Showing posts from March, 2012

Yes, We Still Need Feminism

"Why is feminism still a thing?", I'm hearing a lot at the moment. "Why should there be special programs/quotas/positions set aside for women? That's not promoting equality, that's saying women are above men". Well, okay, let's take that as read. Women have equal rights under the law after all, so if women are paid less than men, or are underrepresented in positions of power, or are disproportionately the victims of relationship violence, or are increasingly retiring in poverty, it's not the fault of centuries of structural inequality; it's because women just aren't as good as men.  Rather a misogynist view, isn't it? Yes we still need feminism.

Right Wing Teenage Drama Queens

Teenage girls, as a group, have a reputation for being histrionic. Emotional. Drama queens, if you will. For most young women it's an unfounded and unfair stereotype; for a few the cliche rings true. However, teenage girls are amateurs at overblown emotion compared to the biggest drama queens of all - right wingers. If your main source of news is News Ltd or to talkback radio, you could be forgiven for thinking Australia is in a terrible mess. Right wingers are throwing temper tantrums and slamming doors over the state of the place. This is the worst government ever, the carbon tax will ruin our economy, no wait the economy is already ruined, we're being flooded by boat people, we are living in a stifling neo-socialist tyranny . Julia Gillard's being mean, no one (except the Murdoch press) understands them, they're just going to run away and pay taxes in another country and see how we like it. At heart conservatives are children. Not adorable children who see the world

Father Knows Best

According to a new study (well, it was out last week - I've been busy) fathers are averse to attending parenting courses because they're seen to be stuck in the 1950s. This comes as no surprise. Having recently passed through the public maternity system, it was depressing the extent to which all the literature reinforced an archaic view of parenthood - that fathers are distant, uncomfortable with children, unsure what to do. Returning from an early midwife appointment, I without reading it first handed DH an info booklet I'd been given of information for new fathers. I soon heard him laughing tersely. The booklet actually advised fathers to spend time with their children, make eye contact with them, and talk to them. "Don't they think fathers know that?" DH asked as he tore the brochure up, just a little hurt, I could tell. Why this assumption that men know nothing about kids until they have them, and are dragged reluctantly to parenthood by their partners? D

The Railway to Hell - A Trip on the Shitkansen

I'm a railfan. Trains are one of the abiding passions of my life. But I kept it hidden for many years. It wasn't until recent years with a supportive partner that I was able to come out of the trainspotters closet. Now I'm free to live my passion. I collect train magazines, take photos, go to expos and conventions, watch DVDs, have taken about every scenic rail journey in NSW. Passion collides with reality however, as I am forced to spend much of my time nestled in the metal bosom of a much less salubrious train service - CityRail's "Shitkansen", the Sydney-Newcastle service. It's operated using 1960s era V-Sets (did you know the V stands for vacuum flush toilet? Aren't you glad you read a nerd's review rather than one written by a normal person ?) along a track following a meandering 19th century route through bush and along the Hawkesbury. Due to the track and speed restrictions on the line, the timetabled duration for the Newcastle-Sydney trip i

The Jolly Snowmen of Climate Change

Today sees the release of a CSIRO report warning of the dire state of our changing climate; atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the highest in 800,000 years(!), the last decade was the warmest on record in Australia, and the average daily maximum temperature in Australia has risen 0.75 degrees since 1910. If these changes continue, we will be in dire trouble by the middle of this century. This should inspire all of us to take immediate steps to halt such a calamity. It won't though. The climate change deniers are already on the case, spinning the report to suit their purposes. This morning right wing shock jock Ray Hadley opined that, as a CSIRO scientist fumbled his words during an interview, everything said could be disregarded; and anyway, he's noticed the climate is always changing; "some days it gets hot and some days it's bloody cold". Surely this isn't what climate change deniers believe climate change is? Let's take a look at what climate change

The Sikamikanico Show

It's possible to construct a thesis that Kim Kardashian disproves everything right-wingers believe in. Believe same sex marriage is a danger to the institution of marriage? Kim Kardashian was married for 72 days in what may well have been a publicity stunt. Believe that if a person's rich, it's because they've worked hard and deserve it and we shouldn't question them? Kim Kardashian gets paid $6 million a year to be followed around by cameras as she gets pedicures and goes to Bora Bora. But I don't mean to pick on Ms Kardashian. Instead, I'm going to take the right-wingers advice. Anyone can be rich if they put their mind to it, huh? Okay! I'm willing to put the effort in. Our family is willing to do our own reality TV show. Nico Loves DH can chronicle our lives in all their messy, sexy, fascinating glory. I can see it now: Intrigue "Honey, where's the - oh never mind, I found it". Conflict "Shouldn't you be getting ready for work

A Very Modern Revolution - Kony 2012

Courtesy of al-Jazeera In the last few days, the Kony2012 campaign, and the backlash, have exploded across the internet. It began with a video posted on You Tube , detailing the crimes of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, in particular the use of child soldiers and sex slaves. As the world responded to the highly emotive video, the backlash began, with as many posts questioning the claims in the video and the motives of the group, Invisible Children, behind it, as there were supporting the campaign. It's the most modern of revolutions, encompassing viral marketing, citizen journalism, social media and celebrity power, and it should force us all to take a hard look at global geopolitics and our rights and responsibilities as global citizens. The Kony2012 campaign aims to "make Kony famous", with the eventual goal of having him captured and brought to justice for war crimes. They've achieved the famous part anyway. The video is a fairly pol

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day to all my dear readers. It's an important time to reflect on the achievements made by women and how very far we still have to go to achieve equality. Sadly there are the usual noisy few who question why we need IWD, or feminism - don't we already have equality under law? I'm not sure then how those people explain why women earn less, why female dominated industries are poorly paid (and if it's about how hard one works, please give me one convincing reason why someone doing an eight hour shift as a builder deserves more money than an eight hour shift doing intake interviews at a shelter for victims of domestic violence); why women are overwhelmingly the victims of relationship violence; why an estimated 1 in 100 cases of sexual assault results in a conviction; why women are still underrepresented in parliament and on company boards and university management, if not structural inequality - maybe they think that women just aren't goo

I Liked The Internet Better...

...Before The Stupid People Got Here I'm not much of an early adopter, but I have been on the internet for a reasonably long time. I've used Alta Vista, had a Hotmail account when there were under a million, been blogging since blogs were the big new thing, then when blogs were dead, and now blogs are big again. So, she says as she hitches up her pants, I've seen some changes on this here internet. I got online slightly too late to say I remember when the internet was just the domain of geeks, but certainly in my early days it was...different. People online tended to be just a bit smarter, a bit more forward thinking, a bit more literate than the norm.Oh, there were vicious disagreements, sure, but at least they tended to be reasoned disagreements. No more. Everyone is online. Everyone. All the ill-formed tepid spaghetti which passes for your average Jayms's mind is now online, to be shared, nurtured and fermented with other like-minded souls. I think most prospective

On Bob Carr, Foreign Minister

I bet Julia Gillard is really good at organising surprise parties. By all accounts, at a personal level she's a really friendly sort of one, and her friends would never see it coming; even if they got a hint at what was going on, PM Gillard would so successfully convince them that there was not going to be a party as to make the occasion all the more unexpected. And I bet they'd feel the way we all feel after learning today that former NSW Premier Bob Carr has been  named as Foreign Minister  after days of Ms Gillard convincing us it wouldn't be so. I just hope her friends wouldn't feel so dismayed. First though we need to abandon the idea that this is somehow a crisis of democracy. In Federal elections, as outlined in the constitution, we can vote below the line for individual senators, which given that the thing is the size of a table cloth and contains hundreds of names, takes bloody ages. So most of us vote above the line, requiring us to number just one box for the