Thursday 7 August 2008

women's day

it seems to be a day full of women's issues. it started with the piece on tvnz's breakfast this morning about a survey of 400 women regarding their views of women in advertising. (the herald has an article here). the survey is a self-selecting on-line one, which leads me to wonder about the accuracy of the findings. some of the findings are that:

...89 per cent of respondents felt the way women were represented in advertising and marketing harmed their ability to be taken seriously in the workplace.

Eighty-six per cent replied campaigns portrayed women as "unequal in society" and 79 per cent said "real women" were not used.

and the first question tim wilson had to ask about this was "don't women have a sense of humour?" the interview pretty much deteriorated from there and not a lot of insight was to be had. which is a pity, because there are some serious issues to be discussed here. the interviewee, who i presume was amanda stevens of splash consulting group, raised the point that women believed they made 80% of the purchasing decisions, yet the advertising was not connecting with them. there was no discussion on what could be done about it though.

then there was the issue of "pregorexia", also covered on radio nz. looks like julie will be blogging more about this one, so i won't say much except that this is really sad. if this is not proof that raunch culture and the focus on women's appearance is unhealthy, then i don't know what is. a telling comment from the psychologist interviewed was that one of the measures they take is to not have any women's magazines in their offices at all.

later on in the morning was an interview on radio nz with maggie hamilton, author of "what's happening to our girls?". you should really listen to this. her book is a result of talking to teenage girls, their teachers, social workers and counsellors. some of the findings really were sad.

ms hamilton said the most common feeling amongst these girls was self loathing, a complete lack of self-confidence. she talked about the performance culture, part of which is sexual performance. this was putting pressure on girls having to be seen as "coming across", with the result that girls were having oral and anal sex very early on. and indulging in risky sexual behaviour that were leading to high rates of STDs.

she found that one in 10 girls were harming themselves by cutting, pulling their hair out or burning themselves. this kind of behaviour was becoming normalised very quickly, especially with the help of the internet. she also talked about the severe bullying that was becoming more common.

alothough the research was conducted in australia, i suspect that there would be similar findings here. all of which points to the fact that we need to be providing a lot more support for our young women, and a finding a way to give them messages other than the ones they get from the media, the internet and their peers.

and finally, there was the herceptin decision. this post is alreadyt too long to go into much detail, but given the majority of district health boards and women's health organisations are supporting the decision, and knowing that pharmac is fully aware of the public feelings on this issue, i can't imagine it's a decision that was made without taking into account all the scientific evidence available.

interesting point raised by the health correspondent on checkpoint this evening: national are saying they will fund the full 12 month course but legally would not be allowed to do so. unless, of course, they change the law to allow political interference in medical decisions. can't say that would be a good move, any way you look at it. decisions on medicines are always emotional, every group of sufferers has a valid case, and there is never enough money. the current model allows decisions to be made based on the best available evidence, and taking into account the needs of society as a whole. allowing political interference will mean the most vocal and media/politically savvy groups will get better funding, while those diseases that present in poorer or less educated populations are likely to receive less. not a fair system by any means.


Carol said...

I heard a lot of that interview with Maggie Hamilton on the Aus research on teenage girls.

I also find it disappointing that some teenage girls are ganging up on others in a way that Maggie described as "out of control". She gave an example of some girls attacking another girl. A woman stopped her car and rescued the girl while the gang banged on her car in a very threatening way.

It seems to me that media and consumerism are linked in feeding such brutal attempts to police conformity.

Anna said...

That comment about women lacking a sense of humour is just so childish and annoying. It's yet another feeble way of refusing to engage intelligently with the issues. Yawn.