Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Who are the real 'basic bitches'?

A basic bitch: Just an extra regular female (Urban Dictionary)

'College Humour' have recently uploaded a video entitled 'How To Tell If You're a Basic Bitch'.  According to the video, the interests of a 'basic bitch' include: cupcakes, Sex and The City, aggressively branded sweatpants, zumba classes, photo frames that say 'Family' or 'Friends' on them, misquoting Marilyn Monroe at every opportunity, Ugg boots, dressing as a slutty character at Halloween, scented candles, and indulging in the Friends box set.

The basic bitch is apparently pretty much every female age 18 to 25 who, due to social influence and sheer lack of awareness, has failed to distinguish herself from all other 18 to 25-year-old females.

Further investigation into this new cultural phenomenon has led me to Urban Dictionary (the source to explain all new phenomenon), where the earliest definition is all the way back in 2009: A basic bitch is 'a bum-ass woman who think she the shit but really ain't.'

Apparently, a basic bitch is someone who likes what everyone else likes because they have no substance and think it's cool to conform and be like everyone else.  Put simply, what the 'bad bitch' does today, her basic counterpart will do tomorrow; making it mainstream, uncool and, well, basic. 


If those typical interests of a basic bitch are correct then, without even realising it, I am probably classed as a basic bitch.  Oh no, my life is over...


So what if I have an obsession with Yankee Candles, my Friends boxset, Carrie Bradshaw, my Ugg boots, cupcakes, and cute photo frames which describe who are in my pictures?  That doesn't mean I am any less of a person than those women who refuse to like 'mainstream' things because they want to be unique and 'bad'.

According to one website, the cure to being a basic bitch is to: 'get some actual opinions, innovative ideas, high self confidence, and a grasp of reality, then you're getting somewhere! Like what you want to like! Have lame hobbies, be goofy, be YOU!'

Thank you for that, I am sure many women reading this would have had no idea how to go about their lives as a 'bad bitch' without those pearls of wisdom...


Just because someone happens to like the things listed as 'basic bitch qualities' does not mean they are without their own opinions, ideas, self confidence and a grasp of reality.


Perhaps it's actually those 'bad bitches' who are low in self confidence, original opinions, and have no grasp on reality.  If they did, surely they would see that by being derogatory towards others does not make themselves look 'badder'.

There's a thin line between a harmless joke and being outright offensive.  Calling someone a basic bitch, depending on the context and your relationship with the person, can be classed as friendly banter.  I enjoy a joking around as much as the next person.  And I would, in a joking context, call my best friend a basic bitch if she posted on Facebook 'if you can't handle me at my worst then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best'.  (Soph, you've been warned haha!)  But to label someone you barely know, and judge them on their interests, dress sense and eating habits, is unfair and unwarranted.

Of course, most people who refer to others as basic bitches are doing so about their friends in a humorous, light-hearted way.  It's those who genuinely believe that they are superior to others because they aren't 'basic' who are letting the side down.

The film Mean Girls portrayed women as being in constant competition with one another, using any excuse or opportunity to get one up on their female counterpart.  I thought society had progressed from this warring women era, where women could never get along for fear of losing their place in the pack.


Women have a hard enough time defending themselves against the criticism of men who are derogatory about appearance, weight, size, shape, body hair...  The last thing the female collective needs is to turn on each other.


The irony is, all of these people who are now labelling other women as 'basic bitches' are only doing so because they're jumping on the bandwagon and joining in with what everyone else is doing in order to be perceived as cool. Surely, if the definition and concept is correct, that makes them a basic bitch?


If common interests are shared among women this should be the perfect excuse have a night in with copious amounts of cupcakes, Ben & Jerry's, and the Friends and SATC boxsets, not an excuse to try and put yourself on a pedestal as a 'bad bitch'.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Would you go as far as Josie Cunningham to be famous?

In today's society, with a host of social media platforms, fame is not difficult to gain.  The receptionist who mistakenly tweeted about 'Bronco Bama' experienced her five minutes of fame, as did the student who sold her story to the tabloids after Manchester United star Januzaj took her to Nando's on a date.

These people come and go, relishing their short-lived time in the spotlight and returning to normality soon after.  The same goes for reality television contestants.  The outrageous, the awful and the brilliant all get everyone talking and experience their moment in the spotlight.

Those who appear on X Factor, Britain's Got Talent or The Voice are, while the show is being aired, followed everywhere by fans and the paparazzi.  But once the show is over, unless signed, they go back to their normal life as if nothing ever happened.

There's one person who seems to keep popping up, desperate to satisfy her hunger for fame - Josie Cunningham.

Josie hit headlines last year after it was announced she received a boob job on the NHS, costing around £4,800, so that she could become a glamour model.  She also revealed, earlier this month, she was to have £2,500 of dental care carried out free of charge on the NHS.

A number of pictures were released following her boob job showing her straddling motorbikes and wearing skimpy clothing whilst trying to look sexy.

This is controversial enough, with millions of people being denied life-saving treatments, therapies, and operations on the NHS because of cuts and money shortages.

Josie seemed to have slunk away from the limelight until this weekend, when she was back causing yet more controversy by announcing she was going to terminate her unborn child in order to appear on Big Brother.

On Saturday, 23-year-old Josie spoke to The Mirror and said: 'I am finally on the verge of becoming famous and I'm not going to ruin it now'.

At 18 weeks pregnant, Josie posed proudly showing off her growing bump. She had also shared pictures of her scan on her twitter feed.  She is not sure whether the father of her child is a client from when she was an escort or a Premier League footballer. Classy.

Josie believes that having an abortion will further her career, allowing her to be driving a nice car and living in a big house this time next year.

It is understood that she is to have the abortion this week at a private London clinic; and will approach Channel 5 again afterwards.  She claims that Big Brother bosses were keen for her to appear on the show until learning she was pregnant and hopes that aborting her child will be the ticket to fame she so desperately desires.

I am not sure whether Josie Cunningham has watched Big Brother in the last few years, but I would hardly class that as the route to fame.  I couldn't name you one person who had been on Big Brother in recent series.  In fact, I thought they only did a 'Celebrity Big Brother' now.

It saddens me that women like Josie Cunningham can be so brazen and desperate in their quest for fame.

To abort an unborn baby is a controversial issue in itself, but for reasons such as hers are ridiculous.  All the people out there who are desperate for children but are unable to conceive, or have lost them during tragic circumstances, have to watch this being played out in the media; watching Josie Cunningham lapping up the attention she is receiving.

Of course, it is Josie's body and life and, therefore, Josie's choice.  If she really did want to abort her baby in order to chase fame, she didn't need to broadcast it to the tabloids and sell her story.  Nobody would have known she was pregnant in the first place, or know that she terminated her pregnancy.  The fact she has chosen to announce it so proudly is what gets me.

Whether or not she will choose to go through with the abortion remains to be seen.  It wouldn't surprise me if this was a clever tactic by her to get lots of attention and then at the last minute announce that she has changed her mind; inviting people to follow her story through pregnancy.  She would then envisage magazine deals when the baby is born, photo shoots, opportunities to sell her story, autobiographies...

If, however, this is a serious claim by her to abort her baby in order to be famous, she will be famous for all of the wrong reasons with no right-minded broadcaster or publication wanting to be associated with her.

Someone needs to tell Josie Cunningham that there are alternative ways to become famous aside from getting your boobs out and sleeping with footballers.  However, I'm sure she will be unsuccessful in her quest to do the latter after they have seen how ruthless she can be to obtain a famous status.

What saddens me most about this story is if she does go through with her pregnancy, her child will see everything that has been going on this last weekend.  Equally, if she does abort the foetus, a perfectly healthy child has been killed when it could've gone on to give a child-less couple the happiness they crave.

In my eyes, happiness and love trump fame every single time; no question.

Josie Cunningham has got her wish, once more, she is temporarily famous. This time, not for getting her boobs out, but for being an outrageous, fame-hungry woman who has demonstrated her selfishness to the world.  I don't think it will be enough to get her that pink Range Rover and the big house, though.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Miley Cyrus and the sexualisation of girls in today's society

It is not uncommon to see images of 13-year-old girls with faces plastered in make-up; bad hair extensions poking out under their natural, cropped locks; and dressed far senior than their years.  New Look's 915 clothing range features smaller sized versions of the adult section: crop tops, hotpants, bodycon dresses and skirts, heels...

Most youngsters these days also have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc opening them up to see a lot more of the world than I did when I was in my early teenage years.  The ease of access to the world wide web means that young girls and boys can see anything that is out there.  This could be a reason why girls are dressing so much older than their years and sexualising themselves without even realising it.

Miley Cyrus is a prime example of how young women, who are 'role models' to young girls and teenagers, are sexualised in an attempt to make their careers a success.

Before her recent 'makeover', Miley Cyrus was a successful Disney star.  She had a hit tv show, a spin-off film based on her tv show, and was performing to audiences all around the world as her alter ego Hannah Montana.

Miley's career took a turn when she decided to ditch the blonde wig and Disney image and perform solely as Miley Cyrus.  After her first tour, where she stuck very much to her Hannah Montana style, she had a complete image overhaul.



She chopped all her hair off, dyed it blonde, began dressing differently, and releasing different kinds of music.  Provocatively licking a hammer, straddling a wrecking ball completely naked, and violating a foam finger while gyrating on Robin Thicke are just a few of Miley's recent outrageous antics.  Since then, she has received a lot more coverage in the media and, as a result, had more successes with her music.



This gives out the impression that sexualising yourself is the way to be successful in the music industry.  The young girls who have idolised her since her career began are now seeing a completely new Miley.  Many parents are refusing to take their children to her latest tour because the content is so explicit and graphic.

I am not sure whether Miley is a car crash waiting to happen or if she is just victim to this culture where everything needs to be sexualised in order to be a success.  The same happened with Britney Spears.  Her innocent, school girl look was replaced by her wearing barely-there outfits, kissing Madonna, and gyrating on stage with a huge snake.



On the other side of the coin, you have artists such as Rihanna and Beyonce who are huge successes without the need to sexualise everything they produce.  Rihanna has had her raunchy music videos accompanying her equally sexual songs.  But, for every S&M there's a Stay.  Beyonce is a fine example of how success can also come by being classy not trashy.  Beyonce still wears revealing outfits, enjoys a good booty shake, and never misses an opportunity to flaunt her fabulous figure.  But she does so in a classy, respectable way.

I hope Miley is just going through a phase and manages to revert back to her original roots.  Lighting up a joint on stage during the MTV EMAs is not the behaviour of someone who young girls should be looking up to.  I appreciate she may want to move away from her Disney image, and she has certainly achieved that, but she needs to remember she is a role model to millions.



My worry is that the more sexualised images that young people are able to see, the more this will encourage young girls to try and copy the look and style of these icons.

Of course, every young girl wants to have her nails painted and to wear make-up, but there's a fine line between playing dress ups and wearing revealing outfits in an attempt to imitate a celebrity or to gain the attention of Bieber or One Direction.

Young girls should not be twerking at their school discos and replicating sexual acts just because they saw Miley Cyrus do it.  The twerking can be cute at first but when it leads to unwanted attention, that a young girl doesn't know how to handle, that's where the dangers of this new sexualised culture present themselves.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Are childhood sweethearts a dying breed?

When many think of the phrase 'childhood sweethearts' they think of a magical, romantic relationship which conforms to all our ideals and can defy anything.  Even when estranged, for whatever reason, there's a strong bond which always draws the two back together.  The phrase fits many common visions for how love and relationships should be.

But are childhood sweethearts at risk of becoming extinct?  Research recently conducted suggests that just one in seven middle-aged couples have known each other since their formative years.  This is in stark contrast to almost a third of couples aged over 60 who got together as lovestruck teenagers.

Last weekend I was privileged enough to watch my cousin marry her childhood sweetheart.  Leanne and Phil have been together for 10 years, first getting together when they were in school.  Since then they have made their own house together, have many years of memories, and are now embarking on married life.

But while this used to be a textbook love story they are few and far between now.  Obstacles such as moving away for university cut short many teenage romances.

Nevertheless, many childhood sweethearts overcome such hurdles and reunite years later; once they have had a chance to test the water and see what else is out there.

But is it more advantageous to remain with a childhood sweetheart than to find someone later in life?

Childhood sweethearts have the upper hand in some respects as they have known each other for such a long time.  However, some may know nothing other than being with that person, with curiosity often creeping in.

Whilst 'late-life lovers' don't have the same history and background, they have had more of an opportunity to sow any wild oats before settling down.

The romantic connotations attached to childhood sweethearts is always an appealing situation.  When you're 15 and madly in love with your boyfriend, it's not uncommon imagine that you will be together forever.

But whilst this was common for the older generation, the change in our culture and lifestyles means this is now just a fairytale for many.

Many young people these days put off settling down until they are in their 30's, preferring to enjoy the selfishness that your 20's allow.

There are also so many more opportunities to meet people than there used to be.  The worry of not meeting anyone is no longer there.  And declaring you are a single woman is no longer met with gasps of shock and anguish.  With online dating, social media, and dedicated matchmaking events there are opportunities for everyone.

The vast array of dating options and the changing perception of relationships have resulted in less people sticking with their first partner and opting to explore what else is out there.  The term 'spinster' is no longer bounded around as a derogatory term and women can embrace being single until they choose otherwise.

Yes childhood sweethearts may be becoming an endangered species, but they're making way for a whole new breed of love story.

A benefit from this culture change is that those couples who are childhood sweethearts are even more special and unique because of it.  Those who can stand the test of time and remain committed to one person their whole life are the envy of many and a real-life fairytale.