What’s been going on

I realise I haven’t been writing anything food-wise for, oh about a year, and that was the whole point of this blog. So here’s what I’ve been doing food-wise:

I’ve joined weight watchers. Two reasons. One, my father uses them and he said the recipes were awesome, healthy and I was getting sick of losing five kilos then putting it back on then losing it again and basically ruining all of my pants with rapid weight loss and gain. Secondly, we made the big decision to move to the country, and settled on Wagga Wagga. I figured that I could kill two birds with an increasingly small stone. 

So I started that in August, and it’s been going very, very well. So far in nine weeks I’ve lost seven kilos, which is more than 0.5kg a week, so I’m slightly ahead of where I should be. 

I’ll have to start writing about what I’m cooking and baking again, but for now, that’s where I’m at.

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Misogyny is not necessarily a hatred of ALL women

“So what a misogynist truly loves is the shallow image of women that exist’s only in one’s mind and is illustrated in such things as pornography or mainstream media that espouses that ideal. The hatred is directed at real women, for not living up to a misogynists expectations of women being easy to control and for not providing adequate stimulation for men’s interest” – The heartless bitches

The idea that misogyny occurs only if a man hates all women, in all ways is just shit. One dictionary definition narrowly defines misogyny to a hatred of women, so misogyny only exists if that narrow, impossible definition is met? Spare me. Men like Tony Abbott only think of women as acceptable if they meet a very narrow definition that he does not apply to men. Anything outside that and according to him we are murderers, it’s okay to call us bitches, witches, refer to single female politicians as needing to “make an honest woman of herself”? Doesn’t that sound a lot like hate?.

I have no doubt that Tony Abbot loves his wife and his daughters. But he has demonstrated time and time again with his words, and his actions and his policies and positions that women are something to be controlled by the policies of men. Does anyone truly believe that if these “strong, capable women” he is surrounded by don’t meet a very specific set of ideals that Tony expects women to adhere to, that he’d still treat them with respect if they didn’t? Can anyone truly imagine that if a woman pulled Tony aside and said “Tony, mate. You can’t say that kind of thing to a woman. It’s sexist, and we’re in a workplace. It’s unacceptable” that he would apologise and change his behaviour? He is too invested in his world view, of men as protectors and leaders and women as support staff.

Unless something changes, Tony Abbott will continue to think of only a subset of women as “women” and hate every other type of woman as something other and wrong and unacceptable. Sounds and awful lot like misogyny to me.

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We can think about more than one thing at a time, you know

We can be angry that the government has passed a vote that disadvantages single parents – and I say parents because as soon as we agree on the use of “mother” we admit defeat in the war against the assumption that parenting is not a 50/50 job and I will not concede that, ever – and also be very, very proud that finally Abbott got called on his misogyny, which he has by-and-large been getting away with. And every time he gets away with it, we’re one step closer to a PM women should be very, very afraid of. 

Most of the calls from people who think yesterdays speech was unimportant in light of issue X, Y and Z were from men (At least from what I have seen), and I think those men need to have a think about what it would be like to be one of the people Gillard stood up for yesterday. One of the people that our Prime Minister defended, and one of the people who gets called the same foul names our Prime Minister does, and one of the people that are the victims of sexism and misogyny on a daily basis. It may be just a political stunt or sideshow for you, but for a lot of women it’s a daily issue. We are insulted, belittled, dismissed and controlled EVERY DAY. And to see someone stand up and say “Enough is enough” to a man that a lot of women are deeply afraid will come to control their lives IS important. It IS an issue to a lot of women. 

But once again what matter to women is swept aside because men have decided THEY know what the real issue is.

Irony, much?

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Yes, Tony, you do have a problem with women; you

Why Tony has a problem with women.

Tony, you DO have a problem with women. We, by-and-large, do not trust you.

And the reason is very, very simple.

Much like men, women have memories. They remember things.

Like you cutting three BILLION dollars from health.

Like you saying that a woman’s virginity was a gift, in an attempt to soften your image with women.

Like you trying to take PERSONAL CONTROL over women’s bodies by wanting YOU to be the only person who can make the decision as to whether a woman can simply take a pill, or is forced to undergo a painful and invasive operation to end an unwanted or untenable pregnancy.

Like using the “abortion figures” that include all D&C’s – even those that are for diagnostic purposes or those that remove a miscarriage or those necessary after birth to back up your disgusting statement that abortion had been reduced to “a matter of the mother’s convenience” – even though he musthave known those figures were exaggerated by including procedures that are not abortions. You are the former Health Minister. There is absolutely no way that a man who oversaw the reform of Medicare could not know that D&C’s are performed for reasons other than abortion all of the time. Particularly a man who is “pro-life”. You used an inflated figure because it suited your purpose. And you used it to demonise women. Don’t believe me? Direct quote from Tony Abbot’s own website:

“ abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations”

And he had this to say in Parliament:

“Mr Speaker, we have a bizarre double standard in this country where someone who kills a pregnant woman’s baby is guilty of murder, but a woman aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice.”

Convenient, Tony? Easy way out? A matter of the mother’s convenience? Implying that women who abort a fetus are murderers? THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH WOMEN. You do not understand them. You do not empathise with them, even though you have been in the same situation yourself. 

(As an aside, someone who kills a pregnant woman’s unborn baby is not guilty of murder in any state or territory in Australia. In Queensland and Western Australia it’s “Grevious bodily harm of an unborn child” with pretty heavy penalties, but that still isn’t murder, Tony. But you know, why let facts get in the way of CALLING WOMEN MURDERERS?)

Oh, and there’s also this little gem:

‘I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak’

Way to be a rape apologist, Tony!

And ladies, turn on that iron! Do it for the good of the country:

“What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…”

Tony, you see us as something other. You don’t think we require or deserve or are capable of equal representations, and I really don’t think that anything you’ve ever said indicates that you think of us as equals at all.

To you, we’re a group of women who need to be convinced that really, you aren’t a threat, when so much of what comes out of your mouth indicates that really, you are. You say you won’t be changing the reproductive laws in Australia. Did you write that down? Because we all know that unless you write it down, you don’t consider it binding. And I just don’t think you’ve changed that much since you told women it was a double standard that they weren’t charged with murder when they obtain an abortion, or that they were just doing it because it was convenient. 

I actually do believe that you’re a man of deep belief and conviction. And I could probably respect that (Whilst disagreeing with everything you say and believe), if I didn’t think you were lying about an awful lot now to get into power.

I don’t trust you. We couldn’t trust you with the Health System, we couldn’t trust you with our reproductive rights, we can’t trust you to see us as equals. I do not think we can trust you at all.

You are not an ally of women in Australia. You are an ally of the conservative, of the Catholic Church, and of probably every anti-equality outfit going round. Please don’t trot out your wife to try and convince us otherwise.

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I will not be less than I am so you can sleep better at night

I will not stop walking alone at night, if that is what is most convenient for me, or even if I just bloody feel like it.

I will not put my head down and try and make myself look smaller and less of a target. I will hold my head up, and I will meet your gaze, and you will take me on my own terms.

I will not be afraid of walking on a street that I pay taxes to pave and light, if you do not have to do the same, just because I am a woman.

I will not be afraid of every man I see in case he is a rapist, in case he is a murderer. I will fight the instincts bred into me that make that not just a possibility, but a certainty. I will believe that the vast majority of men are decent, and I will treat each man as if he is, until I have reason to believe otherwise. I will speak up when I see inappropriate behaviour.

I will not condemn every man by the actions of the few.

I will not allow society to get away with making every woman a victim of violence by insisting they must be accompanied by a man at all times or they are fair game, somehow culpable for the attacks of the few crazies out there.

I will not allow any person in my hearing to blame a victim of violence for being a victim of violence simply because they live their life in a manner no man would ever be blamed for. I will tell parents who think we should raise our daughters to fear rape and violence to think about instead raising our sons to be men who stand against rape and violence and will never excuse it.

I will not be afraid because others are afraid. And I recognize that this means my family and my husband and my friends may fear for my safety, but I cannot live my life as if it is okay to limit what a woman can do, should do, because it’s easier to wonder why a woman would walk home alone at night than wonder how we are raising and excusing and aiding and abetting rapists and violent offenders.

I hear people say that Jill Meaghers should have called her husband, should have called a taxi, should have let her friend escort her home.

The only should have we should accept is that she should have lived. She should have been able to walk home without being raped and murdered. She should have been safe.

We cannot be less than equal citizens of this world so society can sleep better at night. If we are, we acknowledge that we have an obligation to limit ourselves so men can be violent. I will not accept that, and neither should you, or anyone else.

I may be assaulted, and I may be raped or murdered because I will not be less than I am – someone who loves the smell of the night air, a night owl, a person who is equal to men –  more than just a potential victim. But I will not regret refusing to have the same rights to walk a street at night and alone as a bloody rapist and murderer does. I will not give up my freedom so people can blame women when they become the victims of violence.

If you want women to be safe, we have to stop the violence where it lives. Most women who are assaulted are assaulted by someone they know. And you’re friends with them, you work with them, you play soccer with them on a Tuesday night. By and large they are “normal” men who we have taught can make excuses for their violence against women. So stop it THERE. Don’t stop me from walking on a street you’d walk on so you don’t have to have hard conversations with the men in your life. The conversations we have with people who exhibit inappropriate behaviour are the important conversations to have. They let people know that violence against women in never okay. They set the tone, draw the boundaries, let people know what is acceptable and what is not.

I will not be less than I am so you can sleep better at night. And I will not stop supporting every woman who wants to do the same.

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Derpstorm Category 10

The discussion about trolling in the wake of the Charlotte Dawson thing is really starting to stick in my craw. 

First, this is not going to be a litany of all the times I’ve copped abuse on the internet. Pretty much everyone else who has talked about this subject has done that to start with, and the discussion then becomes about that instead, and quite frankly, it’s distracting from what the conversation should be about. 

Nor do I think the attention paid by the media is a good thing, because let’s face it. The media in this country are pretty much only good for taking a serious issue and making it a bloody farce. But the attention paid to this by the people who actually use and engage in social media platforms regularly has the capacity to be a good thing, if we each have a think about our own behaviour and others within our networks. I am very sad to see intelligent, forthright people who’s views I would love to know turned away from this discussion by the sheer volume of shite that’s being talked about it.

So of course, I will add to it.

Ten points, straight up:

1. There is a difference between abusive, threatening language and trolling. Too many times, the former gets written off as the latter, but right now we’re seeing the latter described as the former. 

2. Abuse is abuse even if it’s on the internet. Would it be abuse if it was on the phone or in person? THEN IT’S ABUSE, EVEN ON THE INTERNET. You don’t get brownie points for threatening to punch someone only in email or twitter format. If you are behaving like a dick only on the internet? You’re still behaving like a dick. It’s like saying “I only kill kittens in odd numbered houses, so it’s perfectly okay” Think of the kittens, people. The purry, furry kittens.

3. Shut up, tabloids. You are trolls in paper form.

4. One in four people has a mental illness. If you aren’t taking that into account when you’re flaming or trolling people, think about four people you love. One of them may have a mental illness that makes their risk of suicide much higher. They may not be able to properly contexualise what is being written about them at that precise moment. Yes, trolling is fun. But regardless of what spirit you intend it in, you might be doing harm. Is it worth doing harm to someone so you can have people think you’re really quite clever and witty? I am not saying that every person with a mental illness needs to be wrapped in cotton wool and cannot be ribbed or japed with, but if you don’t know the person well enough to know if this might be a pressure point for them, do you know them well enough to know how they’re going to take your good humoured trolling?

5. This does not in any way mean that all trolling is bad mkay, or that trolling should be outlawed, or that I don’t troll my own husband and close friends on an incredibly regular basis. But I know them, and I can tweet something ridiculous at them and monitor their reaction in real time. If you cannot do that with your intended target, it might be worth just not doing.

6. If you are only telling people you disagree with when they’re stepping over the line, you are really doing it wrong. Some of my biggest regrets in my online interactions have been not letting someone know they were going over the line, because I didn’t want to be jumped on by the rest of the group, or because I knew that it might lose me other online friends. That should have been besides the point.  I’ve seen groups of people get really visceral and nasty and not said anything, and I bloody well should have. This is everyone’s responsibility, regardless of how uncomfortable that makes us.

7. When you are pulling someone up for falling over the line into Stupidtwon, you should either do that respectfully in the same forum the stupidness occured, or quietly let both the aggressor and the target know you don’t think it’s acceptable. The reason for that is two-fold. First, if you don’t let the target know that you think it’s unacceptable, they see it as a tacit agreement that what they’ve copped is acceptable. Secondly, the bullied very often become the bullies. If you don’t let them know this behaviour is not okay, the next time someone whacks them, they’ll whack back, and all of a sudden the derp has multiplied and you’ve got twice as much stupid clogging up your feed. It needs to be respectful, and it needs to be public. And when I say respectful, I mean don’t book a ticket to Stupidtwon yourself trying to save your friend from gaining citizenship.

8. It is up to every single one of us to police our own communities, and to set our own boundaries, and decide what interactions we will and will not accept from people. I will by and large not accept people insulting my family, and that’s my personal line. I am well within my right to police that line with a firm but polite “You are being too personal, I will no longer be interacting with you” and a firm but not-so-polite blocking on a second offence. This does not mean that if you are more or less sensitive than other people you should have to leave the internet. Some people think insulting or inflaming people is hilarious. Others don’t. And both of those positions are okay. But if someone asks you to stop a certain behaviour and you don’t? You’re being an arsehole. You might want to, you know, not be?

9. If you have said something that has upset someone and your first response is not “I’m sorry you’ve been hurt by that”, and having a think about how your words have been received, regardless of whether you personally think it’s offensive or not, you need to check yourself. Everyone says something at one stage or another that’s over the line of decency, and you are NOT immune from this. If your first reaction is to further insult the person by suggesting they’re also a big cry baby and you’re only trolling so it’s really perfectly okay and maybe they should HTFU and get off your internet because of course you are the arbiter of what is right and what is wrong and don’t have any kind of vested interest in not addressing your own behaviour because maybe it’s making someone feel uncomfortable, think about how much easier it would be if you just acknowledge that the other person has been hurt without having to have a long, drawn out argument about whether it’s okay for them to be hurt about something. P.S, that’s gaslighting

10. Yes, people overreact. Even if they do, a polite “I did not mean that in the way you’ve read it and I’m sorry it has hurt you” is probably still the decent thing to do. You don’t have to prostrate yourself at the feet of every martyr around, but seriously. What does it cost to acknowledge how someone else feels? If they continually kick the hornets nest and then complain, don’t interact with them. That’s your choice, too. Every time you tweet about someone just to get a rise, you’re making a choice to bring the derpstorm that much closer. Do you really need the hassle?

11.. Just because you disagree with someone or think they have a stupid face doesn’t mean you can’t be polite. I don’t know when I realised that I didn’t have to be angry and snarky and confrontational about every piece of writing I saw on the internet, but when I did I felt so much better. Sometimes I see things written about me or my husband or some sexist racist piece of garbage and it makes me see red. So I write a comment, leave it alone for a few hours and come back and read it before I hit submit. I have a rule with these things: It has to matter, it has to be contribute to the conversation, and it has to be something I would be okay with saying to their face, and having everyone I know reading. 99% of the time, it fails at the “It has to matter” hurdle. Sometimes it’s important to provide a different perspective, or let someone know they’ve missed something important. But there is no reason not to be polite about it. If you call someone a dick and then provide some important feedback, do you think that gets listened to as much as just the feedback? 

12. The internet can be awesome. Contribute to that by making sure you only interact with people who are awesome, and interact awesomely. Be known as a kind person, and be polite to everyone, even those who don’t deserve it. Keep your corner of the internet so awesome, it repels arseholes.

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So I’m trying to learn how to decorate cakes. Properly decorate cakes, not just the kind of home made jobs that I have been doing. Not that they’ve been awful, but I want to step it up a notch.

It was Jeremy’s birthday this week, and because we are ginormous nerds, he got two equally nerdy cakes.

First, the below.

That’s a nice Birthday you have there.

If you’re not sure what a creeper is, GET THEE TO MINECRAFT. I’ll be back here in a year when you’re done.

The second wasn’t just because we’re ginormous geeks, but also because there were going to be Lego loving kids at the second event, and I thought it would go down well.

Looks like what it is, but the finishing isn’t what it should be.

So on the weekend, I took a two half-day course. And ended up being able to make this:

Long Shot:

Tomorrow if I have time I’ll upload some more photos and a description, but I won’t be putting up a recipe or step-by-step, since it was learnt on a course.

But seriously? I am just itching to learn more. And practice more. Is it okay to just be really proud of being able to do that?

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