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.

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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.

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?

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.

Image via The Age.

It’s All About Popular… Lar, Lar, Lar, Lar!

From this weekend’s Good Weekend in The Age, in an article by Tom Ballard entitled “Too Cool for School”:

“If Footyheads are the oafish kings of high school, Popular Girls are assuredly the vapid queens. Deemed ‘The Plastics’ in the 2004 film Mean Girls, this clique is made up of attractive females who are attractive and wear make-up and are attractive and giggle and are attractive and fully hot.

“The members of this group are often the first among their peers to produce any inkling of breast and to discover foundation. Their classroom catch cry“So, like… what are we doing?”is well known and feared.

“Popular Girls enjoy chewing gum, looking vacant and protesting about the confiscation of jewellery. They feed on expensive formal dresses. They’re really, really popular.”

Examples of the Popular Girl in Popular Culture include, as Ballard mentioned, the Plastics in Mean Girls; Cher Horowitz of Clueless, who sees the light in the end; Louise from ’80s cheese fest Teen Witch, who gains popularity from a supernatural amulet; and “good” witch Galinda from Wicked, who tries to make over the self-conscious and “green” Elphaba during the musical’s “Popular” tune, from which the title of this post was derived.

Related: Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Week.

This week’s choice newspaper clippings come from The Age‘s Sunday Life supplement (Eye of the Beholder, August 8, 2010) and Good Weekend (Calendar Girl, August 7, 2010), respectively.

Calendar Girl, written by Virginia Heffernan, deals with hard-copy diaries like Filofax and the like versus the iPhone and Blackberry’s digitised versions. This is something I struggle to consolidate in my life, as I am an über-fan of stationary, but I just don’t have room in my life for physical lists, schedules etc., when the digital option is right there.

Sometimes I get a bit sick of talking about body image (what with the multitude of blogs, magazines and articles I read each week, as well as the issue being a common theme in my blog posts), but William Leith’s article, Eye of the Beholder, looks at it from a different angle. Why do women look “at a model and fall apart”, while men “shrug off [their] own belly”? Thought provoking stuff.

(Sorry about the crappy formatting—my scanner prefers A4 sized documents.)