Question #100

September 24, 2012

It’s time to practise what I preach. I am always telling you to sign, to stand up, to voice objection – well, I’m about to do just that.

I have something that’s been slowly stewing inside me. I’ve written about this before – but now it’s time for the next step.

Preamble: The pull that the television has on my girls, is strong – however, I want them to have as much of an ‘old school’ childhood (like I had), as possible.

Outside – drawing – playing.

Yes, TV was a part of my life growing up, but it was minimal – only 4 channels and transmission ended at around midnight. TV shows included, Play School and Sesame Street (Channel 2 – no ads) and then Romper Room, Humfrey B Bear and Fat Cat all on the commercial channels. In that time the ads were classified as well – all toy ads (pretty much).

Today: Not only are the classifications of shows going down the toilet – things that are PG now, would have been M when we were younger – or worse still – R…a rating that seems to have all but vanished nowadays.

I have a big problem with the ads television stations are airing. More specifically, I have a problem with the television shows that are being coupled with such ads.

A big problem.

The common, knee-jerk response to a comment like this, would be that I don’t have to watch television. I can just turn it off. Well, yes I can – but why should I?

We don’t have Cable TV here at home and we don’t have a DVD shop nearby. So when a good kids’ movie comes on, I think it’s nice for the girls to be able to watch it. Then the dread sets in because I know that I’ll have to be vigilant about the ads the station will air, while my 5 and 9 yr old watch. Sometimes I flatly turn off the TV during ad breaks and other times, we record the show and the girls watch it later.

But I repeat – WHY should I have to do all this??

It’s starting to really get under my skin. So much so, that I’m going to take action. I hope I can get people to take a stand with me.

The most disconcerting factor for me is that, for the most part, it’s not even what they’re saying that has me in this agitated state – it’s what we (and our children) see.

My level of indignation is growing daily because there are times when I turn to see my girls watching something like the following ad on Channel 7, promoting the show GCB – which translates to: Good Christian Bitches…yes, bitches:

Now I had to say to my eldest to stop watching, while I frantically looked for the remote, but it was too late. She saw a jealous woman (suspicious of her husband participating in some adultery) by giving him all he wants, by sticking some fried chicken between her breasts.

Please.

There were also the images of the protagonist working in a Hooters-type place (coming down a pole, no less); not to mention the way the women look and behave – plastic, overly made-up and jealous, catty and bitchy.

Fantastic role models.

And ALL this information from the ad above.

We therefore, DON”T have a choice – except to turn it off.

I wrote, in an earlier post, Ready, Fire, Aim!, about how an ad for the lead up to The Shire appeared as my girls and I watched The Sound of Music. How much more ‘G’ can a film be?

The ad for the following movie was everywhere – it has a teddy bear dry humping a super market scanner. This one was hard to avoid – it has a teddy bear in it!

A few days ago an ad for Puberty Blues appeared through an airing of Monsters v Aliens – on Channel 10. It also had a Thomas the Tank Engine ad – WHY BOTHER? They just witnessed a man about to cheat on his wife in the ad.

What about, Snog, Marry, Avoid? My daughter told me about this show – so it was on through the kids’ shows time.

OK, you get the drift. Hopefully you agree that it’s something we need to address…and actually make these VERY rich marketers take responsibility for what they show our kids.

These ads are not only promoting a show, they’re promoting a way of life. A mono-style of life where the pursuits are the same – vanity, greed, envy…sound familiar?

The Seven Deadly Sins

Question #100: Should ads have classifications, just like shows? Should we demand new restrictions?

I’m going to delve into a bit of research.

Then I’m setting up a petition.

Stay tuned. I need your help.

Deep Breath

x

PS I’m off to Japan in a few hours, as a chaperone to 19 students with the Japanese teacher. AAaarrrhh!! What an experience it’s going to be! I doubt I’ll have time to post anything…but we’ll see! I always get a bit twitchy when I don’t write for a wee while…

A hairy moment.

August 14, 2012

It’s time to get a little more light-hearted; time to have a bit of a giggle.

So here we go…Female Body Hair – mainly of the leg variety.

I am of South American background and have been a fairly, hairy human from when I can remember – well, my legs especially.

I recall the serious discussion with my mother and grandmother, looking up between them, as to whether I was old enough to shave or not. Being ‘too young’ at the start, I began my hair removal journey with creams. That smelly, stinky stuff – and this was around 1980 – you can only imagine how bad that stuff was back then.

I then graduated to razors and have pretty much had to stick to them ever since. Thirty long years.
But that is not from lack of trying every other affordable way. But to no avail.

The method I wished worked for me, is waxing. I have tried. Many times. But thanks to the substantial dose of exposure to the Aussie sun at the beach, coupled with natural genes, my leg skin has been rendered a tad leathery and has, in turn, made my legs a haven for in-grown hairs. No amount of exfoliation and cream to soften the skin, seem to do the trick when I wax. So it’s shaving or nothing.

The final downer? That if a shave in the morning, I can feel the buggers poking their heads through by late afternoon…OK, a slight exaggeration; but only slightly.

One night in Winter last year, I was shaving my legs in my teeny, awkward shower; balancing precariously on one leg – it’s such a pain. And I felt this pinprick of annoyance, wanting to shout, “Why do I have to do this?” …even though I was in my ‘down time’ of shaving.
(Winter affords me a lovely window where I can let the legs get a bit gorilla-like, as they’re always covered).

So when did this irritating and expensive habit begin?

An article entitled “Caucasian Female Body Hair and American Culture” by Christine Hope, says that:

…businesses began “encouraging” American women to shave their underarms around 1915, when sleeveless fashions became popular. Harper’s Bazaar featured an ad stating: “Summer Dress and Modern Dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair.” Yet another revenue stream made possible by human insecurity.

The war against nature’s leg warmers came a bit later, as changes in clothing allowed women to display more than just an ankle. According to Hope, convincing women to shave their legs was more challenging, so advertisers pulled out all the stops. “Some advertisers as well as an increasing number of fashion and beauty writers harped on the idea that female leg hair was a curse.”

A curse? How absurd, right?
Anything to get women to buy…and they do. A recent report I read, claimed women in Australia spend $100, 000 on razors and $30, 000 on waxing – a year.
Insanity.

Secondly, in the big scheme of things – centuries actually – this leg hair removal business is a really recent event; only about 70 year. When I think about all the women in history, who were loved – adored – worshipped…they would have ALL had hairy legs, hairy pits…the works.

All. Of. Them.

Question #82: Isn’t it a shame that so many ‘beauty necessities’ for women, are SO unnecessarily entrenched?

It didn’t seem to bother the men (or the women) of the past.

So am I saying that I’m going to stop shaving my legs?
Hell NO!!
I’m too conditioned and so is the world around me; it’s not a good look with my dark, luscious South American hairs. I have to say, I always envied all my fairer Aussie girlfriends…with their invisible leg hair…

…but the main reason I brought this up, is the mere FRUSTRATION that it’s just another thing we have to spend money on to make ourselves conform to a very recent norm.

My 7 year old daughter recently asked me (with a perplexed expression) why I removed my leg hair and I told her that that’s the way I was brought up but that she doesn’t have to. It probably won’t work because I’m not modelling it – but who knows, if enough girls reject removing their body hair, then it could become the norm just as easily as this one did.

So on I go – with razor in hand…

…Oh, look! A photo of what my legs look like after a few days.
KIDDING! (sort of).

Deep Breath, girls!

x

The Seven Deadly Sins.

August 5, 2012

Question #79: Is our media, and in turn reality, teaching our kids that the only way to ‘succeed’, is by feeding our Deadly Sins?

I look around and I feel surrounded – like I’m in the middle of an old-fashioned, cowboy-style ambush.

* Greed * Lust * Wrath * Sloth * Gluttony * Envy * Pride – transgressions that I read are ‘fatal to spiritual progress’.

They’re everywhere.

WHY?

Yes, they’ve always been around. Of course. The Deadly Sins weren’t written a few years ago in a boardroom – they’re ancient.

I’ve always seen them as a warning – that to indulge in them would lead to chaos. Hell on Earth.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

But…

There is one society that is yielding to them more than others…and it’s our capitalist one.

While the majority of the planet wallows in poverty/war/despair of some sort (due to their rulers participating in some Deadly tastes of their own) – we basically live in a luxury that’s unfathomable and unattainable to them.

You’d think we’d be satisfied, wouldn’t you? And yet…according to studies, we are the most affluent we’ve ever been in history – but the most depressed.

Doesn’t this ring any alarm bells?

Our predominant drive? To make money.

Am I saying we shouldn’t? Absolutely not! I could always do with a little more – couldn’t we all? It IS the world we live in – we need it to survive here.

But at what price?

Our society’s hunger for more of everything and the latest of that, is giving me the uneasy feeling that we are starting to flirt with danger.

Not including the majority of ‘have-nots’ equally inhabiting this planet – we are spoilt. And we are few, in comparison to the big picture.

Yet we consume at a pace that is starting to become insatiable and is being bred into this generation of children and young adults.

So as the ‘line to cross’ has to move further behind to get an ‘edge’ on consumption – how is it done today?

By tapping into the taboo, the naughty, the violent, the lazy, the greedy, the depraved…then market it and SELL!

So, yes, I’m starting to feel boxed in by our media and how it’s becoming the teat from which our society suckles – predominantly a pornographic one.

The frustrating part is that I know that there are many, many of you who can see how things are travelling down a soul-less path, as I do; who are doing the very best they can with their children and share my frustration…

…but we’re obviously not enough. We are in the minority.

I can only look at the evidence before my eyes:

1. What I’m seeing in my daily life through (predominantly, but not exclusive to) TV and its ads, Internet, Magazines etc. etc. etc.

2. The choices our youth are making through their behaviour and appearance. Choices that make me question: Where are their parents in this equation?

Today I saw something that chilled me: A book being sold by Amazon (but has since been removed) giving a world guide to sex laws called,

Age of Consent: A Sex Tourists’ Guide

It claims:

“In some countries it is even illegal to have sex outside of marriage, with severe consequences if you are caught doing so! On the flip side, there are many countries on this planet where the age of consent is as low as 12 or 13…whilst one country has no age limit whatsoever! Before travelling, whether you are going as a backpacker, for business purposes, or as a sex tourist, you need to invest in this comprehensive guide to the age of consent laws in every country in the world! It will keep your fun legal!…This $3.49 will keep you out of jail, possibly the most important few dollars that any red blooded testosterone pumped traveller will spend.”

This utterly sickens me – because what I keep questioning is how did something as disgusting as this get printed in the first place? HOW?

Money.

Now, I won’t bore you with a list of how consumption is dancing with the Seven Deadly Sins – but it feels like we’re going down a slippery slope and picking up speed.

There is too much evidence.

How do we slow down this beast/machine, that’s bearing down on us?

Simple. Don’t buy into it!

Those Sins are in all of us – we all feel them at one stage or another…I know I ceratinly have…

Question #80: So why are we allowing them to take over?

The images throughout the post, are of the Seven Deadly Sins from a 2008 ImageFX competition. They uniquely connected with me – I can easily see how these are very present in our lives. The curious thing, however, is that when I looked for images on the Net – they predominantly featured women only. Interesting.

Deep Breath.

x

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?

I do…
and I’m finding myself getting a little alarmed.

Deep Breath.

x

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.

Is it?

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?

Deep Breath

x

I’ve been waiting for some time to write about some of the positive and wonderful women, who are around me, as well as ‘out there.’ So. Many.

BUT, every time I want to inject some beautiful and inspiring stories into this blog, something infuriating pops up and I just have to voice my opposition to it.

Today is such a day.

I was talking to some of my Year 12 Drama students and one girl questioned my perspective, saying that I should just see guys and girls as equals.

I explained to her that I do see us as equal – that’s the whole point of my starting this blog.

Intellectually we ARE equal. There is nothing a female mind can’t do, that a male brain can.

But from a young age (and getting younger all the time), the brain seems to be the least important part to be cultivated in girls – and boys – from a consumer machine that just wants girls to start, as early as possible, in feeling they need to be ‘on display’, feel insecure and continually strive to ‘improve’ themselves…well into adulthood. Cha-ching!
And our boys are being told they are nothing but walking erections who must NEVER show ‘feminine’ traits – such as crying; the only emotion permitted being anger and force.

A pretty penny, these companies are making from this scheme. But the insatiable drive to make more and more money, means the line is being continually pushed. Sometimes it’s outrageous what gets put out there but, sadly, at other times we are so desensitised, that we don’t think it’s that bad.

Two words – Lingerie. Football. Lingerie. Football.

It’s an innovation from the United States (surprise!) and it’s launching in Australia soon. This is what they wear:

…garter belts, skimpy ‘uniforms,’ little bow ties…mix this with an audience full of men, drinking beer…*shaking head*

A lot of the U.S. players, posed for Playboy…Gasp! Surprise #2.

We don’t want ANY girl to aspire to this…

Do we?

Nor do we want to desensitise our boys to see this as the only value women and girls (females) carry.

There’s a saying – ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ – well now, more than ever – we need to raise our voices – mums, dads, aunts, uncles, white collar, blue collar – and say:

NO! We don’t want this! There’s enough hardship to add this.

I simply can’t see any positives to this, for either our girls or our boys.

How can boys and young men have respectful attitudes towards women, when women are continually being objectified EVERYWHERE they look? A sense of entitlement also gets nurtured within males and that becomes dangerous for females.

More importantly:

Question #37: How do our young girls and boys navigate through this and come through unscathed?

We only need look around and see that there’s obviously something very wrong because it’s the women who sign up to be objectified.

It’s time for an intervention.

If there are any government bodies you can write to – please do. The ‘league’ is coming next year, so there’s time to act. The more voices the better.

The promoters are Triple M (radio station) and at this stage, Telecafe is a sponsor – bombard them with emails!

We are the village.

Deep Breath

x

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*

Feminist Shout Out! #1

February 17, 2012

I’m going to announce a Feminist Shout Out every time I put an observation that I think may not be your cup of tea…but I’m going to QUESTION it, anyway. I really hope you can let me know your thoughts – whatever they may be. Let’s talk. We can’t rely on our male-run governments to make all the decisions. Let’s make some here.

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-California) is sending around this photo from the hearing on birth control today. She writes: “At @GOPOversight hearing right now 5 men are testifying on women’s health: http://yfrog.com/10wg35j #WhereAreTheWomen?”

Yes, WHERE? ? ?

Tonight, I walked in to find a movie on the TV about the Bra Boys (a surfing gang). I’m not really watching, but I look up and see violence – boys fighting boys, men fighting men. And it’s not Hollywood fighting, where the injuries don’t reflect what’s been done to them, but ugly, bloody, VICIOUS fighting. It was shocking to watch actual footage of the fights – because they were real. A 14 yr old member tells how he had a gun put down his throat, over him selling Ecstasy and other horrific accounts. 14.

AND THIS IS WHAT OUR WORLD IS.

Men fighting men. Men being violent with each other, demonstrating what seems to be the ONLY way to globally solve problems thus far – except they’re NEVER solved and create SUCH devastation – and they’re violent towards women. Most of us are lucky enough to have loving male partners, but look at how women are being violently treated by the MILLIONS every single day.

As Dr Phil says, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

We vote men in. WHY? We need a different dynamic in our governments – we need A LOT more women in government, girls MUST be educated worldwide – they will tip the world back into balance. Instead of financing wars, let’s finance education.

But it’s still just about being in power and making an astronomical amount of money. Qantas will axe jobs to keep their SHAREHOLDERS happy. One man has a family to feed and has just lost his job – while the other makes a mint….but he’ll just make less of a mint. Yep, let’s side with the guy that already HAS a lot of money.

Our world is a boys’ club.

Is this OK with you?

We still don’t have equal pay, all the major corporations in the world are run by men, and our young girls AND boys are being corrupted to satisfy the male fantasy – to make money. More people are becoming morally corrupted and we’re allowing this lesson to be present in our children’s pop culture. They’re becoming consuming monsters and they’re consuming over-sexualised girls, violent, bullying boys – with girls who think that’s ok etc. etc…and this is just in the developed world.

The women in the developing countries are suffering atrocities we can barely imagine and they NEED OUR HELP. We need to educate their girls so they can STAND UP and start to create change.

We need to create change – from our end. We must get women into government. It starts here – in Australia. It’s inconceivable that we continue to follow The US. That place is a cesspool of greed, gluttony and porn. And men run that country. That’s not saying there aren’t good people there – I’m sure they’ll follow us once we take the lead! We start here because we are intelligent and we know that it’s time to make our calm but persistent voice heard.

Calm and Persistent Voice.

Stop buying from shops, like City Beach, for selling pornographic products aimed at children (for example). Let them know you’re not shopping there anymore through their Facebook page – most have them. Money talks. Sometimes they listen – because they’re losing money. Let’s put our money to good use, rather than feed the monster, and be happy.

Get women into government.

I have a proposal: Vote women in from the party of your choice. There’s always going to be debate – but our current parliament meetings are run like men – fighting and insulting each other. WHAT IS THE POINT? Let’s just do it!

What have we got to lose?

Question #17: WHAT SAY YOU?

Please pass this on. With much hope. x

A short post.

Question #7: Why are we allowing ‘consumption’ to be the most important life goal, being taught to our kids? 

Not only do ALL people have power over consumerism – women in particular, hold a unique market – THE BIGGEST!

It’s time to put that power into action – for the sake of our children – our girls and boys – who are being moulded since birth.

Yes, we’ve always had the push to consume – but….the reach it has now is unparralleled to when we were younger – I mean, I was in my mid twenties when mobiles and things like hotmail, were just taking off. There’s NO comparison, so our parenting and guidance has be both more aware and present.

Read this:

http://jennifershewmaker.com/2012/01/23/media-and-children-its-not-all-about-the-parent/