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59th Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Hello and welcome to the fifty ninth Down Under Feminists’ Carnival.  There has been so much going on this month I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy all the posts I’ve collected.

International Women’s Day

Helen at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony writes, “International Women’s Day 2013: Time for action to end violence against women” and discusses the great work that feminism has achieved over the past year.

Jo at A Life Unexamined writes, “To every woman in the world” an affirmation to all women about how awesome we are.


Clemintine Ford writes about Fairfax Digital’s very odd decision (now rectified) to retitle the Daily Life section to “Women’s Perspective” in “An open letter to Fairfax Digital“.

Clem Bastow at The Vine writes “Let’s talk about Adam Hills and Joan Rivers” in which she writes how wrong Adam Hills’s response was to Joan Rivers’s comments.

Deborah at Bee of a Certain Age writes, “Missing the point“:

There’s no attempt to talk to any women bloggers about their experience of trolling. And what we know now is that the abuse handed out on-line to women who dare to blog is outrageous.


Molly Eliza at Wom*news writes, “The Price of Existence“:

Even existing on the most basic level has a price tag. The bottom of Maslow’s pyramid. You need to pay for a roof over your head, food to eat, electricity, water, healthcare; all of those things we took for granted as kids, assumed that they were just a given. You pay through the nose to keep on living. It seems that the poorer you get, the more you pay to keep on living. We all know this, and accept it as the status quo – that living, existing on the most human level comes with a price. After all, that’s why you have a job.

Orlando at Hoyden About Town writes “Friday Hoyden: Ela Bhatt“:

“I would urge us to ensure that six basic primary needs are met from resources within 100 miles around us. I call it the ’100 mile principle’. If food, shelter, clothing, primary education, primary healthcare and primary banking are locally produced and consumed, we will have the growth of a new holistic economy, that the world will sit up and take note of.”


Kim at Larvatus Prodeo writes, “Feminism, Julia Gillard and Magical Thinking“.

Cat Williams guests posts at The Australian Independent Media Network with “stupid lefty whore“, where she discusses the value in knowing the arguments of the other side, and her experience of misogyny online.

My post “The proof is actually in the Tony Abbott pudding” was nominated for this carnival:

So today Abbott has come out saying that he’s a changed man, that he’s grown and changed (recently) and that we shouldn’t judge him by comments he made 35 years ago.  Ok, sure, I won’t judge Tony Abbott for comments he made 35 years ago, back when he was a dick, I’ll judge him for comments he’s said far more recently than that, which still show he’s still a dick.

Andie Fox who blogs at blue milk, has the following piece in the Guardian, “Julia Gillard’s adoption apology comes after an abyss of trauma“.

Megpie71 writes at Hoyden About Town, “On Political Polls and Negative Rainfall“:

Poll watching is the great spectator sport among Australian journalists, and there are polls just about every week measuring how people feel about X, Y, or Z. What these polls leave out (and what they have to leave out) is due to the mechanism of our representative democracy, how we-the-voters feel about issues doesn’t matter most of the time. It only matters on one day every three years – on election day, when we get to cast our votes. The rest of the time, it’s just noise, and no amount of opinion polls showing how concerned we are by $ISSUE are going to change the fact.

Personal politics this time and my blog post on “When it’s not about you” was nominated to be included in this month’s carnival:

So this is for those people who fail to consider other people before looking for their own emotional resolution.  Those people who demand closure or their emotions handled when the epicentre of something bad happened to someone else they know.  I do get that generally we are self centred individuals who think about our own suffering before others, but we should perhaps consider not opening our mouths when someone else has every reason to be suffering or grieving more than we do ourselves.

Jacqui Tomlins writes, “Without Jesus, our students are lost“:

A couple of weeks ago my kids came home from school (a local state primary) with a letter asking whether I would like them to undertake Special Religious Instruction (SRI). No, I wouldn’t, I told the school – three times in heavily circled biro.  It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question and every time it really, really annoys me.


Joanna at The view from down here writes, “I could talk“:

So much I could say. So much I could post. Though of course not all of it I would post. I could and probably should post about the NDIS/disabilityCare thing and the problems with that label, not to mention any of the other funding or UN Convention on the RIghts of people with disability implications. Or I could talk about the sense of disconnect I fear between the expectations placed on the NDIS and what I fear the outcomes will be, especially in terms of the expectation of being participatory human members of society. Not to mention our own expectation of this.

Sarah Jane Innes at Sarah’s world of procrastination writes, “Deadly Bloggers Challenge week 11: Language“:

I am dyslexic. Dyslexia is more then reading things incorrectly. The words trip and tumble. There is a disconnect between my brain and what is intended to be said.I speed through sentences so that people don’t notice the incorrect words, the stammer, the confusion, the fear. Words have long been my enemy. Rather ironic that I have an Honours degree in Communications (Writing). People are unforgiving. They judge your intelligence based on your spelling, your pronunciation, your grammar. I refuse to use the popular name as I find it offensive so lets just call them the Grammar police.

Joanne at The view from down here also writes, “A cautionary tale aka: of Picolo, cake and dodos“, and I’m really sorry that she went through that experience.

#DestroyThe Point

Helen at Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony writes about Helen Razer’s dig at Destroy the Joint in “We waste enough energy already explaining to trolls“:

To be fair to Razer, and to get back to the general topic of this rant, this attitude is not unique to her. I wish I had a dollar for every Tumblr social justice blogger who has blasted “feminists” for not writing about the Terrible Thing which she has decided is the Thing which must be written about du jour. Next thing you know she’s posting about nail art or some favourite food. (This is perfectly OK by me, by the way – I’m not the one wanting to make a huge deal out of blogging/not blogging any given topic. But consistency, y’know.)

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep, writes about her views of Helen Razer’s recent comments and Jenna Price’s response in “Feminism. Feminists.

Mindy at Hoyden About Town writes, “Defining feminism and destroying the joint“:

I do think that Razer has misjudged the point of Destroy the Joint, it won’t have failed if it doesn’t bring down the Patriarchy. That is a big ask for one organisation where three waves of feminism have failed to do that before. The same with Everyday Sexism – it is less about destroying the Patriarchy in one big gulp and more about pointing out how everyday things we often take for granted are sexist. Will it change the world, probably not, will it open a few eyes and start a few minds working – yes and that is a success right there.

Kim at Larvatus Prodeo writes, “Destroy which joint?“:

What’s the message here? Yes, representations are important. Culture shapes life. But material life is reflected in Culture too. Social location is important. It’s very easy, perhaps too easy, to sit in one’s hot desk at a Co-Working Space tweeting anti-Alan Jones messages. Lo, how the Old White Men have fallen! Yep, contest their ground. But don’t forget – they won’t go away so easily. Because the real injustice is the permanent suppression, the permanent inequality, the permanent oppression that so many women not on Twitter live as their daily existence. The key is to think that, think outside your own circle, talk as well as decry.


Team Oyeniyi writes, “If this is feminism, you can keep it – Warning: discussion of rape and swearing

So while I appreciate the essay’s philosophic merits, I’ll be damned if I can correlate the content to saving women NOW, TODAY! I don’t need to analyse the history of the rise of feminism to push countries to pass laws to prevent the subjugation of women. I don’t need to consider  “The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity.”  What I need is to see that fucking decal gone from that ute so small children aren’t seduced to organic unwholesomeness.

Can be bitter writes, “Bitterness by request: What got us into feminism” with her story of how she got into feminism (which is clearly obvious from the title of the post).

Wom*news writes “UQWC’s Reply to ‘Fabulous Feminism’ in Semper Floreat” in which they reply to an article which paints itself as feminist while being very much not so.

At Musings of an Inappropriate woman, “At home in the Musings household…” briefly follows a conversation.

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about “changing names“:

but globalisation has tended to change some of that.  because many eastern cultures absorbed the notion that western cultures were more advanced and modern, they have adopted some of the cultural norms of the west.  with the result that women who were never expected to change their names on marriage are now pressured to do so.  the societal pressure that was so absent is now building & has been for some time now.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep, writes “If you see a child as “sexualised” there’s something wrong with your vision*trigger warning for discussion of rape*

Utopiana at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist writes, “Spambots: the horseman of the binary patriarchy apocalypse“:

Here’s the thing: I am currently thinking that the patriarchy is so deeply embedded that all you need to do is type a phrase whilst sitting on your couch in your pyjamas and suddenly shiny patriarchy will appear. Like dial-a-patriarchy or something. It’s really so convenient. I, for example, typed “fake tanning” on my blog and managed to receive three posts from alleged fake tan providers discussing the virtues of their products. My post examining labiaplasty got a further two posts from cosmetic surgery companies (apparently) talking about the wonderful procedures they had on special should I wish to craft myself into the ultimate socially-acceptable woman. My comments on surrogacy earned me a post from an international surrogacy provider talking about the wonderful genetic material incubators they had available (in other words, women) just raring to produce a little Celeste clone so my life would be complete. Elsewhere, I questioned the Lingerie Football League and ended up with a free-ticket offer to one of their games (sadly, the tickets were available in North America not Northern Burbs Melbs). A literal cornucopia of patriarchal advertising just eager to get to my inbox. It is really quite insane.

Mikaela Wangmann at the NUS Women’s Department writes, “Gender Studies is under attack. Again.“:

This is a huge issue as not simply because a reduction in courses and subjects that students have to choose from is a detriment to their education by lack of breadth but also because it awkwardly reflects a lot of what is taught in these courses. To be honest I can’t think of better way to mirror the content of these courses about how women have been undervalued and had to fight for every freedom we enjoy today but also show the distance we still have to go than by cutting them.

Race and Racism

Mehallelujah writes, “I’m not racist but…“:

We see ‘I’m not racist but’ comments on social media all the time. Websites like theantibogan.wordpress.com have been set up to give the online community the power to name and shame racists, sexists and homophobes. Such initiatives can make big statements particularly in the online sphere where people often think they have the added advantage of anonymity. But what of real life encounters? Where do we go to report IRL racists?

stargazer at The Hand Mirror writes about her hopes for the new Race Commissioner in New Zealand, Susan Devoy in “hoping for the best” and how important it is that they be able to work together:

if she fails to act or to speak, she won’t suffer the consequences: i will, or some other marginalised person and/or community of colour will.  if she fails to do her job properly, i will find it harder to fight the discrimination i face in my day to day life.

Mindy at Hoyden About Town writes a book review “#AWW 2013: Mum Shirl book review“:

Reading this book is like having a cosy chat with MumShirl. She gently but unflinchingly reveals how white policies, perhaps well meaning but misguided perhaps intentional, had devastating effects on Aboriginal communities. She talks of her early life at Erambie Mission in Cowra with her family, discovering she had epilepsy and her early struggles with it when medication was still unavailable to treat it, marrying, child rearing and losing her marriage and giving up her child to the care of relatives. She also talks about the extensive efforts she went to to support prisoners, family and anyone and everyone in need of help. She was a founding member of both the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Medical Service. Throughout her determination to do her best is her motivation, no matter the cost to her personally. She really was an amazing person (she passed away in 1998). She was awarded an MBE in 1975, an Order of Australia in 1985, Aborigine of the Year in 1990, and named as a National Living Treasure shortly before her death.

Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes, “Fuck off Jezebel: Quvenzhané Wallis is too good for your shit edition“:

Now, to Jezebel.  Jezebel, which on top of all its previous crimes against social justice decided that right now, right after a young black girl was called a cunt by The Onion, was the perfect time to post a big ol’ article about how cunt isn’t a bad word, it’s a word we should reclaim, woo yeah girl power right on.


Jo Tamer at Wallaby writes, “Sexuality and sex work” where she recounts a conversation she participated in where a straight woman asked a gay woman how much money it would take for her to sleep with a man.

Spilt Milk writes “Comfy world“:

In dealing with homophobia in my daily life, I’m coming to see just how fiercely straight adults also hoard the soft furnishings of social ease.

Chrys Stevenson at Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear writes,  about the “Hattonvale Nursery Queensland – homophobic rant“.

Chally at Zero at the Bone wrote a “Book Review: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner” which sounds like something I’d love to read.


Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep writes “Dance me to the end of love” about her relationship with her husband.

blue milk posts “Review of Things I Didn’t Expect (When I Was Expecting) by Monica Dux“:

One of the strengths of Things I Didn’t Expect (When I Was Expecting) is the way it so clearly identifies the contradictory pressures on new mothers – be natural, but don’t let yourself go. Speaking of hypocrisy, there’s also an excellent discussion in the book of the duplicitous game of ‘bad mother’ confessions that women sometimes play in mothers’ groups where the information they share is really slyly designed to enhance their own reputations as good mothers. But this is the difference between a feminist author like Dux, and a less nuanced writer – Dux is ultimately forgiving of the ‘bad mother’ game because she understands that while this behaviour silences us, it is also really about mothers coming to terms with the pressure of the ‘selfless mother’ expectation that is on all of us.

Julie at the Hand Mirror writes, “No country for young babies” regarding the baby left in a car at a supermarket carpark and the judgement poured on the mother of that child.

AlisonM at the Hand Mirror writes, “UN ‘Family’ Resolution Raises Concern” and spells out why there are concerns.

Repro Justice

Utopiana at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist writes, “Turning 35 and the quandaries of reproductive “choice”” talking about the different types of choice (to have children or not as one example), and other reproductive issues, including surrogacy and birthing choices.

AlisonM at The Hand Mirror writes about a court case in New Zealand currently where a driver is being charged with reckless driving causing death of his wife’s fetus in ‘Careless Driving Causing Death’:

“There’s no definition of a person in the transport act, so that’s where this issue will focus on. What does it mean by a person,” he said in an interview in January. Along the way, however, Miller says, the police also must prove that Gebretsadik was careless and, if so, that it was the collision that caused the death of the fetus. His complaint with the police over the “causing death” charge is what he sees as their lack of compassion.

The Body

Team Oyeniyi writes, “Womanhood: from menstruation to menopause” describing her recent experience of menopause and the decision to try HRT (MRT).

Can be bitter writes, “Songs I Listen to While Running #2: ‘Sexy and I Know It’, LMFAO“:

LMFAO go out of their way to posit that every body can be “sexy”, even those that do not meet society’s expectations. We know this from the fourth line, “This is how I roll, animal print pants, out of control”, where Redfoo seems to feel the need to address his unconventional appearance. This is reiterated with his “big afro”, and wearing a Speedo at the beach. Although he clearly attracts attention (“Everybody stops and they staring at me”), he does not apologise for standing out or taking up space. In fact, he relishes it, and asks for more (“Girl, look at that body”).

Bridgett Judd at the ramblings of an idiot writes, “The Obesity Paradox” in which she discusses the fact that the “war on obesity” has lead to a rise in eating disorders.

Sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump writes, “Creating the Problem In the First Place“:

This shit doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  These same media outlets publish story after story beating the “obesity epidemic” drum, and wringing their hands over “childhood obesity”, and then wonder why children obsess over their weight from a ridiculously early age?   These media outlets crap on about being “healthy”, which is just diet-talk reworded with no actual conscientious addressing of holistic health of all people, and then they get all up in arms about children dieting?  They allow the most hateful, bigoted crap about fat people to be published in the comments and call it “opinion”.  Not to mention that every single time I go to a mainstream media site, women’s or not, I am bombarded with ads for weight loss.  Where do they think kids, and their parents, get all of this stuff in the first place?

blue milk posts an interesting “Conversation with my gynecologist“.

Chrys Stevenson at Glady, the Cross-Eyed Bear writes, “Tales on a Tutu” about being inspired by a Fat Activist to make and wear her own tutu and about choosing to be an activist.

LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror writes about “Scaffolding” and her recent experiences of her body.

Sleepydumpling at Fat Heffalump writes, “Public Fat Shaming is not Good Marketing” about a recent experience she had while attending a public event.

Queen of Thorns at Ideologically Impure writes two separate posts on the fatpocalypse, “I am become fatpocalypse: the apology” and “I am become fatpocalypse: eliminationism” both of which are great.

Violence *trigger warning for posts in this section*

the news with nipples writes, “Warped reporting at Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph“:

It’s tough being a woman. We just walk down the street and then, out of nowhere, an assault happens to us. We need to be particularly careful of these disembodied assaults that just hang around until they can happen at someone. At least, that’s the impression I get when journalists report on violence against women: men don’t assault women, it’s just that women have assaults happen to them.

Katie Larissa at Wom*news writes, “Slut: A Myth“:

Everyone knows that the word “slut” has power, whether we agree with it or not.
It is used to shame and degrade women and, more importantly, to put them in a box with a label that says “you’re not human here” and to make sure they stay there. Whilst there are many different variables in the slut-shaming game, the objective remains the same: to ensure women’s behaviour is deemed “acceptable” by societal terms, and to make sex a source of shame and not power. In a culture that is so concerned with labels and definitions, one has to pose the question: what is a slut? After years of being called a slut, of hearing my friends being called sluts I can only assume that a slut is a woman who doesn’t adhere to every societal expectation heaped upon her.

MJ at Kiwiana (inked) writes “No, seriously, please stop bringing up false accusations when we talk about rape“.

Jo at A Life Unexamined writes, “When will women stop being told to be more careful?“:

So when the media talks about women taking preventative measures to stop rape, it’s actually not dealing with the issue at hand very well at all – it’s only taking a tiny percentage of rapes and assaults into consideration. It’s telling us that if we just act ‘more carefully,’ we can stop being raped. With the implication being that if we are attacked, well, we obviously weren’t being quite careful enough.

the news with nipples writes, “How much do we need to know?“:

There’s a wider discussion to be had here, about what should be shown and what shouldn’t be shown. Particularly as these stories get reported all around the world. When someone takes a gun into a school and starts shooting children, should the media make him famous? On the other hand, if his identity is just a minor part of the story, it removes him from his crime.

LudditeJourno at The Hand Mirror writes, “TVNZ smacks their b*tch up“:

What was this about for TVNZ?  Their appalling choice of backing music makes it look like it was all a bit of a laugh.  Their focus on all the reasons people don’t intervene – including putting up an image of brave bystander Austin Hemmings not once but twice makes it look like they don’t believe community responsibility is possible.  Their slavish hyping up of one young man’s potential for violence felt more like watching the build up to a boxing match than anything else.  Their joky, oh-imagine-looking-like-a-dick defense of choosing not to intervene isn’t that far off the “it’s just a domestic” excuse of the 1950s.

Orlando at Hoyden About Town posts, “A Short Post on Rape Prevention“.

Orlando at Hoyden About Town writes, “Friday Hoyden: Zerlina Maxwell“.

Louise Scarce at NUS Women’s Department writes, “Your Group of 8 law degree: now featuring rape culture“:

My law lecturer made a rape joke while delivering a lecture to hundreds of students. Most of the
students laughed. That concerned me. But, I was equally concerned about the statistical certainty
that some of the students who laughed must have themselves been survivors of sexual assault.
When a well-respected professor from a sandstone university jokes about rape, he sends the
message that rape is a laughing matter. His voice is more powerful than most. His job is to teach us
about legal and ethical standards. By virtue of his position as a legal academic and student mentor,
this man had a responsibility to counteract rape culture, not perpetuate it.

Mikaela Wangmann at NUS Women’s Department writes, “The sad thing is…

I haven’t been able to get this out of my head since, and I think that it is important that we don’t forget that these things are still happening, dont put dealing with them in the to hard basket, say that colleges are just out of our reach or we can’t make the change in the 12 month term. But realise that the campaigns we run and in particular Talk About It are really important, they can and do help young women who are being abused, pressured and harassed. They do force Universities, Colleges and Government to take action.

Sarah Jane Innes at Sarah’s wold of procrastination writes, “Self Worth“:

My low self-esteem has led to my low self-worth and now they feed each other. Like most things wrong with adults it can be blamed on my childhood, specifically my teenage years. I was bullied, on all sorts of levels in all sorts of ways since year 4 (possibly earlier it’s all a blur).  I was bullied for being new, for being quite, for freckles, for weight, for mental illness, for awkwardness, for my ‘weird’ family, for my learning difficulties. Basically I was the bully’s easiest target. I feel things deeply and I used to wear my heart on my sleeve. I still feel things too deeply but I try and hide it. Laugh it off or deliberately appear humourless.  The years of bullying have worn away at me in a way that prevents me feeling worthy of the successes. I try to counteract this; I have had years of therapy on and off. I have realised on one level that my bullies were sad in their own ways, low on self-esteem, victims of bullying whether at school or at home. One actually has on her social media profile that she can’t stand ‘shy people’ or people with ‘mental weaknesses’, she plans on being a Journalist. I wonder how with her apparent lack of empathy.  For the most part these people have no place in my life, I cut the ties, unfriended and avoid. Some I pity because of their current life circumstances but none of this undoes the pain and hurt. None of this fixes my self-esteem problems. Nor should it. The day I feel better because my former bullies are not successful in the ways that I measure success is the day I sink to that high school level.

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Why we still need International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day for 2013.  I’ve been meaning to write for a very long time about why feminism is still required and how the fight for true equality has a long way to go, and what better day than today to write such a post.  The saddest thing for me is that since I first conceived writing this post, with a title more along the lines of “Why we still need feminism”, I’ve continued collating frequent examples of sexism, violence, double standards, misogyny, etc.  These stories are not single instances of bad behaviour or individuals whose attitudes date back to the 50s, all of these stories are current, the issues, violence, at horrible attitudes being things that women have to manage daily.  This isn’t good enough and society (and I’m looking at you men) needs to do better.

As Elizabeth Broderick, Australia’s Federal Sex Discrimination Officer said at the recent TEDx Women event in Melbourne, women have fought and gained a lot in the past 100 years, but it’s time that more men joined the fight with us, because it’s time that men started changing men’s minds.

Continue reading Why we still need International Women’s Day

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