Gurls

I was watching telly with my daughter the other day. She’s a pre-teen and into crap TV such as “The X Factor”, “Survivor”, “Teen Mom” etc. Recently she has started watching a show called “My Mom and Me”. She is watching the Danish version and the other day the show was about a mother and her teenage daughter having a mother-daughter day out. And what did they do on that day? They took the train to Copenhagen to have their breasts enlarged! Not only that, but Mom had bought porn magazines for her and her young teenage daughter to look through on the train in order for them to figure out which size breasts they wanted. When I saw that, something snapped inside me. I’m not prude, on the contrary, but the sight of a mother teaching her daughter to pick porn stars as her role models and that happiness lies in a pair of fake boobs was appalling to me. When I pointed it out to my daughter, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, ”That’s how it is today, Mum. All the girls want fake boobs to look good for the boys."
That appalled me even more and when I mentioned that life ought to be about more than just look good for the boys, my daughter rolled her eyes and said, ”You’re so old-fashioned, Mum. Maybe it was different when you were young, but nowadays all that matters is how you look and you HAVE to look like a porn star to be liked.”
Well, of course I know that women have always been judged by their looks, but we have to look like porn stars now? Really? I began to do a bit of research into the ways that youngsters see themselves and each other and to my horror I found that daughter is right.

When I was a kid, girls wanted to be astronauts, doctors, designers, artists or at least schoolteachers. Then came a time where everybody wanted to be singers or actresses, but nowadays girls don’t even want to be supermodels anymore. No, their role models are strippers and porn stars and the girls on reality shows like “Paradise Hotel” who have sex on TV.
The generation of women before me fought for equal rights and my generation continued the fight, but the generations after me have never really cared. They have been raised under the illusion that men and women are equal with equal rights and equal pay and somewhere in this fake equality, the gender roles have suddenly been emphasised in order to differentiate between men and women.
The young women of today don’t preach equality, they preach differentiation, but they do it on men’s conditions. Although many of these women are well-educated, they advocate a view on women where women are seen as horny, unrestrained creatures who don’t deserve any respect, consideration, let alone love, as all they are good for is a quick roll in the hay. You don’t believe me? Well, then go to the nearest night club!

In any night club whether it is in Denmark, England or the United States, you’ll find today’s young women dressed like whores. They wear very skimpy outfits, very high heels, tons of make-up and no knickers, just like street whores, and not only that. They behave like whores as well. Girls turning barsexual for the boys is pretty common, the girls kissing, groping and masturbating each other on the dance floor in order to attract the attention of boys. It’s sickening and it doesn’t stop here. According to recent statistics many girls as young as 14 are not only having “ordinary” sex on a regular basis, they also have “advanced” sex such as anal sex, group sex and SM. The only explanation, that the experts are able to give, is that TV, commercials and the entertainment industry as such are teaching girls to act like this. In the media girls and women are portrayed as being content, in fact even happy with a status as objects, not subjects, in a male dominated world and experts think that young girls copy this behaviour in order to fit in. We are back not just to the 1950s, but to a place that is even further back in time, or maybe we have reached a place where we have never been before?
Even before the women’s lib movement women had at least some respect if as nothing else then as mothers, but today the respect is gone and girls are reduced to boobs and cunts and nothing else. Never before in modern society has it been that widespread accepted to regard and treat women as non-human creatures only put in the world in order to please men sexually.

The problem is that nobody seems to do anything about it, neither men nor women. Of course some men have always wanted women to be just sexy whores with nymphomaniac tendencies, but some men wanted strong women, too. They don’t anymore or maybe the ones who do have disappeared, in any case the entire media industry has gained the view that women are boobs and cunts only. In adverts for products as diverse as Nando’s, Axe or the Danish CULT Shaker, women are portrayed as beautiful, dumb, naked creatures who only have one thing on their minds: to fuck. Pardon my French, but it’s the most precise word for it. The worst thing is that young girls are buying this image, heck some girls like Katy Perry or the Pussycat Dolls even promote it, but then again, with a name like Pussycat Dolls, what did you expect? Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? No, thanks!
As for Katy Perry and her California Gurls, if all you are good for is getting sand in your stilettos while melting guys’ popsicles with your hot, sun-kissed skin, I’m afraid you’re not that unforgettable. You’re just poor role models teaching young girls that they have to play it dumb and spread their legs to everyone if they want success. Is that anything to be proud of? I don’t think so.

This morning I heard on the radio that in one third of all Danish relationships women earn more money than their men. Because of that, many women get divorced, so Denmark has a lot of well-educated, single women, whereas the single men are mostly unskilled workers. The MALE expert then came to the conclusion that women become unhappy if men don’t provide for them! At first I thought, what? Have I missed something? How did he come to that conclusion? But no, I hadn’t missed anything, and the expert explained, that women, who have a higher education than their husbands, divorce them in order to find a well-educated man, but as all the well-educated men are already taken, the women are doomed to live alone, thereby being unhappy. Had the women refrained from getting an education and a well-paid job and instead let men provide for them, they wouldn’t be living in misery. Oh, my God! And this is 2011!
That male expert didn’t mention at all that maybe women are happy with having good jobs and earning good money. Maybe it’s the men who divorce the women, as most men don’t want women who are either smarter or earn more or both. Because that’s how it is. It bruises the male ego if a woman is smarter or richer, so she gets dumps. I know it. I’ve been there several times and so have most of my girlfriends. But what about our egos? Are we just to be poor, stupid, uneducated sex objects? Yes, the expert said. Then we’ll be happy because the only thing that makes a woman truly happy is to have a man who takes care of her. Bullshit, I say! I love men, I fall in love with men, but this is too far out. Unfortunately it’s also what is passed on in today’s society as “expert knowledge” and the young girls believe in it as no one tells them differently.

So I beg you; please, don’t let this go on. Please, tell your daughter, sister, niece that her happiness doesn’t depend on pleasing boys. Tell her that being sexy and being bright doesn’t rule each other out. Tell her that it is okay to earn more money than the boys and that she is worth just as much as any boy no matter what she looks like. Let her know that she has the right to stand up for herself and create the life that she wants instead of just being a sex provider in the life of a man. Let her know that playing the dumb nympho never solves any problems. And let your sons, brothers, nephews know that they have to treat girls with respect, consideration and politeness, no matter who they are and what they look like. Amen!

OFF11

 
August is festival-time here in Odense, Denmark. Not only do we have the annual Flower Festival, we also have Odense International Film Festival, a festival that concentrates on short films, animation and documentaries. OFF11 took place on August 22-27.

First of all I have to congratulate the powers behind OFF. This was the 26th time that the festival took place and finally, FINALLY, it had solved its major problems. Up until now the festival has suffered from too little room and insufficient technical equipment. In earlier years screenings were often cancelled due to problems with screening films in the proper formats and more often than not it was impossible to see the films anyway, as there was no room for the many people from all over the world, who attended this free festival. These problems had been fixed this year. The equipment actually worked and instead of screening each film two times, most of them were screened three times so everybody had a chance to see them. Unfortunately the many screenings of each film meant, that OFF11 didn’t have as many films as previous OFF festivals.

Most of the films at OFF compete for different awards. This year the International Grand Prix was won by the short film “Little Children, Big Words” made by Lisa James-Larsson, Sweden. The National Grand Prix was won by Danish Malou Reymann’s short film “13” and best animation by Swedish Jonas Odell’s “Tussilago”. The Audience Award went to the Danish documentary “Asger” by Signe Markvard and The Youth Jury Award to the Danish short film “To All My Friends” by Behrouz Bigdeli. I must say that I was astonished by these choices.

First of all I found it very odd that all the awards went to either Danish or Swedish films. It seemed VERY “clannish” when you think of the fact that the majority of films were non-Scandinavian. I guess it has something to do with all the jurors being Danish except for one, namely the Spanish Montserrat Guiu Valls, Managing Director of the Huesca International Film Festival. I think the festival ought to bring back huge international directors as jurors like in the early years.

Secondly I was…well, sad to see that all the winners – like last year – were so damn political correct! Among the winners there was no room for all the crazy, funny, strange and innovative films that used to be the trademark of OFF. These kinds of films were still around on the festival, but they didn’t stand a change of winning and I think that’s wrong. The main idea with OFF has always been to show the unexpected, the new and the creative, so why did the winners have to be so predictable and even boring? To me it seemed like the festival had lost part of its soul.

My own personal favourites didn’t stand many chances to win this year. Had it been up to me the French short film “The Piano Tuner” by Olivier Treiner would have won the International Grand Prix. The story of the piano tuner who pretends to be blind was surprising, funny and scary. For the National Grand Prix my winner would have been the Danish “Meeting My Father Kasper Hojhat” by Lea Glob, a very personal and witty documentary on how the director tries to construct the life of her father (a bank robber and magician who committed suicide after fourteen years in prison). Best animation for me was the Canadian “Sunday” by Patrick Doyon, because let’s face it, Canadians are simply the best when it comes to animation. My personal Youth Jury Award would have gone to the Polish “Mission To Mars”, a frightening short film telling the story of a Polish urban legend, and my Audience Award would have gone to the Spanish short film “The Screamers” by Roberto PĂ©rez Toledo. It was probably the shortest of all the films – only 1 minute long – and hilarious.


As always Odense Film Festival offered a lot of other things than just the film award competitions. This year there were free concerts, open air screenings, seminars, workshops, talent camp, summer dance, Master Shorts, Pixar screenings, Club OFF and my own favourite “The Old Theatre” or “The Old Cinema” as it was called this year. This year the silent movies screened at The Old Theatre were the two Chaplin movies “The Cure” and “The Immigrant” from 1917, the Laurel & Hardy movie “You’re Darn Tootin’/The Music Blasters” from 1928 and finally the masterpiece “Strike” by Sergej Eisenstein from 1925. Like previous years the silent movies were accompanied divinely on piano by composer Lars Fjeldmose and introduced by the witty and insightful film historian Ulrich Breuning. If ever you come to OFF, “The Old Theatre” is a must!

After a week at OFF11 my hunger for short films, animation and documentaries has been satisfied, at least for now. But I’ll be back for more next year, so see you at OFF12.

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