Wednesday 29 May 2013

Objectification and being a chattel

Recently I sat down to chat with a close friend.  She had something on her mind.  As I prepared to go she asked me to look at a card that her husband had received from his best friend.

The card said,' To a lucky bastard, You have it all, nice house, great car, sexy wife.'

She asked me for my reaction.  I had to be careful but I said I felt it was demeaning to her.  She sighed, "He says it's flattering but I'm not a thing.   I'm a person; not a chattel."

She is, indeed, a pretty lady but she is also kind, interesting and intelligent.  And she's right.

Treating women and men as objects of desire is nothing new.  After the initial rush of finding one another attractive, I would hope that people would attempt to get to know each other.  However only seeing them as 'objects' rather than whole human beings is debasing our humanity.

Marketing people continue to objectify, mainly women, with abandon.  However, I also notice that the ads are becoming more offensive, almost parodying themselves as twitter and facebook share them with disgust.  I won't name the companies involved because there is no such thing as bad publicity.  If you are online you will be aware of them.  Personally, I won't be buying their products again.

The vast array of magazines with entire pages of ; 'Losing baby weight in weeks,' 'Putting on weight after a break-up,' 'Are they too skinny?' 'Diets-to loose weight in weeks,' is an undermining and unrelenting diatribe. The constant negative stream about body image seeps through our consciousness.  Men too are becoming subjected to this degradation and it is interesting to note an increase in the numbers of men suffering from eating disorders.

I've also seen the argument that we should be body conscious as obesity has become such a huge problem.  Obesity can be contributed to when people have poor body image and self-esteem, as well as lack of information about healthier food choices. Thank goodness for the likes of Katie Taylor and ladies Irish Rugby team; showing that being healthy should be our aim.  And that it's ok to have a few wrinkles, veins, cellulite etc.

As for my friend, she recently set up a second business and is proving that her beauty is more than skin deep.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Booty Call by Pamela Proudfoot

This is a poem written by my friend Pamela Proudfoot about a late night 'Booty Call.'  What could possibly go wrong? Find her on twitter @Pammy1982.

From her boyfriend, poor Lizy had gotten the shove,
And since had been longing and looking for love,
In pubs and clubs, she looked high and low,
But drunken aul bowsies, are all that would show.

She then tried online, like,
But the weird names appeared in the field labelled 'from,'
The likes of 'Seamore Diddys' and 'Hugh G. Reckshon,'
Provided her only with a blushed complexion.

This did nothing, but stress poor Lizzy,
Who decided for love, that she was far too busy.
She was tanned and pretty and knew how to flaunt it,
And decided that a 'fumble' was all that she wanted.

Lizzy seemed doomed, in to love, not to fall,
So decided to try her luck at an aul booty call.
Out came the dangerous book coloured red,
That listed all, who she thought, once bounced in her bed.

A fast flip through it, had given her a scare,
As leaf after leaf, most pages lay bare.
Now what the heck was she going to do?
How will she find someone to.........smooch!

At the back of a magazine, she spotted an ad,
At last she thought, she had found her lad.
The title said 'We know what they say about big feet....
But we'll always be professional and very discrete.'

So she picked up her phone with a glint in her eyes,
Texting her address, requesting a surprise.
As time had passed, she paced the floor,
Until, at last, came a knock on the door.

Opening it seductively, she posed by it's side.
But down to the floor, her eyes seem to slide.
There lay a box, covered in string, tightly tied,
Waiting for Lizzy to bring it inside.

Tearing it quickly, to view what was sealed.
Wondering curiously what was to be revealed.
All leather and shiny, they stood in cahoots,
As poor Lizzy realised, she'd just ordered boots.

She forfeit her mate and erred to choose,
A discrete home delivery of size 22's.
These boots were anything but snug and neat.
She now understood why the ad said 'discrete.'

As she bundled up the package she had just received,
She looked back at her plan, and felt really relieved,
The pressure had lifted, she was free like a dove,
And decided to try another turn at love.

She walked to the post office, with package and all,
Chuckling at her boots, and no booty call!

The gates to Paradise

There is an old estate beside my family home in Templeogue.  The Big House was behind a large wall at the end of our cul-de-sac.  During the seventies and eighties it was neglected and became a magnet for people, such as delinquent teenagers, drug-addicts and homeless people.  In true Dublin fashion, the place was named Paradise by the locals or 'Paro.'  Needless to say, as a young children we were barred from going into Paradise.

This didn't prevent me and my friend Eva from deciding to sneak in, at the age of eight, to play on the old mill.   The old mill is a couple of centuries old and quite dangerous but we scrambled over it obliviously.  Luckily we didn't come to any harm.

A week later I was brought to confession.  My misdemeanour was playing on my mind.  When the priest asked me what I wanted to confess, I blurted,
"I went into Paradise with my friend and my Mam told me never to go in there.'

The priest, realising the danger of the situation, looked at me sternly.  Then, to my horror, he took out a little black notebook from his pocket and a pen.
"I'm writing your name and address in this book and if I ever hear that you went into Paradise I'll call into your parents immediately."

My blood froze.  This was a bad as a confession could go.  My name was written in the priest's notebook.  I'd be murdered by my parents.

And that is how going to confession stopped me from going past the gates of Paradise.