Thursday, April 30, 2009

Am I only dreaming?

Apparently I was snoring but I'm sure I wasn't asleep!

I don't think I sleep very well. Sleep comes in fits and starts. My nights are ravelled and the day is hard to greet. There are some patches of blank slumber and others of vivid wild dreams, but most is a stream of consciousness or a submerged musing state, that's neither awake nor asleep. Or so I thought.

I was 'woken' last night from a state of musing or semiconsciousness by M. I certainly couldn't hear myself snoring. WTF? I was kind of thinking "about how hard it was to sleep and it was time to change the mental soccer game because I was getting stressed about ball skills and tackles and that the art show i segued into could be interesting cause it was more random and dreamy as I don't really do art...." SHOVE

What was happening inside my head?

Did I fall asleep, start snoring and on sudden awakening seamlessly pick up the thoughts that I was having as I fell asleep?
Has dreaming become musing? a reflection on consciousness that has tuned out the external surroundings?
Or did I create the entire scenario in an instant? in which case we might be perpetually unspooling our experiences and always becoming yet believing that we are the end point.

So I could be dreaming that I'm awake when I thought that I wasn't sleeping. Or M could have been dreaming the whole thing and just pushed me for his own twisted reasons.

I am looking forward to finishing "The Brain that Changes" by Dr Norman Doidge.

Sex Strike - thinking outside the box

from SMH

Thousands of Kenyan women vowed on Wednesday to begin a week-long sex strike to try to protest their country's bickering leadership, which they say threatens to revive the bloody chaos that convulsed the African country last year.

Leaders from Kenya's largest and oldest group dedicated to women's rights, the Women's Development Organisation, said they hope the boycott will persuade men to pressure the government to make peace.

Eleven women's groups are participating in the strike. The groups have also called on the wives of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to abstain. It was not clear how either wife responded to the request.
"We have looked at all issues which can bring people to talk and we have seen that sex is the answer," said Rukia Subow, chairman of the Women's Development Organisation.

"It does not know tribe, it does not have a (political) party and it happens in the lowest households."
Many men in Kenya are polygamous, as is allowed by law. Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua said he was unaware of the strike. The disputed election between Kibaki and then-challenger Odinga led to violence that killed more than 1000 people and left more than 600,000 homeless. The two were installed after a month of mediation, but infighting has threatened to break apart the fragile coalition.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Manyana Manyana Manyana

What else can be said. Only surf for a year. Go on hols with friends. Lousy grey rainy days with huge scary swells. Then one day it drops right down and I discover the break at Washerwomans. The kid's are happy. I'm happy. I'm in the lineup next to Pam Burridge and a 10 yr old girl who's completely out surfing me. I was happy just to make it out frankly.

When I was a teenage wannabe surfer in Newcastle, there weren't other girls surfing. There weren't surf schools. I didn't have any support. Or the right gear. I dragged around a 2nd hand 6'10 pinnose pintail board that no one else wanted on public transport or walked/biked 7 km. I wore baggy boys board shorts or an oversized spring suit. And this was the mid 70s.

As Burridge says about the early surf culture in Australia in SMH interview in 2006, "Surfie chicks" were chased out of the water to mind the towels. The few girls who did surf were ridiculed for being "too male", too butch.
It didn't help that they were wearing men's board shorts and wetsuits, says Burridge, who remembers only six girls surfing along Sydney's entire northern beaches in the 1980s.
"It was probably a year before anyone realised I was a girl. I was just another little kid in board shorts," says the 40-year-old of learning at Manly beach.
"By the time I was a teenager, I was good enough to have earned my spot on the waves."
At the time, says Burridge, girls' surfwear ranges were all G-string bikinis and wetsuits that zipped down the front, so you could show off your cleavage like the girls in the Bond movies. It wasn't until the early 1990s that outstanding US surfer Lisa Andersen suggested to her sponsor, Quicksilver, that it turn out clothing girls could actually surf in. Women's surf gear now drives the global industry.
My first return to surfing - seven mile beach surf camp 4 or 5 years ago. I haven't improved much yet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Joy Division : Taking Different Roads

Are we circling around the past forever? Or is it always a new beginning. This beautiful revision of "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again" perfectly expresses my madly confused emotions right now. Thanks to the original musicians and Jonathan Beamish at BBC for bringing the band so aptly into the 21st century.

CyberBullying, Feminism, Mean Girls, Queen Bees and Boys

"Remember the days of the old school yard? We used to..."


The memory of my school days is rising up my throat, threatening to choke me. I've just finished watching 4 Corners on Cyberbullying. Today, two young boys (10 and 11) have just been charged with attempted murder of two younger boys in the UK. Today, my daughter tells me she's the 2nd most hated girl in her year and she never has anyone to sit with at lunchtime. I hate to think what's happening for the most hated girl... but i've seen her. And the boy in my son's class that no-one will sit next to. And I'm scared that all of my children are treading close to the edge.

I think yearning for romance has more to do with a desire for the security of a relationship that keeps the schoolyard outside than about desire alone! Today, I'm reflecting on the entrenched antifeminism that is at the heart of navigating adolescence.

I'm halfway way through "Queen Bees and Wannabees" by Rosalind Wiseman, which was on the recommended reading list from Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, (see 4 Corners program above) and author of "Real Wired Child" and other titles (see previous post).

As it says in "Devil in the Daughters" (a fantastic review by Chloe Hooper):
Queen Bees and Wannabes is, by its own definition, an excruciating read. This is not to diminish Wiseman's skill at deconstructing the make-up of the teenage court in all its Byzantine detail. (Opening her handbook was like being kidnapped and taken to a dark-hearted land, where I soon realised unfortunately I spoke the language fluently.)
Today. My almost 10yr old girl is heading for puberty and says that everyone hates her. She's probably not the only one who feels that way but how would she know that? And what about my gorgeous gentle sensitive son? I've noticed that he's heading for the losers and nerd boys corner of the playground more and more, in spite of being on the soccer team.

The first people I talked to about this book and my fears said, "I've got boys. It's different. They don't bully like girls. They just have a fight and get over it." #FAIL

Getting past the personal though is why I'm getting passionate about Rosalind Wiseman and Empower.

The Owning Up™ program is based on the premise that social cruelty, degradation, and violence can be deconstructed and understood by examining how our culture teaches boys to be men and girls to be women. Further, the curriculum teaches children the skills to speak out against injustice and recognize that they have a responsibility to treat themselves and others with dignity.

I think that Queen Bees is a fine piece of feminist analysis, with racial and sexual prejudices opened up as well. Wiseman points out that she works equally with boys and girls, and that society's definition of masculinity influences boys away from strength, individuality and towards violence, bullying and groups in the same way that definitions of femininity trap girls.
Boys and men who speak out against sexism or publicly support girls and women run the risk of being ridiculed by their peers as "fags", "sissies", "pussies" or in some circles "sensitive new age guys". The often unexamined implication is that real men wouldn't willingly support sexual equality and justice. (Women and girls who challenge male power or assertively confront sexism are often labeled "dykes" or "male-hating lesbians," which effectively silinces many girls and women.)

This name-calling can have a powerful effect on boys' and men's willingness to break their complicit silence. They might have a well grounded fear that if they speak up, they too will be targeted for abuse."

Wiseman is quoting Jackson Katz from "More Than a Few Good Men" (also over at Huffington Post).

The irony, she points out, is that in living up to the male ideal, boys and men learn to act cowardly. SILENCE is KING. Wiseman asserts that the marginalisation of feminism is doubly damaging. Feminists are seen as being anti-male rather than protesting gender and therefore men are not constructed as being victims of gender violence - as most boys and men are.

Just for today, I believe that feminism cannot succeed without unpacking the violence of group dynamics and stereotypes both masculine and feminine.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Schick: Mow the Lawn - laugh till you die

Die of horror! Thanks to the Bloggess over at GoodMomBadMom for driving my morning to distraction with this absolute jewel of antifeminism @ironyfail

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gen Y women achieve equality #aprilfool

The problem with this excellent article by Adele Horin in SMH is simply that if you only read the first 3 paragraphs it all sounds WONDERFUL. What happens after that?

Well earnings decline, glass ceilings kick in and all the evidence points to women earning 60% of similar male earnings over their careers. We all know why. Children and men. Forget that women are finally outnumbering men in professional areas (in junior ways I'm sure).

My question is why are so few women achieving in technological and scientific areas. As Pia Waugh, australian geek girl, says in her interview with stilgherrian for Ada Lovelace Day,
"There is a stereotype there. Because people see the majority of people working with computers are men, they assume it's masculine. But there's actually nothing masculine about using a computer. It's just typing away, it's not like carrying bricks!"

Gen Y women earn their fair share

Adele Horin
April 1, 2009

THEY are the first generation of women to experience true wage equality. And so they should.

Women in their 20s and early 30s, Gen Y, have outsmarted the boys for years. More of them finished high school than boys, more of them enrolled in university, achieved a bachelor's degree or higher, and more moved into the professions.

Their superior performance has achieved a first, says the managing director of AMP Financial Services, Craig Meller.

"Gen Y is the first generation where the wages of women are almost on a par with men."

But the question is whether these young women, as they grow older and have children, will suffer the same fate as their mothers.

Women a generation older, Gen X (aged 34 to 48), are paid 3.5 per cent less than men for similar work hours in similar fields.

Despite the progress women have made in education and in the workforce over the past 20 years, a 25-year-old man is likely to earn $2.4 million in his lifetime while a 25-year-old woman will earn $1.4 million, says the report, by AMP and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra.

A father with a bachelor degree or higher will earn $3.3 million over his working life, compared with $1.8 million for a similarly qualified mother, it says.

"While the gender divide has narrowed, particularly for Gen Y, the risk remains that as these women progress through their careers, particularly during their child-rearing years, they will still face the same dilemmas and glass ceiling as their baby-boomer mothers," Mr Mellor said.

The report, She Works Hard For The Money, reveals that for the first time women outnumber men in professional occupations. The increase in women's representation from 39 per cent in 1988 to 52.6 per cent in 2007 is very positive, said the study's lead author, Rebecca Cassells.

Ms Cassells, a research fellow, said young women had benefited from the feminist movement. There were 80,000 more women than men studying for bachelor degrees in university, and more women than ever were employed in highly skilled jobs such as managers and administrators.

But as men and women headed towards the end of their careers, it was likely that men reached top positions while women bumped their head on the glass ceiling, she said. "It could be that women aren't necessarily interested in these very demanding positions or it could be discrimination."

Among the young, 18 per cent of Gen Y men have superannuation balances of between $25,000 and $100,000, compared with only 14 per cent of women.