This is totally going to sound like something that came out of the ‘guidance’ section of an educational website. But for the youngster, being in education is such a large part of our lives that I’d argue that this kind of thing can be classed as a ‘lifestyle’ article. Hah.

Some students genuinely don’t see any point in writing assessed essays – both in secondary and tertiary level education. I can’t say that this applies to all subjects, but for the arts, humanities, and social sciences, I think essays are the best way for a person to learn about a particular topic in extreme depth – and to learn how to develop a coherent argument. You’ll be an expert, and because you’ve had to reformulate what other people have said about the subject; you’ll know what Distinguished Others have said about it and have formulated your own opinion on top of all that.

Next time you do one, examine yourself pre- and post-essay. If you’ve done it well, you’ll find that you’ll be able to hold an entire conversation with other interested, intelligent people on the subject at length. You’ll have yourself sound smarter, and – le gasp! – you might actually have become smarter in the process.

All in all, essays are just a really good way of learning. Try and become interested, get your head into the argument and really try to structure one with conviction. It’ll pay off.

Here’s a girl in a winter parka, fyi.

On Blurred Lines, let’s just get this out on the table: I don’t believe that the lyrics in this song are a danger to people, nor do I believe that it promotes rape culture. It’s pretty intimate, and pretty sexy, and the issue of non-consent is argued in such a forced manner by feminetizens. The power balance disadvantages women, sure, but it’s meant to be seductive and shouldn’t have warranted the reaction it’s gotten. Just look at the countless other songs in the pop music cloud out there, who’ve been way more explicit about what the (male) protagonist wants to do to his woman.

My issue, really, is with the practically naked female models. If you remove the influence of the socially constructed controversy that the song brought on, if you asked my opinion of Blurred Lines right after I watched it for the first time, I would tell you that I have a deep, gut-fuelled dislike for the music video. I don’t understand how having very, very beautiful women prancing around with 95% of their skin bared is that much different from artistic pornography; maybe what little coverage there is on the Blurred Lines ladies is in the form of thongs and sneakers?

There are people saying that women can do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, because complete control over ourselves is the ultimate form of empowerment. But the point here is that the models here didn’t do whatever they wanted with their bodies for the sake of it – they did it because they were asked to by a casting agent, or somebody involved with the production of Robin Thicke’s music video. If you wanted to argue that it might be the intention of the directors/producers of Robin Thicke’s music video to send a message to the masses about womens’ control over their bodies, then I’d like to point to the inherently hypocritical irony in saying “By telling B what to do, A is telling other people that B is independent”. I’m pretty sure the nudity factor was just a gimmick to get more views – and boy did they get them!

Let’s say, for the moment, that I took the above feminist argument to be relevant. If the end goal was to show the world that you were a powerful, self-assured individual despite the adversity women are faced by in society, why do it by violating another, completely irrelevant societal norm? Why do it in the vocabulary of what is basically exhibitionist, softcore porn, with porn arguably being the absolute ultimate form of the oppression of women?

I guess the next question is to ask whether porn is really an oppression of women. I didn’t take the Gender and Media module on my course this year, so I’m clearly no expert on the academic arguments; but the arguments I have heard (like the one mentioned above) seem pretty contrived to me. My most honest and natural thoughts on porn are that it’s sexy and a good stimulant, yes, and as long as it doesn’t do any psychological harm to anyone I think it’s a good idea. But it’s one hundred percent something to keep to the privacy of one’s bedroom.

I suppose I’m one of those people who can’t separate sex from intimacy, love, and feelings – and perhaps that just shows my naivete, or my conservatism. But to see the female body (and only the female body, in this case) paraded around for the sake of monetary profit is deeply disturbing to me, because I don’t think the female body is something that should be used for that. It just seems so wrong.

(Please feel free to disagree with me in the comments – all I ask is that you do so politely and not begin to make ad hominem attacks because everybody knows that those are mean and have nothing to do with the argument)