Banter in the Garden
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Tea and Strumpets
(trigger warnings for sexual violence, and…everything. The world is fucked up – Tallulah.)
This guest post comes to us from Jane, who works with an organisation helping girls in Cambodia. More on that at the bottom of the post. She wanted to respond to last week’s guest post.
Your post is sad. So sad. But, without wishing to diminish or minimize your experiences in any way at all, reading it just makes me so much more aware of the terrible things that girls in Cambodia are experiencing as I type this response. Right now. Girls from isolated rural areas are being sold, often by their parents (because they are hungry and it enables them to feed the boys) with the encouragement of the village elders. They are sold for ‘domestic work’, which starts as general all-round slavery and nearly always continues on to rape and sexual abuse. They are sexual slaves.
These young girls are silenced too. Their ‘owners’ addict them to drugs so if they run away they have to come back to feed their habit. They’re taken to another country where they can’t speak the language so they can’t complain or ask for help. They’re beaten, and humiliated in a horrifying range of ways, their self-respect is crushed so their expectation of a better life dies.
Let’s focus on the positive though. By speaking out (‘blogging out’?) and by demanding change, we can slowly change things in our own country. By educating girls and their families in Cambodia we can enable them to resist the approaches of the ‘agents’ the come to ‘recruit’ the girls. We can give them the tools to provide for themselves, to feel the rewards of working and supporting themselves and their families for a better future.
Let’s look forwards. Let’s focus on what we can do to change the world, one girl at a time. If you’d like to join me in doing just that, let me know. I’d love to have a blog about it, and talk more about the work I do, and/or have email or phone conversations if anyone would like to do that. You can email me or visit the website if you’d like to make a start!
Also today in pig-headed ignorance, and today in ignoring science, and today in failing to think through consequences, and today in hating on children.
A CHILD’S weight should be included in their school report as part of a radical plan to tackle the obesity crisis, according to [Professor David Penington] who led Australia’s successful response to the AIDS epidemic.
I find this mindblowing, not just for the complete disregard for science, but for the astonishing idea that it’s a good thing to shame children about their weight, and that somehow, magically, this will make them thin and happy. It doesn’t work with adults because (a) shaming just upsets people and (b) shaming does not result in weight loss and (c) weight loss does not lead to better health (just google “obesity paradox” and you will find the evidence), and it works EVEN LESS with children because….. (hold your breath, here’s a giant reveal that seems to have escaped Prof. Penington), CHILDREN DON’T GET TO CHOOSE WHAT FOOD THEY EAT.
As parents, we impose our own lifestyles on children. The children in my house? They’re great at argument (conceptual, inferential, evidential, you name it – they argue it and yes, this is a problem from time to time), but sports, well, whatever. They play a bit and we go and cheer them on, but really, it’s just not a big deal. That’s because in our house, discussion is a Big Thing. But they miss out on sport, which is a large part of many families in New Zealand, because it’s just not a big deal around here. They are deeply influenced, and the patterns of their living set for a long time to come, by the way that Mr Bee and I live.
And the type and amount of food they eat, and the exercise they do, or don’t do, is deeply influenced by us. They have no responsibility for what does into their lunchboxes. That’s MY responsibility. I’m the one who buys the bread and the sandwich fillings, makes the muffins, ensure there’s some fruit and some yoghurt on hand, so that they can make their school lunches.
So when Prof. Penington sets out to shame children, not only is he doing something that is completely ineffective anyway, but he totally missed his target.
I’ve had enough of teachers and doctors and (alleged) experts filling the school curriculum with do-gooding nonsense, which only leads to children coming home and trying to get their parents to change. But exactly how much power do children have to change their parents anyway? Very little indeed. It’s an intolerable burden to place on children. I think Prof. Penington must hate children too.
So how should one illustrate a story about falling sperm counts?
With a headless pregnant woman, of course!
Well done, New Zealand Herald. Well done.
Tick the tropes: men’s illness = women’s problem, women as bearers of fetuses, women responsible for the human race, women reduced to a state of pregnancy, women reduced to body parts. Any more?