Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why do so many women have depression?

An article in the Guardian based on Allison Pearson's announcement that she is suffering from depression.

Some extracts:

Now, says Rowe, while women are still often seen as mothers rather than individuals, there are many more pressures at play. "There's still this idea that you've got to be a wonderful mother, but you also have to have a brilliant career, and you've got to look attractive all the time," she says. "There is no way that you can maintain that and bring up children. But it's still being presented to women all the time, in every magazine, on every screen, that you should."...

"I think we're conditioned to think that sadness shouldn't be part of the human condition," says Martin. "But it is. It's like all of these difficult emotions, like loss, fear of mortality. All of these emotions that seem so difficult, so they're just pushed away – then they bubble up. Perhaps we have to become a bit better at understanding and dealing with them." ...

I agree that depression isn't just a problem for women but for men and children as well. More men suicide than women.

I agree with this comment:

'The Capitalist Dream is a myth which has been bought wholesale and until very recently barely ever questioned. We are human animals who frequently forget our humanity and purpose in life and have been conditioned to aspire to a way of life which is incompatible with our essential being.

There are important things in life which contribute to the sum of our happiness, and there are unimportant things which detract and divert us from that.
The colour of one's aga or curtains renewed very year fall into the second group, as do the length of our skirts or colour of our wardrobe.There is more to life than 'stuff', a fact which we forget at our peril.

Many of us have lost sight of the fact that people are important to our sum total of happiness, and those we connect with and who we can reciprocally depend on are most important of all. The rest is dross.'

and increasingly I'm agreeing with this:

'We urgently, desperately need to break out of this silo-mentality that says that we can solve these problems by focussing on women or focussing on men or focussing on ethnic minorities or focussing on ethnic majorities or focussing on sexual minorities or focussing on sexual majorities or indeed focussing on any identity politics sub-group: the problem is liberal capitalism, and until we deal with that and establish a society based instead on equality we will never solve the problems of any isolated sub-group.':

and this:
Perhaps a holiday in Gaza or Haiti might give everyone some perspective. We are without doubt the whiniest navel-gazing society ever.

Comments welcome.

Other words for sexy and hot

My five year old was helping me get ready to go to a party the other night and told me that I look hot. Aside from the fact I don't want to look hot it made me think about how overused the word is. She'd heard the word used a lot by the judges on 'So you Think You Can Dance', who also often use the word 'sexy'. Whenever they do I shout at the screen, 'what do you really mean??" She probably hears it used on advertisements promoting exercise equipment. And in songs.

Because I care about words I looked up sexy in my Roget's Thesaurus. Impure. Hot brings up pungent, fervent and lecherous. I can't look up the words in my Macquarie Dictionary because said five year old wrapped it up to give me as a gift - I'm thinking for my birthday. She's giving me something she knows I'll use.

So, to be helpful, and because I think using the word now is just lazy, I'm offering these other words to be used instead of the words 'hot' and 'sexy'.

attractive, strong, fit, healthy, sensual, appealing, enticing, engrossing, alluring, loveable, lovely, lusty, lewd, charming, carnal, voluptuous, inviting, exciting, fiery, tantalising, on heat, amorous.

I'm sure there are more, and I want to reclaim them! Better listen to Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer to get some inspiration.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Global Sister Bookclub

This group is worth checking out - and the idea for a bookclub is a good one. The book is one that you cannot read without wanting to take action for change. This is their email message:

Outside the Margins,'s feminist book club would like to invite you to share your first impressions of April's book selection:

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Share your thoughts so far in the new discussion thread you will find here.

Don't forget! Online discussion for this book begins April 25th and runs through May 1st!
Look for discussion questions coming soon!

There is still time to join the book club and be a part of what's sure to be a lively and thought-provoking conversation.
Just visit the Outside the Margins Issue Group and click the join link.

Happy reading!
The Outside the Margins team.

Visit at:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why Feminism Matters - ABC Big Ideas

The recording of this panel discussion is now available on ABC Big Ideas here:


I attended this talk, and found it a bit disappointing. There were panel members form the US, the UK and Australia. Apparently they spoke about how some countries are ahead in some areas and some are ahead in others when they were in the green room backstage. i suspect that was the conversation I would have preferred to hear. There is much talk here about American politics and, if I recall correctly, nothing about women in a global context. But some encouragement and insight and points of interest. The most animated part was the Q&A.

Let me know what you think.

Mumoirs - just a bunch of whingers?

A Heckler in the SMH today about mumoir. I've found some of these books helpful - and funny. And sensible. You know, you don't have to be the perfect mum, it is OK to not enrol in swimming lessons at 6 months, you don't have to buy every new plastic toy on the market and you don't have to love kids' activities. I should add that the middle class white jokes about being a slacker, or a bad mum, or drinking alcohol at playdates wouldn't be so funny if written by women who are immigrants, poor,uneducated and so on. Mumoirs aren't written by mums who are really just struggling to survive.

Sick and tired of misery mumoirs
April 20, 2010

Comments 5

You've had a baby. Fantastic. You now have leaking nappies in your handbag, you haven't showered since parachute pants were first in fashion and your sex life is as fun as being staked naked covered in honey on an anthill.

How did I know? Because I've read about it. Again, again and again.

The latest book extolling the torture of motherhood is by the ABC1 newsreader Juanita Phillips, A Pressure Cooker Saved My Life (tagline: ''A baby + a toddler + a full-time job = total meltdown''). Sold as the ''candid confession of a failed supermum'', it regales us with stories about the ''thousands of small indignities inflicted by motherhood''; the endless crying, dirty dishes and loss of freedom.

Hers is the next in what has become a new genre: misery mumoirs. There is It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita, and Afterbirth: Stories you Won't Read in a Parenting Magazine, and Confessions of a Slacker Mom. The list goes on.

The focus may vary from declining sex life in some, to sleep deprivation in others, but the mood is the same: hysterically glum.

It is best summed up by Deborah Copaken Kogan, a one-time war photographer who wrote last year's Hell Is Other Parents: And Other Tales of Maternal Combustion. On the barrage of judgment mothers regularly receive from perfect strangers, she told an interviewer: ''As a parent, living through this day-to-day conflict with other parents … Sometimes you feel that the playground is a worse battle zone than Afghanistan.''

This tendency towards extreme exaggeration is one of the main - and most troubling - hallmarks of the genre. In one of Kogan's recollections in her book, she fled an emergency appendectomy to finish a story for The New York Times. As one mother wrote on ''Come on, lying on the floor of an NYC emergency room because you are in the throes of an acute appendicitis attack and a security guard is screaming at you to get up? I have a hard time believing this … ''

That some memoirists such as Kogan feel the need to dial up the drama is leading to the veracity of their tales being questioned. This distracts from the real suffering of mothers, particularly when we're still fighting for paid maternity leave and affordable, high-quality childcare. (Nearly 250,000 Australian women want more work but aren't able to do it because they're caring for children, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.)

We should, of course, rally behind Phillips, who did it tough after the birth of her two children.

The sheer stress of juggling them, work and a new house led her to lose the power of speech during a live bulletin and, later, to pneumonia. She doesn't make it easy to do that though, when - perhaps bowing to the genre's demand that writers milk their experience for entertainment value - she offers this irritating example of how she and her husband sacrificed to meet their mortgage and childcare payments: ''Mario sold his beloved BMW convertible and, with gritted teeth, bought a $7000 Commodore.''

I'm not the only mother annoyed with all the mama drama. As another recently put it on Momversation, an online community of blogging mothers: ''I'm tired of motherhood being looked at as all … drama and upheaval and 'Oh, you poor thing for surviving it'. … Something that begins by ramming its way out of your vagina is not going to be easy.''

We have, of course, benefited from a phase in which the veil of secrecy surrounding the more torturous side of motherhood has been ripped off. It is helping to liberate us from decades of ridiculous and harmful expectations and from feeling isolated in our struggles when failing to meet these unrealistic ''ideals''.

These stories have helped counteract the once prevalent pitch that motherhood is so limitlessly fulfilling it either shouldn't feel hard, or if it does, we've no right to complain.

But when the whingeing leads to derision of enthusiastic mothering, it goes too far. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, the author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, writes, ''If you're holding your baby 24/7, that's not a baby, that's a tumour.''

That kind of material smacks, unintentionally and unfortunately, of the satirical Polly Filler column in the British magazine Private Eye, in which the vapid lifestyle columnist bitches about her non-stop juggling while passing all parental responsibilities to the au pair.

It's at that point we've got to question whether they are doing more harm than good.

Samantha Selinger-Morris is a Herald journalist.

Being a mother is a relationship, not a job

I was talking to my friend about this yesterday and remembered that I'd read Judith Stadtman Tucker, who edited The Mothers Movement Online, writing about it some years ago. It is worth relaying what she says. Her website, although now fallow (she's moved onto other work) is always insightful, inspiring, and stimulating. (I love her) Have a look around her site.

Why motherhood is not a job

If we want women’s equality to be part of the big picture of a mothers’ movement, it may be necessary to start from scratch and begin to imagine new possibilities for the meaning of motherhood, mothering, and caregiving in our society. The task at hand is to build a legitimate case for social change without resorting to sentimentalizing or idealizing the practice of mothering, and without minimizing the social significance and emotional complexity that motherhood adds to the lives of women who mother. In seeking common ground for collective action, we might begin by questioning whether there are any universal aspects of maternal experience. Based on my study of motherhood as a social issue and my experience of corresponding with hundreds of mothers over the past few years, I’m convinced there are a least two: Becoming a mother changes you, although it doesn’t change every mother in exactly the same way; and all women who mother are disadvantaged by the cultural and social circumstances under which they must mother, but not all are disadvantaged in exactly the same way, or to the same degree.

I’ve been accused of alienating potential supporters of the mothers’ movement by suggesting that motherhood is not, in fact, "the most important job in the world." And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it is. I don’t think motherhood is a “job”— or a profession, or career— at all, although there's no denying that mothering entails a prodigious amount of mental work and physical labor. And when I criticize the valorization of motherhood and magical thinking about women’s power to change the world through conscious acts of responsible mothering, some readers may find me unsympathetic and pity my poor children for having such a hard-hearted mom.

To tell the truth, I have very deep and passionate feelings about the meaning of motherhood in my own life and the lives of other women who mother. That’s why I’m doing this work. It’s also why I’m so forthright in my rejection of pre-packaged narratives of motherhood that— based on both my personal experience and the view from my critical eye— are contrived to conceal, rather than reveal, the social and emotional value of motherhood and mothering.

My therapist (may a thousand blessings rain down upon her head) has always insisted that motherhood is not a job— it’s a relationship. And in my mind, thinking and talking about motherhood as a relationship— rather than a system of social reproduction, or a duty, or a vocation— is one way we might start to compose a rich new script for motherhood, a script that honors the possibility of complexity and variation in mothers’ inner lives, individual outlooks and aspirations.

If we locate motherhood and mothering in the context of relationship, we can still talk about love, work, desire and obligation, but we might be able to talk about these things in a more authentic way— or at least without feeling as though there is only one right answer to the question of what it means to be a mother. After all, interpersonal relationships do give rise to the impulse and obligation to care, although the strength of the impulse and the intensity of the obligation usually depend on the tenderness of the attachment, and the nature of the needs of the person we’re attached to. Because caring for others is not always easy or spontaneous, caring relationships put us in touch with the intricacies of our own emotional clockwork— and in this way, they can alter us. They can lead to new awareness of ourselves and others around us; they push us to grow. And this is just as true for the care-giver as it is for the cared-for.

When we look at motherhood as a relationship, we have an opportunity to weave a more mother-centric story to explain why becoming a mother can be a profoundly transformative experience, and why it never transforms every mother in precisely the same way— because when we conceive of motherhood and mothering as relationship, we’re describing an individual process, not a monolithic one. (Or as Jesse Bernard suggests, “Motherhood may work miraculous changes in women, transforming at least some of them into a close approximation of the model, or a close facsimile thereof, but for the most part women enter motherhood with the full complement of human virtues and defects, as various as all other living beings, and they remain different to the end.”)

Perhaps if we begin to think of motherhood as something other than a job, we might discover a new way to acknowledge that motherhood is an ending— the ending of a woman’s life as not-a-mother— and also a beginning, not of a different life, but of a changed one; a life that’s still full of open-ended and unexpected possibilities as well as added responsibilities. When we start talking about motherhood as a relationship, we— women, mothers— take ownership of it. And by the way, fatherhood is also a relationship, not a “role,” and it’s about time we started talking about the meaning of that, too.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

TV Code of Practice - how to write a complaint

For Commercial television

Complaints from the public must be made in writing, address the complaint to the licensee, ie the responsible person at the station, and you must provide your name and address. You may use the electronic form on the Free Tv Australia website. You need not refer to the code (although I suggest you do). The complaint must be made within 30 days of the broadcast. The licensee must respond within 30 days.

You can also send a complaint to the ACMA. Licenses report complaints to Free TV Australia, who reports to ACMA.

G classification zones are
weekdays: 6am - 8.30, 4pm - 7pm
weekends: 6am - 10am.

Only programs rated G (general), C (childrens) or P (preschool) to be screened in these zones.

Restriction in G viewing times include:

3.8.8 visual depiction of nudity or partial nudity;
3.8.9 visual depiction of, or verbal reference to, sexual behaviour, except of the most
innocuous kind;
3.8.10 socially offensive or discriminatory language.

Restriction in PG times include:

3.9.6 sexual behaviour other than of a very restrained kind;
3.9.7 visual depiction of nudity, other than of a very restrained or incidental nature;
3.9.8 coarse language, other than of a very mild nature;

6.23 Advertisements directed to children for food and/or beverages:
6.23.1 should not encourage or promote an inactive lifestyle;
6.23.2 should not encourage or promote unhealthy eating or drinking habits;
6.23.3 must not contain any misleading or incorrect information about the nutritional
value of the product.
6.23.4 For the purposes of this Clause 6.23:
“children” means people younger than 14 years of age2;
“inactive lifestyle” means not engaging in any or much physical activity as a
way of life;
“unhealthy eating or drinking habits” means excessive or compulsive
consumption of food and/or beverages;
“promote” means expressly endorse

ABC TV Code of Practice

some quotes form the code:

3.1 Children's Programs. While the real world should not be concealed from children, special care is to be taken to ensure programs children are likely to access, unsupervised, will not cause alarm or distress.

G - General (suitable for all ages)

G programs may be shown at any time.
This category is considered suitable for all viewers, and includes programs designed for pre-school and school age children. The G classification symbol does not necessarily indicate that the program is one that children will enjoy. Some G programs contain themes or story-lines that are not of interest to children.

Parents should feel confident that children can watch material in this classification without supervision. Whether or not the program is intended for children, the treatment of themes and other classifiable elements will be careful and discreet.

Themes: The treatment of themes should have a very low sense of threat or menace, and be justified by context.

Violence: Violence may be very discreetly implied, but should:
  • have a light tone, or
  • have a very low sense of threat or menace, and
  • be infrequent, and
  • not be gratuitous.
Sex: Sexual activity should:
  • only be suggested in very discreet visual or verbal references, and
  • be infrequent, and
  • not be gratuitous.
  • Nudity in a sexual context is not permitted in G.
Language: Coarse language should:
  • be very mild and infrequent, and
  • not be gratuitous.
Drug Use: Drug use should be implied only very discreetly, and be justified by context.

Nudity: Nudity outside of a sexual context should be:
  • infrequent, and
  • not detailed, and
  • not gratuitous.

PG - Parental Guidance (parental guidance recommended for audiences under 15 years)

PG programs may be shown between 8.30 am and 4.00 pm on weekdays and 7.30 pm and 6.00 am on any day of the week.

PG programs may contain themes and concepts which, when viewed by those under 15 years, may require the guidance of an adult. The PG classification signals to parents that material in this category contains depictions or references which could be confusing or upsetting to children without adult guidance. Material classified PG will not be harmful or disturbing to children.

Parents may choose to preview the material for their children. Some may choose to watch the material with their children. Others might find it sufficient to be accessible during or after the viewing to discuss the content.

Themes: Supernatural or mild horror themes may be included. The treatment of themes should be discreet and mild in impact. More disturbing themes are not generally dealt with at PG level.

Violence: Violence may be discreetly implied or stylised, and should also be:
  • mild in impact, and
  • not shown in detail.
Sex: Sexual activity and nudity in a sexual context may be suggested, but should:
  • be discreet, and
  • be infrequent, and
  • not be gratuitous.
  • Verbal references to sexual activity should be discreet.
Language: Coarse language should be mild and infrequent.

Drug Use: Discreet verbal references and mild, incidental visuals of drug use may be included, but these should not promote or encourage drug use.

Nudity: Nudity outside of a sexual context should not be detailed or gratuitous.


9.2 ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs. Complaints that the ABC has acted contrary to this Code of Practice should be directed to the ABC in the first instance. Phone complainants seeking a written response from the ABC will be asked to put their complaint in writing. All such written complaints are to be directed to ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs, GPO Box 9994, in the capital city of your State or Territory. The complainant will receive a response from the ABC within 60 days of receipt of their complaint.

The ABC will make a reasonable effort to provide an adequate response to complaints about Code of Practice matters, except where a complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith or the complainant is vexatious or not acting in good faith.

Contact Addresses

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Audience and Consumer Affairs

GPO Box 9994, in the capital city of your State or Territory

Rage publish their playlists

Video Hits on Channel 10 Saturdays 10 am - 12, and Video Hits Presents on Channel 10 Sunday 8.30 - 10 am, you might be able to watch online - watching to check the content might be tricky if you don' t want your kids to see the show.

More on writing to ministers soon...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Music videos, what can we do?

There was a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday about music videos being pornographic. I read the comments both on the SMH site and on Essential Baby. Now, we don't watch video hits in our house, but I can see that my problems with dance schools and with the kids karaoke stem from other peoples' kids watching these shows. The adults who run classes and entertainment for kids figure, well, the kids like it, so we give them the music they know and like, the stuff on the top 40.

So, here is what we can do.

We can write to the stations, stating that they are breaching their code of practice, because morning tv is supposed to be G rated.

We can write to the board that administers the code of practice.

Following the money trail, we can write to the advertisers who flog their products during the music video shows.

We can write to the Minister for the Status of Women. We can write to our local members.

I'll get some addresses and quotes from the code of ethics and post them later.

Today is my tenth anniversary of mothering, and I have a birthday to attend to...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Action against the Roger David T Shirts

Thanks to everyone who lobbied, the Minister for the Status of Women, Tanya Plibersek, has written a letter to the managers of the Roger David chain regarding their t shirts with degrading images of women on them. The link is here:

Lets hope we never see those images again.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

F is funny, F is sad, F is scary, F is mad

On the weekend I attended the conference F:A Festival. A Conference. A Future. It was organised by a Sydney group calling themselves The F Collective.

The conference was a big gathering of different types of feminists with different agendas. There were 500 people there. It was good to be reminded that feminism is a broad spectrum movement. The groups that were most visual were the right to abortion groups, the vegans and animal rights group, transgendered and queers, and the one I learnt the most about were sex workers' rights.

Now, it is almost impossible, perhaps actually impossible, to organise, and satisfy, such different people.

There were strong feminist women on the panels: Anne Summers, Eva Cox, Elizabeth Broderick. The issues we agreed we need to focus on are pay equity, abortion rights, and the intervention in NT. There was a panel on what we can learn from Aboriginal women. All good.

The members of the panels told their own stories and presented their own concerns. When it was open to questions, no-one actually asked the panel a question - all made comments and statements, and presented their point of view. A woman from the Congo was on a panel, and spoke about the troubles of integrating into Australian life, and mentioned the daily attacks on women in the Congo. No one asked how we can help the women of the Congo. This was the only presentation about women in a global context. There were, however, women of colour on other panels.

I guess we needed stronger facilitation, stronger chairs, but I understand the organisers wanted to be respectful of everyone's point of view, and that's a problem with grassroots gatherings. We can't cover everything well in two days, and the attempt was ambitious.

Then towards the end things got messy. An older woman stood up to tell us she felt that her generation of feminists was being disrespected (because we said we weren't there yet), even though we had applauded the last wave of feminists in the room in appreciation of the work they had done. At the end we had small group sessions discussing their particular concerns and how to keep the movement going, that reported back to the larger group. The people of colour felt they had been marginalised and the conference had been racist. The abortion rights people presented a motion that we support their aims (even though there was no meeting, no constitution, no agenda, no minute-taker, no forum in which to present or pass motions). Then the vegans presented a motion that the next conference be vegan. They presented the case that we respect all types of feminists, that we don't talk about whether or not we are homophobic, so we shouldn't be anti-species. The chair decided that because we hadn't organised a next conference we couldn't pass a motion. Then someone came to microphone and declared that there is a group that calls itself feminist but it actually has an anti-abortion agenda. Women's Forum Australia, which was established by Melinda Tankard Reist, who is Christian. She held up the Faking It publication, which is a resource created by WFA to critique the messages to girls in glossy magazines. No debate. No right of reply. No examining any evidence. A motion was passed that our group of feminists don't endorse or approve of them. I don't know the exact wording, but I found the action quite shocking.

Now, I've been watching Womens Forum Australia, and interested in the work of Melinda Tankard Reist regarding her campaign to protect children from a sex saturated media. She is the leading campaigner on this issue. She has a blog, and a website, Collective Shout. I've read the book she edited. I have spoken to a representative from Womens Forum Australia and asked about their stand on abortion and if they are religious. I was informed that they are a research group with no affiliations.

At the feminist conference there was little about parenting. There was a workshop on birth rape presented by a home birther. I presented my workshop on feminist mothering and maternal activism. The only parenting issue that was raised by others was the sexualisation of girls. I attended the Growing up Fast and Furious conference and know that the issue is a real and serious concern. It is a concern I deal with in my daily life; yesterday I spoke to my daughter's teacher as she went to a singing workshop. Last week I sent a letter about a kids karaoke event we had attended at which the children's songbook was the one with adult themes and the adults book contained thousands of more appropriate songs. The week before I sent resources about this to the Principal of my children's dance school. There were no feminists at the conference who were addressing that concern as well as Melinda Tankard Reist and Womens Forum Australia.

So, my takeaway message was not that we work together where we can and that we be respectful of our differences within all types of feminism. The take away message was that if you call yourself a feminist and have an opposing view on abortion, or on religion, or on politics, that's a deal breaker.

I wrote to the F Collective expressing my concerns with what happened. The reply stated that they should have informed us they intended to pass motions. But the organiser believes that Melinda Tankard Reist is not a feminist. They'll consider my letter in their debrief.

This raises questions.

1. Does anyone have the right to declare another women who identifies as feminist, as not feminist? I doubt anyone says 'You call yourself queer, but you aren't queer. I'm queer.'

2. Does this collective of feminists believe that anyone who is Christian or anti-abortion or right-wing are not feminists. I live in a strongly Christian community and some of the women in my circle identify as feminist. I might add that these women are very active in my community, including assisting girls at our local high school who have escaped the Congo after being raped and watching their parents being killed. These women are helping these girls learn to read and integrate and make sure they are safe. These women know I am atheist and a member of the Greens, but we work together, emphasising our similarities and respecting our differences.

3. I don't know Melinda Tankard Reist, but I do know that her work helps me in my parenting. Does it matter if she is feminist or not? Does it matter what else she does? If it does matter then we have a new opportunity to join forces with representatives from the adult industry (who told me that the industry wants more regulation and enforcement of regulation and that they equally want to keep their material away from children) and asking an established feminist group, such as WEL (highly unlikely), to start a campaign to address the concerns about sexualisation of children. Otherwise we need to start another group to address the issue.

4. Why do I care anyway? Because feminists could declare me non-feminist. I am a woman who is currently financially dependent on a man. I am a breeder. I understand that there may be women at the feminist conference who do not understand how I can be a feminist despite the work I do in my community, the questions I ask more broadly and the fact that I identify as feminist. If they come for her, they could come for me.

5. Does the question of feminism matter? So long as women's voices are heard, and women are doing what they think is right, is the label important? Should I not bother about feminism and /or the collective, and just keep calm and carry on?

Any thoughts that might help me make sense of all this are welcome.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Advice to avoid rape

Ok, what wrong with this story?

From SMH

' Girl, buried alive, digs herself out after 'rape'
April 8, 2010

A Jamaican taxi driver has been accused of raping a 12-year-old girl and then burying her alive after he thought he had strangled her to death, authorities said on Wednesday.

Garsha Wilson faces charges including rape, abduction, attempted murder and cruelty to a child, Deputy Police Superintendent Herfa Beckford said.

Wilson abducted the girl last month at a bus station in the capital, Kingston, then took her to a house in nearby St Andrew parish where he raped her and choked her until she was unconscious, Superintendent Beckford said.

Thinking she was dead, he buried her in a shallow grave and covered it with rocks, Superintendent Beckford said. The girl, who reported the alleged crime, told police she regained consciousness and dug herself out.

Wilson was detained on March 25 but was not charged until Monday.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. His lawyer was scheduled to be in court all day Wednesday and was not available for comment, his secretary said.

Jamaican authorities say the abduction of girls has increased recently and blame taxi drivers for most cases, saying they often take advantage of female passengers travelling to rural, isolated areas. They warn women not to travel alone if possible.'

The public message is 'girls are not to travel alone'. Who is being seen as being aa at fault? What about this message: Men are warned that women and girls are valuable and to be respected. Women and girls are not disposable. MEN ARE WARNED TO STOP RAPING!'

Wouldn't that be a refreshing message!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Karaoke for kids - what did I expect??

Well, I walked right into this one.

Today our local club had free holiday activities for kids, which I'm always interested in, so we went to the free kids' karaoke. I guess I was thinking they'd sing songs from High School Musical and Hannah Montana and, you know, kids' songs.

But no. The songlist for the kids was appalling. All Pink, Lady Gaga, Veronicas, Katy Perry, Pussycat Dolls and so on. Good for people in their twenties who hang out at nightclubs. Not so good for primary school kids.

The kids there who sang were aged about 4 to 12. Most were about 7 or 8.

These little kids were singing 'So what, I'm still a rock star'. A girl aged about six sang "I kissed a girl and I liked it'. Everyone seemed to know Lady Gaga's Just Dance, about being shitfaced on the dancefloor. A girl about 7 sang Britney's Oops I did it again (I'm not so innocent). Little boys and girls together sang 'Smack That' ('til you get sore) by Akon.

Some of the mums got up for a sing. The song they chose was The Pussycat Dolls, 'When I Grow Up' (I want to have groupies). Nice role modelling.

There was another book of songs to choose from, The Klassiks, a book with 119 pages of songs from Billy Holiday to Elvis, The Beatles and everyone else from the last fifty years. There was one page of songs For Younger Kids, consisting of songs from musicals, most of which children today wouldn't know, and songs from Lizzy Maguire. My kids sang The Hokey Pokey, from the book of Klassiks.

The book of songs for the kids was exactly the songs they shouldn't know and shouldn't be singing.

There was nothing cute about it. It was just disturbing. I wanted to leave right away, but we'd met some friends there, so we stayed. It was kind of like watching a car crash. Whatever this experiment is, it has failed.

So, there's another letter for me to write.