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My Two Cents on Trump

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This morning, a long with millions of others across the world, I woke to the news that America elected Donald Trump as it’s 45th President.

Donald Trump.

A man who has stepped into the shoes of the many greats that have gone before him. A man who has come out with the most vile, derogatory, sexist, racist and hateful remarks throughout this entire election. A man who cares more about his own ego and boasting about ‘grabbing women by the p**sy’ than anything else.  I think it’s safe to say those shoes have been irrevocably soiled. I can only imagine George Washington is turning in his grave.

I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on politics, in fact I’m far from it. But you don’t need to be an expert to know in your heart of hearts that this decision wasn’t the right one. America I understand your people are angry, fed up and wanting change, but this was your alternative?

How can a nation vote for a man who decided to enter politics on a mere whim, over a hard working woman who has built her entire career on it? Perhaps it’s hard for me to comprehend looking on through a European lens. I know I’m not an American, and I haven’t had to face the issues that a lot of them have, but it’s just baffling.
I know Hillary has her faults, as do many politicians. She’s untrustworthy, and she’s been embroiled in many a scandal. The infamous emails, her husbands sordid affairs, and of course whitewater. I understand Americans were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It really was a case of having to choose the lesser of two evils. But surely Hillary was far far lesser?

Today I am sad for Hillary, and I am sad for women. But most of all I’m frightened. I’m frightened for the direction this world is taking. I am hurt that people can be this intolerant. I am shocked that so many can stand with a man who literally epitomises sexism, racism, fraud, exploitation and assault. I can only hope, as my gut tells me, that perhaps Trump is all bark and no bite.

Yes it’s awful to have a man that volatile as the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, but is he really going to follow through on some of the outlandish things he’s said? We’ve already see him mellow, taking a more calm and collected approach with his victory speech. Will he really be able to throw up a giant wall on the Mexican Boarder? Can he seriously place a ban on all Muslims? Part of me is saying no, it’s all ridiculous nonsense. Classic trump rhetoric to stir things up and create shock and disgust. But it was naivety and complacency that rendered us all in a state of shock this morning.

So many of us, both in the US and beyond believed it would never happen. We laughed when he announced he was running. We scoffed and said he would never get the the nomination. We dismissed it when he did, believing that surely he would never get within a foot of the White House? Yet here we are. It wasn’t too long ago we were all picking our chins up off the ground after Brexit, and now we find ourselves doing the same thing.

I suppose there’s one thing I can give him – through gritted teeth albeit- and that’s his determination. The power hungry business tycoon managed to blag his way to the White House. How? I really don’t know.

So what’s going to happen next? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Judging from the reactions on social media this morning the world seems to be in a state of shock and panic.

Is America going to accept ‘President Trump?’ It would be ironic if they pointed the finger at him and said get out,  ‘You’re fired’. A line we’ve heard many times from the man himself back in his Apprentice days. Sadly it seems that America and the rest of the world will have to accept that President Trump is now in fact a reality, for at least the next four years.

I don’t know about you, but suddenly I’m thinking perhaps a president Kanye West in 2020 isn’t such a bad idea…

In all seriousness though, America we’re not laughing at you, we’re crying with you. ❤

A small glimpse into twitter’s reaction:

Earlier today it was announced that the annual John Lewis Christmas Advert is to be released tomorrow, thus lifting spirits somewhat. No Pressure…

An appropriate gif shows how it was by no means an easy decision for the electorate

If only..

2016 really is testing us..

Not Just a loss for Hillary, but a loss for women:

Many Celebs weighed in on the results:

Well Mr Adams, you do play the wonderful Mike Ross, so maybe you can overturn his presidency in a court of law? No? Please?

And then we have those directing their anger towards Florida..

Social media has been hopping since the news broke, a mixture of anger, sadness, and dark humour.

At this point I really don’t have anything left to say. I’m not even American yet I can’t help but feel shaken by the news this morning.  So I’ll  leave it there, and sign off by saying my thoughts are with my US friends and family, who I know are deeply and truly saddened by this result.

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Asking for it a Review: Social Media, Slut Shaming and The Issue of Consent

*Contains Spoilers*

I don’t normally do book reviews, but after recently finishing Louise O’Neill’s asking for it, I almost feel compelled. In fact I think it’s something I’ll start doing a lot more of. Since finishing college It’s great to finally have the freedom to read what I want to read again! So lets get down to it.

I picked up this wonderful gem whilst browsing Waterstones on a lazy afternoon last Saturday.
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The story follows Emma O’Donovan an 18 year old girl from a small town in Ireland.

It was one of those books I found myself wincing the entire way through. It invoked every single emotion in me, and some I didn’t even realise I had.

On the surface Emma seems to have it all, she’s popular, is surrounded by a group of friends and is incredibly beautiful. If I’m honest at first I found her character a little annoying. She’s selfish, inconsiderate, and obsessed with material things. She’s not a good friend and to be quite blunt about it, she’s a bitch.

However, I soon came to realise how important these elements of Emma’s character were for the development of O’Neill’s plot. She doesn’t create the stereotypical ‘good girl fall from grace’. Emma is desperate to prove herself. She does things she knows are reckless to test people’s perceptions of her. She constantly repeats the mantra ‘I am Emma Donovan I am Emma Donovan’, in an attempt to reassure herself that she knows who she is, she is confident and in control, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Deep down Emma is struggling with her sense of identity, placing all of her self worth on her physical attributes. It’s almost as if she views sex as a form of acceptance. She ends up being raped at a party by 4 boys she thought were here friends. The narrative that ensues as a result can only be described as heart breaking.

On the night in question Emma flirts with boys, wears a revealing dress, and even takes drugs. All actions which are used against her afterwards in an attempt to claim she deserved what happened to her, that ‘she was asking for it’. Pictures of Emma passed out on a bed with the boys taking advantage of her are uploaded to a Facebook page called ‘Easy Emma’. In one picture one of the boys is seen vomiting over her, while another urinates on her head, evoking a vile comment on the page saying ‘she deserves to be pissed on’. Emma is completely unresponsive in the pictures, but don’t worry ‘she was asking for it’.

The rest of the novel deals with Emma’s struggle to come to terms with what happened. The saddest part of it all is that like many victims of rape, she blames herself. She didn’t want to report the boys. She wanted to protect them. She even tries to apologise to them after  a school teacher contacts the guards. She lies and tries to pass it off by saying she was pretending to be asleep. It’s her fault her mother has taken to drinking and her father can’t look her in the eye or socialise with his friends. It’s her fault her brother has lost his girlfriend. It’s her fault her friends aren’t really her friends any more. It’s her fault the lives of the ‘Good Boys’ are ruined.

Only it’s not. It’s not her fault at all. And that’s the point O’Neill is cleverly hammering home. Emma gains national notoriety as ‘Ballinatoom Girl’, and it’s an all too familiar narrative. We’ve seen it with Ireland’s own ‘Slane Girl’, where photos of a young girl performing oral sex  at an Eminem concert surfaced on the internet. Of course she was the slut. She was the whore. She was the irresponsible one. No mention of the boys on the receiving end. Or the person who photographed it and circulated for the world to see.

‘Ballinatoom girl’ is not just a work of fiction. She is a representation of every woman who has fallen victim to harassment, assault, slut-shaming, and rape. She is someone’s daughter, sister and friend. She should not be dismissed. We need to talk more about consent and rape culture.

O’neill’s novel is forcing society to take a long hard look at itself. Why are we vilifying young girls for virtually everything they do? So what if they wear short skirts, drink vodka and post selfies. Does that mean they deserve to get raped? I just don’t understand why we are so quick to pardon the guilty and punish the innocent.

The shocking reality is this novel is everywhere. It’s real. It’s happening here in Ireland, and it’s happening all over the world. Take the recent Brock Turner case in the US. It honestly makes me sick to my stomach. A rapist serves 3 months of a pitiful 6 month sentence for the rape of a girl at a college party. But it’s okay. It wasn’t his fault. His life was ruined. Dreams of becoming a professional swimmer slashed as a result of what was it his dad put it? ’20 minutes of action’.

It was all her fault of course. The girl who’s name we don’t even know. The girl who was attacked. The girl who’s body was laid bare behind a dumpster for all to see. The girl who cried rape. The girl who can’t remember. The girl who was drunk.

It’s just not good enough. I am so grateful to Louise O’Neill and the many other talented and brave authors who are writing about this subject. Lets not give in to this ‘keep it quiet’ attitude that Ireland has long grown accustomed to. Let’s give our ‘Ballinatoom girls’ and our ‘Slane girls’ a voice. It’s the least they deserve.
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Media Coverage in a tragedy- honouring privacy

While we all know social media can be a fantastic outlet in the wake of a tragedy, it also has it’s pitfalls. This is in response to some of the horrifying images of the Boston marathon that I’ve seen circulating the internet.

Newspapers, online publications, and social networking sites are littered with photos of the wounded along with scenes of chaos and destruction. Now I understand this kind of thing is a given when something of such a violent magnitude occurs, but is it really necessary to photograph the injured and the distraught in their time of need?

If I was injured in an accident I definitely wouldn’t want images of myself plastered all over the internet for everyone to see. Imagine, you’re lying on the ground, disorientated, confused, scared and seriously injured, then some reporter snaps a picture of you for the front page news? It just seems wrong to me.

What’s worse is when pictures of the deceased or injured start doing the rounds on Facebook, passed on and shared by millions(the same can be said for seriously ill children). Often times these photos generate thousands of “likes” from the sympathetic, which is a nice sentiment, but think of the families. How would you feel if a distressing picture of your relation turned up on the internet? The people or pages sharing these photos are 9 times out of 10 just in it to gain popularity for themselves, or they just want to be seen showing they care.

These people aren’t some poor “misfortunes” you can gawk at for half a second, “like”,  feel sorry for, and then forget. They are the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives of real people. They are more than just a “Victim,” they should be treated with the dignity and respect of any other human being. So please, think twice before you “like” another photo of this kind.

Look at this photo of a man from the Boston Bombings: (now before you accuse me of contradicting myself, I want to make a point)

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Photo credit:CNN

How does it make you feel when you see it? Shocked? Upset? Sympathetic? Squeamish?  Imagine if this man was your husband, father, brother or son. Imagine if you had to see this all around the internet, all over the papers. To me this is just another horrifying image from a tragic scene, but for someone else it’s much more than that.

I wish news outlets would think twice before publishing this kind of thing, but sadly I don’t see it ever changing. Unless we as citizens become more critically aware of the content we are engaging with, things will remain the same.