Buffy in Scotland – Choice, Women’s Power and Independence

buff4x

About ten years have passed since the final episode of the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired on TV. Series creator Joss Whedon, who spoke in the Glasgow Film Theatre at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, showed that pop culture can be non-sexist, a profound social commentary, deeply philosophical and entertaining at the same time. Buffy, Willow, and many other protagonists continue to be role models for generations of young women. Do we all need to become superheroes to change the world around us? With the economic downturn, climate change and biosphere decline threatening our livelihoods, it seems like that at times. But with the Scottish referendum comes a rare opportunity to envision change on a larger scale, by choosing a different path – a path which is not set on destruction, but on renewal, and on cherishing the things that matter to improve the quality of life for all. As a tribute to the ten year anniversary of the closing of the series, let’s imagine what Buffy would make of the Scottish Independence campaign…

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Unnecessary Union Jacks in Scotland: Uncovering Subliminal Advertising

Big thanks to @CSbungo for the idea for this blog post and for alerting me to many unnecessary Union Jacks in Scotland!

Just as a starter for 10: the actual development of this post was sparked by the latest Pepperberry women’s clothing catalogue which arrived on my mat a couple of weeks ago. I’ve started off the collection of #unnecessaryunionjacks images on the Village Aunties Pinterest board with pictures from that catalogue. For example (and yes, every model in the entire catalogue is white and thin, surprise surprise), see the picture below. I’d like your help to gather more examples; read on!

Source: bravissimo.com via Morag on Pinterest


So. The ramping up of British nationalism over the past few years has been palpable across the UK, and a flood of Union Jacks and related imagery has been evident. Clearly it serves a number of conservative, capitalist and reactionary purposes, not just that of trying to convince Scottish people not to vote for independence. However, the ubiquity of Union Jacks in Scotland feels extra intrusive now that we have an independence referendum coming.

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Thoughts on Etsy’s “Hobo Wedding”

It seems like this couple:

http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/handmade-weddings-depression-era-hobo/

managed to get the internet up in arms after over their cultural appropriation of depression era poverty as their wedding theme.

This reminds me of something that happened when I was planning my own wedding.

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Kenwood House: Dream Venue

Hampstead Heath is a beautiful big park in London, which I just adore. At the top of the park is Kenwood House, an old manor house which is now run as museum and restaurant.

Kenwood House is licensed to perform marriages and I loved the idea of having my wedding there. I could picture myself coming out of this big white building, family and friends around me and looking out over rolling parkland at all the families picnicking and the kids running around. I just thought it would be perfect.

Hiring a manor house does not come cheap but I was encouraged to see that they also do a reception package in the kitchen, which is a good sized room, and can be decorated in something called “shabby chic”: which seems to involve a lot of meadowy flowers in mismatched vintage milk jugs and oldie worldie style table cloths and doiles and so on.

I checked the prices on the kitchen wedding and predictably it was still way out of our budget so I put the idea aside, set myself down to organise something more realistic and thought no more about it.
No more that is, until my Mum mentioned that she’d seen the package advertised with the slogan “Have your wedding below stairs.”  She was genuinely freaked out and literally couldn’t imagine why anyone would find the idea attractive. Her exact words were: “My whole life is about trying to get away from life “below stairs!” I never want to go back.”
I should point out here that my Mum is from the post war baby boomer generation and benefited from the social mobility of that period. She has never worked as a servant and, given the times she grew up in, it would have been deeply surprising thing if she had. 

Her own mother however (my grandmother), was “in service” from the age of 12 and clearly, the experience has cast a long enough shadow that the idea of celebrating anything “below stairs” still carries with it a sense of horror and shame. Even for the next generation. Even 70 years later. And yet this response had not, for a second occurred to me.

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In case you were wondering: here's how it turned out

What’s interesting to me here is the difference made by that one additional generation, that can transmute a grossly insensitive act of cultural appropriation into a perfectly acceptable wedding theme. An object of aspiration even. You really have to laugh at capitalism sometimes. They would have had me break the bank to buy a sanitised pastiche of my own family history.
Instead of which, we had a quaint registry office ceremony and pub reception, incorporating all the authentic customs of the 21st century white working class. It was just just so cute. I can’t wait to see a knock off version at 4 times the equivalent price in 70 years time.

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From The ‘New Man’ To The ‘The Bro Code’

So no one told you life was gonna be this way. Thankfully we have the media to spell out for us the way it is going to be. Whether we like it or not. The images of masculinity in television have changed quite dramatically since the 90’s. In order to demonstrate what I mean I will use the globally wide syndicated show ‘Friends’, in contrast I will also be looking at the more recent show ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

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