Looking for a New Feminism

Sunday, 22 November 2009

According to the "Things You Should Know By Now" column in today's Sunday Life magazine, "you'll never catch a husband" if, as a young lady, you cannot hem a skirt.

I asked my husband-to-be-in-two-months if he loved me any less because I can't hem a skirt. (I don't even iron). The answer was no, he couldn't possibly love me any less. Seriously though, the question was demeaning to both of us. Where the hell did this new conservatism and desire to return to traditional gender roles come from?

There's been a creepy anti-feminism backlash going on for a few years now. Lady Gaga shared this gem withv the world: "There's a stigma around feminism that's a little bit man-hating. And I don't promote hatred, ever". She doesn't want to be known as a feminist, you see. She's all about the empowerment, in this case by writhing around half naked, singing about taking a ride on a disco stick.

Seems today you can iron your man's shirt or you can pose for FHM but the one thing you can't do is claim your rights as an equal member of society, independent of male approval. It seems not to occur to Lady Gaga that she could in any way reclaim feminism. Feminism = bad. Where did it all go wrong? My guess is with the idea that women already have everything they need and the women still bleating about feminism just want to get rid of men all together. It's not true...everything in this post is as current today as when I wrote/copy and pasted it nearly six years ago. We still need feminism and we still need to say what that feminism really means.

Instead we have girls decking themselves out in Playboy merchandise, and brides still being given away by their fathers, completing the transfer of ownership from one man to another while decked out in faux-virginal finery. Feminism isn't about the middle ground here - it's about forging a new path entirely. But how do we get it back?

Parking with Kevin Rudd

Friday, 13 November 2009

So, the Rudd government looks set to veto the ACT same sex civil union legislation passed in the ACT parliament yesterday because it is contravenes Australia's heterosexist Marriage Act. Still, not quite as bad as the Governor of Rhode Island, U.S., who has vetoed the right of gay couples to be buried together.

It's just what we've come to expect from the Rudd Government. Over the last year or so, I've had numerous people say to me "You must be really disappointed by how Rudd has gone in government". Not really. I've lost the innocence and optimism I had at 20 when I believed every word Michael Moore said. I no longer expect that politicians will try to change public opinion rather than respond to it. Especially not a media tart (let's not deny it) like Rudd - who's always keen to take the most populist, knee jerk position he can manage. No, Kevin, Bill Henson is a bit creepy, not absolutely revolting. And as has been pointed out, Moses and Oskar Schindler were people smugglers, those "scum of the Earth" as you labelled them. At first he wanted to look tough about the passengers on the Oceanic Viking, now that some people are voicing concerns, Rudd is offering them a resettlement deal. God help us if there's ever a jihadist terrorist attack in Australia - everyone who's ever eaten a felafel will be boiled alive if talkback radio callers like the idea.


Meanwhile, good to see the guy who attacked a parking ranger in Sydney has been refused bail. Let him not turn into a folk hero. Parking violations are crimes, not brave acts of sticking it to bureaucratic councils - witness all the idiots who park across driveways, or on the corner, or in a bus stop with their hazard lights on so they can go into the 7 Eleven for a bottle of coke (I saw this last week). Me I'd love to be a parking ranger - I love rules and hate cars. So why have I never done it? Fear of attack.

Please Don't Diet

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

It's ridiculous. It's heartbreaking. It's a joke. After weeks of extremely careful, no-fat, 1000 calorie a day dieting and an hour's exercise five times a week, I had lost 2Kg. Over the weekend, I ate two hamburgers and a big plate of spaghetti and gained a kilo.

It's karma.

There's a photo of me when I was twenty five. You could hang fine art on my stomach. A strong breeze would have swept me to Victoria. I had no discernable bosoms to speak of. All this required no effort whatsoever; in fact, I didn't like it and tried to eat more to gain weight.

Okay, since then I've turned thirty, quit smoking and quit treating my body like a receptacle for hazardous chemicals. But how did I end up being nearly twice the woman I used to be, by weight? Oh, I love my food. But I always did, and it never turned on me like this before.

So what with getting married in a minute, I decided to lose some weight so I don't need to pay a surplus on my wedding dress for excess fabric. But it's not going so well. I already knew what's been proven - moderate levels of exercise do little for weight gain. I could walk for hours in comfort before I started dieting - apart from my thighs rubbing together of course - and I was still fat. It was going to take tougher measures. No bread, no fat, no red meat, no pasta, no chocolate, no lollies, no chips, no reason for living and no way you haven't gotten the point by now. The first few days are okay. You feel sort of good, even. Then you find yourself sending your dinner guests out on a post-meal walk so you can eat their pizza crusts in secret*.

None of it has worked. I'm starting to wonder what to do now. Meal replacements? They are expensive, but no more so than anything else these days (if you've ever wondered how you pay for a wedding, it's easy; just drain your bank account each fortnight on payday and walk down the street handing gobs of money to every person you pass. You'll never see anything for it, but the wedding feels the same way). I can't wait till I'm actually married, and I can let myself go, and also make the long awaited switch to "married hair" - the famous phenomenon where off come the long locks and wash and wear is the word of the day. Don't tell me about keeping the spice in my marriage. Lord knows there's little enough spice in my diet right now.

* I really did this.
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