Rant

Take Me Out – Misandry Gone Mad?

A few months ago, I became aware of the programme ‘Take Me Out’, mostly because of a million tweets with the hashtag #nolikeynolighty every Saturday night, so I decided to check out what is was all about. For those of you who have never seen it, Wikipedia explains it a lot better than I can:

The objective of the show is for a man to gain a date with one of thirty single women. The women stand on stage underneath thirty white lights, each with a button in front of them. A single man is then brought on stage via the ‘Love Lift’ and tries to woo the women in a series of rounds, playing a prerecorded dating video, displaying a skill (such as dancing or playing a musical instrument), or playing another video in which the man’s friends or family reveal more about him. At any point during the rounds, the women can press the button in front of them to turn off their light (their area of the stage will turn red if they do so). If, at the end of three rounds, there are still lights left on, the bachelor will turn off all but two of the remaining lights himself. He will then have a chance to ask one question to the last two women, before choosing which woman he wants to go on a date with by turning off one more light. If the man is left with 2 lights at the end of round 3, then he will just ask his question to the two remaining women and if there is only 1 light left at the end of round 3 then he will go on a date with that girl without asking them his question.

For a while, I really enjoyed watching it. I got involved with the Tweeting and even had something I said retweeted by Leah (one of the 30 girls at the time) when I said she had a head like a fifty pence piece. I was being bitchy, but she seemed to take it in good humour, so it’s all good. I loved seeing the dates, mostly because (as was the curse of Blind Date) they’d usually get to their date destination and realise they had NOTHING to talk about (I have a morbid fascination for awkwardness, I think) and I even started to get to know the contestants who’d been hanging around dateless for a while. It seemed like Saturday night telly from when I was a kid – all that was missing was an hour of Gladiators beforehand!

 A couple of weeks ago, though, Husband made an small, innocuous comment that really got me thinking about the show and I’ve not watched it since because of it.  He said “Imagine if this show was the other way around?”

What he meant was, imagine if there were 30 blokes and one woman choosing instead.

At the moment, they have one lad come on at a time and the girls make salacious comments, pass judgement on the bloke, watch him perform like a circus animal in some cases and basically treat him like a piece of meat.

So. Imagine if it was the other way around. 30 men, sizing up a single girl, making her jump through hoops deciding whether or not she was good enough for them. Would you still watch it? Or would the whole situation not seem a bit intimidating, belittling, degrading?

Maybe I’m taking it all a bit too seriously – most of the people on the show are young, single, out for a good time and just want a chance of a free short break and to be on telly. In that respect, I get it, I do. But there is a real issue of inequality going on here. The format of the show is obviously very deliberate in that the man has to do the hard part so that it doesn’t seem distasteful or misogynistic, but what is it they say about the goose and the gander? Why is it okay for men to humiliate themselves but not women? Isn’t it funny how most people know the word ‘misogyny’ but far less know about ‘misandry’. **

I’ve written before about how equality goes both ways, or at least it should, and I think in this case the bosses of ITV need to drag themselves out of the dark ages. I can’t watch the show any more without having hallucinations where there’s 30 lionesses on stage fighting over one gazelle in a clown costume, it’s just too cringe-worthy.

What do you think? Am I taking it too seriously, or is this type of sexism a button-pusher for you too?

**Ironically, the WordPress dictionary didn’t even recognise that word…

(I’m linking this up with Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday Linky)

MummyBarrow

All About ME! · Friendship · Review

Ladies What Lunch – How Groupon Helped Two Mummies to Feel Yummy Again.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Groupon asking if I wanted to review their service and being the affable gal that I am, I said “ooh, yes please!”. They offered me an amount to spend on the site and off I went to look for a product or experience that I’d like to try. I browsed for a while before happening upon a spa experience for two that was in my local area. Trouble was, it was more expensive than the amount that Groupon had offered, so I went back and told them and they said “That’s fine!”, which was a lovely thing for them to do! I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of a spa day than my best friend, Jamillah, who as well as starting her new blog, Bare Beginnings this week, is a mum to three boys of three and under (who are just the scrummiest creatures) is studying for a degree and starting her own business!

The whole process was seriously simple. Groupon emailed me a voucher code, I went onto the site, purchased the deal I wanted with the voucher and waited for an email. Once the email arrived, I called the spa, set up the appointment and that was it! I didn’t even need to print the voucher off as I have the Groupon App on my iPhone, which shows ‘Your Groupons’ and allows you to extract the codes you need to give to the participating retailer.

This is actually the second time I’ve used Groupon, the first was a voucher that Husband bought for me for a massively reduced cut and colour at a local salon and I have to say, in terms of savings these vouchers work out really well. This package for the spa should have cost £170 but we got it for £46, which I think works out at 74% off. The vouchers would make a brilliant gift for Christmas as you could even book the appointment for the person and then just present them with an appointment card for their treatment.

The spa we chose is called Destination and is in the heart of Leigh Broadway, which is full of shops, cafes, bistros and bars, so there’s plenty of places in the close vicinity to make a real day of it. We handed in our coats and shoes and were given some cosy slippers to don, then walked through to the waiting area where we were sat down in comfy recliners with low lighting and gentle music while we filled in our treatment cards.

The treatment room itself, which we were then led through to, was beautiful; the ceiling was draped with purple fabric and the carpet was about a mile deep. There was a small fireplace which kept the room really toasty and even the treatment stations were in keeping with the relaxing atmosphere of the room, which earthy wooden bowls and interesting-looking brushes! We laid down and waited for the treatment to begin.

 Our therapists came in and started the treatments, a facial and massage, and both Jamillah and I were virgins on that front before this day. It’s hard to know what to say here without using the words ‘rubbing’, ‘oils’ and ‘OH MY WOW!’ but basically, the most relaxing 45 minutes of our lives ensued. One thing we both commented on was that the music in the rooms wasn’t your usual wishy-washy whale song type thing which just starts to sound awful after a while. It was calm and relaxing but in a contemporary kind of way and there was something a but autumnal about it too which was very nice.

Once our time was up, it took us both a while to come back into the land of the living – I don’t think I’ve ever actually been that relaxed before without being asleep and the feeling was just incredible. The oils smelled so rich and delightful and my skin looked better than it has in years. In fact, it still looks pretty good, a few weeks on.

All in all, I think I can recommend both Groupon and Destination wholeheartedly. Jamillah and I have vowed that we’re going to make a more regular thing of taking the time to pamper ourselves so we’ll be keeping a close eye on all of the Groupon deals on offer in the future. Being able to spend time with my best friend in a truly relaxing environment like that was a true gift and I can’t thank Groupon enough for the opportunity to do it.

 

We were given a £50 voucher to spend on Groupon for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own and it no way influenced by any products or services offered.

Family · Happiness · Life

Being Mum – The Self-Worth Special

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my ‘worth’ as a person lately and how that ties in with me being a mother. It’s been an eventful year, this 12 past the 2000, kicking off with me losing my job in April and Sausage starting school in September, two things which have contributed massively to my introspection. When I was working, I was a ‘working mum’ – I did a job and kept home and life ran to a schedule, Tuesday to Thursday at least. Then I lost my job and I became a ‘stay-at-home mum’, using my days to spend time with Sausage and do things together. But now she’s at school, am I still a stay-at-home mum, considering that between the hours of 8.55am and 3.20pm, I have no one to mother?

On a totally base level, since losing my job my contribution towards family life has been much less. Sure, I’ve been available for more housekeeping, but I’m not actually adding to the family coffers and I’m acutely aware that every time I spend money it’s usually been earned by someone else. I do have a small amount of income but that tends to get swallowed up as soon as it comes in on car insurance and my phone bill. I was able to do so much more before and it made me feel good.

My self-worth is obviously closely related to what I perceive as my use  to other people. I’m always offering to do things for people which are of no benefit to me, just to be the one who’s helped someone out, like I rack up ‘person points’ every time I offer help. I need to be needed. But I think I was like that before I ever became a parent.

As a mother, though, I know for a fact that I tend to put myself last in a lot of situations. Like mealtimes, for instance. If I’m cooking, Sausage gets her dinner first, then Husband and I tend to sit down rank last, after fetching drinks, condiments and all of the other mealtime accoutrements, with my meal being lukewarm more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, Husband often offers to do things, but I tend to insist he sits and eats while his food is hot and do the running around myself. So, does this mean that I put my worth at less than that of my family? Well, yes, I think I do. They deserve a nice meal, a hot meal, and if my is ruined well then so be it. It’s only me. 

My Nan does something similar, bowing and scraping even when there’s no need for her to do so, and I don’t know if it’s always been this way but with her, her martyrdom seems to be something that’s done so that she has a reason to moan. Her and my Grandad have a highly toxic relationship and it’s hard to know what came first; the bitterness or the hatred. Does she hate him and it’s made her bitter or has her bitterness morphed into a ball of hatred? Who knows, but either way, she’ll act like a timid servant (or did before she got too blind and disabled to do it all) and then loudly slag my Grandad off for not moving out of his chair.

I certainly don’t feel bitterness or hatred about my self-imposed lower worth, but then to be fair, I’m 28, not 78 so what’s to say I won’t be a walking hate-factory in 50 years time? Fortunately, the difference is that I have Husband who is NOTHING like my Grandad and I feel appreciated by him and Sausage on a daily basis, and I also have a modicum of reflection in my soul, which means I can see that way my life could go if I allow it. I’m not saying I’ll serve my dinner first or stop being ketchup-wallah, but I will try to consider myself a bit more at times when I feel like I don’t deserve any consideration.

Am I making even the slightest bit of sense? TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN!

Guest Blogger

Guest Post: I’m a parenting expert…

Yesterday, I put out a call for help. My blogging mojo is having a week off and I asked my blogging chums if they’d like to step in and write some posts for me and gawd bless ’em, I had lots of offers, which made me love our little community even more. Today, I’ve got a post from the lovely Fi who blogs at Childcare is Fun, who I must confess is one of my secret blogging crushes, I totally want to be her and have her hair and have her be my best friend, all at the same time 🙂 So, here it is: 

Parenting. The minefield of mothers and fathers doing their best in a conflicting world of advice. Hands on parenting, comfort parenting, practical parenting, attachment parenting, oh the hokeycokey parenting. It’s a headache before you’ve even popped out your first baby isn’t it?

Having the opportunity to guest write here on the lovely Jayne’s blog, I decided to open up, take off my professional cap, and talk frankly.

“You must have it so easy” someone once said to me, “you know everything and anything parenting, it must be a breeze!”

No. It’s really not…

I’ve 21 years experience working in childcare, I have a degree in Childhood and Youth studies, a diploma in Childhood studies, I’m a qualified Nursery nurse, I’ve a gazzillion training certificates from baby signing to special needs practicals, and I’ve a few awards for my work with children, but I’m also just a mum.

I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I often feel like hiding under the duvet when my two under 3 are wrestling on the bedroom floor over a postman pat van. I cry when things seem too much, I hurt when they tell me I’m ‘horrid for turning off Cbeebies so we can go do something creative’ and I sigh when I have to do mundane household chores daily.

I eat too much cake, drink wine, gossip, moan, sometimes lose my patience and wear baggies and no make-up on days when nobody is coming over and we are having a home day.

Daily I advise parents who ask for my advice through the FREE email service via my website (www.childcareisfun.co.uk) based on all those years of experience, and qualifications, and I love putting my professional head on to help them. I love writing my ‘Top Tips’ and guest appearing as a ‘parenting expert’ on BBC radio and local stations, I’ve even done the odd TV appearance which is so exciting and something I’d like to pursue one day, but above everything, I’m a stay-at-homemum. A mum to a 2 and 3 years old born 364 days apart who rock my world and wipe bogies on my jeans.

I clean up sick, wipes snotty noses, scrub spaghetti sauce off the walls, do the washing, shopping and cleaning. So when you hear the word ‘parenting expert’ and you roll your eyes and think “Oh, another know-it-all” remember I’m actually just a parent like you. I’m still learning all these years later.

I’m a parenting expert. I’m a housewife. I’m a domestic engineer. I’m a mother. I’m me.

Thank you so much to Fi, I love Childcare is Fun and think you should all go and subscribe to her email service immediately! Oh and show some comment love, yeah?!