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 Per√≥n?

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

The Man-Child


Over grown, over educated (maybe even still in full time education whilst in their 30’s), living with family or friends (like some frat house experience), no commitment, if employed working on some type of made up position derived from some internship, opinionated, socially uncomfortable, self absorbed, full of their own self importance, stuck in their ways and clinging onto what they are used to, domineering, shifty body language, uncomfortable around women and women’s opinions.

The man-child.

Oh, and let us not forget when he cannot get people to succumb to his wants, needs, desires or whatever, he throws a tantrum. He demonstrates inappropriate anger in inappropriate ways to unsuspecting people.

Such a horrible specimen of ‘manhood’ was in my presence last night.

I have joined some social meet up groups within the Madrid area, and one of these was the Skeptics Group. Yes a skeptics group! Now usually I refrain form associating with Philosophers in general, why, well as a rule I have found them to be, I don’t want to generalise too much here; full of their own self importance, and of their own intellectual status. Yet, the group sounded interesting, so I thought I’d go along and see.

For some reason the organiser, the usual organiser, decided he couldn’t return from Germany for the meeting. So, he randomly nominated me as the stand in organiser for the meeting. As I explained to him, I was not familiar with Skeptical theory and it was my first meeting. Yet, this did not bother the organiser.

OK, well I assumed the group would be a nice bunch of individuals; understanding, able to listen, oh, and respectful of others. So, what the Hell, I gave it a go!

Throughout the meeting I felt a bad vibe from the only man in attendance (the friend, and associate of the actual group organiser). Now, the group was small, four including me – three women and one man. Yet, he wasn’t interested in us as people, he didn’t ask us anything about ourselves, our life or background. He was very clinical and odd. Strange body language, shifty and as though he wasn’t too happy with how the discussion was progressing.

Maybe he felt threatened by the female presence, frustrated he hadn’t been nominated stand in organiser by his friend (the actual organiser), perhaps he misconstrued some of what had been said (he was Spanish, and I think his English level wasn’t as good as he thought it was). I wonder if our native English tongue intimidated him, plus, the fact we didn’t necessarily agree with his opinions and views might have riled him too. Who can be sure!

It wasn’t until the conversation split; him and one woman, and me and the other woman present. I spoke only to say I had to leave soon, as I was tired, nothing much more. well, when I related this to him, he didn’t like this and decided to ‘flip out’. Only way to really describe it, he flipped out!

It was like he had been waiting patiently all night to say something, to cause an argument with me, and why, who knows, and who knows what bee was in in his bonnet!

Anyway, he accused me of lying, the reason I was leaving was another that I was too afraid to admit, I was being untruthful about my thoughts and feelings. I was concealing something from him!

What the………!! Did I just doze off, and wake only to find I had arrived in the Twilight Zone?

I had only just met him – two hours previous, and already he was convinced he knew my inner motives, he knew what I truly felt. I mean, if he had, he would have known I was thinking what a loser he was being at that particular moment! It seemed he was trying to depict me as this distrustful liar to the group for a reason. Wow, what insight, NO, what rude audacity!

I took it lightly, an argument with what was obviously an aggressive man was not on my list of ‘to do’s’ that day. So I said,
“Is he joking with me? He is fooling around right, he doesn’t mean it as I think he does”?
One of the women then replied,
“Yeah, he is fooling around, as no one would act like such an arse-hole” (jest intended to lighten the obvious prevailing bad atamosphere).

Oh dear, that was a mistake. He then turned his venom upon her.

Now my understanding of Spanish profanities is limited, as I am a lady ūüôā Yet, I am pretty damn sure he used everything in his arsenal to create one moment of utter hatred, which was aimed at an unsuspecting woman.

I was aghast. I was already standing up to go, and I could only just stand there, in complete shock. I didn’t know what the Hell he was playing at and why. I wondered whether it was a good idea to lurch across the table and spank him! Yet, the woman he spoke to with such a vile, and disgusting attitude was so calm; as too was the other woman witnessing it! They were cool and level headed, intelligent, articulate and capable women- admirable.

I was a little less cool; thinking and feeling, WTF!

For me, this is a massive NO! People, especially men, never speak to women as he was doing to this one. I was disgusted. I was shocked. I realised in that moment, this was no man, this was not a person worth my attention or time. He was nothing.

I told them all that I was leaving, and won’t be returning any time soon to a group with such a vile fool in attendance. It made no difference though, as he kept on; he had his argument, he was making himself feel better at any cost.

Intelligent, philosopher, man, human – NO, he was just an over grown child, an insecure and idiotic fool with a foul mouth.

I remember he said he had a blog. He said he had been writing about his attempts to meet a new person every week. What a sick joke! That was exactly what he was doing within the ‘skeptics group’, and look how he treated and responding to them, to us! God help those he does meet, they will be psychologically scared for life if he acts as he did with us!

This has made me really reconsider which groups I attend.

If there aren’t shouting bullies, there are pervy men trying their luck, and staring at your breasts and bum.

How am I ever supposed to meet nice, and genuine people in Madrid? Do they actually exist?

What this has suggested, though I hate to even consider it; women are never really able to go anywhere without feeling they maybe harassed at any moment.

Why is it men feel they have some power to weild over women?

Why can’t they just go out, and enjoy themselves free of being abusive bad mannerly fools, bombastic and opinionated chauvinists, and sexual predators?

Are all men really just versions of men-children?

As you can probably guess, I am still extremely annoyed by this ‘person’s’ behaviour. It has impressed some ‘downer’ upon me regarding human relationships, interactions and behaviour. Plus, this fool will never know nor admit he was in the wrong.

Also, to sum up the whole experience or night; the whole thing was some elaborate charade. It was some game set up by this nasty and foul mouth fool, and his friend the Skeptics Group organiser. It was as though they had planned such an end, it was as though they were setting us up for this, to test us in some way.

Sounds paranoid? Well, having witnessed the behaviour and considered the motives, and the things that just didn’t add up about the group, that weren’t bona fide about the night in general – this is my only conclusion. At least my conclusion isn’t a diatribe of disgusting profanities, though it could have been quite easily after what occurred!

Oh, and if you find yourself in Madrid, avoid the Skeptics Meet-up Group at all cost!

Consider Her Ways


Now I LOVE fashion (or style), always have and no doubt, always will. BUT (and this must be a significant ‘but’ for me to begin a sentence with it); I despise the notion that summer fashion equals everything on show for all to see.

Now before people pull me up on being anything but my usual ‘each to their own’, I have NO issue with individuality, freedom to express yourself and your own fashion tastes. All I ask is why can’t people CONSIDER their ways a little more for the sake of others, who, might struggle to retain their lunch upon viewing such things?

I am sick of sun = flesh equation, because this equation has detracted clothes from ladies considerably over recent years. Especially here, in Madrid.

Now I know how warm it becomes here, I am suffering and the temps aren’t even at their highest yet. I am from the UK, we are lucky to see 24 degrees for a summertime! So, perhaps I am allowing myself to feel shocked at what effects the sun can have upon people’s minds, and how it often causes a lack of clothes to occur.

Anyway, I just call for some public ‘decency’. I really don’t care if anyone feels I am being prudish or whatever else, because I don’t see how walking half naked equates to ‘liberation’ or ‘fashion’.

I ask the men out there; would you like to see the bum cheeks, and goodness knows what else, of fellow men as you go about your daily routines? Half naked men everywhere, all the time? It wouldn’t bother me, but then I am a woman!

Women will pass by with their bum cheeks (et al) on show as you eat. Standing on a packed metro train they pass you by with their bottoms rubbing upon you. After they have sweated upon seats you too will have to then sit upon. HYGIENE PLEASE!!

I mean women wear as little as possible, underwear little. I just wonder what is left to take off and expose?

OR, who ARE THEY exposing themselves too??

If their skirts blow up, and they are wearing teeny tiny thongs they often feel embarrassed, or they yank down their short skirts to keep them from exposing whatever. If a man stares at them they return his stare with a glare as though he is the pervert for looking at their nakedness! So, I am confused!

Do women feel they are dressing with everything on show for men, themselves or could it possibly be for the benefit of other women?

Could it be that any human forced into a ‘pack’ reverts back to archaic psychology – ‘top dog’ attitude, the top of the pecking order? Having to prove to their pack that they are THE ALPHA, THE BEST mating partner?

If it is dressing for themselves then, well, what can I do; but it doesn’t stop me¬†becoming nauseous! Having to walk about and bear witness to the bare really makes me feel a little dirty!

Yes, dirty! I can’t explain it, and this is no doubt my psychological issue as much as theirs, but I see this ‘cave woman’ dress as just something I don’t need nor want to do. Also, I don’t want to see other women’s bits and bobs on display, I really don’t ‘feel’ it!

All I know is that I have always been my own person, and if someone can’t appreciate me fully clothed then I am not interested in them. I don’t need to strip to be accepted, included or validated.

Maybe I am beginning a new revolution; keep your clothes on!

If someone says that wearing little clothes is progress I’ll scream – the Victorians had the Whale bone corset, and we have the dinky, teeny, tiny butt cleavage shorts! Think about it – what has changed?

Oh, and for the record I don’t want to be ‘tan-tastic’ either – I love my paler skin tone – thanks!

If You Tolerate This………..


And THIS is a product of a healthy society?? Yeah, right!

And THIS is a product of a healthy society?? Yeah, right!

……….Where-in the HELL will it end??????!!!!!!!!

The issue of these disgusting Facebook pages makes me sick to my stomach. Where is the debate here at all?? It is simple for me; REMOVE ALL THE ABUSIVE AND SICK PAGES, and REMOVE THEM NOW!!!!

Rape, abuse and God knows what else – what part does any of that play in social networking? I mean what a conversation starter between long lost friends; “Hey great to speak to you again Steve, yeah, I’m an Engineer now, I drive a BMW and oh, yeah, did I mention I’m a wife beater and rapist – soon to be a Daddy too”. SICK, SICK, SICK; and another word, debauched.

What a twisted world we live in, and what low life scum inhabit it. Times like these make me ashamed to call myself a human being.

The men responsible for such¬†things are surely on some ‘Most Wanted Psycho Killer’ list somewhere or another, if not, they will be.

There is nothing amusing about this sick content, and nothing which should be classed as anyone’s right to express. This is not liberating and progressive, but harmful and debase. In a civil society there is no room for such cruel, moronic and misogynist attitudes.

Ban abusive Facebook pages NOW!!!!! Stop quibbling over T&C’s and everything else; what is more important here, people and their lives or bloody paperless contracts for internet jibber jabber.

Facebook PLEASE get your priorities right once and for all!

Turn Over A New Leaf


earth_day_slide_2_3_fullsize

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 РI want to relocate exactly what I am all about as a person, to try and redefine me. Since I last checked РI 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 Рdepression, isolation,  paranoia, unsociability, instability and even suicide. Women alone, are not prone to such things Рthey 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???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Language Exchange


Yesterday or more precisely, last night, I attended another one of those English and Spanish language exchanges. Here in Madrid they are called; ‘Intercambios’.

Last night was OK, I seem to be settling into the routine and environment of the particular Intercambio I attend. I have made a few friends actually, but the reason I¬†initially began attending Intercambios wasn’t really to make friends.

The idea behind these language exchanges are that people who wish to learn English or Spanish can meet at these organised events, and then together they can work to improve their language skills.

In Madrid Intercambios are popular. For me it has been a huge shock discovering just how popular. Many people here are eager to perfect their English – which they will tell you is bad, and yet it isn’t! They speak very good English, which again shocked me, as you rarely hear them doing so, even if you ask them.

People here actually learn English via work or from school, well, the younger generations learn in school. Courses and classes here can be expensive, so people flood to these Intercambios hoping to¬†practice¬†and speak English for free. So, I held out hope to also be able to chat away in my ‘Spanglish’, or gain the much needed confidence to actually speak Spanish as well as I do when no-one is listening to me!!

Having spent a significant time dedicated to attempting to learn Spanish, and also time slacking off from this task; I came to think, in my infinite wisdom, that Intercambio (language exchange) evenings would be the way to achieve language perfection.

Oh dear, how misled were my judgements on such things.

The main issue for me is that Intercambios are 99.9% of the time run from a bar/club, where loud music can hinder understanding, and also people tend to enjoy drinking alcohol, more than perhaps actually learning anything. I for one am guilty of this!

OK, alcohol plays a huge part in lowering inhibitions and boosting confidence, but also after a couple of drinks retaining any new information, in relation to learning, well, it isn’t so¬†conducive.

Have I learnt anything so far from attending them?? Well a couple of words, but not substantial conversation or fantastical language confidence!

In fact even finding an Intercambio set up I was comfortable with at first, was trial and error.

My first experience with Intercambios was actually as I expected it would be, surprisingly. Bar, alcohol,
men and women = well, a hunting ground for sex. Not really my idea of learning a language!

This first Intercambio, 3 friends and myself ¬†attended together. As soon as us women entered the bar (which was full of men), immediately I detected their eyes fix upon us, and I just knew why! Their necks were all strained like Meerkats on the lookout!! They weren’t interested in run of the mill conversation, let me just say that!

Anyway, intimidating, yes, very; we were not there to meet men for sex.

So, my judgement of Intercambios had been tainted; I felt it was really a¬†euphemism for a¬†‘pick up’¬†opportunity, rather than a legitimate¬†language¬†exchange or learning experience.

Anyway, not being one to give up, I decided to persevere and give the Intercambios another shot.

The second Intercambio I attended, although the setting remained within a bar, I didn’t get a ‘pick up’ joint vibe. So, it seemed as though this one might just provide me an opportunity to learn, and practice Spanish.

This was the theory, but it has never quite transpired to practice.

Reason being is when a friend and I checked into this particular Intercambio, we looked at the attendee register, and immediately noticed everyone there was Spanish. 98% of them wanted to learn English!!!! Us two, being the only fluent English speakers present – damn!

Seems as though we would be the free English tutors for the evening – and that thought unnerved me.

As soon as the people present heard our accents, all eyes were trained upon us! They turned eagerly, desperate to get the¬†opportunity¬†to talk to us about anything, so long as they could speak to us in English. It was once again an intimidating situation, but for very different reasons than the first Intercambio disaster. We were again centre of attention without even wanting to be!¬†I then thought, thank God I have never been famous, I’d never have coped with all that attention!

I was a little freaked out to say the least; put on the spot and I almost felt like a cabaret act Рlike I should do a little dance or something! I felt myself squirm inwardly as we were paraded about the bar, and then introduced to about 10 strangers. We were expected then to get on with our tuition of these Spanish strangers! It was weird!

Consequently I could only speak in English for the first hour, and then only a little Spanish thereafter. I was on edge all night – I felt so nervous of all the attention and questioning. Though, they were nice people, it was still a full on experience and not one I am usually used to; speaking on demand like a pet! I wasn’t a happy bunny!

This way of learning is not for me, I cannot learn like this. I need to feel¬†comfortable¬†to speak to a person in a foreign language – I don’t know why. I struggle, I feel my mind goes blank. Plus, how often do we trade information, that is perhaps personal, with complete strangers? Not often. It is quite an unnatural setting.

A Spanish friend of mine actually described the Intercambios as a form of speed dating, and they could be. It is like repeating yourself, and making good impressions, being on your best behaviour, and hiding your true self to score points! I have never been part of a speed dating event, but I imagine people must feel the same Рon show, on the spot and feel they are being assessed and judged even!

It is a weird environment for sure, and one I just feel I am not comfortable in, yet every week I still attend, like a glutton for punishment! As I have already stated though I have met some nice people, so this is a good thing, yet, I am not really fulfilling my main aim Рto learn Spanish!

Yet, at least I am making friends. So, there is still hope to eventually be fluent in Spanish, one day!