OMG, we have a screamer!

tantrum-toddler-crying-fit-300x300That’s what I exclaimed when I first heard the piercing screeching coming from the ceiling. A screaming baby over my head was exactly the last thing I needed. You take some things for granted in life, like the ability to enjoy a little bit of silence in your flat. Well, let me tell you, enjoy it while you can because a screamer like the one waiting in the dark for the next round of wailing may be just around the corner.

After a couple of days, I was able to see the little bugger with my own eyes. It turns out that it’s not a baby, as it was standing near my door screaming in a way that made it choke, with no intention to stop, though. His mother took her time with the buggy outside, and she had a calm expression on her face like she didn’t even care her bundle of joy was screaming in the building ready to wake up the dead. Turns out, the little screamer has a brother. Or a sister, as I cannot tell the gender of a child covered up to its nose and with a hoodie on. This one is a stomper, and now I cannot decide which one is worse. They are a good team, though, making sure I don’t get a moment of silence.

Since the lovely family decided to nest above my flat, my life has never been the same. It’s all about the best ear plugs and countless hours of music via headphones even when I don’t feel like it. It’s all about survival now, and I’m not quite sure I am cut out for this special kind of bullshit.

It is no secret I am no fan of kids. Or people for that matter. Especially loud, obnoxious ones who stomp around and seem to be banging every object in their flat multiple times a day. Parents who let kids scream until they sound like they’re about to die or let them roam free at full speed in a first floor flat get no sympathy from anyone, so all that I can give them is a basket full of resentment and wishes that someone with a one-month baby and a passion for stilettos would decide that the flat above theirs would make the perfect home.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about leaving everything behind and go live in a forest, with only the sound of leaves and maybe a couple of foxes to keep me company. Maybe it’s time to revisit the thought of embracing the nomad life. I hope there’s a special kind of hell for inconsiderate people who seem to think that everyone should suffer together with them because they decided to be breeders. The feeling of entitlement of people like these is amazing, but I’m going to be the bigger person here and  wish them the best. The best screamer in the world with a black belt in stomping over their heads in the near future.

I’m leaving this here because it’s genius and painfully true.



Rabid Feminists and Sexist Linguists

Earlier this week, Oxford University Press became the subject of criticism for the way they handled accusations of sexism in their dictionary entries. From all the ideologies in the world, it seems that the only one they deemed appropriate to exemplify the word “rabid” was feminism. To be exact, the definition of “rabid” in the Oxford English Dictionary is “having or proceeding from an extreme or fanatical support of or belief in something. “a rabid feminist”. Blown out of proportions, the scandal led to OUP issuing a statement that promised to revise the example and to a plethora of articles that hurried to demonstrate that the reaction of feminists on Twitter was, indeed, a rabid one.

As a feminist and someone who has studied multiple languages, dead and alive without discrimination, I’ll mention that:

  • All languages are sexist. Their pace of evolution is very slow and someone who expects a language to reflect social changes immediately is naive. Just because women got the vote and other rights it does not mean the language caught up with the times. In about a century, maybe people will not immediately think of women when they hear words such as “nurse” and “cleaner” and of men when they hear lawyer” and “doctor”.  Maybe the newspapers will stop with the unnecessary addition of the label “female” or “woman” when talking about police officers and judges. Maybe we’ll get rid of distinctions such as “Miss” and “Mrs” and use just “Ms.” as an equal counterpart of “Mr.” Until then, it’s sexist business as usual.
  • Most languages have a higher number of pejorative words for women than for men and putting a label on a woman is much more frequent than putting one on a man. There is no equivalent of “slut”, “bimbo” or “whore” for men. Women are called “dear”, “darling”, “love” and so on by men who wouldn’t dare to address this way to a male individual in the same position. It’s no wonder then that we have become a little bit sensitive when we’re called names. As such, you may understand how giving “feminist” as the only noun to exemplify an adjective such as “rabid” may look like someone slightly mocks the only significant ideology that represents the interests of women and regards it as derisory.
  • Feminists are often left without a good course of action when something like the “rabid” scandal happens. To say nothing means to accept the status quo; to say something, almost anything, is a sure way to get called names, being derided, and ultimately dismissed. “If only there were a word to describe how strongly you felt about feminism…” – this is what OUP tweeted hours after the entire thing burst on Twitter. They were right, of course. Once again, feminists were put in their place for something they had no choice but comment against.
  • We live in times when it is so easy to try to shut up a woman with a valid opinion that differs from yours (male or female). You dismiss her as a feminist, as if all of a sudden this would render her arguments null. If she opens the mouth for a second time, you can even go for “feminazi” or “bully.” Yes, there are feminists who exacerbate the movement and turn it into something else. They are vocal and seemingly omnipresent on the Internet. They are often the reason some women don’t want to be associated with the word “feminist”. This does not mean, however, that anyone has the right to dismiss an entire ideology with a history of over 100 years, which simply militates for equal rights for both genders, just because some of its members are, well…what’s the word I’m looking for?

Suffragette – Film Review

When I heard that a movie about suffragettes was in the make, I was more than thrilled, as movies dedicated to anything even remotely related to feminism are not something you see often, especially on a scale that would include Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan. It was one of the most anticipated movies of the year for me, but when I finally got round to watch it a couple of days ago, I was rather disappointed.

It may be because I had such high expectations, but I found it to be one of those movies that actually tell the audience what they should think about it while they are watching it. I am not a lover of overly explicit books or movies. I think it’s patronizing to offer viewers/readers the moral of the story on a silver platter, as they would somehow be incapable of reaching the conclusion themselves. It’s actually a bit ridiculous to watch a movie with great story and impeccable acting and not like it because the person who wrote the script decided to put things in the character’s mouths that made them sound like Captain Obvious. Moreover, casting Meryl Streep was obviously a mistake, as you wait for her to appear for half of the movie, only to see her for two minutes. It was an unwanted distraction from the main characters, as she’s on the poster and in the trailer, so viewers are somehow duped into thinking she’s in the whole movie.

Suffragette fed by force“Suffragette” depicts the complex political situation surrounding the women’s votes only sparsely, focusing instead on Maud Watts’s drama that intertwines with the movement. Failing to be incisive, the movie is filled with violent scenes, such as that of feeding the suffragettes forcefully through a tube in their nose when they decided to go on hunger strike and the shocking sacrifice of Emily Davison, which not many people actually know about. A great deal of screentime is given to the abuse women were suffering in the workplace, perhaps to draw attention to a problem that is still rampant. (Speaking of attention – whoever decided to shoot this with a hand-held camera was not on their brightest day – the movement distracts a lot from the action to the point that you get annoyed and slightly nauseated.)

I feel that a great chance was missed with this movie. On one hand, it only scratched the surface of what the suffragette movement mean, and on the other hand, it made a disservice to modern feminism. If you were a person that doesn’t know a thing about feminism or is even against it, “Suffragette” will give you enough reasons to happily continue to think that feminism is something that mainly has to do with women’s emotions than with their desire and capacity to be equal members of society in all of its aspects. If you are a feminist, it is impossible not to be outraged at the way women were treated merely a century ago, as the movie vividly depicts the humiliation, manipulation and violence women were subjected to daily, but you’ll also feel that this is simply a politically correct movie, when it could have been so much more.

I expected “Suffragette” to be a groundbreaking movie, but instead, it was a safe and conventional depiction of one of the bravest acts of fighting for freedom in history. It should have covered more of the feminist movement and been less about “oh, look at how we suffered, let’s all behave and be politically correct from now on.” It should not have been afraid to portrait men as the real culprits instead of deliberating shifting the blame on the “system.” It was not the “system” who made women second-class citizens, it was men, and the movie fails to transmit this clearly. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where a man’s opinion is often heavier than a woman’s and I guess those who made this movie wanted to play it safe. A chance was sadly lost, as it will be years until another movie about the suffragettes is made, and until then, feminism is left with a movie with a poignant title but poor execution.