Thursday, October 24, 2013

KISS suck?

I think the moment he said "...but who thinks KISS is better than Motley Crue anyway?" I should have known the night wasn't going to end well. I went on a date last night with a guy I met at a bar on Monday. We both found each other attractive, liked each other's tattoos and seemed to get along...until the date. Don't get me wrong, the date was fun, but I think I knew straight away that we weren't really going to end up seeing each other again. It began with an argument over KISS and Motley Crue. I am, of course, a life-long lover of KISS and think they're amazing and he, on the other hand, thought KISS was pathetic and Motley Crue were way better. I should have just walked away. I tried to discuss television shows with him and he said that he didn't watch anything American, and hadn't watched cartoons since he was a child! He was only three years older than me! I then went on to discuss video games which he thought only bored children played. Sigh.

It was then his turn to attempt conversation; he asked me what rock and metalcore I listened to. I don't listen to either. He then proceeded to get into a rant about how veganism doesn't exist, made a few racist remarks concerning Jews and African Americans and then decided we should head to another bar. Again, I should have just went home.

It was at the final bar that the night imploded. We got into an argument about legalising homosexual marriage. He believed the only reason people supported the legalisation of homosexual marriage was because they really just wanted to "get on the bandwagon" because "really, who cares?" Now, I am all for people expressing their opinions, it's their right! And, usually, I can let someone have an opinion without ramming my opinion down their throat BUT in the case of equal rights for homosexuals, different races, the mentally ill or handi-capable folk my opinion is right and I will question you relentlessly about why you feel that other people shouldn't have the same rights that you do. To me, there is a wrong and a right opinion in terms of equality, and, well, he had the wrong opinion. From my shocked and disgusted look and argumentative tone I guess he thought I wasn't someone he wanted to deal with for even a moment because when I went to the bathroom, he left. Yep, I was ditched by a racist, homophobic, sexist douche bag. Then as I walked to my tram stop, a homeless man told me I looked like a prostitute. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful evening...

Edit: He messaged me and apologised. I guess that takes the sting out of it a little. I was having a fun night, despite the weird bits, but I guess our lack of anything in common kind of killed it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


It was my birthday on Thursday and my best friend made sure that it was a day to remember. I started the day with my sister, she gave me a Herschel backpack that I have been wanting for my trip to Tokyo, and also a bottle of Crystal Head vodka. I blew out candles on a decadent, triple chocolate cake and then waited for my friend to arrive. Again, I was spoiled with gifts! He bought me tickets to see the Australian production of Les Miserables, and a shirt and a hoodie from Blackcraft Cult. I was quite pleased indeed! Onwards we went to a surprise location for lunch. We ended up at the Abbotsford Convent Bakery where I tried the most delicious and rich custard tart I have ever had in my life! The pastry was crisp but not hard, and the custard was thick and sticky and creamy. The coffee wasn't bad either.

Afterwards, we strolled the convent grounds and then decided to finally visit the Collingwood Children's farm which, contrary to the name, does not have children roaming the fields.

I have wanted to visit the Children's Farm for ages and, despite the miserable weather, found that this was a spectacular time to visit. We were the only people there, we were allowed to roam freely without the screams and frustration of children everywhere. We got to see a kid (baby goat) that was only born the evening before and could barely walk. We got to sit and stroke a cat while the rain drizzled. We watched the sheep eat and the horses play. It was such an amazing time.

Afterwards we walked to Brunswick street and sat on the balcony of Naked in Sky and drank a toast to my birthday. D.O.C was my choice for dinner and a few glasses of wine with some authentic Italian pizza sure hit the spot. D.O.C continues to impress me with their customer service, flavours and honesty. We walked from Fitzroy to Brunswick, ate too much cake and I then ended the night with idle internet browsing.

I celebrated my birthday again on Friday night with a few friends. I was quite disappointed that people who said they would turn up did not, and most people didn't even respond to the invite. I had a great time with those who attended and made the effort for me on my birthday. I will definitely be rethinking the people that I call 'friends'. All in all it was a wonderful birthday and I think my 27th year will be an excellent one.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Are you here to bring me out of the shadows?

So, I've been single for a month and I've been dating. Well, not exactly dating but, going on dates with different people. It has been an interesting experience so far and one that is actually teaching me more about myself than I thought it could. Last week I had a few dates with a hairy, bespectacled illustrator. The first date went okay, he was absolutely floored that 'someone like you' would even look in his direction (my first lesson on how little I think of myself). We ended up not having much to talk about and it ended after three dates but I learned that I definitely don't see myself the way others do and I really need to change that.

I then decided to attend a Meetup group evening at an awesome Mexican club. I met quite a cute Canadian there and, through some awesome wing-woman skills on behalf of a new friend, I managed to get his number. We went on a date at a very upmarket bar, where the bartender managed to coax out of me that we were indeed on a first date and the people sitting at the bar began asking awkward questions. There was quite a lot of sexual attraction but unfortunately he was a little too intensely interested in me for a first date...but not enough to actually listen to anything I had to say. We went out again last night for a pre-birthday celebration where it was cemented that we didn't really have much to say to each other. I like making out with him but I also like conversation and he was already asking me what I wanted in a relationship seeing he was moving away in two years! Two years is a little far ahead to be discussing on a second date in my opinion. But when he asked me what I was looking for I was quite shocked because I actually didn't have an answer. I'm definitely not into casual sex but I think I'm happy to just go with the flow at the moment which is incredibly odd for me. Usually my definitive answer to that question is "a long-term partner" but I think this recent break up and these dates have made me realise that I don't have to settle for someone just because they like me and I'm allowed to experience different people in different ways before I settle.

Which brings me to my final date. For a long time, a particular person has been itching to take me on a date and after cancelling and rescheduling numerous times I decided I should just go. He took me to Guy Grossi's son's bar, Ombra Salumi Bar, he ordered fantastic food and wine and surprised me with several gifts for my birthday including a beautiful copy of Oscar Wilde's works, and vodka he had infused with Nerds (he's a bartender). We had plenty to talk about and I had a good time. After we left he took me to a gelato bar and claimed he had something to show me, which was a sneaky attempt at getting a kiss. It was a romantic evening and I felt so spoiled. But it all felt so wrong. I just felt so wrong being treated so well by someone who barely knows me. I felt I didn't deserve it and that I was somehow tricking him into something. It was an odd experience and really left me wondering how little I must think of myself that I don't think I deserve to be treated well. I'm still perplexed.

I think I've missed a lot from being a serial monogamist. I think I've missed a period of self-realisation and self-growth. I'm hoping to catch up on that, even if it is only a little. After all, a little knowledge can go a long way.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm back..

It has been over a year since I last blogged, and my have things changed. I've had a new relationship and had it end. I've been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I've started post-graduate studies in psychology. I've started working at a mental illness helpline. I've booked my first international trip to Tokyo and I've gotten my first tattoo. I've seen my first circumcised penis. I've relapsed twice in my depression and coped better each time. I've stopped abusing laxatives and starving myself (which I attribute to my most recent ex).

I'm not completely where I want to be but you know what? I'm okay with that. I've made some huge improvements and I'm proud of myself.

I'm hoping to use this blog again as somewhere to discuss my mental illness, my adventures in Melbourne food, the planning of my Tokyo trip and my trials in the dating scene. Basically as a cathartic exercise.

Friday, September 14, 2012

This is how I fall apart.

For the majority of my life I have struggled with my weight and body image. But recently, my dedication to weight loss took a dramatic turn for the worse. A few months ago I began obsessing about everything I put into my mouth, about how much I exercised and what people thought of my body. I began to eat less and less and exercise for longer and longer. At my lowest point I would eat one pickle a day, exercise for two hours and abuse laxatives. It felt like everyday a piece of my soul disappeared.

I spiraled further and further into a deep depression; I was starving and sad and wouldn't accept help. It took my boyfriend breaking up with me for me to see how much of my soul had really fallen away. I fell apart, spent three days on a couch, didn't shower and barely ate. It took a complete emotional breakdown for me to get help.

Now I'm back on anti-anxiety medication and I am seeing my psychologist as often as I can. The medication is already having an effect: I'm eating and exercising less and I actually like the way I look...for now.

I have severe anxiety and an eating disorder. But I am recovering. I think that those suffering from mental illness need to be more vocal about their issues. I have only spoken to one other person who has suffered from anorexia. We need to be more vocal about eating disorders so that those who suffer the most can get the help that they need.

I have appreciated everyone's support in the last week and so I thought I would shed some light on why I fell apart.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is Disney racist?

A lot of people have been requesting that I post the article I wrote about Disney. So, here it is, in all of it's glory...

When children or adults think of the great classical fairy tales today, be it a European tale such as Snow White, The Little Mermaid or Cinderella, or a Middle Eastern tale like Aladdin, they will think of Walt Disney. Disney’s representations of classic fairy tale texts are so powerful that children tend to believe that Disney's version of the tale is the “real story” rather than the classic version . Children have formed mental images of the princesses and other characters depicted in fairy tales not only from their representation in the “original” written text but more commonly from Disney’s versions of these tales . Disney fairy tales, therefore, have an important role to play in shaping the self-image and belief system of children . It is significant then to note that racial stereotyping is a major issue that surfaces in many recent Disney fairy tales. Racism and negative stereotyping is most apparent in Disney’s animated fairy tale Aladdin (1992). Negative racial stereotyping is evident in Aladdin’s song lyrics, as well as the exaggerated, stereotypical features of the “bad” characters and the Anglicisation of the heroes of the film – Princess Jasmine and Aladdin.

A long history of racism associated with Disney’s work can be traced back to offensive representations of people of colour in films such as The Song of the South (1946), and The Jungle Book (1967), as well as controversial representations of Native American people in Peter Pan (1953) . However, the most contentious example of racial stereotyping in Disney films occurred with Disney’s release of Aladdin in 1992. This example is particularly significant as the film was a high-profile release and was not only one of the most successful adaptations of a classic fairy tale but one of the most successful Disney films ever released .

Disney’s Aladdin (1992) is based on a tale from the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, a collection of tales thought to have been brought to the Western world in the eighteenth century by Antoine Galland who translated the tales from Arabic into French . While most tales in Arabian Nights can be found in Arabic manuscripts dating back to the fourteenth century, scholars debate that Aladdin is truly an Arabic tale. “The story of Aladdin first appeared in Arabic in the late eighteenth century, after it had appeared in what claimed to be a French translation by Antoine Galland…Galland claimed to have been told the tale by an Arabian …” . Regardless of the tale’s true origin, Arab people recognise the tale as their own and trace its origins back to the medieval period.

The literary version of Aladdin chronicles the adventures of Ala’a El-Deen (a poor, kind man forced by his poverty to steal for a living). Ala’a El-Deen’s adventures include an encounter with the Sultan’s daughter - Princess Badroulbadour - and subsequent romance, his discovery of a magical lamp and his eventual rise to the position of sultan . Disney adapted this classic Arabian fairy tale into an animated feature. Playing live to an audience of millions of children worldwide Aladdin is one “of the most controversial examples of racist stereotyping” in Disney history .
The lyrics of the Film’s opening song outraged and offended members of the Arab community. Arabian nights (The film’s opening song) sets a decidedly racist tone for the rest of the film by characterising Arab countries as brutal and violent:

Oh I come from a land,
From a faraway place,
Where the caravan camels roam
Where they cut off your ear
If they don’t like your face
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home .

In this characterisation, a politics of identity and place associated with Arab culture magnifies popular stereotypes already perpetuated by the media. By characterising an entire region as “barbaric” Disney cultivates an incredibly negative stereotype of Middle Eastern people that children for generations will absorb and retain . While a public outcry led Disney to eventually alter the line: “Where they cut off your ear/ If they don’t like your face” for the video release of the film, Arab groups were disappointed that the line: “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home” was not altered and remained in both the video and CD release of the film soundtrack . The racism indicated in the opening lines of the film is further reproduced in a host of supporting characters who are portrayed as “grotesque, violent, and cruel” .

Yousef Salem, a spokesperson for The South Bay Islamic Association, characterised the supporting characters as “bad guys” with “beards and large, bulbous noses, sinister eyes and heavy accents, and they’re wielding swords constantly” . The narrator from the prologue (who also sings ‘Arabian Nights’) is a “very sleazy, burlesque character” portrayed as a “shifty, disreputable Arab” . The merchants remain dark skinned, and vicious as seen in a scene when a merchant attempts to cut off one of Princess Jasmine’s hands because she took an apple from his stand to give to a hungry child . While this form of punishment for stealing may be historically accurate under Sharia – or Islamic law – it is interesting to contemplate why Disney felt the need to highlight this one example of Muslim jurisprudence to young viewers in Western nations . It is evident that Disney is utilising what some Islamic scholars say is a misunderstanding of Sharia to portray Arabian societies as unjust and unfair .

Although all of the characters in Aladdin share Arab descent, it is only the “wrongdoers” that possess exaggerated, stereotypical features . Jafar, the Sultan’s advisor and primary antagonist of the film, is described narratively as “a dark man…with a dark purpose” . Jafar, as are all of the supporting characters, is darker skinned than Aladdin, and Jasmine, with a prominent, hooked nose and black facial hair . Most of the supporting characters, including Jafar, wear large turbans or other head pieces and speak with quite heavily accented speech . The use of accented speech and different physical appearance serves to distinguish the “bad” characters from the “good” . Racism in Disney’s Aladdin is evidenced in the negative visual representation of Arab people as well as racially coded language and accents . In contrast, the heroes of the movie, though supposedly representing Arab characters have been heavily Anglicised.

In the classic Arabian Nights tale, Aladdin’s love interest was known as Princess Badroulbadour however, in another act of Anglicisation, Disney renamed the princess Jasmine for the animated version of the tale . As well as this Anglicisation of the princess’ name, Jasmine’s physiognomy was altered to look “quintessentially European” . Jasmine retains many white features, such as a delicate nose and petite mouth . Her skin tone, while appropriately darker for the Middle Eastern setting of the story, is still lighter than that of the secondary characters . Perhaps the most distinguished physical feature of Jasmine is the overly large almond-shaped eyes; apart from her skin tone this feature appears to be the only signifier of racial difference . Physically, Jasmine could easily be an "exotic" version of a Barbie doll - with her cinched waist, voluptuous bosom, long hair, and perfect features . Jasmine’s style of dress was another aspect of her physical appearance that angered Arab people.

The Harem-esque appearance of Jasmine’s “off-the-shoulder, cut-at-the-midriff blouse” angered many, who believed that:
“The clothing styles were changed to suit an American notion of fashion befitting a mysterious Arab culture. Instead of the veils and long dresses worn by Arab women to symbolize their dignity, beauty and self-respect, Jasmine, the Sultan’s daughter in Disney, wears bikini tops and silk pants cut low to bare her navel” .
By revealing what Arabian women covered most, Disney ignored the prohibition of exposure in Arab cultures and therefore not only perpetuated a negative stereotype of Arab women but an incorrect one. Disney’s depiction of Aladdin, the Arab hero for who the tale is named, also received criticism.

As with Princess Jasmine, Aladdin possesses few features that would traditionally be associated with Arab people . Aside from his black hair, there is little to indicate Aladdin’s Arab identity, he is light skinned with a small nose, hairless face and large almond shaped eyes resembling Jasmine’s. A hint of the racism that informed the choice of the Disney Imagineers to depict Aladdin in such a way is provided by Peter Schneider, President of Feature animation at Disney. Schneider indicates that Aladdin’s physical appearance was modelled after All-American movie-star Tom Cruise and not after an individual of Arab descent . It is evident that Disney endeavoured to anglicise the hero of the film as well as the princess. Islamic Spokesman Yousef Salem described Aladdin in the following way:
Aladdin doesn’t have a big nose; he has a small nose. He doesn’t have a beard or a turban. He doesn’t have an accent. What makes him nice is that they’ve given him this American character…I have a daughter who says she’s ashamed to call herself an Arab, and it’s because of things like this”.

While Aladdin begins the film with a name similar to the one he is christened with in the classic Aladdin text, he is eventually renamed ‘Al’ by the most important characters in the film . In the original Aladdin text, “Aladdin” is known as Ala’a El-Deen, however, his name was changed by translators who believed the name Aladdin was more “agreeable to eye and ear, and more consonant with the spirit of our language” . In an act that echoes the methodology of the original translator of Aladdin, Disney attempts to further Anglicise Aladdin by renaming him yet again.
Aladdin’s genie calls Aladdin ‘Al’ for the majority of the film and in one telling scene Aladdin asks Jasmine to call him Al, an act that strips away any identification Aladdin has with his traditionally Arab roots . As well as this, the act of renaming Aladdin “superimposes a Euro-American cultural practice that renders the character ridiculous as an Arab” . In contrast to all of the villains in the film, Aladdin, as well as Jasmine, speaks Americanised English with no trace of a Middle Eastern accent. Arab scholars have been critical of Disney’s use of different accents suggesting this difference “Arabizes” the transgressive characters while Anglicising the wholesome characters “thereby heightening negative stereotypes linked to Middle Eastern people while concurrently reinforcing positive associations with whiteness” .

The Disney Imagineers have the choice to break negative stereotypes such as those seen in Aladdin and present different races in a more positive way. That they do not exercise this choice is evidence that they either “support the stereotypes or that they are not aware of them - which one might say amounts to tacit support” . Given the cultural influence and political power that Disney exercises over numerous levels of children’s culture, the conservative and evidently racist ideologies they produce and circulate should not be overlooked or dismissed .


Bensen, Kathleen. & Phillip M. Kayal. A Community of Many Worlds: Arab Americans in New York City. New York, New York: The Museum of the City of New York Press, 2002.

Berggreen, Shu-Ling. C & Katalin Lustyik. “Multiculturalism vs. Disneyfication: How Disney Retells Multicultural Stories as Unicultural Tales”. Paper presented at The Multicultural Studies Division of The Broadcast Education Association 48th Annual Convention, Colorado, April 2003.

Bernstein, Matthew. & Gaylyn Studlar. Visions of the East: Orientalism in Film. New Jersey, New York: Rutgers University Press, 1997.

Budd, Mike. & Max H. Kirsch. Rethinking Disney: Private Control, Public dimensions. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2005.

Cohen, Karl. F. Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2004.

Giroux, Henry A. “Are Disney Movies Good For Your Kids?”. In The Politics of Early Childhood Education, edited by Lourdes Díaz Soto. New York, New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 1995.

Giroux. Henry A. Breaking into the Movies: Film and the Culture of Politics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2002.

Giroux Henry A. Fugitive Cultures: Race, violence and Youth. New York, New York : Routledge, 1996.

Hurley, Dorothy. L. “Seeing White: Children of Color and the Disney Fairy Tale Princess. The Journal of Negro Education 74, no. 3 (2005): 221-232

Lacroix, Celeste. “Images of Animated Others: The Orientalization of Disney’s Cartoon Heroines from The Little Mermaid to The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. Popular Communication 2, no. 4 (2004): 213-229.

Lane. Edward William, &William Harvey. The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown & Company, 1853.

Musker, John & Ron Clements. Aladdin. Burbank, California: Walt Disney Pictures, 1992.

Pinsky, Mark I. The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust. Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 2004.

Rojek, Chris. “Disney Culture”. Leisure Studies 12, no. 2 (2010): 121 – 135.

Schmidt, Steffen W., Shelley, Mack C., & Barbara A. Bardes. American Government & Politics Today. Boston, Massachusetts: Wadsworth, 2010.

Tehranian, John. Whitewashed: America’s Invisible Middle Eastern Minority. New york, New York: New York University Press, 2009.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's Left?

I consistently make bad decisions, say the wrong thing and act the wrong way. I don't even act the way I want to act most of the time; I seem to betray myself. I hurt the people I love, and withdraw from everyone else. The things that should make me happy send me into a spiraling abyss of sadness. It's hard to remember a day when I was more happy than sad. Nothing seems to make me happy like it used to. Nothing seems to have the same power. I used to want to sleep or drink or eat away the sadness but now even those things seem like too much effort. Doing, seeing, eating, being nothing is a better alternative. I'm starting to think I may never actually be happy again. I'm doing everything I should in order to be happy. I'm going to therapy, doing what I'm told - exercising, eating well, writing - but nothing seems to lift the shadow from my soul. I can't seem to do anything right, not even be happy.

I'm starting to think I'll never truly be happy again and once you've lost the hope of happiness, what's left?