Friday, 27 April 2012

The vicious circle of teenage judgement

Eyes peeled, a slight glare, like a lion targeting its prey.  Baring its teeth, it comes closer towards you.  You look around.  Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, you have been cornered.  Your eyes meet again, the sinister stare that signals you are in trouble.  Prepared to pounce, ready for the kill, there is no escaping the vicious circle of teenage judgement.

As a teenager, I will admit that I judge many things and as you have probably guessed from the majority of my articles and videos, I am rather opinionated.  I am not out to offend or upset- that is my last intention.  At this age, I am not as blunt as an elderly person when passing an opinion (who is?), but I do like to share my thoughts about everything with the world.  However, imagine many teenagers doing so.  Imagine everyone having an opinion about everything, judging just one aspect of something and using that judgement to justify having a negative opinion.  This is what I like to call, the vicious circle of teenage judgement.

Teenagers judge everything- that is what we do.  The sad truth is that we will instantly make up our mind about something, and for the majority of the time, stand firm with our views even when we ourselves might know that they are wrong.  Take parties for example, if you don’t drink alcohol you are deemed as ‘boring,’ but if you drink a bit too much then you are branded as ‘attention seeking’ and ‘pathetic.’  I myself don’t really see the hype about drinking alcohol at my age, but know that people will consider me ‘boring’ and a ‘killjoy’ for saying so.  I am not insulting others who may like a drink; I just don’t like the idea of being at an amazing party and waking up with a hangover and no memory of the previous night.  I don’t mind saying this here, but I know that if I said it at school I would receive many ‘Wow, you loser’ looks, as well as witnessing people whispering in the shock of my sweeping statement.

Teenage girls are constantly being thrown in the vicious circle more and more.  If you aren’t being judged on your appearance, then it is your interests, your personality, your educational ability- the list is endless.  Whilst girls are naturally vicious- let’s not lie, we know we are- I don’t think it is fair that they mainly judge others by their appearance.  I’ve heard the bitchy comments about clothes I have worn in the past, clothes that I felt confident and happy in.  Don’t get out your tissues yet guys, because I must confess that I am one of the many guilty people that have ‘slagged off’ someone’s outfit behind their back.  I am not proud of it as I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of the commentary.  However, what I hate the most is when girls judge others on how they look.  ‘The one with....’ ‘fat legs’ ‘a big nose’ and ‘wonky teeth’ are just a few examples of the phrases that girls and guys can use to distinguish one another, phrases that are demeaning and actually quite cruel.  It is one thing criticising an outfit, but the last thing anyone wants to hear is that they aren’t the right size for everyone- that is just unacceptable.

Celebrities in their teenage years often experience a lot of hate from the public.  This could be due to how annoyingly talented they are...... or how simply annoying they are.  In the case of pop stars like Rebecca Black and Cher Lloyd, whatever it was that teenagers disliked fuelled them to send hateful messages to them and even death threats.  I do admit that I like neither artists music, however I don’t agree with the level of abuse that they received and don’t think that they did anything to deserve hate mail and death threats.  A certain thirty something year old woman who had a short romance with a certain member of One Direction received a lot of flack (sorry, had to put the pun in somewhere) over Twitter and was sent a string of abuse by teenage girls.  It is important to remember that the majority of the so called fans would have never met any of One Direction and without knowing them properly, have no right to dictate who they should and shouldn’t be going out with.

Although it is primarily their own peer group that teenagers judge, adults do too experience the wrath of the vicious circle.  One of my pet hates is when people try to outsmart others in a position of authority, so I go livid when people at school treat the teachers like they are nothing and act as though they can teach the lessons themselves.  It is quite obvious that pupils can’t teach themselves; hence them being the ones sitting at the tables listening to the teachers do their job and teach them.  I struggle to not let out a slight bit of laughter when the pupil is convinced they are the new Einstein and are better than the teacher and then the teacher proves them wrong and demonstrates that the know it all doesn’t actually know that much.

I am not perfect.  I say I hate judgemental people and I am kind of judgemental myself.  I get annoyed when I see chavs being chavs and I sigh when I read about insane Justin Beiber fans climbing over his car in the hope that they will meet him.  As a human being I will continue to have opinions and views all throughout my life- that’s natural.  Nevertheless, I want people to stop being so bitter and horrible in their judgements.  It would be lovely to hear talk about other people’s attributes that others like, rather than the fact that they might be a bit overweight or have a style that others don’t like.  Then we plummet back to reality, remembering that to get everyone to change would be an impossible task, but getting a few people thinking ‘I want to be a nicer person’ would make me feel like I’d done my good deed for the day.

Your eyes meet again, this time the lion looking at you as an equal predator, seeing you for what you are, accepting it and then leaving you in peace.  Within a second, it is gone, like the encounter never happened.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

May the odds be ever in your favour Hunger Games

‘The film of the year’- was the phrase I used to describe the Hunger Games when I left the cinema.  For a typical rom-com girl like me to say this about a sci-fi action film- a genre I usually tend to avoid- I am saying something.  Initially, I didn’t want to see the film but I am so glad I did because it was honestly the best film I have seen in a while.  The quality of acting, costumes, storyline, CGI and everything else all packed together makes this a film that you will lose yourself in, your mind solely focusing on The Hunger Games as if you were a tribute competing in it.
Set 74 years after a nuclear war in the future, the Hunger Games is an annual event where one boy and girl- aged 12 to 18- from each of the districts surrounding the Capitol, are selected to compete in a televised battle where they fight to survive and there is ultimately one winner.  When Katniss Everdeen, a feisty, intelligent 16 year old hears that her younger sister Primrose has been chosen to compete, she volunteers to fight in The Hunger Games to protect her sister from her likely death, knowing the possible consequences of her own actions.  Also selected from District 12, Peeta Mellark- a boy from Katniss’ school who is secretly in love with her- travels with her to the Capitol and then fight in the Hunger Games together.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find an aspect of The Hunger Games that I can fault.  Before seeing the film, I was unaware of the large dependence it would have on CGI effects in order for the film to work but nevertheless, it did not disappoint.  The CGI used makes the Capitol look realistic and is perfect to every last detail.  Similarly, the costumes worn by the people living in the Capitol reflected their personalities perfectly.  The bright colours of their attire, somewhat comparable to what characters in Alice and Wonderland would wear, reflects their delusional positivity in the fighting and how they haven’t let the nucleur war defeat them, unlike the 12 surrounding districts that wear drab, old-fashioned clothing that are visibly deprived.  The teenagers participating in The Hunger Games wear clothing appropriate for combat- clothing that depicts being given a survival challenge, but not to the extent that it is over the top or ridiculous.
Jennifer Lawrence gives a memorable portrayal of Katniss, showing her pure grit and determination whilst simultaneously reminding the audience that she is still a human being who experiences physical and emotional pain throughout the whole film.  Lawrence demonstrates this diversity when Rue- her ally in the games- dies in her arms as though a part of her died with Rue, highlighting the emotional toll and stress The Hunger Games put on the tributes.  Josh Hutcherson was equally brilliant as Peeta, capturing the character’s desire to keep Katniss out of harms way in The Hunger Games and expressing Peeta’s undying love for Katniss so naturally and effortlessly, making myself as an audience member believe that he had always loved her and always would.
For those of you like myself who need a bit of romance to add more depth to a film, The Hunger Games holds the essence of young love, showing what both characters would do so that they can be with one another, without making you want to reach for the barf bag.  However, my one criticism is that the film glosses over the fact that Katniss was acting the part of a young girl falling in love to earn more gifts and it is unclear of her ulterior motives to gain the gifts.
If I were rating The Hunger Games out of ten (which I probably should be doing, seeing as I am being a reviewer), I would have to give it a nine simply for the sensational and believable acting.  I must commend the younger actresses who played Primrose and Rue as their portrayal of the fear their characters would have been experiencing was accurate and made me stop to appreciate the acting skills that they have acquired at such a young age.  I struggle to think of any other actors and actresses that could have played Katniss and Peeta even a fraction better than Lawrence and Hutcherson.  The Hunger Games has you sitting on the edge of your seat throughout, yet encompasses the humour, action and romance that we all want to see.  It is not often that I leave a cinema saying ‘I could sit here and watch that all over again,’ and I genuinely could with this film.  As I sit here typing away and feeling foolish for having not read the books, I am ecstatic at the thought of the sequel ‘Catching Fire’ being out at the cinema next year and if it is anything like what The Hunger Games was, I have no doubt it will be dramatic, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-entertainment that cannot be missed out on.  The odds are ever in your favour, Hunger Games.

Friday, 6 April 2012


In the dawn of time, when humans first stumbled along the Earth in caveman and cavewoman form, their basic instinct was to survive.  They would scour every place possible to find the animal that would be their next meal, whilst defending their lives in whatever way they could.  Every morning, food and their lives were the only things they would wake up thinking about........ Nowadays it is a completely different story.  Monday 2nd April was the first proper day of the Easter holidays and to celebrate not having to wake up at some ungodly hour, I slept in.  Only until 8.45 though (blasted body clock) and by 9.00, I had dragged myself out of the cave known as my bedroom.  However, unlike my caveman and woman ancestors, I did not get my breakfast.  I instead, chose to pick up the laptop and simultaneously check my emails, Facebook, Twitter and- of course- my website.  It was not long after that when I realised that I was prioritising my online life over my actual life where frankly, I needed some food.  This then lead me to question: Could I get up every day without seeing if I have any new notifications or followers?  And more importantly: Could I live without technology? The sad truth is no, but I’m sure most of you couldn’t either.

Since I was born, technology was there and I used it without thinking.  I can remember going on my parent’s somewhat prehistoric computer at an early age, likewise with watching the television.  This demonstrates that when technology is there, we as humans cannot resist it.  Take Facebook, as an example.  Even if I am not putting a status or talking to anyone, I still want to check Facebook.  Although I am not quite an addict yet, I still want to be able to log in and see what is going on- as nosy as that may sound.  Facebook is seen as somewhat the ‘in thing’ to be a part of amongst young people and it identifies who we are and what our place is in teenage society.  To fulfil this feeling of having an identity and an online life, we feel the need to keep checking our accounts on Facebook, Twitter and all forms of social media.  I believe that this makes us feel like we have a place on the map or a rung on the social ladder.  What I don’t understand though, is why we need a website to make us feel like we have a place to voice our views without the world being on our backs if we say them.  Why does it make us feel good when twenty people will like our status, when we are only close to about two of these people?
I’m sure I can speak on behalf on many people when I say that technology has replaced so many daily activities that were and are still considered to be normal.  I have never been a fanatic for reading the paper, I’ll admit.  However, as soon as I discovered that the Daily Mail and the Guardian had their own websites, I began reading the paper online.  Some may argue it is because I am too lazy to pick up an ordinary paper and read it.... and I would agree with them.  I much prefer to scroll down the side of the page and see the previews of different articles before reading them, than begin reading them in the paper to only discover half way through that it wasn’t what I wanted to read or was uninteresting.  What started out as the tradition of going out to buy the paper has like many other ‘normal things,’ been given a digital alternative so that we don’t even have to move to find out what is going on.  Additionally, rather than seeing a child/teenager outside playing football getting some good ol’ vitamin D, they are more likely to be inside playing a video game.  I am in no way criticising video games- I played a very competitive game of Mario Kart with my brother earlier, I’ll have you know.  Whilst video games are fun, some children would rather play them than go outside on a hot sunny day, which just goes to show how dominant technology can be in our lives.
Although I do love the fast paced nature of the technology we have today, I do think it would be beneficial if the world could have a week without certain aspects of technology, simply to highlight how dependant we are on it.  A traditional letter would replace a Facebook conversation; children would be forced to go outside and find their own entertainment instead of playing video games.  That way, they will be getting the vitamin D they need and that thing called ‘exercise’ that P.E teachers seem to go on a lot about.  However, we are a world revolving around technology and I don’t think we could even spend a single day without it.  Even though my family and I are too lazy to get out the Wii Fit board, we still feel the need to have it.  My Dad still manages to get lost with his SAT NAV, I can’t be bothered to knock my friends front door, so I instead text them to say ‘I am at your door.’  The purpose of all this technology is to make our lives easier and quicker- and yet it is doing the exact opposite.... and is making us LAZY.  A word we do not want to admit to but we all know is the truth.
What could possibly happen if you didn’t have your phone? Would your head explode simply from the shock of being away from your trusted companion? Or would your fingers start twitching from the urge to text someone?  What about your X Box? Would you survive in the real world with real interaction rather than cyber interaction? If you even think of answering ‘No’ to any of these questions, then I think it is safe to say U R ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY.