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With interest, I have been watching the reaction to yesterday’s Oscars.
This interest started to turn to a calm, but deep, indignation at how far the women’s movement has yet to go.

Today, Gloria Steinem (legendary) was on The View and she said we’re:

“Halfway there. We once fought for an identity to vote and now we are fighting for social and political equality.”

Yesterday, The Oscars was more than just a night with a few crass jokes.

It went beyond that. This article looks at why it was so wrong.

The Oscars: 5 Things that need to Change

“Consider that sexist comedy alienates at least half of the show’s intended audience. Everyone who managed to endure Seth MacFarlane’s jokes last night deserves an award. As many news outlets have astutely pointed out, a broadcast that should have been about the recognition of talent devolved almost immediately into ugly, juvenile humor. Next year, send a boldface memo to the show writers: No awards show should be a megaphone for jokes whose punch lines boil down to “Ha ha, you’re a woman.”

…and I saw your BOOBS!

It’s just so juvenile.
ANYONE can make these sorts of jokes. They’re a dime a dozen – amongst most teenage boy groups in the western world – and yet we applaud and revere it?

Putting aside Seth Macfarlane using women (predominantly) as the butt of his boys’ toilet humour, he actually sang the names of accomplished actresses, such as Meryl Streep, with the line, “I saw your boobs!”

How old is he? 12? Are most men saying they are too?

On this sophisticated night that is supposed to celebrate the craft – it sounded so infantile and was embarrassing to watch.

Pedestrian. My brain is starving for stimulation. There’s nothing to watch.

I’m in shock that comedian Jason Alexander – who tweeted:

is actually turning his back on his own craft to support the Boys’ Club.
He thinks that’s funny? Well…there goes my respect for him as a comedian.

The worst part of the boob song (yes, it gets worse) is that many of the movies he chose to that these boobs appear in, were ones depicting rape and sexual violence – like Jodi Foster (who was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes) in The Accused.

No Respect.
This then paved the way for more.

* Rihanna’s abuse joke, laughs at her and every woman who has to live with that horror.
What about Chris Brown? Where’s the joke about the abuser?? Why isn’t HE being laughed at?

* Jessica Chastain’s character in “Zero Dark Thirty” referred to by Seth as “every woman’s innate ability to never ever let anything go.”

* 9-year-old Oscar nominee, Quvenzhané Wallis, was connected sexually with George Clooney in another ‘joke’ and Clooney was the one who received an instant apology. What??

To add insult to injury, the majority of the male population (yes, the majority because I’m not hearing much opposition from guys) are telling us to zip it. It’s aaallll good.
THEY think it’s funny – and so do all the guys –  so what’s the problem?

Imagine…a HILARIOUS bit where Jack Nicholson’s penis is compared to a shrivelled up, baby zucchini (based on what we saw in a movie) or that Daniel Day Lewis had a flaccid penis and we SAW IT!! Hahahahahahaha!!
No – we will never see that happen because guys wouldn’t do that to each other but…*newsflash* neither would (do) WE!

Do women play a part in all this? Of course we do.
I have always stated that and is the main reason for starting this blog.

But this is about The Oscars. It was shit and men are saying it’s OK.

It’s not OK.

Question #149: Who are we becoming…or have already become?

Deep, Deep Breath.

It’s going to be a long battle.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking – pondering – reflecting – over the last few days.

I’m feeling quite disillusioned (on a grand scale) but it’s not upsetting me…I just want to figure out what the next step is. There’s an aimlessness to my thoughts.

I know, through social media, that there is A HUGE amount of us standing up and voicing our objections to things that seem ludicrous to be even out there in the first place – but they’re flatly being ignored.

A few days ago it was about the hateful and violent images and memes that Facebook allow to remain online – despite protest – and then the latest atrocity being the adult club billboard in front of a boys’ school that the Advertising Standards Board has deemed appropriate to keep up – despite protest – grooming our future’s sexual tastes.

I won’t go on because the list is literally endless and too dispiriting.

Many of us have written and complained, but to little or no avail. There have been some small victories but it’s not on the scale necessary to bring about change.

So today I found myself thinking – what’s the point? (bad of me, I know)

Today I had a hectic afternoon in the car driving up and down, picking up and dropping off etc. when I heard the following song for the second time on Triple J. The first time I only caught the end of it and what attracted me was the divine voice and music – today, however, when I heard it in full, I listened to the lyrics.

The song is ‘God-Fearing’ by Sarah Blasko, from the album, I Awake.

You’ve got a nerve, you know you make me hate
One thing I’ve learned, you try to take away
I’m not beaten down, I won’t behave
Just listen this once or you will rue this day

You have no respect
For me tonight if you’re not listening
It might be unkind but it might be right
But you’re not listening

Set them up, knock them down
Cast them left, cast them right
God-fearing tonight

Biting my lip and holding my tongue
Was the most stupid thing that I’ve ever done 
Got carried away, let myself down
I’ll shoulder that blame if you’ll admit what you’ve done

You have no respect
For me tonight if you’re not listening
It might be unkind but it might be right
But you’re not listening

Set them up, knock them down
Cast them left, cast them right
God-fearing tonight

I adore this song. It resonates so strongly with how I feel.
Completely frustrated that I – WE – are not being listened to. Not respected. Second-class.
The lines I put in bold are the standouts for me (and I love that she sings them looking straight at us in the video).

I played it to my 10-year-old daughter in the car. It was just the two of us.

I’m in her ear about certain topics – I have to be.
After all…we live in a society which allows porn billboards to go up in front of schools. I have to prepare her.
So we talked about the lyrics  of this song – about not keeping quiet when the wrong thing is being done and that responsibility needs to be taken by the parties that do wrong, for change to happen.

I parked the car in the driveway and we just sat there listening to the magical sound of the violins (we both love them) waiting for the song to end before getting out.

As we got out of the car, she said to me:

“I want to thank you for raising me the way you are…helping me…(paused)…I don’t know how to explain it.”

I said, “You just did,” and gave her the biggest, massivest bear hug.
Lump in throat; heart swell…you know.

All this from one song – so I thought I’d share it.

Question #148: Feeling inspired (and equally indignant) to use that voice of yours?

Deep Breath

x

Sarah Blasko

Sarah Blasko

I’ll be brief.

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

Stop Sex Industry Billboards Outside Schools

This is the billboard:

gEKeRGLIfoybclD-556x313-noPad

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

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

So I ask you:

Why do we even bother with the magic of Christmas?

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

What for?

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

Where did Santa go?

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

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

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

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

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

Doesn’t that infuriate you?

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

Please sign the petition. x

Stop Sex Industry Billboards Outside Schools

Deep Breath.

Humbled and distressed

February 22, 2013

*MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING – graphic images in this post*

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

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

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

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

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It says:

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

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

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

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

Under Graphic Content:

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

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

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

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

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Facebook were quick to reply that it was fine:

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 10.05.40 PM

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

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

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

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

And again feel helpless.

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

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

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

My response to that is – WE NEED BALANCE.

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

Deep Breath

x

I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook.

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

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

I do not feel like they have our back.

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

Always leaving us none the wiser and exposed.

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday Karen Pickering posted the following passionate rant about Facebook:

Fuckedbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question #145: What label do the men inherit?

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

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In what way do think men are stupid?

By seeing what’s happening and keeping silent.

That makes me crazy.

Deep Breath.

x

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

Mila Kunis on Ellen

February 17, 2013

While I was sitting in an empty hospital room, waiting for my husband’s return from his surgery – I turned on the TV and I stumbled upon Ellen.

I have to say, that although I don’t really watch the show (don’t watch much TV at all), I do really like Ellen and what she does – yes, very similar to Oprah.
What I like about these women is that they spread a message of happy and that’s not a bad thing. We need more of it.

What makes Ellen different, of course, is that she is who she is and dresses comfortably – leaning towards a more masculine look – which I love.

Her female guests, however, are different. In the past, I’ve seen many (not all) come out wearing the ‘uniform’ – cascading locks of hair, over made-up faces, skimpy, barely-there outfits, very high platform shoes etc etc.

On this particular day, Mila Kunis was the announced guest and I watched with interest.

1. Mila came out looking stylish – pants and a white top. Nice.

2. Ellen’s first words to her are: “You look fantastic” and launches straight into the fact she must feel pressure now that Esquire has named her the ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’ – pulling out the magazine which dons the following cover image of Mila:

Esquire-Cover-edited

After a bit of banter, Ellen says that there must have been a lot of pressure to pose for the cover of the sexiest woman alive.

Mila’s response was gobsmacking: She said,

“The only reason I did it, was so that when I’m 80, sitting in my little chair, I can say – SEE, Grandma was really hot one day!”

Ellen responded with, “That’s why you did it?”

A pocket of women in the audience started to yahoo and cheer – of course – and with that validation Mila continued, saying that she was sure her grandmother was a “sexy little thing, but there was no photographic proof.” (???)

She holds up her cover and says, “Look grandkids – PROOF!”

Dear me.

Ellen then guides the talk towards her outfits in everyday life saying she appears to be down to earth and doesn’t seem to ‘worry about what she looks like when she goes out’ (?????) and a whole minute dedicated to her use of cargo pants.

After tediously trying to get Mila to admit she’s dating Ashton Kutcher – the topic FINALLY turned towards her craft – the movie she’s in.
However, in the 8 minute interview – the discussion of her movie lasted 30 seconds.

I have to say, it was disappointing – again – to see how this interview fixated on and perpetuated society’s (women’s) obsession with the physicality of women such as Mila, and how we applaud and revere them.

More disturbing, however, is how Mila herself – a young and beautiful girl – needs to find validation through men voting her the sexiest woman alive, hyper-sexualising herself and slapping it on a cover for all to see…

…including her future grandchildren, no less – topless and with a provocative finger over her lips.

What hope do our daughters have with self-esteem and empowerment, when women’s looks are the only topic of interest?

Question #144: How can what girls do with their minds be in the forefront of discovering who they are, when noone cares enough to represent it?

 Remember: “You can’t be what you can’t see”

We’re certainly seeing a lot of young, hyper-sexualised women like Mila, which does nothing for the sisterhood and the true empowerment of our girls.

Deep Breath.

x

PS Hubby’s operation lasted four hours and had five surgeons. It seems to have gone well.

The three-to-one formula

February 13, 2013

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

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

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

1.The Voice:

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

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Pattern much?

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

*I never realised men were the authority in singing.

2. The Doctors:

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

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

3. The Living Room:

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

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

4. Masterchef Australia:

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

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

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

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

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

…but that’s a whole other post.

Until then; Deep Breath.

x

Dr Caroline Heldman (who appeared in Missrepresentation) spoke at the TEDx Youth Conference, for twelve or so minutes – without pause. Amazing.

It’s a bloody brilliant presentation that encapsulates everything that is wrong with our current paradigm – delivered with clear-cut explanations, facts, research and solutions.

She looks at what sexual objectification is and whether it’s empowering.

An absolutely fantastic and succinct discourse.

Question #140: So, ladies – are we going to put an end to this self-destructive behaviour, once and for all?

Deep Breath.

x

27

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

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

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

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

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

So here it is:

The Male Privilege Checklist

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

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

…and it’s working very, very, well.

Just look around. It’s an emergency.

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

Guys?

Deep Breath.

x

071412_old-boys-club

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch indeed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re ever so much more.

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

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

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

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

Deep Breath.

x

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