Halloween Playlist!

Like a lot of people, Autumn is my favourite season of the year and one of the reasons for this is Halloween. Oh yes, in our house we deck the halls with severed limbs (oh that could be a catchy tune) and stock up on enough treats to leave our neighbourhood children dangerously on the verge of type II diabetes. Hey, it’s all in the name of commercialism and I’m here all day, everyday for the morbidly commerce.

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So to get us in the mood for ghosting and ghouling around, here’s an eclectic playlist of all my favourite spooky inspired tunes (and yes of course it begins with the Ghostbusters theme tune. Of COURSE it does).

 

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For everyone that lives in a country that has to do trick or treating like this.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Everyday Sexual Harassment

I’m not writing this post to garner any sympathy or advice, but in light of the recent sexual harassment revelations in Hollywood it’s so important to highlight that sexual harassment or abuse happens everyday. The majority (if not all) women will experience sexual harassment or abuse more than once in their life. Here’s a list of a handful of times that I have been sexually harassed to illustrate this.

  • The time a man walked past me on the street in broad daylight and grabbed both of my breasts and squeezed them.
  • The time a colleague in a meeting told all the other men in that meeting (our clients) that a video of me being “ragged” was available on YouTube for them to watch (I’ve seriously no idea what he was trying to achieve here, but it left an awful atmosphere in the room).
  • The time I was eating my lunch at my desk and that same colleague told me he loved seeing my mouth wrap round a sausage and then continued to sit and stare.
  • The time he said something suggestive to me when we were alone in a lift.
  • The time he whispered something suggestive again in my ear, so no one else could hear.
  • The time I finally complained to my male supervisor about this colleague and I was told that he was sure it was just a bit of “banter” and nothing else was done about it.
  • The time a group of men much larger than me tried to intimidate me on the street in broad daylight, in the middle of a city and I had to literally jump into the road to avoid them and they all walked off laughing.
  • The numerous times I’ve had sexual insults shouted at me by groups of men in cars or vans.
  • The time a man I did not know called me a slut as I walked past him in the street, minding my own business for no apparent reason.
  • The time when I was 19 years old and worked in a sandwich shop and my boss called me a “slapper” in front of a shop full of customers and colleagues. Later, when the deputy manager pulled him up on it he said that “I loved it”. Readers, I did not.
  • The time a man that I did not know, shouted out of a window that I was slag. I was walking with my boyfriend at the time.
  • The time I was forced against a wall at a tube station and had my sexuality questioned. This man then proceeded to follow me on the tube telling me everything that he would do with my body.
  • The time when I was 15 years old and I was flashed at by an older man masturbating on the street.
  • The time a man came up to be on the street, again in broad daylight and rubbed his crotch against me and when I turned around he showed me his erection.
  • And not forgetting the times that I have lost count of, when I have been groped in a nightclub or bar when walking past a group of men and the assailant would be safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have a clue who did it as the place would be so crowded.

Interestingly, only one of these assaults happened at night time. All the rest were done during the day and usually in busy places.

Here’s the most shocking thing of all. My story is not unique. I don’t just happen to be “unlucky”. In every case I was not flaunting myself or my body (though even if I was it still would not excuse or welcome an attack). My story is like so many other women’s stories. I know there will be women reading this and nodding along, thinking “Yep, me too, sister. Me too”.

Here’s how these sexual assaults made me feel:

  • violated
  • vulnerable
  • afraid
  • shaken
  • angry
  • humiliated
  • frustrated
  • emotional
  • so fucking scared
  • it made me feel that these men are trying to put me in my place
  • that these men are trying to make me feel like I am nothing but a sexual toy
  • that these men are trying to make me feel worthless

And in all honesty, after some of these incidences they have made me feel a bit worthless, but in the long term, luckily for me it has not worked. Sadly, that can’t be said for every woman who has been sexually harassed or abused.

The reality is that sexual harassment prevails throughout society. It does not discriminate against background, race, age, sexuality, size and so on. Your daughter, mother, sister, wife, girlfriend, friends, colleagues, that really nice woman that just served you in a shop, that lovely nurse who helped you heal, that fantastic teacher who is great with your child- ALL have been sexually harassed. Women have been sexually harassed and may not even realise they have. It is a huge problem within society.

I don’t have any clever or innovative solutions, but I do know we all need to stand up and stand against it as a society. I disagree with some people saying we don’t need men to speak up for us. We really do. It is something we should ALL be doing. Together. As PEOPLE we should be shocked and disgusted and unapologetically vocal about it.

Incidentally, my post hasn’t talked about the times I’ve experienced general sexism, but then we’d be here all bloody night if I listed those times.

I only reported two of the above incidents to the police. I probably should have reported more, but it was the incident with the man rubbing his crotch against me that I thought “no more”. I wouldn’t hesitate to report an incident again.

I’ll leave you with this thought. As I said, most of the assaults I experienced happened during the day with people surrounding me. If anyone had noticed what happened to me and vocally stood by me, how much would this help society combat sexual harassment? I’m not blaming anyone who noticed and didn’t say anything, the blame heavily lands on the assaulter, but would it make the assaulter think twice about doing it if he was bombarded by people speaking up and not putting up? We do also need to look at why people feel the need to harass at all. It would be nice (understatement of the year) if sexual harassment wasn’t a problem in the first place.

I actually really struggled to find basic information on the internet about sexual harassment and how to deal with it (which is a worry and a reflection of how much it is just generally accepted), but Rape Crisis have given some excellent advice here.

enough-is-enough

 

Just Another Book Club- September Book

Please leave your comments below or within the appropriate post on my Facebook page. Please feel free to peruse other people’s comments and respond to them.

Irresistible: why you are addicted to technology and how you can set yourself free

by Adam Alter

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Synopsis

Irresistible is written by psychologist Adam Alter about how society is becoming addicted to our smartphones, laptops, game consoles and television. In other words time in front of a screen is becoming all consuming for most of us. Adam Atler explores how this affects our everyday life, relationships and mental well being. Towards the end of the book, Atler suggests ways we can use technology differently and how it will lead us to living happier lives.

My Quick Review

Well, this is a book I was in urgent need to read. I am as guilty as the next person of spending too much time on my phone, endlessly checking one social media site and then swiftly onto the next. I would say 80% of my smartphone use is probably completely unnecessary. The amount of productivity I could achieve instead of perusing the Instagram photos of a friend of a friend of friend’s account and LOLling at cute cat videos is beyond ridiculous (though I’m still not convinced cat videos are a complete waste of time). So, I thought this book would be perfect for me to read and digest. By the reaction I got when I first published the list of books we were going to read this year, it seems many of you out there were in need of this book too.

I found this book fascinating and very informative. I learnt a lot about addiction. For me, this book completely dispelled the myth that certain people have “addictive personalities” and it’s only these people that become addicted. It was also very interesting how the way game designers engineer their games, deliberately fosters behavioural addiction.

One small negative that I found with this book was that, I’m not sure how necessary or helpful some of the diagrams in the book were. I’m not convinced that I really needed a breakdown of the number of books that contain the word “perfectionism”. Just the fact that it’s increased over the years would have sufficed.

Alter, covered most aspects of screen time addiction, but I do feel it slightly lacked when it came to discussing people who just aimlessly peruse the internet without any interaction. Adler does provides a very good explanation on the gambling side of technology (referring to both actual gambling and the gambling high people obtain from “likes” on social media).

I also felt it would’ve been useful to have a short, accessible list of his suggestions for reducing technology use at the end of the book. Instead if you want that information again, you would have to read through the final chapter again.

The book did a good job of fairly representing the positive aspects of technology. I don’t feel the book could be accused of presenting a one-sided arguement.

As I said before the book was very interesting and I couldn’t put it down (making the book “irresistible”- boom!), but felt the title was slightly misleading. Whilst there were some suggestions, I didn’t really feel it was a book one read to enable the reduction of technology usage. Though it did provide excellent and detailed information regarding addiction and why technology is so addictive.

Overall, this is an excellent & fascinating book. However, I don’t appear to have reduced my screen time. Maybe I need to reread that final chapter?

Questions to Consider

  1. Did you learn anything new about addiction from reading this book?
  2. Since reading this book has it changed your attitude towards technology?
  3. Have you reduced the amount of time in front of a screen?
  4. Do you think the book explained the influence of the internet on society in enough detail?
  5. After reading this book, what are your views on society’s future with regards to technology and it’s influence?
  6. What do you feel was the overall purpose of this book?
  7. Do you feel this book succeeded with its purpose?
  8. What section/paragraph/sentence left a lasting impression on you, if any?
  9. Do you feel the writing style of the author was accessible?
  10. Has this book inspired you to read more books on a similar subject matter?

(Questions created by me)

You don’t have to answer these questions in your comments, but they might help to get you thinking about the book or to prompt a discourse.

October’s book is A Million Little Pieces by James Fey. I’ll be starting the conversation for this on Monday 6th November.

For a list of all the other books we’ll be reading this year, please click here.