Archive for Life

Gender disparity in sport…

Posted in Gender, Life, News, Sport with tags , , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by L.J

With all the advancements that women have made in the world, there is still a ways to go when it comes to women in sport and how women in sport are viewed. Professional sport is recognised in a variety of ways in the contemporary world whether it be by monetary value, advertising power or media presence. In all three of these elements women rarely if ever out rank their male counterparts, yet no clear reason is evident for this. The only place where women out rank men is on their individual sporting success.

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Abby Wambach – 6 time winner of the U.S Soccer Athlete of the year award.

The sporting world is littered with examples of where select women’s teams (English Cricket team, Aussie and Dutch hockey teams) or individuals (Golfer Annika Sorenstam, Tennis champ Venus Williams) are ahead of their male counterparts when it comes to success. Yet they rarely become the household names that their male equivalents do, and even if they do you’re not going to find big posters for kids to put on their bedroom walls. Which begs the question, is there shame in being a female sporting hero? Where are the posters for young men and women to put up of their favourite players who just happen to be female? Why must we persist with posters of Michael Jordan or football players as the dominant options? 365544-hockeyroos-win-in-delhi There is a circular argument that exists, where women’s sport would be more televised/reported on and have more prize money/sponsorship IF they had more people interested in them in the first place, and the only way they can have that is if they’re being televised/reported on… This is a cruel concept on many levels because it makes it incredibly hard for women to break out of the circular rhetoric that surrounds women’s sport. It makes it harder for women to dispel/confront or alter the myths surrounding womens sport (they might get hurt easier, they turn into men, something happens to their sexuality). It makes it harder for young women who are talented to determine their career paths and it makes it harder for some to support their families/self if they do choose to be a professional sportswoman.

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When scouring the Internet for articles on this topic it’s not hard to find the comments from Joe Blog demonising women in sport sometimes being overtly sexist, but often displaying sexist thoughts without being consciously aware of such. The overwhelming suggestion from men regarding how women could lift their profile in sport, was to “sexy it up” or that “Bikinis could save most female professional sports leagues”. This speaks volumes about the understanding of how hard sports people work (regardless of gender) and how far society has to come before we can accept the fact that a beach volleyball outfit is not the answer for the success of women’s sport in general. The argument that sex sells demeans the sport in question implying that without the “sex” element the sport wouldn’t be worth playing or watching at all. sex-sells-main Women in sport have been further compounded recently in Australia by our Minister for Women (PM Tony Abbott), thanks to the budget cuts to SBS and the ABC. As a result one of the first things to go is the televising of women’s sport. This is a frustrating and outrageous thing to have happen. Women in sport already get the bottom of the barrel when it comes to print media… women appear in the sport section not only after the men, but after the horses as well. 0 As a Phys Ed Teacher, the loss of televised women’s sport makes a bigger impact on my classroom than what was already happening because it decreases my chances of providing my students with great examples of women in sport. It allows some of my students to reinforce in their heads that women don’t belong in professional sport and it also makes it harder for my female students to identify and connect with sportswomen that they would like to emulate in their future. Ennis_2314669b Sport is suppose to be the great equaliser, the coming together of like minded combatants who desire nothing more than to overcome their previous attempts. We as a society allow these events to be altered by money, media coverage and the advertising world’s distorted views on what success is suppose to look like.

 

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Thank you Michael for my family across the world.

Posted in Life, Michael Jackson with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2014 by L.J

I was thinking the other day how incredibly lucky I am to have the friends that I do. Friends do a lot for one another, whether it’s lending a listening ear when troubled, laughing with your jokes or accepting your differences with grace and a wry smile of understanding. Thanks to the internet though there are one group of friends that I have that are unique. The reason being that we all have one thing in common that influences our lives. Actually this common interest is what brought us all together to begin with. It has always been said that Michael Jackson fans are a completely different breed of fan and I wholeheartedly believe it. How else can I account for the family that I have across the globe? My fellow sisters and brothers who understand what it is to give, to love more oh and how to do a mean moonwalk or sideglide!

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My journey online within the Michael Jackson community has been a long one, and though I believe it ended shortly before Michael would pass away, I guess in honesty it never really ends because of the long list of friends that kept in contact long after I left the physical website that connected us. Though life has changed many times since then these friends still remain in their different shades of interaction with me. It’s an interesting journey and has been met with laughter, heartache, miscommunication, connectedness and a combined love for the things that we’re passionate about.

I remember joining a chat site on a whim one day, and being stuck there for hours on dial up internet as I learnt so many things about Michael and read in fascination the intelligence of some of the people there. The text continued to scroll up as rapid fire jokes and quips flew from what was obviously a group of people who knew one another but they let me join in and the conversation laughed along. I was LJ_Aus. When I finally logged off to let someone use the house phone I laughed to myself “my god I’ve found people who get me!” I revisited this chat site numerous times making some friends, I remember a Brenda from Australia that helped me understand how the website worked. I remember a very funny guy called Chichi.

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Life changed though and I started going to higher ed and when I returned to the chat site it was gone. I remember feeling a sense of loss and annoyance at myself for not getting one of the “regulars” email addresses because surely they had moved somewhere? So I began searching until I found a new website that was supposedly official promoting the up and coming album “Invincible”. I felt like I was on to something, I continued to surf until I came across an online forum. I joined and learnt how to use discussion forums but there weren’t any familiar faces or usernames. I kept searching, “where did these people go?” I found another discussion forum. I questioned myself on whether I really wanted to join another one but did so anyway. This one was bigger, this one felt right. I kept scrolling through conversation and then I saw a name I recognised, and then another. I had stumbled upon Trish and Chichi! I had been gone a while and I’m sure they wouldn’t remember an LJ_Aus especially not now that I was just simply L.J but I was back with what felt like my people.

I made friends with another Aussie,Celeste and we laughed a lot. She knew a lot more about Mike than I did and she was very talented with graphic design. She was the first MJ fan I would meet in RL (real life). She visited in Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games and we met up. There’s something awesome about meeting up with someone who shares a common interest. We got along well and our friendship became that I would eventually visit her in Adelaide for a weekend where we talked, cooked food and she introduced me to another MJ fan that I knew only as the poetic one. Dimity is a lovely soft spoken woman who went on a bushwalk with us and we chatted about everything from Michael to life itself.

Michael Jackson

There were a couple of people on the forum who I chatted to quite a bit and I didn’t know it at the time but they would become very dear friends in the future. There was AmericanGuy, Helen_S, Boneidle and Chaos. Each of these people appeared so different that if you had of told me “these people will be the ones you talk with the most after it all” I would have asked “why?”. AmericanGuy was thoughtful and had a clear interest in films. Helen was the “Random Thoughts” poster who also appeared to enjoy horror movies. Boneidle didn’t post as much but it was clear that she had a good sense of humour and Chaos… well he was the wild child. He was constantly finding ways to stir and when he wasn’t doing that he was sharing in his love for film, music and martial arts. These people and I would later join AmericanGuy’s website where we remain today as good friends, we exchange gifts for Christmas and above everything else we provide a good ear for one another.

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There were others on the forum that I have kept in contact with or still have on my friendlist on Facebook or Twitter and for some of them it’s just to keep that line of connection there even if we don’t speak any more. Our lives have changed but they’re there and that’s enough for me. There’s Rhys, who offered to met with me at a vigil in Melbourne when Michael passed away, but I declined because I knew I couldn’t get there, but his offer was gratefully appreciated. There was Bongani and Layth, who loved the same style of music as me and they and Rhys would spend hours discussing music. There are some on my list who’s usernames I have forgotten over time, but they’re there for a reason. Little Catinca from Romania, Greg from England, who was lots of fun but sadly we both let politics get the better of us and that ruined our friendship. There’s a host of names such as: Joy, Crafty, Anette, Rebekah, Nicole, Moon, Suzette, Elena and Sanja. There is also Marni who has a lovely spirit and is kind.

There are others too that have always just been there such as Mechi from Germany, a wonderful soul with only kind words. Silhouette, known fondly as Sil. Malc, the guy with a gift for video editing who made incredible mashup films of Michael’s work. He fell in love with Celeste and she travelled to England to be with him, eventually the two of them would disappear from online, I miss them but I’m sure they’re happy (and I bet Celeste has the new iPhone 6 already). There was Magic, who is a delightful woman with her beautiful red hair and her eye for photography. Barbara “Bunz” who I met through another friend, who shares my love for animals, our mutual friend is Minnie. Minnie from Denmark and I used to laugh a lot. We shared our dreams for the future and I was fascinated by her adventures. Minnie fell in love and now she is a proud mumma and I’m proud for her as she ticks off a life goal. Another friend of theirs that I’ve come to appreciate is Dangerous Lee and her fierceness and her ability to write.

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Chichi, Sosodef and Ja were probably the funniest and most outrageous of all my online friends. Nothing was too sacred and everything was funny. I remember our conversations in a Paltalk chatroom and listening to Ja’s laugh even as she was trying to get out what she was trying to say. Her rapid fire comments coated in emotion and Chichi’s responses in the text below would make my whole morning. Trish would join in and a few others and it was just a good time for all.

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There is one other group of friends that I have online and I fondly refer to them in my head as “the sisterhood”. These girls have remained constant since we’ve come to know each other. I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting one of these girls to date, but I’m confidant that I’ll eventually meet all of them at least once in my lifetime. There’s Shelby, who shares my love and wonder for the outdoors. Destiny and her husband Sven, who I met in Washington and is just as lovely as I knew she would be. Marie in Norway who understands the taste of a Boost Juice, and why Fallout is amazing. Reinet, who is living everywhere in the world on her own and her courage for adventure amazes me. Daphne who shares my love for kickass running shoes and Natalia with her wonderful blue/green hair. We always talk about getting together on Skype but with our timezones covering every extreme zone imaginable it’s always a hard task.

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These people are in my life due to our common love and fascination with Michael Jackson. Whilst many people might laugh at the notion of being a fan and going online to join a fan related forum, I know my life is richer for having met these people, and the fact that so many of them are still in my life now is a testament to the fact that good friends can sometimes feel like family. You don’t always need to talk to one another to know you’re there for one another. There have been others that I made friends with throughout the years, and for some it was a case of not meant to be. For some of us the friendship failed when the politics of being a fan got in the way of being friends who liked the same thing. I always believed it to be a test and for some the test was too great, but for me the one thing that I wanted from my love for all things Michael Jackson, was to make friends who “got me”. So thank you Michael and thank you to my wonderful friends from all over the globe who “get me”.