Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why The Fuss Over The Book Fifty Shades of Grey?

The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E L James, has caused quite a fuss and is considered, in the United Kingdom as the best-selling English novel of all times. With estimates as of today, of 70 million copies sold worldwide, twelve of these in Britain and thirty-five in the United States, both in print and digital formats (e-book).

The plot revolves around the relationship of a university student of Literature, Anastasia Steele, and the young entrepreneur Christian Grey. The trilogy has been made famous by the story of his various sexual encounters, during which explores the dark side of romance, through submission, sadomasochism and domination.

Literary critics have been very harsh on the book, attacking the book for being poorly written and the lack of literary value. I am not a literary critic, neither I pretend to be one, however I would like to address the unleashed controversy through a sociological analysis.

First, we must consider that the value of any item or service is set by the consumer, based on supply and demand. The literary standard may say that the book is worthless, but there are 70 million people around the world who say otherwise, and the book have become a "bestseller". We live in a Democracy and we are ruled by the tyranny of the majority, whether we like it or not. I also disagree with most of the election results, but still I have to learn to cope with them. Instead of criticizing, the literary community should be analyzing what is happening with these wonderful works of perfect prose, that very few are interested in reading.

Second, the fact that readers are shocked by the erotic charge of each sexual encounter, and in turn, experience longings for experiences that were totally unknown before, says a lot about our modern society. We live in a sexually liberated society, but this phenomenon makes it clear that a large majority have only known missionary sex, procreative and unimaginative. A person who knows itself and has reached sexual fulfillment should not be offended by a book. To my surprise, there are many women who have discovered through this reading a parallel world full of possibilities previously unthinkable.

Third, this book is a setback for modern feminism. The main character, Christian Grey, is a successful entrepreneur, millionaire, handsome, chauvinist, dominant and controlling. It represents everything that modern feminists despise and consider it abominable. It would be nice to wake up from dreamland and recognize that the well understood Feminism grew out of the struggle in societies where women were suppressed, having only obligations and lacked the primary rights (right to receive education, rights to work, vote, and even the right of not wear a corset). Feminism has become a harmful current, where the woman is masculinize and the man has lost his manhood. However, there are millions of women pining for a "successful male" as Grey. Some feminists argue that thanks to them women are free to seek this type of "female porn", a fact that lacks fundaments.

The British screenwriter Kelly Marcel, who has been selected by Universal Pictures and Focus Features to write the script that will bring the trilogy to the big screen, described Grey as "old-fashioned and romantic". As anthropologists would say, we are animals, where the dominance is for the alpha male, the strongest of the pack, the one with more success, power and money.

Only time and history will give the real value of this book, and will answer the question if it will be considered as a classic of literature by future generations. However, there is no doubt that makes us think about our contemporary and modern society, the standards and values ​​that supposedly govern us ... versus reality.

This article was originally published in the Panamanian Magazine IntuiciĆ³n, Third Edition. You can see the original article here.
Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors, I apologize but English is not my native language

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lame Excuses

I believe that there is no one who likes people who makes excuses, however, most of us constantly do in varying degrees.

I think excuses are a way to protect our subconscious, it is easier to blame someone or something rather than accept our mistakes and take responsibility over our actions.

The worst kind of excuses, and the most harmful, are those when we lie to ourselves about our own inability to give direction to our lives.

I present for your consideration and analysis the eight excuses I hear most often:

8 - I don’t shave my legs because I'm alone. Meaning, I have no boyfriend, husband, lover etc.

This one is a favorite among many single women, also one of the most absurd. Let me tell you that having your beautiful legs full of hairs like a Neanderthal is not going to solve the problem, let alone help you find a boyfriend or husband.

I shave because I like to feel clean, hair-free. It is absurd to shave only when I have a date or when I’ll eventually have a boyfriend. You have to shave to feel feminine, though no one can see you. If I am expected to have a boyfriend in order to shave, that means that I'm doing something for someone else, and that's a big mistake. If you are too lazy for shaving or waxing, laser hair removal is becoming more and more affordable, you might buy a special package or start saving for this purpose, is worth it! Your self esteem will appreciate it.

7 - I don’t use sexy underwear because I'm alone; I have no boyfriend, husband, lover, friend with benefits, etc.

This is very similar to the previous case, if I don’t feel sexy and feminine and can’t appreciate my body, much less I will feel confident with a man. If I’ll do it just to please him, then I'll be a hypocrite. I wear sexy underwear for me. It's my secret with the world, no one can see me, only I know! I hear all the time the excuse that sexy underwear is not comfortable, that is not true. Maybe some kind of lingerie, the kind that is aim to please, not to wear. Nowadays, there are plenty of styles and textures that are equally comfortable and sexy. The hipsters, or boyshorts are sexy and comfortable. Another big mistake is to think that Grandma's panties are more comfortable. First of all, they will mark in your tight pants, therefore your buttocks will have a funny shape. If you have big hips or if you are overweight, it will make your imperfections more obvious. Second, like most granny panties are made of cotton, they’ll expand with every wash, and eventually will become more uncomfortable than a thong one size smaller (I'm sure you know what I mean). About 85 to 90% of women are wearing the wrong size of bra. How can you look sexy if you are wearing a wrong size? Major brands of lingerie can have you measured for free. Since our body constantly suffer from variations in weight and age, is advisable to do it at least every two years.

6 - I'm too fat or overweight, and I have to exercise and diet.

Honestly, what can I tell you? No big deal! No, don't expect me to do that. My advice is: If you're choosing to be overweight, be at least happy and learn to accept yourself and your body as it is. Please, stop the whining or do something about it. When someone really wants to lose weight they’ll do it, but it is a sacrifice and strength and willpower are required. I tremendously admire people who have done it.

Do not expect my empathy, I have none, I'm tired of people complaining about their body images while they do nothing to change. I personally love Queen Latifah, she knows how to look good and show her curves. There are plenty of women like her, they feel sexy and happy with their curves and extra pounds, they love themselves and embrace their femininity.

After spending 39 years of my life being the skinny bitch people envied because I could've eat anything without gaining weight, and easily weight down with a simple cold; I turned 40, and I was welcomed with another year of life, and 15 extra pounds! If it wouldn't have been for that blessed 2% lycra / spandex in my pants, I would have had to buy a whole new wardrobe. After trying fruitless diets, I realized that I was not born for dieting. I love to eat, I love food of any kind. Thanks to my blessed genetics (thanks mom and dad) I’ve never had the need of diets. Now with my extra 15 pounds, I decided that I like how I look, and I'm embracing my Latin heritage wearing some curves. Conclusion: In order to keep my 15 pounds and at the same time get rid of my muffin top, I needed to exercise. With a little of exercise and willpower I have managed to wear a decent figure and give honor to my now 41 years. I am lazy and I can’t deny you that. I make many excuses to avoid the gym, therefore I have focus on the fact that exercise not only helps my figure but it helps my brain, because it brings oxygen to my brain cells (Brain Rules by John Medina). I am vain, and I take care of my body for vanity, but my brain is my biggest pride. Exercise is good for my brain, and that has become my biggest incentive.

5 - My boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife etc., Does not love me, respect me, is a good for nothing, is cheating on me, etc.

Here are two options: leave the person and start over, or stop the whining. As if its not enough to complain with friends and family people are now posting their intimacies on Facebook to make a public statement. If you're like a fly swimming in a pond of sh*t, you have two options get the hell out of it, and choose to swim in honey, or keep swimming in sh*t, but be happy, and accept that it was your decision to be there. Stop playing the victim, the power of change is in our hands, its a matter of CHOICE. I know it requires to make a tough decision. But, if you never do it, you will never fight for your happiness.

People like to be heard (who doesn’t?) What I do not understand is that most people only listen to show false pity! Humans are morbid, it is a comfort to fools. I’ve heard many people saying: "I am in a very bad position, but they are doing worse" What kind of consolation is that? If you're not going to do anything about it and change the situation that bothers you, it is better not to give them the pleasure to be their daily gossip, and avoid to be repetitive. This applies to anyone who complains about work. Who prevents you from quitting?

4 - I'm going to remodel my home, have a makeover, a new hairstyle, change my hair color, etc.

When? You don’t need to let me know that you will, years will pass and you’ll keep saying the same thing. Do you realize that you lose credibility? Do it now and surprised me, I do not need the warning. If you are still unsure then stop wasting my time and yours. We can talk about more productive things, right? Sometimes we go too far ahead making plans and forget that the future begins today. They are not unattainable dreams, they are small things that will make a positive change in our image and into our lives. To remodel the house, you just need to rearrange the furniture and move a few things around.

Honestly I do not know if I will be alive tomorrow, I live for today and now. The past is gone and the future is uncertain, but it starts NOW. I recommend you read the book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle

3 - I will travel the world when I retire.

Really? Sure, travel could be expensive, but I prefer to save now and travel while I still don’t need help of a walking stick. Who can guarantee me that I will have money then? One of the places I like the most is Thailand. The direct flight from Los Angeles is 17 hours. 17 hours without arthritis! During the trip, I almost got claustrophobic. What about going to Cusco and then take the train to Machu Picchu? Or visit the temples of Tikal? The Pyramids of Egypt? In today’s world visit the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower means security checkpoints and long lines, and never mind that airports have turned into a nightmare. Again, save today. We spend money on nonsense, you can save money if you want to. Seize the day, today we are alive and we can afford the luxury of health and youth. I'm not saying do not travel in old age, but I think you will enjoy more adventures today.

2 - I didn’t have time to respond to your email, text message, or phone call.

The busiest people I know always have time to respond, because they know the value of time and are very well organized.

Frankly speaking, sometimes I swear I reply to an email, because when I read it I replied mentally. But later forgot to answer back. The truth is that if my interest is real, I follow up. Being really honest, I have sinned of not knowing what to reply or what to say. But its not lack of time, is lack of will. Thanks to smartphones we have no excuses, we are connected all the time.

1 - It was not my intention.

For me this is the worst and most detestable of the excuses. You know what, God or your conscience judges intentions. Your actions are the ones that f*ck*d me. The worst thing about these people is that when you confront them, they become the victims because they say you are judging their intentions. No! You are mistaken, I judge your actions, I don’t care about your intentions. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

Some examples:

  • Infidelity: I swear I didn’t mean to hurt you! Really?

  • Work colleague: It wasn’t my intention, I really thought you haven’t done anything, or you were delayed and just wanted to help you. Help me?, really? More obnoxious are the bosses who listen to those good Samaritans. Same thing happens in colleges, schools and universities.

  • In laws... The stories are too many, but I'm sure you know the kind of "good intentions" to which I refer.

How can I make people understand? I don’t care about the intentions of their actions (Can I share a secret? You are not as important in my life as you believe!). Your actions which generate harmful consequences are the ones that bother me. Stop saying "I didn’t mean to", that is the lowest of excuses, and sadly the one I hear most often. That is a cowards excuse. Let’s begin to take responsibility for our own actions and face the consequences of them.

These are the excuses that I hear most often, and quite honestly I am not without sin. Some of these I have used. I would love to hear yours. Feel free to leave a comment.

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors, I apologize but English is not my native language.