Category Archives: Opinion Pieces

5 Reasons Why I Dislike Instagram

Hello, I haven’t made a post in a little while as my mind has been in other areas, such as learning a lot of new vocabulary for Japanese, preparing for my Human Rights and Sociolinguistics subject this semester, and dealing with some financial issues. Anyway, what I am going to be discussing with you today is an idea which was recommended to me by a friend (Her blog is at http://eternalwayfarer.blogspot.com.au/), and a lot of points I agree with.

The discussion of today, quite obvious from the heading of this article, is going to list 5 main reasons why I don’t like Instagram. In summary:

It is pointless
It feeds narcissism
It stunts in-person interaction
It encourages people to seek validation
The filters make amateurs think they’re photographers

1. It is pointless

So, what exactly does Thommy Dee mean by Instagram being pointless? Well. I have gone back onto Instagram for a week now to see what it is like, and I can pretty much say that you can do everything that you do on Instagram on other forms of social networking. Upload a photo? Facebook. Comment on a photo? Facebook. Like a photo? Facebook. It basically has the same features as Facebook, but less. On Facebook you can also check into places, you can chat to people on a live form of interaction (Facebook chat), you can also choose moods and list what you’re doing when you post a status (WITH a photo!!), and share things. So in terms of function, Facebook is most certainly winning because it ticks all the boxes Instagram does, but more.

“Oh, but Facebook etiquette states that I can’t post too many facebook statuses about my daily life…”
Now now Jimmy, calm down, we aren’t up to reason two just yet.

2. It feeds narcissism

It’s a given that any form of social networking is going to be seething pot of narcissism; these narcissistic black holes which suck everything around it inside, compress it down to a deathly state (or takes it to another universe, who knows?) and then grow larger and destroy even more around it until all you’re left with is an empty universe full of black holes. The hunger for these black holes to get bigger and bigger will also feed into the fourth reason in this discussion. But at the moment, let’s just go over this point.

If social networking is a seething pot of narcissism and a black hole, then Instagram is a pot bubbling out of control, splurting toxic liquid in all directions, and is the size of a supermassive black hole.

Going back into the first point of Instagram being pointless: it­ is basically just people posting up photos, and most of the time these are photos of daily occurrences in people’s lives. You are naked in your bedsheets, oh well, the world needs to know. You are having a 10am coffee at a trendy hipster café, oh the world certainly needs to know. You’re going underwear shopping, OH LORD YES THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW THEN. Nothing gets my gay gears grinding on more than knowing a lady is buying some new frilly undies with a cupcake over their caboose regions.

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I think now you are getting to see the point. But if not, I will take you on a trip back down my memory lane. It was a sunny January day (where I got sunburnt for three days just spending 10 minutes waiting for a train to get into Melbourne), and I met up with one of my also gay male friends to have a Starbucks frappuccino. Anyway, I met up with him, and we both got green tea frappuccinos and decided to sit down in the shade outside. I was about to drink my frappuccino when this guy told me “Oh, I have to take a photo of my frappuccino to put on Instagram.” So, pulling faces like an assortment of farm animals in selfie-mode, picture 1, 2, 3, 4…7…16…18…573
“I didn’t get the starbucks logo on it correctly”
“Uh my eyes look weird”
“The straw covered my face too much”
“You look too pale in the photo”

15 minutes just to take a good photo WHERE HE FINALLY LET ME DRINK THE FRAPPUCCINO I PAID FOR. He then spent 10 more minutes trying to find the perfect filter to put on the photo.

So, basically, there are people who base themselves on the number of followers they get on Instagram, and then think that because they have a number like that, then their life is more important than other peoples, and so they must promote that life and they constantly admire themselves and expect others to kiss their feet.

I can only imagine how many more image obsessed people there are out there like this, and how much time out of their day is used to feed their own narcissism and promote their own life like it is a cat walk.

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3. It stunts in-person interaction

With my story in the last reason still fresh in your mind, let’s go over the next reason. Now, for those who are a part of my generation (or a little bit older, as the addiction to smartphone use has spread up to many middle-aged businessmen I come across on public transport), raise your hand if you have ever felt your in-person interaction has been stunted or ruined because of someone using social media on their smartphones 24/7.

Just as I thought, yes.

I’ve gone across some dates with guys where they have half-interested, half paid attention and then half-arsed the date because in their hand they have been using a form of social media, one of them including Instagram (I certainly don’t go on a second date with people like that). To narrow it down to Instagram even more, I’m grateful I have not come across many Instragram addicts in my life, but the ones I have come across take pictures of every meal they have outside home, of every place that they go to, and then of anything they like in a store. Then they spend extra time getting the perfect filter (please just choose Valencia and get the fuck on with your life). It makes the time with them I’m supposed to be spending socialising then feel like a pageant of their life and I’m just there to feed what’s more important to them; their likes and followers. Sorry, but that’s not social interaction – not in the way I want it.

4. It encourages people to seek validation

Feeding narcissism for those who want others to kiss their ass, Instagram also promotes those who are insecure about the popularity of their life to then post many images of their life. These pictures then, they hope, make them popular and a sensation, and so it then makes that person seek validation on Instagram. There are no limits to how many photos one can take, so then pointless photos and images bombard the app like shrapnel.

Yes, it is nice to take a photo of an event occurring in your life for the sake of the memory, but when you are taking a photo and uploading it just for validation, then that’s where there begins to become a problem.

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And those who do take photos, and those who do get likes/favourites on their photos, and comments, then want to place themselves above those who don’t get many. It’s the way the human ego goes. And so this political society is made within the social network. So then, people are based upon how much attention and validation they receive from other people, and they construct their image on that.

Then people try and live their life like those who do get more likes (If I’m like them I’ll get more likes and followers and get attention), and so it promotes this image-based lifestyle: Tanning on the beach, spending money on expensive things, eating out all the time, going clubbing every weekend. Because Instagram is just posting about your life, and how others see that life.

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I have had people get upset because they don’t get many likes on their pictures, and then I’ve had stories of people basing other people on how many likes/followers they get on Instagram. Then I’ve had people brag about how many followers they have on Instagram. I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but if you’re that insecure that you base your worth on other people’s validation and your number of followers – then you need a reality check, or perhaps a psychologist.

5. The filters make amateurs think they’re photographers

Okay, don’t get me wrong, I like some of the lighter filters because they help to clear out the imperfections in my skin. I do this when I take pictures to change my profile pictures on facebook, BUT I do know that that does NOT make me a photographer. The part of Instagram which also annoys me, and the last reason in this opinion piece: The filters that blur out the details in the photos, details that some may seem undesirable, make people think they’re amazing at taking photos.

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And then because some of these people think that they’re amazing at taking photos (because the filters make the photos look ‘mellow’), they should take ten thousand. And then upload them all (Notice me senpai). Some of the heavier filters just make the photos look tacky.

If you also want to see a video perfectly depicting something else wrong with my generation (I’m the cut-off of Generation Y and Generation Z), then this video perfectly describes it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdemFfbS5H0

Thank you for reading.

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Real Men Also Wear Makeup and High Heels

Today, the topic of this article is going to be something which is also quite personal to me, and a topic which I am seemingly incessantly getting into arguments over conservative people about. Getting straight to the point: that topic is gender roles.

The more you pay attention to them, the more you realize that they surround many aspects of our life and dictate what behaviours are appropriate for us to perform, and conversely, which behaviours aren’t appropriate for us. From a young age, we are branded with a code of behaviour:

“Boys like blue, girls like pink.”
“Boys like cars.”
“Boys have to be tough.”
“Be a man.”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Real men do ______.”

All you have to do is walk into a toy store, and the dichotomy of gender roles is branded clear as day. Laced along one aisle, everything is pink and purple indicating for the girls to play with dolls. The other aisle is blue with toy cars and toy trucks, signaling the toys that the boys are to play with.
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If a boy wants to buy a doll because he is interested in dressing them up due to his interest in fashion, he is ostracized as a freak and it is seen as an odd behaviour. And so, from a young age, society indoctrinates children to believe that because you were born a certain gender, your genitalia then define the way you behave, and even the things you are supposed to like.

If who you are corresponds to this construction, and you have grown up to be the ‘tough, emotionless’ ideal of a male, then you probably have not thought much of this. But for someone like me who is of the ‘feminine’, it is a set of ideals that go against many aspects of the person who I want to be, and for it I have faced ostracism. The fact that I don’t fit to this construction then forces me to think of this construction on a daily basis. Why is it constructed? What substance does it actually have behind it? The factors behind these questions are going to be some of the discussion of this article.

But first, where would my manners be if I didn’t introduce some aspects of myself:
I choose to wear skinny pants and tight clothing.
I choose to wear jewelry.
I choose to say words like ‘dear’, ‘hon’, ‘love’ to refer to people
I choose to wear 5 inch heels.
I choose to wear makeup.
I choose to wear perfumes labelled in the ‘ladies’ section.

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Lady Gaga’s Fame is a particular favourite of mine when it comes to fragrances.

With regards to the aforementioned points listed, before I go on, I bet that some people are going to immediately, right off the bat, go “Oh but he’s gay, that’s expected.” BUT truthfully:

Actions such as these should not correlate with my sexuality. Just because I am sexually attracted to men, it does not mean validate my behaviours to be allowed outside of a gender role construction and forced within a narrow-minded stereotype.

The fact that I do the aforementioned has people assume that I am gay, and this just shows the unhealthy effects that this dichotomy places upon our society. If I were a heterosexual, I imagine I would have it a lot worse off (whoa, did Thommy Dee just mention a situation where heterosexuals would have it worse off?!?!). In that situation, people would assume my sexuality as homosexual and mistake it just because I feel more comfortable with myself wearing shoes with heels on them (makes my butt look nice and round), or giving my skin a clearer look by using a good foundation and other cosmetics.

People should not have to validate their gender by performing a set of actions which have little to no proper meaning behind them.

I’ve had many experiences of people I know attempt to assert the conventional gender roles upon me. If I don’t follow these actions which society has made, actions which have no real substance behind them in proving that I am in fact a man, then these people think that something is wrong with me. In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong. I look down, I have a penis. Yep. Lovely. I’m a male. Simple as that. No code of behaviours beyond that should have to prove that something is there that I already know is there JUST BY LOOKING.

Arguments generally look like this:
“It’s weird for you to wear makeup.”
No it isn’t.
“Yes, it is.”
What is telling you that?
“It just isn’t normal?”
Once again, what is telling you that.
“Society. People just don’t do it.”
So a construction made by society makes it wrong. Okay. Beyond that, why is it wrong?
“Boys just don’t do it.”
And why is that?
“Because it’s weird. Society.”
And as you can see, as it is a construction with no proper substance behind it, basically all the arguments I have come across follow this circular argument going nowhere.

Going back within the depths of my memory (quite recent though), I have had men tell me that they would date me if I didn’t “dress like a girl”, as they basically put it.
And this guy whom I met up with, who seemed properly interested in me, said he wouldn’t kiss me because he “doesn’t kiss girls”.

And then last year I had a couple of friends try and push me to act more “normal” as they put it: To not wear cosmetics, and dress exactly like the other men where I live do: wearing chinos and buttonup shirts and snapbacks.

When I ran out of foundation and met up with them, I was treated like a dog who had just learned how to sit for the first time.
These latent attempts of manipulation pissed me off. Just because the way someone presents themselves doesn’t follow a ridiculous hollow construction of a dichotomous nature, it doesn’t make it any less valid. 

Plus the dichotomy set up through gender roles in the modern world is a factor towards gender inequality, but that’s a topic a whole other article could be written on.

The media does not help this, either. Even when you have seemingly grown up past the gender dichotomy, it is still prevalent in the adult world. Putting flame in the problem, Father’s day and Mother’s day advertising is just a rampant cavalcade of assigned gender roles. The below advertisements (catalogues) are examples of this.

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You will see that for father’s day, advertising is generally of hardware tools. And then for mother’s day, it is cosmetics, jewelry, spas and domestic ware. Basically, men are forced to the shed to play with their tools and to fix up their cars, and women are forced to the kitchen.

Furthermore, this culture of a male having to be tough, and unable to show their emotion has shown time and time again to bring upon destructive side effects.  Men aren’t supposed to cry. It is odd for men to show emotion. They are weak if they show emotion.
NO.
It is healthy to cry and show emotion. And in a society such as this one, where one’s roles and expectations are decided by their gender, and men having to be tough and suppress their emotion, it may damage their psyche. And suppressed emotion becomes anger. And anger becomes aggression. And this may be one reason why crimes of homicide and assault and rape are committed by men a lot more than they are committed by women.

Whilst on the topic of crime, the looks I get just for expressing myself outside the bounds of gender conformity make it seem like I’m committing a crime. I wait for the day I can walk in public in my 5-inch heeled ankle boots and my makeup and not have people stop walking in public just to take a few minutes to process the defiance of the transparent construction of gender roles.

I should not have to feel any discomforts or worries in public that I may get beaten or attacked just because I choose to act and present myself in a way that isn’t in the ways of “being a real man”.

I could say a LOT more on this topic, but to keep it simple: I have a penis. Therefore, whilst I put on my makeup and zip up my 5-inch heeled ankle boots, I’m just as much as a valid male as a sports player, a businessman or a mechanic, or a tradie.

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Get used to it.

LGBTQ+ Safe-Sex Education Needs a Place In Our Schools

Hello, in the midst of my winter holidays, I have got into studying Japanese and Mandarin and leaning some theories and principles of Syntax in preparation for my unit next semester called Syntax (yes, quite anti-climactic).

HOWEVER, today I am going to be taking (or more specifically, writing) about something which hits a lot more personally and closer to home for me, something which concerns the safety and rights for LGBTQ+ people.

I have been considering this over in my head for a while, and I think it is quite an important issue. Even more so from the widespread acceptance of same-sex relationships and marriage equality and rights for LGBTQ+ people. The important issue being the education and acknowledgement of LGBTQ+ sex in high schools and the incorporation of STI prevention, safe-sex procedures for LGBTQ+ people, and HIV safety into sex education.

All you have to do is look onto a website about STI statistics and HIV statistics to know that both of these are much more concentrated among the LGBTQ+ community than the heterosexual community. I took the liberty of making a google search and found these two pages in thirty seconds.

http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/
http://www.bilerico.com/2010/03/us_gay_mens_astonishing_hivstd_rates.php

As a 19 year old gay man myself, this is a statistic that spreads discomfort and fear across me. Why? What are we doing wrong? What is society doing wrong? How can this be fixed?

Perhaps teaching LGBTQ+ safe sex practices, and making it an imperative to teach LGBTQ+ safe sex practices within high schools is one way to reduce this statistic.

I remember back in my years of schooling in Australia when sex education was taught (Years 6-10, which is 2006 to 2010 for me), we were quite rightfully taught about contraception and safe sex procedures, and even had to place the condom on the banana.

That was all though. There was nothing about safe sex procedures for those who were non-heterosexual. For men it was just learning about a condom, and how to place on a condom. For females it was contraceptive devices such as the pill and female condoms.

Even if some people think that 4-5 years is a long time difference and that it may have changed since then, I have had a friend in NSW who is in year 11 tell me that when they were taught sex-ed last year, same-sex safe-sex procedures were brushed over and it was not discussed.

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So therefore, being gay myself, and soon moving to the city and coming across more gay guys and performing certain acts with them (if you want to have visual details I’m sure there’s some lovely comparative videos on redtube), I did not know about the safety procedures for two men, and how to prevent STIs that could come from male-on-male action, and I have learned what I can from other men who have had experience and have picked up on this from other men.

This is why I want to start pushing and finding ways for LGBTQ+ safe-sex practices to be educated in our schools. I want to start an online page where people can sign for LGBTQ+ safe sex practices to be taught in Australian high schools. I would implore other people to do so too. I feel that this is something that straight people also need to fight for, too, as a majority can be helpful in transforming ideas. It is an imperative that all high school students have access to this kind of information, regardless of their sexuality.  Even if it is a 10 minute talk alongside heterosexual safe sex practices, and awareness about HIV. An important minority should not have to miss out in this modern world, and it also ensures that LGBTQ+ people will know and be prepared of what is ahead of them when they enter the sexual world.

This also potentially serves another purpose of breaking down prejudice. There is still a taboo on the discussion of sexual acts performed by two people of the same gender, even in a professional setting where it could be discussed, and should be discussed. If this is discussed, then it will educate those who may have uncertain false ideas about LGBTQ+ people, and make those acts perceived as less of a taboo topic, and more readily accepted and embraced into society. It is human nature to be cautious of things we don’t know.

And on that topic, even now, from not knowing, I feel like I am suffering. Even though I have gained experience with men, I still feel a bit vague and not 100% about what is safe, and what is not.

Ignorance breeds fear, and through education, we can reduce fear, and also help to reduce any existing prejudices.

Thank you for reading. This is something I’ve considered for a while, and something I am prepared to fight for.

Lectures: One Size Fits All?

I do apologise for the lack of blog posts on my page lately, but I have been busy with my exams, and then taking a break and sorting things out like getting a much needed haircut and fixing out this ingrown toenail that got deliciously infected (not really actually that delicious).

In that time, I reflected back  on the time which I had spent in my classes, and got into a discussion with one of my friends, which ended up having us talk about university lectures and how useful they really are. The ideas from this discussion and the subsequent ideas which have formed in my head is the issue which I want to discuss in my blog post today.

Are university lectures really an effectively universal form of learning across all departments/faculties?

Drawing back on my previous experiences of classes, I have to say that having lectures for a lot of departments is not an effective mode to have students properly learn the content of a subject. Although I am a student studying a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Linguistics and Asian Studies, I did spend my first year taking Psychology and Biology units, so I have a few different disciplines to draw my experiences from.

Firstly though, I am going to talk about the Japanese units I took at university. I am taking a break from Japanese for a semester to teach myself the language without the obligations of having assessments for it, but that point aside, the Japanese units have lectures. A. Language. Had. Lectures. And to make it even worse, the lectures were marked as attendance (probably because they knew everyone was asleep during the lectures or on the internet on their laptops not even paying attention, or just dying inside).

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Now I can imagine these lectures are important for presenting house-keeping messages about the department to students. BUT. This is the digital age where a lot of things are done online (including most of my university learning). If something is THAT important to be presented to students, then a post will be made on the university’s online learning area. And if people aren’t directed towards their student enough to check the online learning area to receive a message, then that’s their own fault.

I remember in first year in biology I would sit in my lectures taking notes, but in a scientific setting it was more appropriate for me to attend the practicals and spend a couple of hours hands on, using all of my senses to learn about how this part of the body worked, and the chemical reactions involved.  In the lectures I would just end up staring blankly at a wall for 20 minutes (or playing temple run 2), trying to absorb all these facts that barely even strung together properly. THEN when it came to genetics and the lecturer was trying to explain how to solve genetics question problems by having a projected screen up, and not writing things down whilst going through that example, I just cringed. Lectures are certainly not a good way to learn if you have to solve problems (I can only imagine what it is like for those taking engineering who are learning advanced calculus from a lecture….). Furthermore, if you are remembering a list of facts or a process like the Krebs cycle, it is also not an effective way.

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One of my highly intelligent (and pretty awesomely fabulous) friends who I caught up and spent time with this semester ( Her blog – http://eternalwayfarer.blogspot.com.au/) who is studying medical subjects (e.g. biochemistry, pathology, immunology, anatomy) has mentioned to me that lectures have not been the most effective way for her to learn the content in her subjects. In her anatomy subject she was just bombarded with a lot of information that could not be easily connected and were not ready connected. She purchased a colour-in anatomy book, and that was a much more effective way for her to remember places of structures inside the body. Furthermore, she also stated that in subjects on biochemistry, pathology and immunology, there are a LOT of processes to understand. To best understand these processes and how they work interconnectedly, mind-maps and self learning are a much more effective method than dot-points being presented a lecture.

She also agreed on lectures being useless for languages. She had taken Japanese in first year, and took German this semester (from what I’ve seen she’s pretty well spoken at German), so has had some experience to draw from. As aforementioned, Japanese had lectures, and they were an atrocious way to “learn” a language. Taking German though, it did not have lectures; only tutorials. And in those tutorials the learning was much more interactive with movies and discussions (we never do that in Japanese!!! *hmph*), and she commented, and I’m sure all of us agree, that it was a much more effective way of learning. Lectures have no places in learning a language. (Languages are a skill, you learn a language through constant USE of it, not just sitting there absorbing a bunch of slides in a second language like a sponge)

HOWEVER, a different story can be made from the Arts subjects I have taken this semester (Phonetics, Language and Power in Asian Societies, Chinese Studies: Culture and Empire). In these subjects which are humanities and social science subjects (except for probably Phonetics, which is a linguistics subject), the lectures can be told like a story and stringed together much more effectively. And in subjects like these, the assessment is based on the expression and cohesion of original ideas rather than the memorization of facts. So therefore, in a lecture in these subjects, you have a larger body of students’ ideas to consider and bounce off of and it is much easier to form a debate with someone else if necessary (which I’ve heard happen a lot in philosophy lectures). Plus, the way these lectures are formatted can keep you engaged and interested.

An alternative to this problem for science subjects could be replacing lectures with a 1-2 hour concept building class with 15-25 students. In these classes all that dry factual information can be presented in a way that is free from the constraints of a large theatre and powerpoint slides. A group of people can collaborate together and give to others their way of how they have connected a bunch of facts together, and are forced to engage to remember these ideas, instead of latently sitting in a theatre. Either that, or place more focus on the practicals, or provide appropriate resources for people to self-learn these facts outside of class.

In the case of language subjects; just get rid of the lecture.
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It is not necessary. If the time in tutorials is used effectively where students practice their language and are engaged, then that’s good enough.

People are going to be asking me now, but what about my other obligations in life if I now have to attend another class?
Well, when you think about it, it is not really that much of a difference. At the worst, having an extra tutorial running a few times will give you some more flexibility with your timetable of being able to choose when to have that one to two hours. Furthermore, most science and biomedicine students who are studying full time have classes that make them have to go into university atleast few days a week anyway. And those running the class could find ways to make the content easier and interactive to memorise.

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I know I haven’t yet considered in this blog post how it is cheaper for the university to just have all the students forced together into one lecture theatre with only one staff educating all the students. But, I can’t imagine the alternatives provided would cost too much more. Especially if it is just a group of postgraduate students taking a few Concept-Building classes each.

I know this blog post is a bit shorter than my other ones, but thank you for reading.
Effective learning is based on how we accommodate our available time just as much as how much time we accommodate.

The ‘Friend Zone’: Why We Still Need Feminism

When the term ‘Friend zone’ first came out online, all these memes started to appear on facebook, and I didn’t really think much of it. Then the term started to come into popular culture and people had started to use the term in everyday life and use it as an actual social convention. After over a year of that, I have come to loathe men who use the term friend zone.

So, for those who don’t know, the word friend zone is typically used by males (heterosexual) to refer to the state where this guy really likes this girl but this girl does not like the guy back, saying he is “a really good friend”, and thus the guy is stuck in the friend zone. Examples of memes created on the internet which are about this term are the following:Image

And this:

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From the two images shown above, the second image is the one I really can’t stand. Anyone who regularly uses social media will most likely have seen a picture alike to this. “A moment of silence for our brothers in the friendzone.” Blegh! I don’t like that kind of picture at all. It asks us to be sad that the man hasn’t got the girl he wants, and through creating sympathy for the male, it then antagonises the female for not submitting herself and becoming his girlfriend, irrespective of how good or bad the male is.

This brings me to my point of why I hate the term (I’m not the kind of person who often hates things): It is used by heterosexual males to validate their egos that females should and have to date them, and that it is absurd and unreasonable for that said guy to be refused by a woman. And for the men who still think that this term is an appropriate term, well here’s a new flash: Maybe you’re actually single because you’re an arrogant asshole with a sense of gender entitlement.

And, it is for this reason, I am actually quite glad for the new trend of #yesallwomen that is emerging. An example here is one that I quite liked:

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Even if you’re still shaking your head at this article (which I hope to god you’re not), take a time to look at this page that one of my friends posted on facebook last night, which I then looked up. It just reaffirmed for me how harder life can be for women, and also opened my eyes more to the state society is still in.

We say we have reached gender equality. WE HAVEN’T.

This takes me back to last year, when I still straightened my hair, and I also wore makeup too. But my makeup, alongside my hair, made me look a lot more feminine. People even said that it looked androgynous. I got mistaken as a female a lot in public (I would just laugh warmly to myself and reply “Oh, sorry, I’m actually a male.”

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(A picture of me in August 2013)

During this time, where through the eyes of a a number of people, I was seen to be a female (even though you can see chest hair, why dear god why?), I did experience a heightened amount of sexual objectification from heterosexual males. I remember on a couple of occasions I was wolf whistled from men who would pass in their cars. Then sometimes cars would slow down to drive past me. On another occasion, though, in September last year I remember it was, I was feeling peckish, it was late, so I went out to get some McDonalds, was walking back at night when I passed an ATM. There was a line with a few guys. As I was walking past, eating my fries out of my McDonalds bag, there was this 20 something year old male (who looked for the most part to be heterosexual, from what I could tell), he said “Mmm you babe, you look so fucking sexy eating those fries.”
My eyes widened, I thought “What the fuck”, and then I rushed off home at twice the speed I was already travelling at.
This kind of crap continued until I changed my look to a more male-like look around the start of this year.

From experiencing these few months, I have so much respect for the strength women have to put up with this as soon as they start to go through puberty.
BUT, THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS TO BEGIN WITH

We say things like “You shouldn’t show so much skin, slut.” or, “you whore”. All these derogative terms being prerogative to females, and usually having the implication that a woman is being sexually provocative because she is wearing a certain cut of clothing, or acting in a certain way. And through that, she is asking for your arousal.
NO.

All you’re doing from the side of the female is perceiving what she is wearing. Visual input. Nothing else. What you’re doing yourself is then thinking, from your views and values linked in your brain, to think “Slut. Whore.” Which is then you objectifying. We don’t say “Oh, that guy is wearing short shorts that make his ass look so tight. He is such a slut who is thirsty for vagina.”, which just proves this. It’s a construction in our brain. It’s not them offending our eyes: it’s our brain offending their freedom.

And from the perspective of a linguistics student here. We can immediately label many different terms to degrade a woman based on her sexual activities. But for men? We have to think for a while, and then  even then we come up with manwhore, most likely: a word which has stemmed from a word originally used on females, but had ‘man’ added to it. So it shows that from even a semantic perspective, language is set up to degrade women and objectify them.

And at this point, I also want to give heterosexual men advice: it is not attractive when you hit on women in public. From my experience of my females friends confiding in me and having discussions, they often say that they feel uncomfortable when a guy approaches the in public and tries to make an advance on them, and have used the saying “Oh sorry, I’m already taken”, instead of saying “Sorry, you’re making me feel uncomfortable.” – and it makes me feel disgusted that we live in a society where a lot of men respect another man’s ‘possession’ (disgusting word in this context) over a woman rather than a woman’s rights to not be invalidated.

A question to the straight men reading this: How would you feel if I hit on you? A gay man like me, hitting on you? Saying that your ass looks nice.. Yeah, pretty damn sure you’d feel uncomfortable. So have the common sense to look on it on both sides.
Maybe this is why I enjoy hitting on straight men, especially the ones who objectify women. It makes you feel uncomfortable in the way that they feel; but you, in your egocentric state, cannot take it.

Learn to take your own medicine.

The media can be blamed for this, too. A picture below can show what I mean:
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So, in our brains, it probably looks normal for the female to pose that way, and to present herself in a way that is provocative and awakens sexual arousal for those who are attracted to women. But the men? No. In our brain, it does not look right. This is a construction in our society that needs to be broken down. As long as advertising like this looks irregular and you can notice a distinct difference in normality between the two, I will not be happy.

This is why we need feminism. Women are still in a disadvantaged position in society,
Of course, there are the femi-nazis. But a lot of feminists out there are females who are aware of the inequality and trying to make a difference about it. And can I just say, from the perspective of one male. I have a lot of respect for you.

I am just going to finish this off with a video I watched the other night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UWxlVvT1A&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DV4UWxlVvT1A&has_verified=1

Go to university, they said. It’s the best time of your life, they said.

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Whilst I sit here, in the midst of studying for my exams (and also learning words and sentence structures in Mandarin, which I study outside of university – 我要喝什么?), I just cannot help but think of the past year and a half which has comprised my experience at university. I remember my first day of classes, spend half an hour trying to find the rooms where each of my lectures were held. Everything seemed so fresh, and new, and invigorating, and I was too shy to talk to anyone in any of my classes, but yet dying to say hello to the person next to me in any of my lectures to make new friends (I had shit friends in year 12 who forgot I even breathed as soon as I graduated – and my friends from my other high school in years 7-11 go to different universities or are in high school still).

*sigh* I wish now that I could still have that optimism. In the past 15 months of having a university education, my hope for humanity, my look on the world, and my enjoyment of tertiary education has slowly been spiraling downhill.
No, it is not what I am studying. I LOVE what I am studying. Linguistics is amazing. I love learning Japanese at university and Mandarin outside of university, and my subjects in my Asian Studies major are amazing too. So it is not that at all, as I am always in fascination and inspiration about what I learn. But, so then, what it is?

Part of the reason is the people. At this point I will proceed to outline some of the problems I have faced with the community and culture at university and how it has not made me feel very welcome or happy when I go onto campus and begin to think about people.


University: High School 2.0?

At university, the students are quite adamant on making people think that they have moved on from the bitch dramas and immaturity of high school. But I don’t know if it’s the fact that a lot of university students are still a bunch of entitled overgrown teenagers still living with their parents; but anyway. I’ve noticed that this “passed high school” mentality results in an inflated ego and a sense of elitism that spreads across a lot of students who go to university. But alongside that, I’ve noticed from the way a lot of students at university behave,

They still behave like teenagers, not young adults. 

You still get the students in university who are like “Oh my god, _____ is such a bitch. Did you know what she did at that party over the weekend? [Insert overstressed voiceless velar fricative here]”
Half of my god-damn psychology lectures, I was surrounded by this banter.

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But I dropped out of Psychology after first year for Asian Studies and Linguistics, so it’s all good :3

Then you have the university students who are gym-obsessed and who only stay around other people like that. You also get the university students who judge others for how skinny they are, and then you get the university students who judge others on their grades, their IQ (which isn’t even a measure of intelligence that’s as great as everyone thinks), their socio-economic status (I will get into this soon), or even their ethnicity.

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I’ve even had people judge me for the way I’ve conducted myself in some of my tutorials. If you’ve read in my previous blog post, I have not exactly had the best mental health this semester. In one tutorial, I was asked a question, I couldn’t answer it, and I didn’t want the attention on me because I felt genuinely shit that day. Then an hour after that class, I was walking around campus when I overheard two girls murmuring to each other “Ahaha, it’s that weird idiot in class who was asked that question.”
I’m not sure about you, but to me that sounds like the way a bunch of ‘popular’ fifteen year old girls behave. Get the fuck over yourself.

Subtle Discrimination

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been avoided on the basis on my social class or my ethnicity. I’m going to sound like an elitist by saying this happens when I’m a Caucasian. But it DOES. I go out of my effort to make friends with the internationals and make them feel welcome. I love learning about new cultures, coming across new people, and making friends with them. But half of the time, I’m received with weird looks, and then slowly pushed out of the conversation, and then ignored. Also, in my tutorials, when it comes to group projects (especially in Japanese), or group exercises in class, the international students avoid having me in their groups. I don’t know if it’s because as a white Australian, I’m just going to be innately bad at learning an Asian language. I don’t know. But it makes me feel like shit. I’m sick of it. I even had one international from southern China in one of my tutorials speak to me loudly and slowly because he thought I had a mental condition. Thanks.
Oh, and the time last year in Japanese I was laughed at when I suggested to the class that I was going to start a study group. That was amazing. Thanks for that, too.

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Then you get it on the other side too, sometimes. And it makes internationals feel like they don’t belong.

It even happens in one of my subjects from the faculty, I suspect, but I’m not going to go into that.


Elitism

I’m sure it isn’t that common in other universities, but I go to a university that continually boasts itself to be the best university in the country from ranking surveys and the like. Therefore, you get a lot of people who want to validate their egos by pointing out of the fact that they go to a university of this calibre. On facebook pages about the university, like confession pages and meme pages, that are operated by students (most likely), you often find confessions, memes or comments that are insulting other universities, or degrading the traits and intelligence of those who go to other universities. It makes me really angry. It’s made me quite bitter towards a lot of the people who go to the university I do and like to make a scene of it.
Get the fuck over yourselves.


Tutorials

It’s not the tutorials as a whole that I hate. But there’s three things I hate about the tutorials I attend. The first is the fact all the students remain silent and are not interactive. The second is that in every tutorial there is that one entitled annoying person who never shuts up, and thinks that everything he/she says is honours material and liquid gold oozing out into the air around them.

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Thirdly is the fact that all the students are latently judging everything you say. If you say something wrong or not up to their mental standards, then chances are you will be avoided and deemed as the ‘class idiot’. Even if you ask questions. Which leads back to the first point of everyone remaining quiet in a tutorial. This could be solved if we all grew up.


University is FUN if you’re poor!!!!!! Ahahaha NOT

University students have the stereotype of being poor. But then, there are balls that come up that cost money, there’s events that cost money, then a good half of the events on campus that are social basically cost money. So it means that if you are to have a social life on campus, you have to have money. If you don’t; well then you’re like me sitting at home writing angry spiteful envious blog posts about university.

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I would like to attend some of the events, but it simply can’t happen because I’m not in the financial situation, and I haven’t been for a while, to be able to afford to go to events like that. Even if it’s club events that are $20. For that, my social life has probably suffered and I’m seen as some pathetic person who cannot get his life together.

And a lot of the people I go to university with are people who are in stable upper-middle class families, or people who are from rich families overseas. So they can easily afford to go to dinners and watch movies, and travel to places with their friends. When it comes to me, I’m never invited for the reason I’m too poor. So I’m never really invited to things. And a lot of them lack the understanding to know what it’s like for a university student from a lower class/working class family who got kicked out of home and is trying to make it on his own.

Sometimes it does seriously feel like I’m being discriminated by some omnipotent educational force for being the person of the social class that I am.

“Sorry, I’m busy with studying.”
I am aware that lot of people are usually busy with studying. But more than actually studying, people have been saying it as a reason to not have me speak to them. To all those people. FUCK YOU!  (yes I am swearing a lot in this article, delicious). When you say that, and then TWO HOURS LATER YOU POST UP PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK OF A WHOLE GROUP OF PEOPLE I TALK TO WITHOUT ME THERE.

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Then, you have the fucking nerve to say “hello” to me as you pass me on campus. The only thing stopping me from spitting on your face are the mints inside my mouth, which I paid for, falling out and I’d have wasted some of my few dollars on you. You’re not worth that.

You have no idea how bad and excluded that has actually made me feel. I’m not sure if it happens to many people at university. But it happens to me so many fucking times. It’s gone to the point I’m not going to continue visiting one of the clubs I’ve been visiting for two semesters because I’ve just made to feel excluded and as if I’m not going to make any friends there.

Also, the excuse of timetables clashing and between classes and outside of classes not being able to see each other is bullshit. It basically translates to “I can’t be fucked being your friend but I’ll pull you along anyway.”

It’s for these reasons that part of me has just given up on making connections with other people.

IN CONCLUSION
So, in essence. I am fed up with the culture at university. I’m sick of trying to put effort into friendships with people who aren’t interested or who aren’t even going to try. I’m sick of walking around campus and going to classes and feeling judged and disadvantaged because I haven’t had an as fortunate life as most students up until then. The only friends I have on campus a lot of the time are my textbooks. I’m sick of people telling me that “University are the best years of your life.”

Well, no, sometimes it seriously feels like they aren’t.

tl;dr – The people and culture at uni can be a manwhores.

My Discontents With The Homosexual Community

Before I start this post, I just want to clarify right now I am NOT making a homophobic post – I am a homosexual (I also love unicorns and rainbows) and I am outlining the experiences I have encountered in the past couple of years.

Well, I was studying on Arabic discourse practices for an essay for one of my subjects, and I got to thinking about my past experiences with men, and what has happened since I moved from the countryside to Melbourne. And I could not help but think to write this post for my new blog.

If you haven’t read this article yet, then I strongly suggest you do so, as it perfectly describes the current state in the gay community in a lot of places for me (and friends of mine who are also gay have stated that it appropriately fits their situation, too).

http://stopracismandhomophobiaongrindr.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/the-igays-are-way-too-sick-turn-off-the-life-support/

You will probably notice that this article mentions apps like Grindr. If you do not know already, Grindr is an app that a lot of gay males use to hook up with other gay guys (because as you know, it isn’t exactly acceptable at this point for a male to go up to another male in public and ask them if they are gay or straight because they thought said male looked good). Basically, if you log onto this app you will find a LOT of men alike to that described in the article I put above.

So basically, I like NEVER use Grindr or those kinds of apps anymore. Only if a decent seeming guy messages me and I hold an intellectual conversation will I consider meeting up for a very casual date.

If you read this article, you will find that the romanticised ideal of the gay man is the masc, gym fit, sane and sorted white male. And from my experience it is very much true. SO, if you don’t fit any of those categories, you’re this:
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Or this:
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Basically, also from my experience, the gay males from around where I live are oversexualised, objectifying and a lot of the time, disrespectful men (ESPECIALLY THE 50+ YEAR OLD MEN WHO MESSAGE ME PICTURES OF THEIR PENIS STRAIGHT OFF). I will proceed to go on here with a story from my past:

Early 2013. It was around when I turned 18. It was the first time I had been in an inner-city area for a while. Before then I lived in the countryside, a few hours east of Melbourne (in an area called East Gippsland). Being the Australian countryside, you can already get the idea that it is very hard to openly act gay – as you face prejudice from a lot of people who exist outside of metropolitan areas.  So therefore, I was not nearly as comfortable in my sexuality as I am now, and also I had very little self esteem in my appearance. Also, I was quite ignorant to what the community was like. I often make the mistake of thinking that people have the same level of respect for other’s feelings that I sometimes do.
So yeah, I came across Grindr, I got it, and I found a ~30 year old male and I thought he looked pretty nice. So after a bit of chatting, and him immediately giving me pictures of his penis (which I still find to be a bit tacky – I will go into that soon), I then decided to meet up with him to experiment and do some stuff. First time I would have properly touched another guy. So I ended up going to his place when we organised it, and immediately, he started coming onto me, and trying to take off my clothes, and then forcing me to rim his ass and suck his dick and swallow his sperm/semen. Not only being inexperienced, I am a big introvert, I was thinking “Oh lord, what the hell is going on here?”

AND HE KNEW I HAD DONE NOTHING WITH A GUY BEFORE, and yes he was still like this. RUDE!
And it is not an only occurrence, I shake my fist as I type this, as I have also come across a lot of men who have messaged me “I like to take virginity from young tight boys. It’s nice to be their first time.”
SORRY TO SAY IT, BUT TO SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HAD THEIR FIRST TIME, YOU SOUND LIKE A CREEPY PERV PREDATOR WITH A WHITE PEDO VAN.

The point of this story that I just wrote is that a lot of gay meet-ups (well, a lot I have experienced) are like EFTPOS transactions. Not kidding. You go in, you both get what you want sexually, you pay the other person by giving them what they want (like a quid pro quo situation as one male I came across said), and then KA-CHING, done, “Thank you come again!”, thrown out the front of the door with messy hair everywhere and your mouth tasting like cock if you didn’t bring breath mints with you.

I’ve had men literally force my mouth so deep into their dick I struggle to breathe.
I’ve had men not allow me to kiss them when they almost force me to give them oral, then after they make a mess, they’re out of my place in 5 seconds flat. The video there of a Simpsons scene describes it quite well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeFuk9ATpRY

Furthermore, the expectations that the gay community generally has on males is quite repulsive to me. Basically, as I mentioned previously, the other article accurately mentions the prefect ‘Adonis’ of the gay community. So basically, if you’re white, you love going to the gym, you get wasted at gay clubs all the time, you have a rancid stench of testosterone that can fill a stadium, and you live for instagram; you’re perfection. I’ve had a lot of decent gay males of non-caucasian heritage tell me that they feel inferior in the gay community because they’re not white.
*Breathes to calm down*
WHAT THE FUCKING HELL. ARRRRGGGG!
But also, these expectations fit the idea that acting feminine in any way is horrible. Forget the piña colada loving gay man in tight shorts that filled 1990s media. Many gay men these days cringe at the very mention of it, and hiss like a vampire who has seen a glint of sunlight.

I am a male and I wear foundation and concealer, okay. I do it because I like how it makes my skin look. My straight male friends don’t seem to have a problem with it. But as soon as a typical gay male who I could see as a dating candidate gets on the scene, they have a problem with me wearing cosmetics, applying fragrance, and dressing in clothes that aren’t chinos and a Ralph Lauren polo, and have resorted to measures of making me feel like crap to try and make me be the way THEY want me to be.
Like this Japanese guy I dated last month. He made me believe for a couple of weeks that it was going to work out between us. He told me he liked me, and did some little romantic things such as make me breakfast, put his arms around my waist from behind, and he even helped me with some of my Japanese homework. But then he said he couldn’t be with someone like me because of the clothes I wear (I wore a jeans and a shirt and a couple of necklaces when I was around him – for fucks sake). This is not an isolated incident though. I got the same crap a few months before that from a Thai guy I was almost going to enter a relationship with. It came down to how I dress. I have come to loathe the comment
“You would look so gorgeous if you did this.” “You would look so gorgeous if you didn’t do that.”
TRANSLATION:
“You could be attractive if you dropped your individuality and complied to my standards and became my puppet.”

I may only be 19, but I know that if you like someone, you like them for who they are. You don’t try and mold someone into a set checklist so you can then ‘tolerate’ them. And whilst I respect people have different taste, I am not attacking people for that, what I’m trying to say is that I prefer it if people would not try and enforce their checklist onto me. I’m me, love it or fuck off.

I have also had a lot of experiences of gay men calling me ‘weird’ for spending a Friday night in watching a TV series or reading a book. Gee, sorry for wanting to spend time alone. There are people in this world called INTROVERTS who sometimes prefer to just be alone in their own little world.
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Gosh, I swear sometimes it feels like this:
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Come on! We’re supposed to be the accepting community. LGBT people face enough crap, but yet we’re foisting a shitheap of manure upon one another much stronger than heterosexual people do, and creating this distinct feudal system filled with labels and standards at a high-school level of maturity.

I am sorry for such a long post, but yes. Had to get this off my chest. Thank you for reading.
From your resident Ursula.