We’ve had an amazing response over the last few days, due to an article we had published in the NUT’s Teachers magazine, but also as networking takes hold and the popularity of Twitter has helped. It’s clear to me that there are people all over the world who share some of the concerns we raise and more than that, want something done about it. We’ve heard from Australia, Paris, USA, and even caught up with an old 6th form college friend who said he was astounded to think: “hang on is that the same Abi and Emma I knew at Chesterfield Tech in 1990?” Oh yes. It was!
There have been some interesting stories in the news too. The reaction to Gail Trimble, who became the most successful contestant on University Challenge ever was incredible. High praise mixed with vilification. “She’s rude”, “she’s pompous”, “she’s stealing the limelight from the others”. God help us – it’s not even acceptable to be brainy now! Incredible when you then compare the way Jade Goody was originally crucified in the press for being stupid. It seems that the only way you can get any acceptance as a woman is if you fit into a nice safe middle area – not too stupid, not too intelligent and certainly not having opinions.
TV was interesting last night too. I flicked over between a few programmes – none interesting enough for me to watch all the way through. Interesting more was the focus of them. Firstly, I noticed that BBC3’s Naked programme (we’ve talked about this before) was an all men episode. This time the men were given the challenge of doing a Fully Monty routine for us all. Interesting that a cat walk is not a suitable territory for men. I can’t really be bothered to do any analysis of all this. But the last thing I fancy seeing while I eat my tea is A Full Monty routine. So I bid a hasty retreat. At which point I found Girls and Boys Alone on Channel 4.
I’m uncomfortable with this programme, I really am. It feels so intrusive. And I feel so sad seeing the children struggle to cope with the situations that they are flung into – so artificial and so unnatural. Especially last night when the girls ‘arrived’ and the boys went into an hysterical panic. I hated the way that the background music gave the impression that the girls’ arrival was comparable to a dangerous enemy arriving on the battle field. It’s all SO false and patronising. Children would never be in this situation normally. So what is the point of forcing them to do this on camera. I don’t like it.
Finally, I watched 30 seconds (all I could stomach) of Coleen Rooney looking for a model to star in a new wonder bra ad. Every one of the women who turned up to audition was a 34B (useful to know) and was allegedly not your ‘normal’ model material. I think by this they meant not 8 feet tall. And also a couple of them had ginger hair (shock horror). But to me all I could see was a huge bunch of Coleen wanabees. More of the same. Nothing unusual at all! I was briefly reminded of the wonderful film Little Miss Sunshine. If only someone that unusual really did turn up and make people stop in their tracks.
Oh well. We are obsessed at the moment with TV programming which delves into our psyches and aims to make us more whole and fulfilled. While on the other hand we take away individuality, self-esteem and confidence by promoting a mono-culture of blandness.
I’ll leave it there!