I want to see this more than I can say.


Counter-intuitive but cool

I’m gobsmacked… tearing down freeways can apparently be good for traffic flow… That is all.

Team sports, drunkenness and personal responsibility

I’ve been interested in the coverage of Nate Myles’ drunken bender over the weekend, not so much in the purient interest of defecating in the hallway and banging on the door of a family trying to check out, but the coverage itself, and the way in which it makes a 24 year old man who has been at the peak of his game for years into a silly child, and what it all uncovers about Australian society and our attitude to alcohol.

The language that’s used in regards to Myles suggests a toddler, unable to make decisions on his own. Nine MSN describes it as the “hotel poo” incident. Channel Nine news describes it thusly: “Rugby League has a new Bad Boy”. Fox Sports describes him as being “in trouble again”.

Not language that you would use to describe a man, but a toddler. Somehow, it wasn’t Myles’ choice to drink so much he couldn’t tell the difference between the bathroom door and the door to his hotel suite. Somehow, he couldn’t decide to lay off the booze to recover from a tummy bug (which is his excuse reason for the embarrassing brown pile on the floor).

Do we have a double standard in regards to drunkenness in sportspeople and in society at large? Sort of. In sport, particularly male team sports, it’s just fine and dandy for men to be drinking and get drunk. As long as they don’t get caught. I don’t imagine we’d know about Myles and his roomies running up and down the corridors of the hotel at 3:45am, banging on the doors of the other hotel rooms unless there was an embarrassing reason to bring our attention to it.

Much has been made of the link between the Roosters and drunken assaults, domestic violence and alcohol, which is hardly surprising when the coach seems to have the same need to get plastered.

However, it seems to be part of the elite male team sport dynamic that alcohol is used to build team spirit. That if you don’t drink, you aren’t one of the boys. That attitude flows accross every pub in Australia, like it or not. Sure, most men don’t have the same access to funds and travel as elite sportsmen, but drinking and drunkenness is seen as the norm.

It’s often said, “never trust someone who doesn’t drink”, but this seems like hiding behind the fear that male drunkenness will be exposed and called out. Drunkenness becomes a shared experience – what happens on tour, stays on tour. There is mutual transgression, the sharing and hiding of which creates a bond of (dis)trust.

Yes, I drink. Yes, on occasion I get plastered. And I have been known to be obnoxious. I have behaved in ways that I’ve really regretted, as Myles appears to, the next day. And tried to make amends for my drunken behaviour. I’ve walked, head down, hearing everyone whispering about what happened last night.

Its not something I’m proud of. Its not something I do often. And when I used to do it the most is when I drank to be one of the boys.


Cruising through the ‘webs today this feature on furniture in the female form caught my eye with the heading, “Women Inspired Furniture – Hot or Not?”

It contains a series of furniture designs that are built around the female form, particularly from the waist down. There’s Her Chair which gives a plastic outline of a woman crouching (in what looks to be an uncomfortable and well.. just plain daft pose) and you are expected to sit on her knee.. It’s not her chair at all, is it? It’s not a chair for women to sit on and appreciate, it is a chair for men to look at and objectify women.

In particular, I like the comment as follows – it shows that we still have a lot more consciousness-raising work to do among women.

Some women might think it’s sexist, I think it’s pretty sexy. I’d definitely have at least one or two of these pieces in my house…though dunno about the chair. Pretty uncomfy looking. Where is the sexy furniture based on men-???? :)

In one breath, she says it’s sexy, not sexist (and yes, for some, the two CAN coexist…) and then the next she points out a couple of the sexist traits – the furniture is not built for comfort, and is only in the shape of women… And can thus be construed as sexist!


Quickun… Cos it’s awesome.

This is kinda sad really...

This is kinda sad really...

This is from xGothiChickx via GraphJam.com

Public spaces or parking spaces?

Reading this today reminded me of one of my pet gripes – you will see it all the time in any large town or city.

I work in Boston.  It’s cool.  But you know what’s not cool?  Being a pedestrian in a driver’s intersection.  Either you have to sit and wait for a million years for the “WALK” signal to let you cross, or you have to take your chances and hope any unseen cars will stop as you technically or actually jay-walk.  It’s a sad, sad game.  Of course, this game is played across the nation.  So why am I blogging about it?

Because one of the intersections I have to cross to get to and from work could and should probably be called ableist.

When I go to work, I either ride my bike or take the tram. Leaving apart the danger that cyclists often experience in trying to get from A to B in a healthy and safe manner, taking the tram is also a pretty dangerous experience. I am lucky enough to live close to my tram stop, and need to cross at a pedestrian crossing to get to it. However, time and again, cars run these lights (which are also one block away from my local primary school). That, I can blame on individual drivers, or law enforcement.

However getting off the tram, I have two choices. I can get off at what is popularly known by my friends as the “Wheel of Death” – a 5-way intersection with 3 main tram routes running through the middle of a large roundabout. It’s scary enough for drivers, but for pedestrians it’s almost suicide. To get to my work I need to negotiate zebra crossings (where people don’t stop for pedestrians) , pedestrian crossings (where the lights are badly marked, and ignored), and the extra awesome part where you have to fling yourself across the road  with no assistance from traffic signals or crossings at all.

The other option is to walk for about half a kilometre extra, and bolt over two major roads, neither of which have enough time on the timer for pedestrians to possibly cross in one go.

It’s a silent issue. You won’t see people arguing for it publicly. Its not in the news. But how many time have you had to cross the road at an intersection that’s made purely for drivers? When you press the button, cross when the light turns green, but still are stranded in the middle of the road by the time you finish. It instils fear in pedestrians. More than that, it punishes them for having the temerity to use public transport or walk to their destination, rather than waste money and resources and drive. It punishes those without cars, or those without the funds to have a car.

You won’t find these intersections in the inner city. You’ll find them on major arterials. You’ll find them wherever the car has overcome Shanks pony.

Gender Blender frames this as an ableist issue, which is right to a certain degree. Its not just ableist, because it also discriminates against the able. In my experience, it is discriminatory against the poor.

This is discrimination that is class-based, age based, based on those who choose to make environmentally responsible transport choices. This is making those who have no other choice but to use public transit suffer for the convenience of those who can travel as they please.

Why are our cities built this way and why aren’t we complaining louder?

Purity balls = teaching women to obey their husbands

I ran up against this post on Shakesville, which reminded me of the purity ball phenomenon. For those of you unschooled in whacky Christian Fundie thinking, a purity ball is an occasion where a girl gets all dressed up, dances with Daddy with a whole bunch of other girls dancing with Daddy, and then makes a pledge to remain pure an abstinent from sex until marriage. The father replies with the pledge to “CHOOSE BEFORE GOD TO COVER MY DAUGHTER AS HER AUTHORITY AND PROTECTION IN THE AREA OF PURITY. … I WILL BE A MAN OF INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABLITY AS I LEAD, GUIDE AND PRAY OVER MY DAUGHTER AND MY FAMILY AS THE HIGH PRIEST IN MY HOME. “

This is for some girls as young as 10.

This keeps sticking in my head… and only recently have I been able to figure out why it gives me the heebies so much (apart from the obvious). Puritiy balls are effectively teaching young women that they must be subservient to their husbands, long before they have one. Its about teaching women their sexuality is to be repressed, neutering their sexual feelings by putting Daddy in the slot of “potential sexual partner”. By doing this, young women are being taught that to desire someone as a sexual partner is a) wrong and b) to be repressed at all costs.

It’s teaching women to subjugate their own desires, to look up to the authority of a man for everything that they do. If a young woman chooses that she does not want sex, that is her choice. When that choice is forced upon her, it means that she won’t learn how to assert her own will – that Daddy (or husband) will do it for her.

My brain hurts.