Monday, 29 June 2009

Feminism and Islam, Part 2

In response to some comments on the other post, it's not always a good idea to assume that wearing a burqa or hijab is always about oppression. Remember what they say; when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Did you all know that there was a time in Iran when new leadership imposed a law onto women that forbid them from wearing hijab? Older women who had worn hijab all of their lives stayed inside instead of going out in public. Can you imagine if all women in Australia or the US were forced to wear mini-skirts and expose their midriff?

To play devil's advocate, a certain level of invisibility can be a good thing, as a woman. When I was 16, and then again at 19, and the last time at 24 or 25, I had a shaved head. Majority of men treated me as less than female in public, there were no common flirtations back and forth, and I got so used to it that even now, I sometimes think that should be the norm. Remember, feminism is about choice.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Feminism and Islam

In reading through the newspaper yesterday, I came upon an article discussing French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ban on the burqa in France. His argument was that it was degrading to women, and that France should not allow women to be treated in this way. To be honest, it sounded more as though it was an attempt to force French values on immigrants. This is not the first time aspects of Islam have been surpressed in France. I remember a few years back, there being a ban on hijab in schools. Since when has Mr. Sarkozy become the French authority on what is degrading to women, I ask? When Muslim women move overseas to places like France, they (some, at least) have a choice as to whether they want to wear hijab, just as nuns choose to wear a habit, orthodox Jewish women choose to wear wigs, and those of us who wear our hair down choose the style and length. It seems to me that France is far too worried about change, and imposing French values as a means of avoiding diversity.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Getting Ready for the 4th of July

So I'm hopefully having a couple of guests over for the 4th of July, which is the Yank Australia Day, for those of you who don't know it. It won't be warm, and there won't be any fireworks, but at least I won't have to listen to any hillbilly music either. The baked beans and pineapple cake covered in coconut pecan frosting will be on the menu, as will ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad. Absolute bummer of it is that I can't eat the ribs, nor will I ever be able to eat ribs again, unless they are the kind that fall of the bone, which is one of the most gutting things about my recent tooth injury:( Guess I'll have to learn how to cook them that way!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

In Praise of International Students

When are people going to realise that diversity makes things interesting, and is a positive complexity in so many ways. There was a special insert in The Advertiser this past week dealing with international students. If you're not in Australia, you may not realise what has been going on with regard to hate crimes against foreigners lately, mostly interstate but coming home to Adelaide this week as well. One car torched, another person bashed in Rundle mall, and fliers from the Australia First party being distributed around campus that request, "Overseas Students Go Home!" I was an international student, and I'm a foreigner, so I thought I would take a moment to personally address the 5 myths about international students mentioned in Denise Von Wald's (Chief Executive, Education Adelaide) article.

Myth: International students take the place of local students
There was only one English student on my course, which was an MA in International Tourism Management. In this case, Brits were typically more likely to finish a BA in Tourism and then hit the workforce. Had they been interested in the MA course though, there were plenty of places for them available.
Myth: International students pay massively inflated fees to ensure their acceptance into Australian institutions.
I had to pay at least twice as much as domestic students in the UK, and had to undergo the same entrance requirements.
Myth: International students work illegally while they're in Australia.
I spent most of my time in England with other international students, all of whom stuck to their 20 hour per week of allowed time in the workforce, and none of whom were paid under the table.
Myth: International students are all rich.
I took out loans to finance my MA in the UK, which on average, would take an individual 10 years to pay back, at a rate of about $200 a month.
Myth: International students study and leave, giving nothing in return to the SA community
Yes, I left the UK after having spent a year doing a degree, but if nothing else, I certainly stimulated the economy with my local grocery bills and other expenditures. I still have friends from my degree I keep in touch with, and at least one of them, who was from elsewhere in Europe, has stayed in the UK and has filled a niche role in the industry in which she studied.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Let There Be Heat

We finally got our heater installed this past week, and have been enjoying it all the long weekend:)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Nice Surprises

Everytime I call my Aunt Liz, as soon as she realises it's me, her voice changes when she says: "Susan!" I always thought it was nice but didn't understand how she could be that excited just to hear from me. The other night, my mobile rang at about 8pm and the name that showed up was my husband's brother D_. I was surprised he was ringing me, but then I said hello and heard a response hello and a pause, then..."It's J_", who's my nephew. It was his birthday and he was just ringing to say hi because I'd texted my bro & sis-in-law earlier in the day to wish him a happy birthday from us. It was so cool! It's cheesy but I think I'll always remember my first phone call from my nephew. I now get why Aunt Liz has a change of tone when she realises it's me on the phone.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Just Because I'm a Native English Speaker...

I think Australians forget sometimes that I'm a foreigner too. For some reason, people here don't seem to think it's inappropriate to talk about the things they don't like about immigrants in front of me. Over the past week, I've heard the following negative things about immigrants from various cultural backgrounds:
  • They can't speak properly
  • They're lazy and/or unintelligent
  • They move too slow
  • They smell

It reminds me of being back in the US, and being in a group of whiteys who thought it was ok to make black jokes, although I almost find it more insensitive in this situation, as if I was black and people are making black jokes in front of me...or something to that extent. I speak up sometimes, but it gets real tiresome.