Tuesday, 22 October 2013

"Motorboating Girls for Breast Cancer Awareness"

"Does anyone else still find this vaguely disconcerting? Like an idea that probably started with the phrase, "You know how I bet we could smash our faces into a lot of tits?""
"Yes but this "campaign" magically turns inappropriate behavior into appropriate behavior. Oh and if you do find it inappropriate? You're just hating on good intentions and not, say, the right for some guys to use this as an excuse to be pervy."

Dear Simple Pickup – I stumbled across your “motorboating girls for breast cancer awareness” video.

Firstly, I just want to state a few things:
  • It’s great that you wanted to give money to charity. 
  • It's great to bring attention to the problem of breast cancer.
  • I, unlike some of your viewers & critics, do not think that the women who took part are "sluts". As much as I dislike the video, I’m not annoyed at them for doing something that they probably only did because they were told it was for charity.
  • I almost didn’t want to make this video for fear I’d just get hate from your fans like anyone else that said they didn’t like your video and got comments like “fuck u. get a life. or eat a dick...”
However, I felt I had to fully explain to you these reasons as to why I, and many others, had problems with it and maybe why the charity you gave to actually chose to reject the money.
  1. I don't think women who have had their breasts removed to fight their cancer would appreciate a breast cancer awareness video that is all about how "amazing" boobs are or that the video starts "let's go save come boobies". It's tongue in cheek (or, more correctly, tongue in tit) but, come on... How about "let's go save some ladies" instead?
  2. Many don't see it as charitable because it's not very altruistic. Altruistic giving is giving purely out of concern for others, without wanting anything in return: it's definitely not saying "I will give $20 to charity IF I get to put MY face in YOUR tits". Also, you were NOT "raising money" as many defenders said you were: technically, you were holding back money you already had until you got to touch the boobs of women who would likely need treatment in their future. Doesn't sound as nice when I put that way, does it?
  3. You basically used breast cancer as a reason to touch women's boobs. If anyone disagrees, let me just ask, do you think these guys would make a video rubbing their faces in guys' arses for prostate cancer awareness, or rubbing their faces in guy's crotches for testicular cancer awareness? Hmm? Plus, they seem to be just approaching attractive young women. The fact is, 8/10 women that get breast cancer are actually over 50. Why weren't you also approaching older women more at risk of breast cancer? Probably because they’re not sexy young ladies that viewers can perv on & you enjoy touching. Yaay, using “cancer awareness” to further sexualise young women.
  4. Speaking of awareness, I dunno about other viewers, but whilst you mentioned breast cancer (emphaisis on breast) this video taught me nothing about it. Neither did it address the fact that men also get breast cancer – you guys have breast tissue too. I personally think that you could’ve explained to your viewers that out of all the women you approach in all your videos 1 in 8 of them could get breast cancer.  Or that 1 out of every 1000 of your male viewers could get it too. Just saying breast cancer exists doesn't do much to spread awareness of it when people already know that it exists. Perhaps add some real information so that your viewers become more aware about breast cancer, rather than just more aware of breasts.
  5. We haven't seen footage of how you asked women or when a woman said "no". Did you go "oh come on... Let us do it, it's for charityyyyy. Please?! Don’t be a spoilsport!" or did you go "ok! No problem, have a nice day!"? People just want to be sure none of the women were pressured into it. We can’t just trust the happy plinky plonky music. 

I'm sorry for sounding like I’m trying to spoil your fun - there's nothing wrong with trying to help charity with a “fun” video that could easily go viral, but your video just left a bad taste in my mouth (and probably yours if those women hadn't had a shower for a while). In truth it's probably because my parents have lost friends to breast cancer and, more recently, two friends of mine lost their mum.

I did not like thinking that you were using the cancer that cut her life, and so many others, short as an excuse to motorboat random young women on Venice Beach. 

I can’t fully explain everything and to show how much your viewers are learning about Breast Cancer, let me read out some of the comments from them left on the video:


Thanks for spreading the awareness, dudes.


This is the script I used for my video. It is good to say this stuff, but sometimes people don't listen until they read it themselves in black & white. 

Also, I am fed up of people who have reasonable and justifiable criticisms being labelled as "HATERS", because people refuse to sit and listen to them. Yes, sometimes people over-react, but sometimes the people they're criticising need to sit back and listen. Simple Pickup, take time to look at the root cause of the outrage (your video), rather than just get angry at the outrage itself.

Here's a good response (which, of course, has been marked as spam by your viewers)

Also, I didn't actually see/hear anyone who complained say that the charity should reject the money. The charity could've taken it, with a stern warning about how people could find your video inappropriate, sexualising, that is objectifies women, etc.. But instead they chose the harsher route. Why? Because really, $7000 isn't that much to risk sending the wrong message or risk copycats using your idea to touch women (but perhaps lying about the charity). They appreciate every penny given, yes, but they can't afford to look like they're promoting the idea of men going out and touching up women for charity, especially when they can get FAR more money elsewhere from other people who put in WAY more effort than you did.

Sorry to rant at you, I just studied a lot about charity & altruism at uni, plus my sister actually works for a charity. Donations to charity are not payments to avoid criticism, so please stop going "but it was for charity!" to try and shut people up. People who are pissed off with you are pissed off with your video and the way you chose to "fundraise"; they are NOT trying to deprive a charity of money.

Get your heads out of your arses and bloody listen.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Girls getting blind drunk at parties

Ok, so Steubenville happened, and now another case has come up from Maryville where a 14 year old girl had been drinking, was raped by an older guy aged 17 (there is evidence and confessions) yet the girl and her family have been run out of town, and their old home (still owned by her mother) mysteriously burnt down. Oh, and her 13 year old friend was also raped by another boy who also filmed the other rape. However, the prosecutor said there "wasn't enough evidence" and decided to not take it to court because of...reasons. Maybe it was really because one of the accused is the grandson of a "prominent former Missouri state representative". A Republican one (we all know how much they like the ladies and their rights!).

Anyway, in these cases, you always hear a few people going "well WHY were they drinking so heavily in the first place?!" Not in a concerned way, but in a "well if they weren't drunk, they wouldn't have gotten raped" way. In a victim-blaming way.

So why do these young girls drink so much at parties, especially with older guys? Let's see:

  • They want to impress - in a lot of teenagers' minds, drinking = acting like an adult, because only adults are legally allowed to drink. 
  • They want to look cool - drinking underage = rebelling/messing about = cool. Also, most older kids are often automatically seen as cooler, so hanging out with the older kids = you become cool by association. Cool = life is easier/don't get bullied.
  • They are constantly told that drinking is the best way to have fun and parties without alcohol are laaaame - just look at films/adverts/tv. I looked into alcohol adverts as part of my degree and the majority of them equate drinking with having fun. Alcohol is highly glamorised.
  • Peer pressure - basically everyone who conforms to the above ideas forcing them on others.
And to those of you wondering why their parents "let" them drink: they didn't, they were teenagers sneaking around. Also, I can be harsh on parents sometimes, but these kids were teenagers who need a little independence and trust from parents. Also, the mum of one of the victims (in whose house the girls were originally staying), was ASLEEP. Yeah, those stupid, unconscious, lazy parents....

And to others wondering why these girls were "stupid" enough to get drunk around boys: NOT EVERY GUY IS A POTENTIAL RAPIST. I reckon most guys wouldn't encourage young girls to get blackout-drunk. I also reckon most guys would help a drunk girl get home instead of rape her & leave her to freeze on her front lawn.

I don't drink huge amounts (especially on nights out) because of these reasons:
  • I want to remember the night
  • I don't want to lose any of my stuff (keys, purse, phone, etc.)
  • I don't want some creep trying to take advantage of me
HOWEVER, if I am at a party with friends & was surrounded by people I trusted, I would assume that I could trust them enough to make sure I was ok if I ended up drinking a little too much.

I would advise fellow ladies not to get blind-drunk, but to be honest, women & girls who drink a lot and then are sexually assaulted should not be told "well you shouldn't have drunk so much"; they are not to blame for their rapes, the rapist taking advantage of them is. I also don't think kids should be drinking that amount at that age, but no one deserves to be raped because they were naive teens who made a couple of stupid mistakes.

The only thing they are guilty of is trusting someone who took advantage of that trust & turned out to be a rapist, & those guys don't tend to go around wearing "I'm a rapist" t-shirts.

Sorry for the slightly serious/sad topic. I just saw the articles & had to get this off my chest. Just to let you know, I also have a Tumblr now and I do shorter, more frequent (& usually more light-hearted) posts on there. Please do go follow me on there if you have one too!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Badass "third world" feminist spells it out for ignorant idiot.

Yes. I'm talking about feminism again. YAAAAY!

Ok, so I stumbled across this old(ish) article about how a woman's photo was stolen and turned into a meme, at her expense. She is a lady of larger build and in the photo she is holding a poster that says "This is what a feminist looks like". Yeah, the arseholes had a field day - lots of fat-shaming, feminist-hating and stupid "hahahahahaha VIRGIN" lines. Classy, guys. Classy.

Anyway, this lady, Kelly Martin Broderick, decided that she wasn't going to take this lying down. She tried to have the photo taken down, but Facebook said it didn't violate her privacy, so it wouldn't remove it. So she decided to write that article & tell the whole story, showing how rude these people were being. In it, she posted up another photo from the set hers was taken from, which was actually part of a project to show how diverse feminists were, and she encouraged other feminists to share their photos too. Basically, she wanted to break the stereotype that those idiots were using her picture to try & cement (all feminists are fat women, who must also be virgins, who should be openly mocked for being feminists) and show that feminists come in all shapes, sizes, races and genders.

See? Lots of different people!

Now, I'm a sucker for going down to comment sections - having a YouTube channel, I'm so used to going down and reading through comments that it's just something I do now. I enjoy seeing good conversations, interesting questions and stories, and also pull my hair out at some of the self-righteous, ignorant drivel that people often like to spout.

There of course was an idiot in the comments section. And here he is:
Andrew Adkins: "The abused and oppressed women of the third world will rise up and thank you for your great strides and tremendous efforts to correct this atrocious injustice that will ripple through the sands of time as a momentous and paramount example of the terror that women must experience every day in the United Sates of America." 289 upvotes, 133 downvotes as of writing.
(I think there would probably be more downvotes on that one if people didn't have to create an account to do so...)

This is something that idiots have said to me when I have mentioned problems women have to deal with. On my video of street harassment, someone said I shouldn't be complaining about being leered at, groped and followed down the street, because women in other countries have it worse. Firstly, just because someone has a worse problem than you, doesn't make your problem any less legitimate - just smaller and maybe easier to deal with. To quote the beautifully eloquent Neacfy
"Yeah, it could be worse, but this is a struggle for equality; just because there are women out there who are lower down the equality ladder, it doesn't change the fact that even in our supposedly "enlightened" culture, the scales are still unbalanced." - Neacfy (seriously go watch his videos)
The comment in question from my "Street Harassment DOES Suck" video, & my reply.

They word it as if you don't bloody realise that other people have problems, that they think anyone who complains about sexism is automatically self-centred & ignorant, only showing concern for people in the same western society as yourself. Well, newsflash - a lot of us realise that women elsewhere go through waaaaay more crap, and we try to show solidarity for them too by raising awareness of their problems. However, we try not to always speak on their behalf (like Andrew did), as to do so would be EXTREMELY patronising, especially since we could easily be ignorant of what they actually think and what they truly have to deal with.

So I was extremely happy when I saw that a woman named Sarah, actually from a "third world" (as Andrew put it) country, had decided to reply to Andrew's little "speech"...
Sarah: "@Andrew Adkins. As a third world woman, I'd like you to thank you for doing the man thing and talking on my behalf. It is extremely helpful to dismiss someone standing up for anti-feminist bullying with the "others have it worse" excuse.
You mock the ripples? Here's my third world view of this. If feminists in the first world are being bullied and shamed out of being feminists, the following will happen:
  • Fewer women in the first world will dare be feminists, because they don't want to run the risk of being ridiculed.
  • Therefore, fewer people will be concerned with what happens to 3rd world women like me, because they wouldn't want to be labled as "feminists" and be shamed
  • Women in third world countries will hear/see this ridicule, and will feel helpless as they will feel no one will find their suffering worth fighting for. (Except now, we will see that it is)
  • To a lot of women in third world countries, what happened to Kelly is EXACTLY what their fathers and brothers tell them, to deter them from joining feminist groups. "look what happened to this woman, and she's in AMERICA. Imagine what they'll do to you here. They'll humiliate you."
Because believe it or not, even in third world countries, publicly shaming someone is scarier than beating them.
So as an oppressed woman of a third world country, I would like to kindly ask you to quit the pity fest and not talk on my behalf. What Kelly did in response to stealing her picture is more helpful to me than you realize.
Bullying those who stand up for my rights is not okay no matter where it happens in the world.
@Kelly: Thank you." - 955 upvotes, 11 downvotes as of writing.

No, Sarah - thank YOU. Thank you for explaining something so simple, that these idiots don't seem to understand. There IS a ripple effect. Once there is success/progress in one place, others will follow; once there is failure/mockery in one place, others will avoid it. Also, nicely done, calling out the 21 yr old white boy from Arkansas (pro tip - if you're gonna be a judgemental, ignorant douche, don't comment via Facebook) who thought he knew how all women in countries thousands of miles away from him would feel about this.

See, this is why I risk the comment section - you just might find an absolute gem like this.

Edit: since first publication, I have added in quotation marks around "third world" in the title, because I wanted to clarify that I was quoting Sarah, who was quoting Andrew in his use of the term. I know that some dislike the term, and I was not using it from my own vocabulary. Ta!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

TomSka, I AM an angry feminist

So, TomSka wrote a blog on his Tumblr about his journey with feminism, from "MEN HAVE PROBLEMS TOO!" arguer to "oh crap, sorry I was all defensive and thanks for calling me out on it". It's a good post and I recommend you read it.

Within it, he said how he wanted to make a video about feminism and how close my video got to the particular type of thing he wanted for his young, largely-male audience. However, he did have some criticism, which I found fair, but I also want to clarify a couple of things spoken about in this bit:

"Although when it comes to making my own video I’ll probably try to avoid slating “radical feminism” as much as Ellen does because it’s extremely hard to quantify what is radicalism and what is justifiable frustration. In the same way people are often quick to brush off valid criticism as “hate” I reckon there are plenty of folk ready to write-off an angry feminist as a “man hater.” That being said, it’s also important to note that sometimes people are just crazy and that there are assholes on every side of every argument."

I don't think that feminists aren't allowed to be angry/frustrated. I am angry/frustrated a LOT of the time. There are so many times when I want to scream into someone's face, but I usually bite my tongue (except when I put a snarky comment to highlight their sexism/stupidness/ignorance). When I express annoyance at something obviously sexist & I have someone tell me to worry about something "important", it pisses me off. When I read through the tweets on Everyday Sexism's Twitter feed, only to see replies from men going "are you sure they were even talking to you?" or "that's not sexist" or "take a damn compliment" or "well I wouldn't do that [so it must not have happened]", it pisses me off. I want to tear my hair out every time I see some ignorant idiot "mansplaining" or suggesting that women are overreacting, reading too much into stuff, being over-emotional, etc.

I have no problems with angry feminists, because I am one. I'm just a passive-aggressive, overly-British, mildly-socially-awkward one.

I was focusing on the small minority of crazy assholes/arseholes who think all men are inherently evil. In my video I spoke about my dislike of "angry, man-hating feminists" - when saying that, I specifically meant the women that hate men, the women that have become so riled-up with sexism against women that they have become sexists themselves; I was not meaning women who were just angry (who I would then assume were "man-haters"). In fact, that's one of the reasons I get annoyed at the very vocally-angry men-hating arseholes - any woman who labels herself as a feminist and is rightfully angry about something sexist is shouted down & silenced by being accused of being a sexist "man-hater". It sucks.

Feminists are allowed to angry and frustrated, else most of us would have to hand in our membership badges, but we cannot fight sexism with sexism. Feminism, to me, is a campaign for freedom and equality, and I've come across some extremist man-hating ladies that scared the crap out of me, who became one of the reasons I didn't call myself a feminist for a long time. I just couldn't relate; I wanted change for women, but, I liked most of the men I knew and didn't want to write-off the idea of maybe getting married to one one day. I also didn't understand all the women saying crap like "if women ran the world there would be no war" - I went to an all-girls school, and to that I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. Every woman has a right to be angry at a lot of the crap we go through, but you can take anger at injustice too far; I don't believe you can fight fire with fire - at least not if you want a happy ending. Female feminists are more than welcome to be angry about the patriarchal systems holding many of us back, but I don't think we should mark all men as arseholes - in fact, a lot of the feminists I know are actually men.

The extremists also create double-standards of sexism that MRA groups then latch onto and go "SEEE, FEMINISM IS EEEEEVIL. They don't want equal rights, they want DOMINANCE." Urgh.

In truth, though, I am also as equally pissed off with these idiots that look at the extreme man-haters and assume that they are a fair representation of all feminists. Really? You think any woman that points out an inequality also wants to destroy all men? However, I didn't approach my video like this, because they were some of the the people I wanted to get through to and I didn't want them to just switch off. I wanted to explicitly explain to them that feminism isn't about hating men, but hating complex social systems that have separated men and women into arbitrary groups (outside of sexual reproduction functions), creating the idea of "masculine" and "feminine" traits which each group must stick to (and god forbid you go in-between, else you're a weirdo/"gaaaaayyyy"/"tranny"/other vile insults here). (Just to clarify, these are all entirely social constraints that people are free to ignore - just pointing out that those that do - and did in the past - can come under intense scrutiny and be shunned by those in society that prefer traditional gender roles. Just look at this example).

I could've gone in guns-blazing, but I decided to rationally explain my thoughts & feelings on the matter, saying "hey, I had problems with feminism too, but then I actually learnt about it". I explained that feminism is also about letting men embrace their "feminine" side, not have to shun them and "man up" all the time, and about women wanting to be treated equally in all ways, good and bad. The problem is, "man-haters" are the ONLY thing a lot of these people see about feminism; people argue that I shouldn't call myself a feminist if I like men, because liking men means I'm not a feminist, apparently. So many people think feminism is this extreme "thing" because of Internet people like TheAmazingAtheist and others only talking about the extreme groups, because, hey, what YouTuber wouldn't be angry at all that sexism and want to make a video about it? 

I wanted to show people that there are different types of feminists and different branches of feminism, and not all of them relate to each other (ideologies can be very similar to religions in that respect). I just wanted to put across the other side - the passive-aggressive side that gets lumped in with the more vocal, extreme groups because people are lazy and stereotype. As you (and Neafcy in his wonderful video) have said, women are allowed to be angry, have every right to be angry - I just think that we need to calmly explain to people why we're angry as well, because - fun fact - unless we do so, people will likely label us as: over-dramatic, over-reactionary, attention-seeking, buzz-killing, PMT-ing, over-emotional and over-sensitive.

Because, you know, we're women, and all women are hormonal messes that just need to calm the hell down. (See what I did there...? I'm a bloody comic genius.)

Anyway, thanks for the shout out and the insightful comments - I always try to be clear in my videos and it seems I didn't make it clear that I was talking about the tiny minority of feminists that actually hate men, not justifiably frustrated women. Sorry about that. It's great to see that you're not afraid to talk about stuff like this and that you're taking everyone's comments on board. It takes real maturity to admit when you were wrong about something, and I love that you want to share this stuff with your young, male viewers. Sadly, with this topic, guys won't always listen to a woman/girl, because they have an "agenda", but they might just listen to you.

Although I would suggest you brace yourself for the inevitable white-knight comments... Let's hope the rational ones drown those out.

Also, if you want to see me really angry at sexism, I suggest you watch my videos on Street Harassment and some woman telling teenage girls what to do so as not to "tempt" her innocent sons with their pyjama-covered boobies. I get a bit more shouty in those two...