Friday, 30 May 2014

Rape culture

If someone is forced into sexual activity without consenting to it, it is rape.


Rape is one of the topics that's constantly debated in modern day society. And personally I think it's ridiculous. It's ridiculous that a violation of human rights could be considered by some to be perfectly acceptable. As people, we have the right to control what happens to our own bodies, and so if someone else uses force to do something that you do not want to happen to your body, then that goes against your human rights. To be honest, if they even make an attempt to do so, or try to talk you into it, that's a violation as well, because you have the right to make you own decisions.


Rape culture is the most disgusting thing I have ever come across. The fact that some people believe that rape should be excused and tolerated, even condoned, is absolutely vile. The fact that in the vast majority of circumstances it's men who believe rape should be acceptable is the point that makes it such a huge issue today. Because, traditionally, men have always been in charge, of politics, finances, families and women, it was once seen, by the men who were in control, that rape should be acceptable. And because it was acceptable once, a long time ago, some men believe that it should still be acceptable now. But in reality, it should never have been tolerated in the first place. Is it really the fault of women that they aren't biologically stronger than men, and thus can't physically fight back with the same kind of power? NO.


In all honesty, I think that the real issue is that a lot of men are very stubborn. So stubborn that they actually believe that by raping a woman they might actually be doing her a favour, because, of course, all women enjoy sex, so why should they complain? What a lot of men fail to realise is that sex is different for men and women. For a lot of women it's actually quite painful at times, even when they want to have sex. And so not only is rape something that puts another human in a situation completely against their will, but they're also being put through physical pain, as well as mental and emotional pain. It's something that many people would rightly liken to torture. It's physical abuse that mentally and emotionally scars people, mostly women, occasionally men.


I think one of the main problems in getting some men to understand the real issue is that there isn't really anything that has the equivalent impact on a man. Perhaps if a man were raped they would understand it. The issue there is that men are generally physically stronger, meaning that there is much more chance that they could stop it from happening. In no way am I suggesting that the men who believe rape is acceptable should have to experience it before they say it should be condoned (although saying that, it would definitely lessen the support for rape culture), as it would be a violation of their human rights. The fact that as a woman, I fully respect the rights of men, yet a number of men do not respect my rights as a women is utterly wrong. We're all the same species, and so we should all be equal.


Equally, the fact that some men think that cat catting and beeping their car horns at women is an okay thing to do is beyond dumb. The amount of times I've had men, whether it be teenage boys in their little cars, or middle-aged men driving lorries, beeping at me is ridiculous. And considering that it's something that's been happening to me since I was about thirteen/fourteen brings on even more controversy. What kind of pleasure do these men really get from beeping or cat calling? Honestly??????? Does it boost your ego in some way when I ignore you as you drive past because obviously I'm just hiding my arousal??? What arousal???? Beeping/cat calling has never been a turn on and it NEVER will be. Stop kidding yourselves. It's embarrassing; for human kind.


Didn't really intend on this turning into a rant of any kind, but in all honesty it's rather necessary. Rape culture is disgusting and it always will be. Stop contributing to it. And stop suggesting that women should cover up their bodies in order to avoid being sexualised by men. Men need to be taught to respect women and keep any kind of arousal to themselves. In this instance, men are the problem, not women. So yes, I will continue to wear skirts, but that does not in any way act as an invitation for a man to beep his horn at me, or do anything else for that matter. If you want to look, then look. There's no issue with looking, not at all. It's when actions are made that the problem happens. And misogyny is the dumbest thing ever; if I was to say I hated men, outright - which I do not - I would get so much crap for it, but of course hating women is all just 'banter' hahahah h hhhh sort your lives out.


Moral: Think before you act. It could stop you from ruining someone else's life, or generally just reminding them that they're inferior due to their gender, which should not be the case, but sadly the idea continues to prevail.


Until next time.



Contacts/social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbielour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Cab: Whisper War and Symphony Soldier



From the titles of The Cab's first two albums, it's evident that they aren't shy on literary techniques, and if you listen to their songs then you'll note that there's further alliteration, with a whole lot of rhyming and some personification dotted around. I can't remember the exact point that I first heard about The Cab, but I think it must have been around 2009/10, just via social media. Initially I just thought, okay, it's music. But as time progressed I properly got into their music and now the band are a strong favourite of mine.


In terms of genre, iTunes places The Cab in the 'punk' bracket. To an extent, I do agree with this, as they have the typical punk-rock instrumentation (with the occasion addition of strings and such), as well as a few somewhat confrontational lyrics, but personally I'd say they were more of a pop-punk hybrid, with some dance influence, although this doesn't overthrow the meaning conveyed.


Often this type of band seem to create very lyrically intense songs, which to an extent, you could agree that The Cab do, but they mix things up and kind of make a mockery of emotions at times, especially in songs like 'Bad,' where there's the suggestion of a guy wanting a 'bad girl,' because he knows that ultimately he'll probably end up alone anyway. It's a fairly sad concept, but the song's upbeat with a slightly vicious bite about it, thus creating an 'I don't care' attitude, perhaps covering up an insecurity that a lot of men share.


'Her Love is My Religion' is surprisingly one of my favourite songs. Whenever religion is mentioned in any context I get a bit edgy; it's always a tricky subject because no one agrees on it and everyone believes in something different. But in this song I really like how religion has been personified, and essentially not by naming someone a god. Here a woman is representative of the hopes and beliefs that people have due to their religion. 'We all need something to believe' really suggests that it doesn't matter what anyone believes in, but generally speaking we all believe in something. It's a very passionate song, in the same way many people are passionate about Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc. Overall, the message I get from the song is that you don't have to believe in something spiritual, that can't necessarily be proven to be real, but rather you can believe in the people around you, and you should.


One of the prettiest ballads I have ever come across is 'Vegas Skies.' Driven by an acoustic guitar, with a soft string section and drums, along with the piano, this song definitely doesn't conform to the conventions of 'punk' music. But the thing with The Cab is, they're much more diverse than perhaps they would seem at a first glance. Personally I think it's very necessary for artists to incorporate songs that don't essentially conform to the genre they're best known for, as this way they not only develop a further audience, but they're becoming better musicians, and they'll be able to write better music of their own genre. Very few people only listen to one genre of music anyway, and if they do then they should probably broaden their horizons, because they're missing out. Alexander DeLeon actually did a blog post which explained why he wrote the song (link) and it's really rather sad, but equally an inspiring display of patience. The song has this overlying tone of nostalgia that haunts the heart, but furthermore, really strikes the heart strings. 'I've only got forever and forever is fine' is one of the nicest things anyone could ever say; an outright declaration that you're worth an eternity.


More than anything, I feel like this band are honest. And in the music industry today, it's very rare that any band or artist really come across in this manner, like you can trust that every word they say they really mean, or they've experienced. There is nobody that I wouldn't recommend them to. Now if they could just come and tour in the UK then everything would be wooooonderful, because I feel like they're almost definitely a band who'll sound even better, and even more raw and real, live.


Until next time.


Contacts/social media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbielour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Current aspirations/what am I doing



Now that the exam period has begun (my first one's tomorrow afternoon so obviously writing this instead of revising is a gr8 idea - totes gon do well (I needed a break okay, my brain is all history no calm)), I figured it might be a good time for me to try and work out what it is I would currently like from my existence. It sounds kind of dumb, but I think without some sort of goal in your head then you don't have any real motivation to succeed.




Whenever I think about what I'd like to achieve in my lifetime everything gets messy and I think I'm set on something, only then to realise it's the exact opposite of what I'm heading for. And it kind of makes me panic, simply because you only get one life (unless you're into the whole reincarnation shabang) and so you might as well try and do something with it. Where a lot of my friends have things that they really want to pursue, such as careers in architecture, events management etc, I feel like I don't really have an ultimate goal other than to just be happy and enjoy everything I do. The thing is, when thinking about the things that I enjoy, none of them are really things I can see myself making a career out of. For instance, I love writing; but even more so, I love reading. And so whenever I try to write something, I find myself comparing my own work to that of others, making everything I do seem rubbish and pointless, because even I would rather read their work than mine. 'I am too fond of reading books to write them,' kind of sums it up. Like, nothing I could produce would ever seem to compare, and I would always prefer to read something someone else had written to something I'd created myself. Which makes me think that maybe I could work in publishing. But equally, as much as I love reading, I can't help but feel like doing it as a job would completely ruin it for me. I would no longer just be reading for the sake of it and for enjoyment, it would be for purpose. And thus, there's potential I would be removing happiness from my life which goes against the only overall goal I seem to have. Besides reading/writing, the only other thing I have a real passion for is music. In fact, I considered doing a degree relating to music, but it kind of seemed like a risk that I'm not ready to take yet. The music industry is mean. And meanness puts me off. At the moment I don't think I'm a ruthless enough person to be able to step foot in the industry. I'm not saying everyone involved is evil and only out for themselves, but they've got a serious amount of determination and the ability to take big risks. I'm a woss and new things usually terrify me. And so going into something so unfamiliar to me just didn't seem right for me for now. Maybe one day I'll end up in the music business, but for now, I think I'll stick to hiding behind books in the park instead of being anywhere remotely near a stage.


In terms of current aspirations, because, as you can see, my life plan is nonexistent, I do have a few goals that are motivating me to continue making an effort.


I would like to pass my A Levels with the grades I need to get into my chosen university. It hasn't been easy so far and so I know that throughout the next month it's not going to get any better. But at the end of it, if I can say, 'yep, I did it, I'm in,' then at least it'll all seem like it was worth it. I'd also like to pass the saxophone exam I have coming (hahahahah help), because at least then entering for it won't have been a complete waste of money. I've always done surprisingly well in these exams previously, but I'm starting to get pretty worried for this one (it's in just over a month and it's not looking (/sounding) too great right now. BUT, the fact that it's getting closer is motivating me to practise with more concentration for longer so there is hope. The next one feels silly, and I suppose it's more of a long-term thing. I'd like to make sure I keep in contact with my friends from school after we all leave. Not all of them (to be honest there are a number of people in my friendship group that I don't even like but are just friends of friends), but the ones who I get on with the best. My best friend, Chloe, left school last year and we still talk everyday and meet up regularly, and so I hope I'll be able to continue that with some others, mainly my other best friend, Charlie. I love them and I can feel the unbearable potential for this to become soppy so I'm going to stop right here with this. The only other thing that I can think of that I'd like to do is travel. Unrealistically, I'd love to go everywhere. I'd love to spend a bit of time living in so many different countries. I just like the idea of the freedom and absorbing a thousand different cultures, learning about the history of everything there is to see. A man called Henry Miller said, 'one's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things,' and I think that sums it all up for me. I'd like to see everything I already see in another way and learn from it. To be honest I think travelling would be really good for me, because until I become lost in something completely unfamiliar, I don't think I'll fully understand everything that I already have and already am. I don't know, I just think that movement is good: both in the literal sense and in the sense of self-improvement.






So, yeah. Basically, in summary: I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm just hoping that it'll all lead to the right kind of thing for me. And if it doesn't, I guess I'll just try something else.




If you have some sort of idea with what you're doing with your life and you want to share, then please do. Maybe you'll inspire me to take control and form a career goal. Equally, if you have no idea what you're doing and you want to talk to someone who feels the same, I'm sure we'd get along very well.


Until next time.



Contacts:
Twitter: @abbielour
Instagram: abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com

Friday, 9 May 2014

Politics

In case you didn't work it out from the heading: it's about to get political.


Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnn.


Yeah.


Politics is something I first developed a loose interest in at around the age of fourteen. Up until this point I basically knew nothing at all about this topic. It's not something properly taught in schools until A Level and to be honest, I think adults tend to just expect young people to understand it. In all honesty, I still find a lot of it rather daunting and confusing, but the stuff that do I understand is a great point of interest and equally a struggle for me.


The first real insight I ever had to politics was through GCSE History. In history pretty much everything you learn about is related to politics in some way, and almost always, you're shown the negative side of things. Because really, I don't think politics will ever be seen as a particularly positive topic. And that's mostly because everyone has differing opinions on, well, everything. It's very unlikely, that if you put together a group of ten random people, they would agree on, for instance, their favourite colour. And to be honest, I think politics can be thought of in a relatively similar way sometimes. Someone will always have a different approach to the subject. But the thing with politics is, it's not like saying 'my favourite colour's red,' 'cool, mine's green.' In politics you constantly have strong minded people attempting to force their opinion on you. The thing is, we don't really see it like this, because in reality politicians are just trying to continue the functioning of the country. But you wouldn't ever have someone trying to persuade you that, 'actually, I think your favourite colour's blue, like mine.' I don't know where this is going. Okay. So, politics is kind of an opinion game, where the person who can convince the most amount of people that they know what's best for them wins. Except, in my opinion, there isn't any political party that actually stands for all the right things.


Traditionally, the main two parties in the UK are now the Conservatives and Labour. But only just over a hundred years ago the Labour Party didn't even exist. It was the Liberal Party (now Liberal Democrats) that fought the Conservatives. And I think that just this shows how the majority vote is constantly changing. Mainly, in my opinion, because people don't always know what they really need, and so they just focus on what they want for now. That's why there's often a different party in government. And over time, more parties have appeared, standing for different or additional things to those before. But some of the suggested policies from one party in particular have literally made me feel sick.




If you know even a little about this party then I'm sure you'll know which one I'm talking about already (plus the image may have given it away). UKIP. The UK Independence Party. I don't want to make it seem like I'm trying to discourage anyone from voting for them, but personally, I see no good in this party. Initially, just looking at their logo in comparison with Labour/Conservative/Lib Dem: I don't get it. Why, when trying to appear as a somewhat established, esteemed party, would you use the pound symbol in the logo? Yes, the currency represents the UK, but is it necessary? Personally, I think that it doesn't create a good first impression, going against the simple, sophisticated logos of the other parties. And then we move on to the content of just some of their suggested policies. As a party they're actually quite hypocritical in some instances. For example, wanting to limited the number of immigrants allowed into Britain. On their local manifesto, the party state that 'Romanians come second on the list of foreign nationals arrested by police for serious crimes.' This includes, and this is the first in the list of things included on their manifesto, '142 rapes.' But when looking up some of the policies party members suggested, one of them was 'making it legal for a man to rape or assault his wife.' I'm sorry, but NO. Just NO. First they claim that one of the reasons to reduce the amount of foreigners allowed into the country is that they commit crimes such as rape, and yet it was almost a policy that a man SHOULD be allowed tor rape his wife LEGALLY. Let's be real. What. The. Fuck. Honestly, you can try and type something like this in a formal manner, but sometimes you just have to be outright and state your opinion. I've never really considered myself feminist, but let's face it, we all know that rape is wrong on every level.  The fact that contraception was illegal at one point disgusts me enough, but rape has always and will always be wrong to every person who is sane (if you think that it's fine and dandy then please just stop reading right now because I'm not going to waste another word on you). And the fact that it's stated that it's a man's wife who he can rape. Why would any woman ever get married if they knew that what they were marrying into was an allowance for a man to have sexual intercourse with them against their will? Be realistic. I just. I need to stop with UKIP before it makes me completely lose my mind.


My point in this is: politics to most is somewhat boring. And a lot of people just vote for whoever without properly reading into each party's manifesto and looking up what their members believe in. Be smart. Please don't just vote for a party due one of their policies, because there could be so much more that would cause controversy and potentially disaster. I'm not saying which party you should or shouldn't vote for, but don't waste your vote or make your decision without being completely informed.


Well this was way more serious than usual.


Until next time.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

April photo diary

I took some pictures of things I saw/things that happened this month and well, here they are :)



We start at the ice cream farm, where I helped some friends with filming their media coursework (and ate ice cream (obviously)).


I had white chocolate flavour and it was woooonderful...




It's basically one of the cutest places in Oxfordshire and I love it...


This is what I looked like that day lolz...


When you try and take a selfie with your dog (my dog at least) this is more than likely how it will end...



I bought the cutest, fluffiest, most wonderful socks ever and no doubt I'll wear them for the whole of summer regardless of how warm it gets...


I go on a lot of walks, and tend to walk between three and eight miles everyday. This is my favourite destination where I spend quite a lot of my time...




I finished reading The Bell Jar at the beginning of the month and I really liked it (I did a short post on my thoughts on the novel link)...


My brother often appears in my room after 9pm and we play chess and talk about life and weird things...


I saw this on twitter and I really love it (look carefully)...


Cold, early April walk...




Cute flowers and creepy cat...


My great aunt sent me an Easter card...


I finally saw the Lego Movie with my friend Ruth and everything was awesome...


April is basically the beginning of spring and so everything gets pretty and blooms, so I took a lot of nature pictures...





Pixie Lott's 'Stevie On the Radio' is the perfect song for when the sun's out...






I upgraded my phone case from this to...


This! Both cases are from sighh designs and designed by Polly who is soooo talented. I've bought some of her pocket mirrors in the past too and they are the cutest, quirkiest, teenage-girly things. I love all of her designs and would recommend them to everyoneeeeee.



It was really hot one day in the middle of the month so I spent the day in my garden with guess who...











I read Kazuo Ishiguro's 'The Unconsoled' over the Easter holidays. It took some time to really get into, but I think it was a good book (not as good as 'Never Let Me Go' but still okay)...


It was my birthday (I turned 18 hahaha I feel old make it stop please) and my sister got me this rhino ring which is my quirkiest piece of jewellery to date...


I went out to dinner with my three best friends and blow me down, there were a lot more friends there too as Charlie's super sneaky and likes surprises. They got me a beautiful pandora charm bracelet and the most wonderful photo frame filled with loads of pictures of us all. This is how my face looked (feat sixties dance move and uncomfortably pouty face)...




The following day I looked about twelve when I took this picture on a very chilly walk...



I'm a lover of plaid/check shirts and wellies (out living the country bumpkin life)...

Easter happened too and I would have taken a picture of the chocolate, but if you actually give yourself time to take pictures before demolishing it then you're really doing it wrong...


Prince actually kind of cooperated for a selfie...


And then he went shy...




Forever my favourite fragrance, I've been wearing Miss Dior a little more often this month, rather than just special occasions. My mum gave it to me as she never wears it, but I love the original bottle design, it's so pretty gaaaa...


I went to see McBusted with my chums, Chloe, Charlie and Jess (may well have done another post on that too link)...


Here we are waiting in the cold for our coach (having been unable to get on two because they were both full)...


My friends Alex and Josh got me some cute presents for my birthday, including a Hello Kitty cupcake mix which was how I spent one early Sunday afternoon...



History revision hahahahahahahhhhhhh (only two weeks until the exam HAHAHAHAHHh)...



Every now and again I dig into one of Wilde's short stories...


Pixie retweeted a tweet I sent her and that's probably the best part of this month (sorry family/friends/McBusted etc). Check out her new song 'Girl You Left Behind' which is a free download via Batiste; it's soooo pretty and mellow. Perfect. I love her.


And that's my month in photos. Not entirely interesting, but OH WELL.


Until next time.


Contacts:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/abbielour
Instagram: http://instagram.com/abbielour
Email: abbielour18@gmail.com