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How to spot a Feminist Ally in the streets, but a Misogynist Wanker in the sheets




Feminist men.

It’s a good idea in theory and it looks good on paper.

But in practice? Not so much.

I’ve come across my fair share of self-proclaimed Feminist Men in my time. Granted, many of them appear (to the outside eye) to carry out great work and seem to have a true understanding of how gender inequality works.

But I’ve also met several self-proclaimed Feminist Men who use it as a badge of honour. A bragging right. A way to appear more attractive to women. Even a dangerous smokescreen. They’re the Political Nice Guy if you will.

But any man can stand there and say he is a Feminist Man. That’s pretty easy. But we all know that many men can lie - and will lie - to get women into bed. The news stories on Ryan Adams and Moby have thrust beta-male misogyny in society’s consciousness. We’re now waking up to the idea that men don’t need to be loud, alpha males who shout “grab them by the pussy” to be a threat to women.

They can be shy with a sweet demeanour. A musician who writes love songs on an acoustic guitar. He might get along with his mum. Skinny and couldn't physically assault you if he tried. Not be sexually promiscuous. Votes progressively and goes to protests.

And boy, have I been caught out.

I’ve dated and been friends with several men over the years who like to think they are woke af but actually treated me like shit. Three men stand out in particular: two sexual/romantic and one platonic (but wanted to be sexual/romantic). Between them I’m owed money, been kept from speaking to other people at parties, intellectually insulted, demeaned, spoken down to, mansplained, scared to date other people, and been pressurised into sexual acts that I wasn’t comfortable with.

It wasn’t a fun ride.

And what makes these memories so difficult to carry around with me is that I know these men will fool other women in the future. I've dated numerous shitty men in my time but some of them were obviously shitty and I can't believe I was ever fooled. But these men: they play a pretty tight game. They know how to play the Feminist Man card to their advantage.

But women talk, and we like to keep each other safe. So I've taken a look back at these Fake Feminist Men and tried to identify the warning signs that I could have seen.

So ladies, if the Feminist Man you've just started dating showcases more than four of the following traits then he might be a phoney.

He expects a cookie for being a good person


Great, you respect women - but fuck receiving praise for being a good person. Similar to Nice Guy Syndrome, Fake Feminist Guy expects a cookie because he knows rape is wrong. The real Feminist Dudes know y'all don't get praise for being a fucking decent person.

His definition of feminism doesn't get any deeper than "women should have access to abortion"


I appreciate that people who are new to social justice might have a shallow understanding of the topic. But feminism is a lot more than not groping women in nightclubs. There's mansplaining, Gender Pay Gap, sex workers rights, beauty image, body politics, not talking over the top of women.....

If you're talking to a new guy who wants to learn more, offer him some advice and resources (Every Feminism is a great one). If you're speaking to someone who is a long-established, self-proclaimed Feminist Guy and he still isn't past the basics you should just roll your eyes and refuse that second date.

He takes a sulk when called out


We all get called out from time to time. It can be a chance to grow or a chance to sulk. Which option your dude chooses says a lot about is his commitment to the cause.

He can't admit to a period in time when he wasn't a Feminist Man


Controversial.

But even the most social justice orientated of us are not immune to the effects of the patriarchy or social conditioning. We've all fucked up at one point. I've dressed up as a Native American for Halloween, claimed that Silence of the Lambs wasn't transphobic, and voted Liberal Democrat.

And I'm okay admitting these things because a true social justice warrior knows that in order to undo oppressive structures we need to confront ourselves about the role we play in them. I probably still do oppressive shit that I'm yet to unlearn.

If he can't give you an example of his own personal growth as a Feminist Man then he's very likely not the real deal (and has very low levels of self-awareness).

He doesn't support sex-positive feminism


The feminist hill that I am willing to die on is that sex-negative feminism and sexual assault go hand in hand.

Let me break it down.

Sex-negative feminism argues that there's a right way to shag. It turns sexual preferences into a theoretical debate. It tells consenting adults what they can and can't do in their own bedroom. It tells us that women don't like rough sex, making money from sex, or watching porn - despite anecdotal evidence.

Sex-positive feminism, on the other hand, lets individuals decide for themselves what sex acts they like to engage in. It encourages open communication and seeing people as unique human beings. Though saying that, "sex-positive" men sometimes use feminism as a guilt trip to make women do kinky things they are not into but blah blah blah liberated feminist women embrace their sexuality blah blah blah don't be a prude and have sex exactly the way I want to blah blah I don't care about your needs.

Bottom line: you're looking for someone who respects your sexual choices, whether that's dungeon orgies or missionary with the lights off.

He brags about eating pussy


Eating a girl out does not make you a Feminist Man. Fucking shut up. Read this article for more because I don't have the energy to deal with these men anymore.

Doesn't take bisexuality seriously (or any LGBTQ+ identity)


How a guy reacts to me mentioning my sexuality is a make-or-break for me. If his eyes light up, I'm out. If he asks if I have a preference, I'm not out but he's getting called out. In practice dating me is like dating a monosexual. It won't affect the relationship so I don't want much of a reaction.

He listens to your romantic and sexual needs


Feminist Men like to think they treat women well. It is sort of the idea. But then they get it into their heads that "treating women well" means following a bullet-pointed list and treating women as a homogenous group who all have the same sexual and romantic needs.

That's still patriarchy at play, y'all.

A man who has truly unlearned the whole Women-Serving-Men thing will be up for honest communication about your needs and won't just arrogantly assume them.


He just mansplains in general


Whether it's how to do your job or the politics of your home town, don't put up with that shit.


He's friends with creeps


You can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep.

One of the Fake Feminist guys I dated didn't even have any friends, which should have been a massive warning sign. While the other had a wide social circle. But that social circle included men who were creepy as fuck in blatantly obvious ways. If he was fond of a guy, he wouldn't speak up - but couldn't wait to verbally jump on men who he already disliked for another reason.

And the guy I mentioned in the introduction who wanted to be romantic/sexual with me rather than just platonic? Since cutting him from my life he made the decision to stand by someone who was convicted of sexual assault!

Has no platonic female friendships


Men that are desperate for a girlfriend to the point where they will approach anyone (including swiping right on every fucking girl) irk me. It still showcasing an inability to see women as people if he's wondering if every new woman he meets might be his next romantic or sexual conquest.

A true Feminist Man isn't looking to date every woman that walks past him because he sees women as more than that. He knows what he wants in a romantic partner and recognises that not every woman will fit that criterion. And you deserve better than someone who will say yes to a date because he would say yes to anyone1

He thinks all relationships should look the same


I want to make this abundantly clear: I do not, by any means, think that anyone is less of a social justice warrior because they want an opposite-sex marriage where they move to the suburbs and have two children (and maybe a dog).

But a social justice warrior respects alternative relationship styles and won't react negatively if you want to check in on the first few dates that you want the same things long term (wanting children, opinions on marriage, polyamory/monogamy etc). Even better if he's had an active think about different relationship styles and has a good idea about what he would want. It's 2019, we can't assume everyone wants the same thing anymore!


Is intimidated by your success


I've dated (or even just met) several men who like me because I've "got depth" and "not a bimbo". But the moment they realise there's a chance I might be smarter than them they shuffle their feet or start mansplaining.

A true Feminist Man won't worry about you outperforming him. Or earning more. Or getting better grades.


Insists on paying


When I'm in a formal relationship, yes, I think the higher earner should pay more. And thanks to the sneaky Gender Pay Gap it will usually be the man. But when I'm on the first few dates with a new person I don't feel comfortable with them paying. How they react to this can demonstrate their attitude towards money within a relationship, and whether they would be comfortable with a woman earning more.

It's the same reason why I tend to swipe left on men who brag about being homeowners on their Tinder bios.

Judges your taste in pop culture

I'm not entirely sure how this came to be, but I've met a lot of "Feminist Men" who act as though pop culture that is aimed towards women is the stuff of immaturity. Think boybands and chick flicks (but not female superheroes because the Feminist Men like that stuff because, duh, comics are generally male territory and female superheroes are tough, not "fluffy"). This is not behaviour saved for nerds who live in their mother's basements; I've met a lot of progressive men who seem shocked when they learn that I enjoy stereotypically girly pop culture. I've never sat a man down to get to the bottom of this phenomenon, but my hunch is the persistent idea that feminine and feminist can't go together.

Also applies to any man who takes it far too personally when you don't like his favourite bands or whatever. For me, it was a Feminist Men perplexed by the idea I didn't like Star Wars. I don't like things set in space so I've never bothered. He was too bothered about this.

Has a house that is growing mould


When I'm dating someone new, I judge them by how clean their house is. I don't expect high-end art pieces on the wall or their kitchen to be filled with every gadget from Argos. But I expect it to be clean and functioning. You're an adult who knew they were having a guest round so make sure you have a toilet roll for Pete's sake.

Many men don't pull their weight domestically - even when they are single and living alone. It's almost as though they consider cleaning to be so unmanly that they still won't do it even when there's no woman around. The earliest warning sign that he'll expect you to do all the cleaning in a relationship is if he didn't even do it when he was single!

He is offended when you say "men are trash"


A true Feminist Man will understand your frustrations. A person of colour can say "white people are trash" to me and I'm okay with that - because we are. These statements are about systematic problems, not individual people.

He amplifies the rumour that only alpha-males can be sexist


One of the beta-misogynists I dated once said "of course he's the type to sexually assault, he is a footballer" in relation to the Ched Evans case. This same guy ignored my verbal no in the bedroom and assaulted me. Rolling my eyes at the irony helps with the trauma.

(Same guy also refused to get a Tinder account "because only creepy men use Tinder").

If a beta man actively and explicitly says that it's only alpha men that are the problem then run for the fucking hills. Don't wait for any other point on this list to show up - just go. This is a big warning sign. Get out.

He tells you to wear less make-up


I've noticed this thing with Feminist Men who try to rip down bullshit beauty standards by telling women to wear less make-up.

News flash: women don't necessarily wear make-up to attract men.

Yes, it's a personal choice that can be layered with patriarchal bullshit. However, it can also be worn for purposes of self-expression. I quite like looking a bit like a badass hipster. It gives people I've just met some non-verbal queues about me as a person.

True Feminist Men let women do what they want with their bodies.

Has a history of dating younger women


I'm not explicitly against age-gap relationships, but they are worth thinking about.

Most people's maturity plateaus around about 25, so your typical 31-year-old isn't going to have much in common with your average 23-year-old - but that was exactly the age gap with a Fake Feminist Guy of my past. I was still finding my feet in the world and hadn't fully matured yet, making me a prime candidate for someone who was incredibly immature for his age (and, uh, likes to attack people's self-esteem).

But the big warning sign is if they have a history of dating younger women.

And any man who admits that his Tinder is set to only show younger women.

His appearance is a bit scabby but doesn't fancy low-maintenance women


I once wrote a blog post on this!


Has ever muttered the phrase "real women have curves"


Go away and die.

His feminism isn't intersectional


Ask for his opinion on Trans Rights, Black Lives Matter, and trade unions.

Because if your feminism isn't intersectional then it's bullshit. 


He doesn't understand the role of an ally


Sometimes being an ally means doing nothing. It's knowing when to shut up and let the oppressed group do the talking. It's not something you "are" just because you say you are. It's a label you earn -and you earn it through actions. Ultimately, if the Feminist Guy you've just met won't STFU and can't provide a basic level definition of an ally then he, sadly, probably isn't one.


And finally, some things that don't indicate how feminist a man is: 

  • how promiscuous he is
  • likes football, rugby, golf, and other manly sports
  • gets along with his mum
  • enjoys kinky sex
  • cuts down trees with his bare hands
  • if he's LGBTQ+ in anyway
  • is a vegan
  • owns a dog
  • supports other progressive movements
  • how much effort he puts into his appearance
  • has been to a strip club

What have I missed? Probably a lot. I like to rant. 

Men are trash. Especially Nice Guys. 

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In this essay I will prove that Child's Play 2019 reboots a classic horror story with modern fears for a new generation




This weekend I took a trip to the cinema to see my favourite film franchise about toys getting up to mischief when their humans aren't watching.

No, I'm not talking about Toy Story 4.

I'm talking about the re-booted Child's Play film, which was originally released in 1988. You know, the one with the killer doll called Chucky who was possessed by the murderer Charles Lee Ray? It's great, you should watch it. While the clothing choices in the original film give away that it's older than me, the special effects and mechanics of the killer doll hold up to this day. It's still brilliant.

While I wouldn't say the Chucky franchise is a personal favourite and I certainly don't fangirl for it (creepy dolls are not a macabre favourite of mine, generally), there has never been a Child's Play film that I've not liked and as a franchise, it has held itself together. While there are a few inconsistencies, producers generally respect the established canon.

On top of that, the Chucky films tend to successfully move with the times and reflect the horror trends of their decade. The first three films released between the late 80s and early 90s follow the traditional, yet simple, slasher set-up. Then in the 00s we were introduced to the Chucky family with Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky. These two films slid nicely into the comedy-horror genre that was popular around the millennium thanks to Scream (which is my favourite horror franchise). Then in the last few years, Netflix released their own Chucky films: Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, both of which were weirdly aesthetically pleasing with well-thought-out colour palettes. I blame Instagram.

Despite Chucky not appearing high up on my favourite horror icons list I was still a little worried about a reboot. The re-boot trend is a risky thing. On one hand, you have to stay close enough to the source material so you don't upset core fans but you also have to do something different to ensure that audiences have a reason to actually see it. Personally, I hate Rob Zombie's reboot of Halloween as I felt the added backstory on Michael Myers's descent in madness was out of place as the whole point of Myers was that he was a hollow shell. The idea that he was once a cute kid just doesn't sit with me. But I loved the Scream television show because it took the basic premise and changed what didn't need to stay. They didn't tamper with anything too important.

I am grateful to report, however, that Child's Play 2019 hits the sweet spot of respecting the source material but re-creating it for a modern audience who belong to a different generation.

[spoilers ahead]

Within the first 20 minutes, you will notice that the creators have removed a key component of the original film: Charles Lee Ray does not exist in this re-boot and Chucky is actually the product of a disgruntled Vietnamese sweatshop worker who disables the doll's safety features in revenge. Political, I like it.

You'll notice very quickly as well that instead of Chucky being a Good Guy doll, he is now a "Buddi" who can be hooked up to your electronic devices and is effectively a doll version of Alexa for children. I did roll my eyes slightly at this, but you know what? It's relevant. Smart homes are a thing now so it was only a matter of time before film producers began working it into horror films.

But some things have remained the same. Aside from the iconic image of Chucky stabbing people with a kitchen knife, Karen and Andy make a welcomed return and their relationship in this film is similar to that of the original (though 2019 Andy is a teenager). And Chucky's outfit hasn't been altered much.

And while I personally rolled my eyes at the technology bit, I can see why the producers did it. Back in 1988 dolls were still a very popular children's toy. That's what made the film so scary to some viewers: taking something as innocent as a children's toy and turning it into a murderous killing machine. But dolls aren't what children play with now, it's smartphones and that's exactly the socio-cultural update that Child's Play needed to make it scary to modern audiences.

The cast is less white than the original which is also a nod to the changing conversation around representation in media. And while I'd like to celebrate this, the producers still handed over the key roles to white actors while the non-white actors were regulated to supporting roles. Do better.

And it was funny, in a quippy, self-aware, and sarcastic way. Which I always like. That's my humour.

Bottom line: it was a good film. Whenever you go into the cinema to see a reboot you have to keep an open mind. You can't go in there thinking it will be the film you fell in love with. Try and convince yourself that you're watching it for the first time.

I've read reviews from critics who hated it. But when I'm reading these rants I see a common theme: they aren't separating their love for the original from the acknowledgement that this is a different film. It's not meant to be a line-for-line remake; if it was there would be no point. The world has moved on since 1988 and producers have chosen to create a modern re-telling of a classic film. Is it lazy to re-boot? Yeah, a little. Is it a fresh idea? Nah. But as long as a franchise has living fans who will pay money to see it there will be re-boots, sequels, and prequels. That's how capitalism works, y'all (I am chuckling at the irony that a film that taps into anti-capitalist imagery is literally a capitalist product itself looking to make money off an established horror icon instead of make something audiences arent familiar with).

I also didn't see one person in the cinema who would have been a teenager when the original came out. I looked around and everyone appeared to be my age or younger. The 50-somethings who remember the cultural significance of the original weren't out in tow.

And maybe that's the point. Maybe it's not aimed at people who hold memories of watching the original in the cinema with their friends. It's for a new generation who have a new set of cultural and political fears.

Damn millennials and their smartphones, ruining everything.

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Should you work at a marketing agency or in house?




I'm not usually one for viewing people in binary terms where everyone slots perfectly onto two neat sides. But if you were to pull together all the marketers of the world and ask them to pick between agency marketing and in-house marketing, very few would claim to have no preference. 

It took me a while to discover it for myself, but I'm an in-house girl. I love getting to know a brand inside out and truly understanding its message - especially when I get to work in an industry as fun as travel! My only brush with agency work has been through internships and work experience, where I had to learn very quickly the brand message of each client (which could differ immensely from one to the next). That wasn't for me, but some marketers thrive on a variety of projects in an agency setting.

So which should you personally choose when you enter the marketing workforce? The only way to truly know is to experience both. While you're at university try and get internships on either side to work out where you'd be happiest. But to give you an idea on where you might belong, I've asked my marketing buddies on both sides what made them choose the agency or in-house path.

The variety of work

The basic rule of thumb is this: agency marketers love a variety of work and in-house marketers like working with one brand. But like all basic rules of thumbs, there can be exceptions.

Some agencies specialise in a particular industry (I once interned at POSH Communication who specialise in hospitality) and some big agencies will have specialist teams who deal with certain types of clients (B2B, B2C, corporate, third sector etc). Plus, not all clients receive the same level of attention and the variety you crave might not realistically happen. My friend is an in-house web developer at a Glasgow branding consultancy and says he spends 80% of time carrying out web work for their biggest/most important client and the other 20% split between the rest.

On the other hand, working in-house isn't always about one brand. At Barrhead Travel we own several child companies and all their marketing is controlled by Head Office so, in reality, I'm switching my hats more often than my aforementioned agency pal.

The relationship between in-house and agency

I once heard someone (who doesn't work in marketing) say "most companies do their own social media and pay a company to do the creepy things like SEO" and another person (who does work in marketing) say "in-house tends to do strategy and the agency does the creative". Both statements have been completely untrue in my experience, and how the work is split between client and agency depends on the individual relationship.

I've worked in situations where all the creative is done in-house but the external agency is used for monthly audits, external ad-hoc support during busy periods, and training. I've also worked in situations where only certain social channels were handed over to an agency, while others were kept in-house. Sometimes a company might recruit an agency because the workload is getting bigger, but not big enough to justify a new employee salary. There is a multitude of reasons why a company hires an external agency. (Tip: when you're in an interview ask if there's an external agency involved and what their role is to get a good idea of what you're walking into).

Extrovert vs Introvert

One of the best mentors I've ever had said to me "agency life is the extrovert life and in-house work is the introvert life". Unlike the statements I shared above, there has been some truth to this one. Some agencies have account managers who do all of the front-facing work for you, but if you're looking to 'move up the ladder' into a supervisory, management or director role - you'll have to meet the clients from time to time (and it won't always be pleasant conversations) and pitch to prospects. There are also some agencies that don't have account managers, so regular employees will be expected to meet clients and attend networking events. 

On the other side, I work in-house and the only people I speak to externally are those who work for the external marketing agency we use on certain projects.

Job Security

Agency marketers tend to move around a lot more - and when I asked my agency friends why this is headhunting was the most popular answer. It's really common for agencies to keep an eye on each other and sweep in on their employees with a better salary. But another reason that came up was boredom - agency marketers typically like variation and can get fed-up if the client roaster looks the same two years down the line.

There was, unfortunately, a negative reason for this movement of people that one of my agency friends brought up. He once got made redundant because the agency lost one of their biggest clients (plus the massive monthly invoice) and they had no choice but to let people go.

Progression

Since agency marketers are more likely to switch employment at a quicker pace, supervisor and management positions open up more often. A lot of agency marketers I know have progressed into senior management while still in their mid-twenties. While in-house marketers who want a promotion might have to decide if they want to wait patiently for someone else to hand in their notice, or for the company to grow enough that they can justify new supervisors.

Cool factor and company culture

When I graduated I wanted to work in one of the super-cool agencies in Glasgow because - wait for it - it fitted the hipster aesthetic I was going for at the time. I've thankfully outgrown this ridiculous thought process but I'm still slightly jealous of the agency environment. They're usually a bit more relaxed about employee dress-codes and have office happy hours - while I'm sat in my corporate office completely sober wearing heels.

Working hours

I'm yet to learn of an agency that opens up shop on bank holidays or doesn't shut off for Christmas. So if the idea of working Easter Monday makes your stomach churn or 9-5 hours work better with your young family, agency life could be for you.

If you work in-house, you might be required to work weirder hours so social media channels can stay covered. I personally work in travel and - shockingly enough - the Facebook inbox is busier at the weekend with most of the public off work, so someone from my team has to be in work answering these messages. As glamorous as a job in travel can be, it's not for anyone who cherishes their weekends and evenings. I also don't get bank holidays off.

Salaries

I've never held a full-time salaried position at an agency so I'm basing this on what I've heard through the grapevine. But salaries don't change much between in-house and agency and are more likely to be affected by the size of the company, your experience and ability, whether you work in a price-driven industry, and how generous senior management is.

All and all though, it's very difficult to know which side you belong on until you try them out. So as I said earlier, get some experience on both sides through internships and work experience to find out where you belong.

If you're a marketer, what side do you prefer? Let me know if I've missed anything.
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