Thursday, May 31, 2007

Should women be expected to..

The News Poll on Yahoo7 Home Page poses the question :

"Should a woman be expected to give up her career to support her husband?"

I am sure you can think of a few problems with this question and i'd love to hear your thoughts.. every day in the media, we are treated to stories and opinions that have the effect of reinforcing the normative cultural position.. and its sometimes so subtle that we hardly even notice the impact..

..i like to think that i shield myself from some of the effects of media stereotyping and construction of people because i rarely watch tv.. go to a cinema or listen to the radio.. but i cant avoid my computers Home Page so easily.. and media has a way of subtly slipping into your life in some form.. even in just listening to conversations that result from media stories.. media - of course - is a power source in our society..

so i'd like to take the time to unpack this one small Yahoo News Poll question by talking about the unspoken aspects of the question..

  • doesnt pose the question in reverse.. "Should a man be expected to.. etc
    ..the word "support" is used in a gendered way.. the inference is that a women supports by propping up.. and a man supports by providing.. and this is a restating of the traditional gender roles.

  • the word "expected" is asking for social and cultural regulation of the expectations of women.. the question asks what should be expect of a woman..

  • as women in same sex relationships, or women seeking a same sex relationship.. we are completely excluded from this statement.. and we are more than excluded, we are made invisible.. as if we dont exist.. its a heteronormative question that can only have answers that reinforce the heteronornative position..

moving away from the actual content of the question.. what about the power of the media in posing this question.. ??

  • if you should choose to answer the News Poll question, its a ticker box response that you may choose from.. the answers are preselected for you, so you are either forced to remain silent, or respond in one of a few preselected ways.. think about the power in that for a while..!!

  • on its face, the question looks reasonable and seems to by asking for readers opinion.. but the resulting Poll response can not be broader than the question posed.. the only actual choice available is to answer or not to answer.. either way you are affected by the question .. ..rendered invisible.. or confined by its terms.. etc..

..i hate these sort of normalising "questions" that are actually statements.. i hate the sublty of them and that there is no recourse to not have your day dotted with media word pollution..

dont construct me today !!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Di - the camel woman..

Well yesterday was a special day..

..i walked into the city as usual for a saturday.. called into the bakery and took my croissant with me.. ..i sat at the city end of the Goodwill bridge and ate my breakfast and noticed that nearby, a group of Aboriginal ppl were doing the same.. was hard to identify them as a family, though they may have been, as they had no children with them.. had rained here in Brisbane overnight and in the early morning.. and the Aboriginal ppl had made use of the bbq shelter they were sitting in to dry of their belongings.. clothes and blankets were strung up on most of the shelters cross beams..

..i couldnt help but wonder.. what earlier events in their lives had led them to that shelter.. ..and i realised again.. ..although we live in the same place.. experience is unique.. and opportunity is not universal..

..later on my walk, as i was sitting in the mangrove walk.. now one of my fav spots.. i noticed a young family climbing into their tinny.. mum, dad, a toddler and a boy about 8.. their main boat was a sort of ramshackle sailing boat, with a crab pot strung up one mast.. and a bicycle tied to another.. the cooking pots were strung up like lanterns.. what a delicious boat.. !! it turned out, the young family wedged their tinny in amongst the mangroves and crawlled up onto the mangrove walk right near me.. but i chose not to talk to them or ask about their boat.. i had already build a fantasy that i didnt want dispelled..

..they were a modern version of a gypsy family and they lived on that boat fulltime.. :) ..i did not want to hear that they were both actually advertising exec's with a fabulous though extravagant week end boating hobby..!! ..magic..

now to the title of this post.. ..while i was out exploring .. Rasta received a call from an old mate.. and its seems that a woman from Rastas past is in town.. and we have been invited to dinner.. its been 15 years or so since Rasta saw this woman.. but everyone that knows her.. when ever she comes up in conversation, always says.. "Oh Di, the camel woman" .. i'm not sure why, but i'd like to try and find out.. !!_____________________________________________

.. we ended up going to Mandy's house at Redcliffe - a beachside suburb of Brisbane..

Mandy and Di had spent the day knocking down a wall in Mandy's house, ready to put in french doors.. they had had a lot of fun but were now neither organised or motivated to go out to dinner :) so we opened a bottle of wine and chatted for a while.. Mandy's house is a beach shack surrounded by imposing houses.. its quaint and charming..

Mandy enjoys gathering wood on her walks along the beach and sands it back - she has pots of interesting wood peices of wood all around the house.. when i said i loved mucking around with wood also.. i got a tour her wood collection.. nice..

well we still hadnt decided about food.. so we took our wine and glasses across the park to the beach.. a 2 minute walk.. we sat on the grass overlooking the waves - if we had decided to do that halk an hour earlier, the fish and chip shop just there, would probably have still been open.. but that didnt worry us too much.. it was a beautiful Brisbane night.. at the beach on a almost June night - wearing a sleeveless shirt.. the weather is spot on.. ..and by the way, i think we want to live near the beach (this week anyway :) i turned the convo to camels.. as you do.. it seems Di used to catch wild camels in the Simpson Desert.. (i can only imagine that there was some sort of market for tamed camels at that time :) ..anyway.. she had a favourite that she called Percy and she used to ride Percy to the pub at Castlemaine where she lived.. and tie him up in the car park..!! ..what can ya say.. :)

..i already had some knowledge of Perce the camel from stories Rasta had told me (..there had been a particular night at the Castlemaine pub, when Di and Rasta were hangin' together.. Rasta drove a lil old convertible sports car then.. and when Di had had a little too much of a good time to ride Perce home, Rasta kindly offered to lead Perce home - alongside the sports car.. ..yep.. of course, the police came along, but it seems they couldnt do much.. there was no law against leading a camel home form the pub)..

...interestingly, Di travelled to Queensland last year in a horse and buggy.. it took a few months.. inland and using old stock routes.. ..i am sure there are plenty more stories there.. and hopefully more evening on that beach..!! ..i know you wont be surprised when i tell you that Di currently lives on a bus.. ..and when Rasta used to know her in Castlemaine, Di and Perce kept a very orderly tent by the river.. :) ..i like this woman !! finished and walking back through the park, our minds turned to food again... so many local pubs.. we hopped in the car and tried the Woody Point pub and the Paradise pub (apparently the first place the Bee Gee's ever performed) .. but the food had finished for the night.. we went to Hogs Breath.. sat outside.. overlooking the beach and a view to Stradbroke Island.. what a magic day..

a foot note on last night - as we approached Redcliffe and were crossing a bridge over part of Moreton Bay - a bridge famous for fishing from - i was reminded that Rasta often mentions, as we cross that bridge.. "this is where Ros loves to fish" ..Ros is a nun in an order that still wears the long black gear (Anglican order) on my way to meet Di - the camel woman.. i had one eye out for Ros - the fishing nun.. yep, you guessed.. another of Rasta's ex's .. magic!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My walk to CIty Gardens this morning.. i want to share it with you..

across goodwill bridge..
through the uni grounds..

passed the bush turkey..

once around the tree..

along the path..

..through the gates..

..taking note of local landmarks

..bypass the cafe..

stop at the waterfall..

be stunned by graceful birds..

get even closer to graceful birds..

marvel at ducks in a water spout..

marvel some more..

..take a left passed the ornate gardens loos..

lovin' those old growth trees..

..there's a boat theme to kids corner..

..sit here..

..or here..

..or here..

..take in the bobbing boats..
..and some more..

..oh, and some more..

and a tinny!! ..magic..

one lone tree in the water..

..lotsa water.. lotsa boats..

this is the walking path.. right on the edge..

getting close to the mangroves.. da de.. ahhh.. walking walking..

..and now the mangrove walk.. and home across the goodwill bridge again.. back through SouthBank... to the car.. to the bakery... and home for brunch... yeh..

Work Seminar

I attended a work seminar today..

.. it was a big deal.. held at a city hospital and telelinked to other cities/towns in Qld.. the topic was Child development and events and circumstances that impact on children ..i put my hand up to attend because i thought it would provide insight with my work in child protection was so insightful..

everyone can benefit from the knowledge i received today ..i'd like to share some of the seminar with you because i think its reinforcing info for all parents ..firstly, i was amazed to hear (and its common sense on some level), that the whole "nurture or nature debate" is now outdated..

its pretty much acknowledged that you cant have nature without nurture impacting.. ..for example : the way a baby grows during pregnancy so affected significantly by the mother's diet and family circumstances.. and its not just economical.. its also emotional.. if a mother is stressed during pregnancy, due to domestic violence for example, then that has a direct impact on the developing feotus.. so nature is directly involved with nurture... that made alot of sense.. i hadnt thought about it b4, in those terms..

..the next amazing factor.. this environmental impact continues after the child is born.. and that the brain is still developing up to 2 years after birth.. so that family discord and violence continues to have an impact on a baby.. ..or the reverse, harmony and attentiveness have a postive impact..

..and its not just the impact of trauma and stress.. but that the brain and emotional development is stilted if a child is not in a healthy environment.. while a warm bed, nurturing routines and cuddles may seem like valuable components in early childhood, is actually more basic than that.. a nurturing environment is a vital component for a new baby....

attachment to a primary care giver is not only desireable but necessary to healthy, optimum development... ..i also learnt that the older a child is, when that nurturing environment is introduced, the less influence it will have in the development of the child.. b4 2 years.. there is alot of room to enhance development.. over 8 years, minimal impact will be achieved..

..another interesting fact.. that about 50% of kids who have ADHD.. will eventually have adult indicators of the disorder.. the adult indicators are not the same as those that are displayed in children.. they can be, the inability to hold down a job, aggressive behaviour, inability to be consistant and reliable in all areas of life.. ..some of those ppl that we know, that we believe are just irresponsible.. maybe they are just undiagnosed sufferers.. it makes you think.. we are indeed complex beings...

for me.. i have some new insights for working with kids.. and parents..