Perfection Vs. Privilege

I’m one of those people that tends to get “googly eyed” somewhat to people who I admire and think are “perfect”. And, actually, it’s not just celebrities (actually, most are people I know in person). They seem to have everything together, faith, career, family, etc. And then, I admit, I ask myself, “what’s wrong with me?” or say, “I need to work/ try harder”.

Yesterday, something suddenly hit me: Nobody is perfect, but there are some people are priveleged. What people achieve in life is often just as much about their social status, economic status, disability (or lack of) and even sexual orientation can play a part in a person’s success as well as their talents and hard work. 

In his famous, 1963 “I have A Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr quoted: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. Over 50 years on, King’s dream is yet to be realised in the West, considering that people with Asian names are less likely to be employed by a company than someone wiht an Anglo Saxon sounidng name in Australia.

We can dream of a more just society for all, but it’s these “dreams” that often bite the dust because noone has the guts to carry it out. Until we all take responsibility, nothing will get done. And a good start is to stop glorifying people simply for the fact their in a state in which they had little control and stop judging people who are in a less – than – ideal situation, because, the truth is, most of us don’t know why some people are in a bad place.

Maybe it’s just MY dream that one day elitism and the idolatry of privilege will end. Then maybe, just maybe, the world can be a better place for everyone.

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Body Image and The Obsession of Perfection

I watched a story on “The Project” last night about a guy who was so addicted to exercise that it was dangerous. He wanted to stop but couldn’t. Like many things, it started off like a reasonable thing  to increase the exercise, but then it got out of control.

Now, I understand that issues like eating disorders are complex and multilayered, but this story made me think about how the media and society don’t only target women in the looks department, but also men. My opinion is that men and women are marketed to differently. For women, it’s all about getting rid of “flaws” and being “youthful” and “slim”, whereas for men, six packs, buffed arms, etc aren’t only deemed “sexy” but also the epitome of health. Look at the cover of “Men’s Health” magazines and see what I mean.

This attitude towards men is backfiring in more ways than one. Not only is it raising anxiety among young men, medical experts are suspicious that there’s an increase in steroid use which could be a contributing factor to the increase of street violence in the cities, rather than just alcohol which usually gets the blame. (Please take note: I am NOT suggesting that the individuals don’t have responsibility or anything, it’s just what I’ve heard).

Health is important, there’s no way about it, but the so – called “health industry” is going nuts! More diets, more pills, more exercise programs, and yet, we aren’t getting any healthier. All it is doing is increasing anxiety and diminishing our self – worth. 

We all need to be responsible to our own health, and we have to be aware of what is healthy for OURSELVES personally (weight, etc) rather than rely on every “expert” out there. I get it, it’s easier said than done. I often get caught up in the media hype, trying to get slimmer, even probably below my real ideal, healthy weight even though, deep down I know better. I suppose, we all, myself included, need to just be sensible and listen to our bodies, rather than listening constantly to everyone else.

Reply to “Satirising Teenage Girls: “Ja’mie Private School Girl” and “Beauty Queens”

I was reading a blog post which gave a personal critique of Chris Lilley’s satire, “Ja’mie: Private School Girl” which aired on ABC2 last year and was repeated at the very start of this year. The mockumentary follows prestigious school girl  Ja’mie King in her last weeks at the all – girls Anglican college, Hillford High. She prides herself on being there, being a high achiever, being a prefect and aiming to get the top ATAR score in her HSC and constantly boasts about doing “charity work” in Africa when she leaves high school.

Now here is where this other blogger and I differ. The blog post I read accused Chris Lilley as being homophobic and sexist as well as having an outdated view on prestigious private school culture.

Homophobia is definitely highlighted in the show with Ja’mie constanlty attacking another high achiever Erin by constantly calling her a “lesbian” as an insult. Unlike the blogger, I don’t necessarily take this as a personal attack on the LGBT, but highlighting bullying that goes on in schools as well as jealousy and insecurity on Ja’mie’s part.

Another point I disagree with was that the blogger said Lilley attacked teenage girls by making Ja’mie so superficial. I took at as a satire on the private school stereotype that often is seen in society; mainly that they’re snobby (please note: I’m not saying they are. Lilley portrayed King to portray private school students as snobby and elitist). I will say that the portrayal of the private school system is particuarly negative throughout the show. One point I do agree with though, is that yes, Ja’mie is very one – dimensional and, yes, as the audience, we are not meant to feel any sympathy for her throughout the show.  

In the show, I think Lilley portrays King as a hypocrite and a narcissist. On one hand she harps on about “Christian values” where as in reality, she shows the exact opposite. Her aspired “charity work” is shown as nothing more than a feelgood “look at me” gimmick. Interestingly, after King is expelled from Hillford High in the last episode for indecent exposure online, her so – called “Christian values’ (which she never exhibited anyway),are thrown ouu the window.

In my opinion, I think “Jamie: Private School Girl” is actually one of the best works by Chris Lilley. It’s hard hitting and, frankly politically incorrect to the extreme, but I do think it makes a point, particually about socio – economic elitism and how the “Christian values” tag can be sometimes nothing more than a hyocritical, feelgood line rather than an ethos that people are meant to live by.