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For women to achieve their real potential, we must change the way we view ourselves

For me, the best reaction to the pathetic sledging directed at David Warner, and his mishandling of it, came from former Australian netball captain Liz Ellis.

“Everyone is focusing on the sledging. What I think is the controversy is that 40 years after the sexual revolution … 40 years after that in the middle of the #MeToo movement, in the week of International Women’s Day, a player’s wife is being dragged through the mud because they’re attempting to shame her for her past.” she said.  “It really does slam home this idea that some Neanderthals have that women are the property of men.”

Seriously, who cares what Candice Falzon did more than a decade ago when she was a single young woman who worked harder than most of us could possibly imagine.  Was she not entitled to party in her rare moments off?  Is it our business?  Shouldn’t we focus on her outstanding success as an elite athlete?  Shouldn’t she be allowed to enjoy this stage of her life as a wife and mother of young children?

The same could be said about Michaelia Cash’s nasty attempt to slut-shame the women in Bill Shorten’s office.  Who, outside their family, cares who they are rooting?  Are they doing their job well?

For all the gains women have made, they are still held to very much different standards to men.

And we are so used to it, that we just go along.

Not only do we accept it, we are complicit in many ways.

Women are constantly telling other women that they will feel better about themselves if they look prettier.

Women teeter around in agony wearing ridiculously high heels, risking injury and adding strain to your hips, lower back and knees.  Why?

Women paint their faces with make-up and spend a lifetime dying their hair.  They glue ridiculously long fake eyelashes and nails on top of their own. Why?

Women spend thousands of dollars on designer label clothes, accessories, jewellery and perfume.  Why?

Women have injections to paralyse their faces or to fill in wrinkles.  Many even have surgery to pull their faces tighter or flatten their stomachs or make their breasts and bottoms harder and bigger.  Why?

Rather than reassuring us that it is the person and their behaviour that counts, or showing admiration and respect for accomplishments, men are increasingly joining us in this shallow peacock pursuit of Never Never land.

The amount of time, money and resources wasted on the beauty and fashion industry is staggering.  The mental and physical health costs are significant.

And it continues to trivialise and objectify us as people.

Just look at our first female Foreign Minister.  With all the challenges facing the global community, all of a sudden, it has become a crucial part of the job to be at every fashion week going around the world and to have your photo taken on the red carpet at gala events wearing very expensive clothes and jewellery, which may or may not have been given to you.

Is this really what we need our Foreign Minister to be doing?  Give me a position of world power so I can go look pretty?

Women are very judgemental of each other.  We judge each other’s morality, our appearance, our decisions to work or not, have children or not, our domestic performance (because we are all innately supposed to enjoy shopping, cooking and cleaning).

Until we start valuing each other for the important things, celebrating our complementary diversity and enjoying the different stages of our lives, using our skills and resources to solve problems and our wisdom to effect worthwhile change, women are unlikely to see any real change in behaviour or in their perceived role in society.

It’s time to cast off the shackles and burden of “beauty” and get down to the real work of fixing things.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that 10 percent of the annual $1.7 trillion world military spending would be enough to fund the global goals agreed upon by United Nations’ 193 member states to end poverty and hunger by 2030.

Forbes estimates the beauty sales industry at $445 billion annually.

If we stopped making bombs, if we liked ourselves for who we are rather than how we look, If the boys gave up their guns and the girls gave up their lipstick, we really could save the world.

 


63 comments

  1. helvityni

    I watched the Blanche d’Alpuget interview on ABC’s One on One, to me it looked like she at the age of 74 is trying to be as beautiful as she was in her twenties… Ms Julie is doing the same, but at least she also seem to care about staying fit… Obesity is not so much a beauty issue, but it’s certainly is a health issue…

    So Julie, whilst you are still in the Government, why don’t you start an anti obesity campaign, don’t worry about losing your ear rings, start talking about losing kilos…Show us what can be achieved by simply walking; by leaving the car at home, walking the kids to school…Let’s think about our kids and grand children…their health and lifespan..

  2. Jaquix

    Jules is not interested in the betterment of anybody but herself,. Helvitiyni. Very self absorbed. She won’t be Foreign Minister after next year. Good article Jaye Lee, as always. I’m hoping the Metoo thing doesn’t just fade away. For instance, Is Don Burke going to face charges ever?

  3. helvityni

    Jaquix, I wasn’t all too serious about Jules, but I’m very serious about the obesity epidemic, it worries me more than the over use of mascara….

  4. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    So soon after International Women’s Day and what has been achieved?
    Well I noticed how many women of the world united to reassure the men that International Men’s Day is on the 19th of November.

    😛

  5. Kaye Lee

    Yes diannart. It is very selfish and unbecoming of us to push ourselves forward like that. We dare not ask for anything that men don’t get. I truly wish we could share menstruation, pregnancy and child birth with them too. Oh and cracked nipples from breast feeding.

  6. helvityni

    On last night’s Four Corners there was a lot of talk abou at lack of planning, for infrastructure, health care, schools et. when Immigration numbers were discussed….

    Maybe we Aussies are like that, we just like to roll along, ( no worries)…said one of the experts…

    Let’s see how many more women the Coalition Governments of future will have; we have had our TALK regarding women, maybe we can now have an Immigration Day, whilst keenly waiting for the Men’s Day…

    Sadly action does not always follow the talk…

  7. James Cook

    What would be the reaction of the MSM if the foreign minister was a male who attended all the fashion parades? No….not pretty at all!

  8. jimhaz

    [Until we start valuing each other for the important things]

    Childish idealism.

    Attractiveness is important. It is a tool for status within the herd. I think nowadays women “do themselves up” at least as much so as to not lose status with other women than anything to do with males.

    Bishop does a lot of dressing up, she has an attractive partner and knows she has to put the effort in to keep him (hence her thin legs), but she also dresses up for status reasons.

    I’ll never be against women doing things to make themselves attractive – except when they ruin themselves like many plain, aging women do (like footballers wives and those two blond horrors on My Kitchen Rules).

    Without sexual attractiveness of some kind be it body or pleasantness then there would be almost no respect between the sexes – you’d just be more competition within the androgenous herd status measure and I’m sure men would grow to dislike women in general, as they are already.

    Non-attractive women benefit from the attraction attractive women create as it feeds into the general concept of Treating Women with More Respect Than Males. Careful what you wish for.

  9. diannaart

    Non-attractive men benefit from the patriarchy… it was ever thus…

  10. @RosemaryJ36

    Looking back (at 82) I can honestly say that two of the most important influences in my life have been having a strong mother and going to an all-girls secondary school. Yes I still wear makeup because I think looking smart matters although I never wear high heeled shoes as both hips have been replaced and balance is important. I believe that education is a lifelong process. I started at 21 with an honours maths degree and, at 72, progressed to being admitted as a barrister and solicitor. I only finished practising as a moderator less than 6 months ago. I am a strong believer in social justice and am appalled at the inability of the current so-called government for its inability to accept the need to adapt to change. I despair for my 3 great grandchildren whose lives will have been adversely affected by the inadequate policies if that government.

  11. johno

    Well said Kaye.

  12. Joseph Carli

    A sad reflection…

    The taking down of the calendars.

    Dropped in to the workshop to pay my mechanic’s bill a while back..more than a year or so, in fact..anyway, it was on that day when Peter..the mechanic..was taking down several of those “girlie” calendars that were almost a fixture on the office walls of such tradie shops like Peter’s garage.

    I like those old style mechanics garages..you know, those ones with an old busted engine block or gearbox covered in old oil and rags by the big doors..the loose chain block and tackle hanging from a cross-beam in the rafters..and the racks of stored bits and pieces of “will be useful one day” stuff against the wall..the welding gear, the drill-press and perhaps a metal lathe for turning down that impossible to find part but this one will be alright with a bit of tweaking…and the peg-board with the shadow marks of all the spanners that go just there..and still with the old “pit” in the floor.

    It reminds me of the days of steam locomotives when I was a kid. I would like to walk close to the edge of the platform next to the huffing/puffing locomotive just to get a whiff of that rush of steam from the front wheel pistons…that moist steam that had that slight scent of lubricating oils..whoosh!..lovely memories…Christ ..they’ve taken all the fun out of a young boy’s life with the beigeing of things.

    Which brings me back to old Peter taking down those calendars.

    I stopped in the doorway of the garage office..a small cluttered room off the back corner of the workshop..Peter had his back to me as he examined one large poster of an attractive young woman clad erotically and holding a pneumatic implement…the poster was an advertisement for a well-known tool company.

    I looked to the wall where this calendar, along with several others had hung for many years. The wall was now cleared.

    “Hello, Peter..you doing a spring cleanout?”

    “Wha!..oh..hello young fellah…no.. no..” and he seemed to reflect for a moment..” I’m just moving with the times.” And he rolled the calendar he had in front of him up..” Goodbye ‘Sadira’…” (the poster had scripted under the pinup ; “Sadira always uses a S….”and the brand name of the company).

    “So what are the new ones?” I asked..”A Pirelli calendar?”

    Peter sighed wistfully…

    “No..no new ones..or at least none with women on them…perhaps one from the grocery store..with pictures of kittens or flowers or something..no more females…But I will miss ‘Sadira’…god..she was beautiful..as Vern would say ; more curves than a box full of Sidchromes!”

    I offered to pay my account and he slumped wearily into the swivel chair behind his desk. He pulled out the ledger and flipped the pages open with the red ribbon. He sat silently staring at the empty wall..and he sighed and leant back…a tad misty-eyed.

    “ I never got married, you know..nearly!..but not quite..That first one fair took my heart..threw me for a while when she left and then I guess I never really got back the momentum to get serious with another girl until I suddenly woke one day and realised I was so much older..and I no longer had the hunger…or felt the need for marriage..here..what’s the damage on that docket?”

    I paid the account and Peter rose and followed me out into the cool, darkened workshop..the brilliant Mallee sunlight outside razor-sharp in contrast. Peter and I gazed into the empty floor space.

    “ But times change…’cause you see, back in the early days, the only people used to come in here were the farmers with their tractors or the other blokes in the district..rarely a woman, and then only grudgingly as the place has that smell of dirt and grease and oil…so it was just par for the course to get those calendars from the travellers and such..and I’d put them up on the wall there..one on top of the other as the years go by..just par for the course..But now women do so much more of their own business..arrange the repairs, discuss the mechanical problems, pay the bills..AND argue the toss on the cost of repairs!..and it don’t look good to have those calendars there any more..and besides, many of the companies themselves have stopped making those sort of calendars…they know as well…times change.”

    I didn’t have much to add to his musings..so I just grunted a kind of affirmation..and he started to walk away…then he stopped and continued..

    “… an’ I suppose a fellah gets too old to have such things on his wall…wouldn’t want it to get about that I was a dirty old man..women don’t like that sort of thing…but by jingo..I’m gonna miss that “Sadira”…just the sight of those lovely blue eyes at the start of the day was enough to kick me along..ah…women..beautiful creatures…( and he shook his head) ..more curves than a box full of Sidchromes…”

    And he went over to fix a flat tyre.

  13. helvityni

    jimhaz,

    I have always been impressed by the way the French women dress and look, they are well groomed in a most subtle way and they wear well-cut , age appropriate clothes…and a well-cut hair…

    Not for them the all American Cheer-leader look, long unnatural looking blond locks and a heavy make-up….

  14. diannaart

    Joe

    No need for tears, there are plenty of images of naked women available – everywhere.

    Why don’t you help out your old cobber mate? You have access to the internet, porn is freely available – if you don’t have a printer the local library has one…

  15. Joseph Carli

    helvityni….Two words, twice…Catherine Deneuve … tres chic !

  16. Joseph Carli

    Ahh…I feel sad for you, diannaart….so much living done yet so very little learned..

    This Island ; Earth.
    Beauty, like raw energy is absorbed into the ether,
    Each unto its own moment does flare and burn.
    She lives, she sees..her breath I breathe,
    This island Earth.

  17. diannaart

    Don’t feel sorrow, Joe. I am happy.

    Instead take a look at a man, approaching the winter of his life, clinging to his self-righteousness like a shield, never looking further than his own arrogance, claiming he loves a planet called Earth while all his time and energy is spent preaching to others believing they are the ignorant ones.

    Cheers

  18. Roswell

    Rosemary, you are an amazing person.

  19. paul walter

    Way too dangerous (arrow parts hair down middle). I sympathise with and even agree with most of this. Kaye Lee, I agree wholeheartedly because I subscribe to the social theory concepts that give it its theoretical backing, of commodification, socialisation and individuation.

    But come on, surely women can think for themselves as to hideous botoxing, implants and facial mutilations, also things like high heels?

  20. Miriam English

    I read of some research a while back that showed most men (and some lesbians) received reward stimuli in their brains simply by looking at a picture of a beautiful woman. I know it sounds obvious, and I really wish it wasn’t so, but it stands to reason. It seems half of our species is wired to be sexist. More power to those who learn to resist it and compensate for it, however it’s going to be a long, hard road. It already has been. But we are getting there, regardless of throwbacks like jimhaz.

    Some time back I was working on building some online virtual worlds and attended a meeting of some feminists. I showed them some animations of some impossibly leggy, beautiful, scantily clad female avatars (an avatar is the body you “wear” in a virtual world). Many of the women had a hostile reaction (interestingly the more attractive women reacted worst). I pointed out that virtual worlds undercut prejudices. Nobody need know what you look like. You can befriend a racist and become a good friend before revealing, after some months have passed, that you have black skin. I had an extremely capable friend who operated a virtual world. I’d known her for quite a while before she casually mentioned one day that she was disabled. I was delighted. It proved my ideas on this.

    I think we have to subvert this instinct. I doubt we can fight directly against it. We humans are such a mess. We are improving though.

    In highly religious places where they seem to obsess constantly about sex, women have to cover up lest they be assaulted by men who apparently have the self-control of 2-years-olds. But in secular society where we have large numbers of atheists and pictures of pretty, undraped women adorning magazine covers, women can walk down the main street in bikinis without much more than the odd wolf whistle. Here in the “degenerate” secular world men are mostly responsible adults. Sure, they like to look, but they resist touching. I think this is encouraging.

  21. Miriam English

    I forgot to mention I agree wholeheartedly with your article Kaye. Thank you for writing it.

  22. Miriam English

    Hmmm… as for makeup, I used to wear it in my youth. Not anymore. No point. I’m reconciled to never having another partner — I’m too much of a hermit, and I certainly don’t want to attract the attentions of any men. I wore high heels precisely once many decades ago and still remember the occasion with great embarrassment.

    I’m not particularly feminine, though not butch either, and can’t do much about my high voice, but these days I prefer to look androgynous — short hair, male clothes. I’m not sure, but I think I gain more respect that way.

    Maybe androgyny is the way of the future. Less masculine men and less feminine women. Just a thought.

  23. Joseph Carli

    A Little Bit of Greek Wisdom!

    We rise, good company these Greeks!
    And the laughter~ what, ho!
    And the coffee…;.syrup of Arabia.
    A novelty to me, custom to these.
    We rise, and matter of course, (or custom?)
    Did I take my cup to the servery,
    While, without thought they left theirs table’d.

    “Ah, so!” She cried in mock accusation…
    Her supple white arm lifted thus,pointing,
    Her other hip’d, tea-towel clutched.
    “You can see which are the Greeks!
    Their dishes left for me to clear!”

    They halted, inquiring, eyebrows raised.
    For a moment, siding with the woman,
    Seeking to appease, seeking feminine approval,
    I thought to challenge them; “Clear the table fellows!”
    But experience held my tounge, instead I spoke thus:

    “Raise me not above my equals, my Lady,
    With such visible flattery, lest…outside, beyond thine eyes,
    In vexation they should smote me to the ground”.

    She turned to me her eyes,
    Greek eyes, Deep eyes, dark Greek eyes.
    That hold the secret of the Trojan wars.
    And whispered thus:

    “I would come to help thee”.

    Oh! the eyes, the voice, the breathless whisper;
    The three together promised delight,
    Men have risked all for such promises,
    Where now; Troy? where Marc Antony? and Eden’s garden?
    For the moment I paused, pondered,
    To consider the foibles human;
    But Ahh..damm!
    Too old am I now to doubt it thus:
    The tyrants always walk with the women.
    (The poet, only,.. is left in the dust.).

  24. Joseph Carli

    A androgynous world ??…I’d rather be dead!…and thankfully I probably will be!…JEEZUS!!…

  25. paul walter

    Never mind Miriam. Would you trade your gift of imagination for a few moments of purchased provocation of your unguessed at instilled insecurities?

    If you have a mind and heart and some guts, most of the rest is just superfluous.

  26. Joseph Carli

    I remember waiting in the main street of a hills town a fair time ago, sitting against the bonnet of my car…Walking toward me down the footpath came a young woman of around 30 years..of obviously professional executive dress..she carried a briefcase, wore a full-length tan coat over colour-coordinated well styled respectable length dress suit with sensible but heeled shoes…she walked straight and tall with firm step…as she drew near, I caught her eyes..

    “Very stylish…very professional…very nice..” I spoke honestly…for she DID look all those things…tres chic in a professional way.

    She smiled and with a nod of appreciation said a delightful ;

    “Thank you…” and her walk away looked as pleasing and positive as her approach..

    There is a delight for many males in watching many women as they move about their day…not in a pervy way, but in appreciation of the form and beauty of their curvaceous movement….a true delight.

  27. Pierre Wilkinson

    If we stopped making bombs, if we liked ourselves for who we are rather than how we look, If the boys gave up their guns and the girls gave up their lipstick, we really could save the world.
    so very well said, Kaye Lee, and so very true, sadly

  28. Roswell

    Make-up is no longer a feminine thing. My wife tells me that products for men are filtering into the shops.

  29. Joseph Carli

    So true, Roswell…so very true…I recall making my way through a large well-known department store from one street to another that took me through the cosmetics department…I was approached by a…how will I say this?…a “experienced age” lady who held a tray with a variety of small aerosols on it..

    “Would Sir like to try one of our scented products for men?” she proffered…I paused and looked at the tray of products..

    “Madam”..I held up my hand “Experience has shown me that the best perfume a man can wear is the smell of money…a scent that unfortunately, lingers not upon my clothing or wallet at this point in time.”

    She smiled that “experienced age” smile and replied.. ;

    “I fully understand, Sir….and commiserate..”

    I detected a very kindly soul in that lady.

  30. Miriam English

    Joe, personally I find androgyny very attractive in others, I’ve even found some androgynous males moderately attractive. I don’t know why you act so shocked. I’m sure many others feel the same.

    paul walter, I’m not sure what you mean in your question about insecurities. The wording was a little too convoluted for me to understand, sorry. The other part about mind and heart and guts though, I certainly agree.

    Pierre Wilkinson, well said.

    Roswell, I enjoyed the 70s and 80s when it wasn’t terribly odd for people of either sex to wear makeup. I would be happy for things to go that way again. I just hope we can retreat from this neuroticism about women (or men) needing to look highly attractive. I am very happy for people to make themselves attractive if they want, but driving themselves nuts, or broke, or dead over it is terrible. All these decades on I still ache at beautiful, talented, honey-voiced Karen Carpenter starving herself to death attempting to reach an impossibly thin goal.

  31. helvityni

    “A androgynous world ??…I’d rather be dead!…and thankfully I probably will be!…JEEZUS!!…”

    Yes, Joe Carli, same here… When renting the house of an Aussie doctor in Southern France for few months, the shopping for the daily food was a delightful experience, every village butcher and the baker, were they short and fat, tall and skinny, old or young, they all knew the art of flirting…harmless but also smile-inducing…

    Coming back to Oz and visiting a friend, it was : here’s a beer for you, mate, and for me; make yourself a cup of tea,H….

    PS. I got the beer from the fridge for myself, I wasn’t smiling…

  32. Joseph Carli

    helvityni ” . . . the art of flirting” reading Sir Richard Burton’s : “Journey to Mecca”, it is recorded where he observed the women using their eyes and body shape to flirt and suggest even under the blanketing cloth of a full burqa..

    ” In 1853 intrepid British explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton disguised himself as an Islamic pilgrim and made the trek into the heart of Arabia visiting the holy cities of Medina and Mecca.”

    He reported that there was little doubt left unknown of the ladies intentions even under such adverse restrictions…Where there is a will. . .

    Miriam…Yes..I know of men who seek the “boyish” shape in women..slim hips and slender form…certainly androgynous..Twiggy springs to mind.

  33. corvus boreus

    “Androgyny’ within humans is currently most properly defined as ‘intersex’ status.

    “Intersex is a set of medical conditions that feature congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system. That is, intersex people are born with “sex chromosomes,” external genitalia, or internal reproductive systems that are not considered “standard” for either male or female.” (Vanderbilt Uni) https://www.vanderbilt.edu/lgbtqi/resources/definitions

    Such people represent, (according to wiki) about 1.7% of the human population.

    Socially, even should such folk adopt an entirely ‘asexual’ lifestyle, they are still very often regarded as ‘aberrational’.

    Perhaps they deserve a special day?

  34. Miriam English

    In 1878 Francis Galton, wealthy eccentric investigator of the sciences, got the bright idea to use the newly invented technology of photography to attempt to capture the essence of evil by taking photographs of many inmates of a prison and using multiple exposure to merge the images of the men into a single image and do likewise with all the images of the women. He reasoned that doing this would result in two images, one male and one female, that would capture the features that most defined the wicked criminal class. Galton, although a very smart man, had some very screwy ideas — he was the person who came up with the term “eugenics”. He ultimately wanted to breed criminality out of the human race by using his technique to identify those with a propensity for doing evil and prevent them from doing bad things and stop them breeding.

    Well, his experiment didn’t work the way he’d hoped. When he merged all those faces of criminals, what resulted were two remarkably handsome faces. Unfortunately, having his ideas disconfirmed caused him to lose interest in this and he moved on to other areas of investigation. But if he’d persevered (as a true scientist would) he’d have realised this was a discovery with enormous implications. Beauty is mostly an average of all the faces you know. Your brain generates a composite and this becomes your ideal of beauty. This is not the whole explanation behind beauty, but it is a very large part of it. We are also susceptible to superstimuli, such as large or emphasised lips, accentuated eyes, thick glossy hair, and so on.

    Once upon a time this would have been useful. It would have caused people to recoil from those who are deformed through “bad” genes or disease and be attracted to those with symmetrical, healthy genes that would enhance survival of their progeny. But we humans have moved beyond the mere physical. Our brains are our most potent force for survival, and we can’t see our brains. Someone who has had both legs amputated below the knees can now run faster than the fastest full-bodied runner in the world. One of the smartest people in the world is confined to a wheelchair and requires a speech synthesiser to communicate. We now recognise that blind people have extraordinary speech processing abilities. The genetic “flaw” that produces sickle cell anaemia and an unpleasant death in mid-adulthood also confers immunity to malaria. We routinely live beyond the age where failing vision and hearing and joints are a great impediment to our survival. We can use makeup and plastic surgery to repair distortions from our genes or from accidents.

    Beauty no longer has any great relevance for humanity. Joe’s objection to the passing of the beauty is merely his capture by an instinct that has outlived its usefulness and is now about as useful in modern adult humans as the instinct to suckle milk.

    I’m an artist. I strongly feel the compulsion to draw and sculpt beautiful women even though I understand the counterproductive nature of that desire. I understand that the lure of beauty has an ugly side. It is the main source of racism and disdain for the so-called “handicapped”. This is why I like the idea of avatars in virtual worlds. We can play with appearance in ways that are irrelevant to our real appearance. Perhaps we can even use it to broaden the average that our minds unconsciously compile so that all real humans fall into the category of “beautiful”. That would be nice.

  35. Miriam English

    corvus boreus, no. Androgyny is different from intersex or being hermaphrodite.

    An intersex person can actually look very male or female (especially if one of their sex chromosomes is doubled) or they can look ambiguous. This is also true of someone who is hermaphroditic (true hermaphrodites seem to be very rare). Intersex and hermaphrodite have medical definitions.

    In contrast, people who are fully male or fully female can look androgynous. Androgyny is all about the appearance.

    Johnny Depp has a slightly androgynous appearance, which is part of his attractiveness. Winona Ryder routinely passed for a good looking boy when she was younger, and was beaten up once when mistaken for being a slightly effeminate boy. David Bowie was all male but exploited his androgyny for theatricality with his music. Marc Bolan was naturally extremely ambiguous in appearance but with a very male voice. Tilda Swinton looks very androgynous. Ellen DeGeneres uses her androgynous looks to her advantage. Andrej Pejic took androgyny to an extreme before transitioning from male to female. Erika Linder is a famously androgynous model.

  36. Kaye Lee

    I met my lifetime partner when I was a teenager. By age 19 we were living together. I think this may have given me the security, the luxury really, of avoiding much of the hell women put themselves through to make themselves “desirable”. I didn’t view other men with sexual desire because my partner fulfilled me.

    For me, attractive has nothing to do with looks. I can appreciate the aesthetics but I could never feel an attraction to someone I had never spoken to.

    Do we want to be “desirable”, which is based on fantasy, or attractive based on who we really are? Do we want to be judged on how we look or on how we treat others? Should our confidence come from our outward appearance or our inner sense of self-worth?

  37. Joseph Carli

    ” Joe’s objection to the passing of the beauty . . . ” Physical beauty is but one manifest of desire..touch and smell are others..I was told by a woman once that she ended a relationship because of her dislike of the man’s “smell”…NOT a body odour..but just a inexplicable …”smell”…a physical reality all the same…

    I have penned several pieces on this site of my feelings about the intertwined relationship between men and women.. “The Gender Contract” … “The Corporatization of Women” … I have also posted a rhyming piece called : “The Secret” of a hint of deeper instinct…mark that choice of word..: “instinct”.. about the natural synthesis (my! how difficult it is to glean the correct word for an explanation) in the reaction between the living sexes.

    Another thing that I have had “revealed” to me in those quiet times of the night is the compelling need for every individual to guard at least that ONE learned moment of adult sexual or relationship experience they have loved and treasure as part of the inner core of their being.

    I am sorry if that reads rather weakly, but maybe I will write a piece on it later that will be more explanatory..I too am still learning.

  38. Joseph Carli

    I believe androgyny has to be “kitted out” with an interesting personality to be attractive in itself..many celebrity performers use the androgynous shape or style to enhance their theatrics and make their persona that much more saleable .

    Talk about suckling milk…there is a lovely story by Guy de Maupassant about such a mutual satisfying meeting between a starving young man and a wet-nurse on a carriage trip…very sensitive story….lurve that Maupassant!

  39. paul walter

    Kaye Lee… I never get past the brightness of this woman.

  40. paul walter

    Joseph Carli, wondrous stuff.

    Re the clip. The long winded bimbo in red was definitely deliberately provoking the woman in blue who was taking herself very seriously.

    As Tempe Brennan would say, “epic eyeball roll” and it was a hormonally classic catfight conducted in the best female traditions through body language and sideways glances.

    Reminded me of some of the odd-bods of Aussie teev, spatting over different coloured frocks.

    Back to the Joy Luck Club thingy, like, eyeball role…just totally.

  41. Kyran

    It’s funny the way the mind works sometimes. The intro points out two blokes whose behaviour is abominable. That a woman’s sexual exploits are subject to judgement while a man’s exploits are the subject of admiration and wonder is barely worth comment other than to say wrong place, wrong time, wrong fucking century. There was a story on the ABC about the Matilda’s, which I only bring up because of the reference to Liz Ellis. One bit sort of stuck out;
    “Desperate times
    It all goes some way towards explaining why, ahead of the 2000 Olympics, team members stripped for a nude calendar.
    “It was something that we thought at that time was needed to help us on our way,” former captain Cheryl Salisbury said.
    “Unfortunately, and probably still today, sex sells in a lot of women’s sports.”
    The calendar put the Matildas on the map.
    “You could get in any cab in Sydney and the cabbie would have heard of the Matildas, because of this calendar,” Dodd said.
    The calendar failed to attract any long-term sponsors and the financial situation remained dire, but the team’s successes on the field slowly started to grow.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-12/matildas-the-rise-to-the-top-for-womens-football-team/9528470?section=good-news

    This goes back a long way in terms of the pursuit of wages, not just wages parity.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-11/convery-the-matildas-pay-dispute-could-spark-real-change/6767916

    Tennis was one of the sports that did start down that path. Netball is arguably one of the most participated sports in Australia yet gets funding at a fraction of the ‘male’ sports programs. Now that we have women playing all of the football’s, cricket, etc, it will be the same old slow progress. But these changes are necessary to start a cultural change. The normal allowance is that it takes two ‘generations’ (ie 30 years) to change a cultural norm. To accelerate the rate of change, you need a more layered approach.
    There was an excellent program a while back about ‘gender neutral’ classrooms;
    “Taking over one Year 3 class from Lanesend primary school in the Isle of Wight, Doctor Javid aims to remove all differences in the way boys and girls are treated to see if, after six weeks of ‘gender neutral’ treatment, he can even out the gaps in their achievement across a range of important psychological measures, from self-confidence to spatial awareness.”

    “A visit to Professor Gina Rippon at Aston University, one of the UK’s leading experts in brain imaging and neuroscience, reveals there is no such thing as a male or female brain type – and instead the brain is a plastic organ, shaped and moulded by experiences, in which childhood is key.
    Shocked by the children’s own polarised opinions on how boys and girls should live their lives, Doctor Javid commissions Dr Stella Mavroveli from the Psychometric Lab at University College London to assess between boys and girls behaviour and psychological traits, from confidence to self-esteem, empathy and social skills. Upset by the results, Dr Javid sets out a series of interventions both in class and at home to tackle these differences. Will Doctor Javid’s gender-neutral mission produce meaningful change when he later repeats his tests at the end of term?”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/33/no-more-boys-and-girls

    It’s well worth a look. There is a ‘cross match’ with the Safe Schools program if you search on ‘gender neutral school’ to demonstrate how easily these sorts of programs can be adapted for immediate startup in Australia.
    In the areas of cognitive development and capacity, children as young as three are candidates to have their conceptual abilities broadened to reduce learned biases such as gender, colour, religion etc.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312085109.htm

    There are even new studies being done on ‘stigma based bullying’ and, again, the stigma of gender, as antiquated as that seems, is one of the main problems.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180308105144.htm

    In the current sense and tense, we all need to look at how we view things and our inherent biases. For the next generation, perhaps we can start by teaching them how to think in early primary school years. Not what to think.
    Thank you Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  42. diannaart

    Kyran

    Thank you for your comments.

    As for beauty, it is indeed in the eye of the beholder. It is a shame that beauty is also a commodity which has lead to the objectification of women, young men and children. The death of capitalism cannot arrive soon enough.

    I agree with Miriam, I like an androgynous look – wish I could look more androgynous – even though I prefer wearing trousers to dresses and, quelle horreur, I do believe androgyny will increase as the world becomes more equitable between the sexes.

    Me, I would like to express my opinion to dare to disagree without the judgemental and insulting put-downs from a very small percentage of men who believe they are the font of all… In fact, I would like an apology, although I know I am dreaming.

    I am intelligent and I give consideration to what I want to write, I am not a troll. I feel exasperated I even feel the need to state the aforementioned.

    Nor should I have to point out I am often bed-ridden due to chronic illness and getting up to write anything is a challenge. I am sure others who contribute here are not all 100% strong, fit and healthy, but we still like to be a part of the conversation.

    Vive la diversite!

  43. Miriam English

    Joe, you cop flak while Kaye receives praise when she delivers insights and you make insults, such as “Ahh…I feel sad for you, diannaart….so much living done yet so very little learned.” (March 13, 2018 at 3:42 pm) in response to diannaart’s entirely sensible suggestion that if your friend wants pictures of naked ladies that there is a world of them out on the internet. It surprised me at the time and I’m ashamed of myself that I didn’t say anything about the put-down when it happened.

  44. Miriam English

    diannaart, I agree that the beauty industry has much to answer for in making the objectifying of young women and men profitable, though I’m not sure that capitalism dying would help. I tend to think capitalism is a useful tool like fire which, in the wrong hands, can burn people.

    I think you’re right, that as equality of the sexes increases so will androgynous fashion. Some very interesting things are already happening. I was surprised by my quick google of “androngynous celebrity”.

    Men who disparage androgyny don’t understand how they benefit. Pushing the boundaries of sexuality gives normal straight males more room to move. Look how people in extremely rigid societies force all males to become clones of one another. While women have been becoming more free (with still a fair way to go), men seem to be becoming less so. Men appear to hold all the power, but their actions are more circumscribed than they were a short time ago. It was becoming unremarkable for males to have long hair and wear makeup back in the Glam Rock era. A lot of those earlier, tentative freedoms have since been lost, and I have to wonder if the alarmingly high rate of youth suicide among males in developed nations (Australia tops those statistics) nowadays is related to their burden of increased expectations while being bound into absurdly inflexible masculine roles.

    A person who doesn’t have physical chains, yet is bound tightly by senseless and arbitrary social constraints is still not free. This is made even worse when they are deceived into thinking that they love those bonds, as many males sadly are.

    I’ve heard it said that dissent is proof that you are free, but I think it’s more subtle than that. I think it actually makes everybody free, because the existence and acknowledgment of a broad range of options is what gives you freedom. Freedom doesn’t exist without choice.

    If we consider queer rights and issues of dress, gender, and sexuality then the conclusions are a little startling: straight people gain freedom from queer folk. Straight people are made free if they allow gay, bisexual, trans, and other “queer” behaviors. The moment they curtail them by force or social disapproval then they themselves are no longer free. And I’m not just talking about some abstract concept here. I’m talking about concrete, everyday freedoms. Men can have long hair and fingernails, have a far wider range of dress options available to them, can be nurturing and gentle, slender and and beautiful, and enjoy touch — all things which are largely denied them in today’s uptight society.

    They need not necessarily adopt the extremes, but would be able to occupy a far wider range of positions in the landscape of possibilities. Currently males are expected to fit a restricted and rigid mold — a perverse caricature of masculinity. Any deviation from expectations is flagged as suspicious and opens people to ridicule, condemnation, or even violence. Integration of queers into society would remove much of this restriction on straights, and the enormous stress that accompanies it. It would make straights freer, happier, and less fearful as well as allowing queers to be more productive members of society. Everybody would benefit.

  45. jimhaz

    [Miriam…Yes..I know of men who seek the “boyish” shape in women..slim hips and slender form…certainly androgynous..Twiggy springs to mind.]

    For me this meme is driven by gay fashionistas and older women in the industry with paedophilic tendencies. They also like them to have a drugged look.

    80 or more % outside the industry think the models look pathetic and lacking in attractiveness.

    [Many of the women had a hostile reaction (interestingly the more attractive women reacted worst). I pointed out that virtual worlds undercut prejudices. Nobody need know what you look like. You can befriend a racist and become a good friend before revealing, after some months have passed, that you have black skin. I had an extremely capable friend who operated a virtual world. I’d known her for quite a while before she casually mentioned one day that she was disabled. I was delighted. It proved my ideas on this]

    Miriam is describing the book Ready Player One which I only read recently.

    I was going to comment about this book on one of Joey’s recent articles. The virtual reality female Art$miss had a birthmark covering one side of her face (like the choirgirl in Joe’s story) and I was wondering if it would be in the soon to be released film from Spielberg.

    [But we humans have moved beyond the mere physical]

    As if. That is not possible. One cannot move past instincts and hormones. This is the reason the worlds politics is so darn bad at present.

    [One of the smartest people in the world is confined to a wheelchair and requires a speech synthesiser to communicate]

    Hawkins died today. I have always thought he was well regarded more for his disability rather than any form of natural genius (as in the underdog who can really only think triumphs, when he never really did relative to the regard given to him).

    [I understand that the lure of beauty has an ugly side. It is the main source of racism ..and disdain for the so-called “handicapped”]

    No it is not the main source. It is one element within the larger domain of “disgust”, a self-protection evolved emotion.

    I found it interesting to learn recently that disgust is a decent sort of predictor as to whether people will be conservative minded or not.

    Lol, I did this test and scored above both liberals and conservatives. 25% higher than the conservative average.

    http://www.yourmorals.org/disgust.php (requires simple registration to do the survey)

  46. Joseph Carli

    For you Miriam.. ; ” You have access to the internet, porn is freely available “…you’ll notice the two presumptions are separated only by a comma…implying that the former can / ought to connect to the latter…if you need to have this assertion grammatically explained to you . . .

  47. Kaye Lee

    Joe,

    You inserted a rather long story about an old man we were supposed to feel sorry for because he could no longer display pictures of naked women on his workplace walls. Considering the topic of this article, I think you have been very gently dealt with by pointing out that such things can be found on the internet for those who want to look with the added bonus of not forcing it on the rest of us. I wonder why you would be insulted by a suggestion about porn in private when you want to thrust those pictures on us in public.

  48. diannaart

    Hey Joe

    Why don’t YOU ask ME what I meant?

    Do I have to explain to you? Well, yes, obviously I do.

    It has become a cliché for the frequent observation of the connection between the internet and the availability of porn – a mere flippant remark, that is all.

    No excuse to continue to use insults about me or to me.

  49. Joseph Carli

    The use of a comma..: ” While a period ends a sentence, a comma indicates a smaller break. Some writers think of a comma as a soft pause—a punctuation mark that separates words, clauses, or ideas within a sentence.”

    Kaye Lee…The simplistic interpretation you offer of what may be understood as a “bigger picture” of the curious attraction / connection between the genders – from a male point of view – with an anecdotal experience, about says it all..and good luck to you!

    I hope to have a post up soon that may delve deeper into the more humanistic connection between the genders….go for it!

  50. paul walter

    Good to see we are all getting along.

  51. Kaye Lee

    The trouble with parables is that we may see a different “moral to the story”.

  52. helvityni

    I took Joe’s Calendar story just as another musing of the past. When we lived on our Alpaca Farm ( hobby farm), we took our cars to be checked or fixed in different garages in Goulburn ( a country town) ; the older garages with some older mechanics had plenty of calendar girls on the walls in their messy offices…

    The newer ones were totally different, younger workforce, and when you upgraded your car there, they gave you a huge bunch of flowers, virile young men, yet no calendar girl in sight…

    A bit of tolerance, please!.

  53. diannaart

    Joe

    If my punctuation is/was wrong or apparently misleading, then I apologise. Well, almost. Does not excuse your insults.

    @ helvityni

    I took Joe’s Calendar story just as another musing of the past

    As did I – the past.

    Instead of the now, when male mechanics (and maybe lesbian ones as well) have to actually speak to women about their cars, listen to women give their opinions and ask them questions – all of which was a tad ’embarrassmente’ below the rosy cheeks of a bare nekked calendar girl.

    That Joe pines for such a past, is quite lame considering there are more “bare nekked ladies” than ever… even our children get to see more exposed flesh than many of the old cobbers saw in a life-time.

    @Paul Walter

    Why should we all get along? – that would be sooooo boring.

  54. Miriam English

    jimhaz, you say the androgynous look is driven by gay fashionistas and older women in the industry with paedophilic tendencies. They also like them to have a drugged look. WTF???

    To some degree the androgynous look is aided by gay fashion leaders. I doubt anybody would argue with that. But older women with paedophilic tendencies??? Out of what dark, spider-infested corner of your brain did you concoct that? And wanting a drugged look? You mean like the hooded eyes of Marilyn Monroe? The cheerfully inebriated appearance of Dean Martin? Have you seen how alert and sharp so many of the icons of androgyny are?

    Actually, I haven’t read the book “Ready Player One”. I got it recently and it’s on my reading list. I was talking about these ideas back in the late 1990s and into the 2000s when I used to build virtual worlds, was the vice president of the Virtual Reality Association, and was managing a public virtual world for the government.

    jimhaz, perhaps you can’t move beyond instinct, but for others one of the main purposes of the frontal lobes of the brain is to override instinctive reactions.

    It always amazes me that some small-minded people denigrate success by attributing it to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s skin color, or Marie Curie’s gender, or Katherine Johnson’s gender and skin color, or Stephen Hawking’s disability. You really think the world’s smartest scientists are sucked in that easily? God, you say some stupid things sometimes.

  55. Miriam English

    Joe, doubling down, using the imagined offense of a supposedly misplaced comma, is making you look ridiculous. There is nothing wrong grammatically with her sentence. And having an internet connection automatically makes porn available (unless you access the net through a school and don’t know how to use “tor”).

  56. Miriam English

    paul walter, regarding the women in El Salvador who have been imprisoned for decades for miscarrying or having a stillborn baby, this is an ongoing problem. I’ve been involved in many online campaigns trying to get the morons in the El Salvador government to fix those imbecilic laws.

    The one that most upset me was when a 12 year old girl who was raped by her stepfather became pregnant and was being forced by the authorities to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth when the danger to the child’s life of doing so was scarily real. Personally, I think the people who gave that judgement should have been told that if the girl died during childbirth then their lives would be forfeit too. It might have given them pause.

    The thing that makes me furious is that the Christian fundamentalists push their bullshit down other people’s throats, preaching that their Bible condemns abortion. But they’re lying. Not only does the Bible nowhere condemn abortion, it specifically gives instructions to abort a fetus in the case of rape or infidelity (Numbers 5:11-31).

  57. paul walter

    Miriam English, thanks for that, that was a fascinating comment. Central America does indeed have a long and dark history involving medievalism and then US empire building. The collusions of local landed oligarchies with their roots in the Europe of centuries ago and modern US interests, produced the dark and ugly history of suppression and cruelty documented by people like John Pilger back in the eighties.

    Change was suppressed brutally and we see the results thirty to forty years on exemplified in this macabre story of heavy jail for women enduring stillborn deaths, when surely the only response should have been one of sympathy.

  58. corvus boreus

    Miriam English (14/3, 6:31am)
    ‘Intersex’ is the scientific/medical term for people who, physiologically or chromosomally, possess aspects of both genders.
    ‘Androgyny’ also encompasses this non-binary gender category, as well as having broader permutations regarding sexual orientation, and also serves as a descriptor for gender ambiguity of appearance and style.
    Androgyny, amongst other meanings. can be a mere fashion affectation, but Intersexuality is a physical condition people that about 1 in 50 people are born with.

    I mention this because a few posters have commented that they would prefer death over androgyny, and was wondering whether this was a negative personal judgement on the worth of intersexual human lives.

  59. Paul

    Back in the 70s i took my damaged car to a smash repairer for a quote. There were two people in the workshop, both in overalls, a man and a woman. I asked the man if he could inspect my car, he replied that i should speak to the boss, the lady.
    During the discussion, i kept turning to the man rather than the woman and i am embarrassed to say i had to mentally check myself to give the lady the respect she deserved as the proprietor.
    As it turned out, the woman, a qualified panelbeater, did a great job on my car.
    I thought at the time of how ‘conditioned’ i was re gender stereotyping……. in spite of the fact that one of my female cousins was (and still is) a successful shoemaker, the only female cobbler i am aware of.

  60. diannaart

    Paul and Corvus boreus

    Thank you for your thoughtful and considered comments.

    We are all conditioned to bias of some sort and it is difficult to break the habit – but not impossible.

    In the interest of tolerance and (hopefully) acceptance; to all those who over react to the idea of androgyny or different opinions to your own, perhaps you could take some time for reflection.

    Fact: humans are diverse.

  61. Kaye Lee

    I agree that humans are conditioned. Some people talk of “instinct” but the majority of our behaviour comes from conditioning and it is, as diannaart says, difficult to break.

    I have managed to do away with makeup and hair dye but I still shave my legs and underarms. There is nothing instinctual (or even sensible) about that but we are conditioned to expect women to be hairless (except for glossy flowing dyed locks and fake eyelashes).

    Hopefully the deconditioning will continue. Our children are much more tolerant of diversity but they are also bombarded and manipulated by advertising. Teaching them to recognise and resist such manipulation is another challenge in our evolution.

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