Category Archives: Women

The Solution for Feminism?


by Jake McMillan

Disclaimer: There will be some generalisations below in order to keep this post succinct so whenever you see one please assume I don’t mean it for all people or situations, I am aware that there are exceptions, that not everything is an accepted fact and there are different points of view. 

I write this post with great trepidation as for a man to write or talk about feminism is like walking through a field you know is almost completely full of mines. It is not an easy topic for women to talk about either, but when men do it, it often has an inflammatory effect. Sometimes this is because what men say is stupid or offensive and sometimes this is because it is just a man talking about issues which concern and effect women. You will have your own view which end of the spectrum I am being.

Although I will be critical of feminism in places below, the aim of this is to be constructive and offer in a positive way my humble views that may help feminism achieve its aims. I am not a professional expert on this topic, I do not believe I know all the answers, but this a considered view based on experience and some research.

“Come on, just get on with what you are going to say!”. I will, I will, I promise, please forgive me, but previous experience in discussing this topic with female feminists has pushed me into making disclaimers and caveats first.

Feminism and feminists have changed the world we live in. Comparing today’s Western society with that of a 100 years ago, I don’t think anyone would argue that we do not live in far more equal society. Is the job completed? No, far from it, but a great deal has been achieved. However, in recent years feminism has been less effective than in the past, with many people seeing it as losing its way, becoming fragmented and confused? There are different points of view on how true this is, but it is true that there are many people who support feminism and its aims but would not dream of saying they were a feminist. There has become a stigma in saying that you are a feminist as many will have a perception about you, the stereotype of being angry, militant and man-hating.

Looking at it solely from a marketing and PR perspective, to have people who support the cause but would not dare say they are a feminist, is an absolute disaster. Something has gone wrong along the way. Feminism is still very relevant today, with sexism against women still apparent in the media and the workplace, to name but a few, so why are not more people standing up and proudly saying they are feminists?

I think it is wrong to say modern feminism is failing, but you could argue that is not very successful at the moment. There are, however, great efforts to try and change this with a lot going on campaigning-wise, the No More Page 3 petition (almost 60,000 votes at the time of writing), for example, is very visible at the moment and there is a lot of research and lobbying looking at sexism against women in the media. Feminists such as Caitlin Moran seem to be connecting and providing a voice for women in today’s society.

The fact I’ve taken the time to write this post is an example of feminism being talked about and that it is relevant, however, a lot of discussion in forums and comments on articles are not very constructive and does not seem to be helping the cause. Rather than discussing sexism and equality, many debates seem to degenerate into men versus women type arguments. Some of these campaigns seem or appear to polarise people through preaching to the converted and pushing away further those who disagree. They have been good though for getting people talking about the issues so should not be dismissed. For feminism to be successful it needs to reach people who disagree or are not sure about or familiar with, the issues and feminist aims and convince them.

My view is that the solution for feminism is to widen the focus and not let it be just about women fighting issues that effect women.I believe they should involve men and I also believe they should look at the wider issues of sexism, i.e. both genders.

[pause]

I can almost hear the blood boiling of some female feminists as they are ready to rant at me why they would not want this and/or do not want a man telling them how to solve their problems! Please hear me out.

Historical feminism has closed the equality gap a long way (people will argue the extent of this), but to get to a society where men and women are treated equally and that your gender does not determine your path in life, I believe we need to have a different approach to progress significantly.

Let’s imagine we are in the future and we have reached a place in society where there is no sexism and there is equality across the genders. In this future society how should we address sexism when it appears from time to time? My hope and wish is that all members of society will feel responsible to eliminate it, not just men  looking after sexism against men nor just women tackling sexism against women. Both genders working together for the good of society and ending sexism.

We should not wait for the end of sexism to start operating like this, I think we should start working like this now as this sets the standard as well as being  the most effective way of reaching this goal.

The approach of a lot of feminist campaigns that are used today seems to me to have a divisive effect and I have been appalled at some of the sexist comments that have been made on recent blogs and articles. However, feminists are not blameless either.

On a feminist blog earlier in the year, I was trying to put forward some suggestions as a discussion point along this idea of widening the focus of feminism and I was told:

Men’s problems are not down to sexism. And women don’t need you or any other man to tell us how best we should go about ending it. If you want to support feminism, shut up and listen to the people on the receiving end of sexism instead of perpetuating male dominance by telling us what to do and what we should be addressing.”

Also

Men telling women how they should be doing feminism in order to get men to like us more is one of the best arguments I’ve ever heard for women-centred organising.

Even if you thought (or still do) the suggestions of men about feminism were ridiculous, this approach or reaction to male involvement does not help the end goal. For feminism to be successful, you need both genders (i.e. men too) to buy into it and agree with it. It’s only logical. Perhaps, just perhaps, excuse some men of their views and misunderstandings, welcome them into the fold and educate them rather than alienate them? This approach would not assert male dominance or lead to men telling female feminists what to do, it would help men who have been rejected and turned away from feminism to better understand it and then in turn better support the issues and causes.

Language has a big impact here and a lot of articles and blogs about feminism, whether it is tackling sexism, domestic violence and rape, do contain latent sexism in their language. There is a link to a Guardian article above (and here) about sexism in the media and I found it very interesting and informative. The one small but important issue I noticed is that throughout the article it talks about sexism in the media and it assumes that the only sexism in the media is about women? I have been in conversations with people about domestic violence and rape and again it is assumed these terrible things only happen to women. They happen to men too.

The point is that there are many many issues that effect both men and women. Sexism effects both men and women. Yes, if you were to add all these issues together and prioritise them, the majority of issues effect women much worse overall than they effect men. Nevertheless, having a joined up inclusive approach would be more efficient and effective for both genders.

Many female feminists are very sceptical and put down issues that men face as they either see them as being far less significant compared to issues women face and/or this is a product of male dominance in society giving men privileges and advantages over women that outweigh any issues they might encounter. Even if this is true, this kind of analysis is not helpful as it polarises men and women, pitting them against each other and all debates and conversations seem to ultimately end up with female feminists saying they don’t need men to help them and so men do not get involved in or supporting feminism.

Modern society has progressed to the stage that a feminist approach of just women fighting issues that effect women has limited effectiveness. Not all female feminists reject male involvement, of course, and it has actually been refreshing to hear one very recently saying don’t just be a “nay sayer” and would not just want support under set terms only (as suggested to me above) but would actually welcome my ideas and would have no objection to me or other men helping to lead feminism to reach its goals. This is very encouraging as you can tell by the disclaimers and caveats I have felt the need to make, it is not an easy thing for me or other men to talk about.

So, I hope you will take this in the spirit of what is intended to be? I am not demanding or telling feminists what they should do, this is merely my humble suggestion of an approach that I think will lead to a society without sexism and gender inequality. This is something I want and I support any initiatives (regardless of the  “ism”) that help achieve this.

If you are feminist who hasn’t been too enraged by this post, you might wonder if a logical conclusion of my suggestion would mean feminists should stop what they are doing and do something else? No, my approach would mean feminists should carry on tackling the issues of sexism and gender inequality as they have been, but take a wider and more inclusive approach to include all sexism or gender inequality of the issues they are confronting. This approach also actively encourages the involvement of men, even if at first they appear like they don’t get it or have odd views (not sexist ones hopefully) or you are suspicious they are trying to assert male dominance, give them some time, you may be surprised by the results.

I have no hidden agenda for male dominance. As a society we need to end sexism and gender inequality and I simply feel both men and women working together to tackle all issues of sexism and gender inequality is not only the best method to achieve this goal, but will act as a blueprint for a society where sexism no longer exists.

Related content:
No More Page 3 (Facebook page)
The F Word (Contemporary UK Feminism)
Who Needs Feminism?


How to do a Good Selfie


by Jake McMillan

I recently blogged about the rise of the ‘selfie’ in recent years and how people, particularly women, need to know how to do this as part of the skills required to being a 21st century woman. Celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Jodie Marsh, Miley Cyrus and Coco Austin are not helping this cause and in the last year or so there has been in an increase in the practice of body surfing. Whether or not you agree or actively participate in doing self photos, being able to do a good one is something useful to know.

Through my discussions with women of all ages across the world, I spoke to a few who are experts at doing the self photo and they were kind enough to impart some of their wisdom. Many thanks goes to Nora, Noelle and Risa in particular.

Here are their tips:

1. Super Arm Extension & Angle Carefully
You really need to get the camera as far away from you as possible and learn to angle it. Amateurs can be spotted by how much of their own arm is in the photo, try to balance how much is visible with the other arm. You may need to angle up or down depending on if you want to capture whatever is in the background.

2. Get to Know the Photo Apps
There are lots upon loads of photo apps that have interesting features you can use: filters, framing, montage and timer, etc. 

3. How to get Your Whole Outfit in the Shot
As Nora demonstrates below, try taking it from above and tilt your head.

4. The Kiss Photo
This is usually best executed through holding the camera with both hands in front of you.

5. Mirrors
Use of mirrors can make an interesting selfie.

6. Taking a Selfie of your Butt!
The best butt self-photo is taken from below looking up:

7. Have Some Fun
You may like your face a lot, but try having some fun in the self photo and make it more of a self-portrait by adding an artistic or humorous element to the photo. For inspiration, try checking out: Rosie HardyBrooke ShadenBrian Wagner and Inge Hooker.

Photo courtesy of Rolfe Markham Photography

8. What NOT To Do
Here are some things not to do:

See any photo at AntiDuckface – ‘because no really, you look stupid

Look carefully at the following and try not to do the same:


The Selfie


by Jake McMillan

Thanks to the progress in digital photography, mobile phones and the growth of social networking sites, there has been a massive rise in recent years of the “selfie”, in particular, by women. Not that men don’t do it too (my current Facebook profile pic is a self photo), but for women it is extremely common and seemingly a skill modern women need to know as much as being able to do their make up.

The use of it seems to vary considerably and I have been talking to women of all ages across the world about the self-photo, from some who would never do it, to some who do it all the time. It’s been interesting to hear the different views on the subject as well as receive some tips on how to do it well.

An attractive friend of mine from Amsterdam, typifies the view of women who would rarely, if ever, do the ‘self-photo’, “I think it’s a bit exhibitionist to put self-snapped pictures online everywhere, especially the ones where you look sensually into the camera. yuck”. She explained she has better things to do with her time and prefers to keep it real.

This is in stark contrast to my friend Noelle from Singapore who is a self-confessed camwhore and the “Queen of Pout” who takes many many photos of herself. This is partly because, she explained to me, she knows which angles of her face work. Sometimes people will offer to take a photo for her and she will reject it because she knows the arm placement that best works for her. She also has 24(!) photo apps and knows which one has the filter she wants, which one have the frames she wants, montage features and a recent favourite of hers is the timer app.

My partner in crime from the Bounce Off dating blog, Risa (who is from the USA), has a similar view to Noelle, ‘I like to self-photo sometimes more than asking someone else to do it (especially a stranger), you risk the chance that the person will do a shitty job – like not framing the picture properly, getting the lighting wrong, cutting off parts of the landmark, not capturing the important things, etc. Then it feels awkward to ask them to take it again and again until they get it right so why not just self-photo?’

                                   
(some examples of Noelle’s self-photos)

From my many discussions with women about this subject I knew that there are judgemental views on women who do lots of self photos so I asked Noelle about this and why she took so many photos of herself? I first have to say that Noelle is not a narcissistic loon and that is because I promised her I would not make her come across that way and also, most importantly, it is not true. She is a very genuine and straight-talking person.

“Why photos of myself? Cos I’m hot. hahaha! Well, it’s almost like twitter isn’t it? Just a pictorial version of my life, what I’m wearing, where I go, etc. like a visual diary.” Some will be taken in front of her computer, using Photo Booth and many others are using her iPhone. She freely states that selfies are pure narcissism and doesn’t care if her sister or friends see her posing as the minute she wants to take a self-photo with them in it, they are all smiles too.

“I like make-up, dressing up, going out, so I feel the need to chronicle that while I’m still attractive”, she told me. I then asked whether the self-photos will stop when she gets a bit older and wrinklier? She joked, “LOL who wants to see that shit? then I’ll put some scenery up … but at least I can look back and go, damn, I was pretty hot. HAHAHA narcissistic AND shameless.”

Being serious, she put forward the notion that there are different kinds of women. “It’s an extreme narcissism that comes with the self photo and usually stems from having been living in public life for a while.” Noelle has been blogging for almost 10 years and she has complete strangers who come up to her in Singapore to say they read her blog.

Nora, half-Swedish/Spanish lady currently living in Los Angeles, is someone I would describe as being a little crazy, but in a good way, and uses social media to show her working out, walking her dog, eating nice food and wearing nice things. “I love the way I look and it’s fun, like if I’m bored I just take some pics of myself”, she explained to me as well as completely ignoring anyone who judges her for it, “haha don’t hate and enjoy yourself. Relax and have fun.”

            

    

(some of Nora’s self photos)

I think the key to making self photos interesting and not just narcissistic is to have fun with them. Inge, a 24 year old photographer from Tennessee, is a big fan of what she would refer to as a self-portrait.  This is not a straight forward look into the camera lens but takes an artistic and often fun approach. For her, ‘it is just a form of self-expression, like painting a picture, dancing or cooking a good meal. It is my form of stress relief.’

She explained to me she is not a camera-whore, ‘I am an admitted actress at times, but it is usually because I like to entertain people not because I want to say “look at me! Look at me!” … I prefer to be part of a joke or to take funny, entertaining pictures any day of the week rather than a normal pretty one – much to the dismay of my friends, boyfriend and family.’ See a few of her own examples: Jump! Baby Bird, Jump!; Nervous Energy; or Some Days. She also recommended looking at Rosie Hardy, Brooke Shaden and Brian Wagner.

Hanna, a 19 year old student from Finland, often uses the mix of the straight forward selfie as well as taking the artistic or more fun approach of a self portrait. Like many, she is not a fan of people who pout a lot and put up ten new duckface photos on Facebook everyday.

Although self-photos may not seem ‘real’ or a genuine to some, in the 21st century we have to be aware of our image in social media whether we like it or not. Just like when we get dressed up for a night out on the town, we are choosing to present the best representation of ourselves, which may be quite different to how we appear normally. Women wear make up, high-heeled shoes and push-up bras on a night out and so there is nothing wrong with women (or men) wanting to be in a similar level of control about their photo on social media sites, especially, of course, internet dating sites.

However, be aware that excessive use of the selfie will inevitably cause judgement by others … it is only human nature.

Tips and Advice on How To Do a Good Selfie >>>

(A massive thank you to all those who gave me their thoughts and opinions and especially to Noelle and Nora who let me use their photographs)


What’s Wrong With My List?


My flatmates and I are all single 30-somethings who are young at heart and sometimes young at brain too. The other evening, over a glass of wine or three, we were discussing the suitable traits of people we’d want to be with. One flatmate asked me for a ‘briefing document’ of my criteria so she would have an idea of people she knew who might fit. On my iPhone I put together the quick list shown above and fired it off to them to laugh at and scrutinize.

The following day I put it up on Facebook so others could share in the joke and join in with criticising my list and have a bit of fun at my expense, for example, one friend put that I should give myself a fighting chance and just focus on the top two points! Most took it in the manner with which it was posted (i.e. I wasn’t actually using this list to draw in potential suitors), but I was surprised by the serious reaction of some. Can you guess which bit of the list some objected to most?

No, it wasn’t the bush grooming comment.

No, it wasn’t that she needs to be alive.

No, it wasn’t that she needs to be slimmer than me.

What several people objected to (all women) was that I had put 19 as the bottom end of the age range?! They seem to be genuinely outraged like I was acting like some sort of paedophile! In truth, I had not really given much thought about the age range, I had in the moment of writing the list thought of a good target age as being 29 and simply added and subtracted 10 years to this.

As a 30-something I am not actually looking for a 19-year old as the age difference would suggest different levels of maturity and life experience for a relationship to work. However, that said, if I met a 19-year old who was mature and fit my other criteria and seemed to like me, why would I discount an opportunity because of an ageist prejudice about the maturity of 19 year olds?

It’s an extremely unlikely scenario for me to encounter as, let’s face it, 30-somethings seem ancient to young adults, but I was curious as to why some had reacted so strongly? My responding to their complaints, ‘Would being with two 19 year olds make the situation any better?’ (that’s a combined 38 years of experience) did not help for some reason? 

In the United Kingdom and many other modern societies, 19 year olds are legally considered adults and free to do anything like any other adults in society. So what is the problem? In the last 12 months, an 18 year old Harry Styles from boy band One Direction was dating 32 year old presenter Caroline Flack and this caused a massive uproar, but why? If it’s two consenting adults being together and no one is being exploited or coerced, who are we to judge and say whether people should be in a relationship together or not?

by Jake McMillan

Related Posts:
How Low Do You Go?
The One?
Women Asking Men Out?
Bad Pick-up Lines


Do I need to know who Kim Kardashian is?


by Jake McMillan

I’ve heard of Kim Kardashian but don’t have really any idea why she is a famous? I know she and her family have  a reality TV programme, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians‘, as I watched it once, I know she had a sex tape leaked into the media, I know she has a well-rounded bottom and that she may know or is connected to Paris Hilton? However, I am not sure why she was famous in the first place? Why would someone make a reality programme about her? Why would anyone care there was a sex tape of her?

I decided to find out. So, if you were wondering the same as me, here are the basics of what you need to know. Note: the word ‘need’ in the previous sentence was used with reckless abandon.

  • Kimberly or “Kim”‘ as she is known has the middle name ‘Noel’ and according to Wikipedia she is ‘an American socialite, celebutante, television personality, model, actress and businesswoman.’ The interesting part of that is her being a ‘celebutante’, i.e. she is famous for being famous.
  • Kim is the daughter of lawyer Robert Kardashian who famously represented OJ Simpson at his murder trial.
  • She is a friend of Paris Hilton, who introduced her to the socialite scene
  • Her sex tape video, that was made with singer Ray J in 2003, was leaked some 4 years later. Vivid Entertainment bought the rights for $1 million and released the film under the title ‘Kim Kardashian: Superstar‘. Kim sued Vivid and settled out of court for $5 million.
  • She has been married twice, first to music producer Damon Thomas (2000-2004) and then most recently to NBA Basketball player Kris Humphries which lasted only 72 days.
  • She has posed for Playboy, under the advice and encouragement of her mother
  • She is currently dating Kanye West
  • She has nearly 15 million twitter followers, making her one of the most followed people in the world (8th highest as I write this)
  • She is 5ft 2.5inches tall
  • Her website is: http://kimkardashian.celebuzz.com/

Here are some photos of her:

 

Related Posts:

Amy Childs Photos

Nicole  Scherzinger Photos

Kirsten Dunst Photos

If Only More Music Videos Were Like This? (Dasha Astafieva and Julia Kavtaradze)

Ultimate Male Fantasy

Jane Devlin Still Has the X Factor

The Definitive Top 10 Bond Girls

The Woman (Irene Adler – Lara Pulver) on BBC’s ‘Sherlock’

What Exactly is a Dirty Girl?


Why Do I Have So Many Female Friends?


by Jake McMillan

 
I get asked this question a lot! Just because I’m a bloke, I’m heterosexual and happen to have a lot of women friends (men friends too), many people (both male and female) think this is a bit odd? I never realised that there was supposed to be an optimum ratio of female to male friends?
My answer to this question is normally that I have a number of close friends; their gender is irrelevant to me. Unfortunately, this somewhat smart-arse and self-righteous answer never suffices. Read the further arguments and discussion points on the Bounce Off dating and relationship website I co-author with my friend Risa.
Related Posts:

Okay, some Nicole Scherzinger Photos


Although this isn’t a blog about beautiful ladies (except for Top 10 Bond Girls), a recent post, ‘The Ultimate Male Fantasy‘ about having a partner who is a shapeshifter and the options this gives, has led to lots of people finding the site who are searching for Nicole Scherzinger who is currently appearing on the US version of X Factor.

So, just to appease and hopefully not disappoint some of the people who stumble onto this site, here are some hot photos (45 in fact) of Nicole. For the record, I am more interested in her boyfriend Lewis Hamilton, not in a gay way, but due to my strong interest in Formula 1. See my F1 Banter, Musings and Gossip blog.

Nicole Scherzinger is currently 33 years old (b. 1978) and according to Wikipedia her full name is Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente Scherzinger. Her star sign is Cancer and she was born in Hawaii. Before finding fame as lead singer of Pussycat Dolls, she appeared on reality TV show Popstars and was selected to be part of the group Eden’s Crush. See her audition here on YouTube.