Thursday, 14 November 2013

Dear Pop Stars Remember You Are Made of Star Dust Not Sexism

Dear All Pop Stars,

I love music, I love old music, I love new music I love music I’m too embarrassed to let Spotify post on my Facebook status (we all know that feeling).

 I also love it when my role models and idols make me smile and remember they are more than a sex object, more than a marketing gimmick, but are human beings with a beautiful talent that we all want to experience and share.

I don’t expect my role models to be perfect or for them to put on an artificial butter wouldn’t melt in their hot and talented mouths persona, I don’t even expect them to always make the right decision (lets be fair we all don’t go through a day without making at least one mistake), but I hope that if you make a career out of being so important in all our lives that you try to bring your special sparkle and glitter into our world its much more fun than all this old fashioned sexism.

I know that controversy can sell and we all have to make a living, but if I love your voice, your music videos, your dance moves and your personality I’m still going to want to buy your MP3 from itunes and make you the sound track of my day I promise and I know I’ll want to recommend you to my friends too especially when they are round for that bottle of Rose on a Friday night.

I know that growing up no one thinks “I want to be a bad influence on others” or even be part of the nightmare that pulls other people’s lives apart. That’s why I want less blurred lines in the world and more girl power hitting our airwaves as the former makes little angels cry and the latter will make you the pop goddess and gods we all know you are.

As people we naturally want to be ourselves so instead of letting your marketing manager or band of digital image consultants want to twist and hide the real you, behind a fantasy stardom template air brushed and behind a personality that even your mum would struggle to see you through. Let the real star glowing inside you out, the body that holds your talented voice and dazzling dance moves (I promise you that alone makes it beautiful) be centre stage . Let your personality out through the clothes you want to wear and lifestyle you want to lead instead of someone else’s story shaped by an agent design to attract controversy instead of selling the you that you want the world to see.

Remember that before you were a pop star, rock star or even a TV star that you always had a star inside you the star dust that makes us all. You don’t need someone to shape you to be a star you just have to look inside yourself and let out the star dust you have had all along.

Keep dancing, keep singing and keep bringing glitter and magic into our lives.

Yours Faithfully

Tara Hewitt

Fan, feminist and fellow stardust made human being

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

DONT PANIC - Transgender Journalism 10 Positive Steps

If you are a journalist no matter what area you are working in be it art and fashion, politics and current affairs, crime and justice or even sport it is more and more likely that you will come across stories involving the full diversity of the trans community. With a tight deadline and with little experience in this area what do you do?


Here are some top tips to help make your article shine:

1. Do talk to the trans person you are writing the story about we don’t bite honest! We know best when it comes to writing about our own identity, so why re-invent the wheel?

2. Do Speak to All About Trans or Trans Media Watch. Facebook, Twitter, or Email them it doesn't matter which. They will give you everything you need to ensure you don’t fall down with any common mistakes.

3. Remember you are a fabulous journalist and not a bibliographer. You are probably writing a great story best to stick to that and let it shine not digging round in the mundane previous life of a trans person.

4. Do pose your trans subjects in a suitably glamorous pose, you will probably get more attention for flattering your subject rather than accidentally embarrassing them.

5. Do use a recent photo, not one of them that appears like a different person the main reason being the person in the photo is the wrong gender (I’m talking about past before and after pics not big or clever they just suck).

6. Do criticise trans people who do bad things, we are all people we can all do bad things. Trans people are not exempt from criticism but remember criticise what they have done not that they are trans that’s the story not their gender.

7. Do report news, we like news, we like scandal, we like entertainment and we even like the pull out fashion spreads many newspapers have. Now you are reporting news you won’t have space for those pointless “someone has transitioned” articles. Trans people haven’t suddenly come down from the moon, we have been around forever despite what the gossip circle in some shire town is telling you.

8. Do give trans people a voice. Ok I would say that I’m trans and I’m writing about improving media presence for trans people, but you will be surprised how many fabulous experts and commentators across a range of subject areas out there are Trans. Don’t be afraid to let us speak, we can do more than talk about our gender in fact most of us would prefer it instead of having to discuss ourselves all of the time.

9. Do use the normal dictionary of words you use in other articles they aren't broken so why try to fix them? No need to bring in “Sex Swop” “tranny” or “Sex Change” they just aren't cool and you just end up being the classroom bully instead of the dazzling journalist we all know you can be.

10. Finally DO REMEMBER the person you are writing about is more than a story, more than being transgender, they are human and have so much more to give than having their gender objectified if their gender history isn't relevant to the story why include it? 

Now you have all the tools to be a journalist with extra gold stars and the tips to make your story shine. Go forth and continue to make our lives interesting with stories, glamour and news which ever part of the media industry you work in.

Here are some positive messages from Trans people that may help too: