Copy of url japan

The Weekly Round-Up: Internships as a Modern form of Slavery, Tearful J-Pop Stars and a Sobering Look at Julian Assange

Each week we share five exciting and provocative ideas, links and articles making waves on the internet.

INTERNSHIPS ARE ON THE RISE, DESPITE THEIR QUESTIONABLE LEGALITY

In the wake of the report issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman into unpaid work experience and internships, Pedestrian.tv published an interview with Professor Andrew Stewart (one half of the Ombudsman team) to establish what an internship is, and what is otherwise a form of modern slavery.

A PREGNANT WOMAN’S BODY IS NOT PUBLIC PROPERTY

That was the conclusion Lauren Rosewarne came to in her analysis of the public reaction to Chrissie Swan’s admission to smoking whilst pregnant. “That Chrissie Swan felt she had to, ostensibly, explain her actions,” writes Rosewarne, ”is ridiculous. And is testimony to how grotesquely judgmental women are of each other. There are lots of things I don’t understand about The Sisterhood. One is how hard-earned reproductive rights were by feminists, and yet how eagerly contemporary women – many using the F-word to describe themselves – will feel perfectly justified telling other women how to use their bodies.”

JEMIMA KHAN ACCUSES JULIAN ASSANGE OF ENCOURAGING A DANGEROUSLY BRAND OF DEVOTION

Jemima Khan was once among Julian Assange’s most public supporters. The associate editor of the New Statesman has offered a vast amount of assistance to him, including once bailing him out of prison. But the pair have fallen out, and this week she published a damning article. “The problem,” she writes, “is that WikiLeaks – whose mission statement was ‘to produce . . . a more just society . . . based upon truth’ – has been guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion.” For this reason she says Assange risks becoming “more like an Australian L Ron Hubbard.”

IT IS BETTER TO LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE THAN A HAPPY ONE

Following the release of research in the Journal of Positive Psychology, The Atlantic this week published an article explaining why it is far better to have a meaningful life than a happy life. “While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do; positive affect and feelings of pleasure are fleeting. The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning. Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future…People who thought more about the present were happier, but people who spent more time thinking about the future or about past struggles and sufferings felt more meaning in their lives, though they were less happy.”

For more information on positive psychology, check out Martin Seligman’s upcoming talk at the Sydney Opera House.

A JAPANESE POP STAR SHAVES HER HEAD AND EXPOSES MUCH ABOUT JAPAN’S SEXUAL POLITICS

Minami Minegashi is a member of AKB48, a Japanese all-female pop group who have a strict no dating policy. This week she shaved her head in contrition for being caught breaking the rules of the policy when she stayed the night at the home of a male J-pop star. Rosemary Overell contrasts Minegashi’s behaviour with an almost identical scandal involving a male J-pop star, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, in 2009. “For her apparent deviance from the cute, sexy, attainable, starlet image, Minegishi’s body had to bear the shame of her act. Unlike Kusanagi, she was not allowed the dignity of a press conference. Her apology, and her shaved head, had only one purpose, to completely strip Minegishi of all dignity.”