My Purple Obsession (2): Reviews

In the last post I talked about my love for purple lipsticks, and lip colors in general. So, here are the 7 purple lipsticks that I own in order of purchase. (Except for my beloved childhood friend, because I still don’t know what it’s called.)

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From top to bottom: Hema, Collistar, Nyx Liquid Suede, Kiko, NYC (with ‘blurred’ right side), Nyx Soft Matte Lipcream, Maybelline

 

– HEMA‘s Soft Matt lipbalm in 09: This is a plum. The application can be a little patchy, but this can be fixed by layering. Not very long-lasting, but it fades pretty. It’s a balm, so it’s soft. And it smells sweet, a little like berries! I use this very often, it’s a perfect fall color.

– COLLISTAR‘s Rossetto Puro in N.60 Glicine: This is a bit more of a ‘high-end’ product. The color is a pinkish violet with a golden undertone. I almost forgot to put this on my list, because I don’t use this now, and I didn’t use it much when I first bought it either. My mom loves it, though! While the product itself is great–it does exactly what you expect of any regular lipstick–I never liked the golden undertone. I had bought it initially because I wanted a purple for spring, but for me the gold is too prominent.

– NYX‘s Liquid Suede in 20 Oh, put it on: This was my first liquid lipstick, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH! This one is a blackish purple, and in the dark it probably looks black. But it’s not, I know the truth! I love the applicator, I love the formula, it stays on all night. This one does transfer a little, but I heard (via youtube vloggers) that it’s only this particular color in the Suedes line that transfers. (Nyx recently came out with Metallic Suedes, they’re supposed to be matte with some shimmer! I want it!)

– KIKO‘s Crystal Sheer Lipstick in 419: This is exaclty what the name says it is. It’s lipstick, it’s sheer, it sparkles. Everything a gloss should do, but in lipstick form, which means it wears a little longer. And I prefer the feeling of lipstick on my lips, as opposed to lip glossBuying this I should have read the label, or at least swatched it. But I was in Germany, my mom was waiting for me outside, and I was overwhelmed by the beautiful purple. Thus, I bought this thinking it would be opaque, that was a bit of a letdown. While it’s not an out-there color, I still love it because it’s different. Not many people wear a purple gloss.

– NYC‘s City Proof Matte long lasting blur lip color in 402 Central Park Plum: Now this is a mouthful. It’s red-leaning plum color. When I saw this in the drug store, I was like ‘blur? huh?’ Yeah, this has a thicker lip pencil on the one end, and a sponge on the other end. You’re supposed apply it close to the opening of your mouth, and then smudge it outwards for an ombre effect. What I do? I either use it as lip liner, or I use it all over my lips and then smudge a little for a muted effect. It’s great if you want the color, but you don’t want it on full blast. Tip: clean the sponge regularly, or the sponge will transfer product back on your face where it doesn’t belong.

– NYX‘s soft matte lip cream in 26 Havana: A lip cream that stays on longer than expected. It takes a few tries to figure out the perfect application. The sales person said from the corners of the lips to the middle, and I do that, sort of, but it feels weird. So most of the time I start that way, but end up doing it however the hell I want to do it. This would have been the perfect purple if it had been more violet, but it’s still a gorgeous color. I haven’t worn this often, because I’m not used to this kind of vibrancy. And because the application is a little harder, I don’t want to put it on when I leave the house for a long period of time, or when I plan on eating something, because I don’t think I could re-apply it on-the-go.

– Maybelline‘s Vivid Matte Liquid in 43 Vivid Violet: This is a line that Maybelline extended, because there didn’t used to be a purple, and I saw in the drugstore that they also added Lacquer’s in this formula, as opposed to this Matte one. Or well, it’s supposed to be, but it is not matte. It has a satin look when it dries down, but there is still some shine to it. Also, it’s a little patchy and needs multiple layers for it to be opaque. I bought this thinking it would be more violet than the previous one by Nyx, but the color is only a shade lighter. I can make it work if I use less product, and thus make it less opaque, but still, I shouldn’t have to do this to get the desired effect. These are slightly scented, and they have a taste. I don’t dislike it, but I prefer my make-up to have no scent and no taste.

Nevertheless, my search continues… (I saw Lush had lipsticks and they have a purple too! But it’s not available in stores, and the shipping online is hella expensive, so that’s nope.)

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My Purple Obsession

With every purple lipstick I come across, the temptation to buy it is stronger than with any other lipstick. And I love love love lipsticks!

But… Why am I obsessed with this particular color?

It started when I was a little girl roaming through my mother’s beauty case, which was made out of hard black plastic. It had a rectangular shape with soft edges, and in my memory it almost has an oval shape. The lid opened by pushing on a silver metal lock until you heard it click. It then folded over because there were hinges on the other side, like a suitcase. To the young me, this giant trunk was paradise.

There was this loose top panel that could be lifted up and out of the entire case so you could get to what’s underneath at the bottom. That was my territory. The top panel, I think, was filled with blushes, eye-shadow palettes, and my mom’s most used lipsticks. Or that’s what I assumed, because as I said, I didn’t really ‘play’ with those. My focus was on the numerous nail polishes at the bottom. My little mind loved that there were so many shades of pinks and reds and purples.

However, neglected at the bottom of that beauty case, between all of the nail polishes, was one lipstick. I remember it clear as day. The cylinder tube had a blueish purple color, with thin white diagonal lines painted on the side. Parallel to those was the name of the brand, but for the love of God, I cannot remember what it was called. I have tried searching Google, but I cannot find it, and I cannot recall it. It is sooo frustrating. Especially, because inside the tube was the most beautiful frosted purple lipstick that my eyes had ever seen in their short life. Oh girl, did I love putting that thing on my lips.

How to put on lipstick: First, you apply one layer, then you press your lips into a paper towel, and then you apply a second layer. For full coverage and longevity. That’s how my mom taught me!

Fast forward to me as a teenager, when I started using make-up in the last two years of secondary school, but only on the weekends, because fuck it if I had to wake up earlier before school to put my face on. Back then I focused on eye-shadows though, because that’s what all of my friends were doing. I didn’t know any better, and my teenage angst wanted me to fit in, so that meant copying the people around me.

The last couple of years, I have been experimenting more with lipsticks, branching out into more eye-catching colors. It went from vibrant pinks to deep reds, and nowadays I’m into darker colors like browns, purples, dark nudes–oxymoron, I know, but it’s the best way I can explain it. I’m not a beauty guru, I just like pretty lips. I want to try out a blue, and a black, but I’m taking it slow. Nevertheless, the color that I have the most lipsticks of is, yes, PURPLE! I have amassed 7 of them up until this point, and I’ll go through them in a separate post (because this one here is getting too long).

This last year my range of purples has increased exponentially, because I have been looking for that perfect shade of purple violet. The reason? Some time last spring, I was having drinks with friends. And in my periphery I saw this girl with the perfect shade of purple on her lips. And to this day, I curse myself for not going up to her and asking what she was wearing. Introvert problems. Thus, I have been searching all summer, and I can’t seem to find it, but when I do come across purple my mind goes: that would be an excellent addition to your collection. Logically, I know I do not need any more purples, but its sooo pwetty!

Hello, my name is Valerie, and I’m an addict.

 

 

 

 

P.S. the review of my purple lipsticks will be up tomorrow, I still have some pictures of swatches to take 😉

Let’s Talk Feminism

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One of my best friends saw my bullet journal today, and noticed that in capital letters on the front cover it reads “FEMINIST!”, because I am, a feminist. Upon reading the word, she asked me if I truly am a feminist, and obviously my reply is ‘yes’. It is the answer I will always give, no matter the circumstance.

 

Once upon a time, a fellow (male) student asked me, because it was the natural direction of our conversation, “Are you a feminist?” and my quick-witted reply was “Are you not?“. I had never been so proud of myself for being so direct about my opinion. Usually my wit doesn’t come back to me until I exit the social situation. #introvertproblems

My friend then continued to ask if I’m a radical or extreme–I can’t remember the exact word she used–feminist, which is when I replied ‘no’. Partially, because I don’t consider (my) feminism to be extreme, but also because I didn’t really feel like getting into an argument at the time. And I could take a guess at the ‘kind of feminism’ she was thinking about. You know the stereotype: lesbian, bra-burners, men-haters, they don’t shave. I am none of these things, but that does not mean I’m not a feminist. It also doesn’t mean that they aren’t feminists (unless the men-hating part is real and not an exaggeration).

Granted, I think shaving is a chore I’d rather not do, but I just cover up the hairy parts of my body. More importantly though: CAN WE NOT SHAME WOMEN FOR HAVING HAIR ON THEIR BODIES?? (because, you know, it grows there.) Yes, opinions about beauty differ, but you have to accept that your own opinion isn’t the end-all-be-all-Holy-Truth that you think it is. If someone decides that they do not need to shave to be beautiful, who the fuck do you think you are to tell them otherwise? Are you seriously attempting to shame them or make them feel insecure about the hair that grows on their bodies? Why are you insisting on breaking that person down, instead of praising their bravery in defying society’s standard idea of beauty. Does hating make you feel content? Are you proud of your behavior?

Feminism is about equality. It’s about women having the same rights as men. It’s about men having the same rights as women. It’s about equal opportunity: men and women starting at the same level on the job market, in social situations, in all aspects of life, regardless of their gender, regardless of their race. That last one is to all the white feminists out there. Feminism means equality across the board. It’s basic human decency, a.k.a. respect. That is my idea of feminism. It means men don’t have a foot in the door when it comes to being business savvy; when the woman applying for the same managerial position has the exact same qualifications, but she has to knock on the door and wait for someone to give her a pass in order to even enter the room. It means female midwives are not preferred over male midwives who have the same exact education. You can accept that you obstetrician is a man, but not your midwife? Double standard much?

If FEMINISM = EQUALITY, then why not use equality because feminism has a negative connotation? What is it about the word feminism that bothers you so much? Personally, I will adamantly use the word feminism until people stop rolling their eyes, or start grunting, or complaining about the incredulously bothersome discussion that will most definitely follow after the word is uttered. Can we not do this right now? #AmIright? #High5Bro Because why make a problem out of something that has been going on for ages, something which has always been accepted as totally fine, and please stop making a big deal out of this one tiny thing. — No, you’re definitely not right, and we are, in fact, doing this. For one, because it is a problem. A sexist joke isn’t not sexist because it’s a joke. All of these little tiny things that feminists ‘whine’ about are part of a bigger problem. The patriarchy denigrates female characteristics, and feminism is about raising them back up to their male counterparts. It’s not about taking down masculinity.

I use the word Feminism because it’s about not devaluing things that are considered feminine/female. Here is some food for thought:

  • the-future-is-femaleDo you think female superheros are considered badass, because their power and strength are linked to masculinity?
  • Why is expressing feelings something only women should do? Because it’s not manly? It’s expected of girls, because they’re what, girly girls? And why is that combination of words not considered a tautology (e.g. a round circle), shouldn’t a girl automatically be girly, because, you know, she’s a girl?
  • Why is it man up and don’t be such a girl?

I use the word Feminism because I consider female characteristics to be of equal worth and value as male characteristics. (Not to mention that female and male characteristics are only split up that way because of historical customs and stereotypes. And here I use the word ‘historical’ as a synonym to ‘of the past’, while we’re supposedly living in the future. But who am I to challenge basic ideas, right, am I not only a girl?)

Feminism is about women owning their own bodies. No more body shaming, no more slut shaming (see my earlier post on this), no more caring about ‘the male gaze’, no more shaming your fellow woman, because she has the same insecurities that you have. And whatever you feel the need to say about her body, she has already thought that exact thing multiple times herself, and felt awful about it. So how about you don’t rub it in, yeah? Feminism is about helping other women, and not shaming them to please men. (look up Most Girls by Hailee Steinfeld and watch the video clip)

Female empowerment does not look the same on every woman. For example, women can wear a tiny cross around their neck, or a hijab might cover their hair. Neither of these two things make less of the fact that she is an empowered woman. Who are you to say what feminism and female empowerment look like? It is about giving every woman the power to choose, and not reneging and taking that power away when you do not agree with her choice! The above is an example of white feminism, we are so blinded by our own ideas of emancipation that we forcefully push our own values onto them. And tell me how is that different from men controlling women? Here’s another idea some Western women try to claim as not feminist: A woman who actively chooses to be a housewife, has lots of kids, stays home to take care of them, and still feels empowered. In this case, the woman isn’t emancipated enough. She is following the stereotype. But you know what, maybe she was offered all of the options, and still chose to be a housewife? (Edit: I am aware that in some of these cases these could be a sign of oppression, but each case warrants its own scrutiny. And if there is oppression, it is still not our job to force them to act differently. All we can do is lead by example, and make sure every person has access to education. Let every woman and man decide for themselves what they choose to do, and what they choose to wear.)

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I can go on and on about feminism, but this is already over a thousand words, so I’m going to end it here. Feminism is the direct opposite of sexism, so think twice before you say you’re not feminist. And yes, every -ism has its extremes, the idea is to find the equal middle ground.

Beauty and the Beast Review

Spoiler-free, if you kept up with the publicity before it was released (>> Lefou)

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I finally found my way to the live action version of Beauty and the Beast!! It took me a while to get to it. I must say that I wasn’t super looking forward to it. Remakes are hard to pull off. I didn’t want to be disappointed in one of my favorite Disney films. I steered clear and let the hype die, because I felt the need to form my own thoughts on this movie. When it was first released, I was pulled in so many directions, that I had to leave the scene and forget about it.

Did I go into it with a clear head? Of course not. I can’t rid myself of the love I have for Belle, Chip, Lumière, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts, and lastly, the Beast (although my child-self was scared of him at first, and thought he was too pretty in the end). There was also the past animations turned live-actions to consider; I myself LOVED Maleficent, but thought Cinderella was a huge letdown. And Alice in Wonderland had the best luck because it was directed by Tim Burton who did a very nice job mirroring the oddly beautiful world of Lewis Carroll. That’s why going in, I had the lowest of expectations.

Actually, I had prepared for not liking it. The very first moment I heard Emma Watson sing was a … well… I don’t really know what my exact thoughts were. I just knew that I didn’t like the digital distortions and auto-tuning that was going on. It was especially notable, because hers was the only voice being so very ‘enhanced/improved’ (—-I’m not really sure what word to use here). And so, my question is, was her voice really that bad that it needed so many embellishments?  If so, why not cast someone who can actually sing? If I had the choice between watching a musical with either an unfamiliar leading lady with a great voice, or with a famous actress whose voice had digital improvements, I would without a doubt pick the former. Maybe that’s just my personal preference, and the regular audience doesn’t pick up on these musical enhancements, but I do, and I don’t like it. I do have to add: it’s not that Emma Watson can’t sing or has a bad voice–she was actually good as a not-singing Belle. It’s just that the rest of the cast had GREAT voices, so hers felt a little out of place to me.

Thus, I was not liking this film.

Imagine my surprise when 30 minutes later, I was smiling and singing along with the songs and tearing up at the memories it brought along for me. I JUST LOVE THIS FILM SO FUCKING MUCH. And I must say that it was a good watch. Was it as good as the animation? No. Did I enjoy watching it? HELL YES!! They could not ruin this film, and they didn’t. It was exactly the same, and I loved that they made Belle a feminist fighting to make her own choices more so than she already did in the original. I was really moved: Beast’s song made me cry, and the ending had me bawling.

One last thing I have to mention. Lefou is gay. The subtext was adamantly clear. But I do not consider this as the revolutionary first openly gay character in a Disney film ever (as Disney would have you believe). The fact that Lefou is attracted to guys was never explicitly mentioned within canon. It’s all fun and games when Disney tells the press that Lefou is gay, but this helps no one when The Straights™ point to the film and say there’s nothing going on. If it isn’t mentioned in the film it gives them deniability, even though it’s obvioussome people can still claim they don’t see it. So no Disney, this is not good LGBTQA+ representation, and I will side-eye you until you give us what we deserve!

Final judgement: I recommend it, but don’t do it for anything other than liking the source material, and don’t expect it to be perfect.

 

All Hail American Gods

Spoiler-ish? Nothing hardcore. This is a little messy, might fine tune it later, but I wanted to get it out today.

Monday May 1st 2017, the various stages of enlightenment:

  1. Oh my God, can you believe American Gods aired last night. It’s here! It’s finally here. I’ve got to watch this asap. Leave me alone!! I’m watching American Gods!! Check back in an hour!!!
  2. The opening credits hyped me the fuck up, I could watch them forever!
  3. *completely and utterly captivated by the episode*
  4. MINDBLOWN Holy fucking shit!! This is it!! This is what we’ve been waiting for!! Holy fuck, it’s better than expected!! I need to see this again!! Lord almighty, praise Odin!!
  5. I’ve got to review this shit! Let’s get a second season!!! This is fucking epic!! Where has this been all my life!!

So, let’s strike the iron while it’s still hot. American Gods. Oh Lord, our savior, thank you for this gift. This review will in no way be an exaggeration. Well, maybe a little. I can just tell this tv series will be my next obsession. Seriously, don’t know what else to tell you, I was blown away. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, right now! Or you could finish reading this review first.

First off, this show is Graphic (see how I capitalized and emboldened it??). Blood and gore everywhere, it doesn’t shy away from extravagant sex scenes. If you read the source material by Neil Gaiman, you know what I am talking about. The scene on the beach, especially, reminded me of the fights in Game of Thrones and Spartacus. Also, trigger warning: nooses are a motief in this first episode and there is an actual hanging. Apart from the drenching bloodshed, I like the cinematography in general. The visual effects are incredible as well, like the wall crumbling down or Shadow’s dreams about the tree! I have no chill. I also want to congratulate everyone in production design, especially the people who designed the sets, the background colors enrich Ricky’s brown skin beautifully, which is not always a given.

Can we talk about the sound and music?? It’s so on point, it enhances the scene without monopolizing the viewer’s attention. Whoever those sound guys are, they did a kickass job, for real impressed! (I looked up some names: Brian Reitzell, Brad North, Judah Getz, … hats off to you!). The part after Shadow found out about …[spoiler], and he walks out of the prison, the anxious sounds gave me chills. It’s as if the sound people were hooked into Shadow’s nervous system and they knew which exact instrument and pitch to use for every feeling.

About the cast, my love for Ricky Whittle surges from a well with an endless supply. He was the one that made me run to the bookstore buying American Gods, when I got wind of him playing the lead. I would follow him everywhere. He’s such a charming loveable goofball–I know I don’t actually know him, but from Periscope and Cast interviews and Instagram, I can feel that he’s a sunshine walking this earth, and I believe that he would give the best all-encompassing bear hugs. I love him in this role! I love Shadow Moon! I didn’t have one flashback to Lincoln from The 100, so I know his acting is flawless! The emotions he portrays with the muscles in his face, his eyes, his veins, he’s in complete control of his body. His physique?? Dear Lord, I die.

Jonathan Tucker as Low Key Lyesmith! A sneaky little bastard, perfect for this role. Though I’m not sure at this point if he’ll get lots of screen time, but… this character, man, I’m going to have such a big love/hate relationship with him.

Meet Yetide Badaki as Bilquis, a woman of earth-shattering beauty, both on and off-screen. The scene plays out exactly as I expected it would, but she only has the one in the books, and she’s a main cast member in the series, so I look forward to seeing her character grow/fall??? What will it be?? It’s a coin toss where all players have tricks up their sleeves.

Worthy mentions: Ian McShane as the magnanimous Mr Wednesday does an amazing job! Pablo Schreiber as Mad Sweeney, here again the perfect casting. We haven’t seen much of Bruce Langley’s Technical Boy, but that is another thing to look forward to. The scenes with Emily Browning as Laura Moon have been pretty good!

Can you believe I have no bad things to say about this show???

To all haters, criticizing this show for its lack of clear plot line or direction? THIS IS THE INTENTION! If you don’t like being swept up in a daydream/nightmare, going from one point to another, forgetting where the beginning or even the end is, then this show is not for you. Don’t down rate it unfairly (1/10), because you can’t handle the continuous displacement.

 

EDIT: American Gods was renewed for a second seasion!!! WHOOP WHOOP

Spilled Ink #1

The corners of her lips are turned
up, always, no matter the circumstance,
no matter the place.

Her mouth is her armor, not the sound it
makes–her voice is insignificant–but
the corners cut into her cheeks, sweet, nice,
kind, always stretching herself thin, filling
the void that silence leaves behind.

She taught herself how to smile without
teeth, making sure her eyes enforce the lies
that she tells
the world? or herself?

Does is even matter? she’s made of porcelain,
don’t you agree? All dolled up and ready to
break, right in front of you, always on
the edge of the abyss, but she doesn’t,
she won’t fall.

She taught herself how to smile,
how to hide the cuts, the fragments,
her bruised soul.

She’s sugar sweet, and always kind, with
that forever smile, tearing her face
in half. But she keeps her lips sealed,
her pain hidden
because she’s too nice to bother
the world with what lies
beneath.

She looks like sunshine and rainbows,
so why would anyone ever ask her
what’s wrong?

Forever Smile

*This is mine. Don’t copy it without my permission.
**I will post some of my poems when I feel that I haven’t uploaded something recently.

Don’t Be a Dick at Concerts

Hello everyone,

I’m sorry it’s been awhile. I’ve had couple drafts ready, but I never got around to finishing one until now. This post was supposed to be a review about a couple concerts I went to recently, but the more I kept writing, the more boring they sounded. No one wants to hear me go over every single song, and how great the performance of it was. There’s only so many ways to not make it repetitive. So instead, I’ll talk about some annoying things people do at concerts.

At the end of February, I went to a Banks concert, and this guy kept talking to his friends while the singer was on stage performing. He was trying to talk loud enough so that his friends could hear him over the music. I mean, I get it if someone wants to comment on something that’s happening on stage, but if you want to talk longer than one minute you should probably go somewhere you can actually have a conversation. The rest of us would rather hear the song and not the details of whatever the hell you’re trying to say.

Moreover, in a small venue, the singer can actually hear the murmurs as well. Believe it or not, concert halls are built to carry sound across the room, and it works in both directions. What this means is that if you’re able to make yourself heard over the music, it’s likely that you are disturbing the artist’s performance as well. And while in this case the person talking was shushed pretty fast, I’ve been to a performance where the artist said he would walk off the stage and give an acoustic performance on the street for the people who were actually there to listen to him, if the rest of the audience didn’t stop talking. So in the future, show some respect for the person giving their full on stage, they’re trying to do their job.

Talking, or any other disruption, is my main pet peeve, but there are other smaller issues: If you paid for assigned seating, please sit in the chair that was actually assigned to you. Sure, sometimes the seating blocks are confusing, and it’s very possible to sit in the wrong place if you’re not careful. It’s a mix-up that is easy to unravel and fix. Don’t make a big deal out of it, check your tickets, move and apologize if you’ve made a mistake. On the other hand, if you purposefully stay in the seat that you know you didn’t pay for, because the girl whose seat you’re occupying is okay with sitting on the stairs (probably because she’s a teenager, too shy to stand up to an actual forty-something adult), then you’re being a dick, so just fucking move your ass out. This happened at the Emeli Sandé concert I went to, and the actual adult only moved once one of the stewards said the girl was not allowed to sit on the stairs for security reasons.

My third complaint are phones and cameras. Of course you can take a picture of the artist, or record a part of a song you like as a memory. But please keep it to a maximum of 5 pictures and 2 recordings. The artist is there performing for you. They’re on location to connect to their audience. It’s hard for Bruno Mars to make heart-eyes to your face, when your phone is obstructing his view. I admit I am guilty of taking pictures, but I do put my phone away for most of the performance once I have a decent shot. Furthermore, it’s really fucking annoying to sit or stand behind someone who has his camera up in the air the whole fucking time. Like, excuse me, I’m here to look at Bruno Mars, not a pixelated image of Bruno Mars on your screen. Additionally, if he asks you to put away your phone, for fuck’s sake put that damn phone away, he’s only asking for this one song, even though he’d probably prefer it if you didn’t record his whole concert.

I want to end this post with something that happened to my friend, and me–but she had the worst of it–at an Emeli Sandé concert last March. We were sitting next to two girls, they were on my friend’s side. They entered the row audibly, which is okay, they were having fun. The first thing one of the girls said to us was that her friend was going to be screaming loudly, which again was nothing out of the ordinary. The frustrating part comes in where they were buzzed and smelled of alcohol when they arrived. The girl sitting next to my friend took it upon herself to turn my introverted friend into an extrovert. Trying to coax her into yelling, and singing, and dancing. To not give a fuck, and scream when everyone else was quiet. At one point, she said my friend was beautiful, which is cool, it’s a compliment. But it turned to where she might have been hitting on my friend who was clearly not interested, and only there to listen to the music. My friend even missed her favorite song, because the girl next to her wouldn’t stop talking to her. At one point the girl even cried, supposedly out of pity, which is incredibly disrespectful, and fuck her for making my friend feel bad. Some people are quiet, and don’t mind silence, deal with it. Not everyone has a loud personality. The only thing she accomplished was stressing her the fuck out, and making her uncomfortable. Overall making the experience less amazing, while it should have been epic!

Basically, what to take away from this post is, show some fucking respect to the artist on stage, and the person in the audience next to you. It’s called common decency.

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Emeli Sandé – Long Live The Angels Tour

Iron Fist: The Weakest Link?

The new netflix series, Marvel’s Iron Fist, has been out for a few days, and as a diehard fan of the previous three heroes set up to become The Defenders, I spent the last weekend bingewatching the new episodes. There was no choice.

First, Iron Fist coming out last Friday went past me completely. Only the day after, by seeing a post on Tumblr, did I realize I had forgotten about it. Surprisingly or not, my dashboard wasn’t filled with posts of the new series. I remember when Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage had come out; I had to make sure those tags were blocked, otherwise spoilers would come through left and right. This wasn’t the case with Iron Fist, there were maybe one or two people in my feed talking about the new show, but it’s safe to say that Iron Fist didn’t blow up like the other three did.

Part of the reason that it didn’t catch on (as fast? — maybe it’s taking slower) was because of the criticism it received beforehand, something I will address later on. The other part? It’s just not as good as the previous ones. The narrative is interesting, but not compelling. It felt second rate, which is not something I’m used to from netflix original series. They’re usually so on point about every single detail, but it wasn’t the case here. I went through the series fast, but without emotion, I didn’t feel close to any of the characters and it lacked depth. As you know, Matt is a blind lawyer, Jessica is a female P.I., Luke is a Black escaped convict. Danny Rand? He’s a rich white boy, who was missing, then came back with magical powers, and is now on the path to avenge the death of his parents. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Where Daredevil, Jessica Jones, ajoywardnd Luke Cage are gritty, thought-provoking, and challenging society. Iron Fist is bland. It addresses corporate fraud, embezzlement, and how little multinationals care about the little guy, but these social issues don’t carry as big a punch as, for example, sexual assault, racism, or ableism do. Therefore, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact. This was a mistake made by the people behind the scenes. Did they overlook this fact, or did they ignore it? Did a glowing fist sound that cool, that they just had to tell this story? They could have easily fixed this by writing Danny Rand as a minority, or by adding something that gave him more depth.

Which brings me to the widespread criticism Iron Fist has received for its blatant racism. I don’t think it would have been that hard to portray Danny as biracial with a Chinese heritage. And it would have made the story that more captivating. Imagine his dad, a (biracial) Chinese American man trying to make it in a white business world, and succeeding! Also, him refusing to work with the Hand, while his greedy white partner does, behind his back? I just wrote this idea up in less than a minute, it’s not hard??!! I can hear you saying, but the original story? Yeah, yeah, the original story was written decades ago with no respect for immigrant culture, aimed at white America. This series was written for a global audience, in a multicultural society, and frankly, tdannyhe writers and producers should have known better. Perpetuating racism, and hiding behind the primary source material, does not make you less complicit in that same racism and cultural appropriation. It makes you ignorant and uncaring about racial issues, especially when you’re making money off them.

Finally, I would like to mention the parts of the series that I did like. If you’re able to overlook the racism and keep watching, it does get better by the 8th or 9th episode. There are a couple of twists in the end that surprised me. Moreover, the brightest light in this series (and all the other series to be honest) is Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple. You can decide to only watch it for her,colleen she has some pretty amazing scenes. Furthermore, the relationship between brother and sister, Ward and Joy Meachum, caught me by surprise. I wasn’t aware that episode by episode these two characters had snuck into my heart and broke it by the final scene. The last character I fell for was Colleen Wing, she’s a badass with a lot of depth, and a very good arc; but they did her so wrong pairing her with Danny, especially how their relationship started and progressed.

We’ve reached the end of my review, that turned out longer than I had planned for. Oh well. I would recommend watching it critically, especially if you’re planning on watching the Defenders that is scheduled to release mid-2017. Because I’m sure that if you don’t, you won’t have key information needed for the next instalment. Especially, since they don’t have much time for exposition and character background with only 8 episodes. All in all, Iron Fist is a good series, but when you’re coming down from Luke Cage, this one just doesn’t hit the same sweet spot.

 

The Only Thing I’m Asking for Is Respect

Even though this is a new blog, I’m immediately bringing out the big guns. After finishing All the Rage by Courtney Summers, I felt inspired. Coincidentally, International Women’s Day just passed as well, so there’s no better time to address this issue.

In All The Rage, Romy is sexually assaulted by the most popular guy in town. Everyone loves him, he’s the son of the sheriff and can do no wrong. The novel deals with the aftermath of her rape, how she works through the trauma while no one believes what happened to her. It’s hard to read through because of its dark honesty, Summers holds no punches. This book is very important, because it shows that rape culture is not a joke. It’s the reason why many woman and men don’t come forward after they were assaulted. Somehow, the way we, as a society, deal with rape, it’s as if the victim is responsible for the rapist’s actions. In this story Romy works up to forgiving herself, something she should never have to do, for lying, for holding in the truth, for not fighting back hard enough. But it is also about working through her trauma, and learning to live with what happened to her.

Slut-shaming is a concept tightly woven into that of Rape Culture. It’s this idea that a woman who enjoys any kind of sexual activity or is very sexually active can be summed up in one word slut, from then on that becomes her only worth, i.e. she’s always good for a lay. Even when a woman dresses provocatively, she can be branded. One of the most common questions a rape survivor is asked is What were you wearing? As if the amount of clothes someone has on automatically provides the perpetrator with some kind of justification. The sexual assault is rationalized and offenders get off easy, this is called victim-blaming. For some inexplicable reason the fault lies, not with the rapist, but with the survivor of rape, because they were asking for it. How fucked up does a community need to be to blame someone for being sexually assaulted? Honestly? It makes me want to scream bloody murder.

rosea-posey“Judgments” by Rosea Posey

Even in my own life, when I’m picking out clothes for example, I question my choices. For the longest time, I didn’t want to wear low-cut tops, because I didn’t want to show too much cleavage. Nowadays, when I want to feel sexy for myself I will put on clothes that make me feel that way, and I will stress this again I wear sexy clothing to make me feel sexy. It is for me. I changed my way of thinking, because this is learned behavior. Society taught me to cover up my skin. I can’t remember if it was ever said to me explicitly, but when we were in school, one of my best friends had to change out of her shorts once, because they were too short. The implicit reason? “It would distract the boys”. Society teaches girls to cover themselves up so that boys would be able to control themselves. Why don’t we teach boys to control themselves no matter what situation? Boys will be boys? Hell no! Boys will be taught how to respect other human beings.

I’m tired of choosing not to wear a specific kind of t-shirt or dress. Because yes, I still catch myself going for the safer option. The option that will keep me invisible when I’m trying to have fun with my friends. I work to rewire myself every day. To fix what has been ingrained in me since I was young. I’m waiting for a world that starts teaching respect at day 1.

 

Introduction

Hi!

My name is Valerie.

I started this blog, because I always liked the idea of having a blog. An online journal. So, I finally stopped finding excuses as to why not and I went for it. That being said, I’m not sure how often I’ll update this blog. I would like to say once a week, or once every two weeks, but I know myself, and I am the worst kind of procrastinator, which is why I can’t make any promises.

Content-wise, this blog will be about anything that inspires me in the moment, whether that’s a book I’ve read recently, a newly published album by a favorite artist, or just something that happened to me personally… We’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to commit to one thing, and then be stuck in that box forever. I have a hard time making decisions as it is, and I don’t want to restrict myself.

The title of my blog, Kindness Is Optional, in real life I’m known to be a kind person (if I say so myself). But I do believe that one of the most important things in life is to be kind to each other, to a stranger, to a friend, or to your family. I was especially inspired by the quote Noora had on her wall in the Norwegian Series Skam:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

And that is exactly how I want to live my life, because it’s true. At any given moment in time you do not know what someone is going through, and they don’t know how bad your day is going, so give each other a break once in a while. However, and this is why I went with kindness is optional, it’s okay to put yourself first. If being kind means you have to scrub away at a part of yourself, it’s not worth it. Stand up for what you believe in, be true to yourself. That’s what this blog is for me. What I write here will come from my heart. My soul will speak through my words. I won’t always be kind, but I will be honest.

That’s it for now!

Lots of love,
Val!