Monday, 19 May 2014

Facebook censoring, and why it isn't working.

Any performer and model, myself included, will have had at least one or two of their photo's reported and removed. I've had my account suspended for a month in the past when someone decided to bulk report a large amount of my photos that can only be seen by those who are on my friends list, or subscribed to my feed.
It seems that it has become a purposeful thing to report someones photo's as an act of defiance, jealousy, or just to cause that person trouble, many people I know having been affected by the same thing on a number of occasions.

Performers are constantly battling the pastie ban on Facebook, something I regularly flaunt against as it as a rule is rather small minded, and also as I subscribe to the belief of why is it okay to see mens nipples, but not womens, even if they are bared for something as natural as breast feeding, which Facebook has removed photo's of in the past.
It has been widely reported on when Facebook remove photo's that are actually not offensive at all, usually something that the user has decided to share with their friends and family, the primary reason we are supposed to use Facebook, of moments of great importance to them.

Recently Facebook removed and deemed offensive photo's of a newborn baby that had been born with a rare birth defect, the defect meant that sadly the skull of the child hadn't fully formed in the womb, leaving parts of the brain revealed and causing Facebook to deem offensive.
Sadly the infant died only eight hours after birth, a great sadness to the family, but then faced emails from Facebook of the reported photos.
The family decided to repost the photo's as they were not only sharing this childs short life, but grieving together. This earned the mother a 24 hour Facebook ban.

A more recent event (the previous event happening in early March, and also not the only story of similar nature) in the last few days a woman in Italy decided to show her support, as many of us do via Facebook, for LGTB rights by posting a photo of two women kissing.

Facebook contacted the poster and asked her to remove this "offensive" image, and she rightfully refused.
This caused Facebook to threaten to remove her profile completely for "Violating the communities standards" as it was breaking facebooks rules regarding "Nudity and Pornography".
This is a stock image, and easy to find via a quick google search.

But how many of us have been "guilty" of sharing similar content, remember the same sex proposal in a hardware store that went viral?
We pretty much all shared that one. 

Ironically for Facebook, due to this coming to light the image above is now being shared widely across the platform as people share the resulting article from The Independent which features and automatically sets the previews to the offensive image.

So why are these things being reported? Why in this era is this still seen as offensive?
They all shout "think of the children" but isn't sheltering them from real life, and acceptance of others going to have a negative affect when you shield them from something, claiming it to be Wrong?

Earlier today while waiting in a post office queue, I as most do turned to my Facebook app to keep me amused while in the queue.
Upon opening the app one of the top stories on my feed was revealed from just a glance as a crudely drawn picture of Homer Simpson drawn around a womans vagina.
I quickly closed the app and hoped no one had seen it over my shoulder, assuming that I would want to look at such things.
I quickly forgot about it, assuming it would be quickly reported and deleted, disappearing from my feed.
Twelve hours later, it is still there, and on my laptop screen the full extend is revealed, cucumber and all..... My option is just to unfriend the poster as although I am not a prude, I don't really need to see cucumbers in such orifices. Plus I want to be able to continue to enjoy salads, and The Simpsons.

So why wasn't this reported, why did my eyes have to suffer something so gross twice in one day, and strangely on the same feed where articles posted about the Italian woman having her not at all offensive photo seen with such negativity?

Is it the friends you keep on Facebook, those who decide which photo's to report, or is it Facebook for agreeing to remove non offensive photo's, while keeping up photo's that are pornographic, or advocate violence, or are sexist and misogynistic? 
It seems my feed is full of previews linking to articles on animal abuse, with horrifying photo's that turn the stomach, and are quite upsetting to someone as sensitive as me who holds animals in higher regards than most people.
Actual pornographic content, like the described above?
Or photo's of Miley Cyrus' latest attempt to shock people by wearing 80's cut body suits, and throwing her legs in such a way that sells records, apparently.

Out of all of those things, I'd rather see my feed full of loving same sex couples fighting for their much deserved equal rights (on a side note, go Oregon!!), families celebrating and loving their children even if they only have a small amount of time to share with them, and yes, not on a similar spectre, but also ladies nipples, pasties or not!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The "Resting Bitch Face" post....

I have a condition.
One that has only just started to be talked about in recent years, and be noticed by the main stream.
One that has haunted me my entire life, made people avoid me, even made people hate me.

I have Resting Bitchface. 

I'm not sure when it grew into bitch face mode, but for the last fifteen years it has been somewhat of an issue.
I am always told by people that they thought me to be stand offish when we first met, some wondering if I for some reason hated them, but then claiming that I'm really nice when they got to know me. 
Why is this a shock? Does everyone think this? How many people didn't make the effort to even talk to me and now think of me forever as some stuck up bitch...?
I'll never know.

Even in my own family it has caused confusion, with even my own mother thinking I was giving her dirty looks for no reason, and causing a stream of confusing one sided arguments that ended with my resting bitch face contorted into a look of confusion which actually looks more bitchy than my everyday resting bitch face. 

Even my fiancĂ© used to worry that I was pissed off or annoyed with him and not knowing what he had done and not knowing what to say, sat fretting while I just watched whatever film or tv show I was currently enjoying at the time. 
Luckily now since I saw a video about resting bitch face and I laughed and said "I totally have that" that he finally realised that it was just my face.
My face is broken in a bitchy manner, like a tea cup with complex social issues.

I try to smile more when outdoors to avoid offence, but hating my teeth and wanting to hide them meant my face is twisted into a strange closed mouthed smile that is tightly clamped over my teeth, and possibly making it seem more like I suffer from Resting Smug Face, a disorder highlighted by celebrity, Cate Blanchett. 

So instead I must embrace it, and wear my bitchiness with pride, it has it's bonuses I suppose.
Charity clipboard holders tend to not stop me.
When I actually need to look "bitchy" I've got that look well practised.
It also doubles as a great modelling face, strong!!

So whenever you see me, please believe these are not dirty looks, and I do not hate you for no reason, just take into consideration that....well....I have a disorder.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Why I want to quit Burlesque, but Can't and Won't...

This is something I've been battling with for a while now, while all around me the scene shrinks, talented performers step down while others flourish for all the wrong reasons, it's undertones of bitterness, breakdown of community, and frankly it's competitiveness have become somewhat of a bother to me.

Whether you realize it or not, the scene is bursting to the brim with performers, and they are still coming, new fresh faces burst onto the scene with excitement every week, but it saddens me that they won't have the same support or experience as most of us many years ago.
While more and more performers join the scene, some bring a fresh style and voice to it, notably Aurora Galore, who's energy and wildness onstage has launched her into an exciting career, some bring back the classics, such as Havana Hurricane who embodies the burlesque revival lead in America in the early 90's lead by performers such as the amazing Dirty Martini, but while some of the acts may be new and fresh, there is a diminishing platform on which these acts can perform.

Nights are either closing down completely, others overrun with acts they don't have enough positions for, or reverting to private style dinner clubs where the acts perform regularly such as Proud, Privee, Cirque Le Soir, or The Hippodrome and create small sub-communities within themselves and the scene.
If you are involved in those you may be able to survive from the living you make there alone, but if not you still have a variety of gigs to flutter between.

Some of us are lucky enough that we can still live from performing, but maybe not making as much as just a few years before. Some step back, or use skills acquired in performing to gain what we refer to as "proper jobs", some even go back to studying and changing their career paths.
So why have so many amazing performers started to step back, or worse, out completely?

It is hard work to feel you have to compete, or change your style to keep fresh, especially if like me you are a stubborn lady who created a style for themselves and want to stick with it, or to feel that you have to constantly bring out new acts or implement new skills which costs a great deal, and when you aren't earning a huge amount why would you splash out?
I have spent thousands on my costumes, and I will continue to use them until they fall off me without prompting, because they have kept me going this far. Of course I do have acts in the plans but I bring them out when I'm ready to rather than rush out many new acts to keep pushing onto promoters.
Some performers may prefer to act in this way, constantly bringing out fresh acts and if that works for them great, but we don't all work the same way, and that's fine.

What about other elements of the scene however?
What about our private lives?

A lot of us have our private lives now very mixed up within out performing persona, this I know all too well having performed for nearly 9 years, and now about to marry a fellow performer involved in the scene. Most people have embraced our personal choices and accepted us without query, but some liked to ask questions.
Our private lives and choices were being picked up on, and usually by people we didn't even know.
We are performers, how does our personal time affect what happens onstage? To regular audience members watching the shows, they are watching the act, not whispering the chinese whispers they heard at another show.
So why is this part of our scene at all?

I loved burlesque, and for a long time it was a huge part of my life, but now I can feel myself stepping back from the scene. Make no mistake I am not quitting, and I have many great friends who I have met through performing, but the community is now so large that I don't even know the people who bother to talk about my personal life anymore, isn't that a little bit sad?
I'm pretty sure they don't know me either, but I'm always being told how straight forward I am, if people wanted to know anything about me they could just ask, I generally tell the truth.

Burlesque is my profession, I do it mostly for the love of it, but yes, I admit, sometimes I'm doing it because its my job. I pay rent, I have bills, I eat food, and burlesque pays for that as do so many others in the scene.
I don't have a part time job currently, but I wouldn't see it as a failure if I did tho others make that suggestion, it may help to reignite the passion for the art form I was once so obsessed with if shows were booked for the sheer love of it again, and I knew I could be happy and comfortable backstage.
And yes, I would still do it even if I didn't have to, despite everything said here, because I chose to make this my career, I worked hard to get to this point, I remember the early days with fondness, but also I will not let the downsides win.

Now lets build up this community again, we are attacked by outsiders enough (most recently the feminist 'debacle') that we shouldn't be attacking one another, we should embrace our differences onstage as thats what makes a show interesting, lets reignite our love for what we do all over again, and maybe, just maybe we can bring it back to life and save it for ourselves and revive this amazing scene.

We can be happy again?