Ashley McGuire

Lecture 2

The week 2 lecture covered sex vs gender, how human sex is determined and basically being a woman. I have never put much thought into the whole sex vs gender issue, I have always seen myself as woman, with woman parts and a very positive outlook on being a female. I went to an all girls school where we were involved in food & textiles (learning to cook & sew), as well as design and technology (learning how to use saws and other sharp machinery which was fun & dangerous, typically a "boys" subject). Being at an all girls school I never felt unequal or disadvantaged because we were given the opportunity and resources to do what we felt passionate about (within school limits). There were girls at my school who some would describe as more 'masculine' and others as more 'feminine', however I never considered this to be a matter of sex vs gender. This subject has opened up a whole new room in my mind and made me go crazy with ideas of what feminism is and whether it has been present in the last 20 years of my life but I was just never realised it because for me it wasn't out of the norm. The debate of sex vs gender I feel is one with a great deal of variables however people should be able to be comfortable with the way they are and with the body their in. A lot of pressure can be put on how to look, how to dress,
what to eat and how to act but its the differences in everyone that makes them beautiful.

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Lecture 3
The lecture on women's bodies in social spaces and gender inequalities globally was another interesting lecture for this unit. I looked up 'healthy woman' or 'healthy women' in google images and the pictures that appeared were the standard and expected images of women exercising, big happy smiles, slim & flawless skin. This depiction of the 'healthy woman' really made me ask myself the question, am I healthy? According to google images I do not fit the image of any of those women, despite that fact that I eat well and exercise regulary, I'm just going to put it out there and say that the images made me feel, well... fat and unhealthy.I guess this should make me want to work harder but in the words of the Simpson's "you don't win friends with salad."
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Is having the perfect body really the thing that woman should strive hardest to achieve? Why is it that anyone, men and woman, work so hard to be healthy and slender? Is it to be viewed as desirable because quite frankly overly, muscluar men don't really do anything for me, I'm more of an Tom Hiddleston kind of gal. In my eyes woman objectify men to the same extent, we make more judgements about how they look. 'They have to be taller than me.... when I'm wearing heels', 'You can't have a man who is skinner than you', 'no facial hair', 'a full head of hair'... These are just a few of the things I have heard from my female friends when discussing their type of man. Who is to say what is beautiful or sexy about a woman; who is to say that a woman wanting to be a 'housewife' is wrong. We are told to try hardest for what we want, some people want to become doctors, lawyers, journalists or entrepreneurs; I have a friend who honestly just wants to be wife and mother, another friend who is muslim and committed to her religion, studying science at uni and happily admits that she will probably never use her degree. These two girls are happy and content with their life choices, they don't care what others say about their choices and know its their lives not someone elses. A man is just as judged for wanting to be stay at home dad, and yet you never here about trophy husbands.

I feel that in Australia, the inequality of woman was a huge problem years ago, but there is just as much injustice and prejudice being thrown on men as there is on women.
Health is what you make of it, beauty is how you perceive yourself and the world, and life is what we make of it.

Lecture 4
Who is Barbie? She is an astronaut, a doctor, an actress & director, she has seen the world and experienced life.... However, she has never suffered from an eating disorder, depression or a serious health complication, been obese or had an unexpected pregnancy; Who is Barbie?... She is an unrealistic, perception of the ideal life. However, when I was younger I did play with Barbie, I loved Barbie; I also played with hot wheels, loved making the tracks.

The ideal body is a myth, yes like mentioned in my last reflection their are images of the 'ideal, healthy body' but its a myth; everyone is different, not even BMI gives an accurate answer to what is underweight, healthy and overweight.

The fashion industry..... I am a big supporter of the fashion industry, why? because I shop, who doesn't love retail therapy? But when it comes to some items I'm at a total loss, the model makes it look to classy and beautiful, I try it on and every, single one of my rolls is being accentuated (rolls I didn't even know were there!). My mother brought me up to dress to my body not to my brain. Yes, that gorgeous tight fitting dress looks good on Jennifer Hawkins, the 5ft 11 gorgegous Miss Universe; mean while I'm 5 ft 2 and have, what my loving roommate likes to refer to as, love pudge.... I feel like these clothes just aren't going to look the same on me. This doesn't stop me though from finding my style, trying on clothes that don't suit me but I wish did and crying in the middle of Allanah Hill with a caramel frappacino from Starbucks.

Just some light, comedic reading for those who, like me, would rather dig themselves a hole and stay in it until the end rather than face bikini season.
Groundbreaking ‘Study’ Reveals that Swimsuit Shopping Makes Women Feel Like Shit

Lecture 5

16 & pregnant, teen mom... are these young parents-to-be ready for a baby; is a 40 year old woman past her baby making age? Is it up to society to decide what age is right or the woman? Two key components are required for there to be a baby, a man and a woman; a sperm and an ovum; its a basic biology lesson. A Woman's fertility seems to be a hotly debated topic, but really shouldn't it be the woman's decision. Yes, its a fact of life that there is a time period for the possibility of having your first child but this shouldn't mean that women are encouraged to have a baby earlier than they are ready. Woman have the choice to take birth control and use contraception to prevent pregnancy; or have an abortion or the morning after pill if they choose too. Should women be scolded because they are making the decision that they aren't ready to have a child? While some offer up the option of adoption, is that best for the woman? Its a woman's body, its a woman's choice. As a 20 year old I know I am not ready to be a mother, no where near being ready.
So does not being ready mean you shouldn't have sex before you are ready or married. NO! I'm sorry Tony Abbott but I think you need to go back to school on options for women; because even woman who want a baby out of a marriage are entitled too. You don't need to be a wife, to make a life.

Tony Abbott's attempt to pull in Women Voters...

Lecture 6

I keep forgetting that women don't work as hard as men.... oh wait that isn't true, so why do women earn 17% less than men? The glass ceiling is cracking but why has it not yet shattered?
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Madeleine Albright said, "there is a special place in hell for woman who do not help other women," she is completely right and its probably next to Tony Abbott. Women need to support each other in every aspect of life; that doesn't mean you have to vote for Julia Gillard just because she is female but it means supporting right for women in the workplace, in the home and in the community. It means that women should be promoted if they are the best candidate for the job; women shouldn't be demoted because they take maternity leave; men shouldn't be hired over women because they have no risk of being pregnant.

Housewives, its the hardest working job that can't be put on a resume; and yet if anything it gives more away that you are capable for a job than other "skills". A family today isn't characterised by the Husband who goes to the office, the wife who stays home and looks after the baby.... NO! Women are capable of going back to work after child birth; couples don't have to get married and men can take paternity leave... Now that is a wonderful world.

Lecture 7

How is it that the most dangerous place is the home? Home, sweet, home... bitter sweet. Violence is never the answer and shouldn't be tolerated. Domestic violence is something that I find hard to understand; I can't understand why it is exists and I find it hard to understand why people stay in a situation where domestic violence is prevalent. Its easy for someone on the outside to ask why they can't or don't just leave; or why they don't report it... In the lecture it gave the reasons of love & dependence but my (limited) understanding always thought it was from fear. DV shouldn't be ignored, it should be stopped....

Lecture 8
A woman's menses are evil... According to Albertus Magnus they were, because apparently during this time women can also make men leprous... I must have missed this lesson in my nursing degree because what I learnt about mental health from the World Health Organisation,
"Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community."

Women's health has come along way since mental conditions such as hysteria was treated by massaging the woman's pelvis and this supposedly fixed the issue of the 'wandering womb'. This issue was amusingly covered in the movie 'Hysteria'.

The role of a woman in the 1950's was very much about the 'ideal wife' placing pressures on women to be at home; today the pressure is on to balance work, family and social life. Both of these can lead to issues with anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
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What needs to be done is more research, funding and supports for mental health services!