I’ve made it to the next chapter.
just finished my first prac at a high school. It was at the local boys
school, a public school. It was good. I liked it. I found that I like
being at a boys school. I haven’t thought much about boys the last
twelve years. Well, I haven’t had to think very deeply about boy
children for a long time before that. The boys were well behaved. I
quite miss them now that the prac is over. I’m interested to see what
they do next - how they go in their school work. I was interested to see
boys exploring notions of masculinity in their self devised
performances in drama. They’re working out how to be men, and
acknowledging the different ways men are presented to them in our
culture. They’re critiquing these representations. Good work.
my studies in education we’re constantly told to incorporate technology
in our teaching. From what I saw, the students are so connected, all
the time, we would do well to unplug them while they are at school. The
students are on their laptops - playing games - not doing research, on
their phones, plugged into their ipods (in fact they dress with their
earplug cords under their shirts so they can listen to music at any
time) and playing DSs. It was common to see a group of boys crowded
around a screen at recess. They know how to use technology. What they
don’t know how to do is sit and read a book, without being plugged into
with mothers of Year 6 children I’ve heard mothers of boys saying that
their son is sensitive or quiet, so needs to go to a co-ed high school.
It makes me wonder what they think of boys generally (their son being
the exception) and who they think is at the boys school. I haven’t heard
anyone say that her son is a bully so needs to go to an aIl boys school.
All sorts of boys are at the local boys public school. Everyone is
catered for. I think I’ve already commented on the process of choosing a
high school as revealing people’s classist attitudes, and their racism,
so I’m adding sexism to that decision making process too.
classism, sexim, ageism and homophobia. Regular topics for discussion
on Q&A. But inconsistent. I know there are different panelists on
different days, but if these are the great leaders in our culture (are
they supposed to be?) the inconsistency is glaring. Rampant sexism on
the episode with Barry Humphries. This week the panelists agreed that we
should enforce laws to stamp out racism. That racism is never funny.
But ageism is funny. Jokes about Jewish mothers are funny. Pru Goward
said in one breath that there is no point asking how the universe began,
then in the next breath said that humankind has always sought answers
to life’s big questions, to the extent that people need religion. What
wasn’t said is that sexism is still often accepted unchallenged. Human
rights for all - respect for all - but not extended to homosexuals to
allow them to marry. I’m writing a question for next week’s show.
Asking Kate Lundy, the Minister for Sport, about the Lingerie Football
League. I consider it a commercial venture akin to jelly wrestling or
topless waitressing. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read this,
the experience of an athlete who tried out for the team.
then read out the numbers of the girls who were chosen for the final
round. Despite my ability to perform the drills, it was clear Mortaza
wanted a certain ‘look’. So I was not particularly surprised that a
number of us who had displayed greater football skills remained on the
a couple of the girls who made the cut were obviously talented
athletes, in the end it was clear to everyone that our ability to play
gridiron was a far lower priority than how our body would fill out the
recent articles about sexism in the media, which confirm my suspicion
that the media is run by young men who are really pretty juvenile. This
one is about the attitude of the advertising industry (you say ‘sexy’. I
hear ‘lazy’), but it could just as easily apply to the music industry
and some quarters of Sydney theatre.
do anything less is considered within that group to be not “creative”.
This why you see films, music videos, songs etc. being released with
ever more pro-active lyrics, ideas and imagery.While it is true that the
role of artists in a culture is to ‘push the boundaries’, nowhere is it
written that means you have to do so by degrading the culture. That you
could of course push the limits of the culture by inspiring it with
enlightening, uplifting, noble campaigns seems to escape many in the
is a piece written by the ex-editor of UK Loaded magazine. His goal as editor was
include as many nipples as possible. Now he is a father he regrets
turning a generation of boys onto porn. Even so, the article shows the
soft porn covers of the mag. I’m glad he’s spoken out, but really it’s
too late, and he uses the old chestnut about a woman being someone’s
daughter. No. She’s someone in her own right. He couldn’t acknowledge
that before having children.
my life changed for ever. In May 2009, I became a father to Sonny. A
month later, I turned 40. Almost overnight, my world view changed.
started seeing the women in my magazine not as sexual objects, but as
somebody’s daughter. Some of Loaded’s models had children themselves,
and I’d think ‘what’s your kid going to think of you when they’re old
enough to understand Mummy used to get her boobs out for a living?’
think that the girls who posed for our magazine had once had their
nappies changed, had once been taught to take their first steps and had
once been full of childlike hope . . . it was almost heartbreaking.
was confronted by the painful thought that maybe Loaded was part of the
problem. Was it an ‘enabler’ to young teenage boys who’d consume harder
porn later, in the same way dabbling with cannabis might lead to
stronger addictions to cocaine or heroin?
in July 2010, it was announced that terminally-wounded Loaded was to be
sold to a small publisher with a murky reputation. It was the excuse I
needed to leave. I woke up and thought ‘I can’t do this any more’ and
prospect of having to tell Sonny — and his friends’ parents — that I
worked for a company linked to pornography was pivotal. As the father of
a young child, working in such a place would be indefensible.
suddenly wanted to vanish and do something decent with my life. I
became a house dad, which fulfilled me more than Loaded ever had.
Now, nearly two years on, I am ashamed at the way I used to defend my magazine.
And this article by the ex-editor of Girlfriend magazine.
else hear Sarah de Bono’s self-penned song on The Voice and see the
disconnect between her singing about being beautiful on the inside and
her outward appearance - fake hair, loads of make-up, huge shoes, bright
colourful mini dresses - and she says appearance doesn’t really matter?
I saw an ad on a bus for women’s underwear. The point was that the
underwear, shown on an otherwise naked women, is smooth. Surely that’s
not the point. The underwear shouldn’t show under the clothes. The
clothes should be smooth over the underwear. That’s the point. Were
there no women involved in this campaign?
need more women in companies that shape our culture and make decisions
about how women are presented: in advertising, the music industry, film
industry, in theatre. Everywhere. More women making decisions.
Ok, I’ve got that off my chest.
my preparation for the Wordsmiths event at Mamapalooza I found lots of
poems about motherhood. I plan to post them on my blog, when I get a
local feminist friends and I decided at Mamapalooza that we need to keep meeting. We looked
at attending the Country Women’s Association, but they meet during the
day, and we’re not all available then. I’ll try to catch a meeting at
Haberfield on a Tuesday morning, after I teach ethics. Also, I noticed
the f collective have formed a feminist book group. They are the group
that organised a feminist conference in Sydney a few years ago. Eva Cox
is one of the leaders. At the end of the conference they declared
Melinda Tankard Reist to not be a feminist, and I argued with them about
this - it really was out of control - there was no constitution,
process, agenda, minuted meeting in which to present and pass motions or
deliver evidence or present two sides to the case - they just moved
against her - no-one spoke n her defence - it was frightening (if they
come for her, they could come for me.) Anyway, they’ve started a
feminist bookgroup. It seems they’ve met once. Their blog seems to be
focused on happenings at Sydney Uni. Have a look if you’re interested.
Anyway, we’ve decided to start our own group. When we’ve worked out our
regularly meeting time and place I’ll post detail on my blog.
Now, back to catching up on everything else that I’ve postponed for the last few weeks. Believe me, it’s a very long list...