Self Esteem

Could you survive on $150 a week? Because that’s effectively what we’re asking our unemployed to do every single week.

Get used to fish fingers and custard for dinner. Pic: Matthew Vasilescu.

A few weeks ago I spent a week living on the dole for a feature story. I had just $150 to spend on groceries, public transport, electricity bills, mobile phone, medications, photocopying of my resume and an outfit to wear to job interviews.

I had no car, no internet, no computer, no food from my pantry, no private health insurance, and no Foxtel. I had always thought the dole payment was rather generous. After all, how do all those surfies survive on it? But the current level of Newstart allowance is so grossly inadequate I was shocked.

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  • Jenny says:

    06:54pm | 18/10/12

    Peter: one word: children. Where do you put those children while you travel to the fruit picking? Read more »

  • BJ says:

    06:44pm | 18/10/12

    @ Peter About 15 years ago, I sold a year of my life for $10 per hour, permanent casual, working on a banana farms. After tax, I received $330 per week. The dole was then about $180 per week. Effectively, I worked for $10 per day more than I could… Read more »


As the debate around the best way to tackle negative body image continues to simmer in Australia, it’s worth noting that a major new cross-party parliamentary report in Britain has recommended that all primary and secondary school kids take part in compulsory body image and self-esteem lessons.

Is that what we need in Australia to tackle the scourge of negative body image among children and adolescents?

There’s no question that all young Australians would benefit from engaging in some level of education and formal discussion around body image. But how do we make it meaningful? What role for parents?

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  • Anne71 says:

    12:48pm | 11/07/12

    Fair point, Emma. It’s not a good idea to let kids grow up thinking that it’s okay to be fat, any more than it is to let them think that excessive dieting is okay. Perhaps these “body image” classes should have a good look at both ends of the spectrum… Read more »

  • Joan Bennett says:

    08:19am | 11/07/12

    Why can’t people understand that marketing is just that?  Even as a child, I knew that what I saw on television and in magazines was an illusion, so not sure why these images are seen as more realistic now.  Is it because people could think for themselves more many years… Read more »


Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a regular column on spin and skulduggery, pseudoscience and shenanigans. This week we’re looking at Mattel’s decision to make a bald Barbie.

Yep, looks just like a normal girl with a terrible disease. Pic: The Daily Telegraph

Bald Barbie – or bald-friend-of-Barbie – will be distributed in hospitals to kids with cancer, or other conditions which make them lose their hair. Mattel said it “demonstrates Mattel’s commitment to encourage play as a respite for children in the hospital and bring joy to children in need”. Aw.

Mattel are responding to a Facebook page calling for a bald doll to help all children suffering hairloss, and only the cynical would suggest it was also responding to the February announcement that Barbie’s main competitors – Bratz and Moxie Girlz dolls – would be getting hairless friends.

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  • stephen says:

    05:04pm | 07/04/12

    It’s more about the meaning of the dolls, Alycia, rather than an impression. Kika, above said that it is natural for girls to want to be like a mum and mother their dolls ... and I’m not so sure. I mean, I’ve never been a girl, or had kids -… Read more »

  • Alycia says:

    03:08pm | 06/04/12

    As a kid, I never looked to Barbie and moaned about/compared/bawled/ about her waistline. Kids don’t look at that stuff. Adults do, but kids don’t. Sometimes people, when they make their comments on all these doll companies, fail to look at the dolls through eyes of a kid. Okay yeah,… Read more »


As always, it’s tempting to blame everything on Ms Antithesis-of-“Germane” Greer.

This 53 year old woman is either unacceptably saggy or intolerably sexy. Image: Mert and Marcus

Bloody Germaine. Doesn’t she realise there are enough misogynists taking pot shots at Julia Gillard without women’s libbers joining the mob?

Stubborn Germaine. When will she accept that Australia’s “stupid” media isn’t “making” her sound crazy by quoting her out of context; it’s simply quoting her?

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  • Gregg says:

    10:34am | 07/04/12

    I’m not too sure about what you mean too Emma but I’m not too confused. I reckon the answer might be for an annual compulsory nudist camp attendance or at least an annual nude pollie calendar. It might remind us that it is both sexes that come in all different… Read more »

  • Lisa H. says:

    10:31pm | 06/04/12

    Greer is a refreshing change from the one-dimensional thought-police type femo so common today. Have you read ‘The Female Eunach’? It is art, really. She is a brainiac. Read more »


Ladies, please keep your distance today. For one day in the year, I beg you. Allow me to repose unpestered and alone in my magnificence. Today, I need my space.

A picture of my face would have been much too distracting

Today, my perfect face with its high cheekbones and steely jaw is unusually furrowed, and all because of a wonderful column by UK writer Samantha Brick. Not until I read her raw, groundbreaking words did I realise I share her problem.

Samantha and I are siblings in exquisiteness. We are soul brother and sister in sheer physical splendour. Like Ms Brick, I am a victim of my own vivacity and it’s time my plight was highlighted.

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  • VaxUttet says:

    08:32am | 17/10/12

    I’m sure the best for you karen millen uk  to take huge discount ZEOexVlR [url=] [/URL] Read more »

  • Chris R. says:

    10:37am | 08/10/12

    I can’t sit on trains anymore, and walking limited to treadmill. Read more »


Perfectionism is a badge that many achievers wear with pride. But when does healthy striving for high standards become a health problem? All too often, my research has found.

What? I'm just being neat.

In 20 years working with those affected by eating disorders, I have noticed a worrying tendency among sufferers to aim for impossible standards, and to be overcome with a sense of worthlessness when these crippling expectations are not met.

Colleagues and I discerned similar patterns among patients struggling with depression, anxiety and other common but debilitating disorders.

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  • stephen says:

    06:11pm | 18/07/11

    Perhaps though, in reading your article again, youngsters are more seemingly perfectionist, as an attempt at isolating themselves socially, therefore physically, from so many people around them ; does the internet, with its octopussy reach into all our lives, force isolationist behaviours such as bogus, ( and in my opinion,… Read more »

  • stephen says:

    05:53pm | 18/07/11

    What about viruses. Do they, as organisms, and ones which want to kill us, also suffer from perfection ? And if they do, why can’t we, (even as an inherent defence ?) Read more »


Love is all around. It’s in the air, on the air and online. Unfortunately it’s mostly self love. Studies show narcissism is on the rise. Far from being mythological, some say it is now an ‘epidemic’, with people falling so hard for themselves they can no longer relate to others.

Mmmm I like what I see! Photo: AFP

US congressman Anthony Weiner’s self love overflowed onto Twitter, leading to punderous headlines, turgid analysis, and a drooping career trajectory. Silly Weiner obviously looked in the mirror one day and thought: “Wow. That is just so good I can’t keep it to myself.”

Narcissism covers a spectrum of self love; from a healthy self esteem through to unhealthy self infatuation, which can lead to abusive, controlling behaviour, a lack of empathy towards others. It’s this far end, where self love overrides all else, that is getting out of control.

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  • Observer says:

    01:24pm | 17/06/11

    Sad Sad Reality - her being an attractive woman should mean she would have no problems meeting a nice man who will treat her right.. Instead she stays with this hot headed arrogant abusive loser. Not true, nice man would be afraid to approach good looking attractive girl, believing that… Read more »

  • Reggie says:

    12:40pm | 16/06/11

    Chokos. Read more »


This is a post about finding someone in your life who is critical of you.

I’m part of the over-esteem generation. Our grandparents were more likely to be cold, distant and reluctant to praise or coddle.

When our parents raised us, they over-compensated for their lack of praise by building us up with doting affection and constant positive reinforcement.

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  • marley says:

    08:12am | 11/10/10

    Well, I think the voters have told both parties that they suck.  Unfortunately, I don’t see either of them getting the message - it’s more a matter of “you suck more than I do.”  Schoolyard stuff.  Both parties should be taken out behind the shed and given a good tanning. Read more »

  • John Dark says:

    02:57pm | 10/10/10

    “Gen Y are mollycoddled”. Next thing you’ll be telling us sometimes politicians say things they don’t exactly mean. Trouble is, these days when people hear something they don’t like (truth, fact or otherwise) they are likely to sue, and the laws enable them to do so instead of learning to… Read more »


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