LECTURE 5: ABORTION & CRAZY RADICAL FEMINISTS

So I missed this lecture. I think I was sick? Anyway! I was shocked by the slide that said abortion is illegal in QLD. So I did some research to find out what this actually meant - because I know we have abortions performed by trained medical professionals here, and that they're not all done in a back alley.

I'm sure you all know by now (and probably clarified in the lecture) that abortions are illegal, unless the pregnancy endangers the woman's physical or mental health, etc. So basically, rape, incest and fetal anomalies are not grounds for a legal abortion. Without proof of the above. The first site I visited was Children By Choice which stated that: “If a woman is told at 13 weeks into her pregnancy that her baby will not survive the birth, she cannot lawfully choose to terminate that pregnancy before it dies in her womb.” www.childrenbychoice.org.au/info-a-resources/facts-and-figures/queensland-abortion-law

Which I just found kind of... silly? I mean really? It's almost like the moral of it all is immoral in that situation. Because it's cruel to the mother, forcing her to stay pregnant for however many months, knowing her child will die anyway.

I understand the argument that there needs to be a level of protection for the unborn. But... and I think this relates back to the discussion of religion and women being the root of all evil.... women are not heartless, immoral creatures. Just because abortion is legal does not mean we're going to go around killing all the babies. The mental, physical and emotional impact of abortion is not something that is taken lightly by any woman I know. And I think this quote from Hilary Clinton pretty much sums it up:

“I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision for herself and her family, and not entrusting that decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard.”

Furthermore, during my research I discovered Emily's List on a pro-life page which said that the reason the Labor party is doing so badly is because of the "successful infiltration of the feminist network Emily's List which promotes radical feminist policies that financially manipulate families, and also promotes abortion law reform that allows terminations for any or no reason right up until full-term."
lifenetwork.org.au/_blog/Abortion_in_Australia/tag/Political_Lobby/

Obviously I was curious as to what this Emily's List was and what kind of radical feminist policies they were promoting so I went to their website..... www.emilyslist.org.au

According to them they are "a nationwide network of women using their financial and political influence to support the election of the next generation of progressive Labor women into Parliament." The have a page on their beliefs, on which the headlines were: Equity, Childcare, Equal pay, Diversity and Choice (not pro-abortion, pro-choice).

I mean, WOAH, I do not know if I would support such radical beliefs as those. NO WONDER the labor party are loosing votes if they support equal pay!?!


Lecture 4: Fashion Industry & Body Image

Just on the topic of plastic surgery.
Now I am pretty anti-plastic surgery. Not a big fan at all. I guess because in my personal experiences it is always a result of poor body image and used as a way of 'fixing' something that wasn't good enough. I also want to be able to keep my small boobs and grow old and wrinkly without being the odd one out I guess.

However, someone posted a link to this series of photographs a while ago on facebook and it had this statement by the artist:

angel-_-tiana-004462-copy.jpg

I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves.
Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?
Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand? Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless?
When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity?
Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?

The part that stood out to me was "are we revealing our true character..." because in the past I had always seen plastic surgery as "stripping away our very identity" and replacing a part of us with something fake. But this made me think, we can choose our clothes, our hair colour, what we say and do, we put tattoos on ourselves as a form of self-expression.... so maybe for some people plastic surgery is a liberating way of expressing themselves and being the person they want to be?

I still do not believe it is true in every case - and I believe I need to see an improvement in body image and self love before I can appreciate plastic surgery as something good. But it was a way in which I hadn't viewed it before.

If you want to check out the rest of the photos here's the link :)
www.mrtoledano.com/a-new-kind-of-beauty/02
(Don't worry there's no photos of actual surgeries, it's just portraits of people post-surgery!)


Lecture 3: EVE & VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

First of all, on the topic of Eve. I'm not a religious person, so I know little about Christianity or the bible. But I found some of the quotes from the lecture quite confronting. I was just wondering if there are any Christians in this class, and if so, what's your take on quotes such as "For I do not allow woman to teach, or to exercise authority over men; but she is to keep silent"? I guess how do you think those quotes effect you as a woman in society and within a religious context? Are you okay with them? Do you simply not agree with the lecture notes and see it differently? Please let me know!

Secondly, Victim Blaming! Violence against women within the media came up quite a bit in the lecture notes - and there was a video posted on the 'Slut Walk'.

Victim blaming is a problem in the western world where women are told they shouldn't dress like a slut to avoid being raped. Let's look at this another way: what about the men who wear those singlets that are all the rage at festivals, etc at the moment (you know the ones, gaping arm holes, barely even covers their chest - what's the point really?) or a man who leaves one too many buttons undone on his dress shirt? Does anyone ever suggest they're asking to be raped? If they're going to reveal themselves like that women might not be able to control their sexual urges.....

Victim blaming can be even more extreme in some other countries - where girls as young as 13 years old can be lashed or even jailed as a punishment for being raped whilst the perpetrator is often excused. I read a brilliant article on this a few years ago, but unfortunately I have no idea where I would find it! However, I did a quick google search a found a couple of examples:

In this article a 16yr old was lashed for becoming pregnant as a result of rape. It also mentions another woman was punished because she refused sexual advances made by a relative - so is it a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't situation for women in these countries?
http://www.wluml.org/node/5903

A 15yr old girl punished by her religious community for pretty much the same thing:
http://www.care2.com/causes/15-year-old-girl-punished-by-her-religious-community-for-being-raped.html

And in London, a man was jailed for raping women as a punishment for being on the streets at night - not quite victim blaming - but still a good example of gender inequality.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2091669/Sunny-Islam-Strict-Muslim-raped-4-women-knifepoint-punish-them.html


Lecture 2: SEX vs GENDER

Is biology destiny for girls?

In the lecture and tutorial last week we discussed how biology does determine a girl’s destiny in many parts of the world. I think even in Australia biology definitely still has some influence over our destiny.
Anyway, this lecture made me think of my childhood and my brother’s childhood and how our biology and gender roles shaped our schooling experiences. And in my experience typical gender roles were much more enforced for boys than they were for girls.
I was quite a tom-boy during primary school and early high school. I played a lot of sport and the drums, listened to the music the boy’s liked and wore shorts instead of a skirt most of the time. And nobody ever said anything. It was perfectly acceptable.
On the other hand, my brother was bullied constantly for not being “boy-ish” enough. The funny thing is, I was much more outside my gender role than he ever was. He’d get called names and called ‘gay’ all the time.
Turns out he is gay. He told us a bit over a year ago now. I was actually really surprised but not bothered.
What I found weird though was how everyone else seemed to think I should of known because he acted ‘weird’ since he was toddler (he used to wear my snow white dress).
Personally I don’t think disliking trucks and dirt is weird. And of course a toddler is going to opt to play dress ups and Barbie with his older sister rather than playing by himself right?!
I never considered my brother ‘feminine’ and I still don’t see it. But even if he was, I don’t think it has anything to do with him being gay. Which actually came up in the tute that gender and sexuality are completely different! So I agree!
So yes, I’d actually argue that for young boys in Australia gender roles can be much more difficult to break out of.