A response.

April 20, 2012

I find myself in a reflective position, due to a few comments. One on my blog and one from a friend.

I received my first ‘critical’ comment from the post – Looks can be deceiving – which I wholeheartedly invite. I want to know how women are feeling and I appreciated receiving it. This woman thought I was being judgemental in that post.

After a friend of mine, Jane, made a comment about it, I went back and re-read the post and the response I got. I’m going through a bit of a personal journey at the moment – with myself, my relationships and with the world at large – and I’m finding moments where I think I see things so clearly…but I just don’t know how to express it. So in lieu of the comments that have come my way, I need to say something; to explain…

…and I’m finding this one a doosey. It’s taken ages to write this post and I still don’t know if I’m getting it right. Here it goes.

In my response to the comment that was left, I said that the effect of the tight grip that mass-media has on us is:

A vast army of insecure women AND men, who are living a melancholic (at times) existence because they don’t stand up to the ‘tick-a-box’ ideal. I find that terribly sad.

I find that terribly sad – That’s not me judging or looking down my nose – it’s quite the opposite; that’s me feeling sad for all of usincluding ME!

Jane mentioned that the woman who responded was explaining that when you’re not ‘chosen’, you start to question things about yourself.

I TOTALLY understand this.

People who know me, may scoff at the fact I just said that. The reason I say this, is because the latter part of Jane’s comment to me was that I am, in fact, in a stable marriage, with a good-looking husband and have communicated how I look good for my age (a month shy of 42), through my blog. So how could I understand those that don’t have this?

Well I have two parts to answer this.

Firstly – this is how I looked in Year 12. For any overseas readers, this is the final year of high school in Australia, aged between 17-18 years old.

Noice.

I just felt the recoil from you all, as your eyes landed on this…as I always do *wink*

And why is that? Maybe because our perception of beauty has (always) been of a stock standard. There is nothing ‘attractive’ about me at this age and the boys CERTAINLY didn’t come near me. And it wasn’t just that stylish ‘do’ I was sporting, I also dressed like a tomboy. No dresses or skirts, except for my school uniform, that is.

So boys steered clear. In fact, I remember that when I was in Year 11, my year group (all girls) went on a camp with a nearby Catholic all-boys’ high school. The boys were in cabins on one side of the camp and the girls on the other. I recall that my girlfriends and I all went across to the boys’ cabins and as we walked up the few steps to their big verandah, a guy was standing there saying, “Welcome…Welcome”, to every girl who passed him. When he saw me he said, “You’re not welcome.” I continued on with the rest of my friends.

I cared and I didn’t care. The part that cared, wondered if I would have to grow my hair long  for boys to find me attractive and the other part thought, “Fuck ’em” – I liked looking a bit different.

But my 20s saw me in a time of MASSIVE insecurity – because I was the classic student in the class of: “Main goal in life  – Marriage and Motherhood 101.” I DID grow my hair out and started wearing skirts and dresses, to make sure I fitted the mould to get to my goal. To be chosen. And there’s no way around changing this because it’s the man who has to propose – he chooses. We wait.

So while we wait, we go through terrible thoughts about ourselves – as I did – and that’s why I understand the feelings of the woman who responded. I do.

Secondly….this is the hard one to articulate…

None of this has anything to do with how I look. Nothing. Yes, I do like clothes and fashion – we are the ‘fairer sex’, after all – but I dress to (hopefully) show some style. If I get a ‘label’ piece of clothing for a bargain – great! If a pair of jeans from K-mart do the trick – excellent! (which they did last week). Fashion is something I want to get into – just not now.

I’m OK with the way I look now because I’m older and wiser. About three years ago I was 10 kgs (22lbs) heavier – after having my girls – and the weight was not budging. But the moment I started to look at myself and be ‘happy’ with what I saw, that the weight started to drop (coupled with some small changes to lifestyle). It came off fast  – it was like my mind was ‘seeing’ my future figure and my body caught up.

But when I was the SAME weight in my 20s, I was SOOO insecure about it all.

Now I can hear some of you saying, “Yeah, but none of that matters – now that you have been chosen.”

I’m married. So what? Lots and lots of people are (in partnerships) – and they all have different ‘looks’.

Yes, after 11 years (tomorrow) married to my husband, we have established a strong family unit – that I love – and is, for the most part, travelling well. But there are A LOT of really yuck days and is, at times, Very. Hard. Work. My girls are still young, so who knows what the teenage years will bring…when they can drive me to insanity now.

Every third marriage,in Australia, ends in divorce* – so why is it so revered? This statistic hasn’t shifted much over the decades – so if it’s not really a third of the population’s cup of tea (statistics don’t lie) – why is it pushed on us since birth?

I know the common answer is loneliness – but aren’t some marriages the loneliest experiences? And if you add kids to the mix, isn’t there a saying that goes, “You’ll feel lonely at times, but you’re never alone.”?

The funny thing is – and this is something I’m going to be blogging about soon – is that I’m surrounded by the most amazing women (aren’t we all? amazing, that is! *wink*) of different ages, looks, talent, marital status, with children and without – of whom I’m in AWE. I go to them for advice, I pick their brains, gas-bag, LOVE their sense of fashion and style, have a laugh, have a boogie and NONE of it, has to do with them fitting a mould. So why look at me and say, “Oh, but you look….(fill in the blank)? Because whatever you put in there – it doesn’t matter – it doesn’t afford me anything.

Question #33: Since when does a look that ‘fits the mould’ guarantee a happy and perfect life?

So my whole point of  Looks can be deceiving, was that it seems unbalanced to want to ALL want the same final goal, all looking the same way. Nature doesn’t make us that way.

My message to you young ones, is that you don’t need to sell yourselves short by being something you’re not – in the hope to get chosen – because you’ll be chosen for the wrong reasons…especially if all you’re offering, through your look, is sex – we can ALL do that. Nothing special.

Deep Breath.

x

*MyDivorce.com.au

Some comic relief…

April 19, 2012

This. Is. SO. Funny.

…well, I thought so anyway.

It’s good to have a good and hearty laugh about more serious issues – and this following clip did juuust that for me.

I was flicking channels on the telly a few nights ago, when I landed on Aussie comedienne, Kitty Flanagan, doing some stand-up. I actually went to the same high school as her – she was the year above me. I was mates with her sister, Penny (in my year group), who was a CACK! Such funny girls.

So it was extra-exciting to see Penny join Kitty on stage to sing a song.

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta laugh! *hee heeee*

x

A visual presentation…

April 18, 2012

So, why is pornographic material so hard to avoid?

Let’s see…

Here are my Top Ten ‘unavoidables’ – places or ways in which women are depicted as hypersexualised and vacuous:

1. COUNTLESS movie plot lines.

2. COUNTLESS music video clips.

3. This – from a popular movie actress, Megan Fox (one amongst many):

4. This – from a popular female singer, Rhianna (one amongst many):

5. This – from a popular television series for young adults, ‘Two and a Half Men’ (one amonst many):

6. This – from a popular television “reality” show for Gen Y, ‘Jersey Shore’ (one amongst many):

I can’t believe these people have become famous and are rewarded for being shallow and self-centered; with the sole intention of partying and hooking up – episode after episode

*sad, sad face*

7. This – a promotional shot from a popular television show for teens and tweens, ‘Glee’ (leading the way):

Look at Lea Michele’s face (on the right) – and look at his (of course) – and where his hands are…

Is video footage more your thing? Click on the following link and watch the video of the Glee students singing and dancing to Beyonce’s song, ‘Run the World (Girls)’ – from a previous post of mine – A (moving) picture paints a thousand words

8. This – from a billboard (Australia) selling Lee Jeans (one amongst many):

9. This – from a funny internet ‘joke’ (one amonst maaany):

10. This – from a t-shirt sold from popular urban store, ‘City Beach’ (one amongst many):

What I really want to know is this:

Question #32: How much longer do we have to wait until women (like these) say, “No. I’m not doing that.”?

Just one, simple word – No.

Because without women – we can’t see these derogative images.

I can dream that day will come…can’t I?

Deep Breath

x

Looks can be deceiving.

April 16, 2012

I went out with some ex-students of mine last night – a boy and a girl (Paul and Blair) – around 24 years old. I never thought I’d ever have a connection with people so young – but, when I think about it, I’ve had a lot of special friendships throughout the years, that have been with people who have been a lot older than me, as well as younger.

It just goes to show that age doesn’t really have much to do with things – it’s simply people connecting. And we have!

…which is great for me because it means a boogie on Oxford St whenever we get together! So much fun, with two great people.

Yes, I felt a little ‘old’ at times – my feet and bad knee were certainly feeling the ‘nanna’ – but I looove to dance…I can’t keep still when there’s a good dance tune on – and I certainly kept up with the young ones!

If anything I felt like I was cramping their image a little…considering they had the suburban mother and high school teacher in tow. Haha!

But, I think that I hold my own when I ‘go out’ – I look good for my age and I dress well….what I mean is, I like to dress in a way that doesn’t look like I’m going to work (sometimes a challenge) – so, it’s pretty much jeans, some sort of heeled shoe and cheap bling.

More importantly – I’m not trying to be something I’m not. I’m not in my twenties, as some women strive to be (whether older OR younger) and I’m not communicating that I’m ‘ready to go’ sexually. These two seemed to be the predominant ‘goals’ held by a lot of girls and women, when socialising within the current ‘culture’.

Now, last night’s observations were certainly an experience – it’s not often an oldie like me gets to go back to ‘those’ days – and through these wiser eyes, I certainly did observe – and found it intriguing.

I couldn’t help thinking, as I drove home, that a lot of our young people are in a self-destructive, state of affairs – regardless of sexual persuasion. Whether it was the overtly sexual manner in which many men were dancing with other men or the girls I saw walking along Oxford Street, emulating that second goal in a, ‘MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR’, kind of way – it all looked a bit sad to me.

Sad because whether in a trendy hotspot, private party or gay bar; north, south, east or west; lower, middle or upper class; straight or gay – there seems to be an obsession with sex and being ‘chosen.’

Maybe it’s not sex that’s really wanted – but to be the chosen one. Sexual allure is just a means to an end – as it is for a lot of things.

The problem here is that we ALL want to be chosen – I mean, who doesn’t? It’s that primal desire we all have – but is insecurity about finding ‘that special someone’ making young people look and behave in a generic and seedy, sexual way?

Question #31: What does one really get for looking good / hot / sexy / or all of the above?

Last night Paul and I were discussing looks and he commented on what a good looking couple my husband and I make. I agreed with him, of course, because we do! *wink*

But then I said to him, “So what?”

Even though I may ‘look good’ – it doesn’t afford me any luxuries or privileges in life. Never has. I’m still a full-time worker, wife and mother of two, with a mortgage and the usual struggles and joys of life.

So you want to be chosen?

That’s cool – just be chosen for the things that make you, YOU.

Your uniqueness – I love this word.

The right guy or girl will see this and be captivated by you, for all the right reasons – but if you go down the other road, the wrong person will just want what you’re offering. The first option sounds better, doesn’t it?

So, this is Nanna signing off – but remember kids – I was the most insecure one of them all, when I was growing up – so what’s my advice?

Good things come to those who wait…and those who don’t sell themselves short – but embrace the bits that nature gave them.

Be confident that there are many people out there who will want and desire you, for the exact person you are. *smile*

Deep Breath.

x

PS I found the following text conversation on the net and thought you might enjoy the giggle!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve entered the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition.

Today the People’s Choice Awards went online – which means you can all vote for this blog – if you think it’s deserving, that is! *hopeful face*

…and while you’re at it, you can let your friends know about it too – whatever country you’re in!

Shameless, I know *cheeky grin*

Just click on the following link, look for ‘Questions for Women’ and cast your vote.

If Twitter’s your style – #bestblogs2012 is the competition Twitter hash-tag.

Thanks, gorgeous ones.

x

http://sydneywriterscentre.com.au/CampaignProcess.aspx?A=Link&VID=11041454&KID=190380&LID=518785&O=https%3a%2f%2fwww.surveymonkey.com%2fs%2fBAB2012

It’s been three months since this blog was born – yaaaay! *chuffed*

I know three months isn’t a long time, but I held it as a time of testing the waters, I suppose. So here I am and I love it *big smile*

…although it does play with your mind, a bit! The wanting to reach as many women as possible and start them thinking about doing something different, however small, in their everyday lives – to start change – is so strong! But…this blogging business obviously takes time and is slow at the start.

Until this gets a louder voice, however, I’m honoured to be able to talk to those of you who have joined me so far. x

SO – now that this momentous three-month mark has been reached; I just passed 3000 hits; have 31 followers and am about to ask my 30th question, in my 33rd post – (me sees a lot of threes *hmmm*) – let’s make it a question that’s ‘in our face’!

I’ve been wanting to talk about our lack of ‘sisterhood’, for quite a while.

Yes, sisterhood. (I would have loved to have been able to crawl in your heads; to see what you all felt and visualised when you saw the word).

Men are ALWAYS depicted in simple, no-nonsense, “I got your back” Brotherhoods. In fact, it’s respected by both men and women = positive image.

But mention a Sisterhood – and it’s sniffed at and at times mocked…by both men and women = negative image.

We are our own worst enemies.

When I hear that a boy/man has done something ‘slack’ to someone, it’s generally, although not always, to a woman…or girl. But if it’s something slack that was done by a girl/woman – then more often than not, it’s done to one of their own.

Think about it – it’s true – it’s always been true. Remember school? I do – on both sides.

So, can we get out of this please? Stop passing on these bad habits?

Now, of course there are millions of us who DO care and DO feel a strong connection with being a woman.

Where are you? ….Where are WE?

Why aren’t we visible?

All I see are men and their growing army of ‘young’ women (another blog topic – coming soon), ready and eager to please.

My friend Jacquie just wrote a comment that talks about how much we DO have as women – we do have more liberties than the women in the past. So why aren’t we using them for the better?

A motivational speaker who came to talk to my students at school, said that we all know our rights – even kids know their rights – but we don’t always take on the responsibility that comes with having those rights.

With those two wonderful observations, we come to the crunch:

Question #30: Why aren’t women making and teaching the better choices, for our girls, considering the freedoms we’ve attained over the decades?

I’ll leave you with that. Remember girls, it’s got nothing to do with how you look, how many guys AND girls think you’re ‘hot’ or how much money you have.

These are all shallow characteristics and we are much better than that, my lovelies!

My sisters. *group hug*

x

This is a painting called, “Sisterhood” by Maria Greene.

Love it.

Nature’s balance?

April 9, 2012

I hope everyone had a great Easter. My brood and I headed up to my parents’ place up at The Blue Mountains. I love going up there – I find it so peaceful and I always have a moment where I sit on the back steps, look up at the trees and ponder…

The trees I’m talking about, are predominantly very tall pine trees that are on the property behind my parents’ place. Unfortunately, those owners have been fighting for years to have the permission to cut down around 300 trees on their property to build townhouses. Yep townhouses. Anything to make a buck, right?

It’s so unjust on so many levels. Besides the horror, mess and noise that will come of cutting so many trees down – the whole reason we treasure places like this is because of the wonder that is nature – for balance and peace.

Aren’t they beautiful?

And these three photos were all from this last weekend. Unique, different stages – sunset, full-moon and a foggy early morning – like watching Uluru (so I’m told *wink*). But a camera doesn’t truly capture their magnificence – or how much I love them. *insert heart symbol*

The reason I brought up these trees, is because I often think a lot about life’s challenges and how nature works, when I’m looking at them. I did a lot of this on the weekend.

I’m not ‘religious’ – although what does that mean exactly? I was raised in a home with no religion, but had a lot of it through Primary and High School. I find, as I approach my 42nd birthday, that I pretty much believe a lot of the ‘lessons’ that religion teaches us – I just don’t attach a deity to it.

I just believe in nature and balance. I see an organic, electric force that sends waves of good times and challenges our way – and the way we handle these moments and times, determines our experience on this short time on Earth. When my eldest daughter once asked my mum something about heaven, my mum said to her, “This can be heaven. Now. If you want it to be.”

I loved that. Why can’t this life be heaven?

Well…it can’t be while everyone’s idea of heaven is having lots of money. And this idea – a very strong one now – is tipping nature (which includes us) out of balance.

As a high school teacher, I feel like I’m part of the ‘machine’ that continues to educate our future in the same archaic manner – teach students in the same way (and predominantly the same subjects) as the 50s – so that kids can get a job and buy a house etc. etc.

Girls are encouraged to ‘have it all’ – find a man, marry him, have a successful career, have kids, run a household and start the whole process again with their daughters. Boys – well, they’re encouraged to be men – be powerful (in all areas of his life – which includes power over women, a lot of the time), and earn enough money for said house etc. and they also start the whole process again, with their sons.

OK, so it’s always been that way, to a certain extent. I agree. But if we take a step back, whoever we are and whatever our financial status is, and really look at what we’re being told and sold:

Question #29: Aren’t we creating a society (our children) obsessed with money?

Aren’t we now crossing boundaries to make it and teaching our children how to follow in our footsteps?

The reason I ask, is because this is the point I think that ‘heaven’ can’t be found in this developed world of ours. How can our kids find true balance in their lives when all that matters is money? Everything is buy, buy, buy! What’s worse, though, is that this way of life is moulding our society’s values and beliefs by telling us all what to buy, how to look and what life to aim for.

That last part is the scariest. It looks like everyone is a clone – including myself (big revelation there) – living the life we’ve all been told to aim for. I finished high school, went to uni, got a career as a teacher, travelled, married, had 2 daughters and bought a house….which we’ll be paying off for the rest of our lives. When I look around at my girlfriends from school, the only real difference between us, is our income – because the core of what we ‘have’ is the same. It’s the message that was sold told to us as teens in the 80s and it’s the same as what’s being told to the teens and children of today.

Is this what we want for our future? The same formula – over and over again?

Because it feels like the only lesson that’s being taught, is not in our schools, it’s in our world of consumption and all we are really aiming for is bigger and better than everyone around us.

School, is just a means to an end. School like the 50s (parental concerns of the time, included).

I wonder how I’m going to do it – raise two girls to be strong and unique, whilst navigating through the sludge of how women are represented. How do I teach them to stick to their individuality, when everyone around them is a walking commercial – owning all the ‘latest’ toys and gadgets or wearing the same types of clothes?

So, whenever I can, I look up at the trees – trees that will be cut down, to make way for making money – and wonder if there’s any hope of things truly turning around. Haven’t these issues been brought up a million times before over the decades?

The irony about these trees, is that the original owner of that massive lot – a loong time ago – didn’t sell off pieces of it, to be able to maintain its natural state and beauty, and left clear instructions that it was to be kept that way…but that was only maintained whilst it stayed in the family.

If you get a chance, listen to the wind go through pine leaves – it actually makes that eerie sound you hear in movies…I guess the current owners can’t really hear it over the sound of, ‘Cha-Ching!’

x

PS Tomorrow’s 3 months since the blog was born! Very exciting *HUGE smile*

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to enter a writers’ blog competition.

I have to admit that I avoided it for a while – avoided entering. Not really sure why – I am enjoying writing so much, it’s like an infusion to my life. I love it. Wish I had more time to do it. *warm fuzzy feeling deep down inside where I live*

So why wouldn’t I want to see it recognised, I hear you ask?

Well, that sneaky, negative voice reared its ugly head. Nothing too drastic, though, just the usual:

  • As ifit would be recognised *grin* – I’m a needle in the massive haystack of wonderful, strong blogger women out there
  • I have days where I barely get a look-see
  • I sound too this – I sound too that

But the crust of it is that I am just loving the freedom of being able to stand up and voice my perspectives on things, questioning our world and hopefully have a laugh along the way.

Most importantly, it’s the wonderful tapestry of women that I want to explore – by chatting to you. It fills me with hope of eventual balance.

So with that being said, I have entered said competition.

I’ve also entered a People’s Choice Award, where my ‘fans’ vote – I’ll keep all thirty of you posted! *wink*

Well…what the hey! You only live once *big smile*

x

Sorry. It feels like it’s been a while. Getting to the end of this term (in three more days – wooo hoooo!), seemed to take on a snail’s pace. Last week was full of marking assessment tasks and then this last Friday, Saturday and Sunday I attended an HSC Drama conference – a fully practical conference. I’m buggered.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had a thousand observations and questions wizz through my mind – that I want to chat to you about. I just wish I could get it to you all more often. But – as I wrote in a previous post, The strong, but stretched women around me – the lives of working mothers with young children, are full to the brim. Not many pockets of time to balance the work and the play. At this stage, I am no exception.

So I write to you tonight with a clip and a question.

I saw this a few months ago. The following – entire clip – was a commercial for Glee on TV. It was on at about 7pm and we were all in the kitchen, tidying up after dinner.

These girls are singing about ruling the world

…HOW? Pole dancing?

There’s even a moment where they’re all the floor quickly thrusting on their backs, just before they leap up and show all the boys the strong ‘army’ they are.

All ready to rule…

What? By showing us high school girls in suspender belts – SUSPENDER BELTS – and grinding moves? Look at the faces of the boys as the girls ‘perform’ in front of them – like strippers. *shaking head*

How is this empowering? I simply don’t get it.

Question #28: Is this the only way to show girls and young women true empowerment?

Of course the answer is ‘No’ – yet there it is – for all ages to see, in full colour and sound.

These images don’t paint a thousand words – just six – a mantra: We. Are. Ready. To. Sexually. Please.

If the clip didn’t convince you, what about the following image?

Lea Michele

At the end of the day, this is a woman – who is representing a high school student – for a men’s magazine. *Insert above mantra*

When will these talented and successful women stop and say, “No, I’m not going to sit in underpants with my legs spread. I don’t need to do this.

This is Glee. It makes me shudder to think how many children watch this show and the reach that that message had. Worse still, they put the entire clip as a commercial. Makes it hard to escape.

I changed the channel.

x

PS The holidays will bring more chats…I hope!

It’s time to act.

March 28, 2012

OK ladies – and gents.

This new hyper-sexualised look for our girls and young women is going viral. VIRAL. There is also a type of guy that is going viral.

These boys and girls/women and men, keep feeding each other in this vicious circle, which is slowly but steadily, unleashing a beast that is going to eventually break free of its chain. I cannot stand by and watch this happen.

A friend just posted a comment about a van she saw with the following caption sprayed on it:

“Why do women fake orgasms? Because they think men care!!”

Disrespect against women. Only there/here for one thing – etc etc.

Well, it’s time to take some action.

Step One: The following link has a petition with Change.org, against the selling of porn t-shirts. PLEASE sign it! *pleading face*

http://porntees.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/lets-have-some-fun.html

Step Two: The reason this petition has been started is because the urban clothing store CITY BEACH is teaming up with Nena and Pasadena (the worst group who create porn t-shirts) to scout for new ‘models’ for their next campaign.

Our girls.

It is now necessary to let CITY BEACH know that they will NOT be receiving your business while these t-shirts are a part of their merchandise. This needs to be done and it needs to be loud. Young people especially – you are their market. Find ANOTHER store that doesn’t sell these t-shirts and give them your business. But be sure to let CITY BEACH know they are losing your business. If it isn’t being bought, they’ll have to pull it from the shelves. TYPO did.

I am posting this picture again. I saw it in a CITY BEACH front window, whilst I was with my daughters:

Pursuit of Happyness

His hand is between her spread legs underneath her underpants. When I asked the girl to take it down, she said, “We’re not the only ones.”

Enough said.

The following images are from the Nena & Pasadena line, actually on their t-shirts:

  

Question #27: What effect will images like these have on the healthy sexual development of our boys and girls?

I hope you can join me in making some noise, for the sake of our daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, cousins and ,dare I say, mothers.

Yes, us too. If young men think that all girls are like this…well it would mean that all of us mothers are wicked pole dancers!

x