Sunday, January 26, 2014

Shock!  Horror!  Realism discovered at the BBC

A BBC guide, written for its children's channel, that describes girls as “over emotional” and boys as “activity and task focused”, has come under fire for gender stereotyping

The Guide to the CBBC Audience outlines gender differences in a section entitled “girls will be girls and boys will be boys.”

It states: “[Girls] have a tendency towards manipulation and can be over emotional. Girls have a keen interest in fashion and enjoy listening to popular music.

“Boys are activity and task focused. Most enjoy achieving goals and completing physical challenges.”

The commissioning guide is put together by the BBC’s Marketing, Communications and Audiences research department to show what CBBC children audience members “care about”, and their interests related to age and gender.

In the guide, publically available online, girls are labelled “emotionally focused” while boys are “task focused.”

It says: “[Girls] will chat enthusiastically, try to support the people they care about and form profound friendships and relationships and develop an interest in boys from age 10.”

But for boys it states: “There is a focus on doing, confrontation and physical strength and for many their football team is a top priority.

“Boys tend to have a steady group of good friends that they knock about with rather than exclusive best friends.

“They often think girls of their age are annoying but like to talk about their body parts and sex.”

Twitter users have labelled the guide “heterosexist”, “destructive/harmful” and “ridiculous”.

One user wrote: “Kids, on behalf of all adults, I'm sorry! We think you're way more diverse, intelligent and inspiring than this report.”

Another said: “Kids spend 2.5 hours a day watching this stuff, and we wonder why these stereotypes persist...”

In the last ten years CBBC have made programmes such as In the Night Garden, Young Dracula, Bob the Builder, The Teletubbies and Sadie J, a programme showing a teenage girl obsessed with dating and clothes.

A BBC spokesperson said: "The document under discussion is several years out of date and will be removed shortly," and declined to comment further on the matter.


NAACP Official: Sen. Tim Scott is a Ventriloquist’s ‘Dummy’ for 'Extreme Right Wing'

Black hate speech about a conservative black

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was the target of “philosophical bigotry” over the weekend from none other than Rev. William Barber II, the head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, who referred to Scott as a “ventriloquist dummy” for “the extreme right wing” in South Carolina. As a reminder, Scott is the Senate’s only black Republican, and unfortunately, this isn’t the first time he’s been the target of racial bigotry from NAACP leadership.

Scott responded on "The Kelly File" Tuesday and took the time to advance conservative principles rather than focus on the hateful comments.

In an emailed statement to The Daily Caller, however, Scott responded more directly to the insult:

“To reflect seriously on the comments a person--a pastor--that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric, would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way,” he said.

“Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man,” he continued. “And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do.”

Scott also told The DC that he's never even met Barber, suggesting that the NAACP chapter head knows nothing about him or his past.

“I did not meet him when I was failing out of high school. I did not see him on the streets of my neighborhoods where too many of my friends got off track and never recovered. I did not meet him when I was working 85 hour weeks to start my business, nor did I meet him when I was running for Congress against long odds. But who I did meet were people everywhere across this state who were willing to work hard and to help me succeed — and I them,” Scott said.


Malaysians arrested for hitting their kids while in in Sweden

A Malaysian couple with diplomatic passports have spent more than a month in Swedish jail, after being accused of hitting their children for not performing their prayers. The parents risk ten years in jail.

The husband and wife were arrested on December 18th after police received a report that they had repeatedly hit their four children, aged nine to 14-years-old.  Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that the police report stems from an incident in which the Muslim couple struck their 12-year-old son on the hands for refusing to perform his prayers.

The boy told his teachers in Stockholm about the incident, which was then passed along to the school's counselors, who in turn notified police. It has been illegal in Sweden for parents physically punish their children since the late 1970s.

A day later, authorities arrested the parents and placed the children in foster care while their parents await trial, The Star reported.

"It's a terrible situation for the parents and the children," lawyer Timo Manninen, the public defender involved in the child custody side of the case, told The Local.  "When the parents are being held on remand, they obviously can't take care of their children."

The couple has lived in Sweden for three years. The man, Azizul Raheem Awalludin, works for Tourism Malaysia in Stockholm and has worked for his country's tourism ministry since 2000. His wife, Shalwati Nurshal, is a secondary school teacher on unpaid leave. The Swedish foreign ministry said neither Awalludin nor Nurshal are registered as diplomats, leading prosecutors to conclude that diplomatic immunity does not apply in the case.

Formal charges have yet to be filed against the couple, who are being held on remand on suspicion of gross violation of integrity (grov fridskränkning) that took place between June 2011 and December 2013. The mother's lawyer, Kristofer Stahre, told The Local both parents are being held with restrictions that keep them largely isolated from the outside world and that the preliminary investigation will likely take two or three more weeks.

"There is a lot of material to go through, but everyone is now working harder to speed thing up as they recognize the sensitivity of the case," he said.

If found guilty, the parents risk being sentenced by up to ten years in prison.

Stahre added that he was unable to confirm details of the abuse reported in The Star due to confidentiality rules surrounding the case, but explained the situation was the result of a "clash of cultures".

"These are law-abiding Malaysian citizens who have raised their children according to customs and laws in Malaysia," he explained, adding that parents in Malaysia are allowed to be physical when disciplining their children.

"Many countries have a different view than Sweden when it comes to raising children. While Sweden has been a pioneer when it comes to outlawing corporal punishment, when foreigners come here they often continue with the same practices they used in their home countries. That's the case here, and it's not the first time that a diplomat has been involved in a case like this."

Stahre said what makes this case unique as that prosecutors were granted a remand order to have the parents detained during the preliminary investigation.

"It's very rare, but the prosecutor cited concerns they might flee the country, and that they might continue the crime. Another reason give was the possibility that they could affect the investigation if they remained free," the lawyer explained.

Sweden was the first country to introduce a formal ban on corporal punishment in 1979. A slew of countries have since followed suit, but the arrest and detention of the Malaysian couple has sparked outrage in their home country. Malaysian MP N. Surendran toled The Star that the actions taken by authorities in Sweden were "disproportionate and extreme".

Another MP, Datuk Abdul Rahman, acknowledged that Sweden's laws against smacking were "commendable", but also questioned how the matter had been handled.

"[The Swedes] must understand the difference between abuse and teaching a lesson," he told the paper.

On January 19th, Malaysian journalist Joe Lee launched a twitter campaign using the hashtag #SwedenLetThemGo to draw attention to the case and advocate for the couple's release. A Facebook page started to generate support for their case has garnered more than 14,000 likes.

On Wednesday, the Malaysian foreign ministry released a statement confirming it was working on the case, noting their first priority was to get the couple's children transferred to a Muslim Malaysian family in Sweden.

"The Swedish Department of Social Service has given full cooperation thus far and has treated it as a special case. It has started interviewing several Malaysian families currently living in Sweden as requested by the ministry for suitability to be given the custody," the statement said.

In addition, two Malaysian officials from the Women, Family and Community Ministry are ready to head for Sweden, if they are needed, to assist the family.

Family lawyer Manninen also cited confidentiality concerns in refusing to elaborating on the details of the case, but said he sympathized with those in Malaysia who had taken issue with how the case had been handled in Sweden.

"I completely understand their critique," he told The Local. "Things could have been in a different way so that the parents could have been involved and given their consent to where the children were placed."

He emphasized that the current situation was temporary, and put in place in the early phases of the criminal investigation.

"It's unclear what might happen next," he said.

Calls by The Local to the Malaysian Embassy in Stockholm were not immediately returned.

The case is not the first time in recent years that political officials from abroad have run afoul of Sweden's laws outlawing corporal punishment. In September 2011, a visiting Italian politician was convicted by a Swedish court for assaulting his son while on holiday in Stockholm, a case that sparked heated debate in both Italy and Sweden.


I dress to please my new man - and my girlfriends are LIVID

By Tessa Cunningham

After 22 years of friendship, I thought that there was nothing I could say which could shock Sara.

We met at our first antenatal class and have been close ever since, with never a cross word between us.

Yet last week we were sitting in a coffee shop when I found myself on the receiving end of her hostile stare.

Eyebrows shooting up in exaggerated horror, Sara gasped at my last utterance.

‘Honestly Tessa, how could you? I’d never have thought it of you,’she said, shaking her head.

The heinous crime I had confessed to? Not an affair, or neglecting my children — but simply dressing to please my boyfriend, Richard.

I’d admitted to Sara that, at the age of 55, I have grown my short hair and swapped jeans and sweaters for skirts and dresses, purely and simply to please the man in my life.

But rather than applauding my decision to put so much effort into improving my appearance — and thus my relationship — Sara and my other friends are treating me as a pariah. According to them, I have betrayed the sisterhood.

All the goodwill which they felt for me when I began dating Richard, 55, an accountant, in December 2012, has seemingly evaporated.

Coming as our romance did after my painful divorce from my husband, also called Richard, in 2009, my friends were thrilled for me.

And initially our burgeoning love affair had little effect on my appearance, other than giving me a radiant glow of happiness.

Back then, my hair barely skimmed my ears and was blissfully easy to manage.

I thought the trendy cut suited me and made me look younger, and my hair hadn’t strayed below my shoulders in almost a decade.

However, Richard disagreed.  Of course I didn’t realise this at first. In fact, he complimented me on my thick red hair. I knew its vivid colour was one of the things that had attracted him to me when he saw my profile on an internet dating site.

It was when I happened to mention two months after our first date that I was going to the hairdresser that I got the first subtle hint that a change might be in order.  ‘You have got such gorgeous thick hair. Have you ever thought of growing it?’ he asked.

‘No. I really like this style. It suits me,’ I responded firmly and, having got it cut, thought no more about it until April when, once again, I was due to visit the hairdresser.

This time Richard was more outspoken. ‘I really think your hair would look lovely long,’ he said.  ‘Oh, do you?’ I said, my hackles rising. It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him to mind his own business. Wasn’t it my hair? My choice?

But as I swallowed the sharp words I was struck by something which now seems blindingly obvious — that his opinion matters to me, a lot.

In fact, when it comes to my looks, his views matter more than anyone else’s, including my own.  I want to be as attractive as I can to the man in my life. So, if he says he likes me to look a certain way, why on earth wouldn’t I listen?

Disregarding his preferences would be equivalent to him asking for an Arctic Monkeys CD for his birthday and me giving him The Best of Barry Manilow instead.

Actually, it would be worse. He wouldn’t have to listen to Barry Manilow. But he does have to look at me (and no one else, hopefully) every day.

And so, when I visited the hairdresser two days later, I reluctantly explained that I would be growing my hair from now on. ‘That’s a surprise. It’s been looking so good,’ she said as she prepared to shave off the merest centimetre or two.

As my hair has begun to grow, I have been obliged to spend more time styling it than I ever imagined — and infinitely more than I did when it was short. But Richard’s appreciative compliments make it all worthwhile.

Once I saw the effect my longer hair was having on him, I decided to take my makeover a stage further.

I began changing the way I dress to suit his preferences, too, swapping the jeans and trousers in which I was so comfortable for knee-skimming dresses and skirts. Why? Simply because Richard has told me that he finds these attractive.

Not that dressing to please my man is always easy, especially in the midst of this freezing winter.

Earlier this week, we were getting ready to go out for dinner when  I instinctively reached for my  trusty black wool trousers and silk blouse — a fail-safe outfit for almost a decade.

As I pulled on the comfy trousers, I visualised the look of disappointment on Richard’s face when he saw my outfit and promptly slipped into his favourite shift dress instead.

Later, when he kissed my cheek and whispered that I looked beautiful, I felt more comfortable that I’d ever done in my old trousers.

Now when I go clothes shopping, I find myself gravitating towards the clothes that I know Richard will like. We are going on holiday to Marrakech next month and part of the fun will be shopping for new dresses which will please him.

Like most women — if we dare admit it — I enjoy being with someone who notices and cares what I look like. Yet while dressing to please my man seems utterly logical now, it isn’t something I’ve ever tried before.

My ex-husband didn’t seem to notice whether I was wearing a £200 Nicole Farhi dress or a pair of Primark jeans, and couldn’t have cared less.

This was flattering when we were first together, as I believed it meant he loved me for my personality.  But over time his lack of interest was a passion-killer. Because he didn’t notice, I stopped bothering, which made me feel less attractive.

While the problems in our marriage were obviously more complicated than my wardrobe, I do wonder if dressing differently could have put some of the spark back into our love life.

The simple truth is that I enjoy being with someone who’s attuned to what I look like and so appreciative when I make an effort to please him.

The only fly in the ointment? My sceptical friends’ insistence that I’m being a doormat.  Each and every one of them seems to believe that I’m betraying my principles by (shock, horror) doing something purely to please a man.

My friend Clare was one of the first to voice her opinion loudly and clearly. ‘Haven’t you heard of independent thinking, woman?’  she snapped.

I was taken aback. After all, I wasn’t asking Richard who I should vote for, or getting his permission to drive the car.

The irony is that if I told my friends that I was growing my hair at the suggestion of my daughters Ellen, 22, and Elise, 20, no one would bat an eyelid.  They would smile at the fact we have such a close relationship that we swap fashion advice.

If anything, my friends’ negative reactions have made me more convinced that I’m doing the right thing and that they should be following my lead.

‘If Tom asked me to grow my hair, I’d tell him where to go,’ snarled Liz, a friend from my book club.  ‘He once suggested I lose weight and I didn’t talk to him for a week.’

I looked at Liz in her comfy elasticated trousers. She’s a good four stone heavier than when she married Tom 20 years ago. Who could blame him for wanting her to lose weight? Or for telling her so.

It’s sad that she is so blinkered that she won’t listen to her husband. Have we really reached a stage where we pride ourselves on not pleasing our men, just to prove we are independent?

I admit that it’s easier for me, still in the honeymoon period of my relationship, to be eager to impress. But isn’t it common sense to want to be attractive to our other halves?

Also, it cuts both ways. How can women complain that their husbands have gained a paunch and lost their hair when they don’t make an effort themselves?

For my part, I like Richard’s hair short, so that’s the way he keeps it. And, knowing my preferences, he keeps an eye on his weight.

I would find it really insulting if he didn’t bother to please me. It’s proof that we care about each other and value our relationship.

Dressing to please your man might be anathema to some, but it works for me. And I suspect it would work for other women, too, if only they were brave enough to try it.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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