Do movies imprint the right ideas on children?

Flan and I recently watched a TED talk that actually made us think a lot more than we thought from the title. The talk was by Colin Stokes and titled ‘How Movies Teach Manhood’.

Colin mentions the Bechdel Test, a tool that rates movies on the following criteria:

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

Here’s the Wikipedia article. The Feminist Frequency also wrote a piece about it.

How many of your favourite movies pass this? When I heard about the test, I realised I’d become so used to watching movies in which the main characters are either men or women discussing men. A lot of the time, you’ll find there will be a woman in a group of main characters, but only one – the token female. Alternatively, you’ll have a few women, but they’ll be either plotting to get men or complaining about them. The common roles of women seem to be mothers, wives, girlfriends or wannabe girlfriends. Meanwhile, the men are racing around in cars/helicopters/planes/trains/etc., hitting/shooting people and getting the girls in the end. Colin was worried about what these stereotypical roles were teaching his young children, and it definitely made me pause to think. Are girls learning to take charge of the situation, to be brave, to learn, to take care of others? Are boys learning to trust girls and let them lead as well?

Flan actually brought up the topic the next day after realising his daily work life doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test. Out of the seven people in his department at a technology company, none are female. In his physical office room (open-plan), there are sixteen people, and only one is female. Why is that? (I’ll leave that thought there so we can all have a think.)

Applications, and the news roundup.

I should go back to compiling notable feedback and comments from my coursework over the years and applying for jobs, but I felt like sharing the news articles I’ve come across today.


An update on the Muslim man who’s family wanted him to continue receiving life support – he’s apparently now responding to cues, indicating that he’s minimally conscious and not in a vegetative state. Flashback to my first placement!

Tiny nets could be used to clear out blood clots following a stroke. And someone please explain how there are procedures which involve pushing a wire up from the groin to the brain without causing damage along the way? Isn’t that a rather far distance to travel to get to a clot? Anyway, here is the important bit, taken from the news article (BBC, 26 August 2012):

Two similar devices were compared with the current coil methods. One trial of 113 patients showed 58% had good brain function after three months, compared with 33% of those treated with the coil method, as well as a lower death rate.

Another study in 178 patients showed almost double the chance of living independently after treatment.

Related is a surgeon’s opinion that people with some form of brain injury, such as stroke or traumatic, are not receiving enough post-injury physiotherapy, affecting their recovery and their quality of life. He says this is due to the slowly diminishing number of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and qualified nurses working within the NHS.

Children with neuroblastoma in the UK are seemingly missing out on a drug combination that has been shown to cut deaths by 25% because the NHS does not provide it, saying it is too experimental. The only way to access the drugs are through either participating in a European drug trial or raising money to go abroad (e.g. the USA) for treatment.

There is some concern over whether or not those carrying out fitness to work assessments for the Department for Work and Pensions (UK) are right for the job. Surely you should understand a problem if you’re assessing its impact on a person’s ability to work. This seems obvious to me.


Researchers at Princeton University (US) created a ‘video game’ to study the behaviour of predatory bluegill sunfish, observing how they respond to different patterns of red dots (representing prey) projected into the tanks. I’m just loving how virtual reality is spreading through the researching community, now being used to test animal behaviour and not just human behaviour.

All about wheelchairs

What it’s like to fly with a wheelchair.

Wheelchair-bound Iraqis turn to tennis for a new sense of purpose.


That should be enough, surely.

Volunteering with a South African charity.

Today, after getting monumentally lost trying to find this place, I met the OT who works at Bethesda, a charity hospice, inpatient unit and children’s home in George, South Africa. She took me around and introduced me to some of the staff, patients and projects before sitting me down and telling me what Bethesda needed and could offer me.

Let me first just tell you about a project they’re currently trying to complete but don’t have the funding for. No one has asked me to tell you, just so you know, but I thought it was a great idea. They can care for up to 45 children, orphans or vulnerable, and they currently house most of these children in a dormitory-style old building. Their plan is to move these children into houses with ‘parents’, up to about 10 children per house. The aim of this is to give the children a sense of belonging within a ‘family’, and it’ll mean that the children almost have their own room, only having to share one room between 2-3 children. So far, they have completed two houses. A third is almost completed, but they ran out of funds. I don’t know if anyone feels inclined to support Bethesda, but if you are, you can find out more about them here and donate here. If you’re in South Africa, they would really appreciate clothes, toiletries, etc. for their patients as well; just scroll down to the wishlist. I’m going to take some old clothes of my own for the children’s home.

Now, the plan for my volunteering?

I love babies. The more I think about it, the more I’d love to work with babies, maybe in a NICU. So I was very happy to assure the OT that I’d work with the babies in the inpatient unit. I’ve also asked to work with the OT assistant when she works with the inpatient adults, as I have no experience with people with stroke, HIV/AIDS, cancer, etc. I’d really like to have some experience with rehabilitation and palliative care. This is me being proactive!

So my first official day is Monday, and I have to again find this place by 8:30am. Google Maps was no help this morning!