Thursday, 26 April 2012

Harbourside Predictions

About two weeks ago I emerged at the Circular Quay train station, eager to waste some time in visible proximity to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, while I waited for Richard Dawkins to show up in the latter. I didn't get far out of the station before a kind-eyed brown man approached me and asked for directions. When I was finished explaining he needed to go to Town Hall station, he gave me some impromptu future predictions. "You will see many countries, you will have two children maximum, you have to watch your health... but money will not be a problem." I acknowledged his attempts to see a future version of me, then quietly excused myself before he asked me some non-feminist-friendly questions (sometimes you can tell it's only a matter of time before they come out).

I felt oddly comforted by this unwanted stream of the outsider perceptions. I have already seen many countries, but I do not intend to end at 33. There's so much more to see, and I like to think I'm just starting. Children? Just a few months ago I'd represented myself as so unhappy with the current state of the world that I felt it would be no good to bring children into it. But I guess I have woken up to the possibility that I may have children and perhaps a family around them one day. I imagine that if I did have them, they would be raised in the most gender-progressive country of my choice, Sweden.

As for watching my health, this makes a lot of sense. I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) and am pre-diabetic, so I need to invest energy into keeping myself as healthy as possible. I won't give up on my life, as Lady Gaga sings in Marry the Night.
Money not being a problem is a comforting thought as well, because my parents worry so much about my future that I worry that I should be worrying myself. Then I remember that worrying is something I'm always sorry to have done. It serves no positive purpose. Any act that can be done while worrying can be done without it, at a higher success rate. (But, enough preaching...)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Feminist Links

Here are some links that have affected me over the past few weeks:

Ashley Judd's Changing the Conversation

We Need To Talk by Jennie

Misogyny by Matt

and (only partly about feminism),

How the US uses sexual humiliation as a political tool to control the masses by Naomi Wolf

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Towards greater accountability

In Australia, the US and many other nations, 4-year political terms are the norm. Four years is a long time - enough time for cynicism to sink in and the stigma against corruption to dissipate. Leave a politician in office long enough, and they invariably become corrupt. The temptation to use their power for personal gain is too great - everyone is corruptible, and when you're constantly presented with the opportunity to break the law for personal gain, the chances are that eventually you'll find an offer too lucrative to turn down.

Which is why we need shorter political terms. 3 years, for example, or maybe 2. Keep the turnover of politicians high and the threats to transparency and integrity low. "We need fresh blood." You see, when a politician knows that they have four years before they have to worry about garnering public approval again, they are free to pursue policies which aren't aligned with the people's best interests. If, however, they know that their time in office is short, they are more likely to do everything they can to cater to public opinion. I'm sick of seeing politicians enter the highest seat of power with idealistic enthusiasm which fades into unabashed greed and the absence of morality. By the time they are spit out by the system, their lofty aims have long been discarded and, if they aren't considered a public disgrace, they almost certainly should be. It's time we updated our laws so as to strengthen our democracies and capitalise on the good intent that is often generated within those running for office.

I know I'm not the only one who thinks this is a great way to improve the quality of our leadership, but so far I haven't heard many people in the media promoting the idea of shorter terms. Perhaps you can help, by having conversations about it with your friends and colleagues, family and acquaintances, and posting about it on your social networking sites. Let's capture the public imagination, and transform the way democracy works by insisting the politicians remain accountable to the public that elects them.