Week 11 - Same Sex Relationships
Week 10 - Women and Mental Health
Hysteria (2011) Great movie!

After this lecture, I went home and downloaded a copy of the 2011 movie Hysteria. Absolutely loved it, it was a fantastic portrayal of exactly what we were talking about and I recommend it to everyone. I loved how they portrayed ‘hysteria’ in the beginning, as they showed a number of women being constellated for the disease. One woman was a widow who “i shouldn't be having these thoughts at her age”, another young (unmarried) woman was crying hysterical for no apparent reason, and another said “it’s not that I don’t love my dear harry, it’s just these wild thoughts I keep having”

On the topic of hyteria, i've started reading a book called "Nymphomania: a History" by Carol Groneman. If you a book with with a passion for history and sociology, like me, then this book is worth a read. They go through a number of cases of women in the 1800's - 1970's who have been sent to medical doctors for Nymphomania and like the movie Hysteria, a number of them were locked away in mental institutions or given hysterectomies, to control their madness. You can read the blurb at:


Another point that was brought up in the lecture was the use of speed as a weight-loss drug. I spoke about this with my partner at home and he showed me a movie called Requiem for a Dream (2000). The movie follows the drug use, from start to finish, of 3 different people who are all intertwined somehow. The most chilling story line was the mother who started off on diet pills to lose some weight to go on a game show. Again, highly recommended for anyone who's ever even considered weight loss drugs.

Week 8 - Violence against women, Australia says No!
I have never experience domestic violence in my life, and for that I am grateful. I’ve been told before that domestic violence isn’t just physical, but also emotional, psychological and sometimes so minute and manipulative that the victim isn’t even aware. Now that I think about it, I have seen glimpses of domestic violence I wouldn’t have previously labelled as DV. When a friend of mine was pregnant, she reluctantly moved to Rainbow Bay after her partner threatened to kill himself if she didn't come with him. She was 17, had just been expelled from high-school, couldn't drive and was so reluctant to live so far away from her parents. Isn’t this abuse? But who do I report it to? He has never laid a hand on her, but guilt’s her every day with treats to hurt himself and leave his baby fatherless. Where are the services for these women?

The rule of thumb also make me shudder and the quote ‘he who loves well, punishes well’ baffled me. I could not begin to imagine what it would have been like to have treated as a man’s property. To be categorized as the same worth as horses or pigs or land. To be married off because child baring was my purpose, or to be sold because I was much worth as much to my family as a cow that would provide income, where as I would not. To be married to man who I knew would wil
fully hit me! These concepts and ideas seem so unrealistic to my generation, I’m truly grateful to be a woman of this time.


Another thing that was mentioned in the lecture was how domestic violence effects the economy. This is evident all though the poverish regions of Africa, where women are still sold as property, raped and murdered without rhyme or reason. In the 90's, Oprah Winfrey pledged $10 million to start a leadership school for girl in Africa. It's all based on the notion that once you educate a woman, she will educate her children, and they will educate there's. This is the key to breaking the poverty cycle: Education!

See her video at: http://www.oprah.com/entertainment/Oprah-Winfrey-Leadership-Academy-for-Girls

Also, on a brighter note, I had to look up Reclaim The Night! I sussed out their website (below) and joined the facebook forum and did a little bit of investigate and decided I will be attending this year :D. Its on the 26th October 2012!check out: http://womenshouse.org.au/reclaim-the-night-brisbane-2012/

Finally, I thought I'd end with "Soooo who remembers this ad from tv?" Violence against women? Australia says No! and all the parody's it started? I think I was in high school when this ad came out, and still, as a 16/17 year old i was mortified by the fact that so many people could take the piss on such a serious topic.


Week 7 - Gender Roles
Another thought provoking lecture. The point about women in combat probably stuck with me the most. The military is really not my thing, so i had to do a little research on the topic. I never realised that sex and sexuality were such huge topics of debate in the army, and that the notion of putting women in the front line of combat had sparked up so much contravesy. I found papers and news articles on; how men and biologically more capable then women, the psychological hinerance that a woman in the front line would bring to her male peers, economical factors (which i think someone mentioned in the lecture! aparently those seprate toilets would be costly) and the 'impact' it would make to the Australian family. Funnily enough, Australia wouldn't actually be the first country to put women on the front line: Canada, New Zealand and Israel already do so.

This raises my next point, when and where is it ok to clearly separate people because of their gender? Where is that line? We want to end the separation of men and women in the army, but what about separation of girls and boys in high-school (in the private sector)? Or boys and girls sporting teams?

Week 6 - the 'Right' time
In tutorial #5 (Monday of week 6) we watched a mono-log by Eve Ensler about her body. It was powerful, memorable and very moving. Her perception of her relationship with her body was what really spoke to me. It made me question the relationship i have with my body, not just what i think of the stretch marks here and the sagginess there, but how my body physically and my persons mentally, work together. After much thought i can honestly say I love my body. It's not perfect, but god is it a machine. After everything it's been through, wih child birth, cancer, and serious abuse of alcohol it still keeps up with the demanding schedule that my mind sets.

It’s taken me a little time to post this, but I thought I’d share my story in regards to the ‘right time’ to have children. (sorry, its long)

A fortnight before my 21st birthday, I found out I was pregnant, a week before my 21st birthday, I found out I had ovarian cancer and endometriosis. Medical staff said they legally couldn’t advise me whether or not I should keep the baby. I was young, broke, in debt, hadn’t finished my degree, and was not in a relationship with the father.

I had no idea what to do, and was being jabbed, poked and invaded as the testing continued to see how far the cancerous cyst’s had developed. The words chemo, hysterectomy, and medical abortion were all thrown out there around me. I was terrified. The idea of being completely infertile at such a young age shook me as a woman. What would a man ever want with me if I could give him children?

A female doctor sat me down to go over the results. She told me how lucky I was to have fallen pregnant when I did. I was shocked, “is she mad? I’m 21!” I thought. “I’m going to be fat and alone single mother with no money! That’s not lucky that’s sad!” She said I wouldn't need chemotherapy, they caught it early enough that the ovary would just need to be removed with key hole surgery and a few years on some medication. She asked me when I had planned to have children, I said 28? Maybe 29? Like my mum. She pointed out, that if I had left child bearing to that age, they would have never found the cysts, and an extra 7 – 8 years of development would have resulted in chemotherapy and a full hysterectomy. Technically, this baby saved my life.

So when is the 'right time'? When it’s socially acceptable? When there’s enough money? When I finish my education? Being a young mum is hard. Sometimes we don’t have enough to pay the bills and we often resort to charity hand-outs. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.

IMG_3545.JPG The little man who saved my life :) - Lara E. Nowland

Week 5 - Distorted Images
For those in Monday's tutorial, check out the toddlers and tiara's star 'Honey Boo Boo Child', and tell me she is not a product of adult manipulation:

Also, on the subject of the characteristics that are deemed 'feminine', "less aggressive" is not something I would associate with the modern young woman. Last week, I went to the Ekka Races as a friend of mine was managing the bar and offered me free entry. Having been to the races in previous years i know it can be pretty messy, with drunk men starting fights and trying to pick up women. However this was far from the case this year. Before i even entered the gates at 11am i saw a girl in a beautiful dress be denied entry for being to intoxicated. I also witnessed 2 girl fights that resulted in police intervention and several women being escorted out of the races for being intoxicated and abrupt. My friend who managed the bar said that over all it was the women who were the worst behaved this year, not the boys.

On the subject of week 5's lecture, I really enjoyed Angela's lecture! So much I can relate to, particularly the concept distorted images. I'm this weeks memoirs, I'm going to focus on the latest and currently most powerful forum: Facebook.

For starters, i mentioned in the lecture a diet run by a fitness model, called Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge - www.abbbc.com.au. (If anyone would like a copy of the diet, particularly dietetics students, email me lara.nowland@hotmail.com). For $69 you get a 'guide to clean eating', not a diet or a plan, which condemns fruits and vegetables such as lettuce and cucumber, as they contain 'too much sugar', as well as access to a forum of bitchy carb-hungry women. The woman who run's the site has no qualifications beyond a year 12 certificate.
Here are some 'before and after' images from their site of successful clients. that I found disturbing.560904_380213198700125_1153320018_n.jpgFrankly, i think they were both beautiful before.399396_388425237878921_1186650174_n.jpg
Also wanted to comment on the power of photo shop and digital editing... but sadly Wiki wont let me upload photos. I've got some great photos of the Lara you see in class every week and the Lara the media thinks I should be.

- Lara

Week 3 - The Modern Mum
The thing that suck with me most from week 3’s lecture was a quote that John Howard made in 2006:
‘Fortunately, I think today's younger women are more in the post-feminist period, where they don't sort of measure their independence and freedom by the number of years they remain full-time in the workforce without having children’

In short, Mr Howard is implying that women have made their feminism points, and should go back to having children sooner. This upsets me. He is making a big assumption about a woman’s position once she has a child, one that is unfortunately has been assumed of myself. Apparently, once a woman has a child or children, that that is it for her. For the next 18 years she is confined to a life on nappy changing booger wiping and school lunch making. THIS IS A TERRIBLE MISCONCEPTION!

However, there is this unfortunate social attitude that women who work full time, are bad mothers, and that their children are just flung into crèches at 8 weeks (the minimum age for most childcare facilities). Again, a tragic misconception. Believe it or not, but it is possible to find a balance between home, children, work and self.
story of my life.jpg
(i thought this was an accurate portrayal of the modern day mother, and summed up my point)
A portrayal of this negative attitude recently is in the ad for channel 9’s new series ‘House Husbands’. It hasn't aired yet, but in the ad the working women/wife says “you know what they say about people like me, working mothers and all”. Personally I can’t wait to see this series, and to see how they address the subject of gender ‘rolls’.

See the sneak preview of house husbands here: http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8469113

Also, I wanted to ask a question here. For the website assignment, I have chosen to focus on women returning to work and study after having a baby, and was wondering if anyone else is doing the same topic and would like to work together on the group presentation?

- Lara E. Nowland

Week 2 - Gender v Sex
Well, week two has certainly touched on a number of issues that I either felt very passionate about or had a strong opinion on. I won’t rant on about all of them, but here are the two that raised a few questions…

First, the top Gender v Sex is something that I really relate to. As the title suggests, I’m a feminist trying to raise my 16 month old son the best way I can, and it has made me more aware of the gender stereotypes we force upon kids. For many years I worked in a kids stationary store called smiggle. Often little boys who picked out a pink pencil cases or a purple sparkly pencils, were told by their parents that they had chosen wrong and to go back and pick something more boy like. However, when the girls picked green or blue stationary, not a word was said. If feminism is about equal rights between the sexes, then why is it alright for girls to be ‘boyish’ (which is known as being a tom-boy), but if a boys acts feminine, he is labelled with negative sterotypes (Gay, metrosexual, mum’s boy)?

The second topic that interested me was the subject of “what are breasts for?”. Are they a object of sexual desire or built in baby feeding devices? Why in a society where we all know that breast is best for baby, do we still see them predominantly as objects of sexual desire. When I was breastfeeding my son, I had no shame in ‘popping a tit out’ in the middle of the shopping centre and walking about with a new born on my boob. However, I often received looks and comments implying that what I was doing was in appropriate. I think the following cartoons and images really sum up my feelings about the subject :P

Ah, the irony.
This ones for the other student in the class who shared her story about having to breast feed her infant in a toilet cubical with a toddler in tow, in the days before parents rooms. My hat goes off to you.

- Lara E. Nowland