CHRISTINE M. KNIGHT

An Australian author who provides insight into the human condition.

Author Christine M Knight's Blog

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Mad World

Despite the considerable 'wins' of the women's movement and subsequent related legislation, gender issues continue today. Thirty years ago, sexual harassment remained undefined, and women were treated as second class citizens. Women were trapped by a fixed societal image.

When finally recognised as an issue, sexual harassment remained misunderstood then as now. In 2010, a male colleague remarked in response to the settlement of the sexual harassment case brought by Kristy Fraser-Kirk against retailer David Jones' CEO: "I'm still waiting to be harassed. You wouldn't hear me complain." That comment reflected my long-term observation that many men have difficulty understanding the difference between sexual attention and harassment. In the first decade of the 21st century, when I talked to women under thirty, beneficiaries of the women's movement, I found widespread negative reaction to feminist values and agenda.

By 2011, feminism and fundamentalism seemed to be equated as extremist principles that are out-of-place in the mainstream western world. Even glossy high-profile women's magazines print interviews where young women deny the values of their feminist forbears. Today, nearly thirty years after legislation against sexual harassment, mainstream women seem intolerant of anyone who find such harassment wearing and distressing. The tide seems to have turned against women who believe a stand against sexual harassment has to be taken.

That tidal change is clearly seen in an interview in USA Today with actress Christina Hendricks who played Joan Holloway of Mad Men - femme fatale, expert in using sex as coinage, and follower of the adage 'If you can't beat the system, use it.' Holloway was quoted as saying 'people think her character is hot because she's got fire to her. She snaps back, and men love her because she's in touch with her sexuality and femininity. The men in the office can play with her a little bit. They can tease her, and she's not going to be in the bathroom crying later.'

It's a sad comment in this day and age by any woman claiming to be modern. Hendricks does all women a serious disservice in her suggestion that Joan Holloway should be a role model. Women who use sex as coinage play a part in perpetuating a culture that supports sexual harassment.

In addition to intolerance of women who object to being sexually objectified in the workplace, it appears we live in a time of narcissism. A time where what we look like is more important than who we are and the values we hold. An era that is intolerant of physical diversity among women. The female gender, from ten years and up, is very aware of the pressure to be thin and to be a small size - preferably smaller than size 8.  We also live in a time where no one escapes sexual objectification, not even in the fashion styles for children.

Being sexy appears to be the driving goal today not only among our youth but in the wider population. That goal is rivalled only by the drive to remain youthful - agenda sold to the wider world by Hollywood and the advertising media. We are beset by images of older actors who supposedly defy age through cosmetic surgery and by air-brushed images of women of all ages that denies reality. Unfortunately, cosmetic surgery cannot change the quality and integrity of our skin and so the result is a disturbing parody of youth. Air-brushing cannot conceal the reality of age. Some exceptions to this trend are Dame Judy Dench, Helen Mirren, and Sally Field. Not only have they embraced their age at every stage, they appear focused on what really matters - the roles we play in life and retaining personal integrity. They have resisted the pressure to conform to a fixed image of youthfulness. They remain liberated.

©Christine M Knight


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The Month's Posts


LATEST BLOG POSTS

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    reflection on 'In and Out of step'

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    Set between 1988-1990, In and Out of Step’s thesis picks-up on a period of significant change in Australian social and cultural history which mirror the wider western world. The novel reflects the popular perceptions of the era and explores reaction to changing roles and values, the relationship between generations, gender dynamics, and power in society through contrasting character perspectives.  

    The novel charts Cassie Sleight's (rhymes with slate) and her generation’s journeys in new and uncharted territory in their relationships: personal, social, and work after the second wave of the women’s movement.

    Life forces the women in my novels to reassess what they are doing, how they are doing it, and to evaluate who they are and want to be.

    Through Cassie’s experiences, the reader is entertained and provoked to consider the perceptions held and dualities of women’s roles in western society. That may suggest that this is a non-fiction work masquerading as fiction. However, this aspect is firmly set in the external world of the story and Cassie’s experiences.

    In and Out of Step explores:

    • how identity and relationships are shaped by the way gender operates and gender differences
    • how place—geography, attitudes, values, and culture—shape people’s lives and actions
    • the culture that supports and promotes sexual harassment in the workforce and social spheres
    • changing perceptions of gender roles
    • adapting to change in oneself and the wider world
    • the personal, social, and workplace influences that contribute to change.

    My novelsIn and Out of Step, Life Song, Song Bird portray the diverse and changing realities of women in the time the novels are set: 1980-1990, 1996-1998, 2000-2002.  The stories are anchored in the social and historical context of each period.

    Read more

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Life Song - a story of metamorphosis

    Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Twenty-two-year-old Mavis Mills first appears in my novel In and Out of Step. Outgoing, gregarious, and confident, Mavis is a significant secondary character in that novel.  Mavis' story - a subplot - is used to provide contrast to and insight into Cassie Sleight's (the central character) journey. 

    At one point in the novel, effervescent Mavis is severely injured – physically, emotionally, and psychologically - by domestic violence and the fire of her partner’s rage. He also destroys her guitar and the copies of her original songs. Part of  the subplot from In and Out of Step explores the context of the domestic violence and provides insight into the psychology of it. Excuses are not made.

    At the start of Life Song, Mavis is twenty-eight-years-old and very different from the young woman who shone throughout most of In and Out of Step. She is the central character in Life Song. She has become subdued, distrustful of her own judgement, and an echo of her former self. Unexpectedly, she discovers she has a choice: continue to live a life tainted by domestic violence or seize the opportunity before her and try to rise above her circumstance and, like the phoenix bird, leave the ashes of her past life behind.

    'Could she live the rest of her life as she'd been living. She couldn't, not now she'd glimpsed another world, fleeting though that vision had been.'

    Life Song is not a cliche 'chic musician on the road' story and is definitely not a romance. It is about the woman Mavis becomes and the people who stand by her as she undergoes transformation – physical, psychological, and to an extent spiritual. She does not solve her problems in the arms of a man but makes the hard choices herself.

    The drama comes from the tugs-of-war that Mavis has to work though. It is made all the harder because Mavis' heart is in conflict with itself. One person, no matter how strong, cannot win a tug-of-war alone. The same applies to Mavis.

    Readers learn about the things that give Mavis strength and that enable her to boldly embrace the inevitable changes coming into her life as she becomes Nikki Mills, the Song Bird from Oz.

    I recommend you listen to two songs from that novel: Sunshine Days and Life Song (A Vision Splendid) to get a feel for this story.

    There are many kinds of wins in life, most of them personal rather than widely acclaimed. It's those personal 'brave heart' moments that define Mavis. Reader feedback through my publisher and website is that Life Song is a gratifying read.

    As part of your journey in reading this blog,  I suggest you listen to Move On.  In my imagination, it is first sung by Mavis' support network, but ultimately the song becomes her personal mantra.

    Australia is a diverse landscape and has diverse communities. Life Song gives readers an opportunity to spend time in some of those communities. The title alludes to the fact that each character's life has its own melody and when sung in concert become the symphony that is Life Song

    Notes:

    Life Song is one of four novels in The Keimera Series. Each novel is a standalone narrative and has the backstory woven into it.  The Keimera Series is an opus.

    Keimera does not in any way allude to chimeraa monstrous fire-breathing hybrid creature from Greek mythology.

    If you would like to lend me your support so that I can produce more music from my novels, you can buy any of my songs from CD Baby.  Each of my songs can be purchased for the very small price of $1.69. My music is also on iTunes and other major online music sellers as well.



    Read more

    Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The story behind my song 'The Flame'

    Sunday, June 25, 2017


    'The Flame' features in my novel ‘Song Bird’. In the novel, it is sung by rock legend Rick Brody who serenades Nikki Mills (the central character in the novel). In real life, it was sung by Funnie Williams and Thanapat Yarchartoen (aka Film). I produced the song through Karma Sound Studios in Thailand.

    BACKSTORY TO 'THE FLAME' - The Singer or the Song?

    In ‘Song Bird’ and its prequel 'Life Song', Nikki Mills - the Girl from Oz - is a survivor of domestic violence. Once an innocent, she believed the very convincing serenade of her first significant love, Terry Kikby. Long before Nikki met Rick, his song 'The Flame' resonated with her.  She believed that Rick's songs really expressed his own ideas and values.

    Having been at the top of the music industry for sixteen years, Rick finds his music is dropping in the charts. Defined by his 'bad boy' image, he has lost sight of his real self. Consequently,  his music has lost its connection with his fan base. Interested in Nikki as a woman as much as in her skill as a lyricist, Rick collaborates with Nikki on a new album. 

    Flattered by Rick's interest in her and impressed by 'The Flame', Nikki embarks on a relationship with him.  A subplot in the novel explores the ramifications of that decision.  Can she help Rick find the heart that his music once had?  Will Nikki be hurt or healed by the relationship with him?  The answers are found in my novel 'Song Bird'. 

    Readers of this blog may also find the pop rock song 'Masque' and interesting insight into Rick and Nikki's relationship issues.

    I currently have 8 songs on CD Baby and iTunes. You can help me raise the money to produce the rest of my songs by buying one or more of my songs at the very small price of $1.69 per song. They are on sale at CD Baby and  iTunes. Online music streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer promote my music, but I only earn approximately one cent per one hundred streams. 

    Read more

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NEWS

  • Christine's music update

    11-Oct-2018

    Christine’s admin team are pleased to report ‘Life Song’ has continued to receive an increasingly strong response in its latest month of rotation on numerous radio stations targe..
  • Christine's music on Unearthed Triple J

    10-Oct-2018

    Help Christine cross over to commercial radio by following this link (https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/christine-m-knight), playing her songs, and giving them a star review. Yo..
  • 4 out of 4 stars review for 'Song Bird'

    16-Jul-2018

    Another 4 out of 4 stars for 'Song Bird'. Click here (https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?t=75821)for the review...

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