American Express

In the second of her six articles for ATV Today, ATV News’ latest recruit, Ashleigh, talks about all things stateside.

I am obsessed with America and all things American. This year I am hopefully going to be employed at a summer camp over there. I will be mother, sister, auntie, dietician, lawyer, doctor, therapist etc to kids between four and 16 years old for eight weeks.

I can’t tell you yet where exactly that I will be placed. I’ll probably end up in the arse end of the middle of nowhere, surrounded by ultra conservative middle age white men, brandishing guns at my potty mouth and LGBT rainbow badges! I love the deep-south, but the deep-south won’t love me! Readers who read my first post will know I talked about the big event. That being the inauguration of Barack Obama, who carried off the day with dignity and charisma.

Since writing of my annoyance for the media’s emphasis on his skin colour and insisting he is mixed race, I was told that Obama himself identifies as black. I had not known that at the time and so just wanted to clear that up.

The actual event was a bit anti-climatic, the prayers were shite (when are they going to learn to sever religion from politics?), the judge got nervous making Obama say the oath wrong (he had to be sworn in again the next day), Hillary faked pride very well (let’s face it – she’s had a lot of practice!), nobody boo’d Bush (were they asleep for the last eight years?), and Aretha murdered the song “My Country Tis of Thee”. And what the hell was on her head? I mean seriously! What I did like though was the first thing out of his mouth, after the First Couple sashayed onto the stage of the first out of 10 inaugural balls was “how good looking is my wife?”, oh please I’ll swoon!

Talking of First Lady Obama, there have been unfounded reports this week that we could hear the pitter patter of tiny First Baby feet! Yes that’s right, Michelle Obama is apparently pregnant. On one hand it’s so cool, a baby always is, on the other its baaad timing cause she is going to be so busy jetting around the world on official business.

Just recently I have been questioning whether or not to have children of my own. Its such a responsibility and I don’t know how to make a kid be an individual whilst staying away from the bad stuff…sex, drugs and rock & roll!!

So when I heard about this story, my first thought was “aww that’s cute“, the next was “eek what about her schedule?” then it finally hit me that if I was ever in the public eye I would definitely never have a baby. Everyone would know then that I had been having sex, which, eeshh, just mortifies me!

Which is interesting because I am playing into the perception that women are not promiscuous nor do they enjoy sex, and as a Feminist I question this view and what makes me pander to it. All my friends are very open and talk freely about their private lives, and I hate it. They know I do which makes them do it all the more, but I don’t want to know what they get up to in the bedroom, or kitchen or wherever they get randy!
When I was younger, I was very open and curious and thought I knew a lot but the older I got the more like my Nan I got, the more prudish my attitude became and the more I became disillusioned with my friends. I believe sex is a private matter and should stay between the people it involves. I don’t, however, think that women should be sexually constrained or tarnished with the misogynist idea that if they sleep with more than one person (in their life time or indeed at once!) they are a whore. That’s preposterous and offensive to not expect a woman to be able to make her own choices.

Another thing that gets my back up and my blood boiling is the frenzy that is conjured up when a female celebrity gains weight. Failed pop turned country singer and “actress”, Jessica Simpson hit the headlines this week after gaining around 20 pounds.
Pictured at Kiss Country Chilli Cookout concert in Pembroke Pines, Florida, looking normally curvaceous Jessica has come under fire for having a “fuller” figure. This is wrong on so many levels: treating it as a news story, demonising a natural process of gaining and losing weight that for some people carries many difficult issues, and objectifying a woman’s body beyond reasonable means.

The last point is the one that gets right up my nose.

Male celebrities never get column inches, blogs and a Fox news report about the weight gain/loss. For Robert De Niro its professionalism, getting into character, for Jessica and any other female in Hollywood its laziness. When Jessica was in her Daisy Duke “virgin/whore” hot pants she was hot and sexy and every teen and Dad’s dream, now she’s showing that there is no perfect woman’s figure people have gone nuts. GET A GRIP.

Seriously, there are more pressing matters going on in the world that are more important on whether some pretty wee Barbie Hollywood puppet ate too much cake. And that’s all it is. All she did was have her cake and eat it and bloody good luck to her. She’s sticking two fingers up at the distorted view of a woman’s body, while every sane person stands behind her and moons the very people who are bothered that she’s now a size two and not zero. Did the sun failed to rise? Did someone die?

Has AIDS been cured? No. She just looks a bit more real now. And maybe she will succeed to inspire her young female fans to be themselves and be healthy than to inspire them to sing! Cause I would rather my little girl be brought up in a world where we celebrate a body rather than savage it and distort it and despise it.

Until next time, go with love.