Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Funeral March.

Is Feminism Dead?

It's a question that gets asked every so often, usually on a slow news day, or when a problem comes up that no one has the answer to (I know, let's blame feminism!) or when someone releases a new book on the subject. It's the question that was asked in today's Weekend Australian and the subject debated at tonight's forum From Friedan to Feministas - as part of the Melbourne Writer's Festival.

Is Feminism Dead?

Well, I don't know. I've heard asked so many times over the last 10 years (it's been over 10 years now that the famous article in Time came out) that I have to wonder whether feminism truly has 9 lives? It's dead, then it's alive and kicking and responsible for all the world's ills and then remarkably it's dead again and then...uh oh someone brings up maternity leave in politics and suddenly there it is - feminism - pounding down single buildings with its gigantic (hairy, un-pedicured, lesbian, dirty man-hating - no doubt-) foot and causing all the trouble again. Either it's dead or alive, let's decide on one and leave it at that.

Indeed if we really do pronounce it dead - who the hell killed it?

Was it the Paris Hilton wannabe internet porn stars? Is it the misplaced Spice Girls fans? Is it the "I take pole dancing lessons because it's a great way to keep fit" darlings of the night club scene? Is it the women who don't want to call themselves a feminist because they're "not lesbians and don't hate men" as if asserting somehow that all feminists are this. Is it the deliberate media bashing that feminism garners? Is it single mothers? Happily married mothers who decide not to work? Politicians? Prostitutes? Male opinions on blogs? Is it life after university? Is it the new feminists? Are they too different from the old feminists? What is it that pulled the trigger?

If feminism is dead, what killed it?

At tonight's forum, five women (Emily Maguire, Monica Dux, Catharine Lumby and Susan Maushart) from diverse social, political backgrounds came together to discuss the topic of feminism: Namely - Where are we now? What does it mean for us today? And quite frankly five different and dizzying opinions were put forth. From the rarely discussed silent prejudice against single mothers in the workforce who not only find it difficult in the work force but have also given up their superannuation to look after their children. What happens to them at 65? To "feminism is everywhere" - it's all around us. It's anything but dead - it's alive and kicking. It's still inspiring. It's still happening and though it's more diverse, it's still strong. To an assertion that we should give up the name as it is meaningless and an antagonist for negative opinion. And funnily, though she is often cited as an unrealistic role model - Barbie circa 1963 is the epitome of the modern woman today - bleach blonde, fake tan, fake boobs, brazillian wax, too thin, single and working.

Is feminism dead. Is it too exclusive? Too academic? Too middle class?

One brave woman asked about the elephant in the room. What about the men? Is feminism relevant for them - and if so, how? It was an important question that unfortunately came right at the end. You'd think that yes - considering we're all inextricably engaged - men and women - with each other. Considering men father daughters, marry women, fall in love, care for in a platonic way and all are born from one (and too often, these days anyway - are solely raised by them). Well you think it would be relevant. But is it?

Is feminism dead and buried under the onslaught of differing opinions that never meet in the middle?

It was difficult to keep track of all the opinions and indeed while I was wary of some speakers (Catharine Lumby mostly) by and large there were many opinions from all women on the panel that I agreed with. It really brought home the diversity of the feminist opinion. Is there a unified goal or purpose? Perhaps, no. But does it make it an irrelevant movement that has reached it's end? Judging by the audience (yes there were men, only a few - but they were there) there are many who identify as one, even if we all don't quite agree with their opinions exactly. I think at the heart of it all - feminists are aware that all is not quite right and want to see change that drives our society forward into a more harmonious place. A more equal place. That's the way I read it anyway. Indeed, the way we humans live is not quite right for many people, many groups are marginalised by society - and indeed feminists fight not only for women but for pretty much all the groups that are maginalised because all of them are interconnected in some way with feminism. That's how broad it is.

Is feminism dead? What a hostile question! What a sensationalist question and example of lazy journalism. Like anything else, maybe it depends on who you ask, of course.
I'd like to see more bravery happening from women when it comes to feminism, but does that mean it's dead?

And if it is, what the hell does a girl with a blog and a voice and a job and a brain and who is not going to be duped by public opinion to the contrary about what a feminist is. Who believes that all things are not equal ...yet. Who feels there is room for change for both genders. Who understands that not all choices are created equal and the claim that "everyone has a choice" is one of the biggest myths that pervades our consciousness. If feminism is dead. What does that girl call herself?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

vox pop

Go on, humour me and answer my pathetic little questions. I dare ya.

Copy and paste q into comment box then answer. I'm dying to know!

Do you listen to talk back radio? How often? Who's your favourite announcer?
I don't actually. I tend to listen to radio shows that have topics though. Though I hate the music on Nova, I listen to them of a morning because they talk a lot. Hell the other day they had Germaine Greer on. Bless!

Favourite Wham song? (yes, everyone has one!)
Last Christmas. Without a doubt.

Would you accept $500,000 to be in an internet porn video?

Have you ever made an internet (or otherwise) porn video? If so have other people apart from you and the other 'players' ever seen it?
No! There is no way that will ever happen! The other day I was sent a picture of a girl's boobs that was the ex-girlfriend of a guy who was with my friend for two weeks and of who I've never met! How does shit like this happen? How? Because people arseholes. No porn tapes/pics of me - ever.

Do you like having your photo taken? Is it taken often?
I'm not that fussed but prefer being behind the camera

Are you a "high achiever"? Do you like high achievers?
High achievers piss me off. I'm like - calm down it's just prestige. Who cares about that shit? Having said that if I'm given a job I'll do it to my best ability, though not with a view for climbing the ladder.

Are you allergic to anything? What?
I get hay fever something terrible. I was up all nigh last night with it. I'm exhausted today. It's terrible. Does anyone know of medication that ACTUALLY WORKS. Zyrtec and Caratine are shit.

Do you believe in ghosts? Why/why not?
Yes, I do. They are real - for sure. I do tend to think that people who don't think they are real are crazy. It makes total sense to me that they exist.

Is there a God? Do you pray to Him/Her/It?
I don't think there is one ruler but I do think there is a higher being that exists spiritually, that oversee us - individually if nothing else. I don't pray. I do talk sometimes. Then again I talk to myself something too. As a child I used to have 'real conversations' with what I thought was god (as in could hear answering back).

Are you happy with your current career? If not, what would you change to?
I love teaching but I wouldn't say I'm happy with it. The things that make me unhappy are the amount of work I do is not reflected in what I get paid. Also there is never enough time in the day to do everything I have to do because one part of my day; teaching is different to all the other shit; admin/planning etc. On a scale of 1-10 stress levels I'm at least a 15. I will burn out eventually. I don't know ANY teachers my age who want to stay in it - most of that is due to the unfair pressure on us as teachers/money/stress. I don't think people realise that in a few years there will be a crisis in schools because the experienced teachers will have retired and the next tier will have burnt out. I'm also unhappy with the public perception of teachers/teaching. I do tend to think that people who complain about schools/teachers should either donate a shitload of money to their local PUBLIC school AND/OR home school if they think it's so easy.

What is the best part of you? Why?
I'll listen. I'm a good friend

In the comic book of your life, what would you draw in the final square?
me + ipod + eyes closed + smile.

Do you go to museums and galleries in your own home town? How often?
I do when there's an exhibit that interests me.

Do you ever spend time alone? If so, what does 'alone time' mean for you? If not, why not?
I spend a lot of time alone. I like being alone. I go crazy if I don't have time to myself. I do lots of things alone- not that I don't appreciate doing things with others too

What are your favourite magazines?
Frankie, Nylon, Poster - though not all at once. Too expensive. Sometimes I buy the occasional trashy mag or read it at the supermaket. I love trashy gossip. Sorry but I do!

What are some websites that you think I/everyone should be reading?

Do you have a weird fetish? If so, what is it? (this doesn't have to be sexual).
I love opening things. I like packaging. I like the anticipation of the reveal and the act of tearing something open.

Do you own an ipod? How is your music arranged on it? Are your tastes spread across many genres or are you specific in your tastes? What genres of music are your favourite?
I love my ipod. It's more than just music. It's like this repository of memories and emotions. There is nothing like a song to turn my mood around I don't know where I'd be without it (or walkman for that matter). I've been a devotee since I was 10. I have eclectic tastes from classical and showtunes to metal and indie.

When you go shopping..just for you.. what do you like to buy?
Books, stationary, music, dvds...hm I buy a lot of stuff. hehe.

What do you think of men/women who sleep around? Would you marry a slut?
It's the same feeling for both. I wouldn't marry a male slut. I don't think of them as studs. I think of them as a bit immature and I tend to like men who are secure in themselves and more manly and want a mature relationship. I don't like players I think its a personality flaw. I think it's absolutely fine to sleep around if you don't want anything more than a one night stand. If that's the case - go for your life! It wouldn't phase me to hear of ANY number that someone had slept with big or small, that's wouldn't stop me from being their friend or hanging out. But when it comes to dealing with ME on an intimate level, I only want people around me who are sincere. Otherwise - get lost!

Someone cheats on you - do you take them back?

Have you ever thought to yourself "I don't know..maybe I'm gay" even for just one second?
Yes I have. I'm not gay but I have thought 'hey maybe I shouldn't be so steadfast in this area. Maybe I'm kidding myself by thinking I'm straight. I could be closing off a great opportunity. Having said that - it was probably more of an insecure time.

How often do you sit down to watch a movie?
As often as I can. I have been known to go to the movies about 3 times a weekend if it's a big opening one. I tend to try to make it to the cinema every weekend though. I'm having a dry spell at the moment.

In what way are you artistic?
Many ways. I mostly think visually. I'm creative everyday in the classroom - just with problem solving strategies and how to make things interesting for kids. I draw when I have the chance or draw comics if inspired. I write - but not very often anymore. The way I think is not really 'inside the square'

If John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, 16 Candles, Ferris Bueller) made a high school movie with you in it - which stereotypical high schooler would you be? (ie: jock, nerd, rebel, etc) Are you still like that now?
A cross between the weirdo and the bookish girl. Am much more conservative now and more bookish

Actually now that I've had a while to think about it I think I'm the weird person in the background that doesn't get much air time but that you think 'what a freak' when you see her. Like that girl in 16 Candles who wears a neck brace and pops up at the dance (and on the bus)- tries to get a drink from the water fountain but can't get head close enough to water because of brace. Funny scene of her with tongue poking out trying to get a sip of water. She then goes to the next fountain and it squirts in her face. She stands up and says 'oooohhh kaaaaaaaaaaay' to nobody in particular and uses a bit of her sweater to dry her face. Played by Joan Cusack - am still this person.

Have you ever played truth or dare? Do you take the truth or the dare?
I hate the game. I'm the party pooper who refuses!!! Would rather play spin the bottle or something like that. If I had to I'd have to pick dare though. Ever played ONLINE truth or dare? Pictorial evidence of dare hehee.

Look away from the computer - what's the first thing you see?
Stack of books all to do with how to teach literacy in the classroom.

The song: Gold by Spandau Ballet. Love it or hate it?
Sorry but looooooooooooove. lol, reminds me of my childhood.

Are you confident?
Only in some things. I teach, mostly confidently. In personal life - not so confident.

Do you feel loved?

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Confession booth.


* At the school I am the teacher that tells all the parents when their child is going to receive a certificate at assembly even though it is school policy not to tell parents about the honour. So sue me.

* Olympics schmamimpics. I couldn't give a fuck.

* ....However, are we (the rest of the world) united in our unified hatred of the US team? yes? Good - just checking.

* I'm being geared for leadership at the school. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how I ended up in this situation. I have done almost everything in my power to resist this kind of career path, believe me. I hate management. I like hating management. I even like hating the management that do not manage me! If you tell me you're a manager of some kind I do not think "wow, that person must have worked hard to get where they are" I think "what a suck. Boooo. BOOOOOOOOOOO!! GO HOME SCAB!" hm...I think I may be having an existential crisis.

* On the leadership issue. I've taken on a temporary job at the school, which quite frankly I'm better at than the person who holds the position full time and everyone knows it. The problem is that when that person comes back to the fold there may be people (not me!!) who may suggest that the role stays with me. This is bad because it's going to start a whole bunch of animosity between me and leader #1. I don't want any part of it - but once it's already out there... then it's already out there if you know what I mean.

* Do you ever get to your last bit of chocolate and think oh my god this cannot be IT? There is never enough chocolate. Am I the only person that thinks this?

* Am finding over work and stress to be a problem. Feeling like my light is fading and that I'm slowly disappearing. I used to know myself so well, now I feel like there isn't anything left to get to know. It's like I'm disappearing under a mound of work. All I want to do is sleep or lay in bed watching episodes of The Golden Girls on DVD. Can one take a paid sabbatical purely for Golden Girls viewing? Surely this counts as good mental health? It was the Sex and the City of the 80s, after all - a good pep up for any girl.

* Possible travel places at the end of the year: Egypt, Florence, Paris, London. Just realised that tickets are double the price they were 5 years ago. DOUBLE! That's almost to $4,000. FOUR THOUSAND if you're wanting to take a couple of extra flight deviations that is. I think I need to completely relocate to a country that is not an island nation isolated in arguably the most boring part of the world and filled with travel destinations that only bogan Aussies would want to travel to (ie: Bali, beaches of QLD, Thailand etc).

* Have become pathetically addicted to a show called "Millionaire Matchmaker" on Arena. Basically it's a show about a woman who owns a dating company that caters for millionaire men and find them their 'perfect girl'. The complications arise with this little spanner in the works are as follows: being rich doesn't mean that people don't still notice that you're a dickhead and avoid you like the plague because of it! and looking for love is not the same as sitting on Santa's knee and asking for a Christmas present. I love these little studies in human psychology.

* The other night at the parent forum we had. I got secretly drunk. Listening to people complain is a lot more fun when you're off your face. I highly suggest it at your next meeting.

* I don't know why I haven't written for so long. I guess I just didn't know what to say.