Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Blogmas Day 23: The Zoella / Blogger Debate: What Will 2015 Hold?

You may remember back in October I wrote this rant in reaction to a particular journalist's onslaught of Vlogger / Blogger Zoella. 

Since then my rants have consistently focused on how journalists and the media have negatively and harmfully responded to certain topics, from Gemma Collins and I'm a Celebrity, to Kim K and Keira Knightley baring all. 

For my last rant of 2014, I thought I'd go back to where it all started, and look at how the negative attitudes of journalists and the media have developed over the last two months, not only towards Zoella, but bloggers in general, and what it means for us in 2015. 

I feel it's fair to assume that since you guys are either bloggers yourselves or avid readers of blogs, you too will be disgruntled (to say the least) at how much the media either don't get blogging / vlogging, or refuse to understand it. 

Since writing my Zoella post, it all kicked off for her: A book release, a Youtube advert, featuring on the Band Aid 30 single etc etc. However it seemed like she couldn't blow her nose without a newspaper criticizing the influence she was having on her 'impressionable' audience.  

The root cause of the media's sudden scrutiny towards Zoella? She ghostwrote her book! Are these journalists, who are meant to do research for a living, that naive when it comes to the publishing industry? Actually scrap that, the creative industry! Do you really think Beyonce writes every single one of her songs? Rihanna? Justin Timberlake? Because they don't! 

I won't go into the ghost-writing debate any further, because I'm sure you all understand that it's stupid to get angry at someone who isn't professionally a writer for getting help when writing a book. 

My anger lies with the bitter attitude towards fashion and beauty blogging / vlogging that has emerged from the media's anti-Zoella campaign. 

Back when I wrote the first Zoella post, there were already a bunch of bra-burning journalists on their high horse wielding their 'my idea of feminism is better than yours' flag, suggesting that Zoella was a bad female role-model because she talked about make-up and clothes. 

This point has been grabbed onto by the media to slash Zoella's career and therefore diminish the entire fashion and beauty blogging world. 

For me, there's a HUGE double standard going on here. The industry spouting all this hate towards what Zoella and so many of us fashion and beauty bloggers do is the same industry that produces newspapers and magazines featuring the exact same content: Cosmopolitan, Company, Glamour , Grazia, The Independent Fashion & Style... need I go on. In fact the only difference is something I think is worth celebrating: personality. 

The majority of young girls will always, ALWAYS be interested in fashion and make-up. The fact that the media wants to tarnish every single one of those girls with the same brush and suggest that an interest in fashion and beauty comes from a place of materialism, insecurity and a need to impress the opposite sex actually makes them more harmful to the female cause than any camera-ready, blusher-wielding blogger. 

The positives of adding a personality and familiar face to beauty advice and style tips outweigh the negatives. I don't think a single person can fully associate with a features writer hidden behind a glossy page of beauty products, or a celebrity marketing something they probably never use, let alone trust the advice being given. Authenticity is something that's quite easy to find among the blogging community, and with that authenticity comes attainability. Learning how to highlight or create a smokey eye from a girl the same age, sitting in her bedroom, using make-up she's paid for with her part-time job makes fashion and beauty a more attainable industry. The more attainable young girls find these industries, the more encouraged they'll be to explore, create and express themselves through these mediums, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

Of course there are lots of bloggers out there whose blogging hobbies have turned into full-time careers, and that should be encouraged. Youth employment is a major issue, and for anyone to achieve what bloggers like Zoella have achieved just by creating their own corner of the internet, is admirable. 

The media's childish hounding of successful internet creatives reeks of jealousy and sabotage. It's the internet and social media we're talking about here. It was only a matter of time before bloggers became just as influential as magazines, and I feel 2015 will be the year that it goes full steam ahead, and is embraced fully. 

Some people can't accept change. I get that. But instead of trying to trip up those making something of themselves when an opportunity is handed to them, why not embrace the change? There's no reason why print journalism and blogging can't live side-by-side in harmony. But magazines are becoming a bit predictable, and click-bait tactics are wearing thin, so if things carry on and push comes to shove, blogging will win. 


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Leave Gemma Collins Alone! A Message To Our Tabloids!

I'm not really a fan of reality TV, steering well clear of Xfactor, Big Brother and the like. 
But for the last two years I've been an avid watcher of I'm A Celebrity... for the simple fact that everyone got along, built strong friendships, and gave us as watchers a heart-warming 'we're all in this together' vibe. Naww. Who could forget the bonds built between Kian, David, Lucy, Joey and Rebecca in Season 13. However this year has reawakened the hideous Julius Caesar thumbs-up-thumbs-down attitude of the reality TV viewer, and as a result our tabloids have dived head first into the cesspit of journalism. 

The moment Gemma Collins decided to leave, I knew instantly that she would be met by a wave of hate, abuse and anger. I find it odd that people get so irate and venomous towards their fellow human beings, just because they've chosen not to eat animal genitals for our entertainment. 

Before writing this,  I went on a research spree to see in what forms this anger and venom manifested, expecting to end up on Twitter reading drivel written by trolls.  Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt for a second tweets like that about Gemma Collins exist, and for her own sanity and well-being I hope she hasn't read them.  But I got distracted, as I didn't expect to find language of such a bullying nature on the pages of our nation's newspapers. I got through about five articles from the Mirror.co.uk and DailyMail.co.uk before I almost exploded in anger at what I was reading (you can read them here, here and here ). 

So I thought not only would I defend Gemma in this post, but show you guys that our tabloids are no better than the sick trolls on Twitter. 

Just recently, Gemma's dad spoke out (to the Mirror.co.uk) about a traumatic experience Gemma went through before her entry to the jungle, involving her then boyfriend Alex Moss who was 'arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed after Gemma called police from her home.' It's sad that her and her family feel they have to inform us of such a personal circumstance, but with what I'm about to show you from the newspapers, I'm sure they felt they had no choice. 

Just like the Zoella rant, bullet-points and gifs will ensue: 

  • 'She's a useless, lazy, good for nothing, wholly unlikeable waste of space who injected nothing but abject misery into the camp, invested zero effort and made every single second all about her.' - Adam Postans, Mirror.co.uk
Wow. Just wow. Completely unnecessary for a start. When I read this, I had to double check that I was on a newspaper's website. Seems like professionalism, decorum and respect has completely gone out the window in this industry. This is the language of someone who is seriously hurt, upset and angry. All I'll say is that if a reality TV show gets Adam this riled up, he needs to get out more, cause that's just sad. Really sad. 

  • 'It must have been disastrous for poor old Joan [Gemma's mother] watching her disastrous daughter commit career suicide so far from home.' - Kevin O'Sullivan, Mirror.co.uk
I'm pretty sure the only one who can say what Gemma's mother thinks of the situation is Gemma's mother herself. I find it quite appauling that Kevin O'Sullivan is willing to not only drag the mother into the situation, but put words into her mouth that are merely meant to provoke and insight venom in the readers, at Gemma's expense. 


  • 'bloated blonde' - Kevin O'Sullivan, Mirror.co.uk 
Alliteration. Well done Kevin. At least you've remembered something from your journalism degree. Shame you can't put it towards something more productive, like commenting on something important, instead of ripping to shreds a minor celebrity. 

  • 'Thanks to her pathetic lack of get-up-and-go spirit (she got up and left), Gemma defiled the nation's sacred entertainment. We wanted to be cruel to her ... and she deprived us of the opportunity.' - Kevin O' Sullivan, Mirror.co.uk
What? WHAT?! Are you *&$!@*$ SERIOUS! I couldn't believe when reading this that a journalist would be so explicit in admitting having such a messed up, sadistic view of reality TV, and in a way that condones it too. Lines are being crossed here that are making bullying in the media harder to sort out. Is the Mirror.co.uk actually employing Twitter trolls? I wouldn't be surprised to be honest. And don't say 'we' Kevin, I don't want to be dragged into your group of reality TV saddos hoping to get a few short kicks out of being 'cruel' to someone. What an absolute creep. 

  • 'She just couldn't cope! "Everything was hellish" she said of her experience on the ITV reality show, adding that it wasn't 'about the food'. Despite this, the usually effervescent cast member of The Only Way is Essex stressed that it wasn't 'about the food.' - Jan Moir, DailyMail.co.uk
Is it just me, or does this not make sense? It seems that Jan Moir has abandoned good grammar in her desperate attempt to let us know that she's making a point about Gemma's size and the lack of food in the camp. Original. Pretty sure those jokes were made before she even entered the jungle. But Jan's not done there. Her article is literally food joke, after food joke, after food joke. She might as well have just written 'Who ate all the pies?' and have been done with it, cause her jokes carry just as little imagination, and will probably only resonate with those of a schoolyard mentality.

  • 'Nevertheless, she did complain that murderers got more to eat than she did, frequently moaned that she was "starving to death" and emotionally fell apart after only 72 hours without recourse to her snacky-time favourites of chocolate and cold milk.' - Jan Moir, DailyMail.co.uk
Every single person in that camp moaned about lack of food, and food stuffs that they missed. Who wouldn't? I skip lunch and I end up doing the exact same thing. Ok Gemma moaned a lot more than most, and yes it got a bit annoying, but I find Kendra's 'Oh my gohhhhhd' toe-curlingly more irritating than anything Gemma did. But as far as the tabloids are concerned, Gemma's fat, she cried, then she left, so screw what anyone else does, she's their easy target. 

  • 'Gemma was either talking about herself, deluding herself, or describing her various productions. And sadly, I don't mean West End musicals [...] Earlier, she'd informed millions of viewers that another of her dunny productions was the digestive equivalent of the stripes of an ambulance, being "yellow" and "fluorescent".  - Jan Moir, DailyMail.co.uk
Really? So we have to watch Kendra chew down on deer penis whilst exclaim that 'it tastes like penis', then hear that she 'likes cock, not cocktails' and watch her object to a trial cause she's on her period, embarrassing Ant and Dec, but poo is where you draw the line? How can you watch a show like I'm a Celebrity where the eating of animal genitals is common place, and moan about being disgusted. The mind boggles. 

  • 'In rare moments of contemplation, trembling in her max-strength hammock dreaming of Dairy Milk, she looked like a jumbo frankfurter in a canvas hot dog bun' - Jan Moir, DailyMail.co.uk
Oh for goodness sake.  This is just bad taste and downright offensive. 

  • 'Sly, ritual humiliation is, after all, an inbuilt part of this invidious showbiz process.' - Jan Moir, DailyMail.co.uk

Are Jan Moir and Kevin O'Sullivan in cahoots? Reality TV has always had a freak show element to it, but I always felt that was the element we all disliked, not the element the viewers revel in.  So these journalists, and the readers that agree with them, genuinely feel put out and let down by the fact that they didn't get to be cruel and humiliate Gemma Collins, or that she didn't expect this, because it's apparently an inbuilt part of showbiz? That's an attitude that we should want to stop, not one that should cause people to throw a tantrum when they don't get to make someone cry. Teenage girls, victims of cyber bullying, have taken their lives for less, but just because these people are in the public eye, it's ok for trolls and journalists alike to bombard them with this kind of abuse?  

  • 'In many ways, she is an icon of our age, a talent-free nobody who has nothing to sell except her own folly.' - Jan Moir, DailyMail.co.uk
And to finish it off, of course a dig at today's generation. The popular go-to for the Daily Mail. The amount of times I've listened to the elderly's opinions on the younger generation, and it's like a Daily Mail newspaper has possessed them. Our newspapers have a lot of influence over people's thoughts and opinions, and there's nothing sadder than when they side with the cruelest and most ignorant of internet dwellers, fuelling the fire. There seems to be a horrific cycle developing in which Twitter trolls and tabloids take inspiration from each other, and aim their venom at the easiest target. In this case it was Gemma Collins, but once this has all died down, they'll soon find another victim. 

And just to show  the true colours of the people who write this stuff, here's a little Twitter interaction I had with the delectable Kevin O'Sullivan himself: 



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Kim K Put It Away - You Too, Keira

Surely I can't be the only one whose Facebook newsfeed has been covered in boobs and butts as of late. 

Now I'm no prude. In actual fact I'm all for embracing the naked form. 

However, I get a little bit uncomfortable with nakedness in the public eye when it's forced down our throats with a negative message about body image, or when it's used to make a point that would have remained unheard if the clothes were on. 

I'm talking about Kim Kardashian and Keira Knightly. I know right, who would have thought those two could ever be lumped together in one blog post. But I'm getting old school here and going back to the GCSE English comprehension days of 'compare and contrast.' 

Two women, getting their kit off. However, their reasons for doing so couldn't be more far apart. The result? Well I'll get to that.

 Let's start with Kim Kardashian. I have done myself the favour of trying to steer clear of anything she's remotely involved in, despite the fact she's done a pretty good job imprinting her naked arse onto my retinas  like a well-oiled Jack-in-a-Box. I may already be a bit biased in this analysis since I don't really respect or have time for anyone who climbs the fame ladder on the back of something like an OJ Simpson murder trial or a sex tape. I don't despise her, it's just that the more famous she got, the more irrelevant she became to me, and oh how I wish that could have remained the case. 

Now Kim K's arse has been mysteriously growing since day one, and stealing the limelight of its owner. So why is it now that I'm getting irate about it? Well Kim Kardashian titled the blatant publicity stunt as 'breaking the internet'. Well actually love, all the internet's done from what I can see is plaster photoshopped horse behinds and peaches over the god damn thing. 

What it's ignited in some areas of society is a lot more damaging I feel. 

I was at home with Loose Women in the background whilst the ladies read out some responses that the audience at home had text in regarding Kim's pictures, with one saying the images help to 'promote a healthy body image' to which I responded with my 'I hate ignorance' deflated groan. 

Ok that was one person's comment, but do a bit of research and you'll see that's the opinion of so many women out there right now, mothers included, and it literally makes me want to weep. 

It's still not certain what Kim K's had done to her arse, but there's no way that's just protein and killer squats. With rumours that she's had fat from her stomach sucked out and blown back into her behind, as well as the likes of Nicki Minaj apparently resorting to bum implants, there's an unhealthy haze surrounding these now covetable bodies. 

Young girls have died travelling to Thailand to get buttock augmentation operations for god sake, and I even hear girls saying how they want to look like these women. It's gone from one extreme to the other.If a young girl starving herself to look like a celebrity on a magazine being hailed for her size 0 dress size is WRONG, then so is young girls putting themselves through surgery for a body shape that just isn't attainable. What happened to us being individuals? Why do we have to look like someone else, or have a body feature someone else has got and if we don't have it well goddamit bring the knife and scissors. When you strip it back, the notion is barbaric. 


We have Keira Knightly in a topless photoshoot to make a point about body image and retouching. She says, and I quote " OK, I'm fine doing the topless shot so long as you don't make them any bigger or retouch.' Because it does feel important to say it really doesn't matter what shape you are."

I applaud Keira and what she's trying to do here, I really do. In fact with Kim's waist being dramatically retouched to look impossibly slim in her picture, I like that someone is using their position to bring the topic to light. But not in the best way, I feel. It doesn't sit right with me, and feels uncomfortably ironic that for her to make a point about body image, the fact that her body is fine the way it is and that us as viewers should accept that, she had to get naked. It's like she's trying to combat misogyny and objectification with the one thing that spurs it on. 

Retouching, airbrushing and photoshop in regards to body image has been an issue for longer than I can remember now. Ok, it's a topic now back in the limelight, but I can't help but feel if Keira had tried to make this point with her clothes on, it wouldn't have even made it on to a single news website, let alone only half being listened to by people oggling at what her untouched breasts actually look like. Either way I don't really feel her message has been heard, but in getting her tits out, she's spurred on something I don't think she intended. 

If I was sitting next to you saying all this completely topless, I'm sure all you'd here me saying is 'boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs.' 

So the moral that both Kim and Keira are giving us here is that whether you want to be successful, or be heard, the best way to go about it is to don your birthday suit  and maybe, just maybe, people will hear what your trying to say, or see balancing a champagne glass on your arse as a credible talent. 

So what do I feel the results of all this will be?

Well we live in a world where celebrities and their bodies seem to be owned by, well, us. The celebrity phone hackings that took place for the soul purpose of retrieving their private, naked images proves that. We (the public) hack them, distribute them all over social media, view them, talk about them etc etc, Obviously when I say 'we' i'm not tarnishing us all with the same brush. Not all of us hacked the celebs, but I'm sure a larger percentage of us viewed those images, creating a supply and demand situation regarding pictures that should remain private (if you didn't view them, well done you).  When Emma Watson stood up and spoke out as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, the desire for people to see her naked was not only used as a threat, but to completely downplay and overshadow everything she had said. 

 In the wake of all that, with celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence fighting back with a strong and dignified statement, it doesn't sit right with me that certain celebrities are so happy to get naked for so little. I appreciate that there is a key difference between the two circumstances I'm looking at, and it involves the word CHOICE. I get that it's Kim and Keira's choice to release naked pictures of themselves into the public domain, whilst the celebrities whose phones were hacked had no control over the situation. HOWEVER, I can't help but feel the effect of the former will be the latter. 

The people who hacked the phones of these celebs did so because they obviously felt that privacy doesn't apply to people whose private lives are so easily accessible to us. We see them naked in films, we can find out the ins and outs of their relationships at the click of a button, and photographers can follow them everywhere they go and at worst receive a slapped wrist. 

It seems that the arse wipes who hacked these phones had a sense of entitlement about them. They felt they had a right to view what was before un-viewable, and acted as if they were doing the rest of us a public service. I mean, Kim Kardashian's already revealed her goods, so if we think the way these hackers think, how is there any harm in hacking phones to retrieve something we've already seen. If you imagine an attitude of entitlement, sprinkled with a pinch of wanting what you can't have, and topped with a layer of disregard for other people, then you've got one of these hackers. They don't distinguish between celebrities and circumstance. At the end of the day, we've all seen Kim K and Keira naked, and that will set the ball rolling. The more that nakedness amongst celebrities becomes commonplace, the more encouragement and right to view these people will feel they have.  They'll want more. When that desire gets strong enough, I'm pretty sure they'll go and get it.