Now you see me…

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Massively and deeply sexist

I really really hate the way that newspaper articles can't resist completely misrepresenting women in order to come up with some sort of catchy headline. And because they have found the catchy headline, they then completely thwart the facts to fit the story they are forced to tell by the headline they have created. Reading E H Carr today in What is history for my thesis, I saw the quote "every journalist knows today that the msot effective way to influence opinions is by the selection and arrangement of the appropriate facts." Certainly holds true today. And so today and the fantastic headline on the Sydney Morning Herald website "Women just want the Posh life". The byline then notes that A new survey shows finding a rich husband and losing weight are on women's wish lists for 2008 ie we all want to be like Victoria Beckham. The article goes on to talk about a survey done in Britain (therfore, not ALL women, just British ones) and then notes that the "fantasy ambition" that comes FOURTH is finding a rich husband. The results are actually as follows:

Q: In your fantasy world, which of the following would you like to fulfil?

1 Travel the world

2 Develop my own successful company

3 Learn a new language

4 Marry a wealthy man

5 Gain top qualifications in university

6 Have children

7 Star opposite my favourite actor/actress

8 I would keep my life exactly the same

9 Win X Factor

10 Become Prime Minister

Q: Which of the following would improve the quality of your life?

1 To weigh less

2 Better home

3 More time to myself

4 More time with my family/friends

5 A new wardrobe

6 Better job

7 Better sex

8 Meet the partner of my dreams

9 Cosmetic surgery

10 Children/more children

Q: If you could improve one thing about yourself, what would it be?

1 Better body

2 More assertive

3 Less emotional

4 More beautiful

5 More intelligent

6 More athletic

7 More popular

8 More compassionate

9 More sexual partners

10 Better sense of humour

Now, as far as the top category goes, I think that reflects quite well on the advances of feminism and the change in women's ambitions and desires. Women would rather start their own new business or learn a language than marry a rich man. And getting further university qualfications comes closely after it. what the top list shows me is that woman have moved on and, in general, see that having control of their life and ambitions is what they would most like to do.


While the second list reflects the prevailing obsession with beauty and slimness, it also shows that women are more willing to assert their own needs, seeing more time to themselves as significant. The inclusion of more time with the family also reflects a distinct demographic change – women are now working and therefore not spending all their time with their families.

Even the final lsit shows woman as believing that being more assertive is the thing they want – more assertive!

Anyway, bollocks to you SMH for trying to show woman as one dimensional and trapped within a 1950s paradigm, when the survey itself actually shows a much richer and more interesting picture of British women in 2007. Perhaps the editors thought a picture of VB would actually attract more readers….


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Carols

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In more traditional Christmas Day activities, we engaged a bit of carol singing. Having an opera singer in training in the family does help with this activity, and Katie was prevailed upon to perform a Christmas Day solo to the delight of her mother.

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Christmas celebrations

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So we had Christmas dinner at jackie's house. It was a lovely day, much playing, eating and drinking. The turkey could have ended in disaster as a misprint on the Glad Cooking Bags indicated that the calculated time for turkey cooking would have been over five hours….Fortunately we found contradictory advice that made the calculation somewhat nearer 3 hours – our estimate and experience.

In addition to the traditional turkey and accoutrements, James made some exotic seafood entrees, amny of which were from our new Surreal Gourmet recipe book (thanks Jazzie!). They were excellent, as were the more traditional prawns and scallops. So lots of yum.

Sebastian and Jude wanted to ensure they received plum pudding – for the money – so I whipped out some five cent pieces which kept them delighted. Ah, simple joys. I can never think of plum pudding money without recalling the astonishment of my sister, brother and I when, every Christmas, my Poppa managed to find a $20 – and then later $50 – note in his pudding. How could it b that every year he would get them! Would we ever find one?! Fortunately Jude and Sebastian are still happy with small change.

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Christmas presents

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So the boys were, as usual, very lucky and somewhat spolied at Christmas. At least Jude did respond with very endearing delight "we got SO MUCH presents". Gifts at Ga's house included an extremely fine castle to be shared by Jude and Sebastian. James and I are considering borrowing it and the most excellent pirate ships for table-top D&D type activities…..

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Christmas hat troubles

QotD: Best Book of ’07

What's the best book you read this year?

The best book I read this year was definitely The System of the World by Neal Stephenson. A year or two old now it was clever and intriguing and complex and funny and engaging. It was also very long. One of the reasons it qualifies as the best book I read this year is that it is one of the only books I read this year!! between work, study, small children and my particular television program addicitions, I rarely find a lot of time to read. Lying in bed of a morning and reading is one of the few things that I really miss now I have children and a partner – it used to be one of my favourite weekend past times, but is now something I almost never do. And would find hard to do while anyone else was in the house.

Second honours probably go to Harry Potter -  it was plane reading for New York and light enough to get through. I actually think it was better than a couple that preceeded it and, as Jasmin and I discussed the other night, was possibly the most cinematic of her books. It still needed a good edit – like all of her books since Azkahban, but SPOILER ALERT

did make me feel justified in my argument that
(a) Harry was never going to die (well, at least end up dead) and
(b) Snape was always going to end up being good – otherwise Dumbledore was an idiot and that undermines the entire story.

Could have done with less agonising over the questions of whether Dumbledore was doing the right thing by Harr, but I guess that was part of capturing the key aspect which made the books realistic – how annoying are teenage boys!! And that's right, I'm going to have three of them in a few years. <sigh>

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