Hello and happy Friday! I’m so pleased to get to the end of the week! Plans for the weekend include teaching Christelle to bake, reading and sleeping in!
Here are this weeks links and I should warn you that some of this stuff has made me a bit cross and there is an epic rant at the end which you can skip for the sake of your blood pressure….
1) Pictures from Mars. I have no desire ever to go into space but there is something astonishing about photos from another planet.
3) More on Housing and what all the political parties are doing wrong. If Ed Milliband really thinks that his toughest job will be re-building the middle classes, then he has no vision and is as fit to run the country as the Tories are, which is to say, not at all.
4) Dude, where’s my North Sea Oil money. Thatcher, the gift that keeps on taking..
5) The Downton bill is for all daughters. No it isn’t, I can see what she’s saying here, but I really can’t get worked up because some upper class women can’t inherit wealth and titles that they didn’t earn or deserve and their brothers can. So this bill is to make some women equal to their brothers and to hell with the rest of society. Sorry, I just can’t find it in me to care. Now if we were going to get rid of all of them, I’d be with her…
6) Michael Rosen on the death of his son and grieving and the bedroom tax. Just for this..
“with poverty there often comes a disruption of place. Migration, war and developers do a lot of disrupting. You leave your home, or your home is destroyed. If you don’t move, the person who owns it can move you. There aren’t many paintings or statues for you to commemorate this. The up side of this is that you live for now. The down side is that it all seems to confirm that your life is of less value than people with big country houses.
The invention of council housing originally offered the poor a way of knowing they were valuable. You had security of tenure. This government has inverted this and used the power it has over those who live in council housing to cut their standard of living.”
8) Is teen romance fiction bad for teenage boys? Or things that make me really cross. Why do we need to have a discussion about the impact of books, that are mostly written for and by women and girls, on boys. How about we talk about what these books do to girls? The writer of the piece references Twilight (they always talk about Twilight) and The Mortal Instruments all of which feature some very pretty boys. They also have demons, vampires, and all sorts of weird stuff in them. I’ve read both books and the very real worry I have about Twilight is that girls will think that having no agency and doing things that risk your life because a boy doesn’t want you (or seems not to want you) is romantic and normal behaviour, not that a boy won’t feel as attractive as it’s ‘hero’.
Anna and the French Kiss features a hero who is really short, The Fault in Ours has Gus, with cancer and one leg and towards the end of that book he’s really not physically attractive. That’s two books off the top of my head, I could, if pushed come up with loads more. I read a fair few YA books, read quite a bit of romance as a teenager and you will tear my Georgette Heyer books from my cold dead hands but romance is fantasy, real men and teenage boys aren’t like that. Something, I knew when I was 15 and most teenagers, male and female, know now.
However the framing of this, as bad for poor boys, is infuriating. Are boys subject to similar beauty myths as girls? Yes, I think they are, they’re also under pressure to act like ‘men’, to boast about sex they had never had, to pretend to have answers that they didn’t, I think that they are exposed to images and ideas about sex that I find horrifying but to be more like the hero of a romance novel. Don’t think that’s up there…
Here endeth the rant…