Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oranges are not the only fruit...


I should just get a t-shirt printed with the words, "Hey, I heard this great thing on Radio National yesterday..." on it, so when people see me coming, we can skip the preliminaries...

In fact it should be the name of my blog, really. (Hear that, Radio National, if you're looking for an official blogger, I'm your gal...)

Anyway, to cut to the chase, yesterday's Book Show offered up yet another round of particularly enlightening conversations.

The first about the latest push for Australia to have a literary prize for women, partly inspired by the fact that not a single female author has made the shortlist for the Miles Franklin for the second time in three years. It has been won by a woman just 13 out of 50 times since the prize began in 1957.

A passionate bunch of Australian women writers and publishers have started a campaign to establish The Stella Prize (represented by the mango, just to explain the pic above), an equivalent to Britain's Orange Prize.

Following that was this (not unrelated) discussion about a new study exposing a huge gender imbalance in 20th century children's literature. Apparently, on average, boys are almost twice as likely as girls to be the main character in kids' books!

Divided Hearter Sally Rippin was among the commentators on this matter.

Also, all the way back in the first week of May, Ms Danni "finger-on-the-pulse" Landa tipped me off to what is now of course the word on the street ('scuse the pun).

Yes -- Slutwalking. At that point, I had no idea what she was talking about, let alone what was to unfold...

There have been so many meaty articles, debates, conversations on this issue since that I couldn't list them here (though you could do worse than start with Clem Bastow's explanation here). But how great it is to hear them!

Whatever the complexities that exist around the use of the word "slut", around raunch culture, about porn and cosmetic surgery and the hero worship that goes down around sports stars... all of which are vital debates we need to keep having...

The fact remains: rape is a hideous crime, which no woman deserves or "asks for". One which forces so many women around the world to live in fear.

I'm not sure of the official site, but you can find the details for Slutwalk Melbourne here.

5 comments:

mummazappa said...

I'm in love with the idea of The Stella, I was just thinking myself that if Honey Brown's The Good Daughter was called The Good Son and was about a boy's sexual awakening it would have had a better chance of being shortlisted *grumble grumble*.

Red Hen (dette) said...

I'd never thought about the gender imbalance in children's stories before...as a mother and a primary school teacher I read them often. I must subconsciously select many with girls as the main character as I was recalling the last couple of book I've used with my classes and they both had girls as main characters. "Katie and the Mona Lisa" "Miranda the Explorer" and "Isabella's Garden" Then I thought about the ones I have in my go to library that I use year after year as a stimulus for art lessons or for Society and Environment, they too were mostly girls...Hmmm maybe I need to balance my bookshelf with more boys!

jodi said...

I'm all for the women's literary award!

You won a copy of Watercolours - I did email you but haven't heard back. Can you please email me your address and your preferred message for Adrienne to sign in the book to jodiclairewilson @ yahoo (dot) com (dot)

Thank u!

Rachel Power said...

Did I?! That's so exciting! I don't know why i didn't get the message. Sorry about that! will email you now Jodi. x

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