Tagged: feminism

Living up to the rules you create

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Have you ever told your child to stop yelling, then five minutes later you’re yelling?
How about told them to be respectful of their elders, then shortly after you find yourself badmouthing your elders?
It’s a pretty rotten feeling, isn’t it – breaking your own rules. It sets a pretty bad example.

What about the big name politician or preacher who stands for solid family values, then gets found out for having affairs? They’re unable to live up to their own lofty rules they wanted to create.

It’s infuriating when someone sets rules (especially for someone else) when they themselves don’t follow them. It certainly infuriates me.

There’s a lot of people now wanting to create a lot of rules, laws and regulations. Only a few years ago I got a letter from my children’s pre-school. It informed me that the local council will now be regulating what the children’s lunch is wrapped in!

You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about diversity. Heard slogans like ‘diversity is our strength’. Maybe you’ve heard an employer wanting to employ a more diverse workforce. You might have heard of diversity targets or quotas. Probably the most common one you hear is increasing the representation of women on company boards and senior management positions. Some people are even arguing that this should be legislated, with companies having to report what they are doing to encourage women into senior leadership and board positions. Am I saying women in senior management and boards is a bad thing? Certainly not! As an interesting side note, you never hear anyone arguing for women to be working down mines or driving trucks at the same rate as men. Inversely, I’ve never ever ever heard of anyone arguing for quotas for men to be equally represented in nursing or teaching. I’ll make a generalised assumption here and say that it is the more progressive section of our society arguing for an increase (and legislation) in women in senior leadership and board positions.

There’s also a concurrent movement happening  in relation to the recognition of a range of sexual attractions and gender identities. The most recent big thing to happen in Australia is legislation passing to allow same-sex couples to marry. Some Australian states currently have legislation in place, or are considering legislation to allow a person to change their gender identity on their birth certificate. These rules differ from state to state. In most states that have changed this law, there needs to be medical evidence of a change of gender, for example, evidence of gender reassignment surgery.  There is consideration to change the law in Queensland allowing a person to change their gender on their birth certificate based on their feelings. That is, a person can update their gender on their birth certificate without any other evidence. A man can simply identify as a woman, but continue to live as they were without any outward or inward changes and request to have his (her!) gender on their birth certificate changed. I’ll again make a generalised assumption here and say that these and similar changes have been championed by the more progressive leaning in our society.

The most common responses you hear from people at the sound of this is something along the lines of “I don’t want a man who thinks he’s a woman in the toilets with my wife/girlfriend/mother/daughter”. Very valid concerns indeed. I also want to convey my sincerest desire that no one should be legally discriminated, bullied or harassed based on their gender identity or sexual attractions. Secondly, my sincerest thoughts genuinely extend to people who have a schism between their biological identity and their truly held belief that it doesn’t represent the gender they identify with. I personally can’t imagine how difficult it would be to wrestle with competing identities, societal expectations and discrimination.

So now, we have the more progressive leaning in our society arguing for an increase in women in senior leadership and board positions, including legislating for organisations to increase the representation of women in these positions. We also have the more progressive leaning in our society arguing (successfully, in some states) that gender is fluid and a biological fact on a birth certificate can be changed, and changed based on a feeling. If legislation proposed in Queensland is passed, it would be possible for a man simply to change his/her birth certificate to a woman based on their current feelings.

Let’s follow this through to some not-impossible real world implications. Keep in mind that male-to-female athletes have started to compete in women’s teams, often dominating their biologically women competitors in the process. A company wants to increase the representation of women at a particular level of seniority and puts measures in place to mentor and recruit female employees into those roles. It would not be impossible for a man in Queensland to feel he was a bit womanly, change his legal birth certificate to female and apply for those roles. The company would not be able to prevent him from applying based on his gender, as he is now legally a she. It’s possible that his nomination and acceptance means a more qualified, talented or motivated woman is unable to attend. It’s not impossible.

I prefaced this article based on living up to the rules you create. Living up to the laws you create. Have you noticed laws often have the reverse impact, or require more laws to counteract the negative impacts of those laws. A recent example in Australia is laws being updated that GST (essentially, our sales tax) to be applied to internet purchases from places like Amazon in the US. It was expected that this would net a massive increases in tax revenue. You know what happened? Amazon US now simply refuses to ship goods to Australia. No more taxes for Malcolm!

If you put a law in place to prevent discrimination against women, I promise you that before too long, people who identify as intersex will want a law to prevent discrimination against them. If you put a law in place to prevent people being nasty to others because of their race, gender or beliefs, you might be able to prosecute a few idiots who sprout off unkind things. What you will achieve is not more tolerance or diversity, but less people willing to talk openly and honestly about genuine concerns they have. If you put a law in place saying that a particular section of society can have special access to a program, support or job, two things will happen. Firstly, more people will suddenly identify with that section of society to gain access to that particular program, support or job. Secondly, there will be another cohort of society that thinks they are equally or more deserving of special access to their own programs, supports or jobs and they will want legislation to support that.

Laws designed to help a particular group (or punish another) inevitably lead to those helped being the ones that find themselves at the rough hand of the law they created when a new, more discriminated group comes along. The early feminists had great success breaking down barriers, seeing women enter the workforce, gaining the vote, having more reproductive rights. The early feminists were generally white women from the middle and upper classes. The next feminists recognised that it wasn’t just white women being oppressed, but it was also women of colour. The feminists realised that white women were actually quite privileged, and the feminist women of colour suddenly saw them as the enemy. White feminism became bad, because they only had rights because of their privilege. Now, we have some feminists argue that straight white and women of colour are the privileged ones, and it is the women who have differing sexual attractions or gender identities are the ones that are really downtrodden. It’s those nasty heterosexual white and women of colour feminists that are privileged, because heterosexuality is oppressive. This isn’t nonsense. This is happening now.

The government can’t legislate your problems away. It can’t validate you – not in a lasting, permanent way. If you play the victim, you’ll always be the victim, even when greater victims come along and claim you’re the oppressor.

Always be careful about the laws you want made. You might have to live up to them one day.

 

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Why do we keep selling our girls short?

281From time to time, I operate a photo-booth. I cover weddings, birthdays, school events  – things like that. Recently, I attended a semi-formal event for a relatively prestigious girls’ school. These girls were around 16 years old, and many had bought a male companion as their date.

In conversations with close allies, we sometimes comment on what seems to be the oppressive nature of some people groups towards some women. For example, we note in this hot Brisbane weather, the men of a particular group are free to wear what they like, where their wives and daughters are usually draped from head to toe, covered, as it was, for modesty.

At this particular semi-formal event, I was struck by the gowns and dresses these girls were wearing. What struck me was the almost overwhelming majority of semi formal outfits that to me, a conservative dad, were almost completely inappropriate clothing these girls were wearing. It was almost like it was a race for many of these girls to see who could wear the least amount of clothing. It was evidently clear by the way these girls held themselves, constantly adjusted, wriggled, moved, pushed down, pushed up and pushed their gowns that they were not comfortable in their chosen outfits. Without a word of a lie, a majority of these girls spent their evening making sure their dresses sat as they were meant to. It was painfully noticeable that the minority of girls with elegant, modest (if I dare say) gowns seemed to travel through the night without any major or regular readjustments . Interestingly, it was the boys at this event who were overdressed for a semi-formal. Yes, these gangly, pimply 16 year old boys were all in suits, had cuffs with matching tie-pins, watches and spit-shiny shoes!

I want to stress at this point that this post isn’t about body-shaming, slut-shaming, blaming the victim, being a male pig or anything like that. My libertarian leanings compel me to allow individuals to wear, do, say, act however they choose. This blog isn’t about getting anyone to dress, or not dress in a certain way. What this blog is about, being the dad of a seven year old girl and five year old son, is wondering ‘why do we keep hurting our girls’?

Why, in 2016 Australia, our girls seem to be racing to almost objectify themselves at such a young age. Why 16 year old girls feel the need to compete with each other for who can wear the least, not who can achieve the most with their brains or character. Why sixteen year old girls feel the need to dress in a way that shows gratuitous cleavage, leg and mid-drift.

Have we created an environment where dressing elegantly for an evening event is no longer in vogue? Has our society become that ‘pornified’ that 16 year old girls feel they need to show all their assets to be noticed by others, to remain in the ‘in’ group or to be accepted?

I’ve never been a 16 year old girl. I’ve never known the pressures these precious girls face.

I mentioned in the second paragraph my musings about a certain group of people and my thoughts on what seems to be oppressive attitudes and behaviors to women. It seems to me that almost wherever this group is found, the status of women is greatly diminished. Men of this particular group are permitted to have more than one wife, women have reduced voting rights (if any), baby girls routinely have their genitals mutilated, girls have access to education restricted, and the list goes on. I wanted to compare that to ‘our’ girls (if I can say that) who are entering university at higher rates, have equal voting rights, can choose to marry or divorce, have an equal voice in a court, have legal protections against discrimination. I wanted then to maybe muse that why, in 2016, these precious girls would even have to consider showing that much skin at that young age at an event that otherwise should elevate girls to the highest standard.

Again, I don’t want this to sound like I’m judging girls or women for what they wear. This isn’t about saying girls or women should cover up. What I’m musing is why, in 2016, we have created an environment where girls would choose to dress in a way that is unedifying to themselves. Why in 2016 our girls feel they still need to display more than enough skin to get noticed. Why, in 2016, we are subjecting our girls to what seems to be an absolute pornification of dress. Why, in 2016, have we sold our girls short, creating an environment where their talents, achievements, hopes and dreams are hidden behind a very short dress?

Image from http://houseofretro.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/281.png

The Minister for Women is an insult to women. Here’s why.

Minister for Women, Tony Abbott

Minister for Women, Tony Abbott

A good associate recently shared a picture on Facebook explaining that out Australia’s ASX200 companies, only 23 ‘head honchos’ were women. Funnily enough, 26 are men called Peter. Thankfully, I’m not any of them, because I have trouble organising even myself, let alone an ASX200 company.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has self declared himself as the ‘Minister for Women’. Predictably, feminist groups have scoffed (for want of a better word!) at his self-title and have been able to find multiple examples of how Abbot and the Liberal Party have missed the mark when it comes to women’s issues. A recent example of this is in Queensland, where the LNP Women held their annual International Womens Day conference at the Tattersails Club, which, to the un-initiated, has a strict men-only membership policy.

Nice own goal, conservatives!

In Australia, it is illegal to discriminate against a women in hiring, promotion, healthcare, education, access to bank loans and credit, driving, voting, working, not working, having children, not having children – the list goes on, yet, we have a self proclaimed ‘Minister for Woman’.

I want to stop at this point and address a possible objection. How can I, a married, white, employed, hetrosexual man presume to know what it’s like to be a woman, or understand the problems women face. To all those who might want to drop the ‘privilege’ bomb – I’ll never know what it’s like to be a woman, but I’m still entitled to an opinion. So don’t go yelling down on me (just yet!).

We have Ministers for Defence. Education. Health. Transportation. Science (again!). Social services. The list goes on. Things that the State need to be involved in. Then we have a ‘Minister for Woman’.

To me, the fact that we have a self-described ‘Minister for Woman’ is an insult to women. I’d say this regardless of who this person was – I’d say it if it was Bill Shorten or Christine Milne or any other Australian Federal or State politician saying it. To me it infantises women and takes agency out of the choices they already have. We have a minister for defence to organise our defence forces. We have a minister for social services to organise our welfare services. We have a minister for transport. We have a minister for the environment, who, I’m sure does something really important too. We have ministers to organise, direct, manage, develop policies and deliver outcomes for those they are responsible for.

The title ‘Minister for Women’ suggests to me that women can’t organise themselves. It suggests that they have little agency over their life, a lack of choices and huge barriers to overcome. It tells me that they need someone to direct their lives.

I think we can ALL agree that in most things, women can go pound for pound with men. I think we can agree, fairly pragmatically, that men are better than women at some things – men have a physique more suited to heavier work and roles that require physical dexterity. Similarly, there are jobs that women excel over men and seem to choose over other roles. Can both men and women do the same jobs? For the most part, OF COURSE! Can women make EXCELLENT CEO’s – you betcha! Can men make great nurses? Yup! Can women hold their own in the police? I’ve got no doubts about it.

It is my firm belief that women have agency, choice and the capability to make choices for themselves. Are there some difficulties that women still need to hurdle? Without a doubt. Is it the government’s responsibility to get involved in a private organisation on what they can and can’t do? I don’t think so.

If the government HAD to have a Minister for Women, here’s what I’d probably suggest:

– Targeting new arrivals in Australia that women have the right to a full education, to marry (or not marry) who they choose, to not have their genitals mutilated, to choose a career that they want. At the risk of sounding terrible, there are some cultures that do not hold the same egalitarian values as mainstream Australia. I think education changes lives.

– Women, especially teenagers, who find themselves pregnant (hint teenagers: best way to avoid this is keep it in your pants) are supported to continue their education, gain a qualification and find work without discrimination. A life on parenting payment is no life for yourself, or your children. Whilst we have a Child Support system in place, it’s far from perfect (take it from me). The barriers for women training for employment, entering employment and being able to have a family friendly workplace is an issue for many women.

– Making sure there are no legislative barriers to prevent women working, having pay equality based on skills and not gender, accessing healthcare, credit, or anything else that a man has

– The government staying out of peoples lives and letting them make the decisions they want to make, not the decisions the government wants to make.

I think the Government (and the self declared Minister for Women) needs to remove barriers for women, not create more. I think legislatively (and please, correct me if I’m wrong), women have all the rights men do. Some private organisations, religious groups and cultural organisations are still very ‘man heavy’. There’s still a stack of groups, organisations, even professions that are women heavy (think teaching, nursing and the blessed C.W.A.). Is it the Government’s role to legislate what a group of private individuals do? If the organisation isn’t receiving government funding, I think they have every right to say what happens in their private group. There’s nothing stopping men, or women from starting their own sister (brother!) organisation of like-minded individuals.

Finally, it’s an insult to men if women have their own minister. The immediate argument against this is that the vast majority of ministers in Australian Federal and State governments are men. I’m not buying this argument. Men are over-represented in senior roles within government and business. They are also over-represented in gaols, poor mental health outcomes and very sadly, suicide. Where’s the minister for men in these situations?

I’m a firm believer in making your own choices. You make the best decision you can for yourself and your family (if you’ve got one). We need to remove barriers to inclusion, participation, employment, promotion and study, not put in place targets, quotas and requirements for one group over another.

Women and men are equal. Each gender faces their own issues. Each has their own positives, negatives, biases and predjudices. You can’t legislate against that. It’s time we worked together for the best outcome, not the token outcome.

I’m not a feminist!

There was a lot of hoo-haa last week after Julie Bishop’s Press Club address where she declared that she wasn’t a feminist. A (predictable) chorus of feminist voices went on the attack against Bishop, venting their anger that she was a feminist, she wasn’t a feminist, she isn’t a real woman, she only got where she is because she does not have kids blah blah blah.

A similar voice has been heard recently in America with the mid-term elections, where at least two (that I know of) black Republican senators were voted into power in traditionally ‘white’ or ‘Southern’ electorates. When quizzed about how they felt about being voted in as ‘black’ senators, they both responded that their electorates did not vote them in because of their colour. They were voted in because of policy, hard work and pragmatism. I’m sure pundits could argue both ways on those claims – the interesting thing is how both these candidates focused on a Martin Luther approach, rather than the vouge affirmative action approach.

Julie Bishop, Mia Love and Tim Scott (the latter two were the abovementioned senators) all have detractors seeming to sing from the same songbook. Whilst Bishop does not sing from the Feminist songbook, or Love and Scott aren’t promoting the politics of race, their detractors argue that they are still feminist and benefiting from affirmative action, because of all the hard work that feminists and race politics have done before them.

I don’t want to detract from the inarguable fact that, and quoting Luther King, all men (and women!) are created equal. I’m not hear to argue that men or women or blacks or Asians or Arabs or Jews or Aussies or anyone can or can’t do a particular job, follow a particular role or identify how they wish. Hard work, discipline and nous is the key to success.

What I am saying is we have all benefited from the hard work the suffragettes did. Why women didn’t have the vote earlier is anyone’s guess. We are all better off from early Australian migration (and the abolition of the White Australia Policy), which saw an influx of New Australians, eager build this great nation of ours. Does it mean I identify as a feminist, because I have benefitted from early feminist victories?

If we follow this logic, as applied by these critics of Bishop, we should all be Christians. And Socialists. And Capitalists. And Constitutional Monarchists. I could go on. Why? I have benefitted from subsidised health care and education, but I’m not a socialist. We have benefited from the Westminster system, even if you loathe the British monarchy. We have benefitted from a Judeo-Christian heritage (despite many rumblings), even though many do not identify as a Christian.

We’ve all benefitted from something in our past that we really have no control over – wealthy parents, where we were born, the country we live in, a stable democracy. We have also been disadvantaged buy things out of our control – war, monetary policy, natural disasters. We don’t go around calling ourselves a GFC or a flood, even though we’ve been affected by it.

Like I said above, I’m no feminist, even though I’ve benefitted from some of the early wins feminists have fought for. Guess what women – working a full week can be pretty crapola, right? But you wanted it and you’ve got it.

So if someone does not want to identify according to your pre-set mould of them, leave them alone. No one likes being put into a box or defined by a set of rules. As Luther King so amazingly said “Let us not be defined by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character”.

Surely that trumps any ‘ism’ any day.

Image from http://images.smh.com.au/2014/10/29/5930898/J-Bish-VD-408×264.jpg

The Domesticated Man

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“We’ve managed to intergrate women into the workforce but not men into domestic life”

The above quote comes from a recent article in the Atlantic, entitled ‘Why Dads Matter’.

Without a doubt, we’ve come a long way in family and gender roles in the last 60 years. Women can enjoy climbing a career ladder, should she chose. Men can enjoy showing open affection and love to his children. Partners of both genders aren’t scared to participate in domestic chores.

From the get-go, this post isn’t about women. We can all agree that women do an amazing job, that a women’s place is NOT in the home (whilst many families do chose for a mum to be a stay-at-home-mum or only work part time) and that being a stay at home parent is hark yakka. I don’t want to detract from the amazing, dedicated work that ladies do for their families, often at the expense of their own happiness. Sorry ladies, this post isn’t for you. This post is about men.

It seems that much argument in modern literature on marital relations seems to be the division of household labour. It seems to have reduced marriage to ‘doing what’s fair’ in a relationship, certainly in and around the home.

The modern man finds himself torn between his responsibilities of working and providing, yet being the ‘hands-on’ father and husband so often expected by todays ladies.

I want to put this delicately. There’s no doubt that men need to have a level of domestication. It’s important to know how to use appliances, cook a few meals, be a hands on dad. What we don’t need is an extra mother and wife in the house. A man should be free (as should a woman) to express his manliness in his home, with his wife, with is children. I’ve seen many instances where a man has been chastised for being too rough, for not doing washing in the ‘correct’ way, for not cooking the healthiest meals.

I’ve written before on the importance of a man being able to have time off. I guess this is a follow on from that. I want to encourage men that they don’t need to parent the same as their wives. Most certainly, both parents need to be on the same page in relation to parenting – discipline, standards, ethics, beliefs etc. But the way this is exhibited between the sexes is very different.

The industrial revolution saw men being removed from their houses, their wives and their children. Cities saw men commute to work, to not having an ongoing, daily influence in their children’s lives. No longer did the son work the fields with dad, or spend time learning tools, hunting or appropriate gender roles. The dad was separated from his son, the son his father. Dad’s influence was reduced to a short period of time during dinner, before bed and on the weekend. Formalised education saw boyhood exploration diverted to rote learning. I’m not suggesting for one second we do away with formalised education – this is and will be an important for all humanity.

Men, it’s not the level or amount of domestic chores you do that will teach your children life lessons. Doing and being a part of domestic life is important, yes, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for fatherhood. Your children will need learn appropriate domestic responsibilities, yes. It’s not, however, the mark of a man. It’s the quality of relationship you have with your wife and your children that will leave its mark. It’s how you love and respect your wife that will make the most impact on your children, not the amount of ironing you do. Sometimes that will involve being very involved with domestic chores, yes.

Men, you can teach your children by involving them in your pursuits, your goals, your passions and being involved in your children’s goals, passions and pursuits. You can teach them the value of a days labour. Of having a goal, setting goals and getting results. You can teach them about how to respect the environment while in the great outdoors. You can teach them about spirituality while fishing. You can teach them about respect for themselves and family as you show them how to tend a yard, build a garden or help a neighbour.

The above quote talks about men being ‘integrated’ into domestic life. I don’t like that saying. I’d rather men compliment domestic life. For me, the term ‘integrate’ just seems to devalue the unique perspectives and approach men have to family life. Men, listen to and love your wives. Support them in all the choices you make together, whether she be at home full time,, working or a mixture of both. A home is where everyone can express their thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears – without fear.

I’m not talking about us men ruling the roost with an iron fist – not one iota. I’m saying that it’s appropriate to be a man in your house. Don’t be awkward about your masculinity. Embrace it. Love your children, love your wife. Be a man and don’t try to copy your wife in all she does around the home. You’ll end up treading on her toes and annoying her!

Men, enjoy your masculinity. We weren’t created the same as women – we’re different. Don’t try to be the same. Compliment your wife in all she does, don’t copy what she does.

Different thinking? Yes. I think different thinking is good, just like men and women are different!

Above photo is of Robert F. Kennedy, sourced from mediagallery.usatoday.com

Gendered toys, boys and dads

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My wife tagged me in a post of the above picture on Facebook the other day. It was posted by the White Ribbon foundation, a non-profit group lead by males against violence against women. It’s certainly hard to disagree with such a group.

I found it interesting that this group would post something like this. The group asked people what they thought about the abovementioned picture. At the time of writing, the picture had 7790 likes, 1667 shares and 312 comments. Of those comments, about 50 were from ‘males’, the rest women.

To me, this post I think was designed to inspire conversation, perhaps even mild controversy. A majority of the comments were from mums stating that their sons played with dolls and they grew up just fine.

The picture is trying to link three things that really don’t mesh. To me (and I’m happy to be challenged) it says:

– People who believe in ‘gender roles’ are bigots

– People who put their ‘gender ideals’ on children are bigots

– Boys who don’t play with dolls won’t become good dads

It implies that boys need to play with dolls to be, well, women, who, inturn, make good dads.

I’m also unsure why the White Ribbon foundation, a foundation set up by ‘males’ (note, not men, males) against violence against women (not females, if you are getting pedantic about words) is now wanting to discuss parenting.

Let’s not beat around the bush. A boy playing with dolls will not make him gay. There. I’ve said it.

Sometimes I cop some flack when my boy wears his blue tutu and fairy wings. You know what – I don’t like it, but I’m not going to stop him. He’s having fun, it’s certainly not against any deep seeded values or really challenges me. I just don’t like my boy wearing a fairy outfit. Here’s the rub. I hate being referred to as a homophobe when I express my desire for him not to wear that get up. I have a daughter who’s two years older than my boy. She plays with dolls. He plays with her dolls. Do I care? Not in the slightest.

Just because a dad does not want his son to play with a doll, it does not mean that the dad is a homophobe. It does not mean that the dad is worried about his son becoming gay. It does not mean that the son’s creativity, individualism or whatever is being ‘crushed’ as some commenters of that post would suppose. All it means is that a dad does not want his son to play with those types of toys. And what’s wrong with a dad expressing his wishes on his son, under his roof?

In the end, a boy is going to play with anything he wants. My son loves playing cafes. He’ll do baking and painting. He dresses up in a blue tutu and does performances. He builds train sets and sets up soldiers. He plays lego sets, kicks a soccer ball and wrestles with the best of them.

Just don’t vilify a dad for expressing his wishes. Don’t call him a homophobe. Don’t label him as living in the 50’s. The last thing you want to do is disengage a man from being a father, stating that his dreams and desires for his boy are wrong. Let a dad be a dad. Let a son be a son. Let them grow in their roles, their love, their mateship, their relationship, their dependence and independence of each other in their own place.

I know this post has been a bit ranty and no, I’m not apologising for that.

 

Nautical Flags and Relationships – for the Ladies

Now a lot of my feminist readers (thanks Germaine) got all in a huff that the ladies didn’t have flags to wave in a relationship. My last post certainly saw a chorus of interesting opinions from both guy and gal.  So to keep the ladies included, I’ve  derived a set of equally usable and apt nautical flags that the ladies can use to communicate key thoughts, feelings, needs and emotions to their special gentleman friends.

You need to understand, however, that a guy will use a flag to communicate a simple, specific meaning. The ladies on the other hand – much more difficult. So I’ve tried to distil the ladyflags down to the key messages that I hope you gals would want to communicate to your gentleman lovers. I’ll still keep the original nautical code, for context.

So, here goes:

bravoBravo

Nautical code: I am taking in, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo

Relationship code: This flag is aptly named, in nautical themes, the ‘red flag’. If a gal waves it to you, it means she’s, well, its that time. The dangerous cargo referred to could be anything from a kilo of chocolate to a box of tissues (deadly in the wrong hands)

Charlie

Nautical Code: “Yes” or “affirmative”.

Relationship code: When a gal waves the ‘Charlie’ flag, it usually means ‘yes’. But it might not. It could mean ‘I dare you too’. Or ‘Yes, but if you do, you can get used to the couch. So it’s a yes, but it often has certain, unstated (or unflagged) caveats.

Delta

Nautical Code: I am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear

Relationship Code: I’m driving a manual, stay off the footpath

Foxtrot

Nautical Code: I am disabled; communicate with me.

Relationship Code: Something is wrong, but I don’t want you to fix it. I know you can fix it quickly, but that’s not the issue. I don’t want you to fix it. Yes I’m crying but it does not mean that anything is really that wrong, I just need to cry. I need to talk about it. For a long time. Shut up, I’m talking to you.

Golf

Nautical Code: I require a pilot.

Relationship Code: It did not look like this on the map. This is one of those times when I don’t just want to talk about it, I need you to help me find my way out of the city. Yes, that means come and get me.

Hotel

Nautical Code: I have a pilot on board.

Relationship Code: My mum is driving with me. We had a lovely chat and somehow ended up on the wrong side of the river.

India

Nautical Code: Coming alongside

Relationship Code: I just want to cuddle. That’s all. Absolutely all.

Juliet

Nautical Code: I am on fire and have dangerous cargo; keep clear.

Relationship Code: I’m moody and I don’t know why and everything you do is going to annoy me and my tummy feels sore and I just need chocolate and oh honey please give me a hug and geeze you are annoying me and why isn’t there any chocolate in the fridge and geeze no I don’t want to talk about it and I was saving that last cornetto for tonight and why do you have to be so annoying and ughhh! Can’t you just be quiet and watch Greys Anatomy with me but whip down and get some chocolate for me?

Kilo

Nautical Code: I wish to communicate with you.

Relationship Code: I want you to tell me what I told you, except in a deep, manly voice so my idea sounds good and rational.

Lima

Nautical Code: You should stop your vessel immediately

Relationship code: Why don’t guys ever ask for directions! You should have stopped at that service-station and asked for directions!

November

Nautical Code: No or negative

Relationship Code: Definitely no. Most definitely no. Don’t even dream about it.

Oscar

Nautical Code: Man overboard.

Relationship Code: If you do go out with your mates, don’t come home. Ever.

Tango

Nautical Code: Do not pass ahead of me

Relationship Code: What do you mean you will meet me at the restaurant? You are not going to pick me up from my house?

Uniform

Nautical Code: You are running into danger.

Relationship Code: You are WAY PAST running into danger. Danger was minutes ago. You are way past that point. Keep digging. (Often given with ‘the look’)

Victor

Nautical Code: I require assistance.

Relationship Code: There’s something creepy crawly in my room and you need to get it out. Yes I know it’s past midnight. Yes I know you are 20 minutes away.

Whiskey

Nautical Code: I require medical assistance.

Relationship Code: Don’t even think about coming over until you have brought chocolate.

X-Ray

Nautical Code: Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals

Relationship Code: I’ll tell you when it’s time for ‘cuddles’ and no, it won’t be before the end of Downton Abbey.

Zulu

Nautical Code: I require a tug

Relationship Code: I’ve broken down and I don’t know how to change the tyre and I don’t want to call the autoclub cause the guys are creepy and strange and I don’t like them and they’ll be hours and can’t you just please come and change my tyre. Oh and bring me some chocolate?

So gals… Do you think it’ll take off, or should I start running?