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January 31, 2009 at 11:38 pm (Uncategorized)

The other day I tried to do something technical to these and it’s screwed it all up royally.  Please bear with me as I fix it.  It’s time consuming and not rewarding in the slightest.  It will get done because I can’t handle having it so unorganised, I’m just prioritising everything else above it, and with 6 drafts sitting here waiting to be published, there are better ways for me to spend my time.

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Breaking an Addiction

January 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm (idiots, personal) ()

Recently I have been trying to break an addiction.  It’s damn hard.

I’m not talking about drugs, smoking, drinking or anything overly dangerous along those lines.

I’m talking about a little everyday addiction.  Everyone has them, and mostly they’re ok.  I used to be addicted to reading in a very severe way and you would never find me without a book.  If I wasn’t reading, I was itching to pick up my book.  This of course interfered with many areas of my life and made it hard to be successful at things requiring concentration on something other than reading.  I’ve managed to break this habit, but not through any concerted effort.  It’s more something that just fell away over time as I became busy with other things and started enjoying myself.

So clearly the lesson from that is to fill up my spare time and I’ll easily be able to overcome my addiction to the activity I’m trying to battle.  The problem is when I actively make the effort to do this I end up binge drinking, or smoking, or both.  Not healthy.  It’s also that old catch 22, where the harder you try to not think about something, the more it is the only thing you can think about.

Anyway, I have taken active steps in combating this.  I’ve removed any easy access I had to indulging in the temptation and I’ve resolved to be as strong as possible.  It’s not going to help.  But I’m trying as hard as I damn well can to fight this and be sane again.

Any tips?

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If You Don’t Like It, Then Leave

January 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm (arsehats, personal) ()

This is one saying that is sure to get me thoroughly pissed off every time.  Beyond that, it’s flat out disappointing.

Most of the time it’s used to refer to anyone who doesn’t agree with the rules or standards of a place.  Most recently I’ve heard it used to refer to anyone not patriotic enough to support Australia Day.  So my objections in this instance exist on two levels.

1) Australia Day is celebrated on the day the First Fleet landed in Australia.  To quote Wikipedia (*shudders*) “the day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia.”  So we actually spend one day of every year celebrating the event that led to the persecution and opression of the Aboriginals.  And if you dare to mention this, or even just dare to avoid any kind of celebrations, you’re unpatriotic.  How evil I am to not want to celebrate other human beings despair.  Most of the people I’ve raised this objection to have said that given no one remembers the history of Australia Day, it’s no longer racist or problematic.  This is full of white privilege and ignorance.  Not everyone has forgotten.  Aboriginals, just for a start, still remember what the day means.

2) This country pretends to be a democracy.  In a true democracy, if you don’t like something, you have the right to protest.  When the government does things wrong you have the right, if not the duty, to protest and to attempt to hold them accountable.  Sayings like this are a way of silencing dissenters, and they will are not helpful for anyone.

The last thing I’d want to mention is that this kind of sentiment, in this country, is normally directed at immigrants.  Now moving beyond the irony here given the history of Australia Day, immigrants have as much right and duty to question the government as anyone born here.

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Rules For My New Job

January 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm (office, personal) ()

Tomorrow is my last shift at my current job.  After a week off, I’m moving on to a fresh start at a new company.  I don’t know anyone that works there, and all they know about me is what was said in the interview.  I have a chance to start over, and a chance to not repeat my mistakes.  I also have a chance to head off mistakes from other people before they blow out of control.  So I need a list of rules to follow to keep myself on track.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. No friends.  I am happy to be friendly and professional with my colleagues, but no longer willing to be friends with anyone from my workplace.  It doesn’t work, it leads to problems, and it’s not worth the hassle. 
  2. No blogging from work.  There are many different facets to this, but I think it’s enough to leave it as self explanatory for now.
  3. No getting caught up in anyone elses business.  It’s way too easy to get caught up in other people’s dramas and arguments, but it’s not healthy and it’s not helpful and it creates problems.  I’m not going to do it anymore

Those are the three main things I can think of.  Any more experienced people want to add tips in the comments?

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Shaving

January 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm (feminism, male privilege)

Much like name changing, shaving seems to involve heated discussions amongst feminists.  Every feminist does what it takes to get by in the patriarchy.  There are compromises that we all make to get through each day.  However, every issue that we compromise on makes it that little bit harder for the feminist that doesn’t compromise on that issue.  Any woman that doesn’t shave has a harder time of it because of every woman who does.  So there’s conflict.

I personally do shave.  Because I’m a coward.  I don’t have what it takes to happily walk into work in a skirt without having shaved first.  I’m not even sure how the company would react to this, as it is technically a ‘professional’ dress code.  And ‘professional’ dress code is usually a nice way of saying ‘patriarchal’.  But maybe they wouldn’t care and I’m just hiding behind it as an excuse for compromising.   For the record, wearing pants everyday is not an option as I live in Australia.  It gets hot.  Very hot.  Pants are damn annoying when it hits 40 degrees (Celsius) outside. 

In Sweden in December I didn’t shave anywhere for three weeks.  When I got home it was over 30 degrees outside and I threw on a pair of shorts and a singlet top without even thinking.  It was liberating.  Unfortunately, as stated above, I’m a coward, so it didn’t last very long.  It did spark a debate with my (male) housemate though.  He buys into the beliefs of the patriarchy as happily as anyone I’ve ever met.  He’s an uber conservative Christian, and we disagree on absolutely everything.  We talk about issues a lot and his response to a few of my dilemmas has often been “you’re going to hell”.

But it was interesting listening to him try to justify why women must shave.  At one point he compared it to men shaving their face, however as far as I’m aware men can choose to grow a beard, or remain clean shaven and it is a choice entirely up to them.  Heck, some men even do the stubble look and there are many devotees of this.  Women aren’t given this choice in the patriarchy so I don’t see it as a faithful comparison.  There was nothing he said that held up to logical reasoning and was not able to convince me it’s better if I shave.

There are many compromises to my beliefs that I make everyday to get by in life.  I have misogynistic friends (and housemates).  I shave, I pluck my eyebrows, I dye my hair (although this is debateably feminist), I wear skirts and painful but pretty high heels.  I am not perfect.   But I do feel guilty each and every time.  And I defend any woman who is brave enough to break free from the conditioning and do what she wants.  The more there are, the easier it will be for me.

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Stupid Sitcoms and Oblivious Men

January 27, 2009 at 12:00 am (arsehats, feminism, Giant Babies, idiots, male privilege, men hate you, tv shows) (, , )

Both combine to make me bitter.

A couple of nights ago I had dinner with a few friends and one of them turned the TV on afterwards.  The show he wanted to watch so desperately is called ‘The Rules of Engagement’ and I had never had the misfortune to encounter it before this night.  I hope I never see it again.

There were two plots running through the episode we saw, and both were so chock full of misogyny, I don’t know how anyone can claim women are seen as equal human beings, I honestly don’t.

David Spade, possibly the biggest Giant Baby (TM) to ever walk the Earth, featured in the first.  His character had decided he had fallen in love with a woman the first time he saw her, but had no contact info for her.  His ‘brilliant’ plan was to ride the elevator in her apartment building for a week til he saw her again.  When he did see her again (need I add that she was blonde, gorgeous, thin and had big boobs?  I didn’t think so), she freaked out at his stalking and sprayed pepper spray in her eyes.  Part of me cheered at a TV show actually depicting stalking having some negative consequences for once.

Then the two men I was watching it with said that his big mistake was mentioning he’d been in the elevator for a week as it made him sound like a stalker.  So there’s no problem with the stalking itself, you just have to be sure to hide it from the victim.  They also described her as over reacting.  Clearly it’s a perfectly normal reaction for a guy who has only seen a woman once to stalk her in an elevator for a week.  But for said woman to be scared when confronted with this?  Overreacting, of course.  I deserve a reward for not ‘over reacting’ to their comments.

The second storyline involved two married couples wherein the men spent the entire twenty minutes demeaning and sidelining their wives just for the sheer fun of it.

The thing about these shows and the way they depict the sexes is, they’re offensive to men and women.  If I was a male, I (hope I) would be genuinely appalled at being depicted this way.  Honestly, these shows are doing none of us any favours.  So it would be nice if the men joined our side for once and did the arguing for us.  Might save us the energy to fight for things like reproductive rights and an end to sex slavery.

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Feminism and ‘The Other Woman’

January 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm (feminism, Uncategorized) ()

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently, and I’m genuinely conflicted about it.  There’s not a lot of posts out there on feminist websites about this, but there sure is a lot on anti women sites.  Apparently, and I must say I was not surprised at this, it’s all the mistress’ fault when a man cheats on his wife.

I’m personally a bit conflicted about how being the other woman meshes with feminism, but I’d never go the extent of blaming either woman.  Both have made choices based on the limited options open to them as women in this society.  Any male who excuses his cheating because of any behaviour on his wife’s part is not worth the time.  If men aren’t going to own up to what they’re doing, they’re not worth the time.  The mistress herself also has to choose between different options, and it’s not always as easy as it would seem from the outside.  At the end of the day, the only person who is 100% in the wrong is the husband who cheats.

However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t agree with the way society dictates how a relationship should work and which relationships are ‘valid’ or ‘right’.  I do believe it is perfectly possible to sleep with someone else and still maintain a healthy, stable relationship with your partner.  It’s usually the lying that kills everything.

But beyond all of that, is it actually feminist to sleep with a married man?  And if the act itself is not feminist, as I doubt it is, is it necessarily anti feminist?  Is it possible to ‘keep your radfem card’ whilst knowingly betraying another woman?  We’re not going to win any revolutions by stepping on each others toes, and we’re certainly not going to win equal rights from the bedroom, of married men or otherwise.

Now I have focused on heterosexual relationships in this post, mostly because I’m talking about a legally binding contract that is not yet available to same sex couples, however in places where same sex unions are legal, the same things would apply.

And one final thought from all of this jumble, where is the line?  Is cheating on a wife the same as cheating on a long term, live-in partner?  Is that the same as cheating on a long term, non live-in partner?  On the reverse, is sleeping with a married man the same as sleeping with someone in a long term, committed relationship?

I know I have more readers than commenters, but if anyone reading has anything to say, I’m actually interested in a discussion about this.  But, for the record, any nasty, personal attacks will be deleted.  This is not the place to be angry about personal experiences with this sort of thing and I won’t tolerate insults here.  I mention this based on the comments that have popped up on other websites.

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Happy Birthday

January 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Happy Birthday.  You know who you are.  Hope it’s an awesome day 🙂

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Open Relationships

January 25, 2009 at 11:12 pm (Nigel, personal)

I’ve been reading the posts over at Bitch Ph.D. on her open relationship and it’s got me thinking about relationships.

I know I don’t agree with the ‘proper’ set up the patriarchy drums into us in regards to relationships, but I don’t know what I do agree with.  I know that Nigel isn’t at the same point as I am, so that if I plan on making this work, I need to deal with the rules the patriarchy tells me to follow.  I know I don’t want to end this relationship right now, but I also know there are other opportunities I want to pursue.

I sometimes try to imagine what relationships will be like post patriarchy, but I have issues with this.  Mostly, I think relationships will be up to the individuals involved and won’t have such a cookie cutter feel to them.  Which is why it’s so hard to visualise.

And sometimes I just feel guilty that I’m in a long term heterosexual relationship.  There are many obstacles that women face in life that are negated with the support of a partner, and in a country that is rife with homophobia, there are obvious benefits to being in a heterosexual relationship.  The privilege I have is something I have to continually acknowledge and fight.

Don’t ya wish there was a perfect easy solution to everything?

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Am I the crazy one?

January 25, 2009 at 9:54 pm (feminism, personal)

Recently I’ve spent a bit of time with my uni friends.  We’ve all been trying to make a bit of an effort because we’re no longer at uni and therefore there’s no forced meet ups through class times and uni bar visits.  It’s amazing the things they say.

At two separate barbecues, the topic of marriage came up.  My friends are in their very early twenties, so this seems a bit early to be bringing this up, but maybe I’m on wrong on this.

The first time, one of my friends (we’ll call her Friend A, or FA for short) had been to a few weddings in a row and was sighing over the fact that she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet.  FA has recently turned 22 and made the statement that if she’s not engaged by 24, she’ll kill herself.  Friend D (FD) agreed with this, and incidentally she’s also single.  Is this the kind of message we’re really meant to be learning in society?  University educated women should be married by 24 or they’re worthless???  When did this become acceptable again?  My 25 year old male friend laughed at both of them as he’s never had a serious relationship and is past their cut off age.  They took that as a sign there’s something wrong with him.  I chose to change the topic as soon as possible.
The next barbecue, marriage came up again.  I mean, how could it not?  This time, three different things were said that disturbed me.  The first was by both FA and FD when they announced that they both have guys they plan to marry if they haven’t found anyone by a certain age.  The ages changed over the night but ranged from 35-40.  So, not only are my friends incredibly desperate to get married, they’d actually consider marrying someone they only see as a friend just to avoid not being married.

Next. my twenty-four year old friend started talking about her relationship.  She’s been with her partner for about four years, and has decided that their relationship has plateaued and that the only thing to do now is to get engaged so she can plan a wedding to get the excitement back.  Does this scream ‘BAD IDEA’ to anyone else??  Last time I needed ‘excitement’ back in my relationship, we planned a trip to Europe.  And when they get married, what’s she going to do to bring the excitement back?  Have a baby?  Another extremely bad idea.

This same friend also started talking about a recent holiday she’d had with the same boyfriend.  Apparently because she’s waiting for the marriage proposal for reasons stated above, she assumed he was going to use the holiday to propose.  When it got to the last night of their trip and he still hadn’t asked, she got very dressed up assuming that’s what would happen at dinner.  It didn’t and she was disappointed.  After hearing this, I asked around and it’s actually quite a common story.  A couple of things about this, 1) why is there so much pressure on making a perfect, ‘romantic’ proposal? 2) why does it have to be a surprise? 3) why does it have to be the guy? 4) why the hell do otherwise intelligent, gorgeous women sit around waiting for their partner to propose??  Why don’t they either go out and find a partner that wants the same things as them, or, you know, concentrate on cool things like careers, friends, travelling (without the expected romance) etc etc?  I just don’t understand my friends.

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