As I previously mentioned, yesterday was my wedding anniversary – 11 years. Hubby and I decided to have a night in the city, staying overnight in a hotel – possible, thanks to my mum, the overnight babysitter. *very grateful*

After we had dinner in our favourite Spanish restaurant in Liverpool Street, we decided to walk down George Street down to a popular nightclub for a boogie, whilst checking out the city streets of Sydney.

Well, that one kilometre (two-thirds of a mile) walk – as well as inside the nightclub – was certainly an eye-opener. I know that I’ve discussed this at length with you all before, but there’s nothing like seeing things for yourself…it’s quite depressing…

Just about every girl – I would say about 75% – looked EXACTLY the same. I reeeally wanted to take photos of them – but didn’t, so as to respect the girls’ privacy. Ironic, isn’t it? That I care more about respecting them, than they do for themselves…

So I just got on the Net and looked up ‘going-out clothes’ to get an image. The army / flock / plethora of girls I saw everywhere – looked something like this:

(Classic, that this first image uses the word ‘Unique’…)

It was wave after wave of short, short dresses – platform heels of varying colours and height (from high to ridiculously high) – fake tans and boobs out.

I saw many girls struggling to walk in their shoes – but hey, I know that we’ve always had to battle that. These platforms, however, (that we used to refer as pole-dancers’ shoes) are something else.

The thing that saddened me, was seeing the many girls who simply looked awkward – constantly pulling down the dresses that were just barely covering their underpants – the ones who are wearing what they’re supposed to, because all their friends are wearing the same.

As I was walking with my husband, a hetero-male in a sea of ‘easy’, I said to him – “If you were a young man, you’d have countless women to pick from. Who would you pick? (this was a rhetorical question, of course *wink*)

So it’s girls upon girls, groups upon groups – all sending the exact same message – “PICK ME!! PICK ME!! Because I’ll show you the best time.” If that’s not the message, what is it? Actually, it’s irrelevant what girls think it means because that’s the only message the guys are receiving – crystal clear.

The funny thing is that both Hubby and I noticed that it didn’t seem to really matter what the guy looked like – we saw daggy guys, short guys, metero-sexuals etc.etc. – basically a lovely collection of them …with the same type of girl described above… How lucky guys are, to have next to zero pressure about what to wear out – in complete and total comfort – jeans/pants; shirt/t-shirt; flat shoes.

Question #34: Why is this look so important for these young women? Don’t they want to be unique?

I’d looove to hear from anyone who can answer this. No judgement – just a conversation.

The thing is that I’m sure most of these girls go home without having been ‘chosen.’ What then?

WHAT THEN? Little less clothing next time?

So sad and YES…I believe women have gone backwards with the current youth culture. How do we help them?

To tie with the last few posts – I believe EVERYONE on this planet is deserving of wonderful and loving partnerships – if that’s what they want. But when it comes to these young women; until they have the strength and courage to step out and be completely themselves – how is a well-matched guy going to ‘see’ them through the fake clutter?

Deep Breath.

x

PS It’s back to teaching young minds tomorrow *wink*, so the posts might come a teeny less often – even though I wish I could write every day!

Love to you all. *big smile*

Looks can be deceiving.

April 16, 2012

I went out with some ex-students of mine last night – a boy and a girl (Paul and Blair) – around 24 years old. I never thought I’d ever have a connection with people so young – but, when I think about it, I’ve had a lot of special friendships throughout the years, that have been with people who have been a lot older than me, as well as younger.

It just goes to show that age doesn’t really have much to do with things – it’s simply people connecting. And we have!

…which is great for me because it means a boogie on Oxford St whenever we get together! So much fun, with two great people.

Yes, I felt a little ‘old’ at times – my feet and bad knee were certainly feeling the ‘nanna’ – but I looove to dance…I can’t keep still when there’s a good dance tune on – and I certainly kept up with the young ones!

If anything I felt like I was cramping their image a little…considering they had the suburban mother and high school teacher in tow. Haha!

But, I think that I hold my own when I ‘go out’ – I look good for my age and I dress well….what I mean is, I like to dress in a way that doesn’t look like I’m going to work (sometimes a challenge) – so, it’s pretty much jeans, some sort of heeled shoe and cheap bling.

More importantly – I’m not trying to be something I’m not. I’m not in my twenties, as some women strive to be (whether older OR younger) and I’m not communicating that I’m ‘ready to go’ sexually. These two seemed to be the predominant ‘goals’ held by a lot of girls and women, when socialising within the current ‘culture’.

Now, last night’s observations were certainly an experience – it’s not often an oldie like me gets to go back to ‘those’ days – and through these wiser eyes, I certainly did observe – and found it intriguing.

I couldn’t help thinking, as I drove home, that a lot of our young people are in a self-destructive, state of affairs – regardless of sexual persuasion. Whether it was the overtly sexual manner in which many men were dancing with other men or the girls I saw walking along Oxford Street, emulating that second goal in a, ‘MESSAGE LOUD AND CLEAR’, kind of way – it all looked a bit sad to me.

Sad because whether in a trendy hotspot, private party or gay bar; north, south, east or west; lower, middle or upper class; straight or gay – there seems to be an obsession with sex and being ‘chosen.’

Maybe it’s not sex that’s really wanted – but to be the chosen one. Sexual allure is just a means to an end – as it is for a lot of things.

The problem here is that we ALL want to be chosen – I mean, who doesn’t? It’s that primal desire we all have – but is insecurity about finding ‘that special someone’ making young people look and behave in a generic and seedy, sexual way?

Question #31: What does one really get for looking good / hot / sexy / or all of the above?

Last night Paul and I were discussing looks and he commented on what a good looking couple my husband and I make. I agreed with him, of course, because we do! *wink*

But then I said to him, “So what?”

Even though I may ‘look good’ – it doesn’t afford me any luxuries or privileges in life. Never has. I’m still a full-time worker, wife and mother of two, with a mortgage and the usual struggles and joys of life.

So you want to be chosen?

That’s cool – just be chosen for the things that make you, YOU.

Your uniqueness – I love this word.

The right guy or girl will see this and be captivated by you, for all the right reasons – but if you go down the other road, the wrong person will just want what you’re offering. The first option sounds better, doesn’t it?

So, this is Nanna signing off – but remember kids – I was the most insecure one of them all, when I was growing up – so what’s my advice?

Good things come to those who wait…and those who don’t sell themselves short – but embrace the bits that nature gave them.

Be confident that there are many people out there who will want and desire you, for the exact person you are. *smile*

Deep Breath.

x

PS I found the following text conversation on the net and thought you might enjoy the giggle!

Nature’s balance?

April 9, 2012

I hope everyone had a great Easter. My brood and I headed up to my parents’ place up at The Blue Mountains. I love going up there – I find it so peaceful and I always have a moment where I sit on the back steps, look up at the trees and ponder…

The trees I’m talking about, are predominantly very tall pine trees that are on the property behind my parents’ place. Unfortunately, those owners have been fighting for years to have the permission to cut down around 300 trees on their property to build townhouses. Yep townhouses. Anything to make a buck, right?

It’s so unjust on so many levels. Besides the horror, mess and noise that will come of cutting so many trees down – the whole reason we treasure places like this is because of the wonder that is nature – for balance and peace.

Aren’t they beautiful?

And these three photos were all from this last weekend. Unique, different stages – sunset, full-moon and a foggy early morning – like watching Uluru (so I’m told *wink*). But a camera doesn’t truly capture their magnificence – or how much I love them. *insert heart symbol*

The reason I brought up these trees, is because I often think a lot about life’s challenges and how nature works, when I’m looking at them. I did a lot of this on the weekend.

I’m not ‘religious’ – although what does that mean exactly? I was raised in a home with no religion, but had a lot of it through Primary and High School. I find, as I approach my 42nd birthday, that I pretty much believe a lot of the ‘lessons’ that religion teaches us – I just don’t attach a deity to it.

I just believe in nature and balance. I see an organic, electric force that sends waves of good times and challenges our way – and the way we handle these moments and times, determines our experience on this short time on Earth. When my eldest daughter once asked my mum something about heaven, my mum said to her, “This can be heaven. Now. If you want it to be.”

I loved that. Why can’t this life be heaven?

Well…it can’t be while everyone’s idea of heaven is having lots of money. And this idea – a very strong one now – is tipping nature (which includes us) out of balance.

As a high school teacher, I feel like I’m part of the ‘machine’ that continues to educate our future in the same archaic manner – teach students in the same way (and predominantly the same subjects) as the 50s – so that kids can get a job and buy a house etc. etc.

Girls are encouraged to ‘have it all’ – find a man, marry him, have a successful career, have kids, run a household and start the whole process again with their daughters. Boys – well, they’re encouraged to be men – be powerful (in all areas of his life – which includes power over women, a lot of the time), and earn enough money for said house etc. and they also start the whole process again, with their sons.

OK, so it’s always been that way, to a certain extent. I agree. But if we take a step back, whoever we are and whatever our financial status is, and really look at what we’re being told and sold:

Question #29: Aren’t we creating a society (our children) obsessed with money?

Aren’t we now crossing boundaries to make it and teaching our children how to follow in our footsteps?

The reason I ask, is because this is the point I think that ‘heaven’ can’t be found in this developed world of ours. How can our kids find true balance in their lives when all that matters is money? Everything is buy, buy, buy! What’s worse, though, is that this way of life is moulding our society’s values and beliefs by telling us all what to buy, how to look and what life to aim for.

That last part is the scariest. It looks like everyone is a clone – including myself (big revelation there) – living the life we’ve all been told to aim for. I finished high school, went to uni, got a career as a teacher, travelled, married, had 2 daughters and bought a house….which we’ll be paying off for the rest of our lives. When I look around at my girlfriends from school, the only real difference between us, is our income – because the core of what we ‘have’ is the same. It’s the message that was sold told to us as teens in the 80s and it’s the same as what’s being told to the teens and children of today.

Is this what we want for our future? The same formula – over and over again?

Because it feels like the only lesson that’s being taught, is not in our schools, it’s in our world of consumption and all we are really aiming for is bigger and better than everyone around us.

School, is just a means to an end. School like the 50s (parental concerns of the time, included).

I wonder how I’m going to do it – raise two girls to be strong and unique, whilst navigating through the sludge of how women are represented. How do I teach them to stick to their individuality, when everyone around them is a walking commercial – owning all the ‘latest’ toys and gadgets or wearing the same types of clothes?

So, whenever I can, I look up at the trees – trees that will be cut down, to make way for making money – and wonder if there’s any hope of things truly turning around. Haven’t these issues been brought up a million times before over the decades?

The irony about these trees, is that the original owner of that massive lot – a loong time ago – didn’t sell off pieces of it, to be able to maintain its natural state and beauty, and left clear instructions that it was to be kept that way…but that was only maintained whilst it stayed in the family.

If you get a chance, listen to the wind go through pine leaves – it actually makes that eerie sound you hear in movies…I guess the current owners can’t really hear it over the sound of, ‘Cha-Ching!’

x

PS Tomorrow’s 3 months since the blog was born! Very exciting *HUGE smile*

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

First up – The Silly Female Conundrum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Too late, we have to go.

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

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

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

And there she added her personal flaws.

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

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

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

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

Am I on the right track?

February 21, 2012

Howdy all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With lots of love to you all. x

I looked into the mirror…

January 25, 2012

After arriving home from being “professionally developed,” and having just driven through one of the many torrents of water falling over Sydney (and everywhere else on the east coast – get your goggles on!), I decided to get into my j-mamas (as my daughter used to call them when she was little. *smile*).

So, as you can imagine, I’m not looking the best….but I looked at myself in the mirror. I took a long look. And do you know what?

I like what I see.

As I pondered on this, it dawned on me that things really started to turn around for me, in many areas of my life;

when I liked what I saw.

Now let me explain that my long look in the mirror today, started with me noticing how peppered with greys my hair was. Then I proceeded down to my forehead – a road map of creases; my eyes – lots of lines of varying width; and some pigmentation to the skin that seemed to start after having kids.

But I’d rather have lines, than not move.

Yes, when I lift up my eyebrows in front of a mirror, there is that tiny recoil at how deep-set those wrinkles are – but I know that when others see them, it’s coupled with the reaction to a great story or excitement…

When I  laugh, I want my face laugh with me!  

I don’t believe a man, however, has the same pressure. In the media, there isn’t a repeated, ‘beautiful’ look for a guy – one that’s wallpapered in everything he sees, making him feel pressure to conform to its guidelines. The media says that a man can look and behave in MANY different ways and women will still find him attractive. Have you ever seen shows where the couple comprises of an overweight, plain-looking male and a gorgeous, thin woman? Would you ever see that show in reverse? I don’t think so. Look at that horrible show, Two and a Half Men.  I don’t know about you, but Charlie Sheen’s character and OUTFIT, were foul. And yet scores of women were lining up, gagging for him. Please.

For us, though, there seems to be a small window of what’s considered ‘beautiful’ and that image IS wallpapering our world.

No, men can gain weight, look any way they like, age gracefully (and some not so gracefully) –  but we love ’em all the same.

Question #6: Why can’t we love ourselves in the same way that we love our imperfect men? Why can’t we extend ourselves the same courtesy?

Not loving our own, UNIQUE beauty, but rather obsessing with an unachievable ideal (see the link in my last blog posting), is sending us crazy!

It’s making us spend SO much more money than guys, in All areas of fashion and grooming – trying to do what exactly? A woman who’s unhappy with the way she looks will never be able to ‘fix’ herself because another wrinkle will always appear and the skin will always continue to loosen. This equals a woman we think ‘has it all’ but is ironically as miserable as the rest of her gender. Just look at Olivia (and countless other women in the public eye).

LOVE.WHAT.YOU.SEE.

I bet you that when you do – really  do – everything else will start clicking into place. It did for me. x

A scary photo.

January 23, 2012

I feel a tiny sense of betrayal…

I saw this image today and thought, “What has Olivia done to herself?”

An important question because she looks disfigured and plastic – and she was a naturally, stunning woman before she started to be unhappy with what she saw.

So now she looks like this.

Does anyone else see a bit of Jack Nicholson’s The Joker in that smile? This is not where I feel a sense of betrayal – I just feel sad for her.

“What? Sad? But, she looks FAB-u-lous!”, some women might say. “Why not? If it makes her happy.”

Well, I agree. If it isn’t hurting anyone ‘Live and let live’ ….but….maybe it is hurting someone.

So this is what BAFFLES me and where the sense of betrayal comes into the picture;

Question # 5: Why are we rewarding our fellow women for LOOKING unnatural?

Why are they flattered on TV by hosts? About how great and beautiful they are, when it’s OBVIOUS that they’ve had ‘something done’….and look weird.

I don’t get why they would want to fashion their looks around the same ‘doll-like’ look. Again, no sense of being unique.

Are we really saying, “Good.On.You.” to women who have the money to demonstrate, to us all, how they feel about their inadequacies in the public eye?

Well yes, it seems we are – because we look up to them, make them richer for it AND start our path modelling ourselves on them – along with their feelings of inadequacy. This is because, in essence, it’s an unattainable image, so we feel bad about ourselves. And now that women’s images are ALSO altered on a computer – what hope in hell do our young girls have, in attaining a healthy self-image? (Click on the link below for more on this)

I’ll repeat the title from the previous post: “You can’t be what you can’t see” – and what our women, of all ages, are seeing nearly everywhere, is FAKE.

I feel like there’s only one clear message – “Girls, you TOO can be a success – but only if you look like this.”

Surely we should be saying, “Wow”, to naturally attractive, sexy, older women and plastering their image all over the place. Helen Mirren, anyone?

If you watched the trailer in my previous post, you would have seen that “Women hold only 3% of clout positions in telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising.”

That means that this look and many others we don’t like, are ultimately being decided upon by men.

FACT. Not male-bashing, just a fact.

So, what are we to do?

* Teach our young (and older) women that:

If she truly believes she’s beautiful, she will RADIATE that everywhere she goes – I mean, look at the alternative – those women in the public eye showing the exact opposite. And do they think they’re beautiful? Probably not. They would always find flaws; something to fix.

* We also need to teach our young (and older) MEN that:

There are more wonderful facets to a woman, than the way she looks – despite what the media is showing them.

I’ll leave you with a You Tube posting that needs to be shown to as many young women as possible! It’s great.

On a personal note:

It’s back to full-time work, for me, tomorrow. I’m back to the preparing and professional development stage of school – before the kids start next week. I’m so new to blogging, I don’t know if I’m doing it right. My goal is to write a few times a week – but I’m not sure how that’s going to go when I’m in the full swing of high school teaching, caring for my family, chores, sleep etc. etc……but one thing’s for sure – I wish I could just do this all the time. *smiling*

Guess who’s back!

January 21, 2012

This is a catch phrase of my husband’s, when he enters a room the girls and I are in. Makes me smile.

Anyhoo, I’ve been on a small beach holiday with my hubby and two girls (9 and 5)….and no internet connection! I’ve been itching to write but there’s SO much to say and (hoping to)  discuss with you all. It’s a bit daunting, actually. Where to start….

I could start with what I saw on my holiday; where a lot of my impressions about how things are, were reinforced.

What is it with the MAJORITY of girls wearing their ‘summer uniform’ these holidays? You know – shorter than short, shorts; singlet top with visible bra; sandals/havaianas. (Or the classic short shorts with ugg boots, bungalow bunny look….in summer….hmm). I haven’t got a problem with shorts, OR a visible bra, OR sandals/havaianas (I have both) – I do, however, have two problems with this outfit:

Firstly – IT’S A UNIFORM!! At my high school, many female (and male) students take up arms on the uniform front and verbalise that stale argument, “It’s just clothing, it won’t affect my learning” – and then go home, get changed and look, pretty much, like most other girls. (Boys do this too – but the way they dress is for a later discussion).

The irony of this kills me. They look like clones. To coin another phrase in the same blog – my good friend Lily recently went to a formalish party and commented on the ‘cookie cutter’ outfits – spray tans, short dresses, visible bust, platform shoes – does anyone else see Bratz Dolls?

No sense of individuality or of being unique – one in a million.

Secondly – The amount of girls using this outfit to express a tone of sexual availability, is not only on the increase, but being expressed by girls who are younger every time I look.

I passed a group of five women in the supermarket this week. The first two were girls in their early teens, looking particularly spicy in their ‘uniform’; flicking hair, chewing gum and showing big, doughy eyes behind heavy eye make-up. The next two were girls aged about seven or eight. They took my breath away a little, because they were as equally decked out but with no obvious make-up…..still…..as I continued on, a bit wide-eyed at the young ones, I look up to see the fifth woman – the mother. She may have been the mother to one or all four – but they were all a feast of visual candy.

And we’re supposed to look, right? Isn’t that the point?

Last year on Australia Day, in a similar beach town, I saw a teenaged girl – she looked about 18 – wearing a bikini top with short denim shorts. The zipper was half undone and on her stomach she had drawn an arrow pointing down to her crotch with the word, ‘Heaven’.

WHY???

But it’s not just at the beach. On a recent train trip to the city with my daughters, a loud, mid-teen girl sat in front of us. She was swearing and speaking quite loudly, which made you look at her. What did we see? She was basically wearing a bra, a cup size too small as she was spilling over, with a tight singlet top that covered a bit of the bottom of said bra.

WHY???

I mean, you have to understand that I’m not a prude – I’m not offended or going *tsk, tsk, tsk* – but I do truly wonder why SO MANY of these young girls are sending out such a strong (and dare I say, possibly dangerous) message, through their ‘choice’ of outfit. Has the term ‘self respect’ disappeared from these girls’ vocabulary?

So I’m wondering:

Question #4: Where’s the guidance?