Posted: April 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Tags: body, differences, disability, equal marriage, Feminism, gender roles, harassment, lgbtiq, patriarchy, people, politics, privacy, privilege, rape, reproductive rights, sex work, sexism
So what a month, I’ve finished collating the Down Under Feminists’ Carnival, and have my own linkspam to attend to. There is some great stuff here, and yes it is epic. The epic of all linkspam.
Suw Charman-Anderson at Firstpost Technology writes, “Facebook finally admits to tracking non-users“. Please after reading this article go and implement all the recommendations to protect your privacy.
Chaitanya at Applied Ghandi writes about “‘Saalumarada’ Thimmakka – A Peerless Green Champion!“:
Thimmakka, aged 101*, is a native of Hulikal village in the Magadi taluk of Bangalore Rural district in Karnataka.
She has an unsurpassed credit to her name—some 1000 plus sturdy banyan trees, which she has lovingly tended against all odds, from mere saplings to a sweeping canopy.
Saalumarada Thimmakka (“saalumarada”—“row of trees” in Kannada—is an honorific people have added to her name) and her landless labourer husband Chikkannah could not have children. So one day more than 60 years ago, they started planting trees.
Elizabeth Plank at Policymic writes, “France Makes Contraception and Abortion Free“:
Access to free, legal and safe abortionsdoes not, has not and will never increase pregnancy termination rates in the long-term. Unlike soda refils, abortion does not become more attractive when it’s free. Abortion is not an attractive choice, it’s a really difficult one. Abortions aren’t like half price easter chocolates, women don’t run out and get them because they’re on sale (easter chocolate sale? WHERE? WHERE?). They get them because they need them, and that’s why the government should be concerned with provinding affordable and safe access to them.
At Offbeat Bride, a guest post by Babelglyph, “How I made a d20 engagement ring for my secret lesbian D&D proposal“.
David Badash writes at The New Civil Rights Movement, “Bisexuals Are The ‘Turd In The Punchbowl’ Says Massachusetts Pastor“.
That Lively is a well-known hate monger and the head of a hate group should give him no less cover, should afford him no less condemnation from his fellow pastors. Indeed, it should give them all the more motivation to denounce him, for he is making their Christianity a mockery.
Lively, whose “turd in the punchbowl” post for some strange reason hit Memeorandum, a popular news aggregator that tends to highlight the most popular news stories of the day, claims that marriage “is a clean and holy institution.” It’s doubtful many married people would describe their marriages as clean. Marriage is far from clean — it’s messy, challenging, hard work, although certainly priceless.
Clementine Ford at Howling Clementine writes, “How to handle a patronising dipshit: A guide“.
Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing writes, “NYPD will arrest you for carrying condoms: the women/trans/genderqueer version of stop-and-frisk“:
NYC has a law prohibiting “loitering for the purposes of engaging in a prostitution offense” which lets cops arrest whomever they feel like, on the strength of their conviction that the person is probably a sex-worker, on the basis of flimsy circumstantial evidence like carrying a condom, talking to men, or wearing tight clothes. Like stop-and-frisk, it’s part of a pattern of laws that assume that the police have infallible intuition about who the “bad guys” are and lets them use their discretion to harass and bust whomever they feel like. And like stop-and-frisk laws, the “condom” law shows that the much-vaunted cop intuition is really just bias, a dowsing rod that leads officers to poor women, genderqueer people, and trans people.
PZ Myers at Pharyngula writes, “The difference between us and them” *trigger warning for discussion of rape*:
As is typical, the conservatives have this unimaginative, short-sighted view of what it means to tell someone rape is wrong. They’re all imagining a woman confronted by an attacker who then solemnly tells them that they’re committing an illegal act, and expecting them to simply stop. But that’s not what she’s talking about at all.
We live in a culture where boys grow up to be privileged, entitled little shits who think women are pleasure objects for their benefit. Let’s start there and change that. Let’s say that frat boy antics are not OK. Let’s tell media to wake up and notice that women are autonomous human beings, not convenient plot points and MacGuffins. Let’s wake up and realize that valuing women only for the size of their breasts and the youthfulness of their skin is dehumanizing. She’s talking about taking on the difficult task of changing cultural attitudes.
bisexcellent writes, “The Language of Opposition“:
The language of opposition can suggest that multiple-gender attractions are paradoxical. This isn’t an uncommon view. The belief that people can not be bisexual is based on this.
It can also imply conflict between same-sex attraction and other-sex attraction. The idea is that there’s heterosexuality and homosexuality, and bisexuality is those two competing in an individual. They do not consider that multiple-gender attractions can simply coexist, or that these attractions can form a cohesive whole.
Karen Rowan at My Health News Daily writes, “Pediatricians’ Group Supports Gay Marriage, Adoption Rights“:
The American Academy of Pediatrics announced in a new policy statement that it supports the rights for gay and lesbian couples to marry as well as become foster parents and adoptive parents.
“Research shows children thrive when there are two parents who love them and can provide a nurturing environment for them, and that sexual orientation makes no difference, said Dr. Benjamin S. Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and co-author of the policy statement, which is published online today in the journal Pediatrics.
Shannon Barber at Nudemuse writes, “Nudemuse…daily nattering.“:
In light of the many terrible things that my stress levels could cause, why is it that people who are so concerned about my health overlook all those things just because my ass is smaller?
I’ve had it happening on the internets as well.
Of the dozen or so people who have anonymously congratulated me on being a smaller fatty, not one of them has seemed at all concerned about my actual health.
So again I am left with the distinct impression that no, nobody who wanted me to lose weight in the first place actually cared about my real health.
Daniel Ellsberg writes at Boing Boing, “A Salute to Bradley Manning, Whistleblower, As We Hear His Words For The First Time“:
Whoever made this recording, and I don’t know who the person is, has done the American public a great service. This marks the first time the American public can hear Bradley Manning, in his own voice, explain what he did and how he did it.
Now I hope the American people can see Manning in a different light. In 1971, I was able to give the media my side of the story, and it is long overdue that Manning be able to do the same. As Manning has now done, I stipulated as to all the facts for which I was accused. And I did that for several reasons, and I suspect that Manning had the same motives.
Rebecca Kamm at the The New Zealand Herald writes, “Stop telling women to smile“:
What is it about being approached by a strange man out of the blue and told to “Smile!” that’s so stomach-knottingly aggravating? Is there something a little bit passive aggressive about it, or are you just over-sensitive?
Yes, there is, and no, you’re not.
Sadie Whitelocks at MainOnline writes, “Mother launches range of Down Syndrome dolls for daughter, 13, so she can ‘see something beautiful’ when she plays“:
A mother has created a range of Down Syndrome dolls inspired by her daughter, who is affected by the chromosomal condition.
Connie Feda, 49, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, set about making a mini-me version of her youngest child, Hannah, after she complained that none of the dolls in a toy catalog looked like her.
But in a bid to give other children like hers ‘a friend for life’, Mrs Feda turned her Dolls For Downs project into a full-time occupation and her plastic figurines are set to hit the market in May.
Alicia Simmonds at Daily Life writes, “When did it stop being OK for men to hold hands?”
So what went wrong? How did white/western men go from frolicsome fraternities to mute masculinity? How did we crash from the love-song of male friendship to the homophobic clamour of the empty seat between men at the cinema? Why does an early twentieth century photo of footballers show them amorously folded one on top of the other while a late-twentieth century picture would show them perched upright, hands on knees, legs forming a bodily barricade?
Ibson blames the rise of homophobic sentiment in the twentieth century, culminating in the feverish anti-gay witch-hunts of the 1950s. Of course sodomy was never looked kindly upon, but it wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that homosexuality emerged as a specific identity, rather than just a practice. Homosexuality moved from something that you did (like kissing or masturbation) to something that you were (a homosexual). Branded with their own label, homosexuals were pathologised as a problem for medicine or psychiatry to solve. Throughout the twentieth century homosexuals became increasingly suspect.
And the more threatening homosexuals appeared the more that male bodies drifted apart. A chill wind swept through male friendships. Heterosexual men became careful not to send messages that they could be gay. Paranoia replaced public affection.
Sophia Pearson, Stephanie Armour and Christie Smythe write at The Age, “Morning after pill access expanded as judge blasts FDA delay“:
US District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn, New York, excoriated the Food and Drug Administration yesterday for what he called a 12-year delay in making the emergency contraceptive, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s Plan B, available over the counter.
“These emergency contraceptives would be among the safest drugs sold over the counter,” Korman wrote, and “the number of 11-year-olds using these drugs is likely to be minuscule.”
“The invocation of the adverse effect of Plan B on 11- year-olds is an excuse to deprive the overwhelming majority of women of their right to obtain contraceptives without unjustified and burdensome restrictions,” the judge wrote.
Huffpost Gay Voices writes, “Microsoft Outlook Features Gay Wedding In New Ad” (ahem marriage equality):
Microsoft Outlook features a same-sex wedding as part of its new advertising campaign.
The new clip shows two women tying the knot before one updates her surname within the Outlook program.
Laurie Abraham at The New York Times writes, “Teaching Good Sex” a program I’d really love to see implemented in Australia too:
Sexuality and Society begins in the fall with a discussion of how to recognize and form your own values, then moves through topics like sexual orientation (occasionally students identify as gay or transgender, Vernacchio said, but in this particular class none did); safer sex; relationships; sexual health; and the emotional and physical terrain of sexual activity. (The standard public-school curriculum sticks to S.T.I.’s and contraceptive methods, and it can go by in a blink; in a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, two-thirds of principals said that the subject was covered in just several class periods.) Vernacchio also teaches a mandatory six-session sexuality course for ninth graders that covers some of the same material presented to the older kids, though less fully.
The lessons that tend to raise eyebrows outside the school, according to Vernacchio, are a medical research video he shows of a woman ejaculating — students are allowed to excuse themselves if they prefer not to watch — and a couple of dozen up-close photographs of vulvas and penises. The photos, Vernacchio said, are intended to show his charges the broad range of what’s out there. “It’s really a process of desensitizing them to what real genitals look like so they’ll be less freaked out by their own and, one day, their partner’s,” he said. What’s interesting, he added, is that both the boys and girls receive the photographs of the penises rather placidly but often insist that the vulvas don’t look “normal.” “They have no point of reference for what a normal, healthy vulva looks like, even their own,” Vernacchio said. The female student-council vice president agreed: “When we did the biology unit, I probably would’ve been able to label just as many of the boys’ body parts as the girls’, which is sad. I mean, you should know about the names of your own body.”
Anne Summers at Daily Life writes, “The question no man ever gets asked“:
If once we were vapid creatures who, in the view of Sigmund Freud, could not decide what we wanted, now we are voracious careerists who want the lot. That the question is even posed is, of course, gratuitous and demeaning, since the “all” refers to having a job and a family. If you are a bloke, you can have it “all” without anyone raising an eyebrow – or even asking how you manage to “do it all”.
This was a source of particular irritation to Nicola Roxon who resigned as attorney-general earlier this month and who is leaving the Parliament at the next election because she wants to be at home for her young daughter. She often mentioned in media interviews that it really riled her that she was constantly asked how she managed to combine being a cabinet minister with being a wife and mother, whereas her male colleagues who were husbands and fathers were never asked the same question.
Douglas Martin has written an obituary for “Yvonne Brill, a Pioneering Rocket Scientist, Dies at 88“, thankfully now updated to remove most of the sexism:
Mrs. Brill — she preferred to be called Mrs., her son said — is believed to have been the only woman in the United States who was actually doing rocket science in the mid-1940s, when she worked on the first designs for an American satellite.
It was a distinction she earned in the face of obstacles, beginning when the University of Manitoba in Canada refused to let her major in engineering because there were no accommodations for women at an outdoor engineering camp, which students were required to attend.
“You just have to be cheerful about it and not get upset when you get insulted,” she once said.
A post by Lisa Wade PhD at Sociological Images, “Men-are-People and Women-are-Women: The Obituary Edition” outlines the changes made to the obituary by the New York Times.
An excellent guest post at Nursing Clio, “Same-Sex Marriage Does Threaten “Traditional” Marriage“:
Marriage equality is a threat to those who do not believe in EQUALITY between the sexes in general. Some who oppose marriage between two women or between two men believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that same-sex marriage harms children, or that it will lead to more divorces. But as I listened to the “protect traditional marriage” ralliers outside the U.S. Supreme Court hearings last week one unified message came through loud and clear: same-sex marriage threatens traditional marriage because it challenges ideas about proper gender roles.
Same-sex marriage makes a lie of the very foundation of traditional gender roles. Same-sex marriages say that a woman can run a household, or that a man can raise a child. This does not square with those whose lives and beliefs and relationships depend on upholding and living their lives based on differences between the sexes. Over and over on C-SPAN I hear people in 2013 arguing that both a mother and a father are needed in order to raise children – indeed, that children have a RIGHT to both a mother and a father. (And so, you see, proponents of same-sex marriage are not actually supporting the granting of rights, but rather the taking away of rights… of children. The twists in logic are mind-boggling.)
Peter Mercurio writes in The New York Times, “We Found Our Son in the Subway“:
The story of how Danny and I were married last July in a Manhattan courtroom, with our son, Kevin, beside us, began 12 years earlier, in a dark, damp subway station.
Danny called me that day, frantic. “I found a baby!” he shouted. “I called 911, but I don’t think they believed me. No one’s coming. I don’t want to leave the baby alone. Get down here and flag down a police car or something.” By nature Danny is a remarkably calm person, so when I felt his heart pounding through the phone line, I knew I had to run.
Judith Shulevitz at New Republic writes, “Why Do Grandmothers Exist? Solving an evolutionary mystery“:
Besides being classed among the oddities of the animal kingdom, post-menopausal women lack obvious utility. They tend to be weak. They don’t have much sex appeal. They eat food working people might make better use of. In Paraguay’s Ache tribe, aging women used to listen with terror for the footsteps of the young men whose job it was to sneak up on them with an ax and brain them. Most societies don’t actually murder their grannies, but that women manage to attain old age is an evolutionary mystery and requires explanation.
Some people deny that women did live past menopause, whether in the Pleistocene era or the nineteenth century. Before modern hygiene and medicine, the argument goes, people just didn’t live very long. But most scientists don’t think that anymore. It is true that, in the olden days, fewer people reached their golden years. Children dropped dead with disturbing ease, keeping life-expectancy averages low. But humans still had the capacity to live twice as long as our hominid ancestors. Those who got to 15 had about a 60 percent chance of making it to 45, at which point odds were respectable that they’d reach old age. Many anthropologists and biologists now believe that the bodies of Homo sapiens were designed to last about 72 years.
Stephanie Pappas at Live Science writes, “Men Who Blame Victim for Sexual Harassment Are Often Harassers“:
The findings are a confirmation of what social scientists had expected, said study researcher Colin Key, a psychologist at the University of Tennessee, Martin. But the results could help explain why some environments seem to foster sexual harassment, Key said.
“There are some toxic work environments where males dominate, and there is a culture that lets them engage in this action and then get away with it,” Key to LiveScience. Hopefully, this just adds to the knowledge that we need to target the whole system sometimes and not just these men.”
MarkCC at Good Math, Bad Math writes, “A White Boy’s Observations of Sexism and the Adria Richards Fiasco“:
See, I’m a white guy, born as a member of an upper middle class white family. That means that I’m awfully lucky. I’m part of the group that is, effectively, treated as the normal, default person in most settings. I’m also a guy who’s married to a chinese woman, and who’s learned a bit about how utterly clueless I am.
My own awakening about these kinds of things came from my time working at IBM. I’ve told this first story before, but it’s really worth repeating.
One year, I managed the summer intership programs for my department. The previous summer, IBM research had wound up with an intership class consisting of 99% men. (That’s not an estimate: that’s a real number. That year, IBM research hired 198 summer interns, of whom 2 were women.) For a company like IBM, numbers like that are scary. Ignoring all of the social issues of excluding potentially great candidates, numbers like that can open the company up to gender discrimination lawsuits!
So my year, they decided to encourage the hiring of more diverse candidates. The way that they did that was by allocating each department a budget for summer interns. They could only hire up to their budgeted number of interns. Only women and minority candidates didn’t count against the budget.
When the summer program hiring opened, my department was allocated a budget of six students. All six slots were gone within the first day. Every single one of them went to a white, american, male student.
yourlesbianfriend at Queer Guess Code writes, “Un-Memorizing the “Silence is Sexy” Date Script“:
A woman once told me pointedly something that has stayed with me to this day. We were kissing. Lying on the cold wood floor, my hand traveled across her stomach and she whispered, “I think we should take it slow.” I agreed immediately. Before moving in to kiss her again, I said, “Just tell me when to stop.”
This, I thought, was considerate. Respectful. Sexy. But she quickly corrected my mistake. Pulling away from me, her face took on a serious expression and the words she spoke illuminated a misunderstanding I had long nurtured, even as I knew myself to be a thoughtful feminist with much respect for other women.
In essence, what she said was, “Women are not given enough opportunities to say ‘yes.’”
Brendan Kiley at the Stranger writes, “Freedom Is Frustrating“:
One night a few weeks ago, it hosted its latest welcome-home party, for well-loved Reef employee Katherine Olejnik and her friend Matthew Duran. The two had been released that day from the SeaTac Federal Detention Center (FDC) after five months, including two months of solitary confinement, for refusing to answer arguably McCarthyesque questions about other people’s politics in front of a grand jury. The federal prosecutor was ostensibly interested in some political vandalism in Seattle on May Day—but neither Duran nor Olejnik were in Seattle during the demonstration. (Olejnik had been working a shift at the Reef.) Duran and Olejnik say they were shown photographs and asked to talk about who knew whom, who lived with whom, and whether those people were anarchists. When Duran and Olejnik refused to answer, they were sent to prison for civil contempt. At the time, Olejnik’s attorney, Jenn Kaplan, said, “I’d hate for the public to think of her as an obstacle to a prosecution rather than as a principled person.”
Lindy West at Jezebel writes, “If I Admit That ‘Hating Men’ Is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning It Into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?“:
Though it is a seductive scapegoat (I understand why it attracts you), none of these terrible, painful problems in your life were caused by the spectre of “misandry.” You can rest easy about that, I promise! In fact, the most powerful proponent of misandry in modern internet discourse is you — specifically, your dogged insistence that misandry is a genuine, systemic, oppressive force on par with misogyny. This is specious, it hurts women, and it is hurting you. Most feminists don’t hate men, as a group (we hate the system that disproportionately favors men at the expense of women), but — congratulations! — we are starting to hate you. You, the person. Your obsession with misandry has turned misandry into a self-fulfilling prophecy. (I mean, sort of. Hating individual men is not the same as hating all men. But more on that in a minute.) Are you happy now? Is this what you wanted? Feminism is, in essence, a social justice movement—it wants to take the side of the alienated and the marginalized, and that includes alienated and marginalized men. Please stop turning us against you.
It is nearly impossible to address problems facing women—especially problems in which men are even tangentially culpable—without comments sections devolving into cries of “misandry!” from men and replies of “misandry isn’t real” from women. Feminists are tired of this endless, fruitless turd-pong: hollow “conversation” built on willful miscommunication, bouncing back and forth, back and forth, until both sides throw up their hands and bolt. Maybe you are tired of this too. We seem to be having some very deep misunderstandings on this point, so let’s unpack it. I promise not to yell.
Posted: February 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Tags: bisexuality, differences, disabilities, Feminism, lgbtiq, racism
Some interesting news on bisexuality which I’ll open with for this collection of Linkspam.
Maria Burnham writes about “What ‘Bisexual’ Means to Me, and Why I Claim the Title“:
Is it simply a matter of liking both sexes? And does “liking” mean sexual attraction, or emotional attraction, or both? Or more? I sent out an inquiry to my queer community and was surprised by the variety of responses. One thing most people agree on is that there is a scale, with gay on one end and straight on the other, and each person falls on a different part of the scale. According to some, “true” bisexuals are at the halfway mark, 50/50, smack dab in the middle. Others believe that falling anywhere other than at the two points on the end grants you the right to claim the bisexual label. And what about pansexuality? Some believe it to be interchangeable with bisexuality, while others say that it is less exclusive than bisexuality, truly open to everyone and not based on a two-gender binary. And if you end up in a monogamous relationship with someone of the same sex, does that mean you’ve graduated to gay status? If I end up marrying a man, does that give my friends the right to say, “I told you you were straight”?
The PinkPaper details a recent report released in the UK on the mental and physical health of sexuality groups.
Attitudes towards bisexual people were found to be more negative than those towards other minority groups, with them often being stereotyped as promiscuous, incapable of monogamy, a threat to relationships and spreaders of disease.
Although the attitudes and behaviours of others, and exclusionary structures, cause issues for bisexual people, the report found that there are many positive aspects to bisexual peoples’ experiences – the ability to develop identities and relationships without restrictions, linked to a sense of independence, self-awareness and authenticity.
The full report is available here.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports on Utah’s Immigration Law HB497 and the impact that law has on Utah’s LGBTIQ community, especially since same-sex marriage is not recognised in Utah.
HB497 would force couples like these to choose between love and the law, resulting in a life of immobility and fear. Nearly 260 binational families composed of lesbian and gay U.S. citizens with noncitizen partners live in Utah. HB497 contains a harboring clause that unfairly and unconstitutionally forces binational couples to choose between breaking the law, or turning in his or her noncitizen spouse or partner to immigration officials to be deported.
Annie Murphy Paul in an opinion piece in the New York Times, writes about the upsides of dyslexia:
Dyslexia is a complex disorder, and there is much that is still not understood about it. But a series of ingenious experiments have shown that many people with dyslexia possess distinctive perceptual abilities. For example, scientists have produced a growing body of evidence that people with the condition have sharper peripheral vision than others. Gadi Geiger and Jerome Lettvin, cognitive scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, used a mechanical shutter, called a tachistoscope, to briefly flash a row of letters extending from the center of a subject’s field of vision out to its perimeter. Typical readers identified the letters in the middle of the row with greater accuracy. Those with dyslexia triumphed, however, when asked to identify letters located in the row’s outer reaches.
N K Jemisin writes, “Dreaming Awake”
I am African American — by which I mean, a descendant of slaves, rather than a descendant of immigrants who came here willingly and with lives more or less intact. My ancestors were the unwilling, unintact ones: children torn from parents, parents torn from elders, people torn from roots, stories torn from language. Past a certain point, my family’s history just… stops. As if there was nothing there.
I could do what others have done, and attempt to reconstruct this lost past. I could research genealogy and genetics, search for the traces of myself in moldering old sale documents and scanned images on microfiche. I could also do what members of other cultures lacking myths have done: steal. A little BS about Atlantis here, some appropriation of other cultures’ intellectual property there, and bam! Instant historically-justified superiority. Worked great for the Nazis, new and old. Even today, white people in my neck of the woods call themselves “Caucasian”, most of them little realizing that the term and its history are as constructed as anything sold in the fantasy section of a bookstore.
These are proven strategies, but I have no interest in them. They’ll tell me where I came from, but not what I really want to know: where I’m going. To figure that out, I make shit up.
Posted: August 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Tags: differences, polyamory
As I’ve said in earlier posts, there isn’t one best way to do or be something. There are a multitude of ways, and nowhere have I encountered this more evidently than when discussing and reading about polyamory. What works for me is quite likely to disastrously not work for someone else. What works for someone else, really isn’t the thing for me. There is a wide range of ways that relationships work (friendships, romantic attachments, one-night stands, family, soul-mates, etc). And as there is that wide range of relationships and different ways of them working, there is a wide range of ways to make polyamory work.
I could sit down and take apart an article my sister gave me the link to discussing polyamory, how what is mentioned in the article doesn’t work for me, how I understand where the author is coming from, and yet the levels of formality and hierarchy would just upset me, but it’s far easier for me to say to myself, this is what worked for them, and like most things in life will change and grow with them for as long as it’s useful. (that sentence is nice and long, but anyway)
Even things mentioned in The Ethical Slut, a book many people consider to be the bible of polyamory, aren’t necessarily the only way to do polyamory. These things are all suggestions, some useful, some far less so. If your version of polyamory is working for you and your partner/s, and someone else is screwing their nose up at the way you’re living your life and relationships, then that’s their problem and not yours.
Take what I and others who write and talk about polyamory with a grain of salt, think on it as useful information, but stuff that doesn’t necessarily apply to your situation. It’s great if it does, and it’s great if something I share or say makes a difference, but no one is under any obligation to try and fit their unique situation into a copy of my (or anyone else’s) situation. Doing that is unlikely to lead to anyone else’s happiness.
[Cross posted here]
Posted: August 1, 2011 at 12:51 am | Tags: being somewhere else, differences, Language, tourist, travelling
I don’t know if I will do daily updates of my trip here to KL, but since I have the night done, and we’re waiting now to be tired enough to go to sleep (we mega napped this afternoon), I thought I’d upload my photos to Flickr and quickly write up today.
Though now with attempting to sort out phone dramas (I can connect to our pre-paid provider with no problems – Scott is having issues), I might not get the photos uploaded until later.
Anyway, things I’ve learnt – I’m too short. This wasn’t something I’ve ever had an issue with when flying before, usually the shorter the better, but the Emirates seats were too high for me, meaning that I could not rest my feet on the ground. When I was awake, this wasn’t too much of an issue, but when I slept (and our flight left Melbourne at 2:30am, so I was hoping to sleep), I would wake up in pain from my knees… or from gritting my teeth in my sleep against the knee pain. I need a massage to recover from the flight, so that is something I have planned for tomorrow… vaguely.
Malaysia is as warm and humid as I could possibly want. Cold is a slightly distant memory and being warm is a nice change, sweating is a novel experience.
It is beautiful, the food so far has been amazing, the being in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language nor understand the signage (though a lot of it is also in English) is interesting (mostly from the analysing my own internal responses to this) and things are much closer than they generally appear.
Tomorrow, apart from the massage, Scott and I hope to go to Little India and then towards evening head over to China town to soak up the magnificence as well as the crowds. We’re also planning to go to the top of the Petronas towers, see the museum, art gallery, bird park, butterfly house and everything else this week. Oh and eating, we’re planning on doing a lot of eating.
[Quick edit - photos are now here]
Posted: June 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Tags: differences, Feminism, media, politics
From The Age today I found the following two articles which just staggered me. The first is about train level crossings, titled “Liberal Seats Gets Crossing Priority“:
A TRANSPORT Department list of the most dangerous railway level crossings has been ignored by the Baillieu government, which has instead directed millions of dollars towards upgrading crossings in Liberal-held seats.
Well thank the FSM that the Baillieu government has it’s priorities sorted out. It’s much more about rewarding those who voted this current government in, and far less about saving the lives of Victorians. I mean really, I should have guessed, it’s quite obvious when you think about it… no wait, it’s not.
The second is about female representation on government boards, titled “Ballieu wants more women on boards“:
THE Baillieu government has adopted a target to have women filling at least half of all positions on state boards, but has ruled out imposing quotas because ”positive discrimination” won’t always lead to the best person being picked for the job.
The Coalition has adopted a statewide target to get women into 50 per cent of government board positions, which are often regarded as a stepping stone to senior roles in the corporate sector, where women are largely under-represented.
”Targets can be very effective because it focuses the mind in making sure women are actively considered, and that their merit is taken seriously … rather than say, ‘well this spot has to go to a woman instead of the best person for the job’,” Ms Wooldridge told The Sunday Age.
I considered blogging about this when the last discussion of women on boards hit the airwaves, but I ran out of time and energy and brain. Positive discrimination/Affirmative Action/whatever you’re going to call it does have it’s place. Because if your colleagues on any given board are male, then actually thinking outside that typically “white male is the best for the job” box is rather hard. And if you are presented with two equally qualified candidates, one male, one female, then far too often the individual selected is the same as the rest of the make-up of the board – which in Australia is generally white men.
So why not put a quota in place? It won’t hurt, it will give you good quality candidates that you didn’t think of to start with, and if it all falls into a heap, then you can reverse it. Ah, the joys of being able to change your mind.
Posted: December 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Tags: differences, Language, politics, USA
This post is partially inspired by Chally’s post at Feministe, though on different topics, and nowhere near as well written as her piece – which I’ve just re-read and have fallen in love with all over again.
But anyway… here are some issues that I would LOVE the USA to address, because they piss me off no end.
I don’t live in the US
As Chally pointed out, the world does not revolve around you, not even close. You are not the only country that uses the internet, though that must come as a bit of a shock. Internet sites are getting better at noting this, but really, if you are a multinational company, and you sell to countries outside the US, defaulting to the US (especially when you can figure out that my IP is from Australia) is just rude.
Not to mention the number of times when I first started on the internet and put AU as the country code in forums and was asked if I was from Austin…. no, there really are other countries out here.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about a job vacancy listed in the LinkedIn groups I’m in and someone has listed a two letter state code, which I presume is somewhere in the US. Oddly enough I’m not across your 50 states, where they are, what their capital cities are and how on earth to decode their state abbreviations. If you’re a member of an international forum, for flying spaghetti monster’s sake, just spell out the state if it’s that important to you AND list that this job is in the US (so I can ignore the post and move to the next one). Every other non-US role I’ve seen advertised lists the country – it’s just the USian jobs, which list two letter codes which could be anywhere, which piss me off.
So yes, start looking outside your borders, realise that there is an ENTIRE world out here, with people who use the internet, shop on the internet and who work and job hunt.
Posted: October 5, 2010 at 12:01 am | Tags: acceptance, awesome women, colour, consent, differences, disability, exclusion, fat, Feminism, freedom of speech, harassment, health, intersectionality, Language, lgbtiq, life, media, p0rn, race, racsim, reviews, safety, stories, suffrage, vegan, violence
Down Under Feminists Carnival Logo
Welcome to the 29th Down Under Feminists Carnival. Thank you everyone for your submissions which I have organised as much as I can. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I did, and that you continue to submit posts to an awesome carnival. Thank you so much to Chally, of Zero at the Bone and FWD/Forward and Radical Readers and Feministe for organising this carnival and letting me host it.
Thank you to Chally, Jo, Mary and Deborah for hunting down and finding most of the great posts to include this month. Thank you to everyone else who submitted their or other’s writings.
If I have used incorrect pronouns to identify any of the participants please let me know so that I can correct them. Any misuse is unintentional and due solely to me being unfamiliar with the author of the post.
If I have misrepresented/badly summarised your post, please let me know and I’ll correct it.
So, this carnival is big and full of fascinating reading. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.
This month’s optional theme was Awesome Women.
So, put your feet up, down, sideways or however you feel comfortable and enjoy.
Ilaeria blogged about the three people who have had the biggest impact in her life, her mother and two grandmothers and share the lessons she learnt from them.
tigtog writes about Bell Hooks week at Hoydon About Town. Deborah at In a Strange Land, during one of her Friday Womanist posts quotes Bell Hooks.
Deborah from In a Strange Land blogged about the anniversary of Sufferage for Women in New Zealand (17 September 1893) and the hard work that was put into gaining signatures for the petition that helped make is possible.
Mary at Hoydon About Town has been awesome and has developed a Firefox bookmarklet to make submitting blog carnival posts easier. Please go and install so it is much easier to submit posts for the next carnival.
Media and society
Wildly Parenthetical at Hoydon About Town talks about Sexting and Slut Shaming and how bad the Minister for Home Affairs’s new campaign is for young women.
I spoke about Rampant Sexism in an edition of the MX where it suggested the women were different than men, that women should earn less than men for the sake of their heterosexual relationships and that women can steal men and that men can do nothing about it.
the news with nipples shreds an opinion piece in the SMH by Paul Sheehan.
Pickled Think writes about media and societal pressure on men to propose regardless of what their girlfriends may feel about marriage because it seems that their feelings aren’t important (all girls want to marry right?), and Pickled Think also discusses the patriarchal institution of marriage and the lack of the “big gay proposal”. (The last line on the first comment is also gold).
Blue Milk demonstrates a little lesson in undermining women in power with thanks to the Courier Mail.
Blue Milk reviews Radical Act, a documentary about queer/feminist musicians in the USA, made in 1995
Ju at transcendancing has written a review of Glitter Rose, a short story collection by an Australian author doing interesting and challenging things with female characters. The collection is published by a press that is also doing interesting and challenging things with a feminist focus in publishing.
Kim writes at Larvatus Prodeo about feeling sympathy for Stephen Conroy and the ongoing debate about the internet filter being more complex than liberties or the rights of adults.
Mary at Hoydon About Town wrote about #groggate and the outing of Grog Gamut’s legal name by The Australian. The scary thing about The Australian’s justification is that they’re arguing for the outing of anyone who attempts to influence politics (or anything else) regardless of the wish for anonymity.
There are many ways that the less powerful are silenced, and conflating having something to hide or keep private with being not worth listening to is one of them, and insisting on identity disclosure is another. Not all pseudonymous writers are using pseudonyms to ethical ends, this is abundantly clear to anyone who has ever been on the Internet. But insisting that only those who name themselves and state their interest to everyone who lives in the country can speak is far worse.
Ariane at Ariane’s little world, adds to the discussion regarding #groggate by explaining that a person is not their job.
Image by Judy Horacek. Three panel cartoon of a Christmas decoration on a Christmas tree. The first panel reads, "I'm not a feminist but", the second "just hanging round being decorative is a bit boring", the third has the decoration walking away from the tree saying, "Actually I really am a feminist"
Bodies and health
Ariane calls bullshit on obesity being the root of all evil and society’s with focus on fatness as a health issue. Ariane also points out the negative health consequences of dieting.
Maia at The Hand Mirror discusses the politics of food and how our diet (what we eat) has changed, how food manufacturers want to make a profit from food and the impact that has. Maia also posts a thread about why she hates The Body Shop and how conflating health and moral good or health and beauty are wrong. Maia also posted a great 101 post on food and “healthy food” and how that is a misnomer.
Split Milk talks about why she doesn’t want to engage in discussions about dieting and how important fat acceptance places are.
Many fat activists also identify as feminists and in my opinion the most important tenet that those two movements have in common is a core belief in bodily autonomy. Advocating for fat acceptance is about asking for freedom from oppression and prejudicial treatment.
Spilt Milk also guest posted at Feministe about Fat acceptance: when kindness is activism where she discusses how acceptance of your body and kindness to yourself are activism.
Mimbles at Mim’s muddle writes about being fat and visible and includes links to posts that she’s found (some of which are in this carnival).
Michelle at The Red Pill Survival Guide writes about being fat and how societal sanctioned abuse of fat people is harmful.
You know what? Fuck you. You’re not me. You’re not that other person. You don’t know the circumstances surrounding why someone is the way they are unless they tell you. Yes, we all make superficial judgements but does that give you the right to be abusive or phobic? No.
Fat Heffalump shared her paper that she presented for the Australian Fat Studies conference this month. She shares the effect that the “war on obesity” has had on her and most likely has had on others.
Sam at fat dialogue writes about her experience with Control Top Underpants and how important making people uncomfortable is as a really powerful critical and political intervention.
Julie at the Hand Mirror writes about Thin Privilege and how it isn’t all that great.
The Thin versus Not Thin dichotomy is yet another false division that just sets women against each other. We need to fight, together, against a culture which judges us on our physical appearance, whether that appearance is one that conforms or not.
Steph writes at LadyNews that although Christina Hendricks is great, and the media acceptance of her not typically represented body type is also great, having her body shape/type as one to aspire to is not a good thing.
Pickled Think shreds an article discussing a new sitcom hopefully not coming to a screen near you, and how fat really isn’t coming back to Hollywood.
Health and disability
Jo at Wallaby writes about Accessibility and Sydney’s public transport, focusing on Sydney’s buses.
Michelle at The Red Pill Survive Guide (*trigger warning – discussion of suicide*) writes about World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, and talks about how she understands that level of despair.
Chally at Zero at the bone, writes about taking a sickie and how hard it is for people with disabilities to take a “sickie” for legitimate reasons let alone “bludging”.
Helen at FlyingBlogspot.com talks about her ordinary and what she does to manage day to day. Helen also discusses how her ordinary may change with a review of her medication and trying some new treatment.
Race and Racism
Hexpletive blogged about the NSW Parliament amending the NSW State Constitution to finally recognise indigenous Australians as the first people in the State.
I wrote a piece about Boat People and how it should not be an issue.
Queen Emily at An Army of Rabbits discusses the concept of whiteness and the difference between white in Australia and white in the USA.
Jo at Wallaby writes a post about an anti-violence march asking some very pertinent questions for you to answer before you read Blue Milk’s post below.
Blue Milk writes about the march in Alice Springs by Aboriginal men to “stop the violence” and the lack of media coverage about positive Aboriginal stories.
Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 writes about japan ken and barbie, how they’re in Japanese inspired clothing and not actually Japanese, leading to the fetishisation and exotification of non Western cultures.
Chally wrote at Feministe about one of her favourite bit of cognitive dissonance.
stargazer at The Hand Mirror wrote about how collective responsibility is not productive, and states that, “i still don’t accept that i have any responsibility to apologise for the actions of someone i’ve never met and have absolutely no chance of influencing.”
the news with nipples writes Another burqa blog post and reluctantly gives Sergio Redegalli some of her time while she discusses how wrong his latest “art” work is. Then asks why the debate about burquas is still being controlled by people who do not wear burqas.
Blue Milk talks about how Stephanie Rice’s apology to queer people was not adequate and points out all the flaws in that apology very nicely.
Steph at 天高皇企鹅远 went to WorldCon and discusses her experiences with two panels, one on queer themes in SF, which she had to walk out of and the other chaired by a trans academic which was a far more positive experience.
PharaohKatt at Distinctly Disgruntled (*trigger warning – discussion of suicide*) deconstructs Bob Katter’s comments regarding the apparently non-existent LBGTIQ population in his electorate, the high rate of suicide of LBGTIQ people and Bob Katter’s comments about suicide on a Q&A segment.
Fire Fly at The Long Way Home writes about Queer Femmes of Colour and their multiple burdens of authenticity.
I think the dynamic is deeply conditioned by internalised queerphobia. Specifically, internalisation of the double standard that there’s a threshold of queerness that someone has to prove in order to be ‘really’ queer (when there’s no such threshold for heterosexuality).
Maia at The Hand Mirror discusses a proposed bill in New Zealand which would re-criminalise street sex workers and how the relevant political parties have voted.
It is specifically targeting street sex workers. Street sex workers do not generally have $2,000 to pay a fine. The fines, when they’re awarded, won’t have the magic power to stop someone being poor and working as a sex worker, it’ll just make them poorer. It won’t make street sex work disappear, it’ll just make it harder, more dangerous, and more marginalised.
Steph at vegan about town discusses how veganism, race and ethnicity intersect and how calling for China to be “wiped from the face of the earth” for the way they treat animals is hypocritical when every country mistreats animals.
Maia at The Hand Mirror also discusses how there is a connection between problems the way food is discussed and the problems with way food is produced and looks at this under a feminist framework.
Shiny writes about how she is all out of cookies and isn’t going to give them to people who meet basic human standards of decency.
Callistra writes about safety and safe spaces, what they can be and how they are created.
Safety and feelings of safe spaces are also a place of sanctuary. It’s an intimately known quality, where so much discussion has already occured that the system can meet your needs. It means when you’re miserable and need company to listen to, you have friends who can answer that need. Or if you’re miserable and need to talk; you know you can have these needs met. It means if you need to sit quietly and absorb group energy, you can do so without worrying what others might think, say or do. I noticed this as being ‘a place where you can exist without struggle of identity’.
Callistra also writes about what connections are and how they contribute to safe spaces.
Writing at The Hand Mirror, anjum writes about women in minority cultures, who as feminists want to criticise and change the culture, but who fear that it will only give ammunition to haters in the majority culture.
steph writes at vegan about town regarding exclusionary language in the vegan and animal rights movement in Australia and how veganism and the animal rights movement are often seen as white/Anglo-Saxon, middle-class movements.
A Touch of the Crazy shares her recent life experiences, reflections and the importance of getting lost when travelling.
Pickled Think writes about surviving the Christchurch earthquake and how she feels right now.
Blue Milk writes about breastfeeding and how she felt when she first started and how she feels about it now.
Hexpletive writes about the 9th World Indigenous Women and Wellness Conference she attended and presented at in Darwin and then goes on to discuss the other Conferences and Conventions that she is interested in for the remainder of the year. I’m going to have to look some of these up.
Spilt Milk shares an experience of encountering penis graffiti with her young daughter and recounts Helen Barne’s Young Adult novel ‘Killing Aurora’, in which the protagonist draws vagina dentata graffiti in response to penis graffiti.
Spilt Milk wrote about her childhood comforter and how that was taken away from her, and now how the childcare centre her daughter goes to wants to take away her daughter’s teddy bear.
Queen Emily writes at An Army of Rabbits, two (related) things that never happened to her in Australia, specifically the assumption that she’d been to church followed by an exhortation to keep god in her heart.
Chally wrote about how social justice can also be about staying silent and doing what is right for you versus the wider world (this post could fit under most categories, and I struggled to find the best fit).
Wallaby writes about how prioritising and choosing your energy drain is important for your wellness, and your choices in this regard should be admired, fostered and encouraged.
tigtog clearly states for the record why banning commenters and refusing comment publication is not censorship as blogs are privately owned spaces.
Women of Colour Australia has put a transcript up of their speech at NOWSA 2010.
the news with nipples writes about the petition put together by Plan Australia to make September 22 the International Day of the Girl. You can sign the petition here.
Natalie at definatalie.com writes about her feral leghair and why she’s going to grow it. She includes a great discussion about The Gruen Transfer and their discussion about redefining femininity based on advertising.
steph discusses at LadyNews the current Jadelle (a contraceptive implant) furore in the media. steph advocates choice and education for women, which some of the quotes in the article also supported.
Megan at Craft is the New Black writes about the need for the ‘generations’ of feminism to recognise and celebrate each other’s worth.
In a post to mark Women’s Suffrage Day in New Zealand, Ele at Home Paddock writes of the need for us to exercise our hard won right to vote in the upcoming local body elections.
*Trigger warnings – posts in this section discuss violence against women*
The Dawn Chorus discusses Street Harassment and how when reporting it or writing down what has been said, the tone of what was said is missing which is one of the reasons why street harassment is often belittled or dismissed.
Blue Milk explains that asking is sexy and that without consent it isn’t sex and the comments are great too.
I don’t know why the idea has persisted that asking for consent is necessarily a clinical business – what is stilted about – more? do you want to? do you like? Because “mood-killer”? Are you kidding me? That moment when they close the space between you both and ask you to put your cards on the table – is this on or not, can I do this with you – is one of the most heart-flippingly exciting moments in all of existence.
Jo at Wallaby wrote about the treatment received by two women who had been sexually assaulted in different legal systems and how much those legal systems differed.
XY writes about why he won’t be walking in Reclaim the Night/Take Back the Night march and provides and excellent resource (if you need one) to explain to some men why they are not always welcome to march.
stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about the governmental response to the task force for action on sexual violence and sadly how this seems to have been missed by the media.
AnneE at The Hand Mirror takes some relevant material from a paper on people who abuse their partners.
blue milk at Hoydon About Town writes about the strange behaviour of the state and society when a mother whose daughter was victim of incest is upset and protective of her daughter when pornography is displayed at a 7-11.
And isn’t it a strange world where police can be called in to protect your right to display pornography? So unquestioning are we about it that the newspaper article actually describes what unfolded as a “bizarre incident”. It is the same strange world where it is estimated that up to one in four girls will be sexually abused during their childhood.
Both Deborah from In a Strange Land and I wrote about Brendan Black and his opinion piece in Fairfax media on breastfeeding and breasts. Unfortunately he fails terribly at being a feminist ally when he could have done very well.
Jo at Wallaby suggests that men should not go out alone otherwise they might, “be accused of, and/or commit, indecent assault, sexual assault, rape or other sexual violence.”