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

I need to start this post by saying that I’m SO embarrassed. When I checked the number of hits I’d had on Friday night, I failed to realise that it was a few minutes past midnight…hence why there weren’t any hits. FAIL. I must admit, though, that my brain was in the mushy stage by then, especially after the previous 24 hours. So all is good. *smile*

I also want to give an honourable mention to my BFF (who I met 35 years ago and has been a constant in my life ever since), for joining me on my mini-break. It was  just the ticket. In just over a day together, we talked, did some shopping in the quaint, antiquey, Blue Mountains shops, saw The Three Sisters, drank, ate, laughed…and talked. We discussed our kids, our strength as mothers – our flaws – and gave each other support. I came away feeling peaceful and blessed. Thank you, Katy.

Now…

Sex.

As I usually do in discussions like this, I’m going to go ‘back in the day’, as it’s the only benchmark I have.

I remember in the 90’s, when I was in my 20’s, I used to buy Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines pretty regularly – it seemed to have everything a young and vibrant girl like me needed to know! *insert ‘wow’ face*

It was also designed to confuse the hell out of us, but hey….what’s new. We went from ads with skinny and gorgeous women modelling clothes, makeup and jewellery – to the harrowing story of the girl with anorexia – to “How to lose your tummy in 10 days!” exercise regime – to some story about loving a star’s new curves. Yep. Mixed message central.

And this was the era of no photoshopping! I know – hard to believe or imagine nowadays. If anything, at least they were selling us real women – unlike today where the women are practically digital.

So, yes, the core of what we’ve been ‘sold’ over the decades, hasn’t changed. What has changed, however, is the saturation of the current ‘look’ and the worst part is that our young girls are LAPPING it up.

What does this have to have sex? I hear you ask….

Well, in the same way that us girls have always been sold an image to conform to, now it’s being used to sell a ‘common’ sexual image – for men.

Back to Cleo and Cosmo for a moment. Along with all the above-mentioned features, there was always a section devoted to how to ‘catch a guy’ or ‘please your man’ – generally with ’10 ways’ to do it. Funny – I’m not sure what magazine is out there for the guys, with tips on how to please their woman…

…oh, that’s right, there isn’t.

Question #26: Why are women perpetuating the sexual image, that’s a male fantasy?

With the introduction of the internet, it seems that (again) there is one predominant image being splashed about in everything we see; young girls and women, dressing like they’re ready to go – and a lot of them are. A friend recently said to me that a young, male relative of hers told her how easy it is for a guy to end up with a girl, “without having to do anything.”

But the word that keeps rearing its head, is young.

You have ads, like the following, where child star Dakota Fanning, is looking a little more grown up, a little less innocent – and giving up her ‘flower’ to sell perfume…that’s sitting in her crotch.

This ad was banned in the UK.

Or there’s this 10-year-old in French Vogue…

It’s obviously not enough to target young women in their 20’s, through to teenagers, to make a buck – now, to feed the insatiable lust for making money, we need to start training our girls in Primary School. What leaves me dumbfounded, however, is that there seem to be A LOT of mothers behind the new trainees.

Please watch the following clip. It features Melinda Tankard Reist, the warrior fighting the sexual exploitation of our young girls. This link contains images of a dance show in America called, “Dancing Moms” and how girls as young as eight are doing a burlesque dance – with the ‘appearance’ of being topless.

Besides the disturbing fact that pedophiles just won – AGAIN – these girls are being trained to express themselves in a sexual manner – aged 8 – for ratings. There is nowhere else for these girls to turn, because as they start to grow and watch music videos and movies, there’s just more of the same:

  • Girls looking and acting like they’re naughty girls – because that’s what men like,
  • Girls who are willing to give sexual favours AND be good at it – because that’s what men like,
  • Girls who ‘don’t want a relationship’, just sex – because that’s what men like.

Ever noticed that if there’s a soundtrack to represent sex – it’s just a female voice you hear moaning and panting? Never a man’s – because men don’t like that.

Deep down, girls don’t know how else to behave because they’ve been fed the same story from the start – your validation comes from your looks.

Girls can’t really get validation from their friends because girls/women secretly (deep down) compete with each other. So they turn to the men and in this competitive market, how else are girls/young women going to catch that boy’s eye, if it’s by not by giving him what he wants?

We’ve always been a confused bunch – navigating our way through everything that was thrust in our face – but now it’s a whole new ball game and it’s up to us, ladies, to start turning things around through education and protest.

x

This journey – writing the blog – has made me come to realise many things about how society, and in-turn my family, has raised and shaped me. I’ve reached moments where decisions I want to make for myself, are not as easy to make as I originally thought or simply can’t be made at all because – that’s the way it is.

It’s at these moments that I feel the most ineffectual and helpless – because ‘that’s the way it is’ means it cannot be changed.

Or can it?

This post is just looking at the simple issue of – what’s in a woman’s surname?

Main problem: As I mentioned in my previous post I was Suzie Home Maker, so when I got married I started the usual ‘procedure’ of changing my surname to my husband’s. Now, my parents had two daughters (yes, only token males to create more females in my family *wink*) so our maiden name ‘dies’ with my sister and me; and although she kept our maiden name when she got married – I knew the buck stopped with us.

Before children were even a thought, I kind of broached the subject with Hubby about our kids having my surname. His brother already has two sons that will keep their surname going – so I thought I’d give it a shot. No can do – because that’s the way it is and that was OK.

I remember that when I first signed my ‘new’ name, my sister saw me write it and said, “You’re not changing your name, are you?” and I replied that I didn’t want my (future) children to have a different surname than me.

Well, I don’t know now.

Two years ago, I had to officially change my surname to be able to get a new passport. When I finally got the certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages with my husband’s surname as my own – I felt a tiny pang of ‘identity loss’ – even though it had been a LONG time since I had been using Hubby’s surname. Silly, I know – I guess it bothered me because it was so official.

It was then that I questioned the future for my daughters (well, all children really). If women are the ones who go through a pregnancy, give birth and are the primary carer for our babes in the early stages – if not until they leave home *wink* – then:

Question #25: Why don’t children carry their mothers’ surname?

1. There’s never a doubt about who the mother is – 2. She is the one who (generally) cares for the child, should the partnership dissolve – 3. Dad could take off – it doesn’t matter, that child will officially carry the father’s surname (unless changed, of course).

I know, I know – What can you do? Right? But it sits wrongly with me.

The reason this post has come up is because I decided I’m writing this blog under my maiden name. Although Hubby understands my reasoning behind it, his initial reaction seemed tinged with offence. I found that so interesting. None of us really seem to give much of a thought to our tradition of someone dropping the surname they’ve had their whole life for another – yet not using his surname on my blog seemed to hurt Hubby a little. But, like I said, he understands why I’m doing it and he never asked me to change my name when we got married – because I just went ahead and did it. Stuck to the tradition.

Funnily enough in my country of birth, Uruguay, (I was 3 months old when I came to Oz), your name stays the same regardless of marriage. You have two surnames – the first being your father’s and the second being your mother’s. That’s pretty cool – you have the same name your whole life. But the country that goes one step further is Spain – it’s like Uruguay, except you can reverse the order of the surnames to mother first and father second, under gender equity law.

We need us some gender equity law happening here! *smile*

Minor issue: Women shouldn’t have to announce whether they’re married or not – Ms should = woman, just as Mr = man.

Sounds fair, right?

But only we can make the minor changes – easily – before they can lead to bigger and better things.

I wonder if it’s a change that married women want…

x

A week or so ago, on the show The Project, they were discussing Pink Ghettos – places in the workforce where there are predominantly women (like Public Relations).

Firstly it addressed how it’s not good to have either sex feature predominantly in the workforce and secondly, it was looking at how it’s necessary for women to have good Maternity Leave – as it can mean the death of their careers, having to leave their job to care for the children. The irony was that the discussion was between a Joe Hockey (male politician) and Natasha Stott Despoja (former leader of the Democrats; and an awesome woman) – where HE was actually arguing that he knew what women wanted, more than the female, former leader of a party, with children sitting before him. I thought that was incredibly patronising. However, it generally seems that way; hardly the bat of an eyelid at the fact that a man is making the calls on what’s good for women.

The part that really had me gobsmacked, was that when Natasha was asked whether she had ever heard of Pink Ghettos, she said, “No, but Canberra is a pretty much a Blue Ghetto, with the amount of men that are there,” to which Joe Hockey replied, “I wish it were all blue.”

Yep. I bet you do, Joe.

Around the world, the average of women in parliament in 2007 was 18.3%* (couldn’t find anything more current – would love to know the figures today) and although the stats were a little better in Australia, it got me wondering WHY women are simply not up there at the top; in equal numbers to men – after all there’s a teeny bit more women than men worldwide.

Could it be that our girls have few aspirations to go for leadership roles (in many different areas) because it’s simply not modelled for them?

So, I thought I’d ask girls at my school, of different ages, who they look up to; who is an inspirational role model in their lives.

The first reaction was always the same – a long silence, looking up; trying to conjure up the faces of all the women out there who have impacted their lives.

One of the questions I was asked was, “Does it have to be a woman?” I gave her a cheeky ‘did-you-just-ask-me-that?’ look, as I didn’t know whether she was pulling my leg. She wasn’t. At the same time, what a telling question it was.

Even after I nudged them along with possibilities like singers, writers or personalities on TV…. a big portion of them said their mothers.

How wonderful. Or is it?
Hear me out.

I am a mother. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mum, since I can remember. I was quite young when I kept asking my mum questions about marriage and whether she minded if I got married a little bit earlier than she did. She was 24. I was Suzie Home Maker. My best friend and I used to actually talk about the days where we’d be in our own home, married and ironing our husband’s shirts. PALEEASE!

Now, although I went to uni and ticked all the boxes – my ultimate goal was to get married and have kids. And I did.

I was blessed with two, very strong, daughters who drive me insane – you know what I mean – but whom I believe I was destined to have.
As much as I know they will ultimately respect me as a mother – is it all I want for them?

Question #24: Is motherhood the only way we can model strong women?

I asked the students if they felt there were any unfair things their mothers might go through, because they’re women and there was a strong chorus of, “YEAH!”

Through our following discussion, it seemed clear that, besides their mothers, there really wasn’t much out there to inspire girls – and if there are great women out there (which of course there are) – why aren’t we seeing them as much as the plastic, doll-like versions of our sex?

Why is there such a dim spotlight being shone on intelligent and inspirational women?

All is not lost, though. One of my older students said Gail Simone was an inspiration to her. I don’t know about you, but I said, “Who?” When I looked her up, I saw that she is great – a graphic novel writer. Amongst other suggestions, a popular choice was the singer Adele. When I asked how Adele inspired them, they just LOVED that she truly is all about the music – not about making a caricature of herself.

A gorgeous, gifted woman – what. a. voice!

We HAVE to get more of a spectrum of strong, intelligent women to be visible.

 

*http://www.humanrightsconsultation.gov.au/www/nhrcc/submissions.nsf/list/2AD5C6EC448A8B84CA25761500232FA5/$file/Stevie%20Martin_AGWW-7SHV8P.pdf

Deep Breath

March 10, 2012

Looks like the last post hit a nerve with a lot of you…and there’s still so much more to explore.

A few years ago I set up a business (now on the back burner) and named it, “Deep Breath.” It was aimed at helping teens find more of an inner calm about the curve balls they (we) all pretty much get, throughout our lives. But we can respond, instead of react, to these obstacles. Something that’s easier said than done – with a lot of us – due to deeply entrenched behaviours and beliefs.

Many years ago, I went to one of those motivational courses and was amazed at how they got everyone SO ‘hyped’ up, chopping boards with your hands etc etc; where you find yourself leaving, full of adrenaline and ideas of how you’re going to turn things around in your life – to then arrive home, step through the door aaand straight back into ‘same-old, same-old.’ It was not long after that, that I started my small venture, with the opposite as its title – Deep Breath.

When you take a deep breath, you calm yourself. It’s a teeny, mini-meditation. Every time. There’s a saying – ‘When emotion goes up; Intelligence goes down.’ A lot of us are living in our emotions and we’re not stopping, taking a deep breath and thinking.

We are so intelligent, so why are we stuck?

A few of you left some comments from the last posting (these are some snippets):

Joy wrote: We live at levels beyond our years and possibly our means. We are geared to lives that have no let up. A return to less in everything is the key hard though it is.

Michelle wrote: (haven’t written because of) additional and unsustainable load of chaos for the last 2 months.

Christine wrote: how ridiculous I was….doing three things at once…. Trying to cram it all in while I had the chance.

We seem to be feeling this pressure, mainly at home, because that’s the time you’re together – as a couple –  exploring a relationship and the life that comes with it. This home life should be shared – but generally isn’t. So why isn’t it equal in the home?

Question #23: Are we allowing men to take a back seat?

A colleague of mine is currently teaching her Advanced Yr 11 English class the following poem. I’m not a massive poetry fan (yes, even though I have taught quite a bit of English – it’s my least favourite form), but I did find it incredible that my colleague happened to mention this poem on International Women’s Day – one that so wonderfully encompasses what this post is about. The poem is by Aussie, Bruce Dawe and it was written in 1969…

——————————————————————-

up the wall

The kettle’s plainsong rises to a shriek,

The saucepan milk is always on the boil,

No week-end comes to mark off any week

From any other – something’s sure to spoil

The cloudless day. The talk-back oracle’s suave

Spiel, like the horizon, closes in,

Palming a hidden menace, children carve

The mind up with the scalpels of their din.

She says, “They nearly drove me up the wall!”

She says, “I could have screamed, and then the phone–!”

She says, “There’s no-one round here I can call

If something should go wrong. I’m so alone!”

“It’s a quiet neighbourhood,” he tells his friends.

“Too quiet, almost!” They laugh. The matter ends.

————————————————————————-

Can any of you relate to this poem?

Everything’s going on at once – the weeks and weekends blend together – the children’s noise is like a scalpel to the mind. She loudly voices her concerns.

The man talks of the quiet. He and his friends laugh…and the matter is closed.

I’m not suggesting that this is the only experience women have with their partners and children…but it’s not an uncommon feeling, is it?

To not be listened to or heard?

Deep breath.

If the poem is not your cup of tea (well, even if it is), the following 35 sec link puts a humorous spin to a situation we all know toooo well. *smiling, while shaking my head* (Just ignore the ad at the end – it was the best link I could find):


A writer named Ronna Detrick, has a post which suggests that there are parts of a woman’s life that are lived ambiguity. She says:

“Being a strong woman means that no matter what the ambiguity is about, that we still speak the truth; that we do not temper our words or our deepest emotions just to make someone else feel comfortable. That we speak kindly, graciously, winsomely – and honestly.”

So what can you do, to alleviate the amount of ‘work’ going on in your life – both mentally and physically? Does he need to step up?

Deep breath.

I found this a hard post to articulate… hence the gap since the last one.

When I first began this blog journey, I was SO nervous about this new world I’d entered and was questioning its dynamic at every turn – How many times a week should I be doing this? Will people drop off if I do less than two or three times a week? Are my stats good? Is anyone commenting? (finding it curious that the spam messages are about to overtake the number of messages sent to me!). All in all, a tad nervous.

I’m a full-time high school teacher – holding down four specific roles within the school – and a mother of two young girls. On a ‘normal’ week night, whether I cook or not, the ‘Me Time’ part of the evening doesn’t start until the chores – such as, cleaning up after dinner, getting everyone sorted for the next day (lunches for all, uniform, notes, sports clothes etc) and the never ending, girls’ bedtime routine, concludes – this is normally around 9pm. On some evenings, I would hop on the computer and start writing – shamefully admitting that I was more preoccupied with the blog than hanging with the Hubby. I then (always) get to bed late – around midnight (whether I write or not, for some reason, regardless of good intentions, I get to bed that late) – just to start over again at 6.30am. I find myself always telling my daughters how tired I am.

As I’m looking at my inability to ‘fit it all in’, I hear a few sobering stories from numerous girlfriends of mine and learn of their situations. All in the one week. It made me take a deep breath and conclude that we needed to strike a balance towards all this – and life in general.

BALANCE. It’s the key to everything.

Which brings me to the reason for writing this post. I hope that it gives justice to the women I want to write about……

Part two – Our Lot

Friend #1: I have a very close friend who confided in me – telling me how the pressures of her life are deeply affecting her. As she’s talking to me, I can see that, due to her wonderful sense of duty towards her family, she finds herself doing everything in her power to not let their problems affect her children (most importantly) and husband. Even as she’s talking to me, I can see how she doesn’t want me to worry either, as she speaks in an accepting, almost matter-of-factly manner, about her situation – even though it’s a gloomy one. I simply don’t know how she does it, holding her husband and three young children together.

But she does – and her family are so incredibly blessed to have such an inspirational and strong mother – however, it is affecting one person – her. She’s stretched to the limit.

Friend #2: In the same week, I spoke to another friend, who wakes up in tears every morning, due to a legal issue involving her husband. They’re a lovely family who stumbled onto some bad luck, and now find themselves facing a possible outcome, unimaginable a while ago, that would impact their family deeply, if it were to occur. This has been going on since last year and she – also – found herself holding it all together for everyone, especially her husband – but is now finding that she needs support too – she’s fraying at the seams.

Although these may seem, to some of you, as extreme stories, I know of SO many women – actual friends, not “I heard about this person, who’s a friend of a friend” – who are in a daily struggle to not only find balance for their families, but balance for themselves. It seems, however, that the pressure of finding that balance for the ones they love, means that many women are short changing theirs.

In this new, modern age of marriage and motherhood, women – AGAIN – seem to be taking the bigger piece of the responsibilities. If one is lucky enough to have a supportive partner in crime, one is also (hopefully) going to have a partner who shares the ‘chore’ load. Most times, however, even when the mother works full-time, the chores are still heavier on the female side. BUT let’s say, there’s equality on that front – it still appears the partner falls way short of equally sharing all the ‘worry’ that comes with their life.

As I mentioned earlier, my mind never seems to stop ticking with the million things that are bouncing around…well, there’s nowhere to bounce, actually – it’s all tightly crammed in there and ‘lo and behold!’, some things get forgotten. And don’t we feel a little guilt when we do? The pressure women find themselves under in retaining EVERYTHING that has to do with family and work can be suffocating at times because it’s unbalanced.

Question #22: Are women capable of finding balance in their lives?

Up until recently, I did both the washing for the family and the weekly shopping. As a full-time worker, the only time I could do it, was the weekend. As you can imagine, I started to become a little resentful at the fact that I wasn’t getting any break from work – whether it be a school or at home – because these two chores HAD to be done every weekend. I also didn’t want to ‘ask’ Hubby for help, at the risk of sounding like a nag – but if you don’t ask, how do you get the help?

This is why (I think) we are, where we are. Our lot.

But a few months ago I walked up to my husband and said, “Shopping or washing?”  He chose shopping – again. See, we tried it a few years ago, but it still felt like I was in charge of it all, just not actually going to the shop, so we quickly reverted back to the old ‘system’. So I said, “But this time you’re the boss of it” and he accepted.

I tell you, it’s been great. It’s incredible how difficult it was at the start, to ‘let go’ (when you’ve always been in control…) – but relinquishing that big chore was just the ticket. I got a bit of the weekend back – a bit more balance to it all. *worth it*

Baby steps, right? Then BIG ONES!

PS Due to this reflection, I’ve decided to simply post once a week. Just the ticket *big smile*

What a weekend of mixed emotions I just had. Two unique experiences with myself and some of the women who were around me, which I’ll cover over two postings.

First up – The Silly Female Conundrum

I actually got to go to a party on Saturday Night. A 30th party. With my husband. And NO children! Yipeeeeeee!

The dress code was formalish, so we had to dress up. Cocktail dress was on standby.

There was one hurdle in my bid to look faaabulous…well, a small hurdle.

About ten days ago, I was with my year group (Yr 11) on our camp. We were hiking down a very steep ‘trail’ (if you could call it that), in the bush of the Blue Mountains – when I proceeded to sprain my ankle – stacked it – and fell like a sack of potatoes onto my front. It was a tad embarrassing in front of the kids. *Awkwaaaard* They were great, actually – but I reckon that my friends, however, would have CACKED, if they were there. It was not graceful. I have a giggle when I picture how I must have looked.

Joking aside, I did hurt my ankle, quite a bit. It’s now starting to dawn on me, that in my increasingly aging body *cough, cough*, injuries will take longer to heal – as this one is.

So on this night of glamour, I took off the strapping the physio had put on it, so that I could wear some sort of footwear that didn’t include thongs. The bummer was that I couldn’t wear heels – I had to wear flats with my cocktail dress. Noice.

What’s the big deal, right? Well, yes – it wasn’t a big deal at all – there was just that silly part of me that just thought, “Bum.”

OK, so all is good on the shoe front…well, as good as it can be – it looked a teeny weird – but, oh well – I get started on the hair and makeup.

“Why isn’t my hair sitting properly? Every time I do it, it sits right, why isn’t it sitting right now? I know, I’ll give it just a teeny sprinkle of hair spray. Yep, that’ll do the trick.”

We’re running late. I hurry things up. I survey the finished product – “Yes….yes….wait – why’s my hair gone flat? Bloody hairspray!”

Too late, we have to go.

Finally we’re in the car and on our way! Wooo Hooooo!! Just one final face check and I’ll be sweet. *Look in mirror*  “Oh maaan – why did it not cross my mind to check my eyebrows before we left??”

You know that I’ve got another couple of ‘observations’ – but you well and truly get the idea. *Hanging my head in shame*

When we arrived, I scanned the room for the dear friend I was mainly going to see. I saw her and she was looking stunning (as usual) and I kept commenting to my hubby – what a gorgeous girl she is. Her smile lights up the room – just beautiful. When I told her I thought she looked great, she said, “Thanks, BUT…..”

And there she added her personal flaws.

Question #21: Why, oh why, do we do this to ourselves?

I honestly don’t notice other people’s ‘flaws’ because I see something brighter that overshadows everything; something deeper. That’s how I feel about all my women friends.

And I’m sure my friends feel the same with me. So if that’s true…why do we do it?

At the end of the day – with my unshaped eyebrows and gammy foot – I scrubbed up alright (and so did Hubby). All that silliness for what?

Yes, there’s that word again.

I was extremely grateful for my first male comment – expressing an opinion about how off-putting the word ‘feminist’ can be – especially to male. I want to include males in the conversation (and encourage them to join). The comment got me thinking about how our perceptions influence everything we experience in life. After all, your perceptions and perspective become your reality.

So, what is feminism?

1. the doctrine advocating social, political and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

2. an organised movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
So why is there such a negative connection to this movement?

The more important question is:

Question #19: Why is there STILL a movement?

I digress.

Maybe the negativity towards feminism is due to that common stereotype of angry, male-hating, bra burning females with hairy armpits. As much as I kind of understand not having to wear a bra (wouldn’t that be nice? Without the ‘girls’ quickly heading south and resting on our stomachs?) or shaving one’s legs and armpits, I think the key word there is angry. That’s what turns people off, I suppose.

But why shouldn’t there be anger, when it’s a question of equal rights?

Equal…not be judged on how similar we are, or should be, to males – but equal.
Equally needed. Equally valued. The yin to the yang.

I am a warrior for BALANCE.

Yes, I’m a [recent] feminist – I started to see. What I see is a world in trouble; tipping badly out of balance.

Yes, I feel a sting of anger towards the unequal place that females hold in our world.

My goal is to use a steady, but strong voice, hoping females join me in exercising their intelligence, to start shifting the current paradigm. I want to use this blog to make females – and males – aware of the saturation of images and stereotypes (in our ‘developed’ world) as well as the horrors inflicted on females in other parts of the world – due solely on their (our) gender.

All adults need to truly teach their daughters and sons – our future – how to navigate through the objectification and violence against females.

We need to empower girls in a diversity of ways – looks and weight being the least important – her mind being the most important.

Our boys and young males are in real danger as well – following a more misogynistic view of women due to the same images and stereotypes splashed everywhere they look. And now, on average, boys are starting to watch violent porn at 11 years of age.
Boys need to be taught to see it as abhorrent to see and treat females in the way they are currently; as anything less than equal.

I do not fight for me. I fight for any human being that is suffering injustice – it just so happens that statistically females are the predominant victims worldwide.

As a female, are you equal in EVERY aspect in your life? If you are, can you say the same for others? How can those sisters be helped? What about the way in which females are being portrayed in popular culture?

Bitch – Nag – Dumb – Useless – Slut – Fickle – Vain – Objectified Sex Kittens.

It’s easy to make females feel down about themselves by labelling them and keeping them in their place.

Question #20: What place do you hold?

I DO NOT hate males. I believe they are important and pivotal in creating a shift of perspective and change in our world – but they are currently running the joint…their way.

One gender in control = inequality.

We need BALANCE to make things right and just. Females ‘ruling the world’ would pose an equally, problematic existence.

50/50 should be the equation of males to females in any room on this planet, making a decision for their people. Nothing more; nothing less.

It’s the only way.

So, that’s the type of feminist I am – a calm and steady warrior, using her voice to get some balance in this wonderful, but absurd world.

Deep Breath

x

Am I on the right track?

February 21, 2012

Howdy all.

It’s been a few days since I last posted…where I used the scary word, ‘feminist’ in the title.

I was really hoping that this post would stir some reactions – anything really; a smiley face or a brief sentence telling me I’m off my rocker! But alas, it was not meant to be. For three days, I began to entertain serious doubt about what I was doing – was anyone reading?

On the fourth day, today, I got a comment – which brightened my somewhat gloomy disposition a lot. *Some hope*

I’m very new to all this, so it’s probably just due to the fact that I’m a newbie and that people don’t catch on to blogs until later – if they ever do.

But I have to say that I thought I would get more comments – albeit small ones – about the issues I’ve been raising.

Question #18: Are women afraid to voice their thoughts, in case someone may judge?

I understand the teeny prick of anxiety that comes with ‘putting things out there’ – believe me. Even some of the people I know are strangely silent about saying anything to me.

And that’s OK. Really. It’s just that I’m not sure what my fellow sisters are thinking about stuff going on in the world today, and more importantly, if they’re happy with the way things are at the moment – well, from my small perspective, anyhow. *shrug*

I truly believe we have incredible, intelligent, compassionate and inspirational qualities – which emanates a strength that can bring change. But only when we start to use our voice.

I’m willing to admit, though, that maybe it’s MY voice that’s not quite reaching you all the way I’d hoped – but hey, there’s nothing much I can do about that; so I shall continue onwards and upwards!

So, is ‘feminist’ a scary word? I don’t think so – just a wonderful sisterhood – who laugh, love and hold the world together, when they can.

With lots of love to you all. x