Monday, 22 October 2012

Bad Body Double

This is my first entry on the blog that is not an article, or piece of news that I am citing, but instead just an observation that I have made in my daily life with regards to women.

I was working at the shop today, and overheard two of my (female) colleagues saying to each other "Oh wow, she looks amazing! What a great photo! She's stunning!" whilst looking at photographs on the computer. Naturally I was intrigued as to which celebrity they were checking out online - perhaps a photo on the red carpet of a beautiful, but skinny Hollywood gal, or maybe a outdoorsy-hiker-skydiver-cycling superwoman scaling a vertical cliff.

To my surprise, they were looking at this:

.........The New Zealand Women's Body Building Championship..................

I know that bodybuilding is a BIG thing in the USA, and I know it is quite popular here too, but I can never quite get my head around why this is considered 'beautiful'. Can someone help me out? Opinions?

It's not specifically body building for women that I'm uncomfortable about, but the whole idea. Am I missing something about this art form? Does this depict female empowerment?

When I talked to my colleagues about it, they were extremely enthusiastic about the beauty of it, and indeed one of them used to be a bodybuilder. What struck me as an even nastier fact about the 'sport' is how thin the women are expected to get. I heard the weights "50" and "52" kilograms, mentioned. That is much lighter than me!

On the other hand, I very much doubt that any women are FORCED to do bodybuilding, so they are doing it out of their own choice completely. But am I alone in feeling that this type of body distortion (male AND female!) does not encourage us normal people to have a sensible body image?

And what is with the TERRIBLE fake tan?

For some more wonderful images of women bodybuilders, there is a Google Image search click here

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

NEWS: 14 year old Pakistani blogger and campaigner for girl's rights shot by Taliban

Malala Yousafzai

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a BBC diary about life under the Taliban. Now recovering from surgery after being shot by the militants, the campaigner for girls' rights is in the spotlight again.

Read the full article here:

Saturday, 13 October 2012

VIDEO: Australian PM strikes back

My father sent me this video. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia and leader of the Australian Labor Party, strikes out at the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, accusing him of being sexist and misogynistic. 

The Speaker of the Australian Parliament has recently been suspended for sending sexist text messages about female MPs, and Tony Abbott is trying to use this occurrence to demonstrate that the PM is unfit to does that add up?

Honestly, I know very little about the Australian parliament, but I think this deserves some research and followup. Julia Gillard is the first female Prime Minister in Australia and now runs a coalition government with the Green Party. Tony Abbott runs a coalition opposition of the Liberal and National (Conservative) Parties.

I say, good on Julia Gillard for fighting back. I wish I could ad lib as well as her!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

NEWS: Funding for Women's peacemaking roles


A former US ambassador has announced a multimillion-dollar pledge to support a UN resolution calling for women to be included in decision-making positions at all levels of peacemaking and peacebuilding.
Swanee Hunt, a lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, said the Institute for Inclusive Security, which she chairs, would provide $2m (£1.2m) each year to advance women's participation in peace efforts, as called for in the 2000 UN resolution.
Hunt said roadmaps to accelerate women's role in peacemaking have been adopted by the US and 37 other countries but there was not enough progress.
"When it comes to the value of women's strong participation in securing lasting, just peace, there's no longer a debate," Hunt said. "Instead, there's a need for meaningful action." Hunt announced the pledges during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York which ended on Tuesday.
The new funding will be used to deploy experts to work with government officials, legislators and civic leaders on issues including strategic planning and adding women to negotiating teams.
It will assist watchdog groups to track governments and hold them accountable. Initiatives to bring women into decision-making involving war and peace will also be assessed. Fewer than one in 40 signatories of peace agreements since 1992 have been female, says a Unifem report.
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Good to see that the UN is finally paying attention to its pledge that it made 12 years ago! But how far will $2million actually go? When I worked in London, my team alone has a budget of £6million to look after underachieving schools JUST in London. Maybe that budget was excessive, but $2million for the entire peacemaking agenda across he world seems pretty minusule...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

1000 Women And A Dream

Hi there.

I have created this blog for a rather specific reason. I have no intention of writing about ‘everyday life’ in an incoherent, non-related stream of posts. Instead, I intend to use this blog as an observation record.

I have noticed over the last couple of years how the role of women in our society has been changing. Yes, we have had the sexual revolution, we have ‘equal’ employment rights and we can chose how many children we have, or not. But it has struck me recently how the idea of a modern, first-world woman has been morphed into this contradictory, confusing, twisted, sick and unrealistic role. I would like to use this blog to work out some of these issues, and come to some kind of conclusion. I will attempt to explain what is happening in the media, politics and society that causes these mixed messages of ‘what makes us women?’

I have no intention of using this blog to shout stereotypical feminist diatribes, but instead would like to highlight articles, books, films, discussion or just thoughts that I have that I feel may contribute to this explanation.

Another reason for creating this blog is quite a selfish one – I intend to study International Relations at postgraduate level in the near(ish) future, and I’m planning to study with a focus on population, fertility and family planning. I am interested in investigating the links between women’s rights, motherhood, poverty, population controls, gender skews and global warming. This blog will give me the freedom and space to explore some of these issues (hopefully with some useful input and feedback from any readers) before I start thinking about putting together a Masters dissertation, or a PhD.

So all-in-all, welcome to the blog and I hope you keep reading. Feel free to suggest books, articles, films or anything really that will provoke a productive discussion!