Posted: December 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Tags: Feminism, gender roles, media, sexism
This post is going to discuss the second book and movie in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire. There will be discussion of the plot, so if you haven’t read or watched the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, wander away now.
I love the Hunger Games series. I love the writing, I love the depth of the characters, and I love that the main character is an incredibly traumatised teenager who is doing her best to protect those she loves and who tries to be strong despite suffering from untreated PTSD.
Jason Kottke put together quotes from two interesting posts on Gender Roles and Monogamy in the Hunger Games, and the quotes are interesting (I haven’t yet read them in full), and then he makes an incredibly gendered slur and messes the whole post up.
Maybe this is why the end of Catching Fire (minor spoilers!) — Katniss as the cliched irrational hysterical woman who can’t be trusted with information — felt so out of place compared to her gender fluidity throughout the rest of the movie.
Now, I don’t know if Kottke has actually read the books, but he clearly failed to grasp the second last scene of the movie. Katniss (who is a teenager and I think that really needs to be kept in mind), wakes up in a Captiol aircraft, after thinking she was dead. She takes off the oxygen mask, pulls the drip out of her arm and grabs the first weapon to hand – because she’s not only traumatised, she’s also rightly paranoid. She listens to the voices on the other side of a door, and then charges in asking where Peeta is.
When she discovers who is on the other side of the door, and that Peeta isn’t there she is upset and furious. She is not “hysterical” which is a gendered slur. She is not “irrational”, another gendered slur. She is upset that Peeta has been left behind because she knows what will happen to him, after watching the beating of Cinna at the beginning of the Quarter Quell.
And the reasons that Haymitch gave her for not letting her in on the plot was actually entirely reasonable, Snow was watching her, and with them watching her, the rest of them were free to wheel, deal and do everything else behind her. It was in everyone’s interest that she not be told. I didn’t see her fury at being kept in the dark about that, but about the fact that the promises made to her that Peeta would be kept safe even if she dies, were betrayed. She cared more about him living than she did about herself, and those who had made promises to keep him safe had broken those promises. Of course she was pissed off, she had every right to be. She was not irrational and she was not hysterical.
Posted: November 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Tags: abuse, atheism, bisexuality, body, children, disability, Feminism, media, politics, racism, rape, relationships, repro justice, sex, sexism, social justice, stuff, trans*, violence
I know November is almost over, and we’re rapidly approaching the horror month of the year, so have some posts of interest that I’ve found to take your mind of it.
s.e smith writes at This Ain’t Livin’, “Do Some Prisoners Matter More Than Others?“:
So when we talk about prison reform, many people shy away from talking about murderers and rapists and their rights, as well as the fact that they deserve justice. Despite the fact that the racial disparities seen in nonviolent drug convictions, robberies, and similar crimes are also seen with rape and murder, there’s an unwillingness to engage with issues like the possibility of profiling, false conviction, harsher sentences because of an offender’s race, and the myriad complicating factors that interfere with true equality for prisoners in the US, all of whom do in fact deserve human rights, no matter what their crimes.
Libby Anne at Love Joy Feminism writes, “I Am Not an Anti-Theist“:
For another thing, I’ve ceased to see a rejection of the supernatural as some sort of cure-all to the world’s problems. Part of this of course has been the issues of feminism and sexism percolating within movement atheism, on both blogs and at conferences, for the last several years. Sexism and misogyny are not a religious thing. They are a people thing. They are a patriarchy thing, and patriarchy came before religion. And then of course there are anti-vaxxers. It turns out you don’t have to be religious to latch dogmatically to demonstrably false and objectively harmful beliefs. If I imagine a world with no religion, the world I see is not actually a better world than the one we have today.
Yessenia writes at Queereka, “The Limits of Empathy“:
What is more difficult is imagining how to challenge their able-bodied-privileged assumption that I owe them compassion that is not afforded to me. That I must understand that they have no other way of knowing what it’s like. That they can have direct experience of ‘what it’s like,’ but my explicit statement that “this is actually not at all what it’s like” is completely irrelevant and a product not of my dual experience, but of my failure to understand their experience of not understanding me.
It’s not unlike other kinds of privilege. How many of us have had well-meaning theists patiently explain that theists have a deep commitment to the truth of their religion, and therefore just can’t possibly stand to hear us say it’s not true? (Yet the reverse is never considered). How many of us have had well-meaning straight allies tell us that they are fine with our sexuality, but we should keep it private and not hit on them? (Yet again, the reverse is never considered). How many of us as women have had (straight) men explain that women’s outfits are just too revealing or tempting sometimes and it can be so distracting? (Yet the reverse, once more, is not even discussed).
Anita Heiss writes, “Redfern Now: Not the Whole Truth“:
Following a hugely successful series one for both Blackfella Films and the ABC, it was hard to imagine the bar could’ve been raised any higher. However, within minutes of the first episode (aptly titled Where the Heart Is) going to air on October 31st, Australian viewers (604,000 of them!) were in tears having been gutted by the death of a young man, Richard, whose partner Peter (Kirk Page) was left to grieve amidst the battle of homophobia, custody issues and his own rights as next-of-kin.
Kat Muscat writes at Scum Mag, “So Your Dick Isn’t Perpetually Hard.“:
It was a strange thing to be reminded of, really, because no kidding sex with different male partners is going to be different. In the seven years I’ve been doing this whole intercourse thing that has always been the case; the ‘thank you Captain Obvious’ reaction was justified.
Since starting out, but this year in particular, I’ve found my feet as a poly, sex-positive girl so the summer of lurve hasn’t needed to end. It’s tricky to convey credibility in this area without sounding braggadocious, but however unscientific my encounters with bartenders, backpackers, boys from house parties and outta town (along with the occasional ex) are, it’s been enough to burst the bubble that guys are always up (get it) for casual sex. However, the myth persists both publicly, and to an extent privately; after a while of fooling around it always seems to be expected that we were now going to Have The Sex. Like ‘real’, heteronormative, the-apparent-point-of-it-all, penis-in-vagina sexy sex.
While generally a fan of this type of fucking, it is a ludicrously simplistic conceptualisation of Sex with a capital S. It also by necessity requires guys to get, and remain, hard. No pressure! Just, y’know, regardless of where you’re at emotionally, mentally, what work has been like, whether you’re actually feeling safe—all of which are separate from whether you wanna have the Sex—if we can’t do this one activity it’s all on you and is it because I’m not pretty? If we’ve gotten this far, that seems unlikely you’re repulsed by my physicality. And even if it is a matter of not feelin’ the spark, come the fuck on, that is also fine. Chemistry, both in science and in between the sheets, is a complex business.
One of the sexiest things a guy has said to yours truly is, ‘sometimes it takes me a long time to get going. Maybe won’t even happen tonight at all’. This admission wasn’t something that got in the way of much playtime. In fact, it was even better because yay communication. The expectation had been lifted from both of us. We didn’t have to do anything unless it felt good; there was no single activity that got to arbitrarily mark the You Have Now Had Sex point.
Celeste Liddle at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist writes, “Why, why, why, “vagina”?“:
Now that that is out of the way, allow me to clarify. Vaginas are wonderful, magnificent parts of a woman’s anatomy. They can give birth; give pleasure. They’re strong and resilient. And somewhere along the way they have managed to become the only part of a woman’s genitalia that’s worth mentioning. In fact, the word has morphed and the wonderfully complex variety of folds, nerves, mounds down there are all collectively and colloquially as “the vagina”. At the end of the day, that’s the only really important bit, right?
Well no. It really isn’t. To suggest it is is about as heteronormative and misogynistic as you can get. It undoes a fair chunk of work those feminists back in the 70s did of not only ensuring women knew their genitalia had different parts that are all important, but also re-including clitorises in medical textbooks after they had been omitted for decades. I’m not being over-the-top here, I promise. It’s just that I can’t think of a single time where I have heard the entirety of a man’s genitalia referred to as “the penis”. Generally speaking, we tend to acknowledge that there are other bits there that have importance and refer to them accordingly.
Laurie Penny at The Guardian writes, “If you’re a feminist you’ll be called a man-hater. You don’t need rebranding“:
he rebranding of feminism as an aspirational lifestyle choice, a desirable accessory, as easy to adjust to as a detox diet and just as unthreatening, is not a new idea. Nor is ELLE magazine even the first glossy to attempt the task in recent years. But unfortunately there’s only so much you can “rebrand” feminism without losing its essential energy, which is difficult, challenging, and full of righteous anger. You can smooth it out and sex it up, but ultimately the reason many people find the word feminism frightening is that it is a fearful thing for anyone invested in male privilege. Feminism asks men to embrace a world where they do not get extra special treats merely because they were born male. Any number of jazzy fonts won’t make that easy to swallow.
Robert Jackson Bennett writes, “On women, and empathy, and con games“:
The problem was that, in this Big, Really Important Part, the protagonist encountered a character unlike any other in the book so far, a foreign, alien, incomprehensible being that I suddenly discovered I had no idea how to write.
Was it some fantastical entity? A Lovecraftian horror? Some tortuous, unfathomable monster?
No. It was a woman.
Greg Sandoval at The Verve writes, “The end of kindness: weev and the cult of the angry young man“:
She had enraged scores of men for supporting a call to moderate reader comments, which is of course common practice now. Sierra went public about the threats, writing on her blog, “It’s better to talk about it than to just disappear.”
But disappear is exactly what she did next. Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, a well-known provocateur, hacker, and anti-Semite, circulated her home address and Social Security number online. He also made false statements about her being a battered wife and a former prostitute. Not only did Sierra find herself a target for identity theft, but all the people who had threatened to brutally rape and kill her now knew where she lived. So, she logged off and didn’t return to the web until two months ago. She gave up the book deals, speaking engagements, and even fled her home. An anonymous internet group had chased her off the web and out of tech, and it finally managed to hijack her offline life.
Gunjan Sharma at dnaIndia writes, “India gets first radio station – Q Radio dedicated to LGBT community“:
The country’s lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGTB) community can now celebrate freedom of airwaves with a round-the-clock radio station dedicated specifically to them.
‘Q Radio’ which started operating from Bangalore this September claims to be the first radio station in India that is tailored for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender audience.
Amy McQuire writes at Tracker, “No winners in the blame game“:
For one – the central premise that the Left are silent about violence against Aboriginal women is wrong and offensive. Aboriginal women who identify on all sides of the political spectrum are concerned about this problem.
We’re not talking about violence against unknown women. We are talking about violence against our sisters, mothers, cousins and friends.
I don’t believe any Aboriginal woman has ever sought to elevate concerns over culture above the safety of our women.
It’s not a competition about who cares the most and I don’t understand how anyone could make such a blanket accusation.
It would be inhumane to remain silent. But inciting moral panics amongst largely uninformed Australians, accustomed to viewing blackfellas as the “other”, is just as insidious.
Amanda Marcotte at The Raw Story writes, “For The Misogynist Trolls: Your Repulsive Personality Is Not Inevitable“:
As I’ve pointed out over and over again while wielding the banhammer, if the haters took the time they spent hating feminists and creating threatening anti-feminist Facebook pages, and instead put that time towards self-improvement, they might actually find their sexual prospects brightening. Probably not with 21-year-old club girls, but there are a lot of women out there! Simply not being a repulsive choad and take you a long way. But the message isn’t sinking it.
I realize that part of the reason is that I, because of my desire not to ‘splain things that I think you already know, have never articulated what kind of self-improvement project that misogynists could take on instead of trolling feminists online. But their rising levels of hate and frustration have made it clear that they may just not know! So, in interests of making life more pleasant for everyone around, I compiled a list of self-improvement projects to turn you from a bitter asshole who repels women to someone who can get a date and is less interested in blaming feminism for all your problems. Next time you feel the urge to waste time trolling feminists online, try one of these projects instead!
Neil Gaiman at The Guardian writes, “Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming“:
It’s not one to one: you can’t say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.
And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction.
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.
The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.
jessamyn at Geek Feminism writes, “Wednesday Geek Woman: Mildred Dresselhaus“:
But Dresselhaus was into carbon before it was cool, and has been a professor at MIT since the 60s studying the physics of carbon materials. Her work has focused on the thermal and electrical properties of nanomaterials, and the way in which energy dissipation is different in nanostructured carbon. Her early work focused on difficult experimental studies of the electronic band structure of carbon materials and the effects of nanoscale confinement. And she was able to theoretically predict the existence of carbon nanotubes, some of their electronic properties, and the properties of graphene, years before either of these materials were prepared and measured. Her scientific achievements are extremely impressive, and she has gotten a lot of honors accordingly.
And as you can imagine, things have changed a lot for women in science over the course of her career. When she began at MIT, less than 5% of students were female, and these days it’s more like 40%. But of course, it helps female students quite a bit to see female role models, like Dresselhaus.
Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress writes, “In An Ugly Custody Battle, Woman’s Abortion Used As ‘Proof’ She’s Unfit To Raise Kids“:
A Manhattan woman is currently embroiled in a high-profile custody battle with her ex-husband, a wealthy bank executive. The case is making headlines because a New York judge decided to consider her decision to terminate a pregnancy as potential evidence that she’s not fit to care for her two young children.
38-year-old Lisa Mehos had an abortion nearly a year after she divorced her husband, 59-year-old Manuel John Mehos. In an interview with Salon, Mehos explained that her ex-husband found out about it because his lawyers subpoenaed her medical records to use as evidence in the custody case. Now, they’re arguing that it’s proof of her dishonesty and emotional instability.
The lawyer representing Mehos’ ex-husband, Eleanor Alter, suggests that the abortion “calls her credibility into question” because she is a Catholic. Alter also says it undermines Mehos’ claim that her tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband is actually what has caused her stress, since having sex out of wedlock and deciding to end a pregnancy are also “traumatic” experiences. “She’s traumatized by the abortion I presume, or worse, if she wasn’t traumatized by it,” Alter noted.
Anna Pulley at Role/Reboot writes, “Why It’s Tough To Be Bisexual“:
Since I came out over a decade ago, I’ve been a virulent defender of bisexuality. I’ve written numerous articles, dispelled stupid myths, and gotten in far too many heated arguments about the misunderstood goth teenager of sexual identities. While I’m done getting in knife fights over whether Willow from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was really gay or really bi, I’ve noticed a cultural shift in people’s willingness to use the word “bisexual” as an identity or descriptor of their sexual behaviors (with the exception of surveys and those in the medical establishment).
“Bisexual” is increasingly and fervently treated as the worst kind of cooties. Most people who are attracted to more than one gender prefer to identify as anything but bisexual, whether that’s queer, omnisexual, pansexual, homo- or hetero-flexible, straightish, fluid, polysexual, “on the down low,” “gay for pay,” (e.g. porn) and on and on.
Clementine Ford at Daily Life writes, “Excused for sexually humiliating a woman“:
This communal act of disregard for another human being is not an isolated incident. The news is full of examples of men bonding over the violation of women, from Steubenville to the pack rapes in Cleveland, Texas to Daisy Coleman in Maryville; the pack rape of a 13 year old runaway in Austin, Texas to the gang rape of a 16 year old homeless girl in Brunswick; the rape and subsequent murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey on a New Delhi bus to the almost identical attack on Anene Booysen in Cape Town to the recent brutilisation of a young Kenyan girl that has left her in a wheelchair.
Not all of the incidents linked to directly above are exactly the same, but they all have one thing in common: they exist on a continuum of violence that is supported by a perceived sense of unquestionable masculine entitlement. Because what leads a group of men to participate in the pack degradation of another human being other than the deeply held belief that it is their right to do so?
When Deblaquiere contacted McDonald via text to say, “I just had a f—in sick idea pop into my head, f— her n film it”, he wasn’t demonstrating a unique imagination. Rather, he was following in the footsteps of a long line of similarly privileged men who are empowered by society to behave exactly as they like towards women, and who will continue to be so as long as incidents like these are written off as the simple mistakes of men who got a little too carried away.
Anna Hart at Sabotage Times writes, “Bisexuality Is Not As Much Fun As You Think“:
But I lied mainly because I was still figuring out what the fuck I “was”. Lola was my second serious girlfriend, but I’d also been really into a boyfriend when I was 17. I was pretty damn sure I wasn’t gay. I also knew, every time I looked at Lola, that I wasn’t straight. I know that lying about your sexuality is a cut-and-dried 21st century sin, and I’m not proud of it, but it seemed heartless to put my parents through this particular wringer until I was 100% sure what exactly it was about my sexuality I had to tell them. Plus I didn’t want to be popping in and out of the closet like a jack-in-the-box. Telling your family that you’re gay remains a very brave, potentially traumatic and admirable decision. Announcing that you are “straight, after all, folks”? That’s just embarrassing.
The main hitch was that I hated the word “bisexual”. Lola and my previous girlfriend, Mia, were both gay, with gay friends, who teased me good-naturedly for being “a bicycle”, as they put it. Without exception, my gay friends thought that bisexuality was nonsense, and that I was either gay or in denial or straight and in denial. Their teasing was good-natured and – I thought at the time – harmless, but I was called a “part-timer” and “half-a-gay”.
Catholics for Choice writes, “New Video Sheds Light on Religious Extremism at the UN“:
Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, noted that the Holy See’s obstructionism is ongoing, even under the new pope. “Earlier this year, as the conclave to elect Pope Francis took place, the Vatican collaborated with Iran and Russia in stymieing progress on a simple statement condemning violence against women. Since his election, we have seen more of the same. The Holy See has expressed its opposition to sustainable development and continues to rail against reproductive health services at every opportunity. It’s high time that the Vatican is required to act as other religions do at the UN. Religious voices are important, but should not be granted extra deference simply because they are religious.”
Jaclyn Friedman at The American Prospect writes, “A Good Men’s Rights Movement Is Hard to Find“:
What makes the MRAs particularly insidious is their canny co-optation of social-justice lingo. While Pick Up Artists are perfectly plain that all they care about is using women for sex, MRAs claim to be a movement for positive change, with the stated aim of getting men recognized as an oppressed class—and women, especially but not exclusively feminists, as men’s oppressors. It’s a narrative effective enough to snow the mainstream media: Just this past weekend, The Daily Beast ran a profile of MRAs that painted them as a legitimate movement overshadowed by a few extremists. Trouble is, even the man writer R. Todd Kelly singled out as the great “moderate” hope that other MRAs should emulate—W.F. Price, of the blog “The Spearhead”—is anything but. According to Futrelle, “This is a guy who … blames the epidemic of rape in the armed forces on women, who celebrated one Mothers Day with a vicious transphobic rant, and who once used the tragic death of a woman who’d just graduated from college to argue that ‘after 25, women are just wasting time.’ He published posts on why women’s suffrage is a bad idea. Plus, have you methiscommenters?”
In some ways, the manosphere is old news. As long as there has been feminism, there has been a misogynist backlash. Warren Farrell, considered by many to be the father of the modern men’s rights movement, has been at it since the ’80s. But the Internet has proven a powerful accelerant for these discontents: According to Alexa.com, a web analytics service, A Voice For Men’s traffic has more than doubled in the past year; the site’s U.S. traffic ranks at 10,303 as of this writing (by way of comparison, the Prospect is ranked at 16,142).
Barbara Fredrickson at CNN writes, “10 things you might not know about love“:
2. Love is not exclusive.
We tend to think of love in the same breath as loved ones. When you take these to be only your innermost circle of family and friends, you inadvertently and severely constrain your opportunities for health, growth and well-being.
In reality, you can experience micro-moments of connection with anyone — whether your soul mate or a stranger. So long as you feel safe and can forge the right kind of connection, the conditions for experiencing the emotion of love are in place.
Sara Saleh at New Matilda writes, “Asylum Seekers Risk More Than Words“:
Labelling asylum seekers as “illegal arrivals” because they have come by boat, is like drawing attention to the illegality of trespassing when someone flees their burning house through the neighbour’s garden.
That is why context is so important — context that this language ignores by criminalising asylum seekers who, until processing stalled last year, were found to be genuine refugees 90 per cent of the time.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has defended this language by saying that the UN Refugee Convention defines illegal entry as people who come without a valid permit for entry into the country.
But the convention also guards the right to seek asylum — by boat or otherwise — in international law, and requires that no refugee be penalised by states for doing so.
Lin McDevitt-Pugh writes at NetSheila, “Sexuality Research at Work“:
In the Netherlands, most gays and lesbians are out of the closet at work and experience work in a similar way to their heterosexual colleagues. Bisexuals are largely hidden at work and experience more problems as a result. On Coming Out Day last week the Dutch Institute for Social Research* (SCP) published its research on sexual orientation at work.
The research concludes that 40% of the people who are attracted to people of the same sex are closeted at work. Kuyper’s research into sexual orientation at work found that 2.3% of male and 4% of female employees are bisexual. The figures are different to those found in previous studies, probably because the questions were asked differently. So anyone wanting to know how many bisexual people live and work in the Netherlands will have to hold their breath until new, definitive research is done. Meanwhile, brace yourself for significantly disturbing results. 74% of bisexual men are in the closet at work. Bisexual employees are more often looking for a new job, have twice as many conflicts with colleagues, experience negative attitudes and are more often bullied. They have more health problems.
Diane Revoluta writes, “At Every Age and Every Stage“:
Between the ages of 5 and 10, I am conditioned to be empathetic, sensitive and kind, while my male classmates are taught to be hard-working, resilient and confident.
At age 11, when family friends come over for dinner, I watch as the women busy themselves cleaning up the meal while the men sit in the lounge discussing politics.
At age 13, I go to high school and realise that smart girls are not attractive girls, and my popularity would be better served if I sit slumped in the back of a classroom feigning disinterest rather than eagerly answering questions.
At age 14, upon losing the regional debating final, a guy from the other team shakes my hand, smirks and says that “for a girls team, you put up a good fight”.
At age 17, not one career advisor or teacher or adult suggests I should consider politics as a career, despite the fact I am that 17-year-old who is on all of the youth councils and student bodies, I am a debater, and I show an interest in political issues.
Laurie Penny at New Statement writes, “A discourse on brocialism“:
I’d like to say, first off that there are many things apart from the hair and cheekbones that I admire about Brand. He’s a damn fine prose stylist, and that matters to me. He uses language artfully without appearing to patronise, something most of the left has yet to get the hang of. He touches on a species of directionless rage against capitalism and its discontents that knows very well what it’s against without having a clear idea yet of what comes next, and being a comedian he is bound by no loyalty except to populism. And he manages without irony to say all these things, to appear in public as a spokesperson for the voiceless rage of a generation, whilst at the same time promoting a comedy tour called ‘Messiah Complex.’
But what about the women?
I know, I know that asking that female people be treated as fully human and equally deserving of liberation makes me an iron-knickered feminist killjoy and probably a closet liberal, but in that case there are rather a lot of us, and we’re angrier than you can possibly imagine at being told our job in the revolution is to look beautiful and encourage the men to do great works. Brand is hardly the only leftist man to boast a track record of objectification and of playing cheap misogyny for laughs. He gets away with it, according to most sources, because he’s a charming scoundrel, but when he speaks in that disarming, self-depracating way about his history of slutshaming his former conquests on live radio, we are invited to love and forgive him for it because that’s just what a rockstar does. Naysayers who insist on bringing up those uncomfortable incidents are stooges, spoiling the struggle. Acolytes who cannot tell the difference between a revolution that seduces – as any good revolution should – and a revolution that treats one half of its presumed members as chattel attack in hordes online. My friend and colleague Musa Okwonga came under fire last week merely for pointing out that “if you’re advocating a revolution of the way that things are being done, then it’s best not to risk alienating your feminist allies with a piece of flippant objectification in your opening sentence. It’s just not a good look.”
Kathryn Joyce writes at Slate, “Hana’s Story: An adoptee’s tragic fate, and how it could happen again” *trigger warning child abuse*:
“We look at our own children, and think, how could that go so horribly wrong?” said adoptive parent Maureen McCauley Evans, who attended the trial almost daily, writing comprehensive blog updates for supporters unable to attend. But she also had an idea how it happened. More than an adoptive parent, McCauley Evans is also the former executive director of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, one of the top adoption advocacy organizations in the country, and had worked for two adoption agencies in the Maryland area. From this experience, she feels Hana’s case symbolizes some of the worst problems in adoption policy today: that families are only required by the Hague Convention on Adoption, an international treaty ratified by the United States, to have 10 hours of preparatory training before adopting, all of which can be done online; that once adoptions are finalized, families have no legal responsibility to report on their children’s well-being; and that a family was able to simultaneously adopt two older, traumatized, special needs children without having traveled to Ethiopia. That the Williamses took no steps to understand Hana and Immanuel’s background and believed that striking and withholding food were legitimate forms of discipline for adoptees—who may have gone hungry or been abused in the past—just made the situation that much worse.
Christopher Ketcham at Vice writes, “The Child-Rape Assembly Line: In Ritual Bathhouses of the Jewish Orthodoxy, Children Are Systematically Abused” *trigger warning rape, child abuse*
Ultra-Orthodox Jews who speak out about these abuses are ruined and condemned to exile by their own community. Dr. Amy Neustein, a nonfundamentalist Orthodox Jewish sociologist and editor of Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals, told me the story of a series of Hasidic mothers in Brooklyn she got to know who complained that their children were being preyed on by their husbands.
In these cases, the accused men “very quickly and effectively engage the rabbis, the Orthodox politicians, and powerful Orthodox rabbis who donate handsomely to political clubs.” The goal, she told me, is “to excise the mother from the child’s life.” Rabbinical courts cast the mothers aside, and the effects are permanent. The mother is “amputated.” One woman befriended by Dr. Neustein, a music student at a college outside New York, lost contact with all six of her children, including an infant she was breastfeeding at the time of their separation.
David Fisher writes at The New Zealand Herald, “Greatest NZ stories: Long, terrifying journey to become a mother“: *trigger warning – suicide*
Life edged towards tipping point. Lex won a study award, travelling to the United States, Canada and Europe to study Shakespeare production and was staying at a backpacker hostel in Zurich when life, structured as it was, caved in. Lex, with long hair and a beard, stood naked in a bathroom walled in mirrors and knew life had to change.
Lex returned and sought counselling. Childhood sexual abuse was worked through and, while driving home one day, Lex realised life had been lived with freedom from suicidal thoughts for three months.
But the epiphany was still to come. At one therapy session, counsellor Wayne Gates set out two chairs. “Lex,” he said, “you sit there and Sally will sit here,” he gestured to an empty chair. Lex inhabited both and played both parts, moving from one chair and character to the other, talking and talking, and crying. “That was me sitting in that chair,” said Lex to Wayne, pointing to the empty chair.
Sydney Magruder at Racialicious writes, “My Dad, the Feminist“:
“Y’know, I think you’d make a great president one day,” he beams. I smile at him, believing his every word.
And just like that, Daddy put roots in my heart. Roots that would one day grow into feminism.
As a child, Dad constantly reminded me that I was not limited by my gender, or by my Blackness. He celebrated them to no end, constantly praising my intellect, my wit, and my good judgment. He made perfectly clear to me the plight of women and of people of color in this country, and stressed the importance of knowing our history — my history.
Dean Arcuri at SameSame writes, “‘Black Rainbow’ challenges homophobia“:
Black Rainbow, a national coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander gay, lesbian, bisexual, sistergirl, transgender and intersex peoples has published an open letter the Koori Mail, a fortnightly national newspaper reporting on the issues that matter to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people giving Indigenous Australians a voice missing in the mainstream media.
“We are a group of strong and fabulous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, sistergirl (transgender) and queer people who would like to highlight our existence and the positive roles we undertake in our communities,” the letter reads.
“We would also like to congratulate the makers of the first episode of Redfern Now, and to respond to recent homophobic comments in the mainstream and social media.”
Posted: November 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Tags: Feminism, media, rant, sexism
Be quiet. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. Silence is a virtue. Don’t talk back. Don’t make a scene. Good things come to those who wait. Be patient.
Don’t do that, do this. Don’t do that, do this. Don’t drink. Don’t drive. Don’t go to that neighbourhood. Don’t go out at night. Don’t be alone. Don’t be alone with them. Learn a martial art. Be loud, shout. Fight. Don’t leave your drink unattended. Don’t get drunk. Don’t take any risks. Plan everything.
Be nice to men. Don’t be nice to women. It’s a competition. Dress like this, no like this, no like this. Show more/less skin. Don’t dress like that. Don’t earn more than your boyfriend/husband. Don’t be more educated than your boyfriend/husband. Don’t be queer. Be sexually available. Don’t have sex on the first date. Play hard to get. Tease. Flirt. He didn’t mean it. Why didn’t you leave?
It doesn’t matter that you earn less than men. This is not a career path for women. Don’t negotiate for a payrise, you’ll be seen as a bitch. You’ll have a husband to support you in your retirement, so why care about super? You don’t need to worry your pretty head about money and budgeting.
Your voice isn’t important. Your opinions don’t matter. This issue that affects you is better discussed by a man. Men write better than you. Men know more than you. Your issue isn’t important. You can only write/publish in the “women’s interest” areas. No one would take you seriously if you wrote about politics/the economy/sport/violence.
As a man, I can speak personally about abortion. You have no merit. Institutional sexism is perfectly fine and we’re doing nothing to change it. Your sex appeal is more important than your policies and ability to do your job. Having children shows you’re a real woman. Having children shows you cannot dedicate your full attention to politics.
You’re too skinny. You’re too fat. Exercise more. Use this cream/lotion. Don’t use that cream/lotion. Eat this type of food. Don’t eat that type of food. Avoid carbs/protein/fat/everything. Starve yourself thin. Your body isn’t yours, it belongs to everyone else. Do you feel ashamed to have your body yet? You are beautiful. You’re an ugly slut.
Be nice. Don’t have self esteem. Be confident. Fake it until you make it. Feel ashamed. Be empowered. Be patient. Be kind. Don’t be rude. Don’t stand up for yourself. Be cautious.
Women have more emotions than men. Smile. Don’t be angry. Be calm. Don’t cry. Don’t scream. Don’t be afraid. Be afraid. Women make no sense. Women cannot be trusted to know their own feelings.
You belong at home. You belong in the kitchen. You belong with me. You are mine. You belong with the children.
Posted: November 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm | Tags: lgbtiq, media, racism, WTF
I found Daniel Stacey’s article on Daily Life titled, “Does The Hunger Games perpetuate ugly LGBT stereotypes?” and went “what, but… I don’t even… huh… does this even make sense anymore?”
As a bisexual, I appreciate that Stacey is attempting to have my back and protect me from homophobia (though not biphobia and there is absolutely no mention of transphobia in the article), but I think he doesn’t have sufficient historical knowledge to understand the Capitol and their wealth in context. Stacey seems to think that men who wear flamboyant clothing and makeup are foppish and effeminate, and that women who wear extravagent makeup are dressing like drag queens, which doesn’t sound at all homophobic.
The context that Stacey is missing is that historically the incredibly wealthy (generally the nobility) wore extravagant clothes and makeup. In pre-Revoluntionary France Kings Louis XV and XVI lived lives of decadence, wearing fine laces, silks, brocade, wigs, and makeup, because that’s what was done. The unadorned man is actually a very recent invention. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games Trilogy (I assume Stacey hasn’t read them) makes it clear how wealthy the citizens of Capitol are compared to those who live in the Districts. As King Louis XVI’s court was physically separated from the poor and starving in Paris, so the Capitol’s citizens are distant and separated from the poor of the Districts. As King Louis’s XVI court spent far too much money on clothes, make up and food, while the poor starved and agitated in Paris, those in the Capitol do exactly the same while those in the District start to agitate for change.
The story is not about homophobia, the story is about what happens when you treat a large portion of your population with contempt, put them in arenas to kill each other, while forcing them to watch, and letting them starve while you keep all the good things for yourself. In the books and in the movies, those of Capitol are displayed as incredibly wealthy, incredibly unaware (for the most part) of the privileged position they hold, and that they view those of the Districts as toys versus actual people.
The Hunger Games and stories are really a cross between the Roman Empire and it’s circuses and the pre-Revolutionary French monarchy’s disregard for the lower classes. If you read homophobia into that, then I’d suggest it’s your own internalised homophobia.
Stacey’s comparison of The Hunger Games to the movie 300 is also weird. 300 (the movie) was based on the comic book 300, written by Frank Miller.. Stacey claims that 300 was racist and well on the surface that’s indeed true, but again ignores history.
The comic is a fictional retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas of Sparta. 300 was particularly inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, a movie that Miller watched as a young boy. The work was adapted in 2006 to a film of the same name. [Wikipedia]
When you have a story about one group of people going to war with another group of people, one of those groups is always going to be painted as the bad people, and generally it’s going to be based on where they’re from or the reason they’re warring in the first place (wrong religion, wrong wife, wrong coloured socks, etc).
To conclude, Stacey needs to learn more history and stop judging things after a few seconds of thought. Perhaps he should also ask some other LGBTIQ people their opinions on the movie before spending several hundred words writing a mostly incomprehensible article about non-existent homophobia (and biphobia and transphobia) and alluding to racism in movies for reasons that aren’t very clear.
The comments on this article (at least the first page) are pretty good for a change, and it’s refreshing to read a whole lot of people go, “What, why did you even!!!” at someone I’m doing the same thing to.
Posted: October 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Tags: abuse, bisexuality, body, body image, family, Feminism, gender, gender roles, politics, polyamory, privilege, rape, science, trans*, violence
So I had a terrible fright the other night while driving home that a spider had crawled down the back of my shirt. It ended up being a very dead moth, after smearing it all over my shirt and back, and a very frightened me. Now that my panic of creepy crawly things has passed, I thought I’d share some great links with you that I’ve found over the past month.
First up is a post from Eve Rickert, guest posting at Solopoly, “Slippery language and couple-centric polyamory“, which I pretty much agree with all of:
Part of what Franklin and I are trying to do with our book is to reflect the real diversity of structures and approaches that polyamorous people adopt. We’re trying to break free from the couple-centric approach that has long characterized so much of the writing and discourse about polyamory, even on Franklin’s own site. In this process, we’re learning that language can be very slippery. Many common phrases that poly people use — even those who don’t practice hierarchical polyamory — reflect a couple-centric viewpoint. It’s damn hard to root these out.
Greta Christina featured a guest post from Franklin Veaux (the Franklin referred to above), “More Than Two: Guest Post on Ethical Polyamory from Franklin Veaux“:
It’s difficult to talk about polyamory without hearing the expression “ethical non-monogamy.” There’s a bit of a sticky wicket, though, in that we rarely talk about the definition of “ethical,” beyond the obvious “don’t lie to your partners.” That’s a good start, sure, but it’s not enough to construct an entire foundation of relationship ethics on. When we’re living in a society that proscribes everything except heterosexual marriage between exactly two cisgendered people of opposite sexes, how do we even start talking about what makes an ethical non-monogamous relationship? Where do we turn for ethics? What distinguishes an ethical relationship from a non-ethical one? Are ethical relationships egalitarian, and if so, how does that align with BDSM relationships that are deliberately constructed along the lines of power exchange? If two people make an agreement and then present that agreement unilaterally to a third person, who is given few options other than accept the agreement as-is or walk away, is that ethical? What happens when people make relationship agreements, and then their needs change? What are ethical ways of revisiting and renegotiating previous agreements? How do we even define “ethics” in the first place, without resorting to religious or social conventions? What does it take for a person to make ethical relationship choices that aren’t aligned with a religious tradition or a cultural norm?
Laurie Penny New Statesman writes, “Society needs to get over its harmful obsession with labelling us all girls or boys“:
There are many conditions that can cause a person to be biologically intersex. Stories about the “third gender”, about gods and humans who weren’t quite men or women, have been with us for millennia, but there has long been pressure on doctors and parents to “fix” any baby who isn’t obviously either a boy or a girl. This often entails intimate surgery that is performed when the child is too young to consent. Traumatic reports about the effect this sort of procedure can have on kids when they grow up appear routinely in the tabloids – but the question of why, precisely, it is considered so urgent that every child be forced to behave like a “normal” boy or girl is rarely discussed.
Carl Zimmer at The New York Time’s Science section writes, “DNA Double Take“:
But scientists are discovering that — to a surprising degree — we contain genetic multitudes. Not long ago, researchers had thought it was rare for the cells in a single healthy person to differ genetically in a significant way. But scientists are finding that it’s quite common for an individual to have multiple genomes. Some people, for example, have groups of cells with mutations that are not found in the rest of the body. Some have genomes that came from other people.
“There have been whispers in the matrix about this for years, even decades, but only in a very hypothetical sense,” said Alexander Urban, a geneticist at Stanford University. Even three years ago, suggesting that there was widespread genetic variation in a single body would have been met with skepticism, he said. “You would have just run against the wall.”
But a series of recent papers by Dr. Urban and others has demonstrated that those whispers were not just hypothetical. The variation in the genomes found in a single person is too large to be ignored. “We now know it’s there,” Dr. Urban said. “Now we’re mapping this new continent.”
Rebecca Hiles at XOJane writes, “How Not To Be A Dick To To Your Polyamorous Friend“:
While the vast majority of my friends and family were incredibly understanding when I came out as polyamorous, some had questions and criticisms. Even now, after about 4 years of being publically polyamorous, I know quite a few people who just “don’t get” polyamory.
While discussing relationship structures which may be unfamiliar to you can be a bit awkward, and lead to misunderstandings, it is important to ask questions rather than passing judgements or making blind assumptions.
Clare Foran at The Atalantic Cities writes, “How to Design a City for Women“:
The majority of men reported using either a car or public transit twice a day — to go to work in the morning and come home at night. Women, on the other hand, used the city’s network of sidewalks, bus routes, subway lines and streetcars more frequently and for a myriad reasons.
“The women had a much more varied pattern of movement,” Bauer recalls. “They were writing things like, ‘I take my kids to the doctor some mornings, then bring them to school before I go to work. Later, I help my mother buy groceries and bring my kids home on the metro.’”
Women used public transit more often and made more trips on foot than men. They were also more likely to split their time between work and family commitments like taking care of children and elderly parents. Recognizing this, city planners drafted a plan to improve pedestrian mobility and access to public transit.
Sarah Milstein at HuffPost Women writes, “5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism“:
Last month, the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen erupted on Twitter. Started by Mikki Kendall, it immediately became a channel for women of color to call out how implicit racial bias, double standards for women of different races and overt racism are all baked into mainstream white feminism. If you’ve been following feminism for the past 150 years, you probably weren’t surprised by the range of grievances. But if you’re a white feminist and you were surprised or you felt defensive or you think you’re not part of the problem, then now is the time to woman up, rethink your own role and help reshape feminism.
While there are many reasons white feminists have to do this work, Kendall’s hashtag highlighted an important one: we cannot credibly or successfully seek societal change when we ourselves create the same injustices we rail against. In other words, the problems we face as women are often the problems we create as white people.
Erin Rook at PQ writes, “International Leather SIR/boy Competition to Ban Trans Contestants“:
The board of directors for two international leather community events announced Sept. 22 that they will no longer permit trans men to enter the International Leather SIR/boy contest — contestants must be cisgender gay men.
The change comes after ownership of the contest changed hands from Mark Frazier to Jeffrey Payne about a year ago and as the organization expands opportunities for participation to a wider segment of the community be eliminating the requirement for contestants to advance through regional competitions.
According to Leatherati, Payne explained that the policy change harkens back to the old days of the contest, which only opened up to trans contestants five years ago in order to comply with California law.
Suzi Skinner at Women’s Agenda writes, “Three tips for talking about gender equality in a social setting“:
Discussing women in leadership, or gender equality in general, in a social setting can be illuminating. If your companions are supporters of the cause the conversation will flow and there is, usually, much for us to learn when this occurs. However, if those in your company are not on the informed side of the ledger, it can be tricky. In that instance it’s helpful to know what you can expect so here are a few tips to think about.
Alexandra at The Feminist Hive Mind writes, “I’ll make myself a sandwich, thanks“:
There are some warning bells going off as I read more and more of the posts. For instance: There are tags for “forbidden“/”Forbidden foods“. Hell, there’s a list of “forbidden” foods in the sidebar! And I get it, there’s some shit out there that will simply ruin a pizza for me (whoever thought that black olives would be a great addition to an otherwise wonderful pie needs to sit in the corner and think about what they’ve done). But “forbidden,” even in the context of making food for someone else to enjoy, is scary strict and not a healthy way to talk to a romantic partner. I know people with food allergies that wouldn’t even use that type of black-and-white, here’s-the-line-you-do-not-cross language and their health is on the line (unlike Eric who just doesn’t like to eat green vegetables). At minimum, it’s condescending and insulting.
Alecia Simmonds at Daily Life writes, “In defence of ‘murderous rage’“:
In case you missed it, last week Gillard gave her first interview since being dismissed from the office of Prime Minister with journalist, author, in fact all-round-feminist-goddess, Anne Summers. When the discussion moved to the sexist treatment she endured in office Gillard responded with stoicism. She knew of the vulgar cartoons but chose not to focus on them. ‘But it must have been upsetting, surely,’ probed Summers. Gillard grinned: ‘I would have said more like murderous rage, really’. And the auditorium erupted in laughter, (which was weird because most of the people there were killjoy feminists who spend their days in a state of crushing seriousness broken only by the occasional screech of ‘that’s not funny’ when they see lovers standing on a bridge giggling at ducks).
It was a joke. It was very clearly a joke. And in case you didn’t get it Gillard explained a few seconds afterwards: “I think maybe we can drop the ‘murderous’ but we should feel a sense of rage about it because it’s only through something that really spurs you on to action that it’s going to change.”
fliponymous at Eponymous Fliponymous writes, “Scriptive, or, There Is Trouble In The Forest“:
The bisexual community has, for many years, been dismissed and erased just as surely as its individual members. Yes, we are an amorphous and heterogeneous community, but frankly no more so than any other community of Identity. Whenever I speak of the Bisexual Community, or make a statement that “Bisexuals (X)”, there is always someone waiting in the wings to point out that I don’t speak for all bisexuals, that no one can because we’re all different. I acknowledge that, and when I speak in person I am always careful to point that out. So take that as a given. I don’t speak for all of Teh Bi any more than Dan Savage speaks for all of Teh Gay. But these are distinctions that are only made within the LGBTQ community. As far as the Overculture is concerned, we are all the same.
And in important ways, we are.
If you don’t fit neatly into one of the two crisp and prescriptively defined monosexual categories, Straight or Gay, you are invisible. To use the Queer Theory concept of the cultural matrix, monosexuality has two boxes and people are shoehorned into one or the other. If you don’t, and you are loud enough about insisting that you don’t, you are at best assigned to some mythical fence where your lack of belonging completely to either puts you outside of and beneath consideration. (That’s a Chestnut, we haven’t quite gotten into the swamp yet, but feel how the ground is starting to get squishy underfoot, how the daisies are being replaced by ladyslippers?)
Noami Ceder guest posts at Geek Feminism, “Trans*H4ck 1.0 – Trans* coders make (their own) history“:
We all introduced ourselves and spoke of our backgrounds, our goals for the hackathon, and, yes, our preferred pronouns. It was clearly the first time some of the cisgender folks had ever been asked that particular question.
By the end of the evening teams had formed and work continued on through the night and into the next day, when things paused at noon for a panel discussing being trans* in tech, featuring Enne Walker, Dana McCallum, Naomi Ceder (me), Jack Aponte, and Nadia Morris and moderated by Fresh! White. The discussion ranged from using open source projects and GitHub to build a professional portfolio to finding a champion at work to how to take care of yourself in the face of the inevitable stress.
Julie guests posts at Geek Feminism with, “I think I’m in an emotionally abusive relationship… with the tech community“:
This week, I think I finally figured out what it is. I noticed the symptoms – what some might refer to as “red flags.” I think we’re in an emotionally abusive relationship.
How did we get here? Why is it this bad? Why are we staying?
There’s always been the microaggressions. I didn’t always notice them, but eventually they accumulated enough that I was buried. I couldn’t ignore them any more. Recently, a new symptom finally hit the point where I couldn’t pretend it isn’t there. Gaslighting (or at least something very akin to it).
Gaslighting is a symptom of emotional abuse, so it was a disturbing discovery. Out of curiosity, I looked up other symptoms of emotional abuse. An upsettingly long list of them were all too easy to identify with. Fuck.
Fiona Stanley at writes at The Conversation, “Let’s treat the social causes of illness rather than just disease“:
But as a young doctor working in child health, particularly with Aboriginal children, it became obvious to me that prevention of disease was by far the best way to practice medicine; it’s more humane and definitely more cost-effective.
In 1972, I left Australia to study epidemiology and public health in the United Kingdom and then the United States, where these disciplines were well advanced. I learnt of the limitations of modern medicine, that prevention was the key to health and that many diseases commenced in social adversity.
Minna Salami writes at The Guardian, “African women are blazing a feminist trail – why don’t we hear their voices?“:
In fact, women have made significant gains all around Africa: indeed, the most successful social movement in Africa in recent decades has been the women’s movement, particularly in policy and legislation. Malawi and Liberia have female heads of state, and earlier this month Senegal elected its first female prime minister, Aminata Touré. Also, the African Union chair is female for the first time in its history. Africa’s strong legacy of female leaders is a hugely positive statement about the continent’s direction.
So why does the western feminist movement hardly look at African feminism for clues? Why does it only pay such little attention to the realisation of a once utopian fantasy of female majority leadership in Rwanda – where, since 2008, women have held over half the parliamentary seats? Feminists everywhere have spent decades campaigning for equality in political leadership, yet its achievement in Rwanda has been met with a loud silence.
At Newswise, “It May Not “Get Better” For Bisexual Teens” *trigger warning for discussion of suicide*:
Teens were divided into groups based on their self-reported identification as heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, gay, mostly gay or bisexual. The study found that depression symptoms, namely thoughts of suicide, decreased from 42 percent to 12.3 percent as teens in all groups transitioned into adulthood and suicide attempts decreased from 15.9 to 2.9 percent. But the “mostly gay” and bisexual teens did not report a significant decrease in some measures of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
The study did not determine why suicidal thoughts persisted in some groups, but experts offer some suggestions.
“Some bisexuals may struggle with depression later on because they don’t feel accepted and supported in either lesbian and gay or straight communities,” said. “Bisexual identity does not fit into the gay/straight categories most people are comfortable with.”
He suggests that gay teens may find more support than bisexual teens from the LGBT community after coming out, which would encourage feelings of self-acceptance.
Rebecca Shaw writes at The Kings Tribune, “What do you see?“:
If you follow my Twitter account, my Tumblr, my Facebook, my Myspace, my LinkedIn, my email, if you Google me, ask anyone that knows anything about me, look at my cats and music collection, have read anything I’ve ever written, or can see my thoughts, you know that I’m a lesbian. I have been out and proud for many years now, and I’m not afraid to say it in real life or online. This article is about a different kind of coming out. It is about a subject that has easily caused me more shame and discrimination than my sexuality. Being a queer person has its challenges, but most people I encounter don’t have an automatically negative opinion about me based on it. Also, they usually don’t know about it until I tell them. This other issue undeniably causes an immediate adverse reaction to me, as soon as people see me, and it happens literally on a daily basis.
I, Rebecca Shaw am… a fat person. *crowd gasps, delicate lady faints*
I don’t have to come out as fat on a day-to-day basis, because you can tell by pointing your beautiful eyeballs in my direction. However, if you are one of the people that so far mostly know (and no doubt ADORE) me from the Internet, you may not have realised. I’ve mentioned it in various places, but it’s not something I have broadcast by taking out a full (figure)-page newspaper ad or informing the population of Australia via carrier (delicious roasted) pigeon.
Katie J. M. Baker writes at Dissent, “Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark” *trigger warning for rape and PUA*:
Fans of the travel writer will be disappointed that “pussy literally goes into hibernation” in this “mostly pacifist nanny state,” where the social programs rank among the best in the world. Roosh’s initial admiration for those resources is almost charming, if you’re able to momentarily forget that this is a man who considers devirginizing teenagers a sport.
“A Danish person has no idea what it feels like to not have medical care or free access to university education,” an awed Roosh reports. “They have no fear of becoming homeless or permanently jobless. The government’s soothing hand will catch everyone as they fall. To an American like myself, brainwashed to believe that you need to earn things like basic health care or education by working your ass off, it was quite a shock.”
Shadowspar writes, “The Epistemological Twilight Zone” *trigger warning – rape*
It’s interesting1 how the second a woman starts talking about being raped, or assaulted, or harassed, she gets put into a kind of Epistemological Twilight Zone, innit?
Here’s what I mean.
When someone tells you about something they’ve seen or done, we usually extend them a measure of credit and take what they have said at face value. We grant that their statements about their own firsthand experience are good-faith expressions of the truth as they have observed it. This is called “not being an asshole”.
The alternative is to treat this person’s experiences as expressions of opinion; assertions; mere façades that may or may not objectively exist — and this being despite our likely lack of any concrete evidence that would put these statements into doubt.
Meg Barker at Rewriting the Rules writes, “DIVA article on non-binary gender“:
Later on it felt good to share stories about the confusion and discomfort we’d received from department store staff when shopping for clothes. The group I hung out with included transmasculine folk, butch women, and people who identified as non-binary.
This latter term is one which I increasingly relate to myself. So what is it like if neither of the accepted gender labels fit?
DIVA spoke to several non-binary people, as well as to professionals who work across the gender spectrum, to find out how it is to occupy a place outside the binary. The main message is that, like bisexual or gay people, non-binary people are ordinary folk who should be treated with the same respect as anybody, rather than as some kind of special case.
Posted: October 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Tags: body, body image, disability, exclusion, family, Feminism, Indigenous Australians, lgbtiq, media, minority rights, politics, privilege, racism, relationships, Religion, repro justice, sexism, violence, women
Hello and welcome to the September 2013 edition of the Down Under Feminist Carnival. Big thanks go to Chally for organising the DUFC (you can nominate to host it yourself here), and to Mary, Scarlett, Claire, Jo, Chally and Kathryn for submitting posts. This collection covers posts by Australian and New Zealander feminists written in the month of September.
Well Australia had the election we had to have in September, which means that with a new Government and a new Prime Minister, many posts were written.
No Place for Sheep wrote, “Why I can’t call Abbott a cunt“:
The cunt, pink, plump, shiny with the juices of desire, is a thing of exquisite beauty, hidden from view, shown only to the chosen one, repository of what is most astonishing in human sexuality. When I think of the cunt, the last association I make with it is, yes, you’ve guessed right, Tony Abbott.
No Place for Sheep also wrote, “Why I don’t care that there’s only one woman in cabinet.“:
It is, of course, shameful that in 2013 a first world country should be led by a man with such biologically determinist attitudes. I don’t believe for a minute there aren’t women in the LNP as worthy and capable as many of the men Abbott has chosen. However, I have no sympathy and no respect for any of them, if they are content to stand silently by while their leader treats them with such contempt, simply because they have vaginas.
Orlando at Hoyden About Town writes, “Quick Link: Public Education On Principle“:
If anything Benedikt, probably knowing how furiously some parents of cherished, privately schooled offspring will condemn her anyway, overstates the drawbacks of her stance: “But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.” I think if there were a concerted effort on the part of parents who have options to opt in to public school, the change would actually be pretty rapid, for all the reasons Benedikt goes on to detail.
The Koori Woman writes, “On what’s on my mind this week“:
It is no secret I am not a fan of Abbott. I find his ultra conservative views both revolting and incredibly dangerous for both Aboriginal people and all Australian women. His ‘daggy dad’ moments are sexism painted as chuckle worthy little mistakes instead of what they really are, alarm bells at a thousand decibels.
It is also no secret I am not a fan of Noel Pearsons empowered communities initiative which Abbott has flagged as the governance model he will use in various communities across Australia. At time of writing, the initiative has been slammed by leading Aboriginal activists ranging from Marianne Mackay to Wayne Wharton. Cape York is the ‘testing’ ground of the welfare reforms outlined in the initiative, so it’s incredibly telling that no less than eight mayors of the Cape York region itself have been scathing in their opposition to Pearsons vision.
The Koori Woman also wrote this month, “On the feminist politics of Abbotts front bench“:
Now the kerfuffle raised by feminists regarding Tony Abbot naming his front bench that includes only one woman has died down, let’s talk about the other glaringly obvious omission from Abbotts front bench that has received virtually no media space. Abbotts front bench is all white.
I’m not surprised media haven’t written on this. Because most mainstream media is white. They don’t notice their own default. Can I blame them? Yes. Yes I can.
Rachel at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman wrote, ““The people make the ultimate decision / The system says they always get it right…”“:
Maybe this stuff shouldn’t matter. Government is about governing, after all, and they mostly did fine on the policy side of things, if you come from a centre-left perspective. But politics is also about emotion, and the to-ing and fro-ing, the tantrums and willingness to throw each other under the bus, left them seeming ultimately untrustworthy. And all that means is that it is too simple to cast Labor as the good guys, and the Liberals as evil. There may not be good reasons to vote the Coalition in today, but there are good reasons to vote Labor out.
Marieke Hardy wrote, “I didn’t vote for this.“:
You’re right, Helen. It is shocking. I mean, who would have imagined that the man who said ‘I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons’ would ever DREAM of putting together a cabinet of little pink sausages, proudly jostling for attention? Why, are we talking about the same devoted husband who leered at a team of teenage netballers during the campaign ‘A bit of body contact never hurt anyone’? That funny old ‘daggy dad’ who brought the house down by quipping ‘We have a bizarre double standard; a bizarre double standard in this country where some-one who kills a pregnant woman’s baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice’?
IT SIMPLY DEFIES COMPREHENSION, DOESN’T IT HELEN?
Liz Barr at No Award wrote, “Follow ups, election day, WorldCon, links“:
I, for one, was quite troubled by the Liberals’ strategy of silencing their candidates of colour so as to avoid gaffes and difficult questions. This was the case in my own electorate, where candidate Shilpa Hegde did not participate in any public forums or interviews with citizen journalists. Nor was she seen out campaigning.
As a Commie leftie pinko, I should be glad to see the Liberals mis-step, even if they still win the election, but I think this is a pretty shitty approach. It’s not enough to have people of colour as your candidates, you have to let them be candidates. Allegedly, or so I read in the mainstream press (probably a Fairfax paper, but I couldn’t tell you when or which one because I’ve been site-hopping to avoid their paywall), the strategy was conceived after Jaymes Diaz famously stuffed up an interview. If they’re so worried about candidates looking stupid, though, they would have put a lid on Fiona Scott before she could tell the world that refugees cause traffic jams. Funny how it’s only the non-white candidates who were told to shut up.
Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes, “Why the religious right should not have any credibility in discussions of morality“:
I am categorically saying we shouldn’t give a fuck what religious extremists have to say about society. Their entire movement, and its assumption that a “return” to Good Wholesome Judeo-Christian Values will save our society, is in no position to pass judgement on anyone.
Blue Milk wrote, “On being here“:
A friend tells me that she lies in bed awake at night frightened for my future. I know she means it kindly but I am hurt by her sense of hopelessness for me. I am alright, I say, I really am. I decide I shouldn’t tell her about the nights when the children are staying with their father and I sometimes sigh with pleasure in my empty house. And then there are the nights when I do not even stay home in my empty house.
Spilt Milk writes, “Love story“:
Most of my writing on this most precious of loves, this fervent and brilliant and life-changing love, has been private. To her I write all of my secret words. Whisper sweet everythings. Compose bare poetic couplets. And of course this is how it is, ought to be, with lovers.
There is still the desire to make open proclamations, though. And there is perhaps an imperative to share.
Chrys Stevenson at Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear writes, “No point in being blunt“, the story of her grandfather and family, their lack of belief in a deity, and the good lives they lived:
My grandfather was an atheist. When he married my grandmother, he didn’t just take on his new bride – he also housed her widowed mother, her sister and her daughter and the baby left motherless when another sister died in childbirth. And did he moan and bitch about having all these family strays in his home? No! He accepted it with astounding generosity and an abundance of good humour.
Blue Milk wrote, “Women have to be strategic about gender, the PM was no different“.
Ariane at Ariane’s Little World writes, “Living as the default“:
As a white middle class straight man, the standard discourse is about you. However, since you are the default, it doesn’t mention you explicitly. Most of the voices you hear, day in day out, represent you. But since you hear them day in day out, you don’t hear them at all any more. This is also true for white middle class women like me, on issues other than women’s issues (and even then – women’s issues are framed largely from my perspective).
As the default, you are defined by what you’re not. You don’t belong to any interesting culture (because you are surrounded by your culture – it’s forced down everyone’s throats, but you just don’t see it). You’re not gay (or bi, or trans*, or queer). You’re not disabled. You’re not a woman. All those people get a mention all the time. “Indigenous councils”, “gay minister”, “female politician”, “disability advocates”. Unless you are taught to see it, it never occurs to you that “marriage” means “straight marriage”, that “politician” means “male politician”, that “social values” means “white social values”, that “employee” means “able bodied employee”. Because you are the default. When no descriptor is added, we assume white, male, straight, cis, able bodied (and probably some other things too).
A guest posts at The Hand Mirror, “Guestie: Another Fine Myth” (I’m not sure who wrote it, if you do, please let me know in the comments and I’ll attribute correctly)
Orlando at Hoyden About Town posts, “Thursday Hoyden and Talk Like a Pirate Day Special: Ching Shih“:
After her husband, who ran a flourishing pirate crew already, died in 1807, Ching Shih took over the enterprise and made her pirate band into a force that the Chinese, British and Dutch navies could not curtail. By offering defeated crews the choice between suffering a gruesome death, or changing sides and joining her, she forged a fleet of around 1,500 ships, all under her ultimate command. By 1810 her notorious ‘Red Flag Fleet’ had amassed such a fortune, and had so severely pummelled all the soldiers and sailors, generals and peasant armies, sent by various authorities to try to shut her down, that she cheerfully accepted the amnesty for herself and her crew offered by the Chinese government. She divvied up the spoils and retired to the country where she lived to a ripe old age.
tigtog at Hoyden About Town posts, “Friday Hoydens: Lakota and Dakota Grandmothers vs Neo-Nazis“:
These women from the Standing Rock Indian Nation in North Dakota are only holding this Nazi flag up to the camera because they’re about to burn it, having captured it from public display on the property of a white supremacist in the nearby very small town of Leith, ND.
Orlando at Hoyden About Town also posted, “Friday Hoyden: Rosie Hackett“:
This month, Dublin City Council voted to name the new bridge over the river Liffey “Rosie Hackett Bridge”.
This was in response to a huge campaign from Dubliners, mostly women, who felt Rosie was due a decent and long-lasting public memorial. All of the 16 previously existing bridges in the city are named after men.
Amy Gray at Pesky Feminist wrote, “Do women without children face discrimination in the office?“:
It is illogical to argue one group of women suffer at the benefit of another. Women with children face real discrimination in the office – pregnancy discrimination, career discrimination. There are statistics and studies to show this. The Sexual Discrimination Commission is currently running an inquiry on the matter. Women without children face equal discrimination in a workforce disposed to trying to predict a woman’s fertility as though it were a ticking time bomb and blocking any chance at flexibility to develop themselves as she may choose.
It is in this fallacy that we miss the point: we’re not discriminated against because we do or don’t have children, we’re discriminated against because we’re women and have the temerity to seek flexibility from a system that is already opposed to our presence.
Kate Galloway at Curl wrote, “A sense of entitlement? The (gender) subtext of ‘lifters not leaners‘”:
Work – by which politicians and commentators mean paid work – may well be an important aspect of our social identity, but the argument of feminists is that paid work does not occur without unpaid work. Unpaid work is largely carried out by women. To characterise those who engage in unpaid work as ‘leaners’ misses the point of the structural disadvantage of women and fails to seek to remedy this.
These structural questions will not be helped by marginalising those who receive welfare support. Instead, the basis of distributive justice in our system needs recalibration. For example childcare tends to be positioned as a domestic issue rather than an economic need. This will keep primary carers of young children marginalised in the context of paid work. Reframing this issue would provide structural solutions that addressed the real needs of society and its paid workers.
Scarlett Harris at The Early Bird Catches the Worm writes, “Music: “Work, Bitch” as Feminist Anthem*.”
Claire Shove at Sextracurricular Studies writes, “Why Gender-Specific Relationship Advice is almost always Terrible“:
As times have changed, so have the dominant attitudes in our relationship conduct literature, but some notable trends have persisted. The offering of relationship advice to a select audience based on gender is perhaps the most obvious, and as I see it, the most problematic of these. In the first place, this places all of the responsibility for romantic conduct and communication on one partner instead of acknowledging it as a mutual concern. Again, The Rules gives excellent examples of this behavior: included among the 35 rules are stipulations against initiating conversation with a man, answering his phone calls, meeting him more than once a week and ‘rushing into’ sex, i.e., anything which would suggest mutual attraction. This anti-feminist manifesto places all of the responsibility for initiating and maintaining a connection onto the man, under the false assumption that returning the affections of a suitor will make a woman seem easier to ‘get’ and therefore less valuable.
Stephanie at No Award wrote, “book pusher (not a white cis dude edition)“:
What are the books that you always recommend to people, that you always want people to love, that you shove at people and wave your hands about and reread constantly? Only rule: the author cannot be a cis white dude. Trans white dude, fine. Cis asian dude, fine. Ladies, all fine. Author doesn’t conform to your gender binary? All good.
Celeste Liddle at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist wrote, “On being a feminist with period pain“:
So if it is so damn normal and average and stuff, why is it so hard to talk about? Why is it that this hardcore black feminist, when confronted with pain and depleted energy as a result, finds it so difficult to say “I think my uterus is actually twisting itself into an infinity symbol in four different directions and I simply need to rest”? I mean it is that normal for me that, generally speaking, most months I will need a day away from society or work to rest, and it has always been that way. I hate to say it, but in the quest to be the all-conquering feminist ready to take on the world, I think I unfortunately sometimes see my own body’s needs as a sign of weakness and a thing to be overcome. And that, quite frankly, is ridiculous.
Kathryn Daly at A Little Bit of Life wrote, “The body and our worth“:
So the tipping point for me has been that I am really fucking sick of people commenting on my body. Not just the obscene bullshit that men offer when a woman is walking in public spaces (which, I might add, has a whole post of its own when I stop wanting to stab someone each time I try to think about the issue), but also the uninvited commentary from every other source.
It’s the people who tell me I am looking too thin. My best friend is about ready to attack the next person who says this to me: ‘All the shit you have going on in your life and people who are meant to be your friends manage to find something bad to say to you? Tell them to, “Get fucked”’.
Race and racism
Celeste Liddle at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist wrote, “Andrew Bolt: The “new racism” is so last season!“:
Apart from his extraordinarily lazy focus on the left in his analysis, I have but one thing to say: Congratulations Bolta, you’ve discovered “structural racism”! Have a biscuit, lad. Some of us have been talking about this for a while, and the thing is, it’s not exactly “new”. Nope, the discussions have been going on for a long time now, but we’re glad you’ve joined us! The left and the right may talk about structural racism and its manifestations in different ways as you have “amply” shown us, but it doesn’t mean that we are not talking about the same thing. Yes, the idea that a person may end up being oppressed and have their agency diminished by structural and social forces, even if there is some argument over what those forces might be, is nothing new at all.
stargazer writes at The Hand Mirror, “can’t win” about the recent winner of the Miss America Pagent:
yes, the last one really grates with me, because i’m always struggling against the “foreigner” label myself. the many little & big ways that certain people need to make sure i understand that i don’t belong here, don’t deserve to have the same things as everyone else, should be grateful just to be allowed to exist in this space and place. yes, it grates.
and i know that this group of people don’t represent a whole country, they don’t even represent a majority. but they are the vocal minority that can make for a hostile environment. they cause fear, they have an impact that is far greater than their number. this ugly end of racism is the tip of the iceberg, the bits we can see clearly but there is so much more that is insidious and not always so plainly obvious, therefore much harder to fight.
Hannah Paige wrote a great poem, “poem – I want you to promise”
Stephanie at No Award wrote, “indigenous literacy day and getting caught reading“:
Today is Indigenous Literacy Day! This is great because it means we are talking about Indigenous Literacy! This is bad because Australia, it means we still need to talk about Indigenous Literacy.
There is a huge gap in English literacy rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia. A disgustingly enormous, we should feel ashamed of ourselves gap. By year 3, the gap in reading, writing and numeracy is already significant, and by the age of 15, “more than one-third of Australia’s Indigenous students ‘do not have the adequate skills and knowledge in reading literacy to meet real-life challenges and may well be disadvantaged in their lives beyond school’.” MORE THAN ONE THIRD. That is so uncool I cannot even. But Indigenous Australians should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and Australia is totally not racist, amirite?
LGBTIQ issues, stories and experiences
Spilt Milk writes, “Please, won’t somebody think of the children?“:
I haven’t told her that I couldn’t legally marry my partner. Shattering her fragile ignorance of the extent of the bigotry her family faces would break my heart. Soon enough someone will tell her that Mama and Ima can’t be married like most of the other parents and step-parents she knows. Like all kids, she has an easily mobilised outrage switch: I expect she’ll rail against the injustice. But she’ll also have the sensation that I feel every time my relationship is devalued or erased or vilified. The sensation of a thousand tiny voices whispering ‘you are less than us.’
AlisonM at The Hand Mirror writes a dual post (two for the price of one) called, “Ready, Set, Go: The Prochoice Highway“:
The move toward reproductive justice and away from “choice” is a hotly debated one, and you’ll notice that with its title, the Highway has a bit of a dollar each way. But the more I read about reproductive justice, which has been spearheaded by women of colour, the more I like the way it allows the discussion to be made a lot broader. (A friend pointed me toward a great publication by the US group Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice on this issue. Pdf warning: This link is to a pdf. And another good resource is Sister Song: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective) Just last weekend, for example, I met up with a group of people wanting to do some work around what I’ll loosely call the policing and criminalisation of pregnancy, of pregnant bodies, of pregnant women. When you start looking at what’s going on it turns out it’s going on everywhere: in the public square, in medicine, in the judiciary, in state agencies, in legislation aimed at preventing child abuse, the list is long and a bit depressing. (I wrote a bit about the issue a while ago in Werewolf and here about a related “careless driving” case.)
Mary at Hoyden About Town wrote, “Fetal personhood (“Zoe’s Law”) before NSW Parliament“:
The stated intent of the bill is to allow separate prosecution of injury to a fetus, following the death of Zoe Donegan (stillborn at 32 weeks gestation) in 2009 after Zoe’s mother Brodie was hit by a van driven by Justine Hampson. Hampson was convicted of grevious bodily harm with regards to Brodie, but not with injuring Zoe or causing Zoe’s death.
However, the bill has been introduced by an anti-abortion politician, and there are grave concerns about its potential interpretation, particularly “an unborn child is taken to be a living person”
Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure wrote, “The “hard questions” of the antichoice movement“:
The real point is this: Pro Life New Zealand want to use over-simplified, judgemental arguments to shame pregnant people into not having abortions. Note the question about sexual assault, and “isn’t abortion the best solution” – as though prochoice activists are out there insisting that every pregnancy resulting from assault be aborted. Note the first question is about disability – as though these religious extremists give a fuck about challenging society’s ableism once you’re out of the womb.
Lee Rhiannon writes at New Matilda, “Abortion Is No Sleeper Issue“:
The problem was not that the then PM spoke publicly on abortion. The problem was that there was not a strong public voice backing her in what was a historic and necessary speech. Necessary because the push is on from some quarters in Australia to wind back the clock on women’s rights to the full range of sexual and reproductive health procedures. Abortion is still covered by the Crimes Act in some parts of Australia.
Jacki Brown at fuckability: disability, sex & our revolution! writes, “Disability feminism & the selective abortion of disabled foetuses“:
Disability eugenics is an issue at the intersection of feminist discourses- the right to body autonomy-and disability discourses regarding the value of a non-normative body/mind and living as an act of resistance to a social discourse which says ‘’better off dead then disabled’’. The choice to abort is framed as a medical one when it also has social, political and ethical implications. As a disability feminist my resistance to selective abortion procedures steams from its value judgment on our lives, it positions us a flawed and wrong and it seeks to disempower us further by framing us an unwanted burden, as inhabiting a life not worth living.
I wrote a post called, “Let’s talk about abortion – again“:
The most telling part of the Pope’s comments on abortion is that the people who are pregnant aren’t even mentioned. There is lots of talk about babies and children (despite the fact that it’s not until they are born that they are babies or children), and those babies or children having Jesus’s face (which is just a bit creepy), but nothing about the people whose lives may be in danger or whose ability to manage a pregnancy and the next 18 years of raising a child is being questioned by them. It’s telling, it says “The Catholic Church cares more about babies than it does about the people whose body they incubate in, who will then spend the next 18 years or so raising, feeding, and attempting to afford them”.
Sex Work and sex workers
Gaayathri writes at A Human Story, “Brothel Visitors Outed Online By Council Candidate… | Stuff.co.nz“:
As I can see it, Hawker seems to think he can increase his standing in the community by shaming sex workers and the men (or women) that use their services. He seems to be enraged by the fact that the people he sees patronising this place of business appear to be wealthy business men. He seems to think he has some sort of moral higher ground. I don’t buy it. Hawker does not care about the impact his actions may have on the sex workers who count on their clientele to earn their living. I guess in his mind he is doing them a favour.
Jackie Brown at fuckability: disability, sex & our revolution! writes, ““Are you a paraplegic?”“:
Perhaps they feel asking ‘the poor little cripple what happened’ is their good deed for the day; as one woman informed me ‘‘you need to talk about it, you need to tell me what happened, it’s good for you’’. She assumed that I possessed some tragic story, and that it must be at all times on the tip of my tongue when in fact if I had had some kind of accident/trauma it would be something I would get support to process with trained health professionals, not curious strangers on the street. No, this was not the 1st time I have been expected to divulge my disability in the street to a passing stranger but it was the 1st time I was abused for refusing to do so and called “cuckoo”’ and “crazy’’ for saying I am happy the way I am.
Xanthe Coward writes at Meanjin, “All The Women Are Tired Here“:
There’s a raging debate amongst those who suffer from the condition, their doctors and academics, over the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Personally, I don’t care what they call it; I’m just relieved to have been diagnosed. I was so tired all the time. And there it is. The problem people have with the name of the illness is that it indicates a constant state of exhaustion. My experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is exactly that—a constant state of exhaustion—but I also suffered from a host of other symptoms, for which there didn’t seem to be an explanation. No one knew what was wrong with me, least of all me. Family members and friends assumed I was depressed and worn out from a move inland.
Violence *Trigger warning for posts in this section*
Coley at Tangerina writes, “Help get sexual violence services properly funded. Finally. Please.“:
No matter how vital an organisation is, if the climate in which it operates doesn’t value or support the work it does – it will die. Our Government has created a hostile environment for many community not-for-profit agencies. We live under an administration that feels competition is a good thing, not just in the private sector, but in community service provision.
While excellence in service should always be strived for, the way to achieve this is not to pit tiny, often volunteer-run organisations against each other for laughable sums of money. Money that they have to annually re-apply for at great expense of their already stretched resources. Money that makes organisations scared to speak out against Government initiatives for fear of being reprimanded through the loss of their funding.
Claire Shove at Sextracurricular Studies writes, “How Popular Music Contributes to Sexist and Rape Tolerant Attitudes“:
If they were in fact going for irony, this seems a very roundabout way of doing it. Rather than assuming the audience would see power in the way the women looked directly at the camera, couldn’t Martel have instructed them to raise their eyebrows or roll their eyes? If they were supposed to be empowered, why not make that more obvious? Fuck it, why not have the women fully dressed, in a club, with the same suited men hitting on them and striking out?
The most likely answer, in my opinion, isn’t that Martel and Thicke thought their super subtle irony would be safely understood by the general audience. It’s that they didn’t think about it much at all. Ultimately, even if all the participants in the creative process had the same tongue-in-cheek intentions for it, which it doesn’t seem like they did, it fails as satire because the majority of the viewers didn’t get the so-called joke. You don’t make a comment about degrading women by continuing to degrade women.
The Sixty-Sixth Edition of the Down Under Feminist Carnival is planned for 5 November, 2013 and will be hosted by Steph and Liz at No Award. Submissions to yiduiqie [at] gmail [dot] com for those who can’t access the blogcarnival submissions form.
Posted: September 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Tags: abortion, body, catholic, Christianity, gender roles, Religion, sexism
Because we should never tire of talking about people’s individual right to make their own medical decisions, their own choices about their body, and their own life choices (as a collective, of course as individuals, we probably all get tired of this at some time or another).
So the new Pope, who was reported on Friday as being more “meh” about abortion because the Catholic Church had done that to death recently, and all the other good messages in the fresh and fragrant Gospels (his words not mine) were being lost in the “thou shalt not” stance of the church, came out today condemning abortion in order to placate the hardliners in the Church who thought that the Pope was being soft on abortion. Because there is nothing more inspiring that someone saying, “yeah I know, this message is getting old and there are other things we should be talking about, but did you know that WE HATE ABORTION?”
Of course people only have abortions because of convenience according to the Pope:
Pope Francis offered an olive branch of sorts to the doctrine-minded, conservative wing of the Catholic church on Friday, when he denounced abortions as a symptom of today’s “throw-away culture” and encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them.
which as we all know is complete bollocks. I had an abortion to save my life, an abortion that would not have been performed in the hospital I had first arrived at, Saint Vincents, despite the fact that I was internally hemorrhaging and had I been left untreated I would have died. I know other people who have had abortions because they believed that they were not capable of being parents at that time. I know people who have had abortions because being pregnant would cause a myriad of potentially fatal health issues. I know people who have had abortions because they could not afford to have a child. I know people who have had abortions because they were mortally afraid of being pregnant and having children. All these issues and more do not make up a “throw-away culture”. I don’t know anyone who has medical procedures for the fun of it.
The most telling part of the Pope’s comments on abortion is that the people who are pregnant aren’t even mentioned. There is lots of talk about babies and children (despite the fact that it’s not until they are born that they are babies or children), and those babies or children having Jesus’s face (which is just a bit creepy), but nothing about the people whose lives may be in danger or whose ability to manage a pregnancy and the next 18 years of raising a child is being questioned by them. It’s telling, it says “The Catholic Church cares more about babies than it does about the people whose body they incubate in, who will then spend the next 18 years or so raising, feeding, and attempting to afford them”.
He did repeat it on Friday, however. In his comments, Francis denounced today’s “throw-away culture” that justifies disposing of lives, and said doctors in particular had been forced into situations where they are called to “not respect life.”
“Every child that isn’t born, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, has the face of the Lord,” he said.
He urged the gynaecologists to abide by their consciences and help bring lives into the world. “Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things,” he said. (The Guardian)
I certainly feel secure in my medical treatment knowing that there are doctors out there who do not have my best interests at heart. I certainly feel welcome in the Catholic Church, an institution that does not trust women to be able to make up their own minds on issues. I completely trust a religious institution that tells me that sex must have consequences for those who are fertile and have uteri.
The Catholic Church has consistently been anti-choice for as long as abortion has been a public issue, they are at least consistent with that. They’ve consistently been on the side of a cluster of cells that cannot survive outside the individual it is growing in (while consuming their blood, energy and nutrition), instead of the individual who may or may not want that cluster of cells. They have been consistently on the side of sex having consequences for those with uteri, instead of celebrating that sex is good for you, and consensual sex without consequences actually improves the wellbeing of everyone. They have been on the side of that cluster of cells, instead on the side of families and individuals who are already struggling with poverty, disease, an excess of children, or immediate health consequences.
So eager is the Catholic Church to see more children born, that even in cases where the embryo is non-viable, they will still attempt to block access to abortion if at all possible. We know that the Catholic Church will block access to abortion too when there is the choice between saving the mother’s life or leaving her pregnant and dead.
Every time I think that the Catholic Church might begin to reform, this shit comes up and I swear off it even further than I already have. An organisation of men who think they know what is best for women – sounds similar to our own Government right now, but still – the Catholic Church is not a friend to those with uteri, and if you are a member of it, you need to remember that if you ever need to assert your right to your body.
Other useful reading by Libby Anne at Love Joy Feminism on this topic:
Posted: September 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Tags: bisexuality, body, body image, catholic, family, Feminism, media, politics, racism, rape, sexism, trans*, violence
I’m back in the country and have been looking at the interesting stories I’ve collected for linkspam while I was away and since I’ve been back. There is surprisingly a lot more than I expected, clearly the downtime during my holiday was spent reading great material.
Ruby Hamad wrote at Daily Life, “Charged for screaming at childbirth“:
Zimbabwe, with a GDP of $US500 per person and an average yearly income of $US150, is one of the world’s poorest countries. Not coincidentally, it is also one of the most corrupt. In a worldwide report on corruption by Transparency International (TI) 62 percent of Zimbabwean respondents said they had paid a bribe in the past year.
Also not coincidentally, women bear more than their fair share of this poverty and corruption, one of the most shocking of which was a local hospital that was found to be charging women $5 for every scream they emitted during childbirth.
The fee, ostensibly for “raising false alarm” was in reality, as The Washington Post put it, “clearly aimed at separating women from their money.”
It doesn’t end there. This fee, essentially robbing women of their right to holler their heads off in the throes of unimaginable pain, is in addition to Zimbabwe’s mandatory $50 delivery fee.
Ben Richmond at Motherboard Beta wrote, “Inside the CIA’s Role in Pakistan’s Polio Outbreak“:
Pakistan is the only country in Asia with confirmed Wild Polio Virus type 3, and along with neighboring Afghanistan and Nigeria is one of three countries where polio is still endemic. The country has been working to eradicate polio since 1988, and making progress. Then, in 2012, the efforts hit a major roadblock.
A local warlord banned vaccinations after Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi was linked to the CIA operation to find Osama bin Laden. Under the guise of giving out a Hepatitis B vaccination, the doctor collected DNA samples from children, looking for bin Laden’s family members.
A link was established between the CIA and vaccinations and starting on June 16, 2012, tribal leaders banned the vaccination campaign. The Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur said vaccinations would be banned until the CIA stopped its drone campaign in North Waziristan, according to UPI.
EEB Guest posts at Almost Diamonds, “I Am a False Rape Allegation Statistic” *trigger warning for rape, violence, harassment*
So understand: I am a “false rape allegation” statistic. When they wrote their reports, sent the numbers off to the justice department to compile the information, I am down as a liar, a false allegation, even though no charges were ever filed against me. (Don’t know if that’s because they didn’t think they could make a case against me, or because they didn’t want to put a cop’s daughter on trial.) And you know what? I am not the only person. It is horrifying, the number of women that I have met in support groups and activist meetups who experienced very similar things. They too, are false allegation statistics. We were all raped.
forgedimagination at Defeating the Dragons wrote, “modesty rules and transphobia” *trigger warning transphobia*:
Most of that revolved around wearing skirts and culottes. We weren’t allowed to wear anything that even approached something that looked like pants. At one point, I heard a pastor preach against wearing skirts with a jeans-type zipper and button fastener in the front. Because those look like mens’ pants, and that’s not feminine. I also heard messages preached against business suits, blazers, and button-up shirts. If we were going to wear button-up shirts, they could not be made out of cotton, could not be Oxford style, and we had to make sure that they buttoned “correctly.”
Tied up in all of this was horrible, rampant transphobia– in the extreme. Cross-dressing? Abomination. Drag? Straight for the pits of hell. Long hair on a man? A horrible shame and a curse upon him. I can’t tell you how many stories I heard growing up where some preacher was in line somewhere, standing behind a man with long hair, and being “horrified and appalled” when they realized that who they had assumed to be a woman was actually a man. The first time I ever heard about the sorts of procedures and treatments trans* people need, like hormone replacement therapy (part of the standard course of treatment for gender dysphoria), I was in a revival service, and the evangelist was railing against “those disgusting hermaphrodites.”
JOS posted at Feministing, “The shameful, unacceptable media coverage of Chelsea Manning’s transition” *trigger warning for transphobia*:
I do understand the impetus to mention Manning’s old name at least once so the audience knows what’s being reported on. Personally, I think it’s unnecessary – “Pfc. Manning” should be enough to clue in your audience. Of course, I’m more comfortable with just using Manning or Pfc. Manning because that’s how I’ve been referring to her since 2011. Part of what has annoyed me about the news coverage over the past day is that this is not new information. Chelsea came out publicly, telling us her name and how we should refer to her, which should be more than enough to correct reporters. But she had already been outed through the process of the trial. She’d already said privately she was female, information that then became public. Yet even her supporters continued to default to her given name and masculine pronouns. When I see or hear someone communicate that their gender is different from the one assigned to them at birth, I listen, and I respect that. Most people in this world default to the gender that is coercively assigned to someone at birth. I happen to believe that people know their own genders way better than any outside “expert,” be they a doctor, lawyer, judge, or journalist. And I know how hard it is to go against the gender assigned to you in this transphobic context. It can be particularly hard for women assigned male at birth – the costs of living your actual gender are higher, because patriarchy. When I first read Manning’s words about her gender identity during the process of the trial, I believed her. And I stopped defaulting to her assigned name and masculine pronouns, because I always put self-identification over an identity that’s been coercively assigned to someone. So I didn’t take the announcement yesterday as groundbreaking news – I saw it as Chelsea making clear and public the name and pronouns she wants to use. Which is part of why I’m so disgusted – this announcement is being treated as major news instead of a clarification of how to report on Chelsea.
Dances with fat posted, “To the Guys Who Threw Eggs at Me Tonight” *trigger warning for fatphobia*:
To recap – two adult males threw the eggs and carton at me for daring to exist outside my house in a fat body. Of course they are utter cowards who sped away immediately, leaving me with so many questions:
- First of all, how did you come to have 2 eggs and an egg carton in your car? Did you throw the first ten at other fatties, or are you now dealing with 10 eggs and no carton in your car?
- Were these fatty-specific eggs that you had planned to throw, or are you guys eating cereal for breakfast until somebody can get to the store?
- How do you miss a 300 pound woman who is three feet away from you? I mean, I’m happy that I didn’t have to walk 5 miles covered in egg, but let’s work on that follow through son, you never know when a softball game might break out.
- Finally, what the hell kind of person throws eggs at strangers from their car?
It also set up a second interaction around mile seven wherein someone yelled “YO FAT BITCH!” and I yelled back “DO YOU HAVE EGGS?” The looks on their faces were priceless as they asked “What?” and I said “The last people who harassed me today threw eggs, if you don’t have eggs then you’re behind the fat bashing curve tonight.” The guy who had yelled in the first place ducked his head and said “Wow, that’s crazy. I’m sorry ma’am.”
Leena Van Deventer writes at her new blog by the same name, “The keepers of the gates.“:
I was enjoying a nice cup of tea while reading a blog post about writing (procrastinating about the writing I was supposed to be doing). And then I LOL’d, but then I serious’d.
I sniffed the air, it smelled familiar. Sour.
It contained a quiz you could take to find out whether you were a
real gamer professional writer or not. If you didn’t answer the “do you spend every spare moment writing” questions entirely connecting “sacrifice for your art” with “being professional” (ew) then you were relegated to the pitied-upon class of “hobbyist”. I know right? Apparently that’s a word used by people who aren’t accountants. Who knew! It was said that if you had a clean (nice) house, went out with friends, watched television, dared engage in small talk instead of big talk, or liked hearing nice things about your work, that you were not a professional writer. Now, many others have pointedouthow fucked up this is, so I won’t go into picking at each point and its dumbassery, they’ve covered it supremely well. But what struck me was how it was note for note the same bullshit that tries to keep people out of collectives everywhere.
Sarah Kendzior writes at Al Jazeera, “Mothers are not ‘opting out’ – they are out of options“:
On August 7, the New York Times ran an article called “The Opt Out Generation Wants Back In” – a follow-up to a 2003 story about highly accomplished, well-educated American women who left the workforce to stay at home with their children. Ten years later, the mothers are seeking work that befits their abilities but most are unable to find it, causing them to question their original decision.
The New York Times piece frames the mothers’ misgivings as a result of questionable planning and poor marriage partners, paying mere lip service to the tremendous change in the economy over the past ten years. Whether to work or stay at home is presented as an option that has to do with personal fulfillment and childrearing preferences, divorced from fiscal limitations.
But for nearly all women, from upper middle-class to poor, the “choice” of whether to work is not a choice, but an economic bargain struck out of fear and necessity. Since 2008, the costs of childbirth, childcare, health care, and education have soared, while wages have stagnated and full-time jobs have been supplanted by part-time, benefit-free contingency labour.
The media present a woman’s fear of losing her career as the fear of losing herself. But the greatest fear of most mothers is not being able to provide for their children. Mothers with high-paying jobs go back to work to earn money for their kids. Married mothers with low-paying jobs quit to save money for their kids. Single mothers struggle to find work that pays enough to support their kids. Self-fulfillment is a low priority in an economy fuelled by worker insecurity.
The assumed divide between mothers who work inside and outside the home is presented as a war of priorities. But in an economy of high debt and sinking wages, nearly all mothers live on the edge. Choices made out of fear are not really choices. The illusion of choice is a way to blame mothers for an economic system rigged against them. There are no “mommy wars“, only money wars – and almost everyone is losing.
NK Jemisin posted the other blog post she would have posted had Theodore Beale not been expelled from SFWA’s membership, “The Ten Percent“.
Katy Waldman at Slate writes, “Haters Are Gonna Hate, Study Confirms“:
After marking the dependably hateful haters with a scarlet H, the researchers presented participants with information about a new product: the “Monahan LPI-800 Compact 2/3-Cubic-Foot 700-Watt Microwave Oven.” This elaborately titled microwave oven does not exist (except in Jack Donaghy’s mind), but participants didn’t know this and were given three glowing fake reviews and three dissatisfied fake reviews. While people who more or less liked taxidermy and crossword puzzles also liked the oven, the haters drenched their fake consumer surveys in haterade. They were also more likely to hate on recycling and vaccine shots. (To be fair, it’s hard to be a ray of sunshine when you’ve got the measles.)
Nafeez Ahmed at The Guardian writes, “Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks“:
It is therefore not surprising that the increasing privatisation of intelligence has coincided with the proliferation of domestic surveillance operations against political activists, particularly those linked to environmental and social justice protest groups.
Department of Homeland Security documents released in April prove a “systematic effort” by the agency “to surveil and disrupt peaceful demonstrations” linked to Occupy Wall Street, according to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).
Similarly, FBI documents confirmed “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector” designed to produce intelligence on behalf of “the corporate security community.” A PCJF spokesperson remarked that the documents show “federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
In particular, domestic surveillance has systematically targeted peaceful environment activists including anti-fracking activists across the US, such as the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, Rising Tide North America, the People’s Oil & Gas Collaborative, and Greenpeace. Similar trends are at play in the UK, where the case of undercover policeman Mark Kennedy revealed the extent of the state’s involvement in monitoring the environmental direct action movement.
Celeste Liddle writes at The Guardian, “Broome bombing: where is the outrage?“:
What I do wish to know, however, is where is the media and Australian community outrage over this event? Where is the coast-to-coast coverage? If I was not hooked into social media, where a number of Indigenous community members were talking about it, I probably would have missed the story due to the lack of coverage. It is telling that the Chinese national press agency Xinhua covered it, yet most of the Australian sources failed to mention it. Last year, when I was told at work that the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union had been the target of a bomb threat, I was able to read about it in a variety of sources. That one turned out to be a hoax; this attack actually injured four people.
Had this been an attack on an Australian city, or on a group of non-Indigenous people, would it have been deemed an event of public importance? As Aboriginal feminist and activist The Koori Woman so eloquently writes: “(I’m) Idly wondering what would happen if I went and casually lobbed an explosive down the whitest street in the village”.
Rafi Alam, “Smashing the fash: fascism in Australia“:
We’re told to never forget, because there is a danger in allowing the past to repeat itself. Fascism wasn’t an anomaly of world history, but is rooted in something visceral within society. It has an economic and political vision that strives to protect the legitimate members of society from the ebbs and flows of global finance and immigration; it seeks to create hope in the less fortunate by blaming society’s ills on the least fortunate. It thrives on crisis and decline, and mobilises movements by encouraging the masses to rise up against decay and attain power for the rightful heirs of the state, usually white ‘natives’.
Magda Szubanski writes at The Hoopla, “Magda’s Catholic Family Values“:
The way Tony Abbott purports to represent family values. In particular, Catholic family values. I am so weary of this face of Catholicism – this mean-spirited, uncharitable, hard-man version.
But in a bigger sense I am so heartbroken by the way the millions of moderate, social justice-minded Catholics – the ones who do the real, actual work the Church is supposed to do… like caring for people, being compassionate, looking after the weak and the less fortunate – have been ignored, disenfranchised.
Pushed aside by the power elite.
There have always been two Catholic churches – those who try to practice the basic message of Jesus , “love thy neighbour as thyself” – and those who are there for other reasons. The “Career Catholics” as I like to call them.
1DeadlyNation writes, “Abbott, the Truth and Cost of his Indigenous Volunteering“:
In August of 2012 Tony Abbott did indeed go to Cape York, but it wasn’t for a week or two as Mr Pyne suggests. It was for 2 days! It was a working bee of sorts and some of Australia’s business leaders were taken along to volunteer as well. Photos of Abbott with tools in hand were taken and the myth of Abbott the saviour of the Black man had a wonderful photo op. No problem so far until you examine the Expenditure on Entitlements paid by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to Mr Abbott for this trip of “Volunteering”. And what do we find on page 12? An amount of $9,636.36, tax payer dollars, to fund the hire of a private charter flight for the 2 days. I don’t know about you, but when I volunteer to hammer in a few nails for a day or two I don’t ask the people of Australia to cough up 10k. That isn’t volunteering, that is the most expensive labourer in the history of Australia. I wonder what the sandwiches cost….(http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/parliamentarians-reporting/docs/P31/ABBOTT_Tony.pdf page 12.)
Matt Siegel at the New York Times writes, “News Corp.’s Tight Grip on Australia’s Papers Shapes Its Politics“:
They have been front and center in the current national election pitting Mr. Rudd and the Labor Party against the Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott. The papers have run a string of scathing front-page editorials since Mr. Rudd called for elections last month. The decision to portray Mr. Rudd on the front page of The Daily Telegraph as Colonel Klink from the 1965-71 television comedy “Hogan’s Heroes,” sporting a Nazi uniform and a monocle, raised eyebrows and led Mr. Rudd to publicly call out Mr. Murdoch over the coverage.
Mr. Murdoch has made it clear, Mr. Rudd told reporters last month, “that he doesn’t really like us, and would like to give us the old heave-ho,” adding that “I’m sure he sees it with crystal-clear clarity all the way from the United States.”
Although several Murdoch papers endorsed Mr. Rudd during his first successful run for the leadership in 2007, they quickly soured on his positions toward big business, like a proposed tax on mining profits and an emissions trading plan. The company was seen as instrumental in the media campaign that saw him ousted in a 2010 party coup amid record low approval ratings. Mr. Rudd returned to government in June after upheaval in the Labor Party.
One of the Labor government’s plans calls for a National Broadband Network that would deliver high-speed Internet access to wide swathes of the country, a service that would broadly compete with News Corporation’s subscription TV service, Foxtel, which remains the company’s most profitable Australian venture.
Janet Mock writes, “How Society Shames Men Dating Trans Women & How This Affects Our Lives“:
Guess what? Many men are attracted to women, and trans women are amongst these women.
We, as a society, have not created a space for men to openly express their desire to be with trans women. Instead, we shame men who have this desire, from the boyfriends, cheaters and “chasers” to the “trade,” clients, and pornography admirers. We tell men to keep their attraction to trans women secret, to limit it to the internet, frame it as a passing fetish or transaction. In effect, we’re telling trans women that they are only deserving of secret interactions with men, further demeaning and stigmatizing trans women.
When a man can be shamed merely for interacting with a trans women – whether it be through a photograph, a sex tape or correspondences — what does this say about how society views trans women? More important, what does this do to trans women?
This pervasive ideology says that trans women are shameful, that trans women are not worthy of being seen and that trans women must remain a secret — invisible and disposable. If a man dares to be seen with a trans woman, he will likely lose social capital so he must adamantly deny, vehemently demean, trash and/or exterminate the woman in question. He must do this to maintain his standing in our patriarchal society. For a man to be associated with a trans women, in effect, is to say that he is no longer a “real” man (as if such a thing exists) because he sleeps with “fake” women (as if such a thing exists).
Aaron Day at Pink News writes, “Russia: Top lawyer comes out as bisexual and transgender against anti-gay ‘propaganda’ laws“:
Masha Bast, the chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, has spoken out in mainstream Russian media to oppose the anti-gay law.
In an interview, she told the Moscow Times: “The law banning gay propaganda among minors is completely wrong.
“I remember being 10 and wanting to be a girl and putting on girl’s clothes. I didn’t understand what was happening to me.
“This was in the Soviet Union and there was no information to explain what was happening to me.
“So it isn’t a matter of upbringing. It’s nature. That’s why I think the law against “homosexual propaganda” is a law against children and one that targets certain social groups. It is a fascist law and nothing else.”
Ms Bast said she explained to her wife when they first started dating “I wasn’t the gender I appeared to be. I am female and have always wanted to be a girl.”
She said: “We talked about it for a long time, and it wasn’t an easy decision for her. I explained that I like men, but I am a bisexual woman.
Sophie Pilgrim at France 24, “Feminists want ‘great women’ buried in Pantheon“:
Around one hundred women and a dozen men gathered outside the Pantheon mausoleum in Paris on Monday to demonstrate in favour of interring more women in the prestigious sanctuary, which is home to the remains of the country’s most treasured national figures.
There are currently only two women to 71 men buried at the site: Marie Curie, whose scientific breakthroughs changed the face of modern medicine; and Sophie Berthelot, who was buried alongside her husband, the chemist and politician Marcellin Berthelot.
In March, French President François Hollande said he wanted to grant due recognition to female historical figures in French history and has hinted that more women should be buried at the Pantheon in order to “represent the principles of the country”.