Woke Feminism is Toxic Feminism!

The definition of ‘woke feminism’ is a hard one to explain.

I watched a few videos on YouTube talking about feminism and how it is growing increasingly toxic, one of which I took a lot of points from in this post called Everything Wrong with Woke Culture so check that out and do your own research and reading. 🙂

 

In recent years, there has been a rise in female empowerment in media, whether that be in film, tv shows, books, etc. But that’s not necessarily true…

Bad-ass, empowering, strong and brave women have been in the media for ages. Not as much as we would like but they have been there. These include characters such as Katniss, Black Widow, Mulan (cartoon), The Bride, Ellen Ripley (Alien), Trinity (The Matrix). However, in recent years, there has been a rise in many woman-led main roles, such as Captain Marvel, Ocean’s 8, Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, Birds of Prey, etc. Although I do like a lot of these films, there is a serious issue within most of them regarding ‘woke feminism’.

 

These characters are designed to be powerful, strong warrior like people, but can also be very arrogant and act very entitled and toxic. There isn’t much growth and learning within these characters, too, displaying that women are born skilled and strong and invincible whereas, in real life, that’s definitely not true. We are raised and we grow to be strong and talented and skilled and brave, we aren’t handed that at birth.

But, Shay, they’re just films, not real life!

With my own experiences as evidence, I have always yearned for representation of women and women of colour in the media because as a young girl, growing and vulnerable to insecurities in this society, I needed someone to look up to and use as a tool to encourage myself to be confident in who I am. I think representation of women, of all backgrounds, colours, sexualities, etc, are important, for the reason being that young girls need that! That being said, we need representation of real women. That’s the whole point of this ‘rise in female roles’; it’s to increase representation. But their representations are wrong with this perception women do not need growth and do not need to work hard to earn their skills and rewards. Growth is important! And so is learning.

 

Something I find common in bad portrayals of women is that they can be very arrogant and entitled. How are these traits going to benefit younger girls and even older women in any way? We are not entitled just because we are women. Just because we’re women and demand equality and want to break down the patriarchy does not mean that we should be fed success instantly without working for it or having any reason to earn it. Teaching girls that they are entitled to anything and everything is toxic. There’s a contrast between the old cartoon Mulan and the new live-action Mulan. Old Mulan started off as this girl, who was a little anxious and had empathy and compassion but still strong and built up her confidence and bravery throughout the film whereas this new Mulan starts off straight away as incredibly strong and skilled. Very realistic. This is the same case with Captain Marvel, who barely worked to get where she was and was emotionless and kind of boring.  Yes, they are strong and brave but they’re boring, unrelatable and unrealistic because they’re so superficial and shallow. And it has nothing to do with them being women dominating the screen because Wonder Woman does it well and was a good film with an amazing female character! In general, using the excuse ‘I am a woman’ to explain why a character is so strong or basing her whole personality and motives on the fact she is a woman, or using society as the villain is tiresome. It’s great to hear the encouragement that ‘women can do anything’ since it’s so inspiring but that doesn’t mean we can do EVERYTHING. This can create a negative effect on younger girls and other women. Sometimes this can be done well, but done badly, it just takes us ten steps back in feminism.

 

The women written nowadays aren’t written as if they’re people, they’re written as an agenda to bring down men. That is not feminism. Feminism is not taking down men to lift ourselves up. We demand equality not world domination.  In fact, it’s almost insulting to women watching, seeing that these female characters are only elevated by belittling men as if that’s the only way a female led film can do well. For example, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi is so condescending and hateful towards men and I understand that there was a need to display her as a strong woman with high power but that’s no reason to bring down a man. He just wanted to help. There is no superior gender, but these movies are making it out to force that. Hermione Granger is another example. The books describe a very dynamic, 3D version of Hermione, who is intelligent, strong but also loving and relies on her friends and is relatable whereas movie Hermione is very perfect and way better than her male peers, and although I still like movie Hermione, I can admit she was hard to connect and relate to.

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with having male villains; sometimes in real life, men are obstacles for women. But these ‘woke feminist’ female characters and movies are so obsessed with trying to take down men as a whole.

 

And when these films with poor female leads don’t do well, or people don’t like them, it’s because they’re sexist. No. If a film is bad, that film is bad. There are so many films with amazing women in that do well, so sexism is not an excuse. I have found that a lot of people find some female characters to be cringey when if a male doing the same thing wouldn’t be and that is sexism and discriminatory but if a character is cringey, arrogant, 2D, entitled, unrealistic and boring, regardless of their gender, that’s a problem with their production and writing not with sexism.

Take Mulan, for example. Why did the cartoon version do so much better than the live action one? Same concept of the character but different execution.

Of course, if an important part of the character for the sake of the story is arrogance and entitlement, etc, then fine, but we want confidence not arrogance and hard work and growth not entitlement. We need dynamic and different characters, not the same superficial archetype every bad-ass female movie has. WE WANT QUALITY NOT JUST “FEMINISM”!

 

I am grateful we have moved far from the ‘damsel in distress’ type ladies like old Disney princesses and the ‘fixer upper’ girls like Laney in She’s All That and Allison in The Breakfast Club but we might be going a bit far off course. Feminism is steering into a bad direction and it’s feeding into the stigma around it. I know SO MANY people, who do not consider themselves feminists or who judge me for claiming to be one, and I believe it’s because of this woke feminism. Woke feminism is related to elite feminism, where people believe that women are superior. In particular cis-gendered women too. NO! NO ONE IS SUPERIOR!

The feminist message these toxic portrayals are delivering aren’t going to be listened to. It is spreading the wrong message and creating more toxicity and stigma.

We need better female portrayals!

 

Do you agree?

-Shay

When Harry Met Oprah | The Interview

As you know, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from the royal family, which depicted Meghan as this villainous figure trying to break up the royal family. People have disliked Meghan since before she got married to Harry, I’m not sure whether the reason is race, her history and fact she’s an actor or just her overall but one thing I do know is I have heard nonstop gossip and rumours about her and how ‘bad’ she is when really no one has ever heard what she has to say.

Oprah recently did an interview with Meghan and Harry and this is where Meghan finally got to say her piece.

 

Meghan Markle Said Kate Middleton Made Her Cry During Wedding Planning

In the interview, the rumour that Meghan made Kate cry before the wedding, which circulated like crazy, was brought up. Meghan cleared this up, explaining that actually this was not the case at all and the reverse actually happened where Kate had made Meghan cry. Kate had apologised and Meghan forgave her, over a small mishap. A mishap that any pair of people could have; it wasn’t deep or enormous. However, six/seven months after the incident, the rumour was spread and in my opinion, I think this to be the classic case of the media pinning women against each other. Especially women who have such an influence and are held high in society (they’re the royal family!!!). Another thing which was odd was the fact no one, even though there were masses of people who knew the truth, cleared the rumours. Since Harry and Meghan’s wedding, Kate and Meghan have been compared between each other non-stop, almost putting them at competition.

Example of Kate and Meghan being pinned against

 

One striking question to me during the interview was “Were you silent or silenced?”

Since the beginning of Meghan and Harry’s relationship, Meghan was controlled and told to keep quiet including her family and friends.

 

Another rumour circulated by the media was that Meghan and Harry didn’t want their child, Archie, to hold title as prince, when in actual fact it was taken away from him as well as security, going against convention. The tradition was kept that each grandchild had the title as well as security but not Archie.

Meghan went on to explain how there had been conversations, before Archie was born, about what the colour of his skin will be, how dark he will be and what that means for the family. That is straight up disgusting! There is not only racism directed at Meghan, being spoken about without her presence, but also an UNBORN baby, innocent and helpless. A baby!

What if he were too brown? Would he be treated better if he were whiter?

The fact that he’s the first baby of a coloured parent and first baby to be excused from tradition is not a coincidence.

 

Meghan has received so much extreme sexism and racism, articles stating her race and brownness will ‘taint’ the royal family, that she’s a ‘monkey-faced (blank) whore’. With what seems like steps forward having a woman of colour and now a baby of colour in the royal family, we take a million steps back with comments like these and the way they are being treated.

Examples of the racist tabloids

Because of all these horrific rumours, sexism, racism, death threats, Meghan suffered so much with her mental health, struggling with suicidal thoughts, as any person would in this position. And she was completely disregarded, getting no help. Meghan highlights the fact that you never know what someone’s truly going through behind closed doors.

Harry came on and mentioned that the racial discrimination and attacks wasn’t just an attack on Meghan but also on the people she represents, mixed race, black, and even ethnic people as a whole. The royal family, as an institution, didn’t defend or speak up about the racial discrimination, which is shameful, especially as they are placed at such a high status in the world and are a symbol for the UK, which holds ethnic diversity. Their silence speaks so much for those, who are not white, and see where they stand on racism.

 

Both Harry and Meghan stepped back from the royal family due to lack of support and understanding.

They have created Archewell, a non-profit foundation to “uplift and unite communities – local and global, online and offline – one act of compassion at a time”.

 

Something a little more light-hearted, but Meghan’s dress features lotus flowers, symbolising rebirth and revival, a resilient reflection on the lotus seed, which can survive for thousands of years without water. A strong flower, if you will. This completely represents Meghan as a person, a strong flower. She has gone through so much and has survived it all and will continue to stand strong.

I hope the interview clears things up and exposes the toxicity that tabloids can have and have had, particularly on this case.

 

-Shay

Misrepresentations in the Media | Mental Health of Young People (pt 2)

In this modern day and age, technology and media are blooming and growing, which in turn, shapes our lives, perspectives and beliefs. It constantly surrounds us, making it inevitable to not encounter in our everyday lives. This is why it’s so important and socially sensitive.

The media is there to make money, yes, but what is shown on it can be, in the long-term, harmful.

 

Additionally, this week is Mental Health Awareness week so this is the perfect time to share this post and my thoughts.

A lot of people, especially young people, are ashamed and afraid to speak up about their mental health issues, whether that be OCD, anxiety, depression, etc, due to the stigma and messages, that the media express and also the lack of advocating in the media about these important issues.

Young people are often seen as moody, reckless, careless and selfish people, even though there are reasons for these qualities and emotions. This is often portrayed in TV and film, which reinforces to viewers these negative characteristics are what they possess and are expected of teenagers. People are very quick to judge and jump to the conclusion that these teenagers and young people are antisocial and self-absorbed. I can prove this from my own experiences, where a lot of people, particularly my parents, would perceive me and my mental health issues as selfish and introverted behaviour and I would be constantly scolded for being angry, quiet and emotional. I understand that hormones and puberty play a role in mood swings and unpredictable behaviour but if these symptoms persist, there is likely to be a disorder involved.

  • 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14.
  • 75% of mental health problems are established by age 24.
  • 10% of children and young people (ages 5-16) have clinically diagnosable mental problems yet 70% of them have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

Let me repeat that again. 70% of them have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age. This is partly due to the fact that these issues are shrugged off as being emotional, hormonal and attention-seeking.

 

Logic, an American rapper, released a song in 2017 called 1-800-273-8255, which is the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This song had so much meaning and honesty within in, unlike other mainstream rap songs, revolving around money, sex and drugs. A line in the song states “they say every life precious but nobody care about mine”. People are constantly preaching about spreading happiness and raising awareness about mental health but how many are willing to sit by a person sobbing and screaming, who are clearly depressed. Even in the media, there are constantly quotes being posted and videos being uploaded about positivity and telling people how to be happy but there are very few teaching people, who aren’t suffering from a mental disorder, how to approach and help someone suffering. Truthfully, people with a mental health problem, for example, depression, are unlikely to read through or watch an entire video about ways to be happy, if they are extremely depressed, because to them, it seems like there is no hope. It would make more sense to reach out to people, particularly on social media, about ways in which you can help in everyday situations.

Logic’s song progresses from representing the emotional and cognitive characteristics of depression, for example, in the lines “I know I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it…and my life don’t even matter” to enforcing unconditional positive regard, for example, in “you got everything to give right now”. Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline actually ended up increasing by 50% after Logic’s song was released.

 

Young people are pressured and forced to make huge and important decisions at such a young age. They are looked down upon for doing things like consuming drugs, getting bad grades occasionally, being sarcastic and cynical, when there are underlying reasons, in which no one are bothered to listen to. Young people are currently growing up in a generation where working incredibly hard still does not determine a bright future and where young people are seeing mass killings, terrorism and violence, which has become normalised and desensitised to, so that’s another reason for developing a negative view on the world and being cynical. There are assumptions that people suffering with mental illnesses are just going through a “phase” and are told to “just be happy”, as if it’s a choice. The World Health Organization Mortality Database showed that in 90 countries studied, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death amongst young males and third for young females. 9.1% of the 132, 423 deaths of young people, in the countries studied, were due to suicide.

Suicide is the third leading cause of deaths for 15-24 year olds. 24% of high school students have seriously considered attempting suicide and for every student, older teen and young adult, who do kill themselves, 100-200 of their peers attempt suicide, too. More young people died from suicide attempts in 1999 than cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, birth defects, strokes and chronic lung disease combined.

 

The stigma and discrimination around mental health is a huge factor in leading people to suffer in silence, feeling ashamed and confused and insecure. Men are mainly vulnerable to this as in society and the media, it’s unacceptable for men and boys to cry and be open with their emotions as it’s seen as weak and “feminine” and “gay”. Suicide rates are high amongst men not necessarily because men suffer from mental illnesses more than women but because they’re encouraged to bottle it up more.

Although it’s not the most obvious example, I think The Breakfast Club, although refers to conventional, old-fashioned attitudes, is a film where the male characters do open up their emotions and cry.

 

There are many shows that have the right depiction of mental health, for example Jessica Jones, which deals with PTSD, and Homeland, which deals with bipolar disorder. However, I want to focus on a TV show, that I love, which touches on the concept of mental health without making the plot, solely, about the struggles and suffering of those with mental health issues, The Walking Dead. Beth presents symptoms of depression and attempts to commit suicide. As her character develops, she slowly recovers and flourishes into a young, strong woman, despite the judgments and negative criticism she got, as well as being treated as a burden. She looks past this and helps others in need and demonstrates her strength, even though she’s perceived as weak from others. She proves there is always a safe way out. Another show, where it’s main plotline isn’t about dealing with a mental disorder but simply has a character with realistic symptoms of OCD, is Scorpion, where one of the main characters, Sylvester, has to deal with his disorder. Shows, like these, do not normalise and glorify mental disorders but show that it’s nothing to be afraid of and nobody is alone.

 

This is also a good time to discuss Thirteen Reasons Why, in honour of the release of season two on the 18th (tomorrow). Thirteen Reasons Why is a TV show about a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide and leaves behind tapes stating the reasons that led her to her fatal actions. Personally, I think Thirteen Reasons Why was good in showing people how to approach those, who are suffering in silence, and that it’s okay to admit to be going through a dark time and feeling overwhelming emotions and trauma. They raised good points but I don’t think they approached Hannah’s suffering and death well. She did not show persistent symptoms of depression, not to say that what she went through wasn’t traumatic, but it wasn’t reflective of what it’s like to suffer depression. The show, in a way, also glamorizes mental illness, as after her suicide, the show intrigues viewers into the drama and mysteries of her death.

 

Mental health needs to be taken seriously and society, the media, and platforms need to use their power and advantages to reach out and end the stigma, misrepresentation, lack of representation and discrimination. It may be mental health week but every week should be a week where we are aware and helping those with mental health problems.

If you made it this far in this long post (I apologise for the length), or if you skipped, please share and spread awareness and break the untrue stereotypes and shame surrounding mental disorders and illness, not just among young people, but everyone. And make sure to help others and maintain your own mental wellbeing or seek help if needed.

 

“The disease comes with a package: shame. When any other part of your body gets sick, you get sympathy.”

-Ruby Wax

 

-Shay

I’m A Teenager!

When you hear the word ‘teenager’, what is the first thing that comes to mind, to you? You can even comment the answer before you read the rest of the post.

 

Most people think ‘rebels, drugs, bad, dangerous, lazy,  violence, crime’. And that’s because of stereotypes. People don’t care enough to really think into it and notice that it’s just a small part of the ‘teenage society’ that are ‘bad’ and ‘criminals’ and because the fact that this is more exciting, interesting and appears in the media a lot more than anything else, nobody bothers to think about the rest of our ‘society’ because it’s not as interesting.

teenagestereotypes

Example of Teenager Stereotypes

At the end of the day, everybody is a part of a group, with a bad side to it.

 

Even if teenagers are a lot more troubling than any other age group, we have big achievements, too.

We can be funny, exciting and we’re the next generation, so what’s the point in shaming us when you can smile and feel great about what is yet to come!?

You were all teenagers once!

 

Also, as teenagers, we are at the stage of life, where we have to make decisions and choices.

I’m a very indecisive person. Sometimes I change my mind and I quit doing things that I don’t feel passionate about anymore. And that’s okay because whatever I do now will affect me as a person in the future. If I carry on doing something I don’t feel into anymore, I’ll be bored for the rest of my life. So it’s okay that I’m indecisive. I’m a teenager.

I’ve written over ten original stories, of which only one has ever been completed. I’ve set goals for myself to complete before a time limit, and most of the time, I never reach the goal or finished what I set myself to do. And before, I would be upset by that. I would be upset that I’ve failed things I’ve wanted to achieve but I’ve only lived 15 years of my life. There is loads of time to be able to complete set goals and ambitions.

 

Because I’m a teenager.

 

Following what I said right at the beginning, about stereotypes and teenagers being ‘rebels’ and ‘bad’, I can honestly say that at the back of my mind, I think that too. But that’s okay, so long as you know the huge advantages that come with the word. It’s exactly the same as when somebody says ‘adult’, I think instantly ‘suits, briefcases, work, mature, sophisticated, neat, bossy’. But in actual fact, that’s a small part of the ‘adult’ society. There’s so much more that comes to mind, too, after that.

 

I hope that I gave you more of a perspective to us, teenagers. Because there is so much more to us, than what the media says there is.

 

-Shay