[-empyre-] where is the focus


I've been reading all the posts re the cyberfeminism issue/s.
Haven't had time to reply, so busy with kids (single father) and moving
plans (one of them is moving out).
This post is a bit of conglomeration of ideas, I hope it makes sense.

In the late 60's early 70's I found myself marching down Pitt Street, Sydney
Au, with the feminists and the wharfies demonstrating for women's rights. I
remember seeing Germaine Greer in Hyde Park afterward waving her arms about
describing a fight she nearly had with a bloke in a pub (give the bastard a
bunch of five) over some rights issue and just a few metres away stood a
mute 'right to lifer', like a pudding, refusing to communicate with anyone,
just mutely holding a banner proclaiming a foetus' rights.

As a bloke I didn't feel at all uncomfortable in all of this because my ex
had just turned into a lesbian so I'd had to confront a lot of issues about
roles in family, what is a family, children and gender values etc. At the
same time it was a bit unsettling, unnerving, because I found myself in a
minority of men, things just didn't fit the way they used to any more.

There was no internet then, it was pamphlets, magazines and books, radio and
TV. The web is a common space, you can claim your bit of territory, people
will come and visit your sites, you can just about say or do what you like
which makes the net a fascinating source of ideas and things, and also a
dangerous one.

I have to say that I really detest radical feminism although I can empathise
with some of the reasons for its existence, some men can be real bastards
(violence, paedophilia etc).

What is the focus for cyberfeminism today. What are the issues. I haven't
the faintest idea. Issues tend to galvanise and focus the energy of groups
and individuals. Gender bias is still an issue.
If you look at the media, whatever goes for TV, the press, magazines can
also be found on the web. But the democracy of the web makes it a more open
forum for ideas, whereas old media tends to reflect the gender status quo,
particularly the tabloids and women's and men's magazines.

A couple of years ago I had the multimedia artist Linda Diment as a lecturer
in the Masters in the digital media course at UWS. It was interesting having
an artist as a lecturer who openly explored her sexuality in her own work. I
don't remember feminism ever being discussed in that class, we just got on
with doing our stuff, Linda was a delight to work with.

My 32 yr old daughter Kirsty, (first marriage) currently doing a masters in
fine art at Sydney College of the Arts is totally different though. She was
brought up in a fairly radical feminist household and holds strong, if a
little prejudiced, views on feminist issues. Everything is filtered through
a feminist take on the world. We have arguments, we discuss art and
feminism, its good.

As a single father I find myself sidelined a lot. In welfare agencies and
the like its the single mother that is emphasised, single dads barely get a
mention. If you look at the stats there are what the ABS (Australian B of
Stats) refer to as One-parent families, male lone parents account for
127,000 single parent families, female lone parent families are at 635,094.
That's a hell of a lot of single parents, and males a significant group. I'm
a single parent, I do everything for my kids.

The same old feminist issues are still relevant but what I'd like feminists,
indeed any group to focus on today is the family, ageism, racism,
militarism, leadership (we don't have any worth shit in this country at the
moment) the evolving nature and structure of community ...

As I write this my 11 yr old daughter Lillian (second marriage) sleeps
wrapped in her quilt on the lounge, an angel in another world. Sleeping
children are so beautiful to watch, it is such a special thing as a parent
to see your children sleeping, dreaming. The responsibility of having
children is a special and demanding one, for men and women, for all of us.
Its bloody hard doing it as a single parent though, lonliness, poverty etc.


:: Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. - Douglas Adams ::
Barrie Collins, Carl and Lillian Frieden-Collins
7 Blaxland Avenue, Leura NSW 2780
Tel + Fax: 02 4784 1224
Mobile: 0418 394 234

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