Sunday, February 28, 2010
Am finding this whole dress shopping thing vaguely depressing. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to wear: black, scoop neck (or something vaguely similar) dress with empire waist, cut to just above the knee, with black opaque tights and:
Now, I don't. agree. with. this. at. all.
It completely contravenes my feelings regarding love, people, and the notion that the heart knows no gender boundaries, and that marriage should be a right for all regardless of sex or sexual identity. It is at odds with everything I am trying to raise my children to understand - that laws do not dictate love (within reason: we're not talking child brides here, peoples - but then, I tend to think of this as something that is the product of religion more so) so I am at a bit of a loss as to how to circumvent this problem in our ceremony.
I'm not at all comfortable with the exclusive nature of the Australian Marriage Act.
Currently I'm trying to get my head around how I, as a feminist, can not only endorse, but actively engage in something that effectively deliniates one group of society from another, based on something as arbitrary as who they love. Not sexual preference, but love. Because to me, that's what it ultimately boils down to: N and I have (gloriously) realised that we are at a point in our relationship where we've decided, that "yeah, this is it, and it's awesome" and others, who also reach this point, cannot (legally) express this in the same fashion.
Kind of rough, isn't it?
Further, associated with marriage are all sorts of patriachal symbols that I wish to thoroughly disown. I've thought about this somewhat, though, we can condemn the symbols that oppress us, or we can reclaim them, call them our own and effectively repurpose them to represent what we want. It's the same logic I use with my frequent use of very naughty swear words.
Thus, marriage becomes not about possession and submission, but rather, strengthening and sharing the bonds of love, not just with each other, but with everyone else - friends and family alike. And I suppose that's why my family and N's family are overjoyed that we're doing this - (in my mother's words, "about bloody time") because then they too can join in (join hands? Figuratively speaking, NOT literally) and say something along the lines of "hey this makes me really happy".
I just don't like that it's so damned exclusive. And so, I continue to voice my discontent.
So, apart from blathering on about how I never planned a wedding, never dreamt of my wedding day, never envisioned myself getting married (when we played weddings at school, I was the celebrant, when we played mums and dads, I was the crazy aunty that visited occasionally from some far off corner of the world and bought the most AWESOME gifts - and wore funny hats)... and have even outwardly stated that "I don't think I'll ever get married"... but, you know, like in that Ms Jackson song, "forever never seems like a long time till you're wrong".
Mind you, I'm quite happily wrong about this.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Exhibit A: Lady Gaga and her miniature Barbie twin:
and Exhibit B:
Jennifer 'I like to vajazzle my vajayjay' Love Hewitt on her 31st birthday recently, who dressed up as Lady Gaga (note the hair-bow) doing some kooky "OMG LOOK AT ME I'M STILL CUTE" shots:
Really, the trend setter here is Noel Fielding. Or Vince Noir. Or Noel Fielding AS Vince Noir. Or maybe it's just Old Gregg. I don't know.
The point is, no one can rock an elizabethan collar like Noel can. Example:
Exhibit A: Noel Fielding out being awesome, with a decidedly less awesome (in fact, I would argue, incredibly dreary) Lily Allen:
Women with attitude, real attitude (not faux attitude channelled for the cameras) are awesome.
The desire to challenge the boundaries of gender/class/race etc, social constructs that would act as prisons were these women not there to liberate us via constant questioning, pushing and testing these of boundaries... well, these women changed my life.
220g self raising flour (sifted)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa (I think - I can't actually remember if I used this much or more)
1/4 of vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup of skim milk
1 egg (lightly beaten)
150g of chopped dark chocolate and frozen raspberries. I think it was around 100g of chocolate and like, 70g of raspberries, but meh. You can put whatever you want in there (raspberries and white chocolate, for example!)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C). Mix dry ingredients in a bowel and make a well in centre. Mix wet ingredients and pour in to well. Combine, taking care not to over-beat - this makes the mixture tough. Add whatever additional ingredients you were going to add, stir. Pour in to muffin tins lined with patty-pans, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Considering the girls loved the chocolate and zucchini muffins, I imagine they're going to love these.
So, while waiting for these little chocolatey cakes of raspberry goodness to cool (So I could put them away) I was on facebook, reporting racist groups (as I like to do, instead of sleeping). I also joined an anti-racist group, titled '"Abo" is a racist word! Don't say it, use it or think it!" ... apart from my cousin's sarcastic comments (damn it, katey, I thought of it as I read it) I was reminded of the Warumpi Band's seminal tune, "Black Fella, White Fella" - someone wrote a post about it on the wall of the group.
So here it is:
one of the most influential songs and bands in my childhood (and later, as a teen trying to find her feet in terms of social justice) and a song that reminds me of my dear old Uncle Mark (RIP). He was the kind of person that encouraged others to 'stand up and be counted'. Via Mark, I learned of Joh Bjelke-Peterson and his creation of Qld as a police state (replete with corrupt police), of Bjelke-Peterson's support of apartheid in South Africa. Bjelke-Peterson also made public protesting all but illegal, leading to some Liberal politicians crossing the floor to vote against this - the right to association and assembly - people he later accused of being traitors (well, that's the story I hear).
Further, Bjelke-Peterson seemed to do all that he could to continue to disempower and malign Australian Aboriginal people, such as pushing through an act to anull previous Native Title Claims, as well as evicting Fred Hollows and some Aboriginal Elders from a government controlled 'reserve' on the grounds that they were encouraging the Aboriginal people to enroll to vote - Hollows, of course, was there for trachoma work (though... I wouldn't put it past Fred Hollows to have been doing this!).
Bjelke-Peterson was also istrumental in the demise of the Whitlam Government.
Lovely fellow, eh?
So... because of this, and because we can, we must stand up and be counted. As La Passionara said, "better to die on your feet than to live on your knees", or, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, "Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything".
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Case in point - today, when, during a meeting with other Honours students and their supervisors, I felt I either babbled incessantly, or stared at the table intensely, hoping someone else would say anything so that I wouldn't feel the need to continue to blather on about nothing in particular. Fortunately, my supervisor appears to be quite empathetic to this unfortunate condition, as she rescued me on more than one occasion. She's like me, I think, in a short, intense personality kind of way.
Now, because I'm terribly vain, I like to think I'm intense in a Peaches kind of way. Of course, Peaches is brilliant and intense and a musical god, but still, I'd like to think there were parallels between the the more abrasive and challenging aspects of her public persona (she makes no apologies for who she is, indeed, she challenges people to question their presumptions and preconceptions) and myself.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
So, so funny, I don't know how I didn't discover this blog sooner. (Well, I do, and involves having a life, particularly one that incorporates lots of academic study, sport, dogs and children, but it sounds much less dramatic when put like that).
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Ms Razer describes her experiences while buying an RCA lead, and what seems to be an inevitable and entirely predictable exchange with male sales assistant, who acts in such a way as to assume that he wasn't aware that people with vaginas were allowed to go to school and might (God forbid!) know things.
My last experience in this sphere was while trying to establish the cost of replacing the battery in my car's remote control. I spoke to a automotive locksmith, and explained that I had sawed the remote open along its seam with a steak knife, pried the battery off, and that while one of the contacts was already broken (the result of being dropped too many times) I had established that fashioning a makeshift contact out of some tin-foil seemed to work just fine, and can I use a regular battery and would you sell me one please.
With an over-exaggerated sigh, he explained to me that these remotes were single use only, and couldn't be opened (in spite of me telling him I already had) and that purchasing a replacement battery was a mistake because it was NEVER GOING TO WORK BUT WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST A STUPID GIRL. Well, the last bit wasn't actually spoken aloud, you know, but rather, tacit in his tone and slow manner of explanation. So, very patiently, and equally as slowly, I explained to him that not only was I confident it would work, but that at least attempting to fix the unit was preferable to obediently handing over wads of cash that I simply don't have - something I am sure he seemed to think was the only thing I was actually skilled at.
So, steeled by his arrogant presumptions, I called in to a local supermarket, bought a battery and replaced it, sticky tape, tin foil and all. And it works fine. So you know, nyeh nyeh, etc.
I don't know. But I suppose it is one of those very important things that I will need to work out sooner rather than later. Like what we're wearing, and other crap like that. Meh.
Friday, February 19, 2010
What has occurred, at least in my observations, is an evolution of the word 'cougar' to mean, not just a hot, older woman, but a hot, older woman over the age of about 35 (this is not precise, I suspect it could be higher?) who is single, looking for a no-commitment relationship with a similarly hot male approximately 10 years their junior. Conversational ability optional.
What I initially understood it to mean, was a woman who was... perhaps in her thirties, seeking same with hot young rugby players. I suppose the lines are blurred and fundamentally the same, but at the tender age of thirty I witnessed an old school friend refer to herself on facebook as a cougar, so was surprised to eventually learn the age requirements for the label were somewhat higher than initially thought.
What this means, though, for women, is a reinforcement and perhaps prolonging of the sociological imperative to remain 'hot' for as long as they possibly can, equipping themselves with clingy fabrics, spray tans, perhaps a little surgical aid, and a decent amount of hair and makeup.
Now, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a woman's desire to look 'nice' - I want to make this clear. However, it is who this effort is for, that I take umbrage with. Is it really, truly, for the woman, if she is then going out and actively seeking the attentions of much younger males (and presumably, competing with younger women, and their nubile, not-yet-had-children bodies). The answer is, I don't know.
Seeking non-committal sex is fantastic, women are to be lauded for having the confidence and self-assuredness to do this, ignoring social expectations to be demure and chaste and acknowledging their desire for what is fundamentally a physical relationship. After all, the only *real* discernible difference between males seeking casual, non-committal sex and entirely physical relationships, and women, is well, some stupid gendered ideas regarding women's biological imperative as the child bearers/carers and generally downtrodden within the male/female: masculine/feminine paradigm. Which isn't very just or fair, nor is it accurate. Gender identities are, as we all well know, malleable, changeable, and forever in a state of flux. That's how we know that they're not inherited, but rather, socialised - because if they were biological then they would be much, much more rigid, and there would be no categories that fell outside of these binary terms (eg, 'feminine men, and 'masculine' women).
So, with respect to this, I admire and respect the cougars. what I don't admire and respect is, as previously stated, women's societal worth being measured largely by their physical appearance, that is, their attractiveness (via social norms of what is and is not attractive), particularly to the opposite sex.
Can't women have one night stands without the nasty removal of almost all pubic hair (additional issues here with mimicking pre-pubescent girls), tan-in-a-can and very expensive dye and blow-dry?
Men are less so expected to fulfill the same physical requirements - the 'yummy mummy'/milf phenomenon does not necessarily translate to 'yummy daddy'/dilf' with such ease and social acceptance- perhaps because it is still taboo for women to discuss such things so publicly.
I don't know. I do admit that I'm not immune to this, but at the same time, I tell myself that I want to buck these trends/expectations and live my life as *I* see fit, measuring my appearance as a body that grows and nourishes life, is strong and fit (And eventually, athletic), moves and sustains and supports my teammates on the sporting field. With this, comes a level of physical fitness that *happens* to fit desirable images of bodies in current society.
In reality, I know I'm just as vain as everyone else.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Yet, motivation is so....
Which is not to say that I don't want to go through with the ceremony - THAT part I'm actually really excited about. What I'm not keen on, is the organisation of having some kind of 'not-your-average' barbeque, with expectations from friends and family that things should look and be a certain way.
Actually- I don't even care about their expecations... so is it my own that concerns me?
I don't know.
I thought that it'd all be easier once I sorted a dress out. In keeping with this, I kept the girls home from school, and went shopping in an effort to gain some inspiration and ideas on appropriate outfits. In doing so, I was reminded just why I dislike shopping - the arduous process of trudging shop to shop, trying on things and, more frequently, not trying things on because it is clear that they would be unflattering/too small/too long/wrong colour.
Thus, the entire experience becomes extraordinarily depressing, reminding myself that I actually *do* have body issues, reinforced by the presence of my daughters' and their critical eyes.
(not that I begrudge my daughters' presence, by any means!)
So, we are as yet dress-less. I admit though, secretly, the idea of getting a dress at the absolute last minute appeals to me.