The “Tomboy” Controversy

On “Studio 10” this morning, they were talking about an article “Don’t call my daughter a tomboy” – Meredith Hale, January 17, 2016). She was lamenting how her 8 – year – old girl called herself a “tomboy” because she liked sports and science. Now, when I was growing up, girls played sports. The difference, and what’s changing more, was the types of sports that boys and girls generally played. In Winter, girls played netball, while boys did football (Aussie Rules, where I am), while girls played netball. In Summer, boys played cricket, while girls did tennis and swimming (both boys and girls did tennis. It was the only one that I can think of in the Summer where both genders played). Now, more and more sports, including AFL and cricket has become less gender – oriented and more girls, for example, are openly talking about playing cricket and football.

So, yes, women and girls play sports and always have (well, except maybe Ancient Greece). In terms of gendered toys and school items, according to an episode of ABC’s “The Checkout”, much of it is marketing. According to a small sample study they did, the “feminine products”, (deodorants. razors, etc) generally costed more. Toys, probably for marketing purposes as well, have always been gendered, including when I was a kid. Generally, anything to do with dolls, princesses and fairy-tales were aimed at girls, where as cars, trucks, trains, Lego, etc, were aimed, primarily at boys. It was just the way it was. But, of course that doesn’t mean boys can’t play with dolls and girls can’t play with Thomas the Tank Engine!

 

I’ll be frank, something concerned me about the article itself. To be bluntly honest, I think Hale ended up promoting what she said she found so loathsome:

Of course my daughter’s a person. But she’s also a girl. And like it or not, girls reach a certain point where they become young women. I remember those awkward adolescent years, when I began worrying about appearance, and fitting in, and, of course, boys. I wanted people (boys) to see me as a girl. I wanted to be feminine – even if I wasn’t yet sure what that meant exactly.  

Call me over – analytical, call me politically correct, but the parts of the quote I highlighted above is what I have a bit of a problem with. So, Hale grew up with wanting boys to notice her? What about those who don’t? What if her daughter never has a boyfriend (or even shows an interest), in high school? Now, this may be for a number of reasons, not because she’s gay or anything, but what about those girls who are not interested, whether it’s because of being gay, or being a (non – hetero – romantic) asexual? What if she likes both? Or none? What if it turns out that she’s just hetero – romantic?

Secondly, what about if her gender expression (not necessarily identity) changes? What if she becomes a teenager or young adult and doesn’t give a stuff about make – up, dresses, etc because she just doesn’t find them comfortable? Will she still be “feminine” enough?

 

I’m not saying that Hale will love her daughter any less if any of what I wrote above comes true (she is only eight, after all). My argument was, why don’t we drop gender stereotypes all together, for all ages, so that ALL women, regardless of who they are, can be included? Aside from that, I say let her be a kid. Whatever happens, happens. And let’s stop the gender stereotyping for all ages, shall we?

Is Cleo Magazine Going To Stop Production?

Rumour has it (apparently not confirmed), that Australian women’s magazine, Cleo, will soon follow the footsteps of Zoo Weekly and stop production.

According to the Australian, the magazine closed it’s website in December last year and former users were diverted to the Cosmopolitan website, due to the Cleo website reportedly closing down.

 

Cleo was a trailblazer magazine in it’s launch in 1973; one of the most controversial and revolutionary features being the Sealed Section which, for the first time, featured nudity and frank discussions about women’s sexuality.

 

I wonder how it’ll affect feminism in the media, since the Cleo magazines did feature articles about sexism, sexual harassment in the workplace, and domestic violence, in the years I read the magazine. One month a few years ago, they even featured blogger Johanna Qualmann talking about asexuality. Admittedly, one of the things that annoyed me in the end was the number of advertisements, and how, quite frankly, it often outnumbered the number of quality articles.

Cleo I think has kept feminism and women’s issues in the spotlight to a certain degree. If the magazine does stop production, where will women get their information and hear the views from? Marie Clare? Cosmopolitan? Online publications? Blogs?

I often wonder too, where journalism will be in t he future, considering the closing of news papers, and now magazines across the country. Will the best bet for magazine journalists now will be to look at other media, like TV, radio, or even on – line? Seems to be like that.

 

Have you/ do you read Cleo? What do you think about it?

Sexual Harassment Made Simple

Just a quick post about a discussion that just won’t die – sexual harassment in the workplace. How about we make it really simple.

If someone (ofvany gender), is working, let them do their job

If it’s an appropriate context and you wantvto flirt, if the other person is comfortable and even flirting back_ hey go nuts! If the other person is uncomfortable and/ or embarrassed STOP!

If the person tells you verbally that they don’t like what you’re doing STOP!

If you are in a person’s personal soace  making the other person uncomfortable BACK OFF!

If you ask someone out and they decline, take them at their word and respect their wishes.

It all bpils down to respect. Is that soooo hard?

Why Not Just Let Journalists Do Their Job?

I’m sure everyone has heard, (and maybe sick of hearing -I’ll only mention this once, I promise), about the controversial interview where West Indies cricketer caused outrage, public debate and was fined $10,000 for asking sport journalist, Mel McLaughlinfor a drink and embarrasing her.

A couple days later, Russian tennis star, Maria Sharapova commented on an Australian male journalist’s physique, without any outrage, no fine, no need for apology.

Double standards?

While I don’t think Gayle meant any harm, his downfall, in my opinion, was McLaughlin’s embarrassment. Also, too, yes, she was there to do a job. He did ignore her questions that she wanted to ask in the interview.

I agree with what Peter Helliar said on ‘The Project’ when they reported on it that causing embarrassment and discomfort is where the line has been crossed. I would say causibg ANYONE ANY discomfort in that area is where a line is crossed. Period. No ifs, no buts.

Also, journalists are there to do a job. If they’re conducting an interview, they should be allowed to do so. This was Gayle’s second mistake. I belive he should have answered the questions being asked, rather than evade them. That’s what Mc Laughlin was there to do.

 

For me, both incidents pointed out another issue. Why does a journalist’s sexuality play a part in their job? And they are there to do a JOB! They are not there to be picked up. They are there to do the news bulletins, sports reports, write columns, etc. Let them do it.

 

To his credit, Chris Gayle did see he overstepped the line and did offer an apology to McLaughlin, which she had accepted. My point is still, why should a journalist’s sexuality, physical aporaeanc play a part in theircprofessional role? That’s what I don’t get.