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Time to call this behaviour out. 

I’d say this article made me cry. And it did. But it also made me very angry. Particularly as I’d just read Lenny Letter, where a female comedy writer has decided to open up about her experiences in Hollywood also. Non Weinstein related by the way.

She, like Emma Thompson here, is calling out some men in powerful positions in Hollywood who’ve degraded and disrespected some women.

In this interview, Emma Thompson says ‘there’s a crisis in masculinity’. I’ve said this myself in the following words – ‘I’ve always thought we need a push towards the feminine …but maybe you guys need just as much attention’. For what leads some men to this kind of behavior? Fear and feelings of inadequacy to start.

Gotta take power back somewhere right? And what nicer way than getting off right?

NO.

Read Naomi Wolfs ‘Vagina’. There’s a chapter on how sex is used specifically to torture women in war torn countries. Why? Science has proven some things about women’s biology including the relationship between a woman’s sex organs and her mind (her emotions and ability to create).

The other thing I think of here is something Krista Tippett said recently at the Melbourne Town Hall. She was talking about how Obama being elected was one of the most important and wonderful turning points in American history… for some. For others it stirred up (the bottom) of the pot. The things America (and let’s face it, many countries) still hadn’t looked at.

…and it stirred the pot so much it got a man like Donald Trump elected.

…a man who said ‘you can just grab them by the pussy’.

Many women’s response to this comment and those who’ve spoken up about Weinstein has shown there’s a shit load of anger out there from women who’ve been subjected to this behavior in various forms by some men since (as Emma Thompson puts it) the beginning of time. We still have so much to look at it when it comes to the equal treatment of women.

Some days I’ve thought – thank god I know so many great men …to counterbalance all the shit experiences I’ve had with some others.

…being told I didn’t get the role because I didn’t look like an easy f#?! As a young girl, avoiding getting on my bus because a man (yes I said I was a young girl and he was an adult) had made advances on me at the bus stop and wanted to take me home. A cab driver masturbating in front of me. Waking up in the middle of the night to a man at my bedroom window …also masturbating.
…and then there’s examples from people I know. That I trusted.

Just this year I had to call 000 to get help.

And I knew the man who assaulted and threatened me.

And so. Get ready. Because I think there’s going to be an onslaught of women speaking up. Calling out this kind of behavior. And it’s going to feel uncomfortable. But it’s got to be done. By everyone. Not just victims.

If you see or hear it. Call it out.

It’s got to be brought to the surface so we can see it for all it’s ugliness. Then maybe these types of men can get some help. And we can educate our sons better. And this shit can stop.

I for one would love to walk home in the dark and not be afraid.

Better yet

I would like to go to places that are supposed to be safe, that I know and love, and not have to be cautious. Not be subjected to abuse and threats of any form.

A huge thank you to the women who have spoken up about Weinstein. You have paved the way for others in the industry (and hopefully inspired people everywhere).

And to those industry people who protected Weinsten? Shame. It is so hard for victims to speak up (for many reasons. Never mind if the person holds a position of power or not. Do you know how small victims feel after being subjected to such behavior?). Everyone needs to speak up. Again – time to call this behavior out. No matter what position these people hold.

A note here : People – it’s going to seem worse for awhile as more and more women come forward (like all the shit that’s been stirred by Trump being elected… white supremacists as an example). But that’s not our cue to get bogged down by it. Get depressed. I tried that this year and it certainly wasn’t the right approach. Not just because I was so disheartened …my heart aching, wondering where our species would end up;  but because I pushed to fight – partially because I had to in one experience (where adrenaline surged for survival) and partially to prove something I NEVER HAD TO PROVE.

It’s going to appear all doom and gloom but this is just the first part of the journey. The revelation. THEN comes the learning.

Sadly victims have to do some learning ( ie learning its not their shit, only that they have a choice as to how they react to it / how much power they give it) but then, if and when we ALL do the learning, after a long while, because this kind of change takes time… we won’t have to talk to our daughters about how to protect themselves and won’t have to talk to our sons about how to treat women respectfully. Because we just will.

A side note: Please see below for some of the comments I have received on this post. They’re really insightful and worth sharing.

  1. I was glad she said that about masculinity. I’ve thought that about all and my own masculinity since my late teens. Feminism needs to address both genders and help men and sons toward a new defined masculinity. We’re largely lost and have no idea what our strengths are meant to be and where our power is.
  2. Laurie Penny discusses this in her book Unspeakable Things. She points out the prevailing attitides of the Patriarchy hurt EVERYONE, including men. It is a life-changing, wonderfully written read. And, laugh-out-loud funny, at times.Highly recommended.
  3. Thanks, for sharing, Love. Yes, so much needs to change. That fear has been such an innate part of life, since childhood. And, whether it’s overt incidents, such as you’ve described happening to you, or an attitude of constant entitlement, which leads to verbal, mental & emotional abuse, both subtle & brash, it is a.destructive, dangerous & insidious. I am still recovering from PTSD after a relentless spate of abuse, committed by men – both sttaight & gay. Entitlement is all about an egregious belief that one person has a right to something from another, no respect for boundaries.
    I’m so glad the.horrific behaviour of Weinstein has been exposed. I do hope that this has a domino effect.
    I’m sorry for the pain & hurt that you would’ve gone through, due to the experiences you shared. What does it say that we all have our own such stories?
    How much does that innate, ever-present (if not always in our conscious awareness) fear stop women from bold, open, fully-present & empowered enough to be the truest, biggest, strongest versions of ourselves? It’s time to deeply consider & discuss this. It is time
  4. Entitlement. We are not things. And I for one this year have really struggled with the fact that my working towards being ‘bold’ and ‘the biggest strongest version of myself’ as you have said above had been WORK. That I’ve had to push to be that, fight for it because the way some peoples behavior have made me feel about myself. That I have had to rise DESPITE all this shit. Why should I have to fight to be me?
  5. I feel you, my dear friend. I feel your words. You’re absolutely right! It does take work…reprogramming our belief system, supporting ourselves through recovery & having the courage to feel through. I’ve wondered what heights I would’ve reached had I not spent ao much energy placating others, navigating the daily politics of existence as an intelligent, attractive woman who is quirky & doesn’t fit ‘the mould’? I’ve feel as if I’ve wasted SO MUCH TIME. But, that’s due to the environment I was plopped into, at birth.
    Self-realisation is work. And, we do have our times of depression, when it’s been relentless & overwhelming & traumatising & self-esteem has been shattered. It’s a battle sometimes to go within & find a seed of openness to self-love.What a process!??!?! You’re worth it, though. I’m worth it. We’re all worth it.

 

 

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Pearl 

I wish I did not write about love. 

I wish I had not let them brand me. 

If I am on the market 

How will people know if this subject 

is the only way I’m in print?
I wish I did not write about nature

Specifically how it makes my ovaries blossom. 

If I am only fertile these few more years

All ready engraved in pollen 

How will anything other than sticky stamen penetrate? 
I wish I did not write about Venus. 

She gives away my distance, timing and rotation. 

If I am not pulled by internet routers 

Rather

Turned out from churning oceans

Pearl soaked

How will I find connection? 
I wish I did not write about you. 

You 

who have folded language over in the mouth so it

Curses in hisses of spit and sputum. 

If I am to share saliva again

How can I turn my tongue over? 
I wish I had not written.

Pen and paper has given me away. 

Perhaps though in ink 

You could endorse this woman’s indentations. 

I am simply blotched 

Stamped 

Bleeding about the page like the rest of you. 
Press me to your adjoining pages 

I will etch in so you read me well. 

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Girl 

Today she thought 

I miss being a girl. 
How many times these months

chants & championing 

The words 

woman & strong 

impregnated so as she might erupt

An Orphic egg

Spit out a new cosmos amongst the darkness

maybe, 

Create from the wound. 
She was sorry to let the universe down. 
But when she buckled up her own helmet before riding 

when she took her own hand to cross the road against the lights   

She shuffled her feet at the curb & breathed

‘All the women in me are tired. 

I miss being someone’s girl’. 

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Refuge 

Come in.

Lay your body down.

This place

it is

a refuge.

You.

Warrior

…with your armor up

…and your iron eyes

…and your stiffened lips

Unfurl your hair

let it avalanche down your steel shoulders

and flush cheek bone

and breast.

 

Come in.

Lay your body down.

This place

it is

a refuge.

Tell me your stories

Let your tongue tease out the learning

Your muscles ease out the burning

and your heart

so swollen

…let it leech out for awhile.

 

Give. me. your. lungs. warrior.

A baby would know what to do under such circumstances.

I am giving you permission to do the same.

Make your mournful sounds.

You have not forgotten how

only pretended.

 

Give. me. your. salt. warrior.

Your lacrimation will be a final desalination

Through pores

excrete what your body can no longer contain.

I will gather the delicate crystalline in my palms

and with index finger and thumb

we will use it to season

what. comes. next.

 

Come in.

Lay your body down.

Dear warrior

This place

it is

your refuge.

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Antenna

6

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January 24, 2017 · 5:16 pm

Chrysalis

In the quiet of the morning
When the moon is still propped up outside your bedroom window
Put on a colourful sundress and step out into the blue sky to compliment.
Wander in a way so as not to disturb the sleepers
But rustle enough leaves to make you feel like you are being cheeky
That you have a secret no one has taken the time to discover yet.
Stop when the sun bathes you in such brightness you are forced to see differently
And stand
And wait
And be warmed.
When your skin begins to tickle
take yourself to the bridge and listen.
The sound of running water doesn’t want anything more than
you
here
now.
And when the butterfly rests on your hand
Listen to it when it says you are loved
For there is no greater love than from a butterfly that can feel your desire for peace.

image

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Pornography – we have to talk about this.

 

I first truly became aware (shocked) by the now known effects the porn industry (because it is an industry. A business. Who’s intent is to make money) has on the sexual health of boys, girls, men and women, attending a full day teacher PD (professional development course) with Maree Crabbe. Maree Crabbe heads the Reality and Risk program, ‘…a project at the leading edge of international community-based efforts to address the harms associated with children’s and young people’s exposure to and consumption of pornography.’

In this one day intensive as much as within Gail Dine’s book, these facts were addressed:

  • Boys encounter porn on average at the age of 11 years old.
  • Porn is now easily accessible because of its prevalence on the internet.
  • As porn is a business, who’s intent is to make money, and as there is such a great demand for pornography, ‘gonzo’ style porn has become the prevalent style of porn.
  • Gonzo porn features hard-core, body punishing sex in which women are demeaned and debased. Where you can see the physical harm and grief the sex is having on the women involved (they are crying, they are red and swollen around their genitals) and it. is. celebrated in the videos with close up shots on the effected areas, and titles for these videos screaming ‘Join us now to Access Complete Degradation’ (this is an actual title as cited in Gail Dine’s book).
  • Medical reports and testimonies from men are showing porn is having an effect on erectile function and the ability to have intimate, long term relationships.
  • Medical reports are now showing new conditions in young girls who are having porn style sex with their young male boyfriends ‘…their sexuality is increasingly shaped by (porn) as the men they partner with want to play out porn sex on their bodies… Some capitulate, some negotiate, and many are confused as to why the men they hook up with, date or marry are always trying to push the sexual envelope’, pg xii, Pornland.

As a teacher, as a female and as a lover of intimate, respectful relationships I rage and I grieve that this is the sex education 11 year old boys are getting, that this is the first experience that young women might have of sex, that the impact of porn is greatly effecting the ability for adult men and women to have respectful, trusting, communicative, intimate sex; and I grieve other reports of women not being able to have long term relationships with men in a world full of porn because porn teaches to use, discard, then use someone else.

I urge you to read Pornland and to access the link provided to Maree Crabbe’s work. If you watch porn I urge you to critically examine what you are watching. If you are in a relationship, having casual sex… I urge you to talk to your partner about the kind of sex you are having. Is everyone enjoying it?

 

 

 

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Wonder Meant…That I didn’t buy from NESTLE.

 

‘That’s your Milo, your Kit Kats, your Willy Wonka chocolate bars. Slave children. Just let that sink in’. Olivia.

Today the news that NESTLE, the worlds largest food producer, is to be sued over allegations it uses child slaves to harvest cocoa.

To be honest I can’t recall a time I ate such food… a chocolate bar like a kit kat, a pack of chips (the kind that leave your fingers stained orange), a chocolate milk from a carton…basically the kinds of food that line the counters of 7/11’s, petrol stations, supermarket checkouts… the type of food that is brightly packaged, that screams at you in ads, …that makes your guts scream on the inside. I made this choice because most of these foods have no nutritional value.

More than this.

I don’t like being the fool.

The fool that spends money on things that again, have no nutritional value or/and, say in the case of diet products, play to our dissatisfaction with our own (incredible) bodies. Even more than this, the companies that make serious $$$ in the full knowledge of the above things. Now there’s this. Arseholes. Money driven in a way that makes me want to vomit. Shop local, shop ethically, buy seasonally, make your own treats (it’s fun too!) …share this piece of news and speak with your actions. DON’T BUY NESTLE.

Article in the Independent by Rachael Revesz.

Nestle is being sued for allegedly using child slaves on cocoa farms.

x Kate

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We Could Be Heroes

 

‘…a sponge…searching… first of all a student and then always someone who took it further and bolder…He kept changing and exploring…challenging himself’.

Bernard Zuel. The Age. 12.01.2016.

 

I’m supposed to be working on unit plans for this years lessons. I have a year 9,10,11 and 12 Drama class this year, a homegroup, a poetry elective, a possible school production and involvement with a very important theatre project outside of school. These holidays are working ones. This morning however I have an urge to write outside of work.

I’d just come back from a glorious 1 and a half hour walk with my partner down Melbourne’s Merri Creek as a storm moved its way into the city when I heard the news that David Bowie had died. Like many, I didn’t believe it; then, the tears.

As a 35 year old woman I first encountered David Bowie in the film the Labyrinth. At the time I wanted to be Sarah so that such an unusually charismatic man could woo me at a ball while I donned a typically 80’s fashioned ballroom dress; but only a few years later as a teen, I wanted to be more like Bowie, no longer thought of by me as the Goblin King rather as an inspiring artist. I’m not going to do the incredible injustice of trying to article his greatness with my limited vocabulary, but rather talk about some of the things I learned from his approach to artistry and life and have been so reminded of in his passing.

Going to the music store in the early 90’s to buy some of his music saw me pouring through a series of CD books with wide eyes. With each CD saw a re-imagining of himself through style and song. I adored his ginger hair and pin striped suits as much as his glitter and lipstick. Quickly my hair saw a change of colors – purple, red, blue, black. I wore suits and ties, chinese tops and clogged heals … to school. I would never profess to have gone as far as Bowie (or some of my fellow students) ever did (I have too much fear in me) but he, like Cyndi Lauper who had first inspired me as a child in the 80’s, opened my eyes to being experimental with look, personality, sexuality, voice. Essentially his approach to life taught be that everything could be played with.

The years that followed saw me acting for television and working with a physical theater company; modeling for painters whom I so greatly admired, attached myself to them and their messy studios, feeling a small part of greatness as I looked upon their interpretations of my body. I taught drama on sets as a drama coach for television, for theater and in schools. I read, wrote poetry and articles for books and online journals. I continued to experiment with hair styles, colors and with clothes and finally got the nose ring and tattoo I’d so wanted. I traveled, mostly on my own, overseas. I shaved my head. I learned Butoh in Italy.

Lately I have been looking for this woman. The girl and woman who experimented with these, mostly external things. Who, fueled more often by the want to fiercely combat the aforementioned fear that was in me, always telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I would be judged, that ‘something’ would happen, that I shouldn’t rock the boat; at least tried different things.

That’s where people like Bowie, Cyndi and another favorite artist of mine, Bjork, really continue to get up in my face from time to time and show me what can be possible. That their individual voices were/ are heard, is a blessing. That their constant ‘changing, exploring…challenging’ of themselves and their artistry lead to new things. And that this kind of hard work can also be an incredible amount of fun.

I don’t experiment with my hair color anymore but what I do do is encourage my students to. Well, sort of. As a teacher I am telling my students to be curious constantly. To be adventurous in their education as much as their lives. To challenge me, themselves, the things we are working on… to give of themselves, to create something new from the individual self they are.

It should be a great time to do this. Companies more and more are looking for creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial skills. More than this we should be exploring outside of our working lives, our school lives; we should feel comfortable to challenge our ideas and beliefs, create new ones. We should take different routes to our daily working places, create new dishes, ask our partners to. Play with fashion, be a voice heard in staff meetings, at dinner parties and in forums greater than facebook. We should recognise the fact that we are all students of life as long as we are here and that this in turn means investigating, examining, experimenting and exploring with ALL our senses,  ALWAYS. To be gentle with ourselves when we fuck up, when the experiment goes wrong and then… push.forward.

…create a new persona. A Ziggy Startdust. A Thin White Duke.

and play.

 

x Kate.

A day after I posted this, the wonder-full Brainpickings posted a Vanity Fair interview with David Bowie from 1998. Q: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? A: Living in fear. SNAP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marriage. Babies. Men. Women. To be or not to be? It’s no longer such an easy question.

Still in bed with first coffee and the news, I was taken here: an article written by Lena Dunham on marriage. Now that America has marriage for all in love, what does that mean for her feminist views on marriage, those views always confused by the odd sensation/ desire/ programming that she wants to wear the fluffy white dress…?

I think this is a great read …and perfectly timed. Yesterday evening I afforded myself the pleasure of a massage with a man around my age, with a history of education in women’s studies and with some great thoughts on the world. We started discussing Japan as he has been there (and I am recently just back), then we got talking about the dynamic between men and women.

I had some confusing times over there, faced with feelings as confusing as Lena’s- I want to look as perfect and as immaculate and as cute as the Japanese women but I DO NOT want to live in a world where men excerpt control and desire over that image, particularly when ‘immaculate’ and ‘cute’ also means looking like a 12 year old girl. I don’t want to be at the service of men. I don’t want to be so polite that I don’t speak my mind (or my heart). I want a career and be in an equal relationship with a man …but still I want nice legs, and to be desired by men…to be wanted. To fit in even. Very confusing.

My massage therapist shared this belief with me- that until a man can bear a child there will never be equality for the sexes. Woah. Explain I said.

He told me examples of women he sees, big CEOs who have taken calls while. in. labor. to prove that they can be a mother and work at the same time; women who, though they earn more money and are expected to work longer hours , who have more responsibility in their jobs than their husbands in their jobs, the husband won’t take time off work when the kids are sick because that’s not as acceptable. The woman should be at home with kids.

At the end of the day he said, women also have a clock. That a man can happily wait til he’s in his 60’s with the attitude / understanding that ‘he’s not ready’ then shack up with someone much younger and have a baby. A woman, who may not be ready, in a successful and blossoming career, still has to make a choice at a certain time …and as Toby Abbotts little plan awhile ago proved, SHE not he is expected to make that choice (and persuaded to with $ from the government if SHE does. Not he. The same money would not be given to the father if he took the paternity leave).

This is why so many women my age (I am now 35) are freezing their eggs now, as an article in The Age stated a month ago. We live in a non-committal society where we throw out our mobile phones, not because they’re dead but because we want the next better, shinier, ‘cuter’ one. Women are having a hard time finding men who are willing to ‘give commitment a go’ (and I phrase it this way because it’s not as if commitment doesn’t scare us too) because the world tells us we don’t need to commit to anything (we can give you/make you/ make you want to desire ‘cuter’, ‘shinier’, ‘better’). Couple this with the fact some women want to be at their careers for a little while longer, they are lead to spend upwards of $10,000 on freezing their eggs so that they can have their independent lives, their careers…and maybe one day, have that baby their bodies are in part made for and that many so desire.

Lena- marriage/ not marriage. Baby/ not baby. Man/ woman. Human/ human. I’m confused too.

Though not about the dress. I can’t ever see myself in white and fluffy.

x Kate

Read Lena Dunham’s comment piece here:

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-bride-in-her-head

Epilogue: On posting this on my Facebook wall a dear friend of mine wrote this…

“It’s nearly impossible to detangle personal preference from social conditioning, our deepest desires from the codes we have been taught to follow.” Brilliant (thought by Lena Dunham in the article). I would also try to differentiate between the getting married (the event) and the being married. I always wanted to be married to (my husband), but the rite of passage of bridehood was another matter. And it is a rite of passage which has huge cultural significance for women, less so for men. It’s a public acknowledgement of a woman’s acceptance and desirability.

Let the conversation begin…

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