On a positive note…

November 7, 2012

Recently, I posted this image of Malala Yousafzai on my Questions for Women Facebook page, celebrating her magnificence. Indulge me, if you will, to revisit this extraordinary girl – and pose a quick question.

This magazine cover shows a radiant, awe-inspiring and heroic girl. A girl who has already made a tremendous global impact – evidenced by the vigils that were held worldwide, praying for her recovery. A girl who made the cover of Newsweek…

…and it has NOTHING to do with the way she looks. Nothing.


Her qualities as a person – that’s what has been recognised and revered.

Not the size of her breasts, what outfit she was wearing or whether she’s ‘hot’ – unlike most of the magazine covers, sporting images of women, that we see today.

Question #109: Don’t we want our daughters’ developing brains to subliminally see more covers like this?

Instead of this?

In my next post, we’re going to have to get comfy, with a cup of tea and a Tim Tam – and have a serious ‘chat’ about Zoo Magazine.

As parents, there’s little we can do about the reach and saturation of porn on the Internet (except put blocks on the computer to protect our children).

But why bother? – when young boys can just walk into a Newsagency and purchase Zoo Magazine without their parents’ knowledge.

We can do something about a magazine like this – a magazine that is being alarmingly consumed by young boys and men, like addicts on crack.

It’s cheap, easily available and misogynistic.

Deep Breath


Ad I’ve noticed – #1

October 21, 2012

Before I start waging my war on the ads we’re seeing, I’d like to do a bit of research – with you. I’m going to quickly discuss ads I’m seeing now – airing across the country, into family homes – and then (hopefully) gain some insight from you – see if there’s a reoccurring pattern in what our media outlets are unveiling to us and what messages they’re circulating.

I’d like to use you as a gauge. I – like everyone else – am not immune to seeing things a little less-of-centre at times and willingly admit this. It is all about perspective, after all, and I am deeply curious to learn whether we’re on the same page about this issue,  that is deeply concerning to me.

Before I start, I want to explain that I don’t have cable TV, just free-to-air. I don’t turn on the telly until the evening, but really (especially in this ‘down season’) – I don’t watch much. This isn’t to say that the TV is switched off. It’s generally left on, in case we stumble upon something engaging to watch.

This means that as I’m cooking or writing, I do, on occasion, notice the ads. Obviously, when we think about ads, we automatically think of product selling, but there are also the ads for the TV shows themselves…and it’s the content in these ads that are also of great concern.

I’ve written previously about how TV is dumbing us down and how – as a capitalist, obsessed society – we’re possibly heading down a path towards The Seven Deadly Sins.

Well…isn’t it possible? If the answer is, “Yes” then what do we need to do?

I think the ads we’re being exposed to (children and teens especially) – together with a WHOLE smorgasbord of other factors and contributors – are changing the neural pathways of our brains. Conditioning us. More urgently, conditioning the way our youth perceive reality.

Ad #1. TV show – Glee.

Now, I’m not a fan of this show – ever since it started to drip in the hyper-sexualised behaviour of the girls; on top of knowing that their main fan base are young girls. I wrote a post about another ad for Glee a while back (with the clip attached). They are not promoting healthy messages, which is a shame considering the reach they have.

The new season is apparently about to start and we are, of course, getting bombarded by the promotional tsunami that seems to come with the start of new television show seasons.

I wasn’t able to find the clip of the ad that’s being aired in Australia, so I’ll just describe the simple, yet dangerous, messages I think the ad is delivering to young girls and women.

Two things.

One: Kate Hudson plays a new character in the series as a dance instructor at what appears to be a high end place in New York (NY Ballet?), that the main girl Rachel now attends. Kate’s character appears fearless, bellowing how the majority of them are going to fail etc. etc.

She walks up to one of the new students and says:

“Hi. What’s your name? Muffin Top?” (when some fat sits over the top of your pants)

“No, my name is-”

“No. You’re name is Muffin Top. From now on it’s rice crackers and ipecac (a drink that makes you vomit). Cut off a butt-cheek. You have to lose a few pounds.”

And the girl is slim. Plus it really bothers me that it’s a fellow woman being so callous.

Message: If you look at that girl and they’re saying she’s fat (which she’s not) – what am I?

Subliminal message received. Neural pathways are now shifting, due to negative self thoughts about weight and self esteem. Check.

Many will argue that that’s the way it is in these sorts of high pressure dancing institutions and the show is representing realism. Oh, now they’re calling the realism card? That’s a tiny morsel of ‘realism’ compared the heightened misrepresentation that oozes from other issues within shows such as this.

Two: In the grand old tradition of building a female star (whether it be an actress or a singer) as an innocent, wide-eyed virginal type of girl – there comes the time when she must toss all that aside, along with its innocent followers and admirers, and become ‘nasty’.

Rachel now has to be taken ‘seriously’ and must shed her chaste appearance and prove she’s someone to be reckoned with. So we hear Rachel singing, not once but twice during the ad, the following line of the song she will perform on the show (once with a visual showing a tough and sexy Rachel):

“I’m not that innocent”

A line from a Britney Spears song. How apt – a fellow innocent-turned-nasty girl…along with Christina Aquilera, Miley Cyrus…and the list goes on.

Message: Noone will take me seriously unless I sexualise myself to gain attention.

Subliminal message received. Neural pathways are now shifting, due to negative thoughts about not looking sexy and hot enough to gain attention and recognition – the only way to get it. Check.

Why do they do this to one famous, female young star after another? To add to the fan base.

In the documentary, Missrepresentation, we were informed that the main people who watch TV are women…so it doesn’t matter what you show them, as it seems they lap up everything that’s presented to them – especially the younger ones.

However, the ones who watch the least TV, are males between the ages of 18-mid/late twenties? Something like that. So shows are predominantly motivated to getting their full attention – and how else can you get a young, hormone ridden boy/teen/male to watch your show?

Sexualise the girls.

So the bottom line is that they don’t care who watches, just as long as they are.

Anything for a buck, right?

Question #104: Do these examples set off alarm bells, no matter how small, as to what’s being subliminally taught?

Here is a lovely image of the actress who plays Rachel (Michele Lea), contributing her efforts to collecting that new fan base for the network and share holders, by posing for GQ magazine.

We have a long way to go, ladies. Can’t have a picture like this without the woman’s consent.

And consent they do.

Deep Breath.


Question #100

September 24, 2012

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

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

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

Outside – drawing – playing.

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

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

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

A big problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Fantastic role models.

And ALL this information from the ad above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Seven Deadly Sins

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

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

Then I’m setting up a petition.

Stay tuned. I need your help.

Deep Breath


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

Two Images.

September 19, 2012

1. This is what we’re capable of – but can’t seem to fulfil.

2. Now, read the above quote and then look down at the following image.

Click here to see a previous post, ‘A visual presentation…’

Question #99: How can we honestly expect to be taken seriously?

Deep Breath.


9 men; 1 woman

September 18, 2012

Australia’s highest paid CEOs have been revealed today – together with photos.

Click here.

Question #96: What can you see in these photos?

I see white.

I see male.

I see older gentlemen – Nine of the same.

I see ONE woman.

Brains aren’t the issue…so WHY?

Top dog; Marius Kloppers. BHP CEO – earned $17.3 million.

For goodness sake – what would anyone want this much money for?

At the end of the day, it’s a pissing competition, isn’t it?

I have MORE. I made you MORE. I made MORE than YOU! I WANT MOOORRRRE!!

*Shaking head*

We’re in a slight bind because of this mentality – that’s filtering all the way down to how our children learn to think about money and stature…

…but I digress.

I have a second question:

Question #97: Would women be as greedy?

I truly wonder this – because I feel like (on the whole) it’s not in our nature. The reason I think this is because if it were – we’d be up there too. And we’re not.

What do you think?

Deep Breath.


Happy Fathers’ Day!

September 2, 2012

It’s Fathers’ Day today in Australia – I’m not sure about whether it’s the same in other nations – but I want to give a huge and heartfelt ‘Woooo Hoooo!’ to all the great men – especially dads – who are fighting the good fight.

Men who simply want a better world for both their daughters AND sons.

Men who will guide and nurture, but most importantly model the fantastic virtues that men carry.

As I’ve always said – in this world that is thirsty for balance – we NEED men to be true men of character and sit side by side with the qualities women bring to the table – and raise our children.

So a toast to you all today!

I hope you all have a wonderful Fathers’ Day – full of love, family…and not too many pairs of socks and ties! Hahaha!

Love, Paula


Why it’s worse now.

September 2, 2012

I was cooking and my 9 year old daughter was keeping me company, chatting. It was great.

Yesterday, when I let her play on the computer, which is normally some sort of simple game, I went in to find her doing a ‘make-over’ on some cartoon girl. I told her to get off it. She didn’t make a fuss. Bless her.

So we were chatting about that tonight. I said that, in a way, that game was training her to become a girl who grooms herself in a particular way. I said that there was nothing wrong with wearing makeup when she’s older, but that girls and women nowadays were spending A LOT of money to look a particular way.

I said to her that when I was younger, I loved going through women’s magazines but that ‘back then’ the images were of the women as they were. Don’t get me wrong, we were being sold a particular image – thin, glamorous, in the latest looks…thin – BUT they were fairly real. No airbrushing…lots of make-up – but no airbrushing.

Throughout these modern times – since mid-last century – women have always been sold a look; in line with the fashion of the time. And we have always jumped on that wagon, hoping to mirror that look and belong. That’s cool. We are the fairer sex and we like to groom ourselves.

But it’s worse now.

Why? Because the looks and bodies we’re trying to mirror – are altered and unattainable ones.

Simple, isn’t it?

The logic of it is striking and obvious – and yet…

…here we are ladies – watching women on our screens, posters, ads – depicting the shangri-las of looks – that we can’t have because they are simply. not. real.

Question #85: Why is the unaltered image above, not considered beautiful?

Because there are some rolls…like the ones we all have? Because she has a tummy…like most women?

God forbid we represent the general female population in our media!

Now look at the women around you – your friends – your family.

Do you think they’re all ugly?

They must be if they’re not thin, ‘hot’ and sexy…with no wrinkles etc. etc. etc.

But the majority of women DO NOT fit that tiny mould and I’m also pretty sure that you don’t think any such thing about the women in your life. So, if we think the ordinary and remarkable women around us are beautiful:

Question #86: Why are we being passive and tolerate what the media is doing to the representation of women?

And we are being passive.

Just look at what’s been done to the images of the women below – for magazines that women buy:

Even Barbie – or any doll for that matter (Bratz, anyone?) – sells a look to girls from a young age.

It’s up to us to change this. Noone else can do it – certainly not men. That would be as futile as women changing men’s perspectives.

It’s up to us.

Deep Breath.


Ally McBeal

August 26, 2012

I was driving home after having dinner with a good friend and decided to listen to my music, instead of the radio.

Even though my iPod has all my favourite songs on it – I sometimes feel like I’ve heard them a million times. But the only station I listen to, Triple J, was playing really thrashy, heavy metal with a-man-screaming-into-a-microphone type of song. No. Not for me.

It turned out to be a great decision because when I put my songs on ‘Shuffle’, my Ally McBeal song came on. Anyone driving next to me would have seen an entertaining sight.

Ally McWhat?

Well, to those of you who were born ‘recently’, this great series (1997-2002) was targeted at women my age – at the time I was in my late 20s.

This show was about Ally (played by Calista Flockhart), a lawyer in a firm, who was a success in her career, but who was now looking for love. Doesn’t sound like anything special, right?

Well, it resonated with a lot of women my age (at the time) because we all felt like Ally did…well, I can’t speak for all women – but I was thinking, “I hear ya!”

I remember being told at my all-girls high school, when I was about 16/17, that “we didn’t need a man” and that “we should go and get a career for ourselves.” Great advice, actually. It made us go out and find our place, make our mark and NOT be reliant on anybody but ourselves. Nothing worse than being a weak, ineffectual woman, having to be carried by a man…or anyone else, for that matter.

So this show gave us Ally. A woman who had done just us many women in that time were advised to do – but despite all her success, she felt a void – she wanted to find the love of her life.

This show was quirky too – it was a cack! Ally famously saw the dancing baby, they had unisex toilets that they sang and danced in at times, there was an obsession with Barry White, equally odd-bod characters – all whilst trying cases in their law firm.

In one episode, Ally is told by her psychologist (played by the wonderful and very funny, Tracey Ullman), to pick a theme song. She was to then listen to it, in her mind, at times of  worry, distress, feeling down etc.

Ally picked the old classic, Tell Him – a song that could help her with her trials with love.

So the other night, my Ally McBeal song came on, Jamiroquai’s, Canned Heat. Oh, how this song speaks to me.

“Dance! Nothing left for me to do, but dance

Off these bad times I’m going through, just dance

Got canned heat in my heals tonight, baby.”

I love to dance – and do it in the kitchen with my girls when I can. At any party with good dance songs, I tend not to move far from ‘dance floor’.

Question #84: What’s your Ally McBeal song?

Below is a clip I found of the show…if you’re a youngin’. Enjoy!

Deep Breath and DANCE!

Woooo Hoooooo!


In lieu of the recent discussion about ‘quality’ television, it made me question what we’re becoming as an audience.

The general response, by the people who defend shows like, The Shire or Jersey Shore etc. etc. etc. is, “It’s so bad, it’s good!” or “It’s just for a laugh!”

But when pushed for an articulate explanation as to what it is they ‘like’ about it or how it’s funny…there is only the sounds of crickets.

That’s because there is nothing they can say about the tripe they’re watching – in fact, some of them explain with an, “I dunno, it just is.”

Yet they’re popping up everywhere. Why? Because it’s what the creators and producers think we want.

Is it?

Well, the tragic part is that it does appear to be what the masses want. I’m sure there will be many people glued to their seats, watching the next gripping and exciting installment of their favourite show of ‘tacky and fickle’.

Are they in the majority?

We appear like a nation of dumb and mindless, when these sort of shows are afforded our attention…and they gain ratings.

Question #75: Is there no sense of pride – knowing that we appear so easy to dupe?

This INFURIATES me because thanks to this perception, a lot of us are being held to ransom, as the choices of what to watch – for entertainment – are so limited.

Worse still, people are making money off it. Your attention = money.

We need to be more frugal with who gets our attention because at the moment, it appears that when a ‘carrot’ with big boobs is dangled – we follow – like children behind the Pied Piper.

Or we say nothing.

A few years ago, when I was on an excursion with students, I noticed that there was a new energy drink in the shops, called Pussy.

I talked to the students in my year group about seeing this drink. I told them of how I imagined the guy who thought it up – thinking about how he would get rich – he himself imagining guys saying to each other, “I’m going to drink some Pussy!” *HawHawHaw/SnortSnort*

I said to them, “Don’t make him right! Do not give him a cent!”

I urge you to think the same way about what’s being dished out and sold to us as being ‘popular’. Step back and take a look at the core of what’s being sold.

In these sorts of shows, the message that keeps hammering us over the head – on BIG screen TVs across the country – is that young women are not worth our attention, if they don’t have a certain type of vanity attached to their behaviour. This can manifest itself in a spectrum of ways – through clothes, make-up, plastic surgery, conversations, ACTIONS! – and the guys?…well, I didn’t see much about them in the first episode of The Shire – it mainly focused on those girls – and I don’t intend to watch anymore to find out either. My brain cells are still recovering from the first encounter.

So, what sort of audience member are you?

Don’t you want – DESERVE – something better?

Deep Breath


The Shire

July 17, 2012

I will be brief as most of Australia has heard of nothing else but this all day.

Last night The Shire aired its first episode.

I literally have no words to explain the levels of ‘wrong’.

Many people from the area are incensed that it’s not an accurate depiction of ‘how it is’ there and then I have a colleague at work who knows which high school one of the girls went to…and it wasn’t in ‘The Shire.’

Oh well, big deal. So the creators are deceiving us – what’s new?

I only have one MAAAAJOR problem with this show and that is how young women are being portrayed.

One of the ‘duo’ (pictured below) did NOTHING but talk about spray-tans, big lips, being thin and botox – with her sidekick. She also convinces her friend to get botox in her forehead…which we see get done. The response? “Is that it? That didn’t even hurt!”

It was like an ad.

By the way, the breasts she’s so subtly pushing out in the image below, were pretty much ‘in your face’ throughout the episode.

Many people in the public were responding to the show by saying how terrible it is that these girls are being judged for how they look. In general, I tend to agree. There are many women who embody similar attributes and attitudes and many more who don’t and we should all be accepted as we are…BUT…

…how can one NOT judge these women about their looks, when the producers not only picked THREE of the main female characters to appear obsessed with their fake appearances – it was, in fact, ALL they talked about. What else are we going to discuss about them – their witty banter?

We have entered a sad time of ‘entertainment’ when such ineffectual people are being glamorised on the screen, for our children to absorb. And they ARE absorbing everything they see.

Question #74: Aren’t we sick of it yet?

What do our daughters have to look up to, when nowadays women have to look hyper-sexualised and self obsessed to become ‘famous’?

Where’s the balance of the other 95% of wonderful women out there to model for our children?

This show, besides all that, is manufactured tripe and should really be boycotted. Don’t you want money and sponsorship spent on something better to put on the telly?

Deep Breath.