29 September 2014

First of all, let me say that I'm not buying when a celebrity ( = influence and many, many views) is addressing an issue like this. Secondly, she is an actress, yet her voice was trembling all the time. "Oh, but she is really invested and really cares for that cause, that was real emotion!", you will say. I'm not entirely sure. I repeat, she's an actress.

I liked her speech for the real issues it emphasised, though: feminism getting a bad name because of bad feminists, men being asked to suppress their feminine side etc. As a woman with a very strong masculine side, I enjoy my personality as a whole and would never suppress its masculine traits. I also support men in becoming 'whole'. This shouldn't mean ditching their 'manly' traits. Yes, I stand for 'girly' and 'manly'. I love these. These will keep on going until we no longer have people born with penises and people born with vaginas, but have a hybrid of the two.

Food for thought: if both genders are being discriminated and feminism got a bad name through numerous bad actions, why we call it feminism and not egalitarianism?

Like many have said, feminism is defined not by nice quotes, nice dreams and speeches, but about the deeds of feminist individuals and groups.

What deeds do we have in recent years? Extreme feminists have spread hate, intolerance, violence. Unfortunately, this kind of feminists are much more numerous than the good ones like Emma might be. Most feminist I've known rejoice when a man is suffering, call a woman bad names when she disagrees with them, hate religion (but hide behind a speech of "accept anyone, any race, religion etc."), hate anyone who dares to disagree, spread false statistics, beat up people, break down stuff, objectify themselves, support murder of human beings in the womb and call them as their own body and much more.

More Wrong Things in Emma's Speech

  • Her girlfriends dropped out of their sports teams because they didn't want to appear muscular - Wasn't it THEIR choice, Emma? Why do you insists on all other people doing things your way? Yes, feminists do this all the time. God forbid you want to do things differently, like choosing how you want to look!

  • She was sexualised in photos - Then why did she accept those photo shoots?!

My Very Recent Experience with a Feminist

Just go on Tumblr or dig up Ukrainian feminism to see more negative feminist examples than you can take. I'm going to entertain you with the latest one in my life.

House party, numerous guests of various skin colours, beliefs and so on. Everyone's having fun and discussing about the things that unite us. One woman decides to make herself heard and, without having been in any way provoked to do so, starts avertising herself loudly as 'feminist'. Loudly. Repeatedly. In the company of very decent men. She starts poisoning the party atmosphere with her gender issues, with her false statistics (one in every four women is raped?!? who taught you maths?!). Her body is muscular and her voice is rough, coarse. Next to her, I see women who truly honour their femininity. Soft, gentle, loving and kind, smiling, talking positively. She, on the other hand, insisted to turn the party into a fiery feminist speech that was never required. Some of the men left early. so did I.

Another shocking claim she made was about phrases that speak bad of women's bodily parts (such as when you tell someone, "You're a c*nt"). She complained how only women's bodily parts are given a bad meaning. Well, I can't even start telling how wrong her opinion was! How about "Don't be a d*ck"? Ohh, perhaps we are allowed to talk badly about the male body? Also, it is a cultural thing. In my country, people speak badly only of male genitalia, while women genitalia names are used to describe something as 'cool'.

The whole thing left me wondering why do feminists always have to be so strident and stand out in inappropriate situations. That gathering was made of Christians, Hindus, non-religious individuals, vegetarians, omnivores, white, black, straight and maybe gay people. None of these ever felt the need to speak about their options. The feminist did.

The Feminists I Know

I wish I lived in Emma Watson's fairytale. Sadly, the feminists I know are awful, most of them. Also the feminist 'men'. They are only hoping to have more of a change to get some p*ssy by siding with feminists. I've known them all too well. A confident man needs no such gimmicks. He loves and respects women without sporting a fancy label. Also, a confident, proud woman doesn't need to beg for men's help to become equal. She simply becomes.

3 September 2014

"The play makes me want to tear my own flesh off my bones",
said wonderful actor Richard Armitage in an honest talk about The Crucible

Admirers of Richard Armitage and fans of The Crucible play as rendered by Yael Farber were invited to join a one-of-a-kind event in September, right at the theatre, less than 2 weeks before the final performance.

Ticket sales were announced sometime during summer and all seats were occupied in the blink of an eye. For some reason I didn't even try to attend (having understood that only Old Vic community members would be entitled to tickets) but fate eventually stepped in and the glorious RA fandom provided me with a ticket. Even better, it came from a friend whom I've met earlier in the season, when seeing the play.

I arrived at The Old Vic at 4:30pm and there was already a happy crowd of adoring fans. Having been around for many times, I can tell this round it felt so different: a special vibe, different from the performance time. A very happy day, with smiling faces all around and very obvious excitement. Those people... I am sure I must have crossed virtual paths with many of them on social networks... and here we are, we meet, we greet - those of us who planned to do so or who are able to recognise each other.

Time to enter the building, take a few more photos with the fancy mirror made famous by the RA himself and go to our seats (for me - right in the middle of the Lilian Baylis circle - not bad!). Right next to me, there was a man who got his notebook ready and started taking notes. I did the same and I am glad I did, because the chat transcripts have missed on a lot of important things.

We witness the final preparations. Cameras are in place (hooray!) and there are 2 red velvet cushion chairs in the middle of the stage, with a small table between them. In the audience, I can see people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s...

The well-known humble nature of the beloved actor showed right from the start. There was no kind of announcement, nothing whatsoever - Richard just stepped in and had our spontaneous applause. His presence, the smile and tone of his voice, as well as the audience laughing, gasping and so on, made it feel just like a meeting between friends - hundreds of friends. It was an intimate feeling, something that could only resemble my experience at The Hobbit film premiere in Madrid.

The following come straight from my notes and please forgive if there are any mistakes:

Richard describes the play's evolution "like watching a child grow".

He was "shocked" (in a positive and inspiring way) by the audience reacting (through laughter or breathing). "The audience feeds the play".

To him, it was all about "being at the right time in the right place: the director, the Old Vic..."

The flashbacks: "I was a 20-year old actor who knew nothing about life".

"I was in a musical, in Cats, but I actually grew up and knew what I wanted to do".

"The play makes me want to tear my own flesh off my bones" (while it was still in talks and was questioned on how he felt about the role)

It was "a privilege to take the character to that place" (and who could have done it better?)

"When he calls for God at the end... I feel an ascent".

There were also the fun bits - for example at a matinee he had a bit of carrot from Elizabeth's stew stuck in his throat.

Confessed how scared he was during rehearsals, complaining to Yael about having to do the play even twice in a day. Often said, "I don't know if I can do another one" but "the play takes you there".

The play will keep evolving to the last performance.

"I find it disrespectful to just shut him (Proctor) off" at the end of the play, so Proctor stays with him.

Went to Salem, milked cows, cleaned dirt, made a wooden axe.

"I listen to a lot of classical music". Also plays weird music in his dressing room, which "keeps people away". Then stays in the dark for the last 15 minutes before the play starts.

Has the play changed him? "I suppose I already feel changed (...) Proctor has opened a part of myself that has frightened me before but no longer is".

There was only time to answer two fan questions, but we were promised another chance to ask more through Twitter. All in all, on this 2nd and sunny day of September I enjoyed such a friendly, relaxed atmosphere, with the audience laughing heartily so often... a truly fulfilling event. It lasted for approximately 45 minutes and afterwards some of us went to have a glass of wine downstairs in The Pit Bar. We literally couldn't contain our emotions. The excitement pushed us to share things on Twitter. Funnily, Richard himself was doing that, too - in the same building, only in different rooms, of course. While we were writing our updates, he also tweeted, which was lovely.

Many thanks to all who made this possible and to the dear ladies I met - you know who you are! I wish I had spent some time with those whom I didn't know that well, but time isn't always on our side!