Wednesday, 30 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 14

it was my birthday. this happened.

i had a lovely quiet birthday, but not in an un-special way. things happened: nice things. i had lots of friends around who happily sat and talked nonsense and ate laksa and cake and drank beer and wines. i am lucky to have birthday-friendly friends. they are good at it. special mentions to ellie for making the above cake, and kate J for making the cookies i had hinted towards in an earlier blog.

i did some good deep thinking for this birthday, because my last birthday was so different. well, i was different in it. i wasn't really sure about being 27, and each extra bit of age i acquired made me compare the ages of myself and my boyfriend at the time. and the uneasy feeling was warranted, but i didn't know it then - i was happily and blissfully unaware for my birthday last year, spent in dungog for mumford and sons in fuck off-hot weather. gah, it was moist (that's an in-joke from my birthday this year! hahaha!). 

the year before that, i was in whistler with the lovely annica, and there was a food fight and some dressing up and more fun than a kid could poke a stick at (i tried: i had a long stick... more of a broomhandle if we're honest). 

birthdays always have that bit of charm about them, and i always wake up early, excited for no real reason. 

another birthday has passed and i can say that yep, i still feel special on my birthday. thanks to all who loved me from near and from far.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Friday Feminism: film review of Miss Representation

One of the things I'm doing to expand my writing horizons and hopefully sneak feminist things into people's minds before they even figure it out is to write for the student newspaper at the university where I'm studying.

Below is the article I wrote about "Miss Representation", a documentary from 2011 about women in the media. If you can, sort out a copy of the doco to watch. It's one of those ones where you do a lot of sighing in recognition of various truths. It is definitely depressing in bits, but I really think it's an opportunity to take away some determination and grit.

Milly, the President of the Women's Society at my uni, also known as UNEWS, organised a screening a while back and it was the sort of event that had all of us women speaking eagerly over each other at the end. There were some men there, but more men would have been awesome.

For anybody who tells you we don't need feminism anymore, sit them quietly down with "Miss Representation", leave them 85 - 90 minutes and come back for a nice chat. It's a scary world out there for white western women without even touching the sides on the third world, or indigenous communities.

Here's my article (edited by the lovely Stu who has nice ways of saying "no, you have to change that, it makes no sense").

This year has been a pretty awesome one for me. I started my Masters at UNE and was lucky enough to become a member of UNEWS (University of New England Women’s Society), gallantly lead through its first year by the most awesome Milly Roberts (hip hip hooray!).
UNEWS has held some great events over the course of the year – the memorable Blue Stockings Week Debate, more recently a peaceful protest picnic to demonstrate the sheer ridiculousness of Abbott’s one woman cabinet, and most poignantly for me, the screening of “Miss Representation”, a documentary made in 2011 by American film maker Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
I’ll be honest: it’s stayed with me. Newsom covers a lot of ground in a confronting 85 minutes, hitting her viewers with some unnerving statistics to hammer home the point that representation of women in the media is not only done in an incredibly negative way, but also fails to offer up healthy role models for young women. In 2011, the year “Miss Representation” was made, only 11% of protagonists in films were female. Only 20% of news articles were about women. And here’s a scary one: Between 1937 and 2005 there were only 13 female protagonists in animated films...All of them except one had the primary aspiration of finding romance.
Given the media saturated world in which we all exist, these statistics are pretty alarming. It’s not just grown women that are living the consequences of media decisions, it is young women and girls who are inheriting the implications of this sort of representation. Newsom’s examination of media coverage surrounding American female politicians like Hillary Clinton brings to mind the appalling treatment of our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the hands of not only Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party, but Australian media at large. Constant discussion of the former PM’s clothing choices and over-examination of her family life was an overt attempt by the media to reduce her to a person who couldn’t possibly run a country. Regardless of your politics, it seems like common sense that the Prime Minister of Australia should be judged by her leadership skills, and not being childless or unmarried or female.
Real world women as role models aren’t to be found in popular media either. Anybody opening a fashion or beauty magazine is met with a flood of slim, young, white women. This uniformity offers us, the consumers, a very select representation of what it might mean to be a woman or a girl. ‘Miss Representation’ argues that we need a much broader spectrum of society represented for us: a variety of shapes and sizes, backgrounds and ages. 
The upkeep of this very narrow of definition physical perfection and beauty is very important to the media. We are meant to look at the people on the pages of our magazines and see that they are ‘beautiful’, and of course we know that advertisements are made with the intention of selling consumer products. What we think less consciously about is what else we as a society are being sold when we consume advertising and popular media. All of us are being sold a particular ideal which we understand to be desirable. In a world where even the small part of the population that fit this ideal are airbrushed before they hit the magazine page, how do the rest of us fit in? How do women ever feel as though they’ve succeeded in such a visual world? How do we learn to value ourselves when we don’t match the people in the pages of magazines?
‘Miss Representation’ notes the measurable effect of popular media’s focus on this ideal: 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies. That number increases to 78% by age 17. The most telling statistic of all: American teenagers spend 31 hours a week watching T.V., 17 hours a week listening to music, 3 hours a week watching movies, 4 minutes a week reading magazines and 10 hours a week online. That gives a lot of air time to the warped ideal currently being sold as ‘beauty’. It’s not much of a leap to come to the conclusion that the constant exposure of teenagers to popular media generates and reinforces significant body issues.
The documentary gives us tough stats to deal with – it may take a focus on America, but given the huge amount of American media that Australians consume, these are statistics we need to be thinking and talking about.
So what now? It’s easy to be blown away by this information and increasingly disillusioned with the state of things. But that’s certainly not going to improve the situation for us, or for the young women and girls, or the young men and boys that are inheriting our media-saturated world. The fact of the matter is that the media working against us can be used to work for us, whether it be to create new representations of women and girls who can be role models, who expand our understandings of how a woman and a man might look and behave.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom notes on the ‘Miss Representation’ website that “The media can be an instrument of change”, and it’s up to us, the consumers of media, to make that change. It might be as simple as consuming with a critical eye, starting conversations with your friends about how unrealistic the images used in advertising are. It might be having a conversation with a young woman or a young man that you know about what a real role model is, and who the really interesting and significant folk are, the ones that aren’t selling us perfume or holidays. It might be challenging yourself to step away from the magazine that makes you feel insecure or like you’re failing to be good enough. It might be a more active role in advocating for change in advertising: making use of the #notbuyingit tag like the ‘Miss Representation’ website suggests, along with a conversation starter kit, a houseparty, or a letter (you can visit for ideas).
The important thing for me, as a feminist in Armidale in 2013 is that I have the ability to make my own contribution to media representation. I have the Nucleus to write for, and the UNEWS crew to share thoughts with and ask questions of. More talk is better than less in a world where we are the users of media and have the ability to demand that changes are made. So here’s to the next year of UNEWS awesomeness with Kate and Hanna at the helm for an exciting 2014.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 13

 Stayin' up late makin' mixtapes:

i haven't made one in a while, but i owe a few people some promises.

so many important moments and thoughts i've had lately seem to be scored to a soundtrack. simply put, music is one of my great loves. i think, when all is said and done, i'd be missing something and never knowing what it was, if music wasn't a thing.

making this mixtape, i am thinking a lot about the person it's for and how much i love and miss him. i am lucky to have some beautiful friends. it's just a constant heartbreak to live so far from the people that seem to really know you and get you. the treasure for me lately has been meeting more people close by who seem to maybe get me a little bit too.

but there are some special ones who i will love the rest of my life, and i hope to keep them in it, in some small way, shape or form.

here, i send out a mixtape, and what i want it to talk of is not only the love and the friendship, but also the will to insert a message through the songs of others far more talented than me to say that i want to be around, in the airwaves in the earbuds, as you go about your life and i imagine you in it. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 12

It is Sunday morning. I'm sitting in my comfy chair in my new room, looking at the work of settling in I did yesterday in a self-satisfied way.

The sun is shining in, there is peach tea and apple with yoghurt to munch quietly. I'm reading everything at once: feminist books, a smattering of chick-lit, the newest Frankie magazine, my favourite blogs that I haven't caught up with in a while.

It's my 28th birthday tomorrow. In an abstract way, 28 is something of a non-event birthday. My mum tells me 28 is the year of Saturn's return, or the year I become an adult. While I am at times skeptical of such pronouncements, this one actually feels about right. Things I want are becoming clearer and more specific, instead of the "I want everything" feeling from before. 

In a less abstract way, I wonder if I will wake up tomorrow with that little birthday zing I've had every birthday so far. A birthday is a birthday, after all. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 11

This one is just a very brief one on stationery.

I have gotten into a bit of a habit with collecting cards. I'm getting quite a good collection now. I tell myself that they're for backups, or for later, or for emergencies. There are many many awesome cards out there in the world- I like blank ones which can be sent 'just because', but if it's a cool graphic or a funny thing (in my rather loose concept of funny things) I will generally buy it and save it. For later.

I know I'm kidding myself- the reason I know this is because sometimes I like to get out the pile of cards I've purchased, still blank, still waiting to be scrawled on and sent off into the world, and just flick through them with a happy feeling in my heart. That's how I know they've become another thing I collect. 

In Brisbane this extended weekend I have found a few more to add to the collection. I'm going to try something different this time- I'm actually going to post at least one of these out into the world, because I bought it for a person in particular. 

What I'm hoping, by sharing this particular habit of mine with the greater Internet, is that someone might write back and tell me they're quietly doing the exact same thing. On the Internet, though- not a card. We're saving those.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 10

I've never been very good at sharing a bed. That seems to me to be one of the crappy parts of being an adult, that you have to share your bed with someone who might steal your covers away, or sleep in a star shape while you struggle to hold in to your little bit of space.

Because I have so much trouble with sleeping, I am pretty damn particular about such things. Amongst the many wonderful things of singledom is the wonderful thing of having my bed to myself. 

I took this photo of the magical space that is the bed in the back of my awesome van, Maude the Mazda. On account of the amount of whiskey I needed to drink to deal with Tony Abbott becoming Australia's Prime Minister, I was unable to drive home on election night (this wasn't an accidental thing, let the record show). I parked my lovely Maudie outside Paddy's house on a flat spot and had a little sleepover. 

I'd recently added a few important elements to the bed- the multicoloured rug was a score from an op-shop, as was the lacy pillowslip. It is my intention to furnish Maude with floral sheets as soon as possible, and maybe a little spot to secure my book, notepad and pen so they do not disappear into the bedding.

That bed is one of my particular favourites. In the morning, the sun comes through the pink curtains and gives everything that rose-coloured wonder that on this particular morning was quite perpendicular to the Australian political situation. When you awake, well-rested despite (or perhaps due to) the amount of whiskey imbibed, and you are in a warm rosy world, you are able to feel a little joy in your heart. Fact.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Friday Feminism: your body is your body (part 2)

in part 1 of this impromptu series-within-a-series, i talked about the point in a girl's life when she's made to realise she's a girl, one way or another. more than that, she's plopped into a feminine body she never realised she was always going to have, and now she's got to deal with it.

bah! gaaahhhh! blerg! more cartoon sound-effect words! onomatopoeia!

it's a lot more than simply learning the ways of acting feminine, of eschewing the masculine. it's about learning that your body is not quite right because of the way it looks. it's about being shown over and over again the air-brushed bodies and faces of people who are paid to work out for hours at a time, to have people cook steamed chicken and grated radishes for them, and being told you have to look like those bodies.

it's to sell you things, and it's also to keep you in your place. from a purely practical standpoint: how much time do you have to rule the world, change the things, fight the power, if you have to spend all this time in front of the mirror every day looking at yourself and understanding just how miserably you've failed to have skinny enough arms, or symmetrical enough eyebrows? these things we're meant to do, they are a strategic plot!

... they're probably not all out to get us, but really, i do believe there's a little truth to this, and a little history. i recently finished an essay on the representation of women in advertising where i didn't really get to say what i thought, so i thought i'd say it here: our sense of ourselves is manipulated so we never feel quite ok, or complete, but behold! if we buy these things, whether they be a body lotion or a perfume or a pair of particularly jaunty underwear, we will be Better.

the crime of this particular sneaky thing is that it targets teenage girls, who are new to the femininity thing and particularly susceptible to the criticism, implied or otherwise. mean, nasty, sneaking stuff, advertising.

i mentioned rites of passage into femininity last week; another desperately coveted weapon of femininity was Dolly magazine, or Girlfriend. these magazines held the secrets to things, or so i believed. it seemed a bible, or at least a manual of fact and instruction. now, i've never been destined for the type of body idealised by these magazines. imagine though, being so disappointed in yourself for something genetically out of your control. grasping body parts and internally griping at the failure of your thighs to comply with the Rules.

despite being quite a stubborn individual who didn't believe she had to follow the crowd to be happy, i partook in that particular belief, the 'your-body-isn't-good-enough' one, for years, on and off.

there needs to be different messaging. there needs to be some way to get in early with girls and young women to explain to them what 'healthy' actually means, and it's not what magazines tell you it looks like.

'healthy' looks like however it is that you look like when you're happy with yourself. the peace with yourself and the acceptance of who you are, with all those human bits that make you who you are. when you like yourself and appreciate your body, you want to take care of it and keep it happy and shiny. you don't want to starve yourself, or deny yourself different types of food, only to binge-eat way more than you really need because of the power this food group now holds on you because it was forbidden.

you want to do things to keep it running smoothly and powerfully; to keep it strong, to get your blood pumping. when you truly care about yourself, there's no part of you that needs punishing.

that's what we need to teach girls before they learn that other language. before they get the chance to feel that insidious self-hate. this campaign happening in the states is pretty damn cool, and aimed at pre-teens. imagine the revolution that could be started.

i have a stepsister who is 12. she is this clever, artistic and talented 12 year old with whom i had a great chat on our drive home last week, a chat about just being yourself and not feeling like you have to be the same as other girls at your school. i feel for her though, on the cusp of the adult world. i wouldn't change places with her for anything. it's a rocky time anyway, with all your hormones going nuts, to have to deal with negative messaging coming from everywhere.

i hope my future might lay somewhere in this area; in teaching girls self esteem, in teaching them how to decode advertisements so they can see what the media is trying to pull over them. i encourage anyone who has a young woman in the family to have that chat, to talk about women in advertisements and airbrushing and editing, and to get them to look at each and every image and think 'what are they trying to make me feel or think or buy with this picture?'.

my thing at the moment is really, let's just talk about it and see what we say.

that's what Ryan says.

30pictureschallenge: Day 9

this mug reminds me of a pillowcase i saw recently, in an article about tavi gevinson where they put in some photos of her in her room. the pillowcase in question has "here you will dream of endless kissing" on it, and i sort of wish it was mine.

i have a bit of a love-hate relationship with love. wait, hear me out. i'm a reader and sometimes a writer (a lover and sometimes a fighter) and so the concept of love to me is sometimes that it's a thing of power and awesomeness, like all you need is love... like the moulin rouge guy, wasshisname mcgregor (kidding- love ewan and all of his accent and face). maybe it's the first parts that come with being in love that i love so much. the parts where you're bulletproof and giddy.

i don't love in halves. when i love a person, that's basically like saying, i really like them quite a lot. i could write poetry and songs and let's face it, drop them into blog entries as much as i can.

or i have in the past, anyways. but after this last particular failed relationship, i can't help but feel a little suspicious of love. like love is a bit of a tricker and a heartbreaker. i suspect that i'm overly enthusiastic about being in love, and that probably what i should do is just chill the fuck out and play it cool, let love sneak up on me, impress me, buy me flowers. oh wait, that's not love - that's just a nice boy.

i've managed to date a whole collection of people who may have, collectively among them, bought me flowers 3 times in an accumulative total of 7.5 years. i am clearly picking the wrong people, and those people are picking the wrong flowers (by that i obviously mean: no flowers at all). i've always hoped for them, much like i've always hoped for commitment and a little emotional maturity, and yet here i am, me, the friendly blogger, without flowers or commitment or any of those things of the fairytales.

it's a tricky thing though, because even after all that whining, i'd take the endless kissing dreamt of on a special pillowcase, or the warm coffeecup kisses. i'd take them and run away with them, all the way to a dream place full of adult men with aspirations and goals, flowers, and -let's face it- failing actual facial hair, at least the ability to grow some.

love, huh? tricky bastard.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 8

i would like some 'be cool' cupcakes. i reckon they would make me cooler. as long as they were gluten free, otherwise they'd just make me sick in my tummy.

if it was as simple as eating a cupcake or two, imagine how much cooler the whole planet would be. no conservative, money-grabbing politicians. probably everyone would bike everywhere, or drive renewable energy cars. there'd probably be no plastic bags, no clothes would ever need ironing. women would work alongside men in the highest-paid positions; men and women would be able to take paid time to care for their kids when the need arose.

you could walk down the street in the dead of night in the highest heels and the shortest skirts (if that was your thing, because i prefer knee-length and flats, and i want to be cool too) and not worry about being safe. you could leave your kids in the hands of pretty much anybody and know, for sure, that they'd take care of your children.

if everyone would just eat a 'be cool' cupcake, it wouldn't even be a thing that some people look different to other people, some are fat and some are thin, some speak different languages and have different beliefs. that would be fine, and merely a point of conversational interest at the table. countries would help each other out, and no leave people floating about in the sea on boats, pretending they don't exist.

there'd always be allocated sleep-in days, and plenty of good coffee to go with those cupcakes.

man, it would be good, if everyone would just be cool.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 7
this is exactly how i'm feeling today, and probably a little bit tomorrow. reasons for these feelings have been expanded upon below:

firstly, i've embarked on the part of my study where i panic and become certain i shall not pass my exam. there is a very real possibility of this, and it will be my own fault if i don't (see above: i feel stupid). it's that awkward situation where i'm not actually stupid, but trying to read number problems that are said in words makes me panic, then try to calm down, then read it again, then panic. it's internal panic. it's a silent scream. the silent scream of someone who is very scared of numbers and things she doesn't understand.

secondly, i've re-embarked on my gym routine in the quiet hope of righting all the wrongs within my poor body. the bits that are wonky, the bits that are out of whack, the bits that vaguely remember what it was like to function properly. those bits are going to get sorted right out, and i am loving the moving about again. but boy, it makes me tired in my body, and hungry for more than the sensible healthy food i am eating. but i'm already feeling better after a week or two. so i will be good to my little self. (see above: i feel tired, i feel hungry).

it's no secret that i am quite, quite fond of caffeinated beverages. and that they help with coping with the other things that are maybe not as light and fluffy as you might like. tomorrow morning, i am going to have breakfast at the goldfish bowl and have probably 2 coffees to go with those eggs on toast. and boy oh boy, i am already looking forward to it (see above: this coffee will change all of that).

i think the important thing is, even on the tired hungry stupid days, and we all have them, to have a coffee in the horizon, or at least the prospect of metaphorical coffee.

mmm, metaphorical coffee.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

treasure: hippity hoppity

it's a funny thing, but i am really into australian hiphop. people who have known me since school days seem to be a bit unsure about this. people who were in whistler with me are not surprised.

i got into hiphop a bit in highschool, and had quiet the penchant for eminem, particularly The Eminem Show, but this track probably got the most airplay in my cave of teen angst.

i think the magic of hiphop is how much can get said in one song. the inherent rhythm in rhyming words, seems to be somewhat corporeal as it matches your heartbeat and your footsteps. with hiphop in your ear, you are basically a badass.

after school though, i gave my listening time to folks like bright eyes, radiohead, fiona apple, ani defranco, powderfinger.... bit of everything i suppose. introspective stuff, mostly. my listening time was most about me, unless i was working my way through the combined backcatalogues of dylan and cash, as prescribed by my ex. wholesome stuff, ya know?

alas, there was something missing from my life. how i see it now is that hiphop is representative of the carefree young twenties that i missed out on by dating an old man masquerading as a man in his late 20s. whistler fixed that right up, though. the first month i lived on my little brother's living room floor, i was unemployed and so got to spend a lot of time walking around the green haven that is whis in summer. i also had the distinct pleasure of meeting and living with one cameron ellis, infamous because of his associations with both my brothers during their whistler careers. cam had a good collection of hiphop to get started on, and as is custom in whistler sharehouses, i uploaded all his music onto my ipod and slowly started making my way through it on the walks i would take every day between creekside and the village.

i crammed in the hillhop hoods, urthboy, bliss n eso, muph & plutonic, drapht. i started to enjoy the pounding of my heart up the hills of this beauty of a mountain town matching the flow of the artists which started to feature more and more heavily in my monthly playlists.

it really just primed me for winter and the first of my shredding playlists. the music makes you ride harder and braver- i realised this not long after i learned to turn and my main fear was speed. if you're listening to tunes and can't hear your edges scraping, your fear of falling is minimised. it's maths.

another whistler housemate mitch and i used to fan out over bliss n eso's "running on air" really hard; go driving on our days off, which for one miraculous summer matched up, wind through your hair and stereo pumping. these were the carefree days i had been missing in my early twenties. carefree as fuck, kids. you heard it here first.

there were the anthems like the hilltops' 'nosebleed section' and urthboys 'we get around', pez & 360's 'festival song' certainly made you feel summer in the air like nothing else.

now i'm back in australia and am, for all intents and purposes, doing the adult thing. but my love of hiphop is still strong. my favouritest tune of late is still shredding the balloon by the hilltop hoods. it's a pretty chilled song, but the pace of the lyrics has a really good flow to it that i just can't get sick of.

here it is, for you all - enjoy.

30pictureschallenge: Day 6

i remember when fax machines were cool. i remember the shiny fax paper, where the whole fax came in one piece, and would eventually fade, like some kind of magic secret message. i remember sending faxes which were just letters on white A4 paper, written to be faxed to friends who had parents who also had fax machines. bloody amazing, technology, eh?

for me, it's always been about communicating, and i guess that's why i'm still not really reminiscing about how it was better in the good old days. sure, fax machines trump letters. emails trump faxes. msn messenger trumps phonecalls. text messages trump phonecalls, skype trumps phonecalls (i don't like the phone, so for me a lot of things trump phonecalls) and Facebook rules the world.

if the way to communicate and to express yourself gets easier with each technological advance, i am all for it. i have my moments with new technology. i do understand the panic one sometimes sees in the eyes of a generation of parents who are learning to navigate a smart phone (i felt the exact same way, except i was also embarrassed to be panicking); you have this feeling like you're going to accidentally do something undoable that will have disastrous consequences. most often, it's a non-issue, but touchscreens can definitely inspire panic.

i do wonder sometimes how my adult life would be without the level of technology we're currently sitting at. i would have been a lot more lost a lot more of the time (thanks, googlemaps) and i would probably have bought less vintage clothing (thanks, etsy app). would i still be in such good contact with my lovely friends of Elsewhere if there were no Facebook? i'm certain i would have been writing letters instead, but the immediacy of being about to share their everyday lives is a bit of a luxury. it's a luxury i wouldn't sacrifice, really.

it does feel like a strange world we live in, where our devices are obsolete from the second we pick them up, but they still work just fine, for the required 2 years before they're so out of date nothing will work on them anymore. my iPhone 4s is basically an antique now, but i've only owned it a year. it is easy to see why people get cynical about the rapid transformations surrounding technology, but i honestly can happily join millions of others who like it, who eschew the cynicism of those who are stubbornly sticking to their fax machines.

fax machines are in the nowhereland. they're not vintage. they're not a hipster item. they're like the clothing of the 2000s (i recently found out that 90s clothing is now vintage, yikes). no place, really - although what the heck is the clothing of the naughties anyways? someone let me know- not by fax though, i've had to give it up.

Monday, 7 October 2013

30pictureschallenge: Day 5

i've had a lot of very lovely onesie-based memories in the past few years. annabel crabb wrote this article a while ago about how the onesie is symptomatic of gen Y's extended childhood, and it gave me something to think about, but i also think that unless you are gen Y and you are wearing a onesie, you probably aren't quite sure what the appeal is.

they're fun. they're silly. despite how prevalent the onesie has become, it still feels like you're breaking the rules when you wear one in public. it sort of says 'meh, fuck it' about appropriate dress codes and codes of conduct. any kind of code really.

in whistler, the onesie deal was all about getting retro on the mountain. which many people did, regularly. i had the convenient position of working at the thrift store, which meant i was basically the go-to girl for onesies. and i did hook some people up with some awesome onesies - like these ones:

Bottom right modeled by the lovely Karin

i wrote a blog about a cool onesie-based experience i had working in the store which you can read here (it's a good'un). my joy was selling these onesies in the store, the joy on the faces of those who had found their perfect onesie, and then seeing them out on the hill in the following weeks.

dressing up and getting up the mountain was a pretty fun and awesome exercise. normally, there was beer and double Caesars involved.

for me, the onesie is synonymous with friendship and fun, with being truly young and filled with joy. with having the weight lifted from your shoulders. i guess truthfully, the onesie is what whistler was for me - a place to breathe and simply be alive.

i wrote about my first halloween in whistler in this post, and i reminisced about this particular evening at my brother's 21st, for it truly was ridiculous, and worthy of your attention.

there is something warm and secure about zipping or buttoning oneself into a onesie. it's a type of safety that is hard to imagine unless you've felt it firsthand, and with that, i encourage you all to own a onesie at some point in your life.

that is all.

treasure: adventure

i've had a lovely long weekend so far (and it's not even finished yet! happiness!) which included some moving house, some unpacking, some essay finishing, a bit of theatre, a bushwalk, a sunday session, time with some lovely ladies, a really good cup of coffee, and some music while i decorate my new space.

loved it. so nice to settle in, so nice to have a room with so much sunlight and potential.

and lovely to get out into the world yesterday. here's a few pics from my weekend.

Top of the mountain to ya!

Best bushwalking hat - stolen from my brother (if you leave it in my car, it officially becomes my hat)

Cascades Walk at New England National Park

Some of my favourites, really.

"And then I realised adventure was the best way to learn. And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"  --- Donald Miller

Friday, 4 October 2013

Friday Feminism: your body is your body (part 1)

in some ways, our physical bodies and how we use them in the world is what got me into feminism in the first place. university study finally allowed me to vocalise the separation i have had from my body since i realised i was, and really felt, female. but that's because i'm so much in my head. it's an experience that is common to plenty of people, men and women, and so is not really a realisation 'won' in tertiary education. that's just how it happened for me, the lightbulb moment.

i have a theory which is pretty much a thought i had once that i haven't ever expanded upon directly, but i might have a go at it right here and now, on 'this here blob' as tavi says. my theory is that there is an instance wherein all girls are made to realise their bodies are female, and not just arms and legs. they are very insistently put into the female category in a real way by someone other than themselves. this instance is most often a comment by a family member or a friend of the family, and happens leading up to puberty. it puts them into their female bodies by way of an observation about it, and can often trigger a tricky relationship with body image which so commonly plagues women, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

"You're certainly growing into a young lady, aren't you?"
"Your clothes are getting tight- you must be hitting puberty!"
"Don't you look pretty in that dress"
"It's so nice to see you all dressed up in a skirt for a special occasion"
"You're looking more and more grown up every day"

these aren't even the bad ones; the feeling of freedom among others to comment on a child or young adult's body extends to telling them not to eat so many biscuits at afternoon tea time because they'll get fat, or observing that their thighs wobble when they run. or that they've got a "cute little tummy". yeuck.

my theory is, it starts right here. the innocence of childhood is well and truly shattered by such observations, and so begins a career of bad body image and body shame. not for everyone, sure. but if you're reading this, i encourage you to think back to see if you can remember a comment about your body around this age that made you feel a bit weird.

i cry a little inside thinking of all those rosy-cheeked little girls, chubby thighs or not, who stopped climbing trees and running races against their friends, and started moving more carefully through the world. heavy shoulders of little girls who had to learn about keeping their knees together so the boys couldn't see their underwear. girls who suddenly had to aspire to a grace and passivity they did not instinctively possess; no sudden movements, no clumsy free-limbed rambles. not in public, anyway.

the part of university-styled thought on this subject that still hangs about in my brain is part Foucault, part Butler; we learn to self-regulate and we learn to perform our gendered identity. we understand a way to act that is considered 'correct', but unfortunately (and not accidentally) acting 'feminine' and 'masculine' often takes away the carefree and fluid nature of little people who don't really care about all that stuff. we learn to internalise being watched by society, and start to perform our gender, masculine or feminine, insidious in such a way that we don't even realise it.

as we learn it, there are these milestones of increasing acceptance of norms and forms. it stops upsetting us so much, i think, and starts being something everyone does- i remember it going beyond that for me into the anticipation of partaking in feminine signifiers like spray-on deodorant (anyone else remembering coveting impulse body spray?), and shaving my legs.

you'll notice this particular topic is in parts, and this is part one. i really wanted to get you thinking about your experiences as a young person and the formative moments that made you realise that the way you looked was now the primary material for comment. i have quite a lot to say on this topic; i'm trying to dole it out in bite size bits.

another thing to mull over is how powerful the fear of not fitting in becomes, and then imagine how it might feel to have been born a man in a woman's body, or a woman in a man's.

let's put ourselves in someone else's shoes, and then clomp awkwardly forward.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

secret: (another) 4 things i'd like for my birthday

i keep thinking of things i want for my birthday, and they're basically all from pinterest.

as the pinterest world inspires my imagination, i daydream about a world in which i get all the lovely presents i want (and a tiny house, and a killer closet, and the best overseas holiday ever).

pinterest is where my fantasy life happens. i love it there.

here's the four things i want this week.

This book. I follow him on Facebook and there are some amazing stories and beautiful pictures. True art, and such an inspiring idea...

If someone were to bake me these cookies, I would be very pleased indeed. Here is the recipe. Just in case.

This bag would fit so many things in it. Useful things. Pretty things. Shiny things.