Tag Archives: teenagers

Rating your friends on their Appearance

We all do it, don’t we?  We rate our friends on their appearance.  Obviously that’s the most important thing about them surely.  Their ability to look good!  After we’ve rated them, we do a video reading out their names and telling them whether we think they’re “hot” or “not”.

No.  No, we don’t.  Well, I don’t.  However, you’ll be moritified to hear that THIS my friends, is pretty normal practice when you’re 13 years old.  Oh yes.

2of5star  This morning I had the misfortune to read some random 13 year olds Facebook status in my timeline because she is friends with my 13 year old niece and she had been tagged in the video.  In it the 2 girls on camera say “This is our ‘hot or not’ video”.  then they launch into all of their friends names, both boys and girls.  I should point out that nobody is marked badly, they are either “quite pretty”, “So pretty”, “pretty”, “fit”, “quite fit” or “hot”.  The girls have taken some care in compiling their list and I appreciate it could be a WHOLE lot worse.  We are probably only about 20 videos away from someone somewhere just getting to the nitty gritty and being deadly honest!

It’s the fact these girls have jumped on the bandwagon (or so I’ve been told….this is not an uncommon practice. Along with my nephew who often does a “like for a rating” on his Facebook page – I should really like it, shouldn’t I? See what he does with “them apples”).  At what point did this all become so bloody normal.  That our view of ourselves and that of others is based on how good looking we are.  I’m not stupid, I appreciate that some people are visually more appealling than others, I can see that, but to outwardly project that in such a blatant way makes me incredibly sad.

It’s the whole practice of it that I have the biggest problem with. The fact it’s ok to do this. The fact that there is a focus on your outward appearance, especially for women.  We are only as good as our parts. Boobs, legs, hair, face.  We are not whole. We all dealt with our fair share of bullying (well I did) and a nasty comment here, and a rude comment there, in the playground, in the classroom, it’s sad, it’s upsetting but the moment goes very quickly.  A permanent record on the internet on how people viewed you though, tagging a whole class, maybe more, that’s not right. Let’s all focus on what we look like. That’s a bit scary.

Where does it go from here then?  These girls are playing “their part” in a ghastly viscous circle that seems endemic in this day and age.  I was reading this article on the weekend and it sent shivers down my spine.  A 17 year old girl started a feminist society at her at her “all girls” school and things went from name calling by the boys in her peer circle and generally putting down the society, to some quite serious verbal attacks.  The words are truly horrendous and I don’t want to write them here, but if you have the stomach, read the article.

It always reminds me of someone on twitter who said “the comments on articles about feminism is the reason we need Feminsm” and the same can be said for those girls in the article.  The teacher wanted them to back down, yet the very reason for starting it all was to try and change the way boys and mens perceived them and how they viewed themselves.  The very fact the boys were so intimidated by them trying to unshackle themselves from the leering posts they had been put on, tells you an awful lot about how far we have yet to go.

In Australia there has been some publicity about the female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being subjected to some pretty awful Misogyny.  It seems for previous Prime Ministers, they can be kicked about for their policies or their lack of guts but if you’re a woman, the focus is on what you look like.  A party conference held by the opposition party a few weeks ago had on their menu “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & A Big Red Box”.  She’s a red head by the way.  They saw this as perfectly acceptable code of conduct.

We owe it to our daughters and our daughter’s daughters to turn this on it’s head.  THIS is our suffragette movement.  Anybody that suggests FOR A MINUTE that we live in an equal society clearly has their head buried in the sand.  Until we drive forward, raise awereness, create the discourse for questioning this behaviour, women will forever be locked into a pathway where it is acceptable to apply merit to the way we look and behave. Be a good girl and look good and you’ll go far. That’s bullshit.  If you don’t fight back you’ll go as far as the mysogny tether around your neck will let you.

 

 

The Mistakes of the Past

For some of us, our youth is not a time for entirely happy reflection

For some of us there are things we’ve said or done that don’t sit well now we look back at it

The only word I can muster is regret, but I’m sure if my brain was back there again with only the 18 years of wisdom I had no doubt I’d do it all the same again.  So, I’m not sure regret is the word I have.

I guess “contrition” is a good word.

I was 17, nearly 18 and had never had a boyfriend EVER.

Well, not if you don’t include the son of my parents friend who lived an hour away that I spent 2 hours with and who shouted “will you go out with me” as we drove off in the car and I nodded and then never saw him again.  I don’t think you can count that one.

I didn’t have a boyfriend because I was skinny (ridiculously so, not in a good way) and flat chested. I’d had one bad haircut too many. I didn’t look terribly pretty.

Then in the few months between finishing highschool (our last year in Oz, your version of 6th form but we do it a year before you. I was 17 in my final year which runs February to December) I bloomed a little.

Me circa 1990

Me circa 1990

My boobs didn’t so much, but my hips grew so much I still have the stretch marks, my skinniness looked a little less harsh, my hair seemed to look better permed and swept up into that immovable fringe we all had in the late 80’s.  I managed to get a bit of makeup on my face. I looked ok.

In the summer before we were all about to turn 18, we did a bit of sneaking into pubs. Inevitably I was caught out with my false id, but the court date happened a month later, once I turned 18, so it was thrown out.

I had never “gone out” before so I had to wear a little tight stretchy black skirt and a tight midriff top. It’s all I had.

Suddenly I was catching the eye of fella’s in our pub.

Suddenly I was having flowers bought for me from those “single rose” sellers.  I literally would get about 2-5 a night.

My mates all had boyfriends in the navy.  They were a little *ahem* more confident than me.  They had slept with guys, they knew what they were doing and I didn’t.

In fact I used to take great delight in mentioning it because some blokes seemed to think it was inconceivable.  HA HA.

So when my mate’s boyfriend rocked up at the pub with her, all brooding and gorgeous (he was drop dead gorgeous. Looked like John Stamos in his younger days — google it). I decided to try a little flirting. I’d never done it before. How do you do it.  Look, eyes down, dance, look, caught my eye, look away, look again, keep dancing.  It was fun.  Look at me, I’m flirting.

I eventually stopped flirting. I needed a wee. So trooped off.  HOWEVER, as I left the toilet, guess who was waiting for me in the corridor. Bloody hell. John Stamos is waiting for me.  He said a few things (long since forgotten) and suggested we go for a walk. So I did. I mean, I had no idea what I was doing.  Shit, they really take this shit seriously don’t they. I was only trying it out. Fucking hell. What do I do now.

We walked around the block and stopped. He pushed me up against the wall and snogged me.  My first proper ever snog. Wow.  Unfortunately I think he had a tiny bit of plastic from a straw in his mouth, so I was focussing a bit too much on that but despite that, it was very nice.

He told me he was being chucked out of the Navy for some misdemeanor and was moving out of his accommodation on board (the navy island) the following evening. He had one day left before he moved to the Eastern States.  He wanted to spend it with me.

He’d dated my mate for around 6 months, was practically living at her house with her family and he wanted to spend his last day with me.  Argghhhh. What do I do.  Now obviously the correct thing was to say “You know, I really like you, but clearly our timing is all off. You’re with XXX right now and it would be really wrong of me to rob her of her last day with you. We should just reflect on tonight as something that could have been and let it go”. But, of course, I didn’t say that did I? I had never EVER had a bloke want to spend time with me.  I just said “yes”.

So I picked him up from my friends house (cringe) and we went horse riding. I’d never had a date before, this seemed like the sort of thing people do.  After horse riding we snogged a lot in the car.  Then I drove him on board to clear out his stuff.  He said we didn’t have to “do anything, but it’d be nice”. I grinned like a moron and didn’t commit and thankfully he took that as a no.  I’d didn’t know WHAT the hell I was doing.

Then I drove him back to my mates house.  SHIT!

Why am I telling you this?  Welsh “the mate” did get her own back (I’ll mention that in another post if you’re interested) but we did kind of spend time on and off in each other’s company over the next 2 years.  Never great mates, but she was mates with my mates so she was there. Just there.  She eventually joined the airforce and moved to the other side of the Country, got pregnant to a married man, had her son.

She came over to visit me on Wednesday in London! Eek.  Her hubby is English and she’s got family in Germany so she is over here every couple of years.  I don’t know her THAT well, but enough to see that it made sense for us to meet up.  AWKWARD.

Well, it was quite awkward.  We don’t have a huge amount in common. I talked like an idiot, filling the gaps. She slowly got drunk on vodka, him on a bottle of wine. They told me about my other school friends back in Oz.  She didn’t ask what I did or ask anything about my life, how I feel about living here, nothing. I volunteered information.  I asked all about their life, what they did.  She said she wanted to visit my children yet NEVER once engaged with them. Didn’t really speak to them at all. No photos, nothing!

It was an odd setup. I was obviously worried about it as I couldn’t sleep that night, but it’s done now.  I may make an excuse next time she visits. Maybe see her again the time after that. I usually have no problem dropping friends, but it’s not like her see her often.  I don’t know………I felt I needed to see her.

Do you have weird acquaintances or old friends like this? Or did I made a big mistake? AND more importantly, did you make stupid decisions in your teens that you now somewhat regret?