Mia Freedman

638406-mia-freedmanMia Freedman is probably one of the most outspoken and divisive media personalities in Australlia. Born in 1971 to South African migrant parents, Freedman pursued a journalism career at Australian Cosmopolitan aged 19. In 1996, she became one of the youngest editors to ever work at the magazine at only 24. After a short stint at Channel Nine, Freedman launched her site Mamamia in 2007. which receives about 2 million views weekly.

She hasn’t been free from controversy and public backlash. Last year, she caused outrage on “The Project” for saying:

We accept that gay people can’t change who they love and who they’re sexually attracted to, so why do we think that people who are sexually attracted to children can be rehabilitated?

This comment, whilst the panel on ‘The Project” (and Steve Price from 2GB by polycom) was discussing whether sex offenders registers should be made public knowledge. This comment caused a huge outcry, especially on Twitter. Anyone who looks at her website for more than ten seconds would know that the comment was a clumsy statement and that she is NOT homophobic.

Earlier that year, Freedman was sent death threats on Twitter after she slammed “Sunrise’s” David Koch for saying that co – host Samantha Armytage had “stripper shoes”. Freedman took that as a sexist comment, however, had both Armytage and Koch slamming her alarmism.

On her website, where she discusses women’s issues, politics, pop culture and other topics, there is plenty of fierce debate and criticism in the comments (although not all the posts are by her). She (and the other bloggers on the site), are strongly to the Left poltically and as such, some of the posts they make are sometimes deemed unfair or that the reporting is too biased. Frankly, in some cases, I can see where some of her critics come from, sometimes, However, one’s got to admire her passion and that she’s willing to stand for what she believes in and doesn’t buckle under pressure.

In many aspects, I think Freedman is a very admirable role model, for writers and non – writers alike. She stands up for what she believes in, she seems to have bounced back from all the criticism and her site, nearly eight years on, still gets much traffic (so many of her posts have an unbelievable amount of comments!). She also causes discussion and, i think, makes people at least think of where they stand on a number of issues, whether they agree with her and her staff or not. For that, I for one, commend her.

Did you read Cosmo when she was Editor? Do you read her blog? What do you think about her? (please keep comments civil and polite).

Is Modern – Day Feminism Discriminatory?

Just the fore I was reading this piost:¬†http://https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/74548778/211/. It’s about a woman and why she doesn’t identify as a feminist. She’s a Muslim American that argues modern – day feminism isn’t accommodating to women like her. Instead she’s all about egalitarianism for everybody.

I’ve got to say, that I can understand why a lot of people, including woman, can feel almost ostracised in modern – day feminist circles. Isn’t it time to include and support everyone? That includes:

  • LGBTQIA people
  • non – cisgender people
  • people from various racial backgrounds
  • people across the political spectrum
  • people of all social classes
  • people with a disability
  • people of different faiths

These are the few categories I can think of that may make certain women (and men) not relate to the current feminist climate. Most feminism in the West, as I read in the post I provided the link to above, is aimed at mostly middle – class, Caucasian, mostly able – bodied, politically far – left, cisgender (although some do strongly support transgender rights), and secular (so potentially alienates people of faith, especially Christians).

Now, here’s the thing, IF feminism is to become more encompassing, it needs to broaden it’s scope. I think to reach as many people as possible, it’s going to have to accept that people have different views and, as the other blogger argued, be willing to help other women who are not in their social or political class.

Do you think that feminists should be open to a broader spectrum of people? Do you personally find feminism alienating? Why or why not?

If You Want Sex, You Ask. If The Person Resists Or Doesn’t Give Consent, Game Over

I read before on another blog, it was alleged that a male MP, Gavin King partly blamed women for becoming victims of rape. This has to stop! Is it just me or is this attitude become rampant in society?

Why is it so hard for people to get that ‘no means no’? It’s not just men that have this attitude either. Women have also admitted that they think women could provoke attackers. A survey last year exposed how scarily prevalent the attitude is, with about a third of respondents saying that women were at least partly responsible if they were assaulted.

There is a flip side to this. Media personalities like former Cosmopolitan (Australian) editor and blogger Mia Freedman and Herald Sun columnist and blogger, Susie O’Brien have both received vitriolic abuse on social media for even suggesting that women should keep themselves safe when out in public. They were (wrongly) accused of victim blaming (anyone who has looked at either of their blogs would know without a shadow of a doubt that neither of them condone violence toward women, or anybody, for that matter).

We should ALWAYS put the blame of violence squarely on the perpetrators, not the victims. However,people shouldn’t be condemned for giving women tips on how to remain safe, especially if the advice is backed up (for example meeting dates for the first time in a well – lit crowded public area or having a friend with you when meeting the person. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be labelled as), victim blaming. Shouldn’t we all be open to hearing how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe?

What Feminists Maybe Be Able Learn From Suzi Quatro

SQ 1¬†Legendary rocker Suzi Quatro is currently touring Australia, possibly for the last time. On Thursday, she was on Studio 10 as a special guest panelist. And she got asked this question, which, she’s probably been asked many, many times… what was it like to work in a male – dominated industry? Her answer…. she doesn’t think of gender. Even when she saw Elvis Presley in the late 50’s, she never thought, he’s male, she’s female. She just did what she wanted to do.

Now, I’ve got to say, I think it may have kind of helped that England was in the midst of the glam rock movement when producer Mickey Most took¬†Quatro under his wing in 1971 (“Can the Can” came out two years later). But I find her attitude interesting. How important should gender be, if at all? Do we as a society place too much emphasis on it?

Maybe, just maybe, Quatro might be on to something when not focusing on gender. She’s never allowed herself to let it be an issue. Maybe we shouldn’t either?

She’s openly critical of female artists that rely too much on being provocative, instead of the emphasis being on their talent. She said that she’s actually a fan of women like Miley Cyrus, but does lament about the extent that Cyrus and other female artists goes to, especially when it comes to partial nudity. I kind of get what she’s saying. People took Suzi Quatro and her craft seriously because she took her craft seriously. She was willing to work at and stick to her music even when things seemed quite grim in ’71 – ’72 (read about it in her autobiography “Unzipped”, it’s a great read).

I say the biggest lesson you can learrn from Suzi Quatro: focus on your art/ profession, etc. Don’t try to hard by being provocative. Just be who you are and do what you do…. or at least on hwat you want people to focus on (e.g. music acting, etc). And probably the third thing, at least i got, never give up. It’s not always going to be an easy ride, but never give up.

SQ2

British Paper ‘The Sun’, Nudity

British paper ‘The Sun’, has dumped the infamous ‘Page 3’, which featured models, originally topless, then scantily clad in under garments. This feature in the paper has existed since Rupert Murdoch took ownership of the paper in 1970, outraging feminists. I can understand why it isn’t appropriate for a ‘family’ paper, but honestly, I sense a big of a double standard in the attitudes held by feminists. Before you attack me, let me explain.

The early Seventies saw an abolition of censorship in the media. Magazines aimed at women, like ‘Cosmopolitan’ and ‘Cleo’ started to include ‘sealed sections’, which, occasionally did feature nude models, completely nude. Actually, over the years, I’ve seen both naked men and women in those magazines. So, may I ask, aside from the targeted audience, what’s the difference?

More recently, I posted about my reaction to the Mamamia article about Caitlin Stasey and nudity and feminism in general. And, by the way, the post on Mamamia featured Stasey COMPLETELY naked, nothing censored. So, may I ask, what’s the difference?

is it because ‘Page 3’ featured professional models and possibly airbrushed? Are people worried that the feature will give particularly young girls, unrealistic edged expectations for their own bodies? Were ‘The Sun’ images deemed exploitative of women? Was the controversy largely over the fact that it was marketed as a ‘family paper’, and not specifically aimed at people roughly sixteen years and over?

I can’t make up my mind whether there is a double standard in this or not. Do you think there is?

Sexism and Ageism in Australian Media?

Is there sexism and ageism in Australian media? Cases in point:

  • Last year, media personality Chrissie Swan was sacked from Melbourne radio station KIIS FM, despite being 2011’s ‘Most Popular New Female Talent’. She was replaced by Matt Tilley, along with Swan’s former co – host Jane Hall. Bloggers from site, Mamamia have condemned Swan’s sacking and have more recently slammed Melbourne’s Herald Sun for further highlighting it and ‘rubbing it in’. They also didn’t give a reason forge dismissal.
  • About two years ago, Channel Seven’s ‘Sunrise’ came under fire when news rumours started circulating that long – time co – host Melissa zdoyle was leaving the show and being replaced by Samantha Armytage. Luckily for Seven, the heat cooled when Doyle was placed as the reporter for the 4.30 afternoon news.
  • About a year before the Seven controversy, Channel Ten was slammed for sacking long – time news reporter, Helen Kapolos and replacing her with Mal Waldon.

So is this just a storm in a teacup, or is this really sexism and ageism being displayed within the Australian media? I must say, I don’t think you can blame people for suggesting it. If you look at the majority of women in the media, especially television, most of them are barely 40 (except Ita Buttrose), where as the men range in age from probably about 20’s – 30’s right up until 60 and over. Also, as for KIIS FM, why the push to have male/ female partnerships, when apparently, Hall and Swan seemed to be a popular team?

Be assured, I’m not trying to be a militant feminist here suggesting that men are overtaking everything and need to be cut down. I’m not saying that men in the media are misogynistic pigs. However, i do wonder. Whether there is a double – standard in Australian journalism and broadcasting when it comes to treating men and women equally and that they are both treated by the same standard.

What do you think? Is there a problem with ageism and sexism in Australian journalism/ broadcasting?

Feminism and Nudity

Back in 2013, Russian feminist protest group, FEMEN made news when it was revealed that they entered their protests about Vladmir Putin and women’s rights semi – naked, with breasts visible. A young Egyptian women followed suit online to protest of lack of women’s rights in her country. Late last year, Kim Kardashian caused a stir for exposing her naked backside while balancing a wine glass on it. Just yesterday on Mamamia, there was a article about actress Caitlin Stasey who posted nude, not airbrushed and created a website based on various women doing the same (which I haven’t looked at, although there were some photos of her on Mamamia).

How has nudity become such a big statement in women’s rights? I kind of get the ‘stuff you’ attitude of industries like the porn industry and the media more generally on photoshopping women’s bodies. I get also, as with FEMEN and the young woman in Egypt, that it’s a way for them to gain ownership of their bodies in a patriarchal society. But is this the only way to do it? Could these sort of trends actually end up backfiring? Let me be clear, I don’t condemn or even criticise these women for doing what they’ve done. If they’re happy doing it and it does prove, even just for some women to be empowering, then, who am I to judge?

I do have some concerns though. First, is this the way feminism is meant to be done now? What about women who still wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it? Let’s be honest, Caitlin Stasey is gorgeous. Also, and I suppose more importantly, is this going to end up being (unintentionally) exploited? Also, will this just further alienate some women, in particular and scare them out of feminism altogether (I wrote about this yesterday about Gen Y).

What do you think of this, so it seems, nudity trend? Is it empowering for women or not?