Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Education not Legislation

It was reported, today (26th August 2015) that assaults on women on public transport have risen to such an extent that an MP is suggesting the introduction of women only carriages on trains. This is a massive step backwards in many ways and should never happen.
    For decades women have campaigned for equal rights. From the suffragettes who sought the right to vote, the women of the 1960s who burnt their bras in protest at discrimination, right up to the women of today who are still fighting for equal pay for equal work, women have struggled for their place in the world to be alongside men. Now someone is saying they should be segregated, presumably for their own safety, much as they were in the Victorian era.
    This is wrong on every level but mostly because women should be able to walk the streets and travel on transport without fear of innuendo or assault. MEN should be brought up to understand that ALL people deserve respect and that includes women. Just because a woman is attractive, smiles at you or makes eye contact for a second, it does not mean you have the automatic right to touch her in any way let alone assault her.
    Maybe I’m looking at the past through rose tinted glasses, and I am sure there were exceptions, but when I was growing up this is how women were treated. It was all part of the courtesy that was shown to women. Undoubtedly wife beaters, rapists and other undesirables existed but I never felt threatened when travelling alone on crowded buses and trains in London.
    You cannot legislate away bad behaviour. Instead it must be made clear from an early age that every person has a right to their own body; that making inappropriate contact with anyone is wrong. No matter what age, what culture, what creed a person is, no one has the right to make suggestive remarks or gestures that put another person in fear.
    Men cannot turn round and say the sight of a woman led them to behave in an inappropriate way. Men should be in control of their own bodies; difficult I know, when it was designed before civilised behaviour was the norm, but there it is. I have never quite agreed with the Islamic view that women must hide their bodies so as not to incite men. This medieval idea was also prevalent in the middle ages throughout Europe and we have managed to see a women’s hair or ankle without immediately possessing her – most of the time!
    No matter how a woman behaves or dresses, when she is travelling she should feel safe. She should be able to stand next to a man in a crowded tube train without worrying about what will happen when she gets off. She should be able to walk to her destination without fear of being followed or attacked. No matter what the time is, whether it be during the work-a-day rush hour or late at night.
    The idea of women only carriages is totally unworkable. Most trains don’t have enough carriages at the best of times, let alone have spare ones for women only. And how many women do you think there are travelling at any one time? Quite possibly as many if not more than men.
    And women need to be educated as well. While I’m not offering it as an excuse or a get-out clause, men DO react to what they see around them. They shouldn’t, but they do. It’s nature taking hold, the thing that has kept every living thing on the planet producing the next generation.

    But above all else, respect should be the order of the day. Only by ensuing everyone understands this will we create a society where it is safe for everyone to not only travel in safety but walk the streets without fear.  

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Whingey Teenager Ads

Have you ever noticed that advertisements seem to go round in cycles? One agency picks up on an idea and then suddenly everyone is doing it – or maybe that one agency is using the same format for more than one client. There is a new one on the radio at the moment that is really driving me to distraction. I can usually filter out advertisements, even enjoy some of them, but this one is enough to make me want to turn the radio off and never switch it on again!
     Someone, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that the voice of a nagging whingey teenager is a good way to make people buy things. This is so wrong on several levels.
Nearly every parent suffers the pleading of children wanting things. The long drawn out Muum or Daad, usually on three notes, can I have…? whatever the latest gadget, gismo, musthave is. At one time the answer would be a firm NO or Maybe for Christmas. These days parents seem more willing to give in. Not sure why. Maybe a compensation for something missing in a relationship, maybe a guilt trip for not providing what the precious child wants. It is a constant, unending, trial that never seems to end.
     So what makes the advertising industry think people will respond to an advert of a child asking for something? As parents or grandparents, we hear enough from our own children not to want to hear it from someone else’s.
     And what products are suitable for this sort of campaign?
     The first one was for a mobile phone, or maybe it was a particular network. See, it was so effective I can’t even remember. But it was for something a teenager would want, something to keep up with her friends. So not only are poor parents being whinged at by their own children, they are getting it from the radio, too.
     The latest one that is really incomprehensible to me, is for a car. Same whingey teenager approach, ‘my friend has one, please, please can we have one.’ But since when was a teenage girl interested in cars. She goes on to describe the benefits – as if she would even know about the things she is talking about. It is worse than being told to buy a car by Jeremy Clarkson!
     I really do not understand the mentality behind this advertising campaign. It’s bad enough that children whinge and whine to get things from their own parents. Who thought this approach would work in adverts convincing sensible adults that they need to buy something recommended by a pleading child? Let’s face it, what do children know about the pros and cons of an item? Their friends have a bright, shiny new toy, that doesn’t mean it is the best bright, shiny, new toy. Have they done the research, checked technical reports, compared the reviews of technical experts? No. they have played with their friend’s bright, new, shiny toy and want one. This is how substandard, low tech, items become best sellers.    
     And then there is the assumption that everyone will give in to this whinging child. If I had my way I would take that said child and lock her in her bedroom until she learned not to ask in that whingey voice, that new things needed to be earned not given just because they are wanted.
     Or am I missing something here?
     I really hope this is not an ongoing style. I’d rather listen to the Go Compare man or the Meerkats!