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Showing posts from September, 2016

Should I teach my son about female empowerment by shaving my head?

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When my small family moved to my hometown of Newcastle in 2012, I did a grown up thing I'd been wanting to do in the many years since I became a grown up: I got my own hairdresser. I mean a proper hairdresser where we knew each others' names, and I returned regularly, and she knew my quirks and didn't mind if I stared and my lap, and she didn't even make me feel squirmingly uncomfortable, like all the hairdressers I'd visited previously, from $10 cuts at Central Station to the time I spent $120 for a basic haircut in Newtown (oy vey, those were the days of plentiful disposable income - I want to go back in time and slap myself silly for not saving). Hair length went up and down. A fringe was acquired. I looked presentable - a small miracle.

But at the end of 2014, I made the fateful decision to accompany my husband to Sydney to try and save our marriage. It didn't work, and as if that wasn't bad enough, I lost my hairdresser. And until I finally got the spl…

Tiahleigh Palmer - hard questions and heartbreak

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the failures of the child protection system, including the worrisome process of vetting and approving foster parents. I couldn't have imagined that those fears would be realised in such a heartbreaking way.

Eleven months after her death, the former foster family of 12 year old Tiahleigh Palmer were charged with offences relating to her murder. The allegation is that her former foster father murdered Tiahleigh to cover the fact that his 19 year old son had sexually assaulted her and feared she was pregnant. Her former foster mother and the couple's other son have been charged with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice. 
Tiahleigh Palmer was in foster care because it was deemed her mother could not look after her, and she required protection. Protection. So how the hell was she sent to live with a family who did this to her? An adult son who allegedly raped a child, and a father who allegedly murdered that child to cov…

Shopping Mad

So I went into a city outlet of a national health and beauty retailer. A staff member greeted me brightly at the door. "Hi! Welcome to national health and beauty retailer. Can I help you with anything today?" 
"Uhh...I was just after some nail scissors."
So she walked me over to a display of such implements and took a packet off the shelf. "We have these ones, they're twelve dollars. Was that what you were after?"
Tired and grumpy, and expecting a pair of nail scissors to cost about four bucks, I replied with possibly less grace than was warranted, "not for twelve dollars I'm not."
We looked at each other for several uncomfortable seconds.
We then looked at each other for several even more uncomfortable seconds.
I spoke first. "This is why it's for the best if I do my shopping on my own", I said before me and my long toe nails made our exit. 
Am I the only one who just fucking hates this? I know from working in retail that …

Fighting Pauline Hanson with facts is just feeding the beast

Following Pauline Hanson's appalling maiden speech to the Senate last week, there were those who, whilst abhorring Hanson's views, disagreed with the Greens' decision to walk out on her in protest. Don't walk out, they said - stay and fight her with the facts.

This seems a reasonable thing to do, but we are not dealing with reasonable people here. You cannot fight them on the facts. It goes beyond that. Facts are not merely irrelevant to them; they see facts as a product of the left wing universities and socioeconomic systems that oppress them.
Hanson supporters tend to be older, have fewer years of education, to be economically disadvantaged - and overwhelmingly white. Ms Hanson herself left school at 15. This was typical for young, working class Australian women at the time, and I don't mean to disparage her for that, but without further education she had missed the opportunity to develop logic and critical thinking skills, the ability to assess the validity of s…

Why The Greens' Hanson Walkout Meant So Much

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Wednesday afternoon I picked G up from preschool. He was finishing off a Lego creation, which his teacher deemed of such structural integrity as to merit being placed on the display shelf. And I was thinking of that lovely lady later that evening, who has taken my son under her wing since my husband and I separated a year ago; cheering him up on his sad days, gently integrating him into the group, always there for a cuddle. I was thinking how much this hijab wearing lady and my blonde son love each other, because that's Australia isn't it?

I was thinking of her, and thousands like her, as newly elected Senator Pauline Hanson declared, in her maiden speech, that "we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims, who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own...Australia is now seeing changes in suburbs predominantly Muslim. Tolerance towards other Australians is no longer the case. Our law courts are disrespected and prisons have become breeding grounds for …

Nothing Edgy in Opposing Safe Spaces

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I read the account of Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who had to walk out of an address given at he Brisbane Writers Festival by Lionel Shriver, who mocked the concept of identity. Shriver, author of We Need To Talk About Kevin amongst other books, proudly declares herself anti-authoritarian and a scandalising provocateur; she recently appeared at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas to peddle her notion of breaking a rule a day.

But there's nothing dangerous about mocking safe spaces, trauma, PC culture or triggers. Everyone who who wants to appear "edgy" or show their version of "common sense", is posting on their blogs and Facebook pages, mocking safe spaces and microaggressions, and finding the whole thing hilarious. Tacos are cultural appropriation! Getting PTSD from Tumblr! I'm a straight white male, where's my safe space? (Shroedinger's shitlord: denigrates safe spaces whilst wanting one for themselves).

It's an extremely simplistic view of extremely co…

At Risk Kids - PROFIT

We know the child protection system in Australia is a basket case. As Lisa Pryor reported in this harrowing article on child protection services, and the horrifying choices caseworkers are forced to make, there are simply too many children at risk of serious harm, and too few caseworkers to investigate and help them. Imagine a hospital emergency room where only a handful of cases deemed by the triage system as being in need of urgent medical attention got to see a doctor; the rest were simply sent home to an uncertain fate. Well, that's what happens to most children at risk of serious harm in NSW. Calls are made to the helpline, trained staff assess that a child is genuinely at risk, and then - di nada for most of them. Child protection knocking on your door because you post on Facebook that your child has a bruise? Forget it. Due to workloads, most children at risk of sexual, physical and psychological abuse will never get a visit from a caseworker.

Of course, once kids are actua…

Welcome Back (Breakdown)

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I've been a huge fan of gymnastics for years. I'm sure I could have been a top gymnast, apart from being too tall, uncoordinated, unathletic, having very little drive or determination, and not actually ever taking gymnastics. But I love to watch, so the recent Olympics were a treat, especially the  astonishingly good Simone Biles. And as ever, whenever the gymnasts made a mistake, a misstep, a stumble, a flubbed move, I reflected in pity that they'd no doubt performed that routine flawlessly, hundreds of mind-numbing times, in their home gyms.

But it turns out gymnasts don't endlessly practice their complete routines. The individual elements, yep; but to try and reduce the punishing wear and tear on their bodies, elite gymnasts rarely practice the most jarring elements of their routines, the dismounts; what you see in competition isn't a routine they've practiced into muscle memorial; usually, it combines special skills they may only have accomplished a few ti…