Editor’s note: Hey, welcome to the first edition of our monthly advice column! Below our ‘Good to Know’ Pulp Babes have gathered and put their heads together to answer a few of the questions we received this month. Keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter for the next call out for questions. We love our readers and because you view and support the little pieces of our world, we want nothing more but to help and support you too. You’re the best! – Chizz
Hello Pulp Zine! I have a favor to ask. I go to a very religious all-girls school, and everybody is painfully ignorant. Recently, I got into an argument with someone about Blurred Lines (by Robin Thicke). I was saying that it promotes rape and supports rape culture and she thought rape wasn’t so common/ a big deal and told me I was looking too much into it. after arguing about it for a while I told her I’d write an essay on rape and how I think Blurred Lines promotes it for her, to let her know how serious things really are. Well, I am coming to you because I see that you (or however many people run this) are very involved in this matter, and I would like to ask for some sources. Like maybe some tumblrs, speakers, articles, blogs, I don’t know! I have a load of opinions, but I want to be super convincing because this is very important to me and it scares me that people don’t believe its an issue (!!). If you have anything for me, thank you so much, and I love what you (Pulp) girls do!!
Emily: Hey there! First of all, it’s awesome that you are writing about this in order to educate the people around you! I’ve been coming across the same issue lately with the people I interact with daily—not everyone recognizes that we live in a rape culture, and that even misogynistic and stereotypical comments that sexualize or undermine women are totally not okay. The best we can do is to have an insightful conversation about rape culture and feminism, which sometimes is SUCH a struggle when ignorance is at hand. Here are some links with relevant information that I hope will help you!
These are some articles that relate directly to the topic of “Blurred Lines” being an example of rape culture:
Here are some rape statistics. (with breaks down of percentage of victims by race and age)
And this article is mostly about Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, however it is very important and the section about Robin Thicke makes many important points.
This is almost like your feminist search engine. You can find a lot of articles, speeches and things here—and you have the option to search key words.
Also! Here is a very clever French short film that shows men what it would be like to be a woman in a sexist society.
I hope these resources will come in handy! Let us know how the essay goes!
Today my sister got into it with me because one of her ex-boyfriends called her to complain that I was being “psychotic,” while he forgot to mention the part in which he randomly propositioned me for sex. She called me a whore for the pictures I’ve posted on tumblr and IG (no nudity at all), and said that guys wouldn’t disrespect me if I didn’t post photos like those. I’m so irate! I tried to explain that she was shaming me, but, she said I was invalid because it wasn’t a situation of rape.
Mariah: I’m so sorry to hear this! Unfortunately, your sister may be caught up in her boyfriend, or just may not be exposed to situations like these. You should let your sister know how you feel. Sit her down and tell her, but also you should take the opportunity to teach her a bit about rape culture/sexuality shaming, etc. and why these things are so important. If she says it’s not a ‘situation of rape’ explain to her why rape doesn’t act as a qualifier as to whether or not you can shame someone, and/or why you shouldn’t sexuality shame at all. There are tons and tons of articles you can find online or google. Hopefully you’ll be able to come to a mutually respectable agreement!
Lohla: Hey doll! First off, I’m so sorry you’re being put in this situation. You sound like you have a pretty good handle on the fact that you have literally no fault in this, so good for you. I know it sucks that your sister’s putting the blame on you. I’ve been in both your positions. On the one hand, she’s hurting a lot – it really, really sucks to admit that someone you love conditionally (like an ex-boyfriend) has betrayed you, moreso than it does to feel that someone you do love unconditionally (like a sister) has “passively” betrayed you. She knows in the back of her head that in actuality, this ain’t on you – it’s all him. At the same time, she sounds a bit like she wants to protect you and she’s concerned for you.
You need to explain to her that sexuality shaming isn’t just about rape. Being attractive shouldn’t make guys see you as less of a human. However much skin you show or however you look does not compromise your right to respect from other human beings. Objectification and other forms of disrespect towards women – they aren’t about what someone looks like. They’re an extension of power. You posted those pictures for yourself and no one else, so by twisting them for his own sexual desires, her ex is trying to stake out a power claim over you. You can only refute it and your sister’s internalized opinions about it with confidence and belief in yourself.
(Cathi Beckstrand- The Pulp Zine Pool on Flickr)
Hey Pulp Girls, how do I learn to believe in myself? I have so many people supporting me but I always feel like I’m disappointing them and it gets pretty soul-crushing. I have a therapist and at school I have teachers who totally support me, plus my parents are pretty great, but once I’m on my own, everything crumbles to pieces. How can I convince myself that I’m awesome, especially when it comes to creating art?
Candy: I have so much experience with this. To be perfectly honest, I still have days where I feel like this. It’s been something of a life struggle, you can say. What I found to help me through it was learning to accept all the love and kindness given to you. Just know that you are worth it. Recently, I was talking to my significant other and I was in tears. I didn’t feel like I deserve all the love he gives me. And what he said really resonated with me. “If I felt like you were a disappointment and you weren’t worth my time, do you think I’d still be here for you?” As straightforward as that was, it’s true! People support and love who they want to, who they believe in. We tend to be our own worst critics. Once we learn to step out from that perspective and look from the outside in, only then will we see our true worth!
Maya: Hey there! This is tough; believing in yourself is a long and arduous process. First of all, I’m glad to hear you have so many supportive people in your life, because this is instrumental in believing in yourself. There are some exercises that may feel silly, but can really help with self-acceptance. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you believe in yourself. Literally look in the mirror and think about all the great things you’ve ever done. Even chant in your head (or out loud) “I am amazing, I am incredible, I am beautiful inside and out, I am important”. Smile while doing this (I know, it sounds so stupid, but seriously, smiling has been proven to improve your mood).
Additionally, I find this graphic extremely helpful:
In terms of feeling good about the art you create, I have more advice:
Finding your artistic style is extremely important in feeling confident in your work. To find this voice, you have to create, create, create. Immerse yourself in your artwork until you come out with something you like. Then try to dissect what you like about it. You can do this with other’s art as well, what do you like about others artwork? Don’t just say “it’s good” or pick out a photo you like–figure out what about it you like and harness that in your own artwork.
Additionally, try all kinds of medium. Some people have a really hard time with graphite, and are amazing at embroidery. Some do not understand sculpture, but create beauty through gouache. If you’re feeling frustrated with one medium that you’ve been mostly trying, go completely in the other direction.
Also make sure you are in a good environment when doing art. If you feel self conscious about your art, don’t do it when a bunch of people are watching you. Don’t do art in a frustrating environment. If you do art at the same desk you frustratingly tried to figure out what the hell limits and derivatives are, believe it or not, you have built a psychological connection between that desk and stress/frustration.
What may seem like the opposite advice, but I assure is still extremely helpful, is doodle all the time. In class, on the bus, in the car, waiting in line at Starbucks. Have a little journal/sketchbook you can constantly doodle in. Don’t feel pressure to make it good, even have the intention of throwing it away afterwards if that helps you feel less pressure to make it look nice (though I would encourage you to keep it).
Lastly, try to get inspired! start a tag in your tumblr for art that you can look at whenever you feel shitty about art or feel blocked in any way and save the blogs of some of your favourite artists. Also collect things that inspire you and tape them in your journal/sketchbook.
Hope this was helpful, and best of luck!
Bee: I can fully relate to what you feel, because not only did I used to feel what you are feeling, some of my closest friends deal with the same struggles to this day. The short answer to your question is to learn to be confident in yourself. This is much easier said than done, I know, but it is possible. I used to try to please everyone, and even though I was okay on the surface, and I had lots of support from friends and family, everything would fall apart when I was on my own. People used to tell me that I could be only one thing in life, but I didn’t want that for myself. I am the type of person who has plenty of ideas and interests, and wants to see them all through. I learned to stop caring about what others expected from me. Once you discover what it is that you love, go and do it for no one but yourself, and the happiness and confidence will follow suit. If you are comparing yourself to others, stop it right now. Everyone experiences and does things differently, at their own pace. If you feel that you want to be like the person that you are comparing yourself to, take those feelings and instead of turning them into destructive self criticism, use them as inspiration and motivation to attain a certain goal, and then work towards it. As for your artwork, know that everyone has their own way of approaching, making and communicating art. This took me a long time to realize as an artist myself, and I still don’t feel as though my art is as strong as it could be. I still haven’t even developed a signature style, and I have been making art my whole life. However, instead of attacking myself for what I haven’t achieved, I’ve learned to look at the entire process as an incomplete journey waiting to be finished. Another thing about art is that there are no wrong answers, so if you feel as though someone is a “better” artist than you, know that this is not true, they may just use a different approach in communicating their ideas and you will grow as an artist yourself and create things that will astonish you. Every great artist was at first an amateur. I hope this helped you in some way. Good luck, darling. XO.
Thanks for joining us on our first foray into adviceland and we hope to help you guys next month! – Good to Know Staff