REVIEW: CRAZY EX GIRLFRIEND

A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a show on Netflix called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I decided to give it a go, and boy, I’m glad I did. Rachel bloom performs as Rebecca Bunch, a career orientated woman depressed and despairing at her empty life, when she stumbles upon her ex boyfriend, Josh Chan. On an impulse and obsessive decision, she decides to move to West Covina (which just so happens to be where Josh lives) in an attempt to regain some happiness in her life, and so, an ingenious show was born.

I didn’t realise upon watching that it was a musically inclined show, and the first song that appeared I was not prepare for and may put some viewers off but I promise, stick with the show and you will be rewarded. It is new, innovative and incredibly refreshing, but above all, realistic when dealing with events in life. It removes the romanticism that Hollywood often prescribes to everyday life, and instead takes dark matters and deep themes such as depression, mental health and sexuality, and presents them in a wonderfully light hearted and comedic style. Rebecca is all of us: slightly crazy, obsessive, kooky, weird and, in other words: not perfect. She is such an accurate representation of the modern woman that I couldn’t stop laughing and empathising with her. Rebecca’s character is one of the best female characters I’ve come across in the last year or so because not only is she empowering, but she’s also so relatable. You know those days where you look like shit, haven’t washed or put makeup on, just dashed out of the house to maybe stock up on tampons and chocolate? Or where you try and play things cool, when really you’ve been obsessing over it endlessly and you just brush it off when it’s brought up? Well, Rebecca Bunch, as the ‘everyday woman’, does these things too. She’s like an average role model, the one who celebrates her quirkiness and imperfections.

Some of my personal favourite songs (on YouTube if you fancy watching)
– The Sexy Getting Ready song (an accurate documentation of the process girls go through getting ready, and absolutely hilarious)
I’m the villain (A Disneyfied anti-hero narrative that’s incredibly catchy)
Sex with a stranger (for anyone who’s had terrible experiences on tinder)
I gave you a UTI ( A hilarious jaunty song which includes genius lyrics such as ‘My sweet love Injection caused a urinary tract infection’ and ‘If it hurts to take a leak
That’s just part of my technique’)
Greg’s Drinking Song (an old fashioned, Irish folkish song performed by Greg (the fantastic Santino Fontano) coming to terms with his alcoholism, yet in the most light-hearted way. Includes lyrics about him puking on his cat, having sex with a bush, and trying to fly for a plane). One of my personal favourites.

The best thing about the show is, in my opinion, it’s music. Ingenious lyrics, really- it’s incredibly clever  puns and play on words (Getting-Bi is a good example of a man discovering his sexuality, and just getting by with it, for example). And each song is different and unique- there’ll be rock styles, pop music, R & B songs, Country songs, good old power ballards, all of them). And the attention to detail in the show is magnificent, in Season 2 they compiled a song made up of different songs from season one- imagine! One big song made of different songs?! It’s awesome. The hilarity of the show is matched only by the skill of the vocals from every cast member- while Rebecca is indeed the protagonist, we are treated to individual songs from different characters with their own struggles and styles.

I could go on describing all the songs, but this post is becoming increasingly too long already, so just go and watch the show yourself. The characters are absolutely hilarious, including Greg, a sarcastic, alcoholic bartender with a pessimistic attitude, feeling trapped in his own life, his drinking and his poor taste in women, Valencia, a ‘Humble yoga instructor/ Kate Hudson / Princess / Bitch’, Heather, an intellectual goth-emo-scary chick who just so happens to be ‘Miss Douche’, and countless others.

The main content of the series is beautifully simple; Rebecca, on a pursuit of happiness, which we can see is an uphill struggle with lots of laughs on the way. Season two follows this idea, with Rebecca hanging onto the belief that if she ends up with Josh, she’ll finally be happy. (Spoiler for S2 in the next sentence)

The amazing finale shows a final epiphany for Rebecca as she is left at the altar, all her dreams crushed as she comes to the realisation happiness will not be found in Josh Chan, or the other men in her life that have left her (we see an amazing parallel of daddy issues shown between Rebecca and her new hot boss, Nathaniel)
By the grace of God, Season 3 has been confirmed and so I will eagerly await its release. The show delves into all kinds of issues: from having crushes on people, to making friends, meeting the parents, fucking everything up, being stuck in a love triangle, the hardships and weirdness of being a dad, the importance of female empowerment and feminism, homosexuality, racism- you name it, it’s got it. It’s and if nothing I’ve said has persuaded you to watch the show, check out some of the songs on Netflix or youtube at least, it’s worth listening to.

What’s the deal with Fifty Shades of Grey?

I vaguely remember the storm around E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey when it came out. I remember gathering around a copy with my friends, trying to find the rude sections, and giggling as we read it out. I remember seeing pictures of women brazenly reading it on trains for the world to see, and being fairly impressed at this unapologetic display of an erotic book on their way home from Charing Cross on a Tuesday night. I am in Great Britain, after all, and even though we are known for our prudishness, we are not one to ban stuff.
With the arrival of trailers of the second film, Fifty Shades Darker, I decided to get off my high horse, and watch it. Now, I know it was originally written as a fanfiction from Stephanie Meyers Twilight series, hence the reason why I avoided the film like the plague. Like many others, I assumed it was directed at middle aged suburban women, thrill-seeking and trembling in their cinema seats. But alas, I watched it. And like, what’s the deal with it?

The plot was very simple, very dull, and I kept waiting for something dramatic and exciting to happen. But no. It’s was just a series of meetings between Ana and Christian as they bonded (and later, bondaged… ignore that. I’ll work on the puns later). I did wonder how they were going to direct a film all about explicit sex (from what I gather, I haven’t actually read the book so lack the means to compare) but it was done very tastefully, and the sex scenes weren’t half bad.

Now, I don’t know if I’m being a feminazi here, or whether the film genuinely displayed an almost abusive relationship. Christian draws up a contract for Anastasia, in which she, as a submissive sexual partner, can’t drink alcohol, can only eating food from a specific list, and specifically says she must do anything sexual he asks for ‘without argument’, because nothing says sexy like the underlying threat of rape.

Now, if a guy tried to tell me I couldn’t drink, or I wasn’t allowed that second slice of pizza, he’d be out the door before you could say dildo.
Ana, like any self-respecting woman, doesn’t sign the contract, and eventually gets on with her life, until Christian, displaying EXTREMELY possessive, obsessive tendencies, hounds her via text, getting genuinely pissed off that she’s taking her time considering signing her soul and dignity away. Eventually, instead of giving her the breathing time that she needs, he decides to stalk her, enter her apartment without asking, and has sex with her. Talk about seduction. Already at this point warning bells are going off in my mind. lets face it, girls love a bad boy. Sometimes, it’s cute when he gets jealous. But this goes so far beyond that.
Christian goes so far beyond cute to stalker-psycho, more like Patrick Bateman than Patrick Swayze. He tears her away from her graduation with her father, tells her she cannot go to see her mother and then when she does, turns up and -oh you guessed it- drags her away from special time with her mother. The guy doesn’t have boundaries. He takes over her life completely, and its not sexy, its not cute, its borderline abusive.

But the real cruncher here, is that Christian, whilst displaying a psychotic sort of cold affection towards Ana, states there would be no romantic relationship, only a sexual one. Ana can not touch him, or sometimes look him in the eye. And whilst all the women watching this film look with goggle eyes at Jamie Dornan (Christian), they fail to acknowledge this insult. This guy is the epitome of what we now say ‘fuckboy’. He is not interested in dating her, being nice to her, getting to know her, only using her for his own pleasure. And women find this… sexy? If a boy texted one of my friends saying he wasn’t interested in her for her sunny personality, only her vagina, we’d both laugh and cast him off with all the other fuckboys. But I guess it’s different if it’s a sadistic famous millionaire (A GREAT message for young girls, by the way).

Christian gives Ana a new laptop, expensive books, and even a car (though it’s crucial to point out that without asking her, he got one of his henchmen to sell her old one. See why I have a problem with this?)So basically, it’s a sugar-daddy/ escort situation, but it’s okay because he’s hot.
The main redeeming factor is Anastasia finally leaves Christian, and it seems apparent that she is standing up for herself, not allowing him to hurt her, buy her or own her- a point that now seems redundant considering there’s a second film- but we’ll get to that later.

Now maybe I am reading to much into it. And whilst I don’t want to come off too feminist-lefty-liberal, I honestly do see some worrying displays of abuse in the film. I get the whole dominant-submissive sexual thing, but when it surpasses the bedroom, and takes over the couples life, surely that becomes a problem? If Christian wants to dominant Ana in the bedroom, and she consents, then its all fun and games. But it goes past this, to him controlling what she eats, what she drinks, her friends, when she sees her family, what car she drives, where she lives. So what do you guys think? Is it a disgusting portrayal of an abusive relationship, condoning dominance in young couples? (It’s key to remember this that some young audiences, will watch this and think this is how functional relationships work because majority of teenage audiences are young, dumb, and full of cum.)
Or is it a harmless film that plays around with sexual stereotypes? What do you guys think? Even if you haven’t watched it and have stuck this far, what reading do you get from it? I’d be fascinated to know what others think of this film, as it seems weird for me to bring it up to my friends after years of it being released (and I’m almost ashamed to admit watching it). Let me know what you guys think. Peace Out.

Revenge is… Happiness?

The best form of revenge is to be happy. Truly. The burning rage people feel when they are hurt by someone, only hurts themselves. We torment ourselves, replaying the same thing over and over again, the hurtful words or actions that someone has caused us.
So I began to think, how can I turn this anger, this hurt, into something productive? People say that every cloud has a silver lining, and this is true.  So when you are upset, hurt or angry, instead of festering over it, hurting yourself, turn it into something that will make you happy.

I was in the library, studying for finals when I had an argument with my ex boyfriend. When the phone call ended, I couldn’t even concentrate on my work because I was so fixated on everything he said. I lost out on some valuable hours of education because of this boy, and so I began to use this to my advantage. Whenever I thought about him, and I couldn’t concentrate on my work, I began to clean my room. For some reason, whenever I have a clean room, I have a clean mind. And then I would organise my notes, printing helpful articles for my work, making schedules that would help me with my studies. And eventually, whenever I had a negative thought, I would automatically start working. one bad thought would make me do hours of work to help my education, instead of lying in bed chain-watching some Netflix programme. And so easily, instead of being angry over my ex boyfriend and focusing on every stupid argument, I used it to further my education, not wasting my time thinking over it.

Next, if I had an argument with someone, and I was focusing on what I didn’t say,  what I should’ve said, or if I didn’t do something, I would start exercising. And the pattern continued- instead of getting upset over petty arguments, I began to work out, doing press ups and sit ups, going for a jog. Not only would this clear my mind, and help me think straight, but soon I began to get healthier, and stronger. Just like that, I managed to turn all of my bad feelings, all the negativity, into something positive for me and my body.

Its not a tried and tested form of counselling, I know. And maybe it won’t work for everyone. But for me, it feels amazing that I can make something good out of every negative feeling, everything bad that happens. And the next time something bad happens, I won’t get too upset, or angry, because I know I can use it for my benefit, to be happier.

 

Everyone is not as happy as they look.

Setting off to university in my parents car crammed with all of my stuff, I was excited to begin a new chapter of my life. I was finally going to be living with a group of people my own age, and I imagined it as some kind of 90’s chick flick, where we’d sit on the sofa eating popcorn and watching corny films, or cry over a tub of ice cream about boys, wearing face masks and having sing-alongs. And it wasn’t like that, it wasn’t like living with my best friends. While my first year was filled with a lot of fun, I didn’t get on with some of the girls in my flat. They all did the same subject, I didn’t. I had my boyfriend over a lot of the time, and I was working and concentrating on making friends on my course. And so, what begin as enthusiastic friendship turned into me feeling isolated and alone. Now, I had a lot of friends both at home and at uni, so it didn’t phase me that much, and it dawned on me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, the girls were just in a clique, didn’t have any friends themselves so stuck together like a boring pack of hyenas. I was naive, but eventually came to realise that life is not like a film. in fact, films glorify and romantisise everything about life, giving us false expectations of what life should be like.

And so, when Christmas came around, I was in the pub with some old friends, and I ended up telling one how I didn’t feel it was fair that everyone had great housemates and flatmates, while mine were shit. I told him how I’d go on facebook and instagram, and see all the cute photos – “house meal with the gang!” or “flat girls night out!” and get jealous. And then he told me that a) I was being dumb, and b) that everyone pretends to be happier than they actually are. He told me that people aren’t going to put on facebook when they’d argue or felt isolated with their flatmates, or when they felt ugly. They weren’t going to show instagram their breakdowns and tantrums, but instead, put happy photos on to make themselves feel better, even though it was a lie. Instagram pages, full of little photos just show the highlights of everyday life. They’d show pictures of the best parts of their life- and none of the bad. And this ‘best of’ feature means we obsess over other peoples couple pictures and feel crappy about our own relationships, see their ‘Squad goals’ pictures and doubt our own friendships. See their gorgeous selfies and feel baad about how we look when we don’t have makeup on or our hair done. It feeds into the competition of ‘whos-got-the-best-life’, a page where even though your life isn’t perfect- far from it- in a series of pictures, it appears to be.

And it’s true, we compare our lives with what we see on film, or on our friends social media, but we don’t know the whole story. As the phrase goes; you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. And it made me feel better. Our whole lives, we are told and trained to search for the ‘elusive butterfly of happiness’- a term I’d recently discovered. I’d have moments where I didn’t really know how to be happy, or even if I could be. It seemed that the few shining moments of happiness I had were merged in a sea of feeling shit, upset, angry or just numb. So I almost take comfort in knowing that sometimes, especially on social media, people are not as happy as they seem. Now, I never feel bad about my own life from seeing other people online. I recently spoke to an old friend, at a different uni, and looked like she was having the time of her life, going out all the time, new friends, new boyfriend. It was only when I spoke to her on the phone she told me she was quite heavily depressed and miserable. There is a song called ‘Wear Sunscreen’ by Baz Luhrman that gives advice on life, and to be honest it is one of the most accurate things I have ever heard, and never fails to make me feel better. One bit that always sticks out to me is when he says “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

We spend so much time comparing our lives to what we see from other peoples when it doesn’t matter, at all. At the end of the day, you are the protagonist of your life, and your life is controlled by you only- your decisions, mistakes, choices. It is your life that matters, not what you see of someone elses. You never know what that person truly feels or who they are from an instagram page, and it doesn’t matter anyway, because it has no relevance to your life. So, the main thing I try to keep in my mind now is to focus on how I, myself, can make my life happy, not to compare it to other peoples, and most importantly, understand that there are going to be rough times ahead, bad periods- maybe years even, when you’re not okay. But you’re not alone in this, something easily forgettable. Life is hard, for everyone, but you need to focus on yours, and making it as happy as it can be.

Anyway, late night ramblings over. Peace out. xoxo

Sterilisation, Utopia & Inferno

 

 “There comes a moment in history when ignorance is no longer a forgivable offense… a moment when only wisdom has the power to absolve”
(Dan Brown, Inferno)

What I believe the quote means, is that humans are selfish. Inherently selfish. Now, I assume that everyone that reads this will know and understand what I mean when I say the words; Global Warming. And yet, our brain switches off. We don’t care- and why? Because it is not our problem. By us, I don’t mean humans, I mean everyone alive and well at this present second. We are warned of global warming, of the melting ice caps, and the scorching earth, and the exploding sun- and then we realise- its not our problem. We won’t be alive for that, so what’s the damn point of trying to help? And this is our ignorance. It is not a forgivable offense, because we know what we’re doing. We’re passing down our shit, our issues (all of which we’re contributing to) onto others, because we won’t feel the effects. I will use Dan Brown (author of Inferno, the text in question) to show what I mean.

“It took the earth’s population thousand of years-from the early dawn of man all the way to the early 1800s-to reach one billion people. Then astoundingly, it took only about a hundred years to double the population to two billion in the 1920s. After that, it took a mere fifty years for the population to double again to four billion in the 1970s. As you can imagine, we’re well on track to reach eight billion very soon. Just today, the human race added another quarter-billion people to planet Earth. A quarter million. And this happens every day-rain or shine. Currently every year they’re adding the equivalent of the entire country of Germany.”

One of my modules is Apocalypse, Utopia and Dystopian fiction, and today we studied one of the Utopia (2014) episodes. Set in the 70’s, it showed a scientist, Philip Carvel creating a virus called ‘Janus’, the main gist of the virus is that it would automatically sterilise whoever it came into contact with, it’s intent is to cull overpopulation issues. He teams up with Milner (Rose Leslie, Game of Thrones) and together they form a bond over the project. When presenting how the virus works, Philip raises the idea that he can tweak the virus, allowing it to separate ‘groups’ of people, allowing them to be sterilised. One character points out that this is selective breeding, comparing it to Third Reich fascist ideologies of eugenics, and refuses the idea. I would heavily recommend watching the episode, even if you haven’t seen the show, as its so interesting and stimulating. The episode makes you constantly change your mind on a character and their ethics. When you think someone is good, they do something abhorrent, and when you see someone do something bad, they provide explanations and justification for that character. I’m being cryptic because I don’t want to ruin the episode, but it also delves into the election, and the rise of thatcher, fictionalising a large portion of history. After watching the episode, we all sat around and discussed it and it raised many debates on sterilisation, bringing me to my main query.

How immoral is the idea of sterilisation? Now, it’s not a form of genocide, surely, there is no actual murder involved, it is not even a form of abortion, as no life has been conceived yet. Yet it does remove choice and free will from people, bringing up ethical questions regarding human rights. I asked one of my housemates what he thought, and he said if we were to remove the chance of people having children, it wouldn’t be fair. And this is true- if I found out I was unable to have children, I’d be devastated. As a women, it’s been ingrained within me that one of the main goals/events of my life will be to bear children. And if I found out something or something was responsible, I’d be furious. Yet, aren’t we removing free will and choice for humans later on if we do nothing? If we allow global warming and over population to get worse and worse, then is that fair? Another point raised in the episode of Utopia is race. If sterilisation was to occur, what is to stop people from tweaking the effects, or controlling who received the virus, meaning certain races could be wiped out due to lack of breeding.

One friend suggested to me that instead of sterilisation, perhaps humans later on would inhabit and colonise other planets, like mars, and start anew. While this is a far out idea, it is not impossible. Yet isn’t it completely selfish and narcissistic of us humans to ignore the damage we have caused, continue being the problem and ruin other planets? If we do inhabit mars and other planets, and by some miracle, do not die and kill the human race, then surely things will continue and continue. Because global warming is not a seemingly near-problem, it seems that people do not care enough to try and save the earth. When I make general musings on sterilisation, I mean in general terms, not for selective races.

So, my general musing or query, is how ethical is sterilisation? Is it unthinkable, immoral? Or is it a logical solution to the overpopulation crisis?

In 1979, a policy was introduced called ‘The One child policy’ in China. I’m sure many people have heard of this, but to briefly summarise; the idea was to allow families to have one child and no more, to increase access to water and resources, to alleviate economical and environmental issues (such as crowding and overpopulation). Form what I gather, it was largely successful, with healthier benefits for infants, and helped decrease the intense over-population. I had heard rumours ( though I don’t know the truth of this) that the parents could be arrested if they had more than one child without… asking? Applying? I’m not sure- do you apply for your own child? Anyway, I’m not sure how it works, but from what I understand, fines were introduced if the family were to have a second child (as if having more than one child wouldn’t decrease bank amounts enough.) From what I hear (AKA, Wikipedia and other shady online resources, not actually from china government officials) the economic development was fantastic, etc. Apparently (again, if you’re interested, feel free to double check facts) above 70% of Chinese people supported the policy (2008) in a survey. As of 2015 the policy has now been changed to include a second child.

This brings me back to my general argument. If couples were allowed to have one or two children, THEN were sterilised, would this remove all argument? People still get the family they desire, but within limits. People don’t keep popping out babies by accident. Someone raised the issues the other day that women over the age of 30 that were already mothers were more reluctant to consider abortion as an option. And if people wanted a larger family, then adoption could be an option? I’m not a mother, and I’m not in a position to continue having a family yet, so I don’t know. I guess I’m curious as to what others think about this. I’m trying to remain neutral, but there is a logical, calculated sense in the idea. Think of the hundreds and thousands of childrens without families, without homes, that are not adopted. Think of people that have children simply to claim benefits, and their children go neglected and unloved. Think of the future humans that have to suffer the consequences of our actions. Despite us all doing a bit of recycling, it seems that no one seems either aware, or rather, seems to care, about these effects. I’d like to state as a disclaimer that I am in no way for sterilisation, it’s just a musing from one of my seminars. it does lead to some very interesting questions, however. What would the effects be? Are there any more reasons for or against the idea? If anyone does read this, then please, let me know your thoughts. And to really instill the fear within you, here’s one last quote from Mr Brown.

“Ozone depletion, lack of water, and pollution are not the disease—they are the symptoms. The disease is overpopulation. And unless we face world population head-on, we are doing nothing more than sticking a Band-Aid on a fast-growing cancerous tumour” -Dan Brown, Inferno.

WICCAN, WITCH AND A WARDROBE

 

With the cheer of Christmas approaching, both myself and others have to deal with the inevitable Halloween-Blues. Goodbye pumpkins, goodbye treats and sweets, goodbye dressing up as anything you want without being judged because it is a mystical, magical night.

Alas, don’t fear- while Halloween may be over,ve a wickedly devilish sense of fashion style. In using on infamous witches in pop culture. Starting off, we have he Witch and The Wardrobes ‘Queen Jardis’. now while Jardis is called ‘The White witch’, I would stress to point out shed anything but good. Well, with the exception of her fashion sense. Jardis here manages to effortlessly encapsulate the winter wonderland . And while I would never condone the use of real animal fur, my god does she work a lion shawl. Sorry, Aslan- pain is gain, darling.

Moving on to – dare I say- an even deadlier opponenet, we are fac the most terrifyingly brilliant characters in ficitional TV. Welcome to the stage- Miss Bellatrix Lestrange! Bellatrix’s wardrobe- much like her soul- is black and morbid. We’re talking floor length gown, with hardered, stiff materials such as… And yet, despite all this terrifying… there,s still a sexy appeal there, somewhere.

 

MONOCHROME vs HOLOGRPAHIC- a battle of trends.

Two main fashion trends emerging on the streets is monochrome and holographic.

Vogue has declared that this autumn/winter 2015- 2016 trend is monochrome. Vogue states “from complex geometrics to simple contrasts, this season monochrome finds power in its purity. At its most effective, the discipline of strict black and white is mirrored in clean lines and sharp silhouettes“. How could anyone go wrong with classic black and white? It’s simplicity is what makes it so elegant and beautiful. And yet, there are still many different monochrome styles and patterns for everyone to wear in different ways, so I do believe that monochrome will never go out of fashion. here I am slightly disappointed with vogue condoning such a classic idea instead of branching to something more enigmatic, something… different. Something holographic.

I will now admit and add a disclaimer that this will be a biased article. As a colourful individual, I feel fashion and colour are used to express everyone’s tastes and emotions, especially young people.

In Vogues Spring – Summer 2013 ‘The Shining’ issue, it declares “The sheen that features heavily in the spring/summer 13 collections has magical qualities. When hit by light, one colour becomes many, while the gauzy fabrics float about the body like a mystical glow“.  Francesca Burns, Vogue fashion editor. And I agree- everyone could use a little magic in their lives.

With the rise of social media platform ‘Instagram’, many of the popular users have branched into a more vibrant, colourful style. Armed with vials of glitter and pink paint tubes, my Instagram feed is bombarded with teenage girls being creative and artsy. This includes more holographic clothing. Much like the 50’s mods two tone style suits, holographic items are something edgy and different. Why have one colour when you can have two, or three. At first, i was reluctant. After being on tumblr and seeing a thousand different pictures of the pretty oil spills on the floor, I wasn’t sure about this latest fashion trend. However, after purchasing my first pair of Topshop platforms in holographic purple, blue and green, my opinion has been swayed. I have the fortune to live in Brighton, a town infamous for it’s quirky, original and diverse fashion sense. Donning my new platforms, I got many compliments on my unusual footwear. I have always worn fairly unusual things- while I admit, I never categorised myself as a ‘fashionista’, I chose individual pieces that I liked, and that works for me.

So, for me, holographic- with it’s unusual, interesting, lustrous aesthetic, wins this battle. Sorry monochrome- you’ll always be a classic, but it’s time for something different.