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When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.’

Quentin Tarantino

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‘Let’s get married?’ Said no one ever who met on Tinder.

Ah, remember the good ol’days. The days where a young person might meet an eligible beau down at the dance hall. That a young woman might be asked on more then a couple of dates before her suitor even pursued the idea of asking her hand in marriage. And of course he’d ask her father’s permission before doing so as all well mannered gentle men would do.

But who has time to do that nowadays? I hear you question.

Well, nobody by the looks of it. That’s where internet dating comes in, or more specifically an app called Tinder.

So what is it exactly?

Tinder, it’s the match making mobile app that’s on everybody’s lips. Officially launched in 2011 but made more popular in recent years, the app allows users to navigate through hundreds of potential romantic matches in the local area. It uses the geographical location of it’s users, number of mutual friends and common interests through Facebook to narrow down the more then stressful task of finding your soul mate. This method of ‘online dating’ has paved the way for many new dating apps such as ‘Hot or Not’, Plenty of Fish and Grindr (for the men who are looking for a romance more Elton and David then Brad and Angelina).

If you don’t know anything more about Tinder then the information I have just shared then you are probably wondering what’s the big deal? It does seem relatively innocent and the idea of whittling down eligible partners through the likelihood of them actually having something in common with one another is almost innovative (could you imagine!? A relationship based upon common interests?)

But Tinder has a slightly more narcissistic side to it’s appearance. The reason being is that when you are first introduced to this eligible matches, you can only see their picture. You can choose to ‘like’ an individual based upon your physical attraction to them or swipe to reject them. If both of you have selected each other for a match you will gain access to the messaging service which allows you to communicate with the person or should I say picture you ‘liked’, allowing you to also access their personal interests as well as personal details such as their work place or educational history .

Now don’t get me wrong, physical attraction to an individual is one of the important factors to finding a partner. After all, without physical attraction you can’t really have much chemistry. But an individual’s personality can be more of a deciding factor then anything. By choosing a potential partner based purely on looks, you will more definitely meet an obstacle in the fact that said person will most likely have no common interests nor a personality you’d be willing to sign a life long commitment to.

Many people would probably argue that Tinder was never originally invented with the same intentions that a dating website such as Match.com may have been founded. It could be described as more of a ‘hook up’ app, a modern phenomenon in which physical attraction is deemed as being an important factor mainly seeing as conversation really isn’t on the menu of the day which such a relationship *a hook up to anyone who may have been shielded from knowing of such activities is when two individual meet up for sex with no intention of calling the other the next day unless it’s for another hook up. ‘You won’t believe who hooked up with Linda last night? She must be regretting that decision’

So seeing as Tinder wasn’t known for creating ‘serious relationships’ I assumed that in my research it would be made pretty clear to me that the intentions of the app were primarily to find ‘one night stands’ or ‘a quick flirt’. I did however stumble upon an article in between the stories of celeb sex scandals and casual encounters turned ugly, in which a young couple who met through the app with very little expectations had gone on to pursue a serious relationship and are even set to be married. Did it change my perception of such apps? I’m not too sure. Regardless the couple still choose to ‘like’ each other and were matched based upon their initial feelings towards the others appearance. It was maybe luck that they did turn out to be a perfect couple, with a lot of common ground and compatibility. However, if it had been that one of them had posted a picture that was not as perfectly posed or polished, the sad reality would be that neither would have ended up meeting or having each other in their lives. It’s a cruel society that we live in where a single person should be ostracised for not meeting the aesthetic expectations of others. And why should companies play up to this by creating products that only heighten people’s self esteem issues? Why should an individual feel unworthy or ‘ugly’ because some douche on a match making app didn’t like their picture?

I am really of mixed emotions about this types of sites/apps. I understand their initial purpose. We live a lot busier life styles then we have in previous years. We often don’t have the time to meet partners like we did previously and it seems so simple to be able to find that special someone through the comfort of our own homes, allowing us to communicate for as long as we choose before making the next step, it can save a lot of hassle and heart ache in the long run if it turns out the person in question is just not the one.

But that also leads me on to my next worry about meeting someone through technology such as Tinder. Do you really know who you are talking to? Do you know what this ‘strangers’ intentions are when you message them through a device where they are, in many ways, almost anonymous?

The internet allows us to create our own persona. We often find that we come cross very differently on the world wide web then we do face to face. Our anonymity allows us to be the people we always wanted to be. You can’t see the same facial expressions of another person like you would do during a face to face encounter. Most people can read the emotions of an individual through their face and behaviour. Whether the person in question is lying or maybe over exaggerating. If they are uncomfortable or maybe hiding something. The internet allows us to mask our true emotions, it allows us to hide behind a computer screen and mould ourselves like a fresh piece of Playdoh that others can fall for. And this is always more prevalent in the online dating world. I’ve heard many a story of people who meet through online dating, ‘fall in love’ with the words that manifest on their screens and therefore make decisions, that in hindsight are more then a little foolish, such as sending money to a recipient with the intentions that the money will help the personality they have fallen for. It usually becomes clear that the individual was a mask for a scam of some sort and the victim is left heart broken, left totally distrusting of the online world.

But just like any relationship one will have in the real world, you put yourself out there to experience love, with little thought of the heart ache you may feel when that relationship is over.

Of course, there is always positives to such discussions. Many have gone on to meet their soul mates through the forum of the internet. But my thoughts on specific forms of online dating, like Tinder, in which a picture is all you have to lead with, is still unchanged. I can’t seem to get my head around how such a form of introduction can ever really lead to something more then a sleazy meet up.

However, I’ve never tried this app. And in many ways I have no intention of trying it. But I suppose it’s true to say you can’t have a true opinion on something you don’t have much knowledge of. How does a ‘Georgia Investigates’ series sound?

I might just see if my expectations of such technology are really met. But until my mind is changed I have no reason to see these apps any differently. Until I get my first invite to a Tinder wedding day then I shall stay of this mind set.

 

Georgia 

 

(P.S. If you have any experience of using apps like Tinder, negative or positive, please drop me an email or a comment on this post. I’d also really appreciate any suggestions for topics on future blog posts. Just email me or drop me a tweet!)

@thatgeorgiacoan

thatgeorgiacoan@gmail.com

Lifestyle

“Eat a Burger or something!” The Truth Behind Skinny Shaming

Since when did it become acceptable to insult a fellow female based upon her body mass?

Last time I checked it was never.

But for some reason, unbeknown to myself, woman appear to have emerged in their masses with the objective of publicly revealing their hostility towards anyone within the female species who does not meet their own hypothesis of what a woman should look like. This isn’t a new occurrence of course. We know woman have been publicly slamming each other for many a year. You only have to flick through Hello magazine or some other celebrity magazine to see woman criticising one another based upon aesthetics. Hey, who knew that celebrities got cellulite too? And surely Kiera Knightly can’t just be naturally thin so let’s accuse her of suffering from a mental disorder?

But more recently woman appear to be more obvious about their abuse, expecting the female population to applaud their obnoxious teachings.

Take Meghan Trainor’s All About that Base as an example of the recent popular trend of skinny shaming.

Whether Meghan is oblivious to the fact her words are harmful or not is a question only she can answer. The song starts out as a positive message aimed at young woman.

I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

However, Meghan then goes on to tell woman that she’s ‘got that boom boom that all the boys chase’ and how ‘Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.’. I may be right to assume that Meghan doesn’t know of the sexual preferences of the entire male population. And to make such an assumption about what ‘boys chase’ is damaging to both young females and males. Such popular songs are surprisingly influential over the younger generations like most of pop culture. Numerous studies have been undertaken in America to prove that violent music and lyrical content increase the likely hood of aggressive behaviour in certain children and adolescents, so what’s to say that other types of harmful music won’t have as much of a detrimental effect on young people when it comes to personal relationships and self esteem.

But these lyrics could still been seen as somewhat playful and just pocking a little fun at naturally slender females (though I assume if the shoe was on the other foot it would be classed as straight up bullying). That is until Trainor really let’s herself down with the following lyrics which were kindly pointed out to me by my friend, Alice, on Facebook.

Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No, I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat

It’s not until you observe these lyrics more closely you actually realise what they truly mean and it morphs from a little name calling to a more serious subject matter.

  • Do you feel fat even though people tell you you’re not?

This question is one that I just copied and pasted from helpguide.org about the signs of one of the world’s most serious mental illnesses, Anorexia Nervosa.

I realise that in a few paragraphs I’ve gone from slamming a young singer song writer for criticising woman of a smaller figure to discussing the seriousness of Anorexia, taking the mood from light to dark in a matter of a few sentences. But is that not exactly what the song’s own lyrics have done?

I don’t pretend to be an expert on mental health but it’s always been something that’s interested me from a young age. And since going through my own mental health issues , I’ve realised how important it is to be honest and open about it’s effects on people of all ages and backgrounds.

It’s a scary fact that ‘an estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa in their lifetime’, statistics taken straight from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

And it’s even more worrying that ‘20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems’.

So, as much as Megan Trainor probably did not intend nor set out to insult and discriminate against thousands of mentally ill young woman across the world, that’s exactly what she has done.

It’s a serious topic and not something anyone should ever use as an insult or a jibe, especially someone within the public eye who can be seen as a role model.

I’ve personally have never been a large girl and from the moment I hit 10 I was considered to be underweight. It was never really an issue. After all I came from a slender family and it was never in my genes to be over weight. I never really noticed how skinny I was until I was in middle school. People would often throw the odd insult and I was none the wiser, content with the assumption that I might grow into myself and wake up with a pair of humongous tits and an arse the size of the London Eye one morning. Sadly, I continued to stay extremely thin. I ate regularly and there was never any doubt as to whether I had a good appetite, but maybe, due to what I can only assume is a high metabolism, I have maintained a slender figure.

And as I’ve mentioned previously, this was never so much of an insecurity to me until my mid teens. High school was the worst. I hated PE. Not just because I hated the cold (that’s one of the negatives of being so small, your fingers/toes will turn to ice in the winter and it’s not so cool when your name isn’t Elsa) but also it was usually the time of the week I got the most unpleasant comments about my weight.

‘Wow, your so skinny! Do you not eat very much?’

‘Look at your wrists compared to mine, they are so skinny’

‘Are you anorexic?’ to which I would reply ‘no’ and they would look at me with a judgmental look before saying ‘Are you sure?’

Oh well now you come to mention it I’m not sure if I have an eating disorder which would consume the majority of my days and ruin my entire childhood.

That question is not just an insult to me, it’s an insult to anyone that’s ever battled an eating disorder.

I hate to think anyone would starve themselves to be skinny but it’s a harsh reality that woman (and even a percentage of men) suffer from eating disorders.

Yet skinny shaming, without actually thinking about the impact the words have, has become a common practice in recent years. We don’t know other people’s stories. We can’t assume that someone who is extremely thin is choosing to be that way of their own accord. The same also applies to anyone who is of a larger build. Everyone has struggles and worries we cannot necessarily see nor understand.

We also don’t know if they are naturally skinny, like myself.

Skinny shaming is almost being held as some triumph within society, as if by criticising woman of a slender build it will somehow hold a beacon for woman of all shapes and sizes to accept and love themselves. Some may even say that skinny shaming was a long time coming. We have seen in previous years curvy woman criticised for embracing their body types, such as the incident in which Karl Lagerfeld called singer Adele ‘fat’ in less obvious terms.

But as you’ve probably heard your parents utter at least once in your childhood, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Without trying to sound like I’m quoting Mean Girls, why can’t woman just accept one another regardless of shape or size? Is it not possible to be beautiful in all forms?

Criticising other woman will not make you feel good about yourself. It will just make you sound bitter.

You wouldn’t dream of pointing out how large someone is when walking down the street, so try not to mention how skinny someone is like it’s some kind of compliment to be admired.

Due to the comments I have received about my weight, more recently a comment in which someone begged me to eat more, I can’t help but feel insecure about the way I look. I hate wearing bikini’s, find it hard to wear figure hugging clothes and most importantly, can’t help but feel it effects my relationships with the opposite sex. So it’s even more upsetting to hear female singers slating anyone who wasn’t born to be curvy.

Please think before you applaud the likes of Meghan and Nicki Minaj for their ‘inspiring lyrics’ which intend to make woman feel better about themselves, because their messages can be just as harmful as the models on a Victoria Secret’s runway. Skinny shaming in the form of song lyrics or magazine comments is just as bad as shaming larger woman. It intends to turn woman kind against each other, with bitter words and indoctrination, and that’s the last thing woman kind needs.

(P.S. I’m pretty sure that anyone who believes that the lyrics ‘I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the motherfucking club, fuck you if you skinny bitches’ is inspiring might just need to book themselves a reality check of some sort)

Peace!

Quote of the Day:

CHECK YO’SELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF

(aka. don’t speak badly of others and accept that people come in all different forms)

Georgia

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He isn’t just a dog…

…He is my companion. My best friend.

He sees my abilities but knows of my faults yet still wants to share every moment with me.

Although he may not understand my sadness, he knows that I am sad and comforts me with his gentle presence.

He does not judge me.

He loves me unconditionally.

I love him more then words can say.

You might just see a pet but to me, he is family.

I share my happiness with him and although he is mostly always happy, he receives the mood with great appreciation.

A wagging tail to accompany a cheerful smile.

He gets me out of the house when I feel so low and changed my life for the better.

He brightens my day with an excitable bark and a loving embrace (Ok so he doesn’t wrap his arms around me but it’s the same difference)

You won’t find a friend who’s more loyal and trustworthy. He doesn’t speak but I’m sure if he could he wouldn’t share any secrets.

He always wants to be by my side, through rain or shine, he’s there.

I love that creature you call a dog.

To me he’s my best friend.

 

Georgia

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‘What do you want to be when you’re older?’

It’s a question you’ll get asked more then a dozen times in your younger years.

From the moment you are able to speak to the day you leave your high school, GCSE’s in hand and confusion enveloping your innocent, vulnerable face, people want to know what it is you want to do for the rest of your entire life.

Some of you, when first faced with this daunting question, might have answered with the obvious careers any child would have wanted at that age. ‘I want to be a vet when I grow up’, ‘I’d love to be a singer’ or ‘I really want to be a astronaut’.

Before long though, these dreams would become nothing more then distant memories when the realisation dawned upon your little brains that such careers where not within your grasp. Or so you were made to believe by society and the education system that was forced upon you before you had even learnt to walk never mind run.

John Lennon himself was once asked the same question. However, his answer was one in which many of us wish me had the courage to give, for when Lennon was asked by his school what he wanted to be when he grew up, he wrote down that he wanted to ‘be happy’.

And typical of society, that school told a young Lennon that he obviously had not understood the assignment they had given him. And he answered, with wisdom beyond his years, that they didn’t understand life.

I always wondered why this quote wasn’t more widely used. Why schools didn’t have these very words inscribed to their walls and why work places don’t have this quote printed to display on employees desks. And then I realised. These words weren’t widely used because of these unsaid ‘rules’ and ‘judgements’ we own as people, as human beings and as a society. When adults ask these questions of young people, they expect an articulate, straightforward answer. They expect this young person to answer them with the sort of career/aspiration we expect of in everyday life. A doctor, a teacher, a lawyer or a pilot, even though they have spent the majority of their life’s in an establishment learning all these different topics and subjects, finding out more about themselves as they grow and in turn changing their minds about almost everything with each school year that passes . And forbid that they should answer them with an unrealistic expectation of their future endeavour or even that they don’t truly know.

‘Darling, being a singer isn’t really a career though is it?’

‘Oh son, you can’t actually be an astronaut though can you?’

‘You must want to be something!’

And they encourage these children to choose something more to their liking, their standards and understanding of the world and how it works.

‘Maybe you’d like to be an accountant?’

‘You could always become a pharmacist, you love science in school!’

And so the ritual goes. Another hoard of young souls destined to spend their life’s in office jobs they despise or retail work where they feel they are never good enough, just to please other people (no offence to the people who work in these sectors out of choice). Those wild and wonderful dreams trapped away under some mental dictatorship, never to be revealed or played out in reality. And all this to meet other people’s expectations of what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their life’s.

Could you imagine it now, if John Lennon had taken the words of that school literally. If he had been influenced by their judgments and misinterpretation of what life is really all about? Well, we wouldn’t have The Beatles, that’s for sure. Therefore we wouldn’t have been gifted with the wise words of the singer himself.

The majority of us are probably unhappy. We hide it behind fake smiles. We attend our 9 to 5 jobs we hate or courses we don’t really feel passion for to earn money to buy stuff we don’t really want so we can please all those judging people who asked us that very question all that time ago. And yet we like to believe we have our own free will. That we have a choice in everything we do.

But it’s not just our jobs. Oh no, we can also expect to be judged upon our personal relationships as well. In our society, if you aren’t married and pregnant by the time you’re 35 you are unhappy. You live a lonely life without much purpose or stability.

So the logical answer is to run into a relationship with someone we don’t really want to be with, but we feel we need to be with. We have these empty relationships with no real matter or validity, because thats what people expect from us. We can’t be middle aged adventurers who just maybe were having such fun we forgot to think about settling down or finding someone to spend our pension years with. We can’t just be a single older woman who’s pursuing her greatest dreams and just hasn’t found the right person yet or a man who lives alone and has no intention of meeting someone any time soon yet is just happy writing novels all day. Nope, that’s not even a plausible example in which to live ones life.

Funny that. The most unhappiest people I’ve met in life are those that had these expectations of relationships forced upon them. The young couple who were encouraged to commit to each other as soon as possible. And when they realised they were not right for one another believed that they had no other option but to stand by the relationship like a child might keep a disheveled toy that serves no joy for the sake of keeping the parents that brought it content. And years later they might finally pluck up the courage to walk away, by that time regretting wasted years they could have spent pursuing their own happiness, finding someone who might actually have accepted and loved them for who they truly were.

Pursuing happiness.  Maybe that should be on the school curriculum. It’s something we never really bother to take a look at in everyday life. For some reason other things hold more importance and we continue on this path that doesn’t actually have our best intentions, because that’s what they expect. Maybe even we expect from our own lifes.

So next time someone asks me what I want to be I’m going to tell them, Happy. Because if I’m not part of that one human emotion that the whole world seems to be searching for when it’s right under their noses, I’ll know that I’m obviously not doing things right.

Georgia