Word of the day


Poetaster – an inferior poet; a writer of insignificant, meretricious, or shoddy poetry.

How sexist are you?


The Listener’s cover story is on benevolent sexism, chivalry’s dark side.

The story has a link to this test of sexism in the ambivalent sexism inventory.

I scored .45 for hostile sexism and .64 for benevolent sexism.

“Hostile sexism,” which involves negative feelings toward women
“Benevolent sexism,” a knight-in-shining armor ideology that offers protection and affection to women who conform to traditional gender roles (e.g., cute girlfriend, obedient wife, etc.)
Scores on each dimension can vary from 0 to 5, and although there is no fixed point that divides sexist and nonsexist people, higher ASI scores are related to greater degrees of sexism. For example, people with high levels of hostile sexism are more likely than others to hold negative stereotypes about career women, and they express attitudes that are more tolerant of sexual harassment and spousal abuse of women.

In contrast, high scores on benevolent sexism are not related to overt measures of hostility toward women. Nevertheless, benevolent sexism can turn ugly when women venture beyond traditional gender roles. For instance, one study found that benevolent sexists were more likely than others to blame a female victim for being raped after she invited a man into her apartment (presumably because the victim’s behavior violated norms of female chastity).

I’m interested that the definition of sexism is negative attitudes towards women.

I would define it as a negative attitude to anyone based on gender.

In all countries studied thus far, men have tended to score higher than women in hostile sexism. When it comes to benevolent sexism, though, the gender gap is often small or nonexistent.

In fact, women in the most sexist countries endorse benevolent sexism to an even greater degree than do men. Faced with hostile reactions if they reject conventional gender roles, these women often embrace benevolent sexism and the protection it promises.

Embracing sexism, albeit benevolent, because it affords protection is a sad indication of women’s status safety.

Natural pain killer


Laughter – the world’s best natural pain killer:

Photo: LAUGHTER!!! is a Great Pain-killer!!! All your PAIN will become Champagne if you Laugh For No Reason!!!!  Pass on ha ha ha Love Dr K


Stress and muscle tension, lethargy and constant fatigue, frequent headaches,

Directions for Use:

Stand in a spacious place, either indoors or outdoors along with a group of 5 or 6 people. Apply a little force and simulate laughter for natural relief from pain,. Continue for 10-15 minutes and see the magic of laughter work.


For best results, the instant action formula of Laughter should be used as often as possible, Application once a day protects you all day. Can be used mixed in groups of by itself.


Do not store Laughter. Use it generously whenever needed.

From Laughter Yoga

Farming a socially progressive meritocracy


Federated Farmers’ board member Katie Milne writes on campaigns to increase women’s representation on boards:

. . . While internationally others are talking compulsion, I want to get to the top-table under my own steam than because I have mammary glands. Throughout my time in Federated Farmers, I have never once encountered anyone who has looked down at me as some upstart Sheila. Hand-on-heart, gender issues don’t seem to come into farming.

What counts is personality and mana, not to mention effort and skill. . .

Regulation is a twin-edged sword when the real culprit is cultural.

Forcing gender politics means that while all board members are equal, some will become more equal than others.

There is a strata on almost any board with the old hands and the newbies; breathing through their noses until they learn the ropes. Forcing things risks creating a board within a board, outwardly ticking all the right boxes except woman are denied a qualitative step forward.

I find farming to be a socially progressive meritocracy with programmes like the Agri-Woman’s Development Trust and the Dairy Woman’s Network.

Rural Woman NZ is very much Federated Farmers partner too.

To me the real change to board composition won’t come from more regulation, but the need for companies to perform better.

Women also need to stand up and make things happen because that is how we are shoulder tapped.

In writing this, it has made me realise that once you cut through a farmer’s stoic exterior, there is the beating heart of an egalitarian. . . .

When I was a rural reporter in the 1980s I was often the only woman at meetings or field days.

That is no longer the case.

It is much more common to see women as working partners or in their own right now.

That is partly due to changes for the better in attitude and opportunities. Down here it is also due to an increase in dairy conversions.

While women have always played important roles on any farms there are a lot more involved at all levels in dairying.

Problem of attitude not environment


Fran O’Sullivan writes on the problem of relatively high youth unemployment when employers can’t fill vacancies with locals:

. . . as with the dairy industry – farmers would rather import low-paid but highly skilled workers from the Philippines who will work long hours, rather than set up an optimum working environment for young Kiwis. . . .

Any dairy farmer could write a book about staff.

There are the wonderful ones who are keen, willing to learn, and use their heads and their hands.

There are others who aren’t as good but aren’t bad and there are always some who are hopeless.

There are good and bad employers too – but the latter don’t keep staff long and don’t deserve to.

Good employers also have trouble getting locals to work which isn’t a reflection on the working environment.

Dairying isn’t easy. It requires getting up early, getting dirty and working in all weather and there’s not a lot employers can do to make that more attractive.

But it pays well and workers with the will to advance can go up the employment ladder to management or sharemilking. That in turn can lead to farm ownership or provide a nest egg for investment in other business opportunities.

There are a lot of foreign workers on dairy farms but they’re not low paid and it’s not because employers prefer foreigners per se.  It’s because they are often better workers.

Dairying isn’t the only industry where this happens.

It’s not the working environment that’s the problem. It’s the attitude of some of those who are out of work and aren’t prepared to take the long term view that doing well in any job is far more likely to lead to a better one than doing nothing.



Sunday soapbox


This soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome  to look back or forward, discuss issues of  the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

January 13 in history


532 – Nika riots in Constantinople.

888 – Odo, Count of Paris became King of the Franks.

1328 – Edward III of England married Philippa of Hainault, daughter of the Count of Hainault.

1435 – Sicut Dudum was promulgated by Pope Eugene IV about the enslaving of black natives in Canary Islands by Spanish Natives.

1547 – Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey was sentenced to death.

1605 The play Eastward Hoe by Ben Jonson, George Chapman, and John Marston was performed, landing two of the authors in prison.

1607  The Bank of Genoa failed after announcement of national bankruptcy in Spain.

1610  Galileo Galilei discovered Ganymede, 4th moon of Jupiter.

1785 John Walter published the first issue of the Daily Universal Register (later renamed The Times).

1822 The design of the Greek flag was adopted by the First National Assembly at Epidaurus.

1830 The Great fire of New Orleans, Louisiana began.

1842  Dr. William Brydon, a surgeon in the British Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, was the sole survivor of an army of 16,500 when he reached the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad.

1847  The Treaty of Cahuenga ended the Mexican-American War in California.

1885 Alfred Fuller, Canadian businessman, The “Fuller Brush Man”, was born (d. 1973).

1890 Thomas William Murphy or ‘Torpedo Billy’, became the first New Zealander to win a world title in professional boxing.

'Torpedo' Billy Murphy wins the world featherweight boxing title

1893 The Independent Labour Party of the UK had its first meeting.

1893 – U.S. Marines landed in Honolulu from the U.S.S. Boston to prevent the queen from abrogating the Bayonet Constitution.

1898  Emile Zola’s J’accuse exposed the Dreyfus affair.

1911  Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Premier of Queensland, was born.

1915 An earthquake in Avezzano, Italy killed 29,800.

1926 Michael Bond, British writer, was born.

1939 The Black Friday bush fires burnt 20,000 square kilometres of land in Australia, claiming the lives of 71 people.

1942 Carol Cleveland, English actress and only significant female performer in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, was born.

1942  Henry Ford patented a plastic  automobile, which was 30% lighter than a regular car.

1942  First use of aircraft ejection seat by a German test pilot in a Heinkel He 280 jet fighter.

1953 Marshal Josip Broz Tito was chosen as President of Yugoslavia.

1958  Moroccan Liberation Army ambushed Spanish patrol in the Battle of Edchera.

1964  HinduMuslim rioting broke out in Calcutta – now Kolkata – resulting in the deaths of more than 100 people.

1964 Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, was appointed archbishop of Krakow, Poland.

1966  Robert C. Weaver became the first African American Cabinet member by being appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

1968  Johnny Cash performed live at Folsom Prison.

1970  Shonda Rhimes, American screenwriter/creator Grey’s Anatomy, was born.

1985 A passenger train plunged into a ravine at Ethiopia, killing 428 in the worst rail disaster in Africa.

1990 L. Douglas Wilder became the first elected African American governor when he took office in Richmond, Virginia.

1992 – Japan apologised for forcing Korean women into sexual slavery (Comfort women) during World War II.

1993 Space Shuttle programme: Endeavour headed for space for the third time as STS-54 launched from the Kennedy Space Center.

2001  An earthquake in El Salvador, killed more than 800.

2012  – The passenger cruise ship  Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy, resulting in 32 deaths (and a few people still missing) amongst the 4232 passengers and crew.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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