Tag Archives: story

My feels, and why I don’t really talk about them

I’m pretty sure I have feelings, after all I get happy, sad, angry, forlorn, depressed, stressed, etc, but I don’t often talk about them – to anyone, with the occasional exception of my husband (and only one of said husbands, the other gets the high level stuff that everyone else who asks how I’m feeling tends to get).

There are “good” reasons for this, as in my childhood and adolescence primed me to be someone who struggles to communicate and understand how I feel about things at any given moment.  Childhood and adolescence are also known as our formative years, for very good reasons.  We learn how to deal with the world around us, what things are appropriate to do or to avoid, how we should communicate, what we should communicate about, how to react to things, etc.  Clearly major events during our childhood and adolescence impact on our formation as people, both positively and negatively, and those impacts last throughout our adult lives.

Now that I’ve given some background, let’s go back to me.  When I was three and a bit, my mother had a stroke and I assumed adult responsibilities in my family – which mostly involved being responsible for my sisters and providing emotional support to my dad.  Three year olds don’t actually have a very good grasp on what it means to be an adult.  I wasn’t sure how to emotionally respond to this, so I didn’t.  To an extent, this was my normal.  I didn’t know anything else, it was just something I lived, and I’m not alone in this, children who end up translating for their parents when they family migrates or flees to another country, or children who have caring responsibilities for their parents or siblings have similar issues I imagine.  Their experiences are likely to involve more trauma than mine, but my experiences have impacted me as an adult.

Combined with that is the general Australian reticence to talk about emotional things, a situation captured in “she’ll be right mate”, and my fractured relationship with my mother in the last few years before I moved out of home.  My parents, the adults I spent the most time with as a child, were themselves damaged by their own childhood. My mother’s biggest lesson from her childhood was that children lie (which is epically fucked up), and dad’s (though he hasn’t said this to me) was to be very careful in what he shared lest it be used against him.

This did impact my ability to share with my parents, my father often seemed awkward (and he still is) when feelings were discussed – apart from the high level stuff such as “I got angry when …”.  My mother didn’t believe me, and certainly didn’t believe me when I told her about serious things like being sexually assaulted or harassed at school.  She never said this until much later in my life when she apologised to me for the impact this had on me, I felt that I couldn’t tell her things, so I didn’t.  I envied my friends who had different relationships with their parents, where they could talk to them about things.

Before I moved out of home, my mother had taken to “talking with me” which was more her talking at me while I did my best to remain calm and not get upset.  Our relationship immediately before I moved out of home was incredibly toxic (it has since been repaired), and I felt that even showing the slightest bit of emotion (usually crying because the words she was using I felt were to wound), was to let her “win” whatever battle we were currently fighting.

All of this combined with bullying at school when we moved to Bendigo, because I was different to everyone else, means that the safest route is to not show much emotion, to not talk about it, and to sort stuff out myself.  Sorting stuff out myself is slow, slightly faster if my husband is available, but as he’s suffers from depression himself, that’s not always an option.  I know I avoid talking about me by talking about all the interesting things I’ve learnt, read, or seen.  It’s easier to be interesting than it is to talk about how I feel about things.

There isn’t much of a way forward in this that I can see.  The defensive mechanisms I developed as a child are incredibly hard to undo as an adult.  I know it is possible to relearn behaviours, but there needs to be motivation to do so and right now I don’t see a need.  I’m doing mostly ok right now, apart from my work being incredibly overwhelming, and feeling that I’m juggling too many things (which given the number of things I’m juggling is not surprising).  Right now, I’m doing as well as pretty much anyone else in my situation would be.

Related Posts:

The Linkspam of midwinter (July 2014)

And this winter, which has finally arrived in Melbourne, have a lovely collection of links for your pleasure.

Don Weise at Huffpost Gay Voices writes, “When I Call Myself Bisexual“:

As part of the new edition of Bi Any Other Name, the classic anthology of bisexual writings that Loraine Hutchins and Lani Ka’ahumanu edited almost 25 years ago, there’s a new introduction that looks at where we were around bisexuality when the book was first published in 1991 and where we stand today. For me, their editor, one of the more surprising statistics they cite is the fact that no national LGBT organization has an openly bisexual board member. Finding this difficult to believe, I said, “Surely the Human Rights Campaign or Lambda Legal has bisexual board members.” Not one openly bisexual board member, they told me. Yes, there was a bisexual woman they knew of on a national board, but she chose not to come out as such. As much as we know that the closet is a sad place, and while I personally frown on closeted gay people in most instances, I could relate to not wanting to disclose all of who you are, sexually speaking, when you’re already dealing with the ongoing, daily hassles around just being gay. Who wants to add another layer to one’s outsider status, especially within one’s own community? In fact, I found it completely understandable that someone would serve on the board of a national LGBT organization and remain closeted about their bisexuality, because I did it myself.

Vivian shares on their tumblr, “Ten Things You Didnt Know (and Didn’t Care To Know) About Being Bisexual“:

  1. Bisexual men are 50 percent more likely to live in poverty than gay men
  2. Bisexual women are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as lesbians
  3. Bisexual men and women are at least one-third less likely to disclose their sexual identity to their doctors than gays or lesbians

Anne Thériault at The Toast writes, “Fairy Tales Are Women’s Tales“:

Fairy tales are women’s tales. This has been said before, in words cleverer and more articulate than my own, but still, it bears repeating: fairy tales are women’s tales. They’re bent-backed crones’ tales, sly gossips’ tales, work-worn mothers’ tales and old wives’ tales. They’re stories shared, repeated and elaborated on over mindless women’s work like spinning or mending or shucking corn. These stories are the voices of those who were, within a social and cultural context, so often voiceless; they’re women’s whispered desires and fears, neatly wrapped up in fantastical narratives filled with sex, violence and humour. Fairy tales speak of the things that women most hoped for – a prince, a castle, a happy ending – and those that they were most afraid of – that their children would be taken from them, that men would hurt them or take advantage of them, that their family wouldn’t be provided for.

Georgia White at The Toast writes, “The Wife of Bath, Misandrist Prophetess“:

The premise of the Canterbury Tales, for those unfamiliar, is that of a party of pilgrims travelling together to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket; to pass the time, they are to tell each other two tales on the journey there and two on the journey back. Chaucer never got close to finishing four tales for each pilgrim, but the ones he completed vary wildly in tone and subject matter, from traditional verse romances to several bawdy sketches of provincial life known as fabliaux to a beast fable concerning a rooster and a fox. Each tale is accompanied by a Prologue—usually brief—that introduces the pilgrim relating it and establishes some of their personal traits and beliefs. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue, however, is very long, and much more interesting for our purposes than her Tale is.  Without invitation she charges straight into a lengthy homily, bolstered by explicit personal detail, on marriage, gender relations and women’s self-governance.

Sarah Kendzior writes, “On being a thing“:

I write articles that have resonated with millions of people, often in an emotional way. But I never write about myself or my personal life. I have multiple platforms and if I wanted to, I could. I choose not to – in part because I think focusing on myself distracts from the social and political problems I depict, but also because I value my privacy.

I am like this in “real life” too. I have been described as aloof, but I try to be generous and kind. I take care of my family and my community. I don’t care about fame, which is much more of a curse than a gift. I reject most media interviews. My priorities are my loved ones and my work. Yesterday I was reading Charlotte’s Web to my daughter: the story of “a true friend and a good writer”. That is all I aim to be. If I had the choice, this is how I would be remembered.

Jacob Tobia at Huffpost Gay Voices writes, “Why I’m Genderqueer, Professional and Unafraid“:

But one question loomed above all others as I started my job last week: what should I wear to work?

In many ways, it’s a concern everyone faces. On the first day, everyone wants to get their outfit just right. The morning before a new job, most of us spend an extra ten, twenty or thirty minutes making sure that our hair is properly coiffed, our deodorant is both effective and unobtrusive and our outfit is on point.

But for transgender and gender non-conforming people like myself, the question of what to wear to work becomes an exhausting question of identity and of survival. For us, the question changes from “how do I present my best self at work?” to “can I present my best self at work?”

Chelsea Manning writes at The New York Times, “The Fog Machine of War“:

However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved. As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan. I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance.

Elias J. writes at feminspire, “A Letter to “Activist” Dan Savage, Who Continues to Bully My Trans Sibling“:

Let’s talk a bit about reclaiming words. It is a common belief in activist circles that you can only reclaim slurs if they affect you. If you’re not black, you cannot reclaim the n-word; if you’re not a gay man, you cannot reclaim the f-word; if you’re not a woman, you cannot reclaim the b-word; and if you are not a trans woman, you cannot reclaim the t-word.

Megan Amram writes, “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, MOM“:

I honor my mother on Father’s Day because, when my twin brother and I were four months old, my father left my family. Or in Internet parlance, “unfollowed” us. You might be thinking that that sounds like a despicable thing for a father to do, but remember – I made very bad small talk at that age! I mooched off dad’s money, and my resume was lacking in all marketable skills. My brother refused to split the check when we went out to dinner! Ever! It was quite a hostile environment for a grown man. So he went splitsies (I think that’s the legal term??). He went AWOL. Oh, excuse me, typo: “A-HOLE.” He went a-hole. While he was vaguely in and out of our lives as small children, I haven’t spoken to him in almost fifteen years now. I mostly regret that I don’t know what he thought of Avatar!

I’m not interested in disparaging my father. One, because then there’d be nothing to explore in my future one-woman show “My mother’s Jewish, my father’s Jewish, and I’m Jewish! And HUNGRY! FOR DADDY’S HUGS…AND KNISHES!” (running off-off-Broadway in a meat locker in Detroit). But two, because I truly don’t feel any emotional wounds. It is not enough to say that my mom was the best mom anyone could’ve asked for. She was a superwoman. A champion. An Übermensch (German for “female Uber driver.”)

Isaac Z Schlueter writes, “LB_T“:

He said, “That movie was kind of boring.”

I was shocked, and then I realized he was talking about the plot.

“Well… I didn’t really pay attention to the plot, tbh.  That movie’s just lots of Brad Pitt being gorgeous and half-naked.”

“You’re not as straight as you think you are.”

“Yeah, like you’re not attracted to guys sometimes.”

“Nope.”

“Not ever?”

“Not ever.”

“Not even Brad Pitt?”

“Not even a little.  You’re bi, dude.”

“Huh.”

Angrily Internetting wrote a twitter rant she then put on storify, “Message to Monosexuals (And Every Person Who Speaks to Me)

Pamela Clark writes at xo Jane, “35 Practical Steps Men Can Take To Support Feminism“:

His comments have prompted me to create a list of more practical tools. Most men — particularly men who benefit from multiple forms of structural privilege — do many things in their daily lives that directly or indirectly contribute to a culture of gender inequality. Even men who support feminism in theory can be not great at applying feminism in their everyday practices.

This list entails suggestions for some practical tools all men can apply in their day-to-day lives to foster equality in their relationships with women, and to contribute to a culture where women feel less burdened, unsafe, and disrespected.

Rejected Princesses

Natasha Vargas-Cooper at Out writes, “Soccer’s Fa’afafine Superstar“:

During her summer break back home in American Samoa, Saelua gave soccer one more shot and rejoined the national team. For the first time, she made first string, becoming the first transgender player to compete in a FIFA World Cup qualifying game. The president of FIFA, Joseph Blatter, sent her a personal letter of congratulations.

Rongen also did something no coach had ever done before.  “He was the first coach to call me Jayiah on the field, and not Johnny,” Saelua says. Rongen also installed Saelua as the team’s center back. “Can you imagine that in England or Spain?” Rongen asked reporters before the first match. “I’ve really got a female starting at center back.” Though the team did not qualify for the World Cup, they won their first competitive match, beating Tonga 2-1 and breaking a 30-game losing streak.

Clementine Ford writes at Daily Life, “The two most complained about TV ads of 2014“:

Once upon a time, before women rose up and began to suffocate men with all their female privilege, the unsanitary topic of women’s leaky bodies was handled in exactly the way it should be – through mysterious whispers, myth-building and strangely hypnotic euphemisms. It was necessary that we do so, because everybody knows that women’s body holes double as portals to the realm of demons and even speaking of them might cause one to activate and suck a little part of earth into the netherworld.

So before evil witch-women gathered under full moons to cast spells from their devil teats which gave them total command of humanity’s most powerful institutions, we shrouded such things in secrecy, knowing full well the danger that would be wrought from speaking the names out loud. Moonblood. The Curse. Menstruation.

Leigh Alexander writes, “But WHAT CAN BE DONE: Dos and Don’ts To Combat Online Sexism“:

You may notice that a lot of things happen to do with sexism on the internet. Sometimes someone has done a sexist thing and people are talking about it. Sometimes someone has written an article about the time they experienced sexism and other people are having feelings about it.  Sometimes a particular woman or women is being harassed on Twitter and you are witnessing it.

As you know, sexism is bad, and when bad things happen, you might have feelings about it too. But how can you help? What should be done? Here is a guide:

Evette Dionne at Bustle writes, “What It’s Like To Have HPV: How The Vaccine Failed To Protect Me As a Black Woman“:

It’s upsetting to me that Gardasil leaves many black women without adequate protection against HPV and cervical cancer. Conflating the healthcare needs of white women with those of black women keeps us from accessing adequate treatment in multiple areas, and this especially troubling when it comes to HPV. Had there been funding for a vaccine specifically designed for my black, female body, a shot that protects my body as well as it does white women, I might very well be HPV-free today.

Andrea Smith writes, “Beyond the Pros and Cons of Trigger Warnings: Collectivizing Healing“:

There is a continuing debate about the politics and efficacy of trigger warnings within activist, social media and academic spaces. There are merits to the various arguments on all sides of this discussion. However, sometimes what is missed is the larger context from which trigger warnings emerged. In particular, this intervention emerged from the recognition by many of us in the anti-violence movement that we were building a movement that continued to structurally marginalize survivors by privatizing healing. We had built movements that were supposed to be led by bad-ass organizers who were “healed” and thus had their acts together. If we in fact did not have our act together, this was an indication that we had not healed sufficiently to be part of the movement. We built movements around an idealized image of who were supposed to be rather than the people we actually were. The result was that we created a gendered and capitalist split in how we organized. Healing was relegated to the “private” sphere and became unacknowledged labor that we had to do on our own with a therapist or a few friends. Once we were healed, then we were allowed to enter the public sphere of organizing. Of course, since we continued to have problems, we continued to destroy our own organizing efforts internally with no space to even talk about what was going on.

Ben Pobjie writes at The Roar, “Ian Thorpe’s coming out is not about us“:

The sense of entitlement was palpable: it was clear there was a widespread belief that Thorpe ‘owed’ us something, and was chucking in the towel before settling this debt.

It was as if the man was our property, and by deciding that after many years of single-mindedly pushing his body to the very limits of physical possibility, he had somehow stolen himself from us.

It was as if, having dedicated his entire adult life – and a hefty slab of his pre-adult life – to the obsessive pursuit of the black line at the bottom of a pool, he had thereby forfeited the right to do anything else.

 

Related Posts:

Winter might be here linkspam (June 2014)

So I have a lot of posts I’ve collected over the past few months, and it’s high time to share them with you all, and stop feeling guilty about the backlog, and it’s going to be epic because I haven’t written for so long, and I have collected a huge range of great posts.

First up Alex Mills writes, “Anxiety and The Age of Entitlement: A Personal Story“:

Under Abbott’s new policy, if I didn’t have the support of my family, I would have found myself with no source of income or support. Where would I have lived? How could I have payed rent? How would I have purchased food, or payed for the frequent visits to my doctor and psychologist? And how would I have afforded the petrol that got me to all of these appointments?

I would have had no access to support for half a year. And honestly, I can’t really imagine where I might have ended up. When I think back to that time in my life, I am terrified at what this policy would have meant for me. Emergency relief, borrowing from friends, sleeping on couches – all of these things would have been a reality. I could have been homeless.

Blurg5000 writes at I’m Sorry I’m Like This, “The Spikes“:

As horrific as it must sound, sometimes you have to remove a person’s sleep site in order to engage that person. Rough sleeping is incredibly harmful, it affects a person’s physical and mental health and most importantly their personal safety. Each night you sleep rough you are risking getting a kicking because people do that to homeless people.

I guarantee that the outreach team in Southwark know about this site and have been trying to stop people rough sleeping there for some time, not because they lack humanity or a sense of community but because rough sleeping kills people. On average, homeless people die 30 years earlier than the rest of the population. It’s a slow suicide. Or sometimes actual suicide. Are businesses and housing associations cool about condoning something that kills people? No. That’s why they’ve put the spikes there. Or made the benches single. Or too narrow to sleep on. Look around you. These measures are in place all over London.

Violet Blue writes at ZDNet, “Thanks for nothing, jerkface“:

For LGBT, political dissidents, activists and at-risk people everywhere, Google’s little Google+ project became a loaded gun pointed right at anyone whose privacy is what keeps them alive.

Users found out in January 2014 when Google+ force-integrated chat and SMS into “hangouts” in the Android 4.4 “KitKat” update.

At-risk users were disproportionately affected, most especially transgender people who needed to keep their identities separate for personal safety and employment reasons.

One woman was outed to a co-worker when she texted him, and risked losing her employment.

Dylan Matthews writes at Vox, “More evidence that giving poor people money is a great cure for poverty“:

So there you have it: money sent to poor people abroad doesn’t get wasted on booze or cigarettes. But it’s worth asking whether we should even care how it’s spent, ultimately. There’s something more than a little unseemly about Westerners casting judgment on poor people halfway across the world for having a beer or a smoke. As the authors’ World Bank colleague Jishnu Das once put it, “‘does giving cash work well’ is a well-defined question only if you are willing to say that ‘well’ is something that WE, the donors, want to define for families whom we have never met and whose living circumstances we have probably never spent a day, let alone a lifetime, in.”

Xeni Jardin writes at Boing Boing, “Investigative report on collapse of US mental health care system”.

Stella Young writes at ABC RampUp, “‘Life skills’ program teaches wrong lesson“:

Choices are rarely made in a vacuum, and if hair removal for women was a genuinely unbiased choice, it would carry no consequences either way. Removal of body hair would not be met with society’s approval while letting it grow is met with surprise, ridicule and sometimes even disgust. I do it, in part, to conform to patriarchal standards of beauty. It might not be a particularly feminist or unbiased choice, but ultimately it’s my decision. The same cannot be said for this student who, from her mother’s account, had discussed the notion of hair removal at home and made a decision not to shave.

It’s important to reiterate this point: this young woman was presented with a choice. She made one. Then someone in a position of authority told her that removing her body hair is a “life skill”, implying that it’s something she has to do in order to better understand and operate in the world around her. Part of the school’s rationale is that the girls are more likely to avoid being teased if they conform to these social rules. Perhaps they’d be better off teaching tolerance and acceptance of all people, rather than conformity.

stavvers at Another angry woman writes, “An open letter to all men“:

By now, your fingers are probably twitching with the urge to scream NOT ALL MEN ARE LIKE THIS. I can almost feel your agitation, and your desire to say this. Guess what? That desire to burst in and announce NOT ALL MEN is tied in to that self-same sense of entitlement. You say it because you feel entitled to my time and attention. You say it because it horrifies you that I might feel negatively to you and you want to show off what a nice guy you really are.

The Bisexual Community Tumblr commented on the movie G.B.F.

Hiromi Goto made a WisCon 38 Guest of Honour Speech:

It matters who and what is being focused upon in fiction. It matters who is creating a fictional account of these tellings. I don’t think the “burden of representation” rests upon the shoulders of those who are positioned as under-represented. If this were the case we would fall into an essentialist trap that will serve no one well. However, I’m okay with saying that it is my hope that white writers who are interested in writing about cultures and subjectivities outside of their own consider very carefully: 1) how many writers from the culture you wish to represent have been published in your country writing in the same language you will use (i.e. English) to write the story, 2) why do you think you’re the best person to write this story? 3) who will benefit if you write this story? 4) why are you writing this story? 5) who is your intended audience? 6) if the people/culture you are selecting to write about has not had enough time, historically and structurally, to tell their story first, on their own terms, should you be occupying this space?

Simon Leo Brown at the ABC (Australian) writes, “Female video gamers offered real-life escape from online sexism“:

Hannah Morrison, 20, is a major investor in Power Up Melbourne, which is planning to open a “geek bar” in Melbourne in early 2015.

She is particularly keen to create a safe space for women to play video games after experiencing “horrible sexism” while playing online with other gamers.

Rebecca Shaw guest posts at Shiela’s with, “I <3 Internet“:

I found chat rooms where I could actually talk to other lesbians. It still took me a long time to even type that I was one. I was still too terrified to even admit it to a stranger on the Internet. Because the moment I did, I knew it would become real. There was no turning back. But the Internet quickly helped me come to the realisation that there were people all over the world who were funny, smart, (seemingly) normal, happy AND gay. Everything I had been denied in my life up to that point was now at my fingertips. It is hard to overstate what kind of effect a feeling of belonging, a feeling of community, a feeling of same-ness can have on a lonely and isolated teenager. I still couldn’t find the courage in myself to come out until a few years after that, but it didn’t matter. I had the Internet. Without it, I truly don’t know how I would have survived those years. I don’t know if I could have. I felt totally and completely alone; I felt I had nobody I could talk to, that there was nobody that would understand or love me.

The inaugural Special Issue of New Scholar, edited by Gillian Darcy, Nadia Niaz, Caitlin Nunn and Karen Schamberger. This issue concentrates on scholarship around the concept of belonging.

A Lynn at Nerdy Feminist writes, “On Anger“:

The stereotype of the angry oppressed person runs rampant. Angry feminists. Angry gay/trans people. Angry people of color. Chances are, if you’ve ever spoken out about a social issue, you’ve experienced tone policing and had your entire viewpoint dismissed because of your anger–whether than anger was real or just perceived on the part of the listener/reader. These same people offer their sage advice that others would listen to you if you were nicer, that you’d “catch more flies with honey,” and that the oppressors can’t learn unless you’re willing to play nice and educate them.

I saw an unattributed* quote floating around that hits at this point:

People often say ‘stop being angry and educate us,’ not understanding that the anger is part of the education.

This so hit home with me for primarily two reasons. The first is the outward message that those who need/want to be educated about these issues must know that understanding anger is inherently a part of this education. How can you try to empathize with someone’s oppression without acknowledging the emotions that come from that? Having your people murdered, fearing/surviving harassment and rape, not being free to live the lifestyle you want, etc. are all situations that come with a lot of emotions, one of which is logically anger.  In order to learn about oppression and move toward being an ally, you must be able to understand that.

Mark Bently Cohen writes, “How to Support Your Bisexual Husband, Wife, Partner“:

As previously discussed, bisexuals have much higher levels of anxiety, depression, self harm and suicidality than any other sexual orientation. One of the biggest sources of these internal stressors for bisexuals is the conflict between coming out as bisexual, or questioning, or confused, to a spouse or partner.

“This is not what I signed up for!” one woman told her wife upon discovering she is bisexual. Would she have responded the same way had she learned her wife had cancer? Or was dealing with depression? Or had lost her job?

Of all the unexpected circumstances which take us by surprise along the road through life, bisexuality is not something to fear.

Foz Meadows writes at What Happens Next: A Gallimaufry, “Female Bodies: A Weighty Issue“:

Clearly, these women all wear different size clothes for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with their weight, and everything to do with height and bodytype. But because of the fashion industry’s obsession with tall, thin, white, ectomorphic models – women chosen, not because they’re a representative sample of the population, but so their minimal frames can better serve as coathangers for clothes that privilege a very specific aesthetic over function – we have learned to correlate small sizes with healthy bodies, the better to justify their primacy on the runway, in advertising and on screen as a healthy ideal. Never mind that modelling agencies have been known to recruit at eating disorder clinics, with store mannequins more closely resembling the bodies of anorexic girls than average womenmodels eating tissues to stay thin and rail-thin models photoshopped to hide their ill-health and prominent ribs: because “plus size” models – that is, women whose bodies are actually representative of the general population – are treated as a separate, exceptional category, the fiction persists that “plus size” is a synonym for “overweight”, “unhealthy” or “obese”: women too enormous to wear “normal” clothes, even though the norm in question is anything but. As such, plus-size models are frequentlyderided as fata jokeunhealthy and bad role models. Today, catwalk models weigh 23% less than the average woman, compared to 8% just twenty years ago – yet whenever this disparity is pointed out, the reaction of many is to just assume that average women must be overweight, and that using plus size mannequins will only encourage obesity. Throw in the fact that women’s clothing sizes aren’t standardised, but fluctuate  wildly from brand to brand – or within the same brand, even – and the idea of judging a woman’s health by what size jeans she wears becomes even more absurd.

Amy Cato at Women’s Agenda writes, “An open response to a man offended by all-female shortlists“:

My own path wanting to spend my career assisting experienced women get positions with great companies stems from many years involved in recruitment and women’s charities. Professionally, I was tired of hearing excuses during the recruitment of leadership and technical roles that the women candidates ‘didn’t exist’ or ‘are too hard to find’, so I put my money where my mouth is and launched Executive Women Shortlists. To clarify the business raison d’etre, one of the main services is the supply of additional senior women to add to a company’s existing pool of applicants, meaning men do not need to be excluded from the opportunity.

Not only is it good for collaboration and idea generation to have a more inclusive management team but also companies that have higher female representation at the senior levels of business outperform those that don’t by 34% according to McKinsey Global research. So, whether like me, you are passionate about getting more capable women into chief executive vacancies on the ASX 200 (currently we only have 3.5%) or whether you are simply interested in improving company financial results, the focus on hiring more women remains the solution.

Laurie Penny writes at New Statesmen, “The slippery slope of gender: why shaving and snacking are feminist issues“:

First, a spectacularly misogynist and homophobic (and now withdrawn) advert from Veet, manufacturers of hair-removing goo, claimed that failing to remove your leg-hair with the help of Veet products will turn you into an actual bloke. Then there was the equally repugnant site set up to shame “Women Eating on the Tube”, featuring non-consensual pictures of women doing just that, because there’s nothing worse a female person could possibly do than demonstrate in public that she has a body which gets hungry. There have already been some stellar pieces written about this round of gender policing, the best of which have been by Paris Lees and Ellie Mae O’Hagan respectively.

At Alas a Blog, “Panti Bliss Lectures About Being Lectured About What Is Not Homophobia“.

NK Jemisin writes, “Confirmation bias, epic fantasy, and you“:

I suspect this was not aimed at GRRM, specifically. MedievalPoC has made the same point about “historically accurate” medieval European video games that make conspicuously inaccurate choices in development, and so forth. MedievalPoC points this problem out as endemic to the genre in general, which isn’t really a surprise since it’s endemic to our society. The blog is dedicated to pointing out the literal erasures and revisions that have been inflicted on art of the era to make it conform to modern — and quintessentially white supremacist — beliefs about how medieval Europe “should” have been. (And if you haven’t figured it out yet, you should be following MedievalPoC. Like, now.)

Avicenna writes at A Million Gods, “World Vision (Except for the Gays)“:

World Vision are no longer a humanitarian organisation in my eyes.

See living in the UK, World Vision don’t push their Christian Credentials, so it was rather surprising to find out that they are a Christian organisation. So I went to check their American website. So while the British one has a vague reference to “God” the American one is explicitly Christian.

But this one line from their site got me.

We work in nearly 100 countries, serving all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

But not sexual orientation, but then World Vision is not a force for equality. Okay it may have forgotten that serving all people includes the GLBT?

Annie P Waldman writes at Vice, “Inside the Kafkaesque World of the US’s ‘Little Guantánamos’“:

Prisoners describe the communication management units, or CMUs, as “Little Guantánamos.” In 2006, the Bureau of Prisons created two of these units to isolate and segregate specific prisoners, the majority of them convicted of crimes related to terrorism. The bureau secretly opened these units without informing the public and without allowing anyone an opportunity to comment on their creation, as required by law. By September 2009, about 70 percent of the CMU prisoners were Muslim, more than 1,000 to 1,200 percent more than the federal prison average of Muslim inmates.

In the CMUs, prisoners are subject to much stricter rules than in general population. They are limited to two 15-minute telephone calls per week, both scheduled and monitored. Visits are rarely permitted, and when family members are allowed to visit, they are banned from physical contact, limited to phone conversations between a plexiglass window. This differs from the general population, where prisoners can spend time with their visitors in the same room. To further the isolation, some of the CMU prisoners are held in solitary confinement, with only one hour out of their cells each day.

Andy Khouri writes at Comics Alliance, “Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment“:

Can you imagine, gentlemen, receiving that threat from a potentially dangerous man whose identity you have no hope of discovering but who knows your name, what city you live in, what you look like and where you work?

Now imagine receiving messages like that from men so frequently that you’re no longer bothered by it.

Now understand how f*cked up it is that you’re no longer bothered by it; that you’re no longer bothered by men’s anonymous threats of brutal sexual violence, because they’ve become just as common as a train not arriving on time.

Aja Romano at The Daily Dot writes, “The Mako Mori Test: ‘Pacific Rim’ inspires a Bechdel Test alternative“:

In response to this post, and in the process of running down numerous arguments for why the Bechdel Test can’t and shouldn’t be the only measurement by which feminist films are judged, Tumblr user chaila has proposed the Mako Mori Test, “to live alongside the Bechdel Test”:

The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story. I think this is about as indicative of “feminism” (that is, minimally indicative, a pretty low bar) as the Bechdel test. It is a pretty basic test for the representation of women, as is the Bechdel test. It does not make a movie automatically feminist.

wolsey at Queereka writes, “Planned Parenthood“:

The first time I went to a Planned Parenthood personally, I was barely 15 years old. I had been sexually active for the very first time with my then boyfriend. It had been a blood filled fiasco wherein the condom broke. Being a person with a uterus, this was a problem.

The events had occurred the evening before, and I shown up to sit on the concrete in front of the doors to the clinic waiting for it to open. This was not how I had envisioned losing my virginity.

I was driven to seek help not just for my fears of pregnancy, but because the very concept of pregnancy froze me with terror. There are not many things that give me dysphoria, as a transgender man, but the idea of being pregnant in this body was the nuclear option when it came to dysphoria.

Michi Trota at Geek Melange writes, ““Letting the Jerks Get to You” Isn’t Really the Problem“:

Leaving aside for the moment how it’s both laughable and depressing that once again, it’s the opinion of men in the comics industry that’s solicited in determining whether or not things are “vastly improving” for women dealing with sexism and misogyny, rather than the women who are actually dealing with it and therefore might have a rather different perspective and metric for determining what “vastly improving” actually means, let’s look at Bendis’ answer:

I get a lot of crap for being Mr. positive from people who are having a hard time seeing the cup half-full but I completely agree with you.

I think things are vastly better than they were and that only makes the shitheads stand out even more. Things are not perfect, all of society’s problems are not solved, but I do think the good guys are winning.

Ah yes, because it’s terribly hard having your optimistic bubble popped by people who might be dealing more directly with the fact that their cup looks very much to them like it’s not only half-empty, the water is fracking-contaminated as well. It’s rather easier to think that the water’s getting cleaner when you’re not the one who is actually having to drink it, isn’t it?

Trudy Ring at Advocate writes, “Study: Childhood Bullying’s Effects Persist for Decades“:

Childhood bullying, the bane of many an LGBT youth’s existence, has social, physical, and mental health effects that are still evident in survivors 40 years later, according to major new research findings from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

The data comes from the British National Child Development Study, which follows all children born in England, Scotland, and Wales during one week in 1958. The new findings, published online Friday by the American Journal of Psychiatry, covers 7,771 children whose parents provided information on their child’s exposure to bullying when they were aged 7 and 11. The children were then followed up on until the age of 50.

shweta narayan writes, “A thought on playing at the lowest possible difficulty level, and telling other people what’s easy“:

Okay now let’s imagine we’re all playing a massive roleplaying game called The Real World. There’s an area of this game, let’s call it the “Speculative Fiction community”, that has interesting enough storylines and characters that players keep coming back to it, but it also has a number of nasty monsters. Let’s call them… trolls.

Now: here is a secret* about the trolls in this region.  They are ridiculously nerfed on the easy setting. When you’re playing the game on hard, or gods forbid on multiple-marginalizations, these trolls do a ton of extra damage, and have endless adds, and an “uncomprehending/dismissive” buff that lets them ignore most anything coming their way.

None of this matters on easy mode, mind. They’re annoying, but like most things in the game, pretty easy to take on. You don’t have to worry much about strategy or conserving resources when you’re on easy mode! You just need to run in and wave your sword around! But those of us playing the game on harder settings, we’ve figured out strategies, and we’ve figured out where not to go. We know the best approach is to avoid these monsters entirely, and avoid even indirect contact. We know that any item connected to them could be cursed on hard mode, and do further damage. We’ve figured this out from painful experience. So, when a couple trolls manage to infiltrate a high-status area of the region, and people comment that they’re going to avoid them…

…and in comes someone who is playing the game on the easiest fucking mode there is, right, who has set himself up as so sympathetic to people playing on hard. And he uses this platform to tell us that we’re playing the game wrong, we mustn’t protect ourselves because it’s not sportsmanlike.

Natalie Nourigat draws a beautiful comic at Home is where the Internet is called, “Don’t let fear stop you from traveling!

JA McCarroll writes at SheRights, “The Language of Dude Feminism

Rather than attacking the institution of masculinity itself, several recent campaigns have attempted a sort of masculinity triage, trying to eliminate violence against women, while still flattering men with the label of protector. These campaigns, such as “real men don’t buy girls,”“my strength isn’t for hurting,”are various incarnations of “how would you feel if someone said that to your mother /sister /girlfriend,”and have proven to be enormously popular, achieving prodigious re-blogs, conferences, and media airtime.

They are, by many metrics, successful, and have gotten institutions long silent on the rights of women to speak up. I believe we are the better for them, but I also believe that they do not go far enough, and we all must, as feminists, radicals and progressives, push against our comfort zones.

Colin Schultz at Smithsonian.com writes, “A Scientist’s Gender Biases Mouse Research“:

Duhaime-Ross reports on a new study, which found that mice are scared of men. When a male researcher works with a mouse, the mouse’s body courses with stress hormones. This doesn’t happen when a woman scientist is doing the work. The difference in how mice respond to male and female researchers could potentially skew everything from behavioral studies to cell research.

It’s not so much that mice are scared of male researchers as it is that mice are scared of male mammals. A whiff of testosterone from any male mammal is enough to trigger this fear, says Jef Akst for The Scientist. “In all likelihood, mice just haven’t developed a way to discriminate between the smell of a male mouse and the smell of other male mammals, so men also elicit a fear response,” says Duhaime-Ross.

Alexandra Bolles writes at GLAAD, ““But you don’t look queer”: students challenge stereotypes with viral campaign (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

SBS provided us with, “Aust trackers forgotten in foreign land“:

A Queensland researcher is investigating the fate of up to 50 Aboriginal trackers who assisted Australian troops in South Africa only to disappear from the record books.

It’s possible some died but others may have fallen victim to the new White Australia Policy.

Griffith University’s Dr Dale Kerwin has spent more than 15 years trying to find the lost indigenous men of the Boer War.

Annalee Newitz at io9 writes, “Hey Star Wars — Where the Hell Are the Women?“:

So when I looked at that Star Wars cast list, Hannah was on my mind. Surely in the second decade of the twenty-first century, she’d be given more awesome female characters to choose from in this contemporary incarnation of Star Wars. Leia would still be there, as the fighting princess — but maybe there would be a female fighter pilot whose swagger could rival Han Solo’s, or a female Sith strutting through some scenery-chewing lines. Nope. There’s one female name other than Carrie Fisher’s on that cast list: the relative unknown Daisy Ridley, whom fans are speculating might play the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Of course, more cast members will be announced, but this is probably our core cast — the main characters.

Having Ridley is great, but one new female lead in a cast of men? That’s how we launch ourselves into the future of this series, which inspires little girls with pink swords, as well as old girls like myself who graduated to sharper weapons long ago? Are we seriously still pretending that the universe is comprised almost entirely of men (and mostly white men at that)? Mythic tales are supposed to open up possibilities, not shut them down.

Adam Grant writes at The Atlantic, “Why So Many Men Don’t Stand Up for Their Female Colleagues“:

The traditional explanation is sexism. Psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske have eloquently highlighted two different kinds of sexist ideologies that cause men to justify gender inequality and resist sharing their power and wealth. “Hostile sexists” believe that men are superior beings who deserve to rule the world. “Benevolent sexists” are more pro-women—just not in leadership. They view women as beautiful, fragile creatures who ought to be protected by men, not be followed by men. And, of course, some men are comfortable with the status quo: They’d like to preserve hierarchies—particularly those they benefit from—rather than destabilize them.

Although there’s little doubt that these reasons prevent some men from being better advocates for the women around them, a more subtle cause has been overlooked. Some men want to voice their support, but fear that no one will take them seriously because they lack a vested interest in the cause.

Liam Croy at the West Australian writes, “Review rejects Hawkins appeal“:

Ms Hawkins, who has osteogenesis imperfecta or “brittle bone disease”, was working as a Legal Aid lawyer until her contract ended in February.

The 33-year-old reapplied for the disability pension while she tried to find a new job – no easy task, given her severe physical restrictions.

Much to her surprise, her claim was rejected last month on grounds she was not impaired enough.

A Self Made Woman writes, “On Being Cissed, or, The Night That Janet Mock Mistook Me for Cisgendered“:

To be cissed is to feel like your world isn’t yours. It feels like a hand has reached across time to shove that part of you that didn’t know if you could or should, and tell him, her that he, she doesn’t exist. To be cissed is for your tribe to cast you out without knowing it, leave you to languish in that dark place between who you are and who they think you are.

Cameron Kunde at Affect Magazine writes, “The Bisexual Block“:

That same year, the nonprofit advocacy group BiNET USA (http://www.binetusa.org) reached out to Google when it discovered that the word bisexual was blocked from Google’s autocomplete function. When you type in gay, lesbian, or transgender, Google will automatically suggest common searches pertaining to those terms. When you type in bisexual, however, you get a blank screen.

In the five years since, Google has responded more than once by blaming algorithms, saying that the search term bisexual is blocked from the auto-complete feature because of a high correlation to pornography. This logic is highly flawed because a search for “gay porn” yields over 400 million more results, and “lesbian porn” yields over 20 million more results than a search for “bisexual porn”. The terms gay and lesbian are undoubtedly used to search for porn more frequently than the term bisexual. In 2012, Google announced that it had unblocked the word and suggested that phrases would soon pop up like “bisexual quotes”, “bisexual rights”, and “bisexual parenting”. It has been over two years since this announcement and the term bisexual continues to yield an auto-complete void.

Foz Meadows at shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows writes, “Silence Is Not Synonymous With Uproar: A Response To John C. Wright“:

Do you see the issue? You cannot state, as your opening premise, that SFF fandom is being handicapped by silence and an unwillingness to speak out, and then support that premise by stating the exact polar opposite: that there has, in your own words, been vocal uproarDoubtless, what Wright meant to imply is that the persons against whom the uproar is directed are being silenced by it – that he, and others like him, such as Larry Correia and Theodore Beale, are now suffering under the burden of enforced quietude. But given that all three men are still writing publicly and vocally, not just about the issues Wright raises, but about any number of other topics, the idea that their output is being curtailed by their own “unwillingness to speak for fear of offending” is patently false. Indeed, by their own repeated admission, Correia, Beale and Wright are wholly unafraid of causing offence, even sometimes going so far as to seek outraged reactions. So if Wright and his fellows proudly don’t care about being offensive, then who does: who really fears to speak? By untangling the nonsensical web that is Wright’s attempt at logic, a paradoxical answer emerges: that the people who actually do care about causing offence – the apparent victims of silence – are simultaneously the same gossipy, vocal detractors responsible for silencing… ourselves, as it turns out. Where “silence” is a synonym for “uproar”.

At A Paper Bird, “Too brown to be heard: The Brunei brouhaha“:

I’ve said my bit on the recent burst of outrage over Brunei here, at PolicyMic. Briefly, I wrote that despite the exclusivist furor in the US and UK over the “antigay” impact of the measure, shari’a is much more likely to affect the rights of women. And I said that Western activists’ reluctance to acknowledge the multiple dimensions of the issue, much less the pioneering work of women’s rights activists across southeast Asia, was a disgrace.

I got some nods, some hate mail, and more than the usual amount of incomprehension. I had an argument on Twitter (an oxymoron, anyway), with an eminently earnest man who responded to me at complete crosspurposes. Why, I kept asking, wouldn’t you check with women’s groups or sexual rights activists across the region, who have experience with context and culture, in planning a boycott? “There are no LGBT groups in Brunei,” he kept answering, as if this meant there was no one to talk to about the issue anywhere except Los Angeles or London: no relevant expertise outside his postal code. Meanwhile, the tempest kept growing. Britain’s chief LGBT lobby group, Stonewall, declined to endorse a boycott of the Brunei-owned chain of hotels. Its acting head, Ruth Hunt, wrote in the Telegraph: 

We only implement actions that we can calculate will have an impact. … I do, however, fear that the boycott could do very real harm to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei. By turning the issue into a battle between gay people and the Sultan – which it isn’t, it affects everyone in Brunei, not just gay people – we limit the opportunity for dialogue and put the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people of Brunei at far greater risk. A group of people, I hasten to add, who’ve yet to publically call for a boycott.

Lesley at XOJane writes, “It’s Always A Radical Act When A Fat Woman Shares A Picture Of Herself Online“:

In another life, when I had aspirations of being a proper academic, I used to give guest lectures at colleges and universities. I’d get up in front of rooms full of quarrelsome and bright young adults and present a bare-bones introductory version of the subject in which I’d spent the better part of my life developing my expertise: deep cultural analysis of the ways in which women’s bodies, particularly fat bodies, are represented in media.

Part of my lecture included a comparison between two images. One was an image of four nude women, lounging strategically over one another to cover crotchparts and nipples, taken from Cosmopolitan magazine. The other was an image of a group of nude fat women, from Laurie Toby Edison’s art photography book Women En Large.

Rebecca Moore at The Life and Times of an Exceptionally Tall Mormon writes, “University Study on Sexism In BBC’s Doctor Who (Infographic)“:

Conversations were allowed to pass if they were not centered around a man but did briefly mention one. This was to allow for a companion to be able to mention the Doctor, for example if someone were asking where they were from they could say “Oh, I came here in a box with a man called the Doctor,” and then carried on. Or also perhaps two women discussing something where they may briefly mention their brother, employer, etc. If the mention of the man was removed from the conversation, the purpose of the conversation would still stand. An episode could also pass if the conversation(s) happened in the presence of/with a man as long as it was still between at least two women who were actually conversing with each other (i.e. more than one or two lines and was clearly directed at each other), and about something besides a man. However, conversations where two women were addressing the Doctor (or another man), and not really talking to or acknowledging each other, were not included. This was to allow for three (or more) way conversations, since the test did not say that a man/men observing/participating in the conversation with two or more women disqualified it. A simple address was not considered as a conversation. The women had to have more than a two line exchange. (See end of post for a full list of failed episodes.)

Can you imagine, gentlemen, receiving that threat from a potentially dangerous man whose identity you have no hope of discovering but who knows your name, what city you live in, what you look like and where you work?

Now imagine receiving messages like that from men so frequently that you’re no longer bothered by it.

Now understand how f*cked up it is that you’re no longer bothered by it; that you’re no longer bothered by men’s anonymous threats of brutal sexual violence, because they’ve become just as common as a train not arriving on time.

Read More: Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment | http://comicsalliance.com/sexual-harassment-online-rape-threats-comics-superheroes-lessons-men-geek-culture/?trackback=tsmclip

Can you imagine, gentlemen, receiving that threat from a potentially dangerous man whose identity you have no hope of discovering but who knows your name, what city you live in, what you look like and where you work?

Now imagine receiving messages like that from men so frequently that you’re no longer bothered by it.

Now understand how f*cked up it is that you’re no longer bothered by it; that you’re no longer bothered by men’s anonymous threats of brutal sexual violence, because they’ve become just as common as a train not arriving on time.

Read More: Fake Geek Guys: A Message to Men About Sexual Harassment | http://comicsalliance.com/sexual-harassment-online-rape-threats-comics-superheroes-lessons-men-geek-culture/?trackback=tsmclip

Related Posts:

Welcome to the 71st Down Under Feminists’ Carnival

Welcome to this, the 71st DUFC.  Do you know what that means?  It means that we’ve been doing this for quite a long time and that it’s lots of fun.  Thank you so much to Chally for organising these and providing me with some submissions, and to Mindy and Mary for sending me many submissions.  Any omissions are my own, and if I missed a great post you made this month (and you’re a feminist writer from Australia and New Zealand), please let us know about it in the comments.

International Women’s Day

Heidi La Paglia writes at NUS Women’s Department, “International Women’s Day and the Continued Importance of Feminism“:

In the last few decades’ women around the world have come a long way in their progress towards gaining autonomy and equality with men. In Australia alone, the successes are almost countless. Changes in legislation have allowed women to access affordable means of contraception, join the workforce in areas previously dominated by men and follow aspirations apart from getting married and having children. BUT… while women HAVE come a long way in their fight for emancipation, there are still many goals we’re yet to met [sic].

Christina Ryan at intersectionalitytimes writes, “Reflections on International Women’s Day 2014 (or the only X in the village)“:

Can these women speak for the 1 in 5 of their Australian sisters who have disabilities? No, and nor should they. Just as they shouldn’t speak for our Aboriginal sisters, or our LGBTI or culturally diverse sisters. The experiences of women of diversity are different and relevant. We bring enormous depth and difference to any conversation on any issue. Most importantly we aren’t just focussed on our own space. Just as women generally will talk about finance, geopolitical events, and architecture (for example), and not just stick to childcare or maternity leave. Women of diversity will talk about finance, geopolitical events and architecture, but we will talk about them with very different eyes and understanding.

Betty Taylor at One Voice in the Crowd writes, “Tony Abbott A Feminist …Delusional Thinking“:

What a ridiculous statement. Abbott refers to a handful of women who have had various measures of success in attaining prominent public roles. The success of a few women does not mean that gender equality has been achieved for all women. Abbott also fails to acknowledge his own role in the public abuse & humiliation of Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. When one woman is abused and degraded, all women become vulnerable targets.

Kimberley Ramplin at The Referral writes, “It is about feminism…“:

Third wave feminism is a reaction against the second wave ignoring the voices and agency of women of colour, differing abilities or gender identification.  In scorning the third wave, Hardy scorns the Ciceronian legacy she professes to admire; for we move further along the path of ‘kindness, generosity, goodness and justice’ through welcoming and celebrating diverse voices, not mocking or ignoring them.  Hardy’s column is a strange exercise in confirmation bias: ‘my weltanschauung* is better than yours and I am here to liberate you’; yet most of her criticism is reserved for middle-class, white, female feminists.  Yes, she is correct in using the dread ‘socialism’ tag twice in four paragraphs: International Women’s Day was started by groups of European socialists.  In 1911, more than one million women and men attended IWD rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.  I’ll repeat that for the peanut gallery: women AND men joined together to give birth to this crypto-socialist feminista wankfest.  A week later, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire claimed the lives of 140 women in New York City, cementing labour standards and working conditions as a key angle of future IWD observances.

New Matilda writes, “Why You Should Know About These Women“:

But what about the underrated women, the quiet achievers, and the historical figures whose contributions laid the foundations for others?

Who should we know more about this International Women’s Day? New Matilda asked 10 women for their recommendations.

Kath at Fat Heffalump writes, “Happy International Women’s Day!“:

You see that’s what misogyny is.  It’s the myth of “femininity”.  The myth that womanhood fits one narrow band of features and behaviours, and that womanhood is a competition between the female of our species to appeal to male of our species, and only those that “win” the attention of men are allowed to consider themselves “feminine”.  Femininity is measured by how pleasing a woman is to men – by her appearance, her voice, her behaviour and her sexual availability.

Intersectionality

Aaminah Khan at Days Like Crazy Paving writes, “No such thing as “normal”“:

I am not normal. I am too brown and too female (and femme) and too mentally ill and too queer to be normal. Most of the people I know aren’t normal. And every time one of us tries – usually so that we might get that job we really want or a place on that guest speaker list or a piece of writing published or just acceptance into a new circle of friends – we find that the goalposts have shifted. Because the big secret about normal is that it’s whatever the people oppressing you want it to be. You can never meet the standard, because the standard will change with the specific goal of making you fall short yet again.

Transcendancing writes at The Conversationalist, “Queerness and Midwifery“:

Where I find my experience of studying midwifery stands out next to my classmates and teachers around me is my acute awareness of my queerness. I have moments of feeling apprehensive, of worrying about my queerness in the context of midwifery. I worry about fitting in with my classmates and with my future colleagues, though really this is just the uncertainty of a new situation speaking. By now, I am quite practised at navigating outward queerness and ordinariness in new group situations. Largely, I think queerness stands out to me only because my gendered experience, for possibly the first time ever, does not stand out to me at all.

Saman Shad at Ideas At The House writes, “Intersectionality and why we need it“:

While intersectionality has certainly proven to be a divisive issue amongst feminists I feel it is something that very much needs to be discussed and adopted by the wider feminist community. Feminism used to mostly be the domain of white, educated, middle-class women. Issues that needed to be targeted by feminism were hashed out by smaller groups, generally in academic circles. Now, however, with the rise of social media, feminism has been somewhat democratized – all women are deciding what issues matter and are relevant to them.

Jo at A Life Unexamined writes, “The Reality of Disadvantage“:

It was here that I started to question some of the things going on. Many of the things my group chose to represent as attributes of an ideal ambassador were straightforward: friendliness, organisational skills, patience, enthusiasm. Thinking of the emphasis on low socio-economic areas and Indigenous students, I threw in ‘cultural sensitivity’ and ‘awareness of own privilege’ – two things I think lie at the basis of any social justice-type work. But as soon as I said the word ‘privilege’ left my mouth, I was shot down. My fellow group members frowned at me. ‘I don’t think that’s necessary,’ one girl said. ‘Surely everyone is unique and has challenges of their own?’ Well, yes, I thought. But there’s a difference between individual challenges and institutionalised or generational disadvantage. But I could sense the hostility, so I said ‘ok, I won’t add it then,’ and we moved on.

Relationships

Sydney Jones at wom*news writes, “Preview of Upcoming Zine “Injustices and Inequalities”“:

I don’t even have to make up a hypothetical situation here to explain to you how these conversations play out after I politely message back, telling the man I’m not interested. 8 times out of 10, he will ask something along the lines of “Why not?”. I sincerely feel that I should not have to answer that question. If I’m in a bar and a guy starts to talk to me, I will make it clear if I’m not interested. I’ll tell him I have to go or show him with body language. But online, you have to be more direct. I do have to say “No.”

Jo has started a new blog/space called The Asexuality Story Project, allowing people to submit biographical stories about their journey from around the world.

Orlando at Hoyden About Town writes, “Friday Hoyden: Hortense Mancini“:

In the middle of the 17th Century, an Italian noblewoman brought her five daughters to Paris, where her brother had acquired a position of enormous political power, with the intention of finding them all illustrious husbands. They were pretty, educated, noble, wildly intelligent and gracious good company, so this wasn’t a difficult task in itself. A good marriage on paper, however, bears so little relationship to what the experience of it will be. The five Mancini sisters and their two cousins, nieces of the highly influential Cardinal Mazarin, were collectively referred to at court as “Les Mazarinettes”, which tells us how little France appears to have changed in four hundred-odd years. Hortense Mancini was her uncle’s favourite, and was made his heir. She was married at fifteen to one of the richest men in Europe, who turned out to be an obsessive, violent, controlling abuser.

Media

AlisonM at The Hand Mirror writes, “Pregnant and Headless“:

Stock images were born of marketing — trying to get particular groups of people to buy stuff; or to illustrate company annual reports, brochures, political party propaganda. The images are selected, as scholar Paul Frosh explains it in a paper aptly titled “Inside the Image Factory”, “in accordance with the classificatory regimes employed by advertising and marketing discourse to specify meanings and target audiences (most fundamentally class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and age)”. He goes on to point out that the ethical question raised by this is connected to representational power, in particular “the inability of certain groups to control representation of themselves or even to be represented at all.”

Over at the news with nipples, “The special women’s section“:

Making an explicit effort to include women’s voices in the news is an excellent idea, but it is a terrible idea to put them in a special section that men will never read. It’s the same complaint I have about Daily Life (another complaint being that the content is often indistinguishable from the lifestyle and entertainment sections), and about the All About Women Festival at the Opera House, where well-off women will pay to see other well-off women talk about stuff they already agree with. Some of the festival will be interesting – Ilwad Elman and Mona Eltahawy are speaking – but is unlikely to lead to any real change because it’s pitched as an event for women. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a lot of benefit in women talking with each other about how to change things, and in writing for each other about our opinions and lives. We do that all the time, and I enjoy it and learn a lot from it. But if cultural change is the goal, then it won’t happen this way.

Liz Barr writes at No Award, “Secrets & Lies“:

My blurb:

Manpain. No sympathetic adult women.  One person of colour, unsympathetic.  The hero has never read a detective novel ever, and is following the How To Look Totally Suss playbook.

Nevertheless, the mystery is interesting and I like the setting, so I’m probably going to keep watching.  And blogging.

Rebecca Shaw writes at The King’s Tribune, “Relatable Relationships“:

Not only am I a lesbian (which means I am a woman, in case you hadn’t realised), I am also a FAT woman (not to be confused with my alter ego Fatwoman, who is like Batman except she spends all her money on parties). In the same way that being a lesbian has defined certain aspects of my life, being a fat person in this society has as well. For me, as a privileged and white fat lesbian, the anti-fat sentiment I have experienced my entire life has been more pervasive and damaging than any amount of direct homophobia I have encountered (so far). Don’t get me wrong; they are both REALLY fun to experience, and they have a lot in common, especially when it comes to media representation. If you try to list all the thin, white actresses who have ever played a straight character on television or in movies, you would be here for days and days and eventually your colleagues would call the police because they would be concerned that something had happened to you because you weren’t annoying them at work. And something WOULD have happened to you – you would have had died of starvation and dehydration, but not before realizing that in the big picture, almost all women in movies and TV are thin, white and heterosexual. The number of lesbians on screen compared to their prevalence in actual society is low. The number of fat women on screen compared to their prevalence in actual society is INSANELY UNJUSTIFIABLY low.

Avril E Jean at Becoming Avril E Jean, Artist writes, “Why ‘The Big Bang Theory’ utterly fails to describe Geek and Nerd culture“:

I come from geek culture. I identify as a geek, I’m a massive massive geek. I’ve been in FOME, MURP, and the SCA. All my friends are both female and males. My collection of star trek and wars figures is actually slightly embarrassing. I watch SF, I read it, and I will get involved in a discussion about Babylon 5 at the drop of a hat. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF WOMEN LIKE ME.  All my female friends are equally geeky. Geeky girls like geeky boys and there is a lot of dating and going out and socializing.  This stuff just is not shown on that TV show.

Repro Justice

Julie at the Hand Mirror writes, ““Choose Life” is not about choice; it’s about force“:

There’s a new campaign by one of my least favourite lobby groups (Family First in case you were wondering), which is encouraging people to wear special pink and blue ribbons to say “Choose Life,” by which they mean don’t have abortions.

The use of the word “choose” implies that Family First is asking people to make a choice.  But in fact what they actually want to do is take away the very choice they are supposedly promoting.

Julie at the Hand Mirror also writes, “The fundamentally anti-women notion at the heart of anti-abortion campaigns laid bare“:

Let’s be clear; this example shows us precisely what the opposition to abortion are all about: denying those with uteruses power over their own bodies, and encouraging those who aren’t pregnant to hold sway over those who are.  Most of the time that is going to be a woman disempowered, harassed, upset, abused, and a man taking power, harassing, hectoring, abusing.  And that is fundamentally anti-women.

Lauren Ingram writes at Birdee, “THIS IS WHAT MY ABORTION WAS LIKE“:

The morning of my abortion, I got dressed in comfortable clothes and my boyfriend drove us to the clinic. Despite the time, around 7am I think, there were protestors out of the front of the building. They were all white, over 60, praying loudly and holding signs. Their mere presence infuriated me and I resolved to let them have it if they said anything to us. Somehow they ignored us (maybe we didn’t look enough like we were going to get an abortion?) and we walked right in.

tigtog writes at Hoyden About Town, “Debate vs Inquiry and “Reasonable Debate” as a silencing tactic“:

As Greta also notes, most arguments based on fetal personhood fail to engage with the unconscious violinist analogy: since one cannot be compelled to donate the use of one’s tissues/organs to a born person who will die without them, not even if their survival is dependent upon oneself and oneself alone, not even if one caused their fatal condition, then (again) what is the justification for making abortion a special case?

Mary at Hoyden About Town writes, “Fetal personhood in NSW: “an issue that should be of serious concern to all of us”

Megan Clement-Couzner writes at New Matilda, “Are The Abortion Wars About To Begin?

Are these just the demented bleatings of a fringe-dwelling religious right? Yes and no. While Australia is overwhelmingly pro-choice, the attack in Victoria came from Liberal MP Bernie Finn. In the NT, the Attorney General has proposed laws that criminalise pregnant women who drink alcohol. In NSW, a female Liberal member is sponsoring Zoe’s Law in the upper house. ‘Zoe’ was the unborn daughter of NSW woman Brodie Donegan, who was struck by a drug-affected driver in 2009. When Zoe died in utero, the driver who caused her death was charged with injury to her mother.

Our Stories

Julie writes at The Hand Mirror, “On her bike“:

It’s actually going well.  I have worked out I have poor balance (I fall off quite a bit, have trouble with take off too), and that’s not all that likely to go away.  I’m also rather scared of going fast, so I use the brakes a lot going downhill.  People smile at me more when I have the basket on, and it’s quite delightful to be able to get around my suburb and a bit further afield and say hello to those I meet on the street; something I could never do in a car.

What I’ve worked out is that when I cycle I feel I am a part of the neighbourhood I’m moving through, with all my senses, as opposed to being separated from it by the steel and glass shell of a car.  And that’s a good feeling.

LGBTIQ

Rebecca Shaw writes at SBS, “Why I don’t care about Fred Phelps“:

The WBC held up a mirror to people undecided on gay rights, and a lot of those people have not liked what they saw. They have caused citizens to band together, groups of bikies to take up the cause, and come together to do things like block the WBC from picketing. Phelps has no power over us. He is nothing. The tiny, mostly-related Westboro Baptist Church is nothing. You should feel no pangs of anything – except worse hunger pangs (I still haven’t had lunch).

Danielle Colley writes a story told her by a mother of a trans* child at Daily Life, “My eight-year-old daughter just wants to be a boy“:

I was driving along in the car recently when my daughter, Ruby*, asked if she could go to the doctor’s and get a penis. She’s eight. My breath caught in my throat, and without taking my eyes off the road, I said I’d have to Google it when I got home.

Parenting and Families

Poor Stevie writes, “oh, baby“:

I mean, all my love and Cheezels to Jodi Gordon and Braith Anasta, but for pretty much every woman I have spoken to about motherhood, their newborn baby did not bring the glowing joy and love this photo depicts. It’s not the couple or their little family I have a problem with – they are all incredibly brave to wear white – it’s the “bundle of joy” bullshit women are force fed.

Race and Racism

Chally Kacelnik writes at Global Comment, “The Australian Aboriginal People With Disabilities Being Held In Prison Without Trial“:

To be frank, I’d be surprised if anyone in Australia is surprised. There’s a long history of disproportionate incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – who number two per cent of the general population versus a quarter of the prison population – and appalling treatment within the prison system. There have been so many Aboriginal deaths in custody that 1991 saw a royal commission, most of the recommendations from which have not been put in place. As such, deaths have been on the rise in recent years, such as that of Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder who died from being transported in an extremely hot prison van by Western Australia’s Department of Corrective Services in 2008.

Celeste Liddle writes at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist, “Fair-skin privilege? I’m sorry, but things are much more complicated than that“:

Additionally, whilst I never denied skin colour as a marker, and whilst I also don’t deny the existence of some fair skin privilege in the some ways, what about visiting the concept of “migrant privilege”? The White Australia Policy existed until the early 1980s yet from the 1940s onwards, following the impacts of wars, it was chipped away at bit by bit. Non-white immigrants were eventually accepted into the country in various “waves” to the point of Malcolm Fraser openly supporting multiculturalism and opening up the refugee programmes to many Asian nations. This country has gone so far backward since this time with elections being won on the basis of “stopping the boats” that I am disgusted to live in it. Yet, here’s the thing: my father, despite being born in this country and having ancestors that had been born in this country for roughly 4000 generations, was not counted in the census as a citizen of this country until he was 17 years old. This is why I have problems with the term “First Australians”. Each successive wave of immigrants became Australians before the First Peoples, regardless of skin colour, were recognised as human beings. Therefore, migrant communities, whilst actively discriminated against by other Australians and enduring vast poverty, racism, ostracism and countless other things, also had more rights in this country than the First Peoples.

Aaminah Khan at Days Like Crazy Paving writes, “Fairy tales for privileged kids: “the anti-white racist”“:

See, racism isn’t just about prejudice. Is it possible for non-white people to be prejudiced against white people? Sure. I mean, I don’t know about you, but if I lived in a community where land and house prices were soaring because of gentrification, leading to me having to give up my home, I’d probably be a little prejudiced against the people driving me out onto the street. If I were to be looked over for a promotion because my boss didn’t want a non-white person being a public face of the company, I’d probably be a little prejudiced against the people who made the decision that a non-white spokesperson would seem too threatening to be effective. If my son were, say, shot dead in cold blood by a white man who was then found not guilty of murder because my son was walking home on his own wearing a hoodie, then…yeah, I guess I’d probably be a little prejudiced against the assholes who ensured my son’s killer was never brought to justice.

So yeah, non-white people can be prejudiced against whites.

Can they be racist against whites? Nope.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep writes, “The unbearable ignorance of Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner for *Freedom*“:

Everyone, Mr Wilson asserts ought to be allowed to use the term “nigger,” for example, because it is widely used in black communities. Wilson reveals his monumental ignorance and gobsmacking stupidity, through either his incompetent or  deliberate misunderstanding of the difference in the meaning of that term, when used within communities or by outsiders.

This dangerous call for absolute free speech favours only white people, and only certain highly privileged white men are demanding it. Wilson’s call for “personal responsibility” in this matter is ridiculous. There are matters society cannot afford to leave to an individual’s sense of “personal responsibility” and as has been proven over and over and over again, hate speech is one of them.

Poverty

Kath at Kath-Homeless writes, “Understanding Homelessness in Australia“:

I have spoken to so many people that have opened up to me in the last few weeks it is fantastic. Many have or know people that have been homeless. I hear so many different versions it is amazing how common it is. People that have lost their jobs, family members, housing due to bills, deaths, or as a youth or in their younger years. But all I have spoken to have recovered from it. I am having trouble doing that at the moment because of having car problems, money stolen from me, health and car insurance costs and general living car expense. It is very hard to do on newstart. People do not want people that don’t work or a struggling in their share accommodation and if so it is quite unaffordable if you are not employed. Many will say well others are doing it. Yes many are they are sharing houses together or living with a pensioner or family. I myself do not want to share a house full of people on the dole just as people do not want to share with me so this is another reason I am homeless.

Politics and Law

Kate Galloway writes at Curl, “Queensland to reintroduce gendered statutory language“:

In this post however, I will examine the legitimacy of a lower profile change proposed by the Bill: the renaming of the head of the CMC from ‘chairperson’ to ‘chairman’. See eg clause 35:

35 Amendment of s 224 (Qualifications for appointment as the chairperson)

(1) Section 224, heading, ‘as the chairperson’—
omit, insert

chairman and deputy chairman

(2) Section 224, ‘chairperson if’—
omit, insert
chairman or deputy chairman if

It would, I imagine, be argued that there is no legal effect to the change. Section 32B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) provides:

In an Act, words indicating a gender include each other gender.

Kate Galloway also writes at Curl, “Women’s Property“:

I’ve spent this last few weeks going back to basics. What was I really trying to show? My (bigger than PhD) idea is that the notion of property is itself inappropriate to deal with contemporary issues. I think property theory, in its liberal market mould, is unsuitable for our contemporary culture (copyright), for culture in its wider sense (first nations/Indigenous peoples’ customary ‘title’) and it is most certainly unsuitable to deal with the huge issue of the environment, including of course, climate change. My PhD thesis is about the gendered nature of property and how it upholds the economic dependence of married women (married in a legal and de facto sense).

In my view, all property does is support the creation of a new market based on the idea of atomised, separated, individuals who are ‘rational profit maximisers’ and are in competition and unconnected with anyone else.

Julia Baird writes at the Sydney Morning Herald, “Quentin Bryce showed her true colours, quietly“:

Dame Quentin Bryce has mastered the art of the subtly powerful gesture.  When she – our first female governor-general – swore in our first female prime minister on June 24, 2010, she wore a dress the colour of rich butter. Pinned conspicuously below her shoulder was a brooch of purple silk flowers, with green linen leaves and white stems. The colours of the suffragettes.

bluemilk writes, “Abbott wants to stop measuring gender equality in the workplace“:

Given this data is all computerized and the bulk of it is collected in a standard payroll database it is difficult to see what exactly is so onerous about this but Sloan is trying her best to make the case. The other kinds of data collected by government include the family friendly working arrangements offered by a company and which of their employees use them. Again, all of this information is routinely collected by companies about themselves. Sure, reporting requirements aren’t cost-free but they’re not enough to have any Human Resource Department on a fainting couch either. And anyway, there’s no significant penalty for non-compliance and half the firms love the exercise because they use any better-than-average results to compete for the best job applicants.

Chally Kacelnik writes at Global Comment, “Australia’s Manus Island Shame: Where’s the Inquiry?“:

In response, Papua New Guinea’s Justice David Cannings initiated the inquiry. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that, late on Friday, ‘the inquiry was put on hold after lawyers for the PNG government obtained a stay order in the Supreme Court in Port Moresby,’ claiming that Justice Cannings is biased because he has worked as a human rights lawyer. Immediately following this, Justice Cannings launched a new inquiry, and allowed Australian barrister Jay Williams access to the centre. All this has clashed with Papua New Guinea’s and Australia’s Prime Ministers, respectively Peter O’Neill and Tony Abbott, who are, according to Mr Abbott, in concert in agreeing that there ought to be no inquiry. Mr Abbott added that most of the asylum seekers were ‘economic migrants’ rather than true refugees.

Jennifer Wilson at No Place for Sheep writes, “Taking to the streets: why protest matters“:

March in March has come in for a fair amount of criticism for its alleged lack of focus and purpose.For some reason, ordinary citizens expressing grievances against their government is not regarded as being focused, or as having any purpose.

El Gibbs writes at No Fibs, “Moving Blue Mountains for #MarchInMarch: @bluntshovels reports“:

Moira Cox, Rachel’s mother, hasn’t done anything like this before. She heard about the March in March on Twitter and is passionate about her dislike for the current government. Ms Cox is concerned that commercial media will not cover the marches because she wants the Government to see how people feel about them.

Disability

Stella Young writes at Ramp Up (ABC), “Practicing pride in the face of exclusion“:

When I discovered the social model of disability when I was 17, it allowed me to make a distinction between the limitations of my body and the failings of society. In a nutshell, the social model tells us that we are far more disabled by inaccessible environments and hostile attitudes than we are by our physicality. My disability comes not from the fact that I’m unable to walk, but from the presence of the stairs. We are not wrong for the world we live in, the world we live in is not yet right for us, and we need to change it.

Eliza Cussen at Ramp Up (ABC) writes, “Something a little more comfortable“:

Online dating instantly expands your options. In many cases, it allows people with disability to go ‘under cover’ and reveal their disability to people on their own terms. But it also means opening yourself up to the scrutiny of the internet, which, as we well know, can be an unfriendly place.

“The beauty of online communication is that if you don’t tell them, the person on the other end of the line has no idea that you’re in a wheelchair, and therefore they treat you as a ‘normal’ person. I crave normality,” wrote my friend Holly.

I’d wager anyone who’s spent more than 20 seconds on a dating site will have worked out a filtering system for potential suitors. On OkCupid I would only respond to men who messaged me using full sentences. Those who introduced themselves with “Heeeeeeeeeeey” were let straight through to the keeper. Holly would avoid everyone who said they were fun-loving because she doesn’t enjoy redundant statements. (Who doesn’t love fun?)

Feminism & Sexism

Jo at A Life Unexamined writes, “Not Being Sexist Isn’t That Difficult“:

One of the reasons I was drawn to Dreamfall in the first place was because it had a cast of characters dominated by females: something of a rarity in the gaming industry. The primary protagonist (bear with the tautology) and the secondary protagonist are both female and well-written, complex characters. A large portion – probably the majority – of the supporting cast are also female, and women are portrayed in all sorts of positions and stages in life. The racial diversity is pretty good as well – though the game does fall short on its range of body types and shapes.

All this was quite pleasing while I was playing, but it wasn’t until three quarters through the game that I really noticed what I was enjoying the most: the lack of that casual sexism and misogyny that worms its way into so many games. Because three quarters through the game, you suddenly gain a sidekick: the obnoxious sexist sidekick, in the form of a talking crow. And then I realised how much I had been enjoying the lack of that character earlier in the game.

Celeste Liddle writes at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist, “Aboriginal Feminism – So what does this entail?“:

Due to the process of colonisation, what effects white women generally affects black women, however due to the intersection of race, black women face unique battles as well. Back when the women’s movement was fighting to access to safe and effective contraception and legal abortion in this country, Aboriginal women were additionally fighting for the right to keep their children in the face of the legislation that led to the Stolen Generations. White women were fighting for economic independence separate from men (eg: so they were not forced to be married to have security) and the right to equal pay while black women were also fighting to be paid for their labour in the first place.

Georgina Dent writes at Women’s Agenda, “Can anyone afford not to work?“:

In theory we might support the idea of women working and having a family but the reality isn’t quite so encouraging. Australia women are stuck in the middle – waging a logistical war between wanting a career and a family. The fact our female workforce participation rate lags the rest of the world, and is slipping, confirms it.

Shonias writes at Hoyden About Town, “Cloaking device“:

The moment I arrived, unbeknownst to me, my cloaking device had been deployed. I stood waiting to register, and when a position was free, the bloke on it gestured to the man who had arrived after me. I just wasn’t there. Some women could see through it – the woman on the merchandise stand remarked on my unlikely existence. However, a woman I approached at a cocktail meet and greet looked straight through me and turned to a man at her left.

tigtog writes at Hoyden About Town, “SIgnal Boosting: Surly Amy’s Skeptic and Atheist Do Better Challenge“:

Amy’s tapping into something fundamental about human nature here: most of us want what we do in the world to matter to others as well as ourselves, to make some sort of difference to people other than ourselves, to leave some sort of legacy that others will recognise and value after we die.  Religions all provide some sort of framework within which people can find projects to join which fulfil this desire alongside fellowship with likeminded others who will honour their passing, as part of a community of shared values which recognises efforts and accomplishments beyond the commercial/careerist/competitive world of earning their livelihoods.

Andie Fox (bluemilk) writes at Daily Life, “Natalie Barr doesn’t speak for all women“:

Reading this you feel defensive, naturally. Your life hasn’t been exactly like these success stories. It is tempting then to continue this conversation of individualism and to describe the specifics of your own life as counter-argument. But unless we’re very thoughtful about it, this kind of discussion tends to be dominated by a lot of very similar voices (ie. those with access to the media), tends to over-generalise, and tends to limit definitions of sexism to intentional acts by one person against another. This capacity to recognise sexism rarely and only on an individual level means we seek to fix sexism simply by shaming offenders. Preferably in public. Sexism is therefore corrected by correcting the individual.

Clementine Ford writes, “Can we stop being delicate about cunts?“:

And look, they may sound crude but they have a place in a lexicon that quite comfortably embraces labels like ‘cocksucker’, ‘dickhead’, ‘dickbrain’ (as favoured on-air for many years by former 5AA radio talkback host Bob Francis) and even ‘asshole’. The fact is, much of modern English has been influenced by writers like William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer (the latter of whom was fond of a bit of ‘queynte’ in his writings). Humanity loves a good dirty joke or double entendre. Show me a clever writer with a dirty mouth and I’ll show you a cunning stunt. As Lauren Davidson writes here, “It really does seem only fair that if Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence — a bunch of old white men — could use it rather joyfully, why shouldn’t we?”

Violence *Trigger Warnings for posts in this section*

Louise Taylor at intersectionalitytimes writes, “Domestic Violence against Indigenous Women is Everybody’s Problem“:

On any available statistical analysis Indigenous women are significantly more likely to be a victim of family violence. To be hospitalised because of it. To die as a result of it. Some would argue to have their children removed because of it. Ridiculously Indigenous women appear more likely to be criminalised themselves for their engagement with the systems charged with protecting them when they report family violence.

Claire Shove writes at Sextracurricular Studies, “Art Against Female Genital Mutilation

Claire Shove also writes, “YouTube, Tumblr, and Ethical Responsibility in Celebrity-Fan Relationships“:

And so it continues. As of yet, none of the people accused or anyone from NerdFighteria has addressed any of this in a video, and so the main forum for discussion is still Tumblr. I’m hopeful that this discussion will move onto YouTube soon as well. Partly because the people who are responsible for these actions should be a part of the discussion, and partly because Tumblr has now been definitively proven to be an unsuitable place for sensible discussions of abuse, and for survivors to seek support. This should come as a surprise to no one, given that it is the residence of the most intensely devoted fans of these YouTubers. Having said that, I’m glad in a way that this has all started on Tumblr, because the most intensely devoted fans are also the people vulnerable to coercion and abuse.

Clementine Ford writes, “There’s no such thing as rape culture“:

I always thought my commitment to challenging rape culture was due to me caring deeply about the fact we live in a sexually aggressive, oppressive world that forces women to bear responsibility for our own rape prevention while casting men as primal creatures so easily overcome by the sight of exposed flesh that they can’t help but force themselves onto women (despite complaining about how feminists always paint them as rapists).

Eliza Cussen writes at Women’s Agenda, “How my work saw me threatened with rape online“:

As a Crikey reader recently said, a ‘troll’ is someone who posts on a Star Wars forum that Star Trek is better. Still, I think the word troll can be applied here. This form of abuse is being done by people who think a woman’s safety is no more important than the fictional struggle against the Galactic Empire. It is done by people who think of women only in the abstract, individuals who merely exist on screen.

Aaminah Khan writes at Days Like Crazy Paving, “[TW: child abuse] Cry of the Tiger Cub – or: I Grew Up with a Tiger Parent and All I Got was This Lousy Psychological Trauma

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Meet my friend Kath

I met Kath on Twitter when she was hosting the @homelessinMelbourne account as a guest curator.  I responded to a few of the things she tweeted and we started a conversation.  It was around this time she started her own twitter account @kathhomeless, so I started to follow that too.

Kath is a 52 year old, homeless woman who lives out of her car in Queensland.  She tweets about the problems of being homeless, how one lives in a car, tweets the stories of her life and how she ended up homeless (and it’s not a simple story), shares photos of her home cooking (and it looks pretty tasty), and beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

Sunrise photo by Kath

Kath also has a blog, which initially was put together by one of Kath’s other followers, giving Kath an opportunity to collate her stories, share information with others, and host her great photos (so you don’t have to be up at sunrise to see the great shots).

Because this is the internet, and people are cynical, doubting arsehats, Kath cops a fair amount of abuse on Twitter, with some people claiming she’s only on Twitter to beg for money (which she’s never done in my interactions with her), that she’s lying about being homeless, that she’s homeless by choice, or that she’s lying about all the things she’s done or had happen to her in the past which has resulted in her current situation.

If you really feel it’s your place to do due diligence while reading a person’s story, perhaps you should be asking what your motivations are and who made you ruler of other people’s lives.

Kath’s most recent blog post calls for an understanding of homelessness:

The last few days have been quite draining for me trying to explain my situation to people that just don’t understand or think they do but don’t! I have been attacked by people that don’t care and think homelessness is a joke and is not real. They think it is my choice to be homeless or I choose to live this way. They have no idea of the reality of homelessness. They have never experienced it and probably never will. They have led a sheltered life away from the real harsh world. They do not understand how it can happen to people and blame me for being that way. They do not know any facts and really don’t care to find out the truth as they really don’t want to be involved with it. They question my answers to their questions and ridicule me on my comments. I try my best to be polite and help them understand what homelessness involves but they don’t care to listen. About the closest they will ever get to homelessness if the cross the street if they see a homeless person or do a sleep out which I call a camping adventure to act as if they care of to promote themselves that they are involved in a cause. It is a shame that they do not even want to understand such a major problem in Australia but why should they after all we choose to live this way. How can anyone end up homeless? It must have been my fault. I try to explain to them to read my blog and comments on twitter and maybe help them to understand my situation but they do not even do that. They are to ready to ridicule and simply don’t care enough to find out the fact. If they did it would problem raise emotions they have never and probably never will and make a fool of them for being so abrupt and uncaring. So I say to all of them good luck.

Many of my followers think that is easy and they can help me with my homelessness. Many have tried to help me by contacting charity organisations or government organisations including local MP members without my knowledge. After they do they contact me and their reaction is shock horror now they understand why I am homeless. I say to all don’t bother. No one can help as their is no housing. A shortage of housing is the problem simple. A MP or a charity just cant pull out a room or unit or house out of the air. I wish all would understand this. I have so many that try to tell me what to do with good intentions but they just don’t understand that I already have. I spent the first 6 months in Brisbane searching for answers. I learnt a lot about how the government deal with homelessness and how the charities and organisations spend there funding. It became a bit of a game for me. Gave me something to do researching all of this. No going on the housing list will not work. Yes I am injured but not disabled. No I am not a priority and will not get prioritised because I am sleeping in my car. In fact most don’t recognise me as homeless because I have a car and I am not sleeping under a bridge or a park.

Poverty is rising in Australia, which means that those who are homeless are going to remain that way, and that more people will be at risk of homelessness.

The OECD finds that poverty is rising in Australia with the number of those living in poverty accounting for 14.4 per cent of the population, compared to the OECD average of 11.3 per cent.

But Professor Whiteford, from the Australian National University in Canberra, says it does reveal some concerns within Australia.”We’ve got a lot of issues we need to address in Australia, and I think there are some obvious ones, like unemployment’s deteriorated over the past year or so. And there seems to be, particularly, problems of increasing proportions of young people who are neither in employment, education or training.”

What can we do about homelessness?  We can help those we know are homeless by giving them a couple of dollars when we see them.  Short-term accommodation is very expensive, not to mention quite risky as you end up living without a safety net or somewhere to store your belongings.  It is not our job to judge how people spend money once we give it to them, and it is not our job to pre-judge people’s spending intents and avoid giving them money because you believe they may not spend it in a way you agree with.

How can you help Kath?  Well another one of her followers set up a Pozible campaign in order to be able to buy her a new car fridge so she can keep her required medication close to hand.  Excess money will go towards much needed surgery and/or a camper van if possible.  If you have a couple of spare dollars handy, then I fully recommend this Pozible campaign.

Homelessness is a complex issue with no simple answers.  People who are homeless have often ended up that way through a collection of misfortune and, despite what our great Prime Minister Tones says, no one chooses to be homeless.  Helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves is not only what good people do, it’s necessary when the Governments of the day are likely to reduce the current level of Newstart allowance because they want to abolish the Mining Tax.

The chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, sought to broaden the debate over the consequences of the mining tax repeal legislation.

“In addition to assistance for the children of veterans, the government is proposing to abolish a range of measures which provide much needed assistance to low-income households, on the pretext that they are linked to the minerals resource rent tax,” Goldie said.

“This includes a $4 a week supplement for people struggling to cope on the $36 a day Newstart allowance, now widely recognised as grossly inadequate. The supplement is the only real increase in the Newstart allowance in 20 years. In this context, taking away this meagre increase from those already in hardship is unconscionable.”

Kath, and everyone else on Newstart is doing it hard, and when we can help them out, we should as good fellow citizens and as good people.  Some of this will be lobbying MPs, some will be working with charities to provide services, goods or food to people in need, some of this will be direct cash hand outs, and some of this will be educating others about the fact that homelessness is not simple, and is worth more than a sound-bite or some CEOs sleeping in nice sleeping bags one night a year.

We can do better as a nation and as people by looking after the vulnerable members of our society.

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Let’s talk about Doctor Who, story telling and character development

This post is going to be about the most recent (2012/2013) series of Doctor Who and may touch on the 2013, 50th Anniversary episode, and the 2013 Christmas special.  If you haven’t watched any of these, and don’t want the spoilers ahead, have a kittie and enjoy the rest of the internet.

Ok, let’s get started

Story telling

It’s not that Moffat can’t tell a good story, well maybe it is.  Coupling was funny, but is based on his life, and Sherlock is based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, so maybe he can’t tell a good story.  What really annoyed me about this entire season (minus 50th anniversary special and the Christmas episode), was that the story arc, and apparently there was one, was pretty much non-existent.  The Christmas episode ended with the disbandment of “The Great Intelligence” so that it would be a long time before it could threaten the earth, or the galaxy or something.

The first episode of 2013 had a cameo appearance of the Great Intelligence (a seriously wanky name for a villain), that the Doctor doesn’t notice, but is a suggestion to the viewer that something more might come from this.

And then nothing, nothing concrete about the Great Intelligence until the final episode when we discover that the Great Intelligence is pissed at the Doctor for constantly upsetting his plans, the plans we should note that have never really happened during this season apart from the 2012 Christmas special and the first episode in 2013.  That’s two whole plans in a season, that’s not plans, that’s a side story that something forgot.

It turns out that the Great Intelligence has a massive backstory, but as a minor reoccurring villain the average fan, especially new fans, are not going to have the foggiest idea what is going on.  This is not a story arc, this is a shoehorned “let’s make everything neat and tidy and pretend we had a plan”.

River Song

The Name of the Doctor (final episode of this season), casts the Doctor as a selfish arsehole.  It’s not exactly like it’s hard to cast him like that, in an earlier season River Song tells Amy not to grow old in front of the Doctor, that it upsets him (oh woe, poor Doctor who has been associating with humans for at least 1000 years, he should be used to it).

After Clara has done something of her own volition for a change (more on that later), River attempts to stop the Doctor entering the bright shiny thing, and only at this point does the Doctor acknowledge that he can see her.  We find out that at this point in her timeline she’s dead, but is effectively haunting the doctor because he hasn’t said goodbye, and he’s been ignoring her because it’s painful.  Quite frankly I think being dead and haunting someone who won’t say goodbye to you is more painful than the Doctor’s fee fees (especially as her death was pretty tragic), but he is important man, so his feelings are totes more important that River’s, and she’s dead anyway.

Clara

Clara spends most of this season doing what’s she’s told.  Protect this, go there, do this, stay here, and this follows through until the 2013 Christmas episode.  When she does do her own thing, it’s often to save the Doctor from something or someone, or to beg someone else to take action to save the doctor.  She’s a stereotypical female character, feisty, determined, somewhat argumentative (but only to a point), and wants to have all the fun – except when she doesn’t.

The sad thing about the character of Clara is that there was a lot of potential for mystery and exploration of why she was always around saving the Doctor.  There should have been (given the ending of the episode The Name of the Doctor) more attempts by the Doctor to remember if he’d run into her before, or only recently (because it was only recently as far as the current stories go).

The Doctor’s “Mysterious Girl”, and the resolution of why she keeps appearing in the Doctor’s life is apparently the true arc of this episode, but again it’s shoehorned in.  There is the Doctor pondering it, but instead of actually talking to people who might know (as he’s done in other seasons), or doing much beyond sometimes thinking about it (out loud), it’s not really the point of the season, even though it is.

The pregnant/not pregnant scan during an earlier season when it turned out that Amy was effectively a replicant/pod person (or whatever they were called), was quite well done, and on reflection you could see that the stories linked into each other as there was a common theme.  Clara is not a theme, she is a character.  You can’t really use a character like Clara as a theme in the same way as you can use a scan, or a series of words (Bad Wolf), or the scar in the universe.

And really the Doctor treats her like she’s 7 half the time.  He attempts to protect her, even when she doesn’t want protecting.  He breaks his promises to her about not leaving her behind, or about letting her join in the fight, and apparently this doesn’t piss her off enough to tell him to get fucked (and it should).  Unlike some of the other “companions” that the Doctor has recently, Clara obeys and sets out to do the best job obeying that she possibly can, except when she thinks she’s being left behind, in which case she’ll do what she can to stay and help/protect the doctor.

The Christmas episode

Which makes the Christmas episode all the more annoying.  Against Clara’s express wishes, and the Doctor’s own promise (and we didn’t see him cross his fingers), he sends her away, multiple times.  Clara fights to come back and manages the first time, but not the second, until she is brought back by the Tasha from the Church of the Papal Mainframe.  Seriously the Doctor is such an arsehole.

The Doctor spends over 300 years on Trenzalore, and for the first time, despite hanging around in his current form for a few hundred years, he ages and gets frail… how many hundreds of years, on a planet that is pretty much at war every day, does the Doctor stay there?  The planet’s population seems to not just survive, but also thrive despite being at war for over 300 years (that’s a lot of war), though I can be convinced that the war was more occasional incursions.

Once again Clara saves the day by begging the Time Lords (who just want to be set free so they can keep being the arseholes of the universe), to save the Doctor.  Her mission in life is to save the Doctor, she has no other purpose in this universe.  Sure she gets to look after children from time to time, but mostly she’s just off saving the Doctor.  It’s been remarked upon before that women in Moffat’s universe are the nurturing caring types and that’s pretty much all they get to be, and Clara pretty much just that.

Conclusion

Moffat really needs to stop being show runner.  He’s had lots of fun now, but the show will do better (and attract all the fans that have left because of him) if someone else took over.  The last season was so disappointing and frustrating because it was so badly put together.  Some of the stories were good, but I watched the season out of habit (and because I was travelling and watching TV during the heat of the Roman summer was a necessary thing).  I want to be gripped by the stories and the season arc like I was when Russell T Davies was running the show. I want the seasons to be as tight as Torchwood and as gripping, and this last season was a joke.

Doctor Who isn’t likely to drop in ratings anytime soon, because people are still watching it and still hoping for the magic to return.  It’s not going to return, and I’m beginning to lose interest in watching future episodes.  I’m vaguely interested in Peter Capaldi’s Doctor, but with Moffat running the show, I don’t know if I can be bothered.

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Imposter syndrome

Imposter Syndrome:

The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. It is not an officially recognized psychological disorder, but has been the subject of numerous books and articles by psychologists and educators. The term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978.

Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. (Wikipedia)

A long time ago, when I was at primary school, I was selected to be part of an extension project run by the Northern Territory Government (I was living in Alice Springs at the time).  The program was developed for gifted students and was to help accelerate their education, or something.  I never really understood the program, especially as it only ran during primary school and didn’t continue into high school.  I certainly enjoyed it though, because we learnt problem solving, puzzle solving, team work, an early introduction to algebra (still one of my favourite maths subjects), and had options to undertake external school activities like languages (I learnt some French), screen printing, photography and others.

Continue reading Imposter syndrome

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