Wednesday, 3 January 2018

5 Things I'd Like To See The Back Of In 2018!

Here we are in a shiny new year!  2017 was a hard year for a lot of us, for all sorts of reasons, so it's no wonder that we've greeted 2018's arrival with not only glee, but a steely resolve to improve on the last twelve months.  With that in mind, I thought it was time to come up with a few things I definitely don't want to take into the new year with me.  So, here are five things I would like to see the back of in 2018...

1. Donald Trump's sorry excuse for a Presidency

Okay, America.  You've had your fun, now.  You did the thing nobody thought you'd be daft enough to do: you elected an emotionally stunted, racist, tantrum-throwing, misogynistic reality TV star with literally no political experience, to the highest office your country had to offer.  Well done.

But really, with ongoing investigations into possible collusion with Russia, let alone his constant penis-measuring contest with North Korea (which has the capacity to destroy the freaking planet) how are people still supporting this maniac?!

Having someone this unstable in a position of enormous power is dangerous and has emboldened a whole sorry heap of white-supremacists and actual Nazis to come crawling out of the woodwork, praising Trump's name.  If he's not impeached in 2018, at least let someone do a bit of damage control and teach him how to be President without coming across as a spoilt, arrogant, unrepentant toddler with Mommy issues.

I really must stop sitting on the fence and say how I really feel...

2. Leave Voters Acting as Though Not Wanting BREXIT Makes Remainers Somehow "Unpatriotic."

Damn right we are.

When melty-faced hate-stirrer Nigel Farage was busily campaigning for the Leave campaign, he frequently said that if the result was close, say 48-52% in favour of Remain, then we'd have to take the wishes of those 48% into consideration, as it would be almost half the country who wanted out of the EU and it would be wrong to ignore them, completely.  How funny that when the result turned out to be 48-52% in favour of Leave, there has been no such concession at all.  WHO SAW THAT COMING, EH??!!

Almost half the country want to remain in the EU.  Almost half the country saw through the outright lies (£350million to the NHS) and the manipulation ("Let's take our country back!" - erm, I wasn't aware we'd lost it...) thrown at us by the Leave campaign.   And just like with Trump's victory in America, almost half the country was aware that this whole referendum was going to bring the knuckle-dragging racists out of their caves.  Sure enough, it did.  When I spoke out as a Remainer on Twitter, I was told by a barely literate Leave voter that my surname (which comes from my Greek-Cypriot grandfather, who came to the UK as an immigrant and worked hard to build himself and his family a life here), makes me "not as British as me, so I'm shutting your ARSE out of this conversation."  Yep, I don't get to have an opinion, because my blood is not 100% British bulldog fighting spirit, tea and clotted cream.  I've lived here all my life (besides a couple of years in Germany whilst Dad was in the RAF), I am patriotic and I consider myself British, but that pesky quarter Greek-Cypriot part of me means I have no right to air my views.  Because damnit, this is Britain and we don't want immigrants here, anymore - we're taking back our country!

Except, you know, those immigrants often do the jobs we don't want to.  And they frequently work long hours, dedicating themselves to our crippled NHS.  They've brought multiculturalism to our country and made it - at least once - a more tolerant, community-minded society.  They're our friends, neighbours, partners, workmates...  And a quick DNA test will lead most of the people roaring "BRITAIN FOR THE BRITISH" to discover that their blood isn't "pure" British, anyway.

And yes, I know not all Leave voters are racist and me talking in this way might rub those who aren't up the wrong way.  Unfortunately, the fact remains (ha!) that a lot of people have taken the "Leave" vote to mean that they can openly voice their intolerance for minorities, immigrants and even certain religions with impunity.  And that needs to be called out.

But, casual racism aside, one of the most irritating claims made by Leave voters is that Remainers are somehow "unpatriotic" for wanting to stay in the EU.  And that, my friends, is utter rubbish.

I wanted to remain because I'm patriotic.  I wanted to see the country prosper through trade and through free movement of skilled workers.  I wanted to remain because I didn't want to see vile racists believing they now have carte blanche to air their despicable views.  That's not the country I'm proud of.

Obviously, if I could see the back of BREXIT full STOP in 2018, that would be flipping marvellous.  But if that's impossible, then at the very least, I don't want to hear any more Leave voters calling people like me "unpatriotic" for having a view that isn't buried in colonialism or xenophobia.  And I certainly don't want to see BREXIT used as an opportunity for racism.

3. Corruption in Hollywood, the Pervasion of Abuse Against Women - And Victim-Blaming!

2017 was the year that #MeToo took off as a hashtag on Twitter.  I read hundreds of those tweets.  I wrote several of my own.  It saddened me that so many women - and indeed several men - had experienced sexual harassment, assault or some other form of abuse, be it physical, psychological or emotional.  It saddened me.  But it didn't shock me.

It didn't shock me because, unfortunately, my own experience of an abusive relationship earlier in the 2010s, opened my eyes as to just how common it is.  Just how frequently this stuff actually happens.  It's frightening.  And it has to stop.

I also wasn't shocked by the accusations against major Hollywood actors and producers.  Why?  Because Hollywood is the capital of an industry that has long placed men in positions of enormous power, yet graded women on nothing but their sexual appeal.  If a girl wants to make it in movies, she has to be pretty, slim and willing.  That's been the not-so-tongue-in-cheek "joke" for years.

But what was almost as depressing as the sheer scale of the corruption in Hollywood and the pervasion of abuse against people from all walks of life, was the victim-blaming and the hand-wringing done by certain sections of society.  From creepy trolls on social media, bad-mouthing the women who came forward, as though finding themselves in the position to be abused in the first place was entirely their own fault, to guys like Matt Damon, who became the poster-child for all guys moaning about not being able to grope strangers anymore, when he said: 

"I do believe that there’s a spectrum of behavior, right? And we’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?"

Depends on whose butt you're patting, moron.  If it's a random girl you've never spoken to, how do you know she's of the age of consent?  How do you know you haven't just molested a child?  More importantly, regardless of her age, how do you know she's okay with you touching an intimate part of her body?!  Why was it ever generally accepted that a guy can just start groping a woman he's not remotely familiar with?   Why is it even okay for guys to send sexual messages to women they don't know on social media (like the guy who, when I tweeted a photo of a bruise acquired during paint-balling, felt it was appropriate to DM me to ask whether I actually got bruised in a kinkier way)?!

For weeks after the Harvey Weinstein news broke, I kept seeing guys moaning on social media: "Well, how are we supposed to know if a girl's interested, if we're suddenly not allowed to touch her?!"  USE YOUR WORDS, IDIOT.  Ask if she wants a drink.  Flirt in a way that isn't massively crossing borders.  Read her body language.  All we're asking is that you don't just randomly come up to us as a total stranger and put your hands on intimate parts of our bodies without asking.  It's NOT that hard.


4. People Who Just Can't Accept The Doctor Being A Woman.

When Jodie Whittaker was announced as taking over from Peter Capaldi as The Doctor in Doctor Who last year, I cried.  I cried because I've been besotted with the show for the last 12 going on 13 years and I couldn't believe that I was finally going to see a woman in the title role.  

Then I got mad.  Because, predictably and frankly boringly, out came the misogynists.

"What next?!  Pink, fluffy dice in the TARDIS?!"  Shrieked the horrified Daily Mail readers.

"I'll never watch the show again - the BBC has ruined it!  IT'S POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD!" Screamed men with daleks tattooed on their arms (right next to their UKIP tats, probably).

How dare a woman play the role of an alien who can, canonically, change their entire body in order to avoid death.  That's not realistic!  How can the Doctor possibly have a vagina?!  What if she chips a nail whilst running away from a Cyberman and bursts into tears because it's her time of the month?!

It was depressingly obvious that this would happen.  And the people yelling and screaming (not all of them men, it must sadly be said), are so totally transparent in their misogyny, it's laughable.

"Oh no, it's not because she's a woman.  It's because she's such a bad actress," insisted one Facebook user who has clearly never seen Broadchurch.

"They've deliberately chosen an ugly actress who looks like a man," spat another person who has blatantly never seen Jodie Whittaker.

Guys.  Guys and weirdly misogynistic girls... Calm down.  Jodie's spoken two words on screen, so far.  We haven't got a freaking clue what sort of Doctor she's going to be.  So, if you really are the "lifelong fan of the show" that you claim to be, how about you get over your aversion to female anatomy and give her a chance?  How about you consider for just a second, that you're not the only Whovian in the universe and that the show doesn't bend to your rule?  Perhaps you'd like to consider for a brief moment, the fact that there are young girls who watch the show who are now being given the subtle message that they can aim higher.  That they are equal.  That they don't have to be the sidekick; they can be the hero.  And if that really upsets you, then mate... You need to have a serious word with yourself and find out why you're so anti-women.  Because it's 2018.  We can vote and everything.  You're going to have to get used to it, because we're not going anywhere.

And we've got the keys to the TARDIS.  If you don't like it, the door is right over there.  Except I think you'll find your world will most definitely be smaller on the outside.

For the record, after just two words in the role, I believed 100% in Jodie's Doctor.  She's going to be...

5. People who throw insults at anyone they disagree with.

Yeah, yeah, I know I've used the term "knuckle-draggers" to describe people I disagree with in this very blog post, but in my defence, I'm using it against racists, misogynists and people who victim-blame.  Oh, and Donald Trump.  So...  The term stands.

What I can't stand - and what I vehemently want to see an end to in 2018 - is the tendency, particular on social media, for people to resort to insults the very second they see a harmless opinion that differs from their own.


Me: I really dislike Little Mix.

There's an air of anonymity given to all of us when we browse social media.  Even if we're using our real name and photo, we're still talking to someone from behind a screen.  Someone who we'll probably never come into contact with in real life.  That counts double for the people who use a made-up name and whose avatar is a picture of a cartoon, or a dog or basically anything other than their actual face.

But none of that means that you have the right to abuse someone because they happen to dislike a movie you really enjoyed, or because they dissed a musician you're a fan of.  

It happens way too often and much, much too easily these days and I hate it.  We're losing our ability to have reasonable debate.  We're losing our respect for differences.  And all because far too many of us are desperate to be RIGHT ALL THE TIME and to hurl insults at someone is apparently easier than being grown up enough to accept that they're entitled to have a view that we don't share.

When you think about it, it's utterly stupid:

Person 1: I didn't enjoy that episode of Eastenders.

Who knows, maybe 2018 will be the year that we all grow up just enough to allow other people to express an opinion, without us feeling the need to insult them in reply.

Side note: if the person expressing the opinion in the first place is being racist, sexist etc, then of course feel free to be creative in your insulting responses.  I know you're not supposed to sink to their level, but we have a troll in the White House: all bets are off.

Yep, I went there.

Look, the reality is that none of these things will probably disappear in 2018, no matter how much I want them to.  But having a rant about them all has made me feel a bit better, so...  I'm chalking that up as a win.

Happy new year, everyone.  Let's make 2018 a good one.


  1. Amen to all of the above! Sadly we probably won't see it all go away, but we can hopefully move in a better direction. And get that troll out of the White House.

    1. I have everything crossed - I don’t know how he’s clung on this long, to be honest!


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