So the problem with high street’s ‘NYPD’ jumpers isn’t that it’s unoriginal..

I’ve never been good at writing or analyzing fashion. I hated textiles in college and couldn’t sew for the life of me, however I can spot a flaw in clothing trends as easily as the next person and recently I’ve seen tops, crop tops and jumpers in high street stores such as Primark and Topshop popping up with the ‘NYPD’ initials written on them. I remember my first thought was confusion as I saw one in Primark near the women’s clothing that normally has pop culture references on. I was scanning the tops with Disney on, the Harry Potter tops and came across one t-shirt with NYPD. I remember stalling for a bit and trying to figure out if this was a reference to a tv show or movie but all I could think of was just that it stood for New York Police Department. ‘That’ll never catch on’ I thought to myself, but I was wrong.

In my cinema job I noticed those t-shirts in different varieties picking up as a trend and even now I spotted a jumper with the initals on in Topshop, going at a hefty price of £35. Now it seems the jumper is very in trend with a lot of young girls buying it, but my main worry is do they know what the name stands for? Do they know the history of the NYPD and what these t-shirts and comfy jumpers endorse?

I stand by the activist movement of #BlackLivesMatter. I realise as a white ally I can’t speak for them and can only listen, but I personally feel people should have a think about what the NYPD has history for and listen to what happens and not buy these jumpers. There’s, hopefully, no money donated to them or such when these jumpers are purchased but the normalisation of the name still stands the more and more these jumpers are bought. People might buy them with the afterthought that they’re supporting officers who protect the people but that’s far from the truth. A main story to start with is the cruel death of Eric Garner. If you were not paying attention when this happened; basically on July 17th of 2014 police officers of NYPD approached Garner accusing him of selling loose cigarettes without tax stamps. Garner pulled his arms away briefly when the officer tried to pull his wrists behind his back to which Daniel Pantaleo (the officer and murderer) took Garner to the ground by his neck and pushed his face into the ground. It was recorded and seen by witnesses that Garner cried out that he couldn’t breathe repeatedly. Eric Garner then lost consciousness and the officers turned him onto his side to ease his breathing but did not give him CPR or help. They left him there until ambulances arrived and Eric Garner was pronounced dead around one hour later. Autopsies concluded Eric Garner’s death was via a chokehold from Daniel Pantaleo and was ruled as a homicide. The NYPC policy prohibits the use of chokeholds. In December 2014 it was decided by Richmond County grand jury that scumbag Pantaleo would not be punished for killing Eric Garner. This stirred many rightful protests and to this day is still an important story regarding the uprise of #BlackLivesMatter activists and protests.

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This isn’t and won’t be the only innocent black man, woman, youth or child killed by NYPD or police officers. I probably couldn’t even fit every victim from 2016 on this page let alone previous years. Research Mike Brown, Research Ferguson, Research Tamir Rice, Research Sandra Bland, Research Mya Hall, Bettie Jones, Philando Castile. In 2015 black young men were 9 times more likely to be killed by police officers than any other American. So here we are, at my main point – do you want to spend £35 on a jumper endorsing and putting the name of one of the many racist police departments in America?

NYPD also has a vast Wikipedia database of their previous misconducts including officers raping women when responding to 9/11 calls, drunk driving and hitting a pregnant woman and not helping, punishing someone for speaking their own language on the job.

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Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/racist-nypd-hit-pregnant-woman-car-didn-article-1.2742087
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Source: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2013/06/24/nypd-latina-officer-punished-for-speaking-spanish-on-job/

They do not deserve to have their names out there on trend. This is an exploitation of young girls to use them unknowingly as an endorsement and should be treated as such. It extremely upsets me that I’m only seeing these jumpers on young girls too. We need to talk about the problem of the gross misconduct, murder and oppression police officers in America are committing. Plus I would judge if my daughter or friend spent a whole £35 on a jumper endorsing such a thing. There is better independent fashion creators and clothing you could put your money too and endorse.

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A £30 Jumper of a bear on a dinosaur – what could be better? 

 

Or even better, save some cash and purchase a pin or patch to help raise awareness. This is the kind of thing that needs to be promoted on clothing. Not the initials of a police department.

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Check out LoveLttrsforLiberation on Etsy

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Thanks for reading guys, please spread this message about if you know anybody who loves shopping in high streets or the latest trend.

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#WheresRey

This Saturday I would have seen the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3 times. I am absolutely in love with the film – from it’s stunning cinematography to it’s amazing cast. When watching it I fell in love and grew greatly attached to the new 3 heroes. Especially Daisy Ridley’s character Rey. Rey is a scavenger who lives alone on the wasteland planet of Jakku, trying to get by and survive until whoever left her returns. She is an amazingly strong character which is perceived in her first few minutes on camera. A beautiful woman who’s appearance is very practical and in no way sexualised or overdone, which as a female audience member I really adored. Ridley’s natural face and scraped back hair left me in awe of her and has recently given me a lot more inspiration to try and get used to my own natural beauty.

(Warning: Spoilers as we go along) As the film progresses Rey is soon accompanied by reluctant hero Finn and small, cutesy droid BB-8. They embark on the risky adventure to get BB-8 back to the resistance headquarters before the First Order can get their hands on the information BB-8 stores. Rey’s importance and talents become very much clear when she steps into the Millennium Falcon. Her pilot skills come naturally and you can see the spark in Han Solo’s eyes when he spots the similarities between him and her. One of my favourite parts is when Han offers her a job with him and Chewbacca and she respectfully turns it down because she wants to return to Jakku. Han turns around and goes “It’s a shame, Chewie kind of likes you.” That part warmed my heart. When the team visit one thousand year old Maz Kanata – Rey comes across a very familiar weapon and when touched relives a lot of thunderous flashbacks. Maz confronts Rey and tells her that it once belonged to Luke Skywalker’s father, then Luke himself and now it calls to Rey. It takes a bit of the film for Rey to come to terms with her new powers and I for one, absolutely adored seeing her use jedi powers. Admittedly when I first saw teasers of The Force Awakens, I believed Finn would be the new jedi, but it makes me incredibly proud that the female lead became the jedi. Daisy Ridley plays Rey’s fear and anxiety of using the force so incredibly well and they definitely chose the perfect actress for Rey.

So on that point, as an avid lover of The Force Awakens and an audience member/consumer who looks up to Daisy Ridley’s character as almost an idol character I have to ask companies such as Disney and Hasbro – where is Rey?

Me and the boyfriend, Will, actually have seen that second set in our local Disney Store and we were both surprised at the fact the Disney set includes an unnamed Stormtrooper and First Order pilot – yet the main character Rey isn’t in there?! We discussed it could be due to trying to keep an equal ratio of hero characters to villains but even then – surely even Captain Phasma would be a more relevant villain character than an unnamed stormtrooper? Let’s just admit to the sexism here. Disney really didn’t want to put a female character in this set.

This isn’t the first time Disney’s messed up with what characters they put in their sets. When Age of Ultron came out, I believe Disney or a company released a set that included Black Widow’s motorbike she rides in the chase scene, however instead of making a Black Widow figurine – they replaced her with Captain America, who actually does not even ride the motorbike in that scene. What gives toy companies?!

As a consumer, in the future I will be buying a hell of a lot of Rey merchandise. If companies are convinced female characters will not sell, I think the audience should prove them wrong. These toys are not gendered and if you are purchasing Star Wars merchandise for a young boy – don’t be put off by Rey being included. Buy your son the badass, inspiring female scavenger. Don’t let these companies believe that Rey, Gamora, Black Widow or any female character won’t sell. Please tweet to Disney and Hasbro and tell them that their choices of not including Rey is completely sexist and as a consumer you will not stand for it.

The hashtag being used on twitter is #WheresRey

Thanks for reading,

Helena x

Some of my favourite video game ladies!

So today I joined the absolutely lovely Jemma‘s twitter ‘Girl Gang’ group and am absolutely chuffed and excited to be involved in a great idea that will bring girl bloggers together to unite, discuss and make friendships! Definitely go and check out Jemma’s blog at www.dorkface.co.uk!

On the subject of awesome, empowering girls I decided to make a post about one of my favourite mediums and the characters I love! I feel like I may accidentally miss out some of them and they’re in no particular order, so definitely comment any characters you think are honourable mentions!

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Elizabeth Comstock – Bioshock Infinite

Ah, my sweet, dear Elizabeth. Definitely a character I knew I was going to love and appreciate when I first watched the past E3 demos of Bioshock Infinite. The Bioshock series is one of my favourite game series and even though out of all the editions to the series, Infinite has it’s flaws and I believe they may of somewhat held Elizabeth’s involvement in mechanics back a bit, I absolutely love her. You’re introduced to her as your typical Disney princess in a castle trapped from the big world with the naivety of what is out there. She sits in her rooms reading and makes tears to see Paris. She dreams of the big, wild world but is not entirely sure of what the plans her father, Comstock, dictates for her future. But soon she helps the protagonist Booker make his way through Columbia trying to figure out why she was trapped in her ‘towers’ with her powers and her amazing knowledge. She is such a strong, intelligent character and I think it is great that Irrational made her the playable character in chapter two of Burial At Sea.

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Tetra from The Legend of Zelda

Admittedly, I have still not finished Wind Waker, which I am ashamed to say because it’s such an amazing looking game and the art style is so lovely and inspiring. If I was to ever be able to 3D model and texture in a style similar I’d be so happy. However Tetra had to make my list because she is a character I also fell in love with straight away when playing. She is very outspoken and her devilish smirk is adorable. I can’t wait to continue playing and see how her story develops.

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Chie Satonaka from Persona 4

Persona 4 is my favourite game of all time. I cannot recommend it enough and you’re damn right if you think I’ll probably make a Persona 5 review when it comes out. Chie is a ‘tomboy’ish girl from a small town called Inaba with a love for kung-fu, red meat and fighting for justice alongside her friends. Before gaining her ‘persona’, Chie has an inferiority complex towards her childhood best friend Yukiko and feels that she is not feminine enough to fit in at school and is jealous of all the attention Yukiko recieves. This then stems for her to internally gain satisfaction from Yukiko’s need to rely on Chie for confidence and support. Chie finally confronts her ‘shadow’ (the manifestation of these internal feelings) and overcomes them whilst gaining confidence and knowing she should not compare herself to her best friend and has her own strengths. Chie is an incredibly admirable character and also extremely funny and adorable and I loved following her stories in Persona 4.

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Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa (WARNING: Spoilers Ahead)

Now Junko is hardly a character to look up to and class as a role model. Considering she murders a lot of people, manipulates classmates into murdering other people and each other in a game of life or death and basically causes the destruction of mankind. But she is so well written and such a unique character that I am drawn to her and just had to put her on this list. It’s been a while since I played Dangan Ronpa or Super Dangan Ronpa 2 but she is an extremely intelligent villain that creates her plan for the ‘despair of mankind’ purely for despair. Not in revenge, not over other characters. She’s just cold-blooded and thrives off despair. She even owns up as a ‘loser’ to her own game at the end of game one and takes part in an execution because she is so full of energy from the despair. She’s a mad and interesting character and you won’t find another character exactly like her.

Some honourable mentions also include Snow White from The Wolf Among Us, Ellie from The Last Of Us, Mikan Tsumiki from Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Nami from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life and Cassandra from Dragon Age Inquisition.

What female video characters do you love? Have a comment below!

Helena x x

#notinmyname

Yesterday Parliament voted that Britain will join the coalition of nations that are sending airstrikes to Syria. The MPs vote was 397 to 223 in favour of sending RAF Tornadoes to Syria. Personally I am disgusted by the decisions of our government and hope David Cameron and all the swines that voted in favour of it realise the blood on their hands. Foreign secretary Philip Hammond warned us that these airstrikes won’t even be a small amount of time. This could go on for a year. Our government are now murderers and we have to sit back and watch them make these terrible impulsive decisions.

Yes what happened to Paris is unforgivable. All the innocent people who lost their lives, I can’t even imagine what they went through – but bombing Syria is no better than what happened to Paris.

Remember last night when you went to bed. Remember putting your head on the pillow and being able to relax and doze off.
Imagine being a child in Syria. Imagine trying to fall asleep but tossing and turning cause for all you know tomorrow morning you might not wake up.

Imagine not being able to play in the streets and wander without a care in the world. Imagine feeling the sickly goosebumps of fear crawl all over you every time you hear a loud noise near you.

Imagine panicking every time you send your kids off to see their friends cause you might not see them return. Imagine wondering if your kiss to your significant other when they go out might be the last ever.

Imagine not having the comfort of the home you’re in now. Imagine not having your own unique room with it’s heating and blankets and electricity. Imagine not having the TV or Internet to know what’s going on. Imagine having to run away in the dead of night to try and save your own life because people are trying to kill you even though you’ve done nothing wrong.

Imagine seeing young, innocent children crippled and dying on the streets but you don’t have time to do anything about it because escaping the danger-zone you live in is your main priority because if you stay around for too long you could be next to be trapped in the rubble of a bomb.

Imagine not having your hearing or sight or even mobility because of the violence that is a daily occurrence in your country. Imagine not being able to hear your children laugh or play but instead having to watch them scream and cry out of fear but not knowing what to do because your ears are painfully ringing and your limbs are worn down by the injuries.

Imagine finally escaping the danger and war in your country to find out that some countries consider you dangerous. Your whole life you’ve been attacked and bombed by superiors even though all your life you’ve done nothing but try to survive and look after your family. Imagine it.

People in Syria don’t have to imagine this. They live it.

I hope anybody who is in favour of innocent people being bombed in Syria remember to love and be grateful for the safety and comfort they have right now. Because in other parts of the worlds they can’t have it for even a second.

I am not proud to be represented by David Cameron right now. His actions are not in my name.

Thanks for reading

Helena

why I fully respect Nicki Minaj’s callout at the VMA’s

Admittedly I am a huge media leech. I try not to be because I understand how troublesome and fake the media can be sometimes and how much they will try to control what you see, however thanks to Twitter, Tumblr etc I tend to find out about latest things happening with celebrities. This morning I had the fun of waking up to read about how Nicki Minaj had absolutely “dragged” Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMA’s the previous night (or day? timezones are confusing to my small brain).

Now first of all what makes me feel conflicted is seeing every media outlet or even young fans on social media going “Nicki Minaj clawed Miley Cyrus last night”, “Nicki Minaj attacks Miley”, “yes Nicki drag her”. In my own opinion, yes I was mentally cheering Nicki on much like that last sentence, however it’s smart to see there’s already a problem with media calling it a “drag”/”insult”/”attack”. The word we need to use is “call out”.

When you “call out” someone, it tends to mean that you point out verbally and make someone aware of a mistake they have made or something in their actions/behavior that inflicts badly on them or others. Recently Miley Cyrus had the whole topic of Nicki’s tweets talking about the racism the industry is giving out to black/POC artists right under everyone’s noses. For some reason Cyrus didn’t understand what Nicki was talking about, and decided to go on to say that Nicki’s attitude was ‘angry’ and that she was getting upset over not winning an award.
First of all to anyone who is questioned about a colleague or other person’s stress about something is to not make assumptions – when I started my current job, my supervisor gave us the advice “Making assumptions makes an ass out of you and me.”, quite cliché advice but someone should definitely tell Miley it.

As a white young adult, I cannot repeat Nicki Minaj’s strong Twitter speech about industry sexism and racism as I do not understand it or live it deeply as she and other POC artists do. I can only encourage others to listen. However Miley’s attitude just reinforced what Nicki was saying in her rant – white artists who do not educate themselves and instead shut down POC artists are contributing to the industry’s racism. When Nicki Minaj called her out with that amazing line – “Miley, what’s good?”, Miley had the cheek to shut her down with “yeah we’re all in this industry, we all know they manipulate sh*t”.

Miley needs to realise, if she knows deep down how much the industry ‘manipulate sh*t’, what good did she think would come from ignorantly discussing another artist’s views in an interview without knowing anything about what Nicki was talking about. Miley has used so much tone policing towards Nicki Minaj during these couple of days and the fact that she even continued to act all innocent and the ‘voice of reason’ when she was called out was kind of appalling.

Nicki Minaj is one of the music industry artists I look up to, a lot of the media will not show how she told her female fans “don’t you be out there depending on those snotty-nosed boys.” or how she invited Taylor Swift to join her on stage to express their reconciled friendship after being caught up in the media. Or her Instagram post showing her love for fellow artists Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Britney Spears. I see Nicki Minaj as a great follower of “do no harm, but take no shit.” and that’s why if anything her call out towards Miley Cyrus is amplifying my respect for her.

Miley Cyrus is not ignorant. She constantly appropriates black culture, which was extremely noticeable at the VMA’s when she wore blonde dread extensions in her hair. Let’s not forget the times she has used POC dancers as background props essentially and has stolen the ‘twerk’ dance move claiming it as her signature move when twerking is a dance move originating from West Africa. She is in the wrong here, however if people don’t wake up and understand the respect Nicki deserves for this call out, the media is going to continue reinforcing the stereotype of ‘angry black woman’ on Nicki, which is completely untrue.

So that is my view on it, Miley Cyrus really needs to wake up and educate herself.

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x