Friday, 30 December 2016

The objectification of Ariana Grande

I've been reading this morning about someone called Ariana Grande. I'm afraid I had to Google her because I had no idea who she is, or what she does, but it turns out she sang Bang Bang with Jessie J and that other "who-the-hell-are-you?" person, Nicky Minaj. Anyway, it seems Ms Grande is making an online stand about the objectification of women. Hers is very specifically an online stand, of course, because God forbid anyone from that generation should get their hands dirty in the real world when Twitter means you can say it all in 140 characters without leaving your poolside.

Now obviously the objectification of women is an awful thing, and it's something which happens a great deal in this backward world of ours. My worry, however, is that objectification sometimes happens as a result of certain women presenting themselves in a certain kind of way. It would appear that Ms Grande knows that sex sells. In the first fifty or so images of her on google there are two fully naked shots and heaps of pictures of her semi-dressed, wearing cutesy cat ears and sucking on a lollipop.

You're never going to get me to criticise her for choosing to sell records using this tactic, but I'm afraid the "look-at-me-don't-look-at-me" thing doesn't wash. If you opt to present yourself as a helpless fuck-fawn, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that your fans might begin to objectify you. Celebrities put themselves out there, make a lot of money and in doing so sell their souls to the devil. I'm beginning to get really fed up with the constant desire these days to feel moral indignation without any sense of personal responsibility.

When I write this blog I'm aware that I occasionally ruffle feathers. Periodically someone leaves a really horrible, utterly anonymous message, which can make me wince, but I have to tell myself that by publishing this blog, I'm opening myself up to the bottom half of the internet or those who might get irritated by the way I choose to present myself. It's not particularly appropriate to beckon with one hand before slapping those who have come closer with the other.

It was Christmas Jim's wedding tonight and we drove down to a misty Winchester Cathedral for a glorious party filled with the odd-ball assortment of politicos and theatricals who Jim and Matthew have collected during their lives. I got a chance to spend some time with the highly charming composer, Craig Adams. We're like two sides of the same coin. We both studied at Mountview. We both write musical theatre. We both met our partners on West End shows.

I think it's really important for composers to hang out together. We all spend our time struggling with the same inner daemons. Many of us suffer from the double catastrophe of being both white and male. It's nice to support each other. Whinge. Share stories. Laugh...

It was wonderful to see Jim and Matthew doing their first dance and looking so loved-up and happy together. A beautiful evening.

We drove home in thick mist which ebbed and flowed. At one stage visibility went down to about ten meters and then suddenly the fog lifted.

Feeling peckish, we stopped at Winchester Services on the M3 and decided to get a couple of toasties from the Costa there. The counter had been left unattended. We waited for ten minutes, seriously tempted to grab a few sarnies and make a dash for it. When the old man finally arrived there was no word of apology for keeping us waiting. I handed him the two toasties. He sighed and moved to the cash register, pulling out the cash tray and taking it across to some scales where he proceeded to weigh all of the coins... I called over to him, "is there any chance you could start heating these toasties whilst you're doing that?" He looked at me with deep scorn, "I am not allowed to serve you until I have weighed all these coins...." At that point we left.

There was a poster at the door which informed us that the good folk of Winchester Services were "passionate about good service." A mobile phone number was displayed underneath which purported to be for the customer service manager. I thought I might as well give it a shot to register my problem with the treatment I'd had at Costa. Imagine my horror, therefore, when the phone was answered by the old man behind the Costa counter! Stunning!

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