Columns

Saturday
Mar082014

International Women's Day 2014. Do we still need IWD? 

I have written many pieces over the years about International Women's Day. Even one on 'vajazzling' and why teenage girls should be encouraged to say fuck.

This year I would like to share with you some of my favorite's from The Women's Role (published 1983), a best of book that records examples of the constant barrage of comments which perpetrate the all-pervasive system of discrimination against women.

You're welcome. 



This year I only have three things to say;

1. This is not about women verses men, this is about us versus the arseholes. (Come see Trollhunter my Melbourne Comedy Festival Show, a collaboration with Van Badham about misogyny, internet trolls and online haters. it's OMG, LOL and NSFW) 

2. The worst thing you can encourage girls to be is nice, the second worst pretty. (See you all at Pushy Women North Sunday March 16 Thornbury Theatre.) 

3. Religion is another word for patriarchy. Check out my Atheist Alphabet Kickstarter. It's a (celebration of Melbourne, life, truth, bikes, dogs and big bottomed girls.) 

Friday
Feb142014

Why I ride a bike 

Catherine Deveny has an easy answer when asked why she rides her bike everywhere. “It’s faster than walking, safer than driving, cheaper than public transport and it’s the closest thing to flying.”

Riding a bike is simply the happiest, most life-affirming and convenient way to get from A to B. But when you are on a bike A to B is more likely to end up being A to B, C, D, E and F on the way to G.

The cycle-mad Dutch have a saying about riding in the wet: “You are not made of sugar.”

I’ll leave my house for a gig in the city and drop in the library books, nip in and check out that frock in the shop window, pick up some curry paste and a bunch of flowers, post a letter, grab a coffee and still get to where I’m going faster and happier than I would have any other way. Parking? Nailed it.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE...

Tuesday
Feb042014

Christian School Principal Forbids Primary Students Having Girlfriend And Boyfriend Relationships. 

Whenever I enquire why parents chose to enable and fund child abuse, homophobia, misgogyny, discrimination etc by sending their children to single sex religious schools, they always respond that it's to keep them from being 'distracted' by the opposite sex.

I respond 'What if they're gay?'

The parents are always gobsmacked. It's never dawned on them their children could be anything other than straight. Their response reveal the fear and shame theses parents have about their children's bodies, sex and relationships and I'd suggest their own. 

It comes as no suprise that the principal of Northern Beaches Christian College has sent out a letter saying that year 5 primary students are forbidden FORBIDDEN to have girlfriends and boyfriends. Forbidden FORBIDDEN to talk about crushes and that children should not be allowed in a room with a closed door with a visitor of the opposite sex and more (letter in full below). 

1. Are parents paying to have their children brainwashed to believe sex is bad, their body is their enemy, desire is wrong, romance and intimacy only occurs between people of the opposite sex and visitors are potential predators? 

2. Are Christians concerned that talking about crushes could be a gateway to emotional wellbeing and perhaps questioning this invisible friend in the sky who does magic tricks, thinks men and boys are god, the son of god and made of the image of god while women and girls are virgins, martyrs and whores?

3. Despite the rock solid, rolled gold fact unhealthy and abusive sexual contact is far more likely to occur with a member of the child's own family than a visitor, visitors of the opposite sex are the ones you should worry about. And of course if you're gay, go for gold. Because you don't exist. 

4. Do the teachers and parents from Northern Beaches Christian College not realise it's precisely this kind of shaming of normal emotional development that leads to sexually risky behavior in children, teens and adults and bad choices, abusive relationships and attraction to dysfuntional partners throughout their lives? 

Here's the email he sent. 

Letter from Principal of Northern Beaches Christian College

After receiving feedback that some students were discussing ‘boyfriends and girlfriends’, I recently had a conversation with our Year 5 cohort on the topic.

I made it clear that ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ relationships were not appropriate at this age and that there should not be any discussion on the topic between students. The main points addressed were:

  • Such discussions place pressure on individuals which is unfair and unwanted.·        
  • Social activities involving groups of boys and girls are healthy, as long as parents are involved in the planning.·        
  • Dates between individual boys and girls should not happen at this age.·        

Please reinforce with your son or daughter that ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ relationships are not to take place amongst Stage 3 NBCS students. Please also emphasise that discussing such relationships amongst peers, or the writing and sending of notes on the topic, is not helpful and is not to happen at our school.

Below, please find a few suggestions which may assist you in your parenting on this topic:

  • Don't allow your child to close the bedroom door when someone of the opposite sex is visiting. This should be a non-negotiable rule.·        
  • Talk with your child. The more conversations you have, the less likely he/she will be to get into trouble. If you've always kept the door open for discussions, your child may be more likely to come to you with questions or problems.     
  • If you're too oppressive and restrictive, you may trigger rebellion. Use logic and reason when creating rules for your child.     
  • Don't just forbid certain activities, explain why you forbid them. Doing this will help your child understand that you're not merely trying to be bossy or imposing arbitrary rules.
  • As a parent, it's your job to teach your child the importance of self-worth. Children who value themselves as they are won't need to ‘find themselves’ in other people.

I apologise for the direct nature of this correspondence. However, some students have been making others feel uncomfortable through their words and actions on this topic.

I am lost for words. Here are some from Nina Funnell author of Loveability an awesome new book on first crush to the first break-up how our romances as teens shape us

"Instead of treating the sexuality of children as something to be either feared or controlled, we need to encourage open conversations about intimacy and relationships. It is also important not to demonise young people's sexuality or interest in these topics, as this can create stigma, anxiety and shame. 

"It is deeply unhelpful to teach young people that the only reason why a girl might seek out intimacy or connection is due to low self esteem and a lack of self worth. This view totally disregards the desires and natural sexual urges of young women as well as the legitimate and positive experiences they draw from relationships."

Thanks Nina. 

Here's some words from me.

 

Want to write, write better, more different or that project that you're stuck on? Come to my GUNNAS WRITING MASTERCLASS. Beginners welcome.

 

 


Saturday
Jan112014

Am I A Bogan? 

Recent questions from my 11 year old.

‘Mum, did you know Jewish people don’t have Christmas, they have ‘Handidcap’?’

‘Do penguins have feathers?’

‘What is flotsam and jettison? Is it like bowing and scraping? The bowing I get but what’s with the scraping?’

‘Why do dogs in the country not wear collars? Is it that farmers think collars are like jewellery and they don’t want their dogs to look gay?’

Yesterday he asked, ‘Mum, how do you tell if someone’s a bogan?’

I grew up in a big poor family. We lived in a housing commission house in a suburb that was the butt of jokes (our suburb LOVED being the punchline, it made us feel famous)

CLICK TO READ MORE 

Wednesday
Jan012014

Save Money, Don't Marry 

A recent study found over 97% of people think it’s the man’s job to propose. Is that 50 shades of WTF right there or what?

Only 2.8 percent of women said they’d “kind of” want to propose, but not a single man indicated he’d prefer that arrangement. Notably, not a single male or female, “definitely” wanted the woman to propose.

97%? How is that going to work with all the gays and lesbians who’ll be tying the knot any day now when the world catches up with the fact marriage is a mistake everyone should have the right to make? How does that fit with feminism, equality and encouraging women to choose their life and live it their way?