Taylor Swift as victim: playing multiple roles as a woman. You can’t have it both ways in an artificial world.

Agreed: there are much, much more important events going on in the world at the moment. Yet the internet is still ablaze with the latest celebrity scandal news which has seen Taylor Swift receiving thousands of snake emojis on her Twitter account and a huge backlash for her claims that she did not approve Kanye West’s ‘Famous’ lyrics. Kim Kardashian West, in what was both an extremely well calculated  and malicious move, dangled the snapchat bait in front of the world and dropped the bomb. Taylor was not innocent, she knew about those lyrics, and this is all just another demonstration of celebrity artifice at its best.

The arrival of Twitter and Instagram have allowed celebrities to cultivate ‘authentic’ personas: showing the ‘real them’ is what celebrities are trying to do. Of course, the irony lies in the fact that these images, videos and hashtags are, especially in the case of those at the very top, highly orchestrated products used to promote and manipulate celebrity image. The face of promotion may have changed, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you are seeing the ‘real’ thing (if that even exists in the first place.). Oh no, celebrities like Swift and Kim are cunning, well-versed manipulators of their own brand: how else would they have got to the top? How else would Taylor Swift have maintained or even created such a well crafted, girl-next-door image in the first place?

That is all these accounts and snippets are, after all : images. And in this black and white celebrity world where social media allows little room for subtlety, there always has to be an underdog and a bully. Taylor Swift has, up until this point, been cast as an underdog. Outraged as she should have been at Kanye storming on stage at the 2009 VMAs, it actually worked in her favour. Following the massacre of Kanye’s image that night, Swift wrote a successful song, appeared on talk shows to discuss it and gained the status of a victimised woman. Kanye was the black bully, the morally corrupt, drunk and out of control maniac who had the audacity to bully America’s porcelain sweetheart.

Race politics aside (although they do come into play here), Swift capitalised on her status as a victimised woman. It suited her, and she played the game well. Now, it seems that the tables have turned. In terms of talent, Swift is obviously very gifted: she writes her own songs and plays the guitar, but that isn’t the extent of her talent. Over the past eight years, she has crafted, with the help of her expert team, an image as a good girl. The kind of girl you want to be friends with, the golden girl who can do no wrong, the innocent. One of her latest cries of upset over Kanye showing that she might not be the one dimensional sweetheart she portrays herself to be demands that she not be part of this narrative. But how can you write yourself out of a narrative that you have been a part of, that you have helped to create?

Swift has constantly used others to help build up her image: from her first guitar teacher whose story she twisted in her favour, to her social media attacks on Calvin Harris and her outcries that the media is ruining her relationship with Hiddleston as well as her slut-shaming song ‘Better than Revenge’, Swift has created a tornado. Stepping out of this self created storm will be difficult. Of course, it is totally ok to date multiple men, to do what you want and to be strong and in control, that isn’t the problem. But how can this clearly intelligent, in control and calculating persona exist alongside another Swift who claims that she lacks control, who has repeatedly made sure Kanye and others were the bullies and she just an innocent little girl? Take ownership of your actions, and the world would be more forgiving. The danger with creating a self is implicit: its fake, and it will crumble before your feet at any given moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good read: How Wellness and Self-Care Became a Sinister Ideology — Longreads Blog

The gospel of yoga, mindfulness, and organic-everything didn’t come out of nowhere. In a world in which once-cherished social safety nets rapidly disappear, taking care of oneself has become an increasingly privatized—and increasingly expensive—endeavor. At The Baffler, Laurie Penny unpacks the ascendant ideology of self-care, and explains why it’s so hard to find an alternative […]

via How Wellness and Self-Care Became a Sinister Ideology — Longreads Blog

Pokemon GO

pokemon go

I have always been a huge fan of the Pokemon franchise, but one of my wildest dreams was for the game to become reality. The Pokemon world was more exciting than my own dull reality (Scottish small town life can be mildly exciting at best); catching insects was normal and not weird, you had independence to run around an amazing world, you earned money by beating other trainers and catching a rare Pokemon still ranks as one of the best feelings I have ever experienced.

The current trend (trend is an understatement) for Pokemon GO is great, but I have a broken leg. Is it sad that my primary reason for getting active again is so that I can run around Edinburgh tapping manically at my iPhone and shouting CATCH CATCH CATCH. I have been waiting for Pokemon to experience a revival, and this is more than I could have hoped for.

Is the craze going too far? I think so, but Pokemon breaking the frontier between fantasy and reality has created a bizarre hyperreality where castles are home to Drowsys and people quitting their jobs to become full time Pokemon catchers are acceptable. It is all just a natural extension of the way things were going anyway; you can now morph your face into a number of creatures and masks using Snapchat, you can be Gordon Ramsay or Britney Spears in their apps, and now you can be a Pokemon trainer by downloading an app. Until it gets bought out by big business who seize the opportunity to make money off of this dream world, I’ll keep playing.

R&B summer 2016: my favourite picks and which direction its going in

For about a year now, I have been checking youtube every few weeks/months, keeping an eye out for music posted by one of my favourite breakout artists of 2015- Doja Cat. Only 20 years old, Doja is fresh. More than fresh, she’s really talented. I listen to a lot of R&B music, by a lot of fresh faces and artists dubbed the next big thing, but I have never heard anything like Doja Cat’s music. It definitely isn’t for everyone- the song ‘Ice Cream Pu$$y’ was one of my favourites- but if you like R&B and want to hear something you’ve never heard before, you have to listen to So High, Dindu Nuffin and Try.

Try contains the line ‘I’m not even fucking trying/This whole fucking rap sound like a fucking nursery rhyme’. It sounds ridiculous, but its so playful, so flamboyant and silly and refreshing to hear rappers ridicule their art (because lets be honest, rap can be ridiculous), that it makes  her delivery even better. So High is just as good in remix form as in its original, and No Police is somehow innocent and dark at the same time. 2015 brought Tinashe and her wonderful mixtape Amethyst; altogether a more serious, more conventionally pop/R&B, but just as original and full of darkness and light.

That is what R&B is really- rebellion, sex, drugs and love sang to stripped trap beats and samples taken from a vast array of musical styles. I hope Doja makes an album.

 

 

 

 

 

The Athens of the North: Edinburgh and why visiting Scotland’s capital is a must-do this Summer

If you ask people from all over the world what they know or think of about Edinburgh, they will most likely say ‘its beautiful’, or ‘I’ve heard that its beautiful’. Its one of those places that, if you have never actually been, there is no way of truly understanding the gothic architecture, the mysterious atmosphere or the classy yet haunted vibe of the city. Described as the ‘Athens of the North’ by Europeans who have visited both cities, the ancient architecture is just a small piece of a complex city-scape that is a meshing of old and new.

The old town towers over the new town, boasting the old Royal Mile and the usual tourist shops selling kilts, whiskey and shortbread. But a whole day can be spent on this one street- performers and artists frequently inhabit this area putting on shows, shops offer whiskey and shortbread tastings, bars like The Tron and various pubs offer respite from the inevitable rain, and at the top Edinburgh Castle overlooks both sides of the city, old and new. The nightlife is a mix of grime, class and cheese, with the most trendy clubs on George Street and the underground scene located, well, literally bellow the city’s ground level in the old town’s Cowgate. The Three Sisters pub is a must-do, with its Harry Potter-esque feel and buzzing atmosphere.

Of course, there is also the Fringe. If you haven’t before, book to travel to Edinburgh with friends for a week and see as many shows as you can. Comedy, cabaret, cirque, dance, opera, theatre, classical music and live bands make for a thrilling experience. Shows prices range from expensive to free- the Free Fringe offers shows at no coast at all, you just have to know what you’re into. Most shows are in the £10-£30 range, and are well worth it too. This city is proof you don’t need glaring sunshine to enjoy the summer.

Into the dark

imagehttps://farrahstyles.com/2016/06/24/lost-at-sea/

When you are born, you lean and breathe and believe others

you have no choice

when you grow, your mind grows with you and questions and tugs and preens and polishes

you have a choice.

Where was our choice, it was decided by a percent or two. I just said goodbye to my previous life, I would do to get back to you.

I want more trips, but others have different plans. Others and others and others flood in, flood out, flow about, oh, but why are they still here?

Get them out they say. Away away, where they can’t see the day, that Britain starts again. This is not their home, not their real one….

Where is home outside of Europe? Where is my French spoken here, where can I jump again, jump over the line, when you said WE WANT NONE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog revamp & British Independence

I’m back, I’m writing, and I’m angry.

I’m not just angry, though, I’m sad too. I dont think there is a single person in the United Kingdom (or, even, in Europe) who hasn’t heard the shocking news concerning Britain’s departure from the EU. I woke up today and laughed at my phone; stupid hoax. Silly internet trolls. Never heard of that site. Wait… The Guardian and The Telegraph are saying Leave won. I jab and swipe at my phone screen frustratedly, wanting the silly lies and speculation to disappear. But they don’t.

Welcome to apocalypse Britain, the place where nightmares are made and everything you took for granted has been turned upside down. For the duration of today, I watched politicians come forward to talk about just what the consequences would be following a 52% victory for the Leave campaign. I heard Labour, the SNP, Farage, Jeremy Corbin and good old Dave Cam sound off on the surprising result, but I felt very little. I then went upstairs and checked my phone. Group messages and Facebook were awash with angry protests, claims of tear-filled mornings and, most devastatingly, friends that live or have lived abroad (just as I have) voicing their concerns over the uncertainty of their plans and future goals.

This doesn’t just affect me and the rest of my language squad who have invested over ten years of our lives in learning European languages in hopes of securing a job in one of the many EU occupations. Oh no Farage. I’m afraid that this lifts the curtain on a painfully divided, unhappy and prejudiced Britain that I fear will only get worse. Granted, I do not own a crystal ball. Many will says the Facebook proclamations are unnecessary cries of grief written for the purpose of drawing attention to the individual as opposed to the cause, but in this case I disagree. These voices on Facebook are the terror of a young Britain who are genuinely scared of a future that was uncertain enough (the 2008 economic crash did that damage nicely), and now has fallen into a new, dark pit of the unknown. This isn’t familiar territory: Millennial Britain doesn’t know what it is to be outside of Europe. The older generation do, but how can votes have been made so hastily, and on the basis of such a scattershot, heavily biased and skewed campaign which made promises of which the most important one (the devoting of the many millions that Britain apparently gives to the EU) has already been scrapped?

12% of Brits aged 18-24 did not vote in this Referendum. Farage has branded it ‘UK Independence Day’. I wish I could share his sentiment of freedom, but I have never felt as trapped by democracy’s inevitable chains as I have today.