Monday, June 3, 2013

My mental issues and charity concerts (but hear me out)

Although it's never been confirmed, I'm pretty sure I have social anxiety or at the very least, I'm pretty introverted. Those are two things that are often misunderstood by people who do not experience them and they are definitely stigmatized.

Social anxiety isn't something that I can just "get over". It's not phase that I put myself through, it's a mental condition. Some degrees are worse than others, of course. For example, today I was going to do a bunch of calling around to places to talk with the manager to see if they're hiring for the summer, what time I should come in tomorrow, etc. The more I thought about it, the more I didn't want to do it. In fact, if I can I'd like to avoid it at all costs. I probably will end up calling some places, but there's a constant fear of ridicule or messing something up when I talk to people. Another way my social anxiety manifests is being in large groups of people and thinking that everyone is staring. A bit egotistical, maybe, but for someone who has social anxiety it's a real, and terrifying fear. Those are just the things that bother me, and it's something that I've had for my whole life. Other people can have lesser degrees, or are more bothered by it, but please, don't ever say to someone who has social anxiety, "you just have to go outside" or "oh, get over it". Sorry - we can't.

Introvertedness is a personality trait that also gets the short end of the stick. People who are introverted do not hate people, but they have to spend a good time alone after being around people for a while. People who are introverted enjoy their own company and need the time to recuperate after social situations. It's not that they hate social situations, but rather that after a long period of time, self-care and appreciation is needed.

So now that that's out of the way, I figure I'll go on a feminist rant. If you don't like feminism, or rants, feel free to stop here. I'll even give you the chance to do it.

I'm telling you

No rants or feminism before this point.

Are you ready? 

Well, if you're still here then you've been warned.

Everyone else who enjoys feminism and rants...*waves invitingly* hello.

Alright, I've given fair warning. Last night, I watched the Chime for Change concert that broadcast from London June 1st. I had high expectations, considering it was about female empowerment and education and sex trafficking and so on.

I had to stop watching after 20 minutes.

JLo opened, with a medley of some of her songs, dancing provocatively around the stage, etc. She then did "On The Floor" which isn't quite about female empowerment, in my book. In fact, it's about men objectifying women as they dance in clubs. Also, she wasn't even singing. She didn't even try. But that's whatever. Now, I appreciate and value the ability of women to express themselves whatever way they want. Want to be sexy? Go ahead. Want to do pole dancing? As long as you weren't forced, go ahead. Want to cover all over? Be my guest.

I just don't think JLo quite captured the idea of the event, and neither did the organizers that arranged for the artists. Ellie Goulding preformed next, and I really like her. However, she did "I need your love", which, if you listen to the lyrics, is about a woman being dependent on a man for her self worth. I mean, I admit, I've jammed to that song multiple times - it's CATCHY. But I'm also old enough that the lyrics aren't internalized for me. People don't think about this stuff - that young people listen to these songs and they actually internalize the lyrics. Also, it was totally the wrong song for a concert about FEMALE EMPOWERMENT. I need your love? No thank you. I love myself, and that's enough. If I get a boyfriend, I won't stop loving myself (this is speaking from a hypothetical standpoint, of course, because I do have a boyfriend. I was being all the other women in the world...whatever. You know what I mean!). 

Bottom line: Women shouldn't have to value themselves based on other people. 

I went on a rant to my boyfriend about how crap the concert was, and he said "of course; that's the reason I hate charity concerts. They're just a reason to bring big names together and they don't do anything."

DING DING DING! That was EXACTLY what was happening. I suppose we could argue the ethics of it:

"But Karen, it's still promoting a cause"

"But Karen, the people who are going to it are learning about the issues"

and so on.

And yes, this is true. BUT, what's the point of having a concert about female empowerment if the artists themselves don't empower women? Really. REALLY. And yes, it drew a large crowd. A huge crowd, as a matter of fact. Why were the people there, though? Were they there because of the cause, or because it was a concert of all their favorite artists and celebrities? Do the ends really justify the means? I'll leave that up to you. In some ways, I don't think they do. I think the concert could have been better organized with artists that actually mean something. They probably would have gotten a smaller crowd, for sure, but it would have been a concert that actually, truly embodied the meaning of female empowerment.

Now, that rant wasn't so bad, was it? 

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