I’ll be brief.

This petition has come up and it’s important you sign it. It’s to the Advertising Standards Board:

Stop Sex Industry Billboards Outside Schools

This is the billboard:

gEKeRGLIfoybclD-556x313-noPad

So – not only did someone approve this decision – placing an adult club BILLBOARD in front of a boys’ school in Brisbane – it was also complained about and the complaint was rejected.

In front of a boys’ school. Please.
As Verina Rallings wrote – it’s a type of grooming. And it is.

So I ask you:

Why do we even bother with the magic of Christmas?

Going to all that effort to create this fictitious world of wonderment…

What for?

We’re living in a world where the drive to make money has deadened our senses – opening the door to a seedy, underbelly lifestyle and normalising it.

Where did Santa go?

What happens when the belief in Santa ends – at 9 – 10 – 5 years of age?

Shall we dress our girls in denim undies (oh, sorry – ‘shorts’) and teach them how to act in a hyper-sexualised manner, for guys’ approval, with a low-cut top to boot?
How about our boys? Shall we encourage them to learn how to successfully land a bitch whose gagging for it?

If the answer for you is ‘No’, then speak up and show your indignation!
Billboards like this are powerfully promoting a representation of reality that is unbalanced.

I can’t believe we are actually allowing this subliminal coercion of our kids’ minds; rendering their ability to formulate a balanced reality, impotent.

WE have to be the stronger voice in our youth’s ears, not theirs.
Theirs is solely about making a buck…and it’s plastered all around us.

Doesn’t that infuriate you?

Well it makes me livid and disappointed at what we’re becoming.

Please sign the petition. x

Stop Sex Industry Billboards Outside Schools

Deep Breath.

Humbled and distressed

February 22, 2013

*MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING – graphic images in this post*

I’m not sure how to feel after yesterday’s events. Numb, I guess.

After publishing my last post about my love/hate relationship with Facebook – predominantly about the content they allow to infect – I started to receive comments on my QFW Facebook Page from women, protesting about the number of times they have reported hateful and violent images only to be told by Facebook, that they deem them appropriate.

In yesterday’s post, I discussed the graphic meme of a woman – appearing to have been stabbed over not doing the dishes – which caught the fury of Karen Pickering when she was told it was fine by Facebook.

A friend sent me the following image she had reported and was told did not breach Community Standards:

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It says:

* know your place
* shut up when a man is talking
* proper fellatio technique

Facebook states in their ‘Community Standards’ in the section of Hate Speech:

Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.

So they have distinguished this as humorous speech (hahahahahaha) and NOT an attack on gender. Interesting to know what they would deem an attack.

Under Graphic Content:

People use Facebook to share events through photos and videos. We understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community. Sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited.

This image is not for sadistic pleasure then?
Sadistic means to derive pleasure from extreme cruelty and this image ticks that box. It’s funny right? Funny = pleasure.

When I saw the image above, I was filled with such indignation, that I started a FB page where people can post the images they’ve reported, but told it didn’t breech Facebook’s Community Standards.

After only a few hours, I shut it down. I couldn’t look at one more photo.
The most haunting one I received, of the young toddler below, came from a site called ‘Anti-slut Patrol‘. I immediately reported it to Facebook for Graphic Violence.

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Facebook were quick to reply that it was fine:

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 10.05.40 PM

What I just noticed, however, is that they have – since last night – changed their Standards. I reported this photo under Graphic Violence (as it says in the screen shot) and now it’s called Graphic Content. I wrote them a response to their ‘ruling’ asking them to explain how the image is not graphic violence and what, to their standards, is.

I guess they just answered; change the Standard to comply with letting people publish this toxic waste.

I asked Facebook what they wanted their legacy to be – obviously it’s ensuring that depravity prevail and keeping those masses happy.

I am now humbled by the massive, unfathomable enormity of this.

And again feel helpless.

Victims of violence not only have to live with the horror that is their life, they must also reconcile with the fact that companies with no soul, like Facebook, will never have their back – or anyone else’s for that matter – because they would rather make money off malice and pass it off as humour.

Question #146: How can we create change, if our pleas continue to be ignored?

I finally want to add that I know many of you may think – it’s OK, it’s just a joke – and that if every picture that was reported was taken down, we’d live in a Nanny State.

My response to that is – WE NEED BALANCE.

Noone is saying that we have to have a dictatorship run by ‘mummies’, but a respect for the unimaginably, abhorrent lives some people have to live, without making a ‘joke’ of it, would start us on the road toward OUR LEGACY – one that we can leave for our kids to continue with.

Deep Breath

x

I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook.

I love my private page as I have family and friends around the world and this fantastic tool affords me the opportunity to stay in contact, see precious photos, share articles and funny memes etc. etc. etc.
I also love my Questions for Women FB page – I can put up articles and quotes to inspire and give a different perspective to life, as well as put up my blog posts.

What I hate, is how Facebook instills a feeling of insecurity and untrustworthiness.

I do not feel like they have our back.

They are always skulking around for your info – to share or sell to the highest bidder. We’re constantly having to change settings – which have been automatically been set to ‘Public’ as a default – when they reshuffle the way their site works.

Always leaving us none the wiser and exposed.

What I hate the most, however, is that they also do not have our back in protecting us from hateful and misogynistic content being posted. Horrible sites and images just being permitted to spread – their toxic nature infecting; normalising. And why?

Because it’s just a joke, crazy lady! Relax.
Sshhhhhhh….

The thing is, though, who exactly IS the person (or people) who make the final call?

I picture a bunch of young guys in a smoke-filled room, eating fast food, surrounded by empty food wrappers, snorting at all the crazy things that are being posted.
Haawww Haawww Haawww!

The reason I say that is because they don’t permit photos of breastfeeding mothers (eeewww – gross!) – but allow pages called ’12 year old slut memes’, which I wrote about in a previous post – That’s not misogyny. THIS is misogyny.

Yesterday Karen Pickering posted the following passionate rant about Facebook:

Fuckedbook

She writes about an abhorrent image she saw on FB (it’s in there *Trigger Warning*), which she reported – twice – but was ultimately deemed appropriate for viewing, by FB.
Karen wrote the following, which struck a chord with what I feel:

I reported it despite being fully aware of a number of truths:

  • that the internet is full of this shit
  • that the world is full of this shit
  • that this shit really happens
  • that we can’t stop it from happening
  • that we can’t stop people joking about it
  • that people laugh because they’re conditioned to dehumanise women to the extent that they do
  • that the people posting it feed off the persecution complex they get that feminists are out to get them
  • that you’ll get one taken down and an even more hideous image will take its place
  • etcetera ad nauseum

Yes, yes and YES! to all the points above…etcetera ad nauseum.

The image, as of today, has FINALLY been removed – but as Karen says, the world is full of it.

It’s hate. It’s misogyny. And Facebook thinks it’s OK.
Facebook must be a man.

So, if women are labelled as a bunch of hysterical banshees, who need to chill-out when they protest misogyny and violence against women, then –

Question #145: What label do the men inherit?

Let me know what you think of the quote below. My interpretation below.

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In what way do think men are stupid?

By seeing what’s happening and keeping silent.

That makes me crazy.

Deep Breath.

x

PS I know many of you would suggest that we all get off Facebook and be done with it. I think that’s easier said than done due to established connections…but if everyone I know and love switches to Google, I’m IN!

The three-to-one formula

February 13, 2013

This issue has been truly bugging me for quite some time.

Have you ever noticed the three-to-one formula on TV?

Sometimes it’s even four-to-one, but basically it’s a group of men, with a token female to fill in the gender gap. The thing is, however, that these programs seek the expert advice of a panel, which (unfairly) only ever has one female in the mix.

1.The Voice:

Here are the promotional photos of the big three – USA, Australia & England.

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622760-the-voice

The+Voice+judges

Pattern much?

It’s interesting to note that the men are free to look however they please – covered in tattoos; casual, relaxed clothing; physical differences such as very overweight…even old.
(It would be a frozen day in Hell before we saw the female equivalents on our screen).
And the females that do appear? Well, they’ve been preened and primed to within an inch of their lives.

*I never realised men were the authority in singing.

2. The Doctors:

This is an American program, which gives advice on everything medical – including episodes on what women can do to improve themselves through things like plastic surgery. I came across it on a sick day, channel-surfing.

doctors21*It came as a shock to learn that male doctors are the experts in medicine.

3. The Living Room:

This is an Aussie show where the men get out there and report on areas such as adventure activities, cooking and DIY. Amanda Keller – an intelligent and funny woman – merely compères the show…from the couch.

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*Women just mustn’t be up for all the fun and travel…or capable.

4. Masterchef Australia:

The curious thing about this show, is that only the first season used Sarah Wilson ((below) as the host. She was quickly given the flick and the three male chefs remained…to this day.

masterchef_judges_narrowweb__300x401,0

*It is quite the morsel to digest – knowing the best mentors in the kitchen are male.

Question #143: Isn’t it time we had 50/50 representation on our screens, when it comes to giving advice?

More often than not – we seem to be a society that hangs on every word, when men speak with authority.

I find this extremely and increasingly frustrating – not because men can’t be experts (I’m not saying that at all) – but because we’re being taught that women can’t. We are merely conditioning the upcoming generation to only hear reason through the male voice…

…but that’s a whole other post.

Until then; Deep Breath.

x

It’s a girl! #3

February 3, 2013

A few months ago I saw the disturbing documentary about the femicide of girls in India and China called it’s a girl!

I wrote about the film and its disturbing statistics in the post: it’s a girl.

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The following song is written and performed by Omekongo Dibinga. He felt compelled to say something about what is occurring in these countries.

The music may not be your cup of tea, but I love that Omekongo chose to speak up – on this very important and horrific practice.

Below is the link to the it’s a girl! site with the article about this song:

It’s a Girl Inspires Music Video by Hip Hop Artist Omekongo Dibinga

Watching this video and listening to the lyrics have made me feel very, very microscopically small…again.

What can I (we) do to help??

Deep Breath

x

Tonight I read the following article by Richard Hinds in the SMH, about women’s tennis:

Women offer volume for money, but it’s Tsonga counting cost

Putting aside that it drips in contempt – about pretty much every aspect of women’s tennis – I find myself thinking rather peevedly…(yes, I’ve decided that it’s an adverb):

“Why don’t you get down to a court and play against Victoria Azarenka?
I bet you she would play rings around you”.

I know it also talks about cost and emotion etc. etc. but all of that diminishes these athletes’ worth.
Since when does women’s tennis have to be like men’s tennis to be valued?
It’s still two people of equal stature, battling it out.

It seems like Australians are becoming a bunch of judgemental whingers.
Sitting from lofty towers of perfection, looking down their noses at every crevice and every action of what and who surrounds them.

*****

The above was written last night before I fell asleep with the laptop on my lap.

I’m back now because a few things have popped up today, that have confirmed the feelings I had last night.

1. Due to Azarenka taking a 10 minute medical break in the semi of the Australian Open, the media (and in turn a good proportion of the general public) decided that that, was WRONG.
She was struggling before those 10 minutes, but then came back out and won.

Was it in the spirit of how that time should be utilised? Maybe not.
Can we say for sure that she was doomed to lose, had she not done it? Who knows.
Maybe she would have won anyway.

Well, today she won the Australian Open – in spite of mistakes being cheered and winning points being booed, throughout the entire final.

Who do those audience members think they are?

I wonder if they would have done the same to Federer? Or Djokovic? Booed them.

Food for thought…

2. My friend Kim (@ allconsuming.com.au) said she watched the Brene Brown TedX presentations on vulnerability and shame and that Brene mentions Roosevelt’s speech about the man in the arena.
This quote is magnificent:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Man AND woman – in the arena.

Question #141: Can women finally be counted as also being in the arena?

But as women, with our own unique strengths, not pretend-men.

Such high horses.

Please. Give us all a break.

Deep Breath.

x

Victoria Azarenka

The following is a list compiled by a blogger named Barry Deutsch.

His list looks at how men are the privileged gender of our world. In his preface he states:

“Pointing out that men are privileged in no way denies that bad things happen to men. Being privileged does not mean men are given everything in life for free; being privileged does not mean that men do not work hard, do not suffer. In many cases – from a boy being bullied in school, to a soldier dying in war – the sexist society that maintains male privilege also does great harm to boys and men.

In the end, however, it is men and not women who make the most money; men and not women who dominate the government and the corporate boards; men and not women who dominate virtually all of the most powerful positions of society. And it is women and not men who suffer the most from intimate violence and rape; who are the most likely to be poor; who are, on the whole, given the short end of patriarchy’s stick.”

Whenever there are arguments about equality, there are always men who talk about how many men get the short end of the stick (a comment in response to this list does this).
We know that it’s true. But the (sometimes mortifying) obstacles women face – especially the more exposed or on-show they are – far, far outweigh those of men. Most times the injustices men face…come from other men.

So here it is:

The Male Privilege Checklist

Of course, I’m sure, there will be some points you may not agree with, but I have personally experienced quite a few of the inequalities listed because of my gender.

No longer is it some unspoken, secret boys’ club – feeding the dog of sexism under the table – it’s now infiltrated into our representation in all corners of the media; teaching a whole new ‘connected’ generation, with a reach that has, up until now, been unfathomable.

…and it’s working very, very, well.

Just look around. It’s an emergency.

Question #139: How do we turn around such entrenched perceptions and practices?

Guys?

Deep Breath.

x

071412_old-boys-club

Question #138: Why is ‘young’ the only flavour on offer for women?

I am a 42 year old woman, just shy of my 43rd birthday, and I have a huge problem with the way females negatively discuss their age around the start of this decade. There is little doubt that the money-crunching wheel out there has had a lot to do with this toxic epidemic, as it’s at this time where a woman’s invisibility occurs in her representation – once she hits her ineffectual use-by date. 40.

Even if women see themselves as ‘Best Before’ 40 – it’s still a completely disheartening state of affairs. That’s a lot of sad females not reaching their amazing (and needed) potential in this crumbling social world, at the midpoint their lives.

From the article – The mysterious case of the disappearing women – comes the following:

“Try climbing through higher education, motherhood, self-employment, years of self-improvement, gyms, diets, abstinence of everything enjoyable – from ciggies to Magnums to suntans – to selflessness, to finally reach the summit of womanhood, fit, exultant and ready to fly – to find . . . a generational wipeout,” she ruminated in a column in The Sun-Herald.
“Visibility: zero. Scream ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ all you like, but don’t look to the movies, the media or airwaves because, aside from Gillard, Germaine on Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight the other week, glimpses of Jenny Brockie and Jennifer Byrne, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche buried deep within the bowels of a French film festival, there’s barely anyone out there who represents my age group.” Ouch.

Ouch indeed.

The documentary Miss Representation, disclosed statistics showing that although women aged 40+ comprise a large chunk of our gender, we are microscopically misrepresented in the media – especially in film.

What we are being saturated with, are images of women in their 20s – generally looking perky and ‘hot’. The damage this does to our developing young girls alone, is something that should inspire us to act in a more positive light towards our aging bodies. But no.
Even though women in their 30s are still attractively visible – there’s no denying that it’s the decade when it all starts to trickle down to being transparent. The irony is that many women who are in the limelight, struggle through that decline kicking and screaming, disfiguring their faces with injections and surgery, only to still end up on the ‘too old’ scrapheap. Double irony? Their male counterparts are doing just fine in their (generally) natural, greying and lumpy selves. And they don’t look freakish.

It’s been said a million times (which just imbeds that frustration in a bit further) but this is happening because a woman’s true value and efficacy is being packaged to solely be attached to her youthful glow and, in turn, her sexual allure. Can’t be older AND be sexually attractive! Goodness me. That’s simply not possible.
My eyes! My eyes!

Doesn’t it infuriate women to know that even though they spend billions on ‘improving’ themselves (just like they tell us to), it hasn’t afforded them any more airtime?

How sad that for many females, in this time when they are truly coming into their own skin and really start to understand who they are; where they want to run out onto the street and toss their hat up in the air like Mary Tyler Moore – is the exact moment society doesn’t want to know. I found myself feeling vital and energised when I turned 40, in many areas of my life and I know that there are many, MANY women who feel the same – so where are the tales of my fellow sisters in the same proverbial boat?

It would be simply marvellous to actually hear the stories of women’s life experiences – with a spectrum of what’s possible – not just witness the same narrative over and over again, where the story is about the male and his destiny and the young and ‘gorgeous’ girl chases guy for love (or support), or worse still, we actually DO see the wonderful achievements of women, only to have them be overshadowed by her outfit or cellulite issues.

We’re ever so much more.

I would also like to strenuously point out that if, on average, we live to the age of 80:

Are we really saying we’re going to be depressed for HALF our lives about our age? 

>>>> Half our lives?? <<<<

Surely NOT!
Embrace the magnificent being you are and get out there and enjoy those next 40 years! That’s an order.

Deep Breath.

x

invisible_woman_poster_02

I have been amazed at the number of men in internet debates (albeit small) who still insist on irrational arguments – such as that rape is a woman-made epidemic, saturated with finger-pointers who have changed their mind about having sex with some poor man.

As much as I know that this occurs from time to time, I find it truly astounding that these men insist on this kind of discourse, against the statistically devastating evidence of rape and violence against women.

The frustration I feel, however, with all the fiery discussions that are igniting the internet at the moment, is how the predominant male voices – who are responding to what an abundance of women are saying – seem to be men with the above perspectives. Even if you label them as ‘trolls’, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the conversation is between women and these few men.

Where are the good guys’ voices?

It’s the lack of empathy that seems to be rife amongst these types of men who seem to want to stand up for their gender, however shameful its behaviour is. This is where my logical brain AND heart begin to ache because I can’t understand how so. many. of these types of men, fail to stop and think, “This could have happened to someone I dearly love.”

They can’t think it can happen to them, because statistically it’s microscopically low. Is this where their lack of empathy stems from?

If a fellow male (a good guy) does venture into the conversation to make a comment about the grim state of affairs with women, he is generally greeted with insults. I thought this cartoon by Gabby’s Playhouse is spot on:

malefem

Question #136: Is this why the good guys are silent?

I have seen MANY comments from men who demean another man for suggesting things need to change – as if the ‘brotherhood’ has now attained a weak link – who must be pounced upon and destroyed, in a similar vein to how the women are addressed.

I came across this following clip that is from a few years ago, showing how a panel of men – although it’s one alpha male voice who’s in control – must decide a woman’s fate in regards to her calling out a highly stationed man to being sexually inappropriate.

This scenario, in my opinion, encapsulates the battle all women have with being heard and BELIEVED, when the stakes are high – in other words, when it’s her word against his.

Of course, there are men present who attempted to help this woman, but they are immediately shot down by the alpha male – as he loudly claims to be offended by them questioning his methods –  and they quietly slink back and remain silent.

What hope do women have to be believed and gain justice, when even fellow men are shot down into silence?

Until we realise that there is no ‘him’ or ‘her’, that a woman seeking justice is only doing just that, not waging war on the male gender – we have no hope of evolving.

We are simply people. People who suffer from the hands of other people and if someone has done the wrong thing, regardless of gender, then they should do the time for the crime.

Deep Breath.

x

Bringing up daughters.

January 11, 2013

The following article has resonated with me deeply.

It’s fantastic.

I connected with this piece as a mother, as a mother of daughters, as a teacher of young women and as a girl who grew up with the same social ideals – just not as intense as they are now.

As a mum, I’ve often felt this and written about it:

Most girls lack a grasp of basic feminism to help them understand that many of their experiences are the result of growing up in a profoundly unequal world, and therefore not their own fault. Parents can only do so much.

I’ve heard the cliché often – that if they’ve good morals at home, the kids will be right.
Well, that would mean that my girls will be great – but am I enough against the ever-infiltrating, predatory world around them?

As a teacher I have always said the following to my teen students:

And I see how so many young women still assume that their needs come behind those of the boys they form relationships with, absorbing the message that they are lucky to have been chosen at all, when they are the ones who should be doing the choosing.

Young women and teenage girls have lost that power – it’s been given away and only women can get it back – the right to choose. They seem quite chuffed with merely being chosen and then work really hard to maintain being the chosen one.

I know. I’ve been there many times before.

Read this article. See if there are any entrenched ideals that can be shifted within you.

Imagine the profound effect on the world, if we just let our daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends, aunts and grandmothers be their true selves.
One that doesn’t just revolve around looks and sex – or more to the point nowadays:

Looking sexy (no age restrictions).

The perils and pitfalls of bringing up daughters

Question #133: What passions do the women/girls in your life have?

Ask them. Then encourage them.

Deep Breath.

x

Sisters

PS The book Raising Girls by Steve Buddulph looks pretty awesome.

“Raising Girls is a beautiful new book written as a response to the crisis in the mental health of girls. Girls are under assault from an exploitive, harsh culture, and need our help to become stronger and freer.  This book is a guidebook for your own daughter at every age, and a call to arms in the wider culture.  ITS EASY TO READ, HAS MANY POWERFUL STORIES, AND COVERS BABYHOOD RIGHT THROUGH TO ADULTHOOD.”

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I’m going to get one.