If we want attitudinal change we need to start, at the beginning, with kids.
We need to stop treating bullies as a terrifying other and own that any of us, on a bad day, can engage in bullying behaviour if we don't watch ourselves. I've seen kids stunned when you point out that their behaviour could be viewed as bullying and kids with "mean girl" tendencies attempting to start anti-bullying campaigns. We are so invested in protecting ourselves from the boogieman-bullies that we rarely stop to examine our own behaviour.
We need to teach our kids, and especially our boys, to deal with their emotions without shame. It's ok to feel angry, afraid, jealous or frustrated but we need to express these feelings without lashing out at other people.
We need to teach kids what healthy relationships look like. That control and obsession are not the same as love.
Communication, compromise, and conflict resolution are learned skills that I don't think we focus nearly enough on them.
True, the number of men who publically voice utterly hateful opinions about women may be similar to the number of men who hold those extreme opinions, but beneath them is a titanic-sinking iceberg of 'unreconstructed blokes' who think that women have it pretty good these days. The kind of guys who, while they mightn't make such a joke themselves, think the Wicked Campers are kind of funny, who pride themselves on being a bit useless around the house, who roll their eyes and think we're hysterical when we talk about the pay gap, or privilege, or, heaven forbid, rape culture.
Even within my, significantly more liberal than average, social circle there is a reasonable percentage of men (and a few women) who I just wouldn't have these conversations with because of how dismissive they would be.
I believe it refers to felt hearts which were strung on wire fences around Lyttelton.
I was thinking about whether fiction or non-fiction tells our story better (I believe we need a hefty helping of both) and I recalled that one of my childrens' first reactions to the earthquakes was to wish to see an episode of Dr Who set around our quakes. Their instinct, which I think reflects the very core of what sets us apart as human, was to use story to make sense of what was happening around them.
Do I think Hope and Wire is flawless? Not by a long shot but I do think it has some merit. The characters may be drawn with broad strokes but I do want to find out where the story takes them. My experience was that the earthquake did expose some secrets (not in my relationship but in some organisations I was involved with) and I'm hoping that future episodes explore that in more depth.
My partner took me to Roots for my birthday last year and it was wonderful. They were able to vegetarianise their degustation menu for us and every one of the eight courses was a revelation.
I tend to avoid high-end restaurants as I find most do vegetarian food quite poorly and I've several times left feeling quite unsatisfied due to the, apparently quite commonly held, belief that a microscopically thin slice of cheese sandwiched between grilled vegetables counts as a substantial meal.
If you're a bad person then I am too. It's not that I would value such a child less as that, at a given time, I might not have the resources care for the child in the way it needs.
I often find it helpful to draw a thick line between someone's right to choose and my obligation to like their choice. I may be uncomfortable with some reasons for choosing abortion but I'm even more uncomfortable with imposing my ideals onto another woman's choice about how she uses her body.
I am lucky (and it truly is luck as much as anything else) not to have needed an abortion so far but I have supported several friends through deciding what to do with an unplanned pregnancy. I was horrified to discover that some doctors will outright lie to their patients , for example, telling them abortion is far more risky for them than carrying to term (because pregnancy complications, difficult births and post natal depression don't ever harm women obvs). I really hope that if the law changes it spells an end to GPs being able to be gatekeepers.
What is blowing my mind at the moment, is how many things I have not recognised as problematic because, at the time, I saw them as normal and unremarkable.
Like, as a teen, engaging in intense, romantic, hand-holding because that was the best way to stop my date touching where I didn't want him to and a verbal "no" would lead to belittling and persuasion.
Like, having agreed, in principle, that (PIV) sex might be a thing I wanted at some stage meaning that consent was, henceforth, assumed.
Like knowing that, when the skinhead in the cafe where I was waiting for a bus invited me out back for a fuck, the only safe refusal strategy was to invoke my large, possessive, boyfriend.
These things, and more, happened at a time when I would have cheerfully told you that, apart from that one intermediate school art teacher who liked to wind me up, I had never encountered sexism. I'm rather more aware these days but still rarely call anyone out as to do so often feels, socially if not physically, unsafe.
The last time I regularly dined alone it was on a student's budget and I was rather more carnivorous than I am now. I seem to recall a lot of sausages.
My partner is allergic to eggs so that's what we eat any time he's not around - mostly either fried eggs and chips or a quiche.