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Update Sufiah Yusof March 2017: on shame, guilt, and control

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Sufiah yusof (c 2017)

My update:

I drink tea, worry about my sleep routine and deadlines, try to schedule cocktails with friends. Do more yoga and the usual “30-something woman fitness thing” (can run for a couple hours but appalling bad teeth as usual), think about student funding and get more hippy-like: I saw Mondrian and Agnes Martin and cheerfully humiliated myself on a bicycle in Amsterdam. Life goes on (as a mature student, I enjoy learning as I go along in a private low-key, way).

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sufiah yusof c 2017 Sufiah 2017 . Me and Mondrian get along very well indeed.

It’s quite interesting contrasting my own “updates” with the weird, hate-filled, over-dramatic, manipulations of the media.

Reading through you get a sense of how journalists were obsessed with controlling and re-inventing my whole personality with thier own obsessions and fantasies.

Basically the media coverage shows how desperate they were for certain “stories” or “angles”:

  • Drama.  Oxford.
  • (More drama).
  • Me being manipulated and bullied into making pompous statements whilst wearing a mortaboard and gown and doing equations on a blackboard (producers were very aggressive about wanted to set me up like I keen to be seen as some deluded “academic star”).
  • Perhaps being filmed doing or wearing something to “prove” how weird/eccentric I was so people could have a good laugh.
  • Talking about Oxford (and sitting in a corner adding up my IQ and comparing it to other IQs).
  • Trying to develop lots of “fans” and “trade-in”on the Oxford name and talk about and compare myself to famous mathematicians (whilst still being at an incredibly junior level myself).
  • Giving anecdotes to brag about how “single-minded” I was and how I wasn’t interested in or curious about anything else.
  • Telling stories (allegedly) about my fellow Oxford students and giving out lots of photographs of myself for attention.
  • Giving anecdotes about Oxford tutors to “prove” how weird they were and to encourage people to be aggressive toward them.

Overall, the media has always been desperate to set me (or a lot of people they latch onto) up as someone who was keen to create some “public image” of myself.

They would stalk and manipulate me then claim I was “desperate to share details” of my personal life: my sex life and absuive parents and (brief, irrelevant) marriage

I have the standard “single artsy 30-something type” life, which is basically  “work-out/study/ dance/travel/temp job/engage with (and sometimes quietly enjoy dating) personable people I meet and know in real life”.

Unfortunately I have had and still have to manage my life and take precautions based on the hounding/stalking of the media (who also went out of their way to goad my violent, mentally ill, and abusive father to follow me around).

That said, in general, I consider myself fortunate and lead a quiet and ethical lifestyle (whilst enjoying memories and experiences from my wilder 20’s).

But it’s not actually something that is full of titillating details or drama or intended to be for the “consumption” of anyone.

The media hates “woman just getting on with her life and not talking about HOW HAPPY she is or HOW SAD she is” because it doesn’t get clicks or reads, so hence the manipulation and the depths to which they sink to to “get drama” out a situation.

Basic human courtesy aside, I had and have no big desire to create an army of “fans” who are unfortunately often just interested in getting “titillating details about people they don’t know” (normally women).

One unpleasant, spiteful, and well-known way the media wanted to control me is to imply that I went out of my way to make statements or claims and wanted some sort of “public profile”, doing what they claimed was choosing to “brag” or “gush” or “keep the story going” or “talking to so and so”

(when what I was doing was actually responding to questions they themselves had put, often in an aggressive “we’ll publish whatever we like if you don’t co-operate” way, refusing to accept “no comment” or “that’s not relevant”).

In general, like most  young(ish)) women who like their emotional and day-t0-day lives and take them seriously , I keep my decisions and motivations to myself – I’m keen to avoid intense lunatics who want to give their (normally weird, hysterical, and ill-informed) “strong opinions” on everything rather than getting on with their own lives.

But the media were obsessed with getting me to say something.

And then when I said something (under duress or manipulation), they would attack what I said or gleefully pick up on the details of what I said and use them to passive aggressively attack me claiming:

“we’ve “proved” you’re a liar/deluded/don’t know your own mind/are naive/hysterical/overemotional/attention seekling.

So you have to now do what we say and can be stalked by crazies, because we’ve “revealed” how damaged you are and shamed you.”

What they wanted to do was to label me “damaged” so they could then get every crazy person who was “following the story” (bearing in mind the typical person who has the time to sift through trashy magazines and believes everything on the TV isn’t actually the most stable or calmest person around) to stalk me and feel they had a “right” to control me.

They wanted me trapped by shame and guilt and their own manipulations, basically feeling that I “had to” give my life over to their hatred and control.

A frequent approach by journalists is “oh, we have evidence you talked to X, so we’re now entitled to harass you because you’re obviously publicity-seeking and no-one will believe you if we are very aggressive towards you.”

I believe that desperate hunger to control people isn’t just unique to me: so many younger women have to deal with this

My last posts were on stalking(how time flies!) and I was very happy with them so I thought I’d add control as the theme for my next few posts

(please excuse any typos or rubbish editing – it’s “me vs the clock” most days but I do appreciate the reads!)

What makes people want to control young women?