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Month: November 2008

Sisterhood – performance poem by Kate Wilson

The poem featured in this YouTube clip is written and performed by Kate Wilson.

Have your girls produced poems, songs or art that explores women’s issues? If so, I’d love to see these.

P.S As promised – big shout out to the hundreds of shiny teen girls I have worked with this past fortnight. I have been to Canberra, New Zealand, Wagga Wagga, Strathfield and Perth! A few of my fave snaps below.

LOVE, LIGHT AND LAUGHTER to all my Sisters!

Reconnecting with food.


A guest post by Enlighten Education’s Queensland Program Director Storm Greenhill-Brown

I have been thinking, as we approach the frenzied lead up to Christmas, of the rituals of preparing, sharing, and receiving food. I have also been thinking of how I am going to really miss eating when I have my 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed this Friday. I have been mentally cataloguing food that I may or may not be able to eat.

Food is always welcome at my table and I have always admired those who give it due respect and care. When I first joined the Enlighten family, Francesca prepared a meal with such ease and grace and stated very humbly, “Keep it simple”. Wise words from an Italian mamma. You may have heard or read about the Slow Food Movement, which was naturally founded by an Italian fellow called Carlo Petrini. The Slow Food concept essentially helps people to re-discover the joys of eating and helps them to understand where their food comes from, who makes it, and how it is made. Part of the Slow Food Manifesto states, “We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus – Fast Life”. Slow food cooking aims to combat this 21st century disease that nutritionists believe is contributing to the obesity epidemic, especially in western children. To know intimately what we are eating and to allow ourselves to be seduced by flavours and aromas and to accept that this is just one part of being human, may go a long way to creating a generation of kids who are “food educated”.

It is true that Europeans allow themselves to create space in their culture for food. French cuisine is usually 6 courses and wine is taken with meals. Once, I shared a taxi into Rome with a girl who was heady with the thought of her first espresso and antipasto and I’ve never forgotten her passion. She had no thoughts of the Colosseum – food was integral to her journey through Italy. The aesthetics of eating play a large part too in the Slow Food way. The table is set and the anticipation is that this will be a meal of sharing, of intense pleasure, of laughter. From having a connection with the food on a basic level (perhaps you have grown some of it or you sourced it from a farmers’ market in your area that buys from local growers), you derive pleasure from each mouthful and allow yourself to love food and what it can do for your body and brain. The Slow Food movement is widely recognised in Australia and is growing in popularity.

Recently I discovered that a two-litre bottle of Coke is cheaper to buy than two litres of milk. In many families, money is readily available for KFC but not for groceries and whole foods and from generation to generation we stagger.

In South Australia in the coming years a French program called EPODE will be trialled in many schools. The focal question of this programme, which is based on the belief that childhood eating habits and obesity must be tackled at government and community levels with a variety of stakeholders involved, is “Can giving nutritional information to children change the eating habits of the whole family?” I agree strongly that changes are more likely to occur when a community works together for a “culture change.” Jamie Oliver gets it and his nutrition-in-schools crusade in the UK seems to me a step in the right direction.

The more I reflect on our society’s increasingly strained relationship with food, the more I am convinced that there is a fundamental lack of education about the centrality of food to human wellbeing. More and more I find myself doing as my Nanna did and giving my girlfriends great recipes out of her little handwritten black book!!

Bon Appetit!

3 Tips for Teenage Girls

I stumbled upon this film made by “chubbygirl27” on Youtube. She starts by reviewing the film 3oo. She then deconstructs some of the unhelpful advice teen magazines tend to offer their readers and finally, she shares three REAL tips of her own. I like the advice she offers, take a look:


What would yours be?

A week of mixed emotions.

This week I have been:

Inspired by singer Vanessa Amorosi as quoted in the Sun- Herald November 2nd. We are told she fell out with record execs after she refused to mime or take her clothes off: “It was that time and era, it was the Britney Spears days – it was all about sex sells. Of course I resisted because I was 16. There’s nothing sexy about a 16-year-old…I’m very,very driven and I work hard. I don’t get pushed into corners.”

Sickened by the Amnesty international report that a 13 year old Somalian girl was stoned to death by 50 men in front of 1,000 spectators. Her crime? She was convicted of adultery after being raped by three men. 

Grateful for my work. This week in NSW alone we have worked with (and fallen in love with) over 450 girls and received the most beautiful, stunning feedback. The newspaper report below provides a useful insight into why teenage girls desperately need to hear strong, passionate, alternative voices:

Angry at the media’s treatment of the 14 year old teen girls who wrote their mobile phone numbers on their backs when sunbathing at a Sydney beach. Were these girls putting themselves at risk? Absolutely. Was it a foolish thing to do? Yes. But does this silliness mean they are “slappers” ( as I heard Paul McDermot on Good News Week call them – after also making a joke about how sexy he finds 14 year old girls) ? NO! How about this judgement by Nikki Goldstein as reported in the Daily Telegraph: “Really what they’re saying is ‘Dial me up for sex’ . . . when they’re actually below the age of consent.” They are not saying this at all! These young girls may want attention ( and, more likely, a giggle amongst themselves) but is it right to assume they are asking for dial-a-sex?  Would commentators have been so scathing is it had been a group of boys publicly displaying their mobile numbers? I was furious too at the snide reference in the report to the girls being from the western suburbs. This detail has no relevance and was clearly just another excuse for the media to judge “westies”.

Interested in a recent report from the US that links sexual content on television to teen pregnancy and the implications this has for parents.

“We know that parents are busy, but sitting down and watching shows together with their teen, talking about the character portrayals, talking about what they just witnessed, and really using it as a teachable moment is really, I think, a good recommendation from this research” (Lead Researcher Anita Chandra.)

Annoyed at the blurb for a book entitled “The Big Book of Girl’s Stuff” that is promoted in my daughter’s school book club (Scholastic) this month. It reads: “The no 1 totally must have for all Aussie girls! Find out how to make a fake belly button piercing, what to do about a killer crush and more!” Mmmm…all the REALLY important stuff is given priority. 

How has your week been?  


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