4/04/2014

Life Rant

Lately I've been sucked into the professional world, and it hasn't been very pretty, which has taken time away from this blog.

I was writing for a digital magazine who in the end decided not to publish any of my articles because I  confessed that my interest in Fashion is minimal (non existant even) and that I did not feel comfortable writing about "Top 90s Hairstyles" and "Fashion Week Highlights" (I didn't even know Fashion Week was on!).

The point is that even after I attempted to submit content, trying to push my own feminist agenda and to put an interesting spin on otherwise non engaging content, I simply could not sell out and write about subjects which I find utterly pointless - I think clothing and fashion design is fascinating, I have nothing but respect for the work of designers, however, my issue is with a mass imposed dictation of what is okay to wear, and what is so last season. The concept baffles me, but what baffles me even more is the fact that people actually refer to a surreal magazine who's aim is to push merchandise as a beacon of how to cover their own bodies... I simply cannot be a part of that dictatorship - because in the end, that is what it is. If I'm asked to list the "Top Spring/Summer Trends of 2014", my research is to be made through other articles that have already stated what said trends are, and they usually all descend from some sort of overlord magazine such as Vogue or Nylon. Smaller writers all feed off them, and each other, so the trends aren't really trends, they're just a conversation between two self appointed fashion lords, and the rest of us are just spectators.

Needless to say I got "fired" which is a big word considering I wasn't even getting paid. However, I did not get an email saying so, I simply didn't receive the last group message before publication, but was included in the group message of the published magazine, only to have it rubbed in my face that my articles aren't in there - real world shit. Oh well, I think I'll survive, I'm not sure how much exposure I would have had from my articles, but I am glad that my name will not be associated to the sort of content that makes me cringe/made me cringe when I was assigned to it.

On the side of things where I do get paid, I'm having to chase my employers for payment, so I've decided to simply not show up until they pay me, which on one end is terribly immature, but on the other, is what they deserve. I have to travel one hour in and one hour out to teach a 40 minute class to a group which I was told would be 10 to 11 year old, but is actually 4 to 11 year old, which those of you who teach dance (or anything) will know how difficult it can be. Having to wait around making sure they all get home safely (including having to walk a couple home once) was not part of the deal, yet I ended up doing it, and they still don't think it necessary to pay me on time, so I think what I am doing is completely justified.

There is a bright side to the professional life, and literally so, as the weather is warming up in this region, more dance gigs are coming in, and therefore I'm doing shows and video shoots and it's all lovely and exciting, and what I actually enjoy doing for work, so despite unpleasant experiences, dancing has been good to me, and I have been good to it^^ I'm also still enjoying posing for life drawing classes and individual painters, which not only pays well, but has helped me greatly with self esteem and learning how to feel comfortable in my skin. So, in short, I'm okay :D

For those of you who miss my face as much as my writing, here is a selfie with my cat that I took before I had to give him away.


3/05/2014

Lately

I've been expanding my writing horizons by using my leave of absence at university to get some writing experience for my portfolio and CV, which is why I have not been as consistent with the blog posts. However, things are starting to settle and I'll soon be able to have a timetable that makes more sense. I have also found work as a dance tutor for primary schools and as a life model. I'm spending my gap semester doing what I love most, dancing and writing. I hope that lasts.

These are the websites I'm writing for, look out for my posts (:

OFF THE HOOK - I'm having to learn about fashion for this one, but any writing experience is experience, and though I don't understand the fashion industry and its standards, I'm trying to sneak in my feminist values every chance I get, as well as being a culture contributor to the site blog every Wednesday.

Makerble - Charity facilitation website, it's designed to provide people with the ability to donate to charities based on their interests and income. I am a "lifestyle" writer for it, whatever that means ;)

On one hand, I'm ecstatic that people take me on board with so many projects, but on the other, I didn't expect so many things to do at once in such a short amount of time, so I have been struggling to keep up with it all, even though needing a break was part of the reason I went into leave of absence in the first place. It's a process, and I know I'll get there eventually, specially since I have the support of all my friends and family, who are nothing short of extraordinary.

Thank you for all the support with the blog so far, its really fun/interesting to write knowing a number of you will definitely read, much appreciated^^ I leave you with a photo of a painting from the life drawing class I model for.



2/25/2014

Rich White People Movies

I'm over them, really.

Lately, Hollywood has been spewing out a number of films about white people reaching wealth through dishonest means and then conning other white people. Why does this still sell? Is this what people enjoy seeing? A multimillion dollar industry with the tools at their disposition to make insightful films, and tackle the misrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities, but instead it's remake and rich white people movies galore.
  • American Hustle
  • The Wolf of Wallstreet
  • The Counselor
People seem to eat these up, and by people, I mean men. It seems like these are the people we glorify, these men who are presented from the beginning as being out of control maniacs with nothing but thirst for money and drugs. The fact that these films consistently work so well should raise a few alarms.

Do you realize that you are paying rich white men to make a movie (employing rich white men) about rich white men who got rich by conning rich men (here is where the token minorities are introduced)? Most of the men here are likely to have a drug problem. There are of course, the pretty women who get to be a part of it because they fuck one or more of those men. 

People will remake the same things (unnecessarily) about 4 times before they even consider to throw some color on the screen. Did we need another Carrie? Robocop? The Delivery Man? The last one came ONE year after the original Canadian version. ONE year.

Done with this. IF I watch any of it, I'll stream it, because f*ck bleach.

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would not pay to go see another film starring a white guy. That probably means I'll go to the cinema about 6 times in 2014, oh well.

2/18/2014

(More) Singing WoC III

THEESatisfaction  [RnB/Hip Hop]
U.S.A



Jennifer Chung [Soul/Pop]
Korea/U.S.A


Kina Grannis [Acoustic/Pop]
U.S.A


Bat For Lashes [Indie Pop/Electronic]
UK


Alisa Xayalith (of The Naked and Famous) [Indie Rock/Post Punk/Indie Pop]
New Zealand


Sy Smith [Jazz/RnB/Soul/Funk/Electronica]
U.S.A


N'dambi [Jazz/Soul]
U.S.A


Ruby Ibarra [Rap/Spoken word]
U.S.A


Laura Mvula [Soul/Jazz/Pop]
UK



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2/12/2014

How Not To Cabaret

[Content Note: sexual assault, drug abuse]

I went to see a cabaret show, and for the most part, I had fun. There was a charismatic burlesque dancer, some queer spoken word, an amazing music trio, and cheery hula hoop performers. However, this serving of cheeky entertainment came with a side of offensive material.

These were the acts I had a problem with:
  • A poem called "Ugly girls" trashing women who don't adhere to the Western standards of beauty, by a man who's previous poem (or written exercise) was about a  person with a mental disorder who stalks a girl, going as far as breaking into her home and tattooing her face on his body - a poem meant to be funny.
  • Freestyle Fictionary hip hop group played a game of "versus", which consists of having a 2 a side rap battle, and one of the subjects was cocaine vs. acid - an unnecessary glorification of drug abuse.
  • A member of said hip hop group made a gang rape joke, and when the hostess attempted to comedically protest this by pretending to whack him with her heel, he said "yeah hit me with your heel, i like that" - he couldn't have sounded more like a rapist if he had tried.
Bar the above, I enjoyed the show, it was a nice showcase of Northern talent. However, the few acts that had me sitting uncomfortable in the audience stuck with me more than any other, and I can say that I am glad I got my tickets for free, and I don't intend to pay for any coming shows. I will not post the name of the Cabaret because I have no intention of advertising them, but I will warn about Freestyle Fictionary's member SchizaFlow.

I have also sent said group a message expressing my discontent at their inappropriate material:


Hi, I was at your show last night, and I just wanted to say that I found the usage of the line "after you'd reject me, i'd get my mates and gang bang you" absolutely vile. It was out of order, and the fact that the reaction to Penella's somewhat attempt at a comedic deflection was met with "yeah baby hit me with your heel i like that" or some similar comment made it even worse. Rape jokes are never okay.
Furthermore, the glorification of drug abuse - particularly a lifestyle drug with devastating consequences such as cocaine - in your rap battle seemed highly unnecessary. Were there genuinely no other subjects that you found more engaging?
I would have found the act worthwhile if those elements hadn't been present, but all you made me think about was how glad I was that I got my tickets to the show for free, I wouldn't have paid to feel uncomfortable in my seat while hearing such things. I sincerely hope that was the first and last time you tried to make a joke out of sexual assault and drug addiction.

To which they replied:

Hi Naomi,

We are sorry to see you were offended enough to message us. We try very hard to keep our show fun and unoffensive, but due to the nature of improvisation and a charged atmosphere, this is not always possible.

The tone of the night was edgy and adult-orientated, and our performers took their cue from this, but after receiving your message we checked the publicity from [venue] and noticed there was no content disclaimer, so have fed this back to them for future events.
We work on improving our output and content and thank you for airing your feelings. Regards, Fictionary

To which I couldn't help but answer:

There is nothing adult oriented or edgy about a gang rape joke. It's simply crude and cheap. If you genuinely believe that sexual assault is a laughing matter, don't hide yourself behind "it's the venue's fault". It's not, it's your performer, and since you insist on deflecting blame, your collective mentality as well it seems. This will be the last you hear from me.

which was met with:

I’m sorry you feel this way, we stand by what we said, please feel free to complain to the venue.

Bitch ass wangsters who claim they can rap But all they do is sink to lows to get a clap They make a rape joke, then blame it on the venue Congratulations assholes, what else is on the menu? Murder? Harassment? Assault and Battery? That's why I'm cool with saying Fuck Freestyle Fictionary Bitch.

I stand by what I said.


2/08/2014

(More) Interesting Photography III


Photographs showing both cultural appropriators and the ones they have appropriated from.

Personal gallery by David Uzochukwu
Images focused primarily on showing males in a vulnerable light.Black Venus Project by Maxim Vakhovskiy
Celebrating the beauty of black women.Illusions of the Body by Gracie Hagen
The way posture alters images of the body.Substitutes by Ellen Jacob
Racial divides exposed through a series picturing black nannies and the children they take care of.

2/01/2014

American Apparel's Hairy Situation

This article comes in a couple of weeks late, but I thought I'd write it anyway, because I can.


There was a lot of talk about American Apparel's unveiling of mannequins that feature prominent pubic hair. The reactions seemed to be divided between revulsion (how dare they show a woman with pubic hair, hair does not belong on a woman!) or celebration (they've broken the taboo! Finally, real women!). My reaction was f*ck that brand. American Apparel's stunt had nothing to do with women's natural body hair, or natural body in general. It was purely for shock value.

  • There is no underarm hair.
  • The usage of the cat eye glasses and hairstyle suggests that it is reflecting a stereotype/trend as opposed to  simply naturally occurring hair.
  • The mannequins are still confined to the body standards of the fashion industry.

American Apparel has zero interest in fairly representing women. They have a history of sexist marketing, and ads built around sex, even to sell socks.

Furthermore, I don't respect this brand at all due to the fact that their entire premise is that it is "Made in USA", with prices far above the norm, which is a reflection of what the West thinks of foreign work- When it is made in the US, you pay top dollar, when it is made in Indonesia, Mexico, or anywhere else in the world where corporations have no problem exploiting workers, the prices drop considerably.

Again, f*ck that brand, and every other like it. I leave you with this photo of myself not giving a gosh darn about a narrative where women's body hair is a trend.