Tags Posts tagged with "society"


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We use metaphorical sayings almost everyday in speech, but where do they actually come from?

We use sayings a lot, sometimes without even noticing – but does anyone ever stop to think about the saying and where it came from? Sayings are a metaphorical language, but most of them actually come from a literal meaning. You’ll be surprised at what some of these common English sayings mean.

Saying: ”Bite the bullet”
Meaning: Accepting something difficult or unpleasant.
Where it came from: During battle, there was no time to administer anaesthesia emergency surgery, the surgeon made patients bite down on a bullet in an attempt to distract them from the pain.

Saying: ”Crocodile tears”
Meaning: An insincere display of grief or sadness.
Where it came from: Crocodile tears come from an ancient belief that crocodiles wept insincerely if it killed and ate a man.

Saying: ”Pulling my leg”
Meaning: To tease someone or jokingly lie to them.
Where it came from: ”Pulling one’s leg” actually comes from the criminal world of the 18th century when street thieves would literally pull victims down by their leg in order to more easily rob them.

Saying: ”Break a leg”
Meaning: Good luck.
Where it came from: The saying ”break a leg” originates from theatre. Wishing someone good luck was considered bad luck; instead, it was more suitable to wish ill will on someone before a performance as the opposite was supposed to happen.

Saying: ”The kiss of death”
Meaning: An action that causes failure.
Where it came from: The saying’s roots rest in Italian Mafia, where someone who’s been marked for death receives the metaphorical kiss prior to execution.

Saying: ”Sleep tight”
Meaning: Sleep well.
Where it came from: The meaning dates back to when mattresses were supported by ropes, these ropes needed to be pulled tight to provide a stable mattress and a good night’s rest.

Saying: ”Elephant in the room”
Meaning: An obvious truth that is unaddressed/ignored.
Where it came from: In 1959, the New York Times paper described financing schools as the ”elephant in the room”, meaning that the problem was so big you can’t ignore it. The saying caught on.

Saying: ”Hair of the dog that bit you”
Meaning: A term for a hangover cure.
Where it came from: This came from the belief that once bitten by a dog, the victim would be cured by applying the same dog’s hair to the wound.

Saying: ”A sight for sore eyes”
Meaning: A person that one is extremely pleased to see.
Where it came from:  Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, first used the phrase in ”A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation” in 1738, with the line ”The sight of you is good for sore eyes.”

Saying: ”As happy as Larry”
Meaning: Extremely happy.
Where it came from: It originates from a boxer called Larry Foley in the 1890’s, before boxing was legalised. He won the biggest prisoe of about $150,000 and a newspaper article in New Zealand had the headline ”Happy as Larry” and the phrase stuck.

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The struggles of living in London when you hate people

London is full of humans, but how do you survive the daily grind of travelling on the public transport and being around people when you hold hatred, distrust and contempt of the human species? These are some of the social situations every misanthropic has to encounter, and hates.

Picture the scene, the bus is half full but not packed to the brim. You are content and absorbed in your own little world sitting by yourself as the sound of music blares from your headphones. Then all of a sudden a human sits next to you. Remember, these are the standard two seater chairs most commonly found in most double decker buses, inconveniently positioned together so you have no choice but to feel the nudge of elbows and just the general discomfort of a spewing stranger sat right next to you. This kind of behaviour is unfathomable. Why is this persons presence next to me?

Feeling enraged you scout the entire bus and see there are in fact other seats vacant and some with no people sitting on them what so ever. So out of all the seats on this bus this human had to perch themselves next to you? Stench, body odour, talking loudly on the phone in a loud foreign language, sneezing and coughing and just breathing next to you is bad enough, but having their body parts literally on you is taking it too far. You avoid sitting next to someone in public unless it’s absolutely necessary and even then, you feel like you’re dying a little inside every moment you have to sit next to them. This is that moment right now. The inconvenience of people on public transport makes every misanthropic despise humankind that little bit more.

But than there is the dreaded morning travel to work. Trapped and wedged in a packed underground train like a sardine can. The overpowering stench of commuter’s coffee breath inches away from your nostrils, as the Tannoy announcement played on a torturous endless loop urges us repeatedly to ‘report unattended packages’ and ‘mind the gap’ lingers in your ears like finger nails scratching on a chalk board. It’s moments like this I wish I was dead, or at least everyone else around me was.

Have you ever had someone try to talk to you while you’re wearing earphones. Like seriously? do you not see these earphones plugged and etched into my ears? You honestly wonder what about you seems approachable. Does my stern and emotionless face look like it wishes to engage in social interaction? You hate having to waste your energy on humans when all you wish to do is escape into your own imaginary little world.

Than you feel a poke of a finger on your back or shoulder. You turn around to inspect what foul creature dared touch you only to be faced with a stern looking middle aged woman pointing to your earphones. Forced to inconveniently turn down your music to hear what this wrench wants thinking it could potentially be somewhat sufficient only to be told ‘’could you please turn down your music’’. I have earphones on for a reason, so the likes of these humans could not invade my personal space, now they are dictating what volume my music should be? I give a muffed look, plug back in my earphones and continue to listen to my music loudly. Society will not conform me, I just wish to be left alone.

After you have escaped the suffocating confines of the underground you venture to a nearby restaurant to indulge and unwind after the emotional distress of people. After being shown to your table you are then horrified and appalled that the waitress has placed you next to a table with children. What kind of sorcery is this? Children in public restaurants. They are repulsive little creatures who test your patience when all you are trying to do is enjoy your meal in peace. You are a paying customer and do not appreciate the constant screeching and crying of babies and spoilt brat children ruining your tranquillity. You completely advocate the idea of child-free restaurants and long for the day children are banned from these establishments. But until that day arrives you are instead forced to look on in annoyance and disgust as their doting and deluded parents smother them with compliments and affection, when all you wish you could do is smother them with a pillow instead.

After paying the bill you suddenly feel an unfamiliar vibration from your pocket. Shocked, you reach the depths of your pocket and are left flabbergasted that someone is actually phoning you. As a Misanthropic your immediate reaction is to sigh in utter disgust and contempt. Calling!?!!? What is this nonsense? WhatsApp me, you incompetent idiotic human.

After ignoring their call, you proceed to message them on WhatsApp ‘’Sorry, just missed your call, you OK?’ each word a bitter lie. You wait with baited breath as they respond. ‘Please, please, please cancel our plans’. You have had too much social anxiety for one day and wish to go home. Your favourite moment in life is when people cancel plans. There’s nothing quite like that sweet sigh of relief when you don’t have to hang out and mingle with humans. The unnecessary annoyance of having to leave the confines of your bedroom to feel socially acceptable is not acceptable at all.

Relived you are no longer socially obliged and morally bound to interact with acquaintances you journey back to the sanctity that is your bedroom. Within these four walls you are free from the clutches of humankind. Humans are mentally exhausting and drain the very fabric of your soul. The life of a misanthropic in London, a very draining and challenging existence indeed.

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Unrealistic workplace dress codes

Nicola Thorp is a 27-year-old based in the London. She was sent home in a temp job for not wearing high heels.

The event happened in December last year, however after a couple of months and some sharing of her situation, Thorp took the situation into her own hands and started a petition. The goal was to get enough signatures for this issue to be deliberated in parliament.

It’s actually very sad that in 2016 woman are still required to wear high hells or even make-up. The problem is that it’s an imposition and not a choice, which turns the situation unacceptable for women nowadays.

When she confronted her employer about why she couldn’t do her job in flats, she was laughed at and sent home without payment.

Everybody knows that workplace dress code is a real thing, and in some situations it makes all the sense in the world, but why make a woman feel uncomfortable for nine hours when she is able to do the exact same job in a much more comfortable way.

Sadly, this is truly a problem that all women can relate to. If a woman doesn’t wear make-up the automatic question is “are you sick?” or “are you ok?” or “you don’t look good”. These questions make us feel bad. If we don’t wear make-up the assumption is that you don’t look good so that makes us wear cosmetics everyday so we can feel that we are at our best at all time.

We must remember that we are now in the 21st century and that kind of work bulling is not acceptable now or ever. So if you too as a woman feel the pressure to doll up, just because the corporate system tells you to, please sign the petition and make your workplace is a better and much more comfortable one to work in.

Is veganism only relevant to rich developed countries?

Veganism is seen as a first world “choice” by many in the first world.

I’m not sure this particular view has been expressed by any outside of developed countries to be honest.

It’s a tired argument hardly worth bothering with, but I shall do so anyway, because I know you all want to read my devastating destruction of the futile comments spewed out by veganism’s detractors.

I think we’re all aware that veganism is a choice open to everybody everywhere in the first world, but to me, having the choice is a persuasive argument for why you should go vegan. We can choose to reject the environmentally destructive, cruel and unhealthy meat industry, and therefore, with the privilege of knowledge and ability, we should absolutely do so.

To perpetuate the argument that veganism is a first world issue you must also accept that so is factory farming and so is processed meat. The cruel and intensive ways of raising animals for food are far removed from the hunter gatherer image rabid omnivores like to project. But they also conveniently forget to say that growing crops for food is quicker and cheaper than raising animals for food too.

One of the constant points vegans constantly fire out is that if all the land used for animal agriculture was used for growing vegetables then there would be enough food to feed the world several times over – we can literally save the world by going vegan! That is, of course, if we learn to share in a hippy “one world” style of living. But it does make the serious point that meat-based diets are adding to the problems of world hunger rather than solving them.

Having said all that, 20 to 40 per cent of the population in India are vegetarian and many in Africa are too. In fact, many Buddhist countries have a high number of vegetarians. Also, in countries such as Ethiopia and other African nations where Christianity is prevalent, their faith requires fasting days where only vegan meals are acceptable.

Yes it is true that many of the very poorest can only eat what is on hand – or what can be hunted or gathered – but even that is more natural than going down the butcher’s shop. And surely, the answer there is to oppose world hunger and campaigner for a fair system where everybody has a full belly.

We are an increasingly global world – but one with huge chunks left out of it.

Any form of campaigning can only achieve so much – in general we are preaching to the people on our doorsteps but in many ways that is vas it should be. Reaching out to those in our own communities is where we can make a direct difference. Vegan outreach groups often take food to the poor and homeless, and that’s a fantastic way of campaigning – after all, we can all go home later and fire off emails and petitions on global issues and hope politicians will listen. But really every little bit helps – and the vegan diet itself is a form of activism.

Sidekicks used to be minors, now they're minorities.

I think it’s safe to say that today’s audiences have more superhero comic-based material than ever. Hollywood blockbusters, animated movies, fan-made films, television series, cartoons and incredible video games. Yet through all of this, regardless of the medium, one thing remains constant: the hero is always white.

In the Nineties, we had the likes of Blade and Steel, and we’re soon to see the exploits of Black Panther and Cyborg on the silver screen. But in the last 15 years, Hancock is the only black superhero to star in a superhero movie, and he was hardly a role model.

Even the relatively few black characters who have appeared in movies have been criminally underused. Storm never did anything of note, I don’t even remember seeing Hotshot, and Falcon and War Machine’s scenes could barely fill an ad break. In Age of Ultron, the franchise even decided to mock the heroes for doing less significant work, while Thor and Iron Man gloat about their world-saving adventures.

DC doesn’t have a stellar record either. If it weren’t for Lucius Fox and Gillian Loeb, the Nolanverse would have been as pale as the Joker’s complexion. Superman Returns was completely white, unless you count Kal Penn’s one and only line as one of Lex’s men, while Man of Steel only features an ironically black Perry White.

On TV the problem only gets more subtle.

Despite nine different television shows based on superheroes, and a whole host of movies in the MCU, we’re still yet to see a black superhero as the star. Instead, black characters in superhero movies are peripheral roles. They’re part of the lore, and may even have significant parts to play from time to time, but at the end of the day, they’re only there to help our hero – inevitably a good-looking white male.

Even when Black Panther finally arrives, I’m betting he’ll share most of his screen time with Stark and Cap. And we’ll have to wait a good few years before Cyborg takes centre stage in his feature-length film. Hopefully, we’ll get a look at Luke Cage on Netflix long before that.

Until then, memes like this, while made in fun, are frustratingly accurate. Black characters seem stuck in this sidekick role. And worse, their skillset makes them pointless. They become a shadow of the hero, a less capable version of the white guy they’re backing up. Everything War Machine can do, Iron Man does better. Everything Diggle can do, Arrow does better. The things Joe and Falcon can do don’t even stack up to their white counterparts. Years ago, the comic gave many of the superheroes, particularly in DC, little mini-me wards to appeal to their younger audience, to be captives in need of rescue, and to give the heroes somebody to talk to.

Over time, the sidekicks became less popular, largely because they did the exact same job as the main hero, except worse. Now, instead of minors, the sidekicks are minorities. Thor has Heimdall, Supergirl has James Olsen, Superman has Perry White (who is even farther from being useful to the plot than the others on this list), and Antman has his racially eclectic criminal crew. And what possible justification could there be for this? There are so many great black superheroes that could be making their way to either screen right now, that are being ignored or being forced to play second fiddle to white characters.

  • Vixen – Teased in the animated web series, and introduced in Arrow’s Season 4, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of Mari McCabe getting her own show. With so many heroes already crowding Team Arrow’s ranks, it’s unlikely Vixen will get the spotlight.
  • Static – Having enjoyed an animated series back in 2000 until 2004, Static definately has the star quality. There were rumours not so long ago that Jaden Smith had been approached for the role, but nothing new has been said for quite a while.
  • Blade – It’s been awhile since the Wesley Snipes incarnation. Maybe it’s time for a fresh take on the human-vampire hybrid.
  • Steel – After the commercial flop of 1997 starring Shaquille O’Neal, it’s not surprising that this particular character hasn’t graced the Box Office. But maybe it’s time John Henry Irons gets the movie he deserves.
  • Icon – A lesser known hero from the Milestone Imprint, Icon is a hero I only learned about in the Young Justice animated series. So maybe it’s time DC raised his profile a little.
  • Jaime Reyes – There were whispers of an upcoming Blue Beetle/Booster Gold series not too long ago, but like Static this seems to have fallen by the wayside. That series was apparently intended to star the Ted Kord incarnation of the Beetle, but Jamie Reyes seems like a far better choice.
  • Tye Longshadow – Again, you can thank YJ for this, but Longshadow is a character I want to see more of. Now, maybe he doesn’t have the star quality for a film, or the storyline to make a show just for him, but partner him with another character and I think you could do good things with the Apache Chief’s descendent.
  • Miles Morales – The so-called ‘black Spiderman’ will never appear on the silver screen according to leaked provisions in the movie rights. But does that preclude an appearance on television? Perhaps in animated form. (Ultimate Spiderman was not my cup of tea. Miles Morales could be.)


However it is done, on whatever level, it’s time black superheroes were given the chance to stand up on their own two feet and prove to the world that you don’t have to be white to be right. Then maybe we can see the actual proteges take the place of our incidental sidekicks.

Ever wondered why teenagers have suddenly stopped caring about things of importance?

In recent years, there has been an evident decline in the amount that younger teenagers care about their education which is due to many factors but the most prominent is definitely peer group status and pressure.

It has now become a social norm to care more about what your friends think about you than paying attention to your future and qualifications. This has become a problem as many are leaving school without the right amount of qualifications because they have spent all of their school years trying to gain as many friends as possible and doing everything they can to have the highest status possible in their friendship group.

The media and social media are definitely not helping this at all as social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are becoming increasingly popular and with them comes a range of detrimental “challenges” and trends that can only lead to dangers for the easily influenced teens of today’s society.  Such as, Kylie Jenner’s lip challenge of 2015 which resulted in many having bruises and overly sized lips and just looking generally ridiculous. Then, of course, how can we forget the fainting challenge of 2014? I’m still not sure why it’s deemed as fun to cause yourself physical harm.

While they are spending all of this time trying to gain pointless likes on Facebook, the homework is being pushed further and further into the bottom of the school bag. Of course, this is not the same for all teenagers but with my experience with them at the age of 13/14, the not caring are certainly not in the minority. It is not unusual for teenagers to spend more time applying their make up and doing their hair for school than actually doing their school work. Then, when it gets to the evenings, it’s all about who is going out tonight rather than studying for a test the next day or catching up on some missed work. You can see why this is going to be a problem when they get to year 11 and they’ve missed the whole GCSE course.

Teenagers are also being exposed to perhaps adult orientated things such as sex, alcohol and smoking at far too early of an age which means that they think that they will gain status and friends if they do these things. The UK have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world and it is not uncommon to see teenagers desperate for a cigarette and standing around outside their school smoking. Tragic.

Sadly, once one person starts rebelling and forming their own subcultures within school, they often have a large crowd following them in doing so as teenagers just do not seem to like doing things by themselves. If one person doesn’t do the work, others will think it’s “cool” not to do it. It’s all about fitting in, having the latest material goods and being suitably Facebook famous. Often, I will walk around the town centre and there will be groups of teenagers that all look identical; same haircut, same clothes, same phones, same everything.

Is society creating clones?

Why are people so oblivious to the world of mental health?

You wouldn’t think I would still have to be making these posts in 2016 but apparently, people still believe that mental health should not be talked about and if they just ignore it, it won’t affect them. This is an incredibly selfish outlook on life but sadly, one that many people seem to have.

We should be encouraging that it is ok to talk about mental health instead of dismissing it as being an “irrelevant problem”. Recent studies have shown that one third of time taken off work per year is due to mild to moderate depression, therefore increasing the amount of sick pay that has to be given. The fact that this many people have to take time off work is just awful and the government should be doing so much more in order to compensate for poor mental health. Also, this is just the people who have opened up about their mental health problems so this isn’t even taking into account those that feel the need to keep it a secret due to society and the norm of believing that it is “attention seeking” behaviour.

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives and despite many people with mental illnesses being able to recover fully or finding a way to live with their illness, there is a strong stigma attached to poor mental health which can dangerously affect the life of someone with a mental illness. It has been proven that social stigma and discrimination that mentally ill people experience makes it even more difficult for them to be able to recover.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if the media weren’t enforcing the stigma too, often portraying mentally unwell people as having violent and criminal behaviour however this is far from the case, it is actually been proven that those who are mentally unwell are usually the victim of crimes instead of the criminal.

More importantly, how do we challenge this stigma?

  • Learn and share facts about mental health and illness – make people aware.
  • Get to know people who have experienced ill mental health.
  • Offer the same support to someone who is mentally unwell as you would to someone who is physically ill – get ready for a post about this soon!
  • Do not put labels on or judge someone with a mental illness, they deserve the same respect as you would give anyone else.
  • Don’t discriminate, whether it’s something as simple as being in school and choosing who is going to be in your group project to hiring someone in a job.
  • Talk openly of your mental illness – the more secrecy, the more people will believe that it is shameful and needs to be concealed.

Overall, it is important to emphasise that nobody should be prevented by society from getting the help that they deserve and need.

The Clown Prince of Crime’s greatest joke of all.

When you think about strong female characters in comics, you tend to think about the big names, like Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel (now Captain Marvel), Storm, Rogue and Jean Grey. You might even consider Batgirl/Oracle and Supergirl. So, with all these powerful, independent, heroic women, how did Harley Quinn become the most prominent feminist powerhouse in comics? Surely, it’s a gag.

As most people know, Harley was created specifically for Batman: The Animated Series, although many similarly named characters had existed in the comics before. But none had been the lovesick girlfriend of the Joker.

Although originally intended to appear in just a single episode, the fan reaction to Harley was so strong she was brought back time and time again, and quickly became a mainstay of Batman lore. Only a year after her first appearance, she was inducted into the comics in Batman Adventures #12.

But as a character frequently abused and/or neglected by Mistah J, you’d think Harley Quinn would have been a target of women’s rights advocates. Yet somehow, Harley survived long enough as Joker’s punching bag to have some sense knocked into her, and goes her own way.

She became one of the four main characters in the spin-off show, Gotham Girls, and teamed up with Poison Ivy and Catwoman for criminal capers and the occasional heroic act, leaving Joker far behind – for a time, at least. Soon enough, she was a poster girl for women dealing with, and trying to move on from, abusive relationships.

In the comics world, Harley has become more of an anti-hero, starting with her stint in the Suicide Squad, and leading to her team-up with an amnesiac Power Girl (I wonder if we’ll ever see that in the DCCU?). With her zany antics and fourth-wall breaking exploits – much like Deadpool – she found a place in the hearts of many a comics fan, and is now making her way to the silver screen.

But not everyone is happy about the upcoming portrayal.


And there it is: the staunch defence of a figure of femininity and girl-power, and the backlash against turning her into a piece of meat. Except, here comes the punchline: that’s exactly what she is. None of the ‘complexities’ of Harleen’s character are all that deep. So, like Joker did Quinzel, let’s break them down one by one.

Sympathy for Motherhood

Yes, Harley threw a fight against a pregnant Black Canary and later visited her. But this had nothing to do with morality or kindness. It was revealed in those same panels that Harley had left Joker – who hadn’t even noticed her absence – to give birth to a child in secret. Her actions here merely reflect her newly developed maternal instincts, not a wider respect for human life.

After all, this is the woman who dated a psychopath responsible for blowing up a school full of children, kidnapping all the newborns in Gotham before shooting new mother Sarah Essen, and beating young Jason Todd with a crowbar. In the DC animated universe, she also kidnapped Tim Drake to turn him into Joker’s mini-me.

Even ignoring all that, are we really trying to say that having the smallest grain of common decency it requires not to kick a pregnant woman in the gut is somehow a sign of her ‘complex character’. Or is it the gifts that makes this a worthwhile example?

Great at Jailbreaks

I don’t know where this ‘fact’ comes from, but with the revolving door that is Arkham Asylum, I’m not sure how it could possibly be true. Joker breaks in and out as he likes, Zsasz has been said to have secret tunnels out – and presumably in – to his cell, and James Gordon Jr. broke in to free Joker once, if I’m not mistaken. The only reason this list isn’t longer is because most villains have no need to break in. They’re only concerned with getting out.

I’m guessing it’s the “handful of objects” part that makes this somehow impressive, but again, what are we really celebrating here? Do you really expect me to think of a character as complex because she is able to break into prisons? Even if she really is the only person capable of this in the entire DC Multiverse, I don’t think that makes her any less of a ‘shooting sex toy’. In fact, the Suicide Squad comics and the animated movie, Assault on Arkham, meld the two pretty seamlessly.

Escaped an Abusive Relationship

“She’s a woman who knows she’s been abused and is working past it.”

Sure, by killing people. Even if a fictional character working through her issues was in any way inspirational, doing so by throwing cartoon-style bombs and wielding a gigantic mallet isn’t exactly ‘working past’ anything. She’s as messed up now as she ever was, which is great for the character, but bad for a role model of female strength and independence.

It’s worse when you realize that moving on meant becoming a lesbian and a vegan, just to keep her new beau Poison Ivy happy. She clearly has a thing for pale complexions. Watching the ‘Holiday Knights’ episode of The New Batman Adventures, or reading the comic it was adapted from, you can hardly say she’s moved on. While she wants fun and Christmas trees and good food, Ivy keeps the comedy queen under her green thumb, even shutting her up with a pillow.

Harley still ends up going back to Joker from time to time, and probably always will. As much as people love the character, her dynamic with the Clown Prince is one of the most interesting things about her. Without him, she’s just a psycho in a clown-suit. Which is the first thing that would go if she was really getting any better.

So how exactly is Harley working on her issues?

Earned a Doctorate

Calling out Dr. Fate on his name isn’t brave or clever. Batman isn’t really part bat, Shazam was never a Captain, and Joker isn’t really a Prince of Crime or a pudding. In a world full of code names starting with official titles, this is just a dumb comment to make. And it gets worse.

First of all, Kent Nelson, one of the aliases of Dr. Fate, is in fact a doctor. Twiceover. He became a physician in More Fun Comics #85 in 1942, and became an archaeologist in 1944 (reiterated in 1982). With all the reboots to the DC franchise and the many versions of Earth, it’s impossible to keep track, but there’s a good chance that Doctor Kent Nelson imparted his knowledge to Nabu in whichever reality she called him out in.

There’s also the possibility she was speaking to Khalid Nassour, an Egyptian-American Med student, currently trying to earn his doctorate.

As well as being in the wrong, Harley is being a huge hypocrite for several reasons. Firstly, as a doctor who fell in love with her patient, Harley would have lost her license a long time ago. Secondly, it is shown that Harleen only interviewed the Joker so she could write an award-winning tell-all book about the infamous patient. Being a good doctor never had anything to do with it. Last, but certainly not least, Harleen Francis Quinzel never ‘earned’ her doctorate. She slept her way to the top.

That’s right. As heavily implied by the comic Mad Love, written by character creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Harleen seduced her professor at university in order to get the grades she wanted.

Last but not least, Harley is talking to a Lord of Order. This is a being who knows the arcane arts, who has existed in some form or other for aeons, and has battled with the greatest supernatural threats the world has ever seen. Harley is a sidekick to a psycho clown.

In what world does all that knowledge and experience pale in comparison to a Doctorate in criminal psychology? How has this been overlooked for so long as this image flittered around the internet? Dr. Fate has 1000 times more validity to his claim of being a doctor than Harley ever will.

Shooting Sex Toy

Maybe in her most recent comics series, Harley is beginning to turn over a new leaf. Maybe. But let’s look at the evidence shall we? Harley was created to be the girl who pops out of the cake in an animated episode of Batman. In the end, Joker popped out of the cake, and Harley was only there to wheel it in and look pretty. A showgirl, or magician’s assistant. But it was a one-and-done appearance. Nothing complex about it.

When she came back, due to fan reaction, she was just the Joker’s girlfriend, the butt of his every slapstick joke. Even in a kid’s cartoon, she was drawn sensually, at one point even appearing out of costume, in just a chemise, teasingly asking the infamous question: “Dontcha wanna rev up your Harley?”

Very risque for a cartoon.

When she finally left the Joker, she teamed up with Poison Ivy, and suddenly showed undercurrents of homosexuality. Because what do nerdy comic lovers enjoy more than a sexy female character? Two sexy female characters in a relationship with each other. The comics basically sold themselves.

Later on, Harley’s costume became less and less like the original jester’s outfit, showing ever more skin, and ever more sexuality. In the Suicide Squad comics she flirts openly with Yoyo, and sleeps with Deadshot. When she moves on to her superhero team-up, it’s not surprising that she’s paired with the heroine famous for her boob window.

Now tell me, at what point wasn’t she primarily a sex toy?

The thing that will be most disappointing in the Suicide Squad movie is if they do try to make her a feminist character, standing for women’s rights and equal ability between the genders. I want her to be using her feminine guile, and her oddball humour and her willingness to do anything to get the job done. She should be a stark contrast to the strength and wisdom of Wonder Woman and the optimistic innocence of Supergirl.

She should be crazy and sexy, but never complex.

So how did Harley become the face of female solidarity? I have absolutely no idea. My best guess? A lot of selective reading, misinterpreted signs and overly optimistic hopes for a character that is, was and always will be, the Joker’s plaything.

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Diverse Superhero Casts are Masking the Issue

When it comes to ethnicity, comics have always struggled with representation. In the early days, black characters all spoke in an exaggerated dialect, Asian henchmen died by the boatload (especially at Batman’s hands, back before his no-killing policy) and more than a few villains were insensitive stereotypes. It was a long time before characters of colour could be anything but thugs, and even longer before they could be heroes in their own right. It was no different in the cinematic or televisual adaptations either. So it’s great to see the diverse line-ups on today’s programming. Isn’t it?

The problem is, representation hasn’t really improved all that much. These shows are still full of stereotypes that pre-exist the superhero genre, going back to pulp heroes like the Spirit, Crimson Avenger and Green Hornet. Black and Asian characters remain sidelined by an otherwise white cast of more integral roles while displaying stereotyped behaviour.


When John Diggle was introduced in Arrow, he had all the hallmarks of a great character and an instant fan favourite. His friendship with Oliver Queen allowed the show a capacity for emotional depth that didn’t always hinge on angst-based whining and angry brooding. But at the same time, he was a man with a gun, kept largely on the bench because he had no codename or costume. Even now that he has a mask, Diggle rarely brings anything to the table that isn’t already provided by Oli or Laurel, or Thea or Felicity. Only when he’s given his own sub-plots does he really come into his own.

Flash’s Joe West was a similarly strong character, but one’s whose use to the team is questionable at best. Except for the injection of warmth Joe adds as a father-figure, I struggle to see any way in which the show’s core narrative would be affected by Joe’s absence. Yet West and Diggle are two of the best utilized characters of colour.  

Both Iris and Kendra have been bland throughout their appearances, only featuring to give viewers something to look at and our heroes someone to fawn over. Patty Spivot showed more personality in her first minute on-screen than Iris has accomplished in two seasons. Linda, on the other hand, showed plenty of spunk for the two or three episodes she featured in.

In the season one finale of Agents of Shield, Tripp dies, proving that it’s not only horror movies where the black guy dies first. Mike Peterson, despite becoming Deathlok, has been underused and remains a little 2 dimensional. But the three worst offenders are all from CW’s offerings, Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow: Andy Diggle, Jefferson Jackson and Wally West.


We’ll start with Andy Diggle. When first mentioned, he was remembered as an upstanding member of society and a veteran. John only ever had good things to say about him , while he hunted for Andy’s killer, Deadshot. Now, since Andy’s frankly unsurprising return as one of Darrk’s footsoldiers, all of that is out the window.

First of all, nobody seems to have mentioned Andy’s wife, whom John tried having a relationship with in the first season, or his son A.J. So, we’ve got a black guy who ran out on his wife and kid. Stereotype number one. Second, despite Diggle never mentioning it before, it is revealed Andy was involved in drugs before he joined the army. Black guy as a criminal. Stereotype number two. Third, since the moment of his return, Andy has been nothing but aggressive, leaving little to his personality beside his constant anger and resentment towards his older brother. Hot-headed black guy. Three strikes and you’re out!

Of course, to say that this kind of personality is off-limits to black characters would be absurd. One aggressive black man from a criminal background is simply a role that was needed, and Andy works as a character. But that doesn’t forgive two more in the exact same mould.

Wally West starts off in a one-parent family, just him and his mother, which is just the reflected image of the first stereotype. When he reunites with the rest of his family, Iris and Joe, it is soon revealed that he takes part in illegal street races to pay for his mother’s medical bills. It’s frighteningly close to the background given to Michael B. Jordan’s Human Torch in the failed F4 reboot.


Then there’s his continual anger at Joe for not knowing about him and not being there to be a father. I know that they were going for emotional depth, but we’re yet to see any other side to the newest addition to the family. All his grief, confusion, and resentment manifests as anger. And it doesn’t take long for that to become boring. Especially when we’ve seen it all before.

The worst of the worst has to be Jefferson Jackson. Jackson, like the Diggles, is a character unique to the show, and a surprising addition to the cast. When Ronnie Raymond supposedly died in the season one finale, the replacement counterpart for Martin Stein seemed obvious. After all, we had already met Jason Rusch, one of the DC comics characters who uses the Firestorm Matrix. So this unknown ‘Jax’ guy was an unexpected twist.

Where Jason Rusch – who appeared in just one episode – was a scientist, the new character was a mechanic, whining about lost glory as a football star (reminiscent of Cyborg’s origins, as well as the comics version of Rusch). He, too, has lost his father and grown up in a single-parent household. He immediately rejects the prospect of a partnership with Stein, and when he finally comes around to the idea, his remains hot-headed – both literally and figuratively. But at least he’s not a criminal, right? Until the episode of Legends of Tomorrow where he helps Captain Cold and Heatwave by performing as their getaway driver, apparently unable to resist trying out the futuristic vehicle.

So, to recap, those five stereotypes are:

1. First to die

2. Underused

3. Broken home

4. Bad attitude

5. Criminal background

Jax is hitting four out of five of them already, and although it’s unlikely CW will opt for yet another new Firestorm, anything could happen. Meanwhile, most other black characters are hitting at least one of these stereotypes. Even ignoring the social-political ramifications, this is getting worryingly predictable.

It’s easy to think that the diversity of characters in our superhero shows represents a change for the better, but as of yet, we’ve made little progress. Characters like Mack and Curtis Holt are a good sign, but until they’re allowed to flourish as the stars they have the potential to be, we’ll continue to perpetuate the myth that characters of colour must always play second fiddle to the white heroes.

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The ex-partner who cheated on you, the person who assaulted you, the group of teenagers who bullied you, the parent that left you; all of these and other situations are extremely painful, but you cannot begin to move on if you’re still stuck in the past.

The Types of Forgiveness

  • Forgiveness of self – Sometimes you do something that you cannot take back – you could have been the one cheating, you could have been the person who assaulted someone, you could have been the high school bully, you could have been the parent that left your child. We all make mistakes, and if we can’t change the past, why should we live in it? Forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do, but we all deserve peace and accepting the past is the most important thing coming with peace.
  • Forgiveness of others - This is what comes to mind when people think of ”forgiveness”. If not forgiving the person who hurt you in the past is keeping you from moving on with your life then it’s time to forgive them – not for them, but for you. You don’t actually have to say ”I forgive you,” but just forgive them in your head and not be angry when you think of them or what they did.
  • Forgiveness of a situation - If something happened to you and you constantly dwell on it and think about it, sometimes it’s best to ”let it go”. Although it’s easier said than done, getting closure on that situation can help you to move on and be a happier person.

Why Should We Forgive?

  • For Yourself. Forgiveness is not for the other person most of the time, it’s actually for you. Even if the person does not deserve your forgiveness, you deserve to have peace and happiness. Dwelling on the past does not help anyone, and moving on from something can make you look forward to the future instead of back to the past. Being a forgiving person, although hard to do, can make you happier.
  • For them. Maybe if they genuinely are sorry and you want to give them a second chance – perhaps if a partner cheats on you or a friend said something bad about you – then there’s nothing wrong with that. Forgiving them can help you both to move on and work on your relationship together, making your relationship a lot healthier because of what you have gotten through. Some people who have made mistakes also need closure, and forgiving them will give them that, making you feel better too.

But why does forgiveness make you a happier person?
Well, because you have a lot less to stress about. If you are constantly thinking about something that someone did and how much it angered you, then that will be causing you stress and causing you to focus on things that you cannot change. Also, if you give someone your forgiveness it can help them to move on with your life – sometimes when you help someone to move on it can make you feel better, it can make you realise what a mature, grown up person you are and that you are a good person. Sometimes it’s for the best to at least be civil with the people who hurt you, especially if you are going to be around them a lot.

Why is forgiveness important?
Forgiving someone is usually for yourself instead of for them. When you don’t forgive someone and you live with the anger because of what people did, it hurts you, not them. Holding onto anger lets someone who hurt you know that you are still on their mind, that they have hurt you. It doesn’t matter if you tell someone you forgive them or if you just forgive them in your mind, it’s still forgiveness. Not forgiving someone is just holding onto unwanted anger – like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It doesn’t work. You’re only hurting yourself by not forgiving someone.

So, how do you forgive?

  1. Think of what their actions taught you. Maybe if you had a parent leave you it may have taught you that when you have a child you need to be there no matter what. Maybe if you had been sexually assaulted, bullied, etc. in the past it may have made you want to stand up for others who are going through the same. Basically, what you went through made you a better person, right? Well, if that’s true then turn from blaming them to thanking them – people who try to hurt you are angry when they find that they have actually helped you! In some ways, you should be thanking them.
  2. Think of what happened through their perspective. How you remember what they did is probably very different to how they remember it. They can probably justify it more than you can because they know the reason for what they did. Try to think of what happened through their perspective – for example, people who bully others usually do it because they are feeling insecure themselves. Sometimes they can’t deal with their unhappiness so they make other people unhappy. Some people who hurt others have mental problems or anger problems, think about what their reason could have been.
  3. Don’t live in the past. Try to think more about the future than the past, sometimes therapy can help with this but it’s not impossible to do it yourself. You can’t just decide that you are going to forget the past, it’s a process, but deciding to try to forget the past is the beginning, the first step. Try to think more about what you are looking forward to in the future – convince yourself that you can’t change the past and that it doesn’t matter anymore. What’s done is done!