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Silk Farm in Siem Reap

Another week, another collection of articles I have found interesting enough to pass on.

The articles

  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, says Australians need to get over their obsession with boat people.  I’m a little annoyed about the human trafficking reference though, that’s quite different to people smuggling and confuses the conversation.
  • A fascinating article in The New Yorker about a plagiarist.
  • So apparently women are guilty of sexually harassing men when they look good in their clothes.  Say what?!  Make sure you read the comments, they’re even better than the article.

Blog of the week

  • Brain Pickings is like an online museum of super cool and artsy stuff.
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Time for the second round of what I’m reading. This is already becoming difficult as I started this post on Tuesday, the day after posting the first in this series, and I already had four articles to share. I will try to limit the number of articles posted here, those who want to see more of what I’m reading can follow me on Twitter, where I frequently share the articles I enjoy. This past week has included…

The book

  • This has been quite a busy week, so I’m still on the same book as last week, ‘The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla’.  It’s getting to that exciting part where I have to force myself to put it down so I can get some sleep.

Articles

  • My flatmate alerted me to this beautiful article from Poetry Magazine about the Island of Lampedusa, which many African asylum seekers travel to, by boat, as a way into Europe. The author manages to represent the perspectives and positions of all involved in a very honest and respectful manner. Also, the author references The Leopard, one of my favourite books, several times, as well as Dr Who, one of my favourite shows! It is quite a long article, but I strongly encourage you to read to the end.
  • This is an interesting post by author Jennifer Weiner on whether or not the New York Times book reviewers are sexist.  Here is a response on Salon.com.
  • Can you be feminist and care about fashion? Ms Magazine explores.
  • Beautiful illustrations of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on The Guardian (sample shown above).
  • Add some spice to your cooking with some help from Monica Bhide. I have tried any of these yet, but have every intention of doing so some time in the next year.
  • And here is an article from last year by my favourite Guardian angry man, Charlie Brooker, on aspect ratio.  As he says ‘There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who don’t have any problem with watching things that are randomly stretched or squashed, and decent human beings who still have standards’.

Blog/site of the week

  • A little while ago I discovered the work of photographer Joel Robison. It’s a lot of fun and very creative. Check out his work on Flickr.
  • Downtown from behind is a tumblr with a fabulous photographic series of cyclists from behind on various New York streets.

Okay, sorry for those who read this post before I changed it, but I was writing a second post with links, and thought it best to include the previous post about Jessica Stanley’s blog in this one.

I have decided to start a new weekly post called what I’m reading (boring title, I know, any suggestions for something more interesting). Yes, the idea has come from the Read. Look. Think. posts in the above mentioned blog. I’ll just mention the book I’m currently reading, and provide links to articles and sites I’ve found interesting over the previous week. This post will include older articles, as it’s the first one.

The links are a little hard to see sorry. There is a dotted line under the words that link to the relevant pages.

The book

I’m currently reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and started the fifth book ‘Wolves of the Calla’ earlier this week. My brother has been trying to get me to read this series for a while as it’s one of his favourites. I finally started when I discovered they were turning it into a movie staring either Christian Bale or Javier Bardem. Now, while those who know me know that Christian Bale is, in my opinion, perfect (we’ll ignore the incident), Javier Bardem’s not far behind, so that was a win win situation for me. According to IMDB Javier Bardem will now play the role. Movie aside, I am thoroughly enjoying the books.

Articles

I really enjoyed this article, The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?, particularly as I am a feminist and a knitter.

I have written before on the perils of voluntourism, here is someone else’s take in the Sydney Morning Herald

And for something fun from Jezebel, science explains hipsters!

Favourite blog of the week

The afore mentioned blog of Jessica Stanley. A Melbournian living in London taking beautiful photos.

I have a secret shame. Okay, maybe it’s not that big a secret. Anyone who’s been in my company when I’ve had a little too much to drink, or who’s known me for any length of time, will be aware of this. The issue itself it not really a secret, the secret is that I am ashamed of it (okay, that may not really be a secret either).

I pride myself on being a feminist, a very well educated woman, a woman who is on track in the career I have always wanted, a woman who travels, reads a lot (43 books in 2011!), is versed in Australian and international politics, can be a little too passionate about issues and will argue about them until I’m in tears and everyone around me is either laughing or feeling a little sorry for me, and a woman who is blessed with a wonderful loving family filled with strong, bold women that have been wonderful role models and mentors for me as I have grown up.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that every time I look in the mirror I want to scream at myself and smash the mirror. I am not overweight. Well, maybe a tiny bit. My doctor told me I could afford to lose half a kilo. But, I am not unhealthy. I am not unusual. I am, as a matter of fact, quite boringly normal. So why do I, a well educated woman who should know better, obsess so much about such a stupid thing? Why is it, that every time I see a poster of Miranda Kerr I feel a hideous disgust and become so ashamed of my body that I decide to never leave my room?

It’s absurd! I am very ashamed of suffering from such a cliched weakness, but have no idea how to change it. I know all the right things. I know that the ideal I think I want to achieve is unhealthy and unattainable. I know that many of the images I see on posters and the covers of magazines are photoshopped. I could be slimmer if I did more exercise (my New Years resolution for the tenth year in a row) and ate less bread and pasta (but I love them so much!). But I would never have ‘that’ body. I am blessed to have good skin, hair that curls nicely in the right humidity, and I would often call myself pretty (but rarely out loud, as that would make me seem vain and women aren’t supposed to do that, it’s not feminine). But none of that matters when I’m preparing for a night out and change my dress ten times because that one shows the fat above my knees, that one shows the fatty bits around my arm pits, my butt looks too big in that one, my triceps are waving back to me in that one, those shoes make me look like I have cankles… Enough!!!! It’s exhausting! Leave me alone already!

Do I blame the media for my absurd obsession? Of course. I am surrounded by images of super skinny women. When there are successful women who don’t meet the ideal body type, their bodies aren’t shown. Has anyone seen a magazine cover showing Adele’s whole body? I have no problem with Miranda Kerr modelling swimwear, but I’d like to see some size 12 (my size) women modelling for Seafolly as well. It embarrasses me to say this, but I am influenced by the images I see in the media. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I was evolved enough to not even notice. I’m working on that, but I’m not there yet.

But it’s also my fault. I think I perpetuate this by talking and thinking about it too much. Only last night I was complaining about this with a friend I hadn’t seen in months. Months! Why did I waste that valuable time talking about my arse?!

So what am I going to do about it? For starters, I’m going to watch more Kate Winslet films. Secondly, I’m going to try and stop talking about my weight. It will be really hard, as I think I talk about it to stave of criticism I think is in the minds of the people I’m with, but most likely isn’t there. I’m putting it there. I will say I’ll exercise more, and I’ll say it’s purely for health reasons. But I say that every year. And in addition to my work, I’m starting a law degree this year. So time will be even more tight, but then, exercise will be more important.

By the way, while I say I’m going to stop talking about this, I mean I’m going to (try) and stop whinging about it to my friends, who are now sick of me. I am going to write more about it in this blog. I also want to write more about feminism and Christianity. I am both, a Christian and a feminist. Many people seem to think these two are mutually exclusive. I call bull shit.

There is a lot to be said on this topic and my family have often been subjected to my rants on the issue. I may write more later, but I’m super busy with work stuff, so I’ll just post this video for now. What do you think?

To learn more about the film and to sign the pledge to ‘use [your] voice to spread the message of Miss Representation and challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls” go to the Miss Representation website.