Tuesday, August 21, 2007

thinking pink

So, did women really evolve to prefer the color pink because natural selection favored those of our female hunter-gatherer ancestors who could easily pick out ripe fruit? For some, it's now settled beyond doubt:

IT'S official. Blue is the most popular colour and women really do prefer pink, and reddish shades of blue like lilac and purple.
And the preference isn't just a result of social stereotypes, pushing pink on girls and blue on boys. It's innate and occurs across cultures, claim British researchers who studied the colour preferences of 208 young adults: 171 Britons and 37 mainland Chinese.

For others, there are some doubts. First of all, the subjects of the study were aged between 20 and 26, allowing plenty of time for socialisation to have already taken place. This rather obvious flaw means that the scientists are now off to try to replicate the findings in babies instead of adults.
Secondly, the argument of nature over nurture is weakened by another finding in the study:
The participants in the study were Chinese and British. The Chinese students showed a marked preference for red. As red symbolises luck and happiness in China, this indicates that cultural norms are also involved.

To me, that just highlights the powerful role of socialisation and tends to support the conclusion that 'nurture' also strongly factors into the gender color preferences.
There's also a suggestion that it would've been adaptive for females to recognise emotional states associated with pinkness, but given the association of pinkness with the sexual states, it's just as feasible that it was adaptive for men to like pink too...
Also, the claim that this is a genuine cross-cultural study is a bit iffy. We're talking Westernised Chinese here, aren't we; subjected to the same gender color norms and the same aggressive marketing of pink. Show me the study with subjects from a completely different, non-consumer society--say a modern tribe of hunter-gatherers--and I'll buy it.

fifteen minutes of flame

Sorry, Piers Akerman, it wasn't an hour, it was fifteen minutes, according to the owner of the strip joint. At worst, Rudd was "a little rowdy" and "uppity". And Janet Albrechtsen, sorry but you're wrong, too.

Had Tony Abbott taken a detour to the Pink Pussycat one evening, I’m betting that the Labor Party sisterhood would be hissing for his resignation. Likewise if Alexander Downer or John Howard were caught on a pleasant UN tour of duty at Scores, we could expect howls of feminist derision.

Frankly, my dear, I wouldn't give a damn if they did. I have no interest in the sex lives of politicians. The issue would be one of hypocrisy, the gulf between what the conservatives say and what they do, and not of "male exploitation of poor working girls". It wouldn't be a feminist issue but a general political one.
Feminists are 'silent' on this issue (if we are) not because we support Labor policies. I'd suggest we're 'silent' because among consenting adults, we have no problem with a little female nudity, or with women who choose to work as strippers and/or sex workers. Feminists respect women's choices. This is not the Victorian era, and provided there was no exploitation involved, I don't regard this as a feminist issue.
And something I've been wondering about lately. Over the past few years we've been incessantly told by the Right that Howard's long reign means most Australians are conservative. They based this idea on the fact that just over half of the people voted Liberal and extrapolated from this that the minority Left was criticising the Australian people generally whenever it criticised the Howard government. So, now that polls are showing that the majority of people are progressive, can we preach to the Right that to criticise progressives is to criticise the Australian people as a whole?

Monday, August 20, 2007


Ah, very funny, SBS. I noticed in the telly guide they were screening a show called Stripperella tonight. (Synopsis: "A man is bitten by a uranium-contaminated beaver and starts chomping everything in sight that is made of wood. Back at the club, Giselle is performing lap dance on an elderly fellow, and when it is over, she discovers that he has had a fatal heart attack".)
Elsewhere, the 7:30 Report totally let me down tonight. There was Kerry O'Brien playing along with the faux-scandal and trying to nail Kevin Rudd on whether he had in fact seen a lapdancer lapdancing or not. Man, who cares? Sorry, this one's in the public disinterest, guys.
Meanwhile, this contentious Jack Marx piece (reproduced at Club Troppo) is just waaaay too much information. I don't want to think of Rudd's "erection creaking to life in his trousers". I don't want to imagine his "anxious loins". I really don't want to imagine him "humping" anything:

"Back at his hotel room, the shadow foreign affairs minister would have laid in the dark, thinking. He would have smelled her, felt her lingering touch still upon him, like that of some phantasmic seductress. Perhaps, if he were lying face down, he’d have begun a gentle humping, his pillow underneath as kapok mistress. Or perhaps, with closed eyes to the heavens, deliverance would have been at hand."

Naughty, sure, but hardly a sackable piece of writing, I wouldn't have thought. This isn't Spain after all. Here, cartoonists can get away with drawing important figures in bed, like Leunig did in Saturday's Herald. Mind you, the woman Leunig drew in bed with John doesn't resemble Janette at all; maybe Glenn Milne should investigate further.
Anyway, surely the most interesting part is the identity of exactly who was gyrating in front of Kev that night? Aha!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Since he has the flu, we treat him to a new Thomas video and spend the afternoon snuggled up watching it. We are introduced to a new character, Sir Topham Hatt’s elderly mother. Later, over dinner, the boy takes a long look at me and says,
"Mum, you look like Dowager Hatt."
And starts laughing, possibly at the look of stunned horror on my face. Thanks, mate! Still, if he's cracking jokes, he must be feeling better...
He also makes me laugh when we see an ad for Australian Idol on the telly. He recognises the logo, if not quite the name:
"Mum, the noise show is back," he says.
Well, it probably won’t be long before he’s auditioning for the noise show himself, anyway. The other day I filmed him strumming his ukelele and ad-libbing a little song. As he 'tuned' his ukelele he told me,
"This song’s about a car, Mum. I like a song about a car."
Then he belted out, in a kind of death metal style of delivery,
ABC Kids with the ca-ar...ABC Kids with the monster...ABC Kids with the tea-towel...ABC Kids with the cow-ouch----and so on, casting his eye about our living room for further lyrical inspiration. He finished by posing, pulling a mean face, growling ROCK STAR!, flinging his poor ukelele down and stomping off stage left. I’m not sure if this means he’s been watching too much ABC Kids or too much Rage; probably both.

fever all through the night

Sorry for lack of posting and reading blogs. There's stuff in the works (in particular a critique of the three anti-blogging pieces published in the broadsheets at the weekend) but my boy has come down with another bug, this time of the sore throat, runny nose, high fever kind. He's a trouper but I'm a bit of a nervous wreck as he's only ever had mild fever before. Anyway, back to the blog as soon as poss.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

more red cheeks for the Liberals

Well, that kind of backfired, didn't it? Go looking for evidence that reality TV is rotting people's morals and find out it's actually making them better citizens. D'oh! Maybe Helen Coonan hoped that, after sitting on the report into the evils of reality TV for nearly six months, people might've forgotten all about it. Sadly for her, The Australian has managed to use Freedom of Information laws to reveal:

A previously unreleased Australian Communications and Media Authority report reveals reality TV may make better citizens of the 15- to 24-year-olds who constitute the principal audience.
"Being exposed to people and situations they would not normally encounter in their day-to-day lives had a positive impact on many young viewers," says the report, based on focus group research by ACNielsen.
"It made them aware of, and more tolerant of social diversity and caused them to reflect on their own behaviours and the impact they have on others."
The focus groups - shown clips from Big Brother and its adults-only version, Border Security, Jamie's Kitchen Australia, Cheaters and the Biggest Loser - were inspired by the personal growth of many participants and "found examples of discipline, commitment and hope".

Talk about adding insult to injury. It's not doing kids any harm, and it could actually be doing them some good. Looking forward to hearing what the Minister has to say on the subject sometime.