March 29th, 2006

Today, in Innisfail, the schools reopened after the devastation of Cyclone Larry.

Welcoming the students back (and having no doubt recently been briefed by trauma counselors) Principal Julie Pozzoli’s was prepared to bend the rules, but only so far…

“Basically we’re expecting the first part of today you people will sit around with your friends, your classmates and just basically talk. We know that talking’s part of the healing process, talking is not while I’m speaking, thank you, gentlemen.”

I smiled, thinking that if I was one of her students I would know things weren’t all that scary, homework would be set and life was almost back to normal.

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Tough titties for ‘tweens

March 21st, 2006

Just when I thought that the Australian Labor party couldn’t sink any lower into the quicksand of irrelevancy they manage to submerge themselves yet again.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley says a Labor government would introduce laws requiring Internet service providers to offer a “clean feed” without pornographic and violent sites, thereby limiting offensive content.

“The reality is … only about a third of the parents put some sort of blocker in relation to the sites on their home computers, it’s too hard for most of them but if you did it at the level of the provider, probably very few people would opt in.” -Kim Beazley.

Why do parents not bother Kim? Maybe because by and large parents aren’t concerned enough to monitor (actually or electronically) their children when they surf the net.

Or perhaps parents, who are also consenting adults, create, consume and enjoy erotic images and stories found on the internet and do not want it filtered out.

The greatest offensive content out there now is the pathetic, irrelevant excuse for an idea that Kim believes passes for opposition policy.


Image from here

Just one more chapter

March 11th, 2006

Last night I, along with thousands of other people in Sydney, sat in a theatre at Macquarie University to listen to Dr. Robert Fisk speak.


He is an intense man who delivered an intense experience. His entire body activated and animated by what he has seen and heard- informed by more than three decades of observation, investigation and reporting of conflicts in the Middle East and eastern Europe. The turning of sand into blood.


Dr. Fisk spoke for an hour and a half then took questions from the audience. One such question came from a young woman who timidly prefaced hers with [me paraphrasing] this is a personal question…given that the wars go on and innocent people keep getting killed, how do you keep doing what you do year after year?


He paused and then answered that he feels as though his life is similiar to reading a brilliant historical novel that you can’t put down. He can see the clock in the background and knows that it is getting late and he should put the book down. He finds himself so engrossed in the story, and how it unfolds that he cannot bring himself to stop reading. Just one more chapter. Then, before he knows it, the first crack of dawn is visible through the curtains.

Is it any wonder this man received a standing ovation?


Objectionable objectification or really, really crude

March 4th, 2006

The headline in this news report would suggest that Lara Bingle is behaving unacceptably. See, Lara is a model and Greg Bird is a footballer.

And in one sense she is.  She cannot or will not convince her employer- Priscilla model management, or Greg Bird’s employer- Shark’s Rugby league club to use the words ‘sexual harassment.’  However, this media-savvy woman has now told more people than would have known if the respective employers would have supported her.  

Lara stated that Gregs’s SMS efforts to her were "really, really crude messages." She thought if she did not respond to Bird’s text messages they would stop. Poor Lara, uncomfortable every time a message arrived on her mobile.  As it was, five or six more really, really crude messages did arrive. Lara did send one txt back. What if it read: 

"Greg u r really crude STOP txtg me."

Until women name up sexual harassment for what it is, some men, and their respective employers will think it’s acceptable.

I’ll do it for her. 

"Lara, you are a young, beautiful model and you trade desirability (and orienteering skills).  You are also protected by law from harassing/stalking behaviour.  Ignore all the minimisation (and possibly ‘you asked for it’ advice) and know your instincts about the txts not being ok are right.  You have been stalked and sexually harrassed."

The very fact that I (and hundreds of thousands of others) can read about it in the SMH tells me Lara has taken action.  She knows that she was right to be disgusted by Greg’s txts and won’t be tolerating anybody (not even her boss) telling her

"It’s nothing … this is all just so unbelievably ridiculous – a storm in tea cup."’

Three years before Lara was born the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 came into effect. 

Do I spot another crypto-feminist?    



March 3rd, 2006

I have thought about the girlchild and feminism long and hard.

Some days I wonder if being conservative was the only way for her to rebel against her mother.  I was raised by my grandmother. Her conservativism helped to send me into gothic, feminist, motorcycle-riding rebellion.

The girlchild marched next to me as I reclaimed the night, she saw me somber for Thursdays in black.  She came along to the FLAPS meetings and listened to us laugh.  While I was studying at the Northern Territory University, she quietly sat next to me, drawing pictures of australopithecines when I couldn’t find childcare, but had to attend an Anthroplogy lecture. She understood the limitations and the unfairness.  She is the outcome of sole-parent parenting and has seen and felt discrimination of that first-hand.

She is a strong, formidable person- and under no illusions.

She has been taught to use the tools, the knowledge and possess the confidence needed to advocate if she feels she must.  Right now she is gorging on her "it" time in this society which values (and rewards) young, intelligent, beautiful people.

I will watch her maturation with interest and pride, and if she needs a refresher course in placard writing then I am her grrrl.  If,  in fact, she glides through life, without having to face battles related to her gender, then I am still her grrrl.  My approval, love and acceptance of the girlchild is unconditional.

If my contribution to feminism has helped her (and her peers) have an easier time as women then what we were advocating for has occurred. 

I continually observe her using aspects of a feminist ideology- that is the expectation of equality between the sexes.  What she resists is the collectivism (and the ‘sharing’ inherent in that) and the feminist label.

There is a crypto-feminist in the house!  

Image from here