Misogyny, Equality, Meh.

This week,  I had this conversation with a keyboard warrior hiding behind a fake name.  I find most of the judgemental types on twitter don’t use their name. Not all, but the chest beaters tend to.

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This mysterious person accused me of not doing anything to improve the lot of women,  and selfish because I choose to start in my own industry first.

I wasn’t offended as it’s very rarely anybody else’s own ‘known facts’ offend me. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.

I know I do my part. As do thousands of other women involved in agriculture in Australia.  We do this by being the best we can be. Nothing more, nothing less.

What this exchange did make me do was make me think about my views on equality in the agricultural workplace.

I grew up with two sisters on a beef cattle place. We fenced, mustered, picked sticks up and did everything we could to help the farm run. We also cleaned, cooked , chopped the fire wood and helped keep the house running.  I have no reason to think had mum and dad had a boy, they would have been treated any different. 

It was quite a shock the first time I met full blown sexism. And I fought tooth and nail against it!
A little older and wiser, I’ve learnt the best way to end sexism is to realise you can’t change the thoughts of people,  just give them a reason to rethink their thoughts.

My first job was on a beef and sheep station in western NSW. The manager and overseer were men, as was the head stockman. The other jillaroo and I were the only other workers and no jobs were women or men’s work. We all did what our skills dictated.

I have also discovered, and this is rather controversial,  that what appears to be misogyny from the outside can actually be realism on the inside.

There are some jobs men are better designed for. Physiologically, emotionally and psychologically we are very different.

One job I’m very familiar with that all these differences really stand out is shearing. 

Women are generally more flexible than men. A sports remedial massage therapist I know explained to me what happens to footy players when they overdo the flexibility training.  They become highly prone to muscle and joint injury because it’s the mix of flexible and rigid that cushions impacts. Which is one of the main reasons, in their opinion, women’s contact sports have never been sustainable. Not the whole reason,  but it’s a pretty big limiting factor.

Men also naturally build upper body strength easier.

Which is why as a whole it’s men who shear. I know there are women that do, and I don’t have a problem with that. But men are better suited physiologically than women.

The job as shed hand is designed for women.  Women think differently to men, and attention to detail and the ability to be flexible mentally are great skills when trying to keep a busy board clean and tidy.

Classing, pressing and penning up I can’t see as skewed either way. Though the upper body strength of men is handy to have when pressing and when penning up stubborn sheep.

I’m finding the same in the dairy industry.

The number of times I’ve been told that women are better at calf rearing run into the thousands. It’s not a sexist thing. It’s that women are nurturers, tend to pick up on ill health quicker and are more likely to fight for the calf. A well known commercial calf rearer who does a bit of consulting on the side recommends employers hire a woman for the calf rearing, and target those who have children.

The general concencus is, women are better at the job. That isn’t sexism, it’s realism.

I’m not saying for one minute agriculture doesn’t have more than its fair share of fuddy duddys who believe in the ‘farmer’s wife’ who raises the kids, keeps the house and works the farm. A lot of rural boards are male heavy, with a few with no women at all.

And due to the nature of many agricultural jobs, pregnancy will stop a woman working for some time, taking the opportunity to advance their career away, for some, permanently.

I have zero experience in the corporate world, but I’m sure you could take what I’ve said, change a few job titles and descriptions, same results.

I will say though that the current feminist view of this situation, which is the same no matter what your chosen career path is not, in my view, constructive.

I find it abhorrent that quotas are being asked for let alone considered in political parties and commercial circles.

Women have always been a downtrodden group. We are over represented as victims in family and criminal court. Current Australian studies suggest one woman dies every day on average from a domestic violence assault. In the USA, it’s 3.5 women a day. Sexual violence is used in war zones and private homes world wide to control women and female children are sold into marriages even now. We are forgotten in history books and folklore.

To think a quota system will change these and all the other ways men control women cheapens the whole problem in my view.

For this to change, culture needs to change. And I think it is. Social media has opened the world to women from all circumstances and countries. It’s showing the world in real time what is happening to women and the call for action is getting louder. It’s a slow process, but with every new generation of women comes more freedom and opportunities. I nevertheless fear for the lives of girl children and women in those countries targeted by the likes of IS.

In the meantime, instead of focusing on equality and quotas, how about we focus on the skills and passion we have to offer our chosen industries.

Women need to do what they can to be noticed in the workplace or industry, and men should see potential as it presents itself. It’s kind of up to men to lead this charge, because they hold the majority of leadership roles. But as a woman, if you have a goal, you need to make connections and get some skills and experience to help you present a good case too. It often means you need to do twice as much as your male colleagues, and the challenge shouldn’t be taken lightly. I know many women who’ve been chewed up and spat out of the testosterone filled environment of their chosen career.

But don’t let any of that put you off. The more women who try, the more the barriers come down. The only failure is an ambition not given the light of day.

A friend and mentor said to me recently, don’t let your perceived lack of skill and experience stop you chasing your goal, sometimes it’s good to bite off more than you can chew, then chew like crazy! But you may need a street parade and a marching band to get noticed and a chance at that first bite.

Don’t be frightened to apply for that position because you or anybody else thinks you don’t have what it takes. Nobody ever goes into a job knowing everything.

I think we should stop focusing on equality and start ensuring the women in every workplace receive to training and mentoring required for the top jobs. Put the focus squarely on skills and recognition of talent rather than gender. And more family friendly work environments wouldn’t go astray either. The most important job of any parent’s life, that’s dads too, is to raise the next generation. Women are generally (again, not always) tasked with this as their jobs are likely to be the lower paid one, and of course, tradition.

We should also stop trying to make those men who do legitimately succeed feel guilty for all their hard work. That’s just not fair.

Am I selfish as my mysterious heckler suggests? I don’t think so.

There will always be more women tending crops and livestock than will ever be CEO’s.
They’re the ones who are truly underpaid and undervalued.
You get that right, the whole world will change.

Smoking – Too Long For A Facebook Rant

 

 

Smokers

 

This statement has been doing the rounds on Facebook for a while. After a comment from a friend this morning, I’ve decided a rant is in order.

I posted this response.

I detest this thing. Basically, its having a go at those who choose not to poison not only our bodies but those of everyone else around us. And yes, I agree. Maybe gruesome pictures should be put on fast food as well as chocolate, chips and fizzy drink, and maybe car crash, brawls and domestic violence warnings on alcohol.
Stop perpetuating this bs.
End of rant.

 

This was her response.
This is because your not a smoker!
I think the pictures are funny! I don’t really by my smokes to look at the packaging….
Each to there own
Ok. I am not a smoker. I dabbled for a while but I am asthmatic, so that was never going to work!
I try very hard to stay fit, eat healthy and my days of drinking are basically over.
Saying that McDonald’s should have obese kids on the wrapping is ok.
Even saying alcohol bottles should have car crash pictures on the labels is warranted I guess!
Smoking is the number one cause of death in Australia. The financial cost in Australia in 2004-05 – smokers and non smokers – was $670 million. 14,900 people died from smoking related disease in the same years. That’s $44,966 per person who died.
Lung cancer is the number one cancer in Australia, mostly caused by smoking.
Obesity is a rising problem, with 62.8% of Australian adults now considered overweight. In 2005,  obesity cost Australians a massive $21 billion in direct health care costs. $21 billion. The government of that time paid an extra $36.5 billion in subsidies related to obesity. That’s $57.5 billion.
The rate seems to be falling. 60% of us were obese in 2012. There doesn’t seem to be any financials available for that time though.
There were 1,193 deaths on Australian roads in 2012, and cost us on average $2.8 billion per year. Alcohol is attributed to about 1/3 of all road deaths – driver and pedestrian. A very interesting read about the social costs of alcohol on our society can be found here.
The new Liberal/National government of Australia is looking for cost savings and are being accused of going after the medical system. People are asking why. I think $79.97 billion is a pretty good reason!
Imagine what could be done with even half of that!
So why not put labels on fast food and alcohol? Remember, these are my opinions only.
Obesity is less about fast food and more about portion distortion. So if we are going to put a picture of an obese child on a happy meal box, then we need to put the same thing on steak. And if we are going to do that, why not sell all food in approved serving size portions only. One serve of dairy is the equivalent of one metric cup of milk. Why not sell milk in cup sizes only? A great portion size guide can be found here.
Not all alcohol related deaths are road crashes. It is widely known that alcohol is one of the main causes of trauma in areas where drinking is the thing to do. Take Kings Cross in Sydney for example. My honest opinion is drinking is a cultural aspect of being Aussie and that needs to change before we can stop the deaths and violence.
So why does this statement on smoking annoy me badly enough to find out all this information instead of the hundreds of other things I should be doing.
People who smoke generally don’t have just one occasionally. They smoke daily. And if they smoke, their death is highly likely to be from smoking. They do risk all the cancers and other diseases shown on the boxes.
I can have a glass of wine occasionally and I am partial to Maccas breaky but I don’t have it every day. It’s not that likely that I will die or suffer any long-term health issues as a direct result of either.
That’s why the those lovely pictures need to be on the cigarette packaging.
To me, this statement is an excuse. And I don’t like excuses. Smoke if you want to, but realise what you are doing not only to you but those around you.
Second hand smoke can harm people too. It caused myself and my sisters to have lung and throat issues. We are all asthmatic to varying degrees. We all have issues with tonsillitis and bronchitis every year at least once, with the exception of the sister who had such bad issues with her tonsils, her doctor had them removed.
It causes SIDS in babies, and can harm the unborn child even if the mother isn’t a smoker.
Why should I have to leave any building through a cloud of toxic smoke, with or without my kids? Why should I have to sit in my car with the vents shut because five people decide to stop next to my car and smoke? Why should I feel guilty having to ask them to move on before I got my kids out of that car? Why should I be having a nice meal with friends only to have a waft of smoke interrupt it?
And it stinks.
Face it smokers, you interrupt the day-to-day lives of people who don’t want to die a slow and painful death. It’s not a judgment, it’s a fact. It’s your choice to smoke, don’t take it out on everyone else.
And yes, alcohol ruins not just the life of the drinker but also those around them. But you are not allowed to wander the streets intoxicated any more, so drunk people can in most instances be avoided. And someone can be sitting at a table near me drinking without causing me any harm.
I can spend all day every day with an obese person without suffering any health issues at all.
The age of entitlement is ending. Responsibility for your own actions is now becoming the norm.
How you act, what you say, what you do, how you choose to live your life can have implications on the lives of others.
I feel its time smokers realised this.
Now I can honestly say
*****END OF RANT*****

 

Daily Prompt – Adult Vision – The Arrogance of Youth

Being an adultThe daily prompt question is as a kid you must have imagined what it would be like to be an adult. And now you are one, how far off was your vision?

Last week, I turned 40.

I remember my sisters and I talking about how old our parents were when they turned 40. That was a while ago! We thought they were so old! How can someone live that long?

And I also couldn’t understand why they felt the need to hide their age. We as kids are more than happy to tell people how old we are. 16, 18 and 21 are celebrated with parties and special gifts. Then you have to wait till 50 before you get another one!

But you can’t ask a lady their age! Its rude! Apparently!

As my 40th loomed, lots of people asked how I felt about it. Like it was something to be afraid or even ashamed of. And what’s worse, most were genuinely amazed that it didn’t worry me!

The other thoughts I had when I was a kid were around the capability of ‘old’ people. Because 40 was so old!

I really believe I feel more alive at 40 than I did at 25. I have more confidence and a better idea of what I want from myself and other people.

I spent my childhood mistaking arrogance for confidence. I guess that’s the problem with most of us! As kids, we tell adults they don’t know. Hire a teenager while they still know everything was something my ancient 40 year old father said more than once.

But the biggest lie I told myself was that it was soooooooo much easier being an adult.

As a child, decisions are made for you. You wear what you’re given, eat what you’re given, go where you’re sent or taken. You have to go to school no matter how traumatic that experience is. Then you’re told what you can learn while you’re there. All the peer pressure and bullying – you know no adult would ever understand what that’s like! Your friends get to dress in whatever they want and go where ever they want. Or so it seems!

I remember telling myself and others that adults get to decide what they want to do and don’t have to do anything they don’t want to.

I now find myself doing a very similar job with my kids – they need to dress appropriately, behave appropriately  and no, you will not be walking the streets with your friends on Friday arvo when high school finishes 30 minutes early!

Oh boy! I have figured out how wrong I was about the adult world!

I was well off the mark with my vision!

I am a huge believer in karma. The idea the universe will teach you where you went right and wrong and reward you accordingly.

Well universe, you can stop rewarding me for my arrogance now! I get it!

Horror Movies

I don’t watch much television. It can go weeks without being turned on.

Other than not having enough time, I’m often too tired and fall asleep!

We do have Pay TV (cable, subscription) and that’s my beer money! Sometimes I think its an expensive baby sitter or video shop.

We originally had Pay TV connected because we lived in an area that only received two TV channels. It was easier to have a satellite dish installed than borrow videos from 80km’s away.

I love cooking shows, sewing shows, police procedurals and anything crime. Pay TV suits me.

Both hubby and I have become serial junkies though.

It started with Dexter. From the get-go I couldn’t get enough of him! What a brilliant premise – a serial killer that only kills serial killers.

We have watched True Blood from the start because I wouldn’t mind if Alexander Skarsgard bit my neck!

Sons of Anarchy has a pretty good story line too. I can’t wait for that to come back.

There’s a remake of a much loved Aussie serial ‘Prisoner’. It was around in the ’80’s. Its set in a women’s prison. Its now called ‘Wentworth’ and even better than the original. We have both become a bit obsessed!

Last night I (belatedly) found episode one, season two of ‘Orange is the new Black’.

I’m not sure if the protagonist, Piper, was in season one and I’m not sure what she did to end up where she has either. But the show intrigues me enough to consider borrowing season one and watching. In my abundant spare time, of course. If no more blogs turn up in the next week, you’ll know why!

From watching the promo’s I thought ‘Orange is the new Black’ was a comedy. The episode I watched last night could be described as dark humor – the sort of humor I get.

I started to really want to know what Piper did and (spoiler alert!) why she decided to lie under oath to protect her lover.

And then this thought popped into my head….

What would I be willing to go to jail for?

What could I possibly be capable of that a judge would deem me unfit to live in society?

Do I love somebody so much that a life in prison to save them would be ok?

I know if anyone touched my kids they’d be in trouble. I would seriously consider murder, but would I go through with it? Would I believe justice would be served without my intervention?

So many people get away with so much these days, I wonder of the threat of jail is even a deterrent.

For example, animal rights activists break laws all the time by breaking into peoples farms to set up cameras, making death threats, harassment. But not too many of them end up in prison.

A lot of people commit horrific crimes, beating people up, raping. Quite a lot of them are baled until they are sentenced. Some even get away with it.

The area I live in is becoming a bit of a druggy haven. I know of drug dealers who are not only known to the police and walking the streets freely but committing other crimes as well. Obviously they feel they are immune to the system. I don’t blame the honest police either. There is a do-gooder element in our judicial system that suits the corrupt police. All t’s must be crossed, all i’s dotted.

And is it that bad a life in prison? I believe it would be for me! But if you live on the streets and three meals a day is a rarity and a bed with sheets is unheard of? Or if your fellow gang members are in there and you can just continue on living like you were? To receive medical attention including for chronic illnesses, TV, education….there are times when I joke about it!

Could I spend the next 20-25 in a cell with someone else and one toilet?

I doubt it!

But the big question I found myself asking me was what has happened to society as a whole that makes it OK to have shows that ‘glorify’ drug use, gang mentality and completely amoral behavior?

This is just my opinion – I think that journalists keep putting more and more shocking images and words together. It has normalized violent behavior. I wonder if the images of dead people laying in the streets of war ravaged countries would have been shown 40 years ago. Are we becoming desensitized by these ‘news’ reports? Is death and destruction not just in wars overseas but in our own ‘war on drugs’, ‘war on gangs’ etc. becoming so commonplace we’ve lost the ability to feel distressed by what other ‘humans’ do to people? Are we becoming victims of the ‘Horror Movie’ Skyhooks sang about all those years ago?

When I was a child I was terrified the police would come and put me in jail for misbehaving. I was taught right from wrong, good from bad, the difference between a good decision and a bad one, consequences for actions both positive and negative. It didn’t stop me from pushing the envelope at times! But I knew where to stop. Others I know didn’t and paid the price.

Is it because of the morals instilled as a child?

We had a daughter ring us from school and inform us she wasn’t coming home. She was going to live with a friend. She is my step daughter but I have always treated her as one of my own. While her parents were bickering I took it upon myself to be the parent her and her brother needed. I taught them all the things I had been taught. So even though she lost her way, what I had given her as a moral compass guided her and she didn’t end up where a lot of these kids do. Doesn’t mean she didn’t have a go, though! She even thanked me for being so ‘tough’ on her and often try’s to tell her 13 year old sister that I am not the bully I’m made out to be.

A lot of it is blamed on TV. That shows like Breaking Bad have caused an increase in meth labs for example. I don’t know really. I haven’t seen an increase in bikey activity since SOA came out. Or an outbreak of serial killers dying. Or vampires taking over the streets. Watching Law and Order – SVU hasn’t made me want to abuse a child or rape a woman. Watching shows and reading books on Ivan Millat hasn’t turned me into a sadist. And I became pretty obsessed with Ivan!

What I do see is children believing the idyllic life they witness on sitcoms and tweeny shows is the way life is. No responsibilities, doing whatever you want, having the best most supportive friends, perfect skin, perfect body, perfect grades without any work, money never being a problem.

And I do believe there is a link between video games and violence. If you’re involved in the killing of humans on a regular basis where no real emotion is felt by the victim it has to effect  your mind. At least in paintball you can see the bruises on your friends!

I worry for the future of our children. Our society is increasingly becoming more about rights and less about responsibility. That a 14 year old child has the right to call us and say she’s not coming home from school but we as responsible parents don’t have the right to turn up and remove her from an unsafe situation has to got to be seriously looked at.

That someone who has raped and murdered before can be released from jail to do it again because it isn’t right to keep people locked up can’t ever be considered the right.

I hope the fact we don’t let our children watch copious amounts of TV – they can go days without watching it – and that they both have jobs on our farm and rules they have to abide by will help make them hard working adults who contribute positively to the world. But our way of parenting seems to be the exception these days.

Maybe I do seem hard on my kids to the outside world. Maybe they are deprived in some ways. But they know they’re loved and have a safe place to come to and people who will go in to bat for them when required. And that none of that came from a TV show.

If kids came with a manual, I’m sure the first instruction would be turn the bloody TV off and spend time getting to know your kids!

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did! Our world has been filled with violence since the beginning of recorded history. When or if it will ever stop, I don’t know.

What I do know is this. TV has less to do with our children’s – and society as a wholes – behavior than people give it credit for. If the idyllic idea isn’t reinforced then it won’t be reality. Its up to us as parents to create the world we want for our children by teaching our children its up to them to create the world they want to live in and give them the tools to achieve it.

 

 

LOL Moments – Bullet Dodging

I was worried a little by the end of milking tonight I wouldn’t have a post for tomorrow.

Good thing I took Miss 6 to help feed the calves!

I left her in charge of feeding my #bucketoflove calf Zoe.
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This is my #bucketoflove. Vitrate, Peptocyl and Neomycin. I’ll leave this for a future blog.
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Anyway, I let Miss 6 finish giving Zoe her bottle. She chatted away like she always does and I half listened like I tend to after a while.

She was talking about the calves, and how we need to look after them, and other things I missed!

Then she started asking about her birth…

Then it happened.

‘How do you get a baby?’

Me – “What do you mean Bubba?”

“You know! How do you get a baby in your tummy?”

Me – “Oh……uuuuuummmmmmmm……”

I knew the question would come eventually. I just wasn’t ready for it right there or then!

But while I stopped to think, Zoe finished her bottle and started bunting and slobbering all over Miss 6.

It distracted her for long enough for me to get the subject changed and her to forget!

I think it was a nervous one but I had a good laugh about it to myself!

Pretty sure I dodged a bullet there!