thoughts du jour

  • "Spend some time alone every day."- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Where are the women?

It was brought to my attention by Bellsg at the end of the countdown that not one single female artist made it into the hottest 100 of all time. NOT ONE. In 100 songs, NOT ONE OF THEM WAS FEMALE. While there were a handful of female band members and featured vocalists, there were no females whose own songs made it to the hottest 100.

What does this mean? Is it simply that all the great rock gods are just that, gods and not goddesses? But surely there are some female artists out there that warrant that coveted hottest 100 of all time title? What about Stevie Nicks? Tori Amos? Bjork? Janis Joplin? Not even Carole King?
I find it very hard to believe. But also very eye-opening.

After this discovery, I went through my music collection to see what were my favourites, what I listened to the least, and what I listened to the most. And while female artists were high up there on the number of times listened, all my favourite songs are sung by male artists. The ones I voted for in the top 100 were Riders on the Storm (Doors), All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix), Throw your Arms Around Me (Hunters and Collectors) and Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana). No females there.

And when you think about it, the biggest bands of all time are all males: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Nirvana. So what's the message behind this?

I think it has to do with society's obsession with rock stars. That classic leather pants, scruffy hair, smoldering sexiness, all revolve around that iconic rock god look, beginning, of course, with the one and only Jim Morrison, who was likened to the Greek god Adonis during his time at the top. And let's face it. Rock gods are idolised. Women want to be with them, men want to be them. The power, the money, the fame, the whole bad-boy persona (maybe not in the case of The Beatles...but that's an exception) that surrounds the rock god type.

And while there are plenty of females to idolise, the psychology isn't there. Men might think they're hot, but that doesn't separate them from any other hot female. Women might think they are successful and great musicians, but that also doesn't separate them from the rest of the successful, great female musicians. Male rock gods are elevated by society as exactly that-unattainable gods who we admire from afar.

So while it's disappointing to know that really, there are no female artists out there that have made as strong an impression on us as their male counterparts, perhaps it's a chance to redeem ourselves. Think about your favourite female artists and make sure you vote for them next hottest 100 of all time!

You can see the full list of the hottest 100 of all time here; more info on the lack of females in the charts here; and what The Age had to say about it here

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Book nerd heaven: why I love my iPhone

We're all friends here, so I can safely admit to you all why I got an iPhone without being ostracized for being a sheep. Aside from the fact that I was sick of never having any credit with my pre-paid account, I was extremely tempted to get an iPhone because of some of its features. When they first came out I had a very "meh" attitude towards it. But all of sudden, over the last fortnight or so, I was overwhelmed with a strong urge to get one. Why? Why the sudden change of heart?

Well, I figured it out. It was temptation of the possibility of having hundreds of books with me in my pocket at all times that did it. Yep, that's right. I'm a MAJOR book nerd (in case you hadn't figured that out already). And last night I made the best purchase of perhaps my entire life, and I bought an application that consisted of 165 old classic books for a measly $6. That's right. $6.

Among this loooong list was a bunch of classics that I'd always wanted to read, but never got around to buying: Moby Dick, The Republic, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities, Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey, and many of Edgar Allen Poe's works. As well as these "must reads", there are heaps of childhood favourites: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, The Secret Garden, White Fang, Jungle Book, Anne of Green Gables and Gulliver's Travels to name a few.

I was so excited that I stayed up until 2am this morning reading through the many titles, reading bits of the first pages, and generally just being rapt that I will not be lacking in something to read for a long, long time.

If you're interested, the application is 150 Great Books and it is well worth the small change needed to buy.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The new lords of dance

video 
I've always had a fascination with irish dancing and irish or celtic music, so when my husband emailed me this photo I was instantly curious. I was not, however, prepared for the hearty laugh that it induced, so that was a pleasant bonus. 
Have a good laugh and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

You're not needed anymore...

If there was ever a time for men to feel redundant in the reproductive department, now is the time. A story in The Age today describes how scientists in England have managed to create sperm from embryonic stem cell. The major breakthrough is thought to help mend the problem of male infertility. But does anyone else find this slightly alarming? First, the physical act of male and female copulating to breed has been made unnecessary with the introduction of IVF and sperm donors, so that now women don't need a man at all (in the physical sense) to have children. And now? It turns out that men aren't even needed to donate sperm anymore! All those stem cells that we've been convincing people to store safely away is really an elaborate plan to rid the world of any need for men, so that women can rule...
...Not really. But I'm sure there are some men out there, somewhere that are secretly thinking "well...I'm not needed anymore."

Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research director, Dr David van Gend, sums up my thoughts on the issue well:

...The "abuse of embryonic humans had reached a sinister new low".

He said the researchers could have created sperm from non-embryonic stem cells.

"This is an abuse both because of its implications, namely, that scientists can now exploit a dead embryo as a source of sperm, but also because it was entirely unnecessary to use embryos as the source of stem cells," he said.

Of course, it is great news for those who have been deemed infertile. But I can't help but think of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

REAL Magazine update

For those of you that are unaware, I'm involved in a magazine called REAL, which is aimed at promoting positive body image and self-respect in 14-18 year-old women. We all know the story, I mean, who here even remembers what a REAL female figure looks like? Every day we are bombarded with messages and signs that thin is beautiful, and that physical beauty and appearance is top priority. From the models you see in game shows like Deal or no Deal, to the hosts on television morning shows, we are brainwashed to feel unhappy with our own figures, and to strive to look more beautiful. And it's REAL's aim to show girls that being an individual is more important than conforming to what society says is right.

Anywho. Thanks to Twitter, the highly acclaimed Girl With a Satchel blogger Erica Bartle mentioned us in her Playlist section on Friday 3 July, much to my excitement, I might add. And while many people are still incredibly apprehensive of the benefits of Twitter, at least I can say that I understand why it's so great. GWAS confirmed they'd heard about us through Twitter, and the rest is history! Here's what GWAS had to say: 

 ...Real magazine, published by Inspired (it's actually Real) Girl Productions and supported by The Butterfly Foundation, Libra and Edge, aims to "inspire creativity and positive thinking, promote self respect and encourage readers to embrace their individuality". Editor Erin Young writes, "Each day we are bombarded with messages implying that beauty and appearance should be the most important thing in our lives. Beauty is only skin deep...it is glamour that lasts forever and glamour comes from within!" Sounds like an unreal editorial philosophy to me. Subscribing immediately!
The most exciting news about the mag is that as of next year it will be a quarterly publication. Two issues a year is just not enough to say what all the young women have been emailing us about. 

I can't believe how lucky I was to come across REAL. If I'd not been reading the Saturday Age that day in January last year (and at the time I usually didn't read it on the w/e) then I would not have read about REAL in the paper, and been compelled to contact Erin Young (the Editor) and offer my help. It helps that I want to work in the publishing industry, and that working on a magazine is right up there in my dream-jobs-I-have-to-have list. But the magazine also fulfills the part of me that wants to help, and especially, help teenagers make it through the most turbulent years of their lives. 

The great thing about the mag -probably the greatest thing- is that most of it is written by young women themselves, who have experienced the melancholy of teenage angst. It's so eye opening to read about other peoples' stories of adolescence. 

Anyway, we are updating the website to be more interactive, but if you know of any young women who need encouragement to be creative, confident, independent and happy do send them our way, and maybe they can tell their story too.

What's on your bedside table?

I've learned a lot about myself lately. Like the fact that I need to have several things on the go at once to really feel...satisfied. Like the discovery that I'm a fix-it person, where I tend to tell people how to fix their problems, and give advice where I think it's needed, and then get incredibly frustrated when people whinge but do nothing to improve their situation. And, apparently, that I love reading so much, but that the book has to match my mood.

Guess how many books I have on bedside table that I'm CURRENTLY reading? Let's see:

  • There's Anais Nin's  Under a Glass Bell- A beautifully descriptive piece of literature that I'm not quite far enough in to tell you about. Lent to me by my obst/gyn (who is also a family friend) it apparently falls under the genre of "soft-porn". Who knew it could be so beautifully done?
  • Philip Norman's John Lennon: The life- An incredibly in-depth biography about one of the most revolutionary musicians of all time.
  • Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road- the First Tuesday Book Club reviewed the book a few weeks ago, and ever since I heard that it was about a middle-class, white couple living in suburbia who dream to make their lives exciting and interesting but fail to do so, I have been dying to read it. Feeling somewhat stuck in suburbia myself, living the same life as everyone else, I could relate to that feeling of wanting more (as I'm sure many of us can) and I wanted to be shown the story from someone else's perspective.
  • Catherine Deveny's Say When- which is basically a compilation of the opinion columns she's written in The Age, but hilariously funny
  • Mia Freedman's The New Black- which is very similar to, and just as funny as, Catherine Deveny's book
  • Phillipa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden- one of my books for my Children's Lit subjects at uni, it's about a boy who, staying at his Aunt and Uncle's one night, hears the grandfather clock downstairs strike 13 o'clock one night.
  • And finally, Russ Harris's Act With Love- a book that I thought would help me work on my relationship with my husband, which has no problems at all (currently) but for which I like to be prepared anyway.
That's a lot of books. Is anyone else that bloody mad?

You see, I have a different book to match each mood. Serious, literary ones when I'm introspective and feeling analytical and want to challenge my grey matter; Humorous, ligh-hearted ones when I feel like a laugh, and nothing too serious; non-fictional ones that I can learn from when I'm in the learning mood; and fantasy-type ones for when I feel like drifting off into another world and feel immersed in the story.

What's on your bedside table?

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