Yes, I had to go again. A friend of mine can’t drive, so I picked her and her daughter up and, together with my girls, we went to see Despicable Me 2. I have to say that I got quite a few giggles from that one.

I told my friend about the pole-dancing ad and we went in to ensure we saw all the advertising from the beginning. I had written to the cinema a few days earlier and wanted to see if some miracle was going to occur and see the ad had been pulled. So again, the curtain was drawn and the screen was blank when we went in.

This time the ad was first up.

As the curtains were opening, there’s all this ‘welcome to the cinema’ fanfare – ensuring everyone is watching. My 6 yr old mentioned her excitement that it was all starting. My 10 yr old said that they were just the ads. Ms 6 replied, “I know, but at least it’s on.” (My kids are obsessed with anything on a screen – regardless of time and place – Aaargh!)…and then BAM! – a woman in stiletto heels, hanging off a pole, is donning the screen. Again.

So it’s not bad enough that they design the fanfare to catch everyone’s attention – they decide to put that particular ad up FIRST? Livid.

A couple (with their two children between them) in the row in front of me looked at each other. I watched with interest, wondering if they were going to communicate to each other the disgust I felt. But the man simply raised his eyebrows at her, smiling – like saying, ‘That looks like a go-er’. She smiled back. Their children, however, were just soaking in those images.
*sigh*

The good news is that the Advertising Standards’ Board has contacted me via letter yesterday and they are taking my complaint to the next meeting. Woooo Hoooo!!

In terms of what we’re seeing at the movies – in my last post I discussed how children are always seeing boy characters fulfil their destinies and dreams.

It’s no different for adults. We only really get immersed in the man’s world.

I took some photos of what’s on offer for us. The first two images came from April when I took similar shots of the predominantly advertised movies.

You get the idea, though…IMG_4967

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From yesterday:

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Question #173: Isn’t anyone else feeling gender fatigue? 

I have been to the movies three times in the last few months. Once in April and twice this week.
In April my husband and I celebrated our anniversary by seeing Jurassic Park in 3D with the girls because my 10 yr old daughter is obsessed with dinosaurs.
The ads for the upcoming movies at the time were, Star Trek 2 (I think there’s only one main-ish female role – the rest are ALL men), Ironman 3 and Superman 72. 

So regardless of age, the movies being made seem to only provide the wonderful world of man as its backdrop, with a peppering of woman here and there.

Am I saying – don’t make these movies?
Anyone who has really followed me knows that that is never what I’m about.

But a more balanced representation of this life – which harbours 51% of women?

YES! Yes to more about us, please.

We are fairly awesome, after all.

Deep Breath

x

 

On my Facebook page I received a response from my friend Suzi, who pointed out the tricky legalities of the case I discussed in my last post.

She wrote:

“This case has some serious questions that need to be asked. The police were called that evening and no charges were made – now, in a case like this the woman herself doesn’t need to lay charges and if the police had attended to find someone in a state like this charges would have been made. My understanding is the woman was in the house shared by T’eo and was with another player, in his room. This other player is married and the woman was asked by the other two to leave. I guess it could be argued they were trying to protect their friend from a scandal and they called the police when she wouldn’t leave. He informed the club he plays for immediately and they spoke to the police. I wasn’t in the room, I don’t know what happened, how he reacted, how she reacted to being asked to leave and I don’t know what the police saw when they arrived but this is what ‘he said’ and what ‘she said’. She didn’t press charges, channel 9 paid her for her story, she waited 3 months before coming forward to the media and I think if we begin the slippery slope of believing one person over another based solely on gender we are going to end up in a worse place than we are now. We have great freedom in Australia but with great freedom comes great responsibility and I’ve got to say, I don’t think us women are living up to that responsibility in many ways. I’m a card carrying feminist, and that’s why I have come to believe that. Women can manipulate, they can harass, they have just as much ability to abuse as anyone. I’ve just started my law studies again and looking at Family Law cases is an example of how our rights can sometimes not be taken with the requisite responsibility, just as a trip to the city on a train on a Friday night can be a depressing display of near nudity, drunken screeching and sole crushing self abuse. Each case is different and, for me, we have achieved equality when the gender of those involved isn’t an issue and only the actions of individuals are scrutinised.”

You may think that I disagree with Suzi, but I don’t.
She’s right – we do need to talk about each case as it occurs and judge the actions of each party. But the problem I have is that I don’t think we’re getting the true exposure to the cross-section of cases that are occurring in reality, through our media.

I responded with the following:

“I also grapple with a lot of the same feelings as you and I sometimes find it hard to truly articulate them clearly, as they rush through me.
I did hear that charges weren’t pressed and realised it wasn’t that black and white (it never seems to be when it involves a ‘star’).
I certainly didn’t write this to blame T’eo specifically – it’s just that I saw a woman with a broken eye socket and in the one thing that does divide our genders (generally) – brute strength – I just saw another example of brutality and ask what could she have done? 
What do any women who do find themselves of the end of violence, done to deserve it? And there’s a lot of them.
The other bummer is that this happens all the time, (every few minutes?) to women everywhere and the only reporting we get is of the dodgy, weird case with no clear outcome, which paints women as being deceptive – which they may have been, of course – but if that’s all that’s the only type of news story we receive, then a clear picture is painted about women typically lying.
I think that’s deceptive and dangerous, when it’s all we see.
The more reporting like this – the more difficult it is for the majority of women who have had their rights violated, to come forward and ask for help.
I COMPLETELY agree with you about women also having responsibility – I wrote a post a few weeks ago which asked how women disrespect men.
I think we have a looong way to go, hence why I started the blog and named it Questions for Women.”

I’m not pointing the finger of blame to any particular person with my last post – I was merely commenting of the lack of exposure to the very real and horrifying statistics of violence against women by men and wonder where the ad campaigns, pushing for change, are.
But call a man an ape…

Deep Breath

x

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What a day.

It has certainly put a fire in my belly.

I took my mum to see Anne Summers talk about her new book, The Misogyny Factor, as a part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Amazing.

I’m busting to write about it and will soon. There’s a lot to digest, however, and I want to make sure I articulate it correctly and give it its due respect. This is a word Anne used a lot and it’s something that’s deeply lacking toward women.

Now we skip to this evening and the news has begun.

The story I saw was the one where a ‘Schoolgirl apologises to ‘heartbroken’ Sydney Swans star,  Adam Goodes because of her racist taunt – calling him an ‘ape’ – whilst he was playing.

I think racism is revolting and I understand how he felt.
I was treated poorly growing up due to racist attitudes (against Spanish speakers, apparently!), so I know how it feels.

So let me make it clear that I believe that racism is a social toxin that must always be fought.
They even showed a snippet of the ad being televised, encouraging racism to be abolished in sport.

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Fantastic.

Now there was another story in the news a few days ago, that also related to sport.

This one has an image of a woman with a black eye (ended up being a broken eye socket) and she alleges she was assaulted by Queensland Origin forward Ben Te’o.

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He denies it. Of course.

What incident could possibly warrant that sort of violence?

What?

Against a woman with three men the size of refrigerators, who are part of a football code with a history of violent behaviour against women.

And yet the woman – with a broken eye socket – is being vilified by men AND women (shame on them) for all the reasons that, what, she deserved it in some way?

Would you ever feel you deserved it?

I feel like we’re a world gone mad.
When will our society rally behind women, believe them and find the justice she deserves?

They can’t ALL be liars.

Another disgrace: If not him – who?

Once a ‘celebrity’ is cleared of violence, the case is closed.
So it’s not about finding out who did it and give justice to the victim…
I mean someone did it.
OJ Simpson springs to mind – if not him, WHO?

Who cares, right? As long as it wasn’t the male ‘star’.

When all this whirled through my mind – as I watched the nation stand still and listen, truly listen, to how heartbroken Adam Goodes felt about being on the receiving end of a racist taunt – I turned to my husband and asked:

“Why do men hate women so much?”

I explained my above thoughts on racism  – but I simply couldn’t understand how a racist word gets the coverage it should, while a smashed up woman’s face doesn’t. Again.

Like countless before this victim, it’s the women with the serious physical injuries who are still the ones investigated and given the third degree – in 2013.

Why? Because he said, “I didn’t do it.”?

We are the gentler sex. We are.

Why do men want to squash that? Control it? Violate it?
And worse still, why is it defended?

As the news continued – all the negative stories were violent ones – all done by men; including the hacking death of a man in broad daylight on a London street.

This world needs women.

It’s time to make way for us to fill the space that’s been left empty and fill the void that can tip things back into balance.

BALANCE. Not war to take over. Work side by side, FFS.

Equal in participation and respect.

And it starts by doing everything we can to give justice to women, when they have been treated like animals; beneath men – by men.

Question #161: Where’s the ad for that?

Deep Breath

x

On Friday, the last day of term, my colleague and I ran a workshop with our Yr 10 and 11 girl students (aged 15-17 yrs old). We looked at the objectification of girls and women through the media and ran lots of workshops to help them navigate through the tripe they’re being fed, looked at what is beautiful (them – exactly as they are) and how to be a voice in this saturating, hyper-sexualised society.

The boys, of the same year groups, were in a separate location,  journeying through the harms of pornography and participating in workshops to help them with all the issues they face as young men. They are also being fed false ideals about what it’s like to be a ‘real man’ and are also in strife. The wonderful feedback I got from this workshop is that the boys drew up a contract, their words, as to how they were going to treat women and they all signed it.

Fantastic.

The dynamic psychologist and teacher, Collett Smart of FamilySmart (and who was one of the original board members of Collective Shout) came to talk to both the boys and the girls together. She reinforced a lot of what we had covered up until lunch…and more.

It was such an inspiring day, that I’m still a little giddy from how good it felt to run a part of it.

I was up first and for an hour or so I covered what the girls are being sold by the media – more importantly, how they’re being represented and whether they were happy with it. My aim was to incite discussion and reinforce some Media Literacy with them.

To start off with, I asked them what characteristics we had that made us women. Two interesting things came out of this.
1. The first few characteristics were physical – boobs, curvy, vagina.
2. When I steered them towards non-physical, they came up with some beautiful ones, like compassionate and strong – but I was the one who wrote up intelligent (with lots of arrows pointing towards it).

From this point I launched in to a visual smorgasbord of examples of how women are represented in the media today. Basically one way – hyper-sexualised and objectified.

But it’s not just about ads, shows, movies etc – it’s also important to discuss the effect and consequences of a saturated paradigm, like our current one.

Objectification is the issue. What the girls needed to understand is that once you are seen as an object, anything can be done to you without remorse.
It’s a complete disconnect and is why the argument, “That could have been your sister” (for example) doesn’t work. Their sister is their sister, whom they love. An object is an object.

As Collett later told them (and the boys) – the Porn Industry now has to compete with the Porn Culture of our media. The images looked at in the dirty magazines of yesteryear, are now on billboards selling sunglasses/jeans etc.
So in order to keep their addicted masses, mainstream porn has to be bigger and far more violent. Women’s bodies are the commodity; bodies which only last between three to six months, before they’re tossed aside. Broken.

I showed the girls the following clip from Canada which covers a lot of what I wanted to discuss:

Notice how ludicrous it is to have the men portrayed that way?
We can’t do anything else but laugh about it because it’s not a reality for them – although they do have their own fair share of issues.

We watched the following Lynx ad by Unilever, being discussed in the States. The reason I showed this clip is because there is one female panelist in a studio full of men. Watch their reactions (nothing surprising).

What’s interesting here is mainly the woman’s take on it. It seems like everyone agrees – if it makes money it’s OK.
And the men’s reactions? Well, nothing out of the ordinary. Does that mean that we are also desensitised – seeing ‘boys just being boys’?

This led me to discuss the  Porn Culture which surrounds us and how that’s become the ‘fashion’ now. I showed them more clips and what it means to them. I discussed this concept in my penultimate post: The fine line. A chat with teens.

I could have talked about this FOREVER, but time was short. I finished with the trailer for Missrepresentation – the wonderful documentary I hosted a screening of last year – which perfectly encapsulates the serious issue of our gender’s representation in the media.

My colleague then tackled, What is Beautiful?
We looked at photoshopped images and got the girls to do an activity, where they put stickers on each others’ backs with positive phrases about their characteristics.
They loved it.

We talked in groups about some possible party scenarios, looked at sexuality and relationships and finally encouraged them to be a voice – to call out injustices and be a sisterhood to each other.

After lunch the boys and girls came together to listen to Collett Smart.

She discussed issues such as the truly damaging effects of child pageants on young girls (affirming from a very tender age that the only validation a girl can have is through her looks) through to hearing the tragic story of a teen girl who survived a rape.

She reaffirmed many of the issues we had discussed with the girls earlier in the day, which gave those messages more strength – Yay!
But there was one important point that Collett made, that stayed with me – it resonated:

She said the path toward a better social existence between girls and boys; women and men – is mutual respect. There seems to be a huge portion of the responsibility laid on boys and men to respect women, but women and girls also need to respect men.

Bang.

Question #155: Are women truly respecting men in this hyper-sexualised, porn culture?

It’s a tough question, but we need to step back and look at this through a balanced perspective.
Both genders play a role in perpetuating a state of existence.
Both men and women. Boys and girls.

Something to ponder.

At the end of this day, I hoped our girls left feeling a little more empowered about their whole selves – not just what they look like – and will become more united as women to cultivate that word – RESPECT – in themselves and those around them.

So it was no surprise that I actually cried a little when I saw the following messages from some of the girls, on my Questions for Women Facebook Page:

“Hey Miss,
I just want to thank you and Miss Fitzgerald for your talk today. I honestly feel so empowered to change the society we live in. I feel so much better about myself and I really want to make a difference in the world. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the world we live in. Hearing what people had to say about me in the sticker activity made me feel so good about myself. To know that people like me for something more than my looks is amazing. You are an inspiration to me and so many others. xx”

“Thanks so much ms. You really are an inspiration xxx”

“MISS ! thank you so much for today ! It really made me think twice about what i do now and the way i see my self. you are a true inspiration and we’re all so lucky and grateful to have you at our school.”

“Thanks so much for today miss! It gave us such a great message in a very fun way. It was really eye opening to many of the girls and it was really good to realise we all empowered each other as women. We love you miss!”

“We’re so lucky to be surrounded by such empowering women!”

My message to these girls was:
“May your love, intelligence, strength and compassion be what shines through and gives you true validation. That’s what makes you beautiful.
You’re all necessary and needed just the way you are. xxx”

I wish I could do this every day. My soul feels full and alive.

Deep Breath

x

sisterhood

In my Drama class recently – boys and girls aged approx. 16 – we were discussing Absurd Theatre.

This type of theatre looks at the existentialist view that we are born from nothing; live a fairly meaningless life, in the big scheme of things; attach importance to pockets of our lives (as we are ‘educated’ to do, by our surroundings) and then die – back to nothingness.

The world keeps turning. You made no real difference. It’s all quite absurd.

This is not to say that it is a life devoid of faith because with the existentialist perspective, there is also a sense of hope.

My students and I began to contemplate the issues and topics that encompass our current paradigm. I asked them to metaphorically take a giant step out of our existence and then look through the eyes of, let’s say, aliens studying human behaviour.

What would they see?
I wanted them to think rationally and not emotionally.

The issue of female representation came up – especially in terms of the fashion – and as the discussion unfolded, one girl asked what was so wrong with girls wanting to feel good through the attention they receive.

I replied, “Nothing…but…”

This is the point where it always gets tricky for me because my current opinion on what I’m seeing tears me in two opposing directions – and if it pulls me, a 43 year old woman, in this way – how in hell are these young, developing minds supposed to make heads or tails of it?

1. I believe women should wear what they want.

I was raised to believe that it’s good to show off your best assets. I have pretty good legs, for example, and I used to wear shortish skirts. I still wear skinny-type pants because they work best for my body shape. Of course, I wear pants of varying widths too – as well as skirts of different lengths.

The point is that we always dedicated a certain amount of time to creating a look that suited us and made us feel good about ourselves. Maybe it made a statement or it was simply following the fashion; no different to today, I suppose…

2. BUT when what is fashionable, emulates porn culture – we have a completely different kettle of fish.

Don’t we?

Growing up in the 80s meant there were various fads throughout the decade. I remember there was a pastel stage; a flouro one; we wore studded belts (as well as ones that wrapped around the waist twice over – flashy!); hair of different lengths and cuts; tube skirts; shoulder pads; goths; mods; punks…and the list goes on. Even in the 90s, there was grunge to add to the mix.

This is me at the dance – with boys! – aged 14. When your stunned expression lapses as to how much of a dag I was (yes, that’s a white ribbon in my hair), check out the background – pinafore dresses and a boy straight off the set of Miami Vice.

Truth is, we may have been dagga, but we thought we were SO cool. How could we not be, with such a variety of looks in one decade? 

Year 9 dance

Today, however, is quite a different story – there is only one fad: Hot ‘n Sexy and no age seems out of reach. The monumental difference today is the hypersexualised pre-teen that’s starting to flood the ‘market’.
(Sadly, one of the most used search engine terms that gets certain unsavoury and predatory people to my blog, is ‘12 year old sluts.’
Young and fresh out of Primary School – these girls are in high demand.)

I discussed the conundrum of this current fashion with the students to see if they could discern the fine line – that it’s virtually a ‘Catch-22′ situation. If, on one hand, girls wear hypersexualised outfits and allude to also behave in said manner as well, they are participating in the spread of porn culture – a culture created, predominantly, for male satisfaction. BUT at the same time, if we go around preaching to women about what they should and shouldn’t wear, it reeks of control and takes away a female’s agency to do as she pleases – the same way a man is permitted.

In other words, inequality.

This is crippling. Women – and now, very young girls – are being driven crazy with this and I can see that this paradigm, one that is so obsessed with sex and selling the female body (only) to make billions of dollars, is winning.

To wear, or not to wear – that is the question.

Question #153: Isn’t that absurd?

Deep Breath

 

I see a pattern in the way we deal with everything – ourselves; politics; the way we ‘survive’; the environment – and it’s looking a tad grim.

The psyche of ‘who we are’ as a species, is tipping toward a greedy, destructive, selfish and stupid one – with some people sadly possessing all four traits.
We collectively ‘cut the nose off, to spite the face’, by encouraging (through action or indifference) the defence of these bad ideals and behaviours – and all for money.
Our soul is disappointingly tarnished with greed.

The outcry to the damaging effects of such behaviours, that are worsening in their intensity, seems to be fobbed off as an annoying distraction. The lack of true change makes this apparent.

1. If it’s a feminist fight, it gets shot down with labels of  ‘hysterical’ / ‘bitch’ / ‘whore’ / ‘liar’ and/or the easy option of using violence – to keep women in their place.

2. If it’s an environmental fight, we actually turn our backs to what Nature is trumpeting – as it globally waves its arms furiously at us.

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It feels like the planet is twitchy – trying to shake us off – the planet we need to sustain us.
More earthquakes and volcano eruptions, cyclones, devastating rain, snow storms, rising seas in the Pacific with islands slowly going under…and that’s just the climate.
Then there’s replacing land with concrete or rubbish; digging enormous holes to deepen our dependence on fossil fuels…and the list goes on.

Was the last wipeout the dinosaurs?
We haven’t got a hope in hell against this old soul fully turning on us.

It’s the one hunk of rock we’re on, isn’t it? I mean it’s ALL connected.
So why have Australians fought the Carbon Tax, when we all know (even the Opposition) it’s for the better?
In fact, it has already lowered emissions and it’s aimed at big businesses doing the most damage to our planet – you know, the people making millions/billions in profits.

I suppose a better question would be, ‘If not this – what?

3. And if it’s a political fight, we neglect policy; we neglect using the government in power to its full potential – regardless of whether one voted for them or not.
This was never more apparent than with our latest Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
She has been systematically vilified from day one – distracting her (for example) with press conferences on her character, rather than just letting her get on with it.

What good does that do any of us?

Did anyone know that last week, this government passed a bill that made fantastic changes to the current National Disability Insurance Scheme?

Kim @allconsuming wrote the following piece about this decision and its wonderfulness – Quite Something. She writes:

“I do not care what your political leaning, I do.not.care. but this Government is the first to actually action it. The first to say this is important, to say to the four million or so Australians who have a disability that they matter.

To grasp the scale of that, those four million people equates roughly to the population of Melbourne. Then consider the 2.6 million Australians who care for family members with a disability. Now you’ve got the population of Victoria.

As soon as you hear someone start to say how great it is but gee, how we can fund this, how we can pay for it I want you to tell them you’re talking about the population of Victoria. You’re going to turn your back on an entire State?”

Yes – it seems we do tend to turn our backs,  if selfish wants are jeopardised, which then paves the way for the media to create spin on our general ignorance and feed the masses biased reports on our government. And it is biased if you don’t get informed about the good stuff along with the bad.

Balance.

Question #151: So how will people vote? How will women vote?

Will environmental policies get a look in?
How about women’s issues? The gender equality gap – where the female gender suffers most from poverty and violence – globally –  than its equal. Does that get any importance?

I lobby for equal pay for all women.
If there’s no money in the budget, they can just bring men down a peg and bump women up. Easy. They’ve had a good go of it.
We also need to look after our single parents who have had their payments cut by Centrelink, if their youngest child has turned 8 years old. A devastating blow…

OR will the simple mentality of those who cling to clichés – not policy –  determine our collective fate?

I shudder to think.

Our people, politics and environment are all interwoven and connected, and it’s the obsession with making money and gaining power – astronomical money and power for some (regardless with how they got there) – that is slowly choking our very existence.

It’s time to lobby for these big important changes, recognise we’ll have to sacrifice to get them and see which government can best accommodate.

I want change. I want balance.

Deep Breath.

x

Jodi v Oscar

March 2, 2013

Yesterday, on my final weekday looking after my hubby and having just returned from the hospital (he has a new cast on his leg), we both settled down to eat lunch and put on the telly.
The View was just starting.

Today I observed something which has nothing to do with the show per se (I actually really enjoy the show, the topics and the differing perspectives of the women at the helm) – it is a look at our entrenched human behaviour – leaning toward gender bias.
Well, that’s how I saw it.

In this particular segment of the show, they were discussing all things criminal and the panel had a legal analyst, Dan Abrams, and a defence lawyer, Mark Eiglarsh, to join them and make their comments about current cases.
Before they started, I thought, “This could be trial by media.”

They discussed two big cases.

Firstly: A very big case going on in America at the moment where a woman, Jodi Arias, is on trial for murdering her boyfriend, Travis Alexander in 2008.
He was shot in the face, stabbed 27 times, and had his throat slit.

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias

The men discussed her now changed statement (having said two different accounts earlier) – which is that she did it in self defence due to years of sexual dominance.
Sounded a bit like 50 Shades of Grey.

I had never even heard of this case before yesterday, so I’m not here to pass an opinion as to whether she’s guilty or not – nor do I want to go into the case to try and work it out – I only listened to what was said during this discussion and the WAY it was said.

I couldn’t help but notice the contemptuous tones of the men, especially defence attorney Eiglarsh, when discussing her; with tiny moments of sniggering and tones of mocking. At one point they discussed her now changed testimony, that she killed in self defence of the deviant man she painted.

Is there any proof that he was a sexual deviant?

Eiglarsh: There’s proof – but there’s no credible proof. Technically the jury has to take into consideration what flows from her lips, but they don’t have to give it any weight.

Why not? Because she lied at the start? Well, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t a victim of sexual violence, of which she is apparently giving graphic detail.

I commented to my husband that it was curious – that we actually do know the devastating statistics about sexual/domestic violence and how many countless women suffer at the hands of it and yet this discussion was only portraying a very one-sided deduction (she’s lying), without a hint of recognition at the fact she may have actually been tormented for years.

At another moment when her actions were questioned, one said she changed her mind because she was put on trial for murder and Einglarsh said:

She’s hoping jurors are addicted to gullible. 

I find that a biased comment. Amongst many.

Secondly: Oscar Pistorius. A guest female attorney, Sunny Hostin has now joined the panel.

This case looks VERY much like premeditated murder. Most of his story seems farfetched and parts don’t actually make sense – yet the lawyers on the show were talking in a tone (that to me) was bordering on a ‘poor guy’ one.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s terribly sad that he has ended up here. Terribly sad.

There were discussions about the fact he hadn’t taken testosterone but a herbal concoction and the fact that it wasn’t ‘roid rage’. When asked more about including that as a defense they said they’ve tried it before in America and “it doesn’t work” and Einglarsh said: “No then you’d have to admit you did it, but it was roids…” (so no).

The clincher for me was when the law analyst says that it seems to be a pretty strong case that it wasn’t an intruder to which the guest woman lawyer says, “I don’t know..” (???) and Einglarsh shouts out the following statistic as he points down on the table:

“16, 766 burglaries alone in South Africa.”

There’s another statistic – 60,000 women and children in South Africa are victims of domestic violence every month.

The police have continually botched up his case AND he’s probably going to get a deal. Hostin also said that he will sit in front of a judge and not a jury, “which will probably…help him.” Why help him? He killed his girlfriend in cold blood or a moment of lunacy. Same as Jodi, just executed differently.

My point of all this is that both of these people committed a crime – both murdered their partner and both have shown inconsistencies with their stories – but I felt like there was an underhanded, conditioned response to these crimes and to me they were swayed by the gender of the perpetrators.

Regardless of the nature of men AND the fact that:

“Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. Based on country data available , up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime – the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.

Among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.  Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, violence against women devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development. It takes many forms and occurs in many places – domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, rape by husbands or strangers, in refugee camps or as a tactic of war.”
(saynotoviolence.org)

this panel casually sat through a discussion without once entertaining the notion that Jodi (may have) endured what she says she did – knowing that statistically it was VERY possible – and that Oscar, who actually DID demonstrated such violence, may get off through technicalities.

Him? Maybe it wasn’t premeditated.
Her? There’s no way that was self defence.

The big difference I want to point out, though, is that in Jodi’s case, the male victim was discussed – again, as a possible nice guy and not the sexual deviant she was claiming.

Reeva Steenkamp was not mentioned.

Deep Breath

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If you can, watch it for yourself and tell me what you think. The episode is on The View *here* which aired on the Thurs 28th Feb.

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

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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

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