'La Vista Da Qui' is Italian for 'The View From Here'.
This blog is intended to be a messageboard for my views and opinions. Feel free to agree or disagree. Enjoy...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stop with the Shaming

As a woman I am used to seeing a hundred different messages thrown at me by the media. You're too fat, you're too thin, have a career, have children, make more money, you must be happy, travel, succeed.... Is it any wonder we feel inferior? How can we live up to the image society has created of us when that image means we have to tick so many boxes and quite often many of those boxes contradict each other?

Making it even harder is the shaming that comes from people, quite often other women, when we don't live up to their expectations of what is right.

Mamamia is a high profile website published by Mia Freedman aimed at women and generates in excess of 1 million page views per month. In recent times some of their posts have taken on an air of 'we'll fight for women and their rights, but only if they are ones we like'.

Last week Mamamia published a post titled 'These very sad men started Fat Shaming Week but what happened next is brilliant'. The post details how a group of guys started a website that shamed women for being fat. Quite rightly the author Rosie Waterland, who is employed by Mamamia, took a horrified stance against this behaviour. One of the points she made was "Nobody owes it to anybody else to look a certain way". Hear, hear!

Yet on the very same day, Mamamia published another piece, this time by Mia herself, titled 'Are you a Mother or a Porn Star?' This post was in response to an Instagram picture from Kim Kardashian. In the piece Mia rips right into Kim with lines like "Are you really that desperate to reclaim your hotness that you're happy to discard your dignity and that of your daughter?" and "This photo is desperate. This photo is sad". Obviously in this case, Mamamia believe that Kim owes it to the world to look a certain way.

Now what I want to know is, what is the difference between it being ok to shame one particular type of woman but it not ok for another?

Body image is not the only way we women shame each other. Motherhood brings a whole bunch of judgement.

I've seen countless online arguements that belittle women who do not breastfeed their children. I've seen facebook posts from acquaintances despairing at their guilt of not being able to breastfeed. Yes, everyone knows Breast is Best, but surely the fact that your child is being fed at all is even better? Why would we place guilt and shame on new mothers who ultimately are just trying to do their best?

And if you thought the breastfeeding debate was enough shaming, wait until you have to make the decision to go back to work or be a stay at home mum! If you go back to work you're selfish, if you stay at home you're not contributing to society. You can't win! I have read a few online comment feeds on this subject and the downright nastiness from women on both sides of the fence is enough to scare anyone out of having children for fear of ending up so judgemental!

This judgement and shaming has got to stop!

Every woman has the right to live her life the way she see fit.
So what if she doesn't fit in with your expectations or morals? Yours might not live up to somebody else's. You are never going to please everybody.

Stop with the shaming of women for having a few one night stands, or for posting too many exercise pics to Instagram, or for deciding not to have children, or for a million and one other reasons! Just stop!

As women we need to tell society and the media that it is not ok to have unrealistic expectation of us. We need to say stop, only tick the boxes we want and let someone else tick the others without judgement.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Social Network

After arriving home from the movies last night I checked into Facebook on my iPhone. There's nothing unusual about that, it's normal for me to look at Facebook several times a day. Actually, I'll be honest, since getting an iPhone it's more likely that I'll check into Facebook a whole heap of times a day.

What made it a bit different last night was the fact that I was hesitant to log in. I'd just been to see The Social Network and felt like not logging in just to say a big fuck you to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg, played brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg, is not portrayed in the most positive light in the film.  A genius outsider, desperate to fit in, Zuckerberg alienates the few people who actually like him in his quest to be 'cool'.

The guy is smart and he knows it, and that's his problem. His intelligence comes with an arrogance. He isn't shy in hiding the fact that he thinks he is above others who aren't as blessed as he in the brain department.

This arrogance makes him so unlikeable. It makes you think, 'why the hell am I using his website and helping to generate billions of dollars for him?'.

But money isn't even it. In the film Zuckerberg isn't motivated by money. His motivation, pure and simple, is having people accept him and appearing cool.

The reason I wanted not to log onto Facebook was so I wouldn't give his arrogance validation. The more popular and successful he and Facebook become, the more he continues treating others like shit. Let's face it, it's worked well for him so far hasn't it?

I guess it's debatable how much of the movie is fact and fiction. As the old quote goes 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story', and to be honest it hasn't really damaged the Facebook brand has it?

No, because I did log onto Facebook last night. And I have again since then. You see, as much as the film makes you despise Mark Zuckerberg, he has changed the way the world communicates. Facebook gives me the opportunity to stay easily in touch with friends who I may have been unable to. I'm instantly aware of upcoming events of friends. I can track a friend's pregnancy, see pics of family and friends interstate and overseas, and so on.  Facebook gives you so much info that you want to keep using it.

That's where you can see Zuckerberg's genius. He's made it so that people still want to use his product despite them wanting to give him the middle finger and you've got to give the guy credit for that.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Carbs - The Devil In Our Diet?

Australia is getting fatter. Apparently we're even fatter than the Americans these days. So it's not surprising that food and diet is a hot topic of conversation.

Most adults with half a brain know that to eat healthily you just need to follow the food pyramid. Eat lots of fruit, veg and wholegrains, a moderate amount of proteins and dairy and small amounts of fats and sugars.

The food pyramid has been around forever and has always been the accepted basis for healthy eating.

So how did limiting carbohydrates become part of our mainstream diet?

Back in the early Naughties Hollywood was all over an eating plan called The Atkins Diet. Once Hollywood was on board, the rest of the world soon followed.

Created in the 70's by Robert Atkins, the Atkins Diet requires you to restrict your carbohydrate intake so that the body burns fat rather than using energy from carbs.  Sounds great huh? No wonder so many people are on board with this.

The problem is this diet completely contradicts the food pyramid. Carbohydrates are found in fuit, veg and wholegrains - the things we're meant to be eating the most. So I have to ask myself who is wrong, the health authorities of the last 50 years or Mr Atkins, whose diet took 30 years to take off?

The high selling point of a low carb diet is the fact that there is usually a big weight loss in the first few weeks. No wonder personal trainers the world over are spruiking it to their clients.

What they don't tell you is that this inital weight loss is loss of fluid in the body and in the muscle. They also don't mention that by limiting carbohydrates you're actually causing damage to your muscles and at the end of the day, if your muscles are dodgy, you're going to burn calories at a slower rate than you would with strong muscles.  And wouldn't that hinder weight loss in the long run?

It sounds complicated huh? And I haven't even mentioned anything about the nutrients your body won't get or the health problems that low fibre or high protein can cause.

1000 years ago we were eating in a simple fashion and we evolved quite fine. I see people today who won't eat an apple because of the carbohydrate content but happily chow down 3 cans of tuna a day as a snack and we have more health problems than ever before.

Low carb diets just complicate things for us. It complicates the inner workings of our bodies and it confuses our minds. Our diets are meant to be simple, like the humble food pyramid. We need to stop over-analysing everything and realise that everything in moderation can be good for us even (and God forbid) so called 'evil' carbs.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist. I don't claim to be the 'know all' of healthy eating. I'm a normal person, struggling to be healthy with all the food choices out there. This post is my opinion based on the information I have found on my search to find balance in my life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Death of a Rafter. Has Oz Lost the Plot?

It's come to my attention that I must be the only person in Australia who doesn't watch 'Packed to the Rafters'.

The outpouring of grief over Facebook last week over a characters death had me thinking that a real life mutual friend had died.

And apparantly Channel 7 News included the on-screen death as part of their bulletin.

So obviously this is a very popular show. However I was still taken aback by the commotion this caused. It truely was as if a prominent Australian had died tragically.

Now today, just to ramp things up to a new level, News website http://www.news.com.au/ has an article where a top psychologist is handing out a depression warning brought on by the death of the Rafters character.

I had to read the opening paragraph of the article again just to make sure I wasn't going crazy.

Dr Jan Hall is recommending that viewers remind themselves it's only a tv show (really?) and to go out and get some exercise to promote endorphins or watch a soppy DVD to release pent up emotions. (I wonder how long she studied at uni to give out that advice?)

Has Australia gone crazy?

Now I'm the first to admit I have a cry at just about anything even slightly emotional on tv. And no matter how many times I see Buffy send Angel into Hell I still bawl my eyes out every time.

But come on! I know it's only a show! They've got to be kidding themselves right? I don't know anyone who would slip into a depression over the death of a tv character. And to be quite honest, if I did then I'd seriously be worried about their well being!

Surely this article is a joke? Maybe some good PR work by Channel 7? That's the only explanation I have. I mean a show that barely registered on my radar before last week has been thrown into my face just about everyday now. It's gotta be the PR machine.... or Australia really has gone bonkers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knock To The Head? Seek Help!

Reading news reports today of the death of 17 year old Cameron Lowe made me shudder.

Cameron was out with some friends when they got into an altercation with some other kids. Cameron was punched in the head and he fell and hit his head on the road. A few hours later he was dead.

About 18 months ago I was woken in the middle of the night to a phone call telling me my boyfriend had been put in hospital due to a head injury.

He was king hit out of nowhere. It came out of the blue, so with no warning to defend himself he fell and hit his head on the road and was knocked unconscious.

Thankfully he was taken to hospital and kept for observation. He received the proper medical care he needed. My story could have been alot different. Cameron was at home, complaining of the pain on his facebook page. He should have been in hospital. If he had been it's more than likely he'd still be alive.

Head injuries are difficult to diagnose but are so serious and need proper immediate attention. Hopefully Cameron's death will not be in vain and will promote awareness for anyone who is in doubt to see a doctor.

I'm grateful everyday that Aaron has no serious lasting injuries but even moreso when I hear stories like this one today.

RIP Cameron

My Biggest Critic

Walking into a big, open room full of women undressing, I quickly scan around to find the quietest, most discreet area where I can try on a pair of jeans and a dress.

I hate this part, I remember from last time. It's not like I'm overly worried about other girls seeing me in my undies, I've done it countless times before,  I'd just be more comfortable in the privacy of my own change room. When there's a door no one can see if you tried to squeeze on a too small item of clothing that you talked yourself into trying just in case.

I walk over to an emptyish corner and put down my things. Shit! Did I wear good undies today? I really should have shaved my legs. Maybe my stomach would be flatter if I had skipped breakfast?

I try to be like Superman. Can I whip of my skirt and put those jeans on faster than a speeding bullet? Probably not, but I'll sure as hell try.

Undies are good and the new jeans are on. They fit like a glove. Now I've gotta do it all again for the dress.

I start to switch clothes and from the middle of the room I hear a young, skinny, pretty thing remark ''Oh, we all just look the same with no clothes on don't we?'' and I stop.

It hits me. Why am I being so silly about trying to get changed so quick? Nobody is looking at me. Nobody is judging me. Everybody is too busy looking at and judging themselves.

It's true. We all have things we don't like about ourselves. Some of us hate our thighs, some our tummies, some a whole bunch of stuff but at the end of the day we all are the same.

Whether we are fat, thin, average, whatever! Stop worrying about what others think because nobody is more critical of us than ourselves.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh My Yuck! I Just Ate A Pig!

I'm writing this feeling a little bit sick and a little bit upset. Somehow the place where I got my lunch put bacon on my roast vegie wrap. Do you think I bothered to check before I took a huge bite? Of course not.  I was starving!

I bit into what is my current fave lunch and my first thought was 'Wow, someone's done a real bad job of this today'. As I gulped it down I hoped the next bite would taste as it's usual self does. While I was chewing through the next bite I realised something was wrong, this tasted disgusting. I looked down into the wrap and quicker than you can say Babe the chewed up contents were spilling out of my mouth and onto my desk!

I was horrified, mortified, disgusted! I almost vomited all over my keyboard! I got myself together but haven't felt quite right since. I don't know if it's all in my head or it really is my stomach that's having the bad reaction. I'm guessing (and hoping) that since it was such a small amount I consumed I should be ok.

I haven't eaten red meat of any kind for about 12 years. I never really enjoyed red meat much at all. Eating a big steak wasn't my idea of a great dinner and when I was 14 I made a decision to stop eating it altogether. I can't really remember what my inspiration was but at that age I was becoming aware of how animals were treated in the quest to fill our plates, so part of my decision came down to that although it obviously wasn't the defining factor as I still ate chicken and fish.

Sometime over the next year though I remember seeing a truck on the freeway full of chickens in tiny little cages that made me sad. Not long after there was a newspaper article about the treatment of chickens and I made a 'bet' with someone to see who could go the longest without eating chicken. That person piked out that afternoon. I abstained from chicken for the next 7 years.

I don't know what it was that made me eat a piece of chicken 4 years ago. My body was craving it and I wanted it. I absolutely enjoyed that first piece of chicken and slowly over the next year I included chicken into my diet until it just became something I ate just about everyday.

I've always wondered if it were the same if I ate a piece of red meat. Would I enjoy it? I assumed not because I never really liked it much anyway but now after eating that little bit of bacon today I know for sure that I could never go back to eating it and although I feel sick to the stomach because of it, it is a little comforting to know.

So I'd like to apologise to my future pet pig for eating a little of one of his kind today. It wasn't intentional and I promise it won't happen again. I've learnt my lesson and will remember to check my food before I begin to inhale it like a.... well pig