I really hope so.
Although, this is for women too – of course. I’m sure there are many who will disagree with me.

I apologise for my absence of late – it seems the strains of life as a full-time working mum have pockets when they take their toll. I’m sure many working mums can give me an exhausted ‘amen’ there.

This bit’s for the guys. (You can listen in, though, gals)

Last week, I escaped with Hubby and the girls to a National Park for three days, with zero phone reception and no Net. It was sublime and enormously relaxing – which was just the ticket, as I think I was heading toward a ‘system overload’ situation.
Having access to the world would have rendered the whole mini-break pointless, as the crappy things that are going on profoundly affect me.

So, my first ‘me’ activity on the first day, was to pluck the hairs off my legs.

Mmmmmm – I hear ya – exciting stuff.

Now I know that I said in my last post on this issue – A hairy moment – that my only manner of removing leg hair was through shaving, BUT I had purchased a new ‘machine’ and after recently slicing the top off a toe knuckle with a razor (infuriating and bloody painful), as I attempted to balance in the shower to shave, I thought I’d give the ‘hair yank’  another shot.
Exfoliation and cream galore will be needed to stop the usual ingrown hairs.

So as my legs started to welt – Exhibit A:

IMG_6298

– my daughters entered the room, looking quite perplexed, and asked why I was doing that. Like I was a crazy person.

At that moment, guys, what am I to say?

The truth? – that less than a hundred years ago, this became the ‘fashion’ and sealed our doomed fate to constantly undo what nature has given us?

Or our truth? – that they simply have to and will spend a truck load of money in the process?

I sat there – blinking (with the sounds of crickets) – and just looked at them.

Blank.

Question # 184: Do you see the conundrum we’re in as women?

At every turn – it’s JUST about our looks.
And that attitude permeates everything to do with women.

I want to instil in my girls – in ALL girls (and dare I dream it; boys and men) – that beauty absolutely comes in all shapes, colours…and (heaven forbid) hairiness.

But how can I teach that when I’m sitting there – intentionally – ripping the hair off my legs, leaving them in welts?

I felt a bit like a fraud.

So, I’m still a feminist who will not let my leg and armpit hair grow, because it’s entrenched in my views of beauty  – BUT can you understand the frustration?

Before some of you guys say you have an equal problem because you have to shave your faces – I’ll respond with. ‘But by beauty standards you don’t have to.’ Exhibit B:

kinopoisk.ruHugh Jackman sports a scruffy beard while greeting fans outside the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in NYC7402119_f520

We have to…and it’s a bummer.

OK gals, this part is for you AS WELL. (Don’t go anywhere yet, fellas)

No, hair removal is not the number one issue that women face – by a long shot – women have much graver and more horrifying problems to face and deal with, on a global scale.

I wrote about this because I needed to explain the simple frustration of women (with the means – like myself) choosing to shave their legs, at the expense of all our wallets – men’s and women’s – AND the environment.

Imagine the plastic (as an example) we’d have saved from being produced, if this weren’t the fashion for women?
And the resources to MAKE that plastic? It’s mind-boggling when hair removal is a billion dollar industry.

All for what? Hair?

Sadly, the logic doesn’t translate to the already converted – like me – but:

Question #185: Should we really be doing this to ourselves and imparting it onto our kids?

It’s like men can be as hairy as they want to be and are steered away from their feminine aspects (which balances them out) – being ridiculed for being a ‘girl/woman’ in any way.

Whilst women have to rid themselves (preferably) of all body hair – except for the hair on the head, of course, which has to be long and cascading locks. (Another extreme beauty expense, BTW)
Women are being steered away from their wonderful, rugged strength (which balances them out) because those masculine traits – whether they be physical (looks) or in attitude – deem them ‘unladylike’.

We’re missing out on the best of ourselves.

We’re a bunch of idiots.

Deep Breath.

x

It’s all so pedestrian.

August 27, 2013

Crass.

Dirty.

Unbalanced.
…not her – the representation of her performance.

How sad that Miley Cyrus seems to have completed the traditional transition from wholesome teen to hyper-sexualised, ‘gagging-for it’, young woman.

Anyone who has read my posts, knows that I am ALL FOR women being sexually liberated and having confidence when it comes to their sexual wants and needs.

ALL FOR IT.

But what Miley Cyrus does here – at the Video Music Awards a few nights ago – is not that.

It’s a gimmick.

A show – for those with a lecherous gaze.

Something to cause a reaction.

After all, that’s what it’s all about – the music…right?

Grinding up against a man – who is *surprise! surprise!* fully dressed whilst she is near naked, just drips in this current pop culture’s conditioning and grooming of the following:

Lesson #1: To ‘make it’ as a female artist – you have to be fuckable.
To be noticed as a woman – you have to be fuckable.

And be sure to send all the boys and girls out there, this important memo – that that is what’s important, if you want to ‘make it.’

Also plaster it everywhere they turn – just so the message truly sinks in.

Let’s also not forget that Robin Thicke is equally to blame here.
It’s shameful (but sadly unsurprising) how little there is about him when this performance is being discussed.

A married man, singing about the ‘blurred lines’ of a woman’s consent, whilst a young woman half his age is bent over in front of him, twerking up against his crotch.

Lesson #2: Male is sexually dominant.

Miley has just received Honours in the club – the club with many members:

Brittany Spears
Christina Aguilera
Selena Gomez
Vanessa Hudgens…

etc. etc. etc.

Snore
Snore
Snore

Question #180: When is a bit of class going to come back into how young women express their healthy sexuality?

One that’s balanced to their male counterpart’s…

miley-cyrus-vma-2.jpg

Now THAT would be cutting edge.

Deep Breath.

x

I have to say that this is one of those conundrums for me.

In my quest to continually question the imbalance of our existence – I wanted to explore why we continue to shroud this illusive appendage in such an opposing way to women’s objectification.

I was listening to Triple J the other morning and comedian Wil Anderson was on the radio.
He was discussing the rule with men – that you never look at another man’s penis whilst at the urinal.

OK I get that. It would be an invasion of privacy.

But it just made me wonder – what’s the big hoo-ha about the penis, anyway?
Why all the mystery?

At the beach last summer,  I saw quite a few three-quarter length board shorts being worn – protecting its owners from exposing even the hint of a bulge.

No more speedos anymore. No sir-ee.

Why?

Is it to hide its size?
Or protect boys and men from the gaze of other men?
Is that something that’s feared?

Surely if it were for the gaze of women, there wouldn’t be a problem…right?

I know it’s the fashion at the beach – but you can’t disagree with the juxtaposition; that men seem to be more and more covered, whilst women are more and more exposed.

And not just on the beach.

In the movies – for example – we NEVER see the penis.

Why are men afforded such privacy?

Why are women not?

We have fully naked women on the screens (the big screen as well as the smallest) and yet it doesn’t matter how much time passes – how much we ‘evolve’ – the penis remains mystically cloaked from human gaze.

It must be nice to know – if you’re male and in the movie industry – that you’ll never have to make that choice, whether to have your penis filmed or not.

Ever.

Men are not vulnerable; like women are vulnerable.
And a man’s vulnerability – it seems – is his penis.
A woman’s? Her near or complete nudity.

The second issue I have with the penis, is its massive (no un intended) irony.

As much as it is used and wielded as a weapon throughout the world and is seen as the symbol of manhood – it is also a man’s Achilles Heel, so to speak – is it not?

As Betty White says:

“Why do people say,
‘Grow some balls’?
Balls are weak and sensitive.
If you wanna be tough,
Grow a vagina.
Those things can take a pounding.”

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Is this post an attack on manhood?

No – it is not.

Do I want to see penises plastered all over our screens?

No – but there shouldn’t be a Holier-than-thou style, cover-up either.

A penis is just a penis.

Or is it?

So, I ask again – what’s the big deal?

Crying #2

August 9, 2013

An experience I had has resurfaced, after having a conversation with a friend about crying. This is an issue I have always battled with, which I unpacked in the post: What is so wrong with crying?

It’s a driving story.
But before I begin, I would just like to say that I am an awesome driver and if at some point in my life there were ever the opportunity to attain skills in race car driving, I would have taken it…in a heartbeat.

I was on my way to a meeting, but was driving down a road I wasn’t entirely familiar with.
I was momentarily distracted when coming up to a round-about. I looked to my right and saw a car approaching. I was going slower than usual, due to my momentary disorientation, but I was still going to reach the round-about first, so I proceeded.

This car came in fast – I didn’t realise how fast until he was on top of me in the round-about, beeping his horn.

I was startled and raised my hand in apology – although all I had done was be a tad slow. I was in the round-about first and technically I had right of way. But we had both contributed to this moment occurring.
Just 100m ahead we both had to stop due to a red light.

This is when it started to get a wee bit alarming.
He started to blow his horn at me, whilst slamming his hands on his steering wheel, swearing and looking VERY angry. I was watching intently in my rearview mirror.
I started to think that I was pretty much trapped there, if he were to get out of his car and approach me.

Then it got worse.
His window was rolled down and he threw something out of his window and it landed on my roof. It landed with a loud bang – sounding like a full can of soft drink. I never saw what it was.

At this point I started to cry.
His aggression was scaring the living hell out of me.

To my relief, the lights had changed and the traffic started to move. This entire time, he had continued to beep his horn and act slightly unhinged.

I turned left – where there was only one lane on each side of the road – and so did he.
I was shaken, so I pulled over into a parking spot to calm my nerves a bit.

Instead of driving past, he stopped next to me – in the middle of the road – banking up the traffic behind him.

He aggressively started to insult me, saying we could have had an accident.

I replied (with tears), “Yes, OK – but why are you so angry?”

He said because he could have run into me.
I agreed again saying, “Yes, I understand that you could have run into me, but why are you so angry?”

He started to puff up again, but paused and looked out his windscreen.

He spat out, “Sorry” and drove off.

I then released the tears of relief, composed myself and proceeded to my meeting.

I looked a sight when I arrived and believe it or not, I felt a bit ashamed at the fact that I had cried. I even ‘listened to my story’ as I relayed it, hoping it would be deemed that the crying was warranted.

Question #177: Why does it seem like it’s the crying that is judged of its worthiness first – before the aggression?

The encouraging part is that he did apologise in the end –  but –  how would it have unravelled, if I had responded in an aggressive manner in return?

Deep Breath.

x

The_Aggression__by_Uribaani

Show them this.

July 27, 2013

This footage is simply fantastic.

Click HERE to watch awesomeness.

Show this representation more often to our daughters – where a regular young woman protects herself and beats the boy – and also show our sons.

It’s a win/win – girls are (actually) more empowered through the ability to see a woman physically protect herself against a larger boy and boys see that women can be strong.

Question #176: How else are we supposed to teach our children that women are much stronger than how we’re currently represented?

TV?

All women could learn to do what this young woman did.
A shame we have to – but we could all learn.

This young woman did enough to get back what was hers and get the hell out of there.

She didn’t give him one on the way through (which is sadly what men do. And don’t argue this with me on this – the movies told me so) – she just did what she had to.

Not weak.

Love it.

Now, go and show this to your daughters and sons…
(those who are ‘old’ enough to be watching movies that show them the opposite – of course).

Deep Breath

x

PS Very sad that people walk past the man in pain, when most don’t know what he did.

PSS I have a few posts cooking – they’re on their way.

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A day at the movies.

July 3, 2013

As I stepped into the cinema complex – it was utter chaos.

School holidays. What a nightmare. Kids everywhere – excited – and asking for everything.

I took my 10 yr old, her school friend and my 6 yr old, for a stint at the movies, to see Monsters’ University.

The cinema was full to the brim of super-energized children and their parents.
Nothing was on the screen at this stage.

It’s funny that when you go to a kids’ movie, you tend to get there early.
Why is that? So loud. Kids kicking into the back of your seat…

The first ads started to roll out – the still-photograph ones – promoting the local area.

To my horror, one of these ads was for pole dancing classes, with images of women dressed as strippers – one hanging upside own with her legs completely spread apart.

Behind me, two 7ish yr old-looking boys exclaimed, “Whoa!”

All the while girls and women are being told, it’s great exercise!
So why not in sports’ gear?

Bollocks.
It’s grooming girls and boys. It’s Porn Culture.

So that was Gender Studies Lesson #1 for a lot of the children in that cinema.

Did they all see it? Or get it?
Who cares.
The two, 7 yr olds behind me certainly felt a reaction that their brains computed and filed somewhere, and I know my daughters saw it.

I was gobsmacked. It almost feels like they’re taking the piss.

Then we came to the ads for future kids’ movies. Coming soon!

  1. Planes (from the makers of Cars) – animated scenes from Top Gun in the ad. Boy planes talking about other boy planes.
  2. One about a snail (a boy) who wants to be fast and his dream comes true (fancy that). That one’s called Turbo.
  3. Smurfs 2 with ONE female – who needs rescuing from all the men.
  4. And a behind-the-scenes movie following One Direction around their world tour.

This leads us to Gender Studies Lesson #2: Almost all children’s movies will be about boys, leading boys fulfilling their destinies and boy worship.

Not girls or women. They can only (generally) be a support to helping him.

Yes – we did have Merida from Brave and what a wonderful, sassy, girl she was. I say ‘was’ because Disney are now remodelling her to look more ‘princess’ like, with a smaller waist, big doughy, cat-like eyes with long eyelashes…see below *sigh*

Left = After – – – – – – – – Right = Before.

original

It feels hopeless. They give us a wonderful story about a brave girl and her relationship with her mother (of all things) and then take it away again by wrapping her up in Barbie.

And then there was the actual movie, Monsters’ University. It was good in parts – it was about boys, boys, mateship, boys, boys, brotherhood, boys, boys, teachers…and one dominant female role – the meanie Dean of the University. Witchy like, but who was the best ‘scarer’ of her time. Can’t have it all (be the best AND nice), like the boys.

monsters-university-poster

When we left the cinema, I did chat to the girls about why we keep seeing children’s movies that are SO male heavy and what ‘type’ of women/girls we all – boys included – soaked in.

In the few hours of our cinematic journey, the female representation we observed, was as follows:

  • Ad: Stripper – sexual pleasure machine
  • Upcoming movies: The only substantial amount of girls seen, in only one of four trailers aired, were screaming out their undying love (male worship) for the cookie-cutter boys of One Direction – the other needed rescuing.
  • Movie: A secondary role of a mean, witch-like Dean of the University
  • Movie: An even lesser role of a mother, in curlers, a mu-mu and doing the laundry
  • Movie: There were some all-girl frat houses, but collectively were on-screen for about a minute.

That’s it.

I honestly can’t convey my disappointment.
Boys are so fortunate to see the same positive reinforcement over and over again – showing them how to tackle problems with the brotherhood…

Question #172: Where are the movies for our girls? Where are their role models?

And another thing – even though it could be done without it, they didn’t use the opportunity to use the plural possessive apostrophe after Monsters in the title. The perfect chance to teach everyone its use – like for Mothers’ Day.
So no grammar lesson for the kiddies either.

Deep Breath

x

PS I lodged a complaint with the cinema and the Advertising Standards’ Board. I’ll keep you posted.

The current number one song in Australia – and I assume world-wide – is Blurred Lines by Thicke.

I am experiencing a mini-form of anxiety over this song – that I need to purge.

Here is my timeline with the song:

1. My sister played me the start of the song on her phone – it had me instantly hooked – I put it on the dock and we turned up the volume. My daughters were with us, so we were all dancing around the kitchen.

2. Then the lines – “I know you want it / I know you want it…but you’re a good giiirl – I know you want it / I know you want it” – started to echo out of the speakers and I thought, “Mmm…not sure about that for the girls.”

3. I saw a comment from a friend on her FB page – with the video embedded – saying that the feminist in her wasn’t sure about the video, but that she loved the song.
The feminist in her?
Torn moment #1: Do I really want to see it? I didn’t want to hate it.
But at that moment I didn’t have time to click on her link.

4. The following week, I saw the video on the telly. Scantily clad girls, with the fully clothed men, watching the girls walk by, leering at them, smacking their lips. Complete objectification. Still loved how the song made me want to dance, though. And dancing fills me with joy.
Yes it does.

5. I went back to my friend’s comment to tell her I agreed with her – but something she responded to me didn’t make sense, so I clicked on the video she had embedded.
In this unrated version – the women are basically naked.
Only a pair of skin-coloured g-strings (thongs) covering up the front pubic area – which in the first shot appears the girl is naked – with no pubic hair. What they are wearing, however, are a white pair of sandshoes.
The photo below is of the female ‘clothed’ version – but all the naked photos are there for the kiddies:

robin-thicke-blurred-lines-video

Look – the perfect man and woman, apparently. Sexy.

Now I am no prude.
I’m quite a fan of the naked female form, actually.
I think it’s stunning – of all shapes. What women’s bodies can do. Simply amazing.
I believe that the naked form – male and female – can communicate a myriad of beautiful messages – but we only see one: The hyper-sexualised woman or girl.

We certainly don’t see the male naked form in terms of saturation and sexual objectification.

I have two enormous problems with this song and video:

1. It’s not with the nudity itself – but the context in which it resides.

These men are fully clothed. As always.

Must we continually be subjected to the same message?
In Nelly’s song, It’s Getting Hot in Herre the chorus says:

Male: “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes”
Female: “I am, getting so hot, I’m gonna take my clothes off.”

The irony – that whilst the women in the video are scantily clad (as the song suggests) some of the men have parkas on – is staggering. And blatant. They’re taking the piss.

Same again with earlier episodes of Big Bang Theory. Leonard would be wearing shirts, long sleeve t-shirts and a jacket – indoors – while Penny would be in a shoe-string, low cut, singlet top and tiny shorts.

And who can forget the visual example of Lana del Rey on the cover of GQ – as the only ‘Woman of the Year’ 2012, amongst the other four ‘Men of the Year’ (including one being pawed by women’s hands):
lana-del-ray

My point?
That the less dressed you are – the more vulnerable you are.

It may be your (a woman’s) choice, but does it make you any less vulnerable to the eye of the beholder?

Again, I can’t believe the irony that I noticed this last summer – that some boys were wearing board shorts that had three-quarter leg lengths.
Gotta make sure the ‘package’ is well and truly hidden and secure…girls on the other hand…

The Blurred Lines video shows only objectification at its purest.

Are the men on the hunt?

It’s for sexual gratification ONLY and it’s sadly so one-dimensional – for both sexes.

The girls’ value is glorified – for the world to see – in only this one way.
They are nothing more than their sexual, perky breasts.
As nice as they are – really?

Is that it for us women? Our ultimate goal?
And to hate ourselves – actually hate ourselves – for not looking like that AND allow men and other women to make us feel bad too?

Question # 164: Do we want our boys and men to see and treat girls and women this way?

Then we have the following lyrics from the song:

One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Yo, from Malibu, to Paribu
Yeah, had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual…

There’s more, but you get the gist.

Couple the female-only (ever) nudity, with what’s being said, and you have dangerous, hyper-sexualised objectification.
The men are not vulnerable and never are.

My second problem?

2. The Arrogance of the men in the video.

So. Arrogant. (See lyrics above)

I saw a comment left by a woman about this video saying that she thought the guys looked hot and wouldn’t mind being paid to grind up against them. (Naked…to fully clothed men…)

I would respond to this woman with, “AND DON’T THEY KNOW IT!”
They know they’re top dogs and they know women will perform naked for them.
Thicke, in particular, is an attractive man (no argument) but he has balloons in the shape of letters which spell out,

‘Robin Thicke has a big dick.’
Arrogant. {Yeah, I’d fuck you, bitch.}

So here I am – liking a song I loathe at the same time – feeling completely gypped that artists who want to tap into a sexual theme, have to continue with this degrading view of women.

And that women comply – whether appearing in the video or wanting to be her.

*sigh*

Still…I really like the beat of that song.

Deep Breath.

x


This is a question I have battled to answer my entire life.

Well, battled may be too strong a word – but it has certainly plagued me throughout my youth and was not until about six years ago that I started to understand my personal love/hate relationship with this mode of expression – mainly due to the stigma that’s attached to it, by the ever-watchful eyes of society.

It fills me with indignation.

As I child, I grew up being a ‘wog’ in a predominantly Anglo location. On many occasions I was bullied because, even though when you looked at me you didn’t see an ethnic girl, I spoke Spanish with my grandmother when she picked me up from my primary school. This, in turn, meant I was fair game to all those who hated themselves and needed to feel better by picking on someone – me.

Although I know NOW, as an adult, why bullies are bullies, what this did to me as a child was to start me on the path of being very, very insecure – desperate for acceptance and belonging. It also awakened the ‘cry-baby’ in me.

This was compounded at home whenever my parents, especially my father, expressed anger towards me when I was a teenager. Although it was probably no different to any other parent/child relationship, whenever I heard that particular unsatisfied tone, I would instantly feel the knot shoot up into my throat, as I desperately tried to hold back the tears – knowing that their arrival would open a new kettle of fish.

Weakness.
Society tells us it’s a sign of weakness.

WHY?

I wonder whether it’s because men are were seen as ‘strong’ and the ‘providers’ – Me Tarzan; You Jane – and men DON’T cry. Well, if being a male is the benchmark of existence and crying is seen as a negative weakness, then what is the males’ counter-balance? How do they let off their feelings of disappointment, frustration and, dare I say, vulnerability?

Violence?
It certainly appears to be a (too) common, ‘manly’ way to express emotion.

Question #160: So if we’re not supposed to cry – what then?

Laughter is considered an important and essential part of our emotional well-being and if balance is to be achieved, surely crying must play an equally paramount role. It’s greatly concerning that this is marred by the ridiculous notion that crying is a no-no and that we all need to ‘man up’.

Man up? No thanks.

Men should cry more.

Crying can represent a myriad of positive things – compassion, empathy, sympathy, joy – why must these traits be snuffed out?
And before people start arguing that they’re not, please understand that females (the predominant criers, due to the conditioning that says it’s a part of our DNA – bollocks!) are always being told to be the ‘compassionate and sensitive ones’ – UNTIL WE ARE – then it’s criticism all the way.

Tori Amos said the following:

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My epiphany (six years ago) happened when I experienced some difficulties with work, coupled with some post-natal depression. I was crying a lot.

My doctor referred me to a psychologist, whom I only saw three times. In that last session, I had decided that I was only rehashing the negative feelings about my issues and that I simply wanted to take some action.
The only problem was that as strong as I am on the inside – and I am – I always ended up having tears in my eyes when discussing frustrating issues with people and was crippled by the thought of being perceived as weak, even though I knew I wasn’t.

She said to me, “Maybe deep down, you think they’re right.”
A-HA moment. Right there.

Due to the decades of entrenched perceptions about what crying entails, I ended up in a Catch-22 state of affairs – believing the hype about what it communicated about me to those I was talking to…which ended up the crux of why I cried in those situations.
Great.

Well, now I’m happy to say that I’m still a crier (just not like before) and that it’s always done wonders for my skin!
I let it out when I need to, purge myself of the toxins and am not ashamed of it.

Not one bit

I cry for injustice, for hurting fellow human beings, for our dying planet, for loved ones and I also cry tears of joy.

Better than punching a wall, I say.

Deep breath…and let it aaalllll out. You too, boys.

x

Cry--eyes--lips--face--lagrimas--cosas--eye--tears--mix--parts-of-the-body--funny_large_large

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

 

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

x

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.