Australia – Marriage Equality

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Dear Mr Hockey,

Fortunately, we are living in a democratic society, where we have the right to vote on what governs our lives. Those votes are attached to people like you and me, who have a voice and choose to exercise that.

The vote against a free vote for marriage equality has shown the world, through the expression of the sitting government, that Australia is retarded, misguided and bigoted in our view on humanity. We are all equal, in essence, regardless of gender, socio economic status, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The Coalition party has given all Australians the opportunity to voice their disappointment (disgust is more truthful) at the appalling lack of understanding, care or compassion for our equal citizens.

We implore you to take a stand and honour all of us, equally so, and express your compassion and understanding for every single Australian.

What if one of your three children is LGBT? What will you say to them in 15 years time when they ask why you didn’t act?

Yours sincerely, Sarah Cloutier

Are We Really So Different?

I see it every single day … there are different skin, hair and eye colours. Height, weight, feet and hand sizes are different. We look around everywhere and see difference. Not one of us looks the same. We’ve created a world that celebrates that we are all different. You have to have your niche, stand out from the crowd, and elbow your way to the top. Being different is championed! We hate to see someone else wearing the same shirt/dress/jacket/shoes because it feels like they have taken some part of our individuality. Our idea that we need to be unique drives everything from fashion to food, music to books, computers to cars, studies to jobs, movies to make-up, hobbies to hair styles – the list goes on!

So we’ve created a world to cater for all the individualism.

Before I go on, I wish to clarify that we need individual professions and occupations. We have created a world that is complicated and involves the services of people to support the world, as we know it. That expression is vital to bring harmony back to how we live. We need lawyers, shopkeepers, managers, nurses, builders, fishermen, gardeners, doctors, mothers and fathers.

But what if we are miles from the truth? What if the individualism keeps us from our one-unified-soul? What if we are all in a glorious constellation that keeps us in a divine flow, naturally? What if we are feeling everything all of the time? What if we can express our unique divine light without all the unique, individual distractions?

What would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel the truth that we have separated from our true nature and load ourselves with all the myriad of distractions available to us to NOT feel that we have separated! Whew! That was a mouthful.

So could it be said that, as a direct result of our indulgences in being individuals, we are stopping the fact that we are feeling everything all of the time and in doing so resist what and who we naturally are?

New Years Resolution – More of the Same Please!

It was Christmas Eve and I was in the supermarket. Suffice to say, it was heaving. The queue was particularly long, though moving quickly. The store manager was walking along with a tin of chocolates to keep everyone smiling. The mood in the queue was cheery and expectant and some of us were chatting to each other.

The man in front of me in the queue was telling me about his Christmas lunch plans. He was cooking a veal fillet stew for his friends, an Italian recipe traditional in his family. Of course I asked for the recipe!! Sear the cubed fillet in a heavy based casserole dish and add in sliced brown onions, carrots, leeks, tomato puree, bay leaves, fennel seeds, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, pepper, sea salt and almost cover with stock. Place in a slow oven for a couple of hours till everything is divine.

When I finally got to the checkout, the lovely man asked me whether I was looking forward to tomorrow. Quick as a whippet I replied, “I look forward to every day, every single one is awesome”. His eyebrows raised and he smiled. “Wow, that’s unusual!”

I have gathered so many amazing recipes from the ladies at the checkout, people in the queue and my friends at work. What would happen if we connected with people all the time? What if we actually let them into our lives, even if only for a moment?

How often do we really connect with people in our lives? Why do we walk around looking down?

Maybe life is truly about expressing love to each other. Not just our families, not just when we’re drunk and definitely not just at Christmastime. Love thy neighbour rings true – they way we speak to the people in the bank, in the local supermarket and at work should all have the same respect and care we treat our families. Why do we feel we can treat those people differently to our blood relatives?

This year I have made a choice to connect with people and let them in. No matter if they are on the tube, in the butcher or the dry cleaners. Every one has smiled back and even if we don’t utter a word, there is a connection there that lights my soul. It’s so simple and yet we think we are all separate – how wrong we are!

Sharing recipes and ingredients is my way of connecting with people. Whatever way we choose, there is a chance, just a small chance, that we may receive a little treat, a smile, a tip on how to cook aubergine, a fish recipe and a way to make Dahl that we never would have considered. When we are open, we allow for magic to happen.

My New Years’ Resolution is to have a year even more amazing than the last one! More love to be in the magic of my life, to see more butterflies, receive more tenderness, allow more flow, ask more questions, be open to new recipes, to see glory in everyone and most of all, be open to more love.

Who knows… it might just be the best year of my life so far. Give it a try – maybe, just maybe, you will see the sparkle of love too.

Finding My Inner Nemo in the Sea of Commuters

I laughed as I came out of the London Tube this morning. A few people looked at me like I was from another planet – not many people laugh on the tube! Oxford Circus is a very busy station and I really saw the humour in how we interact with one another.

Remember the film “Finding Nemo” and the scene where all the fish are in the current? Little critters simply holding themselves in their aquatic constellation. They never bump into each other or impose. They have accepted the flow and swirl they are in and are masters of just letting go and being in harmony with each other.

Resistance is futile!

There is a graceful power in letting go and simply allowing the current to take us as we weave and curve around the subterranean world below London. When I resist, or try to force my way through the crowd, it just doesn’t work. I bump into people, bags and feet. The impact of others fighting against it is also felt as a harshness, a force. The resistance to the natural flow around us all equally.

Today I felt the joy of being with everyone, letting them in, feeling everything and being me. It’s like being a fish in the sea and not getting wet!

Response to the Letter from 10 Downing Street

November 13, 2012

Susan Alleyne
Ministerial Support Team
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH

Your Ref: 218392/SA/01

Dear Ms. Alleyne,

I am very disappointed that the Government’s stance is that they will wait for the recommendations from the Leveson Inquiry.

The contradictory advice that the Press Complaints Commission is the recommended avenue should a complaint need to be raised against a publication; “However, the Code does not cover matters of taste and decency because what is offensive to one reader may be utterly innocuous to another” is an inadequate response. We have already submitted a complaint to them about the Evening Standard and were told that there’s nothing they [the PCC] can do. Which is why I felt to write to David Cameron in the first place. The PCC are inundated with complaints about sexual images in newspapers – and they have no power to act on them. What are you as a Government going to do about that?

Further, when you say “We know that some people find some of the content of newspapers and adult magazines offensive, and I can assure you that the Government if particularly concerned that children should not be exposed to inappropriate material of any kind.” Really? We are NOT talking about adult magazines; we are talking about daily newspapers. You are allowing abuse of children by colluding with the press.

The question that urgently requires a response is; why are you continuing to defend a man’s right to ogle, over a child’s right to innocence?

Adult magazines used to be on the top shelf, with a cover. Now they are on every magazine rack in every supermarket – Nuts, Loaded, Esquire, FHM – all have semi-naked women on their covers. Objectification is rife. Where are concerned citizens to go when we need to raise a concern? Your recommendation is to go to the police, who are already overwhelmed by alcohol related violence and increasing domestic violence. That’s your solution as a Government? To overload the police force by not taking responsibility to change an archaic system that allows the press to remain unaccountable?

The Obscene Publications Act 1957 you mention brings up no results on the Legislation.gov.uk website. Could you please advise where I can access a copy? The Wikipedia page has some information that deems it a useless act as only one person, on appeal, was convicted in the history of the act since 1957. So this doesn’t seem a relevant option to use in a case against a newspaper. And the recommended fine is only £100, hardly a deterrent.

I would like to know the details of the out come of the meeting Ed Vaizey had on the issue of the representation of women in the media. Great that they devoted a meeting to the issue, but from your letter, no decisive outcome was achieved. What is the status of the Communications Review? It is blatantly obvious that existing regulation is not a fit for the modern media environment.

Unfortunately, the truth is that no one is taking responsibility. The supermarkets are not stopping putting the sexual images away from the eyes of children, the papers, and it now the Government, are allowing this to continue and claiming a “body confidence campaign” will somehow build self-esteem. Yet every day, young children see semi-naked women on magazine covers while their parents are buying the groceries. Their parents are bringing home newspapers that have sexually graphic images of women and it’s accepted as the norm.

The NSPCC has just released a report on the qualitative study of children, young people and ‘sexting’. It makes for shocking reading about the state of our children’s lives and what we have created. We are out of control – following numbly in the footsteps of the press. I recommend you taking a few minutes to review the chilling information it uncovers.

From the report: Brian McNair (2002) has argued Western society has become a ‘striptease culture’ preoccupied with confession, revelation and exposure. This is connected to an ongoing breakdown or renegotiation of the boundary between public and private, which is itself the outcome of multiple, intersecting factors including the partial success of the women’s and sexual liberation movements, shifts in media regulation away from censorship and towards ‘an informed consumer model’ (Bragg & Buckingham, 2009), and the possibilities opened up by rapid technological change.”

“Perhaps the broadest level at which sexism operates in the young people’s lives is to be found in the deeply rooted notion that girls and young women’s bodies are somehow the property of boys and young men.”

Would you like this to be your daughter? Gang raped at the age of eleven by a group of ten or more fourteen-year-old boys outside her school? This is happening every day somewhere in London. And still the Government is taking no responsibility for the images our innocent children are seeing every day. The men that ogle are fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and professionals and are seen as role models to our young men – those boys are upholding that behaviour as normal.

Why are we continuing to defend a man’s right to ogle, over a child’s right to innocence?

ENOUGH.

Seriously. Enough with our complacent attitude towards the treatment of women in our society by the Media. We need to step up and take responsibility for the impact that the Media has on our attitude towards women.

We have a dossier that’s growing every day. Please let me know if you would like to see examples of the trash we are allowing – it’s too big to post.

Yours truly,

Sarah M Cloutier

Leveson Inquiry Submission Three

 

November 13, 2012

 

The Leveson Inquiry
Royal Courts of Justice,
Strand,
London
WC2A 2LL

 

 

Abuse of Women in/by the Media – Leveson Inquiry Submission Three

 

 

“ANY FAILURE WITHIN THE MEDIA AFFECTS ALL OF US”

 

Lord Justice Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”

 

I call on the Leveson Inquiry to establish a monitor for the Abuse of Women in/by the Media and to create a platform for this type of journalism to stop as part of Module 4: Submissions on The Future Regime for the Press.

 

With no response to my first two letters, I will continue to send updates on the state of the Press in the UK with the hope that you will take the responsibility given to you by the Government. In a recent letter I received from the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, they will not act on any of the concerns I have brought up with your Inquiry and the Prime Minister. They said they are going to wait to see what your recommendations are.

 

In the absence of any true leadership from the Government on the denigration of women in/by the media, we are left with the option of going to the police to stem the flow of obscenity from our Press. The Obscene Publications Act 1959, which was quoted by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport letter as the avenue to raise a complaint, it appears has had only one conviction since its inception. This doesn’t bode well for concerned citizens like myself who are seeing the erosion of value and the explosion of how women are sexualised in/by the Press.

 

The denigration has become so mainstream that we no longer see it. We are numb to it.

 

We made a formal complaint to the PCC on 22 October 2012 in response to the continued objectification of women in the London Evening Standard. We spoke with them yesterday and were informed that there is no part of the PCC that deals with complaints about the soft porn images in the print media. We are now investigating further as they keep a log of these complaints and share this with you. They did advise us that they have shared this information with the Leveson Inquiry so I am very keen to know what you are planning to do to stop this insanity. The set-up in it’s current form means that concerned people of the community have no where to go to stop the out-of-control press. They are unaccountable for their actions in this regard.

 

The Government’s response “However, the code does not cover mattes of taste and decency because what is offensive to one reader may be utterly innocuous to another” is unfortunately a stock standard response to the whole subject of sexualisation and objectification of women in the press. Are we not to be supported in our aim to reduce and remove the denigration of women in our newspapers, in print and online?

 

You must do something. For if not you, then who will, if the Government are unwilling to take any true responsibility here?

 

Or are we as concerned citizens, being forced by this unsupportive legislation, to go to the police and make a formal complaint when we see this abuse? Are the police not busy enough without having to deal with a Press that have created a system in which they are not held accountable? How convenient.

 

The question that urgently requires a response is; why are we continuing to defend a man’s right to ogle, over a child’s right to innocence?

 

The NSPCC has just released a report on the qualitative study of children, young people and ‘sexting’. It makes for shocking reading about the state of our children’s lives and what we have created. We are out of control – following numbly in the footsteps of the press.

 

From the report: Brian McNair (2002) has argued Western society has become a ‘striptease culture’ preoccupied with confession, revelation and exposure. This is connected to an ongoing breakdown or renegotiation of the boundary between public and private, which is itself the outcome of multiple, intersecting factors including the partial success of the women’s and sexual liberation movements, shifts in media regulation away from censorship and towards ‘an informed consumer model’ (Bragg & Buckingham, 2009), and the possibilities opened up by rapid technological change.”

 

“Perhaps the broadest level at which sexism operates in the young people’s lives is to be found in the deeply rooted notion that girls and young women’s bodies are somehow the property of boys and young men.”

 

Would you like this to be your daughter? Gang raped at the age of eleven by a group of ten or more fourteen-year-old boys outside her school? This is happening every day somewhere in London. And still the Government is taking no responsibility for the images our innocent children are seeing every day. The men that ogle are fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and professionals and are seen as role models to our young men – those boys are upholding that behaviour as normal.

 

Why are we continuing to defend a man’s right to ogle, over a child’s right to innocence?

 

ENOUGH.

 

Seriously. Enough with our complacent attitude towards the treatment of women in our society by the Media. We need to step up and take responsibility for the impact that the Media has on our attitude towards women.

 

Attached is a comprehensive dossier that has been compiled over a five-week period up to 11 November 2012. You will see that there is a pattern of language used and repetitive images proving we have an issue with the treatment of women in the UK press. Please let me know if you would like to see more examples of this trash we are allowing – there’s plenty more where that came from.

 

ENOUGH.

 

Seriously. We need to step up and take responsibility for the impact that the Media has on our attitude towards women and children.

 

I welcome any questions or for more information.

 

With thanks,

 

 

Sarah Michon Cloutier

 

PS. I’m reminded of the Library at Shawshank Prison and Andy Dufresne sending a letter every week to the state body asking for books and funding – and they gave him what he wanted to shut him up – let’s hope that works for us with the Leveson Inquiry …