Is This Year’s “Bachelor” Helping Us Think Beyond The Stereotypes?

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I’ve been sucked into The Bachelor again. No excuse really, other than it’s the perfect wind-down tv that gives me an added connection to NC and something to comment about on Twitter.

While this season has some disconcerting constancies about it – that include Osher’s perfect hair, the gaudiness of the mansion and it’s general “whiteness” – it is much more interesting than the preceding few because the producers have given us a “Bachie” with personality this time.

I’ll admit that it’s refreshing to meet a man who doesn’t rely on his Ken doll looks and sculpted body to attract women; a man who is actually prepared to make an effort to talk to the women and even crack the odd self-deprecating joke; a man whose vocabulary extends beyond ‘I like to go to the gym’ – even when it is quite evident that he does like the gym…praise be.

For those of you that have no intention of watching it, this year’s “Bachelor” is thirty-year-old Nick Cummins, an ex-Wallaby star – which I understand is an Australian rugby union player – also known as The Honey Badger, and for his career modeling boxer shorts. Don’t worry, I fact-checked this on your behalf.

Seemingly, from a salt-of-the-earth and genuine Aussie family that doesn’t mince its words and just wants their boy to be happy, Nick is the boy next door – although you do require a dictionary to translate his ockerisms.

To be honest, it’s hard not to like him. He appears to be comfortable in his own skin and exudes a level of confidence in the company of women that never comes close to arrogance. And I want to believe that in spite of his rumored playboy antics on the Northern Beaches, he is ready to settle down. I’m not as sure how well he’d fare as a Trivia Pursuit partner – although, who am I to judge? – but for a rugger bugger, he seems quite tuned into his female side and genuinely interested in finding his soul mate.

Of course, the success of this show relies on the recording of fly-on-the-wall bitching sessions in the house, during which the women are witch-hunted to hoist up the ratings.  And this year’s bunch of beauties don’t disappoint. As each week passes, their resemblance to an undersexed pack of rabid dogs as each of them fights for a piece of Nick’s flesh (or one of his off-the-cuff one-liners – that none of them really get), is becoming more and more uncanny.

I don’t like to knock my own gender, but there are a handful of “Princesses” in the house that are about as suited to Nick as Dutton is to immigration, and who have been carefully selected to keep the entertainment factor of the show pumping. Their role is to rouse the pack to a state of near blood-curdling cannibalism, because the camera loves nothing more than a group of fighting, bitchy women, to the point that sometimes I honestly fear for Nick’s life.

Funny really, because in The Bachelorette series, the men are always portrayed as mild-mannered besties, who would give up their lives for their best bro over the supposed object of their affection; whose main ambition in the competition (it appears) is a prolonged male bonding session at the expense of Ten.

And perhaps there’s an element of truth in that and how differently competition plays out between the genders. Women are (generally) better communicators than men and if you’re brave enough to expose yourself on the dating “Hunger Games”, you’re unlikely to be phased by a few minor confrontations about how much time you spend with your prey.

Men, on the other hand, are often blind to what’s in front of them until it slaps them in the face.  Evolution, toxic masculinity and saving the world have kept them far too busy to develop that much emotional dexterity, and for many of them, a comment such as ‘We need to talk’ can be a peril worse than canal root surgery –  obviously, I’m stereotyping here and that may just be MY husband.

So while it’s refreshing to have a bloke who doesn’t take himself too seriously, let’s not knock these girls – whatever their real reasons for going on the show. Give them their five minutes of fame. Who knows how hard they’ve had to work to look that good in a cocktail dress. After all, men are consistently patted on the back for their ambition, while we’re always accused of not being forthright enough – a no-win situation, in my view. Let’s not shame our gender’s proclivity to dissect, analyze and strategize, but rather embrace their humor and commend them for getting up there to have a go.

The True Meaning of Charlotte: We Can Get Back To Our Lives Now

The Real Meaning of Charlotte
Princess 1 Taken by Chrissy and found on http://www.flickr.com

Forgive my withering cynicism, for believe it or not, I am as clucky as the next person at the sight and smell of a cute newborn, but do we really have to dissect the origins of the name Charlotte from every historical angle for the next two weeks?

I chose my kids names because they sounded nice and because they were the only names the old man would agree to – my choices of Noah and Florence being rejected as ‘ridiculous’ – not because of some upper-class, historical significance or to brownnose my ancestors.

Did it ever occur to anyone that maybe Will and Kate just like the name ‘Charlotte’?

Kurt got his name because I knew this really chilled-out, hot guy at uni who drove an MG; and look how he turned out!

This Royal birth has dominated the media for a year now. We’ve been forced to endure every detail of each new phase of Kate’s pregnancy from the morning sickness that led to her hospitalisation, her lack of weight gain, the confusion over her due date, her labour and now the Russian conspiracy theories about when the birth actually took place.

And as if that wasn’t enough suspense, the Palace decided to torture us further by stretching out the release of the Princess’s name for two painful days.

Quite obviously, NO-ONE could get on with their lives without knowing the name of the Princess.

I am not a Royalist but I am a Brit and understand the deep-seated power of Royalty as status in many parts of the world, and the money Britain makes from associated tourism and merchandise. Even I am not immune to feeling a sense of pride in our culture and history – I should be, having had every important historical date rammed down my throat, rote fashion, for the entirety of my schooling.

And yes, I have been known to feel all soppy inside when I go back and revisit the wonderful sights of our history, like the Tower of London, the palaces, Stamford Bridge, David Beckham’s waxwork and other relics of flamboyant decadence of the Royals – in spite of the advice of their advisors to re-market themselves to be ‘just like one of us.’

But…

While Kate was gestating, lot of other serious shit has been happening in the world – surprisingly, more important shit than the birth of one of a billion new babies, and one who is a mere third-in-line to a throne and so has carte blanche now to become the next fucked up Royal wild child and follow in the footsteps of previous famous fucked up Royals who will never sit on the throne. No doubt she too will lead a life of covered-up debauchery in a regime that bears little relevance to the future of the UK or the world in general.

Which is why I’m also not immune to how fucking amazing Kate looked after the birth of Charlotte – I am a woman after all – and I’m not going to join the critics who have nothing better to do than slam her for getting the stylists onboard pronto to work their magic. That photo of the three of them on the steps of the Lindo Wing is going to be on every mug, plate and teapot until the poor girl drops her third child, so who in their right mind would want to look knackered and puffy or publicly demonstrate their difficult mobility due to stitches that were probably killing her?

Credit where credit is due, that cream dress was a brave call…

But can we please get back to our lives now?

The Biggest #QuestionForMen This Week Is What Century Are We In?

The debate over equality has been heating up nicely in the media over the past few weeks and I will always take whatever opportunity comes my way to get back on the feminism soapbox.   (Sorry, Dad!)

English: Chris Hemsworth at 2010 Comic-Con Int...
English: Chris Hemsworth at 2010 Comic-Con International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With awards season upon us when we witness the bevy of beautiful and successful actors and actresses flaunt their talents and physical assets on numerous red carpets, attention has focused on the different approach towards the genders by the media.   The wonderful Kate Blanchett was one of the first to publicly shame a reporter who dared ask her ‘who are you wearing?’, prior to any questions relating to the professional work for which she was being awarded.   I will be the first to put my hand up and admit that I am shallow enough to enjoy ‘red carpets’ for the fashion, but Kate has a point – I wouldn’t be averse to watching Chris Hemsworth or Bradley Cooper forced to twirl and preen for the camera prior to describing at length their outfits, fitness regime and matching accessories.   Why are women treated as cattle and men treated as talent?   We know that the movie industry remains a man’s world wherein the movie moguls are still predominantly male, most lead roles are written for men and the pay is unequal, yet do we have to insist on dumbing down women when they have earned equal status within the industry?   With the increased impact of social media, I believe that female celebrities do have a duty to mention the name of their designers on air; but so should men. What neither gender should have to accept is to be treated as vacuous, pretty pieces of fluff, there to sex up a movie or compliment their more successful counterparts.   Buzzfeed tried to turn the tables when they interviewed Kevin Spacey at a recent awards show and dared to ask him about his beauty preparations for the event.   http://youtu.be/xlW-aHC8KdI   A mani-pedi? Agreed, Kevin, it is fucked up!   His look of confusion once the penny dropped, said it all.   The continued inequality in the workplace was further highlighted this week on Twitter by Clementine Ford, one of our most forthright writers on the topic of inequality, who created the thought-provoking hashtag on Twitter- #Questions for Men. These were not questions of the ‘men are from Mars’ ilk, of how the fuck can two genders from the same species think and behave so differently; the question was aimed at the prevailing disparity between the sexes in the workplace.   Questions such as ‘have you ever been judged by the length of your pants’; ‘When you die, do you expect your obituary to start with references to your attractiveness or lack thereof?’ – a reference to an obituary recently posted about the writer, Colleen McCullough; and ‘In a job interview have you ever been asked how you will juggle work and home?’   There was the expected acerbic backlash in response from the cavemen and predictable accusations about whining lesbians who no doubt should be pleased with what we already have.   As someone asked this week when the world witnessed the terrible fate of the Jordanian pilot in a medieval-style public burning – sometimes we have to question “what century are we in?”