Apparently, I should introduce who I am. So I gathered loads of random questions and combined them (referenced below) to make a list of 40. I might do a part 2 later that’s all serious. For now, enjoy the random stuff! Also, I included the questions below if you want to join in the fun.
What was the last thing you wrote?
This blog baby!
What is your favourite cartoon childhood show?
Man, there are so many, but probably The Weekenders.
Who is your favourite Disney princess?
Belle! She reads. A lot.
Do you prefer light bread or dark bread?
What’s your favourite fruit?
Which fruit do you dislike?
Is there a fruit you’ve never had?
What is your favourite breed of dog?
Canis lupus familiaris.
What is your worst earworm?
Peter Frampton – “Baby I love your way.”
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Peter Frampton – “Baby I love your way.”
Are you a creature of habit?
Which animal do you most relate to?
Cat or Koala. They sleep. A lot.
Which animal scares you the most?
False widow spiders.
How do you sleep?
If you had a boat. What would you name it?
Infinity & Beyond.
If you could change your first name, what would it be?
What’s your favourite season?
Favourite TV show of all time?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Do you have a nickname(s)?
Jen, Gin-Jen, Birb, Lady Boo Birbington the 3rd.
How big is your to be read pile?
Too big, and counting.
What is your dream car?
What is your favourite place to take an out-of-town guest?
St. Peter’s church to see the charred head of St. Oliver Plunkett.
What do you say all the time?
In what area of your life are you the most immature?
Do you talk in your sleep?
You’d have to ask le Boo.
What is your favourite number?
3 & 7.
Have you ever been locked out of your house or locked yourself out?
Yes, and worst of all, myself, and both my parents did. At the same time.
Which famous person would you invite for drinks?
Professor. Brian Cox or Whoppi Goldberg.
What do you think is your best feature?
My sense of humour.
If you were to win a Grammy, what kind of music would it be for?
Indie music or just plain rock.
If you were to win an Oscar, what kind of movie would it be for?
A movie about the feminist struggle.
What body part wouldn’t you mind losing?
Have you ever tried to cut your own hair?
Yes, it wasn’t the worst actually.
Are you high maintenance?
I don’t think so… ask le Boo!
What is the silliest way you have been injured?
I set fire to my tights and burned my finger. No joke.
Which of the five senses is your favourite?
Which one could you give up?
How many foreign countries have you been to?
Who is the best Avenger?
Thor son of Odin!
What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?
If music is passion, then colour me happily spent. Throughout my life, music has been partner to my creativity and emotions. As I write this I listen to music. My constant need for it was amplified in jobs when I couldn’t spend my work day enjoying it. Voices, instruments, and choruses have soothed my soul from as far back as I can remember.
As it is my 28th birthday today I decided the challenge myself by writing a blog about 28 female artists that inspired me and an album of theirs. These artists moved me not just because of their music, but due to their strength, feminist undertones (or overtones), and talent. So without further ado.
1983: Cyndi Lauper – ‘She’s So Unusual.’
She really is so unusual, and still is. Lauper not only has had a magnificent musical career, she’s been an activist for LGBTQ+ rights for decades. Her debut album is particularly special with a song from Prince, a cover of ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun,’ and one I listened to on repeat, ‘She Bop.’ What a she bop it is! The album art was by none other than Annie Leibowitz. The album is Grammy winning and if you’ve never listened to this album, treat yourself! It’s pure fun.
1986: Kate Bush – ‘The Whole Story.’
Kate Bush’s voice is big. Her song writing is exceptional, and her best loved song is the opening for this album, ‘Wuthering Heights.’ This album was played throughout my childhood by my Mother who is a huge fan of Kate Bush. Listening to it now, it’s marching rhythms, quiet whispers, and misty landscapes transport me. My favorite track is ‘Running Up That Hill,’ and I find myself singing it long after the album end.
1993: Martina McBride – ‘Who I Am.’
My family are a big fans of the American country and western genre, and my Father especially loves it. Martina McBride has a huge voice for such a little frame. This was one of the albums I knew off by heart as a child. Every word, every lyric, and every note. My favorite track, “Where I used To Have A Heart,” was so dear to me, that I sang it in a competition. This album reminds me of singing to my granny Patricia as I practiced, and her admiration gave me the confidence to do it. The track, ‘My Baby Loves Me The Way I Am,’ has never meant more to me than it does now. (Winks at Boo).
1993: Björk – ‘Post.’
Ughhhhhh this album is phenomenal. Björk never fails to entertain me. She is crazy, she is beautiful and she is concentrated talent. I’ve been to Iceland and her landscape informed her musical style. This album is a dynamic and energetic adventure. She bursts onto the scene with ‘Army Of Me,’ and throughout the album we are treated to a mixture of styles and stories. The popular ‘Oh So Quiet,’ would give no indication what the rest of the album would be like, and she confounds expectations with tracks like ‘Possibly Maybe,’ and ‘Cover Me.’ I love you Björk, your energy is addictive.
1994: Madonna – ‘Bedtime Stories.’
Only recently a Madonna convert, I understand why she seems to be so divisive. She does everything a male artist of her age might do, and because she’s a woman that’s not ok. Female voices have been shamed for centuries. “Opps, I Didn’t know I couldn’t talk about sex.” She has shown no signs of slowing down although she turns 60 in August of this year, and what do I have to say about that? Slay. Queen. There are no rules, you are hurting no one, in fact your music has healed many for decades. You are the master of reinvention, of female empowerment, and pop. This album in particular is a favorite of mine, and I have a special love for, ‘Human Nature,’ and ‘Bedtime Stories.’ The latter of which was written by Madonna and Björk.
1994: Sarah McLachlan – “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.”
Although she is well known for her hit ‘Angel,’ the Sarah McLachlan I fell in love with was featured in Buffy The Vampire Slaye. I was drawn in by the beautifully melancholy of ‘Full Of Grace,’ off her album Surfacing. It was her album ‘Fumbling Towards Ecstasy,’ however, that hooked me. While this came out in 1994 I didn’t get my copy until well into the 2000’s. I actually ended up buying it twice when I thought I lost it (this was when CDs were still a thing). This album is ethereal, large, and gothic. McLachlan lyrics expose an alternate view into female sexuality, which for a young teenage girl is important. When then mass media provides a very bleak offering of the female sometimes you need a Sarah McLachlan to show differing female sexualities. You just have to look at the art work on the album and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Highlights for me from the album are ‘Fear,’ and the cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue.’
1995: Alanis Morrissette – ‘Jagged Little Pill.’
In fairness young Jenni should probably not have been listening to this, but I just adored it. I remember as a 10 or 11 year old playing it for my then 14 or 15 year old cousin. “This is one of my favourite albums it’s amazing!” To which she giggled at the lyrics, “And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back I hope you feel it. Well, can you feel it?”
“Jenni,” She offered, “This is very grown up, should you be listening to this…?”
Regardless of whether I should have been or not, Morrissette got me through my teenage angsty years. While this isn’t my favourite album of hers, it was certainly impactful on young Jenni. Maybe she’s why I was so precocious?
1997: Celine Dion – ‘Let’s Talk About Love.’
No one will tell me that listening to Celine Dion is lame. This Lady is an unbelievable artist, her voice is a fairy-tale and I fell in love. The year this album came out, a gift from my parents, I listened to it over and over. Listening to it now in 2018 it’s still as persuasive and beautiful all these years later. As if Celine’s own voice wasn’t enough we get the gift of a duet between her and Barbara Streisand, ‘Tell Him.’ I learned this on keyboard so I could sing it to my grandmother as she adored both these ladies. I think I was bought this album because ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ is on it, however there is nuance to the rest of the album because of the collaborations. Just look at the list of writers and you’ll understand. I love Celine Dion, and she loves us back.
2001: Alicia Keys – ‘Songs In The Key Of A Minor.’
I only recently discovered this album. I’ve always been a fan of Alicia Keys, especially when she recently got fed up of make-up and stopped using it. Since then she looks as beautiful as she always has. Make-up is great, it’s a way to express yourself, and it’s no longer just for females, there are plenty of males posting make-up tutorials. It should be a choice, not a necessity, so thank you Alicia. This girl has chops and it’s an extraordinary debut. Her ability on the piano alone earns her praise. Her voice creeps down your back. The reimaging of Prince’s ‘How Come You Don’t Call Me?” is a gift. Her lead single ‘Fallin,’ is still perfect. This neo soul, RnB, and at times jazzy offering is ambitious for a young woman vying for chart success. In the end, she triumphs.
2001: Destiny’s Child – ‘Survivor.’
I like to joke that Solange was my favourite member of Destiny’s Child, (She would fill in if any of the girls were sick). Still all the same, I love Kelly, Michelle, and Beyoncé. The single ‘Bootylicious’ uses a sample of Stevie Nick’s ‘Edge of Seventeenth.’ So as tribute, Nick’s is in the video, which I just love. This album delivers female empowerment. Between the singles ‘Bootylicious,’ and ‘Survivor,’ another track ‘Independent Woman Part I,’ was featured on the soundtrack of 2000 film Charlie’s Angels. (Which I also have). Destiny’s Child is a girl band I go back to over and over again. This is a multiple platinum selling album for a reason. Now go watch the ‘Survivor’ music video on YouTube, I know you want to!
2001: P!nk – ‘Mizzundastood.’
P!nk is weird, like really weird. It was such a godsend for awkward teen Jenni who was also extremely weird, and hadn’t yet realised that this is actually, well, normal. ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me,’ made me cry with joy as she sang:
“I’m my own worst enemy
It’s bad when you annoy yourself
Don’t wanna be my friend no more
I wanna be somebody else”
I was always trying to escape my own head, I was so cruel to myself, I never had compassion. I wish I could hug myself, all I can do is look back and feel glad of the learning curve. I appreciate the album more and more as I get older, and own every record P!nk has released. The music business needed someone edgy like P!nk to balance out the Christinas and Britneys. One of my favourite tracks is ‘Misery,’ a duet with Steven Tyler. I couldn’t pick one as an absolute favorite, because the whole album has such a special place in my history.
2002: Christina Aguilera – ‘Stripped.’
“So, what am I not ‘supposed to have an opinion?
Should I be quiet just because I’m a woman?
Call me a bitch because I speak what’s on my mind
Guess it’s easy for you to swallow if I say and smiled.”
Gurl, you got it. Another female artist that played as the background soundtrack to my formative years. Whether or not it had an effect on me can be argued, but no one can deny I am not one for being forced into a box. Or being told how to act because of my sexual organs. My clothes are a mixture of male and female, my ideals are neutral and reasoned, and I am not hysterical when I am passionate. My behaviour has been shaped by a society that told me, ‘girls should be seen, and never heard,’ to which I responded. “Fuck that, you know how loud I am, and my friend told me it was charming.”
Critics argued against it’s unwillingness to settle on a genre, I think this is one of it’s biggest strengths. You go from RnB on ‘Can’t Keep Us Down,’ to gospel on, ‘Cruz,’ Rock on, ‘Fighter,’ and pop on ‘Beautiful.’ Alicia Keys is featured on the track, ‘Impossible’ and Lil Kym on ‘Can’t Keep Us Down.’ The production launches it’s promotion with her talk track ‘Stripped Intro,’ and keeps up the theme until the final track, ‘Keep On Singin’ My Song.’ This album has aged well.
2003: Dido – ‘Life For Rent.’
Dido, where have you gone? I have her first 3 albums, and only realised recently that she released another album in 2013. ‘Life For Rent’ was written mostly between herself and her brother Rollo. This multi-platinum selling album was a gift from my godmother. It was all I wanted that Christmas. I loved her so much, from her debut album to her new release. Although I thought I was so grown up at 13 when I got this album, most of it went over my head. When I revisited it as a 28 year old, I noticed how much I’d missed of its subtle nuances. Dido’s voice is not strong like Christina’s, or celestial like Björk’s but it was whispered in my ear like a pray. Highlight track for me is, ‘Mary’s In India.’
2004: Norah Jones – ‘Feels Like Home.’
I think most people have Norah Jones’s 2002 album, ‘Come Away With Me,’ but somehow ‘Feels Like Home,’ made it’s way into my possession first. Any album that features Dolly Parton is a win in my opinion, and ‘Creepin In,’ was a duet with her. It seems Jones had more creative control on this album and spoiler alert, that usually makes an album better! For me, this album gave me peace when I needed it, Jones’ voice was one among many that year but hers captured me, and gave me sanctuary.
2004: Sam Philips – ‘A Boot & A Shoe.’
Have you ever watched the Gilmore Girls? What a show that was, and still is. One of the best things about the show is the accompanying soundtrack, which was mostly composed by none other than Sam Philips. I discovered this album through Gilmore Girls, and fell deeply in love with the sardonic lyrics sang in such as soft voice, that you are surprised by the undertones. The song that was featured in the final episode of the latest Gilmore Girls offering is Philip’s, ‘Reflecting Light.’ This song needs more attention. I think the album, heck Sam Philips, needs more attention overall.
2005: Kelly Clarkson – ‘Breakaway.’
Clarkson’s ‘Breakaway’ was featured in the 2004 film ‘Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.’ Although the film was a let down for me, (as a huge fan of the books by Meg Cabot), it led me to the album by Kelly Clarkson, which is a plus. I’ve seen Clarkson live, and yes, she doesn’t need a studio to hit those notes from ‘Behind These Hazel Eyes,’ and ‘Since You’ve Been Gone.’ It’s even more spine tingling in person, when it’s just her, in her jeans, wandering around stage. There are a lot of over produced singers out there, and trust me, Clarkson is not one of them. ‘Where is your heart,’ and ‘Beautiful Disaster,’ are excellent examples of her versatility on this album. The success of this album, and of Clarkson herself, comes not from the exceptional voice she was given, but the way she uses it.
2006: Nelly Furtado – ‘Loose.’
I had started college, in 2007, and I was 17. I was struggling (you can read about it here: https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/my-anxiety-my-magic/). Losing myself in music was a good way to cope. At the time Nelly Furtado was dominating the charts with singles, ‘Maneater,’ ‘Promiscuous,’ & ‘Say It Right.’ These swam around my head until one day, when I was feeling particularly low, I wandered into a music shop in Maynooth. I bought this album, and it ended up on my playlist for over a year. The production on the track, ‘Say It Right,’ reverberated through my bones. Furtado is another female artist that broke out of her record company’s mould. Something nearly all the female artists on this list have struggled with. To be in control of your own music, image and power is something women still struggle with. Give us choice and fuck off.
2007: Imelda May – ‘Love Tattoo.’
“Johnny got a boom boom, Johnny got a bam, he got a!”
Singer-songwriter Imelda May is my hero. She worked incredibly hard to get where she is. She wrote, recorded, and performed until Ireland listened, and then the world. She’s one hell of a woman, and she is unapologetically herself. This is her second album, and although I love all her offerings, this one has a special place in my heart.
2010: Rihanna – ‘Loud.’
Now here is a lady who gives no fucks. She does not apologise for her sexually contentious attitude, her drug use, or flexing. She dresses how she wants and she stopped taking herself or the industry seriously a long time ago (proven by her swigging from a hip flask at an awards ceremony in which she was front row). Her album was LOUD and it screamed. Featured is the collaboration with Eminem where she owned and highlighted domestic abuse. Nearly all the tracks on this album are hit singles, and she is so blasé about her success. Her line of Fenty Cosmetics offer 40 different foundation, to cover all skin types and types. She is now in the process of releasing a line of lingerie for woman of all sizes and shapes, so they can find something to make themselves feel good. I’ve listened to this album many times, and cannot help myself, I love, ‘Cheers (Drink To That).’ When she sings, ‘Let the Jameson sink in,’ I smile, nod, and lift my glass.
2011: Adele – ’21.’
Of course Adele is on this list. This breakup album came out when I was going through a breakup. Coincidence? Yes. These things just happen. When I needed to mope, Adele was there for me. When I needed to feel legitimized in my feelings, I blasted, ‘Set Fire To The Rain,’ when I needed to cry, I listened to ‘Someone Like You,’ and when I needed to feel acrimony, ‘Rumor Has It,’ had my back. Adele is another hero of mine. When she accepted her Grammy Award for ’25’ she used her speech time to air her grievance about Beyoncé’s failure to win. I applauded, not because I thought Adele didn’t deserve the Grammy, but because she isn’t afraid to say what everyone else is thinking. This is probably a reason why her music is so compelling.
2013: Beyoncé – ‘Beyoncé.’
When Beyoncé drops an album, you sit down and listen to it. Now I loved ‘Lemonade’, but ‘Beyoncé’ had so much more to say about femininity, feminism and the struggle of the female. I rank it higher than ‘Lemonade.’ You only have to listen to the first track, ‘Pretty Hurts,’ to understand where the album is going. Beyoncé voiced a concern for many females who fear they are compromising their feminism because they love their man, and still want to be a feminist. Beyoncé became a mainstream example of feminism. There isn’t a format for feminism, and this is the theme throughout this album. The track, ‘Flawless,’ featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is spectacular. It’s a hit song, but it also offers a side to Beyoncé I’m glad she finally let out. This is my favorite Yoncé album.
2014: Warpaint – ‘Warpaint.’
I can’t remember how I found Warpaint, but I remember what got me enthralled. It was their music video for, ‘Disco//Very – Keep It Healthy.’ These LA girls, in their messy clothes, with a devil may care attitude, crawled under my skin and I couldn’t stop listening. Part of me loved the fact it was an all-girl band, the other part of me loved the musical style, the mixed voices, and the grim atmosphere. These ladies have been a staple of my music collection since then and I cannot recommend them enough. They are the modern skater, punk, indie rock girl band we’ve been waiting for. Our patience has been rewarded and we deserve this.
2016: Lady Gaga – ‘Joanne.’
I’ve had a wonderful and outlandish journey with Lady Gaga. She burst onto the scene when I was in my first year of college, and my college gang fell in love with her. Now she’s gotten this far, she’s given us this gem of an album, ‘Joanne.’ Named for her dead Aunt, this finally allows an insight into her musical influences which before seemed nothing but superficial, (and according to Madonna, “Reductive… Look it up.”). This spectacular offering has the hit singles, ‘Perfect Illusion,’ ‘Million Reasons,’ and, ‘John Wayne,’ and these are songs to be reckoned with. However, what is vastly superior are the themes she deals with on the album tracks. These include her sexual assault in, ‘Diamond Heart,’ self-pleasure in, ‘Dancin’ In Circles,’ and the healing power of your female friends in ‘Grigio Girls.’ I recently watched her documentary “Five Foot Two,” and it just showed me how powerful a person she is. She is our generation’s Madonna.
2016: Laura Mvula – ‘The Dreaming Room.’
You’ll remember Laura Mvula from her 2013 hit single ‘Green Garden.’ I was a fan then, and I’m a fan now. Her most recent album, ‘The Dreaming Room,’ is packed full of gorgeous lyrically pertinent songs, and a collaboration with Nile Rogers, on ‘Overcome.’ My favorite track is ‘Phenomenal Woman.’ Her song writing suits her voice, her messages are graceful, and her rhythm is intelligent. You will thoroughly enjoy every inch of this album it is a tasty snack.
2016: Sia – ‘This Is Acting.’
If you know me you know I love Sia. Sia Furler was the singer on several Zero 7 albums which is a band I’m particularly fond of. Between this and her own solo career Sia has written music for Rihanna (‘Diamonds),’ Beyoncé (‘Pretty Hurts,’) Kylie Minogue (‘Kiss Me Once,’) Britney Spears (‘Perfume,’) Celine Dion (‘Loved Me Back To Life,’) Katy Perry (‘Chained To The Rhythm,’)…and so forth.
Furler’s ‘This Is Acting,’ is a combination of new songs and those that had been rejected by other musicians. Her raspy soulful voice invigorates me every time. The album offers an anthem for everyone. From “Cheap Trills,” which reminds me of those good old days in the pubs, was produced by God’s mouthpiece himself, Kayne West. (I know he’s a complete twat, but damn the man can produce). She proves her dance tune skills with, ‘Move Your Body,’ which is impossible to sit still to. Her song “Alive,” is very Adele-esque. That’s because it’s co-written by the megastar Adele herself. Her voice makes each second of every song feel epic, and props to the lady because she’s got more writing credits than I could list here. Her first number one was ‘Cheap Trills,’ and she was the oldest female to get her first number one single at the age of 40. Much respect for this.
2016: Solange Knowledge – ‘A Seat At The Table.’
This album should have won the “Best Urban Contemporary,” Grammy instead of Beyoncé ‘Lemonade.’ It did win for her single, ‘Cranes In the Sky’ at Least so that’s something. It is a much more coherent album than ‘Lemonade.’ There are interludes where her Mother and Father speak about their experiences of being African American. She sings about her hair, she sings about being mad, she sings about being mistreated:
“I ran my credit card up
Thought a new dress make it better
I tried to work it away
But that just made me even sadder
I tried to keep myself busy
I ran around circles
Think I made myself dizzy
I slept it away, I sexed it away
I read it away.”
It’s controversial but I’ve always felt Solange is the superior Knowles, but there is enough room in the music world for both. Although ‘A Seat At The Table,’ was realeased the same year as ‘Lemonade,’ it didn’t get the attention it deserved. From start to finish the story of this album sold through Solange’s earthy tones speaks to her audience. Her persuasion lies not in aggression but elegance.
2017: Miley Cyrus – ‘Younger Now.’
Miley Cyrus has got a lot of attention lately hasn’t she? Her transition from child star to woman was viewed as tentative and people are quick to say she did it wrong. Poor Miley, she’s pawn for her father used her to make money. What about, you have done a phenomenal job well done. Although I may not have been a big fan of the ‘Bangerz,’ and ‘Miley And All Her Dead Petz,’ era, her combination of all her musical past in ‘Younger Now,’ gave me pause. She talks about her bisexuality, her growth and regrets. The influences are country, rock, pop and electronic. Her song, ‘Love Someone,’ screams Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac). Also there is a duet with her Godmother Dolly Parton. I’ve always said an album with a duet with Dolly Parton is a good album.
Also she just collaborated with Converse All Stars. I got myself an early birthday present:
Everyone, put down what you’re doing, right now, and listen to this album. It is unbelievable, it’s fun, it’s inclusive, it’s reaching everyone, it’s… just go listen!
Watch Tessa Thompson strut around with Janelle in the videos for ‘Make Me Feel,’ and ‘Pynk.’ Understand that the LGBTQ+ community are in mainstream media to stay, and expressions of sexuality is not controversial, it’s prevailing. Monáe questions beauty standards, uncontrolled jingoism, and terrible fear. Monáe pushes back at a society that tried to block her light out. She came from an impoverished background economically, but her rich inner life results in a cerebral masterpiece.
We are not worthy, but she went ahead and gave it to us anyways. Thank you Janelle. xxx
“Ireland is gripped in the worst snow storm it has seen in 36 years!”[i] In fairness there is evidence to back this up, I’m not disputing the accuracy of the headlines, more the panicked frenzy it caused here. Brennan’s bread (sliced loaf to those of you who are unfamiliar with this brand), sold out, along with milk, in multiple supermarkets country wide. My dear friend is referring to it as the Sneachtpocalypse which of course, is in jest. The country is basically closed down for the next couple of days. Seriously, a friend of mine from Portugal was due to fly today to visit, and he had to cancel his trip.
In the midst of the panic though, brought on by the usual unpreparedness of the Irish government and civil services, people are finding some joy. Snowmen are being built, and children along with dogs are experiencing their first snow ever (which could be true if they were born after 2010, our last snow). The general feeling of snow day reigns merry and bright. Some people even broke out their Christmas lights again, no joke, and are enjoying their white Christmas. Each to their own, I guess.
So it is with great tentativeness, (like the time I announced to my boyfriend that I don’t really like pancakes), that I tell you, I hate snow. Honestly, I cannot understand why people over the age of 12 like it. It’s horrible, cold, and wet for one thing. It causes dangerous disruptions to vital services such as healthcare and charities. It also comes in March, when the spring should be here and I should be full of the latter. It is of my opinion that snow should be one of those things, like spiders, that cause a natural unease within our reptilian brain. Snow = bad right? Surely? It would have been hard for our ancestors to find food and suitable shelter. We couldn’t keep fires lit for warmth, while the young and infirm would have died off. So why are we obsessed with this white death when it arrives on our shores? Surely not just because it’s pretty.
Whenever I am stumped by something like this, I consult my friends. The Books and Journals of course. So here is what I found if you are at all interested. You may click away now if you think I will be unbiasedly weighting the pros and cons of snow. In my opinion it’s all CONverse all-stars from here! I have a wonderful tome, (and I mean tome), called “Complete History of the World: The Ultimate Work of Historical Reference,” by Richard Overy. Now most of this book’s life was spent as a table for my laptop as I sat on bed, or for my straighteners before I got a flame retardant case. However it came in handy today! So regarding Ice Ages, “the human species today is the product of this long process of adaptation to the carried conditions of the Ice Ages.”[ii] According to the book, “the height of the last Ice Age or LGM (last glacial maximum) was reached about 20,000 years ago. As the ice expanded, the human populations contracted into a small number of more favourable habitats.”[iii] Quite rightly so. We are not build to survive such inhospitable weather. So why does the sight of snow storms not cause the existential dread that forced our ancestors to flee to more suitable climes?
Well the book goes on to further say, “Agricultural settlement spread in a broadband from northeast France to southwest Russia on soils produced by the weathering of loess – a highly fertile windblown dust laid down during the Ice Age.”[iv] Ok, touché receptacle of knowledge. Perhaps within the human mind we see snow as the beginning of an era of renewal. A time for the Earth to rejuvenate. So now what?
Most scientist who deal with weather, will tell you, snow is bad. It’s disruptive and people often don’t fully understand the danger it causes, leading to injury and sometimes, death. For example, “Wind chill and cold temperatures can cause exposed skin to freeze very rapidly, leading to frostbite. Extremely cold conditions can cause hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition. Protect yourself by taking steps to stay warm when you are outdoors.”[v] This comes from a Canadian weather services website and I’m pretty sure Canadians know something about snow.
Does the love of snow come from learned behaviour wherein we ignore our defensive brain, which we do for many other activities. We associate it with winter holidays such as Christmas, and yuletide joy. Children don’t have to go to school, often businesses close and you get a ‘snow day.’ Snow is never as cold when you’re a child then when you reach adulthood. I’m still at a loss, and I know who I sound like. I still hate snow though. It causes discomfort and fear deep within me. Plus it’s wet and cold, if you like wet and cold then you’re weird.
So I’ll leave you today with some photographs of my back garden covered in snow, as we experience OUR WORST STORM IN 36 YEARS. *Coughs* Sorry sometimes you feed into the hype. Wherever you are, stay warm and cosy friends!
There’s a feud happening between Swift and Kardashian. Seems he said/she said rules are being enacted, snap chat has been utilised. In reality, this sort of feud is helping no one. The core issues of the feud are being ignored, and now Swift is suffering at the hands of the media. Kardashian’s influence only incites hatred towards Swift and it needs to stop. While I don’t have one Swift album in my possession and she is not someone I particularly like, it doesn’t stop the fact that she has worked hard for what she has. It was aptly described in this article from the Guardian that:
Swift writes catchy songs about some ex-boyfriends, appears surprised when she wins awards, complains about how she has been represented in a Kanye West song,and is never photographed with a hair out of place. Those are her crimes. And they are apparently unforgivable.”[i]
Consider this for a moment, this is a problem that arises when you are a strong woman. Hard work is how you accomplish your goals. Rare are the moments where success is born out of pure luck, most people work hard and have earned their achievements. If you are a man, this ‘grind’ is seen as a good quality, however, women still suffer in having this quality, and it has to stop. From all angles, from other women, from men. Honestly, it’s too much. Equality is only equality when successful stops being threatening when it’s from a woman.
Yes, it was probably easier for Swift in certain regards considering her demographics and background, I am not disputing that. However, Swift did still work hard to get where she is. Attacking her or her success is the wrong way to tackle these issues. It’s sending the wrong message to young girls, whom I honestly want growing up believe they have zero restrictions on who they can be and what they can do regardless of their background.
Whatever tags you assign to yourself, woman, man, black, white, gay, straight, jazz composer, finger painting artist, they’re all just tags when you lay yourself down to rest. What becomes problematic is the propensity of harm towards others based on these tags. Quandeel Baloch was strangled to death by her brother in what he described as an “Honor Killing.”[ii] Baloch was a successful media persona, and this success caused incitement and rage strong enough to see her death at the hands of her own brother. We need to keep feminism alive, and this should be in all parts of our lives, covering even our reactions to a feud on social media.
Before you start your cries of, “feminism is outdated we should all just be humanists,” think of Baloch. The death she suffered shows how much we still need feminism, among both women and men. Yes, I’m also a humanist. No, I don’t think anyone should be ever be terrorised, hurt or killed for how they define themselves. Unfortunately, we’re just not evolved enough yet to let feminism go. Aggression towards woman spans from the general hatred of Swift to the killing of Baloch and many things before, between and after. I’m just reiterating what millions have said before me. Please, it has to stop.
Knowing that I have better things to be occupying my time with I offer you this question. Do you ever find yourself insulted or even just generally concerned by advertisements?
I tend to find certain advertisements sexist, something I painfully admit. Normally I let it go because my sense of duty to take my outrage further is usually halted by the simple fact that there is not much I can do about it. There are a few occasions however I find certain advertisements so offensive that I have to speak up. On many forms of media at the moment, there is an advertisement in regard to a certain diet version of a drink that I cannot let pass me by.
You will not find a much of a description of the advertisement here as I find this will be beside the point. The advertisers found the means to their end. As much as I may blame them for their actions, they are but one of many sexist advertisements in our current spot in history. It is not this one advertisement that is the problem but the accumulation of many more ads made in the same vein that is having a negative effect on the perception of women in modern society.
That familiar feeling of readers finding themselves ‘bored now’ of this rant and switching to something else pops into my brain. Unfortunately, this type of reaction is an apathy prevalent in our generation. We cannot complain if we are too busy to bother with a protest of any kind.
Despite the usual problems I have with these ads of the seemingly underweight model drinking the diet drink (with this particular diet drink they have made the models into puppets). They are perfectly sized, beautiful dolls in what is implied to be very expensive clothing and handbags.
Now although I find them offensive, I can see other views on the subject. Why would or how could anyone be bothered to be that offended by puppets? My brain refuses, as usual, to take what it sees at face value and I see deeper implications, different causes and effects. Advertising is so incredibly clever as an industry that is dominated by incredibly clever people. In my opinion the general public either doesn’t understand the harmful effects or they simply choose to be ignorant on the subject. People believe they have their own mind and will not be affected by advertisements unless they so choose. I can be quite certain in my declaration that they are incorrect in this thinking.
No matter how hard we argue that we remain unchanged by them, advertisements are one of the most influential entities in existence. They have wormed their way into every form of media. The pandering is so severe that I can only surmise they know us on a deeper level. For me though there is a certain aspect of advertisement we don’t consider, which most people would label as merely influence. In my own mind, I label as determining, especially when we consider the younger viewer.
Now the ads I’ve mentioned are on every form of media going at the moment. You’ll find them on television, popular websites, and radio. Young girls can see them and they absorb them more than any adult would care to realise. There are the usual outcries from advertising companies when they are accused, they just go with the party line of, “Don’t let your children be exposed to the ads if you don’t want them affected by them.”
Excellent point, but what about the mother, aunt, grandmother, older sister etc… in their lives holding the diet drink? They are just as responsible as the big advertisement companies for the development of the child. If they say nothing, they cannot passively blame the ads.
Are we becoming Diet Drink Puppets?
If I have not said it quite clearly enough I will say it now, I do not enjoy the way women are portrayed in the media. It puts me ill at ease. These ads have a hand in shaping the future generations of women. The younger the child the easier it is for advertisements to influence their development. I truly believe that as people grow up, a part of them becomes what they have seen in the media. How much of us really belong to our own subconscious?
This is the danger I see. Are we allowing a generation of girls to grow up thinking they should be like the diet drink puppets? If this is true we are creating a generation of girls who think that their sole purpose in life is to be beautiful and possess expensive clothing.
That is enough of my ranting for now. I am also not that woman who says it’s not ok to be happy being like the diet drink puppets. I would just hope that it was the woman’s choice and not because a boardroom in an advertising company made her that way.