Rural round-up

01/06/2019

Treedom in Taranaki – Peter Burke:

Dairy industry critics – in fact every Kiwi – should look at the dairy farm run by Damian and Jane Roper on a small rural road near Patea, Taranaki.

There, with their children Jack, Harriet and Adelaide, the Ropers have created a model dairy farm — a haven for themselves and for their livestock, native birds and other creatures. Peter Burke reports on this remarkable yet unassuming family.

A few weeks ago Damian and Jane Roper won the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.  . . 

Support group wanted – Yvonne O’Hara:

Federated Farmers Otago president Simon Davies would like to see a support and advocacy group, similar to that established in Ashburton last month, rolled out for Otago and Southland and other regions affected by Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis).

A group of representatives from the Ashburton District Council, agricultural industries and health industries has been formed to help address potential and ongoing concerns about the disease in the district to improve communication between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and relevant organisations. . . 

Fashioning a future for NZ’s natural fibres – Anna Campbell:

I have always found the fashion industry somewhat intimidating – fabulously creative designers, models who seem to walk on air and daunting trends which only emphasise how very un-funky I am.

As with many industries, the sustainability of the fashion industry is increasingly being called into question.

Designers and fashion houses are rated annually by TearFund according to their “ethics”, which incorporate environmental practices and how workers are treated (often in parts of Asia where labour is cheap).

The industry is also coming under criticism for synthetic fibres hitting our oceans via washing machine waste and the fact the average garment is worn a mere seven times (if you are a British female). . . 

Keeping an open mind – Dan Burdett:

Dan Burdett is back from his recent travels to the USA with an update on his Nuffield experience so far..

As I sit here in early May, my time in the USA seems like a world away. Looking out of the window I see green trees, glowing sunshine and the familiar black and white cows making the most of the verdant grass on offer at this time of year. For much of my time in Iowa and Nebraska all I could see as far as the eye could see was snow, grey skies and seemingly eternal miles of the great nothing that is the Midwest in winter. Even now on social media I’m seeing pictures of corn being planted as the snow falls once again.

Like all farmers across the globe, farmers in the mid west are suffering from extremes of climate that are stretching them to an occasional breaking point. After a late harvest in 2018, they had a very wet autumn followed by a much longer winter than normal. With margins being so tight there is little room for error during the farming year. . . 

Mush ado: Gore farmer swaps sheep for huskies in frozen Canada:

Six Alaskan huskies pant excitedly as they haul a red sled carrying Russell MacKay across a vast frozen lake in Canada.

The dogs’ paw prints dent fresh white snow coating two foot of ice. Their breath rises into the frigid minus 20 degree air.

The jagged, ice-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains tower above the lake, their slopes hidden beneath pine trees.

MacKay stands, steering the sled – while an excited tourist sits in front of him, shielded from the elements by a canvas cover. . . 

YFOTY: Formalising health and safety processes at Eilean Donan:

This profile is part of a seven-part series from WorkSafe sharing the health and safety approaches taken by the grand finalists in the 2019 FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition. 

During the next seven weeks we will be sharing a profile and short video about each of the finalists and how they incorporate health and safety into their work from managing a dairy farming to veterinary practice.

Brothers Matt and Joe McRae are in the process of formalising the health and safety processes for their family farm, Eilean Donan, in the Redan Valley in Southland and they’re finding they’ve already been doing a lot of what is required.  . . 


366 days of gratitude

03/11/2016

Even before I lived on a farm I tended to have a thousand acre stride which was incompatible with very high heels.

The older I get the less tolerance I have for footwear which puts fashion before comfort.

A pair of shoes which both look and feel good are rare but I have a pair in my possession and when I’m required to stand up for any length of time when dressed up I’m grateful for them.


366 days of gratitude

13/10/2016

When I think of how old people dressed when I was a child I see the ladies at church in their black or navy blue formal dresses and coats with gloves and sensible shoes.

Most of them probably weren’t much older than I am now but their clothes indicated retirement not in the sense of not working but in the sense of withdrawal.

Women far older than these women were now wear bright colours and clothes which don’t constrain suggesting they are still active and engaged in life.

Whether fashion enables, or merely reflects, different lifestyle, it gives older women freedom and choices many of those a couple of generations ahead of me, constrained in foundation garments and by society’s expectations, didn’t appear to have and I’m grateful for that.


Quote of the day

07/07/2016

We undress men and women, we don’t dress them any more. –  Pierre Cardin who celebrates his 94th birthday today.


366 days of gratitude

01/07/2016

Shopping for clothes can be an unhappy experience for people like me who don’t have fashion flair.

It’s made worse by an industry which too often doesn’t cater for real women with bodies to which, time, gravity and chocolate have left their marks.

But today, I struck a really helpful shop assistant who knew her wares, and what suited me and what did not.

I left the shop with a jacket that, depending what’s worn with it, could be casual or dressy and which will go well with plenty of clothes already in my wardrobe.

It also has splashes of my favourite colour – blue.

Today I’m grateful for the shop assistant who made today’s retail therapy a very happy experience, and I emailed the shop to let them know.

 


366 days of gratitude

30/05/2016

Fashion favors men in many ways.

They don’t have to wear high heels nor  usually have to wear tights and worry about whether they’ve developed runs.

Unless they wear a kilt, they aren’t troubled by showing more leg than decorum dictates.

They can also get by with a smaller wardrobe to take them from casual through to formal.

But one item of apparel women aren’t expected to wear, unless it’s with a school uniform, is a tie and I’m grateful for that.


Rural round-up

31/07/2015

Westland Milk cuts payout further as dairy prices fall – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second-largest dairy cooperative, cut its forecast milk payout to farmers by 10 cents for the current season and for next season’s by $1, in the face of sustained weakness in global dairy prices.

The Hokitika-based company will pay $4.80 to $4.90 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/15 season, with the final payout to be determined at the September board meeting, it said in a statement. The forecast payout for the 2015/16 season was slashed to between $4.60 and $5/kgMS, from a previously band of $5.60 to $6/kgMS.

The advance rate for this season remains at $4.80/kgMS, although the 2015/16 season rate was revised to $3.80/kgMS from $4.40/kgMS. . .

 

Light at the end of the paddock for dairy farmers – Jason Walls:

The New Zealand dollar is poised to shed more value against the US by the start of next year and dairy prices may only be at the current level temporarily.

This is good news for farmers, says ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny, who forecasts the New Zealand dollar will be at 61c against the US by the beginning of 2016.

He says the one of the biggest factors to this will be the US interest rate hike later this year. . .

Speech to Horticulture New Zealand Conference Award Dinner:

Good evening. Thank you Julian Raine, Horticulture New Zealand President, for that introduction. It is a pleasure to join you this evening in recognising excellence and future leaders of the horticulture industry.

I would particularly like to acknowledge outgoing Chief Executive Peter Silcock for all his contribution to the industry over the past 30 years.

Tonight I want to talk to you briefly about the long-term value that can be created by recognising talent and growing leaders.

A growing industry

Horticulture is a top performing primary industry. In the year to June 2015, export revenue reached $3.897 billion. This is up $602 million from 2012, a total of over 18 percent growth over four years. . .

 

Dairy modules hitting the spot for DWN members:

Dairy Women’s Network has received feedback on how its latest professional development offering is being perceived by its members – with impressive results.

The network launched its new Dairy Modules programme for the first time in November 2014 and has since had the programme evaluated by the renowned Net Promoter Score system, confirming world class standard. . .

 

Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

A great win for Mark Langlands from Te Kairanga as he becomes the Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015. Contestants battled it out at Te Kairanga Vineyard with their final challenge being to deliver a speech to a key audience in the evening at the Martinborough Village Cafe.

Contestants completed a wide range of activities including questions on trellising, vine management, pests & diseases, budgeting, tractor maintenance and irrigation as well as having an interview and a quick fire buzzer round. . .

 

Wool Firms:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a slightly stronger New Zealand dollar wool prices were firm to slightly dearer. With less wool available due to weather affecting shearing and vacation related shipping requirements this has helped underpin prices.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies increased 0.99 percent week on week.

Of the 7,905 bales on offer 96.2 percent sold. . .

 

PERRIAM on national stage at New Zealand Fashion Week 2015:

Luxury merino fashion brand PERRIAM has been selected for a special showcase on wool in fashion at the prestigious New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) in August.

PERRIAM is among some of the country’s iconic labels chosen for the Choose Wool show, taking to the runway with Sabatini, twenty-seven names, Tanya Carlson, Hailwood, Liz Mitchell and Wynn Hamlyn on Tuesday, August 25.

Curated by leading Kiwi stylist Anna Caselberg, who is known for her work with NZ wools, Choose Wool represents an important aspect of the NZ fashion industry. . .

 


Heels still height of misogyny

25/05/2015

Heather du Plessis-Allan’s says it’s time to give heels a good kicking:

. . .I hate high heels. They’re the modern version of bound feet. I can’t understand how we’ve allowed balancing on one end of a short stick to become essential formal attire for women.

Here’s a little history lesson. High heels were originally worn exclusively by men. That was yonks ago when middle-aged French men still painted on lipstick and fake beauty spots. Heels were designed for riding, because the stirrup would catch quite nicely in the groove and allow the rider to stand up and shoot his gun. They were never worn for walking about.

You should try squeezing your feet into a pair of strappy shoes that look like they’ve been constructed from an electrician’s wiring leftovers and then trying to cross a steep street. If you lean acutely to the right you should just be able to avoid tumbling the other way down the hill. . .

If you’d like to know how bad high heels are for women, watch the next one you see tottering around in them. She’ll lead with her head. She’ll lean forward just a little too much. She’ll lift her knees just a little too high. She’ll pretty much walk like a pigeon. It’s murder for the spine.

I don’t want to be born to a gender doomed to carry my body weight on the balls of my feet. I don’t want to find myself walking around barefoot on my tip-toes long after I’ve taken my shoes off because I’ve grown so used to having Barbie-feet. . . .

It’s nearly three years since I blogged on this saying heels are the height of miogyny:

Being blessed, or cursed, with a thousand acre stride I’ve never been at home in high heels.

My rule of foot is that if I can’t stand, walk and, if need be, run in a pair of shoes, I won’t wear them.

The highest heels I possess aren’t very high at all because I put comfort well ahead of fashion. . .

That post was prompted by a piece in The Age by Anne Summers:

. . . Wearing heels can be uncomfortable and make you vulnerable to tripping or sinking into wet grass; not wearing heels invites the fashion police to denounce you as frumpy.

So, few women leaders will go flat-footed; most of them – like most other women – want to be stylish. But the choices for women today are not just between heels and flats; the height of the heel is the issue, and they have never been higher.

In an era when women are supposedly economically liberated and politically empowered, it seems fashion is doing its best to subvert this. A recent report found that Australian women were the most economically empowered of 128 countries surveyed. Yet, the woman executive or company director wanting a pair of ultra-glamorous Christian Louboutin shoes with their trademark red soles would find herself obliged to totter around on 16-centimetre heels.

“It’s like foot binding – except women are doing it to themselves,” says Kirstie Clements, former editor in chief of Australian Vogue.

She says Louboutin’s original shoe, the classic Pigalle pump, “made you walk sexily, looked beautiful and were comfortable”. They had 8.5-centimetre heels. Today Louboutin’s lowest is 10 centimetres.

These shoes are uncomfortable – “they cripple you before you even leave the house,” Clements says. Models at Alexander McQueen’s 2010 spring show refused to walk down the catwalk wearing his Alien shoes after several were hurt, one requiring knee surgery.

So, if women whose job descriptions require them to don extreme outfits are refusing to wear such shoes, why are ordinary women embracing them with such enthusiasm? Why would a woman who is trying to be taken seriously as a manager, an executive, a director or a politician wear footwear that belongs in the bordello? . . .

Why? Because it’s fashion and it’s very difficult to find shoes which combine comfort and style.

That difficulty also applies to clothes.

A lot of fashion is art, designed to be hung on models who are much taller and far skinnier than the average woman.

Those who thanks to nature, or unhealthy exercise and eating regimes, don’t look like models do their best with what they’ve got and what they can find to wear but it is rare to come across clothes and shoes to match which are both comfortable and stylish.

Heels are still the height of misogyny.

But just as years of scientific evidence on the dangers of the sun hasn’t stopped most of us thinking tanned skin is more attractive, we’ve been conditioned to think legs look better when the feet attached are shod in heels – and it even works for cows.

 


Critical Mass

21/04/2015

Discussion on Critical Mass with Noelle McCarthy today was sparked by:

* Owner’s Manual for a Child by Donna Bryant Goertz (hat tip to Not PC).

* Finding Your Voice at the Kitchensgarden (hat tip to Valerie Davies).

and

* 25 live changing style charts every guy needs in his life by Julie Gerstein.


President wears Untouched World

29/11/2014

An official Whitehouse photo of President Barack Obama phoning troops for Thanksgiving shows him wearing a merinomink – merino and possum – jumper from New Zealand’s Untouched World:

P112714PS-0106
This is publicity money can’t buy for the company which is understandably delighted at the unintentional endorsement:

Christchurch clothing brand Untouched World is bracing for a surge in sales after United States President Barack Obama was photographed wearing one of their jumpers in the White House Oval Office.

Mr Obama donned the dark grey merino and possum-blend pullover as he made Thanksgiving Day phone calls to US troops and service members from behind the most famous desk in the US.

Untouched World CEO Peri Drysdale is thrilled with the “happy accident”.

“What’s really nice about it is that it’s something he’s gotten up in the morning and chosen to wear, so it’s really cool,” she says.

She believes the sweatshirt, which retails for NZ$399, was given to Mr Obama by Prime Minister John Key when Mr Key visited the White House in June. . .

Mr Obama is the second US President to be pictured in Untouched World clothing. Bill Clinton has been a fan ever since being given one of the brand’s jackets at the APEC conference in Auckland in 1999. . .

Merino and possum is warmer than wool by itself, it’s soft, silky and wears well.

I’ve owned a jumper similar to the one the president is wearing for several years. In spite of many wears and several washes it still looks good.

Untouched World’s website is here.


Clothes suit size designed for

15/10/2014

A fashion designer says clothes look better on skinny people:

The head of one of New Zealand’s biggest fashion brands has defended the use of skinny models saying “clothes look better on skinny people”.

The comments, from WORLD co-founder and chief executive Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, follow public outrage over the use of mannequins with visible ribs in high street fashion chain Glassons.

Speaking to TV One’s Breakfast programme today, L’Estrange-Corbet said thin models in the fashion industry was “nothing new” and would be unlikely to change in the future.

“Let’s face it, clothes look better on skinny people,” she told the show this morning.

There were more concerning things impacting young people today, she said.

“I see Miley Cyrus openly smoking dope as a much bigger issue than skinny mannequins.” . ..

Drug abuse is an important issue but so too are body image and the eating disorders which often go with it.

Clothes designed for skinny people look better on skinny people but well designed clothes will look good on the size and shapes for which they’re designed.

Many models and mannequins are unhealthily and unrealistically thin and the clothes which look good on them don’t suit the average woman let alone the bigger than average.

L’Estrange-Corbet’s comments confirm my view that the fashion industry is largely driven not by what suits customers but what suits the designers.


Rural round-up

08/09/2014

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Show Farmers Care:

Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Trevor Hamilton entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he had a point to prove.

Trevor and his wife Harriet run a large-scale family business that spans ten farms – five in Canterbury, four in Bay of Plenty and one in Hawke’s Bay. The operation is on track to produce three million kilograms of Milksolids this season, with four million targeted for 2015/16.

Starting from scratch as a sharemilker in 1980, Trevor says his aim is to create an intergenerational dairy farming business. But he is acutely aware that the scale of the operation opens it up to claims that its growth has come at the expense of the environment.

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave him the opportunity to prove this wasn’t the case. . . .

NZ possum hits fashion catwalk –  Sally Rae:

With apologies to Dame Edna, it’s Goodbye Possums.

New Zealand’s possum fur industry is estimated to be worth $130 million annually to the country’s economy.

Perino, a blend of possum fur and cashmere or merino yarn, recently featured on the catwalk in garments from the latest collections from Zambesi and The Noble Savage. . .

Lavender: The sweet smell of success – Sally Rae:

Two novice lavender growers from Central Otago nearly stole the show at this year’s New Zealand Lavender Growers Association awards.

In the oil competition, Joth Hankinson and Tony Culshaw, from Central Otago Produce, won two of the three trophies on offer – the Eoin Johnson Memorial Trophy for best lavandin oil, and the Ken Wilson Memorial Trophy, for best grosso.

Two particular types of lavender were grown commercially for oil – angustifolia or English lavender, and intermedia lavender – also called lavandin – a hybrid cross between an angustifolia and a latafolia, which grows in the wild at higher altitudes in the Mediterranean. . .

Drone big success on and off the farm – Rob Tipa:

A Southland family pioneering the use of drones on New Zealand farms believes there is a massive gap between the science, research and technology available today and its application on farms.

Neil Gardyne and his 14-yearold son Mark made television and news headlines internationally last year when they started flying drones over their 466ha hillcountry farms in the Otama Valley in Eastern Southland.

Instead of climbing on a quad bike twice a day to check on hogget lambing, the Gardynes programmed a drone to cover the same ground from the air. What took them two hours on a bike opening and closing 120 farm gates, took 20 minutes flight time for the drone. . .

No growth benefits shown with docking – Sally Brooker:

Docking lambs’ tails has no long-term beneficial or detrimental effect on lamb growth rates from docking to slaughter, a new study has found.

Alliance Group Ltd, one of New Zealand’s largest meat processing companies, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund commissioned the research after farmers wondered if leaving tails intact improved lamb growth rates from docking to slaughter and British retailers had started asking about tail length.

AbacusBio consultant Jo Kerslake presented the results at a Beef and Lamb field day in South Canterbury last week. . . .

 Rustling must be stopped – but how?  – Jon Morgan:

    I suppose running sheep in a park in central Auckland is asking for trouble. The temptation of a week’s meals there for the taking is too much to expect the big city’s criminal element to ignore.

In the latest of a string of incidents, rustlers using dogs and traps targeted the 600-ewe flock in Cornwall Park.

Members of the public disturbed three men and three large dogs capturing new-born lambs. And last month rustlers stole at least six sheep – including two pregnant ewes and a large ram – from the park’s farm.

A heavily pregnant ewe was caught in a leg-hold trap but spotted by a member of the public before it could be taken.

Another ewe that was due to give birth to triplets disappeared two days earlier and three more ewes and a 110kg ram were taken a few months earlier. . .


Tied up for Tony

30/07/2014

Parliament will be especially colourful today.

The best Health Minister in recent times, Tony Ryall, is delivering his valedictory speech this afternoon and his National Party colleagues are getting all tied up in tribute to his sartorial splendour:

Photo: On the day of his Valedictory Speech, National MPs are emulating Tony Ryall's infamous shirt-and-tie combos in tribute to an exceptional career.


We’re loving wool

26/05/2014

It’s Wool Week and we’re loving it:

Proud declarations of “We’re Loving Wool!” will be heard around the country during New Zealand’s Wool Week from May 26 to June 2, 2014. Wool Week hopes to promote the wonders of wool and The Campaign for Wool’s work in New Zealand.

‘Wool Windows’ will be unveiled from over thirty-five designers and retailers, led by Zambesi Fashion. As CFW ‘Wool in Fashion’ Ambassador since 2011, Liz Finlay’s support is a huge asset to New Zealand’s wool industry.

Throughout May, Billboards and buses will exhibit a wool family proudly wearing New Zealand designed woollen clothing. Campaign for Wool social media will buzz with wool facts and New Zealanders will be encouraged to join the conversation and share reasons why they choose wool.

Supporters around the country have been invited to join the festivities at the Wool Week headquarters situated in Britomart, Auckland. Participants will have the chance to view wool art installations and even a live sheep show by a master sheep handler on Saturday, June 1st.

Wool Week 2014 is run by one of Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust’s brand partners, Primary Wool Co-operative. “Our goal is to raise the profile of the fibre and raise the profile of the work being done by The Campaign for Wool in New Zealand,” says Bay De Lautour, chairman of Primary Wool Co-operative.

HRH The Prince of Wales inspired The Campaign for Wool in 2010 to promote wool’s myriad of different uses. As a nation founded on sheep farming, New Zealand’s decision to support the Campaign was easy. It proudly stands alongside the UK and Australia as a founding member country.

“With the Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust (CFWNZT) now set up as a new independent entity, our focus is two-fold – working closely with brand partners in their efforts to drive consumer demand for wool and ensuring New Zealand wool is part of the sustainable high-end global story,” says Philippa Wright, Chair, CFWNZT.

“With PWC investing in the “I’m Loving Wool” week-long campaign and PGG Wrightson owning the “Wool in Schools” project, we are really starting to see the results of HRH The Prince of Wales’ intention to get the industry working together – collaborating on the generic messaging and competing for market share once demand has been driven up, she says.

“Globally, the US is CFW’s market of opportunity. New Zealand Strong wool makes up 80% of all wool used in the US while only 4% of all fibre used in the US is wool. If we can increase demand by a mere 2%, there would not be enough wool presently produced in the world to supply this demand.

“Globally, the opportunity for wool, which is on the cusp of hitting its stride, is exciting and New Zealand wool needs to be a lead player in this market, says Ms Wright.

 

Proud declarations of “We’re Loving Wool!” will be heard around the country during New Zealand’s Wool Week from May 26 to June 2, 2014. Wool Week hopes to promote the wonders of wool and The Campaign for Wool’s work in New Zealand.

‘Wool Windows’ will be unveiled from over thirty-five designers and retailers, led by Zambesi Fashion. As CFW ‘Wool in Fashion’ Ambassador since 2011, Liz Finlay’s support is a huge asset to New Zealand’s wool industry.

Throughout May, Billboards and buses will exhibit a wool family proudly wearing New Zealand designed woollen clothing. Campaign for Wool social media will buzz with wool facts and New Zealanders will be encouraged to join the conversation and share reasons why they choose wool.

Supporters around the country have been invited to join the festivities at the Wool Week headquarters situated in Britomart, Auckland. Participants will have the chance to view wool art installations and even a live sheep show by a master sheep handler on Saturday, June 1st.

Wool Week 2014 is run by one of Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust’s brand partners, Primary Wool Co-operative. “Our goal is to raise the profile of the fibre and raise the profile of the work being done by The Campaign for Wool in New Zealand,” says Bay De Lautour, chairman of Primary Wool Co-operative.

HRH The Prince of Wales inspired The Campaign for Wool in 2010 to promote wool’s myriad of different uses. As a nation founded on sheep farming, New Zealand’s decision to support the Campaign was easy. It proudly stands alongside the UK and Australia as a founding member country.

“With the Campaign for Wool New Zealand Trust (CFWNZT) now set up as a new independent entity, our focus is two-fold – working closely with brand partners in their efforts to drive consumer demand for wool and ensuring New Zealand wool is part of the sustainable high-end global story,” says Philippa Wright, Chair, CFWNZT.

“With PWC investing in the “I’m Loving Wool” week-long campaign and PGG Wrightson owning the “Wool in Schools” project, we are really starting to see the results of HRH The Prince of Wales’ intention to get the industry working together – collaborating on the generic messaging and competing for market share once demand has been driven up, she says.

“Globally, the US is CFW’s market of opportunity. New Zealand Strong wool makes up 80% of all wool used in the US while only 4% of all fibre used in the US is wool. If we can increase demand by a mere 2%, there would not be enough wool presently produced in the world to supply this demand.

“Globally, the opportunity for wool, which is on the cusp of hitting its stride, is exciting and New Zealand wool needs to be a lead player in this market, says Ms Wright.

– See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/clamours-of-were-loving-wool-set-to-ripple-around-new-zealand/#sthash.Yximo2b3.dpuf

Clamours of “We’re Loving Wool!” set to ripple around New Zealand  http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/clamours-of-were-loving-wool-set-to-ripple-around-new-zealand/


21st centruy women should know better

04/08/2013

What is it with women and the pursuit of “beauty” at the risk of their health?

You could be forgiven for thinking corsets belong in the Victorian era, the 1950s, or burlesque clubs. But a growing number of women are wearing them all day, every day, in a bid to reduce their waist size.

It’s a trend that has got health professionals worried.

Ivy D’Auton is a corset-maker in Auckland. Recently she’s noticed a small number of her Kiwi clients have started wearing them constantly – a practise called ‘waist training’.

“It’s the idea that you can modify your body through wearing corsets – so your waist gradually becomes smaller and smaller,” she says. . .

But doctors say the practise is very dangerous.

“What worries me most is pushing this to a place which isn’t right,” says Dr John Cameron. “It’s like toothpaste. If you squeeze a tube of toothpaste it’s going to come out both ends. Basically you’re trying to push her stomach up into your thorax and the rest goes down south – so you’re trying to change the anatomy.”

That can lead to digestive, breathing, muscular and skeletal problems over time. . .

Women of my mother’s generation squeezed themselves into panty girdles and other misogynist garments which squashed their innards and ruined their abdominal muscles.

Fortunately their daughters knew better but what’s happening to the next generation?

We’re now 13 years into the 21st century.

Girls have been told for decades that they can do anything and they don’t have to conform to stereotypical dictates over how they should look.

Yet still some women are putting their health at risk in the pursuit of an idealised, unnatural and unrealistic idea of beauty.


Tied up

10/03/2013

I haven’t had to wear a tie since I was at high school when I tied it at the start of term and just loosened it and slipped it on and off until it had to be washed.

Quite why this useless accessory has persevered is a thesis topic awaiting a grant.

But persevere it does and here, as a public service for those who have to tie up, is pictorial assistance from Graphjam:

You're Welcome


Kiwi legend

01/02/2013

This mockumentary premiered at Tropfest NZ, the New Zealand contingent of the largest short film festival and wont he won the Viewer’s Choice Award.

It was produced by Tess Novak and features a star studded cast of Kiwi legends – Melanie Lynskey, Valerie Adams, Colin Meads, Dai Henwood, Steve Wrigley, Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, Beauden Barrett and Kane Barrett.


Heels height of misogyny

21/10/2012

Being blessed, or cursed, with a thousand acre stride I’ve never been at home in high heels.

My rule of foot is that if I can’t stand, walk and, if need be, run in a pair of shoes, I won’t wear them.

The highest heels I possess aren’t very high at all because I put comfort well ahead of fashion.

That’s easy for me when I’m not in a position where I’m judged by my appearance. It’s much harder for women in the public eye.

Wearing heels can be uncomfortable and make you vulnerable to tripping or sinking into wet grass; not wearing heels invites the fashion police to denounce you as frumpy.

So, few women leaders will go flat-footed; most of them – like most other women – want to be stylish. But the choices for women today are not just between heels and flats; the height of the heel is the issue, and they have never been higher.

In an era when women are supposedly economically liberated and politically empowered, it seems fashion is doing its best to subvert this. A recent report found that Australian women were the most economically empowered of 128 countries surveyed. Yet, the woman executive or company director wanting a pair of ultra-glamorous Christian Louboutin shoes with their trademark red soles would find herself obliged to totter around on 16-centimetre heels.

“It’s like foot binding – except women are doing it to themselves,” says Kirstie Clements, former editor in chief of Australian Vogue.

She says Louboutin’s original shoe, the classic Pigalle pump, “made you walk sexily, looked beautiful and were comfortable”. They had 8.5-centimetre heels. Today Louboutin’s lowest is 10 centimetres.

These shoes are uncomfortable – “they cripple you before you even leave the house,” Clements says. . .

. . .Today women executives want to be feminine but what is on offer from the men who make shoes – and they are all men: Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Louboutin et al – is neither flattering nor womanly. “It has turned into misogyny,” says Clements. You could almost posit that there is a reverse correlation between the height of women’s heels and their success in the wider world. It’s hard to think and perform when you are in constant pain. . .

So why do they do it?

Legs look better like that, even if you’re a cow:

Hat Tip: The Lady Garden.


Following fashion folly on farm

27/09/2012

Take a navy guernsey over a striped shirt with the collar turned up, add a denim skirt and top it all off with pearls or a fob chain and what have you got? The fashion magazine in which I read this description called in the country clone and was not impressed.

I’ve failed to master the art of stand up collars, don’t own a fob chain, am more likely to have a merino top than a shirt and prefer jeans to a skirt. But I have to admit the general affect is much the same as the one the fashion writer described so disparagingly.

I understand her lack of enthusiasm because the wool and denim ensemble gets more points for comfort than style. But that’s precisely why we country women choose it – although it’s predictable it’s also practical.

It may not be sufficiently stylish to claim the label classic but because this look is never in fashion it never goes out of fashion either. And while they may be a long way from the look of the moment on city streets the “country clone” clothes are well suited to a quick sprint across a paddock if the wearer is called on to lend a hand before she dashes off to town.

You may be able to opt for style if the nearest you’ll be getting to the great outdoors is a gentle stroll down a well paved foot path and you can favour fashion if you have nothing to pick up but the groceries. But when you might have to rescue an old ewe which has cast herself in the cattle stop before you leave your property and you know your shopping list will include sacks of grain, large containers of drench and grease-encrusted parts for the irrigator it pays to choose clothes that will cope.

Just how necessary it is to put function before fashion was brought home to me the day I decided I had the luxury of enough time to dress with care before going in to town. I had just put the finishing touches to my outfit when there was a knock at the door. It was the dog-dosing man looking for someone to help him. My farmer was away at a sale and I had no idea where the other men were but I knew which name went with which dog so there was no reason why I couldn’t act as doser’s assistant.

It may be possible to remain immaculate while catching and holding thousand-acre dogs but I’m not sure how. I’d taken the precaution of exchanging my high heels for gumboots but they didn’t protect my tights from a liberal splattering of mud. I also acquired a patina of dog hair on my skirt; the imprint of one of King’s very large paws on the front of my once-white blouse and the perfume with which I had sprayed myself lost its battle with what could best be described as “eau de kennel”.

Next time I had a yearn to dress up for town I ignored it and reached for my jumper and jeans.

I do enjoy donning smart clothes for those occasions when it’s necessary to play ladies. But following fashion is folly on the farm. When choosing an outfit for every day wear and going-to-town the question I ask myself is not whether it’s fashionable but how will it look with gumboots?


Old fashion new attitude – upadated

12/11/2010

This could have been written when I was at high school in the 1970s:

The school’s guidelines require girls’ skirts to touch the ground when they kneel . . .

However, while the fashion has gone back a few decades, the rest of the story is very much one of the times:

A pupil told that she “looked like a slut” by her school dean says she feels unfairly singled out and her parents are furious the school has done little in response to their complaints.

Would a teacher 40 years ago have told a pupil she looked like a slut?

Possibly.

Would a pupil 40 years ago have gone home and told her parents a story like this?

Probably not.

Would her parents  have taken their daughter’s side if she did?

Almost certainly not.

Would they have gone to the media?

Almost certainly not.

Would the media have reported the story?

No.

But 40 years later a teacher says something she shouldn’t have, although reading through the lines I suspect she may have been provoked.

The pupil runs home to her mother who calls the school, which admits the teacher was wrong but says her verbal apology was enough. The mother then goes to the media which turns a bit of nonsense into news.

Sigh.

A friend who’s a senior teacher with responsibility for discipline relaxes by building stone walls. He says it’s therapeutic and better to hammer rocks than pupils.

If he has to deal with the sort of behaviour reported in this story I wouldn’t wonder if he was only partly joking.

Hat Tip: Roarprawn

UPDATE: Brian Edwards puts it better in: why absolutely no apology was due to Amethyst Staladi or her parents.


%d bloggers like this: