emmelinemay: (Default)
I watched this documentary last night on the iPlayer.

I would highly recommend it, with the caveat that it is pretty distressing in places if you love dogs.

Pedigree breeders and show-dog owners it appears, don't love dogs. It's the only explanation as to how they can with clear conscience put the poor creatures through what they put them through.

It's up on the iplayer now, and it's worth a watch if only for the feeling of sheer disbelief at the two pompous old windbags who run the kennel club (they can't be real people. They are extras from an Agatha Christie novel, they have to be) and the arrogance of the breeders who disregard all scientific evidence - 'what do the scientists know? I've been breeding dogs for FIFTY YEARS you know.' claiming that it is 'emotional rubbish' and that there is no scientific or medical evidence that proves in-breeding is harmful, or that the breed standards are damaging.

It's basically eugenics with dogs, which would *almost* be ok if it was about breeding fit and healthy dogs, but it's not, it's about breeding ones that *look* right, and so many of the 'desirable' physical characteristics are so bad for the dog that the very thing they are bred for is what makes them ill. You'd think that the fact that pure bred bulldogs can no longer breed without assistance would be a clue, but apparently not.

I was shocked to find out that the Rhodesian Ridgeback are actually healthy when born *without* the ridge, as the 'ridge' is a mild form of Spina-biffida. This means that breeders are deliberately breeding damaged dogs, and putting down perfectly healthy puppies. If they're not put down, they're neutered, so that the non-ridged ones can't breed.

Highly in-bred King Charles Spaniels can have this horrible condition called syringomyelia, which is caused by, put simply, their brains being too big for their heads. It causes horrendous pain, fits, paralysis. This is because small heads are part of the breed standard. Dogs have won best of breed who have this condition. There are no laws or guidelines to prevent dogs with syringomyelia being bred, which means it's getting worse and worse. You can't cure it, but you can have an MRI scan to find out if your dog has it. But few hardcore breeders will have the scans, because even if the dog DID have it, it won't stop them breeding. One woman in the programme says flatly 'I'll never have MY dogs have an MRI', as if it's something to be proud of.

I'm sorry, WHY? If you love dogs, WHY THE HELL would you not get them checked for a horribly painful crippling disease which ultimately means you have to either have your dog put down or have a hole opened in its skull to ease the pressure? WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WOULD YOU DO THIS THING?

The answer? Because that is what the breed standard says they are meant to look like.

They showed pictures of dog breeds at the turn of the century, and how skull and spine shapes have changed in 100 years. It's incredible that in just 100 years selective and manipulate breeding have changed some breeds almost beyond recognition. They showed a breeder a picture of a basset hound from 100 years ago, to show him how much the breed had changed, and his response was 'that dog isn't a basset hound'. It wouldn't win a dog show prize, it wouldn't meet the 'breed standard', and so it isn't a basset hound. Regardless of that fact that the picture is of a real working dog, the way they once looked, it doesn't *look right* and so it *isn't* right. Another example is the German Shepard. Those used as police dogs still look pretty much the same as 100 years ago. The german shepard show dogs look very different, with a downwards sloping spine and such bowed back legs that the poor things can barely walk. And yet these are the ones that are being bred, and touted as 'right'.

According to the programme, genetically, something like 200 of the 'pure breeds' that exist now are so different DNA wise to the same breed 100 years ago that the breed is technically endangered!! That's crazy! and all because of 'beauty'.

It was suggested that the Kennel Club should change the breed standards, so that we can try to repair the damage done so far, but as one contributor points out, if they did that and the breeders disagreed, then the breeders would just leave and set up their own breed standards and the kennel club would collapse.

The desire for things to be 'beautiful' over 'functional' applies to so many things in life, and that makes me very sad. When we subject these poor beautiful creatures to our desire for things to be 'right' and to 'fit', it makes me furious.

If you do watch it, sit a good distance from the screen to avoid breaking it when you try to punch people through it.
emmelinemay: (Franz?)
Thanks to the iPlayer, I discovered a series called 'Britain's Missing Top Model.'

Musings on things the programme brought up, about perfection, 'freak show' programming, and our perceptions of others... )

Apologies for typos and spelling mistakes, I will fix these later when I have a computer with a proper spellcheck and not LJ's own, which sucks.
emmelinemay: (Magic 8 Ball)
Following a number of debates that my posts on street harassment, the objectification of women's bodies in the media and 'male priviledge' have prompted here on my journal, this article pretty much says everything, only much better than I could manage.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] miss_soap for the link.
emmelinemay: (Darkview)
This URL was one of today's google ads:


I have no words.

On a (sort of) related subject - America's next top model. I've recently been re-watching cycle series 2, since I discovered I can watch youtube clips on my phone, they download faster than the internet, and I have unlimited access with my phone contract. This is, I think, the only series I haven't seen all the way through.

There's one girl, Shandi, who is utterly transformed after her makeover - from a slightly geeky frizzy-haired bespectacled shy (but still very pretty) girl to a barbie-like beauty. the before and after picture doesn't really show how different she looked, as the 'after' here was one of her worst pictures, and the 'before' was a really good picture. It really was amazing though. And yet, despite my post yesterday about size, and whether it should matter as long as we're healthy, I can't help but stare at her - she's just SO thin. There's an episode where they're practising their walks wrapped in sheets, and she's a 5'10" walking skeleton. If that's what we're to aspire to, I'm sorry, I'll take Princess Bea any day.

On shape, size and fashion. Look away now if you really don't want to know who wins series 10 of ANTM. )
emmelinemay: (Naughty Cherries)
It's not often I find myself agreeing with the royal family, or their relatives, but I'm behind Sarah Ferguson on this one.

The press have recently engaged in a bit of slagging off Beatrice, calling her fat. She's a teenager, and, apparently, a UK size 12-14 (a US 10). She certainly doesn't look very big to me, she's got quite a big head, perhaps, but she's certainly no porker. Google for pictures of her, and you'll find a perfectly sized young girl. She's not worryingly thin, like so many 'celebrities', she's not a chubber, she's spot on. In fact, I think she looks rather fabulous here, and it makes me think hey, perhaps I can wear a bikin and look good too.

Yesterday I had a rather long bus journey across London, and so I picked up one of the free London papers.

On one page, it had a picture of Britney Spears in a bikini chilling out on a beach with her manager. She looks perfectly healthy, a darn site better than I'd look in a bikini. The article is all about how she's letting her flab hang out over her bikini bottoms, and how her manager and her have matching bellies, and a close up of her bottom with CELLULITE written underneath it in big letters. She's got considerably less cellulite than I have, and a very nice bottom, actually.

Later on in the paper is an article about Girls Aloud's live show. The main gist of this is that the girls are talented, yes, but OMG PAINFULLY STICK THIN. Yes, the girls have lost a lot of weight since they were first formed, which is a bit of a shame, but they're not exactly stick thin. They're all very healthy looking really. In the photo shown, none of them look any bigger or smaller than Britney in a bikini, or Princes Bea.

So what are we meant to think? Where is that line? Where a perfectly well looking Britney Spears is 'flabby' and 'covered in cellulite', where a size 12 teenager is 'fat', where Girls Aloud are 'stick thin' - and yet to look at the pictures you can barely see a difference.

When I was at Brownie Camp, one of my brownies ate so little of her food I asked her why, and she said 'I don't want to get fat'. This child was 8. 8 Years old and worried about being fat.

What sort of world do these girls see, what sort of world is being portrayed through the media in our celebrity-obsessed, figure-concious society?

This is one of the main reasons I loathe women's magazines, Heat et al - obsessed with the fluctuating weight of celebrities, the circle of shame, SHE'S got cellulite, SHE'S put on a few pounds SHE'S too skinny.

And it's not just the constant re-enforcement that 'fat is bad' these days. It's now 'skinny is bad', and the arbitrary lines between 'too fat' and 'too thin' are being drawn all over the place, even in the space of 5 pages in the same newspaper.

If Bea up there is a fattie, that makes me, at a UK 12-14 an OBESE MONSTER. If I thought that Britney's cellulite was OMG TOO AWFUL to be foisted upon the eyes of the public, well, my god, mine should certainly never see the light of day. Maybe I shouldn't wear that bikini after all. And if Girls Aloud are 'stick thin' and end up putting on a few pounds, what will they be then?

I'm glad to hear Fergie say that her daughter is a tough girl, and not taking the things papers say to heart. Others may not be so lucky to have that inner-confidence to say 'the papers are wrong'. Geri Halliwell famously ended up with an eating disorder after papers called her fat. I have to agree with Fergie when she says that the press have to take some responsibility. They have to be held accountable somehow.

It isn't a new problem though - Karen Carpenter died back in 1983 of Anorexia. A number of films and books about her life lay the blame squarely on the media, who called her 'chubby', beginning a lifelong obsession with her weight which would ultimately kill her.

It aangers me that being flabby is bad, being skinny is bad, but there's no middle ground for the media. There's no 'this person is the 'right' shape' - and if there is, one day it's Amy Winehouse and Charlotte Church is a fat munter, and the next day, Amy is painfully skeletal and Lottie is luscious and perfect. And what exactly IS the 'right' shape anyway? If you're healthy, should anyone give a monkeys?

You know, I've got a few flabby bits here and there, but I have clothes I look good in. I am active, I exercise. I'm pretty fit and healthy. That's what ought to be important.

So what is 'chubby'? It's probably a size 12. But don't worry, wait until tomorrow, when a size 12 will be painfully thin.
emmelinemay: (Angry pirate penguin)
I watched Find Me The Face - Plus Sized Girl the other day, as I was ill in bed.

'Find Me The Face' has a fairly simple premise, two model scouts are given a brief by a model agency - 'Plus size girl', or 'Urban boy', then they have a week to find people on the street to come to a casting. Based on the photos, they choose 2 each to have some pro photos and go to a go-see, and then the best one gets a modelling contract. It's one of those trashily awful shows which is utterly watchable and engaging, and you hate yourself for enjoying it, and yet enjoy it you do.

'Plus Sized Girl', however, made me rather angry. The final 4 were a mixed bag, the female model scout had 2 quite pretty but not really model material girls; the male scout had found himself one very pretty but un-outstanding looking girl, and a drop dead gorgeous girl with a super trendy hair cut, perfect skin, 6' tall, china doll face and with a really interesting personality. She looked like a model, she looked like she could be in Vogue.

And there lies her problem, and the reason why she didn't make the final two. She looked too much like an editorial model. Apparently, this is no good for plus sized models.

Plus sized models won't get work if they look like actual models, because plus sized girls work in catalogue modelling, Littlewoods, Evans, Dove adverts. Plus sized models aren't for real modelling, not for high fashion, edgy modelling.

The beautiful and perfectly proportioned young girl could have been a model if she was 6' tall and a size 8, but at 6' tall and a size 16 she was either too big to be a model, or too much like a model to be a model.

This INFURIATES me. It's no good saying 'hey, look, big girls can be beautiful too' if the big girls are limited to high street and catalogue modelling, and the pages of Vogue and the like remain full of 6' tall gazelle like women who need to avoid a strong wind in case they break. All this does in re-enforce that big girls can be pretty, but not exceptional beauties, and that big girls have no place in fashion.
emmelinemay: (80s attack)
I've been thinking about this teddy bear fiasco a lot. (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, take your head out from under that rock, and then google 'teddy bear Sudan' in 'news'.)

I even dreamed about it the other night. It's got me really thinking.

my strong opinions on 'incitement to racial hatred' vs 'free speech' - let me show you them )

This was very much a stream of conciousness post - trying to get all of these thoughts circling around my head OUT of my head into some sort of coherent order. If you disagree, or can see a way of saying what I've said in fewer words, by all means, say here. I welcome debate as always. Free Speech is allowed on my Journal ;)
emmelinemay: (80s attack)
Worst. Campaign. Ever.

Ok, So it's the Daily Mail. Hardly a shining light of unbiased reporting. But this particular Viva campaign has got me ranting.

Why is it that so few vegans also understand environmental issues?

On an LJ community I'm on for veganism, the ignorance of issues outside of 'hurting the baybee animals' is astounding. One person who asked for advice on where to buy leather-free shoes was told that PVC was a good alternative o_O

If meat is murder, why aren't all the lions locked up? )
emmelinemay: (Pirate)
In the light of the age for purchasing cigarettes rising from 16 to 18 as of today, I've been thinking about smoking today.¹

this is me, thinking about smoking. )

And so. To add to my ponderings, I would like you all, smokers, non smokers, never-smokers and no-longer-smokers, to do my smoking poll...

my smoking opinions, let me show you them )

[1] - I mean, I've been thinking about smoking as an issue, not that I've been thinking of having a cigarette...
[2] - and as such, please refer to Ms Lucas herself for the science bit
[3] - or maybe partly due to? But that's a whole other debate right there...illegal things are MOAR FUN innit...
emmelinemay: (Franz?)
OUt of the batch of news storied emiled to us today, this is the one that caught my eye.

Only one in 250 girls takes enough exercise.

Fewer than three per cent of 11-year-old children are taking enough exercise at the time in their lives when they should be most active, a major research project on the inactivity of youth reports today.

Doctors point to a range of problems, from the sale of school playing fields to children being driven to school.

Do you want to know what *I* think is one of the problems?

Well, it's my journal, so i get to tell you anyway...

The problem with PE )
emmelinemay: (80s attack)
I loathed them as a child, at school, when you had to painstakingly hand-write 6 letters to classmates so you weren't horrendously guilty breaking a chain that prince harry is in or whatever.


I was about 14 before I finally had the courage to throw one away, and that was mainly because I was too lazy to write it out. I still had the cold hand of paranoia at 'breaking that chain' gnawing at me for years.

I loathe them now, when they come in the form of emails, be they apparently well intentioned (Look at this cute rabbit! awwww! Now send this to 10 of your most loved friends and you'll get a surprise! trust me! It works!!!!111eleventy) or just plain nasty (Look at this cute rabbit! awwww! Now send this to 10 of your most loved friends or you'll DIE IN A FIRE SCREAMING IN PAIN WHILE MEN WITH KNIVES FOR HANDS ANALLY RAPE YOU).

Please don't send me chain letters, emails or texts, however sweet the message is, and whatever it promises you. You are *not* going to get a million pounds hand delivered by Richard Branson/Bill Gates/The Sultan of Brunai just because you forwarded an email mainly comprised of >>>>>s. You are NOT going to meet the love of your life because you forwarded an email from Sharon from Accounting to everyone you've got in your address book. Neither technology nor love works that way.

You know, if you DID meet the love of your life after forwarding that particular email, you'd be paranoid for the rest of your life, wouldn't you? Obsessively forwarding everything, just in case.

And if you died, single and alone, would your epitaph really be 'If she hadn't broken that chain, she'd be alive and married right now...'?

The latest wave of these appears to be text messages. 'Here is a HUG!!!!!! Forward this HUG to 50 friends and you'll get a nice surprise soon!' I'm sure I will. A fucking enormous phone bill. Nice surprise for Orange, anyway.

Chain Letters. Just Say No.

now copy and paste this entry, and send it to all of your friends, or the kitten gets it.
emmelinemay: (Pirate)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] littleangel_103, who has brought my attention to this site, which, while being one of those horrible little frame set websites, seems to be about the exact same thing that's been getting me in a right rage lately - 'casual' street harassment.

Particularly interesting are the stories from women who have experienced it - it's the same story pretty much over and over.

It seems that somehow, a large proportion those of you with a Y chromosome seem to feel it's ok to shout and leer and approach women in the street. Well, IT'S NOT. And I'm not going to go on a big rant about why, as I've already done that once recently. As the week has gone on since I wrote that, I'm increasingly coming to the opinion that it doesn't actually matter why it is unacceptable and just plain wrong - what matters is that it is unacceptable and just plain wrong.

under a cut, as it accidentally got long. again. )

Why, with the enormous amount of (albeit anecdotal; and we already know that anecdote =/= singular of data) evidence out there that this is a huge, and totally endemic, problem with society, is it not MORE IMPORTANT?

Answers on a postcard.

If i start wearing dungarees, stop washing, and start singing protest songs in parks, someone please kill me. Especially if i start talking about burning my bra.
emmelinemay: (Fuck u)
2 days ago, i wrote this.

Last night, on my way home on the night bus, a man kept rubbing his arm on mine, so i moved away. He put his hand on my back and says something like 'you ok?'. I say 'fine thanks' and move as far away as I can (not very far as the bus was crowded). He then grabs hold of my arm and says, 'oi. you ALRIGHT?'. 'Look,' i say, 'you don't go round touching women you don't know? ok? don't touch me. It's rude.'.

At which point, he says, 'why would i want to touch you, you fucking filthy lezza?'

Yes. Well done. Any woman that doesn't want your attention is clearly a lesbian. What other sort of woman would resist your manly might?
emmelinemay: (Dandy Highwayman)

Dear Men, )


EDIT: I'm adding this in, to the guys reading this who are saying 'hey, we're not all like this...'

Men don't get it, because they're either too nice to understand why other men would behave like that, or they're the fucktards doing it in the first place.

EDIT: A small number of women have said they don't fear rape per se, more attack. I'm not going to change it, because I think it's the fundamental difference between women and men walking home at night - men might fear attack/theft/mugging, but there's something much more basic, more primal, more personal about the fear of rape than the fear of attack. And these men that say 'allo darling' - well - these are SEXUAL ADVANCES. And we don't respond badly to them because we think these men are going to take our phone or our wallet. I'm not telling you 'YOU FEAR RAPE'. I'm explaining WHY women react badly in those situations. I would go as far to say that some of you have misunderstood my point, zoned in on one part, thought 'she says i fear rape! no i don't!!' and not taken into account the *context*.

If you do still take issue with the use of the word 'rape' - please feel free to re-read substituting the word 'rape' for 'hurt'.

EDIT: 'To Men' - it will stand. I know there are exemptions, but it's making people read it, and if it wasn't controversial, who'd bother? ;) I do accept some of you have valid reasons for taking issue with 'To Men', and I agree with those points, but again, it will stand, mainly because I think it's funnier. I will also direct you to this excellent comment which is written better than i managed.


emmelinemay: (Default)

February 2015



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