Barbie talks back.

This week my 14 year old daughter very proudly showed me a video of Britney Spears’ newish single “piece of me”, in which young Britney talks back to all the paparazzi and sundry others who like to treat her as simply one more piece of ass (sic). While I’m not exactly a fan of Ms. Spears I must say it was quite refreshing to see a young woman telling a bunch of old perverts with cameras to take a hike and commenting on the hipocrisy of the media. This is something good to see in young women, finding their own voice and learning to stand up for themselves. The beginning of some personal boundaries, perhaps.

Britney’s having all sorts of troubles with her two young children, alleged drug experimentation and mental health issues… Well, what young mother hasn’t dealt with all that?

Seriously, half the population have to drug themselves to the eyeballs to get out of bed every morning, not to mention the binge drinking, so why are we using this one woman as such a scapegoat?

In a culture where single mothers are treated hideously in the media, downright vilified and abused in many instances, where 25% of the population live with domestic violence and at least 20% with mental illness, it would seem like better use of the circumstances to begin discussing the pressures on young mothers these days…

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the Government, when they dreamt up the so called “baby bonus” that an awful lot of women are going to unfortunately end up in very similar situations to that being experienced by Britney… although without the reporters and without the cash and lawyers to defend her. How many more women have to strangle toddlers and dump their bodies in ponds in suitcases after being refused assistance, or young fathers drive their children into dams and drown them, before we admit we have a huge problem with the effects consumerism has on families? How are all these young women going to cope when they’re on single parent pensions and being treated like criminals?

With six billion people already on the planet, surely we ought to be fixing some of the social problems that are causing so much anguish before we bribe people into having more children.

We could begin by having a good look at the disparity in the cultural views on women… the old Victorian puritan ideal of madonnas and whores is still in full swing, for instance. Speaking of which, I saw “stupid, stupid men” on ABC2 last night about the women who work on the staff of one of those hideous mens’ magazines. It was so funny!

So while Britney deals with her and her family’s problems in the spotlight, and learns to both stand up and speak out for herself, more power to her!

Timely piece on AFL conduct regarding women.

Wow, I think I’m now a fan of one Michael Shmith. In an article for The Age entitled “ominous assumptions” Mr. Shmith makes some very pertinent points appropriate not only for footballers but indeed all of convict culture.

Now racism, drug abuse and problem gambling are clear social evils, and the AFL is right to include them in its lead-us-not-into-temptation filmic primer, and to warn, by whatever graphic examples possible, of their potential perils. Women, however, being significant members of the human race, are a different matter. In presenting a scenario that assumes a mate’s girlfriend, in summoning you to her bed, does not know the difference between you and her boyfriend and, that once between the sheets, such pretence can be maintained, is making a wider assumption that the woman is indiscriminate and/or basically thick.

Just as fatuous is the notion that because a woman happens to have had too much to drink she is an object for sex.

Another even more ominous assumption is that somehow the men in these situations are innocent, and that the women involved have caused them to stray from the paths of righteousness.

Put things another way: your boyfriend’s mate hops into your bed pretending to be him; you are with a footballer who has had too much to drink; your mate’s friend wants to watch you have sex.

Brilliantly said, Mr. Shmith.

What is particularly good to see is the reversal of the situation, so that a bloke puts himself in her shoes…

The idea that women are indiscriminate and that they lure men into sexual misadventures is a belief that rarely is discussed openly. It does still infiltrate Australian culture as another of the uncriticised leftovers of the Victorian class society.

Back when convict Australia was being settled, class culture back in the UK was in full swing. Attitudes that might now be associated with the most narrow minded of religious bigots were considered “appropriate” for the sons of the Empire. While such attitudes as female submission or subordination might come in for comment at times, we really haven’t, as a nation, considered quite how much these ideas still persist.

Even the concept that women are either whores or madonnas is still common currency. Try stopping to put petrol in your car without being assaulted by images of women as sexual toys plastered all over the place.

It’s fortunate that Mr. Shmith has pointed out the underlying problems in the AFL’s advertising or “education” if you could call it that. High time these cultural leftovers were brought out into the open and dispensed with before another generation of women are reduced to being used as toilets by unquestioned male privilege.

Yes, women are people too.

How about that?

Pesticide links in cancer cases.

Remember that ABC site where all those women were getting breast cancer? It’s being investigated as people were suspicious that it might have been linked to radio waves or other electromagnetic radiation.

Turns out it looks like being linked to contamination by Dieldrin. Naturally this is being disputed, because we can’t go worrying about every little chemical we pump into the environment, can we?

Though its links to cancer in humans are disputed by some, there’s plenty of evidence that it’s highly toxic to many species.

Which is probably why it used to be used in so many insect repellents… not to mention dust for the veggie patch.

Offending the opposition.

Brendan Nelson, the leader of the We’re Not Sorry Party, complained today about having been invited to visit indigenous communities.

The visit was scheduled for a Friday and apparently Parliament now sits on Fridays but Members aren’t obliged to attend, like Alexander Downer, who would rather be having lunch than have to listen to a woman address Parliament last week.

Nelson’s protests were a pretty hollow excuse, though, since they don’t turn up anyway.

Makes you wonder how this party stayed around as long as it has, considering they based so much of their direction on views held by 0.01% of the population who are lunatic fundamentalists.

Grants to religious cults.

In the local paper the other week was a report on the funding of a local cult school. The Exclusive Brethren have a hive out this way, and the new Government decided to make good on Howard’s promise to give them $130,000 to fund their child abuse and indoctrination programs. The Age has a story on $10 million being given to them, despite recognition that they are a destructive cult.

Other locals are wondering if the Rudd Government will also provide the local Council with funds for a mental health program to assist the poor buggers who emerge emotionally scarred and psychologically abused from this misogynist cult.

And exactly why is it that Australian taxpayers are funding the emotional abuse of children?

If Mr Rudd is concerned to continue funding schools in low socio-economic areas, why not fund public schools who need it all the more?

Question time.

In parliament yesterday our new Prime Minister was making noises about reducing the unemployment rate. This is probably a good thing, though it would be better if they went back to counting everyone who’s unemployed rather than only those registered as looking for work. The count changed under the Howard Government so that the current figures don’t really compare to historical ones.

There’s one problem. We have an economy set up so that substantial numbers of people must be unemployed for there to be much confidence in the stock market, to keep the economy looking good. It is so well known that in recent news regarding the “credit crunch” financial comentators were saying overtly that for Australia to come through well, the unemployment rate needs to go up.

So how are we to have people employed and maintain a good economy?

And why is it that if so many people need to be out of work for others to enjoy low interest rates, those who are unemployed or on pensions are so viciously vilified in the media? Why kick the struggling scapegoats? Or is it simply another hangover of John Howard’s politics of resentment?

Either way, nothing’s really changed yet for those of us who aren’t in the top 10% sitting back watching the investments pile up. Anyone who was waiting on Kevin Rudd to help with the rent crisis or rapidly rising food prices can apparently keep on waiting.

Meet the new boss…

How does your garden grow?

Bee on a carrot flower

This is the flower of a carrot… The end was sprouting after the carrot went into dinner, so for its efforts it went into the garden in the hope of providing lots of little carrot seeds. The bees think it’s fantastic.

So many things around here are growing with similar enthusiasm. They love the grey water from the washing, and all the manure and so on. Everything’s coming up green. Some of the tomatoes are so large they need little hammocks to hang in while they ripen.

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The onion was sprouting in the cupboard, so into the ground it went and the seeds are almost ready for planting.

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The lettuce did particularly well this season. They were very tasty to eat too.

This afternoon I’ve finished digging the second large veggie patch behind the garage, and it’s looking good. Broccoli and cauliflower seedlings are already growing well with onions, carrots and beans soon to be planted. This Winter we should be eating well!