Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Week: Feminism, Jackie O & C*nts.

 

The weekend newspapers really produced their fair share of thought provoking articles, with Jacqueline Maley’s exposé on the word c*nt, and Jackie O’s anti-feminist and pro-Kyle Sandilands outing in new-look Sunday Life.

The first article was an entertaining read, detailing the historical responses to the word c*nt which, when it was a street name in London in the 13th century (albeit in the red light district), suggested a sort of acceptance in the old world. PC run wild in the modern day one, perhaps?

Maley also writes of the feminist connotations of c*nt, and why it’s deemed acceptable in some circles (“Hey, c*nt!” as a term of endearment) and not in others.

Personally, it’s just a word to me, like “fuck”, “slut” and a plethora of other expletives that can be used to offend. While the article insists on writing it “c…”, as per The Sydney Morning Herald’s editorial guidelines, I guess I’m doing the word no favours in its quest to become destigmatised: even though I use it quite often and in affection, I still asterisked the “u” out.

*

On to the apparent “Better Half” of Kyle Sandilands, Jackie “O” Henderson, who unshockingly somewhat excuses Sandilands treatment of women on his show. In last year’s “fat slag” journalist controversy, Henderson stayed mum, saying in the article that, “I wasn’t about to beat up on my friend when the rest of the country was, just to save my behind. So I did keep quiet.”

So it doesn’t surprise me when Henderson say she’s not a feminist:

“Does she consider herself a feminist? ‘No,’ she says, with a shy smile.

““Why?’ I cry in disappointed tones. ‘You’re a woman.’

“‘I know,’ she says, laughing. ‘I know. I do feel like I have achieved so much, in radio especially. But I’ve never considered myself a feminist. I’m just, you know, I’m doing what I love. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. But … you know.’”

Yeah, we do. You’re embarrassed about the stigma being a feminist has, much like the connotations of c*nt. But someone who’s best friends and business partners with a man who uses his platform and influence to berate women on air for all manner of things—their appearance, their sexuality, their opinions—is not someone I want standing under the feminist umbrella.

Related: Who Thinks Jackie O’s Parenting Style is Beautiful?

I Think I’m Beginning to Understand This #MenCallMeThings Thing. Except It’s Not Just Men & It’s Not Really Me.

Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Elsewhere: [Sydney Morning Herald] The Incredible Explosive Word.

[Sydney Morning Herald] What Jackie O Really Thinks About Kyle Sandilands.

[MamaMia] A Letter to Jackei O & All the Other Non-Feminists.

Image via Facebook.

Magazines: People’s Sexiest Man as Relationship Counselling Tool?

In this weekend’s Sunday Life, Clem Bastow writes about Ryan Gosling and celebrity crushes as being good for a relationship.

The article got me thinking about how Ryan Gosling—who’s held a soft spot in most women’s hearts since The Notebook, but has really launched himself into the ideal man stratosphere in 2011, with his “Photoshopped abs” and busting up fights in the streetlost out to People’s Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper in this year’s contest.

Bastow’s article heavily focuses on the (imaginary?) war between these two, which I find quite interesting. In my mind, Cooper has remained irrelevant this year, bar The Hangover Part II and his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alleged fling with a newly single Jennifer Lopez. Perhaps if this was 2009, Cooper would have rightly won the competition. But how can you compete with Feminist Ryan Gosling, rescue dogs, faux tattoos, Emma Stone and that drawling, brooding thing Gosling has going on?

I’m not even a Ryan fan, per se, but I can see People made the wrong choice.

What do you think? Cooper or Gosling? Or someone else? Should we even be celebrating the rating of a man’s sexiness? (If it’s based on looks alone, which I believe Cooper’s win is, then perhaps it’s not such a good idea. But sexiness encompasses a whole host of qualities other than how a man looks out of his shirt, and Gosling certainly possesses said qualities.)

Elsewhere: [Sydney Morning Herald] Can a Crush Be Good for You?

[Feminist Ryan Gosling] Homepage.

[Jezebel] Watch Ryan Gosling, Hero, Break Up a Random Street Fight.

[Jezebel] Heroes Protest Ryan Gosling Losing “Sexiest Man Alive” Title Outside People Offices.

Image via Feminist Ryan Gosling.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week: Gender Bending Babies.

Gender-neutral baby Storm, son/daughter of Canadian couple Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, who have two other children whose genders are known, is the subject of Good Weekend’s “Newspaper Clipping of the Week”.

The article is a very interesting one, for those who have and haven’t heard of the baby whose gender has been kept a secret from the rest of the world in a bid to let Storm grow up making choices about who he/she wants to be without the confines of gender.

While I think gender-neutral parenting is a good idea, to an extent—letting your child choose whatever they want from the toy store, as opposed to letting them choose whatever they want from the boys/girls section—one has to wonder what effect being genderless will have on Storm as he/she grows older. It’s hard not to think that this is just a social experiment on the part of the parents, with no regard for the child.

What do you think? Would you ever consider keeping your child genderless to the outside world?

Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Week: Conservativism Reigns Supreme in The Sunday Age’s Opinion Section.

I was pleasantly surprised to see an article on Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys juxtaposed against one on the SlutWalk in The Sunday Age’s Opinion columns this past weekend.

What I wasn’t so pleasantly surprised to find was that they were both championing the censorship of a show “many critics and some intellectuals have applauded… for [its] brave comedy” and of women’s rights to wear what we want when we want where we want without the risk of sexual assault.

On that, Nicole Brady, author of “It Makes Sense to Be Aware of What You Wear” actually sides with the Toronto policeman, Michael Sanguinetti, writing, “The word ‘slut’ was probably overkill, but that policeman was onto something… Boiled down, and stripped of the inflammatory ‘slut’, his argument was ‘be careful about what you wear’. Advice as dull as your mother telling you to wear a coat on a cold morning.”

I don’t want to go into why what the cop said was wrong and why Brady’s likening of “not dressing like a slut” to wearing “a coat on a dull morning” is an archaic way of thinking (for that, you can go here).

In the article to the left of Brady’s, Bruce Guthrie continues in his argument against the ABC/HBO partnership, saying that the ABC’s charter may be in conflict with the success of and American market for the show. “I’m not sure if the cable network has a charter, but if it did it would probably say this: ‘Our goal is to make as much money from our programming as possible’,” he writes. Guthrie specifically takes issue with Lilley’s portrayal of rapper S.Mouse, a role for which the actor and creator appears in blackface. “Why is it okay for Lilley to wear blackface, but the guys from Hey, Hey, It’s Saturday are vilified for it?” I’ve heard it asked.

Unlike Brady’s, I can see Guthrie’s point. I think Angry Boys has a lot of potential, and it is damn funny, but I feel that it has gone a bit downhill from the first episode, which focused heavily on the Sims twins, Daniel and Nathan, and their Gran’s workplace, a juvenile detention centre, to last week’s third, which “explained—and showed, needlessly and graphically—how surfer Blake Oldfield became a eunuch.”

But it does portray Australian “bogan” life to a tee, and I think if the show focused a bit more on the juvenile detention centre, and the classism and racism that surrounds it, Angry Boys would not only be a funny show, it would also be an apt dialogue on Australian society.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week: All the Single Ladies.

I’m in the process of shopping around a freelance article on Coupledom VS. Singledom. Partly because I actually believe in the benefits of flying solo, and partly to make myself feel better as a long-term single!

But reading Georgia Clark’s article in Sunday Life this weekend was just what I needed to hear. Or see. You know what I mean.

She quotes the poster-girl for single life, Carrie Bradshaw (God help us all!), who once said, “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” Wise words indeed.

But Clark raises another very interesting and valid point: what makes someone’s single status gossip fodder for everyone they know?

She writes:

“We know that when you tell us we must be too smart, or too funny, or even too damn attractive for most men—to the point it sends them running screaming in fear—you are trying to flatter us.

“But the majority of such comments are rooted in the assumption that there’s something wrong with us. We’re too picky. We’re too independent. We’re not out there enough. Or we’re out there too much—we need to relax and let it happen. We’re not doing that. We’re not letting it happen.

“You know what? There’s nothing wrong with us. Actually, we’re just fine.”

Personally, I think long-term singles make the coupled up, or the perpetually-boyfriended (jumping from one boyfriend to the next), nervous. We’re not “normal”, according to someone’s warped idea of what constitutes “normal”. We don’t conform to societal norms, and quite frankly, we’ve got more important things going on in our lives than who’s going to keep us warm at night. I keep my own damn self warm at night!

But if you really want to get back at those who seem so invested in your personal (read: love) life, why don’t you try what Clark suggests:

“So while single people may not have a partner, this means we have time to excel in other areas: pursuing our dream job, hobby or bod. (Anecdotally, it seems that singles hit the treadmill more often than their coupled-up counterparts.)

“If you’re still convinced that our singledom needs to be constantly referenced and lamented, imagine this: svelte Liz joins you at lunch, and in the whisper of a co-conspirator says, ‘I just don’t know why you’re a little pudgy.’ Her brunette head shakes in disbelief. ‘You just don’t seem like a size 14. So, really, when do you think you’ll lose those few extra kilos?’ You glance nervously at the Kit Kat in your hand and stutter out, shocked, that you don’t know.

“‘Don’t worry,’ Liz says, patting your hand gently. ‘It’ll probably happen when you least expect it.’”

Cruel, but oh so effective!

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Name’s Scarlett, And I’m a Fat-Shamer.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week: Man Up.

“Manning up” seems to be a common theme on The Early Bird Catches the Worm this past week.

I don’t agree with the term, as it implies that simply being a man is equivalent to being courageous. Not to toot my own horn (okay, I am!), but I feel like I “man up” a whole hell of a lot more than most of my male friends. But it is a good descriptive phrase, along with “grow some balls” and “don’t be a pussy”, to which the same above critique applies.

Last weekend’s Sunday Life ran a story entitled “You’ve Got Males”, about the conundrum of raising males, which could be a good article if it wasn’t so sexist and traditional-man bashing.

Some such examples are:

“… Mum went through a feminist phase where the various pitfalls of male behaviour were outlined to me early and often, boot-camp style: think The Biggest Loser if they were trying to create metrosexuals instead of skinny people”—most feminists will tell you that it isn’t a phase; children should be allowed to grow in their own ways, whilst being gently guided by their caregivers.

“Such a boy thing to do” —what, exactly? Playing with trucks and being destructive? I have observed plenty of male children being more mellow, whilst girls go ahead and trash their cubbies after they’ve been lovingly tidied by moi (true story). It comes down to being an individual, not a stereotype. And at aged three, should we really be pushing stereotypes on our children?!

“Our first-born liked babychinos and was more artsy than fartsy. But our second boy was a full-blown bloke (‘Finally, a male in the family,’ said my wife)” —liking babychinos means your parents are pretentious, not that you’re going to grow up to be a SNAG. And what’s so wrong with that anyway?

The article also discusses the pack mentality of “groups of men behav[ing] in a more blokey fashion”, which was briefly touched on at the Wheeler Centre’s “The Sentimental Bloke” discussion, in the form of a solitary wine vs. group beers, and how to “deprogram” this.

Personally, I’m not a fan of “blokey behaviour” in the stereotypical sense, but nor to I agree with the parenting style—or typical Australian attitudes—this article attempts to push: that it’s one (bloke) or the other (SNAG), with no regard for the myriad of options in between, or what’s best for the individual child.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Unfinished Business at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Who the Bloody Hell Are We?”: The Sentimental Bloke at the Wheeler Centre.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week: The Mystery of Migraines.

Last weekend’s Good Weekend had a fascinating article on migraines. Here are some highlights:

“… the World Health Organisation (WHO) rates it [the migraine] as a leading cause of disability worldwide, involving ‘substantial personal suffering, impaired quality of life and financial cost’… A host of ferociously intelligent and creative people have suffered similarly—Tchaikovsky, George Bernard Shaw, Nietzsche, van Gogh.” Scarlett Harris.

Seriously, though, “there are… many migraines… There are migraines with pain in the temples; around the eyes; between the brows; at the back of the head; on one side or the other.” I’ve had them all.

“Some migraines make you sensitive to light, some to noise; some have nausea and vomiting at cheerful additions to the unbelievable pain.” Yep, those were happy times indeed.

From the age of about 8 til the end of high school, I suffered from migraines, on average, once a week. Sometimes more; if I was lucky, sometimes less. The pain lessened as I got older, but I often missed school and, later, work as a result. I barely ever get migraines now; my last one conveniently took place on a four-day trip to Philip Island, and didn’t let up til my return home.

So this article resonated with me as no other Good Weekend feature has.

But how did I know they were migraines and not just headaches?

“… if your headache lasts between four and 72 hours (untreated), and if it includes two of the following—one-sided pain, throbbing pain, pain that’s increased by physical activity, or pain that’s strong enough to stop you living your normal life—you are probably suffering from a migraine.”

My headaches usually took the form of throbbing in the temple, nausea, the inability to sit up, read, watch television or use the computer, and left me incapacitated for two to three days on average. Definitely migraines.

Amanda Hooton profiles the history of migraines, from the Neolithic people who “were willing to have their skulls opened with stone axes in order to release the evil spirits inside”, to Lewis Carroll, to LSD as migraine cure, which was “just what someone already seeing small pink creatures on the carpet really needs”!

No one I knew suffered migraines the way I did, so I was all alone in my quest to dull the pain. I now have a system for diagnosing the cause of my migraines, and the remedy. If I haven’t eaten all day and start to get pain in both temples, it’s a hunger headache and I just need food. If I’ve been sitting in bed all day, or on an unsupportive couch, or on a La-Z-Boy/car seat with a headrest that pushes my head forward, it’s a posture headache, and water and drugs will help. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with mind-numbing pain on the top of my skull. The prescription? Drugs, drugs, and more drugs.

But,

“Neuroscientists currently believe that migraines might be caused by what doctors call a ‘spreading depression’—a wave that slowly spreads across the cortex, or outer layers, of the brain. This wave is caused by brain neurons, which carry an electrical charge. In order to send signals to each other during normal brain activity, they ‘transiently depolarise’, or discharge some of their electrical charge via negative ions…

“Researchers have also postulated that the ‘pebble’ [effect caused by the discharging neurons] is really a bubble or tiny blood clot that lodges in a cortical blood vessel… and others have suggested that migraineurs express genes that make their neurons ‘trigger happy’ and more likely than normal to depolarise.”

That’s all well and good, but what does this mean for migraine sufferers?:

“A little-known fact of migraines is that about 90 per cent of migraineurs have a close relative who also suffers from them.”

My mum had a couple here and there over her lifetime, but nothing like the severity or frequency I suffered. As far as I know my dad never had them, and neither did my sister. So, like Hooton, any medical breakthroughs that can somehow impede the TRESK gene that genetic migraine sufferers possess won’t really help us.

The good news is that “for most migraineurs, migraines become rarer, shorter and less painful with age.”

For me, they certainly have.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] So This is Christmas & What Have You Done?

Image via The Age.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week.

So apparently Melbourne is the second most livable city in the world, according to this year’s The Economist index. What, not Tripoli, Christchurch or Cairo?

While I’m not one to dispute this finding—I love the city I live in—Raymond Gill’s piece in The Saturday Age’s Life & Style supplement draws attention to some of Melbourne’s drawbacks, like the high cost of living, the public transport debacle and four-seasons-in-one-day weather pattern. Not to mention the recent report ranking Melbourne as having the fifteenth worst commute time in the world, which my friends Andrew and Clare could attest to, who spend on average an hour each way getting to work every day. I suppose that’s what you get when you don’t live in Melbourne so much as you live in another state!

Newspaper Clipping of the Week.

Sarah Wilson’s “A Better Life” column in this week’s Sunday Life deals with her “First World problems”, popularised by fellow former Cosmopolitan editor Mia Freedman on her MamaMia blog:

“There you are, having some First World, self-righteous, control-freakish throwdown—your latte arrives cold and made with non-decaffeinated beans, you have under-thigh burn because one of the kids left the heated car seat on high—and someone mentions their baby has cancer. Or that they’re bankrupt. It makes you pull your head in. And get perspective.”

I had some similar First World problems last Wednesday; I forgot take my hairbrush to work, so I had no way of taming my tresses before going to see Hairspray that night. I also got to work especially early to get some blogging-related work done, and the internet was down, so I wasted half an hour that could have been spent sleeping. Or jogging. Or retrieving said hairbrush.

And don’t you worry; I made damn sure everyone knew about “the worst day of my life”. (Actually, the worst day of my life was the day I moved to Sydney. Funnily enough, I can’t remember the best…)

This is not to mention the crisis that followed on Friday night when I fucked up the application of a faux-tattoo for a costume party (stay tuned for more on this next week). Luckily, I was able to commandeer the permanent marker-on-skin skills of my sister and her friend

But considering the apocalyptic events happening around the world—uprisings in Egypt and Libya; flood after cyclone after flood in Queensland and Victoria, and now Christchurch’s earthquake; WikiLeaks and the can of political relations worms that scandal opened—there’s really nothing for me—nor Wilson—to worry about.

You can read the full article here.

[Sarah Wilson] A Reality Check with Nick Vujicic (And a Lesson in Helping Others).

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Julian Assange: Modern Day Outlaw.

Newspaper Clipping of the Week.

Kate Holden craves a “nook” in her back page piece of The Saturday Age’s Life & Style supplement.

Since Catherine Deveny left her regular spot there last year, I’ve shunned the final page with its rotating roster of writers. This week’s title isn’t anything special (“When Stress Has You Over a Barrel, Just Get in One”), so I’m not sure what possessed me to read it, but I’m glad I did.

In addition to finding a nook in cities crammed with people, she writes of struggling to be alone in such cities, with commuters shutting the world out with headphones, using our mobile as armour at parties, and putting our “don’t mess with me” faces on while walking from one place to the next.

I can empathise with Holden immensely here, as I like to be alone most of the time, and get very agitated and stressed if I don’t have such alone time. Living with a social butterfly helps; I’ve often got the house to myself.

But when I went away with eight friends on a houseboat last month, it was a different story… I even got accused of being a “slow reader” because I struggled to switch off and delve into the mountain of reading material I brought with me. Well, I never!