Another world hero for the textbooks of our Children. R.I.P. Nelson Mandela

‘He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages.’ – Barack Obama. Image

It is a sad day for Mankind that we lose such an iconic figure for world peace. It is a shame that half of the world will be waking up to this terrible news, while the other half of us go to sleep with him in our thoughts. It is a sad day, although we appreciate the end of a long suffering that he has felt over the last few years. 95 years is an achievement in itself.

I am proud to share the early years of my life with the later years of Madiba. Our children will see his name in textbooks as we have the great men and women before our time. They may not understand the true value of his life, suffering and inspirations but it is our duty to ensure they realise his significance and the vision of racial equality and the end of all exploitations.

‘There is no passion to be found in playing small – settling for a life that’s less than the one you are capable of living.’ Rest In Peace, Madiba.

Over and Out.

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For the love of Ganesh… ImageOfTheWeek.

For the love of Ganesh... ImageOfTheWeek.

One of Topman’s latest from the Summer 2013 range, is this basic Men’s tee displaying Ganesh, the Hindu deity of Knowledge. However, how many people who buy this tee will know this? How many will understand the background to this image?

Throughout the 21st Century, religious symbols/images have been commercialised and mass produced. The Christian Cross is a prime example of this. You’re not a rock star if you aren’t seen sporting a Cross Pendant… even Bollywood actors have started accessorising, regardless of their religion. This will always be controversial and will always have people on both sides saying it is either blasphemy or just freedom of expression. However, the point I wish to make, free from a religious point of view on my part, is that of Corporate Responsibility.

One defense of this view, would be that of cultural appropriation – adoption of a culture by another culture. However, here, we would be getting into a messy web of differences between culture and religion. Should Ganesh’s image be printed on an item of Indian clothing, then yes, you could say it is cultural appropriation. However, this tee is a modern item of clothing.

So why do I think this is a case of Corporate Responsibility? Because this level of controversy acts against a “regulation of social good” that businesses should ethically adhere to.  I put it in the same basket as Primark selling kid’s padded bikinis. Nothing can really stop it, but it’s just not right.

To me, this tee shirt is a symbol of a religion. Wearing it requires the respect of the traditions and values held by that religion. Mass-producing this image onto a mainstream item of clothing, to me, effectively diminishes the meaning behind it. Although the UK is multi-cultural, it is not yet socially aware enough to be ready for this type of commercialisation. It won’t be long until you see young people wearing it while obliviously eating a beefy Big Mac. This wouldn’t be out of direct disrespect, but out of a lack of knowledge and appreciation. It is about as socially aware as a person, wearing a peace sign t-shirt, casually car-jacking

On a practical note, I don’t think that the tee will do that well and feel that it is a terrible addition to the summer line. After showing the image to many of my friends, the general response has been, “..but who would wear that, though?”. Stick to the retro look, Topman.

Over and Out.

Shiny Happy People… ImageOfTheWeek.

Shiny Happy People... ImageOfTheWeek.

I found this today, on Buzzfeed (click on the pic to read the article): ‘No, Seriously, This Guy Is Holding A “You Deserve Rape” Sign’

For a bit of context: “A University of Arizona student [Dean Saxton] sparked outrage Tuesday by holding up a sign reading, “You Deserve Rape” and preaching that women who dress like “whores” bring rape upon themselves in protest to a sexual assault awareness event being held that night.” – Buzzfeed.com

The awareness event in question was “Reclaim the Night“. In a nutshell, this event is a brilliant movement of Women reclaiming their right to safety on the streets, protesting against the idea that they should feel scared and intimidated to go out at night.

Back to the picture in question… It is quite hard for one to explain how they feel about such an image. The first words that sprung to my mind were ‘angry’, ‘upset’ but also, unfortunately, ‘not surprised’. Many of the arguments about gender equality are pretty self explanatory and obvious in this context, however, I think a few points specific points need to made here.

Firstly, this is a universal attack. Not only is this image/campaign an attack  on Women, but it is also insinuating that Men believe that they have the right to rape based on the actions of the Woman. Furthermore, this is an implicit attack on Male character, assuming that men are unable to control their sexual capacity. In a patriarchal society that dictates how Women should act/dress, surely these are indications of a repression? What is even worse, is that it doesn’t even take into account the real reasons for rape. Most of the time, it isn’t even about Sex, but about assertion of male dominance, a struggle for power and issues that are a whole different “kettle of fish”.

Secondly, after reading one of the passages from Saxton’s blog, it occurred to me that this Christian extremist is mixing up two very different issues – That of Rape and Sexual Violence, and that of Sexual Liberation. He refers to the American Greek-life culture as a “whoredom” where young men and women are committing “sins” however this is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ISSUE about sexual behaviour, and more specifically, college culture for young people.  This isn’t an issue about men criminally forcing sex onto dis-consenting Women.  Yes, I agree that there can be some overlap in these environments whereby peer pressure and intoxicants can blur the lines of consent, however, this is not Saxton’s arguement. He is insinuating that if a woman engages in pre-marital sex, than it is inevitable that men may want to rape her – this is a disgusting belief and one similar to the justifications made by the Dehli gang-rapists for the crimes against their 19 year-old victim.

Thirdly, I will make a point regarding “issue-overlap”. As with many extreme views, single prejudices against gender, sexuality, race, religion, class do not really exist. These factors are interlocked and have been throughout history. The only difference in the 21st Century, is the increasing voice that minority groups have in the globalised era. Saxton states that “fat lesbians will get raped”, putting them in the same camp as Feminists and whores. Why is it that one’s weight and sexuality determines whether they get raped? Does your own prejudice permit you to believe that those different to you deserve to be subject to the worst forms of violence? Where does this end? Do other religious groups deserve this same fate?

Lastly, I would just like to express how unfortunate it is that these views are being expressed in today’s world, and worse, that free speech protects these views. All types of inequality stem from extremist views such as the ones held by the man who produced this image. More to the point, he is arguing that rape is okay and his university paper saw it fit to publish it. This view has no place in a publication and no place in any society.

Over and Out.

Puntastic. – ImageOfTheWeek

Puntastic.

Imagine a sunny Friday mid-morning and a girl sitting on the top deck of the 142 Magic Bus, chuffed with the retail therapy she had just treated herself to and listening to Paolo’s “New Shoes” on the way to the library. She looks out the window… spots a big billboard with 7 men, all of extreme shapes and sizes, dressed in items from HIGH and MIGHTY. She looks down, looks back up at the next billboard… and BOOM.

By now you probably realise that this impulsive girl was me – this morning – in central Manchester. This picture was the second billboard – twice the size of the first and twice as eye-catching. Needless to say, I have ridiculous amounts of respect for each and every man here. They remind me of the women in the Dove campaign a couple of years ago – all in their underwear, showing what a real woman looks like. The campaign itself (have a read by clicking the link) is so important too, as specialist clothing stores sometimes hold a stigma which I believe makes absolutely no sense in today’s world.

I absolutely love this ad, and no, not just because of the guy on the far right (although he does help the cause!).

Over and Out!

This Time, Last Year. ImageOfTheWeek

Image

Wellesley College Scream Tunnel ’12 in support of Boston’s Marathon Monday: In respect for those affected for the Boston Bombings 15/04/2013.

Never before have I woken up so early on a public holiday however, it is tradition for Wellesley Women support the athletes of the Boston Marathon. As the half way point, Wellesley have acted as a support system for runners since the 1970’s, providing drinks, hi-fives and more recently, a cheeky kiss.

I never really understood marathons until I took part in the Wellesley Scream tunnel during my semester there. The determination and endurance of the athletes really blew me away and since then I have an up most respect for those who run, walk and wheel their way to the finish line. The atmosphere the event fostered around the Boston area was so infectious and you couldn’t help but feel the sense of community. Unfortunately, it did not occur to me that holding up a “Kiss Me, I’m British” sign would mean getting my cheek covered in other people’s sweat. Clever, I know.

Yesterday, the inspirational event that is Marathon Monday was in full force again. However, 2 devices exploded near the finishing line in Downtown Boston killing 3 people and injuring many others. Limbs severed, lives ruined and faith, broken. I chose this “flashback” picture for my image of the week in honour of those affected by the bombings. It represents the spirit of the Boston area and also how events like this can bring the whole world together through sport. The bombings were directly targeting these representations (as well as innocent people) however I hope the spirit of the event will not be killed.

Over and Out.

WhatSheSaid – Brilliant Marketing. ImageOfTheWeek

WhatSheSaid.

If you can’t trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?

I came across this image a year or so ago and it really impressed me with it’s relevance and it’s brilliant marketing. (Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, i’m sure you can appreciate this? )

Also on that note, using the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” surely has pre-implied connotations about negative and positive, such that “pro-life” sounds like the “positive” phrase and therefore giving that argument a bias? Just a general point on language in debate.

Over & out.

p.s. Still can’t find who originally said this/whose campaign included this so information would be much appreciated!

A story shared by the social enterprise, GiveMeTap. ImageOfTheWeek

A Story shared by the social enterprise, GiveMeTap.

Click on the picture to discover what GiveMeTap are about!

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”

We are taught in the West to look after ourselves and that it is a “dogeatdog” world. Ideologies matter!

Over and out.