Hello all

Well today has been an interesting one as I have see-sawed between horror and delight over women’s issues so I will continue my theme about all-things relating to women.

I have divided my blog into three parts today: Feminism revisited; Best Story of the Week and Worst Story of the Week.  These stories  have certainly been thought-provoking for me so I really wanted to share them with you. Let us begin.

FEMINISM revisited: There was so many celebrations going on all over Australian yesterday (and probably the whole world) with women’s breakfasts and lunches and even things such as a Zomba celebration (heaven knows what that one was about?) that I wanted to point out what a huge affair International Women’s Day has become.

Also, on our SBS  (multi-cultural channel) news last night, there was a lot of  coverage from third world countries highlighting the plight of women that shocked me and I was hardly able to watch it.  Women in places like Nigeria who were routinely raped and killed were discussing their lives since they have been free.  It made me feel as if our western civilisation that has been crying out about women’s rights since the seventies, has had it easy in comparison.

So I stopping watching it and I happened upon a video interview on mamamia.com where Mia Freedman, the publisher of the site was interviewing her mother who was caught up in the Women’s Liberation Movement of the early seventies. I never expected to find anything amazing in the interview as Mia’s mother looks like a normal woman about my age.

What I found flawed me. I began to see just why this woman became caught up in the feminist movement and it’s often good to get another perspective. Mia’s mother feel pregnant at 18 and as was the norm in those days, “she ‘had to get married” as we used to call it. This marriage was doomed to failure, she said, but when she left the husband three years later, there was no pension for single mothers and her ability to obtain a divorce was fraught with legalities that were discriminating for her but not for him.

He could behave as he liked, but she had to prove her purity by behaving – she described it as “living like a nun” for the next five years – or else she would be accused of adultery and could lose custody of her child. No-fault divorce had not yet come into being in Australia. And thus she took up the cause and worked for change, she even stopped wearing lipstick, burnt her bra and stopped shaving under are arms! Of course, change came in the mid-seventies and she married again eventually.

From watching the video, I became aware that it was plain sailing for me because I was never in this awful position and therefore I never felt the need to ‘take up the cause’ for feminism whilst others did feel that need. If you are interested in watching it, you will find the link here: http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/international-womens-day-video-what-my-mum-taught-me-about-being-a-woman/  Now on to the next topic.

BEST STORY OF THE WEEK:  Today I heard this amazing story on a radio interview with Gill Hicks, the Australian woman who lost both her legs in the London bombings in 2007. Her  inspirational story made my day! I do not have enough space to detail how she was saved, why she was running late that day and missed her train and how she was lucky enough to survive when her injuries were so severe she should have died but you will find more of the story on this ABC radio link: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/03/09/3449763.htm?site=brisbane

Gill Hicks whose life has changed forever after the London bombings...

After recovering and learning to walk again with two prosthetic legs (which, hilariously, she had made longer as she had hated being so short!) she decided to form a charity called Making a Difference for Peace – better known as M.A.D for Peace. I read on Wikipedia (her website is not available due to hacking):

M.A.D’s work is focused in three key areas – Public Engagement, Education and Bridging Divides in Communities – at local, national and international level.

Each M.A.D project embeds one or more of the five key messages from Gill’s own story of survival: Identity, The Brilliance of Humanity, Determination, Optimism and Choice. Specific objectives are incorporated to meet the needs of each particular community. “

Gill has formed M.A.D nests all over Britain and now the world, where people work together for peace. She feels she was saved for this reason. She actually ‘died’ several times, once for 27 minutes. Still, Jill has such a delightful sense of humour telling the story of how, despite her vital signs registering zero at one stage, she was still talking to the paramedic who yelled out to the other “She is dead but still talking! How is this happening?”  I think I can relate to this for one who can talk under water!

WORST STORY OF THE WEEK: This news item about women is a real worry especially as it was announced the day before Women’s International Day. It seems that the Lingerie Football League from America is heading to Australia! Freeman reported it so well on the mamamia.com website:

“Girls just want to have fun…” commented a male friend when I asked him for a bloke’s view on lingerie football. Huh? On a footy field? In a skimpy bra and undies? With the likelihood that one of your boobs will be squashed like a sultana? So not fun.

If you haven’t heard of Lingerie Football you’re about to hear a lot more. Recent news that the delightful water-skiing champ and boxer, Sydneysider Lauryn Eagle, is set to join America’s Lingerie Football League (LFL) has no doubt got a few feminists pulling out their leg hair. Me included (well, what’s left of it). Earlier this year the LFL announced plans to expand into Australia in 2013. The first exhibition game is planned for spring 2012.

Women playing sport: fantastic. Women playing footy: even better. Women playing this brutish game near naked: frightening! I hate lingerie football. It objectifies and demeans women. It’s a mix of breasts and brawls for the sheer pleasure of male eyeballs. It’s screwed-up soft porn. It belittles other female athletes who fight hard for recognition and to earn a decent dollar from their sport. “

Well said Mia Freedman! And that about sums up why I think this is the worst story of the week. Still, let us not focus on the negatives but be uplifted at what is being done by people like Gill Hicks and by those working as volunteers in third world countries and even in Australia where people are donating their money to help make the world a better place.

This is a good way to end our celebration of the UN International Women’s Day Week on a nice positive note  and I will now leave you to go and cook my dinner!

This reminds me of something I read in the Australian Women’s Weekly when our own Aussie Kathy Lette (well known all over the world for her feminist-type books) made this statement: “Emily Pankhurst spent all that time getting women out of the kitchen and now these TV goddesses (eg Nigella Lawson) are getting us back in.”

Ha ha, glad to be in the kitchen as a Goddess Kathy!

Until tomorrow …