Posts Tagged ‘communication’

… I ran into a charming mansplainer this week.

I have just acquired a new computer for work, so I thought I should go best practice and get some surge protection, too.

I dropped into my local hardware store a couple of weeks ago, and was shocked at the price difference between the top and bottom ends. The specs on these things are not very clear, and so I couldn’t figure out whether it was worth paying extra or not. So I asked someone.

The someone I asked was a big burly bloke who seemed to know what he was talking about. He was absolutely adamant that I needed to buy the surge protector at the top end, and his explanation made some sense. He was a little condescending, but I’m so used to that that I ignore it, as long as the information is useful. But I am always suspicious about people who try to sell me the most expensive item in the store, so I decided to think about it.

I had some time this week, so I went back to the same shop and asked another person. The someone I asked this time was a short burly bloke, maybe 18 or 20 (ie significantly younger than me, and nobody ever thinks I’m younger than I am), who in a blusteringly condescending tone gave me the exact opposite advice the first man had given me – but who couldn’t explain why, just said with a patronising sneer: “you don’t need that”. Let’s call him Condescending Fool.


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Peter Hartcher, the SMH’s international editor (by which I assume they mean editor of international news) is a pretty good columnist. His articles tend to be interesting and thought-provoking. They are about politics, international politics and economics.

So when I saw the headline “Attractive French model bears close watching” on Hartcher’s column today, I assumed that this was a sub-editor’s attempt to get more readers to read Hartcher’s column, and that it was about the French economic model.

I considered not clicking through, in a tiny protest at the headline, but Hartcher’s columns are interesting enough – and I learn enough from them – that I figured I could overlook it this time.

However, here is how Hartcher’s column begins:

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As I said in a recent post, I’m going to be writing more posts which are explicitly in support of groups I don’t belong to.

As I also said in that post, I’m sure that sometimes, I’m going to get it wrong.

At the beginning of this month, I wrote a couple of posts about issues affecting Indigenous people. I got into a discussion with Hexy in the comments section, and I noticed that she capitalised the “I” of “Indigenous”. I hadn’t been doing that, although I’d been carefully capitalising “Aboriginal” and “Torres Strait Islander”.

I had a reason for capitalising one and not the other, and I know of other activists for Indigenous rights who do not capitalise “Indigenous”, but seeing Hexy’s posts made me think that I was missing something. I emailed her to ask her about it, and she was kind enough to take the time to educate me a bit. (Thanks again, Hexy!)

My position had been, anyway, that if there was a chance of causing offence by not capitalising “Indigenous”, I would start doing so. I guess it was a stupid question, because the answer is pretty obvious: yes, there was a possibility I might cause some offence (although Hexy herself didn’t take any).

In particular, Hexy sent me this link (note: it’s a pdf file). It’s a useful paper, and worth a look.

That paper also refers to the concept of identity, which I’m about to write a short post about.

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I’m rather happy about this: a few times in the past week or so, the SMH’s Heckler column has had a feminist overtone.

Today’s column is probably the most obvious (although if there was a comments section, I’d be expecting many comments that showed many people missing the sarcasm).

There have also been two recent columns about ads I’d seen on bus stops, thought about posting about, and didn’t get around to it.


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I was going to write a warm fuzzy post about what a wonderful milestone it is to have, for the first time in Australia, a woman elected Premier of a state (yes, we have had female Premiers before, but apparently none of them have won elections as leaders).

That was a fact I didn’t know until I read the first couple of paragraphs of this article. Which are actually really lovely, so I’m going to extract them here just so that I can smile about them again:

ANNA BLIGH recalls that when growing up on the Gold Coast in the 1970s, choices available to young women were pretty limited. “The prospect that one day I would be premier of Queensland was not even a distant possibility,” she said.

But that prospect became a reality at the weekend when Ms Bligh made history as the first woman in Australia to be elected premier. The Labor leader’s victory – which defied the polls – is a symbol of the state’s transformation.

However. (more…)

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I’m feeling a little bit proud of myself. In the past 24 hours, I’ve made two complaints to supervisors about the marginally (ie socially) acceptable behaviour of young men, and been taken seriously. (Incidentally, both of the supervisors I spoke to were named Rachel. So: kudos to Rachels!)

There are descriptions of the complaints I made at the bottom of this post, but for me, the meat of it is about whingeing as a feminist act.

Whingeing, complaining, bitching (and their close relation, nagging) are all modes of communication that women are said to engage in more than men. Whenever we point out that something is wrong, we are accused of whingeing. Whenever we ask someone to do something, we are nagging. My apologies for the lack of links – I can’t think of any concrete examples. But my guess is that it’s happened to all of us. And it’s such a truism, it’s the subject of many jokes & cartoons (again, no concrete examples spring to mind).

[One exception: the trope that “men whinge when they’re sick”. But although that’s often the subject of jokes, it’s generally considered ok. Because they’re such reasonable manly macho men the rest of the time!]

[Yes, that was sarcasm. In case you were wondering.]


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This post covers couple of thoughts about a yoga class I just attended. The two thoughts are really only related because they relate to the same person, so please bear with me.

I love yoga, but I’m not really into the WHOLE philosophy (I turn off when I hear “chakra”). I love it because of the way you use your whole body, its strength and flexibility – same reason I love kickboxing, dancing and swimming. I also love the idea that you do what you can do as well as you can. Doesn’t matter if it’s not “perfect”.

I’m at a new gym, and I’m still finding out which yoga instructors I enjoy. Today’s instructor had an attitude to the actual yoga that I could appreciate. However, there are two reasons I think I’ll be avoiding him.

First: inappropriate touching. (more…)

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Feminists do so have a sense of humour! When the jokes are funny, that is.

Some women on an online discussion group I’m part of were sharing some jokes today. The group has a slight feminist bent, as it is for women who travel independently. The heading of the topic was “A feminist joke”, and the joke posted by the topic author was this one:

This is about the holidays which just passed in the Catholic world.
One women spoke with another and said: A virgin birth I can believe, but finding three wise men?

Maybe I really am a humourless feminist, but after the first momentary giggle, I find that grating, rather than funny. And yet, the following four jokes, posted by someone else, I find hilarious:


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