Rosemary Jones Full

Week 1 Masculine/Feminine Or A bit of both?

Wiki DiariesCommonly considered masculine feminine traits. The idea of gender in your own mind. Am i very feminine ormasculine Gender: pertaining to the traits most commonly associated with males and femalesIntersex- Mosaic chromosomes- many people have some female and some male chromosomes, and one theorist says ‘We are all on the continuum of the Intersex gradient’ that was a scary thought for me but really makes a lot of sense.The argument of Access vs genetics, which play a role in shaping gender‘One is not born a woman but becomes one’Some of the traits mentioned I have in the past said myself, and this made me rethink them. For instance, I have often complained that a bunch of women together tends to turn into a bitch session or a bunch of trouble, one fighting another. Whereas with men, its pretty simple. If you hang out with women, there are a bunch of conflicting agendas, one trying to manipulate others, some believing the words of another without checking out the situation for themselves or learning the background behind the story, whereas if I hang out with men, there is only one agenda, it is clear, you know what they’re ‘secret agenda’ is, and the motivation behind any manliness contest [pretty much they want to sleep with you or someone else and they’re all trying to figure out who you’re going home with, all you have to do is be clear and say it straight that your taken, they don’t have a chance, but you are happy to be friends, in as public way as possible and they all settle down]. Whenever men fight they do seem to get it all out there and sort it out. But maybe this is because women are taught we shouldn’t be aggressive, so we don’t get to fight it out and get over it?A facebook comment got me thinking, with an article attached, that was proving that men got the flu worse because a study in England proved that the ‘male’ characteristics, or ‘do or die’, and being out there more, and into extreme sports and activities, lowered their immune system. This was almost offensive to me because the ‘male’ and ‘female’ characteristics they applied to the biological model were clearly stereotyped. Men, apparently, are out there working all day, flying away to work, and partying into the night. Men, apparently, do extreme exercise and push themselves to their limits and socialise, thereby increasing exposure to the flu. In comparison, apparently, women, are at home, or in a limited social circle, work stable, limited hours, don’t leave their neighbourhood much, are in bed by ten oclock, and never participate in dangerous sports. Hmm!!! This made me think about my own ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits.I perceive I am feminine because;- I love to dress up, look nice, I like to wear makeup- I can make do with little, and get by- I am creative and can come up with alternative solutions- I cry a lot and express my emotions to others and talk to people about my problems, not always to look for a solution- I can listen to others and be sympathetic, without having to give a solution- I want hugs- I love babies- I can sew and fix clothing and hate throwing food and clothes out- I love reading fictionI perceive I am masculine because- I dislike shopping and I know what I want and get in there and out of there as fast as possible- I dislike fuss - I’m not a details person- I hardly notice my own hair style let alone if someone else gets a haircut- I love to exercise and do slightly dangerous things like jump off things and climb on roofs- I don’t like it when people talk about others behind their back- I often look for solutions for my friends- I rarely leave the house feeling cold or uncomfortable to look good- I love to play rough with kids and animals- I don’t really love baking, interior decorating, can put up with a lot of mess and don’t like romcom movies- I more prefer action, horror, or detective booksBut when I write out these characteristics, it is clearly stereotypical that they fit into either group. For instance, I know so many men who love shopping, love reading fiction, love babies, love hugs, and love to dress up and look nice. They really are human characteristics more than just feminine. And it is completely reliant on culture; some cultures, like Indian, the masculine and feminine are sometimes completely reversed! When I think about my friends, there really is a mix of both in almost everyone, and our narrow viewpoint on what men and women should do, is only loosely applied. There are somethings that men are not able to do, but im still trying to figure out if that is because they have never learned, or because they are made differently. Because it is clear men and women are different. Arent they? They seem to really need to be able to be a provider before they have self confidence. Whereas women seem to be more interested in whether they are able to be emotionally stable or not before they give to others. Is this a cultural construct or is this a real difference? Something to explore.Additionally;Birthing is different for everyone.Women have no reality to compare themselves to and spend so much thought and emotion on an obsession that there's something wrong with them. Think they're meant to have a designer vagina. No labia. Isn't that how women are meant to look like, with the labia? I thought real women, that's just how we are. But when they are so obsessed with it, it does hold them back. And affects their sexuality. The surgery helps them accept themselves. Surely counselling could do the same thing?

Week 2 Is this how its meant to be?

There is a big point to me from the lecture today; that the way things are between men and women now are not necessarily natural or good. Because all my life, Iv been told that it is natural that the man is the head of the house, that it is natural women have to be pretty and feminine to be noticed and approved of, that it is natural and good that women should not be leaders of men, that the only way if you are good is to be a virgin for your husband, that it is natural and good that women are not represented in politics, business, sport, and anything that requires intelligence and determination. This has not just been from my parents, who do not support all of these, but those they do support are because thats how god intends it to be...when God himself has made me naturally as intelligent, determined, focussed as the next man. Although even though they supported unconsciously many of these principles, they really did allow me to be who I am without expecting I behave a certain way because Im a girl- except for the sexuality principle, which i admit has its benefits. This means I have always questioned underneath why I am not in the natural and good order...why do I refuse to accept something Im told because a man told me, why do i refuse to go help with food when the men are having an interesting discussion, Why am I always the one to speak up when I disagree with whats being said? I therefore told myself I should have been born a man. However the last year or so, this perception of what is natural and good has left me questioning how Iv been taught. What if its not 'how it should be', 'the right way', but is just the way it is, could be totally different if history had been different, and therefore I shouldnt accept how I am taught to be?Especially the behaviours expected of my by my Ugandan boyfriend have been difficult. I am happy to give him respect, and do what he says [when I agree with it], I suppose I could learn to occasionnally kneel to him in public so other ugandans think he's the man- if thats what he's ego needs, thats what rocks his boat...although I think its more for my sake, so they respect me as a good wife that he wants me to... but no, it certainly isnt natural!!!This last few years I have been learning the incredible strength of women. How they are the ones that hold it all together normally, how they are the ones that have the strength to quietly lead from the back and let the men jump around and yell while they get all the work done. How they manage to let the man know 'it is natural and good for the man to work his butt off monday and friday, while I 'take care of the children' [in other words hang out with my girlfriends, start a business, leave the kids in daycare]' in some parts of kenya and uganda! who says women are always the losers of this power imbalance? I think throughout the world, women have been subtly, creatively and determinedly getting there own way in many circumnstances. The question is, should they have to be so quiet about it? is it so necessary to the male ego that they look to be the head, and if so, why are they so easily threatened? do they think we naturally have all the strength and power and so they have to keep us down so they are not overthrown? Is it because in any healthy relationship, women get to choose when they have sex, leaving the man at her mercy? They must be delicate creatures indeed if they need this farce, and constant struggle for dominion in so many different ways. They have to constantly work to make it hard for women to rise, to make us a slave to our insecurities, appearance, and unable to fight against the norm, because they are terrified of us?I'm currently reading the count of monte cristo for the first time and I have to say my favourite character is one called Eugene Dangers. For the whole book she has been described as unliked for being too masculine, men don't want to marry her and women find her strange. Her qualities of self confidence, security, independence, intelligence and strength are all seen as unfavorable for a woman and constantly negatively compared to the feminine women who possess the womanly characteristics of timidity and unsureness, also fainting and crying often. Her one desire is to remain unmarried to be an artist, to have her freedom, but her father keeps trying to marry her off to get money. Her mother is afraid of her strength and willpower and wants to marry her off. She goes about her business with forethought and determination so is seen as a manly, masculine, unnatural. Eventually she cuts her hair and runs off as a man with her female music teacher. This timid music teacher finds it strange, that when Eugene behaves as herself, she cannot help give her the respect that in that time only men are given, and the only way she can get her head around it is to see her friend as a man because women arent strong. The author clearly admires her, and his negative comparisons seem partly out of sarcasm against the social norm, but the French society of her day view her as a deviant. Now women can possess these qualities and still be women, but they are still seen as competition for men, and are therefore not seen as marraige material, or partner material. They often have trouble finding men they can respect, and sometimes end up being the victim of those domestic violence cases, because the man only wants to tame her as a tribute to his own masculinity. We are taught in most dating advice things, to put on a shown of 'femininity', or subordination, to 'let him be the man', to let him 'be in control'. And really, this seems to be the only way men can be in a relationship and be happy, feel secure, and confident. Is this natural? Is this good? I dont know.

Week 3

Nature vs Nurture

Is it just natural? That men have more ambition, more drive, and more confidence in themselve, overestimate their own abilities? Could it possibly be that every society since adam and eve had it wrong in so many ways, that it is not a natural thing that men work while women have children? Im a bit confused. Does it mean that each modern society has taught their children from a very young age that men are ambitious and work, and women are nurturing and have babies, and to try to do both is disastrous? and that because they have been taught this, they have started to think like this, and their brains have been shaped to be like this? But if they have been shaped like this, can a woman ever step out of this, without so many rocks being thrown at her that she falls down? I always think of the monkey experiment where the monkeys are in the cage and have to climb up a ladder to get a bunch of bananas, and to start with they are electricuted if they try and reach the they stop. Then a new monkey is brought in, and tries to climb for the bananas, but before he can be electricuted all the other monkeys pull him down. Then one by one all the monkeys are replaced with new ones, until none of the original monkeys- who had expereinced the zap, were left, but when a new one came in and tried to climb the ladder, they all pulled him down without even knowing why- thats just what you do...Day to day, a society that has trained the oppressed women to be the ones themselves who keep themselves down- that is a succussful propaganda! Imagine the extreme, where in Nazi germany, all the Jews were to kill each other, if they beleived the propaganda, or to push themselves into labour camps...

Like the woman in this article beleives can have it all, and men too, but not the way society is now. It just isnt possible. Men are not allowed to be involved in childcare more- they experience strong resistence by other mums, other dads, other people, their job, everyone...its just not what you do. And women are not allowed to let go of some of their anxious responsibilities, instead of workplace possibility increasing freedom, now women have tenfold pressure of not jsut being a great mum and attractive, and a good wife, but also having a good career and somehow balancing it all...unless the roles of women are changed, and the roles of men are changed, they cannot possibly allow both men and women to have it all together. and Men are not allowed to want this, Women are not supposed to want this...Tricky.I agree with what Sandberg said in the movie, that when a women starts thinking of babies, it is often weeelll in advance of when they come [for instance when I turned 16 for me], and they immediately start compromising and striving for less to make room for this eventual person that needs their attention...leaving a life left unlived! A life that is not complete without that child that has been made room for, and a woman who has lived half her life in preparation for them....If this is a christian value, that 'women will be justified by the bearing of children' then it ignores the fundamental claims of Christ... that he 'came to give life, and give it in abundance ... to all who follow him' and that 'there is no slave or free, male or female, rich or poor in christ, but all have been called to follow him'. This disagrees strongly with the beleifs pushed down our throats through churches, through societies, in other cultures because of christianity, that womans responsibility is just to bear children and be a good wife...In fact this means women and men who live and enforce this are missing their primary responsibility...the responsibility to lay aside these previous beleifs, and to see themself not as a woman or man with certain roles, but as a child of God, who is here to help their needing neighbour, which I see as something which can only be done in the change of society...So as a woman, I have decided, that My responsibility is to reach and keep reaching, to live life to the full, to not compromise, or settle for less, to not settle for the status quo of 'your a woman', but to raise children who can continue this struggle, and be loved, to have a relationship with my Man which is an example of what can be possible, and which allows him and me to do more than our roles say we can, to still be a woman not try and be a man, and Iv got no idea how im going to do all this and it is going to be very hard, but i think i need to start waking up earlier!!Maybe, just maybe, the roles can start to will see woman as a person as strong as them but differently, with differences that are not 'bad' but just different, and can start accepting these differences as just as normal as their own person...and in fact start seeing two normals instead of one. Is it possible to increase the norms of society to fit women in? And how can this be done? Anne-Marie Slaughter'The best hope for improving the lot of all women, and for closing what Wolfers and Stevenson call a “new gender gap”—measured by well-being rather than wages—is to close the leadership gap: to elect a woman president and 50 women senators; to ensure that women are equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives and judicial leaders. Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.'But how can this be done when society has to change before women will be elected?The ones who are elected have to be superwomen...'Consider the number of women recently in the top ranks in Washington—Susan Rice, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Michelle Gavin, Nancy-Ann Min DeParle—who are Rhodes Scholars. Samantha Power, another senior White House official, won a Pulitzer Prize at age 32. Or consider Sandberg herself, who graduated with the prize given to Harvard’s top student of economics. These women cannot possibly be the standard against which even very talented professional women should measure themselves. Such a standard sets up most women for a sense of failure.'Men dont have to be...

Week 5 Claiming My Body

I guess this lecture was a bit old news for me in many ways, because I have had to come so far in regards to my body. Iv come from a place of having an eating disorder for about 2-3 years, anorexia with some bulimia, and my body was the constant topic in my mind. There was not a second of the day i was not obsessing about it. For me this started because of depression/anxiety that was undiagnosed, and was channelled, through an upheaval in my life of moving to another town with no friends and doing an intensive course, into an obsession with control of the one thing that I should be responsible for- if I couldnt even attain the ideal I saw in magazines and everywhere, of being so thin, by watching my intake, then I wasnt worth a damn. To be truthful I loathed myself and my body with every ounce of my strenght. I remember being hungry successfully for three months straight, then forcing myself to eat beyond fulness for six months, then being hungry again for another year. And the only thing that stopped this was anti-depressants, and the realisation that I was not going to survive without ending my life if I didnt take real control of the wish for control---meaning to let go of something. I began working to reinvent my mind, challenging the thoughts, continually replacing those patterns i had relied on to measure myself by, and doing the things that my body really needed. I decided that the key was to never say no to what i wanted to eat again- if i wanted a pie, i had to eat a pie, and was not allowed to say no. I dont know why it all worked, but over a year It really did. I was able to go back to the gym and enjoy exercise instead of fuelling my self hatred with mirrors...I was able to enjoy eating with friends...i gave up being a vegetarian...reversed my malnutrition...stopped being a nightmare to my family and close friends for neurosis and wierd food demands...could eat in public and eat out...stopped counting the calories of every meal...successfully didnt own a scales or tape measure...enjoyed wearing my clothes...and somewhere along the way I learned to love my body. To find it beautiful. Sexy, enjoyable, everything I wanted from a body. An expression of ME! no-one else. I realised, sure I couldnt be like that girl, but no matter how much she wanted, she couldnt look like me either- no one else in the whole world gets to look like me or be me! I found life, instead of being unbearable, to be full of joy and emotion and good things and bad but bearable things. And i learned to see when women complained about being bad by eating food, or by not overexercising, or hating on their bodies, that it was just a culture, and I could opt out. So I did. I found friends from africa, from a culture where food was rare and should be appreciated, and if a woman could be curvy she was beautiful and sexy, and this was so challenging to me and offered an alternative that was healthy to that culture, that I chose that mindset. Now I go to the gym and work hard to get a big butt, and eat as much as i can so I dont lose any curves, weigh myself if i think im looking skinny and eat more if iv lost weight. ironically my metabolism has sped up and i have to eat a lot now. I find that wherever I go, this mindset is completely counter cultural. the women in magazines look like aliens now with big heads and over emphasised features staring out of bones...I worry for them! The girls complaining about calories when there are hungry children and oppressed people...its all kind of...wierd now. And women find me wierd sometimes cause I have opted out of this culture, because to them, this is normal, to hate your body, its not a culture, it is the natural way of being. But our bodies are so wonderful, and strong, and they are us! when I get stressed, i get the flu, when I am happy, I have lots of energy., when I am tired, my emotions are wierd...My body is me in physical form. And what I do with my body is an expression of me. THe scars are stories, the peircings are to remember my struggle with depression and anorexia. How could I hate me when Im so gorgeous!!

Week 6

Children...our purpose, our hope, our choice?

I have really done this a lot. I think I have overactive hormones, in that I often really want a baby, I have been pregnancy testing myself pretty regularly since I have had my boyfriend, and even though I know the timing isnt right...When your body wants something, it is pretty impossible to say its not what you want. I am my body! so my wants and needs are regulated by my hormones- scary stuff.But a few things that make you consider, why do we have babies?the movie, 'Children of men', explores what happens when all the women on earth stop having babies. After 20 years, almost total breakdown of society occurs. Why? Because there is no hope left? the people in the movie seem to see that there is no purpose to life without babies....there is no future. Human kind is at an end. And on an individual scale, when you discover you cannot have babies, you are at an end, the buck stops with you, there is no carrying forward of your genetic material, your composition, your beleifs, allergies, worldview, one to remember you after the next generation. No one to make your mark for you on the world when you are gone. SO is that it? that children are our chance to make our mark on the world if it hasnt been made big enough by ourselves? are children our second chance?This all seems so selfish, that we have children almost entirely for ourselves. A chance to make a mini me, but to make them better. And i think once children come along, we realise [maybe when we are teenagers], that this is somewhat false. They may choose to have the same beleifs, but it is their choice. They are each a unique individual. We get to have influence over shaping them, teaching them how to decide what they beleive, how to guide themselves through life, but if they dont want anything to do with your mark, thats it. second chance over... we are very hopeful arent we?This week I had a huge and very emotional argument with my boyfriends best friend, a ugandan, over womens role in society. It upset me alot, but one thing left me thinking; he said women have a responsibility to give life, a responsibility to have children. It is a different way of seeing things from anything Iv considered, and despite overpopulation, this is a little bit true, because if we dont [and we are the only ones who can], humanity ends. Sometimes I think this wouldnt be such a bad thing, what with the suffering and destruction of earth and the constant 'slave class' that seems to exist everywhere....But maybe we should consider ourselves to earn the right to take care of ourselves. To value ourselves, to not work or work as we wish....But does that mean a woman who cannot have children has no purpose or worth? Then I seek the ugliness of this opinion. The way of being treated as a babymaker, the restriction of your activity to give the best chance of fertility and childs health and limit any risks to that [including stress and with it every occupation]. Does that mean Men should be limiting every possibly thing that could affect their fertility and fatherhood abilities? why is there always such a huge double standard?Something I have also been observing recently is how society views mothers. It gives two clear, separate pictures of motherhood....One, the successful, prepared, planned, educated, wealthy, 30-40 year old woman, strutting around with her pregnant belly, looking smug, fit, in fashionable clothing, going to pre-labour classes with her sensitive partner, having read every book on parenthood, still working but has her maternity leave all ready and her birth partner educated and ready, her hair and nails done in preparation....and the poor, either very young or a little bit too old, woman, with optional missing teeth and old tramp stamp, bad, old hair dye job, unfashionable clothing, migrant, white or indigenous, smoking, possibly single, pregnant with three bawling, dirty children behind, an air of desparation and 'oops', one more mouth to feed, well this is my seen as successful, with all the skills, who can be the perfect mum and still sexy, maybe even return to work... the other couldnt get a job if she tried- she dropped out of school young, maybe as a cleaner, but she hasnt got much time, only the doles so low....Why are there two such distinct pictures? are we threatened with one if we dont succeed at the other? what if we dont want to be in either? Young mums these days are often labelled as one, when its not so. But we're told that we need so many things for children, that if we want to have children we are going too need lots of money. Why do we need so many things? Our grandparents would have thought about budgeting after children, not before, they relied on 'gods blessing' to see how many children they had. Now we have contraception, so we have 'control' and therefore the responsibility to give our child the very best, to plan before and ensure they have all the opportunities available. And if we dont, we are seen as bad parents, who will have children who have children early and will be uneducated. Like if we dont give the children all these things that are being sold to us for them, they will be a failure.But is this just one more capitalist trap? a threat, that if we dont make money, plan, and most importantly, buy buy buy, we will be failures and labelled as the second, desparate mum? That now the things being sold to us, as we move into this second age of childbearing, instead of makeup and new clothes, there is maternaty clothing, the very best bra, that personal trainer to get fit afterwards, the violin lessons- because music makes kids smart, the child psychologist- because bullying brands children for life!, the electronic goods to keep the children quiet so we could have a desparate moments quiet....Or is there another picture we can bring into society, change society to shape...the picture of a participating father and mother, giving instead of things, the goods to their children of nothing so the child learns ot self entertain, and a good friendship network of families with other kids, of no supervision so the child learns to be their own this possible? Other cultures show pictures more like this. Maybe its time we just accept there is no 'perfect mum', 'perfect family', they come in all shapes and sizes, and buying things never made a child happy [for longer than a day...]what do you think?But I do think, that if women are needed to have and raise babies for the good of society, than maybe this should be a legitimate, paying, public government position, with 'days off', easy access to childcare.... Giving these forms of legitimacy I think would go a long way to reducing the poor level of respect given to mothers or fathers who choose to do this job, and I think reduce dramatically levels of depression in stay at home mothers [and fathers in the raising aspect]! Maybe a certificate in early child care or child psychology could help those who want to.

Week 9

A few weeks ago, I went on a hens trip with my friends to Byron Bay. Something they said made me feel like screaming, but I knew they’d already heard enough from me about social injustices and how our society is bad for us. But they all, sitting around a table, agreed that if women ran the world, once a month, for a week, all men would be told to hide, because we all go crazy when we have a periods and it could result in world war 3. I wanted to tell them that that very perception is what still holds women back from management jobs, that if they believed it, how could they convince others it wasn’t true in order to get a decent job, that it was a belief that lived in last century!! I just couldn’t believe that this is a common belief, and women have no problem confirming this with each other. Do they even question what they hear on TV? Its no wonder they believe the latest refugee on boats propaganda, and think my involvement with the brisbane sovereign embassy is highly dangerous [after all they are indigenous and they are IN THE PARK!!!!]. After I heard that, and felt they were sick of my pro-women, pro-people, anti-capitalist stance, I just sat back a bit and thought about culture, and how it could possibly be changed. Im still forming my view about this…

But I have to say its no wonder I have very few Anglo-Australian friends and very many non-anglo, non-australian friends…But then, the friends I do make from other cultures really are extraordinary people, and there are many in our culture also...just the culture makes it tricky to find them! Actually this is a real problem for me. For some reason I am a person who finds it easier to be friends with someone, despite extreme differences in opinion if they are from another culture- after all that makes sense, they have a completely different worldview...But when it comes to people from my own culture, I just cant understand when they dont see it as I do; when they dont see that people are suffering, when they dont see that the government is benefiting from people suffering, when they dont feel compassion for the people on boats but anger...and they eventually get angry at me for not seeing their point of view. Iv found that people from other cultures- not all, but perhaps with the migrant personality bias I have met some most extraordinary people, after all they are people who can live within another culture with tolerance, accept these opinions from me, and can accept me as a person with these opinions much easier, whether they agree or not. Maybe their experiences with blatantly dodgy systems and governments, and the sufferingin their third world communities resulting from capitalism, make it easier for them to beleive/see similarities here. So I am left with very many friends cross-culturally, and very few of my own culture. Interestingly many in family share more of my beliefs than I had expected- the anglo-Australians and the solomon islander side of my family, but perhaps that is what has made me the person I am.

When we were talking in lecture, there were a few points that stood out for me. Firstly, Its clear that we have a few examples of the fashion of ideas that seems to occur in society; how one century men are seen to have one trait, the next century/decade its given to women…for instance its said now that a man can have energy for his brains or be good in bed, but not have both, whereas it was said a century or so ago that if women nurtured their brains their reproductive organs would fail.
It seems thoughtout history, much of mental illness for women has been as a result of a repressing, boring social role, from abuse from their superior male counterparts, from menial labour…So what is interesting, is why is there now so much mental illness? If women- as most men will concur for hours; are not repressed but are in fact repressing men, why are the mental illness levels so very high for women? And has this got stronger in time, or is it just more recognised? And the things I wonder about myself sometimes, Sometimes I feel that I must be crazy. And when I think about it, it is because I am doing things that every other woman on the planet must want to do but cant [because its seen as crazy], or do and are told they are crazy too. Why cant men just accept that a woman doesn’t have to be the same as a man, that we are different and that our differences are just as good as our similarities? Why do they think that we are the crazy ones and not themselves. Why are their no societies run completely by women and for women? Why do women allow themselves to continue the propaganda and even find it funny?

October 9 Week 10

It is interesting that society tends to blame homosexuality on women, as if the men didn’t get enough attention or the wrong type from women, and so ‘she got into them and turned them queer’. One question, is why isnt this his fault for being so obsessed with women, that he wanted to become one?
Even in the twisted perspective the consequences of this opinio don’t make sense!
We haven't always been consistent;social constructionism says we make stuff up as we go along, we change what we think, just because its right now doesn't make always right. I really liked this point, because people seem to forget that we change what we label as ‘natural and good’ each decade at least, and don’t even question that their perspective is the only right one, even though last year a different perspective was the only right one and next year a different one again!

One thing the lecturer said I have observed as very true. If you say you are gay, it is assumed that is you, your identity. I have noticed this phenomena in different settings, with every different prejudice. For example if you are black, and someone is racist, all they see is your blackness and the associations they have against that; they don’t look you in the eye and see a person. Labelling is a very powerful and blinding trick of the brain! People with disabilities and mental illness experience this, and we are starting to see campaigns to change some groups labelling. Here are some great examples of campaigns to change how we see specific groups.

dis.jpg [mental illness, time to change] [disability employment advert]


So as well as receiving a Label, as though it is a disease, or a disability, Gay women are receiving a sexualised label, which apparently makes many different forms of sexualised treatment appropriate, after all; she’s gay. So while it is seen as harmless; she is a woman, therefore she doesn’t have the option to use sexuality as a weapon [apparently], it is still seen as an unfortunate situation that is either not her fault [if the person percieves it to be hereditary or a choice stemming from abuse from men], or is her fault but its not going to hurt anyone else, is just a silly fad. But people don’t usually look this far at the start, it seems that until they know the GAY person, they seem to miss the person bit, and only really notice the GAY part. No wonder mental illness is such a common illness in LBT women, it must be hard to make friends. Girl friends will be continually looking for any hint of you cracking on to them, and Guy friends may a) try to turn you, b) suggest a 3some, or c) see you as a threat. Perhaps. Some people find it easier to just treat a gay woman as a man. This is ignoring a large part of her in order to focus on a small part- she is a woman. She has the body, the hormones, the pressures from society as a woman…she may not want to be a man in the slightest! And surely who she is attracted to is not the most important thing about someone? I find this with my black friends. How other people approach them really shows them they are black, and half the time I get confused because they are my friends- Iv forgotten they are black. All that means is they only have to wear sunscreen if they are out all day. And when I am with them and a new black person comes along and is introduced to me, for a while, I really realise that I am white. Really really white- because until they adjust to me being a person as well, they treat me like a white person. And I’m not used to that. Im used to being treated as a person, by other people of all shapes and sizes, colours…I really don’t like it. But I have had to come to accept, that yes I am white. And for some people that really is going to set me apart, they are going to see me as beautiful, bitchy, bossy, controlling, tender-hearted, rich, uncaring, slutty, easy, religious, easy-going, tough…and for everyone it may be a different association, but that is how I will be seen. It is good to see the slight transition of people who get to know me, and realise that I am a person, just like them [but with differences as well], and see them as a person, just like me, and that our similarities and differences are far more than our shape, colour, gender…Because they start to treat me as a friend. So for someone that is Gay, who comes out or chooses to be Gay or Bisexual, for someone who has a disability, for someone who is affected by mental illness, for someone who is a minority…It must be hard to carry around your sexuality, gender, disbaility, mental illness every time you meet someone new or have an acquintance or friend who wont let you forget! Its time people realise that you don’t only think about that aspect of yourself, that that is just one aspect, and you don’t need to carry their associations of it every second of the day thankyou! Get over it already.


Week 11 October 16th

It seems Australia is facing some new health and social problems in history. A major one is that the system we have in place now, is not giving older women the rights of everyone else- rights to enough food, social supports, wellbeing, respect. Because of the way society is shaped, and was shaped when these women were living, they were not working and earning a super annuation, and were dependent on their husbands wages. The system seems designed under a belief that this is enough, that husbands (being socially conceived as stronger) will outlast their wives and take care of them, so social welfare doesn’t need to. When in fact, all the evidence points to a different factor- that women live longer and have the ability of independence similar to men, meaning in older age they can not work to support themselves. This means there is a large quantity of older women, who are left widowed, receiving a pension which is really insufficient, and unless like my grandma, their husbands prepared for when they were gone, they end up living on a cup of soup, a sandwich and three cups of tea a day. And of course, because they are socially constructed to be accepting, quiet and modest, they may believe they are only worth this, that they should not complain, that they should not speak out or ask for help. And sadly in our individualistic culture, we are taught that each individual should be able to care for themselves, so it is shameful to ask for help- even from those you raised. I can only imagine the levels of depression in such quiet, isolated, struggling lives, but the high levels of osteoporosis for example, speak for themselves, that such a diet is insufficient. And many admissions to nursing homes find that the women are malnutritioned, and are glad to be somewhere there are other people and you get three meals a day. We’ve all been in nursing homes, and if that is a step up for some people, their home lives have a potential to be very sad. I struggle with nursing home concept- there are so many of them! In other cultures, a happier ideal is possible; the family cares for the older person and they are revered not shut away. But here they are entirely necessary; older people are a burden when they live so long, when each person in the family is working [no stay at home women], when they had few children so there may be four older people on two younger people who have little income [reminds me of a book I know]. I used to wonder when the grandparents in charlie and the chocolate factory went to the toilet or had their sheets changed, because I doubt charlies mum could have cleaned them all in the bed!

When the culture says young is beautiful, Old is ugly and should be avoided, there is no benefit in growing old, and it should be avoided or delayed as long as possible. When the culture says the only real purpose in a womans life is being beautiful and having children- neither of which is possible when old is considered ugly…When the culture says your money should go to making you feel good and trying to be happy, and you have no time or responsibility for anyone else. So nursing homes are the most humane place to put unwanted, long living parents, who are isolated, unable to be independent, cannot cope in their home alone, have incontinence and other inconvenient problems…At least they are getting fed. From having worked in various nursing homes, and seen the majority having little or no family or friends… being treated by staff as an inconvenience, being full of women with few men…It is the last place I would like to be. But what if being in the community is just as bad? Being sick, hungry, alone, treated disrespectfully…Im sure not everyone has it that badly. But my own opinion now is that because the old women are shut away and not kept a part of daily life, young people today don’t have the ability to see a purpose in life once you are not young. They have become selfish consumers, beleiving this is the only good time of their life, so they should live it to the full, they have the duty to society to be as beautiful as they can, and they are the most valued members of society. This passes the messages that wisdom, compassion, knowledge, learning…are all of lesser value to beauty and youth. No wonder there is such a huge pressure on women of all ages to hide their age, be thin and beautiful, or hide themselves.