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 Perón?

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!

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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?

“I Am Beautiful No Matter What They Say”……..


Apparently NOT!

Discount EVERY lyric of the Christina Aguilera song. Miss Aguilera sang it, and now perhaps regrets doing so.

One celebrity woman’s quest to be what ever she wants to be, yet again falls flat.

FAT = UGLY because society tells us that all the time, and we as individuals cannot tame the power society wields over us all. It is a definite one sided society that we live in though.

If you read the recent article I wrote ‘Consider Her Ways’ My Article, you know I don’t necessarily like seeing any flesh (et al) on show, whether thin or fat. Yet, I don’t like it full stop. I don’t make up silly little rules regarding what is OK, and who should or shouldn’t show off their flesh, or who is and isn’t beautiful. In fact I am more sick of people dictating that thinner people ought to have the monopoly on nakedness, scantily clad dressing and beauty.

WHY? Why is that OK? Why are only thin people seen as the cream of the crop in society? Why are only thin people ‘allowed’ to get it all out on show for everyone to ogle at?

It seems this is the question Miss Aguilera didn’t ask, and just accepted the dictated ‘norm’ as the Gospel of God (or, whatever else holds absolute truth)!!

What is the difference in being larger or thinner? She showed her bottom when she was thin, and who knows how she remained thin; was it via a healthy route or not? Does anyone care so long as she didn’t offend and gain weight! Heaven forbid!

Miss Aguilera wore more clothes when she gained weight, and yet, still she was deemed grotesque. So, whether she flaunted her more rounder bottom or not, it was still unacceptable, and yet, isn’t it HER business whether she chooses to be fat or thin? Isn’t it her choice what she does in her own life? Just like it is apparently individual choice to, expose the flesh to all and sundry or remain covered up.

I personally think exposing ones self unnecessarily to anyone who will look, is bad taste! I don’t care whether that body is thin or fat. There is NO need for ANYONE to wander around with their wobbly bits on show. NO NEED!

Yet, apparently people over a size 12 really shouldn’t, they should NOT accept their bodies at all. Perhaps these ‘fat people’ should do society a favour, and just go and die. Great attitude to instil in the future generations that individuality sucks! We as human beings are merely aspiring to be like, and look like everyone else about us! Wow, what a feat of achievement, we should ALL be proud of ourselves as we all look the same.

Just to let you all know, I am OVER a size 12 – OH GOD shoot me now!!!!!!!!! Should I hide away and die too?? Am I ugly, a blot upon societal perfection?? Should I be ashamed to show my skin too?? Am I less attractive than a size 8??

Who is anyone to tell me YES?

I have fought all my life to feel I am HUMAN because I am NOT a twiglet, because I have curves, because I have always been a little different. I have recently succeeded in feeling good about me, well, over last few years anyway; and let me tell you – it was bloody hard work. As a woman, and being determined NOT to follow the herd, well that is never easy. Anyway, I exercise and eat well, so what am I doing wrong other than refusing to become what is for me, unattainably thin? Well, the media and anyone else who feels I am in need of reprimand aren’t shy to inform me that I should be ashamed of myself. I need to be thinner and trimmer. I need to be X, Y or Z or don’t bother even thinking I can wear a short skirt or indeed be beautiful.

Yet, I am beautiful.

All I want, which perhaps others do too; is to live in a world where the only label a woman HAS to wear are those sewn into her clothes, regardless of the size of those clothes.

Maybe this might seem odd but, beauty to me is more than flesh, size, shape or even dictated fashions of what is hot or not. Beauty can’t be bottled, shipped and sold, it can’t be manipulated, created, identified beyond a doubt or universally applied. Yet, we all try to do this for some reason.

See here for another article I wrote about ‘normal’: Who Is Being Allowed To Redefine Normal?

So, below is the article that instigated this angry post!! Take a look at this blatant self depreciating, and contradictory ‘enlightening’ piece which salutes thin, and encourages a certain view point as far as beauty is concerned.

Oh, and health apart, this is an image and confidence and acceptance thing. I’m not talking about illnesses, obesity and God knows what else. For the record, anyone can die of anything at any-time. So, I don’t wish to debate fat as a health issue. Thank you!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2344265/Christina-Aguilera-proudly-shows-dramatic-weight-loss-skintight-skirt-The-Voice-finale.html

Benefits = food vouchers; the new Universal Credit, errr, card?


A poll commissioned by one of the many ‘think tanks’ has come up with a surprising response; people would be in favour of benefit claimants receiving vouchers, or indeed a ‘debit card’ solely to purchase ‘agreed’ items, such as food.

Needless to say these findings have provoked disgust from anti-poverty campaigners, who have been questioning the so called findings as the response of those ignorant to the full facts, and influenced by propaganda surrounding benefit claimants from the UK media.

Alison Garnham, director of the Child Poverty Action Group, was the findings harshest critic, stating that we could discount what 59% of the research group agreed upon, vouchers for societies ‘slouchers’.

“In the United States in the 1960s, welfare rights campaigners argued for food stamps for certain groups on the basis that some of them were alcohol abusers, but it’s not an argument that ever took traction in the UK because people would find that offensive. I think we have a very different culture. I just don’t think it would be acceptable in the same way,” Alison Garnham, Demos fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference.

In the United States, ‘food stamps’ are in the form of pre-payment card (debit card of sorts), that is then used by the claimant to purchase food and other essentials, which do not include the ‘luxuries’ of life such as alcohol and tobacco.

Well maybe Alison Garnham should think again, as the findings of this research demonstrates that people don’t think changing the current benefit/ social security system would be ‘offensive’. Many do in fact feel that this benefit ‘charity’ should end;

77% said yes to monitoring people with a substance or gambling addiction, and 69% for those with a criminal or anti-social history.
68% agreed the government should stop all recipients from spending their benefits on gambling.
54% agreed with the government should prevent people spending their benefits on unhealthy items such as cigarettes or alcohol.
46% opposed benefits being spent on branded goods such as Nike trainers.
38% backed a ban on buying junk food and 35% on holidays.

(Poll was carried out by Populus Data Solutions, based on a survey of 2,052 adults)

With Universal credit making an appearance very soon, six work related benefits will be lumped together, making this an ideal candidate for such controlled measures, and a pre-payment style card.

In fact, so far not even Prime Minister David Cameron has denied that he is not completely averse to exercising more control over how claimants spend their money.

Leaving out the fact that Universal Credit is just a one size fits all benefit, which benefits no-one, not even the working UK populace. How would such a pre-paid card (debit card) exercise such control, and prevent people from just living their normal lives? Well, online gabbling would be blocked by such cards. Such transactions wouldn’t be permitted, therefore they wouldn’t gain authorisation; like a debit card refused for lack of funds in the bank.

OK, but how can a mere debit card encourage people to make more healthy choices, surely this is a tougher question to answer? Does anyone have the right to control or outlaw what people choose to eat, drink or even smoke? Even the Police department responsible for stamping out illegal substances can’t boast that feat! People will do anything to get what they want; they do for drugs! So will this ‘ban’ increase the illegal selling and distribution of alcohol and tobacco? Will people commit even more crime to get such items one way or another?

I know the inspiration for this debit card system has originated with parents and families in mind. People on benefits are seen to choose those above luxuries over actually feeding their children. On a tight budget even one pack of cigarettes is surely unnecessary though; if it means more food on the plate, electric in the meter or clothes on your back, which would you choose? There are people out there who do blow all their money on nothing, regardless of their children or their house hold responsibilities; but how can we intervene completely, maybe stop paying them altogether? Don’t such issues also affect those who work too?

I agree that any benefit isn’t a charity hand out, it is there for hard times; even charities stipulate where their money can go to, and how it can be utilised, but again how can you differentiate between the people in receipt of a benefit? There are claimants who have never worked, and not because they cannot, but because they don’t want to; then again there are those who have worked, and want to work, and also those who are indeed too ill to work. I know I wouldn’t want to have anyone treat me like a brain dead moron just because I was claiming a benefit; I would not appreciate being told where to and what to buy. Plus, it is also the stigma attached to using such a ‘card’, its letting everyone know; ‘Hey, I’m on benefits’, setting people up for ridicule. It is a too general answer to a problem, as not everyone on a benefit is a scrounger. So where do you draw the battle lines and makes the distinctions?

I know there are people on benefits who go away on holidays, buy iPhone’s, drive nice cars, have great big televisions, and have nights out wearing the best clothes; I have seen that happen quite frequently, but it is not the genuinely needy people who do this. Those that con the system are also usually working and claiming (fraud), gaining illegal earnings from something or just don’t care about what happens when the money has run out. Not everyone claiming walks the straight and narrow, just like everyone who works doesn’t! Yet, I still want to control my money whether I work or have benefit; I think that would be my right as an intelligent and educated person who has worked and contributed into the system!!! I am not a feckless individual, even if there are those out there who are! Why should decent people bear the brunt, as they are the people who will suffer; who won’t break the law to get more money, and they will struggle to survive.

I do feel the poverty situation is being ignored here too, as people on benefits aren’t the only ones in poverty. I know people who work, and are so overwhelmed by just paying their way because the cost of living is ever spiraling out of control. They can’t afford to eat, go on holidays, and buy expensive food and all the rest. Yet, I do know benefit claimants who can have those luxuries! So again how can we iron out all these contradictions from an entrenched and ineffective system, without the innocent and genuine suffering? How do we help everyone who needs help?

In addition, one of the most striking findings of the Demos ‘think tank’ survey was that 18-24-year-olds were one of the most likely age groups to call for government controls on how benefits are spent. Yet, these are the majority of people out of work in the UK. Plus only 2052 people were asked in the survey, not a gargantuan amount. How was the sample of participants chosen, where were they from; location and family background? Would be interesting to know.

Nothing in the UK social security/ benefit system is clear cut, therefore why should any of the decisions regarding its future be? Are those in power the right people to make the judgements? Surely those who live a real life need to have their say, before they are faced living their lives under some rule they then cannot change or influence.

Shameless; the true life of a benefit ‘scrounger’?

Copy Right Notice:
© Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Final Pound Of Flesh For Lady Gaga


The norm set by most industrious record companies is to have their ‘products’ spick and span, and usually as meat free as possible; especially for the female of their clientele. Yet, I was perplexed, even more so than usual considering the stunts Lady Gaga is constantly fabricating; that at this moment the self-confessed ‘born this way’ girl is allowing herself to be subjected to the old, ‘lose weight or lose your contract’ game.

Apparently Lady Gaga has been ordered to reduce her waist line, after enjoying her food far too liberally; naughty, naughty, naughty. She has also had to issue a statement admitting that she is ‘fat’, and not pregnant, as apparently suggested by Kelly Osbourne.

The question then; is this merely a stunt to achieve more press coverage and maybe raise funds to sponsor another outlandish concert, or, could it be that she has finally crossed the line, and discovered the boundary she cannot break with everyone’s blessing?

I mean, isn’t this the woman who cried blood, donned a penis, wore alarmingly too much cattle on her body and has sung about worldwide acceptance of every living soul. There was seemingly nothing she wouldn’t or couldn’t do; until she committed the mortal sin of gaining weight all was OK in the world. Now, OUTRAGE!!!!

Is it time for an apology? After all, Lady Gaga’s disgusting and shameful weight gain has disgruntled and upset so many of us, (sarcasm).

Should she be forced to fight the ‘flab’ and count the calories with every conditioned soul in the Western world?

Or, to be honest; why should we care if she isn’t as thin as she was? What difference is that to her being her and the music and entertainment she makes?

Will this once outlandish and outspoken woman be tamed for good? Is this where Lady Gaga drops off her yellow brick road?

What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments.

Above: Miss Gaga at her best?

Copy Right Notice:
© Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.