brightlywoven: (huh?)
I've been watching Season 1 of Mad Men, and can't decide if I hate it or not. It's set in a New York advertising office in 1960, and seems mainly to be about the men who work there and the women who revolve around them. And while it's enjoyably stylish and slick, it really does seem to be fetishising the very elements it attempts to problematise. Gosh, those poor women really were demeaned and objectified, weren't they? Here's a lingering shot of one of them bending over in a tight skirt!

And honestly? Maybe it's the continental difference, but the whole thing is far more overtly and covertly sexist than Murder Must Advertise, set 30 years and a world war earlier. Miss Meteyard wouldn't timorously ask the art department if the words 'weren't supposed to be different', she's given them what for. And DLS' take on advertising was both more insightful and funnier.

Oh, but on the plus side, it features YoSaffBridge!
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (grrr)
[personal profile] shehasathree linked to this article about 'school refusal', and the fairly appalling comments. I thought some of my f-list would find them interesting, particularly this one (which was balm, given some of the comments!):

"Have you ever heard of "drapetomania"? This was the 'disorder' (invented) that caused slaves to run away. 'School refusal' and 'school phobia' are the same. This is a label we apply to children who cannot bear their situation. Help her find a different one. Home education is a legal option."

brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (hand gesture)
There are things I freely admit This Country does far better than My Country. These include but are not limited to: spring, beer, architecture, meadows, summer evenings, rivers and river sports, pudding, water recycling and comedy.

There are however some things in which I think My Country could give This Country some lessons. I have previously listed coffee and brunch. To this I add beaches, voter enrollment, election night broadcasting and hospital communications systems. It would spark endless controversy if I added cricket[1] and tea[2], but they do rightly belong on this list.

Now I add exams. Honestly, this finals system is an effing travesty, which seems to in no useful way assess the intellectual achievements of very bright and hard working people. Those of you who are/have just/have previously suffered through it have much admiration from me. Can those of you now climbing the pole of academia not, like, fix it?

[1] Perhaps our teams could be more gracious, but we are still better at actually playing the game successfully, you know it's true ;)

[2] In My Country, this beverage does not come with a floaty layer of scum on top. I've been told this is at least partly due to Oxford water. I intend to investigate this further with the help of an antipodean friend currently holidaying up north.

OK, I make two qualifying concessions

1. Apparently English tea is only scummy if you live in a hard water area, and these do exist in Australia as well. (I knew mentioning tea would start a war!)

2. The abysmal exam system may be largely limited to Oxbridge. So that means it's only inflicted on a large number of the most academically inclined undergrads. Goody.
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
(I think setting myself a relatively endless data entry job to do on a sunny friday afternoon may have been an error...)

Eventually I'll learn not to start debates at (my) bedtime, but this one got abridged last night, and I'd be interested by others' views.

It came up from the discussions around the Hillary Clinton's campaign and the insights it has provided into our society's still-raging misogyny. The question was raised of whether 'bitch' is sexist term. 

One commentator had argued for a parallel between calling one candidate a bitch (allowed) and calling another by a word beginning with N (that I won't type in case it activates the internet to kill me) (not allowed).  [profile] exactlyhalfwas of the opinion that the parallel did not follow, because his experience of the term was that it implied a specific criticism (of personality) that, although used solely about women, was not an aspersion on their gender. Hence its frequent use by many women. (I think I've parphrased that right, but he can correct me if I've got it wrong).

My opinion, that actually crystalised during the conversation, is that the important point here is the setting of the language. I might, OK, I frequently have referred to people as 'bitch', with the same tone and meaning with which I use 'bastard' - an expression of dislike. On the other hand, I would call that 'private language', and would never use either term in a public forum.

However I'm thinking that once you get into a public discourse [1] the implications of your language can vary. If you publically condemn a person, and you do so using a gender specific derogatory term, then the criticism *of*  their gender is implicit.

What do people think? Am I splitting hairs to allow me to maintain a double standard?

[1] yes, I have a BA in lit, I can use that word

brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (fire)
A very pleasant Christmas and New Year's break has been had by us. Not much in the way of excitement (I tell myself this is because I am Studying, but I am not as productive as I could be), but we had a lovely 4 day break in Brighton with family. I was pleasantly surprised by how speedy our drive was - 2 hours each way being about half the time I'd mentally allowed.

In the spirit of new yeardom, I decided to seriously examine an issue I'd not yet got to grips with. Recently I joked that I was concerned some of exactlyhalf's philosophy friends might 'turn him vegetarian.' I have always had mixed opinions on the subject of meat eating, so I thought it would be a good time to get to the bottom of some facts and decide if these should change what I do.

who to eat )

Any facts/opinions about these would be good to hear.

And a happy new year to all.


Sep. 16th, 2007 10:37 am
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
I have been following, with increasing glee, the Australian political situation, and the current state of play is quite delicious.

A short historical essay )
Something, however, has happened. The new Labour leader has done what his 3 predecessors in opposition could not: got attention. People listen to him. President Hu listened to him last week, as he addressed the APEC conference in Mandarin. He's 2 decades younger than Howard and energised.

More than this though, is that Howard is suddenly on the nose. All year, polls have been worsening. Howard now appears to be struggling to retain his own seat (on current polling he will lose it to an ABC journalise). In this last week, we saw Howard's own cabinet almost turn on him. This is significant, because Howards logic defying success has seen him somewhat deifed by his party. They see him as unstoppable, so no-one has wanted to see leadership change. His deputy, who was promised a hand-over in the 3rd term, has looked increasingly desparate as it becomes clear that Howard will *never ever* go of his own accord, and has been consistently too popular to be pushed. Yet in this last week, when the Foreign minister was asked to 'sound out feeling' on his leadership, not one member of Cabinet would say they wanted him to stay.

Every day the Australian press reports still more shambolic displays of desperation. The election must be called before the end of the year, and with each poll things look worse for the government. After 4 painful elections (the last two seen in utter despair), I am finally allowing myself to hope. Even to dream that Howard, the man who has disregarded all values in clinging to power, will go out in the most ignominious way possible - losing his own seat, as well as his government.

And if this sounds like schadenfreude, I will say this: over 11 years, I've become increasingly ashamed of my country. Howard has chosen the worst aspects of its people to reflect. He has made it backward and insular looking. He has made it a place where opportunity belongs only to the rich (and hopefully white). I do believe that an evil leader can make a people evil. I want to see my country heal.
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
A question, prompted by my encounter yesterday with a mad person. What is surgery to you? Is it:

a) Something that is inherently risky and painful, to be resorted to only when the likely benefits outweigh the likely harms (and almost certain pain).

b) An assault on the body's integrity and a form of charlatanism. I'll have some Noni juice and a Reiki massage, please.

c) A way to get some TLC and attention from nurses/surgeons/my family (plus, cool scars!).

d) The only way to fix a problem for good.

e) My NHS given right dammit, and I'm not leaving till I get some!

f) A totally valid career choice.

Discuss (If f, it's OK, you may go now. Here's a fresh pair of scrubs and a banana for you.)
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (biscuit)
foreverdirt has written most excellently about the ways that sexism and patriarchy still screw over women, and teach them that if they're going to be in a traditionally male field, they had damn well better be the best, or incur all kinds of flaming wrath and guilt.

Pondering this, I can't help but wonder why it is that women make these situations harder for each other.

As a bright-eyed medical student, I guffawed when a consultant told me that nurses would never treat me the same as they would treat my male colleagues. She muttered something about jealously. Now, I always thought it very insulting to imply that nurses were only nurses because they couldn't be doctors; that because it's traditionally 'women's work' doesn't make nursing less desirable, interesting or worthy.

Then I entered the workforce, and I noticed how many times I would be given a helping hand, or offered a cup of tea etc, and compared that to the treatment my male colleagues get and there *is* a difference.

why doesn't anybody make me a cup of tea, dammit? )


brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)

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