Week 13 - International Women's Health

Unfortunately i was unable to complete the final lecture for this fantastic unit as I was sick :( However, just having read the lecture myself I have once again learned something new. The facts and figures of lower socioeconomic women being more susceptible to disease, the child trafficking, selling off daughters, the health of indigenous women... were shocking, appalling and I was quite distressed to read it.

So it answers the question : why are poorer women fatter?

One particular thing I would like to share my thoughts was on slides 17 and 19 in relation to Health promotion. I agree that Australia's health promotion needs extra attention, despite the large array of information and resources out there, there is still no shift upwards in the health of Australians. It is also particularly true with the picture with the girl that is overweight and a caption - All i need is a pamphlet on healthy eating - while she seems to be indulging some fried takeaway. This indicates to me that we cannot just give the people information and brochures, pamphlets. There needs to be some drastic measures and some personal approach actions taken in order to make a difference. Also, again, I agree with how if women's health wants to be improved, the government's policies and rules needs to be modified. If poor women are more likely to be overweight/obese and richer women tend to eat healthier and better lifestyles, the obvious answer is staring at us in the face!
If your richer, of course you can afford fresh produce like vegetables and fresh fruits, and be more willing to make home cooked meals and so forth, however, if your on the poorer end of the scale, you are working hard at a very tiring job, your income is low, the cheapest options that are also fast and easy is fast food. Naturally if the government spent some thought into fresh produce subsidies or getting the giant supermarket chains like coles and woolies to mark down fresh produce prices, that may encourage healthier eating behaviours. As naturally, no one wants to spend double the amount of money to buy raw food that needs to be cooked when you can get readily available fast food that to them, is delicious and easy.
Consequently, richer women have eating disorders and body image problems because they have more readily access to these tv, social media things that tell them they need to be a certain weight, height, act a certain way and the use of makeup is a necessity. They will focus on becoming like these celebrities that influence them.
Overall, this lecture has taught me a wealth of knowledge and information, it has definitely opened my eyes a bit more to the world around us, it has made me more aware of the things women can and cannot do, are allowed and not allowed to have in Australia, and its comparison to other countries and religions/cultures.
Thank you :)

Week 12 -

The guest lecturer this week was very informative and very thorough, I felt like I gained heaps from her :)
The overall content motivated me to rethink my eating habits, lifestyle patterns and lack of exercise, as informed, it can lead to major health concerns later in life. I don't want a disease to waste my time!
It was very interesting how it showed that women have a high risk of heart disease too, although if you look at it broadly, nobody could know that it was the highest disease among older women. For me, the question "what is the highest disease rate in women?", Breast cancer comes to my mind instantly.
Recently, my dad's past colleague died of breast cancer at 54 years of age. That is still considered young in this day, It was very traumatic and sad to learn of this news. Breast Cancer is a very serious disease, however to learn that heart disease is the major killer for elder women was a surprise. Stereotypically, I assumed the majority of heart attacks were men.
Here is a short CBS news segment outlining how a cure can be on the way for breast cancer and other cancers. it is a great short summary! please have a look!
This lecture taught me lots and summed up all my public health units perfectly. I have concluded that to "age beautifully" doesn't happen overnight, its a foundation you build up from when your young. I have gone out and purchased some mixed nuts and fish oil supplements to take as I know I don't eat anywhere near enough the recommended amount of fish, good fats and oils!

*** just something interesting I found while browsing - http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/2012/10/14/16/18/milk-carton-promoting-homosexuality-to-children

Personally, after understanding and reading the article, my opinion would be that the anti-gay authorities completely over-reacted - the advertisement can be depicted many ways! What I saw when I first opened the article was just a happy farm day with farmer holding his milk and his colourful cows prancing in the background. However, after reading the headlines and scanning the first paragraph, the advertisement's colour choices and rainbow did stand out to me more.
So my point here is that, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the ad, people just read too much into things and make a dramatic scene over it!
Seriously, have a look at the advertisement then tell me your honest opinion before reading the article and story!! =)

Week 11 Reflection

This week's lecture was Women's health in same sex relationships.
i had mixed emotions throughout the lecture - i was interested and fascinated, yet was intrigued, appalled, and perhaps a bit repulsed.
I grew up in a traditional and very conservative family, where even back in high school having normal friends that were boys were questioned by cousins haha.
So naturally, the idea of being in a same sex relationship were strictly off limits, let alone discussing it. It was okay, it didn't affect me and I was normal, growing up with a boyfriend or two. It wasn't until university and my public health units and electives were talking about same sex relationships and the health of same sex couples that I felt I understood quite little about the topic. So of course today's lecture I have learned a lot in regards to the history of same sex relationships and their health.
what stood out to me specifically was that same sex parents do not impact on a child growing up, its the fact that children need a happy, healthy family life rather than if their parents are both females or males or one of each. This rules out all stereotypes and rumours out there. Pru Goward's ...heterosexuality has no monopoly on better parenting... is a great line. a happy family is what will most likely raise a child of success :)

  • In 2006-2007, there were 27,000 same-sex relationships/couples in Australia.
  • In 2006, 3200 children were living with same sex couples. Of these, 89% were same-sex female couples.
  • Research shows no differences in the outcomes for children of heterosexual parents and same-sex parents.

Just a quick note about domestic violence again!
I stumbled across this blog that raised really critical issues and key points associated with violence against women and abuse.
She has a very strong feminist point of view and makes bold statements and examples - and they are all true, you will totally side with her on this!
Society does judge women harshly, or perhaps there is just a 'higher standard' of being a woman, which such thing shouldn't exist in 2012 anyways...
please check it out, its a good read :) http://angriest-girl.livejournal.com/971555.html

Week 10 Reflection - Mental Health and Substance Abuse

This week's lecture was both interesting yet eye-opening! Perhaps from all the social issues associated with girls and eating disorders, I did not realise it can lead to mental health issues.
I found quite interesting and yet sadly true is that women and men suffer from mental health quite differently. Evidence suggests most of the lead up to mental health issues with men can be due to drug and substance abuse, however, there are many factors that affect and perhaps cause mental health issues in women.
Factors like:
Society's pressure for a women to act, dress, be, conduct herself.....etc, a certain way.
Social media and its "perfect" portrayal of how a woman should be - poor self-esteem, self worth and confidence can trigger/lead to mental health problems.
Post-natal depression - the baby blues.
Domestic violence, abuse can trigger all sorts of mental health problems.
Although it is certainly true that based on that evidence women seem to suffer from mental health problems due to "feelings" and men just dosing up on drugs. However, the stereotypes of emotional women and reticent men are often thought of when mental health is concerned which leads to problems and biases in diagnosis and treatment.
As it is clearly evident here from the ABS site, males have a higher rate of suicide than females:

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Whatever the reasons, complex or simple, these statistics illustrate that when it comes to mental health gender is an issue, and that all of us can benefit by addressing the role gender plays in our society.

Week 8 Reflection

Domestic Violence
After week 8's lecture on domestic violence, I was reading some news articles online in regards to the topic.
I stumbled across this particular statistic - it was shocking.
Police attended 40,892 incidents of family violence in the last financial year. This figure has risen steadily over the past five years, up from 29,648 incidents in 2006-07.
http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/editorial/domestic-violence-our-biggest-lawandorder-issue-20120303-1u9tg.html#ixzz26h3wncBL "
That is a big number, and the fact that its steadily increasing makes it worse. Additionally, the ABS have found that more than 60% of domestic violence goes unreported.

Every time I come across domestic violence whether that was on tv, radio or in magazines, I always think to myself, WHY can't they just leave? Why do these people choose to continue to be there? How can that be love when they are That aggressive/abusive?
Then Julie-Ann showed us the slide "Why doesn't she just run away?" haha funnily enough! Although I still don't quite understand why they love the other person when the other person goes all lunatic, I do understand that when the person decides on leaving, that is when it is most unsafe for them.
Another thing that caught my attention during this lecture was the question - Do you think "violence" can be silent and subtle? I most certainly agree that it can.
Growing up, I know from personal family dv that little things can add up, and that silent abuse is the most emotionally damaging.
I hope there is more research and more awareness raised in terms of this worldwide issue, I feel it is not addressed enough and should be emphasised as 60% is a very large number.
Thank you.

Week 7 Reflection

Women and Work
This week's lecture was very insightful for me, it made me question my own future and my options if I were to become a mother juggling a full time career.
The discussions made me realise the never-ending amount of barriers that I, as a woman, will need to face when in a career and fighting for high position roles with the other sex. What if I already have a family to raise? What if I were to become pregnant? What will I do if I have a clash of business meeting and a sick child at the same time? Linking to last week's topic - pregnancy and when is the right time, it made me think that it is very hard to be a woman in this day and age!
During the topic, maternity leave was discussed and it was very interesting to me. As a woman, who wants options to have children one day as well as a successful career, it occurred to me that would be a problem. I did a Google search of maternity leave in QLD, to which all the searches came to Paid Parental Leave - so no 'official' Maternity leave for when one goes and give childbirth, but just around 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave is given by the Government. That's really not much support, and the child would not have been eligible for childcare yet! What is the Government thinking?!
First they suggest women are emotionally unstable due to our monthly periods and hormones, however they think we are superowoman when it comes to raising children?!? It is outrageous that they expect women to have children yet there is not enough support for these women to have children - then all the problems are dumped onto the mothers - things like chidlrens' behaviours, childhood obesity, cyber bullying and the list goes onexternal image friends_episode205_337x233_032020061518.jpg
... They simply do not have enough time to make 3 healthy meals - including lunchboxes, take the kids to and from school and after school activities if required, go to work, go to business meetings, make dinner, do laundry, clean the house, clean the dishes... and the list goes on....!
Another thing about maternity leave is that if I were ever in that position, I would feel like I could be replaced anytime with another who is not pregnant.
Funny that it reminds me of that Friend's episode where Rachel gives birth to her daughter, Emma, and was not due back to work for another two weeks, however, on a visit to her workplace she discovers that Gavin, has been stepping in during her maternity leave. Rachel is then convinced he is trying to steal her job - hes doing all her assignments and is using her office... etc. So Rachel decides to go back to work two weeks early in order to keep her place in her workplace at Ralph Lauren.
(Friends - Season 9, Episode 11)
The show depicted the dilemma for many women in the same situation perfectly, please have a watch if you can! :)

Week 6 Reflection

It was quite interesting to learn how women's fertility and birth was viewed upon in history, as well as how some religions view fertility and abortion. I was not aware of this until the lecture that it was still illegal to have abortions in QLD, since 1899. Although there are morals and mental issues faced with abortion, in my opinion, it is the women's body and her decision, men or any law should not govern the women's choice with her body. Gradually, women could have control on their own fertility with birth control and soon make their own decisions on life plans. This was seen as society moving forward evolving for more equality between the two sexes.
One thing that I found incredulous over was Tony Abbot's ban of the RU486. If it was a pill that was not harmful to the woman's health well being, only to induce a period and abort the baby, why would he ban such a invention? Only to find he is of Roman Catholicism. I find this very controversial and mildly put - unfair. Abbot is the Minister for health and aging, that's all well and good, however, just because our political leader/minister is of Catholic religion, we have to follow in his beliefs and values? I respect that you believe in your religion, but for him to reject something that could potentially be a saver to all teenage pregnancies/unplanned pregnancies in Australia due to his own religious beliefs and values and expects us to do so is unfair and unjust. I was raised in a very conservative family, where I chose my abstinence as a personal choice, not really of religious beliefs, and also in the hopes of influencing my sister. Who, 7 years younger, her generation is very.. 'open' with their bodies and sexuality. Especially with all the media telling us of teenage pregnancies in magazines, in the news, in newspapers, everywhere - putting myself in the shoes of a pregnant teen, I would have been devastated and scared to death, literally. Not only would I have to break this news to my parents, I would have to give up or find a way to finish high school, I would have to suffer the embarrassment, the mocking and the judging eyes of my peers, perhaps my friends would slowly fade away from me as I am not 'normal'...normal as in finish high school and go to uni... that's probably only the surface of the problems, the mental, emotional, physical stresses and so on I probably couldn't even comprehend. Even more importantly what if they decide on aborting the baby, where is a teenage girl going to get the support financially to do this - clinical abortions are pricey are they not?
What was even more ironic was Abbot himself has 3 daughters... perhaps his daughters are pledging abstinence too until marriage? :P

Abbot himself has said "We are all influenced by a value system that we hold, but in the end, every decision that a politician makes is, or at least should, in our society be based on the normal sorts of considerations. It's got to be publicly justifiable; not only justifiable in accordance with a private view; a private belief?"
Is banning a abortion pill, mainly due to his own religious beliefs publicly justified or more his own 'private belief'?
Here is the transcript that Abbot rejected the pill - http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/s1507408.htm

Week 5 Reflection

with guest lecturer Dr Angela Dwyer
I was really looking forward to this particular lecturer from week 1!
From the start, Dr Dwyer compared to the unrealistic portrayal of women in the media through barbie. I agree, barbie is given to almost every girl when young, what sort of message is that teaching us from the very start? Girls needs to grow up to be skinny, blonde and perfect everything. This already concretes the idea that women need to be a 'certain way' in society, how can we change this when our foundation is that?
I particularly liked the slide in regards to how Barbie is Not portrayed - there is no obese barbie, teen pregnant barbie, lesbian barbie, anorexic barbie, barbie doing drugs, or barbie getting beat up... What i notice is race. Barbie is always a fair-skinned with porcelain features and is always tanned. Why is there no cultural to Barbie?

Another topic I was very upset as I can relate closely to is the eating disorders in teenage girls. Anorexia is the THIRD most prevalent disease in young girls (AusCounselling, 2011). One of my cousins is currently going through anorexia. It was devastating just visiting her in hospital. Her body had practically just 'ate itself away' since she completely just stopped eating. It is a deadly serious disease of not only body but of the mind. The media is all about revenue and money-making ideas, it doesn't care if its next advertisement is going to affect how the next girl will see her own body, it doesn't care if teenage girls watch "...Next top model" religiously every night in hopes to learn dieting tips off these already too-skinny models, it also doesn't care if it's sending the wrong messages to these vulnerable people. There is no filter in Australian tv or the social media, perhaps there should be. I did not know of this until the lecture (haha!) that there were 'thinspiration' blogs that encourage and help others to stay anorexic and bulimic, this not only encourages girls to continue, but it illustrates to society that it is okay to do this. It is a mental disorder.
*note that on this particular blog when i visited, they are currently getting taken off, the owner is asking for supporters to donate money. this is appalling and disgusting.
http://www.pro-thinspo.com/proanatipsandtricksindexpage.html <- let's help this site get taken down!
Any vulnerable teenage girl can stumble on to these sites and be exposed to such content.
I was also very taken aback when I saw the average height, weight and size of Australian women (2008). It was way more realistic, yet a far cry from what a model's averages would ever be. Why is society's perception of beauty - skinny? You cannot have radiant, youthful, glow with skinny (anorexia/bulimia). You cannot. Here's proof.
external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7S_ir2smuEdbAAZ20BvXb1rgqjVu1GsukIy5YQUigeQvDVKQrexternal image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT4aEBBl17nry9-Ahrxvkp7j7LcsIOFiM6AzyCmue12qO4JLSo6

Week 3 Reflection

Women's Bodies in Social spaces, equality, inequality.
Having attended yet another interesting and insightful women's health lecture, I feel I have more questions that I don't yet know how to ask!
Firstly, the lecture was looking at both sexes in society and the equality and inequality of how each sex is treated.
It is a common stereotype, that women back the days of early 50's and so on were portrayed as the 'perfect housewife'. It see
external image stepford-wives-1.jpg
med every women's goal was to become the perfect 'stepford wife'. Movies were even made about it, it portrayed perfect slim middle aged women with perfect bodies at home cleaning in designer outfits and gossiping around the neighborhood.

Check out -
1975 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073747/
2004 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0327162/ modern remake by Nicole Kidman -> the men were portrayed to think of women as 'objects', in my opinion.
After discovering how women were portrayed back in the day and even now, there is still that similarity that women are portrayed as 'objects' or still the common housewife. Some people can get intimidated by a little power in a lady. Why?

Secondly, relating back to the Adam and Eve story, Eve was depicted as the evil woman who ate the apple, therefore succumbs to temptation, sin and seduction. Therefore that is also some of the reasons people think men cheat - that because these women seduce them and so forth. However, on the other side, it is a two way street, the man is tempted by the woman's seduction in order to both sin. Simply blaming all women for man's choices and actions just because its linking back to the bible does not make it okay or even logical.
In the lecture, it says that "Eve represents everything about a woman a man should guard against". If man's sins were due to Eve and what she represents of women, it does not make sense as a man who cheats simply did not "guard against".
I find this inequality and big generalisation of women unjust, every man and every woman is each to their own, all of us have temptations to sin thrown at us, it is how one overcomes the temptations that is the point.

Week 2 Reflection

Women's Amazing Bodies

Due to some timetable mix ups, I was enrolled late into the unit and unfortunately missed the first lecture for pub336. I will write my thoughts and opinions in regards to the week 2 lecture that I attended. :)

The lecture started with the difference between sex and gender, to me I have never thought of the two to be any different in definition, but after learning that gender can mean many more things than just girl and boy, and that girls can be masculine just as much as boys can be feminine.
I've always wandered about the inequality between men and women,the classic "men bring home the bacon" or "men bringing home the bread" is just another society stereotype in my opinion. So men bring home the bacon and women have to cook it, perhaps even for them? I don't see the reasoning or the logic, let alone the equality.

Right from birth, girls are seen and treated as the "weaker" sex - from the pink baby clothes to girls in the house with mum cooking/baking whilst the boys are out with dad on the bbq or kicking a ball around the yard.
Girls are stereotyped to 'not be able' to lift heavy things, go fishing or play any of the male-dominated/masculine-type sports such as football, rugby, soccer without being bullied.
Right from the beginning, our family, friends, elders surround us with barbies, ponies, fairies and stories like Cinderella, sleeping beauty, snow white, little mermaid... etc. There is nothing wrong with Disney movies or nice fairy tales, but do you notice a pattern? Most of them end up with some sort of man (usually a prince charming), saving the day in a heroic manner.
How come girls can't play with hot wheels and needs to be playing house with barbie and ken??
On the other hand, why is it gay if a little boy were to be seen playing with barbies instead of his lego and hot wheels?
I find that our society is all caught up with this they are intimidated by a working female, or a working pregnant female, breastfeeding female and just a strong female who is good at the male-dominated sports (lady who can box in the Olympics and was asked to test for sex! <- how crazy is that? I can also see how offensive this can be...)

Society is so caught up with how a woman should be and how a man should be that it has become "unlady-like" if you do something not expected of a woman.

  • I found a magazine article in regards to how the shift is changing as more women are getting an education and earning for themselves, hence marrying later or even 'out-earning' their partners etc. It was very interesting to note that couples where the woman earn more have less divorce rates.
It was two extremes - either the man was happy and acceptable to earning a lesser income or he could not accept that.
here is the link - http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-the-wild-things-are/201008/bring-home-the-bacon-and-fry-it