Thursday, 28 March 2013

Dog Owners: Be Responsible Of The Dogs You Own!

I've had it with dog attacks. REALLY.

Without fail, at least once a month I read about a dog, usually of the pitbull kind attacking a baby, child or adult.

Many of the attacks turn out to be fatal and (usually) the owner can be held criminally responsible for it (as it should be). However, this owner, may not be held criminally responsible for a recent attack thanks to a loophole in the law.

When will people learn that:

  • You need to know where your dogs are at all times
  • Some dogs are territorial, therefore they will defend their territory 
  • Certain breeds of dogs are UNSAFE and as a result of that, certain breeds of dogs are BANNED in the UK 
  • Keeping dogs around new people or young individuals (i.e. newborns) is NOT always ok and some dogs need to be slowly introduced to new people in the home
  • Never taunt or harm dogs, dogs have a patience threshold too and they can also snap 
Really, just be responsible for the pets you keep. People shouldn't have to enter someone's house or property (with the owners permission of course) and feel like they have to watch themselves because an untrained dog might pounce at any moment.

A bit of a positive thing has happened recently though... 

A chihuahua (not really a big fan of these dogs, all so small and all bark and not so pretty but I guess there's a reason for that but I digress) rescued this 9 year-old girl from a pitbull attack. As the girl was being attacked, the chihuahua barked and distracted the attacking dog, giving enough time for the girl to be rescued.

Not the dog but this came to mind.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cats Lead Better Lives Than Humans.

As I was working through my thesis draft, it dawned on me that cats lead much better lives than most human beings.

Mind you, when I reached this epiphany, I was running on three hours sleep + stressed to the max because I didn't know what I was doing.

Daily, without fail, I manage to see the grumpy cat on my Facebook timeline. The grumpy cat is used for genuinely 'haha' memes but mostly for the very, very bad joke memes. I cry, 1) because I can't ever escape this and 2) because a freaking CAT has so much popularity.

I can't deny a cats awesomeness though. I can't deny that they live better lives than most of us and that they're loved regardless of what they're like. Eight simple reasons why cats are awesome/live better lives/are always loved:

1. Cats can sleep whenever and wherever they want.

2. Cats are allowed to be bitchy and no one says anything about it.

3. Cats are so cunning and have plans to take over the world, but no one seems to care. 

4. Cats are always cute. 

5. Cats are easily entertained and by that they entertain us easily too.

6. Cats are quite independent.

Didn't know what image could represent independent cats the best... so here is a cute cat instead!

7. Cats are part of the coolest family ever; Felidae. 

8. Cats are diva. 

Choupette Lagerfeld lives a better life than me. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Time... What It Means To Me.

I have never appreciated time as much as I have in the past few years.

I will credit going to university as a huge teacher of time; time management (I haven't perfected this yet, but I've somewhat improved it) and appreciation of it?

This last week I finally handed in my thesis. The last twenty-four hours til' the deadline, I worked, worked, worked; no sleep, multiple cups of white tea, tiny cakes as meals... I was mega-stressed out.

I went through cycles of regret... regret that I never got an extension, regret that I didn't work hard enough over the past few weeks and regret that I never started this earlier. At times I wanted to give up so badly, but I had to keep on going and I managed to produce a decent amount of good work to hand in.

It took me two days to finally restore my energy levels after staying up for so long. I don't really advice anyone to do that, you're just asking for trouble. It's best to do little work over a long period of time rather than a lot of work over a short period of time.

The day before my thesis deadline (yes, the day, not even the week, the weekend, the two days beforehand, but the day), my eyes opened to how important time was... how precious it is and how fast it can go.

Now it's Sunday and I have been relaxing since Friday afternoon (when I went home after my last lecture of March). I've been able to do so much this weekend; resting, writing, talking to people, reading... it felt good! It's good to be free and just to be able to focus on life, family and friends.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Asian Models Are Less Sexy: 5 Top Casting Directors Explain Why Runways Are So White.

This article talks to five casting directors who explain why the runways of New York, Paris, London and Milan, are so white. 

Some of the statements made in this article (particularly by James Scully who is casting director of Tom Ford, Jason Wu and other fashion brands) made some good and insightful comments:
  • The more diverse, the better.
  • A beautiful girl is a beautiful girl.
  • A mix of diversity makes the show and clothes more interesting.
  • Tokenism does exist on the runways. They do it not to get into trouble, they don't do it because they believe black women should be on the runway.
  • You should just book them [models] because they're beautiful.
  • A great model is a great model, and no matter who she is, she can take on any role. 
  • I have millions of friends from all over the world, and if they don't see themselves in the product, they don't buy it.
Standing ovation for you James Scully. This is so incredibly true, especially the last point; why are we going to buy something that is promoted by someone who doesn't look like us? 

I suppose this statement can be inverted and then be used as an argument for using only or mostly Caucasian models on the runway. The difference is though, Caucasians are not underrepresented in the fashion industry, they're overrepresented, so it really wouldn't hurt to have a few WOC in a show. 

What Jennifer Starr, Casting Director of Ralph Lauren and Gap has had to say:

  • We have a black president. The richest woman in entertainment is black. The entertainment industry is largely black. It just doesn't make sense that runways don't follow.
  • Some designers are not paying attention to being inclusive and just cast woman they love, which they really cannot be criticized for. 
  • Rationally, you would think that if there is a demand, agencies would have to increase the supply. Logically, I would deduce that there is not a big enough demand for black women on the runway. 
Thumbs up to point number one; it makes sense for runways to follow.

I 50/50 agree with the second point. Designers cannot be faulted for choosing a woman they love. But why is it that many fashions hows have women who don't really look 'striking'? I'll be 100% and just say that a lot of them look mediocre. Do designers really love them? Or do the designers just love them because of their Eurocentric features? 

I disagree with the third point. The third point justifies designers' use of blacked up Caucasian models in shoots that can be used for black women (see African Queen shoot). If there is no demand for black women, why are so many elements of African culture being used in fashion right now? You know, African prints, big afros, African inspired clothing and accessories? Are we not allowed to promote that ourselves?

More about that last point... it appears that the lack of black models at agencies occurs because agencies probably have a quota for black models (because they're supposedly not in demand)... which in turn gives us less black models at agencies and therefore less black models on the runway.

What John Pfeiffer Casting Director for Donna Karan and Michael Kors has had to say:
  • When you see one black girl and one Asian girl in a show casting, obviously there's tokenism.
  • Right now, Asian models are very trendy. Maybe that's all attributed to the amount of money being spent in Asia.
  •  People want to identify with their own people.
  • Diversity is extremely important. You have to make an effort to have diversity in your casting.
  • Turning a blind eye to this issue is unproductive and dangerous. We need to take action. 
Agreed entirely with these points. We do need to take action.

What Barbara Nicoli and Leila Ananna, casting directors of Burberry, Gucci and Saint Laurent has had to say:
  • Sometimes what I disagree with is putting a black girl [in a show] just because you need diversity.
  • But when you do a casting, [you see a lot fewer black and Asian models than white models]
  • It's also true that, for example, Caucasians have a specific body type, black girls have a specific body shape, and Asian girls have a specific body shape. So I guess there are some collections where it's more perfect for an Asian body shape because they are more flat and less sexy, in a way. Asians, they are not curvy, so to put an Asian [who's] very flat [with a] baby body shape in a show where normally the designer knows they love sexy, beautiful, curvy girls, it's a bit of nonsense. 
  • Regarding the representation of various faces [on runways], we think fashion shows have already shown it. Don't you? There are plenty of different faces in a show.
  • We think we need to keep in mind that these are shows. A show needs to make you dream, and it doesn't necessarily need to represent reality.

Oh, so now we're going into the whole science of model selection... 

I suppose the differences between black, white and Asian models would be true if the models weren't size zero. Let's be real, size zero or near skinny models no matter what race, all have pretty much the same body type so I don't buy into that excuse. Asian, white and black girls body types aren't exclusive to a particular race either; they can be found in almost all races but obviously the proportion would differ.

Furthermore (pertaining to the very last point, which I sort of concur with...), the fashion world is an 'unrealistic world'; the looks of the models, the body types etc. The fashion world isn't a mirror that reflects society. Real girls are underrepresented in the fashion world and only over the past few years have they attempted to change that due to the backlash the industry has received for using mostly size zero models.

The third point really stood out to me. It's clear that Barbara (the person who said it) was playing into racial stereotypes about Asian women, which was offensive to me. That statement is also very telling; Caucasian models are just the standard for any fashion show or job it.

The clientele and market for many of these labels are Caucasians in North America and Europe (which is understandable because they do make up the majority). That doesn't mean though, that black and Asian women should remain underrepresented; there are many of us who live in these societies and we buy and like the same things that Caucasian girls do.

So we may be seeing more Asian models and more black models than we have done before, but it seems that the industry has a very difficult time changing their attitude. For that reason, I think we need to keep on pushing to get our models out there, while also focusing on supporting our black designers and our black fashion shows.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Priorities: Are His Really Perfect?

I've seen this image around a few times and I really have no words for the comments I've read about it. There's this assumption that the guy carrying the two cats is 'holier than thou' because unlike the second guy, the first guy is carrying cats.

I'm not an animal hater but the assumptions are unfair because it's assumed that the guy behind the 'Good Samaritan' isn't prioritising and that the first guy is. 

People like to use this image and say that the first guy is essentially believing that life is more worthy than material possessions, which apparently makes him better than the guy behind him. Of course it's always life > material possessions, but is it really fair to assume that the guy behind him isn't prioritising? Isn't he prioritising by taking his stuff out? Doesn't he need his stuff to survive?

Has anyone one ever considered that:
  • The guy behind him probably doesn't have any pets
  • The guy behind him picked up the things he needs for his young? family
  • The guy behind him prioritised and put his family and his family's needs first, therefore grabbing the stuff as opposed to any pets he left behind (I'm quite sure this is acceptable? Putting your family first?)
  • The first guy probably got his stuff moved before he took the cats
  • The first guy is probably going back to get his stuff
  • The first guy probably finds his pets more important than anything else... which is fine I guess?
But, as with everything in life, there's a backstory...:

Yeah, this man knows what's important because he has the means to pick and choose. He has flood insurance; so all of his stuff will be covered. The guy behind him will probably end up having nothing, even after carrying some of his stuff out of the floods.

So it really is a matter of priorities. 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Vintage Obsessed: Afro Hair.

I want to express my love for afro vintage; vintage afros, vintage afro ads, vintage afro everything!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Happy Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day.
My Beautiful Mother and My Late Brother

To my mother,

Happy Mother's Day to you. I appreciate you. I appreciate what you do for us and what you do for many other people in our lives. You truly are a star in the sky that not only shines bright for her children, but also for other people. Your selflessness when it comes to other people is unmeasurable; a kindness that is so rarely seen (even amongst family members). I only wish you happiness and peace, but I know it's going to be difficult when two of your children are no longer with you.

I can't imagine the pain you've had to endure burying the girl and boy you raised. I can't imagine how many times a day you think about them... I can't imagine how you may feel day to day... I can't imagine the many times you wish things were different. I can't grasp even half of what you're feeling.

My pain as a sister having lost two important people in my life, doesn't measure up to your pain because your children are your life...

I can still move on from this, I can still create my own happy family in memory of my brother and sister.

Thank you for being the nurturing being you have always been... giving us a wonderful childhood of lots of laughs, traveling, learning and happiness.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Bully Victims Need Plastic Surgery

A few weeks ago I read about a 14-year-old girl who got bullied for having big ears and got $40K worth of plastic surgery for it for free.

These are her before and after images:

Before and After

Nadia got her ears, nose and chin done. She did this in response to the relentless bullying she endured since age 7.

*Big freaking SIGH*.

It pains me that poor Nadia had to endure relentless bullying because of the way she looked.

But... I would never advice the plastic surgery route for those who get relentlessly bullied. But... if you are happy with what you can end up with, by all means do it. And if you really think you need it anyway (aside from the bullying influencing your decision to get plastic surgery) then do it!

But no one should expect someone to get plastic surgery to stop the bullying because bullies will always bully no matter what.

I have been bullied for many years at school and I have detailed my experience here.

I was bullied from secondary school up until sixthform about my forehead. The difference between my forehead and Nadia's previously big ears is that I can't get plastic surgery for my forehead. I can't reduce its size. I can't pull my hairline forward, it would look so weird so I would never even want to entertain that thought. The only thing I can do is cover up my forehead with a beanie or a fringe or... embrace it for what it is. The latter is more terrifying and is a work in progress.

I view myself as a victim of bullying. I don't blame myself for being bullied. I also don't feel that I should have changed myself in order to stop being bullied. Why should I change the way I was made in order to please others? They're still going to find something to bully me about.

Sadly though, victim blaming happens a lot and some people are so blatant about it. There's another story where a school suggested a 13-year-old get breast reduction surgery to stop bullying. This story is a classic case of victim blaming.

I'm not even sure what I am more angry about, the school's passive approach to a serious problem which can be detrimental to this girl's wellbeing or the school letting the student know that she needs to change in order for the bullying to stop.

Think about it: how is someone who had no/zero/zilch/nada part in deciding how they were going to look like, at fault for getting bullied? How does that work?

Who is the root of all evil on the playground? The bullies are. They are the low self-esteem people who feel the need to drag others down so they can pull themselves up. They are the ones that are responsible for this. They should be blamed. They should be stopped.

People who are getting bullied should never, ever, ever, ever be blamed for being bullied.

Victim blaming is just a copout for schools so that they don't have to take the responsibility of targeting bullying.

If schools did a better job of dealing with bullies and parents did too, then a lot of the bullying would actually stop and many children wouldn't end up with self-esteem/confidence issues or dead because of suicide.

We don't control the way we look, but bullies can control their bullying behaviour.

Thursday, 7 March 2013