Sunday, August 9, 2015

Castle Ideas :: Towards Equality :: Smashing Sexism Should Not Be About The Politics

It's great to see that, in recent years, the world has been taking sexism seriously again, after a hiatus of several decades. Discussion of the topic is totally mainstream nowadays, unlike just 10 years ago, where you'll find such discussion often restricted to particular circles, with the question 'is feminism irrelevant now' more likely to be found in mainstream discourse.

Smashing sexism, once and for all, should be a team effort. We should all be in it together. And we need everyone to participate passionately too. Things like smashing the glass ceiling and ending domestic violence are difficult long term campaigns that require a whole of society effort. In light of this, Emma Watson's invitation of the boys to come on board was really inspirational. We should all do something similar whenever we can.

On the other hand, political division would be unhelpful for the team effort. I know we are all passionate about some things, but you really don't have to agree with a certain brand of politics to be part of team smashing sexism. Some feminists strongly believe in affirmative action, but the more libertarian among us find that idea suspect and prefer we get there on merit. It's okay to have differences like these - affirmative action or not, it should not distract from our common goals. Another good example is differing views on abortion. There's the debate between pro-life feminists and pro-choice feminists, and even amongst the pro-choice there's the question of whether it should just be 'safe and legal' or 'safe legal and rare'. Again, this just mirrors the general political debate on the topic, and should not be a cause to disunite us.

Smashing sexism is a team effort. Don't let our personal politics get between us.

Download the full song here.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

View On Culture :: Is it the Kardashian and Jenner World? It's not!

A few days ago, my friend remarked that it must be the Kardahsian and Jenner world out there now. I mean, she probably has a point, as a recent list of the most hotly discussed celebrities had a few of them in the top 10. And even without trying to 'keep up' with them, I've somehow managed to know that Caitlyn Jenner is being criticised for her views on social programs, and that there are reports of Kim Kardashian's next child being named Easton West.

But all that's because too many people have developed an obsession with this particular family, who, besides from being very rich, offer nothing too special for our culture, I believe. That's why I refuse to tune into their world. And I'm not missing out, either. Kim Kardshian and her sister Khloe are no more interesting than the many young women doing VLogs on Youtube, for example. And for all the media interest in Caitlyn, there are many others in a similar situation doing VLogs too. (Except for the fact that they don't usually criticise social programs.) In fact, YouTube is the best source of reality TV out there, and in the age of YouTube, I really don't understand the appeal of the Kardashians' shows.

For those who want to live in the Kardahsian and Jenner world, they can feel free to tune in. But for me, I'm going to continue to opt out, as the world out there is so much more interesting.

Download the full song here.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Castle Ideas :: Cultural Improvement :: Don't Like What's Out There? Add Your Own!

People often complain about what's on offer in popular culture land out there. It's too cliche. It's not inclusive enough. It's too vulgar. It's unimaginative. I know the feeling, as personally I have been morally outraged by many offerings out there in the past, even calling for boycotts sometimes (remember Miley Cyrus and Wrecking Ball)?

But outrage is rarely effective (as my Wrecking Ball example shows). A more constructive response is to create your own alternative vision of culture instead. If you don't like what's being offered, create an alternative. Making your own music, TV show or even movie has never been easier. It will help make culture richer, and help to achieve your cultural vision in a way that negativity simply never will.

As for me, I still believe the vulgarity of Wrecking Ball is not called for, and in my world, music videos should be much more 'family friendly'. Trust me, there is something refreshing about wholesome culture, it just feels so good. But I have learned that outrage and boycott don't really work. Therefore, I am determined to make my own culture, and I hope that we can show the world that there's a better way, by being constructive rather than negative.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Life Journey Ideas :: How Awkward Taylor Swift Can Inspire Your Life

Taylor Swift is one of the most popular cultural icons of these times, so we can probably learn something from her. Unlike many more 'perfect' stars, one of her major appeals is her awkwardness. In fact, there are whole blogs out there celebrating her awkward dancing, for example.

So why do people love seeing awkward Taylor? I think the answer lies in her willingness to try, even though she is not perfect. Too many people only do things when they can only do it perfectly. But that isn't what life should be about! Taylor has earned our respect by her willingness to try different things, even if they may look awkward by others' standards. What's even more important is that she doesn't seem to care how others see her. That earns her a double layer of respect.

Is there a lesson for our lives here? I bet there is.

Download the full song here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Castle Ideas :: Family Values :: Commitment in the New Age

Relationships between people have become less permanent over the past few decades, and this has let to a lot of pain and misery for many people. Is life meant to be this way? I don't think so. I think we have lost the culture of commitment, and we need to restore it.

The traditional marriage relationship serves as a good inspiration. Two people make their vows to each other, and commit for life (for the record I don't agree with the government usurption of marriage in the 1700s, turning it into a legal contract)*. When people took this more seriously, relationships often did last for life. On the other hand, many of my friends don't believe in marriage nowadays. That's okay too, each person should be able to find the path of commitment most suitable for them. What's important is that traditional and non-traditional couples alike can take commitment seriously, and try their best to make it life-long.

Restoring commitment culture is essential for the future survival of our communities. It should be a high priority in today's world, and it's also something we can work together towards.

*Whilst I totally believe in marriage, my strong view is that the vows to keep each other for life is what makes a marriage. Therefore, I see 'private marriages' as equally dignified and meaningful, and I believe anyone who isn't a fascist should also do so. Google 'marriage privatization' to learn more.

Download the full song here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The New TaraElla Show

The new TaraElla show is coming soon.

New features will include:
*Tara's Fighting Ideas - life is a fight to get through sometimes. I will share my ideas on how to get through this fight called life, and we will fight our way to a great future together. With the right attitude, we can conquer any crisis.
*Tara's Castle Ideas - I do not have a physical castle somewhere in Europe, but I have a castle of culture and values. Like every other princess, she will defend and maintain well her castle.
*Tara's Audition Series - I am preparing to audition for musical shows. But it will take some practice. You, my audience, are invited to be part of this journey of preparation.

Plus, of course, all your favorite entertainment news and opinion, which will still be a large part of the new format.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I Don't Want to Hear About Selena Gomez (or Anybody Else) 'Getting Fat' Anymore. Okay?

In recent weeks I have seen way too many reports of Selena Gomez 'getting fat'. At first, it was just on the cover page of one magazine, which I ignored. But now I have seen it at least six or seven times, from multiple sources. Therefore, I really have to say, enough is enough.

Nobody should be judged by how their body looks. People are way more than their bodies, and everyone should be judged by what they do in life, what they contribute to the world. Not how their body looks.

Not that there is anything wrong with having a bit more (or less) fat compared with the average, as it is often a genetically determined thing. In fact, I believe that fat shaming should therefore be in the same category as racism, sexism and homophobia, because it's really the same thing. It's all shaming people for their genetic makeup. If it's not OK to put others down because of their race, gender or sexual orientation, it's not OK to put others down because of their body fat or lack thereof.

For these two reasons, I will boycott any magazine that runs the Selena Gomez 'getting fat' story for three months, if I see it again. I think it's only fair that we send them a message.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mood Music of the Week: Diana Vickers - Cinderella

Recently the movie Cinderella did very well at the box office. Why would anyone want to see a movie that's been done so many times already? I guess the answer is in the magic of Cinderella, the magic of dreams coming true. It is this idea that has been getting me through life recently. And this song I want to share with you captures this magic very well. (It's a shame that they didn't use it in the movie.)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Is Your Life Just Too Bad? Or Is It How You Look At It?

Do you sometimes feel that your life just doesn't measure up? That perhaps you need a life much grander than what you currently have? That missed opportunities mean you just won't ever catch up with other people?

Don't worry, many people feel like this too sometimes. But often, it's just because people have the wrong perspective. The well described phenomenon of some people putting the best view of their lives on facebook for others to see, and other people feeling like a failure in life as a result of reading glamorous facebook updates from their friends, is a good example. But it doesn't just happen with facebook. In life, some people just have a talent in emphasizing the best parts of their life and feeling great as a result, whilst others tend to focus more on what they are missing out on.

If you are not born wired that way, learning to emphasize the best parts of your life may take some time. A good way to start is by taking out a piece of paper and brainstorming what good things you already have in your life. Another exercise you may try is to write down the dreams that you have always had, and think about in what ways you are already moving closer to those dreams, compared with a decade ago. Exercises like these can help you think about your life journey in a more fulfilling way.

Download the full song here.

Angelle's Three Questions: Kim Kardashian

I wouldn't call myself a fan of Kim Kardashian, but I do have three important questions to ask her if I do get to meet her one day.

Question one: If you were instead just an average American young woman with an average income, and yet somebody offered you a chance to star in a reality TV show like the one you are currently doing (but obviously with a much more average lifestyle), would you still do it?

Question two: A lot of people look up to you and your family. This means you have a lot of cultural power, power to make people change their minds. Some people use their cultural power to advance causes like charity, or minority rights. I for one would surely like to have your global cultural power - I can just imagine the things I would be able to do with it. Is there anything that you wish to do for this world, using your cultural power?

Question three: Your previous 'marriage', the one that was shorter than a TV show season, offended many people who were passionate about the ideals of marriage. I am a strong believer in recognising what you did wrong in life, and making amends where possible. Do you regret what you did in any way? And if you do regret it, what would you do to make up for it?

TaraElla's Latest Single Not That Kind of Retro

This song is now available at the TaraElla Google Play shop.