Is Calling Taylor Swift ‘Ugly’ Being an Anti-Feminist?

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I still haven’t forgotten how I was branded an “anti-feminist” not because I burn my bras and rallied on the streets telling feminists to fuck off. Even more so not because I petitioned on the local government to torn down monuments of heroines and replace them with the ones bearing a phallic symbol like the obelisk. Trust me, I didn’t and would never want to.

             Calling Taylor Swift Ugly

But guess what? I was labeled to be against feminism because I said Taylor Swift looks uglier now than she was back then.  Okay, maybe I was being stereotypical for preferring Taylor Swift having long curly golden hair, not that I hate women with short hair and think they are all ugly. Maybe I just particularly like Swift’s curly-hair days so much that I can’t seem to accept her new bleached, cropped hairstyle.

Well, it’s not just the hair, really.

I mean, she just changed a lot in a way that shattered that sweet innocent girl-in-sparkly-dress-and-boots country singer that I came to love in the first place. And if you have been an avid Swifty fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, this is my opinion about her because 1.) I have opinions and I’m not afraid to voice them out (for heaven’s sake this is why I have blogs for), 2.) I was a Taylor Swift fan which still entitles me to differentiate her looks from what she was and what she is now, 3.) I have preferences and my own standards of beauty that 4.) I was just absolutely honest about what and how I really think about Swift.

What does Taylor Swift symbolize in the first place? Does she represent the whole of the female sex so much so that it is diabolical to offend her (or the gender she represents) by saying she is not beautiful? And ever since when did being ugly steps on the rights of women to equality?

How, in all this, did I just become an anti-feminist? In what way did I offend my own sex? And what is being a feminist really about?

Which leads me to my next point:

             What really is feminism?

So finally, I pulled myself together and thought about it deeply. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe  the reason why I was termed an anti-feminist is because there is a new definition of feminism creeping its way to topple down all four waves of feminism.

If you’re not a Literature or English major and have never stumbled across the four waves of feminism (that’s still highly likely even if you claim to be a feminist), let me shortly elaborate to you the intricacies of the four waves of feminism so we’ll be in equal footing. After all, that is what we, feminists, all craved and fight for–EQUALITY.

So let us be in a singular understanding.

Okay, so the first wave of feminists were just more on the political aspect which basically sought to give women equal political rights as men enjoy (like voting rights). This movement started around the late 19th century and continued over the course of the early 20th century.

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And no, it’s not true that the first-wave feminists were the “amazon type”, you know, the ones going after overthrowing men, as the general notion goes.

The second wave of feminism began in the 1960s  and rowed on a larger ocean of issues where overstepping women’s rights is involved, like sexuality, family, and workplace. This is probably the start of actually giving attention to sexual abuse, domestic violence, (marital rape, if you must add) and  stuff like that. The highlight of it all, though, is the equal rights with men in terms of wages and positions.

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The “girlie feminism” is what unconventional feminists like Martha Rampton call the third wave of feminism. The third wavers defy categorization by putting labels on things and people so they don’t settle even on being called feminists.

Their movement is to shatter gender barriers that the second wave feminists fail to tear down. Since voting rights are established for women and more female workers get into public office or hold white collar positions, there’s not much to rally on the streets about that anymore. Or so they think.

London: Women march against male violence

So, they work on less important (sarcasm intended) but equally brutal discrimination against women–more on rape issues and to some, women’s abortion rights (disregarding the fact that the unborn children those women who would decide to get abortion could have been girls as well with just as much human rights as their supposed mothers enjoy).

You know what? I don’t have a quickie definition for the fourth wavers. They go along with everything else from technology to post-modern lifestyle–oh what’s the word for it?  Complicated.

The fourth-wave feminists are whatever they want to define themselves.

Their movement is combined with all other words with “ism” there is–racism, ageism, classism, ableism, fascism… well, you get the idea. This kind of feminist movement doesn’t want to stick with fighting for “just women” and decided to bring along its other  equally exploited and desecrated neighbors of “minority.”

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So much for breaking barriers, third wavers.

But what if the “feminists”  evolving now are those who find the slightest bit of derision a call for war, not only between sexes, but within it? One that is founded in the fabric of teenage sensitivity and emotionally-unstable fangirls surging the tide.

The thing about this emerging new wave of feminists is that it craves attention and authority in epic proportions. Political correctness is no longer enough. If you say something as bad as recognizing a fault done by one particular person (make no mistake about mentioning a celebrity or a celebrity itself doing the act), you will be branded for life to be someone who is against a movement that’s about protecting and fighting for rights.

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The fifth wave of feminists, as I would now call them, would have to be the people holding power by pointing out those who don’t go with their thwarted “principles” exaggerating a fault, allowing too much leniency towards what the members of “minorities”  do even if it’s immoral, but condemns people outside the majority for the slightest humanly tendency such as name-calling. Debate is even out of the question, with the sense of anything-you-say-will-be-held-against-you threatens or pays people their silence.

These people are what Lupe Fiasco said the “truth is what they say is.”

              Beauty defined

So going back to calling Swift ugly, the question begs to be asked, what is beauty anyway?

Some would say (of course),

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This written-to-death line about beauty strikes as the passive-aggressive statement that as cliched and redundant this may sound, beauty is really THAT subjective. For instance, I just googled in the word “beauty” which unsurprisingly directed me to roughly a thousand results.

I’m kidding, it actually says “about 2,770,000,000 results.”

That just says how varied our views and opinions are about beauty. We all have some kind of perception and standards to beauty. And these concepts change, too. Like how fair-skinned people are generally attractive in the Orient while tanning is the definition of sophistication and charm in the West. Not necessarily the best adjectives I could think of, but you get the point.

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The truth of the matter is if we sum up all cultures’ definition and concept of beauty, none would fit the word. It is not even dignified enough that women always feel the need to be pretty.

Feminism is throwing in the towel at the idea that to be feminine means to be pretty and if you’re called ugly, you’re out of that gender categorization. It is rather convincing the latent truth that to be feminine doesn’t mean you have to be beautiful. You just have to be you and let other people deal with it. Or not. Either way, you shouldn’t let others tell you off for expressing your thoughts and opinion about something that you either find attractive or not.

If I say, oh look the pigeon’s feather is not colorful so I think it looks uglier than a parrot, would you brand me as an anti-animal rights’ activist?

So many things have changed (largely for the better) ever since feminism was born hundred years ago. More than anything, I am happy to be a feminist and my preference and opinion about a particular celebrity and what beauty means to me doesn’t change the fact that I am not against women’s rights.

Let’s move on.

My 7-Word Stories

Last year I attended a Creative Writing workshop and learned about flash fiction which basically challenges writers to write stories in very short words. It’s like bottling up large-scale ideas and universal truths in very few, limited, and carefully-chosen words that would carry out the total weight of a story.

There are only a few rules in flash fiction such as: make your sentences short and clear, and never start at the beginning of the story. I took this challenge in a personal level and created my own 7-Word Stories which, as clearly stated, are stories embodied in a seven-word sentences. Each telling a different story, from different perspective and in a different way.

Here they are.

           I’ll tell stories with only seven words.

            Illusion. That’s how I define “us.”

           My Marius has already found his Cosette.

           Depressed: the state of being naturally me.

 

           Dear Heart,

                 You still functional?

           Love,

           Brain.

 

           Explain love in two words: nobody can.

           You promised “forever.” This fool believed you.

           I know you’re tired. I am too.

           Separated by circumstances, brought together by fate.

 

           Me: Love you too

           You: Wake up.

 

           I’m keeping my head above water, okay?

           He’s my favorite reason to live.

           “I’m so fine without him,” I lied.

           You realized you were wrong about us.

           She’ll always have what I never had.

           I’m a butter and you’re the sun.

           I’d rather be called ugly than stupid.

           It wasn’t a mistake, just a redirection.

           Then, you stopped wasting time on me.

           Why do we keep on loving, anyway?

           You’re the poetry that I can’t write.

           You’re the star in my moonless night.

           I used to be happy being alone.

           I used to be alone being happy.

           I was fine…and then you happened.

          Like tears, I fall for you every time.

           You can’t kill addiction by killing addicts.

           You don’t make sense to me, either.

           I’m a piece of his forgotten past.

           I thought I can forget about you.

           You were just being yourself, like always.

           How can seven words say so much?

          Please stop killing me with those smiles.

           Love is a sickness she’s immune to.

           Your gifts are not what I need.

           He sees me, but not my value.

           I’m so over him…anytime soon.

The power of short, simple and numbered words should never be underestimated especially in writing. It may be challenging and exacting, but what is not, right? Just keep in mind and make sure to always KISS (Keep It Short and Simple).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Smart Ways to Avoid Unwanted, Unsolicited Small Talks

5 Smart Ways to Avoid Unwanted, Unsolicited Small Talks

 

Anywhere you go around the world, you’ll get to meet at least one or two of their species. They are scattered in the crowded corners of the universe and exist in the least parts you thought they would. Whether you are riding a bus, a train, a plane, or you stroll in a park, the market, the mall, and even during holidays and in between family gatherings, you can be sure to rub shoulders with them from time to time. I call them the “small talkers.”

Have you ever had to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger? If yes, how did it go? If no, good for you. I have had several experiences to know how exasperating it is to endure an unasked for conversation with someone I barely knew. And yes, even the awkward exchange of pangangamusta (social pleasantry) with an old friend can cause me an episode of panic attack.aaeaaqaaaaaaaayaaaaajdy0ztm3njhklta4ytctndjiys1imgjmlti5ntvkmjfin2m2yq

The bad news is nobody is exempted from meeting people whose apparent trade in life is to initiate and perpetuate unwanted small talks that are usually just one-sided.  And the thing is, you hate those insipid chats—you’d rather get lost in your own thoughts, read a book, listen to your iPod or play video games than engage in their hobby. But at the same time, you also don’t want to just walk away, so you just suffer silently. But you can do more than that—way more.

Carefully follow these few tips on how to avoid such unpleasant pleasantries.

Tip #1: DON’T ACT INTERESTED

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Don’t make eye contact. Stand on one foot bearing your weight and start tapping the lazy foot rapidly like you’re waiting for the bus while running late for a final exam. Check dirt on your nails, which are not there. Nod your head fast and frequently even before they start on another line. Scratch parts of your body that don’t itch. If you are wearing a watch, take an “accidental” look at it and mention you remember to do something urgent.

 

Tip #2 BEAT THEM IN THEIR OWN GAME

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Give them a taste of their own medicine by over talking. Take all the chances you can get and don’t let them beat you to the next sentence. When they are trying to cut you off, change the subject—and do that very often. Don’t let them interrupt you by interrupting them.

Pretend to give them a chance to speak, only to cut them off again. This way, they’ll get irritated the same way you do when they’re the ones giving you the talk. Discuss taboo topics like religion, politics, sexism, and racism.

Tip #3 MAKE A SMART MOVE

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Act like you have a stomachache, headache, backache, brainache, etc. Or start to get busy with your phone and press the song set as your ringtone and mock a phone call.

Tip #4 PRACTICE STRATEGIC AVOIDANCE

Remember who the small talkers are and avoid their presence as much as you can. If you see them approaching, don’t look in their way and start walking towards the opposite direction. But if luck is not on your side and you can’t avoid to bump into them, give a quick “hi” and walk fast.

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But what if you’re still not in luck and it seems the universe is conspiring against you that you happen to be just stuck and cornered in, say, a jeepney or a bus? Just look at the window and casually say, “oh, look, there’s my stop right there.” Then call the driver’s attention to drop you off the hook.

Tip #5 LEARN TO GET AROUND

The last and probably the least horrible thing you can do to escape from small talkers is to tell them nicely.

Say that as much as you want to talk to them about the job you landed in to, the accomplishments you have achieved so far, or how fair the weather is, tell them you also have other better things to do like write a novel, sleep, and brainstorm for ideas on how to change the world and stuff.

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But of course these are not the advisable exact words that you should say. Try to be more creative.

Craft socially acceptable phrases and words to feign concern. You can hide these words under more polite terms and wrap them up in pretty packaging called implied sarcasm and sugar-coated euphemism.

Most people don’t get the irony anyway. Anything you can conjure at the rare moment of colossal ingenuity you can muster would be enough.

So yeah, try to follow these nuggets of admonition and you will be sure to get by and get around these atrocious situation of awkward conversations.

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A Song of Fire and Ice

                You hear a  song for the first time (not necessarily a new one, but that which you discovered recently) and you instantly like it. In just a matter of minutes,  your ears are plugged with earphones, you are banging your head or tapping your foot to the beat of the song that’s set on replay in your iPod.

              Then for the next few days, you’re stuck with it that you even hum the tune in your sleep.  Deny it all you want, but you know LSS has done you in big time. And that’s when it hits you–you’re hooked.

             More like when you think you’re “in love.”

            Infatuation is a more accurate word, but you wouldn’t put it that way because it sounds too immature, too vague to even label your sudden inexplicable feelings. The truth is, there is just no word for it, really. You just know you wake up one day knowing everything will be the way things have been–just another ordinary day until you saw that person and bam! Your life changes.

              So just like the new song you’ve come to like, you go on everyday looking for ways to spend time with the object of your affection. You do everything to see them and make them notice you back. Maybe a glance or two from them is enough to make your day.

But you never get enough of it. You have to know more about the song. And the person.

             The first few weeks are the hardest. And the most exhilarating, exciting and excruciating experience you’ll ever have. You’re starting to recognize emotions no words could give justice to. So, you try to “get to know” the song. You play it on repeat until you think you know the lyrics. You struggle to verbalize most of the words that go with the tune like groping for  black socks in a dark room–in the middle of the night. But no matter how much you try to get the words right, sometimes you’re a little too carried away with the feel of the music that you think, “Screw the right words. I’m gonna sing it the way I want to.”

             You think you got the song all figured out, right? You think you would never need to look up the lyrics to prove that your whims about it are true. But who are you kidding? Sooner or later you hear other people singing the same song you’re so addicted to… only to find out you’ve been singing it all wrong. And you kick yourself for believing otherwise. Now you know better, but still love the song.

              When you finally truly memorized the song–lyrics to tune, head to foot, skin and bones, you started to get tired of it. Somehow, the song that you’ve once struggled to master, the very one that you have painstakingly learned, devoted your time and got attached to just juiced the interest out of you. What was on repeat is now on a shuffle and no longer included in your New Playlist.

               Then soon enough, you’ll discover another song and a new obsession is underway. You look at the title of the song flashing on your screen and couldn’t even remember how and why you have become so bent with it in the first place. You were sure it must have been the lyrics or the tune that got you so fired up, but now? All that’s left is the embers, cold and gray.

7 Pathetic People Scattered in Social Media

7 Pathetic People Scattered in Social Media

You’ve created an account in social media and started to participate in the social pool to meet a whole lot of different personalities. Congratulations, for like me, you’ve finally decided to step out of your cave and avail a dose of “modern civilization”…. So let me walk you through this whole new jungle called the social media and warn you about the 7 people you’ll surely meet along the way..

1. People who share their private and intimate stuff in public which no one understands because it’s contextual and no one really cares about it because it’s personal. ‪#‎fad‬

2. People posting how they are too busy that they don’t have a life–and yet, amazingly, have the time to post about that. ‪#‎frontAct‬

3. People in love rubbing their relationship on everybody’s faces like they are the least miserable ones. Fine, you’re the sweetest couple on earth. Ok already. ‪#‎thefeeelss‬

4. People who think they are naturally beautiful and post their “prettiest” photo after taking a hundred selfies on Camera 360 and put hashtags implying they woke up with that look. ‪#‎fake‬

5. People who broadcast every little detail about their pathetic existence–from whining about a nail polish color to ranting about a random experience and everything in between. ‪#‎facade‬

6. People who do what everyone else does just so they don’t fall out of fashion and are not left out. Then brag it to the world like they’re the only one who has or does it. ‪#‎fool‬

7. Lastly, people who purposefully hit the LIKE button on others’ posts in the hopes that they’ll return the favor. Kind of like fishing for Likes. Yikes.‪#‎fastidious‬

And there you have it. You never know you might be one of them someday. Or you already are one of them now. But the only sure thing is you’ll meet one or two of these. And yes, you’re welcome.

I’m Fine, And You?

“I’m Fine”
It’s one of the most well-fabricated lie that not only you buy into, but also sell to others.
“I’m fine.”
That’s your default statement when someone superficially (or even sincerely) asks how you’re doing.
“I’m fine,” you say.
It’s not because you are the kind of texture that is opposite to rough—as the word “fine” denotes. It’s because you don’t want others to know how rough your day has been. Or how roughly imperfect your life is. So you say,
“I’m fine.”
I’m fine. Embedded in this two-word sentence is an infinite unspoken sentiments you don’t want others to know. Sometimes you say “I’m fine,” just to stop the person from asking how well you’re doing because the truth is, you’re NOT doing “well” at all. So you say, “I’m fine” even though inside you’re hurting. You say you’re “fine” even though you’re dying to be heard what’s bothering you. You’re “fine” because no one cares enough to know what is not making you fine at all.
You say…
“I’m fine…”
When you actually mean is…
“I’m having more troubles that I can handle, and my life is a mess. I don’t know what to do. I’m devastated. But there’s nothing you can do to help me or stop the pain. There’s nothing more you can do or say except to ask if “everything’s fine.” I’ll save you the trouble of asking. Stop you from even going to the worry-zone. That is, if you actually are worrying. I don’t want you to think I’m weak or weird. I want you to picture me as someone who is “cool” and “strong.” I want to imprint in your tiny little head that I am the kind of person who has it altogether. That I don’t need your help. That I don’t need your sympathy because no one is really truly sympathetic. Sympathy is a human error—apathy is what we are best at. So I’ll let you foolishly think that I have everything under control when in fact panic overwhelms me and it has ME under control. You don’t need to see this side of me that is crumbling into pieces because I’m SO.NOT.FINE. Besides, I don’t really see that sincerity in your eyes to say that you’re even interested in my hell of a life when you ask me how I’m doing. And even IF you are interested—I said, IF—I don’t want to drag you into my Calvary because I know you have a Calvary of your own that’s dragging you way down. You have enough problems to solve yourself. So trying to fix me is like a withered-winged bird trying to help a drowning fish. I want you to have that idea of me as a person who is his/her own man. Or woman. I don’t need you to be troubled by MY troubles and anxieties. And do not even think for one second that you can just crush this great big wall I’ve painstakingly built around me. So I won’t tell you what’s killing me inside. I’ll just leave you a simple answer that would suffice your attempt to make a conversation and make you feel you don’t suck at it. We both just want one thing anyway—to get these pleasantries over with. And probably get past each other’s expectation of ‘small talk.’ So we can move forward and talk about things that really matter—like, the weather. But never ever dare to make personal inquiries about me and what’s gripping my heart at every beat. And yeah, this IS my way of saying…
I’M FINE.”
I’m fine. How about you?