Girl Phone

OPINION | ‘How dare a man ask that about a woman’: drawing the line on double standards

I was watching a US chat show the other day when the male host asked his male guest if his partner became “better in bed” when she was named ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’.

There was outrage.

How dare a man ask that about a woman.

Actually no. There wasn’t outrage.

Because the host was a woman and she asked the question of another woman, about her male partner.

It was Ellen Degeneres chatting with pop singer Gwen Stefani and joking about whether or not her partner, country singer Blake Shelton, became ‘less sexy’ after losing the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ title.

“Honestly he got sexier,” Stefani gushed, before Ellen asked: “When the title came upon him, did you notice he became better in bed?”

Stefani was noticeably caught off guard—blushing, before bumbling through an answer.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Although I shouldn’t have been too surprised, because it’s not the first time I have felt there are severe double-standards between male and female hosts.

I have previously watched Ellen send half-naked men into the audience to have cash inserted into their underpants.

Plus, there was the time Milo Ventimiglia (who plays Jack Pearson in This Is Us) was asked by a female audience member if viewers would get to “see more of your butt in season two, maybe a little something more?”. The crowd then went into a chant of “more butt, more butt”!

Could you imagine if a man got up and asked his co-star Mandy Moore if they’d get to see her boobs!

I’m not here to hate on Ellen. I do admire Ellen; she does amazing things for charity and spreading her ‘be kind’ message. She’s not the only one guilty of this.

And it’s not the first time the double standards have been highlighted. Cricketer Chris Gayle was back in the news recently concerning the fight to clear his name over the on-air incident where he ‘hit on’ female reporter Mel McLaughlin, causing a media storm.

When that happened the Daily Mail asked how it was different to when a Sunrise reporter hit on a man working out on the beach.

We’re now a year into the #metoo movement, which has quickly (and quite rightly) put the brakes on the objectifying of women, so why is it still the ‘norm’ to objectify men?

Maybe I’m just taking this too seriously, and it’s all supposed to be in fun.

But isn’t that the line in the sand we are so desperately trying to get clarity on when it comes to women’s bodies and what is and isn’t okay to say or do?

Christmas Present

Is there anything wrong with re-gifting?

The silly season is upon us, which means it’s about to be present chaos!

We’re going to get into debt to buy presents, with the average Australian who celebrates Christmas spending around $670 on Christmas presents each year, according to Gumtree.

We’re going to spoil our already-entitled kids with extravagant purchases, like iPads and trampolines and swing sets – the same research from Gumtree shows that smartphones/iPhone and computers/laptop are at the top of the wishlist for around 13% of Aussies.

And we’re all going to end up nursing our own fair shares of presents we’d rather not have received. I’m looking at you, giant over-sized lamp that doesn’t suit my décor… when I lived in a tiny apartment and had to travel home via plane. Thanks, mum?

It’s because of this last point that I am a big fan of re-gifting.

Not only do I re-gift on the regular, but I also think there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

“But it’s rude!” I can imagine you saying.

“We put thought and energy and time into selecting presents. Re-gifting it means the present wasn’t appreciated!”

Au contraire.

I would even go as far as to say that if I give someone a gift and for whatever reason, they don’t love it, I would be happy for them to pass it on to someone else.

At the very least, I’ve saved them some money and the hassle of shopping for something else, so my gift to them has served a purpose… even if it wasn’t the purpose I had intended.

Gumtree says the average person buys around 8 Christmas gifts each year, and collectively we spent over $9.8 billion nationwide.

I saw we promote some savings this year by encouraging the act of guilt-free re-gifting.

There’s only one golden rule: don’t re-gift within the same circle. Received a bottle of pinot noir from Secret Santa at work and you drink white? Re-wrap that bad boy for uncle Jim. Unwrap a book from mum that you already own? Set it aside for a friend’s birthday in the new year.

This is the art of successful re-gifting. It’s a sacred tradition as old as leaving out cookies for Santa, and it’s time we stopped feeling embarrassed about it!

Sleep Noise

‘Tis the season for neighbours to be rude and rowdy

Over the weekend we had a little pre-Christmas staycation at the luxurious new family-friendly resort, The Ruby Collection.

It was divine – seriously divine. Every little detail had been taken care of, from including kiddie steps in the premium bathrooms, to staging impromptu dance parties featuring William the Bear over breakfast.

There was only one thing that wasn’t fabulous about our stay – and that was the other guests. It’s always the humans that ruin things, right?

I should clarify that almost all of the guests were perfectly fine. They were happy holiday makers who were as relaxed as us, taking advantage of the pools and 24/hour café.

But at 11pm, a handful of people decided the party was just beginning… and they started singing Taylor Swift, loudly, from their balcony. Which was directly above our bedroom.

“Are they schoolies?” I asked my other half. “And how long do we need to put up with it before we complain?”

Turns out we didn’t last long… one more song, in fact. They were belting through the chorus of “You belong with me” when we called down to the front desk. They apologised profusely and must have dispatched someone swiftly, because the alfresco karaoke party wound up a few minutes later.

It was a timely reminder that the silly season is upon us, which means we have countless neighbour parties ahead of us.

Our neighbour’s backyard is adjacent to ours, so we can see them and they can see us. Their tell-tale sign of an impending gathering is sweeping their deck. Once that broom comes out, we know that guests are soon to descend, and we’re going to be listening to Beyonce well into the early hours of the morning.

And here’s the annoying thing about loud neighbours when you’re at home: there’s no concierge desk to call and rectify the problem. No security guard to dispatch to the offenders.

You just have to shut the windows, crank up the meditation music and hope they wind down soon.

So, this is my official appeal for the silly season: if you’re having a get-together, please think of your neighbours. Keep the volume down or wrap things up by 9pm, and everyone gets to enjoy their holiday break.

Girls School Uniform

Private vs public school: debate rages on

“I would never send my kids to a state school,” the woman at the next basin over from me said to her hairdresser.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with those schools,” she added smugly. “They’re just not for us.”

Internally, I rolled my eyes. Externally, I said and did nothing.

Which bothered me. I wish I had said something.

I wish I had stood up for public schools.

Of course, there are some schools that are more or less resourced than others. But my experience of enrolling my kids in the public school system on the Gold Coast has been nothing short of spectacular, so I wish I’d put her and her superior, misinformed attitude in their place.

I wish I’d told her that the teachers are bloody excellent – they’re committed, hard-working, tenacious, passionate, and they devote endless extra hours to the kids they’re educating.

I wish I’d told her that my daughter’s teacher in particular has had extensive experience working with special needs kids, which is why he was well suited to the complex student cases that arose in her class this year.

I wish I’d informed her that the extra-curricular programs are awesome – my kids learn string instruments, are on the choir, do after-school cooking classes and go through a gymnastics program once a year.

I wish I’d told her they are afforded plenty of opportunities; the senior kids go away on camps, travel to Canberra, and junior students hop over to the local private school for regular swimming lessons.

I wish I’d reminded her there are good teachers at private schools and bad teachers at public schools, and vice versa.

Most of all, I wish I’d told her that the modern world has no time for snobby, superior attitudes like hers.

We live in a democratic age where almost everyone has access to the internet, and all of the educational opportunities it presents. High school dropouts can start billion-dollar companies. College dropouts can become high-achieving executives.

Getting ahead in life is often still about who you know, but these days, you don’t need to go to a private school to “make the right connections”.

Private schools are amazing. But public schools can be pretty amazing, too. I know parents who choose private school are spending a lot of money, but isn’t it time we dropped the superiority complex?

How much is “too much” to spend on Christmas presents?

Gobsmacked. Dumb-founded. Absolutely agog!

I could continue with the adjectives, but I think you get my drift: I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

A friend and I were chatting about Christmas and how much we spend on our kids’ presents. Keep in mind that our children are similar ages, all under 10, so they’re not yet requesting expensive gaming consoles and iPads.

She thought for a moment then said, “Each year, I struggle to spend less than $1000. That’s for all three of them, so, like, $300-400 each.”

She then saw my jaw hit the floor, and added sheepishly, “Why – what’s your budget?”

Okay, so I might be a little on the frugal side, but my Christmas budget is nowhere NEAR this high. In fact, I can confidently say that I would have change from $100 for each child.

This is because my kids are at an age where they’re thrilled to rip open barbies, trucks, bath toys, paint sets, crafts, stickers, notepads, lipglosses and nail polishes.

By shopping carefully at places like Kmart, Big W, Toy Mate and Priceline, I can quite literally fill up a giant bag full of gifts for each of them, without breaking the bank.

A new report from ASIC is urging others not to over-indulge financially this Christmas, revealing that a whopping $903m is currently outstanding in buy now, pay later schemes. research director Sally Tindall says our over-spending habits are causing us massive financial headaches.

“Payment platforms like Afterpay and Zip let people buy things, even if they don’t have enough money in their bank account. While these services do aim to lend responsibly, and typically have lower credit limits and more stringent repayments terms than most credit cards, the bottom line is you can still get yourself into financial trouble if you’re not careful,” she says.

“The fact that one in six customers have become overdrawn, delayed their payments or borrowed extra money is concerning… If you’re using one of these payment plans this Christmas, just be aware it can leave a nasty sting in the tail if you don’t have the money to clear your debt.”

Moral of the story? Set a firm budget when you go Christmas shopping – and remember that kids are often more excited by the act of ripping open the presents than that are about the contents of them!