Happy New Year

2013-new-year

Welcome

Just a quick post to wish you all Happy New Year and to thank you all for your support in 2012. I am really blown away by the level of interest my blog has received. Thanks again to all those who have commented and liked various posts. I really appreciate it.

I hope that 2013 brings you everything you hope and wish for.

Sudelicious

Fear of the singleton

Welcome

I have never understood the mixture of suspicion and pity that single people seem to evoke. It is inferred that the singleton must have an inherent character flaw so awful, so deviant, that no one else can be bothered to put up with them. There is also the presumption that everyone wants to be married or in a serious relationships and those who don’t are too romantically challenged to follow the supposed natural order.

I was more than aware of the audible sigh of relief from friends and family when my partner and I moved into the official and serious zone. Previously, the line of questioning used to be when was I going to meet a nice man, it’s now ‘When are you going to get married?’ I don’t understand why my private life seems to be up for public debate? It’s called a private life for a reason. I know that a lot of the questions are steeped in concern but why aren’t married couples ever asked publicly why they are together; was it the fear of dying alone or being the last friend/sibling to marry which convinced them to settle? The general unspoken rules of etiquette protects couples being asked such questions but apparently the unmarried are fair game.

Now look, as readers of this blog are aware I am very pro marriage. I think it provides the emotional, legal and spiritual foundations for a couple to take their relationship to the next level. However, marriage is a serious business and not everyone wants it, is ready for it or has found the right person to make a lifelong commitment to. I know many people who have settled for fear of collecting dust on the shelf or were more obsessed about the big day instead of being filled with those all consuming butterflies at the thought of inhaling their partners’ morning breath forever.

There are no guarantees in life but I think that we make things far easier on ourselves when people do the right things for the right reasons. I can’t see there being any positives to being with someone in order to be validated by others. Relationships though rewarding, are hard work. It only make sense to put in that much hard graft with someone you genuinely love. That way whatever the outcome, the time spent with that person can only be a positive experience. That said, there are many people who are in loving happy relationships and want everyone to experience their happiness. Likewise there are single people who love their freedom and are very satisfied with their very full lives.

What I fail to understand is why singledom is looked upon with such disdain? I have had various online debates with very immature individuals who have insinuated that because I am a feminist that I must be single or I soon will be if I carry on with my bra burning mantras. Being in a relationship does not prove my worth as a woman. Nor does being a feminist make me some man hating, unreasonable harpie. Finally, my relationship status should only concern myself and my partner and not some infantile troll on the Internet. It also disturbs me that being single is seen as a derogatory term for women. Just look at the term spinster, for starters it half rhymes with sinister. It really is just another word to describe an old witch living with her many cats. In stark comparison, men are allowed the space to revel in their bachelorhood, likening themselves to George Clooney although the vast majority are not dating models if any women at all.

The upshot is we are not all the same. Some are ready for relationships, some are not, some are searching for the right one, some are more than content on their own. We do not need to be doing exactly the same thing at exact the same time in order to validate our life choices. Speaking from experience, I have previously dated simply because I was tired of being single and it always ended badly. All we can do is live authentically, making the best choices with the information we have at the time. Life for married and single people in general would be a lot simpler if we all just minded our own damn business.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious.

The post-racial myth

Welcome

This week leading actor, singer and activist Harry Belafonte was presented with yet another accolade for his various works promoting Civil Rights and social justice. Not just content to receive his award, he placed responsibility on the stars of today, claiming that the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z do little in highlighting the inequality in society for people of colour. Many have rushed to their defence stating all of the good works they do for various charities. However, the most powerful couple in music have been noticeably silent on this issue.

I do expect celebrities to have a social conscience. Carefully stage managed acts of charity are a good thing but not to be unexpected when you earn more than the Commonwealth combined. The Black community were the first to support their careers and start their ascent to superstardom so you would think that the support would be mutual. By way of comparison Bruce Springsteen has consistently championed the plight of working class Americans throughout his nearly 40 year career. On issues such as mass unemployment or the Trayvon Martin murder, the majority of Black celebrities are conspicuously silent. Many Black entertainers show two very worrying traits, apathy and selfishness. As long as the individual’s needs are being met, the rest of the poor masses can eat cake.

Whether they like it or not, celebrities are a massive influence our young people. This deliberate avoidance of any political thinking by Black celebrities has helped to create a critical thinking vacuum with our young people. Instead they are force fed the same message daily: ‘Get rich or die trying’. Concepts such as consequence, self esteem, racial pride and love are no where to be seen in mainstream hip hop and rnb. The results are startling and depressing. The rise of colourism within the Black community on both sides of the Atlantic is a pathetic backwards step. We now have Black people who insult other Black people who look exactly like them because they are Black. Where is this generation’s James Brown to say ‘I’m Black and I’m proud?’

I am not taken with the argument that Jay-Z (or any other multi platinum rapper) embodies the ‘American Dream’. This statement implies that there are equal opportunities for all. In the U.S. as of June 2012, unemployment for African American men is at 14.4% compared to the national average of 8.2% (source CNN) Jay-Z and his ilk cannot represent the American dream if only a select few can realise that dream. The inference that just because there are a few multi millionaire Black celebrities and a Black man in the White House that we live in a warm and fuzzy post racial age is hogwash. When Black men on both sides of the Atlantic are still several times more likely to be stopped by the police, unemployed or jailed we do not live in a post racial age.

Terms like post racism/post feminism are misleading because we do not live in a world without racism, misogyny or homophobia. It hoodwinks our youth into believing that this is as good as it gets, that there is nothing left to fight against. Racism has not disappeared, it has merely changed form. Black footballers no longer have bananas thrown at them as they did in the 70’s but in the last football season two high profile footballers Luis Suarez and former England captain John Terry were found guilty of using racist language against Black footballers. The lack of any real consequence, the apologist language of those seeking to defend their actions goes to show that racism is still a malignant force. The killing of Mark Duggan served as the catalyst for the London Riots of 2011. The police claimed that they killed him as he pointed a loaded gun at them. The police have been unable to prove that he was armed at all. Therefore, it would appear that his race was a determining factor in death.

We are not society free from racism or sexism. We cannot be swayed by the superficial. The odd Black millionaire or the acceptance of Black culture in mainstream music or fashion does not indicate that we now live in a harmonious utopia. The engine behind equality is power. Until all people of colour can influence legislation, access to wealth, are present on the boards of schools, businesses, media outlets and other institutions we will find ourselves in a state of racism continued.

I have also noticed that in tandem with this post racialism fallacy is the normalisation of Black ‘dysfunctionalism’. The video of the Black bus driver giving a female passenger an uppercut is a perfect example. I agree that the bus driver in a role of authority should have removed her from the bus and used excessive force. I also agree that the young woman was out of line and should not be acting in a violent manner and then be surprised to be assaulted herself. On reading comments about the video I am also very disheartened at the acceptance of violence against Black women within the Black community. I raise the video because once again it reinforces every negative stereotype and justifies why there are only a few Black success stories because the vast majority supposedly lack the discipline, finesse and talent to become one. This is really dangerous because it places the onus of responsibility on the disenfranchised and not on social inequality. Tragically, it also acts as proof for the growing amounts of Black people who do not believe that they should strive or expect more from life.

We do not live in a post racial age. I will freely admit that I have had more opportunities than the generation before but the fight for equal rights continues. Equal rights require equal power across various societal structures. Access to that power will not occur without the belief of various communities that that power is owed to them. We have to energise our youth so that they strive to have more not less opportunities than the current generation in charge. To do otherwise would be an abject failure in our responsibilities. We cannot continue to be content with individual success. The political silence by the majority of the Black famous elite reinforces that we are not in this all together. It is also very limiting that majority of Black millionaires are all within the entertainment sector. I am looking forward to a time when I see celebrated Black scientists, politicians, architects and law makers. Stagnation is not progress. If that does sadly come to pass, the blame does not just lie with any rapper or a punching bus driver – it will be a damning indictment of us all.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Men are not for sharing

Welcome

I have never been entirely convinced by the idea that men struggle with fidelity. I don’t believe that their sex drives are so high that if they do not have it away with a different woman every day of the week that they will self combust. This type of thinking is really disrespectful to scores of men out there. It debases them, making men out to be mindless drones controlled by their hormones. It’s very simple, if men want to be faithful, they will be.

That said; where does the belief that men struggle with fidelity and that somehow women do not comes from? As we all know both men and women cheat. In the UK a statistician, Dr Catherine Mercer spoke to 2000 people and questioned them about their sexual activity within a year. 15% of men had been unfaithful compared to 9% of women (source: BBC) Based on this small study and general consensus we can ascertain that men are still more likely to cheat. However, the chances are that they are cheating with single women who wouldn’t appear in these stats but whose behaviour is just as complicit.

The big question is why do we expect men to find it hard to remain sexually exclusive? Male sexuality is seen as this insatiable, uncontrollable force. Yes I am a feminist but here’s a news flash, I like men. I even live with one. I don’t deny that the average man thinks about sex more than the average woman but how they express their sexuality is complicated and dependent on the individual.

So the next big question is why are men encouraged to demonstrate their sexuality in a uniformed way. It all boils down to gender stereotypes. Women are supposed to crave love but hate sex, men love sex but hate emotion and so both parties trade to get what they want. Women who step out of this norm and dare admit that they love sex are sluts and men who admit that they like snuggling are seen as wimps. Ultimately control is name of the game. If a man has sex with a lot of women, the chances that he will have a limited emotional connection, if any with his sleeping partners. That detachment brings control. He can come and go as he pleases; his conquests’ emotional well being is not a priority, if it were he would not be sleeping around. True strength of character comes from being vulnerable and genuine with the people in your life. I think that serial cheaters prevent themselves from having honest, loving relationships.

Whenever I have debated men and fidelity, the polygamy counter argument rears its ugly head. Men aren’t meant to be faithful; one man can impregnate several women at a time, blah blah blah. What a lot of men fail to realise is that in all polygamous society only the wealthy could afford to marry. This would typically be the elder men in the community who had land, wealth and livestock. The upshot being that poorer, younger men would be excluded from the marriage pool. There are areas in the world where this practice continues. These unmarried men are more likely to partake in risky illegal behaviours. Joe Henrich, a leading anthropologist saw a rise of rapes, gang activity general disturbance in men who stood little chance of marrying. Love and family life gives a man motivation to invest in the wider community. I am intrigued to see how countries such as China and India will fare in the future. Both countries have seen a massive decline in the female population due to, infanticide, sex selection abortions and the one child policy. According to a study by the BBC, 8 million female foetuses were aborted in India in the last decade. By 2030 projections suggest that 25% of the male Chinese population will never marry due to the low number of female to male ratio (Source Forbes magazine). It would be ironic that an enforced bachelor life might bring about more social disturbance than war or a financial crisis. It just highlights how strong the human desire is to love, be loved, to care and be cared for by others.

To conclude, monogamy works. Now I am not a member of the sex police. There are many people who don’t want conventional relationships. What two consenting and equally informed adults get up to is their business. At different points of our lives we look for different things in our relationships. In my early 20’s marriage was the last thing on my mind. The point of this post is that I don’t believe that men are hard wired to be unfaithful. I do believe that men are encouraged to focus on the physical pleasure and not necessarily the emotional connection to be found in sex. This way of thinking hurts us all. In order to have a real connection we all have to be honest and vulnerable or what’s the point? The love that we are shown and we show to others are the ties that bind us to our families, communities etc. Monogamous relationships instead of being perceived as the ball and chain provide the platform to experience emotional, spiritual and physical love. That type of love requires concentration, tenacity and most importantly exclusivity. None of us have enough within to give that type of love to several people at a time.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Violent relationships

Welcome

I am no expert when it comes to domestic violence but as a general rule I believe that love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t humiliate, injure, ridicule or damage. In the UK, 45% of women have experienced at least one incident of inter-personal violence in their lifetimes. (Walby and Allen 2004) Across the pond, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. (US Department of Justice 2007) According to various reports up to 40% of domestic incidents go unreported. Shockingly, these statistics are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Violence against women is at epidemic proportions, which seems at odds with the post feminist age we live in. How can women have come so far educationally and economically without their physical safety being guaranteed? With more prominent women in society, it would make sense that issues affecting women should have more credence than ever before. That is sadly not the case. It would appear that we are becoming numb towards violence against women. Domestic violence was often an act committed behind closed doors, the aggressors too ashamed to promote their crime. That sense of shame or fear of disapproval is alarmingly on the wane.

Much has been said about Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna. I accept that both parties were raised in violent households and that no one other than the former couple knows what happened that night. However, Mr Brown’s use of excessive force against his then girlfriend was and shall ever be despicable and inexcusable. The reason why we are still debating an event which occurred over three years ago is that it shone a light upon male/female dynamics in the Western world. What was brought to light is frightening, twisted and ugly. I do hope that Chris Brown is young enough to learn from this experience and conduct his future relationships in a positive and loving way. That’s what I hope but not what I believe will actually happen. I was shocked at the level of male and female support of Chris Brown and the demonising of Rihanna. She was painted as the mouthy, fiery wench who must have pushed him to his limit. Men are not rabid dogs; they are able to control themselves. This was an open and shut case. Chris Brown behaved violently and unlawfully and was punished. End of story. If students during the Civil Rights tolerated being water hosed, racially abused by police and set upon by dogs what could reasonably provoke a young man to punch, bite and attempt to throw his girlfriend out of a moving car?

The big question is why did Chris Brown receive so much wide spread support? We live in a society which expects the woman to be the victim and the male to be the aggressor. This is why we are so appalled when women abuse their children or kill. It goes against the saintly, passive feminine construct. Similarly with men, there is an expectation for them to be bad at expressing their feelings verbally, to be dominant and prone to violent outbursts. Therefore it stands to reason that men cannot be blamed if they behave violently, if challenged in a verbal argument or dealing with the fallout of a relationship breakdown. They simply do not have the emotional dexterity to be able to express themselves in a non –violent way in their relationships. Women knowing this are therefore to blame for pushing their position in an argument, with their quick minds and sharp tongues provoking the poor emotionally stunted man. When the overly emotional and the overly physical collide, violence is the regrettable but expected outcome. This is a lie. Unfortunately it is a lie which has been spread through every race, class and gender. Too many people genuinely buy into this nonsense and that’s why I doubt that the likes of Chris Brown and his ilk will change. This is no need to. There are plenty of men who will sympathise with his actions and women who will believe that the constant threat of violence is yet another facet of modern love.

Women bear the brunt but domestic violence is a straightjacket which traps us all. I believe that the majority of men want to be loved, to be vulnerable, to protect, to provide, to confide, to be emotionally intimate and held in high esteem by others. They just happen to be the silent majority. Instead society tries to fool us into believing that men are happy being dominant, emotionally stunted cave men. Males are encouraged to cling desperately to a vision of manhood which prevents many from living an emotionally fulfilling life. On the flip side, women are cast as victims who expect the path to true love to be thwarted with obstacles and danger. Men oppress and women are oppressed. The dynamic is always the victor versus the victim. It plays out with White against Black, straight against gay and man against woman. It is this belief system that makes peaceful coexistence a foolish dream as opposed to a reality which we should all strive for.

Politicians are always trying to secure the female vote; after all we are more than half of the electorate. I find it odd that wealthy middle aged White men feel that they have the legitimacy to lecture women about their fertility, abortion or defining what is rape and yet are noticeable silent about domestic violence? In the United Kingdom the average sentencing for ‘Grevious Bodily Harm’ is five to ten years in prison. That is in stark contrast to the whopping 68% of domestic abusers who only receive sentences of less than three months. (Source BBC News) In early 2012 the funding of women’s refuges in Britain was cut by 31%. Women’s bodies, fertility and mothering skills are constantly under scrutiny. However, when it comes to our safety, our esteem and our justice these are topics that no wants to discuss. Why? To bring about change would require all of us to change. To deal with violence against women you have to deal with the root cause, male entitlement to the female form. To change that will be to alter the accepted dynamic between men and women. Until women are truly seen as equals we will always be seen as the second sex.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Revolution of one

Welcome

Unfortunately, I haven’t returned refreshed from a holiday in the Maldives. Life is still hectic but most importantly the desire to write has returned. Many thanks for bearing with me.

I have written about love before but usually I focus on relationships and romantic love. During my hiatus I have been dwelling on the power of self-love. Once we have peace within ourselves we increase the probability of finding contentment within various aspects of our lives be it a job, family or relationships. I do believe that having that approach to life is a revolutionary act because it is the only way that we are truly free. Only by placing our internal desires ahead of societal or familial pressures do we get to exert free will. That is the battle, the challenge for us all.

Every day, we are bombarded with images, which leave us with a sense of inadequacy. I don’t have the right car, house, lifestyle, body or job. The point of advertising is to create a need where there really isn’t one. If your car is still running, you don’t really need a new one. Our internal happiness is not related to our external appearance. Contrary to popular belief, finding true love is not dependent on being a size eight with a DD cup size. We follow this shallow nonsense because we desperately want to believe that there is a clear cut path to happiness. That we can somehow buy our way out of sorrow, doubt or pain. That we can pin all of our happiness onto one thing, I will be happy when I get that new job/partner/lose a dress size. Focusing on the superficial is the original avoidance technique. We can run as fast as we like but we cannot run away from ourselves.

Societal pressures forces us to conform not just to materialism but to prop up an existing pecking order. Race, gender and sexual orientation are all social constructs designed to uphold White patriarchy by spreading insecurity and fear to ensure conformity. If young Black men are continually told that they face unemployment and incarceration, the hope is that this information will take root in said young men and the majority will not fight against what they believe to be inevitable. If we tell young Black women that only light skinned Black women are attractive and that women of darker hue are of no value, the hope is that Black women will be locked in a battle to be ‘The fairest of them all’. This mentality pits Black women against each other, encouraging some to damage their bodies with lightening creams and pass this self hate to future generations. In short this is just a smoke screen to distract people from living happy, contented and most importantly authentic lives.

This is where self love comes in. Love is not just warm and fuzzy; it has a steely element to it. If you have love for yourself, you have the ability to exercise discernment. Not everyone will have your best interest at heart. It takes strength to know who to follow, to ignore, to let enter your life and who to walk away from. None of this is easy but it is all very necessary. I refuse to engage with or financially support Black male artists who promote negative beliefs or stereotypes about Black women. Likewise I will not support Black women who publicly bash all Black men as I was raised by a loving Black father. I will not allow people of other races who wish to be disrespectful about my colour or gender to affect me. That is to give the ignorant far too much power and control. They do not affect how I feel about myself, I do. Their agenda is to reduce me to a negative stereotype and to prevent me from having the courage to live and love freely. Trying to cajole or force another’s validation is a fool’s errand. Perhaps I am wrong but I find that intolerance is usually fuelled by insecurity. Rather than working on the aspects of their lives that need to be improved, they find someone who they can feel superior to. It is virtually impossible to be liked by someone who does not like themselves.

So why is love a revolutionary idea. Simply, it is the only way in which we are all free. If we truly believe that we are ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14) who do we have to prove anything to? I know that this is not an easy concept to execute. On a daily basis I flit from lioness mode to a quivering wreck but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. If we live our lives with love and authenticity we don’t get lost in the crowd, we don’t ask the world to cherish the individual when it seeks to control the masses. We can only hope that if we all follow our own paths, that the generation to come will do the same. That is the true power of social change; it takes only one person to start a revolution.

Please let me know your thoughts

Sudelicious

Taking a break

Image

 

Welcome 

I have decided to take a little break from blogging. Life has become very hectic and I can honestly say that my brain is a little frazzled. 

I want to write a blog that I can be proud of and not just write for the sake of publishing a post every week. 

I will be back in a few weeks. If there is anything you would like me to write about, feel free to let me know. 

Sudelicious