A comment on the reactions to “10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman.”

I think the problem that some men faced when watching the video was that they felt like they were being generalised as being predatory if they wanted to get to know a pretty girl. We know not all men are like that, that not all men would ever mean harm to a woman or anyone else for that matter. These men are our friends and family. Unfortunately, at face value on the street, we have no idea what sort of a person could be talking to us. Dangerous people can look like anyone. We all just want to get from A to B safely, so unfortunately we have to question anyone’s intentions (including strangers who are women).

We have to be especially cautious as there are those sorts of people that victim blame if there is an incident e.g. they shouldn’t have stopped to talk to that person, they were being careless, if they ignored it nothing would have happened. I agree, men should definitely have the right to talk to women they find attractive (and women to men), but I think the circumstances really make a difference.

Approaching someone at a bar or a party is definitely acceptable as people feel well surrounded (usually by friends) and therefore feeling more secure in the environment to talk to a stranger. Also, because they are at the event with the purpose to socialise. Approaching someone on a street is different though, it’s an open space where we are sometimes alone. We are aware that there are cases of abductions and assault that take place in broad daylight. If we are walking on the street we are most likely in the middle of doing something, going somewhere and just want to get on with our day. Everyone is naturally suspicious of strangers because that is a basic survival instinct.

Not that I’m saying people can’t talk to one another, it just needs to be done so that everyone feels comfortable with it e.g. when there are lots of other people around, keep a respectable distance, introduce yourself, don’t comment outright on the persons appearance (unless it is something like commenting on a cool accessory like a bag or some shit). I think if you tell someone outright they are beautiful, it implies a level of attraction that then suggests possible action to be taken, pursuit or more. If you get to know the person first and you both feel safe in each others presence then I think it’s better to say something like that then. Not that all people will react the same, but better to be cautious.

Sorry for the rant but it’s been bothering me that the video meant to do good is causing more divide.

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Patriotism

Some might say: “What’s the harm of a little patriotism?” You live in a beautiful country and you should be extremely proud right?

There is nothing wrong in loving the country you live in, but you should love it for the right reasons.

On Australia Day many Australians wear the ‘Southern Cross’ and the classic yellow and green. They get boozed up and parade the streets. It’s a celebration that can (and has quite often) led to disgraceful behaviour. When I was a bit younger, I remember walking with my family down to the foreshore to watch the fireworks. On the walk home a car had hit someone, not fatally but enough to trigger other people climbing aboard the car and banging on the windows.

Only just this year one of my best friends was driving to a party we were at. She was parked at some traffic lights when a group of drunken men started shouting at her and one of them threw a beer bottle straight through her back windshield shattering the glass. She was absolutely petrified and ended up not celebrating that night.

In that respect, I don’t feel proud.

Recently, I was shown a poem written by the great Australian Phillip Adams called ‘I Love This Bloody Country’. It is a sort of parody of Dorothea Mackellar’s poem ‘My Country’ (http://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm). Which to me was amazing because only a week earlier I had written something relatively similar. If you aren’t Australian it will be hard to understand a lot of the references, but it’s a well written piece of satire and…well…it speaks a lot of truths:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/i-love-this-bloody-country-a-heartfelt-poem/story-e6frg8h6-1227000096302?nk=ef412ad6bd7a689d623f441ce1e3751e

Here is what I had written in the style of a diminished hexaverse. It is nowhere as good as Phillip’s but the content is of the same theme:

The Land of Oz-Straya

Our sunburnt country
Is a sight to see.
Vast empty deserts.
Vibrant rainforests.
Secluded beaches.

Just ignore the
‘Bogan’ pride, slight
Racism, and
Tony Abbott.

Who are we?
Pioneers?
Invaders?

Straya!
G’day,

Mate.

I don’t want to seem like I hate my country. It has a lot of faults but it is my home and it’s not all bad. I will leave you with a link to a Joelistics song (Aussie rapper) which presents Australia in a much more positive way:

His lyrics are fantastic, but the video is what makes this memorable for me. A bunch of Aussies were asked to record snippets of things they thought represented Australia. The result was myriad of images that reminded me of the things I think are beautiful.

The Road To Success

From some recent conversations with friends, I have found that I’m not representing myself to the fullest during these times. Sometimes, the conversation takes a turn where I feel extremely uncomfortable in, but in fear of causing confrontation I say nothing. I really don’t want to do that anymore. I need to be someone I’m proud of. I can’t do that if I’m not standing behind my beliefs. It’s important to be self reflective because you might unconsciously turn into someone you’re not proud of.
Lately, it seems a few people have been judging those around them based on their level of ‘success’ since leaving high school. They are measuring success based on academic levels, income and living situations. I think success should be determined by how happy the person is, because what’s the point in living ‘successfully’ if you’re not even happy?
Because we might not know these people on a personal level, I don’t think we have the right to say how ‘successful’ they are, because we don’t know their own situations.
To a degree, I was also judged based on my situation, by people who are relatively close to me. I get judged on my field of study in The Arts. People always ask me where it is going to lead, or what the job prospects are when they already know my field is highly competitive. I might not have a definite plan for the next five years, but I do have an idea. I plan to live the way I want to live. One day I might want to do this, the other day I might want to try something else. I’m still figuring it out. The important thing is that I’m happy, and especially happy with who I am. There was a excellent quote from the Daria episode “Gifted” that I watched recently that explains exactly how I feel: “My goal is not to wake up at forty with the bitter realisation that I’ve wasted my life in a job I hate, because I was forced to decide on a career in my teens.”
So I’m going to try and be a better person and just be honest with my friends, starting with this post.

Grandpa

Dear Grandpa, wherever you are,

I recall sitting on your knee and goggling at your false teeth.
Cackling at the sight of your bare gums you bared sneakily behind disapproving Grandma.
Honking your nose as if you were my very own clown there for my entertainment.
You were a contradiction; you had a dignified countenance but a slapstick alter ego.
In old photos you were the typical English gentleman, clad in a suit, slight smile and lovingly by Grandma’s side. Those photos were black and white, but I can remember your olive skin and subtly vibrant personality.
I choose to remember you like this.
Towards the end, as I sat anxiously across the dining table from you, I might have well as been a stranger for that’s all that I was to you but I know it wasn’t your fault, nor your wish.
It almost made it easier I was six at the time, as I couldn’t imagine going through it now. My age shielded me from too much grief from lack of understanding.
Now it seems almost bizarre you passed away in the living room. I felt confronted with fear for the first time, seeing you still on the rented hospital bed. I was too scared to kiss you goodbye because you weren’t you anymore. You were the first dead person I had seen.
Although it makes me sad I can’t remember your thick accent, at least I have one or two happy memories of you. I would have loved to get to know you, and grow up with you. I know everybody, especially Grandma, misses you very much.

Love your Granddaughter.

The Struggle

I haven’t posted anything new recently because Uni has started up again and that oh so familiar cortisol kicks in and it feels like you’re trying to walk around  balancing books on your head that keep falling and crushing your feet. Why is it that when things get so stressful that, instead of dealing with your problems, sometimes you ignore them until they become so big and ugly it’s impossible to ignore them anymore. I want to know why some of us just don’t seem to have that frustratingly perfect gene that allows some of us to get ahead with their work, finish it early and submit it with sickeningly sweet smile.

Sometimes I wonder why I go to Uni…the whole point is to help set myself up for a good future right? Even though what I’m studying I mostly get tutors saying: “This field is extremely competitive…”, “Finding work is going to be very hard…”, “You’re going to have to move to Melbourne if you want any sort of chance at getting a job.” Not to mention the horrible looks of pity on peoples faces when I tell them what I study and the classic line: “Will that lead to much?” Basically, from the reactions I’m getting, this really isn’t going to help me much at all. The future looks bleak.

I want what everyone wants: to live a happy life. It’s just hard figuring out what makes you happy and if you can make it happen in comparison in what society deems as normal. Right now, a good weekend for me is getting take-away and watching some TV with my boyfriend. Yes, I want to travel, go out for lunches and shop, so that means I will need money…and to get money means working a 9-5 job. If I’m spending my life working this 9-5 job I hate, it means the majority of life won’t be fun or happy. That’s our ‘lot’. Life isn’t always fun. It’s complicated and we made it that way, otherwise we’d be killing each other basic things like food, water, and shelter…Wait…in a way…aren’t we still doing that?

I apologise for the vant (vent/rant). This is my form of therapy. Hey, it’s either this or slapping people in the face, and hopefully this is a little more bearable. I will have a glass of wine and cheers to you for making it through. 🙂

Photo on 19-03-14 at 7.03 PM