in brief: chris brown, todd akin, the acl and beautiful lengths
Chris Brown has yet again managed to cause a controversy in regards to his history of abuse towards his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna by getting a tattoo on his neck that bears a disconcerting likeness to her face. And not like her regular face, but stomach-churningly similar to the picture of her that was released by the police after she was beaten up. Not surprisingly, Brown has come out and his representative vehemently denied these claims – Brown then later tweeted that the tattoo was inspired by the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead (which translates in Spanish to ‘Dia de los Muertos’). It may or may not have been a conscious effort to replicate the battered face of Rihanna in clear visibility on the side of his neck, but even from Brown, it seems a pretty stupid move to provide everyone with a regular reminder as to his dubious attributes as a human being – like we needed another reason to despise the man.
Todd Akin’s bizarre and telling references to ‘legitimate rape’ last month cast a even greater pall than it was believed possible across the Republican Party in the United States, and the move from other members of the GOP (including Mitt Romney) to distance themselves from him, lest they alienate even more of the American population, lead us to believe that bottom of the barrel had been scrapped. Not so – social media is intent on making us re-visit Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall, who is most well known for suggesting disabled children are a form of punishment for the mother having had abortions in the past – ‘When you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children’. Delightful. This statement was from back in 2010, but we can only hope it is being re-circulated to keep people informed of the divisive and backwards views of some of the more fundamentalist arms of the Republican Party.
Last week, the Australian Christian Lobby cemented itself as a dangerous and malicious fringe group when its Managing Director Jim Wallace came out and declared a ‘homosexual lifestyle more harmful than smoking’. The story dominated the media and was responded to appropriately by the Prime Minister who cancelled her plans to speak at their conference. The backlash was strong but concerningly, there were religious leaders who stood up in support for Wallace’s claims, most notably the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen (the same man who recently penned a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald suggesting women should be more submissive in marriage). There is a strong case that the best way to deal with these fringe groups is to stop giving them media coverage as these views are proving insidious and increasingly out of touch, exemplified by the chief government whip, Joel Fitzgibbons claiming ‘I don’t think it matters much to our society quite frankly whether same-sex couples marry or not’, despite overwhelming evidence that says otherwise.
Back home in Australia, and on a more positive note, last week the Beautiful Lengths initiative was launched as an anti-cancer project. It involves cutting off your ponytail, or at least 20 centimetres of hair you’d like to donate to the organisation (must be naturally coloured/only semi-permanently died and no more than 5% grey), which uses the hair to makes wigs for women suffering from cancer. Beautiful Lengths has been running in America since 2006 and have created almost 25,000 wigs for cancer sufferers. As hair loss is often a reality for a majority of women undergoing treatment for cancer, it can be incredibly traumatic and a constant reminder of the ordeal. Media personality (and unfairly, fiancée of Hamish Blake) and Beautiful Lengths Ambassador, Zoe Foster, says that ‘despite impressive advances in synthetic hair wigs, nothing can come close to a hair that moves, looks and behaves like (“is”) real hair’. She also goes on to explain that while wigs can often cost up to $3000, Beautiful Lengths donates their wigs for free. For more information and details on how you can donate, go to www.beautifullengths.com.au/