Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 05 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 OCTOBER 2019 23 OPINION Being a ‘well-liked’ girl means… STAVROULA LAMPROPOULOU Ten-year-old me, walked in a bookstore with my mum. Walking around the isles filled with bookshelves 12 metres taller than me definitely felt overwhelming and daunting. I went to the girl's section of the children's books. To my disappointment, it was filled with the Rainbow Magic series; you know, the ones with the fairies, which I had read when I was younger. After several minutes of browsing, I came along a book that definitely caught my eye. The exact title of it I cannot recall but it was something along the lines of "how to be a proper lady" or "how ladies should act". On the front cover, there was a girl in a dress with a crown on her head. Dazzling eyes, long blonde hair. Sparkles. I thought it was dumb, but I bought it anyway. I am guessing that my 10-year-old self needed tips on how to act more like a girl, and do more girly things instead of playing soccer every recess and lunch and disliking most of the girls in my year level. I am not saying I was a tom- boy. I've always been a mixture of both. Not girly enough to be a girl, but not tomboyish enough to be classified as a tomboy, in the true sense of the word. So I went home, and started flicking through the book that seemed to be keeping all the secrets a 10- to- 13 year old girl should know in order for her to be a "true lady". This book talked about putting your hair up in a pony tail, shaving your legs and using nice vocabulary. Sitting cross legged and wearing socks with frills. Bringing a hairbrush to school, a tiny pocket mirror and pink eye shadow. Making sure that you never ever blow your nose in front of any boys, or burp. How to hold your fork properly and how to impress everyone through your use of small talk. I think it would be safe to say that little ol' me had what most people refer to as a "midlife crisis". At 10. Years. Of age. Up until that point, I thought I was doing everything right. I thought I was able to sit correctly, chew my food the right way, flash a cute smile, but hell, even the way I breathed turned out to be wrong. I was gobsmacked. After days, even weeks of deep contemplation I decided to bury away that book in the deepest, darkest corner of my bookshelf and forget all about its contents. Thinking back to the incident, I wholeheartedly think it made me discontent and blue. All these rules and expectations made and still make me sick. They stuck by me, nonetheless, and the older I get the more I start recognising them in every woman around me. It is rather sad, thinking about the amount of expectations the world around us has for women. What is even sadder, though, is that they are enforced upon children. Young girls. I made a decision for myself on that day when I put the book away. I decided that I did not wish to abide to these rules. To this day, I do not uphold the "values" described in that book. I do not think that these things make a woman "well-liked", "adored" or "accepted". How about teaching young girls, how to be decent human beings? How about teaching them about being authentic, true to themselves? How about making known to them that true beauty and grace stems from the inside? Showing them that all the makeup and glitter and sitting like a lady mean nothing if they don't feel comfortable in their own skin? Representing their own uniqueness and sense of beauty? * Stavroula Lampropoulou is a Stavroula Lampropoulou is a Year 12 student of Greek origin. Year 12 student at Presentation College Windsor. * Are you interested in writing? Neos Kosmos welcomes contributions to our opinion pages and letters to the editor from all community members, especially young people like Stavroula wishing to express their thoughts, needs and to also raise their concerns about what is happening in the world around them. For English stories, email email@example.com Why are Australian magpies so different to the ones in Greece? MARY SINANIDIS What's the most dangerous Australian animal? Your mind may wander to deadly funnel web spiders enjoying the moistness inside your shoe, crocodiles lurking by the river, rattlesnakes and the like… but, when we first arrived to Australia, our family was terrorised by Sebastian, who also went by the neighbourhood name of 'Brae Street bomber'. At first, he'd glare, before plucking up the courage to swoop down on us, seeking our unprotected flesh and incredulous eyes. Sebastian surprised newcomers to our neighbourhood as he was clearly not the happy heralder of Spring that we had come to expect European magpies to be. In fact, testosterone-pumped Hitcockian Sebastian was different to his docile Greek counterparts that would gently pick our red and white 'martia' (March) bracelets left for them on rose bushes. But these were the traditions of another land, where Spring was in Autumn. In an upside down world, there are signs pinned to lampposts warning pedestrians that they're in magpie nesting areas, bike riders wear twigs on their helmets, students change their routes to escape these magpie stalkers that follow them from cable to cable and people check out www.magpiealert.com with the same nonchalance that Greek yachtsmen check out wind velocity before taking off on an Aegean voyage. Fiercely territorial, the magpies of Australia view passers-by as intruders posing a danger to their nesting trees. They swoop to protect their young, and noting success when doing so, they feel a sense of achievement and become more and more aggressive as the next perceived intruders come along. Or so says Wikipedia, which also claims that the Australian swoop- ing magpie is also a native to southern New Guinea and has been introduced into New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji, where people are also attacked. Magpies are found across Australia, but most states will The brash, cocky attitude of magpies Down Under is not unlike the Aussie psyche. “ Signs warning pedestrians that they are in magpie territory. have their own sub-species with its own unique plumage patterns. Strangely enough, the Tasmanian magpies do not swoop even though there are no clear physical differences between them and their mainland cousins. Ornithologists suspect there may be a slightly different genetic make-up, though fundamentally they the same type as the other Australian magpies.The Australian magpies are known by the scientific name of oscine passerines. Evolution of different songbirds began 34 million years ago, and sped up 5 million years ago to coincide with the island formation of in present-day Indonesia which provided the first dispersal corridor out of Australia. This lead to the evolution of songbirds throughout Asia and the rest of the globe. Eu- ropean ornithologists first assigned the name magpie to European birds that were more closely related to crows, and Australian magpies were later named largely on the basis of their black and white plumage that was similar to that of the Eurasian pica pica magpie.Australians love them despite the injuries they cause and even name their sports teams after them (Collingwood Football Club, Brisbane's Souths Logan Magpies, Sydney's Western Suburbs Magpies etc). While Sebastian was terrorising my daughters on Brae Street, the magpie was voted the Guardian Australia's Bird of the Year in 2017, surpassing in popularity even the kookaburra and gaining accolades and respect for its brash, cocky attitude that, in itself, is not unlike the Aussie psyche.
28 September 2019
12 October 2019