Welcome to the 101st Down Under Feminists’ Carnival. My apologies for it being late, I was trapped behind two epic assignments that I had to complete for uni. They are now done, and I am free for the remainder of the year. Woohoo!
Below is a collection of feminist writing from Australia and New Zealand, written in September. If you want to host a Down Under Feminist Carnival, you can go here and let Chally know. It’s not a lot of work, many people will send you blog posts to include, and it’s lots of fun.
On with the show!
Liz wrote at No Award, “The invisible women“:
It’s one of those frustrating reads because Liz went in wanting to agree with everything it said, and wound up picking it all apart. Three over-long Facebook comments later, Liz remembered we have a blog.
Anna at Hoyden About Town wrote, “BFTP Friday Hoyden: Emma Goldman“:
At a time when the Australian government is doing its best to behave like a blend of Dickensian villains and French aristocrats, without the compensatory good taste in cravats of either [ed to note: this observation does not require updating], we are more than due for a genuine revolutionary for a Friday Hoyden. Emma Goldman was a Russian (or technically Russian Empire, from an area now in Lithuania) Jewish immigrant to the USA, who spent her life being persecuted for her work campaigning for the rights of workers and marginalised groups of all kinds.
Cesca at myflatpacklife wrote, “Stuck in the middle“:
I have turned into Mummy Pig.
Mummy Pig just wants wholesome family fun. She just wants some fruit. And five minutes to pick berries without having to stop and admire a four year old’s basically empty bucket, or be yelled at. She just wants jam and maybe a crumble or two. Why does she have to be judged for her food choices? Why does she have to have her dignity stripped away by a blackberry bush – let’s all come laugh at the fat pig stuck in the prickly thorns! Why does she have to involve the whole family and share when all she wants is a fucking dessert? It’s not all about you Peppa!
Celeste at Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist writes, “The Politics of Miscarriage“:
Which brings me back to miscarriage. As stated, in the moment, I felt relief. I didn’t tell work at the time because I was on leave, but as the rest of my saga became apparent, I was left with no choice but to tell them. I required post-operative sick leave after all. Perhaps I felt relief due to my circumstances, but considering that these circumstances were in the confines of a heterosexual relationship, and considering that this relationship had gone the way whereby I ended up a victim of violence, how is this narrative not valid in the discussion of miscarriage?
Daisy Dumas and Anna Maxted at Essential Baby write, “Why working women keep quiet about miscarriage“:
“Nobody understands it unless they have had one. It is impossible to compute unless you have been through it, just like any grief,” she says.
She is one of a low estimate of about 150,000 Australian women who miscarry each year – the vast majority of whom keep their anguish to themselves and, if working, continue as usual through the ordeal.
Olive Brown wrote at The Wireless, “Please, call me wahine“:
I remember learning about Suffrage Day at school, but I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing about wāhine Māori in the narratives and representations I was taught. Wāhine Māori were very much part of the suffrage movement. In May 1893, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia, addressed the lower house of the Te Kotahitanga Parliament (Māori Parliament) – being the first recorded woman to do so – she not only requested wāhine Māori be given the vote, but went further than the contemporary aim of the European suffrage movement, and asked they also be able to sit in the Māori parliament. She was one of other influential wāhine also part of the suffrage movement.
Jessica Tuhua guest posts at Sacraparental, “Nine-year-old Jessica tells us about feminism“:
I wrote about feminism because not many people at my school know anything about it, and I wanted to use the opportunity to speak about something important. It was very difficult to write about, so I re-wrote my speech six times!
Cristy Clark wrote at Overland, “Dissenting feminisms: reflections on the Feminist Writers Festival“:
In the lead up to the event, we were accused of programming predominantly white women rather than women from a diverse range of backgrounds. In fact, over 40 per cent of our speakers were women of colour, and of the remaining women, a majority were able to speak from a diverse range of perspectives, such as identifying as LGBTQI women, or as women with a disability – but we could still have done better in this regard.
Andie Fox at ABC Radio National (audio segment) with, “In Defence of Sexting“.
Reviews of things
Liz at No Award wrote, “Liz reads: 4 Australian novels“:
How amazing is fiction? People just MAKE UP STORIES, which I then buy and read and insert these ideas from other people’s heads into my brain!
Fat Heffalump wrote, “Melbourne Fashion Week Plus – The Political“:
I had a lot of really intense feelings about being invited as a special guest to MFW+, mostly for two pivotal reasons. Firstly because I’m not a fashion blogger in any stretch of the imagination – I love clothes, and expressing myself through the way I dress. I love colour and texture and shape and I love the way putting an outfit on can make me feel. But my focus as a fat activist is changing the way that fat people are both perceived and treated. Don’t get me wrong, I believe clothing and fashion are important in fat politics – after all, access to suitable clothing is important to be part of society and because fashion and clothing can be really empowering, especially to those of us who have been denied access. But to be invited and supported by MWF+ as an activist to be part of the event, knowing that they wanted my very political, feminist, fat active perspective to be included in the event means a lot to me.
Tangerina writes, “Bodies, food and fitness in the workplace“:
When you have an open conversation about being worried you’ll put on weight if you have another piece of that brownie, you probably don’t stop to think how that affects the people in the office who weigh more than you. That the subtext of what you’re saying is I’m afraid my body will look more like yours. And that although most of you would be horrified to think you’re hurting people by making idle small-talk, you are making your workplace less safe for fat people, people with (or recovering from) eating disorders and people with different abilities and health needs than you. And that’s not okay.
Chrys at Gladly the Crossed Eyed Bear wrote, “The Race to Irrelevancy – Shelton’s Australian Christian Lobby“:
Despite the millions of dollars the Australian Christian Lobby has ploughed into demonising the LGBTIQ community, it has decisively lost the battle for Australian hearts and minds. As the debate has progressed, the Australian public has moved inexorably towards treating their fellow citizens as equal human beings. The fear-mongering fanaticism of Lyle Shelton’s fundamentalist lobby group (which wants the government to spend $200 million to amplify its message of homophobic hatred) has failed to gain traction.
Rebecca Shaw writes at SBS, “For f*ck’s sake, stop treating the LGBTQI community like a political football“:
Wow, what a roller coaster we’ve all been on in the past little while. A roller coaster where you have to be ‘this LGBTQI’ to ride. A roller coaster called The Marriage Equality Debate that is mostly unpleasant and throws you around and makes you wonder if you will even survive. Even if you don’t want to be riding the roller coaster, even if you couldn’t give a shit about it, you are pretty much forced to ride it just by virtue of living your life in this country.
Rebecca Shaw continues with her ranty pants at SBS, “Straight people need to stop telling us how to feel about the plebiscite“:
Lots of things have made me angry about this whole plebiscite situation. There’s the homophobic arguments we have to hear, the fact our government won’t simply legalise equal marriage even though the mechanism is available and it is what a majority of the country wants, the fact that it is even an option that the rights of a minority might be literally put to a vote, and of course the fact that McFlurrys at McDonalds are no longer flurried, only stirred.
I wrote, “Being out makes a difference“:
Being an out bisexual is so a part of my life, I forget that it helps other people. Two people, one a friend of a friend, and one a business associate, have commented positively on the article, one talked to me about bisexuality and the invisibility she feels because she is married to a man, as well as how she feels unwelcome in LGBTI spaces because she is bisexual and married to a man. The other thanked me for the work I do (outside my paid work), saying that this was so important, and made such a big difference to people.
I also wrote, “A weekend of erasure”:
The main stream media (MSM) is not very good at discussing bisexuality. They tend towards the old myth of “straight, gay or lying”, which means that for the most part people who don’t identify as straight, gay or lesbian, tend to end up with one of those labels anyway, because bisexuality isn’t an option, despite it being right there in the middle of the acronym for the community of non-straight and/or non-gender conforming people – LGBTI.
Emily writes at Mama Said, “Four“:
“Even if the boy is four does he keep his mama?”
“Even if the boy is..” he struggled to free his fingers to hold up six or maybe eight – finally ten. “…this many?”
“Yes. Go to sleep”
Emily writes at Mama Said, “Goodbye, old friend“:
When I felt lost and hopeless trying to find my place in the world he was my companion. I felt as if I always had this funny little friend who would accept me.
At Tea and Oranges, “Transitioning to parenthood“:
And parents too, we’re all experiencing a lot of the same stuff! Snapping at our partners about little things, etc. Feeling torn between wanting to connect with the kids and wanting space away from them. I thought it would be handy to have one of those guides for us. Based on zero research because when would I get time to do that, just my reckons, so please add in the comments if you’ve got thoughts. These are all things that I’ve experienced at one stage or another, and all things that I feel much much more strongly when I’m at home fulltime.
Race, racism, representation
Nadia at Mixed Nuts writes, “Border Dwellers and Forked Tongues“:
Anzaldúa speaks of how being multilingual in a monolingual, monocultural, straight white world means that those of us who are aware of our multiplicity – the minoritised, the disenfranchised, the exoticised – are required to perform daily acts of mutilation on ourselves to simply exist. She talks of the silences that this forces upon us. She talks of the toll that twisting and silencing herself has taken on her spirit, on her humanity. And she resists.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied at Medium writes, “I walked out of the Brisbane Writers Festival Keynote Address. This is why.“:
There is a fascinating philosophical argument here. Instead, however, that core question was used as a straw man. Shriver’s real targets were cultural appropriation, identity politics and political correctness. It was a monologue about the right to exploit the stories of “others”, simply because it is useful for one’s story.
Yen-Rong at Inexorablist wrote, “Dangerous Ideas”:
She took aim at those criticising a white, British writer for penning a novel from the perspective of a young Nigerian girl. She poked fun at those who ask that others not speak or write on their behalf. She defended the right for writers to offend. She blatantly rejected the notion of identity. And she did so under the guise of expressing dangerous ideas.
Karen Wyld writes, “Media Decolonised“:
Similar to other colonised nations, Australian media is white. And, let’s not mince words, it shamelessly displays ignorance, cultural bias and racism. I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Not when there’s support for such outdated views – and a profit to be made.
Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson writes at the ABC, “Search for Daisy Kwok uncovers Shanghai’s lost history of Chinese-Australians“:
If the White Australia Policy has an afterlife, I came face-to-face with it in 1996. Flicking through Tess Johnston’s book, A Last Look: Western Architecture in Old Shanghai, I saw an image of Daisy Kwok outside her family’s now decrepit mansion in the Jingnan district of Shanghai.
Trinity at Fruit From The Vine writes, “10 things I wish my friends knew about being Māori“:
Please pause on this one. Ngai Māori, like a lot of indigenous cultures, have had our land, language and culture all stripped ruthlessly close to the bone. You may say, ‘Yeah yeah, stop playing the victim card, I know all this’, but the truth is, you don’t. If you’re not Māori, you may know the words, but you haven’t walked every step of your existence with this reality hanging over your identity. More likely to be words forming a sentence of a past-time with no personal connection to you, this is for Māori, our life, our pain, and the culmination of all our suffering summed up within a sentence.
Omar Sakr writes at The Vocal, “We Need To Talk About Lionel Shriver“:
The question is not, for example, can a white person write an indigenous person’s story? The question is, should a white person publish a story from an indigenous person’s perspective in a country that is still invested in killing and displacing indigenous people, in a country still overwhelmingly producing white stories in film, literature, and TV? Is it ethical for a white person to use their access, to profit from a story using experiences not their own, but which the market is hungry for because homogeneity is mind-numbingly boring but not boring enough to disrupt the inherent biases built into our society?
Stephanie at No Award writes, “steph speaks singlish“:
Steph is in Singapore and using Singlish like a pro! (It’s easy, cos it’s like Manglish only a bit more different) Because most of our readers are Aussies, and if there’s one thing Aussies love it’s slang, she’s compiled a list of important words she knows/has been learning to use in Singapore.
Nadia at Mixed Nuts writes, “Diverse Women Writers“:
Some of this was discussed during the open forum, when the audience was asked to comment on the day’s proceedings and make suggestions for improvements. Overall there seemed to be a feeling that events like this one were useful because of how isolating it often is to be the only non-white, nonbinary, non-male, non-straight person in the room. To be with a cohort with whom we could share multiple intersecting parts of our identities was a relief. There was a discussion of the use of the word ‘women’ when what was meant was more broadly ‘not men’, and the possibility of using ‘women and nonbinary’ as an identifier was floated, which several of the people I spoke to seemed to think would work.
Monica Dux at The Age wrote, “Families that stay together sometimes shouldn’t“:
Writing about the term “community”, the celebrated sociologist Zygmunt Bauman observed that, while most words have meaning, some also have a “feel”. According to Bauman, “community” is such a word. It gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling. And the word “family” is very similar.
Jane Caro at The Big Smoke wrote, “John Howard’s comments: lack of foresight, lack of understanding“:
A few days ago at the National Press Club, ex-Australian PM, John Howard, claimed that it was just the “truth” that women would never achieve 50% representation in our parliaments (or anywhere else, I imagine) because of their caring roles. Well, Mr Howard, there is one area where women are rapidly approaching 50% representation and that is among the ranks of the homeless. It is estimated by those who work in the sector that 44% of the homeless are women. The fastest growing group without a roof over their head, in fact, are women over 55.
Chally wrote at Zero At The Bone, “Telling truth, but not the reality“:
Telling half the story has inevitably led to confusion and a split response. Responses to this comment seem to be split between “good on him for telling the truth” and “he’s had his day”. There are of course also the people who seem to think that Mr Howard was saying that women belong in the home and agree with him that that’s a good thing – which he probably meant on some level, given how concerned he was about people thinking he said a terrible thing, but didn’t say.
Jane Gilmore writes at The Feed, SBS, “Comment: Hanson’s policies on family law equally dangerous“:
Phil Coorey reported in July this year that the Nationals are considering giving support to some of the One Nation policies in an attempt to prevent rural votes leaking down to Hanson. He quoted one Nationals MP as saying family law was something the Nationals need to “treat seriously”.
If you believe the Nationals think treating family law seriously means added protection for abused children and women, please get in touch so I can tell you about this wonderful bridge I have for sale.
Violence in all its forms (Trigger warnings for most of these posts)
Clementine Ford wrote at Daily Life, “Rape culture is caring more about protecting an offender’s future than his victim’s“.
Sam Conner at Gimpled writes, “We’re Not Funded To Do That“.