reality is very different. Many of the pages consist of heavily sexualised and offensive comments about students’ appearance and sexuality, and female students are targeted with particularly misogynistic comments.

To the stuck up slut who looked at me as if I’d just slipped a finger up her grandma… –‘Spotted: University of Portsmouth Library’ (7460 likes).

Some posts include images, seemingly uploaded without the subjects’ knowledge or consent.

A current post on the ‘Spotted: University of Essex’ page (3955 likes) shows a young woman sitting at a computer, apparently unaware of the fact that her underwear is exposed above the waistband of her trousers, or of the fact that she is being photographed from behind. The caption on the photograph reads: “Nice bit a crack in the reading room.” [sic]

Another picture featuring a female student, again taken from behind and apparently without consent, appears on the “Spotted: Coventry University” page (4097 likes), captioned: “Asian girls and their asses though.” Several of the posts nastily blend racism with sexism.

A post appearing on the ‘Spotted: Hotty in Hartley Library’ page (3493 likes), displays a picture of a female student from behind, and asks fellow students to identify her so the poster “can get on that”.

Many posts inform female students what their male peers would like to do to them, or are doing while watching them:

To the girl on the c+ floor with the red toshiba laptop… i was sitting next to you a few hours ago. I literally couldn’t take my hand out of my pants the whole time. [sic]

To the hot girl sitting opposite me on level 3, do you mind if I have a cheeky danger wank whilst looking at you?

To the sexy brunette on the 4th floor, will you be my girlfrien? I didn’t add the D because you’ll get that later.

 Others veer from sexual objectification towards bullying:

 To the girl in the floor 4 toilets, you’re not Niagara falls, at some point you’ve gotta stop flowing.

The fat bird standing by the printers on the first floor. Don’t want to shag, but could really do with a cuddle.

Is it all in good fun??

A National Union of Students study reveals that 68% of female students experience sexual harassment during their time at university, and one in seven are seriously physically or sexually assaulted. These statistics actually shocked me; I didn’t know this was the case, and I doubt many female students (current or future) would know either.

So, how harmless are such pages if they feed into a wider student culture which increasingly treats young women as sexual prey?

And, do such pages merely demonstrate, and ensure that sexual harassment infiltrates every part of the academic arena to the point that there are no limits?

I then wonder;

Does “Spotted” encapsulate a new culture of objectification, harassment and misogyny?

How can this freedom of speech be curtailed, or, should it be?

Is “Spotted” just boys being boys or is it more sinister than that?

If you or your daughter were on the receiving end of such grotesque comments, how would you react?

All I can say;

I am thankful “Spotted” didn’t exist when I was a student. It was daunting enough entering the new environment of a large university, leaving home, being frightened, unsure and anxious over everything. I certainly wouldn’t have appreciated contending with this form of bullying and harassment too.

“Spotted” is childish, dangerous, aggressive, soul destroying and cowardly; not the best way to demonstrate what a UK university education can teach you.

Perhaps, a little less lady spotting and a little more studying wouldn’t go amiss.    

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The Servitude Of Service


I possess a fascination for all things historical, but especially those things which relate directly to my own family history.

Unlike most of my peers I took an avid interest in the stories that my grandparents, and great grandparents imparted to me about our families lives. They talked of a different time, a different world, but nevertheless what once transpired, what became collective experience, created a sort of ripple effect upon the lives of subsequent generations. This impact was so severe, the effects remian evident today.

My family is of mixed heritage and fortune. Some are Irish, English and of course Welsh. They have been rich, poor, immigrants, miners, ladies maids, officers, gentlemen and in business. Some have lived abroad and others never left their home town. They spoke foreign languages and played musical instruments, skills which they never thought to teach to the next generation.

In all of this history, throughout all of the stories two threads were always woven the deepest; poverty and domestic service.

Apparently one in ten of the current UK population had an ancestor who worked as a domestic servant. Not so surprising I think considering the perpetual imbalance between wealth, the staunch class division and poor educational standards of the past, if not the present too.

Poverty was, and is of course very real. Although now there are mechanisms in place to help alleviate such misfortune, in my grandparents and great grandparents lifetime this was not always the case. It was a very real threat to be poor, to be below the bread-line.

People couldn’t survive on benefits, they didn’t truly exist as we take them for granted now. People had scant opportunities if they were poor, often becoming a domestic servant or indeed being admitted into a workhouse was their only option.

When people now think of domestic service, the imagery which might spring to mind is the popular Downtown Abbey series or, as I prefer the 1970s British television series Upstairs Downstairs.

Yet, neither of these programmes are a true reflection of what life was like as someone else’s servant.

Below stairs gossip, flirtation, autonomy, opinions, democracy, individuality, freedom, holidays, good food, parties and camaraderie are all fictitious story lines to create good television.

A servant was seen as the other, them, the underclass. Even looked down upon by fellow working class people in other professions.

Servants new their place. They didn’t deign to question their place or to challenge their betters in society. They were the silent majority in the UK workforce.

Mistreatment was normal. Sexual, physical and verbal abuse was common place, and not always at the hands of their ’employers’ either.

Servants were often under paid, they held no employment rights, they ate left overs, were permitted no free time or holidays, no sick leave and no entitlement to medical care. They could be sacked for illness or any minor misdemeanour without reference, they couldn’t marry, their wages would be docked for anything broken or food wasted. They were controlled by their masters and mistresses, but also by the strict hierarchy of the below stairs staff chain of command.

Plus, it was a 24/7 365 days a year job or grind, with no real scope to develop or progress.

The life of a servant in comparison to other people in other forms of employment was vast. Being a servant was a different kettle of fish. Nothing compared then or now to what these people experienced and were subjected to.

A good servant would be deferential, know and accept their place, display loyalty, follow unquestioningly, never be seen to want or expect more, surrender themselves to be used and abused.

All of this indoctrination still lingers somewhere in my genetics, so much so, it frightens me! Yet, it doesn’t inspire me to listen or to comply, but to rebel.

My families history in service heralds as a warning. It made my family question their status, life, desires and wants. They were not comfortable ‘doffing’ their cap to their betters. Subsequent generations learnt the lessons of those in service, they were inspired to be the complete opposite of what their heritage and ancestry had told them to be. No longer were they content to be seen as somehow less of a person because of their class. They wanted their children to achieve, to be educated, to progress to go out into the world and claim a stake of it for themselves.

This whole rebellion against servitude in service still remains, as I have stated previously. I know it is derived from, and linked to my families experiences as house-maids, laundry-maids, ladies-maids and cooks. I suppose such ingrained ideals and attitudes just can’t be over-thrown at once, they tend to make an impression.

I look at my ancestors lives and still think; no one will treat me like that, I won’t be anyone’s servant.

I suppose this attitude should be celebrated, but, it also has a sting in the tail. It could be seen as a ‘chip on my shoulder’.

Any time I perceive I am being treated like an underling, I cannot accept it, it infuriates me. I have actually left jobs because I felt as though I was being treated like a servant and not an employee! No, I was beaten or whatever else, but sometimes employers do treat staff like usable and abusable, never ending resources. They often forget we are humans with rights. It can be all too similar to how servants were treated in the employ of Lords and Ladies. The echoes of these times too close for my comfort. In my opinion the attitude of the ‘master of the house’ hasn’t altogether left society, merely mutated into another form of abuse of power.

Sometimes though, I find myself envying the servants life. It was certain, it was a path deemed destined and people knew nothing more. Their aspiration were not as complicated as ours are today, their disappointments therefore not as many. It was what it was, a means to an end.

All things considered we look back with the luxury of hindsight, and think that they had to be thoroughly miserable. Yet, I actually believe they wren’t.

Who are we to really judge their lives on our standards! The other side of the coin can present another set of questions; is it better to be master of your own uncertain life, or a servant knowing your place, your path? Or, is it the case that we are all merely servants conning ourselves into thinking we have miracously become the masters? What in fact are we masters of? In reality how far has society fundamentally progressed since the time of domestic service?

Servants and masters, masters and servants; isn’t it all really the same thing in today’s world?

Here They Come, The Pretentious Ones.


A few months back I set myself a challenge of sorts, perhaps it was more of a quest! The motivation behind this ‘quest’, well I wanted to immerse myself more than I had previously decided to, within Madrid social spheres. Basically, I hoped to meet new and interesting people, to maybe form friendships with.

Well, as some of you may recall, I have achieved this. I joined countless meet-up groups, circulated, discussed and had fun. I met people I have remained in contact with, people I now call friends, and others, others I actually don’t want to meet again!

This is social trial and error!

I suppose by the very nature of being social, you cannot pick and choose who you meet! I quickly began to notice that I was coming into contact with one type of individual though; time and time again the pretentious ones would make themselves known.

So often, whilst in tne company of others, this characteristic reared its ugly, boring, childish, poisionous, carefully applied and maintained, self absorbed head.

One human characteristic I abhor, and freely admit I have no time to pretend I am interested in indulging, is pretension.

I am used to pretentious people though, I have experience in dealing with them on countless occasions; from being a student at school, being an employee, a friend and so on. Unfortunately pretension is, and always will be, here, there and everywhere; hiding in full view amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. Just like a sociopath / psychopath, the pretentious ones exist in quantities the rest of us would be surprised about!

It seems that everyone has at some point in their life, had to associate with a pretensious individual.

Why is pretension so terrible though? Well, the pretentious ones spoil and pollute not only social occasions. They turn all gatherings into a competition, a school-yard, a charade, a stage for them to flex their pretentious muscles and exert their superiority on the ‘simpletons’ surrounding them.

Yet, I ensure I remain aloof and thoroughly unimpressed by what others might deem to be high intelligence, grandeur, intimidating wonder, superiority or whatever else. I have no patience to sit, listen and feed the ego of the pretentious ones!

In my experience, there is definately something about ‘the arts’ that attracts this type of person, drawing them out from the woodwork in droves.

Intellectualism and creativity is great, but by being these things does it have to then delete all the ‘people skills’ a person might possess? Why do the pretentious ones suddenly forget they are human, only human, just like all the other flesh and bloods walking about this humble pile of dirt! I don’t understand why they adopt an attitude of superiority, when we are all learning, all of the time! None of us are impervious!

In fact though, experience dictates that such people actually feel, but conceal, a deep seated sense of insecurity. They doubt themselves, their choices and their social status; hence their attitude, their carefully applied and mainained persona, their pretension.

They battle to be seen as ‘cool’, but I only see insular, boring, supercilious, restricted and fragile.

Why do the pretentious ones derive comfort in shunning the genuine and real though? Why do they prefer not to celebrate individuality, and refuse to delve into enjoying life? Why do they restrict themselves so tightly? Why the charade? Why the fakery? Why act as though nothing is capable of impressing them, everything is passé, why be supercilious and bored by it all – even though they haven’t really actually lived!!

Why impose this on others, socially?! How social is that attitude, NOT very!

I really don’t understand why pretentious people tend to like, and pursue activities they feel identifies, and associates them with being seen as an intellectual! I doubt whether they enjoy ‘the arts’ as much as they profess they do. I feel they say they like such things to fit in, to be part of a crowd. Whether this crowd is categorised as elite or not, it is still a crowd, rather like being back in school!

Intellectual and creative pursuits are not just for the pretentious people of the world. Although amongst their cliques, the pretentious ones excel at being priggish or ‘posh’. They work to belittle, and deny anything that doesn’t fit with their ideals of what is ‘in’, what is cool, what is creative and intellectual.

They ring-fence intellect and creativity; constraining them, exerting their influence and pontificating about what they believe these things to be. Basically removing what these things symbolise fundamentally; freedom, change, diversity and so on.

What is this attitude if not one belonging to someone from a high school clique, a teenage wannabe?

They tell others what is acceptable, how to behave, function and think.

People never grow out of this pretentious behaviour either, and no one confronts them!

I just don’t get it! I just don’t like it! I just can’t tolerate it socially!

What has happened that people just can’t have fun, be silly, mess about, admit they are wrong, laugh at themselves and just live! What is wrong with that? Why can’t they be intelligent, creative and interesting without being so conceited, and self absorbed? Sometimes it seems as though they can’t smile through fear of cracking their face!

Honestly I can’t think of anything worse, going through life worrying how you appear, ignoring people and things you deem beneath you. Basically, these people are so stiff they seem dead already! This is NO way to live! No way at all! All things considered, I actually feel quite sorry for the pretentious ones. They are so constraint, they cannot change, they are stuck in a rut and can’t escape. How very sad.

NOTE: Before people critique my writing as judgemental and stereotypical, I have to state I don’t deem all intellectuals or creatives as pretentious people. I am discussing certain people, certain situations from my experiences and via my own opinions. I am not judging or commenting on ALL creative and intellectual people, merely some!

Turn Over A New Leaf


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Since my last post ‘A Helping Hand’, I have been trying to reconsider my position or imposition.

I do not propose to dwell upon what I wrote, although I realise it will take time to change what I feel I might be missing within myself or my life. Yet, at the moment I am looking at reassessing myself. I am on a mission of self discovery – I want to relocate exactly what I am all about as a person, to try and redefine me. Since I last checked – I have changed, just as my situation has. This is something I have to accept, come to terms with, work with and not run away from.

So, I took on some advice from those bloggers who responded to my last post (BY THE WAY – THANK YOU!!). I have obtained a copy of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute’ – which is helping to push me into quantifying myself, to ask myself questions I might be a little afraid of.

I am looking into what ‘meet up’ groups are out there in Madrid for me to get together with people who might be of interest.

Once again I am looking at volunteering positions, and perhaps taking on whatever part time jobs might be available.

I cannot say for certain if any of these things will bring me what I look for or indeed even come to fruition; yet, I will try.

What I do believe is that where I am now, is where I wanted to be. I have gotten exactly what I required, and also, what I needed. I shouldn’t therefore see this as a wasted opportunity – it is a gift of time out from things that injured me. When I am ready to re-engage with whatever I lost or left behind or I buried inside – I will, and not one moment before. I can’t force myself to do, be, or become anything until I am ready, until the time is right. So, I accept what is, I will try to progress and find a direction, BUT, I propose to just enjoy what I have, as that is all there is.

Thank you, sincerely, to the bloggers who responded and provided advice and expressed concern.

I appreciate your input and all you shared with me.

THANK YOU!!!!!!

Sucking You Dry


This little thought occurred me to last night, when, as usual I couldn’t sleep!!! Strange how the strange finds me in the very small hours, and just won’t let go of my mind………ummmm.

Anyway, I reflected back upon studying Psychology at college. I recalled reading certain research, which had been conducted into the psychological benefits of relationships. The results of the research discovered that women DO NOT benefit psychologically from being in marriages or long term relationships. Men however, do benefit, and quite significantly.

I found this to be a ‘revelation’ at the time. I remember thinking of everyone I knew who was married, and actually found immediate logic in the findings of this research. Women, or the women I knew – who were Mothers of my friends and relations I had, well, they weren’t too pleased being married. It had been a pretty tough time for them throughout the years; so, discovering women don’t necessarily get much out of a relationship, well, it made sense to me.

So, to condense these research findings, it seems that men tend to suck the life out of women. They use them as tools to enrich their own life and well being, but while the women sacrifice, the men just use the free support base to flourish. Men, men alone are more prone to psychological disorders – depression, isolation,  paranoia, unsociability, instability and even suicide. Women alone, are not prone to such things – they seem to, according to the research, soar like a bird, and a free bird at that.

Men alone can’t cope, women alone cope very well – better than if they are in relationships with the burden of a man in tow. Facetious, feminist, wrong – maybe, but then, let us ask women to be truthful enough to admit that the men in their lives can be cumbersome, and often draining, and enough to often devour the very patience of a Saint.

What do you think; I am asking the women here?????? Is this research true?????

Well, consider this; men don’t often just leave a relationship to be on their own. From what I have seen, they tend to stack up their next ‘victim’ or victims, before they jump ship. What does that say – men don’t like being alone or maybe they are serial monogamists?? Hey wait a minute here – men and faithful – don’t men cheat more often than women in relationships; OR, are men merely caught out cheating more often than woman are?

Either way if men do prefer to peruse their options, why do they need to be in a relationship to be psychologically stable?? Men, what do you think about these psychological research findings – true or hogwash?????? Do you need a relationship????

If this is true and men do get more out of relationships, why then are they so called biologically hard wired to stray like a cat?? Shouldn’t it be women on the prowl, not men, as women don’t need one man, they don’t need a relationship as they get nothing out of it. Women don’t get the same psychological stability, and nutrition as men do from relationships. Women get the depression and suicidal thoughts instead.

Why then would women enter into a relationship if they don’t want to commit suicide any time soon???? Well, WHY?????

What are the answers???? Maybe there are none!

OK, by the way YES I am in a relationship; oh wait, did you ask how my psychological state is??? Well, what do you think???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!