March 18th, 2009

Willow

Snippets from the office

The rest of my building breaks for morning tea at 10 every day. I don't cause I am a killjoy. Or rather, I would prefer to sleep in, get in later and work through it. I'm not a morning person.

So I am at my desk working and they are talking. Then I head my name yelled:

C: Alisa!!! You ever eat maple syrup and bacon?
pause
C: ... oh wait, you're a vegetarian
gj: And Jewish!


Heh. Good times.
shoes

Media consumption

So those boobs are not Pauline Hanson's, it seems. Careful analysis and scrutiny by her then husband at the time and an academic at RMIT are conclusive about it - it's a good lookalike but it's not her.

An emotional Ms Hanson on Monday vehemently denied the photos were of her and threatened to sue media outlets involved in their publication. Last night Mr Johnson's message to Ms Hanson on national television was that his only "agenda" with the photos was to pay for medical bills.
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25202796-421,00.html

His only agenda?? His only agenda was to invade someone else's privacy, someone who at some point in the past he had an intimate and private moment with, and capitalise on their fame and their public profile through humiliation in order to get some bucks. Sure that's not so bad. That's even ... what? Honorable? Ha! Interesting though that she is portrayed as "emotional" as though that is bad, and Johnson is quite clearly emotionless, and that apparently is better? No fingers are being pointed in his direction about being a low down, opportunistic weasel.

I know I am focussed at the moment at looking at most things with a feminist reading or point of view. I wonder whether it's just that once it's pointed out to you you can't not notice it anymore.

I've seen three movies in the last two weeks. And I gotta say I am so sick of seeing women beaten on, raped, dressed up as vixens or portrayed in weak and compromised positions. I think I have to go see better movies but ... it also occurs to me that probably what I have been watching is the mainstream experience - a sample of what mostly is being shown and what people are watching.

Whatever you want to say about Watchmen, to me the issues relating to feminism, if they were there, were not obvious and required filling in of the blanks on your own. I'm not sure if it was a loss in translation from paper to film (I'm yet to read the comic) but ... it seemed to me that rather than being a commentary of how female superheroes were portrayed in the 60s and before, the film simply portrayed the female superheroes that way. There needs to be some final closure or comment, if it is in fact supposed to be commentary.

This last weekend I saw W, a film about George W Bush directed by Oliver Stone and Notorious, about the rapper called Notorious BIG (I think? Everyone kept changing their names). Two films very different in substance. Yet in terms of their portrayal of women ... not so different. In W I was really and truly disappointed - the film in general was less than it could have been. It fell apart at the point that Bush ran for President in that everyone around him thought he was an idiot yet ... helped him to win. Why? Their motivations were never really explored or explained. So too the reasons for some of the players' actions lacked motivation as well as their allegiance to Bush (even if only for their own agenda or otherwise).

But the biggest annoyance for me was the portrayal of Condoleeza Rice who was stripped of so much power and agency that she became this almost PA-like person in the room - never really saying or doing very much. And I find that so hard to believe. In perhaps wanting to paint her (and Powell) in a kinder light and less responsible for the downfalls of the Bush Presidency, Stone robs her of all her power. He makes her someone who goes along with things that she looks like she doesn't agree with and he takes away her independence of thought, initiative and strength. Like her politics or not, I don't believe for one second that she stood by and let all those events just happen around her.

And so too, Laura Bush is painted as this quiet, southern wife who yeses and nos to her husband and just stands by and never says anything or disagrees or offers any real opinions. Any of her involvement in anything is stripped away so that even her own good work that she did whilst in the White House is removed. She becomes the wife lying in bed in a satin nightdress doing the crossword and calling her husband to bed. I don't believe that's an accurate representation of her either. And it works to strip her power and ownership in the story too.

Don't get me started on Notorious where women are either to be mocked and ignored (his mother), beaten on, are pregnant crack whores, or are women to either mess around on or with. The sex scenes were actually the most repugnant and upsetting of the whole movie. He's this fat, unattractive man who you can hardly understand unless he is rapping and he beds all these beautiful, young, sexy and thin women. Except (cause he is so fat) all he does is lie on his back and let these women bounce around on him. Why that would be fun for the women, I have no idea. But it had this bizarre undertone to it - he's what, *so* desirable that he only has to lie back and enjoy himself? I dunno, it upset me a lot.

There was an attempt to redeem him towards the end of the movie, and say that he finally became a man and realised his wrong doings. But, calling a woman a bitch on the phone in front of your toddler daughter and then picking her up and telling her never to let a man call you a bitch, ever, just doesn't sell it for me.

I'm becoming more and more frustrated that there is so little, on the big screen at least, that represents the kind of woman I am, or see myself as. There's very little up there that speaks to me or that I can relate to. All the "chickflick" movies seem to be about women competing with each other and tearing themselves down, which doesn't appeal either. I'm getting very very frustrated with the whole thing. I think I am going to need to choose better movies.

I am though looking forward to the French Film Festival coming up at the end of the month!
me

Surreality - will the real girlie jones please stand up?

A lot of people keep asking me how I am or how I am feeling. And I know it's cause they care, and they want to know that I feel better. I'm not really sure how to answer them though. It's not like I have an infection and I just need to put the ointment on three times a day and all will be good.

I feel better, and that's what I say. I do feel better from the low of Saturday. Today especially, I would call myself functioning. And my brain seems to have cleared a lot and I have been able to be very focussed on things today. Today would be the first day that I have been able to be detail-oriented again and I seem to have churned through a lot of work. And that feels good.

But I'm left with this after taste, I guess is the best way to describe it. Now that my head is clearing and I am starting to be able to not only approach work but start to get on top of a few things, I am starting to build momentum to get on top of a few more. My desk at work looks less like a bomb has hit it and my email inbox is slowing ticking down. And that in itself makes me feel better. And so I am partially left wondering if what I experienced was more like burn out than anything else. Did things just get on top of me Thurs/Fri and instead of being able to use all my techniques for dealing with lots of balls in the air, did I run out of steam, was I too tired after two weeks of late nights working, did I just have nothing left in the tank? Tears and tantrums and grumpiness surely are the next logical outcome.

Is this just a passing feeling and with more sleep, better diet, more exercise, hugs and the meeting of a few deadlines, will I feel more back to me?

The question I really have though, is - which is me? Will the real girlie jones please stand up? I was so absolutely happy with my life and how things were going up to last week. I genuinely was content and rolling along thinking life was awesome. Now, I can't even remember what that feeling feels like. Which is real? Which is the transitory emotion? If my happiness is so fleeting, was it really real in the first place? Did I only think it was real? Or ... is this feeling the one that is transitory? And how do I know? How can I tell the difference? Am I the butterfly or the philosopher dreaming of the butterfly?

I'm definitely all discombobulated.

My internal barometer is out of order and I have lost my sense of perspective. I *think*. Though maybe now I have it back and it was lost before? It's a funny thing for the general state of your brain to just .. wig out.