Welcome to the 42nd edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival!
Compiling the edition has been an absolute pleasure. It is so inspiring to observe the strength, diversity and passion of feminist voices in Australia and New Zealand. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this collection as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.
So, push your weekend newspapers to one side and sink your teeth into a smorgasbord of deliciously insightful and thought-provoking pieces from October 2011.
Relatively new blogger Contradictory Multitudes has written a beautiful and insighful piece titled Feminism, colonisation and migration: a tale of caution. Here’s an excerpt:
“Let me be clear here: this is not a post about how feminism is bad. It’s not a post about how Indian women can’t be feminists. It’s not a post about how because the practice of feminism has been subject to the same flaws and power-imbalances as the practice of all political organising everywhere – it needs to be abandoned and/or reviled. For me, living in Australia, identifying as a feminist is a protective, productive and strategic decision. What I am highlighting here are the radically different meanings of identifying as a feminist in India and identifying as a feminist in Australia. What I am further trying to tease out are the consequences and effects of identifying as a feminist in Australia if you happen to be a non-indigenous woman of colour.”
In a piece titled Food, fear and power, New Zealand blogger Letters from Wetville talks about the famous food writer Elizabeth David and delves into some interesting discussion about Western society’s relationship with food:
“The ‘good’ person chooses his or her food carefully and modestly, just as they choose their mate carefully and just once. It is no accident that the narratives focusing on the control of food intake focus on women; in a patriarchal society the need to control the physical urges of women is paramount. A woman entirely at home in her own body is a dangerous thing to a power structure which requires endless expenditure on diet foods, gym subscriptions and fashionable clothing.”
“A couple of years ago in Wellington’s Comedy Fest, the only humour in common from all the wonderful female comics I went to see were “jokes” about their pubic hair being revolting. This is the bit that is anti-feminist as far as I’m concerned – cultural norms which tell us our ordinary bodies are disgusting and a return to a pre-adult look for our genitals is a must. But our bodies, including our pubic hair? Ours to do what we wish with, of course. Kinda a baseline for feminism.”
“We never get the image of wealthy people of colour giving aid to impoverished white folk. why is that?”
“Until mothers everywhere can incorporate breastfeeding seamlessly into their lives, until mothers can breastfeed and be whole members of our society, until mothers can breastfeed and talk to the leaders of their country at the same time.. we will not have gone far enough.”
In Part 4 of her series on how to plan a feminist wedding, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman argues that the “imaginative work”, and also the bulk of non-imaginative work, involved in putting together the Big Day, is disproportionately done by women: Weddings as Women’s Work.
General Feminism & Social Justice
Julie from The Hand Mirror talks about the need for strong leadership in activist communities when dealing with issues of rape and sexual abuse within an activist circle: A ramble about unacceptable behaviour in activisty groups. (trigger warnings apply)
Mindy from Hoyden about Town has a go at columnists who ask ‘where are all the feminists?’ in Feminism – we’re doin it rong #1568454876.
Posted at Penguin Unearthed is the extraordinary life story of an exceptional woman who “took her own course through life, and enjoyed the adventure”: Travelling Feminist: Dona Catalina de Erauso who lived 1592-1650.
Zero at the Bone talks about her experiences of racism within the online feminist community and raises some important points about intersectionality and identity and how they are visible (or not) online: Identity, visibility, and the Internet.
At Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear, Chrys Stevenson contemplates: what if “same-sex marriage were reframed as a (circa 1960s) argument against inter-racial marriage” in order to highlight narrow-minded homophobia: Allan takes aim at same-sex marriage but he’s shooting blanks.
“The annoying thing, for me anyway, is that this even happens. That many people (often women) have their abilities, knowledge and skills questioned to the point where they don’t feel confident about them, that they question their own worth, abilities, knowledge and skills. I want to live in a world where people’s worth is not questioned, that’d be nice.”
Media & Popular Culture
At the news with nipples the media are called out on their sexist bullshit. In this case it’s a story about Qantas strikers and a Playboy model, and a story about Prime Minister Gillard kissing one of her colleagues: MSM finds the big stories just too damn hard.
At Hoyden about Town, tigtog discusses some of the racist and exclusionary practices of the SlutWalk movement: Slutwalk: why can’t it be better than this?
In a week of pro-choice posts over at The Hand Mirror there are some great articles, including this one which highlights some awful global statistics, attributed to the lack of safe and affordable access to abortion services: Guest post: Let’s have a look at those statistics.
Mary also presented a fascinating round-up of other prominent women in science and technology: Ada Lovelace Day blasts from the past: the science and technology Hoydens.
The A Large Pink Woman takes aim at a male academic for his fat-hating comments about The Muppets’ Miss Piggy: Stop harshing my squee with your ignorant fathating, world.
Fat Heffalump also writes about claiming fat as a positive identity: Breaking Down Fat Stigma: Criticism of Fat as Identity
At Geek Feminism Blog Skud talks about the disturbing prevalence of online harrassment of women: On being harassed: a little GF history and some current events.
Over at the news with nipples there is a critique of the latest anti-rape advice being espoused by the head of NSW Police: If you’re drunk and get raped, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself, says NSW Police Commissioner. She writes:
“Yes, telling people – not just young women – to look out for your mates is a good thing, but most people already do that. It’s a bit frightening to think that NSW Police’s anti-rape strategy is “hey women, don’t get drunk and you won’t get raped, but if you do get drunk and raped then you should take responsibility for your actions”. Not only is that offensive victim-blaming, but it’s telling women that they will be safe from sexual assault if they don’t get drunk, and that is simply bullshit.”
October has seen the Occupy ‘X’ movement gain momentum around the world, including cities in Australia and New Zealand, so I’ve taken the liberty of adding another category to this month’s carnival.
Rush of Sun shares some thought-provoking material about what Occupy Sydney is about and her experiences of the first week of the protest: Occupy Sydney Day 9 – notes. You might also like to check out her notes from other days. I liked reading about her visit to Penrith (an outer suburb of Sydney) and you can check out a video of a fantastic flash mob that took place in Pitt Street Mall last week: Occupy Sydney – Day 15 – Penrith, flash mob, conversations. Inspiring! She writes:
“Occupy is about giving public voice to the voiceless in our society. Most people understand 1%/99% is not broadly representative, but it can be used to rally. It can be used to start a discussion.
Occupy is not perfect, and does not claim to be.
Occupy is not the only method, and doesn’t claim to be.
Occupy inspires me.
Inequality exists in Australia. We must be able to publicly talk about it. Australia is part of a global financial and political system, we do not exist in a bubble.”
At Pondering Postfeminism I shared some of my thoughts during the first week of Occupy Sydney, drawing on some material by scholar Mackenzie Wark to help contextualise the Occupy phenomenon: Occupying Sydney: some initial ponderings.
[Check out the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival website for information about the 43rd edition to be hosted at A Bee of a Certain Age. Submit your November blog posts at blogcarnival! Submissions to dfr141 [at] hotmail [dot] com for those who can’t access blogcarnival.]