Saturday, May 29, 2010

Soapbox Saturday

Welcome, peoples, to the first of many Soapbox Saturdays where we take a topic and air our many and varied opinions on topics that have the potential to be smokin' hot.

This week? The sexualisation of our little girls compared to days gone by and how the fashion world, Hollywood and parents play a part. This topic was brought about after reading THIS POST by Emily at Wheels on the Bus, and watching the video (below) that was in that post. I was so shocked that I had to say something more than what I said in her comments section.

So grab a button, link up with Mr. Linky and let us all know how you feel.

Mind of a Mad Woman

My first reaction to that video was one of sadness. Sad that adults had taken girls so young and taught them to move like that. Dressed them in teeny tiny little outfits and taught them to move their hips in a way that would rival the skanks down at your local strip joint.

My next was anger. I was angry that those parents had the audacity to sit and justify it all in the name of dance. Fine, I get that the video was "not intended to be viewed by millions" but isn't that a little beside the point now? It HAS been viewed by millions and those millions all have an opinion on the appropriateness of it all. To say that it was "taken out of context" and it's ok because it wasn't meant to be seen by anyone outside of that room is just silly. When you have video cameras, you have the potential for internet broadcast. But again, it's all beside the point.

So what IS the point?

I guess my point is this. WHY?

The parents said that this was one of the most popular songs of the last year and that is why they were dancing to it. They said that the moves were learned not from the Beyonce music video but from Alvin & the Chipmunks Squeakquel. No! They learned them from a choreographer. An adult who fully understood the sexuality behind the moves. To sit there and tell me that the children don't understand the controversy is pointless because it doesn't matter. The adults in charge DID understand the sexuality and the potential for controversy. I'd be very surprised if they didn't.

You can't possibly tell me that there wasn't another popular song with awesome dance moves that those girls could have learned. And why couldn't they be wearing more clothes? Don't sit and tell me that those costumes allow you to see the body lines and give them freedom of movement. I call bullshit on that! If Beyonce can dance it in a leotard, so can your 8 year old.

What are we teaching our children when we tell them that the best way to win their dance competition is to dress like mini ho bags and waggle their hips for the judges? Why not "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas? Or "Fire Burning" by Sean Kingston? Or about "I Got A Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas...loved by flash mobs everywhere?

I posted the link to this video on Facebook and a guy that went to high school with me had this to say:

I just watched the video as I do have some stong views about parenting. A few years ago people were complaining about Eminem, how it was terrible and wasn't for kids.'re the fucking parent, the so called responsible adult! Do what you can to stop them listening! Back to topic - I nearly swore out loud (I'm at work now) when the Mother condoned it by saying it wasn't meant to be viewed by lots of people. IRRELEVANT. If someone were to attack her daughter, the defence could be - "Well, I never meant for anyone to find out!". You dropped the ball Mr & Mrs Fuckwit.

If I had a daughter that talented, as clearly they are, I guarantee you they wouldn't be doing that.

I had to give him a hand for that. Well said Mr. W, well said.

All my thoughts on the dance routine and its appropriateness aside, I have to give the girls props. They really DID dance it well. It's just a shame that it had to turn out like that. I hope next year their instructor and their parents will think twice.


While we're on the subject though....this is something that weighs heavy on me as I watch my own daughter grow up. I am lucky that so far she has not been much of a girly girl and so not terribly interested in fashion or make up, but it is slowly changing. She has definite opinions on what looks good and what doesn't and I am finding that I have to weigh in far more often on whether what she is wearing is appropriate. The fashion world doesn't make it easy.

Jeans are cut lower, made tighter and shaped differently. Skirts get shorter by the year and shirts are lower cut and more form fitting. And all of it is made for younger and younger girls. There are G Strings for 8 year olds. WHY?! The jeans sit on their non existent hips and shape to their butts while the shirts are cut low in front to show off their non existent boobs....all in the name of sexuality.

Why do we want our 7 and 8 year olds dressed like that? Why do we want our teenagers dressed like that? Why do we conform to the fashion world that insists on dressing women in as sexy a way as possible?

I'm all for dressing sexy ... .when the situation calls for it, when you want to feel good about yourself, when you are old enough. But I see no reason why our children should be clothed in that manner.

In my house, although she's only 8 and it's not a big problem yet, I have a rule of tight jeans must be worn with loose shirt. Tight shirt must be worn with looser pants. I have no problem with short skirts (I'm not talking belt width), but they need to have leggings or tights underneath. Make up? HELL NO. Someone sent Girl Spawn some make up as a gift one time and although I felt like a total Scrooge at the time, I took it away. It's just not necessary. She has earrings, she has hair accessories, she can wear nail polish during the school holidays but make up can wait.

These rules have never been contested until recently. As she gets older, Girl Spawn watches more of the "older" shows and has started to wonder why she can't wear the same things as they do. This is where my problem with Hollywood and the music world comes in. Their influence on our children gets stronger by day and I feel powerless to stop it.

All I can do is set my rules, enforce them and hope for the best.....all while trying to foster good self esteem and body image in both my kids. But that's a post for another time.

So. What are YOUR thoughts on this whole topic? Please grab that cool button and link up. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

For Daffy

Many of you know, or at least know OF, Daffy from Batcrap Crazy. If you don't, you should. She is one of the most caring, wonderful and awesome people I have ever had the opportunity to get to know in this blog world of ours. She's always got a word of advice or love, a shoulder to cry on, or a funny quip when you need one.

Well, now Daffy needs us.

Daffy's big sister (BigSis) found out last week that she had brain tumours. Since then, a lot has happened. Now, Daffy is having to say goodbye to her sister. And that, my friends, sucks ass in the hugest way.

I am the oldest child in my family. My little sister (LilSis) is 11 years younger than me. When I was a teenager, I spent a fair amount of time wondering why in the heck this little rugrat had to trail around after me and my friends, why I had to babysit AGAIN, and what I had ever done to deserve the torment. But in between, I loved having this small fry worshiping me and wanting to be just like me.

When LilSis was 10, I moved from NZ to Canada in the search of something better. It broke my heart to be leaving her behind but I needed to go. I was gone almost 9 years. By the time I returned to NZ with my family in tow, I'd missed so much. My sister was no longer a little girl, she was now a woman!

We're still getting reacquainted with each other but I love her so much. I can't imagine not having her in my life and so when I heard about Daffy's sister, my heart broke into a million pieces.

Today, in honour of Daffy and her sister, I ask you to please tell your sisters/brothers/moms/dads/friends how much you love them. Tell them how much they mean to you. Repair bridges and just love each other. It's so important.

Daffy - we love you! ((HUGS))

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Walking along, singing a song, side by....OUCH!

Many times over the last couple of weeks I have sat down with my trusty laptop to pound out a post for all of you. Just as many times, I have gotten to the point of putting my fingers on the keys and then stopped. I've been struggling lately with whether or not I wanted to continue blogging here. This is not because anyone has said or done anything, although I do get the occasional email from an anonymous source that makes me question myself..and I hate that. Mostly it has to do with me. I was wondering what, if anything, I was contributing to the world by sitting behind my computer and blathering on about parts of my life.

The answer is simple. Nothing.

I'm not making money doing this, I'm not contributing the economy, I'm not dishing out advice or talking people off ledges. I'm just me.

So I've spent the last couple of weeks thinking very hard about it all. The truth is, I DO want to continue. What I decided is that I really could give a flying monkey's hairy arse if my writing is contributing to anything. This is my blog, my space, my thoughts, my....therapy? Rather than bitching at my husband when he comes home after a long day, I can put it out into the blog world for all to bounce opinions back at me. When I feel like the spawnlets are turning into life sucking leeches, I can visit all your blogs and see that it's not just me.

This isn't one of those posts where I want to hear "Oh Mad Woman...don't leave us, what would we do without you". Because duh...that's a given. I know you all worship the ground I walk on and would perish without me. I mean, I'm surprised many of you are still in existence after the last couple of weeks without me.

This is just me, letting you know where my head has been at the last couple weeks.

So. On with the show.

I went for a walk.

Exciting right? How about some more excitement. I went for a walk with my sister. Say it with me...Ooohhhh, Aaaahhhh. Yeah I know. Terribly thrilling.

Back in December, my Weight Watchers leader brought up the subject of a half marathon that one of the local wineries was sponsoring. Some bright spark in the meeting decided that sounded like a fun idea for people from the meeting to sign up for and managed to con a whole bunch of folks into doing it. That brainiac went home right after the meeting and registered online. That genius may or may not have been me. I'm just sayin'.

So, having registered for the WALK category (cos I'm not stupid y'all, I know that running that far would be a death sentence for me), I had a look at the training schedules they had up on their website. After I'd picked my jaw up off the floor and propped it on the table, I took a few deep breaths and repeated the mantra "I can do this, I can do this, I'm gonna need a shit load of wine when I'm done, I can do this".

Do you guys know how far a half marathon is? 21 kilometres. Just over 13 miles. Or, in my terms....hella fucking far.

Time to rephrase the mantra: "I can do this, I can do this, Screw the wine..there better be a big ass bottle of vodka at the end, I can do this".

The training schedule was great. Go for a walk at varying speeds and distances every few days, slowly building it up until the week of the event. Cool....done!

Yeah right. 5 weeks in, I tossed it and never did it again. Sure, I was still walking but I couldn't be bothered with their schedule. Seemed like a supremely wimpy waste of time to me. Hahahahahahaha!

Fast forward to the beginning of this month where I was crapping my pants in the most spectacular way because I'd begun to realise that walking 21 kilometres was going to be hard? By the day of the event I was in peril of running out of clean underwear from my nervousness but I was determined to prevail.

I strapped on my walking shoes, made sure I had my bag with bandaids, pain killers and sun screen, and headed off to collect my mom and sister. Oh, did I not mention that part? Yeah, I'm not completely stupid. I recruited them to walk it with me. On my mother's birthday. (insert maniacal laughter here)

Having arrived at the event, there was hundreds of people milling about. The runners were already off, the hybrid category was just listening to their briefing and I was ready to go hide. Surely I wasn't about to do this! But I stayed, listened to my briefing...and off we went.

We were at the back of the pack when we started and pretty much stayed there. There were people of all ages from 16 to 80 something. There was a woman with a walking stick and a woman as big as me (if not bigger). We set off at a steady pace and I was determined to stay at that pace for as much of the walk as possible.

By the halfway mark of 10.55 kms, my mom's feet were killing her. When we got to the 11 km checkpoint, my sister and I talked and told my mom to drop out. She'd made it over half way, she was in pain, and it was her birthday. I felt bad for her, because I knew she'd feel like a quitter, but there was NO way she could keep going.

LilSis and I carried on. We spent a lot of time walking through areas like, with views just like this:

Most of the walk was through vineyards and along the river. It was beautiful. We were blessed with a fantastically grey and overcast day and a low temperature. It was perfect.

By the 17 km mark I was in pain. A lot of it. I have a bone spur in the heel of my left foot and in addition to that, have had issues with that ankle since I sprained it badly about 8 years ago. But even with all the pain, as I passed the 17 km mark and the guy there said "hey you look like you're about to keel over and I really don't feel like carrying your fat ass outta here, do you want to quit?" (ok, I'm sue me), I was all "Hell no! Why the hell would I quit 4 kms from the finish?! Asshat." And I kept going.

I made it. I made it through all 21kms (the last 3 seemed to take forever), and I made it alive. Barely. And, I did it with my little sister by my side for the whole thing. That, I think, was more important to me in the end than the fact that I had just walked that far. She's 11 years my junior and we're finally getting to the point where we can do a lot of stuff together. I love it.

That's me and my sister crossing the finish line. I burst into tears about 2 minutes later, just from sheer relief. Check out the guy in the orange vest behind us, checking out my sister's ass. Cheeky bugger.

So this walk scared me but in the end I came away proud.

Here's my question for you:

What have YOU done lately that has scared you?

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