July 31, 2012
I found the following on Facebook and I think it’s simply fantastic:
We are the fairer sex. Yes.
And we should enjoy that…but at what price?
Recently I’ve listened to numerous female students feel down about their looks – thinking they’re not beautiful, which always leaves me feeling aghast because I can’t communicate the beauty I see. They think I’m ‘just saying that’. They also don’t know how to accept a compliment because they simply don’t believe it.
I feel a touch of despair for these girls because the feelings of inadequacy they have about themselves, only proves that the grip the false ideals of beauty has on them – has talons.
In a previous post, A response, I put a photo of me in my final year of high school, aged 17, with very alluring short hair. NOT! The year before this photo was taken - when my hair was a little shorter - my, Catholic, all-girls high school took my year group on a three-day camp, with an all-boys high school.
Now, I was your typical teen – someone who wanted to find a dreamy boyfriend, who would adore me forever…
But I didn’t fit the ‘mould’.
On the camp, I experienced two poignant moments – moments long forgotten, that have recently poked their heads out of my cavernous memory. Due to this resurfacing, I have shared the story with a few…so to those of you who have heard this one already, I ask you for your ever-appreciated patience with me repeating myself!
Moment 1. A group of us were walking up to the boys’ cabins, where you had to walk up a few steps to their long verandah. A boy was standing at the top of these steps saying, “Welcome” to every girl as she stepped up. When I got there he said, “You’re not welcome.”
That’s OK. I walked through anyway.
Moment 2. In a group session, we were asked what our first impressions were of each other. There was that awkward silence when everyone is shyly looking around or staring at their hands – when one guy, put his hand up, looking straight at the team leader and said, “I thought Paula was really weird because of her hair.”
I didn’t mind. It kind of felt good – no other girl got mentioned. And I knew I wasn’t weird.
Even though I lay my dream of finding my high school sweetheart at this camp to rest (and felt a little bummed), I knew they’d be another time that would present itself…
…and I ceratinly wasn’t going to start growing my hair long and disappear into the crowd – just because two boys weren’t into my look.
Still girls and boys trying to get one another’s attention – no different to today.
So, what IS the difference between then and now? Well, how about the saturation of EVERYTHING…’on tap’?
For women, there seem to be endless amounts of clothes, shoes, make-up, hair products – electrical and chemical, salon services, manicures, pedicures, facials, diet options, diet shakes, hair removal options (shave, wax, laser), Botox, machines that ‘dissolve’ cellulite, surgical procedures…and ALL THAT;
For basically one. general. look.
No wonder girls are in a whirlpool of self-loathing.
A recent report said that women in Australia spend $100, 000 on razors and $30, 000 on waxing – a year.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m one of the razor buyers (since my teens)…but when you look at numbers like that, doesn’t it seem ridiculous? That’s a lot of money.
Question #78: What price do you pay for ‘beauty’? Are you happy yet?
Don’t buy into it! Not through your mind OR your wallets.
Of course those on the receiving end of your spending, don’t want you to stop – so be the sensible, intelligent woman you are and know:
Beauty is an attitude.
By all means enhance – uniquely – do the best with what you’ve been blessed with.
YES – blessed! Don’t lose sight of the big picture.
You don’t need ‘fixing’…and as it says in the image above – you don’t owe it to anyone!
And the only thing you owe to yourself – is to love your unique ‘take’ on beauty.
July 24, 2012
What IS the world coming to?
We recently had a new ad campaign, start airing here in Australia. It’s played later on in the evening when the kidlets are in bed - with a naked girl (with all her naughty bits covered with strategically placed white-as-the-driven-snow flowers) – talking about liners for ladies’ underwear.
The girl factually describes how wonderful the body is and how it works for us – and that for women, there are times where the discharge we get between our periods, is the body’s way of keeping the vagina healthy.
There it is! A part of the anatomy that more than half of the planet has. So what’s the big deal, right?
Well, it’s just incredible the hoo-ha (and no, I’m not writing an alternative word for the vagina…hahaha!) that’s come about from the actual word being used. On the The Project, I saw Steve Price (57) ask the ad’s spokeswoman on the show, why such a vulgar term was being used. The woman’s eyes widened and she looked a bit like a rabbit in headlights for a second, at the ridiculousness of the question – but answered, “Because…that’s what it’s called.”
Interestingly, though, when she continued with the sentence, she actually hesitated a fraction before saying ‘vagina’ herself, in a more hushed tone.
Recently in America, a US politician, Democrat Lisa Brown, was banned for saying ‘vagina’ in the abortion bill debate. If you can’t say it here, when can you exactly?
Question # 77: Do you find it hard to say vagina? What about to your kids?
I don’t know about you, but ‘front-bottom’ never sat well with me…
But as advertising specialist and creative director of Jara Consulting, Jane Caro said – it was time to ”call a vagina a vagina”. Click here for full article.
Well ladies, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to use it whenever possible! See how many people flinch…I know, it’s the simple pleasures.
PS – I think it’s curious that an ad with the word ‘vagina’ is deemed more inappropriate than the PG rated The Shire showing fickle women showing their quite-exposed fake boobs, a botox procedure, blatant vanity…at 7.30pm. Quite.
July 20, 2012
Lily Munroe – a friend I have made through this blog (and has a like-minded blog herself: freedomfrompornculture) – found the following, A-MAZ-ING image, after reading my last post:
Question #76: Do you think this is what’s happening?
and I’m finding myself getting a little alarmed.
July 20, 2012
In lieu of the recent discussion about ‘quality’ television, it made me question what we’re becoming as an audience.
The general response, by the people who defend shows like, The Shire or Jersey Shore etc. etc. etc. is, “It’s so bad, it’s good!” or “It’s just for a laugh!”
But when pushed for an articulate explanation as to what it is they ‘like’ about it or how it’s funny…there is only the sounds of crickets.
That’s because there is nothing they can say about the tripe they’re watching – in fact, some of them explain with an, “I dunno, it just is.”
Yet they’re popping up everywhere. Why? Because it’s what the creators and producers think we want.
Well, the tragic part is that it does appear to be what the masses want. I’m sure there will be many people glued to their seats, watching the next gripping and exciting installment of their favourite show of ‘tacky and fickle’.
Are they in the majority?
We appear like a nation of dumb and mindless, when these sort of shows are afforded our attention…and they gain ratings.
Question #75: Is there no sense of pride - knowing that we appear so easy to dupe?
This INFURIATES me because thanks to this perception, a lot of us are being held to ransom, as the choices of what to watch – for entertainment – are so limited.
Worse still, people are making money off it. Your attention = money.
We need to be more frugal with who gets our attention because at the moment, it appears that when a ‘carrot’ with big boobs is dangled – we follow – like children behind the Pied Piper.
Or we say nothing.
A few years ago, when I was on an excursion with students, I noticed that there was a new energy drink in the shops, called Pussy.
I talked to the students in my year group about seeing this drink. I told them of how I imagined the guy who thought it up - thinking about how he would get rich – he himself imagining guys saying to each other, “I’m going to drink some Pussy!” *HawHawHaw/SnortSnort*
I said to them, “Don’t make him right! Do not give him a cent!”
I urge you to think the same way about what’s being dished out and sold to us as being ’popular’. Step back and take a look at the core of what’s being sold.
In these sorts of shows, the message that keeps hammering us over the head - on BIG screen TVs across the country – is that young women are not worth our attention, if they don’t have a certain type of vanity attached to their behaviour. This can manifest itself in a spectrum of ways – through clothes, make-up, plastic surgery, conversations, ACTIONS! – and the guys?…well, I didn’t see much about them in the first episode of The Shire – it mainly focused on those girls – and I don’t intend to watch anymore to find out either. My brain cells are still recovering from the first encounter.
So, what sort of audience member are you?
Don’t you want – DESERVE – something better?
July 17, 2012
I will be brief as most of Australia has heard of nothing else but this all day.
Last night The Shire aired its first episode.
I literally have no words to explain the levels of ‘wrong’.
Many people from the area are incensed that it’s not an accurate depiction of ‘how it is’ there and then I have a colleague at work who knows which high school one of the girls went to…and it wasn’t in ‘The Shire.’
Oh well, big deal. So the creators are deceiving us – what’s new?
I only have one MAAAAJOR problem with this show and that is how young women are being portrayed.
One of the ‘duo’ (pictured below) did NOTHING but talk about spray-tans, big lips, being thin and botox - with her sidekick. She also convinces her friend to get botox in her forehead…which we see get done. The response? “Is that it? That didn’t even hurt!”
It was like an ad.
By the way, the breasts she’s so subtly pushing out in the image below, were pretty much ‘in your face’ throughout the episode.
Many people in the public were responding to the show by saying how terrible it is that these girls are being judged for how they look. In general, I tend to agree. There are many women who embody similar attributes and attitudes and many more who don’t and we should all be accepted as we are…BUT…
…how can one NOT judge these women about their looks, when the producers not only picked THREE of the main female characters to appear obsessed with their fake appearances - it was, in fact, ALL they talked about. What else are we going to discuss about them – their witty banter?
We have entered a sad time of ‘entertainment’ when such ineffectual people are being glamorised on the screen, for our children to absorb. And they ARE absorbing everything they see.
Question #74: Aren’t we sick of it yet?
What do our daughters have to look up to, when nowadays women have to look hyper-sexualised and self obsessed to become ‘famous’?
Where’s the balance of the other 95% of wonderful women out there to model for our children?
This show, besides all that, is manufactured tripe and should really be boycotted. Don’t you want money and sponsorship spent on something better to put on the telly?
July 16, 2012
I have taken a very deep breath and after my off-loading in the last post, I found the second wind I needed from all the wonderful support and great conversations – both online and with friends and family around me.
I still feel the same way as I did in that last post – but now it’s from a clearer and calmer position - and much less overwhelmed as I did a few days ago.
Let’s get to it.
Ready, Fire, Aim!
I heard these words at a professional development day at my school recently - the words of James Nottingham, an educator from the UK.
Our principal said these words – this formula – as a way to inspire positive change in what we do as teachers and I think they’re awesome.
The idea is that we fire – to just do - see how it goes and then readjust our aim. Otherwise we just keep sitting in the same situations waiting for the perfect solution to manifest itself, without trying it out first.
Nothing effective in that.
How are we supposed to get things right, if we’re not willing to try something different? Again, I can hear the voice of Dr Phil making its way through the haze, imploring us to think…”How’s that working for ya?”
I hear MANY women and mothers complain about the state of certain affairs – in everything, mind you, not just in this feminist realm – but that’s all they do…talk about it to each other.
Well, I’m here to say that we can all make small change in one of two ways (or both!):
- Raise your voice and/or
- Choose who gets the benefit of your money.
To a lot of you, the story I’m about to tell, may not raise any eyebrows and may put your ’care factor’ at zero. But I care and I think it’s the subtleties like the following, that most people just accept – and we really shouldn’t.
When lines are tentatively crossed, the perpetrators will see what the reaction is - but when there is no reaction or opposition (which seems to be the way of things) - they just draw another line further along and cross it again.
On Saturday night – at 6.30pm – the wonderful, The Sound of Music was on TV and, although I had seen in a gazillion times throughout my youth, I thought it’d be lovely for the girls to immerse themselves in its legendary and geeky glow. How can we forget Liesl going, “Weeeeeeeeeeee!” after her first kiss! It was also cool to see that they already knew some of the songs, even though they hadn’t seen it before…
…and then the commercial break.
We have a new series that’s about to start in Australia called, The Shire - looking at life on the southern beaches of Sydney – through the eyes of a select few, young (of course) adults. It looks like an attempt to do a tacky, Australian version of, Jersey Shore. For anyone from overseas, these are the sort of shorts we’re seeing in the lead up to its inception - Click here - along with the classy promo shot at the end.
So, now you’re starting to see the full picture – one moment we’re all singing along to,”Doe, a deer, a female deer…”and I’m telling my girls that their aunt has pictures of the actual glass gazebo, where Liesl and Rolf sing and dance – and the next we’re assaulted with the image of a blond, heavily made-up girl, referring to herself as a princess, saying:
“I’m so preeeety.”
Worse still there are two girls with little clothing on, in another version of the ad, describing how they don’t like the natural look – with one of them saying:
“I love looking fake – if you weren’t born with it, buy it.”
Well, as far as I know, NOONE is born ’with it’ - ‘it’ is manufactured – but thank you for getting in my daughters’ ears with this crap.
If there were a visual of me desperately trying to find the remote and change the channel, you’d have a right laugh. But it was what I had to do – because the brain takes an imprint of everything it sees and I simply don’t want my girls seeing this same image of women, over and over again.
And it’s everywhere. It’s exhausting. Even ‘my choice’ not to watch the show is taken from me because (at least here in Australia), the ads are practically half the episode…a slight exaggeration, but you get the drift.
Simply, what’s been made painfully clear to me, is that my kids literally CANNOT watch anything on TV because these ads were not age appropriate – a family movie coupled with ads of spoilt, fake, over-made up and fickle young adults. It really pissed me off.
So now I fire.
- I am complaining to Channel 10. What will come of it? I don’t exactly know, but I do know that when there are enough complaints, the Advertising Standards Board will investigate the issue it’s being presented with.
- I will boycott this show.
Question #73: Can you imagine the effect if everyone did one or both of the above?
I know that speaking up is not for everyone – but there are always ways to show you’re not happy…especially through your wallet.
If you don’t buy it – there isn’t a product to sell. If noone’s watching, investors will lose money and hopefully learn that they’ll have to back a different kind of show next time.
So if you don’t like a situation – whatever it is – just Fire! Aim later.
PS Just look at the difference…
July 12, 2012
I got together today with some very dear friends of mine. We took our kids to the park to play, while we caught up. Towards the end of the ‘play date’, it was just Katy and me, and we were having a chat about a lot of things relating to our lives as women and mums. Of course, I always end up talking about the stuff I want to write about and I told her how I can’t keep up with the things that pop up in the world that incense me or inspire me.
I feel like the things that incense me, though, are the ones I need to tell everyone about. I guess I feel like if I don’t, people won’t realise the extent of our global problems and if they don’t know, they can’t do anything about it. And we need to, don’t we?
Today I’m feeling a bit bummed and low about it all, actually. I’m feeling overwhelmed.
In the last couple of days I have heard about:
- A comic in America making rape jokes at The Laugh Factory. Shit.
- Domino’s Pizza in the U.S. thought it would be a riot to have a new campaign titled, “No is the new Yes.” Another rape joke. Full article here
- I read an article about hardcore porn which says:
“…that hardcore porn (called “gonzo” by the industry and fans) is now mainstream on the Internet, that choking with a penis, slapping, hair pulling, and verbal abuse is the norm. The producer is horrified to hear that women in porn suffer repeatedly from rectal prolapse (because of pounding anal sex), and get diseases such as clamidia of the eye, gonorrhea of the throat, and fecal throat infections (because of the ATM act in which the penis goes from the anus to the mouth without washing).” Full article here.
Choking with a penis. For fuck’s sake.
- A woman was executed – shot in the head repeatedly, in Afganistan accused of committing adultery, while a hundred or so men watched and cheered. One comment on the YouTube Reuter’s report was, “These bitches deserved it. They were sluts!!!” …so there are obviously more than this one woman (of course). So where are the consequences for all the male ‘sluts’ in Afganistan?
I actually wept when I saw this report.
The above was just in the last few days (and there were more – but you get the gist). Then there’s the following:
- Women – and more catastrophically, girls – are being sold and trafficked as sex slaves. It’s abhorrent:
What can be done for these women and girls who live a life of actual, pure hell? I can’t imagine how, when the world seems so disinterested.
And here at home? In the ‘developed’ world, women and girls are sold a cookie-cutter image to aim for. That simple.
Why? Because money makes the world go around and we need our women, who carry the weight of consumerism, to BUY!
How can it be done? Create an unattainable image for most and therefore create self-hatred and loathing – splash it EVERYWHERE – make it fashionable – provide make-up, clothes, hairstyles (that all cost more than the male equivilants) – and then sit back (count your billions) and just watch women kill themselves over it.
Body and soul destroying.
Women have, without exaggerating, microscopic representation in the running of things on the entire PLANET, yet we make up half the population.
On top of that, it’s an insult to ANY man, after all, to have female traits – “You run like a girl; You’re not crying like a girl, are you?” And ten million other such insults.
Question #71: So how can we ever be seen as equals, when everything we are about and how we perseve, is considered sub-standard?
So here I am – feeling like the ache in my heart can’t quite take it. It practically seems hopeless.
The worst part is that there are people who continually test my claim that I’m not anti-male. I’m quite tired of it. My stance is simple:
Women victims of violence, rape, assault, prostitution, sexual trafficking – due to men. Period. And it’s horrific.
Women victims of inequality in the ‘developed world’ – due to decisions made by men…BUT to an extent, with our consent. Both playing a part.
We need to band together – women AND men dammit! – to start saying, “No, that’s not right!” – REGARDLESS of how long it’s been going on for or when the statement, “It’s how it’s always been,” enters your head.
Question #72: What’s the point of history and evolving, if we’re not prepared to make changes for the better??
Enough of the ‘women against men’ stance and visa versa. That’s not what I’m about (for the millionth time).
What’s the point of fighting me? How am I affecting the world for the worse by pointing out the countless ways women are being exploited worldwide? My journey is about us taking action together to get rid of the patriarchal world, run by a select few.
Deep melancholy breath.
July 10, 2012
It seems incredible, but it was six months today – in the very early hours of the morning – that I started writing this blog.
This is my 80th post, yesterday I passed 8,000 hits and asked my 70th question.
When I started, I thought that I’d run out of things to discuss. I had a few things that I definitely wanted to say, enough people in my life had heard it! - Haha! – but I was actually nervous about running out of steam.
But I’ve been proven wrong. It seems there is a plethora of material and actions to question - as we try to navigate through the machine that’s become a monster of consumption and lead our children through it.
There are two main objectives that I want to explore – in my true quest of balance: a) question how society (the village) is raising its children – by mainly asking women what they (we) can do to change our circumstances and b) hold a mirror to the huge amounts of outstanding and wonderful women out there, who are so clear and strong as to who they are and inspirational role models.
On a daily basis, I hear about unique women and all I want to do is write about them!…but then something pops up in the media that I need to discuss and put these lasses on the back-burner. But I promise to focus more on the ‘good’ – for a more balanced perspective, of course! *wink*
The time factor is an issue. Although the school holidays are currently affording me a pause from the crazed, daily routine and giving me the opportunity to write – the end is nigh and it’s back to full-time work on Monday. I’ll write when I can, even though my desire to do so outstrips the pockets of time available. Shorter pieces, maybe…although I can’t seem to stop once I get on a roll!
Thanks to all of you for joining me on this journey. At times I feel a little disheartened about things – will we actually be able to put on the brakes a bit? Not stop, just slow - but there are also other wonderful moments when the comments and insights you give me, fill me with hope – plus the fact that there are many, many other voices starting to be heard. That’s the way!
The picture below is me – now - in the glow of the laptop…literally on my lap!
I look forward to more conversations, comments and perspectives, from both women AND men; young and old. Ideally I would love more teens and young adults throwing in their thoughts…that would be awesome!
Basically, everyone’s welcome – without judgement; only questions and chats.
Tell your friends!
July 9, 2012
I have a two-parter today. Women need to see this – but I really need to get some thoughts from the guys’ end of the fence. Unfortunately, what I’d really like, is to hear some young men’s perspectives, but I doubt they read this blog - so, seeing as you older lads know what’s going on inside a male’s mind, I’d love your opinion AND input as to how we can change things around.
Firstly there is a short going around, similar to Miss Representation, but instead looking at how the sexualisation of the current culture, is developing our future men:
There’s a question in the piece that asks:
“So where do guys get the idea that women are play things, eye candy and sexual objects for our enjoyment?”
As the question is being asked, a scene from a movie is shown, where a stream of attractive women walk in – dressed in lingerie – who then all bend over in front of a male who’s stunned, while the other, Adam Sandler, directs the girls to do it.
So degrading. As a woman, it’s hard to watch.
“The answer is, quite honestly, everywhere.” – they say.
True. It is. It’s at saturation point.
BUT!..and this is where I repeat that I’m not anti-male – you can’t have a stream of women bending over…WITHOUT WOMEN. Without their consent.
So, if our girls are lining up to pander to this heterosexual male fantasy (porn) behaviour and look:
Question #69: What are we, as a society, doing to instigate this?
Can it be changed? Pulled back a notch? Can we (you) stand up and do something to help gain some control of this spiralling problem?
OK – Part two.
A 20-something year old guy started a ‘bed of shame’ idea on Twitter, getting guys to take photos of themselves next to the woman they’ve spent the night with. Click here for article. It was so popular over the weekend – inundated with photos – that he’s doing it again. Filth.
Question #70: What do men think about the accessibility and ease guys have, to be able to do this to women?
I know what I think about all of this – and I’m sure you have a sense of what I think too…but what do YOU think? About any of it.
Is there a solution?
Leaving it with you.
July 7, 2012
Settle down boys – I think some earlier posts have images more to your liking, but by all means stick around if you want to see what women really look like.
………………I wonder if there are any guys still around? Helloooo?
Back to us, girls! *wink*
A comment responding to my last blog post, talked about Norman Lindsay’s paintings. This got me thinking about how our perceptions of what is considered beautiful, when thinking about the female form, have changed over the centuries.
In the 17th Century, Peter Rubens was painting women and they were always a little large and hearty.
The following painting, The Three Graces, was painted around 1693:
I think a lot of women can identify with some of the features present in this painting – biggish bums, solid thighs, bumps, creases, folds and boobs that are a bit smaller than what’s happening in the under-carriage. I think Rubens was a ‘bum’ guy because you can see the women depicted in his paintings in much the same way.
Question #67: Is this the ‘natural’ form of a woman?
Maybe. In that day, I’m sure there were ‘fashions’ (as there always are), but I wonder if altering body shape was one of the goals – as it is obsessively today.
Here is a painting, Imperia, by Norman Lindsay. Norman was painting in the early 1900s (this one was 1920). I think he was definitely a ‘breast’ man:
If you have a look at his female subjects, they were very buxom indeed…but they were also big in the thigh area and around the tummy…plus there’s pubic hair. As I wrote in my response to Hannah, I think the waxed/Brazilian of the pubic area is a new, acquired taste by some men…possibly connecting it to a porn look where women looking pre-pubescent?
By looking at these two paintings, if you had either of these bodies – which a lot of women do – you would probably be unhappy with certain parts. Hell, if women have the ‘perfect’ body, they still find something to hate about it - hence all the ‘altering’ that goes on. (Read my last post – The beauty we aspire to, does not come naturally…or cheaply. Click here)
Were these women unhappy with their bodies? I wonder…
When I was in my early 20s (early 1990s) I remember there was a big story in Cosmopolitan about women’s bodies, that has stayed with me all these years later. Over a two page spread, they had photographs of the bodies, front and back, of about fifteen or so women. Their heads weren’t in the picture and they were completely nude with their hands held together in front of their pubic area.
The article wanted to know what women AND men felt was a beautiful female body. I remember my eyes gravitating towards this gorgeous, lean and ‘perfect’ body. She had longish legs, small waist and breasts that were just right – not too big and not too small. She looked like a size 10 (quite small here in Australia) and she had my vote.
The following month, the results were in. Out of the wonderful mix of body shapes and sizes, the women and men demonstrated a very definitive preference through their choices.
90% of women (yes, 90) voted the same body I had chosen, as the best. No surprises there! My older self feels disappointed with my younger-me…I was as predictable as the rest of women…all chasing (and still chasing) one body weight and shape.
The men’s choice, however, was interesting. If memory serves about 86% (still a high number) picked the size 14 girl. She was in proportion BUT there were some serious curves…especially around the thigh, stomach and breast area.
Fascinating. I wonder if the guys of today would choose similarly?
To the young women of today, who are fighting their own battle to belong, feel at peace with themselves and (dare I say) find a way to be in love with their bodies, there’s not much of a mirror out there telling them that their bodies are ALL beautiful in their unique way.
I had a friend post a picture on Facebook of an overstretched and biggish stomach from having children. The image was trying in inspire women to love their untaut tummies due to the fact that they had made and grown a HUMAN BEING inside them – an absolute miracle…BUT most mums I know, don’t have that feeling of tenderness towards their stomachs – quite the opposite, in fact.
Question #68: Why do we do it to ourselves?
When I went to Google images of tummies, I predominantly got two images – a ‘hot’ flat stomach or a pregnant belly. (More hot than not!)
How sad that at the end of that pregnant belly, some women are left with a feeling of self-loathing towards what their body is left with. And when they turn for help, all they see is young, slim, taut and perky. C’mon.
The change happens within you and it CAN if you do the following (and it IS this simple):
Go to the mirror NOW and look at yourself through new eyes!! Woooo Hoooo!!