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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

OG NIKI

So.. OG Niki, jumping on the bandwagon of slandering this 17year old female rapper rather late...

I did hear about her quite a while back and never got round to bothering to form an opinion, I'm so anti girls/women being labelled sluts/slags..whatever the latest insult is but I have to admit that sometimes girls do just make it a whole lot harder to be defended.
How shocking exactly is she though?
I went to the Emin exhibition the other day, the boyfriend is positive she does everything just to shock, that she is just trying to be 'one of those Camden type girls who dont give a fuck'...I personally don't think Emin's work is an attention seeking ploy, designed to repulse people into viewing and reviewing, I think she is an artist who is original enough to have the chance to showcase her point of view, her inner thoughts.  It takes a lot of guts to openly discuss the things she does, things she has experienced.  
Could OG Niki not just be the same?  A young girl expressing society and her life/views how she sees fit?
Is what she is saying that much more shocking than what we see in music videos that are considered perfectly acceptable by today's standards? 
Take Christina Aguilera for example, aged 15 I was not shocked or outraged when I watched her gyrating her baby-oiled crotch at the camera in her music video Dirrty. And well, school IT lessoons were designed for trawling through shock sites. If it wasn’t looking for images of drug addicts that had torn their own face off while high on PCP, it was watching the latest music videos.
I think it would be fair to say I’m pretty desensitised to stuff I should be offended by as I imagine most people my age are.
It is obvious that never before has pornography been so accessible, nor has sex been so casually at the forefront of our TV, music and advertising. 
Having written my dissertation on porn I'm well aware that going in search of grot no longer means sneaking something from the topshelf of your newsagents, the stuff you’ll find online is as hardcore as it gets. Watching the fetish porn clip which became an internet sensation, 2 Girls 1 Cup, is more a rites of passage than it is the shock jock clip it started out as. I’d be more surprised if I met someone my age that hadn’t seen it than someone who had.

Back to OG Niki..
Skepta – one of the handful grime MCs that have successfully crossed over into the mainstream- released a video of him rapping while a porn star gets doggied in the background. The initial shock was immediately replaced by piss-taking and despite ‘All Over The House’ being a painfully shit song, it trended on Twitter becoming a light-hearted talking point. 
In contrast, OG Niki, a 17 year old girl from Birmingham and relatively unknown MC, put out a freestyle arrogantly describing getting gang-banged by six men (Grim I know) and three days later her video has climbed to 150k views, she’s had a spot on infamously scummy US site WorldStarHipHop.com and been vilified as some kind of baby prostitute. 
So…grown man raps in front of a porn star being rigorously rumped and we laugh, 17 year old raps into camera with all the bravado of the former, wanting to create the same hype and we’re like, “WOAH, where could she possibly have picked up this shocking attitude from? I always thought this genre of music was about kittens and baked goods?!”

The pack mentality response to OG Niki has been obvious. There’s obviously the glaring hypocrisy in that most likely no-one would’ve bat an eyelid had it been a man, but the brunt of disgust has been about her age.
Internet trolls took time to comment, “OMG such a slag getting attention she doesnt diserve” or my favourite “WHAT IF DAT WAS UR DAUGHTER?!” after which the posters presumably went back to googling hi res tit shots and discussing how much they’d like to bone sex-muppet Rihanna. 

The juvenile and self-righteous indignation behind calling a young girl a whore is a little strong, when surely she’s just a by-product of a time where it’s normal for even ex-Disney pop princesses to be photographed topless or seen thrashing around a strippers pole. Of course it’s not right, but I’m also aware that like most people around my age I’m too much of a scumbag to be casting the first stone and questioning the virtues of others, when normally I’m lapping up the gore on show.
The content itself is depressing, yes, but it’s no more explicit than half the guff drummed out by mainstream rap music or innuendo laden chart videos. 

OG Niki is just a snapshot of the teens on the back of the bus in 2011, discussing blowjobs at an age where I would’ve found over-the-clothes fumbles scandalous. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmeUBTuqfNY

tasse de thé

During one of the days I bully the boyfriend into hanging around with me we wandered into The Tea Box, Richmond.  I ordered a flowering tea...the boyfriend being all manly refused a flowering tea (he regretted it) and went for a classic hot chocolate.
Those of you that know me well will know I love tea and get through a family sized box in a matter of days, I am now obsessed with The Tea Box and all the variations of flowering tea.  How pretty!









Monday, 22 August 2011

French Vogue's racy child models: Sick or Slick?

 
After my investigation and obsession with the murder of child beauty queen I looked into how children are used in advertising today. 
My jaw just about dropped when I stumbled upon Paris Vogue’s fashion spread featuring young girls decked out in jewels, couture, and even Louboutins.  Though the models are around nursery school age, they are positioned in traditional high-fashion poses, languishing on beds and tiger-skin rugs and, made up in daring red lipstick and heavy eye shadow.
Vogue is no stranger to controversial fashion spreads that are as much political statements as they are art. But we’re curious: What do you think of French Vogue’s December issue? High fashion or lowbrow?


 
 

Little Miss Sunshine

Something about child stars fascinates me, they're like real life dolls.
Having become obsessed with the TV programme that showcases pushy parents I googled child stars aimlessly, and was shocked when I discovered the horrific fate of Jon Benet.



When the six-year-old beauty queen was murdered, police were sure her parents were guilty - only to see them cleared. Now, 12 years and 100 suspects later, disturbing doubts remain... and the family face new questions.

As a veteran of the child beauty pageant circuit, the precocious six-year-old had amassed two dozen trophies and titles, including America’s Royal Miss Colorado, State All-Star Kids Cover Girl, Little Miss Merry Christmas, Little Miss Sunburst and the National Tiny Miss Beauty.
Then, in a crime that made headlines around the world, the body of JonBenet Ramsey was found in the basement of her family home. The little girl had been sexually assaulted, her skull fractured and then strangled with a makeshift garotte.
It was a brutal murder but one that the police had every confidence they could solve quickly.
In fact, years since the body was found, the case remains unsolved. So perplexing has it been that a taskforce was set up to re-examine every shred of evidence to see if finally the person responsible could be brought to justice. To many who know the case well, it seems not just a long-shot but well-nigh impossible.
The theories about the killer have varied from known sex offenders and serial killers to psychopathic drifters. But one theory has dominated the investigation throughout and still — despite public statements by the police to the contrary — continues to overshadow all other inquiries: was JonBenet brutally murdered by her own parents?

Monday, 8 August 2011

HEART BAKER



 The Curious Confectioner had sold itself to me before I even looked at the website.  These delicately decorated beauties won me over on first glance.  Almost definitely too elegant to eat.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Bardot



blast

Indulge and Devour

Friday night and I am delighted to be headed to the beautiful Gabriela's for some of her amazing cooking.
I've never been one to love the kitchen, I'm putting it mildly when I say I cannot cook.  I literally am incapable of boiling an egg, so when she throws a dinner party I'm there with bells on.

Visit her at the below address for some fantastic recipes <3

http://indulgedevour.com/





Adorable


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Alyona B & Nicole Volfova by Zhang Jingna for SingaporeBrides August 2011





Dree Hemingway by Sebastian Faena for Vogue Turkey July 2011



Regina Feoktistova by Mariano Vivanco for Hercules S/S 2011

Like A Virgin – Bringing some female beauty to a menswear publication, photographer Mariano Vivanco captures a nude Regina Feoktistova. A picturesque portrait of life in the country, Regina poses alongside Travis Cannata in the innocent portraits.




So beautiful!



The Motherland

Interiors




 

KE$HA

 So its official I have the worst taste in music.  My ipod proves this.  Despite knowing my musical knowledge leaves much to desire I still cannot start afresh and kill my old classics.  
MMM-Bop, every single song Pink has ever recorded and most recently the whole of Natasha Beddingfields first album take pride amongst the songs I am ashamed to admit I downloaded when they pop up on shuffle.


Let’s talk about Ke$ha. A singer my boyfriend and I heavily dispute over. A topic I can and will rant on about for some time.
I love her.  He loathes her.
My i pod shuffle loves her. 

To me she symbolises youth who aim to have fun, that love being wayward in a slapdash carefree sort of way.  To him, she represents a slut.  He gives her more grief than he does any other female singer we discuss, and why? What does she really do thats so bad for the womans reputation?

Now, I can completely understand when a lot of people, sexist boyfriend included say she isnt that talented, I'm aware she doesn’t sing very well.  Typically, pop songs are well-crafted, well-sung. This one isn’t. Why? It’s all part of the message and the image. Ke$ha understates her looks, dresses down, and doesn’t bother auto-tuning the trailer park out of her voice.  
A lot of female singers have hit the big time being talentless.  It’s instructional. Music videos teach girls how to cast a spell.  Mumble some words, transform reality.  You don’t have to be able to sing, just be hot.  Is Ke$ha succesful because she is dressed like a hooker?  She does have a really short shorts on.  But she’s not dressed like a hooker. She’s not dressed for the boys at all. Guys don’t care about bangles and eyeliner. They’ll pretend they do, but really they just want to see how big the boobs look.  She’s dressed for the girls. She’s got boots on. High heels advertise sex. Flats advertise sensibility. Boots are a raised middle finger.


I readily admit, anybody I claim to like is quite possibly awful but I will argue her corner when she is labelled a skank.   
The heavy drinking, looking like a slob, etc is, of course, the point; she’s not doing this by accident. It takes a lot of time and money to look that bad, her mum is one of her songwriters. She’s not Amy Winehouse. 
Her being judged on her fictional persona reminds me of the stories you hear about soap stars being attacked in public for things their characters have done on tv.
 
I don’t particularly like using words like “skank” or “slut” for anyone.  Ke$ha’s just doing stuff male rock and rap stars have done forever, but kicking up dust because she’s a woman. 

Most women in mainstream music these days are highlighting their sexuality, the majority of women have done in, well forever!  
Because she sings about lust as opposed to love, and fun instead of heartache does that mean labelling her a slut is a given?  Music videos are constantly being churned out that depict singers, some barely 18 warbling away about tales of love lost and despair, why should Ke$ha sing about such subjects when all she, like most young women can't relate and just wants to have fun?  

In the 90s, it seems like women had a kind of bravado that was more about confronting men regarding the emotional fallout of romance culture. But for Ke$ha it seems like a different kind of bravado, more about rejecting that fallout altogether or about transcending it.  Maybe this, and her anti-pretty look is what throws men like my boyfriend off, she isn't simply crooning about her forever devotion to a man, she isn't admitting defeat to heartbreak.

A few months after its release her single Tik Tok achieved a significant historical benchmark: it sold 610,000 copies in one week! Thats more than any single by any female artist ever. 
This sort of success doesn’t happen by accident.  Ke$ha, as Louis Armstrong might say, has got “that thing”–she has the talent, the charisma, and the work ethic that constitute genuine star-power.  But despite her enormous success, she has won little of the  praise that is constantly heaped upon stars like LadyGaga.  
Everybody seems reluctant to take her seriously as an artist or as a star. I think Ke$ha deserves far more respect, as an artist and as a feminist icon.

Ke$ha has also amassed more haters than just about anyone in the music world.  My boyfriend, I'm pretty sure would ridiculse most commercial artists.  Justin Bieber for example, he is never taken seriously and remains mostly a cute little punchline.  People poke fun at him for looking like a nine-year-old and for his mediocre music, but its all in good humour.  Ke$ha-haters, in contrast, are dead serious, and their jabs are often joltingly vicious.  
The boyfriend see's Ke$ha as an attention seeking slut, whoring herself out in a pathetic attempt to compete with stars like lady Gaga and Katy Perry.
The sheer amount of hating only seemed only to increase in the wake of the “TiK ToK” craze, as though its popularity had been an insane bender that people wanted to put behind them.  The question, as with all such morning-after disavowals of the past, is: What is it about “TiK ToK” that makes people so ashamed to have liked it?  


In my opinion the views of people like the boyfriend are more than just garden-variety culture-blog trolling.  Everyone gets made fun of on the Internet, but not like this - this has “personal” written all over it.  
With its bargain-bin sarcasm, its seeming indifference to the usual need to be funny or sound clever, its eagerness to start saying mean things as quickly as possible, this criticism feels inspired by some sort of vendetta.  People take such pleasure in hating her.

With her ratty cowboy boots, her drunken flailing dancing and her disregard for personal hygiene, she is undeniably quite a bit different from any major female pop star in recent memory, different in ways that annoy people severely and prompt them to lash out at her, if only to make sure everyone within earshot knows that they are firmly in the anti-Ke$ha camp.  A lot of people like her, but few want to be known as the type of person who likes her.



In my view, the reason everyone is so keen on hating her is exactly why as a feminist, I think so highly of her.  She messes around with gender identity in a way that many people find genuinely discomforting.  The nasty jabs hurled at her have one thing in common: they tend to smell mildly, if not heavily, of sexism.  They are usually expressed in terms associated with femininity in all its  stereotypical associations, as if trying to force Ke$ha to be more feminine, to be a lady. 


To me it seems in the want to neutralize Ke$ha, to push her to conform to the stereotypical gender role she supposedly belongs in. The Pink song, Stupid girls springs to mind.  Do the Ke$ha-haters want her to be a ditzy, blonde-haired, bubbleheaded and at the same a time shallow attention-whore with a fake image calculated to sell records?
 

It annoys me how the boyfriend seems to have completely overlooked how non-sexual she is, at least in “TiK ToK”.  (The rest of her album is, I will allow, a different story, but “TiK ToK” is, I'm pretty sure the only song he will have actually listened to)  The video shows admittedly her in very short shorts, but she still routinely wears way more clothing than almost any major female pop star in years.  She remains disarmingly modest, wearing clothes you would see in any nightclub anywhere.

She labels her style "white trash dumpster driving chic", a look hardly screaming sexy.  In Taio Cruises music video she is seen crouching over a toilet and making sex noises, this although focusing on sex has the added effect of making her look like an actual human being rather than some sort of materialized male fantasy or a glorified lingerie commercial.  It's almost humerous.


She doesn’t flout the now-conventional hypersexualization of women, in her songs and music videos she actually satirizes it and undercuts it in some enormously clever ways.  We are perfectly accustomed to women who get drunk and have sex.
She underscores her striking unpromiscuousness in the “TiK ToK” music video by reversing the conventional drunken-hookup narrative.  In the course of the video, she has taken us through a full day of carousing and a full night of drunken partying without any evidence of ill-advised hookups.  She does enjoy picking up guys “who look like Mick Jagger,” but only, it seems, for their throwback appeal—and she defends herself  if they try to “touch her junk.”  
To me the breakdown of “TiK ToK”, in which we see Ke$ha thrashing drunkenly about in a whitewashed basement, is a dead-on satire of this most troubling of pop culture trends.

In the past five years or so, exotic dancing has broken out of its rightful place in the dregs of society and become one of pop culture’s most seen thing, especially in music.  The Pussycat Dolls have proudly announced they used to all be exotic dancers, and you can hardly watch a music video without the female singers gyrating, so why does Ke$ha get such a bad wrap?
The usually seen type of dancing calculated to please the hungry eye of the anonymous but ever-present male audience is transformed by Ke$ha into goofy, innocently shit-faced flailing.  And instead of the male audience Ke$ha is singing, not to some anonymous man she is trying to bewitch, but to the DJ, who has her under his spell along with everyone else at the party, male and female alike.  
Ke$ha dances because she feels like dancing.  


As I mentioned, the remarkable non-sexuality of “TiK ToK” does not extend to most of her other songs.  In “Blah Blah Blah” and “Your Love Is My Drug” sex returns to its usual center position.  What persists throughout the album, though, is the strange sort of androgyny that lies at the heart of Ke$ha’s persona. She is a woman who can carry masculinity as though she owned it.  She effortlessly plows over any stereotyped feminine behaviors that get in the way of her fun  while keeping the ones that she likes.

Most importantly, “The dudes are lining up,” not because we’re hot or because we have nice racks, but because “they hear we got swagger.”   

I believe “TiK ToK” and Ke$ha are revolutionary.  Seeing a woman with that sort of freedom is still too much for some people.  The backlash against her should remind us of a crucial and constant struggle for the equal rights for men and women in society and media.  Gaga’s good-natured provocations have captured the attention of feminists, as did Madonna but defense for people like Ke$ha, who are branded degenerates should be as high.