Friday, 2 January 2015

2014 in Quotes

2014: the year that Kim Kardashian tried to break the internet, iPhones got bigger and bendier, ugly metal poles started appearing at the bottom of selfies and cacti became a 'thing'. On top of these groundbreaking happenings, these quotes, in no particular order, summarise 2014 for me...





001. Sophia Amoruso released her book #GIRLBOSS and reminded us how badass she is*:



Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favors action. Race balls-out toward the extraordinary life that you’ve always dreamed of, or still haven’t had time to dream up. And prepare to have a hell of a lot of fun along the way. 

*Unfortunately 'badass' seemed like the only appropriate word, and I wish I could pull it off.

002. Fuse Odg turned down Bandaid (shock! Horror!) and then told us why:

"The message of the Band Aid 30 song absolutely did not reflect what Africa is truly about and I started to question whether this was something I wanted to be a part of.
I pointed out to Geldof the lyrics I did not agree with, such as the lines “Where a kiss of love can kill you and there’s death in every tear”, and “There is no peace and joy in west Africa this Christmas”. For the past four years I have gone to Ghana at Christmas for the sole purpose of peace and joy. So for me to sing these lyrics would simply be a lie.
In truth, my objection to the project goes beyond the offensive lyrics. I, like many others, am sick of the whole concept of Africa – a resource-rich continent with unbridled potential – always being seen as diseased, infested and poverty-stricken. In fact, seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Africa."

003. Kim Kardashian got all naked and oily and photoshopped in an attempt to 'break the internet'. It was weird. Then everyone remembered what Tina Fey said about body image in her book, 'Bossypants', back in 2011:

"But I think the first real change in women's body image came when J-Lo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom -- Beyonce brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick, muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I'm totally messing with you. All Beyonce and J-Lo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits."

004. Creator, writer and star of 'Girls', Lena Dunham was already everyone's favourite person in 2014. Then she released a really great book, Not That Kind Of Girl, and everyone loved her even more:



“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.”

005. Hundreds of nude photographs of celebrities were 'leaked', and J Law didn't apologise for hers, hurrah:

“Every single thing that I tried to write made me cry or get angry. I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for. I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you... It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these Web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.”


006. Emma Watson made that incredible speech at the UN and got over 100,000 men to sign up for the HeForShe Commitment to gender equality in just a few days:



007. We remembered the words, songs, poems and actions of the incredible Maya Angelou, who sadly passed away in May:

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

008. Gillian Flynn's 'Gone Girl', was made into a film which somehow did it justice and was actually almost as good as the book (although apparently I'm not allowed to compare books to films... sorry Andy):

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl."

(See also: Interstellar, Boyhood, Birdman etc. etc.)

009. Robin Williams' tragic death reminded us of the importance of speaking about mental health:

"Silence should not be the legacy of a man who caused entire theatres to burst into laughter. In the wake of this tragedy, we must find the strength for an ongoing conversation about mental health, a topic that is too often addressed in whispers. Mental illness affects all of us. One in four adults and one in five children, at any point in time, have a diagnosable mental illness and one of two Americans will suffer one at some point in their lives. Suicide will claim one American every 13 minutes and 12 times that number will make an attempt each day. However, as is the case this week, we often only consider mental health issues when a celebrity loses his or her life or a dramatic event happens. As a society, we have to do better than this" (Nicholas Covino).




010. Jameela Jamil criticised Miley Cyrus' performance at the VMA's and then got a load of death threats from enraged 'Smilers' (Miley's fans, to you and I). Then she spoke out again because she's great:

"You have women using their sexuality themselves, they're marketing it themselves, they're actually taking the initiative to do it and they’re calling it an empowerment because they’re taking back the ownership of their bodies. But they’re not, they’re just further perpetuating something that was created BY MEN in this industry, and these men aren’t thinking, ‘Wow, they’re really powerful’; they’re thinking, ‘Hah. I don’t even have to take responsibility for this, everything I’ve wanted is now happening, freely, all the time and women are doing it themselves’. We are literally sabotaging ourselves... I think this overt and almost obsessive use of body parts and sexualisation and Miley Cyrus pleasuring herself sexually on stage or pretending to folate a fake Bill Clinton on stage to a concert that sold out to predominently 13 year olds... I don't think it's very helpful in the cause of empowering women and showing that we are more than just the flesh on our bones." 

011. 'No Makeup Selfies' suddenly happened and nobody could decide whether they were a good or bad thing. Millions raised for Cancer Research? Great. Most other things to do with the 'campaign'? Not so great.



I eventually posted one (hah) because it proved very hard to argue with £2 million (as it was at the time) and, you know, peer pressure. Do I regret it? Slightly:

"Despite claims to the contrary, women’s selfies are mostly about vanity and self-objectification. As evidenced by this campaign. This is a big part of the reason why it feels revolutionary or radical to post a selfie wherein our faces look “normal” rather than beautified. If selfies weren’t primarily about trying to look attractive then it wouldn’t really matter that women were posting uggo versions of their faces on the internet (which is not to say that I believe non-makeupped women are ugly, but rather that this is the message behind this campaign — women look unattractive without makeup, therefore it is “brave” to post no-makeup selfies).

Some feminists have argued that the campaign makes women who don’t wear makeup regularly or ever seem like freaks. But I think what’s more interesting is what it tells us about femininity and the way in which self-objectification has become a normal, everyday part of women and girls’ lives" (Meghan Murphy).



What moments made 2014 for you? I'm always looking for a good quote!


Backgrounds and image sources: 1, 2 & 3, 4 unknown, 5 (pin), 6


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