Archive for the ‘Linkages’ Category

99th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

August 5, 2016

Down Under Feminists' Carnival logo

I’m excited to be hosting the 99th Down Under Feminist’s Carnival. This is my third time collating – and I’m always blown away by the quality and strength of the feminist blogosphere. Feminist writing in New Zealand and Australia is so broad and diverse and it’s always exciting to find out what’s being written and analysed on a whole range of topics. Get your browsers/phones/e-readers ready because there’s a lot of fabulous and interesting and inspiring material to get through!

I’ve been a bit slack as a blogger. I must admit to being generally disengaged with politics and to reading feminist politics for a while now. I haven’t meant to go so long between posts. There are a variety of reasons for my blogging absence (mostly: small children; but also: needing to save my mental health by not turning on the news!) but engaging with all these amazing writers, I’m inspired to get back to blogging again. Please, someone, hold me to this. 🙂

But enough waffle from me. Lets get onto the good stuff. Without further ado, I present the July 2016 DUFC. Get your reading gear around these awesome links:

RACISM/INTERSECTIONS

  • Racism in Australia seemed to reach new lows of atrociousness this month, with 4 Corners exposé of the assault, tear-gassing and abuses of indigenous children in a Northern Territory youth detention centre. This article from the SMH outlines some of the horror if you haven’t heard about it already. Gillian Triggs calls for Inquiry into Youth Detention Abuse. [warning: graphic images in that article] Triggs, who is President of the Human Rights Commission has argued that this kind of systemic abuse in NT are part of a wider culture of human rights abuses and cover-ups currently occuring in Australia, both onshore and offshore detention.
  • With the Federal election, we’ve also seen the return to the political spotlight of Pauline Hanson. At Daily Life Celeste Liddle writes about the current political climate and why We shouldn’t be surprised by the return of Pauline Hanson. Liddle writes:

    Since Hanson’s first election, rather than simply avoiding backlash, politicians have actively drawn on the racist undercurrent of Australian society to win elections. The deliberate focus on “stopping the boats” following the Tampa Affair in 2001 is one jarring example of this happening. Worse, it proved successful and has become a standard tactic used by both the Coalition and the Labor Party in subsequent elections.

  • No Place for Sheep responds to political commentator Waleed Aly’s discussion of primetime chatshow host Sonia Kruger’s bigoted comments about banning Muslims from migrating to Australia: Pray for the Bigots.
  • Ann Deslandes wrote a fantastic piece for New Matilda about white privilege in Australia and abroad, in the context of the upcoming Olympic Games: Australia Packs Its Prejudice And Heads To Rio.
  • Celeste Liddle writes at Daily Life: Magnolia Maymuru wasn’t the only Aboriginal finalist of Miss World Australia. Why weren’t the others recognised?

FAMILY/PARENTING

  • At Flip That Script is a great post about inappropriate adult comments about children. I love this piece because I’ve heard quite a few of the Yucky Adult Comment examples, usually while at the playground with my little ones, and I never know what to say… I’m guilty of just leaving an awkward silence, or smiling along while thinking “did you really just say that?” when hearing comments like these. Let the children play. Don’t let yucky adult comments get in the way.
  • Over at Wonderously Other is a lovely piece about how hard it can be returning to paid work after having a baby: The Life of a Working Mother.
  • There’s a fantastic piece at ABC News site by Samantha Selinger-Morris titled Scratching beneath the surface of motherhood regret. This one really struck a chord with me, and it’s a topic that I’ve pondered writing about myself for this here blog, but because it’s so personal I keep putting it off. However, the personal is political, as the saying goes, so one day I will write about my own experiences of maternal ambivalence (as the above article calls it) and how tricky it feels to even admit to that in public. Someone needs to hold me to it though because I will procrastinate.
  • Elswhere, at Cesca at MyFlatPackLife discusses how patronising and irritating it is to be judged for formula-feeding your baby: Bottle vs Breast.

LIFE/HEALTH/DEATH

  • Over at Write Handed, Sarah Wilson writes a very personal piece about how phoning Lifeline helped her and why New Zealand funding for it should be reinstated: Lifeline: It Literally Is
  • Scarlet Harris writes at SBS about the positives of singledom: Sometimes it’s just easier being single
  • Ginger Gorman writes a a touching tribute to blogger Elizabeth Caplice, who passed away last month from cancer: ‘I get to do it on my terms. I like that’. I hadn’t come across her blog before but her words are powerful and honest and although I’ve not read many of her posts, I’m sorry to hear of her death.

THE BODY

VIOLENCE

  • Van Badham writes passionately about her appearance on the ABC’s panel show, where she didn’t get a chance to argue the need for greater funding and support services for women fleeing domestic violence, because one of the panellists kept interupting and making it all about himself: I’m still reeling from Q&A but not because I was called hysterical
  • Jane Gilmour published her piece about the privitisation of the 1800-RESPECT crisis hotline for domestic violence because no news sites considered it newsworthy enough. That says a lot. Great and important read here: 1800 RESPECT, risking women’s lives for ideology and “women’s issues” in the news. Gilmour writes:

    Earlier this year, 1800 RESPECT asked the government for an additional $2.1 million from the government to provide resources to meet rapidly increasing demand. Instead, the Turnbull government has decided to spend $5 million ($2.9 million more than 1800 RESPECT need) to contract Medibank Health solutions to provide a triage service.
    This new service, announced by the Department of Social Services (DSS), is not only predicted to dilute services to women in crisis, but it also poses serious, potentially life threatening, risk to privacy of data collected by the newly contracted provider, and significant safety risks to counsellors working on the hotlines.

DISABILITY

  • In this post Please Call Me Disabled, Sarah Wilson writes beautifully about the process of accepting and identifying oneself as disabled.
  • Blogger WillowDove urges people to consider wheelchair accessibility issues: Wheelchair ramps 101 – first steps. She writes:

    If you are inviting someone who uses a wheelchair somewhere that they don’t know, but you do (or to your house/workplace), volunteer to talk about the access. Think about the venue and your guest ahead of this conversation but try not to draw too many conclusions for yourself. See yourself as the constable gathering information for the detective.

MEDIA/ POP CULTURE/ ARTS

  • Over at Kill Your Darlings, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas writes about the latest Ghostbusters flick, which has three (gasp!) female leads: The first woman Ghostbuster. I particularly love this paragraph, especially for my new favourite word, misogybile:

    With all the hype surrounding Paul Feig’s women-fronted Ghostbusters reboot, you’d think by the volume of misogybile from the Internet’s self-appointed guardians of male nostalgia that some great crime had been committed in the hallowed realm of contemporary light entertainment.

That’s all from me for now. I hope you get as much out of reading these pieces as I have. A big thank you to everyone who helped me put this together by sending me relevant links.

Interesting in hosting a carnival? Want to know more about the DUFC? Check out How it Works

The next edition of the Carnival – the big One Zero Zero – is planned for 5 September, 2016: by Chally at Zero at the Bone. Please help her out by sending submissions to chally.zeroatthebone [at] gmail [dot] com.

Until next time, femmo friends. Pondering Pen signing out.

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74th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

July 8, 2014

Down Under Feminists' Carnival logo

Welcome to the June 2014 Edition – the 74th – of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival! A feast of fantastic feminist ‘frightbat’ awesomeness. Grab yourself a cuppa and get reading.

There’s such a breadth and depth of feminist writing and criticism out there. It has been an absolute pleasure collating this edition of the DUFC. Hope you enjoy reading these great pieces as much as I have.

GENERAL FEMINISM & SOCIAL JUSTICE

In NSW many women’s refuges are under threat due to changes in funding to homelessness services. It is an appalling state of affairs, to put it mildly. There’s lots of campaigning under way to save these important services. Read about them at Hoyden about Town, where tigtog writes: Signal Boosting: Mass Closure of Women’s Refuges in NSW.

* At Global Comment, Chally Kacelnik writes about this urgent and important issue: New South Wales Decimates Women’s Shelters.

* At xterrafirma Ann Deslandes writes about the problems of the policy context of the women’s refuges and homelessness shelters in the light of the recent funding changes in NSW: Did Elsie get it right the first time?

Also check out the SOS Women’s Services Facebook page for more info about how you can get involved.

* At Writehanded, Sarah Wilson shares a fantastic ‘Feminist Treehouse’ image created by one of her friends in response to an anti-feminist commenter: Welcome to the Feminist Treehouse.

* At The Travelling Unicorn, Ebs writes about the whiteness of Australian feminism in the light of the ‘Frightbat’ poll at the Daily Telegraph: #Australianfeminismisforwhitewomen.

INTERSECTIONS
At the Daily Life website, Celeste Liddle argues strongly for more support for young Indigneous women: We need to do more for our indigenous girls.

She writes:

Right now, there are only a handful of programs that focus on the unique circumstances of young Indigenous women. Initiatives like Girls at the Centre by The Smith Family and the Multi-mix mob (a playgroup catering for children and their mothers) are few and far between. And most seem to be offered through not-for-profit groups or foundations with limited governmental support. A programme like Clontarf, by using sport as a way to reach them, also gives our young men so many other options by teaching them to aim high and value education. Couldn’t our women also benefit from such a well-rounded approach?

The issues faced by Indigenous girls are diverse and their needs are wide-ranging. There is a demonstrated need for a range of programs geared around educational empowerment, health and well-being, parenting support and skills, sports and recreation and general leadership.

Her article refers to a recently released report from The Smith Family which can be found at the bottom of this page: “Improving educational outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls”.

Somehow I don’t think Australia’s “Minister for Women” (I’ve put it in quotes because I don’t believe he can or should be in that position) has young indigenous women anywhere near the top of his priority list. Earlier this week our increasingly offensive and ignorant Prime Minister (is it even possible for him to get any worse!?!) declared to an economic conference: “I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land”.

There are so many wrong things about this statement I don’t know where to begin. Argh, just…no.

RACE/RACISM

* Celeste Liddle writes at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist about racism in Australia and how tired she is of the whitemansplaining: I’m just so damn exhausted.

* Ebs at The Travelling Unicorn writes about Blackface fatigue, after trying to explain why blackface is racist to a bunch of young people from the Gold Coast.

LIFE/HEALTH

* At Writehanded, Sarah Wilson shares some tips about mindfulness, something I think we can all benefit from: Walking down the other street.

* At No Place for Sheep, Jennifer Wilson writes movingly about losing her husband, in: The House of Widows.

* Avril e Jean writes beautifully about the first experiences of menopause: The Hot Flush

FAMILY/WOMEN’S WORK

* Angela Priestley suggests that women delete the cost of childcare from their partner’s salary instead of their own: Should mum or dad pay for childcare?

MEDIA & POPULAR CULTURE

There’s lots of great writing about Orange is the New Black. It’s a brilliant show, currently in second season. I wish it had been around when I was writing my thesis on postfeminism and pop culture. I probably should blog about it, except that I’m too busy just enjoying it.

* Scarlett Harris discusses the second season of Orange is the New Black, a television series that features a large cast of diverse and interesting women: Physical & Mental Health in Orange is the New Black.

* Brocklesnitch writes this hilarious piece in response to a male journalist who totally misses the point about OITNB by arguing that it doesn’t have enough men in it. Yep, someone actually wrote that. Check out the smackdown here: Orange is the No Ah No.

If you’ve not seen OITNB yet, I suggest you get your hands on season one and start watching.

* Tasha Robinson writes scathingly about the problems with ‘strong female characters’ and the lack of them, in: We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome

She writes:

“Strong Female Character” is just as often used derisively as descriptively, because it’s such a simplistic, low bar to vault, and it’s more a marketing term than a meaningful goal. But just as it remains frustratingly uncommon for films to pass the simple, low-bar Bechdel Test, it’s still rare to see films in the mainstream action/horror/science-fiction/fantasy realm introduce women with any kind of meaningful strength, or women who go past a few simple stereotypes.

LGBTQIAU

* Continuing with the Orange is the New Black theme, at The King’s Tribune, Rebecca Shaw discusses OITNB and argues that bisexuality is routinely diminished and dismissed: Safe spaces in the LGBTQIA alphabet.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

* Julie at The Hand Mirror’ writes about access to abortion in Aotearoa New Zealand: Not what abortion ‘on demand’ looks like, folks

THE BODY

* blue milk writes about the way we police teenage girls’ bodies in: My latest column is on dress codes and teenage school girls. Link to her Daily Life article here: Fighting against dress code sexism at school.

* Rosanna Stevens writes beautifully about the culture of shame surrounding menstruation: The right kind of blood

* Kath at Fat Heffalump writes wonderfully about: Unruly Bodies

An excerpt:

I learnt that instead of focusing on what my body is not, I need to focus on what it IS. And what it is, is wonderous. Flawed and weird yes, as are ALL bodies, but also amazing.

Why must women be small, tidy, contained, unobtrusive? Why must we spend our lives trying to disappear, be invisible, to not take up any space, to keep out of everyone’s way? Why can’t we inhabit our bodies as they are, find comfort and joy in them?

VIOLENCE

* At The Hand Mirror, Scuba Nurse writes: ‘Why I think you are creepy’. She quotes some twitter conversations about rape and ‘rapey behaviour’. [trigger warnings apply]

She writes:

And I suddenly thought… why the hell they are fighting SO HARD for their rights to someone else’s body.

* Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep asks: Should Uthman Badar’s talk “Honour killings are morally justified” have been cancelled by the Festival of Dangerous Ideas?

* At A Bee of a Certain Age Deborah discusses some of the myths about domestic violence: “On the radio, talking about domestic violence” (There’s a link on the page to a recording of the radio show).

DISABILITY

* Over at Ramp Up, Stella Young talks about the lack of agency young women with disabilities have over their bodies: ‘Life skills’ program teaches wrong lesson

ARTS/CULTURE

* Jane Gilmour writes about the whole Frightbat fiasco in “Bat Country for Old Men“.

* Jenna Price, co-founder of the feminist action group Destroy the Joint also wrote about this issue: Be very worried, Tim Blair – we are all fright bats now.

* Over at Geek Feminism, there’s an interesting discussion about What would a feminist payment/funding site look like?.

* Anita Heiss writes about the end of Australia’s cultural cringe: Is the cultural cringe over? YES IT IS! |

And that just about wraps it up for June. Thanks to everyone who submitted links, it made hosting that much easier.

Edited to add: The next edition of DUFC will be hosted by Rebecca from bluebec.com. If you can’t access the submissions form, email: rebecca [dot] dominguez [at] gmail [dot] com to submit a post.

Re-entering the femmo blogosphere: Call for submissions

June 11, 2014

Long time, no write.

My only excuse is parenthood, but I really should make more time for blogging because when I get into it I enjoy the writing process (well, some of the time). If nothing else, blogging is good for venting, and there’s certainly been plenty to get angry about recently. Especially since the government released their appalling Budget, which – as far as I can tell – goes out of its way to target the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the vulnerable… and make their lives more difficult.

I think I end up not writing about these political issues because I get so cross that I feel like any critique I write on here will end up sounding like a helpless crazy rant.

Anyway, the reason I write today is not to rage against or critique the pitfalls of contemporary Australian politics, but to announce that I’ll be hosting the 74th DUFC (Down Under Feminists Carnival)!!

The carnival is a monthly round-up of the best feminist blog posts from Australian and New Zealand writers. I have hosted it once before, way back in 2011: the 42nd edition.

The 73rd is being hosted by Ju over at The Conversationalist: 73rd Down Under Feminists Carnival. Check it out for some great reading.

I need your help to collaborate the next edition. Throughout the month of June, please submit links to fantastic feminist blog posts that you think are worth sharing. At the end of the month I’ll collate the best and share them here on 5th July.

How to submit:
* Click this link and fill in the brief form, including the category the article falls under from the drop-down menu.

* If you can’t access the form, email me: drpen [dot] robinson [at] gmail [dot] com

I welcome any and all submissions. You can nominate yourself. You can nominate others. You can nominate new bloggers. The more you submit, the better the carnival.

For more info, and to read over previous DUFC carnivals, click: Down Under Feminists Carnival.

Down Under Feminists' Carnival logo

some November linkages

November 29, 2012

Some cool things I’ve read this week:

* This fantastic piece about the absurd gendered nature of toys: “Sweden makes my gender-free toy Christmas wish come true. To just quote a little bit:

In 2009, the Swedish equivalent of the Advertising Standards Authority sanctioned retailer Top Toy for producing a catalogue that “preserved an anachronistic view of the sexes” and showed both sexes in a “disparaging way”. So this year, the company has responded with advertising designed to confound every gender prejudice. Behold: a girl … with a Nerf gun! A boy … holding a doll! A girl … in a blue T-shirt! Eat it, patriarchy.

Since I now have a child, these kinds of things have become even more obvious and annoying to me than they were before. Trying to find baby clothes that aren’t either pink or blue is frustrating as hell for this feminist mum. Ugh.

* Robin Barker has a go at the anti-vaccine tribe in: “Immunisation debate hijacked by flat-earthers”.

* Over at Flat7, Ana Australiana writes beautifully about gentrification and home, and her recent move into a “studio” apartment in the innerwest, in: “Roaches and restitution.

Bechdel Testing the Oscars

February 25, 2012

This week, as Oscar fever heats up and the red carpet is rolled out, and the leading ladies are donning their pretty frocks, I thought it might be a good time to have a bit of a look at the portrayal of women in Hollywood.

Over at Women and Hollywood, Melissa Silverstien asks why there is so little recognition for women working in the film industry: To the Academy: Consider the Women.

Could it be because of this? “Old white blokes get to decide who the Oscars go to”

Of the 5765 voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

94 per cent were white, 77 per cent men and their average age was 62, with only 14 per cent under 50. Black and Hispanic voters accounted for only 2 per cent each.

On a similar note, Sociological Images looks at the breakdown of those who vote for the Oscars: “Who are the Oscars voters?”

And at Feminist Frequency, video-blogger Anita Sarkeesian applies the “Bechdel Test” to the 2012 Oscars:


(Transcript of the video available here)

I’ve mentioned the Bechdel Test before. It’s a fairly simple test to gauge the presence and significance of female characters in a film.
1. It has to have at least two women in it,
2. Who talk to each other,
3. About something besides a man.

Sarkeesian concludes that of the nine films nominated for Best Film, only two clearly pass the Bechdel Test. Interestingly, she then uses a modified version of the test to examine the portrayal of non-white characters in Hollywood films.

This was first devised by blogger Alaya Johnson at The Angry Black Woman: The Bechdel Test and Race in Popular Fiction.

To pass this test, a film/television series/book must meet the following simple rules:
1. It has to have two people of colour in it.
2. Who talk to each other.
3. About something other than a white person.

Not surprisingly, Sarkeesian discovers that the Oscar nominees for this year don’t fare too well. She argues that even a film such as The Help, about the civil rights movement in the 1960s, only just scrapes through. It passes the original Bechdel test, but is problematic when it comes to the modified version.

As Sarkeesian notes:

The percentage of films that pass the modified test is extremely small, even a movie like The Help which stars multiple named women of colour in prominent roles, passes by the narrowest of margins because characters are almost always talking to or about white people.

This variation of the test exposes the fact that Hollywood still basically refuses to make movies for a general audience that focuses on the lives of people of colour, unless it also stars a sympathetic white character.

Precarious employment in academia

December 15, 2011

sandstone university building with jacaranda

A large proportion of staff employed at Australia’s universities experience high levels of job insecurity and poor working conditions. Anyone who has ever been employed as a sessional/casual/contracted teacher or researcher will be familiar with some or all of the following stories: Not being paid for marking or attending lectures, nor compensated for hours spent replying to student emails. Having wages cut if a class is missed due to illness. Filling out fiddly casual timesheets in order to get paid. Little or no access to professional development. Short contracts with no long-term stability. Wages that fluctuate week to week. No access to a desk or computer facilities. Exclusion from staff meetings and decision-making processes. And the list goes on…

These kinds of stories differ depending on departmental and institutional contexts, but the overarching picture emerging about the casual workforce is one of dissatisfaction and uncertainty. And the proportion of casual academic staff is increasing. Sessional and casual employees make up the bulk of the academic workforce. A new study by Robyn May (2011) uses superannuation records from Unisuper to estimate that casual staff comprise 60 per cent of the academic workforce. The casual labour market is also highly gendered, with 57% of casual staff being women (May 2011: 6).

A recent study (Bexley et al. 2011) investigating the attitudes of academic employees points to some of the problems facing the Australian university workforce. The study received responses from over 5,500 university employees, including session and casual staff, across 20 Australian universities. While there isn’t the space here to outline all their key findings, here are a few of them:

  • Less than one third of academics believe their workload is manageable.
  • “60 per cent of early career staff are dissatisfied with their job security compared with less than one quarter of late career staff” (Bexley et al. 2011: xi).
  • “Close to 40 per cent of academics under 30 years of age plan to leave Australian higher education in the next five to ten years, with 13 to 18 per cent intending to leave in the immediate future.” (Bexley et al. 2011: xii).
  • Short-term and casual academics are typically assumed to be postgraduate students, however this is not the case: many “are already PhD qualified, and many work in roles that are ongoing in all but name. Nor are they predominantly young people, who may expect a period of insecure employment before moving into more permanent positions. Over half are aged over 40, and are therefore likely to have families and other adult responsibilities” (Bexley et al. 2011: 43).

    As May points out, the increasingly casualised workforce in Australian universities must be seen in the “context of wider economic, regulatory and labour market changes that have taken place over the last three decades” (May 2011: 2). While academia is certainly not the only industry to be affected by casualisation, the reported levels of dissatisfaction about working conditions is something that needs to be addressed. There are no easy answers to these difficult dilemmas. Improved funding for the higher education sector would help, but we also need to see institutional and structural changes to ensure fair working conditions for all university employees.

    ___________
    References
    Bexley, E. James, R. and Arkoudis, S. (2011) “The Australian academic profession in transition: Addressing the challenge of reconceptualising academic work and regenerating the academic workforce”, CSHE, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, report prepared for DEEWR.

    May, R. (2011) “Casualisation here to stay? The modern university and its divided workforce”, in Markey, R (Ed.), Dialogue Downunder, Refereed Proceedings of the 25th Conference of AIRAANZ. Auckland (available from: http://www.nteu.org.au).

    Further reading: http://www.unicasual.org.au/publications/external

    [Casual, sessional and contract staff reading this may be interested in sharing their work stories with the inquiry into insecure work in Australia, currently calling for submissions: http://securejobs.org.au/independent-inquiry-into-insecure-work-in-australia/]

    42nd Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

    November 5, 2011

    Welcome to the 42nd edition of the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival!

    Down Under Feminists' Carnival logo

    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.

    October Highlights

    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.”

     

    Over at The Hand Mirror LudditeJourno sparks a fascinating discussion about pubic hair removal: So how does your lady garden grow?

    “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.”

     

    Class/Poverty

    In a piece titled The Colour of Poverty, stargazer asks:

    “We never get the image of wealthy people of colour giving aid to impoverished white folk. why is that?”

     

    Family/Women’s Work

    blue milk writes passionately about the need to continue fighting for the right to breastfeed without harrassment or judgement, in A word about breastfeeding nazis. She writes:

    “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.
     

    Posted at feminethicist is a refreshingly honest piece about the difficulties of mothering: Motherhood: Expectations vs. Reality.

     

    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.
     

    Maia at The Hand Mirror writes passionately and personally about women and the prison system in New Zealand: Repost: A Feminist Issue.

     

    Intersections

    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.

     

    LGBTQIAU

    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.

     

    Life

    bluebec talks about feeling like an imposter in study and work situations: Imposter syndrome. She writes:

    “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.”

     

    Posted at :- The Conversationalist -: are some useful thoughts and strategies for combating feelings of guilt: My Anti-Guilt Force Field.

     

    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.
     

    Posted at bluebec is an analysis of a rather transgressive video clip by Australian band, Bluejuice: Growing older.
     

    A Bee of a Certain Age highlights the lack of gender diversity in Radio NZ’s choice of panellists on its afternoon program: Diversities.

     

    Race/Racism

    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?
     

    Over at Zero at the Bone Chally writes beautifully about being absorbed into whiteness: Translating ourselves back to ourselves.

     

    Reproductive Rights

    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.
     

    Ideologically Impure rips to shreds an article about the contraceptive pill that appeared on stuff.co.nz: Stuff fail o? the day II: side effects say what?.

     

    Science

    As part of Ada Lovelace Day, Mary from Hoyden About Town profiled Mahananda Dasgupta, nuclear fusion researcher.
     

    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 Body

    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 begins her series of interviews with women she finds inspiring by talking to Inspirational Women: Bri King, Australian fat activist and Fat Lot of Good blogger.
     

    Fat Heffalump also writes about claiming fat as a positive identity: Breaking Down Fat Stigma: Criticism of Fat as Identity

     

    Violence

    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.”

     

    Occupy

    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.
     

    stargazer discusses Occupy Wall Street from a New Zealand perspective, touching on the raced and classed aspects of the protest: More Occupation.

     

    [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.]

    Occupying Sydney: some initial ponderings

    October 19, 2011

    On Saturday afternoon (15th October 2011) after a receiving an encouraging text from a good mate of mine, I decided to head into the Sydney CBD to check out Occupy Sydney.

    I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have a clear goal in mind about why I wanted to go. I just wanted to learn more about what is an increasingly global Occupy phenomenon. And to experience it myself rather than read about it on the Tweets or watch it on the television news.

    small children frolicking in a fountain at Martin Place, Sydney
    image source: redserenade

    What I found when I got to Martin Place – a terraced space in the centre of the business district of Sydney – was a congregation of all sorts of people. It was peaceful, joyful and party-like. There were lots and lots of banners. Lots of photographers (myself included because the sunlight at that time was amazing!). People from a range of political persuasions: socialists, unionists, religious groups, people wearing eureka stockade flags, hippy yoga types doing some chanting, families with their children. And so on.

    I wanted to check it out because I had questions about how Occupy Sydney might be copycatting Occupy Wall Street, when the Australian and US national contexts are vastly different. Indeed, that seems to be where a lot of the anti-occupy-sydney criticism lies… eg. Australia is not doing it as tough as the US, so what is there to complaint about, really?

    I agree that the national differences are vast, but I don’t think it is as simple as that. And it’s not as if Occupy Wall Street started all by itself. Unrest and revolution has been going on all over the world in recent times. I’m thinking here, largely, of the Middle East. But also the London Riots and rallies, riots and political protests in various parts of Europe.

    These things don’t happen in a vacuum. And the Occupy X tactic/movement/whatever we want to call it, is now happening in over 1500 cities worldwide.

    Despite vastly different national and regional contexts, there is clearly a sense of revolution in the air.

    Another question I had (and I think this is a common question), is What are the demands of Occupy Sydney? What is the ultimate goal of occupying public space in your city?

    This is a difficult question, and one I am still thinking through, but my gut feeling at the moment is that it’s not about “demands” as such. It’s not as straightforward as “we’re going to sit in this public square until the people in power meet our list of things”.

    A peaceful crowd of people gathered at Martin Place in Sydney. Tall buildings to the left and right. A low setting sun illuminates the space.

    I had the good fortune of being able to see scholar McKenzie Wark speak last night. He spoke about the historic precedents of Occupations and answered some questions about how Occupy Wall Street compares with Occupy Sydney. He’s an Australian-born guy who now lives in New York, and has been to both sites.

    Wark said lots of inspiring and fascinating things, but one thing that really stood out for me was when he made a distinction between a “social movement” and an “occupation of public space”. [I’m paraphrasing here, from my hastily scribbled notes]. His take on it is that a social movement – like a protest march – tends to have clear demands. Whereas these “occupation” strategies are all about particular places.

    “What are the demands?”, ask the media. “There aren’t any!”

    While I think there are actually some demands, every interest group has their own specific set of goals about what they want to see change so there is no clear consensus. My initial understandings of Occupy X, and my brief experiences hanging out in Martin Place on a beautiful sunny afternoon gives me a sense that “Occupy” is less about a list of demands, and more about re-thinking how we might use public spaces, how we can come together to make the world a better and more equitable place.

    There is a deep sense of anger and frustration at the ways in which the global financial system is not benefiting the majority of people. There are no easy ways to change the system, but with peaceful Occupations like these gaining momentum, some of the difficult questions are at least being asked. The overall feeling on Saturday (at least for the few hours I was there) was one of joy: friends, laughter, political conversations, spontaneous musical performances, children frolicking in fountains.

    The parallels between the various Occupy sites seems to be as much about asking “what do us public do with this public space now that we have claimed it?” as they are about challenging financial institutions and global inequalities.

    As McKenzie Wark said asked last night [paraphrasing again]: “What do you do when you’ve taken a space? There’s no-one to confront, nowhere to shop… what do you do?!”

    You talk. You play. You laugh.

    You get together to discuss how things could be done differently.

    A handwritten sign, posted on a tree reads: "Entertain yourself. Boredom is not a reason to fail democracy."

    You can read more about Wark’s work and his reactions to Occupy Wall Street here: Zuccotti Park, A Psychogeography. I particularly like his closing paragraphs, which I will quote as a conclusion to this post:

    When there’s nobody really watching, when there’s nothing to confront, when there’s nothing to debate—this is what’s left: How is it possible to create forms of life for ourselves, even if it’s in the shadow of tall buildings that cast long shadows?

    I left the Park and headed back to the subway. I had to get up the next morning to get the kids off the school. People were drifting away, although it was clear that a fairly large group would stay on for most of the night. And others would be back in the morning.

    Not many people can inhabit this place outside of work time, but a lot of people come to visit, and to glimpse something of another way in which the city might function. Other lives are possible; sometimes they even actually exist.

    No matter what happens here next day or next week, I just wanted to record the fact that this actually happened.

    (note: photographs in this entry were taken by me. If you’d like to use them, go ahead, but I’d love it if you attribute them to “redserenade” at flickr.)

    Call for Submissions: 42nd Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

    October 4, 2011

    Down Under Feminists' Carnival logo

    Submit posts here!

    Pondering Postfeminism is going to be hosting the 42nd Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. The carnival is a monthly collection and celebration of blog posts of feminist interest from around Australia and New Zealand.

    Topics include, but are not limited to, class, family, race, reproductive rights, disability, politics, the body, sex, reviews, media, violence and so on.

    To share a feminist blog post by an Australian or New Zealand author during the month of October, please submit it to the carnival by clicking here or by emailing me at: drpen.robinson AT gmail.com

    For more information check out the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival website.

    Get writing, get reading, and start submitting!

    Submit posts here!

    Links: pubes, ejaculation, sluts & good mothers

    June 26, 2011

    Some Sunday reading to let you know that I haven’t completely forgotten about this blog.


    [image: ‘red skies’ by redserenade]

    * Blue Milk discusses class and the idea of the “good mother” in ‘Classism and mothers’. There’s a great collection of essays edited by Sue Goodwin and Kate Huppatz, called The Good Mother: contemporary motherhoods in Australia.

    * 90s Woman discusses the 1998 Times article “Feminism: It’s All About Me!” that generated debates about postfeminism in the popular press and sparked generational conflict within feminism: “‘Postfeminism’ Backlash Flashback, 1998”.

    * Roger Friedland at the Huffington Post investigates the disappearance of female pubic hair in “Looking Through the Bushes”. This topic fascinates me… so much so that my Honours thesis was about body hair removal. Remind to write about it here some time.

    * Jesse Bering investigates the mysterious and under-researched world of female ejaculation: “Female Ejaculation: The Long Road to Non-Discovery”

    * the news with nipples is justifiably angry at male Slut Walk commentators who take it upon themselves to criticise the movement but who just don’t get it: “The stupid, it burns”.

    * For more awesome feminist reads, check out the “37th Down Under Feminist Carnival” hosted by Boganette.