Friday, 30 December 2011


The title of my Alevel art project. Though I think much better in written terms, so I could really do with getting my thoughts down here before I attempt to move onto some actual art type things.

So, I began by looking at 'growth' and then distortion; as in, the opposing force of natural growth being people unnaturally distorting themselves. I'm looking the why and the how, particularly with regards to culture. Why is it that in some cultures, people distort themselves so as to go along with their culture whereas in western cultures people distort to rebel and stand out. Take for example, tribal neck stretching in Africa. This began once as a cultural display of wealth, people adding rings tightened around their necks gradually throughout their lives solely to go along with the cultural tradition. Although, in recent years this has instead become a source of income for the tribes, as they are almost demanded by local governments to persue the distortion to attract tourism. Whatever the reason, it is an extreme distortion and pressure to place the human body under.

Compare this with western culture- obsessed with plastic surgery, piercings tatoos; and i'm sure many more ways in which we change ourselves. However, this form of distortion seems to be more about a need to stand out, and let our 'individuality' stand out. It seems that in a society so guided by media and materialism that we seem to view people mainly on appearances. We see someone with piercings and tatoos and build up an image of rebellion, and perhaps consider them to be someone who conciously declines social norms. Why is it therefore, that we feel the need to do this; and change or distort ourselves to do so? And what is the better cause- Change to conform, or change to stand out.

Ultimately I feel it comes down to how we value one another, and how much we value personality over appearance. Or better yet, how SOCIETY encourages us to value these things. Do we change ourselves on the outside to change and even hide who we are on the inside? Perhaps we buy clothes, apply makeup, dye our hair, or get piercings and tatoos to create a facade of who we want to be. An opposing idea could instead be that we do infact like who we are, and so desperately want this to shine through in out appearance. I prefer this one. It's much more optimistic, and one that I consider that I do myself. We fashion ourselves on the outside to make damn sure that people know who we are on the inside. We accept that people make initial judgements, so we need to grab their attention and introduce ourselves aesthetically before we can do so personally. Whether this is the 'right way' is regardless- it is the necessary way, if we want to adhere the workings of this society.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Joy of Teen Sex.

Sorry guys, but this won't be a post about teen sex, inevitably a joyful (awkward, troubling) activity. This is more my thoughts on the Channel 4 program. 'The Joy of Teen Sex' is yet another graphic, intimate and indepth look into teenage life, in a way that can only be described as an examination. I use this word to denote the scientific nature in which these programs approach the social or sexual aspects of adolescence.

Partly this comes from my disliking of science. I am an arty person. Always will be. Though even I am willing to admit that we do need to learn about biology and the way things work. This became even more evident when watching the program the other day, where one teenager asked "If you spin a girl round after cumming in her, can she still get pregnant?". Now, I don't claim to be overly experienced in this whole area, but it is morons like these that make me feel like a guru.

In this respect, I do appreciate what these programs do achieve; education. It seems that some people aren't capeable of common sense, or in some instances, that the information we need simply isn't available. Therefore these programs offer a way for us to find things out that we daredn't ask parents, teachers, doctors; or perhaps even friends. 'The Sex Education Show' seems to be a great example of this. Granted, it's aimed at a slightly lower age bracket to myself, though it does what it says on the tin.

So, to the program in hand- The Joy of Teen Sex. Yes, in some ways it provides similar educational functions, though to be quite frank it takes it a bit too far. Ironically it is me apologising for being frank, when the program has no sense of the concept. I only hope that I am not alone in my feelings of inadequacy and lack of sexual variety when watching the program. Which basically translates to "No, I am not having rampant sex with well adept men, or using vibrators on a daily basis". Because, according to the program, this is what anyone over the age of concent should be doing. So long as it is protected, it is fine!

This is not in any way to put down those who are far more adventurous than myself. I can appreciate an active and exciting sex life, and the benefits of how it can make you feel in general. Though do we really need another program to take away every ounce of romance and intimacy that comes with it? Call me an idealist, but I consider sex, love, intimacy, passion, respect and emotions to be all interlinked (and by this I don't mean I use sex to obtain love or respect). Therefore, the bullet-point, tick-list criteria of a 'good sex life' presented by the program puts on a definite pressure to match up; though this seems to go against it's aim of inclusion. With this pressure it seems that the spontinaety and intensity of emotions that are part of a sexual experience are shoved aside with thoughts of "am I doing this right? Is this how long it should last?"

To conlcude, it seems the world is going a little overboard on sex. And I say this as a big fan of 'Sex and the City', where the indepth erotic experiences of four women are completely unavoidable- moreover quite educational or relateable. However, it seems this constant stream of education, education, education is becomig too academic. So long as we know how to do it safely regarding pregnancy, emotions and physicality (no acrobatics for me please), can we not apply the old "learn on the job" tactic?; if you'll excuse the pun. Or if not, anecdotes from friends have never ceased to provide the top level of education. Remember: Reliable sources. No Wikipedia.