Thursday, 29 March 2012

It's "No Shit Sherlock" Day!

Or, "Rant About Advertising- Part 2"

When I read the title for this article on The Conversation - 'Why schools and corporate brands shouldn't mix', my immediate reaction was, that's right, "no shit Sherlock".

The article, which can be viewed here: states that

"Over the past two decades, fast food companies, financial institutions, supermarkets and other businesses have found increasingly innovative ways to build brand awareness among not only teachers, but also a captive and impressionable audience of school children."

I recall when I was in primary school Coles had a promo where you brought in dockets and your school would be rewarded with X amount of computers for every bajillion docket (yes, back then they were dockets, now for some reason every one calls them receipts. What's with that?) Maybe my super awesome brain is immune to brainwashing, but I don't have over positive associations with Coles lingering from those times. Probably because they supplied Apple Computers, which were shit back then (and still are). Also what happened to the "Machintosh" that used to follow the "Apple"?

The point is, I usually go to the supermarket that is nearest to me, not the one that gives prizes to schools. And certainly not ones that hurt Australian Farmers bty slashing the price of milk just to keep a strong hold on their oligopaly.

The last paragraph of this article is a classic too: "Of course children should be exposed to the outside world, and the corporate world forms part of this exposure. But marketing is all about trust and the promise of a better life." Marketing is about trust!?!?! Oh, shit, I've been completely wrong, here I was thinking it was all about selling a product!?!? Silly Miss!

That's all for now- Happy Friday!

*** UPDATE ***

Another one for the "No shit Sherlock" file:


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A Mid Week Smorgasboard of Mini Rants!

A couple of news items have held my attention over the past week or so, but as I am currently quite unwell, I don't have the stamina to write a whole blog about each. So here's a collection of whats grinding my gears at the moment:

1) US in talks with Australia over station on Cocos Islands
I'm sorry, but haven't Australians been very vocal to their politicians that we wish to decoup,le ourselves from America's Warmongering ways after the multibillion dollar disasters that were Afghanistan and Iraq? Perhaps, just perhaps, we should have learnt our lesson even earlier than that and realised from the Vietnam War that no good comes from chasing invisible enemies...

2) The Trayvon Martin Case
The incident itself is intense. The reaction from communities throughout America have been intense. The several different accounts that George Zimmerman has told the Police are intense. I am on the verge of being obssessed with this case. I am hopeful, but not optimistic, that this Zimmerman will be convicted of manslaughter. Amid all the different accounts of what happened (and I'm not going to insist this Zimmerman guy is a racist from the little I've read about the case- we just don't know what motivated him) no one is really speaking about what all other countries thing is the crux of the issue: WHY ARE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO JUST CARRY AROUND FIREARMS? UGH America's Laws, in particular laws relating to guns, just make me want to vomit! So many deaths could be prevented if stupid yanks amended their stupid gun laws!!!

3) There was something else, but I've forgotten... Oh well, two mini rants to a non existant audience is good enough...

** UPDATE** Just remembered number 3...

3) Legalising sex workers for PWD...
EVERYONE who even vaguely knows me knows that I'm a huge advocate for equal rights, for everyone, but in particular for people with disability. But reading this article irritated me to no end- why only legalise prostitutes for pwd? It just seems so pointless to me. NSW has shown that legalising prostitution has generous benefits for the community, for example more education and therefore less spread of STIs. Why is SA choosing to focus on only sex workers who provide services to PWD? I.Just.Dont.Get.It!!!!!

Feel free to share the news items that have made you angry recently :)

Monday, 19 March 2012

If you want it then you better put a ring on it!

Here’s a little story to warm the heart: Boy meets girl; boy takes girl out on several dates; boy has awesome make out session with girl; girl tells him in the midst of said session that she is a virgin and doesn’t believe in sex before marriage.

True story. Happened to a friend of a friend of mine. Now while I don’t know the girl, I’m just going to assume for the sake of this article that she has chosen to be celibate before marriage because of her religion. Before you roll your eyes and think “Here goes Miss on another anti-religion rant” we should examine the facts. And we should examine them in my favourite way- through dot points!

-          Fact 1: Marriage is not originally a religious institution. By this I mean that anthropologists have teased out that historically, in the societies where monogamy exists (most societies, and I will concentrate on these for the purpose of this article) people were not encouraged to marry because of religious convictions but to secure land and resources, and to subjugate women (okay, the last on I just added, but makes sense, no?) People who did not own resources did not tend to marry, as there was no point, until the rise of Chrisitanity, when marriage and religion were interlinked.

-          Fact 2: Of course, linked to the above is the fact that no sex is a great contraceptive! It doesn’t do to pop out mouths to feed when you haven’t secured yourself a way to ensure they will be able to be provided for.

-          Fact 3: From male’s point of view, marriage is the best way to ensure that the child you are helping to raise is indeed your genetic material, and you’re not just helping a free loader!

But these facts make no difference, in the end. These days marriage is perceived as a religious institution, and as a human rights advocate, I believe in freedom of religious expression. I’m not going to go up to this woman and say to her “You’re an idiot, you have to have sex before marriage”. What I’m concerned about is whether the act of holding off telling someone she was dating was moral or not. I’m going to argue that it’s not.

Allowing someone to begin to form an emotional and sexual attachment before informing them that you will not have sex with them until marriage is not fair on the other party. In my head I came up with a neat little analogy. Say you’re a strict vegan. And the thought of having any animal products in your house is morally reprehensible. If you’re advertising for a new flat mate, you would clearly state on the advertisement “people with a strong commitment to vegan lifestyle only” or something to that effect. You wouldn’t just let anyone in, then inform them once they’ve moved all their junk in “oh by the way, don’t you dare cook meat/eggs/cheese/fish in this household”. You can’t expect someone to conform to your views after they’ve entered into the contact unknowingly. If veganism is that important to you, you would be upfront about it- sure you may have to wait a little longer to get the room filled, and you might not get along with the person so well, but they have the same values as you. If you’re celibate, same goes- you may have to wait a little longer to find someone who’s willing to not have sex before marriage, and you’re certainly narrowing your choices so might not click with them as well personality wise, but you share the same values. You can’t expect someone who doesn’t hold those values to conform to them, no matter how much they “like” you. People were born to eat meat!!!

As for the guy in our story? He has decided to keep seeing her, because she’s “cute”. Call me pessimistic, but this is pretty much code for “until I get a better offer”. The end.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

A weekend of Activism

Dear Diary,

The past weekend has been one full of activism, feminism, and GLITTER!

First- Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2012 was a blast! The organisation I work for, PWD (People With Disability Incorporated) teamed up with the CP Alliance, Intellectual Disability Rights Council, and Touching Base, and submitted a joint entry themed “Sexuality and sex/gender diversity do not end with disability”. People with disability have historically been viewed as asexual, a very discriminating misconception, and one that these organisations, particularly Touching Base, is aiming to dispel.

It was raining on and off during the time we were waiting in the marshalling area, luckily Daphnee, our Superhero Communications Manager, had bought extra ponchos that she provided us. Not only do they keep you dry, but warm, as those cheap things are like wrapping yourself in gladwrap! My friend, AW, was attacked by a glitter fairy, and as my other friend, KR said “That shit is like herpes, once it’s with you, it stays for life”. I think I still have some in my hairline…

During the actual march, from Hyde Park to Moore Park, it stopped raining. We got heaps of cheers from the crowd and all grew hoarse from cheering and blowing whistles ourselves! It was an amazing experience, although the cardboard signs that we had painted were totally trashed!

From a wet, windy wonderful night, to a fine, laissez-faire, feminist afternoon. My friend AW and I attended ‘The F-Word: an Afternoon of Feminist Debate’ at The Sydney Opera House.

In particular, I wanted to write a summary of Naomi Wolf’s lecture. Wolf, in trying to answer the question of why Feminism is seen as irrelevant by significant proportion of today’s youth, and what are the next steps for Feminism, explored the antecedents to previous Feminist movements.

Firstly, the Victorian Movement, which paints women as fragile victims of their culture, does not entice young people today, as its’ framework does not make room for our current lives, where women are active in the workforce, and more control over their reproductive health. It also does not paint women as having enough agency- we can change within  the culture but do not have enough status to change THE culture.

Secondly, the Marxist Movement, is more helpful in terms of providing a framework for working women, but is not able to sit with Western advanced capitalist consumption. Young women of today want a Movement where they don’t have to forsake consumer goods that make their life easier (*dripping sarcasm* I desperately need that IPhone App that tells me when I get my period!!!)

Lastly, the Existentialist Movement, particularly post War French Existentialism of Simone DeBouvoir. Wolf hypothesises that young people today do not connect with the ardent Individualism that Existentialism espouses. Women of today dismiss this theoretical framework because it focusses too much on the self, and does not encapsulate our whole being as daughters, friends, mothers, aunts. This aggressively Individualistic approach is probably what gave birth to the negative stereotypes the media holds today about feminists: Man Hating, Hairy Armpitted crusaders that yell at a man if he offers up his bus seat to her.

Wolf’s conclusion was that, in order for the Feminist Movement to move forward and out of the stagnant water of which it has been sitting for the past 30 or so years, we need to find another framework. Wolf advocates that the Enlightenment Framework, founded primarily by Mary Wollstonecraft
(see here for more info on Ms Wollstonecraft!

The Enlightenment framework can be useful, as it is based around human rights, and so can be transferrable across cultures, religions, and political and economic systems. It is about equality of the sexes (remember equality does not equal ‘sameness’- it’s still polite for a man to hold open a heavy door for a woman!). Using a human rights lens, women in Western Countries that feel they’ve achieved “equality” can look to other places in the World and realise there is still work to do. Wolf explained that this will take the now plateaued ‘Western Feminism’ and turn it into a ‘Global Feminist Movement’! Huzzah!

I really enjoyed Wolf’s pieces as she put into words what I’ve always felt but haven’t examined enough to break down and analyse. For those of you who know me, you know I’ve always said I am a Human Rights Advocate in everyday life, and I try and educate my peers about human rights abuses whenever I hear about them. (Ooh, I just had a wonderful thought- I’m going to do some reading and write about Feminism and normalisation theory. Stay tuned people)

Anyway, the point is, it’s been a fantastic weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cough up some glitter I still have in my lungs!