Friday, August 14, 2009

Kate Ellis

I added Kate Ellis to my list back when I was totally obsessing about eating disorders. She's a politician with some connection to all that. I forgot what. I think maybe dealing with them is part of her job.

I'm much less obsessed with all that now, but she's on the list. I guess I'm still interested in finding out what she does. Plus, I'm sure there will be other interesting stuff besides the eating disorder issues.

I shall go and talk to Lord Wiki.....

Kate Ellis is the Minister for Youth and Minister for Sport. I can see how eating disorders would fit in there somewhere.

Baby Kate was born 22 September 1977. She's about a week older than my younger sister.

I think she'd be a Libra like my sister, but she might fall on the cusp. Or she might be a Virgo.

I shall check the birthday website.  See what they say.

They say she's a Virgo.

Crap. This really is getting weird. She's a 1 again.

You know what I just thought. Maybe I'm NOT getting constant 1's. Maybe the birthday website has become defective. Maybe their calculator is a bit ill right now.

I shall check the calculations least for Ellis.

Okay. 22 would equal 2+2. That's 4.
September is the ninth month. That's 9.
1977 would be 1+9+7+7. That's 24. And we reduce that to 2+4=6.
Then we get 4+9+6. That's 19. 1+9= 10 and ten IS reduced to 1.

Wow. Maybe there is something cosmic going on. I really think I've had a lot of 1 people lately.

What's the deal with that?


Kate was born in Melbourne, but she grew up in rural South Australia. Did her family live in Melbourne, and move to South Australia. Or were they South Australians visiting Melbourne when the baby popped out?

The town Ellis was born in was called Mannum. I'm looking for it on Google Maps now.

It's about an hour east of Adelaide.

It's about nine hours north-west of Melbourne.

Like Frederick McCubbin, Ellis grew up in a bakery family. They owned a bakery. Her mom was a teacher though; so I'm guessing Daddy Ellis did most of the baking.

For her last years of secondary school, Ellis moved to Adelaide. There she attended Daws Road High School. The name of that school has been changed to Pasadena High School.

Since Ellis has the job of taking care of Australia's youth, maybe I should read up on her high school. It might have had some influence on her.

I'm trying to think of when she would have gone there. When did my sister graduate high school? I think it was 1996. I had just moved to NYC. Tim and I traveled back to Texas to attend the graduation ceremonies.

The school day, at Ellis' high school starts at 8:30 and ends at 3:00. I guess that's pretty usual. On Mondays they get out at 1:35. That's pretty cool. I'm guessing it's not about giving the students a break. It probably has something to do with teacher planning meetings. I'm just guessing....

Oh never mind about exploring the school. Too much of their website requires you to download PDF files. I'm not in the mood for that.

Ellis attended Flinders University. She studied International Relations, but never ended up finishing her degree.

She started doing Labor Party stuff. Well, she became a member of the party. And then she did adviser stuff for the Deputy Premier of South Australia.

I guess Ellis did well with all that.

By 2004, she was part of Federal Parliament. She got in via the Division of Adelaide, taking the place of a Liberal politician who had been there for the last eleven years.

When Rudd became Prime Minister in 2007, Ellis got the Minister for Youth and Minister for Sport jobs. Lord Wiki says she was the youngest Australian ever to get a Ministry job. She would have been just twenty. That is pretty young.

Oh! Ellis recently ALSO became Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare, and Youth. Is that a whole new Ministry thing, or did they just expand the youth thing?

Ellis was voted by her fellow members of Parliament as being the sexiest Member of Parliament. She was flattered by that. I'm not sure I feel good about it. It seems....somewhat wrong. It would be less wrong if they have a sexiest male. Then it's at least fair. But if they're just choosing a female sexy person, there's something so sexist and backwards about that.

I don't blame Ellis for being flattered though. I'd feel the same way. I'd think This is so horribly wrong! They shouldn't be judging me on how I look. But SO awesome that they found me sexy!
These conflicting feelings are one of the reasons I quit Facebook last summer. They have these things where you can vote for your friends. Who's the cutest? Who's the sexist? Who's the nicest? Who's your TOP friends? Then there were also places where people could buy and sell your photos. You could actually be owned and auctioned, then tossed aside when something better came along. I hated all that. I was so against it. Yet, I loved getting the messages that someone had voted for me. I loved hearing that someone had bought me. I loved hearing that my photo was worth so much (fake) money.

Fortunately, most of that stuff seems to be gone now. At least I'm not seeing it. Facebook seems now to be more about conversations with friends rather than ranking friends.

Well, I'm done with Lord Wiki. Eating disorders weren't even mentioned by him. That might come up later somewhere else. I could have made a mistake, but I'm pretty sure she's connected to eating disorders in some fashion.

Here is the official Kate Ellis website. Hopefully, I'll find some valuable information here.

Maybe I'll read some of her speeches.

Here's her first speech.  Well, her first speech as a Member of Parliament. I'm sure she also did speeches back in school. It would be cute if we could see her first book report speech, or show and tell speech.

She acts very gracious. She thanks Trish Worth, the Liberal politician that she has replaced.

Trish and I are obviously from opposite sides of politics, and we certainly shared some spirited debates throughout the campaign. But I would like to acknowledge and thank her for both her contribution to the people of Adelaide over the past 11 years and her helpful and gracious handover.

That's lovely. I like when people can manage to be gracious...although it can be quite a struggle at times.

This is kind of funny. Ellis says, Some seem under the impression that, as the youngest woman to be elected to this House, it is my principal role to speak for the under 30s. I am afraid that these people may be disappointed. I have no intention of claiming to be the voice of youth.

She might not have any intentions of representing the youth, but it seems she eventually did get that job!

Ellis's father died before she got to Parliament. She mentions him in the speech; pays some respect to him.

In 2006, she did a speech on eating disorders. She says that 1 in 20 Australian women have admitted to having an eating disorder. It's the third most common chronic illness in adolescent girls. I wonder what the first and second most common illnesses are. Maybe diabetes? Oh! Probably Asthma is up there on top. I bet that would be number one.

Ellis says, Just recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who is a highly educated, successful and intelligent woman. I was shocked when she told me that she wished that she could be anorexic but she just did not have the discipline for it. What sort of society are we encouraging when we actually have people seriously wishing that they had psychological illnesses?

It's really sad. I received a lot of admiration when I was rapidly losing weight.

I can relate to what the woman had said to Ellis. A few months ago, I had a relapse. It began when my mother argued with the fact that I ever had an eating disorder.  She thought I had just simply been dieting. To ther, an eating disorder was someone in the hospital weighing fifty pounds. For several weeks after that conversation, I felt like a failure. Yes, I once had an eating disorder, but I hadn't had ENOUGH of one. I didn't get thin enough. There was a part of myself that was angry for getting well. Why hadn't I stuck at it longer?

There was a part of me that wanted to go back and try again.  This time get it RIGHT.

I think a lot of it came from wanting to fight the invalidation. As I said in a previous post, invalidation is the thing I have so much trouble dealing with.

It was so hard for me to hear my mother say no, you didn't have a problem. It was really hard for me to struggle through something, get well, and then hear I never had that problem in the first place.

I think there was this part of me that wanted to get sick again, so people would say Oh we were wrong! You DO have an eating disorder. Oops. Sorry. Our mistake.

Of course, there was this little voice constantly nagging at me. You're a MOTHER. You can't do that to your son. You might die. Hello?! You're an aunt too. You have nieces. What kind of message will you be giving them?

I kept pushing that voice away. I told myself that I wouldn't get THAT sick. I wouldn't kill myself. I'd just get thin enough to prove that I CAN succeed at Anorexia! Yes I can! Yes I can!

But then I realized something. I wouldn't get validation and concern if I lost a bunch of weight. I'd get admiration again. The people who I desired concern from, would be PROUD of me. Thinness in our society is so greatly admired.

I think even when people SHOW concern, it's really masking admiration.

During my relapse and recovery, I often thought of this one person who HAD shown concern about me losing so much weight. It gave me comfort to know that SOMEONE had cared.

I saw this person again recently. We were chatting. I mentioned something about Jack and I wanting to maybe use certain vitamins. This person is usually REALLY into that type of thing. I expected her to be very supportive. Instead she said something like well, you also need to eat right and exercise.
Hello? Where did that come from? Maybe I read too much into it. But the idea I got was she had never truly been disturbed by my earlier rapid weight loss. I think her concern had all been fake. I think she was bothered more by the fact that my body now no longer looks like something that belongs on an American soap opera.

It annoyed me for many reasons.

First, I'm NOT obese. I'm not even overweight.

Second, I DO exercise. How dare she assume that I don't? Yeah. And someone else at the same party expressed shock when I mentioned that I work out.

YOU work out?

Yeah. Maybe I don't have a model's body like you. But yes I do work out. Okay?

It's crazy to me that people believe that only skinny people eat well and exercise. Other people try to stay healthy as well; even some obese people.

Oh....I have really rambled on and on here, haven't I. Let me get back to the speech.

She talks about the pro-ana websites. These are the ones that encourage people to starve themselves. Yes, I sometimes used them for inspiration and guidance.

Ellis says, Cosmopolitan magazine has been very proactive in tackling the issue of poor body image. Individual models, designers and photographers have begun to take this issue very seriously and realise the role that fashion and the beauty industry have to play in influencing body image.

Really? Maybe Australian magazines are different from American ones. The American magazines I see have covers dominated by weight loss plans and photos of thin people. American magazines are all about improving the looks of our body. There's very little about improving our minds and souls. I'm sure each issue has some kind of empowering article. But the other stuff outnumbers and overshadows it.

Here's a 2007 speech about eating disorders. I think Ellis says valuable stuff at the end.

Many of us will be familiar with the images of women with protruding ribs, gaunt faces and dark circles under their eyes. These are the images that feature prominently alongside almost every media piece about eating disorders in this country. It reinforces the stereotype that all sufferers of eating disorders are waif thin. Despite the fact that this is simply inaccurate, it is also very damaging. I heard accounts from people at this meeting who said that, for a long time, when they were clearly suffering from a very serious disease, they looked in the mirror and they did not see reflected back at them the images that they associated with eating disorders in this country, so they did not go and get help.

Yeah. There are people out there damaging their bodies by not eating enough. Or they might be in an awful cycle of starvation and binging. They might be ruining their body by frequent vomiting (or other types of purging). Yet no one notices or cares because they don't look like skeletons. Even medical professionals can be ignorant assholes about the whole thing. This website has some chilling responses that eating disorder sufferers have encountered.

I actually WAS waif thin. And even then....there was VERY little concern. There was admiration. In my case, I think part of that came from the fact that my sister has always been very thin. Her smallness (in weight AND height) has always been greatly admired in my family...almost worshiped. So, when I started looking more and more like her....well, that was simply....AWESOME. No one stopped to think: Hey, people have different body types. Uh yeah. Your sister is eating a normal and healthy amount of calories, and looks that way. She's not walking (very) excessive amounts of miles a day. She's not weighing every little morsel of food she's eating.

It was more like, hey whatever you can do to look like your beautiful and skinny sister.... DO IT! Go Dina!

I mean no one actually said these exact things. But there was definitely that attitude.

Well, enough of eating disorder speeches....I'm going to now look at Google News.

This very recent article says a netball court is going to be added to Parliament. Or it already has been added. It seems Kate Ellis will be one of the Parliament people to play. That's pretty cool. I'm personally not into team sports, but I think it's great that it will be available to people who enjoy that stuff.

Kate Ellis is involved with the government's recent three million dollar pledge to fight cyber- bullying. I do hate cyber-bullying. I think something should be done to reduce all that shit. But where does the three million dollars go? Does it go to paying salaries? Distributing literature? New technology?

If someone handed me three million dollars to help fight cyber-bulling, what would I do with that money? Maybe I could bribe people to stop bullying others?

This article from 2008 talks about stuff Ellis and the rest of the Rudd government is doing against eating disorders. They had considered putting restrictions on magazines; less skinny models, and more variety in body size. I think that would be a great idea. It does interfere with free speech. And I'm weary about that. I don't know though....

If it was an isolated thing, I'd say let it go. But way too many magazines promote the idea that beauty comes in one size only.

Ah! They also wanted to make a rule that digitally enhanced bodies would have to be labeled as such. Yes! I DEFINITELY agree with that!

Ellis, in the article, mentions that eating disorder victims are getting younger and younger. She says children as young as six are being admitted to the hospital with Anorexia.

The article says that Victoria has a voluntary media code. What does that mean? You can chose to follow it if you want? Does that help? Do magazines follow it?

Ellis says, What we have seen previously from different governments around the world that have explored these options is that it's actually been most effective when it's been a voluntary code.

Really? I guess I'll take her word for it.

How do magazine people feel about this? Well, I don't know what they all say. But the editor of Vogue responded by saying that magazine covers should be filled with young beautiful people rather than people of varying sizes. Yes, of course--because people who are not underweight could never be attractive. How could we ever delude ourselves to believe otherwise?

The Australian Vogue editor, Kirstie Clementes says, It's about beautiful young girls creating beautiful fantasies, it always has been it always will be.

It disturbs me so much that she'd actually say that.

What is wrong with letting people know there are beautiful woman out there who do not wear a size 0? What about letting people know there are people out there who are a size 10, 12, maybe even 24 (and above)....and they're still beautiful!

I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with wanting to be of a certain body long as one goes about it in a healthy sane matter. I don't think it's necessarily wrong to want to wear pretty clothes and pretty jewels. Most of us women want to look good.

But there are two things I'd like changed in our society.

1. The idea that only one type of body is acceptable. What's important is health. What's your fitness and activity level? Is your heart beating okay? Is your blood pressure all right? Are you breathing okay? How's your insulin levels? It shouldn't be so much about SIZE.

2. Physical beauty is lovely, but it should be the least important thing. There's other stuff that's SO much more important.

Anyway, that's it for today. Jack wants to eat breakfast, and I've had enough talk about all this for the time being.


  1. Hello

    I understand from your blog that you are interested in what the Australian Government is doing in relation to body image and eating disorders. This link (and further links on the page) provide more information on the government's work on body image.
    You may also like to see the information paper on this page.

    You referenced the Victorian voluntary media code of conduct. The Victorian government has a positive body image strategy of which the Code forms a part. Information on this, including the Victorian Code can be found at

    I hope you find this information useful.


  2. Andrew,


    Thanks for the links.

    I shall go look at them now : )