Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Shape of It

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The ideal female body shape and size consumes a huge amount of the media and general public’s brain space.

It is really refreshing to see the celebration and somewhat acceptance of curvy body shapes again. Historically women’s curves have been celebrated (think Marilyn Monroe), however the fashion world no longer seems to encourage this. Magazines refer to a model who is a size 12 as being a plus size model, which is something most of us don’t understand because for many that is their ideal size according to health charts. The same can be said for some women who are a size 16. Its all about proportion according to height and build. It is nice to see these healthy women being proud of who they are and not feeling the need to starve themselves in the name of fashion.

Bearing all this in mind we do need to be careful when we are celebrating the curves and making judgements about the thin models. Some women are naturally thin so to refer to a curvy body as a “natural” and a thin body as not “womanly” is insulting to these women. They too should be proud of their body shape and not be judged, just they way a curvy woman does.

The fashion world prefers catwalk models who are extremely thin, almost resembling a coat hanger, so that the focus remains solely on the clothing. The unfortunate thing is that these models are starving themselves so they can keep the right shape. I have heard stories of models eating tissue so that they feel a kind of full sensation. Unthinkable to most of us but these girls are so desperate they do whatever they need to to keep the look otherwise they are out of work. Because we see their images plastered all over the magazines,we tend to either consciously or subconsciously compare ourselves unfavourably to them. But lets remember, they want us to notice the clothes, not the model. I found it interesting to hear Brooke Shields say recently that she the reason she was only ever a photographic model was that she was always too big to be be on the catwalk. I never would have thought this!

What we should be doing is admiring the form of a fit and healthy woman and not take into account her shape or size. There are many people who fit the “perfect” body shape and size but have terrible diets, abuse alcohol and drugs, and/or exercise to an dangerous level. There are others who are overweight in fashion world terms, but eat well, exercise regularly and safely, and have a very clean bill of health.

We are all individuals and we should embrace that. One of the great things about living in inner city Melbourne is being amongst the diversity when it comes to both women and men’s sense of fashion and style. In a world where people are resorting to having surgical procedures to keep themselves looking a certain way, it is great to see people embrace the latest fashions mixed with their own twist.

So,lets aim to be the healthiest us we can be and embrace the body that comes with that.

Til next time…

Jo

 

It’s Time People

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As we approach the end of 2013, I am flabbergasted that we still live in a world where, in most places, gay marriage is not recognised. Our so called free society doesn’t allow a grown man or woman to decide who they want to legally share the rest of their lives with. We frown upon forced marriages but is this really any different? Aren’t we forcing people not to marry the one they love? I think most people agree that it should be legal, in fact, I can’t say I have heard anyone I know say they have a problem with it. It makes me wonder where this anti gay marriage pull is coming from because its not just an issue in Australia. America, the land of the brave and the free, is not so great here either. I suspect many are hiding behind religious reasons, but then there are plenty of religious people who don’t have an issue with people marrying whomever they want to. Thank goodness for New Zealand, the rare shining light. I am hopeful that our current prime minister will come to the party soon, especially when his own sister is a gay, but somehow I am not so sure he will.

Yes there are those who don’t understand why someone would want to marry a person from their own sex, but haven’t we all got a straight friend that we cannot for the life of us comprehend why they married person they did? We tend to accept that its their choice and move on, so why can’t we do the same with a gay couple, even if you don’t necessarily get it? Really, when it comes down to it, as long as people are of legal consenting age then it is nobody else’s business who marries who. Having said that I tend to think one at a time is a good rule, but then, who am I to judge?

Interestingly if one member of a gay couple undergoes a sex change that person is legally recognised as the new sex and bingo, they can legally marry. Hello silly government rule makers – its still the same person! We live in a country that celebrates its freedom and rights and this issue seems to belong in the same category as segregation and women not voting. In other words, it does not belong in our society. It seems to me to be blatant discrimination. I am most of the time extremely proud to be Australian, but this archaic law is shameful.

I may have ruffled some feathers here, but if I did, may I suggest those feathers might need a bit of ruffling. If gay marriage is not for you, then all I can say is don’t you marry a gay person.

Til next time…

Jo

 

What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

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Procrastination can be a tricky bugger. It can creep in ever so quietly. You can flap around being busy all day but when you look at what you have actually accomplished, there are a more than a few not so important things in there. It’s easy to get so caught up in ‘being busy being busy’, we justify putting off the really important tasks that we are not so keen on doing. The world of business is full of complicated plans and reports, KPIs, processes and procedures. We often spend way more time than we need to on these and justify it because its something that our employers or business experts say we should be doing. It seems a good excuse to waste some time, perhaps another form of procrastination?

On the other hand, sometimes procrastination can be a good thing. There are times when I am sitting staring at my computer screen because I can’t think about what to write. I can sit and force myself to write something that is terrible, or I might go with that all of a sudden burning desire to iron clothes (A.K.A. avoidance). When I start to iron clothes and find I am not having fun, it’s funny how ideas start popping into my head. And as a bonus some clothes get nice and smooth in the process. The times when I am trying to think of a solution to a problem within my business and the answer is not coming to me, I often find moving away from it helps. Its amazing how many solutions I have come up with while doing mindless tasks like hanging out washing or re-organising drawers. Lucky for me I have a home office.

Knowing whether the procrastination is going to be detrimental to yourself or your business is the trick. It is important to spend some time working out the difference between taking some time to reassess and think about something and pure time wasting, but make sure doing this is not just another way of procrastinating! If it is something that just has to be done, as much as you don’t want to, you know the answer. I find sometimes I need to keep a check on myself and regularly ask myself’ why am I doing what I am doing at this moment’. If you have a nagging feeling of guilt about not doing something, that is possibly a really good indication that you may be procrastinating.

But what if you find yourself constantly procrastinating over a lot of things relating to your work and the mere thought of doing those things fills you with dread? It may be time to face the fact that what you are doing is not right for you. While you can never expect every aspect of your job, or life for that matter, you really want to enjoy most of it. If you don’t perhaps it may be time to rethink your future. Lets face it, no-one wants to merely exist living a life they don’t love.

Til next time…

ImageJo

Work It

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Last night, as a reflection of my exciting night life, I was faced with a difficult choice. Should I watch re-runs of Sex and the City, or watch a dead body extraction and the subsequent investigation on CSI. Something about murderous psychopaths was more appealing so I chose the latter.

I really didn’t fancy sitting through another re-run of Sex and the City because, as much as I enjoy watching it for the New York City setting, the fashion and the like, sometimes I find the characters and how they are portrayed a bit annoying. They seem to send a message that women should be needy and only be complete when they have found the perfect man. The theme is that a woman’s career is less important than finding and keeping the man. CSI, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to discriminate between boys and girls when it comes to chopping up bodies, whether it be a career in being the chopper or catching them. And as a bonus it was all going on in New York City.

The Sex and the City characters frustrate me because the story line is, more often than not, based around the premise that life is never going to be complete until they find the right man. Then when they do it’s ok to drop their own life and follow what the man wants, regardless of how much they valued what they may be giving up. The character Miranda (the one who was the lawyer for those of you who don’t remember…) put her work, which was obviously very important to her,  above being in a “perfect” relationship and she seemed to get a constant hard time about it from her friends and partner. It was like placing a high value her career was wrong, although to her it was a very major part of who she was. Apparently she should slow herself down and fit in with her husband, no mention that he should step up and try and be part of hers too (even more irritating in this case because he was an whiney sap!).

Why do we feel its acceptable for a woman to give up her lifestyle and leave her friends behind if it is to have babies or follow a man, but not if it is because she is working to build a career for herself. There are some careers that if you want to achieve a certain level it takes putting in long hours. And if that’s what you want to do then why is that less acceptable than making sacrifices for other life choices. If your job is really important to you and you love doing it, is it really a bad thing to work a lot? I don’t think so. If it is something that means a lot to you, is it wrong that you are working instead of doing what other people want or expect? No. Anyway who says putting a lot into your career means you can’t have a satisfying relationship and be a good parent, because it isn’t just spending lots of time with your child that makes you a good parent.

Til next time…

Jo

What Choice Do We Have?

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Having choices is something I have been banging on about for years, as is evident by the roll of my daughter’s eyes that says “here we go again” when I mention it.

I was reminded again about how important it is this week, especially as a female. I managed to catch part of the movie / documentary “Girl Rising” and watched the story of a girl from Afghanistan who was forced to marry and had a baby when she too was really a baby herself. Her parents sold her to her new husband for the equivalent of around $5,000 with which they promptly brought her brother a car. She was forbidden to go to school but at the risk of being punished with violence or even death, she defied the rules and kept going. She believes she is the start of a movement and even if they kill her, if girls keep on going to school they can’t kill them all. Even when she doesn’t seem to have a choice she is making one. One very brave young girl.

There is hope however. I read a book recently about an Afghan girl who’s father not only celebrated that she was born, something usually saved only for boys, but made sure she got an education. Sadly her father disappeared and is assumed murdered, so she became at the mercy of less understanding relatives.

I can’t imagine living in a world where me or my daughter could not live the life we choose. We certainly live in a judgemental society at times, but all we usually face if we make decisions outside the “acceptable” is just that, judgement. I was able to end an unhappy marriage without fear of having acid thrown on me in the guise of protecting the family honour. I was could purchase a home and raise children as a single mother without worrying about our safety or being disowned by my family, even the ones who did not agree with what I was doing.

It is unthinkable that just because of the geographical location that I was lucky enough to be born in, I can be writing this, whilst somewhere else I might be tortured for having an opinion and doing the same. I hear stories of young girls being taken overseas to participate in arranged marriages. That may be even more devastating for the girl because she will have seen school mates and other girls her age being able to choose their futures. This shows how much more education is needed all over the world, and I don’t just mean maths and science type.

Every now and then if a little pity party comes my way, I remind myself that I have choices and am grateful that I am free to make them. And I choose to live my life on my terms.

Til next time…

Jo