Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I've been complaining a lot lately about dressing my daughter in pink. I've been arguing that it's limiting, it's narrow, it's only one way of being a girl. The more I think about it, the more I see it's about more than just performing femininity. It's about how women and men still do not have equal access to opportunity in this country.

It's not as if my daughter has any obvious disadvantages. She's rich - by world standards - fed, loved, clothed. She has two parents, seven grandparents and doting aunts and uncles. She's healthy, breastfed, no allergies (yet). She's living in one of the world's most developed and prosperous nations. No war, no famine, no violence, no sickness. Just wealth, comfort and security.

It's not enough. It only seems like enough when you compare it to what so many girls in the world don't have. But does the fact that so many girls are suffering make it okay that my daughter will grow up in an Australia in which inequalities still exist? Yes, it's better than many places. Yes, it's better than it was. But does that mean it's good enough?

This report shows that women in Australia still earn less than men, and the gap is widening, not getting smaller. More than a third of women in this report said that they had experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner. Less money, less power, less freedom, fewer opportunities and more chances of being a victim. This is not what my mother wanted for me and this is not what I want for my daughter.

Little girls get dressed (and choose to dress) in pink to mark out their difference from little boys. But if that difference means my little girl is going to grow up in a world where her genetics are a handicap, forget it. She's a person first, with all the rights every person in the world should have, and that's what I want to remind people when they see her. That it's just not enough to give us pink tutus. Girls and women everywhere deserve much, much more.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

New look, new title

As an unanticipated consequence of my subject about using technology in the language classroom I decided I should try to use my blog more often, more often that is than once every ten months which is how long it's been. I do have a good excuse, but I thought it was time to delve back into the pleasurable vanity of blogging as a handy procrastination tool. I am studying again, I have had a baby. Both these things mean I have no spare time (mostly the second one) and therefore it follows that I need something to do in all the spare time I don't have.
Clear as mud.

The reason for the new title is that I feel having a daughter has sharpened those feminist instincts I had as a feisty teenager and were dulled by early adulthood and other distractions. We live in a sexist world, sometimes so much so it hurts to look too closely at it in case you throw your hands up in despair and go and live in a cave. But a blog is a good way for me to point out all the things I don't like about the world without boring my loved ones to tears, and without sending myself to the asylum by keeping it all bottled up. Which is bad for you.

The first thing I would like to rant in a very unstructured way about is: breastfeeding. Not the act itself, which is pretty damn fantastic, but its sheer invisibility in the world. You never read about it, you never hear about it, you never see it in movies and rarely in life. I can't express milk in public because it's weird. Why is it that I can blow my nose, but not express milk for my baby? This Facebook site was a result of women reacting to the decision by Facebook to randomly delete pictures of them breastfeeding because they were deemed obscene. So, not only is it invisible, when it is out there it's seen as flashing your breasts. The fact that there is a baby involved is somehow so irrelevant to the primary issue which is of course, women as sexual objects. Get over it, world.